Part Time Talent Working Wrestlemania, Bringing Back Titles, CM Punk/Daniel Bryan, Xavier Woods

In Wednesday’s installment of Ask WNW, you wrote about Vince McMahon being desperate to bring in big name talent for Wrestlemania XXX. It’s only been the last few years that McMahon has built the show largely around part-timers or ex-stars making a one-time appearance. Before that, the Wrestlemania cards were always made of the existing talent. If the storylines were there, do you think it would be possible to put together a great show centered around the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Sheamus, one that could rival past years in terms of buy rates?

Vince McMahon has changed his position on part-time talent, mostly due to the success the company has seen in bringing back stars such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar. Because of this success, it’s changed the priority of bringing back stars. Yes, WWE could still put together a great show centered around their full-time talent but there’s been a shift in philosophy for Wrestlemania. The company already has The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar so even if no other deal is made, these are names that are still going to be on Wrestlemania XXX.

Since WWE are unifying the WWE and World Championship do you think WWE needs to bring back old belts like the Hardcore or Cruiserweight?

While WWE is pushing hard in storyline there will only be one champion after WWE TLC, we need to be careful operating under the assumption the titles will in fact be unified. It seems imminent but if the booking of the past several pay-per-views is any indication, there is no reason not to expect a screwy finish involving The Authority. As for WWE bringing back past titles, I’m against it. The company can’t utilize the titles they currently have so there’s no reason to add more to the mix.

What are your thoughts for the programs of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? I’m not that interested in these programs and feel it’s only being done to try and elevate the Shield and Wyatt family. Both Punk and Bryan deserve something more major leading into the major part of the PPV year for WWE.

I didn’t like the tag match at Survivor Series where CM Punk & Daniel Bryan opposed Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. There wasn’t enough build and the members of The Wyatt Family haven’t accomplished enough to warrant such a match. As for  this new direction where each are opposing different factions, it’s exactly that – a new direction. I’m willing to see how it plays out but there has been a shift when the plan at one time was to end up in a Punk vs. Bryan program at Wrestlemania XXX.

What’s the deal with the Brodus Clay/Xavier Woods program? Are they thinking about turning Clay heel and getting him away from the Funkasaurus gimmick?

The stuff between Brodus Clay and Xavier Woods is just an undercard program to introduce Woods to the WWE audience. WWE is clearly teasing a break away for Brodus Clay but it hasn’t happened yet.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2011: How many buys do TNA pay-per-views buy? Do they make a profit? – When TNA was considering stopping pay-per-views and airing three-hour live specials on Spike TV they were drawing less than 10,000 buys per show. This is a tremendous loss and makes it impossible to make money. Buy rates climbed up following the Hardcore Justice show they did last August so it was determined to continue to run on pay-per-view. TNA is not a public company so they do not release their buy rate numbers so it is impossible for me to give you exact numbers as they are kept secret. However, we can look at some of the percentages for conversions and I’ll give you some numbers to think about. A well-watched edition of WWE Raw does an average audience of around 5,000,000 viewers. A well-watched edition of Smackdown does close to an average audience of 3,000,000 viewers (last week’s Smackdown featuring the send-off for Edge did an average viewing audience of 2,982,000, a very strong number). The average pay-per-view buy rate for the three WWE pay-per-views in quarter four of 2010 did 197,000 buys (click here for the breakdown of numbers). Last week’s TNA Impact did an average viewing audience of 1,540,000 viewers. There are several variables to factor in when considering how well a pay-per-view does but hopefully those figures will give you an idea. It should be noted that Wrestlemania is a different animal as WWE’s goal is to do at least 1 million buys each year for their biggest show of the year but it’s a mark they’ve missed over the past few years. The numbers for this year’s Wrestlemania XXVII are not yet available.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, December 6, 2013.

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  • illdecide

    I’m all for title unification if it means making the IC title worth something again… The World Heavyweight Championship now is pretty much what the IC title was in the past, a 1A title.

    • Draven

      I completely agree with you that way the guys who have been holding the world title can now hold the ic title.

    • GOR

      disposing off WHC will not bring IC more prestige.
      What brings a title prestige are the great matches for the title, good long rivalries, well thought out angles n story-lines. that’s wat brought IC prestige in the past.
      Even today we have people like Miz, barret, cesaro, Kingston, sin cara, ziggler, sandow, ryback etc in mid-card. There’s so much talent but lack of creativity makes it useless.
      What makes u think it will be any different with WHC gone ?

  • Venom

    But just to prove a statement I made in a previous ask wnw comment. How does WWE think they’re making new stars by always giving the heels the handicap advantage? If punk/Bryan win their matches they’ll look great because they beat 3 people. If they lose it took 3 guys to beat them.

    This is how they messed up Legacy when Rhodes/DiBiasi would fight Cena. When Orton and his dad would feud with undertaker. Heidenreich and Heyman vs undertaker. Ryback and Heyman vs Punk. I mean I know at TLC it sounds great especially for Punk/Bryan fans like myself. But it makes Wyatt’s and Shield look like garbage.

    • Xavier

      Valid point

  • Avalanchian

    I do think Vince has it right bringing back talent just for Wrestlemania. It’s a great way to get people watching so they can see a superstar lace them up again.

  • Jbreed

    By having to bring in stars from the past Vince McMahon is bascally admitting his current product sucks.

  • Austin

    I’m all for the WWE bringing in part time talent for Wrestlemania but only if it’s to help elevate new stars. I don’t like the fact that they bring in part time talent to feud with already elevated stars. One match I really want to see is Sheamus Vs Brock Lesnar

    • Xavier

      Lesnar/Sheamus would be really interesting actually. I wouldn’t mind seeing that myself.

  • Xavier

    Personally I don’t think Vince needs to bring in any of the guys from the past to wrestle to have a successful Mania honestly. Fresh feuds or feuds that haven’t been done in years would be plenty. WM23 is a perfect example of that. Cena/Michaels, Batista/Taker & Vince/Trump (Lashley/Umaga) were all feuds that hasn’t been done before and all 3 of those matches got great build which in turn resulted in the highest Mania buyrate of all time (only to be eclipsed by WM28) but still it’s the 2nd highest grossing Mania ever with the 2nd highest buyrates ever so that’s proof in the pudding that you don’t need to bring back guys from the past to sell a Mania. WM19 featured Lesnar/Angle, Austin/Rock, Hogan/McMahon and HBK/Y2J and barely did over 500,000 buys and that’s with the 3 biggest draws of all time on it (Hogan, Austin & Rock) so…..

    If I’m Vince I’d go with Cena/Taker, Bryan/Lesnar, Punk/Cesaro has my main headliners for Mania with Orton/Reigns, Mysterio/Sin Cara(Hunico), Sheamus/Bray Wyatt, Goldust/Cody in the undercard or something along those lines. And if you really wanna make things interesting do a MITB match with 8 guys from NXT with the winner getting a contract to the main roster and a title shot for anytime over the course of the year. That would be a great way to create a huge buzz for a new star.

    • Jbreed

      It’s too much to ask from Vince. Instead of building new must-see stars and coming up with hot Wrestlemania calibre feuds, he’d rather just take the easy way out and bring in stars from the past who he knows could sell.

    • Venom

      Well now that there will only be one title they won’t have MINTB matches on the MINTB ppv so I guess they can do one at wrestlemania and 1 at the ppv (if they do one). Maybe an interesting scenario is NXT guy cashes in and wins only to lose it to the MINTB ppv winner. The only flaw I see in the NXT/MINTB match is that so far midcarders are pissed with part-timers wrestling at mania now they’ll have developmental talents wrestling at mania. While I doubt Vince or Triple H will care it won’t be good for morale.

      I think the perception of wrestlemania has changed over time. In the past it was all about finishing off all feuds and start fresh new storylines and new debuts the next night on raw. Kind of like wrestlemania is NYE and the following raw is the first day of the new year. About 7 years ago it was all about fresh and exciting new matches that we never seen before at mania. With the ppv Backlash or now Extreme Rules almost being wrestlemania rematches with hardcore rules.

      In the past few years wrestlemania has all been about nostalgia. Bringing in people from the past because obviously they decided to only bank on Cena and Orton. In the last 10 years the only real stars I see they made are Cena, Orton and Batista. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in the last 2 years. Sure there are Edge and Sheamus and Del Rio and I guess Miz but not to the extent that fans are dying to see.

      But you’re right. They don’t need a card full of part timers. I think it’s good to bring people in for cameo appearances. But sont have them outshine your current full time stars. And the thing is how much if a profit are they really making by paying The Rock and Lesnar for mania. For example and this is just an example: if you pay Lesnar 5 million and the show made 7 million is it really worth it? You could have made maybe 6 million without him and kept it to yourself.

      • Venom

        I meant to write 2 MINTB matches on the MINTB PPV.

      • GOR

        U said it right, the perception of WM has changed.
        In the past it used to be about showcasing the best talent WWE/F had. Now, it is about creating a spectacle that is BEST FOR BUSINESS !

        WWE uses/depends on Part-timers for WM coz they want to make profit at any cost. for this, they sacrifice creating new stars. This is a typical “short term gain/long term loss” policy.

        If they focused more on creating new stars at WM yeah they may make less profit in an individual event but this will help them for a full coming year (long run). “Short term loss/Long term Gain”.

        The truth is WWE needs a good compititor to force them to come-up with a better product. Otherwise, they’ll keep taking fans granted n keep producing shady booking, bad angles n easy tricks like using part-times rather than focusing on current stars to churn out money.

        • Venom

          But see I don’t think they need wrestling competition to do better. They have plenty of competition on Monday nights that fans rather watch then raw. I’m not a football fan so I watch the full show. But back when 24 was on I’d miss an hour of raw. Why? Cuz during that time (and now) wwe was missable. I can go online and see if I missed something important. If I really want to see it I’ll watch it online.

          Maybe in a few years the kids of the last 10 years will grow up and get tired of cena and wwe will go back to a more edgy theme like the attitude era for another 5-10 years then go back to pg again. It’s like a rotation. Hulk Hogan era was all about cartoony things and we were all kids. Then after a few years of garbage we got Austin/Rock and it was all attitude. Then after with the invasion we had forgettable garbage until Cena came and it got all pg. Cena retires and we get a few years of garbage we get some attitude/entertainment until more kids come to the world and back to pg.

          It’s the wwe circle of life.

          • Bob’s Diner

            I feel like we are getting the garbage now when there is so much potential to be putting on a great show. SummerSlam proved it is possible to use the roster they have now to put on an interesting show without having to be edgy and bring back the attitude era

          • Venom

            I just remember being in high school during the attitude era and all the geeks and nerds as well as the jocks and “cool kids” having one thing in common and talked about raw. I doubt people talk about wrestling in school. In fact my 10 year old cousin has no clue about wrestling but knows about batman, spiderman and star wars.

    • GOR

      MITB match at wrestlemania is a very good idea. That’ll give a lot of people a chance to star in wrestlemani who dont get it coz of a packed card.

    • Bob’s Diner

      I don’t think an NXT match is the way to go – why give developmental guys that big WrestleMania payday when so many of the full time roster miss out?
      Especially since half of them don’t ever make it past developmental

      They have many options to make a great and memorable WrestleMania without the need for people like Hogan, The Rock and Goldberg. Trouble is they seem to think the only way the ‘smart’ fans will accept John Cena is if they keep having him interact with past stars. They’ll probably dig up Andre the Giant’s coffin next year so he can slam it and be all ‘OMG HE SLAMMED ANDRE NO ONE’S DONE THAT SINCE WRESTLEMANIA III!!!’

      • Dave Barton

        That’d be hard to do…Andre was cremated & had his ashes spread across his ranch.

        • Nick K

          Did you not catch the sarcasm? Or were you trying to look smart because you were andre was cremated. Either way it was a fail.

        • Nick K

          Did you not catch the sarcasm? Or were you trying to look smart because you were andre was cremated. Either way it was a fail.

  • Guest

    Gonna raise my iwc card and do a little fantasy booking with a few stars they already have. Taker vs Cena,
    Punk vs Bryan Iron Man match. Shield triple threat match…book it!

  • Ricky

    While I’m all for seeing Brodus heel, I just don’t see him making any bigger waves as a Monster Heel. I see him as a body guard for someone like Alberto Del Rio, but nothing else.

    • Bryan Smith

      Been there done that already when Brodus was still in NXT.

  • GOR

    As for the new unified title is concerned how about “WWE World Heavyweight Championship” ? This includes actual/original name of the tile n name of company as well !
    n please WWE should not go for a belt that lacks some actual design like the WWE championship.

    • Bob’s Diner

      I don’t think the unified title will last long enough to warrant a new belt design

    • Venom

      That’s what I’ve been saying in yesterday’s Ask WNW. Combine the 2 championships cuz no matter what u need to have the companies name in the title. And I doubt they’re going to abandon a titles history. I hope they call it WWE World Heavyweight Championship and have a real looking championship. And no more custom championship belts I feel that cheapens the title. And I’m not saying this so just knock Cena. I’m saying I also hated the smoking skull belt Austin had.

    • Venom

      That’s what I’ve been saying in yesterday’s Ask WNW. Combine the 2 championships cuz no matter what u need to have the companies name in the title. And I doubt they’re going to abandon a titles history. I hope they call it WWE World Heavyweight Championship and have a real looking championship. And no more custom championship belts I feel that cheapens the title. And I’m not saying this so just knock Cena. I’m saying I also hated the smoking skull belt Austin had.

  • Charlie

    Punk and Bryan program? Why did they not go with this. Even though they’ve had a program before they can have tons of them and still have the match of the night.

    • Bob’s Diner

      They will. JR hinted that was going to be the result of them teaming together and mostly the match they’ll be doing at WrestleMania

  • Venom

    People want to see the IC and US championship replace the world title. To do that is simple. Stop having main eventers beat the title holders in non title matches and not win them.

    Remember the feud on smackdown when Cody Rhodes was IC champion and had the face mask and kept jobbing to Orton in non title matches? Orton didn’t even give 2 crap about IC championship and he wasn’t even competing for world title.

    Maybe go back to olden days by actually defending the championship on raw and smackdown main events to make them big deal and rarely have the unified champion compete on raw/smackdown and only on ppvs.

  • Dave Barton

    I can see the unification swerve now…Cena & Orton are both on the ladder, each one has hold of each other’s title belt, they’re pushing & shoving each other while trying to hold on to the title belts when…

    Here comes HHH to shove the ladder over, putting them both through tables. He then quickly sets the ladder back up, zips up & grabs the belts for himself.

    Thumbs Up if you wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  • Vaneyscopaz

    I want Punk vs Bryan in main event for the wwe title at wm xxx, but if they unify the title, Cena will most likely be champ and main event with the title for like the next 7 years, Unifying the title will only turn the WWE into WWCE, World Wrestling Cena Entertainment…

  • Lebron James

    What if the plan is for Daniel Bryan to join The Wyatts, and Cm Punk to join the Shield? Than they have the two battle up until Wrestlemania. Punk vs Bryan, Wyatt vs Ambrose, and Harper/Rowan vs Rollins/Reigns.

  • Lebron James

    What if the plan is for Daniel Bryan to join The Wyatts, and Cm Punk to join the Shield? Than they have the two battle up until Wrestlemania. Punk vs Bryan, Wyatt vs Ambrose, and Harper/Rowan vs Rollins/Reigns.

    • Bob’s Diner

      Pretty sure The Shield won’t be making it to WrestleMania as a team. Which is a bit of a bummer – they’ve consistently been one of the best parts of the WWE for the last 12 months. If they could find a way to keep them going and give us The Shield vs The Wyatts at WrestleMania, I would be happy.

  • Tim

    Punk vs Bryan who plays the heel and who plays the face.

  • Philip Thompson

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they each grab one of the titles at exactly the same time – possibly switching titles but not unifying them. There may be another attempt to unify them at the next PPV if they want to continue the program.