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Stephanie On Possible WWE/CM Punk Reconciliation, Vibrating Briefcase Rib, This Week's Newsletter

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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, September 27, 2014 to Friday, October 3, 2014 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

- The latest episode of Smackdown Fallout features comments from Natalya following her match on this week's show. You can watch it at this link.

- WWE has announced that Nick Drago is this year's WWE Studios casting call finalist. Drago auditioned at the annual open casting call at Wrestlemania 30 where fans were given the opportunity to try out for a role in an upcoming WWE Studios film. Drago will appear with Hulk Hogan, Ken Jeong and David Hasselhoff in the new "Untitled Celebrity Death Pool" film produced by Hyde Park Entertainment and WWE Studios. Dot com has more at this link.

- The Rock Tweeted that he'll star in "The Janson Directive," which is the film adaptation of the novel. The script will be written by Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman. The following is from Twitter:

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- Eden gets into the Halloween spirit in her latest video blog that you can watch at this link. - This week's episode of After Total Divas is now online at this link. - Stephanie McMahon appeared on WGN 9 News in Chicago on Monday morning to promote this week's episode of WWE Raw in the city. Below are the highlights from the interview: Stephanie said that Andre the Giant was her best friend and talked about a picture in her office where she was sitting on his lap during the after party at Wrestlemania I. Stephanie talked about her parents, Vince and Linda McMahon, instilling an attitude of giving back in her growing up. She said on tonight's Raw the company is launching their third campaign with Susan G Komen called Courage, Conquer & Cure. Stephanie talked about the company "going pink" as part of the campaign. Stephanie said "she was on the card," when asked who was advertised for tonight's Raw. She said she plays a villain or a bad guy but that's not her [as a person]. Stephanie talked about the outcomes of matches being predetermined but how physical the action is. Asked if she was hopeful for a WWE reconciliation with CM Punk, Stephanie said CM Punk "is an incredible character." She said they "had a lot of fun with him" and "who knows" what the future holds. Stephanie said her and Triple H have a line of fitness DVDs that come out in November. You can watch the interview at this link. - I heard a little more about last week's episode of Monday Night Raw being so chaotic and disorganized. The issues were blamed mostly on Vince McMahon's indecisiveness about the next step for WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. As we reported here at, the original plan was to do Lesnar vs. John Cena again at Hell in a Cell but that's up in the air after the injury to Roman Reigns. We're told the company didn't want to "tip their hand" on where they are going because they haven't decided on the direction. With an unusual length of time between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell, Vince felt there was no reason to commit to anything so far out and he wanted an additional week to figure out the direction for the next PPV. So the direction should be clearer following this week's episode in Chicago. - Bray Wyatt Tweeted the following prior to this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, IL: Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

Obviously, this will only cause people to speculate something with Sting. I'll caution that Wyatt posted a cryptic Tweet last week in connection with the official gameplay trailer of WWE 2K15 being released.

WWE has cooled tremendously on Wyatt since putting him over Chris Jericho at SummerSlam as he's only won two matches since.

- Tamina Snuka, who had surgery in June to repair the ACL and meniscus in her left knee, Tweeted the following update:

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- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,318,000 viewers on SyFy. The show tied Girl Meets World as Friday's highest rated original cable program. Despite that fact, viewership was down 313,000 viewers from the week prior, which was down in its own right. TV by the Numbers has complete data from last Friday at this link. - Big Show vs. Rusev has been announced for next week's WWE Raw. Also confirmed, we will see an exclusive interview with Roman Reigns. - The official Hell in a Cell theme song is "Panic Room" by Theory of a Deadman. - Reverend Jesse Jackson was shown on camera sitting in the front row at tonight's Raw in Chicago, Illinois when Titus O'Neil made his way to the ring. - WWE has delayed the launch of the WWE Network in the United Kingdom and a launch date will be announced on 1 November 2014. The original launch date was 1 October 2014, however, the company backed off promoting it considerably before announcing the delay. Below is an official statement from the company:

The launch of WWE Network in the U.K. will be delayed given discussions with potential partners. A launch date will be announced by November 1

Click here for coverage by - Wrestling News World reader Michael Westphal sent in the following email conversation that he had with Sky Sports in the United Kingdom regarding the WWE Network. You can read it below:

Michael Westphal: Hi there I was wondering if Sky was providing the UK version of the WWE Network when it launches on Wednesday 1st of October Sky Sports: Hi Michael Thank you for your email. There will be no change to our coverage of WWE once the WWE Network launches as we have a long term contract with them. All WWE PPV’s, normally 14 a year, will be available via the network at a subscription/monthly cost payable direct to the WWE Network, however, will still be on Sky Sports and Box Office as normal. I hope this helps with your enquiry.

The WWE Network will be distributed over the top in the United Kingdom, just as it is in the United States. Company executives stated on the most recent investor relations conference call the only market where the WWE Network is different is in Canada, where it is available as a traditional Pay-TV channel on Rogers Communications systems. There has been a delay as WWE announced they will release the new launch date for the WWE Network in the United Kingdom on the 1st of November. The original launch date for the WWE Network in the UK was 1st of October. - This week's episode of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 999,000 viewers on E. The audience was down 189,000 viewers from the week prior, which is especially notable considering that episode was up against WWE Night of Champions. I am not sure how much data that WWE had prior to this week's Raw but there was heavy promotion for the show throughout this week's broadcast. TV by the Numbers has more cable data for all of Sunday at this link. - JBL is shutting down as he and Michael Cole have a deal with another media company that will host their content. You can read an official statement published at the website below:

"We want to thank all the readers and people who have viewed Layfield Report. It has been a pleasure building a site that, hopefully, has been a joy to visit. Unfortunately for the site, Michael Cole and I are joining another media company that will house our podcast, videos, radio shows and our social media. This has been a hard decision but we feel confident that our new platform will give us the opportunity to spread our message more. We believe the world is centrist and that our politicians on both sides have let us down-we want to offer solutions and feel that the bigger established platform will help us do just that. We also just enjoy discussing current events as we are both news junkies. Thank you kindly for visiting our site and subscribing to our newsletter. We will have more info the week of October 20th to share. Because we are going to a bigger platform we are shutting down our site since it would be competition against our new home. Soon, John and Michael both will be on over 300 terrestrial radio stations in the US and all the elements of the Layfield Report will live on, just a different form. Thank you again and we will give plenty of updates as soon as we are allowed."

Click here to view the post in its original format. Richard Reacts: I penned two articles that were published on a couple of years ago. Back then, the site was operated by JBL and recent WWE hireArda Ocal. I haven't followed it lately but I'm sure whatever is next for JBL and Cole, they will have success. While I know I don't line up with JBL's politics, he's a good guy. I know everyone talks about JBL as the locker room bully that picked on The Miz but he's been nothing but nice to me in what small interactions that we have had. - I wrote a piece on Monday where I explored possible WWE World Heavyweight Championship defenses for Brock Lesnar. It was a rare bit of fantasy booking as we looked at ways to keep Lesnar champion from now until Wrestlemania 31. In the comments area, Wrestling News World reader Thomas M wrote about how it was nice to see me not rant and actually have some fun. I replied that I hoped this week's Raw didn't send me back down the "dark road" of ranting. Another week and where to begin? I could spend a considerable amount of time ripping apart this week's broadcast, from the delayed Night of Champions main event followup to a page taken out of Nickelodeon's playbook with Seth Rollins getting slimed. I could talk about a bull, a bunny and an alligator but wouldn't it just be far too easy? Raw will be blogged by Kendra later so I don't want to steal her thunder. Instead, I want to focus on Triple H. Triple H is seen by many members of the Internet Wrestling Community as the guy that "gets it." A popular notion lately is that Triple H is ready to succeed Vince McMahon, who has lost his touch, and perhaps the best course of action is for Vince to get out of the way and let Hunter work his magic. His supporters will proceed to point to the quality of NXT, a brainchild of Triple H, as indisputable evidence. While there is no debating that Triple H has greatly improved WWE's developmental system, I fail to comprehend why he feels compelled to bury certain workers while portraying his heel character as the leader of The Authority. Consider the following from this week's episode of Raw:

Damien Sandow and The Miz barged into Hunter's backstage office and Sandow, talking for Miz, demanded he get a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. Brushing Seth Rollins aside, Hunter told Sandow he had a match against Sheamus. As for The Miz…You come in here barking orders at me again, your little straight-to-DVD career is going straight to the unemployment line…

A throwaway line in a meaningless backstage segment, as Wrestling News World reader Kurt Luttrell put it in the comments area in Ask WNW, Hunter simultaneously buried The Miz and WWE Studios in a single sentence. Remember, Miz's "straight-to-DVD career" is one where he stars in WWE made productions. Not only was the line unneeded in a segment that meant nothing, it hurt The Miz and also made the WWE films appear what they really are - a waste of time and money. My reaction can be summed up in one word - WHY? Why does Triple H feel the need to deliver such throwaway lines at the expense of his talent and his company? I get that he's supposed to be the authoritative bad guy and he was "in a bad mood" because Rollins had been dispossessed of the Money in the Bank briefcase but don't such lines do more harm than good? Why should we care who is in possession of the MITB briefcase anyway? Is this the new item for main eventers to covet since the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is MIA and the secondary titles couldn't mean less? Speaking of which, doesn't WWE need their secondary titles right now? Isn't Miz in the mix of a feud for one of these titles, having just won the IC championship over a week ago? OK I get it, the MITB briefcase is more important than the IC Championship. But is this really best for business? After all, Damien Sandow is a former MITB briefcase holder, how'd that work out? This isn't the first time that Hunter's character has done this either. Much of his program with Daniel Bryan was focused on Bryan being a B+ player that wasn't quite good enough to be the face of the WWE. A fact that's now repeated anytime someone suffers a serious injury. Did you see what Hunter said about Roman Reigns in last week's kayfabe Michael Cole interview? I don't want to be a keyboard warrior that comes with a rant every time another WWE show airs but they're hardly giving me a reason to be optimistic. There is just such a reckless lack of creativity in WWE's efforts right now. It's gone beyond just an off show or an off week, we're going on over a month of weak programming. Things are being done and said that lack purpose and direction. We're not just talking about logic gaps, we're seeing a publicly traded company unable to use their vast resources and deep talent roster to produce anything close to entertaining. Fall competition is in full force and WWE is hardly giving us a reason to watch. If it weren't for the rise of Ambrose and Rollins I'm not sure Raw would be worth watching at all. - This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw garnered an average viewing audience of 4,029,667 viewers on the USA Network. This is the first episode in five weeks to average more than 4 million viewers. TV by the Numbers has more data for the entire night, noting that WWE Raw was the highest-rated non-football program with a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 in its opening hour. Speaking of football, Monday Night Football on ESPN did an average viewing audience of 14,426,000 viewers on ESPN. Below is how Raw viewership broke down by hour: Hour one - 4,015,000 viewers Hour two - 4,222,000 viewers Hour three - 3,882,000 viewers - iN DEMAND posted the promotional poster for WWE Survivor Series 2014 that you can view below: Click here to load Photo/Tweet (if not loaded)

- Dolph Ziggler revived WWE Download for one time only to blast actor and comedian Keith Apicary. Click here to watch.

- Dot com posted details to MyCareer mode in WWE 2K15 at this link.

- The latest episode of WWE Inbox is now online at this link.

- WWE has issued an apology regarding the segment on this week's Monday Night Raw (full results at this link) in which Big Show pulled down a Russian flag during a segment with Rusev:

We at WWE would like to apologize to the Russian people for the incident on Monday Night Raw that could have been construed as disrespect for their nation's flag.

WWE's response to the segment continues on this week's Smackdown (spoilers at this link). You can watch a replay of the Raw segment at this link.

- Sami Zayn beat Xavier Woods and NXT Champion Adrian Neville beat Tyler Breeze in dark matches at Tuesday's WWE television tapings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

- Legendary baseball announcer and WWE Hall of Famer Bob Uecker was in attendance at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping in Milwaukee. You can view a photo from Twitter below:

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- WWE reported on Tuesday night that Ricki Starr has died. Starr was prominently known for his working in British wrestling promotions during the 1960s and 1970s. He was 83. Click here for coverage by - It seems every time something happens with a nation's flag inside a WWE ring a controversy follows. For those that missed it on Tuesday evening, WWE posted a brief apology for the segment on this week's episode of Raw where Big Show tore down a Russian flag. The apology read as follows:

We at WWE would like to apologize to the Russian people for the incident on Monday Night Raw that could have been construed as disrespect for their nation’s flag.

However, before anyone gets outraged, this half-hearted apology seems more kayfabe than anything else. While an apology has been issued, the segment remains on the company's YouTube channel. Big Show even picked up on the "controversy" in a segment taped for this week's episode of Smackdown. The last flag controversy in WWE happened at a live event in Sao Paolo, Brazil on May 24, 2012 when Chris Jericho, in an ad-lib moment, crumpled a Brazilian flag and kicked it out of the ring. It resulted in law enforcement stepping in and WWE suspending Jericho indefinitely. But I want to go beyond the "how dare they do that to the Russian flag" or "can't heels be heels anymore?" I actually feel the company was far more controversial when they scripted Lana to say “You blame Russia for recent current events,” when she seemed to incredulously refer to the MH17 airplane crash in a promo at Battleground. It was then, I called for an apology out of respect to the family members that lost loved ones in the crash. What I want to know is why the Rusev gimmick continues in its current form at all. We'll forget the fact Rusev isn't actually Russian but Bulgarian and even though the two countries are Slavic nations, and are bound together by a common Orthodox culture, they're still different countries. It would almost be like me trotting out to ringside with a Canadian flag, claiming superiority over the rest of the world. But aside from the big logic gap, where's the payoff? Rusev is as protected as they come -- he's been booked unstoppable. But he's not drawing nuclear heat. Lana has done well but I question if Rusev is anymore than a midcard gimmick. Jack Swagger was booked under, despite momentum and Mark Henry couldn't get it done either. Considering WWE isn't ready to have Show put the final kibosh on him, they had him tear down a Russian flag. I'm not condoning flag desecration, I just think the entire situation is ridiculous. How many times is the story of the American patriot versus the Russian not Russian monster going to be told? And once there is a payoff, what's next? A future comedy role with Adam Rose's bunny? Here's an idea; rather than worry about issuing an apology for Big Show tearing down the Russian flag, why not apologize for making us endure months of a directionless gimmick bound for mediocrity? Once again, I feel like a hypocrite for criticizing WWE for pushing Rusev because I want to see new stars created. However, it's unfathomable to me how someone like Bray Wyatt can be booked under again and again on the road to Big Show, while so much time and resources are spent on a gimmick we've seen before. What's the difference between Rusev and Vladimir Kozlov anyway? - Amazon sent out an email blast reminder on Wednesday that Chris Jericho's upcoming book -- The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea -- will be released on October 14, 2014. Below is their promotional blurb for the novel:

The New York Times bestselling author, wrestler, metal rocker, and over-the-top media personality shares his latest wild and hilarious adventures World Wrestling Entertainment has named Chris Jericho as one of the top ten wrestlers—and one of the top five talkers—of all time. Certainly, the past six years have been spectacular for Jericho. After a sluggish return from his 2005 sabbatical, Jericho found new inspiration in watching No Country for Old Men and completely reinvented his character—ultimately going on to capture three world WWE titles. The Best in the World chronicles some of the incredible and often preposterous highlights of Jericho’s recent career, including: How Mickey Rourke challenged Jericho to a match, then backed out Jericho’s award-winning feud with Shawn Michaels, which culminated in Jericho knocking out Michael’s wife in the ring . . . for real His escape from the 2010 Icelandic volcanoes in a broken-down, European rental-car shuttle His encounters with Bob Barker, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Al Sharpton, and Mike Tyson; and his on-again-off-again relationship with WWE chief Vince McMahon. Jericho has a one-of-a-kind comedic voice and a knack for getting himself into screwball situations—both in and out of the ring. See for yourself why he is the best in the world.

Click here to pre-order now. Speaking of Jericho, while word was circulating that he would be finishing up with WWE after Night of Champions, that appears not to be the case. He's currently being advertised for the company's following shows on their upcoming tour of Europe: November 10 from the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England (more info) Smackdown taping on November 11 from the Liverpool Echo Arena in Liverpool, England (more info) November 15h from Festhalle Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany (more info) It's unknown if Jericho is indeed booked for the tour if this is an error. Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Chicago, IL… - The future of the Wyatt Family was a hot topic after the mysterious vignettes that began on Luke Harper. As I mentioned in Ask WNW, it's hard to see how Erick Rowan isn't the odd man out. Bray Wyatt, while cooled on recently, is still considered a priority and there have been discussions about turning him babyface, while the company has clear plans to push Harper. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. - The vibrating Money in the Bank briefcase (when it was backstage with The Authority) was not a rib on Seth Rollins but on one of the Divas. The story making rounds backstage was that over the weekend one of the Divas (no names were given to me) was stopped by TSA when they forgot to take the batteries out of their vibrator. It was in her carry-on and was flagged because of the batteries. - Here are some words that should make everyone here happy - the push is on for Dean Ambrose. We're told until Triple H and/or Vince McMahon decide otherwise, he is as protected as Seth Rollins. After all the injuries, he's the #2 face on the roster right now. - Expect to see Adam Rose's Bunny continue to get regular appearances and matches as Vince McMahon thinks it's funny. I wish I had a quarter for every report I've read claiming to know the identity. I'd be a wealthy man. - Rosa Mendes continues to receive negative marks across the board for her in-ring work. One source commented about how the producers feel there is no reason for her to still be this bad in the ring after being with the company for so long. - This week's kayfabe Michael Cole interview features John Cena. Below are the highlights: John said Night of Champions was such a difficult night. Not just because he was so close in defeating Brock Lesnar but he was coming off a pretty one-sided contest at SummerSlam. He really had something to prove to not only the WWE Universe but to himself. Cena talked about everyone saying he had no chance to beat Lesnar. He said Hulk Hogan was the only guy to really stick up for him. Cena doesn't think people truly know what Brock Lesnar is about. He said he was so frustrated at Seth Rollins' stupid decision. He understands what Rollins was trying to do but he doesn't know what he did. Cena said he doesn't know who can stop Brock Lesnar. Right now he is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He has defeated The Undertaker and Lesnar cleaned his clock at SummerSlam. Cena said Seth hasn't seen someone like Brock Lesnar and doesn't know what it's like to be in the ring with him. Cena said it's Rollins' shear stupidity why he's now his target. He said he would have gave Rollins the first match for the title, as long as it wasn't Brock Lesnar. John asked Cole: who else on the WWE roster is going to beat Brock Lesnar. He knows anything can happen when they ring the bell but is it Seth Rollins? Is it Dean Ambrose? Is it Roman Reigns? Is it Kane? Is it Randy Orton? He says it's no one and half the time it's not even John Cena because he got just over 1 minute of offense at SummerSlam. Cole asked if Cena would have been OK with Rollins letting him beat Lesnar and then "cashing in" on him. Cena said Seth's decision is Seth's decision. He doesn't know how much of an idiot he is. He is now focused on Seth Rollins. Cole talked about Dean Ambrose also going after Seth Rollins and the interview went from there. You can watch the interview at this link. Richard Reacts: It's funny how in this kayfabe interview, Cena posed several of the questions I've been asking. He also had some interesting comments about Brock Lesnar, essentially admitting that he'd rather face anyone in WWE other than Lesnar. They're clearly building Lesnar as the clearcut unstoppable beast that cannot be stopped no matter what. At the same time, they seem to be moving on from Cena vs. Lesnar III (technically IV) in favor of something involving Rollins. The glaring question continues to be - what do they do with Lesnar? It's almost like Cena is showing WWE's hand. They don't know. If Cena can't get it done, who can? - The Facebook page of UFC on Fox got crossover fans talking earlier this week when they asked if there would be interest in former WWE play-by-play man Jim Ross in the UFC. The post from Facebook is embedded below:

The post linked to an article on where writer Marc Raimondi wrote about JR and former UFC star Chael Sonnen teaming together on Friday night to broadcast for Battlegrounds MMA. The duo will work a show featuring a one-night, eight-man tournament with the winner earning $50,000 that will air live on pay-per-view from Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can read the piece at this link.

Jim Ross was forced into retirement by WWE in 2013. His retirement was forced due to a Legend's panel for the WWE 2K14 video game over SummerSlam 2013 weekend, in which JR was the host. An inebriated Ric Flair went into business for himself, embarrassing the company in the process. While Flair was quietly dealt with, JR was treated as the sacrificial lamb.

Since his "retirement," Ross has gone on to work as a contributor to, host his own Podcast and even transition as a boxing announcer. WWE continues to sell his BBQ products, while Ross refuses to speak badly about his former employer. In fact, he sat in the front row at the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

However, it doesn't appear all is well between WWE and Jim Ross as he recently noted that WWE is not approving his requests to interview any of their contracted talent on his podcast.

Ross continues to remain well engaged with the current WWE product and recently admitted to having casual discussions with New Japan Pro Wrestling. The latest update from the man himself was posted in a new blog on his website on Tuesday at this link.

Richard Reacts: Jim Ross in my view is the best pro wrestling play-by-play man of all-time. While I've come to enjoy the WWE trio of Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler, there will never be another Jim Ross. I hate the childish way that Vince McMahon treated JR over the years and would love to see him calling prominent UFC shows. Ross has such a great voice, I don't care what he calls, I just want him on announce. Remember, it was never his desire to be removed from his play-by-play post in WWE but a decision made by Vince McMahon.

- September 16, 2014 marked the five year anniversary of Linda McMahon's resignation as WWE's Chief Executive Officer. It was then McMahon announced she would be leaving the company to run as a Republican candidate for the United States Senate. Here was the corporate release from that day in 2009:

STAMFORD, CT, September 16, 2009 –World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Linda McMahon has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer after announcing her candidacy for the United States Senate, representing the state of Connecticut. Vince McMahon assumes the duties of Chief Executive Officer in addition to his current position as WWE® Chairman. McMahon will be supported by the seasoned executive management team already in place and led by Chief Operating Officer and board member, Donna Goldsmith.

Two elections and $100 million later, Linda McMahon is not a member of the United States Senate but she's not a WWE executive either.

Since November 2012, McMahon has stayed active both on the political scene and in business. She's joined APCO Worldwide as a member of the firm’s International Advisory Council (IAC) and served as an advisor to Connecticut Republican party chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. Last year, she was in attendance at Monday Night Raw. In 2014, she inductedThe Ultimate Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame.

TIME has a new feature article on Linda McMahon during the Real Simple/TIME Women & Success Panel in New York City. There, she discussed how she measures success:

My measure of success is how many jobs and lives we have affected internally, within the company… and having an opportunity to mentor some of the young people who have come along.
The first success was about building the company. And then once you’ve built the company, how do you continue to do that? So to have success today is to look around and see that we’re continuing to put smiles on people’s faces.

You an read the TIME piece at this link.

Below are some recent notable photos of Linda McMahon:

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- WWE began their 3rd year of partnership with Susan G Komen on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, Illinois. The partnership originally began with just John Cena but has now expanded to include all WWE talent. This year's theme is entitled "Courage, Conquer, Cure" and will continue with the company "going pink" for the next four weeks.

In addition to the use of a pink middle ring rope, decorated entrance ramp and branded ring skirt, the next 4 episodes of Total Divas will be branded pink in addition to content on the WWE Network.

None of WWE's contracted talent is forced to participate but many workers have contacted officials about wearing pink.

Stephanie McMahon, as WWE Chief Brand Officer, not her on-screen character as member of The Authority, spoke to about the campaign at this link.

Speaking of Stephanie, the company is working to differentiate her real-life responsibilities in an executive role from her on-screen character as a villain. Her position of Chief Brand Officer was something created after Vince McMahon took back over as the head of creative last October so Stephanie could focus more on the corporate side of things without bearing the tremendous burden as head of stroylines. Further, Stephanie's on-air character has become a priority.

- WWE has released Nick Dinsmore, has independently confirmed.

It's currently unknown what happened but it must have been noteworthy as the company has already pulled the video blog featuring Dinsmore that was posted last week.

Dinsmore was re-hired last year to take the place of Joey Mercury as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Mercury received a promotion to the main WWE roster as a producer.

Nick worked for WWE previously under a Performer's Contract from 2004-2007 and again in 2009 as Eugene.

He Tweeted the following from his verified account:

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- The WWE Network is back in the headlines this week after WWE was unable to make their launch date of October 1st in the United Kingdom. In a statement released by the company on Tuesday, WWE announced the Network will be delayed given discussions with potential partners. A new launch date for the WWE Network in the UK is scheduled to be announced by November 1st. Here was the statement:

The launch of WWE Network in the U.K. will be delayed given discussions with potential partners. A launch date will be announced by November 1

A representative from Sky Sports told Wrestling News World reader Michael Westphal there will be no change to their WWE coverage once the WWE Network launches (the full message can be read here). Sky Sports will continue to offer all WWE pay-per-views -- currently 14 a year -- in their current format in addition to their availability on the WWE Network.

Until we hear otherwise, the WWE Network will be available as an over the top service in the United Kingdom just as it is in the United States and in numerous other markets. The only market where the WWE Network is a traditional Pay-TV Channel is on Rogers Communications systems in Canada, where it is available on channel 512 on an a-la-carte basis.

Vince McMahon was asked on the latest conference call with investors why they went this route in Canada. Below is an excerpt from our exclusive coverage:

A caller asked why WWE chose to go this route in Canada and it seems to be a step away from what they’re doing in the US. Vince said they’re Canadian and they look at things a little different. He doesn’t know if they’re going to do that anywhere else. It could [happen in other markets] when you combine both their core programming and the WWE Network. Barrios wouldn’t discuss the different economics with the Rogers Communications deal. Vince explained it was an offer they couldn’t turn down.

In other words, WWE combined their new 10-year deal with Rogers Communications and the WWE Network to get paid a sum they couldn't turn down. The company has stressed they are creative when signing TV licensing deals and won't turn down a good deal.

The New York Postreported last month that McMahon had not shut the door on adopting a premium cable-TV channel model for the WWE Network in the United States. According to their report, McMahon is keeping a close eye on the company’s partnership with Rogers Communications in Canada to see what distribution is like.

WWE tried for well over a year to secure clearances on cable and satellite systems before launching the WWE Network as an over the top service. Moving forward, the WWE Network has replaced pay-per-view as a key driver for the company. Other key drivers include television ratings and domestic live event attendance.

- WWE has announced that Hoda Kotb, a seven-year breast cancer survivor, and Kathie Lee Gifford from the Today Show will guest star on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Brooklyn, New York.

The appearances will be part of WWE's third consecutive year supporting Susan G. Komen and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. John Cena will appear on the Today show prior to their appearance to "give them a pep talk."

Additionally, journalist Joan Lunden, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, will sit ringside as a special guest with other breast cancer survivors at the show.

Below are comments posted in an article on dot com:

“We’ve been wrestling every day at 10 a.m. in our own ring for the past seven years, and it gets down and dirty. So bring it on!” said Kotb and Gifford.

“WWE is thrilled to have Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Joan Lunden join Monday Night Raw to help shine a light on the battle against breast cancer,” said Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE. “These women continue to be a voice for the millions that are affected by this devastating disease. We are honored to have their support in raising awareness and funds to continue the fight.”

Click here for coverage by dot com.

Richard Reacts: Some people may scoff at this because - what do these women have to do with pro wrestling? However, I think it's great to celebrate survivors of breast cancer and support those currently fighting it. Chances are cancer has affected all of our lives in some fashion and I commend WWE for their efforts with Susan G. Komen. The message has translated to the locker room too as many workers approached company officials recently about getting involved.

- The Rock has confirmed that he will star in Paramount's screen adaptation of Baywatch.

The Hollywood Reporter first posted the story at this link, noting Rock was "loosely attached" to the project but he confirmed rumors are true on Twitter. The following is from Rock's verified Twitter account:

Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

Click here for coverage by The Hollywood Reporter. Richard Reacts: The Rock stars in everything and it's great to see him have so much success. The question most everyone here is asking - what about WWE? I don't know. I know he has said he has a "verbal agreement" for one more match and Vince McMahon really wants to do Rock vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. However, I don't know where everything stands in that regard as of today. - There are rumors making rounds that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is off television for the remainder of the year. While Lesnar isn't listed on any upcoming WWE shows, the last we heard Vince McMahon wasn't sure when to utilize him next. The original plan was to do John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton in the Hell in a Cell main events this month, however, the injury to Reigns changed that. It doesn't look like Lesnar will be utilized at Hell in a Cell, however, as far as I know, plans regarding his next title defense have not been finalized. It appears the immediate plan is for Cena to target Seth Rollins, with the tease of a potential Fatal 4-Way [at Hell in a Cell] also involving Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton. Richard Reacts: Everyone knows my position on Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight Champion by now - I don't like it. I was optimistic but it looked better on paper than it has actually gone. Lesnar's part-time status has negatively impacted him in the build for shows such as SummerSlam and Night of Champions, not to mention when he's not even on a pay-per-view. I felt the need to address this based on a question sent to me over Facebook. - Cameron confronts her brother and his friends in a new Total Divas preview clip. You can watch at this link. - The latest episode of The JBL Show is now online at this link.

TNA News

- The wrestling section of is circulating comments that Kurt Angle made in an exclusive interview with them. In it, he refused to reveal who he's going to sign with but said he's going to sign for 1 year before retiring. Angle talked about meeting one-on-one with Dixie Carter, where she reassured him about TNA's domestic TV situation. Click here to read the article in its entirety. Richard Reacts: It sounds like to me that Angle will be back in TNA. In the excerpts sent to us, Angle spoke of not realizing Triple H was helping call the shots [in WWE] and talked about sorting things out with Vince McMahon. While there was some quick talk about bringing Angle to WWE to work a quick stopgap program with Brock Lesnar, that's completely died down. I'm not aware of any long-term interest in Angle's services as an in-ring performer. Global Force Wrestling is still in the planning stages. Angle is already in a prominent authoritative role on TNA TV and could easily transition back to the ring when healthy for a final year of his career. That's what I think will happen and what should happen. - TNA Wrestling announced the card for Bound For Glory on Monday evening. Bouts announced are as follows: TNA X Division Champion Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki vs. Kaz HayashiEthan Carter III vs. Ryota HamaMVP vs. Kazma SakamotoJames Storm & The Great Sanada vs. The Great Muta & TajiriManik vs. Minoru TanakaHavok vs. Velvet SkyTeam 3D vs. Abyss & Tommy Dreamer Additionally, Team 3D will be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. In a piece on the company's official website, statements on the show were released by Dixie Carter and John Gaburick: Dixie Carter:

“Taking Bound For Glory, our company’s tent pole event, outside of the United States for the first time is the culmination of years of strategically introducing and growing the TNA brand and affiliated properties internationally,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “TNA has cultivated an incredible relationship with Wrestle-1, and we are proud to join forces in bringing wrestling fans what will be a historic and memorable evening of professional wrestling broadcast from one of the most legendary fighting venues in all the world.”

John Gaburick:

“I can confidently say this will be the most intriguing and captivating three hours of professional wrestling action all year,” said John Gaburick, TNA’s executive vice-president, talent relations and creative. “With an incredible card pitting the best professional wrestling athletes against one another in never-before-seen matches, Bound For Glory will once again set the standard for the best wresting in the world.”

Click here for coverage on TNA Bound for Glory will air pay-per-view on Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 8 PM ET. We'll have complete coverage here at Richard Reacts: I am sure the quality of wrestling at Bound For Glory will be unmatched; I'm expecting great athletic pro wrestling matches. What I don't understand is why TNA would go this route with their biggest show of the year. It's unfathomable to have their version of Wrestlemania air on tape delay, much less matches featuring non-TNA talent. I can't explain it. - Andy Wu & Hijo Del Pantera vs. Kuroshio Ikemen Jiro & Yusuke Kodama in a Wrestle-1 exclusive tag team match has been added to next month's Bound For Glory pay-per-view. Seven bouts were confirmed earlier in the week that we covered here at - Robbie E and Brooke -- as The Wrestlers -- are participants in Season 25 of The Amazing Race. The show was filmed from May 31, 2014 to June 22, 2014 and premiered last week on CBS. In helping promote the series, is posting weekly blog updates from Robbie. You can read his first one at this link. Episode 1 is available online at this link. An interesting fact about Robbie E's inclusion on The Amazing Race is that he and tag team partner Jessie Godderz (from Big Brother) were both cast members on reality TV shows that were broadcast on CBS. The following is from Twitter: Click here to load Tweets (if not loaded)

Here is Jessie's history on Big Brother:

CBS' Big Brother 10 (cast member)
CBS' Big Brother 11 (cast member)
CBS' Big Brother 12 (surprise guest appearance in Pandora's Box)
CBS' Big Brother 13 (surprise guest appearance in Pandora's Box)
CBS' Big Brother 14 (surprise guest appearance in Pandora's Box)
CBS' Big Brother 16 (surprise guest appearance on a special Press Day episode)

- Bobby Lashley spoke with The Independent about pursuing his MMA career while also working as a top star in TNA Wrestling. In the piece, he admitted to speaking with WWE but said he chose TNA because their schedule was easier and he would be able to spend more time with his kids.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- Last night's Impact Wrestling episode received an average viewing audience of 1,097,000. This episode was the first episode that was taped from the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. The show was headlined by Gail Kim vs. Havok for the Knockouts Championship. This show is up from last week's dismal viewership of 969,000. You can see how Impact did compared to other shows that night at this link.

- TNA Wrestling announced that they have secured two new television deals in Malaysia and Singapore. Below is the official press release from the company. You can also view it on their website here.

KUALA LUMPUR (October 2, 2014): TNA IMPACT WRESTLING today announces new TV deals in Malaysia and Singapore.

Both TNA IMPACT WRESTLING and TNA Xplosion will air on Channel 111 – SingTel mio Sports 1 across Singapore. IMPACT will air on Wednesday nights at 10pm with a repeat on Saturday mornings at 11am. Xplosion will premiere on Friday nights at 11pm, with a midday repeat on Sundays. Fans should check local listings for full details.

TNA Xplosion will also air on TV9 in Malaysia every Monday night at 11pm.

TNA President Dixie Carter said: “We are delighted that wrestling fans in Malaysia and Singapore can now join those in Japan, Thailand and 120 other countries around the world in enjoying the very best in professional wrestling each and every week.

“Asia is set to be a key growth market for our company over the next 12 months and, working with our partners across the continent, we hope to announce even more good news soon.”

Sherina Nordin, Group General Manager for TV3 & TV9, said: “TV9 is proud to screen TNA Xplosion, a new sports programme aired for the first time in Malaysia.

“This programme will attract modern and open-minded young fresh mass Malays who love wrestling. We are confident that this program, which is aired every Monday at 11pm, will reach a large number of viewers.”

Anurag Dahiya, Head of Content at SingTel mio TV, said: “We are delighted to bring TNA IMPACT WRESTLING and TNA Xplosion to the fans in Singapore.

“TNA joins a world class SingTel mio TV sports line-up. Our customers can now catch TNA’s top-rated wrestling shows in addition to their favourite sporting action such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League football games on mio Sports.”

- TNA posted on that Gail Kim suffered a separated shoulder at the hands of new Knockouts Champion Havok. They list Kim as "out indefinitely." You can read the article at this link. This appears to be storyline-only as Gail is featured in matches that were taped for November episodes of Impact Wrestling. Things were taped out of order so it's hard to say when they will air, other than they are coming. You can get caught up with everything taped for TNA television in our TNA Spoilers section.

- Tommy Dreamer is dealing with a hip/back injury from a bad bump that he took in TNA Wrestling. Dreamer noted on his official Facebook page that he will still be wrestling in Japan next week but had a pain killing injection on Thursday to help him.

The following is from Facebook:

Post by The Tommy Dreamer.

Dreamer's last match was at the TNA Impact Wrestling taping on Friday, September 19, 2014 in Bethlehem, PA.


Do you think Batista could come back and dethrone Brock Lesnar, getting one final reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion?

I don't think it would work. WWE's creative direction for Batista really did a number on him when he came back earlier this year. Batista is on record as to saying he's the worst babyface of all-time and while I believe that's being a bit harsh, putting him over at Royal Rumble and forcing him in the main event at Wrestlemania 30 didn't translate. He's now having huge success in Hollywood and has landed a role next to Robert De Niro. As of right now Batista is still considered a WWE superstar that is on hiatus but I imagine that his success on the big screen will only make it harder for him to return.

Do you see any possibility of the main event of Wrestlemania 31 being a triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? I feel like that would be a much better match and would make sense at a PPV like Wrestlemania than anything with Brock Lesnar.

I don't think anything can be definitively ruled out for Wrestlemania 31 in September, however, it's not likely. Vince McMahon is paying big money for the services of Brock Lesnar and he's going to get a main event match at the show, whether it's for the title or not. There are obviously issues with Roman Reigns right now but WWE is confident he will be available to return before the end of the year and even if he isn't, the reports the company is getting from doctors is that he'll definitely be available in January.

What do you think of this idea? Roman Reigns returns and wins the 30-man Royal Rumble to get a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. And to build the hype, they make Reigns a Paul Heyman guy. Both Lesnar and Reigns need microphone work, and Heyman managing both combatants could be interesting, personal, and well worked on the mic.

I can confirm there are already casual discussions taking place about delaying the return of Roman Reigns so he can win the 30-man Royal Rumble and get a title shot against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. However, there are a myriad of issues that need to be worked out before that happens, none less than what do they do with Lesnar from now until then? I dislike your scenario of aligning Reigns with Paul Heyman, as the "hot-shot" pairing of Heyman with an up and comer hasn't worked. It didn't work for Curtis Axel, Ryback or Cesaro; so why try again? Heyman is better suited as a mouthpiece/manager for an already established main event talent, like he currently is for Brock Lesnar or he was for CM Punk. As for the idea of putting Reigns over in the 30-man Royal Rumble match, that could be the one good thing to come of this injury. A one month absence really freshened up Dean Ambrose, I believe a layoff for Reigns could help in his elevation. Some fans were starting to get frustrated with Reigns because of how the company was protecting him, so time off may not be the worst thing to happen.

The current mid-card belt situation in WWE is ridiculous. Two directionless guys just keep flip-flopping the Intercontinental title while the US title picture is not intriguing. There is really no defined criteria for who goes after the mid-card titles, although it's clear that the top guys would never fight for those belts. Wouldn't it be a good idea to establish some specific criteria, for example "you are only eligible for the Intercontinental title if you have never been the World champion?" The former champs who are not currently main eventers (Sheamus, Ziggler, Miz, etc.) could fight for the US title, making it the "secondary title."

I completely agree with your assessment of the hot-potato booking of the WWE Intercontinental Championship and I also feel the United States Championship couldn't mean less. In fact, I believe the US title means so little that WWE could quietly drop it and the casual fan wouldn't even notice. I didn't like The Miz beating Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions, let alone Ziggler winning it back on Raw. At least they didn't change it again on Smackdown! I can't give an explanation for why WWE values their secondary titles so little, especially at a time when they are needed the most. As for your suggestion of a pre-determined criteria, I like establishing something to make the titles mean something but such a criteria would likely be confusing and hard to follow. The best course of action would be to unify the Intercontinental and United States titles, form one secondary belt and then book it better. I realize this makes me sound like a hypocrite since I opposed the unification of the world titles but that's because two world titles forced WWE to have an expanded main event scene. It'd be one thing if having two secondary titles meant more opportunities to elevate talent but that's clearly not the case.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2012: I have a question about The Shield. Do you think they will go far or will they be split up into singles competitors? - I saw three stars in the first Shield interview segment on this week’s WWE Raw. I want to be careful because looks can be deceiving, but these guys are the “cream of the crop” of WWE’s deep developmental system. We already know Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have amazing in-ring talent and while I haven’t see a lot of Roman Reigns’ work, he’s got the look. No one knows how successful The Shield will be but these guys provide reassurance the company has no shortage of future talent.

What are your thoughts on the expanded role of Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury on WWE television?

Sean Hopkins, who does our live coverage, sent me a text message during Raw and reminded how Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury are being used as Triple H's corporate stooges like Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco were used for Vince McMahon during the Attitude Era. I completely agree! Fans recognize this as well and every time they are shown on television, a buzz is generated.

Can you elaborate on Batista calling himself the worst babyface of all-time?

During a promotional interview with Chad Dukes, Batista stated the following last month:

“I’m the worst babyface in the history of wrestling. [Laughs] I’m just not good at it. When you do promos sometimes you gotta say things that people wanna hear instead of telling them things they should hear. You know it’s hard for me to be that guy always saying the politically correct thing. I just don’t like it I’m not comfortable with it.”

You can listen to the interview and read an expanded transcript at this link.

There's not much more to add other than Batista is better suited as a heel and I believe that's where his best work has been. I know WWE is expecting him to return but as I have stated on multiple occasions, his success in Hollywood will make it harder. His return earlier this year didn't work out and I believe permanent damage might have been done to his character. Back to Batista's comments, I don't think he's the worst babyface of all-time but as stated, I prefer him as a heel.

I noticed on Raw there were three Divas segments on air with a significant amounts of time. Could this mean WWE is trying to push the division and having more faith in them in general?

Two of the three matches were done to promote Total Divas, with AJ Lee vs. Alicia Fox being the company's normal Diva segment to promote the underlying Divas Championship program with Paige. I don't know how much data the company had before Raw but the audience for this week's Total Divas was down big with many fall premieres taking place. I don't look at the three matches as WWE re-committing to the division as much as I see them trying to continue to promote the reality series, while also keeping the program for the Divas Championship on television.

Seeing the way Dean Ambrose took the MITB briefcase, do you see WWE doing Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for briefcase?

Many were hoping the match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at SummerSlam would be for the Money in the Bank briefcase but the company underwhelmed with the lumberjack match stipulation. I would welcome a match for the briefcase although the tease on Raw was Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton. If it wasn't clear last week, it certainly is this week - Dean Ambrose is back on a different level. Let's hope WWE continues to trust him as the elevation takes place.

Remember the group used to introduce Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero? With the deep pool of talent in NXT, debuting a group of guys as faces would be a great idea since many of the groups debuting from NXT have been heels. Is it possible they could debut Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Steen/Adrian Neville as a similar group? Perhaps going against the Authority? The Radicalz were "anti-establishment" and a fun group to watch, since many fans knew them already.

I don't hate the idea of debuting the NXT studs together, however, this has been done so many times in recent years I worry about overkill. WWE did it with The Nexus in 2010 and again with The Shied in 2012. To a lesser extent, they did again with The Wyatt Family in 2013. Bringing along another NXT faction in 2014 or 2015 may come off as overused. Not to mention the risk of elevating one or two with the others getting lost in the shuffle.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2011: How much stroke does a main event talent have in WWE? For example, can they approach Vince McMahon and request a title shot? - Title shots come down to the right situation and are ultimately guided under the direction of the WWE writing team and of course Vince McMahon. While a main event worker has more leverage to lobby for a title reign, they can’t just request one and get it. The outcomes are scripted but to be champion is a big deal and provides the worker with an opportunity to make a lot of money. The more stroke the worker has, the more input they have in the direction of their character and storylines. However, no one runs over Vince McMahon and as you can probably imagine, McMahon’s ego is big enough to hold his own. This is absolutely crucial in a business controlled by politics and manipulation.

Should we get our hopes up for the return of Bray Wyatt and the mystery regarding Luke Harper? It looks like Harper is due a push but will it be at the expense of Bray Wyatt or Erick Rowan?

Based on the vignettes for Luke Harper that began on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, it appears he is in line for a singles push. I don't think anyone is going to forget about Bray Wyatt and I know there have been informal discussions about turning him babyface. What I am wondering is how Erick Rowan doesn't end up the odd man out. Rumors are circulating about the future of the Wyatt Family following the vignettes but the only thing I can say for sure is that Luke Harper is going to get a push.

There have been two episodes of Monday Night Raw but no matches announced for Hell in a Cell. Why?

With WWE having 5 weeks between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell, Vince McMahon was in no rush to start announcing pay-per-views bouts due to the uncertain direction of many of the programs. As I reported here on, the injury to Roman Reigns threw the company for a loop. Prior to that, Vince wanted John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton at HIAC. With Reigns out, it appears WWE is going in a different direction. While the direction was clearer on this week's Raw, no matches have been announced. I expect that to change as soon as next week.

Prince Devitt looks ready to go as Finn Balor. How long does it take for an NXT guy to get called up to the main WWE roster? Given his status in Japan, why does he need development?

The length of time that Finn Balor spends down at WWE NXT was a big sticking point in his negotiations with the company. He made it clear he didn't want to "waste away" in Orlando, when he could be having feature matches in Japan. I'm told he was given certain assurances as to how long he'll have to stay down there and shouldn't expected to be an NXT mainstay. We'll see how that works out as things are known to change once a talent is actually signed. As for why successful workers are sent to the WWE Performance Center before being called up to the main WWE roster is there is a "WWE way" of doing things and they want all talent assimilated to it before they put them on TV. This is one of the advantages of not having any competition. WWE can be slower to bring talent from NXT to WWE, since they're the only option for talent in the United States that want to become a megastar in mainstream pro wrestling. To answer your question, there is no set time period a worker has to spend in developmental before getting called up, it all depends on the worker and the situation available for that worker.

I was a big fan of JBL during his near 300-day reign as WWE Champion back in and while the IWC seemed to hate it back in the day, his reign seems to be viewed much more positively these days (with some claiming he was perhaps the last great *true* heel champion). What is your personal opinion of the "JBL years" and do you think his long reign as unflinching heel champion helped lay the ground for John Cena to be a hero for the new generation?

I had no idea what to expect when JBL went from the APA to the JBL character and I was pleasantly surprised every step of the way. We talk a lot about guys that just "get it" and how the best gimmicks are the real life personalities of people, just turned up to the max. I think that's what we saw with John "Bradshaw" Layfield and I think he was a major success. Back issues put an end to his career but he's been a breath of fresh air since returning on commentary. As for people hating JBL when he was on top and loving him a decade later, it's just further proof of how time makes the heart grow fonder. Hulk Hogan was public enemy number one for the majority of IWC, now even he generates massive pops even though his promo on this week's Raw was 100% predictable as soon as it was learned he would be appearing. Wrestling fans are also very nostalgic so when they get an opportunity to relive the past, they usually embrace it.

From the Ask WNW vault…

August 2012: I’ve noticed WWE bringing up Tensai’s initial WWE run before he went to Japan. Has WWE given up on trying to pretend the past didn’t happen? - WWE has acknowledged Tensai’s initial run in the company as Albert (and A-Train) since he was brought back in the revamped gimmick earlier this year. I don’t know what made them decide to acknowledge it other than the hope that fans would move past the “shave your back chants.” Whatever the reasoning was, Tensai has failed to get over and has seen his push significantly scaled back. It’s widely believed the monster push of heel Big Show was originally slated for Tensai. As for this being the new WWE precedent, I don’t see that as being the case as the company clearly makes up the rules as they go along and it all depends on the situation.

Do you see Randy Orton getting back in the hunt for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the near future?

We reported exclusively here on Premium on September 15, 2014 that Randy Orton hasn't been happy with his booking lately and approached WWE officials about taking some time off towards the end of the year. With the company decimated at the top of the card, they've been trying to cater to Orton in attempt to convince him to stay on without time off. One of the ideas was for Orton to co-headline Hell in a Cell against Roman Reigns, however, that plan was nixed due to the incarcerated hernia that will keep Reigns out for "several months." However, it's been evident on WWE television the company is focused on keeping Orton in the main event. This is also why he was the worker to write Chris Jericho off television as random as that program was thrown together. As for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it's absolutely possible he gets back in the mix of things, however, WWE has to get Brock Lesnar back on TV. He's missing in action and according to Cena, no one can beat him.

Since the Intercontinental Championship is basically meaningless, what if WWE brings back the Hardcore or the Cruiserweight titles?

You aren't the first person to suggest this, I just fail to understand the thinking behind it. If WWE can't utilize the mid-card titles they have, why should we believe more titles would solve the problem? The Hardcore and Cruiserweight titles were eliminated for a reason; they were useless. Let's not even get into that WWE has never had great success booking cruiserweights and a Hardcore title would be very difficult to book under the company's PG directive. At this point I want to see more focus on the titles they have as opposed to any idea to introduce more belts.

Who do you believe is next to feud with Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

I have no idea the direction WWE plans to go with their World Heavyweight Championship. In the days following Night of Champions, I explained how John Cena shouldn't have interrupted Seth Rollins' "cash in" attempt but should have went after him after he won the title. This would have solved WWE's quandary of a part-time champion, created a meaningful Fall program and released WWE of the burden of Brock Lesnar's part-time status. Critics talked about how that's not Cena's character and it's hustle, loyalty and respect and he's going to go after whoever. However, Cena took a different angle in this week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole. He explained that Rollins should have let him win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and he would have gladly gave Rollins the first defense at it. Cena talked about how no one can beat Brock Lesnar and Rollins is an idiot for doing what he did. He went on to explain that he doesn't believe Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Kane or Randy Orton can be Brock Lesnar. So basically, if Cena can't get it done, no one can. How do you book from that? On Monday, I examined possible challengers for Brock Lesnar to help keep Lesnar unstoppable and the title fresh on the way to Wrestlemania 31. However, it seems the new thinking is just hold Brock off TV and talk about how dominant he is. We'll see how it plays out but apparently the new hot item to have is the MITB briefcase, even though Lesnar can't be defeated.

With the WWE Network completely changing how the company views pay-per-view, do you see them potentially dropping some B level events in order to have more time to build storylines between events?

At one time I believed a good course of action would be for WWE to eliminate some of their B-level shows to make their pay-per-views more meaningful, however, my position has changed. Now the WWE Network hinges on original first-run programming. That means there has to be more pay-per-views, not less. The company is already doing that with the NXT Takeover shows but the last thing they need to do is start eliminating shows that give people a reason to subscribe to the WWE Network. This is also why the company feels they have more leeway in terms of non-finishes in pay-per-view main events. All shows are included for $9.99/month so there is no longer a feeling of "there has to be a clean finish" because the show is $54.95. The WWE Network also provides the company with more opportunities to build shows and create hype, the biggest obstacle is engaging the viewer.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2011: How will the WWE Network change WWE broadcasting and will it be available outside the United States? - The WWE Network is going to alter the business in that it’s going to be the first network of its kind. The current WWE television deals for Raw Supershow and Smackdown will remain in place throughout their duration. Vince McMahon feels it’s important these deals remain intact because they are great to create awareness for the forthcoming WWE Network. If Wrestlemania XXVIII is broadcast on the WWE Network, it’s going to alter the pay-per-view model, which I feel is outdated. A lot of readers want to know of the international plans for the WWE Network and so little has been confirmed about how the network will gain clearance in the US, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens internationally. WWE is committed to international expansion and they aren’t going to leave out these valuable markets.

If you were head of WWE creative, what are three realistic main events you would book for Wrestlemania 31?

First, I am extremely glad the tremendous burden of being head of WWE creative does not rest on my shoulders. It's not an easy job and I know I have been critical lately, however, I want to continue to reiterate issues are much easier worked out online behind a computer than actually writing TV each week. In terms of realistic Wrestlemania matches, there is so much uncertainly, it's extremely hard to pick three matches.

For example, the status of Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Batista and The Rock is all in question. Bryan and Reigns are out with injuries, while Batista and Rock are movie stars. Even if we get into talent such as Undertaker and Sting, there are still issues. Would Undertaker want to work another match? How about WWE's ability to build and book Sting in just a few months?

I could easily sit here and write a past, present and future card featuring Undertaker vs. Sting, Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose but there are issues with every one of those matches. Many people want to see Lesnar drop the title to Reigns but once again, Reigns has to get healthy first. WWE expects him to be available by December but there are still steps that must precede his clearance.

In conclusion, armchair fantasy booking is just that. The biggest thing WWE needs to focus on is something that should have become a priority far sooner and that's turning more young talent into stars. I realize that too is easier said than done but they cannot continue to rely on the likes of Undertaker, Lesnar and other part-time workers to sell their biggest show of the year.

What does it mean for TNA if they are securing all these various TV deals in other countries except for the US? Worse case scenario, could they survive by being a US promotion and broadcasting via their international deals alone?

That's been brought up in various circles, however, I do not think it would work. Spike TV has paid TNA approximately $6,760,000 a year in TV rights fees (based on $65,000 per hour). Take that away from any promotion and there are going to have to be significant changes. I don't see how TNA will exist without a domestic TV deal but there seems to be some optimism lately. However, the domestic networks currently interested Impact aren't believed to be offering anything like what Spike has been paying.

Are workers in WWE pushed on crowd reactions, attitude backstage or something else?

Workers in WWE are pushed based on crowd reactions, their overall body of work and creative direction. In other words, a worker needs to be generating a reaction from the crowd, have decent work in the ring and on the mic and have the backing of creative in order to be featured in a storyline. Unlike professional sports, wrestling is not objective. That means the best worker isn't guaranteed a push. Some people pushed back on my suggestion WWE should scrap Rusev's gimmick with the defense he's a good wrestler. There have been a lot of good wrestlers that haven't made it in WWE. There are many factors that go into a worker getting pushed, none less important than the vision of Vince McMahon himself.

Could Daniel Bryan win next year's Royal Rumble to return to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture?

Anything is possible but Daniel Bryan has to get healthy first. Since Bryan is not healthy, it's nothing more than speculation. Once he does return I believe it's only reasonable that he go right back to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture because he never actually lost the title. While many want to see Roman Reigns be the worker to beat Brock Lesnar, what about Daniel Bryan? There would be a lot of money in a Bryan vs. Brock program -- the ultimate underdog vs. the ultimate monster -- but once again, nothing can be done until Bryan is healthy.

Is David Otunga still under WWE contract?

As far as I know, David Otunga is still under WWE contract. The last story we ran on him was the feature he did with Celebrity Auction Doctors. It was there he seemed to speak of his time in WWE in past tense.

From the Ask WNW vault…

September 2012: What does it mean when it’s written Vince McMahon is standing in Gorilla? - Gorilla is the term used for the position just before the entrance curtain at WWE TVs and PPVs where Vince McMahon remains with a headset and runs the show. The name comes from the late Gorilla Monsoon who stood in the position late in his career.

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