Huge Update On The Launch Of The WWE Network, Backstage News On Triple H's Vision For The Future Of WWE, Brian Gewirtz Replaced As Head Writer, CM Punk Assaults Fan At Raw, Major Attitude Era Stars Returning, Full Details On WWE Creative Shakeup & Who Offered Little To No Input, Sting Wants A Match With Undertaker, Hogan Sex Tape Overshadows BFG Coverage, Ask WNW Archive

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With Christian going to TNA's Bound For Glory PPV next Sunday and the fact that Christian hasn't been used in WWE lately, is there a possibility of Christian returning to TNA?

As we first reported here on Premium, Vince McMahon issued a directive in August that Christian was not to be prominently featured on WWE TV until after he had fulfilled his commitment with TNA Wrestling. While out, Christian underwent some type of outpatient surgical procedure and the news was leaked out so TNA couldn't accuse WWE of acting in bad faith. Monday morning word leaked out the scheduled appearance was in doubt. As for Christian returning to TNA, he is under WWE contract and didn't want to make the "tradeoff appearances" in the first place. I'm not saying he dislikes TNA but from everything I've heard, he's happy in WWE.

Do you see Ryback as WWE Champion?

While Ryback seems to be turning the corner as a viable main eventer, he's not ready to be WWE Champion. If he is added to John Cena vs. CM Punk [at Hell in a Cell] there are ways to utilize him, however, if he replaces Cena, it turns into a booking nightmare. The WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell will likely be announced on this week’s Raw.

Does the WWE plan on testing out any 3D broadcasting in the near future?

WWE surveyed fans about 3D programming a couple years ago and were preparing to move forward, however, plans were halted with recent data that showed a slowdown in demand for 3D television. 3D is where HD was around 10 years ago in that it is available but not widely consumed. Should that change, and I expect it will, WWE will likely pursue plans to move forward. Right now, the majority of efforts are being spent on Vince McMahon's dream of the WWE Network.

Will WWE ever understand quality over quantity? I feel like WWE Main Event is going to end up just like WWE Superstars. Your thoughts?

The main event of last week's WWE Main Event was WWE Champion CM Punk vs. World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. This week's main event is Randy Orton vs. Big Show. Not to sound condescending but those don't exactly sound like WWE Superstars matches. I understand what you are saying in that WWE starts shows out with strong cards as WWE Superstars started strong before becoming the forgettable broadcast it is today. However, we can't say WWE Main Event is "just like WWE Superstars" until it becomes less than what it is.

Given Chris Jericho was suspended for the infamous flag incident in Brazil, do you see CM Punk getting suspended for hitting a fan?

WWE is gathering all the information and we can confirm a police report was filed. Chris Jericho was suspended to save-face from negative publicity so it's obviously a possibility. Had it been someone lower on the card, they could have faced termination. Given the fact it was Punk I don't look for that to happen but I don't see how he gets out of this one without facing repercussions.

What is your take on CM Punk striking the fan?

There is no excuse to ever get physical with a fan. We could try and make an argument that the fan "deserved it" but Punk assaulted the wrong fan. The one pestering him walked away unscathed while the tape shows an incident onlooker got struck and his glasses broke. However, I'm not going to put the blame completely on Punk, as event staff and security are at fault for not containing the crowd around Punk. It's their job to keep the workers safe when they go into the crowd and they failed at that on Raw. With that being said workers have a responsibility to remain composed no matter what.

If the winners of the tag team tournament don't win the WWE Tag Team Championship, will that make the entire competition pointless? Or is it very predictable they will win so to avoid such scrutiny?

Most readers seem to be happy with the renewed emphasis placed on the tag team division so I do not think a successful defense from Team Hell No renders the tournament pointless. Tournaments are fun for a change of pace and in this case, helped a division that has been forgot about in recent years.

With Vince McMahon giving up his body on this week's WWE Raw for the good of the product, is this a signal to everyone else to "step it up"?

Lost in the CM Punk incident is the fact this week's WWE Raw had an outstanding ending. Vince McMahon showed he can still get over as good as anyone on the roster, Ryback has turned the corner and drew great crowd reactions and I was entertained throughout the show's main event. I absolutely think Vince was sending a message with his work and the fact he can use himself to increase interest is pretty remarkable in itself.

Do you think CM Punk assaulting the fan proves he doesn't have what it takes to be the face of the company?

CM Punk isn't the face of the company, that role still belongs to John Cena. While Punk is clearly "option 1B," no one is going to look at Punk as bigger than Cena. I'm not saying I enjoy Cena's character over Punk's either because as a 27-year-old, I prefer the former but in terms of standing amongst the WWE office, Cena is their guy. As for the incident doing any damage to Punk's influence and overall position in the company, read this article on Richard's Backstage Blog.

Given the creative team changes in WWE what is the latest on Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman meeting?

As we reported exclusively here on Premium, Vince McMahon met with Paul Heyman last week to discuss WWE creative ideas. A spot on the creative team was not offered to Heyman but Vince did speak with him after the ratings debacle. Creative changes took place and we are still awaiting full details on how everything was put back together.

With WWE promoting the fact Smackdown had three times more viewers than UFC's Ultimate Fighter, do you think Vince McMahon is trying to start another war or just toot his own horn?

The "Did You Know?" fact was a shot at UFC as part of an ongoing set of ribs from Vince McMahon to Dana White. Why you may ask? I covered that in detail here on Richard's Backstage Blog. In short, until Dana stands up to Vince, it's not going to stop.

What do you feel is the biggest reason Ryback has gotten over?

Ryback has persevered through turmoil and is on the brink of becoming a viable main event worker. I'll be the first to admit I thought the gimmick was doomed for failure but Ryback continued to shrug off adversity and do the only thing he can control which is play his character. He was over like rover on this week's Raw and is taking advantage of a rare opportunity by having Vince McMahon support him. The message I felt Vince sent to the locker room on this week's show was "step up" or "step out" and I feel Ryback has "stepped up" when everyone including the fans and his co-workers doubted him.

Why does WWE continue to do things such as 3-on-1 beatdowns, sneak attacks and cheap shots if they are serious about their anti-bullying campaign?

We've highlighted hypocrisy in WWE's be-A-star anti-bullying campaign in the past, however, the stuff you mentioned is not bullying. Heels being heels are part of the show and essential to make the business work. The story of the woman claiming Alberto Del Rio bullied her son for ripping his sign at a weekend live event is ridiculous and probably a ploy to draw mainstream media attention. There are boundaries that have been crossed that shouldn't have been but it's also important to remember what you see on television is scripted entertainment (most of the time). There is no need to "check your brain at the door" and I believe most people understand the difference between entertainment and reality.

Does CM Punk have a real problem and animosity against The Rock?

CM Punk, like many other workers in WWE, has legitimate beef with how The Rock is able to come in as a part-timer, dominate the spotlight for a select number of appearances and leave only to return and do it again. Many, if not most, of the workers that are on the road 300 days out of the year feel the same way. However, the stuff that is likely to be used on WWE programming will be "turned up" a couple notches to get it over in storyline. As for my thoughts, if a worker gets over and draws, they should be able to do so. I have no problem with part-time talent if they create interesting and compelling programs. Rather than criticize the part-timers, I feel people like CM Punk should try and become bigger stars to where there is no need to utilize past stars. Do you think either The Rock or Steve Austin needed Hulk Hogan to come in and sell pay-per-views?

Update: I know I have to be careful when I'm critical of Punk but let me try a second attempt to clarify my point. The Rock, Steve Austin, Mick Foley and D-Generation X were responsible for defeating WCW in the height of the Monday Night Wars. They drove ratings, pay-per-view buyrates and merchandise sales that ultimately sent a billionaire in Ted Turner scrambling to unload the money hole WCW had become. For those talking about Wrestlemania 18, upon which point Hulk Hogan returned to face The Rock, this was AFTER the war had been won. The Attitude Era ended in March 2001 when McMahon purchased World Championship Wrestling.

If Raw was two hours and did a 2.5 rating then what would people complain about? It's an hour extra and people are blowing a gasket for no reason.

I don't necessarily think people are upset about the length of WWE Raw as they are at the lack of entertaining content. This week's Raw was better but it still included material that could have been cut and would have been just as entertaining. One of the things we've seen with the three-hour shows is viewer fatigue setting in, with people tuning out for the third and final hour. Three hours is a long time to watch anything but it's especially difficult when it's not compelling television. Expanding to three hours has worn everyone out, starting with the writers and producers and going all the way through the roster. As for viewership, four million viewers should be an absolutely minimum and last week we saw that number go below that floor which is disturbing.

With CM Punk name dropping Steve Austin so much is there a chance a match will happen at Wrestlemania XXIX next year?

WWE wants the match to happen but it depends on Steve Austin's availability, health and desire to work again. The booking will be complicated but one can only hope it gets done. However, I don't think anyone doesn't believe the basic groundwork has been laid for the possible dream match.

I'm attending the Raw live event in Jackson, Tennessee this weekend. I got an email from the venue on Wednesday night saying John Cena would not be there and I could call a number for information regarding a refund. Is it normal for refunds to be offered?

WWE has been offering refunds to weekend live events that advertised John Cena in the main event. While Cena's elbow clean out was an issue he knew he was going to eventually need done, he decided on the time between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell to do it. This is why it wasn't planned and WWE still advertised Cena for the shows. They have also been offering refunds at the shows themselves through the second match. As for Cena, he doesn't know if he'll be able to work Hell in a Cell which is the reason for Ryback and the fact the pay-per-view main event hasn't been officially announced.

Last year, I agreed with you that putting the Rock over John Cena at Wrestlemania was a bad idea since Cena is the face of the company and The Rock is not a full-time performer. That being said, since WWE is exploring more opportunities to bring back former talent (Rock, Brock, possibly Austin) would you agree that putting The Rock over was a smart move since it shows former stars aren't guaranteed to come back simply to put over the younger guys and that they might actually win their matches?

Hindsight is 20/20 but I might have felt differently about The Rock going over John Cena had I known he was going to work again. For all I knew last year at Wrestlemania XXVIII was going to be Rock's last match and I wasn't sure the kind of message it sent putting him over the face of the company only to go back to filming movies. However, I wish I could explain why WWE brought Brock Lesnar back for millions of dollars yet put him under in his first match back at a B-level show in Extreme Rules. Booking part-time talent is complicated because it poses the issue of how is this going to make us look in the long-term? Unfortunately Vince McMahon doesn't seem to be overly concerned about the long-term and is focused on short-term buy rates. Triple H seems to be thinking more about the company's future as he should be given the fact he'll be calling the shots one day.

You've made comments on the way WWE’s product is consumed and that ties into my question of in the modern world, does WWE take into account those of us that use DVRs to watch their programming? I just finished last week’s Raw and won’t get to see this week’s Raw until later and probably in smaller chunks. That also ties directly into your comments on having to sit through three hours of programming.

DVRs are accounted for later in the week in terms of ratings. However, the measure the company uses for how many people are viewing their programming, are how many people watch the show live. This information is provided by Nielsen Media Research and posted here once we receive it.

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  • robert

    You can't say cm punk isn't a draw without a good opponent, Daniel Bryan was an excellent opponent, but they can't feud all the time. There's just no one, no big names. Mark Henry would be a good feud until Royal Rumble he and D-Bry carried smackdown last year and made it watchable so get sexual chocolate back.