CM Punk & Daniel Bryan As Long-Term Champions, The Risk With The WWE Network, Knockouts vs. Divas, Ric Flair's Induction

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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2011 saw 9 World Heavyweight Champions and 8 WWE Champions. How would you feel if CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were to hold on to their respective championships for the year 2012 or at least until SummerSlam 2012?

I will be the first to admit there were far too many title changes last year. I believe in the old school mentality of long title reigns with several successful title defenses. I feel this not only benefits the champion but it also makes the title they hold more prestigious. The problem in WWE has been they will put the title on someone they do not see as a "top guy." Therefore they'll go on to have a very mediocre reign with all disputed title defense outcomes. I feared this would be the case with Daniel Bryan but so far the heel turn has provided an avenue for him to have successful title defenses. I wouldn't be opposed to both Bryan and CM Punk holding their respective titles throughout the year but I do not think it is likely.

With all the risks that the WWE Network could be a failure, is it going to be a big blow to the WWE finances just like the XFL was?

Some people close to WWE feel that if the WWE Network fails it could be the one project that could land Vince McMahon in financial trouble. The XFL would have continued if it weren't for problems with television clearance. While NBC nixed their coverage after the premiere season due to low ratings, the XFL still had clearances on UPN and TNN. However, UPN demanded that Smackdown be cut to 90 minutes if they were to going to continue broadcasting XFL games. Vince McMahon didn't want to cut Smackdown and thus pulled the plug on the league. While the XFL under performed in the ratings, it wasn't a big blow financially for WWE as it was financially solvent. What troubles a lot of people about the WWE Network is the lack of clearance gained. Company resources are being pooled together to create new original programming, however, the network hasn't gained enough clearance to make its projected April 1, 2012 debut date. The idea was for WWE to begin promoting the launch of the network in hopes the fan response would be enough to gain support on both cable and satellite systems, but as of this writing, there are major questions about clearance.

Do you think with the current bookings of the TNA Knockouts division that the WWE could take a lesson from them and actually use the Divas as more than just eye-candy or time fillers? I understand WWE doesn't really look towards talent in the ring, so to speak, when it comes to Divas but even this WWE fan would rather watch the Knockouts.

Vince McMahon has a different philosophy when pushing female talent as he also does with pushing male talent. In-ring abilities have never been the focus in WWE because McMahon understands the company has to cater to several different demographics. There is always a lot of frustration from Internet fans and even the Divas themselves but McMahon has a philosophy he feels is effective. I will say the Natalya "farting" gimmick is disgusting and Vince's immaturity at its worst.

What does WWE plan to do about Ric Flair when the Four Horsemen are inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month as Flair is under contract with TNA?

Ric Flair has said he will be on stage with the other Four Horsemen members being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Apparently Dixie Carter has no problem with the induction and Flair obviously still has great relationships with Triple H and Vince McMahon. If anything, I think it shows how little of a threat Vince McMahon sees TNA. He would never highlight a worker under contract with a competitor if he felt they were a threat to his business.

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