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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE's Stephanie McMahon Returned to RAW... THAT GIRL IS POISON!
By Mr. Tito
Nov 1, 2017 - 11:30:11 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

Welcome back to the column that you grew up with, MR. TITO STRIKES BACK (well, other column titles previously - PDC & Wrath) exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. This is the first column of the 19th year as Mr. Tito... I cannot say that it's the "19th Season" because there were no columns (well, maybe 3) between the Fall of 2006 through early 2010 as I actually retired then to take care of personal stuff (career, marriage, kids, etc.).

But let's kick off this 19th year as Mr. Tito correctly... Let's look at the RAW ratings, shall we?

Oh... Averaged 2.854 million viewers.

Oh... This is the 9th consecutive week that RAW has been UNDER 3 million viewers

Yeah and we're screwed now that WWE already blew through it's last unique matches possible (Lesnar vs. Strowman, Cena vs. Strowman, Roman vs. Cena). The Shield is nice to have, but it's note quite the Shield when Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins LOSE REPEATEDLY in order to keep the "leader" Roman Reigns looking strong. How is that viral infection, big guy? By the way, I've heard it from a few places on the reason why RAW wrestlers have yet to "invade" Smackdown is due to Vince McMahon wanting to wait until Roman Reigns is ready to "lead" Team RAW to do so. That's right RAW roster, keep looking like chumps after that Smackdown raid and then not responding at all...

Smackdown could probably use the perception boost, though...

Speaking of viral infections to the WWE... Stephanie McMahon returned!

And now did that amazing return perform in the RAW ratings? Let's see, the first hour did 3.102 million... The usual, as wrestling fans tune in to see whether this dumpster fire is worth watching. Mind you on Monday, there were NO WORLD SERIES GAMES too. How did the 2nd and 3rd hours do following the GRAND return of Stephanie McMahon? Well, not good at all... 2nd hour did 2.943 million, which I guess is sort of consistent. Then, the 3rd hour BOMBED at 2.517 million viewers! Holy cow, that is a Jinder Mahal Era drawing number for Smackdown! Surely, the McMahon princess could draw a stronger number than that?

Don't call me Shirley.

I've been saying this for years... To quote the great hip hop band Bell Biv Devoe (I actually saw them perform live at the opening Cavs vs. Celtics game during halftime!)... THAT GIRL IS POISON...


Now, let me say this... I'm sure she's a fine wife, I'm sure that she's an amazing mother, and I'm sure that within a Corporate office setting, she's excellent. Does lots of charity work. Been saying it for a while that she's probably being groomed to become the next official Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the WWE Corporation once Vince McMahon decides to step back (if he does). I figure that Vince and Linda are carefully training her on the business side of things and Stephanie is probably using her Communications degree to act well as a spokesperson.

But get her off my damn television.

And keep her away from any WWE Creative Team.

That girl is poison... POISON!

ZERO ratings bounce from her RAW appearance and expect it to get worse. After IGNORING the WWE RAW operations since Wrestlemania 33, she waltzes right in and threatens Kurt Angle's job if he fails to deliver at Survivor Series 2017. Seriously, she just ignored ANYTHING that Kurt Angle did for the last 6 months. I would think that a few incidents might grant an appearance like several ambulances getting destroyed with wrestlers in them or people getting potentially murdered in garbage trucks. Maybe the revealing of an illegitimate child in Jason Jordan? Nope... Ignore all of that and just make it YET ANOTHER Stephanie McMahon vs. Shane McMahon feud. Like we haven't had many of those since the year 2000, just 17 years of it. No big deal. Maybe it will involve the backyard wrestling Shane doing more show-stealing bumps, too!

What good has her character ever done for the WWE? It is a FACT that ratings numbers peaked during late 1999, just as Stone Cold Steve Austin when on the injured reserve, and then began to slide after the over-hyped yet under-performing Wrestlemania 16 during 2000. As Stephanie McMahon and Triple H DOMINATED the focus of the WWE, things went South. And you can see the numbers drop BEFORE that move to Viacom's TNN channel, later renamed to SpikeTV. Don't give me the "TNN move caused lower ratings" because that is factually incorrect. If you carefully look at the months leading into September 2000, they were starting to slip. They held strong above the 6.0 mark averaging 6.2 and 6.5 during the first 2 quarters of 2000 and then the remaining months of 2000 on the USA Network (July through September 18th) did 6.0. It trends upwards through Wrestlemania 16 season and comes crashing down. 6.0 is a nice number... Then, you can blame TNN as its first WWE RAW rating on September 25th, 2000 was 5.4 and WWE never saw a 6.0 ever again.

But is it all TNN's fault? As I argued this in my September 2005 Winner's Curse (probably one of my all-time great columns), Viacom bought a WWE that was already in decline. Steve Austin, although I'd argue that he'd have his best in-ring year during 2001, was never the same... Just didn't have that magic seen during 1996-1999. The Rock was good but his babyface character was extremely repetitive. Triple H was a strong heel but was becoming TOO strong by squashing everyone instead of selling for most during the first half of 2000. Undertaker was coming back from injury but he wasn't sure of his identity back then... He returned as the "Bikertaker" gimmick with a new Last Ride Powerbomb finisher. It wouldn't be until years later where he'd mix his characters together. Mick Foley retired at Wrestlemania 16.

WWE became the Triple H & Stephanie show during 2000 and really cemented this everywhere at Unforgiven 2000 on September 24th, 2000. In my opinion, that's where everything changed for the WWE. If you'll recall through that event, there was a storyline where Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon began to show affection towards each other while, of course, Triple H was going ballistic over this idea as a heel. Reportedly, Chris Kreski (creative lead writer who replaced Vince Russo during late 1999) had it storyboarded where Kurt Angle would actually end up with Stephanie and depending on how it was received by fans, that would determine if Angle/Stephanie acted as heels or faces and the responding Triple H would act as a heel or face. But that was the reported plan...

But there was also another plan in place... Stephanie McMahon was transitioning backstage to become the Lead Writer of the WWE Creative Team. As late 2000 would see, Chris Kreski would step down as creative lead and take on an advisory role. Stephanie would assume duties as Lead Writer. Throughout 2000, her relationship to real life boyfriend Triple H was thickening and seemed like it was getting legitimately serious. As indicated by various sources including Stone Cold Steve Austin who resented it, Triple H was regularly attending WWE Production Meetings held behind closed doors. Not only that, but he had access to Stephanie McMahon's ear for much of the day as a boyfriend. Everyone that I've heard interacting with those two when together has told me that they talk WWE business non-stop. Yep, they are one of those couples who work together and that's all their conversations reportedly are... One of those.

Reportedly, that Unforgiven 2000 match between Kurt Angle vs. Triple H had some creative revisions. The real ending saw Stephanie McMahon deliver a low blow to Kurt Angle to solidify her love to Triple H. From what I understand, the storyline had several more months of playing up the love between Angle and Stephanie. However, two rising backstage influences squashed that like a bug and wanted to remain strong on-screen together.

In my opinion, that specific night was the beginning of the end for the "Attitude Era" and begin the Stephanie/Triple H Era that we're still enduring to this day with John Cena sprinkled in the mix (they couldn't contain him). It was a clear indication to everyone backstage that Stephanie had real creative power and she had obvious bias towards her future husband, Triple H. Don't believe me? Look at the rest of 2000 and then 2001 before the quad injury. Then 2002-2003. Once they finally unite in marriage during 2003, Triple H's character starts to show vulnerability and he isn't as dominant as a champion.

But Stephanie McMahon was still the creative lead for the WWE and she'd remain that until late 2013. If you go from late 2000 through late 2013, that is QUITE A RATINGS DROP from having 6-7 million weekly viewers of RAW to 4 million. And another 1 million viewers has been lost since late 2013 and Stephanie was an Authority figure for much of those 2014-2017 shows... Uh huh.

Let's run through those GREAT creative decisions, shall we?

- WCW/ECW Invasion - Complete flop. You had 2 promotions die and WWE acquire the rights to both promotions, video libraries, and logos. Granted, WWE didn't want to absorb the Time Warner contracts for bigger WCW wrestlers, the fact is that those WCW Titles were changing hands repeatedly among WWE wrestlers. WWE burned through every "special" match up possible.

- Kane is a Necrophiliac and his unmasking. Could someone name me the person opposing Kane back then? You know, the guy who unmasked him and then imitated his night with Katie Vick? Yeah Stephanie, you signed off on Necrophilia and made your future husband do it!

- Pushing of Randy Orton during 2004 as a Babyface. Complete disaster. Randy Orton became World Heavyweight Champion at SummerSlam 2004... Not only was he rushed to the title too early, but turned into a babyface after being a snobby heel for much of 2002-2004.

- Protecting Triple H during 2002-2003... Look at all of the potential challengers during those years. Kane, Rob Van Dam, Scott Steiner, Booker T... Did anyone think that belittling Booker T because of his race was a good idea?

- Destroying Smackdown, 2002-2004. Not only did she act as an authority figure on Smackdown, but she was regularly attacking Smackdown's lead writer Paul Heyman and helped drive him out. Smackdown outrated RAW during those years and created many top drawing stars for the WWE both new (Cena, Lesnar) and revitalizing veterans (Undertaker, Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero). If you watch Paul Heyman's DVD presentation, you'll hear Stephanie McMahon's OWN WORDS on how it ended back then. Hysterical!

- Divas Search and employing all of those wrestlers. Oh yeah, Stephanie... You're the "mother" of the Divas Revolution. But you're also the mother of the Divas Search contest. During the mid 2000s, the WWE was in a reality show kick with Tough Enough that they actually held a contest to determine the next "WWE Diva". Yeah, because the awesome likes of Trish Stratus, Victoria, Molly Holly, Ivory, and Mickie James needed help... Nope, the WWE held this contest of NON-WRESTLERS and nearly hired everyone despite picking a winner (also hired most from Tough Enough). They tried to shove each of those hires into the Women's Division... It was from this that females in the WWE were called "Divas".

How can you claim responsibility of the Divas Revolution of 2015 when you put scantily clad women out there with ZERO experience as wrestlers? They were hot bodies that were forced to learn on the fly. You destroyed what was once respectable on what Trish, Lita, Molly, Victoria, and Mickie built to something that would only appeal to male fans. In addition, you presided over a creative team that promoted misogyny and even domestic violence at times. Male wrestlers treated these Divas Search contestants as jokes and second class. Not only that, before the PG Era kicked off during the late 2000s, female wrestlers could get attacked by male wrestlers. Whether it's Mae Young getting powerbombed through a table or Lita getting violently beaten by Steve Austin, it was disgusting. Stephanie NEVER challenged Vince McMahon for promoting women in that direction and she helped write it...

Oh, we're getting off track here. Back to the BAD creative decisions.

- Destruction of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. She was EVP of Creative during 2011 and through the end of 2013, therefore, she OWNS their destructions as top babyfaces.

- Terrible midcard booking. Look at those midcard titles and Tag Titles since 2000. WWE had it easy with the Hardys, Dudleyz, and Edge/Christian. Since then, particularly on the RAW roster, complete joke. Intercontinental and United States titles were briefly retired and weren't thought of much when they returned. In the past, midcard and tag titles acted like a "farm system" to develop future Main Event talents to eventually step up. By destroying this on-screen "farm system", nobody can develop properly on-screen.

- World Title Inflation - From late 2000 through late 2013, there were multiple wrestlers who achieved 10+ World Title reigns. Both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships traded hands multiple times per year. Triple H has 14 reigns, John Cena with 16, Orton with 13, and Edge with 11... Many other wrestlers have 5 or more title reigns as well. Meanwhile, one of the greatest World Champions and wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan, only has 6 World Title reigns.

- Poor use of developmental talent. Everyone sees Shelton Benjamin now as a tag wrestler on Smackdown with Chad Gable. However, he was the most talented in-ring performer of the "Class of 2002" Ohio Valley Wrestling. Debuted with Charlie Haas to quickly become one of the most talented in-ring teams ever seen and then moved to RAW as a singles wrestler. Never had a bad match... Yet, the awesome Creative Team didn't think much of his talents and placed him with a stereotypical black mother that his character had to care for on a weekly basis. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Jim Ross's Ohio Valley Wrestling territory kept feeding the WWE with talent and many of them were chopped at the legs upon their arrival. John Laurinaitis was more reliant on signing indy wrestlers to deals and all of them were poorly used upon their WWE arrivals.

And finally...

- Creative use of her own character, Stephanie McMahon. She has consistently been an authority figure of some sorts with time off here and there to be a mom. When she's been on camera, she did not do herself any favors. Stephanie portrayed herself as a bully who never "gets hers". I'm not saying that she should get brutally beaten by any male wrestlers, but that her decisions as a heel or the wrestlers she props up should fail instead. Sure, Vince McMahon took his share of "Stone Cold" stunners, but most of the time, it was Steve Austin defeating the wrestlers that Vince propped up or overcoming the odds placed in front of him by Vince. Stephanie has zero comprehension of how to act like a heel. Heels operate with bad intentions in wrestling but it's their ego and lust for power that always gets in the way... That creates a vulnerability in their decision making. Not for her. You could have a situation like Survivor Series 2014 where the Authority would be removed from power if Team Authority lost to Team Cena... Nope, they'd just return weeks later as if nothing happened.

Stephanie McMahon, in my opinion, OWNS the destruction of Daniel Bryan. Her calling of him as "B+ Player" and Bryan getting no redemption in return throughout 2013. Instead, Bryan bent over the table and took it from the Authority's Randy Orton. By Survivor Series 2013, Bryan was forced to move on and begin to join the Wyatt Family. Not only that, but Stephanie extended that destruction of Bryan by having a feud with Brie Bella. Remember that? Go watch SummerSlam 2014 for that beauty of a match that saw Nikki Bella turning on her sister.

The only person to truly get redemption on Stephanie McMahon was, well... You guessed it, Roman Reigns!

She's a JOKE as a non-wrestling character on WWE programming and was also destructive backstage leading the Creative Team. Thankfully, her husband Triple H didn't learn from her mistakes and has repaired the image of female wrestlers in the WWE. As seen by how NXT has been booked, Triple H knows what he's doing... Sadly, the Game is every bit of a "yes man" on the WWE main roster to his father-in-law Vince McMahon. Wouldn't you? Vince has provided HHH with fame, money, a future career, and a beautiful daughter that has allow him to extend his bloodline through children. If anything, her relationship to Triple H has helped secure the WWE's future long-term.

But Triple H has to clean up HER Creative messes and convince Vince McMahon to change his mind. Look at how strong Bayley was as a babyface in NXT. Bayley was the #1 merchandise seller during much of 2014-2016 and that's despite Bayley being a NXT talent and having fewer merchandise products in comparison to other main WWE roster performers like the Bella Twins. Then, she goes to the WWE and is creatively destroyed by Vince McMahon. Jobbed HARD this Monday to Nia Jax who was out for a few weeks with whatever was going on (conflicting reports). Sasha Banks was developed into a top level heel superstar who drew heat for her psychology and swagger... In the WWE, she's a babyface...

If Stephanie McMahon's return doesn't generate WWE viewers, can that go on her 2017-2018 performance evaluation by the Board of Directors? Oh, she's on the Board of Directors? So is her husband? Her dad is the Chairman?

^ There is your problem. ZERO accountability for any actions of Stephanie McMahon. One of the GREATEST talent scouts of our time, Jim Ross, attends a WWE promotional event where Ric Flair arrives intoxicated and Ross gets fired. Stephanie's character cannot draw viewers and her timeframe as Creative lead caused the WWE's peak audience to decline by MORE THAN HALF despite Cable/Satellite households growing since 2000... Nothing. Here you go, more television time, Board of Directors spot, and still doing whatever you want.

At least there's hope now that Shane McMahon is back... Oh wait, did I see that he named himself CAPTAIN of the Smackdown Survivor Series 2017 Team?



- Kane continues his role as "Walking Glass Ceiling". He continued to deliver a receipt to Finn Balor for the Bullet Club salute that Balor gave with AJ Styles at TLC 2017. How is going into business for yourself working out for you, Finny? You enjoying those apples? Then, Kane gets an actual win over Seth Rollins. We spent much of 2015 with Rollins dealing with that guy. Too bad Seth, Kane is going over. To top all of that off, Kane gets his revenge on Daniel Bryan from their 2014 feud and their team's break-up. ALL IN ONE SHOW... Amazing.

At this point, does Kane need any help from WWE Creative building up his character? He's been in the WWE since late 1997 when he debuted at Badd Blood 1997 to interrupt the first ever Hell in a Cell match to attack the Undertaker. 20 freakin' years!

Other than the very top guys (Triple H, Rock, Undertaker, Steve Austin), most of the roster has struggled to overcome Kane. It takes most wrestlers overcoming major odds to squeak through a victory. Thus, it makes their victory over Kane look marginal in return. Kane is a hoss that moves well and is quite durable (brief downtimes from certain injuries).

Because he wasn't allowed to beat any of the big 4 (HHH, Rock, Austin, Taker), he can't draw as upper level guy thus him being in the thorn in the side of everyone else on the main WWE roster has been damaging.

Now, here in October/November 2017 with Kane being 50 years old... He's STILL kept strong over much of the main WWE roster. All for the sake of "building him up" to wrestle Braun Strowman.

Again... Why is there a need to do that? You have 20 freakin' years of Kane's resume to be reason enough for Braun Strowman vs. Kane to feel like a "big match". As seen with the Big Show matches which legitimately drew on RAW for Strowman (well, not that last Cage Match), fans are still receptive to 2 big bodies wrestling on WWE programming. Especially ones who aren't walking stiffs and can perform moves. The "draw" of Kane vs. Strowman is can Strowman's amazing strength toss around a big hoss like Kane... I want to see Kane's billed 7 foot, 320 pound arse tossed around that ring. That's enough for me.

Once again, we're down to booking and WWE's Creative Team hasn't been "creative" since 2000. WWE Creative seems to prop up relics from the past, like Kane and Stephanie McMahon, as if they can still draw 17 years later. In the case of Stephanie, she can't draw because that girl is...



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Bookmark Mr. Tito's Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com - 1998-2017

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