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Top 5: Candidates For WWE Intercontinental Champion

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The WWE Intercontinental Championship almost always ranks among the favorite of fans young and old. From it’s iconic design to it’s place within the roster, this championship is traditionally a crowd please. So, who is the ideal candidate to wear this title? Here are the Top 5 candidates!

5. Drew McIntyre

McIntyre’s first stint with WWE met it’s peak when he won the Intercontinental Championship, and while he should be primed and ready for a world championship, a reunion with his first single’s title would be a great image. It isn’t certain if he will return to NXT after his injury is healed, or he’ll head to the main roster. Hopefully he’ll go after the RAW belt and complete his circle of redemption.

4. Curtis Axel

Of course, the son of Mr. Perfect would be destined for the same title his father helped make prestigious. Axel did win the coveted championship early after re-debuting with Paul Heyman at his side. It’s been slow going for him since, with the Miz once again the champion, it gives him and Bo Dallas the opportunity to climb the ranks once again.

 

3. Bobby Roode

The current mid-card champion on SmackdownLive may be holding the wrong title around his waist. Since his time in NXT, Roode was compatible with the white strap. He may be content with his championship now, but sooner or later, he might have to make a glorious pairing with the I.C. Championship. He does posses the old school mentality that compliments the title so well.

2. Finn Balor

Balor has the fast-paced style that the strap was once famous for. Now with the Club reunited , Balor may be in the perfect position to capture the milestone while Reign’s fingerprints are now being scrubbed off of it. Since the main event scene is looking to become a bit crowded with Reigns and Lesnar at Mania, then Strowman and possibly Samoe Joe waiting in the wings. An I.C. title run would give Finn, and the Club, something to do, as well as give us some entertaining contests.

1. Tye Dillinger

Perfectionist characters have always been tied to the white strap, from Mr. Perfect, to Rick Rude; from the arrogant Shawn Michaels to the narcissistic Chris Jericho; from Dashing Cody Rhodes to the current champion. The same goes for the Perfect Ten. Tye hasn’t seen the best of times on the main roster, and while it may take a few weeks to build him up for a push to the top of the mid-card, it would be a welcome sight. Right now, he’s on SmackdownLive, home to the United States Championship


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AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe Is The Perfect Match-Up For WWE SummerSlam

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AJ Styles is the current WWE champion and arguably the best wrestler in the world. The man that built his career outside of Vince McMahon’s company is now on top of it and AJ’s fans would have it no other way. Styles is indeed an elite performer and deserves every accolade afforded him.

Now The Phenomenal One is without an opponent for SummerSlam on August 19. But that opponent will be named by Page on the July 24 edition of SmackDown Live. Cageside Seats is reporting that Samoa Joe is expected to be the man to face AJ at WWE’s biggest party of the summer.

This is indeed good news for WWE fans. Styles spent the past few months feuding with Shinsuke Nakamura and while it began on a high note, it became very ugly very quickly. The match-up could have worked and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t have. It was a great bit of booking after all.

The matches themselves were well wrestled, just as fans expected they would be. Styles and Nakamura are pros and many consider them to be the top two talents in the world today. It was a must-see feud and there was every reason to believe that each match would be an instant classic.

But that’s not how their rivalry is viewed now. Styles and Nakamura have chemistry but it was clunky and there never seemed to be a good rhythm to any of their contests. They did get in a groove toward the end, But by that time, it was apparent to many that Shinsuke was probably not going to win the WWE Championship.

Then there’s the low-blows. What began as a shocking twist to the end of their WrestleMania 34 match became the norm for every match. Nakamura was obsessed with taking the easy way out and though he is a heel, the point was driven home perhaps way too often.

The move cheapened their rivalry and caused many fans to tune out. It’s unfortunate because it ultimately defined the feud. The hard work that both men put in was not wasted but it was perhaps done in vain. How many fans will remember AJ Styles versus Shinsuke Nakamura for the actual wrestling?

AJ Styles proves himself against everyone he works and he did the same with Nakamura. Styles has no reason to do so because everyone knows how good he is. He has the respect of his fans and his peers alike. But AJ does not take a match off and he probably never will. So now that he has an empty dance card, the time is right to fill it with someone that can truly put him to the test. There is no better man to do that than Samoa Joe.

Joe and AJ have gone to war before of course when both men worked in TNA. Their rivalry in that company was legendary as both men were at the forefront of American wrestling outside of WWE. Theirs was an explosive, hard-hitting rivalry that carried a company to legitimacy.

Fans could only imagine a scenario in which Samoa Joe and AJ Styles would perhaps one day face off in a WWE ring. It was difficult to believe either man would ever join WWE, much less headline a WWE pay-per-view together. Now that impossibility may become a reality.

Joe is the perfect foil for AJ. Styles enjoys being in control all the time and Samoa Joe is uncontrollable. AJ is smooth in the ring and Joe is a destroyer. They are polar opposites of each other and that is why they match up so well. But they do share a deep desire to have the best match on the card and that will be evident when they lock up at SummerSlam.

So if that match happens, who goes over? As of this writing, AJ Styles has held the WWE Championship for 257 days. Both of his title reigns combined number 397 days. It’s safe to assume that the company not only believes in him but trusts him as well. Considering the storyline chaos surrounding the Universal Championship, should WWE make the move and crown a new champion on SmackDown Live?

Samoa Joe is certainly capable of wearing the gold. Like AJ, Joe can work a wide variety of opponents and versatility is a good thing when it comes to being a champion in WWE. Joe has great heat as a heel and even though he’s extremely popular with fans, Samoa Joe doesn’t have to do much to make them hate him.

Samoa Joe would be a tough challenge for any babyface on SmackDown Live, including Jeff Hardy and Daniel Bryan. Either one of those Superstars could main event against Joe any night of the week and steal the show. Perhaps it’s time for a heel WWE champion on the blue brand once again.

But of course fans cannot forget about Randy Orton. Orton’s recent heel turn on Jeff Hardy will likely lead the two into a feud and that feud will certainly not be pretty. The Viper is coldhearted and sadistic. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. How long until he wants the WWE Championship again?

If the company is planning long term, then putting the belt on Joe may not be the best move. But if Samoa Joe cannot dethrone AJ Styles, then who can? Samoa Joe is indeed the perfect opponent for Styles so it could very well be that the time is perfect for a title change. But how does that affect WrestleMania 35?

Eight months separate SummerSlam and WrestleMania 35 but it’s never too soon to prepare for The Grandest Stage of Them All. The company tends to use SummerSlam as the point of origin for top matches at WrestleMania. There’s every reason to believe that will be the case again this year. Whoever wins between AJ and Joe could be the man to beat in 2019.

No matter how the match between them plays out, the fact is AJ Styles and Samoa Joe deserve to share the main event stage together in WWE. AJ is a trusted top guy and Joe has earned the right to become one. The WWE Championship continues to be the gold standard in Vince McMahon’s company. That will surely be the case once again at SummerSlam.


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Opinion

Braun Strowman: The WWE Universe Needs You Now

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If you haven’t noticed, WWE fans are a bit angry at the current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. They are equally disappointed in the current storyline between Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns – two performers who are being shoved down their throats as the chosen ones to earn the right to face “The Beast Incarnate” at SummerSlam next month.

The main event picture has become almost comical as the company continues to push Reigns as “The Guy” while losing clean to Lashley at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view last week and other superstars receive bigger pops from the fans in the arenas across the country.

Could we all just stop this madness and give Braun Strowman the title already? Mr. “Monster in the Bank” would solve a lot of problems, mainly waking a comatose fan base looking for a new leader of the band. It’s not a matter of when Strowman will cash in his briefcase, it is now more about how soon can he do it and will SummerSlam begin the reign of his terror?

There is nothing to like about the upcoming match between Reigns and Lashley next week to determine Lesnar’s newest opponent. While rumors for months have centered around Lashley getting a shot at the strap, he is as vanilla as they come with his delivery and his ability in the ring. I’ll give Reigns credit – he has become a better in-ring performer and has evolved on the microphone. Still, fans want him so far away from the main event picture, they would sell their souls to see it happen.

All of this is happening while Lesnar is appearing at UFC events, planning title matches in the octagon and counting the money Vince McMahon continues to throw at him.

Strowman could make this all better, put a bandage on the bleeding Raw is experiencing and usher in a new era in this company. A sports writer here in Jacksonville told me a couple of months ago this would be the “Summer of Strowman” but I am still waiting for the earth-shattering event. The current feud with Kevin Owens is entertaining, but it does the “Monster Among Men” no good in helping him get tot eh apex of this company.

Owens needed a program. Strowman needed a program. See the connection out of necessity here?

WWE has a serious problem with its main event picture. With two triple-threat matches last Monday that could have given Seth Rollins, Finn Balor or Drew McIntyre a chance at red glory, the company recoiled and decided simple was better. It’s as if WWE is determined to make sure other more popular performers are buried under the blanket of the “bigger is better” theme Vince McMahon has preached for decades.

What’s the point?

Either Lashley or Reigns will face Lesnar at SummerSlam. The crowd will go mild and the fans they will pray to the gods that Strowman comes out and captures the title. It’s the only way to save this angle. We have waited long enough for the Strowman Era to begin in WWE. It should begin in August. If it does not, the mutiny that has already begun amongst WWE’s fan base will continue.

And no one, not even Strowman benefits from that.


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Opinion

My Voice Matters: On Hulk Hogan And Representation

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Being a black pro wrestling fan is more difficult than you think.

In the last couple of weeks, events in the pro wrestling industry have done more than enough to test my mental fortitude, discernment, and judgment towards personalities and fans alike. As you may or may not know already, the WWE reinstated wrestling icon Hulk Hogan into their Hall Of Fame after an exile lasting 3 years. What was the cause of this ban you might ask? It was Hogan admitting to racist ideologies in a secretly recorded rant expressing his feelings about his daughter’s interracial relationship. It went a little something like this:

“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean I am a racist, to a point, f****** n*****. But then when it comes to nice people and s***, are whatever.”…

It doesn’t stop there, he had more to say.

“I’d rather if she was going to f*** some n*****, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n***** worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player”

“I guess we’re all a little racist. F****** n*****.”

That was it, it was that leaked audio of him devaluing me and people that look like me into nothing more than n****** not worthy of his daughter unless we put a basketball in a hoop. These words by him once discovered immediately disgraced the former WWE and WCW World Champion, stripping him of his Hall Of Fame nomination and any mention of him on WWE television or memorabilia indefinitely. All it took was 3 years for Vince McMahon to wait for this to blow over and take the coward’s approach of reinstating him, bringing him into the fold to give a half-hearted apology, and McMahon himself not being present to explain himself.

For Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), his rants were more than just a layer from a white man who has built a character later in his career at the expense of popular black culture. From wearing an assortment of Jordans and durags to refusing anyone to wear the same type of clothing at his beach restaurant, it seemed a little excessive to create a dress code that aims at a particular group of people. Also coming from the same era where wrestling icons of of the 80s and 90s were freely dropping racist slurs in front of targeted minorities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Look at this ridiculous dress code

It didn’t take long for the news to face backlash from a number of fans and media outlets, even the talent themselves had words. The New Day and Titus O’Neil both shared their thoughts on the reinstatement, feeling that the character Hulk Hogan has earned his place there but the man Terry Bollea have so much more to prove in his sincerity:

O’Neil has stated in his letter that Hogan wasn’t truly sorry for what he said, he was only sorry that he was caught. WWE should know that this will be a complete PR nightmare and for that it makes little sense to bring him back up in the first place.

Like The New Day and Titus, I also know that forgiveness does not come easy. He no longer belongs on WWE television and any version of him appearing as far ambassador, an angle, or even a public apology would come off as contrived. The more I think about how far this went between the two parties shows how much the wrestling industry as a whole fail to acknowledge the grievances of their minority audience. You will have old guardsmen like Jerry Lawler (alleged statutory rapist) shout how much this about PC culture and Eric Bischoff proclaiming that it is just “haters” instead of using common f****** sense. What Hogan said was reprehensible and it’s something I simply ‘won’t get over’ because f*** that, he doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.

Which makes it all the more upsetting when I see those that support his return and defend his actions are those that are seen as the tastemakers of the wrestling media. The majority of them are middle-aged white men who have no inclination of the world outside of their bubble entirely designed by New Japan and Attitude Era DVDs. For far too long I have to hear from these people who haven’t shared my experiences tell my kind that we should move on from facing discrimination and the societal hurdles. No, it’s bigger than just boycotting WWE because they’re a “nazi organization” when these same nerds are seeing nothing wrong with what Hogan has done.

It’s clear there’s a severe lack of representation of voices in wrestling media, not excluding the talent representing in these companies. I had to see one of my peers lambasted and ridiculed on Twitter simply because he questioned the lack of panels featuring POC and Women for September’s Starrcast event. Instead of responding to the questions at hand of whether they reached out to any podcasts, they circled around posting a link saying people from all over are attending. At this point it is a disservice to keep a loyal, yet fringe market in the dark when there are unique perspectives that need to be heard.

It’s more than just black-and-white, there’s women of all racial backgrounds that have extensive knowledge on topics that many men aren’t capable of attacking in an intelligent manner (see. Sexual Assault). There’s LGBTQ voices that see things in complexities that I have understood but still willing to learn. Until these voices are featured on the notable platforms housed by the typical generic gatekeepers, we as a united fanbase are still far behind.


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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