Daniel Bryan Changing In-Ring Style, WWE A Public Company, MITB As A PPV, Steroids & PEDs Still In WWE Locker Room

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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Do you believe that Daniel Bryan can still be successful if he drops some of his riskier moves like Shawn Michaels did after he returned from back surgery?

I talked about Daniel Bryan possibly altering his in-ring style in the latest WNW Premium Mailbag but allow me to hit on some key points. Daniel Bryan's in-ring work is what sets him apart. His work is on par with greats such as Bret Hart and Kurt Angle, adding an element of realism with a style very few are capable of working. With that said, this neck injury isn't something that occurred on one particular spot. This injury is from years of bumps that have finally caused a condition where surgery was the only option. So going forward, Bryan will have to operate with more caution. However, I don't think we're in for a major transformation to his in-ring style nor do I expect him to "mail it in." Bryan is at the top of the ladder and he's innovative enough to make some changes without altering what sets him apart. What makes WWE so different from independent promotions is that their regular talent is on the road 300 days out of the year. They can't work a high-risk style night in and night out without suffering major consequences. It's important for WWE workers to pick and choose their spots and I expect Daniel Bryan to do that. This injury is concerning, as are all neck injuries, but Bryan is talented enough to make some tweaks that will not hinder his extraordinary ability.

I don't know much about the stock market but I want to know if you think the WWE made a mistake for going from a private company to a publicly traded company?

No, WWE going public has allowed them to generate capital that wouldn't have otherwise been there. There is a disconnect between investors and pro wrestling executives, much like there is with investors and fans. We can argue that each are polar opposites and neither understands the other. Pro wrestling has a culture unlike anything Wall Street has ever seen. Things are top secret for the sake of the business and thrive on hype. Vince McMahon did a masterful job of hyping the company's domestic TV deal, while at the same time maintaining a level of secrecy that has the company the subject of multiple investigations. The problem with kayfabing your investors is they were purchasing the stock on anticipation of a deal that would see WWE double or triple their TV licensing fees. Was Vince intentionally hyping the TV deal to pump the stock price? I can't answer that, however, I can tell you Vince was doing what he's always done. Hype, hype, hype! Vince is the best promoter of all time and if anyone knows how to sell something, it's him. He created the hype but was unable to deliver. I honestly believe the storm is over as long as WWE maintains their dividend. The company now must focus on fixing WWE Network expenditures, while getting as many subscribers as possible.

Do you agree with the view that the Money in the Bank match should only take place at Wrestlemania and not have turned into a PPV?

No, I believe Money in the Bank has become one of WWE's top B-level pay-per-views. I do, however, feel the match should still be featured on the Wrestlemania undercard. An additional Money in the Bank ladder match would not be gimmick overkill and would be much more effective and entertaining than a 30-man battle royal.

Do wrestlers that are really bulked up stop using steroids once signed by WWE? I mean, it's really difficult to maintain that level of muscle without " a little help from some friends".

If anyone believes the WWE locker room is 100% clean, they're living in a dream world. The same holds true for athletes in the major sports leagues. Steroids, HGH and performance enhancing drugs are still part of the equation. However, things have cleaned up considerably in light of new testing methods and the consequences of using such substances. Speaking solely on the WWE Wellness Policy, the loophole is that a worker can clear a positive test by producing a valid prescription unless the substance is on the outright banned list. All a worker needs is a couple of doctor friends willing to write them a prescription and theoretically, they are bulletproof from Wellness violations. I'm not going to point fingers because unless I see a worker shoot up in front of me, I'm not going to speculate. The problem is still there but it isn't as bad as it once was. Progress is all anyone can ask for, however, I have a problem with demonizing violators. To assume there are only a few "bad boys" and the majority of guys are choir boys is grossly inaccurate.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2014: Does WWE Wellness test their referees? - Yes, the referees are subject to Wellness testing in WWE. Senior official Mike Chioda was suspended under the WWE Wellness policy on August 15, 2011 and is the only referee to be suspended for a test failure. He returned immediately after his suspension the next month. It’s been several months since WWE had a Wellness test suspension as the last on record is the suspension of Ricardo Rodriguez on July 2, 2013. We have details on every WWE Wellness suspension since November 1, 2007 at this link.

Remember questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. Check out the Ask WNW archive at this link.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, May 26, 2014.

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