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Cheap Shots: Pack Tracks

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Even though Raleigh was probably a consistent city for Jim Crockett Promotions and The Horsemen in more ways than one, I’m not sure how many tapings or live events centered around the kind of wrestling that my colleagues and I cover on this website ever took place at NC State University. Given their prime generation, I can only imagine how many after hours shows the boys participated in when cameras weren’t pointed at the ring in this city. Spit balling, Vinnie’s current circus most likely does live television from half-a-dozen to a dozen college campuses per year. Last night’s SmackDown Live was for those in The Wolfpack. Shall we join them in the hunt?

Hard camera shot finds a ladder in the ring, Samoa Joe’s music greets the crowd as the tough talker goes between the ropes. His first act was to climb the ladder and remove the briefcase from it’s tempting position, reminding perspective opponents of the ultimate purpose of the encounter in Chicago. After doing this, Joe climbs to the mat and drops The Biblical Story of Jacob’s Ladder on Daniel Bryan while striking down the Heavenly details for The Yes Man. “No light, no Angels at the top of this ladder for you.” Until now, the final slot for the Men’s Money in The Bank Match had yet to be filled.

Joe mentioned Daniel’s family one too many times, bringing The Bearded One from the back to respond. Except he didn’t wanna talk. He wanted to fight. A wrestling show was seconds away from putting a main event in place of a curtain jerker! The winner would be given the last opening in MITB. Then Big Cass comes out to wreck the vibe. He tells us that he has talked to GM Paige and he gets an opportunity to qualify for MITB upon receiving medical clearance from the leg injury he suffered in London. Surprise, The Long Island Redwood is cleared to compete and throttles both competitors as confirmation. Cut backstage and Renee Young catches up with The Sexy Goth Chick who backs up Cass’ claim. Our Main Event is now a Triple Threat Match. Winner gets a one-way ticket to Chicago.

Before heading to break, we find The Challenger for WWE Gold walking the halls with a set of cards numbered from 1 to 10. After scattering them, Shinsuke Nakamura was ready for action. Let’s go to Twitter to find his opposition? Not kidding, when The Con Artist set the parameters of his latest shot at Gold, he took up temporary residence on Sesame Street. He was trolling AJ Styles with a tweet asking him how high he can count. The harassment was intercepted by The Forgotten Perfect 10, Tye Dillinger.

Talk about an ignored athlete. Outside of one random promo, we haven’t seen him in months. There are rumors flying that Dillinger is headed back to NXT and I’m wondering why? Shinsuke is so physical, and the dude gave him a fight to be proud of. He survived multiple “ten-counts” before succumbing to The Kinshasa. I see why NXT marks love him. Come on Vince. You can’t find something useful for a pro like this? That’s on you. We see it. Anybody else think Tye Dillinger would be an interesting fit in Impact?

Two recess segments last night. Starting with a “Dance Off” between Naomi and Lana. Both Ladies brought their full compliment of backup. There was no way this was ending clean. If I must cover the goofiness of this segment, each lady can move in her own way. Rusev’s better half is classically trained in ballet. She may truly have a more flexible skillset than that. How many in ballet can break into pure breakdancing just because? Jimmy Uso’s wife is a former NBA Cheerleader whose athleticism has led to Women’s Gold in New York.

Now that that’s done, do we have reason to believe Lana’s deer in headlights look is almost gone when it comes to in-ring physicality? The ladies did a tandem spot that ended with The Ravishing Russian giving The Glow Worm a neck breaker. Then she got up and slapped the taste out of Jimmy’s mouth. Yes, she got beat up and took a rearview from Naomi. That’s not the point. Lana doesn’t look quite so scared, and that’s a big deal for her!

More female flavor as Mandy Rose had consequences for disrespecting Paige. When will these girls learn? What was The Pound for Pound Pinup’s punishment? Oh nothing. Just a showdown with Asuka! Despite absorbing an assault from Sonya Deville; which gave Rose the advantage throughout the match, The Japanese Ace was displaying enough offense to remain dangerous. Eventually securing her personalized submission for the tap out victory. PS: For some strange reason, Corey Graves keeps forgetting his marital status when Mandy Rose competes. It’s alright man, we’ve all got ours. Now, quit talking crap about mine!

Six-Man Tag Was next. Of course the primer segments involved pancakes. The Unicorns were being served by their new assistant Mr. Bootyworth. The other locker room found Mike trying to catch breakfast that was being flung at him by both members of The Bar. This was supposed to remind us that Mike got “shamed” last week. Doesn’t he get shamed every week? Anyway, the match itself was a typical coin flip. Kofi Kingston took quite a bit of heat. Eventually, Big E got the tag. Extended Tag Matches are designed to break down, and this was no exception. Most memorable spot? Mr. SOS jumping off the top rope to the outside taking both Bar members out. This left Big E inside alone with Mike to deliver The Big Ending and get his win back. We still don’t have a clue which member of The New Day will enter the namesake fight in The Windy City.

As was established when SmackDown kicked off. This week’s last act was a Triple Threat Match for the final spot in Chi town. These matches are built around false finishes and broken pinning combinations. Even though most of them aren’t exactly believable. Daniel and Joe did most of the heavy lifting. If Cass wasn’t 7’’0’ tall, would WWE even look at a performer with his move set? Some of it probably stems from his knee surgery. He looks really stiff in the ring. Bryan’s intensity, nor the loyalty of his supporters have wavered one bit. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for him in this instance. Samoa Joe got the win by putting his Clutch on Daniel after the underdog knocked Cass out with a running knee. Overall, we’ve left fun tracks on campus. Now it’s time to party before hitting Charlotte in the morning so we can see an old friend in Houston next week.


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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