Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - No Thanks to Sting as WWE Champion
By Mr. Tito
Sep 1, 2015 - 1:32:53 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

I'm going to HATE myself for writing column but it needs to be said... Sting should NOT win the WWE Title!.

Oh man, I feel so dirty for saying that and I'm actually risking a beatdown by my brother, world's biggest Sting fan. I'm also risking getting executed by my time-traveling 8 year old self who became a wrestling fan by watching Sting vs. Ric Flair wrestle to a 45 minute draw at NWA/WCW Clash of the Champions #1. I loosely followed the WWE at the time, as Hulkamania was everywhere and you couldn't avoid it... But on one Sunday afternoon during November 1988 (I think), my uncle show us Clash #1 on a recorded VHS tape and we were introduced to NWA/WCW for the very first time. As an 8 year old and not realizing that pro wrestling's finishes were pre-scripted, I legitimately believed that Sting would win the NWA World Title and I wanted him to beat the snot of that pretty boy, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. I was hooked from then on...

And I remained a loyal Sting supporter even when times were tough... WCW from 1990-1995 was NOT an easy product to watch or enjoy. Lots of talent shifts, lots of booking changes, low quality production, and then Hulkamania invading... Sting felt out of place during the early days of WCW Nitro but then he put on the Crow warpaint. Oh buddy, it was on! Finally, his big moment in the sun was going to happen to prove that he truly was a big superstar... And then, the "fast count" at Starrcade 1997 happened... For years upon years, I defended Sting on getting screwed royally that night and being forced to forfeit the WCW World Title and then having a phony reign after Super Brawl 1997.

He didn't join WWE following WCW's closure during March 2001... He flat out said he was disgusted by Booker T's treatment, particularly when the Rock asked Booker T who he was during an episode of RAW and the treatment of other wrestlers. I respect that... And I respect that he found a good home in TNA Wrestling. He had a good career there and furthermore, he was paid well to work limited dates. Smart business decision on his part and it more or less preserved him to be able to still wrestle now. Other wrestlers who are Sting's age are struggling to walk or are no longer with us... He can at least perform although not on a full time schedule.

But make him WWE Champion? Nah... Even if it's just a 1 minute placeholder for the Money in the Bank cashing in Sheamus, no thank you... Actually, that's a great question... Who would actually draw more as WWE Champion? An older Sting who was last in WCW before many current WWE fans were even born or the overpushed and constantly changing as heel/face Sheamus... Hmmmm....

And why even give Sting a WWE Title shot? The psychology is all over the place on that one. For one, shouldn't there be some kind of Contender System in the WWE? I know, you're laughing... But usually, WWE slaps together some 3 way or 4 way match to determine the #1 contender on a random edition of RAW. All Sting did was sneak into Seth Rollins's victory celebration last week and attack Rollins right in front of the Authority's Triple H/Stephanie McMahon. After last week's RAW ended, Triple H granted Sting a WWE Title shot at the Night of Champions Pay Per View. Huh? Wasn't it Sting that interfered with the Survivor Series 2014 match that briefly kicked the Authority out of the WWE? Didn't Sting vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 31 happen because of that interference? Oh, OK... They shook hands afterward, that makes it all feel better...

How about this as an argument and I'm actually amused by it from what I'm seeing by younger fans on WWE message boards. Why didn't Sting start with NXT to develop into a WWE superstar? Ohhhh, that "stings", I know. But if the accomplished Samoa Joe is good enough for NXT, why not Sting? Joe's early 2000's to mid 2000's stuff in Ring of Honor is nearly flawless and some of the matches that I've seen from that era are mindblowing. Joe wrestled in TNA for about as long as Sting, too... Sting is unlike the recently returning Dudley Boyz because the Dudleys were WWE wrestlers before. he best of the 2000's. Seriously. Why not take a trip to NXT? Gotta learn that "WWE Main Event Style" and how to look good from Executive Producer Kevin Dunn's production truck. You've got to be able to execute those backstage segments and 20 minute in-ring promos with ease... Plus, you need to tone up those muscles... Not an ounce of flab. That's the WWE way!

Come on, Internet Wrestling Community... Think about all of those NXT call-ups that Sting is stepping over to get that WWE Title shot. That has to BURN! Kevin Owens can not only beat John Cena in his first ever WWE match but push him to the absolute limits for the following 2 matches after that. Dean Ambrose can't get a break... You love the Wyatt Family. Others like Rusev, Roman Reigns, Ryback, etc... Step aside... I thoroughly enjoy the arguments at how Finn Balor is getting screwed by the WWE by remaining on NXT... The guy who wrestled in WCW 14 years ago is getting ahead in the line.

And to Seth Rollins, if he has to lose to Sting... Ouch, ouch, ouch. It would be like Triple H's momentous return in 2002 that was quickly derailed by having to drop the WWE Title to the hot hand nostalgia act, Hulk Hogan. Yeah, imagine that... An older big name veteran appears, gets an early reaction from nostalgic fans, and you make him WWE Champion shortly thereafter. How did that work out in 2002 again? Oh yeah, ratings went into the tank! In less than 1 month, the WWE quickly pulled the WWE Title from Hogan for his final WWE Title reign. Being honest here, Triple H's 2002 return was stalled because of this quick decision to try the nostalgia act in Hulk Hogan. I would argue that Hulk Hogan was, in fact, a bigger draw in 2002 than Sting is for 2015. Like I said, many of the current WWE fans weren't born yet when Sting wrestled his last match in WCW during March 2001.

Let's look at Sting, the wrestler, right now... He was born on March 20th, 1959... Doing the math, that makes him 56 Years Old. Now, I don't want to play the ageism card here... But I probably will. If you watched his recent TNA work and then his appearances/match with Triple H in the WWE, he is looking his age. He's a bit slower, a bit careful in the ring and he's looking his age with muscle tone and thinning hair. I would have no problems with Sting if he was still a world class worker. He's not... In fact, he was known for having good matches but not always the top guy for workrate. Worse yet with Sting, his in-ring ability has NEVER evolved. Go watch a Sting match from the late 1990's and watch his recent ones. THE SAME. You get a Stinger Splash, Sting screaming to the audience, maybe a Death Drop, etc. Very safe, careful working that sometimes needs an experienced heel counterpart to get the best out of him. Ric Flair was always his perfect complement as a wrestler, but Ric Flair was great with everyone...

As an older fan who saw the BEST from Sting, I'm a bit sad to see the older and obsolete version out there right now. And I don't think he's drawing for the WWE. Again, the younger WWE fanbase has no idea why this older wrestler keeps invading the WWE product. They were either in diapers or weren't born yet! Yet, this 56 year old wrestler who didn't really impress that much at Wrestlemania 31 gets a WWE Title match? Better yet, remember the Heath Slater stuff where many nostalgia acts would accept his open challenges? Remember when Diamond Dallas Page, Sycho Sid, and Vader came out and were treated as older wrestlers and it was a detriment to Slater to even lose to those guys? Well, Sting is pretty close in age to them... DDP (59), Sid (55), and Vader (60). But Sting is supposed to still be able to go against an in-his-prime 29 year old Seth Rollins? Ok...

Remember when we ripped the WWE heavily for feeding Jerry "the King" Lawler to the Miz for actual matches regarding the WWE Title? I know, it's the Miz, but it's the point that a past-his-prime veteran is getting a WWE Title shot that needs to be considered. Sting is NOT in his prime as a wrestler nor can he draw well for younger WWE fans. You could say that WCW fans still care, but their promotion did die 14 years ago... As a recent WWE Network study proved, the viewership for the older events is just not there... Most fans watch the Network for live Pay Per Views, newer documentaries and original content, and NXT special events. You're not getting a large demand to see older WWE, WCW, or ECW Pay Per Views. It's just not there... And don't translate DVD/Blu-Ray sales into a push, either. Bill Goldberg's 2013 DVD/Blu-Ray did quite well in sales and yet we're not seeing that much demand to bring him back. In fact, Goldberg is younger at 48 years old and preserved by not wrestling since 2004.

WWE Legends Contract is fine... But making him a serious contender for the WWE Title, no thank you. It would diminish a WWE Title even further than the last 10 years of damage from the brand extensions and title inflation already did. Brock Lesnar did a lot to rebuild the WWE Title, only for Seth Rollins to underwhelm afterward following Wrestlemania 31. Giving the title to a 56 year old veteran who is a shell of what he once was won't help.

But if Sting is just winning the WWE Title just for Sheamus to instantly cash-in Money in the Bank, then a major "FINGER OF SHAME" goes to the WWE. I don't give a damn if Sheamus is in Ninja Turtles 2 next year. He's a wrestler who is void of personality backed by too much bias by the favorable WWE Creative Team. And the crowds are right, he looks STUPID. Fix the hair, remove the braids from the beard, take out the piercings... Start to be consistently booked as a character instead of changing characters ever so often.

It PAINS me to rip Sting, but it needs to be said... Once again, WWE Creative fumbles the ball and it's on the very guy who helped me become a wrestling fan.


There will be NO Monday Night RAW thoughts tonight... I recently "cut the cord" with Cable and am operating only on local channels. I found myself watching more streaming shows online than watching my expensive Cable. Just tired of throwing my money to a bloated corporation who keeps raising their prices every year. I can live without you, Cable.

The Tito household recently subscribed to Hulu, so therefore, I'll begin watching RAW's condensed version on a next day or so basis. I also have the WWE Network so I may begin honestly watching WWE's Pay Per Views only... I like to watch actual wrestling matches and the Pay Per Views seem to be the only source for that in the WWE. RAW is all promos, bad midcard, and lots of video packages.

It's an experiment to go without Cable... I'll miss channels like AMC and ESPN, but life goes on. I'm just tired of the price gouging that goes on with big communication companies and by downsizing (but retaining the ability to stream online), I'm saving a ton of money per month. Many of you should look into that particularly as there are some headwinds that he world economy is struggling.



Question #1 - Odds on Steve Austin wrestling at Wrestlemania 32?

As I already discussed in another column, I believe that the WWE and Steve Austin are actively doing business again. He is on their upcoming WWE 2K video game and has returned to the WWE Network podcast specials. Sure, there might have been some hurt feelings by his lack of Wrestlemania 31 appearance or maybe the tough Chyna question he asked Triple H on his podcast (oh no, tough questions!), but putting Austin on the cover of WWE 2K is a big deal.

The lure of 100,000 fans in Dallas, TX will be too much for Steve Austin. If you listen to his podcasts, while he is critical, he's mostly pro-WWE. He seems like he's fully invested in WWE's programming and watches the Network regularly. Through various interviews, he's stated that his neck no longer has pain and that he works out regularly. After having the knee surgery recently, I believe he did that to get ready for 1 last match. Odds are very good of him returning for 1 last match.

Steve Austin vs. John Cena would fill AT&T Stadium, guaranteed...


Question #2 - Can pro wrestling get as big as it did during 1998-1999 when WWE/WCW were both hitting their peaks in viewership?

Unless a major drawing wrestler in the light of Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin comes along, it's not happening. As much as I like John Cena, he's not as strong of a Pay Per View and adult fan draw like Austin/Hogan were. Cena sustains WWE's success and is a good draw with kids, but WWE isn't going to go above 4 million viewers on RAW with just him.

Unlike 1998-1999, viewers have more options to NOT watch wrestling. Take me for instance... I don't have to watch Monday Night RAW. I have so much stuff on Netflix and Hulu to watch that I'm good for YEARS. If not, I have stacks of DVD/Blu-Ray movies to watch at any point. I'm so stacked on video games to play. So many options that I didn't have during 1998-1999. Furthermore, with 2 strong wrestling entities like WWE and WCW, you had a greater obligation to watch pro wrestling back then even when NFL Monday Night Football was on. Plus, competition fueled quality.

For viewership to get near the 1998-1999 levels, it is completely dependent on WWE alone to achieve it because of a lack of competitive wrestling options. Therefore, viewership will only get close to 1998-1999 levels if another Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin like draw comes along. With due respect to the current WWE roster and NXT developmental system, I don't see that yet... But, if you were to ask fans in 1980 for Hogan and 1995 for Steve Austin about how either guy could become a huge drawing superstar, they'd probably laugh at you. All it takes is a game changing moment such as Hulk Hogan appearing in Rocky 3 or Steve Austin's "Austin 3:16" speech. Most of all, it would take a WWE Creative team that can recognize trends or momentum.


Question #3 - What is WWE's obsession with the Bella Twins?

In the past, it was the fact that they were TWINS. There's not many of those in pro wrestling, period, let alone females who are attractive. That was the selling point in the past and this was before either Diva started dating John Cena or Daniel Bryan.

Then, the Bellas left the WWE for a short while to pursue ventures in Hollywood and other forms of entertainment. My understanding is that both Brie and Nikki Bella were pitching a reality show about their lives as Twins. This perked up the ears of the Comcast folks who just so happened to have the WWE under a television deal. Thus, Total Divas was created and the Bellas returned to the WWE with association to that show. The first few seasons drew ratings and even though viewership has dipped, the show remains on E! and it gives WWE Network some content to re-air. Since the Bellas are the obvious stars of that show, particularly now that they can show their outside lives with John Cena and Daniel Bryan, they have a ton of power in the WWE now.

Nikki Bella has become an even bigger force since her WWE return. The boob job and other tweaks to her look has greatly enhanced her look. That's what catches the attention of the always horny Vince McMahon and Executive Producer Kevin Dunn. Just listen to the "shoot" interviews with former WWE Creative Team member Jim Cornette on how excited Vince/Dunn were for any discussions over Sable. Sable changed everything in the WWE with regards to females in the WWE. Vince/Dunn quickly figured out that they could feature females who cannot wrestle but draw simply on looks and personality. Sable wrestled but wasn't exactly known for her in-ring presence. Her doing other things such as WWE merchandise and Playboy pulls in more money for the WWE than what Sable could have drawn as a wrestler.

Since Sable, WWE tried the same model with Trish Stratus (but hey, should could wrestle), Torrie Wilson, Stacy Kiebler, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and now Nikki Bella. Vince/Dunn are so in love with her look that they overlook other things. I was shocked when I read this post on Scott Keith's Blog about Diva merchandise sales. Look at how hard WWE is pushing the Bellas brand and yet a NXT performer like Bayley can outsell them. Better yet, Bayley has 4 items on WWE Shopzone and the Bellas have, get this, 89 items! Fans are emotionally connected to Bayley and yet Vince/Dunn still using the Sable playbook to market the Bellas, particularly Nikki.

Added question... Do I believe that Nikki's boyfriend, John Cena, is protecting Nikki Bella's Divas Title reign? I'm not buying it... No, I'm not saying this because my columns are pro-Cena but John Cena isn't the backstage politician to command that. History does not show it... My guess is that WWE wants to erase AJ Lee's record Divas Title reign and there were no plans to drop the title. Nikki will break the record and then drop the title to one of the Divas Revolution ladies (likely to be Charlotte). I'm willing to bet that another Diva NOT in the PCB/Team BAD/Team Bella feud leaked that or another disgruntled WWE employee leaked that to the dirtsheets. Like I said, John Cena has no history as a backstage politician and from what I've read, he's very low key backstage about his relationship with Nikki.

BUT - And I've said this in the past, WWE could use the real life heat and animosity that fans have about John Cena porking Nikki to their advantage if they ever wanted to turn him heel...


Question #4 - Which is the better Tag Team for all time greatness purposes? Dudley Boys or Road Warriors/Legion of Doom?

Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, without a doubt. Dudleys are probably a personal favorite of mine along with the Eaton/Lane version of the Midnight Express, but it's hard to measure the Dudleys against the sheer drawing power of Hawk and Animal. Those guys were legitimate badasses and packed houses anywhere they went. The Road Warriors were a big influence on the business based on their entrance, look, tag team moves, personalities, etc. There are armies of tag teams emulating what they were or did.

Dudleys hit an era where Title Inflation was spreading and thus many, many title reigns for them. But were they as meaningful as any of the Road Warrior reigns before 1995? Eh... I would go a step further to argue that the Dudleys weren't even the best tag team in their WWE era... Hardys and Edge/Christian were damn good, too. Dudleys added a fun dynamic to that feud but they needed Matt, Jeff, Edge, and Christian to take those beatings in order to be effective.

Hawk and Animal didn't need other tag teams to help carry them. They WERE the best tag team and every other team had to deal with it.


Question #5 - Does writing columns about wrestling columns on the internet pay well?

Depends on your situation. In order to make money from an internet site, you need access to any revenue paid from the advertisements (or banners). Whomever runs the website would have to pay you from the difference between Ad revenues and whatever expenses are incurred from running a website (server costs, bandwidth, domain names, security, etc.). This difference has become tougher with the dot com bust of the early 2000's (killed many ad banner companies) and from the wrestling audience actually shrinking over the last 15 years. Margins are tight.

NEWS and SHOW RESULTS are what truly drive internet traffic to pro wrestling sites... You would need to be an exceptional columnist to be considered a draw for a website and thus merit pay. Just from all of that I've seen and have been offered by websites, not many places are actually paying or at least paying consistently. Margins are tight and again, if you can cover your news/results and have been an established website that can guarantee those will be posted, the rest of your website just gravy. If an actual monetary payment can't be made, usually some bartering occurs such as plugging your website, podcast, or other things you may have on sale. If you are an exceptional writer, you might be better served starting your own website... But then again, most of the wrestling websites are well established and competition to get into a slim market might make it tough to be successful.

As I've stated before, I do not get paid for being Mr. Tito and writing wrestling columns. 100% voluntary and it has been from day one. I have never asked for a dime from LoP. My choice. I consider writing columns a hobby or even possibly "art" if that makes any sense. I get enjoyment out of speaking to and entertaining a large audience every week. I have had offers from other websites and believe me, not many places are paying. Much of what has been offered to me would be more fo a hassle to report financially and not significant enough for me to jump ship. Plus, nobody would give me what I wanted with an actual contract in place and guaranteed money. Worse yet, the ones who pay want to control the content of your columns... No creative freedom... I had one major sports website (run by one of the big 4 networks) make me an offer but they wanted full editorial control on what to write. In other words, some sports editor would give me a topic and I'd have to write something specific to please him. They weren't offering much financially, so I passed. It pretty much told me that bigtime sports websites are operating on the same slim margins as wrestling websites. Internet doesn't pay, folks.

If you want to write columns about pro wrestling, you pretty much have to write because you LOVE pro wrestling and you enjoy writing. I'm not counting on it to supplement my full time income, for example. Running a website and earning profit from it is not easy... With wrestling continuing its downward spiral under WWE's monopolistic control and internet costs continuing to climb, I expect this trend to continue and I'm not holding my breath on getting paid. But again, I don't do this for the money and NEVER have.

That's right, Comments section... I don't do this for the money...


Question #5 - Do you believe that AJ Lee will one day return to the WWE?

Yes - I believe that her exit was for a reason. For one, she had some nagging injuries piling up and she was risking long-term damage by working through it. Secondly, I believe that CM Punk's legal situation with the WWE made things weird and she had to step away from the WWE at the moment as that gets resolved. But I also think that her exit was to also start a family with CM Punk. It wouldn't surprise me to hear an announcement any day now about her expecting.

But think back to the video where a younger AJ Lee met her hero, Lita, at an autograph signing. AJ Lee is crying as she meets her favorite wrestler and it inspired her to become a pro wrestler. I believe that fire is burning, still, and that recent events and politics are what made her retire from the WWE. She's 28 years old now and pretty much has about 10 years of prime athletic life left in her. Consequently, those are also the key last 10 years to start a family, too... That "itch" is going to come back and seeing the high level of competition arrive in the WWE from NXT has to make her think about it.

At some point, too, she'll realize that the WWE treated her reasonably well even after the CM Punk walkout and then Punk's podcast with Colt Cabana. Without her husband's actions, she would possibly remain with the WWE in some capacity. Remember, this is the same WWE that placed her in a non-wrestling role several times as Bryan's girlfriend and then General Manager of RAW. WWE isn't that inflexible to work with. An easy role for her would be to become GM of the Divas division. Eventually, she'll realize that she's good at pro wrestling and doesn't need to just be that supportive wife. After all, if that UFC career doesn't work out, you'll need some income flowing into that Punk household. She's still an asset in pro wrestling.


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