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Opinion

Steve Cook’s Top 5: Wrestling Upsets!

In the light of NHL hockey playoffs being filled with upsets, Cook had an epiphany! Take a look at his Top 5 Wrestling Upsets!

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In the light of NHL hockey playoffs being filled with upsets, Cook had an epiphany! Take a look at his Top 5 Wrestling Upsets!

I’m not sure if most of you have been paying attention to the NHL Playoffs. I have. I’m a big Nashville Predators supporter, and I write a lot about them when I’m not doing the wrestling. The Predators won the Central Division and were one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference, so I was looking forward to a deep playoff run for them.

That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen for any team that won an NHL division this season. Nashville, Calgary, Tampa Bay & Washington all found themselves among the first round losers, leaving a bunch of underdogs to settle the Stanley Cup among themselves. That’s hockey! Well, not really, as it’s the first time in NHL history that each of the division champions found themselves crashed out after one round of playoff hockey.

Upsets are widely celebrated throughout sports history. They are also celebrated in sports entertainment history. Here are the five that I think have had the most impact on the history of the business and were the most shocking at the time they happened.

5. Chris Jericho over Triple H (WWF Monday Night Raw 4/17/00)

I don’t like upsets that result from referee abuse. It seems cheap and doesn’t really help the person winning get over. But check out the pop when Jericho pins Triple H on the Lionsault…

Legend has it that this is when the WWF higher-ups realized that Jericho was a pretty big deal. If they didn’t know it before, they had to know it after that reaction. Our man Y2J had many doubters within the company during his first few months there, but that helped to silence them. Gotta give the Penn State people credit for that, if nothing else.

4. Mikey Whipwreck over Steve Austin (ECW November to Remember 1995)

Mikey had already scored a number of upsets prior to this match. He had somehow become an ECW Triple Crown Champion, holding all of the championships for one reason or another. The guy he beat for the TV Championship was a schmuck. Cactus Jack carried him to the Tag Team Championship. Sandman was drunk when Mikey won the ECW Championship. But Steve Austin? This was a veteran of the business, a man who had won the WCW United States, Television & Tag Team Championships. Surely he would run Mikey over in short order.

Apparently not.

Booker Paul Heyman wanted to give Austin the strap on this night. Austin was smarter than him. He knew that Mikey getting the win would give his character that much more motivation to take the strap later. He probably also knew that he wouldn’t be in ECW for very long. A win in this match meant 100 times more for Mikey Whipwreck than it ever would have meant for Steve Austin. Mikey’s finisher in his later years was the Whippersnapper, which was a version of the Stone Cold Stunner. Mikey can tell his grandchildren that he beat Steve Austin. That’s a story worth telling.

3. The Mulkeys over The Gladiators (NWA World Championship Wrestling 3/28/87)

Randy & Bill Mulkey lost matches on NWA World Championship Wrestling for so many years it’s easy to lose count. They were jobbers in the day that jobbers were king, and the idea of them winning a match was pretty crazy. The Gladiators had been built for weeks as an indestructible dup, and were expected to roll over the Mulkeys on their way to the Crockett Cup Tournament. Things went awry…

The Mulkeys went out in short order in the tournament, but their win still led to MulkeyMania, and a match with the Midnight Express in West Virginia that sold the joint out by gawd.

2. Barry Horowitz over Bodydonna Skip (7/9/95 WWF Action Zone)

Barry Horowitz was a very solid worker. He had a knack for making other wrestlers looking good, so he got put in that spot. Over and over again. Didn’t matter where he worked, that’s what he did. He got a random win in GWF & got the nickname of “The Winner” because he rarely won. I didn’t see that, so it was shocking to me when Barry scored the win over good ol’ Skip.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this was so much a boon for Horowitz as it was a bust for Skip. Sure, he & Zip still won the tag team championship on the WrestleMania XII Free-For-All. But I feel like this was the point where Sunny realized that she had to do better. And she certainly did better if you know what I’m saying.

1. The Kid over Razor Ramon (5/17/93 WWF Monday Night Raw)

People that were in the know at the time knew that Sean Waltman, AKA The Lightning Kid, AKA The Fill-In-The-Blank Kid, was supremely talented. Us young WWF fans had no idea at this point. He was a guy that’d lost a few matches in short order. We figured Razor would have no problem handling him, but we were in for a surprise.

This particular episode of Raw also featured Marty Jannetty defeating Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship, and if I did a “Top 5 Raw Episodes” column it would most likely be included. The Kid would eventually befriend Razor & the Clique, which helped his career immensely. That shouldn’t take away from his ability though. If anybody deserved to get bumped up from the ranks of the jobbers to the eventual Hall of Famers, it was Sean Waltman under whatever name you’d like to give him.


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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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DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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