MR. TITO: Wrestling Fans and COVID-19 Submitted by Mr. Tito on 10/21/2020 at 11:48 PM
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... I made my first every VIDEO appearance on the NoDQ YouTube Channel on Saturday night for the "Great Debate" show where I finally debated my old friend and rival, Virtue, on a variety of topics (Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt/Fiend, and Vince Russo vs. Paul Heyman). We have been talking about doing this for years, even when I worked for my previous website, but yet it never happened due to logistics or our Twitter debates getting too heated or personal. The stars aligned and taped what became a very hard hitting and passionate discussion over wrestling that you won't see elsewhere.
CLICK HERE to watch the On-Demand version of the "Great Debate" from 10/17/2020.
I figured that some of my opinions would get heat but many were focusing in on my costume... Many were wondering WHY... Well, it's my choice to conceal myself. It's either Mr. Tito in costume to appear on video or NO video appearances at all. And certainly, I'll make adjustments to the costume for future video appearances. For example, I filmed my appearance in my basement and a last minute decision was to conceal my hands with gloves. I grabbed the nearest ones and as you can see from the video, there is a hole in one of the finger tips of my gloves (left hand).
Also - I bought the mask specifically because it concealed my nose and mouth but gave my mouth the ability to breathe better and to speak compared to other WRESTLING masks available. However, little did I know that mask would fog up the shades that I was wearing... If you look at the early moments of the debate, I'm shuffling around papers during Virtue's opening statements on Bray Wyatt and that was because I wanted to write notes on what he was saying... However, I couldn't see below me because of the fogged up glasses. I had notes with talking points/facts just below my camera and if you see portions of the video, I'm looking downward... But I couldn't see half of the things that I wrote because of the fogged up glasses.
I'll make a few adjustments to improve moving forward... You have to realize that this was my FIRST TIME on video and yet I believe that my appearance, combined with Virtue's excellent job debating me + Aaron Rift's job moderating, made for a very successful "Great Debate". Despite some heated things said on Twitter over the years, myself and Virtue were very professional towards each other and gave each other space to say their points. It was only towards the end that we began sounding like the 1st Presidential Debate but both of us knew that the show was coming to an end and all gloves came off.
I was very happy with the presentation and hope to do more... Again, if you haven't watched it yet, take a little break from reading this week's column and CLICK HERE to watch the On-Demand version of the "Great Debate" from 10/17/2020. You won't regret it! In my opinion, that is the best and most hard hitting debate on Pro Wrestling that I've ever seen.
On to the column...
You know what? I'm so sick of this damn Coronavirus. I am... And yes, it is a serious matter and should be taken seriously. Millions have been infected about just over 200,000 have died from it. Sadly, it has taken a hyped pandemic to cause people to sneeze/cough into their elbows or actually wash their hands for the first time.
BUT - There are over-reactions to this COVID-19 virus, too.
Take right now with the WWE. Right now, the Orange County Department of health is investigating the following places as "hotspots" in Florida:
(1) Full Sail University (NXT)
(2) WWE Performance Center
(3) Amway Arena (WWE Thunderdome)
And of course, people calling themselves "loyal" wrestling fans are demanding that the WWE actually SHUT DOWN their operations. These same fans have also suggested that WWE SHUT DOWN their operations after an outbreak of WWE wrestlers and employees during late June and early July. There were many calls for WWE to shut it down when it was discovered that WWE was just taking the temperatures of wrestlers and nothing more before this outbreak. Furthermore, there was major demands on the WWE to completely cancel Wrestlemania 36 during early April as the Coronavirus was spreading and mass gatherings were banned mostly everywhere.
Alright... So if the WWE shuts down their operations, what are you going to do as wrestling fans? Watch WWE Network for old stuff? Watch AEW, which is essentially flashy wrestling to impress the lower half of the HOT 18-49 demographic (all less than 400,000 of them). Watch Ring of Honor? You know, the place where much of the AEW talent used to be and didn't entertain us with their double superkicks? Now that those guys are gone, they are back to being a "serious" product? Can't watch NWA... Impact and New Japan are on AXS which has viewership numbers so low that they aren't even reported!
Can someone tell me how many WWE wrestlers or employees have died from the Coronavirus? The answer is none.
How many relatives, friends, or family of WWE wrestlers or employees have died during 2020? As far as we know, none. Orange County only considers the 3 locations as hotspots above because of the many WWE personnel testing positive for COVID-19. Why? BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY TEST FOR IT OFTEN and have since July!
If you look at CDC's own data, the overall Death Rate is 2.5% or in other words, 97.5% chance of survival. HOWEVER, 92% of the deaths caused by COVID-19 happen to the age demographic of 55 or older and almost 79% of the deaths happen to those aged 65 or older. If you look at the actual data for those aged 55 or younger, the chances of survival are 99.8%. Drilling that down further, if you are aged 45 or younger, your survival rate is greater than 99.9%.
COVID-19 virus preys upon the elderly with obvious deteriorating health, compromised immune systems, pre-existing lung and breathing conditions (it primarily attacks your lungs), and individuals who are physically out of shape or obese. WWE employs Pro Wrestlers who train yearly and perform athletically on a weekly basis. Most are health freaks and eat right daily, too. Most are younger than 45 years of age, too.
On top of all of that, WWE has strict policies on documenting your whereabouts before each WWE event at Amway or the Performance Center to avoid any outside contamination. I would assume that wrestlers are cautious around their family members, as much of us already are...
Yeah, the WWE will have outbreaks here or there... They are in Florida, which has been a COVID hotspot for a while now after many New Yorkers left their state to escape the Coronavirus capital and for many others, going to their second homes in Florida as the seasons change. But again, WWE is extensively testing, quarantining anyone infected or who associated with anyone infected, and nobody has died or has been in a critical health condition.
LET THEM WRESTLE...
You know, I'm just wondering...
Where were fans' outrage when Vince McMahon was being indicted for allegedly distributing steroids to his wrestlers during the late 1980s and early 1990s?
Where was the fans' outrage when multiple wrestlers were overdosing on prescription drugs during the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s?
Where was the fans' outrage when the WWE clearly had a poor Concussion protocol system for injured wrestlers?
And how about how the WWE clearly didn't have a Drug Testing policy or one that could be taken seriously until Eddie Guerrero died during late 2005? Furthermore, how about a policy that had no repercussions until Chris Benoit died during mid 2007 and after multiple wrestlers got busted buying drugs from an online pharmacy?
Why, I don't recall wrestling fans demanding that the WWE "shut down" its operations back then?
And in my opinion, the WWE can't control COVID-19. That is a WORLDWIDE pandemic that is shredding through everyone right now. WWE tests its wrestlers daily, requires masks to be worn by anyone outside of the ring, and quarnatines anyone who gets a whiff of someone who might have Coronavirus. Have you noticed that there haven't been any fans in the stands, either? They went empty arena at first, added developmental employees next, and now has video screens to replace fans. ALL OF THOSE safety precautions implemented since July and yet the WWE wrestlers and employees still get infected.
But clearly, no other profession beside professional sports had a Steroid problem. Other industries have endured prescription drug problems and now many states are trying to clean up their issues, but the bad publicity hit the WWE internally the most. NFL has their concussion issues, but nothing has ever hit them like the Chris Benoit case. That was a public relations nightmare that caused the WWE to change its policies and testify before Congress.
All of that stuff, and I haven't even touched upon past sexual harassment cases... WWE fans did not tell the WWE to SHUT DOWN its operations.
This COVID-19 or Coronavirus... Actual wrestling fans are demanding that the WWE stop providing them with weekly content to enjoy. Steroids, prescription drugs, and concussions have led to the deaths of MANY wrestlers... Yet, there were no calls for the WWE to shut down its operations until it could clean itself up. However, for COVID-19, the WWE has had no deaths and have taken the matter more seriously than past problems that they didn't (Steroids, Prescription Drugs, Concussions)... And it takes this Worldwide pandemic that seems to be impossible to prevent to cause wrestling fans to tell the WWE to SHUT IT DOWN?!?
And I can speak on this matter... I completely boycotted the WWE from June 2007 through late 2009. I didn't write any columns during that period of time nor did I watch a single WWE event. Hence whenever you read any of my columns for the past 10 years, it's a bit foggy for that era. I have binge watched the Pay Per Views from that era since via the WWE Network and it is still foggy for me because I didn't experience it live. By late 2009, once I knew that the WWE had a tougher Wellness Policy and were taking Concussions seriously with extensive testing, it was OK to come back and casually watch again. By early 2010, I started writing again and the Mr. Tito bug hit me and here I am 10 years later.
I was pretty upset at the WWE for letting Eddie Guerrero die... The physique should have made things very obvious for the WWE and they should have been more demanding of their talent back then. When the implemented the early version of the Wellness Policy, it reportedly caught multiple wrestlers but only gave them warnings. Chris Benoit was on that warning list... Benoit's death was the "final straw" for me back then and I quit watching wrestling cold turkey from June 2007 until one evening during late 2009, as I was feeding one of my kids late at night, and RAW was still on... Casually watched it more after that after reading into the WWE's policy changes.
If the WWE's actions during the COVID-19 Era bother you that match, then STOP WATCHING and unsubscribe to the WWE Network.
In my opinion, COVID-19 just spreads too quickly and its appearance everywhere was inevitable. WWE personnel were going to get infected no matter what...
BUT THEY WILL SURVIVE... AND HAVE SURVIVED.
LET THEM WRESTLE.
Any wrestler who doesn't want to be there is allowed to opt out of performing. There are many in the NBA, NHL, and NFL who decided not to perform.
I have a feeling that in 2 weeks, a lot of this hype will ease up and the Death Rate statistics will finally be quoted by policy makers to lift their quarantines. As dangerous as the virus could be, stress from a lost job and forced upon poverty can be more lethal. If you lose your job, you might lose the medical coverage that you once had for a serious condition. You might be unable to afford medication due to lost wages... A declined economy could be much more lethal.
Just remember that feeling of Wrestlemania 36 when you were wondering if that should could be interesting or not... And then you saw the boneyard match between AJ Styles and the Undertaker. You couldn't have enjoyed that without the WWE still wanting to put on Wrestlemania 36 for you, the fans.
If the WWE has no television shows, then they are finished as a company. Period. Without attendance, there is no live gate or merchandise money. The TV deals signed are keeping both WWE and AEW alive. And their wrestlers are good and healthy.
Could you imagine what someone with pure outrage over Pro Wrestling continuing to operate despite COVID-19 could do with their lives otherwise? You could bring that same kind of energy to get more involved with politics or helping other people succeed. Instead, you're demanding that the WWE shutdown because they are affected by a pandemic that nobody can control?
LET THEM WRESTLE and GET OVER IT. Enjoy the shows that the WWE is working hard to produce weekly (even if the Creative sucks).
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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