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Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing exclusively LordsofPain.net and no where else. I am highly amused at the Internet Wrestling Community’s reaction to the WWE’s latest attempt at a Pay Per View show, Hell in a Cell 2018. You can just tell that Vince McMahon is a master at brainwashing because their reaction to Lesnar’s was “disappointment” but because it interferes with Roman Reigns‘s WWE Universal Title reign. LOL, aren’t you the same fools who have been bashing Roman for the past year?
My reaction to Brock Lesnar returning? THANK THE LORD! PUT THE DAMN BELT BACK ON BROCK! PART TIME IS AWESOME!
See, the WWE spent so much of its capital during the Summer of 2018 verbally destroying Brock Lesnar as being part-time, not defending the WWE Universal Title, and actually rejoining the UFC in attempts to get Roman Reigns over. The result? The remaining fanbase who tuned in to see Lesnar on WWE television has left and thus we are now permanently under 3 million viewers for RAW.
But of course, they bring Lesnar right back.
Isn’t it funny how the Australian show is headlined by Triple H vs. Undertaker with Shawn Michaels and Kane ringside?
Isn’t it even more funny how Brock Lesnar will now wrestle on the Saudi Arabia show in a Triple Threat against Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Title?
With HHH, Undertaker, Michaels, Kane, and Lesnar being added to the International shows, it is 100% an admission by the WWE that they cannot draw in these foreign markets without past big name superstars. It is an indictment on the WWE’s developmental system since Jim Ross stopped overseeing it during 2004, the McMahon family being in charge of Creative, and the decision to put all of the chips on Roman Reigns since 2014.
WWE began to discard John Cena during 2014 and without his starpower, United States television viewership, live attendance, and merchandise sales have been DOWN. The current roster cannot draw. I could blame the talent, but each of those guys were trained or re-trained by WWE staff and everything they do is scripted by WWE Creative. WWE Corporation’s marketing department has a say, as does WWE Executive Producer Kevin Dunn. Wrestlers don’t have a chance to get over by their own talents. Since 2014, the WWE numbers have been declining and only “pop” when Brock Lesnar appears, during Bill Goldberg‘s brief run, or when the WWE does a special gimmick show (like RAW 25).
Roman Reigns has been on a non-stop push for 4+ years now. Meanwhile, Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, and Sheamus have been all World Champions since and nobody is drawing. Braun Strowman has had flashes of greatness but Creative has messed with him with the No Mercy 2017 loss and now with the goofy heel turn. Daniel Bryan had Creative mess with him, too, but injuries limited him. Bryan has since come back and they’ve completely wasted him on feuding with Big Cass, losing to Rusev, and now losing repeatedly to the Miz.
That is why the “Attitude Era” (Mick Foley, Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, the Rock, Kurt Angle, and Steve Austin) and “Ohio Valley Wrestling – Class of 2002” (Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, John Cena) are still relied on for big spots. Hell, the WWE will even put Shane McMahon into big spots to create buzz. The FACT is that Wrestlemania 32 was struggling to draw during 2016 until Shane McMahon returned and was placed in a Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker. The WWE has tried to have Roman Reigns defeat members of both clubs, as he scored wins over Undertaker/Triple H from the Attitude Era and Lesnar/Orton/Cena from the Class of 2002. Yet, Reigns is STILL not over and the older guys are being brought back to headline the Australia and Saudi Arabia shows.
Until these International and Wrestlemania shows stop relying on the veterans to come back and actually work the shows, WWE management needs to own any criticism coming their way regarding wrestlers not getting over. Many people should be fired over that.
But they won’t.
Consider this… Why are the Bella Twins back? As my buddy Adam Kelcey suggests, and I agree, the Bellas were brought back to pop a number based on their endeavors on the E! Network. One would think that the existing women’s roster would draw on their own but the Bella Twins have to be brought back once again. They seem to always take those big spots.
Nobody is drawing, guys…
An amazing point was recently brought up by Paul Heyman regarding Brock Lesnar. Those big TV Deals equating to over $2 Billion over the next 2 years for both USA Networks and FOX were negotiated while Brock was WWE Universal Champion. There is more truth to that statement than you think and I wonder if executives at Comcast and FOX are kicking themselves right now? Nah… FOX just got paid over $80 Billion for their assets per the Disney deal and Comcast was willing to put up $70 billion for that same 20th Century FOX package. Both companies are flush with cash and the fact is that a more successful WWE could have taken more of their money away with those TV deals. FACT.
Despite Brock Lesnar coming back, it won’t change my mind… I am officially retiring from column writing on October 26th, 2018 which is my 20th Anniversary of being Mr. Tito at LordsofPain.net. It’s just time… I pretty much made up my mind around Wrestlemania 34 when that show was disappointing and following a WWE that tries to push the “Roman Empire” just doesn’t do it for me as a wrestling fan.
It’s a shame, because I gave the WWE a real chance this year… I actually attended TWO live events this year with the Smackdown and Extreme Rules shows in Pittsburgh while covering each WWE Pay Per View this year for LordsofPain.net. However, the WWE has beat the will out of me as a wrestling fan and the other promotions in the world (NJPW, ROH, Impact, etc.) do nothing for me.
I’m in the homestretch now… THANK YOU very much to my longtime readers for their ongoing support. I’ll keep pounding out these columns until the 20th Anniversary column when I turn out the lights because the party is over.
Mr. Tito’s Top 10 Tag Teams
Part of my “going out of business sale” has been producing top 10 lists… Some of these have been compiled from a while ago when I considered creating YouTube videos. For the Tag Team lists, I have to consider actual set tag teams and not just 2 singles wrestlers teaming up for the sake of going after titles. The exception to that rule would be Edge/Christian who were a set tag team for a long period of time.
Missed the Cut: Steiner Brothers. Loved that tag team, just wish that they had bigger success as a team beyond WCW. Hall and Nash were good together, but I consider them singles wrestlers. Loved Powers of Pain. ECW favorites Eliminators and Gangstas deserve mention, loved them. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin were great together as well.
#10 – New Age Outlaws
Oh, you didn’t know? As personalities and especially as heels, these guys were great. Billy Gunn and Road Dogg were two “misfit” wrestlers who seemed lost during 1996 when their companion wrestlers moved on (Jarrett to WCW, Smoking Gunns breaking up). These two unlikely wrestlers hooked up and became the #1 heel tag team instantly. They were like a Tag Team version of the Honky Tonk Man and always found a crooked way to retain their Tag Titles. Amazing microphone work by Road Dogg to really sell this team and they grew exponentially when they joined DX.
#9 – The Acolytes/APA
Same thing as the New Age Outlaws. Farooq (or Faarooq, depending on the spelling at the time) and Bradshaw were both lost until they were paired up to act as a demonic tag team that the Jackyl (Don Callis) first introduced and then joined the Ministry of Darkness. Ron Simmons and John Layfield were legitimate tough guys and they became a more lethal version of the Road Warriors for a period of time. Then, they reformed their characters to become the Acolyte Protection Agency which created many funny backstage segments.
#8 – The Midnight Express
I want to emphasize here that the Midnight Express is my personal favorite tag team of all time, specifically the Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane teaming. They are only lower on my list because they had multiple iterations of the group and they were never always pushed as the top team (often helping to enhance other teams). That and I’d argue that the team functioned well due to its manager, Jim Cornette, whereas most of the other teams on this list weren’t as reliant on a manager. It’s a shame that NWA/WCW didn’t push Eaton/Lane stronger, as they were such a joy to watch in the ring.
#7 – Edge/Christian
Edge and Christian were individually great workers but they were amazing together as a tag team. In my opinion, their involvement in the TLC feuds with Hardys and Dudleys really made the in-ring work look stronger. Both guys could bump like champs and hit unique moves in those Ladder matches that maybe no other wrestlers could perform. On top of that, both had real personality that could add heat to those feuds. Their lack of longevity compared to their TLC counterparts is the only thing keeping them lower on my list.
#6 – Hardy Boys
Matt and Jeff Hardy appeared on the scene as enhancement talent but once they found an opportunity to shine, they took it. What I love about the Hardy Boys is their obvious chemistry from being brothers, as their double team moves are fast, efficient, and effective. Both wrestlers, particularly Jeff Hardy, were daredevils and just amazed you with their high flying abilities in the ring. Both wrestlers have tried to be singles wrestlers but they are much better as a team. It was such a joy to see them return to the WWE recently, as their Wrestlemania return to capture the tag titles was fantastic.
#5 – Rock N Roll Express
In my opinion, these guys set the stage for Tag Team wrestling to not only thrive for years to come, but to also open the window for many smaller wrestlers to get an opportunity to shine. Both wrestlers were just a shade under 6 feet tall but not overly muscular like many wrestlers on the card. Their pairing gave an opportunity for many promoters to see value in using smaller wrestlers for tag team wrestling. Not only that, but the RNR Express pushed many tag team moves and double team opportunities that influenced tag teams for years. They really pushed more up tempo matches, as well, that would often cause a tag match to steal the show from the rest of the card.
#4 – Hart Foundation
Anvil and Bret were an awesome team who added a more technical element to their double team moves and workrate that guaranteed you a good to great match each time with these guys. They just looked cool, too, with the shades and the outfits. Never had a bad match and if it weren’t for Bret’s singles wrestler ambitions, they could have had many more years of tag team dominance.
#3 – Demolition
These guys don’t get enough credit… Ax & Smash were great and were a big part of the late 1980s boom of the WWE. The WWE couldn’t get the Road Warriors at the time but these guys were equally as good for their time. In fact, I’d argue that Ax and Smash were better in-ring workers than Hawk and Animal. Their look was cool, as they seemed to take after the band KISS with their paint style. They should be in the WWE Hall of Fame but their concussion lawsuit against the WWE is limiting us from seeing them get inducted.
#2 – Road Warriors/Legion of Doom
Excuse me for a second… OHHHHHHHH WHAT A RUSH! Imagine cloning Hulk Hogan and making a tag team out of them. That’s what you essentially had here with Hawk and Animal. Two big, thick dudes with war paint and spike shoulder pads who were out to destroy any team in sight. The BEST tag team move with the Doomsday Device, too. Had their WWE runs been more successful, they would be higher on my list.
#1 – The Dudleys/Team 3D
The most accomplished tag team, period. These guys were perfect together, as they wrestled differently with their styles yet their teamwork was crisp and their personalities fit perfectly. They were ruthless in ECW but were then turned into a regular commercially successful team in WWE. Then, they went to TNA wrestling and kept winning as a tag team. The 3D is such a great tag team move, as I remember the first one they hit on poor Spike Dudley when they first formed. OUCH!
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
BUY THE BOOK!
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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