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Opinion

The Good, Bad and Ugly: WWE Monday Night Raw (1/7/19)

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Alexa Bliss Ronda Rousey WWE Raw

Bobby Fernandes checks in with the first live WWE Raw of 2019. Was the show Good, Bad, or downright Ugly?

With almost all coverage lately around AEW, WWE proceeds business as usual, sort of.  On the January 7 edition of Monday Night Raw, the biggest of the big will grace us with his presence, “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan.  Hogan’s purpose is to commemorate a guy who is beloved by all who knew him, “Mean” Gene Okerlund.  With such a huge name among other possible, rumored personalities tonight, can Raw pull out an over the top show? 

THE GOOD

John Cena Returns to Raw

Although we “can’t see him” anyway, Cena was sorely missed.  He isn’t great as an actual wrestler but neither were a lot of the greats before him.  He is pure charisma and plays off of hope and fighting back.  He stands for “Never Giving Up” a true hero for all to adore.  Some people just hate him.  It is what it is, however Cena can only add a touch of Good, every time he is out there.  Put him up with anyone, and give him a mic, and you have gold.  Well, Mr. Cena officially announced his participation in the Royal Rumble Match.  Drew McIntyre interrupts.  He did spectacular on the microphone, however the crowd was dumbfounded.  McIntyre made his claim to fame and called out Cena’s attributes, while also boasting his own.  This led to Cena owning him as always and surprisingly had the audience’s full support.  Drew McIntyre headed to get a piece of Cena but was interrupted by Lio Rush babbling about Seth Rollins losing it, only to be attacked by Rollins.  Then Ambrose attacked Rollins, being joined in with Lashley.  Cena attempted to aid Rollins but was hit by McIntyre.  Out comes Finn Balor, the crowd went bananas.  Finn cleaned house.  This is brilliant energy starting Raw off with bang leading to a 6 man tag match

John Cena, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush and Dean Ambrose

Everyone was on point for this one. Individually, Cena was on fire as well as Lashley.  The story though is Finn Balor, he can work and rarely disappoints.  Dean Ambrose who hasn’t been so sharp lately looked great in there.  Love him or hate him, “Vintage” John Cena sucked in the audience, until McIntyre hit a “Glasgow Kiss” knocking him out for a two count.  Cena took a beating but hit an “Attitude Adjustment” on Lashley but couldn’t get the tag getting taken down by Ambrose.  Cena took a beating in this match completely isolated.  Finn Balor guns in firing on all cylinders wrecking Ambrose hitting the “Coup De Grace” however got hit with a “Claymore Kick.”  Rollins comes in from another planet, hitting moves from a moonsault out of nowhere to the outside, to then hitting a “Falcon Arrow” for a close two count.  Rollins could not be stopped until he missed a huge “frog splash.”  Ambrose comes in to pick Rollins clean but gets “Stomped” for the victory.  Rollins, Cena and Balor victorious.    HHH didn’t watch “The Architech” Burn it Down, which Rollins certainly did, but was welcomed back by The Game.  Rollins wants Ambrose, HHH obliged for a “Falls Count Anywhere” against Ambrose for the I.C. Title” later on Raw. 

“Mean” Gene Memorial w/ Hulk Hogan

Any Hulk Hogan is Good Hulk Hogan.  This particularly has a lot of potential.  Remembering a guy like “Mean” Gene who literally shared a career with Hogan couldn’t be more appropriate.  The more Hulk Hogan for any reason is already good, but this could be Great.   No one does a highlight reel like WWE.  This one was just fantastic.  What a great man, and what unbelievable, priceless memories of a true legend.  Hogan was fantastic, and this whole tribute to everyone’s favorite personality, was all heart. 

Raw Tag Team Championship Match (Lumberjack Match) – Bobby Roode and Chad Gable (c) vs. The Revival

Lumberjack Matches are usually at the least entertaining, as there are so many involved.  This feud is great all around.  Both teams are old school and play off each other successfully.  Very textbook, both teams looked sharp.  The baby-faces pushed around The Revival, as Lucha House Party kept Revival in the ring.  Bobby Roode is so good!  He has full potential to do whatever WWE will let him.  It really is up to them how they want to use Roode, but he is capable of a lot more then he already has.  The “German Suplex,” “splash” spot with Revival and Gable was amazing.  Then all hell broke loose.  Tons of confusion for a very weird finish.  Gable gets the pin w/ Dawson’s foot under the rope.  Absolutely confusing finish to a Good match.  Roode and Gable Retain!

Elias vs. Baron Corbin

Elias straight killed it on the guitar in his opening.  He obviously took the fans opinion that his guitar skills are sub-par to heart because he seemed to really try.  The fans have spoken and they love to “walk with Elias” they also despise Baron Corbin.  Corbin could save a puppy from a house fire and most likely still get negative heat.  Rightfully so, he can stink up the place.  He really is the after-school special bully and pours cheese out of his mouth constantly.  As always though, these two can go.  This was action packed and high energy.  Elias flew around the ring hitting Corbin with a nasty set of offense.  It looked Good.  Corbin seems to mesh well with Elias.  Elias can handle Corbin’s physicality without looking sloppy and overwhelmed.  Corbin after taking a ton of punishment from Elias, slammed him with a right hand, and tied him off into an “End of Days” for the clean victory.  Not sure where this is going, or to what end, but this was a decent match. 

Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox w/ The Singh Brothers vs. Apollo Crews and Ember Moon

Alicia Fox really needs to never speak on the mic and maybe just not compete anymore.  Jinder Mahal has a lot of potential but he isn’t resonating currently with the audience.  I think if Mahal channeled his inner “Alberto Del Rio” we could see some magic.  Truthfully, this wasn’t a Bad Match.  It was quick, Fox took the squash and Crews killed it.  Quick, fun match. 

Winner gets Raw Women’s Title Match a Royal Rumble – “The Boss” Sasha Banks w/ Bayley vs. Nia Jax w/ Tamina Snuka

Sasha Banks is very talented.  So talented in fact that she made Jax look Good.  Sasha Banks carried this match, selling and putting Jax over to her maximum ability.  The “Gorilla Press” spot on the equipment case was impressive.  Nia Jax dominated with little spurts of Sasha fighting back.  Sasha took a nasty bump getting hung up on the top rope.  Sasha went for a gutsy move on the apron but it seemingly got botched and Banks landed hard but recovered.  Jax gets caught up in the “Banks Statement” and Sasha Banks Wins a trip to the Royal Rumble to face Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship.

Intercontinental Championship Match (Falls Count Anywhere) – Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins attacking Ambrose on the ramp was a great touch.  This match had a lot of feeling and intensity that had been missing from this feud.  It was everything but flat this time.  Rollins was a mad man and Ambrose reacted accordingly.  They definitely didn’t hold back.  You could feel the shots being taken.  This is the appropriate level of competition guys like this are supposed to have at all times.   This was a PPV level Main Event Match.  For it to be on Raw speaks volumes.  They were going blow for blow countering each other’s move-set.  Rollins beat the hell out of Ambrose and Ambrose followed up with a beating with a steel chair.  This looked like an “ECW” type of match in the best way possible.  Rollins looked like he might lose, then hit move after move, “Superplex into a Buckle Bomb”, a huge “Super-kick” followed up by “The Stomp” he had it won until Bobby Lashley interfered.  Lashley destroyed Rollins manhandling him and blasting him all around the ring.  This was such a sick match, it hit all of the right notes.  The finish was so cheap, and made no sense as no one came to intervene even after the earlier match.  The ending really disappointed but the match was damn Good.  Ambrose retains!

THE BAD

A Moment of Alexa Bliss

No matter how unbelievable Alexa Bliss is, and she is, this is a nightmare waiting to happen.  No one is looking forward to this at all to begin with.  This could be a big segment as Rousey and Bliss have heat.  Rousey isn’t at her best on the microphone and this type of promo has a “boring” chant on deck at all times.  Rousey then gave props to the “Unsung Hero, The Boss” Sasha Banks.  Nia Jax then popped out and stunk out the place, before being interrupted by Sasha Banks.  It is refreshing to see Banks back in the storyline, especially with a possible match with Rousey for the Gold.  Sasha Banks carried this failure and set up a decent proposal even Nia Jax trying to ruin it. 

THE UGLY

“The Monster” Braun Strowman Face to Face with WWE Universal Champion “The Beast” Brock Lesnar

It’s Good to see Braun Stowman back.  He has a presence that demands attention.  This faceoff was a fantastic idea, and even a bit surprising.  Unfortunately, Lesnar didn’t come down to the ring “card subject to change.”  Heyman always shows up on the mic, but then it all came apart.  Strowman didn’t deliver and Heyman ate him alive.  This was a boring disappointment, until Lesnar decided to take Strowman up on his offer to “get these hands.”  But, that didn’t happen, Lesnar circled the ring and left all of us wanting to see this finally go down and being very disappointed. 

FINAL TALLY

  • GOOD – 8
  • BAD – 1
  • UGLY – 1

OVERALL

The Spirit of Raw around the beloved “Mean” Gene Okerlund had a GOOD feeling this week.  It had some big moments and a lot of success.  It wasn’t perfect but it was fun and enjoyable.  It was more than a GOOD show, it was special. 

We can get used to this.  Raw delivering, SmackDown delivering, hell maybe NXT will go back to normal this week as well and kick ass.  Whatever happens, what a time to be a fan.  No matter if this was WWE’s plan all along or they feel the heat from all of the attention the “new guys” are getting, this has been getting better and better.


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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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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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