Titles In WWE, Mark Henry's Return, WWE Poised For Growth Or Failure?, How WWE Should Book CM Punk vs. Ryback At HIAC

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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Why has WWE reduced the number of titles over the years?

I cannot begin to explain the exact reasons why WWE does anything because that would entail going into the mindset of Vince McMahon, which I don't even think the people closest to him understand. However, we can speculate the titles were dropped because of their lack of value and/or importance to help the product. If I were calling the shots I'd lobby to eliminate the US title and go with two world titles, the IC title, the tag team titles and the Divas championship. When a title becomes nothing more than a prop, there's no reason for it and it's more confusing than anything else. As I noted in Ask WNW earlier in the week I support two world titles because of the expanded main event opportunities they provide.

How long will it be before Mark Henry returns?

We ran an expanded update on Mark Henry in Ask WNW here a couple weeks ago. The only reason I agreed to include this question is the word out of this week's WWE TVs was that his return is imminent. I do not have any further details at this time.

You have said in the past that you would not take a backstage job with WWE in a writing or producing standpoint, and who could blame you. As far as developing new talent, securing the business for the future, and keeping things fresh and exciting, what does WWE need to do in the now to turn their product around? Are they on the right track, or are they just digging holes in the ground and hoping to strike gold?

WWE has a strong developmental system in terms of talent although there are disagreements with the best approach in running it. One of the things Hunter is looking to revamp before taking the wheel from Vince McMahon is the developmental system as he feels it's the key to their success in 5-10 years or even earlier. The company is poised for growth on all fronts but there are also areas of concern. The WWE Network is frightening because it's a huge amount of money being spent without a clear-cut plan of distribution. Every time WWE has tried to negotiate clearances on satellite/cable systems they've ran into problems. Another area of concern is the decline in viewership. We can talk about competition or any underlying factors but the fact of the matter is since Raw has gone three hours it's posted some very troubling ratings. I find it especially troubling that shows are losing audience as they progress. A decline in viewership signals a lack of interest and that needs to be turned around. Finally I'm somewhat alarmed by the amount of money the McMahon family has spent in hopes of landing Linda McMahon a seat in the US Senate. While I'm sure risk/reward was weighed before they took a "all in" approach in trying to get Linda elected, I would consider it a monumental waste if she isn't elected. If she is elected, it's not going to be good for the business so that's a lose-lose situation.

How should WWE book CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell on Sunday?

The best way to book this match is not to have it. Not only is Ryback unproven and not ready for such a push, but they are building him on the fact he's unbeaten. The creative quandary is obvious as how do you logically keep Ryback's momentum going without crushing your champion in the process? The only way out of this is some type of "outside interference" which gets even more complicated given the Hell in a Cell stipulation. They can't rule a DQ or no contest and anyone that interferes is going to have to either distract the referee from outside the structure or break it down to enter? Regardless, I don't see the logic behind doing this match. WWE could have come up with something else in terms of giving Punk an alternative opponent to John Cena but Vince McMahon is determined to push Ryback to the moon. I hope I have a better reaction come Monday but going into it, I don't see the payoff.

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