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WWE Network Is $9.99, A Flag Match, Presumptuous To Call Reigns A Future Main Eventer?, Limiting Lesnar

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.

What are your thoughts on the constant $9.99 mentions regarding the WWE Network on Monday Night Raw? I know they were scripted and even funny at times but by the end of the night, it seemed more annoying than anything else.

The biggest thing to come out of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw was the constant 9.99 mentions. I already wrote about how the promotion proved WWE is desperate for Network subscribers. Yes, the mentions were scripted and meant to be funny but they were complete overkill. This is typical of WWE too. Remember when they first went PG? Vince McMahon himself admitted they took it too far (I heard Vince say it directly). Or when they first got heavy into Twitter or invested in Tout.

WWE is known for effective promotion; however, they also have a bad habit of taking things a step too far. In my view, the people in the United States that are going to buy the WWE Network (the hardcore fans like me and you) already have it. Now WWE must use the pay-per-views to sell new subscriptions. However, it's pretty hard to sell the pay-per-view [SummerSlam] with no John Cena or no Brock Lesnar two weeks from a main event match at a "big four" pay-per-view. Even further, we're talking more about 9.99 then we are the pay-per-view.

I also feel inclined to point out that in the midst of all the 9.99 mentions, they never mentioned exactly how to signup. This week's Raw was an utter failure and the shameless WWE Network promotion was a big part of that.

In light of Rusev vs. Jack Swagger at SummerSlam, what exactly does a flag match entail?

The objective of a flag match is to capture your opponent's flag. For example, the American flag will be behind Jack Swagger and the Russian flag will be behind Rusev. It will then be up to Swagger or Rusev to capture the opposing flag before the other does. Whoever captures the opposing flag first, wins the match. The speculation is this match will prevent Swagger or Rusev from actually getting pined, thus preserving some momentum from the undercard program.

Update: I've been informed the object is to capture your own flag, not the opposing flag. So either way, the winner walks away with a flag (whether its the flag of their opponent or their own).

Don't you think it's a bit presumptuous for some fans to hail Roman Reigns as a future main event star?

No, I do not believe it's presumptuous to say Roman Reigns is a future main event star. One of things fans do is evaluate talent. We do it in sport, in life and of course in pro wrestling. It doesn't take much to see there's "something different" about Roman Reigns. The way he carries himself, the way he looks, the way he talks, etc. That's not to say just because someone appears to be a future main event talent means they will be one either. However, it can also get frustrating when workers that appear to be more talented are continuously underutilized. That's not exclusive to pro wrestling either. It's the player that has they're playing time limited or the co-worker no one listens too. The bottom-line is we all evaluate talent and it's up to the "powers that be" to also recognize this talent and utilize it to the betterment of the product.

Considering WWE is paying Brock Lesnar millions of dollars for limited appearances, why are his appearances so short and infrequent?

WWE scripts Brock Lesnar in a manner they feel will leave the viewer "wanting more." There has to be a medium for delivering Lesnar without overexposing him, while at the same time making it seem as though it's a "big deal" every time he gets into the ring. This is also one of the reasons why he has not worked in matches on television or at live events. I have already criticized WWE for no John Cena or Lesnar at Raw this week as I feel at least one of them was needed to hype their SummerSlam program. They're both, however, scheduled for Raw next week in Portland, Oregon.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2012: Do you think ratings in WWE would go up if the company developed a new concept or match type that had a significant built to it? - There is no secret concept or superstar return that will instantaneously boost ratings. Sure, there are plenty of “quick fixes” but the most important thing in raising ratings is creating compelling television that people want to watch. WWE is expecting The Rock’s return to give them a major boost in the early part of next year but it’s up to them whether or not they’ll be able to carry the momentum. There’s a clear initiative in wrapping up the year in creating new stars hence four developmental workers being put in prominent roles on television.
Questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

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