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Why Hulk Hogan Filing Lawsuits Was His Best Chance At Stopping Sex Tape; Dixie Carter's Reaction To The Scandal, AJ Lee Replaced By Vickie Guerrero, Top WWE Star Pushing For The Company To Sign A Top TNA Star, Linda McMahon Breaks The Bank Trying To Get E

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Welcome to the Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.

This week's edition covers news from Saturday, October 20, 2012 to Friday, October 26, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

- John Bradshaw Layfield has indicated via his Facebook page that he will remain on commentary this week for both Raw & Smackdown.

- WWE has announced that Sin Cara has opened a Twitter account, @TheSinCaraWWE.

- For those wondering as to the whereabouts of Mason Ryan, he is featured in this week's episode of "Santino's Foreign Exchange" that you can watch at this link.

- Commentary on next week's WWE Raw will once again be handled by Michael Cole and Jim Ross. John "Bradshaw" Layfield will work the Smackdown taping on Tuesday night in Providence, Rhode Island.

- Speaking of JR, he has a new blog entry online where he remembers Mike Graham. Click here to read it.

- For those that haven't seen the house show results, Seth Rollins is in Cairo, Egypt with the WWE roster.

- The USA Network has announced they will be airing three straight nights of WWE programming in December. The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, December 17th from 8-11 PM - WWE Raw
  • Tuesday, December 18th from 8-10 PM - SuperSmackdown Live Special
  • Wednesday, December 19 from 9-11 PM - WWE Tribute to the Troops

- Dave Batista is featured on the cover of the November 2012 issue of Muscle & Fitness due out on newsstands next week. In addition to a compelling story on Batista in which he talks candidly about his time in WWE, transition to MMA and role in the new feature film "The Man With the Iron Fists," there is a lot of wrestling-related content. The issue has an article where the publication names the best (and worst physiques in wrestling history, an interview with David Otunga and a list of the 20 best movies of all time starring wrestlers.

- JJ Dillion was backstage at Saturday night's WWE Raw live event in Reading, Pennsylvania.

- Chris Jericho's third autobiography is tentatively due out in February 2014.

- WWE has uploaded photos from their tour of Egypt here on dot com.

- Sarita, who hasn't appeared in TNA Wrestling since the breakup of Mexican America in April, told ESPN Deportes her main goal was to work for WWE. You can read a translated version of the interview at this link.

- Randy Orton is close to wrapping his role in "12 Rounds: Reloaded." He noted on Twitter Saturday morning that it was the "second to last night shooting." You can view a photo from the filming Orton posted at this link.

- The WWE crew is back in the United States after a three-show loop in Egypt. Lilian Garcia noted on Twitter the crew flew on an airplane together and she is headed to New York City for dinner.

- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald is reporting that Ene Watts and the Watts family have agreed on a deal to sell about 1200 hours of Mid-South Wrestling footage to WWE.

“If fans are able to somewhere down the road buy volumes where they can see X number of weeks of television or by the year where there’s X number of episodes on a multi-disc set, they’re going to see how it was like reading an action adventure book,” Jim Ross told The Miami Herald. “One chapter led to the next chapter led to the next with a crescendo and then a payoff, and then the book continues.”

Click here for full coverage by The Miami Herald.

- Bret Hart wrote the following on Twitter:

- Zack Ryder, who has been very vocal about his frustration regarding WWE editing his YouTube show, wrote the following on Twitter:

- Chris Jericho was asked on Twitter over the weekend if he will be appearing at Royal Rumble next year. Jericho's response was, "not likely."

- WWE officially announced Monday here on dot com that Wrestlemania 29 tickets are scheduled to go on sale Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 10 AM. We broke the news back in September here on

- WWE issued the following press release in regards to Wrestlemania 29 tickets going on sale next month. The company noted that tickets will be priced from $35 to $850 as well as some "Gold Circle" VIP Packages available for $2000. Below is the release in its entirety:

STAMFORD, Conn., October 22, 2012– WWE® (NYSE: WWE) announced today that tickets for its annual pop-culture extravaganza, WrestleMania 29, will go on sale Saturday, November 10 at 10 AM ET. WrestleMania 29 will take place Sunday, April 7, 2013 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Ticket prices range from $35 - $850. There will also be a limited number of “Gold Circle” VIP Packages available for $2,000. The Gold Circle packages include seating in the first four rows ringside, an exclusive Gold Circle VIP Stadium Entrance, a collectible WrestleMania 29 ticket holder and the commemorative WrestleMania 29 take-home folding chair. Tickets can be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees. Starting Monday, November 12th at 11 AM ET, tickets will also be available at the MetLife Stadium and IZOD Center box offices.

WrestleMania is more than just a one day event; it is a week-long celebration. WWE will take over the greater New York/New Jersey area during WrestleMania Week. In addition to WrestleMania 29, other activities will include: WrestleMania Axxess – WWE’s four-day, interactive fan festival at the IZOD Center; WrestleMania Reading Challenge Finals; the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Madison Square Garden and other activities designed to give back to the host community including Be a STAR rallies in support of WWE’s anti-bullying initiative and hospital visits. Additional information on these events will be announced in the future at

Last year, WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami set multiple records. The event became Sun Life Stadium’s largest attended event and highest-grossing, entertainment event in history with 78,363 fans from all 50 states and 36 countries in attendance. WrestleMania XXVIII also became WWE’s highest-grossing, live event in history, with a gross of $8.9 million. In addition, the event generated a record-breaking $102.7 million in economic impact for the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

- Zack Ryder is scheduled to appear at a WWE NXT live event on Saturday, November 17, 2012 in Ocala, Florida.

- Last week's Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,930,000 viewers.

- As the storyline goes, AJ Lee "resigned" as the General Manager of WWE Raw on this week's show. The storyline reason is she was fraternizing with a fellow WWE superstar. Vince McMahon "appointed" Vickie Guerrero as the "Raw Managing Supervisor." While I do not know where they are going with the storyline (the initial part is airing live as I type this) but we first wrote of WWE looking to replace AJ Lee here on Premium on September 19, 2012. We also wrote exclusively that Vickie Guerrero was in the running to replace her.

- There will be a presale to obtain tickets to Wrestlemania 29 beginning on Thursday, November 8, 2012. The password is IZODVIP. Tickets go on sale to the general public that Saturday, November 10th at 10 AM.

- While this isn't going to be happening anytime soon, or as long as TNA has open litigation against WWE, there is one top WWE star (who I wasn't given the name of) pushing for the company to sign Samoa Joe. The logic is obvious with the success of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro. I'm told it's not seen as much of a gamble as it once was as Punk and Bryan have "kicked the door open" for former Ring of Honor stars that may not fit the typical WWE "image." My source reminded me at this stage in Joe's career and with the toll his career has taken on hid body, many feel this would be one of the last shots he has going to WWE and being able to work their schedule. Alex Shelley is another name that remains on WWE's radar as the ROH door is wide open.

- During Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler on this week's WWE Raw a chant broke out amongst fans of "we want Star Man." They were referring to the popular Pro Wrestling Syndicate worker who was in attendance. Once the chants broke out, Star Man, apparently in his ring gear, was escorted out of the building.

- WWE issued the following press release:

STAMFORD, Conn., October 22, 2012 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) announced today that WWE Superstar, John Cena, was honored by Make-A-Wish last week at their “Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony” for being the only celebrity to reach the record-breaking milestone of fulfilling 300 wishes.

Cena became the first recipient of the 300th Wish Award at the annual Make-A-Wish awards ceremony in Glendale, AZ. His award was presented by wish mom Judith Harrison, whose late son Justin was the second wish child Cena ever met, before an audience of hundreds of Make-A Wish national and chapter staff, volunteer leaders, and wish families.

“WWE Superstar John Cena is a champion in the ring and a champion for Make-A-Wish and wish kids across the world,” said David A. Williams, president and chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish America. “Even in the face of a hectic travel schedule, the physical demands of his job and countless requests for his time, John’s commitment to creating life-changing wish experiences for each and every wish kid requesting to meet him has never wavered. He is an amazing wish granter and a great friend of Make-A-Wish.”

“I can think of no greater honor than someone who can have any wish they want in the world, yet they choose to spend their time with me,” said Cena. “I will continue to grant wishes as long as there are children who request me. I am proud to be a part of WWE’s long standing alliance with Make-A-Wish.”

Cena set a Make-A-Wish record this June by granting his 300th wish to Jonathan Littman, 7, an honor that was also celebrated on ABC’s Good Morning America. Cena has been personally granting wishes for more than eight years, and during the course of WWE’s 25-year alliance with Make-A-Wish, the company and its Superstars have granted more than 4,000 wishes.

- After vanishing from WWE TV only to resurface in Santino Marella'sYouTube show over the weekend, Mason Ryan was a lumberjack in this week's Raw main event.

- William Regal is now working as a scout in WWE.

- Silvervision posted a trailer to the upcoming nWo: The Revolution DVD set. For details on the DVD, click here.

- This week's WWE Raw, the go-home to Hell in a Cell, did an average viewing audience of 3,554,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the hourly breakdown:

  • Hour one: 3,578,000
  • Hour two: 3,653,000
  • Hour three: 3,432,00

While the show had significant competition with the third Presidential Debate, the MLB Playoffs and Monday Night Football, a tell-tell sign is the drop in viewership from hour two to hour three.

- WWE will tape Smackdown from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday, April 19, 2013. There will be a presale to obtain tickets next week during WWE Raw.

- Speaking of which, the presale password for the December 17th WWE Raw from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is JOHNCENA.

- Richard Gray posted the viewership numbers for WWE Raw earlier today. The rating is in and it is the lowest Raw rating in 15 years for a non-holiday episode. It scored a 2.48 cable rating.

- It was announced during this week's Smackdown tapings that Eve will defend her Divas Championship against Layla & Kaitlyn in a Triple Threat match at WWE Hell in a Cell.

- Amid recent comments that quoted Chris Jericho as to saying Ryback needed to go over CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell on Sunday because Punk had gone as far as he could go, Jericho wrote the following on Twitter:

- Denton Blackwell (Twitter) and Alisha Ceraso have signed developmental contracts with WWE. Blackwell is from Booker T's Reality of Wrestling and Ceraso is a fitness model. She'll be working [in WWE] as Dani and can be found on Twitter at this link.

- Sami Callihan, who worked tryout matches in March, faced Johnny Curtis in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping. Callihan is best known for his work in Dragon Gate USA.

- Brock Lesnar a grandpa? Well not quite but his wife, Rena Mero, is a grandma as her daughter Mariah (age 24) gave birth to her first child back in September.

- It was announced at this week's Smackdown taping that John Cena will "address" the situation with AJ Lee during the WWE Hell in a Cell YouTube Preshow. I'm told this is to continue to stress the importance of the pre-shows on YouTube, however, the last few pre-shows have crashed once they reached a certain number of viewership. We'll carry the stream of the pre-show here on For bizarre backstage details on the Cena/AJ Lee angle, click here.

- UFC President Dana White was on Dave and Mahoney on 107.5 in Las Vegas and was asked about Brock Lesnar. Here's a paraphrased excerpt of what he said:

"He's [Brock Lesnar] done. He called me a couple days ago. He's never coming back [to UFC]. He said his body is, you know, he can wrestle but he can't fight."

You can listen to the full interview at this link. While Dana claims Brock was interested in returning that's not the full story. Click here for more.

- Rey Mysterio did a chat with users here on to promote WWE '13. Below are the highlights:

Worst injury ever:

Two injuries have been really bad. My ACL tears and my bicep tear. If I had to put one in front of the other, I would have to say the last ACL tear, which was almost a year and a half ago.

His recent illness revealed:

I think when we are hurt or we're sick we have to stay on focus. Not to long ago, I wrestled on a Monday night and I had food poisoning. I was in the ring with food poisoning. Sometimes you don't realize our health. They just see us perform out there and say that was good. But in the back, the cameras aren't recording anymore and you tend to yourself. In this case, I had to go to the doctor's right away.

Click here to read the transcript in its entirety.

- The preliminary buyrate numbers for WWE Night of Champions are in. The show did an estimated 189,000 buys with 100,000 being US and Canada and 89,000 international, according to WWE's key performance indicators. The final figures will be announced with the company's 2012 quarter three earnings which will be released on Thursday, November 1, 2012, We'll have full coverage here at

- Steve Austin has a new blog entry available at this link.

- Jim Ross has a new blog now online on his official website at this link.

- While I was under the impression John Cena would be appearing at WWE Hell in a Cell during the YouTube pre-show apparently he'll be fielding questions via Tout and Twitter. As the storyline goes, Cena will "address" issues about "fraternizing" with AJ Lee.

- We noted earlier this week here on Premium that a top WWE star was pushing for WWE to sign Samoa Joe once TNA's litigation against them was solved. I'm now being told the unnamed top WWE star is in fact WWE Champion CM Punk. I'm told Punk really wants Joe in WWE but Triple H is turned off by his look. However, Hunter is also believed to be keeping an "open minded." There have been times in the past where WWE asked around about Joe and the Samoans didn't speak highly of him, but they've lost their stroke with Vince over the years and their opinion no longer holds much weight. As previously noted, it comes down to how long TNA's lawsuit against WWE is going to drag out. Joe is well liked by a few different guys in WWE but it's been Punk that has pitched him recently.

- Next week's WWE Main Event will be headlined by Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio & The Prime Time Players. The show will be taped next Tuesday from the Crown Center in Fayetteville, NC.

- While lower than the initial estimate of 1.3 million buys, Wrestlemania XXVIII ended up doing 1,253,000 buys with 733,000 being domestic buys and 520,000 being international buys. This makes the show the most-purchased pay-per-view in WWE history.

-Ricky Reyes, known for appearances in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, was backstage at Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Providence, Rhode Island.

- WWE issued a casting breakdown last week in search of women aged 18-30 to become Divas. They made no mention of in-ring abilities but wanted headshots and bikini body shots.

- Dot com has an article now online looking at "WWE Bands we'd like to see." You can read it at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Fernando for sending this in.)

- Speaking of dot com, they have an article online where they look at how The Rock will "electrify" at Wrestlemania 29. Click here to read it.

- You can watch John Cena's appearance on "The Chew" at this link.

- Vickie Guerrero is working away on her Twitter account, claiming she will reveal "evidence" on next week's WWE Raw that John Cena and AJ Lee had an affair. You can read her Tweets at this link.

- David Otunga is interviewed in the November 2012 issue of Muscle & Fitness now out on newsstands everywhere. Below are the highlights:

What’s your best bench?
Back when I was in law school I benched 515.

Next year you’ll be in a movie called The Hive. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Oh man this is a great, great film. Halle Berry plays a 9-1-1 operator, and Abigail Breslin, from Little Miss Sunshine, is in the movie as well. A girl gets kidnapped and Halle Berry is the 9-1-1 operator who’s trying to help find her. I play one of the police officers who works with Halle Berry. It’s a thriller.

Click here to read the interview in its entirety where Otunga also reveals his workout.

- WWE is filming footage for the new Mick Foley DVD at his home on Thursday. The company recently had a camera crew at Shawn Michaels' ranch for the same project.

- For those that missed it on this week's WWE Raw, Jim Ross acknowledged Rey Mysterio's tag team past including alliances with Juventud Guerrera and Konnan. Konnan wrote the following on Twitter: "wow i must not be blackballed..thats a first."

- Alberto Del Rio's brother, Memo Montenegro, recently spoke to The Miami Herald about coming up in the wrestling business as a WWE developmental worker. “It’s an incredible experience… In the three, four months I’ve been here, I’ve already learned so much. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned so far. I want to thank Bill DeMott, Norman Smiley, Joe Mercury, Ricky Steamboat, because they really help me and tell me my mistakes to learn from and improve and get better.” Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- WWE Champion CM Punk was on Rover's Morning Glory on Thursday and refused to discuss his attack on a fan in the audience at WWE Raw a couple weeks ago. We're awaiting for footage to be posted so we can embed here on the site.

- WWE has announced a live event from the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 7:30 PM and the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee, Florida on Sunday, January 6th, 2013 at 5 PM.

- The Smoking Gunreported in January that WWE gave $5 million to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in 2010 due to his involvement in WWE storylines.

The donation became a political talking point when Trump recently offered to pay $5 million to the charity of President Obama's choice if he would release his college and passport records. This caused WWE to release the following statement:

“WWE has not made any donation to the Donald J. Trump Foundation,” WWE’s Brian Flinn told Hearst Newspapers Wednesday evening. “However, as I understand it, the Vince and Linda McMahon Family Foundation has donated $5 million in total to the Donald J. Trump Foundation.”

Flinn told the media Thursday morning the money actually came directly from Vince McMahon.

The McMahon family has distanced itself from Trump following the remarks as Linda McMahon is in a tight race for United States Senate in Connecticut. Running as a Republican in a state where President Obama has a double-digit lead, Linda is trying to appeal to Obama supporters.

- SLAM! Wrestling has a new article online featuring quotes from WWE Champion CM Punk. Below are the highlights:

On the difficulty of giving up meat and completely changing his diet: "It wasn't," he said. "It was just something I wanted to try. Something to see if I could do. I'm funny like that. I like to do things like that. It wasn't difficult. I just ate a lot of eggs."

On whether he has any regrets about his DVD: "The only thing I wish I could have, I don't know if done differently is the word ... the only thing missing from my DVD is a sit-down interview with Samoa Joe," he said. "That obviously couldn't happen because he works for a different company."

Facing Ryback: "We don't know what kind of a motor he's got either, you know," he said. "Most of his matches he's had have been like, what, a couple of minutes. I'm a marathon runner. We're going to get him on his bike to see if he can survive."

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- John Cena is being advertised to appear live on next week's WWE Raw from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The advertised dark match main event is Ryback vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship. While the promotional material is not indicative of what will happen at the pay-per-view, Ryback is being adverted as "The Undefeated" Ryback. Click here for local event information.

- The New York Post recently conducted an interview with CM Punk & Paul Heyman, during which WWE '13, the Attitude Era, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin were discussed. In the following excerpt, a potential feud between Austin and Punk is discussed:

Everyone is talking about the video that surfaced earlier this month between you and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Were you guys in character or was there genuine disagreement between you guys?

Punk: I am a character, I don’t play a character, and the same can be said for Steve. I think there is a mutual respect, I’m not positive we get along in the world we’re in. Texas Rattlesnake, beer-drinking son of a gun and I’m the straight edge kid from Chicago. We just come from two different worlds. For all of our differences, we’re very similar. I don’t think he’s backing down from anything, and I’m not, so you put the two of us in the room [and that’s what you get]. I think that was the first time the world has seen what it’s like when CM Punk and Stone Cold Steve Austin are in a room together.

In the following excerpt, Heyman addresses whether the "Attitude Era" selling point is disrespectful to the current crop of talent:

The big selling point of this game is the inclusion of the Attitude Era. Do you think that it is disrespectful to today’s superstars, including Punk?

Heyman: I do think it’s disrespectful, and here’s why. As with anything else in life, you have to constantly re-invent yourself. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Attitude Era was spawned from the ECW days, and as the architect of the ECW experience, I can tell you that the 1990s are dead. That means that the extreme concept, the Attitude Era has run its course. The reason why it is in this game today is so that people can compare the modern era to the Attitude experience. The WWE can continue to look on the Attitude Era as its glory days and ignore the magnificent performances that are being delivered every week by their current reigning, defending WWE Champion who proclaims himself to be the best in the world and with good reason, because he is. These people who are hanging onto the past need to understand that by doing that they are not allowing the audience to sink into the future.

Click here to read the full interview.

- Mick Foley, who will be touring Australia next year with his stand-up comedy tour, spoke to an Australian media outlet about the transition from the ring. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- WWE announced a live event from the Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia on Saturday, January 5, 2013.

We noted here on that CM Punk "refused" to address the fan incident on WWE Raw a couple weeks ago during a radio appearance Thursday on Rover's Morning Glory. While he refused to disclose specifics, Punk did mildly address the issue. Below are the highlights of the interview:

  • Punk opened the interview with an especially weird lead-in as the hosts were discussing abortion. Punk said his view on abortion is silver haired men over the age of 50 have no place deciding what a woman can do with her body.
  • He said he's never taken a pain pill in his life, not even when he fractured his skull ten years ago.
  • The host asked Punk if WWE sat him down and read him the riot act over the fan incident in the crowd at Raw a few weeks ago. He said they responded in a like manner and it's something they all feel won't happen again. Punk confirmed he hasn't watched the tape because he "lived it."
  • When asked if he had contact with the person he hit, he said it's out of his hands and he's waiting to see what happens.
  • The host politely pressed the issue and said WWE must have done something in which Punk brushed it off by saying it all depends on the situation.

The interview is currently available for listen in audio format at this link.

- WWE issued the following press release on Friday:

STAMFORD, Conn., October 26, 2012 - WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) and ABC Family today announced that WWE Studios and ABC Family are developing an upcoming television movie, Christmas Bounty, for a 2013 world premiere during ABC Family’s popular “25 Days of Christmas” programming event. WWE Superstar The Miz is attached to star in a lead role.

Christmas Bounty is an action-filled comedy about a former bounty hunter turned elementary schoolteacher. Determined to have a normal life, and keep her bounty hunter past a secret, she reluctantly returns home for Christmas to help save the family business by catching the one bounty that got away. But when her fiancé follows her home for the holiday, she struggles to hide her wild family business and a bounty hunter ex-boyfriend she thought she’d left behind. Written by Andrew Black & Vivian Lee, and James Berg & Stan Zimmerman, the movie is scheduled to go into production in early 2013.

“We are so pleased to partner with a tremendous network like ABC Family,” said Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios. “25 Days of Christmas is one of the biggest cable programming events of the year and is the perfect release platform for this engaging holiday title.”

“ABC Family is the destination for holiday programming and is known for great original holiday movies. We’re thrilled to partner with WWE Studios and bring WWE’s passionate fan base to ABC Family and our wonderful 25 Days of Christmas programming event with such a fun movie,” added Kate Juergens, Executive Vice President, Original Series Programming and Development, ABC Family.

The Miz has been a devoted WWE fan his whole life, and most recently starred in WWE’s film The Marine 3: Homefront. MTV’s Real World alum Mike “The Miz” Mizanin competed on the fourth season of WWE’s reality show Tough Enough in hopes of winning a contract to become a WWE Superstar. After finishing as the runner-up, The Miz didn’t give up on his dream and continued to train once the show concluded. Now, his hard work is being rewarded as the reality TV Star with the frat boy looks, sophomoric humor and explosive intensity is living out his dream at the top of the WWE roster.

Bradley Buchanan, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, negotiated on behalf of WWE Studios.

- Creative Loafing Atlanta has a new Q&A online with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. In it, Kofi is asked about his feud with The Miz and how Miz has gone on to win the WWE Championship while he has yet to capture a major title. Below is his response:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure we were gaining momentum around the same time. We're both trying to do everything we can to kick, claw and scratch our way into that main event track to the top. I think you're seeing a lot of that. As a WWE superstar, it can be frustrating sometimes because we're the best athletes in the world and we all want to be the best. Anything less than that is unsatisfying. He and I both have an opportunity to step our games up, which is kind of what we've been doing over the past couple of weeks. A lot of people have been talking about this rivalry we've had and we've really only had about two weeks to build it. I think we've both done a good job of that and I see it as an opportunity to step up and be noticed in a different way. I'm sure he's feeling the same way. So when you have two guys who are that hungry for the same thing in the ring against each other, both wanting to steel the show every night, it makes for a great match.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The Associated Pressreported on Friday that Linda McMahon has spent $42.6 million on her campaign for United States Senate. Just this Tuesday McMahon loaned her campaign another $3.3 million to spend on television and advertising. In 2010, McMahon spent $50 million of her own money while running for United States Senate only to lose to Democrat Richard Blumental. At the time, McMahon justified the spending by saying she was virtually unknown and had to spend to get her name out there. She didn't feel she would have to spend near as much on a second campaign. This article comes on the heels of me writing here in Ask WNW that I felt the amount of money Linda McMahon has spent trying to get elected was alarming. The total now stands at $92.6 million.

TNA News

- The replay of TNA Bound for Glory that aired on Challenge TV in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 did the highest viewership in the network's history. The following was Retweeted by Dixie Carter on Twitter:

- We have more on the story that won't die - the Hulk Hogan/Heather Clem sex tape(s). As we reported last week here on Premium, Hogan was "treading carefully" in fear that other sex tapes could end up surfacing. Bubba the Love Sponge claimed that he had only shown the first tape and the other tapes were not at risk of leaking. Hogan's legal counsel wanted Bubba to sign a document that copies of the other tapes had never been given to anyone and that his copies had been destroyed. If in violation of the document, a stiff financial penalty would be enforced, preventing further tapes from surfacing. While Bubba had promised Hogan that he had never shown or given other tapes to anyone, when Hogan requested Bubba to put it in writing, he refused to sign. This is when Hogan realized his best bet at stopping further tapes from surfacing was to file a lawsuit. For those wondering Dixie Carter's reaction to the entire scandal, the word inside TNA is that Hogan is "tighter than ever" with the high-ups of the company and rather than get mad, Dixie has been very compassionate.

- TNA Wrestling has announced the dates and venues for their January 2013 tour of the United Kingdom. In addition to the tour, they will tape four episodes of Impact Wrestling on the tour. Two episodes from the Manchester Arena on Friday, January 25, 2013 and two episodes from the London Wembley Arena in London, England on Saturday, January 26, 2012. Click here for official details.

- Radar Online is reporting that Hulk Hogan was denied a restraining order against that posted a clip of his sex tape with Heather Clem. Had he been successful, the website would have been forced to remove the clip. A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for November 8, 2012 where counsel from both sides will make their arguments. Click here for coverage by Radar Online.

- ESPN has a new Q&A online with "Big Brother" Jessie Godderz. Below is an excerpt:

So that's why you did the show?

"Money was tight, so I was there on 'Big Brother' to win a half a million dollars. That's a great payday for anybody. That was my goal. My dream was to get into wrestling after that, and one thing led to another. I didn't think I could acquire that kind of superstardom. I talked to wrestling legend Ric Flair while at the Venice Gold's Gym, and he told me I should really go to Florida because that's where the wrestlers are. I wanted to take that leap. That's what I did. I keep getting brought back to 'Big Brother' because I make such a positive impression. I've been back even more than those people that America loves."

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

- As previously reported, Scott Steiner and TNA Wrestling are due back in court on Friday in Nashville, Tennessee in regards to Steiner's countersuit against the company. TNA originally filed suit against Steiner when he posted disparaging remarks about the company as well as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff on Twitter. Steiner filed a countersuit, claiming the company failed to provide accounting on royalties owed to him as well as non-payment of royalties. TNA filed a motion to dismiss the countersuit because of a clause in Steiner's contract that would require him to inform them of a possible contract breach and allow thirty days to fix it before filing litigation. We noted of internal concern in TNA over Steiner's countersuit due to issues revealed here.

- Wes Brisco has been hospitalized for dehydration. He wrote on Twitter that his "kidneys stopped working" and that he was in a lot of pain. You can view a photo he posted at this link.

- Bleacher Report has a new article online featuring quotes from former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and current TNA Wrestling superstar Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. Below are the highlights:

Training in OVW under Nick Dinsmore and Frank Miller:

"I thought it was going to be hard, but this (pro wrestling training) is harder than I expected," Lawal stated. "I'm going to tell you this. Pro wrestling training is three times harder than MMA. It's harder because of the psychology, the positioning, the bumps, hitting the ropes and cutting promos.

"That s**t is hard. People don't understand this s**t. People think wrestling is all fake. If you think it is fake, come try it out and you will see how real it really is."

MMA starting to become a fad:

"It starts with the way the fans don't think for themselves," Lawal stated. "They have to look to certain people for approval on how they think. They bash the fighters and think fighting is easier than it really is. A lot of people didn't grow up fighting. They grew up playing football and basketball. So they can relate to missing a pass, a layup, free throws and dropping a pass, an interception or kicking a field goal.

"MMA fans never grew up fighting. They just put on their Affliction or Tapout shirts and say, 'Hey I'm a fighter or hey I'm going to a fight.'

"To me, its a joke. It is a certain demographic that's involved and I'm not with that."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- TNA Wrestling has announced new live events in New York. The company will run at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie on 12/29 and at the Times Union Center in Albany on 12/30.

- To update on an earlier item, Spike TV cameras were filming King Mo training at this week's Ohio Valley Wrestling taping in Louisville, Kentucky.

- Austin Aries, Abyss, Jimmy Hart and Jeremy Borash will appear at the grand opening of Hulk Hogan's Beach Shop in Clearwater, Florida on Friday.

- Trish Stratus filmed an appearance in Mickie James' newest music video earlier this week in Nashville, TN. Also appearing in the video is Magnus.

- Hulk Hogan was on TSN's "Off the Record" with Michael Landsberg on Thursday. At the beginning of the interview Landsberg asked Hogan how bad the sex tape hurt in which he spun before hitting back by saying he had to deal with "people like you" asking questions like that right out of the shoot. Hogan went on to talk about the inner peace in his life and some other weird things. Click here to watch now.

- For those that missed this week's Impact Wrestling, the company rehashed something that was done in WCW by changing announce teams from hour one to hour two. The first hour was called by Jeremy Borash and Todd Keneley while the second hour was called by the regular announce team of Mike Tenay and Taz. This is the brainchild of Eric Bischoff and one idea he has to keep viewers tuned in for both hours.

- This week's Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,187,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up doing a 0.97 cable rating.


How much say do WWE workers have in their appearance? For example, Daniel Bryan's beard or CM Punk's shaved head.

When readers ask about "how much say" does so and so have, I always tell them it depends on who it is. The higher up someone is on the card, the more say they have in terms of their character and appearance. WWE has asked workers to cut their hair/trim their facial hair in the past but it's not something that is a common directive. If a worker is lower on the card and a producer makes a suggestion, it's probably in their best interest they comply in hopes of getting their character some momentum. CM Punk on the other hand (like all main eventers) is going to do what he wants.

What happened to Ric Flair?

Ric Flair still wants to return to WWE and recently filed for divorce from his fourth wife. Flair's TNA contract expired last month and he's been waiting to sign a WWE contract but been blocked due to TNA's ongoing litigation against WWE. Flair appeared at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" in August where he was hit with a bottle of water thrown from the crowd. To keep up with Flair check out his news page

What's the latest on Matt Hardy?

Matt Hardy continues to work the independent circuit, including dates with Ring of Honor. As for a return to TNA or WWE, I haven't heard anything but you can't rule anything out in this business. I'm glad to see Matt doing better as you can watch a recent indy appearance with his girlfriend, Reby Sky, at this link.

What is the opinion of Kofi Kingston backstage in WWE?

WWE officials are high up on the work of Kofi Kingston and are rebuilding him as a singles star, which is why they put him over The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship last week. The company also likes his appeal to the younger audience and are looking for ways to further utilize his character. Kofi is in a good place right now but I'm not sure it's anything more than an upper mid-card spot.

Why is there only one Hell in a Cell match at the pay-per-view on Sunday? Shouldn't Sheamus vs. Big Show be held in the structure as well?

As things currently stand there is only one Hell in Cell match scheduled for the pay-per-view on Sunday. If this is the plan WWE is sticking with (which appears to be the case) we can only speculate the reasons. However, is one Hell in a Cell match really a bad thing? I am not big on gimmick matches but one of the things I've appreciated about WWE revamping their B-level pay-per-views as gimmick shows is the fact they don't overkill the gimmicks. While some may be interested in a card full of seven or eight cage matches, I think it creates a very difficult show to book that is only more difficult with the company's ban on blood. This also sets CM Punk vs. Ryback apart as the show's main event and doesn't allow for the World Heavyweight Championship to take any of the momentum. The bigger question is how will Punk vs. Ryback be booked?

Why does all of Steve Austin's movies go straight to DVD?

A lot of movies that Steve Austin has done have been lower budget straight-to-DVD flicks. While someone could assert that Austin can't get a bigger role, it's actually a pretty good strategy because it gives Austin the experience to have a feature role while still getting paid. Making it in Hollywood as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has done isn't easy but Austin's strategy is one that many pro wrestlers use. Further, I actually feel Austin is a very good actor. You can view clips from Austin's latest movie at this link.

With the WWE brand extension essentially over, when do you think we will see just one world title and perhaps the elimination of the World Heavyweight Championship?

I am all for having both a WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion and feel WWE has done a good job by "gracefully" ending the brand extension by getting talent from both brands on the live show while still maintaining a separate identity on Smackdown. Two world titles give the company a chance to have two separate main event scenes that create more opportunities to build top talent. A lot of people are tired of John Cena dominating the main event with some even growing tired of CM Punk as champion but if the World Heavyweight Championship is eliminated, the main event scene is only going to shrink. Unification ideas have been pitched for as long as there have been two world titles but I hope WWE continues with both the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship.

Since Kane's return in December do you feel his character has been odd and lame?

The booking of Kane has been very inconsistent with some [sources close to the company] even claiming before his work with Daniel Bryan that he was a character that was sometimes "forgotten" from week-to-week. Kane's current work is comedy but I actually prefer it over the inconsistencies that have plagued him since December. Some Kane fans will get on me because they feel he should be pushed in the top of the card but I feel he's in a good spot and is more of a reliable veteran able to fill roles where the company needs him.

What exactly is a "managing supervisor" and how is Vickie Guerrero's new role different from that of a General Manager?

I don't know the logic behind re-treading Vickie Guerrero as the Raw Managing Supervisor rather than the General Manager. Perhaps they wanted to give her a tryout period before having her land the on-screen role. As we reported back in September here on Premium, Triple H had been very vocal that AJ Lee ran her course as the Raw GM and they needed to replace her. A couple names were talked about but ultimately they decided to go with Vickie once again. We'll see where it goes but the company is clearly hoping Vickie continues to draw tremendous heat.

What is the point in booking Ryback vs. CM Punk? I understand John Cena isn't ready to go but what about using Brock Lesnar?

WWE is currently pushing Ryback as a babyface and CM Punk as a heel. There are a number of reasons for not using Brock Lesnar in the main event, including burning through dates for a B-level show and overexposing him but Vince McMahon wanted a babyface to oppose Punk. Pretty much everyone has cautioned Ryback isn't ready but Vince has been determined and when he gets determined, watch out. It's interesting you mentioned Brock though as I've been told (and reported as much) that Lesnar's name has come up in creative meetings about potentially costing Ryback the Hell in a Cell match against Punk.

What is the deal with Heath Slater and the 3 Man Bad? Are they a legitimate heel stable or nothing more than comedy characters?

Let's see a show of hands from the readers that believe a stable comprised of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal will get a legitimate run as a heel faction. I can't see the results but I'm pretty sure no hands are up. I discussed this in detail here on the WNW Premium Mailbag but it really feels like 3MB is one of those "spur of the moment" creative decisions.

Why doesn't WWE book content geared towards their older audience?

WWE will claim a lot of the actual wrestling matches booked on their programming are for the older [and more informed fan base]. When the company was shifting to the PG initiative they went too far with it and Vince McMahon admitted as much (I would have never believed it but I heard it from Vince's mouth myself). A lot of the problems lately, at least from a creative prospective, is due to a team of writers and producers that are beyond burnt out.

Why has WWE reduced the number of titles over the years?

I cannot begin to explain the exact reasons why WWE does anything because that would entail going into the mindset of Vince McMahon, which I don't even think the people closest to him understand. However, we can speculate the titles were dropped because of their lack of value and/or importance to help the product. If I were calling the shots I'd lobby to eliminate the US title and go with two world titles, the IC title, the tag team titles and the Divas championship. When a title becomes nothing more than a prop, there's no reason for it and it's more confusing than anything else. As I noted in Ask WNW earlier in the week I support two world titles because of the expanded main event opportunities they provide.

How long will it be before Mark Henry returns?

We ran an expanded update on Mark Henry in Ask WNW here a couple weeks ago. The only reason I agreed to include this question is the word out of this week's WWE TVs was that his return is imminent. I do not have any further details at this time.

You have said in the past that you would not take a backstage job with WWE in a writing or producing standpoint, and who could blame you. As far as developing new talent, securing the business for the future, and keeping things fresh and exciting, what does WWE need to do in the now to turn their product around? Are they on the right track, or are they just digging holes in the ground and hoping to strike gold?

WWE has a strong developmental system in terms of talent although there are disagreements with the best approach in running it. One of the things Hunter is looking to revamp before taking the wheel from Vince McMahon is the developmental system as he feels it's the key to their success in 5-10 years or even earlier. The company is poised for growth on all fronts but there are also areas of concern. The WWE Network is frightening because it's a huge amount of money being spent without a clear-cut plan of distribution. Every time WWE has tried to negotiate clearances on satellite/cable systems they've ran into problems. Another area of concern is the decline in viewership. We can talk about competition or any underlying factors but the fact of the matter is since Raw has gone three hours it's posted some very troubling ratings. I find it especially troubling that shows are losing audience as they progress. A decline in viewership signals a lack of interest and that needs to be turned around. Finally I'm somewhat alarmed by the amount of money the McMahon family has spent in hopes of landing Linda McMahon a seat in the US Senate. While I'm sure risk/reward was weighed before they took a "all in" approach in trying to get Linda elected, I would consider it a monumental waste if she isn't elected. If she is elected, it's not going to be good for the business so that's a lose-lose situation.

How should WWE book CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell on Sunday?

The best way to book this match is not to have it. Not only is Ryback unproven and not ready for such a push, but they are building him on the fact he's unbeaten. The creative quandary is obvious as how do you logically keep Ryback's momentum going without crushing your champion in the process? The only way out of this is some type of "outside interference" which gets even more complicated given the Hell in a Cell stipulation. They can't rule a DQ or no contest and anyone that interferes is going to have to either distract the referee from outside the structure or break it down to enter? Regardless, I don't see the logic behind doing this match. WWE could have come up with something else in terms of giving Punk an alternative opponent to John Cena but Vince McMahon is determined to push Ryback to the moon. I hope I have a better reaction come Monday but going into it, I don't see the payoff.

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