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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Booking WWE for Rest of 2017 and 2018, Roman Reigns, and MITB Predictions
By Mr. Tito
Jun 15, 2017 - 12:26:10 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Mr. Tito is right back at ya exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. My last column, titled "Samoa Joe should CHOKE OUT Brock Lesnar at WWE Great Balls of Fire certainly stirred up the pot online in terms of the WWE's current creative direction. Not only did I suggest that Samoa Joe actually defeat Brock Lesnar, but I posted Creative decisions through Wrestlemania 34. Allow me to repeat the ideas of my column:

(1) Samoa Joe defeats Brock Lesnar at WWE Great Balls of Fire for the WWE Universal Title.

(2) Rematch between Joe vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam 2017, I like the submission match idea.

(3) Third and final match between Joe vs. Lesnar at Hell in a Cell 2017 where Brock Lesnar wins back his WWE Universal Title.

(4) Braun Strowman wins the 2017 Royal Rumble Match to become the #1 contender

(5) Braun Strowman defeats Brock Lesnar 100% clean at Wrestlemania 34 to become WWE Universal Champion.

Many of you were like "what do you do with Roman Reigns??", the chosen McMahon savior. You know, the guy who has beat Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Undertaker, Triple H, Bray Wyatt, and even Braun Strowman... Well, I'm going to shock y'all and actually agree with Michael "PS" Hayes, one of the biggest WWE yes-men of all time... I agree with his Wrestlemania 34 match proposal of John Cena vs. Roman Reigns. Why not? Just for the unique fan reaction and I'd argue that Cena would be more GIVING than Brock Lesnar. Just ask Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, and CM Punk who looked like stars after their big matches with Cena. John Cena will do more inside that ring to make Reigns look strong than Undertaker or Triple H. Undertaker was badly injured and Triple H appeared to not be excited to be at Wrestlemania 32. Did nothing for Reigns... Cena, however, will attempt to make Reigns look good.

(6) After Wrestlemania 34, you can feud Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns during the Summer of 2018.

And of course with Roman Reigns, I'll keep insisting to #ReuniteTheShield along with fellow members Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. WWE needs some kind of mechanism for TOP BABYFACES. We've had a large sample size of mid 2014 through mid 2017 (3 freakin' years) to test out Roman Reigns by himself as #1 babyface. The result? More than 1 million RAW viewers LOST and live event attendance has declined for both televised and houseshow events. He's struggling to do it on his own...

But watch Extreme Rules 2014 and Payback 2014 Pay Per Views for yourself. The Shield, as a group, were crazy over as they took on and defeated Evolution at those shows. Shield is an entity and a brand that could have been a vehicle to get all 3 wrestlers over collectively as babyfaces... Merchandise would move, bigtime. The pressure would NOT be on just Roman Reigns to succeed and time could be allowed for Roman to develop his in-ring ability, personality, and promo skills. Instead during late 2013 when the push began to eventually defeat CM Punk during early 2014, he was pushed to be the top Shield member despite having MUCH LESS experience than Ambrose and Rollins. At the very next 2 Pay Per Views following WWE Payback 2014 (last match against Evolution), Roman Reigns was immediately pushed to back-to-back WWE Title shots. What? He then defeats Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2014 but soon gets injured... Wins the 2014 Slammy for "Wrestler of the Year". Wins 2015 Royal Rumble after that... Too much, too fast... FORCED.

However, I understand why Vince McMahon is trying to push Roman Reigns as the #1 dominant babyface. History of the WWE says HE SHOULD do that. 1980s had Hulk Hogan as the #1 babyface and he dominated the competition. WWE wasn't the same when they attempted to pass the torch to a much less talented and over babyface in 1990 named the Ultimate Warrior. Damage was done and Hogan couldn't recapture his WWE mojo when he returned to the title in 1991. From 1992 to 1997, the WWE tried many guys as the #1 Babyface (Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels, Diesel) and they just lacked the charisma or personality to draw in casual fans compared to the dominating Hogan of the 1980s. Then look at Steve Austin who was the #1 dominant babyface between 1998-1999. Business exploded as Austin beat anyone and everyone... Then, he got hurt... When Austin returned during 2000, the WWE changed bigtime.

If you look back to 2000, the final peak of the WWE "Attitude Era", you had both Steve Austin and the Rock back and they attempted to recapture their magic during 2001's Wrestlemania 17. However, there was something in the way... A dominant HEEL named Triple H who both Rocky and Steve Austin struggled to overcome during 2000-2001. The Game dominated and didn't allow for either Rock or Austin to be a strong #1 dominating babyface. Rock was soon off to movies and the IDIOTIC Wrestlemania 17 heel turn on Steve Austin put the final nail in revitalizing Austin's babyface draw. The RAW brand would continue to struggle between 2002-2003 because it LACKED a strong #1 dominating babyface. Triple H ruled everything, if you'll recall.

It wasn't until John Cena arrived and became WWE Champion during 2005 that the #1 dominating babyface returned... RAW's ratings, after consecutive DECLINES between 2001-2004, began to grow during 2005 and 2006 with Cena on top and beating everybody as the #1 guy. Lengthy WWE Title reigns. Then, following his injury during the Fall of 2007, he came back to a different WWE in 2008. Suddenly, the World Title reigns were shorter and numerous among many wrestlers. Then, WWE began experimenting with newer wrestlers who were NOT ready to be WWE Champion such as Sheamus and the Miz during 2010-2011. WWE had their next big thing with CM Punk but they buried that momentum and then gave him a half-assed WWE Title run where Punk RARELY main evented RAW or even Pay Per Views as champion! Beat nobody! Maybe almost had something with Daniel Bryan during 2013-2014 but Creative dropped the ball there. WWE has also tried to give the WWE Title back to Randy Orton and even to part-timers like the Rock and Brock Lesnar... Not as successful as a legitimate #1 dominant babyface like Hulk Hogan during the 1980s, Steve Austin during 1998-1999, and John Cena during 2005-2007.

Let me use an analogy... The NBA Finals. The NBA's numbers tend to boom based not just on the best players, but the most glamorous or charismatic. 1980s had Larry Bird Celtics vs. Magic Johnson Lakers. Huge ratings boom versus the 1970s. Then, you had the 2nd year of the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons who faced the Trailblazers in the Finals. 34 million viewers lost... However, Michael Jordan made the finals for the next 3 years and viewership surged! But then when Jordan retired for all of the next season and part of the following season, those 2 years saw a dip in viewership with the Rockets winning back-to-back. However, Jordan would then make the next 3 NBA Finals and viewership surged again. Then, Jordan retired again (retires more than me, har har), the NBA Finals dropped 13 million viewers with Spurs vs. Knicks! The Kobe/Shaq era brought the ratings back up with their 3-peat and return to the Finals 2 years later, but the 2000s saw a consistent trend... When the San Antonio Spurs made the NBA Finals, viewership dropped... Tim Duncan is an AMAZING talent and arguably the best power forward of all time... But he wasn't charismatic or magnetic like Bird, Magic, Shaq, Kobe, or Jordan. Just never drew.

The Warriors vs. Cavs series for the past 3 years has averaged about 20 million viewers for each series which is up 3-4 million above the Miami Heat years. Why? Well, it was Lebron James in his prime against the "Super Team" of the Golden State Warriors with up & coming draws like Curry, Thompson, and Green... Then, you add Kevin Durant, arguably the 2nd best player in the league, to the Warriors and it's Lebron versus the loaded Warriors. It only went 5 games yet that series averaged higher viewership than the previous 2 years.

NBA draws when it has players in the Finals who are not only the most talented basketball players in the world but have personalities that JUMP OFF THE SCREEN at you. Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Lebron, Curry, and Durant are excellent ball players who have personalities that convince you to buy jerseys and shoes (especially). Seriously, they make you beg your parents to buy sneakers $120 or more. You can get a good pair of Nike shoes for $60 but the ones specifically branded after your favorite ballplayer, that's what you want! Those NBA players are draws and they not only convince you to spend money but tune in for the NBA Finals in droves.

WWE operates in the same fashion... It's NOT just the most talented, as guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were fine in-ring workers... However, with both, they lacked that personality that caught the attention of casual fans. Hulk Hogan, Rock, and John Cena are like walking Super Heroes that you get to pay tickets to see live at an arena. Steve Austin embodies the anger that many feel towards their bosses or society who often tries to mock the redneck way of life. For Hogan, Rock, Cena, and Austin, they didn't have to wrestle! Hogan mostly cut promos on televisions shows and saved his in-ring work for bigger shows. Steve Austin broke his neck and had to cut more promos to hide that. Rock's promos were legendary and John Cena took the 8 Mile movie's popularity and translated that attitude into his character to easily cut rapping promos.

With Hogan, Austin, Rock, and Cena, the fans CHOSE them to become their #1 babyfaces and once the WWE figured out what they had, they pushed them to the moon (not as much with the Rock, as HHH was in the way during 2000). Problem with Roman Reigns is that the fans did NOT chose him to be the #1 guy. They chose CM Punk during mid-2011 and Daniel Bryan through SummerSlam 2013. In my opinion, fans were beginning to decide that the Shield could have been a great babyface stable during mid-2014 based on how awesome they were against Evolution. But then the broke up... Who knows what they could have been if Seth Rollins didn't join the Authority and turn on Ambrose/Reigns. Maybe WWE had something right then and there? We'll never know because they turned Rollins heel and began the forced babyface push of Roman Reigns.

Roman Reigns has wins over CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, Undertaker, Triple H, and Randy Orton... But what does he have to show for it? WWE Corporation has not only spent millions upon millions in marketing, extra merchandise, and time on Roman but they have forgone pushes of other wrestlers equal or better. In economics, that's called "Opportunity Cost" as the "cost" is the forgone opportunity of other wrestlers who would have benefited from a strong Roman-like push. Think about Daniel Bryan if he had the SAME push as Roman behind him. Think about it... If Bryan retains at SummerSlam 2013 and just goes on a hot winning streak against top heels... You never know!

Reigns is the WRONG GUY for this #1 dominant babyface. With all of those impressive victories, he should be crazy over at this point. He's not. Business keeps declining. Because Roman wasn't able develop as an in-ring performer in the midcard for years as a singles wrestler, he has developed bad habits in the ring and relies on his Drive-by, Spear, and Superman punch while always keeping an eye on that announcer's table for that spot. He's not a complete wrestler and struggles to carry matches against lesser opponents. Roman's best matches were against Finn Balor, AJ Styles, and Bray Wyat... Why? Those guys were willing to bump for him. Others weren't. Awful on the microphone and totally reliant on WWE Creative's scripted lines. Nothing natural, nothing from the heart. Purely synthetic. Zero charisma and just a stiff personality that lacks confidence. What Michael Cole preaches on commentary versus what YOU ACTUALLY SEE is a major contrast week after week. And then there's the look... Sorry, but the greased up hair and the bullet-proof vest look goofy to me. What's going to be, Roman? Shaved or letting your beard roughly grow in week after week? He either looks like he doesn't care or he does.

Seriously - If you don't believe that WWE is overpushing Roman Reigns, then why is RAW hyping Roman's "SummerSlam Announcement" for next week's RAW? It's freakin' JUNE and Roman has an announcement for that Pay Per View. The focus SHOULD be 100% on Samoa Joe as he challenges Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title.

You wonder why WWE is struggling? It's because they LACK that #1 dominant babyface that can expand the business. They've picked the WRONG GUY repeatedly since 2007 and the developmental system under John Laurinaitis did the WWE no favors. To be honest, the WWE roster has a lot of GOOD talent, many of which suffer from 50/50 booking (win one night, lose the next) to be unable to get over with the exception fo Roman Reigns. As I discussed in another column, Kevin Owens was dominated by Roman Reigns when Owens was WWE Universal Champion by losing many, many non-title matches during RAW and houseshow events.

WWE has to look deep within themselves and find that guy who somehow connects with the audience... Or guys. I'll be honest, I don't know who that is... Because NXT and WWE are completely different cultures, it's difficult to project WHO could be the next Cena/Hogan/Rock/Austin or something probably closer to John Cena who has wrestled in a smaller viewed WWE era by United States fans. There are a few NXT wrestlers that I thought could be "the guys", but the past year has proven me wrong based on how WWE has used them (Jordan and Crews)...

Who knows, maybe flipping Braun Strowman into a babyface could be the magic potion? If he is allowed to BEAT Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34 (possibly ending Lesnar as a WWE superstar, his contract expires by then) in the "Tito Plan" that's listed above, he could be a really big star. Strowman is "larger than life" and improving both on his promos and in the ring. Maybe...

My strongest Babyface recommendation remains, however, to #ReuniteTheShield.

WWE has to get OUT of this mindset that HEELS should be dominant World Champions. They keep pushing heels to the top and keeping them on top over and over again... That's where Triple H's influence holds firm. Because he THINKS that he got over as a #1 dominating heel, that's the route that the WWE should take. History says otherwise. Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana).


Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Money in the Bank PREDICTIONS

"You'll have to excuse me as I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this crap one more time!" -Bill Hicks


Smackdown Women's Title: Naomi (c) vs. Lana
Too funny. If Lana wins, then Charlotte and Becky should just walk out.



Smackdown Tag Title: Usos (c) vs. New Day
WWE wouldn't have moved the New Day to Smackdown to not market them as stars. Usos just aren't catching on any more since their open association with Roman Reigns. And I agree. That's a shame because the Usos have talent as a tag team but the WWE just struggles to market them as something special.



Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella
I'm actually excited for this. It's unique, it's a first time match for them, and I like most of the competitors. I believe that a HEEL wins this match and it could either be Carmella or a heel turning Charlotte Flair. I could see Charlotte turning on Becky to join the "Welcoming Committee"... Maybe her "4 Horse-women"? In my opinion, there could be big money in a Charlotte vs. Becky feud if the WWE wanted to push it. You have two lean yet strong, tall, and very athletic women in their primes? Yeah, that could work.



Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
So who will be the future WWE Title holder on Smackdown? I believe that the chips go on Baron Corbin and quite possibly, he makes John Cena's 17th WWE Title run (after he possibly beats Jinder at a future Pay Per View) is shortened with Baron Corbin cashes in. The rest have had their shorts or I don't believe WWE is ready to push Nakamura just yet.

WHO SHOULD WIN: AJ Styles, the best in the business.

WHO WILL WIN: Baron Corbin


WWE Title: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton
Honestly, I don't know where the WWE is going. On one hand, Smackdown's ratings were dropping hard with Orton's WWE Title push. On the other, Jinder isn't growing the ratings as champion. In my opinion, Orton should NOT be champion and I believe that "Free Agent" John Cena's return will coincide with John Cena feuding and winning World Title #17 against Jinder after Money in the Bank.

WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Jinder Mahal to see if Cena can give him any kind of superstar rub as a Main Eventer for long-term purposes.


Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com - 1998-2017

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