It’s time for another Question & Answer session here on TJRWrestling. As always, the questions come from my Facebook page. It’s a mix of questions about wrestling things from the past, stuff that involves current wrestling and of course some predictions for the future. Reader questions will be in the quote box with my answers immediately after.
1. Rik Shaw
Who on the Raw roster do you think would benefit most from a run as Universal Champion?
Kevin Owens. I like Rollins as much as anybody, but if they are going to do Rollins/Balor at WM then he can win the title later in the year or early next year. Use this time to establish a new main eventer and I think Owens is the right guy for it.
2. Jason Butts
If WCW had not went under, where would wrestling be today?
Probably a similar place. Their biggest problem in their history was there wasn’t one clear person in charge. Sure, Eric Bischoff did fine for a few years, but it was only a few years. When he went to TNA the company got worse and nearly died. So as long as you don’t have the one guy in charge it’s going to be tough to really thrive. That’s the value of Vince McMahon more than anything.
3. Ty Wasilk
Who do you think will be Smackdown’s first tag team champions and first women’s champion?
I think it should be Natalya for Women’s Title because it’s been six years and I think she deserves. Plus, heel champions are more interesting than face. However, it wouldn’t shock me if Nikki Bella wins it because WWE loves her more. Save Becky Lynch’s win for a few months down the line.
As for tag team, heel Usos would be a good choice. Save American Alpha winning them for another time. No rush.
I like heel champions for new titles.
4. Jeremy Cottreau
When Finn Balor returns, do you think he’ll get pushed properly again, or will they lose faith?
I think he’ll be in one of the biggest matches at WrestleMania assuming he is able to be back by late February or March. Easy to push a guy that is back from injury because he’s fresh. I think he’ll face Rollins at WM. Why not? Makes sense. It will be a big match.
5. Benji Dotan
Going by your idea of having the winner of Sheamus/Cesaro be number 1 contender to the Universal title, do you think a Sheamus appearance after Balor relinquished the title, could have been a fun future teaser for an Irishman feud?
It would be a cool rivalry and I think they’ll do it at some point. A Sheamus/Balor match was probably going to happen soon, but now Balor’s injury has delayed it obviously. I just hope Cesaro is elevated from that series because he needs it. Doesn’t mean it will happen, though.
6. Aj Giacobbe
Who do you think should be the first new crusierweight champ on Raw?
Neville would be a good choice. Like him a lot. You could put it on one of the new guys they sign, but I think Neville is worthy too. I don’t care too much as long as the matches are good and they are given time.
7. Aneil Komal
Did you ever dress up a wrestler?
I think I was Ultimate Warrior for Halloween one year. He wasn’t even a favorite, but we bought the outfit. Other than that, I don’t think so. I can’t remember.
8. Daniel Mount
Will there be a women’s version of the CWC? There are so many talented indy performers and it could build depth.
I think there will be a women’s tournament as the next one. I don’t think they need to announce a weight class for it.
9. Rob Brown
Do you think Cena will become the winningest Champ ever? Meaning 17 heavyweight championships?
Yes. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. As a side note, Flair’s last two recognized wins in WCW were jokes too.
10. Frank Shattuck
Do you think Dolph Ziggler will ever be World champion again?
Probably not. I like him, but I don’t think WWE views him as a guy like that anymore even though he could really catch fire as a heel with a bigger guy backing him up.
11. Dale Schofield
Women’s Royal Rumble, yes or no?
Sure. I would support that, Women’s Money in the Bank (although they are smaller than guys, so hard to do ladder bumps) and Women’s Queen of the Ring. Why not? They need to evolve and so far it’s just basic shit.
12. Roger Nicklaus
Pros and Cons for each person in the fatal four way winning the Universal Championship?
Here it comes:
Pros – Already established guy. Would give credibility to new title.
Cons – He doesn’t really need it and Balor is hurt in part because of him, so I wouldn’t give it to him.
Pros – Fresh face for a new title. I think he’d do well as champion.
Cons – Could be argued that he’s not as over as a true top guy.
Pros – Already established guy. Gives credibility.
Cons – Most of the crowd hates him, so it would be a turn off to fans that are sick of him.
Pros – He’s seven feet tall and you can’t teach that.
Cons – Not ready yet. Still limited in the ring. I don’t know if he can have a good match at a high level.
13. Shay Smithers
What would you say have been the best matches this year so far? Any matches from outside the WWE that you think deserve to be in the discussion as well?
Best matches in WWE would be Nakamura/Zayn Takeover Dallas, Styles/Cena SummerSlam, Zayn/Owens Battleground as the top three.
Yes some of the NJPW stuff I’ve seen have been great: Omega/Elgin ladder match comes to mind. Two Omega matches in G1. Stuff from WrestleKingdom. I wish I had time to watch more NJPW.
14. Andy Savieo
Do you see Brian Kendrick being retained as an active performer? What about some of the other guys in the CWC, specifically Tony Nese and Fabian Eichner? Both impressed the hell out of me.
Oh yeah Kendrick will be. One of those names that’s not official, but it really is. I hope Nese is. Eichner is more of a stretch. I think TJ Perkins, Cedric Alexander, Noam Dar and a few others are likely.
15. Dangelino Ochoa
It’s sad to think about, but how would you book the break up of the New Day? Who would go heel?
I would turn Big E heel. I don’t really want them to break up even though I thought they might start that tease at SummerSlam. I guess they’ll be kept together more because the merch is selling so well. Once they lose the titles it will be easy to book a break up angle. One guy is mad at the others, he blames them, he gets a big ego and goes from there.
16. Billy Schmitz
Do you think any trades will happen between Raw and Smackdown Live? I know I’d like to see bigger roles for Zayn, Cesaro, and Neville especially.
I think they absolutely should happen. Will they? I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of faith in the creative team actually being creative and doing stuff like that.
17. Deryl Parnell Jr.
How long do you think it will be until Bray Wyatt gets a title, and which title do you think it will be?
Should have happened a year ago or two years ago. Should be WWE Title. Probably won’t be this year. Maybe next year.
18. Justin Irok
Do you ever take time to watch classic episodes of Raw on the network? If so what years have you revisited and how well do you remember the angles.
Yeah I do from time to time. Some Raw stuff from 1998 and 2000 usually. 1999 was okay too, but the other two years were better. Some WCW stuff from 1997 period as well. I wish I had time to review stuff like that. I remember things pretty well.
19. Tom Gibson
Since they split the wyatt family who are they going to have take on Braun Strowman?
No idea what they are going to do with him. Is he just going to beat jobbers every week? I’m not sure what the long term goal is with him, but I would imagine a pretty big push at some point. It wouldn’t shock me if Strowman is against a guy like Lesnar next year at some point. I don’t know exactly.
20. Roderick Walker
Who was the better group in terms of matches and in ring skills: DX or NWO?
I think NWO was better in terms of their impact on the business, but DX is better in terms of matches and in-ring performance. NWO was more about storylines rather than matches.
21. Chris Rowlands
Do you think that WWE are making a rod for their own backs in putting on a (now regularly) superior NXT show the night before their bigger PPVs?
They sold out the same building three nights in a row. It’s a money business more than anything and if you can sell out three nights in a row that’s what matters. I don’t see it as a bad thing. I wrote about all the shows and I was tired about it, but it’s not like I’m going to complain about a great show like Takeover. Plus, they are not charging us more for it.
22. Kris Doss
What person could you see take the lead in NXT when guys like Joe, Aries, and Nakamura get called up? How about women now that Bayley is gone?
I think Bobby Roode will likely be in NXT for a year or so and may be the one that takes the title from Nakamura at some point. Eric Young will probably be featured prominently. They may want to build up No Way Jose. Tye Dillinger getting a significant push would be welcome.
I think for women they will build to Ember Moon beating Asuka for the Women’s Title around the WrestleMania Takeover show.
23. Andre Jones
Do you think a tournament for a new champion is always the best way to resolve the issue? I personally would have liked to see a tag-team tornado elimination gauntlet match to determine the new Smackdown champions. Innovated, a different look, and a distinguished event. Thoughts?
I’d love to see them do something to “wow” people by doing a four team TLC or Ladder match. Tournaments are done too often. If there are eight teams, have them compete in matches to lead to a TLC or Ladder match and make it a classic battle that is worth remembering. I can’t remember all the tournaments because there are so many of them.
I like that tornado elimination gauntlet idea. Good job.
24. Mark Virutiao
When will Nakamura and Joe will be activated on the main roster?
I assume Joe will put over Nakamura again to end their rivalry and if the next Takeover is October, they maybe Joe to the main roster in November for Survivor Series. Nakamura should be Royal Rumble at the latest.
25. Reginald De Juan Johnson
What are the odds of seeing Kong back in WWE?
She’s almost 40 years old now and I think there’s some bad blood there with how things ended. Plus, they have Nia Jax now, who is a similar performer that is WWE trained with many years ahead of her.
26. Mitchell Wood
If you were in charge what would you change to keep the talent safer/more healthy? What spots would you change? Maybe work less dates? Off season? I’m curious.
I would pick the brain of people smarter than me like Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and guys like that to see what they think. I listen to Austin’s podcast and he knows way more about keeping guys healthy.
No way to the offseason thing because they can’t afford it. I would give talent a month per year where they don’t have to work house shows. Talent is needed for TV, but if a guy like Dean Ambrose only worked four times in a month for TV it will help his body.
27. Oscar Deejay O Valencia
Do you think AJ Styles or Bray Wyatt will be WWE Champion on Smackdown by the end of this year, or will they hand it to Cena?
AJ will probably win it in either September or October. If he doesn’t that’s a mistake on WWE’s part.
28. Chris Goad
As much as there is a knock on Ziggler for not getting a WWE championship again, do you think he could get the nod again with a lot of the outstanding matches he has had for a while now? How would you use him going forward? Turn him heel?
I think it’s going to be very hard in his current role, but if he turns heel and catches fire then maybe. They should really turn him heel because they need more heels on Smackdown anyway.
29. Brian Coats
Will they ever push Cesaro properly?
I hope so. The crowd response to him his strong, but it may have peaked around WrestleMania 30 and they didn’t capitalize on it enough. I liked the team with Kidd a lot. I think the brand split helps a guy like him, but they may need to move him to Smackdown to maximize that potential.
30. Michael Uong
Your preferred WM main event?
Lesnar as a heel against Styles as a face with Styles winning.
31. Eric Stuve
Your thoughts on Bret Hart’s comments about Seth Rollins injuring people?
He’s right to a degree. I hate that Seth has hurt people, but there’s evidence that it has happened. With that said, Seth has worked for over a decade and also has built a good reputation. It’s unfortunate that people rip on Bret about it because he’s just trying to point out things others don’t want to say. Doesn’t mean he’s negative if it’s true.
32. Daison Thomas
Can Kevin Owens be a face? Or is he a heel for life?
I think he would be awesome as a face, almost Stone Cold like if they had a good heel authority figure. However, he’d be better as a heel. Just like New Day was a lot better as heels.
33. Alan Burke
Which non-WWE wrestler would you like to see signed, maybe someone not so obvious as Omega, Ospreay or The Bucks?
In order I would say Ricochet, Omega, Jay Lethal, Adam Cole and Young Bucks. Add in Kyle O’Reilly too. All will probably be there within 2-3 years. A returning John Morrison would be cool too.
I’m not going to include Okada because I doubt he’s going to leave New Japan any time soon even though he was at SummerSlam.
34. David Harnick
What will it take to make Raw great again?
A massive heel turn with a dominant stable that people actually want to see. I don’t think anybody on the show is that over or would be that significant to create that sort of excitement, though.
35. Ed Luis Valentin
Do you think that being a two hour show gives Smackdown an advantage? It certainly goes by faster, so it’s easier to watch.
Yes. Absolutely. There’s less boring filler segments. Raw does tend to have longer matches, though, so sometimes Smackdown is hurt by having to rush things.
36. David Macleod
Do you think WWE will treat the Cruiserweights with respect or do a typical WWE stunt and make them laughable by having like Braun Strowman just come to the ring and throw them all about?
I think they will. Triple H has a lot of influence and will probably look out for them.
37. John C Hoddy
Where do you see Nakamura in the next 12 months?
I think he’ll be on the main roster by the Royal Rumble. Should be main eventing main roster shows almost immediately. Offers something different and great matches.
38. Matt Wayne Breeding
Who would you like to see win the Cruiserweight Classic?
I want TJ Perkins to win since I know him a bit after he was on our podcast a couple of months ago. He deserves it. I think Kota Ibushi is going to win and would be a great choice also.
39. Nicholas Pruner
Who would you currently rank as the top 10 WWE (NXT included) superstars of the year?
That’s tough, but off the top of my head:
1. AJ Styles – no doubt
2. Dean Ambrose
3. Kevin Owens
4. Sami Zayn
5. Shinsuke Nakamura
6. Samoa Joe
7. Finn Balor
9. Sasha Banks
I’m probably missing people. Hard to do that when I want to be quick and move onto other questions.
No Rollins or Cena due to injury.
40. Robert Litchford
Did you think WWE would get behind AJ Styles like they have? He passed NXT, debuted at the Rumble, put in a program for the WWE World Title twice, and beat Cena twice (once clean for a 3 count and made to look stronger then most in the roster by kicking out of multiple AAs). I can’t really think of another “outsider” that WWE has gotten behind like AJ off the top of my head.
You make great points and you’re right. I didn’t expect them to get behind him as much as they have, but I am certainly happy that they have. AJ is such a great performer that has improved as a talker in the last couple of years as well. It’s probably been my favorite thing about WWE this year – just the way they have used Styles.
41. Joel J-money Wood
First I wanna say I’ve followed your writing for years. You’re really the only columnist I read as it pertains to wrestling and I’m always interested to read your raw deal every week to see what your thoughts were on the show. Now as far as my question goes I know people have been talking about a possible double turn with Roman and Seth this year but I’ve noticed something else on Smackdown. With Styles beating Cena clean and Dean having a little bit more of an attitude lately, is it possible we could see Styles beating Ambrose at backlash for the WWE Title resulting in Dean snapping and turning heel thus turning AJ face in the process?
I think AJ going face at some point makes sense, but I wouldn’t do it in his feud with Ambrose although as you know I am clamoring for an Ambrose turn. It would be better if they were to turn Styles face at something like the Royal Rumble when Brock Lesnar beats the shit out of him to set up a match. That would be cool.
Styles only turned heel two months ago. Let it simmer some more. No rush on turning him back.
42. Billy James
Do you think Billy Corgan being in control of the day to day operations as a good thing for TNA since their product on TV has been improving? Also do you think TNA should start doing live tours again but in smaller venues?
I don’t think he’ll make a significant difference at all. They shouldn’t do live tours. They are money losers for them. If they weren’t they would have done them more often.
43. Van Wilhoite
Which current WWE male and female wrestler do you think have the most similar in ring style?
Tough to answer. Asuka is a bit like Nakamura in the sense that they both use kicks a lot and that Strong Style. Banks works an athletic, almost cruiserweight style with submissions thrown in. Not sure what guy is like that. Charlotte is really athletic like Rollins in that way.
44. Jeff Goodridge
Do you have a favorite call by any specific announcer? I know the average fan goes for the JR My Gawd or a Joey Styles Oh My GOD…
But was there ever anything that stuck with you, like real sports fans feel about the Miracle on Ice?
With specific matches for JR there are many like his work for Rock turning heel Survivor Series 1998, Taker/Mankind HIAC 1998, Bret/Austin WM13, Austin’s heel turn at WM17 and stuff like that.
Vince McMahon saying “the boyhood dream has come true for Shawn Michaels” was huge for me since HBK was my favorite. Plus they replayed that call so many times lol.
I will also remember Gorilla Monsoon’s call for Hogan/Warrior with the famous line about Hogan taking a step towards immortality. Back in the VHS days when we’d watch the same things over and over because there weren’t a lot of options lol.
45. Ryan Mullins
Do you think WWE will really get behind Bobby Roode and push him as a main event guy on the main roster?? I basically only watched TNA because of Roode and Styles, I’d love to see both get a run as WWE Champion.
Age is a factor because Roode is almost 40, but he’s a very good performer. I hope he can reach that main event level on the main roster. Probably going to be a year until we can find out because I think he’ll be in NXT for that long.
46. Matthew Toy
A lot of fans loved the Cena-Styles match at Summerslam. If it was a babyface match I’d agree. But AJ is supposed to be a heel and he barely cheats if at all. Is psychology a dying art in pro wrestling?
I think the company is failing in that regard because their heels are not heel enough. It is a dying art. As much as I love guys like Owens and Jericho, they make people laugh too much. I miss the heels that are always jerks. Problem is fans today are so “smart” that they are going to cheer the bad guys even though they know they shouldn’t.
Today’s heel can’t really compare to the heels like Piper and Flair in their prime. It’s changed.
47. Jeremy Bennett
Outside of Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, who do you see being a first time WWE World Champion post brand split?
Bray Wyatt next year seems like a safe pick. If I was in charge then Zayn and Cesaro, but I am not, so I dunno.
Is the universe greater than the world? It sounds like it is!
48. Matthew Angelilli
Should I hire a professional violinist to play me into every room I walk into?
Sure. Don’t paint your whole body up like a demon because that looks like a lot of work.
49. Giles Hart
What’s your overall opinion on Brock Lesnar in WWE today, as of right now? I’ll always love him as a wrestler because 2003-4 Smackdown was when I started watching regularly as a kid. But since his Undertaker feud last year, he’s seemed to have stopped giving a damn about his matches, as kind of confirmed by Ambrose in his Stone Cold interview. I personaly think that even though I still like him, if he’s going to put less and less thought and effort into matches and not even be there to plan it out a little, that he should have quite a long extended break. Makes it’s a lot harder to produce a great match if you’re not there.
I love him as a performer, but he’s kind of a dick and that hurts his match quality. The match at Fastlane was still really good. The Rumble 2015 3 way match was outstanding. Great match with Punk SummerSlam 2013 and Cena at Extreme Rules 2012. He was really good in the ring in 2003 and into 2004, but then he lost his interest.
They present him in a different way because of his UFC background with the idea that he’s more dangerous than anybody. That’s why he won’t have regular matches because they feel like having him sell as much would hurt his aura.
Generally speaking, I’m a fan. I wish he liked the business more and cared more, though, because he’d be an even better performer if he did.
50. NatureBoy Flair
Who pays for the wrestlers travel expenses such as rent a cars, airfare, meals, hotel rooms, etc? WWE or the wrestlers themselves? Thanks John.
WWE pays for airfare. Wrestlers pay for rent a cars, hotels and meals. On European tours and other tours outside North America, WWE has a bus that the wrestlers travel on.
51. James Ferriman
What’s your opinion on Mauro Ranallo? I can’t stand him personally. Everything is just on one highly over the top level and his voice just dominates/distracts from the other announcers. Now Corey Graves, now he’s a GREAT announcer. I know I’ll probably get heat for this question, given that Ranallo is very well liked by many fans. Thanks in advance John!
Best play by play announcer in WWE because he actually calls the moves. He’s even better on the Cruiserweight Classic show where it’s really just the matches without storylines. Ranallo is a lifelong wrestling that has done it for two decades and I’m glad he’s there. Graves is great, but analyst is much different than play by play.
If you don’t like him, so be it. Nothing wrong with differing opinions.
52. Joe Sondag
Is there anyone of the past eras in wrestling that you think Brock Lesnar could have had a great match with? For me I thought Vader in his prime vs Brock would have been an interesting match up?
I really like the Vader idea. He had a lot of credibility as a big man that could work well. Bam Bam Bigelow was a good big guy too. That would be great.
In terms of facing a smaller wrestler, I think Shawn Michaels would be the perfect babyface opponent against him. Shawn had the best matches out of anybody in wrestling, so he’d be the first pick.
Hopefully we get Styles vs. Lesnar since AJ is the closest thing to HBK.
53. Geoff Landtbom
What’s your view of creative control? I’m an advocate for it but I’m not for wrestlers having absolute booking power over the powers that be. It doesn’t make any sense to me that wrestlers could run their entire careers like that. Slightly tweaking finishes wrestlers don’t like, creative freedom over promos, and vetoing ideas that would be embarrassing to the performers is what I support. But not unilateral power over your career.
I think it sucks and helped to kill WCW because Hulk Hogan’s creative control in that company helped kill them. His ego hurt the Starrcade 1997 finish big time.
54. Jerry Roth
How long of a run do you think the headbanger will have on Smackdown? Also do you think the roster extension gives them an excuse to bring back a bunch of old timers?
Probably one match and that’s it. The tournament on Smackdown needs 8 teams, they had 7 teams, so they are there to do the job to put over Slater & Rhyno I guess.
55. Stephen O’Neill
Who do you think the best world champion has been in the last 5 years?
I think CM Punk was. Wish he had some better opponents because some of the feuds like Ryback bored me, but he did great. Too bad he didn’t main event at WrestleMania.
56. Kevin Alexander
Do you know how long the brand only PPVs are going to be? It would be nice if like NXT they were 2 hours.
Probably three hours plus an hour long Kickoff Show. Makes sense to me. The NXT shows are 2.5 hours.
Thanks for all the questions. We’ll do it again soon.