Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - How to SAVE WWE Monday Night RAW and some 9/12 RAW Thoughts
By Mr. Tito
Sep 14, 2016 - 12:07:24 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at / by yours truly, Mr. Tito. I have given the Smackdown roster some love with my WWE Backlash 2016 Review, which I might add was very positive... So I'll focus on the RAW brand and how to MAKE RAW GREAT AGAIN.

Real quick follow-up on my Backlash review... Lots of upset fans over Bray Wyatt losing to the "Walking Glass Ceiling" Kane. I agree that it is a disappointing loss... But can we get a healthy Bray Wyatt for a change? Too many injuries have been mounting for the guy and stopping his momentum. Yes, the Kane loss sucks... But I'm betting that the WWE wants to see some durability in Wyatt before they get serious on pushing him again.

Now, onto RAW and their 2.7 million average viewers.

Already, we're getting excuses about NFL Football and other things that the McMahon loving yes-man fans will give. However, if you go back to the very first RAW following the Brand Split Draft, it is a FACT that RAW has been at or below 3.0 million viewers when there isn't a WWE Universal Title tournament being held. As I've said in other columns now, you cannot hold World Title tournaments every week as we don't want to venture into WCW-in-the-year-2000 territory.

Problem with RAW is, simply put, a LACK of Main Event Drawing Superstars. Lots of Upper Midcarders but nobody who can draw in fans other than the diehard wrestling fans (or 3 million RAW viewers). I like Seth Rollins and I know that Vince McMahon personally believes that Roman Reigns is a potential babyface draw... But as of September 2016, things aren't working. Since Wrestlemania 31 where the focus has been on Rollins/Reigns as World Champions on RAW, which completely removed John Cena from the main event scene (hasn't been World Champion since Brock Lesnar DESTROYED him for the WWE Title at SummerSlam 2014). From Wrestlemania 31 through November 2015, it was all Seth Rollins and from November 2014 following Wrestlemania 32, it was all Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins returns from injury and it was Rollins vs. Reigns. Then, the 3rd member of the Shield won the WWE Title when Dean Ambrose cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase.

But since Ambrose won the WWE Title, he's been a decent champion... But earth moving on the Smackdown brand? A good night on Smackdown is 2.7 million viewers but they have been pushing as low as 2.4 million with the Ambrose/Ziggler feud. WWE has already made the decision, just 2 months into the Brand Split, to crown a new champion in AJ Styles.

In other words... That NXT "Class of 2012" which consisted of the Shield debuting at Survivor Series 2012 and making a big impact as a group... They are struggling a bit on their own.

Seth Rollins - Turned on the Shield after the EXCELLENT battles with Evolution during mid 2014 and by Wrestlemania 31, he became WWE Champion. Having been neutered from his Curb Stomp finisher and performing Triple H's Pedigree finisher instead (looks cheap), RAW lost viewers pushing from around 4.0 million viewers to averaging 3.5 million by the end of his reign. Much of his reign was dominated by arguing with Kane instead of being the crowning jewel of the Authority.

Roman Reigns - Handpicked guy to potentially replace #1 babyface John Cena by Vince McMahon himself, this guy didn't have years to gain experience as a singles midcard wrestler. Instead, he went from being protected in tag matches to the Main Event. WWE has granted him CLEAN wins over CM Punk, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, and Triple H and yet the guy is STILL not over. Unlike the other Shield members, Reigns didn't have years upon years working the independent circuits. He is a homegrown WWE talent who was brought up early because Vince McMahon loves his look. Yet, with Reigns on top, it is a fact that RAW has been under 3.5 million and trending towards 3.0 million. Worse yet, WWE attendance from November through Wrestlemania 32 dropped significantly. Reigns was struggling to draw on top.

Dean Ambrose - I feel bad for him because since the Shield break-up of mid-2014, he has endured destructive booking for the majority of Pay Per Views through Wrestlemania 32. Then, after all of those losses and disappointments, the WWE gives him an actual WWE Title reign and wonders why he's not fully over or drawing. I think 2014-2015 have demoralized Ambrose and it has really affected his promos for 2016. Awkward build-ups to the Brock Lesnar and Triple H feuds, in particular.

Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose are the guys expected to carry the WWE as Main Eventers NOW... When November hits, we'll be in year #4 of their Main Roster lives... It took my favorite Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" to give the WWE 2 strong Main Eventers in John Cena and Batista who were ready to carry the WWE on their shoulders in just 3 years (I'm excluding freak-of-nature Brock Lesnar). Thus, it's taking the NXT Class of 2012 a bit longer to command the top spots than the OVW Class of 2012.

The solution?


Not that hard to do... Dean Ambrose lost his WWE Title and is currently a babyface. Roman Reigns is a babyface while Seth Rollins is flirting to become a babyface. All 3 have a common enemy for 2016 and that's Triple H... Gee, who did all 3 have a problem with during 2014? Oh that's right, the Shield battled Triple H's Evolution for TWO straight Pay Per Views... All 3 guys are either babyfaces or trending that way, have a common hatred of Triple H, and are struggling a little bit as draws on their own. However, as a unit, they can become draws together.

Let's go back to my controversial June 14th, 2014 column where I was VERY critical of the Seth Rollins HEEL turn. Why? Because it was my opinion that the Shield stable, thanks to their feud with Evolution and the Shield morphing into babyfaces during 2014, could have been prime to become the WWE's next big babyface act. I argued that guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, yes those OVW "Class of 2002" guys, were getting older in the tooth and this Shield trio was handing the WWE the potential babyface draws, AS A GROUP, that the WWE has been seeking for quite some time now. They could have pushed that SHIELD brand hard and the 3 could have drawn strong as a trio and the Shield merchandise would have sold well. Don't like Roman Reigns? That's OK because he's friends with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose... You'll tolerate him.

Instead, Vince McMahon incorrectly perceived the Shield getting over to be as a result of Roman Reigns existing... In my opinion, the Shield break-up was not just to "shake up" the roster but to free Roman Reigns to begin his singles MEGA PUSH. After all, Reigns completely ignores the fact that Seth Rollins turned on him and is immediately rushed to back-to-back WWE Title shots at Pay Per Views. Then, Reigns is allowed to defeat Randy Orton cleanly in a disappointing match at SummerSlam and it took an injury to derail the MEGA PUSH. But don't worry, by the end of 2014, it was back on. Somehow, Reigns wins the 2014 "Wrestler of the Year" Slammy despite most of the year wrestling tag matches and a few months of singles action and then wins the 2015 Royal Rumble. That show was a disaster.

Going back to that 6/14/16 where I argued breaking up the Shield was a MISTAKE, all I was saying is that the Shield stable was beginning to draw and after beating Evolution, they could have grown as wrestlers together. As 2016 is proving, the 3 wrestlers need a little extra something... WWE could push the Shield brand HARD and fans can unite behind them. Don't like Roman Reigns? So what? He's in tag matches with Rollins and Ambrose and can get that hot tag to deliver those trademark moves. Then, as a member of the Shield, Roman Reigns can go after the World Title and Ambrose/Rollins have his back. Ditto for the other 2 as well... Seth Rollins can go after the World Title and Ambrose/Reigns has his back. If Ambrose goes for the World Title, Reigns/Rollins has his back. For WWE Houseshows, you are buying tickets because the SHIELD is on the card... How cool is that?

Then, you could have that unique opportunity that if one of the Shield members is World Champion, what if one of the other 2 want to challenge him? You could push controversy but you could also push sportsmanship. It would be like in NASCAR when guys of the same ownership team are all competing to win individually yet work together and support each other.

WWE needs MAIN EVENT draws RIGHT NOW, particularly on the flagship RAW brand. The Shield can draw together.

Should the WWE take on this plan, they would have to do some maneuvering... Losing Ambrose hurts Smackdown but they could move Cesaro/Sheamus to Smackdown while bringing up Samoa Joe to RAW. Build build heel stables to challenge them... Who wouldn't want to see Rusev/Kevin Owens/Samoa Joe vs. the Shield? I would...

Again - FREE advice handed to you, WWE... Take it or leave it. You need a BABYFACE attraction to help your RAW show in particular. Make it happen.


RAW Thoughts

I a chunk of USA Network RAW at someone's house again this week while also watching Hulu RAW in full. So here are my thoughts on what I saw.

RAW's Women's Division just isn't doing it for me... Just feels like Charlotte is trying too hard as a heel, often cutting off others when speaking and just sharply cutting down babyfaces while I think Sasha Banks would work better as a heel. That, and the booking is all over the place... Bayley beating Charlotte last week, Sasha winning and losing the Women's Title quickly.... Just messy.

Just to prove how messy things are, the limited RAW Women's Division had Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke. Just book that match on the fly and not announce it beforehand... Sigh. Worse yet, Bayley has already lost to Sasha Banks as she was pinned in this match. Giving away that match-up already while also letting Bayley lose so quickly on the RAW roster. Gotta climb that ladder and grab those brass rings!

Cesaro vs. Sheamus is just not doing much for me...

I AM SO SICK OF NON-TITLE LOSSES for Title holders in the WWE. This week, Anderson/Gallows beat the New Day. It's LAZY booking to give away such a match on FREE television and it just diminishes the value of the championships. Good promo by the New Day before this match, though...

Had no reaction to Jinder Mahal vs. Jack Swagger. Just whatever... If this is what the Brand Split presents us, then I want my money back.

So Enzo & Big Cass go from feuding with Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho to the Shining Stars? And losing to them as well? Yikes... Problem on the RAW roster is that New Day is such a strong babyface act that Enzo/Cass cannot challenge for their Tag Titles. If only RAW had more tag teams to wrestle... Hmmmm... Where are those other RAW tag teams?

I thought Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns was solids. No real complaints. Ending was nicely done by telling a story about Seth Rollins attacking Kevin Owens to cause a DQ and then when Mick Foley restarted the match, it was Rusev interfering to help Owens win. Then, massive beatdown of Reigns by Rusev afterward. Perfectly acceptable and it sets up 2 matches for the Pay Per View. I'm OK with that.

SHOW THOUGHTS: RAW just needs a few weeks to build up some consistency in its booking and attempt to be less chaotic with their titles/contenders. The roster depth just isn't there and they have nobody up top as a babyface to draw strong numbers. When your Main Event hour between 10pm and 11pm can only draw 2.5 million viewers... I'd worry. And that 49ers vs. Rams game was over quickly, so it's getting hard to use the NFL as an excuse. Wrestling fans will watch quality over NFL football as we never heard NFL Monday Night Games as a ratings excuse during the Monday Night Wars. Only now.


Real quick... Some of you have asked me about the WWE Cruiserweight Classic and my thoughts... I have none. Why? Just haven't had the time to watch that programming between RAW, Smackdown, NXT, and Pay Per Views. This damn Brand Split has me watching MORE wrestling and adding another hour or so per week would just wear me thin. I'll catch up on it someday...

Ditto for Mick Foley's reality show. No time for love, Dr. Jones. That, and the show feels a bit contrived to me. Almost feels like it's a launching pad for Noelle Foley to launch her WWE career in some capacity.


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

© Mr. Tito and - 1998-2016