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Writing The Book: WWE TLC 2018



WWE TLC Becky Lynch Charlotte Flair Asuka

Welcome to “Writing the Book”! This is where I attempt to book entire wrestling pay-per-views in an interesting yet logical matter. This week we have WWE TLC 2018!

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Jimmy Jacobs is right. Writing a wrestling show is hard. This one, deceptively so. WWE’s next event is the Royal Rumble which has direct ties to Wrestlemania. So as I started toying with the match card, I realized that I had to essentially predict parts of the Mania card four months in advance. This WWE TLC PPV may have greater implications than we previously realized. 

I’ve listed the matches in my desired order of the card.

WWE TLC Kickoff

The entire WWE TLC card is 12 matches which is unnecessarily long for a wrestling show. The pre-show is two matches most of the time but I added an extra one for Sunday. 

Natalya v. Ruby Riott – Tables Match

Winner: Ruby Riott

I want both competitors to come out looking good here. Before Nattie eventually loses, I want her to find a way to put both of the other members of the Riott Squad through a table. Ruby gets the win but Natalya also appears fairly strong and resilient. 

Elias v. Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush – Guitar suspended above the ring can be used as a weapon

Winner: Lashley

My original plan was for Elias to win after using a second guitar hidden under the ring. But Lashley needs the win more. He’s the most physically imposing guy on the roster but isn’t being booked like it. He held all the gold over at Impact but hasn’t been in a single title feud since returning. I don’t see that changing soon but a PPV win is a start. Lio Rush also needs to get involved. That’s what he’s there for. 

Buddy Murphy (c) v. Cedric Alexander – Cruiserweight Championship

Winner: Murphy

The only person Buddy Murphy should lose that belt to is Mustafa Ali. The build isn’t there for a title change and I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle of this enormous card so I made it the main event of the pre-show. 

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WWE TLC Main Card

The Bar (c) v. The New Day v. The Usos – Smackdown Tag Team Championships

Winners: Usos

The SD Live tag scene needs a slight shift. It looks like they’ll stick with having the spotlight on these three teams for awhile. The Bar took the belts off the New Day in October and haven’t gotten much action since. Perhaps an Usos/Bar feud can get some momentum going for both teams again. 

Rey Mysterio v. Randy Orton – Chairs Match 

Winner: Orton

With the way he’s been presented I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Orton hovering around the world title picture in the coming months. Also, a chair needs to be involved in either a 619 or RKO. Not only will the kiddos love it, but so will I. 

Finn Balor v. Drew McIntyre 

Winner: McIntyre

This could be a show-stealer if given time and paired with a clean finish. I wouldn’t complain if Balor got this big win but McIntyre shouldn’t lose until he gets a Univeral Title opportunity.

***EDIT: There have been conflicting reports today on Finn Balor’s availability at TLC. If he is replaced, Drew needs to win regardless of who the opponent is. 

R-Truth and Carmella v. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox – Mixed Match Challenge Finals (winners get entrant #30 slots at the Royal Rumble)

Winners: The Fabulous Truth

This will be a nice comedy match to let the fans breathe before the marquee matches at the top of the WWE TLC card. We’re going to need at least five dance breaks and meditation sessions from each side before the match’s conclusion. 

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Braun Strowman v. Baron Corbin (Strowman wins: Awarded Universal Title match, Corbin is stripped of power. Corbin wins: Corbin becomes permanent Raw General Manager)

Winner: Strowman

This is the match I was excited to book. I don’t know what Strowman’s status is going to be like following his elbow surgery. I’d be shocked if he was already capable of competing in a full-blown TLC match. This is why I’m booking it as if Strowman is unable to compete. 

Baron Corbin is in the ring about to declare himself the winner by forfeit. He even has some sort of government official with him ready to declare himself the Raw GM. That’s when Strowman appears on the big screen live from another hospital bed. He states that he can’t make it but found a suitable replacement. That’s when this music hits.

Yes, Lars Sullivan makes his main roster debut as a babyface. He walks to the ring and Corbin tries to put an end to the whole thing. Sullivan grabs a mic and says Stephanie McMahon allowed him to replace Braun as long as he signs with Monday Night Raw. Michael Cole sells the moment on commentary and elaborates on what a huge deal that is for Raw. 

Lars eventually wins the match and strips Corbin of his power. The #1 Contender’s spot is still up for grabs. That can be claimed by Strowman when he’s healthy or McIntyre and Sullivan can try to claim their rightful stake to Brock Lesnar’s belt. 

Ronda Rousey (c) v. Nia Jax – Raw Women’s Championship

Winner: Rousey

I’m willing to bet my car that Rousey holds that belt until Wrestlemania. She’s one of the biggest draws in the company so she needs one of the biggest singles matches at Mania. These two had an excellent match at Money in the Bank so I’m just going to let them do their thing at TLC. 

Seth Rollins (c) v. Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Dean Ambrose needs to ride this momentum all the way into a championship win. If he loses cleanly then this whole persona change will feel meaningless. This is a great feud for both guys but many people consider Seth the best in the world. I think 2019 is the year we start to see Seth headline pay-per-views again, so this booking at WWE TLC will get us there. The Universal Championship is the final belt he has yet to claim. 

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The New Daniel Bryan (c) v. AJ Styles – WWE Championship

Winner: Bryan

My long-term goal is for a babyface Miz to meet Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. That means DB has to keep his championship at WWE TLC. AJ being out of the world title feud is hard to envision. The only other mid-card guy he can have a program with is Orton. That’s why I want these two to have one more match. 

I’m booking this match to end via referee stoppage. Daniel Bryan will target AJ’s knee constantly. DB keeps strapping on the knee bars but AJ always gets to the ropes. However, AJ tries to hit a Styles Clash and his knee buckles. Then he tries to hit a Phenomenal Forearm but slips off the ropes. AJ can no longer stand so the referee stops the match. 

Daniel Bryan ending the match by DQ feels cheap so this will allow a different avenue toward a rematch. They’ll have a Submission Match at the Royal Rumble. Submission matches rarely happen now and both men have submissions in their finishing arsenals.

Becky Lynch (c) v. Asuka v. Charlotte Flair – Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match for SD Women’s Championship

Winner: Asuka

This is the perfect opportunity to finally give Asuka that championship belt that’s wrongfully alluded her. As much as she deserves it, the (Becky) fans could turn on Asuka. In the event of this happening, I have a backup plan for WWE TLC. 

In all of NXT and WWE, Asuka has never been a real heel. Now is the time. When Becky and Asuka have their rematch in January, Asuka should purposefully “re-injure” Becky’s face. A report will come out soon after saying that Becky will be out for weeks. She ends up being a surprise entrant in the Rumble. She’s walking down to the ring wearing a face mask and fighting off doctors trying to hold her back. Becky ends up winning the whole thing (eliminating Nia in the process). Boom, Becky vs. Ronda at Mania. 

Meanwhile on Smackdown, Asuka is a heel. During the Spring, she has a few title matches with her old friend, Naomi. When that’s settled, Asuka vs. Charlotte at WrestleMania is reborn with the roles reversed this time around.

Next time on “Writing the Book”: Wrestle Kingdom 13!

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Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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News From Cook’s Corner 11.22.21: Happy Eggsgiving

A few shows, some big news, and some more releases. This week had everything! For better or worse… – and Cook gives you the lowdown!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! This is the week where we think about all of the things we’re thankful for. So I might actually do a Fave Five this week, considering the annual Thanksgiving column was the inspiration for the gimmick anyway! Gonna be a pretty busy week though, so we’ll see how that goes.

Before you gorge yourself on turkey, here’s the latest going on in the rasslin world…

More WWE Releases!

There’s a pretty good chance that this will become a regular section of the ol’ column. Eighty wrestlers have been released by WWE during 2021, with one (Samoa Joe. Remember him?) being rehired. Let’s put this in perspective for a minute, as looking at the numbers can explain a lot of what’s going on here.

Raw currently has forty-three wrestlers. SmackDown has thirty-six. NXT has forty-one male wrestlers & twenty-one female wrestlers. NXT UK has forty-three wrestlers. Wikipedia lists four wrestlers under 205 Live, six wrestlers as free agents, then twenty-two wrestlers as Performance Center trainees. If I had to guess, Wikipedia doesn’t have a complete list of Performance Center trainees, so we really have no idea how many people are still hiding there. I seem to recall Nick Khan talking about signing a bunch of people when he was doing that media tour around SummerSlam.

The point I’m trying to make is that WWE has a ton of people under contract and really doesn’t have that many spots. Most of those people listed under Raw & SmackDown haven’t done much of anything in quite some time. The NXT & NXT UK rosters are freaking immense, and NXT is where a lot of the recent cuts have come from. There are going to be more people coming in, therefore there will be more cuts. It’s just best to accept this now instead of getting all sad & depressed every time it happens over the next few months or however long we have before Nick Khan engineers a sale. Don’t spin this as me being happy about people getting canned, I’m just saying “it is what it is”.

So who was it this time?

A few of them were connected to the previous releases. John Morrison would be the longest tenured wrestler of this batch, considering his wife (known as Franky Monet on NXT & Taya Valkyrie elsewhere) was part of the last crop of releases this wasn’t as big of a surprise as one may think. Kind of a dick move from WWE since they’d just moved from California to Florida to facilitate her training at the Performance Center. Other people will have to learn from these events. Johnny has been more entertaining during his stints outside of WWE than he has been in WWE, so I think he’ll do just fine.

Remember when B-Fab was released and everybody thought it was kind of random to get rid of one of Hit Row’s members right after they debuted on SmackDown? Now they’re all gone. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott had been a featured act in NXT and was a top star in the indies before signing with WWE. Ashante thee Adnois was fairly new but had potential, and then there’s Top Dolla. This seems to come down to Top Dolla rubbing people the wrong way, including burying colleagues on social media & complaining to management about B-Fab’s dismissal.

It’s easy to understand why Top Dolla might have gotten a big head & thought his opinions mattered. He was featured on the Most Wanted Treasures show before ever appearing on NXT, so he was obviously a favorite of Paul Levesque’s. He also became the featured member of Hit Row upon their arrival on SmackDown, as his 6’5 330 pound frame played better with main roster decision makers than Swerve Scott’s lack of size. Dude moves pretty well for his size too, so there’s some potential there. Apparently he didn’t show enough potential to make up for whatever headaches he was causing, and the other two guys didn’t have enough appeal without him.

It’s tough, because I like it when people cause trouble backstage & stand up for themselves. Gives me more to write about here. However, I can’t recommend such things in today’s WWE. They’re looking for excuses to fire anybody. Oh, and I also wouldn’t recommend talking smack about the competition’s executive vice presidents like Top Dolla did either. Maybe it’ll impress Tony Khan, who knows.

Tegan Nox’s NXT tenure had more ups & downs than anybody else’s, I’d figure. Whenever she was about to get a push, she tore her knee up. They kept her around though, and finally moved her up to the main roster in July. She was placed in a team with Shotzi and they beat the Women’s Tag Team Champions multiple times, but never got a title shot. Then they got split in the draft, and Nox never even made an appearance on Raw. I don’t have any clue what happened other than somebody wasn’t impressed with Nox for some reason. Seemed like a solid talent to me, but I’m just a dork with a column.

Drake Maverick was released back in April 2020, but was kept around to work the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament and ended up getting his job back due to popular appeal. Of course, he didn’t do a damn thing of note before getting released again, but I think we expected that. Got an extra year & a half of paychecks though, so there’s that. Seems like a nice bloke, he’ll land on his feet.

Shane Thorne disappeared from television once Retribution split up. He did a couple of dark matches recently with a Outback Jack-style Aussie gimmick, but nothing came of it. One would expect him to re-form the TMDK tag team with Mikey Nicholls at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jaxson Ryker was the final name of the list, and was another one that hadn’t done anything notable in awhile. He did outlast his fellow Forgotten Sons in the company, but did not outlast his tag team partner after that group split, Elias. Ryker got some heat back in 2020 when he tweeted political views that his boss agreed with, but it turns out that was the most attention he ever got while working for WWE. How bout that.

We’ll be back with more releases soon enough, I’m guessing. Again, we’re not celebrating these things, but we’re not going to act shocked either. As people have told me, it’s the wrestling “business”.

Did anything interesting happen at Survivor Series?

Becky Lynch beat Charlotte Flair by holding the ropes on a roll-up. In fairness, Charlotte tried to do it first. Also in fairness, it was the same referee that Charlotte took issue with and beat up back in April, so she probably should have seen it coming. Who says WWE doesn’t do long-term storytelling? Prior to the show, Fightful reported the match order, which had this as the main event and everything else in the reverse of which it happened. It’s a good thing Fightful got some egg on their face, as this sure wouldn’t have worked as the finish of the event.

Seth Rollins was the sole survivor in the Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match, because he needed the win. Of note here was Austin Theory having a pretty long run in the match, Kevin Owens walking out on his team like he was Bad News Brown, and Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley doing a double countout spot because they didn’t need to lose.

Omos won the Rock 25th Anniversary battle royal, eliminating twelve people in the process. My takeaway from the match was they were trying to make Omos a star. Then I realized the the match was for Pizza Hut pizza, like how kids read books in school so they can win the Book It contest and get a class pizza party, I guess. I’m confused. How does The Rock feel about Pizza Hut? Never mind, one of the few things worse than political conversation is pizza conversation. If we go down this road we have to talk about pineapples and various cities’ styles of pizza, and I just don’t care about all that.

RK-Bro beat the Usos, and I think I’m the only person that doesn’t go completely crazy whenever Randy Orton does an RKO. We know he’s going to do it in a weird spot. It’s been a thing for like a decade now. Maybe I’m just jealous of these people that are able to react like they saw something for the first time evry time. In any event, Randy Orton has now wrestled more WWE PPV matches than anybody in the history of the universe.

Bianca Belair was the sole survivor of the Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match. I thought the crowd was a little harsh, but it was a pretty sloppy piece of business & the booking was hella questionable. At least Bianca got to win.

Roman Reigns beat Big E to become the Universal Ultra Mega Champion of the Galaxy. Dude needs a few more nicknames so I’m trying to help him out. Big E got to do a big things, but we all knew what was going down here. Seems to hurt the drama factor to me. I may be wrong though, saw a bunch of people online calling it the best thing they ever saw. So what do I know?

The Rock didn’t show up. Apparently I was supposed to expect him to? People sure seemed mad about it.

The big tease for Monday night? Oh, this is one for the books. Vince McMahon got a Cleopatra Egg from The Rock, apparently part of his Netflix movie. Allegedly worth $100 million. Somebody stole it. All the WWE Superstars get to go to Raw tomorrow night so Adam Pearce can question them about it. If this doesn’t equal a record rating, I don’t know what will.

To answer my question of whether or not anything interesting happened at Survivor Series…I’d lean towards no, but it wasn’t an awful show or anything.

Kenny off of TripleMania Regia?

Kenny Omega might have lost his AEW & Impact Championships fairly recently, but he still has the AAA Megachampionship to his name. Omega was scheduled to defend that title against El Hijo del Vikingo at the upcoming TripleMania Regia event in Monterrey, but Dave Meltzer reports that the champion will be pulling out of the event due to upcoming surgeries.

Yep, surgeries. Kenny has a torn labrum, an abdominal hernia, a bad knee, and a septum issue as well. He’s been working through the pain for awhile now, and is expected to be out at least through February. Seriously though, if anybody deserves some time off it’s Kenny Omega. Dude has put the work in, whether you like him or not. It’ll also give him some added time to focus on the AEW video games division.

New Japan & NOAH Working Together

Last week in this column, I wondered why New Japan was holding three different Wrestle Kingdom events, including one in Yokohama on January 8 that didn’t have a fun IWGP Heavyweight Championship match announced for it yet. Turns out that the January 8 show will be a cross-promotional effort also involving Pro Wrestling NOAH. New Japan is reportedly planning on running a number of cross-promotional events in 2021 as part of celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. DDT, All Japan & Dragon Gate have apparently talked with NJPW about participating.

These reports indicate to me that NJPW isn’t exactly bullish on the idea of borders being opened up anytime soon. It’s good news for Japanese wrestling fans though, and will help New Japan fill some cards. It’ll be fun to see Keiji Mutoh back in a New Japan ring, won’t it?

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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Cook’s WWE Survivor Series 2021 Gambling Picks

Survivor Series is coming up, so that means Cook has some betting lines! Anyone looking to make money this Sunday, check out the odds!



If you’re a WWE Superstar and have made it to Survivor Series, you kinda have to feel like a survivor already, right? Lots of budget cuts lately, to the point where it’s tough to keep track of who’s still employed by WWE and who isn’t. As far as I know, the people listed in the matches below and the twenty-five people in The Rock 25th Anniversary Battle Royal are still employed. For now.

It looks like a fun card on paper. The build has been pretty blah, but isn’t that par for the course with WWE these days? There’s some really good matches going on, you just gotta ignore everything going on around it. BetOnline has some odds on these matches, so we’ll take a look at them for entertainment purposes.

United States Champion vs. Intercontinental Champion
Damian Priest (-240) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (+165)

I like how Nakamura has a championship, yet is still in the role of putting people over on big shows. He lost to Roman Reigns on the Tribute to the Troops event, and now he’s here to lose to Damian Priest. Which, don’t get me wrong, is the right thing to do. Priest is on his way up, and Shinsuke is what he is at this point. It just strikes me as kinda funny, you know? At least Nakamura does a good job. No reason to bet on the underdog here though, unless Priest pisses somebody off backstage.

Raw Tag Team Champions vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions
RK-Bro (-220) vs. The Usos (+155)

One of these teams has been pretty active in WWE’s tag team division for what feels like decades now. The other just recently formed and features Randy Orton, who always turns against his friends in the end. And somehow Randy Orton & Riddle are the favorites? Come on now. I know they’re the new freshness & all that, but the Usos have been here since Day One Ish and can do the damn thing.

Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Raw (Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella & Queen Zelina) (-130) vs. Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Natalya & Toni Storm) (-110)

We all love Survivor Series elimination matches, right? Especially when they deal with BRAND SUPREMACY instead of, you know, personal issues between wrestlers. OK, so some of these wrestlers do have personal issues with each other, but we’re expected to buy them as part of cohesive units. It’s bass-ackwards, I’ve mentioned this ever since they started doing it and I’ll probably keep mentioning it until they stop doing it.

On the bright side, most of the people involved in this match are good to competent in the ring, or at least are interesting. So it should be a decent enough show. I’m guessing either Bianca or Sasha will be part of the surviving crop of talent…Sasha & Toni Storm? Toni needs a win if we’re meant to take her seriously against Charlotte Flair. I’m leaning towards Team SmackDown here.

Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley & Austin Theory) (+150) vs. Team SmackDown (Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Woods, Happy Corbin & Sheamus) (-200)

Team SmackDown seems like the smart pick here too, mostly because Drew McIntyre is on that team and will likely be going over since they like to keep him strong. I could see him as a sole survivor here. If Raw wins, expect Seth Rollins or Kevin Owens to be victorious since they’re in line to challenge Big E. More likely that there’s a miscommunication with the Raw bunch though.

Raw Women’s Champion vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion
Becky Lynch (-400) vs. Charlotte Flair (+250)

This is the kind of feud I would have really sunk my teeth into when I was a teenager just getting started learning about all the backstage wrestling gossip. It was always so interesting to read about wrestlers that *really* hated each other, or when something was a SHOOT. Oh, I totally bought into that kind of stuff when I was a youngster. Now I’m old and really don’t give a crap about how any of these people feel about each other. I couldn’t care less whether or not Becky & Charlotte are still BFFs, or if they’ve grown apart, or whose side the locker room is taking in the matter.

I’m also smart enough to know that people like Young Me are who WWE is trying to appeal to with this sort of thing. Hopefully for their sake there are plenty of teenage wrestling nerds learning about the business on the Internet that can buy the idea of “Everything you’re watching is fake, but THIS is real, brother!” This should be a damn good match considering who’s involved, I just hope they don’t do some lame shoot-work thing as the finish. We still don’t need another ode to Montreal.

But, Charlotte Flair at +250 might be a good bet if they’re doing something fishy. I’m just saying.

WWE Champion vs. Universal Champion
Big E (+300) vs. Roman Reigns (-500)

It says something about how much people like Big E that the odds here are this close. Roman’s typically a much bigger favorite than this, and for good reason. He’s been trucking fools for over 400 days as Universal Champion, and there isn’t a soul on the SmackDown roster that looks like a threat to take that title off of him. You might tell me “Drew McIntyre”, but even that seems like a bit of a pipe dream at this point.

Big E at least has something of a chance. He’s been all over the media making appearances on various programs leading into this show. Comes off well, like a good dude. You could see him in the top guy role for some time. Doesn’t mean he’s going to beat Roman Reigns, but Big E’s future seems bright. He should at least remain employed for the rest of 2021. As for Roman Reigns, one wonders if this #Rock25 tease is leading anywhere for him.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the PPV! Or the football or whatever else you plan on doing Sunday night.

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