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The Excellence in Column Writing is back with another weekend installment of “Ask Mr. Tito” where I take your questions from Twitter, Comments below, or Emails and answer them in column form. The best part is that you are reading a columnist with a totally unbiased opinion who isn’t clearly in the tank for a specific promotion. I hate on them all equally.
But I’m not hating on them right now. You wanna know why? Both WWE and AEW is giving me a little bit of hope. On the WWE front, John Cena is back and this match-up with Roman Reigns at SummerSlam is going to be EPIC. I know that Cena is a veteran but he’s still in great shape and is among the Greatest of All Time. With AEW, just the thought of their talent roster getting boosted by 2 veterans who were screwed out of many great years with the WWE in Daniel Bryan and CM Punk is getting me excited. Hell, those two appearing for any promotion would be excited, but with AEW just 600,000 viewers in reach, here’s hoping that they join AEW to help them.
My buddy Aveng7fld1 brought up a GREAT point about the WWE right now. If anybody gets competitive against them and actually starts to beat the WWE, they can’t turn things around like they did during 1996-1997. They LACK a brilliant mind for talent like Jim Ross. Ross recruited and signed guys like the Rock, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Kane, Edge/Christian, the Hardys, Kurt Angle, and many others while creating the farm system that gave us Lesnar, Cena, Orton, and Batista. The WWE lost Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels in the span of 2 years and they didn’t flinch. In fact, they got better.
But WWE doesn’t have someone like Jim Ross overseeing the talent roster and developmental. In fact, that is in limbo as Triple H was demoted from Talent Relations and John Laurinaitis has returned. NXT just doesn’t have the fully trained taller superstars who can make it big in the WWE. Thus, if an AEW booms and becomes the #1 promotion, the WWE can’t exactly call upon someone in Talent Relations to get them new talent. Nope… Not happening. WWE’s bench is thin right now on future talent and could spell doom if their freefall continues and if AEW happens to begin winning.
You can mock Tony Khan all that you want… The FACT is that yes, he’s in over his head with this wrestling thing but so was Eric Bischoff during 1993-1994 and Bischoff worked for WCW before that since 1991. WCW was a much more established brand thanks to it formerly being NWA Mid-Atlantic under Jim Crockett. AEW was created out of thin air and they are just 600,000 viewers away from catching RAW on Cable Television… And they might be signing CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? Hot damn…
Things are heating up!
Onto your questions.
ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
Where do you think that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will end up?
Here are my odds:
60% Chance of going to AEW
30% Chance of doing their own thing
10% Chance of taking over Ring of Honor
Both guys know that AEW, at the very least, gives them freedom to do whatever they want. Granted, that freedom is BAD for many wrestlers in AEW who need some boundaries, but both guys know that they are stars and would command leverage. There’s a chance that the EVPs of the company, particularly Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega as singles stars, might have a problem with Punk and Bryan joining AEW. HOWEVER – Both Rhodes and Omega are EVPs of the company, meaning that they receive % bonuses and have shares of ownership awarded to them. If AEW explodes in growth thanks to Punk and Bryan, they become much richer.
I still think that Punk wants to “stick it” to WWE. It would take a ton of money for him to ever rejoin the WWE because of the personal problems he has with Triple H. HHH has never liked him, mocking his physique for years and burying him during 2011. With Triple H going to be employed by them for at least the next 10 years, if not more, CM Punk wants no part of that. Daniel Bryan, however, just wants to try something new but I also think he likes the idea of teaming up with CM Punk to potentially “invade” AEW together and to have matches together again. Working with AEW will give them both flexibility to work in Japan or other Independents, too.
Just the THOUGHT of both of them joining AEW is thrilling… I see so many parallels to WCW during the mid-1990s. Dean Ambrose joining is like Lex Luger debuting on WCW Nitro and now Punk/Bryan joining together could be like Hall & Nash. That said, as my buddy Virtue said the other night on NoDQ Review, you can’t just have them debut and just wrestle. They need to have a purpose and have a major angle that justifies why they are there. Remember, Pro Wrestling doesn’t always draw based on what happens in the ring but what happens BEFORE the match.
Because Dave Meltzer is waffling on the news surrounding Punk & Bryan, I think that it’s AEW because he doesn’t want to ruin the surprise.
Do you believe that John Cena will really remain with the WWE full time again?
No… He’ll probably do big events but he’s actually blossoming as a movie star. He just did Fast 9 and he’s putting out a Hulu exclusive called “Vacation Friends” which I predict may be a big hit. In my opinion, Cena is proving to have more versatility as an actor than the Rock, particularly in comedy movies. Rock is essentially Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis wrapped into one and is reliant on big budget action films. Anytime that Rock strays from that path, it’s not as effective.
If you ask me, he’ll probably so a series of matches with Roman Reigns (which places good odds that Cena may win at SummerSlam 2021) and then take long breaks to film something. If Cena gets hurt in the ring, then he loses millions upon millions of dollars. It’s not worth it to go back to the WWE where you have already proven yourself.
You’ll probably see Cena doing more than just Wrestlemania, but hardly a full time schedule. You’ll see him from Rumble to Wrestlemania and then SummerSlam.
Thoughts on the WWE Money in the Bank briefcase winners?
I still say it is TOO EARLY for Big E. He has yet to shed that Midcarder look, though I’m heavily rooting for him. I believe that the potential is there to be a top guy but he needs a ton of work. If only someone within the WWE would read my 02/16/2021 Column – How to Push Big E in the WWE…
But I am happy for him winning it and wish him the best.
Now, for the Women’s Money in the Bank winner, Nikki A.S.H. with the ASH standing for “Almost a Superhero”. *Face Palm*. Look, she’s a decent worker and probably well liked backstage. When you’re wrestling in a silly superhero costume and we’re then told to take you seriously as a performer… Come on. Beating Charlotte Flair, too?
I liked Gregory Helms as the “Hurricane”, too, but wearing that costume makes you appear like such a midcarder. Same issue with Big E. The fact that he cannot shed the comedic tone that he had with New Day is limiting his growth. Hurricane pinned the Rock cleanly back in the day and sadly, it didn’t result in Helms elevating higher up the ladder. It was a guy in a superhero costume defeating the Rock who didn’t take him seriously.
I’m happy that a talent like Nikki, who has been grinding at this since 2008, has made it… But I don’t have to like the gimmick and would rather have someone serious like Charlotte on top.
What do you think of WWE’s “Queen of the Ring” tournament?
Can we be honest here? When was the last time that a Tournament Bracket meant something in the WWE or wrestling in general?
It’s “Meh” to me unless they can convince older names like Lita, Trish Stratus, and other older names to participate. Even then, it’s an idea involving female wrestlers that the virtue signaling WWE is trying to tell you is another “first” for them.
Like I said, the last time I cared about a tournament was Survivor Series 1998 and that was mainly because Vince Russo was ON HIS GAME that night for the storylines.
Will AEW run out of money by signing so many wrestlers?
Everybody thinks that the Khan family is bankrupting themselves to pay for AEW. You are out of your mind if you think that. Shahid Khan didn’t become rich by being stupid. Trust me, most successful business men or women in the world get there by KEEPING COSTS LOW… Most rich men don’t even get a chance to enjoy their riches because they are too busy counting every penny that comes in. Trust me, I know because I handle the finances for many of them and most business owners are obsessed with every little penny on their balance sheets or income statements.
Many former WWE wrestlers who now work for AEW have admitted that AEW is paying them LESS than the WWE did. On top of that, AEW has the leverage to sign wrestlers whom the WWE is willing to release anyway. Guys like Miro, for example, have to settle for a smaller paycheck because it is the best thing available.
And that is why they could “break the bank” for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan because they have kept expenses so low that they could afford them. Chances are that TNT might be willing to throw extra money at AEW if they obtain top stars like them, too.
FACT is that AEW was making money during 2020 thanks to their TNT television deal and the only thing costing them money is their Video Game which they are more or less attempting to self-publish to make it their way. Otherwise, because they’ve kept costs LOW, they can make money.
This illusion that Tony Khan has an open checkbook is ridiculous. His Dad would quickly shut things down if he was horrible with money.
Why isn’t Impact getting more love by wrestling fans?
Well, when you are operated by the likes of Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett for many years, fans will abandon your ship. I’m still laughing at the “Global Force Wrestling” fiasco. The promotion had its moments during the late 2000s but Dixie just got in the way and let fame get to her head. Then under Anthem’s control, they allowed a 125 pound Tessa Blanchard become their TNA Heavyweight Champion.
Look at how bad they are doing on AXS right now… Less than 100,000 viewers consistently now. That is AWFUL.
Some were suggesting that Punk/Bryan would go to Impact. Yeah right… They would be helping them and not the other way around.
It’s just a shell of a promotion that once was and they just don’t have any stars that are appealing, and that includes Kenny Omega trying to appear every so often.
What do you think is keeping Randy Orton out of action lately?
Well, he’s early into a 5 year contract with WWE… So that’s out of the question.
The fact is that he was in the middle of a storyline with Matt Riddle ensures that his absence was caused by something lately. I could easily speculate on what it could be with Orton, but I’ll suggest that he’ll be back with the WWE in the hear future.
If it was a Wellness Policy violation, the WWE would have to announce that per their own policies. So let’s scratch that off the list, please.
Let’s just see what happens… He’ll be back. Let’s not assume something.
Do you think that the COVID-19 Delta Variant will affect Live Events?
In some states it will… As infections are on the rise again, Mass Gatherings will be banned again in some states. However, people are tired of the lockdowns. I figure that Masks will be required everywhere again, at worse, but shutting down things completely again won’t happen. Too much political risk at this point to shut everything down again and risk more businesses closing for good.
Now, I believe that states like California will ban large mass gathering events from having fans… That is quite possible. But states like Florida or Texas will never shutdown again and that’s where you’ll see the WWE and AEW touring often.
I understand that it’s the public health and lives are at risk, but those 2022 Mid-term elections are just over a year away. That is going to heavily play into whether lockdowns happen or not. In deeper blue states, you’ll see them possibly returning but in purple states where House and Senate seats are up for grabs, you might see more relaxed rules this time around for political reasons and not safety.
And let’s be clear about this… There are NO microchips in the COVID-19 vaccines and they are safe to obtain. On top of that, the vaccines are FREE to obtain. Just do it… The last thing you want is for the worst of the COVID symptoms to hit you and leave permanent damage. Get the damn vaccines already, folks. Protect yourself and your loved ones.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
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