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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Early WWE Wrestlemania 33 Preview and Chris Jericho's List News Story
By Mr. Tito
Feb 26, 2017 - 12:15:31 AM
Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com by yours truly, Mr. Tito. I keep getting hammered by the few fans of Roman Reigns and Randy Orton who are lusting over their big Wrestlemania pushes right now. I, of course, just present black & white facts in terms of hard viewership numbers that declined when Orton was champion and since Roman's push starting in early 2014. If I didn't have declined viewership numbers backing up my criticisms, how could I criticize them?
ANYWAY, I want to get away from my weekly preaching on WWE Creative and Vince McMahon's decisions on who should be pushed as their #1 stars. However, what I do want to praise is how GOOD Wrestlemania 33 mostly looks. Sure, I'm disappointed that John Cena vs. Undertaker isn't happening, but WWE won't have John Cena for months after Wrestlemania. Maybe that's reserved to headline SummerSlam 2017? But the show looks fine... While the WWE veterans are owning large chunks of the center stage, Wrestlemania 33 is presenting many younger stars (Reigns, Owens, Miz, Harper, Wyatt, Corbin, Ambrose, Strowman, and Rollins) real opportunities to "steal the show".
What I also have fears of is that Wrestlemania 33 will be the "swan song" of the current RAW and Smackdown rosters. To keep interest up during the Spring & Summer, I believe that Trades or possibly another DRAFT may occur to shake things up. That's disappointing because the Smackdown roster is really showing great chemistry among its talent whereas RAW has the talent to possibly get it together. Great performances by the younger stars could help influence some of those roster moves.
You have to give credit to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter who has had the scoop on the entire Wrestlemania 33 card from his newsletters that were weeks before Royal Rumble 2017 (or WWE faxed or emailed him the minutes from WWE Board or Creative meetings). He called that Randy Orton was winning the Rumble, Champions would change after the Rumble, Cena vs. Miz mixed tag match, Goldberg may walk in as WWE Champion (before Fastlane match was announced), Reigns vs. Undertaker, and we're just waiting to see AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon get booked. Stay tuned for this week's Smackdown for the seeds of that match getting planted. Based on Dave's reporting and the trends of what I'm seeing, here's what the current Wrestlemania 33 card looks like as of right now:
- Andre the Giant Battle Royal - Braun Strowman is winning this, period.
- Multi-person match from Smackdown Women's Division involving Natalya, Alexa Bliss, Mickey James, and Becky Lynch... Natalya turns face? Tag Match? 4 Way?
- 4 Way RAW Women's Title Match: Charlotte (c - she's winning at Fastlane) vs. Bayley vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
- Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, but this could end up being either Triple H/Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins or Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins
- American Alpha (c) vs. Usos for Smackdown Tag Titles
- John Cena/Nikki Bella vs. Miz/Maryse
- Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Title.
- Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
- Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Title
- Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper for the WWE Title
- Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
- Bill Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title
That looks good... Plenty of opportunities for many wrestlers to shine and also for many veterans to put another feather in their cap.
For my analysis, I'm going to totally disregard the TAG TEAM and WOMEN's Divisions. I do not like the present Creative directions for both, as they are hotshotting title changes and/or have a pathetic contendership system. Ditto for the CRUISERWEIGHT Division which I could spend an entire column giving you 205 reasons why I dislike that WWE abomination. WWE's weakness is their midcard and how poorly wrestlers are developed on the undercard for the main roster. Many wrestlers get crazy over from their time in NXT and then they hit an immediate wall when they join the WWE. That, and the contendership systems for title belts are complete grease fires. Smackdown will tease with their Women's Division having nice feuds like anyone wrestling Nikki Bella (Carmella, Natalya), but then they place Carmella with James Ellsworth after that nice feud. Meanwhile, Naomi comes back from injury and 1 month later, she wins the Women's Title. Huh? Surprise surprise, she gets injured while winning the Title. First, test of a wrestler is unbreakable and then give them the title.
I'm also going to disregard AJ Styles being required to wrestle a backyard wrestler named Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania. I'm PRAYING that we see a booking change there, as AJ Styles was your WWE Champion for much of 2016 after the Brand Split and forcing him to sell for a non-wrestler in his late 40s is a joke. After Survivor Series, too, Shane should not be in the ring again. That was scary stuff, if you'll recall.
- I really like the Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin match-up. After Brock Lesnar was sleepwalking through their match-up last year, I believe that Ambrose has a chip on his shoulder to prove himself at Wrestlemania. In fact, he's been very solid in the ring since Wrestlemania 32. But Baron Corbin is clicking right now with both his personality and improving in the ring. His in-ring ability has quickly caught up with his tough personality and he now looks legitimate. With the early goings of this feud, Ambrose and Corbin could make it look like a legitimate fight where anything goes.
- Of course Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the US Title will be great... Personally, I wish that the WWE Universal Title would be on the line as a reward towards Owens, but I doubt it... Why else would Goldberg vs. Owens be booked at Fastlane? This match will be great and will have lots of heat... However, it appears very obvious to me that Kevin Owens will win it because Chris Jericho begins his FOZZY touring during May. The WWE will have to sell that Jericho has a legitimate shot to win this regardless of that news. Furthermore, can this match open up a rematch for, say, SummerSlam, or another Pay Per View later during 2017? Either way, you KNOW that Chris Jericho will put up one of his finest efforts to put Owens over as a real "thank you" for the past year. Jericho is generous, too, just ask Fandango (ugh!).
- Not sure what's going on with Seth Rollins but also what WWE's plans are for Samoa Joe. WWE might just go with Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins now and hold off the Triple H match for, say, SummerSlam. Easy way to get heat on that Triple H vs. Rollins match is to obviously have Triple H cost Rollins his match against Joe at Wrestlemania 33. They could also do a Handicap match between HHH/Joe vs. Rollins as another way to easily build more heat.
- I honestly have no real problems with John Cena/Nikki Bella vs. Miz/Maryse. The INTERESTING part of this match is how John Cena, for the first time on WWE Television (besides Total Divas & Total Bellas), will acknowledge his relationship with Nikki Bella. Other women have attacked Nikki verbally for her relationship with John, but Cena has NEVER fully acknowledged his relationship on WWE television. Now, however, this feud will put a big spotlight on it. Why not acknowledge it and use it as a source of heat for an interesting match-up? Miz is on fire right now and John Cena is still great. Nikki, and I know that I'll get heat for this, is a decent worker. Ask Natalya and Carmella who Nikki helped look great during their feuds. We'll see how much ring rust that Maryse has, but I'm sure that she'll be ready for the match. If anything, it will be impressive to see the 2 most beautiful females on the WWE roster going at it... If Playboy still did nude spreads, I'd suggest that those 2 are the most "Playboy Ready" on the entire roster. No doubt about it. Getting back to the wrestling product, the question will be if John Cena will "do business" and put over the Miz strong before Cena takes some time off for more Hollywood stuff. I bet he does...
- For Roman Reigns vs. the Undertaker... Think about this... During the 1990s, would you argue that Undertaker was a talented worker? He showed glimpses, as he's a tremendous athlete and can do things like walking on the ropes. Besides his matches with Mankind, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin who are each HISTORICALLY GREAT WORKERS... Any other good matches you can name? For the most part during Undertaker's career, he was selling the "Deadman" gimmick and wrestling against hosses who couldn't or wouldn't bump for him. It wasn't until his 2000 return from the torn groin injury of late 1999 that Undertaker's in-ring ability began to shine. Why? Because he was freed from the "Deadman" gimmick but also for his incorporation of a MMA fighting style. Undertaker LOVES the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and has been seen at their events. He began to add more punching, grappling and mat wrestling, and submission holds into his moveset. The end result was that Undertaker began pad his resume with great matches no matter who the opponent was. Hell, he's still doing that even in his late 40s.
Roman Reigns, in my opinion, needs to do EXACTLY what Undertaker did during 2000. Begin to incorporate a MMA fighting style into his moveset. Roman throws one of the most real looking punches in the business. Why not focus on doing more punches as transitional moves while also adding ground & pound like moves? He's too reliant on doing specific moves like the Drive By, Spear, Powerbomb (often through a table), or Superman punch while having no realism in his fighting style. He's a former football player who was close to making it as a professional. However, he's too reliant on WWE's marketing to say he's tough instead of showing it in the ring. He should be manhandling wrestlers with his punches but what's truly absent from Roman's moveset is a SUBMISSION HOLD. He needs a submission hold so that he can work on limbs, the back, or the neck to ADD PSYCHOLOGY to set-up the submission hold getting locked in. And as I've said during other columns (I also suggested this move for Chris Masters), the most DEVASTATING submission hold that I've ever seen and been locked into is a Full Nelson/Camel Clutch combo which Roman can call the "Reign of Terror". He could just pound on an opponents back, stretch their arms backward while his knee is driven into their spine, etc. Fewer spots but more realism as a fighter... That's the ticket to improve Roman as an in-ring worker and it will improve (or hide) his endurance issues in the ring. Again, REMEMBER what the Undertaker changed about his fighting style during 2000...
Not bashing Roman... TRYING TO HELP.
- Based on the way the booking is going, it appears that we may see a Wyatt Family 3 way match. How? Well, Luke Harper will somehow win this week on Smackdown in a controversial fashion (Bray Wyatt tries to attack but accidentally hits AJ Styles instead... AJ complains to Shane McMahon about the finish and that gets testy to set up AJ vs. Shane) and suddenly, it's Bray Wyatt vs. Luke Harper at Wrestlemania 33. Then, however, Randy Orton decides to cash in his Royal Rumble #1 contendership and the match becomes Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper with it being sold as Bray/Orton vs. Harper as a makeshift handicap match. Heading into Wrestlemania 33, the hype will be about whether or not Randy Orton shows loyalty or turns on Bray Wyatt to lust over the WWE Title. I wouldn't doubt that Orton helps Bray will to keep this mystery going and then maybe blow it off at SummerSlam 2017? Either way, it will be interesting and because Goldberg/Lesnar is LIKELY to be the Main Event, the pressure isn't on this match to automatically deliver. It can just tell its story and we'll enjoy it because honestly, it's the best storyline that Randy Orton has been involved with for years. Better yet, it's also been a vehicle for Harper and Wyatt to quickly climb the ladder.
- The MAIN EVENT of Wrestlemania 33 will be Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. If this match goes on earlier and if the Wyatt Family match is on last, you have that risk of fans leaving the stadium early. This is the match that sells mainstream appeal to pack seats and if it's for the WWE Universal Title, it's the definite main event. I believe that it will be... This is the obvious HUGE match of the card... The question is this: will it be good? I wouldn't doubt that Lesnar defeats Goldberg in a quick fashion this time around. Goldberg is 50 years old and exposing him to a longer match will repeat the same mistakes of Wrestlemania 20 during 2004. Then again, WWE might want another trainwreck to have fans talking. Once Goldberg loses to Lesnar, the bloom is off the rose for Goldberg's drawing power in the WWE. It's almost risky to have Goldberg wrestling Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane but I figure Chris Jericho will quickly interfere and knock out Owens via "the List" clipboard cracking across Owens's face during the match. I fully expect Lesnar to win this match and then Lesnar goes on to the next RAW Pay Per View and possibly drops the WWE Universal Title to Roman Reigns. Reigns defeats the Undertaker and then defeats Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title. To quote Jim Ross, you cannot be "half pregnant"... If Vince McMahon wants Roman to be the #1 guy, just do it and be confident about pushing him as your Champion. Don't halfass it with Roman as the WWE did during late 2015 and the first half of 2016.
THE LAST WORD
As reported also on LordsofPain.net but also popping up in my news feed, I came across this story from News 13 from Orlando, FL:
A Poinciana middle school is downplaying safety concerns after reports of a student who brought a "kill list" to class, though some parents aren’t taking the allegations lightly.
The Sheriff's Office incident report said deputies contacted the student who created the list and his family. According to the report, the family claims the boy got the idea from watching World Wrestling Entertainment and mimicking pro wrestler Chris Jericho, whose gimmick is that he keeps "The List," a list of people he dislikes. The family said the boy had no intention of harming anyone.
This is ridiculous. First and foremost, I HATE stories like this because it will cause the public-relations-sensitive WWE Corporation to potentially ban Chris Jericho's list and any mention of his storyline using "The List". We're in the post-Benoit and PG-Era now and the WWE does not any negative headlines towards itself or the WWE brand. WWE's main corporate offices are thick with marketing Vice President title types who will send Vince McMahon reports and polls about how WWE projects itself as it relates to its programming. The mere fact Chris Jericho's list was specifically named by the family as the source of blame for the "kill list" being created will drive the corporate types in Stamford, CT crazy. Vince McMahon is probably getting pounded with emails from corporate types urging him to BAN the "List". Ooops, WWE Shopzone has just added that as a product. I bet that many WWE Corporate employees will be required to carry clipboards to meetings soon...
But let's be honest about Chris Jericho's "List". It's silly. The Jericho character is NOT threatening, nor is he following up on any entry to that list. Because Jericho, as a heel and as an older wrestler, needs something to outwit his opponent... Adding them to a growing list on a clipboard has been his way of taunting his opponents. Not once has Jericho said it was a "KILL LIST", nor has he ever executed any jobs based on that list. List is growing and growing for no real reason whatsoever other than the heel's arrogance to make himself feel better. That's it... It was almost a way to compensate how his buddy was WWE Universal Champion and writing people on a list would attempt to make himself feel equally as big. And it got over...
Instead of blaming something in the media or in the Culture, why can't we psychologically analyze the kid instead?
The fact of the matter is that kid made a kill list to do harm to other schoolmates or whomever else. You have to be pretty upset about something or have mental issues in order to even consider doing that. Worse yet, to be unable to differentiate between the WWE, which is well known to be scripted and "just entertainment" and trying to re-enact what an entertainer is doing... Well, more issues that need resolved.
Surely, this kid had some signs of going off the deep end? If you look at some of the school shootings, the kids were bullied, kept to themselves, were quite vocal about how the school or other students were treating them, and often confided in others what they thought about doing. Someone, whether it was another student or a family member, had to see a sign of trouble. Worse yet, for anyone under the age of 18, their threats are never taken seriously until it escalates to the next level. Many of these shootings could have been avoided simply by a student being taken seriously by another student or an adult, family or from the school. Instead, the "kids will be kids" mentality was allowed and those students were allowed to go off the deep end and sadly pull off something really tragic.
I'm just giving you great advice now, whether it's in school, work, or within your family... If someone shows legitimate anger to the point where they could be threatening to harm themselves or others, SAY SOMETHING or DO SOMETHING. And question why they would go to the extremes of hurting themselves or others. Ask them what's wrong. Give them a shoulder to lean on. Get support groups involved. It's becoming a desperate world out there where everybody is in a damn hurry and wanting to fit in. There are many people out there who feel like they've been left behind by society. Everyone has to do what's right and be a big more inclusive or at least someone in the right direction. Many just want some attention by others... That's it. To be acknowledged in some way, shape, or form. It can go a long way and save many lives.
To blame pro wrestling, however, is sad... If it wasn't WWE, it would be another form of programming. In fact, WWE's shows are rated "PG". If you give a kid access to something like Netflix right now, they have unfiltered access to very violent shows and movies. And as many have said in the past, just watch the daily news... Filled with violent stories and criminal acts. Then, the media sensationalizes murder and other criminal activity. Don't believe me? Just look at WatchMojo, an online website and YouTube channel, who has a "Top 10 Infamous Serial Killers" list presentation along with other list shows just like it. I'm not calling for censorship, just making a point. School shootings happen, the media is all over it and they mention the killers by name and present their photos everywhere. Now that we have many 24/7 news cable channels, you can watch it all day long...
If it wasn't pro wrestling, this kid would find something else in media or pop culture to fill their void that society wasn't giving htem.
Just like I argued back in the early 2000s when wrestling was being blamed for sibling injuries or deaths when the older brother would piledrive their sister for real... Is that wrestling convincing them to harm their sibling or would that kid do it anyway? Is there something else going on in that mind that is making them unable to differentiate what's on television versus real life.
Isn't it funny how the WWE has completely scrubbed it's product of any violent headshots, vulgar language, certain moves (like the Piledriver), and has deeply involved itself in Anti-Bullying campaigns? Yet, WWE still receives the blame by society for various things. No matter what the WWE does to make their programming more family friendly, society always finds a way to scapegoat them for its problems. Meanwhile, shows on Prime Time have catered towards adults more than ever with extremely violent and vulgar programming. Just tune into FX or AMC right now or anything on Netflix. Furthermore, video games are increasing in violence and vulgarity. Grand Theft Auto, holy cow...
But, despite increased violence in television shows/movies and video games... Violent Crime since the early 1990s has actually been trending downward as indicated by Department of Justice numbers. Early 1990s, you say? Wasn't that before the Attitude Era during the late 1990s? With Mortal Kombat 1 being released during 1992, hmmm... It seems that violent crime in the United States has trended DOWNWARD ever since. Gee, what happened there? And then crime continued to go downward after the 2001 release of Grand Theft Auto 3 and continued to go downward as Vice City, San Andreas, GTA 4, and GTA 5 were released along with many, many copycat games. Oh, and First Person Shooters became of age during the mid 1990s with Doom and games like it, Golden Eye for the Nintendo 64, and then the explosion of Call of Duty. Hey, it looks like violent crime in the United States has continued to go down despite all of that. Many, many violent Films and Television shows since the early 1990s. Go watch Rambo 4, holy cow!
However, the media's portrayal of events makes it seem like there is CRIME EVERYWHERE. Again, we live in a 24/7 news cycle with many Cable channels and the Internet feeding us story after story to keep up with our short attention spans. Furthermore, there's political opportunity to shine a bigger spotlight on certain stories. Additionally, news channels have shifted from reporting the news to obtaining ratings without integrity. The media knows that if they report something about how the WWE might have influenced a young mind to harm someone, the outrage by wrestling fans will instantly be there. This story has circulated everywhere and you have yours truly writing a column on it tonight.
But I think that it's 100% BS to even remotely blame Chris Jericho's "List" as the influence on this kid forming a "kill list". This kid would have done something else to vent their frustration... If anything, maybe Chris Jericho should be THANKED because it made the kid actually form evidence of their intentions as opposed to keeping it all in their head. Simply put, finding this "list" may have stopped this kid from doing harm and saved lives. It could have caused them to keep it all in their head instead... Yikes.
Hopefully, this doesn't cause WWE Corporate to neuter what has been a great storyline angle for Chris Jericho, much like they censored Seth Rollin's "Curb Stomp" finisher a few years ago. If it suddenly goes away, it's a lost opportunity for Chris Jericho to remain relevant as a character. I'm sure that he'll reinvent himself again (because that's what GREAT wrestlers do), but that list is more over than most of the roster (Jericho said that even Vince acknowledges that on a Podcast, apparently). That, and the WWE Shopzone would have many unsold Lists and T-Shirts sitting on their shelves.
Don't be fooled, WWE Corporate... Don't over-react... Or you'll get something worse than an entry on my List... You'll get my FINGER OF SHAME!!!!
SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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