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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Review, Batista's problems, Bryan/Kane, and more
By Mr. Tito
May 5, 2014 - 11:45:19 PM
With Daniel Bryan defeating Kane at WWE Extreme Rules 2014, the "Excellence in Column Writing" shall continue... I was dead serious about my call. I was extremely happy about Wrestlemania 30 and then the RAW following it. However, in the weeks that followed, booking disaster... I'm not sure if the WWE is pissed at Bryan for having his wedding with Brie Bella just 1 week after Wrestlemania (thus forcing him to take a week off) or if Vince McMahon suddenly realized Bryan was well under 6 foot tall... Either way, Kane is NOT a WWE Title worthy wrestler. How in the fuck can you have him on the losing end at Wrestlemania 30 and then book him strong as a "monster" for the next Pay Per View? Must be the mask...
But where WWE Management gets the "FINGER OF SHAME", specifically Triple H as the new executive of talent relations, is on the acquisition of Batista. Before I get into my rant about Batista's signing and his booking, let me note that I DO NOT blame him. If presented a 2-year deal that is at least upper 6 figures guaranteed and the promised push of (a) winning Royal Rumble 2014 and (b) headlining Wrestlemania 30 for the WWE Title, wouldn't you take that deal too? Nevermind that Batista is in his mid 40's and removed from pro wrestling for over 3 years... However, Batista needs to be offered a contract to be employed with the WWE. As the Executive Vice President of Talent, which Triple H is, he should know better. The WWE Shareholders deserve better than to see millions blown on a washed up superstar.
WWE, and Triple H especially, boasts about the new WWE training center in Florida. Wouldn't it be worth it for Batista to TRAIN there for the first few months of his 2 year deal just to at least get the cardio back? Batista has been sucking wind in each match and is clearly not in ring shape to handle 15+ minute main events nightly. Fans can see it, too, as his age is too evident in the ring. 3+ years is an eternity for pro wrestling as newer fans cycle in and other fans are now out of their teen years. Fans who might have followed Batista from 2002-2010 are gone and have moved on. Based on the lack of pops or the "Bootista" negative heat chants, chances are that Batista is not wanted by WWE fans. Yet, the WWE was willing to overpush Batista to possibly earn the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 30. Thankfully, HHH/Vince thought better of it.
Now, Batista isn't getting his way and he's willing to take his ball and go home. However, the WWE probably promised Batista various things at the time of his contract signing. After all, they gave him the Royal Rumble and all indications had Batista actually winning the WWE Title against Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30. Batista would then hold the WWE Title until being defeated at SummerSlam 2014 by the early rumored names of John Cena or possibly even Daniel Bryan. Batista has the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy coming out in early August. Thus, the Wrestlemania momentum would have swept into movie season and then ended the storyline arc with SummerSlam. Actually makes sense and could have worked out well in another year... But the fans wanted Daniel Bryan to be WWE Champion.
If only the WWE let Daniel Bryan have a legitimate championship reign after SummerSlam 2013 instead of botching it in honor of pushing Randy Orton instead. Batista could have been more accepted by fans when he debuted during January. By then, Bryan had his title reign and maybe the momentum slows? Instead, the WWE kept pissing off fans repeatedly over Daniel Bryan. They wonder why WWE Network early subscriptions were fewer than expected... They run the risk of pissing off fans further by having Bryan wrestle an ancient Kane instead of whooping on heat blackholes named Batista and Randy Orton. Remember, Daniel Bryan pinned Batista at Wrestlemania 30 and NOT Randy Orton. The logical match was Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton with the result of Daniel Bryan going over 100% clean to solidify as WWE Champion.
Reportedly - and I stress this is what multiple insider wrestle sources have said - Batista is going to take time off early to prepare in the promotion of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Sometime in June, it was reported, but Batista reportedly balked at wrestling Daniel Bryan at the next Pay Per View or "special event", WWE Payback 2014. He'd rather take time off earlier than intended than to the J.O.B. Sort of makes sense, as Batista was promised the world to start 2014 and how now done consecutive jobs at the last 2 Pay Per Views. HOWEVER, and if the insider news reports are true, that's a REFUSAL to job. Where's the punishment, WWE? Nobody is above the law in the WWE (besides Triple H). Batista laces up his boots like everybody else backstage and he should do what WWE management advises. After all, he's an independent contractor whom the WWE hired over a certain period of time. He refused... Where's the punishment?
Of course, I know better... Just watch Triple H's recent DVD/Blu-Ray and see the glowing things that Batista says about his old friend. No punishment will occur... By the way, didn't Batista LEAVE the WWE during 2010 due to creative differences with the company? Gee, is this a pattern of behavior now?
WWE is actually loaded with developmental talent and recently called up wrestlers. There is NO ROOM for someone like Batista on the roster, and ditto (unfortunately) for many other underperforming wrestlers and veterans. I'm reluctant to say that, as I don't wish unemployment on anyone, but the WWE has lots of deadweight in place and that includes some in the main event scene. If the WWE Network is underwhelming on numbers yet causing WWE additional expenses by being under the "break even" level of 1,000,000 domestic subscribers, they'll have to not only look at expenses but company direction. Signing old veterans beyond their prime is not how you gain revenues or convince fans to dump $9.99 of their hard earned money on WWE Network.
But if there is a POSITIVE to Daniel Bryan taking a backseat by feuding with Kane it's that the Shield has been given a grand opportunity to shine. After all, we're always preaching about the WWE creating new stars. Well, Shield vs. Evolution is presenting such opportunity. From day one, the WWE has pushed the members of the Shield extremely well... They introduced them well, gave them a great team name in the "Shield", and let them feature themselves as strong in-ring competitors. Whereas someone like Bray Wyatt has to sell his gimmick, the Shield's gimmick is that they'll kick your ass and look tough doing it. 'Nuff said! No promos and nothing commercial... Just straight ass kickers and it works.
Some of you got PISSED when I called Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as "weak links" of the Shield. Questions for you... Which member of the Shield got the pin last night at Extreme Rules 2014? Roman Reigns... Which member of the Shield was allowed to defeat CM Punk? Roman Reigns... Which wrestler just lost their United States Championship tonight? NOT Roman Reigns, but Dean Ambrose who barely defended the thing. That wasn't a knock on Ambrose or Rollings, but it's just Captain Obvious stating that WWE has put their chips on Roman Reigns to be the next guy and that Ambrose/Rollins won't be pushed as hard. And my comment was for the fact that the Shield was going up against a team with 31 combined World Titles and that someone for the Shield could get pinned, more likely to be Ambrose or Rollins... But my prediction was WRONG although it was Roman Reigns who got the pin.
It's funny how Triple H deserves the praise for the Shield and other developmental wrestlers, but he must own the Batista signing. That's a DISASTER given the circumstances of interrupting the "YES!" movement of Daniel Bryan and also for the age and cardio shape of Batista. Proper due diligence should have been performed by a Corporation's Executive Vice President and a decision like this would have me worried as a Shareholder for the post-Vince WWE world. Then again, you cannot be a successful EVP or future CEO without taking calculated risks. On paper, Batista made sense (or cents)...
As for MONDAY NIGHT RAW tonight...
I enjoyed the Battle Royal to start the show. I could give two shits about the United States Title because the WWE stopped caring, so thus I'm not offended by Dean Ambrose losing it in a Battle Royal. WWE hasn't cared about the United States Title for a long time but they have showed interest in the Intercontinental Title recently. I'm happy about that. In my opinion, the WWE should just retire the U.S. Title already. Either make something productive like a Television Title (which must be defended on ALL televised events) or eliminate it all together. For the past 10 years, the WWE either ignores the midcard titles (but jobs the champions in plenty of non-title matches) or inflates the titles by switching them repeatedly without hype.
I'm fine with the Sheamus win, too. He's been busting his ass on RAW lately and could thrive as champion. He's a GREAT wrestler. It's an utter shame that WWE Creative pushed him too fast and too hard and then had Triple H squash him after that injury angle. Then, of course, beating Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 28 in under 20 seconds... That didn't help. But nobody can deny that Sheamus is a great wrestler. Creative is doing him no favors by poorly booking and promoting his talents. Let him defend U.S. Title proudly and move on from there. Wrestling's blueprint has ALWAYS been prove that you can draw as a midcard champion first and then draw as a world champion. Not the other way around.
Cesaro is a beast... Just tossing around Rob Van Dam like nothing. Like the Shield, Wyatts, and others, the WWE has a lot of fresh talent to push instead of the same old same old that we've seen for years. Including Rob Van Dam. Dude...
I like this midcard feud between the Rhodes brothers (Cody and Goldust) and Ryback/Curtis Axel. If only it could be for the Tag Titles or something... But it's a good feud none the less. I just wonder what the WWE will do with Cody Rhodes after the split or if he'll return to heel. I just don't know about his potential... Great performer, but the WWE is stocked full of those right now. Plus, Cody wrestles like he's a smaller wrestler. He might be 6'2", but his high flying style and clean cut look just won't groom him into a main event wrestler. Something needs changed up or its midcard forever for him.
I would rip the whole 3 Man Band vs. Los Matadors feud, especially since it's being used to mostly hype a rivalry between midgets, but at least it's getting all 5 of those wrestlers on television. And what on earth did Drew McIntyre do backstage to deserve membership in 3 Man Band? That guy has the look that Vince McMahon would kill for in the past and yet he's stuck in that jobber stable. I don't get it...
ABOUT DAMN TIME that Lana rip American wrestling fans by praising "mother Russia". Easy cheap heat as America and Russia are having their differences on the world stage. Did you hear that heat when Lana praised Putin? The Snowden praise fell flat, though... On the subject of Rusev, I just don't get it... What's the point? He's an unstoppable fighting machine? How on earth am I to believe that when someone like Brock Lesnar on the WWE roster? Meanwhile, as fellow columnist Triple R pointed out on Twitter, what does Rusev have against black midcarders?
Bad News Barrett is beginning to hit his strides and it's wonderful to see. In pro wrestling, it's not about the gimmick, your name, or the production around you. If YOU, the pro wrestler, don't believe in the gimmick and try to make it work, it will never work. Barrett is selling the new personality with enthusiasm and it's showing. He's getting over with fans and it's motivating Wade Barrett as a good in-ring performer. Not sure where the WWE could go with Big E (Langston). They just seemed to have run out of steam for him lately although he was a decent Intercontinental Champion. Maybe he could also lose to Rusev?
Interesting gimmick with Adam Rose, but again the question must be asked with ANY debuting wrestler: can he wrestle in front of a big WWE audience? It's easy to wrestle in front of a smaller crowd in NXT or the indies but it's much different in the WWE. I'll reserve judgment until see more matches from the guy. He does look a tad undersized (very thin) to be in the land of the WWE giants, but again, let's just watch him wrestle a match.
The Main Event was Wyatts vs. the Shield, which is quite a luxury match to enjoy for RAW. On a good night, these guys could bust out "Match of the Year" together. Between Evolution, the Shield, and the Wyatts... We have a nice selection of stables right now in the WWE. Furthermore, it's AWESOME the WWE can headline RAW with these 6 wrestlers instead of the same old faces. Well worked match... Mixed heat, but for the record, the Wyatts have been getting face pops lately so the fans were confused on their cheers. But the match spots had pops, so thus fans were paying attention... All you need to know is that a "THIS IS AWESOME" chant started at the beginning, although "WE WANT TABLES" chant also occurred. Hmmm... Again, from my "weak link" discussion above, Roman Reigns got the hot tag at the end.
Just when you thought that the Shield was going to beat the Wyatts cleanly and hit the Powerbomb on Wyatt, Evolution hits the ring. It provided enough of a distraction to allow Bray to get the upperhand on Roman Reigns and get the win. You went from thinking that it would be a big night for the Shield following Extreme Rules to seeing Bray Wyatt getting a second consecutive big night. Evolution ends RAW with a massive beatdown on the Shield because we haven't seen that before... I did enjoy Evolution mocking the Shield Powerbomb, though. No John Cena tonight, no problem!
And FINALLY... Could the WWE stop making its WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan, look like a PUSSY against Kane? He's running scared against a guy who hasn't been legitimately feared since the early 2000's and is now 47 years old. Mask on or off, he's not the same legitimate wrestler that we once knew. What happened to the Kane WITH A MASK after the Kane/Bryan tag team split up? Oh yeah, he got his ass handed to him by the Wyatt family. Tonight, Bryan and Brie Bella were running scared from Kane throughout the night as if Daniel Bryan couldn't fight. Seriously... He's the damn WWE Champion and he's afraid to fight someone who is well past their prime in Kane.
Worse yet, Daniel Bryan can't even wrestle Kane in a regular match. He wrestles what equates to a Hardcore match seen in the WWE during the late 1990's/early 2000's. This is the same guy who can overcome John Cena at SummerSlam cleanly and Orton/Batista cleanly at Wrestlemania 30. But he's terrified of Kane?
I don't get it... While the WWE might be desperate for heels to face Bryan as the WWE milks the Evolution vs. Shield feud, you have to resort to a 47 year old Kane? I ripped Batista above but how is he different than Kane? At least with Batista, you have a mainstream audience moment with the Marvel Comics movie in August... Kane is talking about retirement as an insurance salesman or as a Libertarian politician. But then again, Kane won't say "no" to jobbing to Daniel Bryan and maybe that's the issue?
Meanwhile, WWE books Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio... Alberto Del Rio? Isn't he a wrestler still in his prime and a former 4 time World Champion in the WWE? A wrestler with NOTHING TO DO, too, and a very talented in-ring performer to boot as well. Nah, the WWE wouldn't try to push someone 10 years younger and in their prime. Oh no... we've got to put the mask on Kane and squeeze those last few drops out of him! Del Rio and Bryan put on a great match tonight considering it had little hype to build the current WWE Champion versus a FOUR time World Champion.
But noooooooooooooo, we must have Daniel Bryan running scared from 47 year old Kane. Yes, my friends, we have a burial in process... Worse yet, the WWE might actually do Kane vs. Daniel Bryan in a "BURIED ALIVE" match. How fitting and ready made for Mr. Tito.
"FINGER OF SHAME" to the WWE for wasting yet another great potential main eventer.
LAST WORD on RAW: Anything Kane/Bryan gets an "F" in my gradebook. Screw that shit... You have your WWE Champion running scared from a gimmick that debuted in 1997. Daniel Bryan DESERVES BETTER. Otherwise, I had no problem with RAW... WWE has lots of good talent and they were mostly featured tonight. The future looks bright for the WWE but the present, notably the WWE Title scene, is on the brink of a disaster. I guess I'll go "B" for the entire show.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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