Why WWE Won't Ditch PG, Cena's Impact, What's Next For CM Punk, The Shield & The Streak

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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Triple Bomb

Do you honestly think WWE would lose all of their endorsements if they broke away from their commitment to PG programming?

As much as I try to explain WWE PG, I feel some of you still do not understand, so let me try again. WWE's commitment to PG is due to a few things. The first thing is the company took a PR beating with what happened with Chris Benoit and that affected everyone from advertisers to stockholders. Second, the US economy was on the brink of collapse when Vince McMahon decided to revamp their programming in attempt to attract higher-tier advertisers because he knew they were the companies that would not only withstand a bad economy but could actually afford to spend money in a weak economy. And finally, WWE understands the value of marketing to the entire family. They have no competition so they're going to get the hardcore pro wrestling fans - and yes, that includes you and me. With that demographic wrapped up, they were looking for ways to expand their demographic to the entire household. Take a look what they are doing with Total Divas and the ability to market towards E's audience.

When the transition was first made, the company went a little far, which Vince himself admitted (I heard him say it). However, the company now has the ability to produce programming outside of the PG parameters. For example, Total Divas is rated TV-14 but their core programming continues to carry the PG banner. So to wrap this up, WWE PG is a brilliant lesson in adapting to the times, while restoring public image and attracting higher tier advertisers. It has worked for the company and I don't think can be blamed for the decline in viewership. While I can't tell you why people watch (or don't watch), a lot of it has to do with the quality of programming. The quality is not the same thing as the rating. There were plenty of bad angles during the Attitude Era, WWE just had mega stars like The Rock and Steve Austin that could offset it. Now, they're thinner at the top and when a guy like Cena goes down, the impact is significant.

Did Raw's viewership this past Monday increase due to the announcement that John Cena is returning at Hell in a Cell?

As I just mentioned, I am unable to tell you why people watch or don't watch. However, there are things that can be pointed to that move the needle. John Cena is a guy that can move the needle on his own. His name is very valuable and WWE has the research (through ratings trends) and merchandise sales to back it up. It's also important to look at the quality of programming and point to things that could cause people to tune in. Let's also not forget that Shawn Michaels made a surprise return last week and was announced for this week's show. He's another guy that can move the needle on his own. It is fair to say the numbers increased based on some of the things that happened the week prior and WWE's promotion of them.

Is WWE blowing off CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman at Hell in a Cell? I have enjoyed it but the work of Ryback and Curtis Axel just isn't doing it for me. Do you see Punk getting involved in the corporation angle?

There was some storyline progression in the CM Punk angle that will air on this week's Smackdown that you can read about in our taping results. There's more to the story but I honestly don't know if they plan on blowing off Punk/Heyman at Hell in a Cell. It's safe to say they're probably going to blowoff Punk vs. Ryback, like they did with Axel at Night of Champions. The way the program has been built is to feud Punk/Heyman by offering up different challengers representing Heyman. However, I feel like you, as entertaining and compelling as the Punk/Heyman program has been, the opposition [in Axel and Ryback] has been weak and underwhelming. The problem is Axel and Ryback haven't been established so they aren't seen as viable threats. In other words, they aren't Brock Lesnar. As for Punk being involved in the Corporation angle, most will agree it would be entertaining but I'm not sure they need to go that route yet.

After watching The Shield in action for the past year, I've been wondering, why not have the Shield (all three of them) challenge the Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania? I believe they are more than worthy of this match. And if they are put over, it would cement their legacy as one of the greatest factions in history while also not completely tarnishing the streak since it is a handicap match.

I disagree here because I don't see a payoff. If WWE booked Undertaker vs. The Shield at Wrestlemania, it's a lose-lose situation. If Undertaker goes over, you just had a guy that works one match a year job out three of your brightest young stars. If The Shield goes over, they just killed one of the most iconic records of all time and they should have because it would 3-on-1. At this point, the streak needs to remain intact. The only time I have ever lobbied to end it was this year when it was CM Punk as the challenger. My thinking was Punk had the 434-day WWE title reign and they could cement him as a legend in the business by ending the legendary streak. The decision was made to have him put Undertaker over and now it's best just to let the streak end as the streak, regardless of how big it gets.

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