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CheapShots: Mad Man’s Panhandle Rush (WWE Raw)



Sasha Banks

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!

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