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I have to LAUGH at the entire Sports Community right now just gushing over Tiger Woods and how he almost won the PGA Championship major on Sunday. Since his fall from grace, PGA golf viewership has dropped considerably without its top drawing star. See, Tiger was able to convince many non-golf fans tune into golf tournaments on television. Furthermore, having Tiger around convinced many sports outlets to put Golf on the top shelf for the day’s sports headlines. Due to injuries and other drama, everybody thought that the Tiger Woods gravy train was over. But as you can see by a 69% boost in viewership on the PGA Championship from 2018 versus 2017, having a big star come back can draw in those casual fans that will make the sport bigger. Loyal golf fans will watch no matter what but if you bring in Tiger Woods, many new fans suddenly appear.
Sounds like Pro Wrestling, eh? When the Rock returned, ratings went up. When Bill Goldberg appeared, ratings went up. Anytime Brock Lesnar appears, it keeps RAW above 3 million viewers… Unless you trash Lesnar for not appearing, not defending the WWE Universal Title, being disinterested in being a WWE superstar, and leaving UFC. Yeah, how about those “under 3 million” apples for the past few weeks.
Pro Wrestling peaked through late 1999 just as Steve Austin got hurt before Survivor Series 1999. It remained strong for a brief while, thanks to Rock/Foley/Triple H, but eventually fans longed for the Austin days. When Steve returned later during 2000, he wasn’t the same and his villain, Vince McMahon, became a tired entity to watch by then. If you look at the statistics, wrestling had a major viewership freefall from 2001-2004. It wasn’t until John Cena arrived that business began to pick back up. 2005-2006 saw GAINS in RAW viewership, then Benoit stuff happened to decline it for the next 2 years, but then it bounced back up again during 2009. WWE tried guys like Miz, Sheamus, Del Rio, and a non-Main Eventing CM Punk but when they put the title back on Cena, ratings went back up again. Then during SummerSlam 2014, the WWE hurled Cena under the Brock Lesnar bus and nobody, as the #1 babyface replacement, has been able to draw since. 1 million+ RAW viewers LOST and thousands in attendance per show later, WWE doesn’t have the star power that it once did.
Maybe John Cena could come back but it has now been 4 years since the WWE pushed him seriously… Have the Rock come back? Been 5 years since he last wrestled and did you see how that film Skyscraper did? He might be over-exposed. Steve Austin is in his 50s and would never wrestle again. CM Punk is 4 years removed and bitter about the wrestling business. Not happening. We tried the Shield reunion lately but it was all about Roman, thus it failed. Batista is too busy as an actor now but also too old. Beyond 2005, the WWE really didn’t create that many top drawing stars. Nobody could come back and make a difference.
Well, they did have that amazing comeback by Daniel Bryan, but he was poorly used out of the gate against Zayn/Owens, awful Big Cass feud, and jobbing to a guy who has lost repeatedly during 2018 in Rusev. In just 3 months, they ruined what could have been a babyface draw.
The new superstar attraction, Ronda Rousey, is seeing strong YouTube.com numbers but NOT strong USA Network viewership. In other words, non-WWE fans of Ronda’s DO NOT want to endure 3 hours of Monday Night RAW and just wisely save time by checking out YouTube clips instead. Unlike the Rock or Brock, Rousey was not a former WWE superstar at any point in her career. She made her star in the UFC whereas Brock and Rock were first known in the WWE and went from there. Thus, many outside fans of Ronda Rousey have NO REASON to watch WWE programming to see Ronda. And why would they? WWE gives it away for FREE on YouTube.
You know, one would think that Comcast and FOX would have a problem with the WWE giving away FREE clips of their programming on YouTube, right? Especially when you can see said clips at least 30 minutes after they happen on USA Network.
If you look at SummerSlam 2018, the “main attraction” is Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. If this IS the Pay Per View where Roman Reigns FINALLY defeats Brock Lesnar in a squared circle, will he become a “big star”. Ehhhh… If defeating CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, John Cena, Undertaker, and Triple H DID NOT make Roman Reigns popular like a #1 babyface should be, NOTHING will. It has taken 4+ years of hard pushing plus badmouthing Brock Lesnar to get faint “We Want Roman” chants a few weeks ago on RAW. However, you have long ago lost those casual fans who will tune in when the top stars exist like they did for Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Rock, and at times for John Cena. Nobody from outside of the WWE thinks “WOW, ROMAN REIGNS IS AWESOME!”. Because outside of the WWE, Roman Reigns is NOT a draw.
Who would hire Roman if he was a Free Agent today and push him legitimately as their top guy? Please…
SUMMERSLAM SCENARIOS – Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
Let’s keep talking about Roman Reigns. Hey, if the WWE is going to keep shoving him down our throats, I’ll acts as the responsible pro wrestling media to CALL OUT the WWE for their actions. Again – 1 million RAW viewers lost, merchandise sales are down, and thousands lost, per show, in live attendance. All factual here in the United States.
Here is what I think about WWE SummerSlam 2018… WE’RE DOOMED.
(1) If Roman Reigns walks away from SummerSlam 2018, we’re likely going to see a lengthy WWE Universal Title reign and it shall suck on all levels.
(2) If Brock Lesnar retains OR Braun Strowman steals the WWE Universal Title, we’re screwed… Roman Reigns will then be likely to win the 2019 Royal Rumble Match and then win the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 35.
Vince McMahon LOVES the guy and he believes that fans booing during Roman’s matches = “heat”. Even though the live attendance has diminished by thousands per show (FACT), those remaining are actually paying MORE money than ever. The $ per fan is up through 2018 and at its highest point ever. Seriously, those Pay Per View floor seats are $500-$800 and fans buy them up quickly. The inner bowl of most Pay Per Views charge up to $200 per seat and they sell quickly. WWE figured out that the loyal fans who love attending live events have an inelastic demand (not responsive to a change in price). In other words, the loyal fans come to the WWE events because they LOVE to jeer Roman Reigns. Is that positive for the business? I personally think that it looks bad, but the extremely loyal fans are total enablers for Vince McMahon’s bad behavior in pushing the wrong guy.
Pure suckers out there…
But let’s get back to SummerSlam 2018‘s probable Main Event. Some might say that the rest of the card looks decent, but I honestly don’t care. Lesnar vs. Reigns will define the creative direction of the RAW brand moving forward based on if Lesnar retains, Strowman cashes in, or Roman finally gets his lengthy World Title reign.
Here are the scenarios that I believe COULD happen between Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns:
Brock Lesnar RETAINS the WWE Universal Championship
I personally believe that Vince McMahon likes to troll WWE fans… That and he knows that he can bring in Lesnar for ANY event and he’ll draw. Because Lesnar is Pay Per View only for matches, he helps keep the WWE Network strong. I could seriously see Lesnar being retired as WWE Universal Champion and WWE hitting the reboot button on the Title for the September Pay Per View.
Brock Lesnar RETAINS the WWE Universal Championship, Braun Strowman cashes in.
Brock fights a hard fought battle versus Roman but then that ROAR noise is heard and it is the GWAR like theme song for Braun Strowman. Braun cashes in the Money in the Bank and defeats a worn out Lesnar.
My Twitter friend George Garden suggested that Braun Strowman should hold off cashing in until Monday Night RAW instead… That way, you can actually have Brock Lesnar wrestling on RAW for the first time since 2004 and Strowman defeats him with a probable 3 million eyeballs watching plus anyone else on YouTube. This would get bigger exposure than if Strowman cashes in at SummerSlam.
Paul Heyman turns on Brock Lesnar.
Doubtful, as Heyman is Brock’s real-life business manager. That and the WWE doesn’t like Heyman other than being a spokesperson for Lesnar. Still, it would be a way to let Lesnar lose cheaply if Heyman opts to join Roman (doubtful) or decides to assist Braun.
Roman Reigns wins WWE Universal Title, Braun Strowman cashes in.
The most likely scenario, in my opinion. Roman will take an arse whipping but escape the match by winning the WWE Universal Title. Exhausted, Braun Strowman takes the opportunity to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase to appease the New York fans. This heel-like move by Braun could then set off an entire Fall for both wrestlers to feud. Not a bad idea, as both guys brought out the best in each other.
Braun Strowman cashes in before or during the match to make it a Triple Threat.
I believe this is very probable, as the New York fans will nuke the Lesnar vs. Reigns match. If you go back to SummerSlam 2017, that 4 way match was such a trainwreck and quite enjoyable. WWE might try that vibe to mask that they want to do and that is putting over Roman. In this scenario, Brock Lesnar could lose the Title without getting pinned (if that is somehow allowed with a Money in the Bank briefcase).
Roman Reigns turns heel.
Doubtful, but if there was ever a time for Roman to join the darkside and embrace the boos, it is in New York. Maybe something like Vince McMahon performing a Montreal-like Screwjob to “screw” Brock Lesnar out of his title and match with Roman Reigns.
Which do I feel is more probable? Well, you need to check out my predictions below!
Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE SummerSlam 2018 Predictions
Time for me to plaster on a fake smile and plow through this Predictions crap once again…
Preliminary Matches (or matches that I probably won’t see):
– Revival defeats the B-Team for the RAW Tag Titles
– Cien/Vega defeats Rusev/Lana
– Drew Gulak defeats Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Title
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens for the Money in the Bank briefcase
If Kevin Owens wins this match, all hell will break loose… I just don’t see Owens winning this and then possibly cashing in later this year. We’re repeating 2016 all over again by him cheaply winning the WWE Universal Title. I figure this could be the “hot opener” to really sell the fear of Strowman cashing in later.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: Braun Strowman
Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles
Just end the Rowan and Harper team, please…
WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: The New Day
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
None of their matches have been exciting, so what says it will be any different on the SummerSlam stage? The Einstein definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Balor will be a darling in front of the New York crowd and thus he’ll get then win. Then, Corbin will defeat him on the next RAW.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Baron Corbin because Finn Balor is a Cruiserweight.
WHO WILL WIN: Finn Balor, the Cruiserweight
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Jeff Hardy for the United States Title
The most mysterious match on the card… Not sure where the WWE is going. On one hand, WWE is either very hot or very cold with Jeff Hardy pushes. He has risks in the form of injuries and well, personal issues. On the other hand, Shinsuke Nakamura’s contract is set to expire during early 2019. Early rumors have suggested that Nakamura has expressed interest in returning to New Japan. If so, the title comes off Nakamura’s waist and he’ll serve out the remainder of his contract putting over other wrestlers on Smackdown. And I actually agree, as Nakamura has been underwhelming on the main WWE roster.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: Jeff Hardy
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title
I see this match as the means to calm the New York crowd in order to offset the Lesnar vs. Roman match. That and with 2.1 million viewers, Smackdown needs a “shake-up”.
WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: Samoa Joe
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Title
Once again, outside the ring drama will rule this match. See, everyone wants to blame the Pittsburgh crowd but the drama of Drew McIntyre on the outside kind of hurt the match. For this match, we have the returning Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre on the outside. It just seems too obvious to me that a heel turn is coming…
WHO SHOULD WIN: Seth Rollins
WHO WILL WIN: Dolph Ziggler via Dean Ambrose turning heel on Seth Rollins.
Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Title
Seems too obvious that Charlotte and Becky are in this match together… WWE would tell you that “Carmella is in trouble” yet I can see Charlotte and Becky cancelling each other out and causing each other to lose.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Becky Lynch, she’s great.
WHO WILL WIN: Carmella and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellsworth helps her out.
Daniel Bryan vs. the Miz
Still, no contract for Daniel Bryan… THAT, or the WWE is playing Dave Meltzer with rumors that Bryan hasn’t signed yet. Hmmm… I’m going to believe that Bryan hasn’t signed yet, provided his recent body language and comments said to the press. That and Miz is ready for the next level to continue his 2016-2017 work fro Smackdown.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Daniel Bryan and then push him to the Main Event
WHO WILL WIN: The Miz
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women’s Title
WWE needs to move the needle and Ronda is really popular. Putting the Women’s Title on Ronda and just lining up any challenger makes too much business sense. That and Ronda has a 1 year deal with the WWE. Might as well see if she draws as champion before that deal expires. I like Alexa but the Women’s Title just isn’t going anywhere with her at the moment.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN/WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Ronda Rousey wins
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Title
Here we go, folks… Definitely the MAIN EVENT of this show. How could it not? This may be Brock Lesnar’s last WWE match ever or at least for a long while. I believe that he’s quite serious about his upcoming match versus Daniel Cormier and wants to dedicate himself to training to enter in the fight clean and to also beat Cormier. Bumping around in a wrestling ring won’t help him get ready for a UFC fight and risks injury. No way that the WWE lets Lesnar defeat Roman 3 straight times during a year. No way… Right?
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Brock Lesnar retains and saves the big win for Braun Strowman.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar and then Braun Strowman cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase.
No Mr. Tito FLASHBACK as I don’t feel like editing HTML crap at 12:30 am at night… No time for love, Dr. Jones!
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So just chill… Until the next episode!
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