Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Needs Big Stars in Rumble Match, Royal Rumble Predictions, & How to Fix Roman Reigns
By Mr. Tito
Jan 24, 2017 - 11:52:59 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to the latest Mr. Tito column exclusively here at / I'm very grateful that we're in Royal Rumble season... Not just that it's my FAVORITE wrestling event of the year, but it's a nice escape away from the extended Election coverage that just won't go away. Seriously folks, all I see all day long is people who are either Donald Trump Haters or Donald Trump Worshipers, not much in between. It just won't end...

Speaking of complaining, many wrestling fans are upset that the 2016 Royal Rumble hype is directed towards veterans such as Undertaker, Bill Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar. First and foremost, those are 3 guys out of 30. So if you're gripe is about giving part-timers spots in the Rumble match, there are TWENTY-SEVEN other spots in this Rumble match. Secondly, the same fans bitching about Undertaker/Goldberg/Lesnar are the same ones who are crapping all over the Main Eventers that WWE is trying to push like Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, etc. 1 million wrestling fans have walked away from watching RAW since 2015 with Rollins/Reigns on top and you wonder WWE needs to rely on veterans from the late 1990s and early 2000s. You cannot have it both ways.

In fact, I'd argue that the WWE should bring in MORE veterans. And why not? The Rumble match is for the #1 contendership for a spot in the MAIN EVENT World Championship match at Wrestlemania. That is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and many wrestlers, past and present, should jump at that opportunity. If you ever follow auto racing, many veterans jump at the chance to fill-in whenever for a big race. A older race car driver cannot handle the stress of a full season, but for a couple races a year... No problem. I'd put "all hands on deck" and put Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, and the Rock into this Rumble. Why not? Who wouldn't want to see that?

Better yet - Contact Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor, New Japan, and hell, TNA wrestling for any wrestlers who would like the participate in the Rumble. Obviously, it has to be under strict conditions in case any wrestlers decide to "go into business for themselves" and start shooting on WWE wrestlers. WWE should look to make the Rumble an INTERNATIONAL Event. Furthermore, it opens the door for more free agents like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura to be interested in joining the WWE. AJ Styles, in particular, has THRIVED in the WWE as he molded his unique wrestling style with the WWE style. Nakamura has kept NXT alive while the WWE raided that developmental promotion of many, many wrestlers during 2016. If WWE struggles to develop talent on their own, open the door to the best International talent of the world. Even if it's temporary... The wrestler gets some exposure and WWE benefits from having that wrestler at a big event.

And then you, the internet wrestling fan asks... What about the current WWE roster?

Well, does the Rumble HAVE to be 30 wrestlers and 30 wrestlers only? After all, we had 40 participants for Royal Rumble 2011.

Why not 40 again? Why not 50? Hell, I'd watch a Rumble match with 60 competitors. 2 hours of a Rumble Match? YES PLEASE!

Doesn't have to be a fixed Rumble match... Some of the big Sprint Car races that I've watched on dirt didn't have a fixed number of participants to win the race. Whoever shows up can participate... Could be 50 racers one year, 55 the next... If there are more racers, does that reduce the quality of the event? HELL NO! And when that veteran racer shows up to try to win that big race? Am I upset that he might get in the way of younger racers? HELL NO! I eat those mouthfuls of Member Berries and I cheer them on! Just like I'm EXCITED to see ALL-TIME GREAT veterans like Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Bill Goldberg...

And let's NOT get offended if an Uso Tag Team member gets left out...

Sure, the Royal Rumble match does create an opportunity for a younger wrestler to have a big moment... But this match is NOT for the showcasing of midcard wrestlers. It's for the #1 contendership for WRESTLEMANIA. Want a place to be showcased? That's what Money in the Bank or Survivor Series events are for... Or how about the many, many RAW or Smackdown events each week? How about the many other Pay Per Views?

Folks - If you're a WWE midcarder and you CANNOT get over enough with weekly RAW/Smackdown episodes and monthly Pay Per Views, you DO NOT deserve a spot in the Royal Rumble match. PERIOD, END OF STORY.

WWE provides all of the opportunity in the world for any midcarder to shine to earn that Royal Rumble spot. However, if you aren't drawing in your 15 minute televised segment or on the road, you do NOT deserve it. WWE's business has declined over 1 million viewers for Monday Night RAW and live attendance is down by thousands per show. Again, that's why you rely on a 50 YEAR OLD Bill Goldberg to come in and draw.

Isn't is AMAZING how pro wrestling is able to get one last ounce of drawing power out of a 50 year old wrestler who left the pro wrestling business during 2004 and returned during 2016? Better yet, Bill Goldberg was probably more popular during 1998 than at any time in his career and that was 18 years ago! Yet, Goldberg can return during 2016 to challenge Brock Lesnar, beat him to a pulp in under 2 minutes, and still be used as a legitimate draw. You won't ever see that in any other form of entertainment! Undertaker is dealing with age and wear & tear from his career. He's in bad shape physically and probably struggles to get out of bed... Yet, if he puts on that black leather trench-coat, the hat, and rolls his eyes while shouting "REST IN PEACE", WWE fans still recognize him as the Undertaker and respect him as such. When you're able to control the Wins/Losses, you can book anybody to look strong.

I bet UFC wishes that they had that luxury or else someone like Ronda Rousey would NEVER lose. However, because UFC is real and legitimate, she can have devastating losses that can take her down as a box office draw. Undertaker? He's been in the WWE and on top for over 26 years with no end in sight (if he chooses). WWE can mask that Bill Goldberg has a shoulder injury and make him look strong at Survivor Series 2016. My discussions on protective booking of veterans is amazing when you consider how much the WWE Creative Team has protected Roman Reigns for the last 3 years... And he's STILL not over as a strong drawing babyface. That is so sad!

I 100% welcome wrestling veterans or hell, anyone who wants to enter the Royal Rumble that we normally don't see weekly on RAW/Smackdown. It's FOR the #1 contendership for WRESTLE-FREAKIN'-MANIA... Give us the very best and no chopped liver!



Usually for Pay Per View prediction columns, I want to deliver the Bill Hicks line of "plaster on a fake smile and plow through this s**t one more time"... But I REALLY love the Royal Rumble event and evaluating how it could shape Wrestlemania. So yeah... I'm PUMPED. No matter what happens during the course of a wrestling year, when that Royal Rumble event comes around, LIFE IS GOOD...



- Nia Jax defeats Sasha Banks

- Cesaro/Sheamus and Anderson/Gallows go to a No Contest of sorts to set-up RAW rematch where Anderson/Gallows will win the RAW Tag Titles there.


Becky Lynch/Naomi/Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James/Natalya
Honestly, I'm delighted to see Mickie James returning to the WWE. That's cool and as seen by the last NXT Takeover match, she still has it... Should be a fun multi-person match and I figure that the heels win because of James returning. Maybe James will pin Becky Lynch to set-up that feud and/or Nikki pins the champion, Alexa, to set-up that feud for Wrestlemania? Lots of possibilities... I like the booking of the Women's Division on Smackdown, far better than the 1 person show (Charlotte) on RAW.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Give Mickie James the win!

WHO WILL WIN: Lynch is moving on to James, so therefore, chances are that Nikki pins Alexa Bliss. It's payback time for the Carmella feud.


WWE Cruiserweight Title: Rich Swann (c) vs. Neville
That's right, folks... This Cruiserweight Title debuted in September and we've already had 3 Champions. I personally like Rich Swann as a wrestler and he has good charisma... I guess Neville's spots are fun... But this match does nothing for me in the end. The entire Cruiserweight Division has bombed since it debuted on RAW and I can think of 205 reasons why I don't want to watch them.

WHO SHOULD WIN/WHO WILL WIN: Neville. Champion #4 in 4 months. That's funny.


RAW Women's Title: Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley
This will probably be placed before the Rumble Match at the end... It has "piss break" written all over it. Honestly, unless these ladies have an additional gear in their systems to deliver a great match, this match could struggle. I was a BIG fan of Bayley's work in NXT during 2015-2016, but this stage is a lot bigger. Furthermore, WWE's main focus has been pushing Charlotte strong while the rest of the ladies just get the scraps. Just to make it fun, I hope that the WWE has Emma return because why not? Have you seen her Twitter pictures lately?



WWE Universal Title: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns
I believe that Vince McMahon wants Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman it starts at the Rumble... Granted, the WWE could rely on the next RAW Pay Per View for Owens to lose, but I believe that the WWE wants Owens/Jericho to have a full blown feud through Wrestlemania over the US Title rather than the WWE Universal Title. HOWEVER, there exists a small chance that Goldberg/Lesnar wins the Rumble while the other captures the WWE Universal Title at the next RAW Pay Per View. You never know with Goldberg and Lesnar who are dominant figures in the WWE. I'll still maintain that Vince will be stubborn and try Reigns vs. Strowman... On a card where it doesn't have to be the top match, it might not be that bad...

WHO SHOULD WIN: Kevin Owens, just because he lost many non-title matches to Reigns on RAW during 2016. Can we make the WWE Universal Champion look decent?

WHO WILL WIN: Roman Reigns... Of course, Jericho being in the cage will cause Owens to be furious at him for causing him to lose.


WWE Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena
This match will of course challenge for "Match of the Year" honors... Their SummerSlam match was off the charts good but I figure that the crowd will be amped for this match with the WWE Title on the line. After all, Cena is 1 World Title reign away from tying Ric Flair's 16 Titles (although Ric Flair never won any "brand split" World Titles, argh). The announcement of the Elimination Chamber Smackdown Pay Per View being for the WWE Title and that planting seeds for a possible Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles match at Wrestlemania 33 (FINGER OF SHAME at you for that, WWE!) tells me that AJ Styles will survive one more month as WWE Champion. Then, John Cena or the Miz will win the WWE Title at that event.

WHO SHOULD WIN: John Cena. Cena as WWE Champion against the Undertaker would draw so much money!

WHO WILL WIN: AJ Styles but he'll likely lose the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber.


Royal Rumble Match
I believe that there are only 2 possible winners of this match. Of course, it heavily depends on WHO wins the matches earlier in the event. Particularly, the Reigns vs. Owens and Styles vs. Cena matches for the World Championships. The rumor mill was suggesting that WWE wanted a "RAW brand wrestler" and that leads me to believe that Braun Strowman has a strong likelihood of winning this. Plus, he's slowly getting respect as a top guy. If you saw 2 weeks ago, when he was staring down Brock Lesnar, fans were believing it. He's not bad, folks... Has a weird look due to the haircut and long beard, but he doesn't look terrible and seems to be in good cardio shape for his size. Furthermore, there are insider reports that Vince McMahon has changed his mind having Undertaker vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania... He might save it for SummerSlam instead? Based on the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View happening for Smackdown next month with the WWE Title on the line and AJ Styles already being pissed at Shane McMahon for that, it suggests to me that Styles won't lose the title... However, I predict that Roman wins the World Title and therefore, Strowman will win the Rumble to set up Strowman vs. Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33.

WHO SHOULD WIN: The Undertaker and this SHOULD set up Undertaker (#1 Contender) vs. John Cena (WWE Champion) at Wrestlemania 33. That match would draw sooooooo much money!

WHO WILL WIN: Braun Strowman... Very slight chance of Chris Jericho winning, but I think WWE management wants Strowman to have a big career monent.


*BONUS* NXT Takeover San Antonio Predictions

- Shinsuke Nakamura (c) retains over Bobby Roode

- Asuka (c) retains in the 4 way match.

- Authors of Pain defeat DIY to become the NEW NXT Tag Champions

- Eric Young defeats Tye Dillinger

- Roderick Strong defeats Andrade "Cien" Almas



As I watched RAW on Hulu while writing this column, I was somewhat pleased that Roman Reigns had some decent pops in Cleveland, OH. Sure, that city is still smiling from ear to ear because the Cleveland Cavs won the NBA Title last year, but I'm sure that the remaining WWE fans are just tired of booing him. He's not a bad guy and he can't help it that WWE Creative is high on him. Gee, would you turn down opportunities for FAME & FORTUNE if they were handed to you?

But I don't want to go negative on Roman Reigns for my LAST WORD... I want to go positive. In fact, I'm going to use my analysis as a long-time wrestling fan and wrestling columnist to give my suggestions on how to FIX Roman Reigns. Now, you could argue that there's "nothing broken with Reigns" because maybe it takes time for a wrestler to get over. However, I believe there are flaws in his game that could be easily repaired or hidden that could greatly help him. In fact, I'd rather see him get over than fail... Because if Reigns does well, it helps the WWE draw money and that would be beneficial for everyone in the locker room.

Very simple recommendations that won't cost money... Just a few changes in Roman Reigns's game:

Incorporate Reigns's Football Career into his Character/Moveset: Why does Bill Goldberg work besides his look and charisma? Because he's proudly showing that he's an ex-pro football player who is incorporating that into his moveset. Granted, both have the same moveset, but Goldberg has that appearance of being a raging bull that opponents cannot overcome. Using the Spear like Goldberg is the right direction, but WWE should regularly acknowledge him as an ex-football player and sell it as part of his toughness.

Fewer High Impact Moves, More Weardown/Rest holds: Many get upset at my criticisms of him appearing winded but as I watched his RAW match tonight against Kevin Owens, I seemed to figure it out. He seems to only have high impact moves like the Driveby, Spear, and Superman punch. Much of the rest of the match, he's running around the ring either attempting those moves or incorporating the ropes too much. He should work on limbs or incorporate headlocks/chin locks. He needs to buy himself time between moves to control the pace of the match and not on his trying his key signature moves too much.

Good puncher... Do that more: Reigns throws a great much. Superman Punch does look badass, but his regular punches look mostly legit. Honestly, throw a decent looking punch in pro wrestling is an art and skill. Ask Sid Vicious or Lex Luger. They couldn't throw a punch for the life of them. If Reigns doesn't like to do headlocks or working on limbs, do more punches for transitional moves. Didn't hurt the Rock's career who often threw 20+ punches per match. Furthermore, I think that Reigns could incorporate Ground & Pound like moves with his punches.

Create a Submission Hold for Roman, call it the "REIGN OF TERROR": I sound like a complete broken record on this, as I recommended this same exact submission hold for Chris Masters and his Full Nelson "Masterlock". Simply put, my brother developed the most DEVASTATING submission hold which applies a Full Nelson hold like a Camel Clutch submission. Because you're sitting back on the lower back of your opponent, it's unbreakable as a submission hold and hurts like hell if you really pull back. I once had a 300+ 6'5" guy locked in that move and he couldn't budge. My tiny barely 6 foot frame shouldn't do much to that guy but that Full Nelson Camel Clutch move was impossible to escape. It looks GREAT, too... Roman Reigns can call it the "REIGN OF TERROR" and the announcers could sell it as being impossible to break.

Change the look, hair and clothing: Why are you always wearing black? Are you going to a funeral? Wear different colors. In case you haven't noticed, but college kids LOVE multi-colored uniforms in football. Look at what the NFL is trying but really look at what College teams are trying (Oregon Ducks). And why the bulletproof vest? That thing cannot be comfortable to wrestle in. Get a haircut or do something better with that hair. It's like someone soaked your hair in watered down syrup before you enter the arena. Just seems like the hair and the uniform weigh him down or serve as a distraction. He should wrestle lighter and not let the gear/hair to get in the way.

NEW Music Please: You still have the Shield's music. Get something new that fits YOU. When you wear the same gear and still have the same music, you're clinging onto the past or using it as a crutch. If you insist on getting Reigns over, then pay top dollar for a big musical act to create something for him.

More Conflicts with Stephanie McMahon, but Reigns overcomes: Remember that spear on Stephanie McMahon at Wrestlemania 32? Biggest pop in that match last year. People cannot stand Stephanie and nobody on the WWE roster is allowed to stand up to her. Let him openly insult her and stand up to her as an authority figure. It draws heat.

And finally... I'm repeating myself with this recommendation:

REUNITE THE SHIELD: Make a trade for Dean Ambrose and put Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose back together as a babyface version of the Shield. In my opinion, the trio had real potential to become breakout babyface stars during 2014 after their Evolution feud. Instead, they turned Rollins heel... Each of the 3 wrestlers could benefit from the group as they feel just a tad incomplete without each other. They could team up or each go after the WWE Universal Title. Sell Shield merchandise and enjoy replacing John Cena with not just 1 wrestler, but 3. That's why I was against the Seth Rollins heel turn during 2014. WWE needed babyfaces to replace John Cena and they had a Stable with a COOL NAME to be that replacement.

Up to you, WWE... Take this FREE advice to make tweaks to Roman's character or ability... I'm not just here to openly criticize... I give you my opinion on how to make something better.


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