Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, October 26, 2013 to Friday, November 1, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW
- Brian Fritz interviewed Big Show, who really put John Cena for his work ethic. You can listen at this link.
- The Great Khali comforts Natlaya in the latest episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown. You can watch now at this link.
- WWE announced on Friday afternoon they have declared their regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be December 13, 2013, and the payment date will be December 26, 2013.
- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from John Cena to promote his World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Cena says Sunday will essentially be the first game of the season for him but it has the importance of the last game of the season. Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Executives from Mattel were at the WWE Performance Center on Friday. In addition to touring the immaculate facility, they also presented some details on the creative process for their toys.
- Apparently former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman visiting the WWE Performance Center is being blown out of proportion. Here's what he wrote on Twitter:
- WWE's Arabian website, located at arabia.wwe.com, features a story on Brock Lesnar possibly facing The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX next year. It's interesting that something like this would be on a WWE-affiliated site but Undertaker has been pushing for a match with Lesnar since early this year. Click here to check it out.
- Mark Henry has dropped down to 405 lbs. and has changed his head bald. You can check out a leaner (and meaner) Henry below:
- While we've covered this in Ask WNW, we continue to get a lot of questions surrounding the status of Rob Van Dam. RVD is expected back to WWE at some point but the company claims he does not have an active performance contract.
- One of the most highly-anticipated WWE video game titles in the company's history in WWE 2K14 will be released on Tuesday. This is the first release under the 2KSports banner. Click here for stores hosting midnight releases.
- Several WWE stars including Daniel Bryan worked out at Santino Marella's Battle Arts Academy in Mississauga, Ontario. You can watch a video of them at this link.
- Sin Cara is reportedly as healthy as he's been in quite some time and is really focused on proving himself in WWE.
- John Cena will be wearing a protective pad on his left arm in the World Heavyweight Championship match against Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. While he's been medically cleared, they're being cautious and do not want Cena's arm to endure any unneeded stress.
- Booker T is not scheduled to be at WWE Hell in a Cell in Miami. The WWE Hall of Famer will be watching the show with some of his Reality of Wrestling students at Diablo Loco in Houston, Texas.
- The WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff panel will consist of Josh Mathews, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Kaitlyn.
- WWE is no longer advertising the announced Intercontinental Championship match between Curtis Axel and Big E Langston scheduled for the Hell in a Cell Kickoff show on their official website. At this point the status of the match is unknown.
- Michelle McCool spent her Friday night in the ER after cutting her thumb while trying to slice an apple. Below is a photo:
- Cincinnati indy worker Danny Todd portrayed CM Skunk on last week's episode of WWE Smackdown.
- The WWE Intercontinental Championship match scheduled for the Hell in a Cell Kickoff show is off. WWE announced via Twitter that Curtis Axel will not compete due to injury. The following is from Twitter:
We noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that all mentions of the match, against Big E Langston, were pulled early on Sunday from the official WWE website. The bout was scheduled to be included on the Kickoff show at 7:30 PM EDT.
- If anything else, Hulk Hogan sure knows how to keep people talking about him. After negotiations broke down with TNA Wrestling for a new contract, Hogan's status remains up in the air. He fed into the speculation with a new photo posted Sunday on Facebook. You can view it below:
I've been told for months, even before his TNA contract was up, that Hogan was training hard in hopes of a match at Wrestlemania against John Cena. Now, I know I've mentioned it before, but I've been really reluctant to write it because of how ridiculous it sounds. I think the one time that I did write it, I noted how outside of Hogan himself, I don't think anyone thought the match was a realistic possibility.
At any rate, there is WWE interest in Hogan and he wants to make sure to keep fans talking. Hogan's first step in rebuilding his bridge back to working for Vince McMahon was his inclusion in WWE 2K14, which will be released on Tuesday.
- World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio was at World Series Of Fighting 6 Saturday night from the Bank United Center in Coral Cables, Florida. Del Rio was shown on the broadcast and posed for a picture with promotion president Rey Sefo. WWE Hell in a Cell was plugged as was Del Rio's bout against John Cena.
- There is a WWE 2K14 Lounge setup backstage at WWE Hell in a Cell where many workers were spotted playing the game earlier in the day.
- The December 16, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Tickets go on sale on November 1, 2013.
- Sam Roberts interviewed Daniel Bryan at Ringside Fest in New York City on Saturday. You can watch the interview at this link.
- Following Curtis Axel's injury, his match with Big E Langston on this year's WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show has been replaced by Damien Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston. WWE posted the following on Twitter:
The Kickoff Show is scheduled to take place at 7:30 PM EDT. We will have the live stream of WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The Kickoff show was originally scheduled to feature Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston for the WWE Intercontinental Championship but Axel suffered a legitimate hip injury on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw. It's unknown how long Axel will be out. The match replacing it will be Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow. If the Kickoff has concluded, you can read a recap of what happened as well as follow our live coverage at this link.
- Dean Ambrose will defend his United States Championship against Big E Langston at tonight's WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Langston was originally set to face Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship, but the match was nixed after Axel suffered a legitimate hip injury.
- Kane returned to WWE at the company's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday night. In a segment where The Miz demanded that Bray Wyatt come to the ring, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan ended up trying to take him out. Kane's music hit and he came down to make the save. After making light work of Rowan and Harper, Kane the chokeslammed The Miz to end the segment. Kane has been away from WWE since losing to Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire match at SummerSlam in August. He's been filming the WWE Studios production See No Evil 2.
- Big E Langston suffered a deep laceration under his right eye during his United States Championship match against Dean Ambrose at WWE Hell in a Cell. The injury occurred when Langston and Ambrose bumped heads together while working. Langston ended up winning via count out, thus Ambrose retained the title.
- Like Wade Barrett, Sin Cara has been dealing with work visa issues.
- Rey Mysterio took part on the Spanish broadcast of WWE Hell in a Cell and was sitting at ringside with the Spanish announce team.
- As the storyline goes, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon "filed a restraining order" against Big Show to keep him 100 yards away from the venue of WWE Hell in a Cell.
- John Cena beat Alberto Del Rio at WWE Hell in a Cell to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The match, which saw Cena wear a protective sleeve over his incision site, featured Del Rio working Cena's arm. The story was that Cena might have come back too soon but he built a come back and eventually went over. The match is Cena's first since undergoing surgery for a torn triceps in August.
- Randy Orton beat Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell on Sunday night. The finish was dirty as Bryan had Orton beat after a running knee but Shawn Michaels was knocked out. Triple H was ringside by this time and came into the caged structure. Triple H came in and threw Daniel Bryan off Michaels, as Bryan was trying to get him to get up and count. Bryan retaliated on Hunter by hitting a running knee. When Michaels finally came too, he hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music. This allowed Orton to get the cover and win the match.
- In a story that WWE is trying to keep as quiet as possible, Vince McMahon has taken back over as head of creative, replacing Stephanie McMahon. While Stephanie is still listed publicly as the Executive of Vice President of Creative, Vince has taken back a lot of the power that was given to Stephanie years ago. We're told this was done in part because of Stephanie being busy raising her children and now being back on television as a regular performer. She was believed to be fine with her father assisting more to help relieve all the pressure. However, we're told the rest of the creative team isn't as happy. The feeling from a source close to the writers is that Vince is rearranging the shows more than ever before and no longer has to show deference to his daughter. The reason WWE is trying to keep the story quiet is they don't want the change to paint Stephanie in a negative light. It's quite possible that WWE never mentions it to the public. Stephanie could very well maintain her title as EVP of Creative but make no mistake about it, Vince is once again the head. We're also told the suspension of Michael Hayes has played a part in Vince feeling he needed to take a larger role. We do not have further clarification on Hayes' status at this time.
- Both Big E Langston and Dean Ambrose required stitches following their United States Championship match at WWE Hell in a Cell. Langston needed 7 under his right eye, while Ambrose needed 8 under his chin. Dot com has photos at this link.
- Former TNA referee Rudy Charles, who now works as Dan Engler, worked WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday night. This was his first WWE pay-per-view.
- The Rock's mother, Ata Johnson, was in attendance at WWE Hell in a Cell. Following his World Heavyweight Championship win, John Cena went over and hugged her. Other notables in attendance included Rick Rubin, Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg and Heat forward Udonis Haslem.
- For those that missed WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 Kickoff, the entire show has been posted here on YouTube.
- Dot com has their exclusive interviews, done in kayfabe, from the pay-per-view now online at this link.
- Proving that kayfabe is alive and well, Shawn Michaels has taken to Twitter to explain to upset followers that he was playing a character at WWE Hell in a Cell. For those that missed it, Michaels turned on Daniel Bryan and allowed Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship.
- Total Divas is scheduled to return to E! on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 10 PM/9CT. The episode is titled "Summer Slam," and a preview is included below:
As Eva Marie becomes increasingly popular, Nikki begins to feel threatened. Ariane works to control her temper. Nattie has fears regarding her return to the ring.
- While dot com implies that Shawn Michaels will be on this week's Monday Night Raw on page 6 of their preview, he isn't on the official list of advertised talent nor is he mentioned in the local promotional information. However, the promotional point for Raw is to "tune in" to see if HBK decides to clear the air.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena is scheduled for Smackdown the next couple of weeks. Given the fact this week's show in taped Tuesday night in Tampa, I don't think anyone thought Cena would not appear. WWE is clearly hoping Cena helps solve their attendance problem.
- Chris Jericho is scheduled to appear on "Talking Dead" on AMC this Sunday at 10 PM/9 CT.
- Jim Ross called WWE Hell in a Cell a moderate success and seemed to agree with my own analysis on many aspects. Click here for JR's WWE HIAC thoughts.
- Arda Ocal interviewed Damien Sandow on Monday and posted a transcript on his blog on The Baltimore Sun. Click here to read it.
- Ryback Tweeted the following regarding critics of Hell in a Cell:
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,681,000 viewers on SyFy. The show ended up doing a 1.94 cable rating.
- After this week's WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, there was no dark match of any sort. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, playing their characters, told the fans to get out. We're told Hunter insulted a bigger fan sitting in the front row to end the taping.
- Damien Sandow "cashed in" his Money in the Bank briefcase on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw for a match for the World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena. Sandow beat Cena up before the match but ended up losing in a bout that went nearly 14 minutes. Sandow, who won the contract at the pay-per-view in July, becomes only the second person to not win the title after "cashing in." Ironically enough, John Cena was the first last year.
- Chris Jericho is doing a new comedy Web series called "But I'm Chris Jericho." You can check it out at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Cef Fracker for sending this in.)
- ABC Family is currently airing their 25 days of Christmas commercial, which features clips from the upcoming WWE Studios film Christmas Bounty. Click here to watch it.
- The New York Post has an article online titled 'True stories from the fake world of wrestling.' You can read it at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Dave Laiosa for sending this in.)
- Shawn Michaels was asked on Twitter if he was going to "hanging around for a while" after returning to WWE this week. Michaels said it's been discussed. The following is from Twitter:
There is usually some confusion from readers when it comes to HBK's WWE status. It's worth nothing that Michaels is actually under WWE contract, just not a performance contract. The deal isn't really a Legend's deal either and reportedly carries a 6-figure downside guarantee.
- For those that missed this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, there were two potential storylines set for Daniel Bryan going forward. The first is the progression of Shawn Michaels' turn on him that started at WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday night. The second involved The Wyatt Family, which resulted in WWE doing a kayfabe injury angle where Bryan was "taken to a local medical facility." It remains to be seen what direction WWE takes but it appears Bryan will be out of the WWE title picture for Survivor Series.
- Speaking of The Wyatt Family's attack, CM Punk suffered a cut above his eye in the melee.
- Damien Sandow received high marks for his match against John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship on this week's Monday Night Raw. We're told Vince McMahon wanted to do the "cash in" attempt on Raw to help combat competition with the World Series and Monday Night Football. There were also people blown away with the way Cena looked in his second match back from surgery.
- Damien Sandow is headed to Paris, France on Friday to do international media for WWE 2K14. He isn't scheduled for weekend WWE live shows as a result.
- Speaking of WWE 2K14, the game was released on Tuesday. You can read reviews, watch videos and video screen shots here at IGN.com.
- You can watch a commercial for the return of Total Divas at this link.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled "THE CHAMP, John Cena, Retains!" and is online now at this link.
- We're told there was recently a round of Wellness testing conducted and the rumor was there were some positive tests. Whether or not a suspension surfaces is another issue as talent can clear positive tests with valid prescriptions. We were not given names and wouldn't report them if we were, the only thing of note here is Wellness testing was conducted. Additionally, we heard a number of talents were called in for meetings with Triple H but the details of the meetings were not disclosed. One could assume the meetings had to do with Wellness but that's mere speculation.
- Rob Van Dam was contacted over the weekend about him returning to WWE. They want him back and are trying to get a new contract in place.
- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw just wasn't rewritten but long-term booking plans were changed and/or cut. The Wyatt Family's attack on CM Punk and Daniel Bryan was to push them away from their respective programs with Paul Heyman and Randy Orton. These programs were blown off at the pay-per-view and WWE is moving forward.
- As for long-term booking plans that were changed, here's how it involves Kane handing Stephanie McMahon his mask. We're told this was done to explain why he won't be going after The Wyatt Family at this point. Bray Wyatt's line that "the devil" made him do it has Vince McMahon behind the beatings. The new direction is that Triple H can't handle the dirty work so Vince is handling it through The Wyatt Family. He's scripted to have "given" Kane to Stephanie to help because Hunter couldn't "tie up loose ends." This is a complete 180 from plans last week that had Vince returning as a babyface with Big Show, Hunter to work Daniel Bryan and Punk's program undecided.
- Dialogue between WWE and Bill Goldberg regarding a potential return for a program at Wrestlemania XXX remains open.
- We're told Luke Harper was the butt of a lot of jokes backstage at Raw for botching the bodyslam spot at Hell in a Cell.
- Goldust received major praise for his work at the pay-per-view, as he should have. We're told everyone in the tag title bout was put over heavily but no one to the extent of Goldust, who is seen as to be working on an entirely different level right now.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,155,000 viewers on the USA Network. The post-Hell in a Cell show, featuring the return of John Cena, saw a significant increase from the past 6 weeks. Below is how viewership broke down by hour:
Hour one - 4,315,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,185,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,965,000 viewers
The show ended up doing a 2.98 cable rating.
- Fandango is quoted at this link.
- WWE tried out students of the Team 3D Wrestling Academy and the Team Vision Dojo (Scott Hall, Chasyn Rance, & Larry Zbyszko's Orlando training facility) prior to this week's Monday Night Raw in Orlando, Florida. They're also set to get a look Tuesday night at the Smackdown taping in Tampa.
- Rodolfo Roman interviewed Alberto Del Rio last Saturday night. You can watch it at this link.
- The WWE App had an exclusive with Mark Henry discussing his new bald look where he's also dropped weight. It's now online at this link.
- Jim Ross posted his thoughts on this week's Monday Night Raw at this link.
- The official theme song for WWE Survivor Series is "How I Feel" by Flo Rida.
- Scotty 2 Hotty was visiting at this week's Monday Night Raw in Orlando, Florida. Scotty now works as a firefighter in Florida.
- Former TNA Knockout SoCal Val was at this week's WWE television tapings. She's also been a regular at recent WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida.
- The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the producers of Tru TV's “Hardcore Pawn: Chicago” are working on a reality TV show with Lisa Marie Varon. The show would revolve around Varon and her Chicago restaurant, The Squared Circle, and her unusual career path from pro wrestler to restaurant owner. Cameras were filming last Sunday night when the restaurant hosted patrons for WWE Hell in a Cell. Click here for the Chicago Tribune article.
- WWE pulled Daniel Bryan from media on Tuesday to sell his "injuries" from Monday Night Raw. Below is a photo of Cody Rhodes replacing him on Bubba the Love Sponge:
- I don't like to get political but take a look at a sophisticated Kane at this link.
- Mick Foley is featured in a new episode of CollegeHumor's "Hardly Working." You can watch it at this link.
- Take-Two Interactive, WWE's new video game partner, reported strong financial results for the fiscal second quarter 2014, ended September 30, 2013. You can read their press release at this link. Speaking of earnings, WWE will report their 2013 quarter three financial results on Thursday before market open. We'll be on a conference call with Vince McMahon and provide live news and notes.
- Sheamus and Xavier Woods read to kids in Tampa on Tuesday. You can check out coverage at this link.
- WWE has posted this week's kayfabe Michael Cole interview with Triple H. Below are the highlights:
Triple H said he didn't help Shawn Michaels when Daniel Bryan put him in the Yes! Lock because Shawn told him to let him handle is own business. Hunter said isn't funny how "karma" comes back around because after Daniel did that what he did to Shawn, he was "rushed to a hospital" after being attacked. Shawn walked out on his own, Daniel Bryan went in an ambulance.
Hunter said as of this moment, The Big Show is "banned from the WWE for life."
You can watch the entire interview at this link.
- Forbes SportsMoney did a feature on the upcoming TV licensing deal that WWE is expected to sign with NBC Universal. Analysts speculated the deal could see WWE receiving four to six times their current $140 million a year deal and top NASCAR's $4.5 billion/10-year contract. Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.
- WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes did media in Tampa on Tuesday. You can watch an interview where Goldust talks about dropping 60 pounds at this link.
- Nikki Bella talked to dot com about her leg injury that she thought could have ended her career. You can read it at this link.
- Kane, Kofi Kingston and Natalya are the scheduled guests at the November 21, 2013 WWE NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.
- I was asked in Wednesday's WNW Premium Mailbag about the status of the WWE Network. I can confirm the network is very much still in WWE's plans moving forward and I expect to hear more regarding the network in Thursday's conference call as the company discusses their third quarter earnings. The talk is the network will be available some time in the first quarter of next year but as many of you know, we've heard this before.
- Following directly up on my earlier report, Stephanie McMahon spoke on the targeted date for the WWE Network on Wednesday during the TV Summit at NYC Television Week. Below is a quote from an article here on BroadcastingCable.com:
"We are looking at traditional and nontraditional distribution, and we're targeting first quarter next year."
It's worth noting that at one point a traditional paid model was announced by the company. I'm not sure if those plans have changed but this statement seems to be a mix of old (not pinpointing the model) and new (the quarter one premiere date).
- WWE officially reported their third quarter earnings for 2013 on Thursday, announcing the official pay-per-view buy rates for Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Night of Champions. The numbers are as follows:
Money in the Bank - 199,000 buys (compared to 188,000 the year prior)
SummerSlam - 296,000 buys (compared to 358,000 the year prior)
Night of Champions - 175,000 buys (compared to 189,000 the year prior)
The complete earnings release is available at this link.
- Both Vickie Guerrero and Eve Torres were at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday. Vickie noted on Twitter that she visited during promo class. Eve went over self-defense with the developmental Divas.
- Happy Halloween from the WWE Divas! Check out a video WWE uploaded at this link.
- WWE Hell in a Cell last Sunday wasn't anywhere near sold out. The company reportedly drew less than 10,000 paid for the pay-per-view. The venue, the AmericanAirlines Arena, can hold 19,6000 for Miami Heat games.
- Music Recall Magazine has a new Q&A online with Jack Swagger at this link.
- WWE held a conference call with investors on Thursday to discuss the company's 2013 third quarter earnings. I was on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and compiled the following notes:
Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement. Joining Weitz for the call is Vince McMahon and WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios.
Vince got on the call and said they did a greater return but did take an impairment off movies from the past. Excluding the impairment, revenue increased due to many factors including the strong performance of Total Divas and the extra hour of Raw. This made up for what McMahon termed as a weak performance of SummerSlam. McMahon reiterated the audience didn't buy the attraction of SummerSlam and that pay-per-view events are sold based on attraction.
He talked about the new John Cena apparel line that is a Kmart exclusive, deals with Kraft and General Mills and expanded TV coverage in China and Japan. McMahon said they continue to develop the WWE Network and are looking at traditional and non-traditional ways to do that. Vince said they feel bullish on realigning their TV properties and the rights they should be garnering. He said they liken WWE more to NASCAR, with their overall viewership higher. Vince said they look forward to their discussions with NBC Universal and other distributors. They're currently in negotiations for a new TV deal in the United Kingdom with BSkyB and India is coming up soon. (Note from Richard: Basically, what Vince is saying they're looking for a deal with NBC Universal that will top NASCAR's $4.5 billion/10 year deal. We have more at this link.)
Barrios got on the call and went over the numbers that you can read about at this link. While Barrios is a number cruncher, he mentioned SummerSlam underperforming at least three times. It's clear the company wasn't happy with the show, which was headlined by Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena and Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk. As noted here, SummerSlam 2013 did 296,000 buys compared to 358,000 the year prior.
After Barrios was finished, a question and answer session with investors was held.
A caller asked about what WWE mentioned in their press release, where they said they were confident they would be able to negotiate their key domestic agreements by the end of April next year. The caller also wanted to know if WWE expects to re-sign with their current carriers or if we can expect Raw and Smackdown on a different channel. Vince said there's a certain window of negotiations and if they make a deal with their current carriers that's great, but if not, they'll go outside that window. Vince expects a deal to be reached shortly after the first of next year. George Barrios said it's pretty typical for a deal to get done early. (Note from Richard: WWE's domestic TV deals expire in quarter four of 2014 but WWE clearly expects to have them renewed very early next year. Again, they're going for a home run based on what NASCAR got from NBC Universal.)
Vince called SummerSlam a "swing and a miss" and said they don't hit them all out of the park. He used the same language that pay-per-view events are attraction driven and this year's attraction obviously wasn't bought.
The call was ended after one question as there were no further questions. Once the call was ended, Weitz and Vince were heard talking. Vince said, "as Daniel Bryan would say..." and it was then inaudible. Weitz told Vince he thought that was the shortest call they've ever had.
- The shakeups continue in WWE developmental. As we've seen over the last month, Joey Mercury was transferred as an NXT trainer to a main roster producer. This cleared the way for the hiring of Nick Dinsmore to replace him at the WWE Performance Center.
We're being told the next guy in line for a transfer is Billy Gunn. Gunn is expected to join the main roster as a producer, which operates as a segue into our most interesting piece of information.
WWE has been in talks with Devon Dudley about possibly coming in as a developmental trainer. Devon has experience as a trainer as he a co-owner of the Team 3D Academy, which is also located in Florida. While many in WWE have said the Dudley Boyz would never be welcome back in WWE, we're told it's really Bully Ray that has the heat. Devon is seen as someone that is generally well-liked.
Triple H has said before he'd never bring the Dudley Boyz back because of his dislike for Bully Ray but he's not opposed to Devon returning on his own as a trainer. Devon has told friends he doesn't have interest in returning to TNA and he's believed to be interested in WWE's offer.
- Davey Richards is rumored to be headed to WWE following his independent commitments. Richards, who had a WWE tryout a couple months ago, was at one time believed to be retiring from the wrestling business at the end of the year. However, we're told WWE is aggressively signing new developmental talent to get the WWE Performance Center up and running at 100%, so this certainly appears a possible scenario.
- Jim Ross posted a new blog on his official website, reacting to WWE's disappointment in the SummerSlam buyrate. Click here to read it.
- Mark Henry dressed as rapper Rick Ross for Halloween. You can check out the epic photo below:
- WWE filed a new booking agreement with Stephanie McMahon that went into effect on October 7, 2013. You can read the document on WWE's corporate website at this link. The agreement is part of the return of her on-air character, which has also shifted her responsibilities backstage. We have more on that at this link.
- Add Eddie Edwards as another Ring of Honor regular believed to be WWE bound. Edwards had a WWE tryout along with Davey Richards back in August and is rumored to be headed to the company.
- The hope within WWE is they will be able to sign a television licensing deal worth billions of dollars in the first quarter of next year. What gives WWE optimal confidence in negotiations is based on the new contract that NASCAR signed with the NBC Sports Group over the summer. For those unaware, the NASCAR deal, which goes into effect in 2015, is for 10 years and is worth a total of $4.5 billion.
Vince McMahon likens WWE to that of NASCAR but feels they will get a bigger deal because their programming is higher rated. WWE's current domestic television contracts for Raw and Smackdown are not up until the latter part of next year but the company is well-ahead of the curve and is expected to announce the new deal by April 2014. Vince expects to have the deal in place by the first of the year.
It's WWE's hope to remain with NBC Universal, their current partner for Raw and Smackdown, but they will look at other outlets should they be unable to reach a new agreement. Given the fact WWE is this optimistic about signing what would be considered a landmark deal, any rumors of Raw and/or Smackdown becoming exclusives on the WWE Network seem highly unlikely. While the potential WWE Network would give WWE a permanent outlet for their programming, at least their core shows are set to be featured on outside networks.
- John Cena was heavily put over by WWE officials and his co-workers for his work at Hell in a Cell and this week's Raw and Smackdown. One observer labeled him as "super human" and said regardless of his position and favor from Vince, there's no way that you can't respect someone willing and able to work at such a high level only a couple months from having surgery to repair a serious injury. We're told the match on this week's Smackdown is one of the better matches of his entire career.
- Chris Jericho told Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca on their Busted Open radio show that he had been drinking Grey Goose vodka when he responded via Twitter to Triple H name-dropping him in his promo on Monday Night Raw a couple weeks ago.
Jericho said the promo was just Triple H being Triple H. Jericho said that and Hunter were similar throughout their careers as they were always working with "the guy," and never were "the guy." Jericho said that title can only go to The Rock, Steve Austin and John Cena over the last 10 years.
So there you have it, it was Drunkicho that responded via Twitter.
You can read Jericho's original Tweets at this link.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show features Part 2 of their Halloween Special and is online now at this link.
- Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson has been canceled. The fight, scheduled to headline Bellator 106 next weekend, was called off because Ortiz has a neck injury. The show is being moved from pay-per-view to Spike TV because of the injury, airing for free on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 9 PM EDT. Both Ortiz and Jackson are crossover stars, working with TNA Wrestling as part of an agreement with Spike TV, Bellator and the wrestling promotion.
- While Eric Bischoff was noticeably absent from TNA Bound for Glory and this week's Impact Wrestling tapings, Jason Hervey was at both shows. I keep waiting for Bischoff to erupt on the Internet for reporting on his status on Twitter but so far, he's Tweeted nothing about it.
- TNA has uploaded several 24/7 videos of their talent here on YouTube. This is part of the new creative direction, where superstars are encouraged to film stuff themselves and send it in to the company to be posted.
- AJ Styles posted an in-character Tweet on Saturday, confirming what we reported prior to him winning the TNA Championship at Bound for Glory… he's ready to defend the TNA title "around the world." Below is the Tweet:
We broke the story that the plan was for Styles to beat Bully Ray for the TNA title at Bound for Glory and "leave" the company with the title. Styles went on to "leave" after successfully defending the TNA title on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling.
We're told TNA reached out to Keiji Mutoh’s WRESTLE-1 promotion and New Japan Pro Wrestling about having Styles defend their belt in Japan.
- TNA Wrestling will tape two "One Night Only" pay-per-view specials in England next year. In a press release issued on Sunday, the company announced they'll tape TNA One Night Only: British Empire Cup on Friday, January 31, 2014 from the Manchester Phones 4u Arena. They'll tape TNA One Night Only: Joker's Wild 2 in Birmingham on Sunday, February 2, 2014. As announced previously, TNA will broadcast Impact live from Glasgow’s new Hydro Arena on Thursday January 30, 2014, followed by a TV taping at Wembley Arena, London on Saturday February 1.
- TNA Wrestling posted a video preview for their upcoming "One Night Only: Tournament of Champions" pay-per-view at this link. The show premieres on Friday and was taped back in March. Click here for complete taping results and here for official event information.
- Christy Hemme is featured in the November 2013 issue of Flex Magazine. TNA sent out a press release that featured the following quote from Hemme:
“I was inspired to show our IMPACT Wrestling fans a different side of me that they don't get to see all of the time and introduce the Flex fans to what I consider the best company,” explains Hemme. “I am so excited to share how passionately involved I am in not only being a TNA talent but also a leader behind the scenes.”
You can download a graphic of Hemme in the magazine at this link.
- TNA Wrestling held a media conference call today with Austin Aries to promote their One Night Only: Tournament of Champions pay-per-view, which is available November 1st. I was on call on behalf of TNANews.com and here are some of the highlights.
Moral in TNA Wrestling right now
He didn't see a big shift in moral within the company lately. He stated, "There is always uncertainty in the wrestling business."
His thoughts on the One Night Only PPV model
He understands why the company did the One Night Only PPV business wise. He said that we have to look at it as "separate entity". He states that it is something new for the fans to enjoy.
The 2014 UK Tour
He stated the roster is looking forward to the UK Tour because the United Kingdom is probably their biggest market. He said they have passionate fans there because their product isn't watered down over there. He is glad the company is going over filming TV shows and PPVs and hopes they can go over more if the company can handle it.
I asked him to compare TNA Wrestling in terms of growth from 2006 to now
He stated the company has grown more internationally than ever. He also said that the company grows in different markets. He said that he is "disappointed" that Impact Wrestling is not going to travel. He wanted the brand to grow that way. He did say, "The company is taking a step back but is taking a step forward in another direction." He praises the new reality based television as more people are interested in that than ever.
His favorite match
He plugs his match with Samoa Joe in ROH for the ROH Title to be his favorite and important match of his career at that time. He didn't point out any matches in his TNA Wrestling career.
I then asked him about the X-Division and its importance now compared to years ago
He stated the division might be in a rough spot because no one really knows what it is. There are no set rules. He states he can be characterized in the division but he also competed for the World Title.
I also asked him how he stays in excellent shape given his vegan diet
He said it is not hard to stay in great shape. He pointed out about having clean and natural food products. People have to look for protein and nutrients. He talked about doing research and found out what really is good and bad for the body.
TNA's 2014 PPV model
He stated that he hasn't heard anything in regards to TNA's PPV model next year. He did say that he thinks 4 to 6 PPVs are necessary a year. 12 a year made PPVs feel less special. He also praised the sub-PPV format that TNA did on Spike.
Austin Aries also praised Jeff Hardy, The Guerrero family, and Kurt Angle. He stated Eddie Guerrero, Eddy Gilbert, and Dynamite Kid inspired him because they were smaller guys who became champions. He also said he wanted to wrestle Kurt Angle ever since he came back to the company.
- Bully Ray wants to replace Tito Ortiz in a fight with Quinton "Ramage" Jackson. The fight was originally scheduled as the main event of Bellator 106 this weekend but Ortiz had to pull out due to a neck injury. When Ortiz dropped out, Bellator moved the fight from pay-per-view to a free Spike TV special on Saturday night at 9 PM EDT.
Below is what Bully Ray wrote Tuesday on Twitter:
- TNA talents are expected to start picking up more independent dates with the company cutting back on the number of live events. TNA live dates are expected to be added next year, however, look for random TNA names on indy shows throughout the rest of the year.
- Dixie Carter Tweeted the following on Tuesday:
Some believe this is Dixie's pseudo-response to reports that claim TNA is for sale. I covered what I knew here in Ask WNW.
- The Temple News has an article online featuring quotes from Christopher Daniels at this link.
- TNA Champion AJ Styles will defend the TNA Championship this weekend at AAA's television tapings in Tonalá, Mexico. The show takes place on Sunday and Styles' opponent has yet to be named. This is all part of the storyline plans we broke prior to Bound for Glory. TNA wants you to believe that Styles has left the company with their title.
- TNA Wrestling updated their roster page on their official website. In the updated roster page, Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles are no longer listed. However, Mr. Anderson has been added. Mr. Anderson made his return to Impact Wrestling this past week.
- In a new TNA 24/7 video, Dixie Carter shows that she removed AJ Styles from the official ImpactWrestling.com website now that the TNA title is vacant. You can watch the video at this link. This is kayfabe as TNA has booked Styles in matches internationally to give the impression he "left" the company with the title.
- Kurt Angle, Mike Tenay and Taz are featured in a new Impact Podcast that you can listen to at this link.
- AJ Styles will defend the TNA Championship against Judas Mesias at Sunday's AAA television taping in Tonalá, Mexico. Mesias, whose real name is Ricky Banderas, has worked for TNA before and event worked a One Night Only taping earlier this year.
- Bob Ryder wants to set you straight on the TNA touring schedule. The following is from Twitter:
This is exactly what we've been reporting, as the company is expected to ramp up live events next year.
- You can watch a new interview with TNA Tag Team Champion Jessie Godderz at this link.
- Bellator MMA announced on Wednesday that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will make his debut with them on Friday, November 15, 2013 against Joey Beltran. The event will broadcast live on Spike TV beginning at 9 PM ET. Jackson was originally scheduled to fight Tito Ortiz this weekend but the fight was canceled due to Ortiz suffering a neck injury. Bully Ray offered to fight Jackson, as seen here, but I'm not sure that was anything more than a Twitter war.
- The TNA live event scheduled for December 27th in Philadelphia is on as a live event. The show has been changed so many times, I can't remember the last we reported about it. You can get more details at this link.
- TNA Wrestling will release their Tristar trading cards on November 13, 2013.
- Austin Aries did an interview with Viacom's GameTrailers.com where he talked video games. You can watch it at this link.
- Click here for an Impact Wrestling spotlight video.
- The bracket for the TNA Championship Tournament is as follows:
Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin
Bobby Roode vs. James Storm
Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries
Magnus vs. Samoa Joe
Stipulations for the matches will be determined by a spin on the "Wheel of Dixie." The stipulation to Hardy vs. Sabin is a Full Metal Mayhem match.
- Hulk Hogan was in attendance at Thursday's NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. I didn't watch the game but we heard from readers that said he was shown on the NFL Network broadcast.
- TNA has posted the official preview for next week's episode of Impact Wrestling on their official website. The show will broadcast from Cincinnati, Ohio, where they will also tape the 11/14 episode before returning to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Click here for the official preview.
- An #Impact365 video was posted on Kurt Angle's "condition" following this week's episode of Impact Wrestling. Click here to watch it.
- The next "themed" episode of Impact Wrestling will be the episode airing on November 21, 2013. The show will be subtitled Turning Point and will be taped from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- TNA Champion AJ Styles will work for Keiji Mutoh’s WRESTLE-1 promotion in Japan later this month. Styles will face Seiya Sanada in a non-title match on November 16, 2013 in Tokyo. The reason the match is non-title is because Styles is defending the TNA title in AAA this weekend against Judas Mesias. The classification could change if/when Styles goes over this weekend. This is exactly what we reported here on WNW Premium prior to Bound for Glory.
- TNA's next "One Night Only" pay-per-view, Tournament of Champions, premieres Friday on pay-per-view. Click here for official show details.
- One topic of discussion going around in TNA Wrestling is the status of Eric Bischoff. The company is distancing from Bischoff and are willing to pay him what he's owed, while keeping him as far away as possible. It's interesting that Bischoff's friend and partner Jason Hervey remains with company as of this writing. While there is no way of confirming Bischoff is definitely finished with TNA, it's pretty much impossible to be a television show's "Executive Producer" from home.
Many of you probably remember the political war behind the scenes in TNA for years involved Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff vs. Jeff Jarrett & Vince Russo. When Russo was relieved as the head of TNA creative, the war was seen to be won by Hogan and Bischoff and the company went along with another one of their ideas, which was taking Impact on the road. Now with Hogan gone and Bischoff likely to follow, Jarrett is very active backstage once again. The creative team remains a mix of John Gaburick, Dave Lagana and Matt Conway.
- Reports surfaced earlier today that Janice Carter sent a memo out to TNA Wrestling employees about the whole company shaking "for sale" rumor that most wrestling NEWZ sites covered earlier this week. Richard Gray touched on the subject in Monday's Ask WNW and I wrote a whole article on the subject here.
I was told by my source inside the company that a memo was indeed sent out by Janice Carter. My source told me that the memo consisted of two things. First, she praised the whole new creative path they are going. The company is planning to continue the "24/7 Where the Action Never Ends" creative direction. Second, Janice confronted the "for sale" rumors and said the company is, "Not for sale," and that, "They were in it for the long haul."
- Last night's Halloween edition of Impact Wrestling received an average viewing audience of 1,104,000 on Spike TV. The show ended up getting a 0.90 cable rating. The numbers are down from last week's show.
I know you've seen the rumors so let me just cut to the chase - is TNA Wrestling for sale?
I've had several people ask me about this and I can tell you that I have not heard that as of this writing. I was told a couple of months ago that Viacom might be interested in purchasing TNA if it became available. Viacom, the parent company of Spike TV, also owns Bellator MMA. Sources close to Viacom indicated to me they would be interested because they were high up on the TNA brand and cross-over partnership. However, interest and actually paying are two separate things. The fact there are rumors the Carter family is looking to unload TNA isn't surprising. Dixie Carter's parents, Bob and Janice Carter, checked out on the project long ago. It's caused a real rift between them as they've pushed Dixie to cut expenses for years. The fact she has actually listened by trimming down the roster and taking Impact off the road, indicates she knows her family is serious about getting the expenditures under control.
Now that Kane has returned, is he joining the Wyatt Family or feuding with them?
Based on the fact that Kane made short work of Luke Harper and Erick Roman at Hell in a Cell indicates to me a program is forthcoming. WWE tried to keep fans guessing by having Kane chokeslam The Miz but I thought Kane's return fell flat. Both Kane and Miz seem to be after Bray Wyatt so perhaps they are both involved in a match at Survivor Series.
John Cena and Randy Orton are once again champions which honestly bores me, but my question is why did Daniel Bryan lose? Did WWE not want two extremely popular faces (Bryan and Cena) holding the two main championships?
I didn't like the ending to Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan. The way this program has been booked it's never looked like Daniel Bryan has had a legitimate chance to win the WWE Championship. He even went over at Night of Champions only to be stripped of the title. At this point it's time to move on. If anything else, at least Bryan is over like rover and is one of the top babyfaces in the company. I would rather see Bryan move on to feud with Triple H, which I heard was being talked about for Survivor Series before what happened Sunday night at Hell in a Cell. As for both Orton and Cena being champions, WWE usually doesn't like two babyfaces or two heels holding the world titles but I'm not sure how much that weighed into the booking of the pay-per-view. There was no way Cena was going under in his return match. You can get my full opinions on WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 at this link.
You've mentioned before that WWE isn't interested in AJ Styles because they'd have to retrain him. What exactly is the difference between the WWE way of wrestling and the TNA way?
Vince McMahon looks at all workers as bush league until they've "made it" in WWE. The fact of the matter is fewer people watch TNA than they do WWE and he doesn't look at the exposure they've gained in TNA as a big deal. Whether or not this is fair isn't for me to decide, it's just the way it is. Vince didn't care that Christian became an established top guy in TNA, he was reserved to the mid card in WWE before finally getting an opportunity to prove what many people already knew. As for workers like Rob Van Dam, WWE treated him like he never left and actually made him a bigger deal through one video package than TNA did the entire time we was there. There is a method to Vince's madness as I'll argue Daniel Bryan is a bigger star today than he's ever been before. It didn't matter that he was a heralded independent worker that everyone knew and loved, he wasn't a big deal until he proved himself on the big stage.
From the Ask WNW vault…
October 2012 - I thought the finish to CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell was lazy, nonsensical and very poorly done. This isn’t an issue about having Punk retain while not making Ryback look weak. This is an issue of the undefeated superstar taking a loss in his first relevant match as a main event performer. Punk came out looking like the cowardly heel but why should anyone be scared of 0-1 Ryback? As I pointed out here in Richard Reacts, it completely lacked logic for the referee to be able to stop Ryback from Shell-shocking Punk. If Ryback is who they say he is, he destroys the referee without cause. The main event could not have come off worse and despite working the best he could, the booking assured no progress for Ryback as a viable main event wrestler.
Why did WWE book Damien Sandow to be unsuccessful in his "cash in" attempt on the World Heavyweight Championship on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw?
I was told that Vince McMahon wanted to do something big to combat the competition from the World Series and Monday Night Football. People want to know if Sandow is in the doghouse or if it's a lack of confidence in him and I simply cannot confirm either of those claims as of this writing. I will tell you the time and place seem odd and it looks like there is more to the story but I just can't speculate any further. As for the match itself, there were a lot of people that thought Sandow looked great in the ring and others in awe of Cena working at a high level just a couple months after surgery.
Is it just me or was John Cena's promo to open Monday Night Raw one of the better ones he has had? It almost seemed like vintage Cena.
I agree the opening segment of this week's Monday Night Raw was particularly strong and that John Cena delivered an excellent return promo. People are quick to criticize Cena but slow to praise him, however, he deserves some praise here. He worked a good match against Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, gave a great promo to open Raw and had an even better match with Damien Sandow. It's the "face of WWE" stepping up when they company desperately needs him to do so. Talented people such as John Cena often "rise up to the occasion" and I feel this is what we have witnessed here. A lot of people are frustrated with the lack of progression with the Cena character, and rightfully so, but there is no doubting he has been missed over the last 2 months.
What is William Regal up too nowadays?
William Regal is still under WWE contract and wears a couple of hats. For one, he's a color commentator on WWE NXT and worked last week's set of tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Another position he has in WWE is that of a talent scout, where he helps evaluate WWE prospects. Regal understands his time in the ring is limited and he is sometimes used, especially when WWE tours across the pond.
What are the qualifications to become a WWE storyline writer?
Believe it or not, this is a common question that I actually answered this time last year. WWE has a website setup at WWE-Careers.com where they post job listings but for whatever reason, that website is currently down. However, I posted the requirements and qualifications to get hired as a WWE creative writer at this link.
Do you think WWE has actually hurt Daniel Bryan's momentum with the constant screwjob finishes since SummerSlam?
I briefly touched on this in Monday's Ask WNW because I hated the way WWE ended the Hell in a Cell main event. It's inconceivable that WWE would "screw" Daniel Bryan out of the title in 4 pay-per-view main events straight but that's exactly what they did. If there is one good thing to come out of it, it's the fact that Daniel Bryan is still very over. However, they made the program far too one-sided and never made it look like Bryan had a chance of actually keeping the WWE Championship. Some have asked my thoughts on Bryan moving out of the WWE title picture and at this point, it's needed.
From the Ask WNW vault…
June 2010: Whatever happened to longtime WCW play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone? - Tony is now the play-by-play announcer for the Atlanta Braves' minor league AAA-affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves of the International League. He has worked in sports and sports radio since his tenure with WCW came to an end.
Do you know when Mark Henry is coming back?
WWE ran an App exclusive feature on Mark Henry prior to this week's Monday Night Raw. In the piece, Henry showed off his new look where he's shaved his head and dropped weight. You can watch that feature at this link. Henry said the WWE Universe will see him when the time is right. I could speculate we'll see him soon but that's all it is at this point.
Do you think that Curtis Axel faked the extent of his injury prior to WWE Hell in a Cell so he wouldn't have to drop the Intercontinental Championship to Big E Langston at Hell in a Cell?
No, Curtis Axel didn't fake an injury so he didn't have to drop the Intercontinental Championship. Axel suffered a hip injury in the tag team watch with Ryback against CM Punk & Big E Langston on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw. He was at TVs this week although I haven't heard his long-term prognosis. One thing people need to keep in mind is if workers don't work, they don't get paid. Yes, they collect their downside but they miss out on their show bonus. If WWE wanted the title off Axel, they'd take the title off Axel. Curtis, the real life Joe Hennig, is well-liked backstage and is seen as a guy with tremendous potential. The Axel character hasn't worked out as I had hoped but he's still a talented worker.
What is the worst injury you have ever seen in the wrestling business?
Unfortunately, this is a relatively long list. Jesse Sorensen's injury against Zema Ion at TNA Against All Odds last year was absolutely terrifying. Droz's injury against D-Lo Brown was horrible, Steve Austin's neck injury against Owen Hart was unforgettable. I think everyone remembers Sid Vicious' compound leg fracture in WCW against Scott Steiner. We could go on and on but I think you get my point. There are far too many to just pick one and I wish I didn't have to pick any. I don't want to see anyone get injured under any circumstance. When they do, it's my hope they are able to recover and get back in the ring. Everyone that steps through the curtain knows the risks and accepts it but it doesn't make it any easier. People that celebrate injuries, based on what they think of a worker, are deplorable and highlight the lowest part of humanity.
What's the story on Summer Rae? I thought she didn't look too bad in the ring and was a lot better than Eva Marie!
Summer Rae was in the Lingerie Football League and signed a WWE developmental contract in November 2011. She got the role with Fandango because unlike Eva Marie, she can actually dance. I wasn't high up on her work at the pay-per-view and felt she still looked really green but I guess compared to Eva Marie, she's better. When Divas look bad in the ring it's not all their fault as they are given so little TV time that it's difficult to shake the ring rust or get into a rhythm.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2009: Is there a chance of Rob Van Dam returning to WWE or is he done for good? - There is always a chance Rob Van Dam could return to WWE. He is in good standing with the company and would be welcomed back if he chose to come back. This is how he was able to get booked for the Royal Rumble back in January. I have not heard anything about a full-time return but it is always a possibility. Right now RVD is enjoying time at home with his family.
What's the latest on the return of Sheamus?
Sheamus is still out recovering from the torn labrum he suffered at Money in the Bank that required surgery. The initial timeline had him back anywhere from December to February and from everything I've heard, he's right on track. At this point his health and subsequent medical clearance will determine when he'll be booked to return on WWE television. He has been doing a lot of public appearances for WWE and will resume a main event role upon coming back.
When people speculate about who Undertaker's opponent for Wrestlemania XXX will be (or should be) the names I hear most are Brock Lesnar, Ryback and even Sting. What about John Cena? Personally, I think this would be the best matchup for having a "must-see" feel. What do you think?
I wouldn't be opposed to John Cena challenging the streak but I don't see it happening next year. The Undertaker wants Brock Lesnar and even went as far as telling fans that this year. There is nothing to Ryback vs. Undertaker rumors, as they were started by Ryback. Sting is an opponent that WWE hoped to land for Undertaker a couple of years ago but a deal obviously wasn't reached. It's still likely that plans change but as of today, I think we're going to see Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX.
I thought Hulk Hogan was an owner of TNA Wrestling. Why has he now left?
Hulk Hogan was not an investor in TNA Wrestling, he was a hired name and held roles on and off screen. Dixie Carter really liked the name recognition that Hogan brought to TNA but the bottom-line was they needed him to take a pay cut and he wasn't willing to do that. Hogan still has WWE aspirations and that's where things currently stand. Looking back at the way Hogan left, with Dixie Carter grabbing his leg and begging him to stay, is really laughable. Hogan pushed for a lot of things in TNA and they included but are not limited to the elimination of the 6-sided ring, moving Impact from Thursdays to Mondays, the Gut Check concept and taping television on the road.
Since Damien Sandow looked great in his loss against John Cena on Raw, will WWE finally gave him a main event push?
Without spoiling Smackdown, the feeling backstage at Raw on Monday night was that Damien Sandow came out of his failed 'cash in' attempt looking better, not worse. He's safe through one week but we'll just have to wait and see where the company books him from here. As previously noted, the time and place of the failed "cash in" attempt seemed odd but Vince McMahon wanted something big for this week's show.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2011: Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon have a very unique relationship to say the least. Both have huge egos, however, the success they’ve endured can be traced back to one another. I personally believe there is a mutual amount of respect between Hogan and McMahon but they are not by any means friends. The talk when Hogan first came to TNA was that he couldn’t agree to terms on a WWE deal so he decided to help out TNA. While initially unhappy that Hogan joined Dixie Carter and company, I’ve heard McMahon has grown apathetic to workers such as Hogan and Ric Flair working for his “competition.” There was probably some initial fear that Hogan could elevate TNA but that clearly has not happened.
With Kane unmasking and looking better than ever, what are the current ideas or potential feuds for him?
The booking direction of Kane is one that was significantly changed from last week to this week. His unmasking was seen as something that is part of the 2014 release of See No Evil 2, as he doesn't wear a mask in the film. Whether or not they leave him unmasked throughout the release of the film remains to be seen but that was the initial word at Raw. As for his character direction, the storyline is he was "given to Stephane McMahon" to help her do what is best for business. I'm told this was done to explain why he's not going after The Wyatt Family and presumably turning heel. I talked more about Kane in this week's Backstage Raw News where you can also read about failed Wellness test and a lot of other material of interest.
What are your feelings on WWE's disappointment with the performance of this year's SummerSlam?
One thing was very clear in Thursday's conference call with investors and that was Vince McMahon and company were not pleased about SummerSlam doing 296,000 buys in August. The show is seen as one of the most important shows they do all year long besides Wrestlemania and the number was a big pullback from the 358,000 buys they did in 2012. Vince McMahon explained that fans didn't "buy the attraction," which has resulted in widespread IWC speculation. It seems everyone wants to find one worker to shoulder the blame. I've heard everything from "that'll show John Cena fans" to "well, that's it for Daniel Bryan." These knee-jerk reactions are incorrect. Trust me, if WWE could pinpoint the blame on one particular worker, they would take the appropriate action with that particular worker. I take Vince's comment that fans didn't "buy the attraction," at face value. Pay-per-view events are attraction driven and WWE "swung and missed" with SummerSlam.
With Paul Heyman being written off television as a result of CM Punk's beating on him, what's next for Ryback?
Ryback vs. CM Punk was blown off on Monday Night Raw when Punk made Ryback tap out in the Street Fight. This doesn't mean Ryback is off television as he went over Kofi Kingston on this week's episode of WWE Main Event. Where they go from there remains to be seen but I hope they pull the reigns back and give Ryback some time in the mid-card. Every time WWE has tried to force him to the main event, they've failed. There's nothing wrong with building him back up through the mid-card and it's where he should have been working all along.
You said last week that Vince McMahon doesn't see talent outside the WWE as valuable, but what about guys like Sting?
A lot of people see Sting as the exception but this is one of the things that has kept Sting out of WWE. Sting doesn't completely trust Vince McMahon with his character and he very well remembers The Rock looking at Booker T when he first came to WWE after a successful career in WCW and asking him who he was. Now obviously Booker overcame that because he's extremely talented and went on to have success in WWE but these are the things that have kept a deal from happening. Sting is a smart guy and understands the WWE mentality. People criticize him for not going to WWE but he's worked the last decade under an awesome deal. He gets to work minimal dates at optimal pay. I'd love to see Sting come to WWE and work a Wrestlemania main event but he hasn't done bad for himself by refusing to risk the McMahon machine at this stage of his career.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2011: What are the chances AJ Styles ever leaves TNA Impact Wrestling for WWE? - This is a common question I see readers asking from time to time and while it’s certainly possible AJ Styles could leave TNA for WWE, how much success do you think he would have? While I know Vince McMahon and Triple H will point to workers such as Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Christian, etc. and say they push workers of all different sizes, it’s a fact they don’t push talent based on in-ring skills. Daniel Bryan, who I consider the second best in-ring worker in the world (Kurt Angle at number one), has struggled to find a main event role. Watching Daniel Bryan on WWE TV is like playing with a yo-yo, he’s up then he’s down. There has been very little consistency. I have a hard time believing things for AJ Styles would be much different.