ASK TITO: Follow-up on Chris Jericho, NXT vs. AEW Viewership, Hogan as President?, and More

Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing where I take your questions about current events and provide my snappy answers. Man, I can’t wait for SummerSlam to arrive, as the WWE is just treading water without many of their top stars. Back in the day, Sid and Shawn Michaels were MOCKED for attempting to take summers off, but now it’s regular for top wrestlers to do so. “Softball Sid”, how about “Relaxing Roman”? Sid worked more matches, per year, than Sid and yet Sid is the one with the stigma for not wanting to wrestle.

Of course, Roman only has to wrestle a handful of matches and he draws a ton of money… I don’t mind, as it subscribes to my premise of “LESS is MORE”. Working on television shows is irrelevant these days. Just appear on top Pay Per Views with a great performance, and I’ll forgive you.

Now, onto more pressing matters… A few days ago, I wrote a column titled “In Defense of Chris Jericho’s Recent AEW Activity…” in which I came to Jericho’s defense despite the onslaught of online attacks about his physical condition, his storyline and/or gimmick, or his or his family’s political views. You know, it’s funny… When you PRAISE a wrestler or COME TO THE DEFENSE OF, they don’t call you out… But if you saw just ONE “negative” thing about a wrestler, they’ll come after you. Isn’t that funny?

Or what’s even more hilarious is that before 2019, I had about 19 years of PRAISING Chris Jericho as an in-ring talent, which he never commented on, and then one day I made mention that pro wrestling takes care of veterans because their microphone skills and charisma can carry them deep into their 40s despite their “deteriorating in-ring skills” as a physical performer. I made the comparison with Pro Wrestling to UFC, whereas in UFC, if you hit your 40s, you’re likely gone but wrestlers can keep going. As you’ve seen lately, into their early 50s now. Jericho made a point to attack me with this Tweet:


Funny how @titowrestling, @wai0937 & @sempervive talk about my “deteriorating in-ring skills”, yet according to their guru & hero @davemeltzerWON, I’ve yet to have less than a 4 Star match in almost 2 YEARS…. #LeChampion #BetterThanThe90s


The irony is that now that everyone is hammering your current AEW performances, the one guy who has ALWAYS had your back since I began writing columns during October 1998 still has your back. But no need to pat me on the back for that.

Now, onto you, the NoDQ audience… Many of you Jericho Haters were trying to shame me about my column, saying “how dare you defend Jericho’s recent AEW work” or even trying to push the online conspiracy about whatever allegations that a loose reporter tried to push and soon backed off due to legal threats. I’m not going to speak on the latter part, as I actually believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and online chatter means jack and squat to me.

But as for Jericho’s recent AEW activity… Again, as my column posted specifically, Chris Jericho can only sign the contracts that are placed in front of him and perform inside the ring as his bosses allow.

Folks, this is a lesson that I learned many, many years ago and I’m going to forward that onto you. If you read my earliest columns, I actually hammered the wrestlers rather than the management or promoters. I was quite critical of wrestlers and their in-ring performances, prompting many of them to call me out on their websites (before those were filtered), their early Real Player podcasts (before those were filtered, remember Real Player?), or they’d email me personally and not always in the best tone of voice. Many of the wrestlers were reasonably nice and suggested “I’m working as hard as I can out there, but I can’t blossom like a flower if I don’t get enough sunlight or water”. That’s an exact quote from a WWE midcarder during the early 2000s, by the way, that was personally emailed to me and I never forgot it.

And that wrestler was right. You don’t get to the WWE without being a hard worker because the WWE schedule, especially back then, was super demanding. Most wrestlers keep in superb shape and can work a great match, but it’s positioning on the card that matters. Gimmicks and storylines matter beforehand, while in-ring time for promos or actual matches matter afterward. If a promoter shortchanges you on any of those, no matter how talented you are, it’s an uphill battle to get over and get promoted higher on the card.

Hence, why I have mad respect for any wrestlers who rose above the Stephanie McMahon led Creative Team full of ex-Hollywood writers and got over. Chris Jericho is one such wrestler and he did it repeatedly! Jericho re-invented himself multiple times despite the WWE Creative Team that was in his way. However, unlike in AEW, Chris Jericho had Vince McMahon as his “final boss” in WWE and Vince was good at adding big picture tweaks to your characters. Certainly, we could argue that Vince McMahon would prune the bad parts of the Learning Tree to help Chris, compared to Tony Khan who cannot see the forest for the trees… BUT, we’ve seen Vince add negatively to characters, too.

Again, if you think that Chris Jericho’s recent on-screen activity is subpart, stop blaming Chris and begin blaming Tony Khan and the EVPs that aren’t filtering it. If you give any wrestler an inch, they’ll take a mile… If they don’t know where to drive, they’ll go no where or down the wrong path. And if you don’t water or provide that flower with sunshine, they’ll fail to blossom.

Do you haters at NoDQ get that now?

Simply put, Chris Jericho is going to sign any contract that he’s given, and use as much creative freedom that he’s given. On the latter point, if unchecked by upper management, then maybe the quality has a chance to fall off. That’s why Pro Wrestling SHOULD be a collaborative affair, where a TEAM, including creative and wrestlers, work together to put out a quality product. If one side gets their way, meaning that creative is too controlling or the wrestler has input unchecked, then quality issues could occur. WWE is thriving right now because Triple H builds trust with all of his direct reports, delegates authority, and empowers wrestlers to have a bigger say in their characters. A true team effort.

On the other matters, I don’t agree with Jericho or his family on their politics. Yes, it’s concerning that his family was at January 6th, but as far as we know, they didn’t storm the Capitol with the others and everybody has a right to protest. The protesters who stormed the Capitol took it too far and should be punished as such, and so should the WWE Hall of Famer that encouraged them. But for all of you pushing that other online conspiracy about Jericho, you need to understand the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” especially for someone who doesn’t have a history of the accused lewd behavior. For example, when Vince McMahon’s allegations came out, there wasn’t as much shock because he has openly admitted to cheating on his wife and has a past of allegations thrown at him. Chris doesn’t, so let’s not immediately believe online chatter when it’s posted and then said “news reporter” backs off on it days later.

By the way, I meant 100% on what I said about you body shaming Chris. LOOK IN THE MIRROR yourselves, as I guarantee your younger body looks worse than his 50-something one. And I guarantee you’d be exhausted running the ring ropes like he does.

You guys are lunatics… Some of you have the NERVE to call me cynical.

Onto your questions.


What are your thoughts on NXT beating AEW in viewership this week?

But but but but but AEW Dynamite beat NXT by 0.01 points in the precious 18-49 demographic. If you know statistics, that’s within the “margin of error”.

Congrats to NXT… This is a situation of NXT growing and AEW declining. You can blame the NBA Finals all you want, but it’s a FACT that during previous years, AEW Dynamite drew better against the NBA Finals and the NBA Finals themselves have declined in viewership. Getting less than 700,000 shows there is a disconnect with viewers, especially compared to consistently being over 800,000 or 900,000 during previous years against the NBA Finals. Again, the “buck stops here” with Tony Khan and the EVPs. It should be their job to make improvements to the product and put wrestlers in a better position to succeed.

Kudos to Shawn Michaels. Personally, I didn’t think he had it in him as NXT showrunner as I believed that Shawn was too naturally talented and gifted as an athlete that he unable to teach that to younger wrestling students. With time, he has figured it out. NXT, overall, is a fun show. Sure, the wrestlers need more experience, but the matches are built to protect and teach them at the same time while the storylines are logical and have conclusions.

In my opinion, NXT is going to THRIVE on the CW Network with its reach of about 100 million households in the United States and for the fact that the network can be viewed for free by most. For example, I cut cable during 2015 but I retain the ability to get local NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, CW, and PBS channels for free with a digital antenna. I believe most are like me and will access to this NXT show, especially if on Monday through Thursday in prime time.

What’s harming AEW is the opposite of what’s building NXT. NXT is pushing fresh faces and developing younger talent into stars. AEW doesn’t have a developmental system for newer stars to arrive and is totally dependent on signed free agents to draw for them instead. Adam Copeland, Mercedes Moné, Will Ospreay, and Okada, along with others signed for the past few years haven’t drawn for them. And those wrestlers are placed in bad positions to succeed, as Okada looks like a goof with the Young Bucks, Mercedes is struggling with bad angles and promos, and Adam Copeland broke his leg taking a high risk move that he shouldn’t be taking at his age. Will Ospreay’s in-ring has been great, but calling out Triple H on live television has hurt his image.

AEW, ultimately, is going to be lucky that content providers are desperate for live sports content and will probably get their money (I’m guessing $125 million per year by WBD), but their long-term plan for growth will ultimately defeat them. You’ve gotta rebuild your roster with youth and then utilize the veterans for feuds and teaching the younger performers how to work the main event styles that draw. AEW doesn’t develop wrestlers and lets wrestlers hurt themselves taking multiple high risk maneuvers per match. So yeah, I see those year 2000 comparisons with WCW where WCW has nothing to offer long-term and that’s what killed WCW.


What are your predictions on WWE’s Clash at the Castle: Scotland?

I hate making predictions on PPVs/PLEs and furthermore, this question is late because this event may be occurring or ending as you read this.

Here are my quick predictions:

As a reward for signing a new WWE contract, Chad Gable will defeat Sami Zayn to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Ironic, too, because Gable couldn’t beat Gunther for this title yet he can defeat Zayn. I guess you could attribute this to being a mismatch, such as the Timberwolves somehow defeating the Denver Nuggets but struggling mightily to play against the Dallas Mavericks.

Drew McIntyre will win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to set-up the feud with CM Punk that may actually headline SummerSlam 2024 if Rock or Roman aren’t present on the show. I think the Damian Priest experiment is over, as at the very least, he successfully cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcast to keep that idea dangerous against future champions, especially at Wrestlemania. Drew and Punk are gonna draw HUGE money! As long as Punk stays healthy…

I would LAUGH if AJ Styles defeated Cody Rhodes, I really would. After Cody scores big wins over Brock, Seth, and Roman, it’s AJ Styles who is his Krytonite. While I salute Styles as a talent, Cody needs a stronger present opponent such as Randy Orton, John Cena, a returning Roman, or a returning Rock to solidify this title reign. Having strong dance partners matter, no matter who is champion. How did Hulk Hogan draw again against Sgt. Slaughter during 1991? Oh yeah, he struggled and WWE literally tried to have Desert Storm in a wrestling ring. Hogan drew quite well with Andre, Piper, Mr. Wonderful, Ultimate Warrior, and Macho Man. Cody should defeat AJ Styles and move on to a better opponent in their prime and higher drawing stature.

I just don’t see Bayley losing to Piper… They’ll keep the title on Bayley and make a stronger match for SummerSlam.

So there you go.


Would Hulk Hogan have a chance to become President of the United States?

During 2015, I laughed when Donald Trump announced he was running for President but I wasn’t laughing when he actually won it.

THAT SAID, after what Hulk Hogan said on tape with the many racial slurs and also how much he either lies about or misremembers his past career, he wouldn’t make it as a candidate.

Trump won because he tapped into a political movement that Sarah Palin discovered during 2008 and that’s a hard-right that are easily stoked by fears and believes that many things are conspiracies. Furthermore, he appeared, back then, to have credibility as a business man to deliver something different to the American people. Well, he did deliver something different… But we’re not getting into that, but we’re getting into WHY Trump won during 2016. Trump wasn’t afraid of saying anything, he spoke to many American manufacturing workers who felt they weren’t heard, and he wasn’t afraid to disagree with his own party. Plus, you didn’t know Trump’s full baggage and when stuff came out, Inside Hollywood video, he’d hit you right back with something else (bringing up Bill Clinton’s baggage during debate #2 against Hillary).

Hulk Hogan isn’t tapping into any political movements, nor would he have any credibility or persuasiveness to do so. Hogan is just talking crap at this point, looking for new ways to remain relevant. Remember, he acted like he was running for President in 1999, too.

What we need in Washington are fewer celebrities running and more competent along with experienced candidates instead. We don’t need more of them. Guys like the Rock or Hogan need to prove themselves as political leaders first elsewhere, on a smaller level like a Mayor, Governor, House/Senate member, etc. before daring to take the President job. Sorry, but 2017-2020’s experiment has created pain and scars that we may never recover from and may regret trying again. We need adults in the room, not people who watched on television as their “experience” being a “great leader”.

No thank you to Hulk Hogan as President of the United States. Brother.


What are your thoughts on the most recent episode of “Who Killed WCW”?

Just more crap… I always laugh when Bret Hart starts attacking Bill Goldberg, something of which I addressed in my recent Older Bret Hart and Ric Flair Need to Forgive or Let the Past Go column. It is a FACT that after Bret Hart wrestled Bill Goldberg at Starrcade 1999, Bret wrestled NINE matches in 22 days.

Did you catch that? Bret Hart wrestled NINE matches in 22 days after Bill Goldberg “retired him”.

That includes wrestling “dangerous” Bill Goldberg on the WCW Nitro on the night after Starrcade 1999.

I know that a lot of people love and appreciate Bret Hart, but nobody is exactly right all of the time. Including yours truly…

Sure, if Bret was out of action after Starrcade 1999 and never returned, I’d believe him… But he wrestled NINE TIMES in 22 DAYS following WCW Starrcade 1999:

12/20/99 vs. Bill Goldberg
12/21/99 vs. Chris Benoit
12/27/99 vs. Jerry Flynn
1/4/00 vs. Terry Funk in a Hardcore Match
1/6/00 vs. Sid Vicious (Cagematch suggests this was against Ric Flair)
1/7/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/8/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/9/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/10/00 vs. Kevin Nash

And he wrestled 6 matches in 7 days to finish up with WCW.

Just remember, this “Who Killed WCW” stuff is a television show and it’s allowing creative liberty of the speakers to say whatever as long as they participate on the show.

If you read what I said above, pro wrestlers can only sign contracts presented to them and perform inside the ring the way their promoters allow them. Bill Goldberg getting put out there and pushed hard early was an Eric Bischoff decision, so don’t be blaming Goldberg for WCW’s downfall. Fact is that Goldberg has drawn well for 20+ years beyond his WCW run proves that HE wasn’t the problem.

Seems to me that the show’s tone is having Eric Bischoff having self-assessments on what he could have done or what he should have done, while trying to place full blame on Time Warner’s corporate moves or eventually Vince Russo. That’s utter crap… Time Warner took over through 1996 and heavily supported WCW financially during 1997-1999 and paid for many wrestlers, increased production costs, and paid heavily for that new WCW logo and set during 1999.

The idiotic thing brought up was that Time Warner gave WCW their Thunder show on Thursday, but “didn’t want to pay for it”. Huh? How does that make sense with WCW is owned by Time Warner? WCW is a cost center and production costs for WCW Thunder should be offset by revenue generated by WCW Thunder being on TBS. You know, SPONSORS. Time Warner isn’t going to pay television rights when they freakin’ own WCW and TBS. What kind of morons would even say this, let alone believe it? The reason that WCW Thunder began losing money for WCW because IT DIDN’T DRAW RATINGS and caused sponsorship money to go down.

Can we get an independent fact check for this show?

Just to get ahead of the next story, blaming Vince Russo for WCW’s downfall is idiotic. He could have had the BEST storylines ever during the year 2000 but WCW still had too many expenses dragging them down. Furthermore, the TRUST was lost by WCW and wrestling fans during 1999, particularly the first half of 1999 where utter crap was pushed or recycled.

What grew WCW was Eric Bischoff from 1993-1996. He did an amazing job re-establishing WCW and giving us the best storyline ever with the NWO. That’s a fact that I cannot deny and I total appreciate Bischoff for his efforts.

What KILLED WCW was also Eric Bischoff from 1997-1999. He became an on-screen character with the NWO and his ego grew along with it, insomuch that his focus went from managing WCW as a company to focusing in on what his on-screen NWO character could do and how to keep the NWO brand strong. While he did that, he ignored what made WCW great during 1996 and suffocated any younger wrestlers from ever rising up to become top stars. Creative was completely half-assed because again, Bischoff stopped caring about quality when he had to focus on himself looking great as the NWO leader.

I’m just going to come out and say it… This show sucks. “Who Killed WCW” is just another one of these talking head shows that never looks at factual evidence and just has a bunch of finger pointing.

I already know WHO killed WCW, so I don’t need to cover this awful series any longer.


Thoughts on Jeff Hardy returning to TNA?

Good for him… AEW didn’t do himself or his brother any favors as veterans, so thus go somewhere else to prove yourself. To their credit, both Hardys had some fun in TNA during times and fans were receptive to the stuff they tried. Also had a few dark times, such as the Sting vs. Jeff Hardy match.

I really think that if we keep this WWE and TNA relationship going, it would be fun to see a TNA team of Matt and Jeff Hardy take on the NXT Tag Champions in a series of matches. I think that’s the true value of the Hardy Boyz team is to work with and put over younger teams in thrilling matches. Despite all of their bumps, both guys can somehow still go.

I’m pretty excited to see where this TNA and WWE relationship could go and I think it could be incredible fuel to help the NXT CW show coming up this fall.

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