The Excellence in Column Writing is upon you, as you've entered my WEEKEND CHILL edition of the Mr. Tito extravaganza where I take your questions collected from Emails, Twitter, or the Comments below and convert them into a column where I answer them. Simple as that.
It's funny, lately, reading the criticisms of my column. As I venture further down the NoDQ.com path, slowly but surely, the agreements with me are increasing or I'm "improving my ratio". Whatever that means, as whether you like, retweet with a comment, or comment on my columns, that's a reaction to me. But anyway, there are still some harsh critics telling NoDQ to "fire me" or "ban this guy", threating to "leave NoDQ if Tito is still around", or they'll tell me personally that I'm "old" or "should retire". Yikes...
But I've been at this for 22+ years, first with Lords of Pain for almost 22 years and now NoDQ since August 2020 when I joined the site for a change and to maybe start doing more video/audio content (we have 1 in the bag so far!). I've heard the same thing over and over again...
With wrestling fans, they ONLY want to consume things that they 100% agree with and nothing else... Otherwise, that column, Podcast, or video is nonsense or trash to them. And thus, in their head, my posting of a wrestling column that disagrees with them is somehow a nuisance. YET, they click the damn link each and every time to somehow be irritated by me. Huh? In case you haven't noticed, there are PLENTY of other columns, podcasts, or videos within the Opinions Section of NoDQ to enjoy. I only post 2 columns per week and not daily as some of you somehow think. The Twitter plugs can also be avoided by scrolling down...
And let me emphasize this about me. Mr. Tito is an alias and NOT a gimmick. When I post something, it is 100% my opinion and I 100% believe in it. Anyone who has read me for decades now knows how much I've envied Jim Ross's job as EVP of Talent Relations. When I was writing columns during the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was studying who Jim Ross was signing and where he was sending them. Then, when his big crop of younger talents debuted during 2002, they changed the industry and gave the WWE main event level talents for 2 decades now. John Laurinaitis followed him and after a few bumpy initial years of transition, I've studied the trajectory of wrestler signings and have appreciated his work with time. Thus, in my opinion, I can make an informed decision about Triple H's job as Talent Relations EVP and how it is not up to par with Jim or John. I stated facts about it as well.
But many of you are just reacting to the clever headlines that we use to market our columns and don't read a single sentence of the article. You probably thought that the last column was about attacking Triple H but when you read it, it's about Triple H maybe being spread too thin from the job responsibilities handed to him and noting what a generous family man that Vince McMahon actually is in real life. When someone hands you a great wrestling career, makes you millions, allows you to marry his daughter, and then gives you more millions by making you a corporate executive... You're going to nod your head and let Vince do whatever he wants. That is a YES MAN.
Look right now what is happening with Jim Cornette. Primarily, it is AEW wrestlers attacking him and piling on to CANCEL him whenever Corny speaks ill of any of their performances. Miro is actually threatening Jim over a show review... Every word that Cornette says on his Podcast is scrutinized by whatever wrestler is upset at the time and then a bunch of other wrestlers pile on. They even tried to lump Cornette's personal life into the "Speaking Out" movement in attempts to cancel him there. Why? Because wrestlers performing with AEW are thin skinned and believe too much in their own hype. Ditto with AEW fans. Anytime that I DARE speak about AEW, I get non-stop personal attacks.
When it comes to CRITICISMS of the wrestling business, fans can do one of the following things:
(1) Just ignore them. Don't listen to them, don't click the link.
(2) Read and review said criticisms, then think about them. Maybe the author or podcaster has a point.
In the case of Jim Cornette, he's providing VALID criticisms of a chaotic wrestling promotion who struggles to draw up to 850,000 viewers per week on a TNT Network that is available in 85,000,000 households. Cornette has been a wrestling fan for much of his younger life and worked as a photographer and various jobs helping local wrestling promotions as a kid until in 1982, he became a manager. He has not only performed, but he operated 2 promotions of his own (SMW & OVW) and helped backstage with 4 major promotions (WCW, WWE, TNA, RoH). He is a wealth of knowledge and his memory retention is remarkable. Tony Khan should call this guy regularly for advice, not ignore him and let his wrestlers foolishly attack him.
As for me, I've been a full blown wrestling fan since late 1988 and have been an online wrestling writer since late 1998. I cannot boast the in-ring experience that Jim obviously has, but I have helped with local indy promotions during the 2000s, I have spoken with many wrestlers and backstage employees through my column's success, and I have almost 4,000 produced columns to my name. I have plenty of experience as a dedicated observer and now a long-time writer covering pro wrestling.
To pass off as nothing or to want to CANCEL us is ridiculous... Both of us are providing wrestling knowledge or advice for FREE. Corny doesn't have to review AEW Dynamite or its Pay Per Views, but he does and Tony Khan should listen. I'm not getting paid to write columns and I'm providing valid business advice to any wrestling promotions. All wrestlers, promotions, or fans have to do is TAKE IT or LEAVE IT... They can either hear our advice or simply ignore it. Instead, and this is the major problem with thin skinned or believe too much in their own hype wrestlers, they try to CANCEL IT.
Folks, I'm doing this as a hobby... It has always been voluntary for me because once I get paid, it no longer becomes a hobby or an art for me. It becomes a job. I'm doing quite well in my professional life and haven't requested payment that I could easily get if I tried. But if I got paid for this, the freedoms to write what I want and when I want probably go away. If you're telling someone to "fire me", you really don't see the irony in what you're attempting.
Remember, kiddies... If you don't like me, don't click me. Simple as that. As the numbers are showing, however, many of you do like what I'm producing and the vocal minority attacking me needs to start realizing that. How about I put this in 2021 terms? My ratios per column are improving on Likes versus Comments or Retweets... If you would have told my younger self that the Internet things that "ratioing" someone is a way shame them to stop producing content, he'd laugh so hard.
Seriously, start to enlighten yourself with opinions that you may disagree with. I actually get BORED reading, watching, or listening stuff that I agree with. Politically, I'm in the Center on Social Issues with a love for any politician who tries to balance a Budget. That simple... Thus, I'm not beholden to the Hard Right or the Hard Left... I can then watch shows to be entertained without getting upset at someone's viewpoint. Just last year, I could explain that I watched or listened to Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson, Bill O'Reilly, Don Lemon, and others whenever I wanted while mixing it up on the sports side with Clay Travis, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, or Rich Eisen. Had I only agreed with one viewpoint, HALF of those names that I just mentioned would disappear from my listening or viewing experience.
Like I said, with my wrestling opinions, you can TAKE IT or LEAVE IT... But quit being ridiculous and trying to CANCEL IT. Unless I'm saying something totally harmful to society, which I'm not, stop being so offended by everything and start enjoying life. Plenty of this world to see and enjoy without having to read my columns that upset you so much.
Do you smell what I'm cooking? Are you picking up what I'm putting down?
Good, onto your questions.
ASK MR. TITO - Your Questions, My Answers
What did you think of Jim Cornette and Miro's recent online feud?
Miro has egg all over his face right now... He over-reacted to a review of an AEW show. It's not like Jim Cornette was calling Penelope Ford a "sl*t" in real life. No, he was obviously reacting to the provocative way she dresses on camera plus how her character has been portrayed. Sure, it's vulgar, but it was about the character and not the person. And then Miro took to Social Media to call out Jim Cornette and actually threatening him.
And then Jim Cornette just THRASHED him verbally with a promo on his Drive Thru Podcast. Game Over already.
If I were Tony Khan, I would meet with ALL All Elite Wrestling talent backstage and suggest that "moving forward, NOBODY responds to outside critics. Period. Zero tolerance." If he doesn't, then he's a complete moron who should cease being the President of AEW if he cannot control his own talent. Miro and Penelope Ford took matters into their own hands and took commentary about the wrestling business to be personal. Big mistake, as was rattling the cage of one of the BEST promo guys of all time who happens to score more weekly listeners than AEW does viewers.
In the words of Jim Cornette, who won the pony? Jim did, as it brought more attention onto his show in anticipation of his obvious reaction. Then, his reaction just humiliated Miro and Penelope, especially Miro. He was supposed to be their prized signing of 2020 and now he looks like a high school bully who was just put in his place. That is on top of how Miro now markets himself and how AEW has used him thus far.
If I were anyone on AEW's roster, I wouldn't even acknowledge Jim Cornette, ever. He has 2 Podcasts per week that are pushing 3 hours long (sometimes longer) and Jim is fearless. He is becoming Rush Limbaugh on the Podcast network BUT with a different political leaning and covering pro wrestling obviously. Rush had 3 hours per day to thrash anyone who challenged him with millions listening per day. Unless you have a valid claim against Jim Cornette that would legitimately put him in his place, ignore him. Miro blew up on a criticism of a TV show that wasn't personal. Sure, saying "sl*tty" is vulgar, but AEW does portray her character in a certain light on purpose. Miro needs to save those over-reactions for something more legitimate or personal.
And I'm sorry, but after what Miro allowed the WWE to do to him last year with his wife Lana and her making out with Bobby Lashley, I struggle to even listen to his outrage right now about wrestling. How on earth would you let a company degrade your wife AND marriage like that? That's grounds for a lawsuit at the workplace, let alone allowing another man to put his hands and lips on your wife for a show.
Jim Cornette won this situation, big time. He's going to be laughing at you for YEARS on his podcast and he's the kind of guy bound & determined to stay healthy to keep ripping on you folks for many more years.
What are you going to do, Miro? Go beat up a 59 year old guy who wasn't trained as a wrestler or fighter? What do you have to gain by that? And let Kip Sabian defend the honor of his own wife, as you certain didn't defend yours late last year.
The real SAD part about all of this is how Miro could have HELPED AEW... Nobody looks like Miro, as he's a physical beast. On top of that, he was trained well within the FCW and NXT system (pre-Matt Bloom days). He spent more than 4 years in the developmental system, which quite long for today's system. There is nothing wrong with his in-ring ability... It's everything else, particularly the presentation, that hurts him. He went from a beast strongman character to letting his wife kiss Bobby Lashley... Then, he joins AEW with blonde hair and wearing an expensive Mickey Mouse shirt in addition to admitting how much he loves to play video games. Huh? That's not "Larger than Life", that's my next door neighbor!
If I were booking Miro, I'd just have him snap... Just have him brutally beat up Kip and anyone at ringside and make him a very violent heel wrestler. There is STILL potential there for him to be a major star and maybe this Jim Cornette feud is that much needed "wake up" call? Getting terminated by Vince McMahon should have been that wake-up call, but he's apparently chilling while in AEW and not expecting much.
What are your WWE Fastlane 2021 Predictions?
Do I have to? Sorry, but I hate making predictions for Pay Per Views... For one, I'm not good at it because I'm usually in total disagreement with the promotions as to why the match is even happening in the first place, let alone the potential result. Me being cynical about WWE's booking has caused me to be absolutely terrible at making predictions for their Pay Per Views. But here you are again, asking the question for me to put in my Q & A column. I do this because I like you...
Matt Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali Honestly on this one, I'm a little behind on caring for the RAW brand and watching its weekly YouTube clips of the midcard action. I have only cared about Lashley vs. McIntyre's build up and not over a US Title that Vince doesn't care about. I believe that Retribution is on its last legs and will likely end soon, freeing up the several NXT wrestlers that were thrown into it. If Mustafa Ali wins, however, that means 6 more weeks of Retribution... (obvious Groundhog Day joke).
Who Should Win/Who Will Win: Matt Riddle, as Vince reportedly likes Matt as a personality. Ali and his 5'10, 180 pound frame needs to take his abilities to 205 already. If you're going to be that small, you need to be like Daniel Bryan, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, or even at times, Rey Mysterio, and have convincing enough offense that it appears that it could harm larger wrestlers. Ali's offense is very finesse and shouldn't affect larger wrestlers along with ones who have fought in the UFC.
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Sasha Banks/Bianca Belair Just a side comment... Can everyone be in agreement on what GARBAGE the dressing room sketches with Nia, Shayna, and Reginald have been? That is close to the WORST television that I've ever seen in my life. Anyone associated with that sketch should be terminated on the spot, period. Anyway, it's pretty obvious that friction will occur between Sasha and Bianca to stir up the pot for Wrestlemania 37. For Shayna/Nia, being tag champs is a nice placeholder for something to do with those ladies.
Who Should Win/Who Will Win: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, because teaming them up allows less ring time for both to injure fellow wrestlers.
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan Come on... The money match is Edge vs. Roman Reigns. There is zero room for Daniel Bryan. You can make it a Triple Threat AFTER Wrestlemania if you choose, but we've already got the Main Event established here for WM 37.
Who Should Win/Who Will Win: Roman Reigns, and he should defeat Edge at Wrestlemania too. However, Edge being "special enforcer" scares me into thinking that a Wrestlemania 37 Triple Threat is coming. Yikes.
Big E vs. Apollo Crews Don't know on this one... I'm waiting for Big E to pop inside the ring but he's just been OK. I liked one of his recent promos that got a little more serious than normal but his in-ring work needs more intensity and psychology. Meanwhile, Apollo is starting to develop into an interesting character. Hmmm... Maybe I was right on Apollo being a potential superstar all along? I could see the WWE having Apollo win here and then having their rematch occur at Wrestlemania 37. I agree with that scenario. Big E needs to improve inside the ring and I wrote about that extensively in a recent column.
Who Should Win/Who Will Win: Apollo Crews
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre Come on... Drew vs. Lashley is set in stone. WWE hasn't pushed Sheamus as a singles wrestler in years.
Who Should Win/Who Will Win: Drew McIntyre
Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss I thought that Wikipedia's WWE Fastlane 2021 page had been trolled when I read this but no, according to WWE.com, this is a legitimate match. Likely to be a cinematic match, I'm assuming... Blah blah blah, this is obvious "sports entertainment" in order to bring back Bray Wyatt for more terrible matches with Randy Orton. Have they not learned yet that Orton and Wyatt's styles do NOT mesh inside the ring? There is a recent Wrestlemania to prove that and a follow-up Pay Per View after that as well.
Who Should Win: Randy Orton, of course.
Who Will Win: No Contest, as Bray Wyatt (or the Fiend) will ambush Randy. Obviously, Orton is not going to physically harm Alexa unless Creative wants to be bold for a night. It is a booked match and several RKOs later, we could see Bray run to the ring to get sympathy on the pairing of himself and Bliss. Either way, I don't know why I even care speaking about this match to begin with. Who is writing this crap?
What is WWE doing with Wrestlemania 37 ticket sales?
WWE is being careful. Trust me on this one... The last thing that a publicly traded corporation wants to see is financial liability from anything. If they were to have 45,000 fans in the Tampa football stadium for both Saturday & Sunday and then that is linked to various COVID-19 infections, outbreaks, or even deaths, it not only puts the WWE's reputation at harm but fans in attendance could file a class action lawsuit for being put in harm's way. That might sound ridiculous, but that is what the WWE is thinking.
In some ways, they are probably seeing the UFC announcement of having an event in Florida and pondering what to do to top that as well.
I believe that the WWE wants as many fans in that Tampa stadium as humanly possible right now... BUT, they are a publicly traded corporation that is afraid of unnecessary lawsuits right now and thus they are being cautious. In the end, Vince's ego will want a packed house for both nights of Wrestlemania and he'll roll the dice. After all, his legal team is damn good and fans will probably have to sign waivers before entering the stadium to enjoy Wrestlemania 37.
Thoughts on the AEW Dynamite match between Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker?
The best AEW women's match to date, of course. And what do you know? Another great match with Thunder Rosa involving a North American opponent, too. My only thing is that AEW gave away this match for FREE instead of Pay Per View, but at the same time, AEW is in total "damage control" thanks to the AEW Revolution "exploding barbed wire" and last week's goofy singing display from the Women's Division. Thus, this week, AEW had something to prove to show you how serious of a wrestling promotion that they could be.
That said, being the "best AEW Women's match" isn't that much of an accomplishment based on the talent that Kenny Omega recruited and signed for this division along with the matches before it. Seems like the magic formula is Thunder Rosa vs. (insert North American wrestler)... I'm not here to bash Japanese Women's Wrestling, as there have been many, many legitimate women's wrestlers from that country for 30 years now. However, Kenny Omega is NOT scouting them from the top Japanese promotions. He is signing them from the fringe independent scene there where there are no quality standards, much like many of the indies where many American wrestlers were signed for AEW. As much as I've been hammering Triple H lately on Talent Development, I'd take him over Kenny Omega any day of the week.
It was a great match, both women had the courage to try some really violent stuff... The problem isn't so much the match, but the TERRIBLE surrounding card on Wednesday Night and then also the though of "how are we going to top this?". You have now raised expectations of your audience... How will you keep fans interested in your product next week?
Congrats to Thunder and Britt... That is a great match that everyone is likely to remember, but it shall raise expectations of future AEW Dynamite shows moving forward. If you're good at something, you don't give it away for free!
Ratings came in and AEW Dynamite, despite this hyped Main Event, was still under 800,000 viewers. Good luck next week!
Thoughts on Eric Bischoff joining the WWE Hall of Fame?
Eric Bischoff is VERY WORTHY of entering the WWE Hall of Fame. Period, end story.
For one, WCW's history is merged into WWE's history. He was the Executive of WCW from 1993 through 1999 and he changed Pro Wrestling for the better back then. His reality based storylines and push for more athletic in-ring action with the Cruiserweight Division still carries its influence. Bischoff's success from 1996-1997 significantly increased wrestler salaries and opportunities while pushing the WWE into much needed evolution.
Then, you have Eric's General Manager role with the WWE during the 2000s... Thus, he was technically a WWE employee and when you wrap that with his WCW experience, he's very qualified.
I'm a big fan of Eric Bischoff and am very grateful for his wrestling contributions. As a teenager during the 1990s, I was bored with the Pro Wrestling scene after 1992 and almost walked away from it entirely. WCW was a hot mess and WWE began pushing career gimmicks and became too family friendly. Honestly, Bret Hart at the top bored me, the theatrics of the Undertaker back then were ridiculous, and Shawn Michaels is not a good babyface. It took Eric Bischoff about 3 years to figure out what he was doing and with that patience, it paid off. After Uncensored 1996, he had a "come to Jesus" moment and took control of his Creative Team to demand better. What we got was the New World Order and a Hulk Hogan heel turn.
Monday Night Wars were great and WCW pushed Vince McMahon to greatly improve his product and to try new things. WWE was in a creative rut back then and getting their butts whooped for 83 weeks was a much needed wake-up call.
However, I still insist that Eric Bischoff's own actions killed WCW in the end. On November 18th, 1996, his on-screen character joined the New World Order and thus Bischoff began caring more about "getting over" with the NWO group instead of managing WCW + continuing to innovate for the business. 1997 was WCW and the NWO coasting on the fumes created by 1996 and by 1998, WCW was losing steam. They briefly had success with Bill Goldberg but again, a distracted Eric Bischoff didn't have strategic plan on how to use Bill Goldberg once he defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW Title during July 1998. It all went downhill from there.
Bischoff continues to blame the Time Warner merger coming to a head during 1998 and that causing new Standards and Practices to affect his product. The fact remains that he was an on-screen character whose ego was exploding and couldn't be bothered with the company's future direction. He milked that NWO gimmick throughout 1998 and then retried it to start early 1999. Meanwhile, he didn't realize how sour backstage morale was becoming for many younger wrestlers who were hungry for opportunities.
That said, nobody is perfect... And I adore what Bischoff brought to the wrestling table. I have binge watched WCW Nitro from 1996-1997 several times now and it is pure joy to watch that time period. The issues came to light at Starrcade 1997 that the wheels were falling off.
Congrats, Eric! You deserve it! Every wrestler who makes guaranteed money needs to personally THANK YOU each time you see them. If they don't, then they are disrespecting you. Austin and Foley need to thank you, too, because without you terminating them, they wouldn't get angry enough to prove you wrong. I would imagine Jim Ross had a similar chip on his shoulder, too.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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