Bray Wyatt is in a league of his own on the mic and impresses in the ring. His character is the best I have seen in years and his promos, nothing short of captivating. I also think Luke Harper is a main eventer in the making. If Bray Wyatt is 1 then Luke Harper is 1a. I guess my question is, is everyone as excited as me for The Wyatts future?
Bray Wyatt is in a league of his own and has proved he has a very bright future in WWE. He's only 26-years-old and we're watching a legitimate main event talent in the making. It's hard to believe that Bray Wyatt and Husky Harris are the same person as Bray is everything Harris wasn't. While we talk a lot about the worker making the gimmick and not the gimmick making the worker, this serves as a reminder of how detrimental a bad gimmick can actually be. No one took Husky Harris seriously and there wasn't anything entertaining about it. People are comparing Bray Wyatt to The Undertaker; do I need to say anything else? As for your Luke Harper evaluation, he's a bit of different story. Harper, as Brodie Lee, was a very big deal on the domestic independent scene. He's a guy that I think has the potential of someone like Cesaro, if not more. He's 34 but still young enough to hit his prime at the right time. I agree he is second behind Wyatt, however, I wouldn't list him as "1a or 1b" but a clear second and that's not because he isn't great, because he is, but Bray truly is in a league all of his own.
I recently watched "Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling" documentary in which CNN tried their best to put Chris Benoit's double murder suicide and all the drug & steroid use within pro wrestling as WWE's fault. But there are many wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, who accepted that they used steroids, but didn't die or commit suicide and they are still living healthy. I go with Vince McMahon. I want to know what you think about it?
I can't remember if I've seen this documentary but there's a book along those lines called "Ring of Hell" by Matthew Randazzo V. Basically, he puts the blame of what Chris Benoit did completely on Vince McMahon and the pro wrestling business. I completely disagree. While I'll never paint McMahon as an innocent bystander that just wants what is best for his talent, it's not that easy to just blame him. The pro wrestling business is tough and wrestlers die far too young, both of those things are proven facts. However, there has to be a degree of personal accountability. What someone puts (or doesn't put) in their body is their own responsibility. I understand the problem with addiction, substance abuse, etc, however, I refuse to absolve Chris Benoit in the name of pro wrestling. He did it. I don't have the answers and will readily admit there is a problem. But to act like the problem can be solved by pointing to Vince or the hardships of living on the road, is grossly inaccurate. The mainstream media just loves to point their finger at the business but they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
I've heard you mention it a couple times, but I'm still not sure. What exactly is "X-PAC heat"?
X-Pac heat is when a worker generates heat because the fans legitimately want them to go away, not because they're doing a good job as a heel. Batista has received a ton of it since returning to WWE in January. As to how it got the name X-Pac heat, there are different stories and opinions but I'll be the first to say Sean Waltman was a great in-ring worker. I believe it had more to do with problematic booking and trying to force X-Pac as a babyface when he was a much better heel.
With the high number of veterans being released, the fact that TNA is making a big deal of signing young stars and smaller names to multi-year deals, the loss of use of Universal Studios, and the apparent back-stepping of the product, are we seeing the final throes of a dying company?
In what is perhaps the biggest understatement of the day, things are not good with TNA Wrestling. Money is tighter than ever, the fan base is shrinking, their main TV contract is coming up, there is no stability for tapings and the company is being forced to dump any talent that will not re-sign at a much lower rate. To make matters worse, their biggest non-Carter family investor, Jeff Jarrett, is starting his own competing promotion. The relationship between Dixie Carter and "Big" John Gaburick isn't on the best of terms and we're told she is frustrated with almost every aspect of the company. Many have been trying to predict the demise of TNA since its inception in 2002, however, it's unfortunately becoming more of a reality. No one outside of the Carter family can predict how much longer TNA has left but a number of things must turn around (and turn around quick) for the company to be salvageable. This isn't me caving to the TNA trolls but delivering a reality that I've reluctantly come to accept.
What is the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Daniel Bryan in need of neck surgery?
The status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is unclear. I believe more will be known once Daniel Bryan has surgery on Thursday. Daniel Bryan's neck injury is currently a tense situation and the timing could not have been worse. I think I speak for everyone in that I hope the injury is minor and he is not out for an extended period of time. The word making rounds at Raw was not completely bleak, however, there is still a lot of unknown until he actually has surgery.
I'm not sure if you'll feel like tackling two Chris Benoit questions in a week but here goes. I watched part of the David Benoit interview that you posted last week. While I believe that every individual has the right to choose their own career path, surely David Benoit would never be signed by any major wrestling promotion even if ends up being the best technical wrestler of all time. Would you agree?
I believe there is a tremendous misconception when it comes to second generation talent. A lot of people believe that just because someone is a second or third generation talent, they will get an opportunity. Your point is along the same lines but the opposite. Because David Benoit is the son of Chris Benoit, he won't get an opportunity. I absolutely think who someone is factors in to how they are evaluated, however, that's only part of how it works. If David Benoit develops into a very talented prospect, who is to say an opportunity won't be there? All of this is premature as David has a long ways to go before he's even on WWE's radar.
Do you believe that R-Truth and other misused talent in WWE would fare better in Global Force Wrestling?
I get this type of question a lot but it's usually along the lines of, "do you think so-and-so would do better in TNA?" However, due to budget cuts, TNA no longer provides the opportunity as a fallback option. I will continue to answer this question like I've answered it in the past and that is why would someone leave the biggest and most successful pro wrestling promotion on the planet to work somewhere else? Unless Global Force Wrestling could offer a talent significantly more than what they are making in WWE, I absolutely do not see the incentive. It's time that some people accept that not everyone can be a top star and that's just the way the business works. Sure there is a lot of untapped potential, however, that doesn't mean a change of scenery guarantees superstardom. Kurt Angle has been paid handsomely since leaving WWE for TNA but I truly believe he would jump at the opportunity to return to WWE. Hogan sure did. So unless it makes financial sense, I do not see talent leaving WWE for "better opportunities" elsewhere.
With Batista potentially taking time off for movie related media, do you see this as an opportunity for WWE to bring in Curtis Axel, Ryback or another superstar to align themselves as members of Evolution and possibly head in the direction of stardom under the tutelage of Triple H & Randy Orton?
Batista will be taking time off this summer for media related to Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, in which he plays the part of Drax the Destroyer. Whether or not WWE adds another member to Evolution will depend on how long they plan to keep the reunited faction around. Is Evolution there to help prevent the post-Wrestlemania letdown or are there long-term plans leading into SummerSlam? This question will have to be answered before we can talk new members. If the latter proves true, I would prefer someone other than Ryback or Curtis Axel get the opportunity. Both have already been given main event opportunities and have squandered them.
What's Shane McMahon been up to? Any chance he'll be back to WWE in the future?
Shane McMahon left WWE in 2009 to "do it on his own" and has been very successful as the Chairman of YOU on Demand, which is often referred to as the "Netflix of China." BuzzFeed Sports ran a sensational piece on him last month that will answer most of your questions at this link. The only thing I will add is there is always a chance that Shane McMahon could return to WWE. No matter what people like Shane or Linda [McMahon] do, they will always been associated with WWE because of who they are and the prominent positions they used to fill. Shane leaving WWE was not something that was easy for Vince and according to observers, it was difficult on their relationship. I believe Shane realized the company would go to Stephanie and Triple H and wanted to see what he could do outside of his father's shadow.
Where is Hulk Hogan?
Hulk Hogan is still running wild and remains under WWE contract. The company plans to utilize him on their July tour of Japan. Hogan is an asset for WWE but given the fact he can no longer wrestle, his exposure must be limited. If it's not, his appearances go from a "big deal" to "ordinary." Once this happens, he loses all value. TNA overexposed Hogan to the point where he couldn't help them at all. Vince McMahon and WWE have done a great job in utilizing Hogan without overexposing him since he returned to the company earlier this year.
There has been no mention by Bray Wyatt of wanting to attain a championship in WWE. Despite notable feuds with Kane, Daniel Bryan and now John Cena, do you think there is any storyline that is feasible in which he will want to challenge for a title?
Unless it's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, holding a title means very little to an up and coming superstar. Just look at Big E and Dean Ambrose. Did either rise to prominence because they held a mid card title? If anything, feuding for a mid card belt would be beneath where Bray Wyatt has been working. There are several feasible storylines I could pitch for Bray Wyatt to get involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene following his program with John Cena, however, I'm not sure that's the direction WWE wants to go. Bray has all of the tools to be a successful WWE World Heavyweight Champion and I'll flat out admit he's becoming one of my favorite characters on WWE television.
What if, in the absence of Daniel Bryan, Triple H gave one title to Randy Orton and another title to Batista?
I do not like hypothetical questions because we could play this game all day but could you imagine the heat this would generate? WWE is already going storyline-heavy with Daniel Bryan's injury, noting he's out because he's a B+ player that can't handle the wear and tear of being WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I don't know the direction WWE plans to turn but it will be a direction that is decided from Thursday through Sunday as they plan to address it on Monday's Raw. While your idea would undoubtedly get a ton of heat, I'm tired of The Authority's "insurmountable power" and hate the idea of Bryan getting "screwed out of his title" yet again.
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