ASK TITO: CM Punk to Blame for AEW Collision Issues?, Iron Sheik, New WWE Title, and Much More

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING posted exclusively here at Oh, did that phrase trigger you? The phrase that I’ve been associating with my column for over 20 years has upset you? Better yet, how about I discuss MORE CM Punk topics since anytime I post one of those, the Young Buck Fan Club attacks me and insists that I’m just rehashing old Punk stories EVEN THOUGH CM Punk is literally in the news headlines everyday. After all, he has been on hiatus from AEW since All Out’s fall-out from last year.

But this gets into what I want to talk about today, and that is the TOXIC Internet Wrestling Community. No, I’m not speaking about all of you, as I have many faithful readers and there are many good wrestling fans out there. However, click into any Tweet, column link, message board, any forum, etc, and just see the “wrestling fans” attacking each other. Then, look at the higher profile social media accounts of website owners, journalists, or even wrestlers themselves participating in the flame wars. On the wrestler side of things, they are getting TOO into Social Media by revealing their non-wrestling stuff too much and getting into fights with fans.

On my end, I only retaliate when provoked. If you personally attack me or my columns, you’ll get the horns. I don’t look for trouble, I just work hard on my columns, post them, and then see the reactions afterward. If anyone is showboating in my comments section and behaving badly, I can then lay the smackdown only on those specific flaming fans who allegedly hate my column. Otherwise, if you simply post disagreements professionally, it’s all good and people have been welcomed into the community surrounding my columns for almost 25 years now (I started writing during late October 1998).

Furthermore on my end, I’ve taken steps to get out of Social Media. My Twitter has been set on Private for almost 2 years now just to avoid the ugliness of Twitter. Thanks to the change of ownership of Twitter and its filters being removed, the fights are getting worse than ever. And it’s not just about Pro Wrestling, either… Politics, movies, music, sports, and hell, even video games. Less than 15 hours playing the recent “Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom”, one guy declared it as the BEST VIDEO GAME OF ALL TIME and I simply said “it needs more playthroughs for such a declaration”, and the kid went nuclear on me. Over a video game ranking where I was simply saying “it needs more time”.

Right now, we’re seeing a tribal debate over AEW vs. WWE, which I’ve covered and written about extensively for years now. It resembles politics, in that if you somehow like both promotions or take a middle ground, you are hated by diehards on both sides. On my end, I’m hear to tell you that both WWE and AEW suck… WWE is one Roman Reigns injury or extensive time-off away from really sinking into the abyss and their FOX ratings mostly from the broadcast channel being left on during Friday nights (many keep their favorite news channel on as their station on the cable box). Like clockwork, 2 million fans out of 115 households each week.

The NERVE of anyone ripping my columns to call me “cynical”, yet they are flaming other people, wrestlers, and promotions on their Social Media or Forums.

You can read any of my columns for the past 25 years… Yes, I do criticize but I advise as well. I provide advice on how to improve things or handle matters differently. That’s a BIG DIFFERENCE between myself and other columnists who just bitch, bitch, bitch without any solutions on how to improve the thing they appear to hate.

And that’s the REAL TRUTH about most of the Internet Wrestling Community… Y’all really hate this stuff. However, you’re loyal to the hobby that you’ve dealt with for decades and you know that it delivers a few great moments per year. Right now, the Bloodline is keeping you excited, I can imagine, and it’s paying off those awful years of suffering with Roman Reigns as a terrible babyface from 2014 through early 2020. You want to quit, however, but that nicotine hits that bloodstream and you just cannot put it down. The HOPE is that AEW will either “get it” or cause the WWE to improve… But we’ve been hoping for this since 2019. Aside from the Bloodline, the rest of it sucks.

Here’s my advice to the IWC… Either STOP WATCHING WRESTLING *or* STOP POSTING ABOUT IT. If you cannot stop watching, fine, then get out of the Social Media and Forum trenches. No need to stress yourself out by fighting with other wrestling fans who hate their hobby, too. Pick up another side-hobby to do while wrestling is on in the background besides flaming others about if Cody should be World Champion or not in the WWE.

But here’s my message to the top of the mountain, which includes website owners & journalists and pro wrestlers themselves: LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

I’ve said it for years about Pro Wrestlers… They are exposing the business by revealing any part of their personal life on Social Media. Part of what made the Undertaker so successful is that he made efforts to hide his personal life from the fans in order to sell the mystique of the Undertaker. It worked for 3 decades, guys. But then, wrestlers will not only speak openly about how scripted wrestling is, they’ll get into arguments with fans on Social Media instead of ignorning their hateful fanbase (see my paragraphs above). The MAJORITY of wrestling fans want to see you as “larger than life” characters and not normalized you. Playing video games, streaming games, and fighting on Social Media is what younger fans are expected to do, not the wrestlers themselves.

However, the biggest culprits who are certain website owners and journalists acting like marks themselves, instead of “being above it”, and fighting with fans (attacking other websites, too). Go look at Dave Meltzer‘s Twitter. Constantly arguing with fans and stroking his ego, when he should present a level headed guy whom they should trust with presenting news. Nope, instead, he’s shown his true colors on his AEW support and has gone ballistic on many people. There are other journalists right behind Dave who are doing the SAME EXACT THING by attacking people online and even getting into wars of words with pro wrestlers. Funny thing is that the wrestlers working the shows ARE their sources of information to fill their newsletters or paywall content…

For you NFL fans out there, have you seen Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport fighting with NFL fans? No, they just post news and ignore the haters…

Wrestlers, promoters, and journalists should be “above it all” and “lead by example”. Instead, they get into nasty fights and show immaturity online, thus it gives the greenlight for the fans to do the same. Sound familiar? Get really nasty in Politics at the top of your political party, everyone falls in line to do the same. You’ve just given people permission to be themselves.

It’s getting BAD out there, and I say this as a guy who wrote during the late 1990s and early 2000s when wrestling was WAAAAAAYYYY more popular than it is today. I used to receive legitimate death threats by email back when the fanbase was much larger… Yet, combine that with the positive comments, it was far less cynical and less aggressive than it is today. People today just cannot disagree and walk away like they used to. EVERYTHING is now personal, as it’s either “my way, or the highway”. Many people are taking their ball and going home immediately if any debate starts to happen. It’s likely a symptom of highly enabling parents and not interacting with people in this technological world. I also believe that the media and political forces have too much incentive to keep us divided instead of united.

Why does it appear Tony Khan and Vince McMahon are booking wrestling shows for themselves? Because they have no idea how to please their confused fanbase who are constantly arguing with each other online. Back during 1997, it was VERY CLEAR that Steve Austin was whom the fans wanted pushed and Vince McMahon pushed him, even though Vince was reportedly reluctant to do so (yet he still did it because the fans clearly told him to push Austin!). Fast forward to 2014-2020, and the fans were confusing Vince with whom they wanted pushed… Was it Seth? Dean? Kofi? You keep saying Bryan, but he cannot stay healthy… Hence why Vince just kept shoving a babyface Roman down their throats, anyway, from 2014-2020. Probably the only idea that wrestling fans agreed with was turning Roman heel and that was finally done following SummerSlam 2020. And look at that money pouring in.

Fans are torn on pushing Cody Rhodes… Some are still excited by his Wrestlemania 38 return and the torn pec heroics, but most of us remember those AWFUL AEW days from 2019-2022. Hence why Vince is hesitant on pushing Cody.

The next “guy” has to have a severe majority of wrestling fans backing him (or her). This 50/50 stuff isn’t working. And with that, you’d need a good talent developmental, Creative Team, and competent road agents to help wrestlers be presented well enough to get any kind of attachment from fans. Neither WWE or AEW have that right now.

But what do I know? I’ve just been writing thousands of columns since October 1998 and been a wrestling fan for about 35 years now with many books read, many great shows of the past watched, and have been listening to wrestlers tell their stories for years.

On to your questions…


ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers

Is CM Punk to blame for the weak ticket sales so far for AEW Collision?

Go read my last column and get back to me… My last column talked about having TOO MUCH TELEVISED WRESTLING and how it was wearing out wrestling fans. Adding this 3rd AEW show will cause weekly required AEW wrestling viewership to go from 4 hours (which is too much), to 6 hours. Plus, now you’re demanding WEEKEND viewership time from wrestling fans. Idiotic.

Last year’s All Out fall-out did major damage to AEW’s brand and exposed the toxic workplace that AEW reportedly has with Tony Khan and his stooge EVPs. If the EVPs would have just stayed put and just met with Tony after the media scrum, they could have suspended and then sued CM Punk to get out of that contract for slandering the company at the All Out scrum. Instead, they got into a physical altercation with Punk while also continuing to leak details to the usual dirtsheet marks.

AEW diluting their own product + proving to be a toxic workplace has hurt AEW’s chances of a successful AEW Collision show, with or without CM Punk. They killed his brand by completely siding with the EVPs on this matter.

Now, that said, after the Chicago AEW return during 2021, the Honeymoon was over. Suddenly, an older CM Punk had to work with THAT roster. Punk took 7 years off and those bones & tendons also became 7 years older. Not only that, but he was on a roster of self-trained wrestlers instead of polished stars like he saw in WWE or guys he could trust in Ring of Honor. He looked slower than before but also very careful because he knew how inexperienced many of his opponents were in AEW. Then, the EVPs and their stooges began to turn the knives and began plotting to get rid of Punk.

I don’t see this ending well and if I were Punk, I’d come up with another contractual issue before Collision launches to get out of it. Collision will seriously draw 600,000 viewers, at most, and then start sinking. Then, suddenly, Punk “isn’t a draw”, even though he blew their merchandise numbers through the roof during 2021, drew the first $1 million gate with him headlining, and kept viewership above 1 million for various times during 2022 and has dropped since.

Tony should have just let Punk go and let him be Triple H’s problem. HHH has pure hatred for Punk and always has… Do you think that Triple H would let Punk defeat any of his NXT groomed wrestlers? Hell no.


Thoughts on Iron Sheik’s passing?

I’m hurt that we lost a great entertainer… I’m going to be totally honest here: I loved him more outside of the ring than inside of it. The guy was hilarious on interviews, as he gave zero farks and wasn’t afraid to say anything. Funny as hell… Best part is that he could say anything and rip other wrestlers, like Hulk Hogan repeatedly, and yet nobody took it personally. Hulk Hogan has nothing but admiration for the guy, as seen by his statement.

His partying probably held back his career from being even better, but it made his post-wrestling career legendary because he could live to talk about it. It’s amazing what the human body can withstand, as Sheik lived until his early 80s and others did not.

Whether it is true or not, and Sheik has always insisted it was, but the story about Sheik putting over Hogan for the WWE title always fascinated me. If true, it paints AWA promoter Verne Gagne as a scumbag for offering Sheik to break Hogan’s leg for $10,000 instead of putting him over for the WWE Title. Sheik did the right thing and reported it to Vince while giving Vince confidence that he was there for business. In return, Sheik always had business interests with the WWE after that even when he messed up (like getting pulled over with Jim Duggan).

But let me state this… I found it ridiculous that Iron Sheik was rebranded as an Iraqi wrestler during 1990-1991. Come on, we KNOW WHO THAT IS! Just hilarious what the WWE tried there.

Here’s a weird story that nobody thinks about… Sting just won the TV Title in WCW and one of his first opponents was the Iron Sheik. As a younger WCW fan in 1989, I was aware of the Iron Sheik and his past WWE career. I was in fear of my new TV Champion Sting having a tough match-up at WrestleWar 89, but Sheik willingly did business that day, too.

Think about this for a second… He was a former Main Eventer for the WWE and former WWE Champion… Yet, his win/loss record 910-1158 and 169 draws (numbers courtesy of with Sheik losing a majority of his matches. The guy put over everyone and knew that he’d return the next night with more heat to give to the next babyface in need. Completely unselfish.

Look at the outpouring of praise that wrestlers and non-wrestlers are throwing at him for his passing. It’s amazing and a mark of a man who not only cared about the business, but had lots of fun doing it.

Hopefully, Iron Sheik can go up to heaven and slap Bobby Heenan for his Wrestlemania 17 gimmick battle royal comment!


What are your thoughts on the new WWE Universal Title?

I could wipe my arse and produce a better championship title.

Any questions?

Seriously, WWE, what is with these STUPID LOGO TITLES? Between these awful World/Universal Titles and the Women’s Titles, we’re well aware that we’re watching the “WWE” brand on a “WWE” RAW or “WWE” Smackdown, possibly also watching on a “WWE” Network. Sure, I understand the desire to have that big logo, front & center, when a title is flashing around sporting event when a NFL or NBA team wins a title… But “WWE” is known as a brand and is equal to the word “wrestling”. Ruling the industry for 4 decades will do that.

The new WWE Universal Title sucks and if you buy that from ShopZone, you’re a complete sucker. If you by the new World Heavyweight Championship title with the “WWE” logo plastered in the middle, too, then you’re also a sucker. That WHC title is a joke, as it was made up out of think air whereas the true lineages flow through what Roman has.

And Seth Rollins as champion. Whoopee. The guy defeated Brock Lesnar TWICE and CLEANLY in one year, still didn’t help him become a big star. He’s been changing personalities so much for the past few years that he’s not over and his in-ring ability hasn’t evolved much since his peak in-ring years from a few years ago. Congrats on the longevity, but staleness doesn’t draw and the WWE roster is filled with a bunch of tired names like Rollins and that is why nothing but a part-time Roman Reigns draws right now.

The titles suck, and so do the champions.


With PGA and LIV Golf merging, what do you suspect will happen with the future of Saudi Arabia money and Pro Wrestling?

Funny how controversial Saudi “blood money” is in Golf, yet it’s been invested in the WWE for years now. There was opposition to it years ago, too, but it has since eased with the realization that money is good…

But I believe that the Saudi relationship with the WWE is going to evolve and here’s why:

(a) Eventually, the slush fund will dry up in Saudi Arabia. Yes, they have decades of money saved up in the trillions, but if I know something about the American businessman, they know how to nickel and dime anyone out of their riches. They were seriously ready to drop $800 million for an older Tiger Woods to play for LIV and that is absurd. Eventually, Saudi won’t feel the desire to pay $25 million per WWE event and start dropping that due to declining demand or wanting to save money.

(b) Could Saudi Arabia consider investing in AEW? If they ever have bad dealings with WWE, they could jump to AEW instead. AEW is celebrating $50 million being added to their revenues for the TNT AEW Collision show, so thus they’d enjoy tens of millions being invested in them by Saudi. The Khan family is from Pakistan and that country, from all of my research, seems to be in good relations with Saudi Arabia.

If I were WWE, I wouldn’t create any dependence on Saudi money. I just don’t see it being an unlimited supply, as other business ventures will take advantage of their money and they aren’t replacing the money as fast as they are losing it. There are other competing oil suppliers in the world right now that have significantly taken away market share from them.


What are your thoughts on Cody vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2023?

But I thought we were gonna see Roman Reigns vs. Cody there??? Oops…

I just don’t see the WWE having confidence in Cody Rhodes to be the #1 guy and they are prolonging this feud with Brock Lesnar to see if anyone else can step up or if they can re-push Brock Lesnar against Roman Reigns once again. There is NOTHING ready in NXT to promote, everyone on the WWE roster is tired, and none of the re-signings have panned out. Tragic what has happened to Braun Strowman.

I believe that the WWE is going to expand the Bloodline with new members soon and basically have 2 Bloodline factions competing on Smackdown while everyone else does their own thing.

As I warned all of you before Wrestlemania 39, Cody has that “AEW stench” on him that is not easily removed. Plus, Vince likes the Title on Roman.

Cody has to improve on his microphone skills, and not just on the delivery but the tone. He’s too scripted and robotic out there and lacks any real connection with fans. “So what do you want to talk about?” Just the WORST way to ever start a promo, ever.


Is it good for the WWE to have Trish Stratus as a full-time wrestler again?

Hell yeah it is! I haven’t seen too many people complaining about Edge returning, so why complain about Trish? Can she still wrestle? Yes… Can she still talk? In her unique quirky way, yes… Is she still beautiful? Girl ages like fine wine… Yes indeed. So what’s the problem here? That she’s taking a spot of a LOUSY NXT call-up? But the fact that Trish is a heel wrestler now means that she’ll put over other wrestlers, which is a good thing.

Let’s start behing honest here about NXT… After Asuka, Rhea, and Bianca were called up, what’s left of the NXT women’s division? The recruiting and development have actually been lacking regarding women’s wrestling, which suggests that the past talents were exceptional and maybe something is off on the women’s side of the Performance Center, too?

That’s why you need a great veteran, like Trish, to help fill the gap as the WWE configures who is next to push. Then, they can use a heel Trish to put them over…


Thank you to all of my loyal readers throughout the many years. Thanks for reading!

And just chill… ‘Til the next episode!

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