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TJR Q&A #38: WWE’s Brand Split, Future of Bate & Dunne in WWE, Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion & More

It’s time for another Q&A here on TJRWrestling covering a lot of WWE (and some non-WWE) topics as usual. The questions come from my Facebook page and the answers come from me. As you might expect, there were a lot of Jinder Mahal related questions since he’s the new WWE Champion. Who would have guessed that a few months ago? So random. Anyway, let’s get to it.

1. Brigid Martinez
You think Jinder will hold the belt through Summerslam? Should he? Who should be the one to take it off him?

It’s hard to say. They have done four title changes since late January. He could have it for four months or one month. They really are becoming unpredictable when it comes to these things and I think it’s hurting the value of the title. From Cena to Wyatt to Orton to Mahal so quickly. If I had to guess then I’d say yes to Mahal holding it until SummerSlam. I would have Styles win it there.

2. Anne Schaefer
When will Nakamura win the WWE Title??

I would save it for next year’s WM. Have AJ Styles hold it for many months going into WM and Nakamura beats him for it.

Plans always change. Last November the plan was Cena vs. Taker at WM and Vince changed to Roman. Rusev was gonna get a title shot next month and that story was dropped just two weeks ago. Plans always change with crazy Uncle Vince.

3. John Harper
I can see Jinder Mahal holding the title in a similar way to how JBL did in his Smackdown run, using heel tactics and the Singh Brothers to help him retain. I can see him holding it for a similar length of time too – 10 months. What do you think?

There’s been 4 WWE Title changes in the last four months, so expecting a ten month reign seems like a bit much. I wouldn’t do it and I don’t think Mahal is a good enough performer. I think business indicators like ratings, attendance and other things are going to go down and they will get it off him by SummerSlam. Who knows, though? Two months ago I doubt this was their direction.

4. Ian Tomlinson
When will Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne make it to main roster?

I think it would be better if they spent time as regulars in NXT for the next year or so. Why rush it? Bate is only 20 and Dunne is 23 so they have plenty of time to be great. I hope that in 2017 they become NXT regulars. Maybe late 2018 can be on the main roster. No rush.

5. Diego J Amarilla II
Do you think a tag team money in the bank match would be doable or do you think that it would just be to many people involved? If it was done which teams would be best capable of pulling it off?

Too many people, but I wouldn’t mind it. If you think of the WrestleMania Ladder Match there were four teams and it was pretty good although shorter than most people thought it might be. You could do it with the SD teams right now like American Alpha, Breezango, New Day and Ascension. It would work fine. I don’t think they’ll do it.

6. Rusty Rowe
Did you notice when one show has a match the other show tries to have same match sooner?

Yeah like how they are doing the 5-Way women’s match on SD before the Extreme Rules match? It’s weird. I guess it’s a way to test out the format to see how to build the match, but I am not a fan of repeating match concepts as much as WWE does it.

7. Kris Doss
Do you think it’s in the best interest of the company to run with Brock/Reigns as the main event of Wrestlemania next year?

No, but it’s Vince and he can do what he wants. WrestleMania is gonna sell 60,000 tickets before they even announce a match, so it doesn’t matter what the main event is. I also don’t dislike Roman like some people, but if he’s main eventing four WMs in a row that is probably too much.

8. Brad Essex
Best new NXT female wrestler? My pick’s are Lacey Evans and Ruby Riot.

I think Nikki Cross is pretty awesome. She’s not somebody I knew a lot about before she was in WWE, but she has shown that she is a tremendous all-around talent that continues to impress me all the time. Ruby Riot has done well too and stands out a lot because of a unique look with all the tattoos and piercings.

9. Adam Symes
Who do you think the next first time WWE/Universal Champion is likely to be?

Earlier in the year I would have said Braun Strowman. Now I don’t know because doubt he wins it this year. I’ll go with Baron Corbin winning the WWE Title at some point later in the year.

10. Leo Naudin
How do you feel about Finn Balor’s finisher? It looks weak and sloppy to me. Do you think he should change it?

It’s fine because it’s a move he can do to anybody since they are on their back and he is jumping off the top rope. I don’t think it hurts that much to take either.

11. Stewart Erridge
Why does Bob Backlund not get the credit he deserves when talking about the greatest of all time?

He’s boring and bland without a big personality. Plus, he’s older. I’m 36 and don’t have any memory of his original WWE run. I remember his early 90s heel run more, but that was not when he was at his best. Ask guys in their 40s and 50s and I’m sure they’ll respect him more than most of us.

12. Joel J-money Wood
My question involves the Cruiserweight division. We’ve seen it revived with the Cruiserweight classic, the purple ropes, now they have their own show. But could you see them reviving the Cruiserweights in ways they revived the women? And by that I mean main eventing Raw and PPVs, having Hell in a Cell matches, etc. or is this as far as the Cruiserweight division goes? Because other than Aries, Neville, Swann, and Kendrick I don’t see very many intriguing characters in the division that can carry it for any length of time.

I doubt it’s going to happen with the cruisers where people see them as big stars. Jericho had an idea on the Busted Open show where he said that Enzo Amore should be the CW champ for a few months to build interest. His theory was that people like Enzo so they might care more and may want to tune in. People that don’t think Enzo is a good wrestler may tune in to see when he loses it.

I wrote earlier in the year that I thought Xavier Woods would be great as a focal point in the division. Not happening yet, but I believe that would help. I don’t see the CW division ever really taking off, though.

13. Jeff Johnson
Seeing as how Jinder Mahal has gotten this mega push, if you could hand pick a lower-mid carder to push to the title picture, who would you pick and why?

Cesaro is the most obvious name. Should have done it three years ago. Sami Zayn because he’s one of the top five in-ring performers and should be featured more.

14. Cory Andrew Bacon
If you could pick just one wrestler who never should have won a world title in WWE, who would it be, and why? Only stipulation is you can’t pick a non-wrestler. Any WWE World title is eligible.

Great Khali. I thought it was a terrible idea that came at a time right after the Benoit tragedy, so they were trying to regroup. He was more of a draw as a big guy, but putting the title on him was dumb.

15. Daniel Mount
When do you see Adam Cole coming to NXT and will he be near the main event?

He’ll probably be there in a few months. His deal was up earlier in the month, medical testing and all the paperwork takes a few months, so maybe they save his debut for SummerSlam time. We might know about it before that. I think he’ll be there, though. Kyle O’Reilly too. Maybe Bobby Fish and Donovan Dijak this year as well.

16. Jeremy Bennett
NXT is lacking in the tag team department greatly. Which two current stars would you have form a team? As for me I’d like to see Rich Swann tag with No Way Jose again.

That’s a good idea for a team. They fit well together. I would pair up cruiserweight guys for sure. The Singh Brothers are good wrestlers. Use them more. Use Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik as a masked face tag team. It would work.

17. Darrius Gaddy
What was your favorite random thing you learned listening to Bruce Prichard’s podcast? I loved the episode when he talks about being fired in 08′ and the little tidbit he gave about the undertaker during the Montreal Screwjob.

It was probably the episode about him being fired. I think it’s ridiculous that they fired him for that and didn’t pay any respect to him for the story he told about why he had that gun. Stephanie McMahon feels like the kind of person that tries to exert power over people that she knows are better than her at her job and Bruce ended up fired because of that. I felt bad for him when he told the story, but I’m glad he’s doing well.

18. Dave Boehringer
Do you think that guys like Nakamura & Tommy End, predominantly strikers, will be able to last long term in the WWE environment where the matches have a copy/paste formula to them?

I hope so. I love them as performers and they need guys with different styles to succeed. Everybody working the same style is boring. The reason AJ Styles is so good is he can work any style similar to a Kurt Angle in his prime. We want to see different kind of workers and WWE should be more open to that.

19. Giles Hart
Are there any wrestling characters who you felt were brought up to the main roster too soon or not given a long enough chance to showcase themselves once they had? For me personally, Adam Rose brought up too early after starting the gimmick and Kizarny’s unique character not given efficient time (one singles match only lol).

Both of those are good answers. I think both of them were just called up to be different and they had no long term planning. Kizarny is one of the best friends of Edge & Christian that I saw in the indies too.

They should have done a better job with Brodus Clay. I thought booking him like a comedy face was terrible and he could have been a lot better as a heel right away. I can probably think of others too, but just trying to get through these questions so leaving one name for now.

20. Cody Nathaniel Linder
If Triple H never got injured in 2001 before the Invasion angle where would the direction of the angle gone to?

I think they would have had turned Hunter face by Austin turning on him and siding with the Alliance. Basically, I think the Angle/Austin feud was originally going to be Hunter/Austin if Hunter didn’t get hurt. I guess they could have had Hunter as the heel with the Alliance instead of Austin too.

21. Jake Pumfleet
Who has the potential to be the next ‘surprise’ WWE World Champion or Universal? Jinder for example.

Who knows, man? Two months ago nobody could have seen this coming. I used to always point to Mark Henry’s push in 2011 as an example of WWE pushing a guy any time they want, but Jinder has surpassed that as the most random push.

I hope Cesaro is the answer. I wish he was doing more.

22. James Ferriman
When do you think Kenny Omega will jump ship to WWE if ever? Do you think he goes through NXT first? What are your thoughts on him as a performer?

His contract is up in like February 2018 because he signed a one year deal. I feel like he may stay another year in New Japan and then WWE bound in 2019. I also think he would have the leverage to bypass NXT like Styles, but if they want to put him in NXT for six months that’s fine. I enjoy his work a lot. I’d like to see even more of it and that’s on me not watching enough, but after watching all the WWE stuff it’s hard to want to watch more wrestling.

23. Chris Lewis
Was watching a video of RVD vs Neville in a match on NXT (which was a great match by the way) do you see Rob returning to WWE again?

Probably not aside from a surprise in a Royal Rumble maybe. He’s 47 years old this year and not wrestling much these days.

24. Oscar Omar Fernandez
With the “evil foreigner” as WWE Champ, will he be stopped by the American poster boy, John Cena? Ala Rusev was US Champ and the belt was “saved”?

I think Cena winning the title from Mahal is possible. I would build up somebody else for it, but Vince will do what he wants.

25. Joe
Do you reckon Cody Rhodes will eventually return to the WWE and win WWE or Universal Title?

Yes I think he’ll return in a year or two and hope he is used better. There are so many titles he should win something in the midcard. Best case scenario is WWE/Universal Title level, but that may not happen.

26. Michael Reichmuth
What do you enjoy better heel vs heel or face vs face feud?

I enjoy face vs. face matches a lot more because the fans have guys they can root for. With heel vs. heel it’s tough to watch because neither guy gets cheered (in theory) and leads to boring matches.

27. Brandon Willis
I’m going to MITB and I asked for your predictions a couple months ago. You still feeling Baron Corbin as the MITB winner? Any other predictions?

I don’t want Corbin to win, but think that is what they will do. If it’s Sami Zayn that would help him too. Kevin Owens would be a good choice. I’m excited about this match and think it will be fun.

28. Simon Gotham
What do you think will happen with Zack ryder when he returns from injury (back tagging with Mojo or a singles run)?

I think tagging with Mojo is the best thing for them, but don’t know if that’s the plan. He should be back soon since he’s training at WWE Performance Center.

29. Jesse Ornelas
If the Broken Matt Hardy character gets over enough do you think Matt Hardy can finally win the WWE/Universal Championship?

It’s possible, but he’s in his early 40s so might be seen as too old in WWE’s eyes. I dunno if he would need the title. Always a possibility though. Like I have said many times, they have done 4 WWE Title changes in the last four months, so lots of people are getting titles.

30. Dale Schofield
Do you think the brand split has made the overall WWE product worse?

Nope. I think anybody that thinks that is way off base because most people skipped Smackdown before they went live last summer with the brand split. Much better this way and more opportunity for people. Plus, I like the idea of seeing the likes of Nakamura and Styles on TV only once per week. If you do it too often it loses value.

With that said, the product isn’t great right now. There are too many lame storylines. Nothing exciting ever really happens either. I find it hard to get that excited about anything in WWE anymore. They need to get their edge back, book some more exciting stories and try to improve that way.

31. Roderick Walker
Who do you think would fit better in the cruiserweight division: Kalisto or Xavier Woods?

I think Woods would do great in the cruiserweight division with a strong personality too. Kalisto should be a part of it as well.

32. Aneil Komal
Serious question, what is it about Sami Zayn that appeals to you?

He’s one of the best babyfaces in the world because he knows how to sell well, the crowd always gets behind him and he’s got the kind of moveset that makes people say wow. He has come up with some of the most innovative spots that I’ve seen this era and a lot of people copy his style because it works so well. What’s also great is that after he signed with NXT, he had to re-invent himself a bit because he wrestled with a mask as El Generico and then he showed he could do all the things like facial expressions. He’s a regular guy living out his dream that is easy to root for. He also makes me say “wow” more than anybody in WWE other than AJ Styles.

Also, most of the people that criticize him to me have seen way less of his matches than I have. He’s a tremendous babyface that can be a big star if WWE ever gets behind him the right way.

33. Shay Smithers
Do you think there’s a chance Rey Mysterio could return to WWE, even if he only has one match, before he retires?

Maybe at some point, but they didn’t use him well in his last few years and he’s with Lucha Underground now. He’s also in his early to mid 40s, so I doubt it happens. One more match? In a few years it’s possible. “Never say never” is the ultimate phrase to use in wrestling.

34. Drew Jefferson
What is your favorite Money In The Bank ladder match and least favorite?

WrestleMania 21 ladder match is my favorite. Least favorite probably the one that Sheamus won it was boring.

35. Alex Rey
Do you think NXT needs a secondary singles title? I could see the United Kingdom title fitting in very nicely there.

Nope. I like how the titles are on NXT and the main roster. I’m fine with UK Title being on NXT shows too.


That’s all for this round. There were more questions as well, so I’ll post them at some point on the weekend as well.