The Excellence in Column Writing is back in your face with some questions via your emails (hey, my longtime fans still send them to me) and your comments below. It’s ASK TITO with a current events focus, as there are so many breaking stories this week that I just cannot focus on one. Imagine that… Too much material to use. Well, that is what makes this Ask Tito format work really well.
I’m not going to mess around, as I’ll jump right into your questions.
ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
Did AEW cross the line with Juice Robinson holding a roll or quarters with MJF’s name on it?
First and foremost, Juice pulling out the quarters with MJF’s last name on it was 100% planned and coordinated not just between both wrestlers, but with Tony Khan and backstage AEW management. Let’s not just assume that Juice did it randomly… SECONDLY and this is very important, Juice Robinson has used the roll of quarters before as a foreign object and I suspect that most of those opponents weren’t Jewish. When neatly packed into a paper roll, there is some legitimate weight to 40 quarters stacked together. Try hitting yourself with a roll of quarters, it hurts!
Those are facts…
But of course, it is a fact that MJF is Jewish and very proud of his heritage. Secondly, we have a world event happening right now involving Hamas and Israel. The sensitivity is a bit heightened right now for Jewish people.
However – The first set of facts, to me, makes it feel like a coincidence that Juice had the roll of quarters with MJF’s last name on it when combined with the heated political week and fact that MJF is Jewish. And really coincidental when MJF cut a promo during February 2022 about how his school football teammates threw rolls of quarters at him. It’s just coincidence that this happened to MJF in the past, while Juice uses a roll of quarters to hurt everyone, not just Jewish people. Therefore, for the internet wrestling fans attacking Juice Robinson, y’all need to back off and watch previous AEW shows when Juice was using a roll of quarters on other wrestlers.
That’s all I need to say about it… The timing of it feels a big insensitive, but the context is that Juice uses rolls of quarters as his foreign object on everyone. More of a coincidence rather than being malicious.
Now, the important thing is whether the Warner Bros. Discovery folks understand that context or not… I do think that AEW’s TV deal could be in jeopardy if WBD opts to join the WWE negotiations, and seeing online heat towards AEW for this quarter incident is something that could light the fire.
I took it as Juice uses rolls of quarters as his foreign object, he has used it against many others, and he just put MJF’s name on a roll to taunt him as the next victim of his favorite foreign object, not because he’s Jewish. If Juice did that as a shoot, MJF has enough clout to get him fired or at least fight him backstage. Neither event happened because adults spoke to each other before the segment and everybody was cool.
Do you still believe that CM Punk will appear in the WWE soon?
Many suggest “Bruno and Warrior came back”, but those were personal vendettas with Vince McMahon which Triple H helped smooth over. CM Punk, meanwhile, has more heat against Triple H from his early 2014 exit… So who is Triple H’s righthand man to talk Punk into returning if Triple H isn’t willing to forgive?
WWE is in a great place right now. Bloodline components are all thriving, Cody and LA Knight are doing well as babyfaces, and NXT has some real youngsters coming up. WWE roster is quite talented right now and heading in the right direction. Adding CM Punk could disrupt that, if either the grumpy WWE version or the very angry AEW version arrives backstage to 2023 or 2024’s WWE landscape. Furthermore, Father Time is undefeated and not on Punk’s side. Unless you stick him with a competent wrestler like Seth Rollins to be light enough and sell his offense, you’re getting an older CM Punk.
I do think he joins, but he’ll have to put over wrestlers like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins cleanly and with a big smile on his face. If Punk doesn’t show up by the RAW following Wrestlemania 40, then it’s not happening until many years later when WWE lets him join the Hall of Fame when cooler heads prevail. Obviously, Survivor Series 2024 makes sense since it’s in Chicago and those fans will be rabid for him, but could you imagine the insanity of a Royal Rumble match return? Oh man…
Adding him to Wrestlemania 40 could be a big deal and his opponent being Rollins or Cody (if Rock and Roman are wrestling) would draw well. It would be nice to see AJ Lee get a return nod, too, but who knows?
I’d say 60% chance it happens, and 0% chance of returning if he’s not by the RAW following Wrestlemania 40.
Would WWE RAW work on a night other than Monday?
If and only if it moves to a broadcast network. That’s it, which is how everyone adjusted to Smackdown because it was available in more homes other than Cable/Satellite.
In case you missed it, the Endeavor CEO suggested that RAW could move away from Mondays based on the deal signed. While money talks, it’s hard to erase a 30 year prime time staple for wrestling fans. Yes, the viewership has declined from 4 million from around 2015 to about 1.4 million now in 2023. Fair point… But viewership numbers aren’t strong elsewhere on Cable.
WWE is going to cater towards whatever deal they sign, but the appeal of RAW is that it’s on Monday Night and often provides a quick turnaround following a Pay Per View. That RAW after Wrestlemania can be special… And as wrestling fans, we’ve ignored any other programming on Mondays for 30 years, so how are we going to change our habits if it moves to another night?
The appeal is that WWE is on Monday Nights consistently and gives you an option to flip between when the NFL season is cooking. Then, when the NFL is gone, you still get your athletic fix by watching wrestling.
I wouldn’t move it, but then again, I’m not writing or accepting the big check either!
Thoughts on the viewership numbers of AEW Dynamite vs. NXT on Tuesday?
First of all, Tony Khan needs to SHUT UP. Your top show averages like less than 850,000 viewers per night and that 18-49 number you brag about? It’s like less than 400,000 people each week when you attempt to do the math. Your promotion is still a new one, and you’re a newb when it comes to wrestling promotions. Put down the phone, clown, and start managing your AEW promotion like a responsible adult. Crying about your feelings or shooting about your misguided opinions on Social Media is what TEENAGERS do. Because you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you never had to work your way up to anything so HENCE why you’re stuck in teenager mode. Am I making myself clear, Tony?
Now… What he said about WWE not breaking 1 million viewers with John Cena, Undertaker, Asuka, LA Knight, Cody Rhodes, and Paul Heyman being on the show along with a top-level NXT main event is actually true… NXT should have easily eclipsed 1 million viewers, if not pushed towards 2 million. The UNDERTAKER was on NXT?!? And they hyped everyone’s appearance in advance, so viewers knew what they were receiving.
But but but but but NHL Opening Night, but but but but but MLB Players. Do Uncle Tito a favor, folks, and look up viewership for both the NHL and MLB that occurred 25 years ago. Both leagues were WAY more popular by American sports fans back then compared to now. Yet, that’s what RAW and Nitro faced off with, along with a Michael Jordan NBA and a more viewed Monday Night Football game on ABC. QUIT acting like the late 1990s were the Stone Ages. We had plenty of Cable channels to choose from, video rental stores, Nintendo 64 and Playstation to play, and many of us had the internet back then. Plus, you had this thing called GOING OUTSIDE which many people did back then. Hell, more people were sexually active back then, too. That’s right, today’s younger generation aren’t knocking boots like they used to, so there’s that as LESS competition!
So yes, only scoring 921,000 with that much Hall of Fame level WWE main roster talent is disappointing. 100% agree… But Tony Khan doesn’t need to make that argument. He needs to SHUT UP and know his role. Let others make that point for him, as anybody looking that that WWE NXT number knows that it should have been higher. It wasn’t…
What Tony needs to focus on is why Adam Copeland hops to AEW and can only draw 600,000 to 800,000 viewers since he arrived. I’d worry about that, especially after losing Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, and Jade Cargill while the brands of the wrestlers belonging or loyal to the Elite have diminished. Tony, you’re in rebuilding mode, buddy, and just as your promotion is about to become 5 years old. What do you have to show from early 2019 that you can brag about as progress for early 2024? Sure, you have television deals now, but Warner Bros. Discovery have better lawyers than your Dad.
Personally, I thought it was a disappointing night of viewership for BOTH NXT and AEW. It’s likely that the wrestling world just quietly told you that we have TOO MUCH wrestling on television right now.
Does Paul Heyman speaking to Rock’s daughter signify that Rock will wrestle Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 40?
Truly, the best segment from Tuesday Night… In case you missed it, Paul Heyman was speaking to Ava backstage, which was caught on “NXT Anonymous”. I guess recycling “GTV” is a new thing, but whatever, the point is that Ava = The Rock’s daughter and she’s been in the WWE developmental system and she has been there since February 2020. The backstage segment saw Paul Heyman speaking with her and showing him his phone with the word “Bloodline” on the phone’s case. That was interesting…
So what does that mean? Does it guarantee that the Rock is going to wrestle Roman Reigns in the near future?
Possibly… This is called “planting seeds”, as it’s a viral moment that will get people talking and build some quick interest in Ava’s career. After all, we’re heading into year #4 of WWE training and she’s been appearing for NXT for about a year, while performing inside the ring since April of 2023. Yes, it’s nepotism, folks, but if pushing her is the means to get us Rock vs. Roman Reigns, I’m OK with it.
With this segment happening, particularly on the night where WWE expected more viewers than they got (damn 921,000), they wanted people to see this and get them talking.
I think that it’s safe to say that Rock vs. Roman Reigns is likely to happen for 2024… They don’t just do this backstage angle without wanting it to be noticed or talked about. I also now believe that his words on Pat McAfee’s show were a bit more prepared or expected… They couldn’t get the business or storyline right for Wrestlemania 39, but that doesn’t mean they can’t nail it for 2024. Believe me, Endeavor will cut a cut… They already have about $5.1 billion in long-term debt from late 2022, what’s a few million more on top of whatever they borrowed to acquire the WWE?
WWE did this on purpose and I’m here to suggest that Rock vs. Roman is happening, baby!! Let’s F’N GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
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