Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
The Superstar Shake Up of 2018 has come and gone and we’re all left wondering: Which roster, out of all the WWE shows, was really dealt the winning hand?
Monday Night Raw started off with Kurt Angle being interrupted by The Single Singh brother and introduced the US Champion, Jinder Mahal. Jinder is not on everyone’s favourite wrestler list, but him going from jobber to main roster talent is an important shakeup. I think because he has had that main roster success this leaves a lot of opportunity for him to grow into a mid- to sometimes main-card status. Jeff Hardy, came out in a surprising matchup as Jinder made some demands of Kurt and offered a title match to anyone who would accept his challenge. The unexpected twist really got me invested in the match and watching Hardy counter the Coloss, hit the twist of fate, and land a swanton bomb made the match incredibly intense. After being crowned the new US Champ it was clearly expected that Jeff would be traded to Smackdown the following night.
The Miz had Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Miz TV where it was announced that Kevin Owens and Zayn have been signed to Raw. This was announced after an email was read by Zayn to Kurt Angle, that read that Stephanie McMahon had decided to move Owens and Zayn and undermines GM Kurt. Not willing to back down, Kurt countered by sending The Miz to Smackdown, one of the biggest storyline draws for WWE out of all of the superstar trades and call ups. The feud between Daniel Bryan and The Miz had some heated promos between one another. The Miz took Bryan’s signature YES kicks and turned them into IT kicks, something that taunts Bryan inside and outside of the ring. Things between the two of them will definitely flare up now that Bryan is cleared to wrest and The Miz is on Smackdown.
Backstage we learn that Breezango are now on Raw and issue citations to The Bar. I think with the addition of Breezango, AoP and the Woken Lovers, the Raw tag team division is starting to shape up a lot better. With the addition of AoP and the alliance between Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt the tag team division seems to be more fleshed out. More competition involved and more storylines to be draw upon.
Natalya has moved from Smackdown to Raw after having match after match with her long time rival, Charlotte. The feud has gone on for as long as it can and her addition to Raw breathes some new life into the women’s division.. I’m excited to see where this goes because she’s a great heel and gets a lot of heat from the audience when she does her promos. So it should be good to see what the women’s division on Raw pulls out with her on their roster. Natalya’s was also paired off against Absolution’s Mandy Rose. She got the win and was ambushed by Sonya Deville. In an unexpected twist, Ronda Rousey saved Natalya which I suspect will lead to an eventual Feud between Natalya and her one-time saviour, Ronda.
Not every part of the Raw side of the shakeup made sense to me though. Dolph Ziggler was introduced as the newest Raw member during a Titus World Wide Skit (hey! Apollo got his last name back!). In a move that drew “HOLY SHIT!” chants from the crow, Dolph turned down the offer to join the Raw roster and was joined by Drew McIntyre. Together they beat down Titus and Apollo Crews. The alliance between Dolph and Drew doesn’t make a lot of sense because Dolph is, ultimately, an overpaid jobber. He was a former MITB winner and former World Champion with a great feud against The Miz, but after that he disappeared. He has no storyline that can save him and comes across like he’s just here for the paycheck. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Drew McIntyre. He has countless accomplishments on the indie scene as well as in TNA and has had a redemption tour of sorts by coming back to the WWE as a recreated and legitimate main card, main event wrestler. Winning the NXT championship and having his feud that ultimately led to his injury and loss of the championship and move to main roster status is great, but why with Dolph? If creative thinks that this might help Ziggler I doubt it or if Dolph could help Drew I strongly doubt that.
Bobby Roode, the last member of the WWE Superstar Shakeup that was announced, joined Raw this time around in another confusing choice. While Roode is clearly talented, he has been poorly booked as of late since joining the main roster. Maybe this shift to Raw’s roster will help get him out there and in the ring more.
Shelton Benjamin had a heel moment against his former partner Chad Gable, who is now on Raw and says he [Benjamin] wants competition. Out comes Randy Orton, but as he is making his way to the ring, Jeff Hardy the newly crowned US Champ comes out and faces Benjamin. So it makes one wonder if we are going to get an Orton vs Hardy feud for the US Championship from this point. Jeff hits the twist of fate and a swanton bomb to win the match. I think it was a good move to have Jeff on Smackdown the WWE has always pushed Jeff in terms of single matches to be that it guy in the ring as his brother Matt and his “Woken” gimmick, is more of a story teller with his promos and Jeff tells a story with his in ring ability.
We had the next member of the shake up, Samoa Joe, in a match against Sin Cara. Joe beat Sin Cara fairly quickly and then cut a promo calling out AJ Styles and Randy Orton. Later he boasts he’s going to beat Seth Rollins for the IC title in Saudi Arabia and then he’s going to take down Reigns for the Universal Championship. This has been one of the few impactful moves that was done and it’s a great addition for Smackdown but a loss for Raw. There are a lot of match ups that fit nicely with Joe as he can create heat with anyone. There’s a dream matchup in the lengthy history between Joe and Styles from their days in TNA. I hope creative reignites this for the WWE Championship as it would help showcase the long careers these two have.
It was also announced that Sanity minus Nikki Cross. While this made me quite hesitant about the call up, I am curious to see what NXT do with Cross without Sanity by her side. I think Smackdown could have benefited from Cross being called up because the Smackdown Women’s division is a little sparse, but we can draw back to Carmella being left in NXT when Big Cass and Enzo Amore were called up to the main roster and what that did for her.
Carmella had her, “Mellabration” after beating Charlotte last week and cashing in her MITB contract to win the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship. Carmella really put herself over by silencing the “YOU DESERVE IT” chants by stating that now she is THE woman to beat now. Charlotte comes out and talks up a storm before The Iconics, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce attack Charlotte. Becky Lynch comes out to save her BFF Charlotte. This then leads to a match between Billie Kay vs Charlotte. Charlotte wins with the figure 8, but is attacked by Kay, Royce and Carmella before we are introduced to the newest member of Smackdown, Asuka.
It’s a good move for Asuka because she’s beaten and done almost everything and everyone on Raw, except winning the Raw women’s title. On Smackdown Asuka has a new roster of woman to beat and there is still in ring tension between her and Charlotte that has spilled over from their WrestleMania 34 match.
It’s also announced that The Club is being reunited as Anderson and Gallows are joining Smackdown. I don’t know about this move because Anderson and Gallows have been booked poorly since making their debut, even though they aren’t really the powerhouses they were in NJPW. I thought they were making strides by joining Finn Balor at one point and maybe turning Finn heel as well, but maybe a reunion between Anderson, Gallows, and AJ Styles. It’s also revealed that The Bar are going to Smackdown.R-Truth is also joining Smackdown Live as well as the former NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas with Zelina Vega will be joining. Almas has always been a draw in regards to matches. I have rarely seen him have a poor match, but Zelina has added more to his overall character and really given him the push he needs to be considered main roster talent in the way she presents Almas.
Now, who in my opinion won the shakeup? I think Smackdown had the better luck in terms of trades and call ups. Raw is slightly weakened by the shakeup without Samoa Joe or The Bar. Joe has chemistry with anyone he is paired up with and while I think the addition of Drew Mcintyre as a newly turned heel will help with that void. it is hard to replace such an well rounded wrestler as Joe. Same can be said for The Bar. Both wrestlers as individuals have great backgrounds and great chemistry with whoever was opposite of them in the ring and they have really come together as a tag team. You cannot take away the experience these two have and while I think AoP can help in that situation, they are new to the main roster and are new in comparison to Sheamus and Cesaro in terms of wrestling. While Raw did have the better showing of new Wrestlers I think Smackdown will have the advantage overall with the utilization of the new talent.
MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.
The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.
Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.
Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!
In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.
“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.
Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!
Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”
For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!
Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?
When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.
This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.
For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?
Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.
She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.
Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.
Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.
Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?
Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?
Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.
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