ASK TITO: Miro in AEW, Tessa Blanchard, More Submitted by Mr. Tito on 09/11/2020 at 11:12 PM
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Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING that is now presented to you exclusively by the fine folks of NoDQ.com. In this weekend edition of the Mr. Tito experience, I answer your questions from Emails, Tweets, and Comments below previous columns. As I've said in previous columns here at NoDQ, THANK YOU for all of the kind words said since I joined NoDQ officially on 9/1/2020... It's been fun to try something new and working with friends (even ones who claim we're in "Column Wars").
I just have to laugh... Anytime that I even mention All Elite Wrestling (AEW), their loyal fanbase comes after me. In my last column, I used actual Ratings data to prove and suggest that AEW is catering to their 18-34 Demographic (hence the many hardcore matches, comedy, smaller wrestlers pushed) and then advising that if they want to expand, they need to appeal to the older audiences. You would have thought that I pushed their Grandmothers down the stairs by suggesting that.
Good lord... AEW fans... I hate to tell you this, but I'm rooting for AEW to succeed. No, I'm not like Dave Meltzer who has friendship ties to wrestlers and management of AEW, hence why his coverage is incredibly biased. I'm rooting for them to succeed because if AEW does well, the WRESTLING BUSINESS does well. It's better pay for wrestlers, better quality shows from competing promotions, and with much more newsbytes to talk about.
However - I'm going to be fair in my criticisms of AEW... If they do something stupid, such as allowing Matt Hardy to continue with a match despite being knocked out for almost 45 seconds, then I'll call them out. As you'll see below, I'm excited for Miro's AEW debut but he could have presented himself better to make an even bigger impact.
I'm an equal opportunity critic and have been for almost 22 years now as a Pro Wrestling columnist. Deal with it!
Onto your questions.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
What did you think of Miro(Rusev)'s debut in AEW?
I'm extremely happy for this signing. Out of all of the Spring Cleaning WWE releases, this is the one guy out of that bunch that could come back to haunt the WWE. The guy has it all... Size, strength, personality, charisma, and better mic skills than originally thought. WWE Creative, in my opinion, really screwed with this guy especially as he was achieving momentum through his own actions inside the ring. I attended "Extreme Rules 2018" in Pittsburgh, PA and fans there were bonkers for the guy as he wrestled WWE Champion AJ Styles. When he lost, the mood from the fans soured and later that night, that's when the fans trolled that Ziggler/Rollins 30 minute Iron Man match with the countdowns.
If pushed like a serious Heavyweight, Miro is going to be HUGE for AWE.
However - Let me say this and AEW fans need to hear me out on this... As the phrase goes, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". Sorry, but he looked to me as if he just got out of bed with his outfit. He was wearing a white Gucci T-Shirt and pants that appeared to belong to a pajama set. Come on, man... At least wear blue jeans or something to look a little more tougher.
Secondly, don't ever admit that you play video games EVER again. Yeah, I know, you have your own Twitch channel. But wrestlers need to do more to push their characters as being "larger than life" instead of being "normal like fans". He should brag more about how Twitch banned his channel temporarily because his HOT WIFE appeared on it with a bikini. And then brag more about how a person like him can attract beautiful women anywhere he goes. Wrestlers in 2020 need to work harder to differentiate themselves from the same free time habits that fans have. Work harder to appear "larger than life" instead of "normal like fans". Normal doesn't draw.
And his debut is to be the BEST MAN at another wrestler's wedding ceremony? I mean... You couldn't think of anything else? Oddly enough, I kind of like the "Best Man" gimmick though.
Regardless of my debut nitpicks, I'm SUPER HAPPY to have him in AEW. The promotion needs more heavyweights and this one is a dandy. WWE blew it on that guy.
If I were booking him, I would have him repeatedly brag about how he's delivering ol' one-eyed Willie to Tuna Town each and every night with a WWE performer, bragging that he has the "inside scoop" on that company. Then, I'd have him do shoots on how the WWE made his real life wife act like she wanted to marry someone else... Then, bring up the phony Russian gimmick that the WWE tried, how they sabotaged Rusev Day, and how they tried to force his eventual fiance with Dolph Ziggler and then got pissed when Lana & Rusev announced their engagement on TNT. Those are actual facts on what happened, therefore, you can bring them up on television.
What many of these former WWE performers don't realize is that they have the power to expose how ridiculous the WWE's Creative Team is while attempting to portray themselves as "real" in AEW.
Do you really believe that Vince McMahon "listens to fans", according to Stephanie McMahon?
Yes, I do... I've seen Vince have kneejerk decisions based on fans revolting. Don't believe me? Go watch Wrestlemania 30 with Daniel Bryan and then Wrestlemania 35 with Kofi Kingston.
As I'll keep arguing here, I believe that his supporting management between Triple H, Kevin Dunn, Stephanie McMahon, Bruce Prichard and then down to Michael PS Hayes and their Creative Writing Staff DO NOT listen to fans. They are all more worried about what Vince wants rather than what the fans want. Instead of listening to the fans and trying to change Vince's mind, they try to book what they THINK Vince would book.
Fact is that WWE wouldn't be the dominant force without Vince McMahon filtering out his Creative Team's absolute crap while being an amazing business man. It's time we stop blaming Vince other than having a lack of courage to question why his family members or friends are on his Board and working for him backstage.
Will there be any ramifications for AEW's handling of Matt Hardy?
If stuff like this keeps happening, yes... Let's give AEW a chance to learn from this exercise. They are still new and Tony Khan hasn't worked in the modern era that long to understand that things have changed. Sometimes, you have to protect wrestlers from themselves.
Where it could hurt is that the All Out Pay Per View left a bad taste in many fans's mouths, especially after paying $50. You can give me the "WWE continued with Mick Foley at King of the Ring 1998" and then I'll remind you that it was 1998. Wrestling now has learned from the mistakes of the past with head injuries.
What did you think of AEW Dynamite breaking through 1 Million viewers this week?
It goes to show you that, in the words of Eric Bischoff, "controversy = cash". With a Pay Per View full of controversy and news, there was some curiosity... I also believe that Miro's appearance may have sparked some interest to watch the latter half of the show. That's a big jump from prior times without competition, like last week.
If you break down the ratings...
18-34 Demo = 0.22 Rating, approximately 253,550 viewers
34-49 Demo = 0.15 Rating, approximately 172,875 viewers
50+ Demo = 0.40 Rating, approximately 461,000 viewers
AEW saw gains in the youngest bracket but they had a big jump in the 50+ demographic this week by several hundred thousand. However, they seemed to not have much appeal with the 34-49 year old fans, the group that is split 50/50 on liking traditional wrestling or the hardcore/spotfest style that appeals more to those under 34 years of age.
I'll be very curious to see what impact that Miro will have, long-term...
Should NXT consider another night to air their weekly program?
No way. WWE should attach that show to AEW forever. And not just to compete with AEW, but to help NXT as well. Again, look back at the history of wrestling. RAW and Nitro fed off of each other to grow the fanbase significantly from 1995-1998. It's a matter of CONVENIENCE to have both shows on 1 night, as it's extra work for a wrestling fan to have multiple nights to watch wrestling. Channel flipping is better for wrestling fans.
While competition can be good to boost quality, having both shows on 1 night makes it convenient for wrestling fans. Sure, channel flipping will occur and maybe harm commercial rates, but the number of viewers have the potential to boom with multiple shows on a single night. Worked for RAW and Nitro.
What did you think of Gerald Brisco and Mike Rotunda being released by WWE?
Just the WWE reducing costs to maximize profits. They also reduced their Corporate workforce by about 70 people as well. Brisco has been in semi-retirement for a while now, as he still was scouting talent for the WWE while on the road. Mike Rotunda was an agent. In this COVID era where the WWE is cutting back on costs and not being on the road as much, the demand isn't there. However, if the wrestling business bounces back, Rotunda could be rehired.
It's sad to see Brisco go, but the guy is 73 about to turn 74... WWE employed him since 1984. Hard to demonize a company for giving a guy a 36 year career. Some are demonizing the WWE for not keeping such an important part of their past under contract "for life" but the WWE has paid him well for a while now.
For Mike Rotunda, he's 62 years of age and has doing non-wrestling roles since 2004. Given that both of his sons are still with the WWE, I could see WWE hiring him back if they start touring again. He wasn't contributing anything creatively for TV shows, and thus his role is tied entirely towards assisting with live shows on giving wrestlers advice for their matches both before and after. Had he been part of the Creative Team, his value would have been stronger and he might not be released.
Where do you think Tessa Blanchard will end up?
I have a little bit of an inside track on this, possibly... I have a pretty reliable Indy source from the Florida region that I've known for years and he keeps a close ear on Impact and NXT for me, as needed. He knows a few performers from both promotions. Just to show you how reliable he was, during the early 2010s, he told me that various "guys and gals in suits" kept appearing backstage at TNA events and that had everyone talking that TNA had financial issues. Few years later, TNA proved to have major financial troubles that almost put them under.
He gave me some interesting newsbytes on Tessa Blanchard that I reported on Twitter on July 12, 2020:
Heard this from a Florida Indy source... Tessa Blanchard wanted more money on Impact deal, like a top star heavyweight wrestler would earn. Management either disagreed OR has frozen all deals with COVID straining revenues. My source was unsure, but this caused Tess holdout.
— Mr. Tito - Pro Wrestling Writer - WWE, AEW, etc. (@titowrestling) July 12, 2020
My source also suggested that AEW is hesitant on signing Tessa Blanchard... Meanwhile, the WWE has been pursuing her BUT she is hesitant to return there due to prior experience with them. She wants to join AEW but there is oddly no interest there. Consider that gossip.
— Mr. Tito - Pro Wrestling Writer - WWE, AEW, etc. (@titowrestling) July 12, 2020
The first part has now been officially confirmed first by Fightful and now by the Wrestling Observer. Anthem/Impact Wrestling appears to making lower offers to Tessa. She was their freakin' World Heavyweight Champion and reportedly wanted paid like it. Anthem is either freezing pay or reluctant, my source wasn't sure. Either way, they aren't giving big money offers to Tessa and that is why she walked.
The next part of my source's info is interesting and might be why we haven't seen Tessa appear on RAW, Smackdown, NXT, or AEW... WWE reportedly wants her but Tessa isn't thrilled with the idea of rejoining WWE given how her last run abruptly ended. Meanwhile, AEW has some reluctance to sign her, maybe given the stories of issues that she had with other female wrestlers.
I believe that AEW will sign her... Her Dad, Tully Blanchard, is already there and would have her back as necessary there. With AEW breaking 1 million and having better success lately, adding her on top of other free agents would be huge. Plus she never lost that Impact Title and signing her can easily fend off Impact from ever being a competitor.
WWE is just a miserably place to work right now. Until they improve their Creative and Talent Development, morale there will always be low. I just don't see Tessa joining them unless the money offer is just ridiculous to pass up.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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