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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - The Pending Disaster Known as Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34
By Mr. Tito
Aug 28, 2017 - 12:05:00 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 a dish best served cold, MR. TITO STRIKES BACK exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. You know, it's a place where we argue over being above or below 3 million RAW viewers by about 200,000 fans who keep making up the difference. By the way, even with the high profile Brock Lesnar feuds and Wrestlemania, RAW has only averaged 3,095,000 fans per episode of RAW. We're just 96,000 away from Mr. Tito's PHAT prediction of being "permanently below 3 million" that I made during July/August 2016. The WINTER IS COMING, as heading into the 4th Quarter always draws the viewership down. It's the up to Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania to "save" things. FACT is that RAWs between Wrestlemania 33 and before July when Lesnar returned averaged 2,978,000 fans.

Unless you're willing to pay Brock Lesnar extra to help give RAW the much needed star power (damn it, I would and I'd be willing to pay extra $2-$3 on WWE Network if he was there monthly)... The NFL Monday Night Football program plus other Cable TV shows will begin to challenge RAW's viewership in September, October, November, and December.

However - Braun Strowman may be the TOP DRAW that we've been looking for. Over the weekend, I helped out with some news reporting here at LordsofPain.net and was trying to think of something interesting to post. One website remarked on how well Enzo drew on 205 Live and you can see actual consumer numbers to prove that. Thus, I just went to WWE's YouTube.com and tabulated numbers. I was SHOCKED to see that the segment between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar drew 4.2 million views through Saturday. 4.2 million views!! We're now approaching 4.5 million... More than doubles any other segment on RAW and that INCLUDES John Cena's RAW debute (well, at least beats it by 2 million). Lesnar has had segments with many other wrestlers but nothing has drawn that strongly in less than 1 week of being on YouTube in recent memory, especially for a non-Big 3 Pay Per View.

Braun Strowman is exceptional... He personifies what the WWE looks for on "Larger than Life" characters. Braun is the kind of guy that would turn heads in a room if he walked in. He's massive and it's not just the look, but how he carries himself. He looks and acts legitimately tough. When he's on the microphone, he doesn't have to say much or fumble through scripted lines like Roman Reigns. Roman is built up as tough... But he's not. He has a jumping punch that is supposed to hurt you more than a standing punch. Did you see Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor attempting to jump with punch on Saturday Night? How about Big Show's knockout punch? Man, imagine if he jumped for that! That's NOT how you throw a punch. Meanwhile, Braun does a freakin' Powerslam which is a transitional move for most other wrestlers. But because he's so massive and acts like it's a big deal that he's got you locked in for a Powerslam. Because of how Braun carries himself and is legitimately strong, you believe that a powerslam can hurt you. And DAMN, did those powerslams look amazing at SummerSlam when Brock Lesnar ate a pair through tables at that show.

FINE... If we're going to do Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34, which is the most ridiculous idea ever if this is to be Lesnar's last WWE match (3 year contract expires that night), then book Braun Strowman vs. John Cena. Cena is equally as big of a star as Lesnar and for the most part, can give you a better in-ring experience than Lesnar. However, I was very pleased with Lesnar's selling during SummerSlam 2017 that I might have to recall that criticism. Lesnar made Strowman appear legitimate, just as Lesnar oddly did for Roman Reigns during Wrestlemania 31. He tried to sell for Roman, probably under the threat of financial loss by Vince McMahon backstage, and in turn Roman looked better than usual during that match. It's when Lesnar DOESN'T sell whatsoever that his matches are bad. His SummerSlam "efforts" versus Cena/Orton in particular as well as last year's Dean Ambrose joke of a match.

It's a compromise... If Lesnar vs. Reigns MUST happen in Vince McMahon's eyes, then book John Cena vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Title at Wrestlemania 34. Ah, that's right... WWE Universal Title... That would mean that Braun Strowman defeats Brock Lesnar at WWE No Mercy 2017, right? Yep.

Cleanly? Why not?

Last time I checked, Brock Lesnar was a former NCAA Heavyweight Champ, UFC Heavyweight Champion, and was the man who ended Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. Oh, and years of dominance in the WWE. Did that Survivor Series 2016 loss to Bill Goldberg hurt Lesnar? NO IT DIDN'T!!!!! In fact, I'd argue that it salvaged Lesnar's career in the WWE at that point because he's fresh off of a BAD 2016 year with several disappointing match-ups (Randy Orton & Dean Ambrose in particular). So if he loses cleanly to Braun Strowman, SO WHAT? He's STILL Brock Lesnar... You do realize that John Cena and Ric Flair lost the world title many, many times, right? And they were still big stars afterward. When you have "IT" in the pro wrestling business, you NEVER lose "IT". With Lesnar, he's not only an amazing performer, but he has a mountain of credibility as a combat fighter that forever keeps him strong.

Of course, you could have the Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns feud bleed into that No Mercy 2017 match-up and Roman attempts to attack Strowman at No Mercy only to accidentally hit Brock Lesnar. I'm NOT in favor of this result, as it could make Braun Strowman look WEAK as Champion for needing assistance to beat Lesnar.

I'm still NOT in favor of Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34. As a wrestling fan, I DON'T WANT IT. I have zero desires to see that match. Lesnar gave his best effort to make Roman look decent at Wrestlemania 31 and that's the best we're going to get. Roman has had "booking welfare" in the form of beating CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Triple H, and Undertaker (retiring him). Don't forget those many non-title wins over Kevin Owens... Roman was already made to look strong against Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31 and would have won had Seth Rollins not cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase. So there's that, too...

Sometimes you have to make choices in life if something really upsets you. Take, for instance, the National Football League (NFL) right now and former 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Right now, there's a belief that NFL owners have blacklisted due to his political stances particularly choosing to sit out and then kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. Follow that with his apparent praise for Fidel Castro and wearing socks during an NFL practice with cops portrayed as "pigs". It has made him a controversial lightning rod among fans... However, NFL has many controversial players who have said worse and did worse. Many NFL players who have committed legitimate crimes are getting signed to new contracts. Why? Because they still have talent to give. Kaepernick has regressed in his past 2 years, which in fairness to him could be the 49ers organization, without Jim Harbaugh coaching him up. That would be my concern as an owner the fact that this young kid has regressed in a short period of time. If he still had talent, he'd get a contract. After all, the dog killing Michael Vick found multiple jobs after HE WENT TO JAIL. Because he still had some ability left in the tank. If Kaepernick had the ability to help teams win, an NFL owner would sign him DESPITE the distractions.

Yet, it's caused protests over racist claims that the NFL owners have blacklisted him due to his actions.

Well - If you believe that NFL owners would actually do that, THEN STOP WATCHING THE NFL.

That simple. If you believe that a professional sports organization goes against your beliefs or is acting inappropriately, STOP WATCHING.

I did that during mid 2007 to late 2009 following the Chris Benoit murders and suicide. Why? Because I believed that the WWE was careless in their actions at protecting wrestlers. I was upset during late 2005 that Eddie Guerrero wasn't tested properly and was allowed to put on bulk muscle without anybody questioning him. His heart gave out. This is on top of many years of wrestling deaths. I was sick of it and it contributed to my retirement during 2006 in which you didn't see me writing columns again until early 2010. It depressed me as a wrestling fan. And then during June 2006, Chris Benoit snapped and killed his family. In the time that followed, it was revealed what he was on and then what many other wrestlers were also on.

I was disgusted by the lawlessness of the WWE Corporation and I stopped watching wrestling Cold Turkey from June 2007 through late 2009. Ever notice how I BARELY mention any wrestling nostalgia from that era? I was upset about how I thought that the culture of the WWE helped contribute to Benoit's death. Thus, I stopped watching... Total boycott.

It wasn't until I read more into Chris Benoit's death and history that I eased up... Benoit had a previous domestic incident with his wife and he was a bit intense backstage, particularly as he got older. Then, from Nancy Benoit's family, it was reported how much of a heavy drinker that Benoit became in his later years. Mix that with someone who was intense anyway and possibly suffering from post-concussion syndrome, it could be lethal. Reading deeper into the WWE's newly revised Wellness Policy and seeing how serious they were taking concussion protocol... I started easing up on my hardcore boycott of the WWE and began loosely watching it during late 2009. Then I rejoined LordsofPain.net during early 2010 when they had side blogs on non-wrestling stuff and then one day I reviewed RAW for the fun of it... Back in the saddle.

I argued the SAME THING during 2014 when the WWE Network was coming out. Why do you think that I did NOT buy the WWE Network until June 2015? Because I was upset over the booking treatment of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. It was my refusal to give WWE my money after poorly booking 2 guys who could have been their major stars to replace and/or complement the famed OVW "Class of 2002" stars that were still around (Orton/Cena/Lesnar/Batista). In fact, I was contemplating my role as a wrestling fan with out CM Punk was screwed and how the WWE sabotaged Daniel Bryan's 2013 babyface momentum. That half-assed Wrestlemania 30 effort was a JOKE and I believe that Evolution vs. the Shield following that show kept me around as a wrestling fan. Probably writing as Mr. Tito bridged the gap. It wouldn't be until the 2015 NBA Finals that made me try the FREE TRIAL of WWE Network that caused me to break my boycott but it was the NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015 show that kept me as a subscriber. NXT was a draw to me.

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34 with Roman going over 100% clean is one of those moments... I don't want to think that way, as I want to see Braun Strowman grow and become the company's #1 star instead... But I don't know much of this MEGA PUSH for Roman Reigns that I can take. Seriously, his finisher is a jumping punch! His secondary finisher is a poorly executed Spear which has no impact. At least with Goldberg, he didn't win with the spear... It just set-up his Jackhammer finish. Guys like Edge or Rhyno put their own spin on the move to make the impact look better. Roman cannot talk, as he's reliant on WWE scripts too much and can't improvise. Unless the match involves No-Disqualification to allow him to brawl more on the outside, the guy cannot wrestle effectively inside the ring and often blows up early in matches. Roman is seriously covered in sweat during the first few minutes of his matches. Hopefully, WWE doctors can check him out for that because he's wrestled thousands of matches by now and is still winded for his matches. Something else going on...

I'm NOT going to threaten retirement, as I'm a pro wrestling fan and "retiring" between 2007-2009 made me appreciate it more. Watching the WWE Network since 2015 has made me appreciate it more. But what I'm saying is if 2018 is another Roman Reigns MEGA PUSH year and we DON'T have Brock Lesnar around, I'll use that $9.99 for another promotion. Hell, my $9.99 for Hulu as well as I don't watch anything else on that streaming service (big letdown, to be honest). Effectively, we're paying $20 per month to watch WWE stuff... That can easily go away.

And I encourage more wrestlers like Cody Rhodes out there who have HAD ENOUGH of the WWE's way of doing business. LEAVE! Hey Dolph Ziggler, do you hate jobbing? LEAVE! How about you Rusev? Did you enjoy that squash at SummerSlam? LEAVE NOW! The WWE is thick of talent who are underappreciated and underutilized. LEAVE! Make a big splash in a smaller pond or start your own promotion. Daniel Bryan, if the WWE won't let you wrestle, LEAVE! Go stick it to them at Ring of Honor and show the WWE what they fumbled during 2013-2014. Bryan was the hottest wrestler through SummerSlam 2013 and the WWE wanted to push Randy Orton... Yet again. Go prove the WWE wrong.

Furthermore, I'm BEGGING wrestlers to do this... I have $20 per month to GIVE TO YOU if you want it and I'll try to attend your live events if you tour. Come and get it.

There were rumors of CM Punk and WWE at least talking but probably nothing has been made of it. Why does CM Punk need the WWE? Make a big splash elsewhere or START YOUR OWN PROMOTION. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) proved to me that any small promotion with the right style, look, and booking philosophy can gain a big fanbase in a short period of time. If, for example, Punk and Daniel Bryan started their own promotion to debut during 2018... The $20 per month is theirs.

Money talks and BS walks... Vince McMahon needs to be held financially accountable for over-pushing the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, Jinder Mahal, and even the Miz at times (see 2010-2011). The CEO and Board Chairman need to be held accountable and we, as wrestling fans, need to LOWER those WWE Network subscriptions and make RAW become "permanently under 3 million". I GUARANTEE that if WWE goes with Roman defeating Lesnar at Wrestlemania, WE'RE THERE and I would imagine that many of my biggest haters would agree. That was the premise of my "permanently under 3 million" was with regards of overpushing Roman Reigns (along with pushing Seth Rollins and having Stephanie McMahon as an authority figure).

And Triple H needs to grow a pair. Period, end of story.

I know that Triple H has to appreciate Vince McMahon for signing him during the mid-1990s and letting him become a singles competitor (WCW wanted him to remain a tag wrestler). Then, the big 1999 push that made Triple H into a superstar and probably millionaire as a wrestler. Lastly, he received Vince's daughter's hand in marriage and produced 3 granddaughters. How could Triple H ever challenge Vince based on that?

Well, NXT during 2014-2016 was doing everything right and creating a whole bunch of superstars. Those Takeover events are legitimately drawing big crowds and the brand was on the brink of really breaking out during 2016. Then, the RAW/Smackdown DRAFT of 2016 raided the NXT roster. We've limped along ever since yet WWE Takeover Brooklyn 2017 was brilliant! Considering the thin roster, Takeover outkicked the coverage in terms of quality and I'd argue was a better balanced show than SummerSlam 2017. It really was.

With NXT as a valid resume, Triple H should use that as leverage to make valid changes in the WWE's creative system. Furthermore, Triple H was in the ring with Roman Reigns during Wrestlemania 32 and should be able to tell Vince what is REALLY going on. And Triple H tried in that match, too... Wasn't one of those phoned in performances. Roman could not keep up with the 45+ year old Triple H athletically. Problem is that the accounting department sees the Performance Center and NXT show's production costs and reports to Vince that it's a "loss". Of course it would be when NXT has NO TELEVISION CONTRACT to subsidize it. Seriously, where would RAW/Smackdown be without $175 million+ pear year from Comcast/NBC/Universal? Or any of the television contracts. Remove 35% of the WWE's revenue streams (which is from television) and the ENTIRE COMPANY operates at a loss. DUH. It's not rocket science.

I believe that Wrestlemania 31 DOOMED us. The original plan of THAT Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns match from 2015 was to have Roman Reigns defeat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title. In FACT, that was the plan up and until a few days before Wrestlemania 31. Lesnar had an expiring contract and was reportedly thinking about a MMA return. However, during the Tuesday before Wrestlemania 31, he makes a big splash announcement on ESPN that he's returning to the WWE with a 3 year deal. That changed things. Suddenly, the finish was changed to protect Brock Lesnar and that was Seth Rollins cashing in Money in the Bank to become the WWE Champion.

In my opinion, the struggles of that Wrestlemania 31 decision will force Wrestlemania 34 of Roman Reigns to defeat Brock Lesnar to happen. 2015 was NOT a good year for WWE, as they went from 4.0 million viewers to 3.5 million by the end of the year, still trending downward heading into 2016. Seth Rollins was a failure as the complaining and bitter Authority member... That on-screen feud with "Corporate Kane" was just brutal. Then, the Wrestlemania 32 push was a complete disaster due to injuries but also for the lack of interest in seeing Roman Reigns chasing the WWE title. The Roman vs. Triple H feud didn't draw and Roman as champion following Wrestlemania 32 saw the WWE really flirting with being under 3 million viewers. Then, Roman quickly lost his title to his fellow Shield members at Money in the Bank 2016 and then the RAW/Smackdown DRAFT of 2016 happened.

I'm willing to bet that Vince McMahon feels that the Wrestlemania 31 decision to NOT let Roman Reigns defeat Brock Lesnar was a mistake. In his mind, it was everyone else's fault why the WWE legitimately lost 1 million viewers for RAW and thousands of butts in seats for live attendance. Triple H, who has been a backstage champion for Seth Rollins, may have talked Vince McMahon into that fateful Wrestlemania 31 decision and that could have wrecked Triple H's backstage influence. Maybe that's why HHH was tasked at putting Roman over for 2016?

I'm NOT threatening retirement if Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34... I'm on a good roll as writer right now for LordsofPain.net, doing great numbers still... And I'm not done being a wrestling fan. Seeing the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight and other MMA events helped justify why I prefer the scripted drama of a pro wrestling event over the inconsistent drama of combat sports. Like many who voted for the other side in the past Presidential election, you're still here regardless of who is in charge. Well, I'm still here as a wrestling fan and want to watch wrestling content. The question is for 2018, who wants my guaranteed $20 per month (WWE Network + Hulu) and other money that I'm willing to spend? Oh yeah, and who wants my time? Time is money.

History shows that the only way Vince McMahon improves is when competition challenges him. Come and get him, wrestling world.


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

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

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