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How Seniority Works In WWE, The Final Days Of TNA?, Future Of WWE Title With Daniel Bryan's Injury, David Benoit

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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In any company or organization, I believe that an employee should be promoted from within based on longevity and good work ethic. It's called "seniority." How come former talent like Matt Hardy and John Morrison have never held the WWE or World Heavyweight titles? Especially Matt Hardy. Does WWE management abide by the rules of "seniority?"

Yes and no. The pro wrestling business is unlike any other in that there isn't an objective structure. For instance, in sports, the best players get paid the most money. In pro wrestling, some of the best wrestlers never get legitimate main event opportunities. I know there are exceptions on both sides, however, this business comes down to getting the right opportunity and who Vince McMahon ultimately sees money in. Sometimes, outstanding workers such as John Morrison or Kofi Kingston, are relegated to the midcard based on factors other than their in-ring work. WWE doesn't push talent based solely on in-ring. As for seniority, the very basic principle you described does apply in the locker room. Someone like Mark Henry or Kane has a lot of stroke and influence even though they are not at the level of someone like John Cena. However, title reigns and pushes ultimately come down to the vision of Vince McMahon and other company officials.

With the high number of veterans being released, the fact that TNA is making a big deal of signing young stars and smaller names to multi-year deals, the loss of use of Universal Studios, and the apparent back-stepping of the product, are we seeing the final throes of a dying company?

In what is perhaps the biggest understatement of the day, things are not good with TNA Wrestling. Money is tighter than ever, the fan base is shrinking, their main TV contract is coming up, there is no stability for tapings and the company is being forced to dump any talent that will not re-sign at a much lower rate. To make matters worse, their biggest non-Carter family investor, Jeff Jarrett, is starting his own competing promotion. The relationship between Dixie Carter and "Big" John Gaburick isn't on the best of terms and we're told she is frustrated with almost every aspect of the company. Many have been trying to predict the demise of TNA since its inception in 2002, however, it's unfortunately becoming more of a reality. No one outside of the Carter family can predict how much longer TNA has left but a number of things must turn around (and turn around quick) for the company to be salvageable. This isn't me caving to the TNA trolls but delivering a reality that I've reluctantly come to accept.

What is the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Daniel Bryan in need of neck surgery?

The status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is unclear. I believe more will be known once Daniel Bryan has surgery on Thursday. Daniel Bryan's neck injury is currently a tense situation and the timing could not have been worse. I think I speak for everyone in that I hope the injury is minor and he is not out for an extended period of time. The word making rounds at Raw was not completely bleak, however, there is still a lot of unknown until he actually has surgery.

I'm not sure if you'll feel like tackling two Chris Benoit questions in a week but here goes. I watched part of the David Benoit interview that you posted last week. While I believe that every individual has the right to choose their own career path, surely David Benoit would never be signed by any major wrestling promotion even if ends up being the best technical wrestler of all time. Would you agree?

I believe there is a tremendous misconception when it comes to second generation talent. A lot of people believe that just because someone is a second or third generation talent, they will get an opportunity. Your point is along the same lines but the opposite. Because David Benoit is the son of Chris Benoit, he won't get an opportunity. I absolutely think who someone is factors in to how they are evaluated, however, that's only part of how it works. If David Benoit develops into a very talented prospect, who is to say an opportunity won't be there? All of this is premature as David has a long ways to go before he's even on WWE's radar.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: What has the reaction been like in WWE to the monster rating the 1000th Raw the show did? Do you think Vince McMahon looks at it as people having renewed interest or just a one time fluke? - WWE is thrilled with the rating of the 1000th episode of Raw and they should be. As we talked about here in Ask WNW, the company immediately issued a press release to tout the success of the large viewership. I have not heard from sources close to Vince McMahon what he thought and would be scared to speculate, however, I feel it shows the audience is still there. Whether or not that audience tunes in weekly or buys the monthly pay-per-views all has to do with the quality of the product. The company showed with Wrestlemania XXVIII they could get people to buy their product. WWE should strive to make every show “must-see programming,” treating them as a “big deal” to spark interest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying pay-per-views are going to go be able to compete with Wrestlemania or weekly TVs can exceed the viewership of the biggest show to date but there is a large differential in the averages and these spikes. If WWE were to make their shows of more importance, I feel it could significantly boost ratings. This will, however, be very challenging by trying to come up with three hours of live TV each week.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

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