TJR Q&A #62: Braun Strowman’s Future in WWE (Smackdown time?), Plenty of AEW Questions, WrestleMania and More (35 Questions!)

It’s a WWE PPV weekend coming up with Elimination Chamber on Sunday, so it’s a pretty good time to bring back the Q&A. A lot of people have WrestleMania on their mind, but there’s still Elimination Chamber and Fastlane to go before we get there. As you’ll see below, there are plenty of AEW questions as well because the new promotion has got the wrestling world talking. The questions come from my Facebook page and they cover a variety of wrestling related topics. Let’s get right into it.

1. Andy Mullen
WrestleMania always has a multi man match for a title, usually a ladder match. Do you have any favorites for that match and the title defended?

I’d like to see the Smackdown Tag Team Titles defended in a 3 way or 4 way match. There are a lot of good teams there, so I think that would be good as the ladder match. A Raw IC Title ladder match with midcard guys would be fine too.

2. Adam Solombrino
Any prediction or news on Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania opponent, if he is still champion by then?

I honestly don’t know, but I expect him to hold the WWE Title until WrestleMania. After the Kevin Owens brief promo on Raw, I really like the idea of him going back to Smackdown (they can just say he was a free agent or whatever) and then have him go after Bryan’s WWE Title because it would be a fresh feud and KO would be in a new role as a face.

3. Jacob Cordell
What do you see for AEW in the future television-wise? Or with so many streaming options do they even need a traditional TV deal?

I think traditional TV deal that’s where you want to be. A lot of wrestling fans are going to want a show on a TV channel, not a streaming device. The rumors have been TBS or TNT. I saw some leaked schedule that they wouldn’t even start TV show until October, so there’s no rush on it.

4. David Harnick
What is Braun Strowman’s role going for WrestleMania and beyond?

I don’t know exactly, but a match with Drew McIntyre might be it. I’m sure WWE would consider it a big match although I think the fans wanted Strowman in a bigger role. I wouldn’t move him to SD and put him against Daniel Bryan. Since he hasn’t had a PPV match with Drew yet, I am leaning towards that.

I think WWE should move Strowman to Smackdown after WrestleMania when they do the Superstar Shake-up in April. He’s been on Raw for three years, he has main evented for most of that run, but they haven’t pushed him to win the Universal Title yet. Let’s change it up and see what he can do on Smackdown. A change of scenery may do him good.

Remember, we still have two PPVs before Mania. I feel like I say that a lot because it’s still mid-February and there’s plenty of time to go before we get to April 7 at WrestleMania. It’s not like WWE has to rush in announcing the card now.

5. Nate Kuhl
Do you expect any of the recent NXT call ups to be assigned to a brand before Wrestlemania?

I think WWE is just going to wait until the Superstar Shakeup on April 15/16, which is already advertised. I think it would be dumb to set them up for something right now and then move them in two months.

6. Geoff Landtbom
With Mustafa Ali on Smackdown Live and Drew Gulak on NXT is that a sign that 205 Live is near the end?

I am kinda surprised that it has lasted as long as it has because there’s no sign of growth for the brand. At least with NXT they do touring and it’s obviously popular with how well Takeover events do in terms of selling tickets. When they tried 205 Live events last year they failed miserably. I wonder how long it will last.

Nese vs. Dar was a great match on the show this week. Four stars out of five to me.

7. James Tascar Mayhew
Could the WWE women’s division support its own weekly brand?

I think so and it’s something WWE should consider especially with Women’s Tag Team Titles now. I think it would do a lot better than 205 Live, but it depends on who was on the show as well. I’m not sure if WWE has any interest in it or if they would just prefer the women to be part of Raw, SD and NXT.

I think with women’s wrestling you get to draw in fans that include the guys that appreciate good wrestling, the guys that just want to see hot women in a match and it’s going to be more appealing to that teenage girl out there that thinks maybe I want to do that one day.

8. Justin J Wingert
Do you think the Monday Night wars make a comeback? And Does AEW have a real chance long term? Do they instantly become the #2 wrestling promotion?

It’s way too early. They haven’t had a show yet. We need to see how their TV show is and the rumor is that won’t launch until October, so it’s tough to answer that. I know people are excited about it too and I am as well, but I think they are smart to take it slow without rushing anything.

9. Brandon Mcgill
Who’s your pick to face McMiz now that Jimmy Uso is headed to the penitentiary?

I think the Usos will still face them. I don’t see a reason to change. It’s a minor traffic incident. Jimmy was already released and went home. Probably New Day faces McMiz next.

10. John Mezzio
What is the worst title that the WWF/WWE ever created?

I would go with the Hardcore Title because it wasn’t as fun as some people might remember. I mean, there may have been a few moments that were cool, but for the most part the matches were boring. The Light Heavyweight Title also seemed pointless and it was only something that WWE did because the Cruiserweight division in WCW was so great.

11. Connor James McClain
Do we think within the next year AEW will attempt to do a show in a larger arena over 30,000 capacity? What is TJR’s view of what the promotion will bring as an alternate product to WWE as well as the lasting impact on Impact, ROH, and especially NJPW?

When you go over 20,000 seat buildings then you start looking at baseball and football stadiums. I know the demand is there right now, but I think it’s smart to not overdo it. I feel like they’ll do pretty well on TV if they start in October as rumored because there is strong support for the product. A lot of WWE fans are frustrated.

They can compete in terms of money for talent because they are talking to a lot of notable names in the business, so when you have that kind of money to throw around, you are legit.

With all of that said, it is still early and their first show is 3 months away, so we should be patient. In six months we’ll be able to judge it more, in a year we’ll know a lot more and so on.

The best thing about AEW, to me, is that it’s good for wrestlers to make more money because the guys/gals in WWE are going to get raises to stay since WWE management knows AEW has the money to match big deals and that’s a good thing for the talent.

12. Shane Blankenship
Do you feel that this new women’s revolution is hurting the men’s roster as far as limited tv time and match spots on pay per views?

It depends on who you ask. I know some guys that don’t really like women’s wrestling and have a tough time getting excited about Becky vs. Ronda vs. Charlotte even though a lot of people like it. I don’t think there’s a male wrestler right now in WWE that is a huge draw, so they are smart to feature the women. If there was a Rock or Austin or even Cena in his prime, they would feature that guy more.

13. Brandan Kelly
What pro wrestling storyline do you think was the worse of all time?

Katie Vick because it was fucking stupid and repulsive to watch especially as a main event program on Raw in late 2002. What the fuck were they thinking? It’s not like the storyline helped Kane at all. I guess it made Triple H more of a dirtbag heel, which was the goal, but it was a terrible idea. I’m sure we can all think of stupid shit too, but that was for the World Title. Awful.

14. Roderick Walker
What are some of your favorite February PPVs of all time?

For February PPVs, No Way Out 2001 really stands out. That’s like a 9 out of 10 show with Austin/Hunter and Rock/Angle as big matches.

15. Alan Burke
What would you do to make Sanity relevant?

It’s like anybody in WWE – just feature them and get some wins. I think they really need a storyline and should start randomly attack people backstage or something to show that they are frustrated with things in WWE. I wish they were doing more because it’s a good group of unique talents. I miss them in NXT.

I find it weird that WWE calls people up and then does nothing with them for months. Don’t call them up unless there’s a solid plan at least for 3-6 months to see how they do. Calling up talent to the main roster and doing nothing with them is silly. The creative team has like 20 writers (or more) under Vince McMahon. Somebody should be able to come up with a plan for good wrestlers like Sanity.

16. Chris Robertson
With the recent call ups from nxt, do you think more will be called up after Wrestlemania? Who would you like to see in those call ups?

They might call up some people, but the main roster has so many people already that it’s hard to say they need more bodies up there. If they aren’t going to use some of those wrestlers then it’s a waste of talent. I’m sure we can all name people that could be used better. That’s what happens when you have over 200 people under contract when counting developmental.

I think Ricochet should be on the main roster right after WM and give him a push. He’s a difference maker and somebody that could change things on Raw or SD if they push him the right. If he stays in NXT to win the NXT Title at some point, that’s fine I guess, but the main roster needs help.

Velveteen Dream would be good on the main roster. He’s a character and constantly improving in ring too. At only 23 years old, he’s got a bright future.

17. Dangelino Ochoa
With an impressive performance on SmackDown, do you see any way they give Kofi a title run or is he just filler for the Chamber? I’d love to see him with the title. He deserves it, imo.

I don’t see him winning the WWE Title on Sunday, but if they book him well in the match that would be cool. I’d be surprised if Daniel Bryan didn’t retain the WWE Title. Kofi and the New Day guys could provide a nice boost as singles wrestlers without splitting the group up. They can support eachother in different things and still remain a group.

If Kofi wins WWE or Universal Title one day that would be great, but he’s had an awesome career either way.

18. Ryan Mullins
Where is Bray Wyatt?

It was revealed this week that he had some injury, but I don’t know what it is. I’m not sure what’s going on. I thought he would be back at the Royal Rumble, but it’s a no on that. Hopefully he’s back in action soon, perhaps as soon as Sunday.

What’s interesting is his girlfriend Jojo hasn’t been the ring announcer on Raw for like two months (or maybe less). I don’t know what’s going on there.

I wish I had a better answer for this one. Sorry. I think WWE does a poor job on updating the status of wrestlers that are inactive, but they do that because they want to set up surprises too.

19. Charlie Pérez
If it was up to you, would you remove Charlotte and replace her with Becky for the Raw’s Women’s Title?

The plan is Ronda vs. Becky vs. Charlotte and I like that plan, so I hope they stick with it. Charlotte deserves it.

20. Daniel Hill
Although the McMahons promised things would change a few weeks ago in terms of the show (authority) do you not feel they’ve went straight back to it??

They lie. Vince is a promoter. Promoters lie lol. They don’t know how to change. The format has been the same for like 20 years with the opening promo and the way they set up matches after a commercial break.

I think the change they really meant was no more on camera GM and it’s just the McMahons running things, which is not a big deal. It was just a public statement done to appease fans that were sick of Corbin. In the end, it’s the same WWE product we have known for decades.

21. Richard E. Fisher II
With Charlotte Flair now officially in the Raw Women’s Championship match… who do you see Asuka facing at WrestleMania? I really don’t see any smack down women who make sense. Does someone from raw come over and challenge? Maybe Ember Moon if she is healed.

I feel like it will be a multi-women match with some SD women and some Raw women, but I don’t know who or what. That’s just a guess.

Ember Moon is probably out until June or July after elbow surgery. It’s about six months on the shelf with that injury.

22. Daniel Lerma
If Lars Sullivan doesn’t get better, who do you see facing Cena at Mania? Or what kind of role do you see him doing?

Maybe Cena won’t have a match. He’s a busy guy, so perhaps WWE will not even book him in a match, but instead use him for a legends segment. They could say he’s the “host” of the show too, which is something they have done in the past.

Other possibilities are guys like Drew McIntyre or Elias. I don’t think Elias is that great in the ring, but a win over Cena would help a lot.

23. Frank Shattuck
Do you think WWE should introduce a brand new match type? The last good one was the Elimination Chamber. I personally would like something fresh. For example, I’ve always been a fan of some of the TNA gimmick matches like King Of the Mountain or their cage matches (the dome shaped ones). Do you have an idea for a new match type?

Yeah they should. I liked the Scramble Match and hate that they stopped doing it. Money in the Bank was after Elimination Chamber, so I’d say MITB was the last good one. I can’t really think of anything new they can do. Vince the creative genius should have some ideas!

24. Robert Lee Thomas
Are we going in the direction to get the attitude era back? With Nia entering the Rumble, more personal feuds like The Riot Squad and Nattys Dad, more cussing. Are we close to blood, head shots with chairs?

I don’t think so. Being a bit edgier is fine because it’s cable television, but I doubt they push things too far. Sponsors would get mad.

I think blood is out because people worry about getting blood on somebody. Head shots with chairs is a dumb idea with all the knowledge we have about concussions. We didn’t know as much 20 years ago. No more chairs to the head.

25. Jeremy Barnes
Which PPV name do you wish they bring back?

Great American Bash. I’m not even American, but I think it’s an awesome name for a June or July PPV. It has a party atmosphere to it.

I think Halloween Havoc and Starrcade are good. I know Starrcade is a live event now, but I would use it as the December PPV.

26. Rob Brown
Maybe it’s just sentimentality….but I hate it when guys like Big Show and Mark Henry just fade away. The Ric Flair retirement angle at Mania with Shawn Michaels was perfect. With Kurt Angle’s career looking to wind down, how would you have him finish up his career? Ideally, I’d like it to be vs Brock. But I’m not sure how practical that is.

I think Angle should be in a match and put somebody over. I don’t know who that guy is, but I’m sure Kurt will have no problem doing the job and then WWE can treat is a big moment for him.

Sometimes people fade away. That’s life and wrestling. Your point is good in that WWE should do a better job in giving send-offs to some guys.

27. Stephen Hooker
What should WWE do with EC3?

Book him as a cocky heel. I would give him Drake Maverick as a manager especially because they are close friends and worked so well together in TNA days. I would let EC3 talk more as well even with Maverick by his side. The manager is there to cheat during matches and help get heat.

28. Matt Livingstone
Q&A: Who are your early guesses on who wins the men’s and women’s MITB this year?

Already? Haha. I didn’t pick Strowman or Bliss last year. I’ll go with Drew McIntyre or better yet, my guy Sami Zayn. I’d love that.

For women, maybe Kairi Sane. Call her up and push her hard. She’s awesome. Sasha Banks is another choice just to give her a boost as a singles wrestler again.

29. Alexander Podgorski
If Dr. Death Steve Williams didn’t get destroyed in that awful Brawl for All tournament, where do you think his career would’ve gone in WWE? And same for Vader. If he hadn’t had backstage problems with HBK, do you think his career would’ve been different?

I listened to a Bruce Prichard podcast recently where they covered it and the plan really was what was reported at the time – they wanted him to be a top heel opponent for Steve Austin. It didn’t happen because of injuries from Tough Enough, which was really something that the company never should have done but Russo thought it was cool (he hated JBL and wanted to shut him up I guess) and that’s what happened.

Vader should have been a main event heel that was a WWE Champion with a title reign for a few months, but HBK bitched about him, so that was ended. They booked him so well for like 8 months in 1996 and then it went off the rails after SummerSlam.

Vader’s WWE run was shitty, but then he went to Japan in the early 2000s and was having great matches again in his early to mid 40s. I don’t know if you ever watched that stuff, but it’s worth checking out. Love Vader.

30. Caleb Ostrander
Best wrestling autobiography you’ve ever read?

I think Mick Foley’s first one is my favorite because of how much he revealed, how funny it was and how it made it feel like we got to know him. The other Foley books are great too.

I would also include the Jericho books (I have read all 4) with my favorite being the second one that covered his first WWE run. The Daniel Bryan book is my favorite one this decade.

The Bret Hart book is one of my favorites. It’s long and detailed, but I like the stories. I don’t think he’s bitter either.

I’ve read so many wrestling books. I’ve enjoyed most. I try to avoid the fiction ones authored by that Hulk Hogan guy, brother.

31. Daniel Mount
Do you think WWE or AEW will make a run at Tessa Blanchard? I think she’s the best female not under contract with WWE.

She has a deal with Impact for like 2 years, maybe 3, so when that is up she’ll probably leave and go to one of those companies. That Impact deal allows her to work for WOW too.

She would have been in WWE, but apparently, she had a cocky attitude they didn’t like. She’s young, so she’ll learn.

32. Giles Hart
Joking about his power playing and burying talent aside, how do you seriously rate Paul Hunter Hurst McMahon Helmsley Levesque overall as a talent during his heyday and now? Say using a WWE/F Top 10 as an aid. I ask as he’s the only early 90s guy still wrestling in WWE often enough to be considered a major storyline opponent.

He was pretty great. I think as a heel, he is arguably the best in-ring heel in WWE history. It helped that he had a main event run as long as anybody (1999 to 2011 or so) and I think his heel work was very good. I mean if you read my 2000 WWF reviews, I praise him all the time and he was performing at such a high level.

What’s funny is a whole new generation of fans are going to grow up not knowing him as a wrestler and as the guy that created NXT, which is cool because it shows how he has evolved. That’s what Evolution is about lol.

33. Kenny Brophy
Are you surprised WWE has kept Orton & Styles apart as long as they have? I don’t recall them having even a singles match together I could be wrong of course.

Yeah, I don’t believe they have and it’s almost three years since the roster split of 2016 or at least 2.5 years. I think they did it on purpose to make their match at this year’s WrestleMania (that’s the plan) a big deal. I can see something happen where Styles eliminates Orton at Elimination Chamber, then Orton hits a cheap RKO and AJ gets pinned right after that.

34. Shay Smithers
Who do you think is the funniest performer(s) in WWE currently? Can include someone from NXT.

There’s not enough good comedy in WWE anymore. I wish they had better comedy writers. R-Truth is one of the funniest in WWE today. There’s nobody as funny as Santino was though.

35. Liam Loftus
What’s your view on Mr. James E Cornette?

Jim Cornette awesome and a bit crazy, but that’s okay. I think he’s too set in his ways sometimes and probably needs to adapt to the present day a bit better. I enjoy his rants from time to time. He’s got a great perspective on wrestling as a manager, booker, owner of a promotion and so on. Sometimes he holds onto grudges for too long, though, so maybe he needs to loosen up a bit. That’s part of his appeal too.


Thanks for the questions. That’s all of them from this batch. I’ll do it again in a few weeks. Check out our Q&A archives here as well.