TJR Q&A #76: WWE Return of Brock Lesnar, Finn Balor Back on Raw or Smackdown, Next AEW World Champion, More (35 Questions!)

TJR Q&A #76: WWE Return of Brock Lesnar, Finn Balor Back on Raw or Smackdown, Next AEW World Champion, More (35 Questions!)

The Q&A is back. It’s been six months since the last one. I don’t know why it took so long to do it again. I think it’s because I’m so focused on finishing reviews of every WWE PPV of all time. Anyway, it was time to bring it back. The questions come from the Facebook page right here. Let’s roll.

1. John Adams
Who should take the wwe championship from Roman Reigns? Would you wait until Wrestlemania to do it?

WrestleMania is a good place for it, but if it’s before that’s okay too. I would love it to be somebody like a Big E or Cesaro that has never won “the big one” yet, but I don’t know if it will be somebody like that or when. It’s really hard to say. Maybe Seth Rollins could be the guy to do it if they turn him face and he catches fire, but I don’t know if that’s the best idea either.

I really don’t know who or when. It’s tough to call. I just don’t want it to be a part timer and want it to be a full timer that is going to be around.

2. Nudge Adam Medley
How is WWE getting away with terrible women’s writing these days, especially with bullying “dew drop” and spitting in the face of the women’s division by mocking “eva-lution?” You would think there would be an uproar within their own ranks of this BS.

I don’t think the Doudrop name is going to last very long, so that’s a good thing at least. Using Eva Marie as a heel character to piss people off is fine, but I don’t think it’s going to last very long or have a big impact. Fans want serious women’s wrestling featuring strong characters, so I don’t think a trolling gimmick is going to work that well.

3. JD Grande
Do you have any idea why my boy Keith Lee is MIA?

I don’t know. It might be a mental health thing because I know he has talked about that in the past. Maybe an injury. I miss him and hope he can return soon.

4. Daniel Mount
How would you fix Shayna Baszler or is she even salvageable at this point?

It’s like with anybody. Just give them some wins and people will forget about the shitty booking. I always reference Mark Henry. In 2011, he signed a new contract and he won all these matches. Then he became Wolrd Champion. Suddenly people forgot that this guy lost 80% of his matches for 15 years or was a comedy character. Why? Because it was easy to believe in him as a winner. When they booked Shayna to dominate Elimination Chamber 2020 it was believable. She probably should have just beat Becky Lynch at WrestleMania too, but it didn’t happen.

I think Shayna has probably wrestled on TV as much as any woman in WWE in the last two years, so it’s not that bad. I also don’t think she is that interesting or exciting as a character. She’s an MMA fighter. Cool. There’s not much depth to that character, though. If she gets a push again that’s fine. I don’t think this feud with Bliss has helped her at all, so I would at least like to see her get out of that story and used better.

5. Joshua Morgret
Do you ever see someone like Cesaro winning the WWE or Universal Title? Why do you feel he gets the on and off pushes all the time?

I hope so. I have probably been saying that for 10 years of Q&A’s though, so who the hell knows at this point, right? LOL. Cesaro signed a new deal earlier in the year, so that’s part of the reason why he got more of a push. If you know a guy is going to be around for a few more years then you should invest in them. I hope it happens. I don’t know if it will.

6. Dave Graham
When is Daniel Bryan coming back? I had to.

I hope he’s back on Raw in July on the first Raw when the fans are back. I don’t know if he’s signed. I think he likely will be back.

daniel bryan wrestlemania 37 wwe

7. Liam Loftus
What did you think about Joey Janela costuming up to troll Drake Younger (Weurtz) the other day?

I thought it was silly, but also pretty funny, so kudos to Joey. Florida is a weird place.

8. Brian Coats
How would you have the next Universal champion dethrone Roman Reigns? (type of match, MITB cash in, etc.) He’s worked damn near every type of match in his current run.

Roman has also benefited from help for a lot of his wins, so he is beatable. Just a matter of when and who. I don’t know who lol. I don’t know if anybody knows who. I would love for it to be Big E or Cesaro. Even Drew McIntyre if he is on the same show as Roman in the future. Riddle is an option too.

9. Lonnie Nawrot
Although RAW had a decent episode this past week, the match quality between them and Smackdown has been night and day. Smackdown has the more interesting roster. What do you think RAW has to do in terms of match quality or types of matches to regain their audience?

Fresh matches and less goofy shit is always the solution. The reason Raw was better is because fans know Money in the Bank is a big deal, so the matches had a purpose and the wins meant something. You have to create an environment where the matches mean something instead of the same old tired 50/50 booking. I also hate champions losing non-title to build up a title match. Stop that shit.

If you watch NXT, they make the wins and losses matter. AEW does a good job of that too. I wish Raw did it better. Smackdown does do it better for the most part, but not always.

10. Travis Donaldson
Do you see a program for a Lesnar return anytime soon?

Hopefully. I like Brock and he’s 44 years old this year, so there are only so many years where he’s going to keep wrestling even a few matches per year. I’m sure he could retire and go away on his farm without being in the spotlight again, but making big money is nice too. The obvious one is Lashley since it’s never been done and we know Bobby has wanted it for years. I think you can go back to Lesnar vs. Roman again as long as Roman is the heel character because it’s fresh and the fans would believe Brock as a guy that can beat him. I think Brock would do well as a face against Roman too. Brock facing Drew McIntyre again would be fun as well.

I’m sure Brock enjoyed working with the likes of Balor, Styles and Bryan in his career as well, so match him up with more of the talented smaller guys. Those are some of his best matches.

To the people that bitch about Brock, that’s fine. I’d rather listen to wrestlers like Drew McIntyre and Daniel Bryan that praised a lot when they worked with him. That says a lot.

11. James Bright
How could wwe bring back the luster of their stipulations match while keeping it realistic and keeping the PPVs?

The key with stipulation matches is to not overdo them. They did four Hell in a Cell matches in 4 days and I think that hurts the gimmick. Just be smarter about it and they matter more. If it was me, Hell in a Cell wouldn’t be a PPV name. It would be a match to do when a feud warrants it. I don’t want it to be a PPV, though.

12. Giles Hart
Have you ever been surprised by any wrestlers’ massive popularity or success in the past or present, whether it be short or long term?

I don’t really see the big deal about Orange Cassidy in AEW. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 years old and if I was 20 years old I might think it was cooler. I think his work in the ring is fine, but I don’t think the gimmick is good or that interesting at all. They have so many more people in the company that should be getting AEW World Title shots before that guy, in my opinion.

I don’t know about others. I didn’t really like Ultimate Warrior, but it was easy to see why he was popular.

13. Jeff Goodridge
I noticed today it’s like almost 14 years since Benoit. How has time evolved your processing of the events of the day and the following response by the company going forward?

I think it’s horrendous and it makes me sick to think about it. I’m really glad that Dark Side of the Ring did that episode about it mainly because it helped Nancy’s sister and Chris’s son a lot, so I’m happy for them. As a fan and a writer, I can watch any Benoit match and write about how great he was in the ring. So many four star matches or higher, but I have no emotional investment when I watch it again. I can certainly remember that I was marking out during Royal Rumble 2004 or WM20 for example, but when I watch it again, I don’t really think about how happy I was. It’s just work for me now, I guess, like when I do a PPV review of a show he was on and I just get through it. That’s all.

14. Matt Tome
How would you book an angle with Karrion Kross vs Walter? Who goes over?

I think it would be pretty easy to set up. Kross does a promo saying I have beat everybody put in my path, nobody in NXT can stop me and here comes NXT UK Champion Walter. That’s a big match they could do at a Takeover. I’d put Walter over, but maybe WWE/Triple H would want Kross to win and that’s fine. I think it would be fun to do.

wwe nxt title karrion kross

15. Joseph MA Thomas
I’ve almost lost all interest in the product nowadays what you suggest I do to get back into it?

I don’t know you personally to know what you like or don’t like. I would say shows like Smackdown and NXT are very good while I enjoy AEW. Raw is tough at times, but has been better for a couple of weeks. My advice is to jump back in mid-July when fans are back because I think the energy from the crowd is going to be so strong that it will lead to better shows too. Record the shows if you can so that you’re able to fast forward to stuff you don’t like and maybe that’ll help too.

16. Richard Rue
Hi John, always good to get your opinion on things. Will Vince McMahon ever sell WWE?

I don’t know. I think sometimes that WWE should sell and they can get billions from NBC Universal, Disney or Fox or whoever. However, I don’t know if Vince wants to sell. Maybe Vince wants Steph/Hunter and Shane to take over, then they can pass it on to their kids and so on. If you sell then it’s out of the family, so I don’t know if Vince wants that.

17. Joe Harris
What do you think is WWE biggest weaknesses right now? And what would you do to fix it if Uncle Vince put you in charge.

There’s a lack of fresh babyfaces that fans can root for and get behind. There are so many heel champions that are booked strong, yet they just don’t seem to have those babyfaces to root for. Where’s the 1996 Shawn Michaels or 1998 Steve Austin or 2005 John Cena, etc. You need guys like that and I don’t think they have done a good job of planning long term to have those babyface characters that are on that chase to become a top guy.

I’ve never booked wrestling before, but I would try to focus on that. Whether it’s Riddle or Keith Lee or somebody in NXT or whoever, you gotta try to pick out a guy and push him as a that next level babyface.

18. Jason Tomlinson
What do you think about Jey Uso winning MITB. It could start as the table having insurance, then cash in at Summerslam. I was at WM 31 and the ovation for Jey would be similar to Rollins after all Jey had to put up with in the last year.

I’d rather see a singles wrestler win it that needs it more. I don’t see Jey being against Roman. From a storyline perspective, Jey winning would be an interesting decision. I see where you’re coming from.

19. Brad Christenson
So I really enjoy Roman and the bloodline group. I want to see another bigger stable in WWE. Like 5 or 6 people. So if they were to add people to Roman’s group who would you like to see? I think Namoi makes sense, maybe Nia Jax?

Keep Nia away. That won’t help lol. I’m fine with five or six people and you can add a singles wrestler to it or Naomi as you said, but sometimes when you have too many it gets overcrowded. I think Samoa Joe would have been a cool addition. Now he’s NXT, which is a good fit. I just think if they added a “power guy” style wrestler to the group, it would add to their presence.

20. Ryan Petrynka
Next AEW titles – Trios, Junior Heavyweight or something else?

I think we’ll see them introduce Trios titles before the end of the year. Maybe at the next PPV All Out or Full Gear in November.

21. Colt Lazzarotto
What title does Kenny Omega lose first? Who should beat him for the AEW title?

I think he should lose the Impact title and never should have won it in the first place. Makes Impact look like losers.

I think next AEW World Champion should be Adam Page or maybe Darby Allin. All Out PPV may be too soon, so maybe Full Gear PPV in November. They love long AEW World Title reigns obviously. This is the third one.

22. Alejandro Rodríguez
When will people realize that the “John Cena is invisible” jokes are old and lame?

Hopefully soon. I mean they don’t even know the origin of the joke. When Cena said “you can’t see me” it was as a heel taunt to tell the face that you’re not on my level, you’re not as good as me, etc. And then for some reason it has become some “joke” that isn’t even funny. Ugh.

wwe ruthless aggression john cena vince

23. Nate Kuhl
Who would you like to see Edge feud with when he returns?

Seth Rollins. I know it’s a rumor and whether it’s true or not, I have no idea. I think people just assume it makes sense, which it does.

24. Aj Giacobbe
Do you think John Morrison will ever be paired with his wife (Franky Monet)?

Yeah I think Morrison will. Franky Monet is a talented, polished performer who I see on Raw or Smackdown next year.

25. Damie Sinanan
What do you think about Finn Balor being called back up and programmed with Roman following Summerslam (assuming they are going with Roman Cena)? I think Finn can provide a credible face to take Roman through the end of the year.

I think it would be great. Finn is awesome and I expect him on Raw or Smackdown in July. I think you can definitely push Finn right to the top as a babyface whether it’s against Roman, Lashley or whoever and then book him strong from there.

Congrats to Finn too. I believe his wife is pregnant, so it would be their first child together.

26. Geoff Landtbom
Does the fact that NXT isn’t really considered developmental anymore hurt it’s perception? After all the ultimate goal should be the main roster, not I spent a decade in NXT and called it quits. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just unusual to have someone like Johnny Gargano there for the balance of about 6 years when his dream as an 8 year old was to be a major star in WWE, not a major star for their developmentel arm. Although maybe the fact that they’re on national television is a major factor.

I think NXT is a mix of a regular show and developmental. If you look at Raquel Gonzalez, her rise is because of NXT and being able to work with their coaches to get better. But then there are guys like Gargano, Ciampa, etc. that are 15 year pros that are obviously developed and just there to be main guys. Bobby Fish is in his 40s. It is a third brand and also developmental.

27. Dave Boehringer
With the connections you have, have you ever considered getting into the wrestling business itself, in some capacity, like like a ref or a manager?

Not really. If I was 25 years old instead of 40 years old then maybe because I was in good shape through my 20s. I played basketball and soccer at a pretty high level, was pretty athletic through my teens and into my 20s, but never had a desire to beat my body up by trying out as a wrestler. Who knows, maybe if I bulked up I would have liked it. Can’t go back now!

Some of my connections have led to me pitching ideas to people in WWE, plus other promotions, so that’s cool. One time I suggested something to a wrestler about an outfit and a few weeks later they wore it on TV. Sometimes I offer ideas on promos. Some of my friends that are on TV are cool with me mentioning it while others keep it quiet and that’s fine. I don’t need to be acknowledged. Sometimes it’s just a DM on Twitter from a wrestler that read something I wrote and I offer a suggestion. Now that my friend Mickie James is booking the NWA Women’s PPV in August, I can throw ideas at her if she asks me things and she takes it in because she’s known me for over a decade and trusts me. She also has over 20 years in the wrestling business, so she has a lot of smart people she can talk to. She’s so smart, so she’ll do a great job. I love the creative side. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get more involved one day.

28. Jeremy Barnes
What was your favorite A&E Biography episode that you watched out of the wrestlers?

I liked the Bret Hart and Mick Foley episodes the most. Shawn Michaels too because he talked more openly than I’ve ever seen him.

29. Jesse Ornelas
Is it better to never hold a title in WWE or have a short or bad one? At least in the former you get your name in the history books.

I think fans care more about it than the wrestlers do. Roddy Piper is a bigger star than two time World Champion Dolph Ziggler for example. No offense to Dolph, but it’s true.

30. Richard Kemmler
Is it a fair point to say that Asuka has had the most success of any Japanese wrestler male or female ever in the United States? I feel like alot of Japanese wrestlers have come over and they struggle either getting over or just bad booking/gimmicks.

Yes, very true for Asuka. I’m glad she has done well. Very good as a heel or face too.

wwe asuka becky lynch womens title

31. Roderick Walker
What are some feuds that had the wrestlers in the wrong roles?

Any time Scott Steiner was a face in WWE after he came back in 2002. That’s the wrong role.

32. JD Robert
Worst Royal Rumble winner?

Vince McMahon in 1999, Triple H in 2016 (because he wasn’t active at the time and I hated what it led to) and Batista in 2014 because it should have been Daniel Bryan.

33. Brandan Kelly
With Money in the Bank ppb having a crowd. Do you think something major or unexpected to happen?

I hope so. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s a big event and I’m excited about it. Make some noise, Texas fans.

34. Eric Hay
Top 5 Money in the Back cash-ins?

First one by Edge, CM Punk on Jeff Hardy in 2009 because it slowly led to Punk’s heel run that I loved, Dolph Ziggler on Raw after Mania 2013. Those are the big three that come to mind. A lot of the others are similar.

Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31 for sure. Dean Ambrose was good too because it was all three Shield guys holding WWE Title that night.

I also loved Daniel Bryan cashing in on Big Show in late 2011 just because Bryan is my favorite. There are so many lol.

35. Larry Yadao
If WWE wanted to try and emulate a Mike Tyson/HBK/Austin type of angle for a future Wrestlemania, what celebrity or athlete would you chose and with what two wrestlers would you have involved?

I think Conor McGregor would make a huge impact and draw a lot of attention if he was in WWE. I’d say he’s the first pick.

Tyson Fury was used a few years ago. I guess if Tyson and Drew did something especially in the UK it would be pretty big.

Top Finishes: Conor McGregor

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