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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.


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MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will

Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.

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Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.

I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.

The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.

Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.

Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!

In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.

“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.

Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!

Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”

For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!


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Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions

Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?

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Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?

When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.

This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.

For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?

Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.

She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.

Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.

Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.

Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?

Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?

Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.


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