Randy Orton Suspended For Wellness Violation; What Caused The Positive Test & Details On His Nuclear Backstage Heat, Two Other WWE Stars Fail Tests But Do Not Get Suspended, The Rock Reveals When He's Coming Back To WWE, Brock Lesnar's Future In WWE & Full Details On His Meeting With UFC's Dana White; Did WWE Work The UFC?, WWE '13 Unveiled, Don West & Alex Shelley Leave TNA, Impact Goes Live; Changes In The Works, Ask WNW Archive & All The Big News From This Past Week

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Is there any heat on Zack Ryder? It seems his run on television has been significantly scaled back.

Have you ever heard the popular excuse that "creative has nothing for you"? That's the situation Zack Ryder finds himself in, as do many of the mid-carders in the company. It's a situation where Ryder had an opportunity but struggled to gain grounding. This is nothing more than the life of a mid-card talent and I'm unaware of any particular backstage heat on him.

What did you think of the commentary at WWE Over the Limit?

I haven't commented on the commentary at WWE Over the Limit but I felt it was the best Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T have worked together. They were fun and entertaining and not over-the-top and annoying. They had a very difficult job with John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis as the show's main event and passed with flying colors. Cole gets a lot of heat from the IWC but one thing that's always worth noting is he stepped in a position that was "no win" in trying to replace the best play-by-play man of all-time in Jim Ross.

Is there any update regarding The Undertaker?

The Undertaker is semi-retired and I haven't heard his name connected with anything that doesn't have to do with Wrestlemania. Given the fact that WWE wants to keep selling "the streak" and Undertaker only has a select number of matches left, I would be surprised if he's used before Wrestlemania XXIX next year.

Why did WWE bring back Skip Sheffield as Ryback?

Ryback was Skip Sheffield's old gimmick as he was a WWE developmental standout along with Sheamus as Sheamus O'Shaunessy and Ryback were a tag team prior to Sheamus being called up to the main roster. While The Nexus provided Sheffield a good opportunity, he was nothing more than an extra to people like Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan. The revamp as Ryback gives him a chance to become a much "bigger deal" in WWE.

After all the hype with the cryptic videos, why was there no 'revolution' as promised on Raw?

The "A Revolution is Coming" viral video campaign was done to reveal the release date of WWE '13. Last night on Raw Supershow the company revealed the cover featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and the release date of Tuesday, October 30, 2012. While the video wasn't mentioned or shown, this was the purpose behind the campaign.

What are the specifications to the "iron clad" contract the Big Show mentioned on Raw?

Big Show was putting over the "new contract" he signed after helping John Laurinaitis beat John Cena at this month's Over the Limit pay-per-view - it was all a work. I did want to take this opportunity to put over the booking of Big Show. While it's clear he took the spot originally slated for Tensai, he's much better being booked as a massive heel rather than a corny babyface.

What is WWE doing with Brock Lesnar and Triple H storyline? Did they drop it?

WWE is selling the angle that Brock Lesnar "quit" and Triple H is "injured." Hunter is advertised for upcoming tapings leading into SummerSlam and Brock is expected back as well where it's rumored the two will face one another in the show's main event. Lesnar grabbed headlines over the weekend after meeting with UFC officials. We have full details on that meeting available here and will be uncovering more later this afternoon.

There was talk that Michelle McCool was coming back when the Undertaker returned. Anything regarding her status?

WWE has been interested in bringing Michelle McCool back but she said in January she has no interest in returning to WWE anytime soon. For all things Michelle McCool, check out here news page here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

What's the reason behind Big Show replacing Tensai and why the name change?

Producers and writers in WWE started to become concerned after Tensai failed to get over after multiple opportunities. The company had high hopes for him but it hasn't worked to this point. The name change is part of an effort to makeover the character, perhaps as a mid-carder rather than an upper level superstar. I have more on his downgrade at this link

What's next for Dolph Ziggler?

I've heard a lot of rumors about Dolph Ziggler being moved to Smackdown to be pushed in singles competition. Earlier this month, Ziggler met with Triple H and John Laurinaitis in regards to his character and while he was initially blown off, things are changing.

Whatever happened to Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine?

Andy Leavine had heat right out of the gate when he no-sold Steve Austin's Stunner on the episode of Raw to announce him as Tough Enough winner. He never recovered as he was sent to Florida Championship Wrestling for seasoning but the feeling was he just required too much work to ever be ready for a main roster call-up.  Subsequently he was released from his contract last month.

Will Sting be finished with TNA at the end of the year?

Sting's TNA contract is up at the end of the year. He has worked year-to-year for several years so he can reevaluate his status as to whether or not he wants to keep going or hang it up. A lot of people wonder if he has a WWE run left in him and while anything is possible, Sting's best opportunity was a couple years ago when he was offered a WWE contract to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVII.

What effect does Randy Orton's suspension have on top talents such as John Cena given the fact ratings are slipping and they may need more out of their top guys?

The ramifications of Randy Orton's suspension are massive which is why there is nuclear backstage heat on him. WWE is in desperate need of top names and the fact that one of their top guys screwed up this bad at this stage in his career has everyone upset. The trickle down effect is significant as it's going to be up to guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Big Show, etc. to step up and fill the gap because given Orton's history of problems, there isn't going to be a lot of confidence in booking him going forward.

I feel like being called the face of the WWE is a huge honor and it's a title that doesn't necessarily go to the current champion. That being said, can you name some guys of the past that were considered the faces of the WWE?

The "face of the company" can be defined as "the biggest draw" or who sells the most merchandise. Generally I don't like making lists such as this because they can be debated and I don't have the sales figures in front of me. However, I'm willing to take a look at top names since Cena. Coming out of the Attitude Era, Triple H was "the guy" and prior to him that title was held by Steve Austin and The Rock. It was Austin and The Rock, along with DeGeneration X, that carried the product to a new level and ultimately put WCW out of business. Prior to them, Bret Hart was the guy and then of course we have Hulk Hogan who really took the entire business to a new level.

What type of backstage influence to guys like Kane and Christian have?

Veterans always have more backstage influence than the younger guys. Not only is the respect level higher amongst their co-workers but their opinions also carry more weight with company officials. How big a star a worker is gauges how much influence that particular worker has. As you can imagine someone like John Cena or CM Punk has considerable stroke over someone like Tyler Reks or Curt Hawkins.

Once Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger's alliance breaks up, what do you think will be next for the All-American American? Will WWE try to turn him into the next American hero or the next Kurt Angle?

WWE is high up on the in-ring work of Jack Swagger which fueled his reign as World Heavyweight Champion a couple years ago. However, there were problems with Swagger's attitude which ultimately led to his push getting killed and him enduring a "humbling" experience. Swagger, at 30-years-old, is starting to enter his prime years so it will be up to him where he is able to go from here. Swagger has got to take advantage of the opportunities he gets, getting over with the audience then convincing management he's not going to have any more behavioral issues. I feel like with Orton's spot being vacated, it's an opportunity for anyone working below him.

Seeing as how WWE is short on top tier talent, do you think they should call some older guys to come back for a couple of months? Like Shawn Michaels, possibly the Undertaker? Or maybe reach out to Batista and see if they can get back under contract?

WWE has already done what you are asking, hence The Rock and Brock Lesnar coming back on part-time deals. Shawn Michaels is under WWE contract but is retired from the ring and only desires to do things that do not involve him wrestling. The Undertaker is also under WWE contract but is semi-retired and used for Wrestlemania. Batista is a guy the company has interest in but no deal has been put together as of this writing. Now is the time of year where competition is light and can be used to develop new main event stars. Rather than WWE relying on the older and more established names, it's a good time to create more stars to mix with the aforementioned talent when competition gets stiffer and Wrestlemania season draws closer.

When a WWE star is injured, how is he/she paid? Is it their normal pay or do they take a cut since they are missing shows, PPVs, etc.?

WWE contracts are structured with downside guarantees and bonuses. The downside guarantee is based off a yearly percentage that is paid out to workers regardless if they are working or not. The only time WWE workers do not collect their downside is when they are suspended. This is how a WWE star is able to make a living while out with an injury or any other ailment that would prevent them from working.

Was Kane included in the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan feud because of the WWE's lack of faith in them or was it to add a big name to help get them over?

As I reported here on Richard's Backstage Blog, Kane was inserted as a "smack at smarks" for thinking Punk and Bryan could carry the top program on their own. Immature, I know.

What will WWE do with Randy Orton in two months?

A lot of readers have wondered my thoughts on what the future holds for Randy Orton given his latest WWE suspension. While I obviously cannot predict the future, things don't look good for Randy right now. He has a considerable amount of backstage heat and there is concern for how they will book him going forward. Orton is going to have to convince WWE officials this isn't going to happen again but given his history, that's going to be a very difficult thing to do.

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  • robert

    good i wouldn't watch tna for years cause i knew he was there.