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CheapShots: Any Seeds Left on The Island?

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Mick Foley WWE
Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!

As we glide into a runway at The Nassau County Airport, my passengers and I notice something interesting underneath us. It’s the DeLorean. I haven’t seen this thing in months! Why is it here? Who brought it out of the garage? Given the fact that it’s lunch time within shouting distance of The Big Apple, I can afford a small joyride before heading to the arena tonight. But, where and when was I supposed to go? Upon opening the door and getting comfortable, I find my instructions with two dates and locations.

I am to retrieve two pieces of steel and an empty front row seat before going to the show. The dates and signature inform me of the DeLorean’s purpose. Dates are sequenced chronologically. First is 10/17/83 at the Athletic Cathedral just across The Hudson. It’s Madison Square Garden. The cage is not erected yet. Pieces are being carried to the ring as I type. I must haul ass to an empty front row seat over the railing. Bolt and wire cutters await. Discretely impersonating a crew member, I sneak onto the floor removing a tiny piece of steel from the bottom of the cage. After doing this, I use the bolt cutter to take the empty seat from The Garden Floor. Exiting the building without incident, my instructions say these seeds are to come with me to Pittsburgh 15 years later and repeat the first act again where the crown is handed out. Despite the cage being lowered from the ceiling this time, the effects of the DeLorean enable me to clip the cage in a blink and get out of the venue unnoticed. Remember, mine wasn’t the only section of steel removed on this might. The other is now in the lore of the art form forever. Before I get to last night’s show: Pop Quiz hotshots, who left these instructions for me? The organizer of this adventure was indeed Mick Foley.

Monday Night Raw comes from Mick’s back yard of Long Island, New York. Show starts with our GM Kurt Angle letting us know that Carnella’s creative crutch is next on WWE’s PPV Calendar. The formula for arriving at the numbers and participants in both Money in The Bank Matches has been slightly altered. Despite their most recent offering being an abject disaster, WWE Creative has FINALLY woken up enough to start co-branding PPVs. This time it translates to four participants from RAW & SmackDown; eight in total, will all compete in both of the main drawing matches. How we get there appears scattered and drawn out.

This concept lends itself to on camera politics, which at times can only be rivaled on a pain scale by backstage politics most of us can’t see initially. Basically, everyone not in a qualifying match will beg to be placed in a qualifying match until we get to Chicago. Baby faces are not immune. This brings Braun Strowman down the aisle. The Big Man is getting better on the mic. This time, talking about what happened when he was left out of building a tree house as a kid. It didn’t end well for the others in the neighborhood. This prompts Kevin Owens to come from the back, reprising his obnoxious French-Canadian self. Whining about Angle’s treatment of him the past month and saying the wrong man was pinned at Backlash. Quick question Kevin: Do you REALLY wanna know how many people cared about that match last night? Kurt is pissed at this point. He has two athletes asking for a chance. Fine boys, you want an opportunity? Fight for it! KO tried to win twice by count out. He freaked out each time Braun got back in the ring. Eventually, The Big Man overwhelmed him. Picking up the win in convincing fashion. Strowman will be in Chicago!

Anybody got a blender? Let’s see if we can turn all these promos into a margarita without a hangover. Backstage, Roman Reigns is asked about the challenges in front of him. He says that he is The Uncrowned Universal Champion and Management is holding him back. Come on Roman! Even you don’t believe that? He says all he can do right now is focus on The Triple Threat match in front of him. Jinder Mahal found Angle twice to scream at him. Once before actually winning a match, and once after beating Chad Gable. Mahal felt insulted and rebuffed both times. The Indian Brooklyn Brawler would make his statement later in the night.

More bright-letter format carpenter promos. First Bayley. Yo Elmo, Sasha’s not dead. Handle this properly, then you can talk Money in The Bank. PS: You’re still not winning. Then Breezango “cuts in” mentioning a “new case.” These gentlemen are nothing if not dedicated to this part of their craft. They are still over on the strength of these promos alone. I will not knock them. Did I mention Goldust was asking for his chance too? This margarita is getting weird! KO & Sami Zayn were seen cutting a strained backstage promo revolving around both Sunday’s happenings and Kevin’s Monday loss. Random MITB promo from Alexa Bliss. Your shoulder hurts and Ronda Rousey hasn’t touched you yet, GO AWAY! Even more random segment from The Ascension. Anyone care about them anymore? Gotta pop The Long Island crowd so Zack Ryder gets his turn asking for a MITB opportunity. The only promo that made sense from this concoction was a sit-down Rene Young got with Bobby Lashley welcoming him back to the organization. This was okay. Unfortunately, Stamford is trying to scrub the heel tendencies off of him for now. We know what he is capable of. We know what he did in Orlando. Good luck keeping all this mess down.

In case we all forget, this is wrestling programming. I will try to get back there now. The ladies needed to start their journey toward Money in The Bank in Chicago. I do take great joy that Carmella will not be in this part of the process. Recess was a Triple Threat for the first RAW spot at the PPV. Combatants: Ruby Riott w/Riott Squad, Ember Moon, and Lady Banks. Need a great match? There’s Mercedes! Although, in this case her opponents didn’t need carried quite so high. Ruby Riott is a solid heel. Capable of a lot of good work. Ember Moon is a special athlete who makes separation a dangerous thing. Sadly, promoters have this nasty habit of timing bias. Vinnie was no different here. I could feel Sasha wasn’t gonna win. With Ruby’s crew getting involved twice, it was obvious. Bayley actually ran out mid-match to help her. Relax Elmo, she’s still kicking your ass at some point. At least The Female Dragon didn’t take the loss. The Lunar Lone Star hit The Eclipse on Riott for the pin. Nightfall is coming to Chicago.

Turns out Creative’s coin-flip booking was just a week delayed. This time Elias got through his entire tweener promo and half a song. Fans want to cheer the man. As consistently as he performs, the opportunity to turn him does not present itself obviously in this smart marks mind. Having said that, his chance to be a baby face will show up. At this point, Bobby Roode and his Gloriousness comes out to kill the vibe. After another solid match that saw The Canadian hit his finish for the win. What a surprise! Roode then asked for an opportunity at Money in The Bank.

Welcome to The Jobber Portion of Monday Night Raw. So much for thinking No Way Jose just needed some additional support to turn things around. This presentation appears wasted on him, and the young man honestly looks like he has athletic potential. Jose took an End of Days and the pin from Baron Corbin in a 6-Man Tag. Slater’s kids didn’t matter. Ryno and The Redneck Red Head got crushed by Ziggler and Galloway. The Deleters of Worlds quickly kenneled The Lost Puppies.

Two contests of consequence remain on The Island of Length. Monday Night Rollins came out two cut a baby face promo. It took a little while to find his own voice. But, right now few faces are over like The Architect. He says Money in The Bank is important; however, The IC Gold is important to him and he wants to fight to keep it. Cue an open challenge and enter Mojo Rawley? A month from The Superstar Shakeup, it feels like a reach. The ex jock was decent on the mic and has ability in the ring. It might be too late for him to matter though.

The Samoan Hype Machine, 8-Pack Irishman and Annoying Canadian closed Empire State proceedings with a Triple Threat. Win for the right to climb a ladder in The Windy City. The crowd was still in rare form from the disappointment of Sunday. Roman offense got booed massively while a beat up Roman got cheered massively. Two memorable spots: Balor & Zayn teamed up to take The Big Dog over the barricade and out of the match for a while. Fans behaved themselves once he was incapacitated. Sheep went all toddler after The Hype Machine reentered things though. Especially when a Vinnie’s Boy victory appeared imminent. Except, who remembers a Pissed Off Indian? The next scenario is not a work. Fans exploded when Jinder Mahal came through the audience to grab Roman’s leg preventing a spear and allowing Finn Balor to beat Zayn clean and earn a shot at the briefcase. Awkward show. Felt like bizarro land moved south for most of this episode of Monday Night Raw, Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy has certainly seen better and done better himself. In answer to the question: No there are no Cactus Seeds left on Long Island this time.

 

 


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Cheap Shots: The Town Wasn’t Crying

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My passengers and I had to sleep off Monday’s bad dream before taking a midday trek through the coastal skyway between LaGuardia and Logan. Rental Car agencies love us. We cover overhead for months. Last night’s SmackDown Live threw a dart in the map at Worcester, Massachusetts. The Beantown suburb has been a reliable stronghold for The Evil Empire for generations. Boston and its satellites have fabulous history with the art form. Look no further than John Cena and Sasha Banks. Older than a Millennial? Fine, would you settle for the most respected Shaman left in the industry? Boston proper is home to the heart of the last great Booker in NWA/WCW History. Marks remember him as “The Task Master” Kevin Sullivan.

There was an incredibly low threshold to surpass Monday’s utter junk. The Professional Instigator kicked things off. His segment was centered around a shockingly relevant question given the original source. Last week, The New Day won a tag team match with a unique stipulation. The winning team would send one member to Money in The Bank. Though, nobody new which member would get the honor. The Unicorns have verbal chemistry with a tree stump. Mike is near the top of the roster when cutting a promo. As a result, the question everybody was curious about led to a segment that would make Abbott & Costello smile! After the baseball routine, Mike didn’t get an answer. Would anyone be shocked if Mike’s mouth got him into a fight? He told us that he could beat any member of The New Day. Big E steps up to disagree. After weaseling his way up the ramp and being pelted with pancakes, GM Paige insists Mike get out there and fight. The Miz defeated Big E with help from The Bar. This led to The Sexy Goth Chick making a six-man tag next week, cool!

Early recess with dual qualifiers for Chicago on the ladies’ side. Our first contest is proof smarks still can’t do this on paper. Last week; when this match was made, 98% of the audience had one or both of these thoughts in their collective head: “Why is Lana in this match?” and/or “She has no shot here.” Tell me you didn’t and you’re lying! Billie Kay going over in this spot made complete sense because her IIconic partner did not qualify and Lana hadn’t wrestled in months. Her fans; which unabashedly include this author, were just happy to see her on camera again. She has proven more than capable with a promo. Would her in-ring potential be given legitimate thought again? Wait, they gave her a solid entrance with accompaniment from Aiden English. But, she’s competing against someone who is getting a massive push? Fortunately for The Ravishing Russian, Sexy Koalas have the attention span of two gnats. The Songbird brought out a very tall “Lana Day” sign to do the distraction thing. The Aussies lose their minds, allowing Lana to slap the s*** out of one while barricading the other. Could she do this? A huge Machka Kick and sit-out faceplant later, the answer was YES! Lana won her first singles match in WWE and I popped like a kid!

Later in the night, Naomi and Sonya Deville had their chance to qualify for Money in The Bank. Athletically these two ran circles around the previous feminine encounter. However, Lana evokes the type of emotional reaction they can only wish for right now. Most memorable spot involved several dueling kicks. Eventually, The Glow Worm got the advantage and the victory with an old-school looking rollup. It will be interesting to see if there is any tension between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville because only The Pound For Pound Pinup made it to the PPVs namesake match.

Then we move to a promo in the ring between The Usos and The Good Brothers. “I don’t see any bars…” Preceded by “This ain’t Japan….” Very Typical stuff. Although this was gonna be an interesting match because we haven’t seen it in a while. The Samoans were able to get most of their spots in. They even tried their tandem finish from opposite corners. The attempt was not successful. One of them got pushed off the top turnbuckle, eventually leaving the other vulnerable for The Magic Killer. Congratulations Gallows & Anderson! Your reward is a date with The Bludgeon Brothers for Tag Team Gold in Chicago.

This week’s action concludes with a first-time match between Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy. Excuse me? Yes, I think The Charismatic Enigma was losing his mind in Orlando during some of Daniel’s prime run in New York. Otherwise, Vince never put them on the same competitive path. Why the HELL not? As expected, it was a clinic and coin flip throughout. This was a second chance for The American Dragon, who went over clean with a Heal Hook. The victory cleared the way to a final qualifier for The Yes Man against Samoa Joe who was on commentary this week.

Most important piece of news from this week’s SmackDown Live? Let’s go to the ring for a face-to-face promo between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Money in The Bank Challenger Shinsuke Nakamura. These two have already had three solid matches. The Con Artist won last, enabling him to choose the stipulation in Chicago. Nakamura is a very good heel, capable of making anyone on Tuesdays twist in the wind. A Ninja takes whatever advantage he can. The challenger was ready to show his cards, but not before administering a beatdown and ten-count that Styles could not answer. I was wrong. It’s not gonna be in a cage. We have A Last Man Standing Match for WWE Gold. I doubt people is Sasha’s home state left disappointed like those in New York on Monday Night. Relax everybody, the itinerary takes us to Flair Country again next week.


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Dear Smarks: Stop Bringing Up Roman’s Wellness Suspension

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Roman Reigns WWE WrestleMania 34

So the wonderful Greg DeMarco recently did a study. He showed non-wrestling people at his place of employment photos of Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns and asked them who they would pay to see, just based on the pictures; all of them chose Roman Reigns. As you can imagine, the anti-Roman contingent threw a FIT about this, saying that he shouldn’t be asking non-fans about who is a draw because they wouldn’t know who either guy was, which was the point of the whole experiment.

One of the complaints about Reigns that his detractors like to drag up, when they get tired of trying to claim he has no wrestling ability, mic skills, or charisma, is his 2016 Wellness Policy suspension. According to them, Reigns’ suspension is a dealbreaker, he should never be allowed to be The Guy ever again because of this mistake. Really? One Wellness Policy violation over Roman forgetting to give WWE his prescription for Adderall because he was having trouble sleeping and he should be forever barred from being The Guy? Have you all conveniently forgotten about all the Legends and top guys that had or still have serious substance abuse problems? Well, if you have, let me remind you. Here’s a list of people that either had Wellness Policy violations or were known in their day for having a drug and/or alcohol problem:

  1. Jeff Hardy *
  2. Stone Cold Steve Austin. * **
  3. Shawn Michaels * **
  4. Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) **
  5. Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid, X-Pac)
  6. Kevin Nash (Diesel). * **
  7. Road Warrior Hawk **
  8. Eddie Guerrero * **
  9. Carlito
  10. William Regal. To the best of my knowledge, Regal’s substance abuse issues weren’t widely known for much of his career, but he has admitted to them in interviews.
  11. Sunny **
  12. The Iron Sheik * **
  13. Randy Orton *
  14. Rey Mysterio *
  15. Paige *
  16. Eva Marie
  17. Alberto Del Rio *
  18. Edge * ** (part of the fallout from Chris Benoit’s death).
  19. The British Bulldog
  20. Ric Flair. * **
  21. Tully Blanchard **
  22. Kerry Von Erich *  **(The Texas Tornado)
  23. Luna Vachon
  24. Chyna *
  25. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts **
  26. Curt Hennig (Mr. Perfect) **
  27. Lex Lugar *
  28. Miss Elizabeth.
  29. Umaga
  30. Joey Mercury
  31. Road Dogg
  32. The Fabulous Freebirds **
  33. Roddy Piper **
  34. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan **.
  35. Dustin Rhodes. Note: This one wasn’t known until recently, and Dustin has been very honest about his issues.
  36. Kurt Angle. * **. Note: Angle never had a Wellness Violation that I’m aware of, but he and Vince have said that his drug issues and refusal to go to rehab partly lead to his departure from WWE in 2006.
  37. Don Muraco. **
  38. Cowboy Bob Orton. **

*= Became Heavyweight Champion/Women’s Champion

**= Hall of Famer

As you can see, a lot of wrestlers past and present have either run afoul of  WWE’s Wellness Policy or were known to have issues with drugs and/or alcohol. Many of them are now considered Legends and/or Hall of Famers. I know there are more than this, but these were the ones I could remember off the top of my head. Several of the people listed that were WHC of some description, often during the times of their issues. Few of them found their careers hindered by their issues alone, more than half of them are in the WWE HOF and the ones who aren’t are still considered legends. If they get a pass on past bad behavior and poor decision making, why am I supposed to buy Roman Reigns’ one mistake as an insurmountable barrier to his becoming the top guy and Universal Champion?

Yes, Reigns made a mistake back in 2016 with that Wellness violation, but he also owned up to it publicly, we’re told that he apologized to the locker room, and took his punishment humbly. There’s no actual reason for this to keep him from being champion, especially since his violation was because he didn’t turn in the prescription in time, rather than he got busted for illegal drugs. Of all the ‘reasons’ smarks give for why Roman shouldn’t be The Guy, this is one of the most pathetic because it blatantly ignores the fact that so many of the ‘Legends’ smarks looked up to struggled with substance abuse issues and still had successful careers in the wrestling business while finger pointing and shaming Reigns for a relatively minor infraction. Let’s grow up a little, people.


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Cheap Shots: Billion Dollar Contract, Ten Cent Show!

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With the company coming off arguably the most public and busiest non-Mania month in WWE history; I was asked to fly the jet from Baltimore back into The Empire State Capitol. This time, to what was certainly an ancillary stop for the old man’s original four-lettered territory. On top of the most ambitious travel schedule Vinnie has ever put in front of his talent, a massive television contract was finalized in the last few days. This contract delineates a sad day for smarks, sheep, and all fans of the art form because our thoughts and opinions regarding this soap opera we love have just disappeared in a billion-dollar black hole. I am truly saddened for all of us.

With this explosive news in the background, what did we get for the first Monday Night Raw in The States in two weeks? When I was a young fan, Jesse Ventura used to refer to certain baby faces by telling us: “He’s got a million-dollar body and a ten-cent brain.” Last night, fans got stuck with the dime. RAW opens with GM Kurt Angle being properly serenaded with a “YOU SUCK!” chant as he heads to the ring. I hope he enjoyed the feeling. It was straight downhill from here. Angle was not given five minutes to hold his own balls. I wonder who cut them off? Oh look, Daddy’s Little Girl is back. Stealing someone’s chance because Vince struggles to make authentic heels. Her arm has healed. She has too much make up. Her mouth is still functional. The same cannot be said for her brain. Welcome to the downside of allowing ownership to play pricks on television. Stephanie, the match and results at WrestleMania were booked by your gene pool. Three choices: Shut your mouth, get off camera, or break the fourth wall.

After The Wicked Witch puts her Ginsu away, she mentions Roman Reigns. Before she can finish her thought, The Big Dog is unleashed from the back to a chorus of boos. He is still struggling with cutting promos years into his run. They are asking him to do John Cena style mic work. The next person who can do that is a generation away from the roster. Hype Machine actually says Management doesn’t wanna put Gold on him. Save it Roman. This latest accusation brings Kevin Owens out to remind him that he is not the only performer with authority issues. After getting to close to Steph, KO earns a singles match with Roman to commence immediately.

Kevin Owens is a fantastic bump taker. After about ten minutes of literally being turned inside-out; including a spear and Superman Punch, The Canadian was barely hanging on. This was the perfect time for Jinder Mahal to run in and exact some revenge for being put through a wall last week. This interference gave Roman the win by DQ. We weren’t done though. The Big Dog has backup too. Dude’s Shield Brother comes out to even things up. Seth Rollins was already a great athlete, but he is flirting with oxygen very few can breathe. Very little of what he is doing right now doesn’t look like it has an athletic purpose. His coin flip dives from ring to floor were breathtaking. Very rarely does Creative enable someone to hit a finish immediately after missing it, like you would try to do in a REAL FIGHT! It happened last night to give Reigns & Rollins the win. Seth Rollins is carrying the men’s division of Monday Night Raw right now.

 

My sincerest apologies for the nightmare we must walk into at present. Before we go into the wormhole, I’d like to remind my readers that this is 2018 and Bobby Lashley can work anywhere in the world. Last week, Sami Zayn of all people cut a promo telling us he would expose Lashley as a fraud by bringing his sisters to Monday Night Raw for an interview. Quick. does anybody but Vinnie care about this? Last night, the skinny Canadian bounced his way to the ring like he had solved The Kennedy Assassination. Instead, he called out three guys in drag to rehash this opioid-induced train wreck. This is 2018. Then Zayn called Lashley out to confront him with this bad joke. Walking Armageddon came out to crickets, disposed of the gentlemen quickly, and left to the same crickets. Anyone, including my colleagues thinking Vinnie’s negotiating skills turn him into Einstein with a script, just watch this segment. Yes Bobby, it’s 2018 and you sold your athletic soul to New York for six figures and THIS!

Three recess segments and I still fell asleep. That tells you how bad this episode was. First, Alexa Bliss is backstage cutting a history-based promo on The Romans and The Visigoths? Interesting set up to explain away her New Year’s Day loss to Ember Moon. Nice try Little Miss Math Class. You still haven’t graduated yet! Ten minutes and one BFF having a conniption fit later, The Lunar Lone Star won clean with The Eclipse. Excuse me, how does Little Miss Bliss have two pieces of Raw Women’s Gold? That’s right, she worked with a pro. Watch them hand her the briefcase. Sadly, more crickets. This time for the ladies. A Four-Way Money in The Bank Qualifier. Participants: Liv Morgan, Natalya, Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke. Only two of these girls have a pulse. Nattie got payback on Logan for the incident prior to the desert with The Sharpshooter and a clean tap out for the win. This night cements the case that Sasha Banks is indeed carrying The Raw Women’s Division. After the match Nattie cut a strange promo on her friendship with Ronda Rousey and what will happen in Chicago. Speaking of Ms. Rowdy, she signed the contract opposite Nia Jax. Even with Steph stirring things up, this segment felt slightly forced. Ronda is getting better on the mic. They didn’t bring her to Stamford to talk. I really don’t wanna see this match in June.

The rest of the show could’ve happened two months ago. Elias cuts a great promo. TURN HIM ALREADY! He beat Bobby Roode clean with The Drift Away. Bothers me when a guy like Roode is brought in to job out. He has more talent than that. Move these gentlemen along please. Baron Corbin beat No Way Jose for the millionth time on TV. The Former Lost Puppies; now being called The B Team, beat Breezango again. Stop acting like me if I won a match clean. You have generational legacies, respect them. Dolph Ziggler cut a promo on Chad Gable in a hallway. Of course this lead to a match with Drew Galloway standing outside the ring. For a nanosecond, I thought the former amateur Pan-American Games participant had a chance. Then my eyes opened. Dolph went over clean and Galloway landed a Claymore Kick afterward. Earlier in the night, Finn Balor and Braun Strowman were looking for a rematch with the above-mentioned duo. Steph hijacked Angle’s office. She was being her typical self. No tag-match. Rather, a main event singles contest between the two. After a surprisingly competitive match. Braun went over clean. Assuming Vince McMahon even had a brain after Steve Austin’s retirement, this is easily the worst episode of Monday Night Raw in five years, if not longer. I hope that money didn’t go to his head or somewhere else. Hopefully SmackDown is better.

 


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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