Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.
This week's edition covers news from Saturday, September 29, 2012 to Friday, October 5, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- Sheamus will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show at WWE Hell in a Cell
- Sara Del Rey, who we reported earlier this week is now under WWE contract, is helping train developmental Divas at NXT Wrestling in Tampa. Del Rey is known for her spectacular matches on the independent circuit, coming to fame with promotions such as Ring of Honor and SHIMMER.
- WWE still claims there are still plans to release WWE: The Attitude Era on DVD on November 20, 2012. While the initial word is reports of the titles cancelation are false, the title has still been removed from domestic and international release schedules and BestBuy.com sent out cancelation emails to all preorders.
- An official Facebook page has been created for WWE Main Event at this link.
- Kaitlyn worked against Natalya at Saturday's WWE Smackdown live event in Abilene, Texas, her first match since being "attacked" backstage at WWE Night of Champions.
For those that missed it in our house show results, a trainer came out and checked the leg of Santino Marella during his match against Tensai at Friday's WWE Raw live event. Santino wrote the following on Twitter:
- Drew McIntyre wrote the following on Twitter:
- To follow-up on the tension between Vince McMahon and John Cena, the disagreement had to do with time off that escalated. I'm told Vince would tell John one thing and do another, further frustrating Cena. Cena made threats about staying off the road through October but it's believed they have agreed on a desirable number of appearances he'll work.
- While Christian did undergo some type of surgical procedure, we're told it was outpatient and nothing serious.
- The daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero, Shaul Guerrero, wrote the following on Twitter regarding her WWEdeparture:
- Some network executives at the CW Network were upset over Zack Ryder using the Rough Rider finisher on WWE Saturday Morning Slam. By large, the network is happy with the show toned down for the PG-oriented audience.
- The Miz was on local radio in Oklahoma City on Monday and discussed hazing during the beginning of his WWE run. He noted that John "Bradshaw" Layfield was very hard on him but now shakes his hand when he sees him.
- WWE will tape Smackdown from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
- CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, Big Show, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Public Enemy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Mick Foley, Rey Mysterio, "Ravishing" Rick Rude and Joey Styles are all "Paul Heyman Guys," according to an article written by the man himself here on dot com.
- Michael Cole announced tonight on WWE Raw that JBL will return to the show next week. JBL just finished climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. That article can be seen here.
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took to Twitter to respond to CM Punk's promo from last night's Raw:
-Fozzy has released the official video for "Sandpaper," one of the theme songs for this year's WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Click here to watch the video.
- WWE executive Ann Russo-Gordon has left the company. Russo-Gordon operated as a liaison between talent and WWE when they were seeking financial assistance for rehabilitation through the WWE Wellness Policy.
- Mick Foley wrote the following on Twitter:
- The mysterious procedure that Drew McIntyre had that made him "part bionic" is believed to be a thumb injury. For those that missed it, McIntyre appeared on Raw with a cast that covered his thumb and went up down his wrist.
- For those following Batista's MMA aspirations, he has a new opponent. The former WWE star will no longer face Rashid Evans but will fight Vince Lucero. The fight will take place on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
- TMZ has an article now online on former WWE star Shawn Daivari putting an unruly train passenger in a rear naked choke hold when they began shouting threats. You can read the article at this link.
- Jim Ross was humbled by the showing of support during "JR Appreciation Night" at this week's WWE Raw. Below is one of many of JR's Tweets:
- I'm told Kofi Kingston was examined by medical staff backstage at this week's WWE Raw after Alberto Del Rio botched the spot towards the end of their match. Kofi will have his shoulder further evaluated on Tuesday morning. When Del Rio got to the back, Vince McMahon looked at him and shook his head. One observer noted, "sell that ADR stock now."
- John Cena posted the following on Twitter:
For a new update on what is going on behind-the-scenes, click here. - This week's WWE Raw only did an average viewership of 3,502,000 viewers on the USA Network. Here's how the hours broke down:
- Hour 1: 3,436,000 viewers
- Hour 2: 3,598,000 viewers
- Hour 3: 3,472,000 viewers
The final cable rating for all three hours was 2.54. I was sent this week's rating via text message and was told Vince McMahon is "blowing a gasket."
- In an update/correction, Drew McIntyre's surgery that made him "part bionic" was to his wrist, not his thumb. McIntyre clarified with the following post on Twitter:
- The presale password to obtain tickets to WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs from the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York is WWETLC. I just did a search and got 5th row, so click here to get yours now.
- WWE has announced a live event on December 15th from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA on December 15, 2012. There will be a presale Thursday to obtain tickets. The password is WWEWBS.
- The announce team for next week's WWE Raw will be Michael Cole, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Jerry Lawler.
- WWE has uploaded Fozzy's video "Sandpaper" here on dot com.
- Cody Rhodes, who was recently in Egypt, did an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line. The piece offers some pretty funny quotes considering the way the business is covered in the Middle East. Below is an excerpt:
"What we do is sports entertainment; it's not just wrestling and not just entertainment," he explained. "What we do is like a dance," "I have a whole lot of respect for John Cena and all what he has done for the business," he said. "But I think CM Punk is better and he is the future of the WWE," he added
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- CAVE Magazine has a new Q&A online with Machine Gun Kelly. In it, the rapper discusses performing live at Wrestlemania XXVIII and other experiences with WWE talent. Below is an excerpt:
I’m a huge pro-wrestling fan, and was thrilled when “Invincible” was picked up as the Wrestlemania theme song. How did you link up with the WWE in the first place? I woke up and saw a tweet. My label didn’t even tell me. I saw that “Invincible” was the theme song for Wrestlemania, and I thought it was cool. But to be honest, we didn’t understand how big it was until we got to Miami. When we walked into the stadium, it was like “holy shit, this is massive”. The stadium was huge, the show was sold out, and we were performing. You could feel the ground shaking beneath your feet. I realized I had to go out there, but I didn’t want to. It was the scariest moment of my career. Tell me about the whole experience leading up to Wrestlemania. It was so cool. We were seeing all these non-traditional MGK fans become MGK fans. Plus, everyone was super friendly backstage. Everyone was rooting for us. But at Wrestlemania, that was the only time I’ve ever looked out onstage before going out and said to myself “I’m totally okay if I just quit right now, so I don’t have to go out there and do this”. Five seconds before we went out, our microphones weren’t working. But everything worked out great, and the speech was awesome at the end. I was stoked. Off-camera, what kind of guy is John Cena? Cena’s the man. Nothing was fake with him. He was very cool and very up front. He would say “hey, I’m really stoked and I really like you”. He was super appreciative throughout the whole process. We did that whole thing in Cleveland on Raw where he pulled me out of the crowd and into the ring. Right before he went out, he said “go in the crowd, I’m going to grab you”. That was a last minute thing. It wasn’t planned. He gave us some moonshine before we went out at Wrestlemania, too. Was Cena drinking with you guys? No, he gave us the moonshine and left. What was the Rock like? Unfortunately, he was the coolest guy. I wanted to hate him, but he was really cool. Plus, he was a fan of my music. Vince McMahon was really cool, too. He was really thankful. I was actually trying to thank him, because he propelled my career. I think the guys who picked “Invincible” are the ones I should be giving credit to. The corporate suits, for once, sided with MGK. They got it right.
Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.
- I can confirm from more than one source that a meeting took place this week with Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman to discuss WWE creative. While the gist was McMahon was looking for input, a spot on the creative team was not offered to Heyman. I'm told while McMahon was seeking input from Paul, he was very stern with him about leaking information deemed confidential. One source told me neither Vince nor Stephanie McMahon trust Heyman, however, CM Punk has gone to bat for him in terms of using his ideas to improve the product. This week's disastrous Raw rating had Vince throwing up his hands which ultimately led to the meeting, believed to be under the discretion of CM Punk. In fact, one source said the meeting began with Punk, Heyman and Vince and ended with Heyman and Vince in a "closed door" setting. The result of the meeting has a lot of people talking about Vince "setting his pride aside" for the good of the business while also exemplifying Punk's tremendous backstage power and influence. Considered a taboo name earlier in the year, Heyman has not only landed a role back on WWE television but is now regaining influence with creative direction and input (all because of the current WWE Champion).
- WWE and ION Television issued the following press release, boasting the viewership numbers for the series premiere of WWE Main Event:
ION TELEVISION'S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES, WWE® MAIN EVENT®,DEBUTS WITH STRONG FIRST MATCHNEW YORK, October 4, 2012 – Obama vs. Romney was not the only match viewers tuned into on Wednesday night. According to Nielsen overnight data released today, ION Television’s brand new series, WWE Main Event, garnered the highest male audience in the last year with the most Men 18-49 (422,000), Men 25-54 (444,000), and Men 2+ (876,000). At 8:00pm ET/PT, the premiere of the new weekly series, which featured WWE Champion CM Punk™ against World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus™, was the #4 program in the time period among Men 18-34, #4 among Men 18-49, and #5 among Men 25-54. In addition, WWE Main Event out-delivered the last game of the MLB regular season on ESPN and ESPN2 among all key men and adult demos. Finally, the premiere delivered 518,000 Women 2+, finishing ahead of most female cable networks. "The viewers have spoken," noted Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks. "Fans of the WWE are passionate and seem to have a knack for finding their favorite Superstars wherever they live. Needless to say, we are particularly pleased that WWE has found a new home on ION Television, and we congratulate our new partner in the success of the premiere." “Our partnership with ION Television is off to a strong start,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “We expect our fans will make WWE Main Event the number one show on the network as they have done for WWE programs with all of our other TV Partners.” WWE Main Event, airing Wednesdays at 8:00pm ET/PT, features the WWE Superstars and Divas of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, including John Cena®, WWE Champion CM Punk™, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus™, Alberto Del Rio®, The Miz®, Kofi Kingston®, Eve® and Alicia Fox®. It's a must-see for longtime devotees and those looking for character-driven, high-octane entertainment. The original series will showcase live events filmed across the country, as well as a stop in Europe.
- Curt Hawkins recently underwent surgery to repair a torn PCL and meniscus in his knee. Below is from his official Twitter account:
- The Star Tribune has a new Q&A online with UFC President Dana White. In it he's asked if he would bring Brock Lesnar back to UFC. Below is an excerpt:
Q Would you sign Brock Lesnar to another UFC fight? A Sure, I'd bring him back. He was the one who wanted to retire, and then he hooked back up with the WWE and did some stuff over there. But if Brock called me tomorrow and said, "Hey I'd like to come back," I'd work with him.
Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.
- WWE announced in a kayfabe article here on dot com Friday afternoon that Vince McMahon will appear on next Monday's WWE Raw for a "State of WWE" address. The article teases what McMahon thinks of the "job" AJ Lee has done as Raw General Manager.
- WWE Raw will not only have Vince McMahon returning to the show, but we will also see John Cena's face again. Cena confirmed it on his official Twitter page. The tweet is embedded below:
- TNA Wrestling has officially announced Lex Luger will be one of the "featured guests" as part of the inaugural TNA Hall Of Fame Celebration inducting Sting. The induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort at 8 PM. Guests include Hulk Hogan, Dixie Carter, AJ Styles, Mike Tenay and Luger.Click here for more information.
- WWE will be holding Wrestlemania 29 in the MetLife Stadium in New York. The event is on April 7, 2012. Well, Dixie Carterposted a tweet today that confirmed a live event will be held on behalf of TNA Wrestling in the New York area. Below is the official statement from TNA:
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announced today a live event date set for one of the biggest industry weekends of the year. The TNA IMPACT WRESTLING World Tour will be live in Westbury, NY on April 5 at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury starting at 7:30pm. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, Oct. 5 and will be available at the NYCB Theatre box office, Live Nation or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.
Wrestling fans worldwide will pilgrimage to the New York City area for one of the wrestling industry’s biggest weekends of the year. TNA IMPACT WRESTLING brings its one-of-a-kind live event to Westbury offering fans an opportunity to experience today’s top talent in the ring.
Follow TNA IMPACT WRESTLING on Twitter (@IMPACTWRESTLING) for all the latest news, merchandise discounts AND MORE.
Tickets go on sale this Friday, Oct. 5 at Live Nation or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets start at $24 and fans that purchase the $75 ringside tickets will receive early entry and autograph signings with select IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars at 5:30pm. (Redeemable with ticket the night of the show.)
- Jeff Hardy's contract with TNA Wrestling is coming up in February 2013. There continues to be a lot of speculation regarding his future but TNA will reportedly open negotiations for a new deal prior to the contract coming up. As has been the trend of late, TNA has cut the rate of guaranteed money to talent re-signing contracts. For those speculating a possible return to WWE for Hardy, there are several factors in play. One, WWE would have to be interested and the ongoing litigation brought against by TNA would have to be over. Hardy would also return with two Wellness Policy strikes and would be subject to stringent testing procedures.
- The Phoenix News Times has a new Q&A online with Jeff Hardy to promote TNA Bound for Glory. Below is an excerpt:
You've overcome a lot of personal demons in the past few years. Does it feel like some people are waiting for the other shoe to drop and for you to relapse?
I don't care if they are. There's probably a lot of people that doubt me and are waiting for something to go down again. My heart and mind are stronger than they've ever been and I don't care what people think. I know who and how I am with my family and that's all I need.
Speaking of your brother Matt, what was your take on weird stuff Matt was putting online about ghosts and whatnot?
Yeah, I hated it. I hated everything he put up. I was embarrassed for him. But that was just stuff that he was going through. If I'm going to put something on YouTube it's just going to be fun.
Will Matt ever make it back to TNA or even WWE?
I don't know, it's up to him. Time will tell.
Would you ever consider going back to WWE when your TNA contract expires next year?
Man, I really can't answer that. I'm happy where I'm at right now with TNA. But you never say never in this business, so it depends on where I'll be at in a few months.
Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.
- Kim Kardashian posted a photo partying with Hulk Hogan at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Megamoe for sending this in.)
- Speaking of Hogan, he will hit the media circuit next week to promote Bound for Glory. Below is the schedule released by TNA:
- The Howard Stern Show: Sirius / XM channel 100/101
- The Today Show : 10am ET on NBC
- Hannity on FOX : 9pm ET
- Piers Morgan on CNN : (Check local listings)
- Imus in the Morning (Radio and Fox Business Channel)
- VH1 Morning Buzz : 10am ET
- HLN Showbiz Tonight : 11pm ET
- Kazarian beat Lince Dorado in a dark match prior to this week's Impact Wrestling taping.
- Coming out of this week's Impact Wrestling taping, I'm told the current plan is for Bully Ray to turn on Sting at Bound for Glory and reveal himself as the leader of the Aces & 8s faction. This would lay the groundwork for a feud with Jeff Hardy for the TNA Championship, assuming the company sticks with plans to put Hardy over Austin Aries. The original plan was for Hulk Hogan and Sting to work Aces & 8s at the pay-per-view, however, Hogan is not ready to work from a medical standpoint. I do feel obligated to mention this is the plan coming out of the October 4th taping and nothing is final until it actually happens. I am posting this to give you a look at the company's current thinking but not by any means confirming it as the final plan.
With all the controversy going on backstage about Vince McMahon not wanting John Cena to be out of action long what would happen if he were to suffer a major injury?
There is a lot of drama going on between Vince McMahon and John Cena, especially with the fact they don't like Cena missing time in the heat of the fall competition. However, the company always has to be prepared should a major injury occur and make sure there are plenty of "plan B" options out there. WWE already has "plan B" in place in case Cena can't work Hell in a Cell with the Ryback tease that ended last week's Raw.
Was Randy Orton legitimately injured at last week's Smackdown taping?
No, the angle WWE did after this week's Smackdown was an angle to write him off television. I doubt it will be for long but Orton is currently filming 12 Rounds Reloaded and it gives the company a reason to explain possible absence.
What happened to having diva matches that mattered? I still fondly remember Trish Stratus vs. Lita battling it out in the main event of Raw. Now Divas matches are just fillers that last usually under a minute. Will this ever change?
While the Divas are clearly out of the "glory years" of Trish Stratus, Lita, Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson, I believe you are overvaluing WWE's ability to prominently feature female talent. Vince McMahon has always had a weird way of booking Divas and while they say time makes the heart grow fonder, you are remembering the few memorable moments and forgetting the mud wrestling, pillow fights and bikini contests. To assume WWE used to care about Divas and suddenly do not, I believe, is inaccurate. I find a lot of this from readers who miss how WWE "used to be" but if you go back, these same fans were complaining about the product then. I'm not saying I agree with WWE PG and the product hasn't hit its stale patches but if you aren't careful you will find yourself always discontent with the product regardless of what is happening.
What do you attribute to last Monday's low Raw rating?
The fact Monday Night Football did 16,000,000 viewers last week didn't help WWE in the ratings and I disagree with Vince McMahon's reaction in regards to John Cena. Based on the trends I'm seeing, it looks like viewers are losing interest with the three-hour time slot which is something I felt was inevitable. I'm not saying the ratings are in the tank because the show is too long but it's clear the third hour is dragging down viewership. WWE has stiffer competition this week with the Dallas Cowboys being featured on Monday Night Football.
What are the plans for Paul Heyman other than just carrying Punk's title belt?
Paul Heyman, like any manager, is limited because he doesn't wrestle but he has had an instant impact in WWE. Originally brought back as a mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar (at the desire of his real-life friend CM Punk), he was paired with the WWE Champion because Punk suggested it. WWE is already developing "Paul Heyman guy" merchandise and his influence is spreading throughout the locker room. It's funny because when Lesnar was brought back earlier this year a constant was that the deal would not include Heyman under any circumstances. Now, due to Punk's tremendous backstage influence, Heyman is once again a staple on WWE television (and to a lesser extent, a player in the locker room).
Why would WWE allow Ryback to attempt his finisher on Tensai if he didn't have the strength to lift him up?
Ryback isn't the one being blamed for this disastrous go-home sequence of the match on this week's WWE Raw but the heat is on the shoulders of Tensai. You can read more at this link.
I saw the restaurant segment on Raw where Kane and Daniel Bryan traded meals. After doing some research online I couldn't find anything that said whether or not it was a real meatball that Daniel Bryan took a bite of, or if it was soy/vegetable based. Do you know if Bryan is still a vegan?
Daniel Bryan is no longer a vegan due to a soy intolerance that he developed. Bryan explained he kept getting sick and after allegory testing, it was learned that soy was the culprit of his sickness. Without soy, a vegan diet was impossible to maintain adequate protein levels. I have no idea what Bryan ate in the diner segment on WWE Raw but wouldn't read too much into it.
What is the stance of homosexual wrestlers in WWE?
I do not know of any openly gay wrestlers in WWE and the only worker I can think of off the top of my head is Orlando Jordan, who is bisexual. WWE, like the pro sports leagues, is still evolving in terms of acceptance and breaking down barriers of discrimination. Racism used to be a big part of the pro wrestling business but the wall has been significantly broken although I'm sure many African Americans would claim it still exists and I wouldn't question this because I am in no position (as a white male) to judge whether it is or isn't there. However, there are many in WWE, including WWE Champion CM Punk, who is a very loud advocate of equal rights for homosexuals. I also want to go on record as to saying that I feel an individual should be evaluated by their work alone and not factors that do not effect their ability to work (such as race, sexual orientation, gender, etc.).
What are your thoughts on Damien Sandow
I am very high up on Damien Sandow, who formerly worked as Idol Stevens. Sandow was trained by Killer Kowalski and has all the tools to be successful. The fact he's been in the business over a decade shows his passion and hard work in trying to make it to the top. The Sandow gimmick resonates with me and I feel he has a very high ceiling. I will be talking more about Sandow in today's Premium Mailbag.
When you say some has "backstage heat" what exactly do you mean? What exactly does that entail usually?
When we talk about someone having "backstage heat" it means they have upset their superiors through something they have done. When a worker gets backstage heat, it can result in anything from a stern talk to an outright termination. It's funny how we have our own lingo in this business and I often find myself using the terms in my every day life. Anyone ever accused their wife of turning heel?
Will WWE Raw ever go back to two hours?
I've said since WWE Raw went to a permanent three-hour timeslot on July 23, 2012 that the company would not look at reverting back to two hours unless the ratings took a significant step in the wrong direction. Given this week's 2.54 cable rating and disastrous viewership of 3,502,000 viewers, we look to be approaching that point if not already there. I will have more on Vince McMahon's reaction to the rating shortly, however, I believe one thing is evident in that viewer fatigue has set-in and the company has a problem keeping their audience for all three hours.
Is it possible Steve Austin makes an appearance on WWE television to "teach" CM Punk how to "earn respect"?
Anything is possible and I think all of the open dialogue regarding Steve Austin and CM Punk is done to set the groundwork for a possible Austin vs. Punk dream match at Wrestlemania. The company would like to do it at Wrestlemania XXIX next year but it depends on Austin's health and desire.
Re-launching the Attitude Era in present day WWE comes up by fans everyday, but by using only the current roster; do you think another Attitude Era now would work?
The Attitude Era was a time when WWE pushed the envelope to maintain afloat and it worked. WCW was dominating the ratings and were taking the market share from Vince McMahon. It's almost as if they went "all-in" with their risqué programming and reaped the rewards by creating megastars such as Steve Austin, The Rock and D-Generation X. However, it's much easier said than done and this pivotal point in the history of professional wrestling cannot be simply "recreated." For those that think it has to do completely with WWE's PG initiative, I often point to TNA Wrestling. They are not committed to PG yet haven't scratched the service in terms of competing for the mainstream market share. I'm confident there will be another period of time in which pro wrestling goes mainstream but it's impossible to predict. It will likely be ushered in by talented performers and compelling storylines.
Why has The Miz had such a hard "fall from grace" in terms of his standing on the WWE roster since being WWE Champion?
WWE officials clearly didn't feel The Miz was ready to be a mainstay in the company's main event scene. Be it pay-per-view buys, television ratings, merchandise sales, crowd reactions or a combination of them all, his push was scaled back. The Miz is seen as a guy that has worked very hard for his current spot and WWE's confidence in him is evident based on the movie role they gave him.
Were you ever a wrestler or try to get into the business?
I have never taken a bump in my life and probably never will. Some may find this offensive but I chose a different path to pursue my passion for the pro wrestling business… covering it from a journalistic standpoint. Many of my friends that started writing on the Internet with me in the late 90's went on to work as wrestlers, referees, ring crew and even promoters but I "stayed the course" and pursued a career in journalism. I have great respect for the business and the people that work in it, however, I also do not feel the fact I have never worked makes me a "mark" or unable to understand it. I commit my day-to-day life to my work while maintaining great friendships with those that get in the ring and perform.
In your opinion how many years do you believe it will be until we see the next "face of WWE"? I don't see it in any of the current up and coming talent.
No one knows who will be the next "face of WWE" let alone when we will see it and while you asked my opinion, I'm not in a position to make such a bold proclamation. I can tell you some view the next face of WWE to be CM Punk while Triple H feels Sheamus has the opportunity to put the company on his back. I actually think Cena is the face of the era of people like Punk and Sheamus and feel it will be someone else. Randy Orton is younger than them all but given his Wellness problems; I don't think it can rest on his shoulders either. The next "face of WWE" will probably emerge when we least expect it but I assure you will know it when it happens.
I know about how people under performer's contracts in WWE get bonuses for being on TV shows. What happens if a worker is written off because of a storyline and they do not appear live but they show highlight clips with the worker getting "injured," or the announcers talk about them? Does that count as appearing on the show even though it was not new or do they have to physically appear in new footage to get their bonus? Technically they are still part of the show.
A worker gets paid a bonus when they appear. If a clip from a prior show is shown, it's not a new appearance. There is also no compensation for a worker being mentioned or talked about but only if they appear. If a worker is injured, they are able to continue to pay their bills by collecting their downside guarantee. The only time a downside stops is in the case of a suspension.
What is the current status on the Undertaker? Will he work before WrestleMania XXIX, or is there any idea on who he will face at the event?
After Wrestlemania XXVIII this year the word was Undertaker felt great and could possible work before Wrestlemania XXIX next year, however, as we get closer to the show, it doesn't look like they'll need him. It's likely Brock Lesnar works Survivor Series and The Rock is already confirmed for Royal Rumble so I do not see the logic in using him from now until Wrestlemania. With that being said it's widely expected he will work Wrestlemania and as for his opponent, check out our Wrestlemania news updates at this link.
Do you think CM Punk is bringing a much needed prestige back to the WWE Championship?
I absolutely think CM Punk's 320-day and counting reign as WWE Champion has helped restore prestige to the WWE Championship. Abbreviated title reigns make belts nothing more than props and kill the importance of title matches and possible title changes. Some readers are souring on Punk as a lengthy champion but that further plays into WWE's hand because Punk is now a heel. Long title reigns are better for everyone and I've been pleased with the reign of Punk.
Is Randy Orton still seen as a top guy in WWE? How would you book him in his return from "injury"?
After a lot of back-and-forth and what turned out to be empty threats following his second documented WWE Wellness Policy violation, Randy Orton is once again a top guy in WWE. Not only that but he is away filming a starring role in another WWE Studios production. As for how I would book Randy in his return, he has to avenge the beat down from Del Rio so by default he is babyface. I prefer Orton as a heel but returning as a heel only makes sense unless they quietly forget about what wrote him off television.