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Top Five: WWE Royal Rumble Final Two

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The Royal Rumble is what most of us look forward to every year. Some fans come back for one night to watch their favorite match every year, while others countdown the days until we reach the biggest thing outside of WrestleMania. But what gets often overlooked in the Rumble match is the final two participants. This can add to the drama and entertainment of the match, especially with hindsight.

Honorable Mention – Steve Austin and The Rock – 1998

With Mike Tyson looking on, the two biggest stars of the Attitude Era fought for the right to go on to WrestleMania. It started when the Rock eliminated his Nation of Domination brother, leaving him and the Rattlesnake. The two threw some punches before Austin toss the Rock to the apron, thinking he won. Normally, this would result in the other man winning, but Austin was able to catch the retaliation with a Stunner, and sent his rival to the floor to pick up his second Rumble win in a row. For some reason, this isn’t as iconic as it sounds, but it’s fun to watch, even more so now.

Honorable Mention – Steve Austin and Kane – 2001

Often considered as one of the top two Royal Rumbles next to 1992, the 2001 Rumble match saw the final two men of the Rattlesnake and the Big Red Machine. Of course, this was the year Kane set the record for most eliminations in a Rumble match, and Stone Cold would win his record breaking third Royal Rumble. While the winner wasn’t exactly in doubt, it was nice seeing Kane dominate. And of course the blood dripping down Austin’s face added to the story.

5. Triple H and Kurt Angle – 2002

After the elimination of Mr. Perfect, the 2002 Royal Rumble match ended up being somewhat of a rematch between Triple H and Kurt Angle from their WWF Championship match from Rumble event a year previous. Despite being in the company for years at this point, this was Angle’s first Royal Rumble match. Triple H, on the other hand, was just coming off of his infamous quadriceps tear. Angle is a name that could have fit right in to a list of Royal Rumble winners, but that would go to the Game after a few minutes of intense brawling.

4. Shinsuke Nakamura and Roman Reigns – 2018

This year’s Royal Rumble provided us with the ultimate seesaw of crippling fear and pure elation when the final two went to battle. Last year’s Roman swerve was not so well received, but it appears they did it right this year. Going into the rumble, there only seemed to be two clear choices for who would win, and they ended up as the final two, which doesn’t happen much. We all sat at the edges of our seats with baited breath, awaiting the final elimination. In the end, Nakamura came out on top. Although, maybe we should stop worrying about Roman winning the Rumble since he’s been runner-up three times in his career.

3. Batista and John Cena – 2005

As two of the four biggest stars of the Ruthless Aggression Era either man could have realistically won. Especially in hindsight, seeing as how both men have won two Rumbles each. Famous, or infamous rather, for the accidental double elimination of the two and Vince storming down and tearing both his quads upon entering the ring. Luckily, Cena and Batista hit the floor at the same time… somehow… and they were prompted to go at it again. A lucky break for the Animal, but at the time, it looked like the whole thing was part of the action.

2. John Cena and Triple H – 2008

Possibly the greatest surprise entrant of all time, Cena came back from injury to the ten second delight of everyone. Then the fans were split as they always are. After some multi-man action, the final two were set as Triple H and John Cena looked across the ring. What fallowed was a bombardment of finisher reversals before Cena was able to Attitude Adjust the Game over the top rope. However, it couldn’t compare to the final two of the previous Rumble.

1. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels – 2007

And of course, the two men that top every list in wrestling history. There was certainly doubt for who was going to walk away with this one, as every time the two had squared off, Michaels had been able to elude the reaper. But not this time. This is known as the match within a match for a reason. There might have been a time where you forgot someone had to go over the top rope until one of them was hanging on the apron. There is a reason these two are considered the best, and this was a prime example.


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Bray Wyatt Has Found His Niche With Woken Matt Hardy

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Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt

Matt Hardy is sharing his Woken wisdom with the world. The first man to fully accept that wisdom is Bray Wyatt and the two men are now a tag team in WWE. Many fans saw this coming, as Wyatt’s character had peaked for the most part. There was only so much ground WWE could cover with him in his Eater of Worlds persona.

It was indeed time for a change and Hardy facilitated that change. Now the two men are sharing the same air without trying to destroy each other, which seemed to be their fate. Like Undertaker and Mankind, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt seemed destined to feud forever. But they are much better as a team.

That was perhaps not what fans expected. Though the signs of a potential partnership were there, no one could have predicted just how well they would mesh together. Fans watched them fight for so long that any union between them could have fallen flat.

But they are clicking together quite nicely at this point. Their personalities compliment each other and they have a great chemistry together. Wyatt has slid into the No.2 spot, which is a change of pace for him. He was always the man at the head of The Wyatt Family. He was always the one pulling the strings.

Therein lays the disbelief among many fans when it comes to this new team. Wyatt spent his entire WWE career as a heel. There was never any reason for anyone to trust him, because he was always playing mind games with everyone around him. He had no history as a babyface and he never really crossed into that area at any time during his run. He always had an agenda and that agenda was usually trouble for whoever crossed him.

Then there’s the fact that he was such a twisted soul. Bray Wyatt was never really hated like other heels around him, but he was booed. At his best Wyatt was creepy and sometimes even frightening. At his worst, he was a babbling madman. Somewhere in the middle, he found his niche.

The WWE faithful often didn’t understand what he was talking about but they knew it was psychological. Wyatt often seemed to talk above everyone’s head, as if he was already three steps in front of them. Fans took what they wantd from his promos and though the point wasn’t always clear, the intent was. Bray Wyatt wanted to be worshipped. He needed to be.

His character’s existence needed validation. The only way he could get that was by controlling others and making them need him. They were subservient to him and he led the way. Wyatt’s opponents wanted to shut him down but they were being played as well. Bray thrived on funhouse horror and expected everyone else to live that life with him. In that world, only he stood at the top.

So when fans now see him alongside Matt Hardy, they immediately have doubts. How could such a megalomaniacal figure like Bray Wyatt actually step aside and give control of his fate to a man that was beneath him? Wyatt did try to destroy Hardy and was convinced that he could do it. How could one brawl completely change his mind and indeed his very essence? Is that even possible?

In the world of WWE, Bray Wyatt is Marvel’s Loki. Like his comic book counterpart, Bray is devilish and conniving, always ready to use others for his own personal gain. He is a trickster, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a man that wants to slide in and take whatever he wants before anyone knows he was there.

Neither man is concerned with obliterating everything around them; they would much rather rule it all. Complete power is intoxicating and both men are indeed addicted to it. Loki has betrayed his brother Thor numerous times in order to get that kind of power. Is it only a matter of time until Bray Wyatt betrays Matt Hardy for the same reason?

The biggest problem with that theory is fans just saw it happen. Randy Orton once followed Bray and then turned on him. It was obvious from the start that Orton was up to something; he’s called The Viper for a reason. But no matter how many times it seemed as if Randy would leave Bray, he stayed. He even began to fit. Suddenly Randy Orton looked like he belonged with Bray Wyatt. Fans accepted it. But as soon as everyone relaxed, Orton made his move.

This could happen again of course. Wyatt could betray Hardy and leave him for dead in the middle of the ring. He could even take control of SAniTy and possibly even remake them in his own image. Many fans believe that would work and it quite possibly could. But is that the right move for Bray Wyatt?

Right now he and Matt Hardy are just getting started. Some guys are better enemies than friends but that just doesn’t apply to this situation. Hardy and Wyatt have gone to war many times before. Fans have seen that. It was fun and it worked for them. But it was time for something new. The same is definitely true for Wyatt.

Bray needed a change. He may have the same look and he may have the same move-set in the ring but he has evolved. Wyatt reached his apex and needed to do something fresh in order to keep moving forward. That’s exactly what he’s done now. Wyatt was a compelling heel but he can be a dynamic character babyface. This is what he perhaps should have been all along.

Matt and Bray are not The Hardy Boyz. They’re also not The Wyatt Family. These two Superstars are something more, something different. Hardy revitalized his pro wrestling career with his Broken and Woken personas. Bray Wyatt is now doing the same. The time for twists and turns may come. But now the time is right for this duo. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are bizarrely fun together and that fun is just beginning.


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Sami Callihan Strikes Again (Graphic Warning)

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Sami Callihan Impact Wrestling

Sami Callihan has become a very outlandish and over the top heel since the infamous botched baseball bat incident that broke Eddie Edwards’ face. Since the incident, Callihan has been very unapologetic and has shown no remorse for his actions against Eddie, even going as far as to rub it in his face.

In a street fight on Wednesday night at Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Sami threw a chair at former NWA/WCW star and 68 year old Kevin Sullivan’s head. Sullivan couldn’t put his hands up in time to block the chair shot, suffering a large hematoma in the process.

Sami even had the audacity to post a graphic picture of the injury on his Twitter account, mocking Sullivan.

In my opinion, Sami has taken his unapologetic character way too far since the baseball bat incident. I get that you are trying to get heat as a heel, but there is just a line that you can’t cross and Sami has crossed numerous ones. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying his work on Impact Wrestling each and every Thursday, but it seems that Callihan has taken his character too seriously, blurring the lines between real and fictional. If I was Sami, I would tone it down because his actions have sent the wrestling world in an uproar and many wrestlers commented on the situation. So would I say he’s a good heel? Yes, but you don’t need injure people to heat.


Remember to always use your head. For more Impact Wrestling news follow @yorkjavon on Twitter and for all things wrestling follow @theCHAIRSHOTcom.


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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WWE Superstar Shake Up: Did The Women’s Division Get The Short End Of The Stick?

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Obviously one of the big topics coming out of this week in WWE was the highly anticipated Superstar Shake Up.  With the Shakeup comes high expectation, in terms of surprise factor and building interest for future feuds.  And while WWE did deliver on surprise factors in Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, and Drew McIntyre, perhaps it could have given the Women’s Division some attention.

What I mean is that the Shake Up for the ladies was overall underwhelming.  Considering the complacency that someone like Becky Lynch is in, she could have benefited from the move this week.  In retrospect however, last week’s events with Paige’s retirement and the additions of Ember Moon and The IIconics gave way to what was to come for both Raw and Smackdown.  But for every woman who has a story is someone who is almost lost in the shuffle.  Naomi comes to mind as someone who currently doesn’t have a story post-Shake Up.  Didn’t she just win the WWE WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal?

Maybe it is fair play, but basically the big move coming out of the Shakeup is that the two factions in Absolution and The Riott Squad switched places.  The first thing that comes to mind is that Absolution is primarily Paige’s faction, so there is the possibility that Paige will still be able to be the mastermind with her as Smackdown General Manager.  As far as The Riott Squad, it seems like they will be the catalyst that will bring Sasha Banks and Bayley back on the same page after weeks of squabbling and conflict.

And speaking of those two women, did anyone else felt mislead with their match on Raw Monday?  While there has been tension continuously building up between both Banks and Bayley, given their history it felt that the building rivalry this time around could have been done better justice.  Maybe that was the whole point behind it all – it’s not over by a long shot.  I thought for sure that one of them was going to Smackdown given they were in the match on Raw.  Just the way they tore into each other, it was like they were fighting as if it was indeed their last night on Raw.  It was a great story for sure, and I was left wanting more.  On the positive side, apprehending the Riott Squad is a secondary feud that shows promise.  There is substance behind the former Women’s Champions as they move from WrestleMania towards SummerSlam.  It doesn’t mean that there’s a throwaway feud, but perhaps a detour for now.

On the Smackdown side, there was no way Charlotte Flair was going to Raw after last week’s brutal attack from the IIconics.  With Carmella taking advantage of Flair and successfully cashing in her Money in the Bank contract, Flair has her hands full seeking revenge from all parties.  Flair did gain assistance from Lynch and Asuka this past week.  The company built the appearance of Asuka as if it was shocking news.  Honestly, when she challenged Flair at WrestleMania it was all but set in stone she was going to Smackdown.  It was more of making the move official for the Empress of Tomorrow.

Another bright note from the Shake Up is Natalya moving to Raw.  With the rumors of the Queen of Harts becoming the first singles feud for Ronda Rousey, I am all over this if it gives Nattie some much needed shine.  She has been underrated for the longest time, and a high profile feud is something welcomed from this fan.  Stepping back and looking at these potential feuds on top of Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax, what looks underwhelming may just be what fans are looking for in terms of depth and screen time.

So while on the surface, again, the Shake Up for the women was underwhelming.  However, with some developments already previously established comes something much bigger.  Expectations were high, but after looking further into what is going on there is definitely more positives versus the negative.  It’s not perfect, but the potential of a great summer for the Women’s Division is there.  Just not the way many fans had envisioned.


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