I don't know about you but I feel that the Women's Championship match at NXT Takeover was one of the best Diva matches in the history of the division, what are your thoughts on it?
Charlotte and Natalya had a fantastic match at NXT Takeover. To be honest, I was actually a bit surprised. We all know what Natalya is capable of as the best female in-ring worker in WWE but how about Charlotte? I knew she had been getting high marks but she raised her stock more than anyone else on the show. Of course this is a candidate for one of the best bouts in the history of the Divas division. When was the last time a Divas match went 17 minutes on the main roster? Nattie and Charlotte proved, like Emma and Paige proved at ArRIVAL, give these women a chance and they will shine.
Without a championship match, and with the two main events being rematches, the card for Payback looks weaker than the average WWE "pay-per-view". Do you think the choice not to rush to a decision over the WWE Championship (opting for a dialogue segment instead of, say, a match for the vacant title) was made easier by the existence of the WWE Network? In other words, with the focus having shifted from buy-rates to long-term subscriptions, is there less pressure than before for each individual event to be "must see?"
WWE's entire business model is changing with the WWE Network and I do believe there is no longer a sense of urgency that a show must-sell. The company punted their pay-per-view model (which accounted for 17% of their net revenue in 2012) in favor of the WWE Network and it's still very much in a state of transition. However, WWE was dealt a stiff blow when Daniel Bryan was in need of neck surgery after investing heavily in him coming out of Wrestlemania. I mentioned in Thursday's Premium Mailbag how this was yet another drawback of unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight titles. Two world titles forced WWE to have two main events at every pay-per-view, now we're seeing just what I feared in a shrinking main event scene. All and all the Payback card is weak. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt should have been blown off by now and Evolution vs. The Shield doesn't need a followup (the younger team already won in a gimmick match). The rest of the bouts are TV bouts that wouldn't sell a show on their own. Nonetheless I expect most WWE Network subscribers will be watching, so I guess we could argue WWE doesn't have to put quality cards on their pay-per-views anymore to attract an audience.
Why has Damien Sandow been relegated to this awful "regional heroes" gimmick?
It's safe to say the WWE creative doesn't have anything for Damien Sandow so they're going with comedy. I hoped the worked shoot promo he did earlier this month was a sign of bigger things to come but that hasn't been the case. As is the case with Dolph Ziggler, who we talked about on Wednesday, it ultimately comes down to who Vince McMahon sees as a viable headliner. All Sandow can do at this point is continue to take advantage of every opportunity that he's given.
What do you think of the idea of WWE using the current financial loss in a storyline?
WWE has shown they are more than capable of turning real life situations into storylines (example: The Yes Movement), however, I don't expect them to go anywhere near the issues regarding investor confidence. I was actually surprised Vince McMahon even admitted they were "disappointed" with the new domestic TV agreement with NBCUniversal. Investor confidence and a positive public image are essentials for the company and they're doing everything they can to stabilize following a rough month.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2011: How will the WWE Network change WWE broadcasting and will it be available outside the United States? - The WWE Network is going to alter the business in that it’s going to be the first network of its kind. The current WWE television deals for Raw Supershow and Smackdown will remain in place throughout their duration. Vince McMahon feels it’s important these deals remain intact because they are great to create awareness for the forthcoming WWE Network. If Wrestlemania XXVIII is broadcast on the WWE Network, it’s going to alter the pay-per-view model which I feel is outdated. A lot of readers want to know of the international plans for the WWE Network and so little has been confirmed about how the network will gain clearance in the US, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens internationally. WWE is committed to international expansion and they aren’t going to leave out these valuable markets.
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The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, June 2, 2014.