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Opinion

Andrew’s WWE Raw & SmackDown Live 1/14 & 1/15/2019

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Andrew gives us his thoughts on this week’s Raw and SmackDown Live! Does Raw finally outperform SmackDown Live this week?

Well if you read my Honor Reigns Supreme article, you’d know that left such a bad taste in my mouth, that I was excited for WWE this week.

So I guess it’s time to see if the initial anticipation paid off.

Raw Ratings:

  • Ronda Rousey & Sasha Banks vs Tamina & Nia Jax – Banks wins via Bank Statement – **
  • The Revival vs Lucha House Party – Dawson wins via DDT – * 1/2
  • Natalya, Bayley & Nikki Cross vs The Riott Squad – Bayley wins via Elbow Drop – ** 3/4
  • Jinder Mahal vs Finn Balor – Balor wins via Coup de Grace – ***
  • Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat: Dean Ambrose (c) vs Bobby Lashley vs Seth Rollins – Lashley wins via Spear – *** 1/2TITLE CHANGE!!!
  • Fatal Four Way for Universal Championship Match at Royal Rumble: Finn Balor vs Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs John Cena – Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** 1/4

 

Review Notes:

  • Braun kicks things off, oh god, he’s gonna talk. *spins the See-N-Say* Okay, Cow says Moo and Braun says something about getting hands, Beastie Boy, rawr rawr, Baron Corbin…whatever. The he finds Corbin in a limo, tears the door off, it was Vince’s so he admonishes the Monster and fines him $100,000 – and Braun mouths off. So Vince not being one to take kindly to that, pulls him out of the Universal Title match and kicks him out of the building after he flips the limo.
  • After the Braun stupidity is over, now we get Sasha and Ronda. Sasha did most of the work, Nia somehow looks worse than Tamina, even the preview for Glass did better in the match, and they try really hard to force animosity between Sasha and Ronda by making Sasha be unable to understand body language and comprehend context in a sentence. Maybe she’s low key dyslexic and this brought back bad memories of reading pages out loud in school.
  • A line forms outside of McMahons door…okay, time to see Jerry Lawler and a bunch of random characters…great.
  • Revival get a real tag match against the Lucha House Party, so maybe the conspiracy is over…but they interrupt the match with interviewing people meandering around outside of Vince’s office. You’re only really legitimate tag team on Raw, that people like, and you’re trying to rebuild…and you kill the momentum of the match with pointless interviews. So what we did see was alright, and the DDT being a finish is nice, but the wrinkle of Wilder having to push Kalisto’s foot off the rope, doesn’t make a ton of sense. Is it karma? Is it doubling down on them being bad guys? Is it just stupid? Tune in next week on Dragon Ball – wait…no.
  • Vince heads to the ring to announce a replacement and instead we get Cena. Cena who tries to say when Austin, Rock and Lesnar left, they had no passion coming back. He tries to recreate his debut Ruthless Aggression line, McIntyre comes out and schools Cena with lyrics to Word Life saying Cena’s Time is Up and Drew’s Time is Now. So it was cute. Corbin comes out cause he’s delusional. Then lastly Finn comes out to play the little engine that could. Vince says he’s small, Finn says he never believed in him, but he’ll prove he can beat Lesnar. Fatal Four Way match is created after McIntyre wins the initial squabble and Vince nearly orgasms seeing Drew and what he did.
  • Jinder, makes up a story about tending to a broken Singh, so Vince tells him to pick one and winner gets the 4-way spot. Jinder picks Finn, cause you always pick the smaller guy, right?
  • Bayley and Natty were trying to separate Ronda and Sasha earlier when the Riott Squad got mouthy and challenged the two that aren’t really friends to find a third and face them. Bayley has a great line as they fade to commercial since Natty accepted on behalf of them, she just looks at her and says something like ” Oh?! We’re good now?!” – which nicely points out the stupidity of some of these throw together matches.
  • Now the Riott Squad do nothing for me, but Nikki Cross making her Raw debut added a new life to this match that I didn’t know it needed. Nikki made this match entertaining, and at this point, her shear joy just brightened up my enjoyment of the entire show. Decent match too, but Nikki, always let Nikki play.
  • Jinder versus Finn wasn’t bad. Regardless of what some people think about Jinder, the match work was solid. If you just don’t like him, sure that’s fine, but this was Jinder’s best match in a long time and again, I thought it was pretty decent.
  • Lio Rush speaks, and it’s calm, direct and Lashley is looming in the background like an ominous force instead of a posing imbecile. I don’t know how to feel…cause I liked this promo…but Lio Rush is annoying.
  • The triple threat was… good. No real complaints aside from my usual gripes about Seth’s inability to sell, PLUS Lashley pinning Ambrose does allow for a rematch most likely at Rumble cause he can point out it wasn’t a 1 on 1 match and the odds were stacked against him, conspiracy stuff, so I can see it happening. Lashley with the IC title at least gives him something when he should’ve been a main event guy from day 1 on his return, at least this is a step in the right direction.
  • Alexa Bliss…ugh I know I say she’s the best female character on Raw, cause she is. But walking in on her changing added nothing to anything, it was done purely for the “hot chick partially clothed” pop. And then her two episodes of Moment of Bliss have been…awful and trainwrecky. Otis randomly appearing and babbling makes him seems more moronic and not endearing like NXT made him seem like a hyper country bro. But yeah, he acted more like he needs a harness and a helmet. At least the Women’s Tag Titles look nice and aren’t the big ugly WWE logo design.
  • This four way wasn’t bad, but the two commercials hurt the flow, it turned into more of just disjointed cool spots that eventually lead to something but you weren’t sure how we got there. Kinda like a drunk train ride and you end up somewhere dangerous, but sexy…yet the right person goes over. So…drunken miracles do happen folks.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

GO FIGURE! I really enjoyed this episode. As I mentioned on Raw Reaction the appearance of Nikki Cross and that little fire starter ball off energy actually just made me enjoy the show. There’s something about seeing someone run about the ring, be it because she’s manic, frantic or just having fun…but it’s nice. So from that point I got a little less nit picky, enjoyed nonsensical things like Dean and Seth cooperating because I got the fact they were going for “they did it out of muscle memory” not so much liking each other.

Plus seeing Finn get a semi-legitimate push for the Universal Championship is always refreshing. We’ve seen smaller guys give Brock believable matches, so maybe Finn or the Demon can tear the belt off the Beast.

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Becky Lynch vs Peyton Royce – Lynch wins via Disarm-Her – **
  • Asuka vs Billie Kay – Asuka wins via Asuka Lock –N/A
  • Samoa Joe vs Mustafa Ali – NO CONTEST
  • Andrade Almas vs Rey Mysterio – Almas wins via Draping Hammerlock DDT – ****
  • The Miz w/ Shane McMahon vs Sheamus w/Cesaro – Miz wins via Rollup – ** 1/4

 

Review Notes:

  • Becky pulls in, cute but lacking personality interviewer tries to question her, she says she’ll say it in the ring. On her way in she sees Otis and Tucker with the New Day making a meat, eggs, powder, take a few panckes, generally assuming a protein shake of doom since their whole NXT shtick is ‘Steaks and Weights’. Otis tries some and likes it, New Day almost pukes, Otis offers it to Becky. Becky agrees, takes a decent mouthful (giggity) and says it’s good but weak and marches to the ring. Otis mumbles something that sounds like “she is the man”. This was actually the correct way to introduce Otis’ brand of buffoonery since he’s supposed to be simple but charmingly dumb…not Festus 2.0.
  • Becky and Asuka argument turns into the IIconics teasing and saying they’ll win Rumble. Becky says why wait, get your ass in here now. So Peyton apparently offers herself as tribute.
  • What was this match? Asuka was watching intently, Billie didn’t really get involved much, but Peyton held her own for what felt like at least 10 minutes. If this was supposed to help Peyton look like a competent threat, I think it hurt Becky more than helped Peyton. Advantage though, Asuka adorably screaming in Japanese basically getting across the point of “if you can do it so can I”. So she literally drags Billie into a match, the referee shrugs and doesn’t question an angry woman screaming in a language he doesn’t understand. Asuka went for a Fujiwara Armbar while looking at Becky to make a point, but took too long, Billie got a small opening but then Asuka chokes her out with the Asuka like in what felt like 40 seconds.
  • AJ walks out while Becky and Asuka are still arguing, and apparently new music is the signal to leave. AJ walks down the ramp, around the ring, through the crowd, up to the concession stand. This is him taking Daniel Bryan’s promo from last week and turning it on it’s ear. He starts endorsing hot dogs and merchandise before Daniel Bryan jumps him. Daniel hates fun obviously…
  • Jimmy gets a note from Mandy Rose with a hotel key enclosed. WHAT DOES THE UCE DO!?
  • Joe jumps Mustafa mid pose, beats on him until the LED on his chest goes out. So if that’s like Iron Man, Mustafa is now dead. Someone else needs to assume the suit. TJ Perkins maybe?
  • Sonya gets to the bottom of Mandy’s evil plan to break up a marriage cause she just hates Naomi. Catty…but it happens. Sonya seems a little disgusted though.
  • In my article last week I think I claimed I wanted a best of 27 between these two. And I still want more. This was so damn good. Also, FINALLY, Zelina does what she should’ve been doing from the beginning. She got involved just enough to give Andrade the opening to beat Mysterio when Almas was on the brink. If this is the beginning of returning to their NXT dynamic, then I just need more Vega and Almas on my TV in general.
  •  Jimmy actually goes to the hotel, he pauses, heads in, Mandy takes off her robe to show a lacy black outfit and Jimmy says no. But as his rebuking her advances, a Paparazzi guy shows up out of nowhere snaps some pictures and runs away. Mandy puts the robe back on, said she never wanted him, just wanted to ruin the marriage and now Naomi will crumble. Jimmy laughs it off, walks out, and Naomi pops in and beats some ass. So Mandy’s plan didn’t work at all, I wonder if Sonya tipped them off and this could split those two into a feud or something.
  • Miz and Shane are fantastic. Miz throws a celebration for Shane’s birthday, gets him a pair of Jordan’s where Shane’s reaction sounded close to legit. Then Miz runs a little reel of clips which is actually kinda nice with the story they’re telling. Shane buys into their team idea a little more by telling Miz that when he was a kid he had a dream to be tag team champs. His dream partner as a kid was Andre the Giant, but he’s still proud to call Miz his friend. There did seem to be a small hesitation during some of this where maybe there were some real comments that weren’t exactly scripted, but that just makes you buy into them more. The Bar interrupt the celebration and Shane does the talking now. Says Sheamus thinks he’s a big man for sucker punching Miz last week. Well they’ll have a match right now and it’s fair. Miz tries to say he’s not dressed and Shane retorts nicely with “I wasn’t in my gear when I stepped in for Best in the World” and Miz is like “is this what you want for your birthday?” and Shane is like ” This is my Birthday wish, yes”. The immaturity,yet, simplicity of the exchange is what made it perfect. Miz is trying to impress Shane so of course a good point and birthday wish is something that Miz won’t deny.
  • The match was never supposed to be groundbreaking, but it was fun for what it was. Cesaro tries to interfere, Shane sends him through a cake on a table, distracting Sheamus long enough for Miz to get the Rollup. Sheamus tries to attack Miz afterwards, Shane helps out his partner, Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale, and then Shane positions for Coast to Coast. Miz gets the other cake and we get Coast to Cake…mostly, and Shane looked to have killed himself at the same time.

 

Overall Score: 6.25/10

SmackDown felt more like a story building episode this week and less geared towards the in-ring action. Nothing was bad, some things were done purposely to push storylines forward, so it felt about average if not a tick below for a SmackDown.

So for the first time in my doing these articles, and even recent memory…Raw was the better show this week. I mean…wow. Either ROH broke me or WWE just happened to push all the correct button for me. You know, like the song the Pussy Cat Dolls talked about, not the irritating buttons.


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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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