What is your opinion of Alberto Del Rio?
I touched on fans not being sold on either Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus as main eventers in Friday’s installment of Ask WNW but I didn’t give my full thoughts on Del Rio. I’m actually in the middle regarding Del Rio and feel he isn’t as good as some of his fans say he is but isn’t as bad as some of his detractors say either. Del Rio has a good look and can talk; his in-ring approach is more “simple” where he doesn’t try to do too much. I see him as a main event heel but not to the level of some of the better heels in WWE history such as Chris Jericho or Randy Orton, however, I would take Del Rio over other Mark Henry or Big Show.
Why is it that WWE doesn’t focus enough on younger talent? The focus seems to be on more established names such as Randy Orton and John Cena.
WWE does a good job at developing younger stars while still focusing on their top draws, so I disagree with your premise they do not focus enough on the up and comers. It’s very important to remember there are only a few main event spots available at a time, however, I look at Sheamus, The Miz and Antonio Cesaro, all current titleholders in WWE, as up and coming talent. None are necessarily “younger” but I don’t think anyone is going to argue they are not next in line behind the obvious names of Orton, Cena and CM Punk. I realize Cena has a lot of haters, especially from the IWC, but he is WWE’s top draw and his spot will remain untouched as long as he is their top draw.
Tensai wasn’t on television this week. Has Vince McMahon lost interest in him?
The Tensai project appears to be over and for anyone doubting it, Matt Bloom put over Big E Langston, a developmental talent, and Tyson Kidd over on weekend live events. We should never read too much into the results at live events, however, the results seem to reaffirm the belief Tensai just didn’t work.
With TNA ending the Claire Lynch/AJ Styles storyline on last week’s Impact Wrestling, do you think anything good came out of it?
The storyline got people talking so if that is what TNA was going for then to worked. However, I don’t see a payoff but Lynch is leaving TNA after it was revealed she actually works at Universal Studios.
Do you feel AJ Lee as General Manager is becoming boring?
I am amazed at how quickly many have turned on AJ Lee. Considered the “Internet’s darling” over the summer, several readers have dismissed her under the role as Raw’s General Manager. I’m still intrigued by the work of AJ and do not feel we are far enough in to call it a failure (although we can’t call it a success yet either).
Ryback seems limited and boring. What are your thoughts?
Ryback has only had a few opportunities with WWE roster members and none of his matches have been anything more than glorified squash matches. I’m not sold on Ryback because of the Goldberg rehash tag but we’ll see where it goes. Vince McMahon is still very high up on Ryback and is still telling the creative team to push him.
Is there any real-life heat between CM Punk and Jerry Lawler?
There is no real-life heat between CM Punk and Jerry Lawler but both play their respective roles so well it is very convincing. I love how Lawler is able to get over as a babyface more than the majority of the roster. A lot of the younger guys/up-and-comers could learn a lot from The King. Jerry is a guy with an old school mentality the fans almost always connect with.
I thought Kane’s part in the anger management class segment was funny but didn’t WWE put the mask back on him to portray him as an evil monster (and not comedic relief)?
One could argue no one has booked with more inconstancy in WWE history than Kane. The character goes from evil to comedy in one week with absolutely no reason. How about Kane the commentator? Kane fans get furious when I say this but he’s a reliable veteran the company puts in to “fill the gaps.”
With the three-hour episodes of WWE Raw not going as planned, could you see
them going back to two hours?
I am not quite sure what you mean “not going as planned” because despite the fact this week’s show left a lot to be desired, it held its own in the ratings. The only way WWE is going to return to two hours is if the show struggles in the ratings as they are making more money in advertisements by going three hours.
Is Triple H retiring and if not, when will he return?
Triple H signed a new performer’s contract earlier this year that doesn’t expire until March 30, 2016 so there are plans for him to continue wrestling. However, he’s still a semi-retired pro wrestler that is focused on his executive responsibilities for his inevitable succession of Vince McMahon. There are no immediate plans for him to return to the ring hence the second storyline “broken arm” angle.
Does WWE’s developmental program follow the same PG initiative as far as promos, head shots and blood?
Yes, WWE’s developmental program, now called NXT Wrestling, follows right along with the PG initiative that we see on WWE television. The idea is obvious in that the company wants to season their developmental workers appropriately so the transition for call-ups is as smooth as possible.
Has WWE ever considered streaming their commentary in a way where it could be heard by people that attended television tapings?
A few years ago I remember the company selling headphones at the merchandise stands in the arena where you could listen to the commentary but I do not believe they still produce them. I agree it would be nice to be able to hear the commentary while attending. Since I never experienced the headphones perhaps if someone is reading that bought them could provide us with more insight.
I am surprised John Laurinaitis hasn’t returned to WWE television. Is he back in his executive position on a full-time basis?
John Laurinaitis’ executive role in WWE has been significantly reduced as Triple H is now running Talent Relations, however, he is still working backstage in the company. As for his on-screen character, we haven’t seen the last of him. I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that he is expected back “before long.”
With Devon gone from TNA Wrestling, do you see him coming back to WWE?
There are a couple of hurdles before we are going to see Devon back in WWE. One, if he is going to return with Bully Ray, things will have to be smoothed over with Triple H as he and Bully butted heads during the last WWE run of The Dudley Boys. Another thing is TNA’s ongoing litigation against WWE which is currently blocking WWE from signing TNA names. The reason all these workers are walking from TNA is because they are being asked to take significant pay cuts as the company tries to cut roster expenses.
Once the WWE Network launches do you think they’ll offer a PG-13 rated wrestling show?
WWE may have gotten “edgier” recently, however, Vince McMahon has maintained his commitment to producing PG programming. He has admitted they took PG a little too far but I don’t see the company walking away from PG anytime soon. Anything is possible but by their own admission, producing PG content gives them more opportunities than the edgier programming.
With all of the wrestlers that have debuted or re-debuted over the past six months, why is Antonio Cesaro one of the first of the group to be given a mid-card title? Specifically, why was this given to Cesaro over Ryback, Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow?
When we broke the news that WWE was talking about putting the WWE United States Championship on Antonio Cesaro in the pre-show match prior to SummerSlam, I highlighted the fact Cesaro is seen as a “now or never” prospect. The company is high up on his size, look and in-ring abilities and they feel they can get him over in a short time. I can’t give you details on why him and not the others but this is the thinking surrounding Cesaro.
If the contracts of CM Punk, John Cena or Randy Orton expired would Vince let any of them go?
All three are under lucrative long-term and high-paying WWE performer’s contracts. Out of the three, Randy Orton is the least-secure in his job as there was a lot of talk about cutting him loose after his second-documented Wellness Policy violation a few months ago. However, I’m not sure how close WWE was to cutting Orton and many feel they just wanted to scare him. Regardless, Punk, Cena and Orton are the top stars in WWE and have more influence than anyone else.
It appeared that CM Punk’s “color” on Raw in his cage match with Lawler was not only ad-libbed, but completely out of character for the new PG-WWE. What are your thoughts?
CM Punk suffered a nasty gash in his head during the steel cage match on Raw although there was plenty of talk of him pushing the envelope. Whether or not the blood came completely hardway or part blade job, Punk wanted color and he got it. The blood certainly added to the match, his heel turn and was one of the very few high points to an otherwise lackluster show.
Currently, the WWE roster features some wrestlers who are from countries with a not-so-big pro wrestling tradition, such as Antonio Cesaro (Switzerland), Aksana (Lithuania), NXTs Rusev (Bulgaria) and recently signed Frenchmen La Ruffa and di Leo. Do you feel WWE should keep signing international workers in order to expand its viewership?
Global expansion is very important to WWE and they are focused on expanding in untapped markets. One market the company wants more penetration in is the country of China. Recently, a WWE executive admitted publicly the company is actively searching for Chinese talent. As for my thoughts, I think WWE should sign as many talented workers as possible. I don’t care where a particular talent is from as long as they possess talent that makes them entertaining.
Why is it Triple H and not Shane McMahon tapped to succeed Vince McMahon?
Observers with ties close to the McMahon family have told me for years Vince looks at Triple H like the son he never had. The plan has always been [as long as Triple H and Stephanie have been married] for the company to go to Stephanie and Hunter and many feel Shane realized that which is why he moved on. Shane would probably say he wanted to try to be successful on his own. He has acknowledged his decision wasn’t easy and was one that strained his relationship with his father. Vince was not expecting Shane to leave as Shane had done very good work in helping WWE expand globally.