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!
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.
Mad Man’s Consequences Of Sainthood
Does the lineage of Saint Ric need no explanation?
It’s been a while since Mad Man has landed his Sea Duck in our waters. He has a Flair for gold and the bold! Let’s see where this goes.
Let’s see if I remember how to do this. The Internet Wrestling Community has not seen this from me in months. Something BIG had to happen to get me out of hiding.
I’d say this week at Vinnie’s Circus certainly qualifies. If you’re expecting me to wax poetic about the dudes, take some Nyquil and go back to sleep. The Royal Rumble is both brilliant and flawed at the same time. And yes, it is about effing time the ladies got their shot to steal the show. Although, it can be quite successfully argued, they do so on a nightly basis already. All did a fabulous job last year. Including my girl; Lady Banks, going well past an hour over two nights. Drawing The Shawn Michaels Slot at #1, And then, making a beeline to the ring for a nose-to-nose promo with The Female Muta, Asuka.
The Female Dragon had two words echoing through Philadelphia to kick off Monday Night: “I’M READY!” Those who saw the full confrontation know she was. Who was her opposition in the desert again? The thought of The Rumble being flawed is not new. Especially when its ultimate goal is taken into account. Win the damn thing and Main Event The Showcase of The Immortals! Wait, what did I just say? Back to that shortly.
Blemishes in the execution of this concept make their first appearance innocently enough. The victor in this contest is not based on who participates in it. The Champions headed into WrestleMania dictate the finish. What results from algebra like this? Simple, in most years over 80% of the field is background noise. Most of the time, smarks and sheep alike have a pretty good idea who’s headed to Mania. Overwhelmingly, we don’t mind as long as we get a great match. This changes when the feminine equivalent of Mike Tyson shows up on Vinnie’s doorstep, signs a convoluted contract, and just might bail after the biggest show of the year. Storyline and logic; what little there is in this art form we love, take a beating when Vinnie says Tyson MUST face Holyfield before she runs off to have kids and turn into Brock Lesnar.
What the Hell does he do with the Female Connor McGregor?
The BEST organic baby face in the industry this decade. He turned into Helen Keller on Monday Night. No, you little prick! I am in the wheelchair. You are not disabled! Did he see or feel the crowd in Phoenix? I certainly did. In fact, my neighbors knocked on my apartment door to ask if I was alright. That’s how loud I was. Vince, you haven’t had an honest crowd reaction like that in 20 years, and you wanna pollute it? “Jesus, she wasn’t supposed to be here. You mean these fans AREN’T sheep?” Don’t worry Vince, they’re still sheep and this is still all about Flair and McMahon, DAMMIT! For those laughing at me and saying it’s a work; guess what? It doesn’t have to feel like a work!
I started feeling like something was different about Professional Wrestling in the late ‘80s, when nobody could kick Ric Flair’s ass and get rid of him. First switch of NWA Gold I remember? Ronnie Garvin taking out Flair in Detroit, 1988. As an eight-year-old, I was hardly thinking about math. Why does this matter? Garvin had The Gold six weeks. He had one Title Defense at the end of that window, against Ric Flair. Guess who won? Everybody does cartwheels over his trilogy with The Dragon in 1989, not me. Don’t get me wrong, phenomenal matches, but Ric Flair was always walking out with Championship Gold. Hey Ric, the art itself was a work. Why show us The Gold was too? Spanning from 1984 and Kerry Von Erich to 1993 And Barry Windham, Ric Flair was GIVEN no less than five runs with NWA Gold or its equal because he was Saint Richard Flair isn’t the only idiot in the modern art. During his last holy act with Ricky Steamboat, Vincent Kennedy McMahon walks into a New Jersey courtroom and gigs the business hard way. Exposing it simply because he doesn’t wanna pay taxes on an authentic sporting event. Excuse every child under ten at the time? THANKS VINCE!
Two years later, WWF Gold was held up. How does he deal with this? First, let’s bring Ric Flair in because those in charge of WCW were absolute MORONS! Wait, Vinnie can’t have Hulk Hogan pinned in 1992. “It’s okay, we’ll put Gold on the line at The Royal Rumble. Winner gets The Strap!” Awesome, a boatload of great performers! Did ANYBODY really think Ric Flair wasn’t winning this match? HELL, Hogan pulled Sid Justice out from the floor! At least Flair won in 1992. Flash forward almost three decades. If the concept is, “Winner gets choice of Champion at WrestleMania” Why is Sid Justice going to Main Event Mania FROM THE FLOOR? Hey ass****, if you NEED Tyson/Holyfield, do the Bret/Luger finish! Becky WON the match! Here’s an idea, every televised event from here to Mania is held in an empty arena until we are given a collective Heimlich Maneuver to expel Ashley from our systems. The WWE Universe would never do this because sheep love this circus. If this stands, The Women’s Royal Rumble has jumped the shark just two years in. Vince, we know it’s a work.
Why must you insist on making it THIS! Give Asuka to Ashley. You don’t need to verify Charlotte Flair’s Sainthood. Sasha Banks has seen it three times.
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