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CheapShots: New Wavelengths of The Brain

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WWE Shinsuke Nakamura
Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!

Two special spirits guide the wings of my plane as I look at Indianapolis on approach with The Brickyard below me. I can’t help but feel a vibe about the place. Basketball and auto racing are lifeblood here. Sports fans know that. But I wonder how many Hoosiers; including one of us who whack you over the head regularly, understand the weight of their city’s connection to the modern art form and WWE? Let’s find out if the stories being told underneath our landing gear added to the legacy of professional wrestling in The Bruiser’s second city; and, The Brain’s first territory (WWA).

There were old-school flashbacks all over last night’s SmackDown Live, including a few that would make Bobby Heenan proud. We start with a rare mechanism indeed. An authentic dueling baby face promo. AJ Styles comes out and says it’s fine to call him anything outside the ring, but inside he is Phenomenal. No argument here. The truth keeps planting roots as he says the odds of him being in WWE, being WWE Champion, and retaining Gold all looked impossible at times. But, he is here holding the title and ready to give us the match we all want to see at WrestleMania.

Lights out, violin hits. Now we’re Walkin’ to New Orleans! Shinsuke Nakamura swags his way to the ring as only he can. “I respect you…Dreams come true at WrestleMania. My dream? Knee to face, I’m WWE Champion!” I am a total nerd who does a running commentary when I watch, stop laughing! I do not geek out for promos. Last time I had goosebumps like this? Lady Banks and The Female Muta the night after The Rumble. On both occasions, I was screaming at the top of my lungs: “LET’S GO!” I must ask smart marks of the Japanese art form to shut up because countless Americans have never seen this match, and don’t want to ruin its epic nature by doing a Google search.

Aiden English and Rusev; who WWE is wasting, (Where the HELL is Lana?), come out to kill the buzz. The bell rings with English on the outside and Nakamura watching from the announce table. Two years ago, this is a WrestleMania match. Now it’s a thrown away match on SmackDown. It was still fun, with a split crowd. The Bulgarian was focused and methodical. He kicked AJ in the skull. His boots were probably gimmicked, sounded like a shot and would’ve scrambled an average man. Styles is not average. Rusev tried for his finisher. The Champion slipped behind him, stuck-and-moved a while. After displaying hidden power, Styles put The Calf Crusher on and another referee forgot the rules again. Why are there ring ropes? English causes a DQ when he jumps in the ring to break up the hold. Both guys attack AJ after the bell. It took longer than expected, but Nakamura jumped in for the save. Backstage, The Artist flashed back to Mania VI, when he told AJ that he would save him until Mania, so he could beat a healthy champion for The Gold.

The Brain would have been more than happy to make The Bludgeon Brothers the top tag team of The Heenan Family. My thoughts on Rowan & Harper? They are a new-school heel version of The Road Warriors capable of destroying any team on the entire roster. They proved it at Fast Lane, rendering the majority of The Usos and The New Day incapacitated last night. The monsters asked whoever was left between the two teams to step up and fight on SmackDown Live. This forced a VERY cool flashback to World Class if Terry Gordy had to team with Kevin Von Erich. After the initial emotion. The match was brutal and quick with The Bludgeon Brothers going over. I know the hypothetical match in Texas would have gone longer.

Lunchtime recess, as The Rising Sun Mystic made her SmackDown Live Debut. At Fast Lane, Asuka cemented her challenge to Second Nature with a simple point at the WrestleMania sign. Charlotte says she’s ready. Even while watching The Rumble; The Queen was hoping Asuka would win and select her to face off at Mania. The Japanese Ace responds, saying she wants the challenge.  She doesn’t bow to anybody, and: “No one is ready for Asuka!” Vince, we can see your hamster running. If ANYBODY F**** this up, millions of us may have to come find you. Don’t make us do that. Did I mention anybody? Two former cheerleaders wrestled. Only one of them knows what she is doing. However, Carmella beat Naomi for her first singles-match win in what feels like six months. I hate that damn briefcase! A manager like Heenan would prop her up more efficiently. Backstage, Ms. Stolenmoney was cutting a promo while I was screaming at my TV in a vain attempt to show I can indeed do the half of her job that matters better than she can!

Randy Orton comes out to cut an in-ring promo. The Viper is glad to finally be A United States & Grand Slam Champion and says no one is taking The Gold away. The latest Saint Richard Knock Off comes out gloriously to congratulate him. Bobby Roode shrewdly creates his WrestleMania moment by stating that he will invoke his rematch clause in New Orleans. The Indian Brooklyn Brawler walks down the ramp to do the inverse of last week; take on Roode, with Orton sitting at the commentary table. It’s a solid match. Mahal wins, which will inevitably set up a pointless Triple-Threat Match at Mania. The Canadian Sikh takes an RKO after the match though.

Earlier in the night, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn did opposing promos whining about the outcome of The Six-Pack Challenge. Owens went after Shane McMahon. Zayn pretended to switch baby face and blamed his association with Owens for his fate. With this expectation, Shane closes the show with two huge announcements. First, he says Daniel Bryan will be back next week to take over as both GM and Commissioner because Shane is taking a leave of absence. He says his last current act is to make a match between the two Canadians at WrestleMania. In a very Bobby “The Brain” move, they go to the ring, and prove the dissention between them was fake! They assault Shane and drag him backstage, where Owens powerbombs him on what looks like a metal piece of staging. Now what? Rock solid show. Bobby Heenan was smiling down on his original territory last night. As I head south, I eagerly invite my passengers to join me in my adopted home territory next week. God Bless Texas!


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It’s Not As Easy as ‘Change the Channel’ or ‘Find Another Wrestling Show’

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Roman Reigns Tapout Wrestling

If you’re someone who is happy with the product WWE is putting out these days, the wrestling world is a beautiful place. If you’re not happy with the product, or just aren’t thrilled with some of it, it can be a very aggravating and frustrating world. Your frustration probably isn’t being relieved by the comments of well-meaning fans to your complaints: ‘No one’s making you watch it’, ‘Change the channel’ ‘Be happy that they’re on the card’, ‘Be happy they go X, Y, or Z’, ‘There’s tons of other promotions out there, find something you do like’. This advise sounds very fair and reasonable, and I know that most of the people saying it mean well, but basically telling someone to take their ball and go home when they aren’t happy, rather than listening to what they’re trying to say, comes across as condescending.

It’s not as simple as changing the channel or finding something else. If you’ve loved a promotion all of your life and find yourself not happy with the current product, being told to change the channel or find another promotion to watch is like being told to change jobs because you’re frustrated with management or finding another place to live because you don’t like the landlord. It’s not helpful and just adds to the frustration. Let’s look at some of the most common things frustrated fans hear.

Change The Channel. This is the most common one I see and it’s one of the most tone deaf. It assumes that you’re going to find something else to watch and that’s not always the case. If you can’t afford to have hundreds of channels on your cable or satellite dish, or afford a streaming site, your choices are pretty limited.

Find Another Promotion: This one is the one I find most irritating, because it assumes that 1. You haven’t checked out other promotions 2. That you can afford to pay to see smaller promotions or know that they’re going to be in your area, and 3. That you can find a way to watch another promotion. I can’t tell you how many times I see people asking where they can find a way to watch NJPW or some other non-WWE promotion. Overseas promotions are not always easy to get access to or fit into everyone’s schedule.

Be Happy Your Fave Is on the Card/Just Be Happy They Got X, Y, or Z. I sort of get the logic behind this one, it doesn’t make it any less insulting or make me any less furious. Yes, I realize that a promotion with a deep a talent pool as WWE doesn’t have to give opportunities to everyone, but telling someone who is expressing frustration that someone they view as talented isn’t being given a bigger opportunity, or didn’t get the recognition for a big accomplishment when someone else did, that they should just be happy with what the person did get is very insulting and condescending.


Again, I realize that when fans say this to one another, they mean well…usually. Yes, some of the complaints do get tiring, like the ones about how Vince/Triple H/WWE/whomever is ruining the business/company/world, Roman Reigns is overrated/can’t talk/can’t wrestle/shouldn’t be pushed because of Wellness Policy violation/he’s too good looking to be relatable (yes, seriously). However, there is a lot of understandable frustration with how things are going that should not be dismissed or poo-pooed away with well-meaning comments that just add to the frustration. If we want to make the online wrestling fandom the inclusive place we claim it is, we need to be more willing to actually listen to the concerns and frustrations of each other and realize that for many people, giving up on something you love is not as easy as it sounds, especially when it’s something you’ve devoted a lot of time,money, and emotion into. Being frustrated with WWE doesn’t mean they don’t still love the company, and we shouldn’t be outright dismissing them.


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The Worm Hole Diary

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Alexa Bliss

Right now, I feel a bit like Stewie Griffin in one of his time traveling escapades on “Family Guy.” I can’t tell you anything. Don’t know where I am. Last thing I remember, I was headed to an episode of SmackDown Live somewhere in Mid-South Territory. I woke from a bad dream of Bill Watts fining me two months pay for missing shows, only to find myself stuck somewhere between Area 51 and The Bermuda Triangle. Wait, is that JBL’s beach house?

Never mind. Legitimate Alien Technology is centered around mental telepathy. As a result, there are no computers as we know them here. Everything is hard wired into each organism’s brain. Even the brains of those that have been abducted. As you read this, understand that it was converted from high consciousness and sent down to a computer in New Jersey for decoding. Drawbacks to communication at this level include the fact that details are sparsely memorable and big chunks of time are missing. This is a very strange wavelength, even for me. Let’s see what we come across in this dimension.

It seems my captors have condensed my mental capacity, allowing me to cover only “one thing” in the art form. Timing and circumstances bring one topic to the front of my modified mind. Others among my colleagues are generally better at covering single topics. I do not mean to step on any toes, though that is physically impossible. Those who know my wrestling heart are well aware of where my passion for the current art form lies. Given marks of all forms just came off Money in The Bank; not to mention the interesting feel surrounding Knockouts Gold, now might be the only time I can do this. It could be an abject disaster or a complete blast. Please stand by and be patient.

Vinnie’s circus is first up. Naturally, we left Chicago with a New Raw Women’s Champion; and of course, she was not in the original contest for The Gold. We should know by now that a briefcase is WWE’s equivalent to LSD. Logic should have also told us that Carmella is too protected to be threatened seriously right now. With that gap filled in and borderline irrelevant in my head, Monday’s Title would be making The Kessel Run, but under who’s ownership? Enter Alexa Bliss after a fabulous spot fest of a Ladies Money in The Bank Match.

With Braun Strowman being the obvious exception, when is the last time a baby face held a briefcase? Anyway, where would Little Miss Math Class cash in? How long would we have to wait? Going into Chicago, some of us felt like something funky was on deck. Ms. Rousey was being hot-shotted. Even in smarkish logic, this was excessively fast. Baddest Woman on The Planet needs an authentic feud. Feed her The Champion. Wait, what? Ronda was seconds away from making Nia Jax tap out. Except, Stamford hasn’t made big angles predictable in 20 years.

I know I overthink things and want rules in my wrestling that make most of you roll your eyes. Laughing can begin upon the conclusion of reading this paragraph. In my opinion, there are two sizeable flaws in Vinnie’s conceptual execution. First, cashing in the contract on the same night it is won is a band-aid that allows creative to coast. No other sport allows something like this. Save the: ”It’s not a sport” argument for someone who would actually let you win it. I know it’s a work. Professional Wrestling CAN AND SHOULD be presented more like a sport. What does this mean in this case? Simple, have the briefcase itself be defended like Championship Gold.

Vince refers to his product as “Sports Entertainment.” Fine moron, “entertain” us by requiring that the contract holder must WRESTLE to keep it. Sorry Sir, I know booking logically makes your head explode.

What happens if the briefcase is used like this? Ronda Rousey is a huge name in sports. However, she is not placed in the title match of this PPV because there is no need to put her in the picture yet. You have her for multiple years Vince, not five minutes. She is not a prostitute. Someone else is in the contest for Nia’s Gold. Little Miss Math Class can then sit on the briefcase or Ronda can challenge her for it the next night. Alexa then tells her to get in line because someone else beat her to it. Ronda can spend months chasing Bliss, the briefcase, or both. Maybe all the way through the Royal Rumble. I’m just a smart mark. What do I know? How’s this? One of the core complaints of fans like me is that heels get handed Gold too much. This stops if they work beyond one match for it. Instead of stretching this out and drawing money, all Vince McMahon did last Monday was devalue a division, a champion, her Gold, and her “Pink-Haired Ass” by letting Ronda Rousey destroy Alexa Bliss so quickly.

Speaking of devaluing a Championship. We come to SmackDown Live and my favorite dartboard, Carmella. Move Shuck & Jive all you want honey. I’ll still cut promos on you every time I look at you. Not because anybody in New York wants me to, but because you are perfectly content portraying someone who doesn’t belong in a wrestling ring athletically. Fans are stupid enough to boo you as opposed to walking out on a promo or a match of yours. As much as Vince makes me hurl, fans can be worse and completely oblivious. Fifty percent or more of the sheep who boo you have the requisite hormones to buy your gear, so Vince keeps you around. Nothing personal, Wayne Farris made me cringe with a lot less than you have.

Called this after The Go Home SmackDown. Blondie Circus was going over in Chicago. The questions were how and why? How was simple enough. Let’s bring Carmella’s lap dog back to New York and put him in drag because the rest of her East Coast work friends got shoot fired. Can someone say bad investments? Back to the current debacle. Not only is James Ellsworth back under The Big Top. Barry Horiowitz Jr. was Asuka’s doppelganger to thwart The Japanese Ace’s attempt to gain SmackDown Women’s Gold. What is it with Vince McMahon and guys in drag? Don’t forget, The Human Ankle Biter got the s*** kicked out of him at Indie Shows all over Texas by The General and Leader of The Thunder Army, Thunder Rosa.
We’re supposed to take HIM seriously? Asuka came in with a two-year streak that would make Goldberg proud. She has to forget her whole aura and put a six-year-old with boobs over because of HIM?? Her NXT self would’ve chewed them up and spit them out. Now, a baby face Asuka can’t think like a badass or an athlete because we must put Carmella over until at least Survivor Series. SummerSlam has had screwy finishes dating back to 1993. Calling it now. Everybody should be prepped.

Blondie Circus will have SmackDown Gold coming out of there. Never mind what we do with the strap. What happens to Asuka? She looks clueless right now.

Vince will probably start to fix it Tuesday. Sheep will probably forget it by October. I DON’T CARE! Why did it happen in the first place? I could see a heel turn. What happens to the belt at that point? Charlotte? Maybe, love her ability. Becky’s getting a decent push. Want a dark horse? Keep an eye on Sonya Deville. Why? Just a vibe. She has tweeted: “Put your hair up and square up” as a motto. We all know Carmella’s in serious need of a fight.

A recent subtle wardrobe change could put millions more fans behind her if a baby face turn is done correctly. If The LGBT Community wants a badass to look up to; why not Sonya Deville? It’s already there, and very little would feel like a work if Stamford pulls the trigger the right way.
My captors have enabled one change of brain waves and I still can’t go home.

Let’s go to Orlando instead. The Knockouts Division feels very weird right now. Mainly due to Su Yung and her “Undead Bride” gimmick being pushed so hard on top. I must be more respectful of her then I have in the past because performers who I know and like on social media respect her game. It’s tough though. My eyes and brain have been connected to the art form for decades. Only two workers have successfully pulled this level of this gimmick off without it feeling like bulls***. They were both dudes and unquestioned legends. Impact had to be careful with her if they were going to bring her in. In my opinion, they have failed in that task.

How does an organization take Gold from a character like this? Without serious help, which is yet unseen, it won’t be Madison Rayne. Wrestling doesn’t do obvious anymore, and sheep want complicated now. Except, there aren’t enough Knockouts to do complicated. Let me try anyway. Madison was brought back to put Tessa Blanchard in her place. Blanchard herself is nowhere near a baby face right now. Kiera Hogan is too young and may not actually be on the roster presently. Unless they bring back Taya Valkyrie from Hawaii and turn her, there is only one practical answer right now. She is in an impractical situation though. I wanna see if Diamante can work, but she is tied up and being wasted with a distracted LAX.

I have one more ET Based Theory. Fight fire with fire. Sometimes zombies tangle with each other. There are two very good ones on the indies. The Twisted Sisters: Thunder Rosa & Holidead. How does a “Bride” deal with her own “kind?” I WISH we could find out. Bless The Dead Angel & The General. Their time is coming! Sadly, those in Orlando will probably kill my stream of consciousness buzz and bring back Allie and Rosemary to take her out. This is not a bad thing, just less fun to spit ball about.

I am not an insider people, just a Super Mark with a passion and unique thoughts about the art form and the way it’s presented. Unfortunately, those in captivity are about to have their thought processes overridden for tonight. The Aliens have informed me that they will grant me temporary release to attend SmackDown Live in MY HOUSE next week. No planes necessary, thanks Falcon! As for writing, this was a well-timed one-off to let The Internet Wrestling Community know I still have a pulse. I will let those swinging chairs know when The Aliens allow my full-time return. Thanks everyone, I hope you had a good time with this article. Been wanting to do something spotlighting recess for a while now.


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CheapShots: WWE Is Suffocating the RAW Women’s Division

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Alexa Bliss

 

Let me say this upfront: I have nothing against Alexa Bliss either in the ring or in real life. She’s got a great look and a lot of talent and in real life, she seems like a very nice person. However, WWE is running the risk of suffocating the Women’s Division on RAW by constantly putting the belt on her.

Bliss won the Women’s Championship in a rematch against Sasha Banks in August and has basically been champion for a year. There was no reason for her to be in Money in the Bank, never mind winning it or cashing in. If this keeps up, WWE runs the risk of smothering the RAW Women’s Division by having a champion that keeps getting the title back instead of pushing the other women.

WWE’s made this mistake before with Charlotte Flair. Charlotte won every PPV she had a match on for over a year and anytime she lost the title on TV, she got it back at the next PPV. By the time she finally lost a PPV match to Bayley in 2017, the RAW Women’s Division had stagnated because fans were getting tired of constantly seeing Charlotte win.

When Charlotte was traded to SmackDown and was kept out of the title picture for awhile, it turned out to be a godsend for her and the SmackDown Women’s Division because it gave women like Naomi time to shine. By the time Charlotte took the title off Natalya in November, the fans were excited and ready for her to be champion again. WWE needs to do this with Bliss.

What WWE is doing with Alexa and what they did with Charlotte isn’t unusual if you look at the Men’s Division, the problem is that the Women’s Division is much smaller and so it is much more noticeable that only one person is getting the title runs and there are no secondary titles or tag titles to give the rest of the roster something to work with.

No, I’m not saying Alexa can’t get a shot at the title, but she shouldn’t be champion for awhile. Put her in non-title feuds and put over people like Ember Moon or someone from Riott Squad for six months or so and give her, the division, and the fans a breather.

Who could Alexa feud with? Well, let’s take a look!

Ember Moon: This could be a really great feud. Ember is a great athlete, but she’s barely been seen on RAW since her debut after WrestleMania. A feud between these two is a win-win on paper, Ember gets a top talent feud, Alexa gets someone new to work off of and they can take each other to the next level.

Sarah Logan: Logan is rough around the edges, but she could be a breakout star if given the right feud and Alexa could be that feud.

Liv Morgan: I’m very fond of Liv Morgan and would love to see her get some more time in the spotlight, something she doesn’t get a lot of in the Riott Squad. Like Logan and Riott, Liv has the potential to be a major star in WWE, and a feud with someone like Alexa would definitely help.

Dana Brooke: Dana Brooke is someone who has suffered from bad luck and minimal direction during her time on the main roster, having a feud with Alexa might not be ideal for Alexa fans, but it would give Dana something more to do than be the numbers cruncher for Titus Worldwide.

Sasha Banks: I hesitated to include Sasha in this since she’s supposed to be in a feud with Bayley, but since that feud seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, I might as well include her. Plus, I prefer that Sasha be in the Women’s Division title picture, but she and Alexa had a great feud last summer and made history in December by being the first women allowed to compete in the Middle East, so a return of this feud wouldn’t be a horrible idea.

Bayley: No. Just…NO!

Again, I’m not bashing Alexa or her talent by saying that she needs to be taken out of the title picture and put in a feud with any of the women mentioned above, but WWE is risking the same situation that they had with Charlotte before Charlotte went to SmackDown, and having the Women’s Division being smothered and stagnate because one woman kept getting title runs. There’s other women in this division who are equally talented and sell merchandise and could be getting a push. If Alexa is as over as her fans believe, not being in the title picture won’t hurt her standing. Let the RAW Women’s roster breathe.

 


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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