From Across The Pond: WWE & TNA Q&A
It’s that time again. Yup, thanks to my self-imposed hiatus from all things WWE and TNA, I wanted to write a column, but had no idea what to write about. That’s where you fine people came in! You supplied the questions and I’m set to fire through them with my answer gun.
I got plenty of questions from Facebook and Twitter, as well as by e-mail. Some of them are serious, some of them are more sarcastic. You should be able to tell them apart, but be warned! This article’s also pretty long. You might need to sit back with a coffee, and take some time to immerse yourself in this Q&A special! Without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Kevin Morrison: “How would you have booked the Invasion angle if HHH had remained healthy and not done a Kevin Nash?”
That’s probably one of the most common questions that goes around – what if HHH hadn’t have been injured when they did the Invasion angle?
I honestly don’t think WWF/E missed him when he wasn’t there, because they had enough star power to cope without him. You’ve got to remember that, at that time, WWF/E had the likes of Austin, Angle, Rock, Taker, Kane, Jericho, The Dudleys, Edge, Christian, The Hardyz etc who all played integral parts in telling the story.
I don’t think HHH would’ve had a big impact on the Invasion, but since we’re talking purely in fantasy terms, in an ideal world, I’d have tried everything in my power to get Hall, Nash and Hogan in as the nWo, and had HHH, X-Pac and the Outlaws go up against them.
nWo vs DX would’ve been great to watch from an entertainment standpoint, but not necessarily in terms of match quality. You could’ve easily got 3-4 months’ worth of material out of that.
I actually think WWF/E would’ve put HHH in Jericho’s spot in the Survivor Series match when it was WWF vs WCW. Again though, I’d have done everything in my power to get the nWo and Sting involved in that main-event. They were WCW’s biggest stars and with the greatest of respect to Booker T and DDP, they weren’t.
Tom Young: “1. Do you think Brock Lesnar is the right person to challenge the Streak this year? 2. Should WWE use WM30 as a platform to establish the stars of the next generation i.e. have Bray Wyatt go over John Cena and let The Shield steal the show in a triple-threat for the US Championship?”
Two great questions.
First, as far as Lesnar being the right person to challenge the Streak, it depends what you mean by “the right person”. In terms of star power, then yes. Without question. Whenever Lesnar appears, you get the impression that you’re watching a true superstar. Not a WWE superstar. But a superstar. The whole feel of the building is different when you watch Lesnar, so in terms of name value, yes.
But…in terms of match quality, I fear it’ll be brutal and unpleasant to watch. Not that the match will be bad, because it won’t. It’s just that I don’t think Taker will be able to handle much of Lesnar’s offense. Not at this stage of his career.
Right now, Lesnar is the only option as far as I’m concerned. He’s the only one credible enough to challenge the Streak, other than Cena.
I completely agree with your second question/statement. I’ve said privately, and publicly, that WWE should use WM30 as their moment to wipe the slate clean and use legends to help to get the younger guys over.
However…the young guys don’t always have to go over to get over. If you make the match competitive, they can look good, even in defeat, and be taken seriously if the WWE do something with them after the big match.
There’s no point in someone like Bray Wyatt beating John Cena if Wyatt’s next PPV match is against someone who’s essentially a jobber. If he gets the rub of beating Cena, they have to push him as, at the very least, an upper mid-card guy. Basically, don’t do what they did with Damien Sandow. He had a competitive match to Cena, lost and he’s done nothing since.
In my mind, WWE CANNOT continue to use older guys just to sell WrestleMania to people. There’s going to come a point when they don’t have these older guys anymore, and they’ll be screwed.
WM30 is the perfect place for WWE to show us who they think will be the guys to carry the company in 5 years’ time, and present them as stars. Whether that’s Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan or whoever, they need to pick 3-4 guys, and most importantly, stick with them.
Daniel Barker: “Do you believe the increasing influence independent wrestling has had on mainstream promotions is a sign that the market may once again open up with new competitors fighting for significant market share?”
If I’ve understood your question, then in a word, no.
WWE are so far ahead of the game and there’s just no way for any other company to give them any serious competition. There will continue to be alternatives for wrestling fans at a local level, but as far as any independent promotions “rising up”, then no. I just don’t see it. Companies like TNA, ROH, PWG etc will always be around, but not at any significant level. WWE’s the daddy I’m afraid!
Michael Brown: “Why is Kris Lewie not main-eventing WrestleMania?”
That’s a question that I’d love to know the answer to. He’s more than a man. He’s not just a myth. He’s a legend.
I should point out for anyone who’s unaware of the sheer magnificence that is Kris Lewie that he’s a former TNA GutCheck contestant who was cruelly robbed of a contract. His match with Gunner was a Match of the Year contender if I ever saw one.
I dunno why he’s not main-eventing WrestleMania. In my eyes, he’s deserving of it!
Steven Docherty: “Is it better for some people to be left in NXT where they can shine a bit rather than be brought to the main roster and get lost in the shuffle?”
Yes and no.
Yes in terms of there’s a little more time dedicated to character development and storylines down in NXT, and that time is crucial. It’s something there’s not a lot of on the main roster, especially when they persist on telling us how to download an app from the App Store/Google Play.
There are so many great wrestlers down in NXT – Oliver Grey, Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn are the 3 stand-outs as far as I’m concerned – but they wouldn’t get a lot of time on the main roster, and you’re right – they’d end up getting lost in the shuffle.
However, there are a lot of guys on the main roster who’ve been there for a long time and done nothing. Maybe it’s time for WWE to shuffle the pack and bring some of these guys up to see what they can do.
The sad fact is that until WWE start dedicating serious time and effort into developing characters, storylines and rivalries on the main roster, for every guy like Daniel Bryan, there’ll be a Chris Hero. 2 talented guys, but one got time, the other didn’t.
Grant Cook: “Would you ever go for a ride on the Dixie train?”
It depends on which station it was pulling in to. Seriously though, no. That’s a train that I’d quite happily watch going by, and not regret jumping on. Too much baggage on that particular train for me I’m afraid.
Sam Clarke: “1. Who will main-event WrestleMania 31? 2. What’s your prediction for the first year number of subscriptions to the WWE Network?”
1 – As far as who will main-event WrestleMania 31 goes, regardless of who it is, it has to be their 2 most over wrestlers. Whether that’s 2 babyfaces, or a babyface and a heel, that’s who should be in the match.
I’d like to see Daniel Bryan main-event WrestleMania 31 against either John Cena or Brock Lesnar, for simple reasons. Bryan and Cena had a terrific match at SummerSlam last year and I’m assuming they won’t be wrestling each other 1-on-1 for a while. The match dynamic against Lesnar really speaks for itself. The smaller underdog Bryan going up against the giant, dominant (champion if it were up to me) Lesnar, and finally overcoming the odds sells itself. Classic David vs Goliath stuff.
My gut tells me that that’s unlikely to happen, so I’d go with either Reigns vs Batista or Cena vs Undertaker.
2 – In terms of the WWE Network, I don’t see them getting more than 500,000 first year. My understanding is that it’s only being launched in the US/Canada later this month, then it’ll be rolled out worldwide over the next 12 months. In that case, 500,000 or less is my guess.
It depends on how many old fans WWE can convince to buy it. They’ll have a hard job on their hands. A lot of people – if not the vast majority – will be buying it for the classic content and WWE’s massive library of footage, not the current product. Most buys will centre around WrestleMania 30, and once their 6 months is up, I’m not sure how many will renew their subscription.
It’s a huge risk and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Rob Hollands: “What would TNA have to do to be on a level that they can compete with WWE?”
I genuinely don’t think there’s anything TNA can do to compete with WWE, and they shouldn’t look to.
What TNA should’ve been doing from the beginning was provide a compelling alternative to good ol’ Vinny Mac’s multi-million dollar entertainment juggernaut. They should never have attempted to compete with WWE on the same level.
On paper, their roster of talent (especially the upper mid-card/main-event level) is just as good as WWE’s. You could also argue that, on the whole, their matches are generally better and more exciting than most that you see on WWE TV/PPV.
However, there’s been too much damage done to TNA with the Hogan experiment and the criminal mismanagement that’s gone on for TNA to ever be considered as a serious competitor to the WWE. They seem to be on the right track now and have almost started from scratch again, so at least they’ve recognised what mistakes they’ve made.
Going forward, they really need to develop and grow their own stars from within. Guys like Magnus and Samoa Joe should be pushed as their stars, along with the likes of Austin Aries. Bring in guys from the indies, like they’ve done with the Wolves. Try to get talented wrestlers like Kevin Steen and Adam Cole involved. Guys who haven’t been tarnished by the previous creative regime.
It’s fine to use ex-WWE talent, but they should only be there to supplement their own stars. Use guys like Kurt Angle as a special attraction, that way it means more when you see him. At this stage in his career, Angle should only be wrestling on PPVs, and brought back to TV to build towards these matches. There’s absolutely no reason for Kurt Angle to be moonsaulting off steel cages in his 40s. No need whatsoever.
I don’t know if TNA can repair the damage that they’ve done to themselves over the last 3-4 years, but they have to at least try. The sad thing is that I feel TNA will always be where they are now. They’ll stagnate and won’t grow. And like I said, that’s a sad thing for all concerned.
Sire Ian Trumps: “What impact can someone like Sting have if he does sign with WWE?”
To be honest, not a lot, especially in terms of the current product. If he does sign with WWE, and we say this every year, it’s a big IF, they’ll need to do a hell of a job of promoting him to the WWE audience.
If they’d signed him 2-3 years after WCW went under, it would’ve been easier to do. 2-3 years isn’t really a long time. But 12-13 years is. How do they explain his absence of over a decade? It’s clear that they won’t mention his time in TNA. Why should they? But they’d need to come up with a backstory to explain what the hell he’s been up to.
Most of Sting’s impact will come through the WWE Network and the WCW footage that they’ll air. Sting was, essentially, the face of the WCW before he became Hogan’s bitch in TNA. He’s “their” guy, and it’ll be interesting to hear what Sting has to say on how things went on down there (in WCW).
If WWE decide to use him in an in-ring capacity, I’d say have 2-3 matches – at the very most. Obviously the one we all want to see is Sting vs Taker, but it’d be interesting to see Sting vs someone like Cena or Orton too.
Sting might have value as an on-air performer though. I actually thought TNA was better when Sting was a GM. With the best will in the world, his best days as an in-ring performer are behind him and if WWE insist on having on-air authority figures, Sting would do well in that role. He’s believable enough and has enough gravitas about him to carry it off.
Either way, he doesn’t appear before WM30 if it’s my call. We always get a big moment on the Raw after Mania, so the night after WM30 is when I’d introduce Sting to the WWE Universe.
@MFXDuckman: “1. Will NXT produce the next batch of stars for WWE, or will they still be found on the indy scene? 2. Will Bootista ever wear clothes that a) suit him and b) are from this decade? 3. If John Cena promised he’d leave WWE for good, but only if you’d pleasure him, would you do it?”
1 – My guess is that it’ll probably be a mixture of both.
WWE’s recruitment scheme, for want of a better phrase, has served them well in the past and I think it’ll continue to do so, especially with guys like William Regal involved, but the indy scene will continue to be just as important. The cream always rises to the top and there’s always going to be indy stars out there who’ll court the interest of the WWE.
This is just a pet peeve of mine, but I don’t understand why the indy stars seem to spend more time in WWE developmental than guys with no wrestling experience. I can understand indy guys being there for a couple of months to get used to working the WWE style, but these guys aren’t novices. They should be put on the roster at the earliest opportunity because, apart from a select few workers, most of the main roster is stale and needs freshening up.
Batista trying to be “Cool Grandpa” just doesn’t work. He should just come out wearing a suit, or a simple t-shirt/jeans combo. Not skinny jeans. Not a skintight tracksuit top. Not trainers with flashing lights in them. He’s in his 40s. Time to dress like it!
3 – What do you think? In that particular, and extremely unlikely, instance, I’d be happy to take one for the team. I might even do what Cena does to everyone else, and kick out at 2!
@calvin_berry: “1. Which wrestlers do you think should have held a major World Championship, but never have? 2. If you were trying to get non-wrestling fans into wrestling which matches/segments/shows would you show them?”
1 – That’s a tough question man. Umm…The obvious ones – Jake Roberts, Curt Hennig (Mr Perfect), Rick Rude…the list goes on. If they’d have wrestled in the current era, i.e. in the last 10 years, they’d all have been World Champion at least.
The one that really sticks out to me though is Britain’s own William Regal. Great mic skills, stiff, physical in-ring style and at ease either as a babyface or heel. It amazes me that Regal was never World Champion. In recent memory, he’s the one that should’ve achieved more than he did.
2 – I don’t know if there’s any specific segments – the Rock/Foley “This is Your Life” one aside – that I’d show to non-wrestling fans, but there’s a couple of feuds that I’d show them.
The original Undertaker/Kane storyline that began in ’97 and ran all the way through to WM14 is one of the best that the WWE have ever created, built, produced and gone through with.
Storytelling at its finest, from the revelation that Kane had “survived the fire”, down to Undertaker flat-out refusing to hit his brother, and then to the match itself, it was just perfection and something every wrestling fan should go back and check out. Outstanding stuff.
Of course, there’s the whole Austin/McMahon thing which is just impossible to put into words. A majestic, relatable storyline that everyone could identify with. And it was all possible thanks to Vince screwing Bret Hart. Who says the Screwjob was a bad thing?!?!
As far as matches go, one of my favourite matches is one of the first that I ever saw – Savage vs Hogan at WM5. It’s a tremendous story, impeccably told by Mr Savage. Hogan basically slept for 15-20 minutes, got his shtick done and left as the champ.
The build to that match still confuses me to this day though. How can Savage be the bad guy in that situation? Hogan was the one sniffing around Savage’s Mrs, so surely Hogan’s the heel?
Others I’d point people in the direction of are Bret vs Owen from WM10, Michaels/Foley from Mind Games, Punk/Cena from 2011 and just from a spectacle point of view, Hogan vs Rock from WM18. All great stuff, there’s more, but those are the ones that come to mind straight away.
@WoodyCharisma: “1. How could the David Arquette angle be done with him winning the strap and get folk to like it? 2. Why Gillberg is a better wrestler than Goldberg?”
1 – By having Arquette call Vince Russo out, and beat him senseless. A lot of people would’ve paid to see that, and it might’ve got a lot of heat off Arquette’s back. Either that or pay folk to cheer Arquette.
2 – Because the epicness that is Gillberg never took himself seriously. He didn’t have ideas above his station. He knew how limited he was, but he made the most of it. And most importantly, Scott Hall has never shocked Gillberg with a Taser gun!
@kickyhick: “1. What’s the best thing they could do with The Miz? 2. What’s your fave Chamber match?”
1 – Honestly? Just let Miz be Miz. I don’t get why people hate him so much. When he won that Money in the Bank way back in 2010, he was crazy over. He’s got all the tools. Great on the mic, decent charisma and he’s marketable.
Miz is no more limited than someone like Cena, Hogan or Rock in terms of his wrestling ability, and he’s handy enough on the mic. I don’t understand why they’re not using him, especially ahead of guys like ADR. He can be a very useful upper mid-card guy if WWE just, like I said earlier, let Miz be Miz without a babyface/heel label.
2 – My favourite Chamber match is the first one, from Survivor Series 2002. Purely because we’d never seen anything like it before. It was new, fresh and exciting.
The guys in it were all credible – Shawn Michaels, HHH, Chris Jericho, RVD, Booker T and Kane. The story of Shawn Michaels winning the World Championship for the first time in four and a half years, courtesy of Sweet Chin Music, was tremendously emotional.
Also a shout to the 2 Chamber matches from 2009, where Edge pulled double-duty, losing the WWE Championship, but winning the World Championship. They were very good and Edge is one of my favourites of all-time.
@luke_1503: “1. Who do you think is the next big breakout star, besides the obvious (Roman Reigns)? 2. How would you book Dolph Ziggler – would you turn him heel again?”
1 – Besides Reigns, I don’t really know. I still think it’s too early for the likes of Reigns and Bray Wyatt to be considered as breakout stars. WWE need to be careful with them and present both of them as stars if the fans are to take them seriously. They need to keep doing what they’re doing, and protect the likes of Reigns and Wyatt.
I’d love to see someone like Cesaro become a breakout star. He’s a great worker and if you watch his matches, they don’t feel like “sports-entertainment”. They feel like flat-out wrestling matches. Almost a throwback to the late 80’s/early 90’s. It’s good that he has a mouthpiece right now in Zeb Colter, but we need to hear more from Cesaro to see if the potential’s there for him to break out on his own.
Other than him, Bryan’s already a star. The guys from The Shield will be OK.
I’d still love to see Wade Barrett break out on his own and become a massive star. I think the way the Nexus ended really hurt him and he’s never really recovered. Barrett has all the tools to become a huge star – he’s got the look, he’s good on the mic, marketable and he’s just a big powerhouse.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Wade Barrett has all the tools to become the best ass-kicking heel champion since HHH in his pomp, but WWE have got some serious rebuilding to do before Wade can get there. If at all…
That’s one thing that really annoys me about the WWE – this schoolyard mentality where if you don’t play nice with the big boys, they’ll bully you and you’ll never achieve anything. It’s fine for co-workers to have disagreements, but WWE have a tendency to cut off their nose to spite their face, especially where their up-and-coming stars are concerned.
Yes, what Ziggler did was probably a little out of line, but all they had to do was give him a rap on the knuckles and agree to disagree. Instead, they cut the legs from under him and now, I’m led to believe that he jobbed to ADR in about 3 minutes on Raw this week. It’s madness.
Guys like Ziggler, Bryan, Kingston etc were/are over because the crowd recognises that they’re the guys who put on the best matches every night. But WWE have this patronising attitude where we’re not supposed to like someone unless they tell us to. It’s craziness.
He’s a guy who should’ve achieved a lot more than he has, and while part of that’s his fault, WWE have to take their shame of the blame too. I’d take Ziggler off TV for a bit, let him rest up, come up with a big plan to reintroduce him, and push him to the moon.
Mr Davies: “1. What would be a bigger moment for Daniel Bryan at Mania – winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or taking on the Undertaker for the Streak? (By all accounts, both are unlikely to happen, as Bryan’s likely to be fed to HHH). 2. Where would you rank The Shield as a stable?”
1 – It depends what you mean. In the eyes of the fans? Winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. By far. He’s the uncrowned WWE World Heavyweight Champion in the eyes of the fans everywhere. He’s their champion. The People’s Champion if you will! (Sorry Rock…)
Bryan’s whole story over the past few months has been all about The Authority and he still needs a pay-off from that. The pay-off should have been Bryan winning the WWE Championship, but instead, he’s had nothing. Unless of course, you count slapping H-B-Shizzle in the Yes Lock. Which I don’t… Anyway, so the retribution, the reward if you will, has to be Bryan winning the title. That’s the only thing that will appease the fans.
From Bryan’s personal point of view, I doubt that there’s any higher accolade than being selected by the Undertaker to be his WrestleMania opponent.
Let’s face it, the Streak is the biggest selling point of WrestleMania these days. Everyone always talks about who should take on the Streak and they speculate on who, if anyone, should be the one to break it. I also reckon that the standard of the match would be excellent, up there with the quality of his encounters with HBK and Punk in recent years.
So, for the fans – winning the title, but for Bryan himself – taking on the Streak is something he’s probably dreamed about since before he even broke in to the business.
2 – The Shield have been excellent since their debut. The standard of the matches they’ve had has been outstanding. They’ve had some 5-star encounters with the likes of Team Hell No and the Rhodes’, as well as other fantastic ones with teams like The Usos.
However, the best factions have always had rivals to go up against them – DX had The Nation for example – so it’s hard to say where they rank among the best factions of all-time. Plus the fact they’ve only been around for 18 months. They’ve not had the longevity of others, like the nWo, the Four Horsemen, DX etc, but they’ve certainly had a huge impact so far.
All 3 members look set to have successful careers once The Shield comes to a natural end too, which can only be a good thing for the long-term future of the WWE.
Where do The Shield rank? It’s too early to say. If they continue the way they’re going, they’ll be up there with the best of all-time. We just need to wait and see what the WWE has in store for us, and for them.
Luke: “Do you think this year will be Undertaker’s last WrestleMania? Presumably he’s wrestling Lesnar and going out at WM30 at 22-0 would be a good way to go out, or will he go out next year at WM31?”
This is just my opinion, but I don’t think ‘Taker retires until he gets to 25-0, which means he has 4 years left. That leaves plenty of time for him to wrestle the likes of Cena and Sting (if indeed he signs a deal with the WWE).
Although his body is battered and broken down, ‘Taker only has one match per year and usually, it’s a Match of the Year candidate. So if he continues to take it easy and takes care of himself as he usually does, then I can see him going on way past WM30, or even WM31.
If ‘Taker retires when the Streak stands at 25-0, he’s probably ensured that nobody will ever match that record. It also means the Streak would end at WM34, leaving WWE free to induct one of the biggest men of all-time into the Hall of Fame before one of the biggest WrestleMania’s of all-time – WM35.
Make no mistake about it though, once ‘Taker retires, we’ll probably get a DVD, maybe even a book, but he won’t hang around like a bad smell. He’ll be there if it means something. If it doesn’t, I doubt we’ll see him. And that’s something people will have to get used to.
THE CM PUNK SITUATION
I got a few questions about what’s happening with Punk, so I figured I’d give them their own section.
Kevin Morrison (Facebook): “What’s the worst case scenario if Punk doesn’t return?”
The worst case scenario is that WWE lose one of their most well-rounded superstars without anyone to replace him straight away.
Given what’s rumoured to have happened, you can’t really blame him for walking away. He must be mentally and physically shattered. You can only swim against the current for so long until you either drown, or try to climb out. For me, Punk did the right thing for him, and that’s all he could do. Punk can’t do it for us, he has to make the best decision for himself, and that’s what he feels he did.
This entire scenario should make WWE re-think their creative strategy, both in terms of the expectations that they place on their performers, and the fact that there’s no obvious replacements for their top guys if they go down with injuries or get burned out.
Tom Young (Facebook): “Do you approve of the way CM Punk walked out? I remember being pissed off at Austin for doing it and I feel no different about Punk doing it. I get that creative is not at its best now, but he could at least have stuck around for a retirement angle like HBK did”
You’ve got to remember that, despite having a 434-day reign as WWE Champion between 2011 and 2013, Punk was never positioned as being “the guy”.
For me, the WWE Champion (or WWE World Heavyweight Champion), regardless of who it is, should always be positioned as “the guy”. Punk only main-evented something like 3 PPV’s during that entire time, and when he lost the title, it was to The Rock – a man who’d only wrestled twice in the previous decade or so. I’d have felt disrespected if I was him.
Despite having 4/5 “Match of the Year” candidates last year, including his matches with The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar on PPV, and against John Cena on Raw, Punk was never positioned as the star he’d become.
And to top it all off, his “reward” if you like, was rumoured to be a match against HHH at WM30. A match that shouldn’t even have been Punk’s. It should’ve been Daniel Bryan’s. After all, HHH has spent most of his time on TV over the last 6 months “burying” Bryan, not Punk.
So yeah, if I was him, I’d have done the same thing. He’s probably gone about it the wrong way and short-changed his fans, but I completely understand why he did it. And at least he told them to their faces, unlike Austin! ;)
Rhys Tester (Facebook): “How long do you think the CM Punk chants will continue for before the audience gets bored and moves on to the next craze to wind up WWE?”
It depends on where the shows are. If they’re in cities/states with a strong wrestling background/heritage – like New York, New Jersey, California, Chicago and the Carolinas – these chants will continue.
I think it’s also the WWE Universe protesting in a way. They’re angry and pissed off that one of their guys isn’t there anymore, and they’re doing whatever they can to let the WWE know how they feel. Whether or not anyone from management takes a blind bit of notice is a different matter. The chants will have to continue long and hard before WWE take any notice, if any. And even if they do, they’ll likely just dim the house mics and confiscate any CM Punk signs.
If WWE fans are so pissed off about Punk leaving, there’s a few things they can do – stop watching, stop going to live events and stop buying tickets. That’s the only way WWE will take any notice. Not by chanting Punk’s name.
@luke_1503: “Your thoughts on the CM Punk walk-out situation?”
It’s a regrettable situation for all concerned, and all parties have to take their share of the blame.
WWE need to recognise that although guys like John Cena and Randy Orton are “their” guys, wrestlers like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler etc are just as important. Cena and Orton have been pushed incessantly over the last decade or more. We know who they are and how vital they are, but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of guys who relate to ever-growing sections of the WWE Universe just as much.
I mentioned this earlier, but Punk’s 434-day reign essentially meant nothing because he was never positioned, or presented, as “the guy”. It always felt like he was just holding the championship until WWE decided on which of “their guys” would take it from him. That’s not right. If anything, WWE should have done more to elevate Punk and get him to “that” level. If they had, maybe Punk wouldn’t have walked away.
Despite being more accepted by the WWE Universe, regardless of the role that he was playing, Punk never felt like he was going to break through that “glass ceiling”, and things came to a breaking point.
That breaking point was, apparently, the news that after months of putting up with the Axel/Ryback dynamic, he was moving on to a WrestleMania feud/showdown with Triple H. Again, like I said earlier, that match is one that shouldn’t even have been Punk’s. It should be Daniel Bryan’s, judging by the creative direction of the WWE over the summer/autumn (that’s fall for my American readers!).
This whole situation has been created by a number of contributing factors – lack of long-term creative planning, frustration at the way Punk’s been positioned/presented, mental and physical burn-out. All things which have led to one of the biggest wrestling stars of the current era walking away.
It’s easy to forget the sacrifices that wrestlers have to make just to entertain us for a few hours each week, and the toll those sacrifices take on their bodies and minds. All of this could’ve been avoided if WWE were able to see past their established stars and make their current performers feel valued and appreciated. That’s why Punk’s walked. And I respect him for doing it.
Well ladies and gents, that’ll wrap up this enormous Q&A special of FATP. Thanks to everyone who sent in their questions. Hopefully my answers were good enough.
Before I go, I’d like to encourage/invite all of you to check out the brilliant, smarktastic MFX Podcast. If you like your weekly dose of wrestling served with a healthy side order of smark, then it’s the podcast for you.
Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps traverse the weird and wonderful worlds of TNA and WWE so that we don’t have to. The TNA show goes up at the beginning of the week, with the WWE show by the weekend. Trust me, check them out. You won’t regret it. Visit www.mfxpodcast.com for further details, or follow them on Twitter @MFXPodcast.
I’ll be back with another FATP in a few weeks, so until then, toodles!
What do you folks think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.