Following Hell In a Cell we have already come to yet another pay per view, WWE Super Showdown! The card looks good on paper, but let’s break this down a bit further.
#1 Contender Match – Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
Finally, a reason to be excited about something. This has been a great feud, with the exception of the horrendous Mix-Tag Match debacle, these guys can go! It also means that new feuds with Daniel Bryan a top babyface and The Miz maybe the Top Heel in the WWE, will make the whole show better. I see Daniel Bryan winning this match, and the contest possibly stealing the show.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
I love Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair is gold. The promos have been good, the matches have been good, and the experience has been amazing. This match will be physical, has meaning, and will blow us away. I see the Lass Kicker Becky Lynch retaining, and no one leaving disappointed.
Cruiserweight Championship – Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy
I believe the styles between these two will make for a great match. I always feel like the Cruiserweight Matches are afterthoughts in most cases, but seeing that Buddy Murphy will be home and take the Championship from a hard fought match with Cedric Alexander, some good will have to come of this. Buddy Murphy will get leave champion in this high octane fight.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – New Day (c) vs. The Bar
This match will surprise us all. I am expecting a lot of high-spots, feats of strength, and pure entertainment. The New Day always brings smiles to the crowd, and everyone in this Tag Team Championship Match are near the top of their game and can work better than the rest of the pack. I expect to be on the edge of my seat, and new Tag Team Champions, The Bar! Cheers!
Triple H vs. The Undertaker
The King vs The Dark Lord, The Undertaker is just one of those people that have a presence you cannot get enough of. Even the most cynical fan can recall child hood memories of the lights going out and The Undertaker raising the hairs on the back of your neck. He’s still got it! HHH is and forever will be a Professional Master in that ring. Very few in history have a story even close to a man like HHH. DX, McMahon, so many historic moments. We have two titans of Pro Wrestling Royalty about to have it out on an historic night. Sprinkle some Shawn Michael’s and Kane to the mix and you will have fire. This will be fantastic, and we will all watch it! The Undertaker wins due to a Superkick accidentally to HHH from his DX brother Shawn Michaels.
The Shield vs. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre
The Shield is so over, I say it again and again. I like the stable with Braun, Dolph and Drew, it is a powerful group with unbelievable abilities and admirable foes of The Hounds of Justice-The Shield. We will see a little bit of everything, brute strength, technical prowess, and there will be blood. This match has to be good, because WWE has invested so much into it, it can’t fail. The Shield loses due to a miscommunication. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre after winning hopefully move on to getting some Gold.
WWE Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe (No DQ or Countout)
I can just pray to the Wrestling God’s this ends the rivalry. Enough is enough and it’s time for a change. How many times are they going to have this match? So much talent is overlooked every show, and we will see this match with two top guys that could easily work with some unsung hero’s riding the bench every week. End this series PLEASE! AJ Styles Retains and new more exciting things will come of this!
Asuka & Naomi vs. The IIconics
This is another hard one, The IIconics are no doubt pleasant, and I love the chemistry between Asuka and Naomi, as the pair works well together. We will have some good moments but I feel there will be a sense of “who cares”, and some botched spots that take the good out of it. The IIconics win because Good is dumb.
John Cena & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Elias
I’m personally a “Let’s Go Cena” guy, and with no shame, chant “You can’t see me!” when it’s that time. I would also like to point out, all four competitors are great talents and completely over with the fans. Having said that, WWE, WHY? What is this match about? Waste of time and could have been a spot for other deserving talent who are not on the show. I don’t understand the point of the match, however I would be shocked if Cena and Lashley lose. I hope it’s good, but it’s looking ugly. The only way it could work for “this guy” is if an Elias vs Cena series starts because of it. The promos alone are worth the air time.
Ronda Rousey & The Bella Twins vs. The Riott Squad
This was a hard one for me to list in the Bad Section. Ronda Rousey and Ruby Riott had a tremendous match this past week and the talent is there. Not to mention any Liv Morgan is good Liv Morgan. I am a Brie Bella hater, and these past few incidents with her being reckless have made me just saying “NO! NO! NO! I especially find it annoying that The Bella’s are teaming with Ronda Rousey, it just doesn’t make sense. I have no doubt we will see a predictable victory Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins. I just hope that doesn’t mean we will see less of the extremely talented and entertaining Riott Squad.
Well we shall see, can some of constant doubt of discouraged wrestling fans finally Rest In Peace? Or will this just be another Cheesy gimmick leaving us dumbfounded? We will find out in a few hours!
News From Cook’s Corner 1.17.22: Gory Self-Mutilation
AEW tried to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time. Did it work? What other news struck last week?
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We’ve got a short column for you this week, which most of you were probably expecting when the Cincinnati Bengals actually on a playoff game. Nah, I didn’t party too much, just had an allergic reaction with my eye again. We’ve done this before. This time I’m pretty sure it had something to do with cleaning my bookshelf and rearranging my books. Hadn’t done that in awhile, so there was a ton of duct. Sitting down and looking at a computer screen sucks, so we have to limit it as much as possible.
There’s still a couple things that warrant discussion though, so let’s get to it.
WWE On The Offensive
Looks like this week’s top stories are about WWE trying to do things to undermine wrestling promotions. We start with Major League Wrestling, who has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against WWE claiming that WWE has interfered with their ability to make various media rights deals.
Some of the highlights:
-Former WWE executive Susan Levison allegedly warned an executive from VICE that Vince McMahon was “pissed” they were airing MLW programming. MLW claims that WWE had leverage over VICE due to the Dark Side of the Ring series often being focused on WWE subject matter.
-MLW alleges that when WWE found out about their agreement with Tubi, WWE threatened to stop doing business with Fox. The fallout from the Tubi agreement falling through led to a drop in ticket sales & event cancellations & delays.
-As an example of WWE’s anticompetitive behavior, MLW cited AEW being held out of two arenas in the Cincinnati market due to pressure from WWE. Jon Moxley wrote in his book that the Heritage Bank Center on Cincy’s riverfront refused to book AEW due to WWE influence. I don’t know the other, could be the BB&T Arena across the river on the campus of Northern Kentucky University where WWE has held house shows. AEW wound up running the Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, and outdrew the Raw taping held at the HBC just prior.
-Apparently starting in early 2020, WWE started trying to poach MLW wrestlers that were under contract, and aired footage of an MLW wrestler without MLW’s consent. (Somebody would have to fill me in on this one, I haven’t the slightest idea who this would be.) MLW also claims that WWE sought to prevent wrestlers from working with MLW by refusing to hire wrestlers that had worked there, and that one MLW wrestler demanded to be released early from his contract so he could join WWE.
Do I think that at least some of these allegations are true? Having followed pro wrestling for over thirty years and having read up on the history of WWE…you betcha!
I don’t think there’s a question that WWE has resorted to any means necessary to drive potential competitors out of their market. They’ve been doing this since taking most of the territories’ top stars back in the mid-1980s. It’s been a monopoly for nearly two decades for a reason. The main question I have: Will a judge actually care, or will they throw it out of court because it’s silly pro wrestling?
How do you think WWE slips under the radar on things that other media companies & sports leagues actually have to deal with? People have been trained to not take WWE seriously. As much as people like us obsess over the rasslin’ business, people that don’t “get it” are happy to ignore it. Vince McMahon can do any darn thing he wants, and the reaction from folks outside the wrestling bubble will be non-existent. It’s wrestling! To outsiders, the whole damn thing is an outlaw mudshow.
AEW = Gory Self-Mutilation
The Toronto Sun did an article on All Elite Wrestling over the weekend, talking about their status as a competitor to WWE. They asked WWE for comment & got one:
“If you look at the gory self-mutilation that bloodied several women in the December 31 event on TNT, it quickly becomes clear that these are very different businesses. We had an edgier product in the `Attitude’ era and in a 2022 world, we don’t believe that type of dangerous and brutal display is appealing to network partners, sponsors, venues, children, or the general public as a whole.”
A few notes here:
1. I’ve been doing this stuff longer than I care to admit, and I never thought of asking WWE for comment on something. Should I start asking people for comments on topics I’m writing about? I doubt I’d get any answers, but it might be worth a shot.
2. This has been WWE’s strategy when asked about AEW for some time now. We remember Vince McMahon using the phrase “Blood & Guts” to describe the promotion on a conference call. They know that people get squeamish about blood, especially when it comes to blood coming from women. The Fabulous Moolah never busted anybody open on television, and she trained most of the women for years. People aren’t used to seeing it, and they often get uncomfortable with things they aren’t used to seeing.
3. Most people find other people bleeding pretty gross. There’s a reason why deathmatch wrestling is a niche produxct. People that love it really, really love it, but it’s a very small percentage of the marketplace.
4. WWE’s belief is that advertisers & media companies aren’t big on blood, so they make sure to mention AEW’s apparent lust for the red stuff whenever the subject comes up. Their hope is that advertisers will shy away from advertising with AEW, and media companies won’t give AEW big money when their current deal with WarnerMedia is up.
5. Thus far, whenever Tony Khan is criticized on something, he doubles down on it. So there’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to see even more matches with female bleeding. AEW’s female workers seem happy to do it.
— The Bunny 🐇 (@AllieWrestling) January 15, 2022
6. WWE could be called out as being hypocritical on this front, but there aren’t many people that will hold them accountable.
It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. All I know for sure is that the smack talk between these two promotions and their fans is just beginning. Think it’s tocic now? Wait a couple of years.
Welp, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! Join me later in the week for some Divisional Round picks. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.
In Memoriam: Pete was a longtime reader from back in the day. From my dealings with him he was a kind person that knew how to use his head. When you’ve written things on the Internet as long as I have, you learn that’s a rare thing. From what I’ve read from people that knew him in real life, he was the same way off the computer. Sadly he passed away from cancer on Friday night. Pete was always about serving others, as he was a U.S. Air Force veteran & a regular blood donor. He will be missed.
NXT 2021 Year in Review: NXT UK!!!
With the OG NXT rebranding and losing a lot of credibility, at least NXT UK has been consistent! Brad brings his NXT UK awards!
Let’s give out some special awards to the very best hour on the entire WWE Network.
Honorable Mention Most Improved: Mark Coffey
Most Improved is one of my favorite awards. I love watching wrestlers get better. This year, Mark wasn’t just decaf Joe. He showed his personality. Playful little bugger seems like the kind of guy you’d want to have a pint with. Even got a short run as a singles guy. Mark’s growth was definitely one of the highlights of the best overall year in the history of NXT UK.
Most Improved Male Wrestler: Oliver Carter
When Carter first showed up, it was obvious why he was in a tag team, eating all the pins. I don’t know who the trainers are in NXT UK, but someone put in overtime with Carter. Every week, he’s hitting new and exciting moves in the ring. He’s showing more fire on the mic. It’s only a matter of time before Ashton Smith gets jealous and turns on him.
Most improved Female Wrestler: Stevie Turner
Her first few matches made me wonder what anyone saw in her. Now I see it. She’s a real loony character, a female Dean Ambrose. She gets rambling about the Fourth Dimension and I’m not sure even she knows where that boat is sailing to. Add to that a significantly increased move set and Turner has legit championship aspirations.
Most Underrated: Kenny Williams
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. If Williams was built like Drew Mcintyre, he would be on RawDown yesterday. I appreciate a smaller guy who doesn’t rely entirely on the flippy dip and acrobatics. Williams is a big bully in a small man’s body. The Scum of the Earth is ready to infect 2022.
Best talker: Sam Thunderstorm Gradwell
Gradwell might be the best promo guy in all of NXT. He’s solid gold on the mic AND Twitter. He tweeted that WALTER versus Dragunov II is “Unruly Baboon versus Deadly Panda.” I still don’t know which is which, but it sounds fabulous. Now get on that, you bunch of yogurts!
Best Character: Isla Dawn
I prefer personality over character. I don’t want SNL skit rejects. I want to believe there is no separation between who they are in the ring and outside of it. Isla Dawn is the exception. She goes into a trance. She’s collecting trophies from her opponents and doesn’t even care about wins and losses. I’m inclined to believe she’s not a witch in real life, but you never know.
Best Sidekick: Sha Samuels
With just a dry erase board & marker, the East End Bookie adds so much depth to Noam Dar, an already amazing personality. Unlike the terribly awkward pairing of La Familia, I get the feeling Dar and Samuels really are best buds. They seem to bring out the best in each other. I can’t wait for them to go after the tag team titles.
Best Announcer: Andy Shepherd
He’s not just the best in NXT UK, he’s the best in NXT. Period. He takes everything Nigel McGuinness throws at him and he throws it right back, but he does it with an understated eloquence not typically found in rasslin. Shepherd earns the highest praise I can give an announcer: he sounds like a fan watching the show, shooting the shit with his buddies.
Most Improved Division: The Women’s Division
NXT still has the best women’s division. It’s now a little further east. In the past, it was Kay Lee Ray. That’s it. Not anymore. The addition of Meiko Satomura and Blair Davenport. The growth of Amale, Stevie Turner and Aoife Valkryie. The Nina Samuels Show. The steady veteran presence of Jinny and Isla Dawn. The division is not deep, but every week they continue to grow and put on quality matches. It started as obligatory, because you have to have a women’s division. They have since earned their spot. Much respect to the women of NXT UK.
Up next, saving the best for last: 2021 NXT Matches of the Year
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