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Houston Headache



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.

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Cheap Shots: Mad Man’s Testing Cheese in The Mouse’s House



Gliding over The World’s Largest Golf Ball for SmackDown Live this week. I believe Orlando was nothing more than a spot show for Graham. In his infinite wisdom, Eric Bischoff used Universal Studios for WCW TV Tapings. What’s he getting paid for now? Doing a podcast? Big deal, a ton of my colleagues have podcasts, and they’re smarter than him. Dixie Carter’s TNA Wrestling reminds us that a talented roster cannot overcome a lack of inside knowledge. Impact Wrestling currently resides in the mouse’s zip code today. The latest effort from The New York Big Top wasn’t on a cheap PPV level. I have praised SmackDown Live as the better show for months. Others have done so for much longer. Instead, WWE hands us something between a glorified house show and a week early go home show for SummerSlam?

Let’s find out if Vince left Mickey ANYTHING interesting. Randy Orton has been on The Main Roster for a generation now. He does psychopath extremely well. Not all psychopaths talk though. Creative should be more careful with Randy. He needs a very focused promo, and reason to talk. They should’ve kept him on a singular path here, Jeff Hardy. A tunnel-visioned Viper is a more dangerous Viper. Randall Keith Orton is neither one of The Authors of Pain. Don’t give him a generic heel promo. We know he’s capable. Let Jeff Hardy continue to twist in agony. If you must give Orton a verbal point, do a better job writing it, and save it for after SummerSlam.

Recess started with a backstage promo which would be unnecessary if Vince didn’t book Triple Threats. The fracturing friendship angle is fine, if not required in the art form. However, can anyone pull it off without it feeling forced? Stamford sure can’t. Why were Charlotte and Becky apologizing like it was Middle School? Vinnie put both of you in the match. Break the fourth wall and get mad at him. The Lass Kicker struggled to hide building frustration. Anybody surprised with this? She’s Irish. They teased a possible tag match with The Dragon Huggers at Evolution? I EFFING HOPE NOT! Vince, get your head out of your ass. Unless it results in Sasha Banks being traded, put this mirrored storyline possibility on ice, since you can’t get it right on Monday! Sorry for the tangent. The Tuesday Besties went over The IIconics, who have hit a wall recently.

Here’s a crazy thought, WWE has approximately 14 ladies on The SmackDown Roster. What’s wrong with holding a storyline off TV for a week instead of repeating it? Give us the illusion that friends took a week to work things out without telling Aiden English he’ll be Ron Killings in a month or two. Lana is getting better in the ring, Let’s find another way to stunt her. Put Almas’ Mini Me over again and break up one of our most popular factions. My apologies, I must have hacked into Vince’s email.

Creative got too many compliments on proms last week. Dammit boys and girls, y’all can only rope the moon once every six months. They tried again anyway, bad move! Outside of The New Day; who can read Facebook and make it good. everything else was yawn inducing. Later, WWEs modern answer to The Free Birds went on to beat The Bar in another great TV Main Event.

Random Observation: if smart marks need proof promoters and bookers view Championship Gold as nothing more than a prop, look at R-Truth. Never mind New York’s original name for him. He was respected during his previous run in Orlando for Dixie Carter and TNA. He held Top Gold and was prominent there for a while. Why not? Dude is a fantastic athlete with good mic skills. Back in WWE, he is a glorified carpenter who cuts nonsense promos. I hope the paycheck is worth it, Sir? After setting up a match no one wanted, Truth lost to Shinsuke Nakamura in under ten minutes.

Sometimes, WWE looks dumber than usual in the age of social media. Can anyone tell me why they broke Mike’s match signing with Daniel Brian on Twitter? Did they have a reason? Does anybody really think Mike was on set? Vinnie, suspension of disbelief? Where is it? They could’ve rebooted Cena/Taker from Mania. They reboot storylines far less personal and more pointless. Yes, Daniel got to wail on Mike for a minute. Can’t we do better than to jump the gun so poorly on both fronts?

If Vince wants us to take one thing away from the Styles/Samoa Joe Angle, it is that Joe clearly has both the physical and psychological advantage heading into SummerSlam. Why does everything appear so lopsided though? Not saying The WWE Gold doesn’t fit Joe. If he can stay healthy, it most certainly does. Yes, Joe is a badass, but AJ Styles is capable of rock-solid heel work too. Ask The Con Artist and Big Match John. Hell, Samoa Joe himself knows Styles’ heel talent from elsewhere. It is disappointing the WWE might make fans wait months to see these two work up to their ability, if the trigger ever gets pulled correctly. Maybe by Hell in A Cell or Survivor Series? Given New York’s reputation among smart marks, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Speaking of which, if anyone did so on Tuesday waiting for a typical good show, I apologize. They got a glorified house show. Mickey Mouse deserves better cheese.

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: Mad Man’s Panhandle Rush (WWE Raw)



The penultimate stop on the Florida loop found the Cessna in the panhandle. One of the good things about the territory back in the day was proximity for travel. According to Kevin Sullivan and Austin Idol; Google them millennial nerds, it was common to work close enough to home that performers could sleep in their own beds most nights. If I am not mistaken, the original Free Bird nest of Jacksonville (music), was a regular weekend stop for Eddie Graham.

Vince’s latest offer started as 90% of them do. Someone is headed to the ring to cut a promo. This time it was RAW GM Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon’s watch dog, Constable Corbin. Angle proudly reminded us that one UFC Fighter would be making her TV Match Debut Monday night while openly taking shots at the other on the roster. Corbin’s prompted retort was met by Kurt saying he had to get this off his chest. Half-way through, Roman Reigns comes out because he can.

Eventually testosterone related to last week starts flowing between opposing forces. This leads Angle to make an opening match featuring Reigns vs. Corbin. In my opinion, the crowd was odd during this encounter. It felt like they needed 15 minutes to wake up. Strange when an audience doesn’t have a pulse, even a negative one. The match was physical and decent, though we have seen it before. Experienced watchers could tell Corbin was looking for an escape. He thought he found one, only to have Finn Balor cut him off. Corbin was forced back to the ring, where he took A Spear for the clean loss. After the bell, The 8-Pack Irishman took his turn; delivering a dropkick and Coup de Gras.
As a younger fan Vinnie’s circus did a much better job of keeping athletes apart unless it served as fuel for an angle. The locker room dustup between Bobby Roode and Mojo Rawley three weeks before a PPV would have led to squash matches featuring the two, or a tag match where they barely touched. He used to admonish agents and bookers: “Get the match in the ring.” Thanks to six hours of programming a week, now he says: “Get the match in the ring now. The PPVs are so cheap, they hardly matter.” This angle is the latest victim of that drug-induced logic. WWE will do their best to say it’s different in two weeks, even though Roode went over clean Monday night. Why does Stamford think smarks are clueless?

The very next segment saw our latest example of poor execution. I actually wanna see Elias take on Lashley. Vinnie forgot the Novocain to get me there. Heels don’t even worry about suspension of disbelief anymore. There is no album, Elias. Four tracks are barely a demo. WWE shot that ”documentary” to fill time on the network. No other reason. You don’t like the way it made you look? It’s scripted, talk to management. I don’t like you as a heel when the crowd wants to cheer you. I can’t do a damn thing about it. Speaking of “I can’t do anything about this:” Bobby Lashley was not brought back to New York because he could talk. Take the microphone OUT of his hand. Crickets come out whenever the man opens his mouth. The ending was plausible. Find a better way to get there. Proof WWE doesn’t care if I’m in pain watching; and, Sports Entertainment is total bulls***!

In another case of coin flip booking, Razar destroyed Titus because Apollo Crews beat Akam last week. Vince can’t get out of his own way. We saw this around a month ago. Even Less sheep wanted to watch this than hear Lashley cut a promo. We were stuck with both. Sorry folks, this was your weekly piss break

Back from the restroom. Smarks who hate Reigns, and their insider cousins are freaking out. It’s “The Kevin Owens Show.” Give The Fat Canadian a mic, and he can run down anyone in the art form. Like him or not, Owens is such a good heel that he manipulates other heels regularly. His latest pawn was Jinder Mahal. The Indian Brooklyn Brawler was his guest, but Owens wouldn’t let him speak. Eventually, the host mentioned Braun Strowman, and their contest for The MITB Briefcase at SummerSlam. Reminding us that if The Big Man loses, it doesn’t matter how. He loses his guaranteed shot at Gold. Mahal was roped into another match with The Monster Among Men just before the stage was flipped over! Why not? Unfortunately for the big man, he has been turned from human being to pit bull in an obnoxious game of fetch. Owens has stolen the briefcase twice. Forcing a count out last week and a DQ Monday. Anybody wanna punch Creative?

Cue the calliope. Earlier in the night, Seth Rollins went to GM Kurt Angle saying he was sick of being jumped by Ziggler & Galloway. Angle told him to find a partner. At this point, I could feel a colleague hoping like a Super Mark. Must wait again, sorry Brickyard. Though, even I thought they might set up an Ambrose swerve because they said he wouldn’t show up. Of course, Roman Reigns offered to help his brother out. However, Stephanie called Constable Corbin threatening to pull The Samoan Hype Machine from his showdown with The Beast at SummerSlam. SHUT UP VINCE! You have been shoving this match down our throats for years. Even after this, global smart marks fear you aren’t done with it. As for the match Monday, Rollins couldn’t find a partner. He fought hard but took the pin from Ziggler.

A tag team match was next. Participants: The Revival & our Tag Champs, The B-Team. Of course, Vince has an aversion to wrestling. “We MUST ‘entertain’ them, they’re sheep!” Match started off solid. Five minutes in; lights go out. Opposing partners have been torn off the apron and replaced by The Deleters of Worlds. Match got thrown out. Two reasons I despise Triple Threat Matches. First, wrestling companies have forgotten how to book longer programs and draw money. Second, the overwhelming majority of Triple Threats allow for weird finishes. Especially the way WWE books them. “Never mind we have 5 hours of TV to fill. Let’s throw everybody in and finish this in five minutes. Building to an outcome used to matter.

A double shot of recess to close Monday Night Raw this week. First up: The Dragon Huggers had to deal with The Riott Squad for consecutive weeks. Something had to be up, and it was. Despite Sasha & Bailey looking very good again, including a modified Power & Glory spot. Youtube it sheep, the heels went over when Ruby Riott did her best CM Punk impression. Go ahead weirdoes, freak out because I mentioned him. The Squad Leader dawned a gray hoodie long enough to slip through the audience. She got physical with The Human Elmo, and distracted Lady Banks so she would take the pin. Welcome back Ruby. Your girls haven’t mattered since February.

Whenever Hayes & Gordy’s Jacksonville namesake would close a Skynyrd concert, Ronnie and the boys would always ask: “What is it you wanna hear?” prior to hitting their opus’ first chord. Right now, Vinnie’s answer to “Free Bird” is Ronda Rousey. Rather appropriate then that The Baddest Woman on The Planet’s TV wrestling debut was in Skynyrd’s House. I think Michael would agree. Ronda’s first competition came in the form of Alicia Fox. She had length, experience, and zero chance Monday. Fox got some offense in, but Rousey overcame the distractions from Little Miss Math Class, got pissed, and tapped her opponent out in less than ten minutes. The champ tried to jump her afterward, epic fail! Ronda took the mic and cut a very solid promo. Has there ever been a long-term champion who looks more scared than Alexa Bliss? Good music in this show. We’re gonna find out if Mickey Mouse can Rock’N’Roll like that!

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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WWE EVOLUTION Is The Double Edged Sword



Last week, Stephanie McMahon announced that the past, present and future of women’s wrestling would come together and create the first ever all women’s PPV called Evolution. To say that women’s wrestling has made strides from what were once called “toilet break” matches to women’s Royal Rumbles, Ladder Matches, and now their own PPV is something to be said about how women are being taken seriously in a sport that is based on machismo. 

Yet, while it shows that women wrestlers are now seen as equals to their male counter part, it also shows that the WWE is dividing women. Think of it this way, its just like the cruiser weights having 205 Live. Yes, it is great that the talented high flyers can show off their skills in their own show, but 205 has not made the impact that everyone thought it would after the Cruiserweight  Classic. They are never in matches with the rest are the main roster on Raw and Smackdown Live and are segregated. 

While the indie scene has done mixed matches (Candice LaRae being a prime example of this) . The WWE almost make it seem that they have rewritten history with Evolution, but women’s wrestlers were ahead of their times in the indies, it has been the WWE that has been playing “catch up” all these years. 

WWE Evolution isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great example of how far the WWE have come, but it also puts a syntax on the PPV. By creating a women’s only PPV it shows that women’s wrestling is being showcased, but it creates this undertone of questioning to fans and pro wrestling critics that women cannot stand out the way men do in wrestling so here is their own PPV to show case that. 

The PPVs announcement and lead up will be debated till October when all eyes are set on the production of what is to come. And while as a fan I am excited to see what the past, present and future, have to offer, there is also some dread as to what this really says about what the WWE thinks of women’s wrestling as a whole. 

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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