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CheapShots: Mad Man’s Impact Quickie #9

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Scott Steiner Impact Wrestling
Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!

Festivities in Orlando kick off with a normalizing Josh Matthews and a contest for Impact Tag Team Gold. Eli Drake brought Scott Steiner back this week. At first, he was a curiosity and name to bring the company some exposure throughout a week of shows in New Orleans. Wanna bring him in? Gotta give him a strap. Due to the overflowing garbage last week, I didn’t get a good feel for his current skills. That’s because they have severely diminished. Opponents for the transitional champions? Andrew Everett & DJZ. These boys have been through a myriad of injuries, including a life-threatening issue for Mr. House Music. The match itself was not bad with The Self-Induced Hyphen in the ring. Ham Cube on the other hand? He is multiple steps slow and if he couldn’t cut his unpredictable promos, no organization would have use for him. Predictably, the honeymoon between Drake and Steiner was short. The above description may have given away the outcome. Thanks to a misplaced namesake of this website, there are New Tag Team Champions in Impact Wrestling.

Cut backstage and we see Grado holding the X symbol of the unknown attacker. Like an idiot, The UK Dork accuses Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong of perpetrating these events. Jacobs says his Monster doesn’t need to do such things. As if the nerd’s foot wasn’t already in his mouth, his “girlfriend” Winter finished the job by challenging The Giant Stutter to a match. Yes, you Impact Tools, I’m using her other name. Contrary to what some of my readers may think, I have a sense of humor. When something borders on painful, I have no reason to laugh. That’s what Grado’s character feels like to me. The match was filler. The girlfriend was gone before her self-appointed victim was scraped off the canvas. Thank God Moose ran out to do away with this foolishness. Of course The Dragged Out Disco backed his heavy away from a real fight.

Recess is next as we bring in Madison Rayne to talk Knockouts! It has been years since most fans have seen the former TNA competitor over the airwaves. She was a consistent heel during her previous run. Still, Impact is not afraid to be innovative in certain areas. If this is a permanent alteration, it will be nice to hear the feminine perspective during these segments. I strongly doubt that possibility. I’ll get to why I think that shortly. Kiera Hogan wanted a shot to wake up The Horsewoman. Problem was, Ms. Blanchard was never asleep. The Girl on Fire acquitted herself well in spots, but who’s getting the justified gigantic push here? Tessa’s attitude and ability were too much. A victory was not satisfaction enough for the newest Knockout. She wanted to send a message to the locker room. Hogan’s excessive punishment brought Rayne out from studio commentary to the ring. Tully’s Daughter bailed after taking a tiny bit of her medicine. Sadly, this will not be an even fight when it happens. It would be interesting if it could be turned into one somehow. Madison may get an active roster spot from this, but she is taking the Mickie James role. Good worker, no gold. My feeling is, she was brought in to pad Tessa’s resume. If I’m wrong I can walk.

We know Brian Cage is a freak. This week, he was playing lawn darts with a Rust Belt Cruiserweight in Canada, Dude is beyond strong and has multiple ways to finish an adversary. This quality in a performer feels exceedingly rare. The overwhelming majority of those in the profession are given one finish and work toward it in every instance. There are usually false finishes somewhere on a competitive resume. This hasn’t been the case with The Machine because he has at least three finishers. After having some fun, Cage gave his target practice at least two bumps that looked like they could shoot hospitalize someone, he used a maneuver called Weapon X to collect another pelt. He gets back to The Impact Zone, everyone may be on borrowed time.

Alright, time for the dentist’s office. Dammit, wasn’t I just here? Anybody have any laughing gas? Deep breath, Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan were under one roof because goofs in Orlando are mirroring their own storyline and acting like crazy stalkers. The roof was Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore. The camera angles sucked. Why do 90% of indie shows have to feel like they happen in my former apartment’s garage? Lighting anyone? I don’t even think either man bladed, which is pointless in a match like this. Edwards won in less than ten minutes and none of it matters because Edwards said so. Looks like someone called this weeks ago. Why do execs in the art form keep coming off as more sheepish than the rest of us? Unfortunately, the extraction is not complete. I will not report on the next vignette because Rosemary is not dead.

Main Event time! This Week it was a tag team encounter highlighting two major Championship Defenses in two weeks at the next television special. Matches break down as follows: X Division, Matt Sydal faces The Son of The Ghost. Impact World Champion Pentagon Jr. has his mandatory rematch against Austin Aries. Teams were split with Impact representatives versus the luchadores from AAA. The Ghost’s Son got the victory with a move he calls The Thrill of The Kill. Frankly, I like his chances at Gold. Though, I’m not as confident in Pentagon Jr. Ever since The Cockroach’s dismissal, the company needed a stopgap and it is difficult to think of him as anything else right now. I hope to be proven wrong and I’m happy for his exposure to a mainstream American audience. We deserve to see more of what he can do. Overall, Impact is doing a solid creative job currently outside of the two trips to kindergarten purgatory involving a casket and worked non-firing.


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Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans

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Stephanie McMahon WWE

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.


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Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?

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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. 


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Cheap Shots: Mad Man’s Testing Cheese in The Mouse’s House

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Gliding over The World’s Largest Golf Ball for SmackDown Live this week. I believe Orlando was nothing more than a spot show for Graham. In his infinite wisdom, Eric Bischoff used Universal Studios for WCW TV Tapings. What’s he getting paid for now? Doing a podcast? Big deal, a ton of my colleagues have podcasts, and they’re smarter than him. Dixie Carter’s TNA Wrestling reminds us that a talented roster cannot overcome a lack of inside knowledge. Impact Wrestling currently resides in the mouse’s zip code today. The latest effort from The New York Big Top wasn’t on a cheap PPV level. I have praised SmackDown Live as the better show for months. Others have done so for much longer. Instead, WWE hands us something between a glorified house show and a week early go home show for SummerSlam?

Let’s find out if Vince left Mickey ANYTHING interesting. Randy Orton has been on The Main Roster for a generation now. He does psychopath extremely well. Not all psychopaths talk though. Creative should be more careful with Randy. He needs a very focused promo, and reason to talk. They should’ve kept him on a singular path here, Jeff Hardy. A tunnel-visioned Viper is a more dangerous Viper. Randall Keith Orton is neither one of The Authors of Pain. Don’t give him a generic heel promo. We know he’s capable. Let Jeff Hardy continue to twist in agony. If you must give Orton a verbal point, do a better job writing it, and save it for after SummerSlam.

Recess started with a backstage promo which would be unnecessary if Vince didn’t book Triple Threats. The fracturing friendship angle is fine, if not required in the art form. However, can anyone pull it off without it feeling forced? Stamford sure can’t. Why were Charlotte and Becky apologizing like it was Middle School? Vinnie put both of you in the match. Break the fourth wall and get mad at him. The Lass Kicker struggled to hide building frustration. Anybody surprised with this? She’s Irish. They teased a possible tag match with The Dragon Huggers at Evolution? I EFFING HOPE NOT! Vince, get your head out of your ass. Unless it results in Sasha Banks being traded, put this mirrored storyline possibility on ice, since you can’t get it right on Monday! Sorry for the tangent. The Tuesday Besties went over The IIconics, who have hit a wall recently.

Here’s a crazy thought, WWE has approximately 14 ladies on The SmackDown Roster. What’s wrong with holding a storyline off TV for a week instead of repeating it? Give us the illusion that friends took a week to work things out without telling Aiden English he’ll be Ron Killings in a month or two. Lana is getting better in the ring, Let’s find another way to stunt her. Put Almas’ Mini Me over again and break up one of our most popular factions. My apologies, I must have hacked into Vince’s email.

Creative got too many compliments on proms last week. Dammit boys and girls, y’all can only rope the moon once every six months. They tried again anyway, bad move! Outside of The New Day; who can read Facebook and make it good. everything else was yawn inducing. Later, WWEs modern answer to The Free Birds went on to beat The Bar in another great TV Main Event.

Random Observation: if smart marks need proof promoters and bookers view Championship Gold as nothing more than a prop, look at R-Truth. Never mind New York’s original name for him. He was respected during his previous run in Orlando for Dixie Carter and TNA. He held Top Gold and was prominent there for a while. Why not? Dude is a fantastic athlete with good mic skills. Back in WWE, he is a glorified carpenter who cuts nonsense promos. I hope the paycheck is worth it, Sir? After setting up a match no one wanted, Truth lost to Shinsuke Nakamura in under ten minutes.

Sometimes, WWE looks dumber than usual in the age of social media. Can anyone tell me why they broke Mike’s match signing with Daniel Brian on Twitter? Did they have a reason? Does anybody really think Mike was on set? Vinnie, suspension of disbelief? Where is it? They could’ve rebooted Cena/Taker from Mania. They reboot storylines far less personal and more pointless. Yes, Daniel got to wail on Mike for a minute. Can’t we do better than to jump the gun so poorly on both fronts?

If Vince wants us to take one thing away from the Styles/Samoa Joe Angle, it is that Joe clearly has both the physical and psychological advantage heading into SummerSlam. Why does everything appear so lopsided though? Not saying The WWE Gold doesn’t fit Joe. If he can stay healthy, it most certainly does. Yes, Joe is a badass, but AJ Styles is capable of rock-solid heel work too. Ask The Con Artist and Big Match John. Hell, Samoa Joe himself knows Styles’ heel talent from elsewhere. It is disappointing the WWE might make fans wait months to see these two work up to their ability, if the trigger ever gets pulled correctly. Maybe by Hell in A Cell or Survivor Series? Given New York’s reputation among smart marks, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Speaking of which, if anyone did so on Tuesday waiting for a typical good show, I apologize. They got a glorified house show. Mickey Mouse deserves better cheese.


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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