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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Bill Goldberg Defeating Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Title = GREAT Idea, so GET OVER IT
By Mr. Tito
Mar 9, 2017 - 10:17:33 PM
Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. I feel pretty good lately... Been binge playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lately and that's one of the finest games ever made... Not only that, my blood pressure didn't go up following WWE Fastlane. Felt like another Pay Per View to me and it was very predictable. Everyone knew that (a) Roman Reigns would win heading into Wrestlemania 33 and (b) Chris Jericho would interfere during the Goldberg vs. Owens title match. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure those match results out (Bayley retaining caught me by surprise, though).
Particularly on the Kevin Owens loss to Bill Goldberg, which saw Chris Jericho's entrance happening and Owens split second distraction causing him to be Speared and then Jackhammered, the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) has been losing their mind. Seriously, my Twitter and the Comments section of my Fastlane review was filled with nothing but anger and bitterness over that result. AGAIN, we all knew that Chris Jericho would interfere. Why else would he not appear on RAW for the last 2 weeks following the Friendship segment break-up? Furthermore, the Wrestling Observer newsletter has been reporting it for weeks that Vince McMahon wanted Goldberg vs. Lesnar to have a World Title involved.
In case you've been blind for the last 10 years or so, but the WWE has been using Wrestlemania to feed older fans 'member berries or attempting to rope in casual fans. Vince KNOWS that he already has your money, loyal fans. Until you actively stop watching RAW/Smackdown, WWE Networks, or stop attending shows... You loyal fans will continue to eat Vince's crap sandwiches and like it. Ever notice how Comcast doesn't reward loyalty? They'll give that amazing deal to NEW customers but if you're an existing customer and you want a deal, you legitimately have to haggle over it. DirecTV and Dish will give you a lovely deal for the first year that you sign up but put the screws to you during the 2nd year and future years. Until you grow the stones to (a) walk away from RAW/Smackdown, (b) cancel the WWE Network subscription, and (c) never attend a WWE event again... Vince has your money and will do as he pleases to cater towards NEW or CASUAL fans... Hence, Goldberg vs. Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title.
Oh, but you're upset at the SHORT amount of time that Kevin Owens lost that WWE Universal Title?
OK, storetime... I have been writing since October 1998. I know, I'm old... By the way, 1998 was Bill Goldberg's peak year and I started just after Goldberg had his BEST match-up ever against Diamond Dallas Page at WCW Halloween Havoc. But during 1998, I was 18 years old when I started writing at LordsofPain.net... If you read my columns during the early 2000s, you'd notice that I was always the "champion of the upper midcarder", particularly the younger ones that I felt were getting held down. You can see it during 2001 in particular. That year, Jeff Hardy had a surprise win over Triple H to win the Intercontinental Title. If you'll recall, HHH and Steve Austin had the "2 Man Powertrip" heel duo and they seemed unstoppable. Jeff Hardy's win was shocking and everyone felt that it was a star making moment. So what happened next? Triple H MURDERED him in the rematch and thus placing Jeff Hardy back in the midcard. In my opinion, I always felt like Jeff Hardy was never the same in the WWE after that, soon losing all motivation to succeed through the mid 2000s.
But then the 2001 WCW/ECW Invasion happened and the WWE was handed a roster from both promotions that were filled with younger prospects and upper midcarders. So what happened next? The WWE glass ceiling veterans smashed most of those wrestlers and that invasion angle was a complete failure because of WWE's refusal to elevate stars from those promotions. Some of the developmental call-ups kept getting the screws... After that initial "Class of 2002" Ohio Valley Wrestling call-up, successive classes were poorly introduced and used as wrestlers. Tons of guys went through the Creative buzzsaw and despite my attempts to defend many of those prospects, the WWE kept on squashing. Getting back to the "Class of 2002", sure you have Orton, Cena, Batista, and Lesnar but the WWE played mind games with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin who were screwed with on singles pushes. Especially Benjamin... So much pure in-ring talent with that one and the WWE did stupid crap like giving him a stereotypical overweight mom to join him at ringside.
IN OTHER WORDS... During the early 2000s... I WAS YOU.
It wasn't until I attended a Smackdown taping during 2003 in Columbus, OH that I began to wonder what I was getting upset about. It wasn't until a Dark Match (non-televised match) before Smackdown began that I realized how I sounded for much of 1998-2003 during my columns. In the Dark Match, some WWE star wrestled Colt Cabana. Nearby, there was a younger fan LOSING HIS MIND about how Cabana was being used as enhancement talent and then getting pinned during the match. He was legitimately upset, badmouthing Creative for disregarding younger wrestlers, and even threatened to his friend that he was going to walk out of the event! Smackdown's televised event had yet to start! That opened my eyes and as I read more wrestling books, got older, and then started working with corporations in my full time career... I began to understand the BUSINESS side of pro wrestling better. Instead of having my focus on defending wrestlers themselves, I began to focus on decision making by the WWE Corporation and the management team they had in place. You probably noticed this change during 2005-2006 in my columns before I retired during 2006. When I returned during early 2010, I kept that same tone but I had more job experience to further understand the business side of wrestling... Hence, what you see before you today.
Many attempt to suggest that I've "changed" as a columnist, as I used to be different during the late 1990s and early 2000s versus now... Well, yeah... I got older, wiser, worked in the financial industry, managed my own finances, bought a house, started a family, etc. I was a young kid back then who was fighting against his elders for positioning JUST LIKE younger wrestlers are fighting against veteran wrestlers in the WWE. You seem to position yourself with where you are in life... I was in my late teens/early 20s back then and I'm in my mid-30s now. Things change, folks... When I see Bill Goldberg coming back and popping RAW viewership at 200,000 to 400,000, I fully understand WHY the WWE Corporation might want to attempt to capitalize on Goldberg's star power. I GET IT... WWE is making a business decision to catch the attention of casual fans to hype a BIG Golderg vs. Lesnar match for Wrestlemania 33. I undrestand it completely.
But I'm also analytical enough to understand that it wasn't Bill Goldberg who "buried" Kevin Owens, as someone else already did that. As I covered in my last column, the WWE marginalized its RAW World Champion by letting Roman Reigns OWN him repeatedly in non-title matches. Don't forget my stat from that column... From late November through December 2016, Roman Reigns had an amazing record of 12-1 against Owens (RAW, Houseshows, Pay Per Views) with only that 1 loss being due to Roman's disqualification loss at WWE Roadblock. The 12 wins for Roman Reigns? ALL PINS over the WWE Universal Champion in non-title matches. Roman pinned the World Champion 12 freakin' times!
WHERE WAS YOUR OUTRAGE, Internet Wrestling Community, when Kevin Owens was getting SCREWED BY THE BOOKING against Roman Reigns?!?!? You get PISSED at a PROVEN DRAW like Bill Goldberg beating your boy but ZERO OUTRAGE at Kevin bowing down to the Roman Empire? Are you that obtuse? How are you so pissed NOW about Bill Goldberg getting 1 victory over your boy and not Roman Reigns repeatedly owning Owens?
Oh yeah... You are institutionalized WWE fans... You have devoured so many CRAP sandwiches served up by Vince McMahon that you're enjoying the taste. I'm starting to see a hilarious tone change towards Roman Reigns lately by the Internet Wrestling Community... Internet fans are beginning to accept Roman or have given up thrashing him on a weekly basis, take your pick. Roman gets a match with the Undertaker during 2017, no outrage... Do that during 2014-2016, the internet would have gone nuclear. Never mind that we were denied John Cena vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania for the FIRST TIME to create Roman vs. Undertaker... But fans have already forgot about that fact. You just nod your heads, pay your $9.99 per month for the WWE Network, and enjoy watching 5 hours of advertiser heavy RAW/Smackdown programming on the USA Network. YES MEN WWE fans and loyal as they come.
But again - Vince McMahon already has your money. What Vince McMahon wants is new fans, roping in older fans who have left, or drawing the interest of casual fans who might pop at the fact that Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg for a World Title is happening. Non-wrestling fans KNOW who Brock Lesnar is and most people know who Bill Goldberg is. WWE has to simply splash ads of both Lesnar and Goldberg throughout the internet, in print, or on television and most will know that's a big match-up. FREE WWE Network month to see it? Why not? Then, they sample WWE Network and begin to join it... Before WWE knows it, they have a NEW customer ponying up $9.99 per month, possibly watching RAW/Smackdown, and attending WWE shows. It's quite obvious why the past few Wrestlemanias feature Undertaker and Triple H actually wrestling matches and featuring appearances of Rock, Steve Austin, Sting, Trish Stratus, Batista, Shawn Michaels, etc.
Let's be honest here... The wrestlers YOU cheer for, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens... Didn't exactly grow the business as dominant champions for the last 2 years. RAW went from averaging 4 million viewers during early 2015 to now being around 3 million. Because your heroes aren't drawing the numbers that WWE expects, THAT'S why Bill Goldberg is so appealing to Vince and why Goldberg is now World Champion. Sure, Goldberg is 50 and probably can't wrestle a full match without getting hurt. Hence, the short matches as WWE is protecting its asset. Because nobody but a 50 year old WCW superstar can pop a RAW rating, the WWE will keep going back to the well on the veterans. It's also why Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are appearing on RAW despite Undertaker calling Smackdown "his home".
Sorry, but Owens, Rollins, and Reigns are NOT bigtime draws like John Cena or Brock Lesnar from the famed "Class of 2002". They just aren't... Good wrestlers, sure, but Main Event draws that can pack houses and draw more eyeballs to televisions? Eh... We all know about Roman Reigns and how WWE has handpicked him to be "the guy", but Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins have had poor support when they were Champions. Lots of non-title losses... But the fact remains that numbers have declined in the past 2 years with Owens, Rollins, and Reigns on top of the business, notably the flagship Monday Night RAW program. I'm NOT knocking those guys, just stating that they just aren't the Cena/Lesnar like draws that the WWE needs right now. Until those guys prove that they are at near the level of Cena/Lesnar, the WWE will always rely on the "Class of 2002", Bill Goldberg, or the Undertaker... Triple H as well.
I'm NOT upset about Bill Goldberg defeating Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Title, even in short fashion. For one, I observed Chris Jericho DISTRACTING Kevin Owens to cause him to lose... Thus, the win is "tainted" and Owens is protected. Simple. As an older fan, I understand why the WWE is protecting Goldberg with short matches to keep the mirage alive. I fully understand the drawing power of Goldberg vs. Lesnar for the World Title. Wrestlemania 33 is going to do amazing business because of it, period.
I want to stress, though... If you only showed as much outrage over Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens for how Roman Reigns was DOMINATING Kevin Owens, then maybe WWE Creative would take notice? Ditto for the other wrestling stars that you supported that the WWE screwed with. Let's face it... Unless your name is Randy Orton, John Cena, or Roman Reigns, the booking is NOT favorable towards you even if you're World Champion. Better get ready to eat those non-title matches...
If you're pissed about Goldberg beating your boy in short fashion, THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT... Otherwise, eat Vince McMahon's Crap Sandwiches and enjoy the taste of it!
THE RAW SMACKDOWN
First and foremost, it has been hard to put the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild crackpipe down... Hence, the delay for this column... What can I say? Great Zelda Game > any other form of entertainment. After that Dogpatch of a game called "Skyward Sword", it's good to see Nintendo making a great console based 3D Zelda game again. Nice way to end the Wii U system, which I've played the crap out of for the past 3 years. In addition to Breath of the Wild, I played 2 HD remakes of Zelda games (Wind Waker, Twilight Princess) and had lots of online fun with Mario Maker, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon (single player campaigns of each are fun too). Hopefully, a stronger start for the Switch will create better console sales than the Wii U which started horribly (Super Mario Bros U is an awful game!).
Oh yeah, wrestling...
Starting the combined show rant off with a FINGER OF SHAME to the Smackdown Creative Team for giving away the FIRST EVER match-up between Randy Orton and AJ Styles for FREE. Not saving it for a Pay Per View, notably one of the Big 4 in my opinion... Nope, a random edition of Smackdown. WHAT A JOKE... They have completely destroyed any unique opportunity to pack arenas and place more eyeballs on the WWE Network. It was much like the WWE giving away any combination of Cena/Ambrose/Styles last year for FREE repeatedly. Hello, you have a WWE Network which makes you money and Pay Per Views which draw better houses than any other night. But no, we have to blow that opportunity on a random night on Smackdown. *facepalm*
That being said, AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton was a great match. Tada, if you put Randy Orton with a strong worker who will aggressively go after him, great results occur. Orton has a tendency to sleepwalk through his matches and often show no emotion... However, if you push him and aggressively beat the piss out of him in the ring, it motivates him to kick it up a gear or two. Luke Harper did that at Elimination Chamber and got the BEST match out of Orton in YEARS. Then, just now, AJ Styles just pushed Orton to yet another great match. Most wrestlers are intimidated of Orton because of his veteran status or how close he is with management. Harper and Styles just want to put on a great match and that's their only motivation. I can imagine that Bray Wyatt will do the same at Wrestlemania 33.
But Randy Orton burned down a house? Does anybody else have a strange problem with that?
On the RAW side, just like that, Brock Lesnar picks up Bill Goldberg and hits him with an F5. Huh? I thought that Lesnar was supposed to show some fear and reluctance towards Goldberg because Goldberg has (a) beat him TWICE and (b) eliminated him at Rumble 2017. Nope, just like that, picked him up and hit the F5 on the NIGHT AFTER Bill Goldberg becomes WWE Universal Champion. Instead of Lesnar appearing intimidated by the guy who has repeatedly owned him, he easily F5 slams him. Hype of Lesnar finally overcoming the 1 nemesis is over... Why have the Wrestlemania 33 match when we've seen Lesnar easily manhandle Goldberg when he wants?
Something else very STRIKING from Monday Night RAW... People were excited to see Braun Strowman and the Undertaker staring each other down. So Strowman has barely been in the WWE and has been working his way up the ladder... And he gets THAT reaction? "Holy S**t"? But then Roman Reigns stares down the Undertaker and it's nothing but negativity. That was so telling... I'm sure that the WWE will chalk it up to it being Chicago, but do Chicago fans get excited for Braun Strowman? Really? That is more surprising to me than Roman getting booed, as Roman gets hate everywhere he goes. Fans were going ape for seeing Braun and Undertaker. It wouldn't shock me if Wrestlemania 33 gets rebooked into giving us Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. Braun looks good in the ring, I have to admit it... For as big as he is, Strowman is a tremendous athlete with a good motor. If you're looking for a HOSS to replace the Undertaker...
Wasn't so hype for John Cena/Nikki Bella vs. Carmella/James Ellsworth, but the Miz was on fire with that promo. Completely tore into Cena... I guess this is what hiding the Cena/Nikki relationship can give you, as Miz now has unlimited ammunition to attack John Cena. The result of that Wrestlemania 33 match-up will be quite fascinating with Cena taking time off. If I were booking it, I'd have Miz convincingly defeating John Cena cleanly in that match with his finisher. Then, book a HUGE match at SummerSlam 2017 when Cena returns. $$$$$$$$$$
Kevin Owens just tore Chris Jericho to shreds with that heel promo... It's almost as if Jericho has been so used to playing a heel lately that he's a big rusty at acting like a babyface. I like the Owens and Samoa Joe connection and hope that it leads to some sort of Triple H led heel stable. Maybe do something bold like turning Big Cass on Enzo to have him join Joe, Triple H, and Owens and they could hold those 4 fingers up in the air...
Oh hey, Sami Zayn LOST to Kevin Owens again. How many times is that now?
I have nothing but love for the Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin feud. Just seems like 2 legitimately tough guys going at it just for the sake of pure hatred for one another.
No problems with Austin Aries joining the Cruiserweight Division... Nice follow-up to the momentum of the Fastlane match-up. Aries vs. Neville should be decent.
Love the Smackdown Women's Division... In the ring, Becky Lynch, Natalya, and Mickie James were staking their claims as to who is the #1 contender for Wrestlemania. The best part about it is that the 4 ladies feel equal to each other and if you extend that theory to Carmella and Nikki Bella, 6 deep on the roster... And they consistently put on great matches together. Sadly, though, that equality will probably lead to a Fatal 4 Way match. Argh, argh, argh!
How about yet another FINGER OF SHAME? Non-title match with Sasha Banks defeating CHAMPION Bayley. I'm so sick and tired of this nonsense. The entire WWE Creative staff needs FIRED and the McMahons need to sell the company if this kind of stupidity continues (among many other things). Could someone show me the last UFC or Boxing event where the Champion had a non-title match? Bayley won the WWE Title in a tainted fashion, retained it in a tainted fashion, and she's not allow to even defend it... Oh yeah, she loses non-title matches too. GARBAGE!
RAW < Smackdown, more excitement on Smackdown but they gave away a "Dream Match" to achieve it.
Back to the Zelda crackpipe I go, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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