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TJR Q&A #26: Kurt Angle’s WWE Future, Royal Rumble, WrestleMania & Plenty More! (40+ Questions!)

The return of Kurt Angle to WWE has become the buzz of the wrestling world. It’s something a lot of us have been wanting to see since he left the company in 2006, but until this past Monday we had no idea when it might happen. Angle will be the headline name for WWE’s Hall of Fame ceremony on March 31 in Orlando. Along with his return, there are a lot of questions about who he should face in a match should he have one and what his role could be in WWE going forward.

Along with the Angle questions, people have a lot of thoughts on the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania as well. Every two weeks on my Facebook page, I like to ask for questions from TJRWrestling readers and I do my best to answer them all. Some of them are about similar topics, but I think we covered a lot here as well. Let’s get to it.

1. Parker Steveson
If Miz loses to Ambrose, which I figure he does, is it time to move him into the main title picture? If they do trades, would he be a good fit on Raw in the universal title scene there? I’ve loved the last year or so of his character and am feeling like he’s either about to get up on that next level as far as titles, or be left behind after the IC title feud ends.

I think he’ll be a part of the main event picture this year. A year ago I would have said no to that, but he really improved in the second half of 2016 and Maryse is a great valet for him. I like that she’s not wrestling. She was fine as a wreslter, but to have her as just a valet is smarter. It’s very possible that he holds the WWE Title or Universal Title.

2. Ed Luis Valentin
Who do you think is better/has more potential between Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin? Corbin’s had better matches, but I feel like it’s because he’s actually allowed to have competitive matches more often and he’s had matches with the likes of Samoa Joe and American Alpha.

I think Corbin is better in the ring, but I think Strowman will get the bigger push in the near future as my pick to win the Rumple. He’s the giant that is told not to bump that much. If you notice how they book Strowman a lot of the time, he doesn’t get knocked off his feet much. He does those charges into the corner, the guy moves and he hits the turnbuckle or runs into the ring post. They are really protecting.

I think Corbin is the better overall talent. I like his offense, he bumps well, his promos are solid and he keeps improving. When you see him have great matches with the likes of Styles and Ziggler I think that’s going to lead to WWE trusting him and believing him more.

Both guys would benefit from having a Paul Heyman as a manager/advocate too. I don’t think that will happen because Heyman is with Lesnar, though.

3. Rob Brown
Didn’t the Angle news say he is the first inductee to the HOF this year? Am I confused, or wasn’t DDP announced a few weeks ago? Perhaps the DDP news was just a leak, and his official announcement is forthcoming.

Angle is the first name officially announced. DDP and Beth Phoenix are both going to be a part of it, but not official.

4. John Harper
Two part question, did you watch much of the UK tournament, and if so what were your favourite matches? Who do you think the WWE should sign and where would you place them (NXT, 205 Live etc)?

I watched the whole thing. Enjoyed it. Was busy watching NFL all weekend so didn’t write about it and wanted one of our UK guys to do it, which Mike Sanchez did.

Last match was the best for sure. Tyler Bate is an impressive performer and just 19 years old. The look with the mustache is pretty funny too.

They’re all signed already and needed for the WWE UK show, so it’s probably going to hard to use them on main roster at least right away.

5. Darrius Gaddy
In a world where ppl take everything to social media, How do you personally feel about wrestlers speaking out about their roles within the company or booking while they are still employed with that company? Should they just bite the bullet and wait it out or are they just in expressing their feelings.

If I was them I would shut up and not say a thing publicly. Bitch to your friends and family. Don’t take it online. I get why wrestlers do it because fans are going to suck up to them, say they are great, they deserve better and all that, which is fine. I just think it’s better to keep that internal.

5. Josh Lerud
Which 3 members of the WWE roster that has not previously faced Angle would you like to see matched up against our returning Olympic hero?

There are so many Angle matches I would love and I need to write about that soon. For people who he’s never faced…

Rusev – Just makes sense with Angle as the American hero against him. Problem is WWE books Rusev horribly.

Seth Rollins – It would be an incredible match to see one of the best go against Angle.

Tag with American Alpha in a 6 man match against three guys he’s never faced – I don’t know who the other three would be, but it would be fun.

6. Brigid Martinez
Do you think there are too many titles? I catch myself forgetting who is champ, what’s happening and why lol.

I can totally understand why people would think that, but I think it’s necessary with the brand split. I’m strongly against having people on both shows. Keep everything separate, so that means they need the 4 titles (main, midcard, tag, women) on each show. It’s definitely easy to lose track lol.

However, it is getting to be a bit much since they added cruiserweight and UK titles as well.

7. Daniel Mount
Where do you see this Dolph Ziggler and Jerry Lawler angle going?

I think it was a one show thing. I doubt Lawler will be involved much going forward. It was a cheap angle to get Ziggler heel heat in Memphis where Lawler is a God. They should have had Apollo Crews run out for the save because that would have led to a lot of cheers. Have Crews fight Ziggler in the aisle or something. I’m surprised that part didn’t happen.

Since Lawler is an announcer during the Rumble match, perhaps he’ll distract Ziggler or do something to get involved.

8. Roger Huffman II
How close am I to guessing how Mania will lineup?

Strowman-Reigns for Universal Title
Multi person tag title match
Multi person women’s Smackdown match
Bayley-Sasha-Nia-Charlotte for Women’s title
Y2J-KO for US Title
Styles-Shaneomac
Wyatt-RKO
Balor-Taker
Rollins-HHH
Brock-Goldberg
Cena-Samoa Joe

I think a lot of it is right. I haven’t written out the full thing or what I think they are going with, but if you read my reviews a lot then I mention where I think things are headed.

Stuff like Styles/Shane, Taker/Balor, Cena/Joe are rumors from people connecting the dots.

A New Day triple threat is something I would do as well if they do the split.

9. Logan Carson
Since Angle is already announced for the HOF who are they bringing in for the WWE 2K game?

That’s usually something around SummerSlam. I don’t play video games, so I’m not that interested in that stuff. It could be Angle for that since he hasn’t been in a WWE game for over a decade.

10. Matthew Toy
Do smaller heels like AJ and Ziggler need bodyguard type characters to get real heat from the fans? And if some idiot like me can see that, why can’t they?

I think it helps. I believe the term in wrestling is a “heater” meaning a guy to get the heat on the wrestler. I’m not sure why WWE is reluctant to do stuff like that. If AJ still had Gallows & Anderson it probably would have helped, but I guess they wanted him to be on his own. Ziggler has often times had somebody with him whether it was a woman or having a bodyguard type like Big E.

They should do it more often for sure.

11. Douglas Gundlach
If you had to put your last dollar on someone winning the rumble that no one is talking about, who would it be? My two dark horses would be The Miz and of course Bray Wyatt. Who would yours be??

I don’t think there is anybody like that to pick. This idea that people think there might be a surprise winner is silly because every year there are maybe 2 or 3 names about possible winners and one of them will win.

Outside shot for Sami Zayn maybe, but I don’t think it’s happening.

My pick has been Strowman for over a month. Really hope Undertaker doesn’t win because putting over a guy in his 50s in a match like that is a step backwards.

12. Paolo David
Do you think Kurt Angle as the Raw GM could work? What role do you see him having in his return?

Absolutely. That’s the best role for him. I don’t know if Daniel Bryan wants to be on the road all the time when his wife is having a baby in a few months. He probably wants to be home. Angle has five kids and a newborn too, but I think he would be more willing to fly out once per week to be a part of Raw or Smackdown.

Using Angle as a GM makes a lot of sense because then you can set up angles to put him in matches as well.

13. Erin Somers
Why the heck aren’t the WWE movies on the network?? People would actually watch them if they were!!!

It’s probably something dealing with the legal department. They aren’t the only producers on their movie, so maybe other companies prevent it. I think they should do it although I wouldn’t watch any of them.

14. Josh Warner
What do you think the potential of Braun Strowman is right now? He looks a lot better than what I expected when he was given this push.

He’s their next giant. Their current giants are in their 40s and near the end of their run. Vince loves using a giant in a strong way, so that’s the guy. He’s going to get as big of a push as anybody over the next decade. I hope he can improve in the ring and as a talker. He’s still Raw with a lot of potential, but there’s a long way to go.

15. Tommy Mondschein
What do you see Ellsworth doing? Since he signed a year, they’ve got to do something with him..even in a comedic role…lol.

He’ll probably be a comedy guy. Seems like the angle with Carmella will go in that direction although they weren’t on the show this week.

16. Jeff Nolan
What are your thoughts on Mickie James’ return to the main roster as a heel when she was a babyface facing Asuka?

I thought she’d be a face. I think she thought that too, but she hasn’t been a heel in WWE since 2006, so she’s excited. She had a TNA run as a heel that was really good. I know she’ll do a great job of it. If the fans cheer her a lot then they can turn her any time. Most top heels in WWE get cheered anyway lol. The good thing is there are a lot of new rivalries for her in WWE now. I’m excited about it.

17. Jared Robertson
Where in the year do you see a brand draft happening to shake up the rosters?

I think it will probably be May, June or July. Something like that. You do WrestleMania, then you have another PPV or two with rematches and then do some trades or the “draft lottery” thing to move people around before SummerSlam. That would be the best time.

18. Brian Coats
How would you shake up RAW to give it more freshness like Smackdown?

Sounds like a good column idea. Less repeat of the same matches. Less non-title matches where champions lose. Longer matches because there is time to have them, so they should have them. I can probably turn this into a column for sure.

19. Rick Bulow
Do you see Goldberg going into the Hall of Fame this year or next? It seems to me as if the WWE is bringing Goldberg back and using him much like they had the roll out of Sting a few years ago.

Also, I had always envisioned Undertaker going into the Hall of Fame at the same WrestleMania where he wrestles for the last time. How would you book Undertaker’s HoF induction and more importantly, how soon do you think we will see Taker go in?

There’s no need to put Goldberg in this year when you have Angle as the main guy. Put Goldberg next year.

Undertaker will probably go in as the main guy in the next 2-3 years.

Rock is another headline name one of these years.

Whenever Jericho stops he’s a headline name. There are lots of them.

20. Ryan Petrynka
Who impressed you the most at the UK Championship Tournament? Personally I loved Pete Dunne. No nonsense brawler that reminded me of Fit Finlay. Cool finisher too.

Tyler Bate. Had no idea who he was and got done watching the show thinking holy shit this may be the best 19 year old wrestler I’ve ever seen. How many guys are that good at that age? It’s impressive. It also makes me feel old since he’s so young. If he’s that good at 19 how good will he be at 29? I’m excited about his future.

Dunne impressed me as well. Natural heel.

21. Van Wilhoite
What’s your favorite Kurt Angle moment?

I can pick so many. Here are three.

I think when he attacked HBK at the Rumble in 2005 tops the list because I wanted to see them in a match so bad and it set that match up, so that’s a favorite moment.

I remember celebrating like my favorite team won a championship when he won the WWE Title for the first time at No Mercy 2000. I didn’t think it was going to happen that night, so I marked out huge.

Another one would just be finishing the WM19 main event with Lesnar because we were so worried his neck was fucked up bad and he could be out for a year. I’m glad he got through it.

22. Mark Tallentire
If and when do you think Paige will be back and how would you book her return? I’m hoping she isn’t released but I can see it happening.

It seems like she’ll be back in a few months. Neck surgery is pretty serious, but I hope she can return. Always thought she was better and more natural as a heel. Her face act feels very forced, so booking her as a heel is what I would do. Hard to give specifics about a feud without knowing when she is back.

23. Cory Andrew Bacon
Which wrestler from the 80s and 90s do you feel would’ve been better in today’s era, and likewise, which current wrestler would’ve had more success back then?

I think Mr. Perfect would have been amazing today. A lot of the guys he worked with back then were not at his level of in-ring performance. The guys are so much better in the ring now and I think he would have thrived in today’s environment.

As for the reverse, Bray Wyatt probably would have been even better back then. Just with the way the style and character looks. It’s hard to be a mythic figure in today’s wrestling.

24. Chris Rowlands
Do you think that Vince is pushing the panic button by having a ‘guest’ wrestler (Lesnar/Goldberg/HBK/Taker) each week on Raw or is it a genuine attempt to promote The Rumble and Michaels’ movie?

I don’t think it’s a panic button. They are legitimate draws and it’s building up positive momentum for the Rumble match with star power. I think it adds to the shows.

25. John Finnie
What makes Beth Phoenix so special compared to Victoria, Ivory for the HOF? If true that is.

I don’t really argue about HOF decisions much. Does it matter? It’s a way to honor people that worked for the company and sell 15,000 tickets. They make a huge profit on the Hall of Fame because they aren’t paying talent to be there.

Victoria and Ivory are older, so maybe they should be in before Beth. However, Beth’s husband Edge has a show on WWE Network and they like her, so it’s her for now.

26. Jeff Goodridge
Is Demolition going to have to die before they get into the HOF?

I guess they will. I don’t know. I have met them both a few times and they don’t give a shit really. One of them (Ax) is a pretty cranky guy lol. If I was WWE I would never put somebody in the Hall of Fame that has tried to sue multiple times. Then again, Brock Lesnar sued them before and they brought him back, but that’s because he makes them money.

27. Shay Smithers
Whenever #DIY loses the tag titles in NXT, do you think they’ll do some kind of split-up angle with Ciampa turning heel on Gargano?

The #DIY guys would likely do a split up angle since that’s how most teams split. Ciampa has natural heel tendencies for sure. Gargano is more of a face. Both guys would thrive in the cruiser division.

28. Adrian Libatique
What do you think about an Angle vs Taker match at WrestleMania?

I doubt Angle has a match before the HOF. I think after that is more likely. I really believe they are just thinking HOF for now, see how it goes, see the response and then see if he can wrestle after.

I think they could have a really good match doing their spots that we all know. I just don’t think it will happen.

If you’re looking for a good Angle vs. Taker match, I recommend their classic at No Way Out 2006.

29. Jeremy Bennett
I have a weird gut feeling that Jericho is going to win the Rumble and all these big names are a smokescreen. Am I way off base on this?

Might happen. I don’t think so. It’s the only thing he hasn’t won and it would be nice thing for his career, but I would pick somebody younger like Strowman. Rumble should be about building to the future.

30. Aj Giacobbe
How would you “book” Naomi to the title?

It’s pretty easy. Just give her some meaningful wins. Book her as a face, put her over some of the heel girls and put over that moment as a big deal to her after being with WWE for 5 years or however long it’s been. She deserves a shot.

31. Lee Congerton
Which former member of The Shield is most likely to turn heel next?

Ambrose. I wrote that for much of 2016. He would thrive in that role. Reigns should turn heel too, but they seem set in their ways keeping him as a face.

32. Kostas Filis
Is MITB going to be a co-show event? I want to see one match for the men and one for the women with people from both shows competing for one case.

At this point the believe is that it’s just Smackdown. It can still change. Doing a women’s MITB is fine with me.

33. Stephen O’Neill
Would you like to see Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho for both titles at Mania and possibly even a retirement angle for Jericho within that match? If not what else do you think they could do at Mania?

I think it will be for just the US Title because Reigns will win Universal Title at Rumble.

There’s no need to do a retirement angle. If he wants to take a break this year then he has that right. I feel like Jericho will keep coming back when it fits his schedule.

34. Alexander Podgorski
Given how stellar his performance has been as of late, where do you see Miz going this year? Another world title perhaps?

I think it’s very possible. They have to see him as one of their top heels and as such, getting to the main event level could happen for him.

35. Joe Sondag
If WWE does decide to have a Women’s Elimination Chamber match at the EC PPV who do you think or want in that match?

There are enough names there for sure. Do it with Alexa, Nikki, Natalya, Mickie, Becky and Carmella I guess. That would be fun.

36. Carlos Inda
Who will be a perfect opponent for a Kurt Angle return match in WWE?

Anybody. I know that’s not specific, but Angle vs. anybody is a big deal after 11 years away. If I had to pick a name then Rusev stands out just because he’s the evil foreigner that rips on America and Angle is the American Hero that won the gold medal.

37. Jamie Nottage
As it’s the rumble soon what was your favourite and your non favourite Rumble?

Favorite Rumble is 1992 for sure. 2001 and 2007 are two others I loved as well.

Least favorite probably 1993 and 1999. Hated the booking of 1999 a lot.

38. Ian Tomlinson
Where do you think the WWE UK show will be filmed? I’d like to think Blackpool is a strong candidate.

I think they’ll pick different cities. If you tape once per month like NXT then you can pick different cities. I don’t think they need a central location, but Blackpool’s spot was cool. I liked the building.

39. Oscar Omar Fernandez
Like many I’m happy to see Mickie James back in the WWE. What will her role be and do you think she will go back to being a face?

I thought she would be a face upon her return, but I’m excited to see her as a heel and know she will succeed in that role. I’m sure that at some point she’ll be a face too. Could be later this year or next year.

She has a lot of value as a veteran wrestler that can help the younger girls improve. I’m glad she’s back too!

40. Charlie Pérez
Not a question more of your personal opinion
Dead or living favorite:
Male wrestler
Female wrestler
Tag team
Faction
Manager
General manager
3 man commentary team and position

Okay. I’ll go with retired and active.

Male wrestler – AJ Styles active, Shawn Michaels past
Female wrestler – Mickie James active, Trish Stratus past
Tag team – American Alpha active, Edge & Christian past
Faction – New Day active, Hart Foundation past
Manager – Paul Heyman active, Bobby Heenan past
General manager – Daniel Bryan active, Eric Bischoff past
3 man commentary team and position – I don’t like 3 man. Ranallo & Graves active, Monsoon & Heenan or Ross & Lawler past

41. Steve Murray
On an average week there is 8hrs worth of wrestling to choose from (RAW,Smackdown, nXt, 205 and Main Event). Not to mention Total Divas, Talking Smack etc.

Throw in a big four week and that can jump to nearly 17hrs worth of content a week. Is this too much? Has WWE saturated the market?

Yes it’s too much, but it’s also making WWE money and their ability to employ 150 wrestlers or whatever the number is right now is pretty impressive. If they can afford it then more power to them. I remember in 1993 they had like 30 wrestlers and some of them were terrible because that’s all they could afford.

A lot of things could be better, but the business is strong.

42. Nate Kuhl
Do Samoa Joe and Nakamura make it to the main event level as fast as Finn Balor did on the main roster or do one or both of them hold one of the secondary titles first?

I think both will be at or near the main event level soon after the main roster debuts. At least they should be. No reason to wait on it.

43. Brandon Mcgill
With the love for tournaments on the WWE Network, do you see WWE doing a King of the Ring this year?

I think they should, but not sure if they want to go back to something like that or try doing newer tournaments. Not sure if it’s on the radar as something they might do. I don’t believe it was ever much of a draw as a PPV or else it would still be around.

44. Tommy Dinardi
Why do you think WWE has shied away from the #30 spot being awarded to a wrestler heading into Rumble season?

I think it’s something they do some years, but not every year. Last year Reigns was #1 for example. This year there’s no storyline where they want to make it tough on an individual person, so it doesn’t fit from a storyline standpoint to do a #1 or #30.

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That’s all for this week. I try to do these every other week. Next weekend it’s Royal Rumble time with the NXT Takeover show as well, so we’ll have a lot of content up covering all of that.