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Sting Debuts, Ziggler A Top Star?, Cena’s Future, Orton

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 were your thoughts on the WWE debut of Sting? Given Undertaker debuted at Survivor Series, do you see this as a way to set up a match between the two at Wrestlemania?

Sting’s WWE debut at Survivor Series was epic and took a fairly forgettable show (even with two title changes) and made an iconic memory that will be remembered for decades to come. While we had a good indication Sting was in fact going to debut in the hours before the pay-per-view, we didn’t know how or when. I believe it was a success on multiple levels. First, Sting was thrust right back into the main event — which isn’t a given for anyone that’s not a “WWE-made name” and second, he helped provide a resolution to The Authority’s unstoppable dominance.

One of my biggest criticisms about the on-air roles of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is they haven’t taken their knocks, being able to do whatever they want whenever they want. Even when Steve Austin was programmed with Vince McMahon in the heyday of the Attitude Era, Vince took his fair share of knocks. The Authority was booked far too one-sided for far too long. Bringing Sting back to “take them down” provided a resolution along with getting Sting on WWE TV.

As for Sting at Wrestlemania 31, he now appears "likely" for the show and based on what happened at Survivor Series, it looks like Triple H is his possible opponent. A match against Undertaker is what Sting desires, however, why would they tease Hunter-Sting and not do it? This will be a situation worth following but Sting is with WWE for one last hurrah and that’s exciting.

Did Dolph Ziggler remind you of a young Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series on Sunday night?

Several people Tweeted me that Dolph Ziggler reminded them of a young Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, so you are not alone. I don’t know if Michaels is who came to my mind — remember people used to say John Morrison was the next Shawn Michaels — but I thought Ziggler proved he was capable of working in the main event on Sunday night. Here’s what I wrote last Friday when looking at the implications of the Survivor Series main event:

Dolph Ziggler has been featured more after aligning with John Cena but his past reigns (there were two, look it up) as World Heavyweight Champion seem like an eternity ago. Now, Ziggler has the chance to work in the main event and “steal the show” with his stellar in-ring work. If anything else, Survivor Series is a “proving ground” for Ziggler. He can prove to the fans and to WWE officials that he belongs in a pay-per-view main event, regardless of how he’s booked.

He passed the test with flying colors. Now was this a renewed confidence in Dolph Ziggler or was it just a way to get John Cena out of there so the focus could be on Sting and Cena could be protected before another crack at Brock Lesnar? I believe both to be the case. As for renewed confidence, Ziggler had multiple eliminations and was Roman Reigns-esq (remember Royal Rumble?) at the end of that bout. At the same time, Cena had to get out of the match not only so he wouldn’t overshadow Sting but because he has a title match coming up against Brock Lesnar. Ziggler had a big time opportunity and took full advantage of it, if WWE continues not to push him it will be by no fault of his own and to their own detriment.

WWE appeared to be “all in” on a Ryback reboot, yet he was quickly elimination from the Survivor Series main event. Bad booking again?

Not only did I not have a problem with how Ryback was eliminated by Rusev at Survivor Series, I thought it was correctly executed. Ryback looked good, was over as the “feed me more” babyface and is all set for his reboot to continue on Raw and beyond. Survivor Series wasn’t about him, it was about The Authority and about Sting. He had a good showing and was taken out of the match. When WWE tried to force feed him as Goldberg 2.0 it failed and nearly killed his career. Slow and steady wins the race and there is no shame in being eliminated by Rusev after a Seth Rollins Curb Stomp.

With the stipulation that only John Cena can bring Triple H and Stephanie McMahon back to power, does this now set up the long awaited John Cena heel turn?

I am “over” writing about a John Cena heel turn. I don’t think it’ll ever happen and if it does, I’ll believe it when I see it. Otherwise, I will continue to operate under the assumption the John Cena character is untouchable. But the stipulation that Cena is the only person that can bring Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is very interesting. There seems to be several opportunities there to do more with that. I examined further in Richard Reacts to Survivor Series.

Why didn’t Randy Orton return at Survivor Series?

If you read that Randy Orton was confirmed to return at Survivor Series, you read an inaccurate report. As we noted here at, an Orton appearance was possible because he flew from New Mexico to St. Louis. However, Orton lives in St. Louis. So the fact he was in his home city meant nothing in regards to a potential return at Sunday’s pay-per-view. Orton will be back next month and is expected to pick up on his program with Seth Rollins. He is currently filming the starring role in The Condemned 2. Yes, WWE did have the rare opportunity to bring Orton back as a babyface in his hometown but it wasn’t needed with a Sting debut on the books.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2013: In light of the recent reveal of Randy Orton’s take home pay, do you have details of other top level wrestler earnings to give an idea of what they’re paid? - WWE is very careful about leaking information when it comes to how much workers get paid. Given the fact workers are listed as “independent contractors” and not “employees,” means there is no set pay structure. WWE is best suited in negotiating contracts with workers to keep these numbers as quiet as possible so they have all the leverage. Randy Orton’s salary reveal is going to cause problems. While the assumption was Orton was getting paid as a top guy, no one thought he was making $291,666 a month. I’ve spoken with a lot of people close to other top names that have confirmed other names aren’t getting paid “anywhere near” the numbers revealed for Orton. While there is still a certain level of disbelief, the locker room is reacting whether WWE wants them too or not. As for other top names, Brock Lesnar is believed to have a contract worth close to $9 million for his next two years with the company while I haven’t heard the numbers The Rock worked under. As far as I know, Lesnar is making more than any other performer in the company. John Cena is believed to be “on up there as well” but since I do not have the numbers, I’ll go with what I have.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

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