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WrestleMania 32: Texas Takedown Or How To Put On an Amazing Show on a Shoestring.

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WrestleMania 32 Arena

WrestleMania 32 comes to us from Dallas, Texas and it comes to us in strange circumstances. WWE was hit with a streak of injuries that took out about 1/3 of the roster in the fall of 2015/winter of 2016, including top stars like John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, and others. Because of that, WWE was putting on WrestleMania 32 on something of a shoestring roster. The upside to this is that we got shocking returns, and see superstars step up to the plate, for better or worse.

Shane McMahon, the prodigal son of Vince McMahon, would return to try and save his family’s company from his family, and risk everything in the most demonic structure ever thought of in professional wrestling.

Roman Reigns would do battle to regain the title he was screwed out of time and again by the McMahons in his second WrestleMania main event.

Dean Ambrose would try to prove that he was a main event player and not the forgotten member of the Shield or Roman’s sidekick, and he would do it by going up against The Beast, Brock Lesnar.

Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch would try to cement their own places in history by becoming the first women to co-main event a WrestleMania in an epic battle for the re-instated Women’s Championship.

So, will WrestleMania live up to all this potential, even with the shoestring roster? Let’s find out!

Pre-Show

We start with the Moutain Dew Kickstart Entrance, which is a little too poppy for WWE, in my opinion.

WWE United States Championship Match: Kalisto vs Ryback

Kalisto is out first in a really cool outfit, and he gets a decent pop for a half full building. Ryback gets a round of boos. Kalisto keeps trying to fake Ryback out and I don’t think it worked.

This match was…not good. I like Kalisto and he did alright, but the rest of this match stunk in terms of story and ringwork.

For whatever reason, we get a promo for the Shane/Undertaker match in the middle of this match. Even the guys in the back don’t want to watch this match, apparently.

Back to business, Ryback’s pinned Kalisto, but only gets a two count. This is a big contrast in size and styles and it just isn’t working for me.

Winner: Kalisto retains by pinfall.

Highlights: Kalisto shifting just enough to get a pin attempt on Ryback after a superplex. Salida del Sol from the middle rope.

Comments: This would be Ryback’s last WrestleMania. He would leave later in the spring and has not return.

Team Total Divas (Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Paige, Eva Marie, and Natalya) vs Team B.A.D and Blonde (Lana, Emma, Naomi, Summer Rae, and Tamina)

Team Total Divas get a pretty good pop. Team B.A.D and Blonde don’t get much of a pop.

Summer and Alicia start off and Alicia quickly takes control, but Summer Rae isn’t going to be a pushover and quickly tags in Tamina. Things get out of control pretty quickly.

We get a promo for Total Divas, which I find annoying.

This was actually a really good match. Even the not-great member(s) of both teams got in good spots. Lana is making her in-ring debut at WrestleMania, and I can’t say I’m terribly impressed. She’s not in the ring that long and what she did didn’t wow me.

Brie finally gets tagged and starts cleaning house. Things get crazy quicky and everyone’s getting their spots in. Brie and Naomi are still the legal Superstars and Naomi goes for the moonsault , but Brie gets a knee up. Brie is knocked off the top turnbuckle, but counters Naomi into a rolling Yes! Lock for the win.

Winner: Brie Bella makes Naomi tap with the Yes! Lock for her team. As the Divas celebrate, Nikki comes out, to a great pop, in a neck brace, to join them. There are hugs all around and Brie is lifted up on her teammate’s shoulder.

Highlights: Natalya and Paige doing a Hart Attack on Naomi.

Comments: This would be Brie Bella’s last WrestleMania for awhile. She would retire to start a family, though she has started making returns to WWE.

The Usos vs the Dudley Boys

Usos are out first to a good reaction. I miss the war dance entrance. Dudleys get a great pop, even though they’re the heels.

Dudleys take control quickly, and the crowd wants tables. For some reason, this match feels like they’re both very tentative about it. It’s a really good match, but it just feels like they’re not either not clicking or aren’t sure how to make the most of a quick match.

Winner: Usos by pinfall. Dudleys attack from behind and get the tables, but the Usos counter and stereo Samoan Splash the Dudleys through the tables.

Comments: I enjoyed this match, but it feels like it never quite got started.

Opener

5th Harmony sings ‘America, the Beautiful’. And they sound lovely, too bad they’ve split up. Oddly, there’s not a video montage like there usually is, but the singing was still great.

The opener evokes the history of WrestleMania, Vince’s dream, and how it’s grown into the spectacle it is now. I’d love to know who they got to impersonate the superstars in this video. I also love the song they’re using.

Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens vs Stardust vs Zach Ryder vs Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz vs Sami Zayn vs Sin Cara

Ziggler gets a great pop, Miz gets a round of BOOs, Zayn gets a huge pop, Stardust gets a minimal reaction, even though he’s wearing his dad’s yellow polka dots, Sin Cara also gets a minimal reaction, though his outfit is cool, Ryder gets a mixed reaction, Owens gets a huge reaction.

This match gets off to a crazy start, as you would expect from a ladder match. Miz tries to climb the ladder without opening it and is saved by Zayn and Ziggler. Stardust’s tribute ladder to his dad got a great pop, but like his previous ladder, this one didn’t get much use.

Winner: Zach Ryder retrieves the belt and we have a new Intercontinental Champion! Ryder is a Heavyweight title away from being a Grand Slam Champion.

Highlights: Stardust’s Dream Ladder. Owens and Zayn. Ryder celebrating with his dad after winning his first WrestleMania match.

Comments: This was a great opener to the main card, lot of great spots and a surprise win for Zach Ryder.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Jericho gets a great pop, and so does Styles in his first WrestleMania.

This match was fantastic. When you have styles as similar as Styles and Jericho, there’s a good chance that the similarities will make the match boring, that didn’t happen here. These guys are showstealers and that’s what they did. I would compare this match ALMOST to Steamboat/Savage from WrestleMania III in terms of ring work.

One thing I didn’t like was the commentators dismissing Styles’ career before coming to WWE. Yes, TNA isn’t WWE or WCW, but when Styles was there, he competed with the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle, and was a star in Japan, it’s not something they should be sniffing at.

Winner: Chris Jericho by pinfall

Highlights: There are too many to name, just watch the match.

Comments: This was a great match. A lot of people gripe about Styles losing his first WrestleMania, but he looked really great and he and Jericho put on a barn burner match.

The League of Nations (with King Barrett) vs New Day

New Day gets a good pop and comes out of a box of Booty-Os. League of Nations come out to a round of boos.

This was a physical match. All of the LoN guys are more known for having very physical matches than for their technical skills.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t like either of these teams, so it was hard for me to get into it, I didn’t care who won or lost. That said, it was a very good match and both teams did a great job, I just wasn’t into it.

Winner: League of Nations by pinfall

Highlights: Sheamus pounding on Xavier’s chest to the tune of ‘New Day Rocks/Sucks’.

Comments: I would’ve enjoyed this more if I’d cared about one of these teams.

No Holds Barred Street Fight: Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs Dean Ambrose

Lesnar comes out first to a good pop, but the crowd is also giving him a lot of flack. There hasn’t been a Street Fight at WrestleMania since Hogan vs McMahon. Heyman is a jerk to Eden and won’t let her announce the match.

Dean gets a great pop. He’s wearing a leather jacket with ‘Fighting Spirit’ embroidered in Kanji, which I love.

This match gets physical quickly, Dean’s giving up about 50lbs in weight to Lesnar, but Dean’s been in nastier matches with scarier people than Brock Lesnar. Dean goes to the equalizers quickly, whaling Lesnar with a kendo stick.

Lesnar doesn’t seem to want to do anything but suplexes, which gets boring quickly. I feel bad for Dean have to get an actual match out someone who clearly isn’t interested.

This was a good match…on Ambrose’s end. Lesnar was clearly not interested in actually working with Ambrose and just wanted to do HIS match.

Winner: Brock Lesnar by pinfall.

Highlights: Ambrose having no fear of Lesnar and taking it to him, though Lesnar did very little. Heyman’s reaction to Ambrose beating on Lesnar with the kendo stick. Dean kissing Barbie (baseball bat wrapped in barb wire), Heyman and Lesnar’s reactions to said kiss.

Comments: I hated this match because it felt like Ambrose had a match and Lesnar was just not cooperating.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (with Ric Flair) vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

Becky comes out to a great pop. Sasha is sung to the ring by Snoop Dogg and she gets a great pop. She’s wearing tights inspired by her hero, Eddie Guerrero. Charlotte gets a mixed reaction. Her robes were made from the robes her father wore to his last WWE match, and it looks better on her than it did on him, at least cut wise.

Sasha and Becky team up on Charlotte and then take it to each other. Each woman is going for a quick victory. Becky is knocked out of the ring and we get a battel between Sasha and Charlotte.

This was such a great match, not just because of its significance in the Women’s Revolution, but just in terms of story and ring work. I couldn’t take notes because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Winner: Charlotte by submission, new Women’s Champion.

Highlights: The German suplex/Sunset flip spot. Sasha’s Frog splash. Becky and Sasha taking out Naitch.

Comments: I loved this match, all three women did a great job and made a real case for the women getting more time and matches on big cards.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Shane McMahon – Hell in a Cell. If Shane wins, he gets control of RAW. If Taker loses, he will no longer be allowed to compete at WrestleMania

Shane comes out first, with his three boys, to a great pop. Linda McMahon and Shane’s wife, Marissa, are at ringside and take the boys. The Deadman Cometh, and gets a great pop, to battle for his career in the structure almost synonymous with him, Hell in a Cell.

This match was insane. All Hell in a Cell matches are insane, but add in Shane O’Mac, who not only has no fear, but spits in fear’s eye with a smile on his face, is a recipe for an insane, and insanely good match.

One thing I did notice, and it didn’t really register with me in 2016, was how limited Taker was starting to become. I think the reason why no one really noticed in 2016 was because of the Cell and Shane. With those two factors, no one was expecting more than a fight out of Taker and Shane and it was an excellent cover.

I loved this match because: 1. I love a good gimmick match. and 2. It was a great match on its own merits. Taker and Shane were great together. It was a fight from start to finish, but it was a great match.

 Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. Taker salutes the fans, but this has been a brutal match for both men.

Highlights: Shane McMahon being a crazy SOB and jumping off the top of the cell. The commentators trying to talk Shane out of jumping off the cell, not sure why they bothered. The FREAKOUT when Shane crossed himself, everyone knows what that means.

Comments: This is the first time Taker’s decline was noticeable, but they got away with it because of the cell and because of Shane being able to cover for him.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Most of the guys don’t get an individual entrance. Since the roster was so depleted, there are only twenty guys in this match. Mark Henry, being from Texas, gets his own entrance and gets a nice pop. Kane gets a mixed pop. DDP enters and gets a good pop. Big Show also gets a mixed pop.

With four giants in the ring, the other competitors realize that they need to team up. Fandango and Damian Sandow try their luck alone, but get eliminated by Show and/or Shaq.

This was a fun match, and it was a good palate cleanser for the rest of the show.

Winner: Baron Corbin by eliminating Kane.

Highlights: Big Show/Shaq face off. Shaq and Big Show chokeslamming Kane.

Comments: I don’t like Corbin, but this was a great match and got fans in a great mood.

Rock comes out and announces a new attendance record: 101, 763. There’s a confrontation with the Wyatts and Rock fights Rowan, but I’m not going to call a beatdown that only lasted six seconds a match.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon) vs Roman Reigns

Stephanie gets a part as the Skull Queen after a really creepy video and gets a hell of a pop. Triple H also gets a great pop, but he’s not in the Skull King stuff.

Roman gets a mixed reaction, but I don’t think he cares. The Big Dog is ready for a fight. Triple H looks more nervous than I expected him to, probably because of the build this match had.

Though Triple H is a master ring technician, this was not a technical match, this was a fight, and really, I didn’t expect anything else. The feud these two were having in the run up was insane and there was no way it could live up to the hype.

That said, this was a great match. Triple H and Roman really worked well together and told a great story of overcoming the odds.

Winner: Roman Reigns by pinfall, we have a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion! The people who booed Reigns are cheering LOUDLY for him.

Highlights: Roman spearing Stephanie right out of her shoes. Kudos to Stephanie for being game for that spot. Roman walking out with his daughter in his arms (I’m not sure that was on camera, but it was a sweet moment).

Comments: There was a lot of criticism about this match, and it didn’t quite live up to the build, but given how thin the roster was, it’s not surprising that Vince didn’t want this match to be as brutal as the build promised.

Overall Comments

So, how did WrestleMania do with a shoestring roster? It actually did really well. Yes, there were some odd matchups, but the show was really great and gave us some great moment. Also, we get to seeing Roman Reigns’ evolution to a main event player. It wasn’t quite there at WrestleMania 31, but you can see the pieces falling into place for him.

Stinkers: Kalisto vs Ryback. That was just not a good match.

Snoozers: League of Nations vs New Day. I didn’t care about either team, so it was just a drag.

Match of the Night: Undertaker vs Shane McMahon, Women’s Match.

Hall of Fame: Sting, The Godfather, Big Boss Man, Jacqueline, Stan Hanson, The Fabulous Freebirds, Snoop Dogg

Warrior Award: Joan Lunden

Final Thoughts: While I can’t say I’d watch this WrestleMania just because, I enjoyed it greatly and highly recommend it.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Radio: Classic Shane Douglas Interview [072721]

ECW icon “The Franchise” Shane Douglas joins Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd for this classic interview!

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Shane Douglas ECW Interview

ECW icon “The Franchise” Shane Douglas joins Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd for this classic interview!

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Today’s hosts Greg DeMarco (@chairshotgreg) & Patrick O’Dowd (@wrestlngrealist) sat down with ECW legend Shane Douglas for an amazing 2012 interview that was slated for 10-15 minutes and went 45, all thanks to the engaging attitude of “The Franchise.”

  • Shane talks about his relationship with Ric Flair and how it got there.
  • A discussion around Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, how it came to be, and how he really didn’t want to do it.
  • Shane provides the background and details for his ECW reunion events (at the time).
  • All this and more with legendary wrestling figure “The Franchise” Shane Douglas!

About Chairshot Radio

The rebirth of Chairshot Radio will see a rotating cast of hosts delivering you a new show EVERY WEEK DAY. Sports, Entertainment and Sports Entertainment is the umbrella under which we seek to invade your earballs. So sit back, relax and LET US IN…

Your Weekly Chairshot Radio Schedule:

  • Monday – Patrick O’Dowd & Big Dave Ungar
  • Tuesday – Greg DeMarco and/or PC Tunney
  • Wednesday – Miranda Morales & Greg DeMarco
  • Thursday – Rey Cash & Mags Kirkby
  • Friday – PC Tunney

For the latest, greatest and “up to datest” in everything pro wrestling, sports and entertainment head to TheChairshot.com and remember to ALWAYS #UseYourHead.

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio (daily editions), The #Miranda Show, DWI Podcast, the Babyface Heel Podcast, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, Bandwagon Nerds, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


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Shane Douglas ECW Interview


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Classic WWE

WWE’s Top 50 Tag Teams – Was it Right?

Rob applies some of his genius in breaking down the hits, misses and which one WWE got exactly right on their Top 50 Tag Teams list. Check it out!

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A few weeks ago the WWE began releasing their Top 50 tag teams in history, and now that the full list is out there I thought it would be a good time to reflect on it a bit.  Lists are subjective of course, but as is usually the case there were some choices made here that were flat out head scratchers.  Some too high and some too low.  And there was one in particular that was just right.  So to sum it all up in one question:

Who got robbed, who got hooked up, and who was just right?

Robbed:  The Usos

How could the number seven spot be a disservice?  Well, let’s see.  Jimmy and Jey have been together longer than Edge & Christian (4), The Hart Foundation (3), and even the New Day (1).  They were in the WWE longer than The Legion of Doom (6), and the Dudleys (5).  And they have more titles than the LOD or the Harts.  They also have more memorable matches than the Harts or LOD did in the WWE.  And they assuredly faced stiffer competition than the LOD did during their time there.  When you add all that up you can definitely make a case for them being as high as number 2, and I’d say they should be no lower than 4th behind New Day, the Dudleys, and the Hardys.

Hooked Up:  The Legion of Doom 

Hawk and Animal are to this day my favorite tag team ever.  That being said, there is no way on God’s green earth that their time in the WWF can be considered anything close to their best years.  By the time they arrived in the WWF in 1990 they were already past their peak as their best years were spent in the AWA, NWA, and Japan.  The only thing they did more in the WWF was win world titles (two vs one apiece in the NWA and AWA).  Putting them at number 6 is clearly a pander to old guys like me who saw them in their prime but trust me, I would have totally understood if they’d been like number 20 instead.

Speaking of guys who wore facepaint and all black…..

Robbed:  Demolition

As much as Hawk and Animal were my favorites, Demolition was the opposite.  Look, they were obvious knockoffs of the Road Warriors and as a big Road Warrior mark I was not here for them.  But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have the better WWF career.  In four years together they had three title reigns, which was unheard of at that time, including the longest reign ever until New Day broke it in 2016.  From WrestleMania IV through Summerslam 1990 Demolition held the tag team titles for 698 out of 883 days, 79 percent of the time.  But once Hawk and Animal finally came to the WWF their usefulness ended and they’ve been cast into the dustbin of history.  And while that was kind of the point of their whole existence it’s not fair to these guys who beat every team in the division over a three years period to treat them as if they were together for six months or something.  Number 11 is just too low.

Hooked Up:  The Rockers

Putting them at 14 is clearly a nod to Shawn Michaels and his post Rockers career, because it damn sure can’t be about what they did as a team.  In three and a half years they officially won zero championships and were basically a .500 team who were there to put over the top teams of the moment while getting enough wins to stay relevant.  Yes they were the most talented team of their time but they were never booked as more than guys to make someone else look good then lose.  Is that worthy of recognition?  Sure.  Is it good for being in the top half of the top 50?  Yeah.  But number 14, ahead of teams who won multiple championships?  Nope.

Speaking of which….

Robbed:  The Smoking Gunns

Billy and Bart Gunn were together for three years and won the tag titles three times, and they’ve seemingly been banished to the Shadow Realm because Billy went on to bigger and better things as part of DX and Bart made the mistake of winning the Brawl for it All.  They’re listed at number 47 behind multiple teams who had fewer reigns and/or weren’t together as long.  Should they be ahead of the Rockers?  I don’t know about that but the gap should definitely be a lot smaller than 33 slots for sure.

Hooked up:  The Mega Powers

Another reward for two guys for their singles careers.  Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are of course two of the biggest icons in wrestling history, but they teamed up in a proper tag team match a whopping two times.  That’s it.  Need I say more?  To be honest they shouldn’t even be on the list at all.

Robbed:  The Bar

In a little over two years Sheamus and Cesaro were champions 4 times between Raw and Smackdown, worked three WrestleManias and beat a Murderers Row of opponents – New Day, the Usos, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the Hardys – so putting them at 28 behind several teams that did less like the Steiners or teams that never really competed in the tag division like the aforementioned Mega Powers is a joke.

Just Right:  The New Day

Number one was correct.  Over ten times as champions across both Raw and Smackdown and they’ve faced everyone along the way from the Usos to the Bar to Harper and Rowan to the Hurt Business to Gallows and Anderson to the Lucha Dragons and more.  They’ve been in some of the most spectacular matches ever with those guys and the other teams like the Street Profits, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, and the Shield.  They’ve been together for almost seven years now and became a big enough act to launch one of their members to a World Title victory at WrestleMania 35.  No tag team has accomplished more at any level as a unit in wrestling history, let alone the WWE.  When you sit down and really think about it there is no debate whatsoever.  This was the most important pick of the list and they nailed it.


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