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Top 5: 2018 Wrestling Moments



While we get to the end of 2018, it’s time to reflect and see what happened. Steve Cook let’s us know the Top 5 moments of the year!

As we approach the end of 2018, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was. 2018 was certainly an up & down year for the pro wrestling business. Much like the stock market, wrestling saw some tremendous highs & some colossal lows.

Here are the Top 5 2018 Wrestling Moments.


5. Daniel Bryan kicks AJ Styles in the groin & wins the WWE Championship

2018 featured a lot more of Daniel Bryan than we were originally expecting. He made his in-ring return at WrestleMania, teaming with Shane McMahon to defeat Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. From that point on, Bryan was a singles babyface on SmackDown Live, feuding with the likes of Big Cass & The Miz while coming close to the WWE Championship but not quite making it.

He finally overcame AJ Styles to regain the WWE Championship on November 13, and he did it in a fashion that nobody was expecting.

Aside from acting like a bit of a dick towards Styles earlier in the evening, there was no indicaton that Bryan would be showcasing a new side of his personality. A New Daniel Bryan emerged once he kicked one man in the groin, and it reminded us of why we considered Bryan the best in the world for so many years. Styles’ 371-day reign as WWE Champion came to an end and SmackDown’s house had a new landlord. One that will be making sure those electric & gas bills stay down.

4. Ronda Rousey debuts at WrestleMania

The most compelling match heading into WrestleMania from where I sat featured Ronda Rousey teaming with Kurt Angle against Stephanie McMahon & Triple H. I wasn’t sure what the quality of the match would be, but it was going to be interesting to see how Rousey looked in the ring. Her first match on the WrestleMania stage could have gone really badly, especially with three people in the ring with her that had some ring rust on them.

As it turned out, it was one heck of a show.

Rousey’s performance at WrestleMania immediately established her as a big deal going forward in WWE, and she became one of the company’s biggest stars of 2018.

3. Cody Rhodes goes All In & wins the NWA Championship in front of over 10,000 people

The biggest non-WWE promoted wrestling event in the United States since the closing of WCW took place on September 1 in the suburbs of Chicago. Cody, along with Nick & Matt Jackson, took the challenge to promote a show that could draw more than 10,000 people. They sold the Sears Centre Arena out in less than thirty minutes. The night itself was a moment for the members of The Elite & independent wrestling in general, but I’d say the peak was when Cody won the NWA Championship by defeating Nick Aldis.

This night proved that on at least one night, Cody & the Bucks could promote a show that could compete with anybody. We might look back on it as the night that laid the seeds of WWE’s next competitor, depending on what certain people end up doing in 2019.

2. Becky Lynch leads the SmackDown Women’s Divison in a Raw invasion

Most of these Raw vs. SmackDown #UnderSiege events that take place around the Survivor Series are kinda fun, but don’t really stand out. We’ve seen so many invasions at this point, and the most famous one was an epic fail that broke one of my podcast partners when they tried to watch it. Hi Jeremy Lambert, how ya doin?

There was something different in the air on the November 12 edition of Raw. Becky Lynch led SmackDown’s women’s division in an ass-whipping on Ronda Rousey & some of her Raw cohorts. Becky came off like the next big thing here.

The blood obtained from a wayward Nia Jax punch added to the moment, though that would prove problematic later on. Becky had to miss Survivor Series due to a concussion, and one wonders if she’d be doing even better now if not for the injury. It’s also probably going to lead to a Becky vs. Nia match, which I have no interest in seeing.

On that night, however, the Man was in full control.

Honorable Mention: Various firsts for WWE’s women

We could do an entire column on the events WWE women took part in for the first time in 2018. Heck, maybe we will at some point. 2018 saw the first Women’s Royal Rumble Match, Elimination Chamber, Last Woman Standing & TLC Match, the last of which was the first women’s main event of a dual-branded PPV. Renee Young became the first woman to serve as a regular commentator on Monday Night Raw.

Oh, and we also had the first all-women’s WWE PPV event. I think the fact that two moments made this list and weren’t the first *fill in the stipulation* match also says a lot about the placement of women in today’s pro wrestling universe as a whole.

1. Roman Reigns announces he has leukemia & vacates the Universal Championship

Some moments are bigger than pro wrestling. Unfortunately, they’re usually sad ones, as was the case on the October 22 edition of Raw. Roman Reigns came out to start the show as per usual, and the WWE Universe was in the typical mood up until he announced that his real name was Joe, and his leukemia, which had been in remission, was back. Reigns promised we would see him again, and if I was a betting man I’d wager that we haven’t seen the last of him as an active competitor.

This would be the last time we saw Roman Reigns on WWE television in 2018. Few people would doubt there’s a connection between Roman’s absence and the decline in WWE’s ratings & other metrics towards the end of 2018. Yes, interest & viewership always declines during football season, but not to the degree that it did this year. Reigns’ departure from the Raw roster left a void that nobody’s been able to fill as of yet.

One of two things needs to happen for WWE in 2019: Either somebody needs to step up and become the ratings/hits/attendance draw that Roman Reigns was, or the Big Dog needs to come back & reclaim his yard. Ideally, both things happen.

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AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?



As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…


I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.

#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.

That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!

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AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?



With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass

Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed

The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!

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