Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - RAW Brand's Lack of a Midcard and Undertaker's WWE Return
By Mr. Tito
Nov 4, 2016 - 12:20:13 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

So we're 1 day after the Hell in a Cell Pay Per View where TWO title changes happened and RAW was also featuring the 2nd appearance of Bill Goldberg. No Major League Baseball playoffs or Presidential Debates, only NFL Football whose ratings have been down for the year (ESPN's coverage on Mondays has been declining for the past few years anyway). The result? Average viewership of 2.6 million for the week, which is lower than last week's show and recent averages of around 2.7 million viewers... But that 3rd hour was a complete disaster by being under 2.5 million viewers.

The Bill Goldberg nostalgia lasted for ONE SHOW. Wow... I figured that it would flame out soon, but damn, not this fast. When Bill Goldberg had his peak 1998 run for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), most teenage wrestling fans were still swimming around in their dad's balls. Bringing back a "Monday Night Wars" era wrestler will pop viewership for one week thanks to older viewers but it risks discouraging younger viewers on follow-up shows. Who is this old guy, they ask, and why is he getting a match with Brock Lesnar? Worse yet for the WWE was how Goldberg easily manhandled Rusev who is coming off multiple losses to Roman Reigns. Are we still pissed over that TMZ engagement leak, WWE?

That leaves Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins as the Main Eventers... Yikes... I have already statistically proven that major weaknesses that Rollins and Reigns have as World Champions. Both are at or close to reducing 1 entire ratings point! I'll go easy on Kevin Owens because he was rushed into the WWE Universal Title, but I'm starting to see Chris Jericho outshine him as a sidekick. Furthermore, Owens has to wrestle either Reigns or Rollins without much other choice on the RAW roster. Part-timer Brock Lesnar haven't proven to be much of a RAW draw lately either.

But the Main Event is just PART of the reason for the Monday Night RAW viewership decline or WWE's decline in general. For RAW, you have to fill THREE hours of content for wrestling fans to enjoy. Sure, the Main Event wrestlers can eat away at that time with 20 minute in-ring promos and endless backstage segments, but something else has to happen within the 3 hour timeframe.

It comes down to the MIDCARD. For RAW, it absolutely stinks and thanks to WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 and recent events, two divisions are almost dead already with one waiting for an old record to break. Last nights Perkins vs. Kendrick match was weak and very controlled compared to the expectations of what a true Cruiserweight match should look like. Furthermore, TJ Perkins wins a tournament against the BEST OF THE BEST in terms of Cruiserweight wrestlers in the freakin' world and he barely gets a WWE Cruiserweight Title run. He wrestles WWE veteran Brian Kendrick and drops the title to him... Where's the unique Cruiserweights that we saw from the tournament? Then, the Women's Division... If you're name isn't Charlotte, just get out of the way. Since the Draft, the Women's Title has traded hands 4 times now between Sasha Banks and Charlotte. Sasha wins RAW televised matches and Charlotte wins the Pay Per View matches. Meanwhile, WWE is making a joke out of Bayley with early losses and Nia Jax may have been promoted too early... Can someone else from that division please stand up?

With the WWE wanting to erase Demolition from the record books interms of Tag Team title reign length, everybody is just waiting for the New Day to break the record... Meanwhile, teams like the Club and Enzo/Cass are just existing until that point. Can you name a legitimate 4th team on the RAW roster? Oh yeah, that Sheamus & Cesaro tag team is working out real well... That's right, they have an amazing 7th match in their best of 7 series and instead of giving us more matches between the two, let's kill their heat by forcing them to tag up.

Could anybody name me the contender list for the United States title? Yeah, I couldn't either...

If you look at ANY and I repeat ANY successful wrestling promotion run, you'll observe that it coincides with a STRONG Midcard to complement the Main Event.

Don't believe me?

Hulkamania Era of the late 1980s and early 1990s actually drew well with the Intercontinental Championship being defended on secondary houseshows. WWE did nice business during 1989-1990 when they had the luxury of having Hulk Hogan as WWE Champion and Ultimate Warrior as the Intercontinental Champion. But that Tag Team division back then... Oh damn! Hart Foundation, Rockers, Demolition, Brainbusters, Powers of Pain, etc. Even simple things like the "King" or the Million Dollar Belt could draw interesting feuds in the midcard. Thick roster of midcards and all midcard titles mattered.

Late 1980s NWA/WCW had depth as well... Look at the Four Horsemen, for example, they had it all. Great Tag Team with either Ole/Arn or Tully/Arn. Always having a midcard level champion holder like Lex Luger or Barry Windham. And of course, Ric would carry the show from the top as World Champion. Lots of great tag teams (Midnights, Rock N Roll, Road Warriors, Doom, Steiners, SST, Fantastics, etc.) and the TV and US Titles were fought over like they were really important.

WCW during the mid-to-late 1990s... Eric Bischoff raided ECW and Mexico and built amazing depth of wrestlers to go after the Cruiserweight Title, TV Title, US Title, and the Tag Titles. The Cruiserweight Division worked because it featured GOOD wrestlers that nobody has ever seen before. Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ultimo Dragon, Psychosis, Syxx, etc. All-time great Tag Teams like the Steiner Brothers and Harlem Heat. Many more former WWE and ECW wrestlers would join and thicken up the roster. I'd argue that the Main Event scene was more interesting with promos on television but featured lackluster Main Event matches on Pay Per Views. Hulk Hogan mostly underwhelmed on Pay Per Views but it didn't matter... You were treated to a great 3 hour show thanks to the THICK midcard.

WWE's Attitude Era had Rock, Steve Austin, Owen Hart, and Triple H wrestling for the Intercontinental Title between 1997-1998. Seriously... Then, as 1998-1999 wore on, more wrestlers were called up from WWE developmental and more WCW/ECW free agents began to join the WWE. As the midcard kept getting thicker and thicker, the ratings for the entire show of RAW kept going up through 1999-2000. The Tag Team division between Dudleys, Hards, and Edge/Christian was amazing! At a moment's notice, the WWE had a THICK midcard roster that it could easily promote someone feuding over the Intercontinental Title to the WWE Title scene.

WWE Smackdown during 2002-2004 was the better BRAND because it had a stronger midcard scene to complement its Main Event. Some of the best Tag Team matches that I ever witnessed came from Smackdown during this period of time. Remember the "Smackdown 6" and then the World's Greatest Tag Team? And then you had a midcard that could develop and elevate stars to the top like Eddie Guerrero and John Cena. Need I say more? If you remember RAW back then, they actually merged the Intercontinental Title and World Heavyweight Championship into one during 2002... Gee, why was RAW the inferior brand back then? Because in addition to Triple H dominating everybody as the Main Eventer, besides HBK, the Midcard had nothing to show for it.

You see my point and if you think that I'm full of crap, just watch the WWE Network of the eras mentioned above. OR just look at viewership numbers and see that those eras dwarfed today's WWE.

RAW now has a Main Event that lacks top drawing ability and a midcard that has no depth or is poorly booked.

And that's why RAW will forever be permanently under 3.0 million following the Brand Split.

It's so simple... You use your MIDCARD like a FARM SYSTEM... Your stars of tomorrow are competing over the Tag Titles or the United States/Intercontinental Titles, or no titles. While they are wrestling on the early portion of the card where expectations are much lower, they can develop their craft as wrestlers. This includes personality, gimmick, mic skills, in-ring ability, etc. If a wrestler breaks out from this midcard mold, meaning they can actually DRAW as a Midcard Champion and whatnot, then that's when you promote them. Big Cass, in my opinion, is following this formula well. He's kept within the tag ranks yet he's not overpushed to the top. Meanwhile, he's learning how to work and talk while existing on the WWE midcard while we get to enjoy Enzo & Big Cass as an entertaining midcard act. When the time is right and Big Cass appears ready to be on his own, then you push him. I'd argue that Big E is the same way... As part of the New Day, he was allowed to develop his personality and mic skills.

But that's just a few examples of it existing in the WWE... The midcard is mostly forgettable on both rosters with RAW being poorly booked and Smackdown's roster being way too thin.

And let Midcarders have SOME creative freedom while on the mic. Is it so hard to notice that since the Miz cut the "coward" promo on Daniel Bryan during Talking Smack, he's drastically improved as a wrestler and personality? Considering all that he has to wrestle is Dolph Ziggler, he's doing pretty well for himself...

Isn't it time for the WWE Corporation to perform legitimate job evaluations of its Creative Team members? The character development and the writing just isn't there...



The WWE just announced that the Undertaker will be appearing on the November 15th edition of Smackdown LIVE, which is the show's 900th episode. That should help Smackdown get near or possibly exceed 3 million viewers but we'll see. Smackdown has been averaging roughly 2.4 million per show lately and they'll use the 'Member Berries nostalgia ('member the Undertaker? Oh I remember the Undertaker!) to entice older fans to return. If you'll notice, the WWE actually advertises this well in advance.

But WHY is he returning? Is he wrestling at Survivor Series 2016?

I don't know... However, what I do know is that the WWE needs to be BOLD here towards the future. Give us something to look forward to... There's ONE "dream match" that we have yet to see where both guys are at a Main Event level. I know, they've had a few matches in the past but they weren't Wrestlemania.

The Undertaker should appear on Smackdown to CHALLENGE John Cena for a match at Wrestlemania 33.

From the Undertaker's WRESTLEMANIA resume, there are 4 glaring omissions: Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Rock, and John Cena.

Bret Hart probably couldn't have happened during the 1990s due to the hosses that the Undertaker faced during much of that decade. Rock/Stone Cold matches could have happened but both men were tied up in other high profile matches. That leaves John Cena for Wrestlemania.

WWE needs something BIG for Wrestlemania following what was Wrestlemania 32 held together with duct tape. Seriously, Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker was your legitimate draw on that card with the allure that Shane McMahon would kill himself by jumping off the Hell in a Cell (which he did). By example, Wrestlemania 28 did CRAZY business when they announced Rock vs. Cena a year in advance. Announcing Cena/Undertaker right now will boost early Wrestlemania 33 ticket sales and probably sell the place out.

I would very much look forward to John Cena vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33. I approve!


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