Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, October 19, 2013 to Friday, October 25, 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
- The main promotional point for next week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw is the "contract signing" for Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for their match for the vacant WWE title at Hell in a Cell. Shawn Michaels is also scheduled to appear live and we'll see progression in Triple H's dealings with Big Show and the Rhodes Family. Next week's Raw will emanate from the FedExForum in Memphis, TN. Make plans to join our "Open Thread" Watch Party at 7:30 PM EDT. You have no reason to watch Raw alone!
- Speaking of Big Show, WWE is playing up that he gave Brad Maddox a "concussion" with the Knockout Punch on this week's episode of Smackdown. You can read the kayfabe coverage on dot com at this link.
- This week's episode of Smackdown Backstage Fallout is online at this link.
- Stagebuddy.com interviewed WWE Studios President Michael Luisi at the New York Comic Con last weekend. In it, he talked about how WWE chose wrestlers for their films and working with The Rock on 'The Fall Guy.' You can watch it at this link.
- For those that missed the apparent Big E Langston babyface turn on this week's episode of Smackdown, you can watch video of him helping CM Punk fend off Ryback and Curtis Axel at this link. I have more on the apparent turn and Langston's spot in the company at this link.
- Speaking of this week's Smackdown, here's what I thought of the main event:
Click here for a video clip on the official WWE YouTube.
- For those that missed it in our live results, Tyler Breeze is on the road with the main WWE roster this weekend. Breeze is portrayed by Mike Dalton, who has been in developmental since late 2010. The gimmick is a narcissistic model, who loves taking pictures of himself with his mobile phone during his matches. Breeze was trained by Lance Storm. Click here for his NXT profile.
- A "fired" Big Show worked Friday night's WWE live event in Knoxville, explaining to the crowd in a pre-match promo that he was appealing his termination and was allowed to work.
- Nola.com has an article online featuring quotes from Dolph Ziggler to promote Wrestlemania XXX tickets going on sale on November 16, 2013. In it, Ziggler reveals his dream opponent for Wrestlemania, his favorite Wrestlemania match and his first Wrestlemania memory. Click here to read it.
- Bray Wyatt worked the weekend live event loop but didn't actually wrestle. He's currently dealing with a calf injury that he suffered a couple weeks ago but it's not serious enough to pull him off the road. Wyatt still appeared on shows alongside Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
- Dot com has a new feature on Goldust at this link.
- NXT trainer Billy Gunn is now involved in the corporation angle that has expanded to developmental. Gunn worked as a special guest referee at an NXT live event last week in Daytona where he turned on Sami Zayn and allowed Bo Dallas to retain the NXT title. The storyline was that Triple H sent Gunn to make sure Dallas retained because it was best for business. The new NXT GM, JBL, agreed on Twitter.
- WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose is featured in an article on the Daily Mountain Eagle's website to promote this week's Smackdown taping in Birmingham, Alabama.
In it, Ambrose credits the success of The Shield to going out and trying to outwork everyone else. Ambrose said it doesn't matter the match or whether or not it's televised, they just go out and do what they have to do every night.
Ambrose was asked about The Shield's current role in the Corporation angle and he likened it to being "paid mercenaries" for Triple H.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smaackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,640,000 viewers on SyFy. The number was the most watched show since the September 13, 2013 episode. I still can't get over how good of a main event last week's show had, make sure you watch it.
- After JBL claimed on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw he didn't know who Xavier Woods was, the two got acquainted at this week's show in Memphis, Tennessee. JBL Tweeted the following photo:
Woods formerly worked in TNA Wrestling as Consequences Creed and has been a standout in WWE's developmental program.
- AJ Lee will defend the WWE Divas Championship against Brie Bella at Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Click here for the official match preview on dot com.
- Brad Maddox Tweeted prior to Monday Night Raw he won't be on this week's show. The comments are kayfabe to sell his "concussion" from last week's episode of Smackdown.
- Goldust will face Seth Rollins on this week's episode of WWE Main Event. WWE will tape this week's Main Event Tuesday night from BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama. We'll have complete spoilers here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Zack Ryder was asked in a new Q&A featured in the November 2013 issue of WWE Magazine whether or not he feels he gets just credit for starting the social-media revolution in WWE. Here's his response - "The members of the WWE universe give me credit and always have. They know the deal. That I worked so hard to get myself where I was, and didn't give up. If other people are in denial, that's fine with this Internet Champion!
- Survivor Series 2013 is being sponsored by Kmart and the new WWE Power Slammers. WWE Survivor Series 2013 will take place Sunday, November 24.
- Curtis Axel will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Big E Langston in the WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff prior to the pay-per-view at 7:30 PM EDT on Sunday. We'll carry the live stream right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Cody Rhodes & Goldust will defend the WWE Tag Team Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins and The Usos at WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday. The match was announced by Vickie Guerrero in a WWE App segment on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
- It appears that Triple H's in-character heel promo that he cut on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw struck a chord with Chris Jericho.
For those that missed it, Hunter told Daniel Bryan that he's seen guys like him come and go a million times. He said guys like Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam were all very talented popular top guys but were never the face of WWE back in the day. Hunter said nobody wants to say this but if any of those guys would have been the face of WWE back in the day, they'd all be working for Ted Turner right now.
Jericho Tweeted the following in response:
He also posted the following, which has now been deleted:
"Time to move on guys. Bye bye @wwe! Now time for more important things...any doubt that #DayInTheLife is the best @thebeatles song ever??"
- WWE pre-taped Big Show driving the semi backstage on this week's Monday Night Raw as it was parked behind the curtain throughout the night. When it was time for the segment, it was only moved a few feet where it was visible to the entire live audience.
- Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton in the dark match main event following this week's Monday Night Raw.
- Dot com posted an exclusive interview with Shawn Michaels, talking about Daniel Bryan as a wrestling student. Click here to read it.
- Josh Mathews had his arm in a sling at Raw to sell the cross armbreaker that Alberto Del Rio put on him on last week's episode of Smackdown.
- Titus O'Neil wrote the following on Twitter about why The Prime Time Players weren't booked on this week's show:
- If you missed the video retrospect of John Cena's career that aired on this week's Raw, you can watch it at this link. Cena will return on Sunday at WWE Hell in a Cell where he'll challenge Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Champion.
- Following this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, below is the updated lineup for WWE Hell in a Cell:
Hell in A Cell Match for the WWE Championship
Special Guest Referee - Shawn Michaels
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Alberto Del Rio © vs. John Cena
Handicap Hell in a Cell Match
- CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
- Goldust & Cody Rhodes © vs. The Usos vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
WWE Divas Championship Match
- AJ Lee © vs. Brie Bella
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Kickoff
- Curtis Axel © vs. Big E Langston
Join us on Sunday at 7:30 PM EDT for exclusive live play-by-play coverage of WWE Hell in a Cell right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled 'Hell to Pay This Sunday' and is online now at this link.
- WWE Hall of Famer Edge took to Twitter to address followers that were upset over Triple H name-dropping him in his promo on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Edge wrote…
Chris Jericho, who was also name-dropped in the promo, responded in a different manner.
For those that missed the segment, below an excerpt of the promo from Kendra Bunyon's Raw results:
Trip – Here’s the thing Daniel, I’ve seen guys like you come and go a million times. Guys like Jericho, Edge, RVD, all guys that are very talented, don’t get me wrong, top guys, very popular, but not the one, but never the one. Nobody wants to say this, but it needs to be said, it’s a fact, if any of those guys had been The face of the WWE back in the day, we’d all be working for Ted Turner right about now. You think you’re playing in the big leagues kid? You have no idea. You step inside that HIAC, and I have a feeling, you’re going to prove to the world that all you are is a B+ player.
Click here for complete results from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, the go-home to Hell in a Cell, did an average viewing audience of 3,825,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the numbers broke down by hour:
Hour 1 - 3,914,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 3,802,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 3,759,000 viewers
The show ended up doing a 2.71 cable rating.
An average viewing audience of under 4 million viewers is something that is becoming the new norm for WWE Raw. The horrible/unwatchable Monday Night Football game did an average viewing audience of 13,243,000 viewers on ESPN.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Memphis…
- Dean Ambrose landed awkwardly on his leg during his match with Daniel Bryan and was seen limping around backstage.
- Big E Langston's stock got a huge bump for his work on this week's show. We're told "the powers that be" see the "it" factor in him that is lacking in many of the other big names. It's no secret that Vince McMahon is high up on Langston but he gained even more support Monday night.
- There is a plan in place to put Vince McMahon back on television as the "reason" why Big Show has been around lately. However, there is not a plan of where they go after that is introduced.
- We heard there are eventual plans for Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H and it could happen sooner than anyone thinks. While this might surprise some people, we're told it could happen as early as Survivor Series, however, will likely go on after that.
- There was a lot of chatter backstage about Triple H name-dropping Chris Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam in his promo. I spoke with someone who expressed how none of the three were willing to "sign their life" away to be under contract with the company (Jericho & RVD have obviously been able to work out favorable part-time deals). One observer noted how Edge was a bigger part of growing WWE than Hunter was from his promos to in-ring work. While obviously Hunter was following a script, this rubbed a lot of the boys the wrong way.
- CM Punk has been meeting with the writing team and Vince McMahon about his next program. He's enjoyed his work with Paul Heyman but is eagerly awaiting what's next.
- Bray Wyatt was walking much better this week than he was last week and no one I spoke with saw him on crutches. We're told the plan is after Wyatt "destroys" The Miz that Kane is scheduled to return and avenge his destruction.
- Newsday'sJosh Stewart interviewed Chris Nowinski about the Sports Legacy Institute honoring WWE for their work on concussions. You can read the piece at this link.
- Tyler Breeze was at WWE TVs this week and worked a dark match with Kofi Kingston prior to Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Birmingham, Alabama. Kofi went over after hitting Trouble in Paradise. Breeze, who worked last weekend's live event loop, is Mike Dalton and has been under WWE developmental contract for years. We have more at this link.
- You can watch a promotional interview that The Ultimate Warrior did for WWE 2K14 at this link.
- Jim Ross posted his thoughts on this week's Monday Night Raw in a new blog posted here on his official website.
- It's not often that scripted promos on WWE television create turmoil but Triple H did just that when he proclaimed on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that Daniel Bryan was just like workers like Chris Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam. Very talented, popular and top guys but never the one. In fact, if any of them had been the face of WWE back in the day they would all be working for Ted Turner right now.
Jericho responded with his thoughts (See also - Chris Jericho Peeved Over Triple H's Raw Promo), while Edge chose to address his fans that were upset (See also - Edge Responds To Being Name-Dropped In Triple H Promo). RVD, the final of the three mentioned, responded in a different way.
- Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton in a dark match main event following this week's Smackdown taping in Birmingham, Alabama.
- In addition to the highly anticipated release of WWE 2K14 in the United States next Tuesday, WWE will also release the "Straight to the Top: The Money in the Bank Ladder Match Anthology." Click here to check it out at Amazon.
- Mick Foley posted a new blog on his Facebook page where he praised Paul Heyman for his work on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Click here to read it. You can also watch Heyman go nuts backstage at this week's show at this link.
- The following is a minor spoiler for this week's Smackdown, if you want to be surprised, do not read it… Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans will be added to the WWE Hell in a Cell lineup on this week's episode of Smackdown.
- The local promotional information for next week's post-WWE Hell in a Cell episode of Monday Night Raw advertises "the McMahon's," leading some to believe they're advertising the return of Vince McMahon. Below is an excerpt from their listing:
Plus, the McMahon's; HHH; the World's Largest Athlete, the Big Show, and The Shield will be in Orlando.
Vince (as Mr. McMahon) is also listed on the official event information but has been on the dot com listings for the past several weeks. At this point I wouldn't take it as confirmation as the Amway Center also advertises the "debut" of The Wyatt Family.
I have been told there is a storyline in place to bring the Mr. McMahon character back, most-likely aligning him with Big Show. We have more on that at this link.
You can view the local event information at this link.
- WWE posted a new kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole on dot com on Wednesday. In it, Hunter discusses his friendship with Shawn Michaels and what he expects from him as the special guest referee in the WWE title match at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. You can watch it at this link.
- Sheamus, who is currently out rehabbing a torn labrum, showed up at a Be-A-Star anti-bullying rally in Orlando on Wednesday clean shaven. You can view a photo here at WrestlingNews.net.
- Triple H and Stephanie McMahon accepted an Impact Award presented to WWE by the Sports Legacy Institute for the company's work with concussions on Wednesday night. Below is a photo of WWE's power couple with Chris Nowinski:
- Rey Mysterio was backstage at this week's Monday Night Raw in Memphis but obviously wasn't used. Mysterio tried his knee out at live events last week in Mexico but they're still being conservative regarding his full-time return.
- Head WWE NXT trainer Bill DeMott implied on Twitter that former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman was at the WWE Performance Center on Wednesday. The following from Twitter:
- Speaking of WWE NXT, there will be another set of tapings Thursday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Big Show is the advertised guest. We'll have complete taping results here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Joey Styles, who is always a good interview, spoke with the folks of VOC Wrestling Nation. In the interview, Styles acknowledged that Dolph Ziggler wasn't being used to his full potential and he was a guy that could take the ball because his work is exciting. Styles was also asked if Hulk Hogan being on the front page of dot com the day it was reported his contract with TNA Wrestling had expired was intentional, in which he admitted it "absolutely"was. He said no one at dot com knew if the front office was talking to Hogan but it was a great way to build site traffic. Click here to listen to the interview.
- We have some clarification on the return of Total Divas. The show will return to E! on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 10 PM/9 CT. The second half of season one will feature 6 additional episodes. Our coverage of the show will resume as well.
- This week's episode of WWE Inbox features Kofi Kingston and is online at this link.
- Justin Gabriel, Naomi and Jimmy Uso were in attendance at Thursday night's Blackhawks at Lightning NHL game. Naomi noted on Instagram that it was her first game.
- Brian Fritz interviewed Xavier Woods at a Be-A-Star anti-bullying rally earlier in the week. You can watch it at this link.
- Speaking of Fritz, he interviewed Sheamus at the same event. In it, Sheamus said that he has a ways to go in his rehab for a torn labrum and there is no timetable for his return. You can watch at that interview at this link.
- Stephanie McMahon spoke at Boston University on Thursday as part of their Alumni Weekend 2013 events. Stephanie, who entered to her entrance music, presented a master class in building your own personal brand. She Tweeted the following afterwards:
- Steve Austin continues to put out quality podcasts on "The Steve Austin Show." His featured guest this week is Bruce Prichard. You can listen to all the shows at this link.
- While WWE is still hoping to sign 30-40 more guys in the next couple of months, a lot of workers currently in developmental aren't happy. We're told many of the more experienced workers feel they aren't learning anything and are just doing the same drills day after day, week after week.
The complaints have gotten loud enough that Triple H has decided to pay a little more attention to what's going on. Normally Hunter flies in for the NXT tapings and right back out afterwards, however, he stayed the night on Thursday to spend Friday at the WWE Performance Center. We're told he was there as of early Friday afternoon and everyone was on their "best behavior."
A lot of the complaints deal directly with head NXT trainer Bill DeMott, but complaints against him are fairly common. However, no one really wants to step up and complain directly to Triple H but he actually heard through the grapevine that morale was low enough that he needed to see what was going on. We're told Hunter re-arranged his week to spend the day at the developmental complex to get more of a handle on the issue.
- David Otunga resurfaced in a new video posted on dot com, where he "analyzed" Big Show's fictional counter-lawsuit against WWE. You can watch Otunga deliver a "prepared statement" on the lawsuit, which he terms as "very serious," at this link.
- The Halloween Special episode of The JBL & Cole Show is now online at this link.
- TNA has pulled the November 21, 2013 Impact Wrestling tapings from Baltimore, Maryland from their official schedule. At this point it appears TNA is in the process of canceling upcoming television tapings as they move towards returning to a permanent location. That location appears to be a return to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. While we do not have confirmation at this time about a return to Universal, we can confirm TNA reached out the theme park about a return in early September. This is also why Universal would not grant WWE exclusive rights to the park [for a physical Hall of Fame] unless they agreed to tape a television show there. You can read our initial report from September 13, 2013 at this link. Alex Barie of TNANews.com broke the news that TNA had canceled the December 5, 2013 Impact tapings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you purchased tickets, expect to be getting refund information shortly.
- TNA Champion Bully Ray was recently a guest on "Busted Open" with Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca on SiriusXM channel 92. Below are the highlights of the interview:
Bully Ray admitted it worries the boys when they go out and see empty seats but it's beyond their control. He stressed that TNA needs to grow on the product awareness side of things and even though there are empty seats, the in-ring work is still entertaining.
Ray said that he would like to see Hulk Hogan stay with TNA because he wants him in the ring and Hogan is a great ambassador for the company. He admitted he doesn't want to see Hogan on TV every week or involved in major storylines. However, the current TNA Champion does see a place for who he called "the Babe Ruth" of the wrestling business.
Click here for more on "Busted Open."
- Here we go again. Seriously, is anyone as frustrated as I am with TNA Wrestling? It's the eve of one of the most important shows in the company's history and here we are discussing Hulk Hogan's contract and the future of Impact on the road. There's a pay-per-view? How many people actually know that? And those of us that know that Bound for Glory is Sunday, how many actually care?
This is of no surprise. Last year, Hogan did a media blitz throughout the month of October. Only it wasn't TNA Bound for Glory he was promoting, it was the infamous sex tape with his ex-best friend's wife he was talking about. Rather than being a great "ambassador" for TNA, he was doing personal damage control.
It's been nearly 4 years since Hogan and his friend Eric Bischoff landed in TNA, yet would you believe viewership has actually decreased? I was reminded on Twitter on Friday that last year's go-home to Bound for Glory episode of Impact did an equally puny 1,200,000 average viewing audience with a 0.86 rating. Thursday's show did 1,110,000 viewers with a 0.84 cable rating but the fact of the matter is the numbers are terrible.
Viewership is flat, the audience isn't growing and those that are watching are increasingly frustrated. Rather than Dixie Carter using her 260,000+ followers on Twitter to put the focus on the pay-per-view, she's trying to play a role she's been dreadfully miscast into. The heat she's generating isn't heat generated by a good heel but it's the fact that no one wants any part of Dixieland (read the comments here).
Hogan and Bischoff have made a lot of decisions since coming to TNA but the two that will go into the record books are moving Impact from Thursdays to Mondays and taking Impact from its safe home in Orlando to a different location every 2 weeks. Both decisions failed and set the company back rather than moving it forward. In fact, Dixie Carter said her biggest regret was trying to run on Monday nights.
I'm frustrated and falling into the deep and dark hole of apathy. If they don't care, why should I? I'm not debating TNA's decision to pull Impact off the road. It's a decision the company needs to make but I will question the timing. Why did TNA decide to start deleting tapings from their touring schedule the weekend of their biggest show of the year? Couldn't it have waited until Monday?
Not only can we question the timing of the Impact debacle but why won't Dixie Carter set the record straight on Hulk Hogan? Whether she admits negotiations didn't work out or that a new deal has in fact been struck, isn't either response better than every TNA talent that does a promotional interview facing the dreaded Hogan question? It's up to TNA management and their promotional department to assure the attention is on the pay-per-view, not on the outside distractions. Yet every interview, people are asking the actual wrestlers about a guy that doesn't even wrestle.
I'll argue the attention is on anything but the pay-per-view. Talent are constantly asked about low attendance, rumored financial problems, unsettled contracts and anything other than Bound for Glory. The entire mess underscores TNA's problem all along. TNA's problem has never been talent, they arguably have as much if not more than any promotion in the world. TNA's problem hasn't been names, they've employed some of the biggest names in the wrestling business. TNA's problem has been that the average 18-35 year-old male in the United States has no idea they exist.
The mistakes being made seem so obvious, yet it seems every time someone questions TNA they're labeled your know-it-all Internet naysayer. I agree there are those that root for TNA to fail, some have been putting the company out of business since their first Wednesday show in Nashville. However, I'm not one of those people.
I'm someone that has sponsored TNA live events, co-founded a website (with Alex Barie) dedicated to the company and refused to bury them in situations I would have been justified. Yet time and time again they leave me disappointed. How much longer must we write about the obvious mistakes before someone takes notice?
I want TNA to succeed. Competition is good for the business, it's good for this website. However, I'm starting to wonder how serious TNA is about competing as a company. Seriously, do they even care? I say this with all due respect but the problems that are hogging the focus could have been easily handled if Dixie Carter would step up and address them rather than playing a ridiculous on-screen heel character.
The WWE product has struggled as of late yet TNA has done nothing to capitalize on the market share. It's almost as if they're looking at what WWE is doing with Triple H and Stephanie and trying to recreate it. It's absurd and truly bad for business.
- The plan headed into the weekend was for AJ Styles to beat Bully Ray for the TNA Championship Sunday night at Bound for Glory and "leave the company" with the title. Basically, TNA wants to capitalize over the uncertainly of his contract situation and are looking to recreate what WWE had with CM Punk at Money in the Bank a couple years ago.
We're told TNA is hoping to get Styles booked in Japan to "defend the TNA title without the company's permission." So far, Keiji Mutoh'sWRESTLE-1 promotion is interested in assisting with the angle but TNA has also reached out to New Japan Pro Wrestling.
I don't feel like I need to remind most of you but this was the plan headed into the weekend. Booking plans are subject to change at any time and we're not reporting this is on the final run sheet. We are reporting these were the plans at one point so do not be surprised if they happen. If TNA deviates from this, plans changed over the weekend.
- The second annual TNA Hall of Fame banquet took place Saturday night from the Grand Ballroom at San Diego Marriott Mission Valley. This year's banquet was focused on the induction of Kurt Angle, the second member of the company's Hall of Fame.
Attendance was estimated to be under 300 fans along with TNA talent and staff. There was a 3 course meal included.
Dixie Carter did not attend to follow along with her new heel character, while Jeff and Karen Jarrett were there and sat with Kurt's wife, Giovanna, and their family.
Sting, last year's inaugural inductee, was also there and delivered a speech. Other workers that spoke included Samoa Joe and Magnus.
Angle's acceptance speech was short.
We'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kurt on a phenomenal career, whose legacy is still being written. Angle is the best worker of a generation and will go down as one of the greatest to ever step foot in a pro wrestling ring. It's been an honor and a privilege to cover so many of his matches.
- AJ Styles continued the rhetoric we saw in the Bound for Glory media conference call in a new interview with Ryan Rider on "The Locker Room." Styles said he would like to see Delirious get a shot in TNA Wrestling and would also like to see Alex Shelley return, reuniting The Motor City Machine Guns.
In the media conference call that was done to promote the TNA title match against Bully Ray earlier this month, Styles explained there are people working in places outside of WWE that could add value [to TNA]. He said Delirious is one of those guys but it's imperative if TNA gives him a chance that they do not try to change what he's been doing.
- Kurt Angle was inducted as the second member of the TNA Hall of Fame on Saturday night in San Diego, California. We posted full details from the banquet at this link but we have more. Angle's TNA debut was 7 years ago on Saturday as he debuted on October 19, 2006. He's a 5-time TNA Champion, 2-time TNA Tag Team Champion, 1-time X Division Champion and 2-time King of the Mountain winner. TNA posted his Hall of Fame video on YouTube, which we carried here on WrestlingNews.net.
- Knockout Lei'D Tapa Tweeted a photo from Saturday's banquet that you can view below:
- TNA posted this video of exclusive footage after Impact Wrestling went off the air. In it, AJ Styles has a message for Dixie Carter.
- Chris Sabin won the X Division Championship at TNA Bound for Glory, beating Manik, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries and Samoa Joe in an Ultimate X Match. The finish saw Sabin toss Velvet Sky into the ring to shield Hardy while he climbed the ladder. It was enough for Sabin to grab the title and win the match. The bout went 12 minutes.
- I just spoke with a customer support representative in Time Warner Cable's northeast office, who confirmed that TNA Bound for Glory is not available for some customers. I asked her the problem and she said the pay-per-view feed is showing as a black screen and while they are working on the issue, it's not believed that it will be resolved. The show is currently in progress and we've heard from a number of readers that have Time Warner and are unable to watch TNA's biggest show of the year. The problem does not include all Time Warner customers, only those located in specific geographic locations.
- Jessie Godderz and Robbie E, known collectively as Bro Mans, beat James Storm & Gunner at Bound for Glory to win the TNA Tag Team Championship. The finish saw Robbie E pin Storm to win the belts. The bout was just over 11 1/2 minutes.
- Gail Kim beat ODB and Brooke to win the TNA Knockouts Championship at Bound for Glory. The finish saw Gail pin Brooke in a bout that went just over 10 minutes.
- Gil Corsey made his debut with TNA as a backstage interviewer at Sunday night's Bound for Glory pay-per-view. Corsey is a television anchor for the Fox affiliate out of Louisville, Kentucky.
- A worker by the name of Norv Fernum faced Ethan Cater III at Bound for Glory. Fernum is known on the West coast indies as "Pretty" Peter Avalon and is a regular for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
- AJ Styles beat Bully Ray to win the TNA Championship at Bound for Glory. The finish saw Dixie Carter get involved with a chair and try to stop the referee from counting a Styles pin on Bully Ray following a springboard 450. After connecting with a Pele kick, Styles used a chair and followed it with the Spiral tap and the pinfall to win the match. Afterwards, Styles celebrated to the pop of the crowd while Carter played up shock and outage. AJ exited through the crowd to end the show.
- Sports Illustrated writer Loretta Hunt Tweeted that she interviewed AJ Styles after his TNA title match against Bully Ray at Bound for Glory and that he was "busted up, holding his left arm." Below is the Tweet:
Hunt noted that she is currently doing a feature on TNA President Dixie Carter for Sports Illustrated.
Styles beat Bully Ray for the title at Bound for Glory in San Diego on Sunday. We broke the news of the title change on Sunday morning here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium. You can read about the title change here and full Bound for Glory results here.
- Veda Scott and Candice LaRae worked a match in front of TNA agents prior to the doors opening for Bound for Glory on Sunday. Scott is known for her work in Ring of Honor, while LaRae is a regular in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
- Jeff Jarrett was working backstage at Bound for Glory, Hulk Hogan was not. Hogan noted on Twitter that he spent a "long day" at the beach.
- For those that didn't see Bound for Glory, Kurt Angle respectfully declined his induction into the TNA Hall of Fame. After Sting cut an induction promo and presented Angle with his Hall of Fame watch, Angle said he hasn't lived up to the Hall of Fame standard set by Sting and that he's let his fans, family and his peers down. He said he's going to accomplish more and will accept it when he deserves it. The segment ended with Sting and Angle hugging.
- The plan headed into last weekend was for AJ Styles to "leave TNA Wrestling" as the company's champion, a la CM Punk, and even "accept bookings" in Japan. I haven't heard if those plans have changed but Styles will appear at this week's Impact tapings in Salt Lake City where he will address his title win and Dixie Carter's "plan that backfired." We broke the news that Styles was scheduled to win the title at the pay-per-view here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.
- TNA posted injury updates on their talent following Bound for Gloryhere on ImpactWrestling.com. I haven't heard how legitimate this update is, but we did report Monday morning via Loretta Hunt, that AJ Styles was holding his left arm. Below are the updates from the official website:
AJ Styles suffered rib cartilage damage and is scheduled for further evaluation
Bully Ray sustained a bruised sternum
Bobby Roode sustained cervical swelling in his back and a triceps hematoma.
- Jim Ross weighed in on TNA changing all of their titles at Bound for Glory in a new blog posted on his official website. Here's an excerpt: "… if any company changes five titles in one show, which one is supposed to standout to the average fan? Apparently that's what occurred. Sounds like TNA hit the "reset" button on the whole shooting match. No dog in the hunt except for my many friends who work there and I'm pulling for them and their families."Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety. For the record, TNA changed 4 titles unless you are counting the tag titles as two separate belts but I think we get the point.
- Robbie E reacts to winning the TNA Tag Team Championship at Bound for Glory in a new video posted at this link.
- The latest Impact Podcast with HoF dinner speeches, Gail Kim, Mr. Olympia Phil Heath and the aforementioned Bro Mans. You can listen at this link.
- John Corrigan from The Temple News spoke to Mickie James about her professional wrestling career and budding career in country music. Mickie made it clear that fans haven't seen the last of her in the ring and when she decides to retire, she wants to retire the "right way." You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.
- The latest word on AJ Styles' upcoming autobiography is that it'll be released in early 2014. The book was originally scheduled to be released this month. Click here for more.
- TNA has posted a video preview of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling at this link.
- We'll be speaking with Austin Aries next week to promote the upcoming One Night Only Tournament of Champions pay-per-view. Alex Barie of TNANews.com will join me on the call. As for the pay-per-view, it was taped on March 19, 2013 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We have complete taping results available here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Former TNA Knockout Madison Rayne Tweeted a photo of her newborn child that you can view below:
- TNA Wrestling issued a press release on Thursday, confirming the news that many of us had been expecting. The company will return to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida to tape Impact beginning on November 21, 2013. As part of the announcement, TNA announced two new wrinkles:
Rather than simply airing 2 hours of television each week, they'll show wrestlers outside of the ring, at live events and document their day-to-day as part of their "Where Action Never Ends" creative direction.
Additionally, Universal Studios will serve as the training facility for talent moving forward. They'll also be introducing new talent as they have with Ethan Carter III and Lei'D Tapa.
In the announcement, TNA put over international growth and the strength of their portfolio. They labeled Bound for Glory as one of their "highest-attended" pay-per-view events to date.
Alex Barie initially posted the press release at this link.
TNA will tape the next two weeks of Impact Wrestling tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah before heading to Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday, November 7, 2013. There, the company will tape the November 7th episode of Impact and the November 14th episode. The company will then return to Universal Studios for a set of Impact tapings on November 21, 2013. They'll also book tapings from the park in December.
The tapings aren't believed to take place at Sound Stage 21, the former Impact Zone, where the company departed back in March. While I have more, below is my initial reaction to the change:
- The big story on Thursday is news breaking that TNA is taking Impact Wrestling off the road and returning to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, a strong change of direction from decisions made less than 9 months ago.
TNA President Dixie Carter delivered the following statement on the January 31, 2013 episode of Impact Wrestling:
"For the past 8 years the most amazing wrestling fans today have traveled from all over the world to come see us at Universal Studios in Orlando. Now it's time for us to take the cameras to you. I'm so excited to announce that the television tapings for Impact are going on the road permanently and we're going to do that starting March 14 when we go live from Chicago at the Sears Centre Arena. We couldn't have done any of this without you. So from all of us at TNA - thank you - thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything and for making Impact Wrestling a global success. And we will see you in your hometown very soon."
At the time, the announcement rejuvenated talent and morale throughout the company. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com on February 10, 2013 that several workers had described the Universal crowd as “spoiled,” “calloused,” and even “exhausting” to try and garner a reaction from. The feeling amongst several people was that so many of the Impact regulars had become conditioned to the point where it didn’t matter how good the in-ring work was, reactions remained mundane.
Frankie Kazarian stated in a media interview back in March that he could joke and say 'I can't wait to get out here' [referring to the Impact Zone and that part was true.Bobby Roodetold me that taking Impact on the road was a huge step. Tara, who is no longer with TNA, was on record as to saying "thank God" they were going on the road and that fans in Orlando "got a bit spoiled." In the announcement issued on Thursday, here's what Dixie Carter had to say:
“The way that people view television has dramatically shifted, and it is incumbent upon us to deliver a modern, revolutionized way of watching professional wrestling to our fans,” said President Dixie Carter. “Our reality is that we only have 82 minutes of programming each week and a large roster of talented professionals that deserve more exposure. With our new ‘Where Action Never Ends’ creative direction, we will deliver just that for both them and the fans.” Carter continued, “Bringing live events to our fans across the globe will remain a vital element of TNA’s business; however, our renewed focus, as it relates to our television programming, will shift from live event touring to 24/7 show content, so that fans can really get to know our talent. And, in making Orlando’s Universal Studios our programming hub, we have the powerful combination of state-of-the art production facilities and incredible soundstages that will make it easier for us to launch this new production-intensive initiative. We will also be working with Universal to develop new and creative ways for park guests and fans from around the world to experience a unique TNA attraction.”
Pamela Tuscany, Vice President and General Manager, Universal Studios Florida Production Group, said the following:
“We look forward to the successful launch of ‘Where Action Never Ends’ giving viewers the chance to experience IMPACT Wrestling 24 hours a day/7 days a week.”
Richard Reacts: The point in posting this is to show the excitement the roster had in taking their product on the road. The locker room wanted a different environment and while I understand this was a business decision that really was best for business, it's going to effect morale in the locker room. While we quoted a few names, their opinions were shared by the consensus of the roster. TNA has a brutal task in front of them in trying to revive their roster and their fan base. - TNA Wrestling has converted the Impact taping scheduled for December 27, 2013 from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a live event. Tickets for the show can still be purchased at this link. - There was a meeting backstage on Thursday at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah to address the upcoming changes and return to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. While there is no way this move wasn't met with some disappointment, I also don't think anyone thought it was the wrong thing to do either. Everyone knows how expensive it was for the company to tape television on the road and the fact of the matter is revenues did not grow at the rate that allowed them to continue. - With that being said, TNA is expected to hold occasional Impact tapings on the road but are completely backing away from Dixie Carter's claim 9 months ago that there move to the road was permanent. - In some good news for TNA, the company announced a new multi-year television contract with French TV channel Ma Chaine Sport (MCS). Click here for more information. - TNA Wrestling followed through with the storyline plans we first reported on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on this week's episode of Impact. After beating Bully Ray in a rematch for the TNA title, AJ Styles turned down Dixie Carter's contract offer and "walked out as champion." We ran the story prior to Bound for Glory (See also -Major Swerve In The Plans To End TNA Bound For Glory – Who It Involves & What The Company Wants You To Believe When The Show Has Ended), reporting the idea was to put Styles over Bully Ray at the pay-per-view and have him leave the company. It was described to me as an attempt to try and recreate what WWE did with CM Punk a couple of years ago. The plan when we first uncovered it was for Styles to defend the TNA title outside of TNA. We heard Keiji Mutoh’s WRESTLE-1 promotion was interested in assisting but that TNA had also reached out to New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was clear then that TNA wanted the title to be defended in Japan. - Hulk Hogan superfan George Antoun attended TNA Bound for Glory on Sunday in San Diego, California, sitting across from the hard camera in section 2, row 1, seat 11. George, who traveled from Australia, decided to pay tribute to Hogan by bringing a Hogan sign and wearing full Hulkamania gear. TNA staff approached George during the pay-per-view and asked him to put the sign down. They later asked him to remove his Hulkamania gear and they would give him some TNA merchandise to replace it. George, who documented the experience on Twitter, refused to comply.
Antoun also attended Bound for Glory Fan Interaction dressed in a similar fashion. The following is a photo with ODB from Twitter:
Hogan's employment of TNA Wrestling was a hot topic leading up to Bound for Glory as his contract was up at the beginning of the month and a new deal was not reached. - Sunday's Bound for Glory pay-per-view reportedly drew between 2600-3000 fans from the Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. - Ken Anderson returned to TNA on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling. For those that missed it, Anderson cut a promo on Bully Ray before being "escorted out" by security. - Matt Hardy Tweeted the following about Jeff Hardy not appearing on this week's show:
- Abyss returns on next week's episode of Impact Wrestling. We have photos at this link. - Eric Bischoff wasn't at Sunday's TNA Bound for Glory pay-per-view nor was he at this week's Impact tapings in Salt Lake City, Utah. Talent were told in the meeting to discuss the company's changes on Thursday that Bischoff would be working out of his house moving forward. - Austin Aries beat Kazarian in a match taped for Xplosion at this tapings. - The official preview for next week's episode of Impact Wrestling is available at this link. - Chris Sabin successfully defended the TNA X Division Championship against Manik in a match taped for Xplosion at Thursday night's Impact Wrestling tapings. - Former WWE Tough Enough contestant Martin Casaus worked this week's Impact tapings as a security guard. - Ethan Carter III squashed Dewey Barnes in a match that will air on next week's episode of Impact Wrestling. Barnes is actually an employee of TNA Wrestling and works on the indies as White Tiger. - TNA sent us a press release on Friday, announcing they are accepting applications for the upcoming Gut Check Seminar in Toledo, Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 9. The seminar will feature instruction and advice from TNA personnel and industry veterans. They'll evaluate attendees on all aspects, with the possibility of getting signed to a TNA contract. The application deadline is November 7, 2013. Click here to submit yours. - This week's post-Bound for Glory episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,258,000 viewers on Spike TV. That number is up from recent weeks and is good news considering it had to go up against Game 2 of the 2013 World Series on Fox, which did an average viewing audience of 13,430,000 viewers, and football on the NFL Network, which only did 4,602,000 viewers.
Does WWE pay any attention to websites like yours? It would probably help them make certain decisions if they did. WWE pays attention to WrestlingNewsWorld.com and we actually have a good relationship with their Public Relations department. The company used to have a reputation of "ignoring the dirt sheets," but the fact of the matter is it is 2013 and we're not going away. WWE doesn't look to this website for creative advice but they do monitor to see what information we are putting out. This is also why we are careful what we post in terms of storyline plans because WWE has and will change match outcomes based on what gets leaked onto the Internet. What if TNA decided to tape Impact Wrestling at one city every month rather than returning to the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida? We still do not have full details on the future of Impact Wrestling. The belief is the company will hold a set of Impact tapings from Universal Studios next month, however, I haven't heard what's going to happen beyond that. Everyone enjoys burying the Impact Zone but I flat out disagree. The Impact Zone at Universal Studios provides the company with a TV-friendly facility, a packed house of fans and a tourist attraction for the theme park itself. Obviously it's not ideal but TNA is still a very local product. Every time TNA has tried to step out and "become the next WWE," they've failed. Why is this? Because they're not big enough for such an endeavor. If TNA can't sellout their biggest pay-per-view of the year then why did anyone think they could sellout television tapings? Assuming TNA is able to bounce back from their most recent rough patch, we need to accept TNA for what it is. It's a bigger company than the average independent promotion but it's a local product that airs weekly on Spike TV. It's not on WWE's level and unless it sees rapid growth like WCW did in the 90s, it should be treated as such. I refuse to believe John Cena will "do the honors" at Hell in a Cell on Sunday but I also do not see him carrying the World Heavyweight Championship. Could you see him beating Alberto Del Rio but Damien Sandow "cashing in" and winning the title? This is a possible scenario and the fact WWE has teased Damien Sandow "cashing in" fairly often leads me to believe they're considering doing it sooner than later. However, it seems like it would be a hard sell to put John Cena under, in any situation, coming back from a two-month absence. Passing the torch or doing the honors is always a good thing for an established veteran to do but it's essential the talent getting the torch is ready for such an opportunity. I'm a fan of Sandow but I wouldn't buy him over John Cena, it's too soon. If Battleground wasn't considered an absolute flop of a pay-per-view, do you think John Cena would still be returning at Hell In A Cell or would WWE have held off his return for a later date? As far as I know WWE immediately came up with plans to bring John Cena back when he received medical clearance. We can all speculate about whether or not he is returning too soon but this seems like a case of Cena getting cleared and creative "hot shotting" him right back into the mix. With stiff competition and viewership declining, Vince McMahon is always going to to respond strong. In my opinion Shawn Michaels is the greatest North American worker that's ever laced his boots. What’s your opinion on Shawn Michaels and his ranking among the all-time best? Is his status diminished because of his so called "drawing power" or do you see him as viable to be called the best of all-time? Anyone that knows me knows that I hate lists, especially where people expect me to role out one of the "greatest of all-time." This is a difficult thing to do in pro sports but it's nearly impossible in pro wrestling. There are so many things to factor in and so many things that influence where someone chooses to rank a certain individual. However, in the same breath, I don't think it's unreasonable to throw Shawn Michaels' name around in the argument. However, we can't have that argument without mentioning at least 5-10 other workers. The best way to do it is to separate lists based on set parameters, whether they be by era, in-ring skills, drawability, look, charisma, Wrestlemania, etc. Once some guidelines are in place, it's much easier to begin to compute a list. Let me explain further with an example. Hulk Hogan is the most recognizable name in the history of the business yet his work didn't touch the work of Bret Hart. Hart might have more name recognition in Canada but by large, Hogan is better known than Bret. Now factor in someone like Ric Flair, who isn't as well known as Hogan and his in-ring work wasn't as good as Bret. Let's throw Steve Austin in but we have to remember his in-ring career was cut short by injury and The Rock is still able to draw in 2013. Shawn Michaels had some of the best matches in Wrestlemania history, yet Undertaker is still stealing the show on a yearly basis. Do you see what I mean? I just mentioned 7 names and solved nothing, not to mention I left out very prominent and recognizable names, such as Bruno Sammartino. From the Ask WNW vault...October 2008: Jeff Jarrett and Dixie Carter need to convince Spike TV to spend more money on them. TNA Wrestling can only go as far as their network can take them and I think that it is up to the higher-ups in TNA to convince the network that they are really going to have to open up their wallets if they want to give McMahon some competition. I also think that TNA should do a better job of branding their own workers (Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Robert Roode, etc.) rather than limiting main event pushes to already established workers (Sting, Kurt Angle, Booker T, etc.). Obviously I do not have all of the answers but more could be done and I know that is the feeling amongst several of the company's workers.During the 80s, or Hulk Hogan days, everyone rooted for the good guys and hated the bad guys. It seems like these days everyone picks their guy and sticks with them whether he's a heel or a face. For example, I've always liked CM Punk. Does it really matter nowadays whether a worker is a heel or face? By large, the smarter fans (smart marks or smarks) do not care if a worker is a heel or a babyface, they care more about whether or not a worker is entertaining. That was one of the things WWE talked about when they originally turned CM Punk heel after a run as a babyface that saw him become an established main event talent. The thinking was that Punk's fans were going to be Punk's fans, regardless of the role he played on-screen. This is due to the fact that Punk has a large portion of the smarter audience and people like yourself, that are going to root for Punk no matter what. However, this does not include the mainstream WWE audience that is made up of a much larger demographic. While you or I enjoy workers for who they are as a performer, a large segment of WWE's audience cares very much about what happens on-screen and it determines everything from who they root for to whose merchandise they buy. You wouldn't believe some of the emails we get here about people demanding that Vince McMahon remove Triple H and Stephanie McMahon for what's "been done" to Daniel Bryan. The roles of characters on-screen absolutely still matter and kayfabe is much more alive than many realize. I'll also argue the smarter audience turned on Hulk Hogan much earlier than you might remember and a lot of people don't realize the business hasn't so much changed as much as they've evolved as they've gotten older. For example, when I was 11 years old kayfabe meant a heck of a lot more than than it does at 28. I've known pro wrestling was scripted for as long as I can remember but try explaining that to an 11-year-old. When guys that have legitimate beef with each other do things ever get a little rough in the ring as a result? Pro wrestling is just like any other work place. There are people that get along and there are people that can't stand one another. However, just because two people do not get along doesn't mean they do not understand they have a job to do. Are there situations where a match may get a little chippy or "stiff"? Yes and depending on who it is, depends how much someone can get away with. However, it's imperative that workers are able to overcome personal differences to do their job and someone doesn't want to get a bad reputation that they cannot be trusted in the ring. Getting the "unsafe to work with" label is extremely hard to overcome and there are actually people in WWE that people don't want to work with because of in-ring sloppiness. So to answer your question, yes things can get rough but most workers understand their job is more important than personal differences. What's your take on the TNA Hall of Fame? Let me start by saying I didn't like the Kurt Angle swerve at Bound for Glory. They're going to induct him, yet he doesn't feel he's worthy of the induction. What about the banquet the night before? I understand it's part of a storyline but in typical TNA fashion, they're invalidating an honor that not many people see as a viable honor in the first place. While you would think TNA would want to "play it up" to counter the push back, they're helping taking away from it. Regardless, and I mean no disrespect to Sting, the TNA Hall of Fame means nothing to me. It's just too soon for the company to be passing out "Hall of Fame" type honors. I realize they see what WWE does with their ceremony to coincide with Wrestlemania and are trying to recreate it with Bound for Glory weekend, but the WWE Hall of Fame wasn't created until 1993. WWE was originally founded in the 1950s so there was a good bit of history there before any such enshrinement took place. If TNA is going to do a Hall of Fame this early in their existence, how they can do it and not have Jeff Jarrett as the inaugural inductee is a travesty. Jarrett is the reason there is a TNA. End of story. If it weren't for Jeff and his father, none of these guys would have anywhere to work outside of the indies. What wrestling training school would you recommend to someone that wants to become a pro wrestler? I penned an entire article about this subject here at WrestlingNews.net. The bottom-line is you need to get trained by someone with a credible reputation. I give some names of schools in that article but the best advice I can give is where not to go. Do not pay anyone that never made it in the pro wrestling business. Only give your money to credible schools with credible pro wrestlers behind them. I don't care how much cheaper other schools are, you must go to a school with credible names backing them. While training is a big part of this business, a bigger part is who you know. You need to make sure you get into a school where there are connections to WWE and TNA Wrestling. There are actually schools that both major companies scout. This is where you want to be. You do not want to go somewhere that's off the radar because it's only going to set you back in trying to get booked on the indies. If I wanted to become a pro wrestler, I'd be checking with the Team 3D Academy, Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy or Booker T's Reality of Wrestling Training Center. Do your own research but I can tell you success stories out of all three of those schools. I know you said the Chris Benoit tragedy was your first major story. But what would you consider being your greatest accomplishment since entering the business? My proudest moments as a pro wrestling journalist both involve The Rock. The biggest exclusive story we have had to date, and there have been several, is exclusively breaking the news of The Rock's return to WWE in 2011 (MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR (DID WE SAY MAJOR?) NAME PLANNED TO BE REVEALED AS THE WRESTLEMANIA XXVII GUEST HOST ON MONDAY’S WWE RAW FROM ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA (SPOILER)). This story was almost 4 years into my full-time career as a pro wrestling journalist but really shook up the business that we were for real. The next moment came this year when The Rock himself Tweeted a message at us that you can read here. To see someone of The Rock's magnitude not only show himself as a reader but compliment my work was a huge honor. It's a blessing to do what I do for a living but I couldn't do it without my amazing staff and the loyal readership of the website. It's you all that make it possible for us to be able to do what we do. It's an uphill battle getting established because of writers that have been doing this before I was even born, however, I work day in and day out to provide better information than anywhere on the Internet. From the Ask WNW vault…April 2009 - The MSG Incident: The incident happened at a WWE house show in 1996 at Madison Square Garden where Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels were working as babyfaces and Triple H and Diesel (Kevin Nash) were working as heels. At the end of the show, all four embraced as Nash and Hall were leaving WWE to go to World Championship Wrestling. All four were (and still are) very close friends and were known as the Kliq backstage in WWE. They are infamously known for their political stroke to be able to get in Vince McMahon's ear.Have I gone too cynical or does it feel many WWE superstars and Divas are just on auto-pilot? I don't like to be the guy that prefaces a response with, well back in my day… For one, it makes me look old and two, it seems too many fans wish things were how they were and forget they were complaining back in the Attitude Era too. However, if I could point to one criticism of the business today compared to the business 15 years ago, it's the way performers today carry themselves when they come through the curtain. We can argue that WWE performers today are more seasoned now than ever. WWE has poured a tremendous amount of their resources into scouting and training their superstars of the future, yet I feel many characters are as robotic and bland as they've ever been. When I look at workers like Curtis Axel or Ryback I see guys that have everything needed to be successful yet they come across like they're more focused on following a script than playing their respective characters. Do you know why Goldust is able to have this run at 44-years-old? Did you hear him on commentary on Monday? Dustin Runnels becomes Goldust - he's not trying to hit the bullet points or follow a script, he IS the character. It's why Hogan was successful; it's why Austin was successful. Dare I say, it's why John Cena is successful. So to answer your question, I think performers are too focused on fulfilling what is written for them and not doing the obvious things that cause fans to take interest. Will John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship take place in the Hell in a Cell structure at the pay-per-view on Sunday? No and for a couple of reasons. Triple H only wanted one Hell in a Cell match on the pay-per-view and he wanted it to be the WWE title match, however, they changed CM Punk vs. Ryback because the feeling was there wasn't enough interest in Ryback challenging Punk again, so they added Heyman and the stipulation. The feeling is the Punk/Heyman program has been entertaining but the challengers - Curtis Axel and Ryback - haven't been believable. It was a different story with Brock Lesnar but there was a considerable drop off from there. Other reasons Cena vs. Del Rio isn't taking place in the Hell in a Cell structure is because it's a brand new program and Cena is coming back from a serious injury. The match is dangerous and it's usually reserved to blowoff programs. I will also credit that WWE doesn't overkill their gimmicks, which have made the 'themed' B-level pay-per-views effective. I know there was a lot of talk about Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust happening at Wrestlemania this year, do you see it happening next year? The talk of Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust happening at Wrestlemania this year was because Goldust put a tremendous social media push towards it. He wasn't under WWE contract at the time and was actually released from his role as a producer in May 2012. There was no interest on WWE's behalf in the match but that might have changed given the renewed interest in Goldust's character. He's really improved his stock and has found a role that fits him. As I mentioned in the question above, I believe it's because he portrays his character so well. We'll see what WWE decides to do but Goldust is back under a performance contract. Most of us understand the formula for evaluating pro wrestlers is a three-part process - in-ring ability, charisma and look. If each warrants a score out of 10, with a perfect score being 30, who do you think in WWE scores the highest? Daniel Bryan scores higher than any worker on the WWE roster in my opinion. I understand this will be debated, and it should be, but there isn't an area where Bryan lacks. His in-ring ability is the best in the business, surpassing Kurt Angle as the best in the world. However, what has surprised people is his talent in the other two areas. Bryan has a very unique look with his big beard and he's able to take that beard and pair it with words like yes and no and get over more than anyone has gotten over in years. As he rises he'll develop haters that will start trying to disprove him with ratings and buy rates and fan interest. But the fact of the matter is, no one can accurately explain ratings, buy rates and fan interest; if they could, WWE would employ them and pay them a lot of money. Heck, TNA might even pay them what's left of their budget if they were guaranteed to fix those areas. Bryan is as good as it gets and there is nothing wrong with "buying the hype." There are some that feel it will make them a mark if they buy Daniel Bryan but if it makes me a mark to put over the most talented person this business has seen in quite some time, call me a mark. From the Ask WNW vault…April 2009 - Has Bryan Danielson really signed with WWE?: Yes, Bryan Danielson has agreed in principle to a contract with WWE. I haven't heard the terms of the deal but I would imagine he'll go to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa before getting the call up to the main roster. I understand Danielson is one of the best workers in the world but I would imagine WWE will want to take a look at him in their developmental facility before calling him up. I really hope Danielson does not get buried as a WWE worker.Are reports true that WWE has a decent chance of signing Sting to a contract once his deal with TNA Wrestling is up? Sting puts himself in this position because he chooses to work on a year-to-year contract with TNA Wrestling. He's flirted with WWE before so as long as he does so, there will always be speculation regarding his future. I have heard from credible sources within WWE there is interest but there's always interest. Sting isn't getting any younger and the window is closing but we certainly can't rule it out. However, if you're going to root for a former WCW star to come to WWE, I would root for Sting over Goldberg because I think there's more of a chance of signing the former. I personally feel that Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family are possibly the best gimmick that WWE has come up with in years. However, I do feel they've been limited by short storylines and monthly angles. Would they not benefit from a longer feud? WWE seems to be "feeling out the trio," gauging where they are best fit before making any long-term commitment. Kane is expected to resume his program with them when he returns although the current direction is the program with The Miz. I am very high up on The Wyatt Family but feel the money with Bray Wyatt is in his gimmick. I'm not saying he can't work, but it's his mic work and spooky character that people are interested in. After his Ring of Fire Match [against Kane href="http://fs21.formsite.com/GutCheckLLC/form8/index.html"] at SummerSlam, people were criticizing his in-ring work while ignoring the spectacle. I took this as an IWC overreaction. Not all gimmicks and characters are based around what happens in the ring, WWE is not Ring of Honor. The match had a perfect feel to it and really helped set the groundwork for Bray's character.
Who is on the TNA creative team?
The TNA Wrestling creative team is currently comprised of Dave Lagana, Matt Conway, John Gaburick and Eric Bischoff. Lagana and Conway have been there for awhile now while Gaburick replaced Bruce Prichard and Bischoff maintains his role as Executive Producer.
We've seen WWE take measures to reduce the number of concussions, however, it seems more workers are utilizing riskier spots such as suicide dive and spots that require them to bump outside of the ring. Is there any concern about this?
Vince McMahon has traditionally discouraged workers from utilizing high-risk movesets to reduce the number of injuries. WWE is different from promotions such as Ring of Honor because the focus is not on the in-ring work. WWE's broad demographic caters to pro wrestling fans but also people that are intrigued by the storylines and gimmicks. With that being said, WWE is still very physical and there's no way to get around that. The spots you are talking about are done for a reason to help "tell the story" and I would be against eliminating them. It's important to take precautions and I'm all for eliminating unprotected chair shots to the head but no one wants to see mass restrictions. Precautions can and should be taken but at the end of the day pro wrestling is still pro wrestling and it's going to be physical.
From the Ask WNW vault…
May 2009 - How is Tyson Kidd related to the Hart family?: Tyson Kidd (real name TJ Wilson) grew up with the Hart family. He was the childhood best friend of Teddy Hart and lived with DH Smith (Harry Smith) at one point. He's the real-life boyfriend of Natalya and trained in Stu Hart's dungeon. Bret Hart trained Kidd as did the late Davey Boy Smith.
What's the contract status of Rob Van Dam?
WWE claims that Rob Van Dam is not under a performance contract at this time. When he returned to the company at Money in the Bank in July, the plan was for him to work in 90-day increments. His most recent deal is up and he is expected to return. That's all I have for now.
What's your reaction to TNA pulling Impact Wrestling off the road and returning to Universal Studios?
The biggest story of the week is the news that TNA is pulling Impact Wrestling off the road and will once again tape television from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I mentioned on Twitter after the official announcement was made, the story was greeted by two separate reactions. One was the "I told you so" doom and gloom reaction and the other was the "it's no big deal, business as usual" reaction. I always like to take the middle ground and cover the story from both sides and that is no different here.
First of all, to the doom and gloomers - this is a move that had to be made. TNA clearly wasn't ready to tape television on the road and couldn't handle the increase in expenses. The internal hope was they would hit the road and attract fans from all over. Rather than run in major cities with big expensive venues, TNA tried to run in suburbs or wrestling hotbeds in the south to try and attract an audience. They held press conferences in cites, invited local politicians and really tried to make the tapings a big deal in hopes of attracting large crowds. While they had some early momentum, the crowds didn't grow while the expenses piled up. Dixie Carter was under a tremendous amount of pressure to cut expenses and after trying to solve it on the roster side, the inevitable decision was made to return to Orlando. However, let's lose the "I told you so" attitudes, TNA's decision to pull Impact off the road is a move to save the company, not a move waving the white flag of surrender.
Now, to the "business as usual" people that treat this like it's no big deal - this is a big deal and this is a step backwards. All we have to do is go back and look at what talent said about leaving the Impact Zone. This isn't just another failed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff project, this is something the majority of the TNA roster wanted. Everyone was excited and hopeful that taking Impact on the road was the next major step. The fact the decision didn't work out is disappointing. However, at the same time, most realize it's a decision that had to be made. The people working in TNA have watched the cutbacks and knew changes had to be made.
So where does that leave us and who am I rooting for? I'm rooting for TNA the company. I want WWE to have competition because I feel competition is good for WWE, good for the wrestling business and good for this website. However, we need to take TNA for what it is. TNA is a mainstream pro wrestling product that is bigger than your run of the mill independent promotion, but it's not the global empire that is WWE. They're a promotion with a larger budget and a television deal but aside from a very talented roster, that's where the comparisons end. They are not WWE and should not try to be WWE.
Now as for who I am rooting for, Dixie Carter is going to be fine. She comes from a very wealthy family and is a very smart and successful person. Main eventers like Kurt Angle and Sting are going to be fine. Yes, they gave up signifiant chunks of their careers to work for TNA, but they've been paid well and have had amazing schedules they couldn't have gotten in WWE. The people I am rooting for are the workers that have been giving all they have to TNA from day one. Workers like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and others. I'm rooting for the guys that started with TNA as a dream and helped it grow from the Nashville Fairgrounds to a national TV program. I'm rooting for everyone that works backstage or in the office who has put in countless hours and time away from their family. I'm rooting for them for this company to succeed.
Sometimes I think in the midst of frustration that fans forget these are real people with real families. This is their livelihood and this is how they put food on the table. No one should ever celebrate for a company to go out of business or for someone to lose their job. Yes, we want more entertaining programming but there are ways to critique without celebrating the demise of someone else.
Is it far off to compare Big Show to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin?
I think it is. Big Show is a great athlete and one of the most versatile big men in the history of the wrestling business. He's been able to get over multiple gimmicks and has been very reliable. However, I don't think his drawability comes close to matching that of Steve Austin. Austin is in very rare company and belongs right atop the list of people that have had the most impact.
If DeGeneration X is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, will the induction include Chyna?
This question should be phrased, "when" DX is inducted, not if. The faction will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame one day and it will mean dual inductions for Shawn Michaels and eventually dual inductions for Triple H. I don't see any reason why WWE would exclude Chyna although they probably do not like the fact she's transitioned into a porn career. That doesn't exactly follow along with their PG initiate but it wouldn't be right to exclude someone that had a big role in one of the most successful factions in history.
From the Ask WNW vault…
July 2007 - What stops athletic talent in WWE with no direction from going to TNA?: WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, thus there is more money to be made in it than anywhere else. While TNA has managed to land some big names due to their lighter schedule, there are going to be guys who would rather job in WWE than go to TNA or another promotion not only because of the money they make but the amount of earning potential that they have in WWE.