TJR Q&A #41: Balor vs. Styles?, WWE Brand Split, Potential New Day Breakup & More! (30 Questions!)

Here’s the second edition of the TJR Q&A this week. I posted a bunch of questions and answers a few days ago that you can read right here. The questions come from my Facebook page and the answers come from my mind. Let’s roll.

1. Deion Larocque
Do you think we’ll ever get AJ Styles vs Finn Balor with Finn as the heel?

Yeah I think it’s possible. Doubt AJ turns any time soon (maybe never again), so that would be a great idea for a feud with Finn hopefully having G&A with him too. Only thing that may prevent is they have booked Finn as such a likable guy (watch WWE 24) and he’s smaller in stature, so more of an underdog. Anybody can be in that heel role though. Guys like Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles are of similar stature that did well as heels.

The entrance for Balor is cool and he wrestles an exciting style. Could they do more with him as a character? Of course but that goes for 90% of the main roster. Only the Fashion Police guys are getting character developmental as goofballs these days.

In terms of dream matches in WWE that I’ve never seen, Styles vs. Balor is high up on that list.

2. Mitchell Wood
My obligatory Young Bucks ETA? Also do you think the WWE even wants them or would use them correctly? Since the gimmick is sort of a parody/update of past wrestling stuff I wonder if Vince and Trips are even fans….oh and before I forget…Jay Lethal update? Is he out of time? In not sure how old he is but they have been hiring older wrestlers lately….as always thank you for everything you do.

Young Bucks signed a two year deal with ROH/NJPW so they aren’t free agents until early 2019 I think. I think WWE would want them, but they are making great money and working less than they would in WWE, so good for them.

Lethal re-signed with ROH recently too. Don’t know if it was one or two year deal. He’s happy where he is.

3. Zach Ward
Any idea why they don’t ever let Zayn get a pin off the Blue Thunder Bomb? It’s such a great looking move.

I agree with you. It looks great. It would be nice to win with it once in a while to make people believe in it more. I love that move, but that’s just how it is. Same way that Bret Hart didn’t win with the Russian legsweep he did in every match or Triple H with a spinebuster. They’re signature moves, but not finishers.

4. Josh Warner
You have to turn one member of New Day heel…who and how would you do it?

I would pick Big E for sure because he’s the biggest guy in the group and could heat attacking his two smaller buddies. It could be done with them being frustrated they can’t win the titles, so Big E blames the other guys and turns on them. All of them did well as heels as a trio, but Big E would do the best as a singles heel I think.

5. Ryan Mullins
I watched Raw for the first time in about a month this week, does it seem like they are turning Booker T into the heel announcer role and Corey Graves into the face role??? I noticed that in a few instances and was just curious if anybody else has noticed. If they are then that’s just stupid because Graves is awesome.

I don’t think there’s a turn going on. Sometimes Booker will side with the heels, but I don’t see it as a regular thing. And if it is, that’s fine. I don’t mind Raw commentary team at all.

6. James Ferriman
When do you see Ambrose turning heel? Do you think we’ll get a Shield reunion before he turns?

I’ve wanted it for two years. Not sure when it will happen, but I would do it when they are teasing a Shield reunion and he attacks both guys. I think they will do a Shield reunion before any of the three guys turns heel.

7. Douglas Gundlach
Who was the first wrestler you ever met? And where? Mine were the Smoking Guns and the Undertaker at a convention center in Rochester NY. (Hometown) I think it was 1995ish…

Probably Andre the Giant in 1986 or 1987 (I can’t remember exactly) at Niagara Falls he did some appearance when we happened to be there. I was petrified because I was like 6 years old. I remember not wanting a pic with him, but then he put me on his shoulder and I was so happy. Don’t have the pic anymore. I remember it though.

8. Alexander Podgorski
With the Universal Championship scene dominated by big guys (Lesnar, Joe, Reigns) wouldn’t it make more sense for Finn Balor to enter the cruiser weight division and become its ace? That way he can still be a star without his faults being so exposed when he’s facing no bigger opponents.

Nope. I think Finn has main event caliber talent and I wouldn’t use him in the Cruiserweight division, which doesn’t have as much momentum these days. I guess more people would care about the CW division, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to use him that way.

9. Andy Staed
Is it easier to learn to be a good wrestling character, or a good wrestler? In other words, which is the better skill to have come naturally to a pro wrestler?

I think it’s easier to learn how to be a good character. Not easy to be an elite in-ring performer. Would you rather be an Enzo Amore that can talk and not be very good in the ring or a guy like a Shelton Benjamin. With that said, if you are just a good character and you are shit in the ring then it’s harder to have a great career.

10. Scottie Stiles
Why doesn’t WWE have any sort of tour at their headquarters? I’m in NYC for a day or so and thought about driving up there only to find out that there is NOTHING you can see or do…apparently you can’t even get in the building?

It’s just not something they want to do, I guess. I’m not sure how else to answer that other than to say Vince chooses not to allow it for whatever reason. It’s just an office building with people at work and I doubt they would want tourists around.

11. Anmol Sekhri
Do you think the brand split has helped or hurt the company?

Helped for sure. Smackdown has been much better since then and the way it was before wasn’t working. More opportunity for different talents is a great thing.

12. Douglas Wayne Casto Jr.
Do you see anyone else getting an “out of nowhere” push like Jinder Mahal received? I know they did it for the market in India, but they surely didn’t do him any justice by losing all those matches.

Hard to predict that because it was so random lol. Those kinds of pushes are so rare. Anybody that is over 6’3″ and 250 pounds of muscle has a shot. If I had to pick a name I’d say maybe Big Cass, but I think his push is coming because he’s tall more than anything.

13. Adam Gronvold
When New Day disappeared due to an unfortunate injury, I thought for sure they were done as a team. But with all the turns they’ve done with teams and possibly splitting Matt and Jeff, I don’t see that happening this year. What tag team splits do you see coming within the next year?

New Day going on as a team for two or three years is great. I wish more teams lasted that long in today’s wrestling. Just got Enzo & Cass split. I think Mojo & Zack will split soon.

If it was me I would hold off on any significant team splits until early next year. Build them up more.

14. Geoff Landtbom
Is Bret Hart’s WCW tenure the biggest waste in history? I’m watching Nitro after Nitro and it seems like he never did much. It seems to me that his signing was more about hurting Vince than any meaningful storylines involving him.

They did waste him for sure, but he was also unhappy and didn’t want to be there. It was bad for WCW to not utilize him the right way on a consistent basis. I’d say it was bad for him, but he was making around $3 million per year there so at least financially was good. It sucked that his career ended because of an errant Goldberg kick, though.

15. Joe Sondag
Do you think it would be better if some on the creative team of WWE had a wrestling background instead of a comedy/drama background from Hollywood to improve the storytelling in WWE?

Some of them do like Michael Hayes, Road Dogg, Jimmy Jacobs and others we may not know about. I don’t mind having writers there if they are wrestling fans because they offer a unique perspective. The problem is that promos are overly scripted and don’t feel natural. That hurts the product more than anything.

16. Brett Beatty
Do you see The Money in The Bank PPV being just a strictly Smackdown PPV or next year it going to RAW?

It will probably move to Raw next year since TLC is moving to Raw this October and it was Smackdown last year. I think Money in the Bank should be Raw and Smackdown, but obviously disagrees with me there.

17. Khan Shahrukh
Do you see any potential in Mizanin’s Entourage?

Yeah I like it a lot. Curtis and Bo are talented wrestlers that have a lot of potential as a team or singles wrestlers. It’s just a matter of utilizing them the right way and this may be it. Better to try something new than do nothing, right? I think so.

18. Daniel Hill
Hi John, the attitude era is what most fans agree was peak for wrestling, who on the current roster would have been awesome back in that time and who from that era would struggle in current WWE?? For example do you think The Rock could get over now like he did back then?

I think the best wrestlers of any period could get over in any period. I know that’s a generic answer, but it’s true. There’s no reason to think a guy like The Rock would fail today. It would be different and maybe more PG in terms of promos, but I think they’d all do well.

A gimmick like The Undertaker would fail as a debut in 2017 because fans are so negative about anything new and different today whereas in 1990 it was more accepting.

19. Tommy Dinardi
With the recent MITB past winners article revealing that plans were in place for DBry vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam 2014 prior to Bryan being stripped of the WWE title due to injury, would WWE have booked it to be a hard-fought classic like Lesnar/Punk the Year before? Or would they have started out Lesnar’s reign slaughtering Bryan instead of Cena?

It likely would have went how the Lesnar/Cena match was and that was a massive win for Lesnar. That’s what Meltzer has said over the years and I believe it.

20. Nathan Davies
Have you ever given a wrestling show 10/10?

WrestleMania 17 is the only one I think. Read the review here: http://tjrwrestling.net/tjr-retro-wwe-wrestlemania-17-review/

21. Tommy Mondschein
What the general consensus on Jeff Jarrett?

Pretty good worker that could have solid matches with anybody, but not an outstanding wrestler that blew us away with his work. When he got to WCW in late 1999 he was a top guy because they needed people. In WWE he couldn’t really break through. I’m impressed that TNA has survived as long as it has (15 years), but he comes off as somebody fluent in bullshit to me.

22. Sam Brady
How do you feel about MITB including both brands? I think both matches should have included three wrestlers from both rosters. To me it opens up a lot more story telling while giving the fans the chance to see the red and blue brands go at it.

I think they should have had both shows on it. That’s a mistake by WWE that I hope they fix next year. They could just have a MITB match at Great Balls of Fire. Why not? Nobody would complain about it.

23. JD Robert
What are the chances of Tony Nese, Jack Gallagher and Cedrick Alexander becoming Cruiserweight Champion? Also does Enzo Amore have a future in the division?

I think Alexander has best chance of those guys. Hope it happens for him. Enzo in the cruiser division makes a lot of sense to me.

24. Peter Jaruzel
Any truth to possibility of Triple H and Vince fighting due to the poor booking of most of the NXT call ups recently?

I don’t think it’s true, but I’m sure some things are frustrating for Hunter in some ways. Think of it from the perspective like Hunter builds up talent in NXT and getting called up is supposed to be a big deal, but guys like DIllinger and American Alpha are doing nothing. Reality is WWE’s roster is too big and you can’t push everybody. I don’t see it being a major problem.

25. Lee Diones
It’s pretty doubtful that CM Punk will ever become a performing talent but do you think he would eventually put differences aside to at least go into the HOF?

Eventually yes for HOF and maybe he has a match at some point in the next decade too. Everybody seems to get over their gripes with WWE.

26. Shay Smithers
Do you think there’s a chance Ivelisse could get another shot in WWE sometime in the next few years?

I hope so, but if she has a seven season deal like some Lucha Underground talent has then it’s going to be a while, so I doubt it. Most people that signed seven season deals there probably regret it. I know Prince Puma/Ricochet had a three season deal, so he’ll be free to go after this third season finishes.

27. Darrius Gaddy
I believe I remember you saying you stopped writing for a while around the Benoit murder/suicide. How long was it before you could separate the man from the wrestler and enjoy his in ring work? Or were you able to fully enjoy it again. I admit that I haven’t watched much since his passing. It’s just kind of hard even to this day.

It’s still hard, but I will do it for a review of a show I choose to review and not because I enjoy it.

I didn’t watch every show every week in the second half of 2007, but I was still reading stuff online. Real life was busy with a job and a girlfriend at the time too, so it was easy to take a break. Then Jericho came back in late 2007, which was a good thing to me and the Flair retirement story was something I wanted to watch. I ended up watching all the 2007 PPVs I missed, but definitely missed some TV stuff in the second half of 2007.

28. Josh Richey
Best Pre-Attitude era Raw Main Event? Personally, Flair-Perfect Loser leaves WWF match and HBK vs Returning Marty Janetty are my favs from that era.

I loved Shawn vs. Marty so much at the time and it still holds up well because I saw it again with the last year. I haven’t seen Flair/Perfect in a long time, but it was great too. I’ll pick Shawn vs. Marty.

29. Andre Jones
Okay Mr. Canton, do you see NXT using the original plans they had for Corey Graves (cool, tattooed guy, wear suits, wrestle, make a champion, etc) and giving it to Aleister Black?

In a way yes because they’re tattooed guys, but Black is a more physical type of wrestler and a striker. Not as good of a talker as Graves either. In terms of being a cool tattooed wrestler in a suit, they do have a similarity that way.

30. Tommy Mondschein
Who’s getting into the WWE H.O.F. first? Virgil or Big Poppa Pump?

Considering Steiner’s comments ripping on Triple H and Stephanie all the time, Virgil has a better chance! The wrestling business is unique, my friends.


That’s all for now. Back for more Q&A in the near future. Thanks to everybody that took part this time around.