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Steve Cook: This Is 2019, Right?

“The year is 2019. I keep telling myself this because it seems like everything I see going on in wrestling is telling me otherwise.”

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WWE 2019 The Undertaker Goldberg

The year is 2019. I keep telling myself this because it seems like everything I see going on in wrestling is telling me otherwise.

Impact Wrestling recently held their TV tapings at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Since it used to be known as the ECW Arena, plenty of wrestlers that were big in ECW twenty years ago appeared on the show in an attempt to boost attendance. Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Sandman & Tommy Dreamer were among the names. Don Callis, as usual, was on commentary. RVD & Dreamer had what was hyped as their last match against each other ever.

Do we believe them? Of course not. It’s only been eighteen years since the original ECW went out of business, they’re going to need something for the 20th & 25th anniversary ECW relaunches in various feds. As long as Dreamer is somewhat mobile & RVD needs some extra cash for weed, there’s always a possibility.

Impact Wrestling isn’t the only promotion to feature members of the Tribe of Extreme. Ring of Honor has one of them helping with the booking. Bully Ray’s been featured on TV for awhile now and is now using his influence to get Velvet Sky & Angelina Love booked for a late-2000s TNA re-hash.

Better them than Enzo & Cass, I suppose.

Even All Elite Wrestling features 1990s stars at the top of cards. Chris Jericho is the likely choice to be their first champion. Dustin Rhodes wrestled his brother Cody at Double or Nothing & will team with him against the Young Bucks at Fight for the Fallen. I’m willing to cut them some slack because Dustin had one of the best performances of the year at Double or Nothing, and Jericho always finds a way to entertain.

Oh, and they had Tommy Dreamer & GLACIER in the clustermess battle royal they aired on YouTube before the PPV started. I don’t know how Dreamer keeps getting work when he’s gotta be in worse physical shape than half the guys that are retired, but God bless him for it. The Glacier thing I see as a missed opportunity because they didn’t do his full entrance & have the Glacier mood lighting for the match. It’s 2019, but if you’re gonna do it…

“If you’re going to do it, go all the way.” – Jenna Jameson (not in 2019)

If you look back at my various assorted wrestling writings over the past fifteen years on various websites, you would notice some of my stances have changed. One that hasn’t: Nostalgia booking does nothing for me. If I wanted to see the stars of yesterday, I would get out my DVDs from when they were good. Heck, now that there’s a WWE Network, I don’t even need to do that.

However, Mohammed bin Salman sees things differently. I don’t seem to agree on much with that guy. He loves beheadings. I don’t. He loves starting wars in other countries to overthrow governments and send populaces into famine. I’m not a fan. He likes assassinating journalists that report the truth. I think that’s a bit problematic. He loves nostalgic wrestling booking. I don’t. Just two different mindsets, like Jim Cornette & Vince Russo.

The Saudi Arabia shows being heavy on old-timers working embarrassing matches makes it even easier for me to ignore them. As terrible as Undertaker has been since WrestleMania XXX, I’m more than happy to not watch his bad matches that he makes oodles of money to have. Anything I need to see for 411mania.com’s Botched! will be posted on social media in GIF form, so it works out great for both of us.

I just hope Goldberg got enough money out of it to justify the CTE.

Other than the possible physical damage, none of that stuff affects my emotions one way or the other. Shawn Michaels wants to work another match so he can buy a bigger house? Sure, whatever. It’d be easy for me to sit here and damn these guys for taking payoffs from an obviously evil source, but…I mean, it is the wrestling business and evil is all relative in this world anyway.

Steve Cook’s analysis continues after the ad – buy a shirt!


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(Also, I’ve never been offered any money by the Saudis. Or Vince McMahon, for that matter. Not in 2019. Not ever.)

My main hope for the Saudi shows is that they feature a bunch of crap that I don’t have to bother with. That’s why I love all the Undertaker & Triple H matches taking place there. That’s why I was happy for Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler to get title shots there, as I hoped those feuds would end in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it seems that they won’t, and we’re saddled with that nonsense at least until they build something useful (hopefully) for SummerSlam.

One thing happened on that show that I can’t imagine anybody justifying. Oh, they will try. Justifying WWE booking decisions is quite the cottage industry. However, there’s really nothing anybody can say that will convince me that Shane McMahon beating Roman Reigns is useful and helps anybody involved.

Honestly, my main worry here is that Shane is going to die in the ring in 2019. Dude gets redder than the U of L Cardinal Bird when he’s out there. He sweats more than any wrestler I’ve ever seen, taking that title from Mike Rotunda/IRS. It doesn’t look healthy. Hopefully he’s getting the proper Wellness Tests and everything is above board, but a lot of us are worried.

Getting sympathy on Roman will be one excuse used. Come on now. If you can’t get sympathy on Roman Reigns for having leukemia, what the hell is his losing to Shane McMahon going to accomplish? Another excuse: Nobody could play Shane’s role better than Shane. Great. You’re telling me that nobody could play the role of Vince McMahon’s spoiled middle-aged son better than Vince McMahon’s spoiled middle-aged son. Some brilliant insight there.

Shane is over, though. Everybody I’ve talked about that performed twenty years ago is over. Undertaker. Goldberg. Triple H. Tommy Dreamer. Rob Van Dam. Sabu. The Sandman. Chris Jericho. They all get great reactions whenever they appear.

Heck, Velvet Sky & Angelina Love are so over as heels in ROH that fans are getting drug backstage so Bully Ray can yell at them for being angry at heels.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a selling point here.

Those of you who follow me on the social media know of my connection with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Not to draw the curtain too far back on that, but I can tell you that a large part of their marketing to fans has centered around nostalgia for as long as I can remember. The 1970s Big Red Machine teams are still all the older fans will talk about. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench & Joe Morgan are much more popular with these folks than Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez or Nick Senzel could ever hope to be.

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the franchise. It’s been all about the throwback jerseys & the throwback hats. It’s nice that the team has been more entertaining than usual, but the attendance figure jumps up when there are old uniforms or bobbleheads of old players. Sure, Derek Dietrich is very popular with the female audience, but it’s all about the 150th anniversary and the old school.

I’m ok with this. This might surprise you since I’ve been all about younger wrestlers and putting the old guys out to pasture for the past fifteen years. Why would I be more accepting of nostalgia in baseball than in wrestling?

Because I don’t have to watch Pete Rose round second & slide head-first into third base in 2019. Barry Larkin won’t be playing shortstop during his bobblehead game this Saturday. Yet somehow, we’re expected to watch Undertaker try to tombstone Goldberg. We need to see Shane McMahon huff & puff his way through a match with Roman Reigns. The 2300 Arena should have more Dreamer vs. RVD matches. And we definitely need to see Triple H work nearly thirty minutes on every major show.

I’m all about milking any money we can out of the past. I draw the line at watching people that shouldn’t perform anymore embarrass themselves. If they want to do it for the love of their craft, or really need the money, they can knock themselves out. Hopefully not literally. I’m not gonna encourage it, though.


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

Steve Cook’s Top 5: STOMPS!

Given the current Universal Champion, and the name of the most recent PPV, stomps make sense. Steve Cook thinks so too! Check out his Top 5!

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Given the current Universal Champion, and the name of the most recent PPV, stomps make sense. Steve Cook thinks so too! Check out his Top 5!

I’ve been sitting here all week thinking of things to write about relating to WWE Stomping Grounds.

The other Chairshot writers have taken every take possible on Shane McMahon, and he’s not even on the show. Most of the matches are lame rematches from Saudi Arabia, and I get yelled at every time I talk about that area of the world. The show is in Tacoma, Washington, and the only interesting wrestler from that state is Daniel Bryan so it’s not like we can make a top 5 out of that.

OK, there might be two. Jack Evans has been billed from Parkland, Washington. But a Top 2 column would be even lamer than the column I’ve cooked up for today.

It’s Stomping Grounds Sunday, so we’re talking about stomps! Yeah buddy! Top 5 Stomps for ya!

5. Shawn Michaels Tuning Up The Band

HBK was known for his finishing superkick known as Sweet Chin Music. Sometimes he’d just blast somebody with it, but often he would set up the move by repeatedly stomping the mat. If you go to 18:30 & 27:00 of that classic match up there you’ll see it. The fans would get all excited since they knew what was coming. It seemed to me like Michaels was telegraphing the move, and sometimes people would manage to avoid it after the band was tuned up. But as far as fan excitement while a finisher was set up goes, few finishing moves can compare to Sweet Chin Music.

4. Seth Rollins’ Stomp

The current Universal Champion is known for stomping his opponents into oblivion, so you knew he would have a place on this list.

Back on the indies, he would do some crazy stomps in the corner before hitting the Buckle Bomb, which I’m pretty sure was banned after he killed Sting with it. Not the best of ideas hitting a Social Security recepient with it.

3. Super Dragon’s Curb Stomp

I’m guessing that Super Dragon’s work hasn’t aged well. I haven’t watched any of his matches in a very, very long time. But back in the mid-2000s, he was a guy that got a lot of hype, and for good reason since he curb stomped fools.

Yes, he wore a mask & pajamas. But he was still a fearsome man. Just ask any fans that tried to get frisky with him.

2. The Garvin/Orton Stomp

How can you not love a man that tries to stomp every single joint on a person’s body? Well, after watching most of Randy Orton’s career, I can kind of understand. But back when Ronnie Garvin did it, it was pretty awesome.

I’m pretty sure Bristol falls in the old Southeastern territory region, so that’s a perfect choice of song.

Honorable Mention: Rhea Ripley’s Entrance Stomp

I wish I had a better YouTube video available of this, or a GIF or something. If NXT UK gets more popular we can make it happen. Just take my word for it that it’s a pretty badass entrance stomp on television. I’m still very high on the 22 year old Australian and buying all of her stock. I’m not as high on the guy that tried to take his shot here and got nothing in return.

1. The Mongolian Stomper’s Stomps

When somebody is nicknamed “The Stomper”, you have to respect their stomps. Archie Gouldie was a legend in Calgary & Knoxville, which are two random places to be a legend in but it happened. The Stomper was a legit top heel in the territories he frequented, mostly because he would stomp the bejeezus out of whoever was in his path.

Interesting story behind the headgear shown in some portions of that video. The gimmick was that Stomper had an inner ear problem, so the more noise the fans made, the more difficulty he would have doing things. What a great way to get heat! Jim Cornette has told tales about how Stomper would lose matches in seconds in more podunk places to make sure he would get out of the building alive. I’m not even sure if I believe these stories, but they sound really good!

As I said in a recent 411 column, Cornette would have named a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show Stomping Grounds and put Stomper in the main event against more current heels and it would have worked.


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

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 6/23/2019

We know the drill by now. Top 5 Matches of the week. Do you agree or disagree? Let your opinion be known!

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We know the drill by now. Top 5 Matches of the week. Do you agree or disagree? Let your opinion be known!

Covering Stomping Grounds meant I couldn’t see WrestleCircus. So let’s just hope nothing great happened there.

Last week’s vote was a nail biter. The variety of product spread out a lot of votes but two rose to the top. Winning by one vote, AAA Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros.

So with all that out of the way, let’s see what we got out of Stomping Grounds and others, during a fairly quiet week.

 

5. NXT: Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong vs Velveteen Dream, Tyler Breeze & Matt Riddle

Snippet from Mitchell’s Review:
Riddle pries his way out and throws elbows, but Fish rakes the eyes. Fish stomps Riddle down then tags Cole. Cole gives Riddle stomps then taunts him. Cole hits Dream hard just because! Riddle CHOPS Cole and throws big hands from all sides! But Cole stomps the bare feet. Cole fakes Riddle out with the muel kick, but leaps into a Bro Trigger! Hot tags to Fish and Breeze! Breeze rallies on the Undisputed Era! Forearm, forearm and SUPER MODEL KICK! Fish mule kicks and runs but into an enziguri! Fish flounders and Breeze hits another forearm. Breeze reels Fish in but Fish counters to a fireman’s carry. But Breeze slips out to give Fish a Beauty Shot! Cover, but Strong drags Fish to safety! Or so they think, as Breeze builds speed. But Dream tags in!?

Dream and Breeze argue and they don’t see Strong tag in. Cole SUPERKICKS Riddle down! Breeze and Dream double SUPERKICK Cole! But Strong’s super knee hits Breeze into Dream! Then Strong drags Dream up for End of Heartache!! Cover, the Era wins!!

Winner: Strong via End of Heartache

Rating: *** 1/2

 

4. IMPACT: Rich Swann vs Johnny Impact vs Michael Elgin

From My Analysis:
Impact main events have been really impressive last few weeks and this one fell a little short of that mark, but not by much. Many moves missed by just a hair or looked too cooperative to really get full marks, but it was a fun match. Swann getting the pin on Johnny was a spot. John E. Bravo comes out to help Johnny beat down Rich. Elgin doesn’t want Johnny to use the big red X, but doesn’t seem against destroying Swann. But Brian Cage’s music hits, and comes out with a plan. Gorilla Press tosses Johnny out of the ring, has a quick back and forth with Elgin and then does the full Kevin Nash putting the cigarette out flair, before hitting a Jack Knife Powerbomb on Elgin.

Winner: Swann via 450 Splash

Rating: *** 1/2

 

3. AJPW Dynamite Series Day 2: Yusuke Okada vs Hikaru Sato

This was a special singles match. Special because Okada and Sato requested this match, in honor of Atsushi Aoki. Aoki was a fellow stablemate, friend, and to Okada, a mentor. He was head trainer in the dojo, a corner stone wrestler since Akiyama returned to AJPW. This was their gift, to their fallen friend.

During introductions Okada was crying, the crowd was crying, and notably, the referee came out in an all blue outfit as his own dedication. We got a match that Aoki would be proud of. Even though he was a Junior, Aoki was very technical and mat based in his approach. He would only go to the top ropes on occasion, and his proteges did the same.

The weight and significance of it all must’ve continued to hit Okada during the match. He wasn’t as crisp, attempted a very sloppy Step Up Tornado DDT from the ropes and just generally seemed to not be there. It was all understandable, and the match was still very good and showed they both learned a lot from Aoki and cared deeply. So from an emotional aspect, this match was a 10 out 5. But from a technical aspect, the hiccups did hurt it a little.

After the match, they had words for their friend, they played Aoki’s music, Dory Funk sent a video message and all of Evolution posed together one last time:

Winner: Sato via Ude-Hishigi-Gyaku-Juji-Gatame

Rating: *** 3/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

AJPW Dynamite Series Day 2: All Asia Tag Titles: Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto vs Kazumi Kikuta & Ryuichi Kawakami (c)
Winner: Lee via High Angle Backdrop
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Stomping Grounds: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs Xavier Woods & Big E
Winner: Owens via Stunner
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW: Nobe Bryant, Odinson & Parrow vs Shuji Ishikawa, Suwama & Super Tiger
Winner: Suwama via Manriki Sleeper
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Stomping Grounds: Steel Cage WWE Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston (c)
Winner: Kofi via Escaping the Cage
Rating: *** 1/2
GCW Crushed Up: GCW Championship: Nick Gage(c) vs Tony Deppen
Winner: Gage via Chokeslam onto back of chairs
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Stomping Grounds: Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky via Disarm-Her
Rating: *** 1/4
IMPACT: Jake Crist vs Tessa Blanchard
Winner: Tessa via Magnum
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Dolph Ziggler vs Xavier Woods
Winner: Ziggler via Superkick
Rating: ***
WWE Stomping Grounds: SmackDown Live Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs Bayley (c)
Winner: Bayley via Bayley to Belly
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Daniel Bryan
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: ***
GCW Crushed Up: Dan Maff vs Mathew Justice
Winner: Maff via Burning Hammer through Door
Rating: ***
WWE Stomping Grounds: SmackDown Live Tag Team Titles: Heavy Machinery vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan (c)
Winner: Bryan via Small Package
Rating: ***

 

 

2. WWE Stomping Grounds: Cruiserweight Championship: Akira Tozawa vs Drew Gulak vs Tony Nese

From my Analysis:
Constant action defined this match. Gulak kicked things off with a Dropkick at the bell, and it was pedal to the metal from there. Tozawa breaks up the Gu-Lock with his Top Rope Senton, which the camera didn’t focus on, so it was cool to see Tozawa just crash down from the sky. Each man had a legitimate shot at different points in the match. Gulak however took advantage of the situation, tried to TKO Nese, but Nese wiggled out to the apron, Drew dodged Tozawa’s Dropkick, grabbed Tozawa and hit the TKO for the win. Gulak finally gets the belt, which is a bit overdue, and he didn’t win via submission. Things should be interesting on 205 Live. Great start.

Winner: Gulak via TKO

Rating: ****

 

 

1. WWE Stomping Grounds: United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs Ricochet

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:Ricochet keeps his cool as he heads for another corner. He climbs up and aims, but Joe gets up. Ricochet jumps over but Joe scoops him for a powerslam! Cover, TWO! Joe grows frustrated, but keeps his eyes on Ricochet as Ricochet stirs. Joe drags Ricochet up but Ricochet throws forearms and CHOPS! But Joe CHOPS back again! Ricochet stands so Joe whips, Ricochet handsprings, but into a full nelson! Ricochet breaks free but still gets a German Suplex! Joe runs as Ricochet rises to LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Ricochet survives and Joe is shocked. Joe glares at Ricochet as he clamps hands on the shoulders. Joe drags Ricochet up for another urenage, but Ricochet fights out! Ricochet boots but Joe blocks it, to FLIP Ricochet!

Joe puts on the Coquina Clutch! But Ricochet climbs the ropes! Ricochet hotshots Joe down! Joe is in the drop zone, and Ricochet climbs up again! Ricochet 630 but he has to roll through! Joe LARIATS Ricochet, but Ricochet springs back up! CODE BREAKER! Ricochet keeps going and gets back up top! Ricochet tries again, 630 SENTON! Cover, Ricochet wins!!

Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton

Rating: ****

 

Thoughts:

Well the B-rated PPV ended up taking the top 2 spots this week! That could say something about the level of competition this week, but let’s look at the positive!

My vote goes to the Cruiserweight Triple Threat. I’m happy Gulak finally won the belt, hopefully he can help bring a level of excitement/interest back to 205 Live. Since it really seemed to lose it’s luster after Cedric and Buddy were called to the main roster.


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