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20 years ago, it was September 11th, 2001… And I was a daily columnist for Lords of Pain back then. True story about 9/11… I missed the entire thing because I had an 8am to 10am college class and we were completely oblivious to what happened. After my college course ended, I headed to the computer lab were everybody was in a panic and I couldn’t see what was happening because all of the top news sites were down.
So I went home and after seeing clips of the attack on 9/11, I wrote the following on 9/11/2001:
Welcome to an unfortunate edition of the Phat Daily Column. I say unfortunate because of the sickening terrorist attack that has occurred in New York City and Washington DC. If you don’t know what’s going on, please tune into CNN, FOX News, or any other news channel. It doesn’t look good, and I don’t really feel like writing this column with the events unfolding.
Let’s get on to the PDC, to maybe take my mind off of this terrible tragedy.
PDC = “Phat Daily Column”, for those who weren’t with me back then. And after that message, I pasted a pre-written column that I prepared that reviewed WWE’s Monday Night RAW the previous night. That RAW show appeared to be full of WCW/ECW Invasion stuff and it looked horrible from my review. For the rest of the week, I just posted “Best of” columns until wrestling began to run its regular programming again.
I often wonder if we have learned much about the world since that fateful day, 20 years ago… I don’t know, man, as I look at the Debt that we’ve racked up, human lives lost, chaos still in the Middle East despite our nation building, how fearful everyone still remains, and how politically divided we have become. Wrestling wise, I don’t think that the attacks had that much of an effect other than censoring any characters relating to those attacks (the Muhammad Hassan character in particular). However, during September 2001, the WWE was in full stride as the only remaining wrestling superpower and they’ve been that way for 20 years.
Maybe until now.
Right now, I’m getting bashed heavily for being a “AEW mark” yet those idiot haters have not read my column links below. While I do show leniency because AEW is a start-up company, I’ve been heavily critical of Tony and in particular the EVPs that he put in place. READ MY COLUMN LINKS BELOW… However, in the past few months, he has righted the ship creatively, learning from the “Exploding Ring” moment as if that was his “WCW Uncensored 1996” moment and setting the stage for HUGE signings with CM Punk, Ruby Soho, Daniel Bryan, and Adam Cole. The whole internet was critical of AEW’s talent roster and now that they’ve signed some legitimate wrestlers and/or stars, I hear nothing but “AEW’s roster has too many people”. Which is it? Do they lack talent or do they now have too much talent?
Meanwhile, those same Tito haters who are somehow claiming that I’m an “AEW Mark” are clinging to their WWE flag. Yet, if you look at their own Social Media comments or other remarks, those same people have been complaining about the WWE for years. Huh? You wanted Vince McMahon to step down yet now you think that AEW is complete garbage? Huh?
Again, READ MY COLUMNS… I’ve been entirely fair on assessing both WWE and AEW. Am I rooting for AEW to succeed? Of course because competition breeds quality in Pro Wrestling. Am I excited about CM Punk joining AEW? Damn straight… But AEW is still a promotion where Cody, Omega, and the Bucks have major say backstage and some of their stuff has not been in the best interests for their characters or their companies. We’ll see how things work now that major free agents, such as Punk & Bryan, are now lurking around and possibly making more than the EVPs (maybe not).
For WWE, I cannot stand watching RAW. It’s complete garbage, as wrestlers there look tired & bored to be there and the Creative is insulting. You cannot pay me to watch 3 hours of that crap on Monday Night. NXT hasn’t been great since they began airing 2 hour shows on USA Network. It completely exposed their crash TV Indy spot style that appeared fun for 3-4 Takeover shows per year. I wish Triple H a speedy recovery for recent cardiac issues, but there’s a reason why he has been demoted from virtually every backstage WWE job that he’s had in the last 10 years. When Kevin Owens and Finn Balor are all that your NXT promotion can produce as future WWE champions, you’re NOT doing a good job there signing and grooming stars, let alone filling 2 hours of Prime Time television on the USA Network.
All I can stomach for the WWE is Roman Reigns, who with a heel turn, going unscripted, now 10 years of experience, and Paul Heyman assisting, has finally clicked into place. Yet, the damage was done pushing him so hard as a #1 babyface from 2014-2020. WWE lost half of its fanbase and many disgruntled wrestlers getting to this very point of having Roman as the #1 star of the company. I’ll keep saying this over and over again… WWE better do everything in its power to limit the matches of Roman Reigns. If Roman gets injured, IT’S OVER. The Smackdown ship will begin to sink and this will hurt WWE’s chances of obtaining a better deal with FOX for 2024. Hopefully for WWE’s sake, their retooling of Talent Developmental and NXT works in about 1-2 years to restock the WWE talent pool and find that next main event superstar. If you’re plan is to push a Big E who is still stuck in his New Day midcard comedy gimmick, good luck with that one (and I like Big E).
Is that not fair analysis of what’s going on? I think so…
If not, that’s your problem for getting offended at someone who hasn’t taken your side. Sounds like politics right now.
Onto your questions…
ASK MR. TITO – Your Questions, My Answers
What are your thoughts on Kenny Omega being #1 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated(PWI)’s Top 500 Wrestlers list (the “PWI 500”)?
Does PWI need to sell magazines? Yep… So thus, they will cater to the growing wrestling audience instead of selecting the obvious #1 which should have been Roman Reigns. There’s a reason why PWI and Dave Meltzer give so much bias and praise to AEW. Both are betting on their audiences continuing to grow over the years, as they know that the WWE fanbase is currently stagnant and/or declining. In their minds, they already have WWE fans’ money…
And they know that by selecting Kenny Omega, it will stir the conversation up. This wouldn’t be the first time that PWI 500 has selected a controversial #1 and it won’t be the last.
That’s what I’d chalk it up to be. Roman Reigns is the #1 wrestler in the world right now and should be topping any list, period. He’s keeping Smackdown above 2 million viewers, beaten many top names, had better matches than Kenny, and has actually been WWE Universal Champion longer than Kenny has been AEW Champ. Technically speaking, Roman being out from April through early August is where PWI would make its primary argument, as I’m guessing this publication is probably going June through June? Even with those few months of being absent, Roman was the better wrestler and bigger draw than Kenny Omega.
Just look at the damage done to Impact Wrestling with the Kenny Omega angle. Remember the press releases about Impact FINALLY exceeding 200,000 viewers? They were so excited… Yeah, they are consistently below 150,000 viewers again and nobody is watching it on Twitch. Now that Daniel Bryan and CM Punk have arrived, it really puts the focus on what a weaker North American property that Omega is in comparison to those ex-WWE stars.
So yeah, Roman should be #1… But PWI is chasing that AEW fan dollar and also wants its magazine talked about online. Thus, I have fallen into the trap of the latter. You’re welcome, PWI!!!
Should Kevin Owens leave the WWE and join AEW?
Reportedly, Kevin Owens deal may expire during January 2022 and thus, like Adam Cole, he would become an instant free agent. Recently, Kevin Owens tweeted the coordinates to Mount Rushmore and “Mount Rushmore” was the stable that he was once in with Adam Cole and the Young Bucks at PWG. Owens quickly deleted the Tweet but popular figures need to realize that many followers screenshot their stuff…
The REAL question should be this: Should the WWE just let Kevin Owens leave and join AEW?
Can we be totally honest about Kevin Owens in the WWE? The WWE, via both NXT and WWE, has used Kevin Owens to the maximum level. For a guy who has not invested in the personal appearance side of Pro Wrestling with the farmer’s tan and YMCA basketball gear, the WWE has made him World Champion, had him defeat multiple big names on the roster, placed him in multiple high profile feuds, pushed him arguably as the best NXT Champion we have ever seen, and has multiple other midcard championships. For a guy looking like that and for someone who refuses to get into better shape, the WWE has taken care of him. Hell, they let him beat up BOTH Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon too.
WWE has got the most out of his talent… So let him go. Sami Zayn, too… Why not? Sami has been pushed to his limits by the WWE and WWE has been accommodative of him as well. How about that COVID self-quarantine that the WWE granted him without flinching. Appearances are everything, too, with Sami.
Many people are assuming that the WWE is reckless with their talent cuts from 2020 and 2021 when in reality, they aren’t… Maybe Rusev and Luke Harper releases were a mistakes, but guys like Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Matt Hardy, etc. weren’t because the WWE squeezed that turnip as much as it could for ever last drawing power that those wrestlers specifically had. If AEW is willing to sign everyone that they perceive as “Top WWE talents getting screwed”, then they are in deep trouble because WWE is quietly poisoning them.
Think that I’m wrong? WWE did the same thing to WCW during 1996-1998 before it became apparent that the WCW’s average age of their talents had gone up and their higher priced contracts commanded their Creative process. While I would argue that the losses of Scott Hall & Kevin Nash hurt the WWE in the short run, both of those guys were 2 years older by the time 1998 rolled around. In 2 years, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will be 2 years older too in their 40s. So will many of the other free agents that AEW is signing from WWE. WCW had Curt Hennig, Brian Adams, Bryan Clark, Rick Martel, Ted Dibiase, Sean Waltman, John Nord, and eventually Bret Hart after that. WWE free agents signed by WCW during 1997-1998 were eating up salary resources that by the time 1999 rolled around and WCW began losing money, those contracts were a pain point for Time Warner executives to digest.
During the Monday Night Wars, the WWE retooled their talent roster via Jim Ross’s new developmental systems and utilizing scouting programs throughout the country to sign athletes that they could use Dory Funk Jr. or Jim Cornette/Danny Davis/Rip Rogers to train up to become wrestlers. It was a “silent killer” because by 1998, WWE’s roster began to thicken up on younger talent that it had trained and acquired while WCW’s roster was full of free agent signings. Then, the younger wrestlers in WCW became discouraged by the scene and began bolting to the WWE by 1999 (Paul Wight, Chris Jericho).
If I were Kevin Owens, I’d look in the mirror and think back on his NXT/WWE career. Did he really have it that bad? I don’t think so… Maybe that Braun Strowman feud was a bit goofy, but for the most part, the WWE maximized his talent usage on WWE television. Does he really want to join WCW and become the next veteran acquisition that gets lost in the fold? And from what I understand about both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and I’m strictly going by reports of their Ring of Honor days (Jim Cornette and other ROH officials reporting), they can get quite vocal backstage if they feel that they are being misused by Creative. While WWE has controlled both guys (or actually used them to their maximum abilities + paying them well), the much more free and less controlled backstage area in AEW might be a recipe for disaster for both.
If I were WWE, I’d probably let him go… I don’t know what else that you could do with Kevin Owens that hasn’t been done before, given his talents already on display. He has fought everybody on that roster already. In AEW, he’d do what exactly? Sure, he’d cut great promos… Wrestling wise, we’ve already seen it all and thus he would just be padding their depth at best.
In my opinion, the WWE still hasn’t maximized on what Kevin Owens COULD be. I’ve said this for years and there’s a way to justify his farmer’s tan + YMCA Basketball look… He’s a Dad, just like many of the older fans. In my opinion, he could be pushed like Dusty Rhodes as a “common man” whom the fans could look up to. Instead, he’s often overpushed as an evil heel or a loudmouth. When he won the title and shared the title with his family (didn’t one idiot ESPN commentator make fun of that?) and also alluded to his family during the John Cena feud, that was the closest we ever got to it. Kevin is father who is working a difficult job while maintaining a successful and thriving family at home. THAT is something that relates to most older wrestling fans right now. If WWE would just push that hard as a babyface, he’d get quite well.
But WWE chooses not to maximize wrestler’s real lives into their storylines and thus allows their idiot crew of 40 writers on the Creative Team to shape Kevin Owens differently.
Wrestling wise, Kevin Owens has already done it all at WWE and I don’t know what else AEW could do with him if he joins in AEW. And if Owens gets lost in the fold at AEW because the roster has become too thick with former WWE employees, that’s when the vocal Kevin Steen may return along with other former WWE wrestlers who are upset that promises made to them aren’t being fulfilled by Tony Khan. Sound familiar? WCW heard many complaints by former WWE employees by 1998 that they weren’t being used well, either, and went against promises made by Eric Bischoff.
“Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it” as George Santayana once wrote during the early 1900s. Tony Khan better be careful of thickening his roster with ex-WWE wrestlers. Make sure that you sign the RIGHT ones who complement your existing presentation but also remember the AEW originals who helped get you to this point where you could sign free agents. If WWE were to be able to lure away an Adam Page, for example…
These 2020-2021 WWE releases + letting wrestlers like Kevin Owens go could be a strategy that the WWE is employing to “poison” AEW. With the WWE looking to revamp their Talent Developmental with younger, homegrown wrestlers while letting overpriced veterans go, it’s a long-term strategy that might defeat AEW in 2-3 years. WWE did the same exact thing to WCW and by 1998, WWE regained control of the wrestling industry and grew even larger because they had roster depth of younger talents that could grow with the WWE for years. AEW better have its own talent developmental instead of just signing Independent or former WWE stars or they are doomed long-term. Just like WCW…
Thoughts on the Madison Square Garden edition of Smackdown?
Basically, the WWE frontloaded the show with Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar and after that GREAT segment, it became another edition of Smackdown for me. Reigns and Lesnar are so ABOVE and BEYOND the rest of the talent roster, it’s not even funny. The rest of the show was just BLAH to me.
And I know, many of you are excited about the DEMON returning with Finn Balor. It was cool at first and then Finn Balor entered to ring for the staredown with Roman Reigns. Seriously, Roman is at least 5-6 inches taller and maybe 60 pounds heavier. VERY obvious and that is why Boxing and MMA have weight classes. Just on the looks of it, Roman should slaughter the guy in a real life fight. While the is a scripted form of entertainment, the same logic should apply. Painted up as a Demon or not, Roman should easily score the win at Extreme Rules, an obvious throwaway Pay Per View.
At least for Finn Balor and the WWE, they are very careful about when to use the Demon or not. Using some psychology here, the intimidation of the Demon gives Finn a better chance in his fight against Roman because many of Finn’s top matches featured him painted up that way. However, when the bright lights turn on after that cool entrance, it’s a much smaller guy painted up going against a JACKED UP star like Roman Reigns.
The contract signing with Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair was OK but boy did it tell me how much of a bigger star Becky was in comparison to not just Bianca, but much of the WWE roster. Becky just has the swagger and confidence of a top wrestler and yet they are trying to push her as a heel. Bianca did a good job in the segment, too, and I don’t want that to be lost here… But the hostile MSG crowd was heavily into Becky and other crowds are too. It just shows you WHY the WWE had Becky defeat both Ronda and Charlotte at Wrestlemania. WWE knows who their top female star is…
And the 9/11 tribute stuff was nice. We’ll get into more on that with today’s special “LAST WORD” rant added to this column.
Thoughts on Carmella and Zelina Vega complaining on Social Media that their match was pulled from Smackdown?
Carmella could have got away with it, as she only posted “…” but it was Zelina Vega’s “nevermind” complaint with full pictures backstage that will probably get Carmella in trouble too.
Things happen during the course of a live show and audibles are called. Both Carmella and Zelina, who have been in the industry for a while now each, should realize that. Yeah, it was Madison Square Garden and a missed opportunity, but more opportunities will be lost by both of them by complaining. Yes, it sucks, but it happens. Get over it, as this “great” Carmella vs. Zelina Vega match can happen on another show. Maybe WWE Main Event now that both of you personally took it to Social Media.
Let’s be honest here… Who was clamoring for Carmella vs. Zelina Vega? I sure wasn’t, as I haven’t been impressed with any match since Zelina’s return and Carmella seems a bit lost when she’s not World Champion. Maybe you should hype yourselves up a bit better on camera AND on social media so that the WWE will NEVER cut your matches? There were probably other segments and matches that could have been cut instead but they chose yours to be expendable. Why? Instead of running to Social Media like teenagers do for everything that upsets them, they should have gone to WWE management and inquired why their match was cut and what could both do to improve their statuses with the WWE. Simple as that… WWE would appreciate them keeping things behind closed doors.
But noooooooooooooo, they took it to Social Media and now they’ll have to climb out of the hole that they have dug for themselves.
Speaking of Social Media…
What do you think about Brian Cage’s wife complaining about how Cage has been used in AEW?
Brian Cage’s real life wife Melissa Santos posted a video on Twitter that bragged him up as a “superstar” and cited previous places where he worked that validated that (Indies, Impact, Lucha Underground, PWG). Then she stated “he’s being misused right now”. And then she went on further a written statement suggesting that “Cage, to me, lost in the shuffle right now in AEW”.
Two things… See my Kevin Owens rant about the AEW roster thickening up with former WWE stars, but that could also include former veterans from other rosters too. In some ways, I agree with Ms. Santos… HOWEVER, see my rant about Zelina Vega/Carmella… IF YOU ARE A WORKER, shut up on Social Media about Creative. Seriously… You are hurting yourselves by complaining about Creative to the public. Take it behind closed doors with management and if that fails, then fine, utilize Social Media to help you LEAVE a promotion if you absolutely needed to leave a place where you were miserable.
But don’t let your spouses do it for you. If Brian Cage has issues with AEW’s Creative Team or the direction of his character, HE should state it himself. It’s not so much calling him out on “being a man”, but how he is used in AEW is his problem and he’s the one backstage with Tony Khan to solve it. Melissa doesn’t work for or with AEW, last time I checked. If anything, maybe should call Tony Khan to complain about Creative INSTEAD OF complaining openly on Social Media.
See, when you take something public on Social Media and complain about a company that you’re currently working for, it makes the company look bad. Meanwhile, because you took something public, it’s going to create tensions internally with your company. And they don’t forget… Furthermore, your co-workers will screenshot and print out anything that you say on Social Media and use it as leverage against you. As someone who has worked with multiple corporations for over 15 years now, I’ve seen many employees harm themselves because of what they’ve taken to social media. One of my Employee Training techniques is a discussion on Social Media, as I usually advise any employee to (a) NEVER post anything about work there and (b) NEVER to friend/follow any co-workers. But also, be CAREFUL about talking company stuff to friends or relatives, as gossip can spread and they have Social Media too.
Just STUPID mistakes made here by Brian Cage’s wife, Zelina Vega, and Carmella… Social Media should NEVER be used on a company unless it’s a valid exit plan and when you’ll never be returning to said company. Even then, your future employer might get scared at what you’re posting on the way out. Remember our Murphy discussion from last week?
And yes, I have Googled and followed Brian Cage’s career throughout Impact, PWG, Lucha Underground, etc. To me, he’s Lex Luger without the enthusiasm that Luger had for his characters. In fact, there isn’t much of a character other than “jacked up guy”. At least with Luger, he could cut decent promos and he had character & charisma inside the ring. Simple things like working up to the Human Torture Rack… Just watch that match against Hulk Hogan from 1997 on WCW Nitro (August, I believe?), as the fans are going completely bonkers when Luger waves his arms up and down to hype that the Torture Rack was coming.
Are we sure that he’s being misused? If he was really that good, then he’d be a bigger draw in both Impact and Lucha Underground… And they wouldn’t have let him become a Free Agent to join AEW. What many also don’t know is that he was once under WWE Developmental contract during 2008-2009 and worked for Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Just before consideration to join the main WWE roster, he was released during the Fall of 2009. I’m just saying, be VERY careful on what you’re complaining about on Social Media… Maybe think about credibility first before posting something.
I have nothing against Brian Cage, but in the wrestling industry, there is a ton of “inflated self worth” out there because wrestlers are hungry to achieve the status of being the Top Star. Wrestling promoters study numbers heavily, as they want to make money too. One would think that WWE, Impact, Lucha Underground, or AEW would push the guy harder if they saw drawing numbers, potentially, from the guy. If not, he’ll be placed in a stable with other jacked guys called “Team Taz”. Now that he’s out of Team Taz, he could strike it out on his own and maybe that is what Tony Khan was planning for him? Maybe not now that this public complaint from a spouse has been posted?
THE LAST WORD
In my previous life as a columnist at another place, my weekend “Ask Tito” columns would consist of questions and then a final rant called the “Last Word” at the end. Here at NoDQ, the Last Word rants have been essentially saved to be Tuesday/Wednesday columns instead.
However, today is September 11th, 2021 and we’re 20 years from the day when America was attacked with airplanes flying into our Trade Towers, Pentagon, and possibly other targets that were foiled. The world stopped and many businesses, events, and other activities stopped to grieve and recover from what happened. The WWE, however, pressed onward on September 13th, 2001… See, even back then, the WWE taped their Smackdown shows on Tuesdays to be aired on Thursdays. WWE did this so that their production trucks could work back-to-back nights for RAW on Monday and taping Smackdown on Tuesdays. Smackdown used to air on Thursdays for the UPN Network.
However, with WWE Smackdown’s taping being on a Tuesday when 9/11/2001’s attacks occurred, that Smackdown taping was cancelled and WWE Smackdown aired LIVE on 9/13/2001 instead. Overall, the show was nice, as they tried to present good matches and angles to help wrestling fans “move on” and the WWE had many pre-taped segments of wrestlers giving their thoughts on America and the attacks.
This 9/13/2001 Smackdown is forever stained, however, by Stephanie McMahon‘s opportunity to speak to America. Instead saying something more professional or pro-America, Stephanie took a completely different angle. Here is the exact quote from the 9/13/2001 edition of WWE Smackdown:
“A few years ago, some people tried to destroy my family. They attacked my father’s reputation, they attacked my mother’s reputation, and they attacked the World Wrestling Federation. They tried to rip us apart but all they did was make my family stronger. And that’s exactly how America feels right now because on Tuesday, America was attacked. But America is a united nation and together we stand strong. I am incredibly proud to be an American citizen and I will stand up for my rights and freedoms.”
SHE SAID THAT… Stephanie McMahon actually compared terrorists attacking America to the American legal system that were following up on allegations of sexual misconduct and steroid distribution during the early 1990s.
Now, I’m not here to blame Stephanie McMahon. In fact, she was just 24 years old (about to turn 25) when she made these comments. Many of us say and do stupid things during our 20s and it is said that our brains aren’t fully formed until the age of 26. Though she said this exact quote, there is still a WWE machine that edited it and placed it on the Smackdown show as this was a pre-taped show. Vince McMahon, in particular, wanted it to air or else he wouldn’t have let his daughter say such a ridiculous thing.
However, this quote is evidence of the HORRIBLE decision that the WWE made during late 2000 to place Stephanie McMahon as the Creative Lead of the WWE. Before Stephanie McMahon, Vince Russo was Creative Lead from 1997 (he joined the team in 1996) through the Fall of 1999. Then, Chris Kreski took over from there until late 2000 when the job was handed to Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie, the Communications Major and then just turned 24 years of age, took over a billion dollar entertainment company’s on-screen decisions.
During September 2001, the WWE was in the middle of the WCW/ECW Invasion angle which Stephanie McMahon, as Creative Lead, was HEAVILY botching. Notice how I said “WCW/ECW Invasion”, as it was originally supposed to be just WCW invading. However, her Creative Team butchered any incoming WCW wrestler and presented them as completely inferior that an ECW stable of former ECW workers now in the WWE was added to the WCW stable controlled by Shane McMahon. Who was the “owner” of the ECW Stable, by the way? Stephanie McMahon… Together, Shane and Stephanie formed the “Alliance” and we were presented with a Summer and Fall of WWE wrestlers owning any wrestler that belonged to that stable. COMPLETE DISASTER, as the WCW acquisition was ruined despite the “WWE vs. WCW” angle being gift wrapped for the WWE to use and create storylines with for years.
If anyone wants to pinpoint how the WWE became so LAME with time, just look towards late 2000 when Vince McMahon used nepotism to place his young and inexperienced daughter, Stephanie McMahon, as Lead Creative. While WWE appeared to peak during mid-2000, their numbers began to really slip during 2001 with the botched Steve Austin heel turn (which she oversaw and was helping to book) and then the awful WCW/ECW Invasion angle. Then you had 2002 with the botched NWO Invasion angle. Bill Goldberg joins WWE during 2003 and within months, he has Goldust’s wig placed on his head and doing jobs to Triple H. Careers of Kane and Booker T were ruined right before our eyes with destructive booking that made both wrestlers look bad and humiliated. On top of that, Stephanie hired teams of former Hollywood writers to prepare scripts for what wrestlers could say.
And then she was dating and then married a wrestler named Triple H, who was always in her ear. Did you guys enjoy the complete dominance Triple H had on the RAW brand from 2002-2003? Just awful stuff… Poor Kane and Booker T, as Triple H unmasked Kane and then did the Katie Vick stuff with him. The racial angle to the Wrestlemania 19 feud with Booker T is some of the most cringeworthy stuff the WWE has ever done. With Triple H becoming a full family member, he becomes an Executive during the 2010s… And now he’s an Executive who lost all of the responsibilities granted to him through late 2013. HHH used to be an EVP that was overseeing Live Events, Creative, Talent Relations & Developmental, and NXT… Now, he’s not. He seriously lost all of those jobs because WWE has been declining so bad during the latter half of the 2010s and HHH couldn’t groom any new Main Event male stars.
I used to write columns called “The Day (insert promotion or era) Died…” For example, I wrote that WCW’s seeds of destruction were created when Eric Bischoff made himself join the New World Order during November 1996. From there, Bischoff’s ego grew as his on-screen character’s role kept gobbling up increasing amounts of screen time while he wasn’t paying as much attention to happenings backstage. The Hulkamania Era of the late 1980s, I argued, was over when the WWE pushed Zeus for SummerSlam 1989 as a wrestler. I always thought that ECW died when they couldn’t retain talent following their first Pay Per View, Barely Legal 1997 (Raven, Stevie Richards, Saturn leaving hurt them badly).
For the modern WWE, when Vince placed Stephanie McMahon as Creative Lead during late 2000, this was the beginning of the end because it was nepotism by Vince McMahon and Stephanie ran wild with that power to internally ruin the WWE. And then you get into the reliance of Triple H for the 2010s as an executive and he has been proven to be “in over his head” on trying to develop talent or run creative. WWE built this empire based on the great minds backstage like Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, Bruce Prichard, Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, and Gerald Brisco surrounding Vince McMahon and imparting their wisdom to him. With time, each of those individuals were demoted or left the WWE. Now, Vince McMahon has become increasingly reliant on Executive Producer Kevin Dunn for opinions while relying on Corporate types for their opinions as well. Bruce Prichard is back, but he was only just a good member of a bigger collective group.
I’m not going to blame a 24 year old Stephanie McMahon… She had resources given to her at that young age that she took advantage of and she’s now a very wealthy person herself. I blame Vince McMahon for being so damn careless during late 2000 to place her as Creative Lead and also during September 13th, 2001 for letting his own daughter say something so damn stupid on television following the 9/11 attacks. What Dad would let their own children humiliate themselves on television like that? Vince McMahon did, as he had an axe to grind with prosecutors who tried to allege that he had a corrupt culture in the WWE during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Vince should have said it himself instead of placing his daughter in harm’s way to be humiliated for years.
Everyone wants to blame Vince for today’s current product, as if Vince McMahon retiring now will matter. No, what you should do is look to the past at DUMB decisions made by Vince McMahon that has caused the WWE to deteriorate so much since the promotion’s peak during mid-2000. WWE RAW used to attract 6-7 million North American viewers during the year 2000… Now, we’re barely hanging onto 2 million viewers. WWE used to sellout arenas of 10,000-20,000 seats within minutes of going on sale. Now, we’re lucky to fill half of those arenas, even when heavily tarped off. WWE has become increasingly reliant on lucrative Cable TV deals because Cable/Satellite channel companies are desperate for LIVE sports content in the face of streaming services.
The true “beginning of the end” for the WWE empire that grew from the Attitude Era’s boom was placing Stephanie McMahon as Creative Lead during late 2000. That is the “single point of failure” to what you see with the WWE today.
So, now, I’m not going to blame a 24 year old Stephanie McMahon for her idiotic comments during the September 13th, 2001 edition of WWE Smackdown. I blame Vince McMahon and the WWE Production Truck for even letting her comments air. Vince McMahon, as a father, should have never used his daughter to vent old grievances, nor should he have ever let her even join the WWE Creative Team, let alone be in charge of it. Worse yet, Stephanie was in charge of WWE’s Creative team from late 2000 through late 2013 when Triple H took it over (he ran it through mid-2019). All because of who she was… If she was Stephanie Smith and from a different family, she wouldn’t even be in consideration for a job at WWE. And if Triple H married Stephanie Smith, he’d just be a wrestler on a Legends contract right now.
In conclusion, I very much blame Vince McMahon for today’s AWFUL WWE product… But I’ve been covering this for years as a columnist that has been publishing articles since October 1998. You can read my articles back then that were HEAVILY critical of Stephanie McMahon’s creative direction of the WWE company and then throughout the 2000s when WWE was morphing into a different company with bad Creative ruining the lives of many wrestlers. And as you’ve read for the past decade, I’ve been ripping Creative and Talent Developmental to shreds based on who Vince McMahon placed in charge of those.
Family is a great thing to rely on, but sometimes family is in over their head when it comes to running a business. Being around a business versus being smart enough to run that business are two entirely different things. Going to school to become a Communications Major shouldn’t give you the ability to write pairs of 2 hour wrestling shows per week. Furthermore, that kind of education should have told her about what to say during public speaking opportunities. I’ll give her a pass, though, as she was just 24 when she said her 9/13/2001 comments about 9/11 attacks being compared to the legal system going after the WWE, but I won’t give a pass to her father Vince McMahon who allowed Stephanie’s comments to air.
Here we still are, during September 11th, 2021… Stephanie McMahon is Chief Brand Officer and a Board Member. Her husband is also a Board Member.
Those who do not remember from history are condemned to repeat it.
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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