Orton's WWE Return, Delaying Lesnar, Comparing Brock/Punk, Next Raw GM

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 is Randy Orton’s return timeline? Further, how do you think WWE will fit him in a feud with Rollins, as Roman Reigns is also pegged for a program against him?

Randy Orton is currently advertised for WWE’s holiday live event on December 26, 2014 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, which indicates he’s due back before the end of the year. Currently, he’s not advertised for TVs after that loop but that does give us a projected timeline.

Orton is scheduled to feud with Seth Rollins but so is Roman Reigns. I reported in last week’s Backstage News from Raw that Rollins vs. Reigns was likely for Royal Rumble so it would appear Orton is the odd man out. Does this mean he’s an entrant in the Royal Rumble match? The possibility is there. They could also do Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Orton and that’s assuming they do not swerve and pick up on Reigns vs. Orton, which is something they wanted to do before Reigns went down with the incarcerated hernia.

Given the stipulation that John Cena will lose his No. 1 contendership if Seth Rollins beats him at WWE TLC, do you think WWE is going back on their idea of Lesnar vs. Cena again?

I actually think the stipulation to John Cena vs. Seth Rollins just gives WWE another excuse to keep Brock Lesnar off yet another pay-per-view. It was pretty clear last week that Vince McMahon had cooled on the idea of having Lesnar defend at WWE TLC and that was confirmed on this week’s Raw.

The whole idea of keeping Lesnar off TV because he’s a special attraction sounds good in theory but it’s not working. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is a forgotten commodity and I’ve lost all optimism about Lesnar holding the belt. I believe that’s the consensus from most fans as well. We’re no longer in a day where there’s a couple hours of wrestling each week. With the amount of content that WWE produces in 2014, it’s imperative we see the World Heavyweight Champion at least once a month.

This all points back to WWE and more specifically Vince McMahon being unable to do anything in moderation. We go from having two world titles being defended each and every month to one world title not being defended at all. We go from one part-time talent at Wrestlemania to a card reliant on part-time talent.

How similar do you see the way CM Punk left WWE and the way Brock Lesnar left back in 2004? Both were on top of the world when they all of a sudden decided that their lives would be better outside of WWE. Also what does that say about WWE when top superstars walk away after seemingly losing their passion for the business?

You hit the similarity right over the head in your question. Both CM Punk and Brock Lesnar were on top when they decided to walk away from millions of dollars in earning potential in WWE to do something — anything — else. Brock’s situation was different from Punk in that his contract was coming up and he knew his match against Goldberg at Wrestlemania XX was going to be his last. Given the fact it was also Goldberg’s last match in WWE and the crowd knew, the bout tanked badly.

Back on topic, that’s where the similarities end. Brock ended up trying the NFL and working in Japan before realizing his potential in UFC. His success in UFC made him a household name and set him up for the prosperous part-time career in WWE that he has now. To this day, the only interest I’ve ever had in UFC is when Brock Lesnar was fighting there.

As for Punk, he was at a different stage in life than Brock was when he left. Punk has already made his money.

At the end of the day, working for WWE isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 300 days on the road each year, living out of a suitcase and constantly working through physical pain ends up taking its toll. It’s a hard life and it’s not for everyone and I try to tell anyone with aspirations about working for WWE to remember that before pursuing a career in the ring.

What do you think the chances are that we see John Laurinaitis come back as the Raw General Manager?

WWE is going with a “different General Manager” each week strategy so I could easily see Big Johnny back in his on-air role for one of them. As for the long-term, I’m not sure if there is a plan in place. This is a company that struggles with long-term booking and what we knew going into Survivor Series was that Vince McMahon wanted to write The Authority off TV. From what I’ve been told, the main event is being booked “by the seat of the pants” mentality right now and everything we’re seeing in storyline (last minute stipulations to main event matches) seems to reflect that.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2013: If TNA ever wants ratings like WWE why not host a secondary television show like Smackdown? - I don’t understand this question. How would a secondary show help ratings? A secondary show just adds more expense and more pressure to carry a viable audience. TNA needs to focus 100% on Impact Wrestling and expanding their brand. Smackdown wasn’t launched until Monday Night Raw was clearly established as a very popular cable TV program. Eric Bischoff blamed the downfall of WCW on a second live show in Thunder. Recap shows and other programming is fine, but to try and launch another two-hour series of fresh programming to advance storylines would not be a good idea at this point.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

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