Most Influential Stars In WWE, Mystery Man Revealed, The Next Cena, Ryback, Why 3 Hours Of Raw Is Too Much

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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CM Punk, Randy Orton & John Cena

We all know John Cena is "the guy" backstage but who comes after him? Can you list 5 workers who have the most stroke backstage?

You can take a look at how people are being booked and begin to get an idea of who has more influence. The higher up a worker is on the card, the more stroke they carry. John Cena is the face of the company and has as much power and influence as anyone. Randy Orton and CM Punk round out the top three with favor and opinions to boot. After that, there's a drop off and it's not as clear and defined. I have to think that Daniel Bryan's stock continues to rise but I can't really list him in those ranks yet. Someone like The Undertaker, who is a part time talent, is extremely influential. Brock Lesnar on the other hand is seen as a guy that comes in and does what he is told to collect his large paycheck. He's not as engaged when it comes to the booking of his character as someone like Undertaker who is thinking about his iconic legacy.

Can you confirm that the mystery partner for The Usos and Goldust & Cody Rhodes at Survivor Series will be Rey Mysterio?

Yes, Rey Mysterio is the mystery partner for The Usos and WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust & Cody Rhodes, however, Mysterio didn't escape Raw without injury concerns. The word coming out of Raw was that he was seen limping after his segment. I don't want to speculate any further but this is the last thing any fan of Rey Mysterio wanted to hear, me included.

Looking back at superstars such as Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin, each of them had to start from the bottom and work their way up to become the "top guy" in the company. When the time was right, they were given their chance and made the most of it to become the stars that they were (and are) known for. With that being said, there is no question that John Cena is "the guy" in WWE at the moment, and probably will be for some time. However, are there any superstars on either the active or developmental roster that you believe has the "it" factor to take over the reigns when Cena's time is over?

There is just no way to predict the next Steve Austin or John Cena. I heard a WWE investor ask Vince McMahon this very question a couple years ago and Vince laughed it off. By comparison, take a look at pro sports. Even though next year's NBA Draft class is expected to be one of the most talented classes in many years, it's still impossible to predict there will be another LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Everyone with a WWE developmental contract has potential because it takes a lot just to get to that point. However, it all comes down to the right situation, which includes a level of reliance on the creative team. Austin was "Stunning" Steve Austin before he was ever Stone Cold. He had the talent but he also relied on the right creative opportunity. There's a lot that goes into making a mega star and because there are so many factors, it's literally impossible to predict.

I know that you have had your reasons for not liking the way Ryback has been booked and some of the matches that he has had but I was very impressed by the match he had with Big Show and with Ryback's strength. What are your thoughts on the future of Ryback?

Ryback Shellshocking Big Show on this week's Monday Night Raw was impressive but the one thing that detracted from their match was the blatant spot calling. Someone said it looked like Big Show was telling Ryback to slow down at one point. Ryback is still learning and wasn't ready for the opportunities in the top of the card he was given. It didn't help that he was booked very poorly out of the gate and he's been left on a proverbial treadmill that's kept him from breaking out. Another thing working against Ryback is his attitude. He doesn't have a good reputation behind-the-scenes and can't handle criticism. We can all say he was working but remember his freakout on me last month?

Do you think it was a bad idea for Monday Night Raw to go three hours?

I have been against the expansion of Monday Night Raw to three hours from day one. WWE likes it because they get an extra hour of advertising revenue but I feel it's over saturation and had a telling impact on the quality of programming. It's just too much week in and week out and they would have been better suited to continue Tough Enough (or anything else) in the 8-9 PM timeslot preceding Raw. That way they would have still cashed in on the extra hour without worrying about over saturation and viewership fatigue.

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From the Ask WNW vault…

October 2011: Do you think Cody Rhodes is going to get a run as World Heavyweight Champion? - WWE is currently in the process of elevating Cody Rhodes (hence the program with Randy Orton). They've tested the waters in elevating him before but he's talented enough where it will eventually stick. I like the gimmick transition from "dashing" to "demented" and feel like he has a bright future in WWE.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

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