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Top 5: Worst Roman Reigns Booking Decisions

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Another year, another WrestleMania failure for the Big Dog. We’ve seen Roman Reigns in the last four WrestleMania main events. He’s 2-2, and the two wins didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Sunday seemed tailor-made to be Roman’s day. He’d spent the last month getting beat up by Brock Lesnar. The Beast’s contract status was unknown, but everybody thought it was a moot point. WWE had built to this moment for four years, apparently. Brock Lesnar had become an unstoppable monster so Roman Reigns would stop him & fully take his seat on top of the WWE mountain. It seemed pretty obvious. Until it didn’t happen.

A couple lines of thought have emerged in the days after. One is that Brock will drop the title to Roman in Saudi Arabia at the Greatest Royal Rumble Ever. The other is that Brock will hang on to the title long enough to pass CM Punk’s 434 days as WWE Champion. It’s kind of silly, but makes sense if you look at things from WWE’s logic.

Neither does much to help Roman Reigns. But if we’re being honest, it’s nothing new. Reigns has his flaws, but he also has a lot of positives. As much as WWE wants him to be The Guy, they seem to be the main thing getting in the way. One of the main things Jeremy Lambert & I have noticed on our Arc of Wrestling podcast is WWE’s inability to close the deal with Reigns, even when it’s right there.

Here are the Top 5 Worst Roman Reigns Booking Decisions.

5. WrestleMania 33: Good Idea, Bad Timing

If one good thing came from Reigns’ match with the Undertaker, it’s that WWE figured out that the Dead Man can’t be working over twenty minutes anymore. His performance here against Reigns actively kept the Big Dog from getting the rub he was supposed to get out of it. Hindsight being 20/20, they probably should have had Reigns squash him in five minutes.

Yes, it would have gotten a bad reaction. But it got a bad reaction anyway, so it’s not like they could have made it much worse.

4. Royal Rumble 2015: Even The Rock Can’t Save This

One year prior, Roman Reigns had never been more over. One of the side effects of Daniel Bryan being left out of the Royal Rumble & Batista being the obvious winner of the match was the fans getting behind Reigns towards the end of the match. He had eliminated a ton of guys & looked good during the match, so the crowd had no problem getting behind him in hopes that there would be a surprise winner.

By the time 2015 rolled around, Roman Reigns was anything but a surprise winner. The fans still wanted Daniel Bryan, who was actually in the match this time. His elimination early on led to everybody getting booed, especially Reigns. Even the Rock couldn’t turn the fans when he came down to rescue Reigns from a Kane & Big Show beatdown.

Reigns was the victim of circumstance here, but it could easily have been avoided if WWE had any kind of an idea of what their audience wanted in that match. They forged ahead with the plan anyway, and it seemed like they were ready to crown Roman Reigns.

3. WrestleMania 31: Rollins Takes Reigns’ Moment

I’ll get in trouble for listing this one. Greg DeMarco & others often cite Seth Rollins’ Money in the Bank cash-in at the end of WrestleMania 31 as one of the all-time great WrestleMania Moments. Indeed, it was exciting & somewhat unexpected to most.

But what did it do for Roman Reigns? Nothing good. It was one of the first instances of WWE being afraid to fully pull the trigger on their golden boy. They pressed through the Royal Rumble. At FastLane they had Bryan put Reigns over. In the leadup to WrestleMania, you had Bryan & Paul Heyman both laying the Reigns praise on real thick. If you’re going to press against fan reaction to that degree, you might as well go through with the story & not half-ass it.

What Rollins’ win did above all else was further the perception that Roman Reigns couldn’t get it done when it really counted.

2. Survivor Series 2015: Sheamus 5:15

The first world championship victory should be a crowning achievement for a top guy. We still remember Hulk Hogan toppling the Iron Sheik in Madison Square Garden. The Austin Era began in Boston when Shawn Michaels’ career ended for the first time. Even though John Cena’s first title win went on before Batista’s at WrestleMania 21, he still got the rub from ending the then record-setting reign of John “Bradshaw” Layfield, who had pissed everybody off for months. People wanted to see him lose to anybody.

Roman Reigns’ first WWE Championship victory should have been along the lines of these memorable moments. He should have been the ever popular babyface getting the big win to shut up people the fans detested. Instead, he defeated the more popular Dean Ambrose in a tournament final and then decided to beat up Triple H during his victory celebration. Sheamus came in, cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and Roman’s first world title reign was over in 5:15.

People attempted to defend this by pointing out that Daniel Bryan’s first WWE Championship reign ended in similar fashion at SummerSlam 2013. (It wasn’t Bryan’s first world title reign, but that didn’t stop the comparisons.) The reaction to Bryan getting screwed was surely what WWE brass were hoping for here, but Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan are two entirely different animals. Bryan’s appeal lies in being the over-matched underdog that has to fight through endless adversity before rising up and overcoming it all. More importantly, he was perceived as somebody that Vince McMahon & the rest of the higher-ups didn’t want as champion, and the SummerSlam result & the results the months afterwards just made the story even more believable. He was considered an underdog on & off-screen.

Roman Reigns is the complete opposite. He’s at his strongest with the fans when he’s running over everybody in his path & nobody can do anything to stop him. He’s not good at getting sympathy. Nobody ever feels sorry for him. Cutting his title reign short here just gave him the vibe of being a choke artist. They made it even worse by having him cry afterwards. It didn’t make him more sympathetic, it made him a crybaby.

1. Royal Rumble 2016: Takes Half The Match Off, Still Loses

It was going to be One vs. All. Roman had eventually gotten the WWE Championship out of the hands of Sheamus, and Triple H was mad. He decided that Reigns was going to defend the championship in the Royal Rumble, and that the Big Dog was going to be the first entrant.

Sounds good, right? Roman had some pretty heavy odds to overcome. There were a number of ways it could go…

-Reigns could last the entire match & win
-The Big Dog could last the entire match & come up just short
-He could get screwed early on & have a reason for a rematch later.

They decided to combine 2 & 3. The illustrious League of Nations stable came out & attacked Reigns early in the match, beating him up & putting him through a table. Of course, they forgot to throw him over the top rope, which enabled Reigns to come back 30 minutes later, showing no real signs of distress. He didn’t even go off on a stretcher or anything like that. Reigns walked to the back after his beatdown, trying to portray a tough guy…that was walking off from a fight.

He didn’t even win! Triple H came back to active competition at #30 & overcame all odds to become a 14-time World Champion. The idea here was to have Triple H use his ultimate heeling abilities to put Roman over at WrestleMania. Roman went over, but the feud did nothing to help him & only resulted in more boos.

Defenders of Reigns’ timeout during the Rumble compare it to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s similar stint out of action during the 1999 Royal Rumble. Austin at least went off in an ambulance after taking a beatdown from Vince McMahon’s Corporation, and drove the ambulance back to the building. When he no-sold something, he did it in style. Reigns did the lazy man’s version of Austin’s comeback attempt.

Shocking that the lazy version of Stone Cold Steve Austin booking didn’t get over the same way.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

Andrew’s Impact Wrestling YouTube Ratings & Analysis (3/22/2019)

Andrew tales a look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT! How did it match up after disappointing Twitch views?

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IMPACT Wrestling

A look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT!

As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for wrestling. Most people will point to television ratings like they did during the Monday Night Wars in the late 1990’s, however that can be skewed with so many various means of watching today that do not include cable television.

As you’ve become accustomed to this with WWE product, let’s continue the Impact YouTube! Here is this week’s IMPACT YouTube Report, compiled approximately 48 hours after IMPACT went off the air:

  1. The VIOLENT Debut of a New Member of oVe! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 353k
  2. Top 5 Must-See Moments from IMPACT Wrestling for Mar 22, 2019 | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 99k 
  3. Johnny & Taya Explain Their Despicable Betrayal of Brian Cage | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 93k
  4. Scarlett Bordeaux vs Glenn Gilbertti NEXT WEEK on IMPACT Wrestling: Against All Odds! – 50k
  5. Gail Kim Interrupted by a VICIOUS Brawl Between LAX & Lucha Bros! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 47k

 

Ratings Analysis:

Well…last week and this week have surprised me. Not only for what ranked first, but by how much. I didn’t realize Sawyer Fulton had that much of a following, or again, the tag line is enticing with Debut and Violent. But either way, Sami and oVe have been a solid proven commodity for generating buzz and attention, so I suppose after the initial shock of how many people clicked it, it makes some sense. But damn, 3 times as many views as second place. Wow.

The Top 5 truncated highlight reel comes in second. These always seem to do fairly well, and good for them? Not much to extrapolate from people enjoying abridged versions of things. Ask Team Four Star or Little Kuriboh, abridged things are great.

For as monotone as he is, and how much the IWC reaction is basically what he was complaining about in his promo, he still keeps pulling good numbers. Johnny does cut a better promo as a heel, but he’s still hard to sit through. But hey, it’s bringing eyeballs, so that’s something.

Scarlett and Glenn promo video gets a little love. Scarlett is one of the hottest things in wrestling currently and Glenn does have a degree of celebrity, as well as being great in his role. Even though the only thing that makes sense is Scarlett winning next week, Glenn has been a great addition to the show this past month.

Gail Gail Gail, well now. Gail is one of the best female wrestlers  ever, and LAX/Lucha Bros decided to brawl all in the same video. There’s so much to peak a little interest that it makes complete sense why it made the Top 5. Lucha Bros are on fire currently, LAX is always a draw and Gail is Gail, so I’m a little surprised this wasn’t higher.

Overall Views:

  • 2.1.2019 – 311,000
  • 2.8.2019 –  293,000
  • 2.15.2019 – 396,000
  • 2.22.2019 – 368,000
  • 3.1.2019 – 354,000
  • 3.8.2019 – 439,000
  • 3.15.2019 –  616,000
  • 3.22.2019 – 642,000

Again we see a jump in numbers. Since the show did it’s lowest Twitch views of the year, I guess it makes sense that more people would be going to YouTube to try and catch up since there is no legal VOD service unless you DVR/On Demand the show from Pursuit…but you’d need Pursuit in the first place.

So with all that, the number could’ve been higher since the NCAA tournament was in full swing, thus distracting some potential viewers. All in all, this is nice to see interest in Impact, though it waned, didn’t go away completely…and seems to be bouncing back a little. With such a limited TV reach and hit or miss Twitch numbers, any amount of increased interest is a positive step.

As is tradition, the number 1 video:


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis

New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?

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New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?

Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.

That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.

Ratings:

  • Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
  • Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
  • Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
  • Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
  • Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
  • Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – *** 
  • IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
  • NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****

 

Analysis:

We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.

Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.

Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.

Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.

Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.

This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.

We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches.  Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.

WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.

 

Overall Score: 7.25/10

The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.

Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.

So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.

 

 

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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