MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – Time for a Change in the WWE and Wrestlemania 35 Predictions

WWE

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Right now on the streaming service Netflix, there exists a film called The Dirt which is based on the raunchy autobiography book compiled by Rock N Roll band Motley Crue. It’s fantastic… If you grew up in the 1980s, you remember that decade of excess with 80s bands taking the rock star lifestyle of partying to the extreme. Motley Crue was one of the more fearless bands, as they were destructive to any physical structure nearby and self-destructive from their own drug use.

The Netflix film about the Crue has sparked a rebirth in the popularity of the band and is prompting many videos on YouTube about the band to get extra views and many songs to be purchased on iTunes by both longtime fans and newer ones (if they aren’t offended by the film). If you are a longtime fan of the Crue, you know their albums top to bottom. My personal favorite is “Dr. Feelgood” which doesn’t have a clunker on it… Then, you get to the very last song on the album and it floors you on how good it is… My personal favorite Motley Crue song, “Time for a Change”.

Check out these great lyrics in the chorus:

Change
Now it’s time for change
Nothing stays the same
Now it’s time for change

Great song…

For the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), they have a string of bad news lately:

– 2.6 Million viewers on the “Go Home” edition of Monday Night RAW before Wrestlemania 35.

Last Week Tonight just did a 20 minute piece with their host John Oliver exposing how young wrestlers pass away, lack of health insurance, wrestlers being “independent contractors”, and he did it by aiming criticisms directly at Vince McMahon while expressing his actual love for the sport. “We Want Healthcare” chants might actually break out at Wrestlemania 35 this weekend.

– WWE wrestlers are openly bashing their company on Social Media whereas in the past, they were dead silent.

Dean Ambrose is about to walk out of the company as a free agent.

– WWE has let Jim Ross leave the company. Him joining All Elite Wrestling could be scary if they let him evaluate talent and have some say on Creative meetings. He’s the executive that AEW needs and WWE just let him walk.

Linda McMahon just resigned from the President’s cabinet to play a key role in the Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign. That election will likely be very polarizing and WWE risks alienating fans who aren’t his supporters.

However, we have desperate Television companies like Comcast and FOX who are desperate to stay relevant with live sporting event type programming (deemed “stream proof”). Cable television has lost over 10 million subscribers in just the past 10 years and channels like FOX are losing viewers because they can just binge shows on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime instead for a very low cost. Both overpaid for a WWE product that is now consistently below 3 million viewers, if not under 2.5 million viewers, for the past year. Still, WWE’s program receives more viewership than most stuff on Cable television or Friday nights on broadcast television. That, and it’s cheaper programming than to pay an entire crew to film a television show with actors, producers, directors, writers, etc.

WWE also has foreign countries sending them cash as well… Expect more millions from Saudi Arabia.

What’s not to like if you are a WWE Shareholder? $2 Billion from Comcast/FOX and $20 million per foreign event. If you bought when the stock was under $20 per share, you’re doing quite well…

But what about United States fans? Attendance at many venues is down by THOUSANDS and Monday Night RAW viewership on the USA Network went from being just above 4 million during early 2015 to 2.6 million during April 2019. YIKES. And that is before Wrestlemania 35. What happens during those long Summer months?

As Motley Crue once put it on their Dr. Feelgood album, it’s “Time for a Change”.

The WWE can “shake things up” at Wrestlemania 35 by (a) taking major risks on particular superstars and (b) pushing those superstars strong after Wrestlemania.

If you look back during the past, guys like Chris Benoit, Seth Rollins, and Daniel Bryan who won World Titles at Wrestlemania, they were rendered useless as champions after Wrestlemania. Hell, all 3 examples cited had to feud with Kane and weren’t allowed to easily overcome him. You have other wrestlers who won the title just before or just after Wrestlemania who weren’t taken seriously either as World Champions. Eddie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler in particular just won the belt as an accessory and weren’t champion long. And when both Guerrero or Ziggler lost the title, they never won it back and were returned to the midcard.

See, a STRONG World Champion is allowed to rack up a string of convincing wins to “sure up” them as World Champion. The Champ should be defined as one of your BEST and MOST DOMINANT wrestlers and that feeling is what helps shows packing arenas. If you look back 5 years ago with Wrestlemania 30, the OBVIOUS opponent for Daniel Bryan after his big World Title win was to immediately feud with Randy Orton. After all, Orton stole his title during 2013 and Bryan won the WWE Title by making Batista, not the champion Orton, tap out to the YES! Lock. Nope… Maybe avenge his Royal Rumble 2014 loss against Bray Wyatt as a post Wrestlemania 30 feud? Nope… Bryan got to feud with Kane instead and looked like a chump in the process.

I’m looking specifically at Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston.

If you want to make NEW stars for fans to follow that can carry great momentum during the summer, not only put them over strongly at Wrestlemania 35, but then have definitive wins for the next 6 months to strengthen them as champions. The wins at Wrestlemania CANNOT be cheap…

For Becky Lynch, I would have a finish where she just goes off and overwhelms both Rousey and Charlotte at the end. Maybe insist that after she pins or makes one wrestler tap out that she must also defeat the other wrestler as well. Or something where Becky defeats both wrestlers at the same time, such as having both Charlotte/Ronda laying on top of each other and Becky actually applies the armbar submission on both at the same time… Both women tap out at the same time. Something convincing.

Then at the next Pay Per View, Becky Lynch defeats Ronda Rousey 100% clean in Rousey’s final WWE match.

Then following that, Charlotte gets her chance at Becky but fails to defeat her.

Then at SummerSlam 2019, it is Becky Lynch getting REVENGE on Nia Jax for that sucker punch. Becky gets the win there.

She is a STRONG Women’s Champion and nobody can deny that.

Then, you have Kofi Kingston. Look, a few weeks ago, I was badmouthing the guy because he has been pushed as a midcard wrestler and Tag Team specialist for the past 5 years. Suddenly, with some injuries, WWE needed a body to insert into a big match and gave Kofi a chance. Fans were happy to finally see him get a shot. My worries is that Kofi is just the “Rusev of 2019″, as it was my opinion that Rusev was only over during 2018 because WWE fans were rejecting Smackdown’s existing storylines and wrestler pushes. Now, Rusev is not so over…

But why not? And if Kofi does win the WWE Title against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 35, it must be convincing and 100% clean. Then, he wins a rematch against Daniel Bryan to prove that it was NOT a fluke.

Next, we get AJ Styles wanting to challenge Kofi Kingston but Kofi’s confidence as champion overwhelms him.

Guys like Samoa Joe can rise up as a tough challenger and then Kofi can defeat them too.

Then, at SummerSlam 2019, Kofi officially slays a problem from his past: Randy Orton. And if you’re the WWE, you create a financial bonus for Randy Orton to the tune of $1 million to take this match seriously and sell like you never have before. If you’ll recall, Kofi and Orton had a match where Orton was upset with Kofi’s performance and actually yelled at him openly in the ring. That was many, many years ago and Orton is the aging veteran and the TIME IS NOW for Kofi. Kofi overcomes the bully and beats Orton 100% convincingly.

Right there, folks, is an easy roadmap on how to get Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston over as champions.

(a) Win the titles convincingly and cleanly at Wrestlemania.

(b) Have a winning streak of convincing and clean wins against multiple other strong opponents all Summer and then have a huge win at SummerSlam.

“Time for a Change”.

Do you have any better ideas?

We need to be careful about rushing Roman Reigns to the very top again, as he is recovering from Cancer after all… Let’s not erase that goodwill finally earned by fans by rushing things. Braun Strowman‘s window closed at WWE No Mercy 2017 when Lesnar destroyed him and has performed nothing but goofy stuff since (tagging with a kid, living and destroying cars, etc.). I personally like Seth Rollins, but we’ve tried many things with him. I just don’t believe that anybody looks convincing defeating Brock Lesnar these days. Then you have guys like Drew McIntyre who looks like a million bucks but he’s missing personality intangibles that just won’t draw.

So why not Kofi? And why not push him strong like you have Roman Reigns?

I just hope with Kofi Kingston that Big E and/or Xavier Woods aren’t immediately flipped as heels. For a while, they should support him as champion like a NASCAR team or something. While Kofi is WWE Champion, try pushing Big E and Woods as singles wrestlers. If either guy has any momentum building as a singles wrestler, THAT is when you may flip one of them heel. The timing has to be right.

WWE has to change things up… We were promised “changes” during December 2018 when all of the McMahons came out and announced revisions to the way they conduct business… But it’s the same thing. Vince McMahon is still in control of ALL Creative decisions and nobody can override his veto power. Triple H is still a yes-man because Vince gave HHH his career, wealth, and daughter. I don’t see much of a difference in WWE programming with Bruce Prichard. Remember, he was on the Creative Team before Vince Russo joined during late 1996. I can imagine that some of those goofy career gimmicks were created by Prichard. He’s the same guy who has defended the “Red Rooster” gimmick for Terry Taylor. Stephanie McMahon was Creative Lead from late 2000 to late 2013 in which the WWE has lost over 2-3 million viewers during that tenure. While gone from the Creative Team, she has full control over her character and remains a top executive and Board member. And then there is Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer who cares more about cosmetic looks instead of quality of characters and matches.

^^^ Until that group is changed, I worry that there will be no changes.

Old, tired fools tell our future
With tarot cards, and lie of crime
The lines on their faces so deep
A revolution or reach out and touch the day
We’re overdue child

Change
Now it’s time for change
Nothing stays the same
Now it’s time for change

During October 2018, I needed a change… Watching WWE programming consistently and reviewing Pay Per Views live as they happened wore me out. Just the lack of quality and then having to write about it made me miserable as a wrestling fan. I needed a break from the WWE.

But I needed a break as Mr. Tito… I enjoyed writing columns for my long-time readers and pumping out 1-2 columns per week for the last 8 years on my comeback has been an honor for anyone reading this. It came at a severe price, however… I was writing columns late at night, often through 3:30am as a posting time. Yeah, I had to work the next day… I was able to get through it by consuming lots of caffeine. I was an absolute mess during 2016 when I had a family member fall ill, I was working too hard, and I tried to keep a consistent pattern of posted columns. When your heart murmur makes it feel like something is swimming in your chest, thanks to loads of caffeine, it was “Time for a Change”.

I briefly came back during early 2019 with 1 column and a YouTube.com video review of Royal Rumble 2019 (my apologies for butchering Asuka’s name badly). But realizing the commitment of (a) writing columns late at night again and (b) how difficult video production is… I can’t do this. For my remainder of my tenure, I might post something here or there, but the spark is gone for me as a hardcore wrestling fan and I need to take better care of myself. I’m sleeping much better during 2019 than I probably have since my College years 15 years ago.

It was “Time for a Change”… If WWE is bothering you that much, watch less of it. If something else is bothering you in life, do less of it or get away from it. Take care of your body. Anything that you consume or use can have consequences. And if you see something with a friend or someone else who needs a helping hand, reach out for them.

WWE needs a “change” because its in-ring product is obsolete. The “change” might come in the form of All Elite Wrestling (AEW), but damn it, it takes YEARS to make a wrestling promotion become successful. It’s not an overnight thing…

And let us STOP the myth that the Summertime has “slow months”. You can easily have the Wrestlemania 35 winners build momentum throughout the Summer to GROW the business. Don’t believe me?

Mid-1996 – The New World Order began appearing and it was during July 1996 when Hulk Hogan turned heel.

Mid-1998 – Austin vs. McMahon was born and carried the promotion.

Both of those eras were when the pro wrestling business grew the most in the last 25 years. All because they pushed their top guys as real superstars.

Let Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston WIN CONVINCINGLY and then LET THE WIN THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER OVER STRONG OPPONENTS… Then you might have something. Maybe.

——————————————

WRESTLEMANIA 35 PREDICTIONS

Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese
I have no idea. I’ll guess that the champion retains.

Women’s 4 Way Tag Match
Beth Phoenix isn’t returning from retirement without something of a reward. Divas of Doom win and then immediately feud with Tamina/Nia Jax.

Smackdown 4 Way Tag Match – Men
I guess Usos. Not sure on the future plans of the other teams.

Battle Royals = Either One
Asuka is a surefire win for the Women’s match after she abruptly lost her title to Charlotte recently. Maybe Nia Jax. As for the men… Someone who was just called up from NXT, I suppose.

Triple H vs. Batista
I’d make this the opening match… Just get it out of the way. Triple H gets his win back.

Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio (possibly cancelled)
Samoa Joe all the way here. Almost seems as though Mysterio just comes and goes from the WWE lately.

Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Miz has to win this. Come on, Shane… Join us in reality, as you’re a late 40s non-wrestler forcing a full-time wrestler to sell for you.

Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
Randy Orton wins. No titles on the line, therefore, WWE will back its old veteran.

Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
The Demon is back. Finn wins the match because WWE has no idea what to do with Lashley.

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Angle wins his retirement match. I believe that a 2nd match with Angle is possible, as Angle dispatches Corbin very early. Maybe John Cena?

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Roman wins… I just don’t see Creative believing in Drew long-term. Roman might finally be over, although WWE should not rush him. Let him get in better physical shape first and continue to build on his goodwill with fans.

Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan
WWE listens to fans and Kofi wins.

Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar will retain the title to set-up Lesnar vs. Reigns at SummerSlam 2019.

Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair
Becky Lynch wins but pins or makes Charlotte submit. This will set up the next Pay Per View to have Lynch vs. Rousey.

*****

I make NO guarantees of reviewing Wrestlemania 35, as I’m not sure that I’ll even watch the full show. I honestly might tune in around 10pm to see the last few matches, much like I did for the last WWE Pay Per View. Making that Royal Rumble video so fast after the show was very time consuming, so it is extremely unlikely that I’d make a video regarding the show as well.

Enjoy the show. I’m not that thrilled on the WWE product but that DOES NOT MEAN that you should dislike it too. I watched the WWE at its absolute peaks with the Hulkamania Era and the Attitude Era and that unfortunately creates a major measuring stick to overcome.

Tune into LordsofPain.net for lots of Wrestlemania 35 coverage!

And go download Motley Crue’s Time for a Change song on iTunes. That song will not leave your head once you hear it.

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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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