You make many mentions about the rosters are thin already. What does this entail? Does WWE have too many shows? Is there not enough content to produce the hours of TV? Please explain.
When we say the WWE roster is thin we are talking about it lacking depth in terms of top tier talent. A thin roster should not be confused with a roster that has tremendous potential because one could argue WWE has as much raw talent as they have ever had. The problem is there are only a few names that are established as main eventers and now WWE is about to expand with two separate live shows, with two main roster pay-per-views each month. Take a look at this live event WWE ran last weekend in Huntington, WV. I heard it was a fun show to attend but notice it’s devoid of a top star. No Dean Ambrose, no Seth Rollins, no Roman Reigns (suspension), John Cena, etc. That’s going to be a problem for WWE moving forward with the brand extension. Names like Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe seem primed for a big main event push but it hasn’t happened yet and we all know talent doesn’t always transition from NXT to the main roster. I am pessimistic about the brand extension because I believe WWE should focus on their current roster rather than attempting to expand it. Remember, the brand extension caused problems when Undertaker was still a regular talent. They really haven’t replaced him since. It will help with Reigns coming back from suspension, AJ Styles blossoming and Orton coming back but I still think it’s going to be an uphill battle.
What do you make of Bret Hart’s recent comments that Triple H couldn’t lace his boots? I saw you covered it in yesterday’s Exclusive Update.
Bret Hart was just giving his honest opinion and I think that’s respectable. Bret has always spoke his mind and that is something that even Vince McMahon himself respects. Not everyone has to get a long all the time and while Bret and Hunter have been cordial in recent years, they’ve never exactly seen eye to eye. In terms of the video game rating, does anyone really think Triple H is a better wrestler than Bret Hart? I respect Hunter as much as the next person, especially in terms of longevity, but his work has never been on par with the work of Bret Hart. You can call Bret bitter but his work is actually measurable. Did you know that he never injured an opponent? How many can say that nowadays? I’m on record with this before but in my view, Bret is the greatest in-ring worker of all time. Keep in mind that’s solely based on in-ring and isn’t in terms of top Superstar of all-time as I think that definitely has to go to The Undertaker.
So in addition to a confirmed main event match at SummerSlam against Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar will headline UFC 200 since Jon Jones was pulled from the show. How great is it to be Brock Lesnar?
Brock Lesnar is as in-demand as ever and is a modern day Deion Sanders for competing in two professional sports at the same time (forgive me if you don’t consider WWE a sport). If Brock Lesnar wins on Saturday, he’s going to be as marketable as ever and should provide WWE a boost, in addition to his own brand. If he loses, it will be tricky but WWE will be able to manage it in storylines. There is more pressure on Brock Lesnar to succeed as now his fight against Mark Hunt is the main event of UFC 200.
With Raw’s ratings not good these days, do you think there's any chance WWE would put the finals of the Cruiserweight Challenge live on Raw to try and pop a rating?
That would be a possibility but I don’t think it would help. The cruiserweights in the tournament are well known by wrestling fans but they’re not established mainstream names (it goes back to established top tier talent). We’re the easiest group for WWE to draw because we’re going to watch no matter what, even if it is just to complain. In order for WWE to boost their television ratings and viewership, they have to create stars that are marketable and attract mainstream viewers. That’s one of the reasons why I believe the brand extension is going to be so difficult because they don’t have the drawing power with one combined roster and now they’re going to split it.