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Opinion

Rob: Is Charlotte Right?

A Twitter inspired topic,; between general grievances of her position in the division and her own responses to articles. Rob takes a look at the perception of Charlotte and who she really is!

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WWE NXT Charlotte Flair

What would be wrestling Twitter be if they were not complaining about the WWE, or Vince McMahon, or Roman Reigns, or Charlotte Flair?  Probably pretty quiet.  Well, the WWE and Vince shots never end and Roman has been relatively left alone compared to say, 2016 so that leaves us with Charlotte.  If you’re reading this then you know she came back in December and won the RAW tag team titles with Asuka at TLC in her first match back.  And now we are back in our familiar place of people on the internet being upset about how she’s booked, and implying all kinds of nefarious intentions behind it all.  All this was encapsulated in a piece on Fansided DDT where they aired all their grievances – that she fits the Vince McMahon mold, that she gets into a title program immediately every time she comes back, etc.  Charlotte herself opted to respond to it, which probably wasn’t the best idea because that never ends well, but it’s worth seeing if either their takes or her refutations are right, so I did just that.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I don’t take too kindly to fans saying ‘no, we’re not the problem’ whether the subject is pro wrestling or anything else (Star Wars fans make wrestling fans look like amateurs when it comes to ruining the experience, by the way).  This piece leads off with that, so it is a veritable free fire zone for me.  First up it says that no, fans aren’t fickle but they don’t like having corporate champions shoved down their throats, and it cites Hulk Hogan, John Cena and Roman Reigns as other examples.  It also says that championships are supposed to be awards based on ability and hard work, like achievement awards in other forms of entertainment, and not choices by management……

Oh, you naive child.

I hate to break this to you, but pro wrestling isn’t a shoot.  Championships are props used as plot devices to give the characters something to fight for and advance storylines.  And unless it’s someone getting a championship send off, which almost never happens, then they are not rewards.  You don’t get a championship because you ‘deserve’ it.  People get crowned champion because the booker thinks it’s the best way to flesh out a character or move storylines along to make the company money, or because one person singularly is that much of a draw.  That’s it.  The Honky Tonk Man was Intercontinental Champion for 14 months from 1987 to 1988; at no point was he either one of the best in ring workers in the company (not even top 20) or one of the hardest workers.  He ultimately kept the belt that long because of circumstance (Jake Roberts said in an interview that he would have won it from him if his drug problems hadn’t been an issue) and then because whoever ultimately (see what I did there?) did beat him would get a rocket launcher push out of it.  Hulk Hogan was never the best in ring worker in the WWF but having him as World Champion for 4 years drew the most money.  Ditto for Bruno Sammartino, who held the title for almost 8 years back in the 60s/70s.  Story and/or money, that’s it.  Becky Lynch was RAW Women’s champion for over a year because she was the biggest star and biggest merch seller in the company; it wasn’t because Rebecca Quin ‘deserved’ it.

Every champion is corporate.  Every win and loss, every push, every title change is dictated by the boss.  The ones you like and the ones you don’t like.  All chosen by the evil old man.  They’re all corporate decisions, you didn’t pick anything.  Even when you think you did, that person was chosen by the boss to be put in front of you in the first place and there are many who have been stuck in catering without getting that chance (EC3, remember him?).  You had as much to do with Becky or Daniel Bryan for that matter reaching their respective spots as you did with Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man.  A decision was made to put them in front of you to garner a reaction, you reacted, and then the companies reacted to your reactions.  But they never had to make those initial choices in the first place.  All three were good at what they did but someone else could have been put there at the initial stage of their careers had the bosses wanted.  You did not convince the WWE to sign Bryan Danielson or Rebecca Quin, or to put  Daniel Bryan and Becky Lynch in any meaningful angles early on to start them on the road to their crowning moments.  You didn’t put Daniel Bryan in Team Hell No and you didn’t put Becky in the match against Sasha Banks that was her first big showcase.  And had they never signed either one in the first place I doubt you would be burning up message boards demanding it.  The reality is that they saw something in both that none of us predicted, just like Kevin Feige saw the reward in going with a troubled actor like Downey over a safer choice.

Now back to Charlotte.  Is what she’s saying false?  Well, contrary to what the article says she did not go away because she wasn’t in the title picture.  She had surgery twice and her Dad got sick once, like on his deathbed sick.  She said it herself but it’s also been well documented so to even imply that she took her ball and went home is bush league.  But what about her other point, where she said she spent 18 months looking at the lights to help create a new star?  That’s very easily verifiable thanks to cagematch.net, so let’s see.  (If my rough counts are off by 1 or 2 here or there, forgive me).  In September of 2018 she lost the SmackDown Women’s Title to Lynch.  From that point forward in 2018, she lost 13 of 15 one on one matches to Lynch (a DQ win and draw were the other results) and six times in Triple Threat matches to Lynch and Asuka where she got tapped out for the decision.  Then there’s 2019, where she won 35 matches and lost 100 in total.  Yes, you read that right 35-100.  Among those there were:

  • 9 losses in 13 matches one on one vs Lynch (4-9)
  • 16 losses in 17 one on one matches vs Asuka (1-16)
  • 30 losses in 34 one on one matches vs Bayley (4-30)
  • 13 in losses in 13 triple threat matches with Becky and Asuka (0-13)
  • 3-6 in pay per view matches (after going 4-6 in 2018)
  • She also went 0-4 in triple threat matches vs Becky and Asuka in early 2020

That’s a ton of Ls and yes they were to either help make or remake someone, or to protect either Becky or Asuka from taking the fall in a one on one match.  (At this time I’ll throw in that she lost a few house show matches to Ember Moon in 2019 as well and took the pin in a Triple Threat match vs Rhea Ripley and Sasha Banks on SmackDown.)  Well Becky was already a star, you say?  Yes she was popular and well liked, she was almost always on TV and in some kind of storyline title or no title, but she wasn’t being booked at the top of any cards and the last time she was SmackDown Women’s champion people were happy for her but they weren’t too upset when she lost to Alexa Bliss.  In 2018 the person she was feuding with during her ascent did make a difference.  Same thing with Bayley cashing in the briefcase and getting all those wins over her in 2019.  And before you say house shows don’t count…..I bet you’d count them if she won all of those matches.

But what about the titles and stuff she won along the way?

Let’s talk about those.  She won the SmackDown title from Asuka in March of 2019 on what was a whim from the boss, held it for a few weeks, and then lost it at WrestleMania to Lynch in the main event.  Becky walked out double champ and they sold a bunch of Becky 2 Belts t-shirts, which doesn’t happen if Charlotte walks into the match with no title.  While like you I didn’t think that was fair to Asuka the end result was them making more money off the shirts, which is the whole point of being in business in the first place.  She win that title back from Becky at Money in the Bank and lost it literally two minutes later when Bayley cashed in the briefcase on her, cementing Bayley’s jump start on the roster at a time when things on the surface were looking bleak.  The she won it at Hell in a Cell, and lost it five days later on SmackDown when Bayley revealed her new look and full character change.  Each of those wins had a purpose to ultimately benefit someone else almost immediately after.  Feel free to come up with a different way to reach those three outcomes but the won loss record is what it is.  Unless you expect her to lose every time out in perpetuity, which isn’t going to happen, then she’s going to win sometimes and they’re not going to all be over people lower on the card than her or people who you don’t care about.

What about 2020?

What about it?  Yes, she won the Royal Rumble in 2020.  Well, she was originally going to win it in 2019 but Vince called an audible at the last minute and went with Becky.  If you think she was going to go her whole career and never win one sorry dude, you’re delusional.  Rumble matches are almost entirely won by people who are already in the top tier or someone who is already being sent that way.  They’re not used for upset wins to give an underdog a rub.  So if it wasn’t her then who exactly?  Shayna Baszler?  Vince wasn’t sold on her at the time as being more than a one off Mania challenger for Becky, and neither was a lot of the non-Twitter audience.  Sasha Banks wasn’t in the match and wasn’t on the card at all because she was injured.  Becky, Bayley, and Asuka all had other matches on the card.  Again, use realistic booking logic and not Cinderella fantasy booking that had zero chance of happening.  Beth Phoenix wasn’t winning, ok?

But what about Rhea Ripley?

Again, what about it?  In kayfabe a 24 years old NXT wrestler stepping to a then 10-time singles champion isn’t a guaranteed win in any book, even if it’s the NXT champion.  Out of kayfabe, if one loss at WrestleMania to a 10 time champion who was in the main event at the previous WrestleMania ruins your career, then just how promising were you?  All of the Horsewomen have at times taken losses along the way and are still thought of as winners and champions.  So has Asuka, so has Alexa Bliss.  And as I mentioned before she took a pin from Ripley in 2019.  If that’s burying Ripley then it’s because you’re the one holding the shovel.  If you can’t rebound from one loss at WrestleMania, then you aren’t as good as people think.  Daniel Bryan got squashed in 18 seconds by Sheamus at WrestleMania 28.  HHH got squashed by the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 12.  I think they both did ok afterwards, and if Ripley is that big of a prospect then she should be able to make it back from losing an exponentially more competitive match than either of those at WrestleMania 36.

Final Thoughts

Let’s get down to brass tacks here,  You don’t like that she’s in the spot that she’s in, or that she’s in it so frequently.  And that’s fine!  You don’t have to like everyone who’s in a high position.  And let’s  be honest, if one of your favorites got the same booking treatment you wouldn’t have a problem with it.  I don’t recall any fans of Lynch or Bayley saying ‘ok, they’ve been champ long enough, time to give someone else a turn’ during their recent reigns.  Had Lynch not gotten pregnant she might still be RAW Women’s champion right now, and it would absolutely be the right call!  And if it’s really about taking a spot from someone else, then why were so many of y’all so down on Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Lana, Peyton Royce, and Lacey Evans getting so much TV time in October and November?  Are there people who have gotten wrongfully shortchanged?  Well yeah….cough, Naomi, but she’s gotten equally shortchanged whether she’s on the same show with Charlotte or not.  That’s a whole other matter, which I have spelled out myself here , here, and here.  But at the end of the day, and this piece, let me just that perception is not reality, not one bit.  The facts tell a much different story and opinions are just that, opinions.

Until next time……


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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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Opinion

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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