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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Thoughts and Money in the Bank PPV Predictions
By Mr. Tito
Jun 23, 2014 - 11:45:09 PM
Welcome back to the column that has always taught you to BO-lieve, it's Mr. Tito STRIKES BACK. Here we are, just 1 week away from Money in the Bank 2014. Oddly enough, this Pay Per View has become the WWE's 4th biggest Pay Per View of the year with only the "Big 3" in the way. Why? For one, everybody loves a good Ladder Match... But two, the WWE Title or Briefcase hanging above creates a "SENSE OF URGENCY" to the Pay Per View to draw interest from wrestling fans. If you look at the Pay Per Views not named Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, or Money in the Bank, those shows rely on strong booking to draw you into a show. With the Creative Team consisting of Vince McMahon surrounded with his family and failed Hollywood writers, the Money in the Bank gimmick is needed to carry a show.
This year, it's for the freakin' WWE Title. That's a big deal... We don't see the World Title vacated often, let alone put in a different type of match to determine the next champion. Obviously, you have the 2 historical tournaments for the WWE Title with Wrestlemania 4 and Survivor Series 1998. Then, you have the Royal Rumble 1992 where the Rumble match determined the new WWE Champion. I'm sure that there is a 2000-era show from the RAW or Smackdown brand that I cannot remember for the life of me... Regardless, each of those events had serious hype behind them and put the very best contenders for the WWE Title into the match to determine the title.
Aside from 2014, the Money in the Bank Pay Per View has presented contender(s) for the WWE Title. Now, I dislike the Money in the Bank gimmick of being able to cash-in at anytime as that cheapens the WWE Title... But the "sense of urgency" to get that briefcase cannot be denied. Wrestlers sell their determination to get that briefcase no matter the harm it may cause their bodies. For many of the wrestlers, it's their only World Title shot of the year. Do you really think that Damien Sandow was going to get a title shot during 2013 without the briefcase? Please...
Aside from Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Money in the Bank, there is no "sense of urgency" within the other 8 shows to cause me to spend my income on Pay Per Views. Furthermore, the lack of quality in the other 8 shows has caused me to NOT buy the WWE Network.
And I believe the LACK of quality in Pay Per Views has caused (a) buyrates to go down and (b) WWE Network buys to be underwhelming. What WWE officials don't understand is that TIME IS MONEY. OK, so you're offering WWE Network for $9.99 per month and an annual value of just over $120.00 (includes tax). That's the price of 3 non-Wrestlemania Pay Per Views, right? What a deal! Very true... but what if you don't want to watch 12 Pay Per Views that are 3 hours in length? That's a 36 hour commitment of time on top of the 52 weeks of RAW which are 3 hours each night to make 156 hours. Oh, you watch Smackdown too? 52 weeks times 2 equates to 104 hours. Over 200 hours of your time for a year or about 8 days of the year dedicated to WWE. Oh, you watch WWE Main Event and NXT too?
See where I'm getting at? If the WWE delivered QUALITY on their shows, their Pay Per View numbers would remain strong even with the presence of WWE Network. Furthermore, WWE Network's subscriptions would be surging. Instead, the WWE half-asses their non-Big 3 Pay Per Views (and Money in the Bank) and thus Pay Per View numbers are dropping. As nice as the retro stuff is on WWE Network, along with NXT and Legends House, most fans are buying it for the current Pay Per Views. When you deliver bullshit like screwing with Daniel Bryan on Pay Per Views, as the WWE clearly did after SummerSlam 2013 last year, you'll piss off fans and they won't buy the WWE Network. They'll either keep stealing it via illegal streams or not watch at all. Time is money...
Spare me on the WWE Network being a draw for all of its WWE, WCW, and ECW Pay Per Views. I've already seen all of that old stuff. I became a hardcore fan during late 1988 and have seen almost every Pay Per View, RAW, Nitro, and most ECW infomercial shows since. I enjoyed those shows then but it holds weaker replay value now. Pro wrestling has great emotional moments when their air live and just don't hold up well over time. Furthermore, I struggle to want to binge watch pro wrestling content like I would Netflix. With Netflix, I have NEW content that I can watch, such as shows like Breaking Bad (BEST SHOW EVER!), Dexter, Orange is the New Black, or any other show or movie that I've never seen before. I seriously crave watching content on Netflix and hope the day passes by quickly so that I can continue some series late at night.
I would buy the WWE Network if all 12 Pay Per Views were decent. But they're not. The Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank are extremely reliant on Title Shot matches to hype their shows. Wrestlemania and SummerSlam are the WWE's staple events and are the only events where WWE puts some long-term planning in place. Otherwise, the other Pay Per Views try to be reliant on gimmick matches (Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, TLC) or get new names in order to attract you to buy. But they are failing... WWE raised the prices on Pay Per Views during the late 2000's at a time when quality was dropping. They wonder why numbers and piracy were on the rise to begin to kill that market.
As for RAW tonight...
What I've said about Stephanie for YEARS is that she should become the heel boss for the Divas division. You sort of saw that tonight with Vicki Guerrero and Vicki actually got some pops for standing up to Stephanie. There you go... Perfect business model on how to run the Divas division. A few years ago, Stephanie had a segment where the talked down the entire Divas division and it drew some good heat. Before Paige took her Divas Title, AJ Lee was completely wasted as a talent. I long contended that if AJ Lee were to become face and confront Stephanie McMahon, they could have put some spice in the Divas Division. Maybe even a Pay Per View match. But that's not to be and the only wrestling we'll see from Stephanie is one against Vickie Guerrero. And getting slop on her...
Not sure what the WWE is trying right now with Titus O'Neil. He was quickly defeated twice by Adam Rose and now Bo Dallas. I thought that the WWE was going to seriously push O'Neil? What did I miss?
I hate myself for saying this... But I'm starting to BO-lieve...
I think the delayed Naomi push is on... With the news reports of Vince McMahon not being crazy about Paige, I think her time as champion is due. Plus, Naomi winning will be featured on Total Divas. Maybe it's the booking and I know by saying this that the Internet Wrestling Community will hate on me... But Paige has been underwhelming. I see talent there but I haven't been in awe of any of her matches yet. Then again, her best opponent has been Alicia Fox who hasn't been properly booked herself.
Lots of Pay Per View participant match-ups tonight... Good overall matches. I could be here all night writing about it, but I'd rather point the FINGER OF SHAME!
I don't understand why Kane was added to this fucking Money in the Bank WWE Title match. John Cena beat him in the stretcher match and the guy has done nothing but lose during 2014, even as "the demon". In fact, his stiff old 47 year old ass is going to get in the way of the 7 younger and more athletic wrestlers. Now, they have to sell his stupid chokeslams and 47 year old Kane isn't going to do anything high risk. He's just in the way.
^ STUPID moves like this put a wet blanket over good shows that could potentially sell well for the WWE.
As for the grade of RAW... Meh, I'll go B+ for the WWE finally naming wrestlers to the "B+ Money in the Bank Match". Congrats to Ambrose, Rollins, Kingston, Barrett, Swagger, RVD, and Ziggler on entering the B+ Money in the Bank Match. LOL @ Triple H actually acknowledging that he's accused of disliking Dolph Ziggler.
MR. TITO's PHAT "MONEY IN THE BANK" PAY PER VIEW PREDICTIONS
Divas Title: Paige(c) vs. Naomi
This match may get added... I'm assuming it may has a pre-game show, but I don't know. More matches could get announced after this column gets posted. Hearing the story on Vince not being high on Paige is enough for me, but I know that WWE was dead serious about pushing Naomi earlier this year before the eye socket injury occurred. Paige just hasn't connected with fans or impressed with her ability. Not sure what she did differently in NXT, but something isn't working in WWE.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: I'll agree with WWE here. Naomi would be a good Divas Champion.
Rusev vs. Big E Langston
I'm assuming that this match happens, so why not predict it? The push for Rusev is ON while Big E has taken a few steps back as of late. Problem with Rusev, however, is that his gimmick is stupid. Sure, the United States and Russia are having tensions, but it's NOTHING like the Cold War stuff. After World War 2, both the United States and Russia began an arms race and the U.S. fought back by trying to stop the spread of communism. Things changed after the 1980's and away went the threat of nuclear warfare as well. When Lana comes out with her sweet ass and explains how our President is weak compared to Putin, fans are like "meh", whatever. During the 1980's, pro wrestling wasn't as exposed as being staged as it is now. Big difference in times, guys.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: Big E needs some development and character rehab. It's just not working. Thus, the mega push of Rusev shall continue and I'm predicting him to win.
WWE Tag Titles: Usos(c) vs. Wyatt Family
The new tag team music for Rowan and Harper should give it away, as you don't just create music as a one time thing but if you're going to make Rowan/Harper a long-term tag team. Usos were getting the better of the Wyatts during the whole Wyatt/Cena feud and I believe now it's payback time. Plus, the Usos have actually built themselves up well to endure a setback and then continue to feud with Wyatts after Money in the Bank. It wouldn't surprise me that the WWE might go with a Wyatt Family "sweep" at Money in the Bank, especially if the WWE actually decides to split the World Titles up (Wyatt wins one, Cena takes the other).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Usos. I like seeing extensive midcard champions who can defend the titles well. History shows that it's an asset to the promotion that tries it...
WHO WILL WIN: Wyatts. Usos got the better of them during Cena/Wyatt feud and now it's payback time. Plus, Harper and Rowan have wrestled well for the past year and deserve some award.
B+ Player Money in the Bank for a WWE Title Shot
As I write this section, within the 8pm to 9pm hour, only Seth Rollins is in this match. Seriously... And this is for a potential WWE Title shot that can be cashed in at any time during the year. The WWE is in the same exact situation as last year. If you'll recall, the WWE had the "All Star" Money in the Bank match for the WWE Title shot and then everybody else in another Money in the Bank match. That's the one Damian Sandow won and just wasn't taken seriously at all for winning. It's EVEN WORSE this year as 7 wrestlers go after the actual WWE Title while 7 others go after a title shot. Huh? Truly, the B+ Money in the Bank match for B+ players. Yet, you won't see Triple H or Stephanie McMahon calling any of these guys "B+ Players". Just the 2nd biggest draw in the company, Daniel Bryan.
*UPDATE* Triple H comes out to flop his dick out at the WWE crowd and attempts to hype that the B+ Player Money in the Bank winner will get a title shot. Here are the participants: Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, and "Bad News" Barrett. After that announcement, HHH had Seth Rollins come out and Rollins was wearing tights. Rollins went into a promo about the Shield, about the same as before. *UPDATE #2* Dean Ambrose was added to the match later in the show.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Tough question... I personally like Wade Barrett as one of the future main eventers for the WWE, but this Money in the Bank match stinks in terms of spotlight given. I would rather Barrett win a legitimate WWE Title shot another way, but I just can't see anyone else in this match being a strong main eventer long-term.
WHO WILL WIN: Seth Rollins. No idea why, as this Money in the Bank match is such a toss-up.
WWE Title - Money in the Bank Match: John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kane
Anyone who says the WWE doesn't have a thick roster should look at this match (besides Kane). I really like the mix of these wrestlers (besides Kane) coming together and creating the potential for a real "Match of the Year" candidate. It's cool how you have the "Class of 2002" veterans who have been there, done that in the pro wrestling business with Randy Orton and John Cena with 10+ title reigns each. Then, you have the 2 former champions who just didn't get it done as champions in Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus, though both have tons of in-ring talent. To top it off, you have newcomers in Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns who could be relying on this match to climb the WWE ladder over the other 2 potential main eventers.
The big issue at stake is if the WWE wants to play it safe by doing John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam or if the WWE wants to try a newbie against Lesnar instead. However, don't forget that the WWE reportedly wanted to do a Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar match during various periods of 2012-2013 when Lesnar arrived. Lesnar vs. Orton was something that the WWE was unable to do during 2003-2004 when both guys were on separate brands and then Lesnar left during 2004. One of the reported reasons why Randy Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam 2004 was to beat Brock Lesnar's record of being the "youngest WWE World Champion ever".
Lots of questions, but I believe that the WWE's fear of losing big Pay Per View money will drive their decision.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: I'm actually in agreement with letting John Cena win here. I know... It's yet another thing that John Cena has won. But for the haters, please log into your WWE Network and observe Extreme Rules 2012. All I need to say... If we have the potential of a 5-Star match between Lesnar and Cena at SummerSlam 2014, why would you not try it? Furthermore, WWE Network isn't growing as fast as expected. With Brock vs. Cena, the WWE could get some actual Pay Per View buys on the carriers that remain while those who have abandoned WWE PPVs would reconsider on that match-up. The other 6 wrestlers DO NOT draw like Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena. Period.
I'm expecting that Triple H will interfere and cause Roman Reigns to lose, thus setting up Reigns vs. Triple H at SummerSlam 2014. Pencil that in!
HOWEVER - Don't be surprised if the WWE splits up the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title at this event. Maybe Wyatt/Cesaro/Orton gets the World Belt while John Cena captures the WWE Title? Why haven't they made a new WWE Title already instead of having 2 titles around? Maybe there are too many toy belts in inventory to sell?
Cesaro/Bray Wyatt/Roman Reigns big WWE Title moment should happen at Wrestlemania 31... Timing is everything in pro wrestling and those guys need a little more Main Event seasoning sprinkled on their careers.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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