John Cena & nWo, WWE's Cutbacks, Stephanie's Mic Work, Erasing Daniel Bryan?

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.

Everyone wants to see progress from John Cena. What if he joins the nWo?

The reformation of the new World order of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan was a one-time thing done for the Hulk Hogan birthday bash, which climaxed with a Brock Lesnar/John Cena run-in. The faction won't be used in the company forward and was just a nostalgic thing to do. I laughed earlier in the week when one reader suggested that Hall, Nash and Hogan needed to stay around a bit longer when another reader questioned, and do what exactly? These guys are retired and while it's great to see them doing well, there's no point in investing in them.

Why is WWE having trouble with money when they just signed a new deal with NBCUniversal?

The financial cutbacks in WWE are in response to the company's new WWE Network-driven business model. WWE is essentially "punting" their pay-per-view revenue, which accounted for 15-17% of their net revenue from 2010-2012. They're now focused on attracting new subscribers in order to turn a profit. Significant resources have already been invested into making the WWE Network a reality. The company said after launch they needed 1 million domestic subscribers to "break even" with the Network. The feeling was they should get there fairly easily but those subscribers have proved harder to attract than first thought. As of June 30, 2014 the WWE Network had 700,000 domestic subscribers. While on the surface this doesn't seem like a bad number, it proved stagnant, reflecting a net addition of only 33,000 subscribers from the day after Wrestlemania 30. WWE opened up the Network internationally earlier this week in hopes it helps them reach their targets faster. As for the deal with NBCUniversal, the company had been promising investors they would double or triple their domestic TV rights fees. Vince McMahon even told one person they could put him in a hammerlock if the company didn't double their domestic TV rights fees. While WWE ended up increasing their TV revenue, the increase was considered moderate and well below what the company had promised investors. Vince later admitted the deal was disappointing. So as WWE adapts to this new model, they're making cuts wherever possible in order to make it profitable as soon as they can.

What are your thoughts on Stephanie McMahon's mic work and overall work as a heel? I think she's been great on TV and is one of the best the company has right now.

I believe the entire McMahon family -- not just Stephanie -- has a gift on the mic. All of them -- Vince, Linda, Stephanie and Shane -- know how to captivate an audience and make their appearances come off as realistic and entertaining. My biggest problem with The Authority since its inception has been an overwhelming amount of power with little to no counter attack. That has changed in Stephanie's program with Brie Bella with Stephanie "being arrested," getting slapped and various verbal beat downs. The latest twist of Daniel Bryan "having an affair," is what WWE is using to amp up interest into the match at Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view. I don't know if we can expect a good wrestling match but Stephanie has been training hard and we should get a conclusion to one of the more compelling programs of the summer.

I am not against the Daniel Bryan adultery story. I am even glad to see WWE trying to keep him alive. But why then did they "erase him" from the Wrestlemania 30 broadcast? It seems like one day they want nothing to do with Bryan due to his health condition and the uncertainty that brings, and the next day they want to bring him back to keep him in the Universe's fresh memory. Doesn't it seem odd?

WWE wanted to add a strong go-home element to Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon so they chose to go the "Daniel Bryan is an adulterer" route. Where they go from here remains to be seen but that's why it was done. The angle was not to necessarily put the focus back on Daniel Bryan as he is still without a return date and is "out indefinitely." It was a side element to a program treated as a main event type encounter at SummerSlam. The removal of Daniel Bryan from the one-hour Wrestlemania 30 TV special had to do with the company not wanting to promote something they couldn't deliver. I do not believe it had do with an anti-Bryan agenda as much as it had to do with the fact Bryan is currently out due to injury.

From the Ask WNW vault…

May 2012: When will Rey Mysterio return? - Given his 60-day suspension from WWE due to his second Wellness Policy violation, Rey Mysterio isn’t eligible to return to the company until the latter part of next month. I heard the company is working to extend his contract based on dates he’s missed from his recent knee injury but we’re still a month away from a possible return due to the suspension.

Questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, August 15, 2014.

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