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CheapShots: Impact Quickie #11

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Roughly once a quarter, those in Orlando put work into a wrestling-centric Television Special to help accelerate storylines. This episode of Impact fell in that category. It was given the tagline, “Under Pressure.” Due diligence compels me to organize my thoughts as follows: There were no tag team matches on the card. Only one vignette covered anything in the division. I will provide more details next week. There was no sign of Jimmy Jacobs, Kongo Kong. or Moose. Keep in mind, The Dragged-Out Disco was added to our mystery attacker’s hit list to conclude last week’s show. Speaking of which, Sanjay Dutt can now join him as the latest victim. Unfortunately, organizers thought it necessary to include my sleeping pill in this otherwise solid offering. The Edwards’ had yet another domestic dispute regarding Sami Callihan. Can someone please wake me up?

There were only five matches on the card. It is nice when wrestling can tell a story by itself. We knew last week that Eli Drake and Scott Steiner were on shaky ground when they couldn’t get through a promo without arguing over who lost Tag Team Gold. Even so, part of me still thought they would get a rematch. So much for logic. The match was slow because of Ham Cube’s limitations. They swapped the advantage only one with Steiner getting it on the outside. When Steiner rolled back into the ring, The Self-Induced Hyphen grabbed a steel chair and gave him a receipt for losing the straps. Thanks to a clueless ref, Eli Drake got the win.

Finally, Brian Cage was back in The Impact Zone! He was coming off his “World Tour” to help with personal and company exposure. Thanks to a victory last week, Dezmond Xavier got the chance to test himself against The Machine. Despite knowing Xavier wasn’t going to win, this was gonna be fun to see. How much rope would the kid get? How do his skills translate against bigger competition? I can say this. His speed is next level and his feet are dangerous for a typical rival. Weapon X isn’t exactly typical.

There wasn’t time enough to give the cruiserweight a false advantage. Although Dezmond did hit what could be considered a finisher, but Cage kicked out after a one-count. Shortly after the successful high spot, Xavier was compromised and got caught with The Drill Claw to give The Machine the three-count. Josh Matthews also mentioned that Cage would get a shot at Matt Sydal and X Division Gold down the road. Let the countdown commence.

My fans and readers; (I may have some, GASP!), who know my level of respect for ladies working in the art form will understand my purpose for covering The Main Event for Impact Gold here. Personal suspicions that Pentagon Jr. was nothing more than a band-aid were confirmed. Austin Aries attempted three finishes with The Last Chancellery. The Defending Champ was able to crawl to the ropes and break two of them. The third happened on the floor. Aries held on too long, forcing a double count out. Challenger takes the mic; asks for a restart and gets it.

Earlier, The Champ set up for his Package Piledriver WHILE WALKING ARIES TO THE ROPES! I HATE the physics of wrestling! Pentagon got a two-count. After the restart, The Luchador hit A Pentagon Driver on the apron’s edge. This led to ANOTHER double count out. This time, Pentagon asks for and gets the restart. In a blink, he takes a nut shot followed by A Brain Buster to lose Impact Gold. I HATE the physics of wrestling!

Two shots of recess this week. First, The Horsewoman had to answer for her attitude and her disrespect of Madison Rayne. When A Blanchard is involved, an attitude comes with the territory. Madison has a career very few can rival. Former 5-Time Knockouts Champion. However, nobody watching thought this would be the upset of the night. Tessa’s strength advantage was obvious. Her challenger had to put everything she had into her offense. Tully’s Girl took a couple of shots that were stumble-worthy, but the match was one-sided. Until Tessa argued with the ref after a near fall. Upon the distraction, she went for her Hammer Lock DDT only to get school-girled and take the loss. Excuse me? I don’t understand this?

Why would those in Orlando give Tessa Blanchard the Brock Lesnar treatment? Madison Rayne is not 50-years-old. Follow me anyway. No matter what level badass the WWE makes him, Brock Lesnar still lost to Goldberg 18 months ago. Impact brings Tessa Blanchard in with all this hype and asks her to lose in her second match with the company? Madison Rayne is not beating The Knockouts Champion. Ladies interested in competing as a baby face should put a video on Impact’s Twitter timeline ASAP.

Why am I so confident in the above statement? Same reason a twig with major limitations can impersonate Mark Calloway and Mick Foley. It’s time to battle for Knockouts Gold in A “Last Rites” Match. Translation? This is a Casket Match. Can someone say stacked deck? We All knew how this was going to end. Allie did a fantastic job in the absence of her friend Rosemary. Without The Demon’s protection, I was worried the contest’s psychology would be too much to overcome. Her mind was fully prepared for the situation. The Yin-yang entrances and wardrobes were spliced together as a solid armor against The Undead Bride. Psychology was not enough though. How the Hell does a twig stop someone stronger than her from closing a casket?

Say it with me. We have a New Knockouts Champion thanks to The Mandible Claw and wrestling physics. With all due respect to Madison Rayne, those in Orlando are pushing Su Yung so hard that it will take a special character or athlete to knock her off. Frankly, I don’t see that person on the roster right now. Unless it is Rosemary herself. After all, neither woman who was just buried is fired or dead. My final thoughts? I would’ve flipped the outcome for Tessa Blanchard and had the Impact Championship fight end in a way that actually made sense. Otherwise, it was a very cool wrestling show, and those are always fun.

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Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans

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Stephanie McMahon WWE

Either last week or earlier this week (my days are running together so I don’t remember), Stephanie McMahon was at a summit called ‘Game Changer’ and she made the following comment: ‘We’re successful for one reason only – we listen to our fans.’

The internet smarks ROASTED Stephanie over this comment, mocking her for claiming that WWE listens to their fans when, in their minds, that is clearly not the case. Why? Because Roman Reigns, not Braun Strowman is champion, among other things. Clearly, any company that makes Roman Reigns champion over Braun Strowman isn’t listening to their fans, or at least, their REAL fans. You know, the all-knowing, smark community who know how to run a multi-billion dollar business better than the people who work there do.

I’ve tackled this ‘Real fan’ nonsense in the past and I’m really not in the mood to do it now and the issue of Braun Strowman being champion is an article unto itself. However, let’s be clear here: WWE DOES listen to their fans and the fans they listen to are the fans that buy stuff.

WWE first, last, always, and forever, is a business. They need money to survive and being a publicly traded company, they need money to keep the shareholders happy, that means they have to know who and what makes the money to keep the shareholders happy and keep the company afloat and who is making them the most money is Roman Reigns.

Don’t give me that look. Don’t roll your eyes at me and grumble about him being over pushed and/or shoved down your throat. I can name several people in WWE not named Roman Reigns that are over pushed. The bottom line is that Reigns moves merchandise, his stuff sells and sells really well. Having been to a few WWE TV/PPV tapings, I can tell you that Reigns’ stuff can get a little tough to find and is usually the most requested item.

Now before any of you make snide comments about Reigns having more stuff to sell, I checked WWE’s shop are and compared the number of Roman Reigns shirts to the number of shirts for AJ Styles, in terms of shirts including: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and what’s available for both genders, Roman Reigns had thirteen shirts available while Styles had twenty. Thirteen different shirt designs to twenty and that doesn’t include hats, gloves, or the non-wearable stuff available.

Oh, Reigns’ stuff is bought by women and kids, so it shouldn’t count? Here’s my question: So what? It’s still money that SOMEONE is spending on merchandise. If WWE didn’t want women and kids to buy their stuff, they wouldn’t be marketing stuff for women and kids. Why? Because women and kids are FANS!

For those of you still grumbling, here’s some food for your thoughts: Why should WWE listen to their ‘real’ fans? No, I’m serious. Why should they listen to fans who cheer something one week, boo it the next, demand that indy darlings get pushed despite getting mediocre pops from Main Roster audiences, and pay more attention to beach balls and time clocks than the matches? Why should they listen to people who BRAG about spending a lot of money on tickets just to boo one person they don’t like?

WWE is like any company, they listen with their bottom line, and what they’re hearing from fans is that the fans like Reign because that’s the stuff that sells the best. And before you say one thing about about Reigns’ stuff being more available at TV tapings and Live Events, I’ve been to a RAW taping, a RAW PPV, and a SmackDown/205 taping and while Reigns stuff was at SmackDown, there was also a lot of Styles and Cena stuff available at RAW events and I’m not hearing any complaining about that.

Maybe the problem isn’t that WWE isn’t listening, it’s just that your views aren’t the what the majority paying fans think or want. WWE is catering to what most of their fans want, not just the small minority that can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want.

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Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?

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Why Finn Balor should “Quit” The WWE

After seeing KO burst into tears on Monday night RAW two weeks ago and “quit” there were a slew of videos about why KO “quit”. The biggest one was to revitalize his character. So in playing the devils advocate why not have the first Universal Champion quit? Here’s why!

After Balor won and “lost” the title after 2016 SummerSlam he’s had and up and down career in the main roster. The once longest reigning NXT champion was a phenomenon when he joined the NXT, but once he hit the main roster, while fan support is still there it is fleeting. He had a brief reunion with Gallows and Anderson which might’ve singled a heel turn to fans, a feud with Rollins for the IC title and has had back to back to back matches against Baron Corbin. None of which have done anything for the superstars character. A heel turn might have helped a few months ago, but the repetitive booking has kind of killed that momentum. 

With Finn away from the scene for a while it might help the WWE reevaluate the talent that is Finn Balor, it might also give Finn time to figure himself out too. With a WIN to his name against Elias, it seems like the co-founder of the Bullet Club may either turn to his alter ego The Demon, or perhaps a superstar shakeup is in order and he should be in place to get Balor back in the limelight. Right now, Raw seems packed full of main card talent that is either starting a faction of sorts I.E. Braun, Drew and Dolph or is turning on The Shield. 

Listen, while SmackDown Live is producing the better show, it is not like the talent on there is being utilized any better. Nakamura is in limbo with the U.S. title, Aj and Joe are having a great feud in terms of promos, but not in the squared circle. The only thing that brings SmackDown Live as the A show is really their tag division and the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch feud. 

So maybe a frustrated Finn goes away, and comes back as The Demon on SmackDown Live and interjects himself in the feud between AJ and Joe, maybe he causes friction between The Club and AJ and they “screw over” AJ during a title match, the possibilities are endless moving Balor to team blue, but what this boils down to is WWE needs to make this move while Balor is still a fan favourite and what I mean by that is that he will always have the crowd behind him, but even the loyalist fans can get bored. 

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