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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE President/CEO & Board Chairman Vince McMahon is JUST TOO SWEET!
By Mr. Tito
Oct 25, 2017 - 12:29:27 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Oh, the uproar at Kane pretty much squashing Finn Balor on Monday Night RAW by the internet. Oh the humanity! Keep in mind that (a) Finn Balor defeated AJ Styles cleanly at TLC Pay Per View and (b) Finn is reportedly going to wrestle Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble 2018... And Kane owned him.

As I've said in my column repeatedly before... Kane = WWE's "Walking Glass Ceiling".

Don't believe me? Why don't you ask Chris Benoit, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho and about anybody just out of the "elite" Main Event club. Just slightly out of it... Guys like Austin, Triple H, Undertaker, Kurt Angle, and the Rock have no problem defeating Kane... But guys just a touch below the drawing power of the almighty top guys? Pfffft! Someone like Triple H is allowed to unmask Kane and then make up a story about Kane being a necrophiliac... The up & comer who wants to join the "elite" Main Event class? They pretty much have to murder Kane just to get a win or endure months upon months of a feud with Kane which never has a definitive win. WWE Badd Blood 1997 was 20 years ago and the BIG RED MACHINE is still here and kept strong just below the top main eventers. You won't see Cena, Orton, Lesnar, or Reigns get owned by Kane. We'll see how Braun Strowman does.

That said... Finn Balor EARNED that Kane beating.

Did you hear me? Finn Balor earned that Kane beatdown.

Call it a receipt.

Folks, WWE wrestlers are independent contractors. They are paid to do specific work for the WWE as prescribed by Vince McMahon and WWE management. Wrestlers must follow bookings provided to them by WWE and in the Corporate era, words said on the microphone are also controlled. If the WWE wants you to wear a dress on camera, as long as you agree to cash those WWE paychecks, you wear the dress. If WWE wants you to stutter on camera, you do it if you like that WWE money. If the WWE wants you to be the bastard son of a former Olympic Gold Medalist, you agree appear on WWE television. That's the terms... The negotiations are over money and time... Not on how Creative uses you although the top guys have some pull, no doubt.

Finn Balor is contracted by the WWE to wrestle in a WWE ring and represent the WWE company when being paid as an independent contractor. He wrestles the match as requested by them, agrees to the result as suggested by WWE, and nothing extra or unscripted. AJ Styles works under the same exact terms.

Recently, the WWE sent a cease & desist letter to either members of the Bullet Club New Japan/Ring of Honor stable or possibly the promotions themselves regarding a few gestures used by wrestling's past. Specifically, the New World Order (nWo) hand signal and the "JUST TOO SWEET" catchphrase. Mind you, the WWE didn't have those officially trademarked until just recently and the WWE has denied liability, for years, regarding World Championship Wrestling such as post-concussion syndrome of wrestlers. "Why those head injuries happened in WCW!", says WWE... OK, so why is a character trait that occurred in WCW suddenly yours? Can't just own part of WCW, Vince... You have to own everything that happened in those rings.

But that legal letter followed the BOLD parking lot "invasion" by members of the Bullet Club during an episode of Monday Night RAW. Another promotion or wrestlers from another promotion invading WWE's territory pissed Vince off and he's not the kind of person to "lay there and take it" like Eric Bischoff did for WCW during 1998 when WWE's Degeneration X invaded WCW Nitro's parking lot. Vince is far more protective of his WWE brand because it's his family's promotion. His dad and grandfather handed the company down (well, Vince Jr. brought it from his dad) and WWE's well being is personal to Vince. Bischoff was working for Ted Turner / Time Warner, spending their money on wrestlers. Before WWE became a Corporation through 1999, the money spent was from Vince's pocket. Big different... Thus, when you dare to invade Vince's stable, you'll get the horns!

That said - Vince McMahon is a tad sensitive right now about the Bullet Club. He probably sees the many t-shirts in his WWE audience and he's probably keeping a close eye on New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) trying to grow in the United States market. Vince remembers the 1990s when WCW grew and challenged his #1 spot. He's enjoying his market dominance on Cable/Satellite and is flooding the market with WWE stuff to keep the competition out. Not saying that Vince McMahon sees Bullet Club/Ring of Honor/New Japan as full threats to his product, but utilizing a few thousand to send a Cease & Desist Letter is what they call "cheap insurance" in the corporate world. If you don't believe that it works, ask the many terminated former ECW wrestlers of the late 2000s who left the WWE and then suddenly couldn't be called their ECW name. You didn't see the Dudley Boyz in TNA, did you? Team 3D...

So when Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles at WWE's branded Pay Per View, TLC 2007, has a salute to the Bullet Club with former members doing the hand gesture kiss following their match... Vince McMahon is going to lose his crap!

And it was totally unscripted. AJ Styles tweeted the following at a fan:

"Vince had nothing to do with the 2 sweet between Fin and I. In fact, I say it was two men showing the world what we haven't forgotten where we came from. Forever will we love our BC brothers."

In another Tweet by AJ Styles, he alludes that "Tonight was #TooSweet".

Anyone want to place money on the result of Jinder Mahal vs. AJ Styles? WWE probably had plans to build this match up before Survivor Series 2017 and use a win by Mahal over Styles to build him up before his match with Brock Lesnar. I'm willing to bet now that Styles might get dominated in that match... Then, I'm willing to bet that AJ Styles will be lucky to sniff the United States title in the next year.

Finn Balor got smashed by Kane and that was a receipt for his "Too Sweet" salute at WWE TLC 2017. And he deserved it.

Balor and Styles did an unscripted moment that was NOT sanctioned by the WWE (AJ Styles admitted it!) and it acknowledges the WWE's competition. Remember when AJ Styles said on the Stone Cold Podcast that the WWE was the "most professional place that he's ever worked for"? Remember that? Sure, he was probably taking a dig at TNA wrestling at the time, but AJ should have realized that he works for a publicly traded corporation and for Vince McMahon which wants you to deny that other promotions exist. How does he not know that? Why would he think that sending a gesture to his old buddies at Ring of Honor and/or New Japan is a good thing? Ditto with Finn Balor who has also been around pro wrestling for a while and has been in the WWE longer (counting NXT).

Few weeks ago, internet fans lost their crap when WWE Creative Team member Jimmy Jacobs was terminated because he went outside during that Bullet Club parking lot invasion at RAW and took a selfie with the group. Now, the issue wasn't so much the selfie picture... Wrestlers from other promotions do socialize... But the issue here is how the picture was displayed for the world to see on Social Media. The WWE Corporation did not like it that the Bullet Club tried to show the WWE up at one of their live televised events and they wanted NO WWE paid employee to acknowledge their existence there that day. Jacobs, however, takes a selfie and shows it off to the wrestling world. Of course Vince McMahon would get pissed at anyone advertising his competition for free with a big smile on their face.

How are the WWE's actions any different from any other corporation?

If you publicly advertise yourself hanging with the competition, Corporate Policies kick in everytime. That would be like a prominent Coca-Cola executive drinking Pepsi at a televised event openly. It's like that actor (Jerry Lambert, playing the "Kevin Butler" character) who did Sony Playstation commercials and then appeared in a tire commercial that promoted Nintendo products (Sony sued him!).

Vince McMahon and the WWE Corporation are in full control of their product and television shows. Anything that happens is as a result of their decisions. The wrestlers are paid to go along with WWE Management's wishes. Otherwise, if you don't like it, go try to make it in the Indy promotions or Japan. Don't cash those WWE paychecks if abiding by their wishes is such a hard thing.

Now, Vince McMahon is going to make an example out of you... He'll STARVE Finn Balor and AJ Styles. He's done it before with many wrestlers. Do anything against the WWE's wishes, you're screwed and Vince will put on the iron fist to make you pay.

Ultimate Warrior learned that hard lesson during 1991 when he forced a contractual agreement on Vince just before SummerSlam 1991. The second that the SummerSlam main event featuring the Warrior was over, he was suspended for a long time. Warrior was out between SummerSlam and Wrestlemania 8... Following Wrestlemania 8, the Warrior was NOT the same. He lost the magic that once captivated fans. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall broke character between heels and faces during a 1996 Madison Square Garden houseshow and did a salute of their friendship to the fans in the ring. Triple H paid for that (Nash & Hall went to WCW, Michaels was WWE champ) as his King of the Ring 1996 push was canceled and Triple H was demoted hard in the midcard. Matt Hardy let the entire wrestling world know about the behind-the-scenes love affair between Edge and his girlfriend Lita... The result of airing dirty laundry on the internet? Hardy lost a few matches to Edge after re-signing with the WWE, including the famous "Loser Leaves RAW" match. Edge went on to a big main event push and Hardy, well, he went to Smackdown. Recently, Dolph Ziggler badmouthed his Randy Orton & John Cena as wrestlers and his theme music... How has his character performed lately? Rusev announced his engagement to Lana via TMZ a few years ago... Problem was that Lana and Rusev "broke up" as characters and were feuding. Rusev has been jobber to the stars ever since.

Don't cross Vince McMahon. If you want to take his WWE Corporation's money, then act like a loyal WWE employee 24/7 and for 365 days a year. If you don't want to agree to those terms, hand back the paychecks and work somewhere else.

And good luck working somewhere else, too... For every Cody Rhodes that leave the WWE and make a reasonable living on the indies or internationally... I can show you many former WWE wrestlers who are struggling. I don't quite see Damien Sandow, Ryback, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, etc. doing that well outside of the WWE. Sure, they can find work, but are they drawing strong as ex-WWE stars? They can't even make a big splash as big fish in the tiny TNA/GFW/Impact or whatever it's called pond.

Do you want to join the Bullet Club? Oh boy... For those mocking the lower WWE attendance, have you seen a televised Ring of Honor show? I'm not mocking Ring of Honor, but you cannot deny what you see on television. Most ROH shows I see during late Saturday/Sunday night have a few hundred in the ground, maybe 1,000? It's hard to tell based on the production and lighting focused on the ring. Unless those fans are paying $300 each to attend ROH shows, they're not making money off the gate. Being syndicated LATE at night on Sinclair Broadcasting surely can't be generating much ad revenue.

You're more than welcome to join the Bullet Club in New Japan if you don't like those WWE paychecks. You'll have to either live or travel often to Japan. Enjoy those passports and getting work visas to work there. Not easy to do and also have a family... Then, if you're expecting to maybe make a few trips to America on behalf of New Japan... Well, those United States shows tried to boast "sell outs" but those G1 Specials drew under 2,400 fans for each of the early July shows. AXS Television for your shows? Not available in many hopes. The awful PopTV that TNA/GFW/Impact or whatever the hell it is called could be featured in more homes than New Japan if people wanted to watch.

If wrestlers don't like WWE's Company policies or the need to act like a professional for them, then return those WWE paychecks. Good luck working the indy scene and internationally to be popular in pockets of the world.

THAT SAID...

What the HELL is Sinclair Broadcasting waiting for with Ring of Honor? Finally, after years of owning ROH, they FINALLY have a hot brand name in Bullet Club. Why aren't they pumping in solid money capital into Ring of Honor or forging a stronger relationship with New Japan? Hell, Sinclair Broadcasting could obtain a reasonable agreement with NJPW to broadcast New Japan shows on Sinclair channels. Even if Sinclair cannot sacrifice their prime time slots on their big broadcast channels and has to keep ROH/NJPW shows late, they can at least advertise Ring of Honor shows during prime time shows. Once momentum grows, Sinclair and Ring of Honor could strike a deal with a Cable channel for more exposure... The broader network that Sinclair has, particularly following the Tribune deal, could create something streaming for ROH as well.

Why in the HELL is Sinclair Broadcasting NOT investing heavily in the Bullet Club brand on behalf of Ring of Honor? They've got something here! Vince McMahon is REACTING to you! He knows what could be a potential threat to him...

Sinclair has billions in assets and makes hundreds of millions per year... Why they remain acting on the cheap for Ring of Honor is baffling particularly as Bullet Club is getting some worldwide attention.

Until then a promotion owner invests heavily into the Bullet Club property, the WWE will marginalize any promotions pushing that brand or stable, they'll censor any wrestlers who try to allude to Bullet Club, and the WWE will make a few financial moves to squash the Bullet Club. Reportedly, Sinclair was once shopping Ring of Honor around and there was some interest by the WWE shown. Secondly, I expect Kenny Omega to possibly be lured away from New Japan with a big WWE money offer... And then when Omega joins the WWE, Roman Reigns will deliver him a receipt.

It wouldn't surprise me if Finn Balor continues the jobbing and loses his Brock Lesnar spot during the Royal Rumble. AJ Styles will eat a clean loss against Jinder Mahal and return to the midcard for the rest of his tenure. Then, just to make a point, Anderson & Gallows will keep losing... Of course, you won't notice it because they lose often anyway, but Vince is petty and he wants to keep the rest of the "boys" in line from ever crossing him. Any hopes of a "Balor Club" or any makeshift WWE version of the Bullet Club are over... If they do reunite, they'll be someone for the reunited Shield to defeat easily just to make a point.

And the rest of the locker room will notice. That's the point.

You never see the "inmates run the asylum" phrase used for the WWE, ever... Certainly, Vince McMahon has a major advantage over his athletes by scripting and booking what they'll do on WWE shows. However, the contractual situation between the WWE and the wrestlers is the key. Top stars are paid well and they remain in-line with WWE Management. Wrestler contracts are negotiated individually and based on their individual self-worth to the company. WWE having a downside guarantee to their contract has improved any labor tensions since, say, the 1990s when that didn't exist yet. Compare that to the National Football League (NFL) which have the players and owners in a tense situation for the past 10 years regarding contracts, franchise tags, punishment, and fines. The lack of guaranteed money and games played to remain under the Salary Cap with signing bonuses causes many NFL players to attempt to obtain new contracts in a few years. Then, you pour the National Anthem issue on top of all of that.

Not in the WWE... Because if you do something, like acknowledge competition, Vince McMahon can BURY YOU. If he wanted, he could make Styles and Finn lose every single match for the rest of their contracts. You could say that Finn and Styles could get jobs with other promotions, but WWE's jobbing of those characters hurts their perception to fans. Already, Finn Balor looks bad by getting destroyed by Kane. WWE can give you more of that! Kane can come back for seconds... Walking glass ceiling will work for the WWE forever, you know that right?

Don't bite the hand that feeds you... Don't piss off the guy who can bury you.

And don't piss off the guy who signs your paychecks... Otherwise, hand them back.

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THE LAST WORD

Why on earth is everyone complaining about Survivor Series 2017? "Oh, it's like a Bragging Rights Pay Per View" with RAW and Smackdown champions wrestling.

So what?

Would you like the WWE return to the 2000s or early 2010s Survivor Series shows which didn't matter? Pay Per View events that didn't feel special whatsoever? After all, Survivor Series is a WWE cornerstone Pay Per View and was the SECOND official Pay Per View brand created by the WWE during 1987 following Wrestlemania. Then, during the 1990s, the Survivor Series had important main events headlining them. Undertaker vs. Hogan during 1991, Kevin Nash vs. Bret Hart 1995, Shawn Michaels vs. Psycho Sid & Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart during 1996, Bret vs. Shawn during 1997, the WWE Title Tournament of 1998...

But those were just singles matches... The Undercards were full of 4 on 4 and/or 5 on 5 elimination style matches that were unique to that specific event. Those events felt like legitimate Team Sports and often the teams would feature wrestlers who never fought each other before. Like the Rumble match, the Survivor Series event was once a year and it felt special because of its cool gimmick match.

Then, the WWE lost their way on caring about the team elimination matches and didn't really care to headline them with strong singles matches... Just another Pay Per View, as the "Big 4" turn to the "Big 3" with Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam minus Survivor Series. Heck, other Pay Per Views were beginning to steal Survivor Series's spot. Money in the Bank, in particular, has been on the rise and has become an important show.

With Survivor Series, the WWE just needs to BE INTERESTING. I really enjoyed seeing Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg last year. Didn't know what to expect and I was shocked. Viewership numbers during November and shortly thereafter agreed as well. It kept RAW slightly above 3 million and 50 year old Bill Goldberg began his great run. I'm not that excited about Jinder Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar, but at the very least, I'm curious to see what happens... I'd personally like to see a SummerSlam 2014 destruction of Mahal like we saw of Cena by Lesnar... Still, putting World Champion versus World Champion is a bold move, although I'd argue this is a short-term fix to draw interest.

Thanks to the Brand Split, Survivor Series can now be relevant... It can be allowed to be the ONLY time of year when RAW and Smackdown brand interact. Otherwise, they are kept separate and thus making Survivor Series feel special.

Isn't that what you want as wrestling fans? For a show to have some sort of "sense of urgency" added to it?

I sure do...

I approve the booking of the Survivor Series 2017 show...

However, my issue is regarding WHO the champions are at the moment, notably the Smackdown disaster. I LAUGHED HARD when Paul Heyman cut a promo about how Smackdown has struggled since the "superstar shake-up"... Becuase it's damn true. Brock Lesnar was struggling not to laugh during that promo about Jinder because it's true. Lesnar knows that his opponent is inferior and will have his way with him at Survivor Series.

Lesnar has 4-5 Pay Per View matches per year and we're buring one on Jinder. I don't get it.

But what I do get is the Survivor Series booking and I'm fine with RAW and Smackdown brands going at it for 1 night only.

Would you rather the WWE return Survivor Series to "just another Pay Per View" like it was becoming during the 2000s or 2010s?

Not me... Welcome back, Survivor Series. You have helped remake the "Big 4". WWE made Survivor Series great again.

WWE should take my advice from last year and somehow RAISE THE STAKES of the Survivor Series match to help determine spots in the Royal Rumble match. For example, the winner of the 5 on 5 RAW vs. Smackdown match will allow that brand to secure the last 10 slots of the Rumble match. Something like that...

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SPECIAL THANK YOU

We're approaching October 26th, 2017... Unless I get motivated to write another column this week (we'll see, I'm motivated right now), I just want to extend a special THANK YOU to all of my readers for 19 years of being Mr. Tito. Just before October 26th, 1998, Calvin Martin, owner & operator of LordsofPain.net, took a chance on a random 18 year old college kid who applied to be his daily columnist. He pretty much said "write a column, send it to me". I did, he posted it, and it must have been decent enough to want more. In my first edition, I HAMMERED WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 while offering my straight up opinions on the state of WWE and ECW of the time. I followed that up by offering my opinion on RAW/Nitro in what would be my most viewed columns weekly. My show reviews received tons of views during the Monday Night Wars and it legitimately wore me thin to watch FIVE HOURS of wrestling between RAW (2) and Nitro (3) just to write a column. I always watched WCW Nitro and taped RAW on VHS.

That's right folks... I used VHS to tape shows! Been doing this for 19 freakin' years!

Again, THANK YOU to my many readers, notably the ones who have been with me from day 1 or at least the late 1990s, and a special THANK YOU to Mr. Calvin Martin for taking a chance on me. Here I am, 19 years later... Still standing and still producing.

The question is this... Where do I go from here? Well, I'm feeling pretty good... WWE Network has actually salvaged me as a wrestling fan as I enjoy seeing 2 Pay Per Views per month and NXT. The beauty of being a 2017 wrestling fan is that you don't have to watch RAW or Smackdown.

BUT... I want and expect better from the WWE. Only so much bad booking of the Main Event scene and total destruction of Smackdown that I can take. The WWE roster isn't bad... The Creative Team has zero sack to stick up to Vince McMahon and challenge him that he could be wrong on something. It's tough for me to see WWE overpush Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal as their top guys yet I don't believe in either one as top guys. No offense to either guy, as I believe both work as hard as they can... But both were rushed to the Main Event without naturally earning that spot with fans.

I'm challenging other promotions to step up... Win me over as a fan. I'm old and I don't want to dig for your content. Make it easy for me to see on a weekly basis and cost effective. Convince me to talk about your promotions in my column to spread the word.

I will say this... I will assess things in year #20 as Mr. Tito. Can I keep doing this? It's my hobby and I enjoy using the LoP megaphone to get my points about the wrestling business across... But who is listening besides my many, many great readers.

I carefully put together advice columns... I've been a dedicated wrestling fan since late 1988 and been writing extensively on pro wrestling since late 1998 for a high profile website. For example, I pushed HARD for the Shield reunion and what do you see now? Their YouTube clips are crushing it right now and getting more views than even Brock Lesnar segments.

Furthermore, who on earth actually places legitimate statistical analysis on pro wrestling numbers? I performed a regression analysis on WWE's ratings versus World Championship reigns and found stunning results on who drew a World Champion. I proved that WWE's repeated increases in Pay Per View prices killed their Pay Per View model. I also tested if Brock Lesnar was a draw since his 2012 return. I could do much, much more if I wanted to with the amount of WWE financial and ratings data that I've quietly collected for years.

This column isn't a joke... It brings you hard hitting opinions on the wrestling business and current events while mixing in legitimate financial advice earned from my professional work experience. I've done it for 19 years on a voluntary basis as a fan and consultants for pro wrestling companies cost them lots of money per year. I've presented lists of simple fixes that can greatly improve the quality of the wrestling product while also giving several long-term fixes to keep it around for years to come.

If any promotion wants to talk further to yours truly or the "man behind the mask", my contact information is listed throughout this column.

Otherwise, I'll keep pumping out columns as I head into my 20th year as Mr. Tito. If you keep reading them and if LoP keeps letting me post them, I'll keep producing them.

Just for you, the wrestling fan. Thanks again!

SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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

Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

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

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