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Andrew’s NXT TakeOver New York 2019 Ratings & Analysis

A Friday fastball special with NXT TakeOver! How high did TakeOver set the bar for WrestleMania this year?

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A Friday fastball special with NXT TakeOver! How high did TakeOver set the bar for WrestleMania this year?

An entire TakeOver card filled with championship matches. No Kassius Ohno jobbing this time around!

I think most people are wise to the fact that Black and Ricochet are done with NXT. But aside from that, the rest of the card is completely up in the air.

NXT is always nice since there’s a lack of linear predictability, since most of the time, all opponents have a good story regardless of who wins.

Let’s see what happened!

 

Ratings:

  • NXT Tag Team Championship Match: War Raiders (c) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet: War Raiders retain via Fallout @18:40 – **** 1/2
  • NXT North American Title Match: Matt Riddle vs Velveteen Dream (c): Velveteen Dream retains via Submission Reversal Cradle@17:30 – **** 
  • WWE UK Championship Match: WALTER vs Pete Dunne (c): WALTER wins via Top Rope Splash @25:30 – **** TITLE CHANGE!!!
  • NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane vs Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler (c) vs Io Shirai: Baszler retains via Kirifuda Clutch @15:40 – *** 3/4
  • NXT Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano: Gargano wins 2-1 with Garga-NO Escape @38:10 – **** 1/2

 

Analysis:

Yes I saw the pre-show, and yes I think that million dollar challenge was cringe beyond cringe. Stereotypical heel crap from a dude dressed like he was sponsored by Ferrero Rocher isn’t really what I call entertaining.

War Raiders vs Air Strike, most people had to expect a good match, but this was tremendous. The Black Mass/Shooting Star Press combination was close enough to even get me to buy it as a finish. Plus the Space Flying Tiger Drop with the Corkscrew Twist was just pretty. Started off a little slow and clunky, then the spotty outside stuff was forgivable playing into a Double Count Out. If this was really Black and Ricochet’s last match in NXT, they definitely put on a classic.

Dream comes out dressed like the Statue of Liberty and proceeds to get his ass kicked most of this match. Dream was saved by the ring ropes at least 4 times, but a Hulk Up spot from Velveteen Dream, including the Big Boot gave him some life. Riddle had Dream dead to rights numerous times and was getting visibly frustrated and using the extent of the 5 count to try and pepper in a little more offense. After a grounded Final Flash, he locked in the Bromission. His frustration got the best of him, since instead of locking in the move more, he tried to get in a few extra strikes allowing Dream the chance to counter into a cradle. Great match from a story telling and moment perspective. Riddle’s undefeated singles streak is over, and Dream is still the champ. Good times.

Well it was smart this match started off a little slow since two great matches preceded this, so you need to give the crowd a chance to catch their breath. This was a hard hitting affair and we saw both men kick out of the usual finishers and WALTER even do moves from the top rope, which are a rarity from him. Pretty solid match. A few hiccups and one noticeable miscue, but overall a old school brawl that eventually brought the crowd to life.

A lot of interesting story wrinkles came through on this match, and Baszler overcoming the odds was a little unexpected, not gonna lie. Io and Kairi having to break up one another’s pinfall attempts and begrudgingly going after each other was good. Belair’s show of power with the Gorilla Press Toss on Io and the Double KOD on the Joshi stars gave her a nice moment. But Shayna in all of her opportunistic glory, just snuck in and tapped out Bianca. Advantageously, the announcers did point out Io still hasn’t gotten a 1 on 1 opportunity. So I guess we know who’s got the best claim to another shot.

It’s a 2 out of 3 falls match. So there’s a lot that went on. Cole got the first fall with the Last Shot. Gargano got the second fall with the Garga-NO Escape. The third one was crazy, spotty, tons of near falls. Undisputed Era eventually came out to try and put Cole over, but Gargano kept kicking out. Fairytale Ending, Panama Sunrise, reDragon did Total Elimination, another Last Shot…Gargano wouldn’t die. He wiped out the rest of the stable and focused on Cole. Eventually Gargano caught Cole in another Garga-NO Escape, kicked off the rope to put it in the middle, and won the Championship! Crazy match, a little too “indy spotfest” to knock my socks completely off, but still a damn good match.

 

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Great show. Some people will say “of course it was, it was NXT”. NXT isn’t nearly as flawless to me as it is to others. But I can’t find anything bad about this show. The crowd was hot, the matches were fairly crisp, a lot of big moments…just definitely a show to remember. Sets the bar pretty high for all of the shows on WrestleMania weekend.

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s WWE Raw and SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (6/17 + 6/18)

Even though the shows are leading to a B rated PPV that no one seems to care about; do we at least get decent shows? Will WWE surprise us?

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Even though the shows are leading to a B rated PPV that no one seems to care about; do we at least get decent shows? Will WWE surprise us?

The US Championship scene is a bit of a cluster right now, so hopefully this Raw figures that out. Alexa and Nikki Cross could be in trouble if Bayley can get through to Nikki.

SmackDown has Kofi and Roman’s stories, but they also feel like they’ve bled over to Raw a bit as well. So maybe, just maybe, we’ll get something interesting, a decent match here or there and something to start caring about.

Raw Ratings:

  • #1 Contender for US Title Elimination: Bobby Lashley vs Cesaro vs Braun Strowman vs Ricochet vs The Miz: Ricochet wins via 630 Senton – ** ¼
  • Viking Raiders vs Jobbers: Raiders win via Viking Experience – N/A
  • 2 out of 3 Falls: The New Day vs Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin & Sami Zayn: New Day wins via Trouble in Paradise (2-0) – ** ½
  • The Usos vs Gallows & Anderson: Usos win via Double Superkick – N/A
  • Women’s Tag Team Championship: The IIconics (c) vs Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss: IIconics retain via Roll-Up – * ½
  • Seth Rollins vs Daniel Bryan: Rollins wins via Stomp – ***

 

Analysis:

So Elias kicks off the show with a song and declaration of being the special guest referee for Corbin’s match at Stomping Grounds. Seth decides to start his rampage by taking a chair to anyone and everyone who allies themselves with Corbin.Then everyone in the 5 way Elimination match just tries their hand  at beating the crap out of him. It was a little amusing, but also got a little old honestly.

This 5 way wasn’t that bad, and the last two got a decent amount of time. The part that killed it for me is the same thing they’ve done with Braun for the last few years in Elimination matches. They eliminate power threats early and then have them “take advantage of NoDQ” and gang up on his to make sure Braun doesn’t win either. It’s just very tired and lazy, and would make more sense if they did that while they were still legal in the match. It’s just a dumb cliché. Ricochet getting the win is nice and the crowd seems to be coming around to his in-ring ability. Cause let’s be honest, they haven’t built his character, so any reaction is because he does cool stuff in the ring.

I get that Becky is sick of Lacey, but she comes off more whiney than commanding. Lacey came off looking great since Becky tried to say she attacks people from behind, but she met the situation head on. Becky jumping on her before she’s in the ring with the Becksploder basically disproves most of what Becky just said. So yeah, hopefully the match ends up being ok, because the build has felt pointless for a few weeks.

Corbin gets a backstage segment which does nothing really, except grant him a chairshot, since Seth is on his warpath.

Bryan and Rowan kind of re-introducing the Viking Raiders is a little odd. Not a pairing I would’ve expected, but we got to see War Machine do their thing against a few jobbers. So, no real complaints.

Carmella and R-Truth are in the crowd in costume, but the camera finds them and then the rush of humanity spills out for them.

Heath Slater walks into Shane’s celebration, asking for a raise. Shane says no, and then sends Drew after him. Now what happened was obvious, but the small nod to their past and a somewhat believable friendship was dashed since Drew is just an ass at the moment. Hopefully this builds to something for Heath and it’s not just a throw away interaction.

Corbin thought he figured things out by then revealing EC3 as his new referee on the Kevin and Sami show. EC3 gets sideswiped with the chair and laid out. New Day shows up and reenacts Weekend at Bernie’s with EC3’s limp corpse to sanction a 6 man match. Was the set up amusing?  Sure. Does the match make me want to keep watch? Nope.

The point of this 2 out of 3 falls 6 man, was really just to get Kevin and Sami away from Baron. A miscommunication during the second fall had Kevin Superkick Corbin and walk off with Sami.

Alexa and Nikki is still a pairing I have hope for. By that I mean, I hope they keep Nikki keen on how Alexa is, so even if Alexa thinks she’s a puppet master…Nikki might surprise everyone. But for now, they are still a great pairing, and I like Alexa getting them a tag title shot.

Heyman does his usual thing, and he’s the second person to make a Lakers reference. Well this is already getting old. But yeah, nothing you haven’t heard before was said here. Moving on…

Eric Young is the next person to feel the wrath of the chair. I’m getting tired of this honestly.

Styles and the Good Brothers had a moment backstage where AJ said they were complacent and The Usos were the best tag team. So in an attempt to prove AJ wrong, the Good Brother show off a bit too much and end up losing a match they seemed to have won. Should be interesting where this goes.

Roman Reigns comes out for a promo segment, and he’s cut off by Shane’s crew on the Titantron. Drew starts cutting into the Samoan Sex Machine, and then mentions his family. That’s a no-no. Roman then marches through the crowd, to the party area and lays out all of Shane’s party. Shane ran towards the ring to try and lose Roman, but Roman catches him and sends an impactful message.

The Women’s Tag match wasn’t a complete mess, but it was rough at points. Bayley sitting on the outside to try and diffuse Alexa’s claims actually did nothing but solidify them. Bayley cost Nikki and Alexa the titles by keeping Alexa from helping out Nikki. So Nikki is starting to come around to Alexa’s narrative.

Firefly Fun House is great! It was dark, sinister, and creepy. I love the remixes of the Muscle Man Dance song during the montage and it was just fantastic. It did feel like the last episode before Bray is seen in person again, but I’m not going to be mad if it isn’t. This has been the highlight of Raw for the last few weeks.

So Bryan vs Rollins definitely started off dumb. The fact that Rowan interferes to get Daniel DQ’d, and that’s how it’s announced. Then after a scrum with an assortment of heels and faces, we get some random decision to restart the match.

From there, the match was fine, but that first match and the weird interlude started the match off a bit flat. Plus I don’t think anyone bout that Bryan would win since Seth has a title match Sunday and Daniel is on SmackDown. So it really felt like filler.

 

Overall Score: 6.5/10

The show was above average, but that’s also a bit inflated since Fun House was so good. Nothing was really awful, but I can’t say that I was really engaged. It wasn’t a painful 3 hours, it just…was 3 hours.

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Dolph Ziggler vs Xavier Woods: Ziggler wins via Superkick – ***
  • Heavy Machinery vs B-Team:  Heavy Machinery wins via Compactor – N/A
  • Elimination Tag Match: The Miz & R-Truth vs Elias & Drew McIntyre: McIntyre wins via Claymore – **
  • 2 out of 3 Falls: Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn: Rollins wins via Stomp (2-0) – ** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Dolph is about as captivating as the first 100 laps of NASCAR with no accidents. I don’t care how much conviction he tries to say his lines with, I don’t need him on my television. New Day is New Day, so that’s never a negative, but the end to this Ziggler angle can’t come fast enough.

After the talking we get a solid match between Xavier and Dolph. Xavier had a few interesting spots including a Gorilla Press Gutbuster. Dolph of course needed the win for momentum going into Stomping Grounds. But it was a good match.

Corbin gets a line outside of his locker room for the referee spot. We all know what’s coming later in the show.

Moment of Bliss breaks down with Bayley trying to say her piece, but she gets irritated and goes after Alexa. Nikki sticks up for her friend even though Bayley is trying to say Alexa’s just using her like she has everyone else. But Nikki believes what she sees, and Bayley is being a bitch, so she draws her line in the sand. I can respect it.

Heavy Machinery versus B-Team. The announce team really tries to frame the B-Team as a legit threat by throwing their tag title reign around. That says more about how bad the tag division was, than them being credible. So yeah, Heavy Machiney destroys B-Team and then Rollins shows up to chairshot B-Team since they were in the line for Corbin earlier.

Aleister keeps saying nothing. I swear, if we don’t see Bray walk through his door and into Aleister’s janitor’s closet…then I really have no clue where this is all going. If he really wanted a fight, he’d be proactive instead of waiting for someone. Writing him like a complete punk.

Shane comes out for more talking, but this time Miz cuts in. Miz actually frames the last few months in a clever way. Miz takes responsibility for creating a monster since he got hurt, and Shane stood in to become Best in the World. He wanted to tag with him because of the distinction and then he couldn’t keep him in check during their feud earlier this year. All good stuff, Shane grants him a tag match if he can find someone in 10 seconds, and R-Truth just happened to be hiding under the ring with the 24/7 title.

We see Author of Pain, and Kairi, Asuka and Paige! Apparently the Pirates of Tomorrow will get a non-title match next week. If they win, then they get a title shot. Good segment between the 5 women.

The tag match is an elimination style match, because apparently we just like those currently. Elias and Drew go over, no real surprise. It was decent enough, but Truth got eliminated first and it was a little lame. I would’ve liked one of them to knock out Elias at least.

Ember attacks Mandy and Sonya because they’re mean and pick on her. I did really like how quick Sonya proved her hands were though. Fire and Desire were eating donuts, Ember went after Mandy first and Sonya caught her immediately with a punch/smack to the face. Sonya could be money.

R-Truth gets tricked by Drake Maverick posing as Carmella. Drake actually pins Truth and wins the 24/7 title and is now taking it to his wedding.

Another 2 out of the 3 falls match? Really? Really? Really? Do we have to keep reusing ideas that just happened the day before?

Kofi hits Sami with Trouble in Paradise as soon as the bell rings to get the first pin, and then they go to commercial again. These commercial breaks really don’t help the product. The rest of the match wasn’t bad, but it started off so slow because of all the commercial time and never fully recovered from the awkward start. Still salvaged something alright, but it would’ve been much better with different timing and if it’s wasn’t another inane 2 out 3 falls match.

 Overall Score: 5/10

Again, SmackDown felt like the overflow reservoir for Monday Night Raw. The show wasn’t bad, but it was painfully average because nothing felt unique or like anything really got accomplished. Undercard stories had a little movement, but since they probably won’t play into Stomping Grounds nothing will matter until next week.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Heathers’ Look At Anarchy: Dirty Rook

Heather gives us a spotlight of yet another tremendous pillar of Anarchy!

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St Louis Anarchy

Heather gives us a spotlight of yet another tremendous pillar of Anarchy!

There are a few people that you cannot talk about Anarchy without mentioning. These people are seen as the pillars of STL. There’s a reason they’re all so loved and celebrated. I want to introduce you to each of them.

The final two pillars are a world-renowned tag team. The first of the two is The Dirty Rook: Mat Fitchett. Fitchett has been wrestling about 10 years now. He is a great singles wrestler and a great tag team wrestler. The Anarchy crowd has basically watched him grow up over the years and has seen every incarnation of Fitchett so far.

By Sarah Souders Photography

Fitchett has been wrestling for Anarchy since about 2011. He’s had a whole list of dreams matches within Anarchy alone with people such as: Akira Tozawa, Kyle O’Reilly, Alex Shelley, and Eddie Kingston (this was on a PWCS/SLA show last year). Fitchett was the SLA Heavyweight Champion when I started watching Anarchy back in 2016.

He is one of eleven champions overall to hold that belt (the first being Gary Jay!).  The first shows I attended he had great matches with Evan Gelistico and TJ Perkins and was easily a stand out performer, especially for someone like me who had never really heard of him before those shows.

Fitchett was also one of the final three men to compete for the SLA Heavyweight Championship (which is now the Gateway Heritage Title) on the final Anarchy show before NWL against Davey Vega and Gary Jay, a match that to this is probably in my top three of most emotional matches ever watched.

Fitchett is multi-talented too. He competed in a rap battle within Spaulding Hall at a pre-party event back in November that saw him best Lil Hollywood Hills Everett Connors. The entire room was lit up by his witty comebacks. Even Vega couldn’t stop himself from cracking up as the battle continued to escalate (look for it on the Saint Louis Anarchy Facebook page if you want to see it).

Fitchett is a blend of charisma, cockiness, and just unbridled talent. He makes being in the ring look easy and nothing of what he does is technically easy.  Fans love him and seem to side with him, especially within the walls of Spaulding Hall. His confidence on the mic is next to unmatched. If there’s anyone who has crossover appeal, its Fitchett. Watch any promo; watch any match. Fitchett is always improving in and out of the ring.


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