The Excellence in Column Writing has returned and is back in your face with answers to your many questions sent via email, comments section, or social media (though I currently have it on private). I’ve been on a role lately with columns, as I have pumped out 10 columns since December 23rd, 2023. I’m in a good writing groove and it helps when there are plenty of current events to discuss. It also helps that I’ve really liked what WWE has been doing lately…
BUT – What I really dislike are Fatal Four Ways. FINGER OF SHAME to Triple H and the WWE for that LAZY BOOKING.
Sorry, but AJ Styles just returned from injury and LA Knight had his time already with Roman. Randy Orton taking on Roman Reigns would have been the route that I went with and then having a separate LA Knight vs. AJ Styles one-on-one match at Royal Rumble 2024.
THAT SAID, I’m guessing Knight and Styles have zero chance to win the WWE Title here and this will be their spin-off to having their one-on-one match at Wrestlemania 40. My guess is that the WWE needed extra time to END this show, so hence why Knight and Styles were merged into what appears to be the Rumble show’s Main Event.
I believe that Triple H and other WWE executives LOVED the way that Royal Rumble 2023 ended, and want to create another dramatic ending. If you’ll recall, Rumble 2023 ended with Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens but the match ended with a massive beatdown on Kevin Owens. However, Sami Zayn had enough and actually turned on Roman Reign. The crowd went absolutely bonkers for this moment that wasn’t a match. It was pure storyline driven material that lasted 10-15 minutes after the main event.
Now that the Rock is back, it is highly likely that he may make an appearance at Royal Rumble 2024 at the end of this Roman vs. AJ Styles vs. LA Knight vs. Randy Orton match, may even cause a distraction for Randy Orton to win the combined WWE Title. Then, the show could have an additional 10-15 minutes of a stare-down or something sports entertainment wise to help hype this massive Wrestlemania match.
Then we’d have:
• Rock vs. Roman Reigns
• Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Title
• CM Punk vs. Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title
• LA Knight vs. AJ Styles
• Possibly Gunther vs. Brock Lesnar for the IC Title (I hope)
• Possibly Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley for the Women’s Title
And Cody Rhodes can “tell his story” well by overcoming Randy Orton, the guy who led their Legacy stable. That is a 100% credible opponent that can finish Cody’s story. I’m cool with that and we can pocket Roman vs. Cody for down the road. Remember, Cody had Roman BEAT last year at Wrestlemania 39. We know Cody has it in him to defeat Roman, so thus, we can take an off-ramp for a moment. Plus, as I said before, any chance that you can get the Rock to wrestle, you take it.
That’s the REAL question… Can all of you stomach Randy Orton being “the guy” to derail Roman Reigns extensive title reign? I’m cool with it…
Fatal Four Ways suck, as having just Rock vs. Randy Orton would told the story anyway. The best story would be for Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso attempt to interfere, but the Rock stops them and the distraction of that happen causes Randy to RKO Roman for the win. I’m guessing LA Knight and AJ Styles “fight off” our screens to make it Orton vs. Roman anyway.
Just remember with Fatal Four Ways… We saw plenty of them during the 2010s when a certain Triple H was EVP of Creative from late 2013 through the Fall of 2019. Just saying, he wrote some lazy booking, too, and it will take a while for him to evolve a little more to our liking.
Onto your questions.
ASK TITO: Your Questions, My Answers
Thoughts on Karrion Kross and the Authors of Pain teaming up for a new stable?
At some point, Triple H needs to own up to recruiting and training mistakes that he made during the 2010s. This was my exact argument about his tenure as EVP of Talent Relations from mid-2012 through early 2020. He recruited big, thick guys and trained them to be Triple H clones who are dark and brooding. We don’t need more of that, we need guys full of bright colors, smiles, and charisma.
And I love Paul Ellering and am happy to see him around. But damn, his Authors of Pain team are just lacking of any emotion. Compare that to his Road Warriors/Legion of Doom who were full of personality and character. “Ohhhhhhh what a rush!” These guys literally say nothing and just go moves like a pair of robots. You gotta be exceptional with your personalities to make it in this business.
One who isn’t exceptional is Karrion Kross. HHH has been shoving this guy down our throats and it just isn’t working. Pairing him with 2 HHH clones in the Authors of Pain won’t help, either. Pairing him with his beautiful wife hasn’t helped, either. Because again, once you see Kross wrestle, anything regarding his entrance or the beautiful lady ringside suddenly become null and void. Furthermore, someone needs to laser off some of the most poorly placed tattoos seen on a human body. Just looks like big blotches of dark green ink on his body without any rhyme or reason.
Many of the re-signings of failed NXT call-ups haven’t worked, and that should be a testament to how weak of a talent evaluator that Triple H once was and how the Performance Center had some weak trainers throughout the 2010s. Let go of the past and move forward with fresh recruits who could be trained and prepared differently. We don’t need wrestlers trained to be HHH clones because the original guy was talented and you can’t teach some of the stuff he used to do.
How long with Pat McAfee last with ESPN for his daily sports talkshow?
Not long… In case you missed it, Pat McAfee made serious claims on his ESPN show that ESPN executives were sabotaging his show by leaking info to press outlets and he actually named 1 executive by name. Reportedly, an ESPN executive Norby Williamson was 100% against bringing in Pat McAfee but executives above Williamson overruled him. Norby has been bitter ever since and has been allegedly leaking stuff to major newspapers about Pat and as Pat alleges, giving false viewership numbers to those outlets.
Folks, this is what I was warning you about in yesterday’s column about the WWE shopping around Monday Night RAW to Warner Bros. Discovery or Disney. For the last 15-20 years, Disney has been creating a very toxic workplace where executives there are extremely controlling of content, whether that is censoring everything or pushing specific political views into content. ESPN, especially, has morphed into a channel that has lost millions of viewers to their regular shows because they shove a specific viewpoint down your throats when you just want highlights of games. Joke is on ESPN, because everyone now goes to many online outlets for highlights instead.
Now, TKO’s other son, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is on ESPN… But just from my on reviews of the feedback for UFC events, many UFC fans don’t like ESPN’s coverage and production of their fights. They could see how ESPN’s viewpoints of changed UFC a bit, as everything is getting scrubbed with the Disney brushes.
It’s a lesson learned that when you put a price-tag on your product, the buyer is going to expect certain things from it. WWE has seen those expectations from Comcast, but at the very least, there’s an extensive relationship with Comcast that WWE can manage and discuss privately with their executives… There’s a trust in place. You can’t trust Disney, because they meddle with everything rather than accepting what they buy at face value. Pat McAfee refused to change, and rightly so, but now he’s going to feel the wrath of the mouse. Disney/ESPN were probably already pissed at Pat for letting Aaron Rodgers accuse Jimmy Kimmel of being on Jeffrey Epstein’s client list, but him calling out ESPN on his own ESPN show could be the last straw.
WWE is learning that by selling out to Endeavor… Vince McMahon hasn’t been himself lately, because Endeavor is blocking him from meddling and micro-managing day-to-day WWE operations like he used to.
When you’re working for big corporations, you have to understand the balance of money and creativity. Sure, signing with a big company will make you rich, but you have to abide by that company’s policies, procedures, and goals. You have to give up the creativity that probably landed you that job… OR, you could keep going with what you had. Pat McAfee was doing just well by himself on YouTube and had many years left on his Fan Duel deal to keep paying his show millions (I believe he took a slight pay-cut to join ESPN). He took the ESPN deal to extend his reach beyond just YouTube, but he failed to realize that ESPN reaches back.
I predict this action is going to end Pat’s run with ESPN, or at least a warning of the next inappropriate action leading to his action. He’ll definitely be written up by Human Resources so that when ESPN terminates him, the can show it “with cause” to screw him out of the remaining money of his 5 year, $85 million deal with ESPN. Big mistake made by Pat by calling his executives out in the public, which resembles what CM Punk did at the All Out 2022 Media Scrum. Top executives don’t like airing of dirty laundry and they’ll find ways to make your remaining days of tenure with that company miserable and attempt to limit your future endeavor opportunities as well. If you’re going to leave a place, do it on good terms.
That said, I’ll be happy to get the non-ESPN Pat McAfee back. Just stay on YouTube and return to your R-Rated format that actually built your audience.
What are your thoughts on Liv Morgan’s legal situation?
Isn’t marijuana legal in many states now? Oh no, she’s a pothead… Sorry, that’s not a drug that deserves any extensive jailtime and oddly enough, Liv may need to THANK President Joe Biden about a recent proclamation that he made regarding marijuana.
In other words, he was granting pardons of simple possession of weed and also made a statement pardoning future American citizens who may get caught with simple possession. And I’m not making a political statement here, just suggesting that marijuana is in the process of being deregulated as a top drug because many states are declaring legal uses for it and the government is looking to allow companies associated with pot to actually use banks to conduct their business. If you’re a dispensary in a state, it’s difficult to process transactions and many places are cash heavy because of the banking restrictions.
This arrest was made into more than it needed to be. Oh boy, Liv smokes pot… Gee, who doesn’t in the wrestling industry? Have you tried take a bump inside a ring or outside of it? Tried to take Irish Whips on those stiff WWE ropes? And then try doing this stuff for YEARS without pain? Personally, I’d rather the wrestlers smoke dope than get on the pills and/or drink heavily, which killed many wrestlers before them during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
That said, this case exposes maybe why Liv haven’t been pushed to many people’s liking… Though she looks great and can perform inside the ring well, to me, there’s just too many “deer in the headlights” moments with her and maybe, at times, it just feels like she’s going through the motions. I don’t know if that’s related to smoking a lot of pot, but I always felt something was missing with her. She’s every bit as talented as Alexa Bliss, for example, but Bliss had that motivation and personality. Liv just seemed spaced out at times and when this arrest came in, I had that Leonardo DiCaprio moment where I pointed at the screen.
I wish her the best… Just be a little more careful with your possession.
The sensationalism of just simple possession of drugs legal in many states has been shameful, however. Must be a slow newsday at many wrestling and TMZ-like websites.
Thoughts on NWA’s Kamille reportedly joining the WWE?
I think it could be a homerun signing… Check out the match that Aaron placed at the bottom of his news post about the potential WWE signing… First and foremost about Kamille, she’s gorgeous and very tall for a female athlete. I know that it’s a tad insensitive to talk about female looks within the cancel culture based internet wrestling community, but she looks like a female superhero that would sell a bunch of action figures. Just based on recent history, taller female wrestlers have a major advantage.
As a wrestler, she’s good enough… Just about 6 years experience on the indies and then with the NWA since 2018. She probably lacks the experience working before a much bigger arena crowd, but that’s something to easily achieve through the NXT developmental process. If you’ve seen Jade Cargill lately, she’s receiving world class training to get ready for the big stage. While I have been critical of how males have been trained at the Performance Center, I’ve never been critical of how Sara Del Rey trains female wrestlers there.
Seriously, folks… If I were any female athlete or female wrestler elsewhere besides the WWE, I would want some work fine-tuning my abilities with Sara Del Rey. Look at that absurd track record in developing Charlotte, Becky, Sasha, Becky, Asuka, Alexa, Liv, Rhea, and Bianca… Holy cow. Kamille is going to LOVE getting better and I predict that she’ll be a major star for WWE. She already looks the part and has experience, so thus WWE will just build on that.
Kamille will probably join as “Sarah Sanders” or something odd they come up with and can copyright.
What does AEW Dynamite’s recent viewership numbers mean?
AEW drew 801,000 this week, which was DOWN from the previous week’s 843,000 viewership. THAT was following a Pay Per View and THAT was following the revealing of the Devil. Over 40,000 fans felt it wasn’t necessary to watch following both of those events.
This is bad news for AEW… Nothing is drawing for them right now. Omega is out, MJF may be out for a long time (and maybe his contract expires as he’s recovering from shoulder surgery), and nobody else on that roster can by trusted by Tony Khan to draw. Oh, and Chris Jericho has his own online scandals, whether it’s arguing with CM Punk’s lawyer online or getting smeared by allegations. I’m NOT going to discuss things stirred up by Nick Hausman, but when you have “NDA” chants happening during your matches, it’s probably not a repeat look that Tony wants right now.
It’s piling on of bad luck for a poorly managed company by Tony Khan. Cody Rhodes and Jade Cargill, who had plenty of opportunities to succeed in AEW, just walked away from the promotion to join WWE. The CM Punk drama was a complete joke and the EVP Young Bucks have NEVER and I repeat NEVER been held accountable for their actions in that matter. Hell, the were re-signed for multi-year extensions to start 2023 following their actions and poor job performances.
Stuff like this is why Warner Bros. Discovery is talking with the WWE in the midst of possibly extending AEW for their current TV deals.
How can a company get WORSE with 5 years’ experience under their belts? Tony Khan and the Young Bucks are proving themselves to be inept at managing and actually learning.
Do you believe the apology of Velveteen Dream will be accepted by wrestling fans?
Overall, I thought it was a good apology, though I thought this arrived too late… It’s likely that Mr. Patrick Clark has hit rock bottom in his life and in doing so, this could have prompted the apology. I don’t know… It’s a good first step towards redemption, THOUGH he completely forgot to apologize to the victims of the alleged actions. Dream got into controversy when explicit photos were allegedly sent from him to underage boys and girls during 2020. Clark denied the allegations and WWE investigated it heavily, clearing him from any wrongdoing. Law enforcement never arrested him for these said incidents, possibly indicating that it wasn’t him or maybe it was a hacking of his accounts or phone.
However, as we discussed about Chris Jericho above, all it takes is an online allegation and you cannot scrub it off. Right now, as you can see with the Jeffrey Epstein list reveals, there are political conspiracy that child trafficking rings are everywhere. Thus, anyone allegedly sending explicit photos to children is going to get major heat online and then when attending wrestling events, chants will be made and signs will be held up. Then, the sponsors get attacked… Despite WWE clearing Patrick of wrongdoing, they still released him because it was likely that Comcast/NBC/Universal advised WWE that they were getting a ton of online heat about that guy.
What public figures need to realize is that they have big targets on their backs… There are many online who want to take you down just for their own pure joy of things. As a public figure, if you open the door on Social Media too much on interacting with fans, then that creates opportunity for someone to portray themselves as you or to hack your devices to post as you. Furthermore, if you’re a public figure and taking nude photos of yourself that are stored on your phone, you’re just asking for trouble. Who keeps nude photos of themselves on a phone as a public figure? Just idiotic, but maybe I just don’t understand today’s youth. But what I understand is that if those photos are sent to younger people, then major trouble is coming your way.
For public figures, anything that is alleged of you will remain forever online. You HAVE to keep that in mind.
My issue with Velveteen Dream is that whether or not he did this, he lacked maturity even during 2022 when he was arrested multiple times in Florida. I’d worry about him traveling on the road, full-time, if he can’t control his impulses or simply can’t protect devices or social media accounts from what allegedly happened. The apology was a good first step, but why didn’t this happen 3 years ago when the allegations began? And why weren’t the victims of the alleged incidents at least receiving some kind of acknowledgement?
I’m with Jim Cornette on this… I think returning to the WWE would be a big mistake because the large fans could troll him and again, I don’t think he’s mature enough yet to handle it. Go to the Indies and prove that you can make it in the wrestling business WHILE behaving. If you can prove yourself beyond the WWE system, while not getting into any trouble, then maybe WWE takes another chance on you.
I know that I have been very critical of Triple H’s EVP of Talent Relations run from mid-2012 through early 2020, but I believe Velveteen Dream (with a better name) could have been Triple H’s big Main Event splash star in the WWE. These 2020 controversies derailed that… Patrick Clark has everything as Velveteen Dream, as he had personality, charisma, the look, talent inside the ring, and he kept improving on the microphone. He could have been an exceptional superstar, but these allegations carried too much serious weight. It’s a complete shame on what happened, but hopefully a lesson learned for the Developmental System to warn wrestlers of the dangers of what communicating with fans and taking nudes could do to your career.
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