Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Royal Rumble Needs Star Power Badly, Sunny & Adult Films, more
By Mr. Tito
Jan 23, 2016 - 6:41:01 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to an additional edition of MR. TITO STRIKES BACK... It's more of a thank you for the well received WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Predictions column and just the motivation to write another column. This year's Royal Rumble is interesting... Sure, putting up the WWE Title within the Rumble match has made things interesting, but in my opinion, it's the Creative direction AFTER the Royal Rumble that has me curious. I wrote my predictions before I saw RAW and seeing the Wyatt Family attack Brock Lesnar, it sort of changes my outlook on the Rumble match.

It seems to me that the WWE would be CRAZY to let Roman Reigns, the #1 Rumble entrant, to win the entire thing. That is overbooking on steroids... If the WWE lets Roman Reigns retain the WWE title, and I believe there is a 50/50 probability of that, they are CRAZY. Reigns has received so many booking crutches during 2014-2015 and the fact that his "reign" on top has barely kept RAW above 3 million viewers is quite telling. But, Vince McMahon sees him as the "next John Cena". Winning the Rumble would be completely ridiculous.

There's a good chance now that Bray Wyatt, as my boy Chrisssss might be accurately suggesting with his Royal Rumble predictions column, may actually win this thing. It would be a big moment to establish him and it could be sold that his Family (Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman). But here we are recycling the 2009 Royal Rumble when Legacy helped Randy Orton win. However, Bray Wyatt has NEVER won a World Title before.

But, if the idiot WWE Creative Team and Vince McMahon's LOVE for HOSS WRASSLIN' takes hold, we're going to see Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman at Wrestlemania 32. Huh? What the hell is that about? Talk about wasting Brock Lesnar... Wrestlemania 32 should feature the BEST OF THE BEST and instead of going Lesnar vs. Strowman, why not do Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt AND for the WWE Title? If Brock Lesnar is going to become WWE Champion again, he has to get through the entire Wyatt Family. Give Bray Wyatt the opportunity shine at Wrestlemania and he'll take it. Why waste one of Lesnar's limited appearances at Wrestlemania 32 on him beating the crap out of a HOSS? Why not just do another match with Big Show? Seriously. Unless the WWE uses another one of Lesnar's appearances for Extreme Rules 2016 to wrestle Bray Wyatt?

There are good odds that Triple H will either enter the Rumble or interfere. That's obvious... But could he win the WWE Title? He has 13 World Title reigns in his attempt to match Ric Flair's record of 16. At HHH's age and now as his role as WWE Executives, there aren't many other opportunities for him to win the WWE Title. HHH winning the 2016 Rumble match could be a booking compromise between Vince and HHH. HHH gets another WWE Title reign but in exchange, he MUST put over Roman Reigns cleanly for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 32.

If I were a betting man, I would say only FOUR wrestlers have a chance to win this Sunday: Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, Triple H, or Roman Reigns. That is, unless John Cena and Randy Orton use their "magical healing powers" to somehow return early. We've seen it before...

But this Royal Rumble match has to succeed... The Rumble matches have been on the downslide since about 2008, in my opinion. I've been watching past Rumble matches on the WWE Network and it has been fun to look back... But there is a CLEAR talent dropoff between the years 2008 and 2009. 2008 was upbeat, had most veterans still in their prime, and had the top stars looking strong throughout the Rumble. Then, in 2009, that strong presence of stars was absent... In 2008, we had Undertaker in the shape of his life, Shawn Michaels, Batista in his prime, and John Cena making his surprise return. Then in 2009... No HBK, Batista, or John Cena in the Rumble Match (Cena held the World Heavyweight Championship at that time). Undertaker looked rough at the 2009 Rumble and appeared to be out of breath for much of the match. Many people were writing off the Undertaker that year as being "old" and that's why the Wrestlemania 25 war with Shawn Michaels was such a surprise to everyone. Most didn't know that Undertaker still had that kind of epic match in him...

When 2009's Rumble lacked star power, it had to rely on the WWE developmental system call-ups. By then, former VP of Talent Relations Jim Ross was heading into being 5 years removed from that role. Former WCW backstage official John Laurinaitis took over that role and the system suffered... Didn't help that the wrestling business decreased in size since its 1999-2000 peak, which causes fewer individuals to be interested in becoming wrestlers. Furthermore, the effects of the ramped up Wellness Program was eating the roster alive as wrestlers were either caught by the program or unable to recover from injury as fast... But Laurinaitis didn't acquire and develop talents to become WWE superstars as well as Jim Ross did. Case in point, today's WWE is still reliant on Jim Ross's prospects as top stars (Cena, Orton, Lesnar, Batista). WWE has many injuries through early 2016 and would once again pray that the developmental call-ups from the last 5 years are ready to step up.

What the 2016 Royal Rumble needs is STAR POWER. The current WWE roster lacks it... John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton are injured. However, Brock Lesnar is entering the Rumble match for the first time since he won the Rumble during 2003. That is a much needed boost to the Rumble match which has been lackluster since, well, 2008 as I suggested above. However, the WWE needs more... Triple H is nice and probably Chris Jericho too... I can imagine that Undertaker and Kane will probably sneak into the Rumble. Maybe a return from Daniel Bryan?

But we need other stars and even younger stars... 2016 has to be the year where new stars are born and/or introduced. WWE has to debut AJ Styles into the Rumble match. He's like the modern day Sting as that one wrestler who never joined the WWE full time. And for once, it seems like the WWE very much needs him as a big name and as an in-ring performer. Plus, WWE needs goodwill with its fans. Prominently featuring AJ Styles will make many of his longtime fans appreciate that WWE respects his talent. Plus, this could drive a few nails in TNA's coffin. As you can see by the recent news headlines, TNA has convinced itself that AJ Styles had a deal with them and TNA, themselves, needed star power to help that Pop TV deal. I believe that Triple H has good intentions of signing AJ Styles and the other wrestlers from a real need to boost the WWE's depth charts but I wouldn't doubt that Vince McMahon has darker intentions of keeping his competitors down.

Unleash the NXT brand in the 2016 Royal Rumble, specifically their 4 or 5 top main event guys who are actively competing over the NXT Title. WWE fans need to be put on notice that NXT is a damn good show and brand. Perfect time to introduce WWE fans to Finn Balor, the NXT Champion. He is very talented as an in-ring performer and has a great look to him. No, I don't mean when he's painted up ridiculously like Jeff Hardy, but when he simply walks out there with a leather jacket. All Triple H has to do with Vince is sell Finn Balor to Vince like he's the Fonz... Vince would sign on!

Most fans remember NXT's Sami Zayn who challenged John Cena for the US Title and toughed out a separated shoulder to put on a great match. WWE announcers could easily remind fans as he arrives... Most should remember that. Baron Corbin, I believe, has done all he can do in NXT. In the WWE, he would be good as the muscle for another wrestler. I argued last year that Corbin would have been a perfect bodyguard for Seth Rollins as champion. WWE should have surrounded Rollins with thugs to fend off any challenges. Instead, we saw Rollins arguing with Kane... Ugh... If AJ Styles is in the Rumble, give TNA fans some love by putting Samoa Joe into the Rumble as well. I think it would be a good test to see if the older version of Samoa Joe can hang with the current WWE talent.

But in my opinion, the wrestler that WWE management needs to display for fans who haven't seen NXT is Apollo Crews. Maybe Finn Balor could make it big, but I worry about his size being assessed by Vince McMahon at just being a shade under 6 foot tall. Apollo Crews is like having a wrestler who looks like an NFL linebacker out there with legitimate aerial offensive ability. Someone that thick on muscle shouldn't fly like a Cruiserweight wrestler but he can... I believe that he has more appeal to him as a wrestler than the other NXT prospects. His only weakness, in my opinion, is psychology as he often hits spot after spot... Go watch that Takeover match against Baron Corbin where he's trying to sell and the match came off as being very dull. But, the upside with the rest of his talent is great and he's just in his late 20's, about to enter the prime years of most wrestler's careers.

Having Brock Lesnar, the returning Triple H, possibly debuting AJ Styles and other recently signed New Japan wrestlers, and unloading the NXT top guys... That's a GREAT RUMBLE. And then let those guys interact with the cluster of Upper Midcarders that the WWE can't figure out how to use. Wyatt Family, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, Wade Barrett, Ryback, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Neville, and many others.

And if the WWE has to say "NO" to many tag wrestlers and other midcarders who aren't doing much materially for the WWE right now, then that's OK. Use the Rumble match as a motivation tool... If you want in 2017's Rumble match, STEP IT UP.

As I argued in my December 2nd, 2015 Column, the WWE needs to make the Royal Rumble great again and make it that match that fires up the momentum that carries the WWE throughout 2016. Strong Rumble match sets the table for Wrestlemania... Then, a strong Wrestlemania helps carry the WWE through the dog days of summer until SummerSlam. It's such a simple formula but again, WWE's Royal Rumble matches have been letdowns since the last great Rumble in 2008. But the what the WWE needs is STAR POWER and if they are thin on veteran star power, then you have to unleash a fury of new wrestlers into the Rumble.

But hey, that's just my opinion and if the WWE delivers another letdown of a Rumble match this Sunday, I'll show no mercy in my 2016 Royal Rumble review.

Speaking of that... I should be doing INSTA-COLUMN for the 2016 Royal Rumble as I have in the past. Just check into / after the event and you should see my column posted shortly after the event. It's quite a chore to write a column during the event but those columns have been well received and I'll keep doing them as long as you keep enjoying them.



Question #1 - Do you think that NXT will become a co-equal brand with the WWE main roster?

I believe that Triple H really wants that. My guess is that internally, he's sick of fighting battles in the WWE and wants to increase NXT's role in the WWE Corporation as being more than just a developmental system feature and WWE Network exclusive. Right now, Vince and Triple H are debating over talent and HHH has expressed a need for talent if WWE raids NXT sometime soon. For Triple H, that's why I believe many of those New Japan signings occurred and I believe he'll continue to scour the independent scene for its top talent. Now, however, WWE is beginning to sign TNA talent which I believe is a plus.

For NXT to even become a co-equal brand, they need a bigtime Cable/Satellite channel. USA Networks wants the main WWE roster on WWE Smackdown so therefore, you can't just put NXT on Smackdown's timeslot on USA Network. I'm not sure of the terms and conditions of the WWE Corporation's contract with Comcast/NBC/Universal but they may be unable to sell NXT to another network outside of that umbrella. Call me crazy, but I'd put NXT on NBC Sports on Saturday Nights. That channel needs content badly (they are waiting on ESPN contracts to be up) and that channel is in many homes nationwide. Otherwise, NXT can only be shown on Hulu and WWE Network. Hulu reportedly has 9 million subscribers and WWE Network has 1 million. That's a low population based to air that program compared to 70+ million homes that Cable/Satellite still have.

It's a matter of what Vince wants versus what Triple H tries to do... It might be wise for HHH to start signing guys that Vince might not want on his main roster...


Question #2 - What happened with Shelton Benjamin in the WWE?

To me, it was baffling as to why the WWE never appreciated Shelton Benjamin and pushed him hard as a serious wrestler. The guy was an athletic freak of nature and could have amazing matches with about anyone. He practically made the Money in the Bank match become a regular WWE stable with his athleticism displayed in those matches. Why he never won one is beyond me.

However, back during the mid 2000's, I did have some decent sources that followed up with me on news reports where he was "in the doghouse" or regarding the Mama storyline. From what I've heard, Shelton was very vocal backstage at WWE events regarding his character and how WWE Creative used him. Various creative team members, HHH, and Stephanie have various snitches located backstage and they would report on Shelton's complaints regularly. I have heard it for years from various wrestlers that Triple H/Stephanie are extremely sensitive about criticisms particularly on any criticisms of their Creative decisions. It has been an unwritten rule backstage at WWE events to not criticize HHH/Stephanie as both tend to hold grudges and take things personally. Vince McMahon, not so much... Vince cares more about the WWE brand instead of himself.

Oddly enough, I've heard that Benjamin's regular tag parter, Charlie Haas, was also very vocal backstage and word about whatever he said got back to WWE management.

That's what I've heard and read throughout the years... In my opinion, Shelton Benjamin is the biggest missed opportunity in WWE history besides the late great and under-appreciated Owen Hart. He should have been another "Class of 2002" standout as a singles wrestler like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, and Randy Orton. Instead, he's not in the WWE and that's a complete shame.


Question #3: What can be done to improve WWE 2K video games?

I guess this question relates to sales of recent WWE games as being decent but not overwhelming successes. Actually, to 2K Sports, they are probably quite profitable because they just release the same game every year with a different roster... Like any EA Sports game.

If you want my opinion, I would stop offering an annual WWE game and focus on QUALITY instead of QUANTITY. In terms of gameplay, modes, and other options, WWE games have hit a wall in terms of how to improve the experience. This is a very similar problem that many of the EA Sports franchises see as well. Their strong innovations, like WWE video games, occurred during the PlayStation/Nintendo 64 era and there's just nothing groundbreaking to achieve to perfect wrestling or sports game genres. The Madden NFL games, in particular, have been somewhat insulting on how similar each edition has been year after year. Sure, why change what's broken, but I ask why charge customers $60 each year for the same exact game over and over again? But hey, people are willing to pay for it...

But I think we're seeing issues in the gaming industry for annual releases. The EA Sports games have peaked with only Fifa showing strong growth because soccer in the United States. Franchises like Assassin's Creed have rushed their games out to remain on the annual schedule and quality is gone. In contrast, take a look at Grand Theft Auto V... RockStar Games takes their time in releasing those games and the end result is absurd sales for 2013-2015. Think about this for a second... Grand Theft Auto 5 was on the top 10 NPD sales for 2015 and its Playstation 3/Xbox 360 releases were during late 2013 and then on the bigger systems of PS4/Xbox One during 2014. Yet, it's still on the list with strong sales. Quality over quantity.

I would be much for 1 wrestling game released periodically and then Downloadable Content (DLC) made available for roster updates and other features. But there are many suckers who will buy the same game every year and the quality never suffers. Listening to's daily podcast show, they offered up a great idea why the Call of Duty games do so well... Activision rotates teams on Call of Duty in order to keep the gameplay of each annual edition fresh. That might be a good idea for 2K Sports on WWE games... See if different teams can rotate in and out to make gameplay, features, etc. different each year. Maybe one year can be specific to the main WWE Roster, another year could focus on the past, and maybe the next would be NXT specific.

But that's my opinion... If you enjoy the WWE 2K games each year, along with other games mentioned, don't let me change your tastes/preferences.



The Morality Squad, armed with the wrath of God, has their panties in a bunch about former WWE/ECW/WCW performer and personality, Tammy "Sunny" Sytch, joining the Adult Film industry. The same wrestling fans who probably checked out Sunny's pictures from the 1990's now have a problem with her doing Adult Films. Huh?

I'm usually very conservative on many of my political views but as I get older, I'm gaining the perspective of "if it doesn't hurt anyone directly, who cares?". How does Sunny performing in Adult Films hurt you? You don't HAVE to watch them. Just avoid going to any of those websites, sex shops, etc. and your feelings won't be hurt. If it breaks your heart that your favorite valet and heaven forbid, WWE Hall of Famer, is revealing all on film... Then maybe you should put your life into perspective. Have you made all of the right choices yourself?

Or how about this as an alternative, wrestling fans? Where were you as wrestling fans to support Tammy Sytch? She has tried many times to remain relevant in the industry through her work on the independent scene and she did many many autograph signings. Where were you then to lend a hand of support? How about banging down the WWE's door to convince her to get another job there? Getting into a fictional Hall of Fame was nice but it doesn't pay the bills beyond maybe 1 day. WWE has zero interest in her even for WWE Network specials. In fact, WWE seems to ignore much of the groundbreaking work and door opening that Miss Elizabeth, Sunny, and Sable did to make females appealing in the WWE.

Has it ever occurred to you, wrestling morality squad, that she is unable to earn a decent living from the wrestling industry? She has some college but once she found her talents in the pro wrestling industry, is was all about wrestling for the next 10 years, the prime of her life. There's not much of a back-up plan and since her WWE exit through 1998, she's tried to make ends meet in other promotions. Eventually, the wrestling well was tapped out.

Most will say "what about her drug use?". Well, what about it? She worked in a WWE company during the 1990's that did little to police the drug use. Given that she was one of the few regular females backstage and very attractive at that, the wolves of wrestling stars were all over her. She dated Shawn Michaels for about a year and he was incredibly destructive back then. I'm not making excuses for her, but there's a reason that many wrestlers from the late 1990's are no longer with us. That was a destructive timeframe for wrestlers and she got carried away in it. Yet, unlike many wrestlers from that time period, she makes no excuses about it. Never has.

But to deny her a means to make a living for something that won't directly harm you is ridiculous. The only person, on earth, that could be harmed from her Adult Films is Sytch. Again, you don't have to watch her films. She could go on to make films for the rest of her life and you wouldn't know about it. Just ignore it as the same ones ripping Sytch for joining the Adult Film industry aren't ripping the industry's existence in the first place. Adult Films generate billions upon billions of dollars annually. Shouldn't you have a bigger problem with Adult Films existing rather than one hard-on-her-luck Tammy Sytch trying to make a living?

And if you ask me, Tammy Sytch is CRAZY for trying to auction off her WWE Hall of Fame ring. In my opinion, she should wear that proudly in ANY adult film she's in. WWE's legal team might claim copyright protections over that ring but it's a matter of public fact that the WWE brought her into their Hall of Fame. WWE gave her that ring and isn't lending it to her... Wear that ring in every film that you do, Tammy!

For those who don't think she'll make it in the Adult Film industry, you haven't studied the demographics of wrestling fans. What's keeping the WWE alive and specifically the WWE Network alive are 30 somethings who grew up on the Attitude Era. Hence why you see endless "Monday Night Wars" and "Clique" specials. WWE is catering to their audience and those 30 somethings who own the WWE Network are beginning to hit their peak years of their salaries. You don't think they'd throw a few bucks at seeing their teenage favorite female personality taking 12 inches of something? Please... Many 30 somethings are like "shut up and take my money" to anything that tickles their nostalgia.

Again - If it doesn't hurt you directly, why do you care? And if Tammy Sytch wants to make love on camera for a living and that industry isn't illegal, why can't she do it? Get over yourselves, wrestling morality squad, as your lives probably aren't perfect as well. Nobody is perfect. Unlike you, she was in the spotlight for many years in an industry that many people still don't understand. With Adult Films, she has one last hope to cash-in on her pro wrestling fame... Why should we deny her that opportunity if she WANTS to do that?


If you are a big fan of Super Mario Maker on the Nintendo Wii U as I am, then you'll know that creating Super Mario Bros. levels is lots of fun. Last night, I made a Royal Rumble themed board in which a wrestling ring is quickly filled up with various Mario Bro villains at a pretty quick pace. At the beginning of the board, just stand on the left ring post and watch the ring quickly fill up with Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Bob-ombs, and other creatures while trying to figure out how to get to the end of the board. At the end, I even rigged up a makeshift Titantron at the exit.

WWE Royal Rumble on Super Mario Maker's online mode can be place by entering this ID #: 7B38-0000-01A3-2F4C on the Search function of Course World.

I also made a wrestling themed Mario Maker board a few days ago which features various match-types for Mario to get through such as WCW's Triple Cage, Hell in a Cell, the Elimination Chamber, and then a Ladder Match. You can check out that board with ID #: E290-0000-0199-7AC7.

Enjoy the Royal Rumble!


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