Vince McMahon's Candid Interview, Opinion Of CM Punk, Lesnar Paying Off?

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 are your thoughts on Steve Austin’s interview with Vince McMahon? I found it fascinating to see Vince “break kayfabe” and speak candidly.

I thought Steve Austin’s interview with Vince McMahon was very well done. It’s almost like Austin took the Ask WNW mailbox and asked Vince directly about some of the most-asked questions, detailing topics such as the end of the streak, Randy Savage and the WWE Hall of Fame, going cold on Cesaro, CM Punk’s departure, Shane McMahon’s resignation and more. Sean Hopkins did a great job of recapping the interview and if you don’t have time to sit down and watch it, you can read through it at this link.

The critics of the interview have pointed to Vince delivering corporate answers and not being very transparent and while I agree with a certain degree of that, I still found his comments fascinating. The fact Vince was willing to “break kayfabe” at all and “shoot” on why they’re not pushing Cesaro or about Punk or anything else gives us all enough reason to listen.

I’ve joked on social media that between CM Punk last week and Vince this week, they’ve made my job extremely easy. We have so much great content directly from the source. In a business that is known for its lack of transparency and secretive culture, I believe both of these interviews were groundbreaking.

Don't you think that Vince McMahon had to say that he would extend the olive branch to CM Punk? If he doesn't say that then he risks the "CM Punk" chants getting louder, more signs in the audience and revolt from the older demographics.

To put it quite bluntly, Vince McMahon is a member of #TeamPunk. CM Punk reflected as much in the podcast interview with Colt Cabana and it’s something we’ve detailed for years (Punk said Vince had tears in his eyes when he left). Vince and Punk got a long well — to the point where they would personally text message one another. I didn’t think Vince saying they hoped to work with Punk again one day was a canned response what-so-ever.

Vince likes Punk and wants him back in WWE and it’s Triple H that has been “over it” from the day Punk walked out in Cleveland.

Now, there are certain things Vince “has to say.” For example, you can’t expect him to come out and say the WWE Network has underperformed but overall, I appreciated what Vince gave. Some people cannot be pleased no matter what and will see it as a way to bury Vince and while I’m fine with that, I think the interview was well done.

As for the “CM Punk” chants from the crowd, if the past two weeks of interviews aren’t enough to provide closure and put an end to that, there’s no hope for you. It’s time to get over it and move on. Maybe Punk will be back one day, Bret Hart did hug Shawn Michaels in a WWE ring in January 2010.

Has WWE earned a significant return on their financial investment in Brock Lesnar?

Without knowing the exact dollar amount WWE has spent on Brock Lesnar, there’s no fair way for me to answer this question. I can point to shows that have sold well with Brock on them (Extreme Rules 2012 was up 25.8% from the year prior) but I can also point to the fact the WWE Network has underperformed to date. Live events have been unaffected because Brock hasn’t worked them and I haven’t seen a detailed study of the quarter hour TV ratings featuring Lesnar segments compared to shows in which he hasn’t been featured at all. WWE doesn’t provide merchandise specifics per superstar, so I can’t explain how much merchandise he’s moved in comparison to other top acts either. So without knowing 1) an exact amount of money spent on Brock and 2) how he has specifically impacted WWE’s key drivers, this is nothing more than an opinionated response.

In terms of being a draw, I believe Brock Lesnar is that. We can debate all day long if he’s worth being the guy to end the streak but he was picked by The Undertaker himself. I believe WWE had good intentions with making him the guy that re-establishes the prestige to their World Heavyweight Championship but it just hasn’t worked.

All and all, I want to be entertained. I want the talent on my TV screen that provides the highest level of entertainment. The frustration with Brock Lesnar lately isn’t that he ended the streak or that he holds the World Heavyweight Championship. The frustration is that Lesnar hasn’t graced us with an appearance since Night of Champions. That was in September. I’m not saying it’s Brock’s fault either but the idea of making Brock the champion hasn’t worked due to the infrequency of his appearances.

From the Ask WNW vault…

February 2013: Were there any big Wellness violation during the Attitude Era? - The WWE Talent Wellness Program was not enacted until February 2006 and was seen as a response to the sudden death of Eddie Guerrero.

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