This Week in ‘E – Are You Tough Enough? (CM Punk Leads Nexus, Amazing Kong Signs)

Tough Enough officially is coming back to the airwaves, John Cena got a boo-boo and WWE reportedly signed the baddest woman on the planet…

Opening Witty Banter
Once again The ‘E is coming to you a day late on a Tuesday. Why yes, I did have a great New Year’s holiday. Thanks for asking.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
According to the New York Times, WWE Tough Enough will return to the air on April 5, 2011, the night after WrestleMania XXVII. The first week it will air at 10 PM CST, right after RAW, but then transition into a permanent spot at 7 PM CST, right before RAW, and running head-to-head ROH on HDNet.

WWE’s Kevin Dunn claimed the show is aimed at those who would not otherwise watch the WWE live product.

Here’s the WWE’s press release about TE’s return:

“USA NETWORK PICKS UP TOUGH ENOUGH

LOS ANGELES, CA –January 3, 2011 – USA Network has given a ten episode order to “WWE TOUGH ENOUGH,” a non-scripted series in collaboration with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and Shed Media US. “WWE TOUGH ENOUGH,” slated to debut April 4, 2011, will feature a group of twelve individuals looking for an once-in-a-lifetime shot to become the next WWE Superstar or Diva. The grand prize winner will be awarded a contract with WWE, joining its roster of talent.

“WWE TOUGH ENOUGH” will premiere at 11/10c the day after WrestleMania® XXVII and immediately following USA’s ratings juggernaut “WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW®.” It will then move to its regularly scheduled slot, Mondays at 8/7c, starting on April 11th.

“We’re thrilled to tag team with the WWE in bringing TOUGH ENOUGH back to television,” said Chris McCumber, evp marketing, digital and brand strategy, USA Network and Jeff Wachtel, president original programming USA Network & co-head, original content, Universal Cable Productions. “By focusing on both the physical and the performance challenges of becoming a Superstar, the show will shine a new light on what it takes to truly make your mark in the WWE universe.”

“For years, the return of `TOUGH ENOUGH has been one of the most talked about and speculated topics amongst reality show fans and television industry insiders,” said Kevin Dunn, Executive Vice President, Television Production, WWE. “With the combined promotional muscle of USA Network and WWE, the right time slot and the reality show experience of Shed Media, WWE is looking forward to the successful return of one of television’s first reality show hits.”

The diverse group of men and women will live and train together in a house in Los Angeles. To see who has what it takes to be the next WWE Superstar or Diva, the contestants will battle it out each week in a series of unique challenges designed to test for such characteristics as showmanship, creativity, athleticism and desire, just to name a few. Each episode will feature a current WWE Superstar, who will introduce the contenders to a quality that they must possess to make it to the top of the sports entertainment world. Along the way, viewers will witness the trials and tribulations of what it takes to be one of the best in the world’s greatest sports entertainment organization.

Each episode will conclude with the elimination of one of the hopefuls who is left outside of the ring, while those that remain will move one step closer to their dream. In the final episode, the remaining contestants will battle it out for the grand prize.

Shed Media US, noted for its strong characters and memorable casting in the non-scripted arena, will produce WWE TOUGH ENOUGH. The company’s previous reality credits include “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “World’s Strictest Parents.” Producing for Shed Media US are Alex Demyanenko and Eric Van Wagenen.

USA Network is the #1 network in all of basic cable and is seen in over 98.5 millionU.S. homes. A division of NBC Universal, USA is the cable television leader in original series and home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, acquired televisionseries and entertainment events. The award-winning USA website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.

USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms including television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 500 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Mexico City. Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/. “

The show will be brought back for an original ten episode run, featuring eight men and four women living together in a house in LA. Judging by the press release it seems as it will follow much of the same format as the original three seasons. The company really put the show over on commentary tonight on RAW, with Josh Matthews used primarily as an example of the series’ success, notwithstanding the success of Tough Enough alumni John Morrison and The Miz, the two men who tore it up in the WWE Title match immediately following the announcement. That all being said, I’m looking forward to Tough Enough’s return, if only to get rid of what has now become the absurdity of NXT. But does it need to be on Monday nights as well? I’m all about synergy and a wrestling “block” but I worry it may be too much at once (like Impact and ReAction) and spot on Tuesday nights would be better.

John Cena was injured during a WWE live event on Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Cena was wrestling Wade Barrett in a main event cage match and took Barrett’s Wasteland finishing move and injured his leg. The problem was noticed when Barrett then went to ascend the cage and noticed that Cena wasn’t following him. He then acted like his leg was caught in the cage to buy some time. After discussion between Cena, Barrett, the referee and trainers, the finish of the match was quickly changed to Cena making Barrett tap out to the LeBell Lock.

Post-match, Cena addressed the crowd.
He said, “I got a little beat up tonight and if I need to take some time off I will but I will not be carried from the ring.”

World Wrestling Entertainment acknowledged the injury via a brief article on their website that stated, “Last night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., John Cena suffered a hip injury. His return to action will be evaluated on a day to day basis.”

While no real official announcement has been made regarding the severity and nature of the injury, internally it is believed that Cena suffered a deep bruise and the injury is not as serious as originally feared. He will more than likely be out of action for the next few days at the very least.

WWE Hall of Fame commentator Jim Ross talked about the injury on his Twitter page and speculated that the injury was a “hip pointer.” A hip pointer is deep bruising of the pelvic bone and muscle from a hard blow to that area. The injury can also cause internal bleeding within the abdominal muscles.

Meanwhile The Big Show has been moved to the RAW brand’s house shows throughout this upcoming week to battle Barrett in Steel Cage matches and act as a replacement for Cena. The main event for SmackDown house shows has now been changed to Edge defending the World Championship against Kane and CM Punk in a triple threat match.

Well apparently he will be back in time for next week’s RAW so all is right in the world of WWE once again. I mean even if he is injured he can piss around easily enough until his spot in the Royal Rumble match. He won’t really need to be at full strength until the build up the Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania.

The Awesome Kong has signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, according to various sources.

Kong (born Kia Stevens) wrote on her Twitter account on December 29 a post that hinting at the signing.
She wrote, “My dreams just came true today. I got my dream job. Yes, THAT one.”

This comes on the heels of Kong being arrested last Wednesday, December 22, in Florida on charges of driving with a license that was either canceled, suspended or revoked. She was released on $1,000 bond.

Kong has been wrestling since 2002 and has made a name for herself on the independent circuit and in Japan as one of the most dominant female wrestlers in history. She signed with TNA Wrestling in October 2007 and became the centerpiece of the company’s burgeoning women’s division. Along the way she was TNA Women’s Champion twice and was also one half of the TNA Women’s Tag Team Champions with Hamada.

She parted ways with TNA Wrestling in March 2010 while still one half of the Tag Champions. She had been having problems with the company since January when shock rock DJ and former TNA employee Bubba The Love Sponge claimed Kong attacked him backstage at TNA taping due to his negative comments concerning the Haiti earthquake relief project. Kong was reportedly sent home from the tapings following the altercation. On January 19, Stevens reportedly asked for her release from TNA. After she refused to take part in TNA’s January 2010 tour of the United Kingdom, the company suspended her. The following month, Stevens filed a lawsuit against Bubba for an alleged threatening phone call. She was reportedly released from TNA on March 1. She later revealed that she had asked for her release due to monetary issues and recent changes to TNA management.

The real question for me is what her name is gonna be? Personally I’d simply go with KONG and leave out the adjectives, but who knows? She’ll probably end up as LayCool’s bodyguard to start with, leading to her two big money matches against Natalya and Beth Phoenix before she becomes Santino Marella’s latest girlfriend.

WWE has removed their guest star page from the RAW section of WWE.com.

I must say I was surprised it lasted a full uninterrupted year before it transitioned into the guest star gimmick before quietly fading away. I can’t say I miss it one bit, but it did bring some random bits of goodness. For every Bob Barker, William Shatner, Jeremy Piven’s “SummerFest”, Jesse Ventura or Rowdy Piper we got Verne Troyer, some NASCAR guy, ZZ Top any others I’m sure I’ve blocked from memory.

Joey Mercury is now working as a trainer for FCW after recovering from his torn pectoral muscle.

I would like to see Mercury on television somewhere, probably working in a tag team with a young guy, but I’m not naïve enough to know he wouldn’t just completely lost in the shuffle. He’s probably in the best spot he can be right now. The only money match he has left on WWE TV is a run against Morrison but their split was so long ago in WWE canon that the time for it has probably passed by.

The Road to…The Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble Match

WWE Championship
Randy Orton v. The Miz (c)

Wrestler of the Week
Week of December 27 – January 2: CM Punk
Without actually wrestling a match this week, CM Punk immediately reinserted himself into the top of the cards on WWE Monday Night RAW. He went toe-to-toe with World Wrestling Entertainment’s golden boy Cena in a sparring session on the microphone and established himself as Cena’s new number one enemy. Then at the end of RAW last week he revealed himself to be the new mastermind and leader of The Nexus, replacing the injured Wade Barrett. Punk now looks to start the New Year as a major player heading into WWE’s most popular time of the year, The Royal Rumble leading into WrestleMania, and position himself as someone to watch out for in 2011.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Once again this is coming to you with RAW in the books. But I must say it was a great show to kick off a New Year. Miz-Morrison was one helluva way to open 2011. I’m hoping we can remember this match one year from now when the best of 2011 start rolling in. While I’m disappointed that Morrison won’t get his shot at The Royal Rumble it was still a great performance that hopefully rewards him in the future. A lot of the rest of the show felt flat and just a little off the mark but I have faith that the show will just be awesome from here on out leading up to WrestleMania.

On Last Week’s Episode…
I want it all in excess, the sex, and much success

I’m rising up, I’ve had enough…

You make the rain fall!…oh wait…wrong season

Now get the guns, the drugs, from my generation

How They Rated
SmackDown! (12.21.10) – 2.54

Tribute to the Troops (12.22.10) – 2.0

Superstars (12.23.10) – .55

A.M. RAW (12.26.10) –

RAW (12.27.10) – 3.1

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Ditch looks back at 2010 and predicts into 2011.

Logan does Nitro and Superstars

Check out parts 2, 3 and 4 of The Riren. Wiswell is good people.

Mark has been a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over three years now, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.

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