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Opinion

What Do You Want From All Elite Wrestling?

What do you want from AEW? Do you even know?

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All Elite Wrestling Cody Rhodes

Rob Bonnette asks an important question regarding All Elite Wrestling: Exactly what do you want from AEW?

The reason I’m asking is because there are different answers depending on who you talk to.  Some people are happy that there will be another option on the table for the men and women to find work, and hope that it succeeds for that reason alone.  Some people are happy to have another option for viewing purposes either in addition to or as a replacement for what they’re already watching.  And then there are……..the others.  The people who want Holy War declared on the evil Vince McMahon, who want all the ‘badly mistreated’ WWE talent to jump ship (badly mistreated meaning people they like and have come to believe are being buried because they’re not in the main event or wearing all the belts) and go somewhere that will always book them properly and take the shackles off of their creativity, and who want the beast that is Titan Sports to be laid low and defeated once and for all.

My question is really for that group more than any other because what you seem to be advocating and what it will likely lead to are two entirely different things.  And that’s not even getting to the reality that it’s highly unlikely to happen the way you’re thinking anyway.

First of all, AEW isn’t going to sign every disgruntled WWE wrestler who manages to score a release.  For one, they reportedly don’t plan to start with a big roster.  Cody has mentioned maybe around 30 to start with, and if you count up the names that they’ve already announced then they’re already halfway there.  Once Kenny Omega comes on, and a few more of their available friends get free and join up you’re looking at maybe a dozen or less spots for what a lot of you are hoping are as many as 20 people or more.  That just doesn’t add up, and everyone you want to get free is granted a release there’s a good chance some of those men and women are gonna end up on the outside looking in.

It sounds like a lot of you want all these oppressed WWE wrestlers to come in, get their creative freedom, and shoot on the WWE and Vince at every opportunity as part of your revolution.  Well we saw something like that already in TNA/Impact Wrestling and it wasn’t very good.  And I’m guessing (or hoping at least) that Cody and the guys know better than to run an endless parade of former WWE midcarders and enhancement talent, each complaining about how Vince McMahon held them down, through a cycle of showing up to shoot on Vince then beefing with some member(s) of the Elite then being left out there with nothing else to do.  But that seems to be what some people, full and total evisceration of the WWE and all they stand for.  It may feel good the first five or six times but it sure won’t make for a product that lasts.

Now about this creative freedom thing…….yeah, probably not going to happen like you think.  Individual creative control is something you will likely never see in a wrestling contract again thanks to how poorly it went in execution 20 years ago.  And if they do score a major cable TV deal then you’re going to find that TBS/TNT executives are going to have standards just like Fox and USA executives do.  They won’t be exactly the same but they will have them and it will tailor how things are presented.

The challenge is going to be approximating WWE level presentation (it doesn’t have to be just as good, but it can’t look bootleg like Ring of Honor always does) without coming off as a carbon copy.  That, and creating something unique from WWE but that can also be inviting to casual or lapsed fans to check out.  But again, what do you want?  Do you want a true alternative or do you want ‘WWE done right’ – ie, the same kind of show but with the people you think are more deserving on top and a match style that you think is better?    And that’s another dilemma because there’s not a lot of real evidence that ‘WWE done right’ will actually sell on a continuous basis.    If it’s going to work then you best believe there’s going to be sports entertainment (and in a way that does not run off children and families) in there and not just wrestling.

What I’m ultimately getting at here is that for some of you guys there’s a real disconnect between what you want them to do and what is more likely to be successful for them.  If they’re really in this to succeed and not just cash in on a money mark before scoring one more time with Vince in a few years (and I don’t rule out either one right now), then they’re going to have to do something different than cater to their most rabid, most partisan supporters.  Because that may be good for like and RTs, but it’s not a sound business strategy in the long run.

There are some hard realities about what kind of matches you can do, what kind of show you can do, and who you can put on top if you’re trying to reach beyond a niche audience.  We’ll find soon enough one way or the other.


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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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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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