Reigns Improving, #Axelmania, Rhyno Back In WWE, Orton's Booking

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 are your thoughts on Roman Reigns lately? It seems to me like he is really starting to expand his move set and each week he is getting better and better.

Roman Reigns is still polarizing — some people love him and others hate him - but my position is that he’ll be fine for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 31. At this point I believe the status of Brock Lesnar is more of a controversy than Roman Reigns and hopefully that controversy will be resolved after this week’s Monday Night Raw concludes. If not, at least we’ll know the status of Brock’s relationship with WWE by the time the day is over.

Reigns is still very much “in development” but from what I have seen on TV and the reviews he gets on the road, he continues to improve. That doesn’t mean there still isn’t a segment of the WWE audience that feels they’re being force-fed Reigns, because there is, but that is the minority. I hope by this time next year Reigns is a bonafide WWE main event talent. Not only him but others such as Rusev, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and more. Seth Rollins is already there and is the 1a of the former Shield faction.

Last week you said the #Axelmania gimmick would be just a comedy gimmick and nothing more, but don't you think Axel is getting the same treatment Damien Sandow got, resulting in at least one title reign for one of the secondary belts?

When people ask me about the future of a particular worker, it’s important to remember that I am not a physic. I simply consider how the talent is being booked and how the crowd is reacting.

When asked about Axel last Wednesday, I explained how he was booked under to Fandango at the Main Event taping the night before. What was especially damning about that was WWE had just used John Cena to bury Fandango on the mic on last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

The success of a gimmick like #Axelmania is not predicated on wins and losses but the fact he was going under to a talent already seen as a failure, I found telling. Based on reports I heard over the weekend, #Axelmania is getting some love. Is it enough to give him a mid-card push? We can’t rule it out but I still see this is a shell of what was first intended for the third generation superstar.

What type of contract does Rhyno have with WWE? Cant we expect him back to the main roster?

I am under the assumption Rhyno does not have a contract with WWE but is just working on per shot deals. Total transparency, no one has told me that, but he’s continued to work the independent circuit while also appearing on WWE NXT. This past weekend, he worked the NXT live event in Cleveland but also Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore show in Philadelphia.

Brian Kendrick, another former WWE talent brought back for NXT, has also continued to make his independent commitments. It’s always possible they have some type of deal and WWE is approving their bookings but I would be surprised if that was the case.

There are currently no plans for either Rhyno or Kendrick on the main roster and they’ve been brought back solely for NXT, however, it indicates a good relationship with WWE.

Is it just me or is WWE messing up Randy Orton's return with him rejoining The Authority? Shouldn’t he be trying to screw Seth Rollins and not help him beat Roman Reigns?

I heard some criticism about the way Randy Orton has been booked last week and I agree with you. Instead of this pseudo-babyface booking, why not just align him directly opposite Seth Rollins to maximize the reactions for both? I understand Orton will never be an all out babyface — in fact he doesn’t like working as a babyface — but his booking right now is nothing short of confusing. I understand what WWE is trying to do but I believe this is a case where less is more and traditional booking would probably work better.

Orton is already a babyface on live events so they need to go ahead and give him a complete turn on TV.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2013: Is the WWE Performance Center a copy of WCW’s Power Plant? - The WWE Performance Center is the WCW Power Plant on steroids. Having a developmental facility is nothing new and something that has been done for decades. What is new is how impressive WWE’s new facility will be. The WWE Performance Center, located in Orlando, Florida, is 26,000-square-feet and will feature seven wrestling rings in addition to its own strength-and-conditioning and physical-therapy areas. Not only will the facility be used to train up and coming talent but it will be a place where injured and rehabbing stars can go to prepare for their return. The pet project of Triple H, the WWE Performance Center is truly game-changing (pun intended).

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

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