MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – Sorry WWE, but Lacey Evans is NOT the Next Sable or the New Charlotte

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Let’s talk about chicks, man…

I love me some Becky Lynch. Yes, I have long held a policy about how wrestlers should be careful about what they post on Social Media… However, I have also suggested that any wrestlers with legitimate popularity should begin to challenge management with their leverage. Becky Lynch has that ever since that failed attempt at a heel turn against Charlotte Flair caused wrestling fans that they’ve had enough.

Just look at her awesome Tweets in response to (a) her feud with newcomer Lacey Evans and (b) the potential resignation of Sasha Banks:

April 10th: So New Charlotte is my 1st challenger? Not sure now, but I’m starting to think this company might have a type.

April 12th: You see New Charlotte – while you’re out there trying to rehash Ronnie’s old, failed, “tHe MaN iS A mAN” tripe, The Champ Champ is showing you how to attract real interest in a fight. Keep watching, sweetie. Then try keep up @LaceyEvansWWE

April 12th: @SashaBanksWWE, fight me.

First of all, Becky Lynch’s shoot tweets are proving one simple thing and that is the fact that WWE wrestlers have more power than they think. I know with John Oliver‘s HBO rant, the issue of healthcare has been raised… But WWE wrestlers could demand so much more for # of hours worked, unsafe work environment, their independent contractor status, merchandise sales for using their likeness, among many other things where they should be far more compensated for what they are doing. Yet, the McMahon family gets a much bigger slice of the pie and the WWE Corporation is very profitable because they’ve kept wages and payouts so low. Remember when CM Punk predicted that Pay Per View payouts would decline with the WWE Network’s invention… Yeah…

But that’s another column.

Let’s focus on chicks, man…

Following Monday Night RAW, I dared to Tweet that it was a JOKE that WWE newbie Lacey Evans was rushed to the top to be the FIRST to challenge Dual Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch. You know, the same Becky Lynch who just had to wrestle multiple-time Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and former UFC Champion and current longtime RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. MEANWHILE, Charlotte Flair had a valid claim on her Smackdown Women’s Title because Becky pinned Ronda and Charlotte lost her title because of a match stipulation. Also, Asuka defeated Becky Lynch 100% clean at Royal Rumble 2019. Thus, you have TWO ready-made Women’s Title challengers for Becky.

But nope, let’s let newcomer Lacey Evans get the first shot!

And my comments set off a firestorm with the Internet Wrestling Community. Huh? Oh wait, she was a call-up from NXT. I’m seeing a definite pattern of NXT wrestlers being the “darlings” of internet wrestling fans. EVEN THOUGH history shows that most NXT call-ups who are RUSHED are complete failures in the Main Event scene (Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin), they are blinded by their lust for NXT because it’s an alternative dimension to the WWE. Hence why anything Ring of Honor, New Japan, All Elite Wrestling, and even Impact at times gets a complete pass… “Anything but WWE”…

Yet, it is a FACT that Lacey Evans has YET to wrestle a televised WWE match. Her only WWE appearance is the brief stint in the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble match. After that, she’s been interrupting matches here and there with her awful music to ZERO POP WHATSOEVER…

But somehow, she’s getting the push.

Why?

Because she’s the “next Sable” in Vince McMahon and Executive Producer Kevin Dunn‘s eyes, like Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Eva Maria, and Lana before them. Women who are built physically to appear in Playboy and have hair color OTHER THAN brunette. Though both are extremely talented and mostly deserve what they’ve worked for, Trish Stratus and Charlotte fill into that “next Sable” void. The exception is that both Trish and Charlotte can actually work. Did you see Wrestlemania 35 and that helicopter ride? Meanwhile, Becky Lynch just comes to the ring with regular music.

And what did I get from the Internet? “But but but she’s an ex-marine!” OK, that’s a good thing and a personal THANK YOU to her for serving our country. What does that have to do with being a credible pro wrestler who can challenge for the top Women’s title on day one? To be a Main Event level performer, you need to:
(a) Have strong in-ring ability.
(b) Have a personality that is magnetic but not phony.
(c) Be able to cut promos that are captivating.
(d) Play a larger-than-life character that causes people to question if that’s your real self or not.
(e) Understand the fine art of psychology to sell emotion to the audience for heat, positive or negative.

If “being in the military” was a guarantee to be a GREAT pro wrestler, then the WWE would have many in their system. Instead, they just have a few… WWE.com has this link about wrestlers who served in the military and there are some good wrestlers on there… Absolute top guys? Some could argue Randy Orton, but he has 13 World Titles and can you remember many of the matches where he won those titles? Me neither. Besides, where can he definitively show how his military career made him a better pro wrestler? In my opinion, the military career helped Jesse “the body” Ventura the most with his personna, but he didn’t last long as a wrestler. Sgt. Slaughter’s gimmick was about his past military career, although WWE flushed that down the tubes with the Iraqi traitor gimmick (ugh).

Your past profession DOES NOT guarantee that you’ll be a great pro wrestler. For example, former Mixed Martial Arts performers joining WWE. Did former UFC fighters Ken Shamrock or Dan Severn have “it” to become top drawing WWE superstars? I’m afraid not… Nathan Jones also had a MMA background and how did he do again? You can show me Brock Lesnar, but then I can show you Bobby Lashley. Although Ronda Rousey has had a few great moments, there were times where she was sloppy, too, both in the ring and on the mic. In fact, I’d argue that the Main Event of Wrestlemania 35 being somewhat of a disappointment was because of her in-ring work that night. Maybe she was wrestling with a broken hand, but a properly trained wrestler won’t break a hand… Ever.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting Lacey Evans as a ex-Marine… That is a nice “foot in the door”. But does that mean she can pack arenas because she’s an ex-Marine? If that were the case, why does she need to be a pro wrestler? Past professions do NOT guarantee you’ll be successful in another one. Being an ex-Marine should be part of her character, just as I’ve argued being an ex-Football player SHOULD have been part of Roman Reigns‘s character. Why else would he do a spear? WWE has barely mentioned his past football career whereas it made a living for Bill Goldberg who was openly mentioned as an ex-Football player. Why else would he do a spear?

THE ISSUE is why a WWE newbie gets a Women’s Title shot so early into her WWE career. Lacey Evans needs to earn the hearts of WWE fans first (which could take years) and THEN get the mega push to the top. We have no idea who she is or what she can do. There is only 1 Rumble appearance and then a bunch of odd segment interruptions with her theme music blasting while saying nothing. That is enough of a resume to dictate her becoming the #1 contender for the Women’s Titles following Wrestlemania? Really?

I don’t care what she did in NXT, either. NXT is seen by maybe 25% of the total WWE fanbase. Don’t believe me? NXT’s weekly shows, when the WWE advertised their Top 10 viewership numbers for the WWE Network, never appeared in the top 5 of viewership. Hence why all of the NXT call-ups FAIL when they are instantly pushed by the WWE. How did all of those late 2018/early 2019 call-ups do again? Yeah, I haven’t seen them matter much either.

Let’s get back to the “next Sable” part of this argument. Is it about time to admit that Rena Mero (now Lesnar) was exceptional and arrived at the right time? That maybe she was a bit more talented than what many wrestling fans want to admit? That she was the first true “Playboy hot” personality that WWE hired and used her looks to captivate wrestling fans like no one else before her? Seriously, the first Sable Playboy spread is the 7th highest selling of all time for that magazine. THINK about all of the celebrities who have posed nude for that magazine and that is damn remarkable.

What made Sable work from 1997-1999 is that it not only gave the WWE a Playboy like model, but her portrayal of the character was the draw. She acted elite as if nobody in the wrestling audience could never attain someone like her and for female fans, the “I’m better than you” attitude. And she reminded you of that fact repeatedly whether it was with her cheesy promos (“for all of the women who want to be me and for all of the men who want to see me”) or just being a complete tease with her looks. For Bikini Contests, the question wasn’t just seeing a hot chick in a bathing suit but “what will she wear next”. Sable ALWAYS had a surprise in store for fans… Good lord, when you thought that you saw her breasts presented in every way possible, she’d surprise you. Those black hands… Oh my.

Sable was a “larger than life” character whom you actually believed was the same thing in real life. Reportedly, she wasn’t the most fan friendly person and was also notorious backstage for isolating herself from the entire locker room. Hence, why by 1999, the locker room fought back and did things like taking a crap in her gym bag. You know, things that would help her win a harassment lawsuit years later.

Rena Mero (now Lesnar) doesn’t get the proper credit for her Sable character that she should… Fact is that Ratings popped whenever she appeared. Torrie, Kelly Kelly, Eva, and Lana haven’t come close to doing that… Because again, they are NOT Sable. The lack the attitude, charisma, and even the smug personality that made Sable feel “elite” and “special”. It wasn’t just Sable’s killer looks that made her! Of those ladies, the closest that someone ever came to capturing the attitude was Eva Marie because she naturally drew heat. Problem is that Eva had E! Network shows and other things overexposing her character as being fake on television. You never saw behind the scenes stuff with Sable, especially as 1998-1999 rolled around and she was more on her own without Marc Mero.

Then, the Playboy spread of Sable appeared during the Spring of 1999 and it was over… We’ve now “seen it all” after years of Sable teasing it… Same thing happened to Britney Spears when upskirt photos were taken of her hanging out with Paris Hilton. Once you saw the goods, the teasing was over… Usually, going nude is the LAST thing that a celebrity does at the tail end of their careers.

Torrie Wilson, just way too nice and approachable. I actually met Torrie at a Meet & Greet during early 2003 in Columbus, OH before a Smackdown (she was with Matt Hardy). She was incredibly nice to her fans… Kelly Kelly was the same way. Just no edge to her. Eva Marie, as I said above, had the smug attitude like Sable but we saw too much behind the scenes stuff with her on WWE reality television shows. Completely overexposed and then became self-destructive after that. And of course, Lana… WWE tried hard with that one but her leaking the engagement thing to the press and always crying on social media harmed her within the WWE. That and her character is just odd and synthetic.

Again – Sable felt “elite” and was a complete tease… The Playboy issue ended the “tease” part although Rena reportedly thought that Playboy was her ticket OUT of the WWE and that caused her to self-destruct backstage. When she returned during 2003, she did OK… The drawing ability was gone because it was almost 5 years later and again, we already seen the goods with not one but TWO issues of Playboy by then. She did another spread with Torrie Wilson… Where do you go from there?

Actually, where I believe that there is opportunity with Sable is if she comes out NOW with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman with her 1998-1999 style promos. Imagine her defending HER MAN from WWE fans who are sick of Brock Lesnar? Oh man, it would be great!

Point being, Sable was unique for 1997-1999 as a legitimate draw and that cannot be repeated because Sable tore down the barriers. You can’t recreate that but you also can’t teach intangibles that Sable personally had to tease and taunt fans. She was exceptional…

Therefore, Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn need to STOP trying to find the “next Sable”. Unless you ditch that stupid PG Rating, you will never have another Sable because of how much she pushed her sex appeal and flaunted it. Furthermore, if the WWE keeps overexposing their product with E! Network based reality shows, the mystery surrounding the characters won’t be there. NOTHING will draw in the WWE when they keep advertising themselves as scripting and showing the public how they perform their “magic tricks”. Also, how they’ve presented Torrie, Kelly Kelly, Eva Marie, and Lana is borderline sexist and Vince and Dunn thinking with their dongs instead of their heads have limited the growth of opportunities for women in the WWE. Remember, just 3 years ago, we stopped calling them “DIVAS”. Remember that?

And now, Lacey Evans is the “next Sable” based on how quickly WWE Creative has pushed her to the top based on LOOKS alone. “Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana, 1905-1906). She’s blonde, tan, and Becky Lynch is not the person that Dunn and Vince want on top. In fact, part of why Becky Lynch struggled during 2017 and for much of 2018 was due to Kevin Dunn reportedly having issues with Becky’s accent. Here is a second FACT for you to digest in addition to Kevin Dunn’s hatred for Becky’s accent… Remember, Wrestlemania 35 was supposed to be headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair. That was THE match… But then, Becky took a sucker punch by Nia Jax and that ramped up the fan sympathy even further following the botched heel turn. WWE had no choice but to change plans and actually rush Charlotte vs. Rousey a bit earlier than desired. Of course, WWE still placed Charlotte in that Wrestlemania 35 match.

And you wonder why Sasha Banks and Bayley were reportedly upset about losing their Tag Titles to other recent NXT newbies like the Iconics. Not just this past weekend, either, as both have been upset at their usage for a while now. All I need to point you to is NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015 and then the Takeover following that where they became the FIRST female Main Event in WWE Pay Per View history with their 30 Minute Ironwoman match. Oh, and Bayley vs. Sasha won WWE’s “Match of the Year” from many publications that year including yours truly. Don’t you dare give me any excuses of them being “unable to work”. Again, go look at 2015. Sasha was AWESOME as a heel and Bayley was pushed as an underdog who had to defeat Becky, Charlotte, and Emma just to earn a shot at Sasha during 2015. Then, she was the “female John Cena” whose few t-shirts completely outsold the MANY merchandise offerings by the Bella Twins throughout 2016 as NXT Champion. To THIS day, very few have pushed a great match out of Nia Jax like Bayley did and her matches with Asuka were incredible.

I have given you 4 plausible contenders for Becky Lynch during post-Wrestlemania:
(a) Charlotte Flair (didn’t get pinned at Wrestlemania)
(b) Asuka (defeated Becky Lynch in a singles match at Royal Rumble)
(c) Sasha Banks (former multi-time Women’s Champion)
(d) Bayley (former Women’s Champion)

Oh, and Alexa Bliss is out there too… Do you remember their late 2016 battles for the Smackdown Women’s Titles? Alexa Bliss isn’t as successful as she is today without those Becky battles. Becky pushed her to be a better worker and was the perfect babyface foil to Alexa’s snotty character. I know that Alexa has concussion issues but she wasn’t getting injured while on the Smackdown brand during her Becky feud. It was when she joined RAW and had to get thumped by Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey that things went South for her. You know, the inexperienced Rousey or the stiff working Nia who has injured many fellow workers.

I have given you FIVE women that Becky Lynch SHOULD work with instead of Lacey Evans.

I could even argue Nia Jax, who is now out for a while with knee injuries (tore both ACLs? Wow…), because she sucker punched Becky and their only confrontation is the brief one at Royal Rumble 2019. But we can’t go there because Nia got injured.

Now, I’m not here to wish any harm to Lacey Evans‘s wrestling career… In fact, I wish her great success in the WWE! She COULD be a major superstar, but it will take years… Maybe months if she has the same DNA as Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, the two major exceptions to the rule. Most others have taken years to develop into just a WWE midcarder, let alone a Main Event level superstar. For Angle and Lesnar, I’d argue that they had better TRAINING than Lacey could ever receive. Angle just trained with legendary Dory Funk Jr. while Lesnar trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling with Danny Davis and Jim Cornette (along with Cena, Batista, Orton, Benjamin, and Hass – the “Class of 2002”). They were far more ready to be WWE superstars than anyone graduating from NXT recently. Not even a debate, especially on the home-grown talents.

Rushing Lacey Evans to the top will be a mistake, I’m calling it now… TOO EARLY and the fans are rabid about how Becky Lynch has been used. If Lacey takes one or both titles away from Becky, GOOD LUCK on that one WWE. Fans will riot and crap all over Lacey Evans or any opponent for Becky after that.

Many will suggest “Lacey will lose to Becky anyway”. HUH? Lacey has zero qualifications to get a title shot NOW and THAT is the issue. It’s wasting Becky’s time as WWE champion when she should be facing either Charlotte, Asuka, Sasha, Bayley, or even Alexa or Nia Jax if they were healthy enough to complete. While Becky is mowing through those opponents, have Lacey Evans climb the midcard ladder and see how she can do on the big WWE stage first. Having he challenge for a Women’s Title early on places an untested entity out there and that’s unfair to Lacey.

Then again, if Lacey wins the title, the Internet may support her… They LOVE their NXT “darlings” which is why I get pure hatred when I say that 190 pound Finn Balor should be wrestling in 205 Live instead of against heavyweights in the WWE.

The WWE should be concerned about gaining more casual fans who have left the WWE years ago instead of the loyal internet wrestling community fans who will never stop watching no matter what. Most casual or mainstream WWE are like “who is Lacey Evans” and why is she getting pushed so hard, so fast? What about the other ladies that we have been watching? Why isn’t Charlotte getting a valid claim to her Smackdown Women’s Title? What about Asuka who beat Becky at Royal Rumble 2019? Asuka just retained her Smackdown Women’s Title over her, too…

Don’t forget what happened to Daniel Bryan after Wrestlemania 30… Instead of wrestling against Randy Orton who had a valid claim against the WWE Title, as non-champion Batista tapped out, Daniel Bryan got to feud with the “Walking Glass Ceiling” Kane instead. Sure, that gave us Shield vs. Evolution, which was cool, but Orton was the valid post-Wrestlemania 30 opponent thanks to the events of that show AND because of how Orton hid behind the Authority to steal Bryan’s title during 2013 repeatedly. Then, Bryan gets injured against a much larger wrestler because the WWE Road Agents are telling Bryan that he has to keep taking high risks just to look decent against a larger wrestler and the rest is history…

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

By the way, Sable SHOULD be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Period, end of story. I don’t care what a pain in the arse that she can be… She was exceptional. Her look, attitude, charisma, and personality all drew fans in during 1997-1999. It was like having Pam Anderson with a striking personality joining your company to work. It all came together perfectly and she drew serious money for the company. 7th BEST selling Playboy of all time. OF ALL TIME! But of course, once she showed it all, fans lost interest… If only WWE would understand that simple concept… It’s about the tease before the big reward at the end.

Lacey Evans has a lot to learn, especially if she’s going to be a WRESTLER. Sable barely wrestled back then… So unless you have a “larger than life” personality that comes off as “elite” to where fans can’t stand you yet can’t stop watching you… GOOD LUCK.

Lacey, the wrestler, should NOT be pushed immediately for either Women’s Title. What WWE lacks is patience and it’s only going to get WORSE now that the post-Wrestlemania viewership numbers are complete disasters. UNDER 3 million for the RAW following Wrestlemania? That is BAD news… Oh, and what was on that RAW? Lacey Evans attacking Becky Lynch instead of a valid #1 contender… Argh!

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THE LAST WORD

For years upon years, I sang praises of the Ohio Valley Wrestling “Class of 2002” in my columns throughout the 2010s. Reason I did that was because I thought that John Laurinaitis was a complete joke running the developmental system since 2004 and then for the firing of Jim Ross during 2013 regarding the Ric Flair antics at the 2K Games event. But I laughed at how hard the WWE kept pushing Cena, Lesnar, Orton, and even Batista in his later appearances over the rest of the roster. Cena was dominant thorugh 2014, Orton always had second chances to get World titles, and Lesnar bulldozed over the entire roster since 2014. Batista won the damn Royal Rumble 2014 after not wrestling for years. Even Shelton Benjamin got another job with the WWE.

Many of you mocked me for it, too… Often in the Comments section, you’d either count how many times I’d mention “Class of 2002” or you’d question why I forgot to say it for one column.

Well, today… HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES? Retweet by Jim Ross himself:

Jim Ross = my hero. He’s the greatest mind in pro wrestling right now and the WWE, especially, was BLESSED to have him from 1995 to 2004 as Talent Relations manager. His signings of Steve Austin and Mick Foley SAVED the WWE while properly setting up the Rock and Kurt Angle to be successful was key as well. Then, along with Danny Davis and Jim Cornette in Louisville, KY, they constructed a farm system for the WWE that restocked the WWE talent pool with fresh faces for much of the 2000s and kept running on fumes throughout the 2010s. Just look at Wrestlemania 35… FOUR “Class of 2002” graduates were on the show and WRESTLING (Orton, Lesnar, Batista, Benjamin) while John Cena made an appearance.

Checkmate, haters.

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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!

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