Posts in Wrestling
First Black Champ - Triple H wants to Takeover the world

Lars Sullivan's anxiety attack delays his main roster debut. Is he wasting John Cena's time and business? We talk on that as well as Becky Lynch's Wrestlemania plans. Plus, an NXT and AEW conversation leads Cam into his three WWE Superstars that messed it up for main roster hopefuls who are only great wrestlers. Bang believes AEW is years away from being 1984 WWF and we encourage you to lie to execute your dreams on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!


Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Ruthless Aggression - AEW news, 2019 predictions

The road to the Rumble continues as Pierce, Chris and Rob continue their Ruthless Aggression rewatch with the first year of 2019. Plus, news coming out of All Elite Wrestling's introduction rally, and our predictions for the upcoming year.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 502
Smackdown 178

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops New Years Day 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

This Week in WWE: The Baddest vs. The Boss, The Empress vs. The Man are set

Rob and Chris recap the first full week of shows of the year 2019, as the road to the Royal Rumble hits a high gear.

Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: We’re back for the first live Monday Night Raw of 2019!

Chris Novak: And Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley are beating the pants off each other backstage! The fight’s spilling into gorilla. We’ve got people trying to separate them and it’s out into the arena now. That ended promptly and then John Cena came on out to the ring.

Robert O’Neill: His hair is dumb, but also it’s nice to see him! And he’s going to be in the Royal Rumble this year. That’s exciting.

Chris Novak: But HERE… COMES… DREW MAC! McIntyre is out here now and talks down on Cena and he says he agrees with Vince McMahon’s designation that Cena’s the GOAT. His point is that he has a reputation for taking out the greats, and invites John to do research. He calls himself the most dangerous man in WWE, and he’s come for John Cena now. Mac makes his approach, Cena talks up the start of the show, and then he says this happened and now he’s sad. Cena says it’s sad because Cena’s heard the same thing over and over and had to leave so maybe people would think of different things to say. He asks him what makes him different than anybody else?

Robert O’Neill: Oh my God, Lio Rush is here. Cena’s gonna run him down!

Chris Novak: But before Cena can even do that, Seth comes out and attacks Lashley AGAIN!! And then here comes Ambrose, but Cena’s here to be the cavalry! Mac attacks Cena! WHAT CHAOS!! AND NOW HERE COMES FINN BALOR!!! Finn goes after McIntyre, and then EVERYBODY else! I smell a six-man tag. And what do you know? That’s exactly what we get.

Robert O’Neill: This is a hell of a way to kick off the show. Not surprising given what else is on right now, but this match should be fun.

And it was! It lasted almost a half hour and Rollins got the pin over Ambrose but all six guys looked really good. That’s a hell of a good way to start the show. We see Triple H backstage talking to Sasha Banks and Bayley instead of paying attention to Rollins, which upsets him. He makes his way backstage and Triple H says he can face Ambrose later in a falls count anywhere match for the Intercontinental Title. 2019 is looking like yet another year of Seth Rollins, Iron Man.

Chris Novak: The Hogan segment happened. Here’s the Mean Gene tribute video to the right. That’s all that’s noteworthy here.

Robert O’Neill: Welp. It’s time. Bob Roode and Chad Gable against The Revival for the tag titles.

Chris Novak: That was… a match. The lumberjacks barely made much of an impact. And then it ended in a small package where Dawson had his foot under the rope. Very clearly. But the ref didn’t see it and the count was made. So Gable and Roode are still the tag champs. Match was… just okay.

Robert O’Neill: That referee should be suspended indefinitely without pay. That was a travesty!

Chris Novak: I’m glad that refs keep being incompetent, no matter the spot.

Here comes Elias now, who says he’s going to be in the Rumble. Baron Corbin interrupts this segment and talks down on the crowd, and wonders if everyone would like to disappear. Guess how the crowd responded? He says he’s not going to do that, will enter the Rumble and claims he’ll win and main event WrestleMania. And now, the previously announced match between these two is going down.

Baron Corbin won after a match that went pretty long. It was exactly what you expected it to be.

Robert O’Neill: BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNN is here! He wants Brock Lesnar, who is also here. But Brock is backstage with Paul Heyman, who is on the titantron letting Strowman know that they’re not coming out there. But, surprise, Lesnar wants to go out there so they do go out. But they just circle the ring and then leave.

Chris Novak: That segment absolutely tanked.

We’ve got Jinder Mahal vs. Apollo Crews next up. Well… maybe some kind of a modification of that, because Ember Moon’s here. So I’d guess we get mixed tag action with Ember and Apollo against Jinder and Alicia.

Robert O’Neill: That’s fun! Keep the mixed match action going. I enjoy them.

Ember Eclipsed Alicia for the win, and it’s time for A Moment of Bliss. This is gonna be good.

It was going very well and Alexa showed a nice montage of Ronda’s first year, then they had a nice discussion and Ronda said she would like to face Sasha Banks, but here comes Nia Jax to ruin everything.

Chris Novak: Naturally. The two have an interaction, and Sasha then comes out. She says she’s honored by the words that Ronda said and said she’s going to teach her how to lose with dignity and class. Nia takes offense, Sasha calls her a bitch, and now we have a match between Nia Jax and Sasha Banks. The winner faces Ronda Rousey for the Women’s Championship at the Rumble.

Sasha and Nia have a crazy match with a lot of crazy spots. So, you know, a typical Sasha Banks match where she knows she has to go hard. Banks won via the Bank Statement. And now, Banks will face Ronda Rousey for the title at the Rumble. BIG MATCH! HUGE!

Time for Falls Count Anywhere.

Robert O’Neill: To their credit, they actually went all over the arena! Too often you get falls count anywhere matches that just go around the outside of the ring and the stage. This one went backstage and into the crowd and all around! Eventually Lashley came out and beat up Rollins as some revenge for earlier, and Ambrose got the win. Then Lashley and Lio Rush set up a table in the ring and spinebustered Rollins through to end the night.

Final Thoughts

Chris Novak: The show had its peaks and its valleys. For the past few weeks it’s been improving and this showed signs of growth for me. Hot start, hit a lull, picked back up. Rob will be the high man here. I’ll give this a solid C+.

Robert O’Neill: Was that a good Raw? Relatively speaking, yes. It kept my interest over what turned out to be a bad National Championship, so that was promising. Some of the stuff was a miss, like the Hogan part, Braun/Brock, and most of the Sasha/Nia and tag titles matches, but I think the six-man opener and falls count anywhere main event did enough to save the show for me. Plus, I haven’t watched the last two weeks since they were taped and it was the holidays, so a little break did some good for me as a viewer. B-

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live starts with Daniel Bryan up on the concourse. He derides fans for eating concessions at arenas and stadiums because of how bad it makes you feel. Honestly, unironically I do agree with him. Stadium food can be trash. Anyways, he continues on the way here, he derides more fans and gets to ringside. R-Truth then jumps him and we’re off and running with a match between Bryan and Truth!

Bryan won a quick match, which was as expected. Afterwards, Styles came through and beat Bryan up. The “real” AJ Styles is being put over here. He grabbed a steel chair but Bryan took off running after.

Robert O’Neill: Shoutout to Truth for still being very good in the ring in 2019 at 47 years old though. Truly a great career.

Anyway, we’re going right onto Mustafa Ali and Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe and Andrade “Cien” Almas. Whew.

Chris Novak: Good God this is all I could want out of a match right now. And holy hell, this match was incredible. Almas won after pinning Rey clean as a sheet in the ring. This is a must-watch match for anybody who may have missed SmackDown and will definitely be one of the best matches of the entire month and maybe the year, too.

Rusev came out to address what happened last week between he, Lana and Shinsuke Nakamura. Rusev was somber in talking about his wife getting knocked out. Rusev said he was addressing Shinsuke as a husband and wanted Nak to come out to the ring. Turns out Nak was in the production truck. Rusev then said he was going to bring the fight to him but it was a trap, as Nak attacked him with a chest and then took him off his feet with a knee to the face.

The Bar vs. The Usos for a shot at the Tag Team Titles is next.

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, it was very good. They’re two of the six best tag teams in WWE history, so it really isn’t a shock that it was good.. The Bar got the win because Mandy Rose came out and distracted Jim Uso and Cesaro got the win. Then Miz came out and said since The Usos don’t get the tag title shot, he and Shane McMahon should get it.

Chris Novak: That was incredible television.

Robert O’Neill: We go backstage where Naomi is beating the shit out of Mandy Rose AND Sonya Deville, then they turn the tables and Jim Uso breaks it up.

Chris Novak: That was incredible television also. This is an incredible television show. Charlotte vs. Carmella vs. Becky is next.

Unsurprisingly, this match ruled. Some great drama at the end with a lot of great near falls. Becky emerged victorious after tapping Carmella out. We’ve got ourselves a hell of a match set now for the Rumble at the BoB. Becky vs. Asuka for the Women’s Title.

Robert O’Neill: The result was a little surprising, I have to say. I thought Becky would win the Royal Rumble and go to Raw and challenge Ronda Rousey. As it stands though, it was an excellent match.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: Just an absurd show from top to bottom. I personally went ***¾+ on three different matches, including **** on the Mustafa&Rey/Almas&Joe tag match. And Bryan-Truth got a low rating ONLY because of the time, and I could argue it was still very good. This was an excellent show that advanced angles and had great in-ring action. What more could you want? A

Robert O’Neill: What a show. In typical Smackdown fashion, it was loaded and everything had a purpose. That’s really all you could ask for. There was nothing I disliked and I can’t wait to watch again next week. A

First Black Champ - "Let Me Tell You Something, Mean Gene"

Today we pay homage to the legend, the late great Mean Gene Okerlund, and what he truly means to Hulkamania. Then we talk about the "first" women's tag titles in WWE and the fresh start to false hope. Oh, it's Fuck Tye Dillinger and that's straight from the faces of the #FirstBlackChamp podcast.

Follow Cam Quotes: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang: @jrbang

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

The 2019 WWE Top 25: "Preseason" Edition

Hello out there. Welcome to what’s hoping to be a staple of The Barber’s Chair Network’s wrestling coverage for the entirety of 2019. I give to you a new premise, aptly titled the WWE Top 25.

Out of the gate, you might have some questions. The good news is, I have answers for you. So, let me get this started here.

What is the WWE Top 25?

Great question! The WWE Top 25 is going to be a list, published right here to The Barber’s Chair Network, of the top performers in WWE, month-by-month. At the conclusion of each month, I will publish the list. This will continue on and progress all the way through. You might see superstars rise, you might see superstars fall. You might see them completely fall out of the rankings. Think of it like the college football and basketball polls. Only it will just be one person “voting.”

How are the rankings determined?

These rankings are going to be determined on match quality. That’s it, that’s all. I will be watching matches on WWE’s weekly TV programs and WWE Network events, grading the matches (0 stars-5 stars) and calculating their scores thereafter. Superstars eligible for these rankings will have to have competed on Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT, 205 Live AND NXT UK. If any NXT brands are created within the next 12 months, those superstars will become eligible to be used as well.

What is the grading system and how is it calculated?

This grading system will be calculated very simplistically and easily. I will be weighting certain thresholds differently than others. Here is how it’s going to go:

  • If a superstar’s match is graded 0-*3/4, they will be given 0.25 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded **-**3/4, they will be given 0.5 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ***-****1/4, then they will be given between 3-4.25 points, depending on the star rating they receive. This allows for those who have good-great matches to receive their due while not completely overweighting their performances.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****1/2, then they will be given 9 points. The 4.5-star rating will be multiplied by 2.0 to weight for quality.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****3/4, then they will be given 11.875 points. The 4.75-star rating will be multiplied by 2.5 to weight for quality.

  • Finally, if a superstar’s match is graded the FULL FIVE *****, then they will be given 15 points. The 5-star rating will be multiplied by 3.0 to weight for quality.

Also, it probably goes without saying, but those who are part-timers will likely fall short of being high to very high on these rankings lists, month-to-month and by the end of the year. The more matches you wrestle, the higher your score will be. But, you also will have to show out as well in order to get up way high.

So, I hope that explains everything. I used this formula for individual performances at TakeOver and it came away with pretty good results. It’s all obviously in the eye of the beholder. I don’t consider myself an ace star rater or anything of that but I figure this could be a fun project.

Are you really going to be watching EVERYTHING?

I sure as hell hope so!


So, anyways, it’s time for me to produce my “Preseason” Top 25. This is the only edition of the rankings that will be completely rooted in superficial BS. These rankings are based on how I think 2019 will look by the the time December 31, 2019 comes around. So, anyways, with that said, let’s roll with the WWE Top 25, Preseason Edition.

25. Bayley

Okay, if you follow me… did you really expect anything else here? But on a serious note, I think Bayley does have a standout 2019. The fact that Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the way greatly help her and her tag team partner (whom you’ll see shortly) in a big way. The one thing I will say, and this pertains to the entire Raw women’s division, is that opportunities are going to be interesting to sort out… for several reasons. Most of which will be explained later. But do I think The Hugger will be back to form? You bet.

24. Velveteen Dream

Velveteen Dream is probably going to have another great year. 2018 was a breakout year for the youngster and he just had his best singles match ever against Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: WarGames 2018. Velveteen has no doubt shined in the big spots and how many TV matches he gets will go a long way towards determining where Dream is going to be. That type of stuff can be variable if you’re not the champ and not on Undisputed Era, so I have him 23rd to start. But I can see a Top 15 finish for sure.

23. Shayna Baszler

Shayna is one of NXT’s best big match performers. As the brand’s Women’s Champion, she’s no doubt going to get plenty of big matches to perform in naturally. She’s shown a great ability to work with just about anybody, and her series with Kairi Sane was legit great. I don’t think working with the new crop that NXT has is going to hurt her at all, whatsoever. And a probable call up for the rumored 4HW vs. 4HW feud wouldn’t either.

22. Sasha Banks

‘The Boss’ finds herself 22nd on my ‘preseason’ Top 25. Banks had a great start to 2018 and I’d definitely argue that if her rivalry with Bayley actually came to fruition she’d have been even higher on anybody’s Wrestler of the Year lists. Banks can have great matches with anybody and that much is absolutely certain. If big opportunities come her way, you just know she’s going to take the spotlight and make it her own. Like Bayley, Banks should see a resurgence in 2019. So long as a couple of factors go her way.

21. Pete Dunne

The UK Champion finds himself 21st on my rankings list. Dunne is likely going to be in NXT UK for good now since he wrapped up all his indie dates just a short while ago. So his opportunities will be increased big time. But the question is… how many are there going to be? They’re running a TakeOver soon and I figure there’ll be more on the way, but just how many? Will he have opportunities over in the States on the regular NXT brand? Dunne is a great talent no doubt and could go way high on this list. But we’ll see how everything plays itself out.

20. Drew McIntyre

Drew Mac has a legitimate shot at being one of the biggest faces on the Raw brand. I thought he had a good not great year this past year that was obviously hurt by the fact that he was… well, hurt at the start of it. He’s not yet had that standout match but had some good matches with Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle and a few others. If he gets that shot as being the top heel then we’ll probably see a huge year. That is yet to be seen, though.

19. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey has no doubt shined this year. She’s arguably one of the top performers in the company and the entire industry. She’s yet to have a bad match. So why in the world is she 19th? A couple of reasons here. For one, Ronda doesn’t ALWAYS wrestle on TV. She’s had maybe one or two singles matches so far on Raw, and has otherwise competed in tag matches. So the lack of opportunities will probably hurt her in the end. And secondly… the great unknown. Everyone KNOWS that she’s going to be here through WrestleMania. But what about after that? Is she going to stick it out for the whole year? She’s made comments that might have you believe she might not be TOO long for this. So just how long is she going to be around here? No one REALLY knows. So despite the fact that she’s a great worker, I’m putting her 19th and letting things happen from there.

18. Ricochet

NXT’s North American Champion had an AWESOME first eight months in the brand. He showed out in the NA Title Match and performed at a super high level against Velveteen Dream and Adam Cole. He also didn’t miss against Pete Dunne on TV and in the 3-way against Dunne and Cole either. As with Dream, the TV match # is important to watch here, but he’s a huge star and attraction for the brand so he could wind up finishing way higher than 18th.

17. Mustafa Ali

Opportunities aren’t going to be hard to come by for one of 205 Live’s greatest success stories anymore. Mustafa Ali is off the 205 Live island and is officially on SmackDown Live, and he’s already being thrust in with some of the brand’s biggest performers. Ali is a prime candidate to have a US Championship run and could have some banger TV matches as a result. Expect another big year for Ali.

16. Matt Riddle

This is easily my most ambitious pick. But I think I’ll be repaid for it in the end. Matt Riddle is a wrestling prodigy and going to NXT was huge for him and the brand. He’s wrestled all over the world and had absolute bangers just about everywhere. So do I foresee that happening in NXT? Absolutely. Riddle being on numerous TakeOver cards should be the expectation and he’ll likely have PLENTY of TV matches going forward. With the kind of performer he is, I wouldn’t even be shocked if he somehow got into the Top 10 by year’s end, bro.

15. Finn Balor

Finn Balor might be one of WWE’s most consistent performers. He was pretty easily in the Top 10-15 performers for WWE this year and was one of their best TV match workers. Balor could have big things on his way if he gets more opportunities and due to his current positioning on Monday Night Raw, that’s a strong possibility. While some fans crave a lot more for Finn, I think they may very well get their wish. I think he’s going to have another great year.

14. The Miz

Like the aforementioned Finn Balor, Miz always shows out in TV matches which is going to help his cause and then some. He’s also showcased himself greatly on PPVs and is easily one of the most consistent workers in the company. Which is a crazy thought, ain’t it? Miz should definitely find himself very high on this list by year’s end and will likely get off to a great start in the first month of the year.

13. Kyle O’Reilly

Like his fellow Undisputed Era mates, Kyle O’Reilly is one of the best in the world. O’Reilly produced NOTHING but hits last year tagging alongside Roderick Strong as the best tag team on the entire planet. O’Reilly doesn’t always get singles match opportunities which may ‘hurt’ his chances of climbing up but you definitely could’ve made a strong case for him to be Top 10 in WWE last year. KOR should continue that momentum in 2019 and, of course, keep shredding, Kyle. Keep shredding.

12. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Andrade had a huge start to 2018, partaking in two of the matches of the year against Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black. And… then he got called up to WWE and… well… the opportunities thinned themselves out. It’s unfortunate, because it’s obvious that Almas is one of the greatest wrestlers on planet Earth. But such is life. I think that changes course however in 2019 and we get a huge year out of Almas, who has a shot to be as good as Top 5 if they let him.

11. Charlotte Flair

There is no better big match performer than Charlotte Flair. Despite a few hiccups in the middle of the year, she showed OUT. Flair had a great match against Asuka at WrestleMania. Then, she turned around and had an incredible series with Becky Lynch that elevated the two of them. She closed out with a monster showing in the TLC match at TLC for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. She’s ALWAYS going to get opportunities on TV and at PPVs, so she’s going to be one of the top performers this year. That’s a safe bet.

10. Adam Cole

Perhaps nobody broke out as much as Adam Cole did in 2018. He was thought to be the weakest of the talents in Undisputed Era in the ring. All he did was have great matches at every single TakeOver and had some tremendous showings on TV, as well. Cole and the rest of UE are going to get numerous NXT TV matches so it’s a safe bet that Cole is going to shine and shine brightly.

9. Tommaso Ciampa

The current NXT Champion shined very brightly this year. Ciampa was injured and off TV for much of the start of the year but had great showings against Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and, recently, Velveteen Dream. Because he should continue to be a huge mainstay at the top, predicting big things for Ciampa is a very safe bet. He starts 9th, but Top 5 isn’t out of the question.

8. Asuka

Given that she’s Women’s Champion now and might have the avenue to herself if Charlotte and Becky move to Raw, Asuka has a chance to be the ace of the SDL women’s division. As a result, you find her here at this spot. The Empress is going to get her due now and has always been a high-level talent. I would suspect that she’s duking it out for the crown of best women’s wrestler in the company by year’s end.

7. Johnny Gargano

What’s the only thing stopping Johnny Gargano from being near the top again? Probably just himself or bad writing. Granted, the latter happened at the end of 2018 and really nuked his chance of being Top 5 or even Top 1. But his TakeOver resume is undoubtedly amazing and he’s a safe bet to have incredible matches any time he’s on TV. It all really depends on how everything is portrayed and how everything is pieced together. If it all goes well, Johnny Wrestling will once again be one of the best wrestlers under the WWE umbrella.

6. Becky Lynch

Do I foresee big things for The Man? I mean, do I want to say no? Have you seen what she does to people who dare cross her? Becky had a phenomenal run in the back half of 2018, but her early stuff definitely would’ve limited her if I did a rankings list like this for 2018 since she was barely on television for the first four months of the year. But that’s not going to be the case in 2019. Becky is the biggest star in the company and whether it’s on SmackDown or Raw, she’s GOING to get her shots. She hasn’t missed lately and with banger possibilities coming up against Ronda Rousey and maybe some of her old friends on Raw coming up, Becky will be right back up here soon enough.

5. AJ Styles

The face of SmackDown Live has been nothing if not consistent since he got to WWE. Styles may have had his moments in 2018, but he’s still without a doubt an elite in-ring worker. With fresh faces on SmackDown for him to possibly work with (I don’t foresee him going to Monday Night Raw in a Superstar Shakeup, but it’s certainly not an unreasonable thought) he could have a chance to piece together yet another great year. The only thing that might stop him? Styles is 41 going on 42 and he might wind up working a little bit of a lighter schedule, therefore limiting his chances of getting enough points to be up this high.

4. Roderick Strong

Roddy Strong had a phenomenal 2018, so is he destined to do the same in 2019? I’d argue yes. He’s the best in-ring worker in Undisputed Era (although he is definitely closely followed by at least two of his comrades). He’s also one half of what I believe to be the greatest tag team in the entire wrestling world right now alongside his UE buddy, Kyle O’Reilly. Also, I think rather highly of him as a singles wrestler and he cashed in on all of his chances in 2018. 2019 should see him get even larger amounts of success, so I think Strong has a great chance of being near the top again.

3. Seth Rollins

Rollins was a very popular pick for Wrestler of the Year in 2018 and it’s easy to see why. He went beast mode at the start of the year and was incredibly consistent in the spring and summer. The last few months have soured people a little bit with some dull and repetitive matches with Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. But, with that said, it’s still probable that he has an outstanding 2019. He’ll get his chances on TV and at PPVs, and Seth should be able to cash in.

2. Buddy Murphy

Are you a little surprised? Maybe you shouldn’t be. Buddy Murphy pieced together an absolutely incredible 2018 and it’s arguable that he was the greatest story of 2018. Forgotten in NXT, Murphy took a huge leap in becoming one of the biggest stars on the 205 Live brand. The current Cruiserweight Champion had standout matches with just about everyone (Kalisto, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, etc.) I am putting him very high on this list because of two reasons: One, he’s very young and while it might be hard to replicate a year like his 2018, he’ll no doubt have his chances. And secondly, I foresee him getting off the 205 Live island at some point by the time he eventually drops his championship. So an abundance of chances against top-level workers could come his way.

1. Daniel Bryan

After a three-year absence from the ring, Daniel Bryan returned with a vengeance in 2018. Bryan may have been ‘sterile’ in some eyes but he was producing at a high level. As time wore on, Bryan found his comfort zone and it really started at SummerSlam. By November, Bryan looked like the old Daniel Bryan or, hell, the old American Dragon. His matches with AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar were at a ridiculously high caliber. It is the opinion of this writer and probably many more that by the time 2020 is about to come around, Daniel Bryan will once again be known as the best wrestler in the company and arguably the best wrestler in the world. If he already isn’t right now.

First Black Champ - The Oral History of Triple H

It's the last First Black Champ podcast of 2018 and it's all about the oral history of The Game, Triple H! From the years of 1994 - 2011, we cover the good, bad and great! Is Triple H rated correctly? Is he the greatest heel in wrestling history? We have answers and so much much on 2018's final #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow Cam: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang: @jrbang

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

NXTop10: The greatest matches in NXT Takeover history

Capping off a wonderful first year of The Barber's Chair with our latest NXTop10! Rob, Chris, Lincoln and Post Wrestling's Braden Herrington join Pierce as they count down the 10 greatest matches in NXT Takeover history!

Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Lincoln on Twitter: @MaAdLynx
Follow Braden on Twitter/IG: @TheBrayD

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops New Years Day 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

intro music: "No Money" by Yung Kartz - hooksounds.com
outro music: "Jive" by The Loyalist - hooksounds.com
Audio courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network. Please support wrestling and look up these matches.

First Black Champ - What are the women doing that they men ain't?

The TLC pay per view is a wrap and for the most part it was better than advertised. But why were the matches underwhelming on paper?

Then we talk the United McMahon front angle and what it means for 2019. The NXT call ups, Wrestlemania predictions, awards and GuaranDAMNTees galore on this weeks #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair when it becomes available!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Grab your official Barber's Chair merch as well!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Follow Cam: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang: @jrbang

Ruthless Aggression - Santa-Dust

Celebrate Christmas with Santa-Dust and Ruthless Aggression!

Topics:
WWE apologizing for terrible shows
The vague message of change from the McMahon's
NXT Call-Ups
Ryan Satin's comments on The Elite's mainstream popularity
TLC Recap

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 499
Smackdown 175

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair when it becomes available!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Grab your official Barber's Chair merch as well!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

TLC 2018: Results, recap, analysis
WWETLC2014.0.0.png

An action-packed night in San Jose is in the books. Rob and Chris dissect what went down at TLC.

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander - Cruiserweight Championship

Chris Novak: Buddy retained after a somewhat lengthy preshow match. The match was pretty solid, as cruiserweight kickoff matches come around. There’ve been better matches in Buddy’s title reign but this was more than serviceable. I will give it ***¼ and move on from there.

Robert O’Neill: People were mad that this was on the preshow, but it’s actually fine. They were just on the main card a month ago!

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley - Ladder Match

Chris Novak: This got preshow treatment and I’m a bit surprised but I guess it doesn’t really matter. They’re doing a ladder match with a guitar above the ring. This feels very 2000 WCW and I’m really not sure how to feel about it. The match was solid and not spectacular. Elias won, and they did a deal with him trying to hit Lashley with the guitar. Lio stopped him from doing so and then Lashley attacked him. Lio dove off the top rope afterwards, and hit Elias with a frog splash and Lashley hit him with the guitar after. *** I suppose, although it was nothing memorable. Post-match angle wasn’t really my taste since Elias and the other Raw babyfaces have been getting dominated, so I don’t see the point in continuing to run that.

Robert O’Neill: Ya know, if Jeff Jarrett is back in good graces with WWE and they’re insistent on this Elias guitar weaponry why don’t they make him Elias’ manager? That would be cool even if it’s just a one-off. Anyway this match was what it is. Both guys can move on now.

Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia -- MMC Finals

Chris Novak: This was a petty fun opener that got plenty of time. Do I have sour grapes? Does a bear shit in the woods? Fabulous Truth won after Carmella broke out the Code of Silence for the win. So, Carmella and R-Truth get their vacation and they also get the #30 spots in the Royal Rumble this year.

Robert O’Neill: I actually enjoyed this as the opener. It made a lot of sense to be in that spot, and I hope the third installment of the Mixed Match Challenge isn’t cursed and has better injury luck. I think there can be a lot of entertaining stuff over the next few weeks with regards to the vacation (since Truth picked WWE Headquarters in Stamford, which will be hilarious.) and Royal Rumble situation.

The New Day vs. The Usos vs. The Bar - SD Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: Very good match here, as is to be expected. These three teams brought out the goods and there were hardly any chances to catch your breath. The Bar retained after Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick. Right team won. Wondering what’s going to happen next here but it honestly doesn’t matter because the SD tag division is awesome. Going to give this **** and not think twice about it.

Robert O’Neill: That was fine. I mean, they’re three of the best tag teams in WWE history. It makes sense. The Bar retaining is good. I hope The Usos or New Day go to Raw soon.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin - TLC Match

Chris Novak: So Braun is still hurt. Instead of doing Braun-Corbin, they had all the babyfaces that Corbin has dicked with (Apollo Crews, Gable and Roode, Finn AND Heath Slater) attack Corbin and go after him with chairs. After they attacked Corbin, Kurt Angle showed up to give Corbin his desserts too. Everyone hit their finishers on Corbin, Strowman stepped on Corbin and got the 1-2-3. Braun gets his title match at the Rumble. Honestly, I’m not going to rate this match, but this was FANTASTICALLY done, and a GREAT way for the babyfaces to get comeuppance.

Robert O’Neill: That was like a house show match stuck in the middle of a PPV where all the faces got their moves in, but the return of Angle and the end of the Constable Corbin stuff, which was fine for what it is, is a net positive for me.

Ruby Riott vs. Natalya - Tables Match

Chris Novak: Storytelling in this one was very good but I did not dig the pace. Took way too long to get everything accomplished honestly, but the ends did justify the means. Nattie systematically took everybody out and then pulled out a table with Ruby on it, much like Ruby had a table with The Anvil on it. She also put on Anvil’s jacket. Nattie eventually put Ruby on the table and looked like she was going to jump through her. Ruby countered, and looked to hurricarana her. But Nattie powerbombed her through to win the match. *** for that. Just fine.

Robert O’Neill: This took a long time and I was pretty concerned that Liv Morgan might have gotten injured after her bump through the table, but in all it was fine. Nothing on this show has been bad so far, which is nice, given how Raw has been the past few weeks.

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

Chris Novak: Would you look at that? Finn Balor got a big win on a PPV! The match was really good (although I’d argue that it could’ve been a bit better if it wasn’t slowly paced). Balor got the win with a little assistance from Dolph Ziggler who provided distraction (although perhaps not intentionally so to help Finn but rather to meddle with Drew Mac). Finn hit the Coup de Grace for the W. ***, and this show continues to be very solid.

Robert O’Neill: Hey that was fun! It had much more Dolph Ziggler than I care to see (see, any amount of Dolph Ziggler), but I thought it was good. It didn’t last as long as it could have, but it was fine. This show has been fine so far.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - Chairs Match

Chris Novak: This went about as expected. Just really solid stuff all around from two vets. Lot of chairs utilized here and plenty of violence and weaponry. Rey won via a rollup. Lot of babyfaces winning tonight and I obviously have NO problem with that. Going to give this **¼.

Robert O’Neill: Randy Orton sucks, but that match was good! I enjoyed it a lot all things considered (it had Randy Orton and was a gimmick match). Mysterio can still go and I think he’s my pick to win the Royal Rumble so he can face Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania for the title, which would be an excellent match and feud.

Nia Jax vs Ronda Rousey - Raw Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: Ronda Rousey carried Nia Jax in a match that showed off all of her goods. There’s really no other way to describe it other than that. She played a very good babyface and showed off some great power moves also including a powerbomb off the top rope after finessing out of a Samoan Drop attempt. Rousey won via an armbar and had a ridiculous torque on it. **** for me here, tied up with the tag match as the MOTN.

Robert O’Neill: Honestly, this match surpassed my expectations by quite a bit. It was the first time that Rousey really looked comfortable carrying a match, and was even better than their Money in the Bank match, which was also quite good. To Nia’s credit, she was as good as she needed to be, but Ronda was the star of the match. Shoutout to Becky Lynch for her backstage beatdown of Nia after the match, too!

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles - WWE Championship

Chris Novak: MR. SMALL PACKAGE HAS MADE HIS TRIUMPHANT RETURN! This won’t surprise you but Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles had a great match together. Maybe could’ve been a little bit faster paced, but still, excellent stuff. Bryan retained the WWE Title via the small package after a fun sequence. ****½ here as well, and the clear MOTN so far.

Robert O’Neill: Oh, man. That was awesome. They let them go for like 25 minutes and it was slow at points, but all in all it was great. I hope to see an iron man match somewhere down the line, because I could watch these two all night.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - WWE Intercontinental Championship

Chris Novak: We have ourselves a new IC Champ. This match fell flat in a lot of ways. Slow, plodding, lot of rest holds and not a lot of blood feuding. Hurt the match considerably. Some might say that the lack of a stipulation hurt it but I don’t know if it would’ve. You would’ve gotten more plunder in that case, but this just didn’t really work. Disappointing showing here. *** and I might be being generous here. Just missed the mark.

Robert O’Neill: No WWE trope frustrates me more than when a BLOOD FEUD ends with two guys doing slow rest holds over and over instead of beating the shit out of each other. This also should have been Raw’s TLC match instead of Corbin/Strowman. I thought it would be good because Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are both good, but it was not good.

Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch - Smackdown Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: A ridiculous, hotly contested match. Asuka won the SmackDown Women’s Title after Ronda Rousey came out and pushed a ladder down that had both Charlotte and Becky Lynch on it. This was nothing short of a fight. Charlotte bumped like a psycho and everybody took the brunt of punishment. ****¾ for me, and a MOTYC on a show with another MOTYC in Styles/Bryan III. Excellent match, excellent storytelling, booked properly. The women’s division is amazing.

Robert O’Neill: Good lord, what a match. Action-packed and loaded with spots from start to finish, and one of Charlotte’s best main roster performances. Becky Lynch still gets the great reactions and still will, there’s even more seeds planted for the eventual Four Horsewomen match, and Asuka is back on top after a weird year. This is all great.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: You might as well just call WWE “Women’s Wrestling Entertainment” at this point. Everything revolving around the women is just so much more intriguing than the men right now. And it’s really not remotely close, with the exception of whatever Daniel Bryan’s doing. This show had multiple babyfaces winning, which is a surprise and also is exactly what made WWE so great for so many years before they insisted on having heels dominate everything. This was a great show with one real dud, and even that wasn’t that bad. A for me.

Robert O’Neill: I couldn’t agree more. The women’s matches and segments were the best thing on this show, and I can definitively say the women have been better than the men this year. Obviously Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles are still great, but you definitely shudder to think where WWE would be if they had the same injury situation but had the women’s divisions of decades past. This show was great aside from Rollins/Ambrose. A

Re-booking TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2018

Normally I wouldn’t do this for a B-show PPV in the middle of December, but the direction that things have been going in for the last couple of months has been pretty poor. In that case, I might as well have some fun with it. Here’s what this Sunday’s TLC PPV would look like if The Barber’s Chair booked it.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin - TLC Match

Source: WWE Network

Source: WWE Network

Assuming this match will still take place, the stipulation is as follows: If Strowman wins, he will receive a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship next month at the Royal Rumble, and Baron Corbin will be stripped of his GM-elect role. If Corbin wins, he will become Raw GM permanently.

What Should Happen: The Baron Corbin authority angle was fun to me in the beginning, even with Kurt Angle being placed on “vacation”. But it’s run its course (as with all authority angles), and this is where it ends. Braun Strowman wins.

What Will Likely Happen: Braun Strowman returns, makes quick work of GM-elect Baron Corbin, and a new GM will be announced on Monday. Hopefully we get a Brock Lesnar appearance as well.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Dean Ambrose hasn’t competed on TV since the emotional night when he turned on his Shield brothers and attacked Seth Rollins two months ago. The heat has kind of cooled off on Ambrose since then, but it’s still fresh enough to pick it back up again.

What Should Happen: If the TLC match from this past Monday is indicative of anything, Seth Rollins should lose here due to one final power play from Baron Corbin. It wouldn’t make sense to have Rollins win two ladder matches in six days, but then again what has made sense on this show since October?

What Will Likely Happen: Seth Rollins may likely be considered the unanimous MVP over the course of 2018, and he doesn’t necessarily need the Intercontinental belt at this point. It would be wise to let Dean Ambrose go over in this one as Rollins (hopefully) transitions into Universal title contention over the next few months.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship

aj-db.jpg

Environmentalist Daniel Bryan aka The NEW Daniel Bryan might be the favorite WWE version of the former American Dragon. He also helps solidify my theory that tree-hugging vegans aren’t as nice of people that they think.

Bryan’s heel turn has done wonders to rejuvenate his career, and his WWE title run has been fun sp far. AJ Styles has consistently been one of the best workers in the company, and I can’t really name a bad match that he’s put on since debuting in the Federation three years ago. We all know what these two can bring, and I’d love to see them top the match they had on Smackdown a few weeks ago.

What Should Happen: For someone who was as beloved as Daniel Bryan was for the last five years, if you’re going to make him a villain, you have to go all out with it. To keep AJ Styles strong, have him win by DQ as Daniel Bryan goes crazy with a brutal attack as he further cements himself as the top dog on Tuesday nights.

What Will Likely Happen: I don’t know what’s in store for Daniel Bryan as we merge onto the Road to WrestleMania, but he’ll be WWE Champion for the good portion of that ride.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

After legitimately breaking Becky Lynch’s face and taking her out of Survivor Series, WWE’s used the incident to propel Nia Jax towards another battle with Ronda Rousey six months later. This is one of three matches I don’t really care about, but it will have some long term ramifications to it.

What Should Happen: Make no secret that I am Ronda Rousey’s #1 hater, but the honeymoon phase with her has long passed, and I can see myself eventually having some competition if Ronda isn’t booked as someone we should care about. Jax has been positioned similarly to how she was in NXT, albeit this time she’s been given more mic time, which is another factor to me not giving a shit about what goes on in this feud. Six months after their initial battle, Rousey now has a little more experience and should be able to command the battle better this go around. She needs to look good in victory.

What Will Likely Happen: I can honestly see them formulating the matchup the same exact way that it was done at Money in the Bank, this time with Rousey actually getting a chance to close it out. Either way, she’ll be walking into 2019 still the Raw Women’s Champion.

Asuka vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair - Triple Threat TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

This absolutely NEEDS to main event the show on Sunday night. (The Man) Becky Lynch has been incredible since winning the belt at Hell In A Cell, and her 2019 is already shaping up to be a great one if they book her the right way. Unfortunately, I see her dropping her title this weekend in one of two ways...

What Should Happen: Asuka started off the year strong by winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, but a loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania has derailed any momentum she had until just recently. Winning her first main roster championship would help her close out the year strong at a point when it seemed her WWE career was dead in the water.

As for Becky Lynch, this would give her the opportunity to jump ship to Monday nights, as we know that she has some business there waiting for her in the form of Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. Perhaps a Royal Rumble win is in line?

What Will Likely Happen: Charlotte wins yet again *insert eye roll emoji*. Asuka has still yet to beat Charlotte one-on-one, and it’s likely that a Charlotte victory can build to a rematch in New Jersey this spring.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Bálor

This stat may be shocking if you haven’t paid attention, but Finn Bálor is undefeated in PPV singles matches since debuting on the main roster (6-0). Hopefully they play up this fact, as it’s something simple that can help the fans invest into this match even more.

What Should Happen: Can we get a Demon King appearance on this PPV? Drew Mac can surely afford a loss to THAT incarnation of Finn Balor.

What Will Likely Happen: WWE seems to have Bálor be the reliable stepping stone for others at this point in his career (not that that’s a bad thing), and I don’t expect anything different this go around as the Scottish Psychopath continues to run roughshod over the Raw roster. Drew McIntyre has asserted himself as a force on the red brand since his return in April, and now seems primed to reach the heights expected of him in 2009. A win here keeps him strong going into the Royal Rumble, as he can position himself as the favorite to win the annual classic.

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bar for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I just want to get one thing off of my chest before proceeding with this match preview: Why the FUCK is this not a TLC match or at least a ladder match?

With that being said, This is a sleeper for match of the night. We already know what The Usos and New Day can bring to the table, and The Bar has slowly crept up to legendary tag team status (I recently realized that they’re in their FIFTH title reign in only two years). Should be a great match that will possibly open the show.

What Should Happen: There hasn’t been a whole lot of heat with this feud, but it isn’t necessary when you have three great teams like this. The Bar have been on a good run here, but I can see WWE wanting The New Day to set a record of title reigns (plus I’m bias), and a win here would bring them that much closer.

What Will Likely Happen: Since The Bar stood tall on the go home show this past week, that usually spells doom come the PPV. The Smackdown Tag Team belts have been playing hot potato a bit this year, so it would be smart to stick with a team and build them into the new year.

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley - Guitar Ladder Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Before the main event of every PPV, there’s a moment where I go “Weren’t so and so supposed to wrestle?”, only to find out that match already happened on the pre-show. This is that match and I’ll probably never watch it.

What Should Happen: Bobby Lashley has been EXTREMELY lackluster since coming back to WWE. And while the partnership with Lio Rush had some potential early on, it’s very meh at this point. Have Rush pull a James Ellsworth and help win the match for Lashley, but have him receive his comeuppance post-match.

What Will Likely Happen: A likely pre-show main event, Elias wins to hype the crowd up for the main course.

Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Aside from their boss having an R. Kelly fetish all of a sudden, the 205 Live guys have been getting a lot of shine the past couple months. This past Tuesday, Mustafa Ali had a fantastic match with the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, and while typically being relegated to the pre-show in the past, the Cruiserweight title has been defended on the main show in two of the last three Network exclusive events. Hopefully that trend continues this Sunday night, and I expect Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander to shut the place down.

What Should Happen: Continuing on with my “Let all the black wrestlers win tonight” narrative, I’m going to choose Cedric Alexander for no other reason.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s awfully soon for Buddy Murphy to drop the title, and I see him continuing his run of dominance over the Cruiserweight division. Time for some new blood to step up and present a new challenge.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott - Tables Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I don’t typically like when real life deaths are included in a storyline, but I can understand why it’s done, especially when all those involved agree with it. However, I really don’t care about this feud and can’t wait for it to end this weekend.

What Should Happen: I don’t believe crowds are invested enough in these two women enough to have Ruby Riott win. Riott has antagonized Natalya over Jim Neidhart’s death this entire feud, so there’s really only one way to end this and that’s with the Hart family name standing tall.

What Will Likely Happen: Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon aren’t doing anything noteworthy this evening. Let them help Natalya even the odds

Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) vs. Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox) - Mixed Match Challenge Finals

R-Truth and Carmella’s chemistry has been a factor in building momentum for their run through the tournament. And while Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox have slowly but surely gotten on the same page, there are some kinks that still need to be worked out if they want to close strong. It was harder to get invested in this season of the Mixed Match Challenge as injuries and kayfabe write-offs didn’t help at all. At the end of it all, the two healthiest teams from each brand persevered, and now have a shot at coveted #30 position in their respective Royal Rumble matches.

What Should Happen: I always look forward to a surprise #30 entrant each year, but Dolph Ziggler’s overall performance this past year made it a little lackluster. So I guess I can lower my expectations for 2019 since I know neither of the two on the men’s side have a chance of winning. Although, there’s a bit more credibility with Jinder Mahal being a former world champion which you can go off of, rather than R-Truth who has been an amazing comedic act for years.

What Will Happen: We get a Royal Dance Break at #30 as Fabulous Truth comes out of this one victorious. Should be a no-brainer, but I can’t wait to see if Truth tries to enter the Women’s Royal Rumble.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - Chairs Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Sidenote: I was in the 8th grade when these two first feuded on Smackdown in 2005-06. Glad to see they can both haven’t lost a step since.

Rey Mysterio has only been back in WWE for about two months, but it’s like he never left. The chemistry that he and Orton have when working together is amazing, and they won’t disappoint on Sunday.

What Should Happen: Randy Orton has been on a tear since his heel turn at Extreme Rules, and it wouldn’t make much sense to have that randomly stop here. The Viper’s run of dominance should continue on.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s a toss up as to who WILL win this match, as they can go either way with it. However, Rey Mysterio will always be in a great position to recover after a loss (see Jeff Hardy at Hell In A Cell) to where it wouldn’t be an issue.

Ruthless Aggression - Armageddon 2002

Enter the Three Stages of Hell with us on Ruthless Aggression!

Topics:
Daniel Bryan's brilliant heel turn
Nia Jax floundering
The lack of depth in the RAW women's & tag team divisions
Trading players from RAW and Smackdown
BS Meter on Cody turning down WWE deal rumor

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 498
Smackdown 174
Armageddon 2002

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair when it becomes available!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Grab your official Barber's Chair merch as well!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

First Black Champ - "Baron Corbin don't let black people into bars"
Ruthless Aggression - Who run the world? Girls

After a long hiatus, there's so much to catch up on. Nia Jax's punch on Becky Lynch not only changed the Survivor Series main event; it may have changed the Wrestlemania main event as well, and it turned Becky into a supernova. Pierce Chris and Rob talk about the aftermath of that punch and the ripple effects its had on the Federation. Plus, the "new" Daniel Bryan, Johnny Loser, the rumored All Elite Wrestling league, and as always we take a trip back to this week in the Ruthless Aggression era!

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak

First Black Champ - Lars is a big dude that throws bricks
This Week in WWE: Smackdown turns Raw's wet fart into an ice cream sandwich
Raw.png

Chris Novak: Off and running with Raw. Baron Corbin smites the crowd for eating carbs on Thanksgiving. Then Lashley uttered the words “beta males,” which is a great way for me to immediately tune myself out. Baron then said we won’t be seeing Strowman for a while, and they then cut to him cutting a pre-taped promo, apparently from Birmingham. Corbin says he figures there’s no way Strowman will be cleared, but the match is still scheduled, and if he doesn’t show up he’s going to forfeit.

Gonna spoil this for you: Braun is going to show up.

The lights then went out and the strum of Elias’ guitar was heard after.

Rob O’Neill: Elias came out and sang about how Lashley sucks. They’re having a match next. This was a fine opening segment.

Chris Novak: This show feels like it’s already on autopilot.

The match was legitimately fine until it got messy. Lio pulled the official out and then Corbin made it a No DQ match. The numbers game worked against Elias and he got destroyed until he got pinned. It worked well with the crowd. I’ve just seen this movie a billion times before, so it didn’t feel like anything unique.

So Corbin fired some dude backstage. Just him being a dick. Here comes Alexa, and after a back-and-forth, Corbin informs Bliss that she's now the GM of the entire Raw women's division. At the risk of sounding too paranoid, I'm not sure how to feel about this because that means Bliss' injuries could put her in a serious, serious bind. And given that she's just 27 years old, that would totally suck. That being said, I'm cautiously optimistic to see how this pans out, even though heel authority figures are so played out.

Rob O’Neill: Ideally it’s just a thing they’re doing for a couple weeks to continue the storyline and all of that but yeah it’s not ideal.

Chris Novak: Dean cuts a promo from his physician’s office. He’s getting a… rabies shot… because he doesn’t know what he’d contract from the people of Houston. He says he’s going to put Seth out of his misery at TLC for good. That was a segment.

Lucha House Party are out here and I presume they’ll face The Revival in some kind of heatless match. And sure enough I was right. This match will probably have the heat of a meat locker.

Rob O’Neill: That was dumb. Lucha House Rules aren’t a thing! It was a 3 on 2 handicap match which is hardly fair.

Chris Novak: Sasha and Bayley did a WWEShop ad and it’s honestly been the highlight of the program.

Rob O’Neill: Oh good, Nia Jax is here. Do we think she’ll gloat about concussing someone or spread falsehoods about how good she is? Probably both! What a shock! she did both. Ronda Rousey came out too and then went back and forth about their match and then Tamina and Nia started to beat Ronda up and Natalya came out but got ambushed by the Riott Squad. Alrighty. Onward.

Chris Novak: That segment was bad and illogical in a lot of ways. Par for the course for Raw right now.

Gable and Roode are facing AOP for the Tag Titles. FEEL the excitement!

Honestly, the match was pretty fine. Drake Maverick decided to be a pest and pissed on Bobby Roode's robe in a toilet. Which naturally provided enough distraction for Roode and Gable to lose their Tag Titles opportunity.

Rob O’Neill: Why is Drake Maverick’s gimmick that he urinates on things? whose idea is this?

Chris Novak: Honestly it was what it was. Don’t really have a huge problem with this being Drake’s gimmick but it’s like I said: It is what it is. It’s the tag division.

Apparently Bayley and Sasha Banks are conducting an open forum later on. This is obviously a trap that will lead to some turmoil of some sort. So… we’ll see what happens!

Rob O’Neill: Ember Moon beat Alicia Fox in a preview of their Mixed Match Challenge match after Smackdown. Ember is teaming with Curt Hawkins now since Braun Strowman is hurt.

Chris Novak: The door is wide open for Bayley and Finn to win this damn thing and you won’t convince me otherwise.

For some reason, No Way Jose is here and he’s facing Jinder. I don’t know what’s going on. Jinder won. I don’t know what ANY of that was.

Seth’s open challenge is next. It’s Dolph. Fuck. This. Television. Show.

The match was good but who the hell cares?

Rob O’Neill: Of all the people they could have picked, they picked Dolph Ziggler. I’m not even mad. I’m actually laughing.

Chris Novak: Open forum time. This could go a… number of ways. We’ll see how it shakes out. Okay they didn’t really do anything but hint at the usual division and then Alicia, Mickie and Dana came out to try and attack them. They instead lost their battle. That segment was just a big pile of nada.

Rob O’Neill: That’s a really good way to describe this entire show, if we’re being honest.

Chris Novak: Finn and Corbin had a fine match until the whole change on the fly thing happened again. Corbin made it 2-on-1 with Drew Mac joining up with him and Balor lost. Lashley came out and they all assaulted Finn.

Rob O’Neill: Oh wow look they did the exact thing they did earlier that i said they do too much. cool!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: This show was a wet fart. F.

Rob O’Neill: Yeah this show was bad. they need to get it together, and fast. F.

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: Well, by existing on its own, this show is probably already better than Raw last night.

And Becky Lynch is starting the show, so we’re already off and running here. Becky has new graphics, which is awesome. Bex says she’s done watching and she’s putting herself back in the game. She calls Charlotte Flair out to the ring, and Charlotte is quick to head out. She said she came “pretty close” to giving her the beating she would’ve, but she also doesn’t know who she is. But, Charlotte says she was being herself.

Becky called Charlotte a “bootleg Becky” and the two had a banter back and forth. Paige then announces that the two are facing off at TLC in… a… WOMEN’S TLC MATCH!!

Rob O’Neill: It’s better than Raw because Becky Lynch is here! But yes we’re getting a women’s TLC match and honestly that’s gonna be, well, straight fire.

Chris Novak: The heels then come out and Mandy, leading the charge on the mic, says Paige is showing favortism towards her former friends, and that the others could do the same job. Also, that they have the same desire. Naomi, Asuka, Carmella and Lana then come out, and Naomi says that she actually agrees.

Rob O’Neill: There’s going to be a battle royal tonight, where the winner gets added to the TLC match. Neat!

Chris Novak: The Usos faced The Bar. This will shock you but the match was great. Usos won after pinning Cesaro following a corner splash.

Rob O’Neill: Also Big Show is apparently no longer aligned with The Bar. His alignment is honestly a joke at this point. I love it.

Chris Novak: The New Day and The Miz had a backstage encounter. Lot of hilarity here between The Marine, last week’s tag team match with The Miz & Shane and the two jobbers, Kairi Sane being referenced, among other things.

AJ Styles came out to cut a promo about Daniel Bryan and the way he won the WWE Championship. Styles was pretty matter of fact and angered, and brought up how Bryan wasn’t appearing tonight or at live events and referencing how they do business on Raw. The promo was really good and so far, this show is blowing Raw out of the water.

Rob O’Neill: Are you really surprised though? I mean… consider what we’re talking about here!

Chris Novak: I’m absolutely not surprised. Rusev is facing off with Shinsuke Nakamura. I don’t know why this match is happening but am I complaining? Absolutely not. On second thought, it didn’t happen, because Shinsuke just beat the shit out of Rusev before the match could even start.

Rob O’Neill: Alright, well, that works!

Chris Novak: Time to begin this Jeff Hardy celebration! I wonder what’s going to happen here. They played an absolutely incredible recap video of his WWE career. He thanked everybody but then said he wasn’t going to be making a retirement speech… and cue… SAMOA JOE’S MUSIC!

Rob O’Neill: Joe talks about how Jeff had drug and alcohol problems and let everyone down and people like him can never change. Holy crap.

Chris Novak: Dude just went IN on Hardy and that’s probably selling it short. Good God, Joe is such an asshole. And I mean that in the best way. Hardy challenged him to fight, but Joe was having none of it... tonight, at least.

Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz is next. The match itself was QUITE good, as you might expect. Miz lost after eating Trouble in Paradise. That was really fun.

Rob O’Neill: This has been the exact opposite of Raw! Everything is meaningful and has a purpose and not just slapped together.

Randy Orton is here to talk about why he doesn’t like Rey Mysterio. He notes that he has no interest in learning about other cultures, which, duh, and then Mysterio comes out and hits a 619 on him while selling last week’s neck injury

Chris Novak: Little too on the nose here. Just a little bit. Orton eventually got the better of it and DDT’d him and pulled him through to the outside and caught him with a steel chair to his throat.

Miz is backstage with Shane and the trophy. There’s more banter here, and Miz believes that he, Shane and the trophy are family. This is honestly pretty hilarious.

The battle royal to determine the 3rd woman in the TLC Match at TLC commenced. Fun match. Very fun match actually. It came down to Asuka and Sonya Deville, and in the end, The Empress of Tomorrow picked up the win, and Asuka is heading to TLC!

Rob O’Neill: That was a perfectly fine battle royal and the right person won. the TLC match is gonna be awesome.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: The complete opposite of a wet fart. Nothing bad happened on this show at ALL. A+ for me.

Robert O’Neill: What a difference 24 hours makes. That show had everything. A+

First Black Champ - "@real1 ain't Eddie Kane Jr."

The effect of "The Man" is real! JR Bang & Cam Quotes talk about the aftermath of Becky Lynch's injury and how it effects Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax. We also talk about "@real1" and how his Survivor Series antics are proof that he's fell off and isn't as big as he thought his was. All that and more on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow JR Bang: @jrbang
Follow Cam Quotes: @ImCamQuotes

First Black Champ - the Oral History of The Rock