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Opinion

Andrew’s WWE Raw & SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (4/15 + 4/16/2019)

We’ve got the WWE Superstar Shakeup! Andrew gives you thoughts and ratings, all based around his – experience. See what I did there?

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We’ve got the WWE Superstar Shakeup! Andrew gives you thoughts and ratings, all based around his – experience. See what I did there?

There really aren’t any storylines to lead into these shows.

Who’s moving? Who’s staying? Do we see call ups?

Let’s find out.

 

Raw Ratings:

  • Hawkins & Ryder & Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The Revival & The Viking Experience: Vikings win via Fallout – ** ½
  • Andrade w/Zelina Vega vs Finn Balor: Andrade wins via Hammerlock DDT – *** ¾
  • The Usos vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable: Usos win via Double Uce – ** ¼
  • IIconics vs Bayley & Naomi: Naomi wins via Thicc Legged Moonsault – N/A
  • Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott: Lynch wins via DisARM Her – **
  • Lacey Evans vs Natalya: Lacey wins via Moonsault – ** ¼
  • Lashley, Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & AJ Styles:  Styles wins via Phenomenal Forearm – ***

 

Analysis:

The show kicks off with Stephanie and Shane talking, and it’s more cringe than usual. Thank God the first trade was The Miz and he showed up, got color the hard way and at least made something about the first 30 minutes not suck.

Our first official match is an 8 man tag. Yipee. So it features the 3 main teams in the Raw tag title picture and…oh I guess a trade. Hey! I know that music! WAR WAR WA-What? The Viking Experience? Well drop me down a flight of steps and stomp on my balls. Who in the blue hell thought of this name? Cause they should be shot. Now we all know the performers are great, and we have seen the likes of Ringmaster, Kerwin White and the Demon Deacon Batista be speed bumps for sure, but not a death knell. I hate the name, it’s moronic, but Bengals fans still like Chad Johnson when he lost his mind and became Chad Ochocinco. Let’s wait and see I suppose…ugh.

Yeah there was a match too, it was fine, but I was too busy stopping myself from throwing up to the name to really care.

Cedric Alexander video package. If they can give him opportunities to show some personality, I don’t hate this.

Finn Balor gets a mystery opponent and it is…EL IDOLO AND LA MUNECA! Now this is huge. Andrade is box office and with a more wide open upper card, he could finally get that push he deserves. Great match save for the botched lariat to the outside spot, but still, fantastic. Plus it was nice that they established Zelina getting involved for anyone who doesn’t watch SmackDown or NXT. You got a great snapshot of who they both are.

Elias…yeah he gets interrupted after saying “whoever interrupts me won’t be able to show their face”, so Rey Mysterio comes out. The cute little telegraphing line is already wearing thin on me. Lars Sullivan comes out to eat Rey and his lunch made it a little better for me. I love Rey of course, but I don’t really want him in that segment.

The Glorious Duo lays out an open challenge, and The Usos respond. So this is a huge acquisition and assuming The Revival don’t get traded or quit and go to AEW, Usos vs Revival will be great. As for the match, it’s what we can expect from these four, solid, but not a ton of time and good enough for a TV match.

Moment of Bliss was great. We got to see Sami Zayn play the Montreal crowd like a violin, and it was nice to see the smarmy aspects of his character back in full force. Bliss even tried to be a good host and play a little Devil’s advocate, but Sami was on point nicely. Quality entertainment.

IIconics poke fun at Bayley and then Bayley says she’ll find another partner while Sasha isn’t there. So an impromptu match, Naomi getting traded to Raw and what felt like less than 4 minutes, is all we need to really know. Bayley got a level of revenge, but this was mostly worthless. EXCEPT! For Naomi using that Thicc Legged Moonsault as her finish. She needs to call it that dammit.

EC3 got destroyed by Braun, I giggled. I never understood why so many people were so high on EC3 when he was the top guy in TNA during the worst period in the company. So being at the top of the bottom isn’t something to be proud of. I’m not a fan of Braun, but I will enjoy it if this continues and Braun uses EC3 for target practice in the coming weeks.

Stop – Giving – Ruby – Riott – Matches – Against – The – Champion. In the last month she’s been squashed in 15 seconds and proven to be unable to get in offense without distraction and then she gets handled anyway. She is effectively worthless at the moment. That can change obviously, but stop making her look like a joke when announcers are trying to hype her as something to care about. Showing the audience she’s garbage but having the announcers give a different narrative comes off stupid.

Oh no, Natalya is coming out to talk. She says typical crap, uses Bret’s line cause she’s unoriginal but THANK YOU LACEY! Lacey Evan saves the segment and the title scene but sauntering out proclaiming that her and Nattie will have a number 1 contender match for the Raw Women’s title.

The match isn’t bad, Lacey is obviously over her butterflies from the Women’s Royal Rumble when she couldn’t even do a Kip Up. Match was fine, Women’s Right is a signature and she wins with a Moonsault variation. All of this is great for the story telling so far and I’m a fan of Lacey. I don’t want her to beat Becky, but I’m a fan of this feud.

Main event time, Seth and Roman’s mystery partner is…AJ STYLES! Okay so I look at this two ways. Firstly, it’s stupid to have him win the match against Randy Orton for ‘who built SmackDown’ for him to get traded. Secondly, I’m just happy Styles has finished the journey. Going for a couple Cruiserweight Tag matches as Air Raid in WCW, the face of TNA, redefining himself in New Japan, being the biggest fish on the “B” show and now he’s finally on the flag ship. Good for AJ.

The match is fine. Nothing overly crazy, basic TV match stuff. Finisher spam at the end of the debuting wrestler’s team to stand tall.

 

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Aside from my hatred of The Viking Experience, it was a good show. Enough surprises, returns, debuts, and I guess this counts as Lacey’s in-ring debut on Raw. All in all, it wasn’t even close to bad. Where the wrestling itself may have lacked at times, the non-wrestling segments were still solid.

Two weeks in a row where I actually kind of enjoyed Raw…I may be dying. Call someone.

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Finn Balor vs Ali: Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** ½
  • Charlotte Flair vs Carmella: Flair wins via Figure Eight – **
  • Kairi Sane, Asuka, Bayley & Ember Moon vs IIconics, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville: Sane wins via Insane Elbow – ** ½
  • Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Cesaro vs Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Kevin Owens: Owens wins via Stunner – ***

 

Analysis:

Well Kevin Owens is a treasure. His talk show is always good, and Big O, was an amusing thread that ran through the whole show. Yes, as Chris Platt said on POD is WAR, he thought of Oscar Robertson. However, I immediately thought of The Big O, the anime on Adult Swim in 2001.

I hope that Cesaro, Sheamus, Rusev and Nakamura being closely associated lately won’t lead to a League of Nations 2.0

Finn Balor’s blue trunks lately where foreshadowing the move! Intercontinental Championship back on SmackDown! Ali of course is a solid performer, and Balor worked a faster style than we’ve really seen him do lately. Reminded me a bit more of his New Japan work, but solid match. Good stuff.

Kofi and Xavier convince Big O he has to eat a plate of cold pancakes as initiation. Like I said previously, this was a fun little thread they played with the entire show. Maybe it’s just me, but I was amused every time they came on.

Charlotte and Carmella next and it wasn’t bad. Carmella has gotten better, but Charlotte has a tendency to be rigid at times. Now I’m not sure if that’s because she’s embodying that arrogant persona and doesn’t feel the need to sell much. So some spots were awkward, but it’s nice to see Carmella’s growth.

Lars Sullivan apparently is officially on SmackDown now and goes to kill R-Truth and scare the crap out of Carmella.

Becky comes out and much like last week, it’s a little rinse and repeat on her Monday and Tuesday promos. This was all to set up new faces and flesh out the Women’s Tag Division on SmackDown. Fire and Desire think Paige is about to announce an Absolution Reunion, but that doesn’t seem to fly. Ember Moon and Bayley are officially on SmackDown now to boot. But Paige’s tag team is what got my interest since she announces Asuka and Kairi Sane! Now fans can stop bitching that Asuka doesn’t speak English well and Paige can talk for them. The Pirates of Tomorrow, have to be considered early favorites to destroy the IIconics.

The match was a thing. IIconics will never win workrate accolades, but they play their parts well. Bayley looks to have a chip on her shoulder (Canada even booed her), Ember still needs to learn to slow down a little and Kairi picked up the pin with the best elbow in the business, the Insane Elbow!

Buddy Murphy…meh…I’m already bored thinking about him.

Big O gets coached by the rest of the New Day to do Big E’s portion of the entrance. The match itself was really fun. Owens being a little off on the New Day shtick was funny but didn’t take away from having great wrestlers in the ring. All in all good fun, except for how Rusev sold the Stunner more like a Snapmare.

Vince comes out to close the show with the biggest acquisition in SmackDown history! ELIAS!

After some pointless chatter and Elias being his usual arrogant self, he gets ready to play a song…but he’s not the last addition. The Samoan Sex Machine, is now on SmackDown! AJ built the house, Roman can tend to the yard. As long as Roman isn’t immediately vaulted into the main event scene and has real struggle, this is perfect for him. SmackDown has always been seen as the more wrestling based program, so Roman having to go up against people who are more wrestlers than entertainers may help to earn him respect with the hardcores who think he sucks.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Good show. Now my bias for most of the trades is probably why I gave it a bit higher than Raw. Kairi, Ember and Roman added to Orton and Asuka will make it very easy for me to enjoy SmackDown Live. Owens was also hilarious, so seeing where this goes and if he eventually turns on them is something to watch.

Also, even though she got booed pretty hard, Bayley’s new edge will be interesting. Hugs and wacky waving inflatable idiots don’t really scream a serious wrestler. And yes, for those that noticed I called Kairi and Asuka The Pirates of Tomorrow, it is so that Io can fit into the team easily. Sky Captain, and the Pirates of Tomorrow!

Yeah I’m tired, shut up. I like to amuse myself on occasion.


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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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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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