Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
Mad Man had an unexpected confrontation prior to jumping in the big bird on my way to a rare double shot in Dallas, Texas. More on that tomorrow. Don’t worry, David and The First Family of American Professional Wrestling got me in position to assess things in my style. Sorry Mr. Cuban; nice as your place might be, there is only one World Class house for the art form Lone Star way. Now that proper respects to The Von Erich’s and THEIR territory have been paid, can we yell at Vince McMahon from 30,000ft? Let’s find out.
The bad cartoon started as soon as Vince forgot the meaning of the word “suspended.” When someone is suspended from somewhere, they are not permitted to hijack any portion of the business, or the building where business is being conducted. WWE comes across as beyond stupid every time they do this, and they couldn’t care less. Kurt Angle opens Monday Night Raw with two lies that were proven wrong in 15 minutes. Dammit, tell your writing team to put your five-year-old brain away.
Angle says Reigns is still suspended and Lesnar is in route. Not two minutes after he gets this nonsense out of his mouth, The Big Dog comes from the crowd to claim his yard. Is anyone surprised? The Samoan Hype Machine says someone’s gotta represent for the main event at WrestleMania. After all; Mr. Roid Rage hasn’t shown up on a guarantee in three weeks, why would he show up now? Glad you asked Roman. Our GM says Big Dog is trespassing and they were prepared for Reigns’ “shocking” appearance. Hype Machine don’t care, sits down mid-ring waiting for Brock. Look, it’s fake US Marshals coming to arrest Roman in classic cartoon wrestling style!
Why is logic too much for Vinnie? When someone is arrested for trespassing, they aren’t let into the building by the party who calls the police. Knock it off! Fake cops come down and put cuffs on. They get too personal for Roman’s liking and he lets them know. They attempt to subdue him physically, and he roughs them up while “locked” in handcuffs. Gee, I wonder whose music will hit? Brock Lesnar ran down and assaulted The Samoan Hype Machine multiple times because WWE. The only thing worse than scripted announcer outrage is Corey Graves’ scripted Freudian jealousy of Sasha’s career because he can’t have one in the ring anymore. Break the fourth wall already.
With the first soap opera over, it’s on to normal programming. Sadly, I cannot say soaps were finished for Monday night. We would see way too much of Vince’s lack of anatomy for that to be the case. For now, a pallet cleanser with early recess. A talking parrot comes out to interview Alexa with Mickie James. Mickie, you’ve been at this the right way for too long. I hope this isn’t your final legacy. Little Miss Math Class was asked why she said such mean things to Nia Jax last week. Her answer? She wished she had said those things sooner, not smart. There was an actual match; omg, between Alexa and Asuka. Have I mentioned announcers annoy me? Asuka ain’t losin’ the streak before Mania. We know that. PLEASE shut up, thanks! Bliss got more offense in than expected. The Japanese Ace fought hard from underneath, eventually securing an Ankle Lock. This leads to a count out victory with the BFFs headed up the ramp. OH S***! It’s Big Fine, and she’s big time pissed off! Nia tried to pull Alexa out of the crowd and chased her through the technical area. No contact was made beyond Alexa getting her hair pulled. Later, Alexa tried to reason with an aggravated Angle, no dice. The Mania match for The Gold is set. She’s dead!
We enter the elementary segment of Raw as The Human Elmo and the best Wonder Woman in the art form, (Sorry April) come out to cut a promo on friendship. Bayley asked Sasha why she went after her at The Chamber. The Boss said it was about The Gold. The Female Dragon retorted about the non-tag. Bayley said they didn’t lose the match. Ladies, I can direct you to a better example of sisterhood here in Texas. I won’t Sabotage you, but they might. Thankfully, Absolute Yawn comes out to end the misery and start a non-descript tag match which the BFFs lost when Bayley bumped Sasha off the apron. I’m hoping Sasha snaps to set up their Mania match.
Angle comes out again to inform us that Braun Strowman did indeed win last week’s Tag Team Battle Royal clean. With the caveat that The Big Man must choose a partner, Braun does have a unique shot at Mania Gold. After a train wreck of a promo from The Bar, Strowman destroyed Cesaro in a singles match. Then The Revival beat Titus World Wide, saying afterward that they would enter The Andre Battle Royal as a team, and win it the same way. The last true match of the night saw The Bullet Club take on The Miztourage in a 6-Man Tag. Seth Rollins was on commentary. Miz took the pin, but he and his boys jumped Finn Balor post-match until Rollins made the save.
Unfortunately, that concluded the “normal” portion of Monday Night Raw. Strap in and try not to puke as we fly through three segments of crap for the television audience. Second soap opera begins when John Cena comes out to call out The Undertaker only to take a choke slam from The Big Red Libertarian, Kane for his troubles. Marks in college and younger, listen up. The Punisher made one of his earliest impressions in The World Class Wrestling Association working with The Von Erich Family in DALLAS, TEXAS! Mark Calloway could’ve come HOME Monday night to close his career properly before WrestleMania. I’m guessing one of the reasons for this negligence is so that Vincent Kennedy McMahon could confirm that he is the biggest p**** ever to promote the art form. Need more proof? Why were we subject to a pointless “match” five years passed its shelf-life? Although it was slightly satisfying to see Brother Nero. Stamford always feels a bit strained when they must acknowledge someone else’s creativity. Nice to see WWE still has a budget for pyro. Matt Hardy has turned into a baby face version of Kevin Sullivan, and that is very difficult to pull off. The match itself was awkward. Woken Matt won, though no one honestly thinks this feud is over
Why was Roman Reigns being arrested and killing 15 mins when Ronda Rousey was in the building? As much as I love the Dallas territory, why did they get her when the rest of us were retching throughout the show? I wish Kerry had one last Discus Punch and Iron Claw left for Vince McMahon. God Bless Texas, and God Bless The First Family of American Professional Wrestling. They would do a better job handling this roster. Time for a layover. I need to gas up the plane.
Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans
Either last week or earlier this week (my days are running together so I don’t remember), Stephanie McMahon was at a summit called ‘Game Changer’ and she made the following comment: ‘We’re successful for one reason only – we listen to our fans.’
The internet smarks ROASTED Stephanie over this comment, mocking her for claiming that WWE listens to their fans when, in their minds, that is clearly not the case. Why? Because Roman Reigns, not Braun Strowman is champion, among other things. Clearly, any company that makes Roman Reigns champion over Braun Strowman isn’t listening to their fans, or at least, their REAL fans. You know, the all-knowing, smark community who know how to run a multi-billion dollar business better than the people who work there do.
I’ve tackled this ‘Real fan’ nonsense in the past and I’m really not in the mood to do it now and the issue of Braun Strowman being champion is an article unto itself. However, let’s be clear here: WWE DOES listen to their fans and the fans they listen to are the fans that buy stuff.
WWE first, last, always, and forever, is a business. They need money to survive and being a publicly traded company, they need money to keep the shareholders happy, that means they have to know who and what makes the money to keep the shareholders happy and keep the company afloat and who is making them the most money is Roman Reigns.
Don’t give me that look. Don’t roll your eyes at me and grumble about him being over pushed and/or shoved down your throat. I can name several people in WWE not named Roman Reigns that are over pushed. The bottom line is that Reigns moves merchandise, his stuff sells and sells really well. Having been to a few WWE TV/PPV tapings, I can tell you that Reigns’ stuff can get a little tough to find and is usually the most requested item.
Now before any of you make snide comments about Reigns having more stuff to sell, I checked WWE’s shop are and compared the number of Roman Reigns shirts to the number of shirts for AJ Styles, in terms of shirts including: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and what’s available for both genders, Roman Reigns had thirteen shirts available while Styles had twenty. Thirteen different shirt designs to twenty and that doesn’t include hats, gloves, or the non-wearable stuff available.
Oh, Reigns’ stuff is bought by women and kids, so it shouldn’t count? Here’s my question: So what? It’s still money that SOMEONE is spending on merchandise. If WWE didn’t want women and kids to buy their stuff, they wouldn’t be marketing stuff for women and kids. Why? Because women and kids are FANS!
For those of you still grumbling, here’s some food for your thoughts: Why should WWE listen to their ‘real’ fans? No, I’m serious. Why should they listen to fans who cheer something one week, boo it the next, demand that indy darlings get pushed despite getting mediocre pops from Main Roster audiences, and pay more attention to beach balls and time clocks than the matches? Why should they listen to people who BRAG about spending a lot of money on tickets just to boo one person they don’t like?
WWE is like any company, they listen with their bottom line, and what they’re hearing from fans is that the fans like Reign because that’s the stuff that sells the best. And before you say one thing about about Reigns’ stuff being more available at TV tapings and Live Events, I’ve been to a RAW taping, a RAW PPV, and a SmackDown/205 taping and while Reigns stuff was at SmackDown, there was also a lot of Styles and Cena stuff available at RAW events and I’m not hearing any complaining about that.
Maybe the problem isn’t that WWE isn’t listening, it’s just that your views aren’t the what the majority paying fans think or want. WWE is catering to what most of their fans want, not just the small minority that can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want.
Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?
Why Finn Balor should “Quit” The WWE
After seeing KO burst into tears on Monday night RAW two weeks ago and “quit” there were a slew of videos about why KO “quit”. The biggest one was to revitalize his character. So in playing the devils advocate why not have the first Universal Champion quit? Here’s why!
After Balor won and “lost” the title after 2016 SummerSlam he’s had and up and down career in the main roster. The once longest reigning NXT champion was a phenomenon when he joined the NXT, but once he hit the main roster, while fan support is still there it is fleeting. He had a brief reunion with Gallows and Anderson which might’ve singled a heel turn to fans, a feud with Rollins for the IC title and has had back to back to back matches against Baron Corbin. None of which have done anything for the superstars character. A heel turn might have helped a few months ago, but the repetitive booking has kind of killed that momentum.
With Finn away from the scene for a while it might help the WWE reevaluate the talent that is Finn Balor, it might also give Finn time to figure himself out too. With a WIN to his name against Elias, it seems like the co-founder of the Bullet Club may either turn to his alter ego The Demon, or perhaps a superstar shakeup is in order and he should be in place to get Balor back in the limelight. Right now, Raw seems packed full of main card talent that is either starting a faction of sorts I.E. Braun, Drew and Dolph or is turning on The Shield.
Listen, while SmackDown Live is producing the better show, it is not like the talent on there is being utilized any better. Nakamura is in limbo with the U.S. title, Aj and Joe are having a great feud in terms of promos, but not in the squared circle. The only thing that brings SmackDown Live as the A show is really their tag division and the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch feud.
So maybe a frustrated Finn goes away, and comes back as The Demon on SmackDown Live and interjects himself in the feud between AJ and Joe, maybe he causes friction between The Club and AJ and they “screw over” AJ during a title match, the possibilities are endless moving Balor to team blue, but what this boils down to is WWE needs to make this move while Balor is still a fan favourite and what I mean by that is that he will always have the crowd behind him, but even the loyalist fans can get bored.