Bullying & Being A Heel, CM Punk's Animosity For The Rock, Problem With Raw Being 3 Hours, Punk vs. Austin At Wrestlemania

The following is today's edition of Ask WNW. Ask WNW is the most popular feature on the website where Richard Gray answers four questions daily, Monday through Friday. To submit your question for the next installment of Ask WNW, click here.
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Why does WWE continue to do things such as 3-on-1 beatdowns, sneak attacks and cheap shots if they are serious about their anti-bullying campaign?

We've highlighted hypocrisy in WWE's be-A-star anti-bullying campaign in the past, however, the stuff you mentioned is not bullying. Heels being heels are part of the show and essential to make the business work. The story of the woman claiming Alberto Del Rio bullied her son for ripping his sign at a weekend live event is ridiculous and probably a ploy to draw mainstream media attention. There are boundaries that have been crossed that shouldn't have been but it's also important to remember what you see on television is scripted entertainment (most of the time). There is no need to "check your brain at the door" and I believe most people understand the difference between entertainment and reality.

Does CM Punk have a real problem and animosity against The Rock?

CM Punk, like many other workers in WWE, has legitimate beef with how The Rock is able to come in as a part-timer, dominate the spotlight for a select number of appearances and leave only to return and do it again. Many, if not most, of the workers that are on the road 300 days out of the year feel the same way. However, the stuff that is likely to be used on WWE programming will be "turned up" a couple notches to get it over in storyline. As for my thoughts, if a worker gets over and draws, they should be able to do so. I have no problem with part-time talent if they create interesting and compelling programs. Rather than criticize the part-timers, I feel people like CM Punk should try and become bigger stars to where there is no need to utilize past stars. Do you think either The Rock or Steve Austin needed Hulk Hogan to come in and sell pay-per-views?

Update: I know I have to be careful when I'm critical of Punk but let me try a second attempt to clarify my point. The Rock, Steve Austin, Mick Foley and D-Generation X were responsible for defeating WCW in the height of the Monday Night Wars. They drove ratings, pay-per-view buyrates and merchandise sales that ultimately sent a billionaire in Ted Turner scrambling to unload the money hole WCW had become. For those talking about Wrestlemania 18, upon which point Hulk Hogan returned to face The Rock, this was AFTER the war had been won. The Attitude Era ended in March 2001 when McMahon purchased World Championship Wrestling.

If Raw was two hours and did a 2.5 rating then what would people complain about? It's an hour extra and people are blowing a gasket for no reason.

I don't necessarily think people are upset about the length of WWE Raw as they are at the lack of entertaining content. This week's Raw was better but it still included material that could have been cut and would have been just as entertaining. One of the things we've seen with the three-hour shows is viewer fatigue setting in, with people tuning out for the third and final hour. Three hours is a long time to watch anything but it's especially difficult when it's not compelling television. Expanding to three hours has worn everyone out, starting with the writers and producers and going all the way through the roster. As for viewership, four million viewers should be an absolutely minimum and last week we saw that number go below that floor which is disturbing.

With CM Punk name dropping Steve Austin so much is there a chance a match will happen at Wrestlemania XXIX next year?

WWE wants the match to happen but it depends on Steve Austin's availability, health and desire to work again. The booking will be complicated but one can only hope it gets done. However, I don't think anyone doesn't believe the basic groundwork has been laid for the possible dream match.

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