ASK TITO: CM Punk Returning to AEW?, AEW Split?, Vince McMahon/Endeavor, Cody vs. Brock, and More
The Excellence in Column Writing is back in your face with another edition of “Ask Tito” where I take your questions sent via email, social media, comments sections, and other forms of communication and form them into a column. Of course, because I’m a CURRENT EVENTS writer, I’ll primarily take the more recent newsworthy questions for this column. Other columnists will remind you of past dealings or events, as needed.
But before I get into your questions, I want to point the FINGER OF SHAME at any recent attackers of this great website NoDQ.com. For the record, real quick, nobody put me up to this…
I just have to LAUGH at anyone criticizing NoDQ for being “clickbait” or how it presents news/opinions to the audience. First and foremost, NoDQ doesn’t hide its content behind a paywall as many other sites are doing along with literally begging you to subscribe. Everything on NoDQ has been opened up, as all content can be free obtained via the main website and anyone can participate on the YouTube shows. Yes, there are ads on NoDQ, but those pay the owner’s bills… What website doesn’t have ads? Bandwidth and domain name costs keep increasing.
But the “clickbait” comments are hilarious. Have you not watched television or listened to the radio? Those ADVERTISEMENTS are attempting to entice you to spend your hard earned money on their products. Why else would companies spend thousands or millions on advertisements that are catchy? They want to hook you in… How do any websites convince you to click a link? Well, you get creative with the article’s title to entice someone to click. THAT SAID, when you click on NoDQ’s links, you’re getting the content exactly how it was advertised. News posted at NoDQ is straight forward and sourced, unlike many other websites who never credit their sources and outright lie on their news posts.
Furthermore about NoDQ as a website, it is the most welcoming wrestling site on the internet. You are free to comment on any Social Media post or Comment below any post. Sure, if you’re a negative troll who uses slurs or just personally attacks someone, that could get modded, but otherwise, our website has freedom. NoDQ’s webmaster, Aaron Rift, has an open door policy on anyone inquiring to write or anyone willing to participate on YouTube. When was the last time that Meltzer pulled any of its audience to write on his website or contribute opinions on his videos? Or hell, any other site for that matter.
Then, you look at the webmaster himself… Aaron Rift, one of the nicest guys in the world. He’s welcoming on his YouTube site, doesn’t personally attack you on Social Media, and has a LARGE crew of voluntary contributors who are willing to run through a wall for him. Compare that to owners or contributors of other wrestling sites. Complete night & day! Meltzer is completely smug to anyone who disagrees with his opinion or dislikes AEW/NJPW. Other owners or contributors completely meltdown in any confrontation, which includes and is not limited to challenging you to fights, saying the most nasty stuff to you, and encouraging their followers to attack & harass you. You don’t see that with Aaron, whatsoever.
For anyone to be critical of NoDQ or its owner, you are OUT OF YOUR MIND and don’t realize how good that you have it here at NoDQ.com. I mean hell, look at how much drama myself and Virtue give Aaron and he still has our backs, no matter what. I “retired” during late 2021, but Aaron kept that light on because he knew I’d need my writing fix and was welcoming of anything that I could contribute.
If you can do a better job than what Aaron does with NoDQ, then go ahead and invest the TIME and MONEY into a Pro Wrestling website yourself. Go show us how easy it is to do!
Otherwise, attacking NoDQ for simply using basic advertisement techniques is garbage, and that includes any fans or even wrestlers who do it. Take off your clown make-up and realize what a great site that NoDQ is. Why not join us? If you have ideas on how to make things better, that “open door policy” is always there. You DO NOT see that with other websites and their owners/contributors will even block you on Social Media just by disagreeing with you on OPINION. Aaron and NoDQ does not…
Sometimes you don’t realize how GOOD you have it… Wake up and realize that NoDQ is the BEST for offering wrestling content that is 100% free to enjoy and even gives you the opportunity to contribute. Other sites want your money and don’t want you to participate, whatsoever.
Your choice… Continue being a douche or tell Mr. Rift “THANK YOU” for producing a quality website. As for wrestlers, our website contains guys who are the biggest wrestling fans on the planet. We’ve financially supported you for years and just because sometimes our opinions are split on you, doesn’t mean that half of our opinions are personal. They never are… They are just opinions and we’re ALWAYS glad when you prove us wrong inside the ring.
Did you get all of that?
Onto your questions.
ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
How would you handle CM Punk’s AEW return?
I’d be very careful, if I were Tony Khan. I don’t believe that Tony has the right intelligence infrastructure in place between his EVPs and other wrestlers with backstage power to handle the situation between CM Punk and the EVPs. As you just witnessed last year, CM Punk can ignite and humiliate your product and Tony has zero balls to shut it down or punish anybody. After All Out, Tony just sat there and took it. He should have ended the press conference the second Punk started shooting.
There’s an idea of CM Punk headlining a new Saturday AEW show, as if AEW needs more television time. Nobody watches Rampage, let alone their awful YouTube shows. Plus, wrestling is no longer a Saturday Night thing with people moving on with their personal lives (besides Pay Per View nights).
The big problem that I continue to see is the Young Bucks and their many friends backstage. The Bucks are overrated as a team, as they are too choreographed and immature to be a top tag team, let alone executives of a company. Then, to be constantly feeding rumors and gossip to Dave Meltzer who willingly posts it ASAP as if it were legit… They, along with their stooges, are trouble and their creative/talent decisions have done nothing but hurt the company. Dark Order says what? And Tag Team wrestling hasn’t been that great in AEW, aside from a few spotfests where nobody got hurt.
Honestly, if I were advising Tony, I’d consider either demoting the Bucks from their EVP titles or possibly send them packing, with options of any of their close friends to join them. WWE isn’t going to hire them, provided Vince McMahon’s increasing involvement and I’d bet Triple H would put them in NXT himself anyway. I’m willing to bet that Kenny Omega would be willing to do business and in my opinion, he has value as a Main Eventer. I could sell Punk vs. Omega across the country, easily. I also have questions about Tony’s recent upgrades to Jericho and Moxley backstage, as their own personal creative choices about their own angles or matches wouldn’t be what I’d want for other talents. Moxley constantly bleeding is embarrassing and just cheapens when that might happen by accident or when color is needed to enhance a match or feud.
But I’d worry about CM Punk coming back… As I said before in my previous columns, the last few years of his WWE run made him bitter and unhappy about the Pro Wrestling business that he once loved. If anyone looks at him funny in AEW upon returning, you’ll know that he’ll go off and embarrass the company again. But at the same time, he’s no spring chicken, either… I just don’t know how much quality wrestling that you can get out of the guy while hoping he wouldn’t shoot on camera about AEW or its talent. Again, not that I’m sparing the AEW folks, as I just advised possibly terminating the Bucks, but Punk has made his money already and doesn’t feel the need to put up with BS.
Should AEW split up into 2 different brands?
Helllllllllll no. They already have Ring of Honor and titles established. Why not let that be your 2nd brand, if that’s what you truly want to do. If Tony splits up the AEW roster into half, you’d have AEW #1, AEW #2, and Ring of Honor to support creatively… I just don’t believe that AEW’s roster has enough QUALITY to support being split in half. And in my opinion, the WWE doesn’t either which is why RAW is completely unwatchable and why Smackdown sucks other than the Bloodline.
If Tony truly wants to do it, then just make Ring of Honor the 2nd brand officially and load it up. Put CM Punk on top of that brand, build it up with him on that roster, and then in a few months, you have AEW vs. Ring of Honor to sell to your fans.
It’s that simple… But Tony will make it difficult on himself and dilute his product even more.
Do you believe that Endeavor would ever terminate Vince McMahon?
Did they terminate Dana White after he was caught on camera slapping his wife? That should have been a bigger story, but Endeavor’s PR machine squashed that like a bug and Dana continues operating as UFC President.
If domestic violence won’t cause you to automatically terminate an employee, then signed NDAs won’t either.
Upon this WWE sale, I’ve studied Endeavor a bit more and didn’t realize how fully staffed up they are on agents and they also have a top ESPN executive who behind the company’s surging growth during the late 1990s through mid 2000s. Endeavor is a machine with a lot of smart people behind it. What they want is Vince McMahon’s business mind to help them make a whole lot of money from the WWE company they just bought and he’ll deliver. Thus, the leash is quite long for Vince McMahon. It almost makes me wonder if 2022 was just a “dumping grounds” for Vince’s problems just to get them out of the way for this new Endeavor opportunity.
What will terminate Vince McMahon is Father Time. This Endeavor deal has the possibility to make the WWE even stronger financially and that kind of happiness will keep Vince McMahon around longer.
Get used to Vince, folks…
Have you watched any of the A&E Biography specials?
Just two of them this season, the nWo and Dusty Rhodes. I essentially reviewed the New World Order one because I wrote a column slamming Eric Bischoff for LYING about Sting all of these years in order to protect his Hulk Hogan buddy regarding Starrcade 1997. For years, Bischoff claimed that Sting wasn’t in shape, needed tanning, and was “out of it” during the night of Starrcade 1997 and that he made the call to change the finish. Nope, the truth came out of that special that Hogan used his creative control because he didn’t want to lose cleanly. NOT ONCE did Bischoff make any mention of Sting’s conditioning or lack of tanning. He’s a clown, of course, and once a Hogan mark, always a Hogan mark. Lot of good that it did you in TNA, didn’t it Eric? Oh, and WCW in 1999… How did propping up Hogan that year help you and WCW?
The Dusty Rhodes special was great… Tremendous. I’d strongly recommend watching it, as I was pretty emotional watching it to relive memories while also feeling for Dusty’d family. The guy was a remarkable talent, which proves to me that talent, charisma, ability, and cutting promos can trump a desired muscular look inside the ring. Dusty connected with fans and truly depicted the “American Dream”. And I’m sorry, but I LOVED his 1989-1990 WWE run. He was past his prime as an in-ring performer, but he was very entertaining. The Pocka Dots were unique and gave him an identity, and Sapphire was cool too. Anyone hating on his WWE run doesn’t understand wrestling. He was past his prime but still made things work.
But I believe Dusty’s biggest contribution later would be his FCW/NXT run. In my opinion, and this ties directly to my criticisms of Triple H as Talent EVP, the WWE developmental system has NOT been the same since Dusty Rhodes passed away. If you look at all of those FCW talents and the early NXT ones, they ALL have fond memories of being taught by Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was very hands-on with the talent and had DECADES of knowledge to teach everyone. If you notice, most of the FCW and early NXT wrestlers can cut promos well and have charisma. Since his passing, though, the talent from NXT just lack all-around training and struggle badly on the microphone. This coincides with Matt Bloom taking the lead trainer role and Shawn Michaels just isn’t an effective teacher (too naturally talented to explain to anyone).
For example, many give Triple H credit for the Divas Revolution talent… But those ladies were taught by Dusty Rhodes on how to perform and speak. They all speak fondly of Dusty and his teachings, while Dusty thought of them like family. Since Dusty passed, NXT hasn’t really pushed that many all around strong talents into the WWE. For every Bianca or Rhea that have been elevated, there are many that haven’t mattered. The Women’s Division is still riding on the fumes of Charlotte, Becky, Bayley, and they are very much missing Sasha Banks.
That’s what I really figured out watching this Dusty Biography… WWE’s developmental really misses the guy and haven’t replaced him with someone who can actually connect and teach people how to work.
How would you handle Cody Rhodes’s feud with Brock Lesnar?
He has to repeatedly defeat Brock and the matches have to look good. For their first match, I’d have Cody reverse the F5 into his Crossroads finisher for a quick 1, 2, and 3… Brock goes ballistic and challenges him to a rematch. The next match is brutal and more violent, but then Cody gets the upper-hand on Brock and then the Bloodline invades to cost Cody the match (keeping that Cody vs. Bloodline feud alive). I would then set-up a rematch between Brock and Cody in a Hell in a Cell to which Cody finally wins and vanquishes Brock. That covers this upcoming Backlash, and then May through July possibly.
Then, Cody challenges Roman Reigns for SummerSlam 2023. Cody then has to beat each member of the Bloodline to earn the title shot and then he defeats Roman at SummerSlam.
Simple as that…
Would that win me “Booker of the Year”?
What are your thoughts on recent wrestler and fan interactions going wrong?
If you’re a wrestling fan, you shouldn’t have 10 pieces of merchandise ready to sign. Secondly, don’t bother talent in restaurants, bathrooms, or airports. You have NO IDEA how difficult traveling is and how much it wears on the talent. Give them a break…
I just don’t understand why people want toys or other merchandise signed. You do realize that wrestlers sign THOUSANDS of items per year at conventions, meet & greets, etc, right? Your autographs are worthless to re-sell and you only have 2-3 million of a fanbase now to pull from as buyers.
Just be cool… For me, just meeting a celebrity in person and telling them “thank you” is enough for me. Then, there are autograph signings to get more intimate with your favorite talents.
As for othe WWE talent in particular, if you have concerns about fan behavior, then demand more security or private flights. Your safety should be the #1 priority, as you’re already working long hours to begin with and then dealing with pushy fans makes your job even more difficult. Next time your contract is up, demand better travel options.
THE LAST WORD
Am I the only one who thinks these POP! figures from Funko are total trash?
The other day, I was at a place with an abundance of them and I was just laughing at the terrible quality of the WWE based figures. These Pop figures look exactly alike, with the soulless black eyes and similar looking eyebrows, tiny noses, and small mouths. Yeah, their bodies usually have the right costumes on, but the big heads look so similar that they all look alike.
Yet, there are collectors out there who actually buy up these things and dedicate entire walls of their living room to display these horrible buying decisions. Exactly what are you showing off? That you have so much money that you throw it at worthless toys that are kept in similar looking boxes?
And these Pop! figures aren’t worth anything… They are likely cheap to make, as all of them are made in China where the labor and production expenses are cheap. The materials are similar across the board and the boxes are very similar to each other. The paint on them looks very synthetic, so thus it’s not like we have massive labor tied up to hand-paint these things. Thus, if they are dirt cheap to make, why would they be worth anything in the long-run? Again, all you have are similar looking figures in similar looking boxes.
If you go anywhere like Target, Walmart, or Gamestop, they have piles of these things that are waiting to be bought. For the past 2-3 years, inflation has gone up yet the prices on these regular Pop figures have stayed the same or gone down slightly (or on clearance because they aren’t selling). I’ve seen Funko trot out larger and special editions of their figures, along with other gimmicks, which is a sign that the signature toys are cooling down.
But these toys suck and if you haven boxes upon boxes of these stacked in your house, you’re a sucker. If you don’t believe me, then stare into the black soulless eyes of any one of your toys and realize that you’ve blown your money on a bad product.
In terms of WWE merchandise, there are better options to buy out there than Funko POP! figures of WWE stars. I know, this rant is going to hit hard, but if you can find another sucker to sell your entire PoP figure collection to, do it ASAP. Too many of these similar looking figures out there and you’d think there was “no inflation” if you just studied this one product.
And then POP! goes your heart… Sorry, but I just had to say it. Those soulless black eyes have to go!
So just chill… till the next episode!