Welcome back to the weekend edition of the Excellence in Column Writing that is usually made into an "Ask Mr. Tito" column where I answer your questions from Tweets, Emails, Comments below, and elsewhere. However, we need to have a longer discussion on 1 particular WWE topic this week: John Laurinaitis not just returning to the WWE to lead Talent Relations again, but Triple H is being officially demoted from it.
I've been the MAIN early adopter guy to suggest that MAYBE Triple H just wasn't that good as EVP of Talent Relations, among his many hats also overseeing Live Events and Creative. And of course, all of the younger fans since 2000 where Triple H was the main superstar and then transitioned into loving the NXT brand began attacking me for this take. Also, everyone loving Women's Wrestling are instantly assuming that John will somehow "mess that up"... Don't worry, we'll get to the Women's topic heavily in this column about John Laurinaitis.
But then the WWE just validated MY OPINION by DEMOTINGTriple H from his EVP of Talent Relations for almost the last 9 years (started during June 2012) and PROMOTING former EVP of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis who served that role following Jim Ross from June 2004 through June 2012. That's important, as John held this position in a briefly shorter timespan than Triple H.
I'm not here to celebrate or write an "I told you so" column... Simply put, the FACTS are on the table that Triple H STRUGGLES to develop main event level talent for the WWE Main Roster whereas John Laurinaitis is proving to be very underrated that that job. All you have to do is simply look at the World Champions since 2010 and see how FEW were Triple H signed and how MUCH were signed by John Laurinaitis. We covered this in my - 02/02/2021 Column, but these FACTS are worth repeating:
WWE Title since 2010: - John Cena (Jim Ross)
- Batista (Jim Ross)
- Sheamus (John Laurinaitis)
- Randy Orton (Jim Ross)
- The Miz (John Laurinaitis)
- CM Punk (John Laurinaitis)
- Rey Mysterio (Former WCW wrestler, Jim Ross)
- Alberto Del Rio (John Laurinaitis)
- The Rock (Jim Ross)
- Daniel Bryan (John Laurinaitis)
- Brock Lesnar (Jim Ross)
- Seth Rollins (John Laurinaitis)
- Roman Reigns (John Laurinaitis)
- Triple H (Jim Ross, Bruce Prichard, or Pat Patterson)
- Dean Ambrose (John Laurinaitis)
- AJ Styles (Jim Ross originally, became TNA wrestler, but Triple H signed the veteran recently)
- Bray Wyatt (John Laurinaitis)
- Jinder Mahal (John Laurinaitis, but CUT, and then re-signed by Triple H)
- Kofi Kingston (John Laurinaitis)
- Drew McIntyre (John Laurinaitis, but CUT, and then re-signed by Triple H)
- Bobby Lashley (John Laurinaitis), but CUT, and then re-signed by Triple H)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship (now defunct) since 2010: - Chris Jericho (Former WCW wrestler, Jim Ross)
- Jack Swagger (John Laurinaitis)
- Kane (Jim Ross)
- Edge (Jim Ross)
- Dolph Ziggler (John Laurinaitis, maybe a late Jim Ross signing)
- Christian (Jim Ross)
- Mark Henry (Jim Ross)
- Big Show (Former WCW wrestler, Jim Ross)
WWE Universal Title since 2010: - Finn Balor (Triple H)
- Kevin Owens (Triple H)
- Bill Goldberg (Former WCW wrestler, Jim Ross, and later Triple H)
- Braun Strowman (Triple H)
If you review that list of WWE Champions, what do you see?
(a) WWE is still reliant on Jim Ross signed talent.
(b) Majority of the World Champions over the last 10 years were signed by John Laurinaitis.
(c) Besides Finn, Owens, and Strowman whom Triple H signed, the other champions that HHH signed had prior WWE experience. I could argue in the case of Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and especially AJ Styles, they were veterans of other reasonable promotions before joining WWE.
If you think that I'm full of crap, I'll just tell you to re-read this list of WWE World Champions since 2010 again. WWE is now riding on the fumes of John Laurinaitis's guys as Jim Ross's signings are getting older. Triple H's signed MALE wrestlers are struggling on the Main Roster and even the guys who achieved a World Title (Balor and Owens), they are struggling to remain in those Main Event spots. Finn Balor was DEMOTED back down to the NXT developmental brand!!!
But let's address the beautiful elephant in the room, shall we? Women's Wrestling.
Most will use Triple H's success signing and grooming the likes of Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley against me. Go right ahead, I welcome this debate... For one, Triple H does deserve major credit for helping to reform Women's Wrestling via his NXT brand that did help influence the WWE brand. Also, his hiring of Sara Del Rey as the Lead Women's Trainer was HUGE. Del Rey is the perfect trainer and every lady not only is taught the fundamentals well, but they are taught skills to fit their abilities and personality. For example, look at how she focused on the strengths of Asuka's Japanese style while also allowing Alexa Bliss's gymnastics and cocky personality to flourish within her wrestling ability. That's a GOOD trainer and Triple H deserves credit for putting Sara in place. In fact, with John Laurinaitis coming in, Del Rey should be PAID MORE and PROMOTED to ensure that her work continues.
But then you contrast that with Triple H putting Matt Bloom in place as the Men's Lead Trainer. There is a HUGE difference between Bloom and how Cornette/Davis/Rogers trained at Ohio Valley Wrestling and Steve Keirn at Florida Championship Wrestling. As you can see by recent wrestlers returning to the performance center to be trained SPECIFICALLY by Adam Pearce (Keith Lee, Otis, etc), something isn't being done correctly at the Performance Center. And then again, you just look at the above World Champions and also see guys like Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, and other call-ups absolutely struggle to find themselves on the WWE roster.
Don't give me "Vince's Creative is Ruining Triple H's Guys". Do you realize how BAD the Creative Team was during the 2000s? Both Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis's guys were handed to the WWE on silver platters and destroyed by the Creative Team of the 2000s ran by Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon. Explain how Batista debuted as "Deacon Batista" please. How about Doug Basham being forced to shave his head and join another bald guy as Basham Brothers? How about the Spirit Squad that took some of the most athletically gifted OVW wrestlers and put them in a cheerleading gimmick? Even someone like Randy Orton was creatively messed with, as you can see by the many hot and cold booking measures he endured to somehow accumulate 14 World Titles since August 2004. Seriously, coming up on 17 years since his first reign... 14 titles.
ANYWAY - I was sidetracked. Many critics of the rehiring of John Laurinaitis as Talent Relations manager (possibly EVP again) is their utter fear of what he'd do the Women's Division. In my opinion, he'll keep the ship afloat!
And here's why...
John Laurinaitis was Talent Relations guy from June 2004 through June 2012. Did the Main WWE Roster taken Women's Wrestling seriously during the timeframe?
Come on... Answer that question please.
You know the answer and therefore, you cannot automatically assume that John would "mess it up".
It wasn't until mid-2015 with the "DIVAS Revolution" where Sasha Bank, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair were officially promoted to the Main Roster where Women's Wrestling began to be taken seriously.
Oh, did you notice that name? "DIVAS" Revolution. Oh yeah... The WWE Main Roster called female wrestlers as "DIVAS" back then. And why did they call them "Divas" back then?
BECAUSE THEY HAD A DIVAS SEARCH CONTEST THAT STARTED DURING 2003!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (before John Laurinaitis was Talent Relations manager)
The first ever Divas Search was held and promoted on WWE television between July-August 2003 as a cross promotion with WWE magazine.
Then, the next year during mid 2004, just as John began his career in Talent Relations, the WWE Main Roster decided to inject a Reality Show based Divas Search into their weekly programming. Completely untrained yet very attractive females entered that contest for a highly overpaid WWE roster spot. After the contest was won by Christy Hemme, the WWE pretty much hired most of the finalists to contracts anyway. WWE ran this contest back during 2006 and 2007.
THAT is what the likes of Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn were forcing John Laurninaitis to hire as Female Talent.
Because as you can see with Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Victoria, and other in-ring female greats retiring, the WWE really pushed for the eye candy during the latter stages of the Ruthless Aggression era. On top of that, Vince knew that signing untrained female wrestlers who were desperate for the spotlight would be CHEAPER than signing actual female wrestlers. Vince could gain more from non-wrestling stuff like Playboy shoots from cheaper talent.
But let's give John Laurinaitis credit here... That 2004 class actualy had Michelle McCoolMaria Kanellis in it... Certainly, both enjoyed Ohio Valley Wrestling system still being around to properly become trained. Then Layla and Maryse would also benefit from that during 2006's contest from the late OVW fumes on training. Ditto for Eve Torres during 2007. If there was ever a "hidden benefit" to John Laurinaitis it's that he still had the Ohio Valley Wrestling system to mold his talent during his early days. Beth Phoenix was a late Jim Ross signing but much of her OVW/WWE career was assumed and molded with John Laurinaitis overseeing it. Natalya Neidhart was a signing by John she endured the OVW to Florida Championship Wrestling transition. Say what you will about them, but WWE has received good mileage out of the Bella Twins as being complete novices when joining WWE during 2007. Florida Championship Wrestling got both into reasonable ring shape.
Again, though, LOOK AT THE CREATIVE CLIMATE that John Laurinaitis was working with from June 2004 through June 2012 regarding WOMEN'S WRESTLING. Vince McMahon wanted to pay NEXT TO NOTHING for female wrestling, which is a FACT, and refused to give any of them matches over 5 minutes or any prominent spots on Pay Per View. FACT.
Then, during September 2011, John Laurinaitis signed Paige to a WWE contract and immediately sent her to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) for development. This signing, in particular, along with Natalya a few years before that, were very serious pro wrestlers signed with prior experience elsewhere. Paige was NOT a Divas Search contestant... She was a legitimate pro wrestler who happened to be beautiful... On top of that, she was such a dominant in-ring force that she was a heavy influence on the rest of the FCW and then NXT roster. She was kind of like the "Tom Brady" to trainer Sara Del Rey's "Bill Belichick". Paige set the tone for how Female wrestlers were supposed to look and train to be legitimate performers in the ring. Paige's tenure and role in NXT had a major influence on the incoming Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and others just arriving as Triple H signings.
Paige was the first great NXT Champion, as her appeal and talent proved to Triple H that he "might have something here" with Women's wrestling in NXT. And then many signings of great female athletes seemed to occur...
Then, Paige made it to the WWE Roster during 2014 and defeated AJ Lee. Oh wait, I forgot to mention THAT one. AJ Lee was a 2009 signing by the WWE and flourished in the FCW system from 2009-2011 before joining the main WWE roster during 2011. That's right, AJ Lee had no imprint on being in Triple H's developmental system, nor was she a Jim Ross holdover. The AJ Lee tenure as Divas Champion to shifting it to Paige was huge. It began to sell to main roster WWE fans that Women's Wrestling could be something more than just a bunch of hot women swinging pillows at each other. Remember, it was the Paige/Emma vs. Bella Twins tag match from February 2015 match that created the "Give Divas a Chance" movement less than a year later. AJ Lee, particularly after her famous 2013 "pipebomb" promo, and then Paige got that ball rolling. BOTH and I repeat BOTH were John Laurinaitis signings and developed wrestlers!!!!
Listen, I give Triple H full credit for recognizing a hot trend and running with it... Hiring Sara Del Rey was a great thing.
But let's be honest about John Laurinaitis and Women's Wrestling... The Main Roster WWE Climate wasn't ready to take it seriously just yet. It took seeing talented women like Paige and AJ Lee working on the main WWE roster and getting over to start selling to Vince that maybe Women's Wrestling could be a stronger midcard act. Meanwhile, Triple H, who also enjoyed the benefits of Paige in his NXT system, saw the potential of what having talented female athletes could bring to the WWE. WWE has "pick of the litter" on female athletes because very few Pro Sports leagues exist for women that are financially successful.
To suggest that John Laurinaitis was BAD for Women's Wrestling in the PAST or that he'd RUIN today's Women's Wrestling model would be HIGHLY IGNORANT based on the facts of the situation. Natalya, Paige, AJ Lee... Helping to mold Divas Search contestants into decent wrestlers like Michelle McCool. John was dealt bad hands by the WWE Creative Team during the late 2000s but did the best with what he had. Hiring Paige, in particular, will prove to be one of the best WWE signings ever. Her success fundamentally changed who gets hired now by the WWE for Women's wrestling.
Let's be totally honest on John Laurinaitis... It has been NINE WHOLE YEARS since he has overseen the Talent Relations department for the WWE. He's 9 years older, hasn't been grinding at other jobs like he did with the WWE, and has been just dealing it to Mama Bella since marrying her during March 2016 (God bless him for that). WWE is a demanding job and as you can see with Bruce Prichard, you cannot just walk into the fire after being away from it for years.
The transition from Triple H to John Laurinaitis will have its bumpy moments... Same thing happened during 2004 with the transition between Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis. For a few years, Jim Ross was helping Laurinaitis with payroll processing as John was trying to figure things out. Trying to undo Triple H's system could be challenging.
However, I believe that Triple H will BENEFIT from this move. He was once wearing EVP hats for Live Events, Creative, and Talent Development while working hard to make NXT its own separate brand. On top of that, trying to be a successful husband and father too. I believe that he had too much on his plate and it thinned him out from being more effective as a Talent manager. Now, he can focus more on the Live Events and Creative decisions, especially as a succession plan idea because someone will eventually have to replace Vince McMahon's work ethic running shows backstage.
It's the same idea in the National Football League (NFL) where rarely does the SAME person prove to be a successful Coach and General Manager. Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans failed spectacularly at it recently. Even Bill Belichick has struggled recently, particularly on drafting offensive weapons over the last 5 years. Coaches with too much power, besides Bill, prove to struggle or get burned out quickly. To find new talent for a NFL team, there needs to be hours devoted to scouting and then putting the right people in place to develop said talent.
Same goes for the WWE... They have scout new talent and then create a plan that is specific to that signed talent. Problem that I kept seeing with Triple H is that once ANY NXT call-up made it to the Main WWE Roster, Triple H actually ghosted them... He wanted nothing to do with his call-ups on the Male side. That was a big complaint of the Revival (now FTR in AEW) is that Triple H became unreliable as an asset on the main WWE roster. Supposedly, Triple H has been "EVP of Creative" since late 2013 when Stephanie stepped down from that role and yet many MALE NXT wrestlers are suffering on the Main WWE Roster. Again, please review WHO has been a World Champion in the WWE since 2010 above.
I also think that John Laurinaitis just might be a TRANSITIONAL guy for just 1 year... There is a certain guy becoming available during April 2022 that the WWE should consider bringing back. Jim Ross's AEW contract expires during April 2022. Why not let Talent Relations be operated by Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis with Staffing resources for both of them to train? Let the old guys operate things like a true Executive and build & train a staff that can create the Main Event talents that Vince McMahon wants. The combined brainpower of John and Jim, and Triple H can add his two cents too, would do wonders for Talent Development in the WWE.
The FACTS, however, is that John Laurinaitis was very underrated at doing his job and that Triple H struggled to mold Male wrestlers into talents that draw on the WWE Main Roster.
Sorry, but the facts are there... And again, John Laurinaitis deserves more credit on the Women's Wrestling stuff than he's being dealt by Online Critics right now. LOOK AT WHAT HE HAD TO WORK WITH!!! But then realize who he signed and who he developed. AJ Lee, Natalya, and Paige were SUPER IMPORTANT to the WWE landscape for Women's Wrestling for years to come.
Haters are going to hate and just listen to Podcast shoots against John Laurinaitis, particularly the Jim Cornette ones. Fact is that WWE Corporate was messing with Jim Ross's wrestlers, too, before June 2004 when Laurinaitis took over. Again - see Deacon Batista during 2002 if you don't believe me. Doug Basham getting shaved bald was a 2002 story.
The FACT is that Jim Ross has his haters, too, as the Talent Relations guy. Anyone overseeing contracts is going to be dealt criticism and the leaks will all be sent to the Wrestling Observer to advertise. That's funny, we never hear any criticisms of Triple H as the Talent Developmental guy... Hey, we NEVER hear any criticisms of Triple H's backstage moves from insiders. Gee, I wonder why? It's probably due to wrestlers being afraid of ripping the future WWE boss but it may speak to who is sending all of these backstage stories about John Laurinaitis, Vince McMahon, or Creative/Productive Meetings. I actually got blocked on Twitter from one of the "Observer Boys" for asking that simple question. Hmmmm... I'm willing to bet that many news stories will be leaked about John Laurinaitis backstage, just as both Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman were heavily trashed in the newsletters and online while Bruce Prichard continues to have stories leaked about him. Gee, who could be leaking all of that information?
I'm 100% behind this John Laurinaitis Talent Relations move, particularly if we can get Jim Ross back to the WWE and within Talent Relations too next year during April 2022.
Triple H was just spread too thin and therefore couldn't dedicate the time for better talent development, particularly for the Male side. He was LUCKY to have Sara Del Rey as the hired trainer but he's not getting that reliability from Matt Bloom, Shawn Michaels, or William Regal as a staff. The combination of Matt Bloom as head trainer, Shawn Michaels as occasional trainer but being too naturally gifted to explain what he does, and William Regal as a talent scout might not be the correct staff needed to accomplish molding future Main Event stars. But again, Triple H has thousands of other responsibilities such as managing ALL Live Events, Creative, NXT as a promotion, wrestling on occasion, and being a husband/father. Can't do it all, brother.
If Laurinaitis fails, just re-insert Triple H or try someone else...
Or, in one year, hire Jim Ross again as Talent Relations manager and give him a youthful staff to train to eventually replace him. Simple as that.
ONTO YOUR QUESTIONS...
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
Who should be held accountable for the Exploding Barbed Wire Match at AEW Dynamite?
Let me compound that issue... If you look at the Women's Division, it's a complete disaster as (a) booked and (b) from talents hired by EVP of AEW Kenny Omega. If you combine the Women's Division with how Omega books himself, it's complete disaster. This guy should NEVER have a Creative say in a small time Indy promotion, let alone one backed by a billionaire with a national TV contract. He's a good athlete who can perform when placed in a correct spot but once he has freedom to do whatever, he cannot get out of the way of himself. On top of that, his tastes on Women's wrestling is borderline repulsive. Did you see that pink haired lady barely hitting someone with a microphone?
Omega should have been a high priced talent and NOT an Executive Vice President.
Same thing applies for the Young Bucks. How they've booked themselves versus how they've also hired tag teams and booked them poorly is ridiculous.
I worry about Cody Rhodes as an EVP, too. Look at that mix tag match hot mess on top of not looking like a top star in AEW.
I can discuss the Chief Brand Officer's use of herself on television, too...
All Elite Wrestling was set up poorly from DAY ONE by trusting active wrestlers to be Executive Vice Presidents of a company DESPITE having zero managerial experience, let alone Creative Team experience, to operate a wrestling show. Having 1 show in Chicago, All In, does not make you have the ability to operate an multi-million wrestling promotion... Ever! As we just discussed above, Triple H has YEARS of age and experience on Omega, Bucks, and Cody and even he struggles with the EVP job at the WWE. But I would trust Triple H with my company more than I would those EVP Fab 4. I would trust Stephanie McMahon as Chief Brand Officer of my company than Brandi.
Tony Khan has Jim Ross, Arn Anderson, Diamond Dallas Page, Tully Blanchard, and even Billy Gunn on his roster. Are you telling me that those veterans couldn't give you better advice on how to operate a wrestling company than the EVP Fab 4? Really?
AEW Revolution was embarrassing for the way it ended, on top of naming Christian as the "big surprise". Tony Khan has no idea how many wrestling fans are willing to hand them their money now YET the quality of his product doesn't allow it.
There has to be a shake-up on the EVP group or AEW will be permanently under 1 million viewers and struggling to fill 5,000 seat arenas for the rest of this company's existence. Omega seems to be the biggest problem of the group and by eliminating him, the other 3 might work a little harder to understand the business.
Will WWE Network subscriber migration to Peacock cause a loss in subscribers?
Of course it will. I would suspect that a good percentage just won't deal with the hassle of switching to Peacock, particularly as Peacock is unavailable as an App on several Smart TVs right now. I know that I cannot obtain it on my Samsung but can on my kitchen Amazon TV, for example.
But you have to understand with this 5 year, $2 Billion deal now... WWE no longer cares who subscribes. The pressure is OFF because the WWE is getting paid regardless of how many WWE fans happen to join Peacock. Furthermore, besides the International WWE Network subscribers who cannot log into Peacock internationally, the WWE's server and bandwidth costs are now gone because NBC/Universal is now hosting their content. WWE doesn't care, at all, now whether WWE fans subscribe to Peacock or not. They got their money from a desperate Comcast corporate who was beginning to endure losses and that is what the modern day WWE does to make money right now. Because they cannot boost attendance or merchandise sales, they will prey on desperate Cable/Satellite providers for paid live sporting content.
Speaking of that...
What could happen if NBC Sports loses its NHL coverage?
In case you missed it, ESPN announced that it has obtained HALF of the NHL television coverage for the next 7 years. That's funny because ESPN spoke about how poorly the NHL drew on their network over 20 years ago, but that's a different matter. Like UFC signing with ESPN, now ESPN will suddenly have to talk about the NHL's existence too.
But that leaves the other half of the deal still in negotiation. Reportedly, it is between NBC Sports and FOX Sports. We'll find out, in due time, which network obtains the rights. And we know that a second half is being negotiated because ESPN announced that they'll only have 4 out of 7 Stanley Cup Finals airing on their networks.
Reportedly, NXT is moving to Tuesdays so that the NBC Sports dissolving can begin and for USA Networks to begin absorbing more sports coverage. Wednesday is usually a night for double-header NHL games on NBC Sports Channel and hence why NXT was reportedly moved to Tuesdays. BUT, what if NBC Sports does not re-sign with the NHL? What happens to that Wednesday night coverage? I believe that this Tuesday move is pre-emptive with NBC assuming that they'll retain that NHL coverage again. If FOX Sports announces a new NHL deal, I could imagine this ruling to move NXT to Tuesdays could be reversed?
The more ironic thing is that Networks actually pay equal to or MORE to the NHL for the coverage of its games yet it draws much more poorly than WWE programming, aside from the Stanley Cup Finals when placed on the main NBC Channel. However, the lower rated NHL games actually command higher Ad Rates than WWE programming. That hurts.
I believe that the NXT move to Tuesdays will HURT the wrestling industry, not help it as I addressed in a recent column entitled "Statistical Findings on AEW Dynamite's Viewership". I just don't know how wrestling fans will take watching AEW Dynamite on the 4th potential night in a row when Pay Per Views exist. Having 2 options to watch on television brings in MORE fans and having just ONE option to watch will burn fans out on that single promotion. This past week, both promotions did under 750,000 viewers... Their LACK OF QUALITY will limit them from ever growing without each other.
Do you think that AEW pushing Christian Cage vs. Kenny Omega match-up so early is good for their business?
Yes I do, actually... When you hype things as a BIG SURPRISE, you have to prove it. And I believe that it's a unique match-up and Christian will "pull an Okada" to make Kenny Omega look strong in the ring.
But the sad part is that it's a WWE veteran who only returned for a Rumble appearance after years being off for retirement and he's instantly a Main Eventer in AEW. That's funny... Same thing goes with 60+ year old Sting being pushed as a big deal in AEW. Last we saw him, he was too injured to continue wrestling with the WWE.
At this point, AEW's booking is a JOKE and the best thing that they can provide right now is unique Main Events that we've never seen. They'll just burn through all possible Christian match-ups while his late 40s frame can handle it and then they'll move onto the next WWE veteran that they'll later sign. They are truly becoming TNA.
What are your thoughts on Peyton Royce's promo after WWE RAW?
It was alright... Good to hear from her out of character. That said, with how compact that it was, in some ways, this felt kind of scripted and planned. If you go back to Miz's Talking Smack promo from 2016, it was heated and felt like the spur of the moment.
Regardless of what it was, it was a good start to hopefully the WWE using her more.
Now, let me say this... Peyton is married to Shawn Spears who was formerly the "Perfect 10" Tye Dillinger. That said, the nickname should probably belong to Peyton Royce. She is, head to toe, beautiful. Usually during the past, the WWE would find a role for women of such beauty, wrestling or not... As it has been reported in the past, WWE Executive Producer HATES accents on any one and I wonder if Peyton's Australian accent has limited her opportunities?
But she's beautiful and from everything that we've seen, she has some charisma and a very positive personality. The issue is that the WWE has taken the in-ring product a little more seriously lately and does not have much room for non-wrestling personalities at the moment. Peyton, in my opinion, isn't exactly what you'd call a ring technician and if you think that I'm singling out her ability, just go to your Meltzers, Kellers, Keiths, etc. for reviews of her in-ring work. She just seems a little awkward out there, sometimes unsure of herself inside the ring. If that's the case YET the fan base seems to like her, find a non-wrestling role for her to do.
And don't look at me like that... Go to her Instagram page and look at the pictures she posts daily. Hell, look at what any female WWE performer posts. They are flaunting their beauty on Social Media because they WWE no longer promotes on their product. WWE allowed for photo shoots, calendars, merchandise that sold beauty, and even Playboy centerfolds back in the day. Hell, they even hosted entire Divas Search contests just to obtain more eye candy for the show. I'm not saying that Peyton Royce should be performing in pillow fights as those 2000s ladies once did, but what I'm saying is that trying to force her to keep up with Becky Lynch, Asuka, Charlotte, etc. might be a mistake. Maybe reform the Iconics and let them be a dominant Tag Team while heavily promoting that both Peyton and Billie Kay are visually pleasing.
So yeah, definitely use Peyton Royce more... But utilize her strengths and hide her weaknesses to maximize her earning power in the WWE.
What is your opinion on Andrade's situation with the WWE?
That he should take his WWE medicine and enjoy it. He's a 5'9", 210 pound wrestler on the main WWE roster with guys much taller and heavier than he is. On top of that, he's a guy who cannot separate his talents from the rest of the roster despite that height. If you cannot cut a promo to effectively communicate and connect with the fans, you won't get over. When your female manager is more interested in playing video games on Twitch than her WWE career, she'll do you no favors either.
He's just another overhyped talent coming out of the NXT brand that just looks smaller inside the WWE ring and just has no other skills to differentiate him more.
If I were Andrade, rather than asking for his release and then having it leaked to wrestling insiders, he should speak privately with the WWE on how to improve his standing with the company. If they have nothing for him, then he should demand better and challenge them for a better answer. If not, then consider joining 205 Live and attempt to prove your talents by making that brand more successful. Otherwise, you have nothing unless the WWE would want to pair Andrade with his wife Charlotte as a tandem.
I've watched plenty of Andrade matches in both NXT and now in WWE... I'm honestly not that impressed. I believe that the WWE is not granting his release due to him being engaged to Charlotte, who reportedly signed a big WWE deal last year. If I were WWE officials, I would have discussions with both of them together to see what's up and how can we improve the situations. You owe that to Charlotte, at the very least, to keep her happy.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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