Conor McGregor Calling Out WWE Talent, Why Talented Prospects Start In NXT, WWE Returns, Benjamin's Horrible Injury

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Ric Flair & Conor McGregor

What were your thoughts on Conor McGregor’s controversial comments? I found them to be disrespectful not only to the WWE locker room but to pro wrestlers in general.

Is it wrong that I suspect a work? Think about it. UFC was incredibly successful with the Brock Lesnar crossover opportunity at UFC 200 and McGregor’s comments come just two weeks before UFC 202, which will feature him vs. Nate Diaz II. McGregor could just be playing the perfect heel and driving interest in the show. If McGregor is shooting, I still don’t see the comments as disrespectful. He’s a guy that will say anything and that’s one of the reasons why he is so entertaining. UFC struggles to build stars and McGregor, love him or hate him, is a star. He’s a recognizable name that can carry a pay-per-view. UFC doesn’t have many fighters like that so I don’t find anything wrong with the trash talking.

Why do established stars like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode spend time in NXT instead of going straight to the main roster?

All three of the workers you mentioned are different situations. Finn Balor was signed from the independent circuit and brought to NXT for “WWE seasoning.” In fact, one of the things he was so hesitant about in going to WWE is that he didn’t want to be spinning his wheels down there when he could be making big money in Japan. However, NXT underwent a major evolution during Balor’s time there and went from a place of development featuring the dreadful drills of Bill DeMott to the most entertaining portion of the entire WWE product. Now Balor is onto phase two of his WWE career and there is a lot to be excited about as he heads to SummerSlam in a main event match. Samoa Joe was signed to WWE NXT to serve as a locker room leader. He’s gotten over down there and the latest plans have him coming up to the main roster soon. As for Bobby Roode, I see him in a situation where WWE wants him to prove himself before anything further. The NXT crowd is the perfect environment for someone like Roode and provides ample opportunity to build stable support. NXT is much more than WWE’s developmental brand and is now a world touring brand. I would much rather see Roode booked prominently there then given an enhancement role on Raw or Smackdown.

Do you think WWE have any concrete plans for some of the talent that they have been bringing back? People like Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins, who were barely relevant the 1st time round, or is it just a case of boosting numbers on the roster?

I believe it’s more about WWE having names their audience is already familiar with to help bolster the depth of each brand. I do not foresee a situation where Jinder Mahal or Curt Hawkins break out but rather see them filling in the gaps moving forward. Not everyone has the ceiling of someone like Finn Balor so they need guys to come in and fill those holes and the way Vince McMahon looks at it, it’s easier to do that with talent they have already invested resources in rather than trying to start from scratch.

Has Shelton Benjamin's injury ruined his chances of returning or has it only postponed it?

Shelton Benjamin’s torn rotator cuff has ruined his chances of returning to WWE for now. In six to nine months, or whenever he is able to get healthy, he could have another shot but it’s just impossible to predict that far in advance. If WWE is in need talent at that time, Shelton is a guy they could call as both Vince McMahon and Triple H are high up on his work.

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