Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Why I'm Worried about WWE SummerSlam 2017 and Future Wrestler Pushes
By Mr. Tito
Aug 4, 2017 - 9:23:55 PM

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Welcome back to the Mr. Tito extravaganza exclusively here at / With these, I present myself as a fan without any financial obligation whatsoever... It's a hobby to me but also a megaphone to the wrestling world to give it praise when needed, criticize when needed, and to also give free advice on how to make it better. Why don't I make this full time? Because I don't want to... The second that watching wrestling becomes a job, the fun is removed. Furthermore, I don't want to make a career out of something that has lost more than HALF of its audience since the year 2000 in the United States.

The freedom to write when I want, what I want, and to not be obligated to any Third Party are wonderful things.

Like, for example, stating my opinion on SummerSlam 2017... I worry about this show, I really do.

I figure that the show will be pretty good, as it usually is... Wrestlemania and SummerSlam often serve as "blowoff" shows as payoffs for major angles or pushes are usually delivered on either show. Then, following SummerSlam, it's a "clean slate" to see if the SummerSlam victors can draw and then to see which wrestlers are deserving of the Wrestlemania pushes. Sadly, in the last few years, the WWE has just mailed in the last 4 months of the year and lower viewership and awful Pay Per Views have showed that. It almost seems as though the WWE is satisfied to get the most out of Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, & SummerSlam and breathe easy for the rest of the year. Honestly, that's not that bad of a business model... Look at how much BANK that the WWE has made on Wrestlemania lately. If they can make the Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam as big tentpole events that larger cities actually financially bid for, it's a big win for the WWE. It's almost as if we're reverting to the past when there were only 3-4 main WWE shows to care about.

I have concerns over the outcomes of particular matches and how specific wrestlers will be booked. Before I go over those, let's review the DRAFT version of the SummerSlam 2017 card:

- Cruiserweight Title: Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
- Smackdown Women's Title: Naomi (c) vs. Natalya
- RAW Women's Title: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley
- Rusev vs. Randy Orton
- US Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee
- John Cena vs. Baron Corbin (maybe?)
- WWE Title: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- WWE Universal Title Fatal 4 Way: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman

First and foremost, if the WWE cancelled "205 Live" and/or the Cruiserweight Division, I would not cry one bit. It is a complete failure. Sure, the Cruiserweight Classic was a nice side venture to enjoy on the WWE Network but a full time focus of the WWE, hell no. They have added NOTHING to the WWE product and it's made worse by 205 Live being filmed after Smackdown. Hard to root for a lesser product of wrestling after watching 2 hours of WWE's top level stuff. Being totally honest here, I have no idea who Neville's opponent is, nor do I care. Hulu RAW chops out the Cruiserweight stuff often and I have ZERO desire to watch 205 Live because every time that I've tuned into 205, I've been BORED TO TEARS.

Want to fix the Cruiserweight Division? Add Chad Gable and Enzo Amore to it immediately. Then maybe I'll care. And don't give me crap about Gable being "too talented" to be there. Well, I'll give you crap that he's too small to be on the WWE roster. How about them apples? Vince McMahon will job him out based on his size, as we've already witnessed, so why not let Gable add value to 205 Live? Ditto for Enzo who is a complete jobber on RAW... However, he has the personality to get over and he's more credible wrestling smaller wrestlers. Just do it, WWE. Otherwise, cancel the division and 205 Live please. If you just held annual Cruiserweight Classics, I'd be fine with that. If not, at least move 205 Live down to Full Sail for tapings OR film the show before Smackdown instead. I know, that defeats the "LIVE" purpose of the show, but do you want quality?

In my opinion, the absolute most talented in-ring performers of the Women's Division for both brands are (a) Charlotte and (b) Becky Lynch. Both have size, beauty, and incredible athletic talents. In my opinion, those 2 are the only ones that I'd believe could take down a Nia Jax in a legitimate fight. The others are too small or not as athletic. Case in point the Smackdown Women's Title match between Naomi vs. Natalya. Both ladies have been in the WWE forever now and what do they have to prove? If both were good performers by themselves, then why even have the need to promote all of the NXT ladies to the roster? After Naomi's cool entrance, now what? What value does she add? I'm happy for her personally, as the injury bug has bit her several times, but the matches just aren't doing it for me. We're always told WHAT A VETERAN that Natalya is but why isn't she more over? She's freakin' Hart royalty, too, and yet that's the only thing keeping her relevant. I don't get it.

On the RAW side for the Women, everybody is just keeping the seat warm for Nia Jax. As I just said above, do Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks even look remotely credible to beat Nia Jax in a real fight? And I 100% agree with this. I'd push Nia Jax to be an unstoppable bulldozer that ONLY Charlotte/Becky Lynch could possibly defeat or maybe a debuting Asuka could with her strikes. Asuka is WWE-ready and the RAW roster, in my opinion, needs her badly if Nia Jax is to dominate that division (and again, I agree that Nia SHOULD dominate, no problems there). Bayley just isn't doing it for me on the main WWE roster. I can argue how she was used but the enthusiasm of her character is long gone. Seemed to work better on a smaller setting. Both Bayley and Emma need to move back to NXT, in my opinion. Move those 2 down and promote Asuka.

With Rusev vs. Randy Orton, why watch this match? Why? Because on Smackdown, Randy Orton made short work of Rusev by instantly hitting a "RKO out of no where". So if Orton can easily hit that move in a matter of seconds on Rusev, why have the match? The REAL WAY to hype that match would be for Orton to try the RKO but Rusev blocks it to lock in the Accolade submission. Suddenly, the 10+ time World Champion Randy Orton is vulnerable to a wrestler that he's never had a high profile feud with before and thus you're compelled to see who will win this feud. Instead, you know that Orton already got the better of Rusev. Feud is already over and I suspect a subpar reaction from the crowds to it from here on out.

It's time to move Randy Orton into full blown "enhancement talent" unless a high profile AJ Styles feud could be pulled off. Orton is not motivated for greatness any longer and his last 3 World Title pushes (Smackdown 2011, RAW 2013-2014, and now Smackdown 2017) have all proven to LOSE viewership when he was champion or going for the title. He has become "ratings poison" and needs to get out of the way. In fact, I'd actually argue that Orton leaving the WWE for other pastures could be good for him. It just seems that he's lost the joy of working and/or learning new ways to work. He's a broken talent that has 10+ World Title reigns yet has nothing to show for it. Unlike John Cena, who has a collection of wrestlers who he helped "make" (AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kevin Owens, and now Shinsuke Nakamura), you cannot name anyone that Orton has made better by working with them. Sure, he's lost to a few wrestlers (Jinder, Roman), but were they made into bigger draws after his feud? I don't know about that...

Kevin Owens completely missed the boat on Shane McMahon and being upset that he was referee. Simply put, watch Survivor Series 1998. That's where referee Shane McMahon SCREWED Mick Foley HARD out of the WWE Title tournament. If Kevin Owens wants "heat" next week, just have him air that specific moment on the Titantron to challenge Shane. THAT SIMPLE.

That said, something needs to spark these AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens matches. They are just dull to me... We've watched both of their matches for the past few years... With about everyone on Styles, AJ is able to pull out their "best" matches to date. In my opinion, Roman Reigns's best 2 matches he ever had were with AJ Styles. With Kevin Owens, however, it's dependent on who his opponent is... For some reason, it's not clicking with AJ Styles. That or the simple fact that Kevin Owens was the World Champion on RAW and was quickly depushed to being a midcard champion has sucked all of the life out from his heat and character. I believe that it's a mixture of both... Plus for me, I struggle to get behind a guy more ready for a YMCA pick-up game of basketball with his outfit than a wrestling match. Good wrestler, yes, but pro wrestling is about more than the in-ring product specifically the WWE.

Based on the aftermath of Smackdown, we could see Baron Corbin vs. John Cena or it could be a way for another Fatal 4 Way to be added (I hope not). In my opinion, a feud with Cena would be GREAT for Corbin. Cena is the absolute best wrestler in the world right now and he has the ability make others look great moving forward (again - Styles, Bryan, Owens, Punk, & Nakamura). Plus, if Corbin is truly going to cash in that Money in the Bank Title soon, a big win over John Cena could be a decent "quick fix"... However, I worry about Baron Corbin's abilities outside the ring in terms of if he could draw as a Main Eventer. He should be chasing after the United States Title and if that chase is seen positively by fans, let him win the US Title. If Corbin appears to draw as US Champion, then that's when you push him towards the WWE Title. Rushing him to the title with the LAME and I repeat LAME Money in the Bank briefcase is nothing but damaging to most wrestlers. See both CM Punk cash-ins, Jack Swagger, Daniel Bryan, the Miz, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, etc. That briefcase has HURT more than it has helped.

Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker are the exceptions to the rule of debuting and becoming instant Main Eventers. There is a process to becoming great in pro wrestling, just like there's a process in Major League Baseball... Think of the midcard as the "farm system" as a means to work your way up to the top. The journey to the top is what makes wrestlers great not being placed at the top of the card. Again, see the careers of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, John Cena, Batista, Triple H, the Rock, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Sting, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, and Shawn Michaels... All of them endured YEARS of midcard work, many of whom fought over midcard titles and actually drew as midcard champions. When their numbers proved that they drew as midcarders, it was like any normal job... Once you exceed your current job description and management sees it, you are normally promoted to an upper level job that pays better. That's how it SHOULD work in pro wrestling.

That's why Jinder Mahal is FAILING as WWE Champion and why Roman Reigns continues to fail... Jinder was GONE from the WWE until the WWE signed him to join the RAW roster during 2016 specifically as an enhancement talent. I remember hearing from Bryan Alvarez that before his Smackdown jump after Wrestlemania 33, his last televised win was from August 2016. Yet, he appears on Smackdown and instantly becomes #1 contender and wins the WWE Title on his first try. Huh? Goes from a jobber on RAW to the World Champion on Smackdown? Gee, why isn't that drawing? And don't get me started on Roman Reigns again... The guy mostly wrestles Tag matches as a member of the Shield and he looked awkward when he was the only Shield member to defeat CM Punk in a singles match (again, he didn't wrestle singles matches often)... Then, after the Shield breaks up, he receives back-to-back WWE Title shots at Pay Per View, rushed to defeat Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2014, wins Rumble 2015, wins multiple WWE Titles, and defeats Triple H/Undertaker cleanly at consecutive Wrestlemanias. Reigns is pushed hard as a babyface and yet fans are booing hard. TV viewership has lost 1 million viewers for RAW, attendance has lost thousands per show since his Reign's push began. Facts.

If you rush Baron Corbin to the WWE Title, he'll join that Jinder, Roman, Del Rio, Swagger, Miz, and Sheamus list of guys pushed too early to the World Title. The title should NEVER and I repeat NEVER be used to prop wrestlers up. IT SHOULD BE EARNED. Period. What has Corbin truly achieved in the WWE to deserve a WWE Title shot so early? He looked good in matches with AJ Styles and what else? Styles doesn't have bad matches, so what about the other performances? Ziggler and Nakamura matches were "meh" and his match with Cena was OK. Just being big and tough can get you places but it takes more than that... You've got to have personality, mic skills, and charisma or at least being strong in 2 of those departments to overcome the weakness in the other. THAT'S WHY WRESTLERS SHOULD WORK THE MIDCARD FIRST to figure everything out before working the Main Event.

For fans who don't understand what I'm saying, watch past events on the WWE Network... The blueprint for wrestling success is there and wrestling thrives when its built-in "farm system" (called the midcard) grows talent on the undercard.

I'm not even sure of Shinsuke Nakamura winning the WWE Title. Being honest here, his BEST match as a WWE employee was his very first at NXT Takeover against Sami Zayn. All downhill ever since... Frankly, I'm SHOCKED that Nakamura beat John Cena to earn a WWE Title shot. I am certain that Vince McMahon is NOT high on his talent, whatsoever, by the way endured a full year in NXT while AJ Styles, Anderson, and Gallows went to the WWE roster immediately. Furthermore, Nakamura's style has hurt a few other wrestlers in NXT and what happened to John Cena was dangerous on this past week's Smackdown. Some of you will argue "other wrestlers have taken that move without issue" to which I'd counter WHY IS HE DOING THAT MOVE? Are we this obtuse in the modern era not to remember how Chris Benoit, Edge, Kurt Angle, Rhyno, Steve Austin, and many others required neck surgery for the dangerous bumps they took? There is a reason why the Piledriver is banned and the WWE should legitimately consider any suplex like moves where the opponent's head/neck are at risk for banning as well. Seriously. Besides, most of those suplex moves look like they should be finishers yet they are treated like regular moves, like the bodyslam.

Kudos, again, to John Cena for putting over Shinsuke Nakamura 100% clean. That cannot be praised enough. Many of you will argue Nakamura had bigger matches in New Japan, but he never be a superstar the caliber like John Cena. He just BEAT the #1 star of the WWE since 2005 cleanly! That match, alone, could open the door for other Japanese wrestlers to join the WWE.

Getting back on subject, I wouldn't doubt that the almost injury to Cena will cement Baron Corbin in cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to steal the WWE title from the victorious Shinsuke Nakamura (who just defeated Jinder Mahal). WWE was thinking about Corbin cashing in but I believe that Nakamura's near injury to Cena solidifies the booking. Nakamura defeats Jinder Mahal and then Baron Corbin cashes in...

That could be GOOD NEWS because WWE getting their way on Baron Corbin winning the WWE Title could suggest that Samoa Joe is winning the WWE Universal Title in the Fatal 4 Way.

However - I'm not too excited about that. Why? Well, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns already have their clean wins over Samoa Joe, just weeks apart. Where the WWE got this idea of "lose repeatedly before winning a World Title", I'll never know. You didn't see Austin, Rock, Cena, Triple H, Hogan, Undertaker, etc. losing matches repeatedly before a World Title match and getting rewarded with the title itself. No, you book your potential World Champion like a stud and solidify him with the title run to become "the guy". Instead, if Joe win, he'll look like a weak champion and winning only in a fluke because 2 of the participants in this Fatal 4 Way already beat him clean.

Besides, do you even see Samoa Joe having a big role in Wrestlemania 34? I don't... Wrestlemania 34's RAW Main Event will be Brock Lesnar versus either Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman (or both). Even if Joe wins at SummerSlam 2017, he'll likely drop the title either during the September to December Pay Per Views or at the latest, Brock Lesnar beats him for the WWE Universal Title at Royal Rumble 2018. I can see WWE going with Braun Strowman to win the 2018 Rumble Match and wrestling Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34 with Roman Reigns getting a singles match against "free agent" John Cena. Samoa Joe? Not in that picture...

It all boils down to Vince McMahon and how he oversees the Creative Team. However, his backstage management group of the company is full of "yes men". Contrast that to the late 1990s when you had Bruce Pritchard, Jim Cornette, Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, and Gerald Briscoe with years of experience in the WRESTLING business. Some of those guys, particularly Jim Ross, had stones to disagree with Vince McMahon and present a different point of view. Remember, Vince was not crazy about Jim Ross wanting to bring in Steve Austin and Mick Foley. McMahon also had Vince Russo in-his-prime to create an offset to the wrestling guys and push a more adult themed oriented show.

What does Vince have backstage now?

- Kevin Dunn, Executive Producer - Dunn was backstage during the Attitude Era but has increased his say in the more Corporate WWE. Dunn pushes things based on look rather than substance and he's also big on objectifying women as seen by those garbage Divas Search contests of the past and the Women's Division being poorly booked today.

- Triple H - Vince's "top adviser" and now the Creative Team Lead. Look what Vince gave Triple H: a job as a singles wrestler (WCW wanted him to be a tag wrestler), the huge push of 1999, all of the money he could imagine, and his daughter's hand in marriage. Do you honestly believe that Triple H would EVER challenge his father-in-law who has given him so much? Triple H is content with his NXT toy and Vince eats a financial loss for that to happen.

- Stephanie McMahon - She's been more in the corporate offices lately, but again, would she challenge her father? Just a few years of out college as a Communications major, she was made into Creative Lead of the WWE and kept that job for more than 10 years. The result? Lower ratings, audience cut in half... But again, she won't challenge her dad and will write crap to his wishes.

- Michael PS Hayes - Total "yes man" to the McMahons, particularly as he's had his own troubles behind the scenes (role during "Plane Ride from Hell", very drunk at HHH/Stephanie's wedding, Mark Henry, Rosa Mendes), he's another who has appreciated the wealth and opportunity that the McMahons have granted him. You'd expect that a longtime veteran would have better wrestling advice to give but he just shakes his head in agreement constantly.

- Road Dogg Jesse James - Same boat as Hayes, as he really appreciates his opportunity to return to the WWE. He's fully in charge of Smackdown and you see where that brand is going during 2017 with him in charge. Poor guy has been tasked with getting Jinder Mahal over as champion but a real stand-up guy would challenge Vince on the Jinder decision. Nope. Just another guy to nod their head in agreement with Vince. "Yes, let's go after that India market with a former jobber from RAW!".

- And a bunch of former Hollywood writers, many of which had ZERO experience in pro wrestling before joining the WWE. However, even for some of the writers who do have legitimately great ideas, they are overruled by Vince or must simply script out what Vince wishes.

- And a WWE Corporate office full of Officer Level employees above who have ZERO experience in pro wrestling before joining the WWE Corporation. Completely obsessed with marketing and image.

I don't know, folks... September through December are looking ROUGH if what I'm assuming happens at SummerSlam 2017 actually happens. WWE has lost its "eye for talent" and has become way too impatient. Meanwhile, they'll push the WRONG guys down our throats until we ultimately walk away.

But what if you really like wrestling and you like many wrestlers on the WWE roster? I guess you have to keep watching and hope that somebody rises from the ashes... You have to pray for the WWE's competitors to actually get good as well.


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