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 25, 2014 to Friday, October 31, 2014 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!
- WWE has posted the first commercial for Survivor Series 2014. The most important note to make is WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is not featured. Instead, names prominently featured include Randy Orton, PaigeSheamus, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and AJ Lee.
You can watch at this link.
Roman Reigns, who is currently out with an incarcerated hernia, is listed in the video's description that we'll include below:
At one of WWE’s most storied events, some will fall. Others…will survive. Don’t miss John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and your favorite WWE Superstars at Survivor Series, Sunday, November 23 at 8PM ET/5PM PT, Live on WWE Network.
We reported earlier in the week here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that a Lesnar title defense was for likely for WWE TLC than it was Survivor Series.
WWE Survivor Series 2014 will take place Sunday, November 23, 2014 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We'll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Former WWE worker Billy Jack Haynes filed a lawsuit against the company in US District Court in Portland, Oregon last Thursday. In the suit, he alleges “egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers."
Haynes is requesting class action status and claims to have as many as 500 wrestlers that could join him. Haynes worked for WWE under a Performer's Contract from 1986-1988.
He claims, “Under the guise of providing ‘entertainment,’ WWE has, for decades, subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused long-term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage.”
Adding, “WWE has engaged in a campaign of misinformation and deception to prevent its wrestlers from understanding the true nature and consequences of the injuries they have sustained. WWE’s representations, actions, and inactions have caused its wrestlers to suffer from death, long-term debilitating injuries, lost profits, premature retirement, medical expenses, and other losses as alleged herein.”
Haynes questioned the independent contractor status of WWE wrestlers and pointed out the lack of healthcare coverage. He is asking in the lawsuit for WWE to create a trust fund to care for the medical treatment of affected workers.
On Saturday, WWE issued the following statement:
"Billy Jack Haynes performed for WWE from 1986-1988. His filed lawsuit alleges that WWE concealed medical information and evidence on concussions during that time, which is impossible since the condition now called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not even been discovered.
WWE was well ahead of sports organizations in implementing concussion management procedures and policies as a precautionary measure as the science and research on this issue emerged. Current WWE procedures include ImPACT testing for brain function, annual educational seminars, and the strict prohibition of deliberate and direct shots to the head.
Additionally, WWE has committed significant funding for concussion research conducted by the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), leaders in concussion research, and WWE Executive Vice President Paul Levesque sits on SLI's Board."
- The Undertaker was at last week's WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida, WrestlingNewsWorld.com can now independently confirm. Undertaker arrived earlier in the week and toured the WWE Performance Center.
We're unable to confirm rumors of Undertaker working as a "developmental adviser." As we reported exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Triple H spent the entire day on Wednesday scouting talent at the Performance Center. It was out of the ordinary for Triple H to dedicate an entire day to up and coming talent, however, he considers it essential that the WWE NXT staff spot star power early on so they can give such talent special attention.
It's unknown if Undertaker met with Triple H about Wrestlemania 31, however, Hunter has used such opportunities in the past to do just that. In fact, much of Batista's deal to return to WWE earlier this year was hammered out when he was visiting at the NXT tapings.
- We reported a couple of weeks ago here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that Ryback was expected back soon. Apparently the creative team is in the process of coming up with something to reintroduce him on TV.
- Hulk Hogan is scheduled for WWE Monday Night Raw this week in San Antonio, Texas. His inclusion on the show is to help bolster the overall star power on the shows, something we've talked about on numerous occasions.
- Remember that WWE will announce their WWE Network subscriber count through September 30, 2014 on Thursday. Past subscriber announcements have been 667,287 subscribers on April 7, 2014 and 700,000 as of June 30, 2014. Both of these numbers are before the service was opened up internationally.
- Speaking of WWE Network outside of the US, an announcement for the service launching in the United Kingdom is scheduled for this week.
- John Cena beat Randy Orton inside Hell in a Cell to become the number one contender to Brock Lesnar's WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No word yet on when Cena will receive his title shot, but Richard has an update on Lesnar and Survivor Serieshere.
- Nikki Bella beat Brie Bella earlier on in the night. As the storyline goes, Brie will have to be Nikki's "personal assistant for thirty days or she will have to quit WWE."
- Bray Wyatt made his return to television as he interrupted Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell. Wyatt attacked Ambrose, allowing for Rollins to pin Ambrose for the win.
- WWE used the ending of Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins as a way to reintroduce Bray Wyatt in the main event of Hell in a Cell on Sunday. CJ reviewed how it happened at this link.
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on August 11, 2014, WWE feels they have a lot more leeway with the finishes of pay-per-view matches now that the all of the shows are included for $9.99/month on the WWE Network. It used to be at $54.95 per show that WWE had to do clean/non-dirty finishes in the majority of the bouts but they can now use the shows to build off one another or even to TV the next night.
Ironically enough, one of the first examples of the new philosophy was at WWE Battleground in July when WWE advertised and promoted Rollins vs. Ambrose when they had no intention of doing the match before SummerSlam.
The company clearly laid the groundwork for Wyatt's first program back to be against Dean Ambrose and has established a "creepier" persona than he left with.
- John Cena is the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and appears likely to challenge Brock Lesnar at WWE TLC in December. Cena beat Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell with the stipulation of No. 1 contendership being added. To unpack the creative plans, we need to go back to a WNW Premium report on September 25, 2014.
At the time, Vince McMahon had been going back and forth on whether to do Lesnar vs. Cena again at Hell in a Cell or keep them apart for a little bit longer and blowoff the program in the main event of TLC. There was also talk of doing Cena vs. Lesnar at Survivor Series and then doing a triple-threat with Seth Rollins at TLC.
The reason it looks like Cena won't challenge for the title until December is because Brock Lesnar isn't featured in the first Survivor Series commercial. We have other evidence to suggest Lesnar will be held off TV a bit longer, but nothing has been confirmed as of this writing.
All and all, Vince wanted to do Cena vs. Lesnar III (technically IV) to blowoff the program but the stipulation added to the Hell in a Cell bout was done to appease Randy Orton, giving him co-main event status.
- WWE is scheduled to return to the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Monday, January 19, 2015 for Raw. The promotional password to obtain tickets early is DALLAS.
- For those that missed Hell in a Cell and were curious how WWE would handle their ring announcers, Lilian Garcia and Eden rotated duties.
- Dot com has a full list of interviews backstage at Hell in a Cell at this link.
- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers discussed his love for professional wrestling in a new interview with AlternativeNation.net. Here's an excerpt they sent us - "I remember a big PPV match, I think 9 of us put together like 5 bucks each and rented the PPV. Hulk Hogan and the nWo, with Dennis Rodman, had a tag team match against DDP and Karl Malone. At the time I was a big Chicago Bulls fan, loved the Jordan Bulls. I was a big Pippen, MJ, and Dennis Rodman fan. We really liked the WWF as well, Hogan was always one of our favorites, so we pulled hard for Hogan and Rodman, and they came out on top. So to get the opportunity to get to wish Hogan a happy birthday, that was something we really looked forward to."Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- It looks like Randy Orton will be getting some time off after all… just not for vacation. Variety is reporting that Orton will star in “The Condemned 2: Desert Prey,” an upcoming WWE Studios film with Lionsgate. Below is a synopsis of the flick:
The film follows a former bounty hunter who finds himself on the run as part of a revamped Condemned tournament, in which convicts are forced to fight each other to the death as part of a game that’s broadcast to the public.
Production is set to begin later this year in New Mexico. Steve Austin starred in the original back in 2007.
Click here for coverage by Variety.com.
- Tickets for Royal Rumble 2015 go on sale on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 10 AM ET at this link.
Royal Rumble 2015 will take place on Sunday, January 25, 2015 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The only thing to confirm for the show is that the winner of the Rumble match will challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31. Thank you captain obvious.
- WWE has updated their Raw Five-Point Preview to promote the return of Hulk Hogan. They note Hogan will be live on Monday Night Raw to put the full power of Hulkamania behind Susan G. Komen.
- It's clear this week's Raw will feature the first step in Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose, reintroducing Wyatt as a sadistic heel. What's not as clear is what will be the next step with Randy Orton and whether or not they program him with Seth Rollins. All four are advertised to appear on this week's show.
- Michael Cole and JBL have joined EpicTimes.com. Click here for complete details.
Backstage news from Hell in a Cell in Dallas…
- The final script wasn't available until about an hour and twenty minutes before the main show went live on the WWE Network. There were some changes to the show's structure, including some last minute debate about which Hell in a Cell match would be closing.
- The plan to reintroduce Bray Wyatt in a program with Dean Ambrose was in the works far before it was actually executed on Sunday. Hindsight is 20/20 but we should have paid closer attention to Hell in a Cell being the show WWE reintroduced Wyatt on for a couple of reasons. One, Wyatt was flown to Dallas for the show and confirmed for Survivor Series next month (I confirmed both prior to the show's start). Further, he was listed on the official list of advertised talent by WWE. While that's always subject to change, there were more than enough clues to deduce it would be when Wyatt was coming back. The idea behind Bray Wyatt's revamp is to make him creeper and scarier.
- Cesaro doesn't have heat for his comment about John Cena vs. Randy Orton. The feeling backstage was that his remarks were taken out of context to mean something he wasn't trying to convey.
- As far as injuries are concerned, Dean Ambrose cut his hand and Jey Uso had his elbow examined. Neither were serious.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,279,000 viewers on SyFy. The audience was down sharp for the go-home to Hell in a Cell broadcast, drawing 415,000 less viewers than the week prior. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for the whole day on Friday at this link.
- Triple H announced on this week's Raw that we will see Team Authority vs. Team Cena in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag team Match at the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view in four weeks.
- Mark Henry turned heel and attacked Big Show while challenging Gold & Stardust for the Tag Team Championships on this week's Raw.
- Roman Reigns once again appeared live via satellite on this week's Raw. While he didn't provide an update on when he'll return, Reigns said that when he is back, he has his eyes set on former friend, Seth Rollins.
- Ryback made his in-ring return on this week's Raw from San Antonio as he went over Bo Dallas in an "open challenge." Ryback's last match was on the August 18th edition of Monday Night Raw in his hometown of Las Vegas. It was later revealed the next week that Ryback underwent surgery for a strained groin and two sports hernias. The original timetable called for him to be out for "seven months," but Ryback returned at the two-month mark.
- After this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, The Authority came out and confronted John Cena. Stephanie McMahon postured like they wanted Cena to join them but it resulted in Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble attacking him. Cena fought them off to send the crowd home happy. There was no dark match main event.
- The rumors about WWE moving their Elimination Chamber pay-per-view from February to later in the year are true. The show that will replace it is reportedly called WWE Fast Lane. The change has to do with the Royal Rumble match determining the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania and the company no longer having a second world title.
- WWE is once again carrying CM Punk merchandise on their online shop after previously pulling all items.
This followed a September report that noted CM Punk sent a lengthy letter to WWE over their use of his likeness specifically his likeness in the WWE 2K15 video game. Punk was reportedly seeking royalties but WWE felt they had a claim due to breach of contract. WWE 2K15 was released on Tuesday on XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 and Punk is included.
Punk celebrated his 36th birthday on Sunday with ice cream at the Blackhawks game with our old friendFrank the Clown. You can view a photo below:
- Recently released WWE announcer Josh Mathews responded to a follower on Twitter that stated the company should fire Byron Saxton and bring him back. Mathews responded, putting over Saxton and proclaiming he wouldn't be interested in a WWE return. The following is from Twitter:
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When another follower said he would come back if asked, he said this:
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Another Twitter follower Tweeted Mathews, stating they would like to see him against JBL on Raw. Here was his response:
The story Mathews is talking about happened in 2008 while WWE was in Iraq. Apparently JBL had been hazing Styles the whole tour and after drinking, he pushed Styles' last button. This resulted in Styles punching JBL and busting his eye open. Styles, in badass mode, had to be separated from JBL by talent.
The last story we had on Mathews was him being at TNA headquarters in Nashville, TN.
- WWE 2K15 was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America on Tuesday. The game will be released on the same consoles internationally on 31 October 2014. Further, the game will be released on Next-Gen consoles on November 18, 2014 in North America and 21 November 2014 internationally. Click here to purchase now.
- We reported Monday here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that tickets will officially go on sale for Royal Rumble 2015 on Saturday. The Wells-Fargo Center website, the venue that will host the show next year, has included some promotional information about the show. Because it's our first information about the show, we'll include it below:
Royal Rumble’s main event is a battle royal, over-the-top-rope, 30-man elimination match where only one wrestler will be left standing. WWE Superstars John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Kane and many more fight it out in the City of Brotherly Love for a chance to compete in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 31. John Cena is the face of the WWE, and one of the most decorated wrestlers in history. He has 15 reigns as World Champion, and the two-time Rumble winner is looking to become just the second superstar in history to win the Rumble three times. The 12-year veteran has also won the United States Championship, the World Tag Team Championship, and the WWE Tag Team Championship. Roman Reigns looks to improve on last year’s record-setting Royal Rumble performance when he eliminated 12 participants in the battle royal match before finishing second, losing to Batista. He already has been a WWE Tag Team Champion, and the former NFL defensive lineman looks to be a future WWE Champion in the making. This battle royal will be the first WWE pay–per–view event of 2015, and will also be the first Royal Rumble event ever to be streamed live on the WWE Network.
There are some notes to make. First, anything published here is subject to change. WWE sends venues promotional material in advance to promote ticket sales. What is written isn't always indicative of what actually happens. We know things change from week to week, much less month to month.
However, noted here is that John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kane will be participants in the 30-man Royal Rumble match to determine the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This implies Cena -- the current No. 1 contender -- will go under to Brock Lesnar before the end of the year. It also implies Rollins will lose his Money in the Bank briefcase. Again, all elements that could change but notes that need to be made.
Further, it implies Roman Reigns will be back from injury and ready to compete at Royal Rumble. We've heard WWE officials were confident they would get him back by December but could hold him off TV until the Royal Rumble match.
Click here for information on the Wells Fargo Center website.
WWE Royal Rumble 2015 will take place on Sunday, January 25, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.
- The mid-season 3 finale of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 1,133,000 viewers on E. It's good enough for the show's biggest audience since episode 28 on September 21st and is even more impressive considering the fact it was in direct competition with Hell in a Cell on the WWE Network. One could assume this means the show is not only attracting WWE fans but the demographic that the company is targeting in the first place. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows for adults 25-54 for the whole day at this link.
- For those that haven't noticed, Tyson Kidd has started to incorporate elements into his gimmick that are inspired by his friend Teddy Hart. We're told Triple H is high up on the gimmick and the producers of Total Divas love the segments with Kidd and Natalya. As a result, giving Tyson a new gimmick and a bit of a push are in the cards for the next season of the reality series.
- Mick Foley has been trying to get back into WWE over the last few months. He has a new movie coming out -- I Am Santa Clause -- and that's one of the reasons why he quickly accepted an invite for a guest cameo last week. While we've noted on multiple occasions that Triple H is not high up on him, Vince McMahon recently put an edict out the company would entertain unannounced guest appearances to try and improve the overall quality of star power on television. This gave the opening for Foley's appearance, in which we detailed the fascinating backstory at this link.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw garnered an average viewing audience of 3,745,333 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the Hell in a Cell fallout show fared by hour:
Hour one - 3,868,000 viewers
Hour two - 3,839,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,529,000 viewers
A problem sign here is the show lost viewers each hour. I was one of the 18,809,000 that watched my beloved Dallas Cowboys lose to the Washington Redskins in Overtime on ESPN. Making matters worse, my DVR crapped out after the first hour of Raw so I'm still catching up.
This week's audience is up an average of 77,333 viewers from last week. Raw, along with Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, was the highest-rated non football program, earning a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating. TV by the Numbers has complete data at this link.
- Dot com has a new article online detailing a WWE tryout camp at the WWE Performance Center that took place in September. Highlighted in the piece was the reporter from Muscle & Fitness that was allowed access, followed by details of the camp. You can read the article at this link. Video of the experience is available at this link.
- WWE posted a video of the world premiere of See No Evil 2 starring Kane at this link.
- WWE taped a segment with Big Show at this week's Smackdown taping in Houston, Texas where Show said that Daniel Bryan needed elbow surgery. He led the crowd in a "Yes" chant and said that it would be made into a video and sent to Bryan. See also - WWE Smackdown Taping Results From Houston, TX
We do not have the details on the surgery as of press time but this isn't a surprise. David Shoemaker of Grantland.comstated in August (on Twitter) that he heard Bryan needed Tommy John Surgery. Bryan talked about undergoing elbow surgery in a recent promotional interview, revealing surgery was even scheduled at one point but canceled so doctors could run more tests.
Once again, details regarding the surgery are unknown. We cannot confirm Tommy John surgery or any other surgery but this appears very legitimate. The one good thing about surgery is getting the problem fixed -- helping Bryan regain strength in his arm -- so he can rehab it and begin his journey to return to the ring. Bryan has not worked for WWE since May 4, 2014.
- BG James, better known as Road Dogg, submitted a question to me on Facebook that was selected for Tuesday's installment of Ask WNW. It was there, he asked why he would ask me anything about Sports Entertainment. He wanted to know my credentials and expertise. Following my answer to his question, Road Dogg Tweeted the following from his verified Twitter account:
Click here to load Tweets (if not loaded)
Road Dogg is a good dude and I don't say that just because he put me over. I very much appreciate the kind words and the fact he 1) took the time to personally ask me a question and 2) the time to read it and respond.
I absolutely understand the frustrations that talent have with the Internet, dirt sheets, etc. The fact of the matter is a lot of BS gets put out there. I'm not going to sit here and act self-righteous but I do try to do everything in my power to provide a higher level of quality at Wrestling News World. It's been my vision since this became my career and I hope you notice the difference.
That said, I am only human and have made mistakes. When a mistake is made I always try to act quickly and retract whatever happened. Further, I am very careful in my wording and differentiate from something "I've heard" and something that's "confirmed." I communicate regularly with the Public Relations departments of WWE and TNA Wrestling and always seek comment for anything they have not confirmed.
Transparency is very important here at Wrestling News World and the readers of this website aren't just spectators. You are considered part of this publication and what we do through your comments, emails and social media activity. Like I told Road Dogg, in Ask WNW, I'm not looking to provide cut and dry definitive answers. It's more about starting a conversation and hopefully the business is better because of it.
As always, I appreciate the support from everyone that reads this site and thank you for your support. Without you, there is no us.
- We reported on October 22, 2014 here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that WWE was looking for a way to restart on Curtis Axel. Axel was at Tuesday's Main Event/Smackdown taping in Houston, Texas but used in an enhancement role in a dark match against Kofi Kingston.
It's unknown what (if any) plan is in place for Axel's return to TV. His last match prior to Tuesday was on the September 1, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, where he went under to Jack Swagger.
Axel's former? tag team partner Rybackreturned to WWE TV on this week's Raw in Dallas, TX.
- Daniel Bryan was at Buchser Middle School in Santa Clara, California on Tuesday for a Be-A-Star anti-bullying rally with Darren Young, his wife Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon.
The event was also used to co-promote Wrestlemania 31 coming to Levi's Staidum next March. Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and Congressman Mike Honda were also in attendance. Bryan, a known San Francisco Giants fan, pumped the gym full of students up prior to Game 6 of the World Series, asking if the Giants would win.
Click here for coverage by the San Jose Mercury News about the WWE appearance in Santa Clara on Tuesday.
- Wrestling News World reader Ricky Murph, who is on the WWE Fan Council, sent in details of the latest survey. In it, WWE asked respondents if they would be watching Survivor Series next month, what they thought of each match at Hell in a Cell and how satisfied they were with the outcomes.
They also asked about this week's Raw, partnerships and then inquired once again about Survivor Series with a question regarding Team Cena vs. Team Authority.
I typed up the questions and responses so you could view below:
Do you plan on watching Survivor Series on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014?
Please select one response only.
How would you rate each of the matches in the Hell In A Cell 2014 pay-per-view?
Please select one response for each item.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell singles match)
Don't Know/Didn't Watch
The rest of the card was listed with the same responses.
How satisfied were you with the following outcomes of each match?
Please select one response for each item.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell singles match)
Not At All Satisfied
The entire card was listed with the same choices for responses.
How well did the Hell In A Cell 2014 pay-per-view event meet your expectations?
Please select one response only.
Exceeded my expectations
Met my expectations
Did not meet my expectations
Why did Hell In A Cell 2014 not meet your expectations?
Please be as specific as possible.
There was an area where respondents could write their own detailed response.
Did you watch Monday Night Raw this past Monday, October 27th, after the Hell In A Cell 2014 pay-per-view event?
Please select one response only.
Please rate your overall enjoyment of the Monday Night Raw show on October 27th, 2014:
Please select one response only.
Think about all the partnerships, sponsorships, and causes associated with WWE, please share any that you recall during the month of October.
Please be as specific as possible.
Again, an area to type a response was provided.
After John Cena shot down Stephanie McMahon's Authority-guaranteed victory over Brock Lesnar, Triple H ordered Cena to get a team ready to face the Authority at Survivor Series. Which team do you think has the potential to be on top?
Please select one response only.
After the questions the following was displayed:
- Triple H's latest weekly kayfabe interview with Michael Cole is now online. Below are the highlights:
Cole asked Hunter about "boasting and gloating" about Rollins at Hell in a Cell on Raw but Randy Orton RKOing Rollins. Triple H said they would handle it interally. Cole reminded Hunter that's what he said last week. Triple H said cooler heads will prevail and he has it under control.
Regarding John Cena being asked to join The Authority, Hunter talked about it getting harder each year. He reminded Cole, orange jumpsuit aside, he didn't know what it was like to be in the ring. Triple H asked how much easier would it be if he just played ball with the Authority. He said Cena is everything they want with the face of WWE but he always has to do things his way. Triple H said if you handle things right you end up like him. He said there was a time when he was becoming a thing of the past but now he's the future.
Cole said Team Authority vs. Team Cena [at Survivor Series] hardly seems fair because John Cena won't be able to get anyone to join his team. Hunter said Cena has every opportunity to make a team. If he doesn't, it's what he thrives on. John Cena versus the world. He said John can be very persuasive but so can he.
Michael Cole talked about Triple H being intimating and talked about what happened on Raw with Dolph Ziggler. Triple H said they could call it intimation or persuasion. At the end of Raw, Hunter said he didn't send anyone out there. He saw guys trying to make an argument where they stand. Hunter said he didn't have too [send anyone out]. What would Cole bet on? All those guys hungry to be buddies with John Cena or hungry to be the future? Triple H said he has a locker room full of guys to be the future.
You can watch the interview at this link.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in San Antonio, Texas…
- There was some criticism about the microphones at ringside being turned up too loud, where John Cena and Seth Rollins could be heard calling spots in their match. This is something that happens from time to time but something that Vince McMahon hates.
- We're told everyone -- not just the announcers -- were wondering who was going to be on Team Cena at Survivor Series. From what I'm told, no team is set as of Monday. The match does essentially eliminate Brock Lesnar from the show. The talk as far back as late-September was to blow Cena vs. Lesnar off at WWE TLC so it looks like that could be the next WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
- Ryback was well-received backstage. We're told he had a different demeanor than before and came off great. Ryback wasn't known for having a good attitude (I had a member of the international media tell me they contacted WWE over an interview they did with him), but he had it all put together on Monday night.
- Vince McMahon is reportedly "over" the program between Brie and Nikki Bella but it's something that was "strung out" to help co-promote Total Divas. There are other examples of Total Divas impacting WWE storylines, as I reported on Tuesday it's one of the reason why Tyson Kidd is slated for a bit of a push.
- WWE will report their 2014 third quarter results on Thursday before market open. The results are significant for a number of reasons but below are some notable things to look for:
WWE Network subscriber count:
WWE announced on April 7, 2014 they had 667,287 WWE Network subscribers.
In July, it was learned the WWE Network had 700,000 subscribers as of June 30, 2014.
On August 12, 2014 the WWE Network was made available on an over-the-top basis in more than 170 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain, and the Nordics, among others. The previous numbers were US-only.
Prior to WWE's Network announcement in July, the company had made it clear they needed 1 million domestic subscribers to break even and they would consider the launch successful if they met that target before the end of the year. After July, WWE backed off the 1 million subscriber target considerably, however, international availability was bumped up in order to attract more subscribers.
The subscriber count reported on Thursday will be through September 30, 2014 (which was the end of quarter three).
Pay-per-view buy rates:
In addition to an update on WWE Network subscribers, WWE will provide traditional pay-per-view buy rates for Battleground, SummerSlam and Night of Champions. You can read official traditional buy rate numbers for the shows prior to Battleground at this link.
These are just a couple of metrics that will be available on Thursday. Obviously there will be other indicators released as well in relation to WWE's key drivers. However, given the transition from traditional pay-per-view to the WWE Network, it is by far the one of biggest interest.
Vince McMahon and Chief Financial Officer George Barrios will host a conference call with investors on Thursday morning to discuss the results. We'll be on the call and have complete live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Jayson Derrick of Benzinga.com previews WWE's third quarter results they will report on Thursday before market open. It's noted the company is expected to lose $0.17 per share on revenue of $133.2 million, according to consensus analyst estimates.
What's more interesting is that Reverend Emmanuel Lemelson, chief investment officer of Lemelson Capital Management (a global investment management firm), believes the McMahon family is interested in selling the business.
He notes WWE has poor fiscal management but excellent creative management. As a result, Lemelson believes a "new executive management team or the sale of the company is a likely scenario that will play out in the future."
He notes WWE is an "acquisition target" valued at $1 billion prior to the launch of the WWE Network.
Regarding the WWE Network, Lemelson doesn't see WWE meeting their one million user subscriber goal for the year. Moreover, it's noted WWE has acknowledged it will require more than one million WWE Network subscribers to make the service profitable.
However, Lemelson sees the WWE brand as a "considerable opportunity" for any potential acquirer because it is "truly a piece of '‘Americana' with global appeal."
Click here for the article on Benzinga.com.
Richard Reacts: I believe there is a disconnect between WWE as a publicly traded company and WWE as a Sports Entertainment company. Because of this, I agree with the assertion WWE is a company of poor fiscal management but excellent creative management. However, I believe WWE would have a very difficult time thriving without Vince McMahon. Say what you want but I believe it takes a very special type of person to be able to succeed in this business. Many have tried and Vince is literally the last man standing. I used to laugh off 'WWE for sale" rumors but Vince had a chance to dismiss them earlier this year and didn't. Thursday will be interesting, regardless of the commentary that precedes it.
- WWE reported their 2014 third quarter results on Thursday before market open. As part of the release, they gave an update on WWE Network subscribers. The company noted they have 703,000 WWE Network subscribers in the United States and 28,000 internationally. Those numbers are as of September 30, 2014.
Below is the table included in Thursday's report:
Here's an excerpt breaking these numbers down further from the company's earnings release:
WWE Network added 31,000 subscribers in the quarter, representing a 4% increase from June 30, and reached 731,000 subscribers at quarter-end. Subscriber growth reflected the acquisition of 286,000 subscribers, which was 71% above the gross subscriber additions in the period between April 7 (the day after WrestleMania) and June 30 (WWE Network added 182,000 gross subscribers during the April 1- April 6 period, which included WrestleMania). Through September 30, WWE Network had attracted approximately 971,000 unique subscribers with 75% of these subscribers active as of that date.
The U.S. version of WWE Network was made available in more than 170 countries and territories beginning August 12. Between that date and September 30, WWE Network acquired approximately 30,000 international subscribers, representing 10% of gross additions. Additionally, on August 12, the Company introduced a $12.99 (cancel at any time) plan, which reached 23,000 subscribers at quarter end.
- WWE announced a change to WWE Network subscriptions on Thursday morning. Below is an excerpt from WWE's official release:
New Simplified Price Plan: Beginning November 1, the Company will introduce a new simplified price plan at $9.99 per month with no commitment (cancel at any time). Current subscribers will benefit from this new simplified plan as they are migrated to this new plan beginning in December. The new pricing structure reflects management’s belief in the broad appeal of WWENetwork content and is comparable to that of other subscription-based content platforms including Netflix and Hulu Plus. Additionally, all new subscribers who register for the network in November will receive the month of November for free, including the opportunity to watch Survivor Series live on Sunday, November 23rd.
Previously, one had to commit to 6 months to get the $9.99/month price. For those that wanted to go month to month, the price was $12.99/month. This is still the case for the remainder of the month.
However, beginning in November, one will be able to sign up at $9.99/month with no commitment. Current accounts with 6-month commitments will be converted to no commitment accounts on billing dates in December. Current month to month accounts ($12.99/month) will get converted to $9.99 no commitment accounts on billing dates in November.
Below is the email sent out to WWE Network subscribers that currently have a 6-month commitment. A different email was sent out to those currently paying $12.99/month.
WWE reported on Thursday before market open they have 731,000 WWE Network subscribers through September 30, 2014.
- WWE reported traditional pay-per-view buy rates for Battleground, SummerSlam and Night of Champions as part of their 2014 third quarter results on Thursday. The numbers are as follows:
WWE Battleground 2014 - 99,000 buys (compared to 199,000 buys as Money in the Bank in 2013)
SummerSlam - 147,000 buys (compared to 296,000 buys in 2013)
Night of Champions - 48,000 buys (compared to 175,000 buys in 2013)
Below is the table:
Click here for the traditional buy rates of prior 2014 shows.
- WWE gave the following update on the WWE Network in the United Kingdom in their 2014 third quarter earnings release on Thursday:
WWE Network to be available in the U.K.: The Company continues to develop the international platform for WWE Network and plans to make the U.S. version of WWE Network available in the U.K. on an over-the-top basis in November.
WWE announced in September that a launch date for the WWE Network in the United Kingdom would be announced by 1 November 2014 after missing the original launch date of 1 October 2014. Given that is just two days away and a launch date was not announced on Thursday, it would appear they are going to miss that self-imposed date.
- Vince McMahon commented on the change to the WWE Network, with the company removing the 6 month commitment to the $9.99/month price, in Thursday's earnings release. Below is Vince's comment in its entirety:
“During the quarter, we delivered stronger financial performance than anticipated and surpassed our guidance while making significant progress on the execution of our WWE Network strategy,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “To capitalize on the substantial opportunity created by WWE Network, it’s time to remove all the barriers to those that want WWE. We are excited to introduce a new simplified price plan at $9.99 per month, and like Netflix with no commitment/cancel anytime. This reflects our belief in the broad appeal of WWE Network content. Additionally, we continue to develop the international platform for WWE Network and plan to make the network available in the U.K. on an OTT basis in November. WWE Network continues to be the single greatest opportunity to transform WWE’s business model and we remain optimistic about our potential to drive long-term growth.”
- As noted in our original post about WWE eliminating the 6-month commitment to the WWE Network price of $9.99/month, new subscribers will get the month of November for free. This includes the fact they'll be able to watch Survivor Series free of charge, a fact the company promoted in a new video with Vince McMahon posted on their YouTube channel.
You can watch it below:
- Wrestling News World reader Nick Larks sent an epic #ThrowbackThursday video that I felt was more than appropriate to share. The video is of a Discovery Channel documentary that aired at Ultimate Pro Wrestling's California-based "Ultimate University" and features a pre-WWE version of John Cena. While you may have seen this before, it's totally worth watching again. You can watch at this link.
- The latest episode of WWE Inbox is online and it features Hulkamania. You can watch at this link.
- Retired UFC star Chael Sonnen says he turned down a $5 million offer from Vince McMahon to leave fighting for WWE. Yahoo's "Cagewriter" picked up on the comments made in a new episode of his "You're Welcome" podcast with Georges St. Pierre as guest. Below is an excerpt:
"I was offered $5 million [WWE head] Vince McMahon...Now, I was still under contract with the UFC and I never took this to Dana. I handled it on my own. I told them 'No' and that was the end of that. I never told Dana White this story, but here's why I didn't tell him. I knew if I called Dana and said, 'I've got a $5 million offer from Vince McMahon,' Dana would have matched it."
You can read the Yahoo article and listen to comments at this link.
Richard Reacts: Interesting comments but I don't believe them.
- Randy Orton Tweeted some interesting updates from his verified Twitter account. First, he confirmed that he'll begin filming The Condemned 2 on November 11, 2014. While he didn't write the location, we reported (via Variety) that production will take place in New Mexico.
As a result, Orton will not be on the company's upcoming European tour and has been removed from official show listings.
Regarding Orton going babyface, here's his reaction to that:
- The WWE Network will be available for free in the United Kingdom beginning on Monday, November 3 through the end of the month. WWE confirmed the news in an email blast that you can read at this link. We've also included a screen shot of the email that you can view below:
The WWE Network was originally scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom on October 1, however, was delayed. Vince McMahon and George Barrios confirmed on Thursday in a conference call with investors the service would launch in the UK in November but didn't give a specific date. We recapped that call at this link.
Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Steven Dean for his help with this story.
- This Sunday's episode of WrestleTalk TV will feature an exclusive interview with Alberto Del Rio on Challenge TV in the United Kingdom. They uploaded a preview of the interview on YouTube and I transcribed Del Rio's comments. You can read them below:
Some people will say he's saying that because he's no longer with WWE. Yeah, that could be the case for some people. For some former WWE wrestlers but not for me. I had a big name before WWE and I have a bigger name right now after WWE. I have a great moment in Mexico. The business in Mexico is fantastic. They have this big project in the United States called Lucha Underground and it's going to be great because I'm going to join them next year. The sky is the limit for all of us. I feel bad for all the guys needing that company [WWE]. I don't need them, they don't need me. They're going to continue doing what they do, I'm going to continue doing what I do.
You can preview this week's episode of WrestleTalk TV at this link.
Alberto Del Rio was released from WWE on August 7, 2014 following a backstage altercation with social media manager Cody Barbierri. You can read the story in its entirety here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that former WWE Diva Maria Kannellis was awarded a WWE talent scholarship to complete her degree in sports, event and entertainment management at Johnson & Wales University. The other two recipients this year are former WWE Superstar Paul Burchill and former developmental talent Michael Thompson. Each will be awarded a Scholarship in the amount up to $5000 per calendar year. You can read complete details at this link.
- Brock Lesnar is being officially advertised for the December 8, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw in Greenville, South Carolina. This is the go-home to WWE TLC episode as the pay-per-view will take place on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.
This does not necessarily confirm Lesnar vs. John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at TLC but it is a strong indication. Vince McMahon has planned since September to do Lesnar vs. Cena one more time and it's clear it will not take place at Survivor Series. Given the fact Lesnar is being advertised for this episode of Raw in particular, the chances of WWE blowing off the program before the end of the year are good.
The company would then be able to start fresh with Lesnar at Royal Rumble in January to build to Wrestlemania 31 next year. As things currently stand, Lesnar's WWE contract is up after the pay-per-view in March.
- We reported on Sunday here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com that The Undertaker was at last week's WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida. In that report, we stated we were unable to confirm rumors of The Dead Man working as a developmental adviser.
The Washington Post sought comment from a WWE spokesperson that officially debunked the rumor. Below is an excerpt:
“The reports are inaccurate,” a spokesperson told The Washington Post. The spokesperson had no further comment when pressed about whether ‘Taker was in talks with ‘NXT’ about a position, nor did the spokesperson comment about the rumors of retirement.
Click here for coverage by The Washington Post.
Richard Reacts: That settles that. I was asked about the rumor on Facebook and after checking around, no one heard anything about it. The only thing I was told about last week's tapings was that Undertaker was there. What I am more interested in is if Undertaker and Hunter talked anything about Wrestlemania 31 next year. We'll see.
- Eden's latest video blog is now online at this link.
- Happy Halloween! Dot com has a new feature article online on what scared WWE Superstars and Divas when they were kids. You can read it at this link. Have fun tonight and remember to be safe. We took our kids trick or treating last night and had a blast!
- WWE referee Charles Robinson has a "horror room" in his house in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can watch a video tour at this link.
- Triple H was at the Sports Legacy Institute Impact Awards dinner on Thursday night. He posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Chris Nowinski and WWE physician Chris Amann. You can view it below:
- Fortune.com has a detailed piece online looking at how Dwayne Johnson rocked the film industry. Click here to read it.
- The Scottrade Center website, the venue that will host Survivor Series next month, is advertising the following matches for the show:
- Team Cena vs. Team Authority in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
- Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Other names advertised include Seth Rollins, Sheamus, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kane and Dolph Ziggler.
Click here for local event information.
As with anything listed on a venue's website, before it's officially announced by WWE, it's subject to change. However, even though Ambrose vs. Wyatt hasn't been officially announced, it's clear that's the direction WWE plans on going barring a massive change in direction.
WWE Survivor Series 2014 will take place on Sunday, November 23, 2014 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Bobby Lashley beat Karl Etherington on Friday night at Bellator 130 in Mulvane, Kansas. Ehterington landed an inadvertent low blow that briefly stopped the fight. Lashley won shortly thereafter, making his opponent tap out at 1:31 of the 1st Round. Lashley's MMA record now stands at 12-2. ImpactWrestling.com covered the victory at this link. They questioned how his body would recover for a TNA Championship bout against Bobby Roode next Wednesday night on Impact. The bout was actually taped in September.
- Brooke and Robbie E -- The Wrestlers -- are still in The Amazing Race. The couple finished the 5th leg in 5th place. Here's the updated board we've been bringing you every week:
- Kym & Alli (The Cyclists)
- Adam & Bethany (Soul Surfers)
- Tim & Te Jay (College Sweethearts)
- Shelley & Nici (Mother/Daughter)
- Brooke & Robbie (The Wrestlers)
- Misti & Jim (The Dentists)
- Amy & Maya (Sweet Scientists)
- Keith & Whitney (Team Nashville)
- Michael & Scott (The Firefighters)
- Dennis & Isabelle (The Dating Couple)
- Lisa & Michelle (Miami Realtors)
- This Wednesday's episode of Impact Wrestling (October 29, 2014) received an average viewing audience of 911,000. That is a decrease from 1,065,000 that the show pulled in the previous week. Game 7 of the MLB World Series, which started at 8pm on Fox received more than 23,000,000 viewers. In terms of cable, American Horror Story was the number one show as it received a viewership average of over 4,000,000. Impact Wrestling did not make the Top 100 list in the Adult 18-49 rating, according to TV By The Numbers.
Why does WWE think it's OK to do more dirty finishes now that PPVs are on the WWE Network? There are people who still have to get traditional PPV because high speed cable internet is not available in all areas. Further, there could be those "on the fence" about the Network and just want to order one show with friends.
WWE made it abundantly clear again at Hell in a Cell, if you order their shows on traditional pay-per-view, you are an idiot. I completely disagree with this strategy and believe it's horrible marketing. But they did it last month at Night of Champions and had the commentators shame people for ordering Hell in a Cell on pay-per-view again on Sunday night. It's safe to say WWE doesn't want people ordering their pay-per-views on a traditional basis, they want them subscribing to the WWE Network. I believe they are completely desperate for subscribers, something we will find out for sure when they give the public an update on Thursday.
As for WWE having more leeway with dirty/non-finishes for pay-per-view matches, I've explained it numerous times. They believe they can do it because the shows no longer carry a significant financial commitment. I've always heavily criticized WWE when they haven't done clean outcomes on pay-per-view but the days are changing. However, I still feel it's silly to promote matches as "must see," only to have them end dirty or with non-finishes. What incentive does one have to signup for the WWE Network if the show is only building to free TV? But then again, we're talking about the company that believes it's OK to shame their customers for BUYING their show.
I said this after Night of Champions but it stands to be repeated. The WWE Network should not be about the price. Why do you think Wrestlemania was traditionally the most bought pay-per-view despite being the most expensive? Because it was considered must-see material. The only point WWE seems interested in conveying to their audience is the WWE Network is cheap. They fail to point out it's a valuable service full of "must-see" content. Now, with two dirty pay-per-view main event finishes in a row, one could make the argument the pay-per-views are becoming less valuable. I wish I could understand their mindset but it's very difficult to try and explain.
Why do you think wrestling fans, in general, are more nostalgic than fans of other forms of sport or entertainment? Do you believe nostalgia is what keeps us from enjoying today's product like we did decades ago?
Guys like Sting and The Undertaker, talent we grew up watching, have proven they can still work at a very high level whereas players like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky would no longer be able to compete at such a level. This is the difference and it's what makes pro wrestling fans more nostalgic than other forms of sports and entertainment. It's not true for everyone as Sting and Undertaker are the exception not the rule but I believe that has a lot to do with why pro wrestling fans are more nostalgic. I believe nostalgia plays a factor in all forms of entertainment. I am from West Virginia so I grew up without any pro sports franchises. As a result, my loyalty is scattered to the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Braves, all teams very successful in the 1990s but haven't had anywhere near that success in recent years. However, they hooked me early on and my loyalty remains to this day. Someone asked me a couple weeks ago in the WNW Premium Mailbag if I didn't cover pro wrestling for a living if I would still watch, even in a creative slump. My answer was yes and as bad as I hate to admit it, I grew up a fan and I was hooked from an early age. I guess that makes me the biggest mark of them all but I truly enjoy the wrestling business.
Why does WWE keep putting Rusev over, while saying how great and unstoppable he is?
My feelings on Rusev have changed. I still think the Russian/not-Russian gimmick is overused, overdone and silly (because he isn't Russian) but Rusev, the performer, is talented. During his match with Big Show at Hell in a Cell he showed a high degree of athleticism and versatility, including the ability to connect on a dropkick. Someone Tweeted me they didn't understand what I saw in Rusev in terms of talent. While it's fine to not like a particular worker, there's no way you can watch what Rusev did at 6'0/305 lb against the largest opponent he will ever face and objectively say he isn't talented. Sometimes people think in order for a worker to have a good match they have to be able to work like Adrian Neville. While high-risk/high-flying is certainly entertaining, it's not the defining characteristic of an elite in-ring talent. With that said, Rusev is billed as unstoppable and WWE clearly has something with him. His stock is soaring following a clean victory over Big Show, even with interference from Mark Henry.
Why did Randy Orton have to lose? Just when the WWE Universe was anticipating a fresh rivalry between Lesnar and Orton, WWE yet again shoves Cena down our throats for a fourth match against Lesnar.
Vince McMahon planned all along for another Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena match to blowoff the program. I didn't feel there was a need to do a second match after SummerSlam, let alone do a third one at a pay-per-view to be announced. But that's his plan and he's sticking to it. The stipulation added to Cena vs. Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell was inserted to make the match a meaningful co-main event. If you got your hopes up for Lesnar vs. Orton, they ribbed you.
From the Ask WNW vault…
January 2013: What does the WWE Hall of Fame mean to an inductee and what benefits do they get? - In addition to monetary compensation for appearing, WWE Hall of Fame inductees get a Hall of Fame ring and of course the immortalization of being inducted into the Hall of Fame of the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. While critics will rightly point out the WWE Hall of Fame is more of the Vince McMahon Hall of Fame than an actual Hall of Fame (with no formal voting process), it’s still a huge honor.
Welcome to a special installment of Ask WNW. On Facebook, WWE legend BG James, better known as Road Dogg, submitted a question to me. Because of who he is and the lengthy response that followed, I'm dedicating this installment completely to the one question. As always, I appreciate your support and you can send in questions for future installments of Ask WNW at this link or to AskWNW@wrestlingnewsworld.com.
The following question comes from BG James (a/k/a Road Dogg) on Facebook… Why would I ask you anything about Sports Entertainment? What are you credentials? What expertise do you possess? And I'm not being sarcastic, I'm totally serious.
There is a very long answer to this question but I'm going to do my best to keep it as abbreviated as possible. First, I want to state that you have forgotten more about the wrestling (or Sports Entertainment) business than I'll ever know. You've taken the bumps and paid your dues, kicked addiction's ass and put together a career most can only dream about. A 5-time WWF Tag Team Champion, WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion and 1-time WWE Tag Team Champion, to say you're accomplished would be understating it. That doesn't even take into account surviving a disastrous gimmick (The Real Double J) or getting a backstage job in WWE after the Voodoo Kin Mafia (TNA Wrestling). Your story is a story that is to be revered and respected and I admire you as a performer and as a person. The last thing I would ever want to do is come off as a pretentious Internet warrior that is going to teach someone of your caliber anything. I learn daily from you and people like you that have shed their blood, sweat and tears for this business and it's an absolute honor to include you in Ask WNW.
My identical twin brother Ryan and I started our journey in November 1999 as teenagers with a dream of writing something on the Internet someone on the other side of the world could read. It was unfathomable to us that from a small town in West Virginia someone on another continent could read something we wrote. From 4CornersWrestling.com to WCWWWF.com to WrestlingUnlimited.com to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, it's been quite the journey. I never planned a career as a pro wrestling journalist. In fact, I always thought I would work in the family business at a hardware store/lumber yard that my grandfather started in the 1950s.
In the early 2000s, while in high school, my brother and I found success on the Internet when tens of thousands of people started visiting WCWWWF.com. The website just "took off" and got more visitors than we could have ever envisioned. We monetized it with banner advertisements and it did so well that we tried to talk our parents into letting us drop out of high school. It's a good thing they were adamant we get our education because the success was short-lived. The dot com bubble burst and the revenue faded, while the expenses were astronomical. I ended up scaling back and bought WrestlingNewsWorld.com from a guy named George Patton in February 2003. From February 2003 to early 2007, WrestlingNewsWorld.com was a hobby as I finished high school and attended West Virginia University. While there, I still planned to join the family business so I pursued a Bachelor's Degree in Business with Minors in Communication and Advertising.
In January 2007, my brother I started to discuss what it would look like if we took WrestlingNewsWorld.com from a hobby to a full-time career. The family business wasn't exactly booming as the housing market was on the brink of collapse (people weren't building houses/so they weren't purchasing lumber and hardware) and big chains like Lowes and Home Depot dominated the business that was there.
We decided to give it a try after graduating in May 2007. Little did we know, the first story we would have to cover would be the Benoit family tragedy, which I'll admit, was a very challenging thing to have to do out of the gate. Let's face it, we're here to talk wrestling and all the fun things that go with it. Suicide/double murder isn't exactly uplifting or what I signed up to cover.
As the website transitioned from part-time hobby to a full-time occupation, I developed a vision for Wrestling News World. I wanted a place where the reader could go to get accurate pro wrestling news and in-depth analysis. There is no shortage of pro wrestling websites on the Internet. It seems a new one pops up every day with the same content, just a different logo and design. There were some reputable publications that I felt did a good job but I felt my brother and I had an opportunity to create something different. The first thing I knew that we needed to stand out was unique content. This is when I got in touch with some of the people I met in the late 90s/early 2000s that went on to work in the wrestling business. Some friends made it as far as WWE, working as creative consultants directly under Stephanie McMahon. Others went on to be successful independent promoters, wrestlers and referees.
I began getting my name out there and developing connections where I would have credible sources underneath me. As you know, this business is tricky because it's secretive. It's hard to get a foot in the door because no matter how many words I write, I will always be perceived as an outsider. That's why I went to friends that had taken bumps or promoted shows or set up and taken down the ring. We created a collective effort where I would be able to report the story behind the wall; a peek behind the curtain, while doing so with respect and passion for the business.
Our first big break came in January 2008 when Bobby Lashley, still under WWE contract, called our office and said that he was finished. It went from tip-toeing around to Bobby Lashley on the telephone!
I'll never forget when one of my sources provided me with the phone call that The Rock would be returning to WWE to guest host Wrestlemania XXVII. I had the privilege of interviewing WWE Hall of Famer Edge, meeting Mick Foley backstage, sitting side by side Jeff Jarrett and joking with Kofi Kingston.
It's been an incredible ride that all started with that dream in November 1999. I don't claim to be a pro wrestling (or Sports Entertainment) expert; I've never taken my first bump in the ring. My hat is off to anyone that dedicates his or her life to being on the road 300 days out of the year and sheds blood, sweat and tears for the business we all love. I never planned to do this, it just happened. I used my dream and passion for pro wrestling, along with an Internet connection, to pursue the business from a different angle. That angle is working independently as a journalist that spends the majority of my life typing. As with any profession, there are ups and downs but when I see the names I grew up idolizing, reading, commenting and asking questions, I'm still blown away.
In Ask WNW, I don't aim to provide definitive answers. Sure, I can let someone know what I've heard (like plans for Ryback before he comes back) or give my thoughts (like how Rusev won me over) but more than anything else, I try to start the conversation. It's not so much questions and answers as it is questions and responses. The comment area is full of brilliant minds, people that love pro wrestling just looking for a place to give their thoughts or submit their ideas. It's always easier to sit behind a computer and play Monday morning quarterback, so I always try to caution the Internet makes the WWE creative process seem much easier than it truly is.
It's my vision to cover the wrestling business with a humble attitude, giving it the respect it deserves. My qualifications and credentials don't include multiple title reigns. I've never applied for job with WWE and like our buddy Josh Mathews, I wouldn't be interested. I don't even have a degree in journalism. What I do have is a passion for the business, a record of aiming for accuracy and a dream of impacting an industry I grew up on.
I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story but more than anything else, I appreciate your participation in our website's most popular feature. I look forward to the day I can cover your WWE Hall of Fame induction where you can take your rightful place as a member of the one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
Roman Reigns is advertised for WWE live events on 12/26 in Chicago and 12/28 in Pittsburgh. Is that a good sign that he'll return in December?
Yes, you are correct in that Roman Reigns is advertised for WWE holiday live events on December 26 and December 28 in Chicago and Pittsburgh respectively. This is a great sign he'll be back before the end of the year after undergoing emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia in September. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Reigns is being advertised locally for the Royal Rumble match at the pay-per-view next year.
It's important to note this advance promotional material is subject to change but it does provide hope that his return will happen at some point in December. I've been told since the days after his surgery that WWE was confident Reigns would be cleared to return in December but could hold him off TV until Royal Rumble. The fact he's advertised for shows in December isn't surprising because it follows that initial timeline laid out here.
Can you confirm 100% that Daniel Bryan needs Tommy John surgery?
No, I cannot confirm that Daniel Bryan needs elbow surgery. A new development occurred in a segment taped with Big Show for this week's episode of Smackdown that you can read about at this link. Bryan was with Darren Young, his wife Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon at a WWE appearance in Santa Clara, CA on Tuesday. We covered it at this link.
The last I heard about Bryan's health was that he had not regained the strength in his arm and wouldn't be medically cleared to return until he did. Bryan himself said in a promotional interview earlier this year that doctors wanted to take the nerve along his elbow and put it under his forearm muscle. This following the cervical foraminotomy he had in May.
Rumors Bryan could be facing a second surgery resurfaced earlier this month, as we covered at this link. Right now, we'll wait for Bryan to confirm before reporting further.
If The Rock works Wrestlemania 31, if not Brock Lesnar, who are some potential opponents you could see him face?
I believe The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar is the biggest match possible for Wrestlemania 31. In fact, it's getting to the point where it would be a mistake not to do it. If John Cena fails to recapture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Lesnar, who is to be perceived as capable of beating him? While some will make the argument for Roman Reigns, I have a hard time believing it won't be The Rock. Personally, I would prefer the belt off Lesnar for a potential match against Rock at Wrestlemania 31.
As for other opponents, we'd have to look hard down WWE's roster and determine someone that could have a good program with The Rock. Bray Wyatt comes to mind as a possible solution but he went under to Cena this year, does he really need to go under to The Rock next? This of course is under the assumption Rock isn't coming back to lose.
Rumors have been swirling that the Elimination Chamber PPV could possibly be moving to June to replace Payback and used to set up the main event at SummerSlam. Is there any truth to this, and do you think the move would be beneficial?
I was told earlier in the week that WWE was looking to move Elimination Chamber and replace it with a show apparently called WWE Fast Lane. However, I cannot confirm that and can only state it as a rumor at this point. Apparently the idea is with only one world title and the Royal Rumble determining the No. 1 contender for Wrestlemania, a second No. 1 contender bout [in the Elimination Chamber structure] isn't needed. I do not have details on when WWE will hold Elimination Chamber or anything further about its potential replacement in February.
From the Ask WNW vault…
January 2013: How do the superstars refer to one another when the cameras aren’t on? Do they call each other by their legal name, or by their character? - It really just depends on the person. For example, would you even know who I was talking about if I said the name Michael Hickenbottom? Above, I just referenced Pat Patterson (real name Pierre Clermont). I’ve got a funny story to disclose on this question. Four years ago I was conducting some interviews for use on the website. When booking names I would often go through a worker’s agent to get in touch with them. Well, I wanted to be as professional as possible without sounding like a mark so I emailed one agent and asked to book Nick Cvjetkovich (better known as Kizarny or Sinn Bodhi). The agent said when they read the email they thought, who in the hell is Nick Cvjetkovich?
What's the reasoning behind WWE moving all of their pay-per-views to the WWE Network?
WWE needed to offer a major incentive to fans to entice them to subscribe to the WWE Network so the decision was made to transition their pay-per-view model to a subscription model. It's very different and going through growing pains but I absolutely understand why it was done. Pay-per-view is outdated and buys had been on the decline aside from the yearly "pop of Wrestlemania." The idea is more people will subscribe to the Network than will order the pay-per-views and it will give WWE more control over their programming. Further, it creates a degree of stabilization along with opportunities to monetize their audience that were not there previously.
I don't want to focus so much on the financials because they are complex and involve multiple elements but the model makes sense. George Barrios, WWE CFO, stated just hours ago that live programming is the most-watched content on the WWE Network, a fact that's been continuously reiterated. Without original live content, especially content like the pay-per-views the core WWE audience is familiar with, it would be very difficult to market and promote the WWE Network.
All and all, the pay-per-views are the most attractive element of the WWE Network and are the reason why user engagement is so high. It was imperative WWE transition the pay-per-views to their Network if it was going to work. Again, there are growing pains but I believe this is the right direction.
With the announcement of subscribers still low, is it time to change the marketing of the WWE Network? When they first started, it was like Netflix in that they talked about all the content as user would get. Now, it's about making you feel dumb for buying a PPV.
I think it's safe to say WWE isn't going to make their target of one million domestic WWE Network subscribers by the end of the year. The company is trying to increase "subs" by offering simplified pricing plans, launching in the United Kingdom and providing new content and features. They're trying to further monetize the service by including limited advertisements. While people aren't subscribing to the WWE Network as quickly as the company had hoped, total paid subscribers are still growing. I think that's a very important point to keep in mind. If the numbers were declining, I would say WWE is in big trouble but growth -- even at 4% -- is still growth.
My personal opinion is the WWE Network is poorly marketed. There is too much emphasis on it being $9.99 without explaining the quality of the service. Maybe things will get better now that the service will soon be $9.99/month across the board but I don't think price should even be a factor. I've pointed time and time again to Wrestlemania being the most expensive pay-per-view but the most bought. I've also explained how we market WNW Premium here at the website. While I believe our prices and plans are both affordable and flexible for any budget, I don't believe that's the reason you should sign up. I believe you should sign up because it's a great product. You get a lot of value for your money.
I believe lost in $9.99 is the WWE Network is a valuable product -- even for a causal fan. You get every pay-per-view, original WWE content, outstanding NXT live specials and other live programs along with a vast and expansive video on demand library. Further proof WWE isn't properly relaying this message is how they bizarrely shame people that buy their pay-per-views on a traditional basis. Isn't that proof enough that people don't care about the price if they are interested in the product?
You mentioned in Wednesday's Ask WNW about who else -- besides Brock Lesnar -- The Rock could face at Wrestlemania 31. What about Triple H?
I believe there would be an opportunity to do Triple H vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 31 and one could say the groundwork has already been laid by the segment on the 15th Anniversary special of Smackdown. The reason I am beginning to favor Brock Lesnar vs. Rock above all other matches has to do with the strength in which Lesnar has been booked. If he goes over Cena for a third straight match, I don't see an opponent outside of Rock that could be booked to have a believable chance at stopping him. I know this goes against any scenario of Roman Reigns returning, winning the Royal Rumble and challenging Lesnar but if Cena can't stop him, how are we logically supposed to expect Reigns to do in one match what Cena couldn't do in three?
I like Rusev. I've been on board with him as a wrestler since the NXT days and became more a fan when they stopped feeding him squashes with the Big E program. My question is: What's he got that Cesaro doesn't that warrants a consistent push and constant protection.
The only thing Rusev has that Cesaro doesn't is an opportunity. It's not that Cesaro hasn't had them before -- he has -- but not near at the level of Rusev. As you mentioned, Rusev is in the midst of a protected push but not only that, the direction has been very clear from day one (once they figured out where to bill him from). WWE put Cesaro over in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 and then tried to force feed him as a heel with Paul Heyman, even though it was obvious he was breaking out as a babyface. One step forward and two steps back.
Former WWE star John Morrison was recently asked what it was going to take for Dolph Ziggler to get a main event push. He said something I found very true and is success in wrestling is usually a combination of luck and skill. Cesaro has plenty of skill but needs some things to go his way. It's all going Rusev's way right now, so it's imperative that he take full advantage of it.
Take Daniel Bryan as another example. All of the talent in the world, overcomes numerous obstacles, essentially forces WWE to push him as their top guy and is sidelined indefinitely with a serious injury. Success in wrestling is a combination of luck and skill.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: Why is Tensai getting buried almost every week, I always liked the guy, and think he’s a great worker, but is somewhat feels like they re-signed him to put over other talent. - WWE re-signed Matt Bloom to push him as Lord Tensai, an effective heel in the Raw main event scene. Remember his pinfall victory against John Cena? The problem is he couldn’t get over, even after several tweaks were made to the gimmick. As things currently stand he’s been used in an enhancement role and more comedy as they try and find a spot for him. Bloom wasn’t seen as a guy they had to develop but someone they were hoping could come in and fill a main event role. To put it bluntly, it just didn’t work out as hoped.
What are the official backstage roles of Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble and how was it decided they would be used on screen in this storyline?
Both Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble work backstage as producers in WWE. While it's a role Noble has been in for years now, Mercury was promoted last year. As we reported here on Wrestling News World, Mercury had been working as a developmental trainer and producer in NXT but received high marks and was promoted to the main roster. As for them being selected as the corporate stooges on TV, I haven't heard how they landed the gig. If I had to guess it would be that every time they made a cameo, they trended Twitter and someone had an idea to give them recurring roles. I see it as a throwback to the days of Brisco and Patterson and am very high up on it.
Since Brock Lesnar has only defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena, do you think there's still a big rub for the person that goes over him?
It's safe to say Brock Lesnar isn't being booked as a fighting champion. In September, I penned a lengthy article about five believable and credible babyface challengers for Lesnar, hoping he would be utilized more often as they went from Hell in a Cell to Wrestlemania 31. Instead, he's been removed from TV until later this year and will likely miss his second straight pay-per-view in Survivor Series.
Because of this, WWE is going to have to be very careful with how they book Lesnar after John Cena. As I stated on Thursday, if Brock goes over Cena a third time, then they pretty much have to do Rock vs. Brock at Wrestlemania 31. Any idea of using Brock to transfer the rub of the streak to an up and coming worker is pretty much out the window if he goes over Cena on a third pay-per-view.
Will we ever see Lana wrestle in WWE?
Lana has had training as a professional wrestler [in NXT under Sara Del Rey] but she was paired with Rusev from the get go. She does not come from a pro wrestling background but was an actress, dancer and a spokesmodel for Red Bull. At this point I am unaware of any plans for her to actually wrestle and feel she is much better utilized in her current role as valet/manager. Lana is fantastic on the mic and I believe she should continue to be utilized to her strengths. What would be the point in taking a "natural" on the mic and putting her in a position that could damage her credibility? If it's not broke, don't fix it.
I don't get why people are so upset with the dirty finish between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. I am nowhere near disappointed and felt it was a great match. Why not focus on the positives over the negative?
I set my expectations for Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose at Hell in a Cell far too high. I went in expecting a Match of the Year candidate and I hardly ever do that. It's just I know what these two are capable of and I got the feeling from comments made by both they had "something to prove." However, like many of our readers, I was disappointed and it wasn't just the dirty finish. The spot off the cage where they both went through announce tables was not well executed. Sure, they both took crazy bumps but it clearly looked like Ambrose just jumped off on his own. I understand he wanted to make sure he went through the table and didn't miss but the camera angle ruined it.
Bumps like that are so risky and carry potentially devastating consequences to have it come off as forced and contrived is just very disappointing. Given the fact they started the match with the biggest spot, everything else they did was a letdown. I guess that was intentional given the planned dirty finish but it just didn't work for me.
Randy Orton vs. John Cena had a much better Hell in a Cell match and easily won Match of the Night. It's not that I want to focus on the negatives but it's important that I evaluate everything as I see it and not give Ambrose and Rollins a pass because of who they are or what they are capable of. The fact of the matter is many expected them to outdo Randy and John and they just didn't. WWE's 1A and 1B did what stars do and that's step up when called upon. Whether it was booking or execution, Rollins and Ambrose didn't tear the house down.
As for the dirty finish, I've always maintained that pay-per-views should be utilized to blowoff programs not build to free TV. That's why I prefer clean outcomes, even at $9.99. If WWE wants fans to subscribe to the WWE Network under the premise the pay-per-views are must-see, they have to do all they can to actually make them must-see. It doesn't help that the Night of Champions main event had a dirty finish and Hell in a Cell was already heavily criticized because it did not feature a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
WWE had to have known the finish was going to be controversial and they even surveyed their Fan Council about it afterwards.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: I know it’s still very early on in their WWE careers and you don’t like answering questions like this, but if you could only pick one, who do you think has the brightest future? Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, The Shield, Big E Langston? In my opinion I think they all have bright furthers, but there’s just something about Cesaro that reads face of the company to me. - What I don’t like about this question is it’s impossible to give a satisfactory response. We haven’t seen enough of any of them (in WWE) to gauge their longevity. It’s also important to remember that looks can be deceiving as two years ago Wade Barrett seemed ready to break out and heading into 2013, he’s nothing more than a midcard talent. However, based on what we have seen, Antonio Cesaro is the “right now” prospect high on the WWE radar but even he has many hurdles to cross before entering the main event. Sandow is a guy Vince McMahon likes but he hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential. The Shield tore down the house at WWE TLC in a match of the year candidate although it’s still a very small body of work to make any sort of long-term judgment. I’m unable to judge Big E Langston at all until I at least see him work a match.