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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Paige's Leaked Videos, RAW/Smackdown Thoughts, and More on WWE Talent
By Mr. Tito
Mar 23, 2017 - 12:13:01 AM
Welcome back to the lean, mean, buffed, and JACKED Mr. Tito column exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Since October 1998, I've been bringing the chunder that you cannot get enough of... Many claim to dislike it, but yet I keep seeing the same repeat haters returning over and over again... You secretly like me, you really do...
Anyway, let's talk about sex baby... Let's talk about all the good things and all of the bad things that make me.
WWE Women's wrestler Paige recently had her phone hacked and lots of foul stuff was revealed online. Let's just say that she takes pictures and videos of everything and it might involve fellow WWE employees like Brad Maddox (now gone) and current New Day Member Xavior Woods. Yikes and what was revealed was very graphic, probably something that the PG-Era and Politically Correct WWE Corporation doesn't want their fans to see. The videos and pictures have spread all over the internet.
Several things to consider...
(1) Paige had no intentions of making those pics/videos public. Just like Seth Rollins and Hulk Hogan who had graphic material released on them, without their consent, she should not get punished. WWE hired Hogan back after his sex tape came out (fired after the racial comments came out) and WWE did not punish Rollins when pics of him were revealed from an ex-lover. Therefore, WWE does not have grounds to punish Paige or Xavior Woods based on the video/picture reveals alone.
(2) NXT Women's Title = WWE Property. That's the only grounds where Paige could be terminated by the WWE. If you don't know what I'm talking about, let's just say that if you ran a ultraviolet black light across the NXT Women's Title... Yeah.
(3) The Paige movie is backed by WWE Studios. MGM has agreed to distribute it and The Rock has signed on as Executive Producer. There is now a real risk that MGM and the Rock leaves the film, and thus WWE Studios is left without any promotions for their film. However, if the WWE goes through with the film, would this recent incident harm the promotion of the film? If the WWE releases Paige but still makes the film, how do they promote it?
(4) Paige is reportedly under contract until 2019. Reportedly when Alberto Del Rio was released from his contract, Paige tried to follow him by getting out of her contract. However, it appears that her deal runs through 2019... With her recent injuries, the WWE injury clause may add time to that. Additionally, WWE has no-compete clauses. It could take time for Paige to leave the WWE but also could be very costly to the WWE to terminate her contract early.
In my opinion, Paige showed poor judgment by having any of that sexual stuff filmed or photographed. Maybe I'm an old man speaking here, but I don't get why anyone would want to film that stuff. Reportedly in one shot (did not see it myself), Paige's camera is running and Brad Maddox is operating another camera during the threesome. Particularly if you're a public figure, it becomes very dangerous to retain that stuff on a hard drive or phone device. There is DEMAND by the public to see their favorite celebrities in pornographic situations. Either you are showing poor judgment by having it on a device that can be easily stolen OR you want it to be stolen...
Let's be honest here, besides Pam Anderson and Kim Kardashian, released sex tapes have been more harmful than helpful for celebrities. Technically speaking, though, Pam's film career didn't boom after the tape was released. Kim, however, started a pretty successful television career and damn that phone App made some serious bank! For the most part, celebrities did Playboy at the END of their careers, past their primes, rather than during it. Think about Britney Spears's popularity BEFORE and AFTER her upskirt shot, for example. The "tease" is what sells if you're in a business that shows off your body. Sable and Chyna seemed to peak in popularity with their Playboy spreads. They gave away the one thing that fans were curious to see and then what? Of course, in the case of Britney and Paige, they had no intentions of showing it all off whereas Sable/Chyna chose to go nude. But at the same time, Britney and Paige could have been a big more careful...
HOWEVER... To quote the late great comedian, Bill Hicks: "When did sex become a bad thing? Did I miss a meeting?"
What Paige and her pals Brad Maddox and Xavior Woods did behind closed doors wasn't illegal, nor did it harm anyone. They had sex and everything was 100% consensual. Stupid judgment, yes, on filming it, but I don't believe any of the parties involved expected that a phone hack would cause everything to be revealed online to the public. Thus, if you are from the Morality Squad and get offended by wrestlers banging, then you need a heavier dose of reality. You try being on the road for 300+ days on the road living in hotel rooms and getting physically beat up nightly in the ring. Aside from Goldberg, Triple H, and Lesnar... Who has a stable relationship in the WWE? Gets lonely on the road, folks... Thus, the wrestlers need each other and need to do something to have fun. If that includes threesomes to keep them happy until the next WWE show rolls around, so be it.
If you are offended by what Paige, Woods, and Maddox did... Then go read about the 1980s, 1990s, or even the 2000s wrestling promotions including the WWE. Go read about the stories where DRUGS were specifically involved and see if you get offended. Much different than the 2017 WWE promotion which prominently features women as legitimate wrestlers. The earlier years either disregarded women or used them as sex objects, both on and off the screen. But involving drugs, things often got weird on the road... Very weird. Go read wrestler biographies from guys who worked in the business back then, particularly the ones who are fearless about telling stories. Ditto for shoot interviews... CRAZY stories about what wrestlers did or what they could get women to do for a certain thing. If you're offended by what Paige/Woods/Maddox were doing, then you're in for a REAL treat!
So what should the WWE do?
(a) Ignore it.
(b) Embrace it.
(c) Clean house or punish.
Consider this... Remember during the mid 2000s, there was a bizarre love triangle between Edge, Lita, and Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy was dating Lita at the time but Matt was nursing an injury at home. Meanwhile, Edge and Lita found comfort in each other on the road while doing night after night of WWE shows. Remember, it gets very lonely on that road working 300+ days a year. Matt finds out and goes public... Suddenly, it's well known about what Edge and Lita did. In the end, WWE and the wrestlers involved put their heads together to discuss how everyone could remain employed... They worked together in a WWE storyline where they acknowledged Edge stealing Lita, Lita turned heel, and Matt was trying to fight for his pride. The wrestlers made money off of a bad situation and furthermore, I believe that it made Edge into a full blown Main Eventer officially (my statistics showed that he drew as WWE Champion too!).
Sometimes, you have to make Lemonaide out of Lemons...
Where can Paige go from here? If she returns to the WWE, the taunts will be there no matter what... Where else can she work? Ring of Honor, maybe, but they feature women's wrestling as prominently as both RAW and Smackdown do now. WWE, because of the brand extension, has to treat women's wrestling as a valid midcard act. TNA, yeah right... We'll see how long the lights remain "on" if they don't improve that television deal or find a breakout star. We've seen Jeff Jarrett run promotions before...
But she could take the path of Lita and embrace it... How about this? What if Paige just suddenly appears with the New Day? New member to the stable... Now, we're in the PG Era... WWE doesn't have to allude to anything sexual. Just have her as part of the group and represent the group in the RAW Women's Division. After all, a successful stable should have representatives in all of the wrestling divisions. Why not have a New Day representative in the Women's Division? Then, the WWE can capitalize on what everyone THINKS is happening when they are not wrestling... Hmmm...
Otherwise, if Paige is returning to the WWE, move her to Smackdown to start over. If you want a good example of "starting over", observe Mickie James... The end of her previous WWE run had some backstage drama between 2 different wrestlers. However, Mickie was brought back to the WWE during late 2016 via NXT and has been good for the Women's Division on Smackdown since her debut. It seems that on Smackdown, the WRESTLING does more of the talking than whatever has become of the RAW division. You know, Charlote and friends as I call it...
We'll see what happens...
But I'll tell you what WILL happen within the WWE. The WWE Corporation is going to install new policies regarding phone devices and other personal activities. Corporations tend to over-react and then put more teeth into their policies. Not that it's truly comparable, but go back to Chris Benoit. WWE had a "Wellness Policy" since early 2006 but it didn't quite have the teeth or punishment parameters that the post-June 2007 policy had. Reportedly, WWE had closed door meetings with wrestlers at the televised events this week to discuss... You just know that someone from corporate is writing something to shove down everyone's throats as a new WWE Corporate policy.
THE RAW SMACKDOWN
The gut laugh that I'm doing about RAW having 3,048,000 viewers just 2 weeks before Wrestlemania 33. And guess who headlined that 3rd hour that did under 2.9 million viewers? Why it was Roman Reigns, once again! Seems that 3rd hour tends to sink a bit further when Roman is headlining the show. Gee, why is that? And the WWE had the hint of the Undertaker appearing during the 3rd hour to possibly draw fans in. Nope. Remember, I said that RAW would end up being permanently UNDER 3.0 million viewers. We're so close... Wrestlemania season and Bill Goldberg is the only thing saving the RAW ship from my easy prediction, which held strong during Fall 2016. What is Vince McMahon missing with Roman Reigns?!? When Vince is looking over the booking sheet, does he always say "looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue"?
And again, RAW starts off with Stephanie McMahon. Nothing else says "STOP WATCHING RAW NOW" like when that bully comes out to stroke her own ego. And she delivered the "you're fired" line to Mick Foley, what a joke. An even bigger joke was having Sami Zayn come out and "shoot" obviously scripted lines to Stephanie.
Smackdown just did another 2.6 million show... Why aren't wrestling fans watching this much superior show? Do you hate watching wrestling on Tuesdays or something?
Just like RAW, Smackdown opens with AJ Styles having issues with a McMahon... Do y'all see the problem with the WWE yet? If not, do me a favor. Log into your WWE Network and watch shows from 2000-2001. Tell me who is (a) bossing wrestlers around and (b) wanting to be a wrestler. Fast forward to 2017, we have Stephanie bossing around everyone and Shane still wanting to be a wrestler. Just 17 years ago..
I don't recall seeing the New Day on Hulu RAW unless I blinked and missed it... Hmmmm...
So we have Usos vs. American Alpha for the Tag Team Titles... ZERO announcements ahead of time regarding this title match and of course the WWE just flushes Alpha down the tubes by having them lose. I wouldn't doubt that this begins a pivot of Gable going to the Cruiserweight Division (DAMN he'd be fantastic there!) and Jordan going on his own as a singles wrestler. And why not? Happy for the Usos, though... They've had a bum rap in the WWE just merely by their association with Reigns. Still don't get why WWE did this title change without much announcement and on free TV.
Nia Jax beats Bayley in a non-title match... By winning, Nia gets added to the Wrestlemania 33 match because EVERYONE WAS HUNGRY FOR A FATAL 4 WAY MATCH. Oh, they weren't? Am I seriously the ONLY FAN who calls out the WWE for these GARBAGE Non-Title matches? I believe that I am... All fo you yes-man fans just go along with it, accepting that non-title matches are the WWE's new way of getting "heat" on a match. Not me. LAZY BOOKING! I hate this crap so much, as it does NOTHING for the champions having the non-title match. It reduces them... Screw you, WWE, for this non-title nonsense. FINGER OF SHAME.
Randy Orton vs. Baron Corbin wasn't bad... Very different styles and backgrounds, but it seemed to work. I think both are hitting their strides in their storylines and that kept the crowd interested in the match. Of course, it ends with the old distraction on the entrance way to cause a loss. WWE is really out of ideas to finish matches. Where's Pat Patterson, the best finish guy, when you need him?
Nothing too exciting about Triple H vs. Seth Rollins... Maybe if the two guys didn't ignore each other between August and January, maybe they'd have heat on this match? They just let Seth Rollins just lurk around WWE events without Triple H ever appearing. Then, in January, Rollins suddenly started caring again about HHH screwing him over the WWE Universal Title. Honestly, I'll be relieved when Wrestlemania is over so that both guys can just move on...
Those Total Bellas parody videos by Miz & Maryse were pure fire. Maryse, wow... I didn't think anybody could fill out that outfit better than Nikki but damn Maryse still got it. Never lost it. Funny thing is that everybody has been hammering Nikki Bella lately for not being engaged to John Cena, and now Miz/Maryse are laying it on thick. As much as Miz has greatly improved, he seemed to get better as Maryse became more involved with his matches and segments.
I really worry about the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33. Reigns better be ready to become a bump machine because Undertaker does not look healthy. He was struggling to move around and bump when he interrupted Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. Sad...
Of course, Shane McMahon jumps through a table onto AJ Styles. Gotta hard sell that for Wrestlemania 33.
Damn, RAW on Hulu cut a ton of stuff out of the show... Oh well.
Smackdown > RAW, but just barely... ROUGH week for both shows.
THE LAST WORD
As a follow up to my March 9th, 2017 Column about Bill Goldberg defeating Kevin Owens... Let me pose the following question to my wonderful readers who were hammering me about that column. Can you identify what each of the following wrestlers listed below have in common?
- CM Punk
- Daniel Bryan
- Seth Rollins
- Kevin Owens
- AJ Styles
- Samoa Joe
- Sami Zayn
- Austin Aries
- Luke Harper
And probably a few others wrestlers that I'm forgetting... So what do each of those wrestlers have in common? They all had Ring of Honor (ROH) tenures before joining the WWE.
Now, I'm NOT here to bash the Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion. I actually do watch their shows LATE Sunday Night... They're OK... Just straight up wrestling from guys pushed as regular human beings as opposed to characters like the WWE. Video production on my local channel is kinda bad, so that deducts from the experience as well. But if you're just looking to watch a handful of matches late on a Sunday Night, it works... I'll tell ya, it's quite weird to watch following a night of viewing a WWE Pay Per View. Different worlds.
However, you cannot deny the AMAZING talent that Ring of Honor not only had, but also developed. Since the WWE removed Jim Ross as VP of Talent relations through 2004 and began to dissolve the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) developmental system, Ring of Honor sort of became the WWE's unofficial developmental system. It's as if John Laurinaitis and Triple H have struggled to find "diamonds in the rough" or wrestlers with raw athletic talent converted into wrestling ability. WWE has been heavily reliant on free agency from Ring of Honor, New Japan, and TNA to fill their developmental and main rosters.
What puzzles me, however, is how Ring of Honor couldn't become a valid #2 competitor or even challenge for #1 with THAT talent. Sure, you could easily argue that ROH lacks the financial resources that the WWE has... No doubt. During 2011, Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased the promotion. Sinclair is a publicly traded corporation, by the way, with Total Assets valued at almost $6 billion in total while their annual revenue stream for 2016 was $2.7 billion. Wow... Compare that to the WWE Corporation at $601 million in Total Assets and an annual revenue stream of $729 million during 2016. Are you observing that, folks? The Corporation that owns Ring of Honor is SIGNIFICANTLY larger than the WWE Corporation.
Granted, Sinclair didn't become successful by throwing money into a hole... I'm not suggesting going all WCW and spending your way into the #1 spot, but to sign/retain big stars while boosting your production values? Yeah, that could be easily done at a minimal cost. With Ring of Honor having a valid track record on developing stars, they should be able to invest in the wrestlers and increase the spotlight on their promotion. Again, LOOK AT THOSE WRESTLERS who have passed through Ring of Honor...
Are those wrestlers great enough to be major draws in the WWE?
Going back to my March 9th Column, many of you were FURIOUS at me for merely suggesting that the WWE had to showcase older stars like Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania because their current full time roster lacks the drawing power. As I've said repeatedly now and I'll keep hammering these facts home until my hands fall off from typing... WWE, over the past 2 years, has seen a considerable decline in business. Showcased at the top of RAW since Wrestlemania 31? Three individuals... Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens. Reigns has NO experience in Ring of Honor, but his inability draw makes my point.
Consider this... During 2001, both the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotions closed up shops. Therefore, 2 wrestling options, other than the top dog WWE, were gone. TNA wrestling did provide a decent living for a while when Panda Energy was backing it and a better television contract was in place. However, recent times have not been good to that promotion. The image of pro wrestling took major hits during the 2000s thanks to the many wrestler deaths, Chris Benoit's horrific killings, and the growing concussion problem. 15 years ago, many athletes gave pro wrestling a valid look if their sports career failed... However, top athletes are staying away from pro wrestling due to fewer options for work, deaths, concussions, and bad image from Benoit. Plus, they have another option at a young age in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
My point is that the prospect herd has been thinned out...
The talent selection that the WWE had since the mid 2000s wasn't quite as good as what they had before the mid 2000s. Fewer athletes trying out for wrestling... That last great crop, the one that I keep raving about... You know, the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) "Class of 2002" had 2 All American NCAA amateur wrestlers (Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin) and talents like Batista, John Cena, and Randy Orton wanting to become WWE superstars. Furthermore at Ohio Valley Wrestling, you had Danny Davis as a trainer, Jim Cornette as the booker, and Jim Ross as the WWE VP of Talent Relations. TONS of wrestling experience in place to craft an excellent developmental system. That suddenly disappeared when Jim Ross soon stepped down as VP of Talent and when WWE began meddling more with Ohio Valley Wrestling's affairs. Since then, developmental has been relying on their other developmental system, Ring of Honor (ROH), for free agency. The loss of the OVW/Ross/Cornette/Davis infrastructure COMBINED WITH fewer athletes wanting to become wrestlers has greatly impacted WWE's farm system. But it has impacted who joins Ring of Honor, too...
My overall point is that the pro wrestling talent available during the 1990s and early 2000s is far superior than what is available today.
That is NOT to suggest that guys like Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens aren't good wrestlers. As in-ring performers, they're great. In fact, they probably put on consistently stronger in-ring performances than the wrestlers from the 1990s and early 2000s. What I'm referring to is DRAWING POWER. Since that famous "Class of 2002", the closest that the WWE ever came from replicating drawing power of John Cena or Brock Lesnar is through CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. I believe that those 2 were the top potential draws from Ring of Honor but both took YEARS to get to their peaks within the WWE. Debuting with the WWE during 2002, by 2003, you could easily define Cena and Lesnar as the big WWE stars for years to come. But then someone like Batista grew in the midcard from 2002-2004 before blossoming into a legitimate superstar by 2005.
You HAVE to have talent to succeed and have your promotion grow in the pro wrestling industry. WWE has the strong infrastructure of high production values and presentation. But where it has suffered is talent available no matter who belongs to the WWE Creative or Production teams. Jim Ross isn't there to analyze talent coming in. Conversely, Ross didn't have that McMahon infrastructure up top during his early 1990s run with WCW helping out on talent.
Here's a valid example... Vince Russo. How on earth did Russo go from being extremely successful as the Head Writer of the WWE from 1997-1999 and then suddenly struggled with WCW from 1999-2000 and then struggled to take off with TNA wrestling during the 2000s. How is that? Did he suddenly forget how to write? Nope... Think about what Russo had to work with in WWE as opposed to what he had to work with in WCW/TNA. In WWE, he had Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, Mick Foley, Triple H, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, the Rock, New Age Outlaws, and lots of younger, hungry wrestlers called up from the developmental system ready to contribute. He had a GREAT roster to work with insomuch that it probably motivated him to come to work everyday with great ideas. To this day, many of the top talents mentioned in this paragraph think highly of Russo and his WWE contributions.
However, he seemed to fall apart with WCW, especially during 2000. Ratings history shows that he temporarily boosted WCW Nitro's viewership during his late 1999 run. How was that? Well, he actually used Bret Hart well during that period time along with the guys who'd leave WCW during early 2000 (Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn, Malenko). Bunch of injuries happened and impatience of AOL/Time Warner management in better results caused WCW officials to send Russo early after just a few months. Bret Hart was forced to retire early, the Radicalz bolted to WWE, and years upon years of WCW signing extensive contracts to older veterans caught up to him. Plus, AOL/Time Warner's television Standards & Practices hammered WCW to not become adult themed like the WWE. With a weaker roster and being handcuffed by company management, it caused Russo to become desperate with his storylines to get any kind of attention. Hence, David Arquette became WCW Champion, Vince Russo became more involved on-screen and becomes WCW Champion, the Bash at the Beach 2000 disaster, and other odd moves.
Ditto for TNA wrestling... Didn't have the thick talent like he had in WWE, thus struggles. Plus, Russo has repeatedly expressed a dislike for how younger wrestlers were focusing. Loosely in his words, he said that they were too focused on choreographing each move in their matches as opposed to placing any focus on their characters or storylines. Seems like the focus of many newer wrestlers has been on workrate rather than personality, character, promos, and other things that draw people in that complements in-ring work. Furthermore, the administrative infrastructure with TNA just hasn't been there like it always is in the WWE. Company operated by Dixie Carter, enough said!
It's the same way in Pro Sports... Bill Belichick only had ONE winning season with the Cleveland Browns during the 1990s. You may suggest "well, that's the Browns". No, no, no... This is the Browns franchise that moved to Baltimore and won a Superbowl following the 2000 season. 36-44 win/loss record there and his coaching staff was chalk full of future greats like Nick Saban as his Defensive Coordinator along with other coaches who have had extensive NFL careers. But gee, Tom Brady arrives when Bill is coaching with the New England Patriots and they start winning. Lots of winning seasons, winning their division repeatedly, 5 Super Bowls. Among those 7 Super Bowl appearances with 5 of them won, who is the only constant player on all of those? Oh hey, it's Tom Brady! So Bill is losing in Cleveland but dominating in New England. Maybe he's just better with a video camera or is good at deflating balls?
I HAMMER WWE Creative non-stop in my columns but what I should probably start doing is questioning whether the industry is really dying... It's long-term health is challenged by those who want to participate in the wrestling business. Wrestling has become work for the WWE or work for a lot less money doing what you love. Not every wrestler is excited to work with the McMahons. But I think the talent pool in the wrestling industry is THINNER now than it was 15 years ago. Fewer places to work, drug/concussion culture has scared many from joining, and that Benoit incident... MMA as a competitive option is a valid challenger to WWE's talent base. If UFC was more popular during the early 2000s, the WWE probably doesn't get Brock Lesnar or Shelton Benjamin. UFC has now provided a valid outlet for any College amateur wrestlers to now continue their athletic dreams.
You need talent, folks... Not only do you need strong talent, but an environment that fosters that talent to become better and remain hungry. Triple H retooling NXT to become a valid WWE brand has been a nice step as the NXT Classes of 2015-2016 have been decent additions. But are any of those wrestlers long-term draws like John Cena or Brock Lesnar? I don't think so, at least not yet, and that's why WWE has seen a sharp viewership and live audience decline since 2015. Thinks are made worse when you push the WRONG prospect to the top, like Roman Reigns.
Badmouth Bill Goldberg all you want, but the FACT remains that his 50 year old self is drawing more viewership than guys almost half his age... Goldberg was a former NFL star who thought that pro wrestling would be a great idea. Wrestling isn't attracting many former pro athletes who consider WWE a nice second option (besides Reigns & Corbin). WWE seems to be settling with whatever Ring of Honor is developing for them to steal via free agency.
I do like the in-ring work from most of the above former Ring of Honor (ROH) performers who are now in the WWE. Great matches and they've helped make WWE Pay Per Views as "must watch" for the past 3 years on the WWE Network. Ditto for the NXT shows. But you have to take the WWE blinders off and realize that none of them are at that "mega star" level yet and the WWE environment may have become too toxic backstage with the complacent McMahons not listening to the fans as they used to.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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