Do you think that there will ever be another company to compete with WWE? If so, which company, and why?
WWE has been operating for over ten years with basically no competition and they have put a stronghold on the market. Not only have they expanded into a global giant but Vince McMahon owns just about every tape library that anyone could ever care about. However, it isn't impossible and could be done. In order to compete with WWE a company would need a national TV deal and plenty of money to spend on talent, production and of course marketing. Many people have hoped TNA would be that company with their national TV deal and significant financial backing but they haven't even scratched the surface. They have had their opportunities but have not been able to create enough momentum to even sell out their major pay-per-views. I could spend the rest of this installment elaborating on why but there really isn't enough time or space.
You have mentioned that John Laurinaitis has been disdained by people backstage in WWE like Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. I also watched Jim Cornette's shoot interview on him and it sounded as if he said he thinks Laurinaitis doesn't know how to do his job. Is that why he is so disliked?
There are a lot of people that feel John Laurinaitis has failed at his job, especially when it comes to signing new megastars. When Jim Ross was Executive Vice President of Talent Relations of WWE we could sit here and name off a list of megastars he brought in. Not so much for Laurinaitis and that is part of the disdain for him. With that being said he doesn't have the most desirable job as you can't just "make" a megastar and a lot of people simply do not understand that. There are two jobs in the wrestling business where someone is always going to have a hard time getting people on their side and they are Talent Relations and Head Creative Writer.
What if a worker is injured and is recovering for a long period of time and their contract expires while they are out? Do they still receive a downside guarantee? Do they get a contract extension?
When a WWE worker under a performer's contract is injured they still collect their downside guarantee (an amount set off a yearly amount that is paid so the worker has money to live off of). The only time WWE workers do not collect this amount is when they are suspended. If a worker's performer's contract expires while they are injured they will no longer collect the money unless WWE offers them a contract extension. WWE usually works with top names in advance to hammer out an agreement so there is never a doubt they end up walking. If a worker is lower on the card, there is always a chance of WWE letting their contract expire.
What is the current condition of Wade Barrett? Do you know when he is expected back?
Wade Barrett suffered a dislocated elbow at a Raw Supershow in February and the injury was much worse than originally expected. While the initial estimate was he would be out 6-8 weeks, it turned out he had to have surgery and isn't expected back until later this summer.
With WWE showing the pre-show dark match at Wrestlemania XXVIII on YouTube and now scheduling a pre-show dark match for YouTube at Extreme Rules, is this something we can expect to see on a regular basis?
Pre-show dark matches are done prior to all WWE television tapings and pay-per-views. They are used to get the crowd going before the show goes on the air. WWE decided to air the pre-show dark match from Wrestlemania on YouTube to give some exclusive live content to their YouTube channel as their agreement with the site is working out very well. I don't know if this is something that will become a regular occurrence now that they are promoting it for Extreme Rules but it is likely. I ran a story earlier this morning about WWE's deal with YouTube you can read at this link.
Is Nikki Bella still leaving WWE given the fact that WWE put the Divas Championship on her last night?
WWE wanted someone to beat Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship so they could get the belt back on Kharma shortly before her return to the company. They did not want Kharma to go immediately over Beth so the idea was someone that could job had to take the belt off Beth. If the Bella Twins have signed new WWE contracts, I haven't heard it.
How long do you think WWE will keep ramming Lord Tensai down our throats?
WWE is obviously not ready to pull the plug on the gimmick yet, having Lord Tensai squash R-Truth a week after beating John Cena. I can't give you a timeframe but can assure you WWE officials are doing all they can to get him over. Company officials were probably hoping by acknowledging Tensai's WWE past the fans would recognize improvement from his time in Japan but so far his matches are still greeted with "Albert" chants.
Do you think Hulk Hogan should be making any sort of comment publicly in regards to what TNA should be doing? Wouldn't it be better to discuss this with the other higher ups then with his Twitter followers?
I'm not so sure Hulk Hogan completely understands Twitter or social media in general. His Tweets over the weekend that 70% of TNA's problems would be solved by going live weren't the first time his Tweets have drawn criticism. Remember when he put Garett Bischoff over and said others in the locker room could learn a lot from him? Perhaps he feels by taking the comments public they will create support from the TNA fan base and help his position with Dixie Carter. I don't know for sure but Twitter makes my job a lot easier.
Besides the nWo, what was your favorite moments in WCW?
In addition to the original new World order storyline, my favorite moments in WCW were the superior wrestling matches. One thing that I think Eric Bischoff deserves some credit for is bringing in international cruiserweight stars and highlighting them on mainstream shows. Workers such as Ultimo Dragon, Psicosis, La Parka, not to mention the names that became big stars once in WWE such as Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, etc. There was a lot to like on WCW shows and it's a shame the company was ran into the ground.
Are Scott Steiner's Tweets a work or a shoot?
From everything I've seen and heard, Scott Steiner's most-recent Tweets on Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Bruce Prichard and company are legitimate. He is finished with TNA and I'm not sure how his deal to work Ring Ka King is structured. All of Steiner's appearances on the international show up until this point have been pre-taped. As I've discussed before, Steiner can come off as cocky and arrogant but a lot of what he is saying regarding the dysfunctional TNA structure is true.
Where does WWE get the cars Alberto Del Rio cruises in with each show?
WWE rents the vehicles from high-end car rental dealerships. The only role Alberto Del Rio has with the cars is to come out in them.
On this week's Raw Supershow WWE they showed old matches of Brock Lesnar and each match he was facing opponents who are now in TNA. Why would WWE feature TNA stars?
Vince McMahon has made it pretty clear he doesn't see TNA as a threat to his business. There really isn't a bigger example than the use of Ric Flair at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony this year and the night after at Wrestlemania XXVIII.
With WWE re-acquiring Brock Lesnar with a big money offer do you see other MMA stars possible making the jump to WWE?
I don't know if you've seen but Tito Ortiz is the latest MMA fighter to tease a possible WWE run. The concept of a UFC fighter coming to WWE isn't a new one at all as Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn did it way before Brock Lesnar. The interest in Lesnar had to do with how he drew for WWE, went to UFC and had success and drew big for them as well. Vince McMahon was determined to have Brock Lesnar's first post-UFC appearance in a WWE ring. The interest level won't be as high for many others but the door from MMA to WWE was opened years ago.
I was wondering if you knew what was going on with Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley. Is their little twitter feud legit, or is it part of a storyline?
The social media storyline between Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley is just that… a storyline. Mick Foley has made things look very believable but the ultimate goal is to use the angle to bring Ambrose to television. It's a great opportunity for one of WWE's top developmental prospects.
Alberto Del Rio was the last guy to be introduced with needless vignettes and was pushed from day one to the top. Is Damien Sandow in line for the same push?
Alberto Del Rio wasn't the last as the debuts of Brodus Clay and Lord Tensai were both hyped in the same manner. Damien Sandow is formerly known as Idol Stevens where he had a brief run on Smackdown. With that being said there are plans to push Sandow but it all depends on how the crowd reacts to his gimmick as to how far the push will go. Alberto Del Rio is a guy that lived up to the hype and has impressed company officials with the way he's gotten over.
What are your thoughts on Ryback's gimmick?
WWE is trying to get Ryback over by having him squash enhancement workers. To prevent him from crushing the momentum of any regular roster member, they are using "extras" or "call-ins" that are local independent workers that do not have WWE contracts to put him over. This is often done for a newer gimmick where the company can gauge his work and crowd reactions before determining a storyline for him. WWE officials like Ryback's look and feel it gives him great potential.
What ended the career of Buff Bagwell so early?
Buff Bagwell suffered what was have thought to have been a career-ending injury in WCW but returned ten months later. Bagwell has been working independent dates for the last several years and prior to that had brief stints in TNA and WWE. His closest ties seem to be with Universal Championship Wrestling in Georgia but I had not heard a lot from him recently prior to the car accident.
How do you think a Divas Money in the Bank ladder match would go over with the crowd? Providing of course they get more than 5 minutes to pull it off. I for one think it would be a fun twist and would help revamp the Divas division which is sorely needed.
One thing about gimmick matches is they can quickly become overdone and lose their significance. Anyone that knows me knows I'm not a big gimmick match guy but I do think they have their place when used properly. The Money in the Bank ladder match has been one of the best gimmick matches in WWE history, producing entertaining matches where the outcome has really mattered (obviously scripted but very indicative as to who is next in line for a championship push). Based on the way WWE pushes their female talent, I would oppose a Money in the Bank ladder match for the Divas. If the company had confidence in their female workers and the Divas Championship was a competitive title with prestige and significance, my position might be different.
Rey Mysterio's suspension came as a shock being that he hasn't been wrestling. Why do the wrestlers not take the initiative to get WWE's approval towards certain medication before taking them?
We still do not have details as to what caused Rey Mysterio's second WWE Wellness violation. However, this position that the policy is a mystery and workers do not know what will cause them to fail is erroneous. The entire WWE Wellness Policy is online at this link. Not only can workers under contract get full details on the policy in a matter of seconds, it is open to all. If you have a question about which substance is banned, go here. Once a talent under contract produces a positive test they are given a chance to provide a prescription for what caused it unless it is banned outright (such as Soma and Miltown).
Were the firings of Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins part of the post-Wrestlemania cuts?
As I talked about in yesterday's WNW Premium Mailbag, the "firings" of Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins were storyline. Obviously with cuts looming these are two names everyone is wondering about, however, official releases have not been given to them as of this writing.