Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Orton vs. Mahal Hype, What's Wrong with Bayley?, & Music Industry vs. Wrestling
By Mr. Tito
May 20, 2017 - 8:49:43 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

So I figured why not produce another Excellence in Column Writing piece for / this week? Plus, I'll likely review Smackdown's next Pay Per View tomorrow, Backlash. When I write more, it keeps the hooligans from the Comments section off the streets... I like giving people something to do...

Tomorrow, many are fearing that the Chicago crowd will crap all over the WWE Backlash event, especially the probable Main Event Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal. Many expect the "CM Punk" to be clear and present...

First and foremost, let's remind everyone of a FACT... CM Punk QUIT the WWE following Royal Rumble 2014. I know that many wrestling fans want to deny that FACT, but the quicker that you remove your head from the sand, the better. Punk quit. And note that I say that as the author of the infamous 9/28/2011 "Triple H Just Buried CM Punk" author that stirred up the internet almost 6 years ago. I argued that CM Punk was in the process of being systematically destroyed by the McMahons in favor of (a) making Alberto Del Rio become WWE Champion and (b) getting Triple H as "Chief Operating Officer" over as an authority figure. BUT - even as the person who can easily proclaim that the WWE screwed him, I cannot deny that Punk quit on the WWE. Therefore, fans in Chicago should GET OVER IT. Don't buy a damn ticket if you hate the WWE so much!

But, for the performers on the entire Smackdown brand who don't want to be trolled by the Chicago crowd: JUST BRING IT.

If wrestling fans are highly entertained by what's happening in the ring, they will be too preoccupied with the in-ring product instead of wanting to troll. If you give fans quality, they'll eat right out of your hand... If you shove goofballs like Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns down their throats... And yes, I just used those 2 in the same sentence... Fans will reject them! HOWEVER, if I were Jinder Mahal, I'd do everything in my power in that Backlash WWE Title match to prove they naysayers wrong. He's heard it for WEEKS now that "he's not ready" for the Main Event. Well, then prove yourself Jinder. Prove that you're not just a walking piece of muscle who impressed WWE officials with your new physique. Wrestle a GOOD match, please and thank you. Please prove us wrong!

In my opinion, though, Smackdown's failures need to be owned by Randy Orton. We're into his 13th recognized World Title reign and he's been on a non-stop push since winning Royal Rumble 2017. Results are in and Smackdown's ratings have declined during the Wrestlemania season and now especially following it with Orton as champion. Sure, pushing Jinder Mahal to be the #1 contender doesn't help, but fans tune into most wrestling shows to see the top babyface in action. Hulk Hogan during the mid to late 1980s, Steve Austin/Rock during the late 1990s/early 2000s, and John Cena for the past decade. What exactly is the appeal of having Randy Orton as your #1 babyface? Exactly what has he drawn as a babyface?

Now that we have the recent results on Randy Orton, we can now clearly see that his last 3 World Title reigns have legitimately declined business. Smackdown during 2011 declined when he was World Champion and actually gained in viewership when he lost the belt. Late 2013 was a complete disaster when he stole the title repeatedly from Daniel Bryan and couldn't draw a dime with his Batista feud. And now 2017. Why aren't we learning from past mistakes, WWE? It's not like Orton is dependable, either... Recent Wellness Violation and injury issues. He's been pushed like a main eventer since August 2004 and has 13 World Title reigns in the WWE... Exactly what does he have to show for it by having essentially 1 World Title reign per year on average? What great matches can you name? What great moments? What wrestlers can you name that he put over and made into stars?

Time to step it up, Randy. This entire WWE title reign of 2017 has been completely absent of in-ring quality. I thought that you were one of the most fundamentally sound in-ring performers? One of the most gifted performers? Could have fooled me... I'm BORED with you as Champion and in the Main Event. Granted, you need great opponents... Hogan had armies of great opponents (Mr. Wonderful, Piper, Andre, Savage) as did Steve Austin (Rock, Foley, HHH, Undertaker, Kane, etc). HOWEVER, if the Creative Teams give you lemons to work with, you must make lemonaide! Look at the carry jobs that both Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels did. They saw their opponents, adjusted their styles, and sold for their opponents like champions to make them look good. On any given night, you believed that Ric Flair's opponent always had a chance to win. With Randy Orton, you have to wonder if he even cares about making his opponents look good. Complete opposite of Flair/Michaels and that causes his talents to go to waste.

Let me emphasize that I DO NOT want to rip Randy Orton... I KNOW that he's talented... But at the same time, I've been told that he's "gifted" and "talented" forever now and the career resume doesn't size up to other great superstars. Considering all of the WWE capital, time, marketing, and other resources spent to push Randy Orton, what does the WWE have to show for it? It takes TWO to make a successful Main Eventer. Obviously, it takes the WWE's company support... But if the wrestler isn't motivated or hungry to be that #1 star and to keep improving, it's not happening. Guys like Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, and the Miz during the past felt "entitled" to their big WWE spots. Guys like Steve Austin felt paranoid about losing their spots and were striving to keep getting better as Main Eventers. Much different to work your way up to the top (Austin) then to have everything handed to you (Orton, Reigns, Del Rio) because Vince McMahon either loves your family and/or loves your look/persona.

Step it up, Randy Orton... Make Jinder Mahal LOOK like a star and fans won't cheer "CM Punk" or other derogatory chants. Sleepwalk through this match and you DESERVE trolling chants and worsening ratings on WWE Smackdown. Period. End of story.


What's wrong with Bayley?

Many are blaming the WWE Creative Team and in many ways, I agree. WhatCulture had a nice video piece on her which I mostly agree on... She seems to struggle with scripted lines and has that "ah shucks" attitude to her.

But I'll go a step further... What if Bayley and/or Women's Wrestling PEAKED during 2015?

Think about Women's wrestling through 2015 before everyone jumped to the WWE for the "Divas Revolution". The top stars that you see today, the "4 Horsewomen" of Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch were battling over the NXT Women's Title tooth & nail. If you compare NXT's Women's Division to WWE's between 2014-2015, there is NO comparison. NXT's female division was WAY better and even had a title belt that looked mysterious under a black light! In fact, NXT's Women's wrestling built what you see today on both RAW/Smackdown brands. Women's wrestling is a legitimate weekly contributor to WWE programming whereas in the past, it was just occasional.

Let's look at Bayley's build up towards NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015. Sasha Banks was NXT Women's Champion and the angle was that Bayley was considered "unworthy" for the title shot. She had to prove herself. Thus, they had an angle where she had to defeat the BEST OF THE BEST in NXT just to get a shot at Bayley. She beat Emma, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte cleanly to earn her title shot. Think about that for a second... LOOK at those names. While Emma hasn't had the best WWE luck, she's a tough performer... But over the past year, Charlotte and Becky were the top female superstars. Bayley beat BOTH of them just to get the NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015 NXT Women's Title shot against Sasha Banks.

And then that NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015 match... WOW... To this day, it remains the BEST female wrestling match that I've EVER seen. In a big spot, in front of a hot New York crowd, those ladies brought it and Bayley finally became champion. That was the crowning moment of the NXT Women's Division and it has all gone downhill ever since with all 4 Horsewomen leaving and Asuka is left on her own. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks won multiple "Match of the Year" awards, including from yours truly, and they Bayley/Sasha tore the house down AGAIN with the 30 minute Iron-woman match. While Bayley gave great NXT fights to Asuka and Nia Jax, the magic was gone... She lost her perfect foe in Sasha Banks who was one of the best heels that I've ever witnessed and WWE's main roster is a different world.

In my opinion, Women's Wrestling in the WWE is no where near as exciting to watch than it was in NXT through 2015. It peaked... So therefore, Bayley has peaked and she really has nothing else to prove. She was very hungry to prove herself during 2015, however.



I was deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Cornell. I was heading into my teenage years when the Grunge scene hit the music industry as bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots washed away the "hair bands" that ruled the 1980s. And that was fine because the 1980s glam rock scene was basically pop music and lacked an edge. Well, the folks from Seattle gave you more than enough edge. To this day, some of the best music that ever appeared to me as "brand new" was from the early 1990s. LOVED the Nevermind album and it remains a personal favorite to this day. Didn't like Pearl Jam at first but then I heard Versus and Vitology... Damn good stuff! Always liked Alice in Chains and STP. With Soundgarden, they were OK to me until the Superunknown album hit. Holy hell.

But as I talk about those 5 bands above, only 1 can truly perform with most of their original line-ups and frontmen... Pearl Jam. After Cornell's passing, we lost ever seeing Soundgarden perform live or put out new albums that sounds remotely like the past. Cobain shot himself, Alice in Chains have lost several members, and the lead singer of STP just couldn't get it together. Of the Fab 5 grunge bands from the early 1990s, Pearl Jam is all that remains. I saw on someone's blog that they hope Eddie Vedder gets wrapped in bubblewrap to ensure nothing happens to him.

Grunge, however, isn't the only part of music that has seen death. Music has what is referred to as the "27 Club" with multiple key figures of music passing away at the tender age of 27, often times at their own doing or demise. Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin all belong to that infamous club. In addition to age 27, others have died at another young age like Keith Moon of the Who and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, both at age 32.

But then you consider some of the all-time greats passing away... Michael Jackson, Prince, and Elvis. Had they made different lifestyle choices, they could still be here right now (Elvis would be older). This is in addition to many other musicians who have somehow survived the excesses of the music lifestyle like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Hell, look at all of those 1980s rock bands who partied very hard.

My point is this... Has the Music Industry ever been chastised for its lifestyle compared to pro wrestling?

Pro wrestling has a stigma that "every wrestler is on steroids" and that most wrestlers "won't live beyond the age of 45". The WWE, thanks to many wrestler deaths during the 2000s and the Chris Benoit incident, has a bad reputation that I believe keeps premiere athletes away from their developmental system. Even though the WWE has implemented their Wellness Program and spends hundreds of thousands per year for rehab for former wrestlers, they still have the old reputation in place from the mid 1990s and 2000s. No matter what the WWE does, they can't win. The reputation sticks to them.

Why doesn't the music industry have the same concerns about their reputations over drugs and early deaths?

Well, as my favorite comedian Bill Hicks always said, musicians "made great music that enhanced your lives"... Most of which were "real f'n high on drugs". For music, if an artist is using something, it's part of the culture. It's like putting a spice or pepper on your favorite food to enhance the flavor. Take for instance Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. After taking LSD for the first time, he had visions of this melody that would become the basis of his hit single "California Girls". As much as I love the early Beatles stuff, it's the mid to late career stuff that really excels for me. Their creativity during the middle section went through the roof when each member had their own gimmick.

The difference between Pro Wrestling and Music is that EVERYBODY LOVES MUSIC... Not everybody loves pro wrestling. Period, end of story.

For example, I've always asked the question of what would you rather lose in your life: (a) your vision or (b) your hearing. For me, I'd hate to lose my vision but I'll be damned if I can't hear the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Chicago, Nirvana, Beach Boys, Foo Fighters, Avett Brothers, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Pearl Jam, Lionel Richie, Queen, or many other bands ever again.

Because Pro Wrestling isn't universally loved by the public, it carries the stigma of having a "drug culture" by the haters of wrestling. Most loyal fans either believe that WWE is clean or trying to be clean... Or better yet, just accept it.

Steroids (or other performance enhancers) seem to have a worse public image than recreational drugs. If you do the wrong amount of Cocaine or Heroin, it will kill you instantly. However, with steroids, it's believed that any user will have their heart explode during their 40s. Major League Baseball has the same bad reputation that has eroded their public image, too, thanks to them not truly testing for performance enhancers until 2003, 15 years after Congress labeled them as a "controlled substance". NFL has avoided that reputation because they've had a testing system in place since Congress's declaration, simple as that. MLB and WWE were a bit "loose" with their testing programs and thus they carry the same reputation. Musicians? What reputation? It's part of the business...

It's just funny to me... Pro wrestling has stereotypes of being enablers to drug use and having wrestlers die at an early age... But isn't the exact thing happening in the Music Industry, possibly worse? Last time I checked, musicians aren't taking physical bumps off a canvas about 300 nights per year like wrestlers. Worse for wrestlers, they have to LOOK the part with physiques. Vince McMahon once tried to start a Bodybuilding league, after all. The pain from the ring (need something to numb it, something to heal it) and the demands to look muscular (need something to quickly enhance that) causes the use... Musicians have more fame but not quite the physical demands like wrestling. Don't get me wrong, playing in front of thousands and touring across the company IS work... But how else can most of the members of the Rolling Stones still tour in their 70s? Keith Richards, man...

Better yet, after a musician dies, they are LEGENDARY in the music industry. Before Michael Jackson died, everybody avoided his music like the plague! Then, he suddenly passes and he's a music legend again! If a pro wrestler dies, most are quick to question why they died and how it may affect the wrestling industry.


Therefore, drug use and dying young is overlooked by music fans but pro wrestling is held more accountable.


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