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Ho, ho, ho! MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Excellence in Pro Wrestling Column Writing from yours truly, Mr. Tito. And yes, I am STILL retired… This very column is just a Christmas present to my many longtime readers. As a columnist, I always tried to go “out of my way” to post a column on Holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter because I always theorized that after you unwrapped presents and ate food, you may have some downtime. Then, you’ll start lurking on the Internet to find something to do… Then, low and behold, a BRAND NEW Mr. Tito column was conveniently waiting for you at LordsofPain.net to enjoy and I didn’t half-ass it.
But I’m retired now… As Christmas was approaching a few days ago… I then figured “why not?”.
I’m still retired, specifically as a wrestling fan and in particular, a WWE fan. I have NOT watched a full show since WWE Hell in a Cell during October 2018. My WWE Network subscription was cancelled and I have missed all Pay Per Views ever since. I no longer watch RAW or Smackdown on Hulu as I used to do as a columnist (after cutting the cord on Cable during 2015). Like Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Hockey League (NHL) before them, I ceased being a dedicated and loyal fan to them and I just keep up with their results, news, and whatnot via the Internet. I’ll watch NFL and NBA games in full but will only care about NHL/MLB stuff if something is interesting (like Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals). WWE or wrestling in general (not a fan of ROH, NJPW, Impact, etc., although I wish the Elite crew well) has now joined my casual following with MLB and NHL. WWE is unable to captivate me weekly and at their big events, thus why I’m done watching them.
Right now, I’ll just see what is available on YouTube.com and maybe watch something if it appears interesting. The only clips that I’ve been watching lately are anything involving Ronda Rousey on RAW and anything with Becky Lynch on Smackdown. For Rousey, it is more on a curiousity level to see where WWE is going with that character and if they can repair what appears to be something that is not financially drawing (see the ratings, attendance, her merchandise sales). For Becky Lynch, I’m a huge fan and I’m so happy that she has FINALLY received her “just do”. During September 2016 at a houseshow, I told Becky to her face when she was WWE Women’s Champion on Smackdown that “I’m proud of you” and she very happy to hear that (I had front row for that houseshow). I have been preaching how the WWE wasted her during all of 2017 and early for 2018… I am SO HAPPY that Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey will potentially headline Wrestlemania 35.
And PLEASE, PLEASE WWE… DO NOT add another body (or two) to this match. DO NOT make it a Fatal 4 Way or Triple Threat. As appealing as Ronday Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte could be (and maybe adding Nia Jax and/or Asuka), these multiple person matches are a product of LAZY BOOKING. Why burn through Ronda Rousey vs. Becky/Charlotte/Asuka at once? Let them have their one-on-one matches and that benefits 3 Per Per Views instead of just 1 Pay Per View and reduces the value of one-on-one matches in the future. Don’t believe me? Go watch SummerSlam 2017 when it was exciting to FINALLY see Braun Strowman to get a piece of Brock Lesnar but then 1 month later at No Mercy 2017, their one on one match was “meh”. More people cared about John Cena vs. Roman Reigns because they didn’t wrestle at all that year and it was a unique match-up.
If WWE does Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 35, they need to accept the FATE that Ronda Rousey is going to be booed like a HEEL. What WWE needs to realize that it took YEARS for male wrestling fans to accept Women’s Wrestling as legitimate. Thanks to Triple H developing the division greatly through the NXT developmental promotion and excellent talent recruitment, male wrestling fans are now welcome to Women’s Wrestling in the WWE and are even OK if it main events! 5 years ago, that was NOT the case… As the male wrestling fans watch each NXT developmental “get the call” to join the WWE, those fans RESPECT THE PROCESS of how each of those NXT female wrestlers got there. It is a personal attachment because male fans SAW THE STRUGGLE to get to the WWE and the CONNECTION IS MADE.
With Ronday Rousey, however, it is well known that the WWE is paying her MILLIONS to be a PART-TIME performer (can you show me WHEN she has wrestled a houseshow, doesn’t always wrestle or appear on RAW)… But on top of that, her Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career didn’t end well. She had 2 bad losses and instead of accepting that she had a great run and maybe “pick yourself up and try again”, she pouted… And many wrestling fans, I can imagine, saw how UFC built her up to be the BEST FEMALE FIGHTER OF ALL TIME and also saw how it went to Ronda’s head… She was very cocky heading into that first MMA fight that she lost and the push for her to be a Mainstream name both by UFC and her seeking Hollywood opportunities probably over-exposed her. Now, she comes into the WWE and is mowing through all of the NXT developed females like buzzsaw. She is “Female Brock Lesnar” but possibly worse because it completely spits all over the NXT developmental system.
And ratings, attendance, merchandise sales, etc. are all down since Ronda Rousey joined the WWE. I’m just stating what is factually correct.
Have you noticed that I just spent much of my one-time column already on WWE Women’s Wrestling? Do you notice this? Not a single mention of the current state of MALE wrestling.
Because it sucks.
I have been saying it for YEARS! John Cena was a top draw and was surrounded by a weaker supporting cast than what the other 3 top all-time draws, Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and the Rock had as Jokers to their Batman. Hulk Hogan had Andre, Bundy, Piper, Mr. Wonderful, Macho Man, and many others to work with… Steve Austin and the Rock had each other but on top of that, both had Foley, Undertaker, Triple H, and Kurt Angle as opponents along with a LOADED upper midcard to always feast upon (Jericho, Benoit, etc.). The Rock could later feud with Bill Goldberg, Hulk Hogan, and Brock Lesnar… HOLY COW. John Cena had strong opponents through 2009 but things soon fell off… Cena could fight Randy Orton here and there, but “meh” to that. He then had CM Punk but the WWE dispatched of Punk. Ditto with Daniel Bryan. The Rock was a big deal for 2012-2013 but the Rock won their first match! At SummerSlam 2014, the WWE had John Cena losing to Brock Lesnar in a SQUASH match.
It is so funny how numbers have fallen off since squashing John Cena at SummerSlam 2014.
The PROBLEM that the WWE has consistently had since the late 2000s is that they have NOT properly groomed the “next guy”. They have tried with Sheamus, the Miz, Alberto Del Rio, Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins without a Curb Stomp, and even Jack Swagger a few times… Didn’t work. For over the last 4 years, the WWE tried to put all of their eggs into the Roman Reigns basket. LOOK, I hope that he beats Leukemia and makes an impressive comeback that proves Vince McMahon right on the amount of resources that he used to push Roman Reigns. From 2014-2018, look at this CLEAN WIN resume: CM Punk, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, the Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar.
And what did the WWE have to show for it? Viewership for Monday Night RAW during 2014 was consistently above 4.0 Million. The last appearance of Roman Reigns on RAW 10/22/2018 did 2.5 million viewers.
So if you want to argue that RAW has dipped to 2.2 million viewers lately without Roman… What about the 1.5 million viewers lost WITH Roman as the top guy? Be consistent. If you want to give Roman’s star power as the cause for losing 300,000 viewers then you need to blame him for helping to lose 1.5 million for the last 4 years. Just saying.
Problem with the WWE for the past decade is that they are completely unable to create “LARGER THAN LIFE” characters. When you go to the grocery market, to your workplace, or even going to the gym… You’ll NEVER see someone full of charisma, personality, and has a unique look walking in like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Steve Austin, Undertaker, Andre the Giant, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Batista, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar… They do NOT make those guys on the assembly line. THAT is what makes Pro Wrestling popular. You tune in or attend live to see “Larger than Life” characters fighting over a prized championship title or portraying the battle between GOOD vs. EVIL.
You don’t tune in to see NORMAL LOOKING DUDES wrestling multiple times.
I heard that Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins had many “boring” chants during their last match at the TLC Pay Per View. Duh… For one, you know that both guys DO NOT actually hate each other and their social media will tell you that they are still best friends. When Macho Man was jealous over Hulk Hogan regarding Miss Elizabeth, YOU FELT IT. When Steve Austin was going after Vince McMahon, you believed that a shred of that was real. How about that recent Rock vs. John Cena feud? Remember how cutting some of those promos were? That whole “Summer of Punk” stuff felt real because CM Punk’s WWE contract was actually about to expire.
There is NOTHING “larger than life” about Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. The only “larger than life” thing that either guy had was Seth Rollins during 2015 when he had a move that was formally called the “Curb Stomp”. But noooo, WWE Corporation had to ban that move and any mention of that name because it was TOO OFFENSIVE. Huh? The FACT that it could be deemed offensive made it cool. Good God! Do you think that Burger King would pull all of their ads because someone had a wrestling move that has a questionable name? NO! They want to see RAW keeping 4 million viewers a week because it is those 4 million viewers, NOT 2.5 million, that they are selling their products toward in hopes of achieving HIGHER REVENUE.
Much of the current WWE roster has a bunch of normal looking dudes and they all tell you what they are up to on Social Media. They might as well each where shirts that says “Wrestling is Fake”. Ya know? Back in the day, babyfaces and heels were NOT allowed to travel with each other. Now, babyface and heel characters post pictures of themselves together on social media with big smiles on their faces. On top of all of that, the WWE keeps advertising how their sausage is made by telling the public how wrestlers take bumps, how matches are put together, how shows are produced, and then do stupid crap like letting KFC make ads with wrestlers feuding (remember that Miz and Dolph Ziggler crap?). Instead of calling the Monday Night show “RAW is WAR”, why not call it “RAW is FAKE”?
You don’t see Magicians being open about how their magic tricks are done. You don’t see bigger corporations telling the public what their next future moves will be (besides forecasts required on financial reporting). You don’t know what products Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, etc. are researching and about to unveil until you officially see them. Imagine if those companies leaked future plans to a Dave Meltzer like figure in the media? Anytime something leaks from those companies or other corporations, heads get chopped off. But not WWE… We’ll openly tell the public that the shows are scripted, how the bumps are taken, and why wrestlers are just characters thought up by the WWE and not the real person.
Getting back on the “Larger than Life” kick, you don’t see it with any of the current WWE wrestlers… Maybe Braun Strowman but then you hear him speak and choke in matches with Brock Lesnar. WWE tried to manufacture that “larger than life” presence with Roman Reigns and did so for more than 4 years… Yet, he struggled with WWE’s scripted lines and lacked the in-ring experience to blossom as a Main Eventer to carry Pay Per Views. For me, and I’m quoting the great NFL Tight End and co-host on FOX Sports 1’s Undisputed show Shannon Sharpe… It was always as if Roman Reigns was wrestling “with a piano on his back”. Just always sluggish in the ring, always seems to be waiting around until he could hit his Drive-by, Spear, Superman Punch, and maybe a Powerbomb. No psychology because the Florida territory run by John Laurinaitis wasn’t teaching it and Roman suffered from that because he was rushed quickly to that WWE main event spot. Roman, in Vince McMahon’s option, looked “Larger Than Life” but he (a) couldn’t talk like it and (b) couldn’t wrestle like it. It was all 100% WWE’s manufacturing of a character and zero personal touches by Roman. Roman’s best promo that he ever cut, sadly enough, was his “goodbye” speech on his last RAW appearance because that was the guy behind the Roman character speaking. It was real. Hogan, Austin, the Rock were exaggerated extensions of their real personalities but just turned up to “11” on the dial.
Everybody now is undersized, too involved with social media, loves video games, etc… In other words, getting closer to the REST of the population.
Did you know what Hulk Hogan did outside of the WWE? Neither did I… It wasn’t until Hogan Knows Best on Vh1 that began to over-expose the guy and his wrestling career was over. How about Steve Austin? Once you know that he was (a) married to Deborah McMichael and then (b) committed domestic violence against her, his career was over. Once you knew that Triple H was dating Stephanie, he couldn’t shake that perception he benefited from that relationship even though HHH was legitimately talented. From early 2000 through mid 2001, NOBODY has had a better in-ring run than Triple H. Period. John Cena is a mysterious cat outside the WWE but I think he wasn’t helped by all of the drama surrounding Nikki Bella recently.
The public should NOT know who you really are… The “Larger than Life” thing is what separates THEM, the audience, with the wrestlers.
I can walk into a Walmart during the Summer time and see at least 5-6 other guys who are wearing mesh basketball shorts, cut-off sleeve t-shirts, and farmer’s tan on their biceps. Yes, I’m talking about Kevin Owens. The crazy thing is that the guy (a) cuts a great promo, (b) is a great worker, and (c) knows how to get heat… But aside from making an existing match look good as a punching bag, how do you market that to casual fans to pack arenas and boost attendance? I can see that same looking guy at a Walmart or compete against him in a pick-up basketball game at a YMCA or the playgrounds. Then you have someone like AJ Styles advertising that he brings his Xbox on the road to play after events. FINE, if you want to play video games, go right ahead… But please SHUT UP ABOUT IT. You are AJ Styles, multiple time WWE Champion… Tell fans that during your OFF TIME, you are eating at fancy restaurants and hanging out with the top celebrities because you are CHAMPION and that makes you BETTER THAN THE FANS. They can’t eat at nicer restaurants or hang out with celebrities because they are NOT WWE Champion!
WWE needs to make their wrestlers LOOK & ACT DIFFERENTLY than their fans. That’s why I like Velveteen Dream so much. Not many human beings look, act, or can perform athletic moves like he can. He is loaded with charisma and would cause anyone in a room to take notice. NOBODY on the WWE’s entire roster looks or wrestles like that guy and not many people on this planet can. THAT is what you should strive for in WWE superstars, Triple H. “Larger than Life” and that means size, communication ability, charisma and charm, personality, and overall look and presentation. Think about this for a second… Hulk Hogan lost his job with the WWE for racial things said on a sex tape yet the Dream has performed Hulk Hogan tributes with his look at NXT Takeover events TWICE despite that personality. That’s BOLD to do but also, Velveteen Dream has the personality and charisma to pull that look off without a problem!
Of course, as of my writing of this, Velveteen Dream is in hot water with backstage management regarding actions he took on Social Media. OOOOPS!
While I’m on the subject of NXT… Look, I’m overall proud of Triple H‘s work there, specifically the creation of legitimate Women’s wrestling. The WWE midcard was starving thanks to its LACK of attention towards the Midcard Titles (United States & Intercontinental) and the neglect of having a solid Tag Team division. The rest of NXT, specifically MALE wrestling has been OK but all of the developmental stars are getting destroyed once WWE Creative gets a hold of them. Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and others have joined the WWE since 2015 but have had little to no success. Look how bad Baron Corbin recently was in his role, let alone the “Lone Wolf” gimmick in the WWE. Others like Apollo Cruz or Jason Jordan (seriously, Jordan is Kurt Angle’s “son”, LOL) just get mocked by the WWE.
But… Is it really the WWE’s fault?
Why I used to praise the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental system of the early 2000s because you had (a) VP of Talent Relations Jim Ross scouting and signing talents, (b) wrestling veteran Danny Davis training the wrestlers, and (c) Jim Cornette as the promotion’s booker and teacher on cutting wrestling promos. It’s no secret that this system produced John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, Randy Orton, and Shelton Benjamin who each have appeared on a WWE television screen at least once during 2018 and all of them (but Batista) have wrestled. Seriously, folks… They joined the WWE roster during 2002… 16 freakin’ years later!
What exactly has NXT given the main WWE roster since Triple H took over the Talent Relations during early 2012. OK, you have the Shield who debuted during late 2012… But all 3 guys were John Laurinaitis signing and Rollins/Ambrose were experienced Indy guys. Since the Shield, what has NXT done besides pad the WWE with midcarders to upper midcarders? Lots of complementary guys like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn but nobody on the level of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, or even Randy Orton. All of the NXT guys get a taste of the Main Event, prove that they cannot draw, and then are quickly demoted.
The issue with NXT, particularly on the male side, is the RECRUITING and then on the TRAINING. John Laurinaitis and Triple H are NOT and I repeat NOT Jim Ross. Ross had an eye for talent and not only that, created a developmental plan for said recruited wrestler. Laurinaitis and Triple H have a bunch of failed talents not coming through and then they rely on signing a bunch of Indy guys. That’s how CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins come to be… But yet the Laurinaitis/HHH system is not grooming them to become talents that Vince McMahon specifically wants. What Vince wants are guys that appear “larger than life” and who can fit the style that he wants, even if they are developed from scratch. That is why Vince loves Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman so much. They have the LOOK of what he wants but it’s a matter of the training surrounding them to get to the top spot and appear to be legit.
Lately, NXT has been raiding the Independent scene but for more smaller wrestlers. If you watch any Takeover event, it’s a bunch of guys barely hitting 6 feet tall, at best, and 200 pounds soaking wet. If we are looking to restock 205 Live and make that show interesting, that’s fine, but Vince McMahon wants NOTHING to do with these smaller wrestlers. Hopefully, they are permanent fixtures on the NXT roster but I can imagine many of those Ring of Honor talents signed did so with the expectation of making WWE main roster money.
And let’s look at those Takeover events… I was becoming tired of the “NXT Takeover blew the doors off of (insert big WWE event)” criticisms shot forth each weekend where the WWE Network gave you the luxury of tons of wrestling to enjoy for 2 days. WWE and NXT are two entirely different environments. WWE has to film a 3 hour LIVE show on Monday, a 2 hour LIVE show on Tuesdays, 3-4 houseshows per brand each week, and then 1-2 Pay Per Views per month that are now about 4 hours each. Meanwhile, NXT tapes their television and does it in 1 night to cover 4 weeks of programming. Oh, and their NXT shows are just 1 hour long and their stars don’t wrestle on each show. They do a few houseshows per week… Then, they have 4 Takeover events that are less than 3 hours long.
So OF COURSE the energy of the NXT Takeover events appears UP compared to the WWE Pay Per Views. NXT wrestlers have been conserving their energy to prepare for that 1 NXT event while WWE wrestlers, heading into a Pay Per View, are exhausted. The whole WWE roster is worn out by that schedule. Oh, and by the way, WWE wrestlers make a ton of promotional appearances. So on top of filming 2-3 hours worth of television, many houseshows, and several Pay Per Views per month, much of the wrestlers’ days before those wrestling events are spent signing autographs or appearing for sponsors. NXT wrestlers don’t do much of that at all.
It is a major Culture Shock (or Koltershock, eh Jaymz?) for any NXT wrestler joining the WWE main roster. The workload exposes many of the wrestlers who just aren’t ready for the big WWE spotlight. Then, Vince McMahon tells them “NO” for the style of wrestling that they were trying in NXT. See, in NXT, there is a different style of wrestling pushed at the Takeover events. The amount of high risks taken by the wrestlers showing off for ONE event is something that Vince McMahon does NOT want on a regular basis for his WWE workload of shows. If that up tempo and high risk style remained, he’d have to get out bodybags for all of the wrestlers. Right now, you are seeing wrestlers like Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss, who refuse to work a more psychological style that fits what Vince wants and injuries are mounting repeatedly for both. And I don’t understand it with Sasha Banks, who used lots of psychology in NXT… Oh, she was a HEEL there… Ooops.
It is EASIER to prepare for 1 big event when your schedule is much lighter… WWE wrestlers have too many big events. Monday Night RAW is a big event because it is on Cable television each week for 3 hours. You can’t halfass the effort there or you’ll lose viewers.
But I believe it’s a matter of TRAINING… If you look at that Ohio Valley Wrestling “Class of 2002”, they were trained by 2 oldschool guys in Danny Davis and Jim Cornette. Any bad habits of the time, such as the violent style of ECW or the spotty wrestling of Lucha Libre, were kept out of OVW because of what Davis and Cornette enforced and filtered out. Meanwhile, Jim Ross recruited wrestlers who would learn how to work and thrive under Davis/Cornette. It worked perfectly until 2004 when Jim Ross stepped down as VP of Talent Relations and then by mid 2005, Jim Cornette left after he slapped the piss out of Santino. Danny Davis remained the trainer but the guy buying the groceries (Jim Ross) and the guy booking the promotion along with teaching wrestlers how to cut promos (Jim Cornette) were gone. Everthing eroded after that. John Laurinaitis was awful as a talent scout, WWE relied more on Tough Enough/Divas Search contests to stock its roster, and then relied on Bill DeMott as its top trainer for the early half of the 2010s (Google search that one).
I believe that Triple H has performed a better job than John Laurinaitis and relying on William Regal has been a major plus. Still, they have YET to produce a top flight star that Vince wants (besides Roman and Braun, which Vince was high on from day one). Many of the NXT Champions have not worked out well on the Main Roster. Finn Balor is too small, Samoa Joe is too injury prone, and Nakamura is too old. I believe that Ciampa and Dream could do well, but again, NXT’s different in-ring style and maybe some missing training on psychology, promo cutting, and personality are causing NXT call-ups to be ill-quipped to join the WWE roster…
Or maybe WWE Creative is just that bad?
I’m beginning to think that Vince McMahon has had more HELP than he wants to admit. Seriously. During the 1980s, he still had a lot of Vince Sr. helping hands backstage and he did snatch a few bookers during the territory talent raids. Then, by the early 1990s when several scandals hit (sexual harassment, steroid distribution claims), the rats were jumping off the ship… Hence, why the Middle 1990s WWE (1993-1996) was just awful. Vince’s booking committee consisted of Pat Patterson (good for match layouts), Bruce Prichard (good idea man), and Jim Cornette (good on wrestling fundamentals) but nobody with bold or innovative ways to radically change pro wrestling to gain new fans. Many people hate Vince Russo, but at least he had a vision (pushing adult themes) that changed the WWE for the better and Russo had balls to stand up to Vince McMahon. Add Jim Ross as the Talent Relations guy who signed Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Kane, the Rock, and then creating the developmental system, and then the right INFRASTRUCTURE was finally in place. WWE thrived during the Attitude Era with Jim Ross’s talent and Vince Russo’s writing… Better yet, both Ross and Russo were NOT yes-men… They had guts to disagree with Vince McMahon and force him to change his mind.
Late 1999 saw the departure of Vince Russo, as he was burned out from the already tough WWE schedule and then Vince McMahon wanted to shove 2 hours of Smackdown on top of all of that. Russo joined WCW as a shot fighter and didn’t get his best work… He was like David Lee Roth who gave all of his best creative ideas while in Van Halen, had some initial success as a solo artist (Russo in WCW during late 1999), but ultimately fizzled out with future work (WCW in 2000, TNA). His replacement was a comedic writer named Chris Kreski who could actually handle the RAW/Smackdown load by injecting storyboarding into the WWE Creative process. He was mocked for his attempts to keep things organized but that year 2000 is quite impressive creatively. However, he was done when the finale of his Triple H/Stephanie McMahon/Kurt Angle storyline was nixed, as Stephanie and Triple H wanted to remain together on screen. After that, he was done…
Stephanie McMahon ran WWE Creative from late 2000 through late 2013… On top of that, Executive Producer Kevin Dunn gained more say over the product AND talent. WWE became a publicly traded corporation during late 1999 which meant that many marketing types would begin to have a greater say in the WWE product. Many layers of EVPs, SVPs, and VPs now at the WWE. But also as a corporation, WWE became very Public Relations conscience. Everything is scripted and they don’t want to take any risk or offend anyone. Wrestlers are reading scripted lines that a bunch of former Hollywood writers have tried to produce and WWE changed their rating to “PG” with the arm twisting of the Comcast corporation who now owns USA Network. WWE works with other corporations on various sponsorships… The focus at the WWE now is to become larger internationally and that has had an influence on who they push (see Alberto Del Rio, Jinder Mahal).
Vince McMahon had Jim Ross, Vince Russo, Bruce Prichard, Pat Patterson, and many backstage hands like Gerald Brisco helping him during the late 1990s and early 2000s… All of them are gone. Now, we have Vince McMahon, family who love him in the form of Triple H/Stephanie/Shane, Kevin Dunn, EVP/SVP/VP members of the WWE Corporation, and Hollywood writers with no guts to openly disagree with anybody backstage. It is a recipe for a disaster or a declined WWE.
It is a FACT that viewership is down in the United States, over 4 million during 2014 and barely above 2 million now. Thousands per show lost in attendance. Merchandise is not selling well. It was JUST THIS YEAR that John Cena lost the title as TOP merchandise seller! Just this year!!! And he has barely wrestled in the past 3 years.
“But but but but Comcast/FOX deals and International markets”, you’ll say…
To the Comcast/FOX deals, I have long discussed how the deals should be LARGER. Seriously… Look at what both Comcast and FOX pays the NFL, NASCAR, MLB, and what FOX just recently paid UFC. On a per year basis, $200 Million to fund 52 weeks of content for 2-3 hours each where WWE absorbs all of the production costs? Please… CHEAP! WWE received those deals with viewership just a hair under 3.0 million. Imagine if they had over 4.0 million like they did during 2014? These Cable and Satellite channels are DESPERATE to stay alive, as the subscription decline legitimately challenges the existence of Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish’s abilities to price gouge for their television service. Instead of letting customers choose which channels to buy, they are stuck in packages and those packages keep getting more expensive by the year. Thankfully for the WWE, their median age per fan is just above 50 which means that they aren’t as likely to be cord cutters. Comcast/FOX is desperate to fill prime time slots with cheaper content that can’t be streamed so easily. Hence why several networks were tripping over each other to get Thursday Night Football and why ESPN severely overpays for Monday Night Football.
For the International Markets… For some reason, Pro Wrestling works overseas, specifically the WWE brand. NFL, NBA, and MLB spend lots of resources attempting to grow their international fanbases and citizens of those countries are like “meh”. Meanwhile, WWE can somehow get strong TV deals in markets like India and then Saudi Arabia is willing to pay $20 Million per live show. By the way on these international live tours, do you observe the trend? These countries want Brock Lesnar and they also want Attitude Era stars. Do you believe that Saudi would fork over $20 million per show without those older stars?
WWE sees its luck in international markets and seems to try harder THERE rather than the United States where 95% of their live shows are and where the majority of revenues come from. It was embarrassing when the WWE tried to overpush Alberto Del Rio during 2011 to impress Mexico just as it was overpushing BOTH Great Khali and Jinder Mahal to kiss up to India. At least find guys who can be legitimate World Champions and top drawing stars to push into that role. The Smackdown brand was legitimately destroyed during 2017 after that Superstar Shake-up when Jinder joined after losing repeatedly on RAW and then was shoved towards the WWE Title. It is IDIOTIC to sacrifice United States viewers in order to roll the dice on impressing other countries. And by the way, India rejected that Jinder Mahal push… WWE hand to cancel one of those India houseshows.
Too much focus on the short-term and not on the long-term damage. But that is what you get when your INFRASTRUCTURE is completely broken.
Let’s go back to 2001 and then go through 2004. Had anybody else, other than Stephanie McMahon, been in charge of WWE’s Creative Teams, they would have been FIRED. Seriously… Ratings eroded considerably from 2001 through 2004 for RAW under her watch. That WCW/ECW Invasion was a COMPLETE DISASTER as was the return of the NWO, Bill Goldberg’s WWE debut, and destroying the careers of many OVW careers. Luckily for Batista, he was repackaged and joined Evolution… But he used to be called “Deacon Batista” as a bodyguard for the singles wrestling version of D’Von Dudley on Smackdown. Seriously, that happened! RAW’s ratings declined by the end of 2000 and then for 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 all after Stephanie joined creative by the end of 2000. Anybody else would have received multiple BAD job evaluations and then get terminated. But she’s family.
Triple H has been EVP of Creative since late 2013. How have the ratings been since he took over creative? Over 4 million when he started, limping below 2.5 million. Same thing with him… Multiple BAD job evaluations should have occurred and then get terminated. But he’s family.
And instead of punishing family for their poor job performances, they are promoted to the Board of Directors. Both Triple H and Stephanie have “Executive Vice President” as their titles and are Board members.
MEANWHILE, you have someone like Paul Heyman who was Smackdown’s booker from 2002 through early 2004 who consistently out-rated Monday Night RAW during that time… Nope, we can’t have him around! Heyman has been a member of the WWE roster since 2012 upon Brock Lesnar’s return and yet the WWE won’t invite that man to their Creative Team. Heyman has helped market Lesnar properly in the WWE but yeah, let’s not let him help make the WWE improve.
Listen to podcasts of former pro wrestlers, specifically Steve Austin and Chris Jericho. Both guys are SO DAMN INTELLIGENT when it comes to pro wrestling. Why aren’t they offered jobs to join the WWE Creative Team or at least do consulting? Jim Ross also has a podcast but he also, like Austin, has a WWE contract. Why can’t he have more of a say in the company? Ross built a farm system that has created stars that have lasted for almost 2 decades. Place Ross on the Board or at least allow him to do some consulting. There are many former wrestling veterans out there that could contribute well to WWE’s creative.
But nope, let’s let Vince McMahon roll over family members, listen to Kevin Dunn, and crap all over those Hollywood writers who hand him scripts that he does not like. Stephanie‘s existence, wealth, and career are all directly tied to Vince. She’ll never challenge him. Triple H joined the WWE, thanks to Vince, and probably should have been fired after that 1996 “Curtain Call” where he broke character to salute his departing friends Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at Madison Square Garden. Vince kept him along and with time, pushed him to the Main Event to make him very wealthy. Then, Vince granted his daughter’s hand to HHH for marriage. Now, HHH is positioned as an EVP and a Board Member of a billion dollar corporation. What a life! But he’ll never challenge Vince even when his NXT brand has talent raided and many of those wrestlers are misused by Vince. Kevin Dunn runs television and poisons Vince with bad ideas. He is family to Vince based on his loyalty and his father’s loyalty to the WWE. None of those Hollywood writers have any balls to challenge Vince let alone Stephanie, HHH, or Kevin Dunn. Have you ever heard any of the ex-writers talk about their time in the WWE? Geesh… As much as we bang on Vince Russo, at least he criticized Vince McMahon to his face (ditto Jim Ross).
NOTHING will change unless the infrastructure of the WWE changes OR if Vince McMahon actually empowers others to succeed. There is no delegation by Vince right now and nobody backstage is willing to seize power either. Vince won’t give it up unless you dare to take it… Jim Ross during 1996 wanted to bring in Mick Foley badly and Vince McMahon mocked Ross for it, suggesting he would fail in the WWE. Jim Ross didn’t care and pushed harder to make the signing. Foley worked out and it gained TRUST in Vince McMahon for Jim Ross as his head of Talent Relations. Ditto with Steve Austin. Vince thought nothing of that Ross signing yet, with time, that single signing SAVED the company. Ross fought for the WCW guys that he trusted and it panned out. During the late 1990s when Ross suggested creating a Developmental Territory, Vince McMahon was OK with that idea because Jim Ross had a proven track record by then. It took years of Ross challenging Vince to improve the WWE to get to that point.
In other words, here is my appeal to everyone in the WWE who has a Creative say: grow a sack (or ovaries) and challenge Vince McMahon!
Until then, you’ll have a subpar WWE that will keep shrinking in the United States and will become too dependent on these Cable/Satellite deals to survive when the audience continues to shrink, attendance continues to decline, and when International wrestling fans also become more cynical towards the low quality WWE product.
If the WWE sends a Check my way, I’ll clean things up or at least consult them on how to improve.
I TOLD YOU SO on the WWE’s decline!
Following the 2016 RAW/Smackdown Brand Extension DRAFT, I stated that Monday Night RAW would be “under 3 million” viewers as long as (a) Stephanie McMahon was the Authority figure and (b) Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were your Main Eventers. Brock Lesnar was always in the way of challenging that forecast but thanks to purposely destroying his star to hype his SummerSlam 2018 match against Roman, his star power got clobbered during 2018. We are consistently below 3 million now and actually getting close to being consistently below 2.5 million. That is approaching WCW Nitro 2000 territory… WWE is lucky that FOX and Comcast are multi-billion dollar corporations!
I like Seth Rollins as a wrestler, but neutering his identity as a heel during 2015 did loads of damage and he has never recovered. He should have never lost his Curb Stomp move and it should have remained being called the “Curb Stomp”. Then, he shouldn’t have endured many non-title losses. Tears his ACL and then returns to be the same guy who was neutered during 2015. Sure, he has had many fantastic matches here and there, but as a top drawing personality, it’s lost. He’s too normal and lacks that “larger than life” quality that could make him as a top level draw. Funny how the SummerSlam 2016 RED World Title belt debacle, the Ironman Countdown at Extreme Rules 2018, and now the loud “boring” chants at TLC all happened during HIS matches.
Scary thing is… We NEED Seth Rollins to succeed right now… What is left?
If this was a WWE that took its Midcard Titles and Tag Team Division seriously, there would be no problem. It would be “next man up” to ensure continuity of the WWE and continue quality. WWE’s peak moments had a strong midcard and a strong tag division. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, you had Macho Man, Honky Tonk, Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels actually drawing as Intercontinental Champions. Then, when the time was right, most of those guys were ready to promote to the World Title scene as needed. WWE’s tag division was STACKED with the Bulldogs, Demolition, Hart Foundation, Rockers, Brainbusters, and many more teams… Many of those tag wrestlers could become singles wrestlers and then become the next Main Event stars.
Look at the Attitude Era… 1997 saw Steve Austin winning the Intercontinental Title and then that transitioned into the Rock and Triple H fighting for that title throughout 1998. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!?!? Look at that all-time great talent fighting over that midcard title as Hart, Michaels, and Undertaker were wrestling at the top. By the late 1990s and throughout 2000-2001, you had Edge/Christian vs. Dudleys vs. Hardy Boyz NON-STOP to entertain the masses.
Why did Smackdown consistently out-rate RAW from 2002-2004 when Paul Heyman was its booker? Below Heyman pushing Lesnar, Big Show, Kurt Angle, and Undertaker as his top guys, he built possibly the highest in-ring quality tag team division with Angle/Benoit, World’s Greatest Tag Team, Mysterio/Edge, and the Guerreros. Then, the United States Title was taken very seriously. John Cena drew as a midcarder during 2003 as United States Champion to allow him to be groomed towards eventually winning the WWE title during 2005.
I’m just saying… The “Road to Recovery” is ALL THERE in the past! Just watch your own WWE Network and you can see how successful wrestling promotions operate. The beauty of that Network allows you see what also went wrong…
But what do I know? Just a wrestling fan for 30 years and I wrote about it for 20 years.
If you want me, WWE, I’ll gladly be of service to you if you want to pay up. I’d take a simple salary of $100,000 to improve your promotion. Just email me at email@example.com if you’re interested. That simple. I will FIX your wrestling promotion and make it grow larger than ever.
The following is just a REPOST of my October 25th, 2018 column which was my 2nd to last column before I retired.
IF you care about the WWE, forward this column to them with hashtags #WWE for not just real truths about their promotion, but legitimate advice to greatly improve their product.
Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Advice to Improve the Product (from 10/25/2018)
I’m approaching this as if Vince McMahon hired me for consultant or I have become his #1 advisor.
#1 – Demote Stephanie McMahon
Since 2000, nobody has performed more damage to the WWE brand than her. Yes, I’m off to a wonderful start… Her tenure as WWE Creative Team head from late 2000 through late 2013 has led to a major reduction in television viewers and live attendance here in the United States. She should have been demoted when the 2001 WCW/ECW Invasion bombed… On top of that, her mistreatment of female performers by enabling the Divas Search contest and a lack of concern for real female wrestling was insulting to that gender. Stephanie is best at public speaking, thanks to Communications Degree… We can put her in charge of charities and do some public relations as well. Stay away from the WWE’s creative direction as a company and also live events, please. This includes your character who has been nothing but a unscripted bully for the past 19 years.
#2 – Retain Triple H, but place focus on NXT as a separate brand.
Triple H should be commended for building the NXT brand as an Indy-like promotion, great tag team wrestling, and Women’s wrestling. Those talent raids, however, hurt NXT fro 2015-2016 and yet many wrestlers called up to the WWE main roster are struggling. NXT should be granted more resources and a chance to acquire a TV deal. That, and talent raids should be less frequent and we can accommodate that by paying NXT wrestlers more. We’ll use NXT growing further to prove that maybe HHH can one day takeover everything.
#3 – Figure out something for Shane McMahon, as he has great energy.
First and foremost, Shane is not allowed to wrestle. He’s a non-wrestler and makes the other wrestlers look silly when they sell for him. That and I have similar health concerns with Shane, as he sweats heavily within moments and his body gets really red when performing in the ring. Something is off there… After he receives a physical for his health, we need to put him in a non-wrestling role of sorts… Maybe in the announcer’s booth? Maybe retain him as an authority figure but less frequently appearing like Jack Tunney. Behind the scenes, figure out where that energy can be used to start grooming him as a future leader of the company.
#4 – For Vince McMahon – WWE or XFL, must pick one.
If you observe the last time when XFL occurred, it thinned Vince McMahon out and WWE suffered because of it. Well, now Vince is in his 70s. He has to choose one and walk away from the other. Personally, I believe that the XFL will be a major failure, particularly with the NFL rebounding in growth… But also sports fans remember what Vince did with XFL number one.
#5 – Retain Kevin Dunn but he has no creative say whatsoever.
When Kevin Dunn gets involved with the Creative and Talent decisions of the WWE, he is hurtful. However, the WWE television product looks great and those video packages always look fantastic. By focusing Dunn 100% on the TV product and away from creative/talent decisions, he can improve the quality of the TV product even further.
#6 – Change the Creative Team, remove all writers.
The current WWE Creative infrastructure of former Hollywood writers writing what Vince McMahon specifically wants is gone… In its place, we have a Creative Team with the following members:
(a) Paul Heyman
(b) Mick Foley
(c) Gabe Sapolsky
(d) Triple H
(e) Shane McMahon
(f) Steve Austin (if possible)
(g) William Regal
(h) Maybe Vince Russo, if he’s just a contributor…
(i) Jim Cornette or Shawn Michaels specifically for NXT to teach wrestlers how to cut promos.
#7 – Add Jim Ross to the WWE Board of Directors
Ross joins the Board to help in the key decision making of the WWE’s wrestling product. I want Ross to work closely with Triple H on the development of talent and also for the company’s overall creative direction.
#8 – Change RAW’s Third Hour to a Rating of PG-14 or above.
Monday Night RAW’s 3rd hour always drops in the ratings… What to improve that? Let the gloves come off. WWE goes from being PG in the first hour to being PG-14 or even MA for the third hour. Now, I’m not suggesting that we go to the extreme of what was seen during the early to mid 2000s… Oh no. But wrestlers can swear a little bit and things are allowed to get a little more violent. After 10pm, that’s when adults watch and that’s the audience that you are catering towards. This makes the 3rd hour unique and could help it draw again.
#9 – Smackdown on FOX has to be different.
Reportedly, FOX wants to make Smackdown look like a real sporting event. I applaud this and hope that the show is uniquely different than RAW. There should be 2 separate creative heads of each show, much like we saw during 2002-2004. Smackdown thrived with Paul Heyman in charge because he made the product much more different than RAW. And hey, the WWE still has the services of Paul Heyman on their roster right now.
#10 – Kayfabe returns, wrestlers need to protect the business.
A magician never shows how he does his tricks… So why should wrestling? No more behind-the-scenes shows from the WWE to expose the business. The public cannot hear it, directly from the WWE, that wrestling is a scripted form of entertainment. There needs to be something that challenges the disbelief of wrestling fans as if what they are watching is legitimately real. Any wrestlers caught exposing the business should be fined.
#11 – Crackdown of insider sources.
How the WWE lets their production meeting decisions get out to the insiders is beyond me. They need to tighten up on the information sent to the “dirt sheets” in order to protect surprises from being ruined. This decision might put all of us out of business here online, but it will make wrestling greatly improve.
#12 – Create a Legends Brand
In the light of the Cruiserweight Classic or Mae Young Classic, create a “Seniors Tour” of the WWE for guys 50 or older. The matches must be kept basic and simple without any ridiculous gimmicks to protect the health of wrestlers. You could call it the “Vince Sr. Classic” or something and it would cause all of the older fans to want to see their old favorites again. Remember, that WWE Legends House was one of the most successful WWE Network shows (back when they’d publish the top 10 viewership numbers) but that was just wrestlers hanging out. Imagine a full blown tournament with all of your old favorites.
#13 – Unscripted Promos
My new creative team would just give a general direction as to where they want storylines to go and the wrestlers, themselves, would cut the promo to their liking on how they get there. Use your following week’s booking to punish any wrestlers who get WAY off script, like the older days. Austin, Rock, and Cena got over because they had creative freedom of their promos. The current crop of wrestlers are suffering because they have to play characters reading scripts instead of showing any realism as a sports competitor.
#14 – Full Time wrestlers should be stronger than Part-Time Ones
How is that part-time wrestlers can just wrestle 1-3 times a year and cause the full-time wrestlers to sell for them? Or how can Shane McMahon only wrestle a few times a year and full-time wrestlers have to sell for them? The damn Bellas can take 8 months off and have zero ring rust (well, I mean in terms of winning and losing matches, the real ring rust is there). Part-time wrestlers, besides a trained lethal fighter like Brock Lesnar, should struggle badly against a full-time wrestler at the top of their game. And for the most part, the part-timers are mostly older too. The full timers should dominate them to a degree. By having the part-time wrestlers coming back as they wish and dominating the full-time wrestlers, it makes the full-time wrestlers look weak.
#15 – Creating Full Title Divisions, World Titles vs. Midcard vs. Tag Titles
After the Great Depression hit, the Banking industry saw the Glass Steagall Act of 1933 which separated the banking industry from underwriting loans, securities, or insurance policies. Before 1933, they could engage in all 3 and comingling those industries caused a loss in loans, a loss in the securitization of those loans, and the insurance policies covering loan/security losses to created a triple threat effect on the banking industry. What is my damn point?!? If you are a main eventer going for the World Title, then ONLY go for the World Title. If you are a wrestler competing over the United States/Intercontinental Title, only go for that. If you’re going for the Tag Titles, stay away from singles competition unless it is against other tag wrestlers to hype a feud. If you go back to the Hulkamania and Attitude Eras, it worked because the Tag Wrestlers, Midcarders, and Main Eventers were CLEARLY segregated. Through 1989, Demolition/Hart Foundation were clearly tag wrestlers, Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude were clearly in the Intercontinental Title division only, and Hulk Hogan/Macho Man were clearly main eventers. Then, when the timing is right, you can promote the Intercontinental title holder to the main event when he has exceeded his role.
#16 – Create Weight Divisions
I really don’t like the Intercontinental Title and US Titles, while I’m also amazed at the size differences between the women. Seriously, when should Alexa Bliss be able to defeat Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair in a real fight based on size? WWE should adopt a Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight divisions to replace the IC/US Titles and also create divisions in the women’s division. If someone smaller can compete in the Heavyweight division, so be it. But by having weight divisions in the WWE (excluding the joke 205 Live show), you can allow someone like Finn Balor/Bobby Roode or Alexa Bliss/Sasha Banks remain strong as smaller wrestlers in a larger wrestler world.
#17 – Bring Back Fireworks
Come on… Endure some fire risk in that arena, WWE. Remember how exciting it was when the beginning of RAW exploded with Fireworks? It was so awesome…
#18 – DITCH the Gimmick Pay Per Views Already
I’m looking at YOU Extreme Rules, Hell in a Cell, and TLC… It is IDIOTIC to think that when it is October, wrestlers suddenly crave working cage matches. Or when December happens, wrestlers want to wrestle in matches involving tables, ladders, and chairs. It kills Cage and Ladder matches because it strips those matches of meaning when they need to settle the score between 2 wrestlers. For both October and December Pay Per Views, why not bring back the old WCW names? Halloween Havoc and Starrcade? Or if not those names, make the Pay Per Views themed based on SEASONS instead of gimmicks. Halloween has become a HUGE industry and honestly keeps Christmas from invading October. Why not embrace that? Save the Cage and TLC matches for when the time is right.
#19 – Trademark Finishers and Submission Holds
Here is where wrestling gets really ridiculous… If the F5, Stone Cold Stunner, RKO, and other finishers are so lethal, why haven’t all wrestlers adopted those moves? Why has the Stunner been unused as a finisher? Each wrestler should be able to trademark 1 move as a “finisher” and 1 move as a “submission”… And if another wrestler uses one of those specific moves, disqualification occurs.
#20 – Instant Replay to be used for Title Matches
There are cameras everywhere in a WWE arena. For title matches, the losing wrestler has to answer to a 10 count in order to challenge the referee to review the instant replay of a match. Think about the dramatic possibilities of this… For one, it adds some realism and seriousness to the title matches. Secondly, it can create drama if the wrestler was clearly screwed but cannot answer to the 10 count. However, we could get into screwy camera angles, loose referee interpretations, errors made by referees, and controversies if a referee gets knocked out. Go watch how much drama Instant Replay causes in the NFL and get back to me. Thanks!
#21 – RAW and Smackdown should be treated like sports franchises
From day one of the RAW and Smackdown split of 2016, I advised that both brands should be treated like sports franchises. Both have Salary Caps that each general manager must abide by, they can trade with each other, and each year after Wrestlemania, there is a WWE Draft of Developmental Wrestlers ready to join the WWE rosters. Better yet, the brands can trade draft picks for wrestlers. Instead of having the “Superstar Shake-ups”, you could have a credible developmental wrestler Draft each year and big trades between the brands could make headlines when needed.
#22 – Invest in Tag Team Wrestling
Hulkamania and Attitude Eras had strong tag team divisions and NXT’s growth during 2015-2018 were partially built by strong tag team wrestling. Take it more seriously than just a filler match on RAW or during the pre-game show of a Pay Per View. History suggests that a strong tag team division helps the WWE’s overall ratings throughout the show.
#23 – Push guys like Kevin Owens as babyfaces because they relate with the older fanbase.
Demographic shifts in the WWE shows a median age in the early 50s versus being in the early 20s about 20 years ago. What that means is that Attitude Era wrestling fans are older and are DADS now. Who do we relate to? Kevin Owens who is a proud family man. Yet, what have we seen from Owens for the past 3 years? A cowering heel. Huh? WWE needs to push wrestlers whom the fans can relate to and Owens is that very guy. Based on his upbringing and how he can split time as a dad, he can be pushed like “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Hell, call him the “Canadian Dream” Kevin Owens. Point is, that the WWE should take pride in wrestlers who can balance family and wrestling and embrace it with their characters.
#24 – Push Mandy Rose
Just watch this.
#25 – Return to 2 person announcer teams.
Non-wrestler as a play-by-play analyst and a former wrestler as color commentator. Just two people. If there has to be a third, that third is another former wrestler. Too many broadcasters on the shows now and it reduces from the actual “sports” feel of wrestling.
#26 – Bring back post-RAW and post-Smackdown shows.
From my #25, you were wondering “where does Renee Young go?”. Well, she returns to her post-RAW/Smackdown interview shows on the WWE Network and she can host the pre-game shows of Pay Per Views for all I care. REMEMBER, if “Talking Smack” didn’t exist, Miz would have never cut that amazing career-changing promo on Daniel Bryan.
#27 – Take your time with Velveteen Dream.
This kid is special and he is only 23 years old. Let him build up his resume in NXT and let him eventually become long-time champion in that brand. While he is there, let him work on his promo skills and in-ring psychology. Create a 3 year plan that sees him build towards the NXT title and then has a nice reign when champion. Have him retire as NXT champion and then join the WWE roster after that as a made star. Start him slowly in the WWE, too… Let him challenge for the US/IC titles, then win a reign, and if that title reign draws, then start the Main Event push. This kid is legit and could very well be Triple H’s first top drawing main event star.
#28 – Offer special ticket prices to WWE Network subscribers
WWE ticket prices are inflated and in my opinion, that is hurting attendance bigtime for houseshows and Smackdown television shows. Simple resolution is to link WWE Network subscribers to their Ticketmaster accounts for discounts on tickets to WWE shows, limit the discount to just 4 tickets per person. For someone paying $9.99, give 25% off or more to your loyal fanbase. Maybe more…
#29 – Lower merchandise sales at WWE Events
$35 for a t-shirt at WWE events? Really? On top of the overpriced tickets? Ridiculous. See my point #28 about if you are a WWE Network subscriber. Take your phone to the WWE merchandise table and they’d scan the QR Code from your phone. The more you buy, the greater the discounts. You just have to pay $9.99 for that WWE Network. See, the WWE Network wanted to be the “Netflix of wrestling” but if you push merchandise with the WWE Network subscription, you’ll have the “Amazon Prime of wrestling”. Someone going to a LIVE Event and buys Merchandise at that same live event should see amazing discounts by being a WWE Network member.
#30 – Let Roman Reigns act more like a human being (if he returns)
Now, I didn’t really want to add him to this list, but many are suggesting that because he has Leukemia, he’ll “finally be ‘over’ when he returns”. Huh? Daniel Bryan just came back from post-concussion symptoms… Granted, he didn’t have life threatening cancer, but it was a serious health issue. His comeback hasn’t boosted Smackdown’s growth that much or at all. What will draw is the connection to Roman Reigns as a human being, not a character. His announcement that he had Leukemia was the first time that I EVER heard that he had before in the past. Seriously, we didn’t know that… From 2012-2018, he could have been an inspirational wrestler who came back from cancer. Not a mention by the WWE, however. Roman was a damn good football player, too. Barely a mention by the WWE. We just keep getting a scripted character instead of knowing anything about the guy or “Joe” playing the character. When Roman comes back, he needs to start speaking like a regular human being and we need to know the man behind the character a little better. We don’t right now and that’s why he failed to draw for the last 5 years.
THE LAST WORD
In the immortal words of LL Cool J… “Don’t call it a comeback.”
I’m STILL retired. I haven’t watched a full WWE show since WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 and don’t plan watching further unless the money would get sweet enough to incentivize me to watch or if the next Hogan/Rock/Steve Austin/John Cena type draw suddenly arrives. I loosely follow WWE happenings thanks to my longtime website LordsofPain.net providing news and results while I can pick & choose what YouTube.com segments to watch. I just don’t feel the demand to watch current WWE content for 2-4 hours per show on a voluntary basis or when I’m paying the WWE to watch.
This column was a Christmas present to my longtime fans, with love from me to you…
I might try something different and unique here shortly to start 2019 that I’ll announce it on my @titowrestling Twitter if I get it started… Christmas season has been very, very busy. No time for love, Dr. Jones.
THANK YOU, once again, to my many loyal readers and to Calvin at LordsofPain.net for making this column’s success possible along with myself providing the “excellence in column writing”.
So just chill… ‘Til the next episode!
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
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So just chill… Until the next episode!
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