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The Excellence in Column Writing has returned for the Weekend to answer your questions generated from Emails, Twitter, and the Comments below… Yeah, I took my first weekend off since joining NoDQ.com during early August 2020 for these “Ask Tito” columns. I was doing a home improvement project all week at my house and was physically exhausted by the time the weekend arrived. But don’t worry, I’m back and we’ll continue our 2-column-per-week schedule as intended. Very few writers online are that consistently generating columns or are still doing it.
Lots to cover in this week’s “Ask Tito” column, so rather than giving you a long intro, I’m just going to get right into your questions:
ASK MR. TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
Where do you think that Daniel Bryan will go after his WWE contract reportedly expired?
First of all, the WWE doesn’t just let their contracts expire for any wrestlers that they want to retain. WWE has no intentions of letting Bryan walk on the open market but it’s Bryan’s intentions of trying something new. Thus, because Bryan didn’t want to re-sign with the WWE, the contract expired.
Now, will he join AEW or Impact. No way, unless they threw serious money at him. However, the Bella train makes too much money with the WWE to want to upset that apple cart.
Daniel Bryan has a competitive thirst to wrestle different styles that he cannot satisfy within the WWE. Being signed with the WWE, he has to be exclusive to that company and cannot work elsewhere. WWE wasn’t going to allow him to work elsewhere and thus the contract had to expire.
I believe that Daniel Bryan is going to have a big event stint with New Japan, kind of like Chris Jericho had for a while after his WWE career ended. Bryan won’t be staying in Japan for long, as he’ll just fly in for a big event and then leave afterward. Thus, he can be the family man that he always wanted to be.
However – I also feel that Daniel Bryan could maybe start his own one-off Pay Per View events to satisfy the type of wrestling that he wants to perform. Jim Cornette has been suggesting this on his Podcast for a while in that many of these free agent top name wrestlers should just ignore AEW and WWE to perform their own show, much like Cody and the Young Bucks did with their “All In” show during 2018. For example, if Daniel Bryan promoted a one-off Pay Per View headlined by himself versus a returning CM Punk… Would you buy it? My money would leave my wallet so fast in that case…
I could see Bryan (and maybe Punk, maybe Samoa Joe too) returning to their old stomping grounds with Ring of Honor to help that promotion.
Daniel Bryan will “get stuff out of his basement” for the next year and then make a triumphant return to the WWE. As long as he doesn’t join AEW especially, he can still appear on Total Bellas. He can continue to do his thing to support his wife while doing his own thing in Japan, the independents, or maybe one-off wrestling shows.
Sorry, but AEW would be bad for him… That is nobody in that promotion who could keep up with him and he’d do a ton of carrying for their marginal talents as well.
Thoughts on AEW Dynamite’s viewership numbers this week?
Plenty… Think about how HARD AEW worked just to achieve 1,090,000 viewers this week for their Dynamite show. They had to feature a War Games like violent cage match, which they advertised as happening for weeks… And it only gained them just over 100,000 viewers from the last week. THAT’S IT.
So what happens next week when you don’t have a specialty gimmick match full of violence?
3 weeks ago, they had Mike Tyson featured in a big spot on their show.
You’re running out of gimmicks, AEW, just to attempt to show everyone that NXT was the reason why your viewership numbers were sluggish on Wednesday nights. Tony Khan needs to either ask Arn Anderson or watch the Monday Night Wars WWE Network show where Arn states a significant reason why WCW fell: they gave away big matches for free weekly on Nitro and in the end, they ran out of matches or match-ups to push. Everybody has already fought each other multiple times on AEW by now and nothing is special.
And of course, the AEW marks are GUSHING over being the #1 18-49 Demographic show for Wednesday night. Yet, for TOTAL VIEWERS, they were 19th in ranking. What now, bro? That puny 0.42 rating equates to just under 500,000 viewers. So what? That is sad and it’s indicative of AEW’s reliance on that demographic: FEWER younger people are subscribing to Cable/Satellite. Congrats on impressing the few that might have it or have it with their parents. Good job, AEW!
We’ll see on next week… As these long Summer days come along and wrestling fans become desensitized by AEW’s gimmicks or surprises, the ratings will dip back below 1,000,000 and then permanently reside under 900,000 again, maybe lower. Then, the NHL is going to want that Wednesday Night timeslot on TNT during the Fall and AT&T/Turner Sports will REFUSE to let AEW run opposition to that. If I were a stock broker, I’d advise to SELL right now while AEW appears to have peaked and may be on the downward slide unless they debut a major free agent to briefly save them (CM Punk, for example).
What did you think about Mick Foley’s urging of the WWE to create a separate all-female wrestling brand?
Question for Mick Foley: Have you seen the WNBA?
Look, I love Mick Foley and I have been a fan and supporter of his for decades now. But the facts are not there to prove that the Women’s Division could draw on its own. Remember, it took signing Ronda Rousey to push them into that Wrestlemania 35 Main Event but even her UFC past didn’t draw that strong for WWE long-term.
Remember that WWE Evolution all-women’s Pay Per View? It was held in a smaller New York City area and still couldn’t sell that place out.
Yes, women’s wrestling has greatly improved since the women were once called “Divas”… But the issue remains athleticism. The fact is that women do not move as fast, jump as high, or are as strong as men in the same size ring. It’s the same difference that we see with NBA and WNBA, as you have grown men dunking in the NBA and lots of layups in the WNBA. Just watch the recent Royal Rumbles. The women aren’t even shoulder length with the top-rope inside the WWE ring. Some of those eliminations are pure struggles for women to accomplish because they are (a) not tall enough and (b) their fellow wrestlers aren’t strong enough to toss them.
And let’s just talk facts… “Divas Revolution” was during mid 2015, at around the time when the WWE was barely hanging onto 4 million viewers for RAW. Now, RAW is barely hanging onto 2 million viewers. Now, I don’t 100% blame that on women, which I covered in my last column about Roman Reigns, but RAW and Smackdown have quarter hour measurements and women’s wrestling isn’t drawing. Why do you think that WWE is giving another chance to Eva Marie for? Not for her in-ring work, but the sizzle that her character and looks can draw for the male audience.
I love you, Mick, but creating another WWE brand would just water down the WWE as they are carrying 3 separate brands now with RAW, Smackdown, and NXT. Since the WWE has devoted so much capital to women’s wrestling on the midcard, ripping women’s wrestling out of each of the shows would create voids that would take time to replace. Suddenly, the WWE would have to care again about Tag Team wrestling or their US/IC Titles. Maybe that is a good thing?
But no, an all women’s wrestling show would under-perform. Again, go ask the WNBA and how they are doing. They have YET to make a profit as a league and are highly dependent on funds transferred to them by the NBA.
Speaking of women…
What do you think of Eva Marie’s return to the WWE?
She reportedly signed last year, so for anyone thinking that WWE can “cut Mickie James, Iconics, & Chelsea Green and then sign Eva Marie after that” is wrong. And yeah, many are then mad that Eva missed the 4/15 cuts. What many probably don’t realize is that Eva Marie, because she’s on a 2nd chance contract, is probably being paid little in comparison to Mickie, Peyton, and Billie who have been on the main WWE roster for a while. Chelsea Green never received a legit chance on the WWE roster, but she got injured on her first night on the WWE main roster and her recent complaints on social media about being used probably did her no favors.
With that said, I’m in favor of Eva Marie getting a second chance. I’ve been following her on Instagram and she’s in amazing physical shape. On top of that, she appears to have her personal life together. Then, most of you will ask “but can she wrestle?” and my response would be “could either of the Iconics ever wrestle?”. Seriously, Peyton and Billie were the least confident wrestlers that I have ever seen wrestle. Neither one seemed like they were an athlete before trying pro wrestling, as their body language just seemed awkward taking bumps and executing moves. Character wise, nothing clicked with the audience whether it was the Iconics or Billie Kay’s weird character that made everyone cringe at the 2021 Royal Rumble match.
When Eva Marie was last here, she was getting heel heat for her character just based on her existence, attitude, and look. Now, whether that was the “negative go home” heat or not, we’ll see… But this Eva Marie seems to be quite motivated to prove herself and why not give her the chance? And if you don’t think she has potential, just watch that NXT match she had with Bayley where everyone and their mother were scared that she’d win the NXT Title. “The most fun I have ever had in a match” is what Bayley told Steve Austin on his Podcast. Eva Marie has that Sable-esque quality to her, and not just for the looks, but how she carries herself and presents her attitude to the fans.
Just give her a chance… She’s on a cheap WWE deal and they can dispose of her easily if she fails again.
Meanwhile, where were all of you Mickie James, Iconics, and Chelsea Green fans BEFORE they were cut? And we’ve seen this before, such as the online wrestling fans being “upset” at 2020’s 4/15 cuts too. When those wrestlers NEEDED YOU THE MOST was BEFORE they were cut, as if you happened to show fan support for them beforehand (buy their merchandise, theme songs, speak about them on Social Media, like their YouTube clips, or never change they channel when they appear on TV), they would still be with the WWE. Quit giving Eva Marie crap for something that you DIDN’T DO before the 4/15 cuts.
Who is the greater Pro Wrestler? Bret Hart or Triple H?
Honestly, this has been a tough question posed to me throughout my “career” as a columnist. When I do my All Time Top 10 wrestlers list (or at least of the Wrestlemania era), it’s usually either Bret Hart or Triple H taking the 10th spot.
In my view, neither guy was a top draw. Bret wasn’t a strong draw here in the United States (did better internationally, oddly enough) from 1993-1996 and that caused the WWE to give Yokozuna and Diesel a try. Also caused the WWE to headline multiple events with the Undertaker in the main event, too. However, I give Bret Hart a ton of credit for his 1997 heel character which helped build up Steve Austin into a major superstar at a faster pace than what was inevitable. Triple H had a great year 2000 where he had to step in for a missing Steve Austin and did well. In my opinion, HHH was never the same after his 2001 quad tear as he returned during 2002 with too much muscle mass and could barely move with that injured leg.
Triple H, however, has longevity as a top guy over Bret Hart and thus has many more remembered matches than the Hitman. Even in his older days, Triple H can still pump out a good match… Personally for me, if you were to hand me a DVD collection of either guy’s matches, I’ll take Triple H’s. Bret was certainly a victim of a bad era of business, which may have caused faith to be lost in him as champion… If you look at the start of 1992 and the end of 1992, many big names just disappeared from the WWE (Hogan, Sid, Flair, Warrior, Piper, etc). He had huge shoes to fill… Maybe if Bret had better opponents, I’d consider him as being the better of the two. Triple H has ALWAYS had a stacked roster of opponents to wrestle.
Honestly, I’m in a toss-up between these two… I’d probably lean towards Bret Hart for being a better pure worker, but in terms of charisma and promos, I’m leaning towards Triple H. In-ring psychology is about the same. If Bret Hart had a better impact on WCW, then maybe that would be the tipping point for me. He seemed miserable there and it just didn’t translate into strong matches, regardless of booking.
What is your opinion of the A&E Biography shows on wrestling so far?
Recently, A&E debuted 3 new “Biography” shows featuring wrestlers: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, and Macho Man Randy Savage. Overall, I enjoyed them… Lots of older names and family members came together to help discuss the past contributions of these wrestlers. Yeah, there were some inaccuracies of their earlier careers, but the records of the Territory days are not perfect and even the wrestlers have a few things mixed up in their own books.
I thought that Austin’s was very positive towards him… They didn’t dare dip into the dark side of his life, particularly the Debra McMichael stuff. Which I would have been fine with if they didn’t dig deep in to the darker sides of Piper and especially Macho Man. But Austin remains a live and has a say in how A&E presents him.
I thought Roddy Piper’s was excellent and it was his family members who helped discuss his life and even the aftermath of his career. Roddy had a tough last 15 years of his life once his peak wrestling years were over. One thing that I’ve never heard about Roddy is that maybe he endured too many concussions that helped take him to dark places. In my opinion, ALL WRESTLERS should THANK Roddy Piper for speaking out during that HBO Real Sports 2003 interview. While it blackballed him from the WWE briefly, the second that Eddie Guerrero died, the WWE immediately put a Wellness Policy into place. It took balls for Roddy to say that and with the WWE terminating him briefly, it validated what Roddy said. When Benoit went nuclear during 2007, it further validated what Piper said.
With Macho Man, I agree with most of the critics… WAY TOO MANY talking heads on his program and the show wasn’t as organized as Austin or Piper’s. Show had some great moments but also had some very dark ones as well, particularly anything mentioning Macho Man’s relationships with women. I wonder how much Lanny Poffo had a say in this piece, as some of the stuff with Miss Elizabeth and especially Gorgeous George were very revealing about Savage’s controlling measures over women. Again, as I stated here with consistency… If you’re going to nail Macho with what he did with Elizabeth/George, you have to present that side of Austin too with Debra. But again, Macho isn’t alive to say “NO” to those stories being allowed to air.
They were enjoyable to watch, for the most part… The more wrestling content from the past that gets presented on networks, the better. Goes to show how much the older stuff draws versus the newer stuff.
While I’m on the documentary discussion, the Brian Pillman “Dark Side of the Ring” show was quite dark. That stuff with Melanie Pillman, wow… Just rough stuff that nobody should ever endure. Just messed up and I fear that airing that dirty laundry in public will just stir up more stuff with the family members.
What is our opinion of YouTube Channels receiving copyright strikes for displaying WWE or AEW video?
It was deserved. Sorry, but WWE and AEW own their own footage. They pay for the talent on screen, the camera equipment, the lighting and stage props, and they are paying for the entire production staff making it possible. Those who are taking clips and placing them on their monetized YouTube channel are not. That’s the biggest issue at play is that the majority of those howling about the copyright strikes had their videos using WWE/AEW footage monetized on YouTube.
And then someone will argue “what about fair use”? Fair Use has been debated in the courts to allow for copyrighted material to be used if someone presents it with a criticism, uses it as a valid news report, or uses it for instructional video with students. HOWEVER – Where this line gets blurred is when Sports or Entertainment entities are charging TV networks RIGHTS FEES to air their content. ESPN, for example, has to pay the NFL and NBA fees just to air their clips on SportsCenter. Thus, your theory of “fair use” is shot down by that example when exclusive television rights are involved.
But most aren’t using them for the pure definition of “fair use”. They are just displaying the clips and many are using editing tricks to hide them from a copyright strike.
If you’re talented enough on camera, you do NOT need to use other people’s stuff… You should be able to creatively creative your own content without the need of copyrighted material. You could also legitimately seek permission… Why not?
I’m probably sounding like “Old Man Tito” here but if you spend money to film content with paid actors (or wrestlers), then it is your content to dictate how and where that is monetized. WWE, AEW, NFL, and NBA are investing the money into the production of these events or games and thus should see benefit from said investment. If your YouTube clips subtracts from the viewership of those events or games, then the WWE, AEW, NFL, or NBA has a real valid claim against your posted stuff.
Besides, everyone should enjoy that AEW’s legal team is getting aggressive in covering up “botch” videos. It proves how sensitive and thin skilled Tony and his EVPs are at covering up their awful booking and sloppy matches. You should celebrate this as proof that they internally know what is broken yet refuse to fix it. And THAT is why they’ll eventually settle into becoming PERMANENTLY under 1 million viewers for AEW Dynamite (unless they sign CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, or John Cena).
I know plenty of YouTube channels who have Pro Wrestling content yet don’t use footage. Lots of subscribers and are monetized… Just be creative and you’ll get there.
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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