How do you expect the 1000th episode of Raw to turn out?
I’m told WWE is treating the 1000th episode of Raw like Wrestlemania with the writers being put under enormous pressure to deliver the company’s best TV show to date. As I’ve said multiple times, not only does WWE hope to pop the ratings with the show but they are looking to gain momentum as they launch into three hours on a weekly basis. Should the company fail to deliver a very high rating it would be considered a major disappointment.
I’ve been waiting forever to see Dean Ambrose make his debut to the main roster. I know they are working on a storyline for him but when do you think he will finally debut?
Dean Ambrose’s debut to the main WWE roster is considered imminent. We haven’t heard a definitive date but the 1000th Raw would be as good of show as any to bring him in, however, I cannot confirm a date as of this writing.
Is there a possibility Batista appears on the 1000th Raw?
Anything is possible in this business and given the fact Batista doesn’t have a contract with TNA, he would be available for an appearance on WWE television. However, as I’ve reported several times, he says he will not be returning to the company this year. We can’t always take workers at their word (remember Edge told me he wouldn’t appear at SummerSlam but appeared) so we’ll have to wait and see.
How is Sin Cara currently perceived backstage by officials and fellow wrestlers? Has he redeemed himself or is he still looked at as a “botch-artist”?
Sin Cara is no longer viewed as he once was, however, he still has enough support where he’s getting to work. The latest fiasco involving Sin Cara was the blown spot at Money in the Bank with Dolph Ziggler with both workers complaining about the other backstage after the match.
With The Rock challenging for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, does this mean he’s back full time? If not, how can someone only part-time challenge for the most prestigious title in WWE?
The Rock isn’t back full-time but the creative team has been exploring plans to get him a WWE Championship match. Originally thought to be for Wrestlemania, the plan all along has been for him to also work Royal Rumble. Believe it or not, I heard there was talk of him winning the Money in the Bank briefcase (that ultimately ended up going to John Cena) but they were unable to do it because Rock had a prior commitment. WWE has wanted to put Rock in the WWE title picture since he worked Wrestlemania XXVIII earlier this year.
What were your thoughts on the 1000th episode of Raw?
The show was fun with a lot of nostalgic moments where they still moved current storylines. The biggest disappointment was Steve Austin not appearing, however, WWE put together a very solid show. Some may have preferred more wrestling but there was no way they would have been able to get everyone on television with a wrestling-heavy broadcast. I am surprised that John Cena became the first person to cash in the Money in the Bank title shot and not win the title and feel like had it been anyone other than Cena, a lot of people would have been upset with the match outcome today.
Where was Steve Austin? Why wasn’t he on the 1000th episode of WWE Raw?
I heard Steve Austin’s schedule was clear for him to appear but obviously it didn’t happen. WWE put together the Austin vs. Mr. McMahon vignette to pay tribute to the biggest program in the history of Raw but like I said above, I was disappointed Austin didn’t appear. It will certainly be interesting to see if Austin did indeed have a prior engagement or couldn’t agree to the terms of an appearance.
Do you ever take time off from your job? Like do you sleep at night?
This was a funny one but to answer, yes I get time off and I do sleep at night. I’m blessed to have a wonderful staff of writers and am very thankful for the work of Brooks Oglesby, Sean Hopkins, Kendra Bunyon, Alex Barie, Matt Andrews, Adam W and Guy Landau. My time off is limited as it’s essential to provide readers with multiple updates per day so you are always in the know but I am very thankful for my dedicated staff of writers and all the loyal readers that visit daily.
How is Vince McMahon’s real-life persona in relation to the Mr. McMahon character played on WWE television?
Mr. McMahon, like most successful gimmicks, is Vince’s real-life persona “turned all the way up.” Vince is a very intimidating guy but perhaps the biggest difference between him and his on-air character is that Mr. McMahon comes off as very unapproachable. While Vince has the final say on everything in WWE, he’s willing to meet with talent (especially workers he feels have the potential to become top guys) when they have ideas or want to discuss their characters. Chris Jericho makes note of this in his latest “Undisputed” autobiography when he was trying to get his first break in WWE. For those that want a detailed prospective of how things function backstage, I recommend both of Chris Jericho’s books and Bret Hart’s book.
With Christian dropping the WWE Intercontinental Championship to The Miz is this a sign he’s designed to hover as a mid-card talent again?
Christian hasn’t been booked in the top of the card since returning to WWE at Over the Limit back in May although he’s held the WWE Intercontinental Championship and had a consistent spot on television (a role many would love to have). I can’t give you the exact reasoning for the booking of Christian although it’s no secret Vince McMahon has always been hesitant on him as a top guy. I heard Christian wasn’t thrilled about being the WWE star to appear at TNA Slammiversary either, with the risk of it damaging the booking of his character as well.
What is your reaction to the WWE Raw 1000 rating?
The 1000th episode of WWE Raw was the most-watched episode of WWE Raw since the show’s return to the USA Network in 2005 and the highest viewership in 10 years. The company is ecstatic at the viewing audience of over 6.3 million and made sure to tout the success in a press release. Even the harshest critics can be silenced with this number that exceeded any and all expectations.
Do you see Brock Lesnar getting a run as either WWE or World Heavyweight Champion before his deal is up?
Everyone wants a program with Brock Lesnar because of the fact that Lesnar draws, however, given his limited schedule, I would be opposed of a Lesnar title reign. People are already upset at the possibility of The Rock going over for the title at Royal Rumble and should be considering he’s not a full-time talent nor will he ever be. Vince McMahon used to be pretty firm that he would not allow someone to come back only to work limited dates but has bent in recent years in order to grow viewership, improve ratings and draw pay-per-view buys.
What has the reaction been like in WWE to the monster rating the 1000th Raw the show did? Do you think Vince McMahon looks at it as people having renewed interest or just a one time fluke?
WWE is thrilled with the rating of the 1000th episode of Raw and they should be. As we talked about here in Ask WNW, the company immediately issued a press release to tout the success of the large viewership. I have not heard from sources close to Vince McMahon what he thought and would be scared to speculate, however, I feel it shows the audience is still there. Whether or not that audience tunes in weekly or buys the monthly pay-per-views all has to do with the quality of the product. The company showed with Wrestlemania XXVIII they could get people to buy their product. WWE should strive to make every show “must-see programming,” treating them as a “big deal” to spark interest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying pay-per-views are going to go be able to compete with Wrestlemania or weekly TVs can exceed the viewership of the biggest show to date but there is a large differential in the averages and these spikes. If WWE were to make their shows of more importance, I feel it could significantly boost ratings. This will, however, be very challenging by trying to come up with three hours of live TV each week.
With CM Punk turning heel do you see any possibility with him aligning with “his man” Paul Heyman?
CM Punk is the reason Paul Heyman was brought in for the Brock Lesnar program, however, I would be surprised to see Heyman used in another capacity. One thing Vince McMahon was firm on prior to signing Lesnar was that he wanted nothing to do with Heyman. Given the fact Lesnar and Heyman were not as close as they once were, it wasn’t an issue when Lesnar signed. CM Punk convinced company officials to bring in Heyman as a way to keep Lesnar relevant without burning through dates on his part-time contract.
Randy Orton’s suspension is up and he’s able to return on next weeks Raw. What do you think they’ll do with him? Will he come back as a face or a heel? I think he’ll be put back in the World Heavyweight Championship picture as a heel.
Randy Orton is scheduled to return to WWE on next Monday’s episode of Raw. He is on the booking sheets in World Heavyweight Championship matches against Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio so the thinking is he will be a main event talent once again. As to whether or not he will be a babyface or a heel, Orton said [on Twitter] he hopes to be a heel and it’s not unlikely given the lack of top heels in the company.
What do you think of Big Show, who is well past his prime, being pushed and protected against younger wrestlers with more talent, including John Cena?
Big Show is “past his prime” as far as age is concerned, however, he is seen as a reliable veteran they are able to book in the top of the card because of his size. Show’s latest push was believed to be for Tensai (who is only a couple years younger than Show at 38) but plans were changed when the character was unable to get over. It’s also worth noting that the lack of top heels in the company has played a factor in their renewed interest in Big Show.
With Raw moving to three hours do you see Smackdown doing the same?
I posted this question for any WWE writer or producer that may be reading just so they could have the assurance that things could be worse. I don’t see Smackdown expanding and I have my doubts about how long Raw’s expansion to three hours will last. Monday’s are already extremely chaotic and adding an extra hour of live TV doesn’t have anyone excited (not even the majority of fans that read this website). Think about it for a second. The WWE writers and producers have to hammer out a three-hour live show with very limited preparation time. Two hours were stretching things thin and the extra hour has hurt morale and I’m told many are going to try and “gut it out” but could quit due to the added pressure. The ultimate factor will be how the first hour does in the ratings and that will be an uphill climb this fall with the return of Monday Night Football.
If Linda McMahon loses her election is there a chance that WWE programming can turn to more of an Attitude Era product? I feel that by keeping a PG product they are trying to make her look good while she would be destroyed politically if it is more violent.
I cannot tell you how many times this question has came up over the years. Vince McMahon is committed to producing family-friendly PG programming for a myriad of reasons. Sure Linda McMahon’s aspiring political career plays a factor but it isn’t the only reason and things aren’t going to change anytime soon. Any time Vince McMahon is asked about PG he boldly reiterates his commitment to it.
Why has WWE dropped all mentions of NXT?
WWE NXT currently does not air domestically but is available in international markets. I’ve heard the company is working on clearances in the United States and the wait will be worth it. We post full taping results after every taping as you can check them out in our WWE Spoilers section.
I was re-watching some old TNA stuff and came across the Voodoo Kin Mafia or VKM. As you know they are the New Age Outlaws. Some of the things they did and said were pretty bad and I would assume made Vince McMahon kind of upset. What did the New Age Outlaws need to do to make up for all that? Not only to Vince, but to Hunter and Shawn as well.
At the time Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were still partying a lot and went through with a gimmick that was very hard on Vince McMahon, Triple H and Shawn Michaeals. Road Dogg is on record as to saying he feels they went too far on some of the things they said. Since then, both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn have gotten clean and mended fences with not only Vince, Hunter and Shawn but with others in WWE as well. Check out this shoot interview that Road Dogg and Billy Gunn did with RF Video as they address these issues for themselves. Road Dogg is once again climbing the ladder in WWE as a producer. We hear so many bad stories in this business the success of The New Age Outlaws is a good one and very inspirational.