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Top 5: Potential Braun Strowman Tag Team Partners

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Braun Strowman James Ellsworth WWE

Braun Strowman is truly a Monster Among Men. He’s capable of beating just about anybody WWE can throw in front of him. I’d say he can beat many WWE Superstars on the roster even in a two on one scenario. He’d stand a really good chance against lower-rung teams like Titus Worldwide & even teams like Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan that are prone to disagreement. He’s beaten as many as three “local competitors,” and he did come out on top in the Tag Team Battle Royal.

However, beating Sheamus & Cesaro is a whole different ball of wax. After all, they don’t just set the bar: THEY ARE THE BAR. They’re two of WWE’s most capable competitors & have formed a nearly unbeatable duo since former Raw General Manager Mick Foley put them together. The Raw Tag Team Champions are incredibly tough for two men to handle. As massive & destructive as Braun Strowman is, he’s going to need some help at WrestleMania to emerge with the championship.

Here are my top 5 people that Braun Strowman should enlist as a tag team partner.

5. Curt Hawkins

You have to give Hawkins credit for trying. He’s still looking for that elusive victory, and teaming with Braun seems like a really good way to get one. He is a former WWE Tag Team Champion alongside Zack Ryder. Certainly, Hawkins getting the big win alongside Strowman would be his lifetime WrestleMania Moment.

The problem? He never wins! If Braun really wants a challenge maybe he’ll go this route, but I feel like it’d end up with Hawkins getting murder death killed.

4. Bray Wyatt

The last time we saw Bray, he disappeared into the Lake of Reincarnation. I think it would make sense to put that over at least for a week or two. Another thing that would make sense is Bray re-joining forces with a former member of his Family. What better way to get back at Matt Hardy for attempting to drown him in a lake than by winning the Raw Tag Team Championships? Broken Matt & Brother Nero would certainly have something to say about it.

Another note in favor of this is that Strowman & Wyatt travel together anyway. They wouldn’t have to change riding partners.

3. Rey Mysterio

We’re not sure if Rey will be medically cleared to compete by the time WrestleMania rolls around due to a biceps injury. If he can go, a teaming with Strowman would make some sense. As we saw in the Mixed Match Challenge, Braun likes teaming with smaller competitors. A tag team run would be a good thing for Rey as he enters the twilight of his career. I don’t know how they would mesh in the long run, but it would get a good reaction from the WrestleMania crowd.

2. The Big Show

Reports of Show’s imminent retirement aside, the World’s Largest Athlete looks like he’s preparing to come back for something. The last time we saw him on WWE television he was on the losing end of a feud with Strowman. That could easily be smoothed over by Show saying that Braun earned his respect after their meetings in the ring. The idea of The Braun Show would definitely strike fear in the hearts of the entire Raw tag team division.

1. James Ellsworth

July 25, 2016 was a monumental date in the career of both Braun Strowman & James Ellsworth. It was when Ellsworth was booked as a local competitor against Strowman, who was in the beginning phases of his singles push. The match couldn’t have gone better for both men.

Strowman looked absolutely dominant & impressed observers who up until that point hadn’t thought much of his prospects. Ellsworth did such a tremendous job that he ended up getting another booking a few weeks later on SmackDown, and eventually worked his way into a full time gig for a year. He’s been gone since November, but there’s no reason to think that he won’t pop up on WWE television again someday. Everybody comes back eventually.

Braun Strowman has had many people help him along the way. What better way to pay one of them back than bring them back to WWE as his tag team partner? Any man with two hands has a fighting chance, but two men with hands have an even better one.

Who should Braun Strowman choose as his tag team partner? Let us know on the Twitter @stevecook84 or @theCHAIRSHOTcom, and mae sure to #UseYourHead.


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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Braun Strowman: The WWE Universe Needs You Now

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If you haven’t noticed, WWE fans are a bit angry at the current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. They are equally disappointed in the current storyline between Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns – two performers who are being shoved down their throats as the chosen ones to earn the right to face “The Beast Incarnate” at SummerSlam next month.

The main event picture has become almost comical as the company continues to push Reigns as “The Guy” while losing clean to Lashley at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view last week and other superstars receive bigger pops from the fans in the arenas across the country.

Could we all just stop this madness and give Braun Strowman the title already? Mr. “Monster in the Bank” would solve a lot of problems, mainly waking a comatose fan base looking for a new leader of the band. It’s not a matter of when Strowman will cash in his briefcase, it is now more about how soon can he do it and will SummerSlam begin the reign of his terror?

There is nothing to like about the upcoming match between Reigns and Lashley next week to determine Lesnar’s newest opponent. While rumors for months have centered around Lashley getting a shot at the strap, he is as vanilla as they come with his delivery and his ability in the ring. I’ll give Reigns credit – he has become a better in-ring performer and has evolved on the microphone. Still, fans want him so far away from the main event picture, they would sell their souls to see it happen.

All of this is happening while Lesnar is appearing at UFC events, planning title matches in the octagon and counting the money Vince McMahon continues to throw at him.

Strowman could make this all better, put a bandage on the bleeding Raw is experiencing and usher in a new era in this company. A sports writer here in Jacksonville told me a couple of months ago this would be the “Summer of Strowman” but I am still waiting for the earth-shattering event. The current feud with Kevin Owens is entertaining, but it does the “Monster Among Men” no good in helping him get tot eh apex of this company.

Owens needed a program. Strowman needed a program. See the connection out of necessity here?

WWE has a serious problem with its main event picture. With two triple-threat matches last Monday that could have given Seth Rollins, Finn Balor or Drew McIntyre a chance at red glory, the company recoiled and decided simple was better. It’s as if WWE is determined to make sure other more popular performers are buried under the blanket of the “bigger is better” theme Vince McMahon has preached for decades.

What’s the point?

Either Lashley or Reigns will face Lesnar at SummerSlam. The crowd will go mild and the fans they will pray to the gods that Strowman comes out and captures the title. It’s the only way to save this angle. We have waited long enough for the Strowman Era to begin in WWE. It should begin in August. If it does not, the mutiny that has already begun amongst WWE’s fan base will continue.

And no one, not even Strowman benefits from that.


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My Voice Matters: On Hulk Hogan And Representation

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Being a black pro wrestling fan is more difficult than you think.

In the last couple of weeks, events in the pro wrestling industry have done more than enough to test my mental fortitude, discernment, and judgment towards personalities and fans alike. As you may or may not know already, the WWE reinstated wrestling icon Hulk Hogan into their Hall Of Fame after an exile lasting 3 years. What was the cause of this ban you might ask? It was Hogan admitting to racist ideologies in a secretly recorded rant expressing his feelings about his daughter’s interracial relationship. It went a little something like this:

“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean I am a racist, to a point, f****** n*****. But then when it comes to nice people and s***, are whatever.”…

It doesn’t stop there, he had more to say.

“I’d rather if she was going to f*** some n*****, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n***** worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player”

“I guess we’re all a little racist. F****** n*****.”

That was it, it was that leaked audio of him devaluing me and people that look like me into nothing more than n****** not worthy of his daughter unless we put a basketball in a hoop. These words by him once discovered immediately disgraced the former WWE and WCW World Champion, stripping him of his Hall Of Fame nomination and any mention of him on WWE television or memorabilia indefinitely. All it took was 3 years for Vince McMahon to wait for this to blow over and take the coward’s approach of reinstating him, bringing him into the fold to give a half-hearted apology, and McMahon himself not being present to explain himself.

For Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), his rants were more than just a layer from a white man who has built a character later in his career at the expense of popular black culture. From wearing an assortment of Jordans and durags to refusing anyone to wear the same type of clothing at his beach restaurant, it seemed a little excessive to create a dress code that aims at a particular group of people. Also coming from the same era where wrestling icons of of the 80s and 90s were freely dropping racist slurs in front of targeted minorities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Look at this ridiculous dress code

It didn’t take long for the news to face backlash from a number of fans and media outlets, even the talent themselves had words. The New Day and Titus O’Neil both shared their thoughts on the reinstatement, feeling that the character Hulk Hogan has earned his place there but the man Terry Bollea have so much more to prove in his sincerity:

O’Neil has stated in his letter that Hogan wasn’t truly sorry for what he said, he was only sorry that he was caught. WWE should know that this will be a complete PR nightmare and for that it makes little sense to bring him back up in the first place.

Like The New Day and Titus, I also know that forgiveness does not come easy. He no longer belongs on WWE television and any version of him appearing as far ambassador, an angle, or even a public apology would come off as contrived. The more I think about how far this went between the two parties shows how much the wrestling industry as a whole fail to acknowledge the grievances of their minority audience. You will have old guardsmen like Jerry Lawler (alleged statutory rapist) shout how much this about PC culture and Eric Bischoff proclaiming that it is just “haters” instead of using common f****** sense. What Hogan said was reprehensible and it’s something I simply ‘won’t get over’ because f*** that, he doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.

Which makes it all the more upsetting when I see those that support his return and defend his actions are those that are seen as the tastemakers of the wrestling media. The majority of them are middle-aged white men who have no inclination of the world outside of their bubble entirely designed by New Japan and Attitude Era DVDs. For far too long I have to hear from these people who haven’t shared my experiences tell my kind that we should move on from facing discrimination and the societal hurdles. No, it’s bigger than just boycotting WWE because they’re a “nazi organization” when these same nerds are seeing nothing wrong with what Hogan has done.

It’s clear there’s a severe lack of representation of voices in wrestling media, not excluding the talent representing in these companies. I had to see one of my peers lambasted and ridiculed on Twitter simply because he questioned the lack of panels featuring POC and Women for September’s Starrcast event. Instead of responding to the questions at hand of whether they reached out to any podcasts, they circled around posting a link saying people from all over are attending. At this point it is a disservice to keep a loyal, yet fringe market in the dark when there are unique perspectives that need to be heard.

It’s more than just black-and-white, there’s women of all racial backgrounds that have extensive knowledge on topics that many men aren’t capable of attacking in an intelligent manner (see. Sexual Assault). There’s LGBTQ voices that see things in complexities that I have understood but still willing to learn. Until these voices are featured on the notable platforms housed by the typical generic gatekeepers, we as a united fanbase are still far behind.


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Ite Lemalu’s Interview With Bad Luck Fale

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Bad Luck Fale

This article discusses the baddest man in pro wrestling; Bad Luck Fale. Along with his fellow Tongans and ‘Firing Squad’ members, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and King Haku; this Polynesian branch of the Bullet Club are causing all sorts of havoc at the New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax tournament series. Although Fale is currently a prominent topic of discussion in the wrestling world, this piece focuses more on his backstory as a youngster growing up in New Zealand and the ongoing work he serves in his South Auckland community. I had the privilege of interviewing Bad Luck Fale during his visit back to NZ, to which I gained some valuable insight into the man nicknamed, “Underboss”.

Ite Lemalu:  Please share your memories about your family’s journey, migrating from Tonga to New Zealand?
Bad Luck Fale:  We moved from Tonga to New Zealand in 1989. It was a whole new world, but it wasn’t an easy life. Mum, Dad, and my older siblings struggled with multiple jobs to look after us. We lived in Onehunga (central Auckland) then moved to Mangere (South Auckland) in the early 90’s.

Ite Lemalu:  What are some of your first memories of watching wrestling?
Bad Luck Fale:  The earliest memories of wrestling was when we were still in Tonga. My grandfather had a wrestling videotape, and we watched it over and over, for years. I remember watching Hulk Hogan, King Haku and Andre the Giant, who stood out.

Ite Lemalu:  Could you describe your experience as a student at De La Salle College, specifically your time playing for the 1st XV rugby team: How much did this school prepare you to transition from rugby to pro wrestling?
Bad Luck Fale:  De La Salle gave me the chance to get to where I am today. There were times where I couldn’t afford to pay for my school fees so my 1st 15 coach would help me out, and that wasn’t just me. The school still helps those who are in need to this day.

Ite Lemalu:  When you first arrived in Japan, how were you at adapting to the culture?
Bad Luck Fale:  I arrived in Japan only knowing “Konnichiwa” and expecting to see samurai warriors walking around; it was a very different world. It was not easy at all. Having to learn the language and getting used to the food.

FaleAndRikishi

Fale, with WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi

Ite Lemalu:  The number of Pacific Islanders in wrestling has grown a lot in the last 15 years; other than and yourself and the Islanders you work with in Japan; who are some other Pacific wrestlers that you’ve met?
Bad Luck Fale:  I’ve met the great Rikishi and his son and nephew. I’ve received
nothing but love.

Ite Lemalu:  In regards to the working relationship between New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor; have you considered working for ROH or basing yourself in the United States?
Bad Luck Fale:  I actually I haven’t. But if the opportunity arises who knows.

Ite Lemalu:  What are your plans for the G1 Climax tournament?
Bad Luck Fale:  Like I have every year. I aim to stamp my mark as one of the greats and make sure the voice and presence of our Polynesian people are noticed.

Fale4

Fale keeps to his word, applying the camel clutch on his foe Kazuchika Okada at the G1 Climax

FaleIte Lemalu:  What inspired you to set up the Fale Dojo and locating it in South Auckland?
Bad Luck Fale:  The reason I based it in south Auckland is to give the young people there the same opportunity I had. Not all of them play rugby, netball etc. This is just another option. Henare is making a huge impact on the business at the moment and he will be a superstar in the near future. My goal is to open up Fale Dojo in Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa.

 

Henarea

Fale Dojo graduate, Toa Henare making the most of his opportunities in New Japan Pro Wrestling 


Fale3
Ite Lemalu:  During your spare time, you invest a lot back into your community.  Could you share some of the work that you’re involved in?  
Bad Luck Fale:  I like to share my struggles and journey with the local youth groups and schools. Hopefully, some of them will realize that they too can make it.

FaleNakamuraIte Lemalu:  Who has been your favourite opponent so far; and is there a wrestler you’ve yet to lock up with that you’d like to wrestle?
Bad Luck Fale:  Thus far, Shinsuke Nakamura. My dream match is to team up or wrestle against the man King Haku.

Ite Lemalu:  Before we close off, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Bad Luck Fale:  Cheer me or boo me. Thank you!

Thank you @TOKSFALE

 

 

 

@Ite_Lemalu
Ite Lemalu Writings


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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