It’s the WWE Raw after Fastlane, as the company kicks into high gear on the Road to WrestleMania. What stood out on the Good Bad Ugly scale?
After a red hot Fastlane Sunday Night, it is time to get serious. The homestretch to the biggest night in Sports Entertainment, WrestleMania. We had a lot happen at Fastlane, however nothing permanently impactful. It was a solid show, and the Raw after should be equally impressive, if not, even a little turned up. However will the Raw brand, continue to be “red” hot? Or will they fissile out so close to WrestleMania?
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Shield
Big Opening with the talk of the town, The Shield. “The Final Ride” were the words used. It is a farewell address of one of the most dominant groups in WWE History. This is a great way to open things up this week. I personally will not be surprised is the “lunatic fringe” is seen down the road as a part-timer at some point either.
Now onto bigger business. The Architect has a WWE Universal Championship Match at WrestleMania. Rollins about to start getting everyone more hyped, was quickly interrupted by Paul Heyman. Heyman hyped his boy, The Champ, the Beast. Rollins obviously loves to talk trash as well and went back and forth. Rollins made a good point that guys his size are Lesnar’s weakness and he will Win and bring the Title back to Monday Night Raw Full Time! A random Lesnar hype video then was played, and although it was pretty Good, it was unnecessary. Then out of no-where Shelton Benjamin appeared and gave Rollins a little taste of the German Suplex. This was unexpected and absolutely awesome, as anything with Benjamin and Rollins should be fantastic.
Seth Rollins vs. Shelton Benjamin
As expected or at least, it should have been expected, this was a great showing by two tremendous athletes. Shelton Benjamin is a freak of nature and a “beast” in his own right. Rollins is on fire and has proven himself as a true leader in the WWE. This was a clinic. Benjamin looked impressive in there. He was sharp and did some pretty hard work. Nothing is perfect but it was at the least a very solid showing. Rollins looked to be in trouble most of the match as Benjamin was very aggressive and took him down. Rollins had bits of hope throughout but finally got a break with a hard “superkick” to the gut followed by “the stomp” for the victory. GOOD stuff right there! Hell of an opening match after a decent opening segment.
Intercontinental Championship Match- Finn Balor (C) vs. Bobby Lashley
Out of everything that can happen it seems safe to say that this feud is the most unpredictable Pre-WrestleMania. Finn Balor is a fantastic I.C. Champ, and Lashley with the strap although short lived, would have done a great job with the belt as well. Lashley was better with Lio Rush though, but Rush was physically pushed to the limit last week with Balor. Lashley and Balor had a Good match, as Lashley just crushed the Champion with his massive size and strength advantage. Whenever Balor seemed to get a little steam the bigger Lashley would just get smashed down. Out of the blue we hear the ring bell, by Lio Rush. Lashley hits Balor with a “spear” in mid-air for the Win, and the Intercontinental Championship. This was unexpected and insane! Really crazy twist and I can’t wait to see how this will go, and if anyone else will be involved in the feud.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
NXT stars Black and Ricochet have been on fire and an a pleasure to watch every week. They bring so much to the show and have been a great addition. NXT is huge. Roode and Gable are pure talent, Roode is a Champion caliber Main Event talent just simply being wasted on his spot. This was a Good Match. Roode and Gable did all they could and controlled the match but it was a “Black Mass” to Bobby Roode’s face that ended it. Aleister Black and Ricochet Win! Of course the heel Champs made the run in and beat the hell out of the NXT upstarts. This will be a great feud to come and we may see some Gold change hands soon enough.
Kurt Angle vs. Apollo Crews
Angle in his hometown, Pittsburgh PA, can it get better for the Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer. Angle had a big announcement. Angle emotionally started announcing a farewell. With tears and thank you’s. One last match in Pittsburgh against an absolute talent, Apollo Crews. This was a safe and solid match. Apollo can work, Angle no question is in his element. This wasn’t supposed to blow anyone away, it was meant as a tribute to a man with a sensational career, in his hometown, doing his job well. As it had to be, Kurt Angle Wins with an “Olympic Slam.”
Set to face Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns was crushed by Drew McIntyre. A “Claymore Kick” completely knocked the Big Dog down and out of it. He had no chance of fighting back after that. McIntyre loudly mocked Reigns. A second “claymore kick” this time into the post, ended the violence. McIntyre made his mark and set his sights on the biggest possible target. Good move and a major rivalry.
No D.Q. – Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
After his boy Roman took a whooping, Ambrose demanded a No DQ/Falls Count Anywhere from HHH. It was granted and it will be a treat. This was Good and very physical. These guys held nothing back. McIntyre brutally went off on Ambrose who put him through the ringer. Ambrose simply got his ass kicked by the bigger, stronger, and more vicious Drew McIntyre. The beating was finally over with a “claymore kick” while Ambrose was stuck in a railing. It was brutal. McIntyre simply killed the “lunatic” and made huge leaps and bounds in the statement against The Shield. This will be awesome and will catapult McIntyre to new heights. Ambrose got up somehow from that and got another “claymore kick for his trouble to end the show.
Raw Women’s Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey
Rousey, bad attitude and all made a fool of herself trying to heel out. She just doesn’t have what it takes to pull major promos. She is definitely making headlines and getting a ton of attention. It will be Good, but Rousey is horrible on the mic. The layer of cheese like after eating a bag of Cheetos is thick. Then everyone’s hero Dana Brooke came out. She essentially had enough of the disrespect and had enough of Miss Rousey. This was horrendous as well though. Dana Brooke is a great athlete, and has improved in the ring but just doesn’t get any time on TV. This was emotional but it just was very cheesy. Brooke asked for an opportunity, and got pounced by Rousey. She straight bitch slapped a ref and cleared out. Rousey is a brat right now, that part is Good, the rest, not so much.
“A Moment of Bliss” w/ Alexa Bliss
We need way more Alexa Bliss, this much is a fact, but not doing this. We need her back in the ring. She did all this to present that Alexa Bliss herself will be the host of WrestleMania. We would much rather see her work it but as a host, it really is pointless. Who cares really! We love Alexa Bliss but this is a waste of time.
The machine, the King, the COO of WWE came out in a leather jacket, completely ready to throw down. HHH was all business waiting for his rival Batista to show. Batista was there with a full security like entourage. This went about how it was expected too. Batista is obviously playing the heel in the fight and of course will be showing up doing his job well. Batista slayed on the mic and HHH is almost always pure gold. This served its purpose and was entertaining. HHH hit him hard with shoot like comments, and came right at the big guy. Batista wasn’t having any of it. He wants to do it his way. Batista wants HHH at Mania, and he will do anything for it. The match is on! This was bizarre and absolutely unnecessary but damn that will be Good. The Game vs. The Animal, No Holds Barred.
Braun Strowman’s Camaro
Braun Strowman was bought a Camaro from Colin Jost and Strowman literally went “Street Fighter” on it but it looked but and was purely for comedic value. It was very stupid though and again was very pointless.
Nia Jax w/ Tamina vs. Natalya w/ Beth Phoenix
- Good- 7
- Bad- 3
- Ugly- 2
Good Raw. However we saw a Good chunk of Bad and even a hint of Ugly this week. The first major Raw on the final stretch to Wrestlemania was action packed and even saw a title change which was very much unexpected. It was a Good Raw mostly because of the usual top guys that carry the show, but again it wasn’t all Good stuff. Raw squeaked by this week, but a Win is a Win!
Next as expected is SmackDown who rarely disappoints and NXT after that who doesn’t know failure. WrestleMania is sitting on top of the mountain waiting patiently for the rest of the world to arrive on the big night, and the weekly WWE programming is sprinting toward it. All content needs to be tight from here on out, and will be getting the highest of the “Good, Bad and Ugly” standards, only at thechairshot.com. Stay tuned boys and girls, keep your hands and feet in the vehicle because we are on our way to the Greatest Night in Professional Wrestling!
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/20/19)
Big night on Raw — who stood out?
WWE Raw returned stateside this week, and we got ourselves a new championship. Who stood out?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman knows how to deliver, and he delivered big time during Raw. He made the show feel like a big deal, and it did. He made both champions feel important, but put Brock Lesnar over in the process. Lesnar is so much more comfortable with Paul Heyman around, and the job done to make this briefcase situation feel unique was really solidified by Paul Heyman. Plus, his line about Rollins sitting through 7 hours of WrestleMania waiting for his girlfriend to main event the show he’s always dreamed of main eventing was clutch.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
The Second Star: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce really are national treasures. America, Australia, it doesn’t matter. They are the best, and they’ve crafted characters that don’t need to win or lose, they just need to perform their act. That’s what it takes in WWE, regardless of what we want it to be. Their promo during A Moment Of Bliss (full of people perfectly playing their characters, by the way), was outstanding. Hats off to both ladies for getting themselves to this place.
Honorable Mention: Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, the entire 24/7 crew, The Usos, The Revival, Baron Corbin (yup), Bobby Lashley (I miss Lio), Drew McIntyre, and Shane McMahon
So many great performances tonight, and I am positive I’m leaving deserving folks out.
The First Star for WWE Raw: The Miz
The Miz is on fire right now, and it comes at a time where both world champions are babyfaces. He’s world champion caliber, and needs something to sink his teeth into if the issue with Shane truly is done. Drew McIntyre is a fine option, but I really want a top flight program for Miz. Maybe he’s the guy to elevate Drew? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like we turn Miz, but the best options for him (to me) are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.