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The “Excellence in Column Writing” has returned, as they’ve let me out of the Retirement Home (or rubber room) to produce yet another column excluslively posted to LordsofPain.net. Where else can you find legit wrestling opinion that is unfiltered, fearless, and hasn’t sold out to any kind of funding or special interest. I remain 100% voluntary which means that the only thing “spent” is my free time and my desire to post this very column!
Now, I’m going to go back to my Top 10 list from last week to cover the highlights of the past week that was, 10/7/2019 through 10/11/2019. Simple format… There is just SO MUCH TO COVER right now and this seems to be a good vehicle to present it.
Mr. Tito’s Top 10 PHAT Highlights of the Week
#1 – Be patient with All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
As I’ve said repeatedly now… All Elite Wrestling was just formed in January. Yet through October, we’re expecting them to not only compete with the WWE but takeover as the #1 company in the world. Those are absurd expectations! It took Vince McMahon Jr. about 3 years to build his WWE nationwide empire while it took Ted Turner 8 years to officially defeat the WWE. All Elite Wrestling has 9 months as a company but just TWO WEEKS of airing television shows. Remember, it took WCW Nitro about 9 months of television to begin regularly defeating the WWE during mid-1996 and that’s with years as a working promotion behind it. Give the Khans and the EVPs a chance to figure things out while also building a roster. Yes, we can be very critical of the Indy darlings that they signed, but they must fill a roster to present on a 2 hour show weekly. With time, AEW will sign more talent, hopefully more disgruntled wrestlers from the WWE, and weed some talent out. AGAIN, this promotion is still too new!
#2 – New Car Smell is already gone.
Viewership for RAW, NXT, AEW, and presumably, Smackdown are all down this week. Now, I just told you about being PATIENT for my point #1… That is true. My point is that RAW, NXT, AEW, and Smackdown last week threw everything at the wall in order to get your attention. You can’t keep feeding your fans sugar every week… The Rock isn’t always available to appear on your show and Brock Lesnar won’t wrestle either. Additionally, all 4 shows had many Pay Per View level match-ups. What each of 4 shows or 3 promotions need is a stronger long-term vision instead of favoring the short-term one. Week #1 proved how NOT to run your wrestling promotion. You need to work on storylines with payoffs and character development that can make stars. Wrestling fans like to be a part of the process of the wrestler climbing the ladder to success and overcoming adversity there.
#3 – NWA’s Studio Show is not bad.
I did watch the YouTube National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) show. It’s not bad… And if it’s for FREE each week on YouTube, it’s worth your time. The atmosphere was cool, especially if you were a diehard NWA/WCW fan. I really loved seeing Jim Cornette on television again as well. The opening promo by NWA Champion Nick Aldis was KILLER, too… That’s what made studio wrestling great, the promos! He looked like and spoke like a real champion. Problem for him, as always, is how dull he can be inside the ropes. If only NWA had an experienced hand to help him with that presentation… It would be cool if they had that veteran on their announcing team to help out… As for the rest of the show… Well, it was OK. It proved to me that the nationwide wrestling talent pool is a bit thin right. The wrestlers tried, but I just wasn’t overwhelmed by the matches and the wrestlers weren’t unique enough to draw me in. Again, if only the NWA had a veteran who has a track record of developing talent on their roster… Oh wait, Corny is there!
#4 – Time for Paul Heyman to shine on the RAW roster?
As me and Ricardo Morales were discussing on Twitter this morning, RAW’s draft presents an opportunity for the “Executive Director” Paul Heyman to shine as a Creative Team leader. All of the WWE’s developed stars for the past few years (Strowman, Reigns, Bray) are on the Smackdown roster while RAW gets Drew McIntyre… RAW also gets guys that we’ve seen plenty of in the form of Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, and Bobby Lashley who have been either overexposed, had bad opponents make them look weak, or are just tired brands. Let’s see what Paul Heyman can really do… I figure someone like Riccochet will benefit from Heyman, as that’s a talent that is right up his alley. But the rest are projects that with the correct booking, could be strong main event talents. How good is Heyman in 2019? We’ll find out unless Vince keeps undercutting him.
#5 – Bayley’s new look… I don’t know.
A few weeks ago, I Tweeted that following Bayley’s “heel turn” when she attached Becky Lynch, she should change her look to reflect said heel turn. Notice how I said a “few weeks ago”. The WWE moved forward, however, as if nothing happened by presenting her like the babyface Bayley with the unchanged look, same tights, and the floaty things for her entrance complete with the goofy music. It left fans very confused… This week, she cuts the hair and dyes it black, cuts down her floaty things, has new music, and has modified her upper portion of her tights. Change is nice… But fix her tights, WWE. She looked awkward with the same tights style that she had in the past. It’s like we had a merger of the older Bayley from the neck down and the newer one from the neck up. They need to change her tone to look less like a Hippy and more like someone much more conservative. Molly Holly and Ivory’s heel turns are fine examples of that. Embrace the darkness and look the part as well. Find a new seamstress.
#6 – Rhea Ripley is a badass, enough said!
Honestly, I didn’t think that the WWE could find anyone to really challenge Shayna Baszler… Rhea Ripley looks the part and appears legitimately tough. THAT’s who the WWE main roster should be pushing instead of someone like Nia Jax who is booked to appear tough on WWE television but (a) cries backstage often about her bookings and (b) tells you about her feelings on Total Divas or other off-camera interviews. Ripley looks and acts the part and I believe that she’s probably legitimately tough in real life. This is the kind of bulldozer that a Becky Lynch or Charlotte should have to overcome, not some blonde that Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn like for her looks.
#7 – Chris Jericho still cuts the best promo.
Wow, man… People wonder why I keep banging the drum for CM Punk to return. Punk hasn’t wrestled since 2014 but can he still speak? YES HE CAN. Jericho keeps getting older and maybe his in-ring ability has deteriorated… But put a microphone in front of him, he’s still every bit as great as his WWE debut 20 years ago. This is why guys in their 40s can still thrive in the Pro Wrestling business while other sports are quick to terminate anyone who hits the age of 40. The promos keep the wrestlers alive, as the speaking ability is maybe 50% or more of how wrestlers get over. If you can’t cut a promo and effectively connect with the audience with your words, then why would they want to see you wrestle?
#8 – Remember when FOX said that they wanted to present WWE more like a SPORT?
So Smackdown LIVE started with Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins and damn it was a pretty good match. Goes to show you what experience working together can bring… Match was going great and the fans were into it. I could only imagine that the FOX executives were getting into it as well… But then Bray Wyatt’s Fiend tears a hold in the ring and enters to pull Seth Rollins into the ring with lots of production truck garbage going on with music or lights. If I were Seth Rollins, I would enter that WWE production truck and whoops some arse for whomever is helping Bray Wyatt. Plus, he could get one of them to squeal on where Bray Wyatt will be next… We had a great opening match ruined by “Sports Entertainment” and on top of that, WWE actually places Bray Wyatt onto the Smackdown roster. That is baffling unless we’ll get the old Bray Wyatt on Smackdown and the “Fiend” appears on RAW. I don’t know… But what I do know is that FOX can try to reshape the WWE, but the WWE won’t let them. WWE has your money now, boys!
#9 – I don’t care what is booked at WWE Crown Jewel
On the past few shows, the WWE has hyped how important Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez and Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury should be. Personally, I barely knew either guy as I don’t care that much about their sports… But even if I did, why is the WWE telling us how important these matches are on RAW and Smackdown but won’t give American fans first crack at it? Why are all of these important matches saved for those shows overseas? Well, I know… Money. When $25 million or so is offered to you per show, it is hard to resist… But what says they wouldn’t pay that money anyway? Isn’t it a 10 year deal with guaranteed money? Same goes for other matches… If you put Goldberg vs. Undertaker within a 200 mile radius of my house and most wrestling fans’ homes, we’ll pay top dollar to see that event. But no, you saved it for them… Ditto with Shawn Michaels making his in-ring return. And also Team Hogan vs. Team Flair, which could have been spectacular for Survivor Series. Money talks for the WWE and NOT the United States wrestling fanbase who MADE each of the wrestlers that the WWE is featuring in big spots over there.
Right now, there are hints that Stone Cold Steve Austin may want to wrestle 1 more match… I’m just going to say this right now… FINGER OF SHAME to you, Steve Austin, if you sellout to the almighty dollar for your 1 match comeback by wrestling overseas. The American fans MADE YOU into a household name and star. We were the first ones to fully buy into the “Austin 3:16” craze and we were also the ones selling out every arena that you appeared in from 1998-1999. Hell, many of us were buying tickets and Pay Per Views for when you were called “Stunning” Steve Austin. You are an American made icon and for you to wrestle your first match since 2003 in another country is an insult to the many wrestling fans who made you here in North America. I love you, Steve, but what Shawn Michaels “did for the buck” to wrestle his first match since his fateful retirement was insulting for the majority of fans who helped build his WWE career.
#10 – I really like Lio Rush.
205 Live has sucked because it lacked stars with personalities. Could they pull off typical Cruiserweight moves? Of course those wrestlers could, thousands out there can on the market. But what made WCW’s Cruiserweight Division COOL is that you had a real life Spider-man looking superhero like Rey Mysterio, a cold hearted technician and man of 1,000 holds in Dean Malenko, an awesome look and pure excellence with Ultimo Dragon, a complete wiseass with Chris Jericho, a member of the old clique named Sean Waltman, a guy that looked like a heavyweight in Psychosis, and a real depth of midcarders behind them. 205 Live sucked and had a bunch of “Plain Jane” wrestlers that nobody could get behind. That and 205 Live aired after 2 hours of Smackdown when the crowd was exhausted.
Lio Rush has everything that you had in Rey Mysterio during 1996 except he can actually speak while Rey couldn’t… Rey had an amazing selection of opponents, however, that made his job entirely easy. Problem is that Vince McMahon is allergic to wrestlers shorter than 6 foot and who aren’t well above 200 pounds. One could suggest that Triple H could build a strong Cruiserweight division as he did for Women in NXT, but Vince will be there to disagree with Triple H on any signing. Besides, any Cruiserweight-like talent that Triple H sees, he now saves for his NXT brand. All of those guys from Undisputed Era are undersized and won’t go anywhere in the WWE.
If only the WWE employed someone who once built a successful Cruiserweight Division… Or if only the WWE employed the guy who recruited those same Cruiserweight wrestlers in ECW before WCW raided their talent. Oh that’s right, those darned “Executive Directors” named Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman. Why aren’t they consulted more on how to rebrand 205 Live or the Cruiserweight Division? Why can’t you let them have a hand in recruiting talent?
PHAT RANKINGSTHE LAST WORD
To start Friday’s Smackdown LIVE on the FOX Network, Roman Reigns came out to wrestle a match with Seth Rollins. Just having the hardest pushed guy in the last 5 years come out to start the 2nd show following the 3.8 million viewed show told me that Vince McMahon has yet to give up on this guy. Come “hell or high water”, Vince McMahon still wants Roman Reigns to be the #1 babyface wrestler. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns again at the next Wrestlemania, but this time, it would be a definitive win…
FINE, if Vince insists on making Roman Reigns remain as his #1 pushed babyface… At the very least, I can at least try to help them succeed.
I’m looking at you, Vince McMahon, and I’m looking at you, Roman Reigns. I can get Roman over. This advice is 100% free and you don’t even have to give me credit for using it. Just put out a better Roman Reigns product and we all win. You get to push your selected wrestler and fans win by having a more entertaining Roman to watch.
If you hired me as a consultant, here is what I’d advise on for Roman Reigns.
WE NEED SPEED: Roman needs to get faster, as he’s too clunky in the ring. I believe that it’s his wrestling boots, which are more military in style with heavier soles and too much protection around his ankles. Roman is an ex-football player and should be able to tell the WWE how he could move faster.
NEEDS NEW TIGHTS: Sorry, but the bulletproof vest looks stupid and technically should be illegal since it would protect against body blows. That, and Roman still looks like a member of the Shield. Always wearing black, too… Make things a little more colorful and realize that guys like Kevin Owens need to cover up their torsos… Not you. Change up your look to resemble a combat athlete instead of a SWAT team member.
GO CLEAN SHAVEN or NOT: If you ever watch Roman from week-to-week, he is either clean shaven with just the goatee, stubbles around that goatee, or a full beard. Never consistent. It just looks like he shaves once every 3 weeks. Part of being a marketable wrestler is having a consistent look but also looking like you are “above it all”. Getting lazy on the shaving just doesn’t feel very “elite” to your audience.
NEW MUSIC PLEASE: The old Shield music has to go. If you believe that Roman is your guy, they pay up royalty music for real artists or have composers place bids on creating new music. His music is TERRIBLE… The beginning sounds like a school’s fire drill going off while the rest is just noise. Hell, I’d bring back Jim Johnston, former theme music composer for the WWE, to send in a bid submission for Roman’s music.
YES, ROMAN WAS A FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: Embrace it. Making a Division 1 school’s football roster is a real athletic accomplishment, as is drawing some interest from the National Football League. Wrestlers like Bill Goldberg and others, their past football career was something bragged about on television to help sell their toughness as a wrestler. For much of Roman’s WWE career, it was ignored… It was awesome to see Roman on College Gameday earlier this year but the WWE go further. They should seek FOX Sports and see if Roman can write a weekly football column covering both College and NFL and put him on Fox Sports television and radio often. It would be a bonus to have Roman appear on FOX not just as a WWE wrestler but as a football analyst as well.
But then with his in-ring character, he should do moves that associate him with football. Obviously, the Spear. Why did Bill Goldberg do a spear that was so devastating? Because he did it in football… So why does Roman’s sometimes act like a finisher too? Because he was a football player. Getting to my “Roman should be faster comment”, for any heel running from Roman, he should catch them with his speed and tackle them like a defensive lineman.
How the WWE IGNORED Roman being an ex-football player for YEARS is beyond me.
NO SCRIPTS: Just give Roman talking points and send him out there… Some people just aren’t good at reading lines or conveying emotion as to what the writer/director wants.
Consider hiring Jim Cornette to be his agent. Maybe Paul Heyman Many will think that I’m crazy for this… Cornette’s strengths are teaching wrestlers how to cut promos or how to sell a storyline/angle. That is his expertise… What is Roman weak at? Bingo. Paul Heyman is also great at both of those skills and he’s already on your payroll. Just let Roman work one-on-one with Cornette or Heyman for a few days and then let him cut promos on his own without ex-Hollywood writers giving him garbage.
Use Jake Roberts to teach psychology. Jake Roberts connected with the fans well on doing simple moves inside the ring… It’s about psychology, the art of selling moves and how to torture your opponents to make fans react. Nobody is teaching it right now in the WWE, so why not bring out the best? If not Roberts, see if Steve Austin, who learned from Jake, is available. Roman needs to realize that “less is more” inside the ring. He does too much running and high impact moves each match that wears out the viewing audience. Roman needs to conserve energy and can do so by incorporating more psychology. WWE lacks former wrestler agents backstage to help Roman in this aspect of the business.
Incorporate MMA Moves: What made the Undertaker improve as a wrestler during the 2000s? He stole moves from Mixed Martial Arts… So why can’t Roman? Add more ground and pound moves to also get him away from the usual high impact or outside brawling style that Roman has that quickly wears him out inside the ring.
SUBMISSION HOLD: Roman needs a trademark submission hold. Now, for years, I used to suggest a submission hold that my brother used to apply on me and his friends… It’s real simple… Take Iron Sheik’s Camel Clutch hold but mix in a Full Nelson… I’m telling ya, it is impossible to escape and looks impressive with the way you can arch the back. WWE could call it the “Reign of Terror”! He could do moves that work on arms and the back to help set it up (i.e. psychology). The submission hold can’t be one of those moves that anyone can escape, either… Like Jericho’s Boston Crab that everybody escapes.
Let us get to know you better… Wrestling fans never knew that Roman once recovered from Leukemia during the past until, well, it came back during late 2018. WWE kept his personal life so mysterious in favor of pushing the fictional character named Roman Reigns. Yet, the Roman Reigns character seemed so fake and contrived. When Roman spoke from the heart when he gave up the WWE Universal Title, we actually connected with him… My perspective today on Roman is much different than before that announcement. That and he just went to the ring and spoke without a script… You’re a former football player, what’s your family like, why are you called “Roman Reigns”, etc. Why did you even want to become a pro wrestler? What inspires you to perform? Instead of just being some test-tube WWE baby, we care about the human being behind the Roman Reigns persona (or stage name).
Very simple changes… I just don’t know if he could be the next Austin, Rock, Cena, or Hogan… Those guys had intangibles that you just can’t teach or train. If you listen to Jim Ross talk about the first time he met the Rock, all he had to see was how everyone in a restaurant reacted when seeing or meeting Rocky. That’s it… The Rock has a magnetic personality that you just can’t teach.
But Roman can certainly improve and be a good drawing star for the WWE yet on Smackdown live. If you, the reader, have any ideas to help improve Roman Reigns, just put some Comments below… If Roman getting pushes is something that will always happen, let’s help the WWE make it happen with our positive suggestions.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Play my Pro Wrestling themed Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
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
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