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CheapShots: Bad Street Blues

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

 

After some time off for convalescence, I see four words at the top of my flight manifest that make me laugh. As a proud supporter of World Class, there are two chants rattling around my head in a heartbeat. “Go (Von Erich) Go”, and “Go Home Freebird!” In Texas and most places in The South, the latter was viewed as an insult. However, fans of the art form in Ray Gunkel Territory took pride in being a hotbed of Southern Wrestling. Every organization had its flashpoint. Jim Crockett Promotions was no different. Without Atlanta TV, even Ric Flair isn’t the same. Before Crockett had a monopoly on The NWA Gold and Atlanta: Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts claimed it as home. In fact, they gave it a nickname when Saint Richard was in diapers as a champion. Say four words to fans of a certain age and they may start singing. “Bad Street, Atlanta, GA!”

As cruising speeds over Bad Street are attained, Vinnie’s circus is in town for The Go Home Monday Night Raw before the days-long bender in The Big Easy. Show opens with Jonathan Coachman impersonating a parrot in the ring, There is a clothed table with two chairs on each side of him. Why? Guess we need to kill 20 minutes? Steph and Triple H come out first. Daddy’s Little Girl must shake her ass to remind us she works out. After we get done barfing, they walk around the ring, so a cameraman can get a close ground-level shot of them pointing up at the WrestleMania sign. No one forgot! Angle and Rousey follow with their typical baby face entrances.

This was supposed to be a Q&A driven by marks on social media. Good luck with that. Triple H pulled the segment in its true direction rehashing old arguments from The Rumble. “Kurt, why did you ruin her signing?” Again? Who cares at this point? WWE scripting is useless. Angle was repeating one line throughout about Stephanie tapping out. Ronda asked her why she was hired under false pretenses. Steph said it’s par for the course and The Baddest Woman on The Planet doesn’t take losing very well. Ronda asked which her dominant hand was, so she could break the other one!

Coachman tried to save things by going to the pre-fight photo-op. All Rousey has to do to get a pop is move. Steph feigns a handshake. Ronda steps up. Kurt attempts to break it up, He takes a shot from Trips and falls out of the ring. Ronda grabs Paul’s throat while Steph sneaks behind her to give her a choke slam through a table? Steph, you’re not 6’2’’. You look stupid giving the move. Never mind Ronda’s real athletic instincts make suspension of disbelief almost impossible. Someone beats her, it won’t be Stephanie McMahon. Segment felt unnecessary and unbelievable. I genuinely hope they don’t screw up this match for the sake of publicity.

Regular programming begins with recess when Bayley takes on Sonya Deville with the remaining members of Absolute Yawn at ringside. A very solid match was used to spotlight The Women’s Battle Royal at Mania. The Human Elmo won despite attempted shenanigans from Mandy Rose, who jumped her after the match. This prompted The Legit Boss to run down and make the save? HEY VINCE, quit taking logic out of her hands. She could be the best heel on the roster. LET HER WORK! Instead of keeping her out of it, writers wasted another fight because Bayley wouldn’t raise her hand after the brawl last week? Have I mentioned Vince McMahon is an idiot? Unfortunately, Paige’s injury has really taken the spine out of Absolution, and likely cost Sasha Banks her WrestleMania moment. A match between The Pale Rider and The Female Dragon would’ve stolen the show. Now most of these performers are being wasted and none of them will win the battle royal

Oh look, it’s time to give away a PPV match on TV! The Move Set Twins had a very good match which saw Seth Rollins beat The 8-Pack Irishman with a curb stomp thanks to WWE’s booking habits. Seth’s Iron Man performance is still male match of the year. This segment was also notable for The Miz on commentary gushing about his new baby girl. Congratulations Mike! Not only are you stealing money, but they gave you a baby face promo. Don’t do this to us! It’s the rough equivalent to making Flair a baby face before 50. No one outside of Charlotte bought it, and he was only a baby face because he was shoved down our throats for decades. Short answer long. The Miz is not a baby face. They might make him one, but nobody would believe it.

I sincerely hope Stamford cuts down the number of promos on Raw after WrestleMania. If not, at least do a better job paying them off. Knowing Vince’s disdain for smart marks and sheep, they probably won’t. Two wasted segments: First, The Bar comes out for at least the third time asking who Braun Strowman’s partner is for Mania. He cuts them off and comes out to say his partner is in the back and will reveal himself if he can have a singles match with Sheamus or Cesaro. The Bar agrees, only to have Braun come out in a dress shirt and glasses, proclaiming that his name is Brains. When did they hire Vince Russo again? Stop this crap! Speaking of crap, John Cena’s music hits half-way through the show. Okay Vince, Johnny Goodguy can head straight for New Orleans now. Mr. Calloway ain’t comin’ out at 9:00PM! Surprise, no gong or Rob Ritchie! Same promo for a month straight. Only part that woke me up was when he called Atlanta Dallas’ warm-up act. Guessing Michael Hayes had something to do with that line. Thank You Sir! I know WrestleMania needs surprises. Holding these two off until Sunday is not fair to WWE’s normal audience. The McMahon Family hasn’t cared about fair or logical since Montreal.

Enter Woken Matt Hardy and Goldust cutting dueling promos on The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. These Veterans are both fabulous! The Son of A Son of A Plumber says that when he wins, they will make a documentary about him. Woken Matt Says everyone will be DELETED in honor of “Humongous Wonder #8!” God Bless Matt Hardy. Most of his solo stuff is actually getting better. Given his previous stop, that was an incredibly tough ask. He won a match with Goldust. Good as he is, it’s not about wrestling anymore, but character expansion. Stay out of his way and let the man do his thing.

More dueling promos. This time it was Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Little Miss Math Class and her BFF Mickie James were rehashing their boom mic promo in Bright Letter Format while Nia got a sit-down interview. She said Alexa’s treatment of her was a flashback to her time in school. She was always different. She is proud of herself. Big Fine is confident in her abilities, and ready to squash Alexa like a bug! Cue a Women’s Tag Match with Alexa and Mickie taking on Dana Brooke and Asuka. After well over a year on The Main Roster can Dana Brooke do no more than copy Chyna? Thank God for Asuka, who made Mickie tap out in less than ten minutes. Afterward, both heels jumped Asuka until Big Fine’s music hit, forcing Little Miss Math Class to run like a five-year-old. Mickie took A Samoan Drop, and Alexa is still dead at Mania!

After being discarded easier then Kleenex earlier in the night, Kurt Angle had nothing better to do than running around backstage worrying about a work because WWE. First it was Paul Heyman, insistent that he would stay positive. Then Roman Reigns who said that despite Brock Lesnar’s lack of respect for everything and everyone, he would hear Heyman out provided The Walrus didn’t say anything stupid. Have you met Paul Heyman in a work? Angle asks both competitors not to wreck the match at Mania. Really Kurt? Don’t worry, neither one is Carmella. Heyman and Mr. Roid Rage are out first. Paul is mid-promo when a human wall forms at the entrance because WWE. Two minutes later, The Samoan Hype Machine asks them why they are protecting the part-time bastard. Good Luck Roman, we’ve been asking for years. Magically, the wall opens allowing Reigns to get to the ring. Five Superman Punches later, Roman takes an F5 and the show is over. I expected more from the go home show to WrestleMania. Sorry for The Blues Bad Street. Y’all deserved a better set. I hope my passengers join me in Nashville tomorrow.

 


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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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