MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – WWE Fumbles on the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal + Fact or Fiction

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Welcome to a weekend edition of the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. It’s just one of those columns where I didn’t plan on writing this evening but an odd topic comes along that peaks my interests. It’s kind of like when you’re hungry and yet a Snickers bar comes along to satisfy your appetite.

BEFORE I MAKE ANY POINTS WHATSOEVER… Let me make one thing absolutely clear. Since many of you “haters” only read the first few sentences of my column before going bonkers in the Comments section, let me speak precisely: I do NOT condone any past actions by the late Fabulous Moolah. What is stirring this latest Wrestlemania 34 Women’s Battle Royal “controversy” is Moolah’s actions from the past. According to Deadspin’s article, she took cuts of what her trained wrestlers made from events and may have been involved in human trafficking… Yeah, I don’t condone that whatsoever.

HOWEVER – What I want to point out is this… WHY NOW?

What took the WWE and wrestling fans SO LONG to figure this out?

After all, she WAS a WWE employee from 1983 until her death during 2007. You know, 24 years of employment with the WWE. She was also the first WWE female Hall of Fame inductee during 1995. As I recall during the Attitude Era, she was a regular on-screen WWE personality along with her friend and fellow wrestler Mae Young. She even won the Women’s Title during 1999 at the tender age of 76. She made appearances with the WWE all the way through August 2007. Plenty of time to realize that she had a dark past.

But what does it take to “scrub” the Fabulous Moolah from WWE’s attempt to honor her WRESTLING legacy at Wrestlemania 34? Oh, a bunch of people pressuring the WWE and Sponsors via Social Media. And one sponsor, Snickers, openly responded to the WWE challenge. WWE flinched.

It’s pretty evident who the WWE Corporation caters to through 2017. It is not you, the older wrestling fans who remember Fabulous Moolah’s longtime contributions to the WWE which is why the WWE tried to honor her. It is to the Sponsors who can threaten the WWE financially. Last time I checked, sponsors didn’t pack arenas, buy merchandise, or purchase WWE Network. Wrestling fans do that. What WWE fears, however, is how other Corporations view them and pay them. Comcast operates the USA Network. Corporations place ads on WWE’s shows. For additional revenue, Corporations place ads or exclusive sponsorships on Pay Per Views. Funny how WWE fears how another Corporation will react to their actions and public relations more than the wrestling fans. The entire PG Era is thanks to corporate pressure from Comcast and Corporate Sponsors.

Compare that to the year 2000 when the Parents Television Council (PTC) did to the WWE regarding their Smackdown show when it was on the UPN Network. The PTC, a right wing organization who takes aim at Network television for content, began attacking the WWE’s sponsors due to the Attitude Era like stuff placed on the early editions of Smackdown. Unlike 2018, however, the WWE didn’t back down. In fact, they actually sued the PTC for damages and actually doubled down on their adult content (well, more often on RAW than Smackdown). WWE even created a stable called Right to Censor (RTC) which was made specifically to mock that censorship group. In the end, it did lower WWE’s advertising rates but many sponsors did eventually return when they realized that WWE’s programming, during 2000-2001, could pull in between 4-6 million viewers per week.

Fast forward to 2018, WWE reacts differently. If any wrestler says something questionable on Twitter, they must DELETE the Tweet immediately and/or apologize immediately. Apollo Crews is now just named “Apollo” because of his last name being shared with the recent Florida school shooting. When WWE wants to honor a longtime WWE employee to name the first ever honorary battle royal at Wrestlemania 34, suddenly Fabulous Moolah‘s past matters. Why now?

Let’s discuss our good old friend, Hulk Hogan. You know, the guy that had a SEX TAPE and the WWE completely ignored its existence and only got upset with Hogan when he blurted out racial slurs due to being upset at his daughter dating black guys. When that recording happened, the WWE scrubbed Hogan from existence. Yet, the WWE honors the Ultimate Warrior despite many outside parties challenging scolding the WWE Corporation for his past words. You know, that famous University of Connecticut speech where he said, and I quote: “queering don’t make the world work”. And that is just ONE thing that I’m bringing up as he was quite ruthless in his day. Yet, the WWE has a Hall of Fame award IN HIS NAME. But with Hogan and Warrior, those are words… How about actions? Jimmy Snuka and the allegations regarding a girlfriend during 1983 which took 32 more years to actually bring an indictment (later dismissed by a judge with Snuka being determined as unfit to stand trial).

You really think that WWE, Fabulous Moolah‘s employer of 24 years, didn’t know how ruthless that Moolah used to be? She was a bit rough with the younger female WWE wrestlers during the 1980s, as she tells the tales of her attitude towards Wendy Richter. You may say that Social Media didn’t exist back then but wrestlers know… Tales are told on the road and promoters know WHO they are hiring. Not that I’m condoning what she did, but there was some bad behavior on the road during the past. Lots of sex, drugs, rock & roll, and women were marginalized. Moolah was one of the tougher ones who obviously used that culture against other would be competitors.

Best part about the WWE‘s naming of the “Fabulous Moolah Women’s Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 34 is that the McMahons, Marketing Team, and probably Board Members have been planning that battle royal for weeks. “Gee, what could we name it? We have legendary Andre the Giant on the other one? Who is our oldest legend female in the Wrestlemania era?” Of course it would be Fabulous Moolah. They probably had their Marketing Division working hours on graphics, contacting Moolah’s family to appear, and having the Women’s Division, most of whom probably don’t know who Moolah was, praising the Battle Royal after it was named. Yeah, I saw the very pro-Moolah tweets by many current Women’s Wrestlers. “What an honor”, they said.

So how can Fabulous Moolah‘s former employer be so tone deaf yet the rest of the world outside of the WWE knows about her past so well? She was a pimp for Christ’s sake!

This is what we’ve come to during the later half of the 2010s… If there is something that people don’t like, trends start bubbling in Social Media. And it tends to be younger people, too, who believe that the internet has given them a collective voice. Probably for my generation (late 30s) and above, we’re set in our ways and don’t easily get offended by things. I remember in my day, people called every thing “retarded” and “gay” on the playground and nobody cringed at that language. If you watch films from the 1970s or 1980s, stereotypes of race, sexuality, and gender are pushed hard. Go watch that first Police Academy and/or Revenge of the Nerds film and tell me if either could be made today. HELL NO! But I didn’t grow up with Social Media… I joined Twitter during May 2011 as a placeholder in case I ever needed it and only started really using it during 2012. That was my early 30s.

My main issue is this… WHY NOW? Why is it taking so long for outrage to build? Moolah has been dead since 2007 and she was a WWE regular for 24 years before that. Hall of Fame member. So it took the naming of a Battle Royal for you to finally care? Were you expecting another Female Superstar earn the naming rights instead? There are other things in this world that I’m observing a similar pattern of recent outrage that was never as loud. For example, sports teams. The Washington Redskins have been called the “Redskins” since 1933 (called the “Braves” during 1932). Yet, it has only been since the late 2000s where that team name was ramped up as being offensive. What took critics so long? Certainly, I understand some oppression of those whom it might legitimately offend but why the sudden groundswell to challenge that name?

Maybe it is just that Social Media is around now and it creates a Collective megaphone for the masses to take a hold of when something is trending. I don’t know…

All I know that is was just an undercard Battle Royal to me and I really didn’t think much of Fabulous Moolah anyway. Wasn’t a draw to me as say Trish Stratus was whom I admired as a performer (not just for her beauty but legitimate in-ring talent).

Granted, not everyone is involved with human trafficking as Moolah apparently was… But, nobody is perfect in the wrestling business. You choose to work in that environment and while being on the road, lots of demons come out and play. Some of the other women who could have been chosen for such a Battle Royal naming honor have some demons as well. Some others aren’t getting any WWE recognition because of bad things they did to themselves (Chyna in adult films) or just overall issues getting along with the WWE. It was a tough business to work within during an era where people of race, sexuality, gender, etc. were treated much differently and the road was much more dangerous with sex & drugs than it is today. Many wrestlers missed making the age of 50… Hell, many missed 40.

Moolah, however, is the wrong target of this criticism. Yes, what she apparently did in the past was terrible… BUT, who is the enabler? Who kept her around as a WWE employee until her very death? Who was 100% OK with naming the Women’s Battle Royal in honor of the Fabulous Moolah? The WWE Corporation controlled by its majority Shareholder, Vince McMahon, with the rest of his family as key Executive Vice Presidents and/or Board Members. They are the ones who IGNORE that Hulk Hogan made a sex tape that went public yet get offended when Hogan uses racial slurs on the SAME tape. THEY are the ones who not only showered Ultimate Warrior with honors and a Hall of Fame induction but also naming a special award after him in his honor. THEY are the ones who kept honoring Jimmy Snuka and then have the nerve to scrub “Snuka” from his daughter Tamina Snuka’s wrestling name.

For anyone who exerts bad behavior, there is always an enabler or group of enablers out there who will forgive things for some kind of gain (financial or not).

My questions are the following… Why did that Battle Royal being called “Fabulous Moolah” Women’s Battle Royal offend you so much? How did people suddenly learn about her past of being possibly abusive to other female wrestlers or trainees? Why can’t a company just honor someone’s company contributions if they choose? What is causing you to go after WWE’s sponsors when other things, such as the Ultimate Warrior, are not causing you to do the same action? If something offends you personally so much, why are you still watching? A culture of drugs and a thin testing policy that I observed during 2007 caused me to boycott the WWE for 2 and a half years. Do you have the ability to walk away from the WWE if it personally offends you?

And finally… Why can’t the Corporate Sponsor THINK FOR THEMSELVES instead of being shamed into taking action?

Oh, and one last comment… Stephanie McMahon is now out there saying that the WWE was “happy” to listen to fans and change the name of the Women’s Battle Royal. Huh? How are you an Executive Vice President of a company and so ignorant of your own personnel? You’re the one bragging about the “first women’s this” and the “first women’s that”. You are also claiming to be the starter of the “Divas Revolution” when it was your husband’s developed talent from the NXT territory that was called up. As Creative Lead from late 2000 through late 2013, you oversaw Women being marginalized, underpaid, called “Divas”, not allowed to have serious matches, mocked for their weight or looks, and the repeat joke of a Divas Search contest that was allowed to happen. We’re seeing a consistent pattern of blunders made by the WWE Corporation since Stephanie McMahon had a greater voice in the company. At the very least, she could have maybe suggested Mae Young as the name for the Battle Royal instead.

Oh wait, someone alread beat her to it… The Mae Young Classic as organized by her husband, EVP of Developmental, Creative, and Live Events Triple H. The same guy who has been scouting the country for legitimate female athletes to stock the NXT developmental system. Women’s wrestling has only improved since Triple H took over developmental during late 2012.

If anything, that Women’s Battle Royal should be named after Triple H. He has done more in 5 years for Women’s wrestling than Fabulous Moolah did during her entire 70+ years in the wrestling business. Now that’s a bold statement.

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FACT OR FICTION – SPECIAL READER EDITION

As you may know, I am very protective of my column and rarely take contributions from others. That, and I’ve only offered 2 people a chance to write for me ever… Once as a wedding present for a friend and another time to a dedicated New Japan fan to review “Wrestle Kingdom” for me. Both passed… Hmmmm…

Recently, a reader named Chase Blake asked me on Twitter if I’d write an edition of Fact or Fiction with me. The “Fact or Fiction” columns that you see often on LordsofPain.net, which often collaborate with various columnists from LoP and LoPForums, are a popular staple of this website which you can read past issues by clicking here. I initially started those columns as collaborations of other columnists from other websites dating back to 2003. I took the concept from ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” show just as a new column idea to try back then.

Thus, it’s a “debate” between myself and Mr. Blake… He is the author of the topics, too. Hope you enjoy!

Follow Chase Blake on Twitter by @ChaseEBlake.

Fact or Fiction #1: Daniel Bryan vs. Shane McMahon Could Save Wrestlemania 34:

Mr. Tito: In fairness to Chase and his answer below, he submitted this questions & answers last week… Doesn’t appear that Daniel Bryan will be wrestling at Wrestlemania 34 so thus I’ll say FICTION. However, he could just mean their “feud” which by proxy could be something involving Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens vs. Shane. That said, I don’t think that their storyline or match would “save” Wrestlemania. I figure that John Cena vs. Undertaker will create a “Hogan vs. Rock – Wrestlemania 18” like moment and something like AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura might knock something out of the park. I’m personally tired of seeing Shane McMahon wrestle twice a year and having full-time wrestlers having to sell for him. Shane should “save” himself for later in life instead of taking dangerous high spots during matches for a 10 second high for fans.

Chase Blake: I am going to go on a limb here and say FICTION. Most of the fans of Wrestling and WWE backed Daniel Bryan for what he stood for back in 2013/14 as he rose from the ashes of the Bray Wyatt family to headline 2 wrestle mania matches in New Orleans’s at WrestleMania 30. However, this is not 2014 and Bryan can not do the same move sets he was known for and acrobatic high flying risky moves. This would leave Shane McMahon in his mid 40’s to once again put his body on the line and some how climb a latter and jump into a table. I would love to see Daniel Bryan get his last match in WWE but Shane can not carry a match, and we do not know what wrestling shape Bryan would be in. If WWE made it some sort of three on three tag match with Zane, Bryan and Owens vs. Shane, Ziggler and Corbin it could draw some more interest. If I were WWE I would promise Daniel Bryan one last singles match vs The Miz at Wrestlemania 35 and make it a Career vs. Career Match and send Bryan into the sunset as a father, husband and future Hall of Famer. As far as saving wrestle mania with the potential let down of card I do not say anything Saving the WWE Ratings on this year’s showcase of the immortals.

Fact or Fiction #2: Cody Rhodes will go down as one of the most under utilized Wrestlers in WWE History.

Chase Blake: I will put a life line on this one and say YES, YES, YES this is FACT. There was so many places WWE could have gone with Cody. His dashing gimmick was one of the most underrated gimmicks I can remember. His acting was spot on and his whining never at least for me got annoyed. It was humor at it’s best. Then we fast forward to StarDust gimmick. Stardust and Goldust should have been a Wrestlemania 32 match which could have retired Goldust (even if he can still wrestle) and send him out to a last match with his brother. Goldust than could have managed Stardust back to Cody and brought the best out of his wrestling skills. Cody can be on Smackdown and running the main event scene with AJ Styles, Owens and Zane. Think about Zane in there, can you honestly think Cody wouldn’t be able to draw more fans to Smackdown who is averaging under 2.7 million viewers this year than Sami Zayn? Easy FACT in this one.

Mr. Tito: I need to see how his big “All In” event performs before judging Cody. I’ve watched him in Ring of Honor and while I believe he has improved from his WWE run, I’m still not enjoying Ring of Honor as I should. I’m going to say FICTION for now and hope that I’m wrong. He’s just now starting to change up his look and personality that could be a major draw as the year keeps building. In my opinion, he had more opportunity than he thought in the WWE. Matches were good but not spectacular. Mic work was good but not awesome to be a top drawing guy in the WWE. His look was missing something which caused the WWE to change him to Stardust. Believe it or not, I thought that the Stardust gimmick finally gave him personality that he was lacking. Sometimes, you have to roll the dice and find yourself before making the WWE want you again. As of right now, I’m on the fence… I would need to see how the “All In” event does and how Cody continues to grow in Ring of Honor and/or New Japan.

Fact or Fiction #3 – Braun Strowman will and should be traded to Smackdown in whatever they call the Superstar Shake up this year after Wrestlemania?

Mr. Tito: Difference between SHOULD he go to Smackdown and WILL he go to Smackdown? “Should” he go to Smackdown? Hell no. He should be the top drawing main eventer of the WWE right now. RAW is the WWE’s top show… However, Roman Reigns will always dominate RAW for the next few years and as a babyface wrestler, there’s not enough spotlight for Braun. Thus, I say it is FACT that he moves to Smackdown and begin a Batista-like run as top guy. If he draws strong there, then a future “Superstar Shake-up” could move him back to RAW. Honestly, I would enjoy Braun dominating a brand as a strong World Champion. He’s the “larger than life” guy that the WWE has been looking for.

Chase Blake: On Raw Braun Strowman is completely over and truly comes off as the monster among men. He is one of two wrestlers currently that I actually watch RAW to see (the other being Alexa Bliss because she is so perfect in every way possible). If I tune in for Braun as a wrestling fan for over 25 years this means other must also. The problem with Braun on Raw is that one wrestler is favored above all of course this being Roman Reigns. As long as Roman is on Raw Braun will be buried behind him. This mixed with all the other talent Miz, Somoa Joe (when healthy), Seth Rollins, Elias, Hardy Boys, and currently Brock Lesnar Braun will continue to be just another superstar who is not the man. For these reasons I say FACT move Braun to Smackdown Live. Think about the feuds he can have with AJ Styles, Ziggler, Cena, and Rusev. Think about in a year from Now Rusev Day vs. These Hands…..They can help each other turn into major players such as Eddie vs Edge and Young Cena vs young Brock by being able to get the spotlight for once. I believe Rating would boost from 2.6 to just under 3 million a week if used right on Smackdown. Braun as Champ will equal ratings, house show attendance for smackdown events and $$$$$ for the WWE.

Fact or Fiction #4: Kenny Omega will end up signing with WWE by Summerslam

Chase Blake: This is FICTION all the way. I enjoyed Jericho vs. Omega at the new japan paper view but that was for selfish reasons of being a Jerichoholic. He is a very talented Superstar but I do not see him signing with WWE in the next 6 months as WWE roster is semi full right now and they are in need of budget cuts once WrestleMania is over. We also do not know Chris Jericho’s schedule for the next 6 month’s and he may not be back if he does until next year. I can say the possibility of Kenny Omega In WWE could come in some form by WresteMania 35 as he follow’s in AJ Styles footsteps by debuting at Royal Rumble next January only to be thrown on by Balor or Styles himself to start a bullet club feud for next year. Wasting Kenny Omega feeding with either of these two for SummerSlam would be foolish as 2019 could be the year of Omega vs. The Phenomenal.

Mr. Tito: Nope, New Japan has him signed up for another year. FICTION. That, and I believe something major financially is going to happen with Mark Cuban and AXS Television. I wouldn’t doubt that some kind of financial arrangement happens between Cuban and Sinclair to purchase Ring of Honor. Then, that wrestling asset will merge with New Japan Pro Wrestling to create a larger outlet in the United States. What could happen is that the new financial backer of Ring of Honor could help pay for Kenny Omega and negate him needing that WWE payday. Things are just going too well for Omega in New Japan to walk away and I believe that more AXS Television interest in him remaining in New Japan could arise. That said, WWE might throw money at Omega for 2019…

Fact or Fiction #5: Undertaker vs. John Cena will be a let down if it happens at Wrestlemania 34

Mr. Tito: Not to me, a longtime fan of both John Cena and the Undertaker. They could both be in a thumb-wrestling contest and I’d pay to watch it. FICTION. In my opinion, this match has real potential to give us that “Rock vs. Hogan – Wrestlemania 18” reaction where the fans are going bonkers for the match actually happening. The match quality be damned… However, I feel that both wrestlers have something to prove. For one, Undertaker’s career ended on a bad note with a terrible match against Roman Reigns last year at Wrestlemania 33. Secondly, I believe that John Cena has a “chip on his shoulder” for his poor usage over the past few years and is aiming to win “match of the night”. Cena will study Wrestlemania 29 closely when CM Punk bumped like a machine for the Undertaker to create the illusion of a great match. Both guys have a ton to prove with this match and won’t disappoint.

Chase Blake: This a complete and utter FACT. Only because it will not be happening which is a let down on it’s own. If it was to happen I can not see Undertaker continuing to put on good matches or watchable matches. The last 3 years have been extremely difficult to get through vs. Wyatt, Shane and Reigns. Undertaker just is not the same as you would expect from a wrestler in their late 50’s. Watching to see if he would continue the streak has been gone and now the loss to Reigns last year even brings the nostalgia of The Dead man down. This match should have happened last year but Vince of course wasted the opportunity for Reigns to not get over. I want to see Undertaker wrestle again but it needs to be well built up with a purpose. As Cena said on Monday night they have 25+ World championships between them and the match would be a blockbuster. Well would be if this was 3 years ago, now part timer vs part timer just doesn’t feel right for these two. They have time after wrestle mania 34 to build the Undertaker back up by promo’s and have a contract signing at SummerSlam 2018 for WrestleMania 35 such as they did a year promoting The Rock Vs. Cena (1) after WrestleMania 27 for 28. Rock made maybe 5 appearances until January before the month before WrestleMania but his stardom carried interest all year. Cena mentioning it at movie premieres, Tonight/Late Night show appearances and of course Total Diva’s / Bella’s on E!.

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Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed our “Fact or Fiction” collaboration and if you want to see more of this kind of stuff for future Mr. Tito columns to “freshen” things up.

SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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