Strong Efforts Not Enough To Bring CM Punk Back; Details On The Plan Going Forward, Latest On WWE TV Negotiations, Changes To Title Match At WM30, Lesnar Throws Monitor Into The Crowd, New Tag Team Champions, Kurt Angle Off Lockdown, Vince McMahon Back On Forbes List

Ask WNW

What’s the next step in the heel turn of Batista?

The efforts at Elimination Chamber to get Batista over as a babyface were the final efforts. When they failed, a tweak was seen as inevitable and that tweak happened on last week’s episode of Smackdown. The next step should unfold on this week’s Raw from Chicago, where the crowd will likely be very anti-Batista. I got a kick out of dot com’s Raw Five-Point Preview, where they titled the point on Batista, “Keyboard warrior” and followed up with “Guess what? Batista doesn’t like you very much, either.” This is absolutely the right move and a much better direction for Batista’s character. His most successful run in the company was as a heel so I’m not sure the logic in bringing him back as a babyface in the first place unless they thought he would be able to help fill The Rock’s absence on the Wrestlemania lineup.

What are the future plans for Sheamus?

Sheamus is currently an upper midcard talent in WWE and this is about the lowest you’ll see him on the card. Vince McMahon and Triple H were glad to get Sheamus back as a surprise Royal Rumble entrant in January and will look to utilize him as a staple for their upper tier midcarders during Wrestlemania season. After Wrestlemania, I expect Sheamus to function more as a main event talent with holes being left from the Wrestlemania part-timers.

Why is the Money in the Bank ladder match no longer a staple of the Wrestlemania undercard?

WWE eliminated the Money in the Bank ladder match from Wrestlemania with WrestleMania XXVII in 2011 after creating the Money in the Bank pay-per-view the year prior. The idea was the gimmick had enough interest to do a pay-per-view around it and they didn’t want to overdo it with the match at Wrestlemania each year. I disagree, however, as there was a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania XXVI in 2010 followed by the pay-per-view and it wasn’t overdone. I’m not a huge gimmick match guy, however, having the Money in the Bank ladder match at the biggest show of the year actually adds to the Wrestlemania card. With that being said, I haven’t heard of any plans to bring the match back at Wrestlemania XXX, however, the pay-per-view will take place in June.

What are the current plans for Cesaro at Wrestlemania XXX? WWE will should surely be utilizing him on the card after his recent performances.

Based on the current direction, it looks like Cesaro will face Jack Swagger on the Wrestlemania card unless WWE plans to blow it off before April. This is exactly why the Money in the Bank ladder match would be so beneficial on the Wrestlemania undercard. WWE could reward Cesaro by putting him in the match and also blowoff the program with Swagger, however, as I just wrote, there are no plans for the Money in the Bank ladder match to take place prior to the pay-per-view under the same name in June.

Ever since WWE unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship at TLC, the only question going through my mind was “What are they going to do about MITB?” I expected for there to be a ladder match for the briefcase at Wrestlemania 30 but there still hasn’t been any news about it. Why would they have a PPV focused only on ONE ladder match?

I’m not sure why you would expect a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 30 considering there hasn’t been one on a Wrestlemania lineup since WrestleMania XXVI in 2010, like we detailed on Tuesday. However, I expect the Money in the Bank pay-per-view to feature one of the matches as the show’s main event, just like the Royal Rumble featured one Rumble and Elimination Chamber featured one Chamber match. I was against unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships because I knew it would cut down the opportunities in the top of the card and just as I predicted, that’s exactly what has happened. Guys that were staples in the World Heavyweight Championship scene like Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus have now been relegated to more mid-card roles. However, that’s not a completely fair statement considering it is Wrestlemania season and the second-tier main eventers have to take a backseat because of the influx of part-time talent (Undertaker and Brock Lesnar specifically).

When the WWE started promoting the Network, it was advertised that people with Samsung Smart TV’s would be able to stream directly to the TV. Now, the WWE app has completely vanished from my TV! What happened? Did an issue develop between WWE and Samsung?

According to WWE, select Smart TVs will begin carrying the WWE Network this summer. I wasn’t aware the App was ever available on Smart TVs, however, that’s been the plan since the initial announcement. You can easily hook-up WWE Network to your television from a desktop, laptop or iPad by using an adapter and HDMI cable. I work from an iMac Pro and I bought an adapter and HDMI cable and plugin to the television in my office for live shows. It works great and is very simple. The only issue I have is I got paranoid about not having a long enough HDMI cable so I bought a 20′ one and it’s entirely too long.

How will Wade Barrett recover from the Bad News Barrett gimmick?

What do you mean? I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news! The Bad News Barrett gimmick is one of the more entertaining over the top heel characters they’ve had in a long time. He’ll eventually return to the ring but in the meantime, Barrett is getting on television. I don’t know how far the gimmick can go, it’s not exactly meant to be main event material, however, it has the capability of engaging the viewer. I implore everyone to realize there are very few spots for television and when a worker gets one of them, that’s a lot better than the alternative. When Barrett was the leader of The Nexus it looked like a matter of time before he was a solidified main event talent but he needed to work on his in-ring. It’s documented that he’s been frustrated but hopefully he’s turned the corner.

Is there any confirmation when the WWE Network will be offered outside of the United States?

The following is from the official WWE Network FAQ document:

Beginning Monday, February 24, WWE Network will only be available in the United States. WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.

I just can’t understand what they are doing with Dolph Ziggler. This past Monday it looked like they were giving him a rub by pairing him with Aaron Paul, but usually all he does his job… Do you think he will ever get a push again?

From what I’m told, I’m not sure WWE knows what they want to do with Dolph Ziggler. Dolph has had some rough luck as it looked like the push was on and then the concussion and has been in a free fall since. There have been rumors about backstage heat and Vince McMahon not seeing money in him but his position on Raw did create some optimism. You can find out how he was booked on Smackdown at this link. As with Barrett, I’ll comment on the fact that he’s at least getting on television. I feel Dolph is capable of much more but it’s just going to come down to the right opportunity. I hope they restart on him in a big way but there’s no way I can guarantee anything.

Am I the only person seeing the whole CM Punk departure as storyline? I can see Triple H & Kane vs. Daniel Bryan as an advertised two on one handicap match but Punk comes from the crowd to make it an epic tag match. How far off base could I be?

You aren’t the only one, as the feeling amongst many of the workers has been very skeptical of the legitimacy over CM Punk’s WWE departure. The skepticism comes from Punk refusing to respond to text messages and phone calls and not having any contact with people in WWE. However, I can tell you with a high degree of certainly this is not part of a storyline. CM Punk was upset and went home. Vince McMahon went to extraordinary efforts to get Punk back for Raw this week but it didn’t happen. There’s always a chance he comes back and works Wrestlemania, however, that chance continues to diminish the closer to April we get. If WWE is somehow able to get Punk back it will be because of the efforts of Vince McMahon and not because the entire ordeal was a work. I realize there are going to be some readers that believe otherwise, however, that’s just not the case.

Is WWE going to change their company logo eventually? I have seen the WWE Network logo featured in the WrestleMania 31 logo and also the new company jet had it.

I spoke about this in the latest Premium Mailbag, noting it was a good possibility the WWE Network logo becomes the company’s new logo. One reader pointed to the fact that the side plates to the NXT Championship belt have been changed from the current WWE logo to the WWE Network logo. You are also correct in that it is the WWE logo on next year’s Wrestlemania 31 logo and it’s the one on the new corporate jet.

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