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Opinion

Top 5: WWE Stories of 2019

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WWE Smackdown FOX

It’s time to look into the crystal ball with Steve Cook and see what will be the Top 5 WWE Stories for 2019!

Last week, we took a look back at what I thought the top stories of 2018 would be. We all had fun comparing what I thought would matter to what actually ended up happening. Since we did all that, it only makes sense for me to do the same for 2019.

These will be the Top 5 WWE Stories of 2019.

5. It’s All About The Money

WWE Vince McMahon Business

I’m going to have a tough time not making the Top 5 Non-WWE Stories of 2019 all about All Elite Wrestling. It’s really tempting. AEW’s goal is to Change The World, and there’s at least one way I see that happening. Wrestlers will see it in their pay envelopes.

In case you haven’t noticed, WWE has been raking in all kinds of money lately. The billion dollar deal with Fox. The huge deal with USA. Not to mention the Saudi Arabia thing or the huge gate they’ll get from WrestleMania. Even if ratings are down, live event gates are down or whatever, WWE’s making more money than it ever has.

This should translate to the wrestlers making more money. It doesn’t always work that way, especially more recently. It seems like wrestlers that have come up during this century have been too happy to be employed by WWE to make much of a ruckus. There haven’t been many other places to go, so one can understand why talent might not demand much in the way of money, or in the way of things to do.

Now that somebody is out there making offers, and WWE is making tons & tons of money, wrestlers would be stupid not to ask for as much as possible. The amount being mentioned as part of that “fantastic offer” Kenny Omega has reportedly gotten might seem extreme, but is it really? If WWE is making tons & tons of money, why shouldn’t the talent be getting the kind of money that Omega’s been offered?

If they can’t get it out of WWE, they might get it somewhere else.

4. WWE’s Next Top Star…will there be one?

Seth Rollins Three Stars

One thing we’ve noticed ever since Roman Reigns’ departure from WWE television to battle leukemia is the lack of a top star to take his place. The main guy dominating Raw camera time in the episodes after Roman’s departure was Baron Corbin, which nobody outside of the Corbin family would argue is a good idea. To be fair, Braun Strowman also got knocked out of action around the same time, so we couldn’t get over an hour of Braun talking & doing things to start a show.

People tell me that this is the most talented roster that WWE has ever had. But where’s the next top star? When Chris Platt asked me who would challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania during a recent podcast, I had no good answer. Some really want to believe it’s Seth Rollins, and I’m not morally opposed to it. I just need to see some better efforts in major matches before I buy in. For a “workrate” guy, his non-Raw matches come up short more often than you’d expect. And it’s not like he off-sets this flaw by being a great promo, as his next big money promo will be his first.

WWE needs to find the next Hulk Hogan, or the next Steve Austin, or the next John Cena. Or maybe the next Roman Reigns. As much as we like to say that the brand is the draw, there’s always somebody on top that’s a little bit bigger than the brand. Well, there isn’t right now.

Will they find one outside of WWE? A certain former IWGP champion who’s said to be elite?

3. What will the women do next?

WWE WrestleMania Becky Lynch Ronda Rousey

2018 was the Year of the Woman in WWE. So many firsts that it’s tough to keep track of them all. First Women’s Royal Rumble. First Women’s Elimination Chamber. First Last Woman Standing Match. First Women’s TLC Match, which main evented the show because of the people involved, not because it was the First Women’s TLC Match. First all-women’s PPV/WWE Network event. Other stuff that I’m forgetting.

One has to wonder how they will follow this up in 2019. There aren’t a lot of firsts left. First WrestleMania main event has generated a lot of discussion lately, as people say it’s been promised to Charlotte Flair. She deserves it, so I’d have no issue with that. There’s also the idea of the women getting their own show, which wouldn’t be a first unless you ignore GLOW or WOW, but I would assume that WWE women’s divisions could put together a better show than those feds. Well, except for the GLOW Netflix show, I’m not sure WWE can top that one.

There will at least be new Women’s Tag Team Champions, and that should be very interesting to see play out.

2. Roman Reigns’ Future

Roman Reigns WWE Leukemia

This one goes without saying, right? Reigns is the one megastar WWE has made in the last few years. He’s the one man among the current wrestlers that seems to have an effect on ratings & other metrics. As much as people online didn’t like to admit it, the Big Dog was a Big Deal.

Roman Reigns was the top draw for the women & children throughout his time as a singles star, and it’s not like the men were turning the TV off. A Roman Reigns Return would be huge box office, and would automatically be a more meaningful story than anything else coming out of WWE in 2019 or whenever it happens.

I think it happens this year. I have no reason to think this. It’s a gut feeling. The only question I have is how long it’ll take for the men to turn against him again. My guess is after he wins a championship in his first match back.

1. SmackDown’s move to FOX

October 2019 will bring massive changes to WWE as we know it. That’s when SmackDown Live makes the move from Tuesdays on USA to Fridays on FOX. SmackDown started its run on network television with UPN, but FOX’s status in 2019 & UPN’s status in 1999 are two different things entirely. The money involved is also exponentially higher, as FOX is paying WWE over a billion dollars over a five-year period.

When you’re paying somebody that kind of money, you want results. You want an A product. FOX doesn’t want a B show, which is what WWE has treated SmackDown as for most of the time that’s passed since the first brand split. They want something special. They want the big stars & the big matches.

WWE’s used to putting everything big on Raw. The fans are used to Raw featuring the stuff WWE actually cares about, while SmackDown showcases the stuff that’s probably more popular with hardcore fans than casual fans. There’s going to be a shift towards the end of 2019. Greg’s talked about how the shows could have different feels.

The situation surrounding SD’s move to FOX & how WWE adjusts things heading into it will be the most interesting WWE story of 2019.


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Opinion

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?

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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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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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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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