Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Evaluating WWE's 30 Man Royal Rumble Roster, RAW is Hulu Review, more
By Mr. Tito
Jan 13, 2016 - 12:44:22 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

The Royal Rumble is upon us! For this week's column, I wanted to free myself of the misery created from last week's RAW when Vince McMahon declared that Roman Reigns would defend his WWE Title in the Rumble match. I have already said my peace in my last column, so for this week's column, I wanted to move forward with the Royal Rumble event. Can't reverse stupidity, especially when Vince is in love with a particular wrestler.

So.... Let's look at the current Royal Rumble Match roster, per this LoP link:

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns defending
WWE United States Champion Kalisto
WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston
WWE Tag Team Champion Big E
Xavier Woods
Brock Lesnar
Chris Jericho
Bray Wyatt
Erick Rowan
Luke Harper
Braun Strowman
Big Show
Kevin Owens
Jimmy Uso
Jey Uso
Titus O'Neil
Alberto Del Rio
Dolph Ziggler
Mark Henry
D-Von Dudley
Bubba Ray Dudley
Adam Rose
Heath Slater
Bo Dallas
Curtis Axel

May I state the obvious? Do you really believe that Kalisto, Kofi Kingston, Big E Langston, Xavior Woods, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Braun Strowman, Stardust, Goldust, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Titus O'Neil, Ryback, Mark Henry, D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, Adam Rose, Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, or Curtis Axel even have a remote chance at winning the 2016 Rumble Match? Furthermore, do you see any of those wrestlers receiving a singles anytime during 2016? Maybe even 2017... Or ever? That's 22 wrestlers who have been either poorly booked, haven't shown initiative, are tag wrestlers only, or are just good at being midcarders.

What about the other 10 wrestlers? Out of respect, I included the Big Show just because he's a longtime veteran and multiple time World Champion. NO WAY he's winning this... Ditto for Chris Jericho, although he still has "it" to be World Champion again. He is ageless. I included Dolph Ziggler, but the guy has been WWE Creative's worst enemy. I don't see WWE going back to the Sheamus well even if he's in Ninja Turtles 2. I'm holding out some hope for Kevin Owens based on how he debuted and his recent Intercontinental Title run, but it's a backstage battle between Vince/Dunn and HHH for his worth. Bray Wyatt just doesn't have the momentum going his way other than having 3 of his stable members also in the Rumble. I'm not sure how WWE is using Alberto Del Rio. I don't get it.

That leaves 3 remaining of the 10... In my opinion, only 3 wrestlers of the 28 above have a real shot at winning. Dean Ambrose has an outside chance but I think the focus is on Roman Reigns as the top babyface right now. I just don't see it... It's fairly obvious that Triple H will screw Roman Reigns within the Royal Rumble. Too obvious based on how heavily Stephanie McMahon has aggressively gone after Roman Reigns... Plus, that ending of TLC where Roman Reigns attacked Triple H.

Therefore, Brock Lesnar is winning the WWE Title and the 2016 Royal Rumble Match. That easy to predict. With Triple H vs. Roman Reigns probably happening, who would Brock wrestle? Don't forget that initial Wrestlemania 30 booking of Brock Lesnar vs. the Rock but the Rock hurt himself during his match with John Cena. However, the Rock is guaranteed to be appearing at Wrestlemania 32 with it being already announced. Rock vs. Brock at Wrestlemania 32 appears logical

Mr. Tito's QUICK Wrestlemania 32 Card Predictions
- Brock Lesnar vs. the Rock
- Triple H vs. Roman Reigns (unless this occurs at February PPV)
- Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker
- Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
- New Day vs. Usos

No open spots to fill random wrestlers? Really? We're announcing all 30 spots ahead of time? What about Kevin Nash dying his hair black to make an appearance? Will JBL be at the announcer's table when his name is called? Are there any former WWE/WCW/ECW who aren't active wrestlers who could appear? Could John Cena surprise us and appear in the Rumble match with his quick healing again?

Oh yeah, there's that Daniel Bryan whom the WWE doctors haven't cleared yet (reportedly). WWE could have been just saving him for one of the spots and just planted the medical clearing issue.

In my opinion, I'm a bit underwhelmed by this 2016 Rumble Match roster. These guys are really able to compete for the WWE Title. Really? Really? Those 20 of the 30 questionable guys above are ready to be World Champion? Really?

Instead of having "midcarders 4 life" and tag wrestlers, why not try something different? Let the top NXT talent have the top spots? Give the spots to the new wrestlers just acquired from New Japan or at least just debut AJ Styles. There are many WWE veterans out there who are in their 50's but them trying to go after the WWE Title adds credibility to the match. Put the Undertaker in the Rumble! Are Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels available? Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan even? While you could argue that those 20 wrestlers mentioned above could have a break-out moment, the last 5 Rumbles haven't exactly created that next breakout star from any moments against the top stars. If you look at how the midcarders have been eliminated, they are quickly eliminated by the top stars without much struggle. Just watch that Rumble where Kane and Big Show destroyed everybody.

Problem with WWE is that they are THICK on midcarders and just don't have anybody ready to be elevated. Thus, a thin roster for a Rumble match that has the WWE Title on the line.



Missed the Cut:
-Titus O'Neil vs. Stardust
-Wyatt Family vs. Slater/Rose/Dallas/Axel
-Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

Show started out with many wrestlers on the stage and Stephanie/Vince McMahon out to start the 20 minute in-ring promo. Talk talk talk... And then Roman Reigns appears. Hasn't this been the same damn segment for almost 4 weeks now? Good God... Somehow, we get to the booking that Roman would wrestle the entire roster tonight and then a Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus match breaks out.

Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus up next and it was just a typical RAW match. Nothing too bad, but nothing too exciting. Double countout finish to protect both guys.

Vince/Stephanie and Paul Heyman backstage. You can always tell by body language that Vince McMahon and Stephanie cannot stand Paul Heyman personally. Just by body language, you can see how they both hate how Paul Heyman improvises a bit. Heyman is just the guy who booked a tremendous Smackdown show during 2002-2003 that helped shape two of the company's biggest stars to date: Brock Lesnar and John Cena. But hey, let's act petty because Paul Heyman had success outside of the WWE and he doesn't eat spoonfuls of their bullcrap.

Chris Jericho Highlight Reel segment and the New Day comes down for a war of words. Sort of. New Day have really fallen off lately on the microphone... They made a joke about a lame segment on the Golden Globes? Yikes, we're of material and their stuff seemed to erode when they began pushing that Unicorn stuff hard. The Usos come down and it prompts a New Day vs. Usos tag match with Jericho and Xavier Woods on the outside. Good tag match, in my opinion... Both teams had good chemistry together and this tells me that they've earned themselves a Tag Title spot on Wrestlemania 32. By the way, I saw a WWE Network special on the Usos and it was amazing how it was their uncle Umaga who convinced them to STOP putting together office furniture for a living and try pro wrestling. Xavier Woods begins to interfere but Chris Jericho is there to counter. He breaks the trombone! Good stuff and this sets up a perfect 6 man battle as an undercard match on Royal Rumble.

I'm OK with Sting becoming a WWE Hall of Famer... You know, he has those 2 WWE Pay Per View losses under his belt on his resume...

Backstage, Kalisto cuts a pretty good promo... Kid has some talent but his height will always limit him. But hey, WWE did good business with Rey Mysterio Jr. and they'll just tear pages out of that playbook for pushing Kalisto.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the US Title is up next... I cannot recall this title match being announced ahead of time, but it was probably booked during Smackdown this week. I don't have time for that... By the way, I'm SHOCKED to be seeing Del Rio here as his matches have been repeatedly cut from Hulu's RAW broadcast. JBL cites that Alberto Del Rio won the only 40 man Royal Rumble AND the Money in the Bank briefcase in the same year (2011). Yeah, but what did that exactly give him? Here he is during 2016 defending the US Title! This match really lacked any interest from the crowd. They were efficiently battling back and forth but the fans were just blah about it... And then Kalisto steals the US Title. Holy cow, what a joke. I'm happy for Kalisto, but didn't Alberto Del Rio defeat John Cena CLEANLY for that US Title at Survivor Series 2015? You know, after John Cena defended that title against any wrestler during much of 2015? WWE treats their titles like toilet paper...

Main event was, as promised, Roman Reigns versus everybody... Feels like I've seen this whole Vince McMahon vs. Top Babyface feud before... Honestly, this main event was a complete dud until Brock Lesnar arrived to essentially save Roman Reigns. Odd stuff with Sheamus who was pounding Lesnar with his clubbing forearms a bit aggressively... I guess Sheamus was just the WWE champion and had to look tougher than the rest of the lot, but it looked odd... Lesnar destroyed everybody else and then gave Roman Reigns his own F5. Good ending to an otherwise MEH edition of RAW on Hulu.

SHOW THOUGHTS: There's Brock Lesnar and then there's waiting for Brock Lesnar. Seriously, I'm getting to the point where I'm sleepwalking through the 1.5 hours of RAW on Hulu. How is everyone else enduring 3 hours on the USA Network? Show was mostly a joke with the US Title victory for Kalisto (at least announce it a week in advance and hype it), the New Day are losing steam, and there's just too much Sports Entertainment instead of what should imitate a legitimate athletic competition. As I said before, it's sad that the WWE has to resort to using Vince McMahon just to keep RAW viewership more near the 3.5 million mark rather than 3.0 million. That's BAD, much like this week's show. [ C ]



One of the best musical artists passed away on January 10th, 2016. His name was David Bowie and he passed away just 2 days after his 69th birthday. What an amazing talent... For decades, Bowie put out music that was innovative, unique sounding, and timeless that they receive heavy airplay even to this day. He had the distinct honor of making all of his songs sound completely different from each other while setting trends in fashion as a frontman for live performances. Go download a Greatest Hits album of his and be amazed... Extremely talented and he was a one of kind artist that only comes around so often.

But what does Ziggy Stardust have to do with pro wrestling?

Very simple... Many things in life run in parallels and the Pro Wrestling and Music industries are no different. What is happening in Music right now? Severe talent erosion, specifically for MALE artists. With many artists who debuted in the 60's, 70's, and 80's pushing an elderly age these days, they are dying off and the younger musical base are completely unable to fill their shoes. Just in the past 2 weeks, we've lost Lemmy of Motorhead, David Bowie, and Natalie Cole. If you look at many of the older but top drawing acts, they are lacking in original members due to mortality. Those older acts could do reunion tour after reunion tour and still pack them in.

The problem with the music industry, however, is that once corporate interests began taking over and controlling what artists can produce on a record or put on the radio, the creativity was gone... That same David Bowie mentioned above? By the time the 1980's rolled around, he was morphing into a pop star and he eventually did a ridiculous duet with Mick Jagger called "Dancing in the Street". This is the same guy who in the late 60's and throughout the 70's produced highly creative works that still among his highest downloaded songs to this day. "Space Oddity", "Ziggy Stardust", "Changes", "Heroes", etc. Timeless songs. Bowie, like many musicians from the 1970's, were lost in the fold because of how flooded the new Mtv era pushed more and more artists on the scene. Instead of quality, we received quantity and many of those hairbands weren't producing anything innovative to the scene like Bowie.

So again, how does that relate to wrestling?

It's a matter of talent replacing those who are lost... When wrestlers get older or leave for greener pastures, pro wrestling bookers must replace those stars with someone adequate. Take, for example, 2002-2004. The Rock was about to head to Hollywood full-time and Steve Austin was preparing to retire. Meanwhile, WWE was about to be bold and create 2 separate brands to fend off any competition in the wrestling industry. Thankfully for them, VP of Talent Relations Jim Ross had stocked their farm system at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) with amazing talent to attempt to replace that star power lost. John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, and Batista all debuted in 2002 and by 2005, Cena/Orton/Batista (Lesnar left in 2004) were ready to carry the WWE on their shoulders.

The same fear existed during 1993-1997 when the WWE was worried that they couldn't find another Hulk Hogan. They tried... Lex Luger and the "Lex Express", babyface Diesel, and then babyface Shawn Michaels. Each time they failed to draw, Vince always returned the WWE Title back to Bret Hart... Then, Jim Ross made HUGE signings of Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and Triple H as free agents while giving a tryout to a struggling football player named Dwayne Johnson who became the Rock.

But here we are in 2015... John Cena and Randy Orton are injured and Brock Lesnar is part-time. All 3 could be legitimately gone by the time Lesnar's 3 year contract expires during 2018. But what does the WWE have to replace them? Lord knows they are trying with Roman Reigns but RAW's ratings remain under 3.5 million viewers, merchandise isn't selling (yet), and we have yet to see houseshow numbers. Is he the best that we've received from the later days of Ohio Valley Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, and now NXT to replace Cena/Orton/Lesnar? Yikes...

In my opinion, the deaths caused by drug/alcohol use and also the concussion issue has choked off the talent pool of potential pro wrestlers. The many talented athletes who gave pro wrestling a second look after football/basketball failed are now looking the other way. NFL football, in my opinion, is seeing some talent erosion occur on their end as colleges aren't replenishing their talent pool as well as they have in the past. Why? Parents aren't letting their kids play football with the concussion risk. But in my opinion, WWE had a poor developmental system between 2004-2011 under John Laurinaitis. Even with a limited talent pool, there were many busts that occurred during his watch and nobody, with the exception of CM Punk, being able to give the WWE a valid main eventer when Punk peaked during 2011-2013. But he was a self-determined guy who had a passion for pro wrestling at the time. Not many out there...

As I always say with the Music industry, the show American Idol has reviewed MILLIONS of people throughout the entire United States and yet they've only produced a handful of long-term stars. Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson? Who else has had consistent star power? Yet American Idol scoured over millions of people and found only 2 real long-term stars? That's an awful track record and nobody worth a damn on the MALE musician scene. Seriously... At least with women, you have some real stars on the rise like Adele, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Beyonce who can really draw large crowds per appearance. Sound familiar? What talent seems to be growing right now in the wrestling world? Look no further than Women's wrestling especially in NXT... Hmmmm

However, I have some faith in the pro wrestling business... What Triple H has done to NXT is remarkable... Not only is he beginning to excel at talent signings, he's recreated the atmosphere that actually makes fans WANT to believe... For pro wrestling to work, you need viewers to suspend their disbelief and play along. For example, the Vaudevillains who wrestle like they are some carinval act from the early 1900's and they have an amazing entrance which portrays them as such. Yet, if you watch the fans at Full Sail, they are full cooperating with their gimmick. Unlike what you see in WWE, fans are fully invested in WOMEN'S wrestling feuds. Why? Because the booking of NXT informs you who each performer is and lays out storylines that shows their struggles to chase the NXT Women's Title. Look at Bayley... She's a NXT wrestler only seen by WWE Network viewers and yet she out-sells the Bella Twins on merchandise.

WWE has to let NXT expand AND keep any talent they choose. It has to become a separate yet equal WWE brand without any strong Vince McMahon intervention. The show works and the NXT shows are selling out quickly for live audiences. It's a draw!

Musical talent is limited because of the atmosphere... Corporate bosses control what is played on the radio, what is written for the artists, how records are produced, and the image of the talent. There is zero freedom in the music industry because guys in suits are trying to force musical acts into a specific template. Sound familiar? That's Roman Reigns, Alberto Del Rio, Miz, and Sheamus DEFINED. Those 4 wrestlers are what Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, and even Triple H (on Sheamus) think are top drawing stars. You've seen nothing but pushes for those guys and in Del Rio, Sheamus, and Miz's case, years of multiple failed pushes. Despite wrestlers like Cesaro, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan getting over based on their own creativity, the big WWE suits pushed they guys THEY COULD CONTROL like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Miz, and now Roman Reigns.

But with NXT, many of the wrestlers have some legitimate creativity over their characters, their matches, and how they connect with fans... And it's working. Again, it's the atmosphere. Just a handful of former wrestlers book NXT shows whereas RAW has an older Vince McMahon sifting through what a group of former Hollywood writers tried to put together to impress him. And because those former Hollywood writers have zero executive power backstage, they are basically writing scripts directly for Vince McMahon's ideas instead of what was seen during the Attitude Era when Jim Cornette, Bruce Pritchard, Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, and Vince Russo actually submitted creative ideas to Vince McMahon. The former wrestlers at NXT have direct creative input at NXT and Triple H is merely providing oversight. Better environment for everyone at NXT whereas WWE has become so toxic and too reliant on John Cena, Randy Orton, and a part-time Brock Lesnar to "save the day".

WWE needs to find more wrestlers who have personalities that we've NEVER seen and wrestlers who can innovate in the ring or how they present themselves. That's what made David Bowie great. He gave us music that we've never heard before and it blew our minds when we first heard it. Then, you look at his presentation... Guy was brilliant and his death is a big loss to the music industry.


Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

© Mr. Tito and - 1998-2016