Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
Mad Man still finding beads in strange places as we hit the east coast. Must’ve been the Bay Area Transplant soaked in neon. That was a good kind of turbulence, even though I can’t remember most of it. This turbulence is horrible and strong as I circle The Evil Empire’s Back Yard. Hold on tight. I’ll push us through the confusion. Passengers should keep their air sickness bags and oxygen masks close. They may need them to absorb some of the shock of Round 1 of The Superstar Shakeup. My apologies in advance for any disappointment as we circle Hartford.
Monday Night Raw opens with GM Kurt Angle promising a big night of movement and some unexpected twists. This is no surprise. Most sheep have been through several of these. Let the current Earthquake in The WWE Universe begin! Angle doesn’t reach five minutes into his promo when he is interrupted by a pointless mouthpiece, Sunil Singh? Yes, cue the bags. Unfortunately, sheep and smart marks have to put up with Jinder Mahal on Mondays. Although, one of us who swings chairs regularly was probably doing cartwheels.
The Indian Brooklyn Brawler came to the ring spouting demands and asking why he wasn’t brought to Raw in a limousine. Two Questions: 1. When did he turn into Saint Richard? 2. Is he forgetting that Vince McMahon is propping him up because WWE is in fact lazy? Angle tries to have a reasonable conversation with him. Mahal continues to come off as blown up as he actually is. Saying repeatedly that he is better than anyone on Monday nights. Never mind how obnoxious that statement is. His runt takes his mic, insisting that Angle give his email out publicly. Finally, Kurt cuts everyone off, telling Mahal that both he and The United States Gold were brought here to compete at a higher level. Quick aside: Expect Seth Rollins to wind up on SmackDown Live tonight because The Blue Brand is missing a championship.
In fact, Jinder was going to put The Gold up right now! These “impromptu” matches are always fun. Especially when a heel must shut up and compete. Who steps up to answer the call and put The New Lombardi in his place? How bout The Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy! The match was relatively even except for them trying to in inflate Mahal’s credentials. No need gentlemen, the steroids and Vinnie’s stupidity have already done their work. Cynicism when watching contests like this always sits in the back of my mind. “Are they really gonna switch The Strap here?” YES SIR! Hardy is The NEW United States Champion! I’m hoping this isn’t just to give the cheap PPV in the desert a justifiable title change. I know better than to be optimistic though. At least Jeff can celebrate his decision making for two weeks.
Multiple recess segments: Let’s go ladies! First up, Ember Moon against Mickie James. The satellite surrounding this match felt a bit forced. What else is new for Stamford? Why can’t a heel get beat and just disappear for a while? Even though she kinda did last night. The combatants from The Raw Women’s Title match at Mania were supposed to be on commentary. New Champ Nia Jax held up her end. Big Fine’s foil did not. Alexa Bliss is cowering in the back. They cut to her and she did a split-screen promo whining about The South Pacific Queen being a bully and making her feel unsafe. GOOD! Honestly, they could’ve saved or scrapped it. Almost forgot, The Lunar Lone Star won the match clean with The Eclipse.
The second appearance from the feminine roster got screwy. I’m not surprised, Sasha Banks was involved. Let’s pick on her after she busts her ass for 15 mins. Sasha and Bayley were scheduled to have their first opposing in-ring encounter on The Main Roster last night. Why is The Female Dragon not allowed to progress in storyline like a logical character? Odd vibes from the start as someone botched a spot in the corner. Come on girls, pick it up. The match felt dead, outside of a brutal double-knee strike from inside out while The Human Elmo’s head was posted. Excuse me, some of this s*** has to hurt! Later, Sasha had Bayley ready to tap. However, The Bank$tatement came back incomplete as The Riott Squad had to make their RAW debut and assault the former friends. Why do you ladies matter again? “No female heel can get over on this side of the roster unless they beat up Sasha Banks. PS: What she did in NXT does NOT matter. Under NO circumstances can she be made a heel to stand on her own.” DAMMIT VINCE! Why did you send this internal memo? I wanted to slap you after Memphis in AUGUST. Now, I’m hoping The Legit Boss puts you in the hospital!
Serious mark out moment, my most worked apologies to Vince McMahon. Final Bad Ass Chick portion of last night’s RAW started with a backstage shot of GM Kurt Angle talking to The Next Rowdy One, interesting…He tells Ronda that he has a surprise addition to the roster that she may like. Enter Natalya? Yeah, they trained together before Rousey’s arrival. Nattie wanted to say hello before her first RAW match in quite some time, seed planted. As of writing this, two-thirds of Absolute Yawn are still present on Monday. Mandy Rose was tasked with meeting Ronda’s Trainer in a singles match with Sonya Deville ringside. A bit unexpectedly, The Queen of Hearts put the Pound-For-Pound Pinup in The Sharpshooter and beat her clean. Not so unexpectedly, the remaining tired ones jumped Nattie after the bell. Who’s gonna make the save. Like an idiot, I’m sitting here doing the algebra. “Charlotte just lost Gold on Smackdown. It’s gotta be her?” WRONG! Joan Jett blasts, and Ronda Rousey is PISSED! Hey Sonya, wanna be a work bad ass? Fine, meet a real bad ass! Half-a-dozen shots and one leg sweep that mimics a clothesline with the right camera angle and slow eyes, and Ms. Deville was laid out in less than a minute. Makes sense: Give Ronda an ally early who will eventually turn heel, so she can beat her up, and work her way into the real roster. Not disappointed at all. I am saddened the weekly installment of real wrestling is over.
The second men’s match of the night saw Heath Slater & Ryno take on The Authors of Pain. The First SmackDown Live Tag Champs were given a pre-recorded promo, why? They had no need for such a promo. After a brief flashback to relevance in terms of actual offense, the mismatched pair was destroyed by The Authors of Pain in approximately ten minutes. The next segment was bizarre for two reasons. Most obviously, WWE’s Yin-Yang Twins, Woken Matt & Bray Wyatt. The weirdoes were taking on The Revival for the right to challenge Shamus & Cesaro for Tag Team Gold in the desert. Predictably, Hardy and Wyatt won. I doubt very seriously that they were supposed to come across as normal here, but they did. Why? The Bar was on guest commentary. Go back and listen. If this is not proof announcers are scripted and pointless, I am Einstein. If The Europeans weren’t having a script shoved down their throats, they appeared verbally high and confused. Sadly, this was not their biggest embarrassment of last night. They had a match with Breezango. They did the opposite of win clean. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.
Time to break down multiple promos and the fallout from the bread of the promo sandwich. The meat meant nothing. First, our favorite fake actor said prior to the show that he was bringing WWE-altering talent to the next Miz TV. The Miztourage and their fearless leader come out to start the segment. After a dose of Miz arrogance, he brings out Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn?? They’re not fired? Thanks to technology and dastardly heel work from The Wicked Witch. The Obnoxious Canadians produce an email overriding Kurt Angle’s decision from last week. An aggravated GM comes out to break up the party. Informing The Miz that it was his last night on RAW. His consolation prize was to have Dallas and Axel leave him to take the pin in a ten-man tag. Now Daniel Bryan can beat the crap out of him!
Earlier in the night, Dolph Ziggler came out to no reaction. Great, same carpenter run, different day. Wait…who’s this? Just Titus Worldwide. Why are all these morons in the same ring at the same time? No Titus, the guys in your corporation will not form an Oreo moving forward. Unfamiliar music hits? Wait, Who? It can’t be! Drew Galloway! For the second time in two weeks, Vince McMahon brings a performer back to WWE that had Championship success in Orlando. Speaking of something that happened last week; Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe cut an identical promo to the one they did seven days ago. Perfect, I ran out of Nyquil, and I need to pass out. I promise to land the plane first. Hopefully, tomorrow’s flight to Providence will be less scattered.
Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans
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.
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.