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Battleground Blackout, Backstage Details On Non-Finish, Title Match Outcome Changed, AJ Lee Sent Home, Austin Aries Unhappy With TNA Title Reign, RVD Taking Time Off, WWE Interested In Bringing Back Former Star, Why John Cena Is Returning Early, Bizarre W

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WNW Premium Newsletter

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 5, 2013 to Friday, October 11, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!

Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- This week's edition of "WWE Backstage Fallout" Smackdown is now available at this link.

- is reporting that John Cena is being sued for $15,000 by a construction worker that claims they were injured while working to remodel his Florida home in 2010. The worker, identified as Dale Ducharme, alleges the scaffolding provided by Cena was defective or damaged and it was Cena's responsibility to ensure the equipment was safe. Cena's wife at the time, Elizabeth Huberdeau, is not named in the suit. Click here for coverage by TMZ.

- Christian and Perry Saturn were at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida this week where they were working with developmental talent.

- Drew McIntyre appears to be breaking away from 3MB for what many McIntyre fans are hoping is a repackaged gimmick. Based on teases McIntyre himself has put out on Twitter, it appears he could be returning to "The Chosen One" gimmick that he had from 2009-2011.

- Kane is expected to be involved with The Wyatt Family when he is re-introduced to television later this month. Bray Wyatt is teasing Kane was "chosen," leading some to speculate an affiliation with the stable. Kane, who has been out filming "See No Evil 2," is advertised for the October 14, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw in St. Louis, Missouri.

- Sheamus continues to make appearances for WWE as he rehabs his torn labrum that required surgery in August. As noted in Ask WNW, he's out of his sling and hoping to return to television late this year or early next year. The Celtic Warrior was in Las Vegas for the company this week.

- Darren Young and Titus O'Neil will facilitate a discussion at Pennsylvania's California University prior to Raw on Monday to talk with students and faculty about issues involving race, masculinity and sexuality. The event will be co-hosted by Dr. Gabby Yearwood at the Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre.

- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Daniel Bryan to promote Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view. Click here to read it.

- In addition to Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler was in attendance at Thursday's NFL game in Cleveland. You can view a photo of him with Jim Brown below:

- John Cena checked in on Twitter with an update on arm as he recovers from a torn triceps:

- The Times of India is reporting that Sylvester Stallone recommended The Great Khali for the upcoming action-thrilled "Escape Plan" (that co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger) but his WWE contract wouldn't allow for him to be in the movie. I'm not sure the validity of the report as the publication refers to WWE as the "World Wrestling Entertainment Federation" but you can check it out at this link.

- Bo Dallas came out for his match against Curt Hawkins on Friday night and said it was great to be in Rochester, New York. One problem. They were in Syracuse and the crowd turned on him.

- TMZ decided to kill The Enquirer'sreport that Stacy Keibler was nearing a return to WWE. According to the aforementioned report, a return to wrestling isn't what Keibler had in mind but the offers [from WWE] were getting "too good to refuse." We didn't put much weight into the report given the tabloid's obsession all summer with them. There was interest within WWE about having Keibler return to get her on the cast of Total Divas but talks stalled and that was the end of it.

- is reporting that former WWE creative head Eric Pankowski is replacing Neal Kendal as the executive producer of The Arsenio Hall Show on an interim basis. Pankowski has been overseeing the show since coming to CBS in May.

- The Daily News has an article online featuring quotes from Roman Reigns, click here to read it.

- Jim Ross checks in with his WWE Battleground predictions at this link.

- Michelle Donelan, who works in WWE's international marketing department, has been selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Chippenham constituency in the next general election in the United Kingdom. Donelan will oppose Liberal Democrat MP Duncan Hames and Labour Andy Newman at the election, which is scheduled for May 2015. The Gazette & Herald has the story at this link.

- The WWE Battleground Kickoff panel will consist of Josh Mathews, Tensai, The Miz and Titus O'Neil.

- WWE has released a t-shirt for the Rhodes family featuring Dusty Rhodes, Cody Rhodes and Goldust. You can view it below:

- E! cameras are filming material for Total Divas backstage at WWE Battleground.

- posted an interview The Miz did while in Abu Dhabi last month that you can check out at this link.

- Shaul Guerrero is officially back working in WWE developmental as Raquel Diaz. She has relocated to Orlando, Florida and appeared at a live event last week.

- As the storyline goes, Cody Rhodes and Goldust are "back in WWE" following their victory at Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view. The finish saw Cody hit Cross Rhodes on Seth Rollins to earn the clean pinfall victory.

- WWE referee Jason Ayers worked his first pay-per-view at WWE Battleground. He was the official for the aforementioned tag team match. Ayers was called up in August and was formerly a referee in Dragon Gate USA.

- A Hell in a Cell commercial played during the pay-per-view airing of WWE Battleground that was centered around R-Truth. WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 will take place Sunday, October 27, 2013 from the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

- The WWE Battleground pay-per-view feed was dropped worldwide during the pre-main event promotional video for Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship. The feed immediately cut out and went to the following screen:

The feed was restored at 10:21 PM EDT with Justin Roberts standing in the ring like he didn't have a clue they were live.

Michael Cole apologized for the outage and said it was due to a power outage at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. They showed a camera shot of the vacant WWE title belt and went on with the show, talking up the main event between Bryan and Orton.

- If you're just waking up and trying to find out who is WWE Champion after WWE Battleground, there isn't one. Big Show pulled the referee out of the ring when Daniel Bryan had Randy Orton in the Yes Lock and ended up knocking Bryan out. When referee Scott Armstrong was brought out to count Orton over Bryan, Show knocked him out and then Orton. The match ended with no conclusion.

- There was a complete debacle with a power outage at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York that caused WWE to lose the pay-per-view feed worldwide right before the show's main event. I've spoken with many readers who requested refunds from their providers and were granted their request. You can read our initial coverage of the outage at this link.

- In one of the few bright spots on the pay-per-view, Antonio Cesaro put The Great Khali in the Cesaro Swing. WWE posted video at this link.

- Smacktalks cover all the changes to the creative suite in WWE 2k14. You can watch a video with screenshots and all the details from a conference call last Friday with WWE Games Creative Director Cory Ledesma at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Paul Lynn for sending this in.)

- Troops of the United States military stationed overseas are unable to follow WWE programming as the Armed Forces Network is out due to the government shutdown. This included Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view and the NFL games.

- After WWE Battleground went off the air, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton received assistance from referees but Bryan ended up hitting a flying knee on Orton.

- When the power outage happened at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, there were backup generators that allowed for lights to stay on in the arena but an announcement was made by Brad Maddox they were off the air. The show wasn't sold out and drew an estimated 12,000 fans. We're told the reaction to the no finish on the main event caused the audience to turn on the show.

- Bob Backlund was at WWE Battleground and was interacting with fans in the concourse prior to the show. Fans could get their photo with him for $30.

- The negative reactions to the non-finish to the WWE Battleground main event between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton continue to pour in. There's just no justifying charging the ticket and pay-per-view prices that WWE does and ending a main event without a finish. You can listen to my 30-minute Richard Reacts to WWE Battleground at this link.

- For those that missed it on the pay-per-view, the storyline reason for Triple H and Stephanie McMahon leaving the pay-per-view is they were called to an emergency meeting before the show started.

- Following their victory at WWE Battleground, Cody Rhodes and Goldust have both been added to the Superstars page over on dot com.

- WWE has a complete playlist of backstage interviews from WWE Battleground at this link.

Backstage news and notes from WWE Battleground…

- The non-finish main event was changed on the board after the show started. The original plan was Randy Orton pinning Daniel Bryan or at least that's what was on the original run sheets. It's speculated that only 5-12 people were told about Big Show doing a double knockout to end the show prior to the pay-per-view starting. Big Show's turn was expected to happen Monday night on Raw but was tossed in as a curve ball and there was a lot of disagreement when it was executed. While seen as a bridge to Hell in a Cell later this month, many are questioning ending a pay-per-view with a non-finish given the weaker string of pay-per-views lately.

- AJ Lee was booked to retain the Divas Championship nearly an hour before the show went live on pay-per-view.

- We're told Antonio Cesaro practiced the Cesaro Swing in a rehearsal earlier in the day but it didn't go over as well as it did on pay-per-view.

- WWE officials want to capitalize on the momentum of Cody Rhodes, however, with Randy Orton/Daniel Bryan continuing to Hell in a Cell, it will be difficult to elevate Cody at the same time.

- Daniel Bryan was examined backstage after the show due to an issue with his shoulder. We have no further information as of press time.

- The big angle moving forward is - do Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have any faith left in Randy Orton as corporate champion or do they have to look elsewhere? With John Cena out, Sheamus out, RVD slated for time off, the top of the card is left very thin. In addition to the interest in Undertaker, there is thought to be consideration of bringing Brock Lesnar back to work Survivor Series.

- Believe it or not, Dusty Rhodes actually has backstage heat right now in WWE for going off-script and talking Stephanie McMahon down in his promos on Raw. While some people are said to "love it" backstage, as one source told me, they aren't the right people to shoot on.

- Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News says WWE Battleground shouldn't have featured Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the WWE title but John Boehner vs. President Obama. You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

- If you missed the WWE Battleground Kickoff show you can watch it at this link or embedded in the video below:

- WWE has released several Halloween costumes that you can browse at this link.

- WWE is speculating on the future of Rob Van Dam on television following his defeat to Alberto Del Rio at Sunday night's Battleground pay-per-view. The following excerpt is from their official match recap:

Given the ruthless attack on his arm, will RVD be able to to return to in-ring competition any time soon? And now that he’s turned back two consecutive pay-per-view challenges by Van Dam, where does Del Rio — emboldened by a supremely physical win, but cognizant that Mr. Money in the Bank, Damien Sandow, remains lurking in the shadows — go from here?

As we noted in our Raw preview, RVD is not advertised for this week's broadcast. Further, he's been expected to go on hiatus soon as his contract with WWE is in 90-day increments.

- Vickie Guerrero appears to be planning for life after WWE. Guerrero Tweeted on Monday that she passed her college entrance exams and plans to major in medical administration. Congratulations are in order as I always root for people that have the ability to look beyond the business.

- WWE is reporting that Divas Champion AJ Lee has been sent home from the site of tonight's Monday Night Raw after exhibiting concussion-like symptoms. WWE physician Chris Amann had the following to report:

“We spoke with AJ and she informed us that … she struck her head against the turnbuckle and was having headaches and some difficulty remembering her match,” WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann told “We examined her and noted that she had some problems with balance and memory recall. She was, therefore, diagnosed with a concussion, instructed to rest and not do anything either physically or psychologically strenuous.”

Click here for more information.

- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown, the go-home to Battleground, did an average viewing audience of 2,513,000 viewers on SyFy. The show ended up doing a 1.83 cable rating.

Early news & notes from this week's WWE Monday Night Raw…

- This week's show opened with Stephanie McMahon "firing" Big Show for "refusing to apologize" for his actions at WWE Battleground.

- WWE Hell in a Cell will be headlined by Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship. A Hall of Famer will be voted on by the fans on this week's broadcast to be the special guest referee. Two out of three of the choices include Booker T and Bob Backlund.

- Bruno Sammartino was brought out by Jerry Lawler and led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to the WWE Hall of Famer. Sammartino, wearing a suit, thanked the crowd.

- Total Divas cast members Eva Marie and JoJo made their in-ring debuts in a 6-Diva Tag Team Match with Natalya against Alicia Fox, Aksana and Rosa Mendes. JoJo actually didn't tag in but Eva did but spent more time selling than working. The match was just a little over 3 minutes.

- Shawn Michaels returned to WWE on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw where he'll be part of the fan voting for the special guest referee of Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton at WWE Hell in a Cell for the vacant WWE title in a few weeks. Michaels joins Booker T and Bob Backlund as the fan choices that will be voted on through the WWE App later tonight.

It goes without saying that Michaels is expected to win the poll voting. This is why they scripted Booker T to drop the line that he would do 'what was best for business' and for Backlund to deliver the promo that he did. WWE has been wanting to bring Micheals back to TV as early as the beginning of August as we reported exclusively here at

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 10:19 PM EDT Update:Shawn Michaels won the fan voting by a landslide and will be the special guest referee for Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell in three weeks. The pay-per-view will take place Sunday, October 27, 2013 from the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at  End update.

- Curtis Axel will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against R-Truth in a WWE Battleground rematch on this week's episode of Smackdown. WWE will tape this week's Smackdown on Tuesday night from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

- Goldust is under a new WWE Performer's Contract that limits his independent dates. David Herrowrote on Facebook that Goldust had to regrettably pull out of his scheduled appearance at GLCW Blizzard Brawl 9 in December due to his deal. Click here for more information on the show.

- Royal Rumble 2014 will take place from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Tickets are set to go on sale Saturday at 10 AM EDT. The following Tweet is from the venue's verified Twitter account:

I was expecting an announcement with Raw in Pittsburgh Monday night and we finally got it. Thanks to Alex Barie for quickly alerting me of the confirmation.

- Both main events for WWE Hell in a Cell were announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. They are as follows:

Singles Match for the Vacant WWE Championship
Special Guest Referee - Shawn Michaels
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Alberto Del Rio © vs. John Cena

WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 will take place Sunday, October 27, 2013 from the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- Kayfabe continued backstage after Monday's episode of WWE Raw as cameras filmed Triple H being helped to the back after being "knocked out" by Big Show. It was said that Hunter suffered a concussion as Stephanie McMahon questioned how Show "got through security."

Below is a Tout of what happened:


As I wrote on Twitter Monday night, officials and referees came out to check on Hunter after Raw went off the air. Stephanie and The Shield came out as well to end the taping. This preceded the above happenings.

You wan watch the segment where Big Show delivered the KO punch to Hunter at this link.

- We reported Monday night here on that Royal Rumble 2014 will take place January 26, 2014 from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While tickets go on sale on Saturday, there will be a pre-sale beginning on Wednesday morning using the password RUMBLE over on

- I'm sure I'll be hearing more but AJ Lee's concussion symptoms are not a work. She was not feeling well at Raw and there was legitimate concern for her health. The WWE Divas Champion was scripted for this week's show but was written out once it became clear she needed to go home.

- Sheamus appeared on behalf of WWE at the USA Network Characters Unite #uniteLIVE Concert in Las Vegas over the weekend. You can watch footage at this link.

- WWE posted a photo of gallery of Bruno Sammartino at this week's Monday Night Raw in Pittsburgh here on dot com.

- The Armed Forces Network is once again broadcasting as many civilian employees have been recalled due the Pay Our Military Act. A replay of WWE Battleground was available Monday night and Raw will be available later in the week. We're glad to see troops get their WWE programming back, regardless of what I thought of Sunday's pay-per-view.

- Chris Jericho remains hard at work on his third autobiographical book.

- To follow along with storylines, Big Show's profile has been moved to the Alumni section on dot com due to his on-screen "firing."

- The latest episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled Del Rio Reacts to Cena's Return! and is now online at this link.

- WWE officially announced Monday on dot com that Rob Van Dam is taking time off from the company. The storyline excuse is that he needs time off after "an excruciating defeat" to World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. His comments were filmed for the WWE Battleground DVD. In reality, RVD's new WWE contract is in 90 day increments and his most recent cycle is up. RVD will be returning for another 90 days but not before going on hiatus. Click here for coverage by dot com.

- John Cena was on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday morning to promote WWE's work with Susan G. Komen. Cena showed off his scar from surgery and promoted his return at WWE Hell in a Cell. You can watch video of the appearance at this link.

- WWE heads to the UAE for shows on Thursday through Saturday. We'll have more information on the shows as they get closer and into the weekend.

- The "Christmas Bounty" straight-to-DVD film starring The Miz will be released on December 3, 2013.

- You may remember that earlier this year around the time the Rob Van Dam to WWE rumors first started they also involved MVP. We're told MVP is still actively pursuing a return to his former employer.

Triple H hasn't completely ruled out bringing MVP back, especially given the amount of success RVD has had since returning to the company. MVP really helped his cause when he left WWE in 2010 by speaking highly of his experience and reaffirming that they parted amicably. There is a road block, however, as Hunter doesn't want people thinking they can come and go as they please. Things have changed the way WWE perceives part-time talent but not to the point where Hunter wants a precedent that they're a safety net if ventures outside of the company don't pan out. Another issue is WWE doesn't like the fact MVP has a deal with Lionsgate for a reality TV show. One observer noted that everyone wants a deal like Chris Jericho where they can come and work and still pursue outside projects. As the same observer put it, not everyone is Chris Jericho.

- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw drew an average viewing audience of 3,706,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below are the how the numbers broke down by hour:

Hour one - 3,694,000 viewers
Hour two - 3,739,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,685,000 viewers

The show ended up doing a 2.65 cable rating.

Taking a look at some of the competition, Monday Night Football won the night on ESPN with 11,448,000 viewers, while the MLB Playoffs on TBS did an average viewing audience of 3,894,000 viewers.

- Maryse Ouellet told Chris Kelly in London on Monday that she doesn't watch Total Divas but wouldn't rule out a return to WWE in the future. You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link.

- Speaking of Maryse, The Miz admitted he hates being in the gym for more than an hour. You can read his comments at this link.

- Maryse and Miz are scheduled to wed in February 2014.

- Jim Ross has new blog entries online here and here.

- Joey Mercury worked as a producer backstage at this week's Monday Night Raw. We first broke the story here on Premium in September. One of the things that Triple H wants to accomplish with the WWE Performance Center is using it as a training ground for not only talent and referees but producers, ring announcers and other jobs as well.

- After this week's Smackdown taping was over, there was a 20-man battle royal with the winner getting a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Both bouts were dark match main events as Bray Wyatt won the battle royal and went on to challenge Alberto Del Rio. Bray won via count out and Damien Sandow teased "cashing" in but he was tamed by The Wyatt Family.

- Shawn Spears is working in WWE developmental as Tye Dillinger.

- Natalya and R-Truth visited children at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus on Tuesday. You can view a photo of them embedded below:

- WWE officially announced CM Punk vs. Ryback for Hell in a Cell in a new article posted here on dot com.

- Kelly Kelly told Chris Kelly in London earlier this week that she thought Total Divas was interesting to give fans a chance to see what goes on behind-the-scenes but admitted she didn't watch the show. She, like Maryse (story), wouldn't rule out the possibility of a future WWE return but indicated that her current focus is on acting. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- Tyson Kidd and Ricardo Rodriguez worked as a masked tag team called Los Locales at this week's Smackdown taping. The match, which will air on Friday's show, is against Los Matadores. We have complete taping results online at this link.

- John Cena is indeed returning to the ring for a World Heavyweight Championship match against Alberto Del Rio at WWE Hell in a Cell later this month. Some had speculated the company was setting up a swerve due to the fact he's coming off an injury that was expected to keep him out 4-6 months.

Cena insists it's not just his opinion and that WWE's medical staff, Dr. James Andrews (who performed his surgery in August) and his physical therapist are all in agreement that he is healthy enough to return. He claims he will be 100% by the pay-per-view on October 27, 2013.

Given the shorter return timetable, it's safe to assume that his torn triceps injury was not as serious as first thought. I weighed in on Cena's return Tuesday night on Facebook:



Backstage news from WWE Raw in Pittsburgh…

- Many saw the way Eva Marie was highlighted in the Divas tag match as a way to rib her and apparently Rosa Mendes too. We're told there were some that didn't even recognize Mendes with her new hair color.

- There was legitimate concern about the WWE App vote regarding the special guest referee for Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. Obviously WWE wanted Shawn Michaels to win but they scripted things for Bob Backlund and Booker T to say that would detract fans from voting for them. Even so, we're told it was relatively close until a last minute surge gave WWE the landslide they were looking for.

- We're told "heads were turned" when a "fired" Big Show came down the ramp with music after the main event. There was a reason, however, as it's playing into a long-term storyline that is likely to involve Vince McMahon.

- The word regarding Rob Van Dam's hiatus is that he wasn't thrilled with the booking of his character in WWE after the initial crowd reaction at Money in the Bank.

- The major talking point backstage was the surprise announced return of John Cena. You can probably guess the things people were saying, everything from 'is he rushing back?' to 'how bad was he hurt in the first place?' The bottom-line is Cena has medical clearance and WWE is glad for it. Once it became clear that Cena was cleared to compete, the feeling was they needed to announce him as soon as possible to help the ratings slide and improve the buyrate for Hell in a Cell. Any plan for a surprise return was off in favor of helping the viewing audience pick up traction.

- Triple H's in-ring days are not behind him and we're told there is consideration being given to a possible match against Big Show "down the line."

- There's been a recent push to turn Antonio Cesaro babyface.

- WWE "canceled" this week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole to sell his injuries at the hands of The Big Show. Instead of the normal sit down interview, WWE posted a video report by Cole where he played up current storylines. In-character, Cole said sources reveal that Hunter's injuries could be more serious than just a concussion and he may have a "broken jaw" and could face having his mouth wired shut. He said Big Show could face criminal charges in the state of Pennsylvania for "criminal trespass" and "assault." Obviously, this is all kayfabe but you can check out the video at this link.

- Christian is officially advertised for Saturday's WWE live event in Providence, Rhode Island. He's also on the booking sheets for next week's tour of Mexico. Christian has been off the road since suffering a concussion during a match with Randy Orton on the August 26, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw.

- Michael Hayes was reportedly seen drinking at a bar with Rosa Mendes following a WWE event a few weeks ago and subsequently suspended as a result. The story was broke by former WWE creative writer Court Bauer on his "Bauer + Pollock #20" podcast. According to Bauer, the suspension is for a "few weeks" and Hayes isn't going anywhere. Bauer feels had it been anyone else, he would have been fired.

Mendes has a history of alcohol problems and was sent to rehab shortly following problematic behavior on WWE's post-Wrestlemania European tour (See also - WWE Diva Sent Home From European Tour) in April. Mendes has been back on the road for the last few weeks after a prolonged absence and worked in the 6-Divas tag team match on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Earlier on Wednesday, I was told that Hayes was noticeably absent from TVs but wasn't given a reason as to why.

Hayes currently works as WWE's head of road agents/producers.

You can listen to Court Bauer's latest podcast with John Pollock at this link.

- Rumors that Rob Van Dam may not return to WWE are unfounded. His hybrid contract, as worked out by Triple H, calls for him to work in 90 day increments and go on hiatus. He is expected to return and be re-inserted into a top level program.

- has a new Q&A online with Daniel Bryan to promote next week's Smackdown taping in Kansas City, Missouri. In it, he talks about free time being nonexistent. Below is an excerpt:

I'd say nonexistent is an understatement because right now, we're on the road usually five days a week. And then I come home, and those cameras are right there. I'm very lucky that I am not featured on the reality show. I am a guest that comes in and out of the shots based on them filming Brie. But Brie, they're filming her all the time, and it's brutal. [Laughs.] But it's a good show, and it's been doing really well, and I think a lot of good stuff is going to come of it.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Trish Stratus allowed for a photo of her newborn son Max to be posted on her official website. Click here to view it.

- There will be a WWE Halloween Horror panel at the New York Comic-Con this weekend featuring both Kane and Hornswoggle to promote their WWE Studios projects (See No Evil 2 and Leprechaun: Origins respectively). They'll appear on Sunday, October 13th at 1:30 PM in room 1A23. Click here for more information.

- WWE is holding another set of NXT tapings Thursday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The advertised guests are World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and Christian. We'll have complete taping results here at

- As of press time WWE is about a half hour away from their live event from the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex in Abu Dhabi. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and Big Show are all scheduled to work. Click here for more information.

- The Bella Twins are featured in this week's episode of WWE Inbox. Click here to watch it.

- We have more details on the cancelation of WWE Saturday Morning Slam. As we've previously reported, there were ideas tossed around that if the show did well that it would be expanded from thirty minutes to an hour and essentially become its own brand. One of the ideas included a prospective show based around cruiserweight-type talent with high flying move sets, colorful characters and masked superstars that were very marketable towards children. The hang-up was that WWE is still hoping to bring a cruiserweight show to the prospective WWE Network. While the CW Network has happy with the ratings of SMS, they wanted the aforementioned expansion. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, when WWE refused to change the format, the CW Network pulled out of negotiations. As it was summarized to me, the CW Network wanted more of a presence rather than a couple of short throwaway matches each week.

- Christian is no longer being advertised for Saturday's WWE live event in Providence, Rhode Island. You can read official details at this link. As we reported on Wednesday, Christian hasn't worked since suffering a concussion on the August 26, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw.

- Rey Mysterio is advertised for WWE's tour of Mexico next week. You can view official show details for the first show of the loop from Plaza De Toros Santa Maria in Querétaro, Mexico on Wednesday at this link.

- WWE posted the WWE App exclusive segment with Bruno Sammartino and Jerry Lawler from this week's Monday Night Raw at this link. In the video, the crowd joins Lawler is singing 'Happy Birthday' to the WWE Hall of Famer.

- The CBS affiliate out of Pittsburgh covered Dolph Ziggler at an anti-bullying rally at a Junior High School in the area. You can check it out at this link.

- This week's episode of WWE NXT is now online at this link.

- John Cena was on CNN Showbiz Tonight to discuss the twerking video he did for Capri Sun. Click here to watch it.

- Ric Flair is reportedly accepting independent bookings for $15,000 per appearance.

- We are now able to confirm that Ric Flair is wrapping up a month long stint in a rehab facility, having been sent at WWE's direction and expense. Both sides have been trying to keep things extremely quiet, with Flair himself misdirecting close friends and family about his whereabouts. According to a source, only Flair's "absolute inner circle" are aware of where he's been.

Between the forced retirement of Jim Ross, Flair's WWE job offer being rescinded and Flair ending up in rehab, the fallout from the WWE 2K14 symposium from SummerSlam weekend is "really unbelievable" when you think about it.

Ultimately it was Triple H that was able to convince Flair to check into rehab. As we've previously reported, Hunter has a position in mind for Flair and Flair was led to believe that if he sought help and was able to prove himself, another WWE offer would be forthcoming at some point.

Flair still has a lot of financial issues, which is the reason why he is taking bookings (reportedly at $15,000 per appearance) and is hopeful that if there are no issues, he'll be brought back into the WWE family before long.

Sources close to Flair's team say there was concern that endorsement opportunities could take a hit if it went public that he was in rehab. This is why a story was concocted that he was living with his daughter Ashley in Florida and laying low while the heat died down after the infamous WWE 2K14 panel.

- The New York Postreported on Friday that one of the reasons why Stephanie McMahon has sold so much of her WWE stock is to build a house. Stephanie, who owns properly in Westport, Conn., and Manhattan, has sold 833,000 shares of WWE stock in 43 separate transactions, netting approximately $8.3 million since the spring.

- Rob Van Dam denies reports that he was unhappy with his most recent WWE run. The plan is still for him to return as his current contract calls for him to work in 90-day increments.

- For those that missed our exclusive spoiler report from this week's WWE NXT tapings, Christian came out and informed the crowd he is still not medically cleared to compete. They did a "Peep Show" segment with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio where they heavily promoted Del Rio's title defense against John Cena at Hell in a Cell later this month. Ricardo Rodriguez ended up getting involved, going after Del Rio but was stopped by Alexander Rusev to end the taping. As we've been reporting, Christian is out following a concussion suffered on the August 26, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw in a match with Randy Orton. He was originally scheduled to return this weekend but a recent doctor visit ruled that he was not healthy enough to receive clearance.

- published an interview with John Cena where he talked about returning only two and a half months after undergoing surgery for a torn triceps. In it, Cena admitted to having a hard time staying away but justified it by saying if any active Superstar that doesn't have a hard time staying away should rethink their profession. Cena said the initial 4-6 month timeline for his absence was the doctors erring on the side of caution. Cena said he's happy with the way his rehab has gone and he started lifting weights 16 days after surgery. He had to wait two weeks to get his stitches out and another two days for the incision sight to heal. He said he's been training at the WWE Performance Center to give himself a last little test. Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole features a creepy interaction between Goldust and Hornswoggle as well as a tour of Niagara Falls. You can watch at this link.

- Tiger Mask has been added to the Alumni section of dot com.

- Brian Soscia has a good interview online with WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel at this link.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry available at this link.

TNA News

- Lisa Marie Varon (a/k/a Tara, Victoria) was on VOC Nation and ripped into TNA Wrestling. She said the promotion wasn't a good fit for her and made her appreciate WWE a lot. While she refused to rule out a return to the ring at 42, she said that TNA was "out of the question" and that she hoped some of the workers in TNA got to experience the thrill of performing at Madison Square Garden. Varon said she is at her new restaurant, The Squared Circle, in Chicago every night watching wrestling.

- TNA Wrestling and Sony Six have announced that Bound for Glory will air live in India on the network at 5:30 AM Monday morning local time. The show will repeat at 9 PM local time on Tuesday night.

- Click here for an Impact Podcast Quickclip with Christy Hemme.

- Jeff Jarrett teamed with The Great Muta and Masakatsu Funaki to oppose KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Ryouji Sai and Masayuki Kono at Muta's WRESTLE 1 show at Korakuen Hall on Sunday.

- Speaking of TNA Bound for Glory, we'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage of the show on Sunday, October 20, 2013 beginning with the pre-show at 7:00 PM EDT right here at

- has a new Q&A online with Mickie James where she discussed a myriad of topics but once again refused to address her status with TNA Wrestling. When asked about rumors of late pay and current rumors, James said the following:

I can't really speak on my status right now. Honestly though, I'm not technically under contract with them right now. As far as TNA itself, I wasn't at the last TV so I can't speak on that. The company is in the midst of change obviously and that process of changing over. They've gone live on the road and they just brought in this new head of talent [John Gaburick] who was with WWE for twenty years or so. I feel like there's good energy around it, but in the midst of change, people get scared and there's a bit of that as well. It's hard to really say. There were rumors and speculation about late paychecks, but my paycheck was never late. It's not untrue though; I do know that was an issue with some of the people.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier has a new piece online featuring quotes from Austin Aries. Below are the highlights:

Why his reign as TNA Champion was his least favorite: “I never really felt I got off the ground. I felt like I had my legs cut off from underneath me before I had a chance to run,” says Aries, who won the belt from Bobby Roode in July 2012 but dropped it 98 days later to Jeff Hardy.

Future of AJ Styles in TNA: “AJ Styles really is phenomenal, no pun intended, with what he does and what he brings to the table, but I think any company finds a way to survive, whether the names are Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin or Ric Flair, all of whom have left and gone someplace else. Guys are going to step up. That doesn't mean you're going to replace a guy like AJ Styles. It just means that someone's got to step up and carry a little more weight.

“That being said, I don't think anyone wants to see AJ Styles leave. When you think TNA, he's one of the first guys you think of. I think it would be great if he spent his whole career there if that's what he wants and he's happy. That's the bottom line.”

Future of Hulk Hogan in TNA: “Hogan is doing whatever's good for Hogan ... just like he's done his whole career,” says Aries. “And just like he should continue to do. And if that means staying with TNA, great. If that means going to some other venture, then I wish him all the luck.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- SoCal Val had a pre-trial hearing in Orange County, Florida on Monday from her DUI arrest on August 31, 2013. Another pre-trial hearing was scheduled for November 4, 2013.

- The speculation on Hulk Hogan's status with TNA Wrestling continues amid an article surfacing on Tulsa World that promotes this week's Impact taping in the city. The article references storyline that Hogan may or may not be at TVs this week due to "recent tension" with Dixie Carter but features quotes from the man himself.

You can read the article at this link.

If Hogan is still with TNA, one of three things have happened.

Scenario #1- TNA decided to pickup the option on his contract, renewing it for another year.
Scenario #2- The two parties agreed to a contract extension. We know they've been negotiating with TNA offering more years at a lower rate. Hogan was pushing back on taking a pay cut.
Scenario #3- TNA declined to pickup the option on his contract but signed him to a short-term extension while they continue negotiations.

There is also a chance the interview was conducted before his contract expired and it was final promotional appearance. We'll continue to follow the story and pass along the information as soon as we get it.

- TNA Wrestling held a media conference call with Bully Ray to promote his TNA Championship match against AJ Styles at Bound for Glory later this month. I was on the call on behalf of and have included the following highlights:

Why do you think you stand out as such a versatile performer as compared to so many others?

Bully said he's just being himself. He said he's extremely comfortable when he's out there and the best piece of advise he can give younger wrestlers is to relax. Bully said he's really proud of his work.

I asked Bully Ray why it took him so long to have success in singles competition at this stage in his career.

Bully clarified he didn't feel held back as a tag team performer but he simply accomplished everything there was to accomplish and moved on. He said every time he's been given an opportunity he's hit it out of the park.

The biggest challenge transitioning from tag team to singles:

He doesn't feel it's been a challenge. Bully clearly feel it's been a natural transition that he's taken full advantage of it.

TNA financial problems:

Bully Ray said he is not privileged to TNA's financial but he gets paid a very nice salary from the company. He reiterated he's a pro wrestler and doesn't know what goes on with the company's financials.

What would TNA lose by losing Hulk Hogan?

Ray said Hulk Hogan is the main root of the wrestling business. He put the business on the map back in the early 80s and he feels there is place for Hulk Hogan in TNA. Ray said it brings credibility to the product. He also wants to wrestle him and would like to kick his ass.

Alex Barie of asked Bully Ray about juggling his wrestling school and top position in the company:

Bully said he has no plans to retire any time soon. He remains very committed to his wrestling school and to doing what he is doing as the top heel in TNA.

After he's finished wrestling:

He wants to get involved in the creative aspect. One of the biggest reasons he and Devon opened a school about six years ago is to train workers and put them back in the business the right way. Bully would also like for their school to work with a promotion to help build talent for tomorrow.

Alex asked Bully Ray about the Aces and Eights faction and bumps along the way with workers such as Mr. Anderson leaving the company:

Bully Ray worked here and suggested that maybe this is what he wanted to happen and maybe he wanted the spotlight for himself. Ray said he's good at mental manipulation and while you think you've see the end of it, it may not be the case.

- TNA Wrestling held a media conference call with AJ Styles to promote his TNA Championship match at Bound for Glory later this month. I was on the call on behalf of and have included the following highlights:

I asked AJ Styles what his future with TNA Wrestling was like after Bound for Glory?

There was a long pause and Styles said he didn't know what his future was after Bound for Glory.

I followed up by asking AJ Styles about being a Christian in the wrestling business. I asked him if there were things he wouldn't do because of his faith.

AJ Styles said TNA knows his faith and there are things he won't do because of it. He cited curse words as an example, saying that to him words are just words but he doesn't want to be a stumbling block for someone else.

Ups and downs in TNA Wrestling and the growing pains along the way.

Styles said he's gotten very used to them and talked about things the company has overcome. He said when they reverted back to the traditional ring he didn't realize how stiff the 6-sided ring was.

Alex Barie of asked AJ if he could point to one thing that helped TNA for the better, what would it be?

AJ Styles credited Spike TV and said it helped put them on the map.

Who he would love in TNA:

Styles said there are guys that TNA needs to give an opportunity to come in and be who they are without changing them. He said one guy he's wanted to see for a long time is Delirious. Styles said the reason Delirious has been so successful in Ring of Honor and in the indies is because he's entertaining. He said there are guys in the past he's recommended for TNA but they didn't bring them in and now they're working somewhere else.

TNA Hall of Fame:

AJ Styles said if they try to induct him before Jeff Jarrett, he wouldn't accept it. He said he loves Sting and Kurt Angle but in his opinion, Jeff Jarrett should have been the first person in. He also said he doesn't want in until he's finished wrestling.

Relationship with Jeff Jarrett:

AJ said he didn't get along with Jeff Jarrett early in his career and blamed it on immaturity. Now, he sees the need for Jeff and understands all that he does in the business. Styles made a point to say that Jeff can still wrestle.

- The latest Impact Podcast features Jeff Hardy, Taz, Mike Tenay and of course Christy and JB. You can listen now at this link or embedded in the video below:

- Brooke Tessmacher is now going by the name Brooke.

- Austin Aries is scheduled to face Manik for the X Division Championship in an Ultimate X Match that also features Chris Sabin and Jeff Hardy at this month's Bound for Glory pay-per-view. In a piece published by The Post and Courier's Mike Mooneyham, Aries admitted he's not a fan of the ladder concept: “I hate those types of matches. I'm not a fan. When I broke in, I didn't say teach me how to climb the ladder or teach me how to scale the ropes 20 feet above the ring. I understand why they're there, I understand why the fans enjoy them, but it takes me out of my element. I just have to prepare differently. There's a lot of moving parts and a lot of factors that come into play that usually aren't there. We're all going to go out there and put on the best performance we can.” Click here to read the awesome piece by Mooneyham.

- TNA Wrestling held a media conference call on Tuesday with Bully Ray and AJ Styles to promote their TNA Championship match at Bound for Glory later this month. Alex Barie(from and I were on the call and asked questions. The complete audio is embedded below:

To listen push the play button below:

Mobile and tablet users to listen please: CLICK HERE

To download this to your computer: CLICK HERE

- has a new Q&A online with Christy Hemme where she talks about staying in shape year-round. In the piece, Hemme says when there is no gym in the vicinity she does a series of bodyweight exercises such as dips and push-ups in her hotel room then either runs stairs at the hotel or attacks the stairs once she arrives at the arena. I've personally witnessed Hemme tackle the arena stairs and I can tell you she works as hard as anyone. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- TNA will tape the next two weeks of Impact Wrestling Thursday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alex Barie gets you ready with a complete preview of this week's show at this link. After Thursday night, TNA is off the road until Bound for Glory weekend. There will be a Fan InterAction event on October 19th followed by the pay-per-view on October 20th, both in San Diego, California.

- Alex Barie and I had the chance to speak with Bully Ray and AJ Styles on Tuesday. Make sure that you go back and listen at this link.

- The upcoming autobiography, which was scheduled for an October 2013 release, has been delayed. In a note put out by VIP Ink Publishing, they pushed the release date back due to "waiting on copyright approvals, a few more interviews, as well as the timing of the match for the Heavy Weight Championship with Bully Ray. For more on AJ's upcoming autobiography, click here.

- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Chavo Guerrero. In it, Chavo talks about now being a crucial time for TNA Wrestling. Below is an excerpt:

“When TNA went live, it was either going to take off or it was not going to take off,” Guerrero said. “It’s a crucial time right now in TNA, and I really hope it takes off because it’s better for the business, better for the wrestlers, better for the fans, better for everybody. They got the right players in place, but they have to tweak it all…You can’t beat our wrestlers. Our roster is incredible.

“The wresters, we are all doing our part. We are all trying. You can only do so much.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Jeremy Borash appeared on the John Boy and Billy Show on Thursday to promote Impact Wrestling. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- Kurt Angle returned to Impact Wrestling on this week's show, setting up a Bound for Glory match against Bobby Roode. This was Angle's first appearance on TNA television since he entered rehab back in August. He'll be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

- From the best I can tell, Hulk Hogan was not at Thursday night's tapings in Tulsa, Oklahoma and hasn't signed a new deal. The back and forth is getting exhausting but given the parties involved, what do you expect? Hogan has WWE aspirations, while TNA wants him to sign at a lower rate. We've covered this from every angle and will continue as it unfolds behind-the-scenes.

- Ethan debuted on Impact Wrestling and will be going by ECIII or Ethan Carter III. As previously reported here on, the character is portrayed by the former Derrick Bateman. You can watch the introduction vignette at this link.

- Samoa Joe was added to the Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship at Bound for Glory. He'll join Jeff Hardy, Chris Sabin and Austin Aries as challengers for the belt currently held by Manik.

- The following was taped Thursday night for TNA Xplosion:

* Kazarian b. Sam Shaw
* Joseph Park b. Jessie

- Following this week's Impact Wrestling, below is the updated lineup for TNA Bound for Glory:

TNA Championship Match
- Bully Ray © vs. AJ Styles

Singles Match
- Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle

Singles Match
- Sting vs. Magnus

Ultimate X Match for the TNA X Division Championship
- Manik © vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin vs. Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries

TNA Knockouts Championship Match
- ODB © vs. Gail Kim vs. Brooke

TNA Tag Team Championship Match
- James Storm & Gunner vs. Winner of Pre-Show Gauntlet

Pre-Show Gauntlet Tag Team Match
- Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Eric Young & Joseph Park vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. The Bro-Mans

TNA Bound for Glory will take place Sunday, October 20, 2013 from the Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did a troubling average viewing audience of 1,084,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show posted a 0.82 cable rating. With only one more show to go to Bound for Glory, this is not what TNA wanted to see.

- The Associated Press ran a new article on Friday featuring quotes from Hulk Hogan. In it, he discussed his current "free agent" status as his current contract with TNA Wrestling has expired. Below is an excerpt of where things stand between Hogan and TNA:

"We couldn't figure things out," Hogan said. "We're talking, but I'm wide open right now."

Hogan revealed he recently felt warmly received at a charity event with Triple H.

"He just welcomed me with open arms. He said if ever I decide I get the itch to come back home," the door's open, Hogan said.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.


Was Damien Sandow supposed to cash in at WWE Battleground with the amount of times they mentioned his injury?

There were not plans for Damien Sandow to "cash in" the Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE Battleground. The mentions were kayfabe in nature but clearly the company wants fans to realize that Sandow is packing a title shot. I know I've mentioned this before but I absolutely hate how Sandow has been booked since winning the briefcase and am in complete disagreement with the amount of jobs that he's done. Also, it's worth noting that his knee "injury" [from Battleground Kickoff] was kayfabe and not legitimate.

Why does WWE keep giving Alberto Del Rio opportunity after opportunity as World Heavyweight Champion? I know he is a good technical wrestler but his personality is very bland and the crowd reactions he receives are atrocious.

WWE sees Alberto Del Rio as a main event talent that helps them carries the Latino fan base. I'm not the biggest fan of Del Rio but I don't have a problem with him working in the top of the card. His in-ring work isn't great but he keeps it simple and doesn't try to do too much.

So Big Show knocks out two referees, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton and the match is over? I find it funny they can find a small clan of referees for any other segment, but they pull that with the main event of a PPV. What is WWE's logic in doing this?

The booking was nonsensical and it was done to extend Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton to Hell in a Cell. While I understand what they were trying to accomplish, I'm diametrically opposed to how it was handled. I will usually give B-level shows a pass when it comes to storyline progression but I'm not giving WWE a pass here. You can't charge people $55 for a WWE title match and not give an outcome. Could you imagine ordering a boxing match or UFC fight and not getting an outcome to the headline fight? WWE Battleground was a complete ripoff from my perspective and an absolutely skippable show. Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns was great but it could have just as easily been done on Monday Night Raw for free. As hard as all four worked, none are headliners or people WWE can expect to justify the hefty price tag. This was a "thrown together" show that ultimately hinged on Bryan and Orton to save it. WWE took that out of their hands with the booking and how they believe this will make fans shell out another $55 for Hell in a Cell later this month is beyond me.

Do you think WWE is utilizing John Cena's absence well in developing new main event talent for the future?

There's no question that WWE misses John Cena right now, take a look at the ratings. However, I will give the company credit for establishing Daniel Bryan as a main eventer in his absence and recreating Randy Orton as a viable headliner. Both have taken advantage of the opportunity and answered the call to the best of their abilities.

What's the latest on the potential return of The Rock? Do you think he will return to wrestle at Wrestlemania next year?

WWE has been operating under the assumption that The Rock is not working Wrestlemania XXX next year. Rock made it clear following this year's pay-per-view that he had fulfilled his commitment and wasn't obligating himself to any further dates. At one point there were plans for him to appear on television to promote WWE 2K14, in which he graces the cover, but I haven't heard if that will happen. When WWE released the promotional information for Wrestlemania XXX it did not include Rock, which only helped confirm what we've been hearing behind-the-scenes. Should The Rock change his mind and decide to wrestle, WWE will look for a main event level program for him.

There is no way that John Cena is even close to 100%, so why does WWE risk John's long-term health by bringing him back way too soon?

The only people that truly know the health of John Cena are the people in John's inner circle and his doctors. A lot of people were surprised to hear Cena was coming back for WWE Hell in a Cell and I'm sure I'll have more information as I have more time to work the phones. Cena is returning two months early from the 4-6 month timetable that was laid out for his return from a torn triceps. From the outside, it appears WWE is getting Cena back early in the midst of a horrendous viewership slide. I worry about Cena's long-term health as he's clearly been overworked the past five years but it's tough to keep him away. Cena wants to be working and WWE needs him to be working. If he gets medical clearance, he's working.

As inappropriate and uncalled for as was Battleground's ending, do you think its intentions were to direct viewers attention to the fallout on Raw and this way to raise their abysmal audience from the past few weeks?

WWE can't use a pay-per-view to promote free television. For one, far-less people watch pay-per-views than weekly TVs, even with viewership down. The ending of WWE Battleground was done to bridge to Hell in a Cell but it was poorly executed and resulted in the worst show of the year.

What are your thoughts on the Hell in a Cell lineup? Is WWE trying to make up for the loss of ratings by bringing back these big names like John Cena and Shawn Michaels?

Last week's episode of Monday Night Raw posted an abysmal viewership and we saw a strong reaction this week. There has been talk about bringing Shawn Michaels in for an angle with Daniel Bryan since early August and it was recently eluded too on a public platform, so this was happening despite the abysmal numbers. However, it is likely the bad numbers caused the plans to be moved up. It certainly looks like John Cena is returning early because of the slide and WWE wanted to make sure they had as much time as possible to promote him. I also want to make sure people understand that Michaels is under WWE contract and is used when needed. Every time Shawn returns I get tons of questions about him returning to the ring. While anything in this business is possible, this isn't the case here. He's answering the call for his contract and is delivering WWE a bump when they need it.

I have enjoyed CM Punk's feud with Paul Heyman, it's almost like a modern day Steve Austin/Mr. McMahon feud with many of the same elements of realism. What are your thoughts?

The mic work and drama surrounding CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman has been top-notch. The program has been compelling with intricate twists that have clearly had influence from Punk and Heyman themselves. My problem with it, however, is that Punk hasn't had believable in-ring opposition aside from Brock Lesnar. Curtis Axel was such a big step down, WWE tried to downplay him and we all know what we are getting out of Ryback. The storyline itself has been great but it hasn't produced the high-tier matches to go with it and that's disappointing.

Why would WWE bring back John Cena early, especially to wrestle for the World Heavyweight Championship?

John Cena claims he's good to go and will be 100% healthy for his match against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell on October 27, 2013. As we reported here on, Cena says he has received three levels of medical clearance and it just isn't him wanting to come back. It's clearly safe to assume that his injury wasn't as serious as first thought and his premature return is welcomed with open arms by WWE. Not only is the roster ravaged by injury but it's ultra thin at the top with Rob Van Dam going on hiatus. As for Cena working Del Rio for the World title, Del Rio needed an opponent and Cena needed a main event level program. Del Rio is already heel so it was very easy to insert Cena right back into the mix.

What's your opinion on the Big Show and Kane? I think it's amazing that they've been able to stay in shape, and relevant since the late 90s.

Go ahead and add Mark Henry to this list and you have three guys that have been great reliable big men that can get over. All three have gotten over multiple gimmicks and proved they are rare talents that will be missed when they're gone. The fact they've been able to remain relevant and prove their worth highlights their God-given talent for this business.

What do you know about AJ Lee?

AJ Lee was in rough shape backstage at WWE Raw on Monday. WWE's medical staff checked her out and discovered that she had some troubling remembering stuff and she was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion. Given WWE's tough stance on concussions, they immediately took her out of the plans for Monday's show and ordered that she go him and get some rest. She'll probably be reevaluated over the course of the next several days and that will determine how much time that she'll miss. In order to receive medical clearance, AJ will be required to pass an Impact Concussion Test.

With the authority figures continuously reversing the outcomes of WWE title matches, how are we supposed to believe that Daniel Bryan can actually win the title?

Daniel Bryan wins the WWE title at SummerSlam… immediately loses it. Daniel Bryan wins the WWE title at Night of Champions… he's stripped the next night. Daniel Bryan appears to have won the WWE Championship at Battleground… he's "screwed" by the corporation. I'm not sure what makes WWE think fans will be interested in the third match in just as many pay-per-views. Obviously there is hope that Shawn Michaels will help the buyrate but I agree it's less than ideal given how it's been booked.

Despite my dislike for John Cena's on-screen work, I feel it's a good idea to have a feud involving Cena and the World Heavyweight Championship. Do you also feel this could bring prestige back to the title?

This is a good point and yes, I do think having John Cena hold the World Heavyweight Championship will help the prestige of the title. It's not a foregone conclusion that Cena is going over Alberto Del Rio at WWE Hell in a Cell but how many people see Cena doing a job in his first match back? The fact Cena is coming back and challenging for a title other than the WWE title should help tame the haters, at least temporarily. The fact of the matter is WWE needs John Cena and the product is hurt when he's not working.

Can you give us some background on The Wyatt Family and also trace the lineage of Bray Wyatt for us?

Bray Wyatt is a third generation pro wrestler as his grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan and his father is IRS. He's also the nephew of Barry and Kendall Windham. He's the brother of Bo Dallas, who is currently a standout in WWE developmental. Eric Rowan's real name is Joseph Ruud and he worked in Japan and the Minnesota independent circuit prior to receiving a WWE developmental deal in 2011. Luke Harper is the former Brodie Lee and was very well known on the US independent circuit in promotions such as CHIKARA, Ring of Honor, EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA. He was signed just last year and has been on the fast track ever since.

Who is under the mask of El Torito, the bull that accompanies Los Matadores?

Mascarita Dorada plays the El Torito character. He's well-known for his work in both AAA and CMLL in Mexico and was signed by WWE last spring. If you haven't seen his work, I encourage you to check it out on YouTube as he's impressive.

What role do you see Shawn Michaels playing on Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan?

I see Shawn Michaels playing the role of a babyface equalizer in the program. Daniel Bryan needs for there to be some avenue to believe he has a legitimate chance of winning the WWE title and actually keeping it. There has been talk since early August about involving Michaels in the program with Bryan and WWE finally pulled the trigger this week. A lot of people are speculating for this to lead to Michaels returning to the ring but that's simply not the case. Michaels is under WWE contract and is used when they call him. Unless there is a major change in direction, which is always possible, he's not wrestling.

With the recent suspension of Michael Hayes do you see the WWE finally firing him? I mean he has been suspended once before for a calling Mark Henry a racial slur, how many second chances is he gonna get before the head office release him?

Let me catch everyone up and then I'll answer the question. Michael Hayes was suspended for 60-days by WWE in April 2008 for using a racial slur in front of Mark Henry. I have no problem with that suspension as racial slurs should not be tolerated and I feel WWE acted accordingly by sending a message. However, I do not understand this second suspension and feel there has to be more to the story. According to former WWE creative writer Court Bauer, Hayes was suspended after being seen drinking with Rosa Mendes at a bar (See also -Michael Hayes Reportedly Suspended After Drinking With Troubled WWE Diva). What? I understand Rosa has a history of substance abuse but why should it matter if two legal adults are having an alcoholic beverage at a legal establishment? If they were making a scene and embarrassing the company, that's one thing but to suspend someone for having a legal drink makes no sense. There are plenty of people that shouldn't drink that still drink. This entire ordeal makes no sense. As for Hayes getting fired, this incident (from how I understand it) does not warrant a suspension, let alone present probable cause for termination. WWE will not confirm the suspension and will only say that Hayes is away for personal reasons.

How many times per year does WWE contact Wellness testing on superstars and Divas?

The WWE Wellness Policy states that all talent is randomly tested a minimum of 4 times annually. Due to the random selection process of the testing, that number could increase as the company does not announce when they're conducting tests. You can read all about the policy here on the corporate WWE website.

Can you see Ricardo Rodriguez ever being more than a ring announcer/manager in this "feud" with Alberto Del Rio?

Ricardo Rodriguez is a trained wrestler and actually wrestled at this week's Smackdown taping (See also -*Spoilers* Complete Smackdown Taping Results For This Week). Given the fact he is a trained wrestler and actually wrestled this week, of course I could see him being more than a manager. However, I will remind everyone that thinks he should immediately be repackaged into a permanent in-ring performer. Where is he better suited? As a manager for a top worker such as Alberto Del Rio or Rob Van Dam or another forgotten talent without a storyline? Ricardo has a good spot in WWE and is fortunate to have the role that he has.

Out of the three members of The Shield, who do you see having a successful singles career?

I think all three have the potential to be huge stars as singles performers in WWE. If I had to rank them, I would rank them in the following order - (1) Dean Ambrose, (2) Seth Rollins and (3) Roman Reigns, however, I wouldn't be one bit shocked if Reigns accomplished more than Ambrose. These guys have it all and just "get it." Their stars are very bright and I see all three having prominent roles in WWE over the course of the next five years.

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