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CheapShots: Hair of The Dog And Voodoo #2



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

Since some of my passengers and I are on our last stroll down Bourbon Street for a while, let’s have a good time! The final remnants of a week-long bender don’t wanna let go as SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon opens the show with a quick recap of his tag team victory with Daniel Bryan. Gushing about Bryan’s physical ability and passion for the business despite Daniel’s three-year layoff, Shane gives us a powerful piece of information. The SmackDown Live GM has officially resigned his position of authority to return to full-time in-ring competition.

As a tribute to The Junkyard Dog in his most memorable territory, Shane’s Double Thump of good news was not complete. The right cross was equally heavy with positive energy. Due to his wrestling, someone would have to replace The American Dragon in terms of decision making on The Blue Brand. Rumors of a forgiven leader of maniacs have crept to the surface for weeks. Thankfully, we don’t have to listen to a dude in his 60s. Tweet me, I will fight you all damn day! We get to listen to a 25-year-old sexy Goth Chick! They did something right! SHE’S HOME! I popped like a ten-year-old when everybody blew up. THANK YOU WWE! Heel or babyface, Paige will be AWESOME in the role of GM. This is STILL her house!

The Pale Rider’s first decree as General Manager is to put the returning Daniel Brian in a match with…AJ Styles! More on that later. The first match of last evening put The New Day against The Usos to see who would challenge newly crowned Tag Team Champions; The Bludgeon Brothers, for The Gold in the desert. As always, these two teams had a combination classic. Neither held the advantage for long stretches of time and chemistry in the ring is beyond obvious. Rikishi’s boys won, but the outcome was a coin flip until the three-count. Afterward, Harper & Rowan came out to point their hammers and look menacing, mission accomplished.

Follow me to recess on acid. I wish I was kidding. It all started simple enough. A backstage segment began with Naomi standing next to the prefab trophy she won for surviving The Women’s Battle Royal at Mania. Seriously Vinnie? You’ve got millions in the budget, and THAT’S what you come up with? Anyway, random thought: Would anybody have a problem if the future trophy was named for Cyndi Lauper, or am I a dinosaur? What’s more fun in wrestling than an All-Girl Battle Royal? Why wasn’t she in the celebrity wing of The WWE Hall of Fame 15 years ago?

Nattie’s cutting a horrible heel promo again. This leads to a decent match that Naomi won clean with a Split-Legged Moonsalt. Jumping one segment, Charlotte’s aura takes a bow from Second Nature breaking Asuka’s unbeaten streak at WrestleMania. I’m betting a minute into her promo, no one watching thought The Queen’s Reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion would be over faster than an album cut ends. Look it up, Millennial Nerds! Now hold your breath. Here we go. Unique music hits as Corey Graves loses his mind. Two stunning koalas come out. This tandem is known as The Iconics. The last time I saw Billie Kay; she had longer hair and had yet to see a tanning bed. If I remember correctly, she was jobbed out to Nia Jax and sent back to NXT. Ms. Kaye found a kindred Aussie in Peyton Royce.  Both ladies come down and patronize Charlotte like everyone else has since her arrival. The striking difference with these ladies is that they are each Second Nature’s equal in terms of physical dimension.

Translation? If they wanted to beat the crap out of her, they could certainly beat the crap out of her. Guess what they wanted to do? This wasn’t Human Scrimshaw and The Riott Squad. These girls weren’t done until the job was finished. They are a problem and have no conscience. Perfect heels in the perfect spot. Especially for Carmella! Even the walking Carlos Mencia punchline couldn’t screw this up. Charlotte was a broken zombie because of the beatdown. All it took was 287 days and one kick. Blondie Circus is now The SmackDown Women’s Champion. I said it last night. I will gladly say it again. Gold is not an indication of ability. After over a year being called up, they still don’t trust you alone in a ring. Stamford found two guys to hide you and prop you up. The d*** head’s gone because that’s what he is. And your boyfriend took a terrible bump. We can count on two hands the number of singles matches you have actually won. Young lady, your gimmick is all you’ve got. Even your acceptance promo was your first decent sign of a pulse since winning your shield, I mean your briefcase. Congratulations, I can talk too. You are the classic definition of go away heat, regardless of the strap they gave you.

Speaking of giving someone Gold. They gave Jinder Mahal The United States Chanpionship because Vince McMahon refuses to do thorough international research. Who is The Indian Brooklyn Brawler’s first challenger? I know, let’s just do the match from Mania again, and take The Sikh out of it! Did I mention I hate lazy booking? Thanks, Cornette! The Viper won the reboot with an RKO on Bobby Roode. YAWN! At least I have the main event to help wake me up.

As I pick the mic up once again, I rewind the night to an interesting promo from Shinsuke Nakamura following his heel turn at Mania. An insincere apology led the parrot to prod him further: “Sorry, no speak English…” This just got weird. AJ Styles says he can’t focus on The Artist Formerly Known as right now. He’s right. He’s got Daniel Bryan in a singles match to close things out. So nice to see two dudes wrestle and help erase three years in ten minutes. The Beard looked like he had never left. Unfortunately, Nakamura ran in to low blow Styles twice. It was a very schizophrenic show. Still very solid. Storylines will change and move now. Oh, a Google Earth view of Vinnie’s back yard. I will pick up my passengers for Hartford soon!



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Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans



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?




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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