WWE’s Billion-Dollar Princess sat down with Yahoo Sports for an interview on Monday. Here are many of the highlights, coupled with whatever witty banter I feel like including with it…
YS: We saw a shift in the wrestling industry when the No. 2 promotion, WCW, went out of business in 2001. Thirteen years later, the fate of another No. 2 promotion in TNA appears to be in limbo. Are you of the belief that a healthy competitor is good for the WWE’s bottom line?
SM: I think competition is always healthy, but what we look at as competition is everything out there —all entertainment and sports programming because we really are such a unique hybrid — there’s nothing like us in the world. Monday Night Football is a competitor to Monday Night Raw. Yes, I think competition is incredibly healthy, no matter where it comes from.
Competition is a very good thing, but TNA doesn’t really threaten WWE. WWE is in a tough spot as far as pushing their creative boundaries. There are about 4 million people who seem to watch Raw consistently. It would be nice if they rocked their own boat a little bit more than they do but that would be a risky business move if too many chances are taken. They have a hard time attracting new viewers, so there’s no reason to shake up what the fans seemingly eat up over and over again. Bottom line, we’re stuck with John Cena for a long while.
YS: You mentioned Monday Night Football — has the programming on Monday Night RAW shifted this year (ie: The Rock’s return earlier in the month) based on when halftime was taking place on Monday Night Football?
SM: We always try to be strategic in terms of having our best content on when we know the most fans are available to watch.
A fun pop from a surprise visit by The Rock is a useful spot to put in the ‘halftime’ slot. A bad idea is when they built the big John Cena segment around when the NFL break was about a month ago. It didn’t really spike the ratings and it made the Rusev/Mark Henry segment that main evented instead seem way out of place. But it seems like WWE learned their lesson from that move.
YS: Renee Young has been a great addition to WWE. Do you think she will be the first “voice” of RAW or Smackdown at some point during her WWE career?
SM: Renee has become an incredible force in terms of being an announcer and yes, I certainly hope she will become the first female play-by-play announcer. I think she is absolutely capable and has the opportunity in front of her.
Make this happen. Renee Young is fantastic and the WWE audience gets way too much of Michael Cole and JBL. Don’t get me wrong, I love JBL as a color commentator, but don’t have Cole and him announce everything. A little absence will help my heart grow founder, even for JBL.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. And here’s a plug for my most recent podcast, episode #5 of SBP Wrestling. Just click play to hear myself, Ronnie, and Bryan talk about the events leading up to Hell In A Cell and Ronnie’s review of TNA Bound For Glory…