Note from Richard: this is a an Ask WNW special. Jamie will be back with more questions later today.
Following up on the comments of Nikki Bella in the article by Scott Fishman that you recapped yesterday, I want your opinion. We all know John Cena has influence in WWE but do you believe fans blame Cena when that blame should go to Vince McMahon, Triple H and the company’s creative team?
Assigning blame to anyone is usually the wrong way to go about. Understand there has to be accountability but it’s almost never a situation so black and white that if something doesn’t work, it’s “so-and-so’s fault.” Nikki Bella is the longest reigning WWE Divas Champion in history, so fans immediately draw conclusions this is a slap at CM Punk to take the record away from AJ Lee and it’s John Cena that made sure it was Nikki Bella that took it. While there could be degrees of truth to those theories, it wasn’t a situation where Vince was thinking “how can we slap CM Punk in the face and make John happy?” If he ran his company that way, it would have been done a long time ago.
Nikki Bella has vastly improved as a WWE Diva and has done everything she has ever been asked to do. In addition to noticeable improvement, she, along with Brie, helped build a WWE brand on a channel outside of their core demographics in Total Divas. There will be a segment of the company’s fanbase that will never understand that and there is also a segment that will complain no matter what. It’s important to try to approach things as objectively as possible in order to give them a fair evaluation.
Like you said, it’s common knowledge John Cena has tremendous stroke in WWE. He has earned that stroke and it’s no different than a star athlete having a hand in the decision making when it comes to signing talent to play alongside him. However, it’s important to realize Vince McMahon has the final decision on everything in WWE, especially when it relates to who is and who isn’t pushed and the direction of key storylines.
I also push back on people that say it’s time for Vince to retire and for Triple H to takeover. The old adage is the most popular player on the team is the backup quarterback and it’s because what is unknown provides people with hope. Forgive the comparison but it’s like how Donald Trump with no political experience or no real plan can come in, say all the wrong things and get over like rover in the polls to become the GOP nominee for President of the United States. No one really knows how Trump will do but he brings that element of hope that people like to hold on too.
Hunter has done a great job revamping WWE developmental and creating a secondary brand in NXT. The fact NXT is catered towards the IWC has done him plenty of favors but it still doesn’t mean he can completely takeover for Vince McMahon and do a better job. It’s just not that simple. WWE is a dynamic business with multiple aspects including investors, a corporate board of directors, two talent rosters, etc. all taking place in an ever changing environment. In other words, there is no core formula guaranteed to work every time.
In conclusion, as fans, we all have the right to offer thoughtful critiques. It’s part of being a fan and it’s one of the reasons I am writing this and you are reading this. However, it’s important to remember things are almost never black and white. I always tell people there are two sides to everything and the truth usually lies somewhere in-between. That’s why no one can offer the formula some people seem to be searching for because it does not exist.