Opinion Of HHH Interview, Shane & WWE, Cash In At WM31, Fans Decide Top Stars

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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What’d you think about Steve Austin’s WWE Network interview with Triple H?

Steve Austin’s interview with Triple H that aired on the WWE Network was fascinating but as was the case with Austin’s interview with Vince McMahon, it carried no specifics and only general statements.

Based on feedback we’ve received, readers that put the interview over point to Triple H seeming “in tune” with a great in-ring product and resonate with his “vision” for the future. Readers that buried the interview, criticized it for being too general and offering no specifics. They’ll argue while Hunter was attempting to “humanize” himself, he was working to try and draw a connection with the more hardcore segment of the WWE fan base.

I see both arguments but it’s what I expect from a WWE-related project. Give enough to create marketable soundbites and surface level insight, while not going into any real detail about much of anything. It’s what they’re known for — trying to “break kayfabe” without actually breaking kayfabe.

An example I can give you is WWE’s quarterly conference calls with investors. This is where Vince McMahon is supposed to “open up” about the inner workings of his business to clue in investors. While he’s professional, polite and sometimes even candid, he never really says anything more than surface level insight.

Is there any word on Shane McMahon returning to WWE?

Shane McMahon isn’t returning to WWE (although, anything is possible and we never say never). He’s launched a successful career as Chairman of You On Demand and co-owns a motorcycle shop. There are varying accounts of “why” Shane left WWE but it’s clear there was a level of tension between him, Vince, Stephanie and Hunter that ultimately led to his “mutual” resignation. Some have claimed Shane had been pushing his father to explore MMA, while others claimed he realized it was ultimately going to be Stephanie and Hunter's company. It’s clear it put a strain on the relationship between Shane and Vince but they’ve, by some accounts, worked through it. We revisited Shane’s WWE resignation after Vince’s podcast interview with Steve Austin. You can read more — including Shane’s resignation letter — at this link.

Do you see a scenario where the Money in the Bank briefcase is “cashed in” at Wrestlemania 31?

Yes, I can absolutely see a scenario where Seth Rollins “cashes in” the Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 31. In fact, it should be his “next opportunity” as it’s the next time Brock Lesnar is scheduled to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Obviously one shouldn’t go into Wrestlemania expecting Rollins to “cash in,” but of course it’s possible.

The one thing I’ve said about the briefcase is that when Rollins is finally scripted to “cash in,” he must be successful. WWE has wavered from the MITB holder always being successful and they need Rollins to successfully “cash in” to help restore that aspect of it.

I get the arguments you made in the article about IWC pushing back hard on Roman Reigns. But you also suggest that fans "move on" from this. Isn't possible that if fans continue to "protest" on Twitter, and at live events, this will have an impact on how WWE books moving forward? Didn't we see this last year? If folks stop making a stink, what stops WWE from continuing what described as "lazy" booking?

Ultimately, the fans will always decide the top stars in WWE. That’s how it works. I explained earlier in the week that while the term hijacking is new, it’s always gone on. Daniel Bryan provided a good example in a recent media interview where he discussed the crowd rejecting Lex Luger at Royal Rumble ’94.

The reason I push back on silliness like chanting for a worker that left on their terms at a WWE show or Tweeting out #CancelWWENetwork when it’s playing in the background, is because it’s silly. It’s not that I intentionally want to be different, I just don’t want to “go with the flow” just because everyone else is doing it.

There’s nothing wrong with being vocal or letting your voice be heard. But there’s a difference between being an advocate for change and just joining a fad. As for the “protestors” putting an end to WWE’s lackadaisical booking, I see the No. 1 contender’s match at Fast Lane as just that. That bout just proves Vince has a serious disconnect with his audience. I explained more in Wednesday’s Ask WNW.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2013: Daniel Bryan is the most over superstar in the last several years. Never mind his hometown reaction, he gets that reaction everywhere. Clearly the fans want him as champ, yet why are they holding him back? - Daniel Bryan is more over than any worker on the WWE roster. You’re exactly right, he gets the response that he got on Monday night everywhere they go. As I like to say, he’s over like rover. I can’t tell you exactly why Daniel Bryan isn’t WWE Champion. A lot of people will write that Vince McMahon doesn’t see him as a big attraction but I’m not sure I believe that. Bryan is still working in the main event but the company is pushing Randy Orton as WWE Champion. However, there are people backstage in WWE that feel they need to be doing more with Bryan because he won’t get any hotter than he is right now.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, February 6, 2015.

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