Why WWE Won't Ditch PG, Cena's Impact, What's Next For CM Punk, The Shield & The Streak

Do you honestly think WWE would lose all of their endorsements if they broke away from their commitment to PG programming?

As much as I try to explain WWE PG, I feel some of you still do not understand, so let me try again. WWE's commitment to PG is due to a few things. The first thing is the company took a PR beating with what happened with Chris Benoit and that affected everyone from advertisers to stockholders. Second, the US economy was on the brink of collapse when Vince McMahon decided to revamp their programming in attempt to attract higher-tier advertisers because he knew they were the companies that would not only withstand a bad economy but could actually afford to spend money in a weak economy. And finally, WWE understands the value of marketing to the entire family. They have no competition so they're going to get the hardcore pro wrestling fans - and yes, that includes you and me. With that demographic wrapped up, they were looking for ways to expand their demographic to the entire household. Take a look what they are doing with Total Divas and the ability to market towards E's audience.

When the transition was first made, the company went a little far, which Vince himself admitted (I heard him say it). However, the company now has the ability to produce programming outside of the PG parameters. For example, Total Divas is rated TV-14 but their core programming continues to carry the PG banner. So to wrap this up, WWE PG is a brilliant lesson in adapting to the times, while restoring public image and attracting higher tier advertisers. It has worked for the company and I don't think can be blamed for the decline in viewership. While I can't tell you why people watch (or don't watch), a lot of it has to do with the quality of programming.  The quality is not the same thing as the rating.  There were plenty of bad angles during the Attitude Era, WWE just had mega stars like The Rock and Steve Austin that could offset it.  Now, they're thinner at the top and when a guy like Cena goes down, the impact is significant.

Did Raw's viewership this past Monday increase due to the announcement that John Cena is returning at Hell in a Cell?

As I just mentioned, I am unable to tell you why people watch or don't watch. However, there are things that can be pointed to that move the needle. John Cena is a guy that can move the needle on his own. His name is very valuable and WWE has the research (through ratings trends) and merchandise sales to back it up. It's also important to look at the quality of programming and point to things that could cause people to tune in. Let's also not forget that Shawn Michaels made a surprise return last week and was announced for this week's show. He's another guy that can move the needle on his own. It is fair to say the numbers increased based on some of the things that happened the week prior and WWE's promotion of them.

Is WWE blowing off CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman at Hell in a Cell? I have enjoyed it but the work of Ryback and Curtis Axel just isn't doing it for me. Do you see Punk getting involved in the corporation angle?

There was some storyline progression in the CM Punk angle that will air on this week's Smackdown that you can read about in our taping results. There's more to the story but I honestly don't know if they plan on blowing off Punk/Heyman at Hell in a Cell. It's safe to say they're probably going to blowoff Punk vs. Ryback, like they did with Axel at Night of Champions. The way the program has been built is to feud Punk/Heyman by offering up different challengers representing Heyman. However, I feel like you, as entertaining and compelling as the Punk/Heyman program has been, the opposition [in Axel and Ryback] has been weak and underwhelming. The problem is Axel and Ryback haven't been established so they aren't seen as viable threats. In other words, they aren't Brock Lesnar. As for Punk being involved in the Corporation angle, most will agree it would be entertaining but I'm not sure they need to go that route yet.

After watching The Shield in action for the past year, I've been wondering, why not have the Shield (all three of them) challenge the Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania? I believe they are more than worthy of this match. And if they are put over, it would cement their legacy as one of the greatest factions in history while also not completely tarnishing the streak since it is a handicap match.

I disagree here because I don't see a payoff. If WWE booked Undertaker vs. The Shield at Wrestlemania, it's a lose-lose situation. If Undertaker goes over, you just had a guy that works one match a year job out three of your brightest young stars. If The Shield goes over, they just killed one of the most iconic records of all time and they should have because it would 3-on-1. At this point, the streak needs to remain intact. The only time I have ever lobbied to end it was this year when it was CM Punk as the challenger. My thinking was Punk had the 434-day WWE title reign and they could cement him as a legend in the business by ending the legendary streak. The decision was made to have him put Undertaker over and now it's best just to let the streak end as the streak, regardless of how big it gets.

Want more Ask WNW? You can now Tweet your questions to Richard at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom using the hashtag #AskWNW and get an answer! The only condition is you MUST be following Richard Twitter.com/wnwdotcom.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, October 17, 2013. Remember questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. Check out the Ask WNW archive at this link.

Submit questions to: [email protected]!

  • ken

    The Heyman feud is holding Everyone (including Punk) back. No matter how hard they try, Axel and Ryback arent getting over because Heyman is still the mouthpiece. They just seem like two stooges who can’t get the job done. Also, Punk isn’t maineventing anymore too and isn’t nearly as hot as he was in 2012. The intentions are good, but both Axel and Ryback would be better of solo. They need to establish themselves in the midcard and and pollish their characters.

    • jdl

      That is not why Axel and Ryback are failing to get over. Axel has failed to get over due to poor booking, Heyman is the perfect person to get someone over, but even he can only do so much when it comes to Axel constantly being beat. Ryback is failing to get over so far because he’s a clumsy moron who doesn’t know when to shut his mouth. Simply put they brought Lesnar into the feud too soon, and that’s why this isn’t working out very well, as if Punk can stand up to Lesnar, why would he have major issues with Axel and Cryback? Punk and Heyman are tearing down the house with their promos and the feeling of authenticity with their animosity towards each other, but the matches lack logic.

      • Danny_Boy

        This feud is failing because Punk refuses to put over newer talent, always has and always will. He buried Ryback last year and he’s doing it again this year. He’s buried Curtis Axel like no one else has ever been buried before. Punk wouldn’t even put over Daniel Bryan last spring during their feud. Unless your already star, Punk will NOT put over period.

        • Adam Eaton

          Its the wrestlers who call the shots. Because punk wanted to lose his first title just because randy orton kicked him in the head. I guess instead of wwe we can just call it wcw. Hogan should be welcomed back with open arms

          • David F.

            Axel just doesnt have any personality. WWE tried to elevate him up the card but he is just too bland and boring. He is decent in the ring but he has none of his dad’s charisma.Axel was given an opportunity but the audience just does not care for him. The only challengers I would want to see take on Taker’s streak !. Brock Lesnar 2. John Cena 3. The Rock

          • Bob’s Diner

            I slightly disagree about Curtis Axel – I would take him more seriously if he wasn’t losing to people like R-Truth on a weekly basis

          • Danny_Boy

            Or if he wasn’t getting buried by Punk everytime

          • Bob’s Diner

            The CM Punk haters always make me laugh. If he were John Cena or Randy Orton, Ryback would have been fired months ago for being too reckless. And as for the wrestlers getting to “call the shots”, I am sure CM Punk asked to lose at every major PPV this year, and Daniel Bryan would have asked to be a 2-time WWE champion without holding the belt for a combined 24 hours. That makes so much sense

          • Danny_Boy

            The Punk supporters are even funnier, you guys actually believe this dude is the 2nd coming of Jesus or something. The reason why no one gives a damn about Axel is because Punk buries the dude every time they have match. Same with Ryback. How are those guys suppose to get over if Punk isn’t willing to put them over atleast once??

          • Bob’s Diner

            How do you know he wasn’t willing? How do you know he didn’t go to his
            bosses and say ‘Hey, I would like to put over this guy in this match’
            and he was told no? Believe it or not, that does happen.

            And let me ask you what does more damage: being beaten by the likes of Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, or being beaten by one of the top names in the company?

            You need to learn what ‘bury’ actually means in pro-wrestling

          • Steve pritchard

            You cant tell this dude anything . I think he says alot just to get an argument started . Why would punk go under to ryback or axel? It wouldnt benefit anyone . Just because they beat punk doesnt change the fact that they suck. Dont even reply to this troll . All he does is bash punk and if you disagree with him . He just calls you a iwc punk fanboy and goes on a childish rant. He’s not worth debating with.

          • Danny_Boy

            Your a dumba**. I bash Punk because he’s clearly overrated. You guys sit up here and worship everything this man does and hold on to this guy’s every word like he’s God or something. Get a life!

          • Steve pritchard

            Thanks for proving my point. If you dont like punk good for you . I guess we have to agree to disagree . How old are you 12 . Or 34 living in your momas basement. Tell me to get a life . All you do on here is say things to start an argument . I never took you serious enough to to argue with you. So long kid .

        • Hannibal Lector

          What on earth is this?

          I don’t even…

          Are you implying the completely talentless Curtis Axel should have been put over Punk or something?

        • Bob’s Diner

          I didn’t realize CM Punk is in charge of creative! BTW “He’s buried Curtis Axel like no one else has ever been buried before.” is about the funniest comment I have EVER read on this site. Kudos

        • The Breaker

          It’s so funny how 90% of the IWC has no concept of what “burying” actually is, and yet they continue to use it like they invented the term.

      • TheBigKing1

        I disagree, but ok.

    • TheBigKing1

      I wouldn’t say they aren’t getting over, because they are…but I hear what you’re saying.

    • Steve pritchard

      Im sick of the heyman angle myself . But im afraid if they put him in this corporate angle too soon. He will kill bryans momentum. The problem with ryback is he just lacks the talent to be at the top card . He has the look , but he’s horrible on the mic and the ring . He’s like a bad immitation of goldberg. And considering how bland goldberg was . Thats not a good thing .

    • Lebron James

      To be a Heymen guy, you must have in ring skills. Go down the list, they all could get it done in the ring. If you put too below average/mediocre wrestlers with him, no matter how great Heymen is, he can only do so much. Thats why since the day that Heymen guys angle started, I always suggest Antonio Cesaro. There’s not a single guy in that roster that would benefit the most. My second tier choices would be Barret, Kingston, or Ziggler.

  • Jbreed

    People need to realize the WWE sucked even before the PG era. The problem is the creative writing, otherwise you can still come up with a good product without it being over the top. Look at the Rhodes/The Shield feud and especially their match on Raw. There was nothing racy, edgy and over the top about any of it and still it’s been awesome. But the problem is there’s not much else on Raw worth watching. As much as I’d love to see The Attitude Era all over again I know it’s not coming back, so if they write better stuff like the stuff I mentioned above instead of wasting our time with crap like Santino Marella vs. Fandango, Los Matadores vs. 3MB, The Real Americans vs. Tons Of Funk and other irrelevant crap on Raw than the PG era wouldn’t be so bad.

    • H.M.

      Wholeheartedly agree. The move to 3 hours has done nothing but produce more pointless filler aside from the opening segment, big match midway and main event. Thank God for DVR’s, I always say.

      • Anand Vijayakumar

        Plus the recaps of what happened earlier in the show 4-5 times and the recap of what happened last week another 4-5 times…

        During the last RAW episode they showed Big Show knocking out Trip so many times. It was so frustrating. Thankfully I wasnt watching it live so, fast-forwarded those segments…

  • Cubed56

    In regards to the streak question, there is only 3 viable people that should be in question to challenge the streak at WM XXX IMO, however I don’t think creative and taker would allow any of these 3 to end the streak. Those three are 1. John cena. He has done everything else in the business but challenge the streak, and he really brings a sense of doubt to if the streak will end. Let’s be honest he probably won’t end it, as it does nothing for him, but he is the probably the only man on the roster taker would allow to end it, besides love or hate cena, everyone wants to see this match. 2. Bray Wyatt. The promos these two would cut against one another would sell the match itself, but depending on how creative uses Kane upon his return, this could really play into the match, taker tries to save his brother from the brainwashing of bray. If bray wins he could very well be the new taker type of character in wwe for years to come. 3. Dean Ambrose. He has superstar written all over him, and as far a s I’m concerned he already is, along with reigns and Rollins. The promos here will also be great, but if the Sheild is still intact, they could keep getting one up on taker leading to WM, thus creating doubt in takers ability to overcome them. You also avoid a 3-1 handicap, but can still involve reigns in Rollins in some capacity to try and help Ambrose. Or Ambrose tells the other two to not interfere, and he comes closer then anybody to ever beating it, thus even in defeat creating a even bigger star.

    • Mark

      As a long time wrestling and undertaker fan I think there are only two options for the streak. Either it has to keep going or it has to end at the hands of Kane. I know it doesn’t do anything for the build of a new guy but for a minute just think of the story. Out of all the guys taker has been in angles with kane has been the constant for so many years and if anyone has to end the streak then only Kane has that special connection with the Undertaker that I think would make the fans accept it, especially those like me have been following wrestling since before the attitude era.

      • Cubed56

        I agree with you Kane argument fully. That’s why if bray is gonna challenge for the streak, Kane has to be involved somehow, I also agree I don’t think any of the three I mentioned should beat the streak, I wouldn’t mind if they did, but like I said I don’t any of them will, it’s just my top 3 people who should challenge the streak

    • gunshot225

      Im kinda there with u on cena. But wat is with u people and wantin a new person to break the streak? Its so cheap

      • Cubed56

        I’m not saying any of the three I mentioned should beat taker, it’s just my opinion of who I think are the top 3 to challenge the streak

  • sam

    I disagree..they brought ryback up way to quickly and to top it off he had to lose to punk to set up Punk vs The Rock at the Royal Rumble which would later set up Rock vs Cena II at WM 29. Ryback lost soo much momentum with those losses that even a heel turn couldn’t save him because by then the fans just wouldn’t buy it

  • jake

    Richard, yesterday you posted about cena’s ‘Legacy’ being up there with Hogan, Hart, austin etc. I dont dispute any of this as understand it, but why is it Michaels is never mentioned on ‘Lists’ like this? (Should I have put this as a question instead of a comment? First time joining in).

    • Xavier

      WWE put out a DVD in late 2010/early 2011 called the top 50 superstars in WWE history and Michaels was ranked 1st on that list. You should check it out.

    • Bob’s Diner

      I think it has to do with cross-over appeal; if you asked anyone on the street who Shawn Michaels is, unless they were a wrestling fan they would have no idea, while any of the other names would most likely be known. Could be in part to him missing out on the 2 real boom periods of wrestling

      • Steve pritchard

        I disagree . His outdoor chanel show is pretty popular with hunters like myself. Plus he attends alot of hunting expos. Besides it wasnt that long ago when he retired. So yeah alot of people young and old know who he is.

  • Me

    I fast forward thru matches I don’t care abt. Matches I have seen a lot already. And matches with no real storyline relevance . So needless to say I only watched one match Monday… Also if I mis spelled any words it is only because this p.o.s. disqus makes it blurry when I try to us it. I honestly can’t see a word I’m writing… No lie…

  • Malboja

    An interesting thought ! Given that you said cena is one of the greatest along with the likes of hogan , rock and Austin
    Where would you place them if they were all in the pg world that we are in today
    I for one could not imagine a pg Austin , and even on the rocks last run he pushed the pg boundaries a little
    Cena as the dr of thugonomics could of hung with them all but could they hang with pg cena ?

  • Lebron James

    At this point, I wont accept anybody facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania unless it’s John Cena. It’s time.

  • AaayJaay Wyatt

    If Cena breaks the streak we riot.