What do you expect Rhyno's role in WWE NXT will be?
We’ve never seen anything like what WWE is doing with Rhyno, so it’s truly a “wait and see” moment. However, from what I can ascertain, Rhyno will be featured as an unstoppable beast in NXT and used to help work the more main roster developmental prospects. As long as he’s not burying guys like Sami Zayn or Finn Balor, I think it’s a good thing. Rhyno has plenty of experience and can help draw for NXT as a stand alone brand in addition to functioning as WWE’s avenue to ready talent for their main roster.
Any updates on AJ Lee, Randy Orton, Mark Henry and Jack Swagger?
The last I heard AJ Lee was out with a neck injury. There have been serious doubts over her status with WWE but she’s still under contract. Given the fact that she’s married to CM Punk, speculation will persist about her being finished with WWE until she shows up again.
Randy Orton is already back and just hasn’t returned to TV. He was on the road last weekend, teaming with Daniel Bryan against Bray Wyatt and Kane. I’m expecting him back on TV at any time and he’s still expected to work a program with Seth Rollins for Wrestlemania 31.
Mark Henry is out with an injury but continues to make appearances on behalf of WWE. Here’s a recent photo of him but I don’t have a specific date for his return to the ring.
Jack Swagger is active in WWE and worked a match against Cesaro at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event taping. He traveled with the company the Abu Dhabi last week and is good to go going forward.
Do you think the value of the matches at Wrestlemania of The Undertaker will decrease now that he has lost the steak? That was one of the main attractions of the show, the streak, now that it's done, what's the case in seeing The Undertaker?
There is no doubt that future Undertaker matches at Wrestlemania will be diminished without the streak being defended but that was kind of the point of it ending. Now that the streak is finished, Undertaker no longer has the pressure of it on his back. And he’s not faced with the daunting task of having one of the top matches on the card at 50 years old. If he returns to work, he can do so without all the pressure. That’s not to say it’ll be a situation where he won’t have any pressure but it will be much different.
If Undertaker comes back, there is still plenty of mystique from his character to draw interest in the match but it obviously won’t be at the same level with the streak over.
You can make a case that the WWE creative team has never been all that good. There were so many bad storylines, gimmicks and angles in the Golden Years of Wrestling (a.k.a. The Attitude Era), but they were constantly bailed out by the surplus of extraordinary, future HOF talent. In football, a great offense can sometimes mask a bad defense. Nowadays, with a thin pool of top end talent, can you say that WWE’s creative philosophy is now being exposed as “average”?
Here is the problem with blaming “the creative team.” They never get enough credit when things go well and they take all the criticism when things go bad. Further, Vince McMahon has the final call on everything, so he’s usually going to take the brunt of any criticism.
I try to avoid the finger pointing. Either something works or it doesn’t. I go into every WWE show with one goal - the desire to be entertained. I explain what entertained me and what didn’t. There are some people that cannot be pleased no matter what and have gotten so used to criticizing, they do it subconsciously. My advice to anyone reading is to go in to every show wanting to be entertained. Judge it on that and try to avoid everything else.
Otherwise, you’ll enter a vicious cycle where you “hate on” everything WWE is doing, yet you’re still watching, so the rib is on you.
From the Ask WNW vault...
September 2012: Is there still major heat on Evan Bourne relating to his two WWE Wellness Policy in close succession or has the length of his injury basically made it forgotten? - Did Evan Bourne’s career-threatening foot injury save his career? No one will know for sure but Bourne had nuclear backstage heat following his second WWE Wellness Policy violation on January 17, 2012 for smoking synthetic marijuana. Everyone I spoke with felt like Bourne’s WWE career was over and he wouldn’t be brought back. Once his 60-day suspension was up he was involved in a car accident that mangled his foot and the focus shifted on his health over his “Wellness.”
The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, February 20, 2015.