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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Monday Night RAW Thoughts and WWE Payback Predictions
By Mr. Tito
May 26, 2014 - 11:45:44 PM
Welcome back to the "Excellence in Column Writing", which for this Memorial Day, there's no holiday for yours truly. 2 columns in one day. In case you missed it, I posted my latest WHAT IF column: What if Owen Hart Did NOT Die at WWE Over the Edge 1999? I'm quite proud of the WHAT IF series and I have about one more of those columns to write someday. In case you've missed the other columns of the series, you can always look them up in the LoP Mr. Tito Column Archive. I answer the age old questions of what if Stephanie McMahon didn't exist, if Stone Cold Steve Austin had to retire following SummerSlam 1997, if Brock Lesnar didn't leave the WWE during 2004, or if CM Punk left the WWE during 2011.
Speaking of CM Punk, I'm hearing internet whispers that he should show up at WWE Payback which is in Chicago this weekend. Come on guys, give it up! Punk was tired of being employed by the WWE and walked away. He had just a few months left on his 3 year extension and could have waited it out to become free to work anywhere he chooses. However, he was unhappy and wanted out. And he's NOT coming back. The guy he burned, Triple H, is going to be the future CEO/President of the WWE. Punk thought little of his CM Punk vs. Triple H match at Wrestlemania 30 and walked out. You don't burn a company executive like that. Even if Punk someday returns to the WWE, what guarantees that he won't walk out again? Give it up IWC!!!
As for Monday Night RAW tonight... Meh, it was a "paint by the numbers" go-home show for the RAW before the next Pay Per View. When you've written columns for years, you begin to see the routines of WWE management and not take things so seriously. You come to realize that the WWE likes to rest the wrestlers up before a Pay Per View so that you get the wrestlers' best on that show. It's not a night when you'd like to assign star ratings to matches. It's a night of excessive promos and under Triple H's creative direction, contract signings.
Speaking of Triple H, I enjoyed the Lemelson investor quote of "I'm not convinced that handing it off to the next generation is the best move for maximizing shareholder value.". Ouch. In my opinion, Triple H's big problem is that he's trying to consume everything WWE. Think about his role right now... He's a wrestler again... That's on top of HHH being an on-screen character, Creative Team leader, running the developmental system, and being in charge of live events. He's thinning himself out... While Vince McMahon has taken on many responsibilities himself, Vince usually just had the last word. He actually delegated responsibilities to many trusted hands backstage. For example, he always had a developmental guy such as Jim Ross or John Laurinaitis while he always put others in charge of creative (Vince Russo to Stephanie McMahon). Vince just has the last word...
When you've spread yourself too thin as a WWE Executive you let stupid shit happen like letting El Torito beat actual wrestlers. In addition, you miss things like how Drew McIntyre getting himself in tremendous shape and looking like a wrestling god... But no, a freakin' little person (is that politically correct?) beats him, 1, 2, 3. Furthermore, when you're trying to get a guy like Rusev over as a heel from Russia, you don't give him a smokin' hot chick as his valet. Ditto with Cesaro getting Paul Heyman and Heyman bragging up Brock Lesnar as he manages Cesaro. What the hell? Details missed when you're spread too thin as a WWE Executive.
Just get Bo Dallas off of my television screen, please. He SUCKED when he debuted initially and I can already see him going from "suck" to "blow" upon his return. I don't BO-lieve in this guy to ever make it as a babyface. A very simple fix is to put him with the Wyatt Family as the 4th member. He works well with his real life brother, Bray, and the WWE can actually sell them as a FAMILY. "Bo Wyatt" sounds pretty good...
Perplexed by the Alicia Fox stuff... For one, she actually lost to Emma (Go Emma!) tonight, which doesn't really make sense as she goes for the Divas Title. But her antics on the outside were just stupid. Why can't she simply say that she was misused for the past few years and she's pissed about it? In particular, she's pissed about the developmental call-ups getting Divas Title shots when she's been around forever and barely gets any shots. That easy.
Alberto Del Rio looked great against Sheamus tonight. Del Rio can work a match but the WWE's booking of his character has been so broken that he can't get heat. Granted, Del Rio could do a better job developing the character himself, but the WWE gave him many premature World Title reigns and have switched him between heel/face in the past few years. If his contract is truly running out, TNA and Jeff Jarrett's new promotion should take notice. This guy is legit and with the right booking, he could be a star at the top of their cards. I'm sure that will spark many negative comments, but that's my opinion... Del Rio is talented in the ring and if another promoter figures out how to market him better, they've got serious money on their hands.
For the contract signing, it was good to see the Shield mocking the table and chairs in the ring. By the way, I'm glad that Batista has let his hair grow out. He looked like he was sick before and didn't help matters with the "painted on" jeans. Eventually, the groups brawled and it prompted a brief "this is awesome" chant by WWE fans. See, the wrestling business is this easy... You have two groups of people who HATE each other and are about evenly matched. Each week, they give and take and the fans just sit back and enjoy.
And finally... Stephanie McMahon continued to make WWE Champion Daniel Bryan look like a chump. Seriously... Week in and week out, Stephanie McMahon, a female, talks Bryan down. As bad as it was to feud with a 47 year old Kane, it's worse when non-wrestling female is able to talk down the WWE Champion. Daniel Bryan can defeat Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30, all 3 members of Evolution mind you, but he lets Stephanie boss him around. It's bullshit... And now, Stephanie threatens to terminate Brie Bella if Bryan doesn't hand over the World Titles at WWE Payback. Earlier in the show, Stephanie AND Triple H ripped Bryan for having a B+ body that couldn't stay great for years like others, such as members of Evolution.
Just a continual burial of wrestlers not named Randy Orton, John Cena, and Batista... Oh, and Triple H, who keeps himself strong on the show even though he's a) older and b) part-time wrestler. It's CRAZY. I'm frankly amazed that the Shield hasn't been slaughtered yet. Then again, the money is on Roman Reigns to be the breakout star of the group as he doesn't have the "Ring of Honor" or "Indy Wreslting" stench that both Vince McMahon and Triple H try to scrub out of their wrestlers. Hey, Daniel Bryan had that "stench" to him...
LAST WORD: "Meh" to tonight's show. WWE Payback does look pretty good as a show, but I would worry about storylines after that show. Chances are that the WWE will either do something stupid with the title or go back to their Orton/Cena comfort zone. Oh joy! C+ for tonight's lame show.
Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE PAYBACK PREDICTIONS
Paige (c) vs. Alicia Fox for the Divas Title
I honestly don't have much to say on this match other than it appears that the WWE's booking momentum for Paige has cooled and they've suddenly started caring about Alicia Fox again.
WHO SHOULD WIN: The psychology of Alicia Fox winning here is a bit off. WWE has wasted her for the past few years and making her champion doesn't make sense. Paige should win because, after all, she was the one who finally beat AJ Lee for the Divas Title.
WHO WILL WIN: Alicia Fox, especially after Emma stole a win tonight. Seems like the WWE bookers have realized that she's on the roster, is beautiful, and can wrestle. Paige is still new and is probably not getting the fan reaction that the WWE expected in such a short amount of time. Nothing like debuting with ZERO hype to defeat AJ Lee, the longtime Divas Champion. Not everybody follows NXT. RAW gets 4,000,000 households and yet 667,000 individuals subscribed to WWE Network. As WWE Network's top 10 show lists prove, not everybody is watching NXT...
Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship
This is possibly "Match of the Night" and I could imagine that a big match from these two would go a long way... Cesaro hopes to continue his recent momentum while Sheamus is hungry to get back on top. Both guys can perform... It's all a matter of whether their different styles can get on the same page or not.
WHO SHOULD WIN: I'm going Sheamus only because he just won the U.S. Title. I hate short title reigns.
WHO WILL WIN: Cesaro... Why else would a new champion like Sheamus be facing someone who is getting a decent push lately?
Wade "BAD NEWS" Barrett (c) vs. Rob Van Dam for the Intercontinental Title
I'm afraid that I've got some bad news... I LOVE what Wade Barrett has done with the "Bad News" gimmick. It went from a goofy gimmick where Barrett would interrupt the show to make speeches to converting that into a very cocky character who taunts his opponents with "bad news" instead. Furthermore, you can see the enthusiasm in Barrett's actions and face when he's in character. He's LOVING it. And that's what wrestling is all about... No matter what gimmick is handed to you by a booker, it's up to YOU as a wrestler to not only make something out of the booking, but make something of yourself. You can't be like Dolph Ziggler and put zero effort into your character and expect the WWE Creative Team to book favorably for you. That's not how the wrestling business works.
WHO SHOULD/WILL WIN: No long-term plans for Rob Van Dam and he's older now. This match could be an early shining moment for Wade Barrett's upward momentum. Hopefully, we get a 100% clean win to put Barrett over strong. Barrett, with the "Bad News" gimmick and attitude, is a star on the rise.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt - Last Man Standing
As long as Vince McMahon still runs the WWE, he'll protect the #1 babyface in the company. The recent WWE stock decline caused by the weaker-than-expected TV deal and WWE Network subscriptions is only going to place blame elsewhere. I believe that Vince McMahon is now pushing behind the scenes to re-affirm John Cena as the #1 guy heading into SummerSlam 2014. I wouldn't doubt that Vince blames Daniel Bryan and Batista for main event involvement causing no strong reactions on the Network and with television ratings. Bray Wyatt is HHH's creation and I believe that Vince will disregard him for this match. I believe that the WWE Title will go back to John Cena very soon and I'm counting on John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title to happen not just at SummerSlam 2014, but also at Night of Champions 2014. Lesnar wins at SummerSlam and John Cena gets the rematch at Night of Champions.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Honestly, Bray Wyatt has looked impressive during this leg of the feud while John Cena has been relying on the old formula. Bray should win...
WHO WILL WIN: John Cena will win. Usos will probably fend off the other Wyatt Family members and will spin off into a Tag Title feud thereafter. Vince McMahon is John Cena's biggest fan and Cena will placed back into the WWE Title scene following this match.
The Shield vs. Evolution - NO HOLDS BARRED Elimination Match
Last time at Extreme Rules, the Shield won... Payback, as they say, is a bitch... But in my opinion, the WWE has some good money in continuing the Shield vs. Evolution feud. Thus, if the Shield has to give after taking at the previous Pay Per View, then that's the way it is... The Shield is still wrestling against 3 former multiple time World Champions, 2 of which just wrestled for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 30 while Triple H was up for a title shot on that very show. The Shield members are still climbing the WWE ladder, so thus their Extreme Rules win was a big deal and remains a big deal. If they lose and it sets up a 3rd and final match, then I'm fine with that.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Not much value left in Randy Orton and Batista as individual wrestlers. I would still put the up and comers over them with the Shield winning the match.
WHO WILL WIN: Evolution wins. This should set up a third and final match to end what has been a pretty solid feud between an older stable and a newer one.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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