It’s time for an exclusive Question & Answer session here on TJRWrestling. The questions come from my John Canton Facebook account, so if you want to take part in this in the future just friend me on there and you can get involved with us.
Before I get started, here’s the link for our TJRWrestling Battleground written preview and the TJRWrestling Podcast has plenty of WWE Draft talk from Rey and I as well as an audio preview of Battleground.
For this Q&A, the most popular people that were asked seem to be Finn Balor’s role on the Raw roster, when Bayley might be on the main roster and what WWE is doing with this Heath Slater angle where he didn’t get drafted.
Shoutout to WWE for finally giving us an answer to the “when will Finn Balor move up to the main roster” question that has been asked many times over the past two years. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do on Monday. Let’s get to it.
1) Andre Jones
Assuming that Bayley is called up as Sasha’s partner, do you think they would forgo the Charlotte/Sasha at Summerslam for a triple threat with Bayley?
I think Sasha vs. Charlotte at SummerSlam is a lock regardless of who the partner is. Singles matches are better and more prestigious than triple threats, so I doubt they deviate from that plan. Banks wins the gold at SummerSlam.
2) Eric Cowfer
Other than the Shield and Evolution, can you think of any other factions in any company that have gone on to see every single member hold a world championship?
Off the top of my head I can’t. Seems like they would be the only ones. I guess in Evolution’s case you could say Flair didn’t win after he joined the group, but he won many times before that of course lol.
3) Luke Rainer
Does Brock Lesnar’s failed tests in the UFC affect your attitude towards him in WWE?
Not really. His body and his life – good luck to him. I still enjoy watching him in WWE.
4) Tim Kelly
Where is this Heath Slater thing going?
Probably some comedy thing where he’s a free agent trying to get a job on either Raw or Smackdown. Maybe he’s put in “tryout” matches and he gets beat up all the time. Eventually, he gets picked up somewhere. Just my guess. Could be funny.
5) Brandon Gulledge
Do you think it’s possible that Nikki Bella could be Sashas partner at Battleground since everyone is assuming Bayley will show up?
It may be Nia Jax as a face partner. That would work well. Nikki is a possibility, I guess. I just think she’d be with Smackdown girls since Cena is on Smackdown.
6) Darnoc Ttam
With the roster split now official, which Superstars that haven’t had world titles do you predict to be the first to get the main event push on each show?
I think AJ Styles for sure on Smackdown whether Dean is champ or if they introduce another title. Maybe Bray Wyatt soon too.
On Raw I think Finn Balor and Kevin Owens are very possible. Sami Zayn maybe needs to be built up more as a true babyface underdog type of worker.
7) Rik Shaw
Do you think Smackdown’s new roster is deep enough to maintain decent storyline and character development?
Yes. It’s a two hour show and it flies by a lot of time compared to Raw. If you can put two or three matches in the 10-15 minute range every week then it’s pretty easy to get through it and tell some decent stories along the way. I don’t think there’s lack of talent there aside from the women’s division after Becky and Natalya.
8) Erin Somers
Should we read into things where certain people were drafted, as in cesaro or owens to what management thinks of them??
I guess it’s okay to do that, but sometimes it can be part of an angle too. Imagine if people really buy into the Cesaro thing, then it gets revealed that it’s all some angle designed to get him more sympathy and fan support. It would work really well. I think the characters should absolutely bitch about where they got picked.
9) Chris Goad
I can see a future where it will be a Raw vs Smackdown PPV somewhere down the line and eventually maybe ROH or NJPW or even Lucha Underground will do a invasion angle with the WWE. Do you think that could happen if this brand split doesn’t work out?
I’m not sure what fantasy land you are living in where you think WWE would have other companies on their PPVs. That’s not happening. I really doubt it.
10) Bart Rowe
How bad a draft did Smackdown have, because looking at the rosters… they got dominated by Raw?
I don’t think it’s that bad. Just put AJ Styles on the whole show and everything will be fine! There are a lot of quality performers like Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio that have been used poorly. If those guys get going in the right direction again you’ll see Smackdown look good. I think it could use a guy like Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura before the end of the year too.
There’s really no way to judge until the shows air.
11) Ryan Mullins
Why do you think they split up The Club??
I’m not a fan of The Club ending just like that because I really liked them together and those two guys backing up AJ Styles was cool. I’m sure AJ will be fine, though. I really think it was done to put Finn Balor with Luke and Karl although I think Raw needs Finn as a face, so they might not be together right away.
12) Neal Crouch
Do you think we are actually going too see some changes with the brand extension or is just the same spiel but on two different shows we have been getting the last few years?
I think the fact that Smackdown is live is a pretty significant change. In terms of booking or the way shows are done, it’s going to be tough for that to really change when you’ve still got Vince, Triple H and Kevin Dunn overseeing everything. They’re going to do what they know.
13) Oscar Omar Fernandez
Was Mick Foley picked so he and Stephanie can have tension in storyline but solely so she can remain on TV? I have a feeling we will be seeing more of Steph on Raw than Shane on Smackdown?
I think he was picked because of the Holy Foley show that is starting on WWE Network in late August. He’ll be there to promote it heavily. Plus, he’s a face to counter her as a heel. If there were two heels there then it’s a turn off for the viewer.
14) Nate Kuhl
Nate Kuhl Who gets called up first: Bayley, Nakamura or Samoa Joe? And on what show?
I think Bayley will get called up as soon as this Sunday at Battleground or right after SummerSlam. Put her on Smackdown because they need better women right now because after Becky and Natalya they are lacking.
As for Nakamura and Joe, I hope both are on by the end of the year. Assuming Naka wins the NXT Title then that means Joe can be main roster by like November. Have Nakamura debut main roster at the Royal Rumble. I wish it was sooner though. Not sure what show for each, but put them on different shows.
15) John Harper
The whole “Raw picks more wrestlers than Smackdown because it’s a longer show” thing made sense initially, but for them to then say they get the Cruiserweights AS WELL as 60% of the roster was just silly. What are your thoughts on what they’re actually going to do with the apparently Cruiserweight division?
I like the Cruiserweight idea a lot. I think not putting Kalisto on Raw to be a part of that was pretty dumb too. They might go with guys in the CWC to carry it, but you need some main roster people too. My advice is to wait and see how they present it. Too early to know much.
16) Nathan Davies
With the draft having now taken place. How do you see Smackdown performing moving forward?
The two hour format is a lot better than three hours, so people that think it will be bad aren’t paying attention. I review every Raw and Smackdown and my SD scores are higher than Raw because typically there’s less filler. I think having Shane and DBry as authority figures is smart. I hope it leads to a more energetic show.
17) John Czech
Over the course of you long term wwe fandom, what would you say was your biggest disappointment or the industry’s biggest missed opportunity? I would have liked to see a Michaels/Rock feud.
The Invasion angle is by far the biggest disappointment. That should have been a 2 or 3 year angle that they killed in like six months. What a letdown that was.
18) Kevin Jones
What’s one match you wish you could see but can’t due to a retirement or death? Mine is Seth vs Shawn Ironman.
Heel Shawn Michaels or heel Kurt Angle vs. face Daniel Bryan is high up there. Kurt Angle vs. anybody he never faced because he’s the man. There are hundreds of choices.
19) Jake Nicodemus
Would you prefer to see two money in the bank matches or letting the winner chose which title he will challenge for?
I’m cool with one or two. If you are going to make both brands separate then it makes sense to have two. However, if one brand has it then the other one should have something else like a King of the Ring tourney with the winner getting a title match.
20) Jon Martin
Thoughts on David Otunga’s promotion? (I hate it)
He’s alright, but nothing special. I like announcers that can make me laugh and he doesn’t really do that, much like Saxton. As a lawyer he’s well spoken and he’s not going to say anything out of line, so they probably trust him out there. It’s better than his crappy wrestling skills.
21) John Henegar
What does this mean for The Undertaker?
It means he’s either done or he’s only going to wrestle one match next year at WrestleMania. The man is in his 50s. He should stop wrestling very soon for his sake and his family’s sake.
22) Andy Staed
You may have talked about this before, but have you seen The Resurrection of Jake The Snake? What are your thoughts on it?
Yeah I’ve seen it and it’s really good. I knew a lot of the story anyway because after I wrote something about him a few years ago I interacted with a friend of his fairly often after that. Met Jake a couple of times. Check it out on Netflix now.
23) Dangelino Ochoa
Do you see any trades going on between the shows before the end of the year?
There should be. I would certainly incorporate that into the storylines. A wrestler is angry with a GM and it leads to something like that. Why not? I just don’t know if WWE has any intention of doing that.
24) Shay Smithers
What and why were of your favorite matches, stars, and moments from WCW?
My favorite guy was Booker T just because he was somebody that was a tag wrestler, then he starred as a singles midcarder (I marked out when he won the TV Title) and became a top guy. He was always cool to me. My other fave guy was Mysterio. He changed the business with his style and athleticism. Huge influence on a lot of people watching.
Loved Benoit, Jericho, Eddie, Raven, Saturn and the rise of Goldberg was cool until he bored the hell out of me when he won the title. Always loved Flair and Sting too. The NWO angle was awesome even though I didn’t necessarily like all those guys – Hall was my favorite in that group.
For matches I always bring up Rey/Eddie Havoc 1997, Wargames 1991 and 1992 and Pillman/Liger Superbrawl 1992 I believe it was.
25) Adam Symes
When do you think the Young Bucks will appear in WWE?
Their contracts are up January 1. I think the fact that they signed one year deals is telling that they might want to go to WWE. I believe they are making over $250k per year each and do well in merch so maybe they are doing above that number. If WWE can offer them something close to that then they might go. I’m not sure if WWE is willing to got that high, though. They have a lot of friends in WWE that could talk to management about how great they are. It may happen in 2017.
26) Tim Davidian
How much did you love Kane double chokeslamming Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn last night?
I thought it was dumb. It made two potential main eventers look like idiots while putting over the 49 year old that is barely on television anymore.
27) Dangelino Ochoa
Any ROH talent you could see in WWE in a few years?
Lots of ROH guys could be in WWE like Adam Cole, Young Bucks, Jay Lethal, Kyle O’Reilly, Dalton Castle and many others.
28) Andy Mullen
Your thoughts on a draft maybe every year after mania featuring a limited number of nxt only draft picks?
They’ll probably do it every year. I think doing it away from Mania is smarter because there’s already enough attention on them at WM. This time of year is fine with me because people focus in more. The best times would probably be May or June because it’s a bit after WM and can lead to major stories for SummerSlam.
29) Quinn Rose
Shouldn’t they make a big deal about signing free agents, like in real sports? For example (and this is just wishful thinking): What if we spent a few weeks watching Mick/Steph and D.Bry/Shane trying to recruit: Kurt Angle. We could watch both people trying to sell him on signing with their show, then they could make a huge deal where he makes his decision on the WWE Network. As a sports fan, I can tell you people love stuff like that.
I like the idea a lot and I think it would work well. It’s similar to what they did with Scott Steiner in late 2002, but then they shied away from doing stuff like that. The problem is a guy like Vince likely doesn’t watch sports (from what I’ve read) or know how they operate so they’re not going to do something he isn’t familiar with.
30) Cody Nathaniel Linder
Do you think Finn Balor will be the face of the cruiserweight division or is he WWE Championship material?
He’ll be a main eventer very soon like Styles was. Not in the cruiserweight division. He was the first babyface drafted on the Raw side, so clearly they have big plans for him.
31) Jamie Fritts
What is Shane McMahon’s official role for the company? Is he strictly a face/on air talent or does he have a legit role behind the scenes?
He’s just an on air talent at the moment with many millions worth of stock too.
32) Daniel Mount
Will Asuka get called up or will she be a face of NXT for a while?
She should. I don’t really think there’s much to it other than wanting to keep NXT strong. No point in overthinking it.
33) Roderick Walker
Which group was more iconic: DX, NWO or Four Horsemen?
For long term it’s the Horsemen, but for short term impact I’d say New World Order because it really put WCW on another level and almost killed the WWF. The problem is they didn’t know how to book stories around them after the Sting angle ended. Splitting it off into separate groups went against the whole point of it in the first place. As for DX, they were good in different forms, but wasn’t as important historically.
34) John Adams
How would the new champions be crowned? Should there be tournaments for the World Title, Tag Titles and Women’s Title?
A tournament sounds fine with me. If Ambrose loses the title to Roman or Seth then you can have AJ and Cena in the tourney finals with AJ winning.
35) John Chalmers
Considering the fact that the mid-card Champion’s opponents are on the opposite brand, does this guarantee that Rusev & Miz are gonna retain at Battleground?
I would be very surprised if Rusev or Miz lost their titles. I don’t think WWE views Ryder or Rusev as particularly strong challengers and neither do the fans, so I doubt there are title changes coming.
36) Kyle W. Nickelson
Who do you think will be Balor’s first rival now that he’s been called up?
I would like Balor vs. Rollins right away. If they want to save it a bit then the next best heels (assuming Balor is still a face) on Raw would be Jericho, Rusev and Owens, so probably one of those guys.
37) Rickey A. Mossow Jr.
As the rosters filled, I worried Balor would be lost in the shuffle amidst many of Vince’s guys who I don’t know if they’d put him over. Seeing as Finn is a megastar in waiting, are you worried that he’ll be lost in the shuffle and not be given a chance to realize his potential?
I’m not really worried. He’s arguably the top face on Raw already just based on where they picked him. I don’t see how he would be lost in the shuffle when they’re likely going to book him as a main event level guy from the beginning.
38) Dale Cleary
Do you think the draft will go back to an annual event? Maybe have it were each show could protect a few wrestlers, you know like how they should have explained the nxt picks?
They will probably make it an annual event where they do a random lottery (that they incorrectly call a draft) to move people around. As mentioned earlier, doing it in May or June would make the most sense to me.
39) Aaron Whited
Heath Slater. Raw? Smackdown? Fired?
Probably just a comedy thing to try to get signed by one of the show. No harm in it.
40) Alex Jackson
When does Smackdown go to 3 hours? I hate the idea but you know they are going to do it. I give it a year.
I really doubt it. I think WWE would be adamant against it and I don’t think USA Network would want to do it. There’s too much content and I think they know it by now.
41) John C Hoddy
As someone who writes and consequently watches a lot of wrestling, do you ever get burned out on wrestling? What do you do to combat/prevent burn out?
I get burned out a lot especially on weeks like this with a PPV because then there’s a preview and review to write in addition to the three show reviews as well as other things I’m doing. I watch sports or read a book or try to think of other things. Sometimes I work out or go for a run when the weather is nicer. I should dive into more Netflix shows too.
42) Jeremy Bennett
Over/under in number of months when Stephanie fires Mick?
Oh yeah it’s going to happen. Five months. Personally, I’d fire Stephanie’s character because it’s very tiresome after three years without much of a break. She’s not a bad performer, but she’s heel that never puts over the faces (at least Vince would take bumps), so what’s the point? It hurts the show.
43) Nick Grinik
My question is this: 9 titles, seriously?
That’s what could happen in WWE very soon. I don’t really look at it that way or as a major negative thing because if the brands are going to be kept separate then it’s really not that bad.
44) Shane McCulley
I see an angle when Zayn and Owens rivalry gets so bad that they trade one to Smackdown. What do you think?
Oh like the rivalry is so intense that you have to trade one? That makes sense to me even though I love their rivalry so much. I really hope trades are part of these storylines.
45) Michael Reichmuth
Who turns face first: Rollins or Wyatt?
Just based on how the rosters are set up right now I think Wyatt is more locked in as a heel because right now he’s the #2 heel behind Styles. Rollins may turn face first just because that Raw roster is deeper.
46) Mark Virutiao
When will Undertaker appear?
Maybe March. Last year he worked more shows and even did some house shows too. This year he seems to be content with staying home. Maybe he’s back for WrestleMania next year or maybe he’s done. Nobody really knows.
47) Joseph D Graves
Regarding Heath Slater, do you actually think that he is a good talent? Or is it just me?
He’s good, but so is 90% of the roster in WWE. People are so negative all the time about the company, yet if you really think about it, nearly everybody there is really good in the ring if they get a shot. That’s how they got there. It’s not like when they would have guys like Heidenreich, Nathan Jones, Khali and others that had no business beign out there. The WWE roster is talented. Slater just needs to find something to get him over the hump.
48) Nicholas Pruner
Do you have faith in “Make Darren Young Great Again”? Do you think he’s gonna go anywhere with Backlund at his side?
He’s already in a better spot after two weeks than he has been in about five years. I know he held tag gold with Titus, but that team wasn’t great by any means. I think it’s working pretty well. Doesn’t mean he’s a top guy. I think he’s solid as a midcarder.
49) Joe Sondag
Do you think with the WWE Draft that they may do trades between the shows similar to the last brand extension or that idea they either not thought about or completely off the table?
They should. It’s not like they announce those things ahead of time, though, so it would be random guessing on our part to just assume they would do stuff like that.
Remember that they changed the rules of their own draft after they specifically said it would be five picks per round. Then it became six picks per round. They just randomly do shit like that and do a poor job of explaining it.
50) Nathanael N-jay Julien
What are three Smackdown feuds you want to see immediatley after Summerslam and three Raw feuds?
That’s a good one. For Raw let’s go with Balor vs. Rollins, Lesnar vs. Owens and Zayn vs. Rollins.
For Smackdown I’d say Styles vs. Orton, Heel Ziggler vs. Ambrose and Wyatt vs. Face Styles.
I could pick many more. Here’s one more: Nakamura vs. everybody.
51) David Kleber
Why did they say Cesaro’s WWE debut was 1999?
They messed up on the graphic. Got a bunch of shit wrong. It was a graphic for Bubba Ray Dudley actually.
52) Kevin Curtiss
Is it time to implement a women’s Royal Rumble match with 20 participants?
Sure. Fine with me. You could do a women’s Rumble and women’s Money in the Bank match easily. The major difference is you don’t want a 110 pound woman like Sasha Banks falling off a 12 foot ladder because it could do a lot of damage compared to when a 250 pound guy takes the same bump. Also for Royal Rumble, most of them likely would be too small to easily bump over the top to the floor.
53) Eryk Cannito
What do you think is the greatest catchphrase of all time?
I think “And that’s the bottom line cuz Stone Cold said so” is the best and also my favorite. Bret Hart’s “best there is, best there was and best that there ever will be” line is awesome too.
54) Michael Reichmuth
I think DDP should have ended Goldberg’s streak at Halloween 1998. Thoughts?
It was too early to end it. Goldberg won it in July 1998 and you want it to end after just three months? That would have sucked hard. He should have held it for much longer – close to a year. Losing it in December 1998 was dumb. Nash booked himself to go over because WCW was stupid with egos running roughshod.
55) Jason Tomlinson
Do you think with Foley as GM and Steph being a little less heelish do you see them using the “evil” management storyline less? Do you see them doing a double turn with Roman and Rollins?
I doubt Foley is going to be evil very much. Steph’s character is pretty bad at this point. She doesn’t get people over and talks over others so much that it does more harm than good.
I’m in favor of a double turn, but Reigns is already booed a lot so it’s gonna be hard to do. They are pretty rare. The best one ever was Bret and Austin, but that was 1997 too. They don’t even try to replicate things like that because that was brilliance.
56) Billy Brew
What if anything do you see as the end game? Is the brand split going to work its way up to a Smackdown vs Raw Survivor Series type match where winner gets overall control.. again?
I don’t know if there is one. This was done to make Smackdown more relevant. Whether they can build up a rivalry between brands and make matches matter when the two sides meet up is something WWE can hope for, but it’s not going to be easy to get people to care.
57) Bill Burrell
What do you think of one of these 2 scenarios playing out on Sunday – 1) The Club loses to Cena, Enzo and Cass. Styles flips out on them, maintaining his heel run, and Balor comes out to help his guys, thus Balor Club is born. 2) Balor comes out sometime during this match, whether to celebrate with them for the win and they turn on AJ or something else. I can’t really think of too many ways that all of the things that need to happen for Styles to stay a heel and continue his storyline with Cena or to get Finn together with the club. Just looking for your thoughts. Sorry this got a bit convoluted. Thanks John.
I don’t see Balor showing up at Battleground. For what? Save his debut for Raw on Monday. He was drafted to Raw, so he should debut on Raw. Not on Battleground.
The six man tag will see Cena pin Gallows or Anderson. Then they’ll do Cena vs. Styles II at SummerSlam.
Thanks for all the questions. We’ll do it again soon. See ya here on TJRWrestling.net this Sunday for Battleground coverage.