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Reciprocity: The Value Of Trust In Wrestling

What has happened to the trust between fans and wrestling? Why is there no reciprocity?

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Shocked Undertaker Guy WWE Wrestling

Reciprocity – the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another

Wrestling has a symbiotic relationship with it’s fans.  Both the company (and it’s performers) have to work in concert with the audience to effectively tell a story.  It’s the simplest part of the process – wrestlers wrestle and fans are entertained. So why does that relationship feel so strained between fans in 2018 and wrestling?

It’s no secret now that we’re in the age of information.  Never has there been a time in human history where it’s easier to find out something you really want to find out, and that could be good or bad for the record.  When it comes to wrestling, not only is information readily available for us through wrestling news sites like the Observer, the Figure Four Weekly, or even this one (cheap plug!), but WWE themselves has opened up the door to introspection.  And the business is in the best place it’s ever been. Independent companies are doing business they’ve never been able to do, wrestlers are making more money than ever, and interest in the business is the best it’s been in over a decade. But there’s still an issue with that reciprocity.  Why?

I’m a pretty aware person, and I try my best to really be objective.  So, I try to really observe the fan interaction between companies, wrestlers, and fans.  There’s a clear disconnect at times. And if I’m honest, it’s at times when trust is given and then lost. Let me give you an example.

Chris Jericho is one of the most successful professional wrestlers in the world.  Not only is he great in the ring, but he’s also been known to be great with fans. He’s got the rare ability to consistently work fans from a wrestling perspective, yet when someone asks him his genuine opinion on something, he’s shown himself to be brutally honest.  However, when he claimed that he believes that some fans boo Roman Reigns at shows because it’s the “in” thing to do (in a non WWE interview, by the way), fans lost their minds. People claimed that Jericho was regurgitating Vince McMahon’s rhetoric even though he wasn’t working for WWE at the time, and many claimed that Jericho had lost all their respect.  All of this because he said something he believed, and the fans in turn don’t. Fast forward to now, and Jericho has reignited his feud with Tetsuya Naito, attacking him in a brutal and bloody manner at a New Japan show. Once again, the trust is back and we all love Jericho again.

Another example is the feud between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.  Ever since Nakamura signed with WWE, the hopes were that we’d see him and Styles have their rematch from the instant classic at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in the Tokyo Dome.  They built to the match slowly, with Nakamura winning the Royal Rumble, and finally had the “dream match” at WrestleMania 34 for the WWE Championship. The match was good, although slow and devoid of genuine crowd reaction, and led to a much needed Shinsuke heel turn.  So, even though the match didn’t reach our expectations, Nakamura was now a heel and the feud could grow to the heights we all expected. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. While the build on TV has been tremendous, the two major Pay-Per-View encounters they’ve had since WrestleMania (The Greatest Royal Rumble and last night’s Backlash) have been fun but ended in deflating false finishes.  The goal is clear: build to a final, major encounter at Money In The Bank in Chicago, the major wrestling hotbed of the US. The problem, however, is that with each false finish, interest in the next match and trust that the feud and the matches will deliver is dwindling. The match in Chicago, which isn’t booked but is inevitable, will probably be tremendous but we have no reason to believe that based on what’s happened so far.

So, the question is why is that trust lost?  Better yet, why is it even questioned? In Jericho’s situation, the fans HATE Roman Reigns so much, they don’t want anyone to tell them something they don’t want to believe, much less someone they believe in.  And the second he did something they believed in again, attacking Naito in this case, he earned it back again. While Nakamura and Styles aren’t the victims of our ire; WWE is. Which I feel is more indicative of the real problem.

WWE has seemed to have lost their trust with the diehard, internet fanbase.  While it’s the biggest and most successful wrestling company in the world, the type of wrestling that the fans are into currently isn’t being given by WWE.  It’s being given by other companies like New Japan, Ring of Honor, and numerous Indy promotions. So, this is a two fold problem. WWE has never lied about the product they put out; the goal is, has, and always been entertainment.  And the fans, desperate for something new and different, are clamoring for a more in ring based product. And both are right. But, fans feel that WWE isn’t listening to them, and WWE most likely has a negative connotation of internet fans.  Where’s the reciprocity?

What can we do to fix it?  How is the trust rebuilt? Or, can it ever be like it was, or how it should be?  These are questions none of us know, because if we did, it would be happening. I do thing, however, that the true answer is in following your heart.  I love WWE and I’ll never stop watching. I still enjoy the product. Many of you reading have moved to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and they have a tremendous product.  As I stated earlier, there’s never been a better time for wrestling like it is now. So, find something to enjoy, as there’s enough out there to like. Just remember, the trust that you might not have for the other side?  They might not have it for you either.

FIN


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

WWE Fears AEW

Are Vince McMahon and WWE running scared from AEW? The signs, for Juan, point to yes.

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AEW All Elite Wrestling

Are Vince McMahon and WWE running scared from AEW? The signs, for Juan, point to yes.

For the last 18 years WWE has controlled the wrestling world with an iron fist but in recent years poor decisions booking wise made promotions like NJPW and ROH rise and gain popularity. Now WWE has with AEW a direct competitor that in just one month has shaken the wrestling world for the better. Like it or not WWE fears the potential AEW could have in the wrestling world.

The shirt scandal

The best example WWE not only fears but has taken notice of AEW, is the fact they banned AEW shirts in some WWE events for a limited time, but this ended very quickly. This showed WWE in a weak position and afraid of having a direct competitor as it once had with WCW.

This controversy made AEW the underdog of the situation and, in reality WWE made them a favor by giving them the title of ‘’rebels’’ against the evil empire. People like to cheer and support the underdog and now that brief controversy made WWE look bad in all ways possible. Also, the Being The Elite show made a reference to this events and most fans understood the reference very quickly.

Talent want to leave

Is no secret that WWE’s booking and talent management has been terrible in the main roster and the talent had no choice but to stay in WWE. The birth of AEW has challenge the wrestling business in a big way. With AEW, wrestlers have more options to see their career change for the better or they can just use AEW as a business strategy to make more money from WWE.

WWE lately in an attempt to make talent happier has been giving pushes left and right to wrestler in a way to stop them from living and going to AEW. The Revival, Almas and other cases are the example of this strategy from WWE’s part. Other cases like AJ Styles whose contract ends soon has yet to re-sign with WWE in the best position to take the best offer possible right now. Other wrestlers in a similar case like Styles are Gallows, Anderson and Nakamura whom WWE creative has not been kind to them recently.

AEW are the rebels

WWE and AEW have this dynamic of the evil empire and rebels like I mentioned previously. AEW is taking advantage of this ‘’gimmick’’ in a way to be the real alternative the wrestling business has been looking for years since the death of WCW.

WWE being this evil empire has been the norm for years now and people considered NJPW and ROH the rebels, but they never were able to compete directly with WWE but AEW in just two months has been able to get in the head of Vince McMahon already, making them a huge threat to his wrestling monopoly.

AEW needs to live up to the hype

Not everything is perfect in AEW. The promotion needs to deliver in a big way in this Double or Nothing show in a way to show the world they are the alternative to WWE. For now, AEW has been doing the right moves and signing all kinds of interesting talent.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

WWE Week in Review: February 11-17, 2019

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review! 

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review!

RAW

Becky Lynch vs The McMahons:  Since this was an episode long story, I’m just going to include it all here. This was pretty much Austin vs McMahon with less swearing and middle fingers. I think everyone knew that the whole apology thing was BS before they finished saying it, but seeing Becky mull her options was interesting.

That said, I’m NOT happy about Charlotte Flair being shoehorned into this. She’s excess baggage in a match that doesn’t need her. Becky Lynch was the talk of sports, not just wrestling, SPORTS, last year, not Charlotte Flair. All WWE had to do was not screw up Rousey vs Lynch and they screwed it up MASSIVELY. Hopefully, this will get fixed before April.

Boss Hug Connection vs Riott Squad vs Nia and Tamina was a go-home match with stakes attached: the loser will be the first entry in the Elimination Chamber, meaning that they’ll have to stay in the longest of the six teams involved.

It was a really good match, Liv Morgan showed herself to be very scrappy, taking on Nia Jax who outsized her in every respect. Normally, I would say that Boss Hug Connection losing means that they’ll win at Elimination Chamber, but I really think WWE’s going to build Nia and Tamina as an unstoppable team for WrestleMania.

Elias/Lucha House Party was a weird segment considering all the commercial breaks and cut aways. It makes me wonder if there were some technical problems that they were trying to work out. Add in the absolute randomness of LHP coming out and it not being for a match. It was just a weird segment and I’m not sure what the point was.

Drew McIntyre vs Finn Balor/Six Man Tag went WAY too long and was BORING on top of it. I sort of got the McIntyre/Balor thing because McIntyre is allied with Lashley, but the whole run-in and thing with Angle and Strowman and the six man was just…UGH!

Speaking of Angle, this is really hard for me to say but, he needs to retire. I get that he wants to give back and get the young guys over, but it was pretty obvious that the Wrestling Machine can’t go the way he used to and it was really sad to watch.

Kevin Owens: I’m not a Kevin Owens fan, so his segment didn’t do much for me, personally, but I’m glad he’s recovered from his surgeries.

Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riott was a match straight out of NXT, where they actually did have a rivalry when Nikki first debuted with SaniTy and it was really great. I was a little disappointed that Nikki lost, but Riott needs the momentum for her match at Elimination Chamber, so her winning didn’t hurt my feelings and she and Nikki looked great.

Seth Rollins’ segment alone and with Heyman was really good. It’s still not clear that Seth will be able to beat Lesnar on his own, but he made it clear that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to do so. I loved Rollins saying what a lot of people have felt about Brock Lesnar and his Universal Title runs.

Rumor is that Dean Ambrose changed the script of his segment with Rollins and what he said was more in character for Ambrose than whatever Vince had in mind. It also teases possible way for Rollins to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Dean Ambrose vs EC3 was an okay match, but the important thing is that Ambrose won the match, even with a roll up, giving 3 a taste of his own medicine. Even though the crowd was DEAD after a very lackluster show, Ambrose got quite a pop when he won, so hopefully face!Dean will stick around for awhile longer.

Revival vs Rood/Gable: Last week, I voiced my frustration over the booking of the Revival and how they should’ve been tag champions by now and it FINALLY happened. After months of screwy, and sometimes downright STUPID, losses, the Revival are the RAW Tag Team Champions after a fantastic match with Roode and Gable.

Thoughts: This was a BORING RAW. The cuts and segments were all over the place. It was like they couldn’t figure out the show sequence and were just winging it.

SmackDown

Pedro Morales: Pedro was before my time, but in his day, he was a great babyface champion and took the title off of Ivan Koloff after Ivan’s shocking victory over Bruno Sammartino after Sammartino had held the title for seven years. He was also a two time Intercontinental Champion and holds the record for most days as Intercontinental Champion. Rest in Peace, Pedro.

Charlotte Flair: I’ve been pretty vocal about not being happy about Charlotte being shoe-horned into the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania, and I still feel that way. I don’t care if Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey was always the plan, plans can change and there’s no reason why Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey needs to be a Triple Threat when every other member of the Four Horsewomen got a one on one with Rousey. However, Charlotte did a good job of embracing the hate that she’s getting, but it’s clear that WWE’s really angered the fans with this decision and will have to tread carefully or they’re going to turn the fans completely against the show in general.

Mustafa Ali being out of the Elimination Chamber match SUCKS! However, I’m hoping the concussion won’t keep him out for too long.

Triple Threat Tag Match was a good bookend for the tag match on RAW, but why in the world were the IIconics not involved? They could’ve just done commentary or something. That said, it was nice to see Naomi finally get some revenge on Mandy Rose and get a pinfall win on her. Also, Naomi/Carmella has turned into my favorite SmackDown tag team for the Women’s Division.

McMiz TV was about what I expected it to be: cringey and over the top, but it was a good segment and I loved the Usos standing tall while casting doubts on McMiz’s chances on Sunday.

Elimination Chamber Gauntlet Match was amazing for one reason: Kofi Kingston. Kofi has been a staple of WWE TV for over a decade and it was nice to see him really get a chance to shine away from New Day. I could be wrong, but I believe Kofi set a record by lasting an hour in the match. After he was finally eliminated, the match was a lot less interesting, and Randy Orton’s sneaky win wasn’t a surprise when I realized that there was five minutes left and Kofi was still in. Do I think Kofi will be champion off of this? No, not really, because he’s been performing like this for a decade and it’s never gotten him closer than the Intercontinental Championship, and he hasn’t held that in years, but we’ll see on Sunday.

Thoughts: A solid show overshadowed by the Gauntlet Match, but got everything in place for the two big matches on Sunday. My biggest issue with SmackDown was that the Gauntlet match was really the only exciting match and that stopped after Kingston was eliminated. Other than that, the show was forgettable. Hopefully that will change next week.

205 Live

Lucha House Party are always fun to watch in the ring, but I’ve never thought of them as compelling promo guys, but their in ring promo on Tuesday was pretty good.

Lince Dorado vs Jack Gallagher was a really good match, and it was nice to see Gallagher in action since WWE hasn’t seemed to know what to do with him and Gulak if they’re not feuding with Kendrick and Tozawa. Gulak’s gimmick still bothers me because he reminds me too much of RL politicians, but it makes it easy to hate him. Gallagher getting a win was a surprise, but it wasn’t an unwelcome one and it looks like it’s going to be LHP vs Party of Gulak for now.

Humberto Carrillo’s interview was really interesting. I’m still not a fan of the whole Gulak thing of showing a POC the ‘proper’ way to do something they’re obviously good at or saying that their style is lack, but Carrillo is a great wrestler and it makes for an interesting first feud for him.

Ariya Daivari’s promo was interesting. He basically bashed everyone he’s been attached to without naming names. I think he’ll make a great #1 Contender but I don’t see WWE doing a Heel vs Heel storyline for the Cruiserweight Championship just yet.

Mike and Maria’s promo was much in the same vein as Daivari’s: Been working for x number of years and not gotten the recognition they deserved and is better than the people he lost to. I do like the whole ‘Not the losses but the process’ thing, but I think WWE still doesn’t know what to do with them and that really needs to change. Kanellis would be a great babyface challenger for Murphy.

Tony Nese vs Noam Dar was a fantastic main event for 205, which is par for the course for them. This started as a small feud, but it’s definitely the most interesting feud right now. I was a little disappointed that Dar lost, but if that means this feud continues, I’m all for it.

The only problem with 205 doing No DQ matches is having to work around SmackDown and/or dealing with a crowd that might be worn out from two hours of main roster wrestling.

Murphy vs Tozawa Contract Signing went about as well as any contract signing in WWE could be expected. There was a lot of trash talk and vows of victory. I was surprised that blows weren’t exchanged though, it’s almost become a staple of contract signings that someone gets beat up.

Thoughts: A pretty good episode of 205, but not a wowzer. It had goo matches, but nothing really jaw-dropping. Nese vs Dar was fantastic, but the crowd wasn’t into it after SmackDown, which is a real problem.

NXT UK

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley’s promo was really fantastic. I’ve been a little disappointed that Toni hasn’t defended her title since winning it off of Ripley when Ripley defended the title almost ever week or so. WWE kept things simple by having Ripley use the usual heel excuse of dumb luck to explain the face’s victory, but Ripley stating outright that she hates Storm because of everyone comparing her to Storm was interesting as you seldom have a heel stating that they HATE the face for whatever reason. I loved the fight between the two and am really looking forward to the rematch.

Jordan Devlin vs Noam Dar was every bit as great as I thought it would be. Devlin’s done a great job of building his brand as a loud-mouthed heel, but there’s no denying that he’s super talented. Dar is extremely underrated, in my opinion. I was a little surprised that Devlin lost but having the loss be due to Travis Banks protected Devlin and got that feud back on track. Plus, it gave Dar a win he really needed.

Jinny vs Mia Yim: I believe I said last week that I don’t get Jinny and this week’s match solidified that feeling. I. Don’t. Get. It! There is nothing interesting about Jinny. She’s got an average look, average promo skills, and average in-ring ability, there’s really nothing about her that explains why she should’ve beaten Mia Yim, who is better than her in every respect as far as the ring goes.

That said, the match was good, but I’m not thrilled with Mia Yim getting beaten by someone she should’ve wiped the mat with.

Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang was a FABULOUS match! Wolfgang gets overlooked a lot since he joined Gallus, but it’s not often that you see a big guy that can move like he can. I found it odd that Walter, who is apparently being pushed to face Dunne didn’t get involved, but it was a great match and Pete Dunne looks unstoppable, so that’s all that matters.

NXT

Shane Thorne vs Dominik Dijakovic was exactly what I expected from any match with Dijakovic: Rough and tumble. It was a good match, but I can’t say I’m overwhelmingly impressed with Dijakovic since he almost never has a match longer than five minutes.

Undisputed Era’s promo was really good. Usually a faction losing all their belts is a sign that a split is coming, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with Undisputed Era, at least not right now.

Sky Pirates and Bianca Belair’s Promo was really good and established that Belair isn’t a face now, though her assertion that she’s still undefeated is kind of stupid.

Street Profits vs Humberto Carrillo and Stacy Ervin Jr would’ve been a good, if random, match if WWE had just let them wrestle instead of adding Ohno and Lee for no real reason and then having European Alliance and the War Raiders run in at the end. It just made the segment feel very disorganized.

Aliyah vs Taynara Conti: I’ve been saying for awhile that NXT needs to do something with Aliyah. She’s a great talent and is a great heel, but she tends to get overlooked. That said, I was shocked when she got Conti, a LEGIT blackbelt in Judo, to tap out to the Total Aliyanation, which isn’t the most elegant or impressive thing I’ve ever seen but it definitely did the job.

I HATED the Horsewomen running in on a match that didn’t concern them just to prove how ‘bad’ they were, especially since Aliyah, Borne, and Conti are tweeners/heels. Just a stupid ending to a really good match.

Ricochet vs Adam Cole was AMAZING, as I expected it to be.  I really can’t think of much more to say than that. I wasn’t surprised by Ricochet’s win or the Undisputed Era standing tall. I was surprised by Aleister Black’s run-in, but I’m not against it. It at least gives Ricochet an ally against the UE.

Elimination Chamber

Men’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: The men’s Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship was the main event, and not a deserving main event, in my opinion. I think the Women’s Tag Championship should’ve main evented.

The match was okay. Elimination Chamber matches can be a little hit or miss and this was a hit. Styles being eliminated was a surprise because I really thought it would be down to him and Bryan. Kofi Kingston’s performance was AMAZING and it was a damn shame that WWE chickened out of giving the crowd a truly shocking moment on the Road to WrestleMania, but Bryan retained, just like I though he would.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: I have to admit that I was very unhappy about this match being starting match because it definitely had a lot more interest than the Men’s Chamber match.

Overall, this was a really good match, but it was ROUGH, as is usual for a Chamber match. Riott Squad were my favorites coming out of the box, but I still rooted for Boss-Hug Connection. I was SHOCKED when Boss-Hug won it, my money was on Samoan Dynasty or even the IIconics.

Intercontinental Championship: I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really care about this match. I like Balor, but Lashley bores me rigid and I don’t really care about Rush other than to say he’s annoying.

The match was okay, but I wasn’t into it. However, I am THRILLED that Balor won and FINALLY has a title after being on the main roster almost two years and with only a one day reign as Universal Champion to his name. The end of the Lashley/Rush feud was an unexpected bonus, but I’m not sure what they’re going to do with Lashley without Rush because Lashley has the personality of a dry mop.

RAW Women’s Championship: Not gonna lie, I skipped Charlotte’s promo because I’d rather have my eardrums ruptured than listen to her and because my wifi kind of stinks, I was a little behind. I LOVED that Ronda ditched her usual shorts because watching her tug at them drove me nuts.

I feel bad for Ruby Riott that that pitifully short match was all she got just so WWE can build a match we’ve already seen and nobody wants to see again. Thank God, Becky showed up to save us all. Watching her beat the living hell out of Charlotte AND Rousey was very satisfying, but the use of Riott was utter BS.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: This was a really good, very physical match. I’m a huge fan of Tozawa and I was very impressed with his, and Murphy’s, performance. I was not surprised that Murphy won, but I was disappointed. Murphy’s a good champion, but it’s time for someone else to hold the belt.

Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin: The neverending, feud between Corbin and Strowman got another airing as the two took each other on in a No DQ match. The match was every bit as bad as I expected it to be and worse, and my expectations were LOW. I can’t say the end was a shock, but I was hoping that this feud would end and it’s not. Mocking the Shield? Not cool and I hope Dean stays in WWE long enough for the Shield to beat all of them up.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: First and foremost, congrats to Miz and Maryse on their second child!

I’m going to admit that I haven’t been feeling this whole Miz/Shane thing and I still don’t since Shane has never been the best wrestler in the world and Miz gets on my last nerve.

The match against the Usos was as good as can be expected. I was shocked, given what happened with Jimmy Uso last week, that WWE would put the belts on the Usos, but I’m very happy about it. It looked like McMiz would steal it from the Usos, but Shane’s bravado got the better of him.

Thoughts

This was another okay week for WWE, I can’t say it’s one of the best ones they’ve had on the road to WrestleMania. Every show had its solid points, but WWE was definitely playing it safe, which is understandable since the company’s biggest PPV is coming up.

Elimination Chamber was okay, it was definitely a B-PPV, but there were enough nice surprises to keep it from being a total snoozer. Now we have Fastlane in three weeks and WWE’s going to really have to ramp up the build to get people into WrestleMania.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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