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Chairshot Classics: The Streak Part 7: Opening Pandora’s Box (2005-2006)

Our look at the undeniable WrestleMania Streak of The Undertaker continues against Randy Orton and Mark Henry! 

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The Undertaker The Streak WWE

Tiffany MC’s look at The Streak of The Undertaker continues against Randy Orton and Mark Henry!

The years 2005-06, for better or worse, were a turning point where the Undertaker’s Streak went from being a piece of trivia to a topic of conversation in WWE. For 14 years, the Streak had never been mentioned on WWE TV, it wasn’t even called ‘The Streak’. It was only mentioned AT WrestleMania as a bit of trivia. It wasn’t until Randy Orton mentioned the Streak on SmackDown that anyone really understood that Taker had NEVER been defeated at WrestleMania. After this, the Undertaker would slowly find his career and legacy defined by The Streak and the need to keep it going. Also in these years, Mark Henry, who had long been languishing in the low/no cards would seek to put an end to the Streak and put Taker in the Hall of Pain instead.

WrestleMania 21 – Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker
The Legend Killer vs The Unkillable Legend

The feud that would expose the Streak began when Randy Orton, in the middle of his Legend Killer gimmick, set his sights on the Undertaker and the Undertaker’s legendary, though never really acknowledged, Streak. The mind games in this feud would become the stuff of legend and would fuel this feud, which would continue past WrestleMania, one of the rare times that happened, and help catapult Randy Orton to the top tier of WWE.

Taker came out first, one of the rare times he did that, accompanied by the Druids, but being first didn’t stop the LOUD pop Taker got and he ‘floated’ to the ring. It was pretty obvious that he was on a board, but the effect with the smoke machine was cool.

Orton came out alone, though I recall Cowboy Bob Orton being his manager at the this time. Randy was about 22/23 at the time and this was his first singles WrestleMania match, which says a lot about how WWE felt about Orton in 2005.

The match starts with Orton, doing the only smart thing he’d done since this started, by trying avoid Taker. The start of the match is pretty standard, but unlike most Streak Matches, Orton was dominate. Orton tried to hit the RKO early but got sent to the outside for his efforts.

This was a really great match. This was the first time Taker had taken on a young, up and coming talent for the Streak match and it was clear that Taker wanted to make Orton look like a star, and he did a great job at it. Orton, for his part, didn’t show a lot of nerves considering that it was his first singles WrestleMania match and he was against the cornerstone of the company.

Taker did his patented sit up and Orton sold it pretty well.

Hebner gets taken out, so it is a free-for-all. Taker looks like he’s going for Last Ride, but throat shots Orton on the ropes, but before he can try to pin Randy, Bob Orton comes out, with his cast on his arm, and clocks Taker, but we all know Taker kicks out at the LAST second. Then Taker sits up and shit’s on. Bob Orton tries to interfere again and eats the boot meant for his son. It looked like it was all over for Randy, but he managed to counter a chokeslam into an RKO and nearly got three, but that only made Taker angrier, and when Randy tried to hit the tombstone, well, it was all over.

A lot of people have commented that Orton should’ve won this match, since he made it about breaking the Streak, and I can KIND of understand that, but Taker made Orton look like a megastar, even in defeat, so I can’t lean in on Orton winning this.

Rating: 8-10 I really liked this match and this was the start of Taker putting over younger talent at WrestleMania.

Highlight: Taker’s entrance, even if the floating thing was a little hokey. Taker sitting up.

WrestleMania 22 – The Undertaker vs. Mark Henry
Burying the Hall of Pain

This feud was really interesting. Mark Henry had been largely out of any major storylines since the end of the Attitude Era, but he burst back on the scene with Tony Atlas, and then Daivari, as his manager, taking on Kurt Angle in a brutal match at the Royal Rumble and putting anyone who crossed his path into the Hall of Pain.

What brought him to the attention of the Undertaker was when Henry cost Taker the World Championship against Kurt Angle, Taker’s fury can well be imagined and would culminate in the first Casket Match in WrestleMania history.

The Druids bring out the casket, which is the real star of this match. Since Mark Henry and Taker are pretty big guys, this casket rivals the one made for Yokozuna in 1994 in terms of size and depth.

Henry is out first in his usual black singlet, but it’s got gold trim for the special occasion. I don’t think Henry had had many, if any, WrestleMania matches, and he didn’t seem thrilled with the casket.

Taker comes out with fire and brimstone, and he’s not riding on anything this time, thankfully. Henry is talking smack about how he’s not scared, but we’ll see how long this lasts.

This isn’t the first big man match Taker’s had at WrestleMania, but it was definitely one of the better ones. Mark Henry is a human brick wall, but he could move and he could hit.  This match was one of the shorter matches of the Streak, but it was definitely VERY physical.

One gripe I had about the whole casket match thing was the lack of casket spots. My best guess is that because Mark Henry is HUGE, they opted to not do many of those spots to keep the casket from getting broken. They did make up for it by having Henry and Taker fight IN the casket. Henry hit his Hall of Pain slam and probably could’ve beaten Taker in a regular match, but this isn’t a regular match.

In a rare spot for a big guy, Henry got on the second rope to pound on Taker and Taker responded by hitting the biggest Last Ride ever seen. He then capped it off by hitting Air Deadman OVER the casket and onto Henry. The end of the match was quick. As Henry got into the ring, Taker hit the Tombstone and that was all she wrote.

Rating: 7/10 This was a good match, and it was definitely a better big man match than some Taker’s had, but it wasn’t as good as the match with Orton.

Highlights: Henry forgetting that he couldn’t win by pinfall. Taker finding out that Henry has a VERY hard head. The Last Ride on Henry. Taker’s Air Deadman. The Tombstone on Henry.


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

What Progress Looks Like: Women At WWE WrestleMania

The women’s division has changed a lot in ten years.

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Sasha Banks WWE WrestleMannia Women

A look at ten years of women’s matches at WrestleMania and the progress WWE has made.

To say that the state of women’s wrestling in the WWE is nowhere near where it once was is no longer hyperbole, it’s a fact.  Even in just a year’s time there have been some huge strides albeit among the usual mess that is the business we love.  We’re coming off a season now where there has been an all women’s WWE pay per view in Evolution (which most people rightfully put on their list for best show of the year in 2018), the women have some of the best segments on RAW and Smackdown every week, and they’re even main eventing house shows now.  But despite some really rapid progress it’s been a long, slow road to get to this point.  Just look back on the women’s matches at WrestleMania since 2010:

  • WrestleMania 26 : A 10 Diva tag team match that lasts a whopping 3:26.  I haven’t watched this match, did all 10 women even get to do anything in the match?  And this was on a show where Bret Hart wrestled Vince McMahon…….in 2010, not 1999.  Good grief.
  • WrestleMania 27: Mixed Tag featuring John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki (remember her?) vs Dolph Ziggler and LayCool.  I have watched this.  It wasn’t terrible, but again they got all of 3 minutes and change here (3:17 to be exact).  Yes you have to protect the TV star but with five other people in the match they could have gotten more time than this.  Please note that on this show Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole got almost 15 minutes for what was a truly terrible farce of a match.
  • WrestleMania 28: Kelly Kelly and Maria Menouos (the TV show host) vs Beth Phoenix and my first wrestling crush since getting back into it, Eve Torres (please come back for a Rumble or Battle Royal or something…we miss you!).  This one was fine for what it was, they got 6:22 to work with which is fine for a match with a non wrestling celebrity in it.
  • WrestleMania 29:  The nadir.  No matches at all.  Nothing.  There was a Diva’s champion, Kaitlyn, but they decided that a Puff Daddy ‘performance’ (I’m being nice here) was more deserving than having her defend the title even in a short match.  The Bellas and The Funkettes were scheduled for a mixed tag team match that was cut for time. To be fair, United States Champion Cesaro also didn’t have a match. Sheesh…….

Well you couldn’t do any worse than that so there was only one direction to go.  And things did go up……a little teeny bit.

  • WrestleMania 30:  AJ Lee defended the Diva’s title in a 14 woman invitational match.  Not a battle royal, or a gauntlet match, or a six pack challenge style elimination match, just a 14 woman one fall match.  LAZY.  On a show where Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker got 25 minutes (about 10 too many for real), no reason that this couldn’t have gotten better than 6:48 and something better than a straight up one fall match.  But at least the title got defended on the show.
  • WrestleMania 31:  AJ Lee and Paige, who’d been feuding over the Diva’s title until Nikki Bella won it in November, beat Nikki and Brie Bella in a tag team match that went 6:42.  On the same show where HHH and a 56 year old Sting had a match that went almost 20 minutes and had about 50 run ins, and tacked on another 10 minutes for entrances and a post match staredown.  Five minutes off of that wouldn’t have been asking too much.

Now that’s just WrestleMania matches; we’re not even talking about the weekly embarrassment of sending them out there every week on TV for literal 2 minute matches, even 8 and 10 woman tag matches and battle royals that should never go s short as 2 or 3 minutes.  But things have really taken an upswing since then.  At WrestleMania 32 Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch had arguably the match of the night to crown the new Women’s champion (now the RAW Women’s Title).  WrestleMania 33 was a mixed bag in that there were two women’s title matches thanks to the brand split but the Smackdown one got cut really short in an unintended consequence of it getting pushed to the main show after originally being on the pre-show (remember folks, 10 to 15 minutes on the preshow is often better than 5 minutes on the main show).

Last year, at WrestleMania 34, we got Charlotte vs Asuka in what was a match of the night contender, another MOTY in the mixed tag with Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs Triple H and Stephanie, the RAW title match with Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss and the Women’s Battle Royal.  For now that’s the high point for inclusion.  This year we’re sure to get the battle royal, two singles titles matches, a match for the new Women’s Tag Team Titles, and possibly an intergender match featuring Nia Jax.  That’s almost half the card right there, and it’s deserved because the Women’s side has been bringing the heat more than the men since the fall.

And to me that’s the best part of this.  They’ve gotten some opportunities, they have consistently outperformed the men, so they are getting to drive the train here.  As someone who has a been a fan for over 30 years this is truly remarkable and I’ll admit that if you came to me in 1989 with the notion that one day the women would be the best thing going every week I would have called you crazy.  But here we are.  The job isn’t finished yet, though.  This momentum needs to be kept up and maintained.

The women’s side of the roster has gotten pretty deep and more of them need the time and exposure they deserve.  (If there’s a hour for just the women somewhere in that Fox TV deal that would be great).  We as fans need to reward what’s being done here, with our attention and most importantly our financial support so that it proves to be viable over the long haul.  They deserve a spot on the stage and the way they’re going now they deserve the bigger one.  The guys had a long run with not so much as an inkling of competition but it is there now and quite frankly they need to step their game up.

All in all, this is a time to be a little happier with the state of professional wrestling.  Leave the Debbie Downers on the internet and social media alone for a bit and enjoy what we’re getting here.  Long way still to go but this is a true bright spot.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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The Good, Bad and Ugly: Pre WWE Elimination Chamber 2019

Is WWE Elimination Chamber shaping up to be Good, Bad, or Ugly?

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Bobby gives us the Good, Bad and Ugly of how Elimination Chamber looks on paper!

WrestleMania is obviously the big show coming up but we have a couple of pit stops along the way.  This pit stop is a Good one though.  We have potential for a lot of changes, a lot of memories and a lot of action in a jam packed Pay Per View!  Let’s find out if the layout is looking Good, Bad or Ugly?

GOOD

WWE Title Elimination Chamber Match– Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe

Like all Elimination Chambers of the past, we have a lot going on here in this one.  The Chamber itself will lend a hand in this ultra-violent, insane battle for a prestigious Championship.  The participants are also bred for action, as all of them have been in crazy matches almost their whole respective careers.  How do you make it even better than it already could have been?  You add Kofi Kingston after he had a freak of a showing on this week’s SmackDown.  This match is going to be non-stop and deliver even to the most outlandish fan.  I expect nothing but Good, in fact, Great things here, and a hell of an effort.  However it will be Daniel Bryan retaining his New Title!  I also expect to see the return of a certain “creepy, kooky family” and I don’t mean Gomez.  Follow the buzzards because this match is going to kill it!

WWE Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match– Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Carmella & Naomi vs. The Riott Squad vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. The IIconics

Like the WWE Title Match, this match has the advantage of being in an Elimination Chamber almost guaranteeing success.  It will be entertaining and full of action.  The talent here is 50/50.  Some Good, some Bad, and even some Ugly, however we will see an abundance of Good here as the teams will need to show off, and put the WWE Crew on notice.  These teams have a lot to prove in this historic match.  They will show up and they will beat the hell out of each other until only 1 survives, and it will be Good.  It has to be Good.  The whole world is watching.  Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville Win! 

WWE Raw Women’s Title Match– “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Ruby Riott

Ruby Riott is dangerously underused but this match is to act sort of as a remedy to that.  Riott and her girls bring a ton of entertainment value and the in ring work isn’t disappointing either.  This is Ruby Riott’s biggest match so far in her career and puts her center stage against one of the most watched athletes of any sport, Ronda Rousey.  With a talent like Ruby Riott, Rousey should be able to keep it together and have a Good, concise match.  Hopefully Riott can control her.  Rousey Retains!

WWE Intercontinental Title Handicap Match– Bobby Lashley (C) w/ Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor

Both guys are rocking out lately.  Finn Balor never loses a step and always delivered.  He simply is one of the best.  Everything he does gets the audience amped up and he constantly outdoes himself putting it all on the line.  Lashley since having Lio Rush has been very impressive.  Not having the pressure of promo’s and being able to just be this freak of nature has suited him well.  Not to mention Lio Rush being actively working and being a huge part of the match will benefit the whole thing.  The Man of the Hour is supremely talented and can move around like no other.  With Lio Rush, Lashley certainly deserves his current run and dominance.  Even with Lio Rush in the ring, Finn Balor will shock the world and win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

WWE Cruiserweight Title Match– Buddy Murphy (C) vs. Akira Tozawa

Another 205 Live match with two underappreciated, great high flyers.  Buddy Murphy’s unorthodox style is an acquired taste but a Good one.  And athough Tozawa has become a comedic character he can certainly move around the ring artfully.  It will be a solid match but will not leave any more of an impression than 205 Live ever does.  Most just don’t seem to care.  Buddy Murphy Retains!

BAD

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Match– The Miz & Shane McMahon (C) vs. The Usos

As Good as the Usos are, and as Good as Shane and Miz are, this match isn’t very exciting.  The buildup, the gimmicks and stories are all really unnecessary.  McMiz is obliviously horrible.  Shane McMahon is an incredible athlete and a genius.  He has had some of the craziest matches and high spots as any legend.  The Miz, one of the best and most underappreciated figures in sports entertainment.  The Usos are straight legends.  So why should we be skeptical?  The chances of botched, awkward spots will be aplenty and the match already is pointless.  There are chances for serious injuries to all and a ton of potential for failure.  McMiz will win but that is the biggest loss of the night. So many other teams could have a shot but McMiz with the belts is an unforgivable waste.   

UGLY

Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman

Before this gets Ugly, Baron Corbin has been a lot better as of late.  He has improved immensely both on the mic and in the ring.  He has been working hard and getting a lot of tv time to show for it.  Strowman always is a major presence anytime he is on camera but has been horrible lately.  This could be a very ugly, hard to watch match and we will all hope and pray for a quick squash to give more time to some other more deserving matches. 

FINAL

  • GOOD- 6
  • BAD- 1
  • UGLY- 1

OVERALL

All signs point to Good.  This show looks like it has some big time spots ahead and a lot of potential changes to occur.  No matter the outcomes we can all expect it to be a Good, entertaining pay per view.   Can Elimination Chamber deliver or will it be an Ugly shame?  We will all be watching Sunday Night where all of our questions will be answered.  Enjoy the show!


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