Posts in Wrestling
First Black Champ - I Need A 365 Of Lars Sullivan Apologies

#MITB is tonight and we damn near forgot. That won't stop these fire predictions though! But before that we send our heartfelt condolences to Ashley and our well wishes to Ric Flair.

Then we deep dive into Lars Sullivan's fine and suspension and why we don't want Big E, Titus or any other black wrestler speak to how cool Lars is an how he's change. All that and the Turner AEW deal on the #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ruthless Aggression - Money In The Bank 2019 Predictions, Judgment Day 2003

It's Money in the Bank weekend! We give our predictions for the big show and which two superstars we think will leave Hartford with the briefcases. Plus, remembering Ashley Massaro, AEW's deal with TNT, and a trip back to 2003 for Judgment Day 2003!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 520
Smackdown 195

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

This Week in WWE: London Calling

Robert O’Neill: Raw is “live” from London as we’re just six days away from Money in the Bank! The Miz is out to open the show, as Roman Reigns is set to guest on MizTV.

Chris Novak: I believe the last time that Roman Reigns was on MizTV was the time that Roman punched him in the face. I know you’ve all seen the GIF before. I have to imagine that this time will be a lot different!

Robert O’Neill: They’re both feuding with Shane McMahon, so that’s exciting! Miz suggests they should do a buddy comedy, and Roman immediately shuts him down and says he sounds like “the old Miz” but Roman came to see “the new Miz” who stands up to Shane McMahon!

Chris Novak: Hey! He made a reference to the punch! Miz makes a rather passionate speech about how he’s earned everyone’s respect while Shane is the antithesis is that.

Robert O’Neill: And now Shane is here! He reminds both Miz and Roman that he’s their boss, and MizTV and over, and Elias and Bobby Lashley attack from behind! And Shane then sets up a tag match between the four.

Chris Novak: Effective first segment, to be honest. I enjoyed it, so hopefully we can keep this ball rolling here with this tag match.

Robert O’Neill: The tag match is quite good but Roman and Miz win by DQ when Shane attacks and with Roman incapacitated the three beat up on Miz but Roman flies over the top rope to take them out! Fun spot.Then Miz gets a chair and finishes the job on Lashley and Elias as Shane retreats.  

Chris Novak: Okay. So, I’m not really keen on non-finishes and whatnot. Thought that was unsavory but I get protecting these guys, even though Lashley doesn’t have a match on Sunday and… yeah. They could’ve just had him eat the pin. But whatever.

They play a really, really neat Seth Rollins-AJ Styles video package. That shouldn’t be surprising and whatnot, cause it’s a WWE video package, but this was really, really neat.

Robert O’Neill: Braun Strowman is interviewed by Charly Caruso and he’s excited for the Money in the Bank match, which he won last year. He hopes to win again. But Shane McMahon wants to see Braun in his office. Sami Zayn is already in the office explaining to Shane why what Braun did was awful. Sami suggests a falls count anywhere match with Braun’s Money in the Bank spot on the line, and Shane agrees!

Mojo Rawley has a match! He’s facing Apollo Crews. This might be fun.

Mojo injures Apollo’s knee early on and targets it for the rest of the short match.

Alexa Bliss lost her luggage and can’t compete tonight, but Nikki Cross is here and willing to listen to Alexa’s problems and be her friend and she’s taking Alexa’s place in the match. How fun!

Chris Novak: The two of them are a delight with each other. I hope this lasts more than one night! Nikki being in the match feels like them throwing a bone to her since it’s her homeland. I like it. It’ll be fun to see her in the match.

Contract signing: Next!

Robert O’Neill: Becky discusses how she’s going to retain both belts at Money In The Bank, but Charlotte and Lacey disagree! How novel. Charlotte wants to know why Becky is still complaining and taking shots despite having both belts, and also wants to know how it feels knowing she can’t live up to her reputation. Lacey adds that the WWE Universe deserves a better example as champion. Naturally, it turns into a brawl.

Chris Novak: And naturally, it ended with Becky being put through a table. Gotta say, that segment ruled hard. The brawl was fun and the heels coming out on top was a good visual. Probably not the one we’ll see on Sunday. But a good visual nonetheless.

Baron Corbin is facing Ricochet.

Robert O’Neill: Corbin got the victory, but it was a much better match than expected. They worked surprisingly well together. After the match, Corbin brought a ladder into the ring and showed what he could do Sunday at Money in the Bank, but Ricochet knocked him off before he got to the top!

Chris Novak: Really, really good match. Much better than I expected it to be, honestly. Nevertheless, good post-match segment too.

Cesaro implied backstage that Dominick wasn’t Rey Mysterio’s son. Cesaro, we already went over this 14 years ago! He’s Eddie Guerrero’s son! Anyways, maybe we’ll get Rey-Cesaro out of this? That could be really fun.

A really, really good Roman Reigns video package is playing now.

AJ Styles says some things about his methods over the past few weeks. Cut-and-dry pre-PPV title match interview.

Our fatal four-way women’s bout is next!

Robert O’Neill: Much like Corbin/Ricochet, that was much better than I expected. Dana Brooke did a crossbody off the top of the ladder! Nikki Cross got the victory with a spinning neckbreaker, and then Alexa Bliss (on commentary) came down to help Nikki bring the ladder into the ring and Alexa climbed it and posed with the briefcase.

Chris Novak: Really liked this! I really liked it a lot. You know, for a taped show, this is going very well.

Rey Mysterio-Cesaro is next. I foresee this match being great as well .

Robert O’Neill: It was! This has been an awesome show. Cesaro showed off his strength and did the swing and such, bu Mysterio ultimately got the win with the 619. The Raw mid-card is pretty good.

Firefly Funhouse was terrifying, as Bray Wyatt revealed his dark side. Just… take a look.

Time for the main event! Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman in a falls count anywhere match.

Chris Novak: That match kicked ass. Real chaotic fun. Sami defeated Braun, but not without the help of both Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre. Strowman looked like a damn beast even in the loss. So everything there was all pretty great. Corbin tossed Zayn back out there and Zayn was driven through the announce table for his troubles. Some ally he is.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: I hate the taped Raws. I usually don’t avoid spoilers and I ruin it for myself. This time, I avoided the spoilers and I loved this show. I thought the in-ring stuff was all better than I expected and all the loose ends on the Raw side are tied up going into Money in the Bank. A-

Chris Novak: I think the matches on the whole could’ve been better. But, the string of matches towards the end of the show were all dynamite. All the right buttons were pushed here and all the pieces went into motion for MITB. Can’t lie, really liked this show. B+ for me.

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: Like last night, we’re “live” in London for SmackDown Live. And, like last night, we’re beginning with The Big Dog, Roman Reigns. Reigns eventually invites The Miz out, and after a bit of banter, Shane, Elias, Daniel Bryan and Rowan all come out. This eventually leads to a 3-on-2 beatdown. This… is eventually equalized by the efforts of The Usos!

Robert O’Neill: That was fun! Great opening segment there. The Usos coming out made a lot of sense for obvious reasons.

Moving right along, it’s time for the fatal four-way! Randy Orton vs. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Balor

But before we get going, Orton cuts a promo about how he’ll win the ladder match on Sunday. Andrade comes out and says he’s going to win the ladder match. Then Ali. Then Balor.

The match was pretty good! It’s about what you’d expect from the Smackdown multi-man matches at this point. Andrade pinned Balor for the win and climbed the ladder symbolically after, but Ricochet came out and leapt onto the ladder and knocked Ali off and left with the briefcase. That was fun!

Chris Novak: Real, real, real good match there. Lot of fun, per usual from these guys.

They’re showcasing a recap video of the Becky-Charlotte rivalry. I, for one, am here for this.

Robert O’Neill: That was amazing stuff. The video packages have always been good, but they’ve been on another level of late.

Chris Novak: We get another Aleister Black vignette. What all this is leading to, I am not sure. But I would certainly hazard to say he’s going to make an impact, one way or another, at Money in the Bank on Sunday.

4-on-3 handicap match time!

Robert O’Neill: Yup. Shane McMahon is teaming with Elias, Daniel Bryan, and Rowan against Roman Reigns and The Usos. IF Miz gets involved, his match with Shane on Sunday is cancelled.

Chris Novak: Got damn, that match was actually really, really good. Shane won via the Coast to Coast on one of the Usos. Probably the best thing that they could do in that situation, considering where everyone else was. Probably means Shane isn’t winning on Sunday. Which… that’s the right decision anyway. So, that cage match should be stupid good, and should have plenty of ridiculousness in it too.

Robert O’Neill: Also Sunday, The Usos are facing Bryan and Rowan for the tag titles on the preshow. That should be good again.

Paige is here with Kairi Sane and Asuka, and she says they’re now known as the Kabuki Warriors. Mandy and Sonya come out and say that’s a weird name, and we have a match.

Chris Novak: Onto the match… which was good! Mandy got pinned by Asuka by the end. That will surely get the people going as far as her chances for Sunday going, I’m sure. Nevertheless, good match. Did its job. Enjoyed it!

They ran something on Lars Sullivan.

Next, Kevin Owens is doing the Kevin Owens Show with Kofi Kingston.

Robert O’Neill: Kofi is in the ring by himself to start the show and Kevin appears on the screen and says it took Kofi 11 years to make an impact but Owens did it the first night when he attacked John Cena. Kofi goads Owens into coming out and then Sami Zayn attacks Kofi as he’s distracted by Owens! Xavier Woods comes out to even the odds but he gets beat down and Owens and Zayn bring Kofi into the ring and Owens goes for a cannonball but Kofi moves! Then Zayn goes for a helluva kick and Kofi moves again and hits Trouble in Paradise to stand tall to end the show.

Chris Novak: I kinda liked that segment… although if I had one critique, I think I would’ve had Owens get the upper hand going into PPV. I get Kingston hitting Zayn with TOP but, also, I feel like Owens could’ve just stood tall heading into Sunday. That’s all. Apart from that, solid main event segment.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Just like Raw, I really enjoyed Smackdown. For a pair of taped shows, I couldn’t have asked for much more. They both did their job and got me excited for Money in the Bank. A- here as well.

Chris Novak: Enjoyable SmackDown. Three matches on this show, but all of them were REALLY good, to be honest. Give me a high B+ for this one. Best taped shows in a long time, honestly.

First Black Champ - I'm Black, So I Think Kofi Gonna Lose Every Night

We back! First episode of May and on Mother's Day! It's Black Champ talk as usual. Kofi's on a run we called and we speculate his possible next contender could be after KO and who it better not fawking be no matter what. And since we have more information, we talk in greater info and perspective about Lio Rush's backstage heat and what it could mean. We also talk about who he may need to talk to during this time and why. The ratings may be down, but who or what is really to blame? We answer that unpack a lot more on this week's #FirstBlackChampPod! Tell your mom we said hi!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ruthless Aggression - Wild Card, Bitches!

The Mad Titan does it again. Is the 'Wild Card' rule in WWE pointless or good for RAW and Smackdown? Then, we jump right into the week in wrestling in 2003!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 519
Smackdown 194

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

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

This Week in WWE: Wildcard, bitches
Raw logo.png

Chris Novak: Raw’s supposed to start with Roman Reigns. This has been something that’s been heavily discussed for whatever reason this week. But, whatever. Long as this works out and has a point, it’s okay. And since one of the people he’s been feuding with (read: Shane McMahon) bounces around the shows, then I don’t see why Roman can’t.

Anyways, that’s Vince McMahon’s music. So, Mr. McMahon’s starting the show actually. I would wager this, certainly, has a lot to do with the aforementioned paragraph. Vince says it’ll be a night to remember, because he’s here. Before he can go any further, Roman Reigns comes down to the ring. Last time they shared a ring, of course, Reigns caught him with the Superman Punch.

Robert O’Neill: Vince says he better not think of trying it again, and also he’s on Smackdown so why is he on Raw right now? Roman tells him to check his tone, because he wants to leave Raw better than he found it. Vince and his kids said the fans are the authority now, but that was a lie! Vince goes to respond but DANIEL BRYAN’S MUSIC HITS!

Chris Novak: Well… if you wanted my attention, boy, you got it. Bryan says he’s spent the last month in solitude, and now hoped to have an intellectual conversation. Before he can continue, Kofi Kingston makes his way out here.

Robert O’Neill: After Bryan and Kofi goes back and forth, Vince has an epiphany! He’s instating a “wildcard rule” where three Raw superstars can be on Smackdown and three Smackdown superstars can be on Raw. Neat.

Chris Novak: Don’t hate it as a concept going forward. We’ll see how they utilize it. Don’t really have a strong opinion either way. AJ Styles comes out, and he asks him, basically, what the hell he’s doing. Seth Rollins is now on his way out, so we’re still working here on our opening promo. We learn soon enough that Styles and Rollins are teaming up to face a tag team after the break. Who will it be? I suppose we’ll find out.

Robert O’Neill: Bob Lashley and Baron Corbin! Well, that should have been expected. It’s also fine, the story is between Rollins and Styles here. The two get along for most of the long match, but Styles catches Rollins with an inadvertent Phenomenal Forearm after Corbin ducked, and then Styles left instead of helping Rollins, as he got hit with an End of Days. That told the necessary story.

Miz has pulled up a chair right outside Shane McMahon’s dressing room, as he awaits Shane’s arrival.

Sami Zayn is here! He goes on about how the crowd is dumb and bad (correct) and then he gets interrupted by Braun Strowman, who isn’t pleased with him and decides to chase him around the ring and into the back, where he threw Sami into a dumpster which then got put into a garbage truck.

Lucha House Party got a win over some jobbers. Alrighty!

Ricochet is facing Robert Roode, and Ricochet’s Money in the Bank spot is on the line. Stakes!

Chris Novak: It’s obviously nice that they addressed this. They could’ve done it last week, but oh well. The match was fine and Ricochet got his win back. Not a surprising development in the least.

They showed a recap of last week’s events between Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe. Announced was a United States Championship Match between the two of them. Once again, not a surprising development. Mysterio and Dominick were shown backstage, and Mysterio went into his locker room while Dominick walked away. Ominously… Samoa Joe was seen walking behind him. Probably not great news for Dom, if any horror movie ever made suggests.

Joe then is seen with him. I enjoyed the air quotes around “Uncle Eddie.” I almost wish he referenced that storyline. Joe runs him down and says that he needs to send his father a message, and that’s that he will enjoy what he’s going to do at Money in the Bank.

Up next is Lacey Evans, who’s competing in a match. Her opponent is a local talent, and she wanted the entire locker room to come down to ringside. Lord knows why.

Robert O’Neill: Lacey beats a jobber and then calls up Becky Lynch, who comes out swinging! Lacey leaves before Becky can lock in the Dis-Arm-Her.

Chris Novak: I didn’t mind this segment at all. For one, the use of a squash to put Lacey over as a legitimate threat is a good one. Secondly, having her warn and threaten the MITB competitors not to pull a fast one on her was also totally fine with me too. In fact, I think it was an effective way of getting everything in the mix. I know there are people that are going to want more out of the division, but… what more can you get out of this division right now? They did Alexa vs. Naomi last week. Any throw together tag match would’ve gotten the same usual complaints that we get.

Robert O’Neill: The Viking Raiders also beat some jobbers. Oh, wait, those were Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Enough already. You have more than enough good tag teams to get the belt off the comedy act.

Chris Novak: Friend, you need to really calm down. There’s going to be an end to these means. It’s fine. The match was also fine, but obviously dominated by the Raiders, who’ve looked good from the jump. Now that they pinned the champs, I’d expect to see them face off at MITB. Which, hey, I’m okay with it.

Robert O’Neill: This week on Firefly Funhouse, Mercy the Buzzard has something in his box but he’s hiding it from Bray. OH MY GOD HE ATE RAMBLIN’ RABBIT. Bray says it’s okay though. You can be forgiven no matter what happens. In fact, Mercy should be rewarded.

Chris Novak: RIP Ramblin’ Rabbit. Why is this stuff so ridiculous and brilliant each week? I continue to be a huge fan of it all.

Robert O’Neill: Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre are up next in a Wrestlemania rematch. This should be pretty good. I enjoyed their match at Mania quite a bit, aside from the stupid crowd.

Chris Novak: Turns out… it was pretty good! May have been Roman’s best outing since he came back, may have been one of Drew’s best outings in a long time. Really enjoyed this match, well, up until the non-finish at the end (even if it did make sense). Shane McMahon and Elias came down to beat down Reigns. Miz then came by the chase and fend them off. Shane went running, and Miz caught up with him and beat him up with a chair.

All around, very effective stuff here. Hope we get a Miz-Roman tag team match out of this against Shane and Elias. Or something of that ilk.

I have no real comment on the segment between The Usos and The Revival.

Robert O’Neill: I think they could be approaching a feud better between two very good teams but once they finally get in the ring it’ll be fine.

Chris Novak: Lars Sullivan attacked No Way Jose. Why? I don’t know.

Kofi Kingston puts his WWE Championship on the line against Daniel Bryan next. The match was really good. What a surprise, right? There was a pretty tremendous end sequence here, where eventually, Kofi caught him with Trouble in Paradise to retain. This wasn’t quite as great of a match as they had at WrestleMania but, for a lot of reasons, it was never going to eclipse that anyway. Still a very, VERY good match.

Robert O’Neill: That was a really good TV match. Nice to see Bryan back in action.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: Weird show, just from a format perspective. Have no idea what to make of this Wildcard stuff but if they don’t go OD with it, it’ll probably be just okay. But aside from that and some of the weird stuff in the 3rd hour, the work rate here was great and both WrestleMania rematches kicked ass. I’ll give this show a B-.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed more than I didn'’t enjoy, and that’s good enough for me. They still struggle to fill three hours, but having more hits than misses is good. Wildcard, bitches. B

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: Alright, so we’re continuing on this Wildcard Rule stuff, and AJ Styles is back on Smackdown Live for the moment. I’ll try not to get too frustrated about this or anything. I just hope this doesn’t get too out of hand going forward, is really all that I ask. The good thing, I suppose, is that he’s over like rover. Styles talks for a moment until Sami Zayn arrives. So, Sami’s alive after being thrown in a dumpster last night. Good to know.

Zayn and Styles (which also could double as a reference to The X Factor) banter for a bit, until Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods arrive. Kingston wonders what Styles is doing here, and they get a bit contentious. Woods quotes Ice Cube, telling Styles to check himself before he wrecks himself. Kingston ponders what Styles is going to do about it before Sami intervenes. Sami suggests that Kofi not do this because the people aren’t happy for him. He’s caught in a web and also, that he deserves a WWE Championship opportunity instead of AJ.

Kofi and Xavier roast him for how he smells like garbage. And also, Kofi adds that he considers himself a fighting champion and that he’ll defend the title against EITHER Styles or Zayn. He says it doesn’t matter which it is, because he’ll remain as WWE Champion.

Ali vs. Andrade is next.  

Robert O’Neill: That was an awesome opening segment. I like the wild card rule so far. I’m just wondering how they’re gonna keep it fresh every week, but for now it’s good.

Chris Novak: We’ll get ourselves a Triple Threat Match later out of this segment, so that will be a good deal of fun.

Ali-Andrade was a fun but short match, interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton ate some kicks from them both but then hit Ali with a pop-up RKO. Andrade then leapt at him but Orton dropped HIM with an RKO too. So, decent segment here, although I certainly wish we could’ve gotten more time out of Ali-Andrade.

Robert O’Neill: I would be interested in an Ali-Orton feud if Andrade wins the briefcase like I think he’s going to. I think they would work very well together. I liked this match but was fine with how it ended.

Shane McMahon is here to announce the new tag team champions, but first he has to talk about how he’s not a fan of what The Miz has been up to lately. He’s going to emerge from the steal cage at Money in the Bank in victory yet again.

And now it’s time to announce the new tag team champions. It’s… Daniel Bryan and Rowan! But before Bryan and Rowan can accept, The Usos come out! They said instead of Shane just handing the titles to Bryan and Rowan, they should have a match for them, to which Shane agrees.

Chris Novak: Oh, I am all the way here for this one, baby.

Robert O’Neill: The match is, unsurprisingly, absolutely awesome. The Usos are probably the best tag team in WWE history and Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler on the planet, so it all comes together and is beautiful here. Even Rowan was very good! He got the pin with the Iron Claw to get Bryan and Rowan the tag titles.

Chris Novak: God, that match kicked so much ass. One of the better tags of the entire year so far. Rowan looked great! For once!

Robert O’Neill: Shane McMahon has news about the Money In The Bank ladder matches. Before he can get to the point, Miz comes out and attacks him! But the B-Team come out to save Shane, and while Miz is fighting them off, Shane hits Miz with a chair from behind.

Chris Novak: Well… sure. I mean, sure. I don’t know what exactly he was going to announce, but I suppose that’s not the point here. Miz getting beaten down before his ultimate comeuppance works fine with me, as that’s probably going to be the plan.

Robert O’Neill: Mandy and Sonya face off with Ember Moon and Carmella next. This match was… alright. Mandy and Sonya won as Bayley was supposed to be in the match but was removed without explanation.. Perhaps there’s something more to that. Perhaps not. Who knows.

Chris Novak: Mandy gets a big win. Still wondering what happened with Bayley and Charlotte, but that’ll be a mystery I suppose. Paige came out after and said next week, Mandy and Sonya will face Asuka and Kairi. Okay, cool!

Another Aleister Black vignette aired. I’m still wondering where this is headed, but this has all worked well for me so far.

So, the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match proceeded onwards, and it was a doozy. Kingston retained after pinning Sami Zayn after Trouble in Paradise. Kevin Owens got involved, and for a little while, it was between he and Sami after Styles was out of commission for a bit. The match was fire and was, in my view, the best match all week. A good end to this show.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I’ll save more of my comments on this whole Wildcard deal on the podcast this week. But we got some great matches out of this thing. That being said, it’s not without its faults. It didn’t disrupt SmackDown Live too much, but I definitely felt like this show needed some more zip. I’ll give it a B and keep it moving.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley and Charlotte disappearing was weird, but I liked more than I disliked, particularly the main event match. B+

The WWE Top 25: April Edition
WWE

WWE

One-third of the year 2019 has already come and gone. That means it’s time for the April edition of The WWE Top 25!

You know the rules by now around here. But just in case you don’t and you’re new around here, here’s a breakdown on the matter.

As I mentioned, we’re a third of the way through the year. Crazy, right? The cumulative Top 25 is starting to really separate itself from the rest of the pack (I went over this on Thursday on Twitter, actually. If you want to see, click this here link).

We’re going to go through things as we typically do here. But there’s an addition to this post now. Given the fact that there’s just one woman in the cumulative WWE Top 25 right now, I’ve decided to post the WOMEN’S Top 25 as well. Women’s wrestling is an incredibly hot topic of discussion all the time, of course, and so I figured that it would be fair to showcase the women of WWE right now and where they currently stand amongst each other. So that will be down past the April Top 25, right before the cumulative WWE Top 25.


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (APRIL)

1. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
2. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Oney Lorcan (205 Live, 4/16, ****)
4. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 4/23, ****)
5. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (Raw, 4/22, ****)
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 4/24, ***¾)
7. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Live, 4/30, ***¾)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane (NXT, 4/17, ***¾)
9. Andrade vs. Finn Balor (Raw, 4/15, ***½)
10. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn (Raw, 4/8, ***½)

TOP 10 MATCHES (APRIL)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
3. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
4. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
5. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
6. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¼)
7. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania, 4/7, ****)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****)
9. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper (Worlds Collide, 4/14, ****)
10. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
9. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22, ****¼)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
4. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
10. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)


WWE TOP 25 (APRIL)

1. Ricochet (37.625)
2. Aleister Black (31.375)
3. Kofi Kingston (31)
4. Finn Balor (22.75)
5. Baron Corbin (20.5)
6. Drew McIntyre (20)
T7. The War/Viking Raiders (19.125)
9. Cesaro (19)
10. Bayley (18.25)
11. Shinsuke Nakamura (16.25)
12. The Velveteen Dream (16.125)
T13. The Revival, Seth Rollins (16)
16. Kairi Sane (15.25)
17. Daniel Bryan (15)
18. AJ Styles (14.5)
19. Andrade (14)
T20. The Usos (13.5)
22. Roman Reigns (13.25)
23. Mustafa Ali (13)
T24. Johnny Gargano, Rusev, Sheamus (12.75)

The compilers really stood out this month. Ricochet and Aleister Black may have performed well as always, but they were certainly aided by just how much they worked this month. Ricochet wrestled in nine matches and built up a big lead, and continued his stay at the top of the list. The two of them were followed by the group of Kofi Kingston, Finn Balor and… yes, you read it right: Baron Corbin.

Corbin was another case of being a compiler, and at some point, whether we like it or not, he was going to find his way up to the top in one of these monthly lists at some point. Nevertheless, he’s put in decent work and was able to bounce up. That’s just how it goes sometimes here.

The highest-ranked woman in the rankings once again was Bayley. While she might not be tagging with her best friend anymore (who’s gone at the moment anyways) The Hugger is still putting in serious work. She had some terrific matches, if you couldn’t tell by how she was featured in two of the best TV matches of the month. She’s really having an extremely great 2019, and should certainly be recognized for her efforts. The only other woman to make the cut? Kairi Sane, who got a main roster bump. She’s going to probably need to do some heavy lifting if she wants to pick up ground in the cumulative edition, but she’s certainly in a very good spot right now.

Tag teams kind of ruled the day here, as well. A slew of them were featured in this list. The Revival, The War Raiders, The Bar and The Usos were all in the mix this month. I suppose if you count Aleister and Ricochet, they count too, as do Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Who says tag team wrestling is a dying art?

We had a tie for the final spots between Rusev, Sheamus and Johnny Gargano. And man, it was close. A difference of just 0.5 points separated these three from the others who just missed, who by the way were… another tag team: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.

Now, let’s talk about the women, shall we?


WOMEN’S TOP 25 (2019)

1. Bayley (50.25)
2. Sasha Banks (34.5)
3. Becky Lynch (32)
4. Nia Jax (29.25)
5. Charlotte Flair (26.5)
6. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
7. Bianca Belair (25)
8. Asuka (24.5)
9. Mandy Rose (22.25)
T10. Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan (20)
12. Nikki Cross (19.75)
13. Tamina (19.5)
T14. Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler (18.5)
16. Peyton Royce (17.75)
17. Sonya Deville (17)
T18. Naomi, Ruby Riott (16.75)
T20. Carmella, Liv Morgan (16.5)
22. Natalya (16)
23. Billie Kay (14.75)
24. Toni Storm (14.5)
25. Alexa Bliss (13)

So… bit of a significant gap, huh?

There’s a lot that plays into that. For one, Bayley has worked 18 matches that have made tap this year. Second place in that department is Sasha Banks, who’s worked 14. Sasha, of course, hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania. Going down the ladder, third place among the women in that department is Ronda Rousey. Rousey hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania, and we don’t know the next time that she’s going to wrestle either. Tied for fourth are Billie Kay, Ruby Riott and Peyton Royce. And, well, you see where they are with their workload this year.

Becky Lynch has worked 11 matches this year, which is tied with Nia Jax and Sarah Logan. Becky has the highest score, but she’s had a lot of variability. Nia is the same way, but Jax has another problem facing her: An injury that’s going to doubt keep her on the shelf for a very long time. Logan has competed just a few times this month, but also hasn’t been seen since The Riott Squad’s last hurrah on the Shield Last Chapter WWE Network special. She, like many others among the women this year, has had a LOT of variance, though not all of it is her fault.

When you consider these factors, it’s no surprise that Bayley finds herself where she is. She has a four-match advantage over second place, and we don’t know the next time Banks will compete. The superstar in third won’t be working again this year, it seems, and the middle of the pack are well behind the pace and have had too much variance. Bayley, meanwhile, has made the absolute most out of anything. She’s having a superb year, and it ought to be recognized as such.

I know that there’s some bias here, but if you oppose that thought, as you look at this, ask yourself who’s made the most out of their opportunities? I can make the case for Charlotte Flair for that department. However, Charlotte has wrestled just nine times this year. And she would’ve needed to have a ridiculous output each time. Because of some TV matches on Raw, that probably precluded her from doing so.

Anyhow, the rest of the Top 25 is interesting, is it not? Everyone is within only a couple of points of each other. Some opportunities that may await these ladies could result in some tremendous showcases. I’m particularly fascinated to see what happens next. Money in the Bank could be a big shift for a lot of these ladies in one direction or another. It could result in some fun movement in the month of May. A majority of this Top 25 will be competing at the event in fact, as well as a couple others who don’t find themselves here. Watch the space for Alexa Bliss also, as they may be about to go full throttle with her very soon. Also, look for Kairi Sane to go up the board, as she’s currently tied for 10th and about to get some main roster growth.

Plus, the group of NXTers all look to have big TV matches coming their way. If they hit on them, that could catapult them up the list. Bianca, for instance, could work her way near the Top 5, and Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai could touch the Top 10 if they get the ball and run with it.

Stay tuned!

Anyways, let’s get to the cumulative Top 25 now, shall we?


WWE TOP 25 (2019)

25. Dean Ambrose
Points: 37.75 | Last Month: 11
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: 6 Tag, Shield’s Last Chapter

Au revoir to Dean Ambrose, who finishes his WWE career at 25th in the WWE Top 25. You likely won’t see him come near this chart again, so relish this moment! Dean competed in just one aired match this month, a six-man tag with his Shield mates against Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. It was quite a way for him to go out, and he had a very good showing this year, having been in the Top 25 for the entirety of the year. Godspeed, Dean, and best of luck in the death matches that likely now await you.

24. Dash Wilder
Points: 38.75 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 16 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet, Raw 4/1

At some point or another, Dash Wilder and his tag team partner were going to get into the WWE Top 25. And as they continue to work nearly every week of the year, that now holds true. Dash gets in at 24th after a pretty solid month of April that saw he and his partner gain 16 points. Given that they’re going to now be feuding with The Usos, I’d expect them to continue to ascend up the ladder here in these rankings, as well as The Usos, really, as those two teams are definitely capable of making magic happen in the ring.

23. Shinsuke Nakamura
Points: 39 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania 4/7

While he’s gained (and perhaps earned) a reputation for coasting, Shinsuke Nakamura is in the midst of a rock solid 2019. Nakamura’s entered the WWE Top 25 after a strong April, earning 16.25 points in the process. That was good for 9th place in the April rankings, so needless to say he’s making a strong pitch to be among the best of the best right now. Nak is playing a very good role on SmackDown in the mid-card, and that might be where we see him stay going forward. If that’s the case, expect him to continue to be a player in this spot.

T21. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson
Points: 39.25 | Last Month: N/A (Both)
Matches in 2019: 20 (Corbin) / 17 (Dawson)

Ah, the case of Baron Corbin. Corbin is regularly panned for not being too great, and based on match ratings that I’ve given him… it’s hard to disagree with that notion. Just six of the matches that I’ve graded of his got ***½ or above, one of them being the Royal Rumble match, of course. And half of them were given ** or less.

But, when you work 20 matches on the year, it’s going to eventually become hard to deny you a spot here. So, he’s finally made his way into the mix. Whether or not he accelerates that jump will be dependent on his workload and how well he does going forward.

As for Scott Dawson? He’s ahead of Dash Wilder just because of the match at the Royal Rumble. No, seriously. That’s it. That’s the reason for the discrepancy.

20. Adam Cole
Points: 39.5 | Last Month: 19
Matches in 2019: 9 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Johnny Gargano, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY 4/6

Adam Cole made a nine-point jump from where he was last month… and fell down one spot in the rankings. Cold world? Cold world. Cole had a great showing in the ⅔ Falls Match against Johnny Gargano in the main event of TakeOver: New York. That match gave him nine points, but that was all that he did this month. Perhaps May will be a bit kinder to Adam Cole (bay bay) but he unfortunately is the victim of workload, or in his case, a lack thereof.

19. Cedric Alexander
Points: 40.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Oney Lorcan, 205 Live, 4/16

Cedric Alexander takes a bit of a slide this month after working just two matches in the month of April. He gained seven points, but still managed to slip behind some other wrestlers who worked a bit more than him. Ceddy should be able to see that workload increase on the Raw brand, but it also depends on how they use him and if they do at all. He worked a fun match with Cesaro two weeks ago, but wasn’t mentioned or heard from on this past week’s episode. So, we truly don’t know what lies ahead for him. But he’s still having a very, very good year.

18. Mustafa Ali
Points: 42.375 | Last Month: 21
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, SmackDown Live, 4/16

After earning 13 points in the month of April, TAFKA Mustafa Ali leaps up three spots to the 18th spot in the WWE Top 25. Ali had quite a few solid outings in TV matches in April, getting plenty of opportunities along the way. He worked five matches, with four of them getting at least three stars. That kind of output will certainly help him out going forward, as he could be a steady riser as long as the work comes his way. He’ll be in the MITB Ladder Match, which should serve as a very good spot for him to dazzle in the middle of May.

17. Bobby Lashley
Points: 43.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, WrestleMania, 4/7

Lashley had a solid month of April, but fell five spots down to 17th. The All Mighty has put together a very good 2019 campaign so far, but certainly could use a bit more workload to help him out. 15 matches puts him around the top of the leaderboard in that category, but there are still quite a few people who’ve beaten him out. With more work, he could very well ascend up the charts after the month of May. But right now, he’s not booked for MITB. So we shall see what happens with him going forward.

16. Tyler Bate
Points: 44.25 | Last Month: 9
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Trent Seven vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews, NXT UK, 4/24

Tyler Bate had been a bit of a workhorse through the first three months of the year. But after seeing his workload cut down by more than a couple of pegs, he’s fallen out of the Top 10 down to 16th. Granted, it’s still a very comfy spot to be in, but it’s certainly not Top 10 or hovering around it as he’s done most of the year. He’s still been one of the brightest spots of the NXT UK brand, and that should still remain true as the year progresses. Especially since he continues to get in good work in all the Worlds Collide events, too.

15. Sheamus
Points: 45.5 | Last Month: 16
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

It’s a wonder if we’ve seen the last of The Celtic Warrior in WWE. Sheamus’ injuries have mounted up and he hasn’t competed since after WrestleMania. The move for his tag team partner over to Raw might be an indication of what’s to come. If that’s indeed the case, it’s an unfortunate end to one of the strongest runs in recent memory. Sheamus finished this month at 15th after a strong showing, going up one spot from 16th last month.

14. The Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Matt Riddle, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Everything that The Velveteen Dream touches these days turns to gold. Dream worked two matches in the month of April and they were among the best of the entire month. His match with Matt Riddle at TakeOver: New York was an incredible showing for both superstars, and it’s really hard, honestly, to pick just who shined the most. Then, Dream decided to have a banger of a North American Championship defense against Buddy Murphy on NXT TV, which proved to be the best TV match of the month of April. It’s a shame that Dream doesn’t get to wrestle more, but at this point, he’s appointment television every time he does. And while he’s 14th in the WWE Top 25, he’s easily among the elite right now.

13. Samoa Joe
Points: 48.5 | Last Month: 10
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Raw, 4/22

Samoa Joe’s strong 2019 continued with another standout showing in the month of April. The incumbent United States Champion may not have had a stellar WrestleMania match -- he squashed Rey Mysterio in just a few minutes -- but still compiled enough points to sit 13th. That’s 3 spots down from 10th, but a strong month of May could catapult him right back into the Top 10. He might not be the worker he once was, but the man is still getting it done right now.

12. Seth Rollins
Points: 49 | Last Month: 15
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania, 4/7

The new Universal Champion takes a three spot bump up to 12th in this month’s WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins hasn’t hit his extra gear yet in 2019, but we imagine that will soon change. Now that he’s got the workload of a champ, and seems to be healthy again, Rollins should be able to get back in the Top 10 in no time at this rate. Rollins is just a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, and could very well eclipse it with merely one match as long as it hits. Given this prior history, there’s no reason he can’t jump up to that level. It wouldn’t surprise many if he got back into that position quickly.

11. Cesaro
Points: 49.25 | Last Month: 20
Matches in 2019: 17 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

Cesaro is a big mover in this month’s Top 25, as The Swiss Cyborg jumps up all the way to 11th. He was merely a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, missing out by a hair or two. Away from Sheamus on Raw now, we’ll see if a new landscape and environment can help Cesaro wrestle his way into the Top 10. There’s no denying that he’s one of the best on the planet when he’s on. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him as a singles competitor, and expect him to remind everybody of what he can do. His tag efforts with Sheamus certainly helped supplant him in this spot, and there may be nowhere to go but up from here.

10. Rey Mysterio
Points: 49.875 | Last Month: 7
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Raw, 4/22

Rey Mysterio nearly dropped out of the Top 10 this month, but managed to hang on for dear life after this past week’s Raw. Mysterio was likely aided by the fact that the aforementioned Cesaro AND Seth Rollins didn’t compete. Otherwise, he may have fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time all year. Mysterio has proven to be among the greatest again this year, and April was no different. While his Mania match was short, Mysterio still made the most of his other in-ring opportunities. He dazzled in a Triple Threat Match featuring AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, and looks to still be feuding with Joe over the US Title. That match could very well help both of them, so keep your eye on Rey as the month of May progresses.

9. Bayley
Points: 50.25 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 18 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Charlotte Flair, SmackDown Live, 4/23

We’ve gone over this already… but Bayley is very clearly the workhorse of the women’s division this year. It’s completely and totally obvious that they see a lot in her, as she’s worked more matches than anybody in the entire division. She’s made the most of just about every opportunity that she’s had. Shifting back to a singles competitor hasn’t seen her miss a beat yet. She worked three singles matches this month, and all of them got 3 stars or better, including a 4-star banger against Charlotte Flair on SmackDown Live two weeks ago. We’ve already gone over this… but Bayley certainly deserves your respect this year.

8. Johnny Gargano
Points: 54.875 | Last Month: 6
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Adam Cole, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Johnny Gargano dropped down to 8th place this month. But, despite the small drop, he’s very clearly still among the elite. Gargano finally became NXT Champion in a dazzling match against Adam Cole at TakeOver. He competed in a match against Roderick Strong on NXT TV, a match that likely helped keep him in the Top 10 this month. The problem hasn’t ever really been workload for him, because he excels in just about every single match he’s had this year. Seth Rollins is the only other superstar in the Top 25 who hasn’t had a match between 2-2 ¾ stars this year. Pretty good company to be in, we’d say.

7. Andrade
Points: 56.625 | Last Month: 5
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, Raw, 4/15

Andrade has stayed in the Top 10 despite a relatively “quiet” month of April. He fell down to 7th, but is still obviously one of the best that the company has to offer. He may very well be gaining more steam as Money in the Bank approaches. And that event could serve as a total launching pad for him going forward. As long as he keeps getting opportunities, it’s likely that he’s going to make the most of all of them. You can’t help but be in awe of him every time he’s in the ring, and so far, the math would agree that he’s one of the best of the best.

6. Drew McIntyre
Points: 58.5 | Last Month: 8
Matches in 2019: 21 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Baron Corbin, The Miz, Raw, 4/22

The last two months for Drew McIntyre have been torrid to say the least. After finishing 8th last month, Drew has ascended up to 6th in this month’s WWE Top 25. He fell just 0.25 points shy of the 5th spot, as he’s certainly getting the job done while called upon. Quantity may certainly be helping him out a bunch, as he’s had 21 matches in 2019, fourth-most in the entire company. But he’s definitely had the ball rolling for a bit, and with the focus still on him, that shouldn’t change for a while.

5. Kofi Kingston
Points: 58.75 | Last Month: 23
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania, 4/7

Kofi Kingston’s rise up to 5th from 23rd was mostly due to his shining performance at WrestleMania. He and Daniel Bryan produced what is the only five-star match of the entire year so far in my humble opinion. The incumbent WWE Champion has always been a very solid worker, but 2019 is looking particularly great for him. Now entrenched in a feud with Kevin Owens, Kingston should see his standing stay pretty steady going forward as the top dog on the blue brand.

4. Daniel Bryan
Points: 61.375 | Last Month: 4
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Kofi Kingston, WrestleMania, 4/7

Daniel Bryan worked just one match this month… and still managed to stay steady at the 4th position in the WWE Top 25. Bryan’s five-star bout with the aforementioned Kofi Kingston earned he and Kingston 15 points, as they stand as the only recipients of that honor to this point in the year. Bryan’s been banged up, but with him reportedly being cleared, he should be able to get back in the ring soon enough. When he does, expect him to continually remind you why he is one of the best of all time and the greatest of this generation.

3. Finn Balor
Points: 74.75 | Last Month: 3
Matches in 2019: 23 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Andrade, Raw, 4/15

A shift in brands hasn’t deterred Finn Balor at all. Balor is at 3rd once again in this month’s WWE Top 25 after another consistent effort in April. Finn, like everyone else, will need to pick up a lot of ground on #1 and #2 here. But he also has a 13+ point edge on 4th place. And that standing probably won’t change, unless someone below him goes on an absolutely torrid run themselves. So Finn is still very comfortable here, and the Intercontinental Champion likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

2. Aleister Black
Points: 90.125 | Last Month: 2
Matches in 2019: 24 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Ricochet vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Aleister Black sits #2 yet again in this month’s WWE Top 25. That heavy workload that he and Ricochet were on for a while seems to be slowing down significantly. But that didn’t stop him from still remaining at 2nd in this month’s edition of the rankings. Black had a great match against The War Raiders with his tag team partner at TakeOver: New York, which absolutely helped his cause. So did, you know, working every single WWE event that weekend. As we said, that workload will be slowing down. And I’m not sure if he’s going to be caught. But Black should still be able to excel in the spots that he’s in.

1. Ricochet
Points: 108 | Last Month: 1
Matches in 2019: 27 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Aleister Black vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Yet again, The One and Only is THE #1 in the WWE Top 25. Ricochet’s workload was still very heavy this month, working nine matches throughout April across all three brands. He’s likely done working a rather ridiculous pace, but obviously he has a heavy edge on everyone else in that department. Either there’s going to be some kind of curve, or Ricochet will just continue to lap the entire field. What will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I certainly didn’t expect this after he worked ONE match in January, but he’s just doing extraordinary things right now. He’s certainly deserving of this spot, and no one seems to be particularly close from ripping it away from him.

Ruthless Aggression - Lio Rush is Wylin

Patrick Pryor of the Scheduled for One Fall podcast joins us to discuss the Lio Rush controversy backstage, his comments and Mark Henry's statements that Lio lied to his face. Pat kicks around to talk Booker T's comments on Sasha Banks' hiatus. Plus, 'Buy or Sell', and the week that was in 2003!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 518
Smackdown 193

Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @_PatrickPryor

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This Week in WWE: Money in the Bank becomes much, much clearer
Raw logo.png

Robert O’Neill: We open Raw with a bang as Alexa Bliss is here to tell us who will be in the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank matches!

Chris Novak: So the men’s participants wind up being Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Ricochet. Allow me to take a little issue here. On one hand, I understand why these guys are in. On the other hand, I have no idea why these guys are in. Ricochet is fine. He’s the least of my gripes here. He’ll do some awesome aerial acrobatics that will make everyone’s heads turn. And I guess I understand Drew being in it as well, as they’re intent on heating him up. But can we please move on at some point?

Every other division seems to be intent on trying to move on from the past except upper card on Raw. I don’t get why some of the new blood on the show couldn’t be in this match. Which begs the question of why a lot of these guys stayed on Raw in the first place. It’s not that I think the match is going to be bad, because it’s not. It’s just the fact that I think they could’ve been better served by putting some fresher names in this match.

Anyways we got a tag team match afterwards. It was fine. The babyfaces won. Good stuff here, I suppose. Good stuff. But again, my rant still holds true.

Robert O’Neill: I think your rant really summed it up for me. We don’t need Braun/Corbin/Drew still around the top. Let others be in it and shine. You can elevate them even if they don’t win. The tag match was pretty enjoyable though.

Chris Novak: The Usos are out next. They’re facing The Good Brothers, who are now apparently on Raw I guess? The Shakeup ended two weeks ago, guys. Don’t know why this movement is still continuing here. The Usos won the match, which lasted about 10 minutes. Naturally, it was pretty good.

Robert O’Neill: Well, that was fun. It’s two good tag teams. Perhaps The Good Brothers can be used more or perhaps they can realign with AJ Styles again at some point or something. I don’t know. They’re leaving soon apparently.

Chris Novak: Afterwards they played a video of Dash and Dawson shaving each other’s backs in the bathroom. Okay? I guess? I have no idea what the point of this all is, but sure? This is going to lead to good matches at least, but this is a weird way to contrive all of that.

Robert O’Neill: There are so many directions they can take, and this is the one they choose. That’s wild.

Chris Novak: MizTV with Bobby Lashley and not, conspicuous by his absence, Lio Rush. Hey, remember how 10+ years ago these two were on the same brand? Weird, but true! For some reason, Bobby Lashley was talking about himself in 3rd person. Lashley made fun of Miz’s dad, and that spins itself into a match.

This was a quick one. Shane McMahon interfered on more than one occasion and Miz lost. Shane got in a beatdown after the match and choked Miz out. I guess we’re intent on keeping this feud going. Sure. Sure… sure.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is feuding with two future hall of famers at the same time in Miz and Roman. HIS POWER.

Chris Novak: The Viking Raiders pretty much squashed Gran Metalik and Kalisto. They’re not surprisingly getting over right now because they’re gigantic ass kickers. I want more out of these guys going forward, and hopefully they proceed with that.

Robert O’Neill: That’s fine with me. Keep building them up.

Chris Novak: Our second edition of A Moment of Bliss of the night goes down, as we find out who the Raw Women’s MITB competitors are. They are NATALYA... DANA BROOKE… NAOMI… and, of course, ALEXA BLISS.

Such is life right now with Raw. I can understand and rationalize every pick here. Dana might be a wild card here, but it’s cool, I suppose, that they’re giving her a PPV check and an opportunity. Ideally you would’ve liked to have seen Ruby Riott be in it, but I’d rather they flesh her out again as she’s probably going to be on her own.

Alexa and Naomi get in some verbal jousts after AMOB, and that leads to a match. The match was… completely fine and inoffensive. Naomi beat Alexa, which is the norm, pretty much, as she pretty much has owned her from Day 1 (one of the only to do so). My only advice for Bliss after this match? Invest in Nikes! They won’t let you down like your Converses did.

Robert O’Neill: I’m fine with the participants. I think it could make someone like Dana look good but the winner should probably be someone like Bayley. The match was fine.

Chris Novak: Another WILD ass Firefly Fun House vignette aired in between here. And I mean wild. This stuff is just hilarious and is, arguably, the best part of Raw. Whatever that says about the brand right now… well, yeah.

Robert O’Neill: I’m sold. These are awesome.

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio got interviewed backstage by Chuck Caruso. His son Dominick is here too! Mysterio said he’s ready to get back up after being knocked down the past few weeks.

Becky Lynch got into a war of words with Lacey Evans. Long story short, Becky wants to go double duty because this eventually led to a big pull-apart brawl between the two of them. Which, to be honest, was one of the highlights of the show. Loved this segment, quite frankly.

Robert O’Neill: This was great. Becky brought the fire and shied away from some of the other stuff she’s been doing on the mic lately. Really looking forward to this match.  

Chris Novak: The Revival lost to Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder again. Rob is probably mad about this.

Robert O’Neill: I’m mad because it’s stupid. They have a good tag division now and they’re gonna keep having the belts on the comedy act. I don’t get it.

Chris Novak: Sami Zayn cut another one of his promos, dragging the fans. I wonder what this is eventually going to lead to. At some point, I mean, as entertaining as it is, SOMEONE has to interrupt him and inject themselves into this, right?

Robert O’Neill: I would imagine, but I have no idea who!

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe, which means he’ll probably get another United States Championship opportunity. Probably at MITB, since they’re both not booked for it. Or it’ll happen next week or something! Who knows? Who’s to say?

Robert O’Neill: It’s neat that they’re bringing Dominic back in the fold, though. That was clearly the direction during Wrestlemania if Rey didn’t get hurt. This match was pretty good for two old guys who aren’t quite what they used to be.

Chris Novak: AJ Styles and Seth Rollins are here to sign the contract for their MITB Universal Championship match. As far as contract signings go, this was pretty run of the mill. Brawl at the end of it and all. I’m still predicting Styles is going to turn at some point in this feud, and this interaction did nothing to change my position on that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: This was a… fine show that was bogged down just by some weird decision making. The choices to keep certain wrestlers on this brand and not send them for others seems to be hurting this brand right now. They could certainly use some more depth and some repositioning for some people. All in all though, this show was… fine. C+ worthy, as there were no real standout matches or anything, but it wasn’t the worst show either.

Robert O’Neill: This is the first Raw in a while that I didn’t enjoy. Some of the matches were good, but the segments were kinda bad and pointless. There’s nowhere to go but up on the road to Money in the Bank, and it wasn’t as bad as some Raws from last fall, so I’ll give it a C.

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: The road to Money in the Bank continues in Columbus. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley for the first time EVER in WWE proper is set to happen tonight, which should no doubt be a lot of fun.

Robert O’Neill: But first, Kofi Kingston is here! He’s in seemingly high spirits despite Kevin Owens turning on him last week.

Chris Novak: Some (looks at J.R.) might critique that but it fits him, no? It fits the gimmick? I don’t mind it. Kofi’s here with Michael Cole, who’s interviewing him in the ring. Cole being here to portray a level of seriousness is a good move.

Robert O’Neill: Kofi and Cole are talking about Kofi finally winning the title, but now he has a big target on his back, and Kevin Owens came at him. Kofi said if Owens wanted to challenge him, all he had to do is ask. Kofi would have given him the opportunity. Owens is out now and says it’s great that he got his moment, but moments are fleeting. But Xavier Woods comes out from behind and attacks Owens!

Chris Novak: An effective segment to be sure here. I feel like they could’ve done this a while back and still been fine? But better late than never, I suppose. I suspect we’ll get Owens vs. Woods later on in the show.

It’s now time for Becky Lynch vs. Bayley. This should be a doozy. Hey, surprisingly enough this match was really good. Becky got the win over Bayley after she maneuvered her way out of the Elbow Drop, and then put Bayley in the Dis-Arm-Her. Becky and Bayley then both got attacked by Charlotte Flair afterwards. All in all, terrific couple segments here between the match and the post-match beatdown. You have to set up the post-Becky Lynch life on SDL, and you get the sense that that’s exactly what’s going to be the case here.

Robert O’Neill: Yup. I’m sure plenty of people are mad about Bayley losing to Becky and Charlotte in back to back weeks, but in the big picture, they’re positioning her to be in a big program over the summer and that’s good news for us all.

Chris Novak: Another Aleister Black vignette aired. Not sure where all this is going but, we’ll see!

The Hardys are here, but not for good reason. Jeff is on crutches and they’re addressing their future as Tag Team Champions. It seems inevitable that they’re going to drop them, but we’ll see what happens.

Sure enough, that’s what happened. They’re blaming Jeff’s injury on Lars Sullivan. Which, like Lars or not, is a smart and savvy move for them to give him heat and gain sympathy for The Hardys. Lars then comes on out afterwards, and Matt’s ready to fight him. Lars throws Matt out of the ring, Lars goes after Jeff but Lars beats Matt up as he looked to save his brother. Jeff still wanted to fight, even as he hopped on crutches. R-Truth then came in with a chair to the back, but Lars was unaffected. Truth kept fighting on but he was planted down as well.

Robert O’Neill: Asuka and Kairi defeat a couple jobbers as Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are on commentary. That got the job done, because The IIconics are very entertaining.

Chris Novak: The IIconics are hilarious. End of story.

Mandy and Sonya banter backstage about who should be in MITB between the two of them. Eventually, Sonya tells Mandy that it should be her, so she’s going to be in the match. Hey, that’s fine with me.

Big Dog’s coming and he’s coming up next. But first, we learn that Finn Balor, Ali, Andrade and Randy Orton are going to be in the men’s MITB Ladder Match. Before the night’s over, we’re going to get Finn and Ali vs. Orton and Andrade in a tag match. Sounds very, VERY good to me to be honest.

Robert O’Neill: Roman is here to explain himself. Naturally, Shane McMahon comes out! And while Shane would love to fight Roman tonight, he’s not going to do that. Instead The B Team will both be taking on Roman and Elias will be the “special guest referee enforcer”. Alright then! Away we go.

Chris Novak: That match was super overbooked fun nonsense. Reigns won after hitting Curtis Axel with the Spear. Bit of a throwback type match, as I’d probably predict that type of thing to happen more in the year 2000 than now. Reigns looked REALLY sharp in this one, and I have to give it up to Axel and Dallas for playing their roles well here. Good stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Strong Bruce Prichard vibes on that one. All hail.

It’s time for the main event!

Chris Novak: Ali and Finn won after Ali got the pin. Match was really fun! Though that’s not surprising. A couple blows were traded after the matchup. Really looking forward to the SmackDown side of MITB, to be perfectly honest. Really digging this match on the whole, aside from the Baron and Braun factor. But that’s to be expected, really.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, the MITB match should be a real hoot like usual. After the match, we see the final two Women’s MITB participants get revealed: Ember Moon and Carmella.

Chris Novak: The KO Show with Xavier Woods is next. Well it IS with Xavier Woods but… an ACTION FIGURE of Xavier Woods. An action figure of Big E also made an appearance. Eventually, Kofi came out and beat the holy hell out of Owens on the outside. But Owens eventually got the upper hand momentarily, before Kingston threw him over the announce table. Owens scurried away and Kingston, still in the ring, taunted him. A real good show of fire on his behalf here.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Well, Smackdown was good again! It wasn’t great like it has been, but it was very good. Everything served a purpose and the road to MITB is looking good. Excited for next week. B

Chris Novak: Good show, not a great show. Going to give this a B as well. They did all they needed to do here to keep my attention. All I can ask for really.

Ruthless Aggression - Backlash '03

Pierce is out, so Chris and Rob go back to Backlash ‘03 and review the WWE debut of Goldberg vs. The Rock! Plus the Shake-up continues, KO does the inevitable, and so much more.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 517
Smackdown 193
Backlash 2003

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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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!
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First Black Champ - @LioRush Hit Up #FirstBlackChamp

We back on that black ish again! But when do we ever stop? We talk Jim Ross's thoughts on Kofi needing to be "more serious" WWE Champion. Then we give a bunch of great examples of other champions who had just as much fun and entertained but were all business in the ring. Then we answer and expound on the "Is Kofi Box Office?" question from Jonathan Hood.

We close talking about Lio Rush responding to the "Backstage Heat" allegations, identify and speak our peace! More black understanding and conversation elevation on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow Cam on Twitter: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang on Twitter: @jrbang

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

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!
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This Week in WWE: The Phenomenal One rises again, KO's old habits die hard
Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: The first Raw after the Superstar Shakeup looks positively loaded, with WWE having announced a pair of triple threat matches to decide the #1 contender for Seth Rollins’ title:

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (who is on Raw now, more on that in a moment) vs. Rey Mysterio in one, and Miz vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin in the other.

Additionally, Cesaro (who is also on Raw now) will be facing Cedric Alexander and Becky Lynch will face Alicia Fox.

As noted, Samoa Joe and Cesaro are on Raw now. Andrade, Zelina Vega, and Aleister Black are on Smackdown.

Chris Novak: The show, officially, is starting up with Triple H. Not sure what The Game has to say/what’s on his mind, but we’ll soon see. Before he even gets started, Seth Rollins, who’s from iowa in case you didn’t know, comes out. Seth touts up the fact that he’s home, which naturally garners a loud reception. Triple H touts up his victory and points out how the landscape has changed and that he’s now the measuring stick. Rollins says he’s fine with everyone gunning for him though.

Robert O’Neill: Samoa Joe comes out and says that Becky Lynch is onto something with the double champion concept and he would like to be a double champion as well! Then Rey Mysterio comes out and says that he wants to face Seth! Then Drew McIntyre tells them it doesn’t matter what they think or what the people think, and the only reason Seth is champion is because he got to Brock first. Miz says that he’s faced Rollins before, but he’s a different man now and wants to do it again.

Chris Novak: This is pretty much your basic, stock revolving door promo. Baron Corbin comes out and says he’s the most deserving man to challenge Seth. He points out that he retired a legend at WrestleMania. AJ Styles comes on out, last but not least, of course. Styles says, of course, that he intends on winning and showing why SmackDown was the house that AJ Styles built. Seth then says he’s up for the task and will burn it down, yada yada, and now we’re on to our first Triple Threat Match -- AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe.

Robert O’Neill: What a damn match. These three guys are all over 40 and had one of the best TV matches of the year. Samoa Joe did a super double backdrop, and AJ Styles got the win after taking down Joe, then Styles Clashing Mysterio on top of him. That was incredible.

Chris Novak: It certainly was great.

Now we’re getting Naomi vs. Billie Kay. Last week, Naomi got the pin for the win last week in a tag team match featuring new SmackDown superstar, Bayley. Now, Naomi’s on her own. What ever will she do now? Well, for Naomi’s sake, hopefully defeat Billie Kay.

She defeated Billie Kay with a sunset flip. The match was… very short.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that seems like it could have been a bit longer!

Chris Novak: They ran another Bray Wyatt vignette.

Triple Threat Match #2 is about to start. Unsurprisingly, this winds up being a pretty great match too. Drew showed out big time, and so did Miz. Corbin played his role pretty well here too. Lot of great near falls towards the end of this one. Corbin won after McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick on Miz. He snuck in, sent Mac flying and got the pin. Honestly, a pretty smartly booked finish. I don’t love the prospect of Corbin-Rollins at all, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Robert O’Neill: Sami Zayn is here! He’s telling everyone the truth about themselves, and accuses everyone of being in denial, then starts showing everyone all the vacations he took over the past 10 months and how happy he was. And now he’s not happy because the WWE structure sucks and the people around him suck and Des Moines sucks. He closes by saying everyone should take a trip… to hell!

Chris Novak: As usual, a legitimately funny promo again from Sami.

Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro is NEXT!

Turned out to be a pretty solid match, honestly. Cesaro picked up the win after destroying Cedric with an uppercut. Ceddy got some good offense in but, in the end, it was Cesaro who prevailed. Dug this entirely, to be perfectly honest.

Robert O’Neill: The newly-named Viking Raiders demolished Lucha House Party. Alright then!

Becky Lynch is here now. She’s not pleased with Lacey Evans, and was kind of problematic about it. So here’s Lacey now, and she’s naturally not pleased with Becky and wants her to know to be on high alert at Money In The Bank. That was effective but, again, kind of not great on Becky’s end.

Chris Novak: I don’t think you can say “kind of.” She was problematic. Don’t care for the direction here and, quite frankly, don’t care much for the promo battle in general.

Becky’s now facing Alicia Fox. I can give you a few guesses to how this match will go. It actually went… a bit differently than I expected. Even though Becky win, it certainly went longer than I expected it would. Nevertheless, she won, and Lacey Evans came in and hit her with The Women’s Right two times.

Robert O’Neill: That match went a bit long but it worked out in the end.

Ricochet is here now for a match with Robert Roode. He has a mustache now and his name is Robert.

Chris Novak: Hey, it’s a throwback to Robert Roode Inc. He also just has a stache now so he looks like Rick Rude. Is that what they’re trying to play off of? Who’s to really say?

This match went… fine. I guess. I think I’m suddenly remembering why Roode as a singles guy got really old really quickly. It’s not that this is bad. It’s just not very high-energy. The Des Moines crowd doesn’t particularly help matters, either. Also… very surprising result in that Roode beat Ricochet. That’s the… first loss that I can remember Ricochet having in a while.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed the match. Bob Roode is the Iowa of wrestlers, so they should have liked it more.

BRAY WYATT IS A CHILDREN’S HOST NOW.

Chris Novak: God damn that vignette was awesome hahaha. Time for Styles-Corbin.

A Moment of Bliss is set to take place next week, in which Alexa will be announcing the Raw side of things. Sure do wonder if she’s going to announce herself as one of the participants (she’s probably going to).

Okay! That was a SURPRISING result (in a good way!). AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin with the Phenomenal Forearm. Match was pretty solid. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty intrigued

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, they got me I thought Corbin was going to win and everyone online was going to be very mad about it. This was a nice surprise.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Just like every week, I enjoyed Raw and found myself entertained throughout. This is where it gets difficult to assign a letter grade because if you compare it to the fall when the show was actually awful, it’s night and day. Every show obviously isn’t an A+, but when most things hit and I’m not bored or displeased by everything, it deserves an A-

Chris Novak: I’m going to give this show a B. It was not nearly as bad as people thought it was going to be, and helped to set some pieces for future development. I look forward to seeing who’s going to be in MITB next week during AMOB. The in-ring action was pretty good, although the women’s matches… missed the mark for me. So that’s why I’m going to give this a B. A quality show that could’ve definitely been aided by better in-ring work in certain departments.

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live is beginning with Shane McMahon. I have a hunch that we’ll probably spend the next few minutes hearing Greg Hamilton call him the best in the world. If that sounds a little cynical, I’m sorry, but this has certainly gotten a bit old. Alright, luckily they didn’t do this for too long. Shane says he’s here to talk about Roman Reigns and what he did to Vince last week. He goes over possible options for discipline, but instead just orders that he come out here. So, naturally, here comes Roman to the ring.

Robert O’Neill: He squared up with Shane, but Elias came out from behind and attacked and the Big Dog fell to the numbers. Not ideal!

Chris Novak: Roman is going to need to find some friends. Anyways, Andrade and Finn Balor are about to face off again. The match was fun, although I think their Raw match was better. Finn got the better of him this time around after a misdial by Zelina Vega. I’m digging this feud and don’t really care that they 50-50’d it. This all really worked for me.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was fun. I’m here for that continuing as an Intercontinental Title feud

Peyton Royce is facing Kairi Sane as the tag scene continues to be developed. Sane gets the win relatively quickly, as the IIconics look weak for the second straight night.

Chris Novak: “Look weak.” There’s never been another setting for the IIconics, Rob. Never.

Aleister Black had a short vignette where he actually wore a t-shirt. Didn’t speak at length or anything, but I’m intrigued a bit to see where it all goes.

Chad Gable-Jinder Mahal is a match that was supposed to happen, but never did. Why? Lars Sullivan came out, beat up Chad Gable and the Singhs. R-Truth tried to avenge what happened last week, but he too caught a beatdown.

Roman Reigns was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the back. Reigns accepted Elias’ challenge for a match at Money in the Bank. So, that should be fun!

Robert O’Neill: Charlotte is here, and she’s ready to go face to face with Becky Lynch for the first time since Wrestlemania. That’s exciting. She’s not sure why she lost her title since Becky didn’t beat *her*, but Becky reminds Charlotte what winner takes all means.

But then Bayley comes out! And she’s tired of Charlotte getting all the opportunities all the time, and isn’t going to take it anymore!

Chris Novak: Two words: Fuck. Yeah. Bayley also told Becky that she’s never beaten her (Facts! At least on the main roster) before. This sets up a match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair, where the winner will get a future title shot at Becky Lynch.

Bayley and Charlotte’s match was an outstanding one. They did some great limb work with Bayley working through a bum knee that wound up being her undoing. Tremendous fire shown from her though, and great crowd chants in her direction (I’m shocked that everything reversed course here). Bayley didn’t win, as she succumbed to the Figure Eight. But she still looked great in defeat.

Becky doesn’t really have a problem with facing Lacey and/or Charlotte. Will that be her undoing? Time will tell!

Robert O’Neill: Really great match. Seems like they have big summer plans for Bayley, and I’m here for it.

Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is next!

Robert O’Neill: It was a very good match before Rusev (in a suit) interfered to cause a disqualification. Woods and Kevin Owens hit the ring to take care of Nakamura and Rusev, but the two get their shots in and it comes down to Kofi and Shinsuke yet again. Kofi takes him out but runs right into a Kevin Owens superkick! Owens spends the final few minutes of the show picking Kofi and Woods apart.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Well, if I gave Raw an A- and enjoyed Smackdown more than Raw, Smackdown gets an A! Fun stuff this week.

Chris Novak: God this show is so good. Week-to-week. We had a great, GREAT TV match in Bayley-Charlotte, some fun matches elsewhere, and a not-so-surprising heel turn by Kevin Owens to cap off the show. I look forward to KO-Kofi down the road. Give me an A for this show.

First Black Champ - Search Viking Experience on Pornhub

The Superstar Shakeup happened and for one week only #CamBeKnowin! We talk the moves, the disbands and who can benefit the most or get future endeavored with the latest shakeup. We spend more time than expected on AEW implications and the Cody vs Dustin match set for Double or Nothing. Then we breakdown Mark Henry's Top 10 African American wrestlers of all time list after laughing at it. J.R. Bang then provides his as we close out probably the most educational segment ever of the #FirstBlackChamp podcast! 

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

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 - Superstar Shake-up

It's time to shake things up a bit! Pierce Rob and Chris chime in on the Superstar Shake-up and look at how each brand stands going into the new TV deals.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 516
Smackdown 192

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

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