TJR Q&A #48: Braun Strowman as Universal or WWE Champion, Ronda Rousey and More!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for WWE with Raw 25 taking place a few weeks ago followed by last week’s Royal Rumble, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I think most WWE fans seemed to enjoy it since the poll I put in that review saw people vote an average of 8 out of 10 as their score for the Rumble just like me. Moving forward, it’s time for WrestleMania season and some fans feel like we should know the WrestleMania card already. I’m not one of those people because I know we’ve got Raw’s Elimination Chamber on February 25 followed by Smackdown’s Fastlane a few weeks after that. There’s no reason for WWE to tell us the WrestleMania card now. Let’s see how things play out.

I’m sitting here waiting for the Super Bowl to begin in a few hours and figured it was a great time to post the latest Q&A, which I did on my Facebook page on Friday. I’ll post a bunch of them here and likely post another bunch of them on Monday as well. Let’s get to it.

1. Patrick DeGrace
What do you see Elias’ ceiling in the WWE? Thoroughly hated him in NXT but he’s starting to grow on me.

He’s doing alright, but I don’t think he does enough to separate himself from the others aside from the guitar gimmick. If you watch him in the ring, he’s so basic. The long black hair with the beard is the same look of Rollins and Reigns plus so many other guys. He needs more than just saying WWE means “Walk With Elias” in his promos. I’m all for seeing “new” faces getting pushes and moving up the ladder, but I’m not sure if he’s ever going to be a huge name. Can he win the IC or US Title depending on what show he’s on? Yeah probably. I don’t know if he’s going to get higher than that. I need to see more.

To his credit, like you said he’s better than he was in NXT and better what he was six months. Keep improving.

2. Rusty Rowe
With Ronda Rousey stepping on the toes of the women and stealing their spotlight at the Rumble, do you really think their salty reaction is legit or they happy about the exposure she is about to bring to the division?

I don’t think what they said is that bad, but they wanted more attention for all 30 women in the match that made history. I doubt many of them are mad at Rousey and if they are smart they realize her presence will boost everybody in the division. Ronda will have a lot of pressure on her and I think she’ll succeed.

To answer the question, there may be some saltiness at WWE for not putting over the 30 women enough and focusing on Ronda too much, but that’s being mad at WWE more than Ronda herself. She can’t control that. Hope that makes sense.

3. Ian Tomlinson
Why is Finn Balor getting underused? 50 odd minutes in the Rumble then loses clean to Cena on Raw, it’s like one step forward and three back for him.

I don’t have an answer other than size is probably the issue even though he’s in incredible shape for a guy that’s 5’9″ and has “sick abs bro” as my nephews would say. They should have stuck to the plan of Balor challenging Lesnar for the Uni Title at Royal Rumble because they could have had a match similar to Lesnar/Styles at Survivor Series, which was a lot better than the three-way they did at the Rumble. I think Balor is a strong candidate to be moved to Smackdown post WM where it’s more likely he would get a better chance to shine (like Sami Zayn is).

4. Mark Tallentire
What role do you see for Paige going forward? I assume she IS having to retire even though there has been no official word?

I don’t know. Being associated with Mandy and Sonya is fine for now. Maybe coaching at the Performance Center whenever she’s able to do it. I know she has some clothing thing she started now, so she has other interests.

5. EJ Acosta
With the Dudleys being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, do you see any predominantly ECW guys ever being put in?

Some of them. I think RVD is in for sure, Tommy Dreamer probably will be in, Sabu and Sandman are maybes, but they were certainly big stars. Taz(z) probably didn’t have a long enough run although who knows? There’s no real rule for the WWE Hall of Fame, so it’s tough answering any questions about it.

6. Connor James McClain
I know you mainly cover WWE, but do you see another exodus of NJPW talent coming to WWE before the end of the year/early 2019? More specifically, whom would it be?

Maybe Omega, but I think he’s so happy where he is. I’m not sure if The Young Bucks want to go since they are so busy bragging about how rich they are. You need to be more humble when you get to WWE. I don’t know who, though.

If I had to guess, I would say no. New Japan is growing especially in America and they want to keep growing, so I think the talent will be more willing to stay. Plus, NJPW guys work less dates than WWE and that’s a good thing for wrestlers.

7. John Mezzio
Will there be a women’s tag team title in the near future?

It was in my predictions for the year and not necessarily because I want it to happen, but I think they will do it. There’s a question of time, though. If you watch Smackdown most weeks they have maybe 4 matches in a show and I’m not sure how you could fit in Women’s Tag Team Titles. It would have to be both shows too.

The thought of more titles in WWE doesn’t excite me that much. Nine already on the main roster is enough.

8. Erin Somers
What would your ideal booking of Ronda Rousey be?? A one on one with Charlotte?? Or the mixed tag against the Helmsley McMahons???

Ronda is in the mixed tag with Rock (they hope) against Hunter and Stephy “Making History” McMahon. That’s fine for WM and a good way to introduce her. After that, a feud with Asuka or Charlotte makes a lot of sense.

9. Robert Porter II
What did Demolition do to not ever be mentioned by WWE?

They’re suing WWE in a concussion lawsuit and have ripped on the company for decades. So that’s why.

10. Tim Gaughan
In a bit of fantasy booking would 2008 suit wearing Jericho been a good heel to go up against 98/99 Austin?

Absolutely. I think that Jericho character is one of the best heels ever and would have been great against Austin. One of the tough things about that 1998/99 is they didn’t have great heels against Austin other than Vince. Sure, Taker, Kane, Foley, Rock and Hunter were fine as heels, but they weren’t as good as they were in their best runs in those roles.

11. John Adams
If Asuka goes to Smackdown to wrestle Charlotte for the Smackdowns Women’s Championship will Charlotte be the one to defeat her and finally get her first Wrestlemania moment or will Askuka win and remain undefeated?

I think that match is going to happen, it will be amazing and Asuka would win for sure and be a part of Smackdown. It makes sense because Rousey may stay on Raw, so it would keep Asuka and Rousey apart for a year or however long they want to keep them apart.

12. Brian Coats
If you were to fantasy book the Universal Title after Wrestlemania since Reigns should win it, who do you see knocking him off and how long do you think his title reign will last?

The normal time for the WM title winner to lose the title again is around SummerSlam, so that’s the safe guess. Then again, maybe WWE will decide to keep the title on Reigns for a year? I wouldn’t do it, but they might. I really think it should be Braun Strowman, but he’s in a face role now so it may not be him. It’s hard to know who it might be because there’s going to be roster changes post WM and the heels right now aren’t that big.

I guess you could say Owens, Zayn, Miz are candidates as heels, but it should be Strowman really.

13. Roderick Walker
What are some of your favorite Mickie James moments?

Some of my fave Mickie moments is when she beat Trish at WM22 and the build up to that match. Also winning the title against Beth on Raw was a great match. Seeing her back in WWE last year is one of my favorite things about her career just because I know how hard she worked to go back. Now they just have to use her better.

14. Andy Rif Sheriff
Do you prefer Macho Man as a face or a heel?

I think his heel work is generally better and he made everybody around him so much better. His feuds as a heel with Steamboat, Hogan and Warrior are all-time great stuff. If you look at his WCW stuff, his best rivalry there was as a heel that elevated DDP, so again it showed how great he was as the bad guy. His face stuff was fun too, but the heel stuff is what I like more.

15. Adam Symes
Which WWE main eventer is (or was) best at getting their opponent “over”?

I think all time I’d put Shawn Michaels (the 2000s version) and The Rock as two guys that were great at it. Jericho too. For current roster, probably AJ Styles and John Cena’s presence certainly helps.

16. Cody Nathaniel Linder
When do you think Braun Strowman will become WWE/Universal Champion?

I thought he should have won it last year. I hope he does this year. I’ll guess August of this year because it makes sense. If it doesn’t happen this year then maybe he wins the Royal Rumble next year and then gets it at WrestleMania 35 in 2019.

17. Cory Andrew Plaza
Is there anything at all that Impact can do to right the ship, or is it too late?

It’s too late. I think they have diehards, but the budget is so low right now that they let name talent go so they can bring in cheaper people. No wrestling show can succeed without draws.

The only thing they can really do is get a better TV contract on a station that more Americans are going to watch. Pop TV is pretty small just like Destination America was. When they were on Spike, which no longer exists, they had more visibility. It’s just not the same anymore.

18. Darrius Gaddy
What wrestler from the past currently not affiliated with WWE do you feel would be the biggest asset as a trainer in NXT?

Raven. He’s got a great mind and worked in the office before believe. I don’t see it happening, but his creativity would help. Others like Jake Roberts and Scott Hall would help too. If it was me, I’d have Roberts coaching promos.

19. Dale Schofield
Do you think we’re close to separate Women’s PPV’s?

Probably not, but I would be fine with it. Frankly, I think WWE should dump 205 Live and do an all women’s show instead. More people would watch it and there’s definitely more star power for the women’s division too.

20. Nate Kuhl
How soon do you see Ronda Rousey winning a title?

It will probably happen before the end of the year, but maybe they want to save it until WrestleMania next year. I don’t know. I just feel like they will do it in the second half of 2018.

21. Josh Warner
How do you like what they are doing the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament?

It’s okay, but not that interesting. The people on the roster just aren’t a big deal to the average fan. I think the division will fade away by the end of the year or next year, but I can see why WWE isn’t willing to just give up on it too.

22. Timothy Mercer
With EC3 being back in NXT using the EC3 name. What do you think the odds are that they bring in Dixie Carter to manage him? And do you think it could work?

I sure hope not. She’s a terrible performer. Keep her the fuck away from him. I would put the odds at about 1%. For those that don’t know, the story in TNA/Impact was that EC3 was Dixie’s nephew.

23. Geoff Landtbom
So I’ve been watching the Sami Zayn collection on the WWE Network and I’ve read the book. Both sources cite the 2 out of 3 falls match between Zayn and Cesaro in August 2013 as the match that got NXT a lot of new attention or buzz if you will. Would you agree with that assessment? I actually disagree because as great as that match was, most people did not have access to the product. How can you give a match that hardly anyone actually saw outside of Florida and Canada that kind of credit? I personally think that NXT Takeover Arrival deserves that kind of credit since people were starting to subscribe to the WWE Network after seeing so much buzz online about how great NXT was and wanted to see what it was all about. Is there another match you cite in the early years that got the ball rolling so to speak?

So many questions! That match was pretty great and it did get people excited about NXT, so they have a good point in that regard. I remember it well because they were given a lot of time to have a great match, the crowd was hot and it was very memorable. As NXT got into 2014, that’s when it really started to grow and gain more of a following from the fans.

The NXT Takeover Arrival show was big too. That’s more of an impact because it’s a whole show that was the first one on WWE Network, so of course that should get a lot of credit too. The 2014 NXT shows is what really turned the corner for them.

24. Damian McGrath
What do you think of Gargano maybe going to 205 and maybe not actually having that match with Ciampa on a Takeover?

I think the story with Gargano in NXT (despite the spoilers that are out there) is beating Ciampa in their feud and then probably getting the NXT Title (maybe from Adam Cole) around August. There’s no need to rush him to 205 Live although you could argue that Gargano’s on fire right now, so maybe the time is right. Could they do it? Guess so. Vince probably heard the crowd support for Gargano, so it’s certainly possible.

25. Nate Kuhl
Which title is most likely to change hands at WrestleMania?

I can think of three of them that are likely. I think Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title is a lock.

I think Nakamura is very likely going to beat AJ Styles for the WWE Title as well because they will probably move Styles to Raw post WM.

Assuming Asuka challenges Charlotte at WM (that’s the strong rumor) then Asuka wins that SD Women’s Title too.

26. Daniel Mount Why is creative so inconsistent with pushes? Look at someone like Baron Corbin. They’ve bailed at least twice on him.

Because it’s all at the whim of a 72-year-old man named Vince McMahon that changes his mind more than ever. I have aunts and uncles in their 70s plus my mom is the same age as Vince. None of them can decide on things either without changing their minds. Vince doesn’t think fans remember things and the writing has gotten worse.

27. Kevin Curtiss
Does an undefeated Asuka defend a women’s title against an undefeated Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35?

I don’t know if they can hold it off for that long, but if Asuka is on SD and Rousey is on Raw then they can do it. That would be a huge match and maybe it’ll happen. Hard to predict things 14 months away. It makes a lot of sense, though.

28. Jeroukoc Vasilis
Hey John, hope you had a good Rusev day. Do you think there’s going to be a winner in the match between KO and Zayn or are they gonna lead us into the already advertised 5-way match?

I think something controversial may happen and that Zayn is going to win because Styles vs. Zayn is an awesome match for a PPV. Owens can put over Nakamura at Fastlane.

The advertised 5-way thing was bullshit like I said when people “reported” it. No way WWE would advertise a match that many months in advance.

29. Damie Sinanan
Obvious that Reigns will be the champ come April 9th. Who do you see his first big programme with? Also what’s next for Brock?

I’m not sure about Reigns’ post WM feud. Not a lot of great heels right now. Perhaps WWE will move Jinder Mahal to Raw and have him there.

Brock feuding with Bobby Lashley post WM makes a lot of sense.

30. Bob Stephen
Hey John, what do you see for the guys who are out injured doing when they come back? Guys I mean are Ambrose, McIntyre, Jeff Hardy and Big Cass?

I think Ambrose should be a heel. The face act went as far as it could and he will be better as a heel.

McIntyre I’d have him skip past NXT and go straight to Raw or Smackdown as a top guy. There’s no reason why he can’t be.

Jeff Hardy maybe have him do his crazy Brother Nero character with brother Matt, but if they want to put him as a singles wrestler on his own seeing if he can be a top guy again then that’s fine too.

Big Cass give the heel run a try. He would do well with a manager or a valet.


That’s where I’ll end it for now. There may be another Q&A that goes up on Monday and I’ll definitely be back on Monday night for a live Raw Deal review.