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TJR Q&A #8: WWE Stables, NXT Growth, Wrestling Books & More! (40+ Questions!)

The weekend means it’s time for another Q&A session here on TJRWrestling.net. The way it works is I asked for questions on my Facebook page, I select the ones that I think are interesting and offer up my answers in a quick manner. There are 41 questions in here, so let’s get to it.

1. Nathan Hubbard
What’s your thoughts on the stables being formed left and right?

I think it’s an easy way to tell stories, but if you overdo them then you’re hurting the product. They mean less if there are more of them. Another thing that bugged me is they formed the League of Nations two weeks ago, yet Sheamus’ buddies were nowhere to be found on the main event segment of Raw. So they’re a group that isn’t united? Weird.

2. Steven Bari
Last year at this time NXT had the Revolution event and it really set the wheels in motion for expanding the brand. This week the “developmental” brand is touring the UK and has sold out Wembely. How much bigger do you think NXT could be by December 2016?

I think they will continue to grow the brand with more touring dates outside the state of Florida with shows in arenas that are 5,000 people or so, but not the 10,000 seat buildings unless it’s a big market. It wouldn’t shock me if WWE did a “NXT invasion” angle in 2016. They need to try something big and those kinds of things can draw a lot of interest.

3. Kelsey Graham
What do you think hurts the product more? 50/50 booking or stop and start pushes?

I think they are both under the same umbrella. The 50/50 booking sucks. A guy like Bray Wyatt can be so great if they unleash him as a top heel, but not getting by the likes of Reigns and Taker/Kane hurts him. So he beats “Team ECW” on Sunday. Fans won’t care. They don’t see them as stars. The lack of true, top heels is hurting so much right now.

4. Kevin C Staed
Who would you like to see come into nxt this next year and really make a huge impact?

Jay Lethal from ROH or Nakamura from NJPW. AJ Styles would be cool too and maybe he’d be more willing to do it. I’d love to see the Young Bucks there too, but they are in ROH until late 2016 at least. I don’t know that they need to bring in that many “big names” though. The roster is pretty awesome.

5. Jeff Goodridge
Is TNA’s new deal worth anything? Is this going to save them? Where does TNA end up in a year or two?

I don’t think they are getting paid anything, but they are in international deals. I think it will keep them afloat. I just don’t see them growing at all or anything significant. They can keep on being what they are, but they are probably never going to grow unless they get some new owner and a better TV deal. If it was me I would have changed the name five years ago.

6. Brigid Martinez
What are your thoughts on Ambrose? I know I’m obviously biased, but he’s so under used. I can’t help but feel like he is just being used to prop up Reigns and as a filler for the IC belt storyline (that he won’t win) he had a great 2012-2013, how would you proceed with him if you could?

He should be so much bigger. I agree that he’s underused. Based on crowd reactions and things like that, they should have had him win the Royal Rumble in 2015 with Reigns turning heel soon after. Then they could have turned Reigns into a face by this point. However, Ambrose doesn’t have the look that WWE likes or the style that they prefer. I also think he could be one of the best performers if he was a heel. I often refer to CM Punk’s heel turn in 2009 and how he became a bigger star when that happened. It would happen if they turned Ambrose too.

7. Birdman Platanitis
Vaudevillains next call up? Do you think they would go over with their current theme?

I would call them up in early 2016. Bayley might be the next one, but they are right there too. I would do some vignettes with them to explain what their gimmick is and bring them in as heels. Problem is they might be laughed at if they are booked to be losers, so it has to be booked right.

8. Frank Doodle Willis
With all the injuries, do Samoa Joe and James Storm have a chance to get called up to the main roster, even though they are most known for their work outside WWE?

I would do it if there’s a role for them. Don’t do it just to have them there and sit them on the main roster. If you bring Joe in to challenge Cena right away (mention how they trained together 15 years ago in California) then that’s great. But if you bring them in to just be midcarders then there’s no point. I would look to team up Storm with somebody.

9. Sasha Jasper
Is it possible that WWE will ever let Luke Harper have a real major singles run? I felt they could have done more with his IC title reign.

Harper’s a great performer that is so skilled in the ring, but I don’t know if WWE is ever going to give him a run in singles. He’s in his mid-30s and is serviceable in his role, but I don’t think WWE is ever going to feel the need to push him in singles that much. Should they based on his talent? Sure. I just think they’ll focus on younger guys or guys with better looks.

10. Shay Smithers
What are some of the biggest dream matches you want to see happen in wrestling right now? People from other promotions like ROH and Lucha Underground can be included too if so.

The top NJPW guys like Okada/Tanahashi/Nakamura against the likes of Zayn, Bryan, Cesaro, Owens would be fun. I know some of those matches have happened, but I want to see it in WWE. Also stuff like Jay Lethal vs. Zayn would be a lot of fun. Also Prince Puma (Richochet) against the best WWE guys would be outstanding.

11. Matthew Toy
Do you feel that pro wrestling is becoming a part of “nerd culture”? I was thinking about that when I went to Raw a couple weeks ago seeing how the fans are a lot different than they were during the Attitude Era.

I think it always has been nerd culture. I really don’t think of myself as a “nerd” although I watch and write about wrestling so much that I guess I am in that regard. I don’t like sci-fi shows, Star Trek, Star Wars and things like that. I’m definitely more of a jock that watches and plays every sport I can. Wrestling is nerdy because it’s scripted entertainment, but I think we all got into it as kids because of the sport aspect – it was real to us! So I think it’s always been nerd culture in that regard.

12. Lewis Davison
Is this the worst slump WWE has been in since 1996? How would you solve the problems in WWE right now?

I think the on screen product on Raw especially in 2009 was so bad. Much worse than today. That HHH/Orton feud was awful. The guest hosts every week were bad. Smackdown was really good in that year, though. They need to simplify things in terms of letting wrestlers cut more natural promos instead of the overly scripted stuff and push the people the fans actually cheer for – not the ones Vince wants.

john cena seth rollins face

13. Joseph D Graves
My pick for superstar of the year is Seth Rollins. Who would your pick be?

I’m still thinking about it. Probably him or Cena. Both missed about two months, but it’s probably one of them. I’ll save the official pick until my awards column in a few weeks.

14. Mike Anderson
Do you see Sami Zayn or Finn Balor being WWE Champion at some point?

I hope so. Based on their talent they deserve it. Whether they are “over” enough to get management to put them over that way, I don’t know. I think Zayn is more likely because he’s such a tremendous all around performer.

15. JT Adams
Should they actually have an hour segment on raw with the NXT talent? Do you agree with HHH that bringing guys up like Finn Balor up to soon just because of all the top injuries just to not have anything for them when there current stars return from injury?

I’d love it if an hour of Raw was dedicated to NXT. I just don’t think USA Network would agree to it because they are paying WWE nearly $200 million per year and they’re going to want more of the big names instead of the NXT names. It’s their call and I doubt WWE is going to convince them to change it.

16. Scott Jay Mengedoht
Why do you think the Wyatt are so booked badly? They never win any feud but the universe are on board with them for the most part that makes no sense to lose all the time.

It’s the bad 50/50 booking we talk about all the time. They just don’t want to get behind them as much as they should. Here’s hoping Bray and his buddies have a dominant showing in the Royal Rumble.

17. Eric Hay
Does Vince McMahon feel like he’s in a bad spot with the Daniel Bryan situation? With his health problems the last two years and his style, do you think that it’s a situation of risking his life as well as his company?

Yeah they are so worried about a guy losing his career because of some major in-ring accident. There are several concussion lawsuits, so WWE will do what they can to protect themselves. I think they should let him wrestle and don’t put him on live events for several months to ease him back into it.

18. Jason Martin
I was planning on going to Wrestlemania but quickly changed my mind once I saw what WWE was planning on having as the card. Do you think they can put together a card that is worth flying from New Jersey to Texas and one worth spending thousands of dollars on?

We don’t know for sure what’s on the card right now. I don’t think the card will be that great, but I also skipped out on WM31 due to lack of interest and it was a better show than I thought. I’ll probably go to WM32, but my interest level isn’t that high. That could change, though. I was more excited when I went for WM28 (for The Rock) and WM30 (for Daniel Bryan).

19. Matt Davis
As a Canadian, do you see Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens ever being big draws in the WWE? Should they wrestle at Wrestlemania this year? Will they ever main event a Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship? Do you ever see them becoming a tag team and winning tag team gold in the WWE? I think they deserve a run, even if a week. Just so they can say they did it (like The Rockers).

They should have a one on one singles at WrestleMania at WM32 absolutely. Easy story to tell and they can have a great match. I think Zayn might main event a WM one day. He’s such a good overall performer that has improved in promos so much in the last two years. He’s always been great in the ring and will be great for the rest of his career. Owens may have it tougher because of his look and how WWE is fixated on that. They’ll probably be a tag team at some point when Owens is a face, yeah. That will be fun.

20. Simon Daniel
Do you think Donald Trump should be removed from the WWE Hall of Fame?

No. Why? Because of stupid comments? Some people like those comments. I’m not saying I do. Just saying that some people out there like it and it’s just an opinion. Ultimate Warrior said way worse things in his life specifically about gay people and they built a statue for him. Hall of Fame isn’t an actual place or real thing anyway. Plus, Vince McMahon is a Republican like Trump is. I doubt he differs too much with Trump’s opinions.

21. Ben DarthYoda Dombek
When Vince McMahon dies do they give him a full tribute show? I find the idea of watching a show full of matches where he gets beat up (basically every Vince match) kind of depressing.

I think they would run tribute shows for him for sure. With that said, he’ll probably live to 100 and I doubt I’ll be watching in my 60s although you never know.

22. Aj Giacobbe
What should WWE do with The Miz? Push him more or just cut him loose?

There’s no reason to cut him loose. I don’t see him as a main eventer ever again, but he has value as a midcarder or in a tag team. With the way WWE books him now, it’s hard to believe he main evented WrestleMania four years ago.

23. Steven Ross
It’s probably been asked before and I’ve missed it but have you seen much of ICW in Scotland or there documentaries and if so what were your thoughts?

I’ve seen clips of stuff as well as read a lot. Probably the best and most successful indy out there. Good job by them. I know they had a great Drew Galloway/Grado feud that ended in a big title change recently. Wish I had more time to watch that stuff.

24. Daniel Mount
Is ROH or TNA the real number two behind WWE?

I think ROH is in terms of running live events, having bigger crowds and better shows. I think TNA makes more of international TV deals while ROH doesn’t have that much in that regard. So it depends on how you compare them. I watch ROH regularly, but don’t really watch TNA. I think ROH is number two now although I’m sure TNA people think they are due to their reach worldwide.

25. Sohail Aarif
Which do you prefer and why: Heel or Face?

Heels are way more fun. They get to be creative, usually get more promo time and are more entertaining. Faces are often times booked to be like idiots, so they aren’t a entertaining. Obviously some in the past like Steve Austin and The Rock were, but in today’s era it’s a lot harder.

26. Alex Jackson
Who from ROH that isn’t Jay Lethal or the Briscoes do you think will likely come to WWE?

I think Adam Cole is a lock to be in WWE within a year or two. Michael Elgin will probably be there too. Moose in the next two or three years is probably a lock. Kyle O’Reilly seems likely as well. All of them would have different names in WWE since that’s what they do.

27. Marcus Bruner
I’ve never been to Wrestlemania. But since it’s 15 minutes from my house, this is finally the year. With so many things going on during the week, what would you recommend going to or avoiding?

I think going to the NXT event on the Friday should be a priority. Any of the ROH shows are good too. Wrestlecon is fun if you have money and want to meet legends. Plus I’ll probably be working there at Mickie James’ table so come say hi to me. I think WWE Axxess is worth checking out too. It’s about $50 and you get a ticket that’s good for four hours, so you can check out stuff as well as get photos/autographs.

28. Roderick Walker
What are some of your favorite ppvs from this decade so far?

For PPVs this decade Money in the Bank 2011, SummerSlam 2013, Payback 2013, WM28, WM30 – those ones come to mind.

29. Cory Andrew Bacon
What are your thoughts on Steve Blackman? If it weren’t for his neck injury, do you think he could’ve ever been used in a high-caliber role?

I think he was just a midcarder that was fine for the role he was in, but just didn’t have the personality to be more. You can’t expect everybody to be a top guy. He had credibility as a badass. Probably could have done more in a tag team with Shamrock instead of a comedy team with Snow.

30. Rick Bulow
Do you think the League of Nations would welcome Kevin Owens into the fold? And if that happens, do you think Ryback would join Reigns and Company? After all, Ryback has beef with Rusev.

I don’t want Owens in that group. He’s better as a loner that is out for himself. Don’t see Ryback fitting in with the face group because it would be overdoing it. Plus, Ryback has been losing way too often of late and is losing steam fast.

31. Ed Luis Valentin
I think we can all agree that, based on her accomplishments, Chyna absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But do you think it’ll ever actually happen? If so, when?

I don’t think it’ll happen because of public claims she has made about Triple H hitting her (which Hunter has denied) and also threats towards Stephanie. Those were years ago, but I don’t see how or why WWE would be comfortable having her on their shows. Plus, willingly doing adult films isn’t something WWE likes either. She deserves it, but it’s probably not happening.

32. Joe Sondag
Between this year, 2014, ’13, 12 & ’11 which would you consider the worst year for WWE and the best year?

I think 2015 has been the worst of the last five years. I’d say 2011 and 2012 are the best of that group, then 2014 and then 2013. So ranking like this:
2011
2012
2014
2013
2015
I’d rank 2010 and 2009 below them all too if we’re talking about my Raw Deal era.

33. Chris Bush
With all these injuries, do you think 2016 will be the rise of the midcarder??

Yes in the sense that more midcarders will get more of a shot, but I also think WWE may be more likely to put the WWE Title on some reliable names. I think guys like Brock Lesnar and/or John Cena will win the WWE Title next year because they are proven draws and Vince McMahon likes going to his reliable guys. I don’t know if they will have any first time WWE Champions next year.

34. Austin Muller
I live in Boston but it seems every live event I attend is a let down. Do you think TLC is going to be worth going to?

I think it’s an average and predictable show, but everybody will work hard and should have some memorable moments in matches. I just don’t think it’ll be that special.

35. Ross McDonnell
If you could bring back a legend to feud with a top star who would they be (legend and top star)?

Without a doubt Kurt Angle. He has some great matches left in him. As a face put him against Owens. As a heel put him against Bryan or Zayn.

shawn michaels elbow triple h

36. John Czech
How different do you think Shawn Michaels career might have been had he not injured his back?

I think the most significant thing in his life was falling on hard times in 2000/2001 after his son was born and being so out of it that he had to get help. Then he “found God” and it changed him. He became more of a humble man. His wife really helped to change his life. It’s weird to say that an injury made his life better, but in his case it’s true.

He probably needed that four year break just because of the injuries mounting up and the stress of the business. I think his 2002 to 2010 run was better than the first part of his career even though that was great too. My fave wrestler ever.

37. Jake Pumfleet
What do you think of a Hardy (Jeff) return?

I think he’s an outstanding performer that will probably be back in WWE next year or the year after. He might need another leg surgery, though, so he may not be in the ring for a while.

38. Greg Holman
Who should have been a top star but somehow failed, and vice versa, who didn’t deserve it?

I think Owen Hart should have been a bigger star. He didn’t play the political games like others, though, and I wish he said no to their stupid stunt that ended his life. A more recent name would be Wade Barrett. Should have been a World Champ in 2011.

I don’t think Kevin Nash should have been as big as he was, but good for him. Being tall helps. Same with Sid. With that said, they worked hard despite not being mobile guys and having that look that they did certainly helped.

39. Keith Learmonth
Had Eddie Guerrero not died, unfortunately, so young, how do you imagine the rest of his career would’ve played out?

He was 38 years old when he died in 2005, so I doubt he would have wrestled for more than a few years. Maybe retired in 2008 or 2009. Then he would have likely had some retirement job in WWE as an agent that could help people with promos or matches. He probably would have had a proper feud with HBK that would have been amazing too. It was rumored for 2006.

40. Eric Overfield
I’ve been reading Lion’s Pride lately, I think it’s pretty good so far. What are some really good examples and really bad examples of other wrestling books?

Best books: Bret Hart, any Foley book, any Jericho book and Regal’s book I liked a lot. Daniel Bryan’s book that came out recently is pretty awesome too.

Worst books: Hulk Hogan’s because he lies so much. Also that Rock book was awful that was mostly in character and about 15 years ago.

41. Giles Hart
Do you think Wrestlemania 32 will struggle to be as good or bring in as much revenue as WWE wants it to be because of 1) Them focusing on filling up the stadium, might make them focus on involving too much stuff that clutters up the show and 2) now because of major stars having injuries or not being available(Sting, Rollins, Orton, The Rock, Daniel Bryan, Rhonda Rousey etc.)?

I think it’ll make a lot of money and won’t be hurt too bad by the guy that are absent from the show. The name of the event sells itself in a lot of ways. The talent on the show doesn’t matter as much as it used to with so many people having the network now. Obviously if The Rock was in a match it would be a big deal, but I think they’ll do just fine without him too.

That’s all for this week. I’m probably going to make it a regular feature towards the end of the week although if you read my stuff regularly you know I change my mind often.

If you have a question for a future Q&A, just put it in the comments below. I’ll be back on Monday morning with the WWE TLC recap.