6/3/2014 ADDENDUM TO COLUMN
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - RAW Review: WWE's Mistake on Ending the Shield by Turning Rollins *UPDATED 6/3*
By Mr. Tito
Jun 3, 2014 - 12:27:19 AM
Thanks to you, the readers, I've had some second thoughts on the Seth Rollins heel turn. However, I will reiterate my column stance in that the WWE didn't give the Shield a longer run as a babyface stable. That was the main point of my column. I argued that (a) WWE is short on strong babyfaces and (b) WWE is top heavy on heels right now, particularly upper midcard types. In my opinion, the Shield gimmick and stable was the perfect vehicle to get all 3 wrestlers over while letting them develop into individual stars. WWE, for example, is very high on Roman Reigns. But as proven by some of his lackluster singles efforts, he's not ready for the bigtime. By Wrestlemania 31 through working with his fellow Shield members, he could be ready...
That was my point... Shield had true potential as a babyface faction and as shown by other wrestlers with potential (CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Alberto Del Rio, etc.), they short circuited the push too early and lost momentum that could never be gained back.
BUT I hear your criticisms of my column and/or feedback about Seth Rollins. I have to agree... Individually, this may be the best thing for him. His turn was shocking, unexpected, and now he gets to work with Triple H and Randy Orton who could be impressed by Seth Rollins by working with him close up.
As I've said in previous columns, I was predicting that Rollins would be stuck in "midcard hell" because he was considered a "weak link" of the Shield. The money was on Roman Reigns to be the #1 standout star from the group and that Rollins/Ambrose would have to work a lot harder to make it big in the WWE. All insider reports point to Roman Reigns as getting the next mega push to the WWE Title and possibly being the guy to replace John Cena as the #1 star. I haven't heard that with Rollins or Ambrose. Now, Seth Rollins is allowed to expand his character which has benefitted greatly from the babyface version of the Shield. As an in-ring performer, Rollins has emerged as the best wrestler of the Shield. Roman isn't ready for prime time yet and Dean Ambrose hasn't had much opportunity to shine. Wasted United States Title reign!
I could envision Seth Rollins changing his look a bit, embracing the sellout gimmick, and letting the fans have it on the microphone. I have to agree with you, the readers... It could be great for HIM.
Now, Ambrose and Reigns, I don't know... Reigns needed to hide himself in the Shield stable a little bit more to get proper seasoning before the main event elevation. I don't know on Ambrose yet. I haven't seen anything from him individually that justifies the online hype. But maybe now he can pursue a singles career that might be more for him. I wouldn't doubt Ambrose also joins Rollins to make a 4 person Evolution group. The reported plans before the babyface run became popular were to turn Rollins/Ambrose on Reigns. That is still possible if Triple H can also get Ambrose to turn.
In the end, the Shield was a GREAT stable. It was the perfect vehicle to make Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose over quickly and let them mature as wrestlers together. It's an incredible shame that their babyface run is over, specifically after Evolution (Triple H, Orton, Batista) put them over huge not once but twice. They could have remained together and could have legitimately sold merchandise strongly like DX, for example, while getting into other stable wars or whatever Triple H threw at them. They were quickly getting over as faces because they challenged the establishment. Now, sadly, they end because one of them joined the establishment.
As you re-read the column below, understand that my angle is that the Shield was a strong babyface group that had more room to grow. It was my opinion, which still remains, that the turn could have been premature with the WWE starving for babyfaces right now. If John Cena gets hurt, what does the WWE do?
BUT I'll give the readers their due... I agree with your points on Seth Rollins and how it could greatly help his career. Now, it's up to Rollins to seize the opportunity to shine. It's all about how much the individual wrestler puts into their characters. See Wade Barrett who has fully embraced the "Bad News" gimmick and has rejuvenated his career. I'm betting the in-ring ability will be there for Rollins but will he grow significantly as a character?
Chalk it up, internet... You changed my mind on 1 topic.
The Humbled Mr. Tito
Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned with another RAW Review-plus column known as MR. TITO STRIKES BACK, exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Heading into our 16th year together, we're just on a roll lately... Thank you to the many readers who keep this column going. Believe me when I say this: your time is greatly appreciated.
But what I don't appreciate is a SHIT edition of Monday Night RAW. Tonight was a buffet of everything that's wrong with the WWE that I've been preaching about since late 2000. What happened in late 2000? Stephanie McMahon, a communications major, became the lead creative writer for the WWE. Meanwhile, one by one, the old wrestling hands who built the Attitude Era were minimized and reduced in influence on Vince McMahon while they were replaced with hand-picked failed Hollywood writers. Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco and others backstage who had actual experience in the wrestling industry were replaced by a commications major and failed Hollywood writers. Nevermind the nepotism, too, which has also brought in the doofus son-in-law to foolishly run the company.
Bad decision after bad decision has been made for the last 13 years... You have this hot stable in the Shield which are getting genuine babyface pops and what do you do right after they achieve a huge victory last night as a group? Oh, you break them up... Seth Rollins turned on his fellow Shield members to presumably join Evolution or the Authority. Whatever. I'm here to tell you that it's a BAD decision and WWE deserves the FINGER OF SHAME for this awful decision.
What, are we short on heels, WWE? I'm sorry, but with Orton, Batista (who quit tonight), Cesaro, Brock Lesnar, Wyatt Family (all 3 members), Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, and Rusev... Where's the room? Aside from being a warm body for Roman Reigns to defeat at the next Pay Per View, what is there for Seth Rollins to accomplish? I know that I'll read 2-3 columns here and elsewhere that will argue up and down that the Seth Rollins heel turn was a "great thing". Yeah, being the 3rd banana behind to glory hogs in Triple H and Randy Orton will really benefit your career. Again, just look at all of the heels that I mentioned above. WWE is crowded with heels right now. What they need are babyfaces.
Shield was getting over as heels and their RAW segments were proving to draw viewers. At a time where Daniel Bryan was enduring a Kane feud and John Cena was busy with the Wyatts, the Shield took the spotlight and succeeded. They were turning into a franchise and were just early into their babyface run to really prove how well the group could draw. But not now... BAD DECISION #29498483 under the current WWE Management was just made. Now, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will prove to be stepping stones for Roman Reigns. I wouldn't doubt that HHH convinces Dean Ambrose to also turn. That's dangerous because Roman Reigns hasn't proven himself as a singles competitor yet and without the Shield gimmick to get him over.
In the end, this this turn will probably catapult Roman Reigns, but I don't think he's ready yet for the spotlight by himself and the Shield had plenty more mileage to. They just turned babyface for Christ's sake. BAD decision, in my opinion.
The whole John Cena/Stephanie McMahon segment was disgusting... But not how it was performed. Stephanie and Cena are professionals and the segment was highly entertaining. I'm shocked at how John Cena was able to completely avoid the Authority even during the whole Randy Orton feud. Finally, he speaks up about their corruption... But the painful thing about that segment and match that followed is how strong John Cena looked as a character and as a main eventer compared to others, specifically Daniel Bryan. John Cena verbally thrashed Stephanie and then didn't back down from Kane who was booked in a match with Cena immediately after the Stephanie segment. Even after the match when Kane tried to physically harm Cena on the outside, Cena stood his ground and fought the 47 year old Kane off.
That's unlike Daniel Bryan, who after he beat all 3 members of Evolution at Wrestlemania 30, is running scared from the 47 year old Kane. He's NOT looking like a true WWE Champion. Furthermore, he's let Stephanie McMahon bully him week after week after week. Now, it's not Bryan actively trying to look week. He HAS to go by the scripts handed to him. Thus, when Stephanie calls him a "B+ Player", as she repeatedly does, he has to respond with whatever Stephanie's hand picked writers give him. Those writers have made Bryan look like a chump and Stephanie has owned his ass week after week. Meanwhile, instead of acting like a WWE Champion and projecting toughness, he's jumping in a car with Brie Bella to run away from Kane. What the hell is that about?
Nobody BUT John Cena is booked strong... That's why the WWE audience keep shrinking and why WWE Network numbers are underwhelming. When you actively piss on Daniel Bryan with terrible booking and then do stupid things like break up the Shield, consumer demand declines for WWE stuff. Why would fans want more WWE content when they're disgusted with the current WWE product? Not exactly the best way to stimulate demand...
And while I'm on a nitpicking roll here, can someone show me the methodology for Money in the Bank qualifying matches? Without any prior announcement, the WWE just presented that Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler would be a Money in the Bank qualifying match as the show began. How does this match happen? Given the past year of losing for both guys, how do both guys even deserve a Money in the Bank shot? I know that both guys won the briefcase, but it's actually been a curse to both wrestlers. If WWE could do something like a lottery or some other random drawing occur at least 1 week before the qualifying matches, then maybe fans might have some anticipation for the matches. Hard to care when there's ZERO hype surrounding these matches.
Alberto Del Rio won, by the way... Dolph Ziggler's WWE career just keeps circling the drain. Until Ziggler figures out his own character, he'll be resorted into another warm body. Anymore, I can't tell the difference between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. Both wrestlers are just put out there to lose.
To honor fellow columnist Chrisssssssss, let me point the LAZY BOOKING FINGER OF SHAME at WWE Creative for two things tonight. For one, I HATE non-title matches in the midcard! WWE keeps repeating the same booking pattern of using the non-title match to set up the match for the title. Huh? Why are you making your current champion look weak with this non-title crap in addition to giving the match away for free? Seriously... Why would I care about the title match when I've already seen both wrestlers perform under non-title circumstances with about the same "sense of urgency" level with a title shot on the line? It's just stupid...
Secondly for LAZY booking, WWE was going to the well on Indiana tonight for the Miami Heat stuff tonight. The biggest problem was how obvious it was... Nothing creative to it and after several attempts, the fans saw though it.
I personally didn't like Rob Van Dam getting a pin on Wade Barrett on the night after WWE Payback, but it might lead to Cesaro vs. Wade Barrett and I'll take that. It's as I was saying above... Nobody is booked to look strong. RVD loses at Payback but pins Wade Barrett in a tag match during the following night.
I wonder how many wrestling fans actually know who Edward Snowden is and why he's in Russia? Indiana fans barely popped when Lana mentioned him with Snowden's picture on the Titantron, but then again, fans may have been paying attention to Lana. I was... But at the very least with Rusev tonight, he was able to be saluted with Ivan Drago's theme music from the movie Rocky 4.
Speaking of Rocky 4, if I won the lottery, I'd finance a sequel to Rocky 4 called Drago. I'm curious to know what happened to the Ivan Drago character after Rocky defeated him to end Rocky 4. Did he continue to box within Russia? Was he forced in exile after losing to Rocky? You could start the movie off with Drago living in poverty and then not only overcoming that, but proving himself to be more than just a "machine" that can punch really hard. I'm sure Dolph Lundgren would be up for it, too. You could make it even more interesting by having a boxing promoter attempt to get Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang to fight because, well, why not? Oh, I'm writing a wrestling column right now? My bad...
Nikki Bella looks really hot now... Yowzer. Don't let her quit, too.
I'm not even going to get into Bo Dallas this week... He beats the WWE punching bag, Kofi Kingston and the "BORING" chants were evident. Now, the NXT marks will tell me that it's a pun on Bo's name. No, I didn't hear "bo" with the "o" sound... I heard "BORE" as it's properly pronounced. That was "boring" because the Indiana fans in attendance agreed in unison that the match sucked and so did the participants. Not everybody watches NXT... Kofi can at least entertain with some of his high flying moves, so thus the blame resides on the new guy.
Don't get me started on 3 Man Band/Los Matadores... None of the wrestlers are getting over in this feud. In fact, the actual wrestlers are taking a step back as the sideshow act actually gets the Pay Per View matches. I feel so bad for Drew McIntyre. He has the look and some ability, but he's stuck in booking hell.
We should place bets for how long it takes for Adam Rose to start tagging up with Fandango. They are the same thin build wrestler but with slightly different gimmicks and music that fans can hum. I give it another 2 months.
And finally... Batista told Triple H "I quit" tonight, as he was tired of wrestling the Shield and wanted his promised WWE Title match. Truth is that Batista needs to hit the road to help promote the Marvel Comics movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Overall, his time in the WWE from the RAW before the Royal Rumble through now has been largely a failure. To be fair, not all of his doing. Certainly, Batista could have been in better physical shape but it was the WWE who didn't force Batista to get into cardio shape before Royal Rumble. WWE was the one who signed Batista to a contract and attempted to pus him as they did before the fans forced them to change plans.
But the point about Batista's failure is that it's time to MOVE ON from the Attitude Era and the Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002". While John Cena's merchandise numbers always look impressive and Brock Lesnar can pop a Pay Per View buyrate on occasion, the WWE isn't growing. Even when the Rock made his return, it was just the Wrestlemania shows that drew and nothing else, RAW and other Pay Per Views included. But Wrestlemania draws anyway... The biggest examples were Randy Orton's recent 2013-2014 WWE Title push and the attempted Batista push that was quickly rewritten. The hilarious thing was that WWE was dead serious about Batista vs. Randy Orton headlining Wrestlemania 30 during January/February before booking was obviously changed.
It's time for the WWE to drive a stake through these two eras of wrestling. The superstars from those eras aren't expanding the business. Cena moves merchandise with the kiddies but has headlined some of the worst drawing Pay Per Views of all time. Brock Lesnar actually costs the WWE $5 million per year to work very limited dates. Is that really cost effective? Since his Extreme Rules and SummerSlam matches from 2012, he hasn't drawn too well. SummerSlam 2013, which he helped headline with CM Punk, had disappointing numbers in comparison to previous years.
The fact is that the Class of 2002 OVW wrestlers (Cena, Orton, Brock, Batista) aren't causing separation away from the rest of the roster right now. Without Daniel Bryan and with John Cena sometimes taking a show off recently, guys like the Wyatts and the Shield were trusted to carry the workload. RAW viewership barely changed. The fact is that guys brought in from the past aren't drawing... So why keep bringing them in or pushing them hard? The WWE has some really good depth on the roster that's ready to step up.
The Shield stepped up and were just early into their babyface run. Yet, the WWE just broke them up...
Yes, that's a toilet flushing and it's taking one of the best stables of all time down the drain. Why buy the WWE Network when you disagree with the booking? WWE has constantly torn down one of my favorite wrestlers, Daniel Bryan, while they just ended my favorite stable in the Shield. Why should I buy the WWE Network when the WWE constantly ruins things that I enjoy?
LAST WORD: Yuck at this edition of RAW. I don't like the booking, whatsoever, along with the poor organization and presentation of wrestlers not named John Cena. "FINGER OF SHAME" to the WWE for the Rollins turn. Dumb, dumb, dumb... Enjoy being the doormat of the group.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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