The Excellence in Column Writing is back, once again, as we continue this “daily train” into the New Year. I’ve been in a great writing groove lately and the topics have been easily there to cover. My current writing plans are to finish up with today’s “Ask Tito” column where I take your questions via email, comment section, or even social media (even though I’m private, I can still see a few things) and use those to form a column, and then I’ll unleash my 2024 Predictions column on New Year’s Eve (December 31st). I’ve actually had the Predictions column written since early December, though I’ve had to modify the predictions a few times over the course of the month.
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been on a hot streak lately with columns:
• 12/23 – My The Iron Claw Movie Review about the Von Erichs
• 12/24 – 12/25 – ‘Twas the Night Before Wrestling Christmas + Year-End Awards
• 12/26 – What’s wrong with Chris Jericho?
• 12/27 – The Real Story of CM Punk’s WWE Return at MSG
• 12/28 – Bill Goldberg is a fool for bashing Vince McMahon
• 12/29 – Who will be revealed as AEW’s Devil?
The best part of this string of columns is that I only anticipated writing the Christmas column and the Predictions one for 12/31. Each of the columns otherwise just sort of happened and I need to thank the wackiness of the pro wrestling world for handing me such great topics. Jericho and Goldberg each losing their minds gave me easy softballs to hit out of the park, while I personally felt my review of CM Punk vs. Dominik Mysterio at MSG was possibly my best column of the year. I felt really good about myself and what I just produced for that one in particular.
I personally hope that everyone is reading this is safe and sound for the end of 2023. Lots of gloom and doom out there for hyping what 2024 could be. However, always remember the Terminator 2 line… “There is no fate but what we can make for ourselves“. Whether the economy gets bad or if a particular politician gets elected, that stuff is out of your control… But what you can control is how hard you work, how creative that you want to be, and how much you love your friends and family. THAT is what matters. If you let outside stuff bother you, like some idiot claiming to be a Jackson 5 member writing wrasslin’ columns, then you’ll be miserable. Worry about what makes you whole, and that is how you present yourself to the world and not letting others present on your behalf.
Onto your questions.
ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
Do you believe that Mercedes Mone/Sasha Banks will end up in WWE?
Oh yeah. This “negotiations have broken down” stuff has been heard before. Remember CM Punk just a few months ago? Same rumor came about there.
If Mercedes wanted to be in AEW, she would have been there already as Tony needed any kind of good news to pop a number. Who knows, maybe she is the Devil and it will be revealed tonight at Worlds End? But I doubt it…
Reportedly, she also has high money demands, which I also call as BULL. As much as everyone thinks that Tony just “blows through his daddy’s money”, much of the ex-WWE talent are actually working on LESSER deals than they had in the WWE. That’s a fact, with only few exceptions (Christian, Danielson, Punk, and Christian). Much of that Indy talent signed are also working on cheaper deals, hence why they also wrestle elsewhere. So if Mercedes is asking for a higher price to return to the WWE, then how is AEW going to afford her?
It’s total smokescreen. She knows that Charlotte Flair is injured, while she also knows that AEW has become a toxic dump and the Women’s division is not great there. She’ll either be a surprise reveal for Royal Rumble 2024 or she’ll appear on the RAW following Wrestlemania.
Just remember, Sasha walked out of the WWE because it became too toxic… However, AEW has literally became that toxic waste dump that WWE was through early 2022 that frustrated Sasha. Since that time, AEW blew up with toxicity from the Elite attacking CM Punk and Tony digging his heels deeper with the Elite. Cody Rhodes also ran away from the toxic dump… Now, the guy who helped groom and shape Sasha Banks in NXT, Triple H, is there to take care of her in the WWE as the lead guy on Talent and Creative. All Sasha has to do is see how well Chelsea Green thrived with the Tag Team belt that Sasha felt weren’t getting enough attention through 2022.
The point that I keep pushing is that since early 2022, WWE and AEW have literally switched roles… WWE used to have a President/CEO who micro-managed and meddled with everything too much… Now, it’s AEW’s President who is micro-managing and meddling with everything. The talent in the WWE are thriving under Triple H and the environment is a million times less toxic than before. Tony is a fool and the Young Bucks do nothing but play politics backstage, while really not affording women great opportunities in AEW as much as WWE now does.
We’ll talk more about this in the Predictions column posted 12/31, but I believe Sasha Banks is returning to WWE. Honestly, I’d be shocked if she joined AEW and I would wish her career well, because she’ll eventually walk out of that place too because it has become toxic.
Who is Triple H hyping as the “former WWE champion” for Day 1’s Monday Night RAW?
In case you missed it, Triple H tweeted the following on 12/29:
Not going to confirm or deny the rumors of a former @WWE Champion appearing at #WWERaw Day One… but I will say to stay tuned.
New Year’s Day, 8pm ET on @USANetwork
“WWE Champion” could mean anything… That could be a World Champion, United States Champion, Intercontinental Champion… It could just mean that Triple H, himself, will appear in the middle of the ring as HHH has literally held everything.
It may have to do with the 2024 Hall of Fame Class, as someone like Batista has yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Remember, Batista was supposed to be in the 2020 class, but COVID happened and Batista wanted to do his induction in front of a crowd.
Obviously, everyone wants it to be the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, or the Undertaker. And wouldn’t it be nice to have them wrestle at Wrestlemania 40? But that’s going to take a lot for those 50+ year old dudes to make it.
I always wished that Mick Foley could get back in to the WWE fold, but there has always been friction there with Foley and Vince/Triple H over the years.
But if it’s a returning Intercontinental Champion, then Ken Shamrock is your likely candidate. He’s been dabbling in WWE stuff lately, as I’m assuming he’ll be a 2024 Hall of Famer… But Shamrock is the PERFECT guy for the TKO Corporation to bring back, as like Lesnar, he was a star in both UFC and WWE.
If you were to ask me right now, I believe it will be Batista or Ken Shamrock… Either way is good for the WWE and delivers roughly on HHH’s promise. If it’s Austin, Rock, or Undertaker, then he really delivers on that promise.
What do you think of Bubba the Love Sponge’s posting of Hulk Hogan’s son getting arrested?
Just par for the course from a shock jock radio host. Who cares? This is a guy who pimped out his own wife to a friend, and then films it. How does that speak for judgment of character? And then the film gets leaked in two parts… The sexual act first, and then Hogan’s racist comments about black guys dating his daughter next.
Bubba is just jealous that Hogan made millions suing the company who presented said leaked footage and Bubba probably wasn’t compensated. Hence why he’s still attacking a person whom he called a “friend”.
Sorry, but I would NEVER EVER even suggest that a friend has sexual relations with my wife to just “cheer them up”. If a friend needs laid, then I’ll buy them a plane ticket to enjoy Vegas for a while. But I would NEVER let a friend bang my own wife. That is disgusting and that’s the kind of person we’re dealing with here in Bubba the Love Sponge. So yeah, I’m not surprised at him posting Nick Hogan’s arrest footage, as it’s not the first video footage he has shared with the public about a Hogan.
Do you believe that Andrade will return to the WWE?
Oh yeah… See, the original plan was to get Andrade, Charlotte Flair, and Ric Flair to AEW. If you remember, Charlotte was frustrated about how WWE used her, how Andrade was used and later released, and Ric Flair was rushing to get to AEW but the Vice “Plane Ride from Hell” Dark Side of the Ring special slowed Ric’s debut in AEW by a few years.
Remember, things were boiling in WWE during 2021… Andrade was released during March 2021, just a few weeks before Wrestlemania 37. Charlotte was supposed to wrestle at Wrestlemania 37, but she was excluded from the card for health concerns that were questionable by the WWE. Then, you had the title exchange situation between Becky and Charlotte later that year. For 2022, she took 7 months off for non-injury related matters.
BUT, then Charlotte returns into the newer WWE environment for late 2022 and she was thriving again throughout 2023. She was happy performing, as I’m guessing she heard how the “grass wasn’t greener on the other side” with her husband Andrade who has been miserable in AEW.
I think Ric Flair is just taking a quick buck in AEW, as that man is terrible with money and is always up for a scheme to cover himself. Hence the Whoooo Wings and the cryptocurrency that he’s trying to pimp out right now.
Just remember, Andrade is the one who beat the crap out of Sammy Guevara and had no fear doing so backstage. He’s the kind of guy who can ramp up his own toxicity backstage in a heartbeat and could do so to easily get out of a contract. After all, if CM Punk did it, the precedent is there to get released from a contract.
What happened to Miro and Keith Lee in AEW?
I have two philosophies in pro wrestling… (1) Great talent can overcome bad creative and (2) great creative can uplift bad talent. Now, obviously, when you have both situations being bad, then you get what you have with Miro and Keith Lee.
Personally, I thought that the WWE’s Creative promoted guys like Rusev and Keith Lee well… But I think they were shielding both guys’ issues behind-the-scenes that many don’t see. The person that you see in AEW with Miro is actually the real guy behind the Rusev character. Instead of being this massive bruiser and tough guy, he’s a normal guy like everyone else and loves to play video games. AEW exposed that instead of pushing him like a “larger than life” character.
For Keith Lee, it’s a matter of health and conditioning. He seemed thicker when he joined the main WWE roster and that affected him when he got COVID. As I see him in AEW, he just doesn’t look healthy to me and I fear for him right now. Compare that to his Ring of Honor or NXT days, he was an agile big man… But he looks like a man with a piano on his back when he wrestled on the WWE main roster and especially now in AEW.
As much as we rip WWE’s creative team during the 2010s and the early 2020s, I just don’t think the developmental talent coming up through the NXT system was as good as what it once was for Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). It’s been better lately, as the current version of NXT has some real promising stars and guys like Solo and Theory have been solid additions to the WWE roster. However, I think that both Miro/Rusev and Keith Lee were from Triple H’s initial crop of talent evaluations from the 2010s that just won’t pan out unless the creative is perfectly done to carry them. Rusev was taken to his limits creatively in WWE, while Keith Lee was booked well in NXT. Both haven’t been the same without that creative help to present them well. AEW has not helped either guy.
Do you think South Park’s parody of Logan Paul will affect his WWE career?
Nope. WWE pushes Logan Paul as a heel, which will only make South Park’s parody of him throw more gasoline on the fire.
In case you missed it or don’t have Paramount+, South Park did another one of their specials on that streaming services in an episode called “Not Suitable for Children”. The show had 2 storyline arcs that intercepted with one, everybody wanting to drink an energy drink called CRED which an influencer named “Logan LeDouche” has been peddling while also spoofing how OnlyFans acts like it advertises for adults but is really seeking children. Logan LeDouche is obviously Logan Paul and CRED is spoofing the hysteria over his Prime energy drink.
Aside from seeing Randy Marsh’s junk throughout the damn episode, as he was trying to make money on OnlyFans (*YECCH*), the episode hits really hard at influencers and how they are peddling other special interest’s messages. But man, they were really hitting on this CRED drink, which goes to show you the cult-like behavior installed by these influencers onto their followers.
But being this influencer is what makes many loyal WWE fans hate him. Most of us are older and not in the demographic that Logan Paul is truly selling to, hence why we naturally hate him so much. And trust me on this, the WWE knows that we hate him and have ZERO problems with him not defending that United States Title. If Logan not defending the US Title pisses off online fans even more and will get them to tune in when he finally does defend it, then the WWE has done its job to hype the match. If you want that US Title off of Paul’s waist, then shut up about it. WWE responds to silence more than your fits of rage.
What’s the real problem with Chris Jericho? When did he change?
This is a follow-up to my recent 12/26 – What’s wrong with Chris Jericho? column… In my opinion, Chris Jericho personally and professionally changed during 2020 and hasn’t been the same since. Everything was fine through 2019 and maybe early 2020 with Jericho. He had an amazing last ride with WWE for his teaming and then feud with Kevin Owens, did great work with New Japan, and was an amazing addition to AEW at the start and first AEW Champion.
But then, 2020 happened… Chris Jericho lost his AEW Title at the AEW Revolution Pay Per View, and he hasn’t been in the World Title picture since. I’d argue that he’s had a solid AEW run since and has been a key contributor to their product. However, I wonder if he’s truly satisfied with his undercard role?
Right after his AEW Title loss came COVID-19… And that’s when the political divide arrived across the nation and throughout 2020, it was revealed how much Chris Jericho supported Donald Trump and the MAGA movement. Jericho was outspoken on social media and his podcasts, he was favorable to pro-Trump folks on his podcast, he donated to Donald Trump, and played a concert at Sturgis during August 2020 that proved to be a major super-spreader event for COVID-19. Then, to start 2021, his wife protested in Washington, DC on January 6th where a legitimate insurrection was attempted by many of her fellow protestors.
Listen, you can have your own personal politics… I have friends on the right and also friends on the left. It’s when your political stands DEFINE YOU is when it becomes a problem. In other words, when a particular candidate or movement becomes like a religion to you…
Getting exposed politically has angered Chris Jericho and has changed him ever since… It’s very likely that Chris Jericho was a Trump supporter from 2016 through 2019, but we barely knew it. And during that time, he was a highly entertaining performer at the top of his game. He was also FUNNY and ENTERTAINING… Chris had a great sense of humor.
That sense of humor and great mind as an entertainer has been gone since 2020… People who take their politics WAY TOO SERIOUSLY always lose their sense of humor. Don’t believe? Look at the Cancel Culture going on right now… If a comedian dares to say something controversial, the people with political sticks deep into their own arses want the offending people unemployed for life and never seen on media ever again.
Kane or Glenn Jacobs is another one who has completely changed the way he acts due to politics… Granted, he’s a politician himself, but now that his views are completely exposed, he’s going with it and saying many controversial things on social media like a teenager would. Contrast that with the Undertaker. He was revealed to be making many political contributions over the years, but he hasn’t made a big fuss about it or belittled anyone with an opposite political point-of-view as both Jericho and Kane have. THAT is the difference.
So yeah, recent politics have caused Jericho and Kane to be that outspoken Uncle that you cringe when seeing him at Thanksgiving or other family events.
If you look at Chris Jericho through 2019 where he was innovative, energetic, and funny as a participant of the wrestling and music business versus what he’s become since 2020… Totally different person whom I believe has been delivering several cries for help on social media, including the one he delivered at 4am on Christmas morning.
Jericho is just another victim the ideology of an extreme side’s politics… Come on, buddy, join us in the middle where we can laugh at how ridiculous both the right and the left are on politics right now. The right wants to sweep an insurrection under the rug, while the left cannot properly define what a gender is. Right? Both sides are completely insane, let’s make fun of them as they claim this country is headed for a Civil War. Bunch of morons!
But if you sell your soul to one extreme, you’ll lose your identity and become another brick in the wall. Jericho has been speaking just like any online political troll ever since 2020 and it has changed the man we knew through 2019.
See you tomorrow (12/31) for my 2024 Predictions column!
So just chill… ’til the next episode!
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