Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Bullet Club in WWE?, RAW is Hulu Review, and Total Bellas
By Mr. Tito
Apr 19, 2016 - 2:02:46 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to back to the Excellence in Column Writing by Mr. Tito exclusively here at / WrestlingHeadlines. The old man of LoP is still here and consistently delivering you a column each and every week. One would figure that age and mileage would slow me down... Please. I have many great readers out there which is an honor to entertain with a column each week. Plus, I get the added benefit of the same 3-4 commenters saying they hate my column but they return every week to troll me...

But I'll give the haters some red meat this week... The Internet Wrestling Community is just excited at the prospect of the Bullet Club being reunited in the WWE. For one, GOOD LUCK with that "Bullet Club" name. The WWE Corporation cares more about Public Relations than its own product. Vince McMahon has surrounded himself with layers upon layers upon layers of Executive Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, etc., who have marketing, communication, human resources, and other backgrounds that are more concerned with keeping a Corporation out of the headlines rather than producing a great product that makes headlines. Plus, you have the Comcast corporation with the same management layers and backgrounds. Keep things squeaky clean...

But let's consider the 3 Bullet Club members that are on the RAW roster so far... AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows. Fine wrestlers, I won't dispute that. In fact, I've been a big fan of AJ Styles in particular and thought that TNA wrestling poorly used him. HOWEVER, this is the WWE... Its wrestling fans are more casual and its live audiences are a mixture of kids, parents, and diehard wrestling fans. But the first two groups of wrestlers aren't digging for New Japan clips on YouTube nor were they regular viewers of TNA wrestling for Styles. Just look at TNA's ratings for the last 5 years. If AJ Styles was a draw there, then TNA Impact would have drawn better. It didn't and TNA mostly let AJ Styles go as a free agent (though claiming Styles screwed them when he joined WWE).

Mainstream WWE fans do NOT know who Karl Anderson and Luke (Doc) Gallows are and they don't have that much knowledge as to who AJ Styles is. Luke had a previous WWE stint but he hasn't been around since late 2010. AJ Styles, though he had a nice debut at Royal Rumble, isn't exactly setting the WWE world on fire. He's had some nice matches with Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn... But having great matches is just part of it. You have to (a) look the part, (b) talk the part, and (c) have personality to sell the part. As I watched RAW on Hulu this week, I couldn't help but notice that AJ Styles is much smaller than Roman Reigns. Many younger fans (and yes-man WWE fans) actually believe in Vince McMahon's booking philosophy that "bigger = better". And then, when AJ Styles got on the mic... Yikes. The Southern accent doesn't bother me as much as struggling to put words together to explain why his WWE Title match against Roman Reigns is important.

Last week, the WWE had Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows pretty much murder the Usos. I'm all for making a nice impact upon your debut, but you're telling me that the Social Outcasts or Lucha Dragons weren't available to take that butt kicking? Really? The Usos have done nothing but work hard and give the WWE some much needed help in the Tag Team division at times. Although they've had some rough times lately (guilt by association with Roman Reigns), many WWE fans love those two. Then, to see 2 unknowns come in and maul them sends mixed messages to the WWE fans who spent years following the Usos. Again, there weren't any other wrestlers on the WWE roster for Karl and Doc to butcher? Really?

And the ratings are NOT going well in this post-Wrestlemania 32 era. Sure, much of that goes to the AWFUL decision to make Roman Reigns as the babyface WWE Champion. Folks, I'm on record going back to January 2014 saying that Roman Reigns as a Main Eventer, without much singles experience, would be a disaster. You don't have to tell me twice about Roman Reigns... Ugh, what a disaster...

But AJ Styles as his first post-Wrestlemania opponent? And he's a babyface as well? Huh? Better yet, AJ Styles lost his Wrestlemania 32 match to Chris Jericho. Funny how the WWE wants us to IGNORE Wrestlemania by having AJ Styles win a Fatal 4 Way on RAW following Wrestlemania. Huh? Why not have Roman Reigns wrestle Chris Jericho? Jericho is a HEEL after all and he'll work to get heat. Jericho is one of the best heel wrestlers of all time (yeah, I said it) and he'll do his best to not only be hated, but he'll give Reigns a great match. It gives Reigns a solid feud after Wrestlemania and by beating Jericho, it's a credible victory because of Jericho's experience. Plus, Jericho is a known commodity.

There HAS to be a reason why AJ Styles, a babyface, is getting the #1 contendership shot at Roman Reigns. Seems too obvious that the Bullet Club friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are helping Style. Maybe the WWE is wisely converting Roman Reigns into a HEEL when Gallows/Anderson turn on AJ Styles at WWE Payback? Seems pretty obvious with Gallows/Anderson attacking the Usos and Reigns while AJ Styles is confused of their actions. Unless the WWE is trolling us and will reunite the Bullet Club and make them heels for Roman Reigns to wrestle. Yeah, good luck with that... The older fans in the live WWE audiences will cheer for the Bullet Club with a passion even though they are heels.

If, however, Roman Reigns does turn heel at WWE PayBack and maybe adds Gallows/Anderson as his "new Shield" muscle, then who gets to be the babyface? Can you guys point to me an individual who can replace him? AGAIN, I'm not saying Reigns is great, but the WWE hasn't exactly developed anybody to be a strong babyface on the midcard. Sorry, but Dean Ambrose's promos heading into the Triple H and Brock Lesnar feuds just weren't cutting it. He's not the guy... Most of the other upper midcarders are actually heels. I hope that Bray Wyatt can stay healthy enough to maybe seize on the opportunity. And then there's the returning John Cena...

You HAVE to be a known commodity by the current wrestling fanbase of a promotion to receive World Title shots. At least that's how it used to work... Join the WWE, work your way up through the midcard, and if you were over, you'd get promoted to be a main eventer. Everything now is instant gratification and it's killing pro wrestling. I wish AJ Styles the best and would like to see him get a true WWE Title shot when more WWE fans get to know him and see his climb to the top... But rushing him to a World Title shot just 4 months in is not going to win over mainstream WWE fans. Just look at the ratings... Numbers don't lie.

And again - I don't care what wrestlers did in NXT, New Japan, or TNA. The WWE is a different animal. It is Vince McMahon's world and wrestlers are not only performing for a large live audience, but also to impress on television. Most wrestlers either can't handle the bigger WWE spotlight or are missing something that the WWE's marketing department could use to promote their shows. Furthermore, most WWE fans are busy... You're asking us to invest additional hours watching NXT, New Japan, or TNA on top of the 3 hours of RAW, 2 hours of Smackdown, and once a month, 3 hours of WWE Pay Per Views? GOOD LORD, if you watched all of those shows in a week, you're losing half of one of your days in a week. Who has that kind of time?

However, I personally like AJ Styles and I wouldn't shed a tear if he won at WWE Payback.



Missed the Cut:
- Fandango vs. Baron Corbin
- MizTV segment (thank God!)
- New Day/Cesaro vs. League of Nations/Miz
- Heath Slater vs. Apollo Crews

Show starts out with Dean Ambrose and his "Ambrose Asylum" show. His mic skills are just off at the moment. Based on the way he's improvising, he's actually making a good case for why writers exist... He eventually invites Shane McMahon... OK, that's 3 weeks in a row with Shane McMahon around. Aside from the fact that he fell through a freakin' table from 20+ feet of a cage, where's Triple H & Stephanie McMahon who clearly have issue with Shane McMahon being in charge? Or Vince McMahon for that matter. I'm NOT rooting for their returns, but the logic of Shane being around is just absent and sticks out like a sore thumb. And then the segment sees Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Chris Jericho come out.

Good match between Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn... Pretty shocking to see Sami Zayn losing repeatedly. He's racking up quite a losing streak. Not Tyler Breeze bad, but he's put up quality matches each and every night. The result, however, always goes against him... At the very least, Zayn is proving that he's an amazing worker... When the WWE wants to flip the switch on, he could be the babyface sensation that they've been seeking all along.

Backstage, AJ Styles reunites with his Bullet Club (not calling them that yet) buddies in Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Damn, Gallows is a hoss. Why did Vince let that guy go again?

Enzo/Big Cass beat the Dudley Boyz. Pretty amazing to me that the Dudleys aren't allowed to get on the mic and respond to Enzo/Big Cass. WWE really doesn't like Bubba's mic skills for whatever reason. Makes me wonder if the WWE is going to break-up the Dudleys soon with the way to seem to be making mistakes in their matches. In this one, Bubba accidentally knocked Devon out of the ring and that was enough to Enzo/Big Cass to put them away.

I already covered the Roman Reigns and AJ Styles segment above... Just noting the cosmetics of the 2 wrestlers (Reigns looks a lot larger than AJ Styles) and Styles was struggling on the mic. "Match of my life" said repeatedly. Come on... Afterward, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows attack Roman Reigns while AJ Styles looks perplexed. Later, AJ Styles tries to explain to Reigns that he wasn't behind that attack.

Lucky for me, Hulu kept the Women's 8 person tag contest... Honestly, aside from Charlotte these days, the Women's division lacks personality. For example, I'm happy that Team BAD are still together but what are their purpose in the WWE? Where is their sense of urgency to matter in the WWE? And by the way, despite how many publications actually gave the Sasha/Charlotte/Becky match high marks at Wrestlemania 32, we're getting Natalya pushed again... Which we already saw at WWE Roadblock. But don't worry, Bret "the Hitman" Hart will be in her corner. We have to use him at least once a year to ensure that the Legends contract is still active, not that he's shown that much interest in his niece's character lately.

I was SHOCKED to see the Vaudevillains defeat the Usos. Usos were selling the Gallows/Anderson beatdown from the previous week and the Vaudevillains actually received a clean win. Wow... Pretty shocking to see that TWO former NXT tag teams are in the finals to receive the #1 contendership to the Tag Titles. If you watch NXT regularly, you'll know that there are 2 teams still there that may be better (Revival, American Alpha). Not much alive in the WWE Tag Team division to argue against this.

Main event was good between Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose... Can't complain, as both are tremendous in-ring workers. But both wrestlers are doomed. The 3rd Hour of RAW dipped below 3.0 million viewers. That is TROUBLE! I know that the NBA Playoffs were on and that this show was taped... But RAW during much of 1998-1999 was taped and was against NBA Playoffs. Ditto for Smackdown tapings during 2000-2004 when it was drawing well. RAW/Smackdown back then drew well in the Summer/Spring when the weather improved. Anytime there are real declines in viewership, 30 different excuses are given. How about this one? WWE LACKS starpower to draw bigger audiences. You wouldn't need to bring back Shane McMahon and risk his life jumping off the side of a cage if you had better drawing wrestlers.

SHOW THOUGHTS: Honestly, I won't know how good this show was until WWE Payback airs. Some curious storylines in development that might payoff at the Pay Per View, but we'll see. I'm happy to see new faces but the WWE has to introduce newer wrestlers better to a wider audience. Not everybody watches NXT, New Japan, or TNA. Don't forget that. With Guns N Roses returning, just remember their song "Patient". Just a little patience, yeah... [ B ]



Oh joy, I can't wait until Total Bellas debuts while Total Divas still exists on the E! Network. What's wrong, Comcast? Are we out of ideas to scrape from the bottom of the barrel? No more Kardashian spinoffs to do? It's not like the Total Divas was setting the world on fire.

But don't worry... WWE will make sure that John Cena and Daniel Bryan appear enough on Total Bellas to get us to watch. After all, that's what carried Total Divas and now, Total Divas loses that draw. Even better, Total Bellas will have their "Bruce Jenner" answer. In case you didn't notice, John Laurinaitis married the Bellas's mom. Just you wait until the hilarity of John telling his daughter-in-laws that they are "future endeavored" as he plows their mother each and every night. And if we're lucky, John will follow in the footsteps of Bruce Jenner and have his plumbing changed as well. "Laura Laurinaitis" has a nice ring to it...

However, with the Bellas getting their own E! Network show, both of them will stay away from WWE programming like RAW and Smackdown. Good riddance, although I respected how hard Nikki Bella worked to attempt to be a decent Divas Champion. And yes, I did like the Bellas... I enjoyed them when they were a heel team and together would rip on awful fellow Divas wrestlers. I always remember the Awesome Kong hype by the Internet Wrestling Community and wasn't that impressed when she debuted as Kharma. The Bella Twins absolutely roasted her on her way out. Being that cruel as heels is how good the Bellas could have been but as top WWE stars? Nah...

Which brings me to my real rant... Almost every "Diva" or "Women's Wrestler" that you see in the WWE is totally manufactured. We're getting spoonfed what the WWE wants us to see and not what can organically happen. Now, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks are a tad different because they are each real athletes and legitimate in-ring talents. But the WWE machine is still in "Divas Search" mode in trying to find the next Sable. We're only seeing the beginning of the "next Sable" push of Eva Marie. That's right NXT call-ups, the WWE has always wanted to push Eva Marie as the top female star of the roster. How is that for all of the hardwork that you've put into your in-ring ability?

But WWE didn't have to force things... Miss Elizabeth just had to sell emotion that she was getting verbally abused by "Macho Man" Randy Savage and was trapped in a bad relationship. WWE fans treated her like royalty and to this day, hold her in high regard. Sunny first appeared as Skip's manager for a goofy fitness gimmick called the Bodydonnas. Her natural charisma and charm made wrestling fans lust after her and she was very popular during the early days of the internet. And then Sable arrived... She was Playboy hot but not only that, had the personality and the charisma to make wrestling fans want to see more. In my opinion, Sable was possibly the #3 draw of the 1998 year for the Attitude Era and probably doesn't get the credit for it she deserves. Actually, that Playboy gig did quite well to prove that.

WWE has been trying to find that "next Sable" ever since. They tried with Trish Stratus (though she was a fantastic wrestler), Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and recently, Nikki Bella. The Bellas have the added benefit of being twins and to their credit, they've maximized on all WWE financial opportunities. Good for them... But it's just not for me. I'm tired of seeing behind the scenes stuff. I mean, I can easily tell how scripted wrestling is when I watch a Bella match that I don't see an entire E! show to prove that.

Let the WWE fans tell you which female personality they like and then the WWE can monetize it from there. Do you think that Miss Elizabeth, Sunny, and Sable were force fed by WWE? No... Especially in the case of Sunny and Sable, the WWE had no idea how either one would work out being valets of midcarders. Miss Elizabeth was someone that Randy Savage vouched heavily for to become his manager and it took legitimate convincing to make it happen. The FANS told the WWE who they liked and WWE used each of those 3 ladies to their maximum potential. Could you only imagine if Sunny and Sable stuck around longer? Money, money, money...

Think about how much effort and capital that the WWE has spent trying to tell us that the Bella Twins are exceptional. Reportedly, the Total Divas show has high production costs as the WWE Executive Producer has spared no expense in making that show look great. But could you imagine if the WWE put more time and effort into getting female wrestlers over on its actual, you know, wrestling shows? Christ, you have 3 freakin' hours on RAW to use along with 2 hours weekly on Smackdown. That's FIVE hours of USA Networks primetime to use and get the female personalities/wrestlers over in front of a live audience. Considering you have upwards of 15,000 in the live audience for RAW and upwards of 4 million (excuse me, 3.5 million) viewers at home, that's the place to get over female WWE personalities/wrestlers.

But hey, let's continue to be distracted from what made the WWE successful... You know, World WRESTLING Entertainment. Just keep spreading the resources thinner and thinner and you'll NEVER find that next Sable.


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