Finally, the Question and Answer session is back on TJRWrestling! Sorry for that Rock ripoff, but I have watched way too much of the WWF 2000 shows. The reason I said “finally” is because it’s been about three months since the last Q&A. Originally, my plan for this column was to do it every other week. For a while, I stuck with that plan, but then I got busy doing other things. I’m definitely going to try to do two per month again. The questions come from my Facebook page as usual. Let’s get to it.
1. John Harper
I know it’s probably enough to write an article, but in as simple terms as possible, what do WWE have to do to try and change the perception of their product?
More exciting product. Work on developing actual characters instead of just basic heels and faces. Have the heels cheat more. Use managers. Pair more women up with male wrestlers as managers/love interest storylines. Get rid of the stupid “no wrestling during commercials” rule because it hurts the shows more than it helps. Only use authority figures when needed like in NXT. Plan for more long term storylines and work backwards. That’s just off the top of my head.
2. Shawn Collin
Who wins the Universal Title from Seth Rollins?
I think Samoa Joe would be a great choice. He is on Smackdown right now even though he’s a Raw guy. I just think it would be fun to see him as the champ with Paul Heyman having booking control as well. Drew McIntyre would be good too. They need to build up heels. They also need to think long term, so let’s say Ricochet will get that main event push for WrestleMania next year. They need to build a heel champion up for that to put him over the way they had Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston although that was not a short term plan. It worked, though.
I guess Brock Lesnar is a possibility too. I would prefer if they don’t do that, though.
3. Jonathan Carmona
Out of the current women in NXT who do you think has the brightest future on the Main Roster?
I really like Bianca Belair because of her look, her personality and she continues to improve in the ring. Mia Yim is very good. Io Shirai is awesome, but I worry that they won’t push her due to not being American. Candace LeRae-Gargano is solid all around. I just think she’s too basic. Kacy Catanzaro is a bit under the radar now, but she is such a great athlete that maybe one day she’ll break through.
Shayna Baszler is good at her role. The problem is she’s nearly 40 years old and I would rather invest in younger talent.
4. Shay Smithers
Which do you think is more likely, Harper and Sasha Banks staying in WWE, or jumping to AEW?
Sasha asked for time off for a break and was given it. Most of the reports about her have been bullshit. Her husband has worked backstage in WWE as a costume designer for years and I think he only took a week off after WM. She’s probably going to sign a new deal if she hasn’t already, so people that think she’s gone are reading bad websites. A lot of bad “reporters” out there. It’s why I don’t post every wrestling rumor on TJRWrestling because I try to avoid the garbage sites that exist.
Harper should be granted his release that he asked for. I think it’s lame that they don’t grant it.
5. Rob James Kojder
Do you think WWE returning to an edgier product is the right call?
I don’t think it’s going to be as significant as people think. It might help a bit, but as soon as one of their precious sponsors complains they’ll stop doing it. I guess we’ll see in the weeks and months ahead.
6.Connor James McClain
Thoughts on the ROH situation right now regarding attendance and where they’ll be in a year if this continues?
I’ll admit I don’t follow ROH that closely anymore, but I know they are down in attendance. It’s tough because of so many other companies and fans have more choices.
7. Andy Mullen
Thoughts on a king of the ring style tournament for nxt where the winner wins a spot on Smackdown/Raw?
They are doing a breakout tournament on NXT now that is a great idea. I think doing a KOTR style tourney to build somebody up for the main roster would be fine, but I don’t know if that person would get a significant push after. They should. I just can’t trust WWE booking NXT talents the right way.
8. Jarred Parrott
What current WWE superstar that isn’t featured on a weekly basis deserves and should get a major push?
Chad Gable is the first name that comes to mind. It’s ridiculous that they don’t use him. After that, there are names like Rusev, Harper, Shinsuke Nakamura, Apollo Crews, Aiden English has a lot of untapped potential and so many others.
9. Geoff Landtbom
Two part question. Do you think that Kurt Angle somewhat damaged his legacy by being in TNA so long? They have long looked like an inferior promotion and performing in front of 900 people on a soundstage is quite the come down from performing at WrestleMania in front of 60 or 70,000 people. I always felt like he had a better run in the WWE anyway.
Secondly, what were your feelings on the bizarre Karen/Angle/Jarrett saga? Do you feel as I have that Dixie Carter blatantly stole power from Jarrett by putting him on leave in the summer of 2009? It just seemed so petty and then she brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and they helped ruin the company. It just wasn’t good. It’s also quite bizarre to have a president suspend/place on leave her boss like that.
I don’t think he damaged his legacy. I think he did what was best for him. Being away from WWE when he was an admitted drug addict probably saved his life in 2006 and he went from wrestling 180 times in a year to maybe 60-80 times in TNA. What I think is he should have went back to WWE earlier in this decade around 2011 or so because he was in TNA in too long. He was born in 1968, so if he spent a few years in his early 40s in WWE wrestling on a part-time schedule he would have done well.
I think even if Kurt tried to get back into WWE earlier, it may have been difficult because he got arrested for DUI like five times. He got clean a few years ago and that opened the door for a return. He should be thankful he didn’t hurt anybody. His current wife saved his life by helping him go to rehab and wanting to get better for his kids.
They had to send Jarrett away because there was immense heat and they thought Kurt might legitimately hurt him. I’m pretty sure Kurt cheated on Karen for years (I know in WWE he “dated” Dawn Marie when they were on Smackdown together while he was married to Karen) and that continued in TNA as well. These days, Jeff and Kurt are on great terms. Kurt’s two oldest kids live with Jeff and Karen in Nashville, but they go to Pittsburgh to be with Kurt all the time. Dixie tried to get Heyman before Bischoff/Hogan, but he wanted ownership stake in the company and the Carter family refused. That’s why they got Bischoff/Hogan instead.
Also, I assume most of you know, but Jeff’s wife Jill died of cancer in the early 2000s. They have three daughters all with J as the first name. Karen is their stepmom and has been big in helping them get through the loss of their mom.
10. Van Wilhoite
Who do you think will be the next legit feud for the newly re-signed Gallows and Anderson?
Raw needs more face teams, but the obvious pick is The Usos. I guess they could have New Day or Heavy Machinery as well although they are Smackdown.
11. Joe Harris
How much longer do you think the IIconics will keep the titles? And who do you think will take it from them?
I think the next challengers are the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) will take the titles from them at SummerSlam. Seems like a good idea. I also think WWE never should have introduced the titles since they are ignored. There are too many titles on the main roster now, so that’s why some titles are barely featured at all.
12. Leo Carter
Who got the biggest pops? Austin in 1998 or Rock in 2000?
I would rank Austin ahead of everybody else. It was on another level and I feel like I am right in saying that because I was in the building for both guys, plus Hogan in his prime.
13. Roderick Walker
What are some of your favorite memories of Randy Savage?
Randy Savage was my first favorite wrestler and I’ll never forget his WWE Title win at WM4. That’s what hooked me as a fan for life. Turning heel on Hogan heading into WM5 was great too. Other stuff would be the WM3 match with Steamboat, the reunion with Elizabeth after WM7, Jake’s snake biting him in the arm because I was crying after it (lol), showing up in WCW because I had no idea he was going there and I remember the feud with DDP well. I wish he was still with us. His death hit me hard.
14. Eric Overfield
Who is your favorite “occupational” wrestler ever? People like Repo Man, The Goon, T.L. Hopper, etc.?
The Undertaker. I guess that’s an obvious choice. I liked Big Boss Man a lot in the early days as a security guard/cop. It was believable for that time period. There are a lot of them that were silly as we all know.
15. Matt Livingstone
Which WWE talent do you think deserve to win a world title in the next 1-2 years?
Drew McIntyre comes to mind right away. I think Ricochet is another one. I don’t care if he’s small. People will react to it. Others like Cesaro, Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn would make me happy too.
16. Ryan Mullins
Do you think WWE has a long term plan to use The Club this time?? I could see this leading to AJ vs. Ricochet for the Universal Title at WrestleMania if booked right (of course they wouldn’t feud straight through lol).
I think so. They just gave them huge raises, so if you are giving raises and paying talent a lot of money then it would be pretty stupid to not use them. They should be paired up with Styles long term and maybe Balor gets involved either as a friend or foe.
I am definitely in support of a long term Styles/Ricochet feud. I know they are feuding right now, but it’s certainly something that WWE could go back to down the road as well.
16. Francisco Andrade
Who will be the next nXt alumni to win a major title (Universal or WWE World)? Is Pete Dunne gonna be the first British to win the big title?
Ricochet I hope. Velveteen Dream would be a good choice too. Matt Riddle is a possibility as well. I’m not sure if Johnny Gargano or Adam Cole would get as big of a push on the main roster.
I hope Dunne does it. Dunne is awesome and I’d like to see him get a legit push. He’s still so young, but he could be doing way more in WWE today too.
17. Deryl Parnell Jr.
Do you see Bray Wyatt actually getting a push this time or buried again?
I mean he should get a push. He’s in his prime and has a lot of experience now. They have built this up with this cool new thing based on the Firefly Fun House, so I think they need to push him possibly to that Universal/WWE Title level again. If they “bury” him then that would be stupid.
18. Eric Hay
Who faces Aleister Black at Extreme Rules?
Perhaps Randy Orton, but they might want a lesser heel name. They will mention it on Smackdown apparently.
19. John C Hoddy
What are the best three feuds for Cesaro?
Aleister Black, Chad Gable (I just want him to be used more) and Seth Rollins – they are best friends.
20. Kenny Brophy
Do you think WWE should go back to brand exclusive PPVs?
Yeah. They never should have given up on them last year. Ticket sales were slow, so they stopped them and guess what? Tickets sales are slower this year.
21. Ashley Cruse
Who are two current main roster guys that are underutilized as singles, but could be super effective as a tag team (that have never been a team before)?
Chad Gable and Cesaro. That would be an awesome team. I think Apollo Crews and Shelton Benjamin would make a good team as well with the younger guy learning from the older guy. Two amazing athletes too.
22. John Mezzio
What is the best Daniel Bryan match of all time?
If I had to pick only from his WWE career then WrestleMania 35 with Kofi, Over the Limit 2012 with Punk, WM30 with Orton/Batista and TLC 2012 with Kane/Ryback vs. The Shield are some of my favorites. Also stuff like SummerSlam 2013 with Cena, the Royal Rumble 2014 match with Bray Wyatt and there are so many more.
Bryan is my favorite WWE wrestler this decade and he lost a few years of his career due to injury.
23. Tim Mirabitur Jr
When do you think The Undisputed Era will get called up?
Maybe next year after WrestleMania. There’s no rush. If The Undisputed Era gets called up then fans win bitch about them not being used right. I would even be okay if they kept them in NXT for years. I would be upset if they were used poorly on the main roster.
24. Joshua Sloan
What match will close out Extreme Rules?
Probably Seth and Becky winning their tag team match to retain their titles.
25. Giles Hart
Do you believe it’s possible to create a good tables match in current WWE? I feel that unless you go the Dudleys vs Hardy’s route where you’re willing to take big risks or have more than two participants, that the match rarely has a good flow to it to make it fast paced or interesting enough.
I don’t think tables matches are good ideas. I think they aren’t as interesting as a regular match due to the stipulation that you have to put somebody through a table. It’s just not that interesting. It fit the Dudleys because it was their gimmick.
26. Brandan Kelly
Any truths to the rumors that Ronda might be returning soon?
It’s a possibility. If she’s not pregnant then I expect her back at some point and she likes Heyman a lot, so there’s probably truth to it. Smackdown was where people expected her although with Heyman having more Raw influence, maybe she would be on both shows. She’s not pregnant as far as I know.
27. Andy Savieo
I’m high on Montez Ford. He’s got a good look, is crazy athletic and tons of charisma. Do you see him as a guy who could transition into a singles star?
Absolutely. He’s very charismatic and continues to improve in the ring. Future main event star if all goes well. His wife Bianca Belair has a bright future too.
28. Craig Ireland
I know it wasn’t planned but what are your thoughts on The Young Bucks in the “post-fight press conference” saying that the chair that cut Cody was gimmicked, should they try and maintain a sort of kayfabe…like MJF who stayed in full heel persona… Or just lift the veil on behind the scenes???
Yeah, I would try to maintain kayfabe as you said. Just say that’s between Spears and Cody. I think AEW needs to figure out where to draw the line. I understand being “smart” to fans, but it’s still pro wrestling and you don’t have to reveal everything just because they do post-show media sessions. I enjoy MJF staying in character the whole time. It’s entertaining. I don’t need to see a wrestler after a match talking about all the key spots and how they planned them. They should keep some stuff from the fans.
29. Chad Frimming
What’s the end game for Bray Wyatt and his currently silliness?
I hope it will lead to him becoming a main event fixture because he has all the tools to be in the main event scene for many years. I mean, he already was a main eventer. He’s only 32 years old, so he has a bright future.
The foursome of Rollins, Reigns, Ambrose and Wyatt are all around the same age, were all called up around the same time and all became World Champions. Ambrose is gone, but the other three are likely WWE guys for life, so to me, he’s a guy you need to keep pushing to get back to being a top guy.
30. Brian Coats
Which show do you think will benefit more from the changes coming in leadership?
I think Paul Heyman is better suited for the position than Eric Bischoff due to a number of reasons, mainly that Paul has been around WWE regularly for the past seven years and many years before that. Bischoff worked for WWE for about three years, but he had no creative control. Now he does, so I think it’s a tougher transition for Eric. Heyman is also known for being a more creative mind. Heyman is also ten years younger, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if Bischoff is out of touch in his mid-60s whereas Heyman likely has many great years left in him.
I went more in-depth on the Heyman/Bischoff subject in a new column posted last week as well, so check that out here in case you missed it.
Thanks to everybody that participated. Check out our Q&A archives here as well.