Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
To my passengers, Twitter Followers. Fans and Friends. This will be my only article this week. I am having wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow, I should be back at full strength next week. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I have a blast doing this for everyone every week. To my editors and colleagues, remember I have a bigger chair than all of you, and I will be back!
Mad Man on a northern flight path as my radar begins to freeze up. None of my other instruments are compromised. Thankfully, I am close enough to ground level to read three gigantic billboards specific to one place in my brother’s home state. The first piece of signage shows a yellow background and the outline of a ring roped in black. Six words; three above and three below the ring are clearly visible. Rockstar Pro Wrestling & The Road Home. The second bit of advertising is a sign for WrestleMania. Finally, I see a life-sized mural asking royalty to stay. After a blink to think, the local geography lines up in my head. I am in the most desperate sports city in America. Let’s hit cruising altitude and head to LeBron’s Apartment.
The Derek Jeter addition of Monday Night Raw before WrestleMania opens with Paul cutting an in-ring promo with his roided-up ape doing nothing as usual. Mr. Heyman is laying down cement that won’t set when he says he is the best orator in WWE history. With no respect at all Sir, I see you Jim Cornette and raise you Bobby Heenan. Neither were scripted and even you gotta know the writer feeding you that line is full of s***! Then, Paul starts running down The Samoan Dynasty saying they trained Roman Reigns to be a wrestler, a fighter and a badass. Though, they never trained him to be a man. Nice original material. Heyman attempts to shatter the internet, telling us Roman’s suspension was lifted, and he wasn’t there last night. Epic fail Paul. I can walk…HE WAS NEVER SUSPENDED! Two minutes after a horrible CNN impression; The Samoan Hype Machine comes slowly through the crowd, selling last week’s injuries. His physical ability to perform cannot be questioned. Despite having a steel chair and landing a few haymakers, Lesnar destroys Reigns with a suplex on the floor and an F5 on the steel stairs. Can any marks or performers out there verify as a shoot if they are actually steel? I’ve always been curious.
Early recess this week as Mickie James came out intending to soften up Nia Jax for Alexa Bliss, who was at ringside to support her BFF. Nia has opened up so much as a character in recent months. Right now, her unfiltered emotion and rage are clear and should be, given Alexa’s treatment of her. This match felt relatively quick, but storytelling was still good. Mickie went after Nia’s knee throughout. However, Big Fine is just too strong, using a Press Slam and Samoan Drop to fold James in half for the pin. Bell rings, Nia hasn’t even gotten up yet. Little Miss Math Class jumps in for one cheap shot. Nia looks at her as she scatters out of the ring and up the ramp to avoid detention.
I’m not sure if it’s due to WrestleMania Season, but there seem to be a larger number of vignette and promo packages within WWE programming lately. The next one sees a grizzled Triple H and Ice Queen Stephanie McMahon sitting in what looks like a darkened gym, cutting a heel promo over their workout tape. Paul says Kurt Angle brought this himself. The Gold Medalist wanted attention. Daddy’s Little Girl Says Ronda Rousey is the biggest signing in WWE history. They have big plans for Ronda. She’s in their world now. She works for Steph, and Steph owns the ring, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!
Hey Steph, I’ll just leave your little genie in a bottle down at NXT. It’s obvious to you, and every smart mark paying you that Piper’s Namesake is NOT Sting at 55 years old. Otherwise, your little genie in a bottle wouldn’t be with NXT. We know about your back pocket. The question is: When are you gonna open it? Back to last night. The Olympic Duo responded with an in-ring promo after Ronda’s classic baby face entrance, (still cool). Kurt says he’s prepared for a number of Mania matches, and he’s seen others prepare for Mania Matches. He says Rousey’s ready. Sssshhh, I say she’s getting better on the mic! Ronda says Stephanie is tough. Trust fund tough. Limousine tough, and personal trainer tough.
Excuse us? What’s this? Absolute Yawn’s music hits. Paige in the middle of something? NO! The Pale Rider and her back up come to the ring to make things interesting. Paige says Ronda could use some friends and offers her a spot in the group. The Rowdy One turns the invitation down, reminding Paige that she has Angle watching her back. Goth chicks don’t do anything half-assed. Pretending to leave, Paige sends her girls from outside in, looking for a fight. In case we forgot, Ronda Rousey is a badass! She gave Sonya Deville what appeared to be a VERY stiff clothesline to avoid being jumped. Poor Mandy Rose caught the biggest thorn of her life. She tried a kick, but Ronda caught her leg and went for an overhead throw. Sonya was supposed to be closer behind them but missed her spot by three steps. Deville’s arm and shoulder cannot be feeling good today. Speaking of which, Mandy almost had hers broken. Folks, she wants to be here and she’s getting better. RONDA RATTLED THE RING again!
Full disclosure here, I have not seen Rockstar Spud since he joined WWE. Yes Vince, I’m using his name from another organization just to piss you off. Deal with it! I certainly like his look. Thankfully, they have not done much to change his personality or gimmick, which in Stanford’s case is saying a ton. In my opinion, there may be two handfuls of roster talent who should be given total freedom from scripting promos. The colorful representative of The Union Jack is on the short list. He just might bring a pulse to the cruiserweights. Spud’s introduction to the flagship show was designed to shine a light on the WrestleMania Match between Mustafa Ali & Cedric Alexander for The Cruiserweight Gold. They teamed together and won a contest only notable for Spud’s commentary. Congratulations on your arrival to New York lad. I sincerely hope you didn’t sell your soul for complete anonymity.
Back to back segments that normally implore me to sleep are usually not good. Miz shows up, it is not uncommon to find me mid REM, dreaming of meeting Mercedes President. This time though, she would have to wait because Mike’s segment was actually interesting. Dissention in The Miztourage; work or shoot, is always fun to ponder. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas each have lineages within the art form. Both need an excuse to grow a set of balls. The Miz is arguably the luckiest p**** on the whole WWE roster. Never mind the fact that he’s had backup for a good portion of his run. Unfortunately, this was a work that even smart marks bought for around ten minutes, DAMMIT! The segment was designed to attack The Move Set Twins. It ended with Fake Hollywood crawling away, Seth Rollins getting knocked out, and Finn Balor holding The IC Gold. Have no fear, The Good Brothers of Fake Bullet Club Number Who Knows came out later to beat The Miztourage in a tag match.
Time for the most pointless stretch of the night. My apologies in advance for lumping them together. First, Mr. Jacobs, we know they brought you back to move a storyline forward. We don’t care! This isn’t 2005 to 2010. As much as WWE has connected you to The Undertaker; both in the past and for current reasons, you are not him. You are 50 years old. Go run for Mayor. Now that we have seen you in a suit, talking with a former VJ on MTV, (Google it kids), you scare no one outside of politics! With all due respect to her and her family because TV exposure is still a big deal in the art form. Some Indie performer made $1000.00 for cutting a promo and letting Asuka kick her in the head. Good for her, Then Michael Cole thought he was opposite Jerry Lawler again. He criticized The Final Deletion as obnoxious. Out-dated? Done better somewhere else? Yes on both counts. Did I mention scripted announcer outrage pisses me off? At least Woken Matt cut a decent promo, confirming he would enter The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Did someone say something about being pissed off? Quoting Little Rock: FINALLY, Sasha and Bayley BLEW UP! It took months, and a backstage promo in Cleveland of all places. Started with a text and mutual personal attacks. Hey Elmo, don’t go for The Dragon’s throat unless you want residence in the burn unit! You go after her because Vince can’t do math? How much Gold have you held? Ended with pulled hair and flying fists on a concrete floor. Would someone in that incompetent family PLEASE make this match for the big stage in New Orleans? Quick aside: Good luck to The 8-Pack Irishman and Lady Banks in The Finals of The Mixed Match Challenge tonight. Ms. Charlotte, we know how this would’ve ended tonight, don’t we?
Braun Strowman and Shamus went one-on-one with the stipulation that if The Celtic Warrior won, The Big Man would have to tell The Bar who his tag partner was in the title match at Mania. The Irish Mohawk did not win. Elias made fun of Cleveland and won a squash match with Ryno. When we finally got to Big Match John and The Big Red Machine in a No DQ to end the night, it felt anti-climactic with the exception of Cena mimicking The Undertaker trying to draw him out. Despite knowing Kane would not win. I had flashbacks of Shawn Michaels coming out of the casket prior to his WrestleMania Rematch. That part was cool. As for afterward and BMJs questions: The answer is simple John, Cleveland is not Atlanta. Roman got shook, Ronda rattled some bones and we roll on The Road to WrestleMania. I am a better guitar player than The Honky Tonk Man. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get air sick on the way to Flair Country, and the most important go home show of the year. Wheels up, let’s fly!
MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.
The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.
Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.
Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!
In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.
“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.
Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!
Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”
For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!
Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?
When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.
This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.
For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?
Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.
She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.
Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.
Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.
Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?
Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?
Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.
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