With how deep the NXT roster is becoming, do you see NXT moving to 2 hours? How will it be possible to showcase all of them on 1 hour of television each week?
No! No! No! That's my reaction to WWE adding any more additional hours of weekly television. I talked in Tuesday's Ask WNW about WWE utilizing moderation with NXT and that's key to success. WWE Raw moved to 3 hours on July 23, 2012, how's that worked out? Vince McMahon will say it's performed great and point to WWE's key drivers and additional revenue from the USA Network. I feel it's played a major part in watering down WWE's angles, fatigued the viewing audience, burned out the writers and has resulted in serious product over-saturation. If a WWE fan just watches Raw and Smackdown each week, they commit 5 hours of their week to WWE programming. Throw in Main Event, NXT and Total Divas and that's 8 hours. I love WWE, after all it's how I make my living. But WWE's gotten to the point where they're expecting too big of a commitment from their audience. Why are people not buying the WWE Network? They already have 5 free hours each week - that's a lot! NXT is one of the best things going in WWE - especially to us that love actual wrestling. However, adding an additional hour of NXT programming each week will make the occasional special events less special and force the viewer into making an even bigger weekly commitment.
With all these wrestlers dying way too young, do you feel WWE could do more in helping talent with after care?
WWE has expanded their after care for former performers and tried to help Sean O'Haire (the most recent worker to die far too young). They reportedly sent O'Haire to rehab for alcohol addiction six times in the past six years. According to TMZ, WWE had tried to followup with O'Haire but were unsuccessful. WWE will pay for any worker -- past or present -- to go to rehab. The talent just has to get in contact with them and the office coordinates their treatment. Jake Roberts, who was recently hospitalized with pneumonia, said WWE was with him every step of the way from coordinating his treatment to contacting his family members. WWE sent staff members to the house of Dana Warrior to help her in the days following her husband's untimely passing. Now, I am not going to sit here and lie and say WWE is a model company and does everything right; because they could and should do more. However, there is protocol in place to try and quell the problem of wrestlers dying too young.
How long do you think it will take for Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling to become serious competition to TNA?
Global Force Wrestling will only be a legitimate competitor to TNA Wrestling if they land a domestic TV deal -- a deal better than TNA has. For as long as TNA is on Spike TV in the United States, they'll be the No. 2 promotion. However, if TNA loses Spike, they'll be forced to operate on a smaller scale. Ring of Honor is a promotion that operates on a smaller scale, as is Dragon Gate USA and countless other independent promotions behind them. Jarrett has a significant financial backer in Toby Keith and the experience to make this work but the first step in becoming a legitimate competitor is getting on TV in the United States.
Do you know why the booking on Raw seemed so unusual? The Mark Henry segment closed the show and the main event saw Seth Rollins lose clean to Roman Reigns which is a match that was set for Night of Champions, less than a week away.
WWE Raw was booked out of order to compete with Monday Night Football. The John Cena/Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman segment, which would usually close the show, took place when the game was at halftime. The hope internally was they would be able to get "channel flippers" to leave the game and stay for Raw. Did it work? I haven't seen the quarter hours but the hourly data wasn't very good. While viewership increased from 3.9 million viewers to 3.94 million viewers from hour one to hour two, it slid to 3.629 million in the third and final hour. The average viewing audience (3,826,000 viewers) was the lowest since Memorial Day (which drew 3,602,333 viewers). I have no idea why WWE gave away one of the top Night of Champions pay-per-view matches for free with a clean babyface outcome. The match was good but logically, it didn't make any sense. Perhaps they feel Lesnar vs. Cena is enough to sell Night of Champions on its own and doesn't need the help of the undercard. Or maybe there's an entirely different line of thinking with the focus on WWE Network subscriptions and not pay-per-view buys.
From the Ask WNW vault…
July 2012: With Raw moving to three hours do you see Smackdown doing the same? - I posted this question for any WWE writer or producer that may be reading just so they could have the assurance that things could be worse. I don’t see Smackdown expanding and I have my doubts about how long Raw’s expansion to three hours will last. Monday’s are already extremely chaotic and adding an extra hour of live TV doesn’t have anyone excited (not even the majority of fans that read this website). Think about it for a second. The WWE writers and producers have to hammer out a three-hour live show with very limited preparation time. Two hours were stretching things thin and the extra hour has hurt morale and I’m told many are going to try and “gut it out” but could quit due to the added pressure. The ultimate factor will be how the first hour does in the ratings and that will be an uphill climb this fall with the return of Monday Night Football.
Questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. I’m going to be off for the rest of the week. The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, September 22, 2014.