Is There Still a Place for Steel Chairs in Professional Wrestling?
On the most recent episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan absolutely laid into Kane with a steel chair prior to a Triple Threat match featuring Kane, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton. The former World Heavyweight champion rained down 26 vicious chair shots as Kane failed to mount any sort of meaningful or effective defense.
Instead of being carted off to the back for medical attention, or at least rolling to the outside of the ring for the duration of the match to convalesce, Kane rose to his feet, competed in the match, and came within a hair of actually winning against two former champions.
Does this make Kane look strong? Is he now the unstoppable monster he was supposed to be upon returning with his mask?
Not even a little bit. I fully expect that he'll lose to Daniel Bryan in the coming weeks, perhaps Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, who together probably don't weigh as much as he does.
All that beating served to do is make the steel chair look completely pointless.
I, like many of you, am a child of the Attitude Era, where chair shots reigned supreme on Monday nights, accompanied by the crimson masks they so often created. Where a guy like Steve Austin could run down the ramp with a chair, take a few swings, and clear the ring in mere seconds. God forbid he ever connected, or it was lights-out for anyone in his way.
In fact, a guy like Mick Foley made the bulk of his career on his willingness to take the most brutal chair shots and keep coming back for more punishment. Mankind vs. The Rock at the 1999 Royal Rumble is all the proof anyone will ever need for that.
But that was then, back in the Dark Ages, before concussion tests and medical studies, before PG ratings.
Before Chris Benoit.
Now chair shots are less frequent, and when they are utilized, it's always as a battering ram to the ribs or across the back.
I'm left wondering, "Why didn't he just hit him in the head?" It's what any reasonable person would do, but it's no longer tolerated.
All of the power the steel chair once held has been sapped away. When John Cena takes a chair shot and sits up just a few seconds later or when The Big Show punches a steel chair back into an opponent's face, it does nothing to boost the credibility of an object that, quite frankly, is a relic of a bygone era.
Daniel Bryan wielding it ineffectively against Kane on SmackDown was one more toll in the death knell of the steel chair.
May it rest in mangled, dented pieces.
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