6/19 Dot Net Mailbag: The Dot Net staff answer your questions on the next wresting boom period, Daniel Bryan's length of absence, and the Divas division
Welcome to the Dot Net Mailbag. The Dot Net staff answer your email questions every Thursday or Friday. If you have a question for us, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Wrestling's boom periods seem to come when one company upsets the normal order (WWF going national, ECW, NWO, etc). What do you think needs to be upset to kickstart another boom period? -Rick
Zack Zimmerman: I think wrestling would benefit tremendously from a reform more in the direction of legitimate sports and athletic competition. Fans dwindle because the stories that flood mainstream wrestling programs are convoluted, not believable, and riddled with logic holes, and many characters are either too silly or not relatable. Look at the people who are the most popular with fans today: Bryan, Wyatt, Rollins, Barrett, Cesaro, Harper, Ambrose, etc. Sure, they too get mired down in lame storylines, but they're fresh faces that fans know bring it in the ring at a level and style that WWE has rarely presented in the past.
If WWE could have one fair authority figure who only appears in the most serious instances, a commentary team who knew what to say and when to say it to help their own product, and programs filled with competition and stories where wins, losses, heat, and shine mattered rather than "power" and "authority," wrestling would be looked at so very differently. I don't know about another boom period, but WWE has made it embarrassing to be a wrestling fan and it doesn't need to be that way.
Will Pruett: The upset is already here, and it's technology. The big difference is the worldwide leader in wrestling is already attempting to harness new technology and they're succeeding in their efforts. The Internet (as it currently exists) is open. Any indie promotion, or even an upstart major national promotion, has a chance online. Aside from the Internet, I believe the first company to find a different way to produce wrestling (look, sound, feel) will have a major advantage. WWE is stuck in 1997. They're leaving themselves open to it.
Jake Barnett: The common thread in wrestling boom periods was competition. We need more wrestling promotions with creative minds that can actually put a dent in WWE's near complete monopoly of the professional wrestling business. I don't know if that will ever happen again, but I certainly hope it does. WWE and everyone else are made better when competition drives new ideas.
2. Do you think Daniel Bryan being stripped means he is going to be out for a long time? -Alan
Haydn Gleed: I don't personally feel it means he's going to be out for a while. Bryan underwent a procedure called cervical foraminotomy, which usually has a rehab time of 2-3 months. With him having surgery at the beginning of May, that should take him out until July/August. If the neck was damaged more than they initially thought, they would have spotted the problem while performing the surgery, and there's no way he would have been on TV since. I think they thought it was touch and go based on the rehab timelines if he would make Money In The Bank, which is why they gave him every opportunity and they didn't commit straight away to stripping him of the belt, but I can't see him being out much longer.
Zack Zimmerman: Regardless of how "minor" a surgery is reported to be, it's still a relatively serious thing; particularly neck surgery. Knowing the style that Daniel Bryan and Bryan Danielson have worked for the past ten-plus years and the toll it may have taken, I was concerned and highly skeptical when initial reports had him out for just 4-6 weeks. Now we're right around that point in time and it sounds like he's actually losing strength in one of his arms, which is never a good sign. Put it this way, I don't know when Daniel Bryan will be back, but for his health, wellness, and quality of life I truly hope he doesn't come back until he's back to 100 percent and he's been legitimately cleared to return. Here's wishing him all the best on a full recovery.
Darren Gutteridge: It's possible, but that's not without positives. Yes, it sucks when anybody gets hurt, but for one, Bryan didn't have to loose in some screwy fashion, giving him instant credibility when he returns and says he is the rightful champion. It also means a return to chase-mode Bryan, which was a fantastic thing to watch over the past year. Above all else, WWE now knows Bryan is a true star, so this unexpected injury shouldn't have the same effect it had on Dolph Ziggler - in fact, it might have the opposite one, and Bryan will return more over than ever before.
3. Suppose another group of women wrestlers like from the Attitude Era came to WWE. Would WWE get it right or are they too far gone in the Divas division? -Steven
Darren Gutteridge: It's in WWE's interests to get it right, but a lot of damage has been dealt. Even with all her potential and hype, Paige hasn't had a strong start to life as champion, partially because the focus is still on the Total Divas side of things. But, the situation isn't unsalvageable. All they need to do is take the entire division seriously, and the fans will respond. Alternatively, if they just want the Divas to be the eye-candy of the business, they may as well return to something akin to the Nitro Girls, and give up on the wrestling side of things completely.
Haydn Gleed: If you had asked me this question 3 months ago Steven, I would have said watch NXT, there's your attitude era Diva's. I was convinced then that it was only a matter of time before we would be getting top quality Diva matches and feuds on the main roster. Now I'm not so sure. The lackluster introduction of Paige has worried me as her character has not been defined in anyway. Emma has been cast in a comedy role with Santino. All that being said, there is still hope. I wouldn't rule out a dramatic shift in perception from management after the buzz and reaction to the Charlotte/Natalya match from Takeover. It will take time and patience and using the NXT template to make it work on the main roster, but with Total Diva's also to think about, will WWE go that way? I hope so.
Chris Shore: I'm guessing you are referring to the in-ring talent of the time, like Trish, Lita, Molly Holly, Victoria, etc. The thing is, I think WWE has comparable women in their system right now. Some are on the main roster and some are still in developmental, but all of there is a good core group there. I think what WWE needs is for someone to actually care about the Divas division within the company to make it worthwhile again.
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