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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Elimination Chamber Predictions, RAW/Smackdown Thoughts, and More
By Mr. Tito
Feb 9, 2017 - 11:47:14 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

The EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING is upon you here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com... I'm LAUGHING at the media trying to suggest that Super Bowl 51 was somehow a failure with having 111 million viewers, just slightly down from 2016's broadcast and lower from the highest viewed Super Bowl during 2015 at about 114 million viewers. OH MY GOD, 111 million viewers is such a failure! What will the NFL do? Wipe away its tears with all of the billions upon billions of dollar bills flowing in? Of course, everyone calling this year a failure are deflected by the insistence of other viewing options like streaming, etc.

Haven't we heard this before? WWE RAW through early 2015 was averaging around 4 million viewers and has since dropped to averaging near 3 million viewers through early 2017. Same excuses... Everybody is streaming... YET arenas across the nation are seeing REDUCED attendance... By the way, Hulu has a 10 million subscription base and RAW/Smackdown are no where near the top viewed shows on that service while the YouTube effect is vastly overrated. Looking at the 2/6/17 RAW video offerings, majority of the video offerings are lucky to hit 300,000 and only the "special" videos, like Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns can push 1,000,000. But that's a special event and it's WWE blowing its load early on a match that they could have saved for a Pay Per View. Dumb, dumb WWE...

FACT is that USA Networks remains available in about 96 million homes... Sure, that's down 2-3 million households from the peak during 2012, but 96 million homes is FAR MORE than most of the time before 2012... You know, when WWE had MORE VIEWERS than it does today.

When you're a company who FOOLISHLY pushes a complete DUD as a top babyface named Roman Reigns, you get what you deserve WWE. You've permanently lost about 1 million RAW viewers and thousands of fans in the stands thanks to pushing the WRONG GUY to potentially replace John Cena as the right guy. Meanwhile, you've created every excuse to keep John Cena away from World Championships since 2014 and that SummerSlam 2014 squash against Lesnar has proved to be a black mark on the WWE. Additionally, you had the #1 babyface RIGHT THERE with Daniel Bryan through SummerSlam 2013 and the WWE did everything possible to destroy him. And for whom? Randy Orton, the SAME guy that the WWE just had win the 2017 Royal Rumble match. Guy with 12 World Title reigns and NOTHING to show for it. NOTHING! And don't give me that halfassed Wrestlemania 30 charity event for Daniel Bryan. That was a JOKE.

You've got to let things naturally happen... In case you haven't noticed, several newer WWE wrestlers are starting to figure things out and it's BEAUTIFUL. And I feel great admitting it because I've been critical of both wrestlers in the past... I'm talking about Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin. Both guys are clicking right now as wrestlers and better yet, they are HOSSES. Anything that either guy has done in the past month has been 100% better than anything that the entire Cruiserweight Division has tried for the past 6 months. As much as Vince McMahon gets ridiculed for his love of HOSSES, he's mostly right... For Strowman and Corbin, they've been mostly allowed to grow in the midcard before getting some taste of the main event. It's something that Roman Reigns has lacked. He wasn't allowed to grow as a midcard singles wrestler... He went from tagging with the Shield through mid 2014 to immediately wrestling for the WWE Title. That's NOT how you groom a wrestler to become a Main Eventer. Hence, the BOOS that Roman has received ever since... WWE has been forcing the issue and Roman has NOTHING to show for it because he was forced.

I am glad to be admitting this... I'm buying Braun Strowman stock right now. He's good... Still a little green here and there, but he's getting better and more confident by the month. Not bad on the promo, either... Good athletic shape for his size to help match his look. Unlike Roman who is portrayed as being tough and a badass, Strowman just is... Better yet, Strowman isn't a bad seller... When you hit him, he shows emotion of actually being hurt. Roman is awful at selling pain and emotion in the ring which is one of his main weaknesses. Strowman is still a new wrestler and therefore can show some vulnerability now until this in-ring ability catches up... Then, he can become invincible and possibly be the guy who drives the stake into Brock Lesnar's career during 2018 when Lesnar's contract expires.

Baron Corbin's in-ring confidence is going through the roof right now... He seemed to lose confidence during his last few months in NXT when it seemed he was stuck there. Took a while to find his role in the WWE but with time, he's getting it. Badass finisher, too. Finishers matter, especially ones that look spectacular to pull off.

However, Corbin and Strowman are HEELS and may always be HEELS... Who can be the #1 babyface to potentially replace John Cena? Not Roman Reigns, we've already proven that over and over and over again in this column. Maybe with time... Look at the Miz who was overpushed through 2011... It took 5 years to repair his career... You never know. Roman's FAILURE is allowing for someone like 50 year old Bill Goldberg to step in and look spectacular. Goldberg, combined with Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker to hype Royal Rumble, has helped RAW's ratings pop here and there... But a 50 year old Goldberg cannot help things long term. Just you watch the WWE actually crown him WWE Universal Champion at WWE Fast Lane. Done out of desperation to pop numbers before and after Wrestlemania, but the younger fans will tire of him like they have other returning veterans.

So WHO can be the #1 babyface? Notably, someone who can carry the WWE on their back as the top drawing fan favorite? Is he (or she) on that roster today?

I believe that he is, but he'll need some time to develop...

In my opinion, the potential #1 babyface is Apollo Crews. He has the look, the younger fans love him, and he's a beast of an athlete. He appears to be weak on personality and mic skills, but in my opinion, he hasn't had much opportunity to showcase that. Think back to John Cena during 2002... He appeared stiff as a board but that was because he wasn't allowed to cut loose... Once Cena found a character that was natural to him, he took off... The mic skills came naturally and Cena was allowed to change-up his look to fit the character. I'd argue that Crews during 2017 is a better in-ring wrestler than Cena was during 2002. He's already a natural babyface whereas Cena worked as a heel for 2002-2003. When I went to that Smackdown houseshow during the Fall of 2016, younger fans were all about Apollo... They loved him! And yet there was no real babyface push for Apollo, yet...

Crews is that singles wrestler that COULD become the top WWE babyface... Otherwise, you pin your hopes on repeatedly trying to get Roman Reigns over or relying on veterans from the past ("Class of 2002" OVW, Attitude Era, World Championship Wrestling, etc.).

OR, the WWE could take my idea to REUNITE the Shield and push them as a babyface stable... If you want Reigns to draw as a babyface, that's the ONLY way... #ReuniteTheShield

I see 2 other wrestlers with real potential to become #1 babyfaces... I really like Big E. The New Day gimmick has unleashed the charisma and microphone skills in Big E as well as boosting his confidence. Now, he just become a tad bit serious as a wrestler and start racking up singles wins. Maybe get a better haircut... Seriously, and this goes for Braun Strowman as well... Bowl haircuts where you're bald on the sides were popular during the 1990s... We're 20 years removed from that timeframe. In my opinion, I would KEEP Big E in the New Day stable. He could be the singles wrestler while Woods/Kofi could remain a babyface tag team. I'd give Big E that US Title almost immediately and see what happens.

The other is Jason Jordan. Great size, great look, and he's very talented... He just needs to come out of his shell with his personality and mic skills. But do you know what I actually liked? For BOTH his NXT Tag Title and Smackdown Tag Titles wins, he legitimately tearing up. While some of you might be baffled as to why someone would get emotional over winning Title Belts in a scripted form of entertainment, but it meant some sort of validation for him as a wrestler. If the WWE could bottle up that passion for his character, then he's got it. To me, he's like a merger of Kurt Angle and Shelton Benjamin's talent but only larger in size. If they can just unleash a personality that connects with fans, he could be a HUGE draw. He's a beast in the ring and with more experience under his belt, he could really draw.

So there you have it, folks... Here's what COULD draw as #1 babyfaces in the WWE to replace John Cena:

1) The Shield (reunited)
2) Apollo Crews
3) Big E Langston
4) Jason Jordan

With 2 brands, why not try all of the above and push them strong as babyfaces until something sticks?

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^ I wrote most of this during late Monday night and then on Tuesday, the RAW viewership numbers appeared... AVERAGE of 3.1 million, a net loss of 500,000 from the Royal Rumble "bump". But WORSE news is the fact that the 3rd Hour, headlined by Samoa Joe's main roster in-ring debut against Roman Reigns. THAT Main Event drew a number UNDER 3 million viewers? If THAT isn't a commentary on the utter failure of Roman Reigns as a main event babyface, I don't know what is? That blows my mind... Sure, Joe should own some of the blame but I wonder if many fans tuned out due to how Vince McMahon has treated outsiders in the past. After all, Vince had repeated opportunities to get Samoa Joe IN HIS PRIME during the late 2000s and he didn't want him... Kept him in NXT for 2 years. Maybe WWE fans though that Roman would automatically win the match and tuned off during the 3rd hour? I don't know...

But we have viewership at 4 million through early 2015 and 3 million through early 2017.

WWE blew their load on giving us Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns for FREE and it utterly failed to draw viewership on RAW. That is terrible...

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THE RAW SMACKDOWN

I absolutely LOVE the chemistry between the Miz and Daniel Bryan. Miz gets so much heat when he taunts Daniel Bryan and I'm liking how Bryan has been hitting him back lately like a smartass. But LOOK at this Elimination Chamber match-up... It's LOADED... Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose and on top of that, you have Randy Orton. I'll take that magnificent 7 of Smackdown over RAW's top 7 guys any day of the week. I'm really excited to see that Elimination Chamber match...

Could someone tell me HOW Chris Jericho is able to broker a WWE Universal Championship match for Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens at WWE Fast Lane and it gets booked! Don't we have a RAW Commissioner and a General Manager setting ground rules and being responsible for some sort of contender system here? WWE's booking lacks tradition, consistency, and organization. There's no denying that Goldberg vs. Owens is a good Pay Per View match, but is there a better way to make Bill Goldberg the #1 contender without goofy drama? It's such LAZY booking without any logic whatsoever.

Baron Corbin getting the BIG PIN in that Fatal 4 Way on AJ Style, wow... That's impressive. Corbin has grown as a wrestler and one way to build him up before the Elimination Chamber is to give him a legitmate win over the last WWE Champion. Makes me wonder if this means that AJ Styles could be winning his WWE Title back to set-up AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 33? That could be fascinating to see if the Phenomenal One can pull a "Match of the Year" candidate out of Randy Orton. I'd be up for seeing that, to be honest...

That being said, Kevin Owens has a TALL ORDER on his hands unless the WWE decides to let Bill Goldberg squash him. If that match goes 15 minutes, for example, Owens has a difficult task of making Goldberg LOOK GOOD. Think about this for a second... Bill Goldberg has NOT wrestled a legitimate wrestling match since 2004 that was any length. His Survivor Series 2016 match with Lesnar was just 2 Spears and a Jackhammer. If the WWE tries the squash match on Owens, fans will be pissed... But will the have the balls to turn the WWE programming off for good? You sure as hell didn't when Sheamus squashed Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania and many of you threatened to do so... We'll see how much WWE values Kevin Owens as a wrestler and champion at Fast Lane. No doubt about it, but damn, he could have a major carry job on his hands.

Ha! WWE is giving away John Cena vs. Randy Orton for FREE on Smackdown. FOR FREE. And Cena is the WWE Champion. So why are you having the Rumble Winner versus the WWE Champion in a match just 2 weeks after the Rumble? Yeah, that should tell you that Cena vs. Orton for the 10490484895th time is NOT happening at Wrestlemania 33. I enjoyed how Randy Orton joined Bray Wyatt in the heel beatdown of John Cena when the referee was knocked out. It's setting up their break-up well... Luke Harper fought off Bray Wyatt but I believe that we're going to see a swerve after Elimination Chamber that puts Harper back with Wyatt. I liked that "Discus Clothesline" of Harper, by the way... Might work as a finisher if sold well.

RAW's booking is pissing me off this week... No so much the matches, which aren't bad, but the results... Tell me HOW it makes Bayley look strong as a #1 contender to lose to Nia Jax? Hell, in their previous encounter, Bayley needed a distraction just to beat Nia. Such LAZY BOOKING with the old "distraction causes a loss" formula used over and over again. Here's a BETTER finish that creates REAL heat... Charlotte runs in while the referee is distracted and drills Bayley IN THE FACE with the RAW Women's Title. Bayley is knocked out and that's how you give Nia a win. Creates heat for Charlotte while creating sympathy for Bayley. Nope, because Nia Jax is a HOSS and Bayley is deemed scrawny by the WWE Production Truck, we get this stupid finish of Jax winning due to a distraction.

The Dual Contract signing between Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Becky Lynch, and Naomi was a GREAT segment. All 4 cut great promos on each other and it goes to show you the true depth of the Women's division on Smackdown compared to the top heavy RAW brand. Seriously, RAW is Charlotte dominating while everybody else must be afraid of Nia Jax. As I'll mention below, WWE Elimination Chamber has THREE Women's matches... Could RAW pull that off? Nope... Mickie James, in particular, was on fire and then Lynch nailed her good for her association with Bliss. And I love how Alexa Bliss just naturally works as a heel. She has pure disdain for everybody, wrestlers and fans alike. What a talent.

It's perfectly fine for Braun Strowman to butcher 4 jobbers at a time... Make it 5 next week, 6 the following week, etc. Just keep building him up... But I wish that WWE would give him a better finisher than a Powerslam. Seriously. Here's a GREAT idea for a finisher... Why not give him Lord Tensai's finisher which I believe he called the "Baldo Bomb" when he was Prince Albert? Basically, he holds up the wrestler with both arms in a choke and then slams them down like a Powerbomb. Check out this YouTube Link if you need to see a demonstration. That, or give Strowman the finisher used by Beth Phoenix, the "Glam Slam" seen here. I personally like the Baldo Bomb as the finisher for Braun...

I'm happy for the Rock N Roll Express... Good tag team who knew how to work the formula and had excellent teamwork. Good to see the WWE honoring them.

Is it me or have I seen Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Anderson/Gallows many times already? Just feels like it...

The 12 Man Tag Team match between the Smackdown wrestlers involved in the Tag Team Turmoil match was perfectly acceptable. Most of these guys work 8 man matches all the time for Houseshows and thus they work well together.

OH DARN, Cruiserweight action was cut by Hulu from RAW this week. I'm so upset!

Main event of RAW was Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns. Not a bad match, to be honest... Joe gets the win, but he shouldn't have been wrestling Reigns in the first place. Besides, Braun interfered and thus the win is tainted. LAZY WWE booking once again. The thing that worries me about Joe is that I don't think he's as tall as advertised (6'2") and he looked a little odd in a WWE ring after years of seeing him in smaller venues. Will he fit long term? I just wonder if his prime ship has sailed... I really do worry.

Smackdown > RAW, but barely this week... Seems like RAW is very dependent on Goldberg, Lesnar, and Owens/Jericho to entertain while the rest of the show lacks bigtime star power.

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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2017 PREDICTIONS

"You'll have to excuse me as I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this s**t one more time." -Bill Hicks

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What is impressive is how the Smackdown roster actually has THREE Women's matches on the card... You could argue that it's filler but all 3 feuds are decent.

Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
This feud has been uncomfortable to watch based on how extremely personal things have become. Certainly, it has been building heat between the two, but I believe that we're relying on personal things said about Bret Hart or John Cena in order to get cheap heat. Simply put, Natalya's employment with WWE was a little helped by her family ties whereas Nikki Bella has received special attention since the Bella Twins returned (regardless of John Cena). They were made the stars of Total Divas and now they have their own Total Bellas show. Nikki is Executive Producer now! I could not believe that Natalya actually said that Bret Hart will "die alone" during a Smackdown last month. SHE SAID THAT! What needs to happen with these WWE veterans (yes they are!) is that they need to pull close to the "Match of the Night". Both women have tons of experience now and should be capable of pulling off a strong match. If they don't, then both should be immediately converted into enhancement talent for life. Period. End of story.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Nikki Bella. Not a fan of Natalya's work and I see real money in Nikki vs. Alexa Bliss. WWE Creative, in my opinion, needs to invest some time in retooling Natalya's character. Natalya does have strong in-ring talent, but the character is just too stiff.

WHO WILL WIN: Natalya, cheating to win to extend this feud another month... Plus, they may want to keep Nikki out of the Women's Title scene in case Cena/Nikki vs. Miz/Maryse happens at Wrestlemania 33.

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Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
This match has real potential to shine... Both are strong workers and good athletes, while both are very clear cut in their roles. I'm honestly not sure how to call this match because I sense that Becky will be kept away from the Women's Title for the moment while others get a shot. On Smackdown, Mickie James's promo cut deep! "Without Mickie James, there would be no Becky Lynch". Burn! Becky responded well, "I am going to slap you back into the past!".

WHO SHOULD WIN: Always go heel if the feud is to go on for another month or so, Mickie James.

WHO WILL WIN: Becky Lynch because I sense heels will win in the other 2 Women's matches.

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Women's Title: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi
Naomi has been so close to being Women's Champion but something always comes up, such as injuries... She's been waiting for this opportunity to be champion for a while and I believe that the WWE will let her become champion. She deserves it... She was a good wrestler when the Women's roster was thin and I really like how she has redefined her character. However, it is rather difficult to take the Women's Title off of Alexa Bliss. She's a GREAT champion and delivering not just in the ring, but on the microphone as well. She's a true heel in every sense of the word. Additionally, I see real money in Alexa vs. Nikki if they try it and execute it correctly.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Alexa Bliss, but only because I like having a strong champion. I really like Naomi and don't want anybody to get the wrong idea here.

WHO WILL WIN: Naomi... I wouldn't doubt that Alexa wins it back soon after that, but I believe that WWE wants to reward Naomi. Love those kicks by Naomi and of course, the use of dat ass.

Isn't that remarkable? THREE matches on the Pay Per View card for the Women's Division and they are WORTHY of being on this card.

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Tag Team Turmoil: American Alpha (c) vs. Rhyno/Health Slater vs. Breezango vs. Usos vs. The Ascension vs. Vaudevillains
Ever notice that Smackdown often lumps all of the tag teams together for these kinds of matches? You never just get 1 team versus another... Goes to show you how nobody is sticking out from this division, personality wise. Wrestling wise, Smackdown actually has good in-ring tag team action. The characters just aren't exceptional... Alpha is still new and unknown to fans who didn't watch NXT. Ascension looks like a poor man's Road Warriors or Demolition. Breezango? Seriously? They have a Fashion Police gimmick that would have Joan Rivers spinning in her grave! I like the Vaudevillains and I wonder why more isn't done with their oldtime gimmick. Then, you have Rhyno & Heath Slater... Their climb was fun but once they received success, now what? The Usos are heel, but I just don't see WWE trying to push them as a dominant team.

WHO SHOULD WIN: The Usos. Make them heel champions and let them dominate for a while. Let whatever babyface tag team rise up for the challenge.

WHO WILL WIN: American Alpha, as I just don't see anyone jumping out in the division right now. Good teams, but not great at the moment.

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Apollo Crews/Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
Don't understand this booking. At all.

WHO SHOULD WIN: 2 wrestlers against 1, duh. Crews/Kalisto

WHO WILL WIN: Dolph Ziggler. I believe that HEEL Ziggler will pull it off and use it as a way to humiliate Crews until ultimately losing to him at Wrestlemania 33.

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Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Why would you let the Royal Rumble winner LOSE on a Pay Per View before Wrestlemania? Oh, so you're saying that happened before? Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2001? Won the Rumble, lost to Triple H at No Way Out 2001, and then went on to defeat Rock for the WWE title at Wrestlemania 17. Hmmm... Of course, Steve Austin would NEVER redeem that loss against Triple H from that No Way Out 2001 Pay Per View... Hmmmm... But I don't see Luke Harper being the equivalent of Randy Orton. Ortin wins this to make it seem that Bray and Randy are unified then after Elimination Chamber, Harper will rejoin Bray Wyatt...

WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: Randy Orton. Gotta keep your Rumble winner strong.

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Elimination Chamber for WWE Title: John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt vs. the Miz vs. Dean Ambrose
LOOK at that talent! Smackdown has the better quality stars and yet it somehow remains lower in viewership on Tuesdays. What is wrong with you, wrestling fans?!? Ah yes, after 3 hours of RAW on Mondays, it's tough to watch wrestling a second night... Understood. WWE reportedly wants Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt for the WWE title and so the prediction becomes quite easy. I don't think that WWE is going for yet another Cena vs. Orton, I just don't see it... Happened a few times during 2013-2014 and it wasn't all that impressive. Been there, done that... Should be a very fun match with 6 exceptional talents in the ring. Honestly, we're good with whomever wins this match.

WHO SHOULD WIN: John Cena and he goes on to BEAT Randy Orton at Wrestlemania. Then, you sent up an IRONMAN Match between AJ Styles and John Cena at the following Pay Per View for the WWE Title. Yes, WWE, I just gave you a brilliant idea!

WHO WILL WIN: Bray Wyatt to set up Orton vs. Wyatt at Wrestlemania 33. Too obvious, I think.

Enjoy the show!

SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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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