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Houston Headache

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When we left the airport in Charlotte, the name at the top of the manifest evoked respect and curiosity from The Captains Seat. Today, The State of Texas is arguably the most important centralized location for The Independent Art Form. More than 30 million people can make a place feel like its own country. A number of those under The Lone Star have felt like that for decades. Who can blame the wrestling fans who share that sentiment? How many state flags could support three promotions in prime territory days? I can think of only one. God Bless Texas.

Most smarks my age or younger pride themselves on basking in the glow of the newest old recollections of these places in time. Twitter has made it easier for us to find scholars of The Big Tops. Texas has been fertile ground for them as well. A quick glance taken seriously, and it’s obvious. Funks in Amarillo, three generations of Blanchard started in San Antonio before Shawn Michaels was even a thought. A Global following rivaled only by Saint Richard himself can trace roots back to Dallas and The Von Erichs. But there is one huge name and city thus far omitted from this short roll call of wrestling royalty. The name at the top of the flight plan is Paul Boesch. Our destination this week is Houston.

Luv Ya Blue fans went through some drastic changes in their final 15 years hosting the art form. One of the men who would later sit on Vince McMahon’s shoulder was there as a figurative baby for all of it. A quick and dirty thumbnail goes like this. When Bruce Prichard was selling posters for a literal dime as a teen, he saw both the AWA Champion, Nick Bockwinkel & The NWA Champion, Harley Race come to The Summit (Arena) regularly.

I can think of only Sam Muchnick in St. Louis who pulled this off in a similar vein.

In fact, Boesch thought so highly of Bockwinkel that he would later offer him a stake in the organization. Harley Race was not so lucky. As NWA Champ, he missed three shows there. Not a good look. In the early eighties, Gino Hernandez, who also did stellar heel work in Dallas, was consistently featured in a prime spot for Boesch.

To this day, there are rumors Hernandez was Paul’s illegitimate son. Around Gino’s time in town. Bill Watts was brought in from Mid-South to fix a lagging territory. Hot-shotting provided a short-term band-aid. This was impossible to follow. Cue The Evil Empire in the throws of national expansion. Vince McMahon himself took over operations in August of 1987.

Thirty plus years in charge and this is the best you can do? I hope I wasn’t the only one who felt like he could’ve taken a 3-hour nap? Show opens with Elias in the ring. The Guitar Man runs down the city and his opponent in two weeks. I always wonder how long the “do nothing” portion of these opening segments will last?

Translation? How long is Vince gonna let somebody talk before moving the show forward? In my head, the average time for this is around fifteen minutes. Yes, I need therapy.

Surprisingly, this particular segment was shorter. Seth Rollins’ music hits just after five minutes to respond. His gait and tempo are slower than usual. He is doing a nice job selling injuries Elias inflicted last week. Seth doesn’t wanna be at the same disadvantage and grabs a steel chair from under the ring. A standoff ensues as Elias has his instrument in hand. One well-timed whack with the chair and The Guitar Man loses his weapon. This leaves him exposed until Jinder Mahal runs down for the double team on Rollins. The numbers continue to be painted as Roman Reigns comes down to help his brother, and we have a tag match.

I can say only two things about this encounter. First, Sunil Singh is a rat and Mahal can do nothing without him. Second, baby faces are stupid. Hey Roman, you don’t wait ten seconds to break a rat’s neck. Hey Seth, you don’t bring a steel chair in the ring and drop it so your opponent can use it to beat you. Elias got the win with a DDT on the chair followed by a Drift Away. The outcome was fine, execution was horrible. PS: Later in the night, Production did something interesting. Reigns and Mahal did dueling promos in different places backstage. They could hear each other and answer each other in real time. This led to Mahal getting beaten and officials breaking things up. This was a unique path. Rarely does WWE do something different anymore. Nice to see Creative can actually think for themselves.

Sadly, they would only exhibit this characteristic one other time Monday Night. I am about to contradict myself slightly. Someone in the desert should pay attention. Sometimes, heels cannot be organic. Performers need help to get there. In that case, how can a wrestling organization do this correctly? Ask Baron Corbin. After years of struggling with him, someone in Stamford got it right in one night. How do you give somebody a pulse and HELP the crowd react the way you want? Give them something INTERESTING to do BEFORE strapping the rocket to them simply out of want. Vinnie, I know you despise marks. We are still here, and the feeling is mutual.

We were introduced to Constable Corbin through Curt Hawkins of all people. Did anyone know Hawkins was still on the roster? Did anyone know or care that he has allegedly lost 200 consecutive matches? My thoughts exactly. Hawkins was cutting a promo telling us that his losing streak was ending last night. Upon his victory, everyone in the building was promised a taco. Except, there weren’t 15,000 tacos on display. #WrestlingMath

So, a carpenter was destroying another carpenter when Corbin walked down to cost the fans free taco night, DAMMIT! The Lone Wolf got to a confused Kurt Angle backstage and gave him a hand-written note proclaiming Corbin Stephanie’s Enforcer, (all apologies to Arn Anderson). Finally, TALENT put in a unique position as opposed to The Blonde Blogger. At least this is practical.

Recess was a clusterf*** again this week, and I’m bummed as a result. I’m gonna moonwalk to explain it. First, manufactured heat is cheap. In what world does Alexa Bliss team with Ember Moon and Sasha Banks? She doesn’t, unless Vince is too lazy to put authentic heat on Bayley. Vince McMahon, lazy? WHAT? The babyfaces and the misfit took on The Riott Squad in a six-person tag. Shocker, Little Miss Math Class backed out in less than five minutes with a “hamstring injury.” This left the two phenomenal athletes at a disadvantage.

Lady Banks was taking serious heat when Riott’s Crew went around the ring to yank Moon off the apron. Suddenly, a fresh Elmo runs down for the tag! After which, The Hugger gave Sarah Logan A Bayley to Belly for the win!

Except, now WWE cares about “rules” with Constable Corbin running around. Camera cuts back to Corbin & Angle discussing the match. The Lone Wolf says this is unfair because Bayley just decided to enter the tag match. Has he not watched the art form in 30 years? He says the decision must be reversed. A nuttless Kurt Angle finds the victorious team and informs them of the required change. Vinnie, if you wanna put heat on Bayley, PUT HER IN THE MATCH! No ladies, this is not on Elmo, blame Vince.

Otherwise, Nattie “hurts” herself in a contest with Nia Jax. Ronda Rousey is mad and confused because wrestling. Ronda, The Champ did not hurt your friend. In fact, nobody touched her when she went down. After the injury, The Raw Women’s Champion got the win with A Samoan Drop. The rest of this spliced segment was painful. I don’t like painful. PS: I wouldn’t put Ronda on commentary for quite a while. Awful, she needs work.

A promo from The Deleters of Worlds was next up. Love these two as a team. Matt Hardy actually asked Renee Young if she was Woken. She said yes, cool! The interview preceded a pointless Tag Team Battle Royal to find their opponents for Money in The Bank. Pointless for two reasons: 1. The Monday Night Raw Tag Division SUCKS! 2. Only two teams had a legit shot to win this farce. Either Galloway & Zigler or The B-Team. Dolph was eliminated early, which meant both members were out. The path was cleared for the spastic Dallas & Axel to head to Chicago. Confirmation occurred when Ryno was knocked from the apron because WWE.

Ladders made two in-ring appearances last night. First Braun Strowman had a quick encounter with Robert Roode. The Glorious One cut a pre-match promo admitting he must be resourceful to come up with the win. The Canadian gets points for creativity. I hope he is given a better showing at Money in The Bank. He is certainly capable of one. Last night, he got squashed very quickly though. Roode placed a ladder between the apron and the barricade; attempting to intercept Braun’s nightly laps around the ring. EPIC FAIL! Yes, the ladder was gimmicked, I don’t care. Braun Strowman broke a ladder in half using just his hands! Shortly after impersonating Paul Bunyan AGAIN, Strowman pushed his opposition into the ring and gave him a Powerslam for the win.

Final ladder involvement took place in The Main Event. Kevin Owens challenged Finn Balor for the first time in New York. It was a decent match, even though there was no clean outcome. KO wouldn’t break clean before a five-count in the corner. He was disqualified. Who does that anymore? He had a tantrum and grabbed a ladder from under the ring. How can a performer be in a ladder match and be afraid of heights? The Chubby Canadian tried to jump off twice and failed. Something tells me he’s going to break a table in the namesake match in two weeks. Balor shook the climbing apparatus. Owens fell to the mat at squirmed into position to take A Coups de Gras from 20 feet in the air. Last image of the night was The 8-Pack Irishman climbing the ladder to retrieve the briefcase.

He’s not winning in The Windy City. In my opinion, Vince has not put a solid episode of Monday Night Raw on television in at least a month. We may have to wait until the second shot in Chicago. Next week will be The Give MITB Away For Free Episode of Monday Night Raw.


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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CheapShots: A Letter To WWE Fan Boys

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WWE

Stop. Just stop it. The over-positivity towards the WWE product is ridiculous. WWE is not the greatest thing on the planet right now. It is not all golden flowers and rainbows. Before I dive deep into all this let me say that I am a fan of WWE. But, I have enough sense to know that if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then guess what, it’s a duck. I have no problem on calling them on the BS and craziness that goes on from time to time. No, the product in not the best it has ever been. Scripted promos alone are enough to make me want to vomit. The stale characterization of the characters and the fact that they are all basically the same cookie cutter version of what a WWE superstar should be is ridiculous. Here are a few things that I am sick of hearing every single day.

image via WWE

Money, Money, Money.

WWE is a money making machine, there is no denying it. One thing that I am constantly hearing is “Oh well WWE is making more money now then they have ever had, so that means the product is the best ever!” Well…no…when a company goes public, and are the only wrestling game in town of course they are making money. You need to understand how business works. Do a quick search of WWE and just look into all the divisions of the company. Look at the subsidiaries that they own, along with the companies that they have invested in such as owning 50% of the brand TapOut. Wrestling is not there only sourcing of income, hence the entertainment in their name. WWE is constantly expanding, evolving, and venturing into other things that make money, hence why they are making more money now than ever before. Yes, they got a ton of money for Smackdown. But, you have to take into account that it was bought from a company that is selling their movie division and only have TV as a source of income. With less and less people streaming everything and no one watching TV anymore, of course stations are going to foam at the mouth to get a TV show that has been on as long as Smackdown has any type of ratings, and the sponsors that come along with it. That is just good business, but that does not justify the wrestling product that they are currently putting out.

Greatest Roster Ever

“The roster now is the best roster we have ever had in WWE.” Wake up Alice cause this is not Wonderland. Do you not remember the greatness that was the WWE roster of 2002, or were you even born yet? Here is a bit of that Roster, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Edge, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, RVD, Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, HHH, John Cena, Randy Orton, DDP, Ric Flair. I will just leave this here and wait for you to retract your ridiculous statement.

If you don’t like it then don’t watch it

Boy, am I sick and tired of hearing this poor attempt of retort. What are you 10? You can complain about something and guess what still watch it. I have never watched anything and never had only positive things to say about it. I can watch a NJPW match, and talk about how bad WWE is in comparison. Why? Because, it’s not a matter of me not liking WWE, Just because someone puts something down that you eat, sleep, and breathe doesn’t mean they don’t like it. The main reason people compare a NJPW match to what WWE is doing, isn’t just to bash it, but it is because we know how great WWE can be. Honestly, it sucks to see WWE out done, and I wish they would get their heads out of their asses and put on consistently great matches.

image via WWE

Stop being a Yes man.

You don’t have to hate on every aspect of WWE, positivity is a good thing. But when you like every single thing that WWE does you need to get your head checked. You need to utilize that WWE network subscription and go back and watch something other than the current product. There is good and bad in every generation of wrestling, but we are not living in the renaissance age, witnessing the 2nd coming of wrestling. So take a breath, and try to dislike something of the current product and stop being a corporate robot.


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Are McIntyre, Lashley, And Roode WWE Top Guy Material?

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So there was a lot of buzz about Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley making their debuts on the Main Roster after WrestleMania. A lot of people have been predicting that McIntyre and/or Lashley were going to be Universal Champion before the year out, and even predicted that Lashley would be the one to unseat Brock Lesnar. The same has been said, to some degree, about Bobby Roode. Here’s the problem: The only way any of these guys going to get close to the Universal Title is if WWE has another plague of injuries.

Now, before you all get mad, hear me out. I’m not saying that McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode aren’t talented, because they are and their records speak for themselves. The problem is that WWE has a huge pool of talented guys on its Main Roster and a lot of established stars, which means McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode are likely going to spend their careers in the mid-cards, at least on RAW. They might have slightly better luck on SmackDown, but I wouldn’t bet everything on that pony either.

Let’s look at each guy and see what could possibly hold them back in WWE.

Drew McIntyre: McIntyre has a lot to recommend him, at least on paper. He’s got a great look and a lot of talent. His promos leave a little to be desired, but that’s not a dealbreaker on its own. The problem with McIntyre is that his gimmick hasn’t changed that much from his first run in WWE. His look isn’t that unique compared to other guys on the roster and neither is his moveset.

Bobby Lashley: Lashley’s pros are many: Great look, lots of talent, but his cons are going to be a real problem sooner than later. The biggest con is his total lack of a personality. He seems like a nice guy, but there is no real discernible personality that I can detect and that’s going to be just as big a problem now as it was back during his first WWE run.

Bobby Roode: Of the three guys in this article, Bobby Roode has the most sterling record. He’s a multi-time World Champion and Tag Champion before he came to NXT. He’s got a great look and a ton of talent, and he’s good on the mic. The problem with Roode is 1. His age, he’s 41. and 2. Roode is not a good WWE babyface. In TNA, he was at his best as a heel or tweener in singles and tag team, but I’m also not sure that turning him heel is going to help in WWE.

‘Wait’ I can hear you saying ‘All three of these guys were World Champions outside of WWE and/or in NXT. How can they not be destined to be Universal Champion or WWE Champion?’. Well, the simple answer is that the indy scene, NXT, and TNA have smaller pools of top tier talent, which makes it easier for talented guys that are usually relegated to the mid or low card in WWE to leapfrog straight to the top. Cody Rhodes is a prime example of that.

Again, I’m not denigrating the talents of any of these guys, or the guys coming up that are going to be in the same boat. What I am saying is that WWE has a top tier talent rich pool on RAW and SmackDown and guys like McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode are likely not going to get close to the top spot like they easily could outside WWE.


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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Cheap Shots: Is There Such Thing As The Face Of A Franchise?

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After Saturday’s match at Dominion and the final chapter (for now) in Okada Vs. Kenny Omega, it is now safe to say that Kenny Omega is truly the global face of NJPW. But is that true for every promotion? As a kid growing up watching wrestling in the 90’s it was Stone Cold Steve Austin that ran the WWE, in the 00’s it was John Cena, but there isn’t such a clear cut figure anymore for the WWE, Impact or ROH. Is there really a need for figure heads? In my opinion, the wrestling world has become so overly developed with new talent that its hard to pinpoint who is that face and there’s more of an opinion as to who that is.

The WWE want Roman Reigns to be that guy, but that’s a ship that has already sunk. Some say Seth Rollins and his run with the success of the Intercontinental Championship has made him the guy, and other may say that whoever AJ Styles goes, he is “the face that runs the place.” Impact has always struggled with finding that face, while Styles was there, he was it. Impact may have a suitable face in Eli Drake, being with the company since 2015. Surprisingly  Impact continue to look outwards for talent when the talent they have in house has proven to be effective.While ROH has had a swinging door of wrestlers that were once their staple player. The Young Bucks, Jay Lethal, or semi-newly acquired Cody could be considered for ROH.

In the 1980’s Hulk Hogan was that guy, he was that guy to a lot of people. He spear headed WWE into more than just being a wrestling program, but in being a significant part of pop culture. It has only been in recent years that wrestling has blurred the lines between a wrestling program and a part of this pop culture bubble we live in. With Twitter and Instagram, wrestlers have a bigger platform to connect with fans. Total Divas turned the Bellas and now The Miz and company into reality TV sensations. The Young Bucks have used Youtube to produce their “Being The Elite” series and they have created an empire without the letters WWE in front of their names. The world of wrestling and pop culture has become intertwined with one another that fans have gotten to choose who they want to be the face of their favourite programming. That is the thing that WWEs creative is missing. It isn’t about who you build up to be this powerhouse anymore. There’s so much talent and so many means to watch it that I think it’s impossible to build a franchise figure as much as the WWE want to believe. 

So what makes Kenny Omega different? He wasn’t pushed in the sense that he wasn’t involved in every match in every storyline. He organically grew as a fan favourite with Ibushi and eventually with the Bullet Club he had a storyline that spanned out over a few year and his rise to the top is like the ending of movie, but it was built slowly and surely. 

So are we being blinded by this idea that there needs to be a face that runs a franchise that wrestling has created? In a sense, yes. But as the wrestling landscape changes, so do the fans, essentially the promotions should catch on, but until then we’ll all be debating who is hat where for the foreseeable future. 


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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