Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Thoughts and Wrestlemania 32 Match Predictions... Already?!?
By Mr. Tito
Apr 7, 2015 - 1:40:52 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing where the lights will always remain on as long as you, the great readers of, are willing to have me.

Now - If you're expecting a full blown column that completely destroys tonight's Monday Night RAW, you won't get that... Maybe the Tito of 10-15 years ago (yes, I've been around that long) would have torn this RAW show apart, but Old Man Tito is far more understanding... The WWE put all of its effort, in the past few weeks, executing a good Wrestlemania 31 and then ensuring that its follow-up RAW was great. I could imagine that WWE officials and wrestlers are exhausted right now. Making matters worse, the WWE is going on a European Tour right now. Thus, I'm more understanding as to why RAW was subpar tonight. Actually, I didn't think RAW was half bad. I've seen much, much worse. But I do have a few nitpicks that I'll eventually discuss tonight (Sheamus, Ryback getting a #1 contendership shot, Miz vs. Sandow, and Byron Saxton).

What I liked is that Seth Rollins is handling being a top star quite well. Without Triple H & Stephanie handling all of the microphone time, you heard Seth Rollins more tonight. And it was great... On top of that, Seth Rollins continued to show that he could wrestle anybody and look great. I understand that Neville is highly talented but this is the big WWE stage where more than just in-ring ability is expected of you. Seth Rollins was selling the heel mode perfectly tonight and sort of presented the belief to fans that Neville could actually win. That's what Ric Flair did perfectly as I tried to describe in my 2013 Hall of Fame induction column. On any given night, Ric Flair made fans believe that any wrestler, including lower midcarders, had a real chance at becoming World Champion. It's quite impressive to see Seth Rollins possibly displaying such amazing qualities.

Let me say this and be controversial... Sheamus is what Roman Reigns would have become if he defeated Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. Seriously... WWE pushed Sheamus HARD from the start and has kept shoving him down our throats for the past few years. Had WWE booked the inexperienced singles wrestler Roman Reigns to defeat the absurdly strong Brock Lesnar, he would have become Sheamus. Look what is happening now... MEGA PUSH is back on for Sheamus and WWE has booked his return as if he's unstoppable and the greatest thing since sliced bread. The response? YOU LOOK STUPID by live event fans. Tonight, Roman Reigns defeated the Big Show and Reigns was getting decent cheers by the crowd. Gee, look what happens when you aren't handed the WWE Title and then allowed to prove yourself in a losing effort. Now, Roman has a great match under his belt and he can continue to build that momentum.

Sheamus has NEVER had that momentum and his pushes have pissed off fans. He was given the WWE Title so early into his WWE term and WWE management tried for the next year to push him as a strong champion. They even did an injury angle with Triple H... Then, the out-of-the-blue Royal Rumble win that led to Sheamus defeating Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28. They tried and tried and tried to get him over as a top babyface but that "fella" stuff never caught on. Now, they gave him a mohawk, new theme music, and braids in his beard. The response after mauling Daniel Bryan? YOU LOOK STUPID! That's about as ridiculous as the YOU CAN'T WRESTLE that Roman Reigns heard leading up to Wrestlemania 31. Fans don't just chant stuff to be trolls, aside from the Let's Go Cena / CENA SUCKS stuff that makes me roll my eyes for every episode of RAW.

Sheamus is a DAMAGED wrestler because of WWE Management pushing him when his character wasn't the tastes/preferences of wrestling fans to be a top WWE superstar. WWE needs to start small with Sheamus and allow him to work his way up. Let him get naturally over by the fans... That's all I ever argued for Roman Reigns. Yet, the WWE is at it again... And Sheamus has the NERVE to suggest that his personal friendship with EVP of Creative/Talent/Live Events Triple H doesn't matter. LOOK AT HIM! He has the same bicep, thigh, and abs as Triple H. He's definitely Triple H's workout buddy. WWE is, once again, pushing Sheamus hard despite an extended break where fans weren't exactly asking, as a whole, "where is Sheamus?". So, whatever...

Speaking of overpushed... Exactly HOW did Ryback get a shot in the #1 Contender's Triple Threat match tonight against Randy Orton and Roman Reigns? I can certainly understand Randy Orton's spot as he did, in fact, pin Seth Rollins cleanly at Wrestlemania 31 before Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and won the WWE Title. Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble 2015 match and came close to winning the WWE Title at Wrestlemania... But Ryback?!?!? What? And you actually had John Cena on the show tonight. He can't wrestle in that match? I understand that he's a devoted United States Champion, but Ryback has NO CLAIM to the WWE Title right now. If you're not going to use John Cena, at least consider the Big Show because won the the Andre "the Giant" Memorial Battle Royal. Maybe Ryback was inserted into the match so that somebody could eat the pin in this Triple Threat match. As it turns out, Randy Orton did, in fact, pin Ryback to become #1 contender and NOT Roman Reigns. There it is...

And I must give the FINGER OF SHAME to the WWE for quickly burning Miz vs. Damien Sandow, just over a week following their break-up. Shouldn't this be a Pay Per View match?!? You are in the business to sell the WWE Network, correct? You want more subscribers who want to watch Pay Per Views, correct? Well, stop giving away crap for free!

Byron Saxton was overall awful at play-by-play announcing, but to his credit, he did improve as the show moved along. In my opinion, though, Saxton's struggles at the job only emphasizes how GOOD Michael Cole is. I believe that Michael Cole is the best play-by-play guy in wrestling with him being behind only 2 people on the all-time list: Jim Ross and the late Gorilla Monsoon. Otherwise, Michael Cole is the greatest... And before you give me Gordon Solie or other wrestlers, I'll suggest that other announcers didn't have the red tape that Michael Cole has wrapped around him. Cole speaks for a CORPORATION and must tow the company line. He has Vince or Triple H in his ear all night and is forced to remind people of what WWE products to buy or how great the next Pay Per View show will be. The climate is much different now than any other time for announcers. Some of you will say Joey Styles... Well, didn't he struggle in the WWE environment as an announcer? Like I said, it's difficult to announce under the Corporate circumstances now. Cole does it better than anybody in this climate, even during those goofy days when WWE Creative pushed him to be a heel play-by-play guy.

But other than Sheamus, Ryback, Miz vs. Sandow, and Byron Saxton... No real issues with RAW tonight. I guess B- / C+, but I don't know. I just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the show while flipping to the NCAA Championship game on occasion. Congrats Duke! And yes, that could be another reason why the WWE might have "mailed it in", if anything. Tough television competition tonight and therefore, take the night off...

What RAW gave us was the set-up for Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Title. That's a great start for building up Extreme Rules 2015 and an adequate main event. WWE should have ran Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan last year at Extreme Rules 2014 based on how Batista's tapping caused Randy Orton to lose his title. Instead, WWE felt the need to push Daniel Bryan against Kane. However, I did really enjoy the Shield vs. Evolution feud and Daniel Bryan's neck soon fell apart, soooo....


What I truly want to get into tonight is Wrestlemania 32. That's right, next year's Wrestlemania. What fascinates me about Wrestlemania 32 is the location of the event. WWE is boldly having this event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX or what is better known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys. This stadium is MASSIVE with about 80,000 actual seats and up to 105,000 with standing room only added. Wowzer... Consider the context of those numbers, however... No floor seats because of the football field. Thus, the WWE could pack in more individuals on the floor surrounding the wrestling ring. Chances are that this could be offset by the Wrestlemania 31 set that would occupy one endzone area. However, there are a lot of floor seats to cram in... WWE might have a chance to really challenge the Wrestlemania 3 supposed record of 93,173 in Detroit at the massively sized Pontiac Silverdome.

But what drew that many fans to Detroit, MI in 1987 was the draw of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre "the Giant". However, that was one match... During 1987, the midcard wrestlers and undercards for shows for the WWE weren't as well known as they are today. WWE's first few Wrestlemanias were very top heavy, particularly on hype. Guys like Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat made their own hype through amazing performances without needing the WWE hype machine telling you repeatedly how great the Savage/Steamboat feud was. WWE can now book 3-4 matches collectively on Wrestlemania shows that can draw large crowds instead. They aren't reliant on that 1 big match but a collection of matches.

If you're asking me today on what could be on the level of Andre "the Giant" vs. Hulk Hogan or even something like Rock vs. Austin or Rock vs. John Cena, I point to just one match. There exists one unique HUGE DRAW kind of match that nobody has seen before. In fact, this one on one match up was not even possible back in the day. One guy was on RAW, the other was on Smackdown. Just as one guy was debuting, the other guy was on his way out due to backstage turmoil. One guy was the biggest drawing WWE star of the 1990s while the other guy was the biggest drawing WWE star of the 2000s. What match-up am I talking about?

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. John Cena.

That's the match-up that SHOULD headline Wrestlemania 32. I guarantee that the WWE would set that all-time Wrestlemania AND AT&T Stadium attendance records if this particular match was booked. It is the perfect storm of fan interest just as the Rock vs. John Cena was a few years ago. Just like Rock/Cena, Austin vs. Rock would also bridge 2 separate eras of the WWE. But in my opinion, Cena and Austin contrast more as opponents than Rock and Cena. Both Rock and Cena have that urban, sort of hip hop feel to their characters and mic skills. They both carry a swagger and they sort of rely on trademark moves. Steve Austin is much different... He's more of a psychological wrestler and his character is more appealing to working class fans or rural areas. Let me put it in a different manner to remove the political correctness: "Redneck". That's why Rock vs. Austin worked so well. Completely different characters and wrestling styles yet the worked perfectly together. Rock and Cena struggled against each other in the ring... Same guys.

If not Steve Austin vs. John Cena, then you have to run Undertaker vs. John Cena. For whatever reason, since John Cena became WWE champion during 2005, the WWE has kept Taker and Cena away from each other. Some suggest that there is some friction backstage between the two but others just point to both guys being busy with other opponents. That BIG John Cena vs. Undertaker match after John Cena became a main eventer just never happened. It's so bizarre...

Otherwise, Triple H vs. Rock is obviously a natural fit for Wrestlemania 32, if not running a mixed tag match between Rock/Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H/Stephanie McMahon if Dana White from UFC would allow it. HHH and the Rock were great rivalries during 1998 and 2000. Just natural... I believe that the two could hammer out a great match together because as described above why Austin/Rock worked, Triple H and the Rock contrast in their styles too. Opposites attract. I could imagine, though, that the Rock's film career just saw a huge boost based on the way Furious 7 just exploded in the box office. Rock is becoming that go-to action star, particularly if you a movie requiring a muscle bound guy to hold large guns when firing. WWE might really struggle getting the Rock to wrestle again.

What about Rock vs. Brock? WWE reportedly wanted that for Wrestlemania 30 but Rock's injury during Wrestlemania 29 may have caused the Rock to seriously retire from in-ring wrestling. Still, this match would be HUGE and might be the big draw that the WWE needs for 100,000 fans in Dallas. To this day, people still remember the SummerSlam 2002 star making moment when the Rock lost cleanly to Brock Lesnar. That was a CLEAR passing of the torch moment that someone like Steve Austin never had.

If not Rock or if WWE runs HHH vs. Rock instead, who should Brock Lesnar wrestle? Since he wrestled Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31, I believe that Brock Lesnar will want a bigger star for Wrestlemania 32. In my opinion, besides the Rock and wrestling John Cena yet again, there are 3 legitimate candidates for Brock Lesnar to wrestle at Wrestlemania 32:

(1) Undertaker - Revenge for ending the streak. I doubt this happens because the Undertaker was badly hurt during their last match. If the Undertaker resumes wrestling, it will definitely be safer matches (against Cena, Bray Wyatt rematch, maybe Sting).

(2) Batista - On paper, Batista vs. Brock Lesnar looks quite good if you compare careers. Photo ops, it would make great posters too. But I don't think Batista would be up for it and reportedly, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 filming begins during February 2016 and would thus occupy Batista's time. He's going to make it big in Hollywood now under the Guardians banner and it's not financially worth for Batista to wrestle Lesnar.

(3) Randy Orton - I know, the Comments section will repeatedly yell BORING at me. Hear me out... In order to look credible against Brock Lesnar, you need dangerous looking offense for him to sell. For Randy Orton, he has the running boot to the head that has harmed many, the devastating DDT through the ropes, and the RKO finisher. WWE could easily sell the RKO as the move that can BEAT Brock Lesnar. Plus, it's a match-up that we've yet to see...

Oh, there's the Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar option that the WWE didn't do for Wrestlemania 31. Let's see how Bryan's neck holds up, mmmmkay?

So, what about the many WWE developmental call-ups since 2012? You know, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, and Bray Wyatt? To be honest, I DON'T KNOW... The "Main Event Paint" on each of those guys is still wet or needs a few more coats applied. In my opinion, I'm worried a bit about the setback Bray Wyatt might have for losing to the Undertaker. Maybe Rusev, too, for his loss to John Cena. I don't know where WWE is going with Dean Ambrose based on how his momentum was cooled last year with repeat losses following the Evolution vs. Shield feud. We're just 1 week following Wrestlemania 31 for Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. For all we know, Reigns might build on this momentum and Rollins could flop as a WWE Champion. It's WAY TOO EARLY to project or predict Wrestlemania 32 happenings for these guys.

Personally, I would like to see Bray Wyatt get his win back on the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32. For Rusev, I would love to see him do battle with Brock Lesnar with another year of experience under his belt. As for the former members of the Shield? Well, how about a Triple Threat or giving us another crack at Rollins vs. Ambrose? What Ambrose and Rollins had going at Hell in a Cell 2014 was bordering along the lines of "Match of the Year" until that ridiculous Bray Wyatt ending.

Whatever happens at Wrestlemania 32, WWE must do something BIG. Pushing 100,000 paying fans into one building for a wrestling event is easier said than done for 2015. They need huge drawing matches that will not only put butts in seats, but move WWE Network subscriptions as well. In my opinion, for the WWE to execute this, they need veterans. If WWE can pull off having both Rock and Steve Austin wrestling on the same show, the WWE will print money next year. If not, they'll have to get more creative in their matches and hype. By pushing for more veterans, even more so than the thick Wrestlemania 31 (Undertaker, HHH, Sting), WWE risks harming their long-term outlook of producing new stars. However, packing in 100,000 fans to see a wrestling show in the United States during 2016 will be a sight to behold!

Oh excuse me... What am I saying? Sheamus is going to headline Wrestlemania 32 and it will easily draw over 100,000 fans with many turned away outside. Greatest Wrestlemania ever!


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