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Welcome back to latest Mr. Tito column that is presented to you exclusively WrestlingHeadlines.com, a LordsofPain.net company. Man, what the hell is wrong with the year 2020? The world is just falling apart and full of chaos. Now, it’s spreading to the wrestling business where everyone seems to be either too horny or a pervert of sorts.
I remember a few years ago at the utter SHOCK of younger fans to the leaked videos on Paige, Brad Maddox, and Xavier Woods. At the time, Page and Brad were a couple and Xavier was a good friend of both… But what many younger fans didn’t realize is that most wrestlers are on the road for at least 4-5 days per week and just don’t live normal lives. That, and it gets lonely on the road… One day, you’re partying in a hotel room and the beer or other substances start fueling the hormones and weird stuff happens. Wrestlers have unique lives because work life never allows them to have a normal life.
If you want real shock, read-up on the many wrestlers from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s when computer media wasn’t around to report on any bad behaviors. Women who hung around the wrestling business in hopes of joining the parties were called “rats” and many wrestlers had their own rats in each city that they relied on for a good time.
Fast foward to the 2nd decade of the 21st Century… You’ve had the Me Too movement on sexual harassment, Social Media is in full swing, and Political Correctness imposed by society is scrubbing everything. Thus, any peculiar sexual activity is shamed and Social Media can spread things like fire to ruin anybody, true or not.
Just for the last 2 days, we’ve heard the following stories:
– Jim Cornette and his wife Stacy are alleged of past sexual misconduct on Twitter.
– Matt Riddle is alleged of sexual assault.
– Jack Gallagher was alleged of sexual assault and was released by the WWE.
– NWA Vice President David Lagana resigned over sexual assault allegations.
– Allegations throughout the PROGRESS wrestling promotion.
– Corey Graves and Carmella make jokes about golden showers.
What the hell?
Now, let’s give everyone accused a moment to present their side of the story. In America, it is “innocent until proven guilty”. I know that the Social Media mobs like to pile on and that any anonymous user can be created to allege something, but the accused deserve the right to defend themselves. I’m not saying that to discount any potential victims, but I’m suggesting that false accusations against public figures have happened in the past.
The best course of action is to report these assaults or sexual favor requests to the authorities first instead of doing nothing and then reporting them on Social Media years later. I know, there is an intimidation factor… But those walls are coming down. Look what happened in Hollywood with Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. For years upon years, both men were looked at as “invincible” and both were found out to have many victims. Those victims collectively filed charges to take both of them down. As big cases like that are found out, along with other forms of sexual harassment that create hostile workplaces (see many lawsuits at FOX News), the door is open to report such incidents.
But all of this stuff, true or untrue, will cast a bad shadow on pro wrestling. As much as Vince McMahon and all of his associated corporation try to push a squeaky clean product, he continually fails to realize that he has a roster full of men and women with hormones who get either lonely or experimental on the road. Maybe if you didn’t work your wrestlers so damn hard with a tough schedule, then maybe strange things wouldn’t happen on the road? Just like why many wrestlers were abusing painkillers or needing performance enhancers… Bumping in that ring for 5 nights a weak will wear on you.
In my opinion, Pro Wrestling is in a BAD place right now… I’ve been preaching since the mid 2010s that declining attendance, viewership, and merchandise numbers would spell doom for the WWE. Attendance and merchandise through 2019 became especially bad and it was mostly the Television deals from desperate Cable/Satellite/Network channels that is keeping the WWE alive. Now, with the COVID-19 ceasing live events for the WWE, ticket sales and merchandise are null right now. Something bad like a cluster of stories abour poor behavior among the wrestlers could cause RAW/Smackdown to lose sponsors or Comcast/FOX to put the screws to the WWE.
When I was attempting to report on the WWE’s stock, I always warned of a “reputational risk” with the WWE stock because as proven by Chris Benoit, it just takes the actions of 1 wrestler to bring the entire company down. WWE’s business was growing from 2005-2006 on the backs of John Cena, Batista, Edge, Triple H, and HBK following the decline of 2000-2004. Then, Benoit’s murders and suicide happened along with online pharmacy drug busts that happened shortly thereafter and the WWE stock took a beating.
Wrestlers have to be careful with whom the trust on Social Media or with texts, being out late at night, and being around technology that can instantly record their bad behavior. Furthermore, just about anything posted online seems permanent.
Just messy what is happening right now… But then again, everything is out in the open and victims have more outlets to tell their stories. Much different 20 years ago or more.
Onto your questions.
ASK TITO – Your Questions, My Answers
What do you think the WWE will do with various allegations of sexual assault?
With the WWE, it depends on two specific things: (1) Your star power and (2) if you were up front with the WWE about a potential allegation. Vince McMahon and the WWE don’t want blindsided by things. If I were guessing on Matt Riddle versus Enzo Amore or Jack Gallagher, both didn’t have perceived value to the company as stars (Enzo got over, but WWE management never liked him) and Enzo/Jack might not have been upfront with WWE on potential allegations. It seems like Matt Riddle is aware of the victim’s allegations and he has his own legal team to fight those allegations. I would guess that Riddle and/or his legal team have communicated with the WWE about this situation.
That’s my guess… But it all depends on how much this piles up and begins to challenge the WWE’s sponsors and television partners. Everybody reacts differently if their pocketbook is affected.
What are your thoughts on the allegations made on Jim Cornette and his wife?
Here’s what I’d suggest… If you’re going to make allegations on Social Media on a public figure and it can be traced to who you really are (his real name is on a Patreon account linked to the Twitter handle), you better be legit. Hopefully, he knows what legal challenges could come his way. With Jim Cornette, he has a close relationship with a lawyer who sponsors his podcasts and they really went after Indy wrestlers who sold merchandise with Jim’s likeness on them. I’d expect that anyone making allegations and sharing texts/private messages to hear a call from a lawyer soon.
With everything that this former pro wrestler said and was alleging came from a former Ohio Valley Wrestling performer… Man…
We’ll give Corny a chance to respond. The allegations were widely reported and Cornette’s name trended on Twitter heavily because of it. I’m probably showing bias here as a longtime fan of his work as a manager of the Midnight Express, his managerial and creative work in the WWE, development of talents in OVW, and his Podcasts are highly entertaining (if not controversial). However, if what has been uncovered proves to be true, he has some obvious explaining to do. In short, for all of those years of ripping Conservatives who were hiding controversial stuff that got out and exposed them as hypocrites… That is where it would hit him the hardest if these allegations were proven to be legit.
I’m curious to see where this goes… We’ll have to strap in because I can imagine it may be a wild ride or Cornette may not address it publicly based on legal advice. We’ll see either way.
How about your thoughts on Vince Russo vs. Ryan Satin?
Excuse me for a second… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I’m actually entertained by these guys going at each other. Both guys have egos about themselves and both will verbally snap on anyone criticizing them. I’ve had issues with both… At one point or currently, both have blocked me for whatever reason. Last year, I wrote a column about Vince Russo and he wanted me to appear on his video podcast to debate points that I brought up. Mind you, I wasn’t fully negative on the guy, but there were things that I said about his WCW and TNA tenures that he didn’t like. With Ryan Satin, I called him out on an “exclusive” news report that he was pushing on his website that turned out to be false. He has blocked me ever since.
The hilarious part about it is that Russo and Satin should get along. Why? Because Ryan Satin is literally in the same position as Vince Russo was about 25 years ago. Vince Russo worked for WWE Magazine and that got his “foot in the door” to be critical of WWE’s Creative Team. That convinced Vince McMahon to take a chance on Vince Russo. Yeah, that worked out as you can witness what he helped build for the 1998-1999 boom period. Ryan Satin works for WWE Backstage and he should use that “foot in the door” to be internally critical of the WWE Creative Team. Maybe that would cause Ryan to be able to directly submit creative ideas to Vince or other Creative Team members? Maybe join the Creative Team.
Nope – Instead, these two savage each other on Social Media… They don’t realize how similar that they are in their positions to potentially help the WWE. If anything, Russo should be advising Satin on how to poke the WWE bear to be more than just a WWE Backstage insider story character on Fox Sports 1.
So there you go… What I was laughing at initially could turn into a beautiful business opportunity. Can’t we all just get along?
Do you believe that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 at the WWE Performance Center could harm future tapings?
Depends on Florida… If Florida sees concerns and rolls back their “WWE is essential” policies, then yes, it could be a major problem. I believe what you’re seeing now with the delays is that the WWE just isn’t prepared for more extensive COVID-19 testing and they are just getting prepared. My guess is that WWE will soon ramp up testing and restart their taping schedules by next week.
If WWE just proves more safety precautions, they’ll be fine… That or the McMahons will just donate more political money to the state of Florida in honor of Donald Trump just to keep the Governor off their backs.
Should the WWE be able to change Creative Plans based on what wrestlers say on Social Media?
Reportedly, the mini-push for the Forgotten Sons was nixed due to the pro-Donald Trump tweets made by Jaxson Ryker.
Think about that for a second… Linda McMahon WORKS for Donald Trump as a campaign advisor and operates a Super PAC in his name. Vince McMahon is a longtime friend of Donald Trump and has also donated to Trump’s campaign… YET, a wrestler who simply tweets “Thankful for the POTUS we have! God Bless America. Built of Freedom. Forgotten No More” and nothing much else (from what I could see, unless he posted more in the past)… Quite a change in how the WWE is viewing things right now.
Goes to prove one thing with Pro Wrestlers… SHUT THE F*** UP WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA. Your Twitter persona should be IN CHARACTER and still acting like a “larger than life” super hero that wrestling fans can’t see elsewhere. When you start to bring in your personal life, that differentiates the character that WWE television is trying to portray. Furthermore, when you post political posts at all, you’ll be polarizing to half of the country.
For the McMahons to react that way in light of recent times over a simple Twitter post about Donald Trump, it shows that they are trying to NOT be tone deaf at the moment. If only, though, that the WWE took stronger control over what their wrestlers posted on Social Media accounts, we wouldn’t have this problem at all.
Bring back kayfabe and stop letting your wrestlers openly show their personal side on Social Media. They should observe what the Undertaker did for 30 freakin’ years… He protected the business and made very limited media appearances. Now that he’s close to retirement, NOW he is opening up his personal life and behind the scenes stuff. It’s cool because he earned it and he’s more respected for it. Be like the Undertaker.
What do you think will happen with Vince McMahon having more creative say over NXT?
That promotion is doomed. In the short-run, he’ll stuff a few more WWE wrestlers on that show to make special appearances to pop the rating to show Triple H up creatively. In the long-run, he’ll burn out that talent roster with his involvement and I’d expect many of them to show up in AEW soon.
Just remember what he did to ECW during 2006 and onward.
Also remember how he began dismantling Ohio Valley Wrestling as a developmental territory as well, especially after he forced John Laurinaitis as VP of Talent Relations during 2004.
Quietly, Vince McMahon is disappointed in the talent that Triple H has recruited and doesn’t like the Indy style that he allows the smaller wrestlers to display. Vince obviously loves his son-in-law but I don’t think he has confidence in him at all. Triple H has been the EVP of Creative since late 2013 and yet he’s constantly redoing scripts for Triple H’s creative team. We didn’t quite hear about script rewrites when Stephanie was in charge…
Should Paul Heyman have been demoted from his Executive Director position?
Of course not. He was trying to push new stars that the prior creative ignored and in doing so, butted heads with Vince McMahon. COVID-19 with empty arenas has greatly hurt the WWE’s presentation and that has crushed ratings. Yet, Paul is to blame even though his scrips were repeatedly shredded by Vince McMahon.
And now you are placing company stooge Bruce Prichard in charge of both brands. What a joke. Bruce is good for any idea here or there, but formatting an entire wrestling show let alone TWO wrestling shows of a combined 5 hours? And if there is a Pay Per View happening, Bruce will have to supply creative for 8-10 hours of wrestling for a week. We’ll see how quickly his health deteriorates while being in his late 50s.
Heyman gets a raw deal but I’d argue his communication skills are terrible with Vince McMahon. Heyman is a mad scientist who needs full control over his roster and he can’t do that with Vince constantly editing him. Just look what he did for ECW and Smackdown’s 2002-2003. When he fell apart was at the end of that 2003 Smackdown tenure and the rebooted ECW during 2006 because Vince butted heads with him creatively.
If I were Ring of Honor, especially given their deep resources, I’d bring him on as a booker with complete control ASAP. But as long as WWE is still going to do business with Brock Lesnar, Heyman will stick with that company.
It’s a shame because Paul was trying to push Apollo Crews and he started improving Bobby Lashley’s character (great use of MVP, too). He was doing well with Drew McIntyre’s push and then empty arenas happened. Just bad luck combined with Vince McMahon being a stubborn old fool.
And now, my final rant…
THE LAST WORD
If WWE had a reasonable Creative Team, they’d realize how easily they could comply with “#BlackLivesMatter” and they would be legitimate for it. Not just pandering towards the recent movement, but they seriously have a strong crop of black Heavyweight wrestlers.
Bobby Lashley – 6’3″, 270 pound guy who legitimately looks like the Incredible Hulk in real live with his muscle mass. Let’s not forget that he’s a former MMA fighter and has extensive wrestling and WWE experience.
Apollo Crews – 6’1″, 240 pound guy who looks like a NFL football player yet he moves like a cruiserweight. Just an athletic beast who can wrestle with power and ability.
Titus O’Neil – 6’4″, 270 pounds and he’s full of personality and charisma. He does lots of charity work and is a family man, and should be the model citizen that the WWE should be displaying up front.
Jason Jordan – 6’3″, 245 pounds… Just a wrestling machine with amazing power and he looks like a God. Sadly, a neck injury has sidelined Jordan since 2018 but we’ve seen some amazing comebacks in wrestling. I’m still holding out hope. He’s a WWE producer backstage and close to the action right now.
Big E Langston – 5’11”, 285 pounds… Very strong individual now has over 10 years of experience working mostly in the midcard. Very polished in the ring now. With the New Day, charisma and promo cutting skills have been unlocked for him.
(NOTE – I have a certain “DREAM” 6th person that I’ll mention later)
(EDIT – I also forgot about Keith Lee! That makes 7! I’ve updated my column below.)
I have just presented you 5 legitimate black athletes that could be presented as top heavyweight Main Eventers that the WWE could push with very little effort. And yet, the WWE could do so without “settling” on pushing these guys or caving to public pressure. No, the WWE Developmental system actually found really talented African American wrestlers to train and place on the WWE roster.
SO USE THEM! PUSH THEM!
And nobody would suggest that the WWE is just doing this for Public Relations.
For all 5 of those wrestlers mentioned, they checkbox most things that Vince McMahon likes… Size, check, ripped body, check, charisma, for most of them check, promo skills, for most of them check.
But what is the WWE Creative Team smoking?
How can they not get Bobby Lashley over? He’s a BEAST and a well trained performer. Just mention that he’s a former MMA fighter, too, and build him up for a Brock Lesnar match. How the WWE pushed his mixed couple relationship with Lana for heel heat is beyond me and embarrassing. MVP, who could be another one that I could add to this list, might prove to be very valuable to Lashley.
Then you have Apollo Crews whom Paul Heyman was trying to push! Yes, the guy that you just demoted as Executive Director was trying to use a talented guy who was on the WWE main roster since his 2016 call-up. They guy is an athletic freak and do any move when called upon. What he needs is an experienced road agent to help him get a better feel of when to perform said moves in front of audiences but the WWE hasn’t taken the time to develop younger talents once they are on the main WWE roster.
WWE has missed the boat on Titus O’Neil… Tag team wrestler forever and they use Titus too much for comic relief instead of being a proud dad and pillar of his community. He’s a great dude and a model citizen that the WWE Corporation should love to present as a top guy. Yet, the WWE wants him for comedy. Don’t get it.
I hope that Jason Jordan makes a comeback… When he was tagging with Chad Gable as American Alpha in NXT, his talent came out and he was flawless in the ring with his power moves. That and he had passion during those times. He cried when he won his first NXT Tag Titles! That’s the kind of passion that the WWE needs right now. Then, he joins the main roster, they quickly break up American Alpha, and they made him Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son. Seriously, that happened. One of the worst storylines that the WWE has ever come up with and it ruined any way to market this kid to the public.
I’m of the few on this bandwagon but I’ve love me some Big E although I miss how they used to call him by his full name, “Big E Langston”. Wrestling with the New Day for years has helped him become a better wrestler and it opened up his confidence to display his inner charisma and caused him to develop good mic skills. The WWE could keep him in the New Day stable but just push him as a serious singles while maintaining Kofi and Xavier as a tag team (the best tag team version of the New Day, in my opinion). Wouldn’t it be awesome to see Big E as the WWE Universal Champion while Woods & Kingston are the Tag Champs?
I want to stress again… These guys are GOOD and wouldn’t be the WWE pandering to a political movement. This wouldn’t be affirmative action, either… Those wrestlers are at least equally qualified to be main eventers than the WWE’s current offerings… I’d honestly take most of them over Braun Strowman or Drew McIntyre who have been kinda boring as top guys (in their defense, they are champions with no crowds).
It is effortless for the WWE to just do their jobs creatively and push legitimately talented black wrestlers on top of their promotion. But again, this isn’t pandering… These 5 guys are legitimately GOOD wrestlers.
I keep getting asked “who I’d push” instead of the current main eventers… Well, there you go. And I have YEARS of columns/tweets consistently praising Jason Jordan, Apollo Crews, and Big E… Thus, I’m not pandering either…
And there’s one more guy out there who could be bigger than all of them, whom I’ve also praised heavily in my NXT Takeover reviews… The 6th guy that I was hinting at above…
The Velveteen Dream.
That guy is special… He was born during August 1995 which means he’ll only turn 25 freakin’ years old… Think about that. He was born JUST BEFORE WCW Nitro started airing to kick off the Monday Night Wars.
He has everything… 6’2″, 217 pounds (little light, but he’s ripped)… Full of charisma… At his young age, he needs to learn how to present that charisma. Some of his entrances are too much at times… Sometimes “less is more”. Amazing in-ring performer with unique moves and he has great psychology against his opponents. You can really feel him getting under the skin of his opponents…
Now, where he has to avoid controversy is on Social Media. Obviously, there are the recent allegations of his account getting hacked and send inappropriate things. Sometimes, he is a bit reactionary to fans and other inside changes within the WWE. I attribute that to age, as again, a good backstage agent can help mold Dream into a professional in and out of the ring. I’ve always suggested that the WWE should have hired Ron Simmons as a full time road agent, as he’s been through a lot in the wrestling business and has a lot to offer from a black perspective to WWE prospects.
Usually, most wrestlers start hitting their peak years by about age 28 and they ride that wave throughout the 30s. He’s getting close to that age and with a little more seasoning, Velveteen Dream could be that #1 babyface draw that the WWE has been thirsty for a long time now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have presented you with SIX legitimate black wrestlers that the WWE could push today and each wrestler would be respected by fans as a top guy. It’s not pandering when you push individuals who are actually talented to the top of your roster.
The real question is what the WWE Creative Team has been smoking to ignore such talented men on their roster? What is wrong with you, WWE? The Developmental System has presented you with real talents to push and you’ve ignored them!
EDIT: I made a glaring omission from this group… Keith Lee! He’s a 6’2, 320 pound tank with a great personality, charisma, and a very unique look (thick!). In my opinion, he’s just kind of wasting away in NXT’s midcard right now whereas he could be put to better use as a Main Eventer. He’s light on experience but seems to be a natural.
In summary, you have 7 Heavyweight based wrestlers who happen to be black… But I don’t see the color here other than GREEN for money. I’ve been high on Big E, Jordan, Crews, and Dream for years now and I like the other ones mentioned as well. WWE says they need HEAVYWEIGHT MAIN EVENTERS… Hello? They are already signed onto your roster, as John Laurinaitis and Triple H and their FCW/NXT developmental systems gift wrapped them for you. And again, it’s not pandering to a movement when these guys are legitimate good and should be main events based on pure talent and size alone:
– Bobby Lashley
– Apollo Crews
– Jason Jordan (if he can overcome a neck injury)
– Velveteen Dream
– Keith Lee
– Big E Langston (give him back his last name!)
– Titus O’Neil
WWE has the talent on their roster… It’s time that their puny Creative Team starts to adequately use them. Timing is perfect yet the WWE can easily justify pushing these guys without appearing to hop on a bandwagon or quickly impose a diversity policy. We would believe any of these guys receiving a Main Event push.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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Bookmark Mr. Tito’s Column Archive to read the current and past columns.
Play my Super Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
Super Mario Riot: F3F-4BC-RPF
WWE Money in the Bank 2020: QD1-9QF-X1H
Sunset Riders: DC5-X75-NXF
Super Mario Bros. 2 Multiplayer Mayhem: XHP-W6B-JGG
Attack of the Murder Hornets: GGN-9QT-LFG
Die Hard (themed after the Bruce Willis Film): 2YH-48W-HMG
Die Hard 2 – Die Harder: QQ1-MHW-YTF
Die Hard with a Vengeance: 5MB-2YG-VRG
Die Hard 4 – Live Free or Die Hard: MP2-3SL-RPF
Under Siege: BYG-8YQ-XNF
Under Siege 2 – Dark Territory: CKB-RLR-WYG
Can You Dig It, Sucka?: 884-G0H-FFF
Michael Jordan Overcoming the Detroit Pistons: RTK-LJ6-JDG
Hoarding the Toilet Paper: 43G-S79-TVG
Star Trek 2 – The Wrath of Khan: 1LV-L7L-KDF
Inside Her: FC1-TW9-7YG
Star Wars vs. Star Trek: N3X-R6M-Y9G
Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time Wrong Warp: 2RX-QCV-N9G
Super Link Bros: HBD-H5C-QRF
Santa Bowser Came Early: GL8-F48-3XG
Super Wrestling Bros: 0H6-9HT-S5G
WWE Royal Rumble: SDH-JC2-HFG
WWE Elimination Chamber: P3B-5DJ-91G
WCW World War 3: BT4-W1Y-HRG
Extreme Championship Wrestling: 42J-4GT-W3G
BEST OF TITO’s POLITICAL CARTOONS
– Alfred E. Vince McMahon on Wrestlemania 36
– WWE’s “Developmental System”
– How Triple H views CM Punk’s physique
– How Pro Wrestling Controversies keep pulling me out of the Retirement Home
– Seth Rollins cannot resist the Internet!
– Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– More Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– Jim Cornette as Godzilla against Indy Mudshow Wrestlers
© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com – 1998-2020
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