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Opinion

The Importance of Charlotte vs Asuka at Wrestlemania 34

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Charlotte vs Asuka WrestleMania

There was a time not too long ago when women’s wrestling wasn’t just considered to be one of the least important aspects of a professional wrestling card, but for many people was sadly relegated into the category of ‘bathroom break’ which is a position no talent wants to be in at any point in his/her career. Prior to the most recent growth of the ‘Women’s Revolution’, women were sadly handed the short end of the stick on the vast majority of WWE shows and as a result some dark days loomed over some of the most talented individuals in the wrestling world.

When looking back at the period of 2002-2006, women in the WWE were generally placed at the bottom of the card, with a few exceptions on the odd occurence. Instead of being offered storylines and matches that would emote care and passion from their loyal fanbase, they were shoved into meaningless and sometimes revolting angles that position them more as sex-symbols than anything. Matches such as ‘Bra & Panties’ and the use of the word ‘Diva’ not only detracted from everything that made women like the legendary Mae Young so special but gave the WWE fanbase very little to clamour over, other than vanity.

Further combining the lack of compelling characters, matches with far too little time to invoke a reaction or a general sloppiness & inconsistency in terms of their creative direction lead to a complete disconnect with the mainstream audience. This wasn’t through any fault of their own, as at the time women in professional wrestling, at least within North American territories, just weren’t viewed in the same light as their male counterparts.

Thankfully, with a complete shift in their backstage influencers and creative directions, women haven’t just received attention equal to that of men but on countless occasions have outshined their efforts and made their mark.

Our most recent example in this shift is ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’, Asuka.

The recent ‘Women’s Revolution’ has brought along a plethora of fresh and new talent, the likes of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax, Carmella, Becky Lynch, RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte have all become standouts in this revitalized division. None however, at least in my eyes, have been positioned in the seat of dominance the way Asuka has been since her 2015 debut in NXT.

As of April 2nd, Asuka’s undefeated streak stands at 265 wins, a streak that has spanned over 908 days and the conquering of 8 former Women’s champions. To know this streak not only stands as the longest of the modern era isn’t just a testimony to the importance that women now play in the landscape of WWE, but the magnitude that this upcoming match with Charlotte at Wrestlemania 34 could have on everyone. This includes not just us as fans, but likely the many talents who will be backstage during the match itself.

Charlotte has long been considered the best pound-for-pound women’s wrestler on the main roster, this goes without mentioning her previous heritage to her father, 16-Time World Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. Many, myself included feel Charlotte’s historic victory at Wrestlemania 32 was the renaissance of women’s wrestling and a sign that change had finally come after a long overdue wait. Her brutal rivalry with Sasha Banks that shortly followed throughout 2016 pushed the women into all new territory, breaking ground and providing them with a platform previously unheard of in the business.

While we all watched this history unfold, there was no collision course clearer than the eventual one with Asuka, who at that point had been dismantling the women down in NXT for well over a year. Both women achieved historical accomplishments during their time in WWE; Charlotte becoming the inaugural RAW Women’s Champion, while Asuka cemented her legacy by winning the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble earlier this year.

Those achievements not only raised the legitimacy of both women’s respective careers, but made fans question what would happen one day, the one day that we got to see ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ clash with the best that WWE had to offer. That day is soon to be upon as, and we only need to wait until this Sunday at WrestleMania 34 to see which woman truly lives up to their own name.

Charlotte Asuka WrestleMania

It may seem like a normal match on paper, but Charlotte vs Asuka is far more than just what it’s billed as on the surface. It is a clash of the talent that came out of NXT and accomplished so much in such a short space of time, and it is also a clash to once and for all find out who is truly the best. Having beaten 8 former Women’s Champions there is little left for Asuka to prove, but Charlotte could potentially be the one to break the streak that has ruled the WWE landscape for so very long. At the same time, there is no challenger who possess a bigger threat to the ‘Queen’ of Smackdown than Asuka herself, as her previous track record will leave a large section of the audience with fear in their hearts.

It is storytelling like this that makes this match on Sunday so pivotal. Along with pairing up the two current best in the world, it shuld generate an image of how far our women have come in such a short space of time. This isn’t intended to harm the reputation of the other Women’s matches on the card, as I’m expecting nothing but quality, but no match on the card has the core WWE fanbase more interested than this historical clash.

If you’re like me, and are tuning in this Sunday, I advise you to consider the importance of this match. We are also lucky enough for have 3 other prominent matches involving some very lucrative female talent, but none hold a candle to what Charlotte & Asuka have the chance of producing at WrestleMania 34. This is more than just a championship match, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted women’s wrestling to embody; a solid storyline, well-defined characters and a match that any WWE or NXT fan has been waiting to see for almost 3 years.

WrestleMania has ridiculous potential with the card on offer this year, if you’re looking for this years ‘Dark Horse’, look no further than the SmackDown Women’s Championship match.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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