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TJR Q&A #25: Fantasy Booking Rousey in WWE, Ziggler as a heel, Nakamura & more! (60 Questions!)

The new year is a week old and it’s time to do the first Q&A of the year. My goal is to do these at least every two weeks. If I did it weekly I feel like it would be too repetitive. As always, the questions come from my friends on my Facebook page, so thanks to them as always for coming up with some great stuff.

Also if you’re wondering about the Rousey thing I hint at in the title, that’s question #11 on here. Let’s roll!

1. Scotty Adams
Having seen how Smackdown have made the IC title important and intergeral to their programming, then Looking at the US championship, which talent do you seeing as being the best option to A) take the belt off Reigns and B) give it some sense of relevancy once more?

I would get the title on Sami Zayn and make it the wrestling title. By that I mean have him defend every week or nearly every week, give the matches 10-15 minutes (like John Cena as champ) and let him elevate the title because he can have the best matches on the show if he’s given a chance.

2. Marlin Mealer
Double J and Dutch are back in TNA is this a sinking ship or could it become a viable option to watch?

They were in those positions before, but the audience they had with about 1.2 million viewers on Spike TV is about 1/3 that now. Plus, they don’t currently have TV in England and they don’t run any live events. I don’t see them growing very much. If they do it will only be minimal growth.

3. Joseph Douglas
I’m not going to ask who you think is going to win the Rumble. Instead, I want to know who you WANT to see win it?

I want somebody fresh and “new” that hasn’t been a major champion. I really don’t mind if it’s Braun Strowman (my current pick) or Baron Corbin because I think both are booked well. I’d prefer if a guy like Sami Zayn won the thing, but I don’t think WWE is going to go that route. It would really help a Bray Wyatt to win as well. I guess Bray is my favorite answer in terms of who I want to win.

4. Douglas Gundlach
The Miz and Bray Wyatt and Orton dropping the belts, do you see any of them with a realistic shot at winning the Rumble? You know I’m a Bray Guy… so I’m rooting for him.

I doubt it. I think we can pencil in Orton as a face vs. Wyatt at WrestleMania. Perhaps a three way with Harper. I don’t see them in the title picture. Same with Miz – he’s not a likely winner althoug he’s performing at a high level these days.

5. David Kosak
Looking back on it, should they have made Farooq a world champion when he was the leader of the nation?

I don’t think so. He was a bit older by that point and his matches were not a strength. I think it would have been hard to make it believable when guys like Undertaker, Michaels and Bret Hart were performing at such a high level. It probably would have helped Farooq, though.

I remember when he debuted and I was like “why the fuck is Ron Simmons wearing that thing on his head?” LOL.

6. Cody Gupton
Do you believe the UK Championship will be going to SD Live?

I doubt it. Seems like their intention is to film a regular UK TV show based off the tournament, so that title will be used for that. The champion or top contenders could appear on regular WWE TV after the tourney, but I don’t think it would be an immediate thing.

7. Roger Nicklaus
What would be your top 5 interview segment / shows in WWF/WWE? My personal number one will always be Piper’s Pit.

Good question. I would say Piper’s Pit because it really got Piper’s personality over so well. He’s one of the best talkers ever.

The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho is second. He’s been doing it for a while. I liked Shawn MIchaels’ Heartbreak Hotel segment because he was my favorite. I was never a huge Brutus Beefcake fan, but gotta acknowledge it for the Michaels/Jannetty window moment. I wish Christian got to do the Peep Show more because I liked it. Brother Love did a decent job too.

8. Roderick Walker
Do you think Rusev should turn face because I have to be honest there is nothing else for him to do as a heel?

I think Rusev should stay heel. He wouldn’t be as effective as a face because they might book him like they did with Kozlov as Khali as the foreign guys that are comedy faces. Just book him better.

9. Howie Mandella
Does Elias Samson have potential to be somebody?

I have never been that impressed with Elias Samson, but that may be a creative thing. “The Drifter” gimmick isn’t something that is ever going to take off or create excitement. Most people find it boring. Just a matter of finding the right kind of character for him whether it’s singles or get him a partner. Look how long it took Jason Jordan to find something that worked.

10. Andy Staed
I mentioned it as a potential Johnny Award, but who has benefitted the most from the brand split? Ideally someone who was around last year, but has seen a career revitalization. Heath Slater, Miz, and Ziggler come to mind.

I think Miz is the best answer. He has really upped his game with more television time and had the best matches of his career last year. Slater is another good pick, but to a lesser degree because the last couple of months have barely featured him.

On the Raw side, Braun Strowman really stands out. From tag wrestler to featured guy. Still early in his career.

11. John Bergman

How would you book Ronda Rousey, if/when she joins the WWE?

She gets introduced as a special guest at WrestleMania or SummerSlam or whatever. Charlotte comes out, tells her that she’s not welcome there because Charlotte is the queen of WWE and Rousey lost her last two fights, so she’s a loser. Rousey fires back saying that she loves WWE and is impressed by the athletes, but hates egotistical bitches like Charlotte. Have Charlotte tell her to get out of her ring, Rousey says “make me” and when Charlotte goes for a punch, Rousey grabs her arm and “breaks” her arm. Have Charlotte in a cast for like two months. I know it would mean Charlotte would sit out from wrestling for a bit, but so what. It’s to build to a match.

They could have Stephanie there in the Charlotte role as the heel too. Or Charlotte with Stephanie.

The key is having Rousey “breaking” the arm of one of them to really put her over. Similar to what they did with Lesnar in 2012.

That was just off the top of my head. If I could plan it out more I’d write the lines and stuff.

12. Charlie Pérez
Knowing that Smackdown is better than Raw do you think someday Smackdown may overcome raw in ratings and everything else?

I doubt it happens that often. Once in a while maybe if Raw is against something that gets a lot of viewers. Wrestling fans are creatures of habit. Raw has been on TV for over six years and was the live show for most of the run. Fans are used to watching it on Mondays while some of them may not watch Smackdown because one show per week is enough.

Raw has been a Monday night wrestling show for 24 years. Smackdown has been a Tuesday night wrestling show for about six months. It’s going to be hard for Smackdown to consistently beat Raw even when it’s better. People are used to Raw more.

13. Alex Jackson
People worry about people like Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode being stuck in NXT. But do you see it the way I do that they are there to carry the brand and help train the new guys so they have a different perspective. And which NXT wrestler do you see being called up next? Likely at the Rumble.

You can’t push everybody on the main roster all the time, so there has to be some talent in NXT. With NXT being a touring brand that has 150-200 shows per year they need some relatively big names there. If you’re in NXT you still wrestle a lot, but we see less matches of that person on television. I want more Nakamura, Joe and Roode to name a few, but I also understand that you can’t push them all.

I think Samoa Joe is most likely to be the NXT guy in the Rumble. I would put Nakamura in it too, but I’m not sure if they will. Tye Dillinger is certainly possible at 10 as well.

14. Mark Newsome
Kurt Angle’s return, how would you book it?

I would make him a GM on Raw or Smackdown. I love Foley, but I think he’ll be out of that spot. Stephanie can bring Angle as the new GM of Raw after WrestleMania and it allows Angle to do promos as a face GM. It can also lead to him having conflicts with wrestlers (Lesnar, Rusev are possible) and that leads to big matches at a show like SummerSlam.

It’s unrealistic to expect him to wrestle all the time. I think he has 4-5 matches in a year. I really hope it happens.

15. Forrest Lovely
Do you think the UK Championship is just the European Championship revamped?

Not really. I think it’s going to stay in the UK and be a part of the UK show that WWE does regularly over there. I don’t see it being on the main roster like the Euro Title was.

16. David Harnick
Who in NXT will have the biggest impact on the main roster when they called up?

It should be Nakamura because if it was me he would be a main eventer in his first or second match. Why wait? Guy is in his late 30s and has unbelievable skill as well as a strong connection with the crowd. The main roster needs that.

I think Samoa Joe will do well too. I hope The Revival gets a strong push right as well. Asuka should have a big impact too.

17. Jeff Kimble
Who would you have Nakamura and Joe feud with if/when they hit the main roster?

Nakamura against Zayn to recreate their amazing match at Takeover Dallas last year or AJ Styles since they had awesome matches in Japan.

Joe vs. Cena right away. They trained together in California about 17 years ago. Easy story to tell.

18. Dale Schofield
What was your favourite Royal Rumble entrant? In terms of a surprise or a return?

Ric Flair winning from 3 in 1992 was probably my favorite Rumble match story ever. John Cena’s surprise in 2008 was great. I liked AJ Styles last year was one of my favorite all time Rumble moments no doubt about it.

19. Martin Perry
Who do you see Styles and Ambrose wrestling at WrestleMania?

I don’t know for sure for either guy.

Styles is a tough call because he could turn face at any time. I would like Styles vs. Undertaker, but think it will be Undertaker vs. Cena. Styles could be against a familiar rival like Samoa Joe.

Ambrose possibly against Ziggler since Ziggler is in heel mode and they have good matches. It could be a multi-person match too. Ambrose vs. Corbin is possible as well if they want to get the IC Title onto Corbin.

20. Mark Tallentire

Vince allows you to make just ONE change to the WWE. It can be anything to do with creative, the business, tv, talent etc….but you only get to make one change. What is that one change?

Go to two hour Raw again. It doesn’t solve all the problems of Raw, but three hours is too long. In doing so, ask USA Network if you can put NXT on from 8-9pmET followed by Raw right after.

The money from USA Network is important, but it has hurt the quality of the show and the audience.

21. Erin Somers
Do you think anybody that is involved in the British/UK title tournament can cross over to Raw/Smackdown?? I have no clue who any of the guys are…

I hope so. A lot of us only knew some guys in the CWC, but after it was over we knew a lot of them. That’s the point of having a tournament. There will probably be a few stars out of the group that can make it to the main roster at some point. There’s no rush.

22. Roderick Walker
Do you think it’s possible that WWE will have a black WWE champion or Universal champion?

The Rock counts for sure I will always say that. His dad was black and dealt with a lot in his life as a black man that had to deal with racist assholes.

Booker T and Mark Henry count because they were recognized World Titles. It wasn’t the WWE Title, but World Title counts to me.

Going forward, I think it’s very possible it happens. I don’t know if that person is on the roster right now (like Apollo Crews, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods or Jason Jordan), but it’s certainly possible at some point.

23. Sam Brady
Will the Ziggler heel turn lead to a real push or does he continue to be a loser of feuds and big matches?

I don’t think it’s going to lead to a main event push, but using him to see what they have in Apollo Crews is a great thing to me. You can’t push everybody to main events. I’ve always liked heel Ziggler.

24. Tommy Dinardi
Do you think SmackDown! will ever get a B-show on the Network to showcase the talent that don’t get on every week? It’s clear that they fill the two hours to the brim and could use the extra airtime when there are major players like AJ & the Wyatt Family who are lucky to get a match every-other-week.

I doubt it. Having Talking Smack is better than having something like Main Event that people don’t watch anyway. The SD talent use that time wisely and get stories over. I love Talking Smack most weeks.

25. Manish K Nair
Do you think TNA was dead on arrival? First of all its name is not suitable for a respected organisation. Also I remember the initial days of TNA was full of why WCW died arguments and everyone blaming each other for it. Instead of making a name for itself and being something different. Also, Vince Russo hogging a lot of TV time.

The name is terrible. They did it to try to get attention and they should have changed it years ago. Calling it just Impact Wrestling would have been fine.

To their credit, they are going on 15 years this year, so better than being dead lol.

26. Cory Andrew Bacon
Which great wrestler do you feel could’ve gotten a better chance with a better gimmick? For example wrestlers like Joe E. Legend, Nick Dinsmore, and Marc Copani were saddled with terrible gimmicks that crippled them right out of the gate.

Nick Dinsmore (Eugene) is a good choice. Very talented wrestler from what I’ve seen. Joey Abs in the Mean Street Posse was pretty good too. I wish he was used better. Also Chris Kanyon is a big one for me because he became this joke character even though he could have been so much more. Poor guy committed suicide later in life.

I don’t think Mark Copani (Muhammad Hassan) liked wrestling that much. It was something for him to do at that point in his life, but he didn’t necessarily love it because he moved on after his WWE career was over.

27. JT Adams
Why is Undertaker going to be on Raw when he clearly stated he was a SD guy?

He’s good for ratings. No Lesnar or Goldberg next week, so might as well use Taker and Shawn. It’s not like he is officially part of one brand or the other.

28. Van Wilhoite
Who do you think is the best talker on her own among women that wrestled on RAW or Smackdown over the last 20 years?

I think Trish Stratus as a heel was probably the best. Loved her as a cocky bitch. Mickie James also is one of the best women talkers ever.

Sensational Sherri was a great talker, but that was more than 20 years ago.

29. EJ Acosta
I really miss the old parts of tag team matches where one partner would distract the ref and the other one would choke out their opponent with the tag rope. Is the reason they don’t do that anymore because of Benoit?

The Revival does a lot of great tricks for sure.

There is less choking with objects, yeah. That’s why Daniel Bryan got fired for choking Justin Roberts with the tie. It’s probably Benoit related.

30. Andy Rif Sheriff
If you were doing the Johnny Awards during the 90’s/00’s, who would be your picks for superstar of the year from 1990 to 2000?

It’s hard to remember exactly, but I’ll do my best.

1990 – Mr. Perfect probably. Maybe Ultimate Warrior.
1991 – Bret Hart. That’s when the singles push started.
1992 – Ric Flair. Maybe Bret.
1993 – Bret Hart. Weak year.
1994 – Tough between Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Owen Hart. Probably go Shawn.
1995 – Shawn Michaels
1996 – Shawn Michaels maybe Steve Austin.
1997 – Steve Austin or Bret Hart. Tough call. Probably Austin.
1998 – Steve Austin for sure.
1999 – Steve Austin most likely. Maybe Rock.
2000 – I think I went Triple H.
2001 – Definitely Steve Austin

I could probably do more, but that’s enough.

31. Robert Mccormick III
Do you think they will ever put OWEN HART in the HOF?

I don’t think it will happen because of his wife not wanting it, but if it does that would be cool. I know people in his family would love it and it would be emotional.

32. Andy Savieo
Who in Lucha Underground (not named Puma, Catrina or Mundo) would you like to see make the jump to NXT? So many talents….

I haven’t watched much of season three. I know that’s bad. I just haven’t had the time. Pentagon and Fenix stand out to me, though.

33. Josh Lerud
Do you think Miz will get another WWE title run? I haven’t been a big fan for most of career but it’s hard not to respect the man for his work the last year or so.

I think it’s very possible after the great second half of 2016 he had. A year ago I would have said no. Now? It’s definitely possible.

34. Josh Warner
Do you feel that WWE is going to use heel Ziggler to start elevating younger talent?

I think so. It’s probably going to be similar to what he did as a face where he was working with midcard heels and sometimes working TV main events. He’ll probably work with the midcard faces now. I hope he can turn it around.

35. Kevin Jones
Your top 3 moments in wrestling. A certain promo, match, backstage segment etc…

I could pick so many, but here are three that I loved from different points in my life.

Randy Savage wins WWE Title WM4. Made me love this shit.

Hart vs. Austin WM13. The whole thing lol.

CM Punk winning WWE Title at Money in the Bank 2011. Such a cool moment and angle. Wish they followed it up better.

36. Oscar Omar Fernandez
How long do you see Charlotte doing this “undefeated in PPVs” going for? I doubt she’ll pull an Undertaker run.

She will find a way to retain against Bayley at the Rumble, then Bayley gets another shot at WM33 and wins it there.

37. James Ferriman
Do you think the cruiserweights will ever be involved in storylines outside of their division? The interactions that a guy like Jack Gallagher could have with guys like Chris Jericho or Bray Wyatt are surely too great to be ignored, right?

Ever? Sure. Right now the focus is on building the division by trying to give some personality to some of them. It takes time. No point in rushing it.

38. Ernest Gouker
Could this be the year, WWE takes second Chance at an invasion angle that doesn’t suck? Obviously it would be NXT but with maybe the UK WWE and Evolve Wrestling rosters.

I doubt it. Not enough big name talent out there to do it.

39. Adam Gronvold
Aside from Billy Kidman, because that’s just obvious, who is your favorite guy on the mic?

The Rock, Ric Flair, Steve Austin and Chris Jericho. That would be my order as a top four.

40. Drew Jefferson
Which 4 wrestlers would you put on your Mount Rushmore of WWE?

Hogan, Austin, Rock, Cena.

If you go back earlier then Sammartino in and Rock out just because Rock didn’t have as many years. It’s easy to make a case for guys like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels as well.

41. Derrick Carter
Do you expect to see Punk in WWE ever again?

He’ll be back when he has a kid and that kid is 10 years old and wants to see him wrestle…just like Goldberg. I’m being a bit silly with that answer, but it’s certainly possible.

Nearly everybody that had issues with WWE came back in some form, so why not him? I think he will eventually. Time heals all wounds. Money does too!

42. Daniel Mount
How do you think Kyle O’Reilly will do in WWE/NXT?

I hope he does great. I think they’ll push him quickly in NXT as a potential challenger for the NXT Title. Maybe main roster in 2018, but most of 2017 in NXT.

43. Paul Olili
Hey Johnny Boy! Kenny Omega is a very good wrestler, one of the best in the world. But why do you think he keeps attacking WWE and its wrestlers with such ferocity? Is it just character work or just pure jealousy? Could he make your top 5 best in the world currently?

I think Omega does it for attention. People overreact to everything online and forget that he’s in the business of being a performer. I’m sure he likes a lot of people in WWE. I think he’s one of the five best wrestlers in the world as well. For sure.

44. Matt Wayne Breeding
Thoughts on Zach Gowen WWE run? All things considered do you think he could have ever made money for the WWE.

It was entertaining and served a purpose while he was there. It was a short term thing because they were limited with what they can do with him just like Eugene. I remember rating a Gowen match vs. Vince three stars too. It was pretty good.

45. Jeroukoc Vasilis
Who do you think gets inducted into hall of fame (I know DDP is in there)?

I think Daniel Bryan will be the headline name. Maybe Goldberg.

46. Andrew Cunningham
Hi John with the success Smackdown is having do you think do you think they will stop the brand spli? As a follow up to that will someone admit that having Seth and Roman standing at the end of Raw every week having beat up the Champ again is making Raw boring.

I don’t think they’ll stop the brand split. That’s not going to happen this early. They just need to figure out what’s working on SD and use it more on Raw. It’s going to take some time.

47. Shay Smithers
What’s the feud you would want to see happen the most in WWE this year? Mine would be either Owens vs Lesnar, or Styles vs Nakamura.

Both of those would be on my list for sure. I think Styles vs. Nakamura at the top of the list. Samoa Joe vs. Cena would be awesome too.

48. Ruffin Harris
Full Time Cena (there every smackdown/ppv) or Part Time Cena (takes a couple months off for movie/tv then comes back), which do you prefer?

I like part time. I don’t mind it at all. Gives others a chance to shine. Been writing about that guy for like 15 years. I need a break from him too lol. That’s not a knock against Cena at all. I like him as a performer.

49. Aaron David
What do you attribute the crazy pops guys like Rock, DX and Austin got back in the day? Watching old RAWs, the crowds just seemed so much more rowdy and into it. Did the PG nature kill it? Or just the cyclical nature? Better writing? Bryan got some killer pops along with big returns like Lesnar/Taker but in general the crowds seem a lot more docile today. Back then it seemed EVERY RAW and PPV was insane.

The shows were more fun, the performers were some of the best all time in terms of getting reactions because it was a loaded roster and there was just a lot of momentum for the wrestling business at the time. It’s hard to find that passion at every show now.

50. Darrius Gaddy
Is it safe to say Kevin Nash’s best matches were the couple of months prior to him on his way out off WWE in ’96?

Yeah haha. Motivated when he was on his way out. I think his two best matches were April 96 PPV vs. HBK and Survivor Series 95 vs. Bret. WM12 in 96 vs. Taker was pretty good too.

51. Joe Sondag
With the rumors surrounding Mickie James’ return and what they may or not have planned for her how would you book her return to the WWE?

Use her as a face that goes after Alexa Bliss’ title right away. She shouldn’t have to beat a bunch of women to get a title shot. It can be done fairly quickly. Using her in a feud against Carmella would be fine too. I think she would really help both of them.

52. Jon Martin
Given Goldust’s in-ring resurgence, is he being underutilized? Would you like to see him get one last singles push?

No. With all due respect to him he’s old and probably retiring any year now. He’s just a role player.

53. Khalil Abubakar
Can WWE (and other wrestling companies) do without script? If yes, do you see that happening anytime soon, and could that be a success to the pro wrestling world?

The scripting of promos is something they do too much, so I would cut back on that for sure. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen any time soon, though.

54. Alexander Podgorski
Do you think the match between Kenny Omega and Okada at WK11 really deserved 6 stars out of 5?

It’s Dave Meltzer’s newsletter he can do what he wants. I’ve subscribed for like 12 years. I use five stars and don’t think I should go over that, so I don’t. I didn’t write a review, but if I did it would be five stars from me. Loved it.

55. Swastik Rath
Do you think the IC Title match result will be overturned into a DQ win for Ambrose under pressure from The Miz? If this happens,would it work magnificently?

Nope. Ambrose won. Should set up a rematch, though.

56. Jake Pumfleet
Who will be the next ‘breakthrough star’ on Raw or Smackdown?

Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin. Both are getting way more of a push now.

57. Giles Hart
Is it theoretically wrong that I’m watching and enjoying 205 Live much more than RAW and weekly NXTs at the moment? I feel like you always get a lengthy competitive main event but unlike weekly NXT at the moment, the other matches also feel like a lot went on even if they were only 5-10 minutes and everyone still seems on a level playing field as it were. Plus I’m probably more happy with the same old stiff kick & chop, flip, jump over rope, rinse and repeat lol.

Like what you want. It’s an easy show to watch and the guys work hard. I enjoy it too.

58. Jesse Ornelas
Should faces and heels always be separate or can some be friends onscreen? Like Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder still being friends or Sheamus and Rusev or a randon pairing like Cesaro and Jericho because they like to work out together? Could this work for a storyline?

It’s just easier to keep them apart and not have a face be an ally with a heel. That’s just how things usually are.

59. Matt Tome
Have you ever considered doing a fantasy booking article for just a Royal Rumble match?

I might this year. I’ve never done it. Would be fun, but a lot to think about too lol. It’s hard without getting the full list of people in the match.

60. Brett Beatty
What was your rating and initial thought of John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels RAW match on April 23 2007 that went 50 some odd minutes! I remember thinking it was one of the best matches I have seen on RAW and I remember them advertising Edge vs. Randy Orton to follow that match but they had the next week on RAW! I wonder whose idea it was to push it that long and your thoughts on it?

I wasn’t writing at the time, but yeah I would go ****1/2 at least and maybe higher. I remember it fairly well, but I haven’t watched it in a long time. It was in England. Probably the best WWE match in 2007 too.

It was probably Shawn and John saying let us go nearly an hour. They had power to do it.

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That’s all for this time. Thanks for all the support!