NXT Invasion, Barrett Jobbing, Tweaking John Cena, No More Blades

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.

With Triple H and Vince McMahon building heat over booking and the success of WWE NXT, why don’t they do an NXT invasion angle? Take some top NXT talent, align them with The Authority and have Vince — as a babyface — combat them with up and comers already on the main WWE roster. What are your thoughts?

It’s not a bad idea, it’s just already been done. The Nexus was used to introduce top NXT talent on the main WWE roster in 2010 and was a fun and intriguing storyline. While it will be 5 years in June, I’m not sure it’s something that should be duplicated so soon.

WWE NXT is doing really well right now and I’m hesitant at doing anything to change that. After all, if it’s not broke, why fix it? The NXT roster is getting great exposure weekly on the WWE Network and the occasional special events have been amazing. We’ve already seen the transition from NXT to the main WWE roster isn’t as seamless as some feel it should be. I blame this on different writers and the main roster not having a controlled environment, like NXT has with the campus of Full Sail University.

I can tell you there are big plans for NXT over Wrestlemania weekend. There has been talk about them actually having a feature match on the card and regardless what that looks like, expect a heavy presence at Wrestlemania 31 Fan Axxess. WWE NXT is thriving and that’s good for the WWE audience and for the company going forward.

Why does Bad News Barrett keep losing?

I can’t explain the unexplainable. WWE had Dolph Ziggler say he was going to restore prestige to the WWE Intercontinental Championship after beating Luke Harper for the title in one of the best ladders matches in recent member at WWE TLC in December. It looked like that could be the case but the hot potato booking continued on last week’s Raw. Rather than Barrett being restored to relevance, he went under in two minutes to Sin Cara on Smackdown and hit his head on the live event loop over the weekend to Kofi Kingston.

While we never pay too much attention to outcomes at live events, I still question the logic of this booking. Nothing devalues titles more than the champion going under clean in meaningless non-title matches. Perhaps WWE feels the Bad News Barrett gimmick is “so bad it’s good” and wins/losses don’t matter. But again, I can’t explain the unexplainable.

Do you think reverting John Cena back to his basic “thuganomics” gimmick could rejuvenate his stale character?

I don’t think you should ever go backwards. Backwards booking can be detrimental and I operate that you should always be progressing a character. I do believe if WWE incorporated past elements of the “Dr. of thuganomics” gimmick into John Cena today, it could be a step forward, however, to completely go back would not be a wise move. The thing about Cena is that he’s a major draw and consistently produces top results for WWE. That’s why Vince McMahon refuses to alter the character in any fashion.

I believe people want to see progression from the Cena character and have grown tired of the “always overcome the odds” gimmick week in and week out. I understand this “never give up” mindset is how John is in real life, but it’s just a call for subtle changes that I believe could pay huge dividends.

Regardless, anyone working in the top of the card is going to remain polarizing and history will be kinder. Hulk Hogan endured every bit of the criticism that Cena gets today, yet the people that criticized him them herald him today as the “Michael Jordan of pro wrestling.”

Since wrestlers will occasionally blade, do they have to get blood testing?

WWE has outright banned blading and will punish workers caught doing it. The reason is two-fold. One, due to what we know about blood diseases and their transmission and two, WWE’s reluctance to showcase blood under the PG initiative. Despite blading being banned, WWE regularly blood tests talent under their Wellness Policy and will not clear anyone that tests positive for blood diseases such as Hepatitis C or HIV. All prospective talent and referees are pre-screened for such diseases before they are signed and will not be signed if they test positive.

This is a precaution to protect the health of everyone on the roster. I’ve made my stance clear in that I agree with the outright banning of using blades. Given the fact that one can become a carrier of a dangerous infectious disease and still test negative during the dormant period, I just think it’s better for everyone involved. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to come in direct contact with someone else’s blood, regardless of what it added to a match. Blading is a barbaric practice and while it was once accepted, it shouldn’t be promoted in 2015.

From the Ask WNW vault…

June 2007: How is Jerry "The King" Lawler's relationship with Corey Macklin and Memphis Wrestling since he cancelled his match with Hogan in Memphis? I know the crowd was really disappointed for Big Show vs. Hogan so how has Memphis Wrestling reacted to Lawler canceling and also to Vince banning WWE wrestlers from appearing at the shows? Also, does this mean that there may be a deal between Memphis and TNA in the future, given Memphis's ties to Jeff Jarrett? - Jerry Lawler is still involved with Memphis Wrestling as he still commentates on occasion and works a match every now and then. The reason that McMahon pulled the plug on Lawler vs. Hogan is because he didn’t want one of his guys (Lawler) working against Hogan. The most obvious reason was because that the match was too big of a draw to be done outside of WWE. Another reason is McMahon and Hogan have not been on the best of terms recently which certainly played a factor. However, it all factored down to money and McMahon didn’t want another promotion profiting off of one of his guys. McMahon hasn’t banned WWE wrestlers from working with Memphis Wrestling, they were never allowed too in the first place. There are very few WWE talents that are allowed to work indy shows under their own will and most indy appearances for WWE talent are booked through WWE. Lawler is one of the very few exceptions and there is no formal deal between WWE and Memphis Wrestling. With that being said, there isn’t going to be any deal between TNA and Memphis Wrestling as TNA has become more controlling over their talent as well. I’m not sure if you read, but TNA recently banned all of their talent from working Ring of Honor shows after ROH signed a PPV deal. Excellent question!

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

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