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Will Batista Return To WWE?, Daniel Bryan's Chracter Transition, Wrestling Today vs. 10 Years Ago, How Evan Bourne Failed Another Wellness Test

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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Is it possible Batista will return to WWE and is there any hope of him being in Miami this year for Wrestlemania XXVIII?

I have maintained Batista will one day return to WWE to wrap up his career as a professional wrestler. He left the company to pursue other opportunities because his contract was up and he was unhappy with the product. Batista has been a vocal critic of WWE's PG initiative, has gone on record saying John Cena killed hardcore, edgy wrestling and he is no hurry to come back and work with The Miz. Batista has also said the current WWE product is "brutal." Despite all the negativity and brutally-honest comments, WWE would welcome him back. I believe it will come down to Dave's desire to return and the right opportunity being available. As for Wrestlemania this year, anything is possible, but any other return is going to take a backseat to The Rock. I can't imagine Batista wanting to do that, especially given his feelings for John Cena.

Why did WWE turn Daniel Bryan heel?

I talked about this in detail in yesterday's Premium Mailbag, but to summarize, Daniel Bryan was not booked like someone that WWE saw as a World Heavyweight Champion prior to "cashing in" his Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE TLC. We always talk about the "right opportunity" coming available and Mark Henry's legitimate injury provided the opportunity for Bryan to "cash in" at a time when there was flexibility in programming. It's clear Mark Henry didn't want his run as champion to end but Vince McMahon ultimately decided otherwise. After Bryan was crowned champion I expected him to immediately drop the belt. In this way, WWE would have gotten his title shot out of the way and eliminated the possibility of being "married" to the idea of Bryan challenging for the belt in a possible Wrestlemania XXVIII main event. However, in a turn of events, WWE decided to turn Daniel Bryan's character and rather than do another title switch and bury him, they began the character transition from babyface to heel. While I cannot tell you how long of a run Daniel Bryan will have as a top guy, as his title reign could end Sunday, but the turn has allowed him a much bigger opportunity than I initially thought he was going to get.

Comparably speaking, wrestling crowds today are not near as energetic or enthusiastic compared to the way they were ten years ago. Have you noticed this and why do you think this in?

It would be inaccurate if not irresponsible for me to say there is not a difference in pro wrestling today compared to pro wrestling ten or fifteen years ago. In the late 90s/early 2000s, we were in a major pro wrestling boom. The business was flourishing with more superstars and more interest than ever before. As a result, three prominent companies were brought to the forefront, people made millions but at the end of the day only the strongest would survive. It's impossible for me to evaluate crowds today versus crowds then because things are very, very different. There are still hot crowds today and there is still a large audience that watches and follows pro wrestling. Is it as big or as popular as it was then? No, but it's far from dead and still a major part of the worldwide entertainment landscape. We can build massive arguments and debate for hours as to why there was a decline in the overall popularity but the fact of the matter is, the business peaked and it has yet to re-establish these levels. I remain hopeful we will see another pro wrestling boom; however, there is no way for me to predict when or how it will happen. Many had hoped TNA, especially with people like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, would provide much-needed competition to Vince McMahon and WWE's monopoly. That hasn't happened and we still wait for the fan base to once again be re-energized.

How did Evan Bourne fail a second Wellness test so close to his first violation?

WWE randomly tests all talent a minimum of four times a year. However, once a worker tests positive, they are tested a minimum of 12 times for a period of one year. With one Wellness strike, Bourne was tested again in a short period of time in accordance with the WWE Wellness Policy. For details on what caused Bourne's second violation, his mindset and his future, click here.

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