Future Runs Through John Cena, Fandango A Success, HHH's Work As An Executive, Why I'm OK With WWE's Blood Ban

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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I love the idea of John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania XXX. Cena is nearing the twilight of his career, where he needs to take it a lot easier on his body. John Cena is at a place where he can help to elevate newer talent and he’s been doing that with certain people on the mic. Is that what WWE is trying to accomplish that with this bout?

John Cena is 36-years-old and is still very much in the prime of his carer as the face of WWE. As he stated in a scripted promo on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, the future of the business runs through him. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt seemed underwhelming to me as a Wrestlemania match until Bray's singles bout against Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble. It was there Bray's full potential was realized because we were able to see the in-ring work that so many have raved about. Putting Bray in a match with Cena at Wrestlemania, which is the direction they plan on going, is big for him and should raise his profile, however, they have to be careful. While some will claim a loss "wouldn't hurt Cena," I could make an argument why neither should lose. As for Cena working with younger talent, this is WWE utilizing him to help an up and coming name but he's not in a situation where his only job is to "help" younger talent. Cena is still very much "the guy" and the future of business literally runs through him.

Why does WWE give their new talent such dead-end gimmicks? The most recent example of this would be Fandango. I think that Fandango could have a really good run as a mid-card talent, but I cannot really get past this gimmick. It seems like they give these wrestlers these gimmicks and hype them up just to lose them in the shuffle. What is your opinion on this?

I disagree with your premise that Fandango is a dead-end gimmick and actually feel his gimmick has resulted in his success as a mid card performer in WWE. Some gimmicks work and others do not but I feel Fandango has absolutely worked. His theme song alone skyrocketed his popularity after Wrestlemania 29 last year and has resulted in a consistent role on television for him. Furthermore the success of Fandango has trickled over to Summer Rae, who is dominating the female exposure on both Raw and Smackdown. I'm not sure WWE could have expected more out of this gimmick as it's more than accomplished its goal.

How do you think Triple H has done so far in his new corporate role? It looks to me that all he is doing is bringing back his friends in Kevin Nash, New Age Outlaws, etc.

Triple H began his role as a WWE executive in 2010 and was officially given an office at the company's headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The transition has been slow and calculated with Vince McMahon picking Hunter as his inevitable successor. Over the past four years, Vince has given Hunter more and more responsibilities and now it's to the point where they are equal on many levels. It's still rather early to start judging Hunter's overall job performance but I've been impressed with the things that I know he has spearheaded.

His biggest project to date is leading up the transformation of the company's developmental territory. Hunter led the charge in the development of the WWE Performance Center and the agreement with Full Sail University to tape television there. I know Bill DeMott takes criticism as head trainer but I classify both of these projects as very successful. It also makes sense for Triple H to be focused on developing talent because it's that talent that's going to carry the company forward.

I also give Hunter credit for "doing the impossible" in bridging the gap between Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino. Bruno's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame was no easy task and one even Vince doubted could get done. Bruno's inclusion helps legitimatize the entire Hall of Fame and adds even more value to the event the night before Wrestlemania. Triple H also deserves credit for helping change Vince's mind on part-time talent. Hunter has negotiated with workers such as Chris Jericho in developing contracts where they can come back when their schedule's allow. This is a drastic change from Vince's past when it was "all or nothing."

Just based on these very few things, I have no problem with Triple H's increased roles and responsibilities. Yes, he is a guy that takes care of his friends and the fact that Billy Gunn and Road Dogg have jobs as producers is probably part of that. However, the decision to bring them back to TV as performers was one that was made recently and it was due to the fact they needed another tag team and both had received high praise for still being able to go. Hunter was a big part in getting Batista back, however, I have to put the blame of his failure as a babyface more on Vince McMahon as head of creative. I have no problem with Triple H remaining loyal to his friends and it actually makes me respect him more. A lot of people have success (not just in wrestling) and forget about the people that helped get them there. Triple H hasn't done that and should be respected for that. I also want to clear up Hunter's job title. He is the Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events in WWE. The "COO" tag is kayfabe as WWE does not have a COO.

Why has WWE completely phased out color? I know CM Punk bled not too long ago in a cage match, and it was debated if he did it intentionally. But before that, the Brock Lesnar/John Cena match was amazing; the color sold the match even more. I completely agree with you when you say that it shouldn’t be every other match. But, I think some matches lack greatly from the lack of color. A Hell in a Cell match would seem more barbaric, as it was intended to be, if there was some color at least once in a while. Where do you stand on this?

For those that do not know, color in the wrestling business is blood. And in the wrestling business, one "adds color" by "blading" or intentionally slicing their forehead with a razor to sell the fact they've been busted open. WWE banned blading years ago, however, there have been incidents where workers have done it anyway. I will admit it's harder to get a dry steel cage match over and "adding color" can be beneficial in certain situations. It's important not to overdo it because as with any gimmick, too much and it's overkill and becomes the new norm. However, I completely understand the decision to move away from blading and agree that it is in the best interest of public health.

While WWE performers are routinely tested for blood infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, the risk is still there. The only way to completely eliminate the risk is to eliminate direct contact with someone else's blood. Even by eliminating intentional cutting (or blading) the risk is still there when a worker is busted open the hard way (or unintentionally). WWE has taken it a step further by having medical personnel at ringside during bouts and immediately treating a worker when they are busted open, even if that means stopping the match. While fans criticize this, it's all done for the safety of the workers. I personally feel that knowing what we know about diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C along with how to prevent one from becoming infected with such diseases, it would be primitive and barbaric to ask or expect someone to assume the risk of coming in direct contact with someone else's blood.

Workers can still get matches over without putting their health or the health of their opponent at risk. When one criticizes this they should think about how they would feel if their job required them to come in direct contact with someone else's blood knowing it poses a serious risk to their long-term health. I'll also note that WWE will not medically clear a worker that tests positive for a blood infectious disease. In other words, if a worker contracts a disease such as HIV or Hepatitis C, their in-ring career in WWE is over.

From the Ask WNW vault…

September 2007: I noticed from time to time in WWE that a performer will lose a significant amount of blood during a match. For a performer to bleed this much they would have to be cut open by their opponent using a weapon. Are these weapons real? - Most of the time when you see blood in a wrestling match it is done by a process called blading. A wrestler will blade by hiding small pieces of a razor blade in their trunks or under a taped arm, when they get the chance, they slice a small cut in their forehead, causing a significant amount of bleeding. A performer is NEVER intentionally cut by an opponent. When you see a wrestler get smashed in the face with a weapon it is a stunt. Performers are never actually hit in the face with a weapon, but the illusion is good enough to make you believe that they were. However, that is not the case with some weapons as most chair shots are actually pretty legitimate, so it depends on the weapon.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, February 27, 2014.

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