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Rob: WWE Roster Turmoil? Not Really

This is fine. (It actually is fine!)

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Dean Ambrose WWE Roster

Is the WWE roster in a state of turmoil? Rob Bonnette doesn’t think so, and tells you why!

So the news that Luke Harper has requested his release, combined with the current Sasha Banks situation, the writer that quit, and Road Dogg resigning as head writer of Smackdown has led our good friend Ryan Satin (sarcasm) and others to speculate if there is some bad morale going on backstage in the good old WWE.  The take here is that because seemingly so many people have recently asked for or were rumored to be have asked for their release (Neville, Tye Dellinger, Hideo Itami, the Revival, Mike & Maria Kanellis), openly complained about their role or lack thereof (Sasha Banks, Rusev and Lana, Tyler Breeze), or have chosen to not re-sign (Dean Ambrose) that this is some harbinger of bad times.  With all this smoke there’s got to be some fire, right?

Well……..not really.  Yes that seems like a lot of people but twelve people (or eight when you take into account that the Revival and the Kanellises all denied having asked out) out of almost 150 main roster people is not a huge number.  And as a couple of people who used to work for WWE explained the sheer number of people there now means that there are always going to be people either feeling or actually being underutilized.

Now I am not a former writer with WWE nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night but I have been watching and following pro wrestling for almost 35 years so I can tell you that this is nothing new. Way back during the 80s it was pretty common for people to come to the WWF and not stay as long as you remember they did.  I’m talking name guys, some of whom main evented WrestleMania like:

  • Ricky Steamboat – 3 years (1985 to 1988)
  • Rick Rude – 3 years (1987 to 1990)
  • Barry Windham – 1 year (1984 or 1985), then a few months in 1989
  • King Kong Bundy – 3 years (1985 to 1988), then again from 1994 to 1995
  • Paul Orndorff – 4 years (1983 to January 1988)
  • Terry Taylor – 2 years (1988 to 1990)
  • Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard – 1 year (1988 to 1989)
  • Kerry Von Erich – 2 years (1990 to 1992)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There were other name guys like Dick Slater who were there and gone in months.  Sid Vicious never made more than a year either time he came over. Even Ric Flair asked for his release a year and half after coming over in 1991 and got it.  All of those guys were considered serious acquisitions when they came in, and for various reasons left a lot sooner than expected.  And like today those reasons largely had to do with their place on the card at the time or where it looked like they’d be in the future.

A few did get fired (Blanchard got popped for drugs and the Freebirds famously got run before they even debuted), or left because of injury (Orndorff) but most of these guys just left.  Now fast forward to today.  Harper asked for his release after six years.  AJ Syles just re-signed and has already been there longer than Flair (the first time), Steamboat, and Rude were.  Hell, Finn Balor has already outlasted most of the guys on that list.  So has Baron Corbin (even though he sucks so bad that we got T-shirts saying so!)  We haven’t gotten to Kofi, Sheamus, Dolph, R-Truth, etc.

There has always been a revolving door of sorts, and it spins even faster when things are going well be it the Hulkamania era, the Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era, or now.  It’s never a sign of anything other than business being good and there being more than one place for people to work.  They can get an offer from WWE,  give it whirl, and if things don’t go to their liking they can move on.  It was true during the mid 80s before the territories started dying. It was true when WCW was riding high.

And it’s true now when you have ROH/Impact/MLW out there, AEW on the way, and an indie scene that offers a lot of opportunities.  When people don’t have to stay they’ll leave if they don’t like where they are and they can get on somewhere else.  It’s a good sign for the business and not a bad sign for any one company (let’s not act like the revolving door only is only in WWE now).  When business is good, WWE signs a ton of people and lots of them don’t stay long.

Now that brings the next the question: do they just have too many people?  Well yeah, they do.  But that’s how they operate during the good times.  They sign some people because they have plans for them but they also sign people to get them off the market or to provide roster depth or just because the wider net you cast the better chance you have of getting a breakout star.  The wide net got them the Shield, Daniel Bryan, Styles, Finn Balor, and several others.  In years past it got the Hart Foundation, Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, and 1-2-3 Kid (X-Pac).  Wrestling is art not science, and finding success is often a matter of throwing as much stuff against the wall as possible and seeing what sticks.

So yeah if you have the capacity you sign as many people as you can.  WWE isn’t the only place that did that.  WCW did of course.  New Japan tried to keep all The Elite guys even though they have a pretty large deck of guys, some of whom aren’t getting much use right now there.  Do signings not field any tangible results?  Sure.  Do some departures hurt more than others?  Sure.  But it’s nothing new and nothing to get all bent out of shape over.

So let the dirtsheet guys do what they do, and don’t get too worked up. Nothing new under the sun here.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco: Box Office Brock Lesnar And The New WWE

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Brock Lesnar WWE Money In The Bank

After a hard-hitting WWE Money In The Bank, Greg DeMarco offers perspective on Brock Lesnar winning the Money In The Bank briefcase and the obvious shift in the WWE product & presentation.

I know you read that headline and wondered what in the hell I was smoking. Brock Lesnar leaves Hartford with the Money In The Bank briefcase, and I’m calling it a new WWE? I have to be insane, right? Well, that perspective is 100% wrong. (I mean…I may be insane–but not for that reason!) WWE Money In The Bank was shock and awe from start to finish, and you have every reason to be excited. The reactions I am seeing prove that the online community doesn’t want to enjoy WWE. Hopefully, for me, some mainstream fans will read this article too!

Box Office Brock Lesnar

I know what you’re thinking…same ol’ sh*t, right? I can’t say I agree. On the technicality side, Brock Lesnar has never held the Money In The Bank briefcase, so it’s wrong there. But I get it, you’re tired of seeing Brock on top. The truth of it is, he’s Box Office. And WWE needs box office.

What is “Box Office,” exactly? It’s the ability to get fans to spend money, which is how WWE makes money. Brock Lesnar sells the WWE product–to fans, to viewers, to advertisers, and to networks. Wrestling Twitter is a vocal minority, and appeasing them got WWE nowhere with WrestleMania 35, or as I was calling it for the months leading up to it, “HappyMania.” Brock is back, and I think it’s fantastic.

Disagree with me? Great, but the sold out crowd in Hartford blew the roof off the joint when his music hit, so they obviously agree. Brock will likely cash-in in advance, proclaiming his championship opportunity for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7. Then we get to give the briefcases a rest, as we continue to shuffle the rosters up and use fun words like Wild Card (bitches…yeehaw!).

One prevailing thought I have seen is that the other seven guys in the match busted their asses for no payoff. I can’t agree with that either–their payoff is a paycheck. They’re businessmen. Those who complain about how they are booked don’t get the business. And as All Elite Wrestling is proving, they don’t take too kindly to people complaining about booking, either.

A New WWE?

I know a lot of people don’t see it, because they’re too worried about booking. But the WWE product shifted tonight. And as dangerous as it is, I hope it sticks.

The product got way more physical at WWE Money In The Bank–way more physical. It started with the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match, which in reality doesn’t need a gender specific distinction. Money In The Bank describes both ladder matches tonight, as both delivered in both brutality and story. Everyone put their bodies through hell during those matches, and they deserve to be praised.

But it didn’t end there:

  • Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe…brutality.
  • Shane McMahon vs. The Miz…brutality.
  • Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari…brutality.
  • The entire segment with the Women’s Championships…brutality.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Elias…brutality.
  • Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles…brutality.
  • Lars Sullivan and The Lucha House Party…brutality.
  • Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens…say it with me…brutality.

Sense a theme, here? WWE provided a more physical product, and did things that make sense. Yes, there were botches that everyone wants to blame on the refs. In each instance, it appeared to me that the talent messed up, and the commentators covered by blaming the officiating. And that makes sense to me. You didn’t think they were going to blame the wrestlers, did you?

It’s really funny that this comes after AEW reveals that they’ll present a more realistic, athletic oriented product after the onset of their TV deal. It’s probably the single bad move they’ve made (okay, maybe second to the whole PAC/Page ordeal), announcing their plans to the world and giving WWE a heads up on what’s coming so they can beat AEW to it.

Seriously, it’s like they went “Here’s our formula!” without even realizing WWE had a high profile PPV to air 6-days before Double Or Nothing. C’mon guys… #UseYourHead.

At the end, it looks WWE is going back to what works for them: giving the fans what they need, and not what they want. Imagine going to the doctor and misdiagnosing yourself. Would you rather the doctor provides you with what you want and now what you need? You’d sue that doctor for malpractice! It’s getting to be that same way with WWE. Prescribe to us what we need, Vince. Even if we don’t like the taste when it goes down, it’s for the best in the end.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/19/2019

Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

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Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

Last week was an interesting week since it wasn’t a normal Top 5 and we had two Sami Callihan matches. When it came down to it though, IMPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack, won the vote for the week. I’m always a happy when less popular matches or companies get a fair shake in the rundown.

Either way, let’s see exactly how much New Japan shows up and if anything from Money in the Bank was worth a watch!

 

5. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH

Taguchi has been having a crisis of character so to speak. He’s become more of a comedy wrestler who’s history doesn’t really inject respect or fear into his opponents. YOH is up and coming, and was trained by Taguchi in the New Japan Dojo. So YOH is trying to establish himself beyond the tag realm and Taguchi is trying to refind himself.

We saw an interesting match. Taguchi showed a little of both worlds from comedy to more of his extensive moveset. YOH was a walking reference to older wrestlers; he even mastered the Paradise Lock apparently. Taguchi picks up the win with the variation of the Dodon that he used to remove Prince Devitt from New Japan. Very good match.

Winner: Taguchi via Dodon’s Throne

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero

This was a little similar to the earlier Taguchi match. Rocky had something to prove. CHAOS members, and Rocky is perceived as being past his prime, but he wanted to prove he can still hang. It’s been 3 years since his last BOSJ, how does the most decorated Junior Tag wrestler fair against the Aerial Assassin?

We got a great match. Rocky had numerous hope spots, hit the Forever Lariats, his half of Strong Zero and reversed the Stormbreaker first attempt into a legit Huricanrana. Ospreay turned out too be just a little too big, a little too athletic and a Shooting Star Press followed by a Stormbreaker ends this great match. Very good.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbringer

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann

From My Analysis:
So damn this main event went 2 commercial breaks, but it was really solid. Swann wouldn’t stay down and even had great hope spots. A Super Frankensteiner countering the Avalanche Powerbomb, Lethal Injection, 450, but Elgin kicked out. Swann tried a top rope Phoenix Splash, and missed. Elgin hits Splash Mountain, and Rich kicks out. Elgin rolls to the outside, catches Rich and repeatedly Powerbombs him into the post. Kid Ref tries to get the match back in the ring, Elgin pushes Kid Ref and Powerbombs Swann again for posterity. Kid Ref calls for the DQ and then runs for his life. This was a great match, the “non-finish” is rather annoying coming out of a roughly 25 minute match. But love him or hate him, Elgin can wrestle.

Winner: Swann via DQ

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 3: Dragon Lee vs SHO
Winner: Dragon Lee via Desnucadora
Rating: ****
WWE MiTB: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor vs Ricochet vs Andrade vs Randy Orton vs Ali vs Brock Lesnar
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: Dragon Lee vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE MitB: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Ligero vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Devlin via Snap Saito Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
Winner: Eagles via Ron Miller Special
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Finn Balor vs Andrade vs Ali
Winner: Andrade via Hammerlock DDT
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Winner: Phantsmo via Greetings from Chasewood Park
Rating: ***
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Ligero
Winner: Nese via Running Kneese
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Fall Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Zayn via Claymore
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Ren Narita vs Robbie Eagles
Winner: Eagles via Turbo Backpack
Rating: ***
WWE MitB: The Usos vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan
Winner: Usos via Double Uce
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE MitB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Now it’s Rollins who has to come up with something else to put Styles away. Fans rally up as Rollins stands. Rollins still has the tried and true, “Burn It Down!” He mule kicks then runs, but Styles dodges to roll Rollins to a Calf Crusher! Rollins endures but Styles cranks back hard! Rollins rolls it back and kicks Styles away! His leg is free but it is hurting! Styles crawls away but Rollins pursues. Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Cover, TWO!! Rollins escapes with one good leg! Styles gets back up and waits for Rollins. Rollins stands and SUPERKICKS Styles down! Both men are down again, but fans rally and duel again. Styles and Rollins crawl for each other to start throwing hands! Rollins hits, Styles hits, repeat. Rollins CHOPS but Styles punches again.

Fans duel, Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz, but Rollins dodges to enziguri! And dodges the Pele! Mule kick! Curb Stomp countered! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives THE Styles Clash?! No one can believe it, but the fans are loving it! Styles grits his teeth as Rollins starts sitting up. Styles goes to the apron, takes aim and springboards. Phenomenal misses! Revolution Knee hits! And then, SUPERKICK! Styles is on his face, but Rollins gets back up! CURB STOMP!! Rollins put so much into that, he has to crawl to a cover! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins via The Stomp

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: SHO vs Shingo Takagi

This match has had a great build all year. SHO is the power of Roppongi 3k, and throughout the LIJ and Roppongi feud for the Junior Tag Titles, we always saw SHO try to go at Shingo. Shingo called him out a little and this is a great rivalry. SHO has something to prove, but Shingo doesn’t want to be upstaged by someone who was a Young Boy only a few years ago.

We saw the story unfold beautifully. Shingo dominated early, until SHO fired up and showed he wasn’t just going to roll over. As the match progressed SHO started to anticipate Shingo’s moves and stay a step ahead. Both men hit all of their signature moves, and neither wanted to really budge. This was just so well done, and more of a heavyweight style because they are both bigger Juniors. Shingo edged out SHO by hitting Last of the Dragons after numerous Pumping Bombers. But damn this was great.

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragons

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Shingo and SHO, there is no other answer. This has been a feud that started at the end of last year and persisted through the entire year so far. Long term booking is always fun, and when both men put on a great story telling match, it’s even better. Plus there’s no guarantee it’s over since SHO still has to surpass Shingo to feel completed.

Don’t sleep on Ospreay and Romero though, that was a great match, just didn’t quite match up to SHO and Shingo.


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