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Outcome Of CM Punk vs. The Rock, 3 Possible Royal Rumble Winners, Jeff Hardy Back To WWE?, The End Of Smackdown?

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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With the majority of the WWE Universe assuming The Rock will go over CM Punk on Sunday, how would you react to a swerve?

The first swerve that comes to mind would be for The Shield to cost CM Punk the WWE Championship but that is nothing more than speculation on my part. I haven't heard the creative plan for Sunday's WWE Championship match but that I feel it's necessary for The Rock to win the WWE Championship so he can defend it at Wrestlemania. Not putting the title on The Rock on Sunday would be a mistake. It's going to be more difficult with the WWE Champion working a part-time schedule, but live events will be hurt more than TVs due to Rock's insane schedule.

Who are your top three choices to win the Royal Rumble?

In no particular order I am picking John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback based on potential Wrestlemania matches. Jim Ross picked Cena or "someone like Dolph Ziggler" but I don't see the purpose in putting Ziggler over because he already has a title shot with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Fans probably wouldn't like Sheamus winning two years in a row but it would give him a bump at a time when he has to take a backseat to the part-timers. The same goes for Ryback, who could use the victory after some questionable booking in recent months.

With the TNA lawsuit over and his contract coming up soon, is there any chance Jeff Hardy returns to WWE?

I can confirm that WWE is aware of Jeff Hardy's contract status and they have sent out feelers to gauge his interest. I penned in an article on Richard's Backstage Blog earlier this week about WWE targeting the current TNA Champion. Back to Hardy's contract status, we detailed TNA's proposed deal here as there was a hang-up on an option for a third year. TNA wanted to sign him to a deal that would be two years guaranteed with a company option for a third year but Hardy was holding out. This was at a time when the lawsuit was ongoing so Hardy's power for negotiation is back. It will be interesting to see if he attempts to return to WWE or re-signs with TNA.

With the recent news of WWE eliminating separate Raw and Smackdown live events and Smackdown's deal with SyFy up this fall, what's the possibility of WWE ending Smackdown?

Vince McMahon knows the risk of SyFy not renewing Smackdown, which is one of the reasons why he is pushing so hard for the WWE Network. The company is content with their current television deals but do not want to be reliant on them should they not be renewed. Many observers feel the WWE Network is going to need a first-run show to spark the interest of subscribers, so as long as the WWE Network has clearance, it won't be a major problem. No one is thinking of ending Smackdown and the last I heard they are hoping to agree to a new deal with SyFy. As for the touring schedule, WWE likes the continuity between television and they want to reflect that on the road. They are looking for a name change for live events, which I guess could reflect a TV name change, but it’s one of those things we’ll have to wait and see.

Remember questions with proper grammar and spelling stand the best chance of getting answered. The next installment of Ask WNW will run on Monday, January 28, 2013.

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