TJR Q&A: Next WWE Universal Champion, Adam Cole’s Future, More

It’s that time once again for some questions and answers, also known as the TJR Q&A. It seems like we’re at a busy time in the wrestling business with WWE SummerSlam taking place in less than two weeks, some big names are headed to AEW soon and AEW Rampage – their second TV show – debuts this Friday as well. The questions come from the Facebook page right here and I selected 30 of the best questions. Let’s roll.

1. Cody Moore
If you had complete control of Adam Cole would you rather him move up to main roster or jump ship to AEW and who would you feud him with in the respective shows right away?

I would rather see him in WWE on the main roster as a fresh rival for a lot of their guys in the upper midcard and the main event scene. If you sign him for significant money then you better use him. It may not be the “right” way all the time, but I think they will utilize him well. Give me Adam vs. Rollins, Reigns, Edge, McIntyre, Lashley, Kofi, Cesaro, Owens, Zayn and so on. It would be fun and fresh.

If he goes to AEW he’ll get a strong push early and then lost in the shuffle. Most AEW superfans don’t want to hear it, but they don’t always use everybody right. It’s ridiculous that Sammy Guevara has one singles match on Dynamite this year. MJF barely wrestles. Considering they are probably going to make CM Punk and Bryan Danielson their highest-paid guys they are going to be in featured roles, so that will hurt others.

I’m not biased towards anybody. I review the main shows of both companies and will continue to do so.

2. John Hirsch
If Big E were to cash in the Money in the Bank contract at Summerslam, who would he benefit from the most? Cena or Goldberg?

I think beating Reigns or Cena would be bigger because it’s seen as the bigger title since it main events most of the PPVs since Reigns has held that title. Beating Cena would be huge just because of Cena’s history. Goldberg losing to Big E would make people happy too.

3. Deryl Parnell Jr.
If you could book a survivor series match with current talent vs past talent who would you put in the match?

Bret, Shawn, Kurt, Austin and Lesnar (I like him so want one power guy) vs. Reigns, Rollins, McIntyre, Styles and Cesaro. The all-time guys win.

4. Matthew New Breeding
I’m normally not one to be a bandwagon WWE hater, however they are making some obvious mistakes right now with things like releasing Bray and their booking is the worst possibly ever. What do you think is their reason for this? Do you think Vince is giving up? And why do you feel they keep bringing Goldberg back?

I don’t think booking is the worst ever. Most people forget how bad years like 2009 and 2010 were in the main event scene on Raw. It was constant Triple H vs. Orton and Cena, then the Nexus story was botched big time. Guys like McIntyre and Lashley have been booked way better than that crap. Plus, years like 1993 and 1995 were a lot worse.

Anyway, I do think they are releasing too many and made mistakes with some of the names released. I think WWE might be selling, so they want to shed some big salaries of people that aren’t that active. That’s my guess.

Goldberg signed a multi-year deal through 2023 where he gets two matches per year. He said this in interviews, so they are honoring a contract they have.

5. Jay Hinchey
Which champion should Big E cash in on? And does he do it at Summerslam?

I think SummerSlam is a great place to do it because they are likely going to have a big audience and it’s the biggest crowd of the year (40k compared to 25k at WM). I think doing it on Lashley would be cool since there’s the story of Lashley against the New Day earlier in the year, but that has gone away too. Doing it on Reigns or Cena would be huge of course. I just feel like if that happens then Reigns will get it back before year’s end and that might hurt Big E. If he wins it and is the main champ on Raw, he can likely hold it for a long time with fresh rivalries too.

6. Mark Tallentire
Why is WWE seemingly treating its stars like crap atm? Malaki Black says they got Vega to resign by promising to put her on Smackdown with him, then let him go and she hasn’t won a match yet! Then we have the whole Bray Wyatt debacle. It just seems like someone is deliberately trying to anger people!

I have no way of knowing why they are treating people that way or why they are cutting talented people like Black, Wyatt and Strowman. Maybe they want to sell the company in a year or two so they want to cut bigger salaries. Maybe there were issues with creative team not knowing how to build up characters like that.

I don’t think Zelina Vega is very good in the ring. She’s tiny and doesn’t look believable in what she does. I think she’s great as a manager, but in ring it’s tough to get into her matches.

It’s a weird time. I don’t like WWE releasing so many people. I’ve said it many times. I’ll keep saying it.

7. Daniel Hill
Now Bray has gone do you think Bliss’s gimmick should continue? Just seems a bit pointless to me now.

I don’t see the gimmick lasting that long term. Maybe a year, if that. She was fine as a bitchy, cocky heel without the gimmick. As a face, she was basic, but she’s pretty, so she’ll always get a reaction.

8. Kelsey Graham
Hey John, do you think low morale in WWE and NXT specifically will have any further impact on the company?

I always question those kinds of reports. It’s probably not that low. The ones that are bitching are the ones that are barely on TV, most likely. The ones that are used are making good money and not bitching. It’s always been like that. With that said, I’m sure some people are freaking out a bit because of all the WWE releases, so I do understand if that’s the case.

9. Daniel Mount
Where does the Baron Corbin angle go? If there’s a benefactor that employs him, who would you pick?

I think the long-term story should see Corbin realizing that he can be a good person, then he ends up helping a babyface from a heel attack and the fans pop for him. Then he keeps doing it and it turns his life around, so then he’s “Happy Corbin” which WWE has trademarked. I don’t know who or when, but I like that there’s a slow storyline going on.

10. Richard Rue
Rumours of Braun coming back to WWE. What if WWE have started using “wish them the best with future endeavours” as a work? Still makes no sense to me Bray being released – so could be another work. I get this is very conspiracy theory-based, but I find it quite interesting! What if they just playing us all in the social media era…..

I have my doubts about the rumors (I know we posted them but they are still rumors) since Braun was on Instagram this week saying he had bookings to announce soon and thinks he had an appearance in UK in February to answer a fan that asked. Now, if WWE offered him a huge deal to come back then maybe he’ll be back and those appearances would go away, but for now I have my doubts about it.

11. John D. Finn
Obviously the IWC has been around for a long long time, but we are at a saturation point now, between Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, etc and the thinnest of lines now separating the average fan from not just the performers but also journalists, and each other–with the ability to “know” and discuss everything from storylines to performer’s personal lives, opinions, etc. Do you feel that this has had a positive effect on the experience of enjoying wrestling, negative, or a combination, and in what ways?

I think there’s a lot of negativity out there and it gets tiresome, but that’s what society is sadly. For example, the last WWE PPV Money in the Bank was a huge success and I think SummerSlam will be really good, yet if you see comments it’s as if the company is putting on their worst shows. It’s not even CLOSE to that. So I get tired of the negativity. Let’s focus on the shows on our TV screens and less on rumors/gossip about every little thing.

12. Diego Barriga Rodriguez
Do you see Bray Wyatt back in WWE, like really soon?

Probably not. They cut him loose and I think he’s going to want to move on to AEW where he’ll have more creative freedom moving forward. I wish him the best. I’ll support him for sure.

13. Kevin Tasker
Insurance nightmare for Rock I know. But do you think Rock vs. Roman at WrestleMania is a real possibility. Let’s be fair Rock has put many a star over before: Lesnar, Goldberg, Cena (eventually).

Sure it’s possible. Rock is 50 next year in May. If I was him I wouldn’t wrestle again after that match next year. He’s in great shape, but also really muscular, so could get muscle tears and stuff. He did last time. And yeah, I assume Reigns would win.

14. Liam Loftus
How would you plot the lineage of the following belts for the next year: SD Men’s Title, NXT Men’s title and AEW World Title?

It’s hard to see Reigns dropping the SD Men’s Title in the near future. To who? When? I don’t know. Big E could cash in, but I feel like if he wins it then Reigns will get it back by year’s end and that they will want to do Reigns vs. Rock at WM. Then does Rock win? I would assume no. So then who is there to beat Reigns? Maybe Rollins is the guy as a face. I don’t know. I think if anybody says they know what the future holds for the Universal Title then they’re probably lying to you. This Reigns title run is going to be a long one and it already is at one year.

It’s hard to forecast NXT because you never know who is going to stick around or move on. Like I could say Pete Dunne might win it, but he might leave WWE. Ridge Holland could hold it, but he might get moved to Raw or SD if Vince thinks he looks great. Maybe Kyle O’Reilly holds it at some point.

I think Adam Page should beat Kenny OMega at this next PPV, but since it’s not happening apparently then Page to get it at Full Gear in November makes sense. The presence of CM Punk and Bryan Danielson makes me think one of them is getting the title next year because they are bigger names making huge money, so I can see Punk winning the title next year. Maybe Darby Allin long term too.

15. Neil Sikka
Has Chris Jericho become the thing that he hated by taking show time from young talents and more interest in retaining his position rather than elevating others?

Maybe so, but I’m sure in his mind he thinks he is elevating younger talents. He put over Orange Cassidy when they feuded last year. He put over MJF in the Blood & Guts match and will likely put over MJF again in their singles match at All out too. Jericho is getting wins now, but I don’t think he’s winning that many feuds.

16. Nate Kuhl
Who is your best guess to beat Kenny Omega for the Impact World Title?

Moose would be a good choice since he just re-signed there. I know Kenny beat him already, but they can go back to it. Maybe Josh Alexander if he’s there long term although he’s not a big personality. It’ll be interesting to see if it happens before or after he loses the AEW World Title too.

17. John C Hoddy
What is Adam Cole’s (baybay) career trajectory on the main roster?

I think Cole can do well. Ease him up there with meaningful feuds, rise up to the IC or US Title level, hold that for a bit and then hopefully main eventer within a year. Then again, they don’t really push Ricochet, so I don’t know if they would do it.

18. Laura Hollingsworth
Do you think WWE will try to retain Pete Dunne, or do you see him signing elsewhere?

I hope so. I like him a lot and I think he’s a guy that they should invest in long term after he has consistently improved in the last few years. He’s in his mid-20s so he has a bright future for sure. If he leaves, he may get lost in the shuffle.

19. Robert Lee Thomas
NXT is probably the best thing in WWE right now. Why would they change anything about it? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The television audience isn’t that strong, but from a quality standpoint, I enjoy it. I think they need to get into a bigger building with more fans, though. That would help.

20. Austin Muller
Does John Cena win at SummerSlam just to give him 17 WWE World Titles?

I don’t think so, but it’s certainly possible that they may want to end on a happy note. If they did it then Cena would probably lose it back to Reigns at the MSG Smackdown episode a few weeks later. Cena has movie commitments the rest of the year.

21. Giles Hart
To ease the blood vessels of fans from both sides (or just make them hate you more), could you provide two positives and two negatives each about WWE and AEW to stop this turf war once and for all? (Or just positives if you wish).

The two biggest WWE shows this year have been very good – that’s WrestleMania and Money in the Bank. The two with fans. I think SummerSlam will be great too. So maybe fans should calm down a bit.

I think AEW puts on quality shows a lot and it’s great that they are back in arenas full of excitable fans. Happy for them.

I don’t understand why there’s a turf war or why people get riled up. Watch what you want and like what you like. I’m happy that wrestlers have good choices in terms of where to work and getting paid well to do so!

22. James Bryson
Tis the season… what’s your favourite ever SummerSlam match? (I’m sure you have a review of it already!)

Yeah, I have reviewed them all, of course. I think my favorite is Shawn vs. Hunter at SummerSlam 2002, which is not my highest rated SSlam match, but as a favorite it stands out because it was so emotional going into it and the fact that Shawn got through it was amazing. Then he wrestled another 8 years! Incredible.

Others I would pick are lots of Bret Hart matches vs. Perfect 1991, Bulldog 1993, Owen 1994 and I loved Austin/Angle 2001 even with the DQ finish.

23. Larry Yadao
What’s your favorite belt design and your least favorite design?

I’m a big of the “Winged Eagle” title for sure although calling it Winged Eagle is weird since an eagle should have wings (!) and the Big Gold Belt from NWA/WCW that WWE used as the World Heavyweight Title.

I think my least favorite was the stupid Divas Title that was a butterfly and I didn’t like the bronze tag team titles that WWE had.

24. Rob Brown
You must find reporting on all the WWE cuts tough to do. As a fan, I find it disappointing and discouraging. I know it’s business, but still seems shitty. Do you think that any of these guys return later this year once WWE runs more live shows? Or are the vast majority of these permanent?

I think the majority will move on and I don’t blame them. The good thing is the wrestling business is healthy for other promotions, but most of them will make less than their WWE run. That’s okay as long as they can make a living. It’s certainly possible that some people that WWE cut will be brought back as we have seen from other wrestlers in the last decade. I just think most of them are going to move on and work for other companies.

25. Mark Choi
If Vince McMahon sells WWE, who do you see as potential buyers?

I think they will sell this decade. Maybe within three years. I think the best choice for a potential buyer is NBC Universal, who has the rights to Raw, NXT and WWE Network on Peacock. If Fox passes on keeping Smackdown for 2024 when the deal is up, NBC Universal could swoop in and make a tantalizing offer to WWE. UFC sold for $4 billion, so I expect WWE to go for more.

26. Robert Lee Thomas
Which Broken Skull would get more views? The Rock or CM Punk?

The Rock by a lot. He is a much bigger star.

27. Toby Tobias
If you had to break down your interests as a wrestling fan, in terms of what makes you “into” a match or program, what percentages would you give the following:
Mat based wrestling
High flying
Storyline presentation
Everyone likes their ratios a little different, just curious where you stand

I love the in-ring action, but you need to have the other stuff part of it like if there’s a compelling story then the anticipation for the match is so much greater. We can all say “Put Wrestler A vs. Wrestler B on TV and it’ll be great” but if you put that match on after there’s a three-month storyline.

I think of Austin/Triple H at No Way Out 2001. Amazing match. Their last match before that was Survivor Series, so they went three months. They had the “no touch” stipulation. The anticipation was amazing. That’s what we need more of, but it’s hard to get it.

To answer the question, it has to be a bit of everything. If I had to give a percentage then:
Combining the 2nd/3rd thing to In-Ring Action – 35% You gotta deliver on the match.
Storyline – 35% So key. Good stories are vitally important.
Promos – 25% – Important because it makes the fans buy into the story.
Character/Gimmick 5% – That’s the lowest because I’m open-minded and I could like ANY character or gimmick if the other stuff is great. Like I can love Undertaker vs. Triple H at WM28 because the story worked, but I can also hate Undertaker vs. Underfaker at SSlam 1994 because it f’n sucked. Good question!

28. Alex Venegas
Do you see Rampage expanding to 2 hours in the future? Should it be like Dynamite but without exclusive rosters and not like Raw Supershow showing the same people?

I hope not. They don’t need it to be two hours and starting at 10pm for two hours on a Friday is a bad idea. They have a bad timeslot.

29. Matthew ‘Wolfman’ Walker
Do you think AEW has a better WRESTLING product than WWE?

In some ways, yes and in other ways, no. I think they need to utilize some talent better, but overall I enjoy AEW.

30. Marko Hallam
What do you feel is the greatest kick out in wrestling history?

WrestleMania 28 when Undertaker took the superkick and Pedigree back to back…for two. What a pop for that kickout. I was there and it was amazing. I can think of so many of them, but I remember that one so well.


That’s all for now. Thanks to everybody that participated and to you for reading. Check out our Q&A archives here as well.