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Ronda Rousey’s WWE Raw In-Ring Debut Is A Huge Success Live

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Ronda Rousey WWE RAW Debut

Take a journey to WWE Monday Night Raw, live, with The Chairshot’s David Levin, who is in attendance for the Raw in-ring debut of Ronda Rousey in Jacksonville, Florida.

The last time I attended a professional wrestling match, I was a sophomore in college and the NWA was still a thing in this business. My return to a live show, with the first ever Monday Night Raw singles match for Ronda Rousey, made it worth the trip. Welcome to Monday Night Raw, Ronda.

While the match did not last long, and there was more talking and promotion before the match before the in-ring action took place, there is little doubt WWE is now doing the right thing by building Rousey, the former UFC, and MMA star, into the biggest thing to come around this business since Brock Lesnar signed with WWE.

The sellout crowd in Jacksonville was more than receptive to Rousey’s first singles match and to Alicia Fox, who is from Ponte Vedra – a stone’s throw from the Veteran’s Memorial Arena.

WWE has created a buzz around the women’s division on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live with the Evolution PPV on the horizon. To close down the show with two consecutive matches – The Riott Squad vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks preceded the Rousey-Fox finale – shows the company’s commitment to making women’s matches a staple of sports entertainment.

For years, WWE made women a carnival sideshow. Beth Phoenix, Lita and Trish Stratus left the company, leaving a group of beautiful yet talented performers the company did not know how to market. The Women’s Revolution – Paige, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Banks, and Bayley – changed all of that.

A change for the better.

Rousey should have won this match much like Nia Jax and Braun Strowman did when they first moved to the main roster. But I do see what WWE is doing here by sticking to a true storyline with the finale of the program ending in a match between Rousey and Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam.

Kudos to the creative team for having the foresight to realize the match at WrestleMania 34 with Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H should not be what defines the rookie as a performer.

The ultimate goal is to make Rousey a believable character. It’s hard to try to dial down the hysteria and hype of a woman who consistently beat the hell out of her opponents in an octagon. Now, her focus is on knowing how to self-promote, play to the strengths of the crowd and sell for her opponents. Jax is still learning how to make that work.

Rousey’s debut is exactly how it should have gone, with her coming out on top. With two weeks left until SummerSlam, WWE will need to put its foot on the accelerator to make sure the hype train does not derail because of some of her shortcomings.

The Rousey project should be a half-marathon, not a sprint. There is plenty of time to continue to build her up as the biggest and best WWE has to offer. After last night, it’s a given it will happen sooner rather than later.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco: Box Office Brock Lesnar And The New WWE

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Brock Lesnar WWE Money In The Bank

After a hard-hitting WWE Money In The Bank, Greg DeMarco offers perspective on Brock Lesnar winning the Money In The Bank briefcase and the obvious shift in the WWE product & presentation.

I know you read that headline and wondered what in the hell I was smoking. Brock Lesnar leaves Hartford with the Money In The Bank briefcase, and I’m calling it a new WWE? I have to be insane, right? Well, that perspective is 100% wrong. (I mean…I may be insane–but not for that reason!) WWE Money In The Bank was shock and awe from start to finish, and you have every reason to be excited. The reactions I am seeing prove that the online community doesn’t want to enjoy WWE. Hopefully, for me, some mainstream fans will read this article too!

Box Office Brock Lesnar

I know what you’re thinking…same ol’ sh*t, right? I can’t say I agree. On the technicality side, Brock Lesnar has never held the Money In The Bank briefcase, so it’s wrong there. But I get it, you’re tired of seeing Brock on top. The truth of it is, he’s Box Office. And WWE needs box office.

What is “Box Office,” exactly? It’s the ability to get fans to spend money, which is how WWE makes money. Brock Lesnar sells the WWE product–to fans, to viewers, to advertisers, and to networks. Wrestling Twitter is a vocal minority, and appeasing them got WWE nowhere with WrestleMania 35, or as I was calling it for the months leading up to it, “HappyMania.” Brock is back, and I think it’s fantastic.

Disagree with me? Great, but the sold out crowd in Hartford blew the roof off the joint when his music hit, so they obviously agree. Brock will likely cash-in in advance, proclaiming his championship opportunity for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7. Then we get to give the briefcases a rest, as we continue to shuffle the rosters up and use fun words like Wild Card (bitches…yeehaw!).

One prevailing thought I have seen is that the other seven guys in the match busted their asses for no payoff. I can’t agree with that either–their payoff is a paycheck. They’re businessmen. Those who complain about how they are booked don’t get the business. And as All Elite Wrestling is proving, they don’t take too kindly to people complaining about booking, either.

A New WWE?

I know a lot of people don’t see it, because they’re too worried about booking. But the WWE product shifted tonight. And as dangerous as it is, I hope it sticks.

The product got way more physical at WWE Money In The Bank–way more physical. It started with the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match, which in reality doesn’t need a gender specific distinction. Money In The Bank describes both ladder matches tonight, as both delivered in both brutality and story. Everyone put their bodies through hell during those matches, and they deserve to be praised.

But it didn’t end there:

  • Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe…brutality.
  • Shane McMahon vs. The Miz…brutality.
  • Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari…brutality.
  • The entire segment with the Women’s Championships…brutality.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Elias…brutality.
  • Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles…brutality.
  • Lars Sullivan and The Lucha House Party…brutality.
  • Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens…say it with me…brutality.

Sense a theme, here? WWE provided a more physical product, and did things that make sense. Yes, there were botches that everyone wants to blame on the refs. In each instance, it appeared to me that the talent messed up, and the commentators covered by blaming the officiating. And that makes sense to me. You didn’t think they were going to blame the wrestlers, did you?

It’s really funny that this comes after AEW reveals that they’ll present a more realistic, athletic oriented product after the onset of their TV deal. It’s probably the single bad move they’ve made (okay, maybe second to the whole PAC/Page ordeal), announcing their plans to the world and giving WWE a heads up on what’s coming so they can beat AEW to it.

Seriously, it’s like they went “Here’s our formula!” without even realizing WWE had a high profile PPV to air 6-days before Double Or Nothing. C’mon guys… #UseYourHead.

At the end, it looks WWE is going back to what works for them: giving the fans what they need, and not what they want. Imagine going to the doctor and misdiagnosing yourself. Would you rather the doctor provides you with what you want and now what you need? You’d sue that doctor for malpractice! It’s getting to be that same way with WWE. Prescribe to us what we need, Vince. Even if we don’t like the taste when it goes down, it’s for the best in the end.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/19/2019

Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

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Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

Last week was an interesting week since it wasn’t a normal Top 5 and we had two Sami Callihan matches. When it came down to it though, IMPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack, won the vote for the week. I’m always a happy when less popular matches or companies get a fair shake in the rundown.

Either way, let’s see exactly how much New Japan shows up and if anything from Money in the Bank was worth a watch!

 

5. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH

Taguchi has been having a crisis of character so to speak. He’s become more of a comedy wrestler who’s history doesn’t really inject respect or fear into his opponents. YOH is up and coming, and was trained by Taguchi in the New Japan Dojo. So YOH is trying to establish himself beyond the tag realm and Taguchi is trying to refind himself.

We saw an interesting match. Taguchi showed a little of both worlds from comedy to more of his extensive moveset. YOH was a walking reference to older wrestlers; he even mastered the Paradise Lock apparently. Taguchi picks up the win with the variation of the Dodon that he used to remove Prince Devitt from New Japan. Very good match.

Winner: Taguchi via Dodon’s Throne

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero

This was a little similar to the earlier Taguchi match. Rocky had something to prove. CHAOS members, and Rocky is perceived as being past his prime, but he wanted to prove he can still hang. It’s been 3 years since his last BOSJ, how does the most decorated Junior Tag wrestler fair against the Aerial Assassin?

We got a great match. Rocky had numerous hope spots, hit the Forever Lariats, his half of Strong Zero and reversed the Stormbreaker first attempt into a legit Huricanrana. Ospreay turned out too be just a little too big, a little too athletic and a Shooting Star Press followed by a Stormbreaker ends this great match. Very good.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbringer

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann

From My Analysis:
So damn this main event went 2 commercial breaks, but it was really solid. Swann wouldn’t stay down and even had great hope spots. A Super Frankensteiner countering the Avalanche Powerbomb, Lethal Injection, 450, but Elgin kicked out. Swann tried a top rope Phoenix Splash, and missed. Elgin hits Splash Mountain, and Rich kicks out. Elgin rolls to the outside, catches Rich and repeatedly Powerbombs him into the post. Kid Ref tries to get the match back in the ring, Elgin pushes Kid Ref and Powerbombs Swann again for posterity. Kid Ref calls for the DQ and then runs for his life. This was a great match, the “non-finish” is rather annoying coming out of a roughly 25 minute match. But love him or hate him, Elgin can wrestle.

Winner: Swann via DQ

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 3: Dragon Lee vs SHO
Winner: Dragon Lee via Desnucadora
Rating: ****
WWE MiTB: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor vs Ricochet vs Andrade vs Randy Orton vs Ali vs Brock Lesnar
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: Dragon Lee vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE MitB: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Ligero vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Devlin via Snap Saito Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
Winner: Eagles via Ron Miller Special
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Finn Balor vs Andrade vs Ali
Winner: Andrade via Hammerlock DDT
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Winner: Phantsmo via Greetings from Chasewood Park
Rating: ***
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Ligero
Winner: Nese via Running Kneese
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Fall Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Zayn via Claymore
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Ren Narita vs Robbie Eagles
Winner: Eagles via Turbo Backpack
Rating: ***
WWE MitB: The Usos vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan
Winner: Usos via Double Uce
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE MitB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Now it’s Rollins who has to come up with something else to put Styles away. Fans rally up as Rollins stands. Rollins still has the tried and true, “Burn It Down!” He mule kicks then runs, but Styles dodges to roll Rollins to a Calf Crusher! Rollins endures but Styles cranks back hard! Rollins rolls it back and kicks Styles away! His leg is free but it is hurting! Styles crawls away but Rollins pursues. Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Cover, TWO!! Rollins escapes with one good leg! Styles gets back up and waits for Rollins. Rollins stands and SUPERKICKS Styles down! Both men are down again, but fans rally and duel again. Styles and Rollins crawl for each other to start throwing hands! Rollins hits, Styles hits, repeat. Rollins CHOPS but Styles punches again.

Fans duel, Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz, but Rollins dodges to enziguri! And dodges the Pele! Mule kick! Curb Stomp countered! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives THE Styles Clash?! No one can believe it, but the fans are loving it! Styles grits his teeth as Rollins starts sitting up. Styles goes to the apron, takes aim and springboards. Phenomenal misses! Revolution Knee hits! And then, SUPERKICK! Styles is on his face, but Rollins gets back up! CURB STOMP!! Rollins put so much into that, he has to crawl to a cover! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins via The Stomp

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: SHO vs Shingo Takagi

This match has had a great build all year. SHO is the power of Roppongi 3k, and throughout the LIJ and Roppongi feud for the Junior Tag Titles, we always saw SHO try to go at Shingo. Shingo called him out a little and this is a great rivalry. SHO has something to prove, but Shingo doesn’t want to be upstaged by someone who was a Young Boy only a few years ago.

We saw the story unfold beautifully. Shingo dominated early, until SHO fired up and showed he wasn’t just going to roll over. As the match progressed SHO started to anticipate Shingo’s moves and stay a step ahead. Both men hit all of their signature moves, and neither wanted to really budge. This was just so well done, and more of a heavyweight style because they are both bigger Juniors. Shingo edged out SHO by hitting Last of the Dragons after numerous Pumping Bombers. But damn this was great.

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragons

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Shingo and SHO, there is no other answer. This has been a feud that started at the end of last year and persisted through the entire year so far. Long term booking is always fun, and when both men put on a great story telling match, it’s even better. Plus there’s no guarantee it’s over since SHO still has to surpass Shingo to feel completed.

Don’t sleep on Ospreay and Romero though, that was a great match, just didn’t quite match up to SHO and Shingo.


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