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Top 5: Heel Turns

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The Rock WWF Champion Heel

One of the most entertaining aspects of WWE television lately has been Shinsuke Nakamura’s emergence as an evildoer. He had been a generally well-mannered individual during his first couple of years under the WWE umbrella. Something inside him snapped after losing to AJ Styles at WrestleMania 34, and he’s been hitting people in the lower nutsac region ever since. He also has periods of time where he can’t speak English.

Some guys are just better off as bad guys. A turn to the dark side can revitalize a career. Shinsuke seemed to be running out of things to do in WWE. Now, the sky’s the limit. He’s learned what many people before him have…it pays to be bad.

Here are the Top 5 Heel Turns in wrestling history.

5. Andre the Giant

Andre had been used as a good guy pretty much everywhere he went across the world for fifteen years. He drew tons of fans wherever he went & was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world for the lion’s share of his career. Given the nature of his career traveling from territory to territory as a special attraction, titles weren’t something he focused on.

Until 1987. A series of trophy presentations where Hulk Hogan upstaged the Giant enabled Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to convince Andre that Hogan & the WWF promoters took him for granted. Andre joined with Heenan & demanded a title shot.

There weren’t very many matches that could fill the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987. WrestleMania was big, but it wasn’t what it is today. Andre the Giant as a heel challenging Hulk Hogan filled that dome. The Giant was breaking down physically & didn’t have much left, so it was time to establish the next generation. Andre’s run as a heel didn’t result in a ton of classic matches, but he did help stars like Hogan, Jake Roberts & the Ultimate Warrior reach another level.

4. Chris Jericho

Jericho has turned a number of times during his career. The shock factor has never really been there with him like it was for most of the turns on this list. Fortunately, Jericho makes up for that weakness by being wildly entertaining as a bad guy. His WCW heel run put him on the map, but his most successful stint as a bad guy came after he turned against Shawn Michaels in 2008.

The Y2J character had become hackneyed & played out, so it was time for Jericho to turn over a new leaf. He got out his Nick Bockwinkel DVDs, brushed up on his vocabulary & went from being a colorful rockstar to a monotone suit-wearing braggart. The new persona cemented Jericho’s status as one of the most critically-acclaimed wrestlers of his generation.

3. Shawn Michaels

Although HBK was the target of Jericho’s wrath in 2008, he should have identified with the situation. Michaels’ Rockers tag team with Marty Jannetty had run its course towards the end of 1991. After years of great matches, they were nowhere near title contention. If Michaels was going to live up to the potential people thought he had, change needed to be made.

A barbershop window would have to pay the price.

We all know where Michaels’ career went after that. The Heartbreak Kid worked his way up to the IC title level as a bad guy & established himself as one of the best wrestlers in the company. Nowadays he’s considered one of the best of all time. It all started with the run he had after turning against Jannetty.

2. Hollywood Hogan

Hulk Hogan’s move to WCW didn’t exactly go the way people had hoped. While the company gained more notoriety & got on more even footing with the WWF, Hogan’s babyface character was running out of steam. Traditionally, wrestlers turn heel when that happens. This was Hulk Hogan, brother. The idea of him turning heel was as ridiculous as it would be for John Cena to turn heel. Or even for Roman Reigns to turn heel, brother!

They did it.

Hogan went from being on his way out to the biggest name in wrestling once again. He & the NWO took WCW to the top of the business. Hogan’s heel run was great because it played into all the complaints his haters had over the years. People loved to see him lose on the rare occasions it happened.

Honorable Mention: Tommaso Ciampa

I don’t think there’s been a better-executed heel turn during this decade than Ciampa’s attack against his longtime tag team partner Johnny Gargano. Gargano has this certain factor about him that fans just get behind. Not many people can pull off the whitemeat babyface act these days, but he does it. Ciampa’s attack on Gargano stunned the NXT Universe.

The only problem: Ciampa was injured & wouldn’t wrestle for months afterward. Fortunately, Twitter is a thing now & Ciampa is one of the best at it.

I agree with Bill Watts. It’s not just enough to be a heel in the ring & on television. To achieve your true evil potential, you have to be a heel everywhere. Ciampa knows this.

1. The Rock

Rocky Maivia was going to be a superstar. Everybody knew this. That was exactly the problem. Fans in the late 1990s were tired of happy-go-lucky babyfaces that were destined to be superstars the moment they entered the business. Especially if that whole smiling act seemed fake, which it did with Rocky. The turn itself, when he randomly came back from an injury, helped Faarooq win a match & joined the Nation of Domination, wasn’t much. It was what came after that made The Rock a superstar.

Once Rock was allowed to be himself, he became exactly what WWE management thought he would be. Rock changed sides of the fence a handful of times during his career, with each turn gaining him more & more momentum. Becoming Mr. McMahon’s Corporate Champion right when the people were really getting behind him put Rock in the main event picture for good. Capitalizing off of fans’ annoyance with Rock always being going to do movies led to the Hollywood Rock character that was one of the most entertaining of all time.

Rock’s time as a heel didn’t last long. But he managed to accomplish in scant years what takes mortal men decades.


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

Beyond The Mat: That Time My Two Favorite Shows Met And It Wasn’t Awful

Was it…AWESOME?

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The Miz Supernatural WWE

Tiffany MC checks in on Beyond The Mat, where The Miz guest stars on Supernatural!

Sometime Friday afternoon, it was announced that ‘Supernatural’ the longest running show in CW history, would be ending its unprecedented run after its upcoming FIFTEENTH season. For those of you who don’t know what ‘Supernatural’ is about: Supernatural is a show about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who travel around the country hunting supernatural creatures in a 1967 Chevy Impala. It doesn’t sound like much but this show has outlasted several better known CW shows, like ‘Smallville’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and its spinoff, ‘The Original’, it even outlasted its original parent network, the WB Network. Dubbed, ‘The Little Show That Could’, Supernatural went from being a perennial part of the Cancellation Bubble Crowd, to a staple and institution of television, that other sci-fi genre shows looked to for inspiration on how to last on TV.

On top of that, the show became infamous for its dedicated fanbase, dubbed ‘The SPN Family’ or just ‘The Family’ and that fanbase became famous in its own right through the acts of charity they and the show’s cast and crew participated in, from the WSHES scavenger hunt, to helping raise awareness of mental health and social issues.

What does that have to do with wrestling? Well, on the surface, nothing, except for one thing: Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin. Miz actually guest-starred on Supernatural during the eleventh season in an episode called ‘Beyond the Mat’, playing a struggling professional wrestler who has a chance to make it to the big time, in exchange for his soul. Miz didn’t take the offer and paid for it with his life.

When I first heard about this episode and who would be in it, I was extremely nervous and skeptical. Most wrestling fans know how non-fans view wrestling and wrestling fans: A bunch of uneducated morons spending good money to watch a fake sport with fake athletes. I was honestly afraid that this was what was going to happen in ‘Beyond the Mat’. To my immense relief, that didn’t happen. Wrestling and wrestlers were shown in an extremely respectful way, showing how hard they worked to try and make it in the indies. They did poke fun at wrestling fans a little, but no more than what wrestling fans do.

The episode itself wasn’t much to write home about, just a typical Monster of the Week type of one off, and many non-wrestling fans panned it, but those of us who love professional wrestling enjoyed it, including watching Jensen Ackles trying to do the Ric Flair strut and fall out of the ring trying to get through the ring ropes, which has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Miz himself did a pretty good job in the episode, but I can’t say I was overwhelmingly wowed by his performance, but I would guess that he had some input in the portrayal of wrestling and why the moves actually looked good.

There will never be another show like ‘Supernatural’ in terms of longevity, storytelling, fan interaction, and outreach beyond the show, but it also has shown its ability to showcase a different form of storytelling in a respectful way, even the kind that most people scoff at.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Analysis (3/24/19)

Lucha? Joe has you covered!

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Joe Lucha Libre Report

Joe Dinan keeps you up-to-date on the world of Lucha Libre in this week’s Lucha Libre News & Analysis!

CMLL

Just a correction from last week. I said LA Park was going to be at Dos Leyenda, that was clearly false as he worked an indie show that date. I got confused with him showing up at Puebla on Monday where they did a smaller version of Dos Leyenda and honored two other legends. Just as they like to put on a variant of the Day of the Dead show for each

Dos Leyenda

The story for this show which was very close to a sell out, which surprised some experts. Niebla Roja and Angel de Oro defeated Terrible and bestia in a hair vs hair match. It went two out of three falls as you’d suspect. During the last fall where it came down to Angel and Terrible, Terrible legitimately hurt his shoulder and dislocated it. Terrible went through anyway to the finish which was soon after. The crowd was into it towards the end. Los Guerrero’s retained their tag team titles by defeating Caristico, Volador, and Dragon Lee. Negro Casas made his in ring return also on this show. It had a lot of star power on the show but it just felt like a spiced up normal Friday show. In Mexico CMLL lost big to AAA in the Television ratings. Not sure how much that matters in Mexico.

Arena Puebla/Arena Mexico Tuesday

Well naturally the big news on this show was the return of LA Park. I do not believe he’s been around since a little after the Day of the Dead show. I know his son showed up once a few weeks ago, however. So Park teamed up with Volador and Hijo Del LA Park vs Los Guerrero’s. It was branded as Family vs Family and they were given a lot of time. Park looked super impressive for a man of his age or just in general. If you hadn’t heard in the Observer Awards he won 4th place in the best wrestler in the world, coming behind Tanahashi, Okada, and Kenny Omega. Maybe some match making for AEW. So Park fooled the ref by taking his own mask off and throws it to Ultimo Guerrero to trick him for the DQ. This worked because a few moments ago the ref got distracted and Gran Guerrero and Euforia punted Hijo and Volador in the groin to try to get the win. They’re going to run the match back next week. On the Tuesday show, Dragon Lee faced off against Mephisto for the welterweight championship and after a 1000 day plus reign Mephisto lost his title to Dragon Lee. I don’t know what it means because titles mean less in Mexico than anywhere else, proven by the fact that Fenix is never gonna defend his Mega Championship in AAA.

Next Friday/News

There will be a Parejas Increibles tournament in April and Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja are the first team announced for that. The main event of this Friday show is Caristico, Volador, and Diamante Azul facing Los Guerrero’s. Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja will square off with Terrible and Bestia again in a post hair match show down but Titan with be added to the former and Mr. Niebla to the latter. There is a lightning match with Cavernario and Forastero so that should be good.

AAA

As we all know by now the big news coming out of Rey de Reyes that made it to America is the Young Bucks winning the AAA tag team championships. So here’s how it all went down. Cody showed up early in the show to announce the working relationship with AEW and AAA. Then Konnan came out and said anything you do here has to go past him. It almost felt like they were positioning AEW as the babyfaces and AAA as the heels in their own promotion. Maybe it’ll just be Cody being babyface because towards the end of the show, the Lucha Bros beat Texano and Rey Escorpion and afterwards Konnan came out jawing with them. The lights went out and the Young Bucks were in the ring to almost no reaction. It seemed like Konnan was in the Bucks corner. So I don’t know what they’re trying. So the Bucks beat a tired Lucha Bros. The crowd didn’t react for a few reasons. It was a long show, the Bucks weren’t announced, and the fact is the Bucks do not have that level of popularity in Mexico. If AAA would have promoted them somehow as the best tag team in the world it might be different. But it also might have hurt the surprise. It all depends on the follow up. I presume they’ll face each other at Double or Nothing for the AAA world tag team titles.

The rest of the show went like this, Aerostar won the Rey de Reyes tournament. The team of Psycho Clown, Maximo, and Mamba defeated Jeff Jarrett, Killer Kross, and La Mascara in a cage match with Super Porky at ringside. Averno, Chessman, and Super Fly defeated Pagano, Drago, and Puma King in a spotty hardcore match. Super Fly got power bombed by Puma King and smashed his head on the side of the table. He had to be taken out but he ended up being okay. The match before saw Poder de Norte taking on Perros del Mal, Taya, Joe Lider, and Daga. Daga turned on them in this match leading to the victory of Poder de Norte. There was a growing alliance with Taya and Faby on this show. They both ran in to protect each other during a beat down. Which leads to the Reina de Reinas match where Shani retained over Keyra, Hiedra, and Chica Tormenta. At the end of the match Faby confronted the heel ref but then got beat on by Chica and Keyra. Taya made the save. After Daga turned on Perros del Mal, Taya was getting beat on and Faby made the save. So I smell some kind of tag match in the future. And finally, Big Mami and Nino Hamburguesa retained the Mixed tag team titles over Villano III Jr and Lady Maravilla. The story here was Nino didn’t want Big Mami to keep hurting Maravilla and at the end of the match he carried her out.

AAA has put out the billboard for I think their next show on April 5th and the top of the card looks like this, Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner Jr vs Blue Demon and Rey Escorpion. Pagano and Joe Lider vs Texano and La Mascara. Maximo, Mamba, and Pimpinela Escarlata vs Poder de Norte. Lady Shani, La Hiedra, and Nino Hamburguesa vs Lady Maravilla, Keyra, and Villano III Jr. We also have a 5 way match for the Latin American championship seeing Drago face Hijo Del Vikingo, Myzteziz Jr, Aerostar, and Argenis. Drago is the champ going in.

Here & There

Garza Jr has signed with WWE and he will start NXT in April. Of course there has been word he was going to WWE for a while now but there was something that wasn’t disclosed that prevented it. But now that he’ll be going there I imagine he’ll work NXT and 205 Live just like Ultimo Ninja is doing. I suspect Garza might keep his name because of the connection they can make with Hector Garza. Though that might be giving WWE too much credit.

So in addition to knowing that Bandido will face Dragon Lee and Ishimori for the Jr Heavyweight Championship at MSG, we also know that Rush is going to face Dalton Castle at MSG. Rush defeated Bandido at the Ring of Honor anniversary PPV, but what I’ve heard Rush took most of the match and won.

I believe this Saturday on MLW TV it will be LA Park vs Mance Warner. Park and his son will also be in the Battle Riot amount others. It’s going to be a busy WrestleMania weekend, Bandido faces Will Ospreay at Wrestle Con on Thursday. I’ll likely go to that. For me there will be an extra show since I’ll need to fit AAA in, but on Friday I’m going to Stardom and then MLW Battle Riot, and of course I’ll be at the New Japan G1 Super Show on Saturday. I will not be at NXT or WrestleMania. NXT’s secondary market is very high and WrestleMania looks to be a very average show and since it’s at Giants Stadium, it’s overly expensive.


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