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Why Ryback & Curtis Axel Aren't Over, Cena/Del Rio Isn't HIAC, Major Wrestlemania Program?, WWE's Top Star Is...

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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Have I gone too cynical or does it feel many WWE superstars and Divas are just on auto-pilot?

I don't like to be the guy that prefaces a response with, well back in my day… For one, it makes me look old and two, it seems too many fans wish things were how they were and forget they were complaining back in the Attitude Era too. However, if I could point to one criticism of the business today compared to the business 15 years ago, it's the way performers today carry themselves when they come through the curtain. We can argue that WWE performers today are more seasoned now than ever. WWE has poured a tremendous amount of their resources into scouting and training their superstars of the future, yet I feel many characters are as robotic and bland as they've ever been. When I look at workers like Curtis Axel or Ryback I see guys that have everything needed to be successful yet they come across like they're more focused on following a script than playing their respective characters. Do you know why Goldust is able to have this run at 44-years-old? Did you hear him on commentary on Monday? Dustin Runnels becomes Goldust - he's not trying to hit the bullet points or follow a script, he IS the character. It's why Hogan was successful; it's why Austin was successful. Dare I say, it's why John Cena is successful. So to answer your question, I think performers are too focused on fulfilling what is written for them and not doing the obvious things that cause fans to take interest.

Will John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship take place in the Hell in a Cell structure at the pay-per-view on Sunday?

No and for a couple of reasons. Triple H only wanted one Hell in a Cell match on the pay-per-view and he wanted it to be the WWE title match, however, they changed CM Punk vs. Ryback because the feeling was there wasn't enough interest in Ryback challenging Punk again, so they added Heyman and the stipulation. The feeling is the Punk/Heyman program has been entertaining but the challengers - Curtis Axel and Ryback - haven't been believable. It was a different story with Brock Lesnar but there was a considerable drop off from there. Other reasons Cena vs. Del Rio isn't taking place in the Hell in a Cell structure is because it's a brand new program and Cena is coming back from a serious injury. The match is dangerous and it's usually reserved to blowoff programs. I will also credit that WWE doesn't overkill their gimmicks, which have made the 'themed' B-level pay-per-views effective.

I know there was a lot of talk about Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust happening at Wrestlemania this year, do you see it happening next year?

The talk of Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust happening at Wrestlemania this year was because Goldust put a tremendous social media push towards it. He wasn't under WWE contract at the time and was actually released from his role as a producer in May 2012. There was no interest on WWE's behalf in the match but that might have changed given the renewed interest in Goldust's character. He's really improved his stock and has found a role that fits him. As I mentioned in the question above, I believe it's because he portrays his character so well. We'll see what WWE decides to do but Goldust is back under a performance contract.

Most of us understand the formula for evaluating pro wrestlers is a three-part process - in-ring ability, charisma and look. If each warrants a score out of 10, with a perfect score being 30, who do you think in WWE scores the highest?

Daniel Bryan scores higher than any worker on the WWE roster in my opinion. I understand this will be debated, and it should be, but there isn't an area where Bryan lacks. His in-ring ability is the best in the business, surpassing Kurt Angle as the best in the world. However, what has surprised people is his talent in the other two areas. Bryan has a very unique look with his big beard and he's able to take that beard and pair it with words like "yes" and "no" and get over more than anyone has gotten over in years. As he rises he'll develop haters that will start trying to disprove him with ratings and buy rates and fan interest. But the fact of the matter is, no one can accurately explain ratings, buy rates and fan interest; if they could, WWE would employ them and pay them a lot of money. Heck, TNA might even pay them what's left of their budget if they were guaranteed to fix those areas. Bryan is as good as it gets and there is nothing wrong with "buying the hype." There are some that feel it will make them a mark if they "buy" Daniel Bryan but if it makes me a mark to put over the most talented person this business has seen in quite some time, call me a mark.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2009 - Has Bryan Danielson really signed with WWE?: Yes, Bryan Danielson has agreed in principle to a contract with WWE. I haven't heard the terms of the deal but I would imagine he'll go to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa before getting the call up to the main roster. I understand Danielson is one of the best workers in the world but I would imagine WWE will want to take a look at him in their developmental facility before calling him up. I really hope Danielson does not get buried as a WWE worker.

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