MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – Should Daniel Bryan Leave the WWE? Backlash Pay Per View Predictions

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Welcome back to the fun that never ends, Mr. Tito Strikes Back… Well, might end in 6 months… But for now, I’m back with another edition of the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING that comes to you for absolutely free of charge and all you have to do is come to the great LordsofPain.net. That simple… I’ve never asked for a dime from you and I’m the one putting in 2-3 hours per column (sometimes more) for your enjoyment. You won’t harder hitting yet thoughtful wrestling opinion anywhere else on the web.

Like this one… Am I the only one worried about Daniel Bryan‘s return in the WWE?

If I were Daniel Bryan, I’d consider letting that existing WWE Contract expire during September 2018. LEAVE THE WWE!

Are you watching what is happening on Smackdown or what was hyped on the Greatest Royal Rumble event? On Smackdown, the WWE moved the returning Big Cass to that brand from RAW. Now, instead of starting him at the MIDCARD where he left off on the RAW brand, the WWE has him immediately going after Daniel Bryan and repeatedly getting the better of him. First of all, Big Cass first appears backstage and mocks Daniel Bryan’s height. Then, he attacks Bryan during that show’s main event. Who eliminated Daniel Bryan at the Greatest Royal Rumble match? You guessed it. I’m REALLY worried about that Backlash 2018 Pay Per View match between Daniel Bryan and Big Cass. Big Cass is either going to score the win or Daniel Bryan is just going to squeak by. REMEMBER – Big Cass was just a midcarder on the RAW brand AND he’s recovering from ACL surgery on his knee.

Oh, and Big Cass is a 7 foot tall wrestler who can’t perform power moves… I like the guy, overall, and wish him the best… But come on. Why is Bryan feuding with him? With the way Big Cass mocks him for his height, he might as well call him “B+ Player” while he’s at it.

Secondly, let’s go back to that Greatest Royal Rumble Pay Per View. YES, Bryan broke the record for longest entrant ever. By the way, Big Cass eliminated him… If you watched the Greatest Royal Rumble event and weren’t offended by women not being on the card (kudos to WWE for still paying them!), you’d notice that WWE announcers were just fawning over anyone with height. Babatunde and Dan Mantha, who haven’t been on WWE television, were treated as if they were the second comings of Christ when they entered the ring. And of course, Big Cass

See, height doesn’t always equate into greatness… Experience does. Big Cass does not have much experience on the WWE main roster. He is like many call-ups from OVW/FCW/NXT who join the roster and are immediately pushed as a Main Event like star… Last time I checked, OVW, FCW, and NXT acted as training grounds before entering the WWE. Those should act like a farm system to the big leagues, much like baseball or hockey does it (NBA is trying it, College is technically a farm system for the NFL). Instead, wrestlers from there are instantly pushed instead of continuing their development in the midcard. Not everyone watches the WWE’s developmental federations! For Big Cass, he mostly wrestled on the midcard Tag Circuit with Enzo before breaking off as a singles wrestler. He then tore his ACL…

“Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana 1905-1906

Vince McMahon still likes them TALL and mostly THICK, last time I checked… In case you haven’t noticed on RAW, 6’3″ Roman Reigns, 6’8″ Roman Reigns, and the returning 6’3″ Bobby Lashley have become the focus of RAW. Also in case you didn’t notice, Daniel Bryan (and AJ Styles) were NOT moved to the RAW brand. Meanwhile, a wrestler coming off an ACL injury + not much experience on the WWE main roster, Big Cass at 7 feet, has joined the Smackdown wrestler to immediately feud with Bryan. And he’s reminding him of their height difference. Why not call him a “B+ Player” while you’re at it?

Being TALL doesn’t mean jack or crap if you don’t have the in-ring experience to back it up. For a larger wrestler, Big Cass doesn’t have any power moves to inflict real pain on a smaller wrestler such as Daniel Bryan. He has a big boot? Whoopee… Daniel Bryan’s kicks are much harder and impactful. That and you can see the big boot from a mile away.

See, here’s the funny thing about SMALLER wrestlers in the WWE… After the WWE pushes them to a big spot, they quickly lose faith in them. After Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero celebrated their victories at Wrestlemania 20 and walked out of that event as World Champions (Benoit won his title, Eddie retained his), they were given weak opponents much like Daniel Bryan saw after Wrestlemania 30. Benoit, after repeating the 3 way match, got to wrestle Kane and a very green Randy Orton (lost it to Orton). Meanwhile, Eddie Guerrero immediately feuds with a repackaged Bradshaw gimmick to “JBL”. Look, I enjoyed the JBL gimmick and thought Bradshaw nailed that role… But the J.R. Ewing like gimmick was created overnight and rushed to the main event. He was mostly a midcarder and tag wrestler before that.

If you consider the context of 2004, how is Benoit and Eddie to blame for business that year? Immediately following Wrestlemania 20, the WWE lost Steve Austin, the Rock, Mick Foley, Bill Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar. Those are 5 top superstars who owned the WWE’s spotlight for the last 7 years. Brock Lesnar‘s 2004 exit from the WWE and Smackdown roster was so abrupt that it changed plans for that roster. How is that Eddie’s fault? How is it Eddie’s fault that Kurt Angle‘s neck was acting up again? Meanwhile, Benoit was pushed down the card as World Heavyweight Champion as Triple H focused on a feud with Eugene… Remember that one? Yeah… WWE rushed Randy Orton to the WWE Title, as he beat Benoit during 2004 and yet Orton lost that title just 1 month later because reactions were poor. How is that Benoit’s fault?

Who did Daniel Bryan feud with following Wrestlemania 30? Did he finally get revenge over Randy Orton in a one-on-one match? Nope… He wrestled Kane as Orton and Batista moved on by reforming Evolution with Triple H to feud with the Shield. Those 6 match matches headlined WWE shows, not Bryan’s defense of the WWE Title.

Daniel Bryan has another disadvantage… He’s a traveled international wrestler and also from Ring of Honor. Like CM Punk or Seth Rollins, WWE will ACT like they have faith in you as champion but won’t let you main event shows.

Thus, if the WWE has disdain for Bryan’s height and wrestling past… Why not leave?

Just look at Cody Rhodes now… Do you not see how HAPPY he is right now beyond the WWE? And he’s getting paid quite well on the Indy Scene + Japan. I could argue the same for AJ Styles who suddenly grew once he got out of the TNA/Impact environment and had freedom.

What pro wrestlers, particularly ones who are actually over but are being held down by the WWE, have to realize is that they have VALUE elsewhere. WWE isn’t the only paying entity in town. Impact has financial backers and God bless them because that company had some debt to manage. Ring of Honor is owned by Sinclair who is trying to take over ever single Broadcast TV channel in the United States. Seriously. Also as you’re seeing with Cody Rhodes and his pals for the “All In” event during early September, great wrestlers can band together and form their own promotion/events if necessary. While there was corporate money involved, thank you Ted Turner, that’s essentially what WCW did. They acquired wrestlers that WWE no longer wanted as wrestlers (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage) and wrestlers WWE refused to pay (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall). The rest of the wrestling world followed their lead and suddenly, we had legitimate wrestling competition.

And what happened with you had the Monday Night Wars? Oh, the wrestling audience legitimately grew to 7-8 million people watching. Then, because wrestling became so popular from 1996-1998, independent promotions like ECW could always rebound from when WCW raided their talent roster because the DEPTH of talent was always there. When the wrestling business was SO HOT, that encourages many individuals to try it out. Why else would the infamous Ohio Valley Wrestling “Class of 2002” be so good? That was recruits following the Attitude Era… How has recruiting classes been since 2002? Ehhh… WWE has to talent raid Indy promotions, notably Ring of Honor.

UNLESS the wrestlers, themselves, band together to CREATE the competition… The WWE will take any wrestler on their roster for granted. Then, the Creative Team will push who they want based on agendas or politics…

Don’t believe me?

Just look at what happened with Daniel Bryan during 2013-2015 until WWE’s doctors forced him to retire. By the way, can you point me to ANY wrestlers that the WWE doctors FORCED to retire?

– Wins WWE Title cleanly from John Cena, has Randy Orton cash-in the Money in the Bank briefcase at SummerSlam 2013
– Cannot overcome Randy Orton during the rest of 2013.
– Supposed to have his “revenge” match with Triple H at Survivor Series 2013. That was scrapped entirely.
– Loses 100% clean to Bray Wyatt at Royal Rumble 2014, forced to join the Wyatt family afterward.
– Not even in the 2014 Royal Rumble match.
– Reportedly booked to wrestle Sheamus, again, at Wrestlemania 30 until a fateful night in Michigan when Big 10 basketball fans did the “YES!” chant. Additionally, early reactions to Randy Orton vs. Batista were poor.

YES – The Wrestlemania 30 plans were scrapped in favor of having Daniel Bryan inserted into the Main Event and World Title match. But…

– Makes Batista tap out at Wrestlemania 30. He doesn’t pin the World Champion!
– Instead of feuding with the obvious opponent after Wrestlemania 30, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan instead feuds with “walking glass ceiling” Kane. Gets injured in the process.
– Poor showing in the 2015 Royal Rumble, enters at #10 and only lasts 10 minutes before, you guessed it, Bray Wyatt eliminates him.
– Loses 100% clean to Roman Reigns at Fast Lane 2015
– Wins the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania 31, 1 year after winning the World Title at the previous Wrestlemania.
– After injuries mount, Daniel Bryan was forced to retire.

As a pro wrestling fan since late 1988 and a writer here at LordsofPain.net since October 1998… I see the “writing on the wall”. WWE wants to push younger BUT taller talent right now. No matter how hard you chant “YES!”, it won’t matter… WWE wants to get Big Cass over quickly to mold him into a talent who can challenge Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman on RAW in about a year.

No matter what. Even if Big Cass was just a midcarder on RAW before he joined Smackdown (sound familiar, Jinder Mahal?) and even if Daniel Bryan has in-ring experience since 1999 that should trump Big Cass’s inexperience, despite his size… Won’t matter. Vince McMahon is consistent in his approach unless a guy closer to 6 feet tall can give him something special like John Cena, Kurt Angle, or Steve Austin.

Take one for the team, and when I mean “team”, I mean wrestlers who aren’t getting any serious looks by the WWE for opportunity. Cody Rhodes began to pave that road, as he rolled the dice when he could not stand playing the Stardust gimmick any longer. WWE thought Randy Savage was “too old” during 1994 to wrestle anybody and he showed them by joining the competitor. Hall and Nash weren’t getting paid much in WWE and they showed them by joining WCW. The pooling of international resources (New Japan) plus a Sinclair corporation backed Ring of Honor could legitimately challenge the WWE… Look at the buzz that Chris Jericho created when he wrestled 1 New Japan match in January. He convinced 25,000 new people to subscribe to their streaming channel.

LEAVE when your contract is up in September, Daniel. Don’t become miserable like CM Punk did during 2011-2014 when he signed a 3 year extension. Money does not buy happiness, particularly in a sport where your body is on the line.

WWE might be irritated briefly when you leave, but they’ll bring you back when your popularity explodes elsewhere. Hard to trademark “YES!”, too, a common word in the English language.

But I bet that the WWE money comes his way to stay put. Having a family and wanting Brie to continue her success on Total Divas and Total Bellas, that is hard to give up.

If the WWE isn’t going to push you seriously, start slowing down… Take fewer risks. Why put your body on the line when it won’t amount to anything? If the WWE admits to paying you as a “keep away” game from competition, hell with them, MILK IT! Keep yourself fresh, in the process, in case the WWE eventually feels “safe” to release you. Go ask Jim Ross about that, as the WWE fired him during 2013 when he was 61 years old and wouldn’t be a threat to join another organization. “Cheap insurance” for the WWE…

LEAVE THE WWE, Daniel. And we’ll follow you… “YES!” we will.

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WWE BACKLASH 2018 PREDICTIONS

Feels like we’ve had a bunch of Pay Per Views lately… Oh wait, we have! I have a distinct feeling that the “Greatest Royal Rumble” is the start of more International Pay Per View specials on the WWE Network. We all celebrated that the Brand Extension split Pay Per Views were ending (2017’s shows were awful!), but with the way that the WWE just pulled in up to a reported $25 million for GRR, the WWE is going to see what other countries want to host major wrestling events. Better yet, the WWE shows can be used as an advertising vehicle for their country, particularly ones misunderstood by American fans. Case in point the many video packages of the country shown on Greatest Royal Rumble.

You know me with prediction columns… I’m going to plaster on a smile and plow through this crap one more time!

Oh, by the way… Both RAW (below 3.1 million) and Smackdown (below 2.5 million) had down weeks despite being BEFORE a Pay Per View. There’s major fatigue among wrestling fans for having TOO MUCH product right now but I also believe that it’s an indictment of the creative direction for the WWE. RAW has been mostly awful since Wrestlemania 34 and the “shake-up” didn’t really help. As WWE gets further away from Wrestlemania AND Brock Lesnar appearing on the shows, viewership will continue to decline. Not good.

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Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz
I predicted below that Randy Orton wins the title, thus Miz wins the Intercontinental Title to bring that to Smackdown. Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is how GOOFY it is to have RAW and Smackdown brand wrestlers going head-to-head for titles on a Pay Per View. Why have a brand split if there isn’t a division between rosters?

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Seth Rollins retains, too close removed from Wrestlemania 34.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Miz wins the IC Title, brings it to Smackdown.

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US Title: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton
I don’t know about this match… On one hand, the WWE seems to be welcomed ot pushing Jeff Hardy again. On the other hand, the WWE always favors Randy Orton. However, the WWE needs to cool down the many title changes recently.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Jeff Hardy retains

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Randy Orton wins. I never bet against Orton.

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Women’s Title: Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte
I don’t think that feud with Carmella and the Iconics will be over for a while now… I figure that one of the Iconics will help Carmella get the win or maybe Becky/Asuka “come to the rescue” only to fail and accidentally hit Charlotte. Maybe that spins Charlotte away from the Women’s Title scene for the moment to let the rest of the amazing Smackdown women’s roster depth step up.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Charlotte wins. I’m just not buying Carmella as champion, especially with the lame way that she won the title.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Carmella wins with help from interference.

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Women’s Title: Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
I figure that someone will be wearing a t-shirt on Sunday to hide some “work” recently performed… We’re too closely removed from Wrestlemania 34 to have Nia lose her title. That and I don’t see the WWE wanting Nia to lose right now. The real money could be with Nia vs. Ronda Rousey…

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN / WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Nia Jax

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Braun Strowman/Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
This match seems too obvious that Lashley and Strowman will murder these two. Yet, I could see the WWE having the tag partners butting heads and that causes a loss… Nah, Zayn and Owens don’t win matches on big shows!

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN / WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Lashley and Strowman win… They may, at one point, run into each other to almost cause them to lose the match.

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Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
I honestly think that fans may riot of Daniel Bryan loses this match. Again, there is NOTHING against Big Cass. Yes, he’s tall, but he’s not experienced for the big spotlight. Fans see right through his scripted promos and he doesn’t have the in-ring ability to back up the position that WWE Creative is trying to give him. I figure that Daniel Bryan will win this match but it will be close… Big Cass beats on him for much of the match and makes a fatal mistake like diving into the top of the ring post to enable Bryan to squeak out a victory.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN / WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Daniel Bryan

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Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
So…. Roman has lost twice to Brock Lesnar and thus y’all expect him to lose to Samoa Joe after that? The “prized pig” of Vince McMahon? Now way… Fact is that Samoa Joe was moved to the Smackdown brand and that’s all you need to know who wins this match.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Samoa Joe beats him 100% clean

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Roman Reigns

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WWE Title: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Being that this is the only World Title on the card, please let it main event the show. So far, the first 2 matches are subpar. Scott Keith pondered this on his BLOG OF DOOM recently and I’m starting to agree. It was suggested that Nakamura knew that he was on the downside of his New Japan career and “cashed in” on an opportunity to join the WWE before New Japan began to demote him. I agree with that… Nakamura just isn’t adjusting well to the WWE style but he could also be starting to slide past his prime… The heel persona has improved his character but as seen by the Greatest Royal Rumble, it just slightly improved their match quality compared to the match seen at Wrestlemania 34. That goes in to my argument about ever turning Roman Reigns heel… Character twist or not, if you don’t have it inside the ring, it doesn’t matter what your character is. As for this match, I sense a title change…

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: AJ Styles retains. I just don’t believe in Nakamura being a World Champion. See if he can draw with the US Title first?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Shinsuke Nakamura wins the title and then feuds with Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title? Maybe?

SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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

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

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