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Welcome back to the pro wrestling column that isn’t ready to make nice, not ready to back down, and is from a columnist that is still mad as well! Oh, and Mr. Tito, as he has been primarily since October 1998, has been exclusive to LordsofPain.net. I just have to LAUGH at my last few columns, specifically how the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) wants to bash my fellow Pittsburgh brothers and sisters for counting down a clock during the Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler 30 Minute Ironman Match at WWE Extreme Rules, making poor Seth and Dolph as “victims”.
But what about trolling chants during Roman Reigns matches? Why is it not considered unfair to Roman when you chant “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE”, “CM PUNK”, or knocking around beachballs during his matches? Better yet, isn’t it disrespectful to walk out of his Main Event matches? You know, if we’re going to get petty about a freakin’ countdown chant, BE CONSISTENT in your criticisms of disrespectful live fans.
Why don’t you place your focus AWAY from blaming fans for low quality WWE stuff? After all, that Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler wasn’t exactly good… Dolph Ziggler seems to have lost a step, whether that is Father Time diminishing him and/or if bad WWE Creative Team treatmeat has worn him thin. But the match had Drew McIntyre, a guy also not over thanks to his previously failed WWE stint and NXT Title reign actually seeing lower NXT houses than previous champs, injecting himself into the Ironman Match. Mind you, Rollins had a 2-0 LEAD over the Intercontinental Champion… That is ridiculous, if you think about, because what is the purpose of even having an Ironman match if the Champion loses twice? And then we get into a 4-4 tie that forces Overtime by Kurt Angle. Angle was OK to restart the match due to the time limit ending but NOT when Drew McIntyre quickly interfered during Overtime?
That’s my point, folks… We never saw this issue of “live fans hijacking matches” before 2010 when the Creative Team got REALLY BAD and when the in-ring talent from developmental got worse. Last I checked, the live fans never bothered or changed the mood of Steve Austin, Rock, Mick Foley, Triple H, John Cena, Batista, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, etc. Never saw it… But if you mock a RED BELT or chant the Countdown during Seth Rollins match, Internet fans in Comments sections, on Social Media, or in their own columns will decry that live fans in attendance were “disrespectful” and “terrible wrestling fans”. Because Seth Rollins is an internet darling because of him coming from Ring of Honor and/or NXT…
But what about Roman Reigns getting constantly attacked by LIVE fans in attendance? How fair is that to not call it “disrespectful”? Ohhhhhh, because you HATE Roman Reigns, it is OK to hijack his matches with trolling chants and not pay attention to his matches? And you do that for Wrestlemania matches and other Pay Per View main event matches, too.
BE CONSISTENT, internet fans.
Mark it down on your calendars, folks… On 7/21/2018, I actually DEFENDED Roman Reigns. How about them apples?
STEPHANIE McMAHON – “SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT”
As WWE’s own website and social media is hyping, Stephanie McMahon has a “special announcement” for WWE Monday Night RAW. If it is an announcement of her retirement, effective immediately, I shall party in the streets and become a wrestling fan for life. You’ll see me beyond October.
No, the reports are suggesting that Stephanie McMahon is either going to make an announcement of an All Women Pay Per View or Women’s Tag Titles. Possibly both… Tag Titles might be determined at this Women’s Pay Per View, for all we know.
Before I get into my rant, let me make this 100% clear. I back the WWE’s decision to have a 100% Women’s Pay Per View and I’m OK having Tag Titles. WWE has depth on both brands and they have more depth developing on NXT. As you have been witnessing on the last few Pay Per Views, if you’re not in the Women’s Title matches, there is nothing for you on Pay Per Views. Thus, Tag Titles would create an opportunity for additional female matches on Pay Per Views while also helping the undercards of RAW and Smackdown. I’m OK with this announcement. That is NOT my issue with this announcement.
My issue is with the delivery of the announcement. Specifically WHO is delivering that message. Yes, Stephanie McMahon has a Communications Major and that helps her speak well. This is not about the vocal announcement itself… But the person.
Why isn’t Triple H making this announcement instead? After all, he reformed Women’s Wrestling in the WWE from the ground up based on how he has been scouting, developing, and showcasing women for his NXT developmental territory. Triple H has been EVP of Talent Relations since mid-2012 and just 3 years later, the WWE Main Roster is FULL of talented women who can legitimately wrestle and look great doing it. Furthermore, as you can see from NXT behind the scenes footage, Triple H is like a father to many female competitors who came out of NXT. He was the FIRST guy who dared to have Women’s Wrestling headline a Pay Per View (Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, 30 Minute Ironwoman Match). Aside from a few like Natalya, Bellas (when they show), and Alicia Fox, the Women’s roster are all Triple H developed talent.
So why is Stephanie McMahon stealing all of the glory?
In the WWE Corporation’s eyes, anything female wrestling should come from the female executive. Normally, I would agree about that…
But Stephanie McMahon has an awful resume as WWE’s Creative Team lead from late 2000 through late 2013. Just awful… Shall we go down memory lane?
(a) Rebranded Women in the WWE to “Divas”, which happened during 2008.
(b) Oversaw the Divas Search Contests, which happened multiple times under her watch.
(c) Allowed legitimate domestic violence angles to happen. Do you recall Steve Austin attacking Lita? How about the 3 Minute Warning attack on a pair of women “doing things” in the ring?
(d) Hot Lesbian Action. That was a regular thing called for on the RAW brand.
(e) Lots of Pillow Fights as Pay Per View matches.
(f) Only something that like Trish vs. Lita could get so big that it was allowed to headline a RAW television show… For the most part, Women’s matches struggled to get on RAW or Smackdown, let alone Pay Per Views.
(g) How Lita was portrayed during the whole Edge/Matt Hardy storyline (she was reportedly uncomfortable with lots of it, like having sex in the ring…)
(h) Not putting any female competitors in the position creatively to even make any salaries close to men.
(i) Her character was a complete bully to any female competitors even though she is an non-wrestler and should technically get manhandled by any trained wrestler. Yet, when she wrestles occasionally, she’s actually dominant in the ring. (honestly, she missed her calling as a heel wrestler, giving credit where it is due).
And there is SO MUCH MORE that I could add to this list. She oversaw it or was a total enabler of this bad behavior as the Creative Team top executive from 2000-2013.
So again, I ask… Why is Stephanie McMahon making ANY announcement about Women’s Wrestling?
Stephanie was the one who introduced the Women’s Revolution and the renaming of female wrestling as “Women’s Wrestling”… But she’s guilty for the poor portrayal of women in the WWE before 2015 and also calling them “Divas”. Why does she get the make these announcements? Triple H is 100% responsible for revitalizing Women’s Wrestling in the WWE.
Triple H, you see, is a very nice and loyal husband…
In my opinion, Triple H should take 100% credit for making Women’s Wrestling a known entity in the WWE. Before 2015, matches were brief or a joke. Much of the Women weren’t fully trained as performers and were mostly exploited for their looks only. It showed, too, as the talent disparity was witnessed during Royal Rumble 2018 when some of the late 2000s and early 2010s “Divas” appeared in comparison to the apprentices that Triple H groomed in NXT. Very evident. Only the veterans from the late 1990s and early 2000s, who HAD to legitimately learn how to wrestle, could hang with the NXT call-ups.
Furthermore, Triple H making Women’s Wrestling a legitimate entity may have SAVED the WWE long-term. Seriously… When was the last top drawing MALE wrestler that we’ve seen? The guys from the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental “Class of 2002” between John Cena and Brock Lesnar. Other than that, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk had their moments but WWE Creative didn’t prefer them… What have we seen that has drawn the NXT developmental system since Triple H took over during 2012? Maybe the Shield but as you’ve seen with the 3 wrestlers as singles wrestlers, they are not top-level draws that can carry the business on their backs. They are not Cena/Lesnar, certainly not even close to Rock/Austin. Numbers don’t show that.
I’ve said this for a while, but in my opinion, the WWE has a perception issue with MALE athletes that they might be unable to shake… The Chris Benoit stuff, in my opinion, hurt generations of athletes from even wanting to try to become a pro wrestler. Just the culture that might be enabling concussion or controlled substance use may have hurt WWE’s ability to scout talent. In case you haven’t noticed, WWE’s developmental system has become very dependent on foreign imports for male wrestlers.
But here’s an even greater point that I want to make…
– There are 32 NFL Teams with 53 roster spots and just a few practice player spots. During the course of the NFL year, that employs 1,696 roster spot players. But that doesn’t account for many injuries that causes more players to get involved.
– Canadian Football League has 9 teams of 46 players. 414 players.
– There are multiple Indoor Football leagues throughout the country.
– There are 341 Division 1 Colleges, 312 Division 2 College, and 442 Division 3 Colleges for Sports. Each should field Football, Basketball, and other Sports with fully trained athletes.
– There are 30 NBA Teams with 13 players on each roster. 390 players, and the NBA also has a Developmental League with more athletes in place.
– Both NHL hockey and MLB baseball leagues not only have their multiple teams with thicker rosters, but they have 3 classes of Minor Leagues. Thousands to pool from.
– There are multiple MMA leagues and still an active participation in Boxing.
But how many of these athletes are the WWE getting? The average NFL career lasts about 3.5 years and often times that it’s just a tenth of a second in running time reduced from their speed, nothing more. Or for the WWE who wants to hire taller wrestlers, why aren’t they getting more basketball players who can’t make the NBA? Why does the WWE not have these guys banging on their doors?
After all, the WWE is starting to see world class athletes for Women’s wrestling. Unfortunately for them, unless you are a basketball player that joins the WNBA (payouts aren’t that great for that league), after college, it is slim pickens for female athletes. Unless you make the Olympics, not much opportunity… Ronda Rousey is popular because she made female MMA matches popular but interest in female matches has significantly declined since Ronda left after her 2 losses. As you can clearly see by her intial WWE success, Rousey is a legitimate star that probably could have succeeded at anything.
NXT and WWE’s Developmental facility, however, isn’t drawing top male athletes from other sports.
Why is that? Why is WWE reliant on raiding Ring of Honor instead of recruiting former Football and Basketball players and developing them into unique WWE talents?
The Benoit factor is one thing, but getting back to Stephanie McMahon, does anybody want to work FOR her? She was creative lead from 2000-2013 and is potentially going to become the next CEO/President of hte WWE Corporation. She was terrible at her job leading creative and her on-screen character did nothing but belittle male wrestlers without any form of retaliation. “B+ Player” repeatedly told to Daniel Bryan and he had no form of retaliation against her or her husband. It took fans protesting and openly rejecting Randy Orton vs. Batista for Wrestlemania 30 for Daniel Bryan to FINALLY get redemption on Triple H. On Stephanie? Nope… Hell, even Brie Bella couldn’t get revenge on behalf of Bryan at SummerSlam against Stephanie.
But then you look at recent actions… If you’re a former Football or Basketball while also being black as your race, what do you think of that Hulk Hogan reinstatement to the WWE? While Hogan was filmed illegally, what it revealed was a different version of the person behind the Hulk Hogan character. And then you look at Vince McMahon… Not only is he the guy who rehired Hulk Hogan, but he’s an open friend and a political supporter of Donald Trump. In fact, Vince’s wife, Linda McMahon, is part of Trump’s cabinet. That kind of stuff is very polarizing, as the entire NFL Player’s Association and the NFL Owners are at political odds over National Anthems and with many of the owners being big financial donors to Trump’s campaign.
And in my opinion, the WWE just isn’t as exciting of a company to work for than it once was… Company peaked through mid 2000 and has lost more than half of its American audience since then. Adding to that during the late 2000s is the PG Era which has neutered the WWE ever since. Stephanie’s hiring of Hollywood writers has ruined any appeal of working for the WWE and Vince’s personal choices for pushed wrestlers (Reigns, Del Rio, Sheamus, Jinder, etc.) dampers ever wanting to join the WWE.
Triple H has a TOUGH JOB as EVP of Talent Relations with hiring and developing male wrestlers, for whatever he can find. He inherited 8 years of damage piled on from John Laurinaitis but unlike John, Triple H rewired how the WWE thinks about talent. He took the opportunity to take Women’s Wrestling SERIOUSLY and began recruiting top female athletes. Then, he retooled the creative decisions made for his NXT product to make things simple, allow wrestlers to have some personalizing of their characters, and did basic fundamental things like taking titles seriously, having clearly defined heels and babyfaces, making the Takeover events truly special events to behold.
Sorry, Stephanie McMahon, you don’t deserve to announce anything for Women’s Wrestling… You cannot escape your past which is why you should not only avoid making Women’s wrestling announcements, but also be disallowed to become CEO/President of the WWE.
MR. TITO – FLASHBACK
As we continue our Magical Mystery Tour towards the 20th Anniversary of Mr. Tito at LordsofPain.net, we’re taking another look back at a column from the past.
Today, we’ll take a look back at 7/22/2002 when I reviewed the WWE Vengeance Pay Per View… We’re in the early stages of the Brand Extension where the WWE appears to be loaded with talent but the WWE is confused on where to creatively go with many of their top stars getting older. I was also getting older… Very soon, I’d stop doing the Phat Daily Column and begin to write twice a week (or so) with the Wrath of Tito column that ran until mid 2006. During July 2002, I was preparing to enter Graduate School and wasn’t dealing well with a WWE that trashed WCW during 2001 and I was unhappy about Steve Austin’s problems.
MR. TITO’S PHAT DAILY COLUMN – 7/22/2002
Welcome, one and all, to the Phat Daily Column. Today, we’ll discuss last night’s Vengeance, in which I’ll give my thoughts of each match and the show in general. Nothing more, nothing less.
On RAW tonight, the WWE is hotshotting Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam, Rock will return to RAW as the new champion, and Triple H will begin to hog lots of RAW television time with some lame skits with HBK that were funny 5 years ago. (Tito 2018: LOL, did I really say that about the HHH heel turn on HBK before it happened? Damn I was wrong on that… ) I have a feeling that they MAY just rush Rock vs. Brock Lesnar early, whether it’s tonight or next week, because let’s face it: Brock vs. Rock isn’t going to sell Pay Per Views. Brock versus anybody isn’t going to sell a Pay Per View in the main event. (Tito 2018: Ouch, look at the younger Tito not being satisfied with the younger Brock Lesnar. Sounds like I was bitter about the fact that Lesnar was once booked to defeat Steve Austin on a random RAW.)
It’s just how it is. Brock still has more time to establish himself as a wrestler, and giving him crap wins and protected losses hurt his overall appeal as a main event wrestler. If Brock is going to be a dominant heel, then you should be giving him cheap DQ losses on RAW or at Pay Per Views. It just disgusted me to see the ending to the RVD vs. Brock match. Simply pathetic. (Tito 2018: Brock did have some bad matches… For whatever reason, it all came together but I also think that it was time for Rock to move on. His babyface act was very tired during 2002 and he was getting boos regularly. That’s what made Rock’s heel character during 2003 so appealing.)
And we could go further with the build up of wrestlers. Look at John Cena… on the 3rd try against Chris Jericho, he finally picks up a fluke win. But guess what? Nobody cares now! The WWE already blew it with the crap DQ win Cena got in his 2nd match with Jericho, or hell, they blew it in the first match, where he should have won via fluke victory after that hot match against Kurt Angle to start his career in the WWE. He’s screwed. (Tito 2018: Oh man! But for the record, I was right back then. Cena was poorly used out of the gate. It wasn’t until the Halloween Episode of 2002 where he cut a rap that changed everything forever for Cena.)
Just like Orton fighting the Undertaker. Just like Leviathan getting a gimmick to be D’Von’s bodyguard. Just like Rico becoming a homosexual stylist for a tag team that nobody likes at all. (Tito 2018: Jim Cornette would be proud of younger Tito supporting his OVW guys. And you think that WWE poorly uses NXT call-ups now? WWE was like a buzzsaw on many of these “Class of 2002” call-ups. Batista debuted as a bodyguard for the Preacher D’Von Dudley gimmick.)
This is just funny. Now if this were 1997 and the WWE had all of this fresh talent to push against tough Nitro competition, then maybe Brock would be a fierce heel, maybe Cena would be a huge face, same with Orton, Leviathan would be getting the “Goldberg” chants, and Rico would show everyone why Jim Cornette and everyone in OVW was praising the guy. (Tito 2018: And you guys think that I love the Class of 2002 now, look at my praise of it back then!)
Oh well. Let the WWE learn the hard way. As they lose money from producing a horrible product with protective booking for certain wrestlers, while refusing to put over new talent, the WWE will have to cut costs, as they did with the HWA wrestlers already (Mike Sanders and EZ Money may come back to haunt the WWE some day). I’m sure that many upstart feds, such as the NWA-TNA, would love to sink their teeth into a John Cena, a Randy Orton, a Deacon Bautista, a Brock Lesnar, or a Rico Constantino. It’s just like WCW releasing the likes of Triple H, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Mark Calloway (the Undertaker), and many others, only for the WWE to eventually make them into huge stars and help their business become stronger. (Tito 2018: Could have been a true comment if a legitimate competitor formed after WCW/ECW closed. But NWA-TNA blew major opportunities handed to them through 2006.)
But hey, it’s just millions of dollars at stake. No big deal.
On to the PDC.
VENGEANCE is TITO
Theme of the Night: The endings of the matches totally sucked.
Opening match was Dudley Boyz (Spike and Bubba) vs. Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero. Not my choice for the opening match, but oh well. Crowd was dead for this one, as Eddie and Benoit have been depushed after Austin left and the Dudleys aren’t too strong of faces, other than the “GET THE TABLES” part. Brutal tag team beatdown on Bubba, as he was the face in peril there for a while. Eddie and Benoit have great chemistry as a team, but the tag titles are on another television show or another brand. D’oh! I disliked having the Dudleys beating Benoit and Guerrero, again, as it further depushes two of the most talented wrestlers in the WWE and two very potential lethal heels. Here’s a great case for the “glass ceiling” theory. COME BACK STEVE AUSTIN!!!!!!!!!! Good until the lame ending. (Tito 2018: Clearly, I was a big supporter of Benoit and Guerrero back then. I’d get that big moment where they were both champions just 2 years later but sadly, the WWE was right. They were both midcarders.)
Next match was Jamie Noble vs. Billy Kidman. Excuse me for the misspelling of Noble’s name, for I swore WCW spelled it as “JAIME Knoble” while he was there. Oh well, my bad. Decent Cruiserweight match, although the WWE is totally going in the wrong direction with it. They are trying to have wrestlers use psychology of hurting a certain body part, such as Chavo attacking Hurricane’s knee and Noble attacking Kidman’s shoulder. Sure, that was huge in the 1980’s and would probably work with heavyweights, but when the fans see two smaller and athletic wrestlers going at it, they want some spots, especially the WWE’s current fanbase. Noble won cleanly… WOW!!! A clean win!!!
Time for some unannounced matches. William Regal took on Jeff Hardy in a rematch over the European title. This match reeked of RAW or Smackdown. Did nothing for me, honestly. Jeff won, and so what? That bitter feud with the Undertaker has done wonders for his career, eh?
To continue the unannounced theme, Chris Jericho took on John Cena. What’s even funnier is how they did the fluke win for Cena in an unannounced match. This was OK, but their Smackdown matches were better, in my opinion. Now watch, the blame will go on Cena once his push fails, although the bookers were careless with his first two matches against Jericho.
Next, it was Brock Lesnar vs. Rob Van Dam. I’ve liked their series of matches, although many haven’t. I see RVD as a wrestler giving a great effort whenever he fights Lesnar, while other wrestlers can’t do the same. The crowd was into this one, thus making it better. However, chalk up another bad finish, as we had a completely lame DQ finish that saw Heyman ruining yet another match by getting himself involved. Afterward, Brock tried to save his heat by attacking RVD. What a push! He’s such a big superstar now for that.
Booker T took on the Big Show in a no DQ, no countout match. It was the usual “try to fight the tall fatass” match, although it had a rightful ending. We saw the return of the Harlem Hangover (now renamed Houston Hangover). I’m surprised that with the added bulk and knee injuries over the years, he can still hit it. Booker T has avoided using the move due to it injuring some wrestlers, namely Rick Martel one time, if I’m correct. After the match, Booker T was still mad at Shawn Michaels, making me cream for the possibility of a legit feud between Triple H and Booker T. Oh wait, Triple H will try to be the top face of RAW now. My bad. (Tito 2018: LOL @ idiot 22 year old Tito wanting to “cream” at the possibility of a Triple H vs. Booker T feud. Boy would he live to regret that during Wrestlemania 19.)
HORRIBLE, and I mean HORRIBLE segment with Triple H, Eric Bischoff, Stephanie, and Shawn Michaels. The crowd was quite dead for Triple H trying to decide what show he was going to be on. It would have been nice for someone to explain why Triple H was able to be a free agent or why Vince McMahon was able to force Triple H on his Smackdown franchise. And now, it looks as though HBK and Triple H are now trying to rekindle their DX days. Yay. Oh, and I just laugh at this Stephanie trying to be a face storyline they are pushing. Do you honestly think that fans are willing to cheer her to keep her as a face? Maybe she could get some cheers from her looks (you know, gigantic knockers), but after a while, the crowds will want to cheer “slut” all over again. She does have a mean slap, though…
Odd to see ex-wife and ex-husband starring in a segment together with Booker T, as Terri interviewed her former husband Goldust and Booker T. I swear, I laugh my ass off whenever Goldust is on television now.
Next match was Lance Storm/Christian vs. Hogan/Edge. Not quite as fun to watch as the matches against Chuck and Billy, but watchable at least. With Hogan, the live crowd always pays attention to the matches. It was so predictable with the announcement of Edge versus Chris Jericho on Smackdown for next week, as Jericho was the man who helped Storm and Christian win the titles. A couple of things to note here… I laughed at the many predictions about Edge turning heel on Hogan to join the new Team Canada. HA! Secondly, can anybody wait for the Team Canada versus Rikishi and “idiot partner for the time” for the World Tag titles? Maybe the WWE could push Albert onto the Smackdown shows and smell the ratings with Rikishi/Albert vs. Storm/Christian. Oh no, I shouldn’t say that because the WWE will actually do it, thinking it’s a great idea! AHHH!
I really like the early goings of the Eric Bischoff character in the WWE. I’m intrigued to see him on RAW tonight.
Our final match was Kurt Angle vs. Rock vs. Undertaker. I didn’t expect a blowaway match here, but something watchable. It was fun to watch, as many, and I mean MANY, finishers were hit throughout the match. Works for me. Everyone and their mother knew that the Rock would probably win, especially anybody who surfs the net. I have no problem with the Rock winning the title RIGHT NOW. He’s there until September, so use him on both television shows to spike the ratings. My problem is with who he pinned. I dislike the fact that the belt was won by pinning someone NOT named the Undertaker. I hate how we must protect certain guys at all costs, even if it’s the credibility of 2 historical World Titles that are combined to make an Undisputed title.
LAST WORD: I thought, in general, that the WRESTLING and action of the show was good to watch. However, who is booking the endings of these matches? DQ finish in the Lesnar match? No pin on the Undertaker? Dudleys winning? Plus, the WWE gave us 2 unannounced matches, in which they assume they don’t have to hype to be huge. Uh huh. I’ll give this show a B+ (B plus) for good action but no-so-good endings to the matches. Let’s see what happens tonight, whether Booker T will be pushed as a big face after beating the Big Fatass, whether Rock or Triple H on RAW will help, and DX for that matter, and anything that’s thrown at the wall, with hopes of it sticking.
Such a unique time that 2002 was… WWE had SO MUCH TALENT but yet Monday Night RAW’s viewership was about to continue tanking hard throughout the rest of 2002 and then more for 2003-2004 before the “Class of 2002” talent and other midcarders who worked their way up (like Edge) could rise up and replace many of the lost veterans of the Attitude Era.
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