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TJR Q&A #47: Balor Club’s Future in WWE, Raw 25, Royal Rumble and More!

It’s time for the first Q&A of the year. I looked it up and just realized the last Q&A I did was in late October, so I apologize for that because I want this to be something I do twice a month at least. Anyway, there’s a lot to cover with the Royal Rumble coming up, the 25 Year Anniversary of WWE Monday Night Raw and WrestleMania too.

The questions come from my Facebook page, so the questions will be posted in quotes and my answers will be immediately after.

1. Connor James McClain
Whom would be called up from NXT for the Men’s Rumble this year? I figured the women it would be most due to roster size but whom could be a lead candidate this year?

They could do like last year when Dillinger was in the match and then he didn’t get called up right after. I don’t think there’s a need for that many NXT guys when you have a roster of like 70 dudes (whatever it is) on the main roster right now. I guess if I had to pick then maybe Aleister Black, Adam Cole or Johnny Gargano would be cool choices.

2. Aj Giacobbe
Daniel Bryan…going heel or will his current storyline go somewhere else?

I think it would be hard to turn him heel, so maybe in the end it’s Shane O Mac that turns heel. I don’t really have a solid prediction on the storyline.

3. Jeff Johnson
Hey John. With Fox being a possible future home for WWE, I feel it would work out well for both sides if it happened. With that said, if Vince Mcmahon decided to start his own football league in 2018, do you think that could potentially push Fox away since they are the NFL’s main network?

They are not NFL’s main network. They are one of four networks because Fox has the NFC sched, CBS has the AFC sched, NBC has Sun night and ESPN/ABC has Mon night, so all four major markets are buddies with the NFL.

I think if the football league launches then Vince probably knows where he wants to show the games and it may be something different like Facebook, Amazon or something else. Fox may be open to it because they need programming for FS1 and FS2. It’s not like it is direct competition from the XFL when the players are making way less money.

My feeling is USA Network/NBC will retain Raw when the contract comes up next year, but WWE plans on announcing their next deal in May of this year.

4. Andy Papaleo
John what’s your favorite episode of Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard?

Probably the Randy Savage one because he was a favorite of mine. Also liked the Bret Hart episode and want more of that. I’ve listened to nearly every episode.

5. Mark Tallentire
Do you think Raw 25 will have any storyline continuity or will it be more like a one-off special with the amount of legends they have returning?

I think there will be lots of story stuff especially considering they will use it to have Undertaker and Cena set up WM. Maybe Taker says he’s in the Rumble? I dunno. WWE could have scheduled it for this Monday January 15, but they were smart to do it on the 22nd because it’s six days before the Rumble.

There will be nostalgia and fun moments, but they will push Rumble matches and potential WrestleMania matches for sure.

6. Adam Gronvold
Will Triple Haitch beat anyone at WrestleMania this year and be falsely accused of burying them by a bunch of marks?

I think Strowman beating Triple H at Mania is very likely. It was set up at Survivor Series.

By the way, Seth Rollins is in a worse place this year than when he was before he beat Triple H at WrestleMania last year. Weird.

7. Derek Wright
Do you think the Balor Club will be a long term alliance and do you think it could lead to Finn winning individual gold?

Hope so. I just don’t know if there are enough heels for them to feud with. There’s really not a dominant heel stable. The Miztourage? Not really. So the lack of opponents may hurt. What will be interesting is post WM when they’ll change rosters around and I think it’s a lock that AJ Styles goes to Raw because WWE always wants to help Raw. So if Finn and the guys stay together then that can lead to something interesting.

I think WWE has to do a better job of making Gallows & Anderson into faces more although the “nerds” thing is pretty catchy. The problem is they’ve been heels and did nothing to turn face other than teaming with Balor for two weeks. As far as Balor winning gold again, I sure hope that happens for him whether that means IC Title or Universal Title.

8. Deryl Parnell Jr.
Do you see Hulk Hogan being a surprise return for the 25th anniversary of Raw?

I don’t think so, but guess it may be the right time to bring him back if WWE wants to deal with the negative press. I don’t care if Hogan is there. I don’t really miss him. I never was a huge fan, but can’t deny that is one of the most successful wrestlers ever.

9. Matt Tome
How long do you expect the Undisputed Era to be in NXT, and which brand do you expect them to go to when they get the call to the main roster?

I think Cole might win the NXT TItle, so that might keep him there for a while, but honestly I want them on the main roster by like SummerSlam time. Love their potential.

I never know how to answer which brand. Either one is fine. Just use them when they are called up not like some NXT talent.

10. Raymond Arroyo
What’s your dream match using wrestlers from any promotion today?

AJ Styles vs. Kenny Omega
Seth Rollins vs. Kazuchika Okada
John Canton vs. Mikey Cole

11. Leo Naudin
What’s your all-time favorite Vince McMahon moment? First thing that comes to mind?

So many moments. Good question. Austin spraying him, Rock and Shane with the beer. Just the insanity of it all and the visual of Vince swimming in the beer was hilarious too.

Another one is Austin’s shoving match with Tyson with Vince freaking out saying “you ruined it” I thought that was incredible television.

Also Montreal 1997 with Bret spitting on him after Vince told the timekeeper to ring the fucking bell.

Vince is one of the best performers ever. I don’t want to say underrated because I think people know, but holy shit he was amazing.

12. James Tascar Mayhew
Any word on whether The Rock will be at RAW’s 25th anniversary?

No idea and WWE isn’t talking. Who knows with his schedule, right? Dude is always working whether it’s promoting a film or filming a movie or producing something. I can see it being a situation where he’s not on the whole show, Austin’s in the ring throwing some beer bash party and then Rock comes out at the end. I’m sure he wants to be there. Whether he actually is, I don’t know.

13. David Morrison
Do you think William Regal will ever wrestle another match on a major WWE show?

Probably not. I just looked it up and he’s 50 in May this year. There’s no reason to wrestle again. I can see him maybe wanting to do one final match in his home country in England or something, but most likely he’s wrestled his last match.

14. Geoff Landtbom
Do you feel that the Rock left wrestling too soon or do you feel as I have that he accomplished everything he could in wrestling and simply got out because he felt like there was nothing for him in wrestling anymore? Me personally, I think he made the right call but many don’t and in fact have booed relentlessly based on a perceived lack of loyalty to them which I quite honestly can’t understand. Fans shouldn’t be acting like they own wrestlers.

I think he got out at the right time because look at how successful he is. I don’t even like some of his movies, but they make money and he’s a huge success.

With that said, if he was in wrestling full time from 2003 to 2010 (for example) those would have been the best years of his career because he would have been in his 30s and most wrestlers get better in their 30s because they are more used to working the crowd and having better matches.

I think Rock genuinely loves wrestling and like he has said there’s nothing else like it, but I don’t blame him for moving on to make more money.

15. Joe Craven
If Cody Rhodes returns to the WWE, do you think they will finally book him the way they should have the first time around and give him a World Title?

Maybe. He’s improved in the time away from WWE, so perhaps WWE will view him as more of a star. I hope so. I can see him coming back to WWE in like 2020, but probably not before that.

16. Matt Livingstone
How awesome would Rusev, the anti-American who held the US title undefeated, as a face, facing the anti-American Jinder Mahal who is holding the US title, be?

I think they could do well against eachother. Rusev has a lot of potential as a face and I hope WWE buys into it. They are taking a comedy thing like Rusev Day and it’s going to make Rusev a big face if WWE gets behind him.

17. Ed Luis Valentin
Why is WWE so bad at booking faces? Seth, Nakamura and Bálor were all red hot at one point but they’ve cooled down.

They suck at it. I complain about it for years as you probably know. It’s one of the reasons why writing about today’s WWE has been really boring at times. I don’t know how to answer why they suck at booking faces other than to say that it’s part of the reason the company isn’t hot right now.

18. Deion Larocque
Prediction of the breakout stars of each main roster tag team.

I don’t see the Usos breaking up.

I can see Big E becoming a World Champion, but not the other New Day guys although Kofi and Woods are very good.

Chad Gable has main event potential if they can get over the size factor. Benjamin is good in a tag spot at this point in his career.

Harper should be a much bigger star, but they won’t get behind him enough. He’ll probably remain in a team with Rowan for a long time.

The Breezango guys are at around the same level and I don’t see either guy breaking out in singles.

Don’t see either The Revival or G&A breaking up any time soon.

19. Eryk Cannito
What is a moment that made you feel great to be a fan and genuinely happy to watch? Someone winning a belt or a match, or an overall great segment?

I remember watching WrestleMania 4 live (I was 7.5 at that point) and rooting hard for Randy Savage with all my cousins watching along with me. Before that, I just remember stuff like Hogan and Macho Man, but I never loved Hogan like my friends did. So it was really Macho Man that got me into it. The robes, the music, the look, the voice – he was very cool to me. It still is cool when I watch his stuff today.

20. Adam Symes
Which gimmick match do you miss seeing the most in WWE?

Remember the Scramble matches? I loved those. Wish they would do that again instead of repetitive 4-Way or 5-Way matches. War Games was great in NXT so I hope that happens again.

21. Jason Richey
Will No Way Jose ever be main roster talent?

I don’t think there’s long-term viability for him. Kinda like Adam Rose in a lot of ways, who barely got going on the main roster. Might be best to put him in a tag team.

22. Ben Dombek
I know you mentioned Kelly and Beth as possible but do you see Trish or Lita being in the Rumble?

Names that are likely now are Molly Holly and Michelle McCool.

I’d like to see Trish or Lita but maybe Trish has been out of it too long and she may not want to. Lita is more likely of the two.

There are reports out there now that they may choose to fill the match with up to nine NXT women, so if that happens there won’t be a lot of women from the past.

23. Shay Smithers
I’ve seen online that apparently some people think Jim Cornette and Vince Russo’s long-lasting feud has all just been a work to just get people talking. Do you think there may be any truth to that, or no?

I don’t think so. Very different kind of people that just don’t get along. Corny takes it a bit too far, but I definitely like Corny more than Russo.

24. Brett Beatty
Do you think WWE will ever reach the ratings they had in the Attitude Era ever again?

I doubt it very much. People are watching TV less. That’s a factual thing that we can all look up. There are more scripted dramas on television, different outlets producing stuff like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu that didn’t exist 20 years ago. What people should focus on is WWE is getting paid about $170 mil per year from USA Network and that’s going to go up when they have their next deal next year, so things are going well.

What I hope is that attendance goes up, but they need a better product for that to happen.

25. In terms of in ring work what was your most difficult year to review? That one year you just really wanted to turn the channel but you’ve got your cantonites that wait on your work. And aside from remaining positive what was your liquor of choice to help you write?

I think in 1999 if I reviewed that it was a bad year, but lots of good action. Since I started doing the Raw Deal in 2009, I think 2009 was a poor year and 2010 too. Got better in 2011 once the best workers like Bryan and Punk were featured more.

Liquor of choice is usually Jack Daniels whiskey. Good stuff.

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That’s all for now. There were enough questions to break this up into two parts, so the second batch of questions and answers will go up in a day or two most likely.