Don't Buy WWE PPVs!, Nostalgia, Rusev Won Me Over, Cena NOT Orton

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 think it's OK to do more dirty finishes now that PPVs are on the WWE Network? There are people who still have to get traditional PPV because high speed cable internet is not available in all areas. Further, there could be those "on the fence" about the Network and just want to order one show with friends.

WWE made it abundantly clear again at Hell in a Cell, if you order their shows on traditional pay-per-view, you are an idiot. I completely disagree with this strategy and believe it's horrible marketing. But they did it last month at Night of Champions and had the commentators shame people for ordering Hell in a Cell on pay-per-view again on Sunday night. It's safe to say WWE doesn't want people ordering their pay-per-views on a traditional basis, they want them subscribing to the WWE Network. I believe they are completely desperate for subscribers, something we will find out for sure when they give the public an update on Thursday.

As for WWE having more leeway with dirty/non-finishes for pay-per-view matches, I've explained it numerous times. They believe they can do it because the shows no longer carry a significant financial commitment. I've always heavily criticized WWE when they haven't done clean outcomes on pay-per-view but the days are changing. However, I still feel it's silly to promote matches as "must see," only to have them end dirty or with non-finishes. What incentive does one have to signup for the WWE Network if the show is only building to free TV? But then again, we're talking about the company that believes it's OK to shame their customers for BUYING their show.

I said this after Night of Champions but it stands to be repeated. The WWE Network should not be about the price. Why do you think Wrestlemania was traditionally the most bought pay-per-view despite being the most expensive? Because it was considered must-see material. The only point WWE seems interested in conveying to their audience is the WWE Network is cheap. They fail to point out it's a valuable service full of "must-see" content. Now, with two dirty pay-per-view main event finishes in a row, one could make the argument the pay-per-views are becoming less valuable. I wish I could understand their mindset but it's very difficult to try and explain.

Why do you think wrestling fans, in general, are more nostalgic than fans of other forms of sport or entertainment? Do you believe nostalgia is what keeps us from enjoying today's product like we did decades ago?

Guys like Sting and The Undertaker, talent we grew up watching, have proven they can still work at a very high level whereas players like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky would no longer be able to compete at such a level. This is the difference and it's what makes pro wrestling fans more nostalgic than other forms of sports and entertainment. It's not true for everyone as Sting and Undertaker are the exception not the rule but I believe that has a lot to do with why pro wrestling fans are more nostalgic. I believe nostalgia plays a factor in all forms of entertainment. I am from West Virginia so I grew up without any pro sports franchises. As a result, my loyalty is scattered to the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Braves, all teams very successful in the 1990s but haven't had anywhere near that success in recent years. However, they hooked me early on and my loyalty remains to this day. Someone asked me a couple weeks ago in the WNW Premium Mailbag if I didn't cover pro wrestling for a living if I would still watch, even in a creative slump. My answer was yes and as bad as I hate to admit it, I grew up a fan and I was hooked from an early age. I guess that makes me the biggest mark of them all but I truly enjoy the wrestling business.

Why does WWE keep putting Rusev over, while saying how great and unstoppable he is?

My feelings on Rusev have changed. I still think the Russian/not-Russian gimmick is overused, overdone and silly (because he isn't Russian) but Rusev, the performer, is talented. During his match with Big Show at Hell in a Cell he showed a high degree of athleticism and versatility, including the ability to connect on a dropkick. Someone Tweeted me they didn't understand what I saw in Rusev in terms of talent. While it's fine to not like a particular worker, there's no way you can watch what Rusev did at 6'0/305 lb against the largest opponent he will ever face and objectively say he isn't talented. Sometimes people think in order for a worker to have a good match they have to be able to work like Adrian Neville. While high-risk/high-flying is certainly entertaining, it's not the defining characteristic of an elite in-ring talent. With that said, Rusev is billed as unstoppable and WWE clearly has something with him. His stock is soaring following a clean victory over Big Show, even with interference from Mark Henry.

Why did Randy Orton have to lose? Just when the WWE Universe was anticipating a fresh rivalry between Lesnar and Orton, WWE yet again shoves Cena down our throats for a fourth match against Lesnar.

Vince McMahon planned all along for another Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena match to blowoff the program. I didn't feel there was a need to do a second match after SummerSlam, let alone do a third one at a pay-per-view to be announced. But that's his plan and he's sticking to it. The stipulation added to Cena vs. Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell was inserted to make the match a meaningful co-main event. If you got your hopes up for Lesnar vs. Orton, they ribbed you.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2013: What does the WWE Hall of Fame mean to an inductee and what benefits do they get? - In addition to monetary compensation for appearing, WWE Hall of Fame inductees get a Hall of Fame ring and of course the immortalization of being inducted into the Hall of Fame of the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. While critics will rightly point out the WWE Hall of Fame is more of the Vince McMahon Hall of Fame than an actual Hall of Fame (with no formal voting process), it’s still a huge honor.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

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