Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Traditions in Pro Wrestling and WWE Survivor Series Predictions
By Mr. Tito
Nov 17, 2014 - 11:48:53 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

I always enjoy how I'm labeled "an older wrestling fan", notably because I'm more of a conservative wrestling fan who respects the success of the past and sees major issues with today's product. But I'm only 34... Sure, it seems like I've been doing this forever, but I was just a teenager at 18 years old when I began writing for I keep repetitively arguing that the WWE should simply watch their own WWE Network to see what works.

With my age, I had the honor of growing up when the 2 best eras of wrestling, of all time, occurred... First, the 1980's Hulkamania Era which hit an amazing peak when the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage) exploded. Then, the Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era from 1995 through 2001 when WWE lost its top spot to WCW during 1996 and then earned it back during 1998. The wrestling business during those timeframes hit on all cylinders because they not only had all time great superstars, but the did the basic traditional things correct to distinguish pro wrestling from other forms of entertainment.

What's one thing that the Hulkamania and Monday Night Wars/Attitude Eras did better than today's WWE? They respected the midcard... While it was important to have a strong main event program, wrestling promotions cannot devote entire shows to main event programs. They need variety in addition to a built-in farm system to build up the stars of the future. The way that today's WWE shits on the midcard titles is humiliating. Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Rock, and John Cena needed to validate themselves as midcard champions first before even getting a shot at the WWE Title. Now, the WWE books the entire roster as if they are going for the WWE Title even though much of the WWE roster is far from ready. Additionally, both the 1980's and late 1990's needed strong TAG TEAM divisions. Because of the ability to switch in fresh wrestlers, tag matches are consistently good in comparison to singles matches. For example, Dudleys, Hardys, and Edge/Christian feuds were very important to the 2000-2001 years.

To a degree, and reportedly due to Triple H's pushing, the Tag Team division has sort of returned... Usos, Goldust/Stardust, and before them, Shield and Wyatt Family. I still remain of the opinion that the Prime Time Players could have been a good tag team, but oh well....

If you look at today's WWE, one older tradition has returned strong... MANAGERS. For the past 3 years, we've seen the likes of Paul Heyman, Zeb Colter, and now Lana helping their wrestlers generate much needed heat they may not generate on their own. Brock Lesnar struggles to effectively speak on the microphone and that was also a problem over 10 years ago on Smackdown. Paul Heyman has been the perfect spokesperson for Brock Lesnar and better yet, Heyman can appear on RAW to continue hyping Lesnar when Lesnar is unable to appear. The only pressure on Brock Lesnar is to deliver on matches, which for the most part, he has... But Heyman has been vital on hyping him up to be a machine! Zeb Colter's "We the People" stuff was gaining heat and then it was getting some babyface love by the fans. Colter was actually getting Jack Swagger over as a face for a brief moment and was actually upstaging Rusev. Speaking of Rusev, where would he be without Lana talking smack and praising "Mother Russia"? She is beginning to click and without her, Rusev is just a big piece of muscle.

See? Tradition works... When a pro wrestler is unable to communicate with fans verbally, the manager can save the day. Better yet, when the manager is a heel, they can CHEAT for their wrestler as an added way to get heat. Look no further than JJ Dillon or Bobby Heenan who helped their heel wrestlers steal victories and draw mega heat.

Here are other older traditions that could work in today's WWE:

- Champions Come Out Second for Entrances - In the past, the Champions always came out second for their entrances. It was a sign of respect that you "save the best for last". WWE is very inconsistent on this old rule now.

- Television Champion - In WCW and ECW, the Television Title meant that it HAD to be defended on EVERY television broadcast. Thus, you were guaranteed at least 1 title defense per television show. It gave you a "sense of urgency" on every show, especially if you had a strong Television Champion in place. In my opinion, Steve Austin in WCW and Rob Van Dam in ECW were greatly helped by defending their TV Titles proudly on all broadcast shows. I would dissolve the United States title and convert it to the WWE TV Title that MUST be defended on RAW, Smackdown, Main Event, and Pay Per Views.

- Cruiserweight Division - WWE can hate it all it wants, but WCW's Cruiserweight Division was a major success. Variety... Sin Cara looks bad because he's wrestling in a Land of Giants without any real shot in hell at winning any titles against larger wrestlers. However, if the WWE employed at last 5 other Cruiserweight like wrestlers, he'd have steady opponents to impress fans with matches. Plus, you can tap into the Hispanic markets by importing more Lucha Libre wrestlers.

-The Female Manager - Now, all WWE women are independent and attempting to win that Divas Title or impress on the Total Divas show. However, what you don't have are actual female wrestlers. You could have the actual functioning manager who acted like a legitimate heel manager like Sensational Sherri Martel or Vicki Guerrero. You could also have the "hot piece of ass" manager like Sunny or Sable were. Or, and this is where the WWE is truly missing the boat, you have someone like Miss Elizabeth who is a love interest attached to a heel wrestler. WWE forgets how much heat that the tension between Elizabeth and Macho Man draw for them. The entire MEGA POWERS EXPLODING storyline that drew huge numbers for Wrestlemania 5. The sexual tension between couples, particularly when the wrestler is a heel, consistently draws... WWE started to have that with Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee, but then the WWE Creative Team actually made AJ Lee become General Manager of the RAW brand. Remember that great angle?

-Promos without an Interviewer - On WWE today, you always have an interviewer who must get in their 2 cents to interview a pro wrestler. Sure, that's the one thing that resembles actual pro sports, but wrestling presented a unique take when the wrestlers themselves cut promos in front of a camera to hype a match or a Pay Per View. When the spotlight is on the wrestler, it allows for them to shine on their own. WWE today is too reliant on the interviewer to steer the promo and it takes away from the actual wrestler. That's NOT a knock on Rene Young, who is a tremendous talent in the WWE... But more about suggesting something from the past that worked. Besides, Rene is super talented and should be working for ESPN, not WWE.

And finally...

- Creating a Survivor Series Pay Per View that Matters - Back in my day, which was only 20 years ago, Survivor Series was arguably the #2 Pay Per View only behind Wrestlemania. SummerSlam was always hit or miss while the Royal Rumble concept caught on better during the 2000's. Survivor Series always took care of the WWE Title and always had a hot angle coming out of it. Back in the day, Survivor Series acted as the "clearing house" for storylines before the Wrestlemania timeframe. Usually, the WWE Champion heading out of Survivor Series would be the one defending the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1996, Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997, the Rock at Survivor Series 1998, etc. This show mattered back in the day and was part of the "Big 4" Pay Per Views.

During the 2000's, it became just another Pay Per View. The 5 on 5 and/or 4 on 4 matches lost their uniqueness because WWE wrestlers fought themselves so much on RAW/Smackdown. Back in the day with jobber matches, top wrestlers didn't wrestle each other much. Thus, Survivor Series created many dream match-up possibilities. Ditto for any World Title matches on Survivor Series. By the time the other 11 Pay Per Views occurred, there were no unique matches for Survivor Series to feature. The WWE has also attached stupid stipulations to the matches, notably involving authority figures as well. WWE didn't have to put storylines around the old 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 matches. What drew was the promise of a good match...

What made Surivor Series unique is that it featured match-ups never seen before... But with 12 Pay Per Views, 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of Smackdown weekly, among other shows... What is there beyond saving the best for Wrestlemania and SummerSlam to make Survivor Series unique?

Pretty sad that the WWE is giving away Survivor Series for FREE to new subscribers of the WWE Network. In the past, wrestling fans tripped over themselves to buy this Pay Per View.

I'm so over the Authority. WWE should have learned its lesson in 2011 when Triple H was an utter failure as an authority figure. HHH draws well as a pro wrestler and not as a suit who can intimidate an entire roster full of wrestlers. Ditto for Stephanie McMahon. Last week, he talked down Rusev which practically erased the past year of building Rusev up like a monster. Stephanie is at her best when she actually feuds with Divas. See the Trish Stratus feud of 2001 and the stuff with Brie Bella was decent. Even if they lose, there's no way that HHH/Stephanie go away. They have so much say in the current WWE product that they'll return in some capacity and then return to being authority figures.

Only way we'll fix the WWE is if Vince McMahon actually fires his own family members and realizes that he has one of the most successful independent promoters on his roster: Paul Heyman.


Divas Title: AJ Lee(c) vs. Nikki Bella
I'll be honest here... I wouldn't mind Nikki Bella as Divas Champion. She's worked hard to get in amazing shape and she's actually a decent wrestler. That finisher is pretty damn convincing. The problem with Nikki is that she's handcuffed to a lesser talented, personality wise, Brie Bella. It would be interesting to see Nikki on her own to see if she could draw. She definitely looks great right now and could give the WWE their first Playboy model possibility in years.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Nikki Bella. I like AJ Lee, but you can tell that the WWE is confused on how to use her based on her real life marriage to CM Punk. Nikki's greatly enhanced look is perfect for what WWE wants in their top diva.

WHO WILL WIN: AJ Lee. I figure Brie Bella cause Nikki to lose and thus cause issue their Maid stipulation from their last Pay Per View.


WWE Tag Titles: Goldust/Stardust(c) vs. Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Damien Mizdow
If I'm not mistaken in the Fatal 4 Way match, the Champions can lose the titles by not getting pinned? I'm probably not paying attention, but I also cannot find information on I figure the hot hand is keeping Goldust/Stardust strong at the top but the WWE seems to enjoy Sandow and the Miz right now. Thus, the Miz could pin one of the Matadores and thus protect Stardust/Goldust from losing.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Goldust/Stardust. Solid tag team and I really worry what both wrestlers would do in the WWE if they weren't a tag team.

WHO WILL WIN: Damien Mizdow. WWE is going to pull the trigger early on this team. After all, they were feuding for the US Title, Intercontinental Title, and now the Tag Titles. Maybe they'll go for the Divas Title at the next Pay Per View? Why not? If we can put up with creating transgender bathrooms in schools, then why not have guys making a rightful claim to contending for the Divas Title? After all, Chyna was able to wrestle for the Intercontinental Title back in the day. Why can't roles reverse?


Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose should be in the Authority match. Who else has more against Seth Rollins and the idea of the Authority than Ambrose? This feud just seems so random and unorganized, and the WWE could have saved this match-up for future years. Instead, they blow it now because it appears that that Bray Wyatt MEGA PUSH #2 is now underway. Oh joy.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Dean Ambrose. Bray Wyatt hasn't exactly won out on his feuds lately while Dean Ambrose should have toppled Seth Rollins last month. Dean, in my opinion, could be the top draw that the WWE has been looking for all along.

WHO WILL WIN: Bray Wyatt. WWE wouldn't derail the Rollins vs. Ambrose feud for nothing. Someone backstage is trying to get Wyatt over again and after mixed results with the Cena and Jericho feuds, it's time for Bray to get a big win and maybe help set-up a TLC rematch.


Team Authority vs. Team Cena

I just don't give a shit.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Team Cena. Then, Vince McMahon not only removes Stephanie and Triple H from television, but also removes from the WWE. Then, Vince hires Paul Heyman, Jim Ross, Mick Foley, and Steve Austin to be his trusted hands to run the WWE instead.

WHO WILL WIN: The Authority. Someone from Team Cena is turning heel. If not, Stephanie and Triple H will still act as defacto authority figures. Blah blah blah, don't care, I'm glad this column is finally over because WWE blows chunks right now. They have to give away the WWE Network for FREE because it's an utter failure and not because the WWE Network isn't a great deal, but because the current WWE is poorly conducted as a business and pro wrestling company.

You know what sucks? Seeing CM Punk on AMC's Talking Dead on Sunday Night. There he was, enjoying himself on the couch, free from any WWE responsibilities that may have made him miserable. Punk was so happy to be there and not getting his body destroyed in the WWE ring for nothing. He was the hottest thing in pro wrestling during 2011 and the WWE squandered it because Vince/HHH/Stephanie insisted that Alberto Del Rio was the better WWE Champion and Triple H would be a great "COO" authority figure. Both flopped HARD and the damage was done...

I don't blame CM Punk for walking out... Sure, I would have advised him to wait until June/July 2014 for his contract to expire, but it gets hard eating spoonfuls of bullshit after a while.

We need another form of competition to the WWE, badly. TNA obviously isn't that, Ring of Honor is not... Paul Heyman proved that even a small Independent promotion can build an audience. Otherwise, once John Cena steps down as a WWE wrestler, the WWE has major problems ahead.

And tick tock... WWE Network has a real possibility to exceed the losses seen by the XFL failure of football league. XFL caused about $50 million in losses for the WWE, and the WWE Network has probably exceeded that with start-up costs and absolute failure to break-even on network subscriptions. Do you honestly think that your FREE sign-ups for WWE Network will stick around for the "awesome" TLC Pay Per View in December? Good luck...

No WWE Stock for me...


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