Boosting WWE Network, Fandango Fizzles, Ultimate Bryan Comeback, Bella vs. McMahon

One of the things that I believe the WWE Network could use is more live programming. With WWE already running several live events per month, why not television them on the WWE Network?

Live programming is what drives the WWE Network and it’s a known fact that live shows such as pay-per-views and WWE Main Event outdraw anything else that airs. With that being said, your solution of airing live events is much easier said than done. First of all, WWE would have to alter their format of live events as they will often repeat a card from city to city in order to provide local fans with programs that are on television and they are familiar with and give the workers a chance to practice for upcoming televised matches. If that was sorted, the main problem with this and why I don’t see it happening is the expense. It’s expensive to produce events for television and airing live events on WWE Network would be so expensive it wouldn’t be worth it. There are multiple things to consider, including getting the production and camera team from city to city along with equipment without getting into the extra time and effort it would take to setup and tear down. The burden would simply not be worth it. However, I agree one of the ways to make the WWE Network better would be to add more original programming.

It seems that Fandango was Vince McMahon’s project with people humming his theme song and doing his dance moves, now it seems like he is booked under, similar to what Damien Sandow is doing. What happened to his push?

It’s safe to say the luster has worn off of Fandango and he’s nothing more than an enhancement talent at the present time. We see this all the time and it’s not just with him either. There are workers and gimmicks the WWE office has high hopes for but they’re unable to get over. Fandango had plenty of opportunities including a win at Wrestlemania against Chris Jericho and a catchy theme song that caught fire. However, he was unable to use those opportunities to separate himself from the many other gimmicks. Not everyone can be Bray Wyatt and it ultimately comes down to how the crowd responds to a gimmick to determine how far they are able to go.

Tell me this doesn’t sound great. Brock Lesnar beats John Cena at SummerSlam, only for Daniel Bryan to get healthy and defeat him for the title at Wrestlemania 31. An amazing comeback story, do you agree?

It’s a great scenario and an amazing comeback story, I’m just not sure it’s realistic at this point. Brock Lesnar is heavily favored to go over John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. In fact, I feel it would be a crucial mistake if that didn’t happen. However, it’s far from a sure thing and we should take the plans one show at a time. I think many fans would love to see Daniel Bryan benefit from the rub that Lesnar was given by ending the streak, however, he has to get healthy first. Currently, Bryan is out of all creative plans as he deals with injury issues. I can tell you a match that Vince McMahon wants to do at Wrestlemania 31 is Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock. I know this is likely to be contentious but I can confirm it’s something Vince wants to do.

The Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella feud kind of reminds me of Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler feud at Wrestlemania a few years ago: not a bad idea and well built up, but receiving way too much attention for what should only be a middle of the card feud. Do you agree?

I think Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella holds more weight to Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler because it’s essentially a Daniel Bryan spinoff. I don’t think fans really cared who “won” between Cole and Lawler but I believe there is legitimate interest in Brie — as Bryan’s wife — and Stephanie — as part of The Authority. With that being said, I don’t think we can go into Stephanie vs. Brie [at SummerSlam] expecting a stellar wrestling match. Their segment on this week’s Raw was entertaining and it’s my hope that can translate to something worth seeing at SummerSlam next month.

From the Ask WNW vault…

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

Questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

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  • supercilious1

    I thought the headline about the “Ultimate Daniel Bryan” comeback would have at least had something unique. Daniel Bryan already had his WM moment by defeating Evolution at WM. WWE put him over in the biggest way possible. Bryan was the first wrestler ever to win the opening and main event match at WM. Yet people want more for him? WWE altered their WM plans which may have caused the blowup with CM Punk. It also caused issues with Batista before he left to promote his movie. WWE did all that and was ready to give Bryan the ball. Then he got hurt. It’s not WWE’s fault that he got hurt. Now we hear his neck issues are worse than they thought. So let’s use some logic here: Why would WWE build another WM around Bryan when he has questionable health. Defeating Brock at WM 31 is now the biggest rub possible. Why would you give that to a guy who may not wrestle for that much longer? This is to big of an opportunity to use on Bryan. Look, Bryan has been heavily pushed on WWE programming since the summer of 2013. If he was really as great as people say the ratings for WWE RAW would have significantly increased. Bryan’s push has only maintained ratings. Even with him being gone WWE has maintained the ratings and have even see an increase compared to last year at this time. Last year at this time they did a 2.86 with Bryan being pushed the hardest; this year they did a 3.05 on their last show.

    • kurt

      I think your point of view is off a little. Bryans push to wm wasn’t one of the reasons punk left. Not booking bryan correctly at the royal rumble held fuel his disdain. Tully Blanchard said it best. ..those who get pushed hardest are the ones who put butts in seats. As for the ratings, they can be viewed many ways. The arenas scream for cm punk every show. To the point where they were editing his chants out. Months and months after he walked away. But, when he was there, ad the champion, the ratings were constant with bryans. Who the champion is, isn’t always the end all be all factor of ratings. Who they are going against in the ratings, if they are coming off a ppv, heading into one, etc. Many, many factors go into ratings. Batista simply came back at the wrong time. He left due to his movie commitments. Batista has always had an attitude. Blaming bryan for low ratings and saying the wwe did enough of a push on him isn’t seeing the whole picture. The ones who gets pushes are rhe ones who get the biggest reactions and sell products. How many people can get a whole arena to chant along with you and you can’t find a single person not chanting along? It’s deafening. Bryans reactions from the fans is pretty unique in this day and age. McMahon didn’t have the faith that a small guy with his look could get over, and he didn’t just prove him wrong, when they booked him so badly at the royal rumble, people freaked. They revolted. That reaction isn’t seen anymore. Ratings don’t tell the whole story. Bryan puts asses in seats. Just like punk did. But they both garnered about the same ratings. Yet over six months later, the cm punk chants drown out promos. That alone proves rating don’t mean everything. They pushed bryan because the fans demanded it. They would have lost a ton of fans if they didn’t put bryan over at wrestlemania. Thats drawing power.

      • Gary Robert

        exactly true. Who the champion is has nothing to do with ratings anymore. This isn’t the WWE product of the 80′s that seemed to hinge on the champion (ie. mainly Hogan). This is now a 3-hour long program with multiple segments. Ratings hinge on the overall product.

        • Venom

          Yeah, considering the last few years the young new champions havent closed the show for the majority of their run. Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Bryan, Mark Henry, even Edge were world champions and they usually opened PPV matches. Punk, Del Rio and Miz were WWE champions and they were second to last matches. Miz may have closed more shows but early on wasn’t the focus and his WM main event he was the third wheel.

          This actually reminds me of a summerslam over 10 years ago I believe it was a triple threat match between The Rock (champ) vs Angle vs HHH and the main feud was Angle/HHH over a Stephanie love triangle. The Rock, while champion was just an extra.

          Being the main champion, while still considered an honor, doesn’t matter unless you’re feuding with the evil authority.

    • kurt

      Ironically, the main reason why batistas baby face run failed was because of the fans reaction to how bryan was booked at the royal rumble. They crapped on batista because he was booked to win something the fans desperately wanted to see bryan win. Anyone in batistas position would have had the same fate. Thats bryan being nuclear over. Thats the type of over you push to main events world titles. Give bryan more is bad? It’s about fan reaction. The fact that the demanded bryan be the champion says it all. Without the fans, wwe is nothing.

      • Rayner Chee-bai

        Honourable mention, Mysterio got booed the hell out of arena for becoming the contestant No. 30 in the Royal Rumble match whereas the fans were crossing fingers for that will be Bryan and ultimately wins the match

    • Bob’s Diner

      In all fairness, ratings have generally been better so far this year all around.

      Let’s not get into another pointless ‘this person draws more ratings’ war – we’ve seen those graphs and they say Brad Maddox and Stephanie McMahon are two of the biggest draws in the company, so the ratings aren’t the most accurate portrayal of everything

  • Venom

    About Fandango… He was on fire and I think was gonna win the IC title but suffered a concussion and was replaced by Curtis Axel who won the match. It’s a catch 22. They’re more serious about concussion for the long term health on wrestlers which is important, however, people lose their spot on the card like Dolph Ziggler.

    As for WWE being hot and cold on wrestlers. Just a common thing. Bo Dallas just lost his streak in a quick match. Cesaro has been on a losing streak and they’ll continue for now.

    I hate when WWE does that, even Kurt Angle lost 10 matches in a row for months and it was acknowledged.

    I imagine the same will happen to Rusev. He’ll be booked strongly for the next few months. He’ll win his program with Jack Swagger. He’ll destroy a lot of wrestlers and guess what? When Brock beats Cena for the title, and I’m sure gets his rematch at Night of Champions, he’ll defend USA by beating Rusev. Then Rusev will become a comedy wrestler.

    We see it too often it becomes predictable. Look at Kozlov, The Great Khali, Tensai. Even Mark Henry before he introduced the Hall of Pain. All were booked as monsters, had a nice early run. Wern’t great wrestlers so nobody needs to waste their time about Kozlov and Khali being what they are and Tensai not being over. Then after the big feud that they lost is over, they end up being comedy dancers.

    Happens in wrestling a lot. Even WCW did that with Tank Abbot once.

    • J Vomkrieg

      Poor Tensai, the guy worked to improve his craft a lot and came back to “albert” chants.

      That character could have worked if they had just left the damned mask on him.

      • JR Texx (Jamie)

        It wouldn’t have mattered, people would have found who he was with or without the mask.

        • J Vomkrieg

          Probably true. but keeping the mask on certainly couldn’t have made it worse. Masks/face paint is funny that way, seems to be working for Cody as Stardust.

    • Bob’s Diner

      I can’t remember if that was before or after he threatened to cut that dude’s throat on live TV…

  • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

    It would be great if Cena’s tweet was leading up to him and Nikki both turning. Nikki turns on Brie at her match against against Staph and Cena comes out and disses Bryan.

  • Bob’s Diner

    Two things:

    Someone on here once mentioned that the network is the perfect opportunity for WWE to start doing the occasional PPV outside of the US and I totally agree. I was watching an interview where Dana White talked about how they use fight pass to further their growth globally by holding shows overseas and airing them on fight pass for the hardcore fans; so while the time zone is a problem for some people, the network negates that and everyone gets to see the show. This is something WWE should seriously think about once the network goes international. They could easily sell out a huge venue overseas which would pay for the costs and gives people in the US incentive to buy the network.

    Secondly, for some reason after Heyman mentioning him on Raw, does anyone else kind of feel like Undertaker might interfere at SummerSlam and cost Lesnar the title shot? Then Rollins cashes in on a beat up John Cena. I’m not saying ZOMG THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!~!, just an idea that jumped out at me…

    • Holden Patrick Harris

      ive been thinking that..or some weird double run in where sting runs in to stop taker from interfering leading to a match at survivor series. i dont see either happening, but hey, we can dream!

  • Matthias

    I think Adam Rose is next in line for a Fandango-esque fall. His gimmick has a very limited shelf-life. I think Rusev will be back to developmental sooner or later too. It made no sense to me for them to feed Big E, someone who could actually be somebody, to Rusev, someone who will be gone off TV within a year.

  • Steve

    DB will be in Brie’s corner at SS. I’m still not convinced Lesnar wins at SS as he would then need to front up at NoC which is another date that would be burnt

  • Robert Olley

    The lawler/cold story made me sick to my stomach frankly. Lawyers mother passed away and michael cold said some truely shocking and uncalled for things. How anybody can compare it to the Stephanie/Brie story is beyond me

  • Padres4life

    I wonder, how will they handle Bryan’s return? will it end up being on of the most epic ever just like Triple H’s at MSG or will they advertise it ahead of time and make it seem less stellar than it should be?

    • kavon

      To be fair hhh return was advertised too ahead.

  • kavon

    Hey Richard, if brock does win he title,who would or should lose it too and when. Plus mind u he is a part timer!