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Styles vs. Joe: Legacy on the Line

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SummerSlam has had some tremendous championship matches over the past thirty years. This year’s event promises to be no different, as the WWE & Universal Championships will be defended in matches featuring two of wrestling’s greatest rivalries of the 21st century. We all know that Brock Lesnar will once again take on Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship because the fans just can’t get enough of it. Perhaps The Big Dog will finally get his bone in front of an adoring Brooklyn crowd.

The WWE Championship match is pretty exciting to those of us that have followed wrestling outside of WWE over the past fifteen years. AJ Styles & Samoa Joe traveled very similar roads to get here. They met multiple times in Ring of Honor when Styles would make guest appearances while Joe was ROH Champion. Joe eventually left ROH & moved into Styles’ neighborhood, TNA. He immediately became Styles’ top competition for the X Division Championship & supremacy in the promotion.

Their rivalry continued off & on for the next eight years, often involving Christopher Daniels. They even had a five-star triple threat match back when that meant something. I saw Joe & Styles face off on a TNA house show at the Cincinnati Gardens in June 2008. Ten years later they’ll meet in the Barclays Center, an arena that will be slightly more full than the Gardens was on that night.

It’s a great story for people like me. How do people not like me feel?

There is one complaint I can see about this match being made for SummerSlam. Joe hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot since moving to the blue brand. After coming up short in the Money in the Bank ladder match & a gauntlet to determine the #1 contender to the WWE Championship, Joe was off of SmackDown Live for the next month. He returned two weeks ago & has gained victories over Tye Dillinger & R-Truth. With all due respect to Dillinger & R-Truth, beating them doesn’t carry much weight with the audience. Some will say it’s not enough to establish Joe as a credible threat to be WWE Champion.

I would say that Samoa Joe is a credible threat to hold any championship in wrestling.

You know that we here at The Chairshot are all about wrestlers that are Men with a capital M. Samoa Joe is a Man. He carries himself like a dangerous human being. He looks like somebody you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. His offense is believable. He can choke out anybody standing across the ring from him and people would buy it. His track record against Styles is as good as anybody’s. Joe was 7-2 in singles matches against Styles during their time in TNA. Overall, he’s 9-4 against the Phenomenal One. He’s had AJ’s number for most of his career. Of course, the last time they met was over five years ago.

Styles has undeniably stepped his game up since leaving TNA. He’s a more complete performer than he was during his rivalry with Joe. Being WWE Champion has solidified his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of his time. That’s what Samoa Joe is going for at SummerSlam. Beating AJ Styles on that stage for that championship would solidify his legacy.

It’ll be a lot easier said than done. But if anybody can do it, it’s Samoa Joe.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

Becky, Ronda, or Charlotte: Who Should Win?

Ok, we assume the match. But who wins?

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Ronda Rousey Becky Lynch Charlotte Flair

There’s a historic women’s main event coming to WrestleMania, and it’s time to start considering who comes out on top.

We’re now one week closer to WrestleMania, and while we’re still not officially in the know about who’s going to be in the big match I think it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re going to end up with a triple threat between Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair.  So the real question is: who wins?  Is there a case for anyone other than Becky winning or is it Becky or Bust?  I thought I’d take a look at it now.

Becky Lynch

Why:  It’s the easy, feel good, no brainer call.  There hasn’t been a feel good ending since WrestleMania 30 (32 was supposed to be one, but the whining crybabies in the crowd couldn’t stand to see the Prince of Darkness Roman Reigns win in the main event ruined that one).  Becky winning won’t piss many people off in the building and would make a lot of people happy.  After last year’s frustrating finish and the sad one from a year earlier, just do the simple thing and don’t try to get too clever or outsmart yourself, Vince.

Why Not:  What comes next?  Becky chasing the champion > Becky as champion, we’ve already seen that.  Assuming Ronda takes a break after WrestleMania, then unless Charlotte comes to RAW with her then she’s going to be in the position of having to work as champion against a roster of opponents that either don’t appear to be on her level or could outshine her in a one on one setting, and that could make things difficult after the post-Mania glow starts to fade (I talked about this more here).  Us as fans don’t have to worry about that but when you’re booking things, you do.  Her character is going to hit a crossroads soon after and if they feel that the long term investment with her at the top will not pay off then taking the hit now and moving forward may be what they want to do.

Ronda Rousey

Why:  First up if she is going to take a break right afterwards then there is no why.  She’s gotta drop the tile.  But if she isn’t then you gotta look at the headlines.  The biggest mainstream coverage afterwards would come with her winning.  ‘MMA Champion conquers WWE at WrestleMania’ will get a lot more play then anything about her losing.  To the casual observers, people who don’t watch at all, or people who only pay attention on a surface level she’s the name that draws the attention and there’s more momentum to be gained with them by still having her on top than taking a loss.  For them, once she loses the story is over and it’s time to find something else to do so better to have something to keep their attention.  As well as the women have performed the driving force behind the interest in their side has been Ronda being there and you want to keep that going as long as you can.

Why not:  Your hardcore audience has talked themselves into believing that Ronda losing is a foregone conclusion.  If it doesn’t happen a lot of them are going to be pissed.  That’s pretty much it.  If she’s not taking a break then it’s perfectly logical for her to win and keep the title.

Charlotte Flair

Why not:  I’m flipping things around here on purpose.  Charlotte winning neither pays off the heroes journey story Becky is on or maximizes media coverage like Ronda winning could.  To the people who have fallen hard for Becky, this would literally be the evil prevailing and would feed the narrative of Vince giving Charlotte everything because of her last name (and that is beyond tired by the way).  It would be a crushing blow and might make some of them want to quit entirely.  The only people who would be happy are the Charlotte fans like myself, and there would be a deluge of dirty diaper podcasts going on and on about the old man losing it again.  Wrestling twitter would be ablaze about it, too.  And in a world where a lot of fans take out their anger with a finish not by booing the heel but ranting about Vince, it really may not be worth the headache no matter what you planned.

Why:  She’s the safest bet long term.  Ronda is not going to be around 10 more years and there’s no real certainty to how long Becky’s run can maintain it’s momentum win or lose.  Charlotte may never be as popular with hardcore fans as Becky is now but she is the best performer on the Women’s side and projects greatness in a way that is always going to draw attention and make her matches feel like a big deal.  We know that she can perform at a high and compelling level as champion, which matters. And we’ve seen she can maintain some level of interest even without the full weight of the machine behind her like Becky is getting now.  In two years Ronda may be gone for good and Becky cooled off, but Charlotte will probably be where she is now.  If they think that taking this heel thing up a notch and really riding with it is the way to go then they may want to go with it now instead of waiting a few months to put a title back on her anyway.  Also, the backlash may not be as big as wrestling twitter would have you believe.  If the plan was always for her to win, and they have a map going forward with it after the show then my own fan bias notwithstanding I think they should stick with the plan.

So what’s the Final Verdict?

Man, I don’t know.  On the one hand there is the emotional payoff with Becky and then on the other hand there are what may be the better structural decisions with either long term with Charlotte or short term with Ronda.  My preference as a fan is for Charlotte, my gut says just give the loudest voices what they want with Becky, and what little business acumen I have says go with Ronda assuming she’s not going for a break.  Decisions, decisions…….

Aw screw it.  Ronda’s going on a break, Charlotte’s the best woman on the roster, she’s been having kick ass matches for the past year, she’s put Becky over a million times and has been as much a part of her rise as Becky herself.  It’s about time excellence got properly rewarded and pushed like it should be.  Enough with the damn underdogs, you don’t really like them as much as you think anyway.  Give her the dam victory, she’s earned it.  Suck it, haters.

And next year, we do the same for the Big Dog!!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

Comics & Wrestling: More In Common Than You Thought?

Do comics and wrestling have more in common than we think?

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WWE Wrestling Comics John Cena Super Man

Guest column from Chad Aaron shows the relation between comics and wrestling–even more than you think?

I was in a waiting room not too long ago and happened to be wearing a wrestling t-shirt, featuring The Shield. An older woman asked me if those were comic book characters on my shirt, and not being in the mood for a discussion at the time, I simply told her yes. As I sat and waited. I started thinking about it. Wrestlers are very much like live-action comic book characters. There is a lot of crossover between the respective fanbases. Here are some examples.

NOTE: The following are generalizations. I’m not a comic book reader, so coming at me with “Well, so-and-so does/doesn’t do this thing you said” misses the entire point of this discussion.

Wrestlers Have A Superpower: Their Finisher

Comic book heroes and villains generally have a defined superpower, some multiple ones. Most wrestles have a finishing move, something they do better than anyone else. Top stars may have more than one. Superman can fly and has x-ray vision. The Undertaker is known for the Tombstone & Last Ride, among others.

Most Wrestlers Have An Alter Ego: Them In Real Life

Most wrestlers use a different name than they have in real life. Same thing in the comic book universe(s) And then they will change names as situations and stories evolve. Dick Grayson was Robin, then Nightwing. Steve Austin was Stunning before he was Stone Cold, and his given last name is actually Williams.

Wrestlers, Like Superheroes, Have A Backstory

Most superheroes and villains have a detailed backstory that makes them who they are. Most wrestlers who stay with a company for any significant length of time will have their own collection of stories, this team, that heel/face turn, this title chase, etc…

Superheroes And Wrestlers Both Tend To Form Groups

There are alliances and groups formed for varying reasons. The nWo, DX, Four Horsemen, even The New Day. Comics have X-Men, Avengers, Justice League, Suicide Squad, among many others.

Hero/Villian Alignment Changes

You will see wrestlers turn heel/face, and heroes who become villains. This happens more often in Wrestling but is not unheard of in comic books.

Storylines Involve Real Life Situations

Storylines go beyond fighting crimes and/or fighting in the ring. Both deal with relationships, love, broken trust, enemies-becoming-allies, you name it. Family dynamics make up a significant portion of stories in each universe.

Someone Real Is Putting This On

Comic books will have a variety of writers and artists handling them, each with their own take and spin on the character. Wrestling has a never-ending series of bookers and creative teams and match agents and producers, all of whom have varying ideas what a wrestler will do or say.

Both Have Large Companies And Independents

Comics are dominated by a couple of large companies and a myriad of smaller ones. Wrestling has had a similar dynamic since the mid-80’s. In both realms, the various companies often have similar characters and occasionally, ones with the same names.

Comics And Wrestling Each Have The Most Passionate Fanbase

And the fanbases of each are very, very passionate. When a wrestler does something out of character, the reaction is swift and immediate. When a movie strays from the comic cannon, the reaction is equally heated.

Of course, there have been a few examples of crossover between the two. Stephen Amell, the actor behind the Green Arrow, has wrestled a number of matches with several companies, including a WWE Pay-per-view. Rey Mysterio Jr. and Finn Balor (as Prince Devitt) have been known to incorporate superhero designs into their wrestling attire.

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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