MR. TITO: Wyatt Sicks, Jacob Fatu WWE Debut, Shane McMahon in AEW?, AEW’s Viewership, & More

Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing where I provide snappy answers to your questions on current events as submitted by email, comments below, or social media. Thank you so much for your reactions to my recent columns, as I really appreciate the support. Honestly, it’s been a tough Spring and early Summer because this post-Wrestlemania 40 world isn’t providing the big news headlines as the wrestling landscape did prior to Wrestlemania 40. Also, AEW is falling off a cliff and that’s not helping to create any positive stories either.

AEW Dynamite for June 19th, 2024 did 502,000 viewers, the WORST number that the show has ever seen.

I hate to say “I TOLD YOU SO”, but I TOLD YOU F’N SO.

Sorry, but when your top talent recruiter is named Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer instead of guys in your own company, such as Jim Ross who rebuilt the WWE empire, THERE IS A PROBLEM.

New Japan is a company that draws only in Japan and has only a few cult members here in the United States to follow that niche product. Dave Meltzer’s hook for his newsletters is to provide you insider news on WWE and whatever its competitor is (formerly WCW, ECW, or TNA and now AEW), but that’s a front to feed you into New Japan Pro Wrestling propaganda. Sadly, one of the newsletter readers who bought that hook, line, and sinker was Tony Khan. He listens to Dave Meltzer on who to place on his roster and who should be on his management team. Furthermore, because the Young Bucks LOVE to be spotlighted in the Observer, they’ll listen to what Meltzer says too.

Viewership has dropped sharply since the signings of Will Ospreay and Okada, FACT. You cannot deny it at this point. Both of these New Japan wrestlers have NOT drawn viewership or attendance in AEW, and that’s DESPITE the heavy star ratings that Dave Meltzer has given to each of their AEW matches during 2024.

Funny, if AEW has the best matches, according to Dave’s awfully biased star ratings, then why isn’t AEW drawing? One would think that the matches, themselves, would draw.

Well, Dave Meltzer’s rating system is incredibly biased and has been for years. It is a FACT that he refused to give any 5-Star ratings for any WWE matches between the Badd Blood 1997 event (HBK vs. Undertaker, HIAC) and Money in the Bank 2011 (Cena vs. Punk). Since that event, he has given 5-star ratings sparingly to WWE matches while continuing to overrate Japanese matches. With Tony and the Young Bucks pushing New Japan and California Indy stuff (he overrates PWG as well) in AEW, the bias is completely shown to AEW on all of their matches. Even lower level midcard matches are seeing extra stars.

AEW needs to break all ties to Dave Meltzer who does not have a good view on what is entertaining for pro wrestling. Working a stiffer style with zero psychology and hitting finishing move after finishing move after finishing move after finishing move is NOT a good match. That’s what gets him off… No, wrestling draws mostly BEFORE the match happens with storylines, promos, and connectivity with fans. Wrestling matches themselves draw when the match tells a story, has actual psychology and selling, and connects with the audience. What Dave Meltzer likes quantity of moves hit during a match, and not QUALITY of moves or actions performed. More moves per match does not equate to a good match. Okada and Ospreay (Omega) are volume wrestlers, in they’ll shove as many moves in a 30-45 minute match that they can yet, they don’t take a moment to sell or inflict psychology to get the crowd more into the match.

When Meltzer sees Okada, Ospreay, or Omega wrestle… That has given him the O-Face… Ohhhh ohhh ohhhh face. The ironic thing is that an injured Kenny Omega has actually spoken out about Meltzer’s rating system and pretty much exposed what an inflated joke it is.

I’ll call her a “New Japan signing”, too, because Mercedes Moné wrestled for that promotion and gave them little to no value after their debut. But don’t worry, Tony, that NJPW rub is enough to draw big in AEW. What a bust and she looks clueless out there with Tony’s bad creative ideas. Proves to me that Sasha Banks in the WWE was carried by Triple H’s NXT booking team to make her look great in NXT, while having some issues creatively in WWE once she got further away from NXT. Wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows for Sasha in WWE, but at least it isn’t THIS BAD. She looks like a lost puppy dog out there, while appearing to not have much motivation to get better.

While he didn’t have a stint in New Japan, Adam Copeland (formerly Edge in WWE) didn’t help AEW while he was there and then gets injured trying to work the daredevil style that isn’t filtered out by Tony Khan or the EVPs. Breaks his f’n leg jumping off the top of the cage! How stupid is that for any wrestler, let alone someone in their 50s?

You want to know why AEW is failing? Because they LACK homegrown talent that didn’t come from Dave Meltzer’s NJPW lust or WWE. Remember, WWE doesn’t just let talent go elsewhere… They have reasons for their releases or refusals to overpay wrestlers. Besides Moxley and Jericho, these ex-WWE wrestlers aren’t drawing because WWE already reaped the benefits of their prime years and AEW is receiving them past their prime without any good creative to mask that. Hell, I’d argue that AEW has harmed Moxley and Jericho long-term by not shielding both guys from themselves. Why is Moxley bleeding and why does Jericho try the hardcore style so much in his matches when his charisma, personality, and promo skills are what draws for him?

AEW has NOTHING coming up in terms of talent development… They have places for wrestlers to train, but there is no purpose and there is nothing in terms of recruitment to find athletes to mold into wrestlers. Instead, they go for indy darlings and anyone with New Japan experience because again, they are listening to Dave Meltzer or the Young Bucks are carrying on that Meltzer influence.

You know what? This AEW experiment isn’t working. Maybe what we need is a hard reset button pushed to allow another promotion to rise up and try this. Tony Khan and the Young Bucks are obviously not accomplished enough to make AEW sustainable, especially now that WWE is good again. 2019-2021 did well for AEW because WWE was in the toilet creatively and were shredding through developmental talents with Vince McMahon micro-managing everything. With Vince done, creative is better and developmental talents are receiving better opportunities. 2022-2024 has been a rebirth for WWE, while AEW’s warts are getting exposed because the alternative to WWE is now way more inferior and AEW’s attempts to win back that audience (Mercedes, Copeland, Ospreay, and Okada) have failed.

Quit listening to Dave Meltzer, as typing a newsletter does not make you qualified to build a promotion, and quit signing ex-WWE wrestlers past their prime without any creative plans how to mask their career mileage.

If Warner Bros. Discovery refuses to overpay AEW’s declining product, we’re going to see a real tailspin if AEW cannot boost its viewership audience. This 502,000 number is a DISASTER and AEW should take the reported $110 million WBD offering and run with it. Buy time to reset your promotion, root out the bad influences, and maybe send the Young Bucks packing as EVPs.

That is how you talk about AEW honestly instead of showering their regular matches with excessive stars or praising any wrestlers with the slightest hint of New Japan experience.

Onto your questions.


Thoughts on the new Wyatt Family (Wyatt Sicks) in the WWE?

I’m going to pause on my opinion with the Wyatts, and give them a chance to succeed. Without Vince McMahon there, let’s see how great of a creative genius that Triple H truly is to get this group over.

I say that as someone who really disliked what the Wyatt Family became… When it was just about cutting promos and putting on great matches with the original 3, the group thrived and so did Bray Wyatt. When things got weird with supernatural stuff and became LESS about hyping a match and more about how unstoppable the Fiend was, the quality dropped. Ultimately, the creative began to suck with the Wyatts, thus placing an emphasis on the matches to perform well. However, the matches sucked too and thus everything fell apart.

As I’ve argued in the past, the Undertaker did supernatural stuff too… But his matches were executed well, especially once he got beyond wrestling freaks of nature beyond 1994. The Undertaker had quite a catalog of great matches, whereas Bray Wyatt had good matches with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan yet nobody else. Anything from 2019 through early 2023 was pure cringe. That Royal Rumble 2023 match with LA Knight was embarrassing, as was Uncle Howdy missing by a mile when trying to land on LA Knight.

Look, lots of excitement has been generated by the Wyatt Sicks group debuting… LEARN FROM YOUR PAST and make this group better. Keep things simple, don’t go over-the-top with the theatrics, and then perform reasonably well inside the ring. Oh, and sell actual moves inside the ring. Nobody is invincible.

I do like how Uncle Howdy resembles Rob Zombie now versus how he foolishly looked before.

I probably wouldn’t have sacrificed newly signed Chad Gable for this segment, though…


Should Shane McMahon consider joining AEW?

If Shane joins as an “authority figure”, as a representative of Tony Khan, it could work. However, if Shane McMahon starts getting physical with talent and wants to be an in-ring performer, then it will fail badly.

It would be a ballsy move for Shane to join AEW, as his brother-in-law runs WWE (HHH) and Stephanie is still married to him. Yet, why not do it? What do you have to lose? To me, WWE is untouchable now that Endeavor’s money fuels it and there’s enough room for competition. WWE is no longer a McMahon owned company, so thus Shane doesn’t have to worry about insulting the family business.

But again, Shane McMahon should NEVER perform in a match. Just be an authority figure and let him being a McMahon help fuel the credibility of that. However, I just know he’ll want to do that high risk stuff and idiot Tony Khan would encourage it if signed.


What did you think about the 3rd episode of Who Killed WCW?

The Vince Russo episode, basically… If Russo just stayed with the line “I’m was just the writer”, he would have been cleared because truly, that was what he was. He didn’t have the authority to manage the talent or television production the way that other Turner/Time Warner executives should after dismissing Eric Bischoff. In my view, what made Russo struggle during the year 2000 was that lack of infrastructure in WCW that Vince had in WWE with regards to managing talent, television production, and quality support on the creative team. Jim Ross was an amazing manager of talent and gave Russo an amazing WWE roster to work with. Russo had guys like Pat Patterson and Vince McMahon who would take a creative idea and make it better. Lots of great road agents that could take any creative idea and convert it into a segment or match.

WCW didn’t have any of that, and thus by default, Russo had to take on additional responsibility and that wasn’t him. He was just a creative guy and I feel that the dysfunctional nature of WCW caused Russo, especially during 2000, to get more involved. Someone like Vince Russo should NEVER be wrestling matches, let alone getting mauled in a cage and speared through a cage door by Bill Goldberg.

With Russo, go look at his WWE career, which you cannot debate, and then look at how stable TNA was while he was there. In TNA, he had Jeff Jarrett and experienced road agents there to act as support so Russo just had to be a writer again and nothing else. With some people, if you ask or force them to multi-task, they cannot do it. Put better people around them, and they’ll thrive. Russo was in a bad working environment with WCW and thus he struggled juggling his job as a writer and dealing with WCW’s dysfunction.

BUT – Saying you were “better than 80% of that roster” was a bit much and kind of erased the goodwill of “I was just a writer”. Come on, Vince. The rest of that roster can take bumps in the ring without getting badly concussed as you did. You’re intelligent to make great points, but then you insert your foot into your mouth so easily.

Beyond the Russo stuff, it seems as though “executives at Time Warner” or eventually AOL will get the blame for killing WCW. No, Time Warner was very supportive of the many talent signings that Eric Bischoff did from 1996-1998, while paying heavily for production costs as seen from 1998 (the Tonight Show set, for example) through 1999 (new WCW logo and expensive set). The costs of Eric Bischoff’s mismanagement of WCW after he joined the NWO as an on-screen character since late 1996 planted the seeds of destruction. Time Warner was VERY supportive of WCW and provided them with financial resources through 1999. Eric was the problem, as he stopped acting like a manager of a company and placing all of his efforts into getting the on-screen NWO Eric Bischoff character over instead. He placated Hulk Hogan and tried everything in his power to keep the NWO brand strong during 1998-1999 when it was clearly in decline.

Vince Russo joined WCW when it was losing money already through October 1999. He was only there 4 months to “turn it around” when you relieved him of his duties despite increasing the viewership slightly during his brief tenure (Bill Busch admitted, though they lost advertisers because of the more adult style). Then, you replace Russo with the most DULL creative team ever assembled with always-a-contributor Kevin Sullivan in charge and it bored wrestling fans to tears while also sending Benoit/Malenko/Saturn/Guerrero to WWE. Russo had to follow that disaster when he returned during the Spring of 2000 and by then, the patient was already on life support. Add to that the valid pushback that the WCW overpaid veterans were doing throughout Russo’s 2nd tenure, see Hogan at Bash at the Beach 2000, and WCW was going to fail no matter what.

This whole documentary is just filled with finger pointing and the same old talking heads who are saying whatever they can to remain relevant and not take the blame for tanking a successful WCW ship. The truth is that Bischoff helped build WCW as a powerhouse by sacrificing the future to make WCW successful in the present, but the bills eventually had to be paid. Bischoff is like the NFL general manager who overpays on free agents to “win now”, but endures YEARS of Salary Cap hell in the future. Signing Hogan, Savage, Hall, and Nash were expensive but got WCW to win the Monday Night Wars during 1996-1998, but those guys got old quick and the many ex-WWE talents signed along with them (Hennig, Hart, Dibiase, Warrior, etc.) were expensive and getting older quick too. High production costs killed WCW, too, along with trying to hold onto larger arenas that they could no longer fill (sound familiar).

This documentary sucks.


Thoughts on MVP’s comments on Triple H?

In case you missed it, MVP made claims about Triple H not wanting to bring back the Hurt Business to which I agree with HHH. The Hurt Business was good for its time, but it lacked any long-term vision with OLDER wrestlers in place. Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin were in their mid 40s with a lot of mileage packed on their bodies while Cedric Alexander was a smaller wrestler. MVP was a great talker and hyped the group beyond what they should have been, but Father Time defeated this group and not Triple H.

For MVP to agree with someone’s comment of “The Triple H era is emasculating black men. I’m really hating it.” is off-base. No evidence of that, whatsoever, especially since HHH has pushed serious diversity through his NXT system. Hell, look at how long he held onto Velveteen Dream before the pressures of the allegations forced that release.

If there’s a pattern of behavior to call out, then fine… But when there’s not, it’s dumb to make public comments that can burn bridges because you blame the Hurt Business’s decline on creative and not yourselves.


What are your thoughts on Jacob Fatu’s debut?

About damn time. Sorry, but the Haku family members have been lackluster to me. Sure, they have some talent, but they lack IMPACT. Since Wrestlemania 40, we’ve been seeing Solo rebuild the Bloodline with basic guys as its members and not reshaping the group like the Nation of Domination did when they rebooted their group with Henry, Kama, and the Rock during 1997

And finally, we’re seeing Bloodline versus Cody Rhodes again. After Wrestlemania 40, they never acknowledged each other. Cody fought AJ Styles, yawn, while Solo was rebuilding the Bloodline with Haku’s relatives, another yawn. Now, they are finally back together and Jacob Fatu makes it instantly better. Jacob Fatu looks terrifying, has credibility as a performer, and is DIFFERENT than any other performer out there. He should have joined the Bloodline on the Smackdown following Wrestlemania 40 and give the Bloodline that Sean Waltman-like moment of joining DX that we enjoyed during 1998.

We just limped along for the past 2 months with the WWE…

Where will it all lead? Well, now you have 4 members of the Bloodline with Solo, 2 members of Team Haku, and Jacob Fatu… Presumably, that would lead to Roman reuniting with the Usos to fight them? But that’s 4 on 3 and if the Rock is influencing Solo, that becomes 5 on 3. Maybe CM Punk and Roman Reigns join forces as “Paul Heyman Guys” and maybe Sami Zayn rejoins Roman/Usos? Punk/Roman/Usos/Sami vs. Rock/Solo/Jacob Fatu/Team Haku would make one hell of a Survivor Series match.

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