WWE News: Reviews, Analysis and Rumors for Week of Nov. 4
It seems as though the WWE is feeling the pressure that comes with there being only three weeks between pay-per-views. Things were awfully rushed on Raw this week. The most notable instance of that was Vince McMahon announcing a Triple Threat match between CM Punk, Ryback and John Cena at Survivor Series for the WWE championship.
Punk and Ryback were both announced as part of a traditional, five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match the week before, but that was blown up out of the blue. The Triple Threat match is likely to generate interest as well as pay-per-view buys, but the manner in which it was decided on was strange to say the least.
In addition to that, there is plenty else to talk about regarding the WWE Universe this week. Tuesday was Election Day, but was Linda McMahon's second Senate campaign any better than the first? Also, what is the identity of the new superstar who will soon grace the WWE? Which high-profile superstar may have asked for his release, and which part-timer is now back in the fold for good?
Learn about all of that and more as I break down the latest news and rumors related to the WWE for the week beginning on Nov. 4.
CM Punk vs. Ryback vs. John Cena Announced for Survivor Series
For about a week, it seemed as though there would be no WWE championship match at Survivor Series, but Vince McMahon obliterated that notion on Monday.
Despite CM Punk and Ryback already being announced as part of a five-on-five elimination match a week earlier, McMahon coaxed Vickie Guerrero into booking a Triple Threat match between Punk, Ryback and John Cena for the title instead.
The timing was odd, to say the least, as it seemed like the WWE was already building toward something else.
Perhaps that was the plan all along, but I can't help but think that the WWE made a sudden audible out of nowhere. There isn't much time to build toward Survivor Series after Hell in a Cell, so maybe a bit of panic set it.
While I have no doubt that the Punk vs. Ryback vs. Cena match is a big draw that should be financially beneficial to the WWE, I don't like it at all from a booking perspective.
The WWE had set itself up. Punk was only going to have to defend the title once before the Royal Rumble. Adding another title match into the mix complicates things. On top of that, I wanted to see a big traditional Survivor Series match headline the card, but that simply isn't going to happen now.
The only explanation I can come up with for the sudden about-face is that Cena wasn't cleared to compete until over the course of the past week.
He said he was healed and cleared a couple of weeks ago, but his lack of physical contact since then leads me to believe that it wasn't actually true. Cena did wrestle for the first time in seven weeks on Raw, though. With him back in the fold, perhaps the WWE thought it was absolutely vital to thrust him back into the main event.
Linda McMahon Comes Up Short Again in Senate Bid
Linda McMahon, wife of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, attempted to win a seat in the United States Senate for the second time in three years. However, she was once again thwarted on Tuesday.
McMahon was beaten handily by Democratic candidate Chris Murphy in Connecticut, according to CNN.com, as he garnered 55 percent of the vote to McMahon's 43 percent.
McMahon reportedly spent nearly $100 million on her 2010 and 2012 campaigns combined, but has nothing to show for it as her margin of defeat was even larger than it was in her first attempt.
While the McMahon family are obviously wealthy beyond belief, $100 million is a lot to lose and they'll likely be licking their wounds for quite some time.
While the political repercussions of this election are that Murphy's victory helped the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, wrestling fans are more worried about what McMahon's loss means for the WWE product.
Although there has never been any evidence, one way or the other, the prevailing thought is that McMahon's campaign has prevented the WWE from utilizing edgier programming.
The fact of the matter is that the WWE product has always been PG, but I can see how Linda's campaign may have caused things to be toned down even more than usual.
With that said, it's silly to expect the WWE to immediately go back to the Attitude Era now that McMahon's aspirations to be a Senator are likely over.
There are plenty of reasons for the WWE being PG, and even if Linda's campaign was one of them, several others are still relevant and will be taken into consideration.
If nothing else, I'm just glad the campaign is over so Vince can focus his full attention on the product, whether it's PG or anything in between.
Vignettes Air for New WWE Superstar Fandango
Over the past couple of years, the WWE has utilized vignettes for returning, repackaged or debuting superstars on occasion, and a new one emerged on Monday.
During Raw, a clip played touting a superstar called "Fandangoo." Another vignette was used on Tuesday's SmackDown, but one "O" was dropped, making the name "Fandango" instead.
I don't know if the name change has anything to do with getting clearance from the movie ticket company known as Fandango, but it was strange to say the least.
Whatever the case, Fandango will be played by Johnny Curtis, who has been testing out the gimmick at house shows recently.
Apparently, he is going to be a tango dancer of some sort. It sounds a bit strange, but we'll see how well it is received.
I don't anticipate a tango dancing gimmick to elevate past the midcard, but I have no issues with the WWE giving something a try. Curtis is a good talent with personality and mic skills, and he won the fourth season of NXT, so obviously the WWE brass has some confidence in him.
While he hasn't been given a chance to shine thus far, the WWE seems invested in this Fandango to some degree, since it took the time to create vignettes for him.
The micard scene is actually a bit shallow right now, so I'm excited to see what this character brings to the table. My guess is that he will be a heel, but it's impossible to know for sure.
Even if he is simply a comedic character, he'll have a place on the roster feuding against the likes of Brodus Clay, Zack Ryder and Santino Marella.
Fandango will be given every opportunity to succeed from jump street and I hope he does.
Did Jack Swagger Ask for His Release?
Jack Swagger has been off WWE programming for the past couple of months after telling then-Raw general manager A.J. Lee that he needed to "take some extended time off."
Rumors have run rampant recently regarding Swagger's status with the company, and there has even been talk that Swagger may have requested his release.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Swagger's wife denied those rumors on Twitter. Also, Swagger was spotted in Birmingham, England on Monday sporting a beard and a new hairstyle.
Swagger reportedly met with Vince McMahon and Vince expressed his desire for Swagger to remain with the company. Swagger did work a dark match on Tuesday, so it looks like rumors of his departure were greatly exaggerated.
As one of Swagger's biggest fans, I really hope nothing comes of these reports. You never really know what to believe when it comes to these types of rumors, but the fact that Swagger worked a dark match has to be considered a good sign.
I personally believe that Swagger has everything it takes to be a star as he possesses good size, excellent in-ring ability and is actually underrated on the mic.
He could have been established as a main-eventer by now, but he was booked worse than perhaps any world champion in the history of wrestling back in 2010.
Swagger could never regain his footing and his character became stale. If given the opportunity, I think Swagger's All-American American gimmick would have been fine, but he needs a change to make people care about him.
My suggestion is a face turn and a pro-American gimmick that will allow him to feud with Antonio Cesaro. Whatever the case, I eagerly anticipate his return.
JBL Officially Back with WWE on Full-Time Basis
Since returning at Night of Champions to serve as a guest announcer in place of Jerry "The King" Lawler, JBL has appeared fairly regularly on Raw, SmackDown and even Main Event.
It was uncertain what JBL's status with the company was, but he has finally broken his silence. According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, JBL has said that he is officially back with the company on a full-time basis, primarily as the color commentator alongside Josh Matthews on SmackDown.
Lawler is due back on Monday after taking time off to recover from his heart attack as well, so the WWE's commentary situation is certainly improving by the day.
JBL is an incredibly popular personality among WWE fans, so hiring him had to be a no-brainer for the company. Now Raw and SmackDown will have distinct commentary teams, and I feel like that will be good in terms of keeping both shows fresh.
I'm not as high on JBL as an announcer as most people. I feel like he can get repetitive at times and his sudden outbursts can distract from matches on occasion. However, I can't argue with this decision.
JBL is most definitely knowledgeable about wrestling as a whole as well as the current product, and he already has plenty of experience at the craft, so he was a very logical option to put next to Matthews on the blue brand.
Michael Cole has been much better since abandoning his heel character as he can focus on simply calling the matches, but having him on two shows was overkill.
While he's still technically the voice of the WWE, there is no need to have him do every single show the company produces. JBL has strong opinions and a strong voice, and he's going to ensure that WWE's top two shows are unique.
Now that JBL is in place officially, my only hope is that Jim Ross is allowed to continue announcing on Raw as well.