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 21, 2013 to Friday, September 27, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW
- Is Heyman the Best in the World? Check out this week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Christina Vargas requested her release from WWE developmental and will focus on her career in the culinary arts. She signed back in May but decided the business wasn't for her.
- The promotional information for Wrestlemania XXX next year features The Undertaker, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, John Cena, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar and Kofi Kingston.
- The latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show is online at this link or embedded in the video below:
- The worker that Ryback beat on last week's episode of Smackdown was Jamin Olivencia. Olivencia has been active on the independent scene for many years now and is a regular in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
- You can view a Total Divas extra clip of Natalya preparing Eva Marie for her debut at this link.
- WWE has re-hired Nick Dinsmore as a NXT trainer. Dinsmore is best known by fans for the playing the role of Eugene.
- In a correction from an earlier note, Total Divas is not listed on guides to premiere on Monday on Sky Sports 3 in the United Kingdom. There is actually some confusion on where the show will air. We'll update when we get more information. - Recap last week in WWE in five minutes at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Rey Mysterio appeared at Sunday's WWE live event in Hidalgo, Texas. Mysterio came out with a crutch and said that he would return for WWE's tour of Mexico in October. The Shield came out to attack him but Big Show made the save. WWE Touted footage of his entrance that you can view below:
- John Laurinaitis, who works as a producer backstage, appeared at Saturday night's WWE live event in Hidalgo, Texas.
- We mentioned this weekend that WWE has re-hired Nick Dinsmore as a developmental trainer. His first day at the WWE Performance Center is Monday.
- Camacho & Hunico were back on the road with WWE this weekend, working in Hidalgo, Texas.
- Jerry Lawler worked Matt Striker at Saturday's Northeast Wrestling show, beating him with a fist drop off the middle rope.
- Triple H continues to call for more changes in WWE during the transition of his eventual succession to Vince McMahon. We're told one change that he wants to make is returning to a more traditional aspect of workers calling matches in the ring on the fly. Like many of his changes, this isn't expected to be immediate but something slowly transitioned over the next five years. Hunter wants to usher in the new crop of talent to be trained in this style. One of the reasons for the slow transition is that Hunter understands that ordering an immediate change in philosophy would be disastrous to the current roster with a lot of guys being "totally lost."
- Speaking of changes, there continues to be a lot of shuffling behind the scenes. Triple H's overhaul of developmental is in full-force with the opening of the WWE Performance Center last summer. Joey Mercury is a guy currently being groomed for a full time producer on the main roster. His days as an NXT trainer will be over if things go as planned. We're told Mercury has received high marks for his producer work in developmental and the feeling is that developmental should be used to produce new talent in various aspects of the company, not just wrestlers and referees.
- Sam Roberts has posted his recent interview with Chris Jericho at this link. As is the norm with Sam's work, this is a must-listen. Jericho revealed he worked Royal Rumble 2013 "super hungover," he almost missed his flight and nearly got arrested the night before. You can also check out the interview embedded in the video below:
- The complete playable roster for WWE 2K14 will be unveiled on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. We'll carry the roster as soon as it's announced.
- Scott Hall was recently a guest on Monday Night Mayhem where he talked about his son Cody. He said that while Cody would love to work for WWE, he realizes that he's a long way from being ready for it.
- Speaking of Hall, below is a cool photo from this weekend with Kevin Nash, Jim Ross, Scott and Cody:
- We're able to confirm that Tony Luftman, who was known on the air as Tony Dawson, has left WWE. He was hired by the company in September 2012. Prior to coming to WWE, Luftman worked as the lead TV announcer for St. John's TV Network, a studio host for the Portland Trail Blazers and a sideline reporter for the Memphis Grizzlies. We've contacted Luftman for a comment but he was unavailable as of press time.
- Jim Ross updated his blog on his official website on Monday. You can check it out at this link.
- WWE has announced the following upcoming dates: Sunday, December 8th live event in Yakima, WA Monday Night Raw on December 9th in Seattle, WA Smackdown on December 10th in Portland, OR
- John Cena posted the following on Twitter:
- Triple H is in the process of issuing major in-ring changes in WWE. The changes are one of many significant changes to expect as he succeeds Vince McMahon. You can read all about them at this link.
- Last week's episode of Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,602,000 viewers on SyFy. That number was in the middle of what the show has done over the past two weeks but was enough to win the night. The show ended up with a 1.93 cable rating.
- Steve Austin told Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour" that it took him three years to get the wrestling bug out of his system. He said if he decided to return, it would take at least three to four months to get back into shape to go at 100%. He questioned what he does then after one more match. You can listen to the interview at this link.
- The current return WWE date for Rey Mysterio is October 16, 2013 at the live event from Plaza De Toros Santa Maria in Querétaro, Mexico.
- Below is the complete playable roster for WWE 2K14 followed by the players that can be unlocked in the "30 Years of Wrestlemania" mode.
WWE 2K14 Playable Roster:
The Great Khali
Players that Can Be Unlocked in "30 Years of Wrestlemania" Mode:
Big Show (Retro)
King Kong Bundy
Chris Jericho (Retro)
Andre the Giant
Alberto Del Rio
"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
John Cena (Retro)
Triple H (Retro)
Big John Studd
Ric Flair (Retro)
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Hulk Hogan (Retro)
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan
The Undertaker (Retro)
Shawn Michaels (Retro)
Brock Lesnar (Retro)
Bret "Hit Man" Hart
The Rock (Retro)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage
WWE 2K14 will be released in the United States on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in the United States and on Friday, November 1, 2013 in Europe.
- Los Matadores are scheduled to make their debut on next week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. Next week's show will take place from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, MS.
- Beginning with the November 4th episode of Monday Night Raw, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are currently not scheduled for any episode of Raw or Smackdown as of this writing. You can check out the official talent lists at this link.
- WWE officially announced CM Punk vs. Ryback for WWE Battleground on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Other bouts previously announced the pay-per-view include Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship and Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship. WWE Battleground will take place Sunday, October 6, 2013 from the First Niagara Center inBuffalo, New York.
- WWE announced that Dolph Ziggler will challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE United States Championship on this week's episode of Smackdown. This week's Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday from the BMO Harris Bank Center in Milwaukee, WI.
- Cody Rhodes and Goldust returned to Monday Night Raw on this week's episode, attacking The Shield prior to the show's main event.
- After this week's WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, CM Punk came out and joined Daniel Bryan in the ring. They worked the crowd and a White Sox jersey was thrown into the ring. Punk laughed it off, throwing it back to the crowd before a Blackhawks jersey was thrown in. Punk wore it to the pop of the cord. Ryback and Curtis Axel came out but Jerry Lawler threw Punk a kendo stick. Punk cleaned housed to send the crowd home happy.
- Filming for See No Evil 2 starring Kane began on Monday.
- Dot com has a kayfabe article online, noting that both The Miz and CM Punk were "injured" on Raw. Click here to read it.
- Redeye Chicago interviews Dolph Ziggler at this link.
- Lisa Maria Varon (a/k/a Tara or Victoria) was backstage at Monday Night Raw in Chicago. Below is a photo she took with Paul Heyman and Layla:
- Nikki Bella returned to the ring on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Nikki has been out with a highly publicized shin injury.
- As we noted Monday night during the airing of Raw, Los Matadores will debut on next week's show. The tag team is Epico and Primo repackaged.
- Booker T has been added to upcoming live events in the United Arab Emirates where he will work as a special guest referee.
- Lilian Garcia sang the National Anthem at the Buffalo Bills at New York Jets NFL game on Sunday.
- WWE released the new Triple H DVD "Thy Kingdom Come" on Tuesday.
- WWE Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Development Jane Geddes was selected by the National Diversity Council as a recipient of its 2013 Most Powerful & Influential Woman Awards. Dot com has the story at this link.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled Twin Triumph and is online at this link. You can also watch in the video embedded below:
- WWE announced at Monday Night Raw this week that they'll be returning to the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois for a holiday live event on December 26, 2013. The presale password to obtain tickets is WWEHOLIDAY.
- Damien Sandow appeared on Fox 6 Now out of Milwaukee on Tuesday to promote this week's Smackdown taping in the city. You can watch the appearance at this link.
- WWE will continue to progress the Triple H/Corporation storyline with another Michael Cole kayfabe sit-down interview on dot com. We'll provide the link when it is posted.
Backstage news and notes from WWE Monday Night Raw in Chicago…
- This week's show was chaos before and after. We're told the script was re-written twice after 5:30 PM and it was evident the booking was terrible, according to numerous backstage sources. The fact all the babyfaces were buried made "zero sense" and was actually compared to something WCW would have done in its latter days. Vince McMahon is upset with the way the Corporation storyline is going and realizes it's too hard for the casual fan to understand or follow. For those that missed it, every babyface on the show minus CM Punk and Daniel Bryan was buried. One thing shouldering some of the blame is booking the storyline on the fly, making things difficult to add up or flow from week-to-week let alone show-to-show.
- WWE is putting a ton of pressure on Rob Van Dam right now and have him working through Survivor Series when the original plan was for him to take some time off after Night of Champions. Basically, the company feels the roster is so depleted they cannot afford to lose him right now.
- Randy Orton is scheduled for a medical evaluation on Tuesday after twisting his neck in the angle with Rob Van Dam. We should find out more by Wednesday.
- We're told Ryback took major heat over the gorilla table bump spot with CM Punk on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Ryback's only job was to put Punk through the table. Well, as seen on Raw, not only did he not direct Punk but he turned his wrist at the last second and caused Punk to almost miss the table and barely catch any of it on the way down. The nasty bump caused Punk to be legitimately busted open and receive medical attention backstage. Rather than apologize, Ryback told a producer that Punk "should have bumped better." Punk apparently found out because he and Ryback ended up having words over it. We're told the entire thing nearly came to blows when Curtis Axel stepped in and tried to play the role of peace maker. Triple H ended up getting involved, pulling Ryback aside and speaking with him behind closed doors.
- WWE's efforts to transfer the lawsuit to federal court filed against them and Big Show by former producer Andrew Green have been rejected. United States District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled on September 18, 2013 that the lawsuit be returned to the Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, where it was originally filed in April 2013. Click here for more information. Green is suing over an alleged incident that took place backstage at Royal Rumble 2013 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ in January. You can read the original details of the lawsuit at this link.
- Jim Ross was featured on The Steve Austin Show at this link. The interview was actually JR's first after his "retirement" from WWE but it wasn't posted until today. JR said in the interview if he had to narrow down his WWE run if he had any regrets it was he would like to call Undertaker's final match, whenever it is.
- Michael Hayes - not that Michael Hayes - worked as a security guard on this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. You can check out his OVW profile at this link.
- Linda McMahon speaks about the budding romance between Triple H and Stephanie in the new "Thy Kingdom Come" DVD. You can watch clips here and here. Stephanie said she was forbidden to date any of the wrestlers but Hunter was flirtatious and eventually granted permission by Vince McMahon.
- Speaking of WWE's power couple, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are featured in a new Milk Mustache campaign that you can watch here at WrestlingNews.net.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,739,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour one - 3,603,000 viewers
Hour two - 3,795,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,820,000 viewers
The show ended up doing a 2.81 cable rating.
By comparison, Monday Night Football did an average viewing audience of 13,918,000 viewers on ESPN.
- Tensai & Brodus Clay beat Bo Dallas & Sami Zayn in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping.
- Jim Ross Tweeted on Tuesday that he's not looking for work and that he's enjoying football season. Speaking of JR, he has a new blog entry online that you can read at this link.
- Ryback is scheduled to represent WWE in Mumbai this weekend to promote WWE 2K14. He is not scheduled for weekend live events as a result.
- Speaking of Ryback, he talks about failing a drug test while in WWE developmental and his program with CM Punk coming full circle with SunHerald.com. You can read now at this link.
- Randy Orton, who twisted his neck at Raw, checked out OK and worked this week's Smackdown taping in Milwaukee.
- Daniel Bryan was not advertised for this week's Smackdown taping and didn't appear. An announcement was still made prior to the taping that he would not be on the show.
- Ric Flair's daughter Charlotte is featured in a new episode of "Ask DeFranco's Gym" taped at the WWE Performance Center. You can watch at this link.
- Mick Foley is visiting troops overseas on behalf of WWE.
- Xavier Woods was pulled from scheduled appearances this week due to injury.
- The progression in the McMahon/Rhodes family storyline is expected to carry over to next week's TVs. You can watch footage of the Cody Rhodes & Goldust following their appearance through the crowd on this week's Monday Night Raw at this link.
- Trish Stratus noted on Twitter she is officially overdue with her baby Maximus and he should be born any day now.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Battleground will be fought under Hardcore Rules. The stipulation will be added in this week's episode of Smackdown that was taped on Tuesday night.
- Many have speculated about possible WWE returns for Mr. Anderson and Mickie James respectively. We're told there is minimal interest in both and that TNA was aware of that when they were re-negotiating contracts with them. We're told TNA is "finally realizing" how often in the past they would bid against themselves, paying big money for talent that had nowhere else to work. The pay cuts being offered to Anderson and James are substantial, but neither has any leverage if they want to stay in wrestling. We're told both have aspirations outside of the ring with Mickie pursuing a career in music and Anderson wanting to transition to acting.
- Below is a photo that Cody Rhodes Tweeted of himself getting "thrown out" of Monday Night Raw:
For those that have asked, this is Cody's return to the company. He is married and has had his time off and is back for this storyline.
- Dot com updated their "injury" coverage on The Miz and CM Punk. Below is the Tuesday update:
WWE.com spoke to Dr. Amann for an update on CM Punk's condition. “Fortunately, he is feeling a lot better,” Dr. Amann told WWE.com “Punk's injuries do not seem to be as severe as we initially anticipated, so we did not have to do any additional studies or imaging. It looks like it’s mostly just bumps and bruises, and we are going to keep on monitoring him. His status is day-to-day.”
Click here for coverage on dot com.
- In the latest on the storyline involving the Rhodes family, Triple H has invited Cody Rhodes, Goldust & Dusty Rhodes to have an "open forum" in the ring on Raw, as well as to hear a "lucrative proposition" from Triple H himself. He made the offer during an in-character interview, in which he also discussed the growing disillusionment within the WWE locker room and more. Click here to watch the full interview.
- CM Punk and AJ Lee were shown on camera at Wednesday's Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs MLB game. Punk was acknowledged but AJ was not. Below is a photo:
- WWE announced on Wednesday they have released a new John Cena 3D racing game for mobile phones. The press release with full details is available at this link.
- WWE got a lot of readers talking with this Tweet on Wednesday:
I haven't heard what it means (if anything).
- Below are video highlights from this week's episode of WWE Main Event:
- The injury that Xavier Woods is dealing with is to his ankle.
- Kane is featured on RonPaulChannel.com at this link.
- The Usos let loose in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Kharma is featured in a new podcast at this link.
- As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Joey Mercury is currently being groomed for a producer role on the main WWE roster. This is seen as one of the reasons why WWE brought back Nick Dinsmore to replace him as a trainer in NXT.
- The Times-Picayune out of New Orleans has a new Q&A with Damien Sandow to promote Sunday's live event in the city. Click here to read it.
- Lilian Garcia spoke to dot com about singing the National Anthem at MetLife Stadium last Sunday. She said that she would love to return to sing at the Super Bowl. Click here to read her comments.
- Evan Bourne's bother, Mike Sydal, is training with Dragon Gate in Japan. Mike is 27-years-old.
- Jim Ross told a reader on his website that he has "no interest whatsoever at this time" in working for TNA Wrestling. JR noted that he is moving on to other things.
- WWE has released James Bronson from his developmental contract. Bronson is a former MMA fighter, whose father used to be on the board of Mattel.
- Mick Foley is currently in Abu Dhabi where he is doing media for WWE. You can watch an interview that he did at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Mark Henry told JayMohr.com that WWE performers are fined $70,000 if they reach into the crowd.
- Booker T is featured in the latest episode of WWE Behind the Match where he breaks down his match on the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro. You can watch at this link or embedded in the video below:
- WNW Premium Members are currently reading about a backstage blowup that took place at this week's WWE television tapings. You can read about it at this link. If you're not yet a subscriber, you can signup now for as low as $5.95/month at this link.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry available on his official website. In it, he gives his thoughts on this week's Monday Night Raw, discusses the Manning television special that aired on ESPN and more. Click here to read it.
- Steve Austin is now releasing two separate podcasts. One for all audiences and another for mature audiences. The clean comes out on Tuesdays and mature on Thursdays.
- UFC president Dana White says Ken Shamrock owes him $175,000. White says he's coming for the money as you can watch his comments at this link or embedded in the video below:
Do not watch if you're offended by the F-bomb.
- WWE has announced a live event from the PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on December 7, 2013.
- WWE will be doing a Tribute to the Troops special again this year. NBC has already blocked off an hour for its airing on Saturday, December 28, 2013 while the USA Network will show a two-hour version. Last year the company taped it at a military base in the United States and I expect that to be the case again this year.
- QT Marshall worked the August 22, 2013 NXT tapings, doing a job to Aiden English. Marshall's contract with Ring of Honor is up and he's been working per shots.
- The Times of India has a new article online featuring quotes from Ryback. Click here to read it.
- WWE has named Laura A. Brevetti as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, reporting directly to WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Vince McMahon. Brevetti was part of Vince McMahon's defense team in 1994 when he was changed for conspiring with a convicted drug dealer to distribute anabolic steroids to wrestlers.
- A judge has dismissed Anthony Dash's lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather and WWE. Dash alleged that one of his beats was used at Wrestlemania 24 for Mayweather.
- Dot com hacks into the mystery of Max Moon with a Konnan Q&A at this link.
- Rob Van Dam noted on Twitter that he's been doing voice-over work for the Saints Row video game this week.
- Speaking of RVD, he's featured in the latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show that's now online at this link. You can also watch in the video embedded below:
- Jonathan Coachman was on Mike & Mike in the Morning on Friday and talked bout his WWE past. He said he hasn't forgotten how to take a bump.
- Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella are officially engaged as of Wednesday, September 25. E! Onlinerevealed that cameras were rolling for a future episode of Total Divas during the proposal, and that the couple is looking at a wedding date between April and June of next year.
Following the announcement, Bryan sent out the following on Twitter:
Click here for more.
- WWE continues to tease Undertaker on their official Twitter account. While I haven't heard why they are teasing him, we did report here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on August 21, 2013 that WWE was hoping Undertaker would come back and work Survivor Series. Maybe that's why they're teasing but maybe it's for something else. However, don't forget that report as we move forward.
- Bobby Lashley stated on Twitter that he'll be attending Friday night's WWE live event in Denver, CO. Lashley lives in the area.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is subtitled "The Snake Charmer" - Santino's hilarious in-ring awakening - and is online at this link. You can also watch in the video embedded below:
- John Cena Tweeted a photo of the 'Never Give Up' clothing line coming to Kmart in a couple of weeks. You can view it below:
- Brie Bella said Yes! Yes! Yes!! Check out a photo of Brie and Daniel Bryan shortly after their engagement at this link.
- Jerry Jarrett, the co-founder of TNA Wrestling and father of Jeff Jarrett, recently did an interview with Inside the Ropes Radio. He said TNA today is as close to being a non-factor in the business as you can get. Jarrett also recapped Bob Carter calling him 2-3 times a week when he was there, complaining that he couldn't afford to spend more money. Jerry said he told Bob that he needed to speak with his daughter about that.
- There was a fan incident at this weekend's TNA live event in Tucson, Arizona. The fan threw a beer at Frankie Kazarian and was removed by security.
- The Daily Star has a new Q&A online featuring quotes from TNA Champion Bully Ray. In it, he puts over Jim Ross as a "top quality person" and says that he would love to see him in TNA. You can read the piece at this link. - Speaking of Bully Ray, he's featured in a new Inside Impact clip at this link or embedded in the video below:
- TNA Wrestling announced on Monday that Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, James Storm, Gunner, Manik, ODB, Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and Austin Aries will be at the Bound for Glory Fan InterAction event next month. Click here for more information.
- Kenny King talked to Digital Journal about being a retired Chippendale dancer in Las Vegas. You can read his comments at this link.
- While there continues to be talking of pulling Impact Wrestling off the road, below are the confirmed locations throughout the remainder of 2013: September 26th from the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, AR October 10th from the Cox Business Center Arena in Tulsa, OK October 24th from the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, UT November 7th from the Cincinnati Gardens in Cincinnati, OH November 21st from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, MD December 27th from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA
- TNA Wrestling has removed the profiles of Mickie James and Ken Anderson from the roster section of their official website. Both recently had their contracts expire and were believed to be negotiating new deals.
- Magnus told Mirror Sport out of the United Kingdom that Dixie Carter saw something in him before anyone else. You can read the interview at this link.
- Jeremy Borash, Bob Ryder, Bill Banks and Dave Lagana are featured in a new Impact Wrestling Podcast at this link. You can also listen below:
- Sting is in Little Rock doing media for Impact Wrestling in the city. Click here for coverage on TNA's website.
- During this week's Impact Wrestling, results can be found here, it was announced that Kurt Angle will be returning to the company at Bound for Glory as he will be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. Bound for Glory is October 20, 2013. Kurt Angle has been away from the company for almost two months (click here for more).
- During Impact Wrestling, two separate videos played. One hyped up Lei'd Tapa as she will be "Coming Soon". You may know her from her Gut Check match back in March. After not going through, she went back to OVW to continue training. TNA hasn't uploaded her hype video yet.
-Also during the show, a little screen shot showed "Ethan is Coming". The following tweet was sent out on Impact's official Twitter:
Seeing new stars entering the company should not be surprising as we have reported many times that TNA Wrestling wants to bring in new and young talent to cut costs and save money.
- Has the Hulk Hogan era in TNA Wrestling ended? This is the question following this week's Impact Wrestling tapings in Little Rock, Arkansas as a segment was taped for next week's show that could be used to write him off television, possibly for good.
Hogan is believed to have fulfilled all of his obligations through his current TNA contract, which expires at the end of the month/beginning of October. We've been reporting that TNA has been trying to sign him to a contract extension but the two sides have been far apart because the company wants him to take a significant pay cut. Sources close to Hogan say he's been unreceptive to the idea of taking less money and is believed to have continued WWE aspirations. This is why Hogan in WWE 2K14 was seen as a big deal, despite Hogan trying to downplay it.
The only thing we can confirm as of this writing is that no deal has been reached for Hogan to continue working for TNA and his current contract is scheduled to lapse. Believe it or not, one source close to Hogan's camp told me specifically that Hogan still believes he could work a match against John Cena. Now whether or not that is even possible remains to be seen but given Hogan's history, that statement shouldn't surprise anyone.
TNA has been in the process of restructuring talent contracts and releasing talent that has been unwilling to re-sign at lower rates. The most recent names to depart after failed negotiations include Mickie James and Ken Anderson.
Hogan's stroke in TNA is possibly at its lowest since agreeing to come to the company in late 2009. In addition to TNA considering pulling Impact off the road (something Hogan pushed for), nothing was more evident of Hogan's declining stock when Brooke Hoganwas released. Brooke's release in particular rubbed Hogan the wrong way because he wasn't consulted before it happened. Not only was her release seen as financial in nature but she accumulated a tremendous amount of backstage heat for "ruining" the Bully Ray angle with her public engagement to Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Phil Costa.
As for Eric Bischoff, he's believed to have a contract with TNA that runs through the end of the year. Some have speculated that if Hogan leaves, Bischoff will leave. Who will take their place? Many have noted that Jeff Jarrett has quietly been coming around a lot more lately as he's been working backstage at the last couple of tapings and could absorb some of the roles vacated by the possible departures of Hogan and Bischoff.
We'll continue to follow the story but until then you can read how it is handled on television at this link.
- Based on what happened at this week's Impact Wrestling tapings, it appears Magnus will face Sting at next month's Bound for Glory pay-per-view. Also announced for the show includes Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles for the TNA Championship and Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin vs. Manik in an Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship.
- The word going around backstage at Impact in Arkansas is that Las Vegas, Nevada is under consideration as a possible permanent taping location beginning next year. The company has also reached out to Universal Studios about returning to Orlando, Florida.
- James Storm b. Robbie E in a match taped for Xplosion on Thursday night.
- Given the uncertainly of Hulk Hogan and the recent departures of Mickie James and Ken Anderson, there is another very notable contract coming up that is causing a distraction in TNA Wrestling. AJ Styles, who is set to headline Bound for Glory againstBully Rayfor the TNA Championship, could very well be on his way out of the company.
Styles and TNA have been negotiating for months and as has been the case with all the aforementioned talent, TNA has asked Styles to take a significant pay cut. Negotiations stalled to the point where TNA signed him to a short-term extension to prevent their main event Bound for Glory storyline from being ruined but his future is far from a sure thing. There are conflicting details as to how long Styles is signed through but what we know for sure is that it is long enough to cover next month's pay-per-view.
Based on what we've gathered from this week's Impact taping, the company is at least toying with the idea that if Styles loses against Bully Ray at Bound for Glory, that he has to "leave the company." If this is indeed the case, this could conceivably be the way of TNA writes him off television.
What's interesting is unlike Hogan, Styles finds himself in a situation like Mickie James and Ken Anderson. He doesn't want to take less money [in TNA] but doesn't have a lot of leverage because there isn't much interest from WWE. Hogan will always have his opportunities but WWE isn't believed to be interested in any of the other names.
Given the fact Styles is seen as a top performer in TNA and one of their original core guys, it will be an interesting situation to follow. However, the wheels appear to be close to going into motion to prepare for life in TNA without Styles should the two parties be unable to reach a new agreement.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling saw a significant pullback in viewership, scoring an average viewing audience of 1,121,000 viewers on Spike TV. It's the lowest audience the show has done since July 4, 2013. The show ended up with a 0.89 cable rating.
If Sting decides not to re-sign with TNA Wrestling and ends up in WWE, will that change the Wrestlemania XXX lineup that WWE is trying to construct?
If WWE is able to land Sting it would obviously have major implications on the Wrestlemania XXX lineup, however, that is still a major if. The company is in the process of constructing a Wrestlemania lineup with the assumption that The Rock is not working and that's the biggest takeaway thus far. That became even more evident when promotional information for Wrestlemania XXX tickets did not include Rock.
What are the chances we see Matt Morgan show up in WWE? While I'm at it, Hulk Hogan? Jeff Hardy?
The chances are actually pretty good as WWE has had interest in Matt Morgan for quite some time. Morgan is a rarity because he's a big guy that can work. It's like a center in the NBA, there aren't many of them and because of that scarcity, there will always be opportunities. I have not heard about a formal offer being extended but I know there is WWE interest. Hulk Hogan is the ultimate opportunist that is always looking out for what is best for his brand. Hogan and Eric Bischoff have downplayed his inclusion in WWE 2K14 but let's not get it twisted, the bridge is being rebuilt. I don't see Hogan returning to the ring but I absolutely think he would entertain a return [to WWE] for the merchandise and licensing opportunities. As for Jeff Hardy, he re-signed with TNA in February and will likely finish his career there.
If neither The Rock nor The Undertaker faces Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, who else can face Lesnar at Wrestlemania next year?
We all know the speculation of it being Brock Lesnar vs. Ryback, which I would not welcome, but that's not going to stop the talk. I know for a fact Undertaker was interested in working Lesnar last year but was told that's not the plan going into the fall. At this point I want to wait and hear from a couple of my sources before speculating on opponents for Undertaker and Lesnar. The one thing that you can take to the bank is that both will be involved in major matches at the pay-per-view.
With both Tara and Mickie James recently leaving TNA, do you see either woman going back to WWE? And if so, is WWE interested in having them back?
I was told WWE's interest in Mickie James was minimal and that she is currently in negotiations with TNA Wrestling about a new a contract. TNA provides Mickie with a good opportunity because she is also pursuing a career as a country music artist. Tara has great connections within WWE and while I don't think she's aged a bit, the fact she is 42 concerns me that WWE would not be interested in her returning as an on-air talent.
With CM Punk vs. Ryback announced for WWE Battleground, can either of these guys really afford another pay-per-view loss and continue to be taken seriously as top guys?
This is a really good point and yet another reason why I'm 100% against this program. I can't tell you the last time I dreaded a program involving CM Punk but this one against Ryback is one I simply don't care about. I heard some were raving about Ryback's mic work on Raw but I'm in the minority. I've seen him and I don't buy him. The quandary in this match is blatantly obvious. Does Punk do yet another job or does WWE put under a guy they're restarting on yet again? There could always be a dirty finish to progress the storyline but we just saw that this month at Night of Champions. It's lose-lose-lose.
What are the plans for Big E Langston when he returns to television?
Big E Langston worked a match that was taped for WWE Superstars prior to this week's Monday Night Raw. In it, he tagged with Damien Sandow to oppose Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder. Langston was in the running for the next "Paul Heyman guy" but the role was ultimately given to Ryback.
Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Justin Gabriel, or R-Truth. Who would you rather see in the main event for a world title feud?
When I look at these names I have to go with untapped potential. Kofi Kingston is a workhorse but he's had his chances. The same goes with R-Truth. His work is not as good as Kingston's but he's had more than enough opportunities. This narrows the list to Drew McIntyre and Justin Gabriel. Both McIntyre and Gabriel have held titles in WWE but I think most can agree the company hasn't done that much with them. So now I look to age. Gabriel is 32 and McIntyre is 28. I pick Drew McIntyre.
Do you have ANY idea where this storyline between the McMahons and the Rhodes family with Daniel Bryan in the middle is going? It makes no sense to me....what are your thoughts?
The storyline is complex and there are multiple side stories. The purpose is to create a story arc that will engage the viewer as competition increases with the fall television season. I think the storyline has had its ups and downs but one thing is very clear - Daniel Bryan is over. No, he's really, really over. I mean over like rover, did you see the reaction Daniel Bryan got in Chicago on Monday night? So despite the criticisms, the one thing that is abundantly clear is it has worked to elevate Daniel Bryan. The Rhodes family, Scott Armstrong and other members of the WWE roster (such as The Shield) are side parts of the program. They are extras that add other elements to WWE's main program of the fall.
I just read where Jim Ross said in an interview if he had any regrets in his career, it would be to call the Undertaker's final match, whenever that might be. With that said, do you feel that WWE and/or Undertaker himself would call on JR to call that match?
I see nothing in WWE's treatment of Jim Ross that would allow for him to come back to call Undertaker's final match, whenever that might be. I am in complete disagreement with the way JR was treated and forced into retirement. If it truly was the 2KSports panel that got JR pushed out, that's ridiculous. I spoke with people in attendance that told me it was a hoot and one of the most entertaining things they've seen. This is a typical WWE overreaction and an injustice to the best play-by-play man of all time. It doesn't surprise me but it's truly a shame.
What do you think about TNA letting Hulk Hogan walk and investing the money spent on him in some other talent such as AJ Styles?
I think Dixie Carter views Hulk Hogan as an integral piece of what they are trying to accomplish. Carter, and the powers that be in TNA, see Hogan as the "face of company" and want to build and market around him. Hogan is the most recognizable name in the history of pro wrestling and our own version of Michael Jordan but I personally do not feel he has been worth the heavy investment.
I loved the attack by Cody and Dustin Rhodes on this past Raw. However, it is really bothering me that Dustin was out there in his Goldust paint. After last week's treatment of Dusty, I wanted it to feel like this was very serious, but the face paint took a lot away from the attack. If he continues as Goldust and not as Dustin, the story will not feel as real. What are your thoughts?
The Goldust face paint was goofy and took away from the realism of the angle, you're right on the money. So we are supposed to believe in the midst of all the anger and frustration that Dustin took the time to do his Goldust face paint prior to "showing up" in the crowd at Raw? Vince probably thought it was the only way fans would recognize him but I saw it as counter intuitive. The biggest problem I have with the McMahon angle is Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appear unstoppable. Even if Daniel Bryan "wins" at Battleground, what stops them from "reversing the decision"? There has been too much booking on the fly and not enough thorough planning in this program.
Why not put Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan with Mark Henry and form the World's Strongest stable?
Let's put aside for a minute that Ezekiel Jackson is currently rehabbing an injury and ask a very serious question. Does WWE really need another three-man faction? I think most will agree it's complicated enough with what they have currently and another would be over saturation. The idea looks good on paper but doesn't really fit in with the current landscape.
If the WWE App voting is legit, how do they script the matches?
From the situations I have heard, voting has been legitimate. When WWE holds App polls they have an idea who is going to "win it" and thus plan for that winner. There are sometimes surprises and in that situation the match will have to be called in the ring, which is something you can expect to see more of. However, performers are still told a general plan and obviously an outcome before they go to the ring. We have more details on spots being called in the ring at this link.
Was CM Punk really banged up after the table spot on Raw. Was it planned or was it botched?
CM Punk's head was busted open from the botched table spot from Ryback on this week's Monday Night Raw. Ryback messed the spot up but it was what was said afterwards that sparked controversy. We have the story here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.
What's the latest update on Sheamus?
Sheamus is still out recovering from his torn labrum that required surgery last month. He went home to Dublin earlier this month and is expected back some time early in 2014. The latest update we have on him features a photo of him standing outside the house he grew up in. Click here to view it.
Do you find the lack of main event talent in WWE disappointing? You can count them on one hand.
The WWE roster is razor thin right now and ravaged by injuries but WWE has done a surprisingly good job in creating new stars in CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio. There are others, such as Ryback, WWE is hoping will take that next step but sometimes I think fans are a little hard on WWE for not creating any new stars. In the same breath it would be delusional for me to sit here and tell you the main event picture is thriving because it's thin right now.
What are the plans for Cody Rhodes and Goldust?
The latest step in the storyline is that Triple H has "invited" Cody Rhodes and Goldust to next week's Raw to hear a "lucrative proposition." I heard there were plans a couple weeks ago to do The Shield vs. The Rhodes Family at Battleground next month but there was a hang-up about Dusty actually competing. As I mentioned on Wednesday, Cody is back in WWE and his leave of absence to get married is over.
I was looking back at all the matches that Kurt Angle was in over his time with the WWE. I really don't see him coming back to the WWE. But do you see the WWE putting him in the HOF?
It's hard for me to predict who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I absolutely think Angle's body of work in WWE qualifies him for the honor but it's ultimately up to whether or not Vince McMahon likes him enough to induct him. Kurt is one of the best in-ring workers of a generation and was just recently passed in my book by Daniel Bryan. When Angle finally hangs it up the business will miss him. I also feel it's worth mentioning that WWE would not induct Angle while he's under TNA contract. I know it happened before with Flair but it would be very unlikely to happen in this situation.
Is Kaitlyn injured or just on a hiatus?
Neither, Kaitlyn is still on the road with WWE and was at TVs this week. She is just currently without a storyline.
Do you see Goldust coming back to compete full time after his storyline with his family and the McMahons or will he somehow disappear off of TV once again?
I do not see WWE investing heavily in Goldust as an in-ring performer at 44-years-old. He's better suited as a talent they put under a Legend's deal and use him on a per shot basis (if they choose to extend such an offer). There may be some interest in a Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes program but other than what he is currently doing, I don't see much else. One mistake I think WWE made was firing Goldust as a producer because I think he understands the art of playing his gimmick more than just about anyone. One of the biggest issues I have with younger talent is they're too robotic. They go out trying to accomplish what is written down without trying to live the gimmick.
With the reaction he gets from the crowds and his work in the ring, do you think aligning Ziggler with the "New Corporation" could be a good direction for both Ziggler and the company?
Many readers seem bound and determined to add to the corporation but I'm against that. The corporation is fine as is and there have already been more than enough problems with it. Dolph Ziggler is a guy that has found himself in the WWE doghouse and has been pulled back as a result. However, let's stop trying to add to the corporation. It will only result in over saturation and an overdone angle.
Do you prefer to see a match between two big muscle guys or two high flying guys?
I prefer the latter but my favorite type of matches are matches that feature good technical wrestling. I like matches that tell a story and showcase workers that do not have to work in overdrive to pop the crowd. This is one of my disconnects with many in the IWC. A lot of IWCers see the highflying overdrive type work in promotions like Ring of Honor or Dragon Gate USA and just can't figure out why Vince McMahon won't do it in WWE. The style is risky and can easily be overdone. Sometimes when I'm watching shows that feature this "nonstop" style, I almost feel overwhelmed and just need a break. Give me workers like Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, etc. and let's see a bout that features more than just high spot after high spot.