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Will Sasha Banks vs Ronda Rousey Deliver at the WWE Royal Rumble?

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Ronda Rousey will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks at The Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 27. The Baddest Woman on the Planet recently challenged The Boss on Monday Night Raw for the Rumble match and Banks quickly accepted.

The storyline itself has thrown many fans off because of its suddenness. Sasha was not in title contention and has not been in that spot for quite some time. Now she’s booked against WWE’s hottest star and some have a serious problem with it. But they may be missing the big picture.

It’s true that Sasha didn’t seem to have a place in this spot. Rousey has had heat with both Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, as well as Nia Jax. Ronda is in constant fight mode with The Riott Squad and there is more than one reason to keep her away from Banks right now.

But maybe that’s not the case after all. Banks has indeed not been on the championship radar, however that does not mean she can’t slide in and immediately make an impact. Sasha has been a top star in WWE’s women’s division and that has been true from day one.

From the moment she arrived on Raw alongside Flair and Lynch, Banks was thrust into the main event spotlight. She was expected to step up and deliver, to prove her worth on the company’s flagship program. She did just that and much more. 

Maybe she wasn’t in the original plan for Rousey, or maybe she was always in the plan from the beginning. There is really no way for fans to know that for certain either way. But Sasha Banks delivering in the ring should never be in doubt. The truth is that she is indeed one of the best female stars that the company has to offer.

But the key for Banks is she needs the right opponent to compete against. Sasha is at her best when she’s challenged in the ring and Charlotte Flair challenged her more than anyone else. They had one of the most intense rivalries that WWE fans have ever seen and possibly the greatest rivalry that the women’s division has ever seen as well.

She’s also shown flashes of brilliance with other Superstars along the way, including Bayley. Their relationship is a complicated one, mostly because they exist and compete, as sisters. They don’t always get along and sometimes their problems will lead to a brawl. But in the end, they always come back together. It’s an odd situation but it’s working for them thus far.

But Banks was forced to earn her Raw Women’s Championship match by facing Jax on Raw and that match was far from being an instant classic. In fact some fans watched that match with the belief that Sasha didn’t deserve to face Ronda. She didn’t look good and everyone could see it.

Of course the WWE faithful must also recognize that Banks was in the ring with a woman who has arguably never lived up to expectations. Some would even say that Nia Jax is really not a threat to anyone at this point. She often makes promises she cannot keep. She bullies her way around the program but she can never make good on her threats.

Jax’s booking has indeed been atrocious. But it’s her work between the ropes that continues to do the most damage to her WWE career. This has gone far beyond Jax’s ability to work safely. This is a matter of whether or not Nia is good enough to even work in the ring on the WWE stage. This is the woman that faced Sasha Banks on Raw.

So fans must look past that match and consider what Banks brings to the table in her upcoming match against Ronda Rousey. Sasha can get the job done in the ring and she’s proven that on more than one occasion. She definitely has the attitude and the character to make an impact against the strait-laced champ. Sasha Banks will bring all of the swagger and personality that has made her famous. But she may also bring something more.

What are the chances that Banks makes such an impact against Rousey that WWE will want to see more of the two in the ring? More importantly, what if the fans ultimately want to see more from them as well? 

The idea of Rousey versus Banks was immediately dismissed by some from the beginning. But the match hasn’t even happened yet, which means anything can happen on January 27. Rousey has muscled her way through more than one match, but what if she can’t do that against The Boss?

If fans can’t agree on anything when it comes to Sasha Banks, they must surely agree that she is one of the toughest women in the company. Her grit and resiliency defy her 5’5” frame. Banks is intense, she’s determined and most of all, she’s extremely capable. A highly motivated Sasha Banks is fun to watch and that will likely be the case once again at The Royal Rumble.

Banks may leave the Rumble as WWE’s newest heel. Or she may even heel out Ronda. The women’s division has proven to be one of the most unpredictable divisions in WWE. Every time the company plans to go right, things suddenly take a hard left. No one expected Becky Lynch to have the breakout year that she had in 2018. What if the same thing happens for Sasha Banks in 2019?

The fact is that despite what happens on January 27, Banks deserves the chance to deliver as only she can. Fans know what she can do and she will do it again against Ronda Rousey. This is Sasha’s time to show up and show off. Fans may indeed get much more than they expected when Banks and Rousey lock up at The Royal Rumble. 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Tiffany’s Takes: WWE Raw (6/17/19)

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WWE RAW The IIconics

Tiffany’s Takes kicks off the week with look at WWE Raw that featured Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan and The New Day in a 2-Out-Of-3-Falls Match!

It’s the go-home show for Stomping Grounds! How will WWE Raw make a case for fans to tune in?

Universal Championship: Seth Rollins might a babyface, but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid to get nasty. I LOVED this nasty side of the BeastSlayer and the warning about what will happen to anyone who sides with Corbin over him. THIS is a Universal Champion I can definitely get behind.

I love it when a face makes good on a threat. I lost count on how many prospective refs Seth destroyed, but he definitely got his point across to Corbin and his cronies: Do NOT piss off Seth Rollins.

I enjoyed the six man tag, though an actual, conscious ref was not as fun as EC3 playing Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s (look it up on Wikipedia if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I had a rant all done about how dumb it was to have Rowan interfere and ruin Rollins vs Bryan, but it wasn’t needed. That was a great match, can we have more of those, please?

United States Championship:  If Elias wasn’t such a slimeball and mediocre singer, I’d almost feel bad for him after he got beat up by every person involved in the Fatal Five Way #1 Contender’s Match for the United States Championship, including two guys he used to be allied with.

The match was actually better than I’d expected, though I did somewhat appreciate the story building of Lashley helping to get Strowman eliminated as payback for Strowman eliminating him. My one big gripe is that this match didn’t go for very long, but I am THRILLED that Ricochet won and will get a shot on Sunday!

RAW Women’s Division: Have I ever mentioned that I’m over this Becky Lynch/Lacey Evans feud? I have? Good, because I wasn’t sure I’ve mentioned how boring I’m finding Becky’s ongoing problems with Emmie Slattery (Evans). I did appreciate them bringing up that Evans is a former Marine because I hate that they’ve taken someone who is a legit badass and can be such a great example for girls and turned her into a pinup who espouses sexist nonsense that has no place in modern America. HOPEFULLY, Scarlett (Lynch) will finally triumph over Emmie and move on to someone else.

Thank you, God, they made the IIconics look like competent champs! Their title run has been build on them looking stupid and it’s hurt them so badly. Even with a tainted win, it was a win over serious opponents, which they needed. Again, I loved edgy Bayley, but I hate that she’s playing into Alexa’s plan to steal the title. Hopefully, someone gets to Nikki and makes her see sense before something really goes wrong.

Raw Tag Team Division: After an absence of several weeks, Viking Raiders finally returned to RAW for some pillaging, and had to deal with the Greenjerks watching their match, for some reason, and that was about the most interesting thing about that match, since I don’t think we got the names of the poor guys they squashed.

I liked the Revival proving that there is no honor among thieves when they stole money from Drew McIntyre. I appreciated WWE trying to enhance McIntyre’s heel creds by having him attack Heath Slater, but it just felt forced.

I know Good Brothers are leaving in the fall, but I LOVED the reunion between them and Styles. Oh, what could’ve been if Vince had pulled his head out of his ass. That said, it looks like Styles’ words got to them so this last run might be pretty good. I did enjoy the tag match between them and the Usos, but it wasn’t long enough for me, plus Good Brothers looked ridiculous.

24/7 Championship: I’ll give Truth and Carmella their dues for trying to be clever with those disguises. They would’ve gotten away with it if not for the camera crew.

Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon: If Shane and Drew haven’t gotten the message about pissing off Roman Reigns, I’m pretty sure they learned it tonight after Roman beat the hell out of Shane, to everyone’s delight, including mine.

Firefly Fun House: NOPE. Just…NOPE! He still gets points for the literature nod, but that’s it. I draw the line at maggots, but at least the rabbit was okay. Also: The world is ROUND, you inbred!

Overall Comments: So, how was RAW tonight? That was actually the best go-home show they’ve had in awhile. Every story got built and we got some great matches. Whoever was booking tonight should get a raise.

There’s been some discussion about Seth’s conduct, but it makes sense when you realize that he’s on his own. Ambrose is gone and Roman is dealing with his own issues. Seth’s got no one to watch his back and Lesnar is lurking around, so he’s getting paranoid and sick of everyone’s BS.

I’m ready for Alexa to get her ass kicked on Sunday and I hope Nikki Cross comes to her senses soon. I’m thrilled that the IIconics are finally being treated like legit performers and not just jokes.

Rollins vs Bryan didn’t disappoint, but the fact that we still don’t have a guest ref is cause for concern.

That’s it for Tiffany’s Takes! Tune in tomorrow for SmackDown and 205!


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Andrew’s Top Matches: Week Ending 6/16/2019

A jam packed week of matches displays a few of the more infrequent companies. Who made the Top 5?

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A jam packed week of matches displays a few of the more infrequent companies. Who made the Top 5?

Two big New Japan shows had them dominate last week. Funnily enough, one match dominated by amassing nearly 5 times as many votes as second place. The winner of last week’s Japanese filled Top 5, NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals: Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay.

For anyone who was upset about the domination last week, well this is the week for you. We’ve got some WWE products, a little flavor from Mexico, and of course some matches from Japan.

Let’s get down to business!

 

5. NXT UK: Imperium (WALTER, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) vs British Strong Style ( Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Barthel throws Dunne out while Walter throws Seven. Walter stomps Dunne down while Barthel has Bate. Aichner tags in but Bate fights back. Bate boots but Barthel deflects that to ropes. Aichner gives Bate a draping backstabber! Barthel climbs to add double stomps! Aichner covers, TWO!! Bate survives and Glasgow loves it! Aichner is furious but he keeps focus on Bate. Tag to Barthel and they trash talk Bate in their respective languages. But Bate fires off with fast hands! Aichner kicks low and whips Bate, but Bate rebounds for DOUBLE LARIATS! Bate crawls but Walter intercepts, only to get the rolling kick! Hot tag to Seven!

Dunne tags in off Seven, Seven gives Barthel the Seven Stars Lariat! Seven DIVES onto Aichner while Dunne tags Bate. Dunne pump handles, Bitter End on Barthel! Bate climbs, for the corkscrew senton! Walter returns and barrels through Dunne to BOOT Bate! Dunne dropkicks Walter then slingshots out, only to miss. Walter runs at Dunne but Dunne sends him into steel steps! But then Walter back suplexes Dunne onto barriers! Wait, who is that coming down the ramp? He wears a hood and familiar mask… In the ring, Seven CHOPS Aichner. Aichner shoves Seven into the ref! Seven clotheslines Aichner and himself out of the ring! The mystery man enters the ring and targets Bate! It’s ALEXANDER WOLFE!! The German Ax Man POWERBOMBS Bate! Glasgow boos but Wolfe grins. Barthel covers while Walter gets the ref in. Imperium wins!!

Winner: Imperium via Sit-Out Powerbomb

Rating: ****

 

4. AAA Verano de Escalando 2019: AAA Tag Team Championship: Lucha Brothers vs The Young Bucks (c)

From Joe’s AAA Coverage:
Lucha Bros jump the Bucks. Matt Jackson does 3 northern lights suplexes to Fenix then does one to Fenix and Pentagon at the same time. Matt does a baseball slide and then Nick does a dive over him. Matt unties Pentagon’s mask and then beats him up in the crowd. Back in the ring they hit double super kicks. Pentagon hits sling blades on both Bucks. Fenix does a double cutter. They roll out and Fenix hits a huge dive and goes flying into the crowd while Pentagon hits Matt with the Pentagon driver. Matt hits a Canadian destroyer then a spear and Fenix breaks it up. Lucha bros go for super kicks but the Bucks reverse it into sharptshooters. Lucha bros break out and a ton of super kicks get hit. Nick hits a frog splash on Fenix and Penta runs up his back and hits a Canadian destroyer on Matt. Fenix then hits a stomp on the apron on Nick. Pentagon hits the package piledriver on Matt. He kicks out. Then Fenix and Pentagon do the combo package piledriver. Nick pulls the ref out. Nick does an asai moonsault to the ref and Fenix. Matt pulls off Pentagon’s mask and kicks him in the groin and then they hit a Meltzer driver. Fenix pulls the ref out now. Fenix kicks Matt in the groin and then hits a cutter for a two. A new ref is out here now. They do the combo package piledriver again and Fenix hits a middle rope splash on Nick. Penta pins Matt. Pentagon pins Matt Jackson with a package piledriver combo.

Winner: Lucha Bros via Spike Fear Factor

Rating: ****

 

3. 205 Live: #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way: Drew Gulak vs Humberto Carrillo vs Akira Tozawa vs Oney Lorcan

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Sacramento fires up behind Lorcan, but Ariya Daivari runs out to SMACK Lorcan with a chair!! The Persian Lion is a sore loser from his loss last week. The referee can’t disqualify anyone but he does get Daivari to leave. That doesn’t matter to Daivari, the damage has been done, and he laughs all the way to the back. This leaves Carrillo and Gulak in the ring. Gulak goes to throw Carrillo but Carrillo throws him out first. Carrillo turns around to get Tozawa’s mule kick. Tozawa swings, misses, slides under and hits the rolling roundhouse! Nese is still watching as Tozawa climbs up top! Fans fire up but Carrillo kicks Tozawa down! Carrillo climbs but Gulak returns to shove him off! Carrillo hits barriers!

Gulak has Tozawa, but Tozawa fights back! They brawl up top and Tozawa clubs away. Fans “AH! AH!” along with him, but Gulak just headbutts Tozawa to stop him. Gulak adjusts, for the SUPERPLEX! But both men cradle the other!! Three count, but who wins!?

Winner: Tozawa & Gulak via Simultaneous Pin

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NOAH Misawa Memorial 6.9.2019: Naomichi Marufuji vs Go Shiozaki
Winner: Shiozaki via Gowan Lariat
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT: Submission Match: Drew Gulak vs Kushida
Winner: Kushida via Hoverboard Lock
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Kizuna Road: IWGP Jr Tag Team Titles: Roppongi 3k (c) vs El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori
Winner: ELP via CR2
Rating: *** 1/2
205 Live: Chad Gable vs Jack Gallagher
Winner: Gable via Countout
Rating: *** 1/2
AAA Verano de Escalando 2019: Tessa Blanchard & Daga vs Taya Valkyrie & Laredo Kid
Winner: Laredo Kid via Laredo Fly
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Kizuna Road: LIJ vs Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask IV, Jyushi Thunder Liger & Shota Umino
Winner: Shingo via Pumping Bomber
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Willie Mack
Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Kizuna Road: DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii, Tomoaki Honma & Ren Narita
Winner: Taichi via Superkick
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley, Samoa Joe & Cesaro vs Ricochet, The Miz & Braun Strowman
Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Winner: Burch via Distracted Roll-Up
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Kizuna Road: Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Toa Henare
Winner: Archer via Claw
Rating: ***
IMPACT: Jordynne Grace vs Madison Rayne
Winner: Rayne via CrossRayne
Rating: ***

 

 

2. Stardom Shining Destiny: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Tam Nakano vs Arisa Hoshiki (c)

The backstory is interesting for the match. Arisa returned to Stardom about 6 months ago and has been part of the STARS faction, the same faction as Tam. Tam is an awkward girl who just wants to prove herself. Io pushed her before she left (see the Exploding Baseball Bat Match), Mayu saved her from humiliation when she was kicked out of Oedo Tai. So Arisa joining STARS and becoming quite friendly with Mayu, never sat well with Tam. Then during this years draft, Arisa was taken before Tam. This is their chance to express their feelings through a fight, since words don’t seem to be doing the job.

Tam came out with a stoic and distant look in her eyes, while Arisa was her typical upbeat self. It almost looked like Tam was distracted by her own determination to prove herself. Arisa smiles as she hits you, she’s having fun, she enjoys the sport. This was notable since Tam was straight faced through the first half of the match. Once it spilled to the outside and Tam his a German Suplex on the apron, the tone shifted.

Tam was smiling through the ropes down on Arisa, but not chiding, like she started having fun. The two had a big exchange of strikes and smiles, before Arisa started to harden a little. Tam knew to dodge the Brazilian Kick, but everything else was a great back and forth. Arisa and Tam trade running Knee Strikes, top rope attempts and Arisa tries to submit Tam, but she gets out of it.

We see the fight come to an end after the second time Arisa caught Tam with the Brazilian Kick. They have a moment after the match where Tam tells her that she’s not allowed to lose that belt to anyone besides her, or she’ll boil her. They even posed with their STARS faction, embracing with the Wonder of Stardom belt between them…and Starlight Kid keeping Tam standing.

This was a hard fought match, with a unique story that you’d see in anime but not often in professional wrestling. The concept of, words weren’t enough, so maybe they could communicate better in the ring. It’s quite poetic if you think about it.

Winner: Hoshiki via Brazilian Kick

Rating: **** 1/4

 

 

1. NOAH Misawa Memorial 6.9.2019: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Takashi Suigiura

Now as we all know from Hisame’s Newsletters, the June 9th show wasn’t televised until June 13th, hence why it qualifies for this week’s matches. Sugiura has been a great mentor to the young champion Kiyomiya. But since their tag team dissolved, Sugiura has taken to tough love. Earning his opportunity by pinning the champion a few weeks ago, Sugiura looks to become a 5 time GHC Heavyweight Champion.

Kaito came out with a lot of energy. He was trading with The Killing Machine, and holding his own, even trying to focus the left arm to take away some of his power, but the champion took a beating for a while. Kaito managed to fight out of everything Sugiura threw at him. Front Neck Lock, Olympic Slam and even a Guillotine with Body Scissors.

Kiyomiya eventually found an opening when Sugiura went for the Avalanche Olympic Slam, but Kaito turned it into an Avalanche Reverse DDT. Being Misawa’s Memorial show, Kaito hit a few Emerald Flowsions and it was only appropriate that Sugiura pulled out the ole Misawa Rolling Elbow, to rock the young champion and give hope that the old vet would pick up the win. But in a feat of beautiful camera work and great resolve from Kiyomiya, he pulls off the Tiger Suplex Hold, right in front of the portrait banner of Misawa. Almost as if Misawa gave the match his blessing.

Brutal match that proved the young champion has guts and could easily be a Match of the Year candidate.

Winner: Kiyomiya via Tiger Suplex Hold

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

A lot of good stuff this week! AAA managed to make an appearance outside of TripleMania, NOAH saved some great matches for the memorial shows and 205 Live looks to be almost back on track.

However, my vote will go to, Wonder of Stardom: Arisa Hoshiki (c) vs Tam Nakano. Though it wasn’t the highest rated match, I really enjoyed the story and how it told the story throughout the match and even the promo afterwards. Arisa has cemented her return and her position as a prominent player. Tam felt like she got better overnight last year during the 5 Star Grand Prix and she continues to prove she’s figured it out. If she can manage to stay healthy (she has a history of missing a few shows here or there with little nagging injuries), she might finally get a singles title.


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