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

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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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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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