MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – AJ Styles Deserves Better as WWE Champion

AJ Styles

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The EXCELLENCE IN PRO WRESTLING COLUMN WRITING is back in your face and exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. And guess what? I want to say nothing about Roman Reigns in this very column. Honestly, my head hurts at the thought of Lesnar vs. Reigns #3 for the year and debating with yes-man WWE fans on Roman. Vince McMahon will go down as one of the best con man of all time to convince the remaining loyal WWE fans to pay them more money than ever on WWE stuff. That, and I find it hilarious how Roman Reigns stated that “Brock Lesnar will return to UFC as ‘Roman’s b*tch’!”. Just too funny.

No, I want to talk about the guy who SHOULD be headlining WWE Pay Per Views. You know, the WWE Champion AJ Styles.

Let us review AJ Styles‘s positioning as WWE Champion on COMBINED Pay Per Views since becoming WWE Champion again:

– Survivor Series 2017: 2nd to last match against Brock Lesnar (lost)
– Royal Rumble 2018: Opening Match against Owens/Zayn (won)
– Wrestlemania 34: 3rd to last match against Shinsuke Nakamura (won)
– Greatest Royal Rumble: 4th to last match against Shinsuke Nakamura (won)
– Backlash 2018: 3rd to last match against Shinsuke Nakamura (draw)
– Money in the Bank 2018: 4th to last match against Shinsuke Nakamura (won)
– Extreme Rules 2018: 2nd to last match against Rusev (won)

So… As WWE Champion, AJ Styles has NOT headlined any COMBINED WWE brand Pay Per Views since winning the WWE Title since just before Survivor Series 2017.

And AJ Styles just has the WWE Title, you know, the one with the lineage dating back to 1963 with Buddy Rogers as the first champion, same title that Bruno Sammartino held for a record long time, the one that Hulk Hogan held for much of the 1980s, and the same title that greats like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, the Rock, Mick Foley, Triple H, Undertaker, and many others made great through the late 1990s. Oh, and it also has the lineage of the NWA… I don’t care what entity claims it. That belt went through Jim Crockett’s promotion and merged into World Championship Wrestling. The WWE Title has the WCW Title’s history merged into it.

Yes, THAT title… Not the RED, menstruation WWE “Universal” title that was made up out of thin air during 2016 that actually had Finn Balor winning it on the first night. You know, the same RED period belt that Kevin Owens held when losing lots of non-title matches or the one that Brock Lesnar doesn’t have to defend. The REAL World Title of the WWE, although we’ll ignore the events of 2017 with Wyatt/Orton/Jinder as champions.

Gee, why could Smackdown LIVE be seeing viewership numbers of just under 2.2 million lately? It couldn’t the total disrespect of its current WWE Champon, could it? No, not that…

It is like CM Punk‘s 2011-2013 WWE Title run… If you look at Pay Per Views then with Punk holding the primary World Title at the time (WWE Title), he barely main evented as WWE Champion. This includes Wrestlemania which was headlined by Rock vs. Cena at the time.

While I was not a fan of Seth Rollins‘s WWE Title run during 2015, especially after they neutered him from using the Curb Stomp and feuding with Corporate Kane, he also took a backseat on Main Evening as WWE Champion. And as I’d argue with CM Punk, no quality wins as WWE Champion when they had the chance to main event.

But I’ll take it a step further…

Often, I quote the phrase “Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it” by George Santayana written during 1905-1906. I say that for good reason because many of today’s wrestling mistakes are repetitive in nature. If only WWE officials would just watch their own WWE Network, they would see all of the mistakes that a previous promotion made and avoid creating the same mistakes.

If you want to see what happens when you DISRESPECT your own World Champion, look no further than Bill Goldberg during 1998 as World Champion of the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promotion. During early 1998, the New World Order had already peaked and interest in the group began to decline. However, WCW had an “ace in the hole” as a new superstar emerged. Yes, he looked exactly like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but he had a much more aggressive in-ring style that was getting over on its own. By July 1998, WCW saw no other choice but to quickly crown Bill Goldberg during a major Georgia Dome episode of WCW Nitro. With Hulk Hogan‘s popularity declining, the timing was actually right to put over Goldberg. It was an amazing event.

WCW’s failure, however, was “how do we follow that?”. WCW manager Eric Bischoff had no real concrete plans for Bill Goldberg as WCW Champion for the rest of the year. Worse yet, Eric Bischoff would NOT give up on pushing “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and the 2 NWO brands (Hollywood & Wolfpack) as the top stars of the company.

Want proof? Let’s look at the Pay Per View history of WCW following Bill Goldberg‘s WCW Title victory during July 1998:

– WCW Bash at the Beach 1998’s Main Event = Hulk Hogan/Dennis Rodman vs. Karl Malone/Diamond Dallas Page (Goldberg wrestled Curt Hennig in the 2nd to last match)

– WCW Road Wild 1998’s Main Event = Diamond Dallas Page/Jay Leno vs. Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff (Goldberg, as WCW Champion, won the “NWO Invitational Battle Royal”).

– WCW Fall Brawl 1998’s Main Event = Wargames between Team WCW vs. NWO Hollywood vs. NWO Wolfpack (Goldberg wasn’t on the card!)

– WCW Halloween Havoc 1998: Goldberg did defend the WCW Title against Diamond Dallas Page, but remember, the undercard went too long on Pay Per View time and Cable channels ended that show early. Also, Hulk Hogan vs. Warrior received more hype.

– WCW World War 3 1998 – DDP vs. Bret Hart for the United States Title (Goldberg wasn’t on the card!)

– WCW Starrcade 1998 – Bill Goldberg LOSES the WCW World Title to Kevin Nash.

I always laugh when I hear Kevin Nash‘s shoot interviews on how fans were cheering less and less for Bill Goldberg, hence why he booked himself to defeat Goldberg. Kevin Nash joined the Creative Team during late 1998… Of course Goldberg was losing heat. LOOK at that Pay Per View record since winning the WCW World Title during July 1998.

If you treat your WORLD CHAMPION as second rate, you’ll get second rate results. Bill Goldberg took a backseat to Hulk Hogan even after Hogan dropped the WCW Title to him… The focus was 100% on bringing in celebrities to wrestle, such as Dennis Rodman/Karl Malone and Jay Leno. NON-WRESTLERS. Yes, the ESPN Sportscenter mention is nice, but what do you do AFTER Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman wrestle 1 event? And then what do you do after Jay Leno wrestles 1 event? It is absurd that a pro wrestling company like WCW who had amazing in-ring performances from 1996-1997 would suddenly place their entire product in the backseat for NON-WRESTLERS to take. Short-term gains caused long-term damage… Hulk Hogan remained in the Main Event while WCW’s World Champion, Bill Goldberg, remained in the undercard and was fed weak opponents. Goldberg should have been cutting through their entire roster of superstars and Main Eventing.

If you look at the statistics, WCW Nitro peaked just after Bill Goldberg won that WCW Title and it was all downhill after that. Then, you can take a look at CM Punk struggling to draw as WWE Champion from late 2011 to early 2013. It’s no wonder why Seth Rollins struggled during 2015 (along with neutering his Curb Stomp, Corporate Kane). The overall Smackdown brand is struggling to draw viewers with any world champion that they try. AJ Styles, as WWE Champion, isn’t allowed to Main Event co-branded shows even when Brock Lesnar is taking the show off. Wasn’t just him… All of their champions were not allowed to headline co-branded Pay Per Views.

WWE SummerSlam 2018 is going to be in Brooklyn this year. Anyone care to predict what will happen with the New York crowd regarding that Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns match?

And that is why the BEST business decision for WWE SummerSlam 2018 is to SHOW RESPECT to the WWE Title, the Smackdown brand, and AJ Styles himself for being a reliable asset in the WWE… WWE should make AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe its MAIN EVENT for SummerSlam 2018. Period, end of story.

AJ Styles should have main evented at WWE Extreme Rules 2018, as his match with Rusev was well received by the live crowd (I was there, I heard it). On a night where WWE finally made things right by placing Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns as an undercard match (and rightfully so), they opted to put Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler as the Main Event match. That’s right, the Intercontinental Title of the RAW brand trumps the WWE World Title of the Smackdown brand. WHAT A JOKE.

AJ Styles deserves better as WWE Champion.

He deserves better opponents, too. You constantly fed him a past-his-prime Shinsuke Nakamura and none of the matches were like their Wrestle Kingdom match. Not even close, not even a fraction. Rusev jobs for the entire year of 2017-2018 and is rushed to the Main Event spot. Gee, wonder why that didn’t work? You have the likes of Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton on that roster with some star power to give AJ Styles better feuds and matches. But no, let’s keep forcing Shinsuke Nakamura down our throats to please that vocal minority of New Japan fans who bash the WWE no matter what it tries. YEAH, I WENT THERE.

WWE Smackdown is going to be on the FOX broadcast channel during 2019 and will be made available in 100+ million households (you don’t need Cable/Satellite to view it). While being on Friday limits its exposure because most use that as date/party nights or to attend High School sporting events, it is nothing to squander. The WWE has to start building equity of this Smackdown brand to get it to at least 3 million viewers consistently. You cannot half-ass the production of top stars, as AJ Styles has had ZERO respect given to him as WWE Champion and other attempts at awarding the WWE Title have been ridiculous (see the entire year of 2017 between both Styles’s reigns, Cena-Wyatt-Orton-Jinder).

Seriously, folks… James Ellsworth just appeared on WWE Smackdown LIVE to remind AJ Styles of his winning record over the guy. He did that!

Show some respect, WWE, and make AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe as the MAIN EVENT of SummerSlam 2018 not just to appease New York fans who will likely hate on Roman vs. Lesnar, but also because it’s the WWE Title and AJ Styles deserves it for the stability he provides a 2nd rate WWE brand with a God-awful Creative Team booking it.

Otherwise, just switch the WWE Title to the RAW Brand to stop insulting our intelligence as wrestling fans. That red period WWE Universal Title is a bigger joke to me than the Smackdown WWE Title which had a disastrous 2017 (seriously, Jinder Mahal!).

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MR. TITO – FLASHBACK

The Magical Mystery Tour continues as we head into the 20th Year Anniversary of Mr. Tito starting here at LordsofPain.net.

MR. TITO’s PHAT DAILY COLUMN – 8/5/1999

Welcome to the 130th consecutive Phat Daily Column. Hey, isn’t 130 kinda significant? I kinda think so. Now it’s not as significant at 125, but it is a nice, even number. Well anyways, it’s Possible WWF Angles time!!! That’s right, this column is a MONSTER COLUMN, so allow yourself some time to read this one. 🙂 On to the PDC. (Tito 2018: Ah yes, me bragging about the Daily Column streak. I probably noticed by about the 75th column that I didn’t take a day off and following the popularity of Goldberg’s streak, I went with it. It was an easy way to promote my column at the peak of the Attitude Era.)

WWF

-It seems that the Dudleys are on their way to the WWF, and good old Terry Taylor, I hear, was the fella responsible for it. If they have actually signed, expect lots of censorship on Bubba. If you heard his Heatwave comments or know about his crowd taunting, then you know that the WWF won’t allow it. Hopefully, they don’t flop like another tag team Terry Taylor brought in, you know, called Public Enemy. This is IF the Dudley’s sign. (Tito 2018: Lots of fears back then if the Dudleys would end up like Public Enemy or not. Public Enemy reported had a bad attitude backstage and the Acolytes worked stiff on them in the ring as a result. But the Dudleys were clearly a better team with staying power.)

-This Monday could be EXPLOSIVE for the WWF, as Chris Jericho’s debut seems likely to happen. Yes, as I keep getting tons of mail claiming that Jericho is the Millennium countdown. Duh, like I really didn’t know that. Geesh. Anyways, it’s uncertain if he’ll wrestle on Monday, but there’s a great chance he’ll show up. (Tito 2018: If you only had an idea how much email I received back then as Tito and I also tried to answer them all. Like a second job.)

WCW

-Yes!!! WCW is finally going to give Chris Benoit a good singles push. That’s right, his defeat over DDP Monday was the start of it, and David Flair is now in his sights. Benoit is going to win the US title from stupid David Flair, and he will finally get some recognition that he’s always deserved. I think WCW realized how upset he was when they had him embarassed by David Flair a few weeks ago, that they realized he’s very due for a title and a push. (Tito 2018: Pretty evident from this flashback and previous flashbacks what a Chris Benoit fan that I used to be… I was heartbroken as a fan when he killed his family during June 2007 that I quit watching WWE cold turkey until late 2009. Ever notice how anything from mid-2007 to late 2009 NEVER gets mentioned in my columns?)

-Bob Ryder reported that the Women’s match at Road Wild has been dropped?!? Well, for those of you really planning on buying Road Wild to see a classic cat fight, you might as well look away. I think the reasoning behind it is the fact that Gorgeous George, who Medusa was blaming for the feud, is too heavily involved with the Macho Man/Rodman feud. I think WCW thinks the women’s match could take away heat that they want the Rodman vs. Macho Man match to have. (Tito 2018: I honestly cannot remember Dennis Rodman being in WCW during 1999. Remember Macho’s lady friend, Gorgeous George? That didn’t last…)

-Speaking of Macho and Rodman, WCW is really pissed at their actions and words from last Monday. It’s strange how WCW works sometimes, as they get mad at some stuff that wrestlers do, and ignore other stuff. Anyways, expect WCW to maybe add a twist to the match, or make it a mixed match with Mona on one side and Medusa on the other like one time reported. I think if Macho and Rodman were in the ring fighting in singles competition, it could get ugly and result in a blackeye for WCW. But hey, cooler heads could prevail.

======================

That was kind of lame…

Let us see what happened during the year 2001 with Mr. Tito…

MR. TITO’S PHAT DAILY COLUMN – 8/5/2001

The evil Jackson 5 singer turned internet wrestling column writer has returned! That’s right… although it’s nothing quite like the days when the Jacksons ruled the 1970s, but oh well. It’s Sunday, and we’ll be serving up lots of Daily Apples. Now can you like those apples? (Tito 2018: The “apples” catchphrase. Honestly, I never saw Good Will Hunting until later. I honestly got the “how do you like them apples” from South Park during the Terrence and Phillip episode.)

You know what’s sad? For Friday/Saturday’s column about Tough Enough, my dumbass completely forgot about Kurt Angle’s appearance on the show. The fact that the WWF just shit all over their whole talent roster by pampering 8 individuals who weren’t paying their dues to get into the business made me get off the deep end. I did enjoy what Angle was trying to tell the contestants, and that is when you’re in a hold, sell it like a champ! Kurt Angle has become soooo good that he’s one of the best sellers in the business. Whenever someone slaps him in a submission, he looks like he’s about to have a child, it hurts that bad!

But hey, that’s what happens when one subject pisses me off that much. Let’s eat some apples, shall we?

-Tonight, on Mtv Heat, the WWF will feature a match between Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn. This match should be HUGE for both Lynn and RVD, especially for Lynn. RVD, for the most part, has shown that he’s the real deal and he’ll be bringing his stuff everyday. Lynn, on the other hand, hasn’t convinced WWF officials that he is indeed talented and has more potential than many of the WWF wrestlers on television today. This match should be interesting because neither guy will be wrestling on the small trampoline like they were in ECW. The WWF ring has more size, different ropes, and has much less bounce. We’ll see how both guys manage to work the match and if it saves Jerry Lynn’s career. Also, let’s see if it keeps RVD’s momentum going, too.

-If you didn’t catch it, Smackdown returned to old form with an awesome 4.7 rated show. The mixture of the invasions and the return of the Rock has really bolstered the rating once again. But there’s no need to celebrate now, especially since WWF ratings, these days, aren’t exactly the most stable things in the world. The WWF must keep it going, at full power, to keep drawing the fans in now. There is no competition to push the fanbase up now, so the WWF must do it on their own now. Like I say a lot…. the WWF wouldn’t have to worry about putting on Pay Per View quality shows if they put on better material during the months of May and June, where the Triple H/Austin vs. Undertaker/Kane LAME feud was carrying the show, while the midcarders were receiving no television time or respect. Duh huh.

-Tough Enough scored a 2.1 rating, which is their average, right? Well, whatever, I think the WWF is damaging themselves by alienating the wrestling fans. When an average wrestling fan tunes in and sees the Tough Enough contestants partying in the Bahamas like a Real World format, they’ll turn the channel. But remember, we have blithering idiots in the production trucks and at the WWF corporate headquarters, so take what you can get, I guess. Plus, the rating could be down because Mtv replays Tough Enough nearly 6 times after it originally airs. Probably more. (Tito 2018: I’m proud of 21 year old Tito seeing through the Tough Enough joke.)

-I wouldn’t read much into the Chuck Palumbo/Sean O’Haire attitude problem scenario. If they were such headcases, they wouldn’t have been given a win over the Hardy Boyz on Smackdown, now would they? Of course, the Hardys have been made into jobbers over the last few weeks, which is rather sad. With Palumbo and O’Haire, they are just young and they didn’t have their attitudes adjusted when training in the Power Plant. Instead of, say, travelling to Ohio Valley Wrestling after becoming discovered, O’Haire and Palumbo went into a very nice training facility, where they were GUARANTEED a spot on the WCW roster if they graduated the training. So in reality, any wrestler could just pay their money and get a spot on the WCW roster, while WWF wrestlers had to earn their spots. BIG, BIG difference.

-My gosh, if you look at this week’s Ross Report, you’ll see NOTHING but injuries! WWF wrestlers, thanks to the needs by Vince McMahon to have people step up because of the lackluster months of May and June, have been going at full power and they are putting their bodies on the line in efforts to make the shows better. Geesh. No wrestling federation should go through as many injuries as the WWF is going through today. Sure, the WWF has a big roster right now, but these guys are humans, not wasteful commodities like Vince McMahon seems to treat them anymore.

-More rumors are circulating about bigname WCW stars coming into the WWF to be a part of the Alliance. As far as we know, Scott Steiner will be the only addition to the WWF, once his back heals up. After that, it’s very unclear on who will come over. Bill Goldberg wants his guaranteed money, still, and I remember reading a report that he’s not too enthused to wrestle anymore. Sting will most likely retire, as he’s shown no interest, despite some saying he might jump once his contract ends next year with Time Warner/AOL. Kevin Nash is enjoying life with his huge Time Warner/AOL contract, and has said, many times, that he has no plans on getting out of his contract. Nash’s deal ends sometime in early Spring of 2002 or somewhere around that, to which he plans on putting together a deal for the WWF to grab, thinking that the wrestling industry will be down by then and he’ll capitalize! Slick Ric Flair has been reportedly discussing terms with WWF officials about his WWF return, and whether it will be worth trashing his ironclad Time Warner/AOL contract for it. (Tito 2018: Sting didn’t quite retire…)

-With Ric Flair, what does he honestly have to lose? He’s already made millions off of the wrestling business and other ventures. One last WWF run could more than make up for any money possibly lost through the Time Warner/AOL deal, and his star power would increase in the better environment. Flair should just remember the time where he was in the WWF for 1991 and 1992. Vince McMahon treated him with nothing but class and even pushed him to win 2 World titles in that short timespan. Flair couldn’t ask for any better treatment elsewhere. Of course, Flair wouldn’t be billed as a top wrestler now, but to have him as a talker would be more than worth his while. (Tito 2018: In hindsight, Ric Flair was smart to wait until November 2002 to join the WWE. Timing was so perfect for him and he had an amazing WWE run.)

-As for the NEW WWF television show coming… All it will be is a glorified version of Livewire, but just 2 hours long. Ugh. The claim that it will be a “magazine type show”, when really, it will be nothing but the same old recap show. Blah. You know what the WWF could use these days? Remember Prime Time Wrestling from back in the day on USA Networks? Back then, the WWF put on some rare matches that were either dark matches, special attraction houseshow main events, or matches edited off a television show due to time constraints. That worked so well. But I highly doubt we’ll be fortunate to get any good matches or exclusive matches on this new show, and it’s only going to flood wrestling fans with too much WWF programming on the weekend. Let me rephrase that: adding the magazine show will only flood wrestling fans with too much SH***Y WWF television shows on the weekend, with this and Mtv Heat to watch.

-In the Ross report, you’ll see JR talking about sending a bunch of WCW talents to Cincinnati to train in the HWA, you’ll notice that a good many of them were a big chunk of the Cruiserweight division on WCW. Guys like the Yung Dragons, Shannon Moore, Kwee Wee, Elix(sp?) Skipper, Lash LaRoux, Evan Karagias, Kid Romeo, and Jaime Noble will ALL be there. I mean, that’s a shitload of solid Cruiserweight talent, and they were CARRYING the final WCW shows with their awesome tag division and more, with stars who have already debuted, like Billy Kidman and Hurricane Helms. Even better, Jim Ross is reportedly going to talk to Rey Mysterio about possibly joining WWFE, too. Even if Vince McMahon is stubborn about giving Lightweights a chance to shine, he can’t deny how damn talented a lot of these guys are. (Tito 2018: Listing to Jim Cornette lately, that HWA side developmental promotion was a major dumping grounds for WCW guys that the WWE actually bought but quickly decided not to use.)

And Finally, you aren’t seeing a Mr. Tito on his way out, as some of you have been questioning. As I’ve said before, school, work, and anything else that pertains to my life has been keeping me very busy right now. Especially the school part, as it’s not only taking up time, but burning me out as well. Shit happens, and I have to do what I have to do. I am, in no way, retiring or toning it down. After this week, I should return to form after one of my classes end. At least I think I can. (Tito 2018: If some of you only knew how I was able to juggle attending College, working several part-time jobs, and writing daily columns, you’d wonder where I’d find time to sleep. Well, I didn’t. 3 hours a night was a consistent thing back then. As I heading into the Fall of 2002 for Graduate school, something had to change and thus the END of the “Phat Daily Column” and onto a bi-weekly and then weekly column.)

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Much better… 2 Mr. Tito Flashbacks in one column. I’m actually amused at how short some of my 1999 columns were compared to novels that I’d begin writing later. My secret of being so productive is that I daydream all day long on what to write and I’m exceptional at typing. People are terrified when they walk by my office and hear machine gun like sounds from me grinding on the keyboard. Doing a whole bunch of programming and HTML work before I became Mr. Tito caused me to type so fast. Most of my columns take 2 hours to write. Copy and paste one of my columns into Microsoft Word to get a word count and you’ll be amazed.

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.

BUY THE BOOK!

So just chill… Until the next episode!

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

Bookmark Mr. Tito’s Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net – 1998-2018

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“13 Reasons Why” the WWE Has Declined Since the Year 2000

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