Sting Sheds Light On His Future, CM Punk Resurfaces, HoF Announcement Delayed, Is JBL ‘Cranky Vince?,’ WWE Upset Over Randy Orton Blowup, In-Ring Incident At Raw, TNA Knockout Released When Word Leaked She Was Planning To Quit, Low Morale Causes Triple H To Call A Meeting With WWE Staff

Ask WNW

Should fans expect Bray Wyatt to go over John Cena at Wrestlemania 30? Is Cena trying to put younger talent over?

John Cena has been one of Bray Wyatt’s biggest supporters behind the scenes. I remember when Bray was still in developmental that John often raved about his work. Based on the way the program has been booked, I don’t think it’s a given that Bray goes over John. Considering the Wyatt Family has interfered in Cena’s matches, I think there’s more of an argument that Cena goes over to gain redemption. If this happens, will Bray be hurt by the loss? However, the idea of Bray over Cena isn’t without risk either. We’ll have more on the outcome as we get closer to the show but right now it’s not a given that Bray goes over, as it’s actually that Cena does. As for Cena putting young talent over, this isn’t a situation like Chris Jericho and Fandango last year. Jericho entered the Wrestlemania plans late and came back to help out young stars on a part-time basis. Cena is still fully committed to WWE and still the face of the company. He’s not being phased out and as he said in a recent promo, the future of the business goes through him.

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With Layla returning to WWE over the weekend, does that mean we should expect her back on television soon?

Layla was back on the road with the WWE roster this weekend where she tagged with Alicia Fox in matches against Natalya and Eva Marie (photo here). I’m still not completely clear about where Layla has been. At first it was thought to be an injury, then rumors spread it was due to personal reasons. The longer she was gone, the louder the whispers got that she could be finished with WWE. Her last appearance on Monday Night Raw was on the September 23, 2013 episode. There’s a good chance she returns to television now that she’s back on the road, however, we cannot confirm her for this week’s broadcast.

Does Phil Brooks own the rights to CM Punk? He was in Talking Dead and Chris Hardwick kept saying Phil Brooks a/k/a CM Punk?

CM Punk used the name before he ever got to WWE, however, I just searched the US Patent and Trademark Office website. That search revealed WWE owns trademarks to the name CM Punk for “Entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibitions and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer” as well as for “Clothing, namely, tops, jackets, bottoms, underwear, pajamas; footwear, namely, shoes, sneakers, slippers; headwear, namely, hats” and for use on toys. All three of these marks are of “LIVE” status.

Do think Sting might make a cameo after Undertaker’s Wrestlemania 30 match against Brock Lesnar to challenge him at Wrestlemania 31?

Sting broke his silence over the weekend, saying he only wants one more match and that’s a match against Undertaker. Based on this appearance, I do not see Sting appearing at Wrestlemania 30 this year. I truly believe Sting is headed to WWE and will possibly work Wrestlemania next year, however, there is clearly no rush on his status. I do not see him making a cameo at Wrestlemania 30 this year based on his appearance over the weekend. He is finished with TNA Wrestling.

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.

Is there any real chance even with the stipulation that Triple H beats Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania XXX?

There is absolutely a chance that Triple H goes over Daniel Bryan and is inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX. Critics will say this is Hunter’s way of burying Bryan (both in a kayfabe sense and a legitimate sense), however, I still think Bryan is the favorite to go on to the title match later in the night. I like the added stipulation because it creates doubt, which increases intrigue. The big knock on the stipulation when it was announced last week was that it created an obvious situation. With the updated stipulation, it’s no longer as obvious.

Do you think that AJ Lee might be getting punished because of her relationship with CM Punk? She seems to be losing a lot lately.

No, AJ Lee, the real-life girlfriend of CM Punk, is not being punished due to the situation with CM Punk. AJ has the protection of Vince McMahon, which is why there ended up being no repercussions over the infamous Michelle Beadle incident last year. The losses are storyline related and if there were real heat on her, she would have dropped the Divas Championship before she broke the “longest reign” record.

Why does wrestling pay-per-views end around 20 minutes early?

WWE and TNA pay-per-views aren’t booked right up until 11 PM ET because if they would accidentally go over, they’d lose the feed and have to refund all customers. This actually happened to WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 when the show ran long and the PPV cut off. WCW had to show Goldberg vs. DDP, the main event, for free on Monday Nitro. This is also something I don’t foresee changing with pay-per-views moving to the WWE Network as the company will still have traditional providers in place. However, it’s worth noting the WWE Network does give the company much more flexibility.

Do you see the Ultimate Warrior as the headliner of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class?

Yes, I consider the Ultimate Warrior to be the headliner of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class. It’s the 30th Anniversary of Wrestlemania, Hogan is back and Warrior taking his rightful place is only fitting. I think we’re all highly anticipating what is likely to be a bizarre induction speech, with Linda McMahon formally inducting him. We have details on another induction being delayed that you can read about here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2012: How does The Rock vs. John Cena compare to Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania X8 a decade ago? - I actually think The Rock vs. John Cena is a bigger match and has more hype surrounding it than Rock vs. Hogan. Hogan was already out of his prime by the time the Wrestlemania X8 match happened and this isn’t the case with Rock and Cena. Rock is not even 40 yet (Hogan was 48) and can still compete at a very high level. The Rock vs. Cena is unique in that you have one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era versus the biggest star of today yet the former is still young enough to work at a top level. I’m not saying it’ll be the best Wrestlemania match ever, it might not even be the best match of the night, but I do not recall another bout having as much build and hype as Rock vs. Cena.

Is it a given Daniel Bryan is going to be the next champion? If WWE doesn’t put him over wouldn’t that be a HUGE mistake?

If there is one point I’ve tried to make in the build to Wrestlemania, it’s “there are no givens.” Literally anything is possible and we have to get out of this mindset that something is “definitively” going to happen. Such certainties in the pro wrestling business do not exist. Something can be likely but it doesn’t go further than that. Here’s the thing about the Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H program. It’s basically split the audience – some love it and others hate it. Some feel it’s too predictable, while others feel Triple H will do whatever it takes to dismiss Daniel Bryan both in a kayfabe sense and in a legitimate sense. I find the program entertaining and think the added stipulations to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX have helped it. There has also been a philosophical change in the way Daniel Bryan is viewed by the WWE brass. While Hunter will continue to “degrade him” in this program, he’s scene as a top guy headed into the pay-per-view. This was not the original plan but a result of what happened at Royal Rumble and the audience refusing to accept Batista as a babyface. If I were booking, I’d put Bryan over in both bouts but that’s far from a sure thing.

What is the thinking behind the months of teasing a breakup in The Shield with Roman Reigns poised to turn face, only to turn the three members face at the same time to feud with Kane? Was the buildup done purposefully to build suspense before a switch or is this a change of heart from creative?

As I reported in this week’s Backstage News from Raw, the indecision over what to do with The Shield stems from a difference of opinion between Vince McMahon and Triple H. This has been confusing to follow but I’ll argue that one feels they are better suited in a turn to face Kane in some capacity at Wrestlemania. However, this is a newer development that has only came about in the last couple of weeks and is certainly subject to change. All of the indecision and lack of direction in the top of the card has resulted in a nonexistent Wrestlemania undercard.

With majority of WWE superstars being booked for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, is there a chance there definitely will be a lack of matches at Wrestlemania?

As I just mentioned, the lack of direction and indecisiveness in the top of the Wrestlemania card has resulted in a nonexistent undercard. Believe it or not, Wrestlemania 30 is two weeks from Sunday. The card is built on John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar and the situation with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Batista, Randy Orton and the winner of Bryan/Hunter. Then it’s everyone else. Readers have emailed in, asking about secondary titles and other undercard aspects but this is what the card is at this juncture. The battle royal is certainly a way to get guys on the card without developing storylines to explain them. What I don’t understand is the fact WWE has more television time now than ever and they aren’t able to deliver more storylines for the biggest show of the year. It’s disappointing and if you aren’t excited about one of the four main events, you’re probably not excited for Wrestlemania.

What’s the Wrestlemania 30 main event?

Wrestlemania has four main events – Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. Obviously Hunter vs. Bryan has to go before the title match and I would expect as much space as possible.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2012: What has Sheamus done/not done to cause WWE to lose faith in him? - I was told this week Sheamus is being tested and hasn’t done anything wrong. WWE wants him to “stay hungry” and know there are others vying for his spot in the company. Sheamus is seen as a guy that always works hard and he has the favor of Triple H.

Do you know if WWE performers are being compensated for money lost due to the WWE Network? How are they offering to make up the difference or are people just taking a cut in pay?

How WWE will handle pay-per-view bonuses are still a mystery. For those unaware, the way WWE has handled pay-per-view bonuses is that workers on the card are given a percentage of show’s revenue. With the WWE Network, that’s going to change as WWE is sacrificing the pay-per-view business in favor of the Network. The majority of the roster wasn’t excited about the WWE Network because they immediately thought about their pay-per-view bonuses. Vince McMahon was scheduled to address the issue at one point but I haven’t heard if that meeting has taken place. In the long run I think it will work out, however, the WWE Network is an investment for the company until they reach 1 million subscribers.

If Vince McMahon was to step down in the immediate future, who would replace him?

Vince McMahon is grooming Triple H as his inevitable successor. I know there’s a NEWZ story making rounds that it would be another WWE executive that would take over for Vince if he were to unexpectedly depart but I don’t believe that for a second. That said, WWE still considers Vince McMahon a critical part of their success and detailed the following in a recent SEC filing, where they elaborated on risk factors:

The unexpected loss of the services of Vincent K. McMahon could adversely affect our ability to create popular characters and creative storylines or could otherwise adversely affect our operating results.

Vince is once again in charge of the WWE creative team, a role he took back from Stephanie McMahon last fall.

Could you see Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX ending in a double count out/draw, resulting in both men in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, making it a Fatal 4-Way?

It’s possible and something I talked about in the latest WNW Premium Mailbag, however, I don’t think it’s likely. There is a lot of money in Daniel Bryan as the proverbial underdog but everyone has to get a payoff sooner or later. Wrestlemania is the time for Daniel Bryan to get that payoff and I hope WWE executes it. If not, I fear it will be a mistake.

Did Triple H and Stephanie McMahon take their kayfabe beatdown on Daniel Bryan too far? The head shots, the choking and screaming from Stephanie McMahon.

I agree with Mick Foley’s reaction to the final segment of this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. I don’t think they went too far, I think they went just far enough. They pushed it about as far as you can push it with the banned elements you mentioned but I felt it was needed. It was needed to sell the significance of Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania, explain it as a significant hurdle to get in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and cause fans to take interest . This is another reason why I don’t see it ending in a draw. Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan matters, it’s a very big part of this year’s show. The story of the ultimate underdog overcoming the odds and enshrining himself in Wrestlemania glory is there for Daniel Bryan. Let’s hope WWE does the right thing.

May 2012: Why does WWE keep airing WWE NXT online? - WWE has been “sitting on” WWE NXT for several months, however, major changes are underway. Beginning on Thursday, WWE will tape the show from the campus of Full Sail University. Triple H is leading up the changes which will feature a new feel as the company is still looking for a way to bring developmental talent to television via WWE NXT. While no TV deal has been announced, it’s expected the company has one for the series. You can read more here and here.

What would you you say the standards are for being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?

There are a couple aspects to the WWE Hall of Fame to look at when analyzing who is in and who is out. I want to make it clear that it is an honor to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, so I’m not trying to say there isn’t that aspect. However, there are other aspects such as how WWE can use inductions commercially to make money. Remember, the Wrestlemania Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about selling tickets to an event where tens of thousands of wrestling fans are in the same city. It also increases the hype and visibility of Wrestlemania, thus promoting it at the same time. Further, WWE is able to use inductees to release new merchandise, DVDs and other materials they would have not had success in licensing and releasing commercially had it not been for the Hall of Fame exposure.

Inducting Bruno Sammartino was probably the best thing to ever happen for the legitimacy of the WWE Hall of Fame, however, let’s be clear it is still very much up to Vince McMahon as to who is getting inducted. There is no formal selection process with objective voting like there is in professional sports. There is also a timing aspect as WWE wants inductions to coincide with relevant themes to maximize interest. In other words, it’s no accident The Ultimate Warrior is headling the 30th Anniversary class. He was a big part of the WWE 2K14 video game and the Hall of Fame is the next step.

We could make a very long list of people that should be in and people that probably shouldn’t be in, however, it’s up to Vince McMahon and the WWE brass as to who ultimately gets inducted. The WWE Hall of Fame is the most legitimate Hall of Fame in pro wrestling but it’s not a legitimate Hall of Fame in the sense of objective voting with a formal selection process. As for standards, mainstream relevance, the ability to draw and of course a storied career all play significant parts.

With Wrestlemania 30 moving to the WWE Network does this mean WWE will no longer have their pay-per-views available to customers that want to order in a traditional sense?

When WWE announced the WWE Network last month in Las Vegas it was their hope that current pay-per-view providers would continue to carry their shows. However, that’s not been how it’s happened as some of their providers are concerned about the WWE Network offering the shows much cheaper, thus eliminating the need for a traditional provider. Dish Network immediately dropped all WWE pay-per-views and will not be carrying Wrestlemania 30 next month. Their latest statement puts the blame entirely on WWE and they point out they aren’t alone.

In my opinion this only hurts the providers as WWE is willing to leave existing agreements in place. The fact of the matter is traditional pay-per-view is a lapsed model and those that do not embrace digital distribution are going to get left behind. WWE is the first over the top network but they aren’t the first streaming service. WWE knew the WWE Network would cannibalize their pay-per-view business but were willing to take the risk in favor of the newer model. It is a risk, however, a risk with a huge reward and one that puts them in front of all competition.

So to answer your question, WWE pay-per-views will remain on some traditional providers, however, I expect the 85% of US households covered for Wrestlemania 30 to only decline. WWE made the decision to move their pay-per-view business to the WWE Network and the day is coming when it will be the exclusive provider for the events.

If Daniel Bryan wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX, do you think the Yes Movement will still be as over with the crowd?

This is a topic for debate and one that will not be answered until it happens. There is a very good argument to be made that the money in Daniel Bryan is in him as the proverbial underdog, however, everyone gets a payoff sooner or later. Will he take the payoff and decline in popularity or will he take it and rise in popularity? Some peak, while others become legends. I can’t tell you which Bryan will be as it all depends on how the crowd responds. Steve Austin made good on his payoff, so did The Rock. Others haven’t been as fortunate and you can probably name them, however, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Considering how he was utilized and admitted in an interview that WWE wasn’t his top priority, how did Low Ki (or Kaval) go the company in the first place?

Low Ki signed with WWE in 2009 and was called up from the company’s developmental territory in 2010. I think the possibility of facing Rey Mysterio in a dream match was certainly a motivating factor as well as signing with the biggest and most successful pro wrestling promotion on the planet. He’d arguably accomplished everything on the independent scene and in Japan so why not try to embrace the WWE opportunity? It wasn’t for him and it’s not for everyone. To be a WWE star you have to be committed to traveling 300 days out of the year and that type of lifestyle is not an easy one.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: When do you think that The Undertaker will retire? - Many speculated this year’s match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVIII with The Undertaker going 20-0 would be his last, however, Undertaker felt great after the match and reportedly has more left in the tank. I’ve even heard there has been talk of him working before Wrestlemania XXIX next year. We’ll see what happens but it wouldn’t be wise to begin projecting Undertaker’s retirement.

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  • Gary Robert

    I always get fooled thinking this is an interesting headline..and its this damn waste of my time recap. Ugh! lol