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The Good, Bad, And Ugly: WWE Monday Night Raw (12/3/18)

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Drew McIntyre Dolph Ziggler WWE Raw

How was this week’s WWE Raw? Better than last week’s abysmal performance? Bobby checks in with The Good, Bad, and Ugly for this week’s show!




Last week we were subjected to a show that was in fact not a pleasure to watch. It was one of the worst Monday Night Raws on record among a lot of Bad and Ugly for the “A” Brand as of late.  Although I understand the significance of the brand, has the damage been irreparable? Was this week’s any better?

Firstly, wrestling is so patriotic, always has been.  The fans show out every time, and tonight was no different.  RIP George H.W. Bush.

The Good

Alicia Fox and Mickie James w/ Dana Brooke vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks

The crowd was into this one.  They were reacting well to the action which was abundant.  Alicia Fox looked Good tonight.  Bayley and Sasha Banks also were sharp.  Mickie James just seems to have lost her touch.  She really seemed to struggle tonight.  Overall this wasn’t Bad, Bayley pins Mickie James with a Bayley to Belly for the Win!  It was short and showcased some decent wrestling.

Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night w/ Baron Corbin

Corbin is unquestionably hated.  Rightfully so, he is horrible on the mic and overrated beyond reason for his ring prowess.  Drew McIntyre is greatly impressive.  He has come into his own as a force and potential top guy with his exceptional size, ring awareness and mic skills.  He is the total package and the push he has gotten is deserved and a Good move.  His feud with Finn Balor is a tremendous match-up and well received by the fans.  When promos like this are done well, they can make memories that actual wrestling cannot bring. However this was another pointless, over the top failure, until Dolph Ziggler unexpectedly interrupted and got instant heat with Drew McIntyre.  This is an interesting feud with two very talented people and made for some great content.  I’d say with the unique gift of a surprise, this went from Bad to Good.

Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler

This being unexpected added a Good feeling to it.  It is rare that fans get surprised anymore.  No one expected this tonight.  Drew McIntyre destroyed every spec of the talented “Show Off” Dolph Ziggler.  We had some decent wrestling and storytelling.  Ziggler put McIntyre over every chance he had.  McIntyre looked great out there with such talent working with him.  Everything was going well, but a promo in the middle of the match is a Bad move.  Luckily it was short and they got back to action.  Finn Balor came out, making things interesting as he acted as a distraction to an otherwise squash match.  What little offense Dolph Ziggler had, was done well.  The spot with the ref and interference with Finn Balor looked Good, and did it’s job.  Ziggler hits a sharply placed Superkick for the victory.

Elias Promo 

As usual we started out with the crowd ready to “Walk with Elias.”  His fan base has grown immensely.  We have seen some decent action between him and Bobby Lashley.  Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush come out and interrupt.  Lio Rush is Good on the mic, sometimes a little too much though.  However it is a Good thing that someone can enhance Bobby Lashley as he hold his own in the ring but can’t handle the mic.  This was a pretty standard ending with Finn Balor literally throwing Lio Rush to the wolves leading to Lio getting slammed by Elias’ guitar.  The purpose was clear and effective.  So dare we say, this was Good enough.

Dean Ambrose Promo

Dean Ambrose’s new entrance is Great!  I like the sirens and the cockiness.  All of it is Good.  The cheap heat suits him well.  This Dean Ambrose is a Good Dean Ambrose.  Pretty regular promo, nothing new, Rollins comes out and attacks from behind.  Rollins “burned it down” destroying the swat team that accompanied Ambrose.  After giving chase, Rollins got some good shots on Ambrose.  Ambrose got the upper hand and put a good beating back on “The Architect.”  Decent hype segment and Good enough that we got the message.

“Loser is Fired Match” Heath Slater vs. Rhyno

It is wonderful seeing them on Raw.  The trend tonight of putting different talent in front of the camera is a Good one.  Someone getting fired is a shame.  It was quick and the right man won.  Heath Slater Wins and will be able to keep feeding his kids.  Rhyno has been around a long time and given wrestling fans, his all.  Thank you to him!  Corbin making Heath Slater as a Ref could make for some entertaining times ahead.

Jinder Mahal vs. Finn Balor

We have been seeing a lot of Finn Balor which is Good.  He is a top contender and heavy fan favorite.  Jinder Mahal not too long ago, like Balor was a Champion.  This is a decent pairing.  We have a big powerful guy vs. a fast high spot guy.  Both have gotten a push and made it to the top.  Finn Balor did so much on this show.  It is exciting to see the potential.  Jinder Mahal wore Balor down in textbook fashion.  The placement of the match was well done.  Balor came back hard but was stopped by the Singh Brothers outside antics.  Apollo Crews ran in for the save leading to a decisive win for Finn Balor.  This match was a Good move.  It was smart booking and showed major improvements to the decision making backstage.



The Bad

Ronda Rousey (WWE Raw Women’s Champion) and Natalya vs. Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka

Raw opening with the most hated person on Earth Nia Jax and Rousey in any capacity seems like a safe choice to wake up the crowd right away.  However it is also a huge risk including Tamina.  Natalya isn’t exactly a safe bet for a positive boost in crowd participation either.  Rousey looked fierce tonight and the crowd noticed.  She came out hot.  Nia got booed accordingly and Tamina looked like she got forced out of bed and hassled to be there.  Raw got it right getting the Riott Squad more involved as more of them is a Good thing.  Aside from the ever popular Liv Morgan, and the hell of a bump Natalya took through a table, this was a jumbled up mess.  Everyone was all over the place, and it just didn’t do anything to help the show.  The only plus was it was very short lived and over quickly.  The after segment was worse in case you are wondering.

Baron Corbin Rise to Power

Baron Corbin is Bad.  Even with his over the top WWE Style Promo Video.

Lucha House Party vs.  Scott Dawson of The Revival (Lucha House Rules 3 on 1)

Scott Dawson is a great talent.  The Revival has so much potential and are great for the sport.  They bring this traditionalist mentality and style missing from so many now.  Lucha House Party is rough.  They have their moments but overall are way to hyped.  This match had some decent moments however this whole Lucha House Rules is Bad.  We need less of this crap.  The trend of the evening seems to be short, effective matches. This one was not Good though.  Lucha House Party Wins!

Bobby Roode vs. Drake Maverick (Tag Team Championship Match Implications vs. AOP)

Bobby Roode being on is vital and an important person that should be used as much as possible.  With leadership qualities and skills to be a Top Guy, he must be seen.  I sensed we were going to get an overdose of cheese here given the set up.  While Roode had his way with Maverick.  AOP destroyed Gable backstage and AOP was added to the match for a second 3 on 1 match of the night.  This was really Bad.  Roode got killed in there.  The crowd did not enjoy this, and AOP really cannot do Good.  This was pointless yet again, as was Gable coming in and fighting.  After AOP destroyed Roode and Gable, Maverick picks up the Victory.

Ronda Rousey (WWE Raw Women’s Champion) and Ember Moon vs. Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka

I always get excited when a mystery partner is involved as it can lead to something special and different.  When the opportunity is wasted I equally can hate it.  Ember Moon is a great choice.  She is talented, exciting and not mainstream yet.  The energy was bright with Ember getting the crowd and Rousey fired up.  She brings a great presence with her.  Unfortunately even as great as Ember Moon looked tonight, she was not bright enough.  This was a rough match.  Some miscues, and awkwardness filling the air.  The crowd seemed to love it.  Tamina taps to a Rousey Armbar after an Eclipse for the Win!  The only reason this was spared the Ugly Stick is because the crowd was super-hot in the end.



The Ugly

Alexa Bliss’ Open Forum:  Sasha Banks and Bayley

Alexa Bliss is Good for business.  I say it often.  However this open forum is Ugly.  It really has no place on weekly programming.  Banks and Bayley are great and more of them is better but in the ring wrestling.  This extra promo, waste of time is an ugly look for Raw.  Another planned round of planted questions.  Just horrible.  The crowd couldn’t wait for it to end under any circumstances.  Alexa Bliss as always was the only Good here, but not Good enough to save this ugly segment.  Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Alicia Fox run out and are called down by Alexa creating a Tag Match with Fox and James vs Bayley and Banks.

Final Tally

  • Good – 7
  • Bad – 5
  • Ugly -1

Overall:  Good?

The show Gods have spoken.  We had ourselves a “better” show than we have seen in sometime from the “A” brand.  Nothing is Perfect.  This was barely Good.  In fact, the promo’s may have stolen the show here.  The promo’s filled up the Good tally.  They were effective and less Bad.  Will tomorrow give us another Good Show on a stacked SmackDown Live?  SmackDown should be Good.  Hope you enjoyed, please comment, like and share.




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

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Opinion

WWE TV Ratings Still Matter

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WWE TV Ratings Truck

For the average WWE internet fan, TV ratings often support or refute claims about the product. But do TV ratings still matter?

In today’s TV landscape, the value of TV ratings has lost most of its importance because of the appearance of YouTube and torrent sites. WWE has used this excuse and the birth of the WWE network in a way of explaining why the ratings are down, and in a way, they are right, but WWE can’t use this excuse forever, at some point they have to see that their product they show to the fans weekly is the problem.

In the last couple of weeks RAW have been unwatchable and some of the worst WWE has to offer while ‘’the B show’’ SmackDown has been doing great and NXT is still on fire in terms of booking.

RAW and SmackDown have a symbiotic relationship, and this is so clear nowadays looking at the ratings. RAW’s terrible numbers affect SmackDown because of the stigma of being the B show and the fact that a lot of people use the logic of ‘’if the A show is bad, the B show will be bad as well’’  but this logic is wrong and SmackDown is paying the price for RAW’s mediocre performances which is a shame because SmackDown is killing it in almost all of its creative.

How Should Ratings Be Used?

The TV ratings in the most cases are used by TV shows in a way to measure what things are doing well and bad for a show while also listening to the audience, two things that WWE is oblivious of. WWE pretends to listen but its not true and the ratings reflect that.

The big amounts of money WWE will receive in 2019 from FOX and USA will only make things worse since WWE will not improve in terms of creative and things may actually get worse, which is a shame looking at the roster WWE has right now,and the ratings will still go down.

The only way that WWE will ever change is if the ratings of RAW fall under 2 million spectators and the WWE stock falls big time but both cases are very improbable to happen any time soon specially with The WWE stock having great numbers almost every day in Wall Street.

Could A Change Be Coming?

The XFL could be of tremendous help for WWE’s TV ratings in a weird way. In 2020 with the launch of the XFL, Vince could actually leave the control of WWE creative to Triple H, in a way to focus full time on the XFL, Triple H’s booking could be the fresh start the main roster of WWE needs and could potentially improve the viewership of the two biggest shows WWE produces weekly.

Currently the ratings are a reflection of WWE’s poor booking decisions and change may actually never happen and at some point fans will either quit wrestling or will change their loyalty to another promotion that can actually deliver the wrestling the fans want to see and only time will tell if WWE will ever be affected by this terrible viewership numbers they are drawing weekly.


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

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Opinion

ROH In 2019: Top 5 Things To Watch For

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Ring Of Honor Young Bucks 2019

Greg DeMarco explores the potential for a company-altering 2019 on the horizon for ROH.

As Ring Of Honor heads into Final Battle 2018, the company finds itself at a crossroads of sorts. Things might look quite different at the 2019 edition of the company’s annual capstone, and the year of 2019 could be quite a journey to get there.

Or not. That’s the really interesting part.

Here are my Top 5 things you need to watch for in 2019 for ROH. 

(I am publishing this before Final Battle because the event itself, and subsequent tapings, will likely go a long way towards shaping 2019, and might answer some of the questions posed below.)

Upgraded production at Final Battle 2017.

5. Continued Production Upgrades

This one seems like a “no brainer,” as the company has continually upgraded production equipment and production values over the past few year. Last year’s Final Battle was no different, with a new lighting rig that was almost too big for the Hammerstein Ballroom.

But this is on the list for a bigger reason: people are too hard on ROH for this subject.

I think people watch Ring Of Honor and expect WWE quality, or even IMPACT Wrestling quality. Yes, they are owned by a television broadcast company, but that company does more distribution than production. And the production they do is local news, mostly from affiliates they purchased.

They don’t do live sports, which is what ROH is. I’ve never really understood the thinking of fans when slamming ROH for this. But I do see it continuing to get better.

Huge loss for ROH pictured above.

4. The Elite Departs…? (Big Shoes To Fill)

Talent turnover could be its own category, but let’s be honest here: The Elite has made themselves the most valuable talents in Ring Of Honor.

Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, specifically, have had a hand in building the ROH of today, the one that partnered with New Japan to sell out Madison Square Garden for WrestleMania Weekend in 2019.

If Cody and The Bucks, along with “Hangman” Adam Page and ROH part-timer Kenny Omega do indeed leave, the void will be massive. “Next man up” is a great idea in theory, but this isn’t football. The “next man” doesn’t have the following to make an impact like The Elite did.

And because he was “spoiled in talent,” Delirious hasn’t spent the time and broadcast resources to build their replacements.

But here’s the biggest what if: What if they don’t actually leave?

Final Battle is supposed to be the last night for Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks (among others), but what if it isn’t? The trio already put on ALL IN, a “non-ROH” event that drew 10,000 fans in Chicago while under a Ring Of Honor contract.

Yes, they’ve filed trademarks for All Elite Wrestling, Double Or Nothing, and All Out, with those filings coming from Jacksonville. They are linked to the Jaguars owner. But does that mean they have to leave ROH?

Not hardly. No one has said that All Elite Wrestling is going to be a weekly or even monthly product. Nothing of the sort, actually. It’s entirely plausible that Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks could stay with Ring Of Honor and be given the freedom to put on the All Elite events that offer them more fulfillment. 

In fact, having a “working relationship” with All Elite Wrestling can only benefit ROH. If talent has the chance to work 2-4 All Elite “mega-indy” events per year, while working a full ROH schedule, plus New Japan and international bookings, than said talent actually has an option outside of WWE to make a great living. No one company can provide that to many, but the combination of ROH, All Elite, and NJPW can. That’s a point many are overlooking.

A major loss for ROH if he leaves…

3. A Departure For Christopher Daniels

Yes, losing The Elite is big. Bigger than any other talent loss the company could endure during this time of transition. But that doesn’t speak to the potential loss of Christopher Daniels.

All three members of SoCal Uncensored (Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) are rumored to be leaving ROH at the end of the year. Daniels and Kazarian are under contract, and if Sky is contracted it’s not likely a full deal as he has been working independent dates throughout the year.

Daniels, Kazarian, and Sky have a good relationship with The Bucks and Cody, and Kazarian is actually in business with Rhodes outside of wrestling. So their involvement in whatever All Elite Wrestling does is an easy assumption.

But if Daniels does go, they are losing more than an in-ring talent. He is one of the most influential backstage personalities the company has. Seemingly ageless, at 48-years old and with over 25-years of wrestling experience, he has helped craft some of the best in-ring showdowns ROH has seen over the past few years.

The Ladder War that took place at All Star Extravaganza (The Addiction vs. The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks) was one of the best inc company history, and saw the first reports of Daniels’ work backstage in an agent-like capacity. He has since gone on to hold the ROH World Championship, and his partners Kazarian and Sky are the current ROH World Tag Team Champions.

Daniels, along with Kazarian, have a heavy influence over the talent in ROH, especially the younger talent. There is no one better to learn from than “The Fallen Angel,” and if he goes an irreplaceable amount of knowledge and impact will follow him out the door.

And in writing this section I cannot neglect Frankie Kazarian, himself closing in 20-years in the business and an amazing talent in front of and behind the camera, and Scorpio Sky, himself 35-years young, is just not getting the recognition he deserves as a performer. All three are tremendous losses for the company if they do indeed depart.

PCO: One of the newest members of the ROH roster.

2. New Talent Coming In

With talent (potentially) leaving the company, opportunities are created for new talent to enter. One is already there, and two more have been recently announced.

Jeff Cobb: Cobb, recently killed off of Lucha Underground seemingly to end his role as Matanza Cueto, was long considered one of the best talents not signed to any major company. His signing is a major coup for ROH, and he’s already the World TV Champion. If the company plays their cards right, he could have a Samoa Joe like run through 2019 and beyond, and be a star they can catapult to main event status with ease.

PCO: The former Quebecer (not a Mountie) had a career resurgence in 2018, becoming one of the fanbase’s favorite stars at the young age of 50. Faced with losing The Elite, ROH was smart to sign the man who is arguably the most sought after talent not named Cody Rhodes, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, and/or Kenny Omega.

Brody King: With 3.5 years of experience, Southern California’s King has fast become one of the most reliable talents in independent wrestling, providing stellar match after stellar match. His signing proves that ROH is looking beyond the New England area for talent–and they’d be smart to look into other Santino Bros Academy grads while they’re at it.

Personally, I am surprised we haven’t seen more talent announcements. As I’ve hinted above, I am not 100% certain The Elite and/or SCU end up leaving, as recent comments by Cody, The Bucks, and ROH COO Joe Koff could be more posturing than anything.

If so, then look for more talent to be signed by ROH–and that’s a good thing. Otherwise it’s “more of the same,” and as much as I love Jay Lethal and The Briscoes, they need fresh talent to work with in order to keep the product interesting and relevant.

New Japan is ROH’s most important partner.

1. The New Japan Relationship

It might not be the most fun to admit, but ROH might not be in in the “Number 2” position in the United States without the New Japan relationship. In fact, it’s really easy to argue that ROH needs NJPW more than New Japan needs Ring Of Honor.

That’s why the company gets by not putting ROH talent over, regardless on which side of the ocean the match takes place. And if The Elite leaves, Harold Meij and company have even influence over ROH.

G1 Supercard is already a huge success, despite nothing being announced outside of a few talents. The event at Madison Square Garden is going to be nothing short of amazing, and anyone in attendance is sure to leave happy regardless of The Elite’s presence.

But what happens after? What I want to see happen is simple: the ROH World Champion after Jay Lethal (let’s just use Jeff Cobb as an example) needs to be put over by a big name from New Japan. A Tetsuya Naito level name. 

Basically, ROH needs to stand up for themselves, and be treated as an equal to NJPW in their booking, not as a little brother. Otherwise the relationship remains one-sided, and hurts ROH despite helping them draw.


2019 is set to be a very telling year for ROH, and I personally plan to devote more time and energy to covering their product. Many of you know that I worked for Ring For Honor in 2010 as I was their local contact for the Phoenix events that happened during WrestleMania 26 weekend. Nearly everyone I worked with on that weekend is gone, but my love for the company and my desire to see them succeed hasn’t left at all.

Hopefully 2019 will be a year that ROH transitions into a strong #2 option, a true alternative to the WWE product.

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

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