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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Thoughts, Extreme Rules 2014 Predictions, and More
By Mr. Tito
Apr 28, 2014 - 11:45:40 PM
I'm always amused at my critics attacking me for "not coming from the business". For one, I write my column specifically as a fan and consumer of the product. Secondly, I have worked for a few indy promotions on the production side of things and learned a great deal about booking and the mentality of wrestlers... But I honestly can't say that I've drawn a paycheck from ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA, etc. Fair enough. Remember, though, I'm not working for a professional wrestling organization and I write for fun. Nobody sends me paychecks for doing this despite the many hours (if not years) that I've devoted.
Compare that to ESPN, specifically for their Baseball and Basketball coverage. Football, not so much... ESPN employs a whole army of former NFL players to provide analysis and the guys who are considered insiders, like Adam Schefter, Chris Mortenson, and John Clayton are mostly associated as news providers. Then, you have ESPN's MLB coverage... A mixture of former MLB players and sportswriters with the sportswriters having lots of opinions about their sport. Even more intense with non-athlete commentators, however, is ESPN's NBA coverage. Lots of on-air personalities who have never played a single minute in the NBA and they drown out the former NBA players that ESPN employs. Chris Boussard, Bill Simmons, Stephen A. Smith, and Michael Wilbon, for example, and 2 of those anchor ABC/ESPN's main NBA coverage team as analysts with opinions (Wilbon, Simmons).
I'm not here to criticize those guys or ESPN. Just saying, you don't HAVE to directly play in a sport to have a valid opinion. If you watch years upon years while also studying the mechanics of the game closely, you can easily form an informed opinion. Now, there's something to be said about on-the-job experience... But I've seen many former athletes or pro wrestlers being completely unable to form a sentence or articulate their opinions. Some of the best athletes of all time, for example, have struggled to be on-air personalities or coaches. The best analysts are the ones who weren't blessed with natural talent but made it through hardwork and brainpower. If you make it to ESPN, you proven to have some knowledge about the game while showing the ability to work hard... Even if you haven't played a minute in a league.
OK, so I haven't worked a single match as a pro wrestler... But as a pro wrestling fan and a loyal consumer of the product, I have a valid opinion that I'm fortunate to have heard here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Given how facts show that the WWE's television audience and United States attendance figures have nearly been cut in half each, I think it's pretty easy for fans to point out the faults in the McMahon family in running their own business. Certainly, it's easier said than done, but the WWE has let go many experienced wrestling guys backstage in favor of former Hollywood writers. Any fan with a brain can point out how the quality has dropped since the Attitude Era.
What I don't understand logically from the WWE is the whole Daniel Bryan vs. Kane match at Extreme Rules 2014. I don't get it, even if the WWE is trying to push Kane as a "MONSTER" behind the mask.
At Wrestlemania 30, Daniel Bryan made Batista tap out to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Thus, Randy Orton actually lost his WWE Title without being pinned or forced to submit/tap out. The WWE had the camera on Orton as he agonized in losing the title without getting losing the match himself. The next night on Monday Night RAW, in a segment where Triple H stopped Batista and Orton from arguing, Orton made mention that he didn't personally lose his WWE Title. It seemed like the obvious booking would be Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title based on these events, right? And one would figure that the WWE would continue the Daniel Bryan momentum by letting him FINALLY defeat Orton 100% clean, right?
Nope... Daniel Bryan gets Kane. It's truly 2004 again, where after Chris Benoit was done with Triple H/Shawn Michaels, he fought Kane as well for the WWE Title. Both Bryan and Benoit are wrestlers under 6'0" tall, wrestled in Triple Threat matches to win the WWE Title, and both get Kane while their opponents (Triple H/HBK and Orton/Batista) get bigger and better things. Randy Orton and Batista have moved on with Triple H to fight the Shield in the higher profile match for Extreme Rules. It's VERY likely that Evolution vs. Shield will get the main event nod and it probably should. NOBODY wants to see Kane vs. Daniel Bryan.
I just don't get it, folks... Wrestlemania 30 had nearly flawless booking and the Monday Night RAW directly following that event was great as well. But since then, the WWE seemed to have far more interest in Evolution vs. the Shield than its WWE Champion. History has shown that a strong WWE Champion has outdrawn a WWE with a poorly booked or built up champion. Just go see recent history with CM Punk's 1 year+ title reign... The guy barely main evented on Pay Per Views and RAW while was only allowed to beat Chris Jericho cleanly as champion. WWE wasted him as a babyface champion and then when they turned him heel mid-year (well, after a while), they made him look like a chump on his way to jobbing repeatedly during 2013 to big names.
But no, the WWE would never book Daniel Bryan poorly, right? Fans see right through it... How else would the WWE generate 667,000 WWE Network buys that were deemed a disappointment from investors? If you keep pissing the fans off, they'll eventually retaliate.
Speaking of peculiar booking, I just don't understand Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena. So John Cena defeats Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 30 and almost beats the entire Wyatt family in a handicap match and yet he still needs to wrestle Wyatt? And in a cage? What's the use of the fucking cage when Super Cena can beat all 3 guys without it? Doesn't make sense... Throughout this month, as Bray Wyatt tries to cut a serious promo, John Cena acts like a moron in return. Goes to show you that Wyatt is either too serious of a wrestler or Cena's writers give great head to remain employed. Seriously...
While I'm on the subject of Bray Wyatt, I'm constantly amused by the calls of Wyatt being the "next Mick Foley". What?
Maybe in a few years when, I don't know, Bray Wyatt gets some actual experience. Before 1996 when Foley joined the WWE as Mankind, he debuted as a wrestler during 1983 and was a seasoned veteran who traveled from World Class to World Championship Wrestling. Oh yeah, very violent promotions in Japan and Extreme Championship Wrestling, too... Notably when he was in WCW, though, he wrestled main eventers like Sting and Vader and pushed those guys to great matches. When WWE obtained Foley in 1996, he was a seasoned veteran with a new coat of paint going from the Cactus Jack gimmick to Mankind. But it was the SAME guy... Thus, when Foley debuts and can immediately hang with the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, it's credible because most wrestling fans knew where the man behind the Mankind character came from.
Last time I checked, Bray Wyatt debuted in 2009 and was mostly a product of the WWE developmental system. He doesn't have a fraction of the experience that Foley carried with him to the WWE in 1996 and furthermore with Foley, he was hungry to succeed. WCW took him for granted as a wrestling talent and he wanted to prove himself in the WWE. Bray Wyatt has been a wrestler groomed for the role he has now and the WWE is risking its top babyfaces in John Cena and Daniel Bryan to get this newbie over. For as much as the WWE is putting into Bray Wyatt, the "bang for the buck" isn't there (yet). Put Wyatt against someone NOT named Bryan or Cena and we'll see how he does. It's easy to wrestle against a guy who gets a reaction but put Wyatt in a match with someone like Big E Langston and we'll see how many crickets it would draw.
Bray has potential... I've consistently said that all along. But I'm sick of how hard the WWE is pushing him and now, how bad they are letting Super Cena piss on him. The overpush by the WWE and the pissing from Super Cena could do some serious long-term damage.
Evolution needs a "cool" 4th member. As it stands now, we're stuck in 2003-2004 with the same freakin' wrestlers in Randy Orton, Batista, and Triple H. Look no further than when the New World Order returned during 2002. It has a nice pop at first, but fans would rather cheer for a babyface Hogan and weren't that impressed with its other core members. The stable didn't last a year... Evolution, especially thanks to the very stale Randy Orton and Batista wrestlers, won't stand a chance to last long term unless, well, they "evolve". They need a 4th member that matters... I'm sort of leaning Sheamus but that's too obvious... They need someone fresh, big and tall, and someone who complements the group well. I'm not sure what's in NXT to fill that role, nor do I know anyone on the free agent market.
Many seem to think that Dean Ambrose might fit that role, but I really like Roman Reigns as the 4th Evolution member...
QUICK RAW THOUGHTS:
No lie, that was a good segment with Kane and the through-the-ring sneak attack on Daniel Bryan/Brie Bella. Problem is that we've seen that trick repeatedly done by Kane or Undertaker and more than 10 years ago. This feud is just a bad fit for Bryan. Only plus out of it is that Brie Bella is now accompanying her man. Put her in a cheerleader outfit and we're good...
Just as Wade Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam was getting good, interference hit and the match ended quickly with Barrett getting the Intercontinental Title shot. I loved the Barrett taunts on RVD with the "BNB" stuff. Barrett has bought this gimmick and it's showing with enthusiasm in the ring. I think he'll make a fine heel Intercontinental Champion...
Opening segment with Bray Wyatt and John Cena was good, but then John Cena later cuts the dumbest promo about bringing a donkey to the ring for Wyatt. Who is writing this crap for Cena? Completely undercutting Wyatt as a serious character.
I like Alexander Rusev, but he just seems so out of place in today's WWE. What can they do with him with the WWE being top heavy on heels with Evolution, Wyatts, Paul Heyman's guys, etc. What is there to do for Rusev? With the WWE unloading the developmental system, the WWE better think about cutting some on the roster or actually splitting the brands again.
Not sure of the booking on Alberto Del Rio... I thought I heard somewhere that his contract was coming up and he might not sign, yet he defeats Cody Rhodes. Then again, I don't know what the WWE has for Cody Rhodes these days.
Final segment of RAW was supposed to be Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns and just before the match starts, WHOOOOOOOO, the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair hit the ring... After acting like he was praising Evolution, Flair suddenly praised the Shield. That was strange... Then, the match began. Match struggled, in all honesty. I just don't know about Reigns as a main event player NOW, but that doesn't mean he can't improve as the year wears on. Show ended with Evolution dominating the Shield in a beatdown until the Shield made a comeback.
LAST WORD: Decent hype show for Extreme Rules 2014. My expectations for these "go home" RAW shows have become very low so thus my "B" grade is probably generous. For Extreme Rules, the WWE might have faired better with a WAR GAMES like match between Evolution/Kane versus Shield/Kane instead with Triple H's job on the line and Daniel Bryan's title on the line if Bryan got pinned. But oh well, we must squeeze out one last drop out of Kane...
Mr. Tito's PHAT EXTREME RULES 2014 PREDICTIONS
Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger may get booked for Extreme Rules. If so, my money is on Cesaro to win.
WeeLC Match: El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
This is actually on the show... My God.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: 3 Man Band winning on RAW this week tells me that El Torito will win. Just to pump up the fans for the pre-show, let the babyface win.
Paige (c) vs. Tamina Snuka for the Divas Title
Oddly enough, this is one of the matches that I'm looking forward to on this card. Paige is very talented, but in my opinion, Tamina Snuka still has some upside as a legitimately tough female wrestler. Unfortunately, she's played bodyguard to AJ Lee and been made to look like a chump in the process. Hopefully, both Paige and Snuka take this opportunity to shine on Pay Per View (or special event as it's now called).
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: I'm liking Tamina Snuka in this match. Paige is still new and the WWE might think that she needs to pay some dues. Plus, I sense that we might finally get a serious look at Tamina as the top diva. I hope I'm wrong, as I'm a fan of Paige (when she doesn't scream hysterically).
Alexander Rusev vs. Xavier Woods/R-Truth
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: Alexander Rusev. WWE has no future plans for Truth and Woods and they'll get their asses kicked this Sunday.
Big E Langston (c) vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Title
The Intercontinental Title tournament has been fun. For once, it allowed the WWE to clearly define who were legitimate contenders for the Intercontinental Title and it kept many undeserving wrestlers away from the World Title scene. Many wrestlers in this tournament are very talent but aren't there yet as main eventers. That's what the damn Intercontinental Title is for!!! Draw as an Intercontinental Champion and then move on up. Almost every wrestler before 2005 made it that way before becoming World Champion. For this match, I think that Big E has worn out his welcome as IC Champion and needs something new to do. Plus, Barrett has the hot hand with the Bad News gimmick.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: "Bad News" Barrett. Let's hope that this Intercontinental Title reign doesn't waste Barrett's time like the last time he held a midcard title.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt in a Steel Cage
Honestly, I don't know... Even if Bray wins, what does it matter? John Cena has already run over the Wyatt family by himself several times now that this late win doesn't matter. It's a complete mismatch on careers and experience and shouldn't be pushed as a feud. John Cena needs to move on and join Daniel Bryan to fight Evolution while Bray Wyatt should challenge for the Intercontinental Title.
WHO SHOULD WIN: John Cena. Bray Wyatt needs more midcard build up.
WHO WILL WIN: Bray Wyatt. Only because Super Cena could lose to anyone at this point and it doesn't matter. You know that he'll get every win back eventually.
The Shield vs. Evolution
3 main eventers with 31 World Title reigns among them against 3 guys with less than 2 years of WWE main roster experience. It would be nothing short of an upset for the Shield to win unless the WWE legitimately begins the Roman Reigns push. Reigns might be the future, but I'm not sure about Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: Evolution. Too much firepower on Team Evolution versus the Shield, at the moment. Rollins and Ambrose are weak links.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kane for the WWE World Heavyweight Title
"Extreme Rules" match because everybody always needs an excuse to beat a MONSTER like Kane. I'll call it now... If Kane wins the WWE Title, I'm done with pro wrestling, period. No more Mr. Tito, no more pro wrestling... It's bad enough that this match was booked but if Kane pulls off the win, I'm done. Middle "Finger of Shame" will be given and I can enjoy watching more Netflix instead of wasting my time seeing my favorite wrestlers buried.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: Daniel Bryan. I don't see how you could seriously make an old Kane become WWE champion especially after Bryan's great Wrestlemania 30 moment.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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