Along with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, would you say Dolph Ziggler is one of the best workers in the business?
Dolph Ziggler has been one of WWE's best workers all year long. In several of my Richard Reacts podcasts I've called him the new workhorse of WWE. So to answer your question, he is right along with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as one of the best workers in WWE.
What is Triple H's take on Randy Orton's suspension?
Vince McMahon and Triple H met with Randy Orton on June 1st where it's believed they let him know the company was seriously considering cutting him. I've heard from sources that believe they were serious while others feel they were just trying to scare him. Regardless, both McMahon and Hunter were very upset and disappointed with Randy Orton and mad that he could allow this to happen at this stage in his career.
I've heard Triple H doesn't like Mick Foley. Why?
It's not that Triple H doesn't like Mick Foley, he just doesn't feel he has the look of a star and shouldn't be booked as a top guy. I've reported stories of Hunter doing everything from delaying Foley's return contract to nixing pitched creative plans involving him in possible pay-per-view matches.
Will Steve Austin ever wrestle again?
I've said time and time again I felt Steve Austin was finished in the ring but it seems he's at least considering one more match, possibly at Wrestlemania XXIX next year. Plans have gone back and forth and it will ultimately hinge on Austin's desire to work again as well as the possibility of taking a backseat to The Rock and Brock Lesnar who are already penciled in for next year's show.
What's the deal with Brock Lesnar and Triple H regarding a possible SummerSlam match?
WWE is stringing out Triple H's "challenge" to Brock Lesnar for as long as possible because they want to make Lesnar the focal point of SummerSlam but are unable to have him on TV every week because of the limited dates on his contract. This is one of the reasons for bringing Paul Heyman in despite the fact he and Lesnar have a strained relationship in real life. Lesnar will appear live on the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012 where the match will be set and built for the show next month.
What's the purpose of the 20-man battle royal on this week's Super Smackdown Live? Will the winner be "awarded" anything?
WWE announced the winner of the 20-man battle royal on this week's Super Smackown Live will be the interim General Manager on next week's Smackdown. Confirmed participants are WWE Champion CM Punk, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, John Cena and Big Show.
Have you heard any big names being circulated for the 1000th Raw?
The 1000th Raw is expected to be loaded with Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar as well as all the company's top names. Rey Mysterio was backstage at this week's Raw and is expected to return with talk that Mark Henry could come back as well. Bret Hart said on Twitter he expects to get a call from WWE to appear on the show. Other names people have asked about include Steve Austin, The Rock and The Undertaker but I'm unable to confirm any of them as of this writing. As I've written, WWE wants to pop a huge rating for the show as well as build momentum for their move to three hours.
What are your thoughts on the Money in the Bank ladder matches at the pay-per-view later this month?
Two different philosophies are being displayed with the Money in the Bank ladder matches this year. The match for a WWE Championship contract will highlight top veteran talent with only Chris Jericho being "Money in the Bank friendly." I don't expect the match to be as fast-paced as we've seen with the match in previous years but WWE is trying something different. The match for a World Heavyweight Championship contract features more up and coming talent with some athletic names to work a more traditional Money in the Bank bout. I'm willing to remain objective about the matches and reserve my opinion on their evaluations until after they happen.
How much input do WWE workers have regarding their entrance music?
It depends on the worker but ultimately WWE decides who comes out to what entrance music. CM Punk was able to get WWE to buy the rights to "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour as part of his new deal signed last year. Obviously the higher up someone is on the card, the more influence they have but Randy Orton once said he had Punk's old music tapped for himself but WWE gave it to Punk.
Is The Undertaker going to be on Raw's 1000th episode?
The Undertaker isn't being advertised for the 1000th episode of Raw and I haven't heard if there are plans to use him. Obviously I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up appearing due to the occasion and there has been talk of him working prior to Wrestlemania XXIX next year.
The 1000th episode of Raw takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, Randy Orton's hometown. With Randy's suspension still in affect until the following Sunday, could you see the WWE allowing him to appear at the show despite his suspension?
I don't see WWE allowing Randy Orton to appear before his suspension expires. Orton's suspension is still a delicate matter as he has considerable heat from it. The current plan is still to push him in the top of the card when he returns later this month, despite earlier rumblings he could be finished.
I don't see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. Do you see WWE possibly bringing him back as Albert or A-Train?
I agree, I do not see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. WWE had big expectations for the gimmick but Matt Bloom hasn't been able to get over. The gimmick has been scaled back to what it was originally slated to be but it's still stuck in monotony.
Why did WWE put Zack Ryder over in The Great American Bash battle royal on this week's Super Smackdown Live? Is he in line for another push?
One of the reasons Zack Ryder was put over in the match, earning the title of interim GM next week, is due to his "WWE Superstar Collection" DVD due out on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. I do not know the magnitude of this push but it's certainly a positive sign for fans of Zack Ryder.
What are your current thoughts on the Money in the Bank ladder matches? Any predictions?
The WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match is going to be unlike any other we've seen with only four participants. There won't be as many fast-paced/high-flying spots either with the inclusion of Big Show and Kane (although this isn't his first time in a MITB match). The actual in-ring work will have to be carried by Chris Jericho but WWE is clearly going in a different direction with the bout. The World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match is more of what we are used to seeing with the majority of participants able to work the athletic style fans of the match have come to enjoy. It also includes talent that many consider "up and coming" and "due a run at the top." Clearly, I expect the World Heavyweight Championship MITB ladder match to have the better work with a huge opportunity going to who is booked as the winner. As for predictions, is it ever safe to pick against John Cena? The WHC MITB is harder to predict as WWE could opt to give Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes their opportunity, go with the safer pick of Christian or try something different with Tyson Kidd of Damien Sandow. The only outcome that would completely disappointment me would be Tensai going over as the gimmick just hasn't worked.
Will Wade Barrett return at the 1000th episode of Raw?
The last I heard Wade Barrett was "very close" to being ready to return from his dislocated elbow he suffered in February. He was due a major push before he got hurt so look for him to get another run at the top sooner than later. As for a specific return date, I do not have one as of this writing.
Why has Dean Ambrose not made it to WWE TV yet?
Patience my friend. Dean Ambrose is in line for a call-up and is expected on WWE television very soon. He has already been on the road with WWE on live events and in pre-show dark matches before TVs.