Punk vs. Lesnar, Mistake With Ryback, Major WWE TV Contract Up Soon, WWE Title Scenarios

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

Do you think a SummerSlam match between CM Punk and Brock Lesar could have a twist, such as Curtis Axel joining CM Punk?

First off, I'm very high up on the prospective match of CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The program is compelling and is interesting on multiple fronts. For one, it helps elevate Curtis Axel without even having him work. Two, it gives Brock Lesnar the opportunity to work with someone where they can also involve Paul Heyman. The biggest problem will be booking the finish. Will there be a twist, as you mentioned, or will there be a clean outcome? If there is a clean outcome, who does the job? A twist would probably be the best way to go but I just don't see Axel aligning with Punk as much as I see Punk coming out solo.

What's up with the booking of Ryback? Is he being punished?

I really believe the booking of Ryback has to do with the lack of long-term planning. WWE knew Ryback wasn't ready to go over for the WWE title [at the end of 2012] yet they put him in pay-per-view main events for it anyways. As a result, they never put him over and just let him flounder in the main event scene for months. After pushing him as a viable WWE title contender, they put him under at Wrestlemania, only to put him back in WWE title picture against John Cena. It's mind-boggling and devoid of an articulate explanation. WWE "reached" for a stopgap maineventer and is paying for it now. I remind everyone that patience is key in this business and WWE would have been better suited to slowly build Ryback.

Are there any other television networks interested in adding pro wrestling? Dixie Carter said at one point if Spike TV didn't work out, she had a plan B. Do you know of any other network interested in picking it up?

One of the trickiest part of this business is gaining television clearance. WWE performs well in the ratings and has a huge fan base, yet when TV deals come up there is always a challenge in getting homes for programming. Remember when SyFy agreed to carry Smackdown but dropped NXT? The problem has to do with the quality of advertisers the networks are able to attract with pro wrestling. They are of lower quality than networks can get for other programming, which is why there is sometimes a sticking point. This is also why Vince McMahon is so determined to launch the WWE Network. Vince knows if Raw or Smackdown would lose their TV clearance it would be disastrous. The company has done a good job at securing clearances but the WWE Network would guarantee a permanent home and "plan B" if something should happen. As for TNA, Spike TV is the perfect partner for them. I am very high up on the relationship with Bellator and the ability to attract athletes such as Rampage Jackson. I don't know what Dixie Carter's "plan B" was but they are best suited to remain with Spike TV. The first television deal coming up in the United States is the contract of WWE Smackdown. As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com in January, Smackdown's deal with SyFy is believed to be up at the end of September 2013. I would imagine WWE is already talking about a renewal as they want to keep their current deals in place, even with the "imminent" launch of the WWE Network.

Do you see the winner of the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match "cashing in" later in the night on Mark Henry and winning the title?

Anything is possible, but this wouldn't be an outcome I would expect. Many are expecting John Cena to beat Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan to go over and become the number one contender. This would then setup a SummerSlam match for the WWE title. I heard a couple weeks ago WWE was considering Cena vs. Henry vs. Ryback at SummerSlam so there are two very different directions possible. We'll take a wait and see approach but I haven't heard anything concrete in terms of Money in the Bank pay-per-view outcomes.

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