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Opinion

RIP Dynamite Kid: A Complicated Legacy

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Dynamite Kid

The passing of Dynamite Kid hits many wrestling fans hard. As a fan of all things old school, Steve Cook gives you his thoughts on the impact made by Tom Billington.




Having started watching professional wrestling in 1990, I barely missed seeing Dynamite Kid as an active performer on the biggest stages of the artform. Like many of you, I’ve seen the compilation tapes & DVDs of many of his Japan matches. I’ve watched whatever British Bulldogs matches I could find on WWE DVDs & the WWE Network. What he did as part of a tag team with Davey Boy Smith, and as a singles competitor against the likes of Tiger Mask & Bret Hart, stands the test of time from where I sit. As much as some like to say that wrestlers have never been more athletic & the workrate has never been better, I believe that Dynamite Kid in his prime would stand out even among this pack.

His book is part of my wrestling library. Unfortunately he doesn’t come off like a particularly good person in his own book. There are plenty of online legends that back up the idea that Dynamite Kid was a bit of a jerk. His later years held a lot of physical suffering, and there weren’t too many among his peers that felt sorry for him.

The only wrestler I could think of that spoke highly of the Dynamite Kid before he passed was Mick Foley, and the Hardcore Legend was too busy trying to get over with WWE-contracted women on Twitter to note Dynamite’s passing. I mean, that is Vintage Foley, but it means something. Some random wrestling folks did offer their condolences, but it’s not like they were putting Dynamite over beforehand.

The Dynamite Kid has a complicated legacy. I feel his death makes it more likely that he & his longtime tag team partner will get into the WWE Hall of Fame. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see it at the 2019 ceremony. It’s well-deserved, and there’s little chance we would have seen it before Dynamite’s passing.

There are some complicated aspects to the legacy of the Dynamite Kid. As much as some of us Internet fans may have loved his work & consider him one of the all-time GOATs, those who lived through experiences with him may feel otherwise.



The Ribbing

Two of the most famous jokesters in wrestling history are part of the same family through marriage. Owen Hart is fondly remembered by all of his peers as a ribber of the highest order. He & Davey Boy often teamed up to pull jokes on other wrestlers during their time together, and they were typically of the fun nature. Nobody got mad at them. If they did, it didn’t last long because Owen & Davey were lovable scamps.

Dynamite was also prone to pulling pranks on his fellow wrestlers. Davey would join in, as it was always his nature. But people reacted differently to the Bulldogs’ pranks than those that Davey would pull with Owen in the 90s. The Bulldogs’ jokes were more mean-spirited. They were cruel. Some of them weren’t even jokes. Dynamite was so hard on Jacques Rougeau that some kind of retribution was in order, and it turned out that Jacques had some friends in high places in certain parts of Canada, so Dynamite was kinda screwed once he went too far. Jacques probably shouldn’t have knocked some of Dynamite’s teeth out, but the Kid had pushed him to a breaking point.

There was also an incident with Honky Tonk Man that Dynamite tells in his book that I thought might have been a misunderstanding. Dynamite got mad at HTM due to something he heard from Randy Savage where Honky was waving his check around in a car & saying “I bet the King wishes he had this.” See, Harley Race was the King in the WWF at the time, but I always wondered if Honky was actually talking about his cousin, Jerry “The King” Lawler. Would have made more sense for Honky to be poking fun at Lawler than Race. Especially in front of Randy Savage, who was in the car & decided to relate the tale to Dynamite. Maybe Honky was talking about Harley, but his open disdain for Lawler at the time I read the book for the first time always made me wonder.



His Biggest Fan

One of the things that hurts Dynamite’s legacy is the fact of who his biggest fan happened to be. There was one man in particular that took Dynamite’s career to heart. Dynamite Kid inspired this man to be a professional wrestler. He even looked like the Kid to a degree. His snap suplexes were right on par with Dynamite’s, as were his diving headbutts. He never figured out how to cut that money promo, but neither did Dynamite.

Chris Benoit was Dynamite Kid Version 2.0. There’s no denying that. He idolized Dynamite & worked his ass off to do what his idol did…but even better. Dynamite was stuck in a tag team in the WWF, but Benoit had no such shackles. He could be a singles star, and could rise to the point where the company had no choice but to push him on top for a period of time. Benoit’s success in WWE was proof that the Dynamite Kid was way ahead of his time. If Prime Dynamite was in the 2000s WWE, there’s no doubt in my mind that he would have held the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. It absolutely would have happened.

The ending to Benoit’s career & life leaves an irreparable mark on his legacy. As great as his matches may have been, as much as some of us enjoyed watching his career for many years, there’s always the fact that he murdered his family & killed himself. We can speculate as to why, but the most likely answer is due to the irreparable brain damage he inflicted on himself during his wrestling career. Due to his desire to be like the Dynamite Kid. One wonders how much Benoit’s case weighed on Dynamite in the years afterward.



There were more successful cases

There was one wrestler that came after Benoit that idolized both the Rabid Wolverine & the Dynamite Kid. I saw him come to the forefront in Ring of Honor, and he was one of those guys that inspired diverse reactions. Some people loved his work, and some people thought it was too much. I just hoped he came out of it alive.

I’d heard the rumblings that Davey Richards wanted to be an EMT for years. He ended up in the wrestling business because he grew up on it, but being an EMT was always the endgame for him. He had an interesting career in wrestling where he managed to rub a lot of people the wrong way, but he seems to have ended up where he wanted to.

As you’ve likely noticed, the average professional wrestler is shorter than they were thirty years ago. A lot of this is due to the fact that bigger athletes can make more money at things like football & basketball. Folks like Wahoo McDaniel & Ernie Ladd ended up in wrestling because they could make more money at that than football. That isn’t the case now. Somebody the size of Hulk Hogan is trying to become a football player now instead of a pro wrestler.

The people that are wrestlers now grew up watching comp tapes of people like the Dynamite Kid. They watch him doing things & think “If somebody his size can do that, so can I!” They don’t have the size to be in the NFL or any other sports league, but via wrestling training they can end up doing amazing things.



Dynamite Paved The Way

Without the Dynamite Kid going out there and having those amazing matches with Tiger Mask & forming that incredible tag team with Davey Boy Smith, I doubt that wrestling promoters would have taken notice of men that weren’t 6’5 & 300 pounds. It certainly would have taken a longer time. Somebody like Daniel Bryan might still be working as a referee because somebody his size never could have wrestled.

Was Dynamite Kid an asshole? Probably! But like other famous men that have passed away recently, you have to take the good with the bad. You can recognize that Dynamite Kid was a tremendous asshole and most of his peers hated him. You also have to respect the fact that a generation of junior heavyweights watched his matches & followed in his footsteps.

If you judge a wrestler based on how many people he inspired to join the profession, Dynamite Kid would be among the top guys that ever performed the craft.




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


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Coverage

Greg DeMarco’s 2023 WWE SummerSlam Review

The biggest party of the summer comes to Detroit, when WWE SummerSlam 2023 delivers an action packed event that easily exceeds expectations.

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Cody Lesnar SummerSlam

The biggest party of the summer comes to Detroit, when WWE SummerSlam 2023 delivers an action packed event that easily exceeds expectations.

WWE presents SummerSlam 2023 live from ford field in Detroit in front of over 59k fans–who provided an electric atmosphere. Overall the card featured either matches, many of them delivering at or above expectations.

Read on for my thoughts, and even some ratings!

How I am rating segments:

I am using “The Line of DeMarco-cation,” which is for entertainment. the line is if I was entertained. You can have three main results:

  • ABOVE the Line of DeMarco-cation
  • AT the Line of DeMarco-cation
  • BELOW the Line of DeMarco-cation

If necessary, i reserve the right to go WAY ABOVE or WAY BELOW. Significant segments can be rated. individual and overall ratings are totally subjective.

It’s simple: ENTERTAIN ME!

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

  • Welcome to the biggest match of Ricochet’s career.
  • Samantha Irvin’s outfit matches Logan Paul, not Ricochet — SWERVE, BRO!
  • Ricochet is a star, and I love seeing him treated like one.
  • Rocket Mortgage is donating $5k for every move off the top rope? This match alone might accumulate half a million.
  • I know Logan Paul needs to catch a private jet to Dallas and that’s why this is on first, but this is the perfect opener.
  • If you didn’t know who Logan Paul was, you’d think he was just another member of the roster–and that’s the biggest compliment you can give to him. He’s a damn good heel, too.
  • Paul using Braun Strowman’s powerslam–will we get Logan vs Braun?
  • LOGAN MUST POSE!
  • SPANISH FLY STICK THE LANDING.
  • This might be the best match either have had in a LONG time.
  • Logan Paul just hit a Buckshot Lariat over the top rope and to the floor. Sorry Hangman.
  • I love that refs continue to have names – like former Greg DeMarco Show guest Eddie Orengo (as El Bandido Jr).
  • I’d love to know Ricochet’s powerlifting numbers. Dude is deceptively strong.
  • Logan Paul flew two-thirds of the way across the ring on the Springboard Froggy Splash
  • This match is spotty–yes–but watch and learn Young Bucks. They are strung together by psychology and it all makes sense,
  • LOVE that finish. Logan Paul wins (as expected), but Ricochet is protected.
  • Think about that – RICOCHET IS PROTECTED.
  • Hell of a match.

Winner: Logan Paul (pinfall brass knucks shot)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

  • That video package–amazing. It likely telegraphed Cody’s win, but I don’t think many expect Cody to lose.
  • I love when people question Brock’s presence. Did you hear that pop?
  • Cody got a hell of a pop, too.
  • You can tell how much Brock Lesnar respects Cody Rhodes, as he opens up the arsenal for him.
  • I love that Brock simply stands center ring as the ref counts Cody out. Brock wants to win–doesn’t care how. That’s a little detail that shows how brilliant of a character Brock Lesnar is.
  • This is the fifth time Brock has gone for the count-out–and I love the psychology.
  • Now Brock does care how he wins–he wants to break Cody’s will.
  • Wait, is this Cody Rhodes’ mystery twin brother Cory Rhodes?
  • That top rope Cody Cutter was fantastic.
  • Not sure when Brock’s shorts got ripped, but it adds to this fight.
  • That’s what this is, a fight. And that is Brock Lesnar at his finest.
  • It might have been a happy accident, but Cody’s hand bouncing off the bottom rope before he finally grabs it to break the Kimura is another amazing little thing.
  • Brock is so slow and methodical, but snatches people up for the F5 in a flash. So good.
  • Cody Rhodes wins, after THREE Cross Rhodes. Good shit.
  • Interesting that the show of respect from Brock to Cody is considered Cody’s arrival.
  • Or maybe it’s just the arrival of “The American Nightmare.”
  • I will be very interested–as will all of you–to see what’s next for both men.

Winner: Cody Rhodes (pinfall, three Cross Rhodes)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

NOTE: Very interesting that Roman Reigns was featured in the PayBack promo, as well as Logan Paul. I wouldn’t expect either to be on that card.

Slim Jim SummerSlam Battle Royal

  • I have to admit, it just feels right to have Slim Jim back in my wrestling.
  • This better be good since it cost us Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus.
  • I hope Sheamus got a full entrance for the crowd.
  • Oh look, Omos still works here!
  • Chad Gable is so damn good.
  • Austin Theory is in this match? And didn’t get an entrance?
  • At WrestleMania 30, Big E was in the Andre The Royal Giant Memorial Battle Rumble, didn’t get an entrance, and didn’t even get to carry his Intercontinental Champion. And I don’t even think his elimination was mentioned by commentary (I’d have to go back and check).
  • Santos Escobar eliminating Austin Theory at least makes sense.
  • LA Knight barely breathes and the crowd gets ELECTRIC.
  • I haven’t made as many bullet points because this has actually been a really good battle royal!
  • I’d love to know who the agent was–fantastically done.

Winner: LA Knight (last eliminates Sheamus)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

MMA Rules Match – Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler

  • Some of the shots during the entrance make me want WWE to get rid of stages altogether, and stick with this type of entrance.
  • Also, it’s a reminder that I hate major wrestling events in daylight.
  • This being an MMA Rules Match seems to be a missed opportunity at having a special guest referee.
  • The fans DO NOT CARE About this match, and I see why.
  • I am all for Ronda being able to go out how she wants to go out, and the talent pushing their own idea forward. But sometimes, you gotta say no.
  • Some matches also play much better in an arena instead of a stadium (Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair from WrestleMania comes to mind). This is one of those matches.
  • Whenever NXT had an “unsanctioned match,” the ref wore all black. That’s what we should have done here.
  • Now we have doctors checking on Shayna? Really? I know we want to put over how tough she is, but…..
  • The crowd pops out of relief when it’s over.
  • Do this on Raw, not here. Give Becky and Trish this spot.

Winner: Shayna Baszler (technical submission, Kirifuda Clutch)

BELOW The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

Intercontinental Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. GUNTHER (c) 

  • My Peacock membership doesn’t let me see the video package here, and I am fine with that–it’s been a while since I’ve seen that AFLAC Duck, though.
  • Ludwig Kaiser must love doing the entrance, but honestly the act might be getting stale?
  • Corey Graves very poetic in pointing out that “records are meant to be broken.” That’s one of the core values of WWE at this point.
  • It does appear GUNTHER will be going it alone tonight as Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci are headed to the back. Let’s see if they stay there.
  • Interesting placement for this match, right after the ill-received MMA Rules Match.
  • Didn’t the internet tell us Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor was going on fourth?
  • Btw, this match is brought to you by Rocket Mortgage. Money talks, BAYBAY!
  • GUNTHER truly lives the “Ring General” gimmick.
  • As the match progresses, I honestly can’t see Drew winning here.
  • The simplicity of the finishing sequence really adds to GUNTHER: top rope slap fest, McIntyre crotched on the ropes, splash, lariat, powerbomb. Nothing fancy–trademark GUNTHER.

Winner, #ANDSTILL the Intercontinental Champion: GUNTHER (pinfall, powerbomb)

ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

World Heavyweight Championship: Finn Balor vs. Seth “Freakin'” Rollins (c) 

  • I presume we will get a bunch of Judgment Day shenanigans here, but I really needed Seth to go on last to further establish his championship. Instead, we are smack in the middle of the event (according to the Peacock slider, anyways)
  • Seth Rollins’ entrance + 58k people = a beautiful sight
  • The worst thing about this, to me, will be when Balor and Rollins are partners after Balor turns babyface.
  • Love Rollins tossing the vest at Balor.
  • Love the more unique start to the match.
  • Interesting that Rollins, with a win, moves to 5th all time for SummerSlam wins? I had no clue! Mr. SummerSlam anyone?
  • We keep naming refs, and I love it,
  • If you want an “inside look” at a match, start paying really close attention for a few minutes starting with the triplicate of dives from Seth Rollins. You’ll see a few things that the cameras picked up.
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE the Buckle Bomb into the barrier from Balor to Rollins. Should have known they’d do that, but it never crossed my mind. Brilliant.
  • Decent amount of overlap in the offense of this match and the one prior–in hindsight, they may have wanted to put GUNTHER/McIntyre on before Rousey/Baszler.
  • Fans boo’d the crap out of Damian Priest when he came down–but popped like hell for Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley.
  • I really enjoyed the story told with the Judgment Day. When Priest called for the briefcase to be used, it would have worked. When Balor called for it, it wasn’t going to work, and Damian Priest knew it. But he let Finn Balor sink himself anyway. That will definitely play again later when they fully implode.

Winner AND STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Freakin’ Rollins (pinfall, Stomp on the Money In The Bank Briefcase)

WAY ABOVE The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (c) Bianca Belair

  • Very odd having Asuka enter second.
  • Charlotte Flair with the ode to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 35 (IYKYK)
  • Did I miss the C4 ad read? I saw that Bianca Belair entered with some, which made me thing THAT was why she came in last, and now the C4 branding is around the ring, but no real mention? Or did I miss it? Was it only for Peacock Premium subscribers?
  • Very choppy match so far–and Charlotte has to basically stop the match to have Jessika Carr fix her outfit, leaving Belair and Asuka in the corner waiting until Asuka realized what was happening and tried to cover. The Double Natural Selection that followed was quite clunky.
  • Bianca nowhere near Charlotte Flair when the moonsault hit–is Bianca really that good? I seem to ask myself this during every big time Bianca match, dating back to WrestleMania 37 when I felt like Sasha Banks had to carry her.
  • I find myself wanting to fast forward to the finish, here. I’m not, but I kinda want to.
  • ANOTHER REF NAMED! Thank you, Michael Cole.
  • If IYO SKY cashes in here (which is easy to expect), I really hope it’s not right after Charlotte wins, getting her to #15. Granted, she could cash in DURING the match and make it a 4-way. But of everyone, I think Charlotte needs to eat the pin tonight.
  • We have now had medical personnel tending to one of the participants in the middle of each women’s match tonight–first Shayna Baszler, now Bianca Belair. Seems like a misstep on someone’s part.
  • Bianca with the heroic comeback, and a beautiful 450 Splash on Charlotte during the Figure Eight.
  • Charlotte gets misted but Bianca gets the pin???
  • Makes sense if we do the cash in here. as Bianca is hurt.

Winner, AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair (pinfall, small package)

  • Aaaaaaaand here comes IYO SKY.
  • I love Corey Graves telling Bianca to get the hell out of dodge.
  • IYO and Bayley take out everyone, and she is indeed cashing in.
  • Over The Moonsault, new champion, and the crowd goes nuts. Women’s Money In The Bank briefcase is still undefeated.
  • Nice World Of Stardom reference by Michael Cole, too.

Winner, AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: IYO SKY (CMITB cash-in, pinfall, Over The Moonsault)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

There were some rough spots, but the cash in saved it for me.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match: Jey Uso vs. Roman Reigns (c) with Paul Heyman

  • I am timing this from the second Jey Uso’s theme hits through the end.
  • Man, Mike Rome is on one, and I am not sure if that’s a good thing. He doesn’t sound as fantastic as he usually does.
  • 12:34 from Jey’s music hitting to the bell ringing.
  • Roman is so slow and methodical, I don’t know if he realized Jey was going to dive so soon. Jey connected with Roman’s back, but that could have been really really bad.
  • I know this is Tribal Combat, but given the use of stairs earlier tonight, we might as well consider the stairs legal.
  • You know it’s an important match when Roman Reigns hits The Drive By, as he did on Jey Uso.
  • Table, Kendo Stick, and more early.
  • Jey clotheslining Roman over the top rope (with the Kendo Stick) and hitting the dive makes me think Jey got slightly lost earlier when he did the dive to a kneeling Roman’s back.
  • That was a MASSIVE powerbomb onto the chairs!
  • 35 minutes in (remember, since the start of Jey’s entrance, so 23 minutes into the match) and this is definitely just a touch slow. The story is amazing, so that’s my only complaint so far.
  • I have to wonder if Roman knew he was bleeding when he hopped the barricade to go into the crowd.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaand here’s Solo Sikoa. That should surprise no one. We gotta get the whole family involved, right? At least the whole Bloodline.
  • Solo declining to help Roman up might be starting Solo’s arc in the story, but it wasn’t apparent enough and commentary had to fill in the blanks.
  • 50:22 since Jey’s entrance is the point where Jimmy shows up (pulling Jey out of the ring).
  • Jimmy hits the Superkick and leaves.
  • Spear through the table that was set-up about a week ago and Roman Reigns pins Jey Uso at 52:09 (from th estart of Jey’s entrance).

Winner AND STILL Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns (pinfall, spear through the table)

AT The Line Of DeMarco-cation.

“At” might surprise you, but this was WAY too slow. Bell-to-bell it was roughly 40 minutes, and that was about 10 minutes too long. But the story is worth it in the end.

WWE SummerSlam 2023

Total Matches: 8

  • ABOVE the Line of DeMarco-cation – 4 matches (3 WAY ABOVE)
  • AT the Line of DeMarco-cation – 3 matches
  • BELOW the Line of DeMarco-cation – 1 match

One “bad” match and seven “good ones, four of those I’d call “great.” Three of the great ones I labeled as “WAY ABOVE” the line, which easily makes up for one match that was lacking. Hell, when even the Battle Royal is good, you know you watched a damn good show.

Overall Rating for WWE SummerSlam 2023: 9/10

Let me know your thoughts! Drop a comment and tell me your ratings, and what you think of the Line Of DeMarco-cation.


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Opinion

King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka from WrestleMania 34

Chris king is back with one of the most underrated matches in WrestleMania history–Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka!

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WWE WrestleMania 34 Charlotte Flair Asuka

Chris king is back with one of the most underrated matches in WrestleMania history–Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka!

We look back at Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka at WWE WrestleMania 34. ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ put her unprecedented and historic undefeated streak of 914 days on the line against ‘The Queen’s’ SmackDown Women’s Championship.

For years, this was considered a dream match while Asuka dominated the roster in NXT, while Flair won numerous championships on the main roster on both Raw and SmackDown. The Empress made her long-awaited debut on the September 11th episode of Raw and began to tear through the competition.

Asuka outlasted all twenty-nine other women in the historic first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match to challenge for the title of her choosing. At Fastlane, she made her choice.

The WWE Universe was so excited for this match myself included. Both superstars delivered a fantastic performance on the Grandest Stage of Them All executing counter after counter. Asuka showed off some nasty-looking kicks to her opponent, and Flair hit a thunderous Spanish Fly off the top rope. Flair was seconds away from defeat at the hands of The Empress but she locked in Figure Eight and Asuka was forced to tap out.

I can’t even begin to explain how shocked I was at this outcome, as nearly everyone expected The Empress to continue her undefeated streak and walk away with the women’s title. This controversial decision was the downfall of Asuka’s momentum. She would ultimately win the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the 2018 TLC pay-per-view in the triple-threat ladder match.

Fast forward to this year when Asuka has recently returned with her Japanese-inspired persona Kana. Kana is dangerous and ruthless and is heading into a championship with Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 39. The Empress has regained all her momentum and is highly favored to walk away with the Raw Women’s Championship. Let’s hope that Asuka and Belair can tear the house down and deliver an A+ grade match both women are fully capable of.


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