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Cheap Shots: Montreal New Job #1

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Mad Man at the controls once again. My colleagues all did an amazing job covering things in Saudi Arabia. They’re rather jet lagged and need time to recuperate. Speaking of frequent flyer miles, Vinnie’s circus is in the most infamous North American city in the rotation for the first half of a double shot this week. Now that I have the echoes of Cornette’s tones out of my head, I hear French coming from Air Traffic Control. Despite personal lineage, my Parisian recall is extremely limited, so A Giant Ghost must insure the landing. There is no need to reevaluate WWE History here. That has been done ad nauseam. All marks should remember is that Jerry Lawler once called Canada “Bizarro Land.” In truth, Vince has done more to cultivate that reputation than crush it in twenty years. If our neighbors to the north are a strange family, Montreal can imitate their crazy uncle. Let’s visit a friend’s house, shall we?

Monday Night Raw opens as Roman Reigns’ music hits for the typical sheepish reaction. He starts a promo nobody cares about. It is getting to the point where he can’t open a show himself to get a desired reaction and move things forward the way Stamford wants. The Million Dollar Question is: Do they care enough to help him or are they just having fun watching him squirm? This time, help came in the form of Sami Zayn? Why not? After all, the multi-lingual performer is a native of Quebec. Upon receiving the biggest baby face pop of his career, the former masked athlete wants a fight only to be interrupted by Jinder Mahal. He is such a worthless heel that he can’t even elicit a positive reaction from Canadian sheep despite being A Native. It’s okay, the next person out from behind the curtain made up for it.

Another Son of Quebec wants a shot at The Big Dog. Andre The Giant never spoke this much French while on camera for The WWF! This time, it’s Kevin Owens. How does The Samoan Hype Machine get out of this mess? Simple, send Lashley and Strowman down for the save. Geography dictated a lukewarm response to Walking Armageddon; but, even Canadian marks could not turn heel on The Big Man when he started beating up those representing The Maple Leaf. This schmoz was designed to set up a 6-Man Tag later in the evening.

This week’s action starts with Elias mid-ring cutting his tweener promo and lying about his fame as a vocalist. His ability to work in the squared circle is improving though. As evidenced by his victory over Bobby Roode last week. Cue the rematch as Roode’s music literally stops The Guitar Man in his track. Was anyone else surprised that no one on commentary mentioned Roode’s Canadian Heritage last night? Both men are solid workers and neither did anything to change that here. Thanks to WWE’s stale booking, smart marks have become predictably oblivious to certain things. If Elias won last week, Roode was going to win this week. It’s how Stamford works. Not this time. A typical match eventually found Mr. Glorious on the apron where Elias took his head and rammed his throat into a turnbuckle bolt. Thanks to a strategically placed microphone, the bump sounded hideous. Bobby took a flat-back onto the floor. After this, the lines began to blur. I don’t think the referee even counted. The only thing that told me it was still a work? The infamous X never went up. And I was waiting. This was a very solid angle to continue the storyline.

Our next relevant segment finds The Authors of Pain headed to the ring. Apparently, the imposing rookies had been challenged by two tiny French-Canadians earlier in the day because WWE wanted to pay dudes $1000.00 to get crushed. We all know how this goes. The only question was duration, and AOP’s post-squash promos may have been longer. They said The Book of Pain remains open and every tag team on Raw would have a chapter reserved for them. Random thought: If the mythical heel turn of Roman Reins actually happens, he could find worse backup than these boys.

Canada is then treated to an in-ring Seth Rollins promo, and the marks in Montreal were promptly losing their minds. The Architect still held IC Gold after winning a 4-way ladder match in the desert. Throughout the contest, his greatest competition took the form of Finn Balor. The 8-Pack Irishman came out to remind Seth that he was fingertips away from the strap. By Emerald Math, both gentlemen were knotted at two victories apiece and Finn wanted another crack at the championship before Backlash. Seth asks the crowd if they want the match. He Agrees to put the belt up. Before a match can start, The Lost Puppies come out asking both to form The Four Horsemen of WWE…excuse me while I puke. A writer should be fired immediately. Dallas & Axel were turned down flat and quickly dispatched.

Our first recess segment finds my girl being asked her thoughts on Bayley’s recent behavior. Does anyone know why we are dealing with a feud that should have concluded in New Orleans? Oh, I forgot about that stupid Battle Royal. Back to last night’s acid trip. Lady Banks cuts a good promo about Monday Night Raw still being on Boss Time, I WISH! She says, if Ruby wants a riot: “She can Bank on one.” LET’S GO! Except, none of these fabulous matches that Sasha puts on feel even. As an unapologetic Super Mark for The Female Dragon, I can set my watch: Great match, BS finish, Banks loss. It pisses me off! Why is she Dolph Ziggler every EFFING week? Where is her spine? Where is the heel turn? Where is my PISSED OFF Sasha Banks? I will ride with her until she retires.

I guess the new old-school Canadian Marks need an adrenaline rush? Fine, send Natalya Out. The roof’s only gonna come off! Hitman’s Niece & Anvil’s Daughter Brought thunder from the crowd as she came home last night. The Queen of Harts had backup from Ronda Rousey. Whoever had Eve Torres in Announcer Shout out Bingo in 2018, you win! Nattie had a quick match with Mickie James, who had Alexa Bliss for “help.” All Little Miss Math Class needed was her track shoes. She was only out there to run. First, from Ms. Rowdy, who chased her off the apron, around the ring, and up the ramp. Producers were so obsessed with the shot that they almost missed the pin. Bliss wasn’t done running. She was nearly at the entrance when Nia Jax’s music hit! Big Fine chased her through the crowd. When she is scared, (often), there is no one who appears less qualified to work as talent in WWE. Okay, it’s a coin flip between her and Carmella.

Time for the 6-Man Tag. Samoan Hype Machine takes the early advantage, including a Double Drive-By on Owens and Zayn. Lashley gets the tag. After some early offense, all three heels get heat on Lashley. Naturally The Canadians are getting baby face pops for their tactics: “Yay, they spoke French!” Lashley absorbs more punishment here than he did in six months in Orlando. Welcome to New York. Eventually, Reigns makes the tag and starts destroying everyone. He doesn’t see Owens; who gives him one knockdown shot and begins to repeat the same process used on Lashley. Heels keep trading off until Roman gets separation to tag Strowman!  The Human Freight Train does not disappoint. Mahal & Owens are treated like pinballs. The heels get lucky when Braun posts himself. However, they are cut from 3 to 1, leaving Braun in the ring with Owens who Superkicked Strowman into the corner and attempted a Cannon Ball. Unfortunately for KO, The Big Man recovered enough to stop him with a running power slam for the clean win. Even Bizarro Land cannot hate Braun Strowman.

The most talked about moment from the desert did not happen in the ring. Titus O’Neil is a former SEC football player at The University of Florida. Big Dude tripped on his way into the match and slid UNDER the ring! Sorry Bro, you will NEVER live that down! He was asked about it last night and laughed it off like a professional. Baron Corbin came and tried to insult him. The Lone Wolf lost his pulse again. Want more proof? He went to the ring to cut a walking promo on No Way Jose and couldn’t get through one line! The two had a rematch complete with Jose’s conga line. This time, the new comer got his win when Titus Worldwide came out to distract Corbin. After the match, Johnathan Coachman had an interesting thought. Why not put Jose in Titus Worldwide? Hey, if you wanna give the kid a chance, I’ve heard worse suggestions.

Here we go with The Main Event for IC Gold. These two have a ton of athletic respect for each other and know their opponent so well. Great chain wrestling and false finishes everywhere. The Move Set Twins certainly put on a show. One of the most memorable spots was The Irishman taking a superplex but reversing Rollins’ Falcon Arrow to deliver it himself! Ten years ago, that’s a consistent finisher. After several tries, Rollins hits The Curb Stomp for the clean victory in preparation for his title defense against The Miz at Backlash. Hope my passengers like maple syrup and escargot because another round of pancakes and snails is ready for SmackDown Live. Meanwhile, I hope the gas man can read the American gauge on the plane!

 


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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.


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CheapShots: Mad Man’s Panhandle Rush (WWE Raw)

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The penultimate stop on the Florida loop found the Cessna in the panhandle. One of the good things about the territory back in the day was proximity for travel. According to Kevin Sullivan and Austin Idol; Google them millennial nerds, it was common to work close enough to home that performers could sleep in their own beds most nights. If I am not mistaken, the original Free Bird nest of Jacksonville (music), was a regular weekend stop for Eddie Graham.

Vince’s latest offer started as 90% of them do. Someone is headed to the ring to cut a promo. This time it was RAW GM Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon’s watch dog, Constable Corbin. Angle proudly reminded us that one UFC Fighter would be making her TV Match Debut Monday night while openly taking shots at the other on the roster. Corbin’s prompted retort was met by Kurt saying he had to get this off his chest. Half-way through, Roman Reigns comes out because he can.

Eventually testosterone related to last week starts flowing between opposing forces. This leads Angle to make an opening match featuring Reigns vs. Corbin. In my opinion, the crowd was odd during this encounter. It felt like they needed 15 minutes to wake up. Strange when an audience doesn’t have a pulse, even a negative one. The match was physical and decent, though we have seen it before. Experienced watchers could tell Corbin was looking for an escape. He thought he found one, only to have Finn Balor cut him off. Corbin was forced back to the ring, where he took A Spear for the clean loss. After the bell, The 8-Pack Irishman took his turn; delivering a dropkick and Coup de Gras.
As a younger fan Vinnie’s circus did a much better job of keeping athletes apart unless it served as fuel for an angle. The locker room dustup between Bobby Roode and Mojo Rawley three weeks before a PPV would have led to squash matches featuring the two, or a tag match where they barely touched. He used to admonish agents and bookers: “Get the match in the ring.” Thanks to six hours of programming a week, now he says: “Get the match in the ring now. The PPVs are so cheap, they hardly matter.” This angle is the latest victim of that drug-induced logic. WWE will do their best to say it’s different in two weeks, even though Roode went over clean Monday night. Why does Stamford think smarks are clueless?

The very next segment saw our latest example of poor execution. I actually wanna see Elias take on Lashley. Vinnie forgot the Novocain to get me there. Heels don’t even worry about suspension of disbelief anymore. There is no album, Elias. Four tracks are barely a demo. WWE shot that ”documentary” to fill time on the network. No other reason. You don’t like the way it made you look? It’s scripted, talk to management. I don’t like you as a heel when the crowd wants to cheer you. I can’t do a damn thing about it. Speaking of “I can’t do anything about this:” Bobby Lashley was not brought back to New York because he could talk. Take the microphone OUT of his hand. Crickets come out whenever the man opens his mouth. The ending was plausible. Find a better way to get there. Proof WWE doesn’t care if I’m in pain watching; and, Sports Entertainment is total bulls***!

In another case of coin flip booking, Razar destroyed Titus because Apollo Crews beat Akam last week. Vince can’t get out of his own way. We saw this around a month ago. Even Less sheep wanted to watch this than hear Lashley cut a promo. We were stuck with both. Sorry folks, this was your weekly piss break

Back from the restroom. Smarks who hate Reigns, and their insider cousins are freaking out. It’s “The Kevin Owens Show.” Give The Fat Canadian a mic, and he can run down anyone in the art form. Like him or not, Owens is such a good heel that he manipulates other heels regularly. His latest pawn was Jinder Mahal. The Indian Brooklyn Brawler was his guest, but Owens wouldn’t let him speak. Eventually, the host mentioned Braun Strowman, and their contest for The MITB Briefcase at SummerSlam. Reminding us that if The Big Man loses, it doesn’t matter how. He loses his guaranteed shot at Gold. Mahal was roped into another match with The Monster Among Men just before the stage was flipped over! Why not? Unfortunately for the big man, he has been turned from human being to pit bull in an obnoxious game of fetch. Owens has stolen the briefcase twice. Forcing a count out last week and a DQ Monday. Anybody wanna punch Creative?

Cue the calliope. Earlier in the night, Seth Rollins went to GM Kurt Angle saying he was sick of being jumped by Ziggler & Galloway. Angle told him to find a partner. At this point, I could feel a colleague hoping like a Super Mark. Must wait again, sorry Brickyard. Though, even I thought they might set up an Ambrose swerve because they said he wouldn’t show up. Of course, Roman Reigns offered to help his brother out. However, Stephanie called Constable Corbin threatening to pull The Samoan Hype Machine from his showdown with The Beast at SummerSlam. SHUT UP VINCE! You have been shoving this match down our throats for years. Even after this, global smart marks fear you aren’t done with it. As for the match Monday, Rollins couldn’t find a partner. He fought hard but took the pin from Ziggler.

A tag team match was next. Participants: The Revival & our Tag Champs, The B-Team. Of course, Vince has an aversion to wrestling. “We MUST ‘entertain’ them, they’re sheep!” Match started off solid. Five minutes in; lights go out. Opposing partners have been torn off the apron and replaced by The Deleters of Worlds. Match got thrown out. Two reasons I despise Triple Threat Matches. First, wrestling companies have forgotten how to book longer programs and draw money. Second, the overwhelming majority of Triple Threats allow for weird finishes. Especially the way WWE books them. “Never mind we have 5 hours of TV to fill. Let’s throw everybody in and finish this in five minutes. Building to an outcome used to matter.

A double shot of recess to close Monday Night Raw this week. First up: The Dragon Huggers had to deal with The Riott Squad for consecutive weeks. Something had to be up, and it was. Despite Sasha & Bailey looking very good again, including a modified Power & Glory spot. Youtube it sheep, the heels went over when Ruby Riott did her best CM Punk impression. Go ahead weirdoes, freak out because I mentioned him. The Squad Leader dawned a gray hoodie long enough to slip through the audience. She got physical with The Human Elmo, and distracted Lady Banks so she would take the pin. Welcome back Ruby. Your girls haven’t mattered since February.

Whenever Hayes & Gordy’s Jacksonville namesake would close a Skynyrd concert, Ronnie and the boys would always ask: “What is it you wanna hear?” prior to hitting their opus’ first chord. Right now, Vinnie’s answer to “Free Bird” is Ronda Rousey. Rather appropriate then that The Baddest Woman on The Planet’s TV wrestling debut was in Skynyrd’s House. I think Michael would agree. Ronda’s first competition came in the form of Alicia Fox. She had length, experience, and zero chance Monday. Fox got some offense in, but Rousey overcame the distractions from Little Miss Math Class, got pissed, and tapped her opponent out in less than ten minutes. The champ tried to jump her afterward, epic fail! Ronda took the mic and cut a very solid promo. Has there ever been a long-term champion who looks more scared than Alexa Bliss? Good music in this show. We’re gonna find out if Mickey Mouse can Rock’N’Roll like that!


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WWE EVOLUTION Is The Double Edged Sword

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Last week, Stephanie McMahon announced that the past, present and future of women’s wrestling would come together and create the first ever all women’s PPV called Evolution. To say that women’s wrestling has made strides from what were once called “toilet break” matches to women’s Royal Rumbles, Ladder Matches, and now their own PPV is something to be said about how women are being taken seriously in a sport that is based on machismo. 

Yet, while it shows that women wrestlers are now seen as equals to their male counter part, it also shows that the WWE is dividing women. Think of it this way, its just like the cruiser weights having 205 Live. Yes, it is great that the talented high flyers can show off their skills in their own show, but 205 has not made the impact that everyone thought it would after the Cruiserweight  Classic. They are never in matches with the rest are the main roster on Raw and Smackdown Live and are segregated. 

While the indie scene has done mixed matches (Candice LaRae being a prime example of this) . The WWE almost make it seem that they have rewritten history with Evolution, but women’s wrestlers were ahead of their times in the indies, it has been the WWE that has been playing “catch up” all these years. 

WWE Evolution isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great example of how far the WWE have come, but it also puts a syntax on the PPV. By creating a women’s only PPV it shows that women’s wrestling is being showcased, but it creates this undertone of questioning to fans and pro wrestling critics that women cannot stand out the way men do in wrestling so here is their own PPV to show case that. 

The PPVs announcement and lead up will be debated till October when all eyes are set on the production of what is to come. And while as a fan I am excited to see what the past, present and future, have to offer, there is also some dread as to what this really says about what the WWE thinks of women’s wrestling as a whole. 


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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