ASK TITO: Renee Young, WWE Thunderdome, More Submitted by Mr. Tito on 08/22/2020 at 12:06 AM
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Welcome back to the All Elite Columnist that is exclusively here at NoDQ.com. Thank you for stopping by my "weekend chill" column where I take your questions from your Emails, Tweets, and Comments sections from prior columns. As I'm still just a few weeks into my tenure here at NoDQ, I want to continue to express my THANK YOU to all of the readers here at this website and also the many who have followed me here. I really appreciate you.
What's hilarious to me is how I'm perceived by many new readers who might not have seen my prior 21+ year work at Lords of Pain. Because of my aggressive approach towards covering Current Events, I'm being perceived by many newer readers as "cynical" or "negative". Of course, I could easily point them to anything on Social Media, Subreddits, or Message Boards that are FAR MORE negative or cynical than I could ever dream to be about AEW and WWE. At least with my columns, in my opinion, I try to offer solutions anytime that I do post criticisms.
But the facts of declined attendance, merchandise sales, and TV viewership suggests that it's JUST NOT ME who is "cynical" or "negative".
For me, I lived through some of the BEST ERAS of Pro Wrestling ever. I became a fan during the late 1980s in the thick of WWE's Hulkamania and the high quality in-ring stuff provided by Jim Crockett's NWA that soon became WCW. Then, I got to witness the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW during the 1990s along with enjoying ECW on the side. When WCW and ECW were gone, we soon had the Ruthless Aggression Era that featured the survivors of the Monday Night Wars + the graduates of the Ohio Valley Wrestling territory during 2002 (Lesnar, Cena, Orton, Batista, etc.).
Thus, I've seen how Pro Wrestling works and how Talent can get over. I have decades of watching it as it happened and I've watched many past shows on tape. I have also devoured many wrestling books and biographies, talked with actual wrestlers and personnel, and I would say that my 21+ year experience as a columnist on a major website adds to that experience as well. Thus, when I watch what has happened to the WWE during the 2010s and some of the early mistakes of AEW, I'm going to cringe and then I'll write about it here in my columns. BUT AGAIN - I try not to just bash, as I pride myself on presenting solutions too.
At the end of the day, I want Pro Wrestling to grow and to thrive. I wouldn't still be a fan or writing columns as a hobby (100% voluntary) for nothing. I use my columns as my opportunity to speak out on injustices and problems within the promotions to FIX THEM. In my opinion, members of promotions would be wise to read my columns and it's 100% free to them by just reading them here at NoDQ.com. Just like it is 100% free to you to read columns here at NoDQ.com.
Onto your questions.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Shouldn't AEW want to create new stars by having Chris Jericho lose to Orange Cassidy on 8/12 Dynamite?
Let's just get something straight here... I am NOT a Orange Cassidy basher. You can find comments by yours truly which suggests that I was highly entertained by the Pac vs. Orange Cassidy match. I see the talent in Orange Cassidy and the gimmick works for him. He's unique. As I keep pounding the table for years, Pro Wrestlers need to do things with the way they market themselves to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
BUT - His gimmick lends itself to Comedy. In addition to that, he's a very small guy. At 5'10 and maybe 180 pounds soaking wet, I'm struggling to see how he could put up a competitive match-up against a guy who was just AEW Champion for 182 days, has been a 30 year veteran, and was a 6 time WWE champion. Yet, Cassidy cleanly beat him and made a mockery of Jericho in the weeks before that. THAT'S MY PROBLEM with the loss. Jericho should be used to put over guys in the thick of the Main Event like Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley and should save big win moments for MJF, Brodie Lee, and Adam Page who are on the cusp of the Main Event. Because of Orange Cassidy's gimmick being comedic in nature and also due to his very small and thin size, he should not be in the running to become a Main Eventer.
Now, that doesn't mean that Orange Cassidy shouldn't have a role in AEW. He should be very welcomed in the midcard. That is what the TNT Title SHOULD BE about but Cody Rhodes, for whatever reason, wants it as a secondary World Title in AEW (said he doesn't believe in midcard titles with a tweet). OK, if AEW wants to imitate WWE with 2 World Titles, then also create a Cruiserweight or Lightweight Title for Orange Cassidy, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara, and many other smaller wrestlers to fight over. You could even create a new show called "5'10" Live" if needed.
AEW's biggest mistake is making their top stars like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega having long, hard fought battles against guys who are 5'10" and 180 pounds. Those smaller wrestlers should either be kept away from top AEW talent or their matches should resemble squash matches instead.
I'm 100% for creating new stars in AEW... But it's a matter of creating the RIGHT stars and NOT overly pushing undersized and/or comedic wrestlers.
A few years ago at Wrestlemania, the WWE asked Chris Jericho to lose 100% clean to Fandango. How is Fandango doing these days? Oh, he's a tag team wrestler in NXT. Just saying, be careful who you use top stars to put over up & coming wrestlers who have experience and are proven commodities for a promotion.
What are your SummerSlam 2020 Predictions?
For the record, I used to HATE writing Predictions columns... They were just boring to write for me and I was either very correct or very wrong, nothing in between. Here's my quick & dirty SummerSlam 2020 picks:
- Andrade/Angel Garza defeat Street Profits
- MVP defeats Apollo Crews
- Seth Rollins defeats Dominik Mysterio
- Sasha Banks defeats Asuka
- Bayley defeats Asuka
- Sonya Deville defeats Mandy Rose (Mandy moves to RAW)
- The Fiend Bray Wyatt defeats Braun Strowman
- Randy Orton defeats Drew McIntyre (Ric Flair is going to help his Evolution buddy out)
And here are my quick & dirty NXT Takeover picks:
- Velveteen Dream wins the North American Title in the Ladder Match (just to troll fans)
- Dakota Kai defeats Io Shirai
- Pat McAfee defeats Adam Cole (Undisputed Era turns on Cole)
- Karrion Kross defeats Keith Lee (Lee will join WWE roster)
Do you believe that AEW's Television deal with TNT is in trouble after an executive left AT&T's television division?
Dave Meltzer seems to be pushing this worry hard, as WarnerMedia executive Kevin Reilly has left the company. According to Dave, he was the main guy pushing for the AEW television deal and was overseeing it afterward. With AT&T's Corporation fully taking over, they are looking to consolidate the large WarnerMedia division that hasn't been profitable on movie making lately and have been getting devoured by streaming outlets (hence why HBO MAX was created). I know that HBO's main guy for the past 20 years or so left recently.
Now, that said, I feel that AEW is SAFE... For one, pro wrestling is far cheaper to air than purchasing reruns or airing original content. AEW absorbs most of the production costs and just receives a flat fee, per year, by TNT. This is much cheaper than paying for entire production crews, writers, directors, actors, etc. associated with an original series and the high fees for paying for reruns. TNT, USA Network, TBS, etc. have all been eaten alive lately by streaming services on their rerun markets and their original content hasn't been that strong lately. Sports content is the only thing lately that is "stream proof" and AEW is actually a very cheap option right now as a start-up company.
Now, I'd predict that AEW will likely not push vulgarity or sexual situations on Dynamite and just see how much they push on the violent side instead. TNT historically has tough Standards and Practices on their content and now that Turner's operations have been bought out by THREE Corporations since the mid 1990s (Time Warner, AOL, AT&T), there's additional layers of corporate fear that spread throughout their channels. Without their executive in place, AEW will fall into different hands and I'd expect AEW to have to clean up its act a bit.
But cancelling them? No... TNT actually needs something to improve their viewership and also to keep costs low. AEW provides both.
Dave is just paranoid that his New Japan and California Indy friends might be out of work along with his former Observer financial writer turned AEW VP of Business Strategy, Chris Harrington, will be out of work. You can pretty easily see why Meltzer's opinions lately have been "WWE bad, AEW good" because he's emotionally invested in AEW.
Will Sami Zayn return to the WWE and/or wrestling?
To the WWE? No... But to another promotion like Impact or AEW? Sure... To me, there's a clique of indy workers from the early 2010s that have high expectations of themselves yet they can't portray that on a bigger scale. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Austin Aries, Colt Cabana, and many others thought what they had in Ring of Honor was special yet what they failed to realize is that their ROH promotion wasn't doing that well and was about to be sold. Jim Cornette has spoke at length about how negative the ROH locker room could be at times and how there was a lack of effort to improve by some.
I'm willing to bet that he's using COVID-19 concerns possibly as an out, as he's hoping that WWE will eventually release him. I've never sensed lately that he's been happy within the WWE.
However, I'd expect that the WWE wouldn't release him because of Zayn can just stay at home voluntarily and get released, then many other wrestlers could.
Do believe that the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) or Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) brands could ever be revived?
Well, the ECW brand has tried to be revived twice, once in the WWE by being called "ECW" in the WWE on the SyFy Network and then as a clone in TNA for a while. Many Independents have tried their own versions of ECW with actual former ECW wrestlers, too. ECW existed within the 2001 WWE, as did WCW.
With WCW, that's a Turner brand... I just don't see any interest from Vince to ever bring that back in a full time form, especially almost 20 years later.
The brands that still has value from the past is the New World Order (NWO) and the Four Horsemen. If there was something to revive from the past, it's having stables called that... I argued last week that Ric Flair and Randy Orton would put on a swerve at SummerSlam and then have Orton join up with MVP, Lashley, and Benjamin to form the NEW Four Horsemen. Have them hold up the 4 fingers and push that brand hard as a "stylin' and profilin'" group.
For the New World Order, I argued a while ago that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash should have appeared and anointed AJ Styles, Anderson, and Gallows as the "New World Order" instead of calling them the "OC".
ECW and WCW brands are dead but cool stables from their eras are still going strong. NWO merchandise still does well for the WWE. Why not embrace that? Beats having an idiotic group called "Retribution".
What the WWE lacks is something COOL... The Four Horsemen and New World Order were COOL, period.
How much longer will the WWE 24/7 Title last?
Vince McMahon loves him some R-Truth as a comedy wrestler. As long as that love exists, that title will exist. That title was created specifically for R-Truth to go after it and to push for off-screen comedy matches.
I also think that Vince likes having the title around because they can have it defended anywhere, such as a sports talk show or other public appearances.
Here to stay, I'm afraid.
Are there any current lightweight or smaller wrestlers, like Rey Mysterio Jr., Daniel Bryan, or Eddie Guerrero, that can breakthrough to the Main Event scene and seem credible against heavyweights?
What made Guerrero and Bryan great is that they had high impact offense that could hurt heavier wrestlers. Guerrero was very strong and had legitimate looking punches while that Froggy Splash looked like it drove you through the ring. Daniel Bryan had kicking strikes that look very effective along with the ability to sell having heart/courage well. I actually disagreed with Rey Mysterio receiving the Main Event push, as he's too small and his offense shouldn't hurt heavyweights. No way could someone twice his size fall prey to his Frankensteiners. However, Rey was a huge draw and that's how he earned his Main Event spot.
As for smaller guys on today's rosters... Nope. And we're talking the large glut of 5'10", under 200 pound guys. They are too much of spot machines in my eyes and nobody who wrestles larger than what they really are. And sadly, nobody is teaching psychology or how to properly strike to make a smaller wrestler appear "larger than life". Wellness Policy is also in place to reduce the cosmetic look of it.
What do you think of Renee Young's WWE departure?
Can I just say this? I really didn't like her on Commentary when she used to call matches on Monday Night RAW... Just out of her element and was just another voice of a 3 person crew. I've been consistently critical of the 3 person teams and she really didn't add anything that I wanted to hear. For the Pre-Game Shows, she's just OK... Those shows are too scripted and maybe that holds her back. I liked her better as a backstage interviewer and then on Talking Smack when she had more creativity to operate.
In my opinion, she's not that big of a loss to the WWE. Renee just didn't add anything unique to the show aside from Talking Smack during 2016. They can find another communications major to read scripted lines on a Pre-Game show.
I figure that her leaving is a sign that (a) she's upset about the COVID stuff, (b) she sees that the WWE is a sinking ship, and (c) she might be joining her husband, Jon Moxley, in AEW. However, I believe that she's going to try the Sports route. She'd be perfect for a sideline reporter of a NBA or NFL game for ESPN, NBC, CBS, or FOX.
Funny thing is that the WWE decided to bring back Talking Smack just as she announced her exit. That's cold!
Can Brock Lesnar and/or Roman Reigns help WWE number rebound upon their returns?
Well, we have lots of data on Roman Reigns from 2014 through 2018 and then 2019-2020 with his return. His attempt at replacing John Cena as the #1 guy resulted in RAW going from over 4 million viewers through early 2015 to being just over 2 million viewers before he was moved to Smackdown per the 2019 Shake-up.
As for Brock Lesnar, the WWE destroyed that brand through 2018 when they trashed him weekly on RAW as a part-time worker in order to build up Roman Reigns during SummerSlam 2018. Then, they had Lesnar lose twice to Seth Rollins TWICE during 2019. I really didn't think much of his loss to Drew McIntyre, either... Crowds or no crowds, this is the same guy that the WWE released in the past. Not a draw.
If you could convince Lesnar to do more dates, then yes... He could help the WWE rebound. But he's expensive for the few dates that you get him.
Roman Reigns needs better booking, a makeover on his look, better conditioning or a change of in-ring style to offset his health issues, and new theme music. Pushing a former Shield member just won't do it.
What did you think of the THUNDERDOME from WWE Smackdown?
When I first saw it, I thought that it looked cool... But watching Smackdown, I found the wall of faces on video to be distracting to watch. NBA has like 3 rows of video people it while the WWE has about 13 rows? After watching it for a while, I was missing the Empty Arena stuff already...
But I'll give it a chance... It's the first night of this for the WWE and they just aired it without really testing it.
Aside from the crowd stuff, the presentation is awesome. Say what you will about the WWE, but they know how to make an incredible arena and television presentation. People bash Kevin Dunn often for his creative idea but he can make WWE programming look fantastic. The PROBLEM remains what's inside the ring, as storylines remain terrible by Creative and Talent haven't been trained how to use psychology or how to cut promos. WWE's managerial infrastructure keeps failing them. Thunderdome is just another short-term gimmick to gain brief attention and does nothing for WWE long-term.
Will you be reviewing NXT Takeover and/or WWE SummerSlam for NoDQ this weekend?
It's very likely but in the immortal words of former WWE wrestler Heath Slater, "I GOT KIDS". Just all depends on how my Saturday and Sunday evenings go and if I'm available to pump out an Insta-Column (meaning posting immediately after the shows) for NoDQ.
It's looking very likely, but family first if I need to.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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