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CheapShots: The Next Level to The Arch

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

Mad Man on a somber and serious flight path for two reasons. First is the passing of arguably the most important pillar to ever perform in The New York Territory and WWF. Think about that statement and then realize I’m not talking about Hulk Hogan, sorry Terry. One man justifies this description. When a man is a secular Saint for multiple generations of wrestling fans on The East Coast, and a pivotal figure to millions of immigrants in this country without having the circus of the modern art form behind him, he qualifies for such lofty status. When an organization puts its top honor on someone for EIGHT years and sells out the top athletic venue in The United States more than 170 times, rarified air becomes oxygen sent to other performers. I am a proud part of The Missing Man Formation for Bruno Sammartino, who was called home last week.

Monday Night Raw opens with a Ten Bell Salute and a tribute package for the original Living Legend. As a bonus, the video cut down on Paul Heyman’s talking time. My second level of seriousness can be traced to geography. This week’s episode emanates from St. Louis. Wrestling Territories nationwide had sacred cities for big cards: Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Dallas, Memphis, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Tampa. So, what separated St. Louis from those cities? A former sports reporter named Sam Muchnick along with five other gentlemen; including one from Omaha, formed The National Wrestling Alliance in 1948. Fly Over Country my ass! YOU’RE WELCOME MARKS! Apologies for the emotion, but the author of this piece is doing cartwheels.

Muchnick had clout in Washington as well. Fighting off an early anti-trust lawsuit thanks to his political connections. Seen as an honest promoter, he was President of The NWA for over 25 years. Dealing with over 30 promoters and controlling The NWA Gold. For a while, one of those promoters was Vince McMahon Sr. The two bosses tried to organize a Title vs. Title showdown between Bruno and Lou Thesz in New York in 1966. Like always, the Super Match fell apart due to money. Thesz threatened to make it a shoot. However, Sammartino did get one “real” shot at the better gold on June 15th, 1973 in St. Louis. His opponent was Harley Race. They went an hour in a time-limit draw.

With that history, The Arch always deserves respect from the art form. Marks and sheep did not get much from Paul Heyman. Brock Lesnar’s Advocate brought his Beast and his microphone. As usual, he talked of spoilers instead of predictions. He actually compared The UFC Octagon to a steel cage in WWE? Okay Paul. Then he brought up Brock’s new contract, which wouldn’t exist without this desert circus on Friday. More locational proof of Vince’s anatomy. Heyman says Reigns is leaving in multiple boxes, without Universal Gold. Finally, Roman comes out to say he doesn’t know how he’s coming home, but he’s coming home with the strap. Would someone please advance this storyline?  Look, it’s Samoa Joe making old threats via cell phone video. I am officially bored out of my mind.

This week’s competition began with Elias mid-ring, ready to do his tweener promo when Bobby Roode’s entrance cuts him off. There will be no concert in St. Louis! Mr. Glorious dominated early and attempted his finish once, to no avail. He tweaked his knee before going for a Blockbuster, which he would hit later on. After this, Elias went outside the ring only to have Roode throw him back in. Trying to follow him, Roode was stunned thanks to Elias using the ropes inside the ring. Disoriented, Roode stumbled into a schoolboy from Elias, giving The Guitar Man the win.

Next match, we find The Ascension in the ring. Remnants of The Superstar Shakeup, who knew they were still employed? The Painted Clowns were the next set of sacrificial lambs for The Deleters of Worlds, Woken Matt & Bray Wyatt. The Weirdoes win was typically impressive. This smart mark would be surprised if these two were unsuccessful in Golden Expideetion. I like this team. My only question is how long they will be together? I hope the split doesn’t happen too soon.

Cut backstage and we find Chad Gable making his introduction to RAW GM Kurt Angle. The new arrival initially asks how his former tag team partner Jason Jordan is doing with recovery. Our GM tells him that Jordan is getting better, with the caveat that American Alpha is not reforming. Dogear this segment because WWE Creative may have actually found a plausible way out of The Illegitimate Son storyline down the road. For now, Gable says all he wants is an opportunity to compete. Enter Jinder Mahal, blowing smoke about being cheated out United States Gold. After The Indian Brooklyn Brawler went the “Nicholas” route, Kurt ordered the match in the ring. Gable is a supreme athlete who found a way to go over clean. I sincerely hope he is viewed and used as a serious option.

Thankfully, The Miz left Monday Night Raw. Aside from having to see him on Tuesdays now, the only drawback is that Stamford replaced one heel promo segment with another. At least Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn can work and aren’t stealing money. No surprise, their first show was designed to rub Kurt Angle’s nose in their current employment. Don’t piss an Olympic Gold Medalist off! He just might put you in a tag match against Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman! The contest was a good kind of train wreck. Power and athleticism all over the place. Owens was destroyed before the finishing bell. Two running shoulder blocks and a 385lb dropkick outside the ring will do the trick. Sami Zayn took the pin after a patented vertical suplex from Lashley and a power slam from Strowman. If this team were ever made permanent, the entire division on RAW would be dead!

Did someone mention The Miz? In an arc that bordered on painful throughout the show. Two lost puppies tried to find a new master. After failing with both Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, both performers had a tag team match versus the same half of The IC Gold Picture that they had asked to help earlier in the night. Why is WWE doing this? These guys both have legacies in the art form and you haven’t given them any guts after this long? They deserve better. Thank God Mike showed them how to steal money.

We enter the most two-faced segment of the night. Mainly because the painful part was unwatchable. It turned hilarious half-way through. Back up to the start of the show. When Booker T. shows up on commentary, get ready for anything, especially recently. With that bit of information in your head, No Way Jose Congas his way to the ring for a match with Baron Corbin. Jose is not even through the ropes yet. On a live mic, The Pinch Hitter starts making the Adam Rose comparison. “Maybe we should give this guy a party bus? …It’s a script!” I was rolling on the floor. God Bless you, Booker! Corbin refused to have the match thanks to the size of the rookie’s conga line. The Heel With No Pulse had one Monday Night. Waiting for Jose’s companions to dance their way back to the locker room, leaving him vulnerable to an attack. By the way, I was too generous with my predicted timeline. There was no reaction to Jose last night, sorry kid.

Listen, I love The Women’s Division, but this is why moving whole factions from one show to the other is completely STUPID! Never mind storylines get interrupted for no good reason. Pardon me Ms. Riott, didn’t you cut this exact promo when you and your girls tried to blow up SmackDown Live? How many of you got shots at Gold with your little uprising? How many of those opportunities ended with a title change? Pitcher’s duels aren’t worth the hype ladies. Recess is a 10-woman tag match: The Riott Squad, Alexa and Mickie against Nia, Ember Moon, Sasha, Bayley and Natalya. The match was very physical and notable for two spots: Nattie had The Sharpshooter on Mickie when Sarah Logan gave her a chop block, rendering her incapacitated at ringside. Big Fine went full bowling ball from the apron, sprawling out ladies from both teams. Remember Nattie’s new friend from last week? Mickie James forgot. She kept attacking a wounded baby face. Cue Joan Jett! Ronda Rousey comes down to check on The Queen of Hearts and Mickie James blindsides HER and promptly ends up with an arm injury! Given The Gateway City’s sacred place in the artform, St. Louis has seen hundreds of better shows. For Little Vinnie’s Circus it was a coin flip at best. I’m hoping for better consistency when we get passed this sham in the desert. If my passengers will hurry, we’ll take the jet and haul ass to Louisville. See everyone there!

 

Research: http://www.solie.org/articles/muchnick.html

http://sportsandwrestling.mywowbb.com/forum2/7361.html

@wrestlerweekly

 


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Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans

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Stephanie McMahon WWE

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.


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Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?

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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. 


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Cheap Shots: Mad Man’s Testing Cheese in The Mouse’s House

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Gliding over The World’s Largest Golf Ball for SmackDown Live this week. I believe Orlando was nothing more than a spot show for Graham. In his infinite wisdom, Eric Bischoff used Universal Studios for WCW TV Tapings. What’s he getting paid for now? Doing a podcast? Big deal, a ton of my colleagues have podcasts, and they’re smarter than him. Dixie Carter’s TNA Wrestling reminds us that a talented roster cannot overcome a lack of inside knowledge. Impact Wrestling currently resides in the mouse’s zip code today. The latest effort from The New York Big Top wasn’t on a cheap PPV level. I have praised SmackDown Live as the better show for months. Others have done so for much longer. Instead, WWE hands us something between a glorified house show and a week early go home show for SummerSlam?

Let’s find out if Vince left Mickey ANYTHING interesting. Randy Orton has been on The Main Roster for a generation now. He does psychopath extremely well. Not all psychopaths talk though. Creative should be more careful with Randy. He needs a very focused promo, and reason to talk. They should’ve kept him on a singular path here, Jeff Hardy. A tunnel-visioned Viper is a more dangerous Viper. Randall Keith Orton is neither one of The Authors of Pain. Don’t give him a generic heel promo. We know he’s capable. Let Jeff Hardy continue to twist in agony. If you must give Orton a verbal point, do a better job writing it, and save it for after SummerSlam.

Recess started with a backstage promo which would be unnecessary if Vince didn’t book Triple Threats. The fracturing friendship angle is fine, if not required in the art form. However, can anyone pull it off without it feeling forced? Stamford sure can’t. Why were Charlotte and Becky apologizing like it was Middle School? Vinnie put both of you in the match. Break the fourth wall and get mad at him. The Lass Kicker struggled to hide building frustration. Anybody surprised with this? She’s Irish. They teased a possible tag match with The Dragon Huggers at Evolution? I EFFING HOPE NOT! Vince, get your head out of your ass. Unless it results in Sasha Banks being traded, put this mirrored storyline possibility on ice, since you can’t get it right on Monday! Sorry for the tangent. The Tuesday Besties went over The IIconics, who have hit a wall recently.

Here’s a crazy thought, WWE has approximately 14 ladies on The SmackDown Roster. What’s wrong with holding a storyline off TV for a week instead of repeating it? Give us the illusion that friends took a week to work things out without telling Aiden English he’ll be Ron Killings in a month or two. Lana is getting better in the ring, Let’s find another way to stunt her. Put Almas’ Mini Me over again and break up one of our most popular factions. My apologies, I must have hacked into Vince’s email.

Creative got too many compliments on proms last week. Dammit boys and girls, y’all can only rope the moon once every six months. They tried again anyway, bad move! Outside of The New Day; who can read Facebook and make it good. everything else was yawn inducing. Later, WWEs modern answer to The Free Birds went on to beat The Bar in another great TV Main Event.

Random Observation: if smart marks need proof promoters and bookers view Championship Gold as nothing more than a prop, look at R-Truth. Never mind New York’s original name for him. He was respected during his previous run in Orlando for Dixie Carter and TNA. He held Top Gold and was prominent there for a while. Why not? Dude is a fantastic athlete with good mic skills. Back in WWE, he is a glorified carpenter who cuts nonsense promos. I hope the paycheck is worth it, Sir? After setting up a match no one wanted, Truth lost to Shinsuke Nakamura in under ten minutes.

Sometimes, WWE looks dumber than usual in the age of social media. Can anyone tell me why they broke Mike’s match signing with Daniel Brian on Twitter? Did they have a reason? Does anybody really think Mike was on set? Vinnie, suspension of disbelief? Where is it? They could’ve rebooted Cena/Taker from Mania. They reboot storylines far less personal and more pointless. Yes, Daniel got to wail on Mike for a minute. Can’t we do better than to jump the gun so poorly on both fronts?

If Vince wants us to take one thing away from the Styles/Samoa Joe Angle, it is that Joe clearly has both the physical and psychological advantage heading into SummerSlam. Why does everything appear so lopsided though? Not saying The WWE Gold doesn’t fit Joe. If he can stay healthy, it most certainly does. Yes, Joe is a badass, but AJ Styles is capable of rock-solid heel work too. Ask The Con Artist and Big Match John. Hell, Samoa Joe himself knows Styles’ heel talent from elsewhere. It is disappointing the WWE might make fans wait months to see these two work up to their ability, if the trigger ever gets pulled correctly. Maybe by Hell in A Cell or Survivor Series? Given New York’s reputation among smart marks, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Speaking of which, if anyone did so on Tuesday waiting for a typical good show, I apologize. They got a glorified house show. Mickey Mouse deserves better cheese.


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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