I am currently out of the office so the 303rd installment of the WNW Premium Mailbag is complete and is now online in written format! Today's Premium Mailbag features questions that were sent from Thursday, August 15th to today. To submit your question for a future installment of the Premium Mailbag, click here. The Premium Mailbag will return in audio format in the next installment.
Were the people at last week's Raw that booed CM Punk and drew a response actual fans or plants? Was Punk's reaction a shoot?
I am under the impression the fans that were booing CM Punk were legitimate fans and his reaction was a work. I know he's supposed to be a babyface but Punk isn't the 100% fan favorite. The self-proclaimed lovable jerk, Punk shouted at them to show "frustration" over his loss to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. While neither Punk nor Lesnar needed a loss at SummerSlam, the thinking was that it was easier to build a guy back up that's on television every week. Punk certainly needs that, especially with John Cena out.
With The Shield "taking orders" from Triple H last week on Raw with the beat down of Bryan, is The Shield going to form a stable with Triple H, Randy Orton, Stephanie & Vince McMahon?
Not that I am aware of. From the way I saw it, Triple H "ordered" The Shield to operate as security and "issued" the beatdown on Daniel Bryan. The premise of the angle is that Hunter and the McMahons are in charge and are able to instruct wrestlers as they please. Since The Shield is a heel faction, they were used in the segment.
Are there plans for Brock Lesnar to appear again in another match before Wrestlemania?
The talk following SumerSlam was that Brock Lesnar may not be used again until Wrestlemania XXX next year but that could very well change. WWE has already expressed interest in using The Undertaker at Survivor Series so should he agree to that, perhaps Lesnar sits out. However, Lesnar is under contract and the company could opt to use up some of his dates to work sooner. I would imagine how television and pay-per-views perform without John Cena will also play a factor.
If Daniel Bryan can sustain the momentum he's built for himself while Cena is sidelined and sustain or boost ratings and sell lots of merchandise, is there an chance that Bryan takes Cena spot as the #1 guy in the company thus allowing John Cena to finally turn heel?
John Cena being out provides major opportunities for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk but I don't see Cena losing his spot as the "face of the company." John is WWE's top draw and regardless what the IWC thinks of that, WWE is going to ride him for as long as they can. I actually look for Cena's absence to increase his popularity and see him returning for a main event program at Wrestlemania XXX. It will be interesting to follow the ratings as WWE not only faces the inevitable pullback from the fall competition returning but they must face it without their top guy.
Do you have any information that would confirm or deny if Royal Rumble 2014 will be at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh?
As of this writing, the plan is for Royal Rumble 2014 to take place from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in January 2014. I do not have any further details but we will find them out as we get closer to the event. You can also circle this as the preliminary return date for John Cena as I know the company is hoping to have him back [from his torn triceps] for the show next year.
Do you think the reason WWE hasn't done a new season of Tough Enough is because no members of the last season ended up making it to the WWE?
It's my understanding that WWE made the decision to not do another season of Tough Enough. They were given the extra hour on the USA Network on Monday nights and decided to extend Raw to three hours on a permanent basis. The original plan was to do a one-hour live TV show, so I don't know if that was Tough Enough or something else. Tough Enough, under its most recent run in 2011, did good in the ratings but it didn't do well in creating any new stars. WWE ended up with people that still needed a lot of seasoning and didn't see the show as a success from that standpoint.
I'm not sure if you've heard of the popular website, WatchWigs.com, but they have multiple original televisions series' that they just stream from their website. The website has gained a large amount of mainstream attention, the obvious question here is has WWE considered launching their network as a website?
We heard that YouTube offered to launch the WWE Network as an exclusive under their premium model they launched earlier this year. WWE decided against it and have continued to negotiate clearances on cable and satellite systems. The company wants to be a channel that is a pay channel on the major providers. They've stuck to their guns and have aggressively tried to pursue clearances.
Both Big Show & Mark Henry have proven in the last couple years that they draw much better as heels than babyfaces. I feel that they're being wasted by getting face turns but I also feel it would make The Shield look great if they go over them in a program. Which side do you take on this issue?
I agree that Big Show and Mark Henry are more over as heels than babyfaces. I also agree that if Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are able to defeat them, it adds to their credibility. Perhaps WWE books it in a way that Show and Henry cannot work together, so they are unable to capture the gold. I don't know what direction they are going to take but that's the program they're going with post-SummerSlam.
Who do you think are the 5 best wrestlers right now?
This is a very broad question and pretty much impossible to answer. WWE's top in-ring performer is Daniel Bryan, however, there are several different "lists" we can make about what defines "best." In TNA, Bully Ray is carrying the torch as the top heel in the company. Randy Orton is a guy WWE has big plans for and are restarting on him as a top name. However, there is no way I can give you a list 1-5 of the "best" wrestlers.