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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Continues to be Awful, Only Get Worse with Brand Split
By Mr. Tito
Jul 13, 2016 - 6:17:03 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Yes, the column that actually offends people with simple text. "Tito is so arrogant, so full of himself". Yes, I'm full of myself by writing a column for FREE (100% voluntary, I don't get paid) and for a website that has an easy system to actually write for LordsofPain.net. We have the Columns Forum that ANYONE can join and work their way up to become a LordsofPain.net writer. So if you think that you can do a better job than me, then have at it... Go there, prove yourself, and then show me up here at LoP. Show me how its done... Otherwise, enjoy the FREE entertainment that gives you an outlet to vent.

By the way, drink up fellas... Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, and Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002. That's a ton of shots that I just made you drink for the Mr. Tito Drinking Game. How to you like them apples (or shots?)?

Now that you're drunk... Enjoy the column!

By the way on the Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 (another drink), if that class wasn't so special or exceptional, then why are we seeing Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton HEADLINE SummerSlam and it announced 2 months in advance? Yep, I'm full crap when talking about the greatness of the Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 (another drink). 14 years later, WWE relies HEAVILY on those guys to still draw as top guys for the WWE. They have NOT replaced those guys... While I like the NXT Class of 2012, notably the Shield call-ups (Rollins, Ambrose, & Reigns), they aren't no where near the drawing power that Cena, Lesnar, or Batista have and class of 2002 also has Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, and many others who WWE Creative screwed with. Jim Ross stocked Ohio Valley Wrestling well but placed in more capable hands, it could have been even bigger.

Speaking of Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 (another drink), can someone give Shelton Benjamin a call to join the WWE Roster? I know that he's wrestling in Japan but the guy can still go at age 41 and WWE could squeeze 2-3 years of good quality work out of him. IN MY OPINION, that's the big drawing wrestler that WWE Creative screwed up badly. He could have been HUGE! Nobody would work like him during the mid-2000s. Off the charts! But instead, let's bring in the black stereotype mom to join his side and make him a comedy act. Let's constantly undercut his pushes due to backstage pettiness of the thin skinned McMahons or Creative Team. Better yet, he would have given the WWE some much needed diversity at the Main Event level. WWE screwed with him and wasted his prime years of his career through misuse. He's in his early 40s now but it's not until mid-40s where the erosion really begins to take hold for pro wrestlers. WWE needs talent badly and there's an opportunity.

Now that I have the Comments section extremely drunk right now by repeatedly mentioning Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 (another drink), let's talk about current matters...

Sorry folks, but the WWE Brand Extension of 2016 will FAIL long-term. I'm the ONLY with balls to outright call this, but remember, I was the one during 2001 predicting the WCW Invasion would fail beforehand (they didn't sign any top stars), that CM Punk was getting buried during 2011, and that WWE didn't want to push Daniel Bryan during 2013. I took tons of heat for predicting those early but as a wrestling fan and someone that works in the financial industry with analytics, I can see patterns and trends that maybe others can't see. To make it simple, RAW's ratings are in the complete tank. We are now permanently under 3.5 million and actually getting close to averaging under 3.3 million viewers... And the trendline is pushing towards 3.0 million! This week's RAW did under 3.2 million with (a) Vince McMahon hyped as appearing and (b) 1 week away from the RAW/Smackdown Draft. WORSE YET - This was the RAW following Brock Lesnar's HUGE UFC victory... At the very least, this should have had viewers curious if Lesnar would appear or what WWE would say.

But nope... Under 3.2 million viewers with a FULL roster... Imagine what happens with you divide that into TWO?

What's BROKEN with the WWE is its Culture. We can argue and debate on that talent of the WWE all day long... Many like the upper-midcarders and the recent NXT call-ups but because I actually covered the 2002 RAW/Smackdown split at the time as a writer. Not only do I know how deep the WWE talent roster was then (Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 + Attitude Era wrestlers + former WCW wrestlers + former ECW wrestlers), but their culture allowed for RAW and Smackdown to be completely different from each other. While the McMahons meddled and had their characters, they trusted Brian Gerwirtz to be lead writer for RAW and Paul Heyman for Smackdown. Gerwirtz kept the Attitude Era vibe for RAW while Paul Heyman actually presented something unique and different to enjoy. Heyman built a strong midcard while continually hyping a strong main event scene with Lesnar, Undertaker, Big Show, and Kurt Angle. The top AND the bottom of the card was strong on Smackdown and gave you many compelling wrestlers to enjoy. Midcarders like Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas, Edge, and John Cena flourished with Paul Heyman as a writer. He was CHANGING THE CULTURE in the WWE and thus WWE Smackdown outdrew RAW consistently between 2002-2004. It's a FACT that cannot be disputed.

However - For 2016, we're just splitting job duties of the existing WWE Creative Team, a bunch of ex-Hollywood writers that have to report upward through a Corporate Organizational Chart to Triple H and then ultimately to Vince McMahon who rewrites everything same day anyway. Nothing special, no significant additions to handle the extra workload, and no attempt to make RAW/Smackdown different from each other. None whatsoever. WWE is just splitting their hairs and I believe much of it is done because USA Networks is struggling as a top-flight Cable Network. Their original series aren't doing so well and Neflix & other streaming services are eating their re-runs market alive. Why would I watch Law & Order reruns on USA Network with commercials when I can binge any episode, any time without commercials on Netflix? USA Networks pushed RAW to become 3 hours, fact, while also wanting to boost viewership for Smackdown by moving it become a LIVE show on Tuesdays. Rumor has it that USA Networks legitimately wants Smackdown to become 3 hours as well!

But hey, as long as Comcast is willing to pay the WWE $175-$200 Million per year to air content on USA Networks & E!, the WWE should just say "screw it". Just use them as a 2-3 hour infomercial to get more and more people onto the WWE Network. As much as I'm hammering RAW/Smackdown and the brand extension, I'm satisfied as a WWE Network subscriber. Pay Per Views have become the last true place to see actual competitive pro wrestling. If RAW and Smackdown both get so thinned out by this brand extension, then I'm DONE watching those shows. They will just be infomercials for the RAW and Smackdown Pay Per Views... So why bother? I don't know how ANYONE could endure a 3 hour Pay Per View on Sunday, 3 hours of RAW on Monday, and then 3 hours of Smackdown on Tuesday. If you watch NXT, that's another hour on Wednesday. WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!?

I have made up my mind which brand I shall endorse... When the Brand Extension officially happens and the wrestlers are drafted, I'm watching Smackdown.

Why? Because I cannot take another minute of hearing Stephanie McMahon speak. As a wrestling fan, I've had enough of her talking down male wrestlers without any consequence as a heel. She does nothing but put herself over on WWE television when at the end of the day, WWE draws from the wrestling performances in the ring. She's a personality that bullies the entire roster without any karma heading her way. Just listen to her right now completely bury Dean Ambrose as WWE Champion. She's killing him by suggesting he's unqualified as WWE Champion, has a bad look, etc. Just like she did with Daniel Bryan, remember that crap? "B+ Player"? Did the same thing with mocking his looks, as well. Remember the pony tail?

I'm done with this Communications Major and Trust Fund McMahon stinking up the entire joint. Why do you think that fans cheered for Shane McMahon HARD when he returned before Wrestlemania 32? Gee, I wonder why? They were relieved that maybe he might be returning to run the company and take it away from Stephanie? Stephanie McMahon has contributed nothing to the WWE and it's no coincidence that the WWE's peak was hit and began its downslide when she gained more power during 2000. With Vince Russo out of the way, she eventually obtained the WWE Creative Lead during 2000 and the entire WWE promotion went from compelling storylines about Rock/Austin/Foley/Vince to the Life & Times of Stephanie and Triple H. That's all we've endured for the last 16+ years. Seriously. In fact, it has become WORSE with the Authority storyline. Just because she was born a McMahon doesn't mean she knows the wrestling business like her father or grandfather. Period.

Both backstage and on-stage, Stephanie McMahon owns a huge chunk of responsibility for WWE's decline since 2000. And she'll remain on RAW as Commissioner? Wow... The more things change, the more things remain the same... She IS the problem, folks... Not only is she damaging on-screen to wrestlers, but she has a say backstage. Stephanie lacks the entrepreneurship ability and managerial skills to make the WWE successful like her father Vince. Sure, she speaks well in public for the WWE Corporation. Gee, wonder why? OH YEAH... She's a COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR... But as far as being a Creative Mind or someone who can RUN AN ACTUAL BUSINESS LET ALONE A DAMN CORPORATION, she's unqualified. I don't care how much you sit with someone and "train" them how to do a job repetitively... If they cannot innovate new work techniques, lead others, or inspire workers to become better... You're not a good executive. In many ways, she needs to be thankful for WHO she married... As seen by the recent booming growth of NXT, it appears that Triple H might be decent...

But I've made my choice... I'm DONE with RAW as long as Stephanie McMahon has a voice on that program unless she changes her character. You can already see that she'll boss the RAW General Manager around, whomever that might be... I think it may be Kurt Angle, by the way, which might be used to re-kindle their storyline flirtation from 2000 and be used as a wedge against Triple H as it did during 2000. Of course, the end of that had Triple H/Stephanie reuniting and squashing Kurt Angle... But if Kurt Angle returns to RAW, OK, that would bring me back in. If the RAW General Manager is LAME and just a pushover for Stephanie McMahon to remain Stephanie McMahon... NO RAW FOR ME!

Smackdown will have to work to retain my viewership... Make the show unique. The WWE App has reportedly spoiled who might be the General Manager and I actually like the choice if that's the case. But my worries regarding the THIN, in my opinion, WWE roster remain and I don't think a raid of NXT would solve anything. WWE needs to raid the Indies, TNA, Ring of Honor, Japan, and Mexico of its top talent to stock the roster. However, if Smackdown just promotes Shinsuke Nakamura to its roster, I'll tune in every week no matter what. I am very impressed with that wrestler and I would love to see how he'd mix up with various WWE wrestlers.

I remain steadfast in my opinion that the RAW/Smackdown Brand Extension of 2016 will FAIL because (a) roster is too thin and (b) WWE Creative hasn't changed. Until you fix (a) and especially (b), 1 year from now, we'll see RAW at 2.5 million viewers and Smackdown at sub 2.0 million. You might think those are decent enough numbers, but because pro wrestling attracts fewer advertising dollars than other Cable programming, those numbers might have Comcast thinking about their next WWE television deal. But fewer viewers means less eyeballs to advertise the WWE Network and a REDUCTION IN QUALITY will cause a reduction in demand to retain the WWE Network... Unless everybody becomes like me and goes 100% WWE Network by just watching Pay Per Views only.

Monday Night RAW this week PROVED TO ME that the WWE will fail at the brand extension. Not just the average of 3.2 million viewers this week... But but but but Homerun Derby! Oh, you want to use that as an excuse for LOST RAW Viewership? How about I use FACTS against you? The 2016 Homerun Derby lost 22% in viewership compared to last year and the rating was the lowest seen in the last 19 years. If you do the math on 2016 minus 19, we're pushing in the years right after the Baseball Strike and just before Sosa/McGwire brought viewership back with enhanced homerun hitting. Demographic wise, Baseball and Pro Wrestling's viewers have a major mismatch. Pro wrestling and NFL have very similar viewers which is why Monday Night Football acts like a wreckingball to WWE programming during the Fall.

RAW started off with an Intercontinental Title Battle Royal. Sure, I'm historically a sucker for Battle Royals... But this is how you determine the #1 contendership for a title? There isn't a DEFINED list of contenders out there for your belt? Worse yet, you had the Miz come out for commentary and constantly putting himself over as great. Huh? What have you done since the WWE foolishly handed you the WWE Title during late 2010? Multiple Intercontinental Title reigns? Congrats... He was AWFUL on commentary. Then, we have Darren Young actually winning this thing. Yes, let's use another underpushed guy for a midcard title shot. Nothing against Darren Young, but the WWE has treated him as a jobber in the TAG Division let alone anything serious as a Singles wrestler. So he gets a shot at the IC Title? I don't really care... WWE hasn't pushed or marketed Young at all this year and suddenly he's going to be featured on a Pay Per View getting a title shot? I don't care if you add Bob Backlund to him... Wasn't Backlund determined not fit to be WWE Champion following Survivor Series 1994 by WWE officials? You know, over 20 years ago? Why should we care about his impact now?

And then the Vince McMahon appearance... Didn't care. You are just reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, polishing a turd, and signing "star" players to the New York Knicks. All the same results (sunken ship, smelly turd, and bad NBA Team). Stephanie is STILL on RAW and Smackdown will be the "B+" show with Shane in charge. Should have been the other way around... But whatever, it's going to suck.

Then, I got to the New Day and Wyatt Family segment. Sorry, but when you start stealing TNA's ideas, it just validates why I no longer want to watch RAW. This segment was clearly influenced by the Final Deletion segment and looked completely out of place for the WWE. Just made the show look more ridiculous instead of a like a serious sporting event. And I'm NOT here to knock the Hardy Boys for their Final Deletion segment... In fact, I praise them... Not my cup of tea, but at least Matt/Jeff were trying something different outside of a wrestling ring no matter how different. TNA needs to differentiate itself and they need to be creative. WWE just tried to steal TNA's vibe and it was awful with New Day and Wyatt Family. WWE needs less of this whereas TNA just needs to be different looking than the WWE, somehow. Just hurts the Wyatt Family's credibility... Why can't they just be badasses in the ring instead of all of this over-the-top character crap?

And I had enough after that... If this is what we're expecting with the Stephanie-led RAW but with a thinner roster in 2 weeks, NO THANKS.

Sorry folks, but I'm NOT a WWE yes man. I'm not on their payroll and the beauty of writing for FREE is that I have no corporate interests controlling what I say. That's much different than other sites or writers who rely on the WWE for access and therefore hold back on their opinions. Not me, never have and never will. I pull no punches when I see something legitimately wrong with the WWE and this Brand Extension is just a sign of desperation because WWE is STRUGGLING to fill the shoes of John Cena as #1 draw. The Roman Reigns experiment FAILED BADLY as I predicted it would (see my January 2014 column following his RAW match against CM Punk). I see the McMahons tearing down the WWE brand that I grew up loving and it hurts... I enjoy pro wrestling and yet the McMahons have lost their identity... Or, they let a completely unqualified family member have power and it has ruined them on-screen and off.

Go ahead, clap like baby seals when it comes to this idea of "Brand Extension". WWE doesn't have the roster to support it nor do they have 2 unique creative teams to differentiate the RAW/Smackdown brands from each other. If there was ever a time for a competitor to rise from the ashes and strike the WWE, the time is now. WWE's production costs will be through the roof to sustain LIVE Smackdown and also hosting more Pay Per View specials on WWE Network. If the viewership for RAW continues to shrink, then the revenues coming in will continue to dwindle. John Cena, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar (Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 - DRINK AGAIN) are near the end of their careers. Cena and Orton are getting bit repeatedly now by the injury bug and Brock Lesnar may return to UFC. There is nobody on the WWE roster that has the drawing power of John Cena even with all of the resources backing Roman Reigns to be that very replacement. The Roman Reigns push validates how obsolete the McMahons have become at running a pro wrestling company.

I'm going to watch the DRAFT events closely next week and assess whether WWE Smackdown is worth my time or not. It would take a General Manager like Kurt Angle to make me watch RAW again with Stephanie McMahon on the roster... Otherwise, I may just cover the Pay Per Views in this column to protest the mediocre attempts at a televised wrestling show on RAW/Smackdown... Infomercials as I call them.

Oddly enough, the WWE Network is keeping me around as a wrestling fan and as Mr. Tito and I suspect many are in the same boat as I am now. Pay Per Views and NXT, the last few places where actual pro wrestling happens. If NXT is raided to support this fraud of a Brand Extension, well, that just sucks.

Before I go, what the hell is everybody's problem with Dana Brooke? You're acting as if she's the next reincarnation of Jackie Gayda or something. She was brought up to replicate the sidekick act she had with Emma on NXT. They were very successful... But Emma got hurt and will be out for a while. WWE had to quickly improvise on how to use her. As for the quality of her matches, can you tell me where the QUALITY is for the WWE Women's Division? Besides Wrestlemania 32's triple threat, the in-ring product for Women's wrestling has been poor since Trish Stratus left. What wrestling matches have you been watching? It's not like Dana Brooke is doing anything different compared to the rest of the Women's roster. So lay off... She's still new and she has worked harder at her profession to join the WWE than most of you have at your professions.

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

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

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