ASK TITO: The Rock's Politics, Roman Reigns, & More Submitted by Mr. Tito on 10/03/2020 at 08:47 AM
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The ALL ELITE COLUMNIST has returned to NoDQ.com with another weekend installment of "Ask Mr. Tito" in which I take your questions from Emails, Tweets, or the Comments section of columns and answer them in column form. It's a weekend CHILL column and it also gives me a chance to play catch-up on various wrestling topics.
Let me just simply state this... Can 2020 get any worse? This year is a complete cluster here in the United States and sadly, as I explained in my very first NoDQ column, both WWE and AEW squandered the opportunity of everyone being forced to stay home while having no sports leagues against them as competition from mid-March through July. This year has been a complete dumpster fire... And we have almost 3 full months to go.
And I won't get into the details of recent events, as you can log into news or politics sites for that. With everything that is going on, I just hope that everyone stays safe and remains healthy.
Onto your questions.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Do you believe that the Rock's political endorsement of Joe Biden will hurt his movie success?
Well, I think that the Coronavirus may permanently hurt his movie success and I also think that his XFL investment will hurt his financial success.
There was once a phrase that leaked to the Chicago press about why Bulls player Michael Jordan didn't openly endorse any political candidates: "Republicans buy shoes too". Well, Republicans attend movies too. It's a calculated risk for anyone in entertainment or sports to get political because it could scare paying customers away. At the same time, it could open the door for new fans to take notice too.
For me personally, I don't really care about someone's politics unless they come at ME directly. If I did care, I would struggle to listen to any music, watch any sports, or enjoy any film/television because politics are injected into those realms or its members are openly political. Right now, for example, there is "BLACK LIVES MATTER" written on the NBA courts for the playoff games that I've been watching for the past few months. Particular on the ESPN broadcasts, they bombard you with non-basketball stories when covering the games. I enjoy the NBA brand of basketball too much for any type of politics to bother me. For others, it would... Ditto for kneeling during the National Anthem as it relates to the NFL. I'm still watching games. For music, some of the best all-time songs are influenced by politics... Why would I ever want to stop listening to "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye?
Why did the Rock endorse Joe Biden? In the past, Rocky has supported both Democrats and Republicans. However for this specific election, he's probably supporting the Movie Industry. If you act on television or on film, it is very likely that you belong to the Screen Actors Guild which is a labor union for that industry. The Rock is one of the highest grossing actors right now in Hollywood. Thus, he's probably acting as a symbolic leader of the Screen Actors Guild which represents tens of thousands of actors.
Labor Unions typically support the Democratic Party primarily due to past Democrat leadership supporting early Labor Unions and also pushed for key legislation that supported and solidified unions. Woodrow Wilson and FDR, in particular, put laws into place that were very pro-union and that helped solidify Unions to be a very loyal voting block to keep the House of Representatives from the 1930s through 1994 as having Democrat majorities. With time, primarily due to Manufacturing jobs being outsourced to other countries, union membership has dropped and the elections have varied much more. Still, the remaining Labor Unions don't forget the past and continue to be loyal to the Democratic Party.
Rock is an important member of the Screen Actors Guild Labor Union and thus he's going to support the rest of his members who want to vote for Joe Biden. I also think that Rock has a good personal relationship with former President Barack Obama and it probably showing loyalty there. If the Rock ever considers running for President, it should be interesting if he does so representing the Democratic Party or not.
It has been 2 months... Do you feel that you've made the right decision by joining NoDQ?
Absolutely, I'm very happy here at NoDQ.com. I've had fun pumping out 2 columns per week here and I'm motivated to succeed. Looking back, I just felt that I took my column as far as I could with my prior place and I kept a close eye on NoDQ as a possible landing spot thanks to my growing friendship with both Aaron Rift and Virtue. I almost joined them during 2018 but opted to briefly retire because I was burned out covering the awful WWE at that time.
And where I left is doing well... Some of the existing writers have stepped up and they have brought in other writers to help out. As I suggested my last column there, sometimes you have to let your veteran go, like Bret Hart during 1997, in order to challenge the other talent to step up in their place.
I honestly feel that the best has yet to come for me here at NoDQ... We have yet to even scratch the surface on me appearing on videos. Now, I don't want to trample on existing NoDQ shows, as those guys are doing a great job on their existing shows. Myself and Virtue have talked about making an aggressive Debate type show for years, kind of like a "Skip and Shannon" on FOX Sports but about wrestling... I've also been studying how videos are made online and have a few ideas running through my head as well.
I have a ton of creativity floating in my head that is waiting to be unleashed... So we'll see with time with what I could get into.
But it has definitely been fun here at NoDQ.com and I'm very glad to have joined the party.
What do you think about the WWE doing another roster draft or shake-up?
Hate it so much. If I were someone at Comcast or FOX, I'd be furious. It hurts their marketing of the show by reshuffling the deck.
I've been of the mind that the Brand Split, aside from getting these TV contracts, has been a Creative failure and it has produced poor quality wrestling. HOWEVER - I'd argue that the Brand Split started off well, particularly for Smackdown, from 2016 through 2017's Wrestlemania. Then, the most damaging "Superstar Shake-up" happened and ruined both rosters. Each year, they've shuffled the deck chairs on the Titanic to keep making it worse and worse.
It kills the credibility of each brand and its titles... How can titles switch brands?
Just no... If I were in charge, the only "Draft" that I would have is a "Rookie Draft" with NXT Call-ups each year. That's it. And no brand split, as I'd merge both rosters together and give exclusive things to both shows. Cruiserweights on RAW, Tag Teams on Smackdown, and 3rd hour of RAW has a mature rating to allow cursing, violence, and hot women.
Are you still playing WWE 2K Battlegrounds?
No, actually... After my review here at NoDQ, I have put the game down in order to heavily play Mario based games on the Nintendo Switch. Honestly, I had enough of the repetitive button mashing type game with not much strategy.
Aside from a few Online Modes, it has very weak replay value because of its severely repetitive gameplay. The most joy that I get from playing it is playing with one of my kiddos in Tag Matches. But not much from the solo game experience, as it's just pure button mashing with repetitive moves. There really isn't much special about each wrestler other than their looks and finisher moves.
Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros. 35 are much more compelling anyway. I've moved on.
What would please you as a wrestling fan with today's promotions?
I always get this question because anytime that I'm critical of either AEW or WWE, I'm branded as "negative". Yet, I'm always providing solutions which you can see from my 9/16/2020 - My Job Application to Join WWE Creative column or my 9/8/2020 - Time for AEW To GROW UP column. I've also pointed out issues in the management of the companies by their EVPs. I don't just complain, I offer solutions. I remain a wrestling fan AND a columnist because I want to help "right the ship" to deliver great pro wrestling products again.
Here are quick fixes that both AEW and WWE could do today that would greatly improve their promotions:
- Clear division of wrestlers between HEAVYWEIGHT Main Eventers and Midcarders or Lower Weight Classes. This is AEW's biggest problem. All of their would-be Main Eventers are selling to either comedy acts and/or guys 5'10" and 180 pounds or smaller. Miro is already ruined within just a few weeks because he had to sell moves from Joe Janella and Sonny Kiss. Why does Darby Allin or Sammy Guevara have highly competitive matches with AEW's top guys? WWE helped influence this non-sense by discrediting the United States or Intercontinental Title and tried to push an "Everybody is a Contender for the World Title" policy. Midcarders or Lower Weight Classes should never even sniff the Main Event scene, period, and act like the US/IC Title, TNT Title, or Cruiserweight Title matters so much to them.
- Make Titles Great Again. And yes, they can be called BELTS, WWE. We have too many titles, as this Brand Split has diluted things once again. Then, the contender system to earn a shot at a title is completely wrong. On random editions of RAW or Smackdown, they'll have a Fatal 4 Way to determine the #1 contender. Huh? If you cannot clearly decide among 4 wrestlers who should be #1, where is your credibility? Too many title changes during the year, as guys like Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena, Edge, etc. have over 10 World Title reigns. That is ridiculous. See my comment on placing a wall between Heavyweights and Midcard/Lightweight wrestlers.
- Don't be insulted by creating Weight Classes. The two most successful fighters of the latest generation are Floyd Mayweather in Boxing and Conor McGregor in MMA. And what do they have in common besides once boxing each other for a major box office (which will prove my point)? Both fighters are NOT Heavyweight fighters. It's basic biology 101 that a fighter who weighs more has a stronger likelihood of defeating a fighter who weighs less than him. They can punch/kick harder, they have greater strength, and can absorb more body blows than a smaller fighter. If the larger fighter gets the smaller fighter to the ground, that's when the weight really can take over. AEW completely refuses to have weight classes while WWE's 205 Live is a complete joke. I'll play Dave Meltzer here and suggest that New Japan does a ton of business with their Junior Heavyweight title.
- Tag Team Wrestling Matters. AEW is doing a better job at this but the problem they have is weak gimmick names and looks for their teams. Look at the late 1980s or early 1990s... Teams wore the same outfits, their gimmick matched who they were, and their actions supported the brand of the tag team. The late 1990s and early 2000s WWE was the same way between Hardys, Guerreros, Dudleys, Edge/Christian, Edge/Mysterio, Hass/Benjamin, etc. But how much fun was wrestling when Tag Team wrestling was at its peak. Demolition, Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, Rockers, Road Warriors, Money Inc... NWA had Midnight Express, Rock N Roll Express, Arn & Tully, Fantastics... Go crazy with the gimmicks here, as that's part of the fun. There's NO fun with tag wrestling in the WWE.
- Don't forget what draws for Women's wrestling. Look, I'm a bigger supporter than most for Women's wrestling, particularly with what I've seen from NXT from 2014-2017 and I'm loyal to all of the women from that era. Yet, many of their matches on the WWE main brand are just OK... WWE needs a better balance of competitiveness and sexuality from their Women's roster. Sorry to say this and I'm sure that the misogyny card will get played here... But many older wrestling fans have great memories of what Miss Elizabeth, Terri, Sable, and Sonny were. Torrie Wilson huge from a WWE marketing standpoint from her beauty and charm. While Trish Stratus was a great wrestler, she's equally as known for being a sex symbol than her in-ring work. Remember, she didn't wrestle weekly like today's women. Sex sells and majority of wrestling fans are still male. Women can still be competitive, but certain ones have assets that can put them in a better position to draw.
- Less scripting for promos, WWE. Captain obvious here on what is broken in the WWE. Their scripting of promos is hurting their entire roster. Just look at Roman Reigns now that he is unscripted and receiving input only from Paul Heyman. He looks like a completely different wrestler.
- Fewer Hardcore matches. I'm so burned out on seeing brawling, tables, ladders, and other weapons used. Just impress me with doing work inside the ring. Simple. That is what you're trained to do. Furthermore, by wrestling actual matches, it will improve the longevity of your careers. ONLY use these specialty matches to settle a score that can't settled within a ring multiple times.
- Less is more from the World Champion. Listening to one of Cornette's podcast, they were airing a past caller into a wrestling radio show from like 1990 and he said something very obvious to me why WCW didn't boom during the early 1990s. Ric Flair, as World Champion, wrestled on EVERY NWA/WCW. The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns sets in when you consume too much of a good often. Think about why Brock Lesnar works so well for the WWE. He never wrestles on television, nor does he wrestle on Pay Per View that often. When he does, it is MUST SEE. Maybe why Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have failed is because we've seen them too much on television as top guys to meet the demands of 3 hour RAWs or 2 hour Smackdowns. John Cena could have been an even bigger draw if he wasn't performing weekly on television. The NFL is the most successful league because you only receive 16 games compared to how the NHL, NBA, and MLB are on nightly to push 80+ game seasons.
- Care about the announcing teams. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me because I can tune them out, but I hear so many fans upset at the way Michael Cole and his clones commentate. These 3 man teams are a joke.
- Better Theme Music. Jim Johnston was truly an asset for the WWE, as he composed theme music that fit the character. Now, the WWE contracts bands to create garbage songs for their wrestlers and they refused to change themes because of that. Meanwhile, AEW's theme music is awful from top to bottom. I used to buy EVERY WWE Theme Music CD when they came out and just blast that stuff in my room or car. That stuff matters to wrestling fans.
There you go, once again... ^^^^ That will please me as a wrestling fan if most, if not all, changes are implemented. And I'm sure that most wrestling fans will agree.
What should WWE wrestlers do if they disagree with WWE's new 3rd Party (Twitch, Cameo, and other services provided directly to fans without WWE's consent) Policy?
I agree with CM Punk... Just go ahead and appear on Twitch/Cameo anyway. If WWE wrestlers are so upset by this policy, one of them needs to stand up and challenge the Independent Contractor status. If they can only work for the WWE, then why are there no pensions, healthcare benefits, or payroll taxes paid out of their salaries? WWE controls their appearance in the public. How can they do that? Oh yeah, it was the contract that each WWE wrestler signed.
Look, if these wrestlers want to stream video game playing on Twitch (which makes them look so normal), earn extra dollars on Cameo, or whatever else, they have to fight for it.
But be careful on listening to the Andrew Yangs of the world. There's a reason why he only received 1% of the vote despite being one of the most vocal Democratic Presidential candidates. He talks a good game and has had some business success, but he doesn't have that much experiencing organizing Labor Unions nor does he have any political experience. I think that Yang just saw an issue with the WWE, owned by the McMahons who are obvious Donald Trump supporters, and went after it. I've watched him appear on many news outlets, seen him perform in debates, and also have heard him on Bill Maher's show. He says many things to get applause but what has he actually implemented politically?
WWE has a strong legal team that will only lose if (a) wrestler gets severely injured or (b) wrestler dies. That's it... And they have decades of precedence in place. If the Chris Benoit Scandal didn't break up the WWE, as it could have when the McMahons had to testify with Congress over that, then nothing will.
The wrestlers themselves need to take a stand if they view Twitch, Cameo, and other 3rd Party services to be that important. Otherwise, just ask the WWE for more money if you believe that these services are much needed income for the thin salaries that the WWE is now paying in this pandemic without a Live Gate per show. That simple... If wrestlers want to unionize, good luck. Vince McMahon keeps the union threat away by paying his top guys enough to make them never consider unionizing. That's why Jesse Ventura's attempt to unionize during the 1980s failed because Hulk Hogan not only ratted him out to Vince, but Hogan was paid so well that unionizing would not be in his own personal best interest to do financially.
I'd ask for more money if I were the wrestlers... Otherwise, revolt and use the 3rd Party services anyway. HOWEVER, I am of the approach that wrestlers expose themselves and their on-screen characters by using these services. Maybe Cameo not so much, as they can appear in character for that... But I consider it weak to see a Pro Wrestler, whom we are supposed to believe is LARGER THAN LIFE, sitting down in his gamer's chair and streaming a video game. Sorry, but wrestlers should be characters that are doing things and acting in a way that the rest of the normal public shouldn't be doing. Look at how Ric Flair was presented... He was the lady's man, kiss stealing, wheeling and dealing, limousine riding... And then you look at today's roster who care more about video games. Gee, which one drew more money and had larger audiences?
What do you believe is the "End Game" for the Roman Reigns heel turn?
Ultimately, the WWE wants this edge to convert him into a top drawing face. Finally, Vince McMahon realized that the Rock and Steve Austin grew into Main Event stars by being heels first and then having a legitimate reason to turn babyface.
I believe ultimately that Brock Lesnar will be what flips Roman Reigns into a babyface. I really think that Rock vs. Roman Reigns is happening at Wrestlemania 37 and the Rock, acting as a full blown babyface, will put over his distant cousin. I GUARANTEE that if in front of a large audience, the fans will turn on Rocky as they tend to do at big events (see Brock at SummerSlam, Hogan at Wrestlemania 18). That would get the ball rolling.
However, I believe that they key is Brock Lesnar and we'll see a replay of what did CM Punk in during 2013. From mid 2012 through mid 2013, CM Punk was a heel and contracted the services of Paul Heyman. However, Heyman turned on Punk by unleashing Lesnar onto him and Brock destroyed CM Punk on an edition of RAW. In case you haven't noticed, Brock Lesnar has been clearly absent from the WWE since his Wrestlemania 36 loss to Drew McIntyre.
Here is some crazy Fantasy Booking for you... Rock vs. Roman Reigns happens at Wrestlemania 37 and Reigns gets the clean win... But it is a hard fought battle that leaves both wrestlers worn out afterward. They Lesnar music hits and he attacks Roman... The Rock tries to make the save but Lesnar deals it to him, too (setting up a future match-up?). Make it a very violent and shocking attack by Lesnar, modeling it after his post Wrestlemania 31 RAW performance. And there you go, Roman Reigns with his new edge will take on the Heyman supported Brock Lesnar.
I just don't see the WWE keeping Roman as a heel, particularly since the WWE's true weakness is the LACK of a strong drawing babyface to replace John Cena. They have been chasing that ghost since 2014 and Roman Reigns himself failed to replace him, hence the heel turn. If you look up and and down the roster, they have NOBODY that can become a #1 top drawing Main Event babyface that could help grow the WWE business. Just a bunch of scripted athletes who all look the same and want to play video games on Twitch.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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