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Opinion

Steve Cook’s WrestleMania Weekend Predictions

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We’re here.

It’s the biggest weekend of the pro wrestling year. WrestleMania 34 goes down on Sunday. Before that, we have approximately 150 wrestling shows taking place within the state of Louisiana. Ring of Honor & Impact Wrestling will make their presence felt. Pretty much every indy you’ve ever heard of (and many you haven’t) will be holding shows. It’s gonna be a big time.

Wanna know what’s going to happen this weekend? I’ve got a pretty good idea. Here’s my predictions on some of the major happenings over the weekend.

Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground will be the best WrestleCon show

Impact vs Lucha Underground Six Man

These two companies have solid TV situations but are lacking a certain buzz. The best way to get a buzz? Put on a kickass wrestling show. There’s been a lot of cross-over between these promotions with the likes of Johnny Mundo/Impact, Taya & Brian Cage recently making their way to Impact. The gimmick of having Eddie Edwards wrestle Jeremiah Crane instead of Sami Callihan is pretty solid. Scott Steiner & Teddy Hart on the same team is pretty cool. The main event pitting Austin Aries & Fenix against Alberto el Patron & Pentagon Jr. sounds pretty fun. Larry Csonka should get a Twitch channel & get me to help him announce it.

The only problems are that Larry is recapping 20 shows this weekend, and I like to sleep.

The Young Bucks will help Cody beat Kenny Omega, whether they mean to or not

All In Cody Rhodes

It would only be fitting that ROH Supercard of Honor XII’s Bullet Club battle would feature some outside interference. The Bucks originally took Cody’s side against Omega, but the American Nightmare has managed to garner their ire in recent days with things like pushing Nick around & trying to change the BC logo. I suspect multiple Club members will come down during the match, & Nick will try to help Kenny, but it’ll backfire & Cody will stand tall at the end of the night.

As he should, since he’s the best heel in the business.

Johnny Gargano will beat Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa seems to be the popular choice because everybody assumes that Johnny Wrestling will be on Raw or SmackDown soon enough. I just don’t think this feud is going to end so soon, and frankly NXT needs both Gargano & Ciampa around to keep people interested. WrestleMania-type shows tend to end with the good guy winning, so I’d have Gargano win the Unsanctioned Match to close TakeOver.

Toni Storm will be in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

PROGRESS Wrestling is holding shows on Friday & Satuday, and their champions will be defending their titles at Axess on Sunday. Storm will be all over these shows after Beyond’s intergender show on Thursday. Assuming she emerges in one piece, WWE’s going to need some women to fill space in the battle royal & she’s as good a choice as any.

I’d have her win it, but admittedly I’m biased.

John Cena & The Undertaker will not have a proper match

WWE The Undertaker Entrance

It’s too late to change my mind on this. I don’t care how many newsbites I read on it up until the show happens, I’m not buying it until it actually goes down. I mean, there’s already 13 matches on the card. Do we really need another one?

#TeamRousey vs #TeamMcMahon will be an #EpicFail

There’s just no way this goes well. Ronda Rousey shouldn’t be doing most of the in-ring work at this point in her development. Kurt Angle shouldn’t be doing most of the in-ring work at this point in his life. Triple H is probably your best bet for a workhorse, but I would rather watch almost anybody in the world try to work a match than him at this point.

Our only hope is that Stephanie McMahon has the match of her life. The way she threw Rousey around on Raw, I have no idea why she isn’t challenging for one of the Women’s Championships.

Daniel Bryan will win…and then Shane McMahon will turn against him

Daniel Bryan Shane McMahon WWE Smackdown Live

I’ve flip-flopped on this one. I was pretty well convinced that Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn had to win to remain on SmackDown & that their opponents turning against each other was the best way to go about it. But think about it from Shane McMahon’s perspective for a minute. Helping Kevin & Sami out makes zero sense after everything they’ve done to him. I know McMahons are very forgiving of dastardly heels, but this would be a stretch even by those standards.

The smartest thing for Shane to do here would be to help Bryan defeat them, then attack him afterwards to steal his celebratory moment. It would also get the most heat because the fans would have to stop chanting “YES” after they started.

As for Kevin & Sami, there’s a Shakeup coming. Either they go to Raw or they come back to SmackDown after new management takes over. I can see Jeff Jarrett being a fan of their work.

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura won’t live up to the hype

WWE AJ Styles Shinsuke Nakamura WrestleMania

It won’t even be their fault. We’ve been hyping this match up since both men signed with WWE in January 2016. The company was smart to keep them apart for this long & save the match for the grandest stage. The only problem is that we’ve been looking forward to this for so long that our expectations have gotten way too high. As great as Styles is, and as great as Nakamura is when he’s interested, they won’t make everybody happy.

Anything less than six stars from David Meltzer will be seen as a tremendous disappointment in some corners.

WrestleMania Weekend will end with Roman Reigns winning the Universal Championship

WWE Roman Reigns Royal Rumble

LOL at people saying Dana White spoiled the main event. We all knew Reigns was winning anyway. It’s the story WWE has been telling the past four years. Have there been some bumps in the road? Absolutely. Has the story played out exactly the way WWE would have liked? Certainly not. They would prefer Roman Reigns to be as universally popular as he was at the 2014 Royal Rumble, but it’s not gonna happen.

Many of my friends here at the Chairshot have spent a lot of time trying to win over the non-believers. To me, that’s a waste of time. People either love Roman Reigns or they don’t. They’ve already made up their minds and there’s nothing that’s going to swing their vote. WWE has taken the same viewpoint they used with John Cena, that any reaction is a good one. Reigns will get a reaction at the end of the show. I don’t think it’ll be a positive one, but fans will make noise of some sort.

Which will be a feat in itself after four days packed with wrestling.


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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