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Top WWE Star Unhappy & Wants Time Off, Part-Time Champion Not Working? This Week's WNW Premium 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 13, 2014 to Friday, September 19, 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

- WWE published the dates, bell times and venues of their upcoming tour of the United Kingdom here on dot com. The dates are as follows:

Wednesday, 5 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: The SSE Arena, London, England

Thursday, 6 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales

Thursday, 6 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: 3Arena, Dublin, Ireland

Friday, 7 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Birmingham LG Arena, Birmingham, England

Friday, 7 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Saturday, 8 Nov., 7 p.m.: Butlins Arena, Minehead, England

Saturday, 8 Nov., 7 p.m.: Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, England

Sunday, 9 Nov., 5 p.m.: Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, England

Sunday, 9 Nov., 5 p.m.: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England

Monday, 10 Nov., 7 p.m.: WWE Raw at Liverpool Echo Arena, Liverpool, England

Monday, 10 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth, England

Tuesday, 11 Nov., 7 p.m.: WWE SmackDown Liverpool Echo Arena, Liverpool, England

Tuesday, 11 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Brighton Centre, Brighton, England

Wednesday, 12 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England

Thursday, 13 Nov., 7:30 p.m.: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland

Red - denotes Raw taping

Blue - denotes Smackdown taping

- WWE posted a new Triple H/Michael Cole interview that was recorded on Friday at the NXT Arena on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. In it, Hunter declared NXT as its own brand and compared it to ECW when the war between the WWF and WCW was ongoing. When Cole asked where does it go, Triple H said he wants to see NXT become WCW minus the going out of business part.

Hunter put over WWE's relationship with Full Sail University and talked about 30-40 students getting to work with the company's production staff. He said they take ticket revenue generated and put it into a Full Sail scholarship fund and they just crossed over the $100,000 mark of scholarships given out.

You can watch the interview at this link or embedded in the video below:

Several months ago we reported about the possibility of WWE signing talent for the sole purpose of using them at NXT, without the possibility of calling them up. People thought we were crazy but it's part of building the brand in addition to training new talent. The sole purpose of NXT will always be to "train the stars of tomorrow" but Hunter's vision of another brand different from what is seen on WWE's weekly Raw and Smackdown telecasts is becoming a reality.

In addition to occasional "pay-per-views" and weekly television, WWE is looking to tour NXT outside of Florida with live events.

- Dolph Ziggler and R-Ziggler comment on their win in the latest episode of Smackdown Fallout. You can watch at this link.

- The card for WWE Night of Champions has taken shape with eight matches now announced. In addition to every main roster title being defended, there will be three singles matches that do not include titles.

The updated lineup is as follows:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Brock Lesnar © vs. John Cena

WWE United States Championship Match
- Sheamus © vs. Cesaro

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
- Dolph Ziggler © vs. The Miz

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Divas Championship
- Paige © vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
- The Usos © vs. Goldust & Stardust

Singles Match
- Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

Singles Match
- Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho

Singles Match
- Rusev vs. Mark Henry

WWE Night of Champions 2014 will take place Sunday, September 21, 2014 from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. We'll have complete live coverage here at

- The Rock is very much in play for Wrestlemania 31 next year, however, he's not yet confirmed. Rock stated over the summer he has a verbal agreement with WWE for more match.

There were also plans at one point for Rock to oppose Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30 this year but the plan was nixed (according to Rock) due to injury. Lesnar is still someone the Rock wants to face, feeling it's the biggest match possible. Vince McMahon has been enthusiastic about such a match, while Triple H has pushed to do Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns.

Whether or not The Rock returns to WWE will hinge more on opponent and match at Wrestlemania more than any other issue. Obviously pay is a factor but The Rock doesn't want to come back to take up an undercard role. He wants to work in the main event, a main event bigger than this two matches against John Cena.

- Jake "The Snake" Roberts provided a direct update on his health Saturday on Twitter.

Roberts noted that he will require a biopsy on his lungs and another area. Two of his daughters were in town for the weekend. He noted the that pneumonia did some "serious damage."

Further, Roberts really put over WWE for their help in the situation. He stated they made sure he had the best medical care and his family to support him.

You can read all of his Tweets below:

Click here to load Tweets (if not loaded)

- Randy Orton hasn't been happy with his booking lately and recently approached WWE officials about taking some time off towards the end of the year to freshen up. We're told with as thin as the roster is, especially at the top of the card, WWE doesn't want another guy unavailable. Orton has been told he's going to be made more of a priority but he still wants to take some time off. Until Daniel Bryan or Batista returns, WWE is really hurting for star power, so this is certainly standing in the way of them granting Orton time off. WWE recently added more dates to the contract of Brock Lesnar to get him on more shows, which didn't come cheap either. - Ric Flair will not appear at this week's Smackdown taping in Biloxi, MS, despite being advertised locally. Dot com published a new article on Monday, reporting he is recovering from surgery. They note Flair is doing well and they look forward to him returning to WWE in the near future. - SyFy has updated their official schedule for the first week of October, listing WWE Smackdown to air on Friday, October 3, 2014 in its normal 8 PM timeslot. It's been an uncertain situation ever since the network listed the show in the Thursday 8 PM timeslot beginning on October 2, 2014. This after a WWE production truck was seen promoting a move to Thursday nights and WWE confirming that a move had been contemplated. This should put to rest rumors with Smackdown continuing to air each Friday night on SyFy at 8 PM/7 CT. - Ryback Tweeted on Monday that it was "day 18 post surgery" and that he is pain free. The Tweet is below:

The Big Guy had surgery last month due to a strained groin and two sports hernias. He'd apparently been working that with for around 7 months.

- A bonus clip from this week's episode of Total Divas is online at this link.

- Last week's episode of Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,821,000 viewers on SyFy, which is a great sign for WWE. Viewership has increased three weeks straight heading into the fall season. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 25-54 for all of Friday at this link.

- WWE announced on Monday Night Raw that there will be a one-hour Night of Champions Pre-Show this Sunday starting at 7 PM EDT. Christian will be hosting The Peep Show with Chris Jericho as his special guest.

- Chris Jericho received five stitches under his chin after going over Kane in a singles match on this week's Raw. WWE posted the following photo on their Instagram account:

- After this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, Big Show and Mark Henry teamed with John Cena to face The Wyatt Family in a dark match main event. The babyfaces went over, with Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Erick Rowan before getting the pinfall victory.

- Below are Raw Fallout videos posted by WWE on their YouTube channel:

Nikki Makes a Statement - Raw Fallout - Sept. 15, 2014
Kane Down, Orton to Go - Raw Fallout - Sept. 15, 2014

- For those that missed this week's Raw, John Cena kept telling Paul Heyman if Brock Lesnar wasn't there "at halftime" that he was going to beat him up. Michael Cole even repeated the halftime line on announce. While they claimed to be referring to "halftime" of Raw, this was actually WWE's attempt to draw viewers away from Monday Night Football during halftime of the Eagles/Colts game on ESPN. The game went to the half one minute before the segment featuring Cena, Heyman and Brock Lesnar began.

- What will happen when Natalya and Summer Rae travel together? Watch a new Total Divas preview clip at this link.

- Christian will return to WWE at Sunday's Night of Champions pay-per-view. As CJ noted here at, he'll host The Peep Show with Chris Jericho as his guest on the one hour Night of Champions Kickoff.

We get more questions about Christian than any other WWE worker. His status in late-May according toTriple H was that he was still recovering. He appeared on the WWE Money in the Bank expert panel in June.

Injuries have plagued Christian in the latter part of his career as he suffered a concussion on the March 24, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, just under 7 months after suffering a concussion on the August 26, 2013 episode of Raw. Prior to that, he'd missed considerable amount of time due to a legitimate shoulder injury that sidelined him for nearly a year.

Word on Christian is that he's medically cleared to compete but the company has been hesitant to book him in storylines. The fact he's booked for a segment with Jericho (who will be departing after Night of Champions) is that it could be used as a situation to reintroduce him into storylines.

- There is a rumor circulating in the international press that former German goalkeeper Tim Wiese has been offered a WWE contract.

Wiese's contract with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (his German club) was mutually terminated in January. Since then, he's focused on bodybuilding.

Below is a pic of what he looks like now:

Click here to load Photo/Tweet (if not loaded) has more at this link. - 2KSports has announced that WWE 2K15 has been delayed on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to November 18, 2014 in North America and 21 November 2014 in Europe. The game was set to be released on October 28, 2014 in North America and 31 October 2014 in Europe but the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version will still launch on these respective dates. The following quote comes from an official press release:

“Visual Concepts and Yuke’s are committed to delivering the most authentic and action-packed WWE experience to date, including release for the very first time on next-generation consoles,” said Greg Thomas, President, Visual Concepts. “The additional development time enables our talented teams to ensure the WWE 2K15 next-gen experience fully meets our expectations.”

- This week's episode of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 974,000 viewers on E. That number is down 258,000 viewers the show did last week for the Season 3 premiere. For compatibility purposes, out of the 27 first-run episodes of Total Divas, only three episodes garnered lower viewing audiences. - This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw garnered an average viewing audience of 3,826,000 viewers on the USA Network. The show has been losing viewers since the night after SummerSlam and has failed to average four million viewers for the past four weeks. This week's show was the lowest average viewing audience of those broadcasts. Below is how viewership broke down by hour: Hour one - 3,900,000 viewers Hour two - 3,949,000 viewers Hour three - 3,629,000 viewers This week's Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles garnered an average viewing audience of 14,891,000 viewers on ESPN. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows in adults 18-49 for the whole day at this link. - WWE advertised Big Show & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family from Smackdown on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The match that was actually taped was Show & Los Matadores vs. The Wyatt Family. Brooks has complete taping results available at this link. - Kofi Kingston beat Tyler Breeze in a dark match before this week's Main Event/Smackdown taping began. After Main Event, Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville beat The Ascension in a dark match. - Wade Barrett suffered a serious shoulder injury while working with Jack Swagger at the June 24 Smackdown taping in Pittsburgh, PA. The injury caused Barrett to be pulled from the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and stripped of the Intercontinental Championship. Barrett had surgery in July and wasn't given a timetable for his return. This week, Barrett has been doing media for WWE in India. While there, he was asked if he blamed Swagger for his injury. Below is his response:

Jack Swagger, he is a good guy himself. I don't really blame him for the injury, I've been asked that before. It is just one of those things. And, unfortunately, you can get two guys, very experienced, like Jack Swagger and myself, and sometimes things go wrong, and that's exactly what happened with regards to my injuries. I don't blame him, but if I do get a chance I'm gonna hit him right away, just to be on the safer side.

Click here for more comments by Barrett. - Brock Lesnar is featured in this week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole. Fully equipped with his heel gimmick, Lesnar boldly declared that after beating The Underatker at Wrestlemania 30 and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, he is the face of WWE. You can watch the interview at this link. Lesnar will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena at Night of Champions on Sunday. We'll have complete live coverage here at - WWE and FOX Sports Latin America announced a five-year multi-channel agreement on Wednesday. The deal will make WWE programming available in 56 million homes on various FOX Sports and FOX Premium platforms across all of Latin America, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. The partnership will offer more than 480 hours of original WWE content per year. Click here for the official press release. - The final issue of WWE Magazine -- October 2014 -- is out now. The issue features Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose on the cover. John Corrigan blogged about it at this link. - WWE stars comment on their greatest pranks ever in a new feature piece here on dot com. - Santino Marella underwent surgery on Wednesday and wrote on Facebook there were some unexpected broken bones in his neck. He noted that "everything is looking good" and he ia planning on coming back in 6 months to "perform in front of the WWE Universe." Below is his update from Facebook in its entirety:

Surgery went well, there were some unexpected broken bones in my neck apparently but everything is looking good now, let the legendary comeback begin! 6 months till I get to do what I was born to do again, perform in front of the wwe universe

Santino seemingly announced his retirement from the ring at WWE's July 6, 2014 live event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada due to neck issues. Dot com stopped short of that, calling it a “career-related announcement. Last month, Brooks covered the possibility of Santino coming back following neck fusion surgery. I assume that was the procedure done on Wednesday, however, cannot confirm 100% at press time. Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Lafayette, LA… - There continues to be a lot of discussion about what to do with Brock Lesnar. While almost everyone has him holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until Wrestlemania, there have been more than a few people that have voiced their concern. These people believe a part-time champion isn't working and point to WWE already having to add extra dates to his contract at a premium price just to keep him on television. Further, they don't have anyone for him to work after John Cena. - Some feel the best course of action at Night of Champions would be for Cena to go over Lesnar and then for Seth Rollins to cash in. That scenario is met with equal criticism, with critics thinking it would be downright foolish to take the belt off Lesnar so soon after creating their first legitimate monster in many years. - Cody Rhodes tweaked his ankle on Raw but it wasn't serious and he worked Tuesday. - The stuff between Bray Wyatt and Big Show was "thrown together" because WWE doesn't have anything for either guy. There is developing concern that Bray is lost in the shuffle and they're going to have to do something about it. At this point, a babyface turn isn't out of the question. - While Triple H continues to tease NXT as its own brand capable of being the next WCW, I'm told a lot of the company's top developmental prospects could be called up sooner rather than later. That includes Hideo Itami and Prince Devitt. - Dot com has a new feature article online where Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami, Adrian Neville, Fergal Devitt and Kevin Steen talk about their generation. The article starts by mentioning a Tweet sent out earlier last month by Zayn before they began answering questions.

I grabbed some excerpts from the piece and included them below:

WWE.COM: The tweet really seemed to capture a moment in time, though. What was going through your mind when you sent it?

ZAYN: It’s just crazy to think where we all were a few years ago and where we are now. The other guys I tagged are guys we all crossed paths with for years all over the world on various small, independent shows. We thought we were doing something special at the time, but you don’t know if it’s going to pay off. Now that we’re all here under the WWE umbrella, it kind of validates all that.

WWE.COM: Was getting here always the goal?

NEVILLE: I didn’t really have an interest in getting signed by WWE earlier in my career. If I did have the opportunity to come here, I wanted it to be later when I was a more traveled, well-versed performer. Honestly, with my body type and my style, I never really expected to be here. The fact that I’m here alongside these guys is kind of mind-blowing.

ZAYN: When we were young, we all looked up to the Jerichos and the Guerreros and the Malenkos and all these world-traveled guys who started where they were from and then made a name in Europe, then went to Mexico, then went to Japan, then went to ECW, then WCW and then they ended their careers here in WWE. Those are the guys that I looked at like, “That’s what I want to be.” Now, we’re that generation — we’re the Guerreros, we’re the Malenkos. It’s not a coincidence at all.

STEEN: I actually had a bit of a different mentality. I remember talking with Zayn about WWE, it must have been 2003, and I told him it wasn’t a dream for me — it was the goal. I appreciate all the chances I got to wrestle all over the world and I’m really proud to have wrestled in Japan and Australia and Italy. But it was never a necessity for me, because in my head, I thought, “When I get to WWE, I’ll travel with them and see all those places.” It was never something I felt I needed to do, but now that I’ve lived through those experiences, I realize how important it was in getting here.

WWE.COM: Was it the same for you, Fergal? You were a top star in Japan’s biggest promotion before you signed with WWE.

FERGAL DEVITT: I’d been doing it for about six or seven years when I ended up in New Japan. I was really just a boy and I became a man in New Japan in eight years. It came to a point where I could stay the rest of my career there and have the security of a job or I could step into the great unknown that is WWE and challenge myself. And that’s what I decided to do.

WWE.COM: At the same time, you’re competing for a main roster spot with bodybuilders and amateur athletes with no wrestling background at all.

ZAYN: I can’t speak for these guys, but I’ve always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. Even before I got to developmental, I had that starving artist mentality of, (puts on an obnoxious voice) “Oh, you didn’t do the indies and you didn’t starve and you weren’t in the trenches.” I’m sorry; I completely lost my train of thought. What was your question?

STEEN: Yeah, when I came here for the camp in March, I walked over to the car rental place and there were 20 guys in line and you could just tell they were here for the tryouts. And I saw a couple of guys that looked like they were born and the first thing they did was go to the gym and start lifting weights. Huge. And I looked at them like, “I’m going to eat you alive.”

WWE.COM: Are there guys you can see taking your place in five years?

ZAYN: Absolutely, yeah. I think Adam Cole will be here eventually. I’m a big advocate of his. I’m a huge Kenny Omega fan. I’m a huge fan of a Japanese wrestler named Kota Ibushi. I asked [Itami] when he got here, “Who else do you think would be good for WWE from Japan?” And the first person he said was Ibushi. The Young Bucks. They have a family life and a good thing going, so I don’t know if now is the time for them, but they are phenomenal. Kyle O’Reilly maybe, eventually.

STEEN: Johnny Gargano. There are so many good guys.

ZAYN: They are starting to step into the spots we left behind. It’s funny, because that was us with Daniel Bryan and Low Ki and Samoa Joe and AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. When we were breaking into the indies, those were the guys we looked up to. Then they started making their way out and we stepped into those spots. And before you knew it, we were kind of like indie legends.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

Richard Reacts: It seems like everyone always puts over Adam Cole when talking about workers that "should be signed" (note Sami Zayn did above). I know a lot of TNA guys put him over there as well. There was another part of the article where Kevin Steen talked about how “wrestling” and “wrestler” were once considered dirty words but that's turned around and they're beautiful worlds. It's incredible to see WWE developmental so well stocked after the success of The Shield members and The Wyatt Family. Let's hope creative can figure out ways to utilize them to their utmost potential.

WWE has added new video content to their YouTube channel. Below are the latest updates:

Unseen footage of the brawl between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and John Cena from this week's Raw in Lafayette, LA is available at this link.

Natalya, William Regal and more get ready for Night of Champions in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. Click here to watch it.

Sasha Banks "sends a message" to NXT Women's Champion Charlotte in a new video blog at this link.

- We recapped a dot com article earlier on Thursday where Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami, Adrian Neville and Kevin Steen talked about being the leaders of their generation. There were a lot of great lines in the piece but there's one I thought that I would highlight. It came when Itami talked about his desire to leave Japan for WWE.

Below is an excerpt:

ZAYN: Why did you choose to leave Japan for WWE?

ITAMI: I wanted more. I wanted to be famous. I wanted to prove to myself.

STEEN: Did you always want to come to WWE? Because things are different in Japan.

ITAMI: When I started, I didn’t think about WWE, but my dream became bigger and bigger.

STEEN: Maybe you also came to WWE to take back the Go to Sleep. (Laughter.)

ITAMI: I hope! (Laughter.)

The moment in the dot com piece can be read at this link.

As most of you know, Go to Sleep was the finisher of CM Punk, who left WWE back in January.

Itami's in-ring WWE debut will air on Thursday night's episode of WWE NXT exclusively on the WWE Network.

- Dean Ambrose's Lockdown co-star Sarah Smyth posted a photo of them on the set of the film. As previously reported, Ambrose is set to wrap filming on September 20. The photo is embedded below:

- Stephanie McMahon recently spoke to regarding how women can succeed in the business world. She gave advice to women in the workforce, put over the cast of Total Divas, and speaks on performance as an art form. Click here to watch. - David Otunga resurfaced as part of Celebrity Auction Doctors. According to a press release, celebrities will auction personal items and extraordinary fan experiences on the show running September 18th-28th. Otunga is featured in the upcoming episode with MTV Teen Mom star Maci Bookout and American Idol Season 11 3rd place winner Joshua Ledet. Otunga will be auctioning off a WWE match-worn Nexus t-shirt and a personal fitness consultation to one lucky winner. The proceeds for the show will go to charity with Otunga's proceeds benefitting Arnold Schwarzenegger's After-School All-Stars. You can watch an interview with Otunga at this link. The auction starts Thursday at 6 PM ET at - Santino Marella, who underwent surgery earlier this week, posted more details on his Twitter account: Click here to load Tweets (if not loaded)

- Danan Davis, the senior producer at Cat Daddy Games, participated in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit today, answering questions about WWE SuperCard. Click here to read.

- WWE has uploaded a movie trailer for WWE Night of Champions, available at this link.

- Hideo Itami, formerly known as KENTA, made his made his in-ring debut on NXT this week, competing against Justin Gabriel. Highlights from the match are available at this link.

Itami also took to Twitter after his debut:

Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

Full results from this week's episode of NXT are available at this link. - The Charleston Gazette has a new article online featuring quotes from Jimmy Uso to promote Friday night's WWE live event in Charleston, WV. In it, Uso talks about occasionally taking his kids on the road with him. Jimmy has a 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. You can read the piece at this link. - WWE has awarded five $10,000 scholarships to students of Full Sail University. You can read their article here on dot com. - New content is now available for the WWE SuperCard game for mobile devices. Dot com made the announcement in a piece at this link. - The dot com staff posted their Night of Champions predictions at this link. - WWE posted a cryptic Tweet from their verified Twitter account on Friday, promoting something for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The following is from Twitter: Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

Next week's WWE Raw will emanate from the FedExForum in Memphis, TN. Make plans to join our Raw "Open Thread" on Monday night starting at 7:00 PM EDT for streaming live results and your discussion here at

Richard Reacts: When I first read this, the dot com piece with Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami, Adrian Neville, Fergal Devitt and Kevin Steenspeaking as the leaders of their generation immediately came to mind. This could indicate a number of things - will WWE put more NXT names on Raw or will there be multiple call ups from NXT? We've heard the company is anxious to bring up some new names in hopes of getting started on building new main roster stars. Time will tell but this is certainly worth noting.

- WWE NXT Diva Kendall Skye took to Twitter on Friday to announce her departure from the company. She Tweeted out an image that included the following inscription:

I've always been relentlessly driven to make an impact, pursue creativity, have a voice, empower women, encourage everyone to live a full, passionate life. My personal philosophy has enabled me to experience so much - I've traveled the world, never settled, lived without fear, followed my dreams. This is why I initially joined the WWE and that same desire is why we are now parting ways. I have much to do and millions of adventures yet to discover. I leave with fun memories and beautiful friendships. I am truly excited about my future and endlessly grateful for the love and respect I have received from my fans. Thank you!

The image from Twitter is below:

Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

Skye worked as both a ring announcer and wrestler while in NXT. She was on last week's live event in Starke, FL, teaming with Sasha Banks where they went under to Alexa Bliss & Becky Lynch. - WWE has released Troy McClain from his developmental contract, can confirm. His official profile has already been removed from the official WWE website. He Tweeted the following from his verified Twitter account: Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

McClain's latest matches with NXT can be tracked at this link.

- Jim Ross was rumored to be joining Lucha Underground as an announcer, however, the speculation was he was too closely associated with WWE for their liking. That's not true. It came down to money and they weren't willing to spend big money on an announcer. We're told much of the budget for Lucha Underground has been focused on production and they weren't going to spend big money on an announcer. As it is, most of the wrestlers were being lowballed money wise, which is why so money guys turned down doing the tapings.

- The weekend is here, which could only mean one thing. The JBL (not Cole) Show. You can watch this week's episode at this link.

- Total Divas will air opposite of WWE Night of Champions on Sunday at 9/8c on E. Below is a preview of the show:

Roadside Rumble
Brie and Daniel Bryan are in danger of losing their wrestling careers; Nikki is put in a tough spot with John; Rosa fails miserably at making peace between two enemies; and the wedding standoff between Eva's father and husband comes to a head.

WWE Tweeted the following from their verified account:

Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

TNA News

- It appears that Tito Ortiz's status with TNA Wrestling has changed. While he stated in a promotional interview with Cageside Seats that he was coming back to TNA in August or September, he's now contradicted that claim. Ortiz told Submission Radio his main focus was on fighting and spoke of his relationship with Dixie Carter in past tense. Below is an excerpt the show sent us:

“My home at TNA was great. They treated me really well. Dixie Carter was really, really good to me.” “During the time I was there I got a chance to meet Hulk Hogan. I was really happy with that, but I mean either WWE either TNA, but I mean right now my main career is fighting. I mean I love to fight and that’s what I wanna do. That’s with Bellator.”

You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link. Richard Reacts: These comments are significant for a number of reasons but none more significant than it looking more and more like Spike TV/TNA are in the final months of their partnership. Remember, Spike owns Bellator and was using TNA to help cross promote the brands. Rampage Jackson, another Bellator fighter, said he'd never go back to TNA and now, Ortiz seems to be finished as well. There will be an interesting situation with Bobby Lashley if Spike TV and TNA do part ways at the end of the year, as he's another star working for both promotions. - Below are notable happenings from Tuesday night's TNA Impact Wrestling tapings in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: - Brodus Clay, whose real name is George Murdoch, made his debut. Clay aligned with Ethan Carter III as a photo surfaced on Twitter that you can view below: Click here to load Photo/Tweet (if not loaded)

- Havok beat Gail Kim to win the TNA Knockouts Championship in a match that will air on the October 1, 2014 episode of Impact. It's worth nothing that Havok was working without a contract as TNA wasn't looking to sign anyone until they got television sorted. I haven't heard if that changed but she was put over for the Knockouts title.

- Bully Ray, whose TNA future remains in question, worked the tapings.

- Davey Richards, who broke his leg last month, was at the tapings.

We'll have complete taping results online shortly at

- I was told on Monday that Havok had not signed a contract with TNA Wrestling, despite her strong push on television. That push got even stronger on Tuesday night as you can read what happened at this link. I don't know if her status changed between Monday and Tuesday but I was assured she'll be offered a contract as soon as TNA's TV situation is settled.

- We are able to confirm that Bully Ray has verbally agreed to stay with TNA until the end of the year. Ray was offered "decent money" per date to make sure he didn't leave right in the middle of being featured on television as one of the top guys.

- Speaking of TNA's uncertain future on TV, we don't have a notable update. They remain engaged with a few networks but nobody has offered anything close to what Spike TV was paying. If TNA loses Spike as currently expected, it's going to be "some lean times" regardless of how things play out.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling garnered an average viewing audience of 1,110,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show was up 61,000 viewers from the week prior. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable programs among adults 18-49 for all of Wednesday at this link.


How realistic is Triple H's vision of NXT becoming like WCW? Would a potential superstar be willing to sign with NXT if they thought they had no reasonable chance of being called up no matter how hard they worked? How does the pay for a top NXT guy, like Sami Zayn for example, compare to a low end WWE guy, like Heath Slater?

Triple H comparing NXT to ECW of old and saying he hopes to see it become like WCW, minus the whole going out of business part isn't necessarily a new idea. This is the reason for the brand extension and why WWE worked so hard to create Raw vs. Smackdown for years. The idea was because they didn't have any competition, they would create their own. It got to the point where their talent roster was too thin to sustain two distinct brands and they reverted back to Smackdown being secondary to Raw, as opposed to treating them both as equals.

I believe making NXT its own brand isn't a bad idea and could actually work better than Raw vs. Smackdown because there is a clear distinction from NXT to main roster programming. The product is geared towards older and "smarter" fans and focuses on well worked athletic matches, as opposed to the storylines. The IWC loves NXT because it's what many of us want to see more of on Raw and Smackdown; athletic pro wrestling matches that are entertaining, rather than lame contrived storylines (think Jerry Springer and The Bella Twins).

As for stars signing for the sole purpose of being utilized on NXT, I don't see why they wouldn't. There is no other option to work in the mainstream and while they would have to sign a developmental deal with a downside around $30,000/year, the upside is enormous. I don't know how much money Heath Slater makes but traditionally, lower-card workers don't have downsides much more than a developmental worker. However, they still collect their $500 when booked on shows.

WWE obviously does a lot of good work with Susan G Komen, Make-A-Wish, Be a STAR, etc. How do you feel about Triple H's public support of a controversial figure like Floyd Mayweather?

WWE is a publicly traded company and they do things for charity and public awareness that reflect their corporate values. While we can all point to areas where they hypocritical, WWE should be commended for what they do with the efforts you mentioned. Not only that but there are others. As for Triple H embracing a controversial name like Mayweather, I don't have a problem with it. While I obviously don't condone domestic abuse (a charge Mayweather was jailed on), Triple H has the right to be friends with who he wants. WWE has made a killing off bringing in controversial figures, remember Mike Tyson? Let's also remember there are plenty of controversial workers within WWE. Steve Austin pled no contest to domestic abuse charges in 2002 that were brought on by his ex-wife Debra Marshall.

Usually when a top name in WWE leaves the company for personal reasons (Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy, etc), we see them go to TNA Wrestling and become "their star". I hope this don't happen but do you see CM Punk possibly going to TNA in the near future because of his personal issue with WWE?

Many workers that defected from WWE to TNA Wrestling did so in order to cash in on their name value while working a lighter schedule. There were different circumstances regarding each name that you mentioned but TNA had the help of Spike TV to bring in big names in hopes of challenging WWE. The experiment didn't work and TNA has been scaling back for over a year. Yes, they still employ Lashley, Hardy and Angle but TNA is no longer a viable option for most people that leave WWE unless they're willing to take significantly less to do so. Remember, some of these bigger names were actually paid by Spike TV, who is now looking to move on from TNA. I'm always baffled at the sharp criticism Spike gets from TNA fans. While Spike could have done more in terms of promotion, they could have done a heck of a lot less too. In addition to paying the company a reasonable sum for their rights, they also paid big talent contracts.

The CM Punk to TNA stuff is ridiculous. Punk is "over" the wrestling business and is looking to move on with his life. Even if he wanted to wrestle, which by all indications he doesn't, he would be much better suited in making WWE pony up 7 figures to bring him back or going the international route like AJ Styles did.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2012 With Ryback basically losing again where does WWE go from here? - WWE is in a world of trouble with Ryback following what was essentially a loss at Survivor Series. Let me be clear. I’m excited to see Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins get called up to the main WWE roster but I hate how Ryback was booked at both Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. The premise for Ryback’s character is that he is the “unstoppable monster” that needs to be “fed more.” As soon as he’s “fed,” he can’t handle it. Some people are taking this as me being high up on Ryback over the IWC darlings, which is unfounded. I’d be fine with guys like Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, etc. running the company without guys like Ryback being in the main event picture. However, now that Ryback has been chosen for a push they have to push him. The blatant lack of confidence in putting him over compounded with the holding pattern they are in with Punk for Royal Rumble is making for intolerable booking. Either push him or don’t book him in the main event. At this point Ryback means nothing more than a mid-card talent and he’s lost a significant amount of steam.

Do you like the new R-Ziggler tag team?

The pairing of Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth is just another midcard gimmick. I don't hate it but I don't love it. It's a way to get them on television together, nothing more and nothing less. The same can be said for The Miz and Damien Sandow. It's not like WWE has finally found a way to restart on these names, it's just "something" for them to fill programming.

What do you think about WWE letting Dean Ambrose have Jon Moxley as an alter ego (think Mick Foley as Cactus Jack) to further his unstable gimmick?

I don't think it's necessary and feel it would be more confusing than anything else. Let's also remember that Vince McMahon is hell-bent on creating his own talent, overlooking past accomplishments and rebranding workers with WWE names (KENTA becoming Hideo Itami shows that no one is safe). I also want to note that Foley began using the multiple gimmicks after he had successfully established Cactus Jack and Mankind. Ambrose was successful as Moxley on the independents but not to the level Mick was as Cactus Jack.

With that being said, Ambrose remains in good standing with WWE and is advertised to return to television on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Memphis, TN. He's been off filming the WWE Studios production “Lockdown.”

Will Mickie James resume her pro wrestling career after she gives birth?

Mickie James is scheduled to give birth later this month. I don't know what her future holds as a pro wrestler. Late last year, Mickie was a guest trainer at the WWE Performance Center where she worked with some of the company's developmental talent. She talked about the experience here on dot com. The Baltimore Sun interviewed her back in February, when she was still wrestling on the indies. She planned at that point to continuing to pursue a career in music, while also wrestling. You can read that interview at this link.

Do you see WWE featuring more NXT talent on pay-per-views, even if just on the pre-show?

I thought what WWE did on Raw last week (Adrian Neville & Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze & Tyson Kidd) was good as they were clearly using the show to promote NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way. WWE routinely features NXT talent on main roster live events to help prepare them for what is to come. However, as for regularly featuring them on pay-per-view (or even TV for that matter), the company has to be careful. One of the reasons the NXT "special events" are so good is because of the atmosphere at Full Sail University. The venue is intimate and the crowd is familiar with the workers. Because NXT is seen by far fewer people, most casual fans don't know who the workers are (something that has improved with the evolution of the WWE Network). The transition from NXT to the main roster is dramatic and as we saw with Paige struggling out of the gate and several others having a hard time rekindling developmental magic, success is far from automatic.

The worst thing WWE could do is deliver a cold match featuring their star-studded prospects. Burying a future Bray Wyatt or Seth Rollins at the beginning of a pay-per-view card could do more harm than good. I actually like the way things are currently setup and think everyone -- from the workers to the company -- is benefitting. WWE has a bad habit of avoiding moderation so it's actually nice to see them observing it with their NXT performers. It will be important for WWE to remember this moderation as NXT continues to develop as its own brand.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2012: Do you think we will ever see Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania end? If so do you think it would be John Cena because he’s “the guy”. Kind of like a passing of the torch? - This is a topic for discussion that has been ongoing for the last couple of years. I can’t really say “yes” or “no” because it all depends on the situation, Undertaker’s compliance and the right opponent. I feel Undertaker has more than earned the right to retire at Wrestlemania although there is no doubting it would be a huge boost to the career of anyone that ended it. The sticking point for me is who is there on the WWE roster capable of such a feat? I’ve seen the arguments [for people like Sheamus or Dolph Ziggler] and I’m not convinced. You mentioned John Cena but what does “ending the streak” do for someone that’s already the guy?

With how deep the NXT roster is becoming, do you see NXT moving to 2 hours? How will it be possible to showcase all of them on 1 hour of television each week?

No! No! No! That's my reaction to WWE adding any more additional hours of weekly television. I talked in Tuesday's Ask WNW about WWE utilizing moderation with NXT and that's key to success. WWE Raw moved to 3 hours on July 23, 2012, how's that worked out? Vince McMahon will say it's performed great and point to WWE's key drivers and additional revenue from the USA Network. I feel it's played a major part in watering down WWE's angles, fatigued the viewing audience, burned out the writers and has resulted in serious product over-saturation. If a WWE fan just watches Raw and Smackdown each week, they commit 5 hours of their week to WWE programming. Throw in Main Event, NXT and Total Divas and that's 8 hours. I love WWE, after all it's how I make my living. But WWE's gotten to the point where they're expecting too big of a commitment from their audience. Why are people not buying the WWE Network? They already have 5 free hours each week - that's a lot! NXT is one of the best things going in WWE - especially to us that love actual wrestling. However, adding an additional hour of NXT programming each week will make the occasional special events less special and force the viewer into making an even bigger weekly commitment.

With all these wrestlers dying way too young, do you feel WWE could do more in helping talent with after care?

WWE has expanded their after care for former performers and tried to help Sean O'Haire (the most recent worker to die far too young). They reportedly sent O'Haire to rehab for alcohol addiction six times in the past six years. According to TMZ, WWE had tried to followup with O'Haire but were unsuccessful. WWE will pay for any worker -- past or present -- to go to rehab. The talent just has to get in contact with them and the office coordinates their treatment. Jake Roberts, who was recently hospitalized with pneumonia, said WWE was with him every step of the way from coordinating his treatment to contacting his family members. WWE sent staff members to the house of Dana Warrior to help her in the days following her husband's untimely passing. Now, I am not going to sit here and lie and say WWE is a model company and does everything right; because they could and should do more. However, there is protocol in place to try and quell the problem of wrestlers dying too young.

How long do you think it will take for Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling to become serious competition to TNA?

Global Force Wrestling will only be a legitimate competitor to TNA Wrestling if they land a domestic TV deal -- a deal better than TNA has. For as long as TNA is on Spike TV in the United States, they'll be the No. 2 promotion. However, if TNA loses Spike, they'll be forced to operate on a smaller scale. Ring of Honor is a promotion that operates on a smaller scale, as is Dragon Gate USA and countless other independent promotions behind them. Jarrett has a significant financial backer in Toby Keith and the experience to make this work but the first step in becoming a legitimate competitor is getting on TV in the United States.

Do you know why the booking on Raw seemed so unusual? The Mark Henry segment closed the show and the main event saw Seth Rollins lose clean to Roman Reigns which is a match that was set for Night of Champions, less than a week away.

WWE Raw was booked out of order to compete with Monday Night Football. The John Cena/Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman segment, which would usually close the show, took place when the game was at halftime. The hope internally was they would be able to get "channel flippers" to leave the game and stay for Raw. Did it work? I haven't seen the quarter hours but the hourly data wasn't very good. While viewership increased from 3.9 million viewers to 3.94 million viewers from hour one to hour two, it slid to 3.629 million in the third and final hour. The average viewing audience (3,826,000 viewers) was the lowest since Memorial Day (which drew 3,602,333 viewers). I have no idea why WWE gave away one of the top Night of Champions pay-per-view matches for free with a clean babyface outcome. The match was good but logically, it didn't make any sense. Perhaps they feel Lesnar vs. Cena is enough to sell Night of Champions on its own and doesn't need the help of the undercard. Or maybe there's an entirely different line of thinking with the focus on WWE Network subscriptions and not pay-per-view buys.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: With Raw moving to three hours do you see Smackdown doing the same? - I posted this question for any WWE writer or producer that may be reading just so they could have the assurance that things could be worse. I don’t see Smackdown expanding and I have my doubts about how long Raw’s expansion to three hours will last. Monday’s are already extremely chaotic and adding an extra hour of live TV doesn’t have anyone excited (not even the majority of fans that read this website). Think about it for a second. The WWE writers and producers have to hammer out a three-hour live show with very limited preparation time. Two hours were stretching things thin and the extra hour has hurt morale and I’m told many are going to try and “gut it out” but could quit due to the added pressure. The ultimate factor will be how the first hour does in the ratings and that will be an uphill climb this fall with the return of Monday Night Football.

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