Category Archives: Total Divas

MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – How to Make the New RAW & Smackdown Brand Extension Successful

NOTE FROM TITO: I’m monitoring the situation with Brock Lesnar, but I’m letting the situation play out. In case you haven’t heard yet, Lesnar has been alerted by UFC regarding a possible violation from a sample specimen taken on June 28th (Los Angeles Times/Wrestling Observer). Lesnar has already responded with “we will get to the bottom of this” to the Associated Press. Until more information is known, no comment… But damn, if true, the hammer will fall if WWE’s Wellness Policy missed something on their end and also Lesnar’s UFC 200 victory. STAY TUNED.


Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at / So, the Brand Extension train is coming and there’s nothing that I can do to stop it. For months now, I’ve tried to advise against it… (a) WWE Roster is too think and (b) Creative infrastructure cannot handle it. However, the WWE is beholden to the USA Networks and their absurd desire to host 5 hours of LIVE wrestling content on back-to-back days. Plus, I can only shout so loud with this column as many WWE lemmings are willing to jump off the cliff with this brand split idea.

But hey, I pride myself on writing a column that doesn’t just complain. I give ideas and advise wrestling promotions to the best of my abilities based on my many years as a wrestling fan and my actual experience working in a corporate setting.

Therefore, I will attempt to advise how to make the 2016 RAW/Smackdown Brand Extension successful… I’ll be honest and professional as possible, even though I’m completely repulsed by the idea that Stephanie McMahon remains on RAW… But I’ll keep the Stephanie bashing reserved and let you enjoy it in my last column. Again, if you want to remain a wrestling fan, you’ll have to endure the significant changes happening to RAW, Smackdown, and indirectly, NXT. Bigtime roll of the dice that if done correctly, could work… But the WWE cannot fumble the ball.


Don’t Create a New World Title
Here’s my plan for the Titles on the RAW/Smackdown brand extension of 2016:
– Intercontinental Title – RAW Exclusive Singles Title
– United States Title – Smackdown Exclusive Singles Title
– *NEW* WWE Television Title – Must be defended on BOTH RAW and Smackdown each and every week – Champion is allowed to travel to each brand and returns to their drafted brand once title is lost. TV Title is also required to be defended on Pay Per Views. I would also recommend 10-15 minute time limits that are mentioned and sold.
– WWE Title, Women’s Title, and Tag Titles remain and champions are allowed to travel to each brand. When they lose their respective titles, they return to their drafted brand. Make the WWE Title special… Move it to the brand in need and make it feel *special* whenever the WWE Champion appears on a brand. In fact, I would use the WWE Title for dark matches following televised events to help pack in larger audiences for the show. Ditto for Women’s Title and Tag Titles. Champions appear on the brand with the wrestler(s) they are feuding with and move when needed.

WWE Title, Women’s, and Tag Titles do NOT have to be on every RAW/Smackdown show. Use the “30 Day Defense” rule. I would let the Intercontinental and United States Titles become the primary titles of each brand along with the Television Title. Protect the WWE Title and make it a special attraction for the WWE Network for its defense. WWE Champion doesn’t have to appear on every RAW/Smackdown show if the IC Title/United States Title are booked right. Ditto with having the Television Title appearing on both brands.

Raid NXT – But evolve the promotion into a Cruiserweight Promotion
Samoa Joe, Nakamura, American Alpha, Revival, Finn Balor, Bailey, and Asuka should be called up to the Main WWE roster. THEY ARE READY FOR THE BIG TIME. With that being said, the NXT roster is completely depleted… However, WWE is hosting the Cruiserweight Classic… The wrestling world is thick with smaller wrestlers who are incredibly talented as this CWC will prove. Hire them and let them be on the NXT brand once the talent raid happens. Hell, even create the NXT Cruiserweight Title.

Hire Kurt Angle as RAW General Manager
Angle is the PERFECT man for the job. We haven’t seen him in the WWE since 10 years ago and there is some legitimate tension that still exists from his exit that WWE could utilize. He’s an amazing speaker who has the talent to switch between heel and face to combat talent. But he could also talk down Stephanie McMahon, too. After all, they could actually play up their 2000 storyline romance to create some workplace sexual tension that could draw well. Angle is PERFECT to headline RAW as its General Manager (or COO?).

Keep Stephanie McMahon away from Male Wrestlers… But push her HARD against Females
Stephanie has given male wrestlers tons of damage over the years, particularly WWE Champions that the McMahons weren’t all the way sold on (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, etc.). She has been able to talk them down and ZERO revenge happens. Yes, that is domestic violence… But female wrestlers can hit back. We saw that with Brie Bella but the WWE could do better with the babyface opponent. Bayley vs. Stephanie McMahon is PERFECT and it could easily rip pages out of Austin vs. Vince and get away with it. Better yet, the WWE could play up that Stephanie is CRAZY jealous over Bayley because (a) Stephanie’s daughters consider her a hero and (b) Triple H is proud of Bayley’s accomplishments. The heat is there and better yet, Stephanie can actually wrestle. Stephanie versus the Women’s Division creates a compelling storyline that is much needed for the 3 hour RAW.

Change the Production/Look of Smackdown
I have to credit Mr. Jason Powell from his appearance on the Jim Ross Podcast for this idea… If Smackdown just looked different from a production standpoint, such as different camera angles, lighting, stages, format, etc. Powell was suggesting even letting another producer run Smackdown but I doubt Kevin Dunn would give up his precious spot in that WWE Production Truck. However, Dunn himself can change things up for Smackdown’s production and push that Shane McMahon is in charge and making recommended changes.

Treat RAW/Smackdown like Sports Franchises
I suggested this in another column… NO 2017 Draft to reshuffle the deck. We’re DONE with that. What I recommend is that RAW and Smackdown are treated like professional sports franchises to perform the following:
(a) No more Drafts of existing wrestlers or reshuffling – RAW/Smackdown must trade with each other for changes.
(b) However – Have an annual “rookie” Draft of developmental wrestlers. WWE could play up wrestlers working their way up in developmental and hype the importance of each brand drafting first. Furthermore, RAW/Smackdown could trade draft picks for existing wrestlers…
(c) Bidding system for any free agents who are joining the main WWE rosters.
(d) Both have a Salary Cap/Fixed # Quota of Wrestlers that both Commissioners have to abide by and need to consider making “cuts” if they go over the Cap/Quota.
(e) Both have open Injury Lists and can place wrestlers on the Injured Reserve/Disabled List. When placing a wrestler on the DL, this allows RAW/Smackdown an open roster spot for considerations.

Non-Title Matches are BANNED
Either the Title is on the line or the champions don’t wrestle… Just place the damn titles on the line and use the simple mechanics of DISQUALIFICATIONS, COUNTOUTS, and TIME LIMITS to protect the champions. Remember – titles cannot change hands when those 3 events occur, except when specified. How do you think Ric Flair made fans believe that ANY wrestler could take his WCW World Title? He used that Disqualifications rule to his advantage to remain champion. If you don’t use one of the 3 methods, let the heels cheat to win. It builds heat.

Use Paul Heyman on a Creative Team
Stating the obvious. Heyman was the Creative Lead for Smackdown during 2002-2004. It is a FACT that Smackdown outdrew RAW regularly. Midcarders need this guy and guys like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, Jack Swagger, the Miz, etc. could use Heyman’s creativity to get their characters over.

RAW’s 3rd Hour becomes TV-14 or even TV-MA
How to you make RAW interesting for 3 hours? Make the 3rd hour, which airs from 10pm to 11pm, to fly off the handle! Let the language get rougher, let the violence increase, etc. WWE can more than advertise that the first 2 hours of RAW are “safe” but that it’s up to the parents’ discretion to let their kids watch hour #3 or not.

Hype matches ahead of time
Can’t say this enough… Announce at least 3 matches ahead of time for each show. Too much booking on the fly, or the appearance of, has eroded the credibility of WWE to appear like a valid sporting event.

Trademark Finishers & Submission Holds
Not a Brand Extension suggestion per say, but my usual recommendation… Why can’t every wrestler just do John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment to win a match? Ditto for the RKO or Pedigree? WWE needs to create a Trademark Office that allows wrestlers to “trademark” ONE unique finishing move and unique ONE submission hold. If, for example, Brock Lesnar did an RKO on Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2016, Lesnar would be disqualified. Automatic rule. It protects the finisher and eliminates the logic of “why isn’t the entire roster doing RKO finishers?”.

END Hell in a Cell, TLC, and Extreme Rules Pay Per Views
Just do it… Those gimmick Pay Per Views are STUPID. “Hey, it’s October, time to wrestle in a big freakin’ cage”. Better yet, TLC is completely redundant with Money in the Bank’s Pay Per View. Lots of WCW Pay Per View names to use, but also RAW/Smackdown brand specific names used from the past as well.

Put Sponsors on the Ring, Tights, etc., and make it brand specific.
Said it for years… WWE is missing out on a ton of advertising dollars by not placing ads on the ring, turnbuckles, posts, ring barriers, ring apron, and wrestler tights. I know that advertisers can cheap it up, but who cares what’s on the ring when someone gets bodyslammed on it?

Put wrestling veterans and former creative guys on the WWE Creative Team
Jim Ross, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Vince Russo, Dutch Mantel, Bruce Pritchard, Jim Cornette, Kevin Nash, and a whole list of wrestling veterans are out there and have in-ring knowledge to give. I’m NOT saying giving these guys full reign, but many of those guys know the business extremely well. Austin and Foley, in particular, are untapped as creative forces… Just listen to Austin’s Podcast and you’ll hear how intelligent he is about the business. Foley is a creative writer who has published a handful of books. WWE needs more WRESTING guys to get in the ear of Vince McMahon to help him produce a better WRESTLING product.

And finally…

Triple H & Vince McMahon – Limited Use on TV
Vince and Triple H are just too powerful in the WWE… Vince is CEO/Board Chairman, Triple H can wrestle just 1-2 times a year and yet he’s dominant. “Less is more” with both of those guys as they always suck the air out of the room upon arrival. The more important thing to perform while HHH is used less on television is continue his training as an executive. What he’s missing is the financial side of things. Much of HHH’s past before wrestling was bodybuilding and working in gyms. Could he fully comprehend changes in WWE’s Balance Sheet, Income Statement, or other key ratios? Does he know how to make projections for shareholders? Does he know how to manage wrestler salaries?


LAST WORD: So there you go… Legitimate ideas to consider for the RAW/Smackdown brand extension. I still worry about the Roster and the Creative Infrastructure, but that’s just my opinion. I HOPE THAT I’M WRONG and that it’s a success. I’m still a pro wrestling fan and want to continue being a pro wrestling fan. I really dislike what might happen to the NXT brand which I’ve really enjoyed for the last year. I personally thought that WWE achieved legitimate success with the NXT brand and could have made that into the true #2 brand instead of splitting RAW and Smackdown again.

Again – I hope that I’m wrong about my RAW/Smackdown brand extension worries… But if I am, opportunity knocks for other promotions to rise up and strike. I’m afraid that ship has already sailed and the brand extension’s failure to make new stars could put nails in pro wrestling’s column.

I always laugh at the argument of the “Brand Extension creates new stars”. NO, Paul Heyman creates new stars. Aside from Batista and sort of with Randy Orton, what did RAW create again from 2002-2011? Lots of Rodney Mack, Snitsky, and Eugene wrestlers created… Umaga wasn’t bad, though, and is an example of a random tag wrestler getting an opportunity. When I keep mentioning the “Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002”, it’s very specific to producing the 2 biggest stars of today’s WWE, John Cena and Brock Lesnar, two “Paul Heyman Guys” from Smackdown 2002-2004. And Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr., and others saw serious growth during 2002-2004. And Heyman salvaged CM Punk when he was at Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Heyman is RIGHT THERE, WWE… He’s on your freakin’ roster. USE HIM!


Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – How to Make the New RAW & Smackdown Brand Extension Successful

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Lesnar notified of potential doping violation


The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition drug test administered June 28.

Lesnar, 39, returned to the Octagon for the first time since December 2011 to defeat Mark Hunt via decision. The pro wrestling star remains under contract with WWE and declined to say whether he would fight in a UFC match again.

Lesnar told The Associated Press in a statement, “we will get to the bottom of this.”

The UFC announced Lesnar’s potential violation on Friday. In a statement, the UFC said it was not informed of the potential violation until Thursday which explains why Lesnar was able to compete at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas.

“The UFC organization was notified today that [USADA] has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 28,” the statement said. “USADA received the testing results from the June 28 sample collection from the [World Anti-Doping Agency]-accredited UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory on the evening of July 14.”

Under the UFC’s anti-doping program, which is administered by USADA and went into effect in July 2015, results management and adjudication of the case falls to USADA, as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission, due to the fact Lesnar’s fight took place in Las Vegas.

The NSAC is already involved in another case regarding UFC 200. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was removed from UFC 200 three days prior to the event due to a potential violation, is also facing discipline from the NSAC.

Lesnar (6-3) announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in 2015, but ultimately decided to return to the UFC for a “one-off,” to which WWE agreed.

Lesnar has not before tested positive for banned substances in his UFC career. It is also unknown at this time what the potential doping violation is for a banned substance or a banned methodology.

The AP also obtained copies of three letters from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to Lesnar, informing the fighter that he had passed tests on three samples submitted over a nine-day period in mid-June, mere days before the sample with the potential violation was collected.

It is standard procedure for USADA to not immediately divulge the cause of the potential doping violation.

Under the UFC’s program, any retired athlete who wishes to return to competition must first be subjected to a four-month testing window.

The UFC is able to grant exemptions to that requirement, however. Due to the unique circumstances of Lesnar’s return and his contract situation with the WWE, the UFC decided to waive that four-month window for the first time.

Despite receiving an exemption for the four-month requirement, Lesnar did submit eight tests to USADA, according to the agency’s website.

Hunt, 42, referenced that exemption numerous times leading up to the fight. In an interview with MMA Fighting on Friday, Hunt said he has asked UFC officials for half of Lesnar’s $2.5 million guaranteed purse or to be released from his contract effective immediately.

“The cheaters get a slap on the wrist and walk off,” Hunt told MMA Fighting. “What penalty or deterrent is there to make them think twice? Nothing. And the [Nevada Athletic Commission], why should these [expletive] get anything? They are not the ones who had to fight with Lesnar or lose [to him]. I lost.”

Hunt told MMA Fighting that he has yet to hear from UFC.

When asked about the topic of performance-enhancing drugs during a pre-fight international conference call, Lesnar responded, “I’m a white boy and I’m jacked. Deal with it.”


Originally posted here –

Lesnar notified of potential doping violation

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Update on Cameron’s Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

– Below are the top 10 moments from last night’s WWE RAW in Grand Rapids:

[embedded content]

– WWE has nixed the “OMG! ECW’s Top 50 Craziest Moments” DVD and Blu-ray from the 2016 calendar, according to It may be released in the future but it was scheduled for this November and is being replaced another title that will be announced soon. The ECW set had been in the works since last fall and was set to feature new interviews with Taz, Tommy Dreamer and Joel Gertner, among others.

– WWE just released a limited number of extra seats for the next Cruiserweight Classic tapings on August 26th, seen below:

We just released a limited number of tix for the next #CWC on August 26. Head to to get them before they are gone!

— WWE CWC (@WWE_CWC) July 15, 2016

– Cameron is staying busy with her post-WWE acting career. She tweeted the following this week:

Giving special thanks to my talent agents who have been holding it down #blessed ????????

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

Today is long but wouldn’t change it for the world! 2 auditions back to back, acting class for 4 hours and now off to a business meeting!

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Update on Cameron's Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

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Possible WWE CWC Injury, WWE Fans on Stables and the Draft, The Miz Filming (Photo)

– Johnny Gargano may have suffered a leg injury during a match at last night’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic tapings from Full Sail University. In what was described as a scary spot, Gargano flipped onto his opponent outside of the ring but his legs hit the timekeeper’s table and chair also. Gargano sold a leg injury but finished the match. He was checked on by a trainer after the match and then helped to the back. No word yet on if the injury was legit or not.

– WWE has a new poll asking fans which group they most want to see stay on the same brand through the WWE Draft – The Social Outcasts, The Club, The Wyatt Family or WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day. As of this writing, 52% went with The New Day while 27% voted for The Wyatts and 18% for The Club.

– WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz was in Austin, TX filming an unknown project on Thursday. He tweeted the following:

More here:

Possible WWE CWC Injury, WWE Fans on Stables and the Draft, The Miz Filming (Photo)

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John Cena Working on a New Project, Athletes In WWE (Video), New DDP Promo

– Diamond Dallas Page is featured in this funny new promo for his “DDP Yoga 4 Mamas” workout:

[embedded content]

– WWE posted this video looking at various pro athletes showing up in the company:

From the #HBKLine to @RondaRousey at @WrestleMania, @WWE is ALWAYS intertwining with the world’s greatest athletes!

— WWE (@WWE) July 14, 2016

– John Cena is getting dirty in the desert this week, apparently filming a new project. He tweeted the following comments after hosting the ESPY Awards and then a photo this morning:

Take time to contemplate failure, and enjoy success, but always move forward. From the stage, to the sand, a new day brings a new challenge

— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 14, 2016

What a difference a day makes! Headed back to the desert for another dirty day then fly to NYC for @WWE @TheGarden

— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 15, 2016

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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John Cena Working on a New Project, Athletes In WWE (Video), New DDP Promo

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Spoiler: Another Title Change at Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling Tapings

James Storm defeated Eli Drake at Thursday’s TNA Impact Wrestling tapings to become the new King of the Mountain Champion. The match should air on the August 4th Impact episode.

This is Storm’s first reign with the KOTM Title. It looks like his first defense will come against Bobby Lashley, who issued a title vs. title challenge that was accepted by Storm. No word yet on when that match will take place.

We have full spoilers from last night’s show at this link.

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More


Spoiler: Another Title Change at Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling Tapings

Women's Tag Team Match Announced for WWE Battleground, Updated Card

Dana Brooke and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks and a partner of her choosing is now official for the July 24th WWE Battleground pay-per-view. Here’s what looks to be the final card for Battleground:

Triple Threat for the WWE Title
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Darren Young with Bob Backlund vs. The Miz with Maryse

WWE United States Title Match
Zack Ryder vs. Rusev with Lana

John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Sasha Banks and a Mystery Partner vs. Dana Brooke and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

The Wyatt Family vs. The New Day

The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Women's Tag Team Match Announced for WWE Battleground, Updated Card

Spoilers: WWE Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinal Matches Set

Coming out of tonight’s second round WWE Cruiserweight Classic tapings at Full Sail University, we now know the quarterfinal matches:

* Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa

* Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins

* Noam Dar vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

* Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick

The quarterfinals will be taped on Friday, August 26th and then the series finale will take place on Wednesday, September 14th. That finale will air live on the WWE Network.

Spoilers from tonight’s tapings are at this link.

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Spoilers: WWE Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinal Matches Set

Doctor's Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?

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Posted in: Doctor’s Orders
Doctor’s Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?
By The Doc
Jul 10, 2016 – 2:26:14 PM

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About a year ago, a frequent collaborator on “The Doc Says” podcast – David Fenichel – suggested to me a column series that would begin to turn our historical attention toward that which came after the vaunted Attitude Era. With an eye on something fresh, he suggested that we identify the most accomplished wrestlers of the “post-Attitude Era” – from present day back to the night after WrestleMania X-8 as we have defined it. So, welcome to a labor of pro wrestling love roughly one year in the making.

We ranked our top 100 wrestlers based on a point system that involved headlining matches for WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, The Royal Rumble, and all other PPVs, combined with a points formula based on titles won and length of reigns. While it was more difficult to ascertain the status of certain members of the WWE – namely tag teams, divas and legends w/ short tenures during this era, we believe that this is as unbiased of a countdown as you are going to find. Chad and I did a tremendous amount of work putting this together for you, so we hope that you enjoy the ride.

70. The Bella Twins
69. Hardcore Holly
68. Luke Harper
67. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
66. AJ Lee
65. Big E
64. William Regal
63. Finlay
62. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
61. Lita

Doc: The Bellas are another female act that I just don’t know how to rank. Yes, Nikki is the longest reigning Divas Champion ever. Yes, Brie headlined a Summerslam. Yes, the sisters have been the stars of an underrated WWE Universe-expanding venture with reality TV. However, their association with the return of the women’s match to potty break status is well documented among the internet circle. Is that fair? To an extent. The bottom line is that, unlike the women of NXT or the Trish-Lita-Victoria (etc) group from a decade ago, the Bellas and the other women in their camp never did anything to stimulate interest in women’s wrestling, either from fans or the people in charge of booking them on TV. All we can do as historians is evaluate what we see and what we largely saw from the Bellas was forgettable. They’re here because of Total Divas.

Dave: Chad let his internet fandom get the best of him regarding the Bellas. He glossed over their incredible accomplishments as if they were nothing. Nikki being the longest reigning Divas champion is an enormous accomplishment. That alone should get The Bella ranked amongst the best females of this era. Additionally, Brie Bella was involved in the best hyped female match ever. Stephanie McMahon was one of the biggest focal points of Summerslam 2014. It is the ONLY Divas’ match to ever occupy a headlining spot on a Big 4 Pay Per View. These are accomplishments that cannot be ignored. The Bellas are crossover mainstream stars because of Total Divas. I argue that they are the most recognizable current wrestlers not named John Cena. Their overall impact cannot be taken lightly. I think we probably undersold them here, and they should be ranked higher on our countdown.

What do Hardcore Holly and the Bella Twins have in common? They both stuck around long enough that the more talented people consistently pushed ahead of them moved on, giving them opportunities to shine during fairly inconsequential periods of their divisions in the WWE hierarchy, consequently inflating their place in history. Truth be told, I don’t mind Holly any less than I mind the Bellas, but make no mistake that he was a lengthy Tag Team Title reign with Cody Rhodes subtracted and a broken neck suffered at the hands of someone not named Brock Lesnar away from being left off this list entirely. His marginal skills, like Nikki and Brie’s, probably don’t justify as high a position in a historical rankings discussion, but when you statistically analyze anything, there are going to be outliers. With the personality of a guard dog and only marginal wrestling talent, Holly is one of the biggest outliers on our list.

While it is a lot more fun to argue with Chad, I’m going to have to agree with him here. Unlike the Bella Twins, Hardcore Holly was a complete waste of space. He couldn’t wrestle, couldn’t talk, had the charisma of a dead moose, and was an absolute garbage fire behind the scenes. Chad correctly pointed out that his accomplishments were the type to score well in our criteria, making him an outlier on the countdown. I think that while all that is correct, it’s his longevity that allowed him such a prominent ranking here. Truth be told, Bob Holly might be one of the biggest overachievers in the era. He’s a guy who lacked talent in any of the areas that generally determine success and parlayed that into headlining a Royal Rumble and carving out a 10 plus year career. There is something admirable about that.

Luke Harper is interesting case to me. He is one of the most underrated talents in the WWE. He’s an absolute monster and can bring it in the ring. His look may limit his long term success, but he is one of my personal favorites. Just like Erick Rowan, he earns his place on the countdown for being a member of the Wyatt Family. He gets a higher ranking due to his noteworthy Intercontinental Title run. I really enjoyed his ladder match against Dolph Ziggler, and I consider that to be one of the better matches of that gimmick in recent memory. Unlike surefire superstars like Kevin Owens, it will be interesting to revisit Luke Harper’s career in ten years to see if he ever breaks out of his current role as a background player. The talent is there, but I’m not sure the pieces will fall together for him.

Interesting that Dave should bring up the idea of revisiting Harper’s career in ten years, as that’s the closing statement to just about every conversation about Harper’s long-term prospects that I have had. I agree with my colleague; Harper is a personal favorite. He blew me away in the classic series between The Wyatt Family and The S.H.I.E.L.D. two years ago and, with each opportunity he’s had to shine since, he has maintained the sterling reputation he has among fans and peers alike. Harper is what the modern “big man” should be. The world of pro wrestling has shrunk; calling it “the land of giants” is silly to me in 2016. The longest reigning World Champion of the last 25 years looked like the short order cook at Waffle House and the biggest star of the Reality Era made Chris Jericho look huge. Harper is the ideal kind of talent to lead the redefinition of the larger wrestler.

Paul London and Brian Kendrick are the next in the growing list of talents on our list who I have a hard time placing in proper historical context. Their biggest claim to fame? They hold the distinction as the 2nd longest reigning champions in the lineage of the current Tag Team Titles. I wish not to beat a dead horse, but the knock against that accomplishment is that the period in which that accomplishment was achieved was not exactly a sterling period in the division’s history. Considering that said reign was mostly responsible for their ranking, though, I think it’s fair to reassert the primary argument against them. It’s what makes these discussions interesting to me, at day’s end. All that talk aside, I was a big fan of their tandem because I knew what I’d get from them – a 3-star tag team match and maybe an occasional classic (see the 4-team Ladder match at Armageddon ’06).

I enjoyed London and Kendrick as a tag team, but was surprised at the teams they ended up ahead of in our rankings. Truth be told, having the 2nd longest WWE tag title reign of the measurable period held a tremendous amount of weight in our scoring criteria. Chad is correct. London and Kendrick did thrive in an era where tag team wrestling was not at its peak. However, I am confident that they would have been successful in the current era as well. They were both fantastic workers, had great team chemistry, and were over with the fans. It should also be noted that they had individual success, including cruiserweight titles reigns, competing for a world title on Pay Per View, and arguably the most memorable Royal Rumble elimination ever. While not world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, they most certainly earned their spot on our countdown.

It is without question that AJ Lee is one of the top ranking Divas’ of this era. While Nikki Bella may have the longest reign as Diva’s champion, you will be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t think AJ Lee had the best title reign. Not only was her title reign lengthy, but it was filled with excellent matches and important title defenses. More importantly, AJ had the best character of any Diva during this time period. She played the crazy persona to a T that allowed her to participate in main-event storylines involving Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kane. She was a great wrestler, a phenomenal valet, and an entertaining General Manager. A big part of me wishes that AJ had not retired along with CM Punk, as she would be thriving in the current landscape of physically dominant female wrestlers.

Though I do share Dave’s overall opinion of AJ Lee, I do not share his sentiments that her title reign was vastly superior to any other from this or late last decade. It started off promising with the best women’s match to that point since Trish’s retirement match; three months later, she cut the Pipette Bomb to separate herself from the Total Divas, but it never went anywhere. Her defenses were mostly inconsequential. However, when she came back for her twilight run, she helped establish a higher standard for main roster women’s matches with Paige. For both her standout character and for her role in establishing the kind of culture for females in WWE that morphed into the Diva’s Revolution, she should be applauded. Someone asked me months ago, “Is AJ a Hall of Famer?” In my view, she absolutely deserves to get that nod some day.

Big E is an intriguing long-term prospect. I said last summer on “The Doc Says” that I think he could become one of the Top 5 most important players in WWE someday. There’s a certain amount of luck involved in pro wrestling success, but E has the charisma and the unique look to make it very high up the figurative ladder. The New Day has been a God-send for him, as the role of the generic babyface mid-card champion didn’t suit him (though he did grow as an in-ring performer from that experience, in my opinion). Having Kofi and Xavier to play off of has shown us a very entertaining side of him. They’ve also added the longest WWE Tag Team Championship (Smackdown lineage) reign in history to his resume to compliment a multi-month run as the Intercontinental Champion. Watch out for Big E in the next few years…

There is nothing that I enjoy more about the current product than Big E telling whatever city they are in not to be sour. Big E has everything it takes to be a huge superstar. He’s massive with a unique look. He’s physically impressive in the ring. He’s wildly entertaining on the microphone. Lastly, he provides the WWE with an opportunity to reach a segment of their audience that they speak to far too little. An African American champion in this day and age can bring a lot of new fans to the table. Big E’s spot on this countdown was well earned. He had a solid run as Intercontinental Champion, and is in the middle of an extremely impressive tag team title run as part of The New Day. Big E is another guy that could easily skyrocket up this list a few years from now.

You will be hard pressed to find a guy in the locker room more respected than William Regal. His place on this countdown is without question, with runs as Intercontinental and Tag Team champion to his credit. Regal was so damn good on so many levels. First, he had a knack for taking absolutely terrible storylines and turning them into comedic gold. Second, you won’t find anyone more accomplished or respected for his in-ring work. He has thrived in the role of mentor, and is the one guy that people like Daniel Bryan cite as their biggest influence in the industry. As great as William Regal’s in-ring accomplishments were, it will be his off the screen role as a teacher that will be his lasting legacy. As long as there are men like William Regal around, NXT, and the future of the WWE, are in good hands.

William Regal carved an interesting niche for himself in the post-Attitude Era as a utility wrestler who could be used on each of the three brands in whatever role was needed of him. He could be blessed with “The Power of the Punch” and be successful; he could form an anti-American tag team and be successful; he could mentor a mentally handicapped character and successfully relate to the audience just how much that young man had grown to mean to him; he could successfully engage the top stars of the era in the ring and on the microphone; he could provide stylistically unique (and brilliant) matches with great success that nobody else could perform; he could act as a member of a fictitious king’s court successfully; he could successfully portray an authority figure; he could be a successful top heel. There’s nothing Regal couldn’t do; and that is his legacy.

Finlay started actively wrestling for WWE in late 2005 after spending the previous several years as one of their trainers. As a trainer, he was largely responsible for the renaissance of the women’s division led by Trish Stratus, Lita, Mickie James, and others, who credit him for teaching them how to be pro wrestlers. When he returned to the ring, he excelled in a variety of roles, becoming a model for character consistency all the while; heel, babyface, upper-tier star or mid-card role player, he was true to his persona. Short of winning the World Title, there wasn’t much that he didn’t do during his five year run. He headlined a few PPVs, he was consistently featured on major events, he won the United States Championship, he competed in all the major multi-man gimmick matches (Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber, Royal Rumble). He’s an underrated success story of the last 15 years.

The WWE needs a guy like Finlay during every era. He’s a good but not great wrestler. He can talk but doesn’t have fantastic mic skills. His look is nothing special. He isn’t particularly charismatic. Nonetheless, Finlay was the guy that the WWE could elevate up and down the card at a moment’s notice whenever they needed a credible opponent for a star they wanted to spotlight. He could work as a heel or face, and while his feuds and matches might not be the blockbusters that people look back on with fond memories, you always knew that he was going to make the person he worked with come out better than before their feud. As odd as this may sound, I view Finlay as the 2005-2010 version of The Big Show of the early 2000s. His flexibility made him an unbelievable asset to the WWE.

The task of how to rank the biggest star of the Attitude Era on a countdown that measured the post-Attitude Era was not an easy one. If we took our 100 wrestlers and ranked them based on the entirety of their career, there is little doubt that Austin would be in the top 3 of this list. Unfortunately for him, his run was coming to an end right as the time period for our countdown begins. Austin continued to headline for the first several months of the era we measured, including a very underrated match against The Rock at WrestleMania 19. It’s too bad that the WWE didn’t know that this would turn out to be his swan song and give him a better sendoff. Despite his comparatively low ranking on the countdown, Austin is without a doubt one of, if not the greatest wrestler of all time.

I’ve been historically more critical of Stone Cold Steve Austin than the vast majority. He’s unquestionably one of the greatest ever, but the fact that he caught lightning in a bottle for a few years and then fizzled out in 2002 seems to get largely glossed over. As usual, I bring that up not to demean the man, but to be fair about his career. The fact of the matter is that Austin’s career post-Attitude is quite easy to contextualize. Sans for the swan song against The Rock at WrestleMania 19, the Rattlesnake’s most famous contribution post-2001 was deciding to “take his ball and go home.” He fell so quickly from the top that he was going to job to Brock Lesnar on Raw. Austin was all but done; the lightning had all been poured out of the bottle. That said, the last match of his career was amazing.

Lita and her greatest rival, Trish Stratus, are the easiest females to historically rank. The Extreme Diva was massively over from almost the word go. As the women’s division achieved greater focus around the period that our Countdown’s timeframe began, she started her competition with Stratus for the #1 spot. I’d say she was ahead of Trish when she went down with a neck injury during an accident ironically not in the ring, but at a TV shoot for the popular Jessica Alba-featured show, Dark Angel. Upon her return, she reconnected quickly with the fans and, when Stratus turned heel and began antagonizing her, Lita’s popularity skyrocketed. Those were the most intense women’s matches I’ve ever seen, their main-event on Raw for the Women’s Championship being the highlight for me (though Trish’s retirement match when the face-heel dynamic was reversed was incredible in its own right). Lita is a well-deserving Hall of Famer.

I consider this the part of the countdown where we reach our major players. Everyone left played a significant role in the era. Lita is the third highest ranked female on our list for good reason. She brought a high flying style to the women’s division that hadn’t been seen before. Her alternative punk rock personality was a huge hit with the WWE audience at the time. Chad is correct – prior to her neck injury she was the #1 female over Trish. Although she has several titles to her record, her crowning achievement in my eyes is being one half of the first diva’s match to main-event Raw. I don’t want to wrap this up without mentioning her tremendous main-event run as Edge’s valet during the mid to late 2000s. She was a huge reason that Edge skyrocketed to the main-event. Lita had a truly remarkable career.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Should Steve Austin rank higher or lower on the post-Attitude Era’s historical hierarchy?

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Doctor's Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?

My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON'T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground

Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON’T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground
By Super Chrisss
Jul 10, 2016 – 2:21:06 PM

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Tom Jenner rocks!

This morning, as I’ve been doing every Wednesday morning whenever I have the day off work/school, I sat back and listened to my good buddy The Doc’s weekly podcast on LOPRadio. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of listening to an old episode of “The Doc and Super Chrisss Show” knows that Chad and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on the world of pro wrestling. Today, however, there was no conflict: I 100% echo his sentiments that this month’s Battleground Pay-Per-View is NOT the time nor the place to book a triple threat match between WWE Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. This is not only a SummerSlam-caliber main-event, but also one worthy of ending a WrestleMania. To have the very first encounter between the three former Hounds of Justice take place at a filler PPV between Money in the Bank and SummerSlam seems a bit odd, doesn’t it?

That’s why – as you may have guessed just by clicking on this column’s title – I’m boldly predicting that Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns will NOT take place at Battleground.

“But hold on, Super C, the match has already been booked and WWE had the chance to remove Roman from the match following his suspension but they didn’t.” Yeah, I know that. But I also know that WWE is no stranger to altering or modifying a scheduled PPV match, especially at the Battleground PPV. If I may take a second to channel my inner Tito, here’s what I predicted about the very first Ambrose vs. Rollins match, set to take place at Battleground 2014:

”Has there been a more compelling feud in months than Ambrose vs. Rollins? Not to take anything away from the rest of the card (which has been booked surprisingly well considering it’s, well, the midcard), but ever since The Shield imploded last month, Ambrose and Rollins have been tearing the house down without having any actual matches. You see, WWE does know how to book a feud without giving away the match on free TV a half-dozen times before and after a PPV – they just refuse to do it. I’m aware I’ve already said this multiple times throughout the column, but for Christ’s Sake, I cannot believe they’re not saving Ambrose vs. Rollins for SummerSlam. Then again, maybe they are.

Hear me out. Monday on Raw, Ambrose was unable to compete in the main-event because of the gang-attack from The Authority’s henchmen at the start of the show. *SMACKDOWN SPOILER* Rollins comes out on this week’s SmackDown and says he can’t compete because he suffered an injury during Raw’s main-event. *END SPOILER* What if, come Battleground on Sunday, while The Lunatic Fringe is waiting for his back-stabbing brother to face him in the ring, Mr. Money in the Bank says he’s unable to compete because of the injury, which leads to: A) Ambrose being beat down by Kane, Orton, and Rollins, therefore unable to compete, or B) Rollins/Triple H selects a new opponent for Ambrose (maybe a returning Mark Henry?) Either scenario would prolong the feud until at least SummerSlam without giving away Ambrose vs. Rollins just yet. Sure, the live crowd wouldn’t be very happy, but remember – card subject to change!

Winner: N/A (match doesn’t happen).”

Many people thought I was insane for thinking that WWE would spend weeks promoting a major match between Ambrose and Rollins only to pull out at the very last second. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. Two years ago, the Battleground card was stacked with plenty of fresh/dream match-ups, so they could afford holding off on an actual match between the former Shield guys. This year’s card, although yet to be finalized, looks promising enough with The New Day vs. Wyatt Family, The Club vs. Cena, Enzo & Cass and probably Sasha vs. Charlotte, among others. Would anyone be really disappointed if WWE took Reigns out of the championship match at the very last-minute and we just got a one-on-one between Ambrose and Rollins? I doubt it.

Another recurring theme with Battleground is their poorly-booked main-events. The very first edition in 2013 saw The Big Show run-down and KO punch both Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, resulting in an unannounced, presumed double-DQ. One year later, in 2014, John Cena won a very boring and predictable Fatal-4-Way match to retain his WWE Championship. Last year, The Undertaker interrupted the ending of Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (their first one-on-one match, by the way) to set up the main-event of the following month’s SummerSlam. As you can see, the Battleground PPV is no stranger to controversy.

In my opinion, taking Reigns out of the Battleground main-event and delaying The Shield triple threat is what’s best for business. Reigns doesn’t even deserve to be in the match, quite frankly. He’s an idiot who decided to take something illegal when the company was counting on him to carry to the company on his shoulders. With a brand split on the horizon, he couldn’t have chosen a worse time to fail a Wellness Test, except maybe WrestleMania time. He let down a company who supported him relentlessly, even though he was getting booed out of nearly every arena he stepped into since The Royal Rumble. Even though TV ratings and tours he headlined wee doing abysmal numbers, WWE stuck with him through the thick of it. And his way of thanking them was to take something he shouldn’t have. Way to go, champ.

There’s the optimist in me who’s hoping that the decision to put the belt on Dean Ambrose, start pushing Sasha Banks again, and even (maybe?) giving Zack Ryder more TV time are all signs that WWE is finally starting to listen to their audience again. They tried pushing who THEY wanted to push and it blew up in their faces. Instead, people who the fans genuinely like are starting to receive TV time and opportunities. While the creative department still sucks, at least the cast members are more interesting and worth engaging in.

Getting back to Reigns, why SHOULD he be gifted a main-event championship match on PPV his very first night back? He undoubtedly screwed up a lot of creative plans for the next few weeks and many script re-writes have been necessary. Furthermore, Ambrose had to pull double-duty last week and the week before to fill-in for the shows that Reigns was booked for. While WWE is partly at fault for not building up more names worthy of headlining separate live events, 2016 has been a terrible year for injuries, and even Cena doesn’t seem to work house shows anymore. When Reigns was pulled from his live events, WWE didn’t have Cena, Orton or Bray Wyatt to replace him with. Reigns screwed up big-time and he doesn’t deserve to receive that Battleground paycheque.

Reigns-bashing aside, it’s the perfect excuse for WWE to prolong The Shield triple threat. They may be advertising Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns at Battleground – even having Rollins bury Reigns on the mic – but I smell a rat. Don’t be surprised if Reigns doesn’t show up at Battleground or is jumped backstage by his SummerSlam opponent, later revealed to be Brock Lesnar? I’m not sure how they’ll go about it, but I’m feeling confident that we’re getting Ambrose vs. Rollins one-on-one at Battleground, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Also, before you label me as insane, keep in mind that was I one of the only people who successfully predicted a Zack Ryder Intercontinental Title win at WrestleMania.

Just to be clear, I’m as excited for a Shield triple threat as the next guy. I simply don’t think Battleground is the right time. The WWE Universe will still be buzzing from the draft which takes place on the final SmackDown BEFORE Battleground. Also, Reigns not being around for the build-up makes it feel a bit empty. I’d rather they take the 2014 and tease the fans into thinking they’re getting a Shield triple threat later this month, only to pull the rug out on them at the very last second. Will it suck for everyone in attendance? Sure, but like I said – Ambrose vs. Rollins isn’t a bad consolation prize at all.

Save The Shield triple threat for where it belongs – SummerSlam or WrestleMania!


YOUR Two Centsss: Would you be disappointed if Ambrose vs. Reigns vs. Rollins doesn’t take place at Battleground?

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My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON'T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground