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Why A SmackDown Star Will Win The 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble…And Why it’s Dolph Ziggler



As the Royal Rumble looms over our heads, WrestleMania season grows more and more pertinent. Every angle currently in process has a little bit of extra weight behind it because it keeps us guessing what WWE will do with it in time for the biggest event of the year. And Dolph Ziggler is…gone?

WrestleMania 34 is back in the Mercedes Superdome and it’s shaping up to be a huge event. The Universal title match has been somewhat set in stone since last year though – Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. Now I’ll let Vince McMahon run amok and I look forward to the corral of boos over this match, but I’m really much more invested in the WWE title picture.

WWE AJ Styles Dolph Ziggler WrestleMania

The Champion

AJ Styles should hold the title at least until WrestleMania. There is some room for concern because of the handicap match Styles has against KO and Sami Zayn at the Royal Rumble, but I believe that is just a placeholder for now. In my opinion, that match is bound to go awry for the heels and see AJ pull out the win in favor of the continued management storyline between the “Yep!” movement and Shane McMahon/Daniel Bryan. Although it seems like a great pivot based on a hot storyline, I think that AJ is too big right now to lose here.

AJ Styles needs a viable opponent at WrestleMania, and that could range anywhere from Kevin Owens in a one on one contest to Shinsuke Nakamura in a Wrestle Kingdom 10 rematch. The candidate pool on SmackDown however is not as strong as one would think.

The Candidates

Let’s talk about the possibilities here. Since RAW’s main event is decently clear based on recent booking decisions (keeping Roman and Lesnar away from one another), SmackDown has the element of surprise. As of right now it seems like a SmackDown star is more likely to win the Royal Rumble match because the opportunity to headline WrestleMania is a bit out of reach for everyone on the blue roster. Let’s go through a few options for the winner here.

Randy Orton

Not everyone’s first pick because he won last year and has kind of fell off the radar after losing to Jinder Mahal, but I can still see WWE going with this. A heel Orton against a face AJ is something we haven’t really seen yet. The two clashed on SmackDown in opposite roles, but Orton works best as a heel. If Orton is given his first heel run in a good while, this match could work. I’m not saying to have Randy win the rumble, but if he did it may not be terrible for an impending Mania match.

John Cena

Groans all around here, but Cena is a likely candidate as any to win another Royal Rumble. Recent reports across sites such as the Wrestling Observer though note that Vince is planning “something bigger” for Cena than just a title match, so I think it’s not in the cards this year. John Cena is also technically a free agent so even if he did win, it’s uncertain if he would use his Mania match to rekindle a feud with AJ Styles.

Shinsuke Nakamura

Now here’s the match of a lifetime. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is a money match for hardcore fans everywhere. This is an easy option for a show stealer at the grandest stage of them all, as the two have spectacular chemistry and history, not to mention that they’re two of the most talented active in-ring workers today. The only gripe I have with this though is that I’m not sure if Shinsuke is at that level or rank in WWE yet. He is certainly a main event caliber star, but his booking since he debuted on SmackDown has been quite underwhelming. I can honestly see the possibility of him being in another big match come Mania (maybe an interpromotional contest?), but the best course of action for Shinsuke may be to garner some more big matches in the next year and challenge a game AJ Styles at WrestleMania 35.

Kevin Owens

Surprisingly, I do not think this is a viable match either. KO and AJ had a decent feud with some fun matches over the US title in the summer, but I doubt we really want to see the same feud repackaged for WrestleMania. Something tells me KO will have another WrestleMania where he is involved in some sort of grudge match. Maybe he has another lapse of best friend loss and ends up combating Sami Zayn at Mania? If they threw together a feud with KO and AJ I’m sure they would do great, they just need to steer clear of using recycled material.

WWE Dolph Ziggler AJ Lee WrestleMania

Dolph Ziggler

Now here is my big pick. I think that Dolph Ziggler will enter and win the Royal Rumble to challenge AJ Styles at WrestleMania. After being out for a little while, I can see Dolph being a surprise entrant in the rumble in order to win and get the respect he deserves. Dolph has a great motive set in place to be “the man” in the company like he never could be. If WWE wants to really go all the way with this storyline, what better culmination then to have him fight for the WWE title at WrestleMania? Dolph vs AJ could very well be a show-stealer and it could see a heel Ziggler (maybe with his career on the line…again?) defeat AJ Styles for the title he’s never held. Or Ziggler could lose and not resign with WWE, but I doubt they’d let him main event WrestleMania right before he leaves to work somewhere else.

The Verdict

Overall, there are a few good candidates to fight AJ at WrestleMania (assuming he keeps the title). Most of them however are shaky and not fully fleshed out, but I think that Dolph Ziggler really has the most going for him within this pool of contenders. Either way, since RAW’s main event is basically set in stone, that leaves someone to grab the brass ring over on the blue brand, and I’m very excited to see who it is.

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AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?



With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass

Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed

The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!

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King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!



Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.

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