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Kofi Kingston Will Prove His Championship Worth vs. Kevin Owens at WWE Money in the Bank

Is KO the perfect feud to prove Kofi is a great champion?

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Kofi Kingston WWE WrestleMania 35

Kofi Kingston will defend the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank on Sunday, May 19. The New Day’s most successful Superstar finally has his first championship feud and many fans could not be happier about it. At least he’s getting started.

However for some, the honeymoon of Kingston’s title win at WrestleMania 35 has ended. The novelty of Kofi’s improbable run to the top is wearing off and what’s left is the real test of his title reign. The fact that Kofi has the title is more than a little surreal. After all, no one really expected he would get this far. 

But now that he has, the focus is back on WWE. The company is responsible for Kofi’s direction of course, as he’s only going to follow their lead. But is WWE already dropping the ball when it comes to Kingston?

Kofi Kingston is still as happy as he ever was in The New Day. Big E is on the shelf right now, but Kingston and Xavier Woods are continuing on without him. They’re still smiling, they’re still dancing and they’re still slinging pancakes to the crowd. But is that a problem?

It’s as if everyone expected that Kofi Kingston would immediately drop the multi-colored unicorn motif and move to three-piece suits after winning the WWE Championship. Hurling breakfast food at the audience wasn’t something that Harley Race or Ric Flair ever did. They embraced the role of world champion and took it very seriously. So why doesn’t Kofi?

But even as critics complain, they seem to be missing the point. Had Kofi Kingston dropped The New Day gimmick and adopted a highly intense demeanor, he would likely have disappointed fans as well. They would surely have claimed that WWE was doing damage to Kofi by changing him and not allowing him to just be himself.

Of course there could be some middle ground when it comes to Kofi’s style and the way he carries himself. Maybe he could continue on in The New Day, but perhaps tone down his performance to a certain degree. But if that happened, would fans buy it?

Then there’s the fact that WWE is not a traditional old school pro wrestling company. This is the same organization that put its top title on a beer swilling, foul-mouthed redneck who wore denim shorts and hated everyone. Was Stone Cold Steve Austin not a legitimate World champion because of his image?

Perhaps it’s the humor that bothers fans the most. Kofi is just way too happy to be the top guy. It’s as if he doesn’t have respect for himself, or the championship. But is that a fair assessment of his work, both in and out of character? 

How many times did The Rock make the audience howl with laughter, while he insulted one Superstar after another? The People’s Champion was as vulgar as The Texas Rattlesnake and the fans loved him for it. They couldn’t get enough. The Rock was an entertainer delivering one-liners and comedy like no one else. But Kofi Kingston has to be serious?

This is obviously not The Attitude Era and today’s stars do not have as much freedom as before. Fans are well aware of this. So it’s entirely possible that Kofi has simply not had enough time as WWE champion for anyone to make an educated opinion on his progress thus far. But now the time has come to answer some of those concerns, as Kofi moves to Kevin Owens.

Now the fans will see exactly what Kingston is capable of, both in the ring and on the mic. The time has come for him to turn the volume up and focus more than he ever has before. He’s being handled by WWE of course, just as every Superstar is, but the way Kingston handles himself in the ring with Kevin is entirely up to him.

Top guys deliver on the big stage. That’s what they do. Kevin Owens has proven time and again that while he doesn’t necessarily have a championship body, he definitely has a championship mindset. It’s about much more than just being a heel and bringing the intensity. It’s about the switch that he flips from comedy to chaos and he will do just that at Money in the Bank.

This is the perfect test for Kofi Kingston’s first championship rivalry. He’s facing a former World champion with a history of big matches under his belt. Kofi Kingston, after 11 years in WWE, has more to prove than Owens, who only has six years more in the business. KO has never really stood on his own in WWE, because he’s always had a partner in crime. But that makes no difference now because in many ways, Kofi is actually the underdog in this match.

The fact is that Kofi Kingston worked hard to earn his spot. It was time for him to get to the next level and now that he’s there, he’s surely ready to prove he belongs. Kingston has every reason to walk into Money in the Bank with the single goal in mind of proving the critics wrong. He has a story to tell and more importantly, he has a championship run to continue. 

Kofi will be on his game because he has to be and because he wouldn’t have it any other way. How WWE chooses to book him is unfortunately out of his hands. Kingston has an opportunity to deliver his part in the athletic drama that is WWE and it’s hard to believe he won’t do exactly that on May 19. He is dialed in and he’s most certainly ready. This is his time and he doesn’t need a suit to prove it.


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Opinion

Top 5 World Championship Reigns In The WWE Modern Era (1984 to Present)

See the lists developed by PC Tunney, Greg DeMarco, and Patrick O’Dowd as they determine the five best world championship reigns in the modern era of WWE!

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Roman Reigns WWE Universal Champion

See the lists developed by PC Tunney, Greg DeMarco, and Patrick O’Dowd as they determine the five best world championship reigns in the modern era of WWE!

Wrestling is one of the most fun topics under which we can rank nearly everything. A simple Google search will reveal entire websites devoted to rankings–wrestling or otherwise.

PC Tunney devised an idea, and I developed a name. Thus, the Impromptu Wrestling Convo (aka, The IWC) was born. The first topic? Top 5 World Championship Reigns In The WWE Modern Era.

PC Tunney, Patrick O’Dowd, and myself each came up with our Top 5, and came together to reveal them on this special podcast (see it above, and below). Definitely give it a listen. But here you can also read our composite list, and see who ranked in our Top 5.

Grading Criteria:

  • Points were assigned for the rankings: 5 points for #1, 4 points for #2, and so on.
  • Ties would likely have been left as ties, but (luckily for me) there were no ties in the Top 5, making that part easy.
  • Any reign starting with Hulk Hogan’s first was eligible to be included.

And now, the list!

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Top 5 World Championship Reigns In The WWE Modern Era

5. Brock Lesnar, 2014

Starting with his dismantling of John Cena at SummerSlam (which was supposed to be Daniel Bryan), Brock Lesnar had a reign that included an incredible triple threat match with Seth Rollins and John Cena at the 2015 Royal Runble, and of course the WrestleMania 31 main event clash with Roman Reigns that ended in Seth Rollins’ iconic cash-in. This reign is mainly notable for how it starts and how it finishes, as there was but one bright spot in the middle.

4. John Cena, 2005

Not the longest John Cena world title reign, but Cena’s run as WWE Champion started at WrestleMania 21 and ended with the first ever Money In The Bank cash-in at New Year’s Revolution. This cemented Cena as the top dog in WWE, complete with a move to Raw in the draft, and the emergence of “Super Cena.”

3. CM Punk, 2011

454 Days that no one will ever forget, CM Punk dominated WWE television in a reign that was ultimately cut short by The Rock. Punk didn’t main event WrestleMania 28, facing Chris Jericho before the “Once In A Lifetime” clash between The Rock and John Cena. This ended at the following Royal Rumble at the hands of The Rock, who would go on to lose that title to Rumble winner John Cena at WrestleMania 29.

2. Roman Reigns, 2020

The present-day WWE Universal Champion nearly tops the list, but what remains to be seen is just how long he holds the title, and how it ends. Roman Reigns is on a monumental ride, with no signs of slowing down. We will see if the emergence of a new megastar ends this journey, or if Hollywood comes calling first. Either way, this will end up being acknowledged as one of the all time great championship reigns.

1. Hulk Hogan, 1984

Hulk Hogan began his 1,474 day reign as WWF Champion on January 23, 1984, defeating The Iron Sheik in Madison Square Garden. Hogan would kick off the Rock-N-Wrestling Era, launching WWE into a stratosphere not seen by any other wrestling company, ever. Outside of an 83 week stretch, no one could touch WWE, and that stretch was fronted by Hogan himself. His reign ended in controversy (something about Andre The Giant selling the championship to Ted Dibiase, evil twin referees, and a tournament at WrestleMania IV), but it still goes down as the greatest ever.

Others getting mentioned:

  • Jinder Mahal, 2016 (yes, that was mine)
  • Brock Lesnar, 2017 (by PC Tunney)
  • Randy Savage, 1988 (Patrick O’Dowd’s)
  • John Cena, 2006 (by Tunney)

To see how each talent was listed, and by who, I made this chart. Keep in mind, a “5” means they were #1 on that person’s list, a “4” is #2, “3” is #3, “2” is #4, and a “1” is #5.

What are your thoughts? Drop them in the comments below, or on social media! Also, give the podcast a listen, it’s streaming throughout this article.


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News From Cook’s Corner 1.17.22: Gory Self-Mutilation

AEW tried to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time. Did it work? What other news struck last week?

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We’ve got a short column for you this week, which most of you were probably expecting when the Cincinnati Bengals actually on a playoff game. Nah, I didn’t party too much, just had an allergic reaction with my eye again. We’ve done this before. This time I’m pretty sure it had something to do with cleaning my bookshelf and rearranging my books. Hadn’t done that in awhile, so there was a ton of duct. Sitting down and looking at a computer screen sucks, so we have to limit it as much as possible.

There’s still a couple things that warrant discussion though, so let’s get to it.

WWE On The Offensive

Looks like this week’s top stories are about WWE trying to do things to undermine wrestling promotions. We start with Major League Wrestling, who has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against WWE claiming that WWE has interfered with their ability to make various media rights deals.

Some of the highlights:

-Former WWE executive Susan Levison allegedly warned an executive from VICE that Vince McMahon was “pissed” they were airing MLW programming. MLW claims that WWE had leverage over VICE due to the Dark Side of the Ring series often being focused on WWE subject matter.

-MLW alleges that when WWE found out about their agreement with Tubi, WWE threatened to stop doing business with Fox. The fallout from the Tubi agreement falling through led to a drop in ticket sales & event cancellations & delays.

-As an example of WWE’s anticompetitive behavior, MLW cited AEW being held out of two arenas in the Cincinnati market due to pressure from WWE. Jon Moxley wrote in his book that the Heritage Bank Center on Cincy’s riverfront refused to book AEW due to WWE influence. I don’t know the other, could be the BB&T Arena across the river on the campus of Northern Kentucky University where WWE has held house shows. AEW wound up running the Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, and outdrew the Raw taping held at the HBC just prior.

-Apparently starting in early 2020, WWE started trying to poach MLW wrestlers that were under contract, and aired footage of an MLW wrestler without MLW’s consent. (Somebody would have to fill me in on this one, I haven’t the slightest idea who this would be.) MLW also claims that WWE sought to prevent wrestlers from working with MLW by refusing to hire wrestlers that had worked there, and that one MLW wrestler demanded to be released early from his contract so he could join WWE.

Do I think that at least some of these allegations are true? Having followed pro wrestling for over thirty years and having read up on the history of WWE…you betcha!

I don’t think there’s a question that WWE has resorted to any means necessary to drive potential competitors out of their market. They’ve been doing this since taking most of the territories’ top stars back in the mid-1980s. It’s been a monopoly for nearly two decades for a reason. The main question I have: Will a judge actually care, or will they throw it out of court because it’s silly pro wrestling?

How do you think WWE slips under the radar on things that other media companies & sports leagues actually have to deal with? People have been trained to not take WWE seriously. As much as people like us obsess over the rasslin’ business, people that don’t “get it” are happy to ignore it. Vince McMahon can do any darn thing he wants, and the reaction from folks outside the wrestling bubble will be non-existent. It’s wrestling! To outsiders, the whole damn thing is an outlaw mudshow.

AEW = Gory Self-Mutilation

The Toronto Sun did an article on All Elite Wrestling over the weekend, talking about their status as a competitor to WWE. They asked WWE for comment & got one:

“If you look at the gory self-mutilation that bloodied several women in the December 31 event on TNT, it quickly becomes clear that these are very different businesses. We had an edgier product in the `Attitude’ era and in a 2022 world, we don’t believe that type of dangerous and brutal display is appealing to network partners, sponsors, venues, children, or the general public as a whole.”

A few notes here:

1. I’ve been doing this stuff longer than I care to admit, and I never thought of asking WWE for comment on something. Should I start asking people for comments on topics I’m writing about? I doubt I’d get any answers, but it might be worth a shot.

2. This has been WWE’s strategy when asked about AEW for some time now. We remember Vince McMahon using the phrase “Blood & Guts” to describe the promotion on a conference call. They know that people get squeamish about blood, especially when it comes to blood coming from women. The Fabulous Moolah never busted anybody open on television, and she trained most of the women for years. People aren’t used to seeing it, and they often get uncomfortable with things they aren’t used to seeing.

3. Most people find other people bleeding pretty gross. There’s a reason why deathmatch wrestling is a niche produxct. People that love it really, really love it, but it’s a very small percentage of the marketplace.

4. WWE’s belief is that advertisers & media companies aren’t big on blood, so they make sure to mention AEW’s apparent lust for the red stuff whenever the subject comes up. Their hope is that advertisers will shy away from advertising with AEW, and media companies won’t give AEW big money when their current deal with WarnerMedia is up.

5. Thus far, whenever Tony Khan is criticized on something, he doubles down on it. So there’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to see even more matches with female bleeding. AEW’s female workers seem happy to do it.

6. WWE could be called out as being hypocritical on this front, but there aren’t many people that will hold them accountable.

It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. All I know for sure is that the smack talk between these two promotions and their fans is just beginning. Think it’s tocic now? Wait a couple of years.

Welp, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! Join me later in the week for some Divisional Round picks. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.

In Memoriam: Pete was a longtime reader from back in the day. From my dealings with him he was a kind person that knew how to use his head. When you’ve written things on the Internet as long as I have, you learn that’s a rare thing. From what I’ve read from people that knew him in real life, he was the same way off the computer. Sadly he passed away from cancer on Friday night. Pete was always about serving others, as he was a U.S. Air Force veteran & a regular blood donor. He will be missed.


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