What are your thoughts on WWE bringing back the brand extension; do you think it will work?
While I always like to remain optimistic, I think WWE is making a mistake by bringing back the brand extension. Taking Smackdown live should help things but the product already suffers from over saturation. Now they’re going to be increasing their content even more with more pay-per-views, spreading a roster that’s already thin, even more thin. Some will argue it’s the perfect opportunity to “clear the cabinets” in NXT and while this does present that opportunity, talent do not always transition cleanly from NXT to the main roster. For every Kevin Owens or Seth Rollins we have to think about talent that were over like rover in NXT only to flop big time on the main roster (Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, Bo Dallas, Neville, etc.).
I truly believe WWE would be better suited to hyper-focus on their current roster, trying to figure out a way to engage their audience with what they already have. WWE is hoping with the increase in pay-per-views the shows will fuel new WWE Network subscriptions but that will only happen if the shows are worth watching. Again, I like to remain optimistic, but this has train wreck written all over it. Let’s also not forget WWE did this a decade ago — including brand-specific pay-per-views — and it did not work.
Is WWE really bringing back the Clash of Champions pay-per-view?
The current plan is for WWE Clash of Champions to take place on Sunday, September 25, 2016 from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. This is currently scheduled to be a Raw branded pay-per-view. WWE hasn't confirmed so we'll stop short of confirming it for them but the Ticketmaster listing is live and online.
We’ve seen the 2KSports deals with The Ultimate Warrior and Sting amount to much more, with each returning to WWE. Will the same happen with Bill Goldberg, who has struck a deal with the video game maker?
We’ve heavily followed this in our Members Content but there is a chance that Bill Goldberg returns to the ring for WWE. The financials are the hangup, as they’ve always been with Goldberg. The video game deal played a key role in WWE mending fences with The Ultimate Warrior and getting Sting in their ring. The same could hold true for a Goldberg return but if it happens, we’re expecting it for Wrestlemania 33 and not something immediate for the brand extension.
What do you think about the talent exchange between WWE and UFC with Brock Lesnar competing at next month’s UFC 200?
I am more excited for UFC 200 than I have been for any WWE event in at least five years. I’m not an avid UFC fan but I embrace the hatred aimed at Brock Lesnar for being a “fake pro wrestler.” Sure, there is risk involved as Mark Hunt could run right through him but so far, Brock has proved all of the doubters wrong. The only thing that has slowed Lesnar in the octagon has been diverticulitis and that seems to be in the past.
As for WWE agreeing to let Brock fight, I’m not one bit surprised and think it’s win-win for them. For one, they have one of their top stars on possibly the biggest UFC show ever a month before one of their biggest shows of the year in SummerSlam. Even if Brock loses, WWE can manage that in storylines and will still likely draw some of the UFC audience over to the WWE Network for at least a couple of months for followup. WWE has always been willing to let Brock fight but wanted a say in the opponent; something I can’t confirm they had with the selection of Mark Hunt, but I would be shocked if they didn’t get to sign off.
We’re also expecting a top UFC name involved at SummerSlam, which WWE is hoping will cross the UFC audience over even if Brock loses. If Brock wins, it will make them look even better.