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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - My 2017 Wrestling Awards, Vince McMahon and the XFL, RAW Ratings, and More
By Mr. Tito
Dec 24, 2017 - 11:59:59 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

Welcome back to the column that is often imitated yet never duplicated... It's Mr. Tito Strikes Back exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Hell, I have people from other websites trying to troll this column. One would figure that after 19 years, I'd struggle to remain relevant... Not so in my case as my numbers for 2016-2017 have been damn good and I'm pretty happy with the quality of my columns during that timeframe. Whatever y'all want to do to keep publicizing my columns, go ahead and mock... Because I'm not going away anytime soon. How do you like them apples?

Speaking of trolling... I always enjoy when I write serious columns like my recent ones that related WWE's business operations to Net Neutrality or the recent Tax Cuts, it's rather quiet around Commentland. I guess when I'm not thrashing your former Indy darling or daring to suggest that WWE is a wrestling promotion in decline, your blood pressure goes down... Then, I have many of my longtime readers wondering where the venom was in my last few columns. They remember the older days when my younger self could be quite ruthless at times. Funny how it works...

Let's get back to business...

HEADLINE NEWS!!!!

Since I dedicated myself to serious topics, I didn't cover several headlines that were out there... Allow me to play catch-up:

RAW Viewership remains UNDER 3 Million Viewers
The 12/19/18 edition of RAW had an average of being just under 2.8 million this week with an embarrassing 3rd hour that actually did under 2.5 million viewers. In case you're counting (you know that I am), that is 14 out of the last 16 weeks that we've been under 3 million viewers of RAW... Feels a little permanent to me...

Funny thing was that many WWE apologists or Roman Reigns marks were like "see, see, see, Roman was not on the show and ratings were still bad". Oh dear... Folks, what has the been the creative direction of the WWE since early 2014? GET ROMAN REIGNS OVER AS THE #1 BABYFACE. And what was the WWE's back-up plan to that in case Roman failed? Oh... Wait a second, there was none! Any wrestlers who were getting remotely popular from 2014-2017 were picked off by the Creative Team. Remember that "great" WWE No Mercy show? You know, he one where Brock Lesnar disposed of Braun Strowman rather quickly? 2 Pay Per Views before that, Lesnar dispatched of Samoa Joe rather quickly as well.

Sooooo... When you have no real #2 babyface to act as a "substitute teacher" for your overpushed #1 guy (Reigns), what is going to happen?

And let's give Brock Lesnar a break... He's forced to wrestle in a Triple Threat with Braun Strowman, whom he has already defeated, and Kane. Seriously... Kane. Oddly enough, they've never met as Kane was on the RAW brand and Lesnar was on Smackdown from 2002-2004. Yet, that era was at least 13 years ago and Kane is in his upper 40s. Now, I'm not that crazy on should-be-205-Live Finn Balor, but the alternative to Balor bumping for Lesnar is handing him to large pieces of flesh? Yikes...

Vince McMahon sells WWE stock to begin funding XFL - Part Deux
If there's anybody crazy to start-up a pro football league that nobody wants not once but twice, it's Vince McMahon. He reportedly cashed in $100 million worth of WWE Shares to reportedly help fund this league. For those of you wondering if Vince has relinquished his IRON GRIP on the WWE Corporation, dream on. Vince owned 35 million Shares of WWE stock to personally own about 40% of the company while the WWE Corporation, which he's still the #1 personal shareholder of and he's CEO/Board Chairman to control the WWE Corporation's owned shares (about another 40%). Vince sold when the shares were around $31 per, thus if you divide that into $100 million, you'll find that Vince sold just over 3 million shares. So he'll still have upwards of 31 million shares left.

That said, if his attention is going towards Pro Football again, Vince McMahon needs to RETIRE as CEO and Board Chairman of the WWE Corporation. In fact, shareholders AND wrestlers themselves collectively should demand it.

Why would I say such a thing?

"Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it". - George Santayana 1905-1906

Vince McMahon has proven that most projects outside of pro wrestling have been failures. World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF), XFL Football, and WWE Films for the most part. In particular with WBF and XFL where Vince's managerial attention was there, it spread Vince TOO THIN during those eras. 1991-1993 was a disaster for WWE and hurt the morale of his WWE locker room for his weightlifter payouts despite WBF taking losses. Then during 2001, Vince botched major storylines from Steve Austin's heel turn to the WCW/ECW Invasion.

Vince is a good WRESTLING promoter... When he gets distracted by other things such as XFL, WBF, WWE Films, legal trials, or something like attempting the Television Product look too perfect or Corporate friendly... Vince loses his edge and the WWE product suffers.

I'll make the easy call right now... XFL - Part Deux will FAIL.

While the National Football League (NFL) is getting bad publicity and numbers are down for the past 2 seasons... NFL is still much, much larger during 2017 than it was during 2001 and we're talking by a few $ billions. Each franchise is worth over a $ billion by themselves and each network (FOX, ESPN, CBS, and NBC) pay upwards of $1 Billion or more PER YEAR for NFL coverage.

For anyone even remotely suggesting that "President Donald Trump will help Vince McMahon and the XFL", I laugh at your suggestion. Many of the NFL owners, who are all billionaires themselves, were big 2016 Trump campaign donors. Believe me, they have more influence over Donald Trump and his policies than Vince McMahon. I don't care if Linda McMahon is in Trump's cabinet... Money talks. Many suggest that Trump is bitter about not being allowed to become an NFL owner or the failures of the USFL, but he probably likes the financial contributions of the NFL owners. He's over that... For the NFL, I think that Trump saw many of his voters reacting to the National Anthem controversy and pounced on hit for political gain. Nothing more to it than that, as Trump won't help back Vince McMahon defeat the NFL.

Now, where Donald Trump might have helped Vince was on the recent Tax Cuts... It depends on whether Vince's stock was considered "Long Term" or "Short Term". If Long Term, there is a lesser Capital Gains Tax rate than Short Term which falls into the Income Tax range.

The TV deal is the part that I believe stuns Vince McMahon on starting up XFL Part Deux. NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC are all in bed with the NFL and probably have exclusive rights baked into that contract. Cable? Won't be Comcast channels if NBC's NFL contract has something to say... TBS and TNT want no part of that. That, and we have 2001 to look back on how Vince McMahon THINKS that a football league is operated. Complete failure.

The ONLY way that I believe that XFL Part Deux is that if it's scripted football...

In other words, XFL is not a legit sports league but fits under "Sports Entertainment". Games are 100% scripted and winners/losers are predetermined.

Before you think that I'm CRAZY, consider this... Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick, and Johnny Manziel are 4 of the more polarizing quarterbacks yet there's also arguments that their talent has fallen off to be an NFL starter. Regardless of where you feel on each player, if the SCRIPTED XFL, they can look great! All of the sudden, Safeties and Cornerbacks pull back a tad and let those quarterbacks have GREAT days. Gee, they just happen to miss a tackle... You could script fights, locker room confrontations, relationship drama with your cheerleaders, etc. Hell, many great football players can now play into their 40s in the "safe" yet SCRIPTED XFL league. Michael Vick could join the XFL and LOOK AMAZING again because defenders are making him look great.

Think I'm crazy?

Look at Pro Wrestling right now... Notice how there are many late 30s wrestlers and others in their late 40s still around? Freakin' Batista made a comeback during 2014 in his mid 40s and was still pushed like a top guy. Brock Lesnar had a disease that cut his UFC career short yet he still looks like a jackhammer in the WWE. Hell, Lesnar has questions about staying "clean" in the UFC and was suspended... Well, you'll get 30 days for that first time violation in the WWE (still waiting on that Wellness Policy strike, by the way). Undertaker is a broken down old man yet he can still be maintained as "great" year after year. It wasn't until he wrestled a substandard worker like Roman Reigns where that age issue was heavily exposed. Hell, look at what happened with 50 year old Bill Goldberg this past year!

In my opinion, a SCRIPTED XFL - Part Deux that preserves stars is the ONLY way this league succeeds. XFL would just have to get clever on hiding HOW scripted it is or else they'll become like WWE through 2017...

I'd argue that a scripted XFL would be quite safe for the football players. They wouldn't go for those violent hits because their job is different. Just look the part...

Dean Ambrose out 2-3 Months with a Biceps Tear
Bummer. That's a shame as we won't see much impact of the Shield's reunion... Oh wait, we didn't see that before either when you reduce its credibility as a rogue unit with T-Shirts made on their reunion, Kurt Angle joining them temporarily, Triple H (former sworn enemy!) joining them temporarily, or having the group be a prop for Roman. In the past, the Shield were evenly divided in attention... Now, it's 100% Roman. I'd argue that the Shield has helped Roman get some confidence... But you cannot teach talent to a guy without talent. Zero personality, possible health condition that causes heavy sweating and shortness of breath, and reliant on 3 wrestling moves as a crutch with no concept of psychology.

Dean is someone that the WWE has never been behind outside of the Shield... I doubt that they'll care to market him any differently when he returns. Best of luck healing up, though!

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2017 Mr. Tito Awards for Pro Wrestling

My annual awards, although I'm not too excited to give them out. 2017 was an off year for the WWE year. Too many television shows and Pay Per Views YET not enough pushed talent to fill those shows was a constant problem. Plus, the focus of the WWE was on getting Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns over as top guys... Meanwhile, they had a rising star like Braun Strowman and a guy who drew REAL ratings like Samoa Joe underneath of them yet they had Brock Lesnar destroy both in a short period of time. So is Brock the new "walking glass ceiling".

Now, I am changing things a bit... I'm adding the tag of "WWE" to my awards. I am realizing that New Japan had a pretty good 2017 and that the likes of Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada put on outstanding matches throughout the year. I have seen several of their matches during 2017 as readers have pointed them out to me... I enjoyed what I saw even if the style wasn't my "cup of tea". However, I respect what NJPW is doing and hope that they continue to grow. They have obvious barriers in their way that they must overcome to grow further as a company which is why they probably signed Chris Jericho. Out of respect for what NJPW did during 2017, I'm going to make sure that my awards are WWE specific. However, I will note that I regularly watch Ring of Honor (ROH) but they won't be winning any of my awards.

BEST PAY PER VIEW: Survivor Series 2017
Most will hate on me for this, but I enjoyed the show overall... Many hated the Main Event despite all of that talent but I was fine with it. The rest of the show kicked arse and that's what often matters more because the Main Event did its job BEFORE the show even started... It brought you there to watch the show.

BEST FEMALE WRESTLER: Alexa Bliss
Simply put, "body of work" for the entire year. In my opinion, the best female worker and performer is Charlotte Flair. However with Charlotte, Smackdown did NOTHING with her since the "Superstar Shake-up". Bliss dominated both brands during 2017 and remains the top female star on RAW. Hard to argue this one...

BEST TAG TEAM (Anywhere): The Usos
While their characters weren't always clicking (faces to heels and now apparently back to faces again), their in-ring stuff was always solid. No matter what combination of New Day that they fought, both Uso brothers brought it each and every time. In my opinion, the Usos greatly helped Smackdown during 2017 by giving it something in the midcard.

WWE MATCH OF THE YEAR: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Just a pure car crash of a match. Collectively, these 4 guys felt like legitimate heavyweights and it made SummerSlam 2017 feel special. I loved how much Brock SOLD for everyone and I felt that made Braun, in particular, look amazing. That said, the WWE pissed away any growth for Braun during 2018 by immediately jobbing him to Brock at the very next Pay Per View!

WWE MALE WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Brock Lesnar
This is where the controversy begins... "But but but but he's only part time". Go watch his Wrestlemania 33 match with Bill Goldberg, SummerSlam 4 Way, and the Survivor Series match with AJ Styles... Look at how much the WWE Universal Champion SELLS for his opponents! He made a 50 year old Bill Goldberg look like a freakin's superhero! Braun Strowman looked like the next big thing in that SummerSlam match! Then with AJ, Brock sold for a much smaller human being and pulled off one of the year's best WWE matches. I overall like the Samoa Joe match even though it was short. The stuff BEFORE that match was excellent as Lesnar was selling Joe as a big deal. Joe vs. Lesnar has a real "MMA feel" to it but the match was just a tad short. I felt that Braun Strowman just looked flat against Lesnar at No Mercy. Sometimes, "LESS IS MORE" and when Lesnar appeared during 2017, it was the WWE's finest moments.

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THE LAST WORD

That's all I can grind out today on Christmas Eve as I punish this porcelain Honda for a brief break in the day... I hope that you have a GREAT Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas.

As I said in several other columns, take good care of yourself, the ones you love, and also reach out to anyone in need. Not everybody is as fortunate as you... If you see someone struggling, reach out a hand... Everybody needs somebody to lean on.

We'll see how the rest of the week goes but at the very least, watch out for 12/31/17 when the 2018 Predictions column releases.

THANK YOU very much for reading!

SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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

Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

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

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