MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – In Defense of Pittsburgh Fans attending WWE Extreme Rules 2018…

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Mr. Tito is BACK IN YOUR FACE exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. Thank you to everyone for their kind words and support for my recent WWE Extreme Rules LIVE Tweeting and the column posted afterward. Who else spends money for a live event, live Tweets at the event, and then comes home to pound out a column just before 2am in the morning. This crazy guy who has been delivering columns to you, on a voluntary basis, for almost 20 years now.

Speaking of WWE Extreme Rules, I am going to defend its host city, Pittsburgh, PA and its fans. Pittsburgh fans are getting a bad rap because they were bored during the Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler – 30 Minute Iron Man Match which happened to be the Main Event of the long evening. In case you missed it, fans in attendance at the PPG Arena began counting down the last 10 seconds of each minute, starting at about the 27th minute mark I believe, and even did the buzzer noise. By each minute, it kept getting louder and louder. Then, the WWE production truck REMOVED the time from the scoreboard and it caused fans to chant WHERE’S THE CLOCK and make their own homemade 10 second countdowns.

Was it disrespectful to the business… Yeah…

But do paying fans have that ability to cheer how and when they want to? They sure do. The more ironic thing is that, for years, I can recall announcer Michael Cole defending boos for John Cena and Roman Reigns about paying fans having “freedom of speech” to cheer how they wanted to. Yet, fans doing a countdown is disrespectful in comparison to booing someone on purpose?

Pittsburgh, PA fans, however, are getting a bad wrap. Bigtime. Are they any different than the fans crapping all over Roman Reigns? Go watch that Wrestlemania 34 match if you want to see fans hijacking a match. Oh, because it was regarding a pair of Internet Darlings between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler that we’re a tad insensitive to the trolling fans?

Before 2010, I don’t quite remember hearing fans “hijacking” matches with cheers. Sure, they’d reject certain babyface pushes, but they were engaged in most matches and most storylines. Since 2010, we’ve been (a) pushing many wrestlers prematurely like Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Miz, Jinder Mahal, Jack Swagger, and also giving Randy Orton too many chances while (b) depushing many great wrestlers in favor of the prematurely pushed wrestlers just mentioned (Bryan, Punk, Ambrose, Cesaro, Ziggler, Strowman losing to Lesnar, etc.). In case you haven’t noticed, the WWE American fanbase has declined well over 1 million RAW viewers and attendance, per arena, is down by the thousands. The many loyal fans who remain, who are just willing to “wait out the storm” for something good, are the ones rejecting Roman Reigns or Jinder Mahal.

How can you consider Pittsburgh, PA fans as bad characters? That city is one of the most passionate sports cities in America. While the Dallas Cowboy seems to be a stronger national brand, Steeler nation has the strongest loyalty and travels the best to other stadiums than any other franchise. Pittsburgh Penguins hockey is beloved in the city and tickets are often hard to get. The Pittsburgh Pirates had 20 freakin’ straight years of losing seasons and yet fans remained loyal. Just before WWE Extreme Rules officially began, the WWE aired their video tribute to Bruno Sammartino who was from Pittsburgh, PA. Because of that, there is longtime loyalty to the WWE brand to make Pittsburgh a regular “WWE city” as that city regularly gets WWE televised events. ECW was able to draw good numbers there, too.

Why don’t we blame the placing of Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins as the Main Event instead?

After all, WWE Extreme Rules 2018 DID have a WWE Title match on the card while the other World Title remains dormant. You know, that WWE Title that Bruno actually wore… Yeah, that title belt. And if you heard the Pay Per View correctly, Pittsburgh fans were very receptive to that AJ Styles vs. Rusev match. Tons of heat, as Pittsburgh fans seem to really like Rusev for whatever reason. Endless loud “AJ Styles / Rusev Day” back and forth chants occurred during that match. IT HAD HEAT and that match SHOULD have been the Main Event. You wonder why WWE Smackdown LIVE is struggling to be above 2.2 million in viewers right now? Because that show is considered “second rate” by Vince McMahon. RAW’s WWE Universal Title is consistently headlining dual Pay Per Views, FACT.

But let’s look at the Iron Man Match itself…

And I want to specifically look at Dolph Ziggler. Was he ready to be in a Main Event?

Has there been any other wrestler in the WWE that has been victimized by WWE Creative more than Dolph Ziggler? Seriously, folks, his in-ring ability was as comparable to Shawn Michaels or Brian Pillman. The guy was able to work with anybody and adjust to any number of styles. Wrestler after wrestler used to be paired up with Ziggler and they’d have one of their best matches ever. But creatively, his character has been repackaged, turn heel to face, vice versa, multiple times, and he has endured some of the worst 50/50 booking seen on the entire roster. He wins the Money in the Bank briefcase and then loses repeatedly for about a year to almost every big name he faced. Then, when he gets hurt with a concussion after winning that title, WWE blamed him for that injury and depushed him hard.

Who is Dolph’s character friend right now? Oh, that’s right, Drew McIntyre. You know, the guy that had a previous stint with the WWE and got released! He was part of the 3 Man Band with Jinder and Slater… Then, he returns to the WWE for the NXT promotion and it was reported that WWE officials were dissatisfied with him as a draw during his NXT Title reign (NXT attendance dipped after those RAW/Smackdown talent raids). So when Drew rejoins the WWE roster, he’s placed with Dolph Ziggler, another victim of bad WWE Creative decisions.

What I heard during WWE Extreme Rules was MASSIVE cheers for Seth Rollins but zero heat, at all, for Dolph Ziggler. Nobody was thrilled to see Dolph, nor were they impressed that he was accompanied to the ring by Drew McIntyre. Both guys are “DAMAGED GOODS” thanks to WWE Creative and had zero heat. Even when Drew attacked Rollins, fans were like “meh” because they probably expected that to happen but also because it is Drew McIntyre, a guy whom the WWE gave up on before. WWE gave up repeatedly on Dolph Ziggler. Fans know it.

I just don’t think that Dolph Ziggler‘s heart is in wrestling now or he’s just tired of working for the WWE. Paychecks are nice, yes, but it can be demoralizing. All of that hard work and giving many wrestlers their best matches has paid off with… Nothing. Oh, a surprise Intercontinental Title win recently. Whoopee!

That Iron Man Match just didn’t have much of a pop to it… There just wasn’t any energy by Dolph Ziggler to draw in the crowd that he’s the heel. First 10 minutes saw Seth Rollins actually getting a 3-0 lead. Seriously, your Intercontinental Champion just lost THREE TIMES IN A ROW. How credible is that? Drew McIntyre’s attack and then banning from the ring was ridiculous. Didn’t Drew win a match just to have the right to accompany Ziggler at ringside? Then he gets thrown out of the match.

There was just nothing “special” about this 30 Minute Iron Man Match when maybe fan expectations were too high. But I also think that fans didn’t expect this match to be the Main Event.

Of course counting down the clock aloud was disrespectful and I know that Seth Rollins is sensitive about fans being distracted (he spoke out about criticisms about the red WWE Universal Title causing chants in his Tournament Final match). I could see Seth working hard to make that match… But in the main event, you need an “over” dance partner. Dolph Ziggler is “damaged goods” that WWE Creative has ruined throughout the years. And then WWE Creative poorly booked that match to have Seth Rollins not just go 3-0 early, but to cram in 9 pinfalls within 31 minutes. That is, on average, 3.4 minutes per victory. Just didn’t seem to be a well prepared match.

I WAS THERE, folks, at WWE Extreme Rules 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA. We cheered our hearts out for the majority of the matches. Cien and Sin Cara had pops as the first match and we cheered loudly for some of the weaker matches. We definitely liked AJ Styles vs. Rusev which SHOULD have been the Main Event.

Funny how “hijacking matches by fans” is suddenly an issue. WWE had BIGGER crowds in attendance, per show, 20 years ago for the Attitude Era and they didn’t hijack matches. Nope, they cared about what happened in the ring. Nobody wants to endure 30 minutes of “damaged goods” Dolph Ziggler, especially as Dolph is quoted on RAW as saying the “Intercontinental Title main evented a Pay Per View match for the first time in 17 years”. Bingo.

In recap…

(a) WWE didn’t put the WWE Title match between Rusev and AJ Styles as the Main Event.

(b) Dolph Ziggler has been screwed repeatedly by WWE Creative and therefore has no heat because of it.

(c) Match was booked poorly. 9 falls in less than 31 minutes with Seth Rollins quickly going up 3-0 and having silly Drew McIntyre interference.

Don’t put wrestlers in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match if they can’t succeed or LACK the heat to make people care about it.

Blaming Pittsburgh… You are all sounding like WWE Officials who are always looking for something else to blame for their own creative shortcomings.

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Another week, another Monday Night RAW under 3.0 Million. It’s beginning to be feel a lot like permanent…

FACT is that RAW popped during the 1st hour because of the THOUGHT that Brock Lesnar might show up to respond personally to Kurt Angle. Of course, Paul Heyman shows up in his place. After that 1st hour, the viewership numbers tanked to drag us back under 3 million.

For the past 2 years, the WWE relied on Brock Lesnar to keep RAW above the 3.0 million number, at times… When he’s gone, the ratings tank.

WWE just doesn’t have any star power beyond the farm system wrestlers developed during the 2000s decade. Nothing that is over enough to carry the company.

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HULK HOGAN RETURNS, BROTHER

Honestly, I have no opinion on Hulk Hogan being reinstated to the WWE. He’s an old man, he’s unable to wrestle or ruin people creatively, and his words tarnished his reputation forever. But I’m not a black man, nor am I black wrestler. I could imagine that the reinstatement would be a source of irritation and a real reason to walk away.

To me, Hulk Hogan has been trouble for the past 15 years… I’m shocked that the WWE Corporation tolerated him up and until the racial slurs came out. You had a messy divorce, issues with his son’s car crash and recorded voice speaking horribly about the other person who got hurt in that accident, messing with Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton at SummerSlam, jumping to TNA in attempt to threaten the WWE competively, and releasing a sex tape with someone else’s wife (which later was revealed to have slurs on it). If I’m a CEO of a publicly traded corporation, do I want that as an employee?

I don’t know… You can run videos of his past matches without employing him. You can have someone in a Hall of Fame even if they do something bad after receiving said Hall of Fame honor (see O.J. Simpson who remains in the Football Hall of Fame).

His older self has brought a ton of unnecessary drama… Slurs or not, it’s been rough for a while for the Hulkster.

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MR. TITO – FLASHBACK

The magical mystery tour of Mr. Tito continues as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Mr. Tito @ LordsofPain.net which will be on October 26th, 2018. I hope that you’re enjoying these flashbacks as I shrug at how ruthless my younger self was. What I’m noticing as I read my old works was how much of a WCW fan I was at heart and was loyal to it until the very end. Thus, I was a bit tougher on the WWE, even during their peak years (1999-2000).

July 17th, 2001 – MR. TITO’S PHAT DAILY COLUMN

Another Phat Daily Column is upon us, as we’ll review RAW is WAR as I’ve done for over 2 years now on LordsofPain.net, the best pro wrestling site on the internet. This is the one review that many get sooooo fired up about, since many can’t take opinions nor do they understand sarcasm. (Tito 2018: See, I’m poking at haters 17 years ago. Some of you think that I just started doing that?)

But first, a legend of wrestling has passed away. Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy left the world at age 40 yesterday. I grew up watching the real Bam Bam wrestle, as I first viewed him on ESPN’s World Class wrestling shows. Back then, he was in a tough feud with the Von Erich family, and I can just remember one battle he had with Kerry Von Erich on one particular show.

As a part of the Freebirds, Gordy was one of those who you just loved to hate. All of the Freebirds were so cocky and dirty in the wrestling ring, which always made you want for a face team to let them have it!

I can remember the day I heard about Gordy forming a dream team of sorts with Dr. Death Steve Williams in a wrestling magazine, and as a young mark, I was thinking that this team couldn’t be stopped! They couldn’t, for they steamrolled WCW competition in the summer of 1992. Gordy and Williams, I suppose, were travelling back and forth from America to Japan, where they were also a tough duo.

Next thing I remember was when I read about Gordy coming to the WWF, but in a mask. The Executioner came in and attacked the Undertaker after the ‘Taker about beat Mankind one night. Although a terrible gimmick for Gordy, he did make the best of it and seemed to handle it in a professional manner. From there, Gordy made a few trips back and forth from the WWF to ECW, and after that, American fans didn’t see Bam Bam hardly ever again from touring foreign lands and occasional independents.

Terry Gordy, to me, will be missed very much, as a childhood hero just faded away. (Tito 2018: I’m proud of my 21 year old self for this.)

On to the PDC.

RAW REVIEW
Our first segment is Spike Dudley coming down, and wasting about 5 minutes of our time so that Molly Holly could tell him that she wants to shag him. Paul Heyman then came down to ask Spike if he wants to join Team Extreme. Spike says no thanks, taking the smart move over choosing a woman over a company that went bankrupt, and then the evil Dudley Boys came down and powerbombed poor Molly off of the top rope and into a table. Wow, have we seen that stunt performed before? At least it had some drama to it, for Spike was wrapped up in the ropes to see it all. Blah to domestic violence like that. (Tito 2018: Oh my, were DEEP into the WCW/ECW Invasion angle here. I only got more angry by the week here.)

Oh wow, what a Thunder match Faarooq vs. Chuck Palumbo was. I like both wrestlers and all, but damn, their styles totally contrasted during this match. Faarooq is a brawler, while Palumbo is more of a wrestler who relies on the ropes, whether it is irish whips or coming off the top. On a side note, I don’t really know how good of a match the Acolytes and Palumbo/O’Haire will put on at Invasion. Palumbo/O’Haire versus the Hardys or Edge/Christian would make a lot more sense or would provide a more energetic match, but we’ll see. Anybody for Sean O’Haire vs. Bradshaw on Smackdown? Nice Jungle kick by Palumbo at the end. That was his best yet! (Tito 2018: Ouch, I called a match a “Thunder” match, as if it aired on a WCW Thunder event. That’s low.)

Oh cool, Edge/Christian versus Team Canada Lance Storm/Mike Awesome is booked. That works for me. Last night, it was Edge vs. Mike Awesome, in a match that wasn’t too bad, although Edge continues to be humiliated on a win/loss record ever since he won the King of the Ring. Could the WWF be making a Billy Gunn out of him yet? Well, at least it will be the WWF doing that, and not Edge, because he can perform, unlike Gunn. Anybody for Christian vs. Lance Storm on Smackdown?

Great stuff by Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho backstage. Angle’s segment with Raven was just hilarious, especially with the ECW Rules comments. But Jericho was the king of words, for he ripped Stephanie so bad! Every Customer Welcome is the real meaning of ECW… at least for Stephanie! Nobody gets on Stephanie, with words, better than Jericho, period. NOBODY! The Rock is decent at it, although he gets repetitive on cutdowns towards her.

Our next match was Tazz versus William Regal, which I had high hopes for when I read the RAW preview. The match was very short and never given time to develop, and then we got a teaser of Tajiri joining Team Extreme, only to swerve by giving a nasty kick to Tazz. Yup, Tazz can take his punishment, therefore making for a good match at Invasion. I was actually hoping for Tajiri to spray the mist into Tazz’s face, but the kick was nice. (Tito 2018: I was always weak for wrestlers who spit mist into opponent’s faces)

Next, it was Chris Jericho versus Booker T for the WCW World Title. Pretty solid match, as Booker T can shine when his opponent isn’t Buff Bagwell. Dirty Nick Patrick kept screwing Jericho here, but note that Patrick and Jericho actually feuded in WCW during the NWO years. Remember the one hand tied behind Jericho’s back match? So I laughed harder because I enjoyed their feud back then for s**ts and giggles. I don’t like how Booker T is starting to look like a weak champion, though. At least give him some credibility, please.

Perry Saturn could definitely benefit from joining the ECW angle, but for now, he’s ripping off the Stanley Spadowski character from the wonderful movie, UHF, when he’s in love with the mop. I’ll piss myself if Saturn drives out in a little firetruck, puts a kid on a stool, and blasts him with a firehouse. Or better yet, maybe Saturn could open up a box of cereal for the prize at the very bottom, and start playing with the toy like a maniac. Now if the WWF gives the “orange” comment to Saturn, I’ll be pissed off. In UHF, Stanley is all tied up as a hostage, and he says “I’m thinking of something orange…. Any guesses? It’s an orange!”, or something to that effect. (Tito 2018: I love me some Weird Al.)

Speaking of stolen lines, did anybody see that Burger King commercial about the Free Fries? The commercial led to a phrase like “there are a few things in life you just don’t do, and one of them is stealing a man’s free fries”, or something like that. I’m bad on remembering quotes directly, sorry. But that line is terribly ripped off from the classic movie “Men at Work”, where Emilio Estevez tries to rip off a fry from his supervisor. That movie is freakin’ hilarious!

Oh wait, where was I? Oh yeah, Perry Saturn. You know what the real shame is about the ECW thing? It’s John Kronus and the fact that he doesn’t have the drive for the sport anymore. That’s too bad, for Saturn is really drying up as a singles wrestler.

Our next match was Kurt Angle versus Raven. Holy Cow, Kurt Angle just destroyed him! Angle pounded him better than any other hardcore wrestler would even dream of. Kurt Angle is now the superior WWF wrestler that everyone wishes they could be.

Has anybody ever seen the teams of the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boys wrestle in their lifetime? Oh wait, now it’s an inter-promotional match. My bad. It was decent as usual, and it had a good screwjob ending of Rob Van Dam running down to help the Duds win the match. After the match,- RVD hit a sweet 5-Star splash on Jeff, which would later set up a match for Invasion between RVD and Jeff. Oh wow, another incentive to buy the Pay Per View (or at least watch it somewhere). Let’s hope RVD proves to be the Whole F’N Show and not just another ECW bust like his former rival, Jerry Lynn. Note that RVD did, in fact, beat Jeff Hardy before on WWF television during the first ECW Invasion angle, which was a complete failure and a joke. (Tito 2018: Man, me calling Jerry Lynn a “bust” is brutal based on the praise that I gave him a year earlier and how that upset someone else. I was wrong.)

I really enjoyed seeing Classy Freddie Blassie giving a pep talk to the WWF wrestlers. Great appearance, which would be ruined later on by a complete idiot.

Next, it’s Terri versus Trish Stratus, the battle of the Silicone! Combined weight: 100 pounds of implants. The match wasn’t that bad, for neither are official wrestlers to start with. After the match, the evil WCW duo of Stacy and Torrie ran down and attacked Trish! Lita would run down to make the save, and give the Twist of Fate to Stacy. What a sell by Stacy!!! Wow, she sold that move like a champ, and that should put an end to the many rumors against her work ethic. (Tito 2018: That is the savage Tito that I remember. I was not a fan of Trish at the start but she grew on me as her in-ring work improved.)

The main event was Rhyno/DDP versus Kane/Undertaker, as I scratch my head and say “that’s the main event???”. Jericho versus Booker T might have been a better choice, but oh well. This match turned to nothing, and quick, with run ins everywhere! Steve Austin returned, but as the Rattlesnake, and he helped the WWF wrestlers easily clear the ring of the WCW and ECW stars. I guess that’s a good ending…

Before this match started, I presented the idea to a few friends and my brother that a Steve Austin heel turn for WCW/ECW wouldn’t be a bad idea, whatsoever. For one, Austin could play off the rejection of Vince about his new attitude. Second, we do have Rock versus Austin at Summerslam 2001, so a big WWF versus WCW/ECW match would be strong. Third, it would actually give credibility to the ECW/WCW stable, for the only guys who can handle a main event are Booker T and DDP. It’s just a thought, as it probably sounds stupid to many people reading it right now. I was thinking that instead of Austin fighting off the ECW/WCW wrestlers, he could attack the WWF ones. Oh well. (Tito 2018: Weeks later, Austin would turn…)

It’s time to prove what a true IDIOT Stephanie McMahon is for professional wrestling, in terms of ways to get heat and having some respect for the legends in the business. Steph told Freddie Blassie that he has something in common with the WWF, and which is that they are both about to die. And you know what, Stephanie and the sick WWF want us to be shocked at this comment. They want us to talk about how sick and disturbed it was. They want the word to get around that shock value is on the WWF shows. (Tito: See how consistent I was in the Stephanie hatred. Just think, in a few months during 2001, she’d make her famous “9/11 comments”.)

However, I just want to point out that this is just another example of why having Stephanie McMahon in charge of the storylines is a bad idea by the WWF. She’s dumb and a problem for the WWF storylines, and ever since she took over creatively for the WWF, they’ve had nothing but ridiculous happenings going on, with wrong things said or done when aiming for shock value. It’s ridiculous that Vince McMahon lets his love get over his brains in terms of running a successful WWF, compared to how it was in 1998 or 1999, with the storylines. (Tito 2018: Listen how accurate I am during July 2001. And things would only get worse.)

LAST WORD: Wow, two weeks in a row of bad booking by Stephanie on angles involving herself. This show, as a whole, wasn’t all too exciting as you’d think it would be with inter-promotional matches running. It just didn’t have that spark that you’d think would be there on a hot angle running like the ECW/WCW invasion. I’m giving this show a C+ (C plus) for just an overall lack of energy in this show. It’s like it sort of dragged along. I don’t know if it was the bland announcing of two face commentators or if it was the dead crowd at times. Just didn’t seem like the WWF, themselves, were into this show like other weeks.

Invasion?

Thanks to booking on the fly, we now have 2 more matches added to the Invasion Card from what happened on RAW last night. Invasion is definitely shaping up to be the BEST WWF show since Wrestlemania, but that’s just on paper… (Tito 2018: Man, I’m being very generous here. After SummerSlam 2001, I was thrashing the Invasion angle hard!)

-Lance Storm/Mike Awesome versus Edge/Christian
-Rob Van Dam versus Jeff Hardy
-Earl Hebner versus Nick Patrick
-Tazz versus Tajiri
-Xpac versus Billy Kidman
-Acolytes versus Palumbo/O’Haire
-Hancock/Wilson versus Lita/Trish
-Team WWF versus Team WCW

It looks mighty good. Now watch, the good undercard matches will go under 5 minutes, and the main event will be a bust. We’ll just see what else develops on Smackdown. Notice how we saw nothing to hype X-Pac versus Billy Kidman, whatsoever? Such irony……. (Tito 2018: I was hammering X-Pac during this time, notably writing my “X-Pac or Expired” column that many people liked at the time. It just seemed to me that his character wasn’t evolving with the times despite his in-ring ability still being top notch. The term “X-Pac Heat” was made famous by others during this time. Feel kind of bad, as I was a big fan and appreciate his work much more with time.)

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Man, I was a bad man during 2001… I notice that with age, I’m discussing more about the business and creative direction whereas during my younger days, I’d speak specifically about the wrestlers. I guess that shows that you learn about things with age? Don’t know…

SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL 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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