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WNW Premium Newsletter - Why Two Top Names Were Written Off WWE TV, How Sin Cara Made HHH Look Foolish, Major WWE Name Has Strong Opposition From Stephanie McMahon, New WWE Champs, New TNA Signings, Ask WNW Archive & All The Big News From This Past Week

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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, July 23, 2011 to Friday, July 29, 2011 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
- Impact Wrestling News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- Wrestling News World reader Jaquan Johnson sent word WWE has added "The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro" to its "watch instantly list." However, Jaquan notes it is not the full version.

- Wrestling News World reader Robert ran into former WWE Diva Maria yesterday at the San Diego Comic Con. He got a picture taken with her for $5.00.

- WWE has posted a worked article on their official website stating that Mark Henry "fractured" Kane's tibia during his attack after Kane's street fight match against Randy Orton on last night's Smackdown. As the storyline goes and the WWE article states, Kane will be out three months. Click here to read the full article.

- has full coverage of the angle between Triple H and CM Punk from the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. In case you ever actually thought it was a shoot, this should completely confirm the "confrontation" as a work. Click here for full coverage by the official WWE website.

- CM Punk made an appearance at last night's AAW show in Berwyn, Illinois. You can view video of his appearance embedded below:

- Wrestling News World reader Roberto Yanes sent word that Titan Fighting Championship, an MMA group, have invited WWE Champion CM Punk to one of their upcoming shows to sit age side.

- Roberto also noted WWE has edited CM Punk out of The Nexus entrance theme video.

- I checked in on the futures of Big Show and Kane with both being written off of WWE television over the past week. I'm told the company is really trying to put "major steam" on Mark Henry and both Show and Kane have requested time off recently. One of my sources expects Big Show to be out longer than Kane. I asked about WWE reporting in storyline that Kane would be out three months and asked if that was a legitimate timetable. I was told he is expected back sooner than three months but Big Show could be out for that long. A lot of people in the company feel that Mark Henry is on the verge of "finally breaking through" as a serious top level guy. While not everyone "sees it," I'm told keeping Henry "super strong" is a priority right now.

- Wrestling News World reader Shannon Sylvia sent in the following: According to a tweet from Nora Zuckerman, who is one of the writers of the Syfy series Haven, Edge will appear in the show's fourth episode which will air next week and Zuckerman also stated that he'll appear in a few more episodes this season. For those who think Edge is in the season premiere, blame Michael Cole for that error he made two weeks ago on WWE Raw.

- WWE has announced the following dates for December:

* December 3rd - Entertainment Complex in Augusta, Georgia
* December 4th - Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia
* December 5th - Civic Center in Albany, Georgia
* December 6th - Smackdown taping from the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida

- The Rock kept the hype machine going today with the following Twitter comment:

Cena fans: pls stop tweeting me to stop being "mean" to John. If u think I'm mean now, just wait til Survivor Series in NYC.

You can follow The Rock on Twitter at this link and us here at at the link below.

- A decision has not been made on what to do with Sin Cara but I am told the heat on him over his WWE Wellness Policy failure is "unreal." My source tells me that if Cara were not a pet project of Triple H he would "be done" for sure. The backstage heat does not stem completely from the fact Sin failed a Wellness Test.

Cara tested positive for a performance-enhancing supplement last month but "swore up and down" he had a valid prescription for what caused the positive result. Many were skeptical but Cara was given the benefit of the doubt (most likely due to the support of Hunter) and granted nearly a full month to produce a prescription for the banned substance. When Cara could not produce a prescription, he was written of television at Money in the Bank and formally suspended by the company. This explains why Cara was suspended a month after he failed the Wellness Test.

I'm told Cara would have a lot less heat if he didn't assure WWE officials he could produce a prescription only to end up not producing anything. Now not only did a he fail a Wellness Test but he lied to WWE management and left his biggest supporter (Triple H) looking foolish for sticking up for him. Therefore he has "nuclear heat" for lying and "stringing along" WWE officials and not so much for failing a Wellness Test.

- WWE continues their coverage of the angle done between CM Punk and Triple H at the San Diego Comic-Con last week. You can view more footage they put on their official YouTube channel embedded below:

- There continue to be rumors that Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero, known as the Kings of Wrestling, have signed WWE contracts and will possibly bypass the company's developmental system. The only thing I can confirm is they had a WWE tryout earlier this year and have been in talks for the past several months.

- Another name that has reportedly canceled recent independent dates is Colt Cabana. This has left many speculating he could be headed back to WWE as one thing CM Punk has been pushing for is for him to get a job. Is everyone ready for another dose of Scotty Goldman?

- WWEannounced today that Cee Lo Green will be part of this year's SummerSlam from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Green's "Bright Lights Bigger City" is the official theme song of SummerSlam and he will be performing some of his songs at the show. WWE SummerSlam 2011 will take place Sunday, August, 14, 2011. We'll have full coverage here at

- Rey Mysterio beat The Miz to win the WWE Championship on tonight's WWE Raw from the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. As I noted in my Backstage Blog, I expected Mysterio to go over The Miz due to the fact he went over three times on three shows this weekend. While that isn't always the case, it was certainly telling which direction WWE wanted to go in. Regarding the "spinner belt," I'm told CM Punk had actually floated the idea of bringing back the old school winged WWE Championship belt but that the days of the "spinner belt" were numbered. However, I'll believe it when I see it because WWE has talked for years about revamping their belt but Vince McMahon is always talked out of it.

- Jim Ross returned to commentary on tonight's WWE Raw from the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.

- John Morrison returned on tonight's WWE Raw after being out since May with a neck injury that required surgery.

- There will be a #1 Contender's Diva Battle Royal to determine Kelly Kelly's opponent for the WWE Divas Championship at SummerSlam on next week's WWE Raw. The match will feature AJ, Natalya, Beth Phoenix, The Bella Twins, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Maryse, Alicia Fox, Melina, Tamina, Kaitlyn and Rosa Mendes. Next week's WWE Raw will take place from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

- John Cena beat Rey Mysterio on tonight's WWE Raw to win the WWE Championship. After winning the title, CM Punk returned to the company with a spinner WWE Championship belt around his waist.

-Goldust was at last night's WWE Raw from the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia and has been traveling with the company as of late. From what I understand he's serving as a mentor to younger talent and working with the Divas during his time off. Goldust is also rehabbing a shoulder injury that required surgery last December.

- Another Ring of Honor name that has popped up on WWE's radar as of late is Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs was at TVs a couple weeks ago and WWE officials were said to have evaluated him. I have not heard if a contract has been offered.

- WWE will hold a Raw house show from the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 5 PM. Tickets will go on sale at 10 AM on Saturday, August 27th. Click here for local event information. (Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Andrew for sending this in.)

- The Miz has listed his appearances this week on his Twitter account Tonight he will throw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game, Wednesday he will be hosting the "Rivals" after show on MTV and at midnight he will be on "Lopez Tonight" on TBS at midnight.

- Tyler Reks wrote the following on Twitter: Lotta talk about me celebrating Rey's win with everyone last night. Bottom line is that Rey is my friend & I wanted to say congrats. No crime in that.

- There's been a lot of talk lately about how resilient WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis has been. I'm told Triple H and Stephanie McMahon "really have it out for him" and plan on trying to squeeze him out of the company but he still somehow managed to get on television with Vince McMahon during the CM Punk angle. Laurinaitis reportedly knows his days as the EVP of Talent Relations could be numbered but he felt getting on TV would somehow help his standing.

- Wrestling News World reader James Jackson sent word that CM Punk's old theme song, "This Fire Burns," has made it into the UK Rock Top 40. The song is placed at 36 as you can view the full chart at this link.

- The Miz made it to #1 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's "Top 500" list for the evaluation period of June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011. You can read more at this link. (Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Roberto Yanes for sending this in.)

- I'm told that Raw superstars John Morrison and R-Truth are at tonight's Smackdown taping from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No word if they will be used but it seems odd for them to be there if they were not being used.

- Wrestling News World reader William Payne sent this in... CM Punk's new theme "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour is now 130 on iTunes top 200.

- World Heavyweight Champion Christian will defend the title against Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred Match at SummerSlam. WWE SummerSlam 2011 will take place Sunday, August 14, 2011 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

- Wrestling News World reader Ryan Williams sent word that he saw Mick Foley leaving the Smackdown taping tonight from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of this writing I cannot confirm what Ryan witnessed, however, he was there and took photos of Foley leaving after the show had concluded.

- TMZ is reporting that WWE Diva Maryse Ouellet is being stalked by an "extremely disturbing and delusional" man. According to their report, Maryse has filed a request for a permanent restraining order against 61-year-old Lee Silber. Maryse claims that Silber has sent "terrifying letters" to her home and left "more than 50 voicemails" on her personal cell phone. She describes the messages as "extremely disturbing and delusional." Maryse claims Sibler promised in one of his letters to give her a check for $100,000 and a 100 carat diamond ring worth $20,000,000 to prove he is her friend. Maryse is due back in court on August 3rd.

- Wrestling News World reader Mark Doyle sent this in... The new version of Dolph Ziggler's entrance theme that featured on this past Monday's WWE Raw is recorded by Downstait, making Ziggler the third Raw Superstar to use a song by this band (after The Miz and Alex Riley). This version has been circulating online for some time now, for example, a video was uploaded to Downstait's YouTube channel back in

- Wrestling News World reader Hiroaki Kawafuji sent in this "Stand Up for Tohoku" update... WWE donated wheelchairs and plastic folders to the Sendai YMCA Volunteer Center.

- Wrestling News World reader CJ sent this in... The Miz will be on MTV Tonight, hosting the Challenge After Show at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.

- The Miz did an interview with Chris Van Vliet on WOIo in Cleveland prior to throwing out the first pitch at last night's Indians game against the Los Angeles Angels. You can view it embedded below:

- Jim Ross is back on the Raw Superstars page on the official WWE website. John Laurinaitis has been moved to the Alumni section after his brief run on television.

- WWE sent out a survey today to their email list where they asked fans to gauge their interest on a scale of 1 to 10 on the following topics:

Please indicate your level of interest in watching this year's SummerSlam. Please indicate your level of interest in purchasing the upcoming WWE video game, WWE '12. Please indicate your level of interest in watching a 24 hour WWE TV network. Please indicate your level of interest in buying DVDs of WWE movies (e.g. The Chaperone, That's What I am, etc.). How interested are you in the match-up between John Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania 28? If the WWE were to bring back WWE Ice Cream Bars, how interested would you be in purchasing them? How interested are you in watching NXT on Please rate your satisfaction with the Money In The Bank pay-per-view or the last pay-per-view you watched? How satisfied were you with the last WWE live event you attended? How satisfied were you with the last Monday Night Raw you watched? How satisfied were you with the last Friday Night SmackDown you watched? Please rate your level of satisfaction with Please rate your level of satisfaction with WWE's Facebook page?

How satisfied are you with WWE's pay-per-view pricing?

Click here to respond to the survey.

- WWE has updated their key financial performance indicators on their corporate website. In it, they have estimated the pay-per-view buys for WWE Capitol Punishment right around the 200,000 buys mark. You can view this data for yourself at this link.

- Bill Simmons' "BS Report" podcast with CM Punk is now online. In it, Punk talked about returning to television on this week's WWE Raw. He told Simmons it would have been fun to keep him off TV for awhile but the reality of the situation is that SummerSlam is coming up and they needed something for it. Punk also admitted to going a bit overboard on his initial promo on WWE Raw but it didn't hurt business. He reveals he didn't make his decision to stay with WWE until Money in the Bank a couple weeks ago (which I'm still skeptical about). The podcast is long, interesting, detailed and overall well done. You can listen to it at this link.

- Former WWE star Michael Tarver went on a rant today on his official Twitter account. From what I can decipher from his posts, it appears he is accusing John Cena of intentionally breaking his arm and then laughing about it.

Wrestling News World reader DJ Rallo has compiled his Tweets which you can read below:

"Family im a baaad man YAHWEH NISSI ,, soooooooo stop me if you heard this one for starters I went from sleeping in a car to being on 2 Wrestlemanias fun fact there soooooo this guy has a dream job but an adv he meets his dream girl assn db on his dream job he was to be away From his kids so he makes it work while spendiing 3 years trying to get his daughter to tampa to live him away from addcict mother Now during this dream job he fights trains show crazy potential on the mic regarded as one the best ever in developmental so he moves on ,,,To nxt and raw where he is burried on tv treated like trash back stage to the point where a certain top superstar takes notice of this Guy building steam with his promos back stage and begins to feel threatend so one night on a ppv the champ purposely fractures this Persons arm with a chair and after.the match backstage laughs in his face about it and walks off you know im talking about you just cant see See him anyway he takes out threats to his throne back stage to the point where the even get released from their dream job and ironicaly This guys dream wife leaves him tthreatening to take everything from him a month later on the se day his daughter was to move in with With them now his daughter is hysterical beyond help and has to be sent back home after three years of fighting and one week there Hmmmmm makes you wonder is it worth it because in your opinions WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO IS BAD.ENOUGH TO SCARE A BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY So I saw to all things mention ME ,,,,,,,,IM THAT BAD MAN ,,,,,,,,,,,YAHWEH NISSI"

For those that do not know, the term "Yahweh Nissi" means "the Lord is my banner." You can read more Tweets from Tarver at this link.

- Wrestling News World reader CJ sent this in... The Miz is all over the place this week as today he is scheduled for an appearance on Celebrity XM FF. He is also scheduled to host the Challenge Aftershow on MTV next week as well.

- Speaking of The Miz on MTV, Wrestling News World reader Kevin Gilmartin sent this in... The Miz was on MTV last night at 10:00 PM CST as the host of the Challenge: Rivals Recap show. As you recall, the Miz had participated in several of these shows prior to entering the WWE.

- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent this in... out of Peoria, Illinois features and interview with WWE Diva Eve Torres promoting the Raw house show to be held tomorrow at Peoria Civic Center. Click here to read it.

- Multiple readers have sent word that Curt Hawkins was at Tuesday's EVOLVE Wrestling show in New York City. I contacted EVOLVE officials for confirmation and was told that Hawkins had no contact with them but they heard he was in attendance.

Impact Wrestling News

- Impact Wrestling has confirmed their August 25th television taping from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama will feature two episodes being taped.

- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Rob Van Dam. In it, RVD discusses his match at Destination X against Jerry Lynn, his in-ring style and why a lot of guys don't do his move set and even weighs in on WWE's angle with CM Punk.

His most interesting comments, however, seem to be directed towards the recently departedGeneration Me. You be the judge; here's an excerpt featuring Rob Van Dam:

"I feel like I get respect, but not in that way," Van Dam said. "I'm open to it. Most of the guys, I don't know if they don't feel welcome to ask me or any of the other veterans or what. That is probably an issue that we have is the young guys should ask some of the older guys. They should be saying, 'Hey, watch my match. Let me know what I can improve on.'

"That never happens enough. Some of the young guys who are or were there, I don't want to mention any names. There were two young guys who just left and looked like they were out of high school. The whole time they were there, they never introduced themselves or shook my hand. Things are way different than they used to be."

Click here to read the full article.

- There were reports going around that Dave Hebner, the brother of TNA referee Earl Hebner and uncle of TNA referee Brian Hebner, was set to undergo heart surgery. According to a Twitter post by Brian, Dave is in the hospital but it is not believed to be anything "major." It looks like rumors of heart surgery are unfounded.

- I left a message for both Max & Jeremy Buck (a/k/a Generation Me/The Young Bucks) on Twitter to get a reaction to Rob Van Dam's negative comments about them in an interview with The Miami Herald last week. Below is my Twitter conversation with Max (Matt Jackson):

wnwdotcom Richard Gray Alright I wanna know - what do @MattJackson13 & @NickJacksonYB think of @therealrvd calling you all high schoolers?

MattJackson13 The Brunette One @wnwdotcom I thank @therealrvd for the compliment. It's great to be young!

In addition to his comment, Max updated his bio on Twitter to read: "Alleged 'big-leaguer' of RVD, one half of The Young Bucks (TNA's Generation Me) Bookings:"

2:01 PM EDT Update:Christopher Daniels has chimed in, awarding Max Buck the "best bio of the week."

- Matt Morgan has a torn pectoral muscle. For whatever reason he kept the injury secret but is opting to let it heal without surgery. He'll be out around six weeks.

- STAIND performs the official theme song for Bound For Glory called "Not Again." You can view a promotional video embedded below:

Bound For Glory will take place Sunday, October 16, 2011 from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We'll have full coverage here at

- Jack Evanssaid no but Shiima Xion reportedly said yes. The word going around is that Xion has signed a full-time contract with Impact Wrestling to compete as Zema Ion.

- TMZ is reporting that Jessie Godderz from "Big Brother" has signed a developmental contract with Impact Wrestling that runs through the end of 2011. Godderz has been training with Bully Ray at the Team 3D Academy.

- Jesse Neal and Christina Von Eerie have recently announced they are now engaged to be married. Congratulations to the happy couple!

- I'm told by a source in the TNA/Impact Wrestling locker room that Crimson and Cookie had been secretly dating behind-the-scenes but recently ended their relationship. Apparently Cookie felt with her on-air work with Robbie E it would be better for it not to get out although one observer tells me they doubt anyone would have cared. Nonetheless I'm told it is something Cookie was worried about and will no longer be an issue.


Have you heard anything about Jeff Hardy and court lately? I'm anxious to see what happens to him.

As I reported last week here on, Jeff Hardy is due back in court on September 8, 2011. His lawyers have done an excellent job delaying the case over and over again, even avoiding a plea agreement they reportedly agreed too. It's interesting I have this question today as I rented "The Lincoln Lawyer" starring Matthew McConaughey (as an attorney) this weekend and there was something said by McConaughey's character that made me think of Jeff Hardy. McConaughey informed his they could work on delaying the trial in order to preserve his freedom in which his client proclaimed he was innocent and said he wanted to go to trial immediately. While I obviously understand this was just a movie, it's interesting how long Hardy's defense team has strung out his case to work every angle possible. With that being said, I recommend "The Lincoln Lawyer" as Red Box has it as a $1.00 rental.

It doesn't seem like either The Miz or Rey Mysterio would be a good fit as WWE Champion right now. Would you agree?

As long as CM Punk is out there - he is the WWE Champion. Regardless of who wins the belt tonight on WWE Raw, there is an angle wide-open for CM Punk to return and proclaim to be the real WWE Champion. There are a couple of observations to be made. First, CM Punk is advertised for tonight's WWE Raw. While this could always be the case of the venue not removing his name from local information, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he returned to the company on tonight's show. I agree that neither The Miz nor Rey Mysterio "fit" as WWE Champion right now and the heat Mysterio got at WWE Money in the Bank makes me think that there are several fans out there that do not want to see him as WWE Champion.

What does WWE see in Ezekiel Jackson? Personally, I feel his in-ring work and pop from the crowd (negative or positive) are far below par. Even on a watered down Smackdown roster it seems Jackson can't separate himself from the field other than he holds a belt with a diminished title. Thoughts?

WWE likes Ezekiel Jackson because of his extraordinary size. Jackson is the prototypical WWE superstar that Vince McMahon feels is very marketable. Every time I watch him in the ring I cannot help but be reminded of Ahmed Johnson.

What's the point of the Sheamus/Wade Barrett heel vs. heel program? Are they trying to build up Barrett by letting him work with somebody he's familiar with or are they trying to get Sheamus more over?

I look at the program of Sheamus and Wade Barrett on Smackdown as a technique for WWE to evaluate the bigger star out of two future main event talents. The office is high up on them both; however, they have regressed in their spots on the roster in recent months.

Why won't WWE give Rey Mysterio at least a week with the WWE Championship?

It made no sense storyline-wise for Rey Mysterio to hold the WWE Championship with CM Punk out there as the real WWE Champion. The entire WWE Championship Tournament was a swerve that was meant for Cena to end up back as champ to go on to face Punk in a SummerSlam main event. When WWE announced The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio as the WWE Raw opening bout last night I figured a swerve was going to happen. When Hunter announced John Cena vs. Mysterio later in the show, the storyline became very predictable. Prior to CM Punk returning (after Cena had beaten Mysterio) I had already begun typing the pieces were in place for Punk to challenge Cena in a champion vs. "champion" bout.

Who is WWE Champion - John Cena or CM Punk?

Since CM Punk beat John Cena for the WWE Championship at WWE Money in the Bank last Sunday, CM Punk is the real WWE Champion. However, WWE is doing an angle where the two will face one another at SummerSlam to determine the champion. I personally feel WWE rushed the angle along; however, they obviously wanted to get Punk right back on television given how over he is with the audience. As for Punk's contract status, either he has signed a new WWE contract or his original contract has not expired. One of my sources informed me for months that Punk's WWE contract was not out until September 2011 and even then it was looking more like he was going to re-sign. Out of the blue WWE did the angle where Punk's contract was expiring the day after his WWE Championship match at WWE Money in the Bank which kept me very skeptical. WWE worked a lot of people with the angle but I hope every reader of this website, especially our Premium Members, knew the truth the entire time.

What are your thoughts on Jinder Mahal going over such weak opponents?

WWE is building Jinder Mahal up because they want another star to help them in the India market. The Great Khali has helped WWE penetrate into the country and the company is hoping Mahal will help further that initiative. We have reported for months that WWE is interesting in signing foreign talents to help them in their global expansion. As for the opponents of Mahal, WWE is feeding him enhancement workers, which is the standard formula to building a worker up.

Now that Big Show and Kane have been written off WWE TV, do you see The Undertaker returning to stop Mark Henry?

If you look through the WWE roster, who is better suited to take out Mark Henry after he has eliminated Big Show and Kane? The Undertaker is the only name that makes logical sense although I have not heard if there is a return plan in place.

Does Kelly Kelly deserve the WWE Divas Champion more than the other Divas? She look really shaky in the ring on WWE Raw this past Monday.

WWE does not push their male or female workers based on in-ring work. Workers are pushed based on crowd reactions and how marketable the office feels they can be. There are plenty of Divas with better in-ring work than Kelly Kelly. She has greatly improved since her days as a dancer on ECW and has worked hard to do it but it is obvious WWE has made her the "face of the Divas" because of her looks.

You have written before about WWE's refusal to turn John Cena heel and the numerous missed opportunities at doing so. I felt that the WWE Championship match against Rey Mysterio on WWE Raw this week was also a great chance to do so and they again dropped the ball with that particular possibility. Do you think this will ever actually happen?

Turning John Cena heel came up again prior to WWE Money in the Bank but with Vince McMahon kayfabing the writing team, it was more speculation than anything else. While I have pushed for a Cena heel turn in certain situations, I would not have been favor of WWE doing it on Raw this past Monday. The entire angle was done to get the belt back on Cena to setup a SummerSlam main event match with CM Punk. Turning Cena heel is a high-risk, high-reward move and it needs to be very calculated to properly get over. Whether or not it happens remains to be seen and is going to come down to Vince McMahon getting convinced that it will "without a doubt" work.

If WWE brings in guys like Colt Cabana and Chris Hero, presumably to work with CM Punk, what do you think will happen with the Nexus guys? If the Nexus were to disband today, do you think any of David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, or Mason Ryan would stay on the main roster?

You're going a little far with the speculation about Colt Cabana, Chris Hero and probably also implying Claudio Castagnoli. In my latest update regarding these workers I mentioned a rumor about them coming to WWE but never reported contracts were signed. As for the future of The Nexus it looks like they have already ended the faction. Otunga and McGillicutty are still together as the WWE Tag Team Champions but I heard Mason Ryan was being considered for other roles. Anything is possible but it certainly seems like little is left of the faction that dominated WWE TV this time last year.

I've been noticing Heath Slater lately as a singles competitor and I think he's got the potential to become a main eventer, but there's something about him that needs to be changed - I don't know if it's the hair or the gimmick. He's got a great theme entrance, nice ring gear, he can talk and has nice ring work. Does he need anything changed or altered or nothing at all? What are your thoughts?

In my Backstage Blog on Sunday I noted how Booker T said that Heath Slater had as much charisma as a "bowl of turnips" on Smackdown last week. I agreed with Booker's comments while there were readers that felt differently. When I look at Heath Slater I do not see a main event competitor. I can't put my finger on what it is - the hair, the accent, etc. - but I just don't see it. Maybe I am wrong and Slater will go on to be a huge star but there are a lot of other workers on both Raw and Smackdown I would push before I went with him.

What direction is WWE going in with Zack Ryder?

It's been a record-breaking week for Zack Ryder and his fans. Not only did he get a couple of seconds of TV time on WWE Raw but he's also going to get on this week's Smackdown and receive a new role from Triple H. I don't want to post a spoiler here but you can read full Smackdown taping results at this link.

Do you see Justin Gabriel working as a main eventer? What does WWE think of him and his work?

WWE is high up on Justin Gabriel primarily due to the fact they can use him to expand in the South Africa market. There has been an internal commitment over the last several years to expand the company internationally as Vince McMahon feels there is a lot of money to be made in untapped foreign markets. This is also the reason for WWE building up Jinder Mahal in addition to The Great Khali to lock in the market in India. If you want a mainstream example I compare it to how Yao Ming expanded the popularity of the NBA in China. As for Gabriel ever being a main event worker I am skeptical because of his size but anything is possible.

WWE rushed the return of CM Punk. They could have done a much better angle by holding him off TV - what are your thoughts?

CM Punk talked about this in his interview with Bill Simmons. Punk said it would have been fun for the company to keep him off TV longer but the reality was that SummerSlam was coming up soon and they wanted something for it. As I noted yesterday here on Premium, I strongly feel they would have held him off longer had SummerSlam not been right around the corner.

Is CM Punk a babyface or a heel?

This is something else CM Punk addressed in his interview with Bill Simmons. I also talked about this at length in yesterday's WNW Premium Mailbag. CM Punk is no longer a clear-cut heel nor is he a clear-cut babyface and it depends completely on the audience. The older audience (anti-Cena) is going to be for CM Punk while the younger PG audience (pro-Cena) is going to be against him.

What exactly is going to be hardcore about Hardcore Justice? So far TNA has just compiled matches like any other pay-per-view.

TNA/Impact Wrestling changed the name of their Hard Justice pay-per-view last August and did an ECW gimmick. The change was made because the company was doing less than 10,000 pay-per-view buys per show and were considering reducing the amount of pay-per-views or even cutting them out completely. There were even discussions with Spike TV about doing free Sunday night specials. Last year's Hardcore Justice didn't do a lot better as far as buys but it was enough where TNA stayed on pay-per-view. While the company is not doing an ECW gimmick for the show this year they decided not to change the name and confuse the fans even further.

How many times has Vince McMahon actually fired Jim Ross? How long will he be back?

Jim Ross was never fired from his broadcast position in WWE. He actually had to step down from his position due to health problems (he had another Bell's Palsy attack) in 2009 and his contract ended up expiring while he was away. WWE and JR were able to agree to terms on a new deal but the decision was made to keep him off TV. This was not something that JR wanted but came down from the top as the company was concerned about his health. As for JR and his return to WWE Raw this past Monday it was kept very secretive and I have been unable to confirm if it is permanent. However, it is certainly worth noting that Jim Ross has said it was never his decision to leave broadcasting and you may remember he lobbied hard to work Wrestlemania this year.

What is the latest with Curt Hawkins?

I received word from a loyal WNW reader that Curt Hawkins was spotted at the EVOLVE Wrestling show in New York City on Tuesday night. I have contacted EVOLVE officials but they have not responded as to whether or not he was there. However, Hawkins has certainly gotten lost in the shuffle in WWE.

With CM Punk on fire right now, wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity for WWE to turn John Cena heel?

It's amazing to me that there can be a full year of storylines and we are right back at the same discussion - John Cena and a possible heel turn. You may remember this is something that was heavily discussed and debated last year and with CM Punk's current status; everyone wants to know if WWE will finally revamp the John Cena character. It's one of those things I will "believe it when I see it" but I can tell you it has come up in some circles. I personally feel that Vince McMahon is going to ride the current Cena character until they can squeeze every ounce of money to be made of it.

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