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Levin’s WWE SmackDown Review 1/1/19: AJ Styles Earns Title Shot



AJ Styles WWE Smackdown

It was a busy first Smackdown of 2019, full of in-ring action and the crowning of a challenger for Daniel Bryan and the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.

A.J. Styles defeated four other WWE superstars on SmackDown Live to earn the right to face Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble on Tuesday night. It was a fitting way to start of the new year as this kind of feud is one WWE has been hoping to cash in on for some time.

Styles pinned Randy Orton in a five-way match to determine who would face the current WWE Champion. While Mustafa Alu, Rey Mysterio, and Samoa Joe could not get the job done, WWE is moving forward with a darker, more aggressive Styles on the road toward WrestleMania in April.

Personally, I like the idea of changing Styles’ character a bit while still billing him as the blue brand’s top babyface. WWE did the right thing in allowing Daniel Bryan to shock the world before the end of the year with his heel turn to claim the promotion’s biggest prize. Now, the creative team must create a compelling feud that sets the tone for the next 12 months.

Styles is every bit this generation’s Shawn Michaels in that he is the brand’s best performer. He may not be the juggernaut on the microphone like The Miz or the sadistic tempered Orton, there is plenty to build from his character to ratchet his aggression a but without him losing his status with wrestling fans as their conquering hero.

A Styles-Bryan match should be one of the highlights of the night on Jan. 27. WWE needs another strong showing to continue their promise of change. Raw’s main event picture has been damaged because of the loss of Roman Reigns to the roster. SmackDown’s women’s division is the best thing going today. Braun Strowman and Brock Lesner will once again lock it up for the Universal Title. And then there is the Women’s and Men’s Royal Rumble matches.

If WWE wants to get over with its fan base, then have the Styles-Bryan feud continue off and on throughout the year, much the company has done in the past with John Cena and CM Punk or Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes in the NWA. Fans will always accept this kind of cash-in, as the story inside the ring sells itself.

When Bryan was at the height of the “Yes! Movement” it was easy to pick matches for the superstar because of his ability in the ring. Styles, Michaels, Bret Hart, Kurt Angle. They all fit the “What If” scenario of a potential comeback for the four-time WWE champion as he dealt with injuries that forced him to retire from the ring. His return guaranteed another run with the belt in hand, but it did not promise a change in character or attitude.

Styles’ attack on Vince McMahon last week showed even the most popular stars have to find ways to reinvent themselves as performers. The feud with Samo Joe took Styles to the brink, but it did not do the one thing I had hoped it would do – give the company strap to Joe. It would have then forced Styles to readjust his character. Maybe this is what the McMahons had in mind all along.

In a little over three weeks, fans will get the title match they want with two of the best performers in the world. We can all hope it lives up to the hype. If the superstars can perform as well outside the ring with promos as they do inside the squared-circle, this could be a “Match of the Year contender” out of the gate.

That’s something myself as a fan hopes will happen

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


Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (7-17-19)

Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?



Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?

Have I ever told anyone that I can’t stand Matt Riddle? I have? Okay. I don’t even know what it is, but he sets my teeth on edge. I will give him props for having a good match with Arturo Ruas, but I’m not sure what they’re doing with his character, except teasing a heel turn after that NASTY beatdown of Ruas. I am here for Killian Dain vs Riddle, that even sounds like fun!

Looks like we are going to Undisputed Era vs Street Profits at some point, but I’m waiting for UE to make a big deal about Street Profits being on the Main Roster for the last couple of weeks.

I love that Mia Yim is learning from everyone’s mistakes in dealing with Shayna Baszler and is going after Baszler’s friends, who are the real reason she’s stayed on top for so long. This feud is going to get nasty in a hurry and I can’t wait!

The next match of the NXT Breakout Tournament  had a lot to live up to after two AMAZING matches and one not so amazing. I’m not sure what in the world Australian Strong Styles is, I’m guessing it’s like any ‘Strong Style’ in that it’s pretty hard hitting. I also didn’t know Australia had a Black Forest, it was never on ‘Crocodile Hunter’. I did like this match, however. I can’t say it was as amazing as some of the other matches, but it was really good. Bronson Reed won the match for Australia, so we’ll see what happens in Round 2.

Someone should tell Tyler Breeze that having a beard doesn’t make you a man. I’ve seen teenagers with better facial hair. I did love the little dig at Forgotten Sons, but I don’t think Breeze really wants to pick a fight with Jaxson Ryker, that’s not going to end well.

Well, it looks like we’ll likely get a confrontation between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae next week, unfortunately for Kacy Catanzaro, she’s going to be Shirai’s punching bag before that.

I wasn’t really into KUSHIDA vs Apollo Crews. I’m just not a huge fan of either guy. The match was really good, but I don’ t think anyone really thought Crews was going to beat KUSHIDA, who is getting built into a title contender, but it was a longer match than Crews has been having for most of his WWE run, so there’s that.

I’m still not into Keith Lee, I just don’t get it, but I’m super stoked  about the prospect of Lee vs Damian Priest, that promises to be a wild match.

So, it’s officially official, we WILL be getting Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano III and it sounds like it’s going to be the last one. I did like Gargano comparing his victory tour of trying to inspire young people in Cleveland with Cole’s obnoxious antics at the Gargano restaurant. Also, love the ‘Johnny Badass’ thing, very cool. NXT TakeOver: Toronto II is going to be a wild ride in that Three Stages of Hell match! Thank you, William Regal for booking that!

That’s it for Tiffany’s Belated NXT Takes! Tune in Monday for Monday Night RAW!



Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Carol: Are Wrestling Crowds Disrespectful?

Are fans more concerned with getting themselves over than the product in the ring?



Are fans more concerned with getting themselves over than the product in the ring?

Every week wrestlers put their bodies on the line as they step into the ring to put on a show for the fans. These wrestlers do their best to make sure they put on an entertaining match; however there are some fans who make it impossible to enjoy the show.

This past Monday on RAW was a perfect example of how fans can ruin a show. Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Naomi, and Carmella competed in an elimination match to determine the number one contender for Becky Lynch’s championship at SummerSlam. At times, the match moved slowly, but the ladies put on a decent bout that ended with Natalya being declared the winner.

But the women were overshadowed by the crowd, who broke out into a “this is awful” chant. Alexa Bliss took to Twitter after RAW to admonish the crowd for their disrespectful behavior. Many believe that stars like Alexa should stop acting like a crybaby and tough it up.

However, I’m siding with Alexa on this issue and I believe the crowd was very disrespectful.

These days wrestling fans are very vocal in their opinions, and I’m not just talking about the ones on social media. I’m talking about the ones who buy tickets to shows, then try to hijack them by doing stupid stuff to draw the attention away from the wrestlers.

Who can forget during the 2017 SummerSlam PPV when fans began playing with a beach ball?

Cesaro, who was part of the tag match, went into the crowd and ripped the beach ball. The incident sparked outrage with everyone. WWE banned beach balls from their events, while Cesaro and Seth Rollins criticized the fans in attendance.

Aside from the beach ball incident, there’s also the fans who continue to chant CM Punk’s name during events. CM Punk was a favorite with the WWE Universe because of his famous pipebomb. When he left WWE on bad terms, fans sided with Punk and whenever the company is in Chicago, you can bet there will be plenty of Punk chants in the crowd.

Why fans continue to partake in this type of behavior is anybody’s guess. Maybe they want to be cool, but in reality they’re looking at idiots.

When you go to a wrestling show, you’re supposed to have fun and watch your favorite wrestlers. It’s one thing to cheer the babyfaces and boo the heels, or even chant “this is awesome” during a match. But don’t chant “this is awful” or play with a beach ball.

Not every match is going to be a five-star spectacular, and you may not like it. But don’t act rude during by chanting someone else’s name or calling the match awful. The wrestlers are just doing their job and the last thing they need is the crowds breaking their concentration. Imagine how you’d feel if you were performing in front of a big crowd and all they did was tell you how untalented you were.

These types of fans not only ruin the show for the wrestlers, but also the other fans who paid money to enjoy the event.

So my advice to all those fans out there. If you want to talk about how bad a match is or how untalented a wrestler is, stay home and complain about it on social media. Don’t spend a lot of money to go to a wrestling show just to act like a jerk and ruin it for everyone else.

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