Undertaker, WWE Talent Walking Out, Brock Failing, Axelmania

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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With all the Bray Wyatt/Undertaker promos going on, can we say that it's 100% certain The Deadman will be at Wrestlemania 31?

In addition to never saying never in pro wrestling, nothing is 100% certain until it happens. Literally, I could have the final run sheet for a show in my hands and still wouldn’t tell you something is 100% certain until it happens. However, the plan is for The Undertaker to face Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31. That’s the reason for the promos and Undertaker is working to get into ring shape.

First it was CM Punk who walked out, now it's Brock Lesnar. It's starting to become a trend. Why do WWE officials just let their big stars do this to them? Can’t they take legal action to ensure this doesn’t keep happening?

Steve Austin walked out on WWE before CM Punk did when he refused to go under to Brock Lesnar. Austin later said it was stupid and he should have owned up to his responsibility and showed some accountability. He said he didn’t handle it well and should have shown up and handled it like a man.

Anyway, this type of thing happens in WWE. There are a lot of things to consider — including the classification of WWE performers as independent contractors and not employees. Obviously WWE can claim if a worker walks out or fails to show up they are breaching their contract but it’s a weird situation because of the independent contractor classification.

So this type of thing happens and it’s a complicated legal situation because of how talent is classified. WWE can try to pursue a performer through litigation but that still doesn’t get them to work. It’s not like they can force a performer to compete if they have decided they’re not going to do it. It’s just not possible.

When strong personalities and egos collide as is the case with CM Punk and Vince McMahon or Brock Lesnar and Vince, there are bound to be blowups. The best way the blowups can be resolved is meeting face-to-face to resolve the differences. The current situation with Lesnar is expected to be resolved for him to work Wrestlemania 31, however, it’s unknown how this will impact his status after that.

Do you think that by limiting the defenses of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while held by Brock Lesnar is an attempt to make it as important as the UFC World Heavyweight Championship?

That’s exactly what WWE is trying to do by limiting the defenses of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the appearances of Brock Lesnar. The thinking is it will boost the prestige of the title and make Brock Lesnar more of a must-see attraction. I’m just not sure it’s worked. To me, it feels like the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been forgotten and the infrequent appearances of Brock Lesnar have turned into more of an annoyance.

The UFC comparison sounds good in theory but it’s not a viable one. UFC fighters can’t fight at the rate that WWE performers can compete in the ring for obvious reasons. UFC has a list of championships across their weight classes that are all as equally as prestigious. And finally, WWE has much more weekly/monthly/yearly programming than UFC does, which is the biggest reason why I feel Brock Lesnar as champion has failed so badly.

There is simply too much content and too many hours of programming to limit the appearances of the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion to just a couple of times a month. That’s why this type of thing used to work in pro wrestling but is not sustainable in 2015.

Do you believe Curtis Axel has finally found something with Axelmania?

Forgive me for this spoiler but Curtis Axel went under to Fandango in a match taped for this week’s episode of WWE Main Event. Did you hear how John Cena dismissed Fandango in his promo on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw?

I urged readers to be patient with Curtis Axel but finally admitted that it just didn’t work. He had a chance as Michael McGillicutty and a monster push as Curtis Axel. It looks like he’ll be a career mid-card/enhancement talent in WWE. It’s unfortunate given his family lineage and potential but family lineage and potential does not create stars.

So unfortunately, I only see Axelmania as a comedic enhancement gimmick.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: I don’t see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. Do you see WWE possibly bringing him back as Albert or A-Train? - I agree, I do not see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. WWE had big expectations for the gimmick but Matt Bloom hasn’t been able to get over. The gimmick has been scaled back to what it was originally slated to be but it’s still stuck in monotony.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

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