Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton Thoughts, WWE RAW/Smackdown Reviews, and More
By Mr. Tito
Feb 16, 2017 - 12:09:01 AM
Welcome back to the column that never sleeps exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. You always know that when you click into a Mr. Tito column, you'll get the most brutally honest assessment of the pro wrestling world.
What I love most about watching RAW on the Hulu streaming service is the fact that I'm unable to watch RAW until Hulu makes it available on Tuesday. Especially after Pay Per View nights. Pay Per Views wear me out and because they raise the bar so high, the RAW following the event often falls short of expectations. But if you watch RAW on the USA Network, you're at least watching back-to-back nights of 3 hours of wrestling to watch. Then, add Smackdown LIVE and that's at least 8 hours to inhale in 3 nights... However, if you're a Hulu viewer, you have NO CHOICE but to take Monday Nights off... And it's wonderful!
Having the night off following a Pay Per View, though, gives you some perspective on the show that you've just watched. Having that extra day to digest what you just saw has been very helpful for me, particularly as a wrestling columnist.
I thought a lot about WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 during Monday and most of the day Tuesday... I mostly gave it a good review on Sunday Night but an additional day off made me really appreciate what Luke Harper just did. Can anyone remember the last good Randy Orton match, at least one with emotion that had you fully invested? I honestly can't... He had good athletic contests with CM Punk and John Cena but they lacked Orton showing fatigue, aggression, and a feeling that the other opponent could win. Orton just feels robotic in most of his matches, particularly ones where the outcome is not favorable to him. He's very much like his mentor Triple H who often did the same thing... If they were winning or invested in the storyline, they showed some emotion... But if they were losing or in a program they didn't like, nothing emotionally... You could see it last year with HHH when he knew that he was losing to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 32 and he didn't care to be there. Contrast that to Wrestlemania 21 when he wanted to put Batista over for the World Title. BIG difference.
I'm very happy for Bray Wyatt becoming WWE Champion on Sunday Night... Loved the way he was able to (a) beat John Cena with his finisher and (b) become champion by defeating the previous champion AJ Styles. It was a good night for Wyatt who has more than proven himself on big shows. HOWEVER... Does ONE NIGHT erase years of mixed pushes? Same can be said about Dean Ambrose last year when he won the WWE Title. On 1 night, the WWE had Ambrose winning the Money in the Bank and then cashing it in during the Main Event. However, between 2014-2016, Ambrose had a losing record on Pay Per Views and was repeatedly owned by certain opponents. For Bray Wyatt, they'd push him strong, then pull him back... Push him strong, then pull him back... Never consistent... Yet, 1 night is supposed to erase all of that and instantly get him over as World Champion and a main eventer?
It's why Roman Reigns keeps failing as a Main Eventer... WWE keeps trying to instantly make this guy the #1 babyface with moment after moment... Reigns is failing because he didn't flow through the typical promotional process that has made other wrestlers into big superstars. He went from a role player in the Shield to instant Main Eventer by earning multiple WWE Title shots after the Evolution/Shield feud during 2014.
As I keep stressing over and over and over and over again... There is a process for making MAIN EVENT superstars. Don't believe me? Look at the careers of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, the Rock, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H, Batista, and John Cena... Those guys grinded in the midcard until they started getting OVER as midcarders, many of whom were legitimately drawing as Intercontinental/United States Champions. They weren't instantly shoved to the Main Event or promoted as such by WWE's marketing, production, and announcing teams as the "Big Dog". Hell no... They worked their way up to the top like most human beings do at their workplace. And you've all seen that ONE GUY who got promoted earlier than he should have because management liked him or he was a suck-up. Always fails in the end.
Randy Orton during 2004 was a decent heel but he was heavily dependent on the overall heat that the Evolution stable (Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista, and Orton) had collectively. But the WWE did a completely foolish move by attempting to push him as a #1 babyface. Remember that? He beat
Chris Benoit some guy at SummerSlam 2004 and then Evolution turned on him on the RAW following. WWE tried hard to push him as a babyface, even trying to sell "Randy Wear" merchandise. Complete and utter failure that caused the WWE to pull the plug in ONE month! One month! Reminds me a lot of hard Roman Reigns push as #1 babyface yet the WWE refuses to pull the plug on Reigns. And the WWE refuses to pull the plug on Randy Orton, too... 12 time World Champion, folks, and what does Orton have to show for it?
Here's what I'll show you about Randy Orton...
Go back to Orton's LAST WWE Title Reign which was during late 2013 through Wrestlemania 30 during 2014. Before his SummerSlam 2013 theft of the WWE Title, RAW's ratings were holding with an average of 3.1. Between SummerSlam 2013 through the end of 2013, 2.8. But that's just part of it. Survivor Series 2013 was the worst drawing show in its history as headlined by Orton vs. Big Show. Then, of course, we saw the WWE completely scrap their 2014 plans of Batista vs. Randy Orton in favor of Daniel Bryan. And if you want to go before on his 2nd to last title reign when he held the World Heavyweight Championship during 2011 on Smackdown. Before May 2011 when Orton was World Champion, Smackdown was drawing at just above 2.0 in the ratings. During Orton's multiple reigns between May to September, ratings were consistently below 2.0. And then after Orton's last reign that year, back above 2.0 again.
Those are just facts... I'm using the data that's available. Based on what happened during 2011 for Smackdown and then 2013-2014, along with the 12 total World Title reigns... What does Randy Orton have to show for his WWE career to merit yet another BIG push? What happened during those 12 title reigns in less than 10 years to prove that he's worthy of another title run 3 years later? If I were a betting man, I figure we'll see AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton following Wrestlemania 33 and those could be very interesting match-ups... But again, we've seen Randy Orton as World Champion many times... And putting him with AJ Styles proves my point earlier. Just like Luke Harper pulled a great emotional match out of him, Styles could as well... But it's always the opponent making Orton great and himself making Orton or others great. Yet, the WWE blindly pushes him and keeps trying no matter what the fans say. It's the exact blueprint used to repeatedly try with Roman Reigns.
Just to correct everyone, though... It's very likely that Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar will be the MAIN EVENT of Wrestlemania 33. All of those fears of fans leaving the arena for Orton vs. Wyatt should be calmed. Lesnar and Goldberg are ending that show, period, especially if it's for the WWE Universal Title.
In short... I'm happy for Bray Wyatt, but worry that it's another "quick fix" World Title gift. I also worry we're going down the same road with Randy Orton once again...
I sincerely hope that I'm wrong.
How is it that in 2 nights, the WWE completely WRECKS both of their Women's Divisions. Seriously. Wrestlemania 33 doesn't have stability at their championship levels because they've hotshotted both of their titles just months away from the big show.
I personally like Naomi and am glad that she won the title for HER. Good person, good worker, and just a victim of bad injury circumstances just as she was about to be pushed. But Alexa Bliss was in a long program with Becky Lynch and just partnered with WWE veteran Mickie James. So what happens? Alexa loses cleanly at Elimination Chamber 2017. There's NO heat, folks... Naomi had nothing to do with the Women's Title ever since the initial championship match. In fact, she just came back from an injury before challenging Alexa. As I spoke about above with Wyatt, Orton, and Reigns... 1 night doesn't make you an instant champion. You've got to work your way up to that big match. After a long program with Lynch, Alexa loses quickly to Naomi who is just returning from injury. Bad psychology. Oh, and Naomi could be injured again... Just great.
Then, we have Bayley winning the RAW Women's Championship on, you guessed it, televised Monday Night RAW. Is this some sort of joke, WWE Creative? In a calendar year, Charlotte has now LOST the Women's Title 4 freakin' times on television. 4 times! Forget John Cena breaking Ric Flair's championship record, Charlotte is on her way! Whooooo! What a joke! And I'd argue that Bayley is NOT ready to be champion in the WWE. Again, it's what I described above... 1 BIG NIGHT does not make you into a major superstar. In the previous weak, Bayley lost to Nia Jax. In fact, since her RAW debut, Bayley's record isn't exactly stellar and she's not as strongly over as a babyface in the WWE because of it (compared to her in NXT).
You KNOW what will now happen for Wrestlemania 33... Fatal 4 ways, Triple Threat matches, 6 Pack Challenges... You name it. It's very likely that we'll get multi-person Women's Title matches because both divisions just lost credibility in their title belts.
What a shame.
RAW ratings are in... Just barely above 3 million. I'm LAUGHING at those in the comments section that attempted to mock me when RAW ratings were pushing 3.4 surrounding Royal Rumble. Yeah, when you have Bill Goldberg, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar appearing on your shows, ALL TIME GREATS, there will be older fans eating moutnfuls of member berries to see their old favorites. But that wears out thin and fans aren't showing excitement to see Samoa Joe now in the WWE either.
It all stems from WWE pushing the WRONG GUYS as Champions and #1 babyfaces. WWE just can't get it right and they let major opportunities (CM Punk during 2011, Daniel Bryan during 2013) just walk by them. WWE developmental just isn't creating the next generation of superstars as it once did as well. Good, but nobody even close to matching John Cena as a replacement. As I said above, the WWE just isn't developing wrestlers patiently by letting them (a) get over in the midcard first and (b) pushing them to the Main Event when the time is right. They've put the cart before the horse by instantly pushing people to the World Title without any climb to that level.
But hey, as long as that WWE Network and 19 Pay Per Views per year keep pulling in the dollars from the extremely loyal fanbase that won't stop watching no matter what... WWE won't change or fix itself. We're all suckers and addicts.
THE RAW SMACKDOWN
Here's a reason why RAW's 1st hour ratings were down compared to previous weeks: Stephanie McMahon starts off the show with mic in hand and enters the ring for a promo. If you tuned in to RAW 17 years ago, you'd realize that RAW began often in the same light. That's the problem... And then Roman Reigns comes out to loud boos and just struggles to talk to Stephanie. I never thought that I'd be happy to see Anderson & Gallows in my life. Somehow, because they suggested a handicap would be a great idea, Stephanie makes it a match. Sigh... And the handicap match was just another storyline driven handicap match without much hype behind it.
Of course, we get more of Roman Reigns later when he attacked Braun Strowman after his match with Mark Henry... To more boos. What does WWE expect at this point? They didn't naturally or organically get Reigns over as a midcard singles wrestler and thus they are paying for it by pushing him as a Main Event level wrestlers since 2014.
Smackdown, however, starts their show off right... WITH WRESTLERS. Sure, Daniel Bryan joined the segment but only at the tail end to help facilitate a huge match-up for the night. Bray Wyatt comes out for a little WWE Title celebration but John Cena soon joins. Kinda damning words sent towards Bray by Cena, saying that the fans were wrong in saying "You Deserve It" because as Cena's shirt says, you have to "Earn it". Pretty sure that I saw Bray eliminate John Cena and then pinning AJ Styles. Of course, AJ Styles joins the conversation and he demands his WWE Title rematch. That's when Daniel Bryan joins the segment and makes a HUGE Triple Threat for the evening. You know what's SAD? This HUGE Pay Per View like proportion match and it only draws 2.6 million viewers... Ugh. Could argue Valentine's Day, but that's a MASSIVE match given away for free.
WHATEVER on Sami Zayn defeating Rusev. WWE lost me on Sami Zayn a while ago and he's like the Dolph Ziggler of the RAW roster. And I honestly don't care about Rusev, either... Let both become jobbers but sold as upper midcarders, I don't care.
American Alpha vs. Ascension was just OK... There's just not much heat for the Ascension and there hasn't been since their call-up from NXT from a few years ago. How did they dominate as NXT Tag Champions for so long in that promotion? WWE needs to gets someone to directly agent the Tag Division on Smackdown to help all teams do well.
Emmalina... Really? Months of video hype and we get nothing? And she's not Emmalina? What a joke. WWE Creative has no clue what they are doing. Emma was a complete badass during 2015-2016 before she rejoined the WWE main roster and then injury struck... But why stray from that? She was hot but a badass as well. Now, the message as to what she's become is confusing.
I LOVE where WWE is presently going with Baron Corbin. They are pushing him as a legitimate badass heel and he now looks & acts the part. Dean Ambrose had a match with James Ellsworth but of course, Corbin ambushed him. And then he cut a simple, but effective promo. This guy is clicking and Creative has been there for him (how about helping Apollo??).
Nothing wrong with that Natalya and Nikki Bella segment... Seems like they do better doing non-conventional stuff. "Falls Count Anywhere" could get interesting.
Festival of Friendship was FANTASTIC... Reminded me a lot of Vince Russo's last major WWE contribution, the "This is Your Life" segment between Mick Foley and the Rock. Chris Jericho's painting gift to Kevin Owens was quite impressive. Good to see that Gillberg can appear at a moment's notice, too... Then, Owens getting Jericho a "gift" of a KO List with Jericho's name on it and then the brutal beatdown that followed. Great stuff... I just wonder if the heel turn was worth it now or if Jericho causing Goldberg to lose to cause the break-up would have been better? Who knows, but it appears that Bill Goldberg is very likely to become WWE Universal Champion now. Two nice touches on this segment to discuss... (1) Jericho's last promo of the segment in which he said that the past year was "one of his favorite years" and appreciated the friendship he formed with Owens. You could see that Jericho tearing up just a tad when he said that. 100% authentic. (2) Owens tossing Jericho into the HD Television. That reminded me of Shawn Michaels tossing Marty Jannetty into the barbershop window back in the day. Nice modern twist on a turn.
Good match-up between Mickie James & Becky Lynch... I just love the addition to Mickie James to Smackdown. Fits the brand well and her character is great. She's been showing resentment about her past being ignored by the WWE and it fits perfectly for her heel character.
Andre the Giant's "story will finally be told"? Huh? I remember reviewing a documentary attached to a WWE video in the past. It used to air on A&E from time to time, I believe.
Little too much from Alexa Bliss and not much rebuttal from Naomi. Fans got bored with the one-sided segment that they began Austin's "WHAT?" chants.
MAIN EVENT of RAW was Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley for the RAW Women's Title. At least they hyped this match a week ahead of time, but shouldn't we be saving this match for the Pay Per View? Oh wait, Queen Charlotte wins all Pay Per View matches. My bad. Hilarious to hear Michael Cole say "in a short time, Charlotte has become one of the greatest Women's Champions of all time". What the hell, Cole? You've seen her LOSE 3 times in the past year on RAW. By the way, notice how Charlotte is now referred to as "Charlotte Flair" by the announcer? It was a good wrestling match, too... Some high risks, but for the most part, just 2 ladies working an actual wrestling match. Then, Sports Entertainment took over when Dana Brooke interfered and then Sasha Banks ran down to not only take out Brooke, but hit Charlotte with a crutch when the Figure 8 was applied. Like Naomi Sunday Night, I'm happy for the person with Bayley winning. Just wonder how useful a title change so close to Wrestlemania 33 and also on television will do for her. I guess we'll see.
MAIN EVENT of Smackdown was the Triple Threat WWE Title match between John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt (c). Holy cow... How is this match not pushing Smackdown up to at least 4 million viewers? Giving it away for free... Know what's cool? Champion Bray Wyatt entered the match last, how it should be. Champions go out last to the ring, period. Before the match could even start, Luke Harper ambushes Bray Wyatt! Holy cow... Match was full of energy because again, fans attending Smackdown are getting a legitimate Pay Per View quality match for the WWE title. Who decided to give this away for FREE?!?! AJ Styles continues to prove why he's immune to Attitude Adjustments... Seriously. Bray Wyatt too... Of course, Cena is immune to the Styles Clash... LOVED the ending with Bray Wyatt winning the match 100% clean and pinning John Cena. Two nights in a row... Good for him. When I wrote my column about "potential" top wrestlers, I should have given Wyatt some credit. He's a hell of a wrestler when healthy. I love the dreadlocks on Bray Wyatt lately. Nice touch to the look.
After the match, Randy Orton arrives and states "as long as you are the master and I am the servant", he will not challenge Bray Wyatt for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. Wow... And of course, they pose with the Wrestlemania logo.
Smackdown > RAW, but only because Smackdown had an absurdly good Main Event that should be on Pay Per View.
SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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