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Bobby Lashley Should Be On SmackDown

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Too much of a good thing usually turns it worse over time. Moderation is key, especially when it comes to effective storytelling — that’s why Michael Cole constantly vomiting WWE buzzwords is such a detriment to the product.

This is an issue that Monday Night Raw is going to face in the near future if they aren’t there already. That’s because there are simply too many big men trying to carve out a niche on the show. Sure, they have three hours to do so, but time isn’t the problem.

The issue is that there are only so many creative and clever ways to book monsters. This is why Big Show wasn’t one of the most dominant forces in professional sports entertainment history. Wrestlers are generally only as good as the stories they are enabled to tell, and the red brand is rapidly going to run out of real estate when it comes to their heavyweights.

Bobby Lashley was a fantastic addition to the show, and he’s been popping crowds with regularity since his surprise return during the Raw after WrestleMania. Eventually, though, he’ll need to be involved in an actual feud, and it’s unclear who is left for him to square off with; especially since this is technically WWE’s “down season.”

How do you book Lashley when you have Brock Lesnar occupying the space of Legit UFC Fighter Turned Pro Wrestler on the show? What kind of spots can you give him to flash his strength when Braun Strowman is already flipping ambulances and tearing down lightning structures with a grappling hook?

It’d even be tough to build Lashley as a Superman-type character who can withstand a lot of punishment because that’s how they are trying to get Roman Reigns over. It’s not working and hasn’t been working for the better part of the last year, but that hasn’t stopped Vince McMahon from trying to make it click yet.

All of this has us wondering how the WWE will manage to use Lashley to the best of his capabilities. He was green during his last go-around with the company but has since turned himself into a rock solid performer in the ring. A feud with Lesnar might be in the cards eventually, but how do we get there?


Recommended Reading: Can The Undisputed Era Be WWE’s Best Faction?


Lashley won’t go over on Strowman because the latter has been billed as an unstoppable force for months. Here’s a guy who creative decided to put over one of the most decorated tag teams in recent memory in The Bar… and they let him do it with a literal child in his corner.

Now the Monster Among Men simply can’t be stopped, and he’s going to continue to move mountains — and bury the rest of the roster in the process — on his way to the top of the heap. Strowman has been built to the point where not even a massive beatdown at the hands of Lashley wouldn’t be viewed as a step back. Just think about all of the destruction Strowman has caused and taken, and he’s continued to press forward.

There’s the possibility that Lashley will turn on Strowman at Backlash — our speculation, not an actual rumor — but there’s virtually no chance he’d win that feud. He’d simply be another bug for Strowman to squash. How is that fun? We can hear Cole now, talking about how he’s never seen Lashley manhandled like this, etc, etc, etc.

Spare us.

Then there’s Lesnar, who just signed a mega-deal to stay with the WWE and rumors continue to fly about him returning to the UFC in the near future. It’s unclear when the Beast Incarnate will drop the Universal Title, but odds are good that it’ll be Reigns taking the belt from him.

Not Lashley.

So what does that leave for the 41-year-old? A program with Drew McIntyre could be lights out but probably wouldn’t do either potential title contender much good. Someone would have to lose, and someone would have to topple down the card for a while as a result.

How many times can the WWE feed Kevin Owens to a larger opponent before it becomes predictable? KO surprisingly ate the pin in Montreal this past Monday night, and he hasn’t had a great run since losing the Universal Title to Goldberg at Fastlane in a joke of a squash match.

An intriguing possibility is a feud with Jason Jordan, but how much mileage would a Jordan-Lashley program have while Lesnar, Strowman and Reigns are figuratively and literally taking all of the big man spots?

Which leads us to the conclusion that it was a bit of a miscalculation by the WWE to bring Lashley back as a member of the Raw roster. McMahon will continue to pile as much talent onto the “A show” as he can, but all the wrestling skill in the world doesn’t matter when there aren’t good stories to be told.

And right now, there doesn’t appear to be a clear or interesting path forward for Lashley on Monday nights.


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Levin’s SmackDown Live Review

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You figured the aftermath of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view would be “must-see” television on SmackDown Live. With Jeff Hardy demanding a rematch for the United States Title with Shinsuke Nakamura and a potential confrontation with Randy Orton, the show was very much something I was looking forward to.

Let’s not forget WWE still had to wade through the waters of A.J. Styles’ win over Rusev. Would the company continue to book this feud moving forward? There was Carmella and her stooge James Ellsworth and the Asuka “situation.” Would the Empress of Tomorrow exact her revenge?

And if that wasn’t enough, Daniel Bryan has officially signed his new deal with WWE, which means he could be booked as a contender for Styles’ WWE Title. Where did The Miz fit in all of this, while he was busy playing softball during the MLB All-Star festivities and missed the show on Sunday night?

I waited anxiously for answers. Was I satisfied with the results? No exactly. Here are a few thoughts about SmackDown Live.

A.J. Styles vs. Cien Almas

The two superstars meet for the first time in WWE and does well for himself. The two crossed paths in Japan, renewing an old rivalry. The former NXT star has shown in recent weeks he could be part of the blue brand’s title picture. Almas was able to answer the WWE champion’s arsenal.

If WWE is going to push Almas toward the main event picture, this was the showcase he needed. Almas may have submitted to the calf crusher, but this is a feud I would love to see moving forward.

It also remains to be seen when WWE may book Styles to finally drop the company title.

The Demise of Rusev Day?

More like the beginning of the end of the relationship between Rusev and Aiden English. After watching the exchange between English and Lana, discussing how bad Rusev’s sidekick felt about costing him the WWE Title at Extreme Rules, I hope this does not lead to a confrontation between both performers.

This would be a huge blow to Rusev’s chance to remain in the main event picture. It may also put an end to the “Rusev Day” phenomenon.

Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose

While I am huge fan of Lynch, maybe even a slight crush on the Irish lass, the continual weekly bouts with Lynch and Sonya Deville have to stop. There is no movement in the women’s division. If anything, moving Sasha Banks to Tuesday nights might be the best thing for this division while Charlotte Flair is still out of action.

I will say this, the match between the two women may have been the best we have seen, with Rose showing she can hold her own with a former women’s champion. But still, “Make this stop!”

Now, Lynch sets her sights on Carmella and the SmackDown Women’s Title.

Paige and Carmella

I love Paige. Leave it to the SmackDown Live general manager to stir the pot. Lynch gets her shot at Carmella in a non-title match. If she beats the champion, she gets another match at SummerSlam. It makes you wonder what the heck the company is doing with Asuka.

Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger

Seriously! Dillinger is a classic example of moving to the main roster too soon. Joe should be part of the main event picture. You have to wonder when that might happen as WWE has yet to fully push the wild Samoan.

If Joe is not used effectively, where he deserves a chance to face Styles (see a theme here?) but his health and a crowded title picture may screw him out of a match.

The Miz Eulogizes Team Hell No!

The best part of Tuesday nights is the appearance of the “A-Lister.” Offering a eulogy for the demise of Daniel Bryan and Kane, who suffered a broken ankle in the loss to the Bludgeon Brothers was class Miz.

Oh, and congratulations on winning the MVP of the celebrity softball game on Monday night. Sorry, back to the moment at hand. We even got an N’Sync reference which was classic.

The Miz remains the class of Tuesday nights.

After proclaiming Bryan’s career is dead, you know what happens next. The setup for SummerSlam has begun.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Kofi Kingston vs. Eric Young

There was a time when Eric Young was one of the best in the business and one of the more underrated wrestlers. Now, he is the leader of Sanity. I’m not sure if I like this faction, but they are growing on me.

Kofi Kingston could be part of the main event picture, but he is mired in the current situation with The New Day. I’m still waiting for WWE to dissolve this trio and give Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods their own angles. The match between Kingston and Young could be a solid mid card feud, but that won’t happen.

A wheel barrow neck breaker gives Young the win.

Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (for the United States Title)

In the opening segment, Hardy said he was BROKEN because he did not have the United States Title around his waist and invoked his return title match clause. It was a good match, but not great.

Hardy takes the fight to the champion immediately. But this match slows down as expected. Nakamura continues to play the role of villain well, getting heat from the fans in attendance (who were mostly quiet until the Bryan-Miz segment). I’m curious what this match would be like if Hardy was healthy.

He admitted he has been banged up for some time prior to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

Insert Randy Orton. The Viper beats the hell out Hardy until he defends himself. Ultimately, Orton stakes his claim as the top heel on Tuesday nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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WWE Possibly Doing an All Women PPV? Yes, Please!

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So, rumor’s been going around that WWE’s planning to do a PPV strictly for the Women’s Divisions of RAW and SmackDown and all I can say is: FINALLY! WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR TICKETS?!

Ever since the start of the Women’s Revolution, it’s become more and more obvious that the women need a show of their own because as the Women’s Divisions grow on the Main Roster, there’s less and less room for them on the PPVs and TV and it’s a problem that’s not going to get better with time.

A major promotion doing an all women PPV isn’t new. TNA has done them before for their Women’s Division, however, WWE has never before invested the time in exploring such a thing, or had a big enough Women’s Roster to do it with, now they have both.

Why? Well, the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Divisions have a lot of talent, but are still seriously outnumbered by the men’s roster and so don’t get as much TV time as they should and when they do get TV time, if they aren’t involved in the title situation, they’re usually in a multi-person tag match.

So, what are WWE’s options here?

1. A Regular PPV. They could just take an already existing PPV like Unforgiven or No Mercy and just have an all-female card. Problem is making it feel special instead of WWE just copping out.

2. A Brand New PPV. This is the one I like the best, instead of resurrecting an old PPV: Give the women a PPV of their own that is named for them. The name I’ve been kicking around today is ‘WWE: Revolution’ and having the poster be of the two Women’s Division rosters.

3. A Network Special. This is the one I can honestly see WWE doing in the spirit of the UK Tournament or the Greatest Royal Rumble. One idea that a lot of fans seem to like is ‘Queen of the Ring’, which would, of course be an all women’s version of King of the Ring.

One issue I can see arising from doing an all women PPV is having enough matches to fill a three hour PPV/Special slot plus the Kickoff Show. There’s about twenty women between RAW and Smackdown, now that sounds like a lot, but WWE had a card of about 35 people divided up into twelve matches, including the Kickoff Show, and there was still a lot of talking to make the time stretch and that was with seven title matches. So how would they fill in the gaps for the Women’s Division when each division only has one title belt to compete for?

1. Include NXT. The NXT Women’s Division is looking really good right now and a good case could be made to include the NXT Women in an all women WWE PPV/Special.

2. Include some legends. If WWE were to do something like they did with the Women’s Royal Rumble and bring back some past Women’s Division stars and Legends and set up some dream matches it would not only generate a lot of interest in the show but definitely fill the roster up.

3. Have Title Tournaments. This would really only work if WWE was planning on introducing secondary and tag titles to the Women’s Divisions. The finals for those matches would be great additions to a Women’s PPV.

4. Include the Mae Young Classic. I doubt very seriously that this will happen, but it would be a great addition if this PPV goes off to maybe have the Mae Young Classic final match on the card.

Again, it’s only rumored that WWE’s considering a Women’s Division PPV, but I think it’s an idea whose time has come and is long overdue. Since 2015, the revamped Women’s Division has shown that they are more than capable of carrying a card, never mind a PPV on their own and it’s time they were given the chance to prove it.


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Ring Riffs: The Undertaker Vs. Giant Gonzales (WrestleMania IX)

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Welcome to Ring Riffs! Where we take the absolute worst of professional wrestling and wrap it up in a neat little episodic package for your entertainment…and my own sense of masochism.

I have made my (small) claim to fame as a wrestling writer, both as professional wrestling fanatic and a glutton for punishment, as I – like most of us – are willing to wade through the muck and mucus of embarrassing skits, negative 2 star matches and backstage scandals to embrace those special, singular moments that made us fans in the first place.

I intend to wade through the muck for all of you. Consider this dying for the sins of wrestling. Again. And again. And horrifyingly again.

Ring Riffs is my video love letter to everything absolutely horrid about professional wrestling. We are all aware that, like any form of entertainment, there is the best of wrestling and the worst of it. We nerd-rage over matches and moments that are beneath our expectations of what wrestling should be – but over time, those terrible moments become inside jokes and memes for us to point and laugh at, wondering exactly what life-altering drugs were ingested by those who believed their ideas would get over with the wrestling fanbase.

So here we are, and here I am, ready to exploit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to wrestling matches. There is an entire galaxy of terrible matches for your entertainment…and for my punishment for the evil things I have done in my life.

In Episode #4, I took a look at what made the WrestleMania IX match between The Undertaker and Giant Gonzales was such a fascinating mess of truly epic proportions. Epic may be the understatement of the millennia.

Don’t forget to “like” the episodes and subscribe to the Ring Riffs Channel! It helps The Chairshot, and helps me continue to do what I do.

***WARNING***If you are easily offended by words, or if you are generfally a good parent who doesn’t want their children exposed to potty-mouthed anger, viewer discretion is advised.

Subscribe to the Ring Riffs YouTube Channel to keep new episodes coming!

Join the Ring Riffs Facebook Page.

Follow @RiffsRing on Twitter.

Love Wrestling. Love Life. Love Each Other.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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