ASK TITO: Roman Reigns & Paul Heyman, More Submitted by Mr. Tito on 08/29/2020 at 12:45 AM
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Welcome back to the "Weekend Chill Column" known as ASK Mr. Tito exclusively here at NoDQ.com. Thank you for having me and it has been about a month since I joined my new home here at NoDQ. I really appreciate the support from the readers and fellow NoDQ staff... I'll continue to work hard for you if you keep reading my columns. Thank you.
Been a crazy week in the sports world... Say what you will about Pro Wrestling, but it has kept moving and completely uninterrupted despite stoppages seen in other sports leagues. While the WWE and AEW need weekly revenue to survive, many fans are grateful to have something to act as an escape on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and sometimes the weekend. I remember I took a ton of heat for supporting Vince McMahon's decision to have Wrestlemania 36 and yet it provided entertainment when we needed it the most during early April.
Things are getting interesting out there and some of your questions today will be reflect what has happened this week.
On to your questions...
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Do you ever see a situation where wrestlers would boycott their own promotions?
Not in their current state... The issue with pro wrestlers is that they aren't a united front and have zero collective bargaining agreements with WWE or AEW to force them to become a "closed shop" workplace. In other words, forcing WWE/AEW to employ workers who agree to join a wrestler's union only... For example, there's a process to join most sports leagues... Usually, it's a draft to enter the league and from there, all players must join a Players' Association and abide by the term limits & conditions of the collective bargaining agreement.
Pro wrestling does not have that... They are "independent contractors" and not negotiating together on any terms or conditions. If you ever notice, the WWE usually pays their top Main Eventers quite well while keeping the rest of the roster at a very similar salary. For example, Orton, Lesnar, Reigns, and Rollins are among the top paid wrestlers at $1 million per year or more while many other wrestlers are holding firm at the mid to lower 6 figures. The higher paid wrestlers like their money and don't have much financial incentive to form a union.
The idea is that if the wrestlers walk out of their promotions, they'll be in breach of contract and the WWE can just hire wrestlers to replace them. Meanwhile, wrestlers can't work elsewhere because of the contracts that they breached. WWE has every right to hire replacement wrestlers. By contrast, sports leagues can only replacements when a work stoppage occurs but hiring replacements for sports leagues has proven to be a difficult task (nobody wants to perform outside of the unions).
Until wrestlers are willing to collectively work together, Vince McMahon and now Tony Khan will have their way with wrestlers if they ever choose to boycott.
How long before Retribution is dropped from the WWE due to recent events?
Soon, unless the WWE repackages them to just attack wrestlers instead of performing acts seen in recent riots. I believe that this past week's events in Kenosha might put a quick end to the group if attempt to break stuff around the WWE arenas. If you don't believe me, look up the Muhammad Hassan situation when they went too deep with that storyline in world politics.
Just a bad idea to begin with... To my surprise, corporate sponsors haven't challenged the WWE yet on that content but then again, not many eyeballs are watching Cable/Satellite television these days.
What are your thoughts on NXT and AEW's recent ratings without being head-to-head?
I found that the Saturday viewership from AEW proved that they are bigger than they appear... AEW is the WWE alternative and fans are really sick of the WWE right now. NXT failing to break 900,000 viewers twice on unopposed Wednesdays is a JOKE, especially as their viewership this week declined without the NBA Playoffs too.
To me, NXT is a modern day Ring of Honor. Great in-ring product but not much flash or bells & whistles with their product or characters. Just a bunch of regular looking dudes wrestling... Pro Wrestling does well when you have great and unique looking characters having competitive matches that portray the battle between good and evil. If Triple H's creative direction is this dull for NXT, it goes to show you how weak he is advising Vince McMahon on the WWE main roster.
For AEW, I believe that they are growing because their shows are unpredictable. They have that early 1995-1996 feel where the shows are chaotic and could have weird surprises pop up when you least expect it. If only they would find that #1 babyface to push or unique storyline to put them over the top. It's AMAZING how quickly this promotion has emerged as a competitive threat in less than 1 year on television.
What should the WWE do about the Thunderdome trolling?
Say nothing publicly about it... Just have the live shows on Tape Delay and have WWE staff members watching the screens quickly for quick censoring. Most fans participating in this DO NOT want to troll, but you'll have some bad apples here and there. Just censor the extreme trolling and ban anyone who trolls. No need to put out public statements about it.
Meanwhile, I'd record some of the behaving fans to run on a loop if needed... I'd also create a Rewards program for fans who behave and agree to put them front & center on shows.
I really disliked the first Smackdown show that had them but things improved as SummerSlam 2020 went on. It took a while for my eyes to get used to the multiple screens in the background and by the Orton/McIntyre match, it all clicked for me.
For the record, I do NOT condone Chris Benoit, Klansmen, or Executions appearing on their screens... But I also don't condone how sloppy the WWE has been for managing this process. None of those things should appear on their screens, period. They should staff-up to handle such a chore of watching groups of those screens for any bad apples. That or maybe offer financial payments for those participating in Thunderdone and removing funds for anyone trolling.
Who do you consider to be AEW's top Main Eventers or potential Main Eventers (like your earlier WWE Main Eventer Column)?
You know, I actually wrote that "WWE Main Eventers" column as pure sarcasm... My whole point was to list the 30 top guys and basically conclude, as I did that the end, that the WWE lacks anyone who could be a major WWE draw. But many enjoyed my assessment of WWE wrestlers, so I'll try it now with AEW.
Just as a heads up, I'm excluding many wrestlers whom I deem to be Lightweight or Comedic wrestlers.
#12 - Jungle Boy - He's Luke Perry's son and he has a ton upside as an athletic talent. The "Jungle Boy" name SUCKS. Call him "Jack Perry". I would also get him on the weights... Way too thin... He is a tremendous athlete and has loads of charisma. Luke Perry was a proud father of a son who wrestled... Embrace that and the fans will be comfortable cheering him on as well.
#11 - Brian Cage - I'm not as high on ex-TNA guys as most wrestling fans, but I really like Taz being his hype guy. He has to figure out how to work a style other than being just a big jacked up guy. Use the strength to his advantage to impress fans or try to imitate Tazz's styles to show that you're "learning from your master". Make Brian Cage become the new "Human Suplex Machine".
#10 - Wardlow - The Diesel to MJF's Shawn Michaels. Keep him with MJF for another year as he gains valuable in-ring experience. Then, have MJF take him for granted one day and you have a quickly made star. He's only 6'2" but he appears larger than life somehow with his swagger.
#9 - Lance Archer - Big and strong... My only worries is that Jake "the Snake" is not really needed as his manager and actually holds him down from speaking and growing on his own. A bit overkill on his look, too... Tone it down slightly.
#8 - Jake Hager - Hager is an amazing athlete and could be useful with a legitimate push.
#7 - Chris Jericho - While he is older, he's still Chris Jericho and hasn't lost his personality/mic skills. He has to use that to mask his age inside the ring. I only fear that giving up a loss to Orange Cassidy has diminished his ability to put over others.
#6 - Brodie Lee - As Jim Ross always says, "you can't teach size". I just wish that he'd ditch the Wyatt Family look and cult leader gimmick to be pushed as a serious athlete. Go watch his early 2017 match with Randy Orton to see how good he can really be in the ring.
#5 - Jon Moxley - The best WWE free agent signing and the one who legitimized AEW. Great all around talent... I just worry that he lacks that "larger than life" quality that makes a good wrestler into a top drawing Main Eventer. I also worry if we've seen the best from him already?
#4 - Kenny Omega - Omega has made a major mistake by letting Jim Cornette shape his image in AEW. So far in AEW, Omega really only has 1 match where it received high praise and that was the Tag Match against the Young Bucks. He either needs to improve his singles matches to prove why he earned many 5-6 Star match ratings in New Japan OR embrace the hatred by Cornette inspired fans. I'm still waiting for the New Japan version of him to appear, but there's money in being a heel that embraces the internet hatred if Omega wants it.
#3 - Adam "Hangman" Page - Having him act like he's drunk at ringside seemed to be odd at first but it has given him a personality that is somehow working. As WWE found out 20 years ago with Stone Cold Steve Austin, wrestling fans drink beer too. His ring work has improved while tagging with Omega and hopefully, their break-up is epic to make for a hot feud.
#2 - MJF - He's the modern day Ric Flair. Seriously. I don't know how he could ever be a babyface, as his cocky attitude might keep him as a heel forever... But he'll make any babyface look strong. He is ONLY 24 freakin' years old and has yet to enter his prime years! Think about that!
#1 - Cody Rhodes - I really wish that they'd push him hard as the top guy. Instead, he's blocked from ever chasing the AEW title and held the TNT secondary title instead. He's way too generous in wrestling midcarders... The best overall worker for AEW and could be a stronger personality if he really tried.
In my opinion, the top 3 guys pushed HARD could really make AEW grow as a company.
Do you agree with Pro Wrestling Illustrated's decision to rank Jon Moxley as the #1 ranked wrestler for 2019-2020?
I agree with it. He signing with AEW was a big deal and helped legitimize them instantly and has been a consistently solid wrestler, even fighting off injury. I'd probably round it out with Chris Jericho and Cody Rhodes for the top 3.
WWE hasn't had a good year for its performers. Everything has gone wrong for them and nothing consistent. Many are suggesting Randy Orton but I seem to recall MANY people bashing that "Falls Count Anywhere" with Edge as being "too boring". His 2nd match with Edge was good, though heavily edited, and he seems a tad more motivated lately. That makes him 2020 "Wrestler of the Year" or even deserving of the PWI award which measures July 2019 through June 2020, I believe? Nope.
What do you project that Roman Reigns's impact will be on the WWE and wrestling? How about that possible Paul Heyman Alliance???
It depends on him... How much does he want it? In other words, will he continue to show confidence in his character seen since his brief 2018 retirement. I really enjoyed him beating the living crap out of BOTH Braun Strowman and the Fiend from SummerSlam.
His conditioning has to improve... Yes, I'm aware that he had Cancer and his ability to retain oxygen among his blood cells may be impaired, but if you're going to be a wrestler, you have to figure something out to last 20 minutes in that ring without openly sucking wind. His conditioning has been made worse by his style which relies heavily on running spots, high impact moves, the Drive By, and his trademark finishing moves. He should incorporate more restholds and other moves involving psychology to allow him to conserve more energy. I've been saying it for YEARS that he should have his own Submission hold to not only enhance his presentation as a wrestler but allow him to work wrestling holds for building up to that submission move to conserve energy as well.
His look needs to slightly change and the music definitely needs to change. Shield is over, as he can't reunite with Moxley. Thus, ditch the look and music... Be your own man. Incorporate parts of your real life and past life (hello, he was a good Football player) while also adding a much needed edge to his sometimes cookie-cutter babyface. Don't script his lines, either... He comes off as not being authentic.
To answer your question, his impact on WWE viewership and growth depends on how much he's willing to improve since we last saw him.
Now, let's talk about a possible Paul Heyman alliance. Paul Heyman was sitting besides Roman Reigns on the latest edition of Smackdown on FOX as Reigns was considering his Payback contract.
First of all, let's consider facts regarding Paul Heyman... Vince McMahon tolerates him but doesn't like him. He has demoted him 3 times now from Creative Teams (Smackdown during early 2004, ECW during late 2006, WWE during 2020) and seems to only tolerate him as a mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar. REMEMBER - Paul Heyman did not help Ryback or Cesaro get over and in fact, Creative undercut both guys with Heyman. Roman Reigns is Vince McMahon's prized apprentice to become the #1 babyface in the WWE... Do we honestly believe that Vince McMahon would hand Roman Reigns to Paul Heyman on a silver platter?
OR this could be like 2013 when Paul Heyman worked with CM Punk, only to set him up to be ambushed by Brock Lesnar. It's a good chance that Heyman could be working Roman Reigns only to lure him into a Lesnar trap, as seen from this July 2013 RAW Clip. It could just be Heyman and Lesnar's sick plan to create a false sense of security with Roman Reigns and then turn on him.
I don't personally believe that it fits... Heyman works better with guys that he helped build, such as Lesnar and Punk... Roman is a 100% Vince McMahon creation and if Vince sees anything on screen that is contrary to what he wants with Reigns, he'll undercut Heyman as his manager.
BUT - This is still new and Roman is less than 1 week back. We have to wait and see where this goes.
It's interesting at a time where the WWE needs interesting... I'll say that.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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