Is WWE really going back to split titles with the return of the brand extension next month? If so, what are your thoughts?
We’ve heard since the talk of the brand extension first started back up that WWE would indeed split the titles once again. This seemed to become even clearer on this week’s Raw when Dean Ambrose was referred to as WWE Champion and not WWE World Heavyweight Champion (the latter being the name after the titles were unified). As for my thoughts, I am pessimistic about the brand extension. It’s funny watching things go full circle but the same people that were clamoring for the end of the brand extension are now clamoring for its revival. The problem with a brand extension today in WWE is the roster isn’t deep enough, the product isn’t entertaining enough and fans are burning out due to too much programming. I've already seen people say they won't be able to keep up with two pay-per-views a month. With all of the live programming already, who can blame them?
What happened after Raw went off the air this week?
After cameras stopped rolling at this week’s Raw, John Cena went to the back. The Club came out, joining Seth Rollins to attack WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. This set up the dark match main event, where Big Show, Enzo Amore, Big Cass and Ambrose faced The Club and Rollins. Big Show went over for his team, pinning Karl Anderson clean.
Am I seeing things or did Paul Heyman really challenge Donald Trump to a debate via Twitter? What are your thoughts anyway on the presumptive Republican nominee having close ties with WWE?
No you are not seeing things! Paul Heyman really did challenge Donald Trump to a debate in Glasgow, Scotland over the Brexit vote and the merits of Trump’s golf course. Details of the challenge can be found here on Twitter.
Aside from the occasional meme, Donald Trump’s ties to WWE haven’t been highlighted by the mainstream media. Trump and Vince McMahon are close friends and have been for many years. It’s interesting to note that Trump is one of 25 accounts the verified Vince McMahon Twitter account follows on social media. Vince is a Republican and has been a big donor towards the party for many years. He has not publicly endorsed Donald Trump but it’s safe to say he probably supports him. I don’t really have any thoughts on the relationship as it doesn’t really play into the campaign or the WWE product. There are WWE employees that support Trump and those that do not but it does not have any affect on their status with the company.
Given Trump’s controversial nature, Vince McMahon is probably best suited not to offer a public endorsement, although I doubt such an endorsement would hold much weight anyway.
What is WWE’s public stance on their crossover agreement with UFC by allowing for Brock Lesnar to fight at UFC 200?
Stephanie McMahon did an interview with Business Insider where she addressed the issue head-on. She gave a response that could have just as well came from her father as it included his two key points. One, they don’t believe UFC is competition and two, when someone loses in UFC, they lose their luster. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Brock is a unique proposition, but just to get to the broader question: UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport. It's very different. WWE is all about protagonists and antagonists where ultimately our conflicts are settled in the ring with action that is akin to Hollywood. It's incredible stunt-like action and the match itself tells a story, but our audience is engaged in the characters and their storyline. It has to be relatable to them so that they care to see the tragedy or triumph and we're at an advantage because we can script it.
UFC, they can make a big star but the second that person loses, they lose credibility, and how do you continue to make that star rise? So I think we have the best of both worlds and the opportunity to tell the stories in the way we want to tell them.
In Brock Lesnar's case it was really a special case that we are allowing him to do this fight [against Mark Hunt on July 9]. But like you said it's not really a cross-promotional opportunity, but we are allowing him to participate in that fight.
We are not supporting the fight necessarily but, again, it's not a competitor to us and the more that our superstars, that's how we refer to our talent, the more they do outside of WWE, the more awareness it generates and the broader the audience can be that is then brought back into our properties. So we recognize the value of that.
You can read the entire interview at this link.
Just to add to this, WWE has held strong on to these two points. The thing is, allowing Lesnar to fight again is win-win for them. They get the exposure at one of the biggest UFC shows ever and if he loses, they can manage it in storylines. Obviously that won’t be ideal but we’ll see what happens.