Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW on Hulu Review, Impact of Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, and more
By Mr. Tito
Apr 12, 2016 - 11:29:57 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to back to the Excellence in Column Writing by Mr. Tito exclusively here at / WrestlingHeadlines. Hope all is well with my readers, both long-time and recently acquired. It's quite an interesting time to be a wrestling fan as you can just feel "change in the air" with some new signings surfacing in the WWE.

However... Where's the star power?

The RATINGS are in... Just 1 week after Wrestlemania, RAW is back to 3.5 million viewers... That's after last week's post-Wrestlemania show

Now, let's get this out of the way... Yes, I'm well aware that Roman Reigns is an awful choice as babyface WWE Champion. Folks, I've been saying that he'd fail as a rushed main eventer since January 2014. My columns are dated and timestamped... Since his MEGA PUSH began again during October 2015, RAW ratings were cemented at 3.5 million or below on average after much of 2015 lost viewers anyway (imagine that, Kane vs. Seth Rollins feud didn't draw). I have been consistently saying that Roman Reigns needs midcard seasoning as a singles wrestler before earning a promotion to the main event. So yeah, Reigns deserves a good chunk of blame for the lackluster Wrestlemania 32 bounce.

That being said... Who else is on this roster?

Let me say this... I overall like AJ Styles as an in-ring performer. But is he Main Event ready to chase after the WWE Title? Again, I recognize that he's an amazing in-ring performer... But does his personality draw? Can he get on the microphone and captivate an audience as much with his words than his actions? I just don't know... And I question the psychology of having AJ Styles going after the WWE title after Chris Jericho beat him at Wrestlemania 32. Such a weird booking decision... I guess it was OK to allow Jericho to lose to Fandango at Wrestlemania but not the potential #1 contender for the WWE Title.

Cesaro has just returned from injury... I personally thought that Dean Ambrose underwhelmed before and at Wrestlemania 32 with Brock Lesnar. The hype heading into the show was lackluster and exposed Ambrose as a personality while the Wrestlemania 32 match didn't live up to expectations. Many are suggesting that Dean Ambrose couldn't bump because they didn't want to take away from Shane McMahon's big bump later on... But good workers overcome unique circumstances. League of Nations... Ha, ha, ha... Yeah right. Wyatt Family? There's always potential with Bray Wyatt as he's a great big guy worker, but that fictional gimmick is holding him back. Why not embrace the FACT that he has Windham and Rotunda blood flowing through his veins. Embracing that connection to Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda would connect older fans... Doesn't hurt... Ask the Rock, Randy Orton, Natalya, and now Charlotte who are generational. Like the Rock, Bray Wyatt's grandfather was a wrestler (Rest in Peace, Blackjack Mulligan).

I love Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn as performers but Vince McMahon is not embracing NXT workers. In particular to Owens, Vince hate's his non-muscular look with basketball shorts and a cut-off sleeves t-shirt. Even though Kevin Owens has it all to be a top main event heel, Vince McMahon cares too much about looks and the television product. Until Vince retires, there's no way around that... Many are attempting to compare the new arrivals of Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson to the "Outsiders", Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. See my "Last Word" rant on the latter 2... Difference between Hall & Nash and Gallows & Anderson is that Hall/Nash were very well known by mainstream American wrestling fans. Gallows and Anderson, like the Shield during 2012-2014, will just have to marvel everyone from their in-ring work to make up for them being unknown commodities to most wrestling fans. But damn, I really enjoyed what I saw from Shinsuke Nakamura and

But again... What the WWE needs is STAR POWER... Right now, they have a roster thick with good in-ring performers but that's PART of how wrestling draws. You need a great personality/charisma and you need to effectively communicate on the microphone. I just don't see the many wrestlers, including AJ Styles, having that complete skill-set of (a) good in-ring ability, (b) personality/charisma, and (c) talking on the stick. I just worry that the recent group of wrestlers pushed (Owens, Styles, Zayn) will get some of the ratings blame for post-Wrestlemania 32 momentum cooling off so fast.

John Cena is due to return soon... If Vince McMahon doesn't like what he sees from all of the new signings, NXT call-ups, and other upper midcarders, he'll go back to the Cena security blanket. He ALWAYS does. And worse yet, it's unlikely that Roman Reigns will receive any of the blame.


RAW is HULU Review

Missed the Cut (Hulu RAW is only 1.5 hours long)
- Big Cass/Enzo confronting the Dudley Boyz after their match (I think?)
- Apollo Crews vs. Adam Rose
- Dr. Phil segments other than Ric Flair/Charlotte

By the way, if you have HULU, I strongly recommend viewing "11.22.63" which is the television adaption of Stephen King's book 11/22/63. It stars James Franco it's about him traveling through a porthole to October 1960 and his attempt to stick around long enough to prevent the President Kennedy assassination. It's an 8-part mini-series and it's damn good, especially when they get into the thick of the Lee Harvey Oswald stuff. And yes, this is part of my commitment as Hulu spokesperson... I'm too busy swimming in money, baby.

RAW starts off with Shane McMahon how assuming his sister's role for boring opening interviews. Without much explanation, Shane gets another week to run RAW because I guess HHH/Stephanie are still upset about Wrestlemania 32? It's as if Shane McMahon actually won that match against the Undertaker. Kevin Owens comes out and is upset about losing his WWE Title shot last week and the IC Title at Wrestlemania 32. This sets up the first match which is...

First match was Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro with the winner of this match getting to wrestle the awesomeness known as the Miz for the Intercontinental Title. You know, the same title that was only good enough for Zack Ryder to own for 1 day. The same title that Miz has won FIVE TIMES in the years following his WWE Title reign. But don't worry, he has Maryse back with him and combining her Total Divas "star power" with his WWE Studios film appearances, and that's a midcard champion for ya. Oh by the way, great match between Owens and Cesaro... Cesaro was selling the shoulder injury and Owens was glad to keep working on it. Loved it. Cesaro gets to lose to the Miz at WWE Payback now, congrats.

Dr. Phil on RAW... At the very least, Phil stayed with the context of wrestling by telling Charlotte not to rely on Ric Flair's cheating ways to help her win matches. That actually sets up her match later nicely.

That tournament bracket that was sponsored by Booty-Os by the New Day was FANTASTIC.

First match of the #1 Contender Tag Team Tournament was Lucha Dragons vs. Dudley Boyz... Not much of a match. Kalisto was mauled by the Dudleys on the outside and the UNITED STATES CHAMPION was selling the injury while the Duds manhandled Sin Cara. I don't know what was going on with that psychology, but whatever. I believe HULU RAW cut-off Big Cass & Enzo coming out afterward because I cannot recall them coming out afterward. Seriously.

I really like the pairing of Roman Reigns and the Wyatts... It was a decent segment that had Roman doing a bland promo but then he was interrupted by the League of Nations. With Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio being former World Champions, they make a good point about not being invited to the 4 way match last week. Reigns calls them on and they charge the ring... Lights out and Wyatts clear the ring. It's an unlikely pairing but we need something DIFFERENT in the WWE for both Reigns and Wyatt. Why not? They had some good matches together, so therefore, the chemistry could be there to work well together as a team.

Charlotte vs. Natalya was next... Charlotte seems to be hitting her strides on her look, personality, mic skills, and ability... Most of us are certain that Sasha Banks was the greatest NXT call-up, but again, it's all how you operate in the WWE with bigger arenas and revolving doors of fans. I LOVED the finish... Charlotte was in the Sharpshooter and tapping when Ric Flair pulled the referee out of the ring for the Disqualification. Why don't more heels protect their Titles via DQ??? It's such an easy way to generate heat to build up a feud.

Up next was the Social Outcasts vs. Usos. Honestly, a nothing match as you can just tell from body language that the Usos were about to get their arses kicked after the match. Just no life in this match... And then, much to the Internet Wrestling Community's delight, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson attack the Usos with faint chants of the "Bullet Club" occurring. Good luck with that as a stable name, as corporate WWE will sanitize that name to something else. Just on my first impression of both, I'd like to see them inside the ring and working an actual match before commenting. They certainly look tough...

AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn was DAMN GOOD... As much as AJ Styles deserves praise for his in-ring ability, can we find anybody who has had a bad match with Sami Zayn? Seriously, nothing but good matches across the board with this guy. Better yet, do you hear those fans chanting various things for Zayn? He's over, folks... Zayn may be the babyface sensation that the WWE has been seeking.

Good segment with Chris Jericho doing the Highlight Reel with himself and then Dean Ambrose returns to RAW, after taking a week off, to confront Jericho and change the show to "Ambrose's Asylum". Of course, Jericho has issue with that show change and Jericho ends up taking a Dirty Deeds DDT as a result. I guess now that both wrestlers have nothing to do, they can feud. And I'm sure the match will be good, so we win.

The Main Event was good between Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt vs. Alberto Del Rio/Sheamus... As you watch this match, you can just see actual potential of Bray Wyatt as a babyface sensation. The fans were cheering for Wyatt's stuff while they kept booing Roman Reigns. However, as the match wore on, the Reigns boos dampened and the fans were behind Wyatt/Reigns beating the League of Nations. The finish was quite cool with the other 2 Wyatts appearing and fending off Rusev to allow for a big finish with Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail and Reigns with the spear. Afterward, the stare down...

SHOW THOUGHTS: Pretty good RAW... I like what they are doing, for now, with some new faces at the top of the card. Furthermore, the change in Bray Wyatt to a possible babyface seems like it could work. We're setting the stage for a very talented WWE roster once a few big names return (Cena, Rollins), but can anybody step up to become a main event drawing superstar? I really like the potential of Bray Wyatt as a babyface but damn Sami Zayn looks great. Enjoyed this show very much, [ A ].



And finally...

Last week, it was a nice gesture for Zack Ryder to show fans his picture from the 1990's when he was holding then Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon (Scott Hall)'s title belt and then fast forward to Wrestlemania 32 night, he has a picture with Scott Hall where Hall is holding his title belt. That's the kind of storytelling that the WWE has lacked and would be something beneficial to Ryder's career.

However, if you wanted a better picture, how about Scott Hall holding Zack Ryder's paycheck while Ryder holds up a big sign that says "THANK YOU SCOTT".

20 years ago, around this time of the year, 2 WWE wrestlers made an important decision that changed the wrestling landscape. As luck would have it, both of their WWE contracts would expire just 1 week apart and they were best friends who would be willing to leave together. During early 1996, WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were locked into a Monday Night War where they opposed each other on the same night for television. During the early 1990s, ratings were very close. No matter who WCW tried to sign at that point, they just couldn't defeat WWE's star power that they developed and molded. Sure, Scott Hall (Diamond Studd) and Kevin Nash (Oz, Vinnie Vegas) were in WCW before, but they truly made their wrestling mark in WWE as Razor Ramon (Hall) and Diesel (Nash). Both were big stars in the WWE although I'd argue that WWE Creative could have used them better (Razor was never in WWE Title discussions, Diesel became a vanilla babyface who wasn't allowed to beat any top names).

WCW wanted to win the Monday Night War and they saw an opportunity with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. To lure them away, WCW lead executive Eric Bischoff offered them guaranteed contracts that was paying significantly higher than what Vince McMahon paid in the WWE. Vince had wrestler pay heavily tied to gates, merchandise, and he was able to keep his financials a mystery to avoid any wrestler challenges. It wasn't until the "Clique" had arrived (Hall, Nash, Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman, Triple H) that wrestlers began discussion pay and then challenging management. The Clique was probably the closest thing we'll ever see to a Union... However, that wasn't even enough. WWE money was not guaranteed and with everything being tied to live gates/merchandise, payouts were down as the business saw a downturn through the mid-1990's. But now, however, Eric Bischoff was spending Time Warner money to expand WCW's business.

Scott Hall was the first to reportedly go, as I've had the sense from his interviews that his character didn't have anywhere else to go in the WWE (WWE Title not in the picture for him). Kevin Nash was initially hesitant and seemed to have a sense of loyalty to the WWE that made him into a bigger wrestling star as Diesel. But the money was damn tempting and Nash was showing his offers to Vince McMahon to see if he could match. Vince repeatedly said "no", worrying that he'd have to pay everyone that same money. As Nash has said in several interviews now, it wasn't until the In Your House 6 Pay Per View event on February 18th, 1996 where Kevin Nash made up his mind and was willing to join WCW. Nash said that Bret Hart absolutely refused to take the Jacknife Powerbomb finisher during the match, suggesting that it would make him look "weak" before Wrestlemania 12. He had enough of the Bret Hart drama that was eating the WWE alive and told Scott Hall "he's in" that night. Both Hall and Nash gave their 90 days' notice and they would eventually arrive in WCW as the "Outsider".

The best phrase about this time comes from Scott Hall: "In pro wrestling, you can make friends or you can make money... I've made many friends, it's time to make the money!"

The guaranteed money wasn't the only thing in their contracts... They also had kickers in their contracts that required them to be the highest paid wrestlers in WCW (besides Hulk Hogan). In other words, anytime WCW signed a big name WCW free agent, they had to elevate the guaranteed money of Hall and Nash as well if they made more than Hall/Nash's contract.

As luck would have it with Hall & Nash, they were given an invasion angle to start as if they were WWE employees trying to hijack WCW shows. The concept worked but mostly due to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash being legitimate superstars. Both wrestlers were tall yet very agile, great bumpers, and awesome on the microphone. When WCW acquired both Hall and Nash, they stripped away WWE's roster considerably. Steve Austin, Triple H, and Mick Foley were over on the horizon but not ready for the main event yet during 1996. That left the WWE with Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart who were undersized. Worse yet for the WWE, Bret Hart took the entire Summer off as his contract expired. He almost jumped to WCW himself but the WWE actually offered him a big 20 year contract that paid him a large sum to stay. Would Bret Hart get that contract if Hall and Nash left for WCW? Nope... You're starting to see my point.

Kevin Nash and Scott Hall helped make Hulk Hogan cool again when Hogan turned heel and was able to freshen up by hanging out with them. Hall and Nash helped save WCW's major investment in Hogan... Between mid-1996 through mid-1998, Time Warner was netting profits from WCW. Because of that, more guaranteed contracts were put on the books as WCW would re-sign their wrestlers and also kept signing new names.

WCW's success lit a fire underneath Vince McMahon's butt to begin changing his WWE... Vince was forced to push new wrestlers, make a bold move to screw Bret Hart, change-up RAW, and eventually build-up the WWE to become a corporation itself to fully compete and defeat the Time Warner fueled WCW. With the WWE making money again by 1998, wrestlers began making more and guaranteed money began coming their way. But the biggest kicker of the WWE growing during late 1997 through 2000 was the conversion to the publicly traded corporation. Now, Vince couldn't hide his books... If you offer shares of stock, you are required as a corporation to report financial results quarterly in accordance with the Securities Exchange Commission. This change will forever allow wrestlers to have a decent amount of leverage because they now know how much their employer is making.

But the beginning of this all started when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall decided to join WCW during 1996. They (a) pushed for guaranteed contracts, (b) increased the amount that wrestlers were paid, (c) helped pro wrestling to make more money (more corporate), and (d) pushed WWE to be great again and forced WWE's payout system to change.

Therefore, if you're a wrestler in today's WWE, could you please give a big THANK YOU to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Take the guys out to dinner... Do something. Everyone in the WWE is making more money because of what Hall and Nash boldly did during 1996. They helped change the wrestling business forever... Plus, that New World Order (nWo) run was damn fun to watch through late 1997.


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