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Where To Go With The Women?

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Scarlett Bordeaux Women Wrestling

Amidst lots of controversy and definite attention, the women in the WWE are in a challenging position as we head towards their first ever exclusive pay-per-views event, WWE Evolution. That stands as a great representation for women’s wrestling in general.

Let me start off by saying that this piece is going to be more of a question to you all reading than an expression of any particular viewpoint of mine.  I got opinions about all things pro wrestling of course but this is one of those times when it’s best for us guys to shut up and listen to the ladies who watch the show alongside us.  After the promo showdown between Ronda Rousey and Nikka Bella this past Monday my Twitter feed was a very interesting place.

There was a lot of opposition to what Ronda said to Nikki, but there were also some people who found it entertaining and enjoyed seeing Nikki get dragged.  I’m not a Nikki fan or hater so I had no fever to see her get taken down a peg, but I’ll admit that my initial reaction was ‘DDAAAAMMMMNNNN!’  I didn’t expect Ronda to go there, and I was impressed that she did a longer promo than I ever expected her to be able to handle.  As far as whether it was too much, I’m really not the one to ask about that.

I started out as a fan when things said towards and about women on wrestling shows were far more harsh than that, so my tolerance level is a lot higher than it probably should be in 2018.  I was around in 1986, when Jim Cornette went way farther than would ever be allowed on TV today.

OK, it’s storytime everyone…..

Cornette was managing the Midnight Express, who as NWA World Tag Team Champions were pretty much feuding with every face tag team on the roster in Jim Crockett’s World Championship Wrestling.  That included Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A, who were being managed by Baby Doll.  One week the four men were fighting and Cornette’s men got the advantage.

In a truly sickening image for even 12 year old me Baby Doll ran in to stand between them, the Express grabbed hold of her, and Cornette jabbed her in the stomach (fast forward to the 1:45 mark in the link) with the handle of his tennis racket.  It obviously was a work but it looked real as all get out.  Needless to say Cornette was getting nuclear heat, even some death threats after that.

But that didn’t stop him from doubling down.  In the weeks that followed Cornette went on TV, didn’t apologize one bit, and insulted her further – calling her fat, claiming she slept with all the boys, and saying that no man worth anything would want her.

At one point to get revenge Dusty and Magnum grabbed Cornette, dragged him out of the arena, tied him to the back of a truck, and began to drive off before the Express got him free.  The angle culminated in a series of mixed tag matches where Baby Doll would eventually get her hands on Cornette, pummel him good, and pin him.

Uhhh, yeah……….80s pro wrestling, everyone.  Women were anything but empowered save for the rare opportunity you got a wimpy manager like Cornette against a woman like Baby Doll, who was not the damsel in distress type and could conceivably come out on top in a hypothetical confrontation.

Fast forward to 2017 and 2018 when Becky Lynch and then Asuka both did a much tamer version of this with James Ellsworth (no assault and battery against her and no horribly misogyny directed towards her in promos)  Which brings us to today and a time when more women than ever are employed as wrestlers in the business and not just managers or valets.  While that in itself is a big improvement we still have some ways to go as far as how they are portrayed as characters.

In Ring of Honor, the women are as bland as you could possibly get.  A few of their women wrestlers cheat, and they don’t all wrestle the same style, but that’s the extent to which there’s any depth whatsoever.  There’s very little expression of any personality at all.

I don’t watch Impact Wrestling so I can’t judge them, but they’ve long been ahead of the curve in American women’s wrestling and appear from the outside to be doing well with Tessa Blanchard on board as champ and Jordynn Grace coming in.

But then there’s Scarlett Bordeaux who can go in the ring but has a character that is a throwback to the Attitude Era in WWE, and it’s difficult to say whether that’s a good or bad thing but it does seem a bit out of place in 2018.  I’ll let everyone judge for themselves.

Which bring us to the WWE.  While they are still very much catching up to Impact’s lead, they have the advantage of being able to do things on a larger scale and with a bigger visibility than anyone else.  Ring of Honor will probably never anywhere the effort into production or promotion WWE does, and Impact will never have the reach.  For the majority of American wrestling fans women’s wrestling in WWE is women’s wrestling, for good and ill.

And while I think there’s way more good than ill in 2018, there’s still some work to be done.  That promo showdown was a microcosm of things – good that they got a long promo segment, bad that it reverted to age old tropes about sleeping one’s way to the top.  So how do fix that?  Wrestling feuds are often built on insults, random slights that turn into beefs, or on one person just feeling like they can do whatever they want and attacking the other just because.  This isn’t Game of Thrones and it never has been.

To embrace a full range of characters and angles is going to mean doing dopey things sometimes and not always going for the more honorable stuff like competition turned into beef. There will be feuds started over trivial stuff that can possibly lead to great matches and great memories, but we’re going to have to let the dopey origins slide.  Jake the Snake Roberts started a feud with Andre the Giant because Andre was afraid of his snake Damian; that’s dumb as hell in hindsight but that gif of Andre freaking out is still pretty damn well used now so it worked.

There is a potentially very bright future ahead for women’s wrestling that these companies and us fans can get to if we play our parts.  I hope they do theirs, and we do ours.  Until next time….


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 Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (4/22/19)

In a good edition of Raw, who stood out at the top Three Stars?

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Lacey Evans WWE Raw Three Stars

The first WWE Raw after 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-Up saw a #1 contender established for Seth Rollins. But who stood out to Greg DeMarco?

Judging by Twitter, the world seems to agree with Big Daddy DeMarco that this was a good edition of Raw. We may not have Bobby Fernandes at our disposal right now, but I dare say he’d also find it Good. That said, there are talents who rose above the rest. Who were they? Let’s have a look!

The Third Star: Cedric Alexander and Cesaro

Two new members of the Raw roster went to battle here. One was revealed last week (Cedric Alexander), and the other was revealed earlier today in some additional roster swapping (Cesaro). I loved seeing Cedric hold his own against a much larger opponent. That is something he hasn’t had to do in recent years, but he didn’t miss a beat. Cedric the underdog (a role Ricochet seems to be inheriting as well) can work. As for Cesaro? He delivered in a big way here, looking great in the process. The right guy won, but both looked great coming out of this match.


Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!

 

Be like Elisa and get yours at:
https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/related/thechairshot.html


The Second Star: Lacey Evans

I gotta call a spade a spade: this wasn’t a good night for Becky Lynch. Yes, Alicia Fox has her faults, but those miscues seemed to be equal parts Becky and equal parts Alicia. Enter Lacey Evans to save the segment! Lacey knows her character…Lacey IS her character. She might be the strongest character in WWE today, and she deserves every opportunity coming her way. At this point I am rooting for Becky to lose to Lacey, because seeing The Lady of WWE holding the Raw Women’s Championship just feels right.

Honorable Mention: Sami Zayn, Robert Roode, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio, The Miz, Drew McIntyre


Must read: Tiffany’s Takes for WWE Raw (4/22/19)


The First Star: Bray Wyatt

We’ve been waiting for Bray Wyatt to make his return, and when we are made to wait too long things don’t usually pan out. I am happy to return: this panned out! Bray Wyatt has taken hold of his character’s new direction, and delivered a segment that quickly became the #1 trend, and has people wanting more. That is the goal, and Bray nailed the goal in his first segment back. Yowey-wowey I can’t wait to see what’s next!


Who are your Three Stars of WWE Raw?
Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom,
and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Rob: Looking At The AEW TV Follies

Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

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All Elite Wrestling AEW

Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

This past Thursday brought out a lot of chatter on Twitter about AEW and their very unclear prospects at landing a TV deal.  We’ve been hearing for some time now that they have multiple bidders offering good money and that it’s a matter of picking which one.  We’ve also heard that Warner Media appeared to have decided to go in with them and that an announcement of some kind should be coming soon.  But now a new rumor surfaced, that they might have to pay for the TV themselves.

Which brought on the jokes from a lot of different people and in turn brought out the ‘you guys are a bunch of WWE stans, why do you want AEW to fail?’ responses from some supporters of AEW.  So yes, Thursday night on Wrestling Twitter became the clusterf@# that most nights tend to be.  Now before I go any further, let me put out a little disclaimer here.

I am not anti-AEW.  I got no quarrel with any of the people there.  I’m not a fan of some of them as performers but it’s nothing personal.  At least from what I’ve seen Cody in particular has been nothing but gracious towards his former employers and co-workers, and has shot down many an attempt by fans to goad him into bashing WWE and/or Vince McMahon. I don’t know him personally but he seems like a good dude all around, and I respect the hell out of him for not just leaving WWE but leaving with a plan to accomplish what he did not there and not going on and on about his push or lack thereof.  I do however take issue with the constant bombardment on my Twitter feed from overzealous fans predicting that AEW is going to take down the WWE, the constant rumors about this WWE wrestler or that one being unhappy why they could/should go to AEW, and with Dave Meltzer’s state run media treatment towards them.  Dave has always loved those guys but since the run up to All In he’s become co-opted by The Elite and has spun everything they do as successful and a big deal.  He’s already declared that they are the number two company even though they haven’t run a show yet.

So yeah, when something pops up that runs contrary to all the bragging and boasting that the worst AEW fans have been doing….yeah, there are gonna be some jokes fired off.  That doesn’t mean we want it to fail, ok?  To be honest most of the people I’ve talked to are curious but not necessarily interested in it at all, and would be perfectly fine leaving it to exist and not saying a word one way or the other.  As for myself, I’m more interested in the operational side than whatever kind of content they’re ultimately going to be producing.  Quite frankly I’m not that pressed to see more wrestling than what I already watch, and that’s not where their success is going to come from anywhere.  The thing that rarely gets talked about re: WWE is that how they’ve run their office vs all of their former and current would be competitors has been the real difference maker and not the quality of their wrestling.  There are plenty of guys and gals who can get in a ring and put on a good match but there aren’t as many people who can competently run a wrestling company.  But anyhow…..

Does this thing have any credibility? We don’t know of course, but consider that virtually every other wrestling company outside of WWE is in a less than prime spot as far as television.  Even if the Turner folks don’t hate wrestling like they did 20 years ago there hasn’t been much demand shown for anything that’s not WWE, which has 35 years of branding and trust built up working to it’s advantage.  AEW or any other start up company is walking into a network environment that, while it may be friendlier than before, still isn’t looking to do any favors to a wrestling company that may not even out rate some of the reruns that they carry.  While them having to pay or maybe just not getting any rights fees may not be what happens, I’m willing to bet they don’t get some huge amount of money.  Why?  Take off your fan hat and look at things objectively.  What kind of audience they’ll bring in is purely speculation at this point – just how many people fit into the pool that might be interested but will actually tune in to watch?  That’s the real question, and we don’t know yet.  So far they’ve only announced special events, one offs that are easier to sell because they’re rare.  But when it’s the middle of July and you’re running the third week in a row of matches between the same people to further an angle, are there enough people willing to do that for a company they’re not already invested in?  That’s the key, in my opinion.  Can you get enough people in the tent who will stay with you through that?


Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!

 

Be like Elisa and get yours at:
https://www.prowrestlingtees.com/related/thechairshot.html


We’ll see what happens.  Network upfronts are coming soon and then all will be revealed.  The TV deal, should they get one, is an important building block in any success they have.  TV rights don’t just get you exposure they often pay the bills.  The NFL has been dining out on TV rights fees so much that attendance at games is an afterthought now.  A good timeslot where they have a chance to draw a good number will be the difference between them doing well or going down the tubes in short order.  But this whole thing is also a referendum on Dave Meltzer, as he has been doing a full Baghdad Bob routine and insisting that they have multiple big money offers and it’s just a matter of choosing which one.  Dave sounds like a full on shill at this point and has been straight up cheerleading them the whole time.  And look it’s fine to be a fan/shill for someone, but you just got to admit it and not play objective reporter.  Dave is All In (pun intended) on AEW, to the point where he’s venturing into crazy talk land to boost them up.  We’ll find out soon enough just how this thing plays out, and then we can go back from pretending to be TV experts to pretending we know how to book wrestling shows.


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