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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Royal Rumble Pay Per View Predictions, Stephanie/Divas Revolution, and More
By Mr. Tito
Jan 19, 2016 - 12:07:22 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING by yours truly, Mr. Tito, exclusively here at / Time flies when you're having fun... It's Royal Rumble week already and as I've always said, no matter how bad the WWE's creative efforts have been, that 30 Man Rumble Match always gets me pumped. It's a unique match that the WWE hasn't overdone. For example, Money in the Bank and the TLC Pay Per Views are redundant but the WWE only hosts 1 Royal Rumble style match per year. Just one and that's why it continues to be special.

But the WWE has to figure out how to merge its management's tastes & preferences with the fans' tastes & preferences.

The past 2 Rumble matches, in particular, have been big letdowns. Not just for the winners (Batista after a long layoff, still green Roman Reigns), but for the layout of the matches. The Rumble itself suffered from poor booking of Daniel Bryan, no inclusion of Brock Lesnar, Kane/Big Show destroying everybody, and 2014-2015 having the most predictable winners in the history of the Royal Rumble. WWE cannot have fans turning on the show, as both crowds turned negative due to the pending results of the Rumble. I watched Royal Rumble 2015 last night on WWE Network and it was depressing to watch the Rumble Match. It's painfully obvious that Roman Reigns was winning and all other potential candidates to win were squashed. It was the worst Rumble match fo all time.

This year, at least, there is great room for improvement with Brock Lesnar participating in the Rumble. HUGE upgrade because the past 5 Rumbles have suffered from a lack of star power as the WWE roster has been in transition with attempting to introduce new developmental wrestlers but still trying to hold on to the past with certain veterans. Brock Lesnar adds a fresh twist although the WWE roster is extremely thin right now with injuries with John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins. As I discussed in my last column, I reviewed the early reported draft of the Rumble match line-up... YUCK! However, since then, there is some movement in the booking of the Rumble match and guys like Mark Henry have dropped out.

WWE not only needs Brock Lesnar, but they need to unleash some new acquisitions like AJ Styles and let the top-level NXT talent have spots such as Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Samoa Joe, and Finn Balor. Get those WWE midcarders, notably all of those Tag Team wrestlers, out of there. Freshen things up, WWE...

WWE needs momentum for 2016... Pull off a good Royal Rumble, have an all-time great Wrestlemania show, and then carry that Wrestlemania momentum through SummerSlam. Last year, for example, the Rumble match was a letdown and Roman Reigns was struggling to get any babyface traction before Wrestlemania 31. Thankfully, Brock Lesnar re-signed for another 3 years but he's a part-time wrestler... And Seth Rollins, who "saved" us from Reigns ended up being a letdown himself by the way he was poorly booked within the Authority. Ugh to "Corporate" Kane... Thankfully, SummerSlam was "saved" by Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar... But, the WWE can't pull those veteran matches out of thin air.

I'm getting tired of Roman Reigns getting force fed down my throat. He's NOT READY to be the #1 guy in the WWE no matter how hard Vince McMahon tries. Not everybody can be Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Steve Austin, Rock, or John Cena... And as I've said repeatedly, each of those guys fought and clawed as midcard singles wrestlers before becoming Main Event stars. But not Roman Reigns. Worse yet, Roman Reigns lacks basic wrestler functions to even work as a main eventer. He still struggles to wrestle one-on-one matches without gimmicks (or weapons) and his personality relies too much on what the WWE Creative's scripts say. He's not natural. Wrestling fans can spot synthetic pushes from a mile away or else Lex Luger's Lex Express would have taken people by storm during 1993-1995. It didn't and that poor babyface selection set the WWE back.

It's time for the WWE and the McMahons to open their ears to the fans... It's the perfect time to pull the triggers on Dean Ambrose and unleash Daniel Bryan if he's fully healthy. Those are two wrestlers who actually had natural reactions by fans and not forced. Better yet for Ambrose and Bryan, their booking has not be favorable. Despite their losses, they are still over. Could you imagine both wrestlers as babyface sensations if both didn't have to lose regularly to Bray Wyatt? Imagine if Ambrose/Bryan received the Randy Orton or Roman Reigns preferential booking treatment.

Often, bad years of Rumble matches can be offset with a strong undercard. 2015 is less painful when you have the Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena on the same show. 2016? This year, as I write this as RAW os going on through 9:51pm EST, we have the following matches:

-Rumble Match for WWE Title
-Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte for Divas Title
-Usos vs. New Day for Tag Titles
-Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio for US Title
-Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose for IC Title

Unless one of those matches surprises, this show is reliant on the Rumble match being excellent. Usually, the WWE Title match stands out during this event. Hopefully, the WWE learns from the last 2 years and books the Rumble match correctly.


Mr. Tito's PHAT Royal Rumble Predictions

Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch for Divas Title
Becky Lynch, to her credit, is really trying... She's trying to add enthusiasm to her matches and during her backstage segments. I have more confidence in her as a character and wrestler now than I did before in the WWE. HOWEVER, I'm just not feeling Charlotte as a heel character. Just recently, Charlotte gave an emotional in her feud with a heel Paige as to why she was a wrestler. You know, the emotional one about her brother passing that was controversial to several fans. But now, she's playing the Ric Flair card too much and it's not natural. However, I just don't know where the WWE is going with the Divas division...

WHO SHOULD WIN: Charlotte, only because I like steady champions.

WHO WILL WIN: Becky Lynch - I would greatly worry about the Bella Twins gaining momentum again between Vince/Dunn. Becky Lynch could be a transitional champ between either the Bellas or Sasha Banks being the heels.


Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Kalisto for the United States Title
So Kalisto has an amazing performance in a TLC match and his reward is to make a potential Main Eventer (at least based on the 7 figures WWE is paying him) look bad? The guy is billed at 5'6" but that can be debated. Rey Mysterio, he is not... I just don't get the booking of Alberto Del Rio since his return. He beats John Cena for the US Title 100% cleanly on his first day and then he's placed with Zeb Colter to form the "MexAmericans". He then joins the League of Nations which is immediately reduced to a joke when its champion, Sheamus, quickly loses his WWE Title. Now, he's losing to a midcarder.



New Day (c) vs. Usos for Tag Titles
They have been feuding but to announce this just 1 week before the Pay Per View... Eh, nothing will happen here. Wrestlemania 32 seems more fitting for the Usos to get a big win. The New Day are losing steam, if you ask me. Their promos lack the hilarity of the past and if you ask me, they are trying too hard with their unicorn stuff and odd pop culture references. Just falling flat.



Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Title
Just one of those matches where I'm not sure only because of the confusing use of both wrestlers by WWE Creative. That and I don't know how serious WWE management cares about the Intercontinental Title. Plus, if Dean Ambrose loses the IC Title, does that mean he may be elevated? Who knows?

WHO SHOULD WIN: Kevin Owens. He needs a solid drawing run as a midcard champion to prove that his pre-WWE career, NXT career, and 2015 runs versus Cena weren't flukes. The idiotic WWE management is too focused on his look to overlook his strong in-ring talent and natural heel ability.

WHO WILL WIN: Kevin Owens. I think we'll see a rematch at Wrestlemania 32 where Ambrose will regain the IC Title.


2016 Royal Rumble Match
While I'm not a fan of the WWE Title being incorporated into the Rumble Match, especially with the booking of how that occurred, at the very least it makes the Rumble full of questions. Then, you add Brock Lesnar to the match and things get very interesting. Wrestlemania 32 will be reportedly headlined (probably co-headlined) by Roman Reigns vs. Triple H. There's enough "heat" from the TLC Pay Per View's conclusion in which Roman attached Triple H to not need the WWE Title in place. Therefore, HHH can cost Reigns his WWE Title and they can do their match at Wrestlemania 32. WWE can then opt to set-up a WWE Title match for Brock Lesnar against an unknown opponent.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: Brock Lesnar wins the WWE Title.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Roman Reigns retains WWE Title.

Now, here's what SHOULD REALLY HAPPEN in my opinion and I hope that the WWE has been playing us the entire time. For many months now, the insiders have been reporting that WWE doctors refuse to clear Daniel Bryan for his post-concussion syndrome. Those same insiders have also reported that Bryan was cleared by his own doctors for a second opinion yet the WWE won't budge. With the last 2 years being complete booking disappointments for Bryan at the Royal Rumble, maybe the WWE will redeem him and have been working us all along. After all, WWE is feeding news directly to those insiders and it wouldn't be the first time they worked us through "news". And why not? It would make for a great surprise.

In my opinion, Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan would be a HUGE match addition to Wrestlemania 32. As I said in my opening rant, the WWE management needs to merge their tastes & preferences with the fans' tastes & preferences. Thus, WWE management gets HHH vs. Reigns and the fans get Brock vs. Bryan. We all win...

I'm still holding out hope for Steve Austin or the Rock wrestling Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32.



Favorite Royal Rumble Pay Per View?
Easy... 2000 Royal Rumble. You're giving me Dudleys/Hardys, Triple H/Mick Foley, and a strong Rumble Match? Yes please... Plus, the added fun of Tazz's HUGE WWE debut against Kurt Angle in New York City. Oh, and Mae Young...

Favorite Royal Rumble Match?
No doubt in my mind, the 1992 Rumble. Not just for the WWE Title being on the line and not just for Ric Flair winning the WWE Title, but that roster was STACKED. WCW made several bad decisions between 1990-1991 that caused many wrestlers to bolt and about any other available wrestler made their way to the WWE.

Favorite Royal Rumble UNDERCARD Match?
Great question... Lots of Main Event level bouts occurred on this show... But I'll go with the 2003 encounter between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. The pair have wrestled many matches but that one is perfect and remains (I think) my 2003 "Match of the Year". 5 stars. It was a battle and the real "sense of urgency" was Chris Benoit capturing his first true World Title. He came up short and the fans knew it. The standing ovation that Benoit received after this match probably convinced WWE Management to give him a shot at next year's Rumble. Sad to think about it now based on what happened to Benoit more than 4 years later but in the moment, this was huge for Chris Benoit.

Wrestler who benefitted the most from winning the Royal Rumble?
I'd probably lean Batista during 2005, only because he needed that extra boost at the time for his character as he was climbing the ladder. Then, he challenged Triple H and beat him at Wrestlemania 21. But Austin's "win" at the 1997 Royal Rumble did wonders towards building his badass character for the way he snuck back into the ring to win that the Rumble. It put some nice heat on the Wrestlemania 13 Bret vs. Austin match and built Austin up to be a real player in the WWE.



Where are you Stephanie McMahon?

No, I'm not talking about your whereabouts on WWE television through your role with the Authority and current storyline with Vince McMahon/Roman Reigns. And no, I'm not talking about her role at the WWE Corporate Offices as "Chief Brand Officer" or member of the Board of Directors. That's my issue with her today.

On July 13th, 2015, Stephanie McMahon entered the ring to address then WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella and the other members of Team Bella. The storyline was that Paige wanted to challenge the Nikki Bella but was outnumbered by Team Bella. So, Stephanie announced that she was "giving" Paige two new friends in Charlotte and Becky Lynch. That sort of makes sense because Paige has connections to NXT and those wrestlers... But then Naomi & Tamina Snuka arrived and were upset and Stephanie gifted them with NXT wrestler Sasha Banks as a friend. 3 on 3 on 3 brawl ensues and RAW fans were chanting "THIS IS AWESOME" loudly. It was a good segment for its time...

However, since that night, Stephanie McMahon has been a ghost to the Divas Division aside from her praise from her NXT appearances. The 3 on 3 on 3 battles quickly dissolved and all 9 ladies were left without direction. Team PCB broke up and we first saw Paige vs. Charlotte and now Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch. Oh, did I forget that Divas Title win by Charlotte? Yeah, she won the title on RAW but the match was reversed due to Bellas pulling "twin magic". Charlotte would win the Divas Title on the next Pay Per View and it was underwhelming thanks to the bad RAW booking before it. Damage done and now Charlotte needs Ric Flair to accompany her just to get over. Sasha Banks, who did amazing work against Bayley at NXT, has been largely ignored (currently injured).

Where are you, Stephanie?!? You certainly thought that the DIVAS REVOLUTION was important enough to announce it yourself, riding the coattails of the Women's World Cup, but now you're back to attempting to intimidate male wrestlers. Oh yeah, does it feel good when you slap them too?

Everybody tries to theorize why the Divas Revolution has failed. Sure, we can all argue that the NXT wrestlers were just slapped together and made directionless afterward. WWE Creative has fumbled the debuts and careers of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch but they didn't have much to revolutionize against. OK, they were chasing the Bella Twins but there wasn't much after the Divas Title was captured. After all, the likes of Brie, Nikki, and Alicia Fox aren't exactly intimidating forces and fans were wearing thin of Nikki's Divas Title reign. Once Charlotte captured the Divas Title, what was left for her to do? Nothing... She's been feuding her former Team PCB members and Charlotte has since flipped to heel herself.

It's just not working.

Simply put, the Divas Division lacks a strong HEEL presence.

Now, if the WWE just watched their own tapes, they could have easily seen how over and ruthless Sasha Banks was as a heel. Watch her as NXT Women's Champion and then her work against Bayley. It's the best heel work in years...

But, many WWE fans don't know who Sasha Banks is along with Charlotte and Becky Lynch. WWE Network has 1 million subscribers while RAW gets between 3-4 million viewers. And of those 1 million subscribers don't watch NXT. Therefore, the WWE should have been a bit more patient in their debuts.

In the meantime, if your Divas division needs heat, why aren't you sticking around Stephanie? You are a natural heel and better yet, as seen by your matches with Trish Stratus and Brie Bella, you have legitimate credibility of being able to bully the female talent. For as little as she's actually wrestled, Stephanie is a decent worker and she's in great physical shape. She could become the female version of Vince McMahon to the Divas division and it would work perfectly. Stephanie is looking foolish as she talks down and slaps male wrestlers but to Divas wrestlers, she could look convincing. Imagine Stephanie talking down to Charlotte for being Ric Flair's daughter? The stuff writes itself...

If you were to ask me, Stephanie avoids being a heel towards other Divas wrestlers because she's a mother to 3 daughters. She doesn't want to scare her own children but her Authority character towards male wrestlers is quite nasty... And I also think that the corporate side of Stephanie is showing herself based on the anti-bullying campaigns where she's involved. All of these events not related to having a successful television show are influencing how the Stephanie McMahon character is used (or not used).

The WWE Divas Division needs help much like RAW needed a boost from Vince McMahon. Rather than going back to the "Total Divas" well, see what options are available internally. Stephanie McMahon could help bring the Divas division to the forefront and help the WWE make lots of money with a strong midcard act.


If you happen to have a Nintendo Wii U and the Super Mario Maker video game, check out my Pro Wrestling Mario board via ID Code: E290-0000-0199-7AC7. It's a Super Mario 3 based level in which Mario flies to the top of the Triple Cage as seen in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) events. Then, enter the Hell in a Cell Cage seen at WWE Events and then enter the Elimination Chamber. Finally, finish the stage with a ladder match! Enjoy!


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