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Opinion

Repetition And Familiarity

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Andrade Cien Almas Zelina Vega WWE Superstar Shake-Up

In our microwave society where we want everything right now, the last thing a lot of us want is to have to watch and wait something get built upon over time.  Now sometimes there’s a legitimate fear that the building won’t amount to anything (as a New York Knicks fan this is literally a perpetual mood), but sometimes our fears are overblown and unfounded.

I’ve spent several weeks here criticizing fans for what I believe are various infractions that make it difficult for not just other fans but even the people who work in the business; I know to some it sounds like I’m fansplaining (and to degree I probably am) but it’s hard to sit still while bad takes are being served up over and over by people who consider themselves smarter than the average fan because they spend time on Reddit forums and such.  So in the interest of staying in this lane while not being as cranky I figure I’d get to something else: the importance of repetition.  Repetition is a key to what makes a lot of things work in wrestling.

Why?

Because what helps establish those memorable moments is people doing a few things well over and over until they gets parked in our memory banks, so that all the other things that come off of them – swerves, counters, etc – get that emotional response they’re looking for.

For example the Kurt Angle battle royal segment struck the chord that it did because of a few things:

  • Several weeks of Baron Corbin acting like a jerk towards everyone, especially booking himself favorably so much
  • Corbin and Stephanie McMahon talking down to Kurt for several weeks, culminating when Stephanie sent him on vacation
  • Corbin looking like he was finally going to have a plan work out in his favor
  • Our memories of all of Angle’s signature moves so that when the Conquistador started pulling them out it triggered our recollections

That was weeks and months of small, sometimes mundane, sometimes annoying stuff that went into setting up what was a fun moment in October.  When you ask for longer, more layered storylines you gotta be patient and go for the ride through a bunch of points that may seem tedious or downright pointless until it’s payoff time.  Corbin getting appointed Constable, overruling and undermining Kurt, getting Kurt sent home, and then putting himself into big matches to get things for himself all led to one of the best segments of the year on TV.

If you give it a chance and let them work their way through you can get a moment where you can just mark out and be happy for a bit.  On the other hand when you constantly armchair quarterback and demand that they give you what you want RIGHT NOW you can lose any chance for a good story, and any chance for getting any real memories out of it.  And that’s no fun at all in the long run.

But that’s not the only example this week.  The likelihood of Kevin Owens turning face has hit about 100 percent probability after his beatdown from Bobby Lashley, who is apparently going heel in the process (turns out that’s going to be delayed, as Owens is going out for knee surgery and will be out a while).  As their match went on you could hear the crowd getting more and more behind Kevin in a real sympathetic way.  But it takes more than one match to make that a thing.

The first seeds were planted earlier this year, when Owens was getting killed by Braun Strowman every week.  While the crowds didn’t turn on Braun, over time his antics went from humorous just desserts to a despicable human being in Owens to downright extreme like tossing him off a cage even though it meant losing the match.  Now when he comes back he’s poised to get a big face reaction especially if Sami Zayn is by his side again.  But it will all be sweeter with some kind of buildup rather than the kind of instant turn some may have wanted because they think KO is one of the best people on the roster.

Next up is the Authors of Pain.  When they first got called up from NXT, they squashed some jobbers then went into a short program with Titus Worldwide, which immediately drew some impatience.  ‘Why are they wasting their time with a comedy act?  They’re getting misused just like everyone else from NXT!’  Then they got a new manager in Drake Maverick and went back to squashing jobbers again for several weeks, which is exactly what they needed.

Why?

Because the Raw audience doesn’t really know these guys since most of them don’t watch NXT.  How are they supposed to know if these two big guys are a dominant force or just a bunch of oafs without seeing how good they are?  And lo and behold, after a few weeks of that they got in the ring with the Shield in a RAW main event and looked like they belonged there.  A four week angle between Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs The Ascension was used as a setup to further drive home this point.  While we were complaining how weird and tedious it was, the payoff was Authors of Pain coming in and obliterating both teams after the match to make it clear that Authors of Pain are superior to the other tag teams.  Now when they eventually win the tag team titles it will be a big deal.

Finally we have Andrade “Cien” Almas over on Smackdown.  Like the AoP he got a quick introductory feud, with Sin Cara, which again prompted some ‘why are they wasting him?’ comments.  Since then he had another mini run with Rusev, then some matches with Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.  And while he’s lost to the latter two the matches have served a purpose.  And that is to show us that he can go with two of the best in ring workers in the business.

Despite all the internet talk about how great he is, the Smackdown audience hasn’t much of a clue because most of them don’t watch NXT (or CMLL where he first hit it big) either.  He’s just a guy with a beautiful business manager in Zelina Vega, and they don’t know if he’s to be a World title contender, a future US champion, or a guy that puts over the top guys but never wins anything significant.

And they won’t know until you show them.  As much as you may want him to win all the things now because he’s so good, it will matter more if he does that next year after everyone has had a chance to see how good he is and how good he and Vega are as a duo.  And that the dreaded casuals have seen him work now in early 2019 the real promotion, with maybe a US Title run, can begin.

Those are just a few examples of how to get it right; there are other examples of how to do it wrong.  Sanity came up and got a couple of quick wins over New Day before the regular Smackdown audience learned anything about them, and now they’re in limbo because quite frankly there hasn’t been any reason established why they should be beating teams like New Day or the Usos or the Bar.

And ‘they were good in NXT’ isn’t a good enough reason.  If I don’t watch NXT I don’t give a damn what they did there. They’re just a guy (or gal) who’s now on the show I do watch, and I need a reason to care about them and believe they are worthy of big things today.  Which means I need to be shown what’s so impressive about them before they’re put in a big match and before they get promoted up the ladder.  Just like I need to know what someone’s big moves are so that I know we’re at a turning point in the match when they go for them.

Ducking Roman Reign’s Superman Punch is a big deal because we know it’s an important move of his and the setup to his finisher.  When Seth Rollins starts stomping his foot when his opponent is prone, we know it’s important because that’s been established as the signal that he’s going for the curbstomp.  If we didn’t know those things from seeing them a million times those spots wouldn’t matter and wouldn’t trigger any kind of reaction.

At WrestleMania 6, the finish worked because it had been set up for years – Hogan’s opponent hits their finisher, he kicks out, Hulks up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, 1-2-3.  So when the Warrior hit his finisher late in the match it was like the Bat Signal being lit in Gotham City.  Kick out, Hulk up, three punches, big boot…..but when Hulk went for the legdrop, Warrior moves, hits a splash and wins instead!  And it’s such a big deal some 28 years later because that ending had been drilled in our heads so much that the twist struck all the right chords when it came.  That’s the value of repetition.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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