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Levin’s WWE SmackDown Live Review: August 7, 2018

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Is it fair to say I was underwhelmed by Tuesday’s SmackDown Live show from Orlando? After being on hand to watch Ronda Rousey in her WWE singles debut and feeling the energy from the soldout crowd in Jacksonville from Momday Night Raw, I came home Tuesday night hoping to be overcome with excitement as the second to last show for the blue team before SummerSlam should have made a statement.

It did not. And because of it, I changed my format a bit for this week. We are allowed to do that from time to time, to show creativity and keep things fresh.

While Randy Orton continues to give fans his best performance of his career, blaming them for the lack of respect he has been shown over his career, how he fits in the United States Title match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy is yet to be determined. It is difficult following to storylines when the title match takes a backseat to the new package WWE has created for “The Viper.”

Personally, I never knew the third-generation superstar could be this entertaining. In years past, he has been stiff, uncomfortable on the microphone and somewhat robotic. The “Apex Predator” has finally become a complete performer.

I have to admit I am beginning to like the new Randy Orton. From “Legend Killer” to “Legend” or whatever you want to call him, he has been at his best while he has been at his worst. Orton opened SmackDown Live with plenty to say and one statement to make. He would erase any opponent put in front of him.

This is the best Orton we have seen, and the most vocal. He said his actions are because of a lack of respect he has received over the years from the locker room and the fans. While he is not part of the United States Title match between Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura, the 13-time world champion figures to be a part of the result.

WWE has rebranded a veteran who figures to be part of the main event shortly. Orton prefers to play the role of the heel and has been rumored to have politic for the change.

Here are a few other thoughts from Tuesday night

Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch are Headed for Splitsville

This, my friends, is what we call tension. We all know where this is headed – the infamous storyline of friends becoming foes. Somehow, I believe the IIconics want to be the Bella Twins. The fans did not like the monologue prior to the match. The match wasn’t great. Flair got the win, which thrilled Lynch.

Sense the sarcasm?

After the match, you could see the transformation happening, the fiery redhead turning into a jealous and angry heel. It’s only a matter of time. Less than two weeks and counting. The problem is, in order to do this properly, Flair must beat Lynch for the strap while Carmella falls in line with the story.

The idea of Lynch turning heel does have its appeal, especially if it leads to a confrontation with Asuka for the title by the end of the year.

The Miz’s Major Announcement

It is on! The Miz announced he and Daniel Bryan will meet at SummerSlam. It could be the match of the year. Hopefully, WWE will continue to build the momentum of this battle.

Byron Saxton interviews The Miz…

Once again, The Miz kicks it out of the part. His over-the-top personality is perfect for this wrestling climate. And then, Bryan appears and attacks his rival. It’s building to be … wait for it… AWESOME!

WWE has slow played this match since “Talking Smack” and the confrontation heard around the wrestling world. This match must meet everyone’s expectations – including mine. I am already thinking “Match of the Year” and “Feud of the Year”.

Please do not disappoint me, boys.

AJ Styles Speaks

It was the current WWE Champion’s chance to rebuke the comments made by Samoa Joe one week ago. This was a fairly bad promo as Styles is a better performer than he is a talker. Still, the message is clear – this could be one of the best matches of the night in Brooklyn.

“You made it personal when you talked about my family,” Styles said. “I want to be one of the greatest WWE superstars for my family.”

Styles and Joe go back to the independent circuit. While his delivery wasn’t as direct as his opponent, Styles made his claim to keep the WWE Title. I hope WWE does the right thing and puts the strap on Joe’s waist for a while. Let Styles chase him for the belt, and eventually make him a three-time world champion.

Zelina Vega vs. Lana – The Rematch

I still want to see more of Andrade “Cien” Almas and Rusev, but this will do – if f0r nothing else than the hot factor. The only problem is I hate the program. It takes away from Almas getting a much-deserved push.

Both women have been impressive in recent weeks. But the Aiden Engish angle takes away from a pretty good storyline. Can we already get past the apologies and have the two former friends get in the ring?

And if that is the case, where does Almas fir in all of this? I thought WWE was high on him and ready to push him toward the main event? That’s two straight weeks has not been in-ring action.

The New Day Beat The Bar

The best match of the night produces the wrong winner, in my opinion. The Bar – Sheamus and Cesaro – showed no signs of rust and continue to impress with their strength and size.

The New Day is still one of the best tag teams to ever wrestle in WWE. Maybe it is fatigue, but I would love to see someone else go over and face the Bludgeon Brothers. When you have a tag team so big and so dominant as Harper and Rowan, you must have an equally impressive opponent. The David vs. Goliath theme does not work here.

So SummerSlam will pit the baddest tag time in wrestling since the Wild Samoans against cartoonish act we are tired of.

Some hold the popcorn. This might be a bathroom break for me.

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The Good, Bad and Ugly: SmackDown Live 12.11.18

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Does the TLC Go Home of SmackDown continue to build excitement, or does it go the way of Raw and help us all get to sleep earlier? Bobby let’s us know how things are shaping up.

 

With Tables, Ladders and Chairs coming up this weekend, we had a semi-sweet Monday Night Raw.  The actual in ring action looked decent.  SmackDown is always looking bright, and tonight shouldn’t disappoint.  What surprises are ahead on the Pre-TLC SmackDown?

The Good

Opening Promo w/ Daniel Bryan to Non-Title Match (WWE Champion) Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali

Daniel Bryan is solidifying his heel persona by continuing his onslaught on the general public and acting as wrestling’s Smokey the Bear.  Shaming his once devoted fans, causing everyone to react in some way.  Daniel Bryan continues to pile on that his old self is now dead, and all of the fans are idiots.  Cheap pops and heat continued on.  Until luckily it was interrupted by Ali.  Mustafa Ali is a great talent.  He didn’t do much of the talking here.  He mostly fell victim to Daniel Bryan spewing his agenda.  Ali went on to ask Daniel Bryan what’s up with his new attitude, only to be disrespected with a slap to the face.  We saw a little action which gave us a taste of what is to come.  Daniel Bryan looked sharp.  His strikes were well done and was full of energy.  This evil, snapped gimmick is working well for him.  He wore down Ali,working the knee.  Old school, clean wrestling.  Ali had minimal offense but stuck to his high spots.  Even with the multiple interruptions and heavy commercials, this was a Good match.  After some incredible feats, Ali misses an inverted 450.  Daniel Bryan went on to tear Ali apart, making him tap to the “Heel Hook.” Daniel Bryan Wins, a hot opening match. After the match, overkill set in, with Daniel Bryan viciously attacking Mustafa Ali up the ramp.  This wasn’t needed but acted as a callous to Daniel Bryan’s changeover to a heel. 

Randy Orton Promo

Orton wielding a chair went about showing off his previous torture of Rey Mysterio, questioning why anyone would want to have a chair match with a guy like him.  Just as he was about finished, Rey Mysterio attacked him out of nowhere, hitting Orton with a chair and a 619, causing Randy Orton to flee.  Not a bad promo.  Short and effective. 

Rusev and Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe and Shisuke Nakamura

Rusev being involved is Good for business.  These four are some of the best in the business.  Rusev has the abilities to carry the WWE as the Heavyweight Champion. Much like a Bobby Roode, he has had moments of being overlooked, however that can change at any moment like we saw on Raw.  Pairing Shinsuke and Rusev is genius and a guaranteed winner.  WWE just has to let them work and it will be fantastic.  After being interrupted by an untimely dance off from Carmella and R-Truth, Shinsuke Nakamura brutally attacked Jeff Hardy from behind.  Samoa Joe continued the assault on Hardy.  This wasn’t brilliant considering the talent here, but it was entertaining enough.  As the crowd showed everyone, Rusev when finally given the opportunity, delivered and looked Good in there.  He is a great talent all around.  After a devastating kick to the face, Rusev covers Nakamura for the Victory! 

Asuka vs. Charlotte

Going into this, how could it be Bad?  It really can’t right?  First thing, it is a great Main Event, also,having Becky Lynch come out after the contenders were already in the ring was also great.  Charlotte looked completely flawless and confident.  This was very physical.  Asuka not to be outdone did some outstanding work.  Asuka kept after “The Queen” working her arms and beating her down. Charlotte and Asuka went back and forth most of the match.  Charlotte finally trapped Asuka into a “Figure 4” but getting reversed.  The two went back and forth fighting every second. This match was action packed.  Asuka repeatedly kicked Charlotte in the face, until Charlotte hits a spear.  After landing on her feet from a blocked moonsault, Charlotte then kicked out of a roll up from a countered “Figure 4”.  Asuka hit the “Asuka Lock” that was countered sending Charlotte and Asuka to the floor. Charlotte then when psycho, Getting Disqualified for using her Kendo Stick.  Before Charlotte could go too far, Becky Lynch got her back, only to get attacked by Asuka.  Asuka went crazy with the Kendo Stick staking her claim of dominance.  Asuka Win!    

THE BAD:  N/A

THE UGLY

New Day Rap Battle:  Usos vs. The Bar

This style of promo has potential.  It can be really Ugly or really Good.  Depending how much cheese is involved vs.actual humor.  The New Day came out looking dapper and ready for the festivities. They are always ready to party.  The Bar had their Run DMC track suits and Flavor Flav clocks for decor.  That’s where it ended with a cheese filled “Ice Ice Baby” to remedy their horrendous rap abilities.  The Uso’s surprisingly were also not great at this.  This was a completely ridiculous,worthless segment.  Chalk this up as Ugly. 

Miz Promo (Shane McMahon and Miz vs. The Vegas Boys

Begging is just ridiculously over the top, especially in the current SmackDown setting.  It’s cheap.  The Miz and Shane are both Good typically on the mic.  This was a smooth promo,however out of the blue Miz calls out a ref for a tag match.  This match was horrible.  Shane had more botches than I have ever seen.  This was absolutely Ugly all around.  Shane ended the debauchery by submission for the victory. 

Tally

Good:  4

Bad:  0

Ugly:  2

Final Results:  Good(ish)

Although the Good outweighed the Ugly on this one, we had some pretty Ugly moments.  More than I have seen on SmackDown in sometime.  This wasn’t their strongest show among the past few weeks, but it worked. The highlight of the night was the Main Event!  TLC is Sunday and I would say thanks to SmackDown, we are ready to roll! 

 

How did you feel about this past SmackDown? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Can a Queen of the Ring Event Work in Today’s WWE?

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Sasha Banks WWE Queen Of The Ring

Rumors are swirling about WWE bringing back a throwback event for the next all-women’s PPV.  A Queen of the Ring tournament sounds like a good idea as a focal point for the PPV considering the ever-evolving Women’s Evolution.

Many fans remember the King of the Ring, which was considered one of the big five PPVs for WWE back in the 1990s.  King of the Ring had its ups and downs, but it was mostly known for the birth of Austin 3:16.  The iconic moment still stands the test of time twenty two years later, however others such as Owen Hart, Triple H, and Edge certainly benefited from the once-prestigious tournament.

After Brock Lesnar’s win in 2002, King of the Ring slowly began to fade out.  The last tournament was in 2015,where Bad News Barrett would later become King Barrett to celebrate the win.  Before that was the infamous King Sheamus, who won the one prior back in 2010.

The allure and beneficial factor of King of the Ring definitely dissipated by the time it was brought back.  King of the Ring used to be a big deal, meaning that the winner was definitely en route to a huge push or a WWE Championship opportunity down the road.  The accolade was something that a few men could add to their list of accomplishments.

So let’s fast forward to now with these Queen of the Ring ideas.  Could this really work in today’s WWE that is struggling to create lasting moments and new stars?

It depends on the commitment factor for the company; and that lies on the success and reception of the event if it did happen.  There is certainly use for it, as the tournament can be used to elevate talent such as Ruby Riott, Peyton Royce, or Sasha Banks.  On the flip side, it wouldn’t be no surprise if someone such as Alexa Bliss or Mandy Rose could take the win to garner extra heat for their respective character.  That would certainly work, as Bliss is an example of someone who is very much over and the company seems to be completely behind her.

Consistency also matters, in which it is crucial to make the Queen of the Ring idea work.  That goes hand in hand with the storytelling aspect that the company has been struggling with for some time now.  Gaps in logic with missed opportunities have done more harm than good, and with Evolution’s success, it wouldn’t be fair to the women if Queen of the Ring was one and done thanks to those poor factors.

Queen of the Ring is a great idea that could certainly help the Women’s Division.  Having the tournament at the Women’s PPV would create interest for fans that want something to look forward to.  There is no doubt that the talent would shine during the Queen of the Ring – even the potential for possible Match of the Year candidates is high at an event such as this. 

WWE has all of the tools to make this a success if at all possible this is true.  Overall, it would be beneficial for the Women’s Division, and it will help the Evolution become full circle –something that the Division is meant to be.


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

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