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What WWE Officials Thought Of CM Punk vs. Ryback, Beth Phoenix Leaves WWE, Major Development In Steve Austin Working Wrestlemania, Goldberg Not A Fan Of HHH, Undertaker To Miss Wrestlemania?, Aces & 8's Member Revealed, Ask WNW Archive

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Welcome to the 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 27, 2012 to Friday, November 2, 2012 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

WWE News

- Lilian Garcia is in stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital after being struck by a car on Friday afternoon. Dot com reports that Garcia suffered "multiple contusions and lacerations" on the left side of her body, but she is expected to make a full recovery. Lilian's neck has been immobilized as she undergoes overnight evaluation. Garcia and her husband Christopher Jozeph live in Los Angeles where Jozeph has launched a men's contemporary fashion line called VoKARE.

- Alberto Del Rio teamed with his real-life brother, Memo Montenegro, and Ricardo Rodriguez in the main event of Friday night's NXT Wrestling show in West Palm Beach, FL against Leo Kruger, Corey Graves & Kassius Ohno.

- Speaking of the show in West Palm Beach, PAC worked the show against Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins beat Luke Harper (formerly known as Brodie Lee)

- To address the multitude of emails we've received regarding Ric Flair possibly returning to WWE, here's the latest. Flair's contract with TNA Wrestling expired in September although he made his first post-TNA appearance at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" in August. We first noted in May that Flair was looking to return to WWE. Flair's desire to return was heavily influenced by his daughter Ashley signing a WWE developmental contract. We were told Flair at the time was exploring his options both on and off screen to return to WWE in hopes he'd be able to keep a closer eye on his daughter's career. This resulted in TNA filing a lawsuit against WWE on allegations of contract tampering. A hiring freeze was then enacted in WWE where they refused to hire any talent with expiring TNA contracts. Not only that but the company has shied away from signing any worker employed in TNA while Brian Wittenstein (also being sued in the same lawsuit by TNA) worked there as an office employee. Last week, we heard again that Flair "fully intends" to return to WWE and was waiting on the ongoing litigation to be resolved. We were told the feeling was if the issues weren't resolved soon that WWE would "get creative" to find a way to bring him back. With WWE Raw taking place in Flair's hometown of Charlotte, NC next Monday night there's a lot of buzz it could mark the return of Flair to WWE television. We have not heard that although when we broke the news WWE was looking to replace AJ Lee as the Raw General Manager in September, we noted Flair's name was brought up in the angle in addition to Vickie Guerrero. However, adding to the litigation/contract issues, there was concern about putting Flair in a situation where he would have a live mic although it wasn't completely dismissed either.

- Next Thursday, November 1, 2012 WWE will report their 2012 quarter three earnings before the stock market open at 9:30 AM ET. A conference call with investors hosted by Vince Mahon will follow at 11:00 AM EDT. While earnings are always notable because they unveil how the company is doing finically as well as update the public on pay-per-view buyrates, next week's call holds special significance for the WWE Network. In August, Vince told investors they hoped to have an announcement for the WWE Network on the next conference call. Investors have begun to get restless regarding the impending WWE Network as they see the company spending with no plan for distribution and/or format being disclosed. WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios confirmed in August said they had mulled over three models including a broad/basic distribution, a pay TV format and a third "over-the-top" format. He did not elaborate further which resulted in an investor telling the company they could do better for their investors. We've been all over the development of the WWE Network including reporting on two scenarios for the WWE Network to premiere as an online-only platform. One of these deals turned into WWE's multi-year agreement with Hulu that is already in effect. I will be on the call Thursday with Vince McMahon and we'll report whatever information is disclosed immediately.

- WWE has added a somewhat disturbing update on Lilian Garciahere on dot com. The official website, who originally reported her condition as "stable," now says her "condition is unknown." They also removed their original line that Lilian was expected to make a full recovery. Garcia, who is the ring announcer for Smackdown, suffered multiple contusions and lacerations on the left side of her body after being struck by a car in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Her husband, Christopher Jozeph, told WWE that everyone is "praying for her full recovery."

- We heard going into the weekend there were plans to extend Big Show vs. Sheamus past Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, however, there has been talk about taking the World Heavyweight Championship off Sheamus. This would either mean Show goes over Sheamus and leaves the pay-per-view the champion or Dolph Ziggler ends up "cashing in" his Money in the Bank briefcase. Officials weren't set on the direction they planned on going and I can tell you there has been talk of Ziggler "cashing in" at almost every pay-per-view since winning the briefcase.

- I had a chance to read through Batista's feature article in the November 2012 issue of Muscle & Fitness. The feature is packed with newsworthy bits but below are some of the quotes from Batista that I found of particular interest:

"Vince [McMahon, chairman of WWE] wanted to make it more of a PG-rated show… and nothing reads PG about me."

"They wanted to sell the all-American poster boy, and that's not me"

"They weren't offering me any more movie roles or commercials. I always believed that professional wrestling needed a certain violence - an edge- and they took that away. So, I didn't believe in what I was doing anymore."

Note from Richard: I found the movie comment interesting because remember Batista was originally cast for a starring role in a WWE Studios film but ended up being replaced by Triple H.

There were also some quick hits which I will recap in their entirety:

Life in the road as a wrestler…

"It was hard, but I got used to it. I actually freaked out one night when I was home. My wife at the time started moving in bed and I hit her because I thought I was in a hotel somewhere and somebody had jumped into bed with me. That's how programmed I got to being on the road. She started crying and I started crying. I felt really bad about it.

Telling Vince McMahon he was leaving the WWE…

"I said I might like to come back. He gave me his blessing. He wasn't happy that I was going, but he left the door open for me to return, and wished me luck."

For more on Muscle & Fitness, including details on how you can subscribe, click here.

- Former independent standout PAC'sWWE ring name is Ben Sacilly which is a play on his real name of Ben Saterrly. His profile is not yet available on the official NXT Wrestling website.

- Brandon Locke, Dave Cole, Elia Markopoulos, Julian Starr, Kristian Frost, Mark Shurman and Tony Delfonzo from Chaotic Wrestling were the "security guards" used in the closing segment of last week's Smackdown. Markopoulos is of particular note because he competed in a TNA Gut Check segment in September.

- has an article online featuring quotes from WWE Champion CM Punk to promote Hell in a Cell. Click here to read it.

- Jim Ross was on the sideline of the Oklahoma Sooners during their loss against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Norman on Saturday. JR left Oklahoma City Sunday morning en route to Atlanta, Georgia for the pay-per-view.

- Dot com has a new article online looking at the "fastest rises in WWE history." Click here to read it.

- I'm told even if Kane & Daniel Bryan end up going under to the Rhodes Scholars there aren't plans to breakup Team Hell No just yet. Vince McMahon really likes the team and sees Bryan as very diverse right now.

- While not confirmed, the plan going into the weekend was for Randy Orton to go over Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell.

- Vince McMahon is said to be pushing for another true tag team and is very impatient and already wants to push Damien Sandow (which would obviously result in breaking him apart from Cody Rhodes). One source mentioned the "blow out" Vince had with Cena and the decline in ratings and said it was seen as a wakeup call that WWE needs to build more stars and they need them now. In the words of my source, Vince knows the next eight months are critical.

- There continues to be a lot of optimism regarding the company's developmental system. Many see the roster as loaded with Dean Ambrose, Kassius Ohno, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas and Xavier Woods. Triple H is said to be half the reason the company is taking their time with their stocked system as it's his baby moving forward.

- Lilian Garica's husband Chris Jozeph made his first public comment regarding the health of his wife on Sunday via Twitter. Below is Jozeph's Tweet:

Dot com reported on Saturday that Lilian Garcia was hit by a car in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. In their original report, WWE noted Lilian was in "stable" condition and was expected to make a full recovery.

The company updated their report Saturday night, removing that she was expected to make a full recovery and said her condition is "unknown."

- Shad Gaspard is set to appear in a new film Eisenberg-Fisher is Executive Producing called "King Dog." The film stars DMX, Akon and Ruby Dee and is to be written and directed by Curtis Nichouls. The flick is based on the true story of a hardcore US gang member becoming a gang enforcer for the police.

- Dolph Ziggler, working on Tout, says he's sick of John Cena. You can watch his latest at this link.

- WWE Champion CM Punk told he hopes "Macho Man" Randy Savage will one day be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

- Tony Chimel worked as the ring announcer for the Smackdown part of WWE Hell in a Cell, filling in for Lilian Garcia.

- WWE announced that Raw will return to the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, February 4, 2013.

- Ron Simmons made a cameo at WWE Hell in a Cell during a segment with Zack Ryder and Santino Marella dressed up in Halloween costumes. As he watched Santino, dressed as Lady Gaga, dance beside Ryder, who was dressed as a witch, he let out a big DAMN!.

- Sin Cara was shaken up in his match with Rey Mysterio against The Prime Time Players at WWE Hell in a Cell. The injury occurred when Cara flipped over and tried to give Titus O'Neil a DDT. Cara botched it and landed on his head. Trainers came out after the match and assessed Cara before he went to the back.

- WWE announced on Sunday night here on dot com that Lilian Garcia has been released from an LA hospital.

Garica's husband Christopher Jozeph told the official website:

"Lilian has been released from the LA hospital, but is still under medical watch due to her body injuries," he said. "The love, support and prayers from our immediate family, our friends and the WWE family and Universe is extremely heartfelt and strengthening during this unfortunate time."

Michael Cole acknowledged Lilian at Hell in a Cell, adding she returned home in a neckbrace.

Lilian was struck by a car in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Dot com gave everyone a scare when changed her condition from "stable" to "unknown."

- Big Show beat Sheamus to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Hell in a Cell.

- Sheamus wrote the following on Twitter:

- WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston wrote the following on Twitter:

- WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres wrote the following on Twitter:

- Justin Gabriel wrote the following on Twitter:

- NBC has announced they will broadcast a one-hour special of WWE Tribute to the Troops 2012 on Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 9 PM. The original airing of the show will be two hours on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9 PM on the USA Network.

- WWE Raw will take place tonight from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The no-long "undefeated" Ryback is advertised to face WWE Champion CM Punk in the dark match main event. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- John Layfield posted some cool backstage photos from Hell in a Cell on his Facebook page that you can view at this link.

- Alberto Del Rio was teased backstage for his huge blown spot during his match against Randy Orton. Del Rio's stock continues to fall as he's had heat for months.

- Sin Cara was fine backstage after landing on his head and it's not believed he suffered a concussion.

- Both Big Show and Sheamus were praised for their match at Hell in a Cell with many of their co-workers coming up to them and telling them they had the match of the night. The plan all week was for Sheamus to drop the belt but the original plan was for Dolph Ziggler to "cash in" the Money in the Bank briefcase. The plan was dropped as the company is exploring a potential Ziggler vs. John Cena program.

- I'm told WWE officials were "very upset" with how CM Punk vs. Ryback came across on TV at Hell in a Cell. There were plans at one point to involve Brock Lesnar in the match but they were dropped because the company didn't want to burn through an unannounced Lesnar date. The major problem now encountered is there is little followup to Punk vs. Ryback without doing a rematch and they are booked into a corner again. A near mishap occurred after Punk took Shellshock on the cage as he made sure to roll to the support barriers because the cage wasn't holding well and he was afraid it might give. There was a spot earlier in the match where a chair was slammed into Punk's face and he reportedly was going to juice but lost the gig. This is why referee Brad Maddox put gloves on because he was expecting color from Punk.

- The official WWE website has a short video posted in which Dolph Ziggler explains why he did not cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE Hell in a Cell. He criticizes John Cena for announcing when he would cash in his briefcase, and calls those who believed his promise "sheep." Click here to watch the video.

- WWE Headquarters was closed Monday due to concerns from Hurricane Sandy in Stamford, CT and the surrounding area.

- After having last weekend off, the entire WWE roster is headed overseas following Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This week's Smackdown taping will be the final WWE show in the United States until Raw in Columbus, Ohio on November 12th.

- If you missed Richard Reacts to WWE Hell in a Cell, it's available for everyone to listen at this link.

- Last week's Smackdown did a 1.93 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,820,000 viewers on SyFy.

- has a new Q&A online with World Heavyweight Champion Big Show to promote Tuesday's release of WWE '13. Below is an excerpt:

You’re currently locked in a feud with Sheamus. Have you been impressed by the big man’s skills in the ring?

I’m really impressed with Sheamus. The thing about Sheamus is he’s very, very physical. He’s a brawler. He’s strong, he’s hungry, and if he’s smart, he’ll learn to avoid my right fist. [laughs]

You’ve been around the ring a long time. Is there anyone left who qualifies as a dream match for you?

I’d like to have one more match with The Undertaker. He was very influential in my career and always one of my favorites, so I’d like to have one more run with him. I’d like to have another match with Stone Cold. I’m a big fan of Stone Cold, both as a person and as a talent, so I’d like another run with Steve. I wouldn’t mind getting another shot at The Rock, either. Any of those three guys in a high-profile, main-event match would be pretty exciting, and a pretty good payday, too.

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- It was announced on this week's WWE Raw that Jerry Lawler will return to the show on commentary in two weeks on the November 12th episode from Columbus, Ohio. Lawler has been off commentary since suffering a heart attack during the September 10, 2012 episode of Raw where he was administered CPR to resuscitate him.

- Beth Phoenix finished up with WWE on this week's Raw. As the storyline goes, Beth was rolled up by AJ Lee for a loss but Vickie Guerrero came out and ordered the match restarted. Beth went over AJ after the restart. Later on in the show Vickie informed Beth in a backstage promo because she didn't take care of the job the first time she was "fired." In reality, Beth's WWE contract is up at the end of this month and she chose not to re-sign. We first reported Beth was leaving at this link and provided further clarification she would be working through October at this link.

- A Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match was announced for the pay-per-view on this week's WWE Raw. The match is as follows:

Team CM Punk
- CM Punk, The Miz, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow & Alberto Del Rio


Team Mick Foley
- Ryback, Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan, Kane & Randy Orton

WWE Survivor Series 2012 will take place Sunday, November 18, 2012 from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

- After this week's WWE Raw went off the air, Ryback remained in the ring while CM Punk made his way back out to defend the WWE Title in a dark match. During the match, Paul Heyman distracted Ryback when he had Punk in the Shell Shock position. Punk's Survivor Series team ran out and attacked Ryback. It caused the match to end in a disqualification. When Punk's team attacked Ryback, Foley's Survivor Series team came out for the save. Both teams ended up in a brawl. Ryback threw Punk back in the ring and he hit the Shell Shock to end the night.

- reviews WWE '13 at this link. The game officially hit stores in the United States on Tuesday.

- Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, who is reportedly on the trading block, was backstage at this week's WWE Raw in Charlotte, North Carolina.

- The US Marine Corps is opposing WWE's trademark to "Marine: Homefront." They have until December 12th to file or request another 90-day extension that was granted last month. You can follow along with the protest on this trademark as well as look up all kinds of information at this link.

- Dot com did a video interview with Beth Phoenix discussing her "firing" from WWE. Beth, while working, says thank you to everyone for the opportunity. You can watch it at this link. As previously noted, Beth's contract is up at the end of the month and chose not to re-sign.

Below are Twitter reactions from Eve Torres and Matt Striker:

- I'm told WWE has "given up" on trying to get Steve Austin to work a dream match at Wrestlemania 29 next year. The match would be Austin vs. CM Punk and I'm told Austin was willing to put Punk over so the finish isn't the issue. My source says Austin and WWE are "just too far apart on money." While Austin is willing to work one more match, he's only willing to come back for what he considers to be the main event match with main event money. From WWE's perspective, they aren't going to spend severn figures on Austin for one match, which is what he wants. The fact that Brock Lesnar and The Rock are already working Wrestlemania under big money deals, there is no urgency to overpay for Austin's services. From Austin's perspective, he's not desperate to return and unless the spot he's being offered is the type of spot that's going to pay him seven figures, he'd rather keep sitting out. Just to illustrate how far apart they are on money, Austin would be looking for approximately $1.5 million as a one night payoff, whereas WWE probably wouldn't go much higher than $500,000. So it's not even close. As things stand right now, Steve Austin vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29 is very unlikely unless one side completely caves. Those close to Austin say he's not going to budge on the money, so as far as WWE is concerned, it's no longer an option for next year's show.

- Derrick Bateman underwent knee surgery on Tuesday. You can follow his progress here on Twitter.

- WWE issued a press release regarding the release of WWE '13. Click here to read it.

- Speaking of WWE press releases, here's one regarding their $1,000,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

- Beth Phoenix's profile has been moved to the Alumni section on the official WWE website.

- For those disappointed Ric Flair didn't return to WWE on this week's Raw, we ran a full update over the weekend at this link. While the feeling is Flair will be back in WWE, the ongoing litigation with TNA has prevented a deal from getting done. Flair has told friends if the legal issues aren't settled soon they will "get creative" to bring him back but no timetable is available. Ric was not at this week's show.

- Bill Goldberg took questions from followers Tuesday on Twitter. Below are the highlights:

Do you think you and Triple H will ever make peace?

We're from two different planets.

What's the biggest positive you can take away from your year-long WWE run, if anything?

The fans

Are you friends with Shawn Michaels?


With others "cutting it" in their 40's do you think it's wise to step back into the ring?

Tough call I'm struggling with

How does it feel when fans chant your name after so many years?

Unbelievably honored.

Do you like Triple H?

Funniest question all day.

What do you think about Randy Orton?

I always liked him

Do you like Brock Lesnar?

One of the few I still communicate with. Awesome dude.

Do you like Batista?

I wish him the best

Is there any possibility of seeing you in a wrestling ring again?


Do you like John Cena?

Seems like a great kid.

Who do you like more - CM Punk or Mick Foley?

Foley hands down

You can follow Goldberg on Twitter @Goldberg.

- Joey Styles Tweeted that Beth Phoenix was the most all around talented woman wrestler/Diva in WWE history. You can follow Styles on Twitter @JoeyStyles.

- WWE has announced a live event from the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria, Louisiana on Saturday, January 12, 2013.

- Steve Austin will be on Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures Tuesday night at 11:30 PM on the Outdoor Channel. Click here for more.

- WWE sent out the following kayfabe update on referee Brad Maddox to mobile alert subscribers:

Maddox Found: Suspended WWE ref Brad Maddox, who disappeared following HIAC, has resurfaced. Tune in to Main Event on ION, Wed. at 8/7 CT for further news.

- Edge, who lives in North Carolina, was backstage at this week's WWE Raw from Charlotte. Beth Phoenix, who is Edge's real-life girlfriend, posted the following photo of the couple together "seconds before" her last match against AJ Lee:

- WWE just announced that The Big Show will defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus at WWE Survivor Series.

- The Score in Canada will air next week's SuperSmackdown at 8 PM ET on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

- Next week's WWE Main Event will be headlined by Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett.

- After this week's Smackdown taping ended, Sheamus challenged Big Show to a match for the dark main event but it didn't happen. Sheamus ended up knocking Show out with the Brogue Kick to send the crowd home happy.

- WWE has announced a live event from the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia on Sunday, February 3, 2013.

- Former WWE Senior VP of Digital Operations, Jason Hoch, is now working for the Web Platform provider Echo where WWE is a client.

- WWE has everyone confused on their taping schedule in late December. Here's how things stand:

  • On Sunday, December 16, 2012 WWE will hold their TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view from the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
  • On Monday, December 17, 2012 WWE Raw will take place live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
  • On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 WWE will air a SuperSmackdown Live special from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA. It's also believed the company will tape next week's Raw the same night.
  • On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 WWE will tape the following week's WWE Main Event (12/26) and Smackdown (12/28) from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York

We will update if these plans change as it should be noted this is just the tentative schedule.

- Following our update regarding Steve Austin being "counted out" for Wrestlemania 29 next year, we have more bad news. I'm told The Undertaker is talking seriously about sitting out next year's show, which would be the first Wrestlemania he has missed since Wrestlemania 2000. I'm told Undertaker feels he only has "one or two big matches" left in him and unless WWE has something that is going to lead to a huge payoff, he'd rather sit out and wait. One source, speaking to me under the condition of anonymity, says Undertaker is pretty upset right now and feels neglected. He wanted a match against Brock Lesnar but I'm told Triple H wants Brock for himself. Undertaker isn't alone as I'm told Lesnar would prefer to face The Dead Man as well because he feels it's a bigger money match than a SummerSlam rematch against Triple H. There are those in the company in favor of Lesnar vs. Ryback at Wrestlemania, but with Hunter wanting Brock for himself, the match Triple H favors for Wrestlemania is Ryback vs. Undertaker. This one is even trickier as it would likely entail trying to convince Undertaker to go under to Ryback. This wouldn't be near as easy as CM Punk over Austin as Undertaker feels he days of main event Wrestlemania paydays are over when the streak ends. If he wants to work Wrestlemania past next year, talking him into doing a job is not going to be easy. While it only takes one injury or a change in plans to swap everything around, it's looking more and more like next year's Wrestlemania won't include Austin or Undertaker.

- WWE Champion CM Punk, never at a loss for words, said in a radio interview while promoting Hell in a Cell he feels a match between himself and Steve Austin is a bigger match than a bout between himself and The Rock. Will Punk vs. Austin happen at Wrestlemania 29? We have the latest at this link.

- There are plans for a Wrestlemania 29 kickoff party at Bryant Park in New York City on November 10, 2012. Scheduled appearances include Booker T, Bret Hart, Mick Foley, Sgt. Slaughter, Alicia Fox, Mark Henry and Aksana.

- Tamina Snuka, who is currently out with an injury, continues to train in preparation for her in-ring return.

- Variety is reporting that Anchor Bay Films has picked up the distribution rights to WWE Studios' horror pic "No One Lives," starring Luke Evans. Other upcoming WWE Studios films include "Dead Man Down" starring Colin Farrell, "The Hive" starring Halle Berry, Scooby-Doo flick "The Curse of the Shot Bear!" with Warner Brothers Animation and "The Marine: Homefront" and "12 Rounds: Reloaded" as direct-to-DVD titles with Fox. Click here for more.

- Matt Striker wrote the following on Twitter

- Jim Ross wrote that in addition to Edge, Rene Goulet was backstage at this week's WWE Raw. He also notedthat he will be doing some promotional work this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. You can read JR's latest at this link.

- TMZ is reporting that former WWE Diva Amy Weber released a full spread of naked photos originally shot for Playboy this week. The reason Weber decided to release the unpublished photos is she had her laptop stolen last week that included the pics. Rather than have the thief leak them, Weber decided to do it on her own terms.

- WWE has announced the following dates for 2013 in Italy:

  • Smackdown live event from the Unipol Arena in Bologna, Italy on April 25, 2013
  • Smackdown live event from the PalaTrieste Arena in Trieste, Italy on April 26, 2013

- WWE furthered the referee Brad Maddox storyline on Wednesday evening. In a kayfabe article posted here on dot com, the company says Maddox has been "summoned to WWE Headquarters" in Stamford, Conn. to be questioned by a Board of Inquiry on Thursday morning.

- WWE will return to Paris, France on April 20, 2013 with a show from the Bercy Sports Palace. The company is currently in France for their annual overseas fall tour.

- John Cena returned to the ring at Wednesday's WWE live event in Strasbourg, France. As expected, Cena worked a match against Dolph Ziggler in which he went over. Cena hasn't worked since September after having surgery on his elbow.

- Scott Steiner was backstage at WWE Hell in a Cell last Sunday night visiting with friends.

- WWE released the official pay-per-view buyrate numbers for all shows in the third quarter of 2012 in their earnings release Thursday morning. They are as follows:

  • Money in the Bank - 188,000 buys (compared to 195,000 buys in 2011)
  • SummerSlam - 358,000 buys (compared to 296,000 buys in 2011)
  • Night of Champions - 189,000 buys (compared to 161,000 in 2011)

- In addition to Scott Steiner, Robert Gibson from The Rock 'N Roll Express was backstage visiting at WWE Hell in a Cell last Sunday.

- The first week sales of CM Punk: Best in the World were strong. The DVD moved a total of 28,938 total units.

- Vince McMahon just announced on a conference call with investors to discuss WWE's 2012 third quarter earnings that the WWE Network will be a premium subscription model and will be distributed by all the major players. He said it will be the most interactive network in the world and put over the tremendous amount of research the company has done in exploring formats. Later in the call, George Barrios said that he doesn't believe it's in the best interests of their shareholders at this time to discuss potential WWE Network launch dates. For those wondering what a premium subscription model is, you can compare it to that of networks like HBO or Showtime.

- Vince McMahon and WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios hosted a conference call on Thursday morning with investors to discuss the company's 2012 quarter three earnings. I was on the call on behalf of Below are the highlights:

Michael Weitz, from investors relations, opened the call by reading a prepared statement which included well wishes to everyone on the east coast.

Vince McMahon said the quarter was about where they expected it to be, maybe a little better. He discussed numbers being down but blamed it on home video and licensing being off, including the canceled WWE All-Stars video game. Vince put over pay-per-view buys being up and social media being "through the roof." He said the engagement they have with their audience will keep social media "through the roof." McMahon put over live event attendance being up and said television ratings are good for both Raw on the USA Network and Smackdown on SyFy as their respective network's top shows. He detailed the two and half additional hours of television and said the third hour of Raw is doing "extremely well."

Vince detailed the kid's show Saturday Morning Slam and WWE Main Event. He went into the WWE Studios projects including the new Scooby-Doo film and ABC Family film starring The Miz. He talked about the company's breast health awareness campaign with Susan G. Komen. He said they have extended their deal with the National Guard and talked about their new partnership distributed the Rolling Stones pay-per-view, which opens them to an older audience. He said Mattel is very happy with WWE sales. Vince said their mobile App is revolutionary and what they are going to be doing with it in the next three weeks is going to be interactive with their programming in something that's never been done before. He said it's had 2.5 million downloads in the last 90 days.

Vince made the biggest announcement of the day buy announcing the WWE Network will be a premium subscription model and will be distributed by all the major players. Vince said it will be the most interactive network in the world.

Vince then handed over the call to George Barrios who went over the results. You can read everything he went over at this link.

Barrios said that he doesn't believe it's in the best interests of their shareholders at this time to discuss potential WWE Network launch dates. The call was then handed over for questions:

What thinking has been done to mitigate any possible cannibalization from the WWE Network of pay-per-view buys or other existing revenue streams?

Vince says the network would not cannibalize pay-per-view sales. They've got two models for the WWE Network, one that includes pay-per-view and one that does not. Regardless, the network will be an add-on. Vince said what is good for WWE is good for their current TV deals and said Smackdown's contract with SyFy is coming up for negotiation first.

Vince acknowledged that different portions of their fan base want different things from the network. He said this is why we will see a blended amount of content featured on the WWE Network but would not go into specifics.

How much additional spending will need to happen for the WWE Network to launch?

George Barrios said 80-90% of the infrastructure they need for the network has been completed and the next variable will be the launch date which they are not ready to talk about.

The Q&A was rather limited with specifics of financials I didn't feel were of interest to our readers.

- Mick Foley, WWE and DK Publishing have released a new children's book titled "A Most Mizerable Christmas." The story features many top WWE stars including John Cena, CM Punk and Sheamus trying to teach The Miz a valuable lesson about not being a bully in school.

“As an author and father, I am overjoyed that families will be spending time together reading A Most Mizerable Christmas this holiday season,” said Mick Foley. “The WWE Superstars and Divas, transformed into children inhabiting Wrescal Lane, learn a fun-filled but important lesson about treating others with tolerance and respect - making the book a perfect tag-team partner for WWE's Be a STAR campaign.”

We'll be reviewing the book next week here at

- WWE has a new article on dot com with Lilian Garcia discussing her accident last week in Los Angeles in which she was hit by a car. The article notes Lilian remains under close medical care and is on pain medication. Below are quotes from Lilian:

"I'm suffering from head, neck and back trauma," she explained. "I have lacerations and wounds on the left side of my body."

"Thanks to the UCLA medical team who took great care of me," she said.

"Hopefully I'm on the road to recovery," she said. "I can’t stand sitting here and doing nothing. I miss being on the road for WWE and the fans. I just can’t wait to get back."

"Thank you. The most amazing fans in the world are WWE fans," Lilian said. "Thank you for the outpouring of love, well wishes and the support."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Next week's Super Smackdown Live (that will actually air on tape delay from the United Kingdom) will be headlined by Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.

TNA News

- Hulk Hogan's new beach shop in Clearwater, Florida opened on Saturday. There were over 1000 people waiting to get in before the doors opened with a VIP Meet and Greet that included Samoa Joe, Abyss, Jeremy Borash and Jimmy Hart. Hogan's wife Jennifer McDaniel and daughter Brooke were in attendance. TNA Wrestling cameras filmed an angle with JB interviewing Hogan when Matt Morgan interrupted with an entrance through the crowd. Morgan grabbed a piece of Hogan memorabilia (that was worn at the old Shea Stadium in New York) and walked out with it.

- There was a thief at Saturday's grand opening of Hulk Hogan's Beach Shop. Hogan posted the following on his Facebook page:

Hate to have to put this post out there, but our camera crew was targeted , and had all there equipment stolen with some irrecplaceable photos of a very special little girl. If anyone noticed anything please call the shop. HH.

Please whoever stole the camera equipment. The pictures are meaningless to you . Please dig down deep and at least send the card to the beach shop. 483 Mandalay ave Clearwater Fl. 33767.HH

Here's the awesome story about the "very special little girl." Steve Chamerland and the charity 50 Legs teamed with Hogan to present the young girl with a prosthetic leg. Hogan posted photos at this link.

For those that missed it over the weekend, we have more coverage from the Hogan Beach Shop grand opening at this link.

- TNA Wrestling sent Bruce Prichard and Al Snow to scout AAA shows last weekend in Mexico.

- The following bouts have been confirmed for next month's TNA Turning Point:

  • Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries for the TNA Championship
  • Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian for the TNA Tag Team Championship

- Hulk Hogan has settled his lawsuit against Bubba the Love Sponge but is still pursuing Financial terms weren't disclosed but Bubba did release a statement, now claiming he believes Hogan had no idea he was being recorded and the Hulkster played no part in releasing the tape. Hogan is also still seeking damages from Bubba's ex-wife Heather Clem. You can read more here and here.

- The hearing with Scott Steiner and TNA Wrestling scheduled to take place on 10/26 in Nashville has been postponed until 11/30. TNA filed a lawsuit against Steiner for posting disparaging remarks about the company as well as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff on Twitter. Steiner filed a countersuit, claiming the company failed to provide accounting on royalties owed to him as well as non-payment of royalties. TNA filed a motion to dismiss the countersuit because of a clause in Steiner’s contract that would require him to inform them of a possible contract breach and allow thirty days to fix it before filing litigation. We noted of internal concern in TNA over Steiner’s countersuit due to issues revealed here.

- Kurt Angle accused WWE of "lifting" TNA concepts on Twitter.

- Joel Luke from Ottumwa, Iowa pled guilty to fifth-degree theft for his role in stealing two TNA Champions belts at a TNA live event in the city on August 18, 2012. Luke was sentenced to two years probation. The case of Forrest Jamison, who operated as an accessory, is still pending.

- TNA Bound for Glory did approximately 20,000 buys. While down from previous years, initial estimates have it as the most-bought pay-per-view of 2012.

- Dixie Carter tweeted from her official Twitter page that Hulk Hogan made the following match official. It will be Samoa Joe vs. Magnus in a No Disqualification Match for the Television Title. The tweet is embedded below:

- For those who did miss this week's Impact Wrestling, Luke Gallows was revealed as a member of the Aces and 8s faction. We believed he was part of the faction since the very beginning. The full results of the episode can be seen here.

- AJ Styles beat Robbie T w/Robbie E with a pele in a match taped for Xplosion at this week's TNA tapings.

- In a dark match, ODB beat former WWE developmental Diva Caylee Turner. Turner is the real-life sister of Alicia Fox and was a contestant on WWE Tough Enough.

- This week's Impact Wrestling did an average audience of 1,250,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show got a 0.97 cable rating.


What are your thoughts on the finish of CM Punk vs. Ryback from WWE Hell in a Cell?

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.

What are your thoughts on Big Show as World Heavyweight Champion? Will it be a successful reign or abbreviated?

I haven't heard the plan for Big Show as World Heavyweight Champion but the good news is he left Hell in a Cell without Dolph Ziggler "cashing in" as that's something that was talked about at length going into the weekend. We noted here when we spoiled the title change the plan was to continue the program of Sheamus vs. Big Show. With that being said Big Show and Sheamus stole the show with the best match of the night.

Who was the referee in CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell?

The referee in the ring that cost Ryback the WWE Championship was Brad Maddox. Maddox is a former WWE developmental worker turned referee. He's the referee that did the angle on the September 17th episode of WWE Raw where Cena pinned CM Punk (in a tag match also involving Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio) with Punk's foot on the ropes. I expect this to resurface based on the way Maddox was booked at the pay-per-view and was probably the reason he was used.

Is 2013 the year WWE will induct Leon "Vader" White into the WWE Hall of Fame?

The only name I've heard contacted for next year's Hall of Fame is Bruno Sammartino and he said no. I'm sure we'll hear much more leading into next year.

Why was Brock Lesnar not used at WWE Hell in a Cell?

WWE contacted Brock Lesnar about working Hell in a Cell but ultimately decided to go in another creative direction. Not only that but I'm told company officials were hesitant to run through one of his dates on pay-per-view without it being advertised. Lesnar was really the company's only shot at booking a desirable outcome to CM Punk vs. Ryback but it would have traded one problem for another.

What are the plans for John Cena?

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler looks to be the direction WWE is going in leading to Survivor Series next month. It will be interesting to see how the company books the match with Ziggler in need of momentum.

Do you think the WWE tag division is back to stay?

WWE has shown a renewed emphasis in the tag division over the past several weeks but I'm not banking on anything long-term. Don't get me wrong; I'm enjoying the importance shown for tag team wrestling but I also know Vince McMahon is growing impatient with the lack of big stars and is already looking at pushing some people currently in tag teams.

What point (if any) does Vince McMahon meet developmental talent when a worker is brought to the main roster?

One thing that would probably surprise you about Vince McMahon is he is very “hands on” with his roster. He's not oblivious to signed talent, including talent in his developmental system. As far as some type of "warm and fuzzy, we're so glad you're here" meeting, that doesn't happen but if Vince wants something out of a particular worker, he will make sure they get the message. Everyone knows Vince has final say.

If WWE goes ahead with CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship, how do you seeing it being booked?

Even if CM Punk defends the WWE Championship at WWE TLC in December, I'm under the impression he will defend it against The Rock at Royal Rumble. This has been the plan and given the fact Punk isn't defending the title at Survivor Series, we can say with more confidence he'll be Rock's opponent next year. As for how I book Punk vs. Rock, it's a tricky situation but Rock has to go over if he is going to have any value for Wrestlemania. We can debate the message putting a part-timer over a regular roster member sends for the title but the fact of the matter is Rock has to look strong going into Wrestlemania. A loss wouldn't hurt CM Punk and even if it did, WWE is banking on Rock, Lesnar and John Cena to sell Wrestlemania.

What’s your opinion of there not being a WWE Championship match at Survivor Series?

Given the current predicament WWE is in trying to book a competitive feud between CM Punk and Ryback, neither of which they want to lose, I understand there not being a WWE title match at Survivor Series. My problem is Ryback is no longer undefeated and they are going to have to do something at Tables, Ladders & Chairs to blowoff Punk/Ryback before moving on to The Rock. So while the traditional Survivor Series match gives them time to come up with something, there is no desirable outcome in sight.

What is the point of the gimmick pay-per-views of the gimmick isn't used for the entire pay-per-view. One Hell in a Cell match?

The gimmick pay-per-views are a result of WWE surveying fans a couple years ago about their interest in pay-per-views that revolved around the concepts you see today. WWE has handled the gimmicks well by using them as a promotional mouthed to make B-level shows "matter" without overdoing the gimmick. Eight Hell in a Cell matches is too many and kills any significance of a main event. I am high up on how WWE has incorporated the gimmicks into the B-level shows without taking them too far to the point where the gimmicks hold little significance.

Will Jim Ross continue to be on the Raw announce team when Jerry Lawler returns in two weeks?

Unless I hear otherwise, I'm under the impression that Raw will return to its normal announce team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler in two weeks in Columbus, Ohio.

We all know Vince McMahon is obsessed with ratings and earnings, yet with the PG initiative enforced to help Linda McMahon's Senate campaign and media image these elements seem to be suffering. With the release of WWE's Q3 earnings showing a decline from last year, do you think the company needs to decide whether they want to make money or keep up appearances in the media?

Vince McMahon was pleased with the company's 2012 quarter three earnings and said they were slightly better than expectations. He pointed to the increased pay-per-view buys and social media being "through the roof." He acknowledged being down from the year prior and said it was due to home video and licensing being off, and pointed to the canceled WWE All Stars video game. Vince is very happy with how Raw's expansion is going and touted the fact that Raw and Smackdown are their respective networks top programs. He didn't address the lackluster ratings in recent weeks or declining audience as shows go on, however, that's his position as of the call on Tuesday morning.

Did WWE drop the program between Brock Lesnar and Triple H?

The program between Triple H and Brock Lesnar was ran as a hot shot angle to headline SummerSlam. It did it's job by blowing up the buyrate and WWE officials are very pleased with the result. There was talk earlier in the year about using Lesnar at Survivor Series but as I discussed here in the WNW Premium Mailbag, it's going to be difficult to get Lesnar on the pay-per-view given the fact they are overseas for all but one episode of Raw leading into Survivor Series.

In Richard Reacts to WWE Hell in a Cell you mentioned about WWE possibly breaking up Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Don't you think this would be a mistake considering how good they look as a tag team?

From what I've been told Vince McMahon is growing impatient and really wants to push Damien Sandow as a singles star. If/when Vince decides to do this, it's inevitable he will have to break away from Cody Rhodes. However, given the fact all we know is Vince wants to push Sandow, it's not enough to say they are going to split the tag team anytime soon. Vince is currently high up on the tag division but no one knows how long that will last. I agree that Team Rhodes Scholars has been impressive.

In light of the new details regarding the WWE Network how is WWE going to fill an entire network full of programming without the shows that already have television deals?

WWE officials maintain content is not their problem and immediately point to their massive tape library in which only a portion has been digitized. They will also point to the shows they have already taped for the network as well as the WWE Studios library, their developmental system and other programming prospects. This is one area where I am in agreement with WWE as they have more than enough content it's just will they be able to get enough clearances from cable/satellite providers and will people then buy the network? Vince said on Thursday all the major players plan to carry the network and revealed a detailed survey that a consulting firm did on WWE's audience. The big question now is when the network will launch which I think is pretty clear won't be this year.

Why does TNA change announcers halfway through Impact Wrestling?

As noted here on, the decision to change announce teams halfway through Impact Wrestling was one made by Eric Bischoff. This is what they did on WCW Nitro as Bischoff feels it helps breakup the show from getting monotonous. I actually agree with the concept and wouldn't mind WWE switching announcers during their three-hour Raw broadcasts.

Regarding the WWE Network, can you explain what a premium subscription model is and will it be available in the United Kingdom?

A premium subscription model is a channel in which you pay a monthly fee to have access too. The best example I can give is HBO as viewers must pay a fee that is added directly to their cable/satellite bill in order to have access. We reported here on Premium in July there was talk of launching the channel at $14.95 per month and increasing it within the first 30 months of launch by two small increases to eventually reach $19.95 per month. As for the network being available in the United Kingdom, I heard clearances were more available overseas than they were in the United States. We even reported there was talk about the UK getting the WWE Network before the US.

Are there still plans to see John Laurinaitis back on WWE television?

There are still plans for John Laurinaitis to return to WWE TV as an on-air authority figure, however, he's been off the road recovering from shoulder surgery. While no longer the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, he had been working as a producer prior to taking time off to have surgery.

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