Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Make WWE Survivor Series Great Again!
By Mr. Tito
Oct 16, 2016 - 8:51:26 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

So I wrote a column recently here at / describing WHY the Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar wrestling match was possibly rumored to be happening for WWE Survivor Series 2016. Many responded by not understanding my very basic points... More were like "Goldberg is taking someone's spot! WCW sucks! He was terrible when he was in WWE! Lesnar should be used against current WWE roster guys!", etc. On the latter point, Brock Lesnar does have 7 matches left on his contract (1 for 2016, 4 for 2017, and 2 for 2018, give or take 1 more match). I could understand that point to a degree, but given the way that Brock Lesnar has been booked... Do you really want him to destroy your favorite WWE superstars?

Maybe I'll put it this way...

Many retailers have something what's called a "LOSS LEADER", which if you look up its basic definition, it's a "product sold at a loss to attract customers". I've heard it from a few retailers for a while, such as Walmart or Kroger, that they purposely take a loss on their Gas Stations located in front of their stores just so that you'll remain loyal to shopping at their facilities. Many sales that retailers have inside of their stores are often done just to get your butt inside the doors. Then, once you pick up that sale item, other products on the shelves interest you. Consider Black Friday sales, too.. The definition of "black" means that most retailer are finally out of the "red" (taking losses all year) just to have a sales BOOM for the last month of the year. The take their excess inventory, price it down, and advertise it heavily in the newspapers before Black Friday (or Thanksgiving now). Then, you arrive to buy the specially priced sale item and that gets you into the store to look at OTHER ITEMS. The Black Friday sale gives you the impression that you're "saving money" and you might tend to buy something else...

Why else do you think that offers Amazon Prime, which offers FREE 2-day shipping and also an expansive Video library to stream? Because they want you to be a devoted shopper who will buy MORE STUFF because of these loss leading services. Why else would Netflix and WWE Network give you a FREE month? That's bandwidth costs they are eating but if they can hook you as a permanent subscriber, it's a win-win for them.

So think of Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg as LOSS LEADERS for WWE Survivor Series 2016. Particularly for the WWE Network.

Think about what the WWE is doing for Brock Lesnar... From 2012-2015, they paid him $5 million guaranteed money for each of those calendar years ($15 million). From 2015-2018, they are paying him $3 million guaranteed money for each of those calendar years ($9 million). Have you seen Brock Lesnar actually wrestle on Monday Night RAW or WWE Smackdown? Nope. Yet to see it... The ONLY place that wrestling fans can see Lesnar actually perform is on WWE Network. It's impossible to see him otherwise UNLESS you buy a ticket to a WWE Pay Per View event. For the most part on shows that Lesnar has been on, they have sold well and WWE can command a higher ticket price too. This is why I go berzerk when bigtime matches are given away on RAW/Smackdown for FREE...

Consider Bill Goldberg... Now, his WWE value isn't much... His 2003-2004 run wasn't exactly thrilling and for each of those years, RAW's ratings continued to decline from the 2000 peak which I discussed in ANOTHER COLUMN. By Goldberg's own admission, he was there for the paycheck and wasn't passionate for wrestling. WWE gave him only television and Pay Per View dates to work, which sort of helps boost my "loss leader" logic. By keeping Goldberg limited, they maximized any possible benefit he could give to the WWE during 2003 in particular. He actually got RED HOT at SummerSlam 2003 and could have been a bigger draw then. But oh no, the torn groin injured Triple H retained his title that night... Anyway, he did win the WWE Title soon thereafter and just didn't pop business. WWE was going to let his 1 year deal expire in 2004.


Bill Goldberg has 2 very important things going for him and this is why a ONE TIME MATCH with Brock Lesnar is OK to do at Survivor Series 2016.

(1) Older WCW fans still love him, particularly from 1998. They mouthfuls of 'Member Berries when remembering the 1996-1998 WCW Days... Remember WCW Nitro? Remember the New World Order (NWO)? Remember the WCW Cruiserweight Division? Remember those ECW Talent Raids? Remember Hulk Hogan turning heel? Remember Roddy Piper challenging Hogan? Remember Crow Sting? And finally... Remember Bill Goldberg's winning streak and WCW World Title run?

If you think I'm wrong on point #1, consider that Bill Goldberg's DVD from 2013 did quite well for the WWE. In fact, only Wrestlemania 29 could slow down the Member Berry eating WCW fans during 2013. After Wrestlemania 29, Best of WCW Nitro Volume 2 was #2 and Bill Goldberg was #3. Mind you, Goldberg wrestled regularly on WCW Nitro during the timeframe of that WCW Nitro Volume 2 selection of matches. Older WCW fans are still out there and long for the days when the Monday Night Wars made pro wrestling a ton of fun.

(2) Wrestlemania 20 Trainwreck I don't know how anyone can deny this... For one, Bill Goldberg BEAT Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 20. Given that the current day WWE pushes Brock Lesnar as an unstoppable beast, that alone has drawing power. You are a FOOL if you think that the quantities of time diminishes drawing power. How else would Roddy Piper's 1996 WCW debut draw HUGE to replicate the old "Rock N Roll Wrestling" days of Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper from the mid 1980s? Hogan never beat Piper... For its time, WCW Starrcade 1996 and WCW Super Brawl 1997 (the rematch) drew incredible numbers. As bad as the match turned out to be, Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior at Halloween Havoc 1998 also drew big numbers only because Warrior beat Hulk Hogan 100% clean at Wrestlemania 6 from 1990.

But I don't want to ignore the QUALITY of the Wrestlemania 20 match-up between Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. The match was AWFUL! It was both wrestlers' last day with the company at the time, as Goldberg's contract was expiring and Brock Lesnar was quitting to become a possible NFL player. Worse yet, the booking had been changed to stick it to Lesnar on the way out. Thus, Lesnar was pissed and didn't want to be there and Bill Goldberg probably just wanted to escape injury. Better yet, the fans KNEW that both were leaving after this match. Making matters worse, the WWE put "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the special guest referee which drew fans to him. Oh yeah, it was in front of New York City at the Madison Square Garden. As a wrestler, if you even DARE have a dog match in front of them, they'll tell you... Combine having an awful match with contractual implications of both wrestlers, and it's a recipe for disaster!

If you think that I'm full of crap regarding Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg, go watch the match on the WWE Network. And the funny thing is that WWE tried to censor the crowd hate on much of their airings and even that does silence every silly chant. NYC fans tore this match up and the match was bad on top of it.

Simply put, to finish my 2nd point... The match itself will draw because:

(a) Lesnar is more dangerous now than ever and Goldberg is much older at 49 years old.

(b) Surprise, surprise... They could actually have a decent match.

(c) Crowd reactions to this match. Most in that live audience will have seen their Wrestlemania 20 encounter and will attempt to top it.

(d) What will the match result be?

Part (d) is actually what makes me incredibly curious. Do you REALLY believe that Bill Goldberg is coming back to the WWE just to do a job to Brock Lesnar? Maybe if the pile of money is large enough, which I bet it is... But I just don't know...

I somewhat believe that Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar exists just to hype ANOTHER match in the future. Take last year, for example... Lesnar wrestled Seth Rollins for the WWE title and guess who invaded? The Undertaker and they would go on to have a 2-match set which drew huge. Don't forget the attack on Shane McMahon by Brock Lesnar. Reportedly, there is some talk to legitimately have Shane vs. Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33. Seriously... But you know what, I cannot deny facts... Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker DREW FANS for Wrestlemania 32 as that AT&T Stadium was struggling with ticket sales until THAT MATCH was announced. Then, sell out... Seriously. The TRAINWRECK DRAWS, folks, at least for 1 night only. I think there is a good chance that Shane interferes somehow or costs Lesnar the match. That keeps most parties happy and I don't think that Brock Lesnar even cares about getting his Goldberg loss back. Lesnar just does his job and goes home.

I often wonder if Randy Orton will go for a rematch or if the WWE can entice the Rock to return and fight Lesnar? Who knows? Kurt Angle could always be a possibility to return and get revenge on an old rival? I'd LOVE to see that...

I just don't think Bill Goldberg is coming back just to lose 1 match... I'm not saying that Goldberg is a raging egomaniac who cares about wins or losses from scripted wrestling matches. However, he is a man who deeply cares about image particularly to kids. He still does charity events for kids to this day and he's a proud father of a son that I believe he had after his 2004 exit. 10 years old, I believe? He NEVER got to see his dad wrestle LIVE... So you're telling me that Bill Goldberg would sign-off on a WWE return for one night only just to LOSE? I just don't see this happening when the outcome was discussed at the negotiating table between WWE and Goldberg. I just don't...

And furthermore, lessons HAVE to be learned from the Sting debacle. Sting came in, was built up as being something special, and then loses to Triple H at Wrestlemania 31. BOOM, drawing power is gone. I'm not saying that the 49 year old Goldberg should be around for a long period of time, but he's a nice asset to have to rope in those WCW 'Member Berry eating fans every once and a while. Better yet, Goldberg actually has 1 "Dream Match" in his pocket if the other guy ever wants to do it... Want another match to draw in lost older fans to the WWE Network? No matter what their ages are, Bill Goldberg vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin would draw in a heartbeat. And the guys are becoming good friends in their old age. Austin keeps saying "no" to return matches and he's been battling many nagging injuries in his later age, but you never know.

Since Wrestlemania 31, the WWE has lost about 1.3 million viewers to RAW on the USA Network. But since the WCW/WWE Monday Night Wars, pro wrestling has lost more than half of their overall audience that cared about pro wrestling back then. Lesnar vs. Goldberg is one of those one-night gimmicks that can put more eyeballs on the WWE Network with the FREE month and then hook those older fans for just $9.99 per month. Hell, you don't even have to watch RAW/Smackdown when you're getting their Pay Per Views for an amazing price. And if you love to remember those WCW/WWE Monday Night War era shows, WWE Network has lots of RAW and Nitro episodes from that era to enjoy, ALL of the Pay Per Views, and those fantastic Monday Night Wars documentaries.

WWE is using Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg as LOSS LEADERS to get new WWE Network subscribers, period... It's a financial cost that's worth it to the WWE. However, it's also a cost that the WWE is willing to take on you, the current WWE fanbase... They are betting that you'll only piss and moan about Bill Goldberg returning and that you won't turn off the television or the Network... WWE is betting that they'll gain more fans than lose them with this bet, and I'd join them at their blackjack table for this bet. Lesnar vs. Goldberg will DRAW for ONE NIGHT ONLY...

But it's up to the WWE to make the REST of the Survivor Series show decent enough to watch... That's the key!


Now, this is where I'll eat mouthfuls of 'Member Berries. Remember when Survivor Series was arguably the 2nd biggest Pay Per View of the year?

After all, Survivor Series 1987 was the first Pay Per View attempt beyond Wrestlemania... It featured 5 on 5 elimination matches but through the 1990's, it had some legitimately HUGE Main Events. Hulk Hogan vs. Undertaker from the 1991 edition was a major deal and it was Undertaker's 1st WWE Title reign (albeit short lived). Then, we have the famous Montreal Screwjob incident in 1997 and then the awesome WWE Title tournament during 1998. From there, well, it declined in value... See, the beauty of the Survivor Series was much like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. You didn't see certain match-ups before 1996 because WWE didn't exactly give you name wrestler vs. name wrestler match-ups. Lots of jobber matches on Monday Night RAW and then a semi-decent main event. It wasn't until WCW Nitro came along and pushed pro wrestling away from the Jobber Match model and had nothing but name wrestler matches.

But before 1996, there were wrestlers fighting each other on television for the first time or better yet, it allowed a midcarder to get a crack at a main eventer. Now, it's just a regular episode of RAW... Much like the MLB All-Star Game before they ruined that with intra-league play, the National and American Leagues only played against each other in the World Series. Thus, the All-Star Game was a chance to see the best superstars of baseball finally playing against it each other. MLB didn't have to put a stupid playoff gimmick on the game to make it interesting... The uniqueness of the match-ups is what sold the game. Ditto for Survivor Series with their 5 on 5 elimination match-ups. The Monday Night Wars changed that forever as now everything is shown on television and the WWE Creative Team is burning right through match-ups of name wrestlers. Seriously, who hasn't fought each other yet in the WWE?

Now that RAW and Smackdown are separate brands again, to quote my favorite wrestling guy of all time Jim Ross... "You can't be half pregnant". WWE has to keep the brands separate and they must ignore each other... However, the Survivor Series format of 4 on 4 or 5 on 5 elimination matches presents the opportunities to feed the fans something unique. Right now, the RAW/Smackdown brand extension is still new and many of the wrestlers have already burned out any of the unique match-ups... However, I'm thinking of years from now if both brands remain separate... Having a 5 on 5 RAW vs. Smackdown match could matter.

However, if the WWE takes the Mr. Tito Plan to Make Survivor Series Great Again ©, this 5 on 5 RAW vs. Smackdown match could have serious implications that would draw in wrestling fans.

Simply put, reserve spots #1 through #5 and #26 through #30 at the WWE Royal Rumble Battle Royal Match which determines the #1 Contender for a World Title shot at Wrestlemania. The LOSING TEAM gets slots #1 through #5 and the WINNING TEAM gets slots #26 through #30 in the Rumble Match. From a storyline telling standpoint, wrestlers will want to badly be in this match because of the allure of getting a late spot in the Rumble Match that they'll be willing to risk getting an early spot. You could let the results of the 5 on 5 Survivor Series Match-up determine who gets slots 1-5 or 26-30 OR you could let the wrestlers fight for positioning on RAW and Smackdown.

One little change in the Royal Rumble that I would make, however... The winner of the Royal Rumble match MUST wrestle for their brand's World Title only. Thus, if Dean Ambrose, a Smackdown brand wrestler, could only challenge for the WWE Title if he won the Rumble. Furthermore, Roman Reigns, a RAW brand wrestler, could only challenge for the WWE Universal Title. Rumble Winners cannot choose between either World Title. That was a fatal flaw of the previous Brand Extension that watered down the World Titles and removed staple wrestlers from each brand. NO MORE MOVEMENT...

It's THAT simple... I have just helped Survivor Series become GREAT again... Let it, in some fashion, help determine slots in the Royal Rumble Match. It's called continuity from one event to the next while also raising the "sense of urgency" from a classic 5 on 5 Survivor Series match-up. Plus, because all 5 Smackdown and all 5 RAW wrestlers have real incentive to work together, it will create unity among the brands... But of course from a storytelling standpoint, controversy can happen among a brand if 1 wrestler went rogue and screwed their team out of the Royal Rumble slots.

As for the rest of the show?

Women's Division is weird... Smackdown has stronger tag team action between the ladies whereas RAW has the better singles wrestlers. I don't know... I guess a 5 on 5 Women's Battle could happen, but what would be the purpose? What would they be fighting for?

The Cruiserweight Division on RAW is doing NOTHING for me right now... The WWE Cruiserweight Classic was fun... It was a real tournament, in an environment that appreciated that type fo wrestling, and had some good storytelling elements of the individual wrestlers. Then, when SOME (I want to emphasize that word, SOME) of the wrestlers from that Cruiserweight Classic join Monday Night RAW, you have no idea what's going on. Suddenly, the wrestlers are just thrown out there and RAW's Creative Team assumes that you'll figure it out or you've seen the Cruiserweight Classic. Nope... Worse, they aren't giving you something new. I'm happy for Brian Kendrick making a comeback to the WWE roster... But I've seen him wrestle for the WWE before and not much has changed with his wrestling style since then, or at the very least, nothing uniquely different.

Contrast that to the WCW Cruiserweight Division in 1996. You had all of these Luchadores that WCW bought from ECW in the form of Rey Mysterio and Psychosis... But then you had a guy who contrasted the Luchadore style of pro wrestling named Dean Malenko, the man of 1000 moves. He worked PERFECTLY with Mysterio in particular and knew specifically how to sell or take their moves. Malenko made that division and was the glue that kept it all together. Better yet between the Cruiserweights and the rest of the WCW roster, it was clearly defined what a Cruiserweight is and they were kept in their division away from the rest of the roster. WWE today? I could argue that Champions Finn Balor and AJ Styles, based purely on their size, should be in the Cruiserweight Division. I HATE to say that, but WWE's LACK of a Weight Class for years upon years has caused this confusion. I love me some AJ Styles and am financially supporting him as WWE Champion (merchandise + houseshow), but seeing him standing up with John Cena and Dean Ambrose... Both of those guys towered over him!

There is just nothing unique or special about the WWE Creative Division on RAW. They are just thrown into the wrestling ring, do a bunch of spots, and you're expected to "like it". Well, I don't like it... It bores me and I can't wait until RAW gets to the next segment. Awful Creative Team decisions regarding the division but also, poorly marketing the wrestlers to keep them unique from the rest of the roster. Completely unlike the WCW Cruiserweight Division from 1996 which helped add to the draw of WCW Nitro. WCW had a 2 hour live show to keep wrestling fans captivated and having a group of wrestlers who were (a) well defined, (b) clearly Cruiserweight wrestlers and nothing else, and were (c) BRAND NEW to wrestling fans seeing them helped WCW Nitro succeed.

Fact is that we're NOT seeing the same Cruiserweight wrestling at RAW that we saw at the Classic. Amazing what a difference that 2 different Creative Teams and Vince McMahon meddling can make.

Which leaves us to the World Title scenes... RAW has Kevin Owens versus 2 former Shield members who have combined guilt of losing 1 million RAW viewers from 2015-2016. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are dragging the RAW brand down with their current characters. Lame overpushed babyface in Reigns, crybaby heel in Rollins. WWE might try Triple H vs. Seth Rollins at Survivor Series, but I wouldn't doubt that gets held off until Wrestlemania. What are the odds of a stupid Triple Threat at Survivor Series? Very strong... Who else could join this mix... Rusev? Good luck...

Smackdown is in better shape at the top with the FACE THAT RUNS THE PLACE and the CHAMP THAT RUNS THE CAMP AJ Styles as WWE Champion and great opponents in Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, and Bray Wyatt as choices to push. OK, we're good for Survivor Series and if John Cena can make the event, even better. Reportedly, there are hints that Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles is coming soon as a WWE Title feud. I'm OK with this and it would make for a good Survivor Series match-up. Even if we get another iteration of AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose, it's still a credible and good in-ring match up that WILL deliver. Maybe all of these former WCW fans will tune in and see that hey, the Smackdown brand looks reasonable to watch?

It's up to the WWE to deliver on WWE Survivor Series 2016. It will be proven to be a FACT that Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg II will put more eyeballs on the WWE product that night with many older eyeballs returning. It would be up to the WWE to convince those older fans to pony up $9.99 per month to AT LEAST watch Pay Per Views only again. If not, there are plenty of Network specials and old Pay Per Views/TV Shows to enjoy. Think about this... If the WWE can convince 10,000 new fans to try the WWE Network and they become permanent subscribers for at least 1 year... 10,000*9.99*12 Months = $1,198,800 in new revenue generation and in my opinion, 10,000 is a very low estimate. I believe that there are many older fans who have yet to try the FREE trial and will tune in by significantly large numbers.

Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg are LOSS LEADERS in order to convince wrestling fans to either obtain or retain the WWE Network. Simple as that. It's ONE match, folks... It's a marketing ploy and you have to understand that the WWE is a business. It's my argument as to why I was fed up with Comcast as a Cable provider. Here I am, loyal as hell as a customer and I paid on time every month... Yet, it was always the NEW customers getting the better promotional deals. You have to understand that the WWE has to deploy tactics in order to generate new fans or to regain old ones again, particularly for their WWE Network. And when WWE has more fans watching their product, that equates more revenue flowing in and potentially better production or programming on the way. Did you like the WWE Cruiserweight Classic? WWE can do more things like that with more discretionary income at their disposal.


And go HOG WILD with the Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar match if you wish, I don't care... The bigger the TRAINWRECK, the better... Cage match? Sure, why not? Best 2 out of 3 falls? Absolutely! Break out that Triple Cage from the WCW movie? Sure... Three Stages of Hell Match? Many might already think we're there with this match, but let's do it! Judy Bagwell on a Fork Lift? That would get Vince Russo watching! Yes!

Better yet... And we could take this to the extreme...

The 2016 WWE Survivor Series will air on November 20th, 2016. Guess who will likely be available to be a "Special Guest Referee" for Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg? Hint hint, he's a WWE Hall of Famer who just so happens to be running for President. If the election were held today (unless the polls are truly wrong), it appears that Donald Trump will lose. Since 2006 when the GOP squandered their majorities, the Electoral Map has changed to put states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado at play while Florida is turning blue. Trump has to legitimately "run the table" on the Swing States while stealing at least 1 Democrat state to win this election. Unless something drastic happens in the upcoming weeks, Trump will not win. He has just pissed off the wrong demographics and you need diversity to win Presidential elections. I said he was in trouble when he was trashing Megyn Kelly or Rosie O'Donnell, but now the media narrative is hammering him here in October as a sexist.

If Donald Trump is available, send him an invite... He could help MAKE SURVIVOR SERIES GREAT AGAIN!

Hell, I'd hire Donald Trump as a full-time WWE character if he's available after the Election. Look at how much heat the man can easily draw on the microphone... Imagine that on steroids in a wrestling venue as a HEEL? Make him the General Manager/Commissioner of RAW and we could MAKE RAW GREAT AGAIN!


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