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Tony Acero: WWE – The Endgame

Does WWE need a frontman?

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WWE Avengers Endgame John Cena

Does WWE need a frontman? Tony Acero explores the concept of WWE without a frontman with Avengers: Endgame as his reference. Does it work?

If one were to stretch the timeline of wrestling lore in front of their face, one could easily see the rise and fall of numerous men who held the title as “The Face” of the WWE. People have been making their own Mount Rushmores of wrestling for years, and the heads are almost always the same. For the sake of this column, I will only stretch as far back as I can in my own memory as opposed to the annals of history that proclaim many other than the names I am about to list. The 80s had Hulk Hogan. The 90s had Steve Austin and The Rock, The 00’s had John Cena. Begrudgingly or not, we are in the reign of Roman Reigns. These are the faces of the WWE, the ones that are pushed to the forefront, whether wanted or not, as the ultimate definition of wrestling personified. They, each in their own era, WERE/ARE the WWE. While some could argue of the co-stars, there is no denying the fact that these guys were THE stars.

SLIGHT Avengers: Endgame Spoilers Ahead

Recently, one of these very men claimed that the WWE is in a position right now where there isn’t a need for one main guy, one face – if you will – to run the place. John Cena recently claimed:

”For the longest time, I think, if you consider WWE a band, there’s been one frontperson of the band. I think that dynamic is changing and it’s because the audience is too diverse. I think older males are watching it, younger kids are watching it, females are watching it. The audience is so diverse so with a diverse audience, it’s tough to universally please someone.”

This got me thinking about the possibility of a roster where there wasn’t one man at the top, one man who held the torch on high while others clamored for it or fell in line. The thought led me to the idea, the possibility, that John Cena may be right, yet his reasoning seemed off to me, and I wasn’t quite sure why until I sat down to write this column.

WWE

If I may digress for a bit, let’s ask what the biggest movie of the year thus far is. Avengers: End Game. This film is the culmination of over ten years of films and twenty films that have done everything in their power to create consistency and entertainment, with countless connecting threads all leading to this final film. The writers believed in their characters and helped to create an entire world where they existed, and held a soft spot in the heart of – I would argue – almost half the world.


Also read:
DeMarco: Who Is The Biggest Draw In WWE?


When looking at the “roster” of The Avengers, one could easily deduce that Captain America and/or Iron Man are the de facto leaders based on arrogance and clout via Tony Stark or altruism and patriotism via Captain America. In a lot of ways, the characters were so different in an effort to assure that even the divide amongst “good guys” was covering all basis, assuring that a crowd, while even split, would have its favorite. Take The Rock and Austin, for instance. Two bulls in the same pen sharing the top of the card, and dividing the crowd. In this aspect, we are not talking about heel/face simply leadership. While Stark and Rogers lead a band of would-be heroes to something iconic, Rock and Austin pushed the envelope of a business towards the monetary edge of success.

Now then, what of the rest of The Avengers, each with their own film that were successful in their own right? When you look at the 90s, could one choose a “mid-tier” of wrestlers that, although successful, were considered standalone successes? Arguably, yes, but the gap between Austin and Rock and “everyone else” was relatively huge. The WWE knew where their bread was buttered, and they stuck with it…until they didn’t.

WWE

We are aware, by now, of the fear of someone becoming bigger than the WWE, and thus, causing a gaping hole if they were to jump ship or leave the boat. It is, perhaps because of this, that the WWE at large fears putting their full energy behind someone as the “lead singer” and instead is falling into this pattern that Cena claims is due to the diversity of the crowd. In other words, the WWE doesn’t want an Iron Man, and would rather be much more happy with a bunch of Black Panthers.

Cena’s claim that the diversity of the crowd is what causes the lack of necessity for a leader, and I vehemently disagree. He follows this up with claiming that it is very hard to universally please everyone. Yeah, that’s not news. It wasn’t in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or any time in any forum of entertainment. THAT is not the reason why, Cena, and to think that seems a bit short-sighted. As I mentioned last week, there are any number of reasons as to why the WWE can be considered as a failure of entertainment in my opinion, and that will come soon, but to say that diversity amongst the crowd is what creates a lack of need for a leader seems ignorant, and I mean that in the kindest way possible.

For those that checked out The Avengers film, I ask you what the crowd looked like upon first viewing; for me it was a bunch of people ranging from around 18-40, with the mean in the center, of course. A few weeks later, upon second viewing, I sat in a theater full of children and parents. In both instances, the emotional levity was huge upon the shoulders of the audience. Adults and children alike cried, felt, laughed, cheered, emoted as much as possible, and it wasn’t because the children liked Spiderman more, and the adults felt more of a connection to Hulk’s control of anger. No matter the love and adoration for every single character in the film, it was everyone, EVERYONE, who freaked out the minute Iron Man proclaimed, “I’m Iron Man.” The leader. The one.

WWE

The danger in comparing The Avengers to the roster of the WWE is the very obvious superiority that Marvel has in terms of character development, budget, and platform of performance, yet if we are to strip the argument to the barest of minimums – fandom and emotional investment – then we can draw the lines amongst the leaders of the WWE and The Avengers versus the rosters they loom over.

To be honest, I feel that John Cena is correct; that the WWE doesn’t NEED a lead singer, and is possibly entering a world where this role will be left empty while the stage fills with a bunch of would-be leaders instead, but there is no denying that in any collection of people, the cream rises to the top, the leaders naturally take their role, the confidence jumps out of the screen. Roman Reigns does this in spurts. Cena, Austin, Hogan, The Rock oozed it. The WWE has, unfortunately, considered themselves the biggest name in the game – even over the men they employ, yet are unable to change the way they present themselves, leaving a hole where a leader should be. In their attempts to become the omniscient, they have created the lack of a lead singer, not the diverse crowd.

When Iron Man was left on Titan alone, and the survivors were left on Earth, the team – even with Rodgers as their leader – was lacking both in star power and formidable strength as characters. With the dissolution of a leader in the WWE, we will be left with champions were something isn’t quite right (Rollins), or some are just lacking that something (Kingston). We are left with challengers that just don’t have the same appeal, and where the only believable strength is a looming Hulk (Brock) who really proved nothing the last time we had him as champion. As early as this writing, the would be lead singer was covered and pinned by Shane McMahon. So maybe Cena is right, but could one argue that this win was for any one of the many diverse people in the crowd? Is there a sect in the fandom that I don’t know about?

WWE

In conclusion, the idea that the WWE doesn’t need a lead singer, that the WWE is becoming a place where a number of men are at the top instead of just one, I would say that I welcome this with open arms, because a leader that naturally rises to the top through their charisma and in-ring talent will undoubtedly happen regardless. The problem I have is, and most likely always will be, is that the WWE is incapable of becoming this type of roster. They don’t have the skills, writing or otherwise, to let this happen. Their attempts of control are too high, and their inability to create consistent characters, motivations, and layers of drama will almost undoubtedly assure that no matter how much they may want their own Avengers – where people would pay to see a stand-alone show surrounding a mid-card act – they will almost assuredly always be DC.


Tony Acero can eat a Gogurt in one squeeze.

Follow Tony Acero on Twitter @TonyAcero411


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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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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