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Opinion

Andrew’s WWE Raw & SmackDown Star Ratings & Review (2/25 & 2/26/2019)

With the return of the Samoan Sex Machine and WWE Fastlane in the horizon; how do the shows match up?

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With the return of the Samoan Sex Machine and WWE Fastlane in the horizon; how do the shows match up?

Returns galore, twists and turns…WWE definitely gave everyone stuff to work with. Now even though both shows have a solid amount of talking points, that doesn’t mean they were both great, or even good.

Time to see what happened.

 

Raw Ratings:

  • Ricochet & Aleister Black vs The Revival: Aleister wins via Black Mass – *
  • Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs Sarah Logan & Ruby Riott: No…contest?  – * ½
  • Jinder Mahal vs Kurt Angle: Angle wins via Ankle Lock – *
  • Intercontinental Championship Match: Finn Balor (c) vs Lio Rush: Balor retains via Coup de Grace – ** ¼
  • No DQ Match: Drew McIntyre vs Dean Ambrose: McIntyre wins via Claymore – **
  • Bayley vs Nia Jax: Bayley wins via Flying Elbow Drop – * ½

Raw Review:

So we kick off with Roman Reigns giving his update. The crowd showers him with love, you can tell his touched by the moment, so yes, maybe it runs a little long, maybe he gets a little too in love with biblical imagery, but it was a great feel good moment. He announces the Leukemia is in remission and he’s back! Funny note there was a brief swell of boos, but they were quickly stopped, and Roman noticed and kinda smirked at the situation. Great way to kick things off with the Samoan Sex Machine!

The first actual match, gets like no time and is even interrupted by commercial. Then to boot, you have the still new tag team champions, lose for a second week in a row to call ups. Yes you’re trying to make the new guys look strong, but making your champions look inept isn’t the way to go.

Corbin says something about his job as GM and being an active wrestler was more stressful than cancer. I mean I guess this was an attempt at douchebag cheap heat, but we need to care what Corbin says to react…and we don’t.

Elias! And he’s still being interrupted immediately, firstly it’s Lacey Evans, so that’s okay. She’s a snack and I’m just curious where this is going, but I still have hope for Lacey on the main roster. THEN – Dean Ambrose comes out, starts requesting songs and ends with a request for Dirty Deeds. One telegraphed spot later, he hits Elias with Dirty Deeds and walks off.

Now we get a women’s tag that actually doesn’t matter. Riott Squad are positioned as a joke, Ruby has no chance against Ronda, and this was just an avenue to get to Becky showing up. The odd thing I’ve noticed about a lot of matches involving Natalya are, well, how they just end. Ronda was in position to get a pinfall win after Piper’s Pit, but when Becky shows up, things just fall apart. I’m not sure if this is officially a No Contest or DQ in favor of the Ronda team, but as a match it was a dumb ending.

Hell even the scuffle was awkward. It looks like Ronda took the crutch from Becky and then gave it back to her, and there wasn’t the right level of heat. Sure the fact that it was more security, agents and cops keeping Becky at bay, opposed to the usual pile of mid carders holding both back, was different. But it still wasn’t great. Then Ronda stamping her feet to reinstate Becky, no immediately getting her way, dropping the belt at Stephanie’s feet and stomping off…was…immature. What was supposed to be a significant moment of a meal ticket walking off, turned into a super fake ‘arrest’ and a temper tantrum.

Jinder is mad he wasn’t invited to Ric Flair’s birthday. So he sends out an open challenge to anyone who was invited. REALLY?! REALLY?! REALLY?! What the f– nope…just nope. This is stupid, premise is dumb, of course Angle wins, this made me lose brain cells, I’m sure of it.

Moment of Bliss! Surely we have no reason to assume this will get ruined like every other one since the inception of the show! Alexa tells Finn he shouldn’t wear the belt around his waist, and to show his abs. She says if he shows his abs, she’ll show him her – LIO RUSH! Yup, to no one’s surprise, and only many male fans’ broken fantasies of what she was going to say. Yadda yadda yadda – Finn says you lost the match, you should try to win it back for yourself or something. Alexa makes the match happen right now, cause apparently she can’t get an uninterrupted show, but she can make matches.

The match itself was alright, but there’s problems with that. Lio has already proven in the past to be no match for Finn, so even taking advantage of an injured leg, shouldn’t make the match this close. Plus, we all knew there was no chance in hell that Lio wins this match. So suspension of disbelief was a severe detriment. So ring work was probably a little higher than the final rating, but the overall package of the match is what sank the rating.

Heavy Machinery are working with the Wasteland Job Squad. This is dumb as well…so I’ve got nothing.

Strowman and Lashley are supposed to have a match, but Lashley tries to get an early jump, Braun eventually gets his bearings and then runs everyone over and just leaves – content with his work. What?

As for the match, the most entertaining part was listening to Renee yell bias commentary and things like “MOVE!” when Dean was about to get run over. Elias interfered as pay back for earlier, Drew wins, then Lashley and Corbin show up. BUT WAIT! Rollins actually comes out this week and Roman follows him to the ring. Superman Punches for everyone and even one spear, as the crowd pops huge for the save…but mostly Roman.

Nia is painful in the ring. Oddly though she wasn’t as bad as usual in this match, save for one Sunset Flip Sitdown, that she aimed forward, so it looked like Bayley didn’t even need to move. But this match just kinda happened. Bayley picks up the win with the Flying Elbow, so I’m guessing Sasha loses next week to Tamina to set up an event playing field going into Fastlane.

Ric Flair’s birthday celebration is the main event! A nice video package plays after legends like Ricky Steamboat and Sting enter the ring, awaiting Ric. When Ric doesn’t come out, we see Batista dragging a camera man to a dressing room and then he drags Ric out by his suit jacket. Basically asks Hunter if he has his attention now, and that was all that needed to be said. Trips ran to the back to check on Flair and Batista was gone.

 

Overall Score: 5/10

Aside from the feel good moment to open the show and the actually cool/interesting ending, I don’t get the positive response for this show.  On a whole we didn’t get any stories moving forward. Ronda/Becky isn’t forward movement, it’s awkward lateral movement. Sure maybe the obvious foreshadowing to a Shield match could be there, but it wasn’t built by this show. The in-ring work was lacking. So really it was a show of 2 segments.

Hell I was going to give it a 4.5 if it wasn’t for my personal hatred of Lucha House Party, so a lack of their presence bumps it up a half point. (For backstory, listen to Raw Reaction)

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Hardy Boyz vs The Bar: Hardys win via Swanton – ** ½
  • United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth (c) vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio – Truth wins via Roll-up – **
  • Ricochet & Aleister Black vs Rusev & Nakamura: Black wins via Black Mass – *** ¼
  • Kofi Kingston & Kevin Owens vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan: Owens wins via Stunner – *** 1/2

 

SmackDown Live Review:

We kick off with the contract signing and a video package showcasing all of Kofi’s accomplishments over the 11 years. Shane and Stephanie seem very happy with what they’re presenting, and right before Kofi can sign the contract, Vince’s music hits. Vince basically says Kofi has done well, but he’s not a big enough ‘box office’ name of Fastlane. FOR FASTLANE, the B Rated SyFy movie of a PPV. ANYWAY- he tells Kofi he’s out and inserts a returning Kevin Owens!

Kevin Owens talks to Shane and Steph in the back and says that Kofi is just as deserving, and he’d like to tag with him against Daniel and Rowan later. The McMahon’s grant the request.

AGAIN, another return! Even though they were expecting DIY, The Bar gets surprised by…the Hardy Boyz! Being in Carolina, it makes plenty of sense to have the Hardys back together. Solid match, signature Hardy stuff and Jeff ending the match with the Swanton is so 2002.

Aleister and Ricochet talk…not a strength of either of them. Let’s not do much of this WWE, kay?

R-Truth and Carmella head to the ring, so he can continue the tradition of his childhood hero John Cena, in doing US Open Challenges. Andrade answers first, but Mysterio’s music hits and he rushes down the ramp, bowling over Andrade and sliding in the ring first. Truth has a decision to make, Carmella tells him John Cena would take on both. Truth initially doesn’t like the idea, but decides if his hero would do it, so can he.

Charlotte talks, I have to go wash dishes as to not slip into a coma. Mushmouth from Fat Albert cuts a better promo than Charlotte.

So then we get the tag team match of two fairly new teams. Ric and Aleister versus Rusev and Nakamura. This wasn’t a bad match, quite competitive and had decent moments where you could buy in to the NXT team losing. One of the highlights was Rusev berating both Ricochet and Aleister with calling them rookies. Rusev really commits to the gimmick and I appreciate that. Nakamura eats the Black Mass and the pin, which I suppose is alright. But at some point it would be nice to see main roster guys get a win over the NXT guys. Especially a throw together team.

The main event happens, and delivers well. Kofi continues his saga of being the good employee, just like they were getting across with the past 11 years. Hell, even Owens stayed true to the concept of not being a bad guy. He tagged himself in for hot tags, tagged out to Kofi and even after the match seemed to maybe have on of those “If I win you’re first up” kind of conversations. So seeing what Owens does in the coming weeks should be interesting.

 

Overall Score: 8/10

See now this show moved stories along well. Everything mattered, hell there was even a backstage interaction with AJ Styles and Orton that will probably lead to match. They continued the feud with Andrade and Rey, all while adding a logical wrinkle. The whole shake up with Kofi sent the IWC into a tizzy. So yeah, this was a great episode, did so much better with the time it’s allotted than Raw.


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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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