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Undertaker Health Update; Working Survivor Series?, An Inside Look At The Future Of TNA, Latest On Hulk Hogan's TNA Contract Status, Why Vince McMahon Is Unhappy With Stephanie & HHH, WWE TV Show Not Coming Back

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WNW Premium Newsletter

Welcome to the Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, September 28, 2013 to Friday, October 4, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is subtitled "The Snake Charmer" - Santino's hilarious in-ring awakening - and is online at this link.

- John Cena Tweeted a photo of the 'Never Give Up' clothing line coming to Kmart in a couple of weeks. You can view it below:

- Brie Bella said Yes! Yes! Yes!! Check out a photo of Brie and Daniel Bryan shortly after their engagement at this link.

- WWE released another clip from the "Thy Kingdom Come" Triple H DVD where he talks about how he got signed to WCW. You can watch it at this link.

- David Otunga is scheduled to work the Muscle & Fitness booth at the Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas this weekend.

- John Cena asked Jimmy Fallon on Twitter if he and Justin Timberlake could do a #hashtagmania video at Wrestlemania XXX next year. Fallon said he was down but told Cena to ask Justin. The following is from Twitter:

- WWE updated their kayfabe coverage on The Miz's "injuries" on Friday at this link.

- Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship will be under Battleground Hardcore Rules at the pay-per-view next month. The stipulation was officially announced on this week's episode of Smackdown.

- You can view footage of Ryback being surrounded by fans in Mumbai, India this week at this link.

- WWE is currently surveying fans about possible DVD releases on Macho Man Randy Savage, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, The Rhodes Family, Rob Van Dam, Batista, Steve Austin, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and Best of WCW PPV matches.

- We have some WWE Studios DVD sales figures courtesy of our friend Wrestling Fan 23.

Dead Man Down sold 107,211 DVD units and 64,000 Blu-Ray units in its first week. According to analyst CJ Strowbridge, these numbers are better than expected. Since the movie flopped at the box office, this could soften the blow.

The Call moved 400,698 units in its first three weeks, topping the charts in its first week. Click here for more.

12 Rounds 2: Reloaded has sold 61,226 as of July 21st and while that's decent for a straight-to-DVD film, it was easily eclipsed by The Marine 3, which sold 171,885 units. Regardless, both films only cost $1.5 million a piece to make and should end up profitable.

- Jim Ross was at Saturday's Oklahoma Sooners college football game at Notre Dame and appeared on their pre-game broadcast. You can watch video at this link.

- Triple H revealed in the new "Thy Kingdom Come" DVD that the original plans for Evolution included Mark Jindrak rather than Dave Batista. They even filmed vignettes with Jindrak being aligned with Randy Orton, Triple H and Ric Flair. Batista obviously landed the role and the rest is history.

- WWE has signed Pierre Marceau to a developmental contract.

- While doing media in India, Ryback said the fans chanting Goldberg at him is a result of an article posted on

He said the official website noted that Ryback "channeled Bill Goldberg" before his matches but that's completely false. Ryback said the people that write the stuff on dot com aren't necessarily the ones at television and whatever genius that penned the article got it started.

Ryback said the Goldberg chants don't bother him and if fans continue to chant for him, WWE will have to bring him back and he'll make a ton of money to beat him.

Goldberg acknowledged the comments by telling Ryback "good luck with that."

- Bobby Lashley was seated front row at Friday night's WWE live event in Denver, Colorado.

- Topps will release their 2014 WWE cards on February 26, 2014. You an check them out with more at this link.

- WWE has added Kendall Skye to the NXT roster over on dot com. She has worked primarily as an announcer at NXT live events after signing with the company earlier this year.

- WWE TLC will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Sunday, December 15, 2013. The presale code to obtain tickets is DALLAS and you can buy now at this link.

- The promotional poster for WWE Survivor Series 2013 features The Wyatt Family and is here at

- Lex Luger recently stated in a media interview that he has an informal relationship with WWE where he offers council to the younger guys. He said he tells the guys all the things you don't want to do.

- Former WWE Tough Enough winner Maven Huffman is now working as a bouncer at a sports bar in New York City. MMA writer Ariel Helwani ran into him and Tweeted the following:

- The Cleveland Cavaliers are promoting WWE night for their January 22, 2014 game against the Chicago Bulls. According to the team, they will feature activities on the concourse, in-game elements and special guest appearances by current superstars.

- Booker T is featured here on In the piece used to promote the WWE live event in New Orleans, Book predicted the main event of Wrestlemania 40 would be Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler.

- WWE has added the profile of Tom Phillips to the NXT roster here on dot com. Phillips is a commentator that debuted last September.

- We noted last week here on that Christina Vargas requested her release from WWE developmental. Vargas wasn't happy and apparently felt ostracized and unwanted.

- To update on Undertaker's status from Monday's installment of Ask WNW, we're told he just had hip surgery and doesn't think there is any way he'll recover in time to work Survivor Series in November. One observer said there are those in WWE who feel they should stop pressuring him to come back throughout the year and just focus on making sure he does Wrestlemania. He's "limping around" around now but is optimistic about the show next year. We're told he is still pushing for a match against Brock Lesnar. There are, however, many factors that could change this including The Rock changing his mind about working. If he decides to work, the feeling is that Vince McMahon will want to do Brock vs. Rock.

- Ryback downplayed the backstage altercation with CM Punk at last week's episode of Monday Night Raw in an interview in India at this link. Ryback didn't really deny it took place but said everything was fine. We have the story on what happened here.

- WWE wrestlers and Divas will begin wearing pink ring gear beginning on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw to promote their "Rise Above Cancer" partnership with Susan G. Komen. Click here for more.

- You can watch the kayfabe Triple H interview that Michael Cole conducted where Hunter invited The Rhodes Family to Raw at this link.

- Speaking of the Rhodes family, Pro Wrestling Syndicate is following along with WWE storylines and says Cody Rhodes will be joining their roster when his 90-day non-compete clause expires.

- Jim Ross has a Monday blog online at this link.

- Kane is being advertised for the October 14, 2013 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been away filming See No Evil 2.

- WWE has announced that all Superstars & Divas will wear pink ring gear throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in partnership with Susan G. Komen. The initiative will begin on tonight's episode of Monday Night Raw and go through October. In addition, WWE is now selling pink WWE apparel for several Superstars & Divas, with 20% of the proceeds going to Susan G. Komen through December 31, 2013. Click here for more information.

- WWE has officially added AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella for the Divas Championship to Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view.

- John Cena, who is currently out with a torn triceps, is advertised to make a "special appearance" at the December 26, 2013 WWE live event from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

- Last week's WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,631,000 viewers on SyFy. The show ended up with a 1.89 cable rating.

- It was announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that Cody Rhodes & Goldust will face WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns at WWE Battleground on Sunday. As the stipulation goes, if Rhodes and Goldust are victorious, they'll be re-hired and hired respectively. If they lose, they can "never work for WWE" again and Dusty Rhodes will be fired.

- The tag team of Los Matadores debuted on this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. The team is comprised of the former Epico, who is now Fernando, and Primo, who is now Diego. Their masked bull mascot, El Torito, is Mexican Lucha mini Mascarita Dorada. Los Matadores went over in their debut match against Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal.

- Congratulations are in order for Trish Stratus and her husband Ron as she gave birth to their son Maximus on Monday. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Dot com has an article about the birth at this link.

- It was announced on this week's Monday Night Raw that Dolph Ziggler will face Damien Sandow in the WWE Battleground Kickoff match. WWE Battleground Kickoff will air on Sunday at 7:30 PM EDT. We'll have the stream right here at

- After Monday Night Raw went off the air, Randy Orton went to attack Daniel Bryan but CM Punk made the save. Ryback and Curtis Axel joined the melee, attacking Punk. Dolph Ziggler & The Usos made the save. The babyfaces cleared the ring to send the crowd home happy.

- Eva Marie will be in Brie Bella's corner for her Divas Championship match at WWE Battleground on Sunday.

- Rey Mysterio is scheduled to get back into the ring this week at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

- Mark Henry has been off WWE television recently due to a death in the family.

- There is a new article on looking at The Wyatt Family in WWE. Click here to read it.

- WWE has reportedly canceled the Blu-Ray releases of WWE Survivor Series 2013, Best Pay-Per-view Matches of 2013 and WWE Raw 20th Anniversary. The news was first reported by

- WWE announced a partnership with Totino’s Pizza Rolls on Tuesday. You can read the official press release at this link.

- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled CM Punk gets retribution and is online now at this link.

- WWE announced on Tuesday here on dot com a new licensing agreement to produce the first-ever WWE limited-edition collectible statues. The statues were designed by Todd McFarlane and are the source of the cryptic Tweets as posted on the official WWE Twitter feed. The first statue begins with The Undertaker and future releases will include both current WWE Superstars and Legends. The Undertaker statue is limited to 850 pieces and each one is individually and sequentially numbered. The statues are all hand-signed by McFarlane. They'll be available on the McFarlane Toys online store and WWE Shop beginning on Friday, December 6, 2013 with a retail price of $295.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw, the go-home to WWE Battleground, did an average viewing audience of 3,583,666 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show's audience broke down by hour:

Hour one - 3,605,000 viewers
Hour two - 3,530,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,616,000 viewers

The show ended up doing a 2.68 cable rating.

The audience was the lowest since the New Year's Eve episode that aired last year. That show did an average viewership of 3,552,000 viewers.

- Curtis Axel will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against R-Truth at Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view as the match was added at this week's Smackdown taping.

- Gerald Brisco recently underwent hand surgery and posted a graphic photo of it on Twitter. The photo is too graphic to post here on the site but you can check it out here.

- Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton in a dark match main event following this week's Smackdown taping in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

- WWE hosted a reception for Susan G. Komen honorees prior to this week's Monday Night Raw as part of their "Rise Against Cancer" campaign. You can view photos at this link.

Backstage news and notes from WWE Raw in Biloxi, Mississippi…

- Vince McMahon remains unhappy with the way the Stephanie McMahon and Triple H characters are coming across on television. One observer blamed it on the week-by-week writing of the angle and the constant changes to the final script. This same observer noted how Hunter and Stephanie look almost as confused as the viewers that are trying to following the angle.

- Randy Orton is working through some type of upper leg injury and is reportedly getting it evaluated again this week.

- We heard more criticism for Goldust wearing the face paint again this week on Raw. The feeling from many I spoke with was the story would have been told better without it.

- To give you an idea of how quickly the Battleground lineup has been thrown together, the first Raw script had Kofi Kingston and R-Truth flip-flopped. In the end, Truth ended up playing the role originally written for Kofi.

- Jim Ross posted his thoughts on this week's WWE Monday Night Raw, the firing of USC head football coach Lane Kiffin, Trish Stratus giving birth and more. Click here to read it.

- WWE posted new kayfabe interview with Triple H conducted by Michael Cole on Wednesday on dot com. Hunter addresses The Shield's "attack" on The Rhodes Family on Raw and weighs in on Big Show's match with The Shield on Friday' Smackdown. You can watch the interview at this link.

- WWE has workers doing media to promote the company's campaign with Susan G. Komen as you can watch The Miz on HuffPost Live at this link.

- Brie Bella spoke with the Democrat & Chronicle to promote this weekend's WWE live event in Rochester, New York. In it, she said that she wants to raise a family one day. "I'm Mexican and Italian. I want to raise my babies, I want to be home with them every day. And I'm excited for when that chapter in my life happens," she says. Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- WWE has officially announced Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Battleground on Sunday. You can read coverage here on dot com. Make sure you join us for exclusive play-by-play coverage here at

- While John Cena isn't expected to be medically cleared to return until the beginning of next year, he is booked on upcoming WWE live events. As of press time, Cena is scheduled for WWE's November overseas tour as well as holiday live events in New York City, Hartford and Newark. He is not expected to wrestle on the shows.

- It doesn't look like WWE Saturday Morning Slam is coming back for a second season. The show aired on The CW as part of their Vortexx Saturday morning block from August 25, 2012 to May 11, 2013. The original order included 38 episodes and if there were plans for a second season, it was to begin airing again in August, which was what WWEtold us when we reached out to them for comment in May. While I know there was some internal thought the two parties were close to an agreement for a second season, it doesn't appear to have happened. There is still a page dedicated to the show here on the official Vortexx website.

- JBL noted on Twitter that he's about to begin the process of dropping 35 pounds for his next mountain climb in January.

- Cody Rhodes Tweeted a photo with Shawn Spears at the WWE Performance Center on Wednesday. Click here to view it.

- R-Truth is in Mexico this week where he is doing media for WWE to promote the company's upcoming tour of the country. You can view a photo at this link.

- has an article on Laura Brevetti being appointed as WWE's senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary to the board. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Darren Young and his boyfriend Nick Villa are featured in a new piece by People magazine. In it, Young reveals he was terrified of coming out in fear he would lose his friends, his job and "everything."
Below is an excerpt from the piece:

"I was terrified of losing friends, losing my job, just everything," the World Wrestling Entertainment star, 29, exclusively tells PEOPLE in the latest issue. "I had no idea what would happen if I came out."

Young described his decision to come out as "spur of the moment" but he wasn't happy living a double life. You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

- The latest episode of WWE Inbox - subtitled Best Spear Ever - is online at this link.

- Maria Kanellis has a new article over on where she discusses moving on from WWE. You can read it at this link.

- WWE has signed former Los Angeles Lakers Girl and New England Patriots Cheerleader Leah Van Damme to a developmental contract. You can follow her on Twitter at this link. Make sure you follow us at this link.

- We're told things continue to progress at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The facility is not up and running at full speed as there is still a need to hire more trainers. We're told there are usually several rings not being used as there are simply not enough trainers right now. The company is also expected to hire someone to handle scheduling. WWE is looking to bring in three more trainers. The only reason the slots haven't been filled is they want to hire the person to do the schedule first so they don't have a bunch of coaches that do not know what their work schedule is. One staff change that we've already reported is that Joey Mercury was promoted to a main roster producer and Nick Dinsmore was hired as a trainer to take his place.

- WWE has signed Dylan Mile, a 6'3 285 lbs. man from Colorado, to a developmental contract.

- Sean "X-Pac" Waltman says he's reached out to NBA forward Lamar Odom about his drug addiction in response to a TMZ report where Odom said he didn't need rehab. You can see his Tweets and a report from the guy he was Tweeting at this link.

- Dot com posted a photo gallery of Kaitlyn in her hotel room on her day off. You can check it out at this link.

- The National Enquirer indicated in a new report published on Tuesday, that WWE is is trying to get Stacy Keibler to return to the company. Below is an excerpt:

And while her stint hosting Life­time’s “Supermarket Superstar” ended recently, the leggy blonde has fielded offers from the WWE since leaving the ring in 2006.

“Stacy admits a return to wres­tling isn’t quite what she had in mind,” said the source, “but the of­fers are getting too good to refuse.”

Let's not get carried away here. The tabloids reported this all summer and have speculated about it since Keibler's highly publicized breakup with actor George Clooney. I heard there were initial talks between WWE and Stacy Keibler about her returning so she could be part of the Total Divas cast but they couldn't agree on dates. WWE wanted more, she wanted less.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online with new random thoughts heading into Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view. In it, he had high praise for the Raw announce team of Michael Cole, John Layfield and Jerry Lawler. Below is an excerpt:

I have great admiration for the RAW announce team, they are all men that I respect and consider to be friends. Michael Cole does what few men, if any, in the lead role could do in today's world of sports entertainment. Cole's responsibility to decimate info and the amount of info is startling. Could JBL be more of an antagonist? John could for my taste but John is a great addition to the broadcast team with his intelligent and topical references. The King is The King....a WWE HOFer. However, when these men are encouraged to talk about matters that are unrelated to any significant to what I'm seeing on the screen it becomes a disconnect for me. If I am watching the TV and my eyes are processing what I am seeing but audibly I am hearing another story then which source of info do I process and retain?

Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.

- The Miz was in attendance at Thursday night's NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns. Miz's Browns picked up the victory, 37-24.

- Justin LaBar has a new Q&A online with Ryback. In it, Ryback continued to talk about a dream match against Goldberg. He said one of his goals is ending Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania. You can read it at this link.

- Speaking of Ryback, check out the massive crowds he drew in India at this link.

- This week's episode of WWE NXT featured Rick Victor and Conor O'Brian, collectively known as The Ascension, going over Corey Graves and Adrian Neville for the NXT Tag Team Championship. The bout was taped on September 12, 2013. You can watch a Tout promo at this link.

- Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston will be announced for WWE Battleground on this week's episode of Smackdown. Given that, below is the updated lineup for Sunday's pay-per-view:

Singles Match for the vacant WWE Championship
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

Battleground Hardcore Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
- Alberto Del Rio © vs. Rob Van Dam w/Ricardo Rodriguez

Singles Match
- CM Punk vs. Ryback w/Paul Heyman

WWE Divas Championship Match
- AJ Lee © vs. Brie Bella w/Eva Marie

Tag Team Match
If Goldust and Cody win, they will be reinstated by WWE. If the Shield wins, Dusty Rhodes will lose his job as an NXT trainer and the Rhodes Family is banned from WWE.
- Goldust & Cody Rhodes w/Dusty Rhodes vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
- Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth

Kickoff Match
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow

Singles Match
- Bray Wyatt w/The Wyatt Family vs. Kofi Kingston

WWE Battleground will take place Sunday from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Join us for exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- Triple H is featured on the latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show as footage of him naming JBL the new General Manager of WWE NXT is shown then he talked about the WWE Performance Center. Click here to watch.

- The Miz wasn't the only Browns fan from WWE in attendance at Thursday night's game. Dolph Ziggler was in town and joined Miz in a sky box. You can view a photo below:

- WWE Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine has bulked up for the national Strongman competition. You can view a recent photo below:

- WWE is looking to hire a new VP Creative Director of Network Promotions. The person hired will have the following responsibilities:

Definition and creation of the new WWE Network's brand identity, positioning, and promotions Development of concepts and ideas to be used for promoting the Network and various WWE programs. S/he will also oversee and manage the On-Air Creative team and provide guidance and assistance to TV Production staff and other colleagues across the organization. Building and managing a team consisting of six direct reports. Developing an innovative and fresh approach to promoting the WWE Network, Network programs, and Pay-Per-View shows such as, WrestleMania and SummerSlam. The VP, Creative Director of Network Promotions should have a proven track record of producing memorable TV network promos that create buzz. S/he will initiate and pitch new creative ideas and oversee projects from concept through completion.

Click here for the listing in its entirety.

TNA News

- Many continue to wonder about the state of TNA Wrestling as tough contract re-negotiations take place and more workers choose to leave the company. I put my ear to the wall and have gathered some further prospective. TNA is by no means "broke" or "out of money," as they still have the complete support of Panda Energy. However, TNA is trying to show less of a hit on the bottom line because the Carter family is not happy with the amount of money the promotion is bleeding. The pressure to cut back is at an all time high with expenses skyrocketing by taping television on the road. While TNA hasn't made the financial mistakes that were made in the latter days of WCW, some have been just as impactful to the small company (pun intended). What put TNA on the map was they were viewed as an upscale Ring of Honor with a few familiar faces that mainstream fans would recognize. As the company grew, they almost became obsessed with former WWE talent. One key observer points out there was a time that when any worker was released from WWE you could literally count down the days until they were on TNA television. This same observer points to guys they could have gone without overspending on such as Ken Anderson, Chavo Guerrero, Mike Knox and "many others." TNA could have held their ratings with the people that "brought them to the dance," such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and Bobby Roode. The problem is that TNA never found a happy medium. Guys like Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray were great additions and are still bringing money and fans. Even Hulk Hogan has a tremendous name and face but did paying him and Eric Bischoff really make good sense? Our person in the know asks some rhetorical questions. Did anyone learn the Russo stuff doesn't work without a filter above him? Has anyone learned that fans were drawn to TNA as an alternative wrestling program? Theses are all things being asked as the finger pointing takes place with what is becoming an unsettling backstage atmosphere. - Zema Ion did an interview with The Pain Clinic where he discussed his recent health issues. He talked about being depressed when he found out he may have cancer and being faced with thousands of dollars in medical bills. Ion referred to it as a really dark time but noted he is feeling better. You can listen at this link. - Jesse Sorensen is selling some of his TNA gear on eBay. You can bid now at this link. - Ken Anderson told Adam Carriker and Chuck Carroll on 4th & Pain that he's in the process of negotiating a new contract with TNA Wrestling and expects to be back soon. Anderson said he was happy with the creative direction his character was going and would like to come back and pick up where they left off. He is open to taking independent dates - you can book him at - but he doesn't think it will take that long. You can listen to the interview at this link. - The Athens Banner-Herald has a new piece online featuring quotes from Brook Hogan. In it, she talked bout filming a show called "Weird America" last week and writing songs in Nashville. Her abrupt departure from TNA Wrestling was not mentioned. Click here to read the article in its entirety. - For those that missed the Ethan vignette that aired on last week's episode of Impact Wrestling, you can check it out at this link. We have more on the character at this link. - Tuesday is October 1, 2013 and the day Hulk Hogan's contract with TNA Wrestling is believed to be expired. Here's what we've been about to find out. TNA has been trying to negotiate an extension with Hogan at a reduced price but without much success. As with many TNA deals, the last year of Hogan's contract is an option year. With most talent, the option year is simply at TNA's discretion, although with a small handful of the bigger names, the option goes both ways. So Hogan was not planning on opting out, wanting to continue for another year at his current price. The word out of Hogan's camp was that he felt TNA was bluffing and they wouldn't actually decline the option for the final year of his contract, despite the word being out they needed to reduce costs and wanted to negotiate an extension at a lower price. Hogan has now accepted that TNA is not going to pick up his option so he can either negotiate a contract extension at a lower price or he can leave. Hogan still has WWE aspirations but no one, other than maybe Hogan himself, believes there is interest in him trying to work a match at Wrestlemania XXX next year. He's now at the point where he may have to take the pay cut to stay with TNA. The relationship with the two parties isn't bad but as we've reported, Dixie Carter has taken a harder stance with him the she would have just six months ago. As of press time, negotiations continue but Hogan hasn't completely given up on returning to WWE. If TNA gets a deal done, expect a swerve to take place in storylines. - TNA Champion Bully Ray is featured in a new Impact Wrestling Podcast with JB and Christy Hemme at this link. - Speaking of Bully Ray, we'll be speaking with him and AJ Styles next Tuesday to promote Bound for Glory. We'll be posting a transcript of the conversations. - Mickie James was on "Inside the Ropes" and refused to discuss her contract status with TNA Wrestling. She said that she was sure people could figure it out. Basically, Mickie's contract was up and she was asked to take a pay cut in which she declined. - TNA Wrestling announced full details on their "Countdown to Bound for Glory" special airing on Sunday, October 20, 2013 on Spike TV. The special will feature Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Joseph Park & Eric Young vs. The BroMans vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez. The winners will face TNA Tag Team Champions James Storm & Gunner on the pay-per-view. Click here for full details. - Austin Aries appeared on "Busted Open" with Doug Mortman and Dave LaGreca and spoke on numerous topics. He said he knows why TNA's buzz has faded but he wants to keep it to himself. Aries addressed the infamous incident with Christy Hemme from back in May (See also - Austin Aries Will Be Disciplined For Christy Hemme Incident), saying he was disappointed in the way things were handled on multiple levels. You can watch the interview at this link. - Magnus wants payback against the members of E.G.O., check out the video at this link. - Sting has been added for VIP ticket holders at the Bound for Glory Fan InterAction event. Click here for more details. - Last week TNA began airing vignettes to introduce a new character known as Ethan. After the airing of a new vignette on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, we are able to identify the new character. Ethan will be played by Michael Hutter, who previously worked for WWE as Derrick Bateman. Hutter worked a tryout match against Jay Bradley at the August 29, 2013 Impact taping in Cleveland, Ohio and has since been signed to a contract. He was released from WWE in May, at which point he said he needed a break both physically and mentally. If you missed the latest Ethan vignette, you can watch it at this link. - Hulk Hogan has partnered with a new Web hosting company called Hostamania and in order to draw attention to the company, he's channeled his inner Miley Cyrus. The 60-year-old Hulkster put a thong on and rode a wrecking ball in a new video now online. Seriously. TMZ has the story with video at this link. Just remember, there are some things that cannot be unseen. Speaking of Hogan, he was written off TNA television on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling in the final segment of this week's show. You can read how it went down at this link. TNA takes a look back at Hogan's tenure with the company in a short video posted at this link. - Following the angle that aired on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling where he "quit" the company, Hulk Hogan says he's ready for the next challenge. The following posts were made on his official Facebook page: [information]

He also weighed in on his new commercial for Hostamania which features him riding a wrecking ball in a thong:

For those that missed the angle that aired on this week's episode of Impact, you can watch it online at this link.

Dixie Carter is in full heel mode as is evident in the following Tweet:

- Eric Bischoff addressed his contract status with TNA Wrestling on Twitter, you can check it out below:

- TNA Wrestling is offering all U.S. federal employees and military personnel one complimentary ticket to next week's Impact Wrestling taping in Tulsa, Oklahoma due to the government shutdown. Click here for more information.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,126,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 0.95 cable rating.


In your opinion, what realistic match right now would draw the most money for the WWE?

There are a lot of combinations with big earning potential. One that I feel would be great for Wrestlemania XXX next year would be CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan. You never know what direction that WWE is going to take but even though the roster is thin right now, there are matches that will draw. WWE also has the ability to use stars such as Brock Lesnar, Undertaker and Triple H. These guys are huge assets when you pair them with workers such as the aforementioned Punk and Bryan. Two guys that I would consider doubtful for the show next year,at least in their current state, are Steve Austin and The Rock.

Can you take us past the scripts and storylines and tell what is truly going on with TNA, Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles? Is this all one big work and they are making us look like marks?

Hulk Hogan's current contract with TNA Wrestling is up Monday/Tuesday and the last I heard, they had not reached an agreement on a new one. The fact that TNA is playing up the Hogan/Dixie Carter storyline tells me they think they'll get something done but there is nothing we can confirm as of this writing. AJ Styles signed a short-term extension to take him through Bound for Glory but it expires before the end of the year. TNA has been in the process of cutting all talent contracts in an effort to save money. Hogan and Styles are of no exception and it's going to be a very interesting situation to watch play out.

Am I making it too easy when I think if WWE hired more good writers they could minimize their creative and booking problems?

Yes and if it were this easy it would have already been done. There are several things that cause creative problems but it all boils down to having to write weekly television each and every week and expect the storylines to make logical sense. Sometimes WWE accomplishes this, other times they do not. WWE gets in trouble by booking on the fly or Vince McMahon orders last minute script changes. One of the biggest things I don't think a lot of people understand is how difficult the job of a writer is. As one observer told me, it's not fun to write TV and is a very tedious task.

What is up with these "cryptic tweets" to the official WWE Twitter account? Have you heard anything special about who it is and when this person will return or make their debut?

I am under the impression the Tweets are about Undertaker and/or Kane but I haven't heard for what. WWE was hoping that Undertaker would come back to work Survivor Series but I haven't heard if there has been any movement on that or not.

What are your thoughts on Los Matadores? What do you think was the point in repackaging Primo and Epico instead of just re-debuting them as is? I get that the tag division is depleted as is, but Primo and Epico are a very talented team that won't benefit from this. I feel like this will end up hurting them in the long run. I really think if WWE wants to put some focus in the division, they should just focus on building solid tag teams and not silly gimmicks that won't catch on.

I actually felt that Los Matadores was one of the few bright spots of this week's Monday Night Raw. You're writing this off before it even has a chance, which is the typical IWC overreaction. Epico & Primo were going nowhere in the tag team with Rosa Mendes and if anything else, this gives them another shot to be relevant. Their masked bull mascot, El Torito, is Mexican Lucha mini Mascarita Dorada and is a great worker in his own right so why not give this a chance? They aren't going to be challenging for a main event spot but what I saw on Monday was fun.

Is the push of Curtis Axel over?

It appears that Curtis Axel has peaked with nowhere else to go but down. When a worker is brought in with a lot of momentum and a serious commitment, it's feast or famine. No one wanted Axel to succeed as much I did but it just hasn't worked. WWE is now focused on aligning Ryback with Paul Heyman so Axel is in jeopardy of getting lost in the shuffle. However, I don't think there are many of you that are going to argue that Axel did anything to help him keep his push.

Do you see a possible and hopeful program between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and CM Punk for next year's Wrestlemania? If so, how big of an impact will the match and the storyline have on the pay-per-view?

I am as pessimistic as I've been on Steve Austin vs. CM Punk happening at next year's Wrestlemania XXX pay-per-view. In addition to money, there are other issues that appear to be keeping this match from happening. Austin himself has said it would take him 3-4 months to get in ring shape and then what? Austin vs. Punk is still a possibility, anything in this business is possible, but I 'm not counting on it.

With all the talk of Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Ryback and some others being considered for The Undertaker's opponent at WrestleMania XXX next year. Who do you see being The Undertaker's opponent at WrestleMania XXX?

Every year one of the biggest topics surrounding Wrestlemania is who will get to face Undertaker? As we reported here on Premium, Undertaker is intrigued by a possible match with Brock Lesnar. In that story, we provide an update on a recent surgery he had and his availability for Survivor Series.

Given what seems like a renewed commitment to the tag division do you see WWE revamping the cruiserweight division?

WWE wants to do a show based around cruiserweight talent that is featured on the WWE Network - the problem is there has been little to no movement on the WWE Network becoming a reality. When it looked as though these plans were a go, WWE was interested in numerous cruiserweight names throughout the industry but that interest has tapered with the lack of information regarding the WWE Network. If the network ever gets off the ground, I see this being something the company will look to bring back and it should create more opportunities for high-flying workers.

How do you see the rumored Stephanie vs. Vince McMahon storyline playing out after Stephanie getting introduced as the "owner" of WWE? do you see the pay off being at Wrestlemania for control of the company?

WWE introducing Stephanie McMahon as the "owner" of the company is apparently part of the storyline progression that will eventually lead to a Stephanie and Vince McMahon program that you mentioned. I have not heard about the future creative plans but there is clearly a lack of interest in the current storyline as was very evident with the abysmal viewing audience posted by this week's Monday Night Raw. WWE had hoped the current McMahon/corporation storyline would be enough to spike ratings against the stiffer fall competition but so far, things have gone the other way.

Why do you think the WWE is not interested in signing AJ Styles?

Let me start by saying AJ Styles is under TNA contract through December so he can't negotiate with WWE until then. We were told the WWE interest in Styles is mild. While they respect his talent and abilities, they see him as a guy they would have to start from scratch with at 36-years-old. From what I've heard, his chances of getting a WWE contract would be better if WWE had a date for their prospective cruiserweight show.

What do you feel that the wrestling industry needs to become relevant again or has it peaked in the late 90s and we will never see that sort again?

It's impossible for me to predict whether or not we'll see another "pro wrestling boom" like we had in the late 90s. I absolutely think it is possible and is evident when Wrestlemania draws over 1 million buys. Let's not forget, WWE is a huge company is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The business needs a viable competitor because I'll argue that storylines are better when they're written with an act of desperation. The current stuff in WWE isn't resonating with the fan base and that became more than clear with Monday's Raw audience. If WWE had someone pushing them, they would likely be forced to "step up to the plate" more on a weekly basis. Sometimes I feel as though WWE shows are "mailed in" just to produce new live TV each week.

If the ratings and buyrates continue to fall to the ground should Vince McMahon remove Stephanie as Head of Creative and appoint someone like Paul Heyman or even a returning Vince Russo?

Stephanie McMahon is EVP of Creative but let's be very clear, things start and end with Vince McMahon. He's been giving Stephanie and Triple H more responsibilities in the day-to-day as they move to succeed his leadership but he still has the final say. I'm not saying that Stephanie's position is in title only but Vince is still very hands on with the product. Even with that being said, Stephanie isn't going to lose her position as she is at the top of the chain of command. The decline in viewership and pay-per-view buy rates will likely trigger a response, which will probably end up with Vince himself returning to television.

I've noticed that everybody wants to blame the very low ratings Monday night on story lines, however, they had a very good advertised undefeated game on Monday Night football with the Saints and the Dolphins so wouldn't that be the real reason for the killer

This week's Monday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Saints drew an average viewing audience of 13.7 million viewers, which was actually down from the 13.9 million the Broncos and Raiders did the week prior. Last week, Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,739,000 viewers so it wouldn't be accurate to put the slide on WWE's top competitor. The fall competition is stiffer which is why it's important for storylines to be their most intriguing. For whatever reason, the corporation angle is not resonating and WWE has a problem heading into the pay-per-view on Sunday.

With Triple H taking the throne from Vince in the future, do you think we would see a better overall product?

I like the aspect that Triple H brings to the table of being a former worker. He can relate to the boys in a way that I think could be very beneficial to the company moving forward. So far, I've been pleased with his brainchildren, which include the revamp of the company's developmental system. He's certainly the right guy for the job and more than qualified to take the reigns from Vince McMahon.

With WWE's Wellness program, what kind of contract does RVD have knowing that he is a huge marijuana advocate and user?

There are a couple of things to consider. First, if a worker tests positive for marijuana, they are disciplined with a $2500 fine but not a strike towards the three-strike program. The fine was originally $1500 but was raised when workers continued to rack up the fines for positive marijuana tests. Another point to consider is that if a worker has a valid prescription, they're excused for the positive test. There are some exceptions with a few substances being banned outright but marijuana is not one of those substances.

How much control do wrestlers in WWE and TNA have over the direction of their respective gimmicks?

It depends on the worker. The higher up one is on the card, the more creative control that they have. When you're Hulk Hogan in TNA Wrestling, you can script a segment where the owner of the company is grabbing you by the leg, begging you to stay, when you are involved in a real-life contract dispute (watch here). If you're someone that just got the call-up from developmental, you're going to be given a script and will be expected to follow it.

Why do you think WWE and TNA have been bringing in the personal lives of wrestlers into storylines? Velvet Sky with Chris Sabin and now Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, just to name a couple of examples.

I don't know the thinking behind Velvet Sky and Chris Sabin but the reason WWE is acknowledging the real-life engagement of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella is to cross-promote Total Divas. That's the only reason.

Any word on when Damien Sandow is supposed to cash in his Money in the Bank contract?

As is the norm with the Money in the Bank situation, there's always buzz on when Damien Sandow will "cash in" the briefcase. The fact they're scripting him to tease a "cash in" at live events, like he did last weekend, has led some to believe it could be sooner than later. I can't give you a firm date but I can tell you it's something that comes up rather frequently. One of my pet peeves about the MITB holders is the way they are booked prior to cashing in. Sandow has been constantly buried, with the mentality that it will be a "bigger surprise" when he does cash in. I don't agree and am against the "tear them down to build them up" method.

What's the latest on Sheamus' rehab and do you see him turning heel when he returns?

Sheamus is doing well and is out of a sling as he continues his rehabilitation for a torn labrum that required surgery in August. He is still making regular appearances for WWE while he works to get back into the ring. You can view a photo of him with the co-creator of Spider Man Stan Lee at Ohio ComicCon a couple weeks ago at this link. I haven't heard anything regarding creative plans for him as WWE is hopeful he'll be back either late this year or early next year.

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