This has been quite the busy week in the wrestling industry. Not just for the WWE, but for TNA as well. We’re used to the post-WrestleMania months being quieter than normal, but not this year. Since the turn of the year there’s been more attitudes, injuries, arrests and changed minds than I remember seeing in years. Hopefully things will pick up for the WWE, as it seems like they’re having some horrible luck recently, and it’s too many wrestlers who are suffering.
Jesse Sherwood submitted a question this week, so we will be starting with his. Also, because of what happened this past week with Swagger, we’ve added a sixth question to The Fine Line.
1- With the Brand Extension officially over, should the WWE trim the roster down to a more manageable level?
KB Honestly, I doubt much will really be changing with the Brand Extension ending. All Championship have appeared on both major shows, and most have been defended on the major shows, so I don’t see as this is any big deal. I went to see how many wrestlers were actually on the WWE roster, and to compare – even though there’s little real comparison – the numbers with TNA and ROH.
WWE Wrestlers – 62 Divas – 12 Other Talent – 22 Refs – 7
TNA Wrestlers – 44 Knkts – 12 Other Talent – 15 Refs – 3
ROH Wrestlers – 30 Girls – 3 Other Talent – 10 Refs – 4
Then there’s WWE’s developmental where there’s 10 Divas, 5 refs, and what appears to be 45 male wrestlers. Yes, the WWE has more shows to outfit, but they really seem to push quite a few of the same wrestlers, rather than rotating them very often. All that being said, I think the WWE needs a huge pool of wrestlers to work with because they are the top wrestling company in the USA, and as we have seen recently, things can happen where a number of wrestlers need to be out do to injury or because they’re involved with something else at any given time. I counted 18 on the regular (male) roster who have not been seen on RAW or Smackdown in at least three months. And then there’s those who are there to be enhancement talent. Looking at all that, the numbers really dwindle. I honestly didn’t know how I felt about this question until I looked at the numbers. Breaking them down, and knowing how the WWE has been trying to groom younger stars for top roles, I don’t think they should trim down the roster at all – other than their yearly spring cleaning.
Alex First off, I want to say that I am fully against the eliminating the brand extension. If you watched the McMahon DVD, released back in 2006 or so, it was stated that the brand extension was because they wanted Raw and Smackdown to compete just like WCW and WWE. It was suppose to be more than a brand. It was suppose to be a war. It never turned out that way though. As years went by, both shows were pretty much the exact same. Smackdown never got as big as Raw did and it wasn’t competition at all. There were some good points about it, but it never served the purpose it was suppose to. Since it is over, I would be in favor of shredding the roster, or have WWE use the roster more efficiently. I haven’t paid attention to Smackdown in quite sometime, but I very well know they use stars for both shows. I can understand why, but at the same time, WWE has such an extensive roster. It’s not like they aren’t paying these guys. They get guaranteed money. Anyway, since we know WWE won’t bring the brand extension back, I would advise them to use more of the roster. Does it have to be called an extension? Just use different stars for the shows. If you look at it, it is basically having one big show with the same stars. No one will get anywhere.
2- If Ziggler is going to be out more than two weeks – even after Extreme Rules – should he be stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship?
KB When word first came out that Ziggler was injured and had a concussion, my first thought was of Ziggler’s health. After that, I was sure that Swagger was to blame and I was raring for him to actually get in trouble for something he’s done recently. I adore Ziggler – something that has garnered me a lot of crap this past year – and absolutely do not want to see him stripped of the WHC. Ziggler has worked long and hard to get to this point in his career, and I (along with many others) have felt that he was ready for this quite a while ago. It is really crappy that Ziggler is going through this at this point in his career, and I hope he’s able to bounce back and return to the ring without any lasting health issues from this concussion, but if he cannot do so in a reasonable time, then I am afraid that he might have to be stripped of the belt. I don’t know where that line should be drawn, but before Extreme Rules isn’t it for me. Just because he can’t defend at one PPV – especially since it’s one of his competitors who put him out of action – doesn’t mean he should automatically be stripped. I think AJ and Big E can carry on for Ziggler being out a bit of time, and could really amp up the storylines for him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Ziggler. Even though the WWE is taking head injuries seriously, we all know that just one concussion can take you out of the ring (Chris Nowinski), and while I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, I care more about Ziggler’s health than his wrestling career.
Alex Let me answer this question with a question… when CM Punk was injured and couldn’t compete at TLC last year, was he stripped from the title? No! He was off for several weeks, maybe a month, but held the title. So, why should Ziggler lose it? Of course it all depends on how long he is out, but I doubt he will be out as long as Punk was. If Ziggler is stripped, it would be quite insane. It would really show how much WWE “believes” in Ziggler. They took forever to push the guy. They give him the Money in the Bank briefcase and book him to look like a mid-carder. Now he is champion and he very well could be stripped. Pushing someone as a top guy takes commitment. When I wrote my wrestling shows online, I was committed to push stars to the top. The more stars at the top the more people are happy. It is good for that star and good for business. WWE has forgotten all about making main eventers because, as long as they have Cena, they think they are fine.
3- Who do you see John Cena losing the WWE Title to?
KB Alex and I actually talked about this a bit as I wanted to see what he was thinking, but didn’t want it to influence my answer here. I will admit that I had forgotten about the possible booking for WrestleMania XXX, but honestly, the last person I want to see carry the WWE Championship is Brock. I would rather see Slater, Santino, or my dog as WWE Champion over Brock – but I’ve been vocal enough about Brock recently, so I will talk about who really could take the strap off Cena. I think it would be a travesty to strap Ryback at this point. It would make both Cena, The Rock and Punk look ineffectual as champs. Cena really needs to hold the strap for a bit to show that it’s not just getting handed around after Punk held it for so long. Then, to me, the obvious choice would be Punk. I don’t want to see them feud, or fight, but it would make a lot of sense. Honestly, it feels as though we’re seeing the same people – other than The Rock – passing around the strap, so why not really shake things up? I know you’re going to think I’m daft, but people thought that when Sheamus was so quickly strapped, and he’s turned out to be quite a solid wrestler, performer, and character. So, after what we’ve heard about Cena taking Big E under his wing, and is helping to groom him for the future, why not strap Big E. See, I knew you thought I was a bit loony, but why not swing things in a strange direction now and then? Sometimes something really special can come out of it.
Alex I was questioning on whether to make this a question because we do not know when Cena will lose the title. It could be at Extreme Rules, but it could also be in a year. We never know. It all depends on Vince’s mood one day as well as Cena’s health. I do see 3 stars that could possibly take the title from Cena though. Sadly, I wouldn’t book any of these stars to get a title reign in the near future. The stars are CM Punk, Ryback, and Brock Lesnar. Let me start with Ryback. He is in the main event now. He is the only credible guy on the roster who can go after Cena. We don’t have Punk or Rock. No one else is booked to be at the top. Sad, isn’t it? Now is CM Punk. Who knows when he will return. I hope he stays out for awhile because he really needs to heal. You can’t rush yourself back. Leave it to Kurt Angle for giving me that advise. Now, when Punk does come back, we know he will be in the main event. We know he will go after the title. Who will have it then? Could very well be Cena. The last is Brock Lesnar. In Lesnar’s 2 year contract that he just signed, there is a stipulation in there where he will get a title reign and a main event spot at Wrestlemania 30. So, I am thinking that he will be going into WM 30 as champion. Will he beat Cena over it? WWE isn’t afraid to do Cena vs. Brock 2. They are doing Triple H vs. Brock 3. Who is going to stop them? Vince sees it as money. We could also see Punk vs. Brock. Now that would be awesome, in my mind, but will it be for the title? Either way, I can’t see any of these guys getting the title yet, so I expect Cena to carry the title for awhile.
4- What do you think about the WWE bringing in more ROH guys?
KB I am thrilled at the thought of more ROH guys coming into the WWE. Punk has been a fantastic addition to the WWE roster. Daniel Bryan has been amazing, and has brought back some of the technichal wrestling many of us have been missing, while showing he can be a real bad ass, or work the comedic side with Kane. Heck, that he can run with a workhorse like Kane and keep up with him without batting an eye shows a lot about who Bryan is, and I think he learned a lot of that in ROH. I know Brandon Silvestry (Low Ki) didn’t work in the WWE, but I feel that was mostly the WWE’s fault, and that I’m not sure it was the best fit to start with. Colby Lopez is proving he’s so much more than Tyler Black, and I know as Rollins he is going to be huge after The Shield disperses to become singles competitors. I’m a huge Claudio Castagnoli fans, and while his start with the WWE was a bit rocky, I’m hoping things are smoothing out because I know he has so much more to give! I’m so excited to see what Chris Spradlin (Hero) and Rami Sebei (El Generico) do when they’re called up to the WWE, as I adored both of them in ROH. Punk seemed to clear the way for these other wrestlers to be brought in, and other than Silvestry, who I’m not sure would have worked out in the WWE, even if he hadn’t been humbled from the start, I see big things from ROH wrestlers in the WWE.
Alex I honestly do not watch ROH, so these guys coming in are all new to me. I do have to wonder why WWE is bringing them in though. I mean, I bet they are talented and WWE wants to get them locked in with a contract, but shouldn’t WWE worry about their roster now? I mean I just described above about how they have an extensive roster. It’s great that WWE has the developmental program and NXT to groom stars and showcase their talent before they come on the grand scale of Raw and Smackdown, but when will that happen? Where will they be when they appear? Look at Drew McIntyre and Antonio Cesaro! These are the people who should be pushed. How about stop having Brodus Clay dance around the ring and show some talent? I know Clay is pleasing those kids out there and that is what WWE is targeting, but it’s watering the product down. Anyway, if WWE can hire these people and use them correctly, I have no problems. Younger the stars the better. Seems like WWE is really wanting to groom stars for the future and they really should. What is the future though?
5- How do you think the Brock Lesnar video on RAW went? Did it sell?
KB After watching Brock trash ‘Triple H’ office’ I was left wondering if that counted for a live appearance, or if they booked Brock in that way so it wouldn’t use up one of his live appearances. Then I went on to rail on the WWE for not hitting up used furniture stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and find furniture that looked more realistic for a top executive’s office. I’d have rather seen them buy used, or snazz up stuff from Ikea than go to Walmart and buy the cheapest furniture they could find for Brock to destroy. It might have been cheaper to do it that way, and it would have looked a heck of a lot more believable. But the biggest thing that bothered me is why they thought they needed to do it. I still don’t understand why beating up Trip’s fake office was supposed to be so big and scary. We already know Brock is a powerhouse, and that he’s virtually unstoppable. I’m so over Brock, and even more over Brock facing Trip. Both of them would be so much better served getting the younger wrestlers over at this point. They need to be building for the future, but Brock and Trip continuously fighting is keeping us in the past.
Alex I went on record before to say that you can’t sell Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar anymore. They sold it for the first match and they tried to sell it for the second match. Here is the third match. What else can these part-time workers do? When I heard about Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar showing up at WWE Headquarters, I was a bit excited. I wanted to see what came out of it. Quite honestly… nothing. The biggest pop it got was when Brock stared at the Royal Rumble PPV poster that had Rock on it. I popped there but also when Brock through the TV and the one W came off from the WWE logo. I been saying that the “Wrestling” in “World Wrestling Entertainment” should be taken out! The point of this promo was to sell how destructive Brock is. It worked, but couldn’t they use it on someone else? We know Brock is destructive. Just look at what he has done in the past year!… or even before that! Couldn’t they use that segment for Ryback or someone else wanting a spot or push… like Cesaro or Big E. Langston? Have Ryback go to a house that resembles John Cena’s (remember when Triple H broke into Randy Orton’s house years ago?) and have him be destructive. It would work. It will sell. Why do all this selling for a part-timer? Why do all the selling on something we already know? It sold Brock more than it did for the rivalry. Triple H’s segment with Paul Heyman didn’t even sell the match. I can’t see it going anywhere else unless you add something new. WWE certainly had a good idea, but they used it on the wrong person and for the wrong story.
6- Do you think Swagger has been reckless recently? Not caring because he knows his time is numbered in the WWE?
KB I would like to give Swagger the benefit of the doubt, but there’s so much doubt hanging around Swagger right now that I’m really not sure what to think. We know the man has a serious ego issue, and that he thinks he’s beyond reproach has been obvious over and over, especially with his recent arrest. The fact that Swagger wasn’t pulled from WrestleMania, but that he also didn’t win, made me wonder if it was WWE’s way of saying they weren’t quite sure about him yet. Further that they strapped Ziggler the next night, the guy Swagger thought of as his sidekick the last time he was getting pushed, made me wonder how he was handling this. I’ve been saying for a couple months that Swagger has been looking dangerous and reckless, but readers told me I was being too sensitive and to remember this is wrestling. Well, wrestling only goes so far when you go out and throw around ladders and catch serious crap down around you for not being careful enough. The Triple Threat Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship was one of the most anticipated matches at Extreme Rules, which isn’t saying much, but it still looked like it could have been a top notch match. We don’t know what the three wrestlers in the match knew of the outcome, but after Swagger was so reckless on Monday at RAW, and caught such crap for it, I thought he’d pull back a bit until the PPV, but he went right back out there and worked it just as hard. I’m sure there are many people out there wondering if Swagger went out there not worrying who he might injure, because he hasn’t had any major trouble from being arrested, so he must be untouchable, like Cena, so why worry about who he might injure, and if it’s the Champ, even better! I’m not saying he purposefully hurt Ziggler, but after being reamed out the night before, you’d have thought he would have been a little more careful about things, not go out there and about punt Ziggler’s head off. Hopefully it won’t be ignored that Swagger’s ego has taken over again, and let him get away with this one. This absolutely deserves a slap to the hand, a humbling, or more.
Alex Personally, I don’t think his days are numbered. I mean, just look at what WWE says: He is innocent until proven guilty. If they didn’t believe in him anymore, then they wouldn’t put him in a Triple Threat Match at Extreme Rules. I just think Swagger’s ego is getting to him again. Once he gets to the main events, he gets really cocky. Personally, when I saw the ladder shots on RAW, I thought Swagger was trying to impress. There’s no shame in that. Yeah, he’s reckless but I think he wants people to be impressed as well as having an ego problem.
Thanks for bearing with me getting this up late. I came down with some sort of something, made worse by being on immunosuppresants, and my brain was really foggy last night. I would rather take a bit more time and put out something that makes sense than just throw anything up on the site.
Happy Mother’s Day!
KB & Alex