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Welcome to the final week of the Excellence in Column Writing exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. I want to personally thank everyone for their well wishes, wanting me to stay, and just general words of kindness thrown my way. I want emphasize that without an audience like you and the great LordsofPain.net megaphone, there is no Mr. Tito. I appreciate all of the time that you’ve spent reading my columns and I will always be lurking on Twitter (@titowrestling) if you ever want to chat. I usually reply to most…
Now, did something big happen in the pro wrestling world this week?
Look – I want to pray for Roman Reigns‘s health and life right now.
YES, this column has been very outspoken on Roman Reigns, the pro wrestler and the Vince McMahon led Creative Team that has overpushed the guy since early 2014. I will not deny anything that I have ever said on the guy… It was my personal opinion that the WWE pushed him to the top too early, as the typical formula for the #1 babyface star was working years as a singles wrestler, drawing as a midcard singles champion, and working hard to climb the ladder to get title shots. Because Vince McMahon liked Roman’s “look”, he forced Roman to jump the line over many experienced wrestlers who ready for the same role. He just wasn’t ready for the top role and the inexperience showed based on the in-ring performance and the clearly scripted promos.
But one thing that I always said about Roman Reigns was that I was concerned about his health. I said this on June 28th, 2018: I’ve seen it for a while on how you become quickly out-of-breath for your matches. Roman Reigns is sucking wind and sweating heavily early on in every match. Might there be a health problem causing this?
Said this on July 9th: Meanwhile, Roman is sweating as if he just fell into a swimming pool (doctors need to check him out, seriously). I have been saying this for a while… Of course, I was associating it, at times, with poor cardio or possibly something associated with his 2016 Wellness Policy Violation. Little did I know what was bubbling underneath the surface.
What a shame.
I had a younger cousin (4 years younger than me) who passed away about 6 years ago to Leukemia. He intially beat beat it but then 2 years ago, it came back with a vengeance. It took him down quickly on the second go around and it caused the rest of his body to go down with him. He was always very tired and exhausted as he endured it and I can only imagine the difficulty of dealing with this sickness while being a pro wrestler of all things. My cousin’s death hurt me because not only was he also a close friend of mine (took him under my wing as a kid, at times), but just the THOUGHT that he defeated it only for it to come back… just heartbreaking.
This explains why Roman Reigns‘s football career ends during 2008 and why his wrestling career began during 2010. I always wondered what happened during those 2 years… Well, now we know.
I hate to make light of this, but you tuned into this column to get the honest Mr. Tito… But after hearing the REAL person behind the Roman Reigns character actually speak tonight, why did the WWE have to script the guy so much? Every single word since 2014 has been carefully scripted by the WWE Creative Team and Vince… Yet, when the human being behind the character goes out there to tell the fans that he’s actually sick and dropping the WWE Universal Title, he actually connects with fans. That is what DRAWS in pro wrestling, folks… It’s when your actual human persona mixes with a character to be made into their own is how a wrestler clicks with fans. As over-the-top that Rock and Steve Austin were, that’s not too far off from how they actually speak and act. You FELT like they were real… I just never felt that the Roman Reigns character was real and just was too synthetic. Tonight, however, as he announces that his Leukemia and he is allowed to speak from his heart to the fans. That part where he said “WWE gave me a chance” after his first bout with Leukemia was pretty damn powerful.
It’s never been personal with Roman Reigns… I’ve consistently said that WWE pushed him too hard, too fast while depushing many wrestlers around him (Ambrose, Braun Strowman, John Cena, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, etc.). We’re approaching almost 5 years of this with 4 straight Wrestlemanias headlined. Meanwhile, American numbers such as RAW viewership and attendance have declined. I don’t blame Roman, as I’d take that nice WWE paycheck too and not turn down that push. Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H are to blame mostly on why Roman did not succeed as a top guy. He wasn’t ready during early 2014 to defeat CM Punk, as I’d argue that BOTH Shield guys were better than him back then (Ambrose, Rollins). But they forced it anyway… Certainly, Roman could have embrace that pushed role, but wrestling and cutting promos isn’t something to learn overnight.
I hope that he beats this, fully recovers, and returns to WWE. Nothing personal… I pray for him to endure.
If he comes back… No, he’s going to beat this. WHEN he comes back, I hope that the WWE reflects on the last 5 years of Creative decisions. Business in the homeland of the United States has declined considerably since the push began during early 2014. The list of names that Roman Reigns has defeated is quite impressive, as serious who’s who of pro wrestling: CM Punk, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Triple H, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, and the Undertaker… 4 straight Wrestlemania main event spots, too… Despite all of those WWE resources dedicated to him, what did he have to show for it? He just wasn’t ready… He should have been pushed as a midcard champion for a few years to learn how to work singles matches on the big stage and figure out his personna.
Just get healthy, big dog. Nothing personal… Just a pro wrestling fan who lived through Hulkamania, Attitude Era, and enjoys the Ohio Valley Wrestling “Class of 2002” that has demanded too much from the WWE after seeing the stars of those eras.
As I keep saying, the infrasturcture within the WWE is “toxic”. The eras that I just mentioned had experienced hands surrounding Vince McMahon to give him advice and challenge his creative decisions. The Attitude Era, for example, had Jim Ross recruiting talent, Pat Patterson arranging matches, Gerald Briscoe as an agent backstage to help wrestlers with various things, Jim Cornette to keep things focused on the wrestling product, Bruce Prichard as an idea man, and Vince Russo changing the tone of the product. All of those guys challenged Vince McMahon and pushed him to make the WWE better, especially in the light of heavy competition (WCW). Today, Vince McMahon has his kids, a son-in-law, and a longtime friend (Kevin Dunn) who are very grateful for Vince’s generosity and wealth that he has gave them. Complete yes-men (or women).
Roman Reigns couldn’t thrive in an environment with Vince McMahon lacking filters and experienced hands to help promote Roman’s strengths and hide his weaknesses. Just a bunch of yes-men/women and a team full of writers to script anything that Roman says. His reliance on scripted lines made him look inauthentic. But if you listen to any pro wrestlers backstage, they really like the guy personally. So how is he getting booed by fans but not a single wrestler badmouths him, past or present? Yes, everybody is afraid to shake the applecart, but nothing out there shows that he’s a bad guy. He was just a product of the WWE Corporate Machine whose marketing executives, executive producer, and Vince McMahon thought could replace John Cena.
Nothing personal… It has never been anything personal with my columns and Roman Reigns. I blame the WWE with their mishandling of him more than I blame the man.
Please join me and praying for Roman Reigns. He doesn’t deserve this. I’d rather he headline his 5th straight Wrestlemania than to suffer. And I want to see him come back to the WWE after this. It would be inspiring.
THE LAST WORD
I’m already getting bombarded with emails and Tweets about if I’ll reconsider my retirement on October 26th, 2018 now that Roman Reigns is out with Leukemia. Huh? Do you think that I’m celebrating this? Come on…
But no, the retirement on my 20th Anniversary is still happening.
Because the WWE, since 2013, has been slowly sucking the life out of me as a pro wrestling fan. The PG era, pushing the wrong guys, destroying the guys who could have resurged the business (CM Punk, Daniel Bryan), and just overwhelming me with many hours of content have worn me thin. On top of that, I just don’t care for the alternatives whether it is Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, or New Japan.
On top of that, I need to take care of the “man behind the mask”. I don’t think that people realize how close to the edge that I was during 2016. My father fell ill for 3 months and passed away that year. On top of that, a big project at work was burning me out. I went from working 7am to 5pm, driving to a hospital in Pittsburgh several times a week, and then logging in at night to continue work stuff while trying my best to be a husband and a father. Oh yeah, writing columns as Mr. Tito. How do I accomplish that? Well, how about 2-3 hours of sleep per night… And there were many times during that year that I woke up in a full sweat due to anxiety or stress. The amount of caffeine that I was consuming was staggering and very dangerous. Not good for the heart…
By mid-2017, I ceased using any caffeine or chocolate… So now, by 11:30pm, my eyes water and I get really tired. Before, I’d just slam a Sunkist and push on until 1:30am or even later. Gotta get that column complete, I said… I can’t do that anymore. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been posting columns by Thursday because I’d spend 2 nights writing it. That, or I have been posting Saturday morning columns lately. I am sleeping better but with that comes a cost, less time as Mr. Tito.
I also worry about the Internet… Everything is getting scrutinized and challenged to be politically correct. You honestly have to be careful what you say or else you get hounded or maybe your sponsors get challenged because of what was said. Believe me, I have to be very careful of what I say. Then, you see what happened to Dave Meltzer when he remarked that a female wrestler clearly had breast implants. I once got bombarded with Tweets after I once asked how younger individuals were receiving plane tickets and hotel rooms for political causes. I blocked thousands of people regarding that and deleted the tweet. It’s just not worth it. Too much political and personal drama, but worse yet, if you say anything controversial, an army of people are there to throw you down the stairs. I’ll pass.
What will I do with my time now that I’m NOT Mr. Tito? I’m already getting involved with a local political cause although my Mr. Tito debating style shocks many locals who aren’t ready for it. Being “Tito” has made me too intense, I can imagine… I believe that I can “shake things up” in politics and hopefully make a difference somewhere.
The energy is there to be Mr. Tito… But it’s not there to be a pro wrestling fan right now. If you like the WWE or other promotions, please, keep enjoying it. It has just lost me recently and I don’t want to “force it”. Many say that media hosts like Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow enjoy when the opposite party is office because they can go on the attack instead of just showing their own side with praise. It’s easy to be negative… But with age, I’m tired of being negative. I have HAMMERED a WWE that I’ve loved since late 1988 and it actually upsets me. Do you think that I want to see Roman Reigns struggle as a main eventer? Hell no… If he does well, I’ll support him as I did John Cena since my 2010 comeback.
I just have nothing left to give as Mr. Tito, the wrestling fan… I’m “shot” as a fighter for good, quality wrestling. In the immortal words of Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon, “I’m getting to old for this sh*t!”.
I’m walking away from a GREAT gig here at LordsofPain.net and from many great readers (you can always find me on Twitter, @titowrestling)… I could keep it going but I feel that I’d do a disservice to myself as a wrestling fan to force it. But I also need to take better care of myself here in my late 30s and put this great energy towards some local cause. I believe that my motivation and drive is my great talent and that’s why I have pushed through over 2,500 columns in 20 years here at LordsofPain.net.
Maybe I’ll regret this decision one day… I thought that I was done during 2006 when I retired and didn’t appear again until early 2010. I don’t know, this feels different. I came back during 2010 because I was bored. I was on night watch duty with my youngest child and would just surf on the internet. Gave WWE another try and wrote non-wrestling blogs for LordsofPain.net. Once wrestling took over my viewership time again, Mr. Tito was back.
I think that it would take a Stone Cold Steve Austin or Rock-like mega draw to bring me back. I was almost hoping that CM Punk would have appeared at “All In” to shake things up and maybe he’ll return at Madison Square Garden. Who knows? I think that if another mega talent arises, I’d consider coming back but in a much different form that you see today. I liked what I heard on Doc’s podcast a few months back and I’m getting good at editing video again. But again, that’s my free time and it has to be worth it.
Who knows? But what I do know is that my time is coming on October 26th, 2018. I no longer have anything left in my basement.
THANK YOU for reading, as always. I wouldn’t be writing these columns if it weren’t for you, the readers. I appreciate the time that you put into reading and discussing my columns. Tweet me anytime if you want to chat, as even after I retire from writing wrestling columns, I’ll still be lurking there. Just follow @titowrestling and you’re set.
And if you want an arse kicking on the Nintendo Switch online system, you can receive that too. Ice Hockey and Tecmo Bowl are a TON of fun to play online from the NES Classics, but if you want to play some Rocket League, Mario Kart, Splatoon 2, Street Fighter 2, Bomberman, Runbow, etc., just let me know.
I’ll still be around on Twitter and I’ll loosely follow pro wrestling news, maybe pick and choose YouTube segments to watch to remain current. I’m just choosing not to dedicate my Sunday Nights to Pay Per Views, watching RAW/Smackdown, or spending 2-3 hours (sometimes more) per column dedicated to wrestling. I just don’t have that in me any longer…
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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