Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
Mad Man landing in The Crescent City for a two-day layover. As I roll in to Café Dumonde for a couple beignets and some good coffee, I am slightly bummed out because the best night of the year has vaporized, and I was not here. Thanks to global smart marks flooding the WrestleMania flashpoint once again, the velvet rope got color hard way, and we got into the most important annual public party in the art form. Not a bad consolation prize. Welcome to The Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania and New Year’s Day in World Wrestling Entertainment. Mania is the biggest party on the calendar; but Stamford has recently and quickly turned this in to the most anticipated night of the year. Yes, I just threw up having to give Vinnie credit for anything. I’ll try to wash my mouth out by the end of this post. LET’S GO!
As is customary on this night, smart marks are ready to jump out of their skin before the fireworks start. Stephanie comes out walking gingerly, with her arm in a metal or plastic brace. After all, someone in a kilt and an old-style t-shirt made her tap out on Sunday. Smile upstairs Scotsman. Your legacy is in good hands. With mic in hand, we can tell in about one minute that Daddy’s Little Girl is trying to kill the buzz with her classic two-faced ownership promo. On this night, Steph? Have fun with that. “I’m proud. No one thought that I would bring the best out of her.” I’m sorry, when did Stephanie McMahon morph into Miesha Tate? The crowd is turned up to 11, chanting: “YOU DESERVE IT!” Referring to her arm. She heelishly agrees with them and calls Ronda Rousey out to “thank” her for the performance, put current feelings behind them, and look forward.
Bad move! Baby face Ronda comes out. Doesn’t say a word while the Princess continues to inflate herself. At first, The Second-Generation Rowdy One complies with a handshake and a hug. Ronda suddenly flips the switch. Her eyes turn vicious as they lock on Steph’s. Her hand on The Commissioner’s neck, Steph tries to lock up and fight back. Good luck with that. A heartbeat later, Steph is flipped onto the canvas judo style…OH S***, IT’S HAPPENING! She is freaking the hell out with Ronda kneeling over her. No backup, crowd building. Rousey extends her arm to take the brace off and toss it aside. She takes it and leans back fast, so all four limbs can do their part. Stephanie’s arm is now pointing in a direction foreign to the human anatomy again, as it was Sunday night. The Baddest Woman on The Planet kept her word and The Wicked Witch is dead for now!
That was fun. Next round’s on the ladies! If it’s not on my girl, I want The Raw Women’s Gold on the beautiful Nia Jax. She has been on the roster well over a year, and she has done her job perfectly. Looking like a badass while putting others over enough to pick everybody up. This can be exceedingly difficult because of WWE’s booking. As of Mania Night, The South Pacific Queen overcame all of it to gain her time with Gold! Because mean high school girls don’t shut up, Little Miss Math Class and her MILF BFF interrupted Nia’s Coronation Promo, accusing her of being a bully. Do you hear yourself Alexa? She says she was in emotional distress at Mania. That’s why she lost. The Mean Girl challenges Nia 2-on-1 because there is no way Big Fine can find a partner. Nia finally cuts the brat off, simply telling her to shut up. She has a partner? “Are you ready?”
NXT Smart Marks got goosebumps when Nia used the name Ember Moon. The Lunar Lone Star is on The Main Roster! Even for those of us who had not seen her yet, this young lady’s reputation preceded her. Before becoming NXT Women’s Champion After Asuka’s call-up, she was The Rising Sun Mystic’s fiercest challenger. A Native of Von Erich Country, with athleticism rivaling any woman on the roster. I will break her down when I see more of her. I can tell you she is extremely physical, with a discus forearm that would make Kerry proud. Her finish is a cutter from the top rope called The Eclipse. She hits it, you’re done, and Alexa Bliss followed suit of many athletes before her when the rookie got the win. Welcome to The Big Top. Make Dallas proud!
Cut to backstage, and Kurt Angle as Braun Strowman walks up to him and explains that he must relinquish The Raw Tag Team Gold because his partner had elementary school commitments and cannot travel. Wait, what? Turns out Braun’s WrestleMania Tag Team partner was a ten-year-old named Nicholas. This is a shoot folks! They made The Gold a Make-A-Wish Project! Why Not?? I’m guessing Big Show wasn’t ready yet and they wanted to do something interesting. Good on WWE. So, Braun had to give them up. Naturally, Shamus and Cesaro wanted The Gold handed back to them. Not happening. The winner of a four-team tournament would face them down the line for the vacant Championships. The Revival Beat Gallows & Anderson. Titus Worldwide would come out to take on Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt?? That is not a typo. Turns out The Lake of Reincarnation works! Who knew? Before the match; which Hardy and Wyatt won, the weirdoes cut a beautiful backstage promo with Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy). There are miles in this storyline if it is told correctly!
Angry and sad interlude now as Mandy Rose with Absolution came out to battle Sasha Banks. Paige seemed more affectionate than is typical of her on camera persona. More on that in a minute. The Boss came out looking a little depressed. For selfish reasons, I hate that look on her. It’s not like she hasn’t carried the entire division on her back for years. That’s a shoot. Look it up boys and girls. Anybody needs tested, pushed or flat handed something; give them to Mercedes, she’ll do it. Anyway, bell rings and Bayley’s music hits because Vince McMahon is too stupid to give the best rivalry in NXT History their own match at WrestleMania. Bayley costs Sasha the match and Mandy Rose goes over because why not? Now, the first match of consequence on the main roster between The Female Dragon and The Human Elmo will take place on Raw next week in Hartford, CT? Vincent Kennedy McMahon is an asshole!
Sad soapbox: There was a very good reason for Paige’s early emotion last night. The Scream Queen has had grave medical concerns regarding her neck for months thanks to taking a bump for Lady Banks at a house show in New York State. She was only 21 when she debuted for WWE four years ago in New Orleans on the same sacred Monday Night to shock the wrestling world by taking the then Divas Championship from Mrs. CM Punk! Before her time in the states, she had wrestled for her family’s British promotion for several years. The only comparison I can think of in this hemisphere is Rey Mysterio. The Pale Rider asked management if she could come full circle last night. Her request was granted as she gave a tearful farewell to The WWE Universe. As a result, millions of us are shoot pissed today. Young Lady, thank you for opening a door millions of us did not know we were aching to enter. As a personal shoot, without this blog and The Women’s Division, I don’t know how much WWE I would even watch. And yes Paige: This is ALWAYS your house!
Outside of Ember Moon, there were four main roster debuts or returns last night. Apparently, The Rose Buds have been hibernating for years, and creative has a soft spot? REALLY? There is a dude called No Way Jose and his gimmick is a conga line mirroring The Rose Buds. You can’t make this up. This is NOT 1986! I give sheep a month to boo this guy out of the building. Having said that; the young man is an impressive looking athlete, with solid movement and charisma. I want to be wrong. Given the cynicism of this current audience, I doubt I am. Another act with a well-earned reputation from NXT made their main roster debut last night. Paul Ellering; former manager of The Road Warriors has been grooming The Authors of Pain along a similar path. Minus the face paint, these boys certainly have the force and temperament to make an impression. In a bit of a shock, after AOP won the match, they left Ellering at ringside. My guess is, Vince wants a straight heel reaction from crowds watching this team. At some point in the first half of the show, Roman Reigns comes out to cut a disparaging promo on Vince. Saying he doesn’t know what’s going on. The boss didn’t smarten him up. Another insider term for smart marks to lose their minds over. The Samoan Hype Machine is not done. He finishes by telling the crowd he found out about the upcoming politically motivated shindig in the desert on the internet! It’s not the message. Sheep just wanna shoot the messenger, no matter what he says. Cue Samoa Joe’s music! In all seriousness, Mr. Badass, it’s never been about toughness, promos, or in-ring skill. You came in at almost 40 years old, and haven’t stayed healthy for more than a few months at a time? NOW you’re gonna put The Big Dog to sleep, AGAIN? We’ve already seen this movie bro. Wake me up when we’re not marking out because we haven’t seen you in six months. If you can’t, it’s time to go home.
Last but certainly not least, Elias is mid-ring with downed lights. He gets through his tweener promo and even has the crowd chanting, “WE ARE SCUMBAGS!” Only this crowd. Only this Monday Night Raw! Suddenly, unfamiliar music hits. We get the answer to the eternal mystery: “Who will take The Universal Gold off Mr. Roid Rage, and shut Paul Heyman’s mouth?” Bobby Lashley has not set foot in a WWE ring in what feels like forever! Two Weeks ago, he was putting Brian Cage over on IMPACT Wrestling. Speaking of the former TNA, somebody on creative must be doping Vince because Owens & Zayn show up in search of a gig on Raw only to get a “…TNA is hiring…” from GM Kurt Angle. WHAT THE HELL? Back to Lashley. Walking Armageddon gives The Guitar Man the longest suplex of his life. Statement made! I fully expect the rocket to be strapped to Lashley by year’s end.
Kurt was not a full p**** to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. He told them that with the superstar shakeup coming, he had one open spot and they would have to fight each other for it. Okay, except it was an old school double count out. Neither man won. Now what? WWE seems to hate clean finishes in these situations, drives me nuts. Earlier in the night. Seth Rollins comes out for some love regarding his IC Gold win at Mania. His Move Set Twin came out to congratulate him. The 8-Pack Irishman also insisted he get the first shot at Gold, as he was not pinned in the Triple-Threat Match. The Miz came out with his boys to say the result of the match made his newborn daughter cry. Nice try Mike. A two-week-old baby is barely conscious, and your wife is barely conscious for you!
All three members of The Miz’s crew were about to go full Handicap Match on The Move Set Twins until Jeff Hardy showed up to square the two sides. I hope he took a cab. This led to a 6-Man Tag to close the festivities. Curtis Axel may have broken ribs as result of Brother Nero botching a Swanton Bomb. Otherwise, the baby faces won the match, and everybody went home talking. What an explosive show, and Happy New Year from World Wrestling Entertainment. As I gas up the plane, I wonder what surprises await on SmackDown Live? Feeling clearer but the recovery process is not finished.
MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.
The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.
Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.
Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!
In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.
“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.
Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!
Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”
For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!
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.
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