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Top 5: Matches Of The Week Ending 12/10/17

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With the results in tow, we can focus on the last last month that feeds into The Chairshot: Match of the Year. The final winner of November was, Moustache Mountain vs Pete Dunne & Mark Andrews @ NXT. 

So what makes this coming vote different is, the overall winner of November voted upon this week. Let’s go over the November matches before jumping into this week:

NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

Smackdown Live! : WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal 

NXT Takeover War Games: Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream

NXT: UK Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Pete Dunne

NXT: Moutache Mountain vs Pete Dunne & Mark Andrews

Now that we’ve revisited last months top matches, let’s dive into December and see what this past week manufactured.

5. Raw: Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns vs Jason Jordan

So this is the match that everyone thought they didn’t want, but ended up winning over most fans, including the live crowd. Jason Jordan is one of the best WWE Superstars in terms of in-ring ability, but hot damn is his character terrible. If this is developing towards a heel turn, then I supposed he’s playing whiny entitled Millenial very well, but if not, well then his career will suffer.

The match was over twenty minutes of nice power moves, paced well with some storytelling and even a submission attempt by Roman! But any jokes aside, it’s hard to find any issues with the match besides it went on a little too long and the wrestlers aren’t exactly fan favorites.

Plus the aftermath with Samoa Joe helped to muddy up the Intercontinental Title scene as well as bleed into a possible angle with the other members of The Shield. All in all, this match built nicely towards possible stories and continues to give us less reasons to boo Reigns.

Ranking: Gold V

4. SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Sami Zayn

Much like the Raw match, this sets things in motion nicely, on top of being a decently entertaining match. While the end result was a little obvious, this could lead to something most fans are a little excited for.

Randy has been playing the physical embodiment of Shane McMahon’s wrath against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This match had an interesting stipulation with Kevin Owens being handcuffed to the ring rope, but beyond that it was how you’d expect any two heels to try and figure out how to win. Orton dominates most of the match, Owens gets out of the handcuffs and attempts to help Zayn, but Orton still manages a victory through the shenanigans.

Afterwards, the two heels beat down Orton, who we learned earlier will be facing them at Clash of Champions with a partner of his choosing. As they try to soften up Orton before the PPV, Shinsuke Nakamura comes in for the nice save, confirming in the ring that he’s willing to partner with Orton, and they pose as the show fades out.

Ranking: Gold V

3. Impact: Eli Drake & Chris Adonis vs Johnny Impact & Petey Williams

These four guys, as well as Alberto el Patron have been keeping the main event scene of Impact Wrestling very tolerable. Petey seems to be the chosen Canadian since Impact has relocated, which is awesome since he hasn’t really lost a step and deserves a main event push.

Many of you may have figured that Adonis is in this match to eat a pin, and you good sir or madame would be completely correct. However, Adonis holds his own surprisingly well. He has an early exchange with Johnny which gives his team a quick edge. As the match continues the heels try to take some short cuts, but the faces remain resilient and manage to overcome the cheating. Johnny still uses Starship Pain, and would look more impressive if he connected better on the finish.

After the match, Alberto el Patron comes through the crowd and puts a beating on Eli Drake and stands over him with the title. So Alberto’s tirade against everyone is keeping the title picture kind of interesting since it’s not a normal black and white dynamic.

Ranking: Gold IV

2. Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate at Korakuen Hall:  Ryo Saito vs Shingo Takagi

Now from a previous match list I did, we know that Ryo Saito is the Open the Owari Gate Champion, which is the comedy championship. This doesn’t sit well with Shingo and the rest of the Verserk stable, so this match was a way for Saito to prove himself. If Saito loses, he will be forced to join Verserk as the lowest member, so the proverbial piss boy of the heel stable.

It’s worth noting that Shingo Takagi is a former bodybuilder and trained by the same man that trained Evil from New Japan’s Los Ingobernables de Japon. That’s important since the size disparity is fairly large and Shingo has that same vicious brawling style many of us have come to be aware of.

As the match goes on, it becomes more and more obvious that Takagi isn’t taking him seriously. Even goes as far as grabbing the Owari Championship Belt and tearing it apart, then using it to beat Saito with. Even without knowing Japanese, the story is very obviously that Shingo thinks Saito is below him and starts to toy with him.

Arrogance, is the downfall for Takagi. Aside from purposely allowing Ryo to hit certain moves on him, his outside managers start running interference and throwing in many foreign objects. So Takagi goes to hit Saito with a CHAIRSHOT while he’s being held, he misses and hits his manager instead. This gives Ryo the opportunity to hit a Dragon Suplex and barely hold on for the pinfall victory.

Should be interesting to see if there’s any fallout from the loss to the comedy champion. But I just hope Takagi gets some good storylines, because his ability is definitely on main event level.

Ranking: Gold III

1. NXT: Johnny Gargano vs Kassius Ohno

Well leave it to NXT to continue proving that WWE does Indy style better than the Indies. With Velveteen Dream’s injury, William Regal had to find a new opponent for Kassius Ohno, and this turned out to be a great surprise.

Gargano has been on a fairly monumental losing streak and Ohno has been the guy to face if you need to right the ship, and look like a million bucks while doing it. This match was exactly that, a great back and forth fight that had Ohno take an early advantage, and get a few very believable near falls thanks to Gargano’s lack of winning lately. But, Johnny showed the typical babyface heart and resiliency to work through an early beating and catch Ohno by surprise. A quick exchange and bouncing off the ropes, Ohno catches him, spins him around and Gargano locks in his crossface submission Garga-No Escape.

This win puts Gargano into the number one contender fatal four way, breaks his losing streak and could snowball nicely into a championship match. One more win and he gets a shot to avenge his loss from Takeover: Brooklyn III against Andrade. So things are looking up for Johnny Wrestling, should be fun to see how far it goes.

Ranking: Gold II

So next week will begin the Match of the Year vote, but first we need to find out who wins from November. My choice for best match of November is, NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi , this match had everything you could ask from wrestling.

As for this week, Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate at Korakuen Hall:  Ryo Saito vs Shingo Takagi ,  a well told story in the ring, as well as showcasing an amazing not very well known talent in Shingo Takagi, is what puts this over the top to me.

I look forward to what all of The Chairshot personalities decide upon, and when the match of the year vote starts, that should be really interesting to see how different it is from other places.


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Now Is The Time For WWE To Experiment

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WWE Iconics

Few people will doubt my bonafides as a fan of WWE. I’ve been watching almost nonstop since the summer of 1990. I lasted through the sex scandals & the lean years of the mid-90s. I stuck with the company through the doldrums they went through after everybody else went out of business. I’ve been around for John Cena’s entire career & I’ll make it through Roman Reigns’ as well.

With all of that being said, my fandom has ebbs & flows. My interest level in WWE falls right around this time every single year. Once the calendar flips over to September, other things start competing for my attention. The TV ratings & other metrics used to determine level of interest in WWE indicate that I’m not the only one. There are a lot of things competing for our attention as we head into autumn.

  • Of course, there’s the beast that is the NFL. No matter what type of a hit the league has taken from becoming a political hot-button topic, they still dominate the landscape. Sunday Night Football & its status as the top-promoted game each week pretty much kills the wrestling PPV business. Monday Night Football puts a dent in Raw’s most weeks. Add in the college flavor, and that’s a good percentage of people’s weekends booked.
  • Baseball is heading into its postseason. Not such a big deal where I live, but most of WWE’s major markets have baseball teams that are involved. Fans of the Sawx, Yanks, Cubs & other top teams are all into that right now.
  • The NBA is still pumping out storylines & trade speculation. It’s becoming a year-long thing. I mean, Jimmy Butler is pretty far down my list of compelling figures in the association, but people are still going crazy over his potentially leaving Minnesota.
  • Hockey’s almost back. That takes up most of Canada’s free time. Speaking of which, I need to write about the Predators at some point.
  • Heck, when we think about legendary sports figures making unexpected comebacks, anything Shawn Michaels can pull off will pale in comparison to what Tiger Woods is doing. Golf is becoming a thing again, folks.
  • There isn’t just sports. I’m not big into TV series until after they go off the air, but my best friend watches too many of them to count. The fall season starting inevitably leads to him complaining about how there’s way too much stuff to watch & not enough time.

No matter what WWE does this time of year, American interest goes down. It never fails. They could be running five-star matches every single week. Wouldn’t matter. Some of their wrestlers could be cutting some of the greatest promos ever, which would be replayed for decades afterward like they were Dusty Rhodes or something. Wouldn’t matter. They could bring back every legend under the sun to try & get attention. America’s attention would still be elsewhere.

WWE’s next three major shows are a bit outside the box. Super Show-Down takes place on Saturday, October 6 in Melbourne, Australia. Evolution is an all-woman show being held on October 28 at the Nassau Coliseum. Then we’ve got Crown Jewel, the second all-man show taking place in Saudi Arabia this year. That’ll be on Friday, November 2. Three brand new extravaganzas. Two are taking place outside the United States. One is a brand new concept to WWE. All three make sense to me, especially during this time of year.

If Americans aren’t as interested in WWE during this period of the year as they are during WrestleMania season or the summer or whenever else, why not try to engage other markets? Australia has seen yearly tours from WWE since 2002, but they’ve never held a PPV event in the Land Down Under. They do enough business on these tours to keep coming back, and we’ve seen the pipeline of female Australian talent start to bear fruit with the likes of Emma & the Iiconics. I see no reason not to give Australian WWE fans a major event of their own.

I’m not as cool with the House of Saud as many of my colleagues at the Chairshot. I’m not as sold on Triple H’s ability to effect change in the Kingdom & convince Mohammad bin Salman to let WWE’s female competitors wrestle in Power Ranger outfits someday. I watched very little of the Greatest Royal Rumble event. I only watched the Rumble match because I like Rumble matches, and Styles vs. Nakamura because I thought that was a big deal at the time. I can’t comment on the propaganda aspect because I avoided it.

Triple H Saudi Arabia Greatest Royal Rumble

I get the capitalistic part of it, and recognize that there isn’t a wrestling promoter that ever existed that would turn down the money that WWE got paid to run events in the country. If anything ever fit my podcast catchphrase “It is what it is”, this would be it. WWE can run events there. Nobody’s forcing people to watch them, at least not here anyway. I don’t know if this is like the North Korean wrestling shows where people were forced to attend or not.

What better time to run shows in an unpopular country here than a time of the year when we’re not paying attention? Makes sense to me!

There’s been some word around the campfire that Shawn Michaels will make his big in-ring comeback in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have even implied that Hulk Hogan will be on this show, which given their social record would make sense. I can see the argument against both of these returns happening on this show, but I can also see the returns building the hype for something more, like an eventual HBK match at WrestleMania. I think of it as an experiment. If Michaels can’t go anymore, a match on this show isn’t a big enough stage to kill his legacy. If it works out and he wants to do more, his eventual return on American soil will draw more money.

WWE Evolution

Then we got Evolution sandwiched in the middle of the Australia & Saudi Arabia events. #GiveDivasAChance has come a long way, no doubt about it. How many times have we commented about the NXT women stealing the show, or the Horsewomen getting the strongest reactions, or Alexa Bliss & Carmella being the best heel champions on the whole roster? The women getting their own show to themselves is long overdue, even if the reverse sexism people want to try and make hay out of it. Tough luck, guys. Go find some male vs. male customs to watch instead.

If you’re going to try a new PPV concept, why not iron it out this time of year? Nobody expects WWE to get this right the first time around. We’ll have some awkward dream matches. There will be Bellas involved. I’ll love it for that, most online people won’t. Some key performers like Alexa Bliss & Sasha Banks are currently injured and hopefully that won’t mess things up too much.

If it does…hey, it’s in October! Nobody’s watching anyway. If the show bombs we can blame it on the competition from everything else in the world. Football, baseball, TV, the upcoming mid-term election, whatever.

This is the perfect time of the year for experimentation. I applaud WWE for taking advantage of it, even if I won’t fully pay attention.


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Opinion

WWE Hypocrisy With Women’s Wrestling

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WWE Nikki Bella Divas Division

WWE has a rocky history with their involvement with Women’s wrestling. For a long time, women in WWE were looked only looked like eye candy for the male audience of the WWE programming and in a lot of ways women are still looked like eye candy for some WWE higher ups of the promotion run by Vince McMahon.

The look of a wrestler has always mattered in WWE no matter the gender, but women in WWE have always in a way had it harder than  men in a lot of ways. Vince McMahon has always preferred blonde female wrestlers with big breasts with lacking wrestling ability. Let’s remember the case of AJ Lee, a higher up in WWE told her that she was not attractive despite the fact is that Lee is a beautiful woman but she did not have the WWE look and instead The Bellas who have the WWE female look they want were pushed over her.

WWE likes to give credit to The Bellas as the starters of the ‘’women’s revolution’’ with Stephanie McMahon as the mastermind but this is far from the truth. All the credit to this women’s revolution should be thanked to Triple H and the 4 Horsewomen of WWE, whom with outstanding performances let the way to the current state of women’s wrestling in WWE and bring hope to the future to women’s wrestling in WWE.

Despite all the progress WWE has made in terms of women’s wrestling there are still some things that haven’t change. For example, Vince McMahon likes blonde wrestlers in a big way or the fact some female wrestlers have to make a breast augmentation surgery, so they could be pushed is still in WWE. The last match that not included a Blonde wrestler in a WWE women’s title match was October of 2014 in a match between Paige and AJ Lee. Making clear Vince McMahon and WWE creative have a type.

WWE accepting doing the Saudi Arabia show is throwing to the garbage all the progress made in women’s wrestling since 2015. The fact WWE is going to make shows in a country were women are not allowed to performed is bad already but the worst offence is the fact they do propaganda saying Saudi Arabia is this progressive country when in reality women are still treated as second class citizen and some of the progress they are making is still being tried to reverse back to some of the laws and rules against women they had.

The biggest mistake WWE could do in their history is promoting the Saudi Arabia show Crown Jewel in the first ever female PPV Evolution and the fact this is most likely to happen makes Evolution become from a celebration of women’s wrestling to a mediocre apology to the women in WWE.

WWE calling themselves moral compasses is just wrong when we can still see in the current state of the promotion that there is a lot to work to be done to improve women’s wrestling in WWE instead when WWE Is making the right steps it makes 10 steps backwards with Crown Jewel for the sake of money when they like to tell the fans they are doing this for social and cultural change which is far from the truth. Maybe with Triple H in charge we will see more change for the positive in all divisions of WWE specially for the women.


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Fake Sport, Real Numbers: WWE Wins & Losses

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Ruby Riott WWE

Samoa Joe has a worse record than Sarah Logan? Five tag teams have the same winning percentage as Curt Hawkins? Dean Ambrose is just a guy already? Silly wins and losses! If you only mattered in WWE!

Note: All records mentioned below pertain to the period since WrestleMania 34.

What do you know, these win/loss records aren’t completely detached from reality! For example, now that Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey has dispatched with Alexa Bliss, it appears she’s the target of Ruby Riott, who happens to be, by record (11-4), the rightful number one contender. Indeed, Riott and her whole Squad have some of the more respectable records on Raw. We can assume those will suffer as all three women will likely be fed to Rousey one-by-one in the coming weeks, but if they can step up their extracurricular chaos-making, they’ll pose believable threats to the champ. After Riott, the standings don’t offer many challengers to Rousey. Perhaps Nia Jax will demand some reciprocity for the title shot she offered Rousey earlier this year. Sasha Banks and Bayley have the popularity to cut in line and make Rousey back up her claim of being a fighting champion, and fans would probably ignore the fact that they are a combined 13-24.

The records below spark plenty more questions about the state of WWE a week after its Hell in a Cell event. . . .

ODD MAN OUT

Roman Reigns is the Universal Champion, poised to carry the belt over one shoulder and WWE’s flagship show on both. Seth Rollins is a weekly highlight with the workhorse title, the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Meanwhile, fellow Shield member Dean Ambrose is newly returned from nearly a year on the DL, and at 2-2 hasn’t exactly enjoyed any comeback momentum. Even if he does manage to pick up some wins soon, is he likely to set his sights on his brothers’ championships? A better use of the Lunatic Fringe might be matching him up against Braun Strowman once The Monster Among Men and Reigns take a break from the dance they’re destined to do forever.

If WWE’s recent attempt to make a villain of Becky Lynch has only fortified her fanbase, its similar shot at making Braun a bad guy has left the WWE Universe confused. Somehow the company’s biggest brute has produced the heel turn equivalent of a limp handshake. Months of Ambrose absorbing Strowman’s superhuman beatdowns could be just the thing to turn the fans against him. His various attempts to murder Reigns over the last year and a half only made the crowd fall in love with him because they generally wouldn’t mind seeing Reigns crushed in an ambulance. But they mostly like Ambrose.

SOLITARY

The Usos are 1-6 in the WWE tag team division, but 6-2 outside of it. Time for an amicable break-up to pursue singles glory? Or for Jimmy Uso to sharpen his announcing, and pencil, skills?

FALL FROM GRACE

Sixteen active current or former world champions are sitting at .500 or better, but 12 have sub-.500 success. Of course, pointing out that statistic risks burying the lede; on a roster of about ninety active competitors, 28 can say they’ve been a world champ. That’s just world titles. And most of those reigns occurred this decade. And, obviously, that number doesn’t include former roster members, and former champions, like CM Punk or AJ Lee or Alberto Del Rio or the returning Rey Mysterio, who have also captured world championship gold in recent years before leaving WWE. What’s worse, that so many people have been tested out in the top spot over the years, or that so many are portrayed as losers now?

NO WINS SITUATION

Five active tag teams have yet to win a two-on-two tag match since WrestleMania. Toss in the Good Brothers and the Usos, and that number rises to . . . two. If we’ve been paying attention, the takeaway is this: If you’re a singles wrestler, there’s a decent chance you’ll climb to the mountaintop; if you’re in the tag team division, there’s a decent chance you’ll be stabbed to death by your sherpa over a poker dispute before you ever get to the mountain.

KO-MIZ-ERATING

Former WWE world champions Kevin Owens and The Miz are a combined 10-28. You’re literally better off picking Lana to win a match.

Finally, Would You Believe . . . ?

. . . New Day are downright dominant as a tag team (6-1), but no better than .500 in matches outside the tag division?

. . . Rollins and Finn Balor have combined for fifty matches on WWE television since WrestleMania? And Owens has been part of 22 (and, yes, has only won five)?

. . . Jinder Mahal has the same record as Liv Morgan?

. . . Sheamus has just one more win than R-Truth, including singles and tag team matches? And even though he’s wrestled in five more matches? What’s up with that, fella?

THE FULL LIST!

RAW W L % SMACKDOWN LIVE W L %
Ronda Rousey 5 0 1.000 Kane 1 0 1.000
Nikki Bella 2 0 1.000 Jimmy Uso 5 1 .833
Roman Reigns 16 5 .761 Zelina Vega 4 1 .800
Braun Strowman 17 6 .739 AJ Styles 11 4 .733
Bobby Lashley 11 4 .733 Becky Lynch 10 4 .714
Ruby Riott 11 4 .733 Asuka 7 3 .700
Seth Rollins 17 8 .680 Charlotte Flair 11 5 .687
Apollo Crews 2 1 .666 Andrade Almas 10 5 .666
Nia Jax 6 4 .600 Brie Bella 2 1 .666
Sarah Logan 7 5 .583 Cesaro 2 1 .666
Ember Moon 11 8 .578 Shinsuke Nakamura 8 5 .615
Natalya 9 8 .529 Daniel Bryan 11 7 .611
Rezar 1 1 .500 Jeff Hardy 12 8 .600
Curtis Axel 3 3 .500 Eric Young 4 3 .571
Brock Lesnar 1 1 .500 Randy Orton 4 3 .571
Dean Ambrose 2 2 .500 Naomi 5 4 .555
Mojo Rawley 4 4 .500 Rowan 2 2 .500
Dash Wilder 2 2 .500 Luke Harper 3 3 .500
Scott Dawson 2 2 .500 Xavier Woods 5 5 .500
Finn Balor 12 13 .480 Maryse 1 1 .500
Elias 5 6 .454 Jey Uso 1 1 .500
Bobby Roode 6 10 .444 Big E 4 5 .444
Baron Corbin 7 9 .437 Rusev 7 9 .437
Drew McIntyre 3 4 .428 Samoa Joe 5 7 .416
Liv Morgan 6 8 .428 Carmella 4 6 .400
Jinder Mahal 6 8 .428 Alexander Wolfe 2 3 .400
Bo Dallas 2 3 .400 Lana 3 5 .375
Dolph Ziggler 4 6 .400 Killian Dain 2 4 .333
Alicia Fox 2 3 .400 The Miz 5 11 .312
Alexa Bliss 7 11 .388 Aiden English 1 3 .250
No Way Jose 3 5 .375 R-Truth 1 3 .250
Bayley 6 11 .352 Peyton Royce 2 6 .250
Sasha Banks 7 13 .350 Karl Anderson 1 3 .250
Titus O’Neil 1 2 .333 Kofi Kingston 2 7 .222
Chad Gable 2 5 .285 Mandy Rose 2 7 .222
Kevin Owens 5 17 .227 Billie Kay 2 8 .200
Mickie James 2 9 .181 Shelton Benjamin 1 5 .166
Dana Brooke 1 5 .166 Sheamus 0 2 .000
Akam 0 2 .000 Luke Gallows 0 3 .000
Matt Hardy 0 3 .000 Big Cass 0 4 .000
Fandango 0 1 .000 James Ellsworth 0 1 .000
Tyler Breeze 0 4 .000 Primo Colon 0 1 .000
Curt Hawkins 0 5 .000 Shane McMahon 0 1 .000
Goldust 0 1 .000 Sin Cara 0 5 .000
Heath Slater 0 1 .000 Sonya Deville 0 7 .000
Konnor 0 1 .000 Tye Dillinger 0 3 .000
Kurt Angle 0 1 .000
Rhyno 0 1 .000
Sami Zayn 0 6 .000
Sunil Singh 0 1 .000
Viktor 0 2 .000
AoP 10 0 1.000 New Day 6 1 .857
Roode & Gable 2 0 1.000 Bludgeon Brothers 5 2 .714
Ziggler & McIntyre 8 3 .727 Rusev Day 2 2 .500
Deleters of Worlds 8 4 .666 Team Hell No 1 1 .500
B-Team 6 5 .545 Bar 2 5 .285
Revival 4 7 .363 Good Brothers 1 4 .200
Fashion Police 1 4 .200 Usos 1 5 .166
Slater & Rhyno 0 6 .000 Colons 0 1 .000
Titus Worldwide 0 6 .000 Sanity 0 1 .000
Ascension 0 7 .000

You can find more of Sam’s work at https://thesamethingwrestling.blogspot.com!


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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