How, if at all, does WWE monitor the signs that fans bring to televised events? I saw a sign on Raw this week that read, "Bring back TV-14." Surely this isn't something WWE want fans at home to see?
The signs brought to WWE shows are monitored by the venue's event staff, WWE production and the cameramen. Some venues are stricter than others in inspecting signs at the door but if production sees something in the crowd they don't want on TV, they'll take it away. The cameramen are the best in the business at keeping the cameras off stuff they don't want shown, which was evident on last week's Raw in Calgary when a fight broke out in the crowd.
Why did Curtis Axel win his match against John Cena by count out? I thought there wasn't any count outs in a no disqualification match?
The match was a no disqualification match not a no count out match, a count out is not the same as a DQ. Let's go to Twitter for some referee reaction:
You've stated that Ryback hasn't beaten anybody other than jobbers, however, he has pinfall victories over Antonio Cesaro while United States Champion, Daniel Bryan, Kane, The Miz and Kofi Kingston. Doesn't that make him a viable contender?
No, Ryback isn't a viable contender for the WWE title and has lost clean against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, to The Shield at WWE TLC, Punk again on 1/7 WWE Raw, eliminated by John Cena at Royal Rumble, The Shield again at Elimination Chamber and Mark Henry at Wrestlemania. While he technically "beat" John Cena at Extreme Rules, it was ruled a no contest. As for your logic about who he has beat, let's take a look at their respective records.
Antonio Cesaro was pinned clean by Santino Marella, Justin Gabriel and R-Truth while he was WWE United States Champion. Daniel Bryan was pinned clean this year by Damien Sandow, Mark Henry and Big E Langston. Kane, which is one of Ryback's most credible wins, has done clean jobs to Dean Ambrose and Jack Swagger in singles competition. The Miz has done clean jobs to the aforementioned Cesaro and Wade Barrett. And finally, Kofi was jobbed out at beginning of the year and did clean jobs to Cody Rhodes and Fandango. Under your logic, anyone that gets a win is a viable WWE title contender. Does this mean Michael Cole (1-0 at Wrestlemania) is a viable contender for the WWE Title? The fact of the matter is Ryback has been booked horribly with no confidence. He has a great look but hasn't shown anything in terms of being a future headliner. I will say that Daniel Bryan made him look the best he's looked on this week's WWE Monday Night Raw. Ryback should have never been a face and the Goldberg type push was in error.
On Raw I heard the referee say "30 seconds" during a match and after exactly 30 seconds, the show went to break. Is this how it works with everyone and everything, and do the wrestlers depend on the ref a good amount?
The referees operate as liaisons between production and the wrestlers. They wear earpieces so they can communicate messages from the back like what you heard on this week's Raw. This is essential to keep the show on time and running at the correct pace. Remember, everything is scripted and it's very important there be communication between production and what is happening in the ring.
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