ASK TITO: Chad Gable, Vince McMahon/DOJ, Missy Hyatt & Jim Ross, WWE & TNA, and More

The Excellence in Column Writing is back and this time to answer your questions on current events. I haven’t been writing as much lately, but honestly, there’s nothing really to write on. We’re in a holding pattern here until SummerSlam rolls around and when several of WWE’s top stars stop vacationing or acting. When there’s nothing interesting happening in wrestling, I’m not going to waste my time on writing about how boring RAW or Smackdown was, nor would I ever attempt to review Tony’s playworld either.

As a follow-up to my latest column “Who or What Killed World Championship Wrestling (WCW)” from 6/5/24, I gave my reason and that was Eric Bischoff’s attention being diverted away from managing the company and towards his desire to be an on-screen member of the NWO. For years, I’ve pinpointed him joining the NWO on November 18th, 1996 as the moment when “WCW died” because the once great Executive Producer and Vice President of WCW who literally “saved” WCW from hardships of the early 1990s began the downfall of the company as well.

People who attempt to juggle managing a company or booking while also performing struggle to achieve it. While Vince McMahon of 1998 was entertaining, everything after that was forced, cringy, and also took his attention off managing the company well. Dusty Rhodes was conflicted as a booker and in-ring wrestler. Ditto for about any territory promoter who still performed, or was actively pushing for their kids to get ahead. Triple H struggled during the 2010s because he just had too much pride and ego about being an in-ring performer. It’s no different with Eric Bischoff… He got intoxicated with the NWO and wanted to join it. So he did during November 1996 and we saw his ego grow for 3 years as an on-screen character.

Little did I know that Eric Bischoff has his own marks, probably thanks to his 83 Weeks podcast that he does with Conrad (the best Conrad show, IMO). Congrats to Eric, you’ve developed your own little fanclub and many of them will run with your stories and consider them as fact.

For example, Eric’s “Time Warner pushed expenses onto WCW” claim for 1998. Huh? For one, Time Warner OWNS you and on their balance sheet and income statement, you’re all placed together in one big lump with revenues and expenses. Sure, you can show cost centers and how profitable a division is within a corporation, but you cannot fudge your accounting rules and use wrong cost centers to categorize something improper. And those rules were in place even before Sarbanes-Oxley really ramped up stuff about that from 2002. Last I checked, WCW was spending a ton of money during both 1998 and 1999 such as the Tonight Show like set and the 1999 set and logo revamping along with still paying talents heavily in 1998 (Karl Malone and Warrior) along with lucrative contract extensions for veteran wrestlers.

The FACT is that Eric Bischoff was in charge of WCW during late 1998 and for 9 months of 1999 when things became unprofitable. Why did they become unprofitable? Because of the talent expenses, production costs, and bad merchandise choices along with a lack of a television license since Turner Broadcasting/Time Warner owned them. But they became unprofitable because viewership and attendance began dropping during late 1998 and heavily during 1999. Less revenues coming in to absorb any expenses. It’s simple business 101.

“AOL killed WCW” is also what I kept hearing. Huh? The merger didn’t complete until early 2001. By then, WCW was losing money for 1999-2000 and that was from legitimate decline in attendance and viewership with weak cost management. AOL executives just put it out of its misery, nor were they willing to keep a failing company alive on their TBS/TNT channels while still owning the debt. No, they cut the losses for fiscal year 2001 so that they could apply those as expenses on the income statement for that year.

Bischoff was there until September 1999… And then he came back during the Spring of 2000 and worked together with Vince Russo. There exists audio of Eric Bischoff DEFENDING the David Arquette stuff, as it was an idea that Eric thought would give WCW mainstream publicity to help boost attention towards WCW. Lots of that 2000 WCW “stench” involves Eric Bischoff.

It’s pressing the EASY BUTTON to suggest that Vince Russo “killed” WCW. In fact, that’s just being lazy and trying to cover up Eric Bischoff’s blunders. WCW was losing money heavily before October 1999 when Vince Russo was brought in, FACT. What exactly could Russo improve from working just 4 months from October 1999 through January 2000 when he was sent home? He didn’t sign those expensive contracts with creative control built in them, ERIC DID! Could Russo’s storylines been better, especially for 2000? Of course… But Russo had to deal with what WCW became before Russo even joined the company. Who let that company decline? Eric Bischoff.

Can’t blame the wrestlers who could only sign the contract offers that an Eric Bischoff-led WCW gave them. Also can’t blame them for any creative control that Eric allowed them to have. We always joke about how ridiculous Hulk Hogan’s contract was, but who offered it to him? Who kept re-signing him? Who kept him as World Champion throughout 1998 and 1999 even though Hogan was incapable of having a decent match to that point on a Pay Per View?

The Eric Bischoff from 1993-1996 was a pioneer, an innovator, and a genius who took WCW from the shambles, made it profitable, and then made it MUST SEE TV once WCW Nitro began.

However, the Eric Bischoff of 1997-1999 was all about him and wanting to be showcased within the NWO that he created before those years. He kept signing big talents to massive deals through 1997-1998 while extending everyone to big deals that when the time arose when WCW’s revenues began to decline, the expenses kept increasing. Bischoff was there during 2000 with Russo, so he owns bad decisions made that year, too.

As I’ve described before, Eric Bischoff is like that NFL General Manager who tries to WIN NOW and then pay for it later. In the NFL, you have a salary cap and you can manipulate it by doing signing bonuses and stretching the years on the contract. Eventually, though, you’ll have to pay up and the salaries begin eating into the cap and hard talent roster decisions have to be made. The Rams did that with the Stafford trade and won 1 Super Bowl off of that, but they’ve been managing things on the fly lately (amazing what they did last year). The San Francisco 49ers loaded up for the 1994 season and paid for it years later just to win 1 Super Bowl away from the Cowboys.

Quit giving Eric Bischoff a pass, you podcast loving marks. Just because someone had a podcast doesn’t mean that they are 100% truthful on it or remembers everything. If Bischoff was still great at managing wrestling companies, then TNA would have benefitted from his genius during the early 2010s. They didn’t and in fact regressed under his influence, along with Hulk Hogan. WWE brought him in to be Executive Director of creative for one of the brands and quickly realized this guy lost his fastball. AEW, TNA, NWA, and many other independent promotions out there could hire his services but they don’t.

“But Eric tried to buy WCW during 2000-2001”. And so what if he did? WCW would have still been a money loser on TNT and TBS because that project would take YEARS to fix and AOL/Time Warner knew those prime time slots could be used for other things to generate actual money. Wrestling has low sponsorship dollars, anyway, and low viewership wrestling shows make even less. AOL/Time Warner made a wise business decision to just remove it from everything and just absorb the big contracts that Eric Bischoff put on their books. They started seeing rebounds in their television slots thanks to losing WCW, as noted in their 2002 financials.

To wrap this up… I want to THANK Eric Bischoff for the fun that WCW brought to myself and wrestling fans through 1996 and kept going on fumes through 1997. That lit a spark under the WWE to improve and all of us are grateful for that. But by becoming an egotistical on-screen NWO character and lowering yourself to also become “one of the boys”, you began mismanaging the company and not looking out for the future. You thought that Bill Goldberg was the future, but rushing that WCW Title to him ended his relevancy quickly and by 6 months later, you put the WCW Title back on Hulk Hogan’s waist by January 1999. That’s on YOU, brotha, and you weren’t done destroying WCW for another 8 months of bad programming where the real WCW losses ramped up.

The fact is that Vince Russo actually did things beyond his time with WCW, and Eric Bischoff didn’t. I enjoyed his stint in WWE as RAW General Manager, but damn, viewership tanked for that show during 2002-2004 and wouldn’t stop bleeding until John Cena joined that show during 2005 and kept growing during 2006 after Bischoff was out as GM.

Did I make my point more clear? I think so… And I didn’t need to make a 4-part documentary to easily explain what happened to WCW.

Onto your questions.


What should Chad Gable do? Re-sign with WWE or join AEW?

Soooooooo, one company can fill arenas with about 9,000 per show while the other struggles to get 4,000. Meanwhile, one company has a very lucrative TV show about to debut on Netflix while the other company, losing viewership, still doesn’t have a big TV deal.

Yeah, I think Chad Gable should remain with the WWE.

Reason why Gable is emerging is because Triple H has full creative control and he’s not actively making him to be a comedy wrestler, which is what Vince McMahon did with him. This recent angle with his academy is building him up to be something special and will open the door for more opportunities for Gable in the WWE.

If Gable joins AEW, he can’t be called “Chad Gable”. He could go by his real name, but only few (Hall & Nash are major exceptions) have achieved greatness with an identity change. Jon Moxley did it, but just for a few years. Loved his 2019-2021, but it’s been a struggle since because the AEW system is toxic and has terrible creative.

My money is on Gable remaining with the WWE because his recent creative momentum created this bargaining chip and WWE appears to be willing to pay him more. Going to AEW is something that you do after your peak years when a money mark, like Tony Khan, thinks he’s getting a wrestler in his prime and overpays. Gable is 38 and with a 5 year deal, he can do many great things in the WWE to build on top of what he’s built with Triple H during 2024.

With WWE, there are no trust issues with Triple H and again, he is willing to pay more to remain (didn’t do so with guys like Edge). With AEW, there are major trust issues and uncertainty with their TV deal. Even if AEW gets a new deal, they’ll still be airing the same bad product and I don’t think he could save them.

So yeah, re-sign with WWE and then when that contract is over, go rip off the money mark in AEW (if they are still around).


What is your opinion of Missy Hyatt and Jim Ross hooking up?

Good for them and from the sounds of it by Missy Hyatt, they seemed to have fun. Both were lonely at the time and needed companionship, among other things, and that’s OK.

I laughed at all of the comments “oh, you don’t know where she’s been” as if she’s some diseased riddled person. Oh please… She takes showers and I would imagine she was always careful. If she’s the sex crazed person that you insist that she is, being infected with diseases would reduce her opportunities. Besides, before Jim Ross became married, he had a lot of fun with the ladies. So why are we only questioning females who had a lot of fun and never the guys?

The fact is that Missy Hyatt was a hot commodity in WCW/NWA through the late 1980s and the early 1990s. She was the big sex symbol there, but WCW couldn’t exploit that as much as WWE would later do so with Sunny and Sable because through the early 1990s, Turner Broadcasting had standards and practices in place. THAT’S RIGHT, what Bischoff claims were thrust on him during 1998. NO, Turner channels have ALWAYS pushed family friendly programming. Why don’t you go look back when Dusty Rhodes had a spike jammed into his eye by the Road Warriors and bled, which caused the newly owned Turner NWA that was becoming WCW to fire Rhodes?

Missy faced legit ageism in the business, as nobody wanted anything to do with her by the age of 30. That’s a FACT, compared to the many ladies working through their 30s today.

Missy’s cool and I love that she gave Jim Ross a good time for a period of about 2 years. He deserves it, and so does she.


Thoughts on Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles becoming an “I Quit” match?

First of all, I LOVE me some “I Quit” matches… Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair at a Clash of the Champions during 1989 is one of my favorite matches of all time and that Royal Rumble 1999 one with Rock and Foley is vicious. I always love when they use the microphone as a foreign object, too. “Say it”, “no”, WHAM to the head!

That said, didn’t Cody Rhodes already dispose of AJ Styles? Did I miss something that the French Backlash?

This continues the WWE trend of feeding upper midcarders to their newly crowned champions and somehow wanting to protect the other main eventers on the show. It’s like I used to joke when guys like Chris Benoit, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins won World Titles at Wrestlemania. Oh no, they’ll have to feud with KANE and the matches sucked, always. Then, the WWE realizes during the Summer that each of those guys aren’t a strong champion. No, they were fed WEAK opponents after Wrestlemania.

Ultimate Warrior gets ripped, often, for being a weak World Champion during 1990. No, he wrestled Ted Dibiase and rehashing a feud with Rick Rude after Wrestlemania 6. Gee, why did he struggle. He should have feuded with Macho Man Randy Savage immediately after Wrestlemania 6 and packed houses with that feud for the next 6 months to a year. No, let’s have Warrior wrestle Rick Rude again and Rude had no chance at winning the World Title. Warrior and Savage KILLING IT at Wrestlemania 7 proves my point.

WWE has Randy Orton on its roster and that’s the natural person that Cody Rhodes should be feuding with right now and packing houses for the rest of the summer. No, let’s feud with AJ Styles who, with due respect to his amazing career, isn’t as good as he once was. AJ just turned 47 years old…

As good as WWE has been for the past 2 years, they still have some older habits to work out and I believe they were dependent on Roman Reigns and the Bloodline than even they would like to admit.


Should Ricochet leave the WWE and join WWE?

I think that unless he adds something new to his character, we’ve seen peak Ricochet in the WWE. I don’t know what else the WWE could do with him, as he’s already showcased his in-ring abilities to the fullest of their extent within a WWE ring. What harms him is that he’s getting older, so thus diminishing returns will soon hit his in-ring flying style.

If I were advising him at his age of 35, about to turn 36… “Go get that easy AEW money!”

This is unlike Chad Gable who still has a large runway to achieve more. Ricochet has already peaked unless he can show new character traits that Gable is showing to grow his character. I’ve heard Ricochet on the mic and I don’t think it will happen.

To answer the question, yes, go get that easy AEW money because WWE will probably just give you a slight pay increase but keep you more or less the same as you already are.

If you want paid more in the WWE, you gotta bring something new to the table with your character. Wrestling is about the hype BEFORE the match, not the match itself. People attend shows and buy Pay Per Views based on the hype of the match. If they match is great, that’s a bonus, but this is Pro Wrestling and not Boxing. Pro Wrestling usually satisfies wrestling fans, whereas a bad Boxing match causes fans to not get fooled again. Wrestling has quality control over their matches, boxing does not.

Go get that AEW money, Ricochet or whatever your name will become in AEW. Tony “ATM” Khan is a money mark and loves to overpay ex-WWE wrestlers. In your case, you can do flashy moves that he and Dave Meltzer loves, so you’ll get paid well there!


What are your thoughts on WWE and TNA working together?

I love it and would strongly encourage this partnership. Talent sharing will allow each promotion to keep certain talents fresh, while giving opportunities for their wrestlers to try new opponents. I’ve said it for a while now that Jordynne Grace should be a priority for WWE or AEW to sign. She’s an amazing athlete with great wrestling ability, along with looking fantastic. Note, I say this in light of Jordynne attacking me in the past for having an opinion over painting eyelids too much, so thus you know this opinion is legit and sincere.

But there was a reason why the old Territory system worked well in the past… When a wrestler burned out their audience, they could move onto another territory to compete against fresh opponents and be seen with a new set of eyes. Not that Jordynn has burned out the TNA fanbase, but her appearing on WWE television makes WWE fans aware of her talents.

The great thing about WWE and TNA working together is that it’s a big pivot on what Vince McMahon wouldn’t do. Vince refused to work with other companies unless the WWE got the major upper hand. Triple H is humble and has no ego as a manager during the 2020s to empower others to succeed. Many wrestlers are thriving right now, but so are backstage managers who have freedom to operate without being heavily micro-managed by Vince McMahon.

Yes, Jordynne is wrestling on NXT and not the WWE… But for women, it’s different. NXT has produced some of the BEST EVER women’s matches and superstars to establish credibility with their women’s division. Jordynn wrestling there isn’t a step down as all of the WWE greats spent years there like Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, etc., and there are more great female superstars working there to eventually join them. There’s nothing wrong with Jordynn working with NXT rather than WWE at the moment. If she repeatedly loses to their wrestlers, especially as TNA champion, then yes, there would be a problem.


What do you think about Janel Grant’s lawsuit against Vince McMahon getting paused due to the Department of Justice investigating Vince?

Vince better begin assembling a legal team, while donating heavily to his longtime buddy Donald Trump with campaign contributions. THAT is what I think. If Donald Trump becomes President of the United States again, it’s a guarantee that his Department of Justice will either back off Vince McMahon or Donald will just pardon Vince if the DOJ presses forward. I wouldn’t doubt that Donald would make Vince a cabinet member, too…

What is the Department of Justice looking at? Well, Janel Grant’s details are concerning, particularly the “trafficking” portion… But I think they have interest in other issues within the WWE culture, such as the OTHER NDA payouts that Vince McMahon has done particularly the large one for $7.5 million that me made during the late 2010s for a female wrestler demoted and released during 2005 because she refused to do additional sexual favors for Vince beyond polishing that jackhammer.

But also, remember that Vince McMahon may have committed major financial fraud by signing off on WWE corporation expenses himself, without anyone’s knowledge, as President/CEO to cover his personal NDA payouts. That is major and in violation of tax law and likely to involve the Securities Exchange Commission for defrauding investors.

What has the State of New York nailed Donald Trump on for the past year? Business documents and financial statements. That’s where I believe the Department of Justice is looking at, along with trying to sniff out any other bad stories about Vince McMahon abusing women.

Vince is going to get the book thrown at him, but everything could change with the 2024 election.

You’re seeing a major shift in Corporations right now… In the past, guys like Vince McMahon used their wealth and power to manipulate others into doing their bidding or even perform sexual favors. The corporate climate is changing and is rooting out guys like Vince in favor of those who can lead and make a comfortable working environment for everyone professionally. Sadly, what Vince did as President/CEO isn’t the only case of a top executive abusing their power over poor staff members or women in general. The times have changed and I’d expect the DOJ to make an example out of Vince McMahon for bad behavior IF they are allowed to do so. If Trump gets elected, he’ll pardon himself of his own crimes and will pardon Vince McMahon of his crimes.

And then, they’ll go after their enemies with the full power of the Federal Government. That’s when things begin to suck.

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