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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW thoughts, Daniel Bryan vs. Kane - Really?, and more
By Mr. Tito
Apr 21, 2014 - 11:45:49 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Man, it feels like 2004 all over again...

A while ago, I recommended to the WWE that they should dip deep into the WWE, WCW, World Class, AWA, and ECW video tape libraries and steal the GOOD storylines/angles. If you're struggling to get a wrestler over, just take the script from the past and use it. Many fans who were born during the 1990's wouldn't notice and many older wrestling fans would enjoy the nod to their past as a fan. But what I didn't recommend was utilizing BAD storylines or angles. That's exactly what the WWE is doing. We're in 2004, specifically following Backlash 2004 on the RAW brand.

What happened after that show? If you'll recall at Wrestlemania 20 that year, Chris Benoit (yes, the murderer) captured the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Triple H and Shawn Michaels. If memory serves, didn't Daniel Bryan just win the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 30 in a Triple Threat match? Triple H was involved in that main event... Now, for 2004, the WWE went to the well with Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H and held it again at Backlash 2004. Nothing wrong with that...

But who did Chris Benoit wrestle at the next RAW brand Pay Per View, Badd Blood 2004? Why, it was KANE while Triple H and Shawn Michaels actually main evented the show against each other in a Hell in a Cell match. At Extreme Rules 2014, Daniel Bryan is likely to NOT Main Event his first Pay Per View as WWE Champion because it's very likely that Shield vs. Evolution will get that honor.

Granted, I would actually agree with the 2004 booking in hindsight. I was a big fan of Benoit's back then, years before he self destructed, and marked out when he became WWE Champion. However, in hindsight, WWE made a poor decision to make him World Champion. Great wrestler he was, but World Titles should be given to wrestlers who can help draw fans. Benoit has his loyal fans but didn't expand the numbers at the top. Daniel Bryan, on the other hand, is VERY over right now and is getting legitimate mainstream attention for his "YES!" chant and for his in-ring talent. Just think about how over Bryan would be if he had favorable booking? WWE management tried to tear him down repeatedly and yet he kept overcoming it...

Bigger difference between 2014 and 2004 is that it's 10 years later... Not only are the wrestlers from Evolution 10 years older themselves, but Kane is as well. Fans are growing tired of watching the same old faces over and over and over again. That includes me... The Attitude and Brand Extension Eras are GONE. WWE has unloaded the developmental territory for the past few years and it's restocked the roster nicely. Yet, the WWE is stuck with the 7-figure contracts of Randy Orton and Batista wh­ile being very loyal to Kane. The Kane gimmick debuted in late 1997, you do realize that WWE? I guess the WWE has to continually justify to its shareholders that the old veterans are working for their money.

The LOGICAL conclusion to Wrestlemania 30 was that Randy Orton, the WWE Champion heading into the event, did NOT get pinned. Thus, Extreme Rules 2014 should be headlined by Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan. It only makes sense and Orton was going that direction on the RAW following Wrestlemania 30 by mentioning that he did NOT tap out to lose the WWE Title to Bryan. Yet, and I don't know if this is punishment for Bryan getting married so close to Wrestlemania or not, Bryan gets soon-to-be 47 year old Kane (turns it on April 26th). Doesn't make sense... If you're going to involve Kane, at least make it Evolution/Kane vs. Shield/Bryan in a War Games match at Extreme Rules or something. Keeping Orton away from Bryan after Wrestlemania 30's booked ending just makes no sense to me...

I'm laughing at Batista reportedly getting time off after Extreme Rules 2014. What, will that give him time to hit the treadmill for some much needed cardio work? WWE is smitten with Batista's Marvel Comics movie opportunity but it's not like Batista is starring in Avengers 2 or a sequel to Ironman. He's in Guardians of the Galaxy, a much lesser known comic book. Meanwhile, the WWE just signed a 45 year old to a 2 year, 7-figure contract and he's in horrible athletic shape to withstand wrestling actual matches. You know, when you sign a wrestler to a wrestling contract, you should expect him to actually wrestle. When you push him hard as an instant main eventer, Batista is expected to perform well in big spots. He's not... He's sucking air. Now, he's relegated to being in a stable with another 7-figure contract blackhole in Randy Orton with Triple H pushing himself as the top heel.

Speaking of "Class of 2002" developmental talent, they are just WASTING John Cena. Cena overcame the Wyatts at Wrestlemania 30, time to move on. Cena should be teaming up with Daniel Bryan to challenge Evolution. I enjoyed the association with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella tonight. WWE has a GOLDMINE on their hands if they team up Bryan and Cena while giving each one a Bella as their manager. Eventually, Cena will lust over the WWE Title and turn on Daniel Bryan. Cena can then play an uptight snob that he appears to be in real life and come out with Nikki Bella in very slutty outfits. Daniel Bryan is THE ONE who can carry the babyface business for the WWE while Cena as a heel can be a tremendous draw. But, for whatever reason, the WWE is keeping John Cena in the midcard right now.

Interesting how the WWE is acknowledging personal relationships now on television... They proudly displayed one of Usos marrying Trinity, although you'll see that on E!'s Total Divas.

Great to see Wade Barrett finally "getting it" about the pro wrestling business. What many wrestlers, including Barrett for YEARS, didn't get is that gimmicks are only part of what makes a wrestler great. The wrestlers, themselves, have to sell themselves as being motivated about their character. If the wrestler puts in no effort to connect themselves to the fans, they won't get over no matter how bad or good the gimmick is. Wade Barrett has struggled for over 3 years now with gimmick after gimmick... Yet, he has possibly the most ridiculous one right now with "Bad News" Barrett and it's getting over. Why? Because he's put the time and energy into it. He's SELLING the gimmick well as if it's a new attitude for his character and fans are beginning to believe it. With Barrett selling his "Bad News" gimmick and getting a reaction, he's suddenly a decent wrestler again. Wrestlers HAVE to realize that their hard work helps determine their success.

Look no further than the Three Man Band gimmick... Awful gimmick, but all 3 guys aren't showing strong motivation to get themselves or the gimmick over. Each of the 3 expect to be over by just being paint-by-the-numbers heels instead of going to extra mile to sell their characters to the fans. They suck hard and they have themselves to blame even if the gimmick may be lame. They've been sucking since September 2012 and haven't improved... It's almost as if they sleepwalk through their matches and expect that a push will be handed to them. No, that's not how the wrestling business works. Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal need to do more to get noticed... Just watch Wade Barrett right now... He's selling his "Bad News" gimmick as if the Gods brought it to him from the heavens.

I have to give props to Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus... Good match from them. Sheamus has been on his game during 2014 as an in-ring performer... Past damage as being an overpushed wrestler to the World Title has done some serious harm to Sheamus long-term. What a shame. Sheamus is a great wrestler and if only the WWE Creative Team took their time with him years ago, he could be a top drawing wrestler now. Instead, he's just a warm body out there that has great matches but lacks any other connections with fans. Then again, as I said above with Wade Barrett, Sheamus could work harder on his character. Either make the "Fella" babyface gimmick work or try hard at getting something else over.

I can fully understand why ESPN is scouting WWE announcer Renee Young as an on-air talent. She has that perfect blend of beauty, personality, and professionalism. If ESPN doesn't grab her, many of the other 1,000 sports channels will. Hopefully, she has a good agent...

I keep eyeballing the Ultimate Warrior DVD at Walmart (they no longer sell Blu Ray WWE videos at my store). Very tempting, as I'd like to hear what Warrior has to say about his career... But, my demand to own lots of physical media is waning... With Netflix streaming movies and shows to me while my time to watch all of this stuff is declining with time, I just don't want to spend money creating piles of DVDs or Blu Ray discs as I used to. My VHS and DVD collections were huge back in the day and ditto for Music CD's. Now, to enjoy these things digitally without the hassle of organizing, storing, and carrying around plastic cases is quite nice. I do this much less with video games, as I want the physical media for those systems in case the systems go bad. But if the cloud storage keeps getting better for video games and lets you transfer games to other systems bought, life would get very good...

Such a fascinating match-up between Cesaro and Rob Van Dam. Both guys are from completely different eras and have completely different styles yet both wrestlers made it work. That was a fun match to watch while it lasted. Goes to show you that (a) Cesaro can get a great match with almost anyone and (b) Rob Van Dam still has plenty of gas in the tank. Rob Van Dam advanced after Jack Swagger interfered and caused Cesaro to lose via countout. And I just LOVED to see Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter getting in each others' faces. It's as I said above... Just watch the video library and see many of the great managers adding to the match by arguing or brawling on the outside. Heyman and Colter, alone, could help manufacture Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger into a well hyped match.

WWE better be careful with Paige... I have less of a problem with insta-pushes for NXT in terms of Divas just because the WWE Divas Division is SO BAD outside of AJ Lee right now. WWE pushed Paige to the Divas Title on her first night and now has her struggling against random WWE Divas for title defenses. Problem is that the WWE hasn't given a shit about the Divas Division for years insomuch that wrestlers like Alicia Fox or Aksana have no heat whatsoever to matter as opponents for Paige. At Extreme Rules 2014, Paige gets Tamina Snuka which could be a good match-up of the WWE pushed Snuka hard. Instead, she's been the punching bag for anyone attempting to get to AJ Lee and getting pinned often in tag matches. Divas Division is DAMAGED and will take serious innovation to save it. Paige is a nice addition, but no man (or woman) is an island. She needs stronger opponents and consistent booking for her division.

Speaking of Divas, Emma has a sock puppet like Santino. Seriously... I guess at the very least, she's getting on television and starting low on the ladder as I always preach. But as I mentioned above, the Divas Division is on life support and Emma is an extremely talented performer who could legitimately help it NOW.

Not sure if I'm that crazy about the Alexander Rusev wrestler and gimmick, but give me some more of Lana. Yes indeed.

The MAIN EVENT segment of RAW had nothing to do with current WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, nor did it have anything to do with the reunited Evolution stable. Oh no... John Cena took on the Wyatt Family in a 3 on 1 Handicap as voted by WWE App owners. Hard to deny the pops that Wyatt is getting, but if you'll notice, it's all music related. WWE fans are clapping for the entrance music in unison while singing "whole world in his hands" during matches. That's fine and dandy but what can the Wyatts do when they are NOT feuding with Daniel Bryan and John Cena? Who can't get reaction against those two? Before I comment further on the obvious about the Wyatts, FINGER OF SHAME to WWE and USA Networks for repeat commercial breaks throughout this match.

The match was mostly the Wyatts whooping on Cena until the end when Cena carried enough momentum to possibly win the match. For whatever reason, the referee called for a disqualification when both Wyatt followers broke up a John Cena pin on Bray Wyatt. Meh, did nothing for everyone involved. Made Wyatts look weak by almost losing to John Cena and Cena just doesn't fit in this feud.

LAST WORD: I remember stating that after Wrestlemania 30, Bryan's title reign will only matter if he's fed relevant main eventers and beats them 100% clean. Instead, we're getting a match up against a 47 year old Kane. Seriously. Just 2 weeks in and the Bryan momentum could be deflating... I don't want to call it now, I wouldn't be surprised that the WWE sees poor numbers through Extreme Rules and afterward that they might pull the plug on Bryan's title reign. If they don't respect him now by giving him Kane, they won't respect him in future months. RAW didn't do too much for me this week, C+. Feels like we're going backwards from the greatness known as Wrestlemania 30 and the RAW that immediately followed. Almost like back into time, like 2004...


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