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Opinion

Cook: AEW and the Rebirth of Tully Blanchard

Steve Cook, old school fan at heart, looks at Tully Blanchard and his rebirth in AEW. Him feuding with a Rhodes seems to be a great spark for that…

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Tully Blanchard

Steve Cook, old school fan at heart, looks at Tully Blanchard and his rebirth in AEW. Him feuding with a Rhodes seems to be a great spark for that…

I didn’t find out that WCW was a thing until 1992. This means that my first exposure to the Four Horsemen was through the 1993 edition of the group. That’s right: Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and…Paul Roma. I was all about Flair & Anderson, but even nine year-old me knew that Roma was glorified enhancement talent in the WWF. Even if Roma wasn’t particularly impressive, WCW still put over the status of being a member of the Horsemen as being a big deal. I read magazines with articles talking about the history of the Horsemen & listing all the illustrious members of years gone by. Guys like Barry Windham, Lex Luger & Sid Vicious were easily recognizable to me. Ole Anderson had been on television around the time and was part of the booking committee.

There was one guy that WCW didn’t mention that much, though. Even though he was one of the original Four Horsemen, his name rarely came up when people talked about the group. It’s easy to understand why, especially considering this was before the days where classic footage was available 24/7/365 for the low price of $9.99 per month. Wrestling companies have always promoted the history convenient to them, featuring the people they care about at a given moment.

Nobody with the power to promote wrestlers as “legends” had any reason to give such status to Tully Blanchard.

For one thing, Tully had rubbed nearly everybody the wrong way at one point or another. The qualities that made him the one member of the Horsemen that nobody liked or respected were also evident in his real-life character. There wasn’t much difference between Tully on-screen & Tully off-screen. If he didn’t like the way something was going, he had no problem telling everybody about it. From all accounts, Tully Blanchard could be a really big pain in the ass.

People put up with it because he was great. Once he slipped up & made mistakes, people were ready to cast him aside. Tully had the misfortune of being drug-tested on one of his last nights with the WWF when he had done cocaine earlier in the day. This was inopportune timing, as he was ready to head back to WCW and get a big-money contract. Once WCW found out he failed a drug test, that money wasn’t coming.

Instead of going to WCW, Tully pretty much left the business. He made a few random appearances here & there, but instead of finding work in wrestling, Blanchard found Jesus. While pro wrestling was going through another huge boom period in the mid to late 1990s, Tully was working as a minister & spreading the word of the Lord. It seemed as if Tully had moved on from wrestling, wrestling had moved on from Tully, and both parties were content. Tully Blanchard was the Forgotten Horseman, but he had more important things going on anyway.

Slowly but surely, Tully got back in the mix.

Tully looked into getting a producer job with WWE in the mid-2000s. That didn’t pan out, but he did get to appear on some DVDs chronlicing the history of the Four Horsemen, Starrcade & other NWA/WCW related topics. He even got inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame along with fellow Horsemen members Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham & J.J. Dillon.

WWE was fine with featuring Tully matches on their DVDs when the occasion called for it, and as more & more footage became available to the common fan, more fans became aware of Tully’s history. Which was pretty cool, but what really set things into motion for Tully’s relevance was when a new Blanchard came along.

Tessa Blanchard has become one of the hottest names in the wrestling business. She’s one of Impact Wrestling’s top stars, a former Knockouts Champion that’s recently been main eventing shows against men. Tessa is currently the AAA Reina de Reinas Champion & the WOW World Champion, and has held championships pretty much wherever she’s wrestled. One has to believe that when her Impact contract expires, she’ll be making a larger sum of money for a larger promotion.

She was on the All In show last year, and Tully was right there alongside Tessa & her stepfather. It’s still so weird to me that Magnum TA ended up marrying Tully Blanchard’s previous wife, but either way, it was a pretty cool moment. Once All Elite Wrestling became an official thing, they weren’t allowed to use Impact Wrestling talent. So you won’t be seeing Tessa on All Out.

However, you will be seeing Tully.

There are a couple different ways to look at this. From a business perspective, this feels pretty similar to when college basketball programs hire high school or AAU coaches of recruits they’re targeting. You get one while hoping to get the other. Hiring Tully while hoping to get Tessa once her contractual obligations expire makes a ton of sense.

But there’s a little more to it than that. We all know that Cody is a huge fan of Jim Crockett Promotions & WCW. It’s the wrestling he grew up on that his father was a huge part of creating. Tully was one of Dusty Rhodes’ top opponents throughout the 1980s. He was a proven commodity as a heel that Dusty could plug into any position against any babyface.

AEW is targeting that lost Southern rasslin’ audience. They’ve got Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone as part of their commentary team. Cody & Dustin Rhodes have that connection to the past. Chris Jericho wrestled for WCW when it was at its highest popularity. Oh, and the weekly show is on TNT.

Tully Blanchard feuding with a Rhodes family member just feels like pro wrestling.

It’s a big deal for Shawn Spears. We know his history as the guy that was a pretty good wrestler, but was always missing a little something. When he attacked Cody at Fyter Fest, many people groaned because they wanted to see a fresher face feud with Cody. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Cody would roll over Spears & send him packing to the preliminary matches. Adding Tully to Shawn’s side makes things more interesting. Blanchard hasn’t appeared in this role on a major stage before. It’s new & interesting to all of us.

Some folks will be predisposed to not like some of the newer things AEW will be presenting. Maybe they’ll change their minds once they give the show a try. To get those people, you need to present something they can understand. Old school wrestling fans can understand Dusty Rhodes’ son versus a wrestler represented by Tully Blanchard.

Tully Blanchard has gone from being the forgotten Horseman to the one with the biggest impact on where the wrestling business is heading. Who would have imagined that?


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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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