TJR Q&A #37: WWE Raw’s Absent Universal Champion, Women’s Division & More (35 Questions!)

We have survived another week of WWE television show and that means it’s a good time to do another Question and Answer session here on TJRWrestling. These questions come from my Facebook page while I will do my best to provide some answers that make sense. Let’s get to it.

1. Chris Rowlands
With a Balor/Wyatt feud now underway, how do you book it? My personal opinion is that Balor needs to win his first feud since returning and Wyatt needs to be built up to look strong again since his post Elimination Chamber booking has been abysmal. Either way, someone gets damaged.

I would have Balor win every match for the next two months leading up to SummerSlam against Lesnar. No reason for Balor to lose. It sucks for Bray to lose, but as you said somebody gets damaged because you can’t push everybody. That’s how the business works.

2. Leon Ashley Oliver
I know it’s far away, but what do you think will be the World Title matches at WrestleMania 34?

Brock vs. Roman and AJ vs. Nakamura. And yes it’s far away! I think they will stick to that Brock vs. Roman plan as long as there isn’t an injury.

3. Mo Khan
When was Sunday Night Heat taped? There were so many Ministry segments during 1999 that took place on Heat. So did they film it at the end of Raw (dark matches) in the previous week?

It started in summer 1998. Back then, Raw was live one week and taped on the Tuesday the next day, so the next week’s Heat was taped that day as well. There were also times when Heat was live on Sunday nights as well. When Smackdown started in August 1999, Heat mattered a lot less and they usually taped it before Raw.

It was a live show when PPV events were on, so it was a lead in to that with some undercard matches, promos and basic stuff like that.

4. Eric Hay
Coming up on the 20 year anniversary of Montreal, what do you think Brian Pillman would’ve done? Based on everything that happened with him in 96 do you think he would’ve stayed?

I think Pillman would have stayed in WWE. He had already been in WCW for years and hated it by the end, so I doubt he would have wanted to go back there. The problem was his foot injury prevented him from wrestling a full time schedule and at a high level. That led to the drug usage, which led to his tragic death 20 years ago.

5. Leo Carter
Would it be wise to keep Nakamura & Styles away from each other until WM season?

Yeah that’s what I would do if that is the planned match at WM, which it might be. May not be a bad idea to have them tag up at some point later in the year as well. I think putting the WWE Title on Styles and having Nakamura win the Royal Rumble would be the best way to set up WM next year.

6. Aj Giacobbe
Have the WWE Women’s division writers hit their heads while not wearing their helmets? I mean storyline wise…it’s been going down.

I think the Raw women booking has been awful, but Smackdown booking has been good consistently. The Charlotte turn was well booked.

7. Daniel BamaDan Ferguson
Why does Nakamura wear the mouth guard when he’s not wrestling? His accent already makes it hard to understand what he’s saying and that makes it worse.

Mouthguard is part of his look. Why did Undertaker wear MMA gloves during contract signings? Part of his look even though it looked ridiculous. I see your point, though. I don’t think it’s wise to have a mouthguard in when you’re just there to talk.

8. Adam Symes
Who do you think WWE will sign from Lucha Underground when season 3 is finished airing?

I think Ricochet/Prince Puma is a lock. Not everybody will be free, though. It’s hard to sit here and guess when we don’t know contract details of others.

9. Greg Holman
Who do you think will be the big names to go into the WWE Hall of Fame in the next couple of years? Also, should Taker and Kane go in the same year or different?

I think next year should be Daniel Bryan as the main name since it’s New Orleans where he won the WWE Title in 2014. Christian should be the second biggest name. Taker and Kane can go different years. Doesn’t bother me either way.

10. Daison Thomas
Who would you rate higher among Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles in terms of wrestling, mic skills and overall personality?

I think they are two of the best all around wrestlers in the last 15 years. Who’s better? I may put Styles ahead just because he comes across as a better athlete and could do more spectacular stuff. Bryan was better as a face and his journey in WWE was fun to watch.

11. Van Wilhoite
Since you started watching wrestling what wrestler has surprised you the most with their success in the WWE?

The Miz. I didn’t think he would ever become as good as he is, but he has been incredible. It’s a credit to him because hard work has paid off.

12. Dangelino Ochoa
Could you see Owens and Zayn as short term SD Tag Team Champs that don’t get along?

Yeah I think so. At some point Owens & Zayn will be together because that sort of thing always happens in wrestling where bitter rivals become allies due to the respect they have for eachother. Maybe as faces together since I don’t see Zayn going heel. Could be a few years until Owens turns face, but it should happen for at some point.

13. Shon Wheeler
What do you think of Aleister Black?!

Unique look and talented guy, but needs to develop a character that clicks. I can see him main eventing in NXT later in the year.

14. Alexander Podgorski
If WWE does the women’s tournament in the same way as the CWC was done, are there any particular women you’d like to see participate?

They are doing it in the same fashion. I think Candice LaRae (Mrs. Gargano) and Tessa Blanchard are two women I know of that should do well in it. I don’t know enough indy women’s wrestlers.

15. Stuart Pretswell
Can you see Kurt Angle in a match or two this year? And if so who would you like as his opponent?

They might wait until next year, but I would put him in a match at SummerSlam or Survivor Series or if they have a PPV in Pittsburgh. The Miz would be a good opponent because that’s a heel everybody hates and would do a good job of getting under Kurt’s skin.

16. Frank Anthony Casabianca
With Charlotte getting beaten down after coming over from Raw and Alexa Bliss immediately winning the Raw Women’s Title, do you think they are elevating the women of Smackdown higher than the Raw women?

Yep. The booking is much better on Smackdown with the women. I liked the angle they have done in the last two weeks. It’s working well. Now they gotta move the title onto Natalya or Carmella in order to give the heel girls more momentum.

17. Ryan Dunning
Which woman is more talented, Paige or Charlotte?

I think Charlotte is a better athlete and has had better matches. Paige could be better, but the neck injury isn’t good for her future and Alberto seems to have a negative effect on her career even though she is happier in her life.

18. Darrius Gaddy
Is there a way for the WWE to do some sort of damage control to keep nudes and things like that from leaking out? Do they implement fines for things like that. I know it sucks because those are personal pictures and things like that but I could imagine that people in the office can’t be happy. It’s not like people are going to stop taking nude photos so it’s kind of a no win situation.

It’s a tough one, but all they can help the talent become more aware. Fine people for what? Some fucking douchebag hacker hacked their Cloud that people use to store iPhone stuff and obviously the performers don’t want that in public. All WWE can do is warn them, suggest that they save personal property elsewhere (like a hard drive on a computer or a disc) rather than on something on the internet that can be hacked into.

19. Denny Hart
Do you think Braun Strowman gets a run with the Universal Title this year? If so, for how long?

I would have said yes a few months ago, but now that Brock has it and they might keep it on him until next WM I’m leaning towards no.

20. Matt Wayne Breeding
To me it seems like New Japan is starting to really gain momentum especially here in the states. Which is weird cause they do very little to promote here in the states. I think they are starting to become competition for the WWE. My question for you is if they start focusing more on North America (the US and Canada) by adding more shows regularly over here, doing more shows with English commentary, hell even just promoting more over here. Do you think they will become competition in the WWE’S eyes? Personally I think they could have something like the Monday night wars but instead of it being with two TV shows, it would be between the two streaming services the WWE network and New Japan World. Anyways I know that’s a few different questions but I’m just wondering your thoughts on it all.

I don’t know if competition is the right word. It’s a bit of a mix. It’s not competition because they are not running shows in the US/Canada aside from a few in Los Angeles this summer. They are doing well and are smart to try to grow in the US.

They are competition in terms of talent because if a guy like Kenny Omega wasn’t in NJPW then he’d probably be in WWE right now. Plus, NJPW probably wasn’t happy about losing Styles, Naka, Anderson & Gallows to WWE at the same time.

21. Roderick Walker
Who is the better performer: Lesnar, Angle, Jericho or Cena?

I think Angle is the best in that group. Jericho is the next best and Cena/Lesnar about the same. All are outstanding.

22. Ed Luis Valentin
If you could change WWE’s plans and have someone other than Roman be the one who beats Brock for the title, who would you choose? I’d go with Strowman.

I’d pick Sami Zayn. Not like WWE would do that, though. They don’t see him as a big deal. I see him as one of the best faces they have and a guy the fans would easily rally behind if given the right chances.

23. Charlie Pérez
If Mr Vince McMahon would give you full control of the creative team what changed would you make?

More big angles. Better matches. Fresher matchups. Get rid of the some of the lazy booking they do like champs losing non title so much, 50/50 booking is annoying and stuff like that.

24. Cory Frizzell
Kevin Owens has had an eventful run on the main roster his first 2 years. Where do you see him 5 years from now?

Being used in a similar way. Great all around performer in his early 30s. He’s going to get better and hopefully still being used in a good way. I think he’ll be a heel for the majority of his career as well.

25. Patrick Jullarine
I am a huge Emma fan. Starting when she wrestled Paige at NXT Arrival for the NXT’S Womens Championship. Yes, because she’s beautiful, but mostly because she is a very talented wrestler. With her past mistakes behind her. What do you think the chances are she will be elevated into the Raw Women’s title picture? I would love to see her have a chance to perform on PPVs. Like she did in NXT.

I guess there’s a chance she can break through and win a title, but who knows if they are going to push her strongly? I hope she gets elevated, but honestly have no idea if they do anything with her. Based on talent, I like Emma a lot.

She suffered a shoulder injury in Europe this weekend, so hope it’s not too bad and that she’s okay soon.

26. Rob Brown
Do you think there is any plan to move Raw and SD to the WWE Network? Maybe not live, but perhaps tape delayed?

Nope. They get about $180 mil per year from USA Network. Per that deal, they can’t upload to WWE Network until one month later. If you put those shows on WWE Network there’s no way they would make that kind of money. Plus, all the sponsors pay them because they are a top cable TV show and not because they are on their own network. It’s a business thing.

27. Jake Pumfleet
Does the main champ on Raw being part time hurt other talent?

It hurts the show a bit because the main guy isn’t on, but it also gives opportunity to others to be on TV more and get a chance to shine. I see why people bitch about it. Doesn’t really bug me.

28. Francis Tasse
Do you think the Shake-up did the brands good or bad? I personally think it has worsen both shows.

Raw has been a bit better since WM and since the Shake-up also because guys like Hardys and Finn Balor are there that weren’t there before. Smackdown is a bit worse. Also hurts losing Cena as a key performer.

29. James Ferriman
What are your thoughts on the recent rumours of WWE wanting to change Baron Corbin’s character up with new music, look etc? I like how he is at the moment and don’t see a character revamp as necessary right now.

He’s pretty basic in terms of a lot of things in terms of his look, his music and his gear. Trying to change things up for him is smart.

30. Chris Young
With the WWE universe shitting on Roman Reigns could u see Vince change his mind and have Balor become the “face of the company”? The fans love him and WWE is high on him.

I think Vince wants a bigger guy in that spot and that’s why Roman fits. Also Finn being Irish probably doesn’t help because Vince wants an American there to cater to the majority of his fans.

31. Geoff Landtbom
Bob Backlund claims in his book that during his second run with the WWE Vince McMahon told him that he would be champion for about a year before losing it back to Bret Hart but changed his tune at MSG when Randy Savage left and he put the belt on Kevin Nash. Do you feel that given Backlund’s age at the time that the alleged original plan would have been realistic? I loved and still love the Mr. Backlund persona by the way. I’m glad that he was able to change with the times which not every wrestler can do. It’s an awesome book if you haven’t read it.

I don’t believe it to be true. I listen to Bruce Prichard’s regularly and he said matter of factly that the reason Backlund got the title from Bret is because Vince was enamored with Kevin Nash as Diesel and wanted to push Diesel as a huge face. That’s what happened and what is true.

As a final point, I think Backlund is a bit of a nut.

32. Brigid Martinez
Do you think it’s still possible for Bray to be the top guy that he’s capable of being? I know he’s young and has lots of career ahead of him. It’s going to be hard for me to forget about how he’s been all talk and all lose for the past like 3 years. My brain has a hard time seeing him as a threat because he loses all the time.

In some ways he was a top guy this year since he was WWE Champion and walked into WM as WWE Champion. He’s also headlined several PPVs. I think there’s plenty of time to get things right with him since he’s still under 30 years old. Lots of time. I wish he was used better that’s for sure.

33. Andy Staed
Will Johnny Nitro Hennigan Mundo ever come back to the WWE?

He’s 37 or so, which means he’s on the older side, but I think they would be interested in bringing him back if he is able to go. I think his Lucha Underground deal will prevent him from going this year and maybe a few more years, so it may be difficult for him to ever get back. With that said, “never say never” in wrestling.

34. Kevin C Staed
Is Bo Dallas still employed and will they ever not use him as a complete jobber?

Still employed. Also in his mid 20s so lots of time. I hope he gets to work with brother Bray soon.

35. Joe Sondag
With the Universal Championship being a new Championship, what’s better for it to grow in prestige? Should they have it on a full-time wrestler on every week on Raw or on a big name part-time star who shows up every once in a while?

Either way is fine. People know it’s the most important title on Raw and that’s what matters now. There are those that will argue that the champ should be on all the time while others point out that Lesnar holding it adds credibility as a huge name. I can see both sides of it and don’t really have a preference.

That’s all for now. Here’s a link to the Q&A Archives in case you want to look back on things. I’ll be back for more soon.