Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Hell in a Cell Predictions, Not Impressed with Nakamura vs. Jinder, and More
By Mr. Tito
Oct 6, 2017 - 12:09:38 AM

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The EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING has returned to / for the second time this week. That's right, the hardest working man in wrestling column business had more stuff left in the basement to deliver.

I always laugh at the reactions that I get for a more artsy like piece that I delivered in my 10/2 column titled "Pro Wrestling is Just a Ride, an Escape from Reality"... Usually, I write about current events and this is what I've typically delivered since I began writing as Mr. Tito during October 1998 (yes, 19 years ago). The ones who hate my bold opinions on current events cheer but my many longtime fans ask "what gives?" when I stray from the formula. Then, a few ask me where my Hell in a Cell Pay Per View predictions are and I just want to find a fork and STAB MY EYEBALLS OUT! I legitimately hate myself when I have to compile a Pay Per View "predictions" column and usually save that part of a column until the very end... It's 1am, my eyes are blurry, and that creates the perfect setting to write Pay Per View predictions!

Have to be up front and honest here, folks... Smackdown is doing nothing for me these days. I'll scan through the clips and if it looks decent enough, I'll may casually watch... I'm just depressed about how GOOD we had it during late 2016 when the Main Event scene was John Cena, Dean Ambrose, & AJ Styles, the relatively cool angle where Randy Orton was slowly joining the Wyatt Family, and the Miz having the best stretch of his career as a heel Intercontinental Champion with beautiful Maryse by his side. Oh yeah, the Divas Division was 6 deep of women who worked really well together and everybody got over together.

The post-Wrestlemania 33 "Superstar Shake-up" has been a complete DISASTER for the Smackdown brand. GONE were Miz, Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss, and Dean Ambrose who were pivotal characters of Smackdown. In return, Smackdown gets a damaged Kevin Owens whom Bill Goldberg disposed of, damaged New Day who limped across the finish line for the Tag Team title record, and Charlotte Flair who had multiple Women's Title reigns in short period of time to water her star down. And oh yeah, a RAW jobber named Jinder Mahal who didn't win a televised match since August 2016 and had like a 17% lifetime winning percentage for any match he was involved.
Meanwhile, AJ Styles is going after the United States Title (ditto Kevin Owens) while "free agent" John Cena bolted to RAW.

The result? We celebrate when Smackdown Live actually receives 2.5 million... In fact, that's a miracle.

Look at WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 and what is specifically headlining that show. It's hilarious.

First and foremost, the 40 Year Old Backyard Wrestler Shane McMahon will once again sacrifice his role as a loving husband and father to his kids for daredevil stunts against Kevin Owens in a "FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE" Hell in a Cell match. Last time I checked, a CAGE was supposed to settle scores to keep others out or keep things tightly around the ring. What, do they get to pin on the outside? But this is Backyarder Shane and he'll jump off the top of the cage like a dumbass, ignoring the great family life that he has and the incredible financial lifestyle that being a McMahon with resources can provide.

Why am I the ONLY ONE ON THE INTERNET who criticizes Shane McMahon and how FULL TIME wrestlers have to sell for him? How does a 47 year old even have a remote chance against a former WWE Universal Champion with YEARS of full time wrestling experience? This match should end in SECONDS... Remember who else had to sell for Shane-o-Mac during a Hell in a Cell match? The Undertaker and he looked foolish too selling to Shane.

Secondly, we have the WWE Title main event between Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura... Yawn.

Let me say something highly controversial that I'm sure will upset many, many readers... At this point in their WWE careers, neither man should be WWE Champion.

Wait, what?

Yeah, that's right... Jinder "the Jobber" Mahal obviously shouldn't be WWE Champion based on his awful career before the superstar shake-up and not being experienced or over to work the main event scene. The live attendance for Smackdown shows is very indicting of Jinder as a mistake to become WWE champion.

But Shinsuke Nakamura too, Tito? Say it isn't so. Yes... In today's WWE, Shinsuke Nakamura is not ready to become WWE Champion. Can you show me what he's drawn with WWE fans? He has been on the post-Wrestlemania 33 shows, too, and hasn't exactly been impressing fans. Hell, he has a CLEAN WIN over John Cena for Christ's sake and nobody cares. That's right, just before Roman Reigns drove a stake through John Cena's career, Nakamura beat John Cena on an episode of Smackdown and it was clean... Of course, not without dropping Cena on his head.

Sure, I believe that Shinsuke Nakamura probably had a good New Japan Pro Wrestling career. I wouldn't doubt it for a second. But the WWE is a different stage. You are working more dates yet working matches without the stiff strikes that Nakamura was accommodated to in New Japan. His style took a while to adjust to the WWE climate, as he hurt a few wrestlers in both NXT and WWE. Doesn't help that Nakamura joins a wrestling promotion that is heavy on cutting promos and the language barrier, unfortunately, has been a burden on how he can present his character to fans. I've been hearing fans chant "WHAT?" during his promos lately and he's unable to overcome that. Worse yet, Nakamura's inability to cut a promo is forcing Vince McMahon to utilize Jinder Mahal to utilize cheap heel tactics and borderline racist promos to draw heat.

Even if Shinsuke Nakamura wins this week, you just KNOW that Vince McMahon will book him to be that guy who loses multiple non-title matches. You KNOW that is coming!

What has Nakamura done in the WWE to even earn a WWE Title shot? Hasn't drawn on the Smackdown roster, period... Viewership is below 2.5 million often and any "bumps" are not from his doing. Houseshow and TV show attendance is deplorable despite Nakamura being on the cards. What good matches has he had so far in the WWE? Ehhhh... Not much on the main roster and I'd argue his best in NXT was his first against Sami Zayn. Matches with Samoa Joe were OK yet his Bobby Roode match, I'd argue, was his best WWE-like match. Well, Bobby Roode is a pro and always has been. To my surprise, Nakamura couldn't get a good match with Dolph Ziggler and just about anybody has busted out a good match with him.

As a WWE Superstar specifically in the WWE environment, Shinsuke Nakamura should NOT be (a) wrestling for the WWE Title and (b) winning the title at THIS STAGE in his WWE Career. Notice that I said "WWE" career... I'm measuring from Wrestlemania 33 through right now... He's not worthy of the WWE title.

Now, now, now... You'll tell me that "neither is Jinder Mahal". Duh. I've argued that in his column from day one.

What my opinion on the Main Event scene for Smackdown? I'd put together a 3-4 month program between Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles where they'd wrestle every type of match possible. One on one, Cage Match, Best 2 out of 3 Falls, Ironman Match (60 minutes), etc. Two strong veteran wrestlers going at it... They wrestled one match on WWE Smackdown this past year and it was pretty good. Orton still has some star power and is hungry to play heel again... AJ Styles did his best as heel and it's time he become a full blow babyface that actively tries to do good things. Heel Orton vs. Face Styles and let them feud all over the country. While that's happening, build up and rehab the other wrestlers like Kevin Owens, Dolph Zigger, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin, etc.. Whomever rises above that pack promote to the main event. Let Jinder Mahal breathe and grow in the midcard for make up for what he lost in the rush to the top.

Pushing Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at this moment in both of their careers won't help Smackdown. Pushing both prematurely as WWE Title owners or contenders is about as logical as selling for Shane McMahon in a cage match.



"Been writing Pay Per View predictions for almost 19 years now... So bear with me while plaster on a fake smile and plow through this (crap) one more time" -Bill Hicks

By the way, I joked with a few readers that I should start a Patreon account and have tiered goals that if a certain particular higher amount is donated, that's when I'd write a Pay Per View predictions column. Maybe I could also create a few tiers that let's you tell me what to write or when to write it... You know, because apparently writing a weekly or more column for and also taking the heat for doing so is such an easy thing to do...

But no, I wouldn't do that. Writing for 100% free is a badge of honor. There's no filter on what I write, when I write, and no wrestling promotions can persuade me. I am finding it highly amusing that in addition to WWE employees that industries dependent on the WWE are easing off the Roman Reigns criticisms. It's not that they believe he has improved but they know where the bread is buttered. You'd think that SOMEONE backstage would be upset at how hard the WWE has pushed Roman Reigns yet you never hear it. It's always the "Vince is senile" stuff.

So put on a happy face... I did these predictions for you, the readers... Because I like ya.


Pre-Game: Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin vs. Hype Bros.
If I were in charge of WWE, Chad Gable would be the 205 Live representative from Smackdown and Shelton Benjamin would be climbing the heavyweight singles ladder. But, here we are on the pre-game show. Hype Bros are awful and I want to remind anyone about Zack Ryder... How is he doing these days? Not quite the blossoming superstar that you expected, eh? WWE has tried several times to push him but business has decreased each time. And Mojo? How did that Andre the Giant victory and connections with Gronk help him out again?

WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin


US Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Here we go again... Corbin looks his best against AJ Styles and it will be no different here. However, I think that it's time for Styles to move on from the US Title and fast track towards the WWE title again. Smackdown's main event scene needs some legitimate and reliable talent chasing that title. Corbin can then hold the US Title for a while and maybe let a Sami Zayn over come him to begin an upward push. Yeah, I laughed when I typed that too.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I would hardly ever let AJ Styles lose a match in the WWE. Seriously.

WHO WILL WIN: Baron Corbin, hopefully as a sign that Styles is moving on and upward.


Tag Titles: New Day (c) vs. Usos
Let's hope for yet another tag team classic here... They've had a great run together and we're almost tapped out on possible match-ups. Without each other, where could each team go? The Smackdown tag team is incredibly thin.

WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: The Usos... I just wonder how much longer the WWE will keep the full New Day together. I'm very surprised that Big E doesn't get more singles wrestling opportunities.


Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Never bet on Rusev.



Women's Title: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
How does the WWE have a Women's Division with Charlotte AND Becky Lynch on the SAME roster and yet that division has limped along? Charlotte has had a rough year with the picture exposure (shame on you internet for mocking her) and then her dad's health. Sometimes, external events create rare opportunities, however... WWE has wanted to push Charlotte as their flagship babyface character and now is the time.

WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Charlotte Flair, whooooooo!


Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
Yeah, Ziggler doesn't win matches.



WWE Title: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I don't believe that Vince McMahon has any faith in Nakamura. If Nakamura wins, it will be short-term and I wouldn't doubt that Jinder gets the title back quickly. That, or a chomping at the bit wanting-to-be-heel Randy Orton gets the title back. History shows that Vince doesn't want to push Japanese wrestlers and I see it no differently now. With the way Nakamura has NOT impressed on the main roster, I actually agree with Vince.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Neither guy. Make the title vacant to spare us all.

WHO WILL WIN: Jinder Mahal, as I'll believe the news reports that Vince wants to keep Jinder as WWE champion until Wrestlemania. When Vince McMahon speaks, the yes-man Road Dogg listens!


Hell in a Cell, Falls Count Anywhere: Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
I've said it a hundred times now about Shane McMahon. He's NOT a wrestler... He wrestles just a few times a year and yet when he makes his occasional appearance, everybody has to sell for him. Then, he takes a stunt to steal the show while everybody has to calm down the hardcore stuff just to make his stunt look good. Fact is that Kevin Owens delivered one of the bigger heat moments of the year by attacking Vince McMahon yet his reward could be actually losing to Shane McMahon. Think about this for a second... Shane has lost to Undertaker and AJ Styles while he was denied a match against Brock Lesnar (Brock reportedly refused to fight him). It could be time for Shane to get a big win for his troubles.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Kevin Owens because he's a full time wrestler. Match should last seconds.

WHO WILL WIN: Shane McMahon. Falls count anywhere stipulation will allow for some goofy means of Owens getting pinned.



Tom Petty passed away this week at the age of 66 just a few weeks before his next birthday. He was an amazing singer and songwriter who fronted his band of Heartbreakers for decades of great music. I first saw and heard of Tom Petty through his unique yet highly entertaining videos on Music Television (Mtv). I was highly entertained and it arrived at a time when hairbands ruled Mtv. Through my local Classic Rock station, I heard all of his hits before his Mtv fame. Damn, he was good... Possibly the most chill musician to listen to as it seemed so effortless to him. He didn't have to scream off the top of his lungs and yet he sang perfectly.

Since his death, the music world has been celebrating his music once again although many never stopped listening. Tom Petty just ended a tour through September 25th and entertained many on what was possibly his last tour anyway.

In the wrestling world, we recently lost Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and wrestling fans were celebrating his career after he passed. Heenan can be argued not only as the #1 manager of all time but also the #1 color commentator of all time. Like Tom Petty, Heenan entertained fans for decades and it seemed so effortless for him. Unfortunately for Heenan, his health didn't allow him to keep performing in the pro wrestling industry. However, Heenan tried his best to make autograph signings despite his poor health.

My point is this... To quite the great hairband Cinderella... "Don't Know What You've Got (Till It's Gone)"

Fact is that Tom Petty at age 66 could still perform at a high level and in fact he played a full show for his September 25th show without issue. Bobby "the Brain" Heenan couldn't continue being a manager through the early 1990s during his late 40s due to neck problems from all of the bumps that he took in the ring. Lucky for Heenan, he was a great talker and Jesse Ventura just left the WWE. But that kind of luck doesn't follow most in the wrestling industry during their late 40s, particularly after a long career. Many wrestlers are physically breaking down or are impaired. Worse yet, many older wrestlers still have to work shows to make ends meet despite their age and injury.

Paul McCartney still tours... Tom Petty kept touring. Rolling Stones, the Who, Aerosmith, former members of Pink Floyd, and many other older acts can still tour in their 60s and 70s without issue. Many can sound every bit as good as when they were younger, at least with a little help from their friends. Pro wrestlers are lucky to get to their 60s and 70s.

What I want to say is this... Go see and support your favorite older wrestlers. If there is a local autograph signing or appearance from one of your older favorites, spare a few bucks and see them. Tell them how much their wrestling careers meant to you. Get a picture with them even if it costs money. Me and my brother went to see Sting in full face paint at the Steel City Comicon in Pittsburgh, PA... Had to pay $35 admission but then pay $100 for a picture with him. It was worth it. Sting was our hero and it was an honor to tell him "thank you" for his career. My brother has been attending a few local indy shows with several former WWE and WCW stars attending as support. I've been keeping an eye on local Comicons to see when the next appearances could be.

Because again... You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

And to make an even greater point, we're getting very close to being fully done with the Attitude Era + Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 wrestlers. Attitude Era is all but gone with only a few hanging on (Big Show, Hardys). John Cena is getting closer to retirement as he just put over Roman Reigns and it seemed like the end... We'll see what happens for Wrestlemania time. Brock Lesnar's WWE contract expires after Wrestlemania 34. Will he stay? Rumors suggest that he wants to try a few more UFC matches. If Lesnar and Cena are gone, that leaves Orton... I guess he could win another World Title, his 14th... Yeah.

Since John Cena's last "true" World Title reign during 2014 (his early 2017 WWE Title run was a joke!) when Brock Lesnar crushed him at SummerSlam 2014, the WWE has done nothing but decline. RAW viewership averaged 4 million while TV shows had reasonable attendance and houseshows drew moderately well with Cena on top. Since late 2014, RAW viewership now averages 3 million viewers (now we're under again), the TV cameras avoid certain parts of the arena that are tarped off, and houseshow attendance has dropped off considerably. Live attendance has seemed to get worse after the superstar shake-up. How can that be? I thought that was a great idea.

Appreciate the great wrestlers while they are on television. Steve Austin was one of my favorite wrestlers of all time but by mid 2002, he was done! Sure, he had a brief comeback during 2003, but the greatness known as Austin was long gone. The Rock tried to make an in-ring comeback during the early 2010s but he was no where near the awesome wrestler that he once was as a full time guy. Undertaker looked terrible at Wrestlemania 33... Yet, what is Wrestlemania without that guy? I honestly can't remember. I was entertained weekly by Eddie Guerrero and then poof, he dies.

Go see your favorites live when you can... I never saw Hulk Hogan in person and when he was headlining SummerSlam 2005 against Shawn Michaels and Smackdown came to Pittsburgh, PA before that show... I went. Create your own "bucket list" of greats that you want to see in person. In their post-WWE careers, it's a good bargain to attend a signing or an event.

I was recently rooting for Ric Flair to survive his recent hospital stay... Ric Flair, along with Sting, helped make me become a wrestling fan. Their Clash of the Champions #1 match that went to a 45 minute draw got me hooked. Sure, I was aware of the WWE's brand of wrestling and Hulkamania before I saw that match during late 1988, but I didn't watch it on a loyal basis as I did after seeing Sting/Flair. If and when Ric Flair passes away, that's a big pillar gone in the wrestling fan that was created during the late 1980s. For what they did for me, introducing me to a greater form of entertainment, I have met both Ric Flair and Sting in person and was able to tell them "thank you" for making me a fan. What an honor to say that to their faces.

Sure, you can watch matches of your favorite wrestlers and listen to songs of your favorite musicians after they pass... But damn is it nice to see them in person doing it instead or at least some sort of meet & greet. Unfortunately, you can never again buy a ticket to see Tom Petty perform ever again. It's just not possible... The same can be said for many wrestlers who have retired, moved on, or died. It's over...

Appreciate what you have and who is still here, folks... Because you don't know what you've got until it's gone.


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