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What Is The IT FACTOR?

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Shawn Michaels Pose IT FACTOR

Hell has frozen over! It’s 2018 – Shawn Michaels came out of retirement, had a match against The Undertaker again. Hulk Hogan makes his triumphant return. Brock Lesnar is back and he’s the Universal Champion again. Oh, and Shane McMahon is the best in the world. Let’s talk about why the IT FACTOR is a big part of this.

And I can already hear the ground rumbling. For everyone that’s excited about HBK’s return, there’s an equal amount of guys saying it all:

  • “Hey… what about the current guys?”
  • “Why do they keep going back to the veterans and nostalgia acts?”
  • “Why is Brock back?! He’s a part timer!!!!”
  • “Shane McMahon is the best in the world?!?!?! This doesn’t make sense! What about (anyone else)???

This is not to knock HBK’s return – that’s not to knock Brock being the Champion, that’s not to knock Shane winning the tournament. As a matter of fact, I see the logic and agree with all of it. I was actually having a hard time coming up with exactly what to focus on here, because there’s so much good stuff to choose from here.

So in this article, what do you say we do something different? What if we go through a little bit of the main arguments about Crown Jewel, and then I’ll let you behind the curtain back just a little bit and let you in on what it actually means to be a top level performer in 2018?

Shane McMahon – Best In the World?

I remember watching Shane’s big return at WrestleMania a few years back with a friend of mine. And we had this sudden realization. Shane McMahon is really good. Like… next level good. It was the first time we watched one of his matches after being involved in the business for some time, because his heyday was when we were teenage fans.

But there he is, wrestling Undertaker in Hell in a Cell, and it hit us.

He looks like a grown adult man. He sells tremendously. He takes his time. He can tell a story. He can hit all the emotional notes. He’s having a classic at Mania with Undertaker.

I looked to my friend, “Dude… I kind of feel bad for Shane McMahon.”

My friend goes, “Well, what do you mean?”

I say, “Because the fans will NEVER appreciate really how great he is, because his last name is McMahon, and it’s going to taint it for people in the average persons eyes.”

My whole point was Shane McMahon is every bit as good as any of our childhood favorites as far as being able to tell an emotional story in the ring.

There was a story somewhere that said when Shane was a child, he would wake up on a Saturday morning, go downstairs, and listen to his Dad, George Scott, and Pat Patterson book things like WrestleMania 3 and all the psychology and reasons why things were going to happen.

He got a wrestling business PHD from early childhood.

And it hit me – people are going to just discount how great he is because of the “McMahon Name.”

If he were anyone else, people would rank him right up there with one of the most iconic talents of all time. He’d be in all the Legends of Wrestling Video Games, he’s got a certain timelessness to him.

So when he won the Best in the World Tournament, part of me was like, “Good! Finally, the guy got his due a little bit!”

And the reason why I’m so adamant about how good he is is because of something we’re going to talk a lot about today. He has Raw Presence.

Brock Lesnar’s Back, So is HBK and Undertaker – What Gives?

There are absolutely people out there who wonder why they keep “holding the young guys back” and going with tried and true talent like Brock and other legends like HBK and Undertaker.

And the truth is – the legends all have what we talked about above. Raw presence. They made such an impression that people still want to see them to this day. And I think a large part of why that happens is because for as many talent that are currently stepping up, like a Braun Strowman, or a Roman Reigns in WWE’s case (among others), there are also a LOT who are still yet to develop it.

So what is “It?”

I’ve spent the past few years studying some of the top people in the business and interviewing some of the top up and coming talents who are actually finding success, as well as talent agents and scouts of various major promotions. And in all cases, it all boils down to a few key features.

And I’m going to give you the cliff notes, because this is enough to fill up an entire encyclopedia if I were to really dive in to each one. (If you’d like, you can get weekly advice where we dive into topics like this by joining the Inner Squared Circle Facebook Group and following us on Instagram, @InnerSquaredCircle)


KEYS TO THE IT FACTOR

1. Raw Presence

Whether it’s size, look, charisma, there has GOT to be an intangible that makes people magnetically drawn to you. There’s something called the Airport Test, which is if you were to walk into an airport, do people turn their heads and say, “Who is that guy, he must be something?”

2. True Confidence & Charisma and They Connect Emotionally

Not the manufactured kind. The perfect, prime example of this is The Rock. Look at him in real life. He’s calm, confident, present, radiates charisma – and none of it ever seems forced. This comes in different forms. Brock Lesnar oozes true confidence. So does an AJ Styles. There’s a certain inner certainty that can’t ever be shaken. They also elicit a strong emotional reaction – either by their mere presence, or because they’re great storytellers.

3. They Step Up and Own Themselves & Their Spot

The guys that have the It Factor aren’t the ones who hang back and wait for the opportunity. They step up and take it. Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks are a great example. They find the opportunity in any situation. They take any situation and make it work for them. They believe they deserve their spot, rather than just hoping for it to come to them.

4. They Are Massively Flexible and Constantly Evolving

Something doesn’t work – they try something else. That doesn’t work, they try something else. Or another way to put this – they’re constantly evolving. Look at the Undertaker. If he stayed the SAME Undertaker he was in 1992, he would have faded quickly. But he always did something different. He changed his hair, his makeup, his colors, or radically changed the character. He was always new. Look at Shawn Michaels. He came back with a shaved head – some of it cosmetically, I bet there was a bit of it to remind the fans he’s a different guy than he was 10 years ago. He’s evolved. The ones that constantly are flexible and constantly evolve usually are the ones who find the way to win.

5. They Take Control of Their Own Lives

You hear these stories of guys who are mega stars, and that they’re tough to work with. I don’t think it’s that they’re tough to work with in all cases. In some, sure, there might be prima donna attitudes. But when you’re successful at a very high level, you’re successful because you know what works, and most importantly, they know what works FOR THEM. They realize that they’re in charge of their own success or failure, so they take it very seriously.

They speak up for themselves not because they’re politicking, but because they realize if they’re not getting themselves over, the spots not going to be handed to them. The common trait amongst the guys on the lower ends of the card, or even struggling on the independent level, is they leave way too much up to hope, chance, and happenstance thinking that “loving wrestling” is going to be enough to get them there. When the real successful people are the ones who make their own luck.

These are the 5 things that those legends, who keep getting brought back, time and time again, have, that the rest are still developing. That’s why people will still willingly pay for those guys. That’s why fans are still in love with them. They have raw presence and they make them feel things emotionally.

By the way, if you want a full breakdown of this, I’m considering putting together a booklet about what it takes for independent wrestlers to become massively successful and what sets apart those who are successful verses those who aren’t. You can be put on the list for when it gets released by going here https://innersquaredcircle.lpages.co/book-launch-list/.


Two guys, who are athletically gifted, who do moves to each other, already exist. It’s called Olympic Wrestling. There’s a reason it’s not selling out tens of thousands of seats in stadiums. Even in MMA – the fighters with the CONNECTION and the PRESENCE are the ones that become mega stars. So in wrestling, it’s not enough to just be gifted technically.

And that’s why they keep going back to the guys who are tried and true, time and time again. They’re going with a sure thing. And in some cases, you can’t blame them.

Jared Ganem is a veteran of the pro wrestling business, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Today he is one of the most sought after production leads, working with companies such as Ring Of Honor and events like Starrcast. Jared is also the leading advisor and developer or talent in the world of wrestling.

If you’re interested in learning more, check us out on our free Facebook group for talent and for daily memes, posts, quotes, vidoes, etc, check out @InnerSquaredCircleon Instagram now!

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Chairshot 50: Top Wrestlers of 2018 (1-10)

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Kazuchika Okada Chairshot Top 10
The Chairshot’s crack staff of personalities submitted their top 50, and a smaller group put the Top 10 in order. How did it shake out?





If you haven’t already, take a look at our Top 11-50. Tomorrow we will post up the podcast on how we came to the Top 10 decisions–which you will love–but let’s just get to the part everyone wants to see.

Here is the crew who made these decisions:

  • Mathew Sarpaicone (Puroresu and Joshi Coverage expert) Twitter: N/A
  • Andrew Balaz (Managing Editor of The Charishot, Raw Reaction, POD is WAR) Twitter: @IWCWarChief
  • Steven Mitchell (weekly TV Coverage Articles) Twitter: N/A
  • Steve Cook (Featured Writer) Twitter: @stevecook84 
  • Greg DeMarco (Owner/Publisher of The Chairshot, Greg DeMarco Show) Twitter: @ChairshotGreg 

Yeah, two of them aren’t on Twitter. THAT’S ACTUALLY POSSIBLE!

10.  Alexa Bliss (WWE)

Alexa Bliss

Alexa Bliss shouldn’t even be here. Not on the planet, she’s fine there. Not even in WWE, as she obviously belongs there.

I am talking about our Top 10. In the initial voting, she finished outside of the Top 10, and wasn’t even the highest rated woman. But as the guy who pays the bills, I called an audible and opened-up spot #10 a little. I felt like it was an opportunity for some great podcasting (check it out when we release it, you’ll love it), but more importantly than that it was a chance to make sure we simply “got it right.”

Once Alexa was at #10, we did.

Looking at the review period, Alexa Bliss had an amazing year. She was champion more often than she wasn’t. But she didn’t just carry a championship—she CARRIED A DIVISION. Be it Raw or Smackdown, Alexa Bliss carried the division. She was the perfect WrestleMania foil for Nia Jax, she won and cashed in Money In The Bank, and when the time came for Ronda Rousey to take her spot as Raw Women’s Champion, it was Alexa Bliss who put her over.

From an afterthought in NXT to the brightest shining star in the women’s division, Alexa Bliss deserves to be considered among the best in the world, regardless of gender. – Greg

9. Tetsuya Naito (NJPW)

naito

Naito has had a heck of a year from winning the G1 Climax in 2017 and even main eventing the Tokyo Dome at WK 12.

While he was unable to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he would at least live out his goal of main eventing the dome and fixing the wrong from WK 8 as he now sets himself up with new goals while the fans rally behind him. Naito has been known to be the fan favorite in Japan over guys like Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, and even passed Hiroshi Tanahashi who is considered to be their god when it comes to his charisma. Naito would also become a two-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion by defeating Minoru Suzuki till he dropped it to Chris Jericho. He may have had some shortcomings near the end of the mark, but the fan base keeps growing bigger waiting for that special moment to come for him and when he does, it’ll be huge. – Mathew

8. Seth Rollins (WWE)

Seth Rollins WWE Intercontinental Championship

The Architect had a pretty hot 2018 and would #BurnItDown in many of his matches, especially the Raw Gauntlet leading into Elimination Chamber back in February.

Rollins would also complete his Grand Slam by capturing the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania against The Miz and Finn Balor. The WWE schedule can be grueling at times, but Rollins is willing to go at it with everything he’s got, as both that Gauntlet and Summerslam’s frantic Ironman match can confirm. He’s still IC Champion and might be for the rest of 2018, maybe he’ll turn up the heat again in 2019 to move back up to a world title. – Mitchell

7. Braun Strowman (WWE)

 

The Monster Among Men dominated much of 2018, for both his size, his speed and his unnatural charisma.

Strowman would wreak havoc over other big stars, like Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and even The Beast, Brock Lesnar on his way to becoming one of the more over WWE superstars. He won the Raw Tag Team Championships (albeit with a 10 year old child as his tag partner), the Greatest Royal Rumble’s 50 man Rumble and the 2018 Money in the Bank, but it was really only booking that held him back. Those bad decisions by the company aside, there’s no reason he can’t turn things around in the New Year and finally become the Monster Champion Among Men. – Mitchell

 

6. Kenny Omega (NJPW, ROH)

I feel like we’ve gotten to the point where we take Kenny Omega for granted.

It’s not enough that he has great matches every time out there. Holding the most prestigious championship in pro wrestling outside of the WWE Championship doesn’t matter anymore. Now we must find flaws in Kenny’s game. I gotta admit something though…the alleged flaws aren’t problems with me. People knock his interviews, but I find his speaking style compelling & different from what we usually see.

The Best Bout Machine had a tremendous year critically & in kayfabe. We can no longer dismiss him just because he wrestled an eight year old girl. – Steve Cook





5. Cody (ROH, NJPW)

Has there ever been a better wrestling wife than Brandi Rhodes?

Nobody stands by her man like she does. She also manages Flip Gordon from time to time, but it’s well-known that he’s in the friendzone. Some wives like Miss Elizabeth & Stephanie McMahon rate up there as well, but they didn’t have the elegance & beauty that Brandi possesses. Has there been a better wrestling dog than Pharoah? Certainly not since Matilda, and don’t even try bringing Pepper into this convo. Has there been a hotter group than the Bullet Club/Elite in independent wrestling? These guys have single-handedly revived interest in Ring of Honor & every other promotion they travel to. Has there been a better wrestling mascot than Burnard? Of course not.

Everything Cody touches turns to gold. – Steve Cook

4. Roman Reigns (WWE)

Roman Reigns WWE

Though the man is often complained about, he’s never out of conversations. A corporate champion, that was hand picked and has numerous years in a row of being the final match on the largest event for his company (sounds like someone else on this list). 

During this period in time, he actually wasn’t overly dominant. He did have an Intercontinental Championship run to solidify his Grand Slam status, but when it came down to major matches and angles, it was all pretty 50/50. Also we finally see him get over the Brock Lesnar hump and get his first reign as Universal Champion.

Individual title reigns, Shield reunions and resounding reactions insure Roman to always be in the conversation. Four may seem high to some people, but it feels about correct for me. – Andrew

3. Pentagon Jr (CMLL, AAA, Lucha Underground, Impact Wrestling, The Crash, MLW)

The majority of wrestlers listed here have a home. Even if they wrestle for more than one promotion, they have a promotion to call home. What is Pentagon’s home?

In Mexico, he gets away with making appearances for AAA, CMLL, The Crash, and more. In the US, he’s famous for his time spent on television as part of Lucha Underground, but during the rating period he has also been the IMPACT Wrestling World Champion. He’s a fixture in MLW, PWG, AAW, PCW, and appears in many more.

There’s a reason he does this: because people want him!

And I don’t just mean promoters want to book him. The fans want to see him. From August 2017 to August 2018, no one talent better personifies the intangible “it factor” than Pentagon Jr. there’s no other way to describe it! When he enters the arena, you are constantly looking to see what he’ll do next. Put him in a Royal Rumble and fill up the ring with wrestlers, and people will find Pentagon first.

Pentagon is the perfect example of wrestling in 2018: the territory days are dead, talent is the territory. And there is no talent more sought after than Pentagon Jr. – Greg

2. AJ Styles (WWE)

AJ Styles went from dropping the United States Championship to finally getting back the WWE Championship when he defeated Jinder Mahal.

Styles in 2016 wasn’t able to get a fair shot with the title since he was stuck with Dean Ambrose and John Cena for the entirety of it. With this current run, however, he would have a wide variety of feuds this time around when he fought people like Brock Lesnar, Rusev, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Samoa Joe. While the feuds can be a hit or miss, Styles would make sure to make his opponents look strong at the end of it while he would still prove why he’s still considered one of the best and worthy of the #2 spot of the list. If this reign is gonna be Styles last title run within the company, then it’s a hell of a way to go out. – Mathew

1. Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)

Okada Strong Style

Though the man is rarely complained about, he’s often the high point of conversations. A corporate champion, that was hand picked and has numerous years in a row of being the final match on the largest event for his company (see what I did there). 

In all seriousness, Okada comes off the longest and most prestigious title reign in Japan since Kenta Kobashi held the GHC Heavyweight Championship for 735 days. Since most of the evaluation period is during the back end of his fantastic defenses, it’s hard to say he isn’t the best. Classic matches against SANADA, Zack Sabre Jr, Hiroshi Tanahashi and his historic 2 out of 3 falls match with Kenny Omega, is just one dimension of why he’s the best wrestler of 2018. 

He’s been the figurehead for the ever growing number two wrestling company in the world. Even though he finally dropped the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, since when does one loss suddenly invalidate someone’s impact on a year? Okada is a treasure, has helped his company financially, put on great matches and knows how to work a crowd in the ring and with promos. – Andrew

Kazuchika Okada checks all the boxes, so it’s easy to see why he’s our number 1. Some will disagree, that’s part of the fun, but given our criteria, this just feels right.





What do you think about the Top 10? Is Kazuchika Okada your Best Wrestler of 2018? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Jordan Fox’s BLOG: “Create the art you were meant to create.”

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Disclaimer – Sometimes you might wonder what the point of the stories are… I’ll be honest, sometimes there isn’t going to be any meaning to what I’m blogging. I just simply want to share these really cool moments I get to experience. I get to experience these wonderful moments because I work in “The Business.” I work in wrestling, that might not mean much to a non fan, but to wrestling fans, being a full time wrestling employee, like I am, is the Holy Grail.
The wrestling business is my full time job, my “shoot” job & this blog details the fun I experience in our wacky world of wrestling… ENJOY!

I feel weird saying this & I’m hoping that I can adequately explain what I’m trying to say but… In the last few days & weeks I feel like I’m really starting to see the “artform” of wrestling in a different light.
For the majority of the time I’ve been in the business I’ve kind of thought that there were 2 jobs for me. 1) learn to wrestle so that when i become a commentator (which is job number 2) I’m speaking from experience.
But lately, & I’m not even sure that what made me start thinking about it differently, I’ve started thinking about all the other jobs within the business. after match interviewer, camera man, video editor, booker & the million other roles.
I always knew that these jobs had to be done for there to be an in-ring product but I wasn’t looking at them as an artform, just simply as jobs. But, as any video editor will tell you, there is absolutely an artform to it.
I want to start work on a docu series sometime in the year 2019. The premise of the show is going to be about what it is like to be a 30 year old man breaking into wrestling full time & what it’s like to have to learn to wrestle, hustle for bookings around the state/region, stay in shape, learn to video edit to have copies of my matches, alllllll the while of having a wife & family at home.
Maybe the thought of wanting to do the docu series has inspired me to look at other parts of the business in a different light, idk, but I think it’s helping me find my artistic side. I’ve found myself thinking outside the box on commentary & trying to say unique things & trying to be funny & trying not allow my anxiety dictate how much fun I can have.
The key word in all of that is “trying” because I truly am trying very hard to bring out my artistic side. Before this new found view of wrestling came to light for me, there were times that I would have anxiety about doing certain things. For instance, I wouldn’t always go all out on commentary because I’d be self concious about people looking at me as a weirdo. I know that that sounds insane but it’s the truth. I’d damn near have an anxiety attack worrying about it.
But now I’ve started telling myself “You only live once! Don’t worry about what people think about you. Create the art you were meant to create.” I try to tell myself those 3 sentences over and over and over.
I don’t really know if i struggled with anxiety before I came home from Iraq or not. I’ve blocked out so many negative memories from my youth that I have a hard time remembering things like that. But, I do know that I’ve struggled with anxiety as an adult. It’s anxiety over the weirdest stuff, too. Like I’d work a car wreck as a Paramedic with my partner Nick (who is the absolute best EMT/Paramedic you could ever have working on you BTW) & I’d have no anxiety at all. Nick & I would get our hands dirty & do what we needed to do to give first rate medical treatment to those in need.
BUT you stick me on a microphone to commentate on a wrestling match, with no ones life on the line, with no danger looming & I’ll have to talk myself down from an anxiety attack simply because I won’t want to look stupid in front of a few people. & the thing is, I won’t look stupid! I’ll be giving the fans exactly what they want, an entertaining heel commentator! I just don’t get it.
The reason I brought all this up in one conversation is because i think it’s all connected. I think that now that I’m learning to talk myself through my anxiety & allowing myself to let go on commentary & really play the part, it’s allowing me to truly find my artistic side which now has me looking at every angle of the wrestling business as a piece of the puzzle. Man, I hope that makes sense hahahaha. (see, in a weird way, that last sentence is me being self concious about something I’m doing. Instead I should just be confident in myself that I adequately explained everything I was thinking & feeling.)

I got to work with Chris Burnham on commentary for the first time last Saturday. We were together for what he believes was the first ever pro wrestling show in Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
Burnham to me has the skill level in regards to commentary that I strive for every single day. He can grab a mic & be a straight forward play by play guy or a heel that’ll have you worked up in 5 minutes. He is the total package when it comes to pro wrestling commentary. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame one day.
But, back to the show. So, we called the WFC show together & it was a great show. I really got to let loose & play a full on heel commentator for the first time & it felt freakin great! Damn, it felt good.
Working with Burnham really reminds me how much I have to learn in regards to commentary. I’ve got a long way to go before I’m where I need to be. practice makes perfect though, right?!
I have to give a quick plug to Burnham. His website, OklaFan.com is the end all be all for Oklahoma Pro Wrestling. He has an index with every performer you could imagine on there. If they are from Oklahoma & are a professional wrestler, chances are you can find info on them on OklaFan, so be sure & check it out.

Till next time! Stay Strong & Too Sweet.

Personal Instagram & Twitter – @FoxThePodcaster
Show’s Twitter & Facebook – @IWRdaily

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