Orton Buried?, WWE Approving Appearance Changes, Reigns As A Heel, McIntyre Not Dropping WWE Title

What were your thoughts on Randy Orton going under clean to Keith Lee?

Keith Lee had to beat Randy Orton at Payback, otherwise he was going to be completely forgotten. Lee’s debut on last Monday’s episode of WWE Raw was botched. We can blame it on a lack of planning or the fact Vince tore up the show’s script shortly before they went live. Whatever the case was, it could not have gone worse. They literally had no other choice but to make sure Lee went over at Payback. The way the match was booked though, Lee did not dominate Orton. He simply stole one. The reactionary booking will not save Lee completely but it will make fans take him serious. WWE still needs to figure out his entrance music and ring attire but a victory over Orton is a step in the right direction.

Does WWE have to approve any change a Superstar wants to make to his or her appearance? I ask based on Braun Strowman saying during his new WWE Chronicle documentary on WWE Network that he had to ask Vince McMahon before cutting his hair.

The backstory to this is Braun Strowman explained [in the WWE Network documentary] he called and asked Vince if he could shave his head. Vince had to run it by legal due to licensing and merchandising purposes and eventually gave him the go ahead. So back to the question, yes WWE talent have to seek approval before changing their appearance. WWE licenses out the likeness of their talent for merchandising purposes. The talent are paid a percentage of what they sell but they have to make sure their appearance goes along with what is being marketed to the audience. Obviously these are grown men and women free to do what they want, however, changing their appearance without approval could result in punishment, including being removed from TV. This is also one of the reasons why WWE classifying talent as independent contractors is so controversial. WWE controls every aspect of a performer, yet gets by without making them an employee where they have to offer benefits.

Is Roman Reigns turning heel long overdue?

Roman Reigns has wanted to turn heel for quite some time and it could have gotten over in a big way had they done it years ago. But no time is better than the present and Reigns is still well positioned for a heel turn. Fans were criticizing Reigns from the moment he stepped back into the ring so booking him as a babyface would have been very difficult. Many are intrigued by the pairing of Reigns and Paul Heyman, so we’ll see what happens.

When will Drew McIntyre be back in WWE? And if he is really suffering from a career-threatening injury, why wouldn’t he relinquish the belt? After all, Karrion Kross had to drop the NXT title due to a shoulder injury.

The latest kayfabe update on Drew McIntyre is he has “a hairline jaw fracture,” not a skull fracture and certainly not a brain bleed. This is in response to WWE selling the punts Randy Orton landed on him last week on Raw. But I agree there is a huge logic gap here. Karrion Kross gets injured, it’s learned to be serious and he relinquishes the NXT title on TV immediately. McIntyre has a “career-threatening ailment” but remains WWE Champion. Obviously it’s different with a legitimate injury vs. a storyline injury but stuff like this drives me crazy. WWE wanted a way to put McIntyre over Orton but keep the Legend Killer in tact with Orton. Then they ended up having to put Keith Lee over Orton in a reactionary move. We will hope for more clarity on tonight’s Raw but obviously McIntyre is not dealing with a legitimate injury and remains WWE Champion.

The next installment of Ask WNC is scheduled to run on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

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