WWE’s Concussion Policy Dangerous?, Daniel Bryan Joining The Wyatt Family, Adrian Neville & Mason Ryan, Batista’s Return Gimmick, Heath Slater Update

Earlier in the week you partly attributed Dolph Ziggler’s recent “demotion” to his injuries. With all that we now know about concussions and their long term affects, couldn’t WWE get accused of fostering a culture where performers feel forced to return from head injuries too quickly or else face similar “punishments” to those received by Ziggler?

Remember when Fandango suffered a concussion last summer? While many were praising WWE for their quick and prompt response by removing workers from cards at the first sign of a concussion, one backstage source expressed concern. I was told WWE being quick to remove workers that experience concussion symptoms could mean fewer people coming forward if they were to suffer a head injury. Dolph Ziggler’s concussion, the result of an errant Jack Swagger kick, came at a horrible time. Following a long wait to become World Heavyweight Champion, the reign was quick and largely forgettable. However, injuries are part of the business – they always have been and they always will be.

How does Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family make any sense?

There are plenty of logic holes in Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family to conclude this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. I posted everything I heard about the storyline in this week’s Backstage Raw notes. A lot of readers are upset about Bryan joining The Wyatts because they see it as a demotion from his previous role in the top of the card. I’m willing to wait and see how it plays out and while it seemed random, there was a degree of intrigue.

What are your thoughts on Adrian Neville and his chances of success on the main roster?

Adrian Neville can work with anyone in the world and is extremely talented in the ring. His key to success on the main roster will be how he translates his gimmick to the  masses. Neville is a smaller guy, so like many others, he’ll have to work twice as hard to get fans to notice him. Guys like Ryback get multiple opportunities in WWE because of their look – regardless of what anyone says, in-ring work means the least in terms of how WWE pushes talent.

What’s your opinion on Mason Ryan?

I haven’t watched near as much of Mason Ryan’s in-ring work as I have of Adrian Neville. He’s a massive beast and while WWE wanted to give him a run on the main roster a few years ago, an injury derailed those plans. He’ll need to prove he can stay healthy but because of his look, the opportunities should be there when/if he gets called up.

With Batista returning to WWE, will he be returning as a babyface or a heel?

WWE still has babyfaces and heels? I’m joking of course. Dot com ran a poll, asking fans which Batista they wanted to see return – the noble hero or the ruthless villain. The former won the majority and as with any returning star, it would be difficult to bring him back as a heel. Batista will be pushed right back to the top of the card immediately after his return on the January 20th episode of Monday Night Raw.

Is Heath Slater injured?

Heath Slater was off the road with WWE in the latter part of 2013 due to approved time off. I believe his wife had a new baby but he was back home in West Virginia visiting at one point. The latest update I posted on Slater is online at this link.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2013: Which member of The Shield do you see as the breakout star of the threesome, such in the manner Wade Barrett was with The Nexus? – It’s too early to tell. Roman Reigns is the greenest but even he tore the house down at WWE TLC. Looks can also be deceiving as Wade Barrett was the face of The Nexus yet Daniel Bryan has already had a World Heavyweight Championship reign and Ryback is in the main event. A lot of people praised Seth Rollins for his insane bump through the tables at the pay-per-view last month, however, a lot of people talked up the facial expressions and work of Dean Ambrose.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, January 3, 2014.

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  • Carlos Slim

    Seems like they could have found a way to keep Dolph strapped without risking further damage. They had to take the strap off of him, he could have gotten hurt in that match. WWE makes no sense.

  • Tim

    Why do I see Bryan and bray being the last two in the royal rumble. Then like a jbl/hbk fashion. Bray wins to face cena. At wrestlemania but that seems far fetched seeing as how only one world title exist now.

  • Jbreed

    The whole point of putting Daniel Bryan in a heel faction is to keep him from getting the same fan reaction he has gotten. They don’t want Bryan ever getting close to being the number 1 babyface as long as John Cena is around.

    • Bob’s Diner

      That right there is the truth. It’s hilarious that WWE has been pulling this sort of thing with Daniel Bryan now for 3 years and still people on here think this means he is finally getting his push or something. I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps he he is going to go heel so John Cena can get his win back at WrestleMania – like what happened with Batista. Especially now he has allies so the odds are stacked against John Cena! How will he overcome?!?!

    • Jay El Bee

      If that was true then why did the WWE push Bryan as the top face for 2 months only to see low ratings and bad buyrates for their effort, they could have just as easily had Cena beat Bryan at SS and had Orton cash in afterwords like he did and feud with someone else for the next couple of months.

      • Jbreed

        Ok obviously nobody gets it. The reason why the ratings dropped during Bryan’s main event run was because when John Cena’s not there the 5 to 13 year old wrestling fans don’t ask there daddies to let them stay up late and watch Raw on Monday night. And we all know a huge part of the WWE fanbase is made of children. There’s your drop in ratings. But if they would actually give a main event push more time to somebody not named Cena, than sooner or later maybe, just maybe new fans, or the fans who stopped watching because they were sick and tired of the same Cena crap for the past ten years, would start tuning in. and the ratings start to rise again.

        • Jay El Bee

          I disagree the reason the ratings dropped was because the casual fans lost interest and stopped watching, or least that’s what most of the casual fans that I’m friends with did. According to my brother-in-law when I talked to him last week who would be one of those casual fans that quit watching he told me that Bryan would make a great IC title level guy, but is not someone you build the show around.

      • Jbreed

        Well they pushed Daniel Bryan for those two months to make it seem like they were giving us fans what we wanted but in the end he just got buried by Randy Orton. And as far as low ratings and Daniel Bryan are concerned, the reason why the ratings dropped during Bryan’s main event run was because when John Cena’s not there the 5 to 13 year old wrestling fans don’t ask there daddies to let them stay up late and watch Raw on Monday night. And we all know a huge part of the WWE fanbase is made of children. There’s your drop in ratings. But if they would actually give a main event push more time to somebody not named Cena, than sooner or later maybe, just maybe new fans, or the fans who stopped watching because they were sick and tired of the same Cena crap for the past ten years, would start tuning in. and the ratings start to rise again.

        • Jay El Bee

          Buried he came out looking better in that feud than Orton did, but if wins and losses matter that much to you then sure he got buried because he lost. Also what do you consider a main event push, because it seems like everytime Punk and Bryan get pushed to the main event the ratings are at their worst. Even the Miz’s main event push a few years ago got higher ratings than either of those two, and that was before the Rock even showed up.

          • Jbreed

            It’s not only about wins and losses in this case, even though I never understood you people who say a guy who comes out of a program as the loser can still come out looking good. All I remember from the Randy Orton/Bryan feud is Bryan constantly getting his ass kicked every week by either Orton or The Shield and than getting screwed twice out of the WWE title. If all this made him look good to you, well you’re entitled to your own opinion. Anyway,the reason why I feel Bryan got buried is because he went from the main event picture to jobbing to a bunch of rookies at TLC. If it wasn’t a burial then you at least have to call it a huge demotion. As far as ratings go, when CM Punk was the champion John Cena was still the number 1 main event guy, He was still on Raw as much as ever and the guy headlining ppvs, and the ratings were still down. And when Cena’s out everybody blames the low ratings on whoever takes his place, in this case Bryan. But when Cena’s there and the ratings drop everybody says it’s because Raw is up against MNF. Like I said on the other post, the ratings drop when Cena’s not there beacuse the kids stop watching, not the adult fanbase. It’s almost embarrassing for us adults to know there are toddlers sitting at home watching the same wrestling show we’re watching.

          • Jay El Bee

            Well all I remember from the Orton-Bryan feud is that Orton never got a clean win in their 4-5 months of feuding. If you think Bryan looking the better of the 2 in 99% of their matches is a burial then obviously there is nothing I can say that will change your mind. Also being the champion is a bigger deal than main eventing a PPV, from my experience the casual fans don’t ask who is main eventing PPV’s they ask who ask who the champion is. And another thing I don’t know what you’re complaining about the whole company has been aimed towards kids for about 5 years now, so if you feel embarrassed watching the show you should probably quit watching since things aren’t going change anytime soon.

          • Jbreed

            Maybe I didn’t make my point clear. I said the wins and losses didn’t matter as much as how Daniel Bryan was treated during the feud and where he ended up after it was over. And the champion being the bigger deal than main eventing isn’t always the case. The Rock vs. John Cena at WM 28 for example.

      • Bob’s Diner

        Oh dear gawd the old ‘low buyrates & ratings’ garbage. You want to blame Daniel Bryan for that? Raw’s worst rating of the year was when Randy Orton and John Cena were the main event pushing the whole ‘title unification’ angle. That’s a fact. I do not seriously believe anyone in WWE would blame Daniel Bryan for the ratings and buyrates for September and October.

        At no point was he pushed as the “top face”. The whole angle was filled with stupidity and the focal point was placed squarely on HHH and Big Show in some weird way. That is why fans tuned out. Raw started every week with a 15 minute HHH promo. That is why fans tuned out. Randy Orton put on 2 months of the most boring of work of his career – both in the ring and on the mic. That is why fans tuned out. Big Show was crying all the time. That is why fans tuned out.

        Like Jbreed said, this is what WWE do with wrestlers they don’t want to push as the top but the fans love. Lance Storm has even spoken about how this was done with AJ Styles when Hogan and Bischoff joined TNA; they put said wrestler as the champ, but then make the story or character complete garbage so they can say it failed and that person isn’t right as champion. You set them up to fail and hope it kills their momentum with the fans. They have done this countless times with Daniel Bryan.

        As for SummerSlam, I absolutely get why they did it – Orton had been a face for a long time, and him cashing in on Cena would not have turned him heel at all. History shows that beating up John Cena gets you cheered more than ever. So have him go over the real fan favourite in a dastardly way and there you have your heel turn. Also sets up the re-match so Cena can once again overcome the odds and win.

        • Jay El Bee

          You do know that other than that one low rating the Cena-Orton feud was drawing 2.8-2.9 ratings, of course not. And If Bryan wasn’t the top face then how come some of my friends that are casual fans said they found the show uninteresting when he was the focal point of the show and quit watching. Also your last paragraph is a bunch of BS because turning Orton heel on Bryan pretty much killed any crowd reaction he use to get, now I’m not saying turning him against Cena would have been better but it couldn’t have been any worse.

          • Bob’s Diner

            Orton phoning it in since turning heel is what killed his reactions. Though really he hadn’t been drawing that well anyway

            You are bragging about 2.8-2.9? Apart from a couple of shows, that’s exactly what the show was doing throughout September/October. Oh wow, Daniel Bryan killed ratings and John Cena is out drawing him by a mile! The show still hasn’t pulled a 3.0 since Daniel Bryan first won the title – not even John Cena returning after 2 months managed a 3.0.

            This is because not one single wrestler really is the cause for low or high ratings. It is about the overall product. And the overall product the last few months has had some real low points

          • Jay El Bee

            Orton wasn’t drawing that well because he feuding with an IWC favorite, once that ended the ratings started going back up. Also the ratings at the start of Bryan run as the top face were above 3.2, near the end of his run they had dropped under 2.7. If losing almost a fifth of your audience in 2 months isn’t killing the ratings I don’t know what is. And you’re right they haven’t gotten a 3.0 yet since Cena’s been back but they’ve gotten close, and the ratings are a lot higher than they were at this point last year when the show was drawing 2.5′s and lower.

          • Bob’s Diner

            What does an “IWC favorite” even mean nowadays? Daniel Bryan is the biggest fan favourite in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. He isn’t wrestling on some indy show or unknown promotion – people that watch wrestling know exactly who he is.. John Cena is an IWC favourite, because a lot of fans on the internet like him. Some so much they can’t use their brains properly.

            I don’t like insulting people on here, but you are obviously ignorant. Go check the Raw ratings – September was 2.8-2.9 and October was 2.8 apart from the two weeks where it did slightly better than the yearly low from a few weeks ago. Then it levelled out at 2.7 for a few weeks while Daniel Bryan began feuding with The Wyatts and Big Show took full focus. The ratings now are not really better. Why do you have no problem with Orton and Cena drawing the worst rating of the year? Did you know the next lowest rating for Raw was back in May? Was Daniel Bryan champion then? And almost every PPV in 2013 after Elimination Chamber drew less buys than in 2012 – are you going to blame Daniel Bryan for that as well?

            2013 was not a great year for WWE. Only the biggest marks can blame it all on one person and not feel stupid

          • Jay El Bee

            I have looked at the ratings over and over and except for a couple of minor rises all I see is the ratings dropping for about 2 months straight. Why should I blame Cena & Orton for the worst rating of the year when they were only involved in the last 15-20 minutes of the show and that was the most watched part of show. Also I couldn’t find any low rated Raw’s in May but I did find one on June 3rd, and while he wasn’t the champion it was definitely a Daniel Bryan heavy episode so I’m not surprised that it got a low rating. In case you were wondering that week he was involved in a 6 man tag team match that went 15-20 minutes, 3-4 segments that lasted about 5-10 minutes total, and another match with Ryback that went 15 minutes. And no blame him for all of the PPV’s, just the ones he main evented like SummerSlam which lost 60 thousand buys compared to last year or Battleground which I believe was one of the worst bought PPV’s in WWE history.

          • Bob’s Diner

            And John Cena main evented 4 PPV’s that lost around 350,000 buys combined. Not including SummerSlam, which you forget there were two people in that main event. Aso, that June 3rd episode of Raw? Yeah, John Cena in the main event.

            Now, I’m not blaming him for those poor results. Because I have a brain. But this is why I can’t stand John Cena marks; it is always ok if the ratings or buyrates go down so long as he was in the main event. Anyone else and they are killing the company. It is pathetic. You people don’t want to see the company move forward or anyone else become stars and can’t accept it when other wrestlers become popular. Hence you all still use stupid outdated terms like “IWC favourite”. You are on the internet saying John Cena is the greatest – that makes him an IWC favourite as well. CM Punk – that other IWC guy you hate? He’s actually been with WWE for 8 years now. Chances are, 90% of his fans only know of him from WWE.

            I used to like John Cena a lot. Unfortunately, the majority of his fans are like you – biased, ignorant and always looking for excuses to tear down other wrestlers to make John Cena look better.

          • Jay El Bee

            I didn’t forget it, unlike Bryan Cena was also in one of the main events of SummerSlam the previous so why would I put any of the blame on him. Also I know Cena was in the main event of that show and it was by far the highest rated part of show, but lets just ignore that right. Actually I don’t really even like Cena that much, but I’d rather watch him as the top guy than the bland and boring Daniel Bryan. I will point out though that Cena is usually involved in one of or the highest rated segment of the show every week so even if the ratings are low I can’t blame him for that, Bryan on the other hand is usually involved in some of the lowest rated parts of the show so I can blame him.

          • Bob’s Diner

            John Cena wasn’t in the main event of SummerSlam 2012 – that would be HHH and Brock Lesnar

          • Jay El Bee

            I said one of the main events, but if you don’t consider anything but final match of the show the main event we’ll just call it a top match then.

  • Scottyo614

    That’s really convenient Mason Ryan and Batista were in the same ask WNW. Can’t wait till they come face to face lol

  • Razmos

    Bryan joining the Wyatts was done to Bray saying he can help Bryan to “bring down the machine” to me that sounds like Bray will help Bryan capture the gold, or vise versa, then leading to Bryan turning on Wyatts. Think of it like the Nation Of Domination and Rock kind of angle.

  • thepowerserge

    Now that Batista is returning, I think there’s NO CHANCE IN HELL that Mason Ryan gets any type of push into the top of the card or even in the midcard. Always said he reminded me of Dave, so his return pretty much puts Ryan on the back burner.

    • Nostaljack

      Mason Ryan was the green version of Batista. Batista’s return is the worst thing that could happen for poor Mason. He looks almost exactly the same so he doesn’t stand any chance of being called up.

      • Rus

        Umm why are you even talking about Mason Ryan, when was the last time we saw him on tv and why even compare him to Batista

        • TheBigKing1

          Exactly. But I guess because they look similar.

          • Rus

            Didnt we kinda have this conversation 5 years ago :P

          • TheBigKing1

            Not me.

          • Rus

            Well every other person in the world that watches wwe did

    • TheBigKing1

      He never was going to get pushed to the top of the card. They tried to push him and Ezekiel Jackson, because of their size…but then they realized that they just don’t have that IT Factor that you NEED to be successful in the WWE.

  • John

    I listen to a couple of wrestling-related podcasts and they have speculated for weeks now that Daniel Bryan was going to eventually join The Wyatt Family … I’m surprised so many people were shocked by it.

  • Jay El Bee

    I’m just curious do the people that think Bryan joining Wyatt Family is demotion from the top of the card not realize that Bryan hasn’t been on top of the card since HIAC.

    • Bob’s Diner

      No one said this is a demotion – just confirmation he isn’t breaking that glass ceiling anytime soon

      • Jay El Bee

        Actually Richard said his readers said it was demotion not me, I was just wondering if they knew that he hadn’t been on top of card since October or not.

  • Tom Lee

    Low rating ..I think it could caused by other TV show , like NFL , NBA.
    I means, that is no point to blame Daniel / cena, punk or Randy like some people discussed as below, because if you are fan of Daniel, of cause you will stand right same side with Bryan then your will goes to cena or orton or other superstar.
    Another point from my suggestion is bring in the guy like Mason Ryan, it will be good for business …

  • Tom Lee

    Low rating ..I think it could caused by other TV show , like NFL , NBA.
    I means, that is no point to blame Daniel / cena, punk or Randy like some people discussed as below, because if you are fan of Daniel, of cause you will stand right same side with Him then you will blame to cena or orton or other superstar.
    Another point from my suggestion is bring in the guy like Mason Ryan, it will be good for business …

  • Orichalkos

    Adrian Neville will be fine as long as they let him do his red arrow. he’ll definitely stand out among the crowd. As long as he doesn’t do the Evan Bourne and gets caught using pot We’ll likely see him in the IC/Us title picture a couple of months after his debut.