Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing brought to you exclusively by NoDQ.com. We're on the heels of a blockbuster column that I posted Wednesday entitled Triple H's Incompetence Helped Edge Win the Rumble, which received massive response both good and bad. Either way, THANK YOU for reading for it and responding to it. It is very much appreciated on this end.
I have been on this kick for a few years now, as proven by my columns at my previous employer plus also a column posted here on NoDQ from August 18th, 2020 entitled Maybe WWE Has a Triple H Problem?. Now, many of you are just calling me a "Triple H Hater" which is the Easy Button criticism when legitimate facts are posted surrounding my opinions. The FACT remains that Triple H's job since mid 2012 has not produced a top drawing Main Eventer. In fact, he is only technically responsible for 3 Champions with AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Braun Strowman. After that, the guys were signed and trained by Jim Ross or John Laurinaitis's system or even World Championship Wrestling.
The NXT deal with USA Network has really exposed Triple H's "smoke & mirrors" with his NXT promotion and how wrestlers are being trained. It's one thing to carefully prepare for 3-4 Pay Per Views a year in which wrestlers can go all out for those shows... It's another when you have to put on a 2 hour show each week. THAT has exposed what I have thought for years about the Takeover shows. Having to present his Performance Center students and other signed Indy stars on a show for 2 hours has exposed how weak of an idea man he is on Creative and how poorly wrestlers are being trained by Matt Bloom and others at the Performance Center. All I hear lately are complaints about how DULL the NXT show is on USA Network. You cannot complain about the NXT show on one hand and then question my opinion about how Triple H is managing the Talent on the other.
This is an Early Adopter take on Triple H that I believe you'll start to hear echoes of in a few weeks or a few months as NXT continues to disappoint and how his many WWE call-ups continue to not impress. Edge is seriously 47 years old and coming off a torn Tricep injury and yet THAT is who Vince McMahon wanted to push to headline Wrestlemania 36. That is a total indictment of the entire WWE main roster because they weren't good enough to headline Wrestlemania 37. If you don't believe me, tell me specifically who should be wrestling Roman Reigns or Drew McIntyre instead.
There is a reason why John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker for a while, Triple H when needed, and now Edge are still receiving top spots. The rest of the WWE roster, mostly constructed now by Triple H, isn't cutting it. The call-ups since the Shield (all 3 were Laurinaitis signings) have been subpar on the Men's side. I remember when I started watching NXT shows, everyone kept telling me about Finn Balor and how great he was... When I watched him, I was like "this guy would be jobbing to Rey Mysterio in the WCW Cruiserweight Division 20 years ago". I did forget to mention Finn Balor winning the World Title at that one SummerSlam in my recent column, but he was such a brief champion and made ZERO impact upon his return from injury that I forgot about him.
There's problems in the WWE Developmental System... If you want to keep blaming Vince McMahon's Creative Team ideas, then I'll point to you how POOR the creative team was during the 2000s when Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis were supplying the talent. REMEMBER, Steve Austin walked out on the WWE TWICE due to issues with the Creative Team and how they were using his character. And then you follow that with the Katie Vick angle, Lita getting pregnant, Hot Lesbian Action, Vince McMahon blowing up in a Limo, and onward. Developmental stars from Ohio Valley Wrestling were destroyed. Go ask Doug Basham about his experience getting his head shaved to form the Basham Brothers.
In a major contrast to Jim Ross or John Laurinaitis as Talent Relations VPs, Triple H is actually ON the Creative Team. Therefore, all of his NXT call-ups to the WWE roster have a competitive advantage on getting pushed and even then, his World Title counts among his signed talent falls short. Part of the reason why the Revival (FTR) left the WWE was due to the main failed promises kept by Triple H on the main WWE roster.
Sure, Vince McMahon is the CEO/President and Board Chairman of the WWE... He owns a lot of responsibility for how RAW and Smackdown are presented and which talent are used. But I believe he made a major mistake during mid-2012 by placing Triple H in charge of Talent and the Family Man in him cannot course correct to disappoint his son-in-law and his daughter Stephanie. He's STUCK... Meanwhile, Triple H, who is technically still in charge of the Creative Team since late 2013, has been going through the motions on the WWE roster and has zero challenges to Vince to improve. Now that he has a BORING NXT show on USA Network, he has zero credibility on the Creative Team more than ever.
If I were the WWE, I'd seriously consider bringing John Laurinaitis back as Talent Relations EVP and when Jim Ross's contract comes up during April 2022 at AEW, I'd consider signing him to oversee Talent Relations again too. Give Laurinaitis and Ross a big staff to do the legwork of this process and to teach employees how to scout and groom talent that will work well in the WWE. Go sign Rip Rogers as the head trainer of the Performance Center, too... He was masterful in Ohio Valley Wrestling and has taught others to perform well lately (including Pat McAfee!). Maybe ditch that Performance Center, as it coddles wrestlers too much. Why I consider Braun Strowman a failure from Triple H's system is due to his attitude of thinking that he "paid dues" by working at the Center for years and bashing Indy wrestlers for the work they do. That's a joke and a product of HHH's system.
Just you wait, folks... You'll see this Triple H opinion echoed by many throughout the Internet Wrestling Community in a few weeks or months... Many of them will act like they innovated that opinion. Sadly for them, all of my columns are dated and timestamped.
610,000 NXT show viewers from 2/3/2021 on USA Network says what?
Onto your questions as generated from Twitter, Email, or the Comments section below.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Do you believe that the proposed Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair match at Wrestlemania 37 could be a big deal for the WWE?
Of course it would be, especially if the match headlines one of the nights of Wrestlemania 37. If I were booking Wrestlemania 37, I would go for Sasha vs. Bianca on Night #1 and Edge vs. Roman Reigns on Night #2. And in my opinion, the skin color doesn't matter... Sasha Banks is extremely talented and Bianca Belair is very gifted in her early years. I believe that the two of them could tear the house down from a Women's standpoint.
Obviously, two black females potentially headlining a Wrestlemania night would be a big deal... And I'm sure that WWE's PR machine will want credit for that. But I don't see color with pro wrestlers. Are you talented or not? Both Sasha and Bianca highly impressed me in NXT not just with their in-ring ability, but with their charisma and swagger. Both of them have figured out the personality traits that separates them from the rest of the public ever trying to become a pro wrestler.
Honestly, Bianca is good enough to be Women's Champion. I've seen more than enough on her early resume to earn it. She's an impressive athlete that can do so much in the ring that other women actually cannot do. She's in that rare air of Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar who just naturally pick it up based on the superior athletes that they are. The only problem I see is that Sasha Banks is a great Women's Champion and it would be tough to end her reign on top. Sasha is a major star whom I believe will receive more acting roles as time goes by.
The WWE Women's Division needed Bianca Belair to work and now that Rhea Ripley is about the join her on the main roster, it's a huge shot in the arm. And then to get Becky Lynch back and maybe Ronda Rousey again down the road? And could you imagine if the WWE boldly signed Tessa Blanchard too? Hot damn...
With Ripley and Belair, you don't need to sign Tessa Blanchard if you don't want to...
What are your thoughts about Lars Sullivan being released by the WWE?
Well, what do you know? Tell me if you've heard this one before... Hyped NXT call-up FAILS on the WWE main roster. And he failed twice because both his 2018 debut failed and his 2020 returned failed. Sigh... WWE Performance Center signs him during 2014 and by early 2021, he's out of the WWE. If you look at all of the wrestling greats, they were in the business for YEARS before making it big on the WWE stage. But those YEARS were spent working their way up though the Indy promotions who are seen by like 15 people per show and gaining a hunger to want it. The Performance Center does not create that same hunger.
To me, he seemed like a decent wrestler in NXT and I liked a few of his Takeover matches if I recall. Just a solid big guy. But then he gets to the WWE main roster and Cancel Culture finds old quotes of his from a message board... Then, apparently, he made a movie that was contrary to the quotes he made on that older message board. All of that said, he returned to the Smackdown Roster during October 2020 for just a few weeks and then disappeared again.
For this case, Sullivan was just a guy that wasn't built to handle the pressures of the wrestling business PLUS the WWE Developmental system did him no favors, either. He wasn't ready to have a personality that matched the "Freak" gimmick because of the LACK of training on how to act, perform psychology, and cutting promos that is NOT taught well at the Performance Center.
And let's really dig into what NXT is providing the WWE... Every character there is dark or brooding. Lars Sullivan, Aleister Black, Karrion Kross, Finn Balor, Baron Corbin, etc., all have dark or mystical backgrounds to them. Why can't we work on more positive characters? Start training them to appear COOL or SLICK like the Rock or Ric Flair. We need more flamboyant personalities like them and LESS of the Wyatt Family bullcrap. We need athletes that look like Gods and yet will attract any female that walks near them. The Creative Team in NXT are setting up these wrestlers for failure with these BAD names and BAD gimmicks.
Will New Japan now working with AEW help both companies?
New Japan was on AXS television for YEARS and even put many of their 5+ Star matches on television and even had former WWE announcer Jim Ross commentating on them. Yet, New Japan could never even make a blip on the Friday top 150 Cable Shows for viewership. As we've learned from Impact now on AXS, if you break 200,000 viewers, you'll appear on that list. However, Impact is on Tuesday with far more viewers watching television than on a Friday. Thus NOBODY watched the New Japan show on AXS when that happened.
Same thing with Impact right now on AXS. When that show recently broke 200,000 following the Don Callis first appearance on AEW Dynamite, people were celebrating! 200,000 viewers... Hilarious. And now, they are back under 200,000 like the bad promotion that they are.
NWA was on YouTube and drew OK numbers when Jim Cornette was commentating and after they scared him way due to Cancel Culture's attack on them, their viewership on YouTube tanked. Well under 200,000 for total YouTube viewership and that includes international numbers.
AEW needs to realize that New Japan, Impact, and NWA are just using them to get any kind of publicity right now because all 3 are struggling to gain traction. And what have we seen so far from AEW with these promotions mixing in with them? The SAME viewership, always under 900,000 viewers.
The most idiotic thing is that AEW has a New Japan title being a conflict, the Good Brothers are flashing their Tag Titles, and the NWA Women's Title is defended regularly on AEW shows. Huh? Say what you will about the WWE's title inflation among their 2 brands, but at least all of their titles say "WWE" on them. AEW's title inflation is by shoving in other promotions' belts and completely confusing the viewer as to what show they are watching.
Just more desperation on the part of Tony Khan and also a lack of organizational skills on his part as well.
What is your opinion of the WWE's 2020 Annual Financial Report?
WWE's 10-K Annual Financial Statements were just released and here are the highlights, in my opinion. Keep in mind that COVID will cause major skewing in the data, but also bear in mind that 2020 was the first full year of the new TV deals with Comcast and FOX too.
- Revenues for the "Media" part, which includes the TV Deals + WWE Network, were up by $125 million in revenues. Obviously, the FOX and Comcast deals helped the WWE make extra revenue for 2020. WWE Network improved for 2020 after almost 2 years of declines. Thanks to added quality specials and people being quarantined (I believe more appreciate Wrestlemania 36 than they'll admit), the WWE had a bump in WWE Network subscribers during the year and thus more revenue pulled in from the WWE Network. See why Comcast wanted them for Peacock?
- Live Events were obviously down due to COVID-19. It's $126 million in revenues from 2019 versus just $20 million for 2020.
- Merchandise was down by $5 million in revenues, but I see this as a positive. WWE cutoff Live Events after mid-March. Thus, nothing could be sold at a live event. Thus, they were effective marketing their stuff online and it sold better than expected. "eCommerce" category was up 38% for 2020. This is a good positive note for the WWE.
- Net Income was $132 Million for 2020 when considering Revenues - Expenses. Compare that to just $77 Million last year. Because WWE made more, they paid more in taxes...
- WWE Network subs at year-end are up by 6%. If you put quality documentaries while also BEING THERE for your fans when other sports cancel or postpone, your fans will reward you.
This is a damn good financial report. People can rip Vince McMahon all they want but the man can run a business like only a few CEOs. He's so aggressive when it comes to reducing expenses and it keeps his business lean and efficient. Say what you will about Vince, but he's being the President/CEO and Board Chairman of an entertainment Corporation with $1.3 billion in total assets while also managing the product of the company at the same time. That is a lot on his 75 year old shoulders and just last year, he tried to start up his XFL football league again.
The man keeps convincing Comcast to keep giving him more money for his efficiently generated content... And people are trying to call him senile and out of touch? More like thinned out and overworked. The rest of the Creative Team needs to step up and Triple H needs to do a better job molding talent into WWE superstars. Period, end of story.
What is your opinion of Tyler Reks transitioning into a Woman?
First of all, I don't remember Tyler Reks at all as a professional wrestler. It appears that Tyler worked when I was briefly retired as Mr. Tito and boycotting wrestling for a while. I retired as Mr. Tito during 2006 to get married, start a family, get a new house, and solidify myself within my full time career... Then when the Benoit murders happened, I stopped watching wrestling "cold turkey" from June 2007 until late 2009. Anything that happened during that period of time, I didn't see it... During late 2009 and through the first half of 2010, I was just casually watching wrestling then and by about mid 2010, I was hooked again and I returned as Mr. Tito to write columns.
Tyler Reks was briefly on the Smackdown brand, which I didn't watch during the early 2010s, and later tagged up with Curt Hawkins on RAW which I don't remember. Thus, I have no opinion on whether Tyler Reks was good or bad in the WWE. Don't know...
As for transitioning into a Woman... Here's my take on all of that. If you are All-In and REALLY believe that you are mentally placed into the wrong body... When I say that, you're of sound mind on this decision and not just reactionary based on a traumatic event. If you 100% believe that you've been placed in the wrong body and you're willing to spend top dollar to make cosmetic changes to make you feel happen, then go for it. I don't care... It doesn't hurt me any. For Tyler Reks, she as Gabbi Tuft lives in California... So how would that bother me if I never saw her in person? And if I did see Gabbi in person, I wouldn't care either way. Everyone is a human being to me and I believe that everyone has their own choices in life that concerns THEM and NOT me.
I still say that if you do the transition, you have to be 100% all-in and not doing as a reaction to a traumatic event. I know 2 online friends through my years as Mr. Tito who have transitioned from a man to a woman. One was 100% on board with the idea and damn sure about the decision. She's cool as hell and confident in her decision. One of these days, I'll appear on her Podcast if she'll invite me... The other, however, was a snap decision based on a traumatic event to their life. That person is miserable and depressed and the scrutiny is getting to her. I actually worry about that one being one of the suicidal statistics, though she seems to have rebounded lately.
Society is still learning about individual freedoms and are beholden to traditions that have been in place for years. It's a political battle, too. It's a battle on whether a person should have freedom to do whatever with their bodies or with whomever behind closed doors. Meanwhile, many in society are of the believe that they most protect others from harming themselves. For anyone that is going through the transition, scrutiny will come their because our society seems to worry often about others too much instead of themselves. On top of that, I believe that many who transition to another gender are shocked when the opposite gender shows zero interest in them romantically.
Best of luck to you, Gabbi Tuft. If transitioning to a woman makes you happy, your family backs your decision, and you're 100% all-in, then who am I to judge what you want to do? Doesn't affect me, my family, or what I want to do with my life.
And here's some good news for you. Nyla Rose. Aside from the fanfare when she joined AEW as a signed transgender wrestler, she's been fully accepted as a female performer in AEW. Nobody has scrutinized her role in AEW and I would argue that she sells too much against their much smaller female roster.
What should Female wrestlers do about online harassment or stalkers?
Do much less on Social Media.
Need I say more?
Look, you're always going to have obsessed male fans. It's ALWAYS going to be a problem. Just ask Hollywood or the Music industry who has been fighting and protecting against stalkers for years. If you're an attractive female and you're famous, there is going to be an oversexualized male out there that is going to somehow think that you're speaking to them. If any female could tap into ANY brain of a male, they'd be terrified of the sexual thoughts that they'd hear. Guys are built to mate 24/7 and when one is mentally off their hinges, things can get bad real fast.
Social Media makes it worse because any follower effectively gains access to communicate directly with the female celebrity. Right now, Alexa Bliss has dealing with an online troll who keeps signing up with new Twitter accounts and keeps claiming that he knows members of her family or people who know her boyfriend. When you open the door to fan access like that on Social Media, you have to realize that will let a few crazies in too.
On days when Peyton Royce is upset about packages being sent to her house by fans or when Alexa Bliss is dealing with an online troll getting too personal, both women post revealing pictures of themselves on their Social Media accounts. Both Royce and Bliss are very beautiful but one pic involved part of a breast being exposed off the side of a t-shirt while the other involved a really revealing outfit when squatting. I'm NOT complaining about those pictures, but what I'm saying to the wrong deranged fan, that just pours gasoline on the obsession.
That is why, in my opinion, Pro Wrestlers need to do more to hide their personal lives from the fans. Sell a character on Social Media because you never know when an obsessed wrestling fan will get the wrong idea.
Sadly, you're always going to have lunatic fans whether Social Media exists or not... And I know that Social Media does bring you closer to GOOD fans. But you have to be careful about it giving more access to the crazy and dangerous obsessive fans. In the past, stalkers thought that actresses were speaking to them through the television screen. Now, they can hear directly from personalities daily on Twitter if they simply follow them. And if that said celebrity likes or retweets what they posted, that really amps up the excitement.
Female wrestlers have to be careful... Majority of wrestling fans are male and we're full of hormones. Some are mentally unstable and that's where problems can exist. Getting too close with your fans on Social Media while giving them provocative pictures to enjoy as well could cause confusion among the mentally unstable.
WWE needs to be a better job of protecting their stars, too, both on hiding their personal life and also show care and concern of what their talent is doing on Social Media. Also provide more security.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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