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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - RAW Thoughts: Cena/Orton, Punk & Stephanie, Tamina as Divas draw? and more
By Mr. Tito
Dec 3, 2013 - 10:11:19 PM
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned, as I needed some time off to
play the Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS repeatedly relax and recharge. But hey, this is 2013's Mr. Tito and not the 2011 Tito who felt obligated to write daily. I basically write when I'm motivated and that's better for my sanity long-term. I'm quite proud of the columns that I've produced for the year by going at least once a week and sometimes twice a week with my specialty columns. Additionally, I've enjoyed the collaborations with fellow LordsofPain.net writers and you'll see more of that in the near future.
This week's edition of Monday Night RAW was just filled with topics to cover. Where do I begin?
First and foremost, I thought the WWE did an excellent job selling John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC) Pay Per View. Thought it seems like rushed hype with just 3 weeks to prepare, the WWE hyped Cena and Orton's history for the last 11 years well along with showing highlights from their matches. Hey, the WWE actually acknowledged something from the past existed. Usually, they treat everything as brand new as if the past never happened. Take Undertaker vs. Triple H from Wrestlemania 27. It was 10 years after their monumental Wrestlemania 17 match-up yet the WWE made no mention of it.
I thought John Cena's promo completely shredded Randy Orton, who was struggling through his promo before Cena spoke. It's as if John Cena took the past 10+ years of my column about Randy Orton and condensed them into a five minute promo. Even if the speech was scripted, there's a ton of truth to what John Cena said. Randy Orton was pushed too early to the World Title during 2004 thanks to his daddy being "Cowboy" Bob Orton and from his personal friendship with Triple H. Unlike John Cena who had to get over naturally during 2003-2004 to earn his World Title, Randy Orton was handed it on a silver platter. Much of his career has been that way and he hasn't been much of a draw during his 11 World Title reigns. Including now, as Survivor Series 2013 is expected to be a major buyrate bomb and RAW's ratings are consistently below 3.0 with Orton as WWE Champion.
Cena's comments about Orton being one of the most talented WWE superstars ever but he was unable to display to that to fans because Orton became "cocky" and "lazy" from the entitled role he was given. Agreed 100%. Go watch any of Orton's matches. The guy is a freak in terms of executing moves and rarely botching moves in the ring. He's a natural... Problem is that he was pampered by WWE management and it went to his head. He's can be an absolute dick in the ring as he shows no selling emotion to certain opponents. Sometimes, he's just robotically wrestling through matches and seems detached from making any of his opponents look good. The feeling of entitlement has certainly affected Orton for the worse and the WWE is still feeding him with that silver spoon. See his current WWE Title run despite how over Daniel Bryan truly is.
That brawl at the end was great. Showed a real "sense of urgency" that both men have to be the "Unified Champion", as the stupid WWE App polls calls it. I figure Orton and Cena, who have worked well together in the past, will probably tear the house down at TLC and probably help make that Pay Per View draw well for it being a December show. If that draws well, I would expect that John Cena vs. Randy Orton rematch at Wrestlemania 30, a match I've predicted would happen since August, happens. If not Orton vs. Cena, I'd expect a Three Way with either CM Punk or Brock Lesnar added. CM Punk can be the fall-guy with his WWE contract up during June/July 2014 and ditto for Brock Lesnar, whose contract is also up. WWE could have a "Class of 2002" battle between Orton, Cena, and Lesnar for the ultimate decider on who is the best from that era of the WWE.
Onward... CM Punk vs. the Shield will go down at TLC as well. Normally I'm "meh" about handicap matches, but the Shield have actually improved as of late. I thought their early success was just from working with Daniel Bryan repeatedly, but their matches as of late have been great. I would probably add Goldust & Cody Rhodes to CM Punk for a great 3 on 3 TLC match, but it appears that the WWE might have a Tag Match at TLC for Rhodes/Goldust (I think Swagger/Cesaro vs. O'Neil/Young was for the #1 contendership, right?). Lots of talent in the ring and CM Punk has endured amazing battles during 2013 that handling 3 performers at once should be easy to him.
WHATEVER on the Daniel Bryan stuff with the Wyatt Family. Did you hear how dead the crowd was for that match which mostly involved Erik Rowan doing beatdown offense on Bryan? When Bryan was allowed to get offense in, the fans woke up and became hot for the match, but I believe WWE fans are insulted that Bryan has to endure this feud. Bryan was booked in that match to look inferior to Rowan. In case you missed it at SummerSlam 2013, Bryan defeated John Cena 100% clean in their match for the WWE Title. He has gone from that to selling for a wrestler who performed in NXT earlier in the year. Rowan is no prodigy in the ring to make this beatdown believable. It's just more dirt on the grave for the 2013 Daniel Bryan momentum. WWE, through it's selective booking and favoritism of other wrestlers, has sabotaged Daniel Bryan.
Yes indeed, Daniel Bryan has been buried. Just wait until Daniel Bryan has to defeat Bray Wyatt. The fan revolt towards that booking will be enjoyable.
WWE could have some real money in Tamina Snuka, but they might not know it... They are currently pushing her like a bodyguard role for AJ Lee, who like an idiot, just skips around the ring... But when Tamina is in the ring, she looks legitimately tough. She has size and strength that the other women just don't have. It's unlike wrestlers like Beth Phoenix and Kharma who were assumed to be badasses because they were either muscular or large in size. The way Tamina carries herself through natural charisma and ability is what makes her different than just a "freak of nature" kind of Divas hoss. Though Tamina has been booked strong in a few matches, you wouldn't know that with the stupid pin that JoJo gave her last week. How insulting.
I see real potential in Snuka. If I were the WWE, I would make her unstoppable in the ring. Sell nothing and deliver power move after power move to the mostly rail thin divas in the WWE. Start running up a winning streak with her and hype it up... Then, she turns on AJ Lee and challenges her for the WWE Title. Snuka then becomes part of the Authority and becomes Stephanie McMahon's pawn to deliver punishment to AJ Lee. Tamina defeats AJ Lee and just dominates the Divas Division. Meanwhile, AJ Lee has a legitimate feud with Stephanie McMahon which will build up AJ Lee's steam as a babyface. Then, she could eventually seek revenge on Tamina once Stephanie has been toppled.
Tamina Snuka's talent, size, and just natural charisma as a deadly talent doesn't come along often. WWE should push her to the moon and even add credibility to her by pushing her bloodlines. She's the right talent at the right time for the WWE Divas division. And in my opinion, the Divas division has a nice blend of talent to always feed her fresh opponents. People rip Total Divas but what it has done has given many females in the WWE the ability to be KNOWN. Certainly, it's exposing the business, but you at least know who each of those divas are based on that hour long show on the E! Network which is doing decent business. I also think that many of the WWE Divas are improving in the ring with time... Some of them are just outright entertaining, such as Summer Rae.
I'd rather watch a Summer Rae match than a Fandango match. Seriously. I ripped the WWE for overpushing Fandango and many of you in the "Internet Wrestling Community" attacked me because he was apparently one of those NXT sacred cow favorites. My point was that the WWE pushed him too fast... It takes time to develop a WWE star... WWE can, again, just look at their own video library to see how long it took many of their top stars to not just win a World Title, but to defeat a former champion. WWE should have NEVER let Fandango beat Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 29, let alone afford him an opportunity wrestle Jericho that early in his career. Debut him, let him wrestle in the lower midcard at first, then elevate from there. Let him give the fans that he's earning his spot and not being granted it by WWE Creative.
Big E Langston and Damien Sandow are good examples of slow builds. Even though Damien Sandow won the 2013 Money in the Bank briefcase, he's earning his way on the midcard and has endured some tough losses during 2013. He had a nice series of battles with Dolph Ziggler in which he had to prove himself as an equal to Ziggler. Look, I've given up on defending Ziggler, as he has to give me something other than being a strong in-ring performer (i.e. personality). Sandow is more of a complete package and thus why he went over (aside from being well liked by Triple H). So oh well for Dolph Ziggler, as Damien Sandow has turned in some great performances lately (Cody Rhodes, John Cena, and now Dolph Ziggler) and now he'll chase the Intercontinental Title. THAT'S RIGHT, we're going to get a decent IC Title fight at TLC!
I'm happy for Big E Langston and he's worthy of the Intercontinental Title. He's turned in some good performances in his short time within the WWE and is a tremendous talent. He has muscles built on top of muscles yet the guy is very agile in the ring. Lots of upside talent, but the WWE needs to let him fight over the Intercontinental Title for a while. No need to rush things... Let him get over as IC Champion and then push towards the World Title. Reportedly, the WWE wanted him chasing John Cena's World Heavyweight Title. That's crazy. Again, the WWE should just watch video of how they've ruined Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton in 2004, Jack Swagger, and Miz too early towards the World Title. WWE forced their pushes on fans instead of those wrestlers getting natural over to merit the push.
Nothing wrong with the Ryback/Curtis Axel tag team. When all else fails with wrestlers in singles competition, make them a tag team. Both wrestlers, in my opinion, still need to work on connecting their in-ring work with the emotions of fans. Both guys just robotically perform moves without any rhyme or reason to cause fans to care. Funny thing is that both guys have built-in advantages to wrestlers of the past. For Ryback, it's Bill Goldberg. Fans can't stop chanting "Goldberg" and he's slowly starting to embrace it by stealing some of Goldberg's old moves. He should go further, even calling out Bill Goldberg to come to the WWE... With Curtis Axel, you're the son of Curt Hennig... Aside from your name, why aren't you embracing that legacy more? There's nothing there, at the moment, that is connecting their stuff with fans from their own natural performances.
I thought the first segment with CM Punk and Stephanie McMahon was decent. Stephanie is certainly a controlling person on her promos and the responses given by the wrestler she's scolding, but I thought Punk got in some good jabs. If this is something that builds towards CM Punk directly challenging the Authority, I'm for it... But the WWE can't halfass it and attempt to bury CM Punk again. Punk has credibility of challenging authority based on his 2011 stuff, but if CM Punk is to be believed, Triple H would have to do business and actually sell fear of CM Punk. If you go back before Night of Champions 2011, Triple H talked down to CM Punk and was borderline shooting on Punk while Punk attempted to remain in character. It HAS to be different during 2013-2014 unless CM Punk is truly leaving the WWE during June/July 2014.
What happens if CM Punk gets crazy over from his babyface feud against the Shield and the Authority? That 2014 contractual status could get red hot...
Speaking of that... If I were the Carters and TNA Wrestling, I would throw the Bank at CM Punk when his contract comes up during 2014. Use some of the money that was overpaying Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and bring in a legitimate draw of a wrestler in Punk. While he won't be able to use the WWE trademarked CM Punk name, it's still him and wrestling fans will know who he is. If TNA afforded him the creative freedom of his character and free mic time, he could get over HUGE in that promotion. Spike TV could use him to cross promote their channel and maybe even strengthen their MMA ties (Punk appears to like UFC, though). It's the last great hope for TNA's survival, in my opinion.
If what I'm hearing is correct from a few in the industry and from what I see from news reports, the Spike TV deal appears to be up during the Fall of 2014 for TNA Wrestling. I'm seeing news reports from 2012 that discuss a 2 year extension, so... If the Spike TV deal is truly up, then TNA needs a big wrestler to keep Viacom's interest in pro wrestling going. Without the Spike TV deal, the promotion is dead because competition doesn't seem to line up and that might scare potential buyers of TNA wrestling (if it's up for sale) away. If the Spike TV deal is truly up during 2014, as the reports suggest, it could be the death nail of TNA if the deal is not renewed. See World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during 2001 when AOL/Time Warner cancelled WCW Nitro on TNT and WCW Thunder (or Chunder) on TBS. That scared potential buyers away and the WWE bought WCW for under $5 million, the steal of the century...
If the WWE doesn't appreciate CM Punk, then he should go elsewhere. TNA should open its doors, its checkbook, and even consider grabbing his Jedi master, Paul Heyman, to run the show as he sees fit.
TNA needs to be a place where legitimately screwed WWE wrestlers and disrespected Indy talent by the WWE (as WWE wants to grow its talent from scratch), particularly signing the wrestlers while they are still in their peak. Stealing CM Punk from the WWE during 2014 will not only give TNA a decent draw, but open the door for many great Indy talents to follow the former "King of the Indies". TNA could just build a roster full of the best independent wrestlers surrounding CM Punk and see what happens. Let the WWE spend money on Hulk Hogan and Sting...
If WWE didn't bury actual over talent, such as CM Punk during 2011 and Daniel Bryan during 2013, they would NEVER have to worry about competition and would grow above their regular subpar 3.0 ratings.
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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