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Chairshot Classics: WWE SummerSlam 2003

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Join me as Triple H defends his WWE Universal Title in the second ever Elimination Chamber Match, that features some of the biggest names to ever strap on a pair of boots. Also we see Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar go toe to toe for the WWE Championship. All this and so much more in this edition of Chairshot Classics.

 

This PPV has a tough act to follow, because SummerSlam 2002 may have been the strongest card SummerSlam has put out. (More on SummerSlam 02 here) That doesn’t mean the 16,113 fans in attendance and the other 415K watching at home on PPV aren’t eager to see them top it. This may be the SummerSlam with the lowest buyrate, but they still killed it in ticket sales alone, making $715,000 at the gate. Stacker 2 sponsors this SummerSlam that is held at The American West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. I find it odd that a “dietary pill” is the sponsor for this event, as the target market for the WWE is mostly made up of younger males. I guess the hope is mom watching at home finds a need for this dietary speed. The Theme Song for the evening will be “Saint Anger” by Metallica. I always was a fan of the WWE’s use of popular Metal bands at this time because that was the music that a young wrestling fan was drawn to. The WWE is seeing a decline in revenue for the first time in a while so lets jump right into SummerSlam 2003 and see if the product is growing stale.

 

We enter right into the arena and Howard Finkle introduces us to the U.S. Marine color guard. He then introduces Lillian Garcia, who is going to sing the National Anthem. She receives some pop at the high spots of the song and overall didn’t do a bad job. This is a new addition to the opening of the show. I wonder if Vince makes sure the guys aren’t kneeling in the back…

 

We get a cool package next that shows highlights from the first Elimination Chamber, at Survivor Series 02, and some clips of the other rivalries on the card. The narrator tells us to “Bear witness and grieve the end of civility because tonight wars will be waged on the most brutal of battlegrounds.” He continues to hype the Chamber match as it cuts back and forth between the last Chamber match and a funeral scene. The video ends with a Ten Bell Salute as it shows the bloodied faces of various SuperStars. This is a great open and is about the only thing the last SummerSlam card was missing. Maybe it is a sign that a good PPV is upon us.

 

Jim Ross welcomes us to the sixteenth annual SummerSlam and is sure to tell us that the event is sold out. He introduces his partner for the evening, Jerry “The King” Lawler for this “Red Hot Event” and gives us a quick rundown on the Elimination Chamber Match. This is done early and often and must be it was because it was such a new gimmick the WWE thought they really needed to drive the point home. It’s not long after that JR introduces the SmackDown announce team, Michael Cole and Tazz. The pair speak of the excitement for their brands WWE Championship Match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Those two then introduce the Spanish announce team of Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. It’s not long until we hear the bomb drop and The Dudley Boyz, D-Von and Bubba Ray, enter the arena. The Tag Team champions, La Resistance enter next and they are made up of Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier. When Dupree won the Tag gold he became the youngest ever to do so at 19 years old. This was, of course, beat by Nicholas (10 years old) when he would partner with Braun Stroman at WrestleMania 34 and become Tag Team Champ. The angry Frenchman gimmick was these two guys’ most famous moments.

 

The Dudleyz waste no time and are quick to attack the Frenchmen on the entrance ramp. The crowd chants “USA” as the Dudleyz guide them back to the ring.  The bell sounds and D-Von and Dupree start the match. Not much worth talking about happens early on, as D-Von maintains the momentum. Grenier eventually tags in and D-Von continues to beat him with punches followed by a leg drop. He goes for the first cover, but Grenier is quick to kick out. Bubba tags in next and he continues to beat Grenier with a variety of slaps and punches. The crowd gives up the first pop of the night when Bubba puts Grenier in a tree-of-woe and stomps on his nuts. A back elbow is next and when Dupree comes in to help, Bubba is quick to whip them both into the same corner. Bubba of course splashes them both and the crowd is popping again. The Dudleyz clear the ring out and pump the crowd up. The fans reward their efforts with a “Get the Tables” chant. When Dupree returns to the ring he goes on the offensive after a cheap shot to the back of Bubba’s head, from Grenier who is on the apron. Grenier tags in not long after and La Resistance level Bubba with a double shoulder block. The “USA” chant come back but are again hushed by some more La Resistance double teaming. When  Bubba is put into a waist lock is when he starts to rally for a hot tag. Bubba escapes the hold with some head-butts but is quickly sidewalk slammed by Grenier. He goes for the cover and It takes D-Von to stop it. Next Bubba reverses an Irish whip into his signature BubbaBomb. The crowd is electric as both men lay on the mat, because they know a hot tag is incoming. Both men tag out but D-Von comes in hot and tears La Resistance up. He hits clotheslines and some other cool moves on this tear, including a nice cutter.  D-Von tosses Grenier from the ring before he scoop slams Dupree and tries to cover. But Dupree kicks out at two and the fight continues.

 

The next highlight comes when D-Von comes off the rope and catches some serious air to deliver a flying forearm. Grenier is now on the apron and holding D-Von’s arms. When Dupree attempts to clothesline, D-Von he ducks and Dupree sends his partner flying off the ring apron. D-Von goes for a quick school boy but Grenier is quick to return to the ring and break the cover up. The partners double chokeslam D-Von and go for the pin. They are astonished when he kicks out, and this is when Bubba returns to the ring and levels them with a double clothesline. Bubba hits one of them with his version of “Shake, Rattle and Roll”  and the other member of La Resistance gets a “WUZ UP” from the Dudleyz. If you aren’t familiar with this move it is a diving head-butt from D-Von that lands in a low blow as Bubba holds the opponents legs up. A 3D follows but D-Von’s cover is broken up by Dupree when he pulls the ref from the ring. Bubba joins him on the outside to brawl and this is when we see a camera man enter the ring and lay D-Von out with his camera. The camera man puts Grenier on top of D-Von and the ref comes sliding in to make the three count. And La Resistance retains the Tag Team Titles. The camera man re-enters the ring and this time lays Bubba out with his camera. But as the three are stomping away at The Dudleyz , little Spike Dudley enters to try and help. But he, too, is quickly laid out with the camera. The Camera man removes his wig and it is the La Resistance henchman, Rob Conway. This was a decent match but I don’t think it did the opening card slot justice. This one could definitely be fast forwarded through. Match Time:7:49

 

Jonathon Coachman stops The Dudley Boyz on the ramp as they are exiting and begins to question them about their loss. Bubba rants on about how they will get the Titles from La Resistance and even calls Coach an “Un-American sympathizer”. D-Von says his usual “Testify” before the segment ends.

 

Next we see Eric Bischoff, in a black Gi, and he is shadow boxing in the back to prepare for his fight with Shane McMahon later in the evening. For those that aren’t aware, Bischoff has a legit black belt in Tae-kwon-do and used to compete on the amateur level when he was younger. The Intercontinental Champion, Christian, joins him and is pissed that he doesn’t have a match on the card. Bischoff is quick to pass the blame onto the acting commissioner, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Christian won the Title from Booker T at a house show in Des Moise, Iowa but that was originally scheduled to happen at SummerSlam. The plans were changed because Booker T was dealing with a nagging back injury and they took their opportunity then to have the Strap change hands. The segment ends with Christian offering assistance in Bischoff match tonight. To which Bischoff replies “I’ve already got a back-up plan in position.”

 

Team SmackDown, Michael Cole and Tazz, introduces us to our next match between The Undertaker and A-Train. A-Train is the former Prince Albert but his real name is Matt Bloom and is currently one of the heads of development at NXT. The American Bad Ass enters first and is on a yellow Harley. We don’t get the real theme song on the Network and it must be due to some kind of rights battle. I notice this often on the WWE Network and have really never looked into why. Big Evil circles the ring on the bike a few times before he parks it on the ramp. The A-Train enters next and is joined by the lovely Sable. Pairing A-Train with her must of been an attempt to help get A-Train over with the fans. The match starts with the collar and elbow and A-Train transitions it into a side headlock. He then whips Taker into the ropes and levels him with a shoulder block. They run through another sequence of the same moves and we are off to a pretty slow start. The first little pop comes when The Undertaker hits a Russian leg sweep and goes for the cover. A-Train kicks out, and the slow paced fight continues. They two go back and forth, and the next spot worth mentioning is a running DDT by The Undertaker.

 

They continue the back and forth until Taker comes off the ropes and goes sky-high to hit a flying lariat. Taker goes to the corner next, and hits his signature, Old School. Albert isn’t much fazed by this and soon catches The Undertaker with a big boot. Taker charges again but A-Train hits the deck and grabs the top rope. This in turn causes Big Evil to go over the rope and crash to the floor outside. Train is quick to join him out there and ram him into the ring post. He returns Taker to the ring and goes for a cover but The American Bad Ass kicks out. A-Train continues to use Undertaker’s ribs as his target and stomps away at them. A-Train hits a big vertical suplex next and again goes for a cover. But Taker is not done yet and is still kicking out. The Undertaker finally goes on the offensive after he lands some back elbow. This leads to some punches from Taker, and he soon has A-Train in a standing sleeper hold. The hold doesn’t last long, though, and The A-Train breaks free by landing a jawbreaker that leaves both men stunned for a moment. They both return to their feet but Big Evil keeps the edge with some big left hands. A-Train receives some snake-eyes next and the crowd is back into this match. Taker attempts the big boot, but A-Train ducks it and both men are back on the mat after a double clothesline. A-Train is first to his feet and Taker is soon kneeling and unloading punches to A-Train’s midsection. Taker is soon on his feet and the two men are going punch for punch. Taker nails the big boot and follows it with a leg drop. He goes for the cover but A-Train hasn’t left station yet and gets the shoulder up. Taker drops the leg again this time on the apron. Taker tries the Last Ride but A-Train shoves him into the ref to stop the finish. A-Train hits the two handed chokeslam, but the ref is still groggy and it takes a moment for him to start the count, which Taker kicks out of. The Undertaker is quick to his feet, but when Train ducks under a clothesline it hits the ref instead. A bicycle kick to Taker’s face is next from A-Train and with the ref down he leaves the ring to get a chair. But The Undertaker sends it back into his face with a big boot. He goes for another cover but the official is still dazed and A-Train kicks-out of the slow count. The Undertaker goes for the Tombstone but A-Train  escapes with a backslide but he soon is chokeslamed. He makes the cover and this time he gets the three. After the match Taker is about to give Train the Last Ride but Sable comes in the ring to make the stop. Her seduction almost works, but Taker isn’t deceived and is soon about to chokeslam her. This is when Stephanie McMahon runs in and spears Sable. Steph is unloading some punches on Sable until A-Train grabs her foot and pulls her from the ring. The Crowd gives him some serious heat for this as he and Sable make their way to the back. The match ends with Stephanie applauding Big Evil for his work. For two large men, the match wasn’t bad, but I have definitely seen better work from the Deadman. This one is another you could skip over. Match Time:9:19


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

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Chairshot Classics

Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)

“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!

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WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way Neville Tyson Kidd Tyler Breeze Sami Zayn

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

Prior editions:

NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
  • Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
  • Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
  • Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
  • Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.

Where are they now:

  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
  • Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
  • CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
  • Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
  • Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
  • Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
  • Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
  • Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression

Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.

One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover I (5/24/14)

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WWE NXT Takeover Neville Tyson Kidd

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the first NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

NXT Takeover
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, William Regal, and Byron Saxton

  • Adam Rose beat Camacho – A solid opener, which was more about furthering the character of Adam Rose and the Rosebuds. Notable Rosebuds on this night included Ryan Katz (currently Creative Producer for WWE/NXT), Becky Lynch (just main evented WrestleMania), Carmella (she’s F A B U L O U S, and is a former Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Braun Strowman (he’s in the Andre The Giant role).
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) successfully defend against Kalisto & El Local – This was  a step above a glorified squash. The world likely won’t remember them this way, but The Ascension were total bad asses in NXT.
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn – Both guys were on their game here. Zayn of course went on to be NXT Champion and Breeze was called up to NXT too soon. Zayn would lose this match to Breeze, but both men would compete for the NXT Championship at the next Takeover. The crowd was insanely into this match, and it build beautifully to the finish. the finish, by the way, was amazing as Breeze blocked the Helluva Kick but inadvertently low-blows Sami in the process. One Beauty Shot later and Tyler Breeze is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
  • Rusev promo, with Lana, that’s interrupted by Mojo Rawley – I am pretty sure this is where Rusev’s theme introduction comes from. Mojo wasn’t ready yet, but he still owned his character…which at this point was a bargain basement “hype” John Cena. Rusev was already looking like the man.
  • Vacant NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair beat Natalya – Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring, who wasn’t taking the “Flair” name yet. Natalya was accompanied by Bret Hart because, well, symmetry. Charlotte was obviously green here, and didn’t have nearly the work done she has now. Natalya is actually in better physical condition now, five years later. The match served as a vehicle to get the NXT Women’s Championship onto Charlotte, and it served that purpose. Charlotte Flair would obviously grow into her role and is not one of the best performers on the main roster.
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd – Given their leadership roles on the main roster today, it’s no surprise that Natalya and Tyson Kidd were a part of the early success of NXT. The crowd was hot for this match, and both men delivered. Of note: before Neville hits the Red Arrow on Tyson, Tom Phillips notes that Kidd is in the drop zone. Take that, Michael Cole!

Where are they now:

  • Adam Rose – About to wrestle his last match, ever, against Bull James.
  • Camacho – One half of the Guerrillas Of Destiny as Tanga Loa, along with his adoptive brother Tama Tonga, running wild in Bullet Club and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • El Local – The former Ricardo Rodriguez is no longer with the company, and is working the California independents.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Rusev & Lana – Multiple time United States Champion, feuds with John Cena and AJ Styles just to name a few, and sadly not a lead heel on either brand like they should be. They’re also not supporting Russia, like, at all.
  • Mojo Rawley – Moved up in the first draft of the modern era, teamed with Zack Ryder before breaking up, cut a series of intriguing mirror promos, but hasn’t really done much. He did win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, though.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Natalya – Back on the main roster and serves as the veteran presence, and delivers in a big way nearly every time out.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression of WWE NXT Takeover I

For starters, I love hearing William Regal on commentary–he adds so much. Nigel McGuinness should be playing this exact role. The commentary team also had longer spells where they let the action speak for itself, and it really worked (especially in the main event). Byron Saxton is also quite underrated as he was money tonight. Overall, this was a really good that followed the NXT Takeover 5-match format. The first two matches weren’t really in doubt, but things really kicked up for the last three. Great show.


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