Welcome back to the weekend excellence in weekend question answering here at NoDQ.com. It's Royal Rumble weekend, baby, and regardless of how you feel about the WWE at the current moment, you gotta tune into the Rumble! That genius creation by Pat Patterson will continue to live on forever and now stream to more potential viewers on Peacock.
Speaking of that, in case you missed it, I wrote an extra column on Tuesday that covers the WWE Network situation with NBCU Peacock streaming service that you can read by CLICKING HERE or the archived link below. Many questions that you might assume could be in this week's Ask Mr. Tito column were already covered there.
Additionally, I already gave my Royal Rumble 2021 Predictions in another column posted this week which you can read by CLICKING HERE (predictions are at the very bottom of the column). I wrote a piece explaining WHY the Royal Rumble event is the best there is, was, and ever will be.
My Email inbox was full this week, as it tends to be heading into a bigtime event for the WWE. Onto your questions.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Do you believe that Ronda Rousey will return at WWE Royal Rumble 2021?
Despite the Stephanie McMahon name dropping, I say "no". During a December 2020 interview with Digital Spy, she revealed that one of her vertebrae in her back was cracked. That's a serious injury, folks, and I wouldn't think that bumping on a hard wrestling ring or getting tossed over the top rope would be good for that. Simply put due to injury considerations, she won't be in the Rumble.
Stephanie McMahon is a mark for Ronda Rousey and will thus name drop her whenever she can. See, Rousey needs a degree of pampering for her own emotional state and Stephanie's open comments are just to help Ronda feel good about one day returning to the WWE. For anyone who wonders why certain employees receive extra preferential treatment at your workplace, that is why... Either they are too talented or there's an emotional need. Rousey has both.
I believe that Ronda will one day return to the WWE, as Hollywood offers have dried up and UFC doesn't want her fighting again (2 losses and you're out). Performing for the WWE is what she settles on and they pay her big checks to do it. Thus, she'll be back... There will come a time when WWE desperately needs a big name to help headline Wrestlemania or SummerSlam and that will cause an extra "0" to be added to that paycheck. WWE will pay it, as they keep doing the same for Lesnar, Goldberg, etc. They even paid top dollar to Cain Velasquez who didn't amount to a hill of beans in the WWE financially.
My issue with Ronda Rousey is this: Does she want to be a Pro Wrestler?
It's one thing to take WWE's money when they offer it. WWE is enamored with her successful run at UFC and that will forever have their interest. But that wasn't the question. Does she WANT to do it? Sure, you can compare her to Brock Lesnar but Lesnar spent 2 years in WWE's wrestling school at Ohio Valley Wrestling to learn how to work. Rousey has not dedicated such time with legitimate professionals to teach and understand the business. When she was a babyface and fans were booing her, she emotionally lost it instead of figuring out ways to work fans in response. THAT is the difference. When Brock Lesnar is on television, he's in character and you can't break him. Rousey doesn't understand the business because she was brought in and pushed as a Main Event talent immediately.
Years of in-ring wrestling training will teach you to (a) learn how to bump properly to avoid injuries, (b) teach you how to sell your opponent's moves convincingly, (c) the art of psychology to torture your opponent or show agony to stir up fans' emotions, (d) how to cut promos, and (e) how to display character traits. Rousey hasn't had any extensive training on any of those and has done those on-the-fly on the main WWE roster. Unless she has a Charlotte Flair out there carrying the match, she's in trouble and we've seen that. We have also seen her land wrong on bumps which is also a sign of a LACK of training.
And again, the WWE is just what she settles on doing because Film and UFC won't pay her as much. Yes, Brock Lesnar is using the WWE to get paid, but at least he has the extensive Pro Wrestling training to look and act the part. Rousey doesn't and that's why she gets frustrated when she doesn't understand the business or how to work.
If I were the WWE and heard that Rousey wanted to return, I'd send her to Rip Rogers for at least 6 months to retrain as a wrestler. Rip was one of the top trainers within the Ohio Valley Wrestling training system and he's also the guy who trained Pat McAfee. If Rip can make Pat look like the best trained wrestler that NXT has ever seen in a short period of time, he can make Rousey look convincing as well. You could throw an additional veteran or two her way to train her on the psychological aspect of the business as well. Have her hang out with Steve Austin for a few weeks or months, for example.
But as far as the Rumble goes, her back would need to magically heal up before she returns to the WWE.
Could the WWE fall victim to recent activity in the Stock Market?
First and foremost, DISCLAIMER: Anything that I'm about to say is for entertainment purposes and should not be considered as financial advice to buy or sell ownership shares of stock and other equities. For anyone who reads this, they agree that any participation in financial markets is at their own risk!
No, the WWE stock is not at risk because the WWE is a financially solvent company with a clear indication of revenue streams for at least the next 4 years. If you have watched the financial news lately, you've seen wild swings in the prices of GameStop and AMC's stock prices. In comparison to the WWE, both of those companies have questionable revenue streams for the future. With everybody buying online and specifically downloading games, the need for a GameStop store in many areas is shrinking. COVID-19 could be placing nails in the theater business for AMC. Before Gamestop finished yesterday at $347 per share, they started off the year around $20. AMC started off the year at $2 per share and closed the day at almost $20.
So what is happening? Why would anyone repeatedly buy stocks of companies who are risky towards the future?
Simply put, you make money in the stock market two ways: (1) buy the stock at a lower price, sell it at a higher price *OR* (2) buy the stock to hold it for a longer period of time, naturally making money off of price gains with time and dividend payouts. Now for point #1 of buying low and selling high... For decades now, especially with quicker ability to buy and sell stocks electronically, there have been criticisms of how the market can be easily manipulated by larger hedge funds and financial institutions who are running all kinds of statistical algorithms on when to buy or sell stocks. Hedge funds, in particular, sell their funds to investors as something that will create a much larger rate of return on their investment.
Before Reddit got involved, this is what has been going on in the Stock Market with Hedge Funds companies who are playing unique games and schemes to maximize the return on their customer's investment... There is a financial term called "pump and dump". So take GameStop, for example... They are struggling in the marketplace and their stock was actually under $5 for much of 2020. Then, suddenly, their price started ticking upward towards the end of 2020 to get close to $10 per share and then suddenly, near $20 per share to start 2021. That is quite a growth to be under $5 and then end the year near $20. Certainly, the new systems for Xbox and Playstation could cause healthy quarters for Gamestop but remember, you can buy both systems online too. Gamestop didn't exactly have an abundance of those systems, too. HOWEVER, just the news of the newer systems existing could cause an opportunistic Hedge Fund to throw a bunch of money at buying Gamestop's shares of stock.
With the news of the new Xbox system and Playstation 5 out there, it would SEEM to the average investor that Gamestop is on a roll because their stock price happened to surge from under $5 to start the year to now $20 per share. In truth, someone at a large Hedge Fund or two saw an opportunity to buy a bunch of shares at once to "pump" up the price of GameStop to create some attention. The plan was probably to hold the stock until it appears that other people have heavily invested in GameStop and then "dump" the stock. For example, the Hedge was probably hoping to keep seeing the GameStop continually grow throughout 2021. In anticipation of the 1st Quarter earnings, many investors jumped into the market and helped push the price near $30 per share. To a Hedge Fund investor who heavily bought under $10 per share, that could be a good exit point to "dump" the stock. When they do that, GameStop's price suddenly drops and anyone who bought the stock between $15 and $30 would get monumentally screwed.
But then you have some wise folks on a Reddit forum that probably caught wind of what a few Hedge Funds were up to with GameStop. They observed the "Pump and Dump" scheme and started to crowd source everyone to buy up GameStop stocks. Now, this will pump up the GameStop's share price even higher and it messes with the Hedge Fund operators because in a technical sense, they are making more on their investment and it's making it difficult to get out of the stock especially when the initial stock investment was based on short-term borrowed funds. Furthermore, raging activity on the stock has caused the Stock Market to freeze trading on the stock several times. Therefore, it's becoming harder to "dump" the stock and it's very likely that the Security Exchange Commission of the Federal Government is looking very closely at the larger owners of the stock (i.e. Hedge Funds).
These Reddit users, who must have lots of money around themselves, are messing with the Hedge Funds' game. In turn, because GameStop's price is going up so fast, it is attracting other investors to buy it and now they are all in the crosshairs of this inflated stock (Securities Exchange Commission is now watching closely). It's causing the Hedge Fund to hesitate about "dumping" their stock because the price is going up so quickly. While that sounds good in principle, many investments through a Hedge Fund use short-term money like money borrowed from a bank or cashing in other financial instruments to invest in the Hedge. On top of that, if the Hedge Fund shorted GameStop too early, like at $40 per share, but the price went up all the way to $300+, that's a perception issue of the Hedge Fund to not cut out at the highest price point. They could lose customers because they clearly didn't maximize the investment.
Now, they are playing the same game with AMC, though many investors want no part of that company in comparison to GameStop. Nobody is going to movies but it is perceived that GameStop will somehow make money from the new Xbox and Playstation systems being available.
Getting back to the WWE, the Hedge Funds probably already had their WWE fix by pumping up the price during 2018 in anticipation of new revenue streams and then ditched the stock after some bad news came in... However, this a matter of pumping to $96 per share and the WWE stock is just above $50 right now. Why? Because the WWE makes money and solvent companies with potential opportunities to make more money (TV deals, Saudi Arabia, etc) will maintain a higher price. GameStop and AMC were bargain price stocks to anyone looking to buy very low and sell high. All it takes is the hype of new investors believing in those companies to make everyone believe that GameStop and AMC would be comeback companies. When in reality, online stores will keep eating GameStop alive and the theater business is likely dead for AMC.
I hope that made sense... If not, don't worry about it. The Stock Market is like a big casino where you bet on something growing but at the same time, there's opportunity to net in other investors to join you on a sinking ship. I always laugh at BitCoin because many "pump and dump" schemes keep happening to its commodity price. A few weeks ago, Bitcoin was priced at over $40,000 and it's now at $31,000. Investors are gambling with their money to pump up the price in order to create attention for other investors to buy in. Then, at a certain point, they early adopter buyers cash in their chips and it causes the overall price to drop hard. Anyone buying Bitcoin over $35,000 got BURNED hard by this continual "pump and dump" scheme.
Take it from Uncle Tito here... The Stock Market can dangerous, especially if you don't know how to read Financial Statements and if you're not current on market trends, news, or what people really want to buy. If you saw news about GameStop's stock surging and thought "that would be a great buy, they are on a comeback", then you got BURNED hard. Seriously, who will go to see movies in a theater again after COVID-19 and also how convenient it is to just stream movies? Why on earth would AMC rebound? We've seen the best from Hollywood, anyway.
My guess is that the "end game" here by the Reddit folks is to bring much more attention to the highly unregulated Hedge Fund market who can just "pump" up any stock price and then "dump" it when it ropes in many unsuspecting buyers. If you look around your mall, you'll see no more Toys R Us, Sears, K-Mart, Kaybee, and other places who were bought up by Hedge Fund managers. It's the same thing... "Oh look, a big group of investors are buying into Toys R Us! They most have faith in that company!" Nope, they just want to create the perception of that and when many people jump into the Stock Market to buy more of that Toys R Us stock, that pumps up the price even further... And then the Hedge starts selling their own stock ("dumping it") while simultaneously stripping that company of any of their financial worth. Many of them ramp up the borrowings of the company to have further capital to spread among their Hedge Fund investors, too, and then when the retail companies suddenly file for bankruptcy protection, the Hedge Fund investors are protected but the banks to made loans, employees who jobs, or anyone leasing the buildings are suddenly in trouble.
It's an expensive game that the Reddit folks are playing... Let's see how long that they can hold up, because it's their own finances that are pumping up the stocks. These Hedge Fund owners are quite loaded & experienced and could gamble in the market longer. But again, if these recent activities causes laws to be passed by Congress to regulate activities to maybe curb these "pump and dump" schemes, maybe that is what the Reddit cause is asking for? Don't know, but I worry that everyday people who honestly participate in the Stock Market or have 401K plans invested could get hurt by recent activity or if over-regulation causes a major stock correction. That's what I care about...
WWE's stock will be fine... They have 4 years of guaranteed $600 million coming from USA Network, FOX, and now the Peacock deal. Even if the surrounding market falls apart, they'll hold onto a reasonable price between $30 and $70.
Do you have any issues with Brodie Lee's son being use on a recurring basis for AEW?
No, I don't. His daddy died, so thus I'm not going to criticize the AEW company who wants to keep honoring Brodie by letting his child participate. Furthermore, Brodie's widow had to have signed off on letting him participate. Just let him participate and don't let him wrestle, and we're good.
Now, if you want to please ALL wrestling fans, AEW should let Brodie Jr. not only wrestle Marko Stunt, but defeat him too in a "loser leaves AEW" match. The whole wrestling world would cheer and celebrate for that one, and you'd never hear a single complaint about Brodie Jr. participating again.
What would happen if Bill Goldberg wins at the Royal Rumble?
The usual. The Internet Wrestling Community would cry and complain about Goldberg winning, threaten to "never watch again", but then they'd watch RAW on the following night. We went through the SAME THING last year when Bill Goldberg smashed Bray Wyatt/Fiend. And then the SAME THING a few years ago when Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens to become champion.
Honestly, I don't care... Whatever happens on the RAW brand doesn't matter to me. That brand and show is utter garbage to me and I don't have much belief in Drew McIntyre as a top guy anyway. Viewership numbers have done nothing but sink well below 2 million viewers since he has been the top guy of RAW and that's all you need to know. WWE was confident to (a) release him a few years ago and (b) place him in NXT when he returned. That is all you need to know, as the WWE has only settled on having Drew as their top guy on RAW because no other warm bodies that tall and that muscular exist. If there was really faith in Drew, then why did Roman Reigns defeat him in the Champion vs. Champion singles match at Survivor Series 2020?
Listen, as an old WCW fan and you gave me the choice of "main event stars from 2021 that draw under 2 million fans" or "former main event star from 1998 when wrestling drew over 5 million fans", I'll take the latter. YES, I'm aware that Goldberg is older, gets blown up easily, and is an injury risk everytime that he's in the ring. Well aware of that, my friend... But when the current WWE roster has NOTHING to stand in his way from yet another Vince McMahon MEGA PUSH, then I say "why not?".
In case you didn't notice, Braun Strowman smashed Goldberg into pieces at Wrestlemania 36 and that did NOTHING for his career. Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre did the same thing to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 36 and that did nothing to him. Goldberg and Lesnar are STILL OVER while Braun and Drew, ON THE SAME SHOW, cannot draw anything above 2 million viewers. Do you not see the problem yet?!? The WWE system of developing and training talent is BROKEN. Creative is bad, yes, but it was bad during the mid-1990s and guys like Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and Triple H still found their way through it. Great talent overcomes bad creative, always... Poor talent does not.
What did you think about Peyton Royce's comments about the Iconics breaking up?
I didn't think much of it... Honestly, until I saw Billie Kay doing something else on her own, I didn't notice that they broke up. Let's be honest here... Aside from a few funny promos, which I laughed at, their in-ring work is what caused the WWE to break them up. There is just nothing there for them as a team of 2 Australian wrestlers teaming up. Both ladies are beautiful, yes, but the WWE is full of beautiful female talents. In order to stand out, you need to do more with your careers.
But my issue is with Peyton Royce speaking out... You should not expose the business by describing what happened internally to break your team up. Nobody would ever think about believing in your team's break-up when you say things like that. What you should be doing is selling the on-screen break-up instead of describing how your collective "dreams" were "torn apart".
This is what I keep telling people about the WWE Talent and Developmental system... They are only teaching wrestlers how to bump and how to perform moves. Nothing else... Besides failing on how to cut promos, in-ring psychology, etc., prior systems over 20 years ago taught wrestlers how to protect the business. NEVER give the public any indication that what they are seeing is scripted. I know, we've all know it for 30 years now that wrestling is scripted but 20 years ago, nobody advertised it. Let the public figure that out, as most don't want to. Many fans use wrestling as an ESCAPE from reality and will play along as long as the characters are convincing and credible. When they talk about the inside stuff on a podcast or radio show, or even on Social Media, it diminishes the experience for fans.
That's a hard lesson that Peyton would have been taught 20 years ago... Instead, the WWE right now lets her speak her mind without any punishment as she exposes the business. Come on.
What do you believe is behind the report of a "scary" finish being reported for Royal Rumble 2020?
WrestleVotes had the following quote from a source about the Men's Rumble Match: "There's a finish that scares the death out of me. And it's legitimately getting heavy consideration." And of course, that has everybody scared.
If you were to ask me right now, here are the reported finishes planned that might "scare" the source reporting to WrestleVotes:
(a) Jinder Mahal returns and wins the Royal Rumble match to face Drew McIntyre at Wrestlemania.
(b) John Cena returns and wins the Royal Rumble match to face Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. (how is that scary?!?)
(c) Goldberg enters the Rumble match to win it in order to challenge Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Miz cashing the Money in the Bank contract frees Goldberg up to escape losing against Drew.
(d) Seth Rollins wins the Royal Rumble, challenges either brand.
As of right now, there really aren't any set plans for Roman Reigns or Drew McIntyre. For Roman, they really want an older name to come back. For Drew, he's sort have been there, done that all year. He has exhausted all opponents. There have been rumors of Jinder Mahal returning for a while and remember, Drew and Jinder used to work together.
For me, I'd consider having Edge win the Rumble as a surprise and have him challenge Drew. Just freshen up things, as we've never seen that match before and it creates a unique Old vs. New match. Then, I'd have Edge win the damn title because he's awesome and the WWE needs a top drawing guy right now. I would NEVER have Jinder Mahal defeat Drew McIntyre. You might as well cancel Monday Night RAW if that were to ever happen.
If the WWE uses the Rumble match to ignite yet another Seth Rollins push, they are out of their minds and didn't learn from the last 5 years of overpushing the guy while also changing his character or heel/face situation too much. The Monday Night Messiah stuff was terrible and he made zero strides by sacrificing himself at Survivor Series 2020. No thanks.
Anyone thinking that John Cena winning the Rumble match as a "scary" option is out of their minds. You get a babyface Cena going up against a strong heel in Roman Reigns? This is a WAY better situation than their match a few years ago and Roman can now hold nothing back as a heel. Roman is a much better worker as a heel, too, which should push the boundaries of "Match of the Year" if it were to happen. Y'all are CRAZY if you think John Cena winning it is a "scary" scenario. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns is Wrestlemania GOLD, baby.
I'd actually LAUGH at Bill Goldberg entering the Rumble after his Drew match, only to win it. The taste of the Internet Wrestling Community's tears would be delicious! "We'll never watch again" and yet they'll be watching RAW the next night. Heard the same cries about Goldberg when he beat Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt. Whatever. Until the IWC faces the fact that an older and poorly wrestling Bill Goldberg is a bigger star than 97% of the WWE roster, they'll never understand why the WWE has to keep going to the Goldberg well. Maybe the Internet should look closely at the WWE's Talent & Development system on why they aren't creating stars? Ask why NXT cannot consistently draw over 700,000 fans? Last time I checked, guys that Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis signed are still top stars in the WWE.
Enjoy the Royal Rumble!
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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