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Scarlett Bordeaux’s Impact: The End of Hot Shaming

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Many people will tell you that women’s wrestling has never been better. They say the bell to bell action has never been more exciting. Folks insist that the performers have never been more talented.

In many ways, they’re right. WWE features women in major roles & will have a PPV based around them in October. Ring of Honor finally has a Women of Honor division & has never used women as much as they are right now. And we can’t forget about SHIMMER, Shine & the rest of the women’s Indy promotions that feed the big feds their future talent.

It still feels like there’s something missing. Something that I feel is essential to the enjoyment of wrestling. It’s problematic, but it’s something that’s always there.

Sex.

OK, I already hear the complaining. “How dare you suggest that women’s wrestling needs to be all about sex!” Newsflash: Sex is a big part of men’s wrestling too. Tag teams like the Fabulous Ones & Rock n’ Roll Express were over with the female crowds because of their sex appeal. Ravishing Rick Rude, Rick “The Model” Martel & Sexy Boy Shawn Michaels were booed by men jealous of their good looks.

And of course there’s Roman Reigns & his transcendent sex appeal.

Wrestling promotions are in a tough spot. They know that women’s wrestling is more popular than ever. They’re not sure how to push the sexual aspect of it. Typically they would just make the prettiest girl champion and let that be that, but that doesn’t fly in 2018.

After some years away, I got back into writing about pro wrestling in 2016. I was interested in the business again for a number of reasons, including Eva Marie. I even wrote a column about Eva that certain people noticed & led to more opportunities. Unfortunately, Eva’s opportunities were cut short & she was off of WWE television mere days after the column was posted. As visions of things to come go, the column wasn’t one of my better ones. However, Eva’s brief run was a delight & it would have been interesting to see where it went.

WWE has kind of tried to re-live the idea with Mandy Rose in recent months, but it’s not really the same. Mandy may be God’s Greatest Creation, but she’s not Eva Marie. The entrance is unique & she’s a very attractive woman, but there’s something missing. I don’t know if it’s a company problem or a performer problem, but it feels like they’re afraid to go all out. Maybe she’ll get there someday.

Going All Out.

Impact Wrestling, from the days it was known as TNA, has always been known for their Knockouts. The division’s certainly seen its ups & downs, but it’s going through a resurgence right now. Su Yung’s bringing the darkness as the champion. Allie’s pretty much the prototypical babyface. Tessa Blanchard thinks she’s the future of Impact Wrestling & it’s tough to argue with her. There are a number of other women entering the picture & trying to make names for themselves. One of them stands out from the pack. She isn’t afraid to go all out.

I’m usually not a big fan of people giving themselves nicknames, but Scarlett Bordeaux can call herself the Smokeshow or anything else she feels like. Longtime followers of our publisher here at The Chairshot will remember Scarlett from her appearances on the Greg DeMarco Show. I don’t remember a lot of things about those days, but I’m pretty sure we never crossed paths, and I’m pretty sure there was a good reason for that. Greg liked having her on the show, and putting me with women in real life or on a podcast is a good way to get rid of them. In any event, it was easy to see Scarlett’s potential back then.

Some might wonder why Scarlett isn’t still with Ring of Honor due to their fancy new Women of Honor division. She was a Rosebud with Adam Rose so many times that it’s tough to figure out how WWE didn’t send her to the Performance Center. I think she’s in the right spot with Impact Wrestling. We all know WWE is going to allow only so much sexuality on their airwaves. You never saw Eva Marie doing the moves Scarlett did in her debut. Mandy Rose isn’t out there licking a microphone or grabbing her boobs. Impact/TNA has always gone a little further with that sort of thing, and God bless them for it. It’s an area that WWE won’t compete with them in.

Scarlett has improved her in-ring game over the years, but let’s be honest. When you look like Scarlett Bordeaux, it doesn’t matter if you can work at a high level or not. In fact, I’d say it would help if you can’t. Eva’s whole thing in NXT was that she didn’t deserve opportunities based on her ring work, but she got them because the office said so. Based on Don Callis’ commentary on Impact, it would be real easy to give Scarlett title shots because he said so. He could deny it, but the fans would know what was really going on. I’ll be ticked if this doesn’t happen.

Who is she?

Some say that Impact Wrestling wants Scarlett to be the next Sable. I’m impressed these people remember that far back, but I think they’re jumping to that conclusion due to Scarlett’s blonde hair. I remember the days when she had glorious red hair. Not the same shade as Eva’s, but it was glorious indeed.

Sable’s heel character worked because there was no competition. She was one of less than a handful of women working on American wrestling television. There weren’t other heels to compare her to! In 2018, the bombshell has to do more to stand out from the pack. Everybody can wrestle. Everybody meets a certain attractiveness standard. A new woman has to be able to do something better than everybody else.

In an age where women in the public eye are encouraged to play down their sex appeal, Scarlett Bordeaux plays hers up. If there’s one thing she’ll never have any problem with, it’s standing out. I think I can speak on behalf of male wrestling fans everywhere when I say that I hope she sticks around a lot longer than Eva Marie. Hopefully she’ll end the plague of hot-shaming and send all the 5s back home where they belong.


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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 10/14/2018

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Well in a weekend of cray matches, crazy football games and overall crazy entertainment, this isn’t a very WWE friendly list.

Before we get to the Top 5 Matches, we need to go over the two votes we had last week. Firstly, our September winner:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA
  • March – Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April NXT Takeover NOLA: Andrade Almas vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash: Seth Rollins vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

It’s not the kind of match the IWC usually goes crazy for, but this proves that good story telling and emotional investment still leave an impression on people. As for last week, that’s more par for the IWC course. WWE Super Show-Down Cruiserweight Title Match: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Buddy Murphy, got most of the votes last week.

Now that we see what the MOTY pool is shaping up to be, let’s see what else joins the Cruiserweight match.

 

5. NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega (c) vs Cody vs Kota Ibushi

Only the third IWGP Heavyweight Triple Threat, and I suppose it doesn’t have a high bar to live up to. The first was effectively a match just to make Brock Lesnar look like a beast in 2005. The second was at ROH War of the Worlds in 2014, and…well…we don’t speak of that. So yeah, low bar, so if they all have a mediocre match, it’ll still be the best Triple Threat in the history of the IWGP Championship.

To be succinct, Omega was right in his post match promo. It was a little bit of a Cody match, Ibushi match and Omega match…but that also made the pacing a little awkward. It was mostly a formulaic WWE style of Triple Threat where one person gets dumped out and two focus on each other for a few minutes and then, switch.

It had some flashy spots, like Cody going through the announce table. Also a nice subtle statement from Cody during the match was interesting, when he said, “I’m your friend too! Help me too!”. Omega’s bias was an interesting underlying theme in the match.

As a match, it was pretty good, it felt weird given it was in New Japan and Ibushi sold more frustration and emotional struggle than Kenny once again. The fact Kenny doesn’t think twice about landing moves on Ibushi and then tries to put him over in the post match promo, just makes this whole relationship feel like Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m not going into moves, but the match is fine, if you aren’t a puro purist, you’ll probably be okay with it. But the match wasn’t a classic that will last more than the next couple months in most memories.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel (on Ibushi)

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4. Impact Bound For Glory Knockout’s Title Match: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs Taya Valkyrie

There’s not really much else to lead into this then: They both are alpha females, they kick ass…so let’s see who wins this.

Hard hitting from both and they had pretty solid chemistry together. We saw from both women they can wrestle any style needed, while staying resilient and imposing.

Tessa hits the Buzzsaw DDT, but Taya manages to kick out to Tessa’s surprise. Taya then rocks Tessa pretty hard, so Tessa tries to powder out and grabs the ring skirt. When Taya drags her back in, Tessa drags the skirt with her and the ref goes to readjust the ring. Taya hits Road to Valhalla during the distracted referee moment, and him being out of position allows Tessa enough time to kick out.

We see Tessa get to the top rope and leaps about halfway across the ring to hit Taya with Magnum. Finally picking up the pinfall and retaining her championship.

Yes I gave a very abridged edition, but that’s mainly because you should watch this. Many writers, reviewers and casual fans shit on women’s wrestling, but these two women are special. We’ve seen them both go up against men and more than hold their own, and they prove that when they have time, they know how to put on solid matches.

Winner: Tessa via Magnum

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. Impact Bound for Glory World Heavyweight Championship Match: Austin Aries (c) vs Johnny Impact

Well this match certainly got personal all of a sudden. Aries basically calling out the hypocrisy of ‘short jokes’ still being acceptable when other genetic short comings, difference or handicaps are seen as taboo, got blown way out of proportion. Yes he worded his stance in a harsh way, but that also proved exactly what he meant. So ya, worked shoots, shoot Tweets and TMZ made this an interesting build.

The match started off like a shoot. Both men were posturing and attacking like they were trying to expose the other instead of work a match. If that was intentional, very good, cause I know the group of people I was watching with couldn’t tell where the truth and lie blurred.

Either way we had a lot of jawing back and forth between the Hennigans and Aries, and we even got both men to grab the ropes after each one’s finishers. So obviously they were working together enough, and I’d be lying if it didn’t add a nice layer to the match. Hell there was even an early spot where they were on a narrow side, outside of the ring, Aries charged and Johnny jumped up balancing on the barricade and apron perfectly and then hitting a moonsault/flip kick…something like that, shut up it looked cool.

Aries plays the jaded heel up until the end, even doing a dive to the outside straight on to Taya. Johnny goes right after Aries instead of checking on Taya, lands a brainbuster for rub ins and then one more Starship Pain, for the pinfall.

Nearly immediately after the bell, Aries gets up, effectively no sells the finish, curses at Don Callis and walks up the ramp flipping off the crowd. He could be heated that he was painted as the bad guy when logically his stance made sense. So I’m more interested to see the ramifications or if this is just another case of Aries’ ego showing him the door.

Damn good match, finish makes future episodes or news releases from Impact a little more interesting.

Winner: Impact via Starship Pain

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match: Kushida vs Marty Scurll
Winner: Kushida via Back to the Future
Rating: ****
Impact Bound for Glory Concrete Jungle Death Match: OGz vs LAX
Winner: LAX via Street Sweeper
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Bound For Glory: Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs Matt Sydal & Ethan Page
Winner: Swann via Middle Rope Phoenix Splash
Rating: *** 3/4
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Shuji Kondo (c) vs Hikaru Sato
Winner: Kondo via King Kong Lariat
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Bound For Glory: oVe vs Fenix, Pentagon & Brian Cage
Winner: oVe via 14 Superkicks (pinning Cage)
Rating: *** 3/4
NOAH Global Junior League Final Day Finale: YO-HEY vs Kotaro Suzuki
Winner: Suzuki via Requiem
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series All Asia Tag Title Match: Takao Omori & Black Menso-re vs Yuma Aoyagi & Naoya Nomura (c)
Winner: Nomura via Maximum
Rating: *** 1/2
ROH Glory by Honor ROH World Title Match: Jay Lethal (c) vs Silas Young
Winner: Lethal via Lethal Injection
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Jr Tag Team Title Match: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask
Winner: Despy via Pinche Loco
Rating: *** 1/4
ROH Glory by Honor 6 Man Tag Title: Young Bucks (c) & Cody vs SoCal Uncensored
Winner: Cody via Crossroads
Rating: *** 1/4
Raw: The Shield vs Dogs of War
Winner: McIntyre via Claymore
Rating: ***
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series: Jake Lee vs Yusuke Okada
Winner: Jake via High Angle Back Body Drop
Rating: ***
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series: Dylan James & Kotaro Suzuki vs Koji Iwamoto & Ryoji Sai
Winner: James via Chokeslam
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW King of Pro Wrestling G1 Briefcase Rights Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White

We know the lead in to this. Jay beat Tanahashi during the G1, and because of that, he is granted a shot at claiming the briefcase for himself.  We’ve seen White become even more of a heel, getting Gedo to turn on Okada and splinter off from Chaos. So will the Ace stay ahead of the young heel Switchblade, or has Switchblade matured enough to overtake the Ace?

Another Tanahashi classic where pacing is important. Unlike his time seconding Okada, Gedo got involved on numerous occasions during the match. Tanahashi took him out at one point which gave White multiple openings. The match is well wrestled and got across both characters. Tanahashi trying to preserve wrestling in his image and complete his comeback tour. Jay playing the foil of the heel that will do literally anything to win.

After two High Fly Flows, Gedo pulls Red Shoes out of the ring. Jay low blows Tanahashi, but Tanahashi returns the favor at some point. Jay introduced the chair, Tanahashi tried to slam Jay on it and then hit one more High Fly Flow, but hits all chair. Jay hits Tanahashi with the chair and then has Gedo go revive Red Shoes.

Just as we think Jay White is going to win with Blade Runner, after soo much cheating, Tanahashi counters it into a Small Package, and picks up the pinfall victory.

Fallout after the match is noteworthy since Gedo and White beat down Tanahashi, Okada comes out to make the save. Jado tries to calm down Okada and then the Bullet Club OGs show up, surround the ring and effectively jump Okada. White joins in and it turns out Gedo, Jado and Jay White are all part of the Firing Squad version of the Bullet Club now.

So it’s very much like nWo Wolfpack and Hollywood now, but hey, people like it, so why the hell not?

Winner: Tanahashi via Small Package

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. NOAH Global Junior League Final Day GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: Takashi Sugiura (c) vs Katsuhiko Nakajima

Sugiura has had the best reign of any world champion in 2018. His defenses have all been different and bring out different feelings and layers in not only his opponents but also the crowd. Nakajima had Sugiura’s number last time he was champion in 2016, and he’s only gotten better. So will the shameless old man hold on, or do we see the cocky Nakajima take it again?

This match was unlike any other match Sugiura’s had all year, and I can’t even think of a similar one in quite a while. Nakajima outright dominated this match. He played coy, aloof and just straight arrogant. Every time Sugiura tried to hit him, he’d dodge and strike back. This was the classic story of egotistical youngster trying to make the old dog look bad, because he’s faster, better, etc.

Sugiura got in a small flurry when he was able to land a Spear off a misdirection move. But then Nakajima established himself as just being five steps ahead. Katsuhiko is known as the Genius of the Kick, and he light up Sugiura. Standing Round Kicks, a flurry of Thrust Kicks to the chest and head in the corner, Soccer Ball kicks to his chest, punting Sugiura’s head so well I’m pretty sure Randy Orton blushed somewhere. Nakajima put on a clinic, but Sugiura was mostly resilient.

I say mostly, because there was a moment after the second or third punt to the head, that Sugiura appeared knocked out. Nakajima puts his foot on his chest for the cocky cover, 1-2, and then he lifts his foot off and grins. Nakajima wanted to continue to embarrass the old man, instead of just win the match and be done with it. This would ultimately prove to be his downfall.

Nakajima got progressively more lazy with his kicks. The man has great form, but he was sacrificing torque just to be cute. Sugiura kicks out of the Vertical Spike and eventually puts a little offense together but Nakajima kicks out of the Olympic Slam. One of those lazy kicks finally bites the arrogant genius in the ass, and Sugiura locks in an Ankle Lock. After pulling back into the center of the ring twice, he grapevines the leg, and Nakajima is forced to tap out.

A well wrestled match, with gorgeous character work and ring psychology make this match special. Definitely worth watching for anyone with a half hour to kill.

Winner: Sugiura via Ankle Hold

Rating: *****

 

Thoughts:

As I usually mention when something obscure takes the top spot, I don’t expect it to win the vote, but it deserves the attention. Also just to throw this out there, Glory by Honor was a pretty awful show. Looked like the venue was at least one third empty, the matches were uninspired and the things that even made Honor Mention are well below average level for the participants. Couple that with Bound for Glory being a solid show mixing good wrestling with solid sports entertainment, it’s just a bad look for ROH.

Anyway! Back to the Top 5, my vote will go for the match that topped the list. I gushed a little in the description, because it’s so many professional wrestling tool utilized beautifully. Tessa vs Taya would be my second choice, but that’s not how this works.

So either way, hopefully you saw a couple of these. Make your opinion heard and let us know which one you think is the best of the 5. And remember, Always Use Your Head.


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Booking the Entirety of Smackdown 1000

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Smackdown Fist Stage WWE

The 1000th episode of Smackdown is this Tuesday and it’s been a highly anticipated show for weeks now. The reunion of all four members of Evolution is going to happen and Rey Mysterio vs Shinsuke Nakamura was just announced last week. There’s sure to be more returns and surprises so let’s see if I can make the most out of those within a two hour show. My goal here is to reminisce on the times and superstars we cherish while still making new stars.

John Cena’s Open Challenge

He doesn’t currently have a championship but John Cena made his WWE debut as a result of Kurt Angle’s open challenge. That’s why I would have John Cena open the show with an open challenge to all the current and former stars in the locker room. The man that answers the call is none other than Kurt Angle. When rumors of Kurt Angle returning to WWE started to surface a couple years ago I wanted him to answer John Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge as his method of return. Since that is no longer possible, Tuesday feels like the best way to revisit that historic segment from 2002.

Evolution segment sets up giant main event

For the Evolution segment I’d have all four members go to ring and cut a promo. They would be interrupted by New Day, who would then be interrupted by The Club (Gallows, Anderson, and AJ Styles). All three teams are going back and forth on the mic when the lights go out. Sanity’s music hits and they decide they want in on the action. This now sets up the giant 12-man main event: Evolution (w/ Ric Flair) vs The Club vs New Day vs Sanity. Teddy Long can make the announcement of the tag team match because that’s what he does best.

Becky Strikes Again

As the segment concludes and is about to go to commercial, Becky Lynch attacks Ric Flair from behind. This is just the next way for Becky to get under Charlotte’s skin. Charlotte comes in to stop it but Paige needs to preserve their title match for Evolution. Paige announces that she’s recruited a former women’s champion to humble Becky. Beth Phoenix makes sense but Molly Holly is more synonymous with the Smackdown brand. We saw Molly return at the Royal Rumble so this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Becky Lynch defeating a legend one on one would further cement her current status as champion.

Evolution (cont.)

During the main event my plan would be for Sanity to win. At Raw 25, the Revival got utterly humiliated by DX so here’s a chance to rectify that. If they’re not ready to give Sanity that kind of a clean win, Undertaker can cost Triple H and Evolution the match. They’re in the middle of a feud and there is no Smackdown celebration without an appearance from The Undertaker.

Eddie Guerrero Tribute

My original plan was for Andrade “Cien” Almas to pay tribute to Eddie but I eventually thought against it since he is his own person. Instead, after a commercial, a video montage should play of Eddie’s best Smackdown moments. WWE is usually really good with their video packages and Eddie is one of Smackdown’s most significant talents of all time. As the montage fades, Rey Mysterio’s music hits to signal his match with Nakamura. Since Rey was his close friend, it would be really special to see some sort of tribute to Eddie on his ring gear or maybe he wins the match via Frog Splash. Perhaps we see Vickie Guerrero play a role in this instead. She’s a former Smackdown General Manager so she deserves a spot in the show for multiple reasons.

Samoan Supremacy

I’m not sure if The Rock is scheduled to make an appearance but I need him for this segment. When looking back at the earliest memories of Smackdown, The Rock is all over them. I’d have him come down to the ring and talk about those memories and his legacy – saying it wouldn’t have been possible without his Samoan ancestors. That’s when Samoa Joe’s music would hit. He’d make the obvious remarks of The Rock’s Hollywood status and what not. Joe would then go on to say that the reason WWE brought him in was because they were tired of The Rock’s and Roman Reigns’ bloodline and needed a fresh start. After all, he has been one of main the faces of Smackdown for all of 2018. After another insult to The Rock’s family, a fight would ensue which would require both guys to get pulled apart. The Rock could even take a shot at Joe’s freshly injured knee before the scrap concludes.

A New Giant Emerges

One of the most iconic moments in Smackdown history is when Brock Lesnar’s superplex to Big Show collapsed the entire ring. Since Big Show returned last week, he could stand in the ring while the clip of that match plays on the Titantron. Big Show lost in his return last week so his promo would have a reflective and somber tone. He would have the audience believe that he’s about to retire. This would be the show to do it on, after all. However, before Show can conclude his speech, Lars Sullivan debuts. Sullivan declares that he won’t allow Show to walk out until he puts him down himself. Lars wins via superplex and a star is born.

Edge and Christian’s Cutting Edge Peep Show

I had a few big stars left over and this was the way to squeeze everyone in. Daniel Bryan is a guest on the Cutting Edge Peep Show. Edge and Christian are congratulating him on his recently earned WWE Championship match. Christian says him and Daniel Bryan are similar in the sense that they were once underdogs. Edge says he sympathizes with Daniel because he also had to retire early. Miz is annoyed and decides to crash the party. He cuts the promo of a lifetime of everyone in the ring and puts over Miz TV as the superior talk show.

A certain Rattlesnake in the back has heard enough. Glass shatters. Dads everywhere toss their children in the air out of excitement. Stone Cold Steve Austin is walkin’ and talkin’ all the way down to the ring. He is clearly fed up. Miz tries to talk over the entrance music and audience ovation to no avail. Austin gives a Smackdown-sized stunner to the Miz and the microphone goes flying. Austin, Bryan, Edge and Christian all celebrate in the ring as Miz lays lifeless. Miz tries to get up toward the end of the celebration but receives another stunner for his troubles. Everyone is happy heading into the main event.

Miscellaneous

The Fist

When lifelong wrestling fans think of Smackdown, they immediately think of the giant fist that used to be centered at the top of the stage. Tuesday is the ideal time to bring it back for one night.

Commentary Team

I’d like to hear some of the voices of Smackdown’s past. Michael Cole and Tazz on commentary with Tony Chimel as the special guest ring announcer would be quite the nostalgia trip.

Hardy Boyz vs The Usos

The Hardy Boys are clearly one of the most crucial elements to the early success of not only Smackdown, but the history of the tag division. In a down year for Smackdown, the Jimmy and Jey Uso were considered by many as the MVPs of the brand in 2017. To my knowledge, these pairs of brothers have never actually squared off in the ring. Let’s make it happen on Tuesday.

Missed Opportunity

As much as I loved King Booker’s return to introduce New Day into the 5-Timer’s Club, I wish there would have been a way to save Booker T for Tuesday night.

Opening Theme

I saw a poll going around Twitter asking for everyone’s favorite Smackdown opening theme of all time. This got me thinking that it would be a fun idea to open the show with a mash-up of all the past themes and short clips of all the past title sequences edited together. It’ll be a quick trip down memory lane to start the night.


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Repetition And Familiarity

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Andrade Cien Almas Zelina Vega WWE Repetition

In our microwave society where we want everything right now, the last thing a lot of us want is to have to watch and wait something get built upon over time.  Now sometimes there’s a legitimate fear that the building won’t amount to anything (as a New York Knicks fan this is literally a perpetual mood), but sometimes our fears are overblown and unfounded.

I’ve spent several weeks here criticizing fans for what I believe are various infractions that make it difficult for not just other fans but even the people who work in the business; I know to some it sounds like I’m fansplaining (and to degree I probably am) but it’s hard to sit still while bad takes are being served up over and over by people who consider themselves smarter than the average fan because they spend time on Reddit forums and such.  So in the interest of staying in this lane while not being as cranky I figure I’d get to something else: the importance of repetition.  Repetition is a key to what makes a lot of things work in wrestling.

Why?

Because what helps establish those memorable moments is people doing a few things well over and over until they gets parked in our memory banks, so that all the other things that come off of them – swerves, counters, etc – get that emotional response they’re looking for.

For example the Kurt Angle battle royal segment struck the chord that it did because of a few things:

  • Several weeks of Baron Corbin acting like a jerk towards everyone, especially booking himself favorably so much
  • Corbin and Stephanie McMahon talking down to Kurt for several weeks, culminating when Stephanie sent him on vacation
  • Corbin looking like he was finally going to have a plan work out in his favor
  • Our memories of all of Angle’s signature moves so that when the Conquistador started pulling them out it triggered our recollections

That was weeks and months of small, sometimes mundane, sometimes annoying stuff that went into setting up what was a fun moment in October.  When you ask for longer, more layered storylines you gotta be patient and go for the ride through a bunch of points that may seem tedious or downright pointless until it’s payoff time.  Corbin getting appointed Constable, overruling and undermining Kurt, getting Kurt sent home, and then putting himself into big matches to get things for himself all led to one of the best segments of the year on TV.

If you give it a chance and let them work their way through you can get a moment where you can just mark out and be happy for a bit.  On the other hand when you constantly armchair quarterback and demand that they give you what you want RIGHT NOW you can lose any chance for a good story, and any chance for getting any real memories out of it.  And that’s no fun at all in the long run.

But that’s not the only example this week.  The likelihood of Kevin Owens turning face has hit about 100 percent probability after his beatdown from Bobby Lashley, who is apparently going heel in the process (turns out that’s going to be delayed, as Owens is going out for knee surgery and will be out a while).  As their match went on you could hear the crowd getting more and more behind Kevin in a real sympathetic way.  But it takes more than one match to make that a thing.

The first seeds were planted earlier this year, when Owens was getting killed by Braun Strowman every week.  While the crowds didn’t turn on Braun, over time his antics went from humorous just desserts to a despicable human being in Owens to downright extreme like tossing him off a cage even though it meant losing the match.  Now when he comes back he’s poised to get a big face reaction especially if Sami Zayn is by his side again.  But it will all be sweeter with some kind of buildup rather than the kind of instant turn some may have wanted because they think KO is one of the best people on the roster.

Next up is the Authors of Pain.  When they first got called up from NXT, they squashed some jobbers then went into a short program with Titus Worldwide, which immediately drew some impatience.  ‘Why are they wasting their time with a comedy act?  They’re getting misused just like everyone else from NXT!’  Then they got a new manager in Drake Maverick and went back to squashing jobbers again for several weeks, which is exactly what they needed.

Why?

Because the Raw audience doesn’t really know these guys since most of them don’t watch NXT.  How are they supposed to know if these two big guys are a dominant force or just a bunch of oafs without seeing how good they are?  And lo and behold, after a few weeks of that they got in the ring with the Shield in a RAW main event and looked like they belonged there.  A four week angle between Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs The Ascension was used as a setup to further drive home this point.  While we were complaining how weird and tedious it was, the payoff was Authors of Pain coming in and obliterating both teams after the match to make it clear that Authors of Pain are superior to the other tag teams.  Now when they eventually win the tag team titles it will be a big deal.

Finally we have Andrade “Cien” Almas over on Smackdown.  Like the AoP he got a quick introductory feud, with Sin Cara, which again prompted some ‘why are they wasting him?’ comments.  Since then he had another mini run with Rusev, then some matches with Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.  And while he’s lost to the latter two the matches have served a purpose.  And that is to show us that he can go with two of the best in ring workers in the business.

Despite all the internet talk about how great he is, the Smackdown audience hasn’t much of a clue because most of them don’t watch NXT (or CMLL where he first hit it big) either.  He’s just a guy with a beautiful business manager in Zelina Vega, and they don’t know if he’s to be a World title contender, a future US champion, or a guy that puts over the top guys but never wins anything significant.

And they won’t know until you show them.  As much as you may want him to win all the things now because he’s so good, it will matter more if he does that next year after everyone has had a chance to see how good he is and how good he and Vega are as a duo.  And that the dreaded casuals have seen him work now in early 2019 the real promotion, with maybe a US Title run, can begin.

Those are just a few examples of how to get it right; there are other examples of how to do it wrong.  Sanity came up and got a couple of quick wins over New Day before the regular Smackdown audience learned anything about them, and now they’re in limbo because quite frankly there hasn’t been any reason established why they should be beating teams like New Day or the Usos or the Bar.

And ‘they were good in NXT’ isn’t a good enough reason.  If I don’t watch NXT I don’t give a damn what they did there. They’re just a guy (or gal) who’s now on the show I do watch, and I need a reason to care about them and believe they are worthy of big things today.  Which means I need to be shown what’s so impressive about them before they’re put in a big match and before they get promoted up the ladder.  Just like I need to know what someone’s big moves are so that I know we’re at a turning point in the match when they go for them.

Ducking Roman Reign’s Superman Punch is a big deal because we know it’s an important move of his and the setup to his finisher.  When Seth Rollins starts stomping his foot when his opponent is prone, we know it’s important because that’s been established as the signal that he’s going for the curbstomp.  If we didn’t know those things from seeing them a million times those spots wouldn’t matter and wouldn’t trigger any kind of reaction.

At WrestleMania 6, the finish worked because it had been set up for years – Hogan’s opponent hits their finisher, he kicks out, Hulks up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, 1-2-3.  So when the Warrior hit his finisher late in the match it was like the Bat Signal being lit in Gotham City.  Kick out, Hulk up, three punches, big boot…..but when Hulk went for the legdrop, Warrior moves, hits a splash and wins instead!  And it’s such a big deal some 28 years later because that ending had been drilled in our heads so much that the twist struck all the right chords when it came.  That’s the value of repetition.


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