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Shawn Michaels: The Return We Never Knew We Didn’t Want

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WWE WrestleMania Shawn Michaels

I will admit, I am a Shawn Michaels mark. He is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, and probable number one or two when it comes to in-ring performances. When he retired after WrestleMania 26, I thought it was still a little too early for him to leave the ring completely, but I respected his decision. I respected it even more so by the fact that he actually kept his word and hasn’t wrestled since then, unlike so many other wrestler “retirements” we have seen throughout the years, and amidst occassion after occasion in which he has been showered with chants of “One More Match” during various appearances. But now it seems the inevitable has occurred and Michaels is now primed to make his in-ring return after eight years. Am I interested? Absolutely. Am I excited? Not really, no. Not as much as I should be. And as a longtime HBK fan, that is disappointing.

I have always thought that Michaels could still “go” in the ring, so I am interested in seeing HBK back in the squared circle doing his thing. But there are too many dark clouds hovering over his return for me to really enjoy it the way I thought I might if this day were to come. The first is obviously the setting. The controversy, or at least uneasiness at best, surrounding the Crown Jewel event is well documented. In addition to the differing opinions about Saudi Arabia’s social beliefs and culture perhaps making an undesirable environment for a publicly traded company to be holding an event at in the first place, there is now the very real situation of a Washington Post journalist being “allegedly” murdered, “allegedly” while inside the country’s consulate, and government officials “perhaps” having a part in the victim’s death. When I envisioned Shawn Michaels’ return to the WWE, I envisioned a stage such as WrestleMania, not in the center of an international incident. In my opinion, Crown Jewel should be moved to a different location, which is another article for another time, and I hate the fact that Michaels’ return will be the biggest selling point of an event that is surrounded by such controversy.

The second thing that hasn’t excited me is the booking of Shawn’s return. Granted, while the story itself has made sense and has made a solid natural progression, are the Brothers of Destruction really the best choices as opponents? Do we really need to see ANOTHER version of Shawn Michaels versus Undertaker at this point in their careers, especially Taker’s? And don’t get me started on Mayor Kane. I know wrestling is about suspending disbelief, but when you run for office all summer and then return as a masked demon and brother to the Deadman, that’s asking a lot of even the stoutest wrestling fan! Why not book Shawn against one of today;s up and coming superstars? Could someone like Bobby Roode or even Elias not have used the rub from HBK? Couldn’t have Finn Balor benefitted from a Club vs DX angle? If nothing else, I think I’d rather see HBK vs HHH if nothing else (which we may still get to, actually.) Now I understand that if Shawn was going to return it was going to have to be on his terms. And I’m sure he is working with three guys he is very comfortable with, and we know he had already previously turned down an opportunity to wrestle AJ Styles, so it is what it is. Granted, we don’t really know what Shawn’s situation will be after this event, so maybe we will get some of those dream matches at some point down the line. But for now it is just disappointing to think about the “what if” scenarios, especially when I predict that at Crown Jewel, Michaels’ will be the best in-ring performer in that match, even after an eight year hiatus. Nostalgia can be fun, but Michaels’ could do so much more.

And finally, and perhaps the most pressing disappointment in this whole situation for me personally, is the “why.” Why has Shawn chosen now as the time to return? After eight years of being the only guy to keep his word and truly retire and stay away from the ring, what has changed? Unfortunately, I think the answer is his bank account. I think Shawn is coming back, above all else, for the money. Not because he needs it, but when you are reportedly offered seven figures for one match, that’s something that is hard to pass up. And who can blame him? This is a business after all. I don’t begrudge him for the compensation he will receive at Crown Jewel. I just hate it for him that, due to the location, and controversy, and booking that has left a lot to be desired, most people will point to the money as the only reason he came out of retirement after such a long time. You won’t wrestle AJ Styles at WrestleMania, but you’ll reunite DX (again) to face the Undertaker (again) and Kane, in a country that treats women as second rate citizens and whose government may or may not have had a role in the murder of an American journalist?

As I said, I am a Shawn Michaels fan. I will watch his match at Crown Jewel. I fully expect him to be in top form and at this point I hope this is not a one-off. But for a guy who has done as much as he has in wrestling, making a much anticipated return after eight years away, I was hoping for a bit more. On all accounts.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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The Good, Bad and Ugly: WWE SmackDown (01/22/2019)

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Good Bad Ugly WWE Smackdown

Bobby Fernandes delivers his Good, Bad, and Ugly review for WWE Smackdown on January 22, 2019–the last Smackdown before the Royal Rumble!

SmackDown before the Royal Rumble is here and now.  The better of the WWE weekly television is up to bat, and ready to take us home.  The actual card looks decent for the PPV especially on the SmackDown side of things.  Raw did a Good job packing in a ton of relevant content and building up the excitement.  Can SmackDown deliver yet again? 

THE GOOD

Opening Segment w/ The Man Becky Lynch

She is still on “fire” and the crowd cannot get enough of her.  She looks fantastic, confident, and on top of her game.  Lynch has done her job and took down the “Queen” and claims that she will do the same to the “Empress.”  Even a badass like Lynch has an uphill battle against a foe like Asuka.  Asuka is so impressive and this feud is just amazing.  Charlotte Flair didn’t take a whole lot of time to get involved and was warmly “Woooed” by the crowd.  Charlotte walks tall, talks the talk and is just overall unbelievable.  Asuka and Lynch’s heat then boiled over at the joy of Charlotte.  They got some Good shots in.  This has been an enjoyable feud and it’s “finale” should deliver. 

The Miz w/ Shane McMahon vs. Cesaro w/ Sheamus

So far the Miz/McMahon duo has had some subpar content, last week being the worst of it.  Luckily this week, Miz and Cesaro can both do some great things in the ring, and could be Good for a decent match.  Cesaro is freakishly Good and one of the most criminally underrated in the industry, even with the Tag Team Championship.  Anyone watching has to love the chemistry that The Bar has weekly.  They don’t always have the best matches but are a fantastic Tag Team overall.  Miz was on point as well in this match.  This was a Good set up for the Royal Rumble in which Cesaro gets the Win w/ a “Neutralizer” after a Sheamus interference.  McMahon wasn’t having it and attacked The Bar only to be beaten the hell out of for his trouble.  To add insult to injury, Shane O Mac was bombed onto the Miz, through a table.  It looked fantastic, and hopefully this Tag Team Title Match Sunday will not disappoint. 

Daniel Bryan/AJ Styles/Vince McMahon Promo

The fans are certainly “fickle” to the New Daniel Bryan.  The crazy, nut-bag has done all he can to become a hated entity.  Daniel Bryan has improved on the mic, and this heel gimmick is well suited.  The less AJ talks the better.  However he did well this time around, and just about when things were going overboard, the Chairman of the Board put a stop to it, and demanded Bryan get in the ring.  Bryan went on to be disobedient and continue his banter, now attacking McMahon’s Generation.  AJ Styles had enough and attacked Bryan until Bryan used McMahon as a shield taking out Styles and retreating.  Overall, this wasn’t Bad and did its job hyping the WWE Championship Match Sunday at the Royal Rumble. 

Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali

Not that this is a new thing, but Samoa Joe has lost his mind.  He is a savage in the ring now, and as stiff and brutal as his reputation is, he is exceeding expectations.  Mustafa Ali is very impressive, his entrance, look, and of course in ring ability.  Samoa Joe seems to have given himself the task of breaking in the young star.  He is literally breaking him.  Ali is getting viciously bounced around by the veteran.  Samoa Joe controlled almost the entire match.  Ali even looked shocked when hitting some solid offense.  It was short lived, as Joe trapped Ali in the “Coquina Clutch” for the brutal victory. 

(2 out of 3 Falls) Andrade vs Rey Mysterio

This rivalry is fantastic.  It completely revived Rey Mysterio.  Andrade can hang and with someone at the level of Mysterio it is Gold!  No Zelina Vega is a little disappointing as she does her job very well, and is a great addition to any content.  Highspots galore, the two showoffs did just that, they gave the fans their money’s worth, and put it all out there.  Andrade is for sure a fan of Mysterio, probably watching all of his content as a before he was a huge success.  His style is very similar, as most Lucha style is.  Andrade lost his mind and hit a “sitdown powerbomb” off the top for the first fall.  The timing, and landing was beautiful. 

Andrade continued on hitting a few big moves but unable to get the finish.  Mysterio hit the crazy “spike” type move out of nowhere and gets a counter pin fall.  Andrade and Mysterio really do such unique things, always getting the correct pop at the right time.  Masterfully showcasing the Lucha style, and impressing everyone during the Main Event.  So much respect for the sport, and rare amounts of pride are shown in their work.  Even a botched spot was forgiven by the hot crowd, because they just pressed on.  Mysterio almost had Andrade beat, but Samoa Joe interferred and destroyed Mysterio and Andrade.  Joe continued his vendetta to the Cruiserweights at the worst possible time.  This was a Bad run in, on a Good Match.  All aside the wrestling that was had between Mysterio and Andrade was quality.  Then, just like that “RKO” out of nowhere.  Randy Orton making his presence felt before he will appear in the Royal Rumble on Sunday. 

THE BAD – N/A

THE UGLY

Naomi vs. Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville

This whole feud is a bit ridiculous.  If these two talents would have just been paired up to a match it would have been better.  No one seems to care at all about the story here, and the content so far has been poorly executed.  Naomi and Mandy Rose are very talented but it is being paraded around on this horrendous platform for seemingly no reason. 

The Sonya Deville/Carmella Match that was foolishly skipped last week would have been much better, and it was a ugly shame it was left out.  Naomi controlled most of the action, literally bitch slapping the blonde bombshell Mandy Rose.  Mandy had very little offense in this tough to watch match.  The action was poorly executed, and awkward.  Mandy got the upper hand when it counts, with the help of Deville, hits Naomi off the post, and gets the quick pin.  This was a horrible match, so much to hate about it, just disappointing.    

FINAL

  • GOOD – 5
  • BAD – 0
  • UGLY – 1

OVERALL

SmackDown, unlike Raw this week, was a little light on the content.  NXT almost had as much content last week and they are only an hour.  That being said, it was a successful week for the “blue” brand.  Royal Rumble has the makings of a Good show.  WWE overall has been pretty Good lately and are very protective of their brand. 

WWE took it home in a major way, now onto NXT’s version of the story to finish out before the big Takeover and Royal Rumble weekend.  We could see some serious changes so close to Wrestlemania, and as usual, all we have to do is sit back and watch.  Please like, comment and share!  Catch you tomorrow night post NXT.    


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s WWE Raw & SmackDown Live Review & Notes (1/21 &1/22)

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The Royal Rumble “Go Home” shows. Did they produce entertaining content, or limp towards the finish line since most will watch Rumble purely on name value. Let’s find out!

Now given that I enjoyed Raw so much last week, I’m tempering my expectations for this week. It’s been longer than I care to try and remember, that WWE has knocked it out of the park two weeks in a row.

With the low bar set, do we see a Fosbury Flop, or well…just a flop. Let’s see!

 

Raw Ratings:

  • Finn Balor vs Braun Strowman: Balor wins via DQ after Lesnar interferes – * 1/2
  • Apollo Crews vs Bobby Lashley: Lashley wins via Spear – *
  • Seth Rollins vs Drew McInture: Rollins wins via Cradle – ** 1/2
  • Lucha House Party vs Jinder & The Singhs: Gran Metallik wins via Backbreaker – -* (yes it’s negative)
  • Elias vs Baron Corbin: Corbin wins via End of Days – N/A
  • The Ascension vs Heavy Machinery: Otis wins via Caterpillar – N/A (squash)
  • Raw Tag Team Titles: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs The Revival: Gable retains via Rollup – ***
  • Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Natalya & Ronda Rousey: Banks wins via Bank Statement on Natty – ***

 

 

Review Notes:

  • We kick off things with talking…well now, new changes right? Heyman does his played out thing by now, Vince comes out and tells his own variation of a Wikipedia edited David and Goliath story. Braun shows up to try and look menacing and speak words that don’t matter. Finn walks out after like 15 minutes of bickering, to point out that this is typical. He then tells a closer to correct David and Goliath story. Vince gets the bright idea that Brock should be at ringside for the real David and Goliath bout of Finn versus Braun.
  • Now before this match started, we all knew how it was gonna end. Brock at ringside, Braun is a monster so he can’t lose clean and Finn is the challenger…so he can’t lose clean. So yeah, making matches that can’t logically have a winner is a waste of time, much like this match. The action was alright, the spot where Lesnar catches a falling Balor just to Overhead Suplex him to the floor was moronic since the referee saw it and didn’t throw out the match there. Finn fights back valiantly, then right after landing the Coup de Grace, Lesnar F5’s Balor and THAT’S a DQ apparently. Must’ve gotten NFL referees for this match.
  • Lashley and Lio come out, and every bit of praise I gave them the last two weeks goes out the window here. Lio is worthless saying nothing of merit, and this somehow devolves into a pose off when Apollo Crews comes out to throw his hat in the ring. The pose off did showcase a little personality from Apollo, so that was a bright spot, but come on…this is dumb. Then Lashley attacks him and a match happens regardless of any previous words or stipulations to the pose off (yay wrestling).
  • Lio apparently will now be a bigger player in the matches, which is fine. But when no one cares about either wrestler, we came off roughly 20 minutes of talking into a gimmicked finish, for another match without a clean finish. Short match with no story or reason to care.
  • Rollins comes out, gives a speech we’re supposed to care about, but I really don’t. He brings Roman up AGAIN, and really seems to be going through the motions almost to a disingenuous point. McIntyre comes out to save the segment before it leads to a match, cause everyone in the Rumble needs to be showcased leading to it, yeah, that sounds right, sure.
  • The match is standard fair for a Rollins match. Okay work rate, slightly predictable sequencing, but since the finish was a Cradle…that’s different. I don’t know, the match was fine, but McIntyre losing just signals that now he wins the Rumble or finds a way to at the very least, cost Rollins the win.
  • The Revival discuss their position with Vince in the back, say they’d like an impartial special guest referee and Curt Hawkins walks up. Vince tells him he’s the special ref and Hawkins has the best line of the night with “Well, I have seen a lot of threes lately…”, and then the Revival start buttering him up before the match.
  • Lucha House…Jinder and the Singhs…WHY!? This has no business being a thing beyond they are two groups of 3. Stupid, useless, worthless, I hate the Lucha House Party. Send them back to 205 Live, deport them, I don’t know…just stop. This is not good, they have no personality, and have been damaged from that dumb House Party rule gimmick from a few weeks back. Screw this team. And who wins with a Backbreaker not named Roderick Strong?!
  • Dana Brooke is talking at EC3, I say talking at cause he doesn’t respond and she just hits him with a litany of questions as Elias walks to the ring.
  • Elias tries to do his thing, Corbin interrupts, a forgettable match happens and Corbin wins cause he needs to look like he’s marginally competent going into Rumble.
  • Alexa Bliss’ Moment of Bliss, is a train wreck again, multiple women just walk out, declare their piece for the Rumble, Alexa even makes note of all her shows have been awful and she’s sick of it. So she announces herself in the Rumble, the only highlight was Lacey Evans finally came out and said a few things for the first time. All you Nasties are gonna learn.
  • The Ascension get to be fed to Heavy Machinery! Well I guess that proves they’re staying on Raw since Raw loves job matches. Only real note from this is Otis’ Worm, is not called the Caterpillar. You know, like the company that makes heavy machinery. The writers are true wordsmiths I tell you.
  • This tag match was like a highlight real of heel wrestling 101 and a referee actually being attentive. Hawkins is by far the best referee of the night (and weekend probably too), so a decent match. Nice spots, these two teams have nice chemistry and we see a reuniting of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins at the end. So maybe that’s where The Revival go next. Only odd take away is why would you make The Revival sympathetic for the last few weeks and then ruin it completely in 2 weeks. The direction just makes no sense.
  • Ronda with a passionate, yet clumsy and weird biblical promo with the hair washing feet thing. What since David and Goliath was referenced now we’re quoting the bible for promos? Ugh…no more talking Ronda please.
  • Yes we all know Sasha had a wardrobe malfunction during this match. But let’s not have that take away from a decent match and the fact that Bayley and Sasha did technically give Ronda her first loss in WWE. So building up the challenger for two weeks right before the PPV seems like the obvious set up, but be honest, 99% of us have Ronda winning anyway. Sasha could’ve defeated the whole women’s division and we’d still go, “yeah but”. It was nice to see Bayley and Sasha continue to work decently as a team, but they did sow some seeds for Bayley versus Sasha since Sasha tended to move out of the way a lot and let Bayley eat moves.

 

Overall Score: 5/10

There really seemed to be no passion or imagination in this show except for Ronda’s odd promo. As Tony Acero so nicely put on Raw Reaction, I was just saying “okay”, through most of this show. It didn’t surprise, intrigue or go outside of the box at all. Just a basic color by numbers Raw. Mediocrity encapsulated in a show, if you will. SmackDown has to be better…

 

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Mandy Rose w/Sonya Deville vs Naomi: Rose wins via pinfall – **
  • Miz w/Shane vs Cesaro w/Sheamus: Cesaro wins via Gotch Neutralizer – ***
  • Mustafa Ali vs Samoa Joe: Joe wins via Coquina Clutch – ** 1/2
  • 2 out of 3 Falls: Rey Mysterio vs Andrade Almas: Rey wins via DQ 2-1 – *** 3/4

 

Review Notes:

  • So since it’s WWE we start off with talking, but this one is Becky and Asuka, and we like them. Becky does the old school heel thing of listing Asuka’s accolades but making sure to mention that Asuka didn’t BEAT her and she’s still just better than Asuka. Charlotte saunters out, let’s out a Woo and Asuka tries to get in a cheap shot on Becky, thus creating a brawl for a few minutes. Becky gets the upperhand throwing Asuka into the announce desk, before the brawl heads backstage.
  • Naomi has every right to try and kill Mandy. She tried to cause problems in her marriage and Naomi had the upperhand in most of the match. A flurry of kicks and elbows from Naomi give us hope she’ll get her revenge, but Sonya’s interference becomes too much, giving Mandy the opening to show Naomi into the ring post and cover her for the pinfall.
  • Miz and Shane might be my favorite thing on SmackDown story wise. I mean I love Andrade & Rey Mysterio angle, but the sheer fun and enjoyment Miz and Shane seem to be having is infectious.
  • The match had a lot of good resiliency from Miz. The Miz has been looking like a better wrestling ever since the World Cup tournament. Miz tried to get an early win with the Figure Four Leglock, but Cesaro got out of it. Sheamus eventually takes out Shane so they can get in a cheap shot, which leads to a Gotch Neutralizer and a win for Cesaro.  Post match beatdown sees Shane eat a Brogue Kick, as well as getting driven through Miz and effectively through the announce table. Feels like a heavy signal that Miz and Shane will win at Rumble, but who knows.
  • Mustafa points out an interesting aspect of Joe beating him down last week. That being, Joe looks down on him, like he doesn’t belong there and he wants to prove himself.
  • Vince basically moderates the discussion between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. Not much is really said except for AJ turning the FICKLE word against Bryan and it catching a little. Styles chases Daniel outside the ring, lays in a few shots, rolls him back in for the Phenomenal Forearm, Daniel uses Mr. McMahon as a shield to then lay out AJ with Knee Plus.
  • Truth and Carmella are walking through the back discussing the Rumble. Truth toys with the idea of challenging Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight title, and when Carmella points out the weight limit, he takes it as her calling him fat and storms off a bit. Charlotte and Carmella have a few words, but nothing really noticeable here.
  • Ali showed that he learned from last week and turns around some call back spots into flips and body presses. But Joe eventually proved to be too much and Ali taps out to the Coquina Clutch.
  • New Day have a nice moment discussing Rumble plans, Kofi has a moment of doubt if he can’t come up with a cool spot, Kayla tries to ask the question everyone does about would they eliminate each other. After going through a list of people who asked, they say “Is Tony Chimmel gonna ask us too?”, and Chimmel shows up before they shoo him away asking if they look like Edge and to get going.
  • YAY! 2 out of 3 falls match! Andrade and Rey all day! First fall comes after Andrade connects on an Avalanche Sitout Powerbomb. Rey hits a Code Red, doesn’t’ get him, but pulls out the Canadian Destroyer as a counter to what looks like a Powerbomb and evens it up at one a piece. Rey tried to get a quick win with the West Coast Pop, but Andrade kicks out. After Rey finally connects with a 619, Samoa Joe shows up to ruin the finish. In the middle of making his final decree, Randy Orton RKO’s Joe to a giant pop from the crowd.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Well okay we’re back to the normal situation of SmackDown being the clearly superior show and Raw being mediocre at best. Andrade and Rey are just wonderful together, that match could’ve been something special if it were allowed to finish decisively. I look forward to a time when they get 20+ minutes on a PPV to just tear the roof down. SmackDown is such a treat coming off a Raw that left, not a sour taste in my mouth, but ashy disappointment.


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