ASK TITO: USA Network Upset at WWE?, Samoa Joe NXT Return, Eva Marie, LA Knight, Hell in a Cell Predictions, & More

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Welcome to your favorite weekend column! It’s Ask Mr. Tito where I take your questions from Twitter, Email, and the Comments section below and form them into a weekly column. Just as a heads up, I’m flooded with questions, notably from email via my longtime readers… So if I don’t get to your question, don’t take it personally! Also, I do have a preference towards taking Current Events questions.

For the past 2 columns, I’ve dared to comment on Alexa Bliss… Overall, I’m very high on this talent but what I’m not high on is this Supernatural garbage that is actually holding her character and wrestling career down. Yet, if I dare articulate that with facts and a professionally sounding opinion, I’m attacked by the Internet Wrestling Community.

But again, could you imagine how much more successful she would be in a BETTER role than this goofy Fiend-lite storyline? She’s only making it work because she’s potentially the most popular female on the roster, as she could dress up in the fully body costume of the Gobbly Gooker (Turkey mascot that appeared at Survivor Series 1990) and would still get over. Imagine if she was placed in a better role that allowed her to be sassy, sarcastic, and cruel as a villain which got her over in the first place on the Smackdown brand during 2016-2017 and continued briefly onward on RAW?

If you go back to 2016 through the 2017’s edition of Wrestlemania, that Smackdown roster was clicking. I saw a houseshow from this roster during the Fall of 2016 and it remains the BEST live wrestling show that I ever witnessed. Your main event scene was John Cena, AJ Styles, and Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley). It was perfect! The Women’s Division was showcased by the rising Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch feuding with each other and their matches were fun. Tag Division was peculiar but Heath Slater and Rhyno actually made you care about them as a tag team when they won the titles. Even the Nikki Bella vs. Carmella feud was quite good. Then, the freakin Miz delivers the promo of his lifetime and begins to get heavily over and even Dolph Ziggler was motivated to work at this time too.

And then, the 2017 “Superstar Shake-up” happened and pissed it all away… Miz and Alexa move to RAW while Randy Orton and a midcarder soon to be Main Eventer Jinder Mahal move to Smackdown. Smackdown’s main event scene when from Cena vs. Ambrose vs. AJ Styles to becoming Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton and then Orton vs. Jinder Mahal. WHAT A JOKE, and Mahal had an extensive World Title reign that only ended when Brock Lesnar preferred to work with AJ Styles at the 2017 Survivor Series. Miz lost all of his character upward momentum on RAW and just become an Intercontinental Title contender. Alexa did well on RAW until the injuries began.

I look fondly on the Smackdown roster from the 2016 Brand Split through Elimination Chamber 2017 when Bray Wyatt was foolishly made World Champion. Reportedly, Triple H’s lead NXT creative writer was swapped out for Road Dogg as lead writer during early 2017 and that’s when everything began to fall apart. Then, the “Superstar Shake-up” drove the final nails in Smackdown’s coffin and they were just limping along from 2017-2019 until the FOX deal saved that show.

What could have been…

Onto your questions!


ASK MR. TITO – Your Questions, My Answers

What are your thoughts on USA Network officials being upset at the WWE for having a Hell in a Cell match on FOX’s WWE Smackdown show?

Really? It took you a Hell in a Cell cage, the period colored variety version, appearing on WWE Smackdown for a match to throw a hissy fit towards the WWE? What about that AWFUL CREATIVE that the WWE has placed on your Monday Night RAW show since the new $200 Million per year deal kicked in during the Fall of 2019? Furthermore, when that contract began, Monday Night RAW was doing between 2.1 and 2.3 millon consistently. What is it now? BELOW 2 million for 9 straight weeks in a row and has been mostly under 2 million for 2021.

And USA Networks are upset over 1 cage match?

I didn’t see USA Networks complain about any of that Bray Wyatt/Fiend GARBAGE that has been on their network since the 2020 Draft. Just that endless supernatural crap that is embarrassing to have on their network and is only getting worse with it all transferred to Alexa Bliss. 3 hours of utter crap, each week, and the folks at USA Networks have the NERVE to complain about an overrated cage match being offered on Smackdown? Give me a break.

BUNCH OF COWARDS located at USA Networks, along with the corporate types imbedded within NBC/Universal and Comcast overall. YOU are the ones forcing this PG rating on the WWE and enabling the WWE to place poorly written content on the television screen. YOU are paying them $200 Million for RAW alone and now you’re paying them $200 Million more per year to host the WWE Network on Peacock. Put your damn money where your mouth is and SAY SOMETHING. Force the WWE to give a damn about putting quality television back on screen and take the PG rating training wheels off already.

Mad about a cage match? Why aren’t you mad about how Monday Night RAW had over 4 million viewers through early 2015 and now have LESS than 2 million viewers through 2021? Why aren’t you holding the WWE accountable for the LOST viewership? Why aren’t you more demanding on the WWE to supply your long 3 hour show with better talent? Why aren’t you more demanding on the WWE to write better stuff on your television shows?

Grow some balls, USA Network, and start holding the WWE accountable. Provided that you pay a significant part of the WWE’s revenue stream, say something and DEMAND BETTER for your Monday Night timeslot. With the deal expiring in just 3 years, you have leverage because the WWE *thinks* that it can get a better deal than what you’re offering but they’ll find out soon that their product isn’t that desired.

You are paying them over $400 Million per year. DEMAND A BETTER PRODUCT ON YOUR CHANNEL, please!


What do you think about Samoa Joe returning to WWE/NXT?

What’s that phrase again? The “grass isn’t always greener on the other side”? I’m sure that Samoa Joe’s agent threw out some feelers to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and AEW probably not only inquired about Joe’s health as an in-ring performer, but also sent him salary/payment details as well. Trust me when I say this, AEW actually lowballs its wrestlers on payment. Why? Well, when the WWE doesn’t want to pay you any longer, AEW has all of the leverage. Old man Shahid Khan didn’t become a billionaire by being stupid. Trust me when I say this, the richest business men that I know are obsessed with counting every little penny and that is their actual hobby. Khan is not only still running his own business, but he has 2 sports franchises and a pro wrestling company. He’s not losing money on ANY of those entities. We have heard it from multiple former AEW wrestlers now about how “AEW is paying them less”.

It’s very likely that Triple H went to bat for him and as an EVP of the company AND Board member, Triple H probably created a new position with the Human Resources department to be filled by Joe. Reportedly, William Regal might be stepping down as the on-screen General Manager and Joe may take that role. IN MY OPINION, where Joe could really help is with the training at the Performance Center too. Matt Bloom just isn’t cutting it as the Lead Male Wrestling trainer and Shawn Michaels is too much of a natural to explain his greatness to newcomers.

BUT – In my opinion, Samoa Joe was blossoming as a color commentator for the RAW brand and his Wrestlemania weekend interviews with NXT Takeover participants was awesome. He really nailed that sitdown interview position better than most anyone I have ever seen and then a week later, he was terminated.

It’s good that Joe is back and will now be placed in a position to utilize his vocal skills and be around younger talent to possibly mentor. NXT needs this badly right now. His age and health would have caught up to him quickly if he wrestled in the dangerous AEW. Just ask the many wrestlers who have been injured lately by that company.

Imagine that, Triple H going to bat for one of his NXT signed talents. Where were you from late 2013 through late 2019 when you were EVP of Creative, fool?


Thoughts on Eva Marie’s return TV “match” on RAW?

It wasn’t much of a match, as Piper Niven debuted on the WWE roster to wrestle on behalf of Eva Marie. That said, this is a great opportunity for Piper and she should take full advantage of it. Eva Marie is going to draw heat and in that moment, Piper should showcase her talents to the best of her abilities.

Honestly, the LESS that Eva Marie wrestles and just looks great on WWE television, the better. While she is in tremendous physical shape, it’s another thing to have natural athletic ability and talent that are needed to be a good wrestler. The FACT that the Internet Wrestling Community somehow blames her for the 4/15 and the 6/2 talent cuts, the better for her heat drawing ability. Just stand there and look like the girl that is impossible for most of those hating fans to ever obtain.

Many complaints about Naomi getting squashed and in my mind, the WWE has more than tried to push her throughout the years. Each time they do, injuries have occurred. There’s a reason why she was tagging up with Lana for the past while… While you might think she could transfer to the Smackdown roster and join the Family with Reigns and the Usos, there’s no guarantee that she’d successful fit with that group. You think that it would, but she has been a babyface for much of her recent run and has kind of struggled as a heel. Nia Jax, in my opinion, would be a better fit for Reigns/Uso’s group and she could be what helps bring the Rock in to eventually face Roman Reigns.

Honestly, I was cool with it… I’m not as high on Naomi as a talent as others, as she’s quite talented inside the ring but it’s the other intangibles like promo skills and personality that fall flat once that cool entrance is over. Meanwhile, Eva Marie is actually the opposite of Naomi… Weak inside the ring but she has the intangibles that irritate wrestling fans, much as Sable did over 20 years ago with the “I’m better than you” attitude. It’s hilarious how wrestling fans associate her remaining in the WWE as a problem for female wrestlers who were cut on 4/15 and 6/2 that they NEVER cheered for until they were released.


What did you think about LA Knight turning on Ted Dibiase?

You know, I wanted to see a HEEL Ted Dibiase acting as a manager for LA Knight… That said, Dibiase is a lot nicer of a character now than he was 30 ago… On top of that, Ted is legendary and fans love him… With that said, I’m perfectly OK with LA Knight turning on him because LA Knight, formerly known as Eli Drake from TNA, has loads of personality to make it on his own. Attacking a beloved character like Ted Dibiase will only strengthen him as a heel and I absolutely loved how Cameron Grimes came out to make the save as a babyface. EXCELLENT segment for NXT.

Good stuff… I really LOVE the “LA Knight” name. I knew a kid from college who went by the name of “LA” as his name and he was cool as hell. You just get that cool vibe from the character with that name and acting as a heel. Now, he has the Million Dollar Title around his waist and he has pissed off most wrestling fans by attacking Ted Dibiase.

Names are important, folks, as you need it to present someone as being “larger than life”. Sorry, but Cameron Grimes, Karrion Kross, Damian Priest, Baron Corbin, and others are just terribly thought out names by WWE Creative. You need something that sounds cool, as if it’s somebody that a fan wants to emulate.

Eli Drake was the kid you played soccer with in high school. LA Knight was the guy you partied with and did crazy things in Vegas on a weekend.


What are your predictions for WWE Hell in a Cell 2021?

I predict that this will be a throwaway Pay Per View… WWE will start to really care next month at Money in the Bank when crowds are around again.

Alexa Bliss will defeat Shayna Baszler
Charlotte Flair will defeat Rhea Ripley to win the RAW Women’s Title
Bianca Belair will defeat Bayley the Ding Dong to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title
Bobby Lashley defeats Drew McIntyre to retain WWE Title
Roman Reigns will destroy Rey Mysterio to retain WWE Universal Title

I’m writing this as of early Wednesday… So if I miss a match, WHATEVER!


Why do you believe that “Kayfabe” can be brought back?

Many just read the headline of my LAST COLUMN and went into attack mode. Of course, I am well aware that Pro Wrestling is scripted and most have known for 30 years now. However, it can be known by the public that something is scripted or has illusions involved BUT the participants doing it are not revealing anything. Take Magicians… Obviously, they don’t have superpowers to perform their magic tricks. However, if they revealed how they performed a trick, why would anyone pay money to see a magician if they know how their tricks are performed?

Go watch the Monday Night Wars and Attitude Era. YES, we knew that Pro Wrestling was scripted during 1995-2002… But because the Pro Wrestlers themselves sold it as if it were real, we were willing to suspend disbelief. Bret Hart took the business seriously and personally. Steve Austin sold his character inside and outside of the ring. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall made everyone believe that they were actually invading WCW.

And we had the Undertaker retiring at an almost 30 year career. What did he not do? Make media appearances or even dare allow you to catch him outside of his Undertaker gimmick in the public.

What I’m saying is that the Pro Wrestlers, themselves, need to STOP telling everyone about their magic tricks. STOP showing all of your personal life on Social Media, especially if it is contrary to your on-screen character. STOP talking openly about how scripted the business is or how bumps are performed on Social Media or in interviews. Don’t hang out with your heel or babyface opponents on road trips and allow pictures to be taken of you. Furthermore, get fully trained… Stop making wrestling look so sloppy or like spotfests by not learning how to work, bump, or using psychology.

It’s quite simple… And I use that thinking at my workplace, too… Last thing that I want is to broadcast something publicly, let any competitors know what I’m doing, or to give any of my co-workers any inside information. You have to PROTECT your business and for Pro Wrestlers, they have to present themselves as if they were ALWAYS in character. If they can’t handle that, then get off Social Media and be careful who interviews you.


How would you rank the A&E Biography Shows for WWE Month?

1) Bret Hart
2) Ultimate Warrior
3) Stone Cold Steve Austin
4) Macho Man Randy Savage
5) Mick Foley

Bret’s was the best, by far… The rest were kind of subpar and were either stuff covered in other documentaries or actually hid some stuff. I came out of Bret Hart’s documentary with a higher level of respect for the guy and his career whereas with the rest, I was either disgusted by what was revealed or wondered why the important subjects didn’t come up.

Either way, I liked the A&E shows better than the Dark Side of the Rings… I don’t know man, it just felt too negative this season with Vice TV. For example, I know that Warrior said insane political things during the 2000s at speeches, his blog, and his video rants… But he did a lot of good and anyone in my generation loved and adored the guy. If the Warrior was such an untalented guy, then why has NOBODY created something like that out of thin air since the Ultimate Warrior? Jim Hellwig was more talented than people gave him credit for and Dark Side of the Ring tried to take that away from him.

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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