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Levin’s SmackDown Live Review

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WWE picked up right where it left off last Tuesday night on SmackDown Live, promoting Randy Orton as the new baddest man on the planet. This time, it was Jeff Hardy’s turn to confront “The Viper” after his recent attacks and promo that made him Public Enemy No. 1.

But first, Becky Lynch continued her ascension toward the top of the women’s division food chain. Despite how the company has buried Asuka in my opinion, they are doing the right thing in pushing the first ever SmackDown Women’s Champion in a program with Carmella for the title at SummerSlam.

“I knew if I kept pushing, I would get back to where I want to be,” Lynch told the fans in attendance.

No title match in recent memory. No title belt since 2016. This was a long-time coming. But it’s the right move. Gordon Solie used to say the challenger is always stronger than the champion because they are hungrier. This is exactly what he was talking about.

Carmella is the perfect villain in this scenario – who is making it look too easy to hate her. The heat she receives from WWE’s fan base. The current blue brand champion is learning to deliver a better promo.

But… Then Carmella tries to garner sympathy from the fans in Tampa on Tuesday night. And you knew what was coming. Until Charlotte Flair comes to Lynch’s aid. We all know what’s coming Flair vs. Carmella with a Triple-Threat match for the title at SummerSlam in Brooklyn

Here are a few other things I observed from Tuesday night.

The Usos vs. The Bar

Another match in the SmackDown Tag Team Title Tournament. Two former champions show us how its done. With WWE moving forward with the Bludgeon Brothers as champions, putting together a solid tag team tournament is a smart move.

With The New Day watching the match, of course. This match did not disappoint. The one thing this kind of match does is remind us how important the tag team division is to the Tuesday night program because one less hour means more concentration in the ring.

Move and countermove, fans approved every maneuver. The Bar wins in the best match of the night and face The New Day with the winner getting a title opportunity at SummerSlam.

Samoa Joe Speaks

Is there any chance the Samoan Submission Machine won’t win the WWE Title in Brooklyn? WWE is finally doing the right thing in putting the title on the line with A.J Styles facing an old nemesis from TNA.

I have spoken openly on other sites how Joe has been miscast on more than one occasion. Joe knows how to cater to the fans, make his point and still scare the crap out of them at the same time.

This should be one of the better matches at SummerSlam.

Joe’s promo hit below the belt and was brilliant. Failure as a father and failure as a husband, it makes for an amazing plot line.

Jeff Hardy Gets a Turn – Sort of

Hardy still wants the United States Title and hopes to get a shot at Shinsuke Nakamura for the strap. First, he must take care of business with Orton.

And Nakamura got involved in the shenanigans. A stare down of both heels and a mental agreement before the 13-time world champion once again picks apart Hardy. And wiped away the identity of his future opponent.

I’m not sure how this turns out other than a match at SummerSlam – with or without Nakamura as part of the package. It’s a good storyline for Orton.

Lana vs. Zelina Vega

It may not have been the best match of the night, but it was the hottest match, that’s for sure.

I would rather see what the storyline between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Rusev goes, but this, of course, is a slow build,

Vega wins with the interference of Aiden English. Someone cannot be too happy with this outcome.

Daniel Bryan Addresses the Fans About Last Tuesday

Bryan talked about The Miz building a wall between the two of them. He said his nemesis taunted him and picked at him while he was on the shelf. It continues to be part of the build toward SummerSlam.

Bryan calls The Miz a coward. Yes! Yes! Yes! The Miz is one of the best protagonists in the history of the business. I love how Bryan told The Miz he won’t be The Rock or John Cena.

And the challenge has been issued. SUMMERSLAM!

No, we did not need the crying babies.

Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair

Triple-Threat anyone? This was a much better match than I thought it would be.

Carmella has upped her game and looked solid against the Gold Standard. Flair also sold well for the smaller opponent. This has the makings of a solid match, where now I am thinking Becky Lynch is the one who turns on her best friend.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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#RAWisDVR: Greg DeMarco’s ACCELERATED Look At WWE Raw for 2/18

How much of Raw was Fast Forward worthy on Monday? (A lot.)

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RAWisDVR WWE Raw

Greg DeMarco watches WWE RAW on DVR, and you get to see how much time he saved! In the process, he’s highly entertaining, because it’s Greg DeMarco!

The experiment continues! Monday’s Raw follows up WWE Elimination Chamber, but it’s also a holiday Raw. What will happen? Will Greg skip too much? Let’s see!

Triple H is in entering the ring

  • Raw is weird again–not showing entrances
  • Promo in a nutshell: this is a holiday Raw, and nothing of consequence will happen–but we will try to make you think it is!
  • FAST FORWARD some talking
  • NXT?
  • Having Ricochet, Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa appear on Raw is great, but it immediately makes the 6 stars awaiting assignment look small time
  • No Velveteen Dream? I wonder if this is a set-up?

FAST FORWARD the entrances

Braun Noveltyman vs. Baron Corbin Sucks in a Tables Match

  • I FAST FORWARDed it, but they spent WAY too much time on Corbin walking.
  • He sucks at walking, too.
  • Corbin also sucks at sliding tables under rings.
  • Why would he do that, anyway? He needs a table to win!
  • The flaw in a Tables Match, at least for this experiment, is that you can FAST FORWARD when a table isn’t involved.
  • FAST FORWARD commercials, we’re already saving tons of time tonight!
  • I wonder if Abyss is the agent for Baron Corbin’s matches? I mean, that’s the Vortex Of Suck!
  • Strowman wins. You’re shocked, I know.
  • Paul Heyman is on the stage, as WWE tries to keep you from changing the channel.

FAST FORWARD the commercials
Timestamp 15:39 (Show time: 35:43)

Paul Heyman is on the stage

  • Heyman didn’t give us the proper intro, and it hurt the segment.
  • FAST FORWARD the video
  • Heyman is right, Brock Lesnar is a force of nature that we can’t do anything about. That’s why him as champion works so well.
  • This crowd doesn’t really seem to care all that much about Seth Rollins
  • ANOTHER INTERRUPTION – #FinnBalorsDick is out and dressed to fight

Alternate Names For This:

  • #RAWisINTERRUPTION
  • #PleaseDontChangeTheChannel
  • #RAWisWEIRD

FAST FORWARD the commercials and video

Finn Balor & Ricochet vs. Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush

  • “One of these championships” isn’t a great way to describe everyone’s favorite title
  • Lio Rush is here, presumably to distract Balor so Lashley can attack him (because WWE)
  • And there he is!
  • BTW, you don’t FAST FORWARD when Lio Rush is talking
  • Which NXT star saves Balor? Ricochet? Black?
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it’s Ricochet.
  • FAST FORWARD the commercials
  • Ricochet really needed an introduction for this audience
  • Evan Bourne mention by Renee Young?
  • Renee is basically telling us that no one watches NXT.
  • This crowd could give a shit about Ricochet.
  • Four amazing athletes and there’s enough stalling for me to FAST FORWARD?
  • FAST FORWARD the commercials, again?
  • If you’re worried about Ricochet on the main roster…your fear is warranted.
  • FAST FORWARD the talking, but I stopped to see what Drew McIntyre was

FAST FORWARD so much stuff!
Timestamp: 33:45 (Real time: 1:23:05)

The Major Brothers (Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins) vs. Lucha House Party’s Gran Metallik & Lince Dorado

  • This isn’t where Hawkins wins, right? A throw away Raw match?
  • “Tans don’t win championships, ask Eric Bischoff!”
  • BTW, if Corey Graves is going through personal strife, he’s BURYING himself in his work, because he’s on fire tonight!
  • And of course Hawkins loses.
  • FAST FORWARD time!

Charly Caruso interviews Heavy Machinery

  • TUCKER hits the highlights, OTIS drives it home
  • Lacey Evans literally just walks the fuck around! And does nothing else? Lars couldn’t handle this?
  • We’re not having matches now, just entrances? And Bushwhacker walking? Missed opportunity for me to FAST FORWARD.

FAST FORWARD the commercials

DIY talks to Bobby Roode & chad Gable

  • Johnny Gargano looks like he’s waiting to say his lines, but Tommaso Ciampa is sitting there maintaining his gimmick
  • See Renee, The Revival watches NXT!
  • And the entrance we do get is The Revival?
  • Oh we get Ciampa and Gargano entrances, too

The Revival vs. DIY (non-title assumed)

  • The fans in Lafayette have got to feel like they did something wrong, or wonder if they’re still watching dark matches
  • Literally 6 people are chanting “NXT!” Somehow I don’t see how this was a good idea.
  • While we’re here, anyone want to talk to me about how important it is to have defined Faces and Heels? No? Didn’t think so.
  • Classic Gargano? Not Vintage? Maybe Cole really is looking to finish this up.
  • FAST FORWARD the commercials and I am 5 minutes short of an hour saved
  • A “Saints Got Robbed” sign? Let it go, brother.
  • The announcers selling what it would mean if DIY wins has to be foreshadowing, eh?
  • This match is proof that you can’t just throw matches out and expect a reaction–you need to build characters first.
  • Great match–imagine if the crowd had a reason to be invested in more than the last two minutes!

Charly Caruso talks to Ricochet

  • Damn, Ricochet looks nervous
  • I hope that was done live, and not the best take in pretapes

FAST FORWARD the commercials
(These Kevin Owens videos are boring–this is supposed to get him over upon return?)
Timestamp: 59:27 (Real time: 2:01:15)
FAST FORWARD the promo, the commentary aside, DX package, commercials, and more entrances

Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre

  • Credit to McIntyre for trying to take the referee’s directions off camera, but this was WAY off
  • I don’t want to blame Ambrose, but shit this was oddly bad

FAST FORWARD
Timestamp: 1:04:24 (Real time: 2:22:23 )

Seth Rollins Talking to Charly Caruso

  • It’s about what you’d expect.
  • Whatever they’re doing with Ambrose here, it sucks.

FAST FORWARD the commercials and videos

Elias vs. Aleister Black

  • “Hello I am Eliath” Aleister Black here?
  • Elias is so good at cheap heat, and I 100% believe in cheap heat
  • And we let Aleister cut a promo? That’s totally bad for his character.
  • Black trimmed the beard, and it was a smart move
  • FAST FORWARD the commercials
  • “His tattoos tall a story about his life–dark and mean” yet I see flowers on his arm?
  • FAST FORWARD the chinlock
  • BLACK MASS is still a great finisher, even if this one was a bit awkward.
  • I really wonder if the time these guys have to work on their matches at the PC really is the key to NXT’s success

FAST FORWARD the commercials and entrances

Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott

  • Holiday Raw means no Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair?
  • Did Ronda borrow shorts from Lacey Evans?
  • Someday Ruby Riott is going to be booked like a plucky underdog babyface, and she’s going to flourish
  • Even the commentary is off tonight!
  • And there’s the “WE WANT BECKY!” chants
  • Camera work, anyone? We just saw two different conversations take place in the ring.
  • Damn, Ronda took that Riott kick square to the head!
  • And Ronda has now kicked out of Ruby’s finisher TWICE. Once off the top!
  • Ronda was terrible tonight.
  • Raw ends with Ronda standing tall and nothing else.

Final Timestamp: 1:24:44
Real Time: 3:00:00
Time Saved: 1:35:16

Overall, this was just a weird Raw. Nearly everything seemed off, and as we march towards WrestleMania, nothing that happened tonight will be remembered.

 

 

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco’s 205 Live, NXT UK, and WWE NXT Star Ratings (2/12-2/13/19)

The WWE Network brands delivered in a big way this week!

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Noam Dar Tony Nese wwe 205 Live

Greg DeMarco rates this week’s WWE Network shows, and they deliver in a very consistent way!

Three shows. One week. I was a busy man this week with the new job and the birthday, but I finally got the rest of NXT hammered out! I hope you enjoy the ratings as much as I enjoyed the shows because they delivered in all three this week.

WWE 205 Live

Lince Dorado vs. Jack Gallagher – ***1/4

Underrated match here. Great mix if styles and both men had a chance to shine. Loved the finish. Don’t sleep on this one. I like that the match was left open-ended. I feel like we’ll see Gulak/Gallagher/Humberto Carrillo vs. Lucha House Party, and I’m not upset by that.

No Disqualification – Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese – ****

I’ve been wondering out lout about who steps up to challenge Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania. Now, the answer is really simple. That challenger should be Noam Dar. Hell of a match here, both men kicked each other’s ass, but told a story while doing it. I’ve never been the biggest Tony Nese fan (in WWE, I loved him on the independents), but he delivered every bit as much as Noam Dar. This could have sold a crowd on a main roster show.

WWE NXT UK

Noam Dar vs. Jordan Devlin – ***3/4

One hell of a match between Dar and Devlin. From a televised perspective, Noam Dar low key had a hell of a week. I won’t get off of my Dar vs. Murphy idea anytime soon, and Jordan Devlin would be a fantastic addition to 205 Live. The Travis Banks involvement didn’t hurt it for me, as that story is a big part of 205 Live. Plus it keeps Devlin strong in the loss.

Jinny vs. Mia Yim – ***1/4

I enjoyed this way more than expected, since Jinny is in it. The match built from the start, kicking it up another notch in the middle and finding a third gear in the end. Can Jinny win me over? The jury is still out on that, but I highly recommend this match.

WWE UK Championship Match: Pete Dunne vs. Wolfgang – ***1/2

Gallus is a vastly underrated heel stable. Dunne should be in NXT Takeover main events with Tommaso Ciampa. I would love to see that match at Takeover: New York. This match delivered, yet another in a great week.

WWE NXT

Dominik Dijakovic vs. Shane Thorne – ***

Good match that, for me, did way more for Shane Thorne. Don’t sleep on Thorne, he deserves a chance. As for Dijakovic, it’s gotten to the point of repetition. Give this man something more to do.

Side Note: Interesting that they basically declared that Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were a tag team again, and Strong and Cole were going after singles gold. Could Undisputed Era hold all the (men’s) gold at some point this year? I’d be shocked if that happened.

Side-Side Note: Kassius Ohno, who I love, still looks like a fat dude wrestling in his pajamas.

The Street Profits vs. Humberto Carrillo & Stacey Ervin Jr – ***1/4

This match, for me, might end up being viewed as the night The Street Profits “got it.” They turned up the intensity in all aspects, from character to ring work, and it really enhanced the match. Carrillo is also a star in waiting, and Ervin shows some promise as well. This was really good.

Taynara Conti vs. Aaliyah – **3/4

Aaliyah being paired with Vanessa Bourne is…odd. But for me, this is the best Aaliyah has ever looked in the ring. Props to WWE for being patient. Conti is a missed opportunity. When she helped Undisputed Era (that one time lol) she should have become a member. That would have done wonders for her, and given them yet another wrinkle. Outside of the post-match attack, this felt like an NXT Florida house show loop match (which it probably has been in the past).

Ricochet vs. Adam Cole – ***3/4

If you know me, you know my Adam Cole man-crush runs deep, BAY BAY. So I am obligated to tell you that the wrong guy won here. But if I set that love aside, it makes total sense for Ricochet to win while Undisputed Era stands tall at the end. It was all set up during the earlier promo.

That said, both men delivered another Takeover quality performance in this match.


The WWE Network shows (205 Live, NXT UK, and WWE NXT) had a total of 9 matches this week. One of them had 4 stars, one was below 3, meaning we still had seven other matches in the 3 star range. This was an entertaining three hours of content, and one of the most consistent weeks I have ever seen. Good on the fine folks on all three WWE Network brands, both on and backstage.


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