ASK TITO: WWE & AEW, Eric Bischoff, Tiffany Stratton, CM Punk, Vince McMahon, and Much More

The Excellence in Column Writing is BACK with answering more of your questions sent via email, social media (if you’re in my private group), and the Comments section below my columns with a preference for current event topics… First and foremost, THANK YOU for the big response to my Ronda Rousey column from 3/26. While I respect the opinion of talent, I didn’t agree with her takes on a WWE company who took care of her after UFC and Hollywood dried up for her. Seems like I’m the “elder statesmen of columnists” and I guess the overall watchdog to call out those who speak disrespectfully about the business.

Right now, we’re at a very interesting time in Pro Wrestling… For one, if you ever wanted to consume almost 7 straight days of wrestling, it’s possible… WWE has their usual 2 weekly shows, but AEW has 3 show offerings, TNA does as well, and WWE’s NXT has their own weekly show that will be widely available to network television soon. Lots to chomp on, if you’re a consumer of wrestling. And secondly, the WWE is getting bigger and bigger. If more money is pouring into the wrestling business from the outside, then the other promotions benefit from all the way up to the next competitor to the independent promotions down below.

Go back to late 1992 when wrestling was past its prime… Hulkamania was over, though WWE would try one more last gasp at Wrestlemania 9 during 1993. WCW was a complete hot mess with awful Turner executives micromanaging everything and bad bookers put in place. Then, Eric Bischoff becomes an executive of the company and by 1995, they were ready to compete and challenge the WWE. By 1996, WCW became the #1 promotion and dominated WWE until the Spring of 1998 when they were even again. From 1996 to 1998, not only did the WWE try harder to get some of that money pouring into WCW, but other promotions like ECW benefitted from Pro Wrestling having mass appeal again.

Yes, AEW is having some tough times after their peak at Wembley Stadium last year and terminating CM Punk… But they are still in negotiations with Warner Bros. Discovery to sign an even bigger deal and in the immortal words of Scott Hall, “bad times don’t last”. Get a healthy MJF (if he comes back) or Kenny Omega and add them to the mix of Ospreay and Okada, you may have something or at least something better than before.

But again, there is an increasing amount of eyeballs watching wrestling right now and maybe an even ungodly amount about to watch once WWE hits Netflix. Rising tides raises all ships.

Just hang in there, AEW fans… You had TERRIBLE luck for the past year with the Punk stuff, MJF injury, Omega illness… But truth be told, you went from a 800,000 to 900,000 viewership company to a 750,000 to 850,000 viewership company. Eh, not that bad all things considered. Plus, Sting retired. I believe he carried 20,000 to 30,000 oldschool WCW fans.

It will be OK… What you need is consistency with your roster and try to develop new talent. Sorry, but Mercedes, Edge, Okada, and Ospreay aren’t your long-term answers. We’ve seen lots of tape on each wrestler and have seen their best already. What you need is somebody new or homegrown coming up that the WWE hasn’t employed before. Hence why having a developmental system is crucial for today’s wrestling, whether that’s an internal training system or working with another independent promotion.

As for Tony… Why don’t you take advice from the voice behind Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen. Before he tried out for that voice job, his military veteran brother gave him advice on what do… “Don’t be the typical Hollywood macho type… Be strong enough to be gentile”. We don’t need to hear or see you often, and when we do see you, it’s intense for the media scrums or getting into fights on Social Media. “Be strong enough to be gentile”… Look at Triple H right now, as he listens to his talent, cares about his talent, and admits mistakes. Strong enough to be gentile… He was the only one backstage that Ronda Rousey gave praise, for example.

You’ll get there… Tony is like 5 years into his wrestling business experience. Vince McMahon spent over 10 years learning the ropes in Vince Sr.’s WWWF later WWF promotion before buying the company. Paul Heyman spent 7 years in the business before joining ECW in 1993 but still spent a few more years before becoming part-owner and then full owner. Jim Cornette spent 9 years in the business before starting his Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion in 1991. Eric Bischoff spent 7 years in the business before becoming WCW executive and I’d argue it took him 2 good years to get on good footing (WCW was a hot mess back then). Tony had no prior experience before becoming a wrestling company president… That’s nuts.

Be patient AEW, fans… “Bad times don’t last” as Scott Hall once said.

Good times are here for the WWE, hot damn! It all started in August 2020 when the WWE finally got Roman Reigns’s character right AND trusting in Paul Heyman to help him along the way. That partnership of Paul and Roman caused Vince McMahon’s last few years overseeing Creative to look great. Then, when you put Triple H into the mix, he’s added great ideas to the Bloodline such as the Sami Zayn stuff while placing further trust in Roman/Paul and the rest of his Creative Team to feed that group great ideas. Meanwhile, with everyone motivated to work for Triple H, the Creative Team and other backstage officials are free to be much more creative than they were before with Vince McMahon. Hence why MOST wrestlers are thriving right now. Lots of trust and freedom, within boundaries of course, is happening with the WWE.

Fact is that WWE was already great again BEFORE CM Punk and the Rock join the roster. Viewership says so, but especially attendance and merchandise sales along with even more explosive growth overseas. KEEP IN MIND that the Netflix deal was negotiated and completed BEFORE the Rock was to join TKO’s board, but I’m sure Rock joining made Netflix a tad more confident. Rock and CM Punk have made Triple H’s WWE even better with their massive star power that can thrive, too, in Triple H’s new WWE environment.

Look, my criticisms were only of (a) WWE looking messy when booking Wrestlemania 40 and (b) Cody and Seth being too scripted in responding to the Rock’s unscripted blasts of them… But I ain’t gonna deny how GOOD the Rock is right now. Rock Concert aside, the promo he cut AFTER he was singing was an all-time great promo. Just vicious… Then, of course, what just happened on RAW.

This Wrestlemania 40 show could legitimately be the best Wrestlemania of all time. Seriously… LOOK at that card and there are rumors that John Cena and even Stone Cold Steve Austin may do something? Why not?

But let’s be REALLY honest about the WWE since June of 2022 when Triple H came back to WWE Creative… The writing for WWE shows is F’N good… No scratch that, it’s F’N great.

For YEARS upon YEARS there were always discussions about WWE shows being denied an Emmy Award for Primetime Television. Honestly, I disagreed with that because WWE was still about the matches and championships. This Bloodline stuff is compelling, dramatic, well scripted, and it draws emotion out of the viewers like no other television experience right now. With the Rock pouring gasoline all over this Bloodline fire, we could get several more years out of this storyline. As Paul Heyman said, we have the ability to get “extra innings” out of it.

And I’m SO PROUD that Paul Heyman is going into the Hall of Fame this year. THAT MAN deserves his flowers and while he has another decade to give to the business, he deserves recognition. Triple H has further empowered Heyman as a creative force, whereas in the past, Vince McMahon always pushed back on Heyman’s backstage influence. Paul is truly a part of the team now and a valued member as well.

This is the WWE that I’ve been BEGGING for since the Attitude Era, but just never fully received since the year 2000. Always bad creative, Vince and Kevin Dunn playing their BS games, or an inexperienced Triple H needing more time to figure things out as a backstage manager. Triple H learned from his past lessons and is KILLING IT now. If I were Stephanie McMahon, I’d be proud of her man and how he’s going to continue her family’s legacy for years. The folks at Endeavor have to be in HEAVEN right now with how Triple H is producing as the main backstage boss.

“Be strong enough to be gentile” – WATCH THIS VIDEO and you’ll understand what I mean.

Onto your questions…


ASK TITO – Your Questions, My Answers

What are your thoughts on Eric Bischoff’s criticisms of AEW?

Disappointment… Instead of understanding and relating to the pain that Tony Khan is going through, he’s combative instead. Yes, Tony is immature at times, but I think his loudness on social media could be often cries for help. However, the older one in this situation, Eric Bischoff, joins Tony in the immature gutter.

When Eric attacks Tony, it opens up Eric to eat his humble pie of WCW failing and TNA failure. Had Eric been a touch nicer and say “hey Tony, could you take a call with me?”. They could hash things out like MEN, while Eric can add perspective… Tony could take his advice or leave it. But no, we get an idiot tennis match between the two egomaniacs on X/Twitter instead. This week, it was Eric announcing that he’s ending a side podcast and Tony took a personal shot after YEARS of back & forth fighting between the two. Eric then showed video of the poorly attended AEW Dynamite show this week.

All of this drama could have been avoided if they would actually use their Smartphones as phones. Quit letting the data speak for you, as tone is never represented well versus actually speaking with a human being.

Eric lacks credibility when getting into petty fights with Tony and making fun of him because he’s a trust fund baby… Well, Ted Turner might as well set-up a trust fund for Eric and ditto for the massive Time Warner company that merged with Ted. I’m willing to bet that Bischoff spent MORE on his WCW talent during the 1990s than Tony has for his AEW talent in the 2020s… Think about that, we’ve had freakin’ 20-30 years of INFLATION. And I attended WCW shows during the year 2000 when Eric Bischoff was back… Damn arenas were empty, too!

But damn, Eric, you did TNA wrestling dirty… The way you’ve constantly enabled Hulk Hogan is on you, as well. On the NWO A&E documentary, you finally admitted that you let Hulk Hogan mess with the finish of Sting vs. Hulk Hogan. After YEARS of making up lies about Sting being “out of it”, not tan, etc., the truth comes out that you let Hogan ruin the biggest show that you had ever booked. And then blow up TNA wrestling with that same Hulk Hogan guy, as well.

Eric just isn’t one to talk when it comes to Tony Khan, specifically attacking him. Eric should try to help him out and relate to what he’s going through, not sling mud in the X/Twitter trenches where immature idiots play.

Tony Khan is immature and making bad decisions because lacks good friends from the wrestling businesses who can hold him accountable and advise him to do better. Attacking him and not helping him is only going to make him more guarded. You should know better, Eric.


Thoughts on Ash by Elegance (Dana Brooke) bashing Tiffany Stratton?

I’d be careful on reading into the artist formerly known as Dana Brooke’s posts… Some wrestlers don’t turn off the “wrestler switch” while they are on Social Media. That could be an excuse, but if you read through their posts, you’ll see them cutting promos on the marks trying to troll them.

I think the world of Tiffany Stratton and am incredibly impressed by her. “Knock-off Barbie” should be a compliment, as Tiffany is stunningly beautiful. And stealing other moves? All wrestlers are trained the same way, as Dana Brooke was mostly trained by the same people that Tiffany was. You’re taught all of the moves, while you do what best fits you. She’s a former gymnast, so hence why the flips and moonsaults work for her. And holy crap, she may have the best moonsault ever and that says a lot considering those who have done it in the past.

Just social media banter here, and I’d just move on. Tiffany will obviously prove those remarks wrong, whether they were shooting or in character.

Of course, when it comes to pressing “post” or “submit”, I’d usually want that to represent me or my character well before doing so. But that’s just my 2 cents.


Do you think CM Punk will get in trouble for trying to get Vince McMahon mentioned or saying he enjoys Jim Cornette’s podcasts?

Nah… I think we’re loosening up on the older, uptight WWE led by Vince McMahon that didn’t want to acknowledge the outside world. Cornette is the #1 wrestling podcaster, so why would he need additional attention? Besides, Punk didn’t mention Jim by name… Furthermore, I’m sure that a laughing Triple H told Punk backstage “I saw what you’re trying to do, but please stop in the future” and they probably had a good laugh about it.

Punk’s segment drew huge on RAW and also on YouTube. I believe WWE was OK with Punk’s appearance and appreciate the extra edge that he brings to WWE.


Any thoughts if Becky Lynch is leaving the company soon?

So she announced in an interview, which WWE likely approved ahead of time, that her WWE contract is up in 2 months. You don’t think that’s a work?

No, she’s staying with the WWE. They’ve been great to her and Seth, and I believe both have futures in the WWE once their in-ring careers are done. Her announcing that her contract is up just gives her match with Rhea an added edge to think about.

Unless she thinks that she can really cash out on Tony’s money, she’s staying with WWE. She makes plenty there and she’s always treated as a top star.

Drew McIntyre is playing the same contractual game… They wouldn’t publicly announce terms if they were going to leave. Gives them some leverage, but WWE is the best place to be right now.

Plus, you can’t call yourself “Becky Lynch” or “Drew McIntyre” elsewhere. While both are lucky to have their first names as part of their WWE copyrighted names, it’s still difficult to start over with a different variation of their name. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Jon Moxley are exceptions to that rule, as you can ask many in TNA who suffered without their former WWE stage names.


Do you think we’ll see either Steve Austin or John Cena at Wrestlemania 40?

John Cena has openly suggested that he’s free for Wrestlemania weekend, while reports have said that WWE has reached out to Steve Austin.

Look, the WWE is LOVING having the Rock around and placing a major “sense of urgency” with him now as the “final boss” heel character. But I also agree, and Jim Cornette’s show really mentioned this, was the “Game of Thrones” type struggle that may soon happen between the Rock and Triple H. Throw in Steve Austin or John Cena into that mix, and you have a ton of stars who could have FUN acting in non-wrestling roles.

I’ve long argued that past stars should be around and helm their own TEAMS, kind of like you see in NASCAR. For example, they could utilize appearances by Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan as owners of the “NWO” team, Batista or Ric Flair as the owner of the “Evolution” team, Shawn Michaels or Sean Waltman as owners of the “DX” team. Maybe Flair having his new “4 Horsemen” team? You can get sporadic appearances from each legend while the younger wrestlers can benefit by wearing the colors and logos of the past to help get over. I really thought there was a major opportunity when R-Truth began calling DIY as “DX”. They should have embraced it and obtained a sponsorship from HHH, HBK, Road Dogg, or Waltman to do so. Embrace those great brands.

Let’s be honest, and this is especially true of the recent era with the Bloodline… Non-wrestling segments are BIGGER than in-ring matches during television programs. That’s a FACT and the numbers all prove it. Getting in more non-wrestling legends to help stir the pot, it will be better. Younger wrestlers can help them stir it, and then break off when they are ready.

I think it would be CRAZY if the Bloodline just viciously attacks Cody Rhodes during Night #2 and then that GLASS BREAKS to see Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out to get the Rock. Fans would F’N lose it! John Cena has history with the Rock, too, so if both Austin and Cena came down to fend off the Bloodline to make the odds even for Cody, it could work.

Possibilities are endless, and I fully trust the Triple H administration to give us a strong Wrestlemania no matter what.


What do you think of the WWE’s new “Consensual Relationship Policy”?

I’m wondering why they didn’t have one, to begin with, as a Corporation?

Every corporation that I’ve worked for, and I’ve been to a few, has had such a policy. When a relationship blooms between two co-workers, many are happy for their co-workers but it also can create problems, too. For example, what if 2 co-workers in the same department start dating but break-up? What if a co-worker cheats on another co-worker? And worst of all, what if one co-worker is a boss and shows favoritism towards the person he or she is dating? Creates lots of drama and tension at the workplace. Plus, the pillow talk creates collusion and creates a power vacuum as well.

Obviously, this new policy was written to prevent another Vince McMahon situation of taking people from an apartment complex and promoting them to a big corporate job just so he do very bad things to them… But also, things happen on the road and there are multiple couples, married or not, in the WWE.

I’m usually of the mind of “don’t sh** where you eat”, but for others, they cannot help if sparks fly between each other.

This is just more corporate CYA being implemented, especially since Endeavor/TKO briefly employed an absolute monster named Vince McMahon.

Speaking of Vince…


What do you think Vince McMahon is doing with his cashed in stock-option money?

I think he’s slowly removing himself from TKO… Can’t just sell all at once, as that brings unwanted attention from a big shareholder as it relates to the company whom they are selling the stock. He’s just getting rid of his shares, which are kind of useless to him now since he cannot return, and he probably has to sell them in pieces for SEC and tax purposes as a top shareholder.

Vince isn’t one to just sit on his money, though… I believe he’s going to make a move, but I don’t think it’s what you think. No way he could start up or invest in another wrestling promotion. Not happening, he can’t get the television deal of a new promotion and any wrestling promotion he works for would struggle getting deals with him. Football leagues, film, and bodybuilding is out of the question too.

I think what Vince McMahon is up to is investing in an old friend. Who is running for President again? Donald Trump. Vince and Donald are close, and Vince has what Donald needs: MONEY.

It wouldn’t surprise me if I one day heard that Vince McMahon has been funding Trump’s legal fees or part of his campaign… Maybe helping him pay back the state of New York?

If Donald Trump wins the 2024 Presidential Election, he’ll probably elect a Cabinet of individual types we’ve never seen before… Vince McMahon for that? Maybe… That or in return for Vince’s money, Trump could turn his Justice Department or Securities Exchange Commission on Endeavor. If Trump wins, gloves are coming off and Vince has enough influence on his old friend to direct where that bus on the revenge tour could be steered.

I’m willing to bet Vince McMahon is investing in Trump and will enjoy the benefits of Trump in office afterward. Bought and paid for… Vince gave Donald Trump’s foundation $5 million just in 2022 alone. Vince, like Trump, has revenge on his mind and Vince weaponizing Trump could be what we see during 2025 & beyond if Donald becomes President again.

Not getting political, but just pointing out the FACT that both men are close friends for over 35 years and Vince McMahon/WWE has already donated to Donald Trump with millions upon millions of dollars. If Vince was close to another candidate and donated millions to him or her, I’d suggest the same thing.


Have a great Easter, everyone! Thank you so much for reading!

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