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The Book Club: What To Do With Roman Reigns

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Hello! This is my series called The Book Club where I take current talent and storylines and try to book the most interesting paths for them going forward.  To get a better idea, you can read my plans for Dakota Kai and Kofi Kingston.  This installment of The Book Club revolves around our guy, Roman Reigns.

As you all know, Roman Reigns is supposed to clash with Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship again at SummerSlam.  I know it feels monotonous but something amazing happened last Monday.  They’ve finally managed to make Brock so unlikable that we heard “We want Roman” chants near the end of the show.  It felt like watching a child birth.  You may not have wanted to look but it was kind of beautiful in a way.  Also, throughout the show there were plenty of seeds planted that hinted at a split between Lesnar and Paul Heyman.  This led to social media giving their input on who should be the next client for Paul.  We’ll get to that in a second.

SummerSlam

There’s a good chance Roman is finally going to take the belt off of Brock.  The fans are tired of the belt being held hostage and Brock wants to go to the UFC.  It would actually be ridiculous if it doesn’t happen.  If it happens then Paul needs to cost Brock the match.  Heyman is tired of his client being uncooperative and decides to take action.  Brock doesn’t lose cleanly which is probably what Vince wants anyway and it gives them a reason to separate.  After the loss, Brock will have a look of anger and disbelief as Paul exits with a sinister smile down the ramp.  This will lead everyone to believe that Roman  is Heyman’s new guy.  Well, not exactly…

Monday Night Raw

It would be the first thing on everyone’s mind so the show needs to open with the clip of the Summerslam main event and what transpired.  The clip fades out then Roman’s music hits to a mixed reaction like it always does.  Reigns comes out alone and cuts a promo on what happened.  He’ll explain that he didn’t ask for Heyman’s help and that Brock brought it upon himself.  In fact, he should have been declared the new champion back in Saudi Arabia anyway.  He clearly has a chip on his shoulder but still wants to be the champion that shows up every week.  Reigns finishes talking then leaves.  No sign of Heyman.  Before Raw cuts to a commercial, a graphic pops up advertising the main event: the Seth Rollins Intercontinental Open Challenge is back.  Of course that means that Seth would have to beat Dolph for the belt the night before.  Ads for the main event will surface throughout the next 2.5 hours like they normally do.

The Main Event of Raw

Seth’s music hits to a big pop. “Burn it down” is in full effect.  Women are screaming.  Men are crying. Their crossfit messiah is back.  Seth opens with an uplifting promo and issues the challenge.  Drew McIntyre’s music hits.  McIntyre appears at the ramp but then Dolph Ziggler attacks Seth from behind.  Drew runs down the ramp and helps Ziggler with the assault.   The beatdown starts to get serious so Roman Reigns comes to Seth’s aide.  Seth is knocked out so it’s still a two-on-one fight.  Drew and Dolph have the upper hand on Roman.  Things are looking bleak but then Dean Ambrose’s music hits as he makes his long-awaited return from injury.  He has a chair in hand and he’s ready to fight.  The fans in the front row have broken into hot flashes.  This is the best day of their lives.  The Shield is BACK.  Dean’s run-in turns the tide and him and Roman are able to fight off McIntyre and Ziggler.  The three Shield brothers are now all back on their feet as Drew and Dolph make their way back up the entrance ramp.

It looks like the show is over but as Seth has his attention fixed at the entrance ramp, Dean Ambrose uses the chair he brought to the ring and hits Seth in the back with it.  He hands Roman the chair and he takes a swing of his own.  Sound familiar? Seth finally feels the weight of his actions from 4 years ago.  Roman and Dean take turns with their shots on Seth.  Rollins is motionless in the middle of the ring as Roman and Dean stand above him.  The crowd is silent.  It’s at this moment we hear a voice on an unseen microphone.  “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN”, the voice rings out.  “My name is Paul Heyman.  And I am the new advocate for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.”  Paul makes his way to the ring and the three of them stand over the unconscious body of Seth Rollins.  A new faction is born.  Raw fades to black.  A new episode of Chrisley Knows Best appears.

The Aftermath

Molding three storylines into a single overarching one was difficult to think about but that’s also something I like about it.  This was mostly supposed to revolve around Seth as a babyface but Dolph and Drew also have beef with Roman and Dean now so the story could go in a variety of directions.  Dean could take the IC title off of Seth, they could have their rematch for the belt inside Hell in a Cell in September.  It’ll be like their HIAC match from 4 years ago except the roles will now be reversed.  While that is going on, Drew could feud with Roman for the Universal Title.  The opposite could also work.  Dean wins the IC belt, Seth moves onto Roman, then Drew turns his attention to Dean.

  • Roman and Dean finally get their change of character
  • Seth is already a strong babyface so the roles can be easily switched
  • McIntyre and Rollins get a main event push
  • Heyman gets to lead a faction rather than having a lone client
  • It tells a story with continuity
  • It gives Raw that change of pace we can finally sink our teeth into

At this point, I’ll let the reader use their imagination for what’s best.  Perhaps I’m missing something and you guys see an opportunity for something more.  A triple threat match with Roman, Seth and Drew for the Universal belt could also work.  That would allow Dolph to go after Dean’s new IC belt.  The options are endless with six of the top guys at the center of the show.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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NXT Minus 6: Best WWE NXT Matches Of 2018

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Johnny Gargano Aleister Black WWE NXT

In a year of amazing action for WWE NXT, these 6 matches rose to the top.

In 2018 NXT had one of the finest years of any promotion in American wrestling history. Of the 19 Takeover matches, there was exactly 1 clunker. Throw in the occasional PPV-worthy match on Wednesday night and the match of the year candidates quickly add up. After rewatching every Takeover (oh how I suffer for my craft), here are my top 6 NXT matches of 2018.

HONORABLE MENTION

  • Ricochet versus Velveteen Dream, Takeover Chicago
  • War Games match, Takeover: War Games
  • Undisputed Era versus Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, Takeover Chicago
  • North American Title Ladder Match, Takeover New Orleans
  • Shayna Baszler versus Kairi Sane, Takeover War Games

6. Pete Dunne versus Ricochet, NXT Television

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This match is awesome but somewhat of a cheat. Both guys had great years and deserve to make the list. I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone. Here’s why I give it such high marks. One of the hardest things in wrestling to do is create drama when everybody knows the finish. It was almost a given that UE would ruin the ending. Despite that, Ricochet & Dunne didn’t slow down or hold back one bit. Luckily for us, this rivalry is far from over.     

5. Undisputed Era versus Mustache Mountain, part 2, NXT Television

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UE went old school, picked a limb & obliterated Trent Seven’s knee. Tried to cripple him. Tyler Bate had to choose between his best friend’s health & saving their tag team titles. Every time the Big Strong Boi reached for the towel, it tore at my guts. Some people didn’t care for the ending, but the drama in this match would have not been as intense any other way. This was the best match of the second best trilogy of the year.

4. Velveteen Dream versus Tommaso Ciampa, Takeover: War Games

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This match had less build than the others on the list. Dream simply showed up and wanted a title shot. I’m a big fan of the little things, & these guys pay attention to the little things. I loved when Ciampa threw the notepad at Ranallo. Then when the match is over, they are so exhausted they lay in a heap for about 2 minutes. Ciampa even takes the belt from the ref while he’s still draped across Dream. Those little touches separate good from great, and this was a great match.

3. Andrade Cien Almas versus Johnny Gargano, Takeover Philadelphia

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This match was closer to dancing than wrestling. That’s how well these two worked together. Could Johnny Wrestling, the heart and soul of NXT, finally achieve his dream and capture the title? Could he beat a man he’s never beaten? Everything made sense, even the interference. Zelina Vega and Candace Lerae did just enough to add to the storyline without overshadowing it. This match was so good and so early in 2018, we were left to wonder what Johnny could do to top it. Well…

2. Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa II, Takeover Chicago

Image result for gargano ciampa chicago air raid crash

Any of the trilogy could have made the list. This is my personal favorite. Gargano’s Air Raid Crash was absolutely sick. The belt shots were brutal. The moment that sealed it for me was when Ciampa spit on Gargano’s wedding ring & threw it into the crowd. Wow. What a dick move. If this match happened in 1986, Ciampa would have needed a real police escort to get out alive. After another 5 star classic, we were left to wonder what Gargano could do to top it. Well…

1. EC3 versus Kona Reeves, NXT Television

This was easily the finest match NXT had to offer in 2018. The top 1% of…screw it. What am I doing?

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1. Aleister Black versus Johnny Gargano, Takeover War Games

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The moment this match ended, I went full Meltzer and gave it 6 stars. I stand by that. Some people talk about looking at a painting or listening to a piece of music and it brings them to tears. They are so touched by the level of beauty achieved by human hands. I feel this way about this match. The story was gripping. The action was beyond intense. There were at least 5 times I thought someone legit got knocked out. Aleister’s second Black Mass is as pretty as a finisher gets. I’m not saying it’s the best match I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think I’ll ever see one better.  

That’s right. I said it.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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The Risk & Reward Of The Original WrestleMania

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Hulk Hogan WrestleMania

WrestleMania. It’s what put the world of Sports Entertainment on the map. Sports Entertainment being the keyword. If you wanted Professional Wrestling, if you were a hardcore fan, you had the NWA’s Starrcade event but that only ran in the territory. If you wanted action, drama, emotion, larger-than-life athletes, and celebrities, you had… nothing.

That was until Vincent Kennedy McMahon thought up the incredible event of WrestleMania. McMahon turned an idea into reality using his own fortune, using Cindy Lauper, using Mr. T, using MTV, and using the top athletes from each territory from around the world to make his idea of WrestleMania into the most exciting, the most captivating event in sports and entertainment history. More exciting than the Academy’s Oscars, more exciting than the MLB’s World Series, even more exciting than the NFL’s Super Bowl.

WrestleMania took every risk possible to become what it is today. It isn’t an event, it’s a feeling. A feeling that comes one week a year to anyone viewing either in-person or through PPV. This is the story of the risks taken to make WrestleMania what it is today and the story of the reward it received to have tens of thousands of average people from around the world to view the incredible spectacle dubbed as “WrestleMania Week.” 

It all started in the Summer of 1984. Vince McMahon had thought up the idea of WrestleMania: “I remember in 1984, in the Summertime, there was a meeting room, literally a little meeting room. I remember Vince said, ‘I’m gonna do this,’ and he explained his vision, what he wanted to do. We all thought he was nuts, but we all knew one thing about Vince McMahon, when he sets his mind onto doing something, he’s going to do it.” – Howard Finkel on Vince McMahon pitching the idea of WrestleMania (Source: WWF WrestleMania: The Official Insider’s History DVD). 

Now the question is, “Why?” The answer is simple: Domination. Vince Jr. had bought out the World Wrestling Federation from his father, Vince Sr., Gorilla Monsoon, and Arnold Skaaland. Vince was always known as wanting more. Well, in 1984, he sought after it. He sought after that mysterious “More” that no single promoter really understood or ever had at the time. One singular domination over the entire country is what McMahon wanted, and this was the start. 

There, of course, was an issue. No promoter wanted any performer involved in WrestleMania, or else, they’d be shunned: “This guy’s gonna piss everybody off. Vince is gonna get everybody so mad that everybody that’ll work on the WrestleMania card will be blackballed,” Hulk Hogan noted in the WrestleMania Rewind series on the WWE Network. “This was the first real move on Vince McMahon’s expansion. The promoters were telling wrestlers that if you go work for him, you may never come back again,” Bill Apter noted in WrestleMania Rewind. If WrestleMania succeeded, everyone involved would never be forgotten. If it failed, their names could’ve very well been scratched from every record book by every promoter personally. 

Now obviously, you can’t get a reward with no risk. It is well known by many insiders that Vince had put every single penny of his own fortune into his crazy idea of WrestleMania.

“It was the general consensus around the country that Vince McMahon was taking the biggest risk of his life and there was still some other wrestling companies around the country who were actually hoping that Vince would fail,” is what Jerry Lawler said on WrestleMania Rewind about Vince’s massive risk. “It was a huge gamble, the biggest gamble I’ve ever been involved with. It was a roll of the dice,” Vince said. “The risk for Vince McMahon was his entire life so to say. He had everything, all his money down on WrestleMania betting that this would make his business soar,” said Bill Apter on WrestleMania Rewind. 

Vince had to gain buzz about the event, and he did so by working two shows with MTV. The first show being “The Brawl to End It All” which went down on July 23, 1984. It featured multiple dark matches including a WWF Intercontinental Championship match which showed champion Tito Santana and Bob Orton Jr. wrestle to time-limit draw, a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match which featured champion Hulk Hogan defeated Greg Valentine in ten minutes, and WWF World Martial Arts Championship match which featured champion Antonio Inoki defend against Charlie Fulton in a little under four minutes, a WWF Tag Team Championship match which showed the incredible Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch defend against Sgt. Slaughter and Terry Daniels in an outstanding 17:16 bout.

The featured event though was for the WWF Women’s Championship. It featured The Fabulous Moolah, accompanied by Lou Albano, defend against Wendi Richter, who was accompanied to the ring by musician Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff. The entire world was shocked when Richter had ended Moolah’s 10,000+ day reign as WWF Women’s Champion. 

The second event, “The War to Settle the Score”, occurred a month before WrestleMania. It featured many dark matches which included The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) successfully defend their WWF Tag Team Championships against The Spoiler and The Assassin. Another title match was for the WWF Women’s Championship. Leilani Kai, accompanied by The Fabulous Moolah, had beaten Wendi Richter, who was accompanied to the ring by Cyndi Lauper, in 11:49. The Women’s Title change was aired via tape delay on the March 5th edition of Prime Time Wrestling.

The Main Event was aired on MTV, it was the set-up for WrestleMania. It featured Roddy Piper get disqualified in his match against champion Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship after Hogan was attacked. This would be the set-up for the Main Event of WrestleMania. 

The day had come: WrestleMania.

It had nine bouts. The first one showed Tito Santana defeating The Executioner (FKA “Playboy” Buddy Rose) in 4:50. The second bout showed King Kong Bundy defeat Special Delivery Jones in an astonishing twenty-three seconds! The third bout showed Ricky Steamboat defeat Matt Borne in 4:38. The fourth match was a homecoming for the Sammartino Family, as it showed Bruno Sammartino’s son, David Sammartino compete against Brutus Beefcake. Unfortunately for both competitors, that match ended in a double-DQ. The fifth match was the first title event of the night, it showed champion Greg Valentine defend the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Junkyard Dog. While JYD had beaten Valentine, it was via countout, so Greg Valentine kept his title.

The sixth bout was also a title match, this time for the WWF Tag Team Championship. It showed The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, who was accompanied by Freddie Blassie defeat the team of The U.S. Express, which consisted of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, and manager Lou Albano. The seventh bout was the $15,000 Body Slam Challenge. It showed André the Giant put his career on the line against Big John Studd. If André won, he would get Studd’s $10,000. If not, Big John would have the tremendous honor of getting to say he retired the Eighth Wonder of the World. Of course, André won in 05:54. The Semi-Final Bout showed Wendi Richter with Cyndi Lauper take back the WWF Women’s Championship from Leilani Kai in 06:12.’ 

The Main Event was ready. It was promoted every second Vince McMahon could get the chance, including the night before when Hulk Hogan and Mr. T hosted Saturday Night Live. The Main Event went incredible. It featured world-class boxer Muhammad Ali and inaugural WWE Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson as special guest referees, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin as the special guest ring announcer, and musician Liberace, accompanied by The Rockettes, as the special guest ring announcer. The Main Event consisted of every celebrity possible. It showed the team of WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (accompanied by Jimmy Snuka) defeat the team of “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper (accompanied by Bob Orton Jr.) after Orton had tried to hit a double-ax handle on Hogan when the ref wasn’t looking but Hogan moved away, and Orton had hit Mr. Wonderful instead. 

The Original WrestleMania had concluded, and it left a legacy no one could dare imagine. Obviously, it had succeeded. Vince McMahon went onto say this on WrestleMania Rewind, “After the event was over in Madison Square Garden, the very first one, I began to get phone calls from the rest of the Eastern Sea Board. That to was a success, now we’re onto something. What about the Midwest? Chicago came in, hey that’s working. So, at the end of the night, we had been parting quite heavily.” Hulk Hogan said on WrestleMania Rewind, “We had a guy, Vince McMahon, who believed in us and he put everything he into that night and I just knew that if everybody stepped up to their A-game, we’re onto greatness, one way or the other. Vince McMahon went onto call this the defining moment of the WWE on WrestleMania Rewind: “With the success of WrestleMania, it really put us on the map and that was the defining moment of what we know now as the WWE.” 

The legacy of WrestleMania is well documented. There have been 34 annual WrestleMania events, and one more confirmed to be happening. WrestleMania became more than a day though… now it’s a week. WrestleMania Week is home to an NXT TakeOver event, the WWE Hall of Fame, WrestleMania Axxess, ROH Supercard of Honor, and other independent shows. Thanks to WrestleMania, World Wrestling Entertainment is now a household name. Vince McMahon is now a billionaire, and the company alone is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. To think, it all started with that one meeting in the Summer of 1984. 


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