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Cook’s Top 5: Worst Wrestling Crowds

As SummerSlam heads to “Bizarro World,” Steve Cook takes a look at wrestling’s worst crowds!



Wrestling Crowds

As SummerSlam heads to “Bizarro World,” Steve Cook takes a look at wrestling’s worst crowds!

SummerSlam is taking place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s tough to make too many predictions, especially when most of the card is still in flux, but there is one thing that I can pretty much guarantee will happen:

At some point in the evening, the phrase “Bizarro World” will be uttered by an announcer.

See, Toronto has a tendency to react to things in a way WWE doesn’t expect. Sometimes it’s just cheering all the Canadians. Other times, it’s crapping all over a match that WWE thinks will get over big. Then sometimes they’ll just boo the top babyface. Or they’ll cheer Hulk Hogan so hard that his decrepit ass will get a title run. You just never know with these folks.

I like Toronto, for the most part. I can live without Drake, but most of it’s ok with me. The wrestling fans are cool too. Here are five crowds that I’m not as high on…

5. Long Island

New York City is known as the worldwide hub of pro wrestling. WWE has had some of its greatest events in Madison Square Garden & the Manhattan Center. ECW & Ring of Honor have torn it up in the Hammerstein Ballroom. I know there are like ten other venues within the city limits I’m forgetting about. The area has always been hot for wrestling.

But when you head over to Long Island…all that excitement fades something fierce. The Nassau Coliseum was known for years as one of WWE’s worst venues for audience reaction. Maybe it was the perception that MSG got all the good stuff while Nassau got the leftovers. Then you have the Barclays Center, which WWE is trying to turn into their new MSG, but is infested with hipsters that are more interested in getting themselves over than watching the wrestling. Maybe they’ll become the crowd WWE wants them to be at some point.

4. ECW/CZW/The/2300 Arena

Call it what you want, but that bingo hall at the corner of Swanson & Rittner has seen some wrestling through the years. After ECW came through and showed there was a regular crowd that would go watch wrestling there every month, every independent promotion tried to follow in their footsteps.

It wasn’t the worst idea in the world, but at some point every venue gets burned out. CZW had countless shows with 200 people in the Arena that didn’t make any noise and couldn’t have looked less thrilled to be there. At some point, going to wrestling shows became a chore for Arena regulars. They’d seen everything after years of hardcore violence. Ring of Honor ran some TV tapings there and didn’t get any better of a reaction. Sometimes, you just have to let a place go.

3. Impact Zone

Most of the crowd traits we complain about today started in the Impact Zone. Universal Studios Florida played host to TNA Impact episodes from 2004 until 2013, and took the company back later that year when the idea of touring nationally didn’t go as well as hoped. TNA wasn’t able to charge admission, as the soundstage was part of the Universal theme park. Some regulars attended shows, but most of the time there were people just coming through.

WCW had held TV tapings at Universal & Disney MGM Studios previously, and the crowds were generally oblivious to what was going on. They would cheer when the APPLAUSE sign came on, which worked fine for WCW purposes. By the time TNA rolled around, wrestling fans in general were smarkier. The regulars in the crowd came up with some amusing chants and were big on the dueling chants. “This Is Awesome” became a thing thanks to the Impact Zone. That alone puts it on the list.

2. Mid-South Wrestling

We’ve all heard the stories about those crazy Oklahoma & Louisiana crowds back in the day. If you’ve listened to any of Jim Cornette’s historical talk he’s gone on about how those Mid-South crowds wanted to kill him & the Midnight Express. Because they believed it was real, they thought the heels were really nasty people and wanted to fight them. Pretty much any bad guy had to fight for their life to get out of the arena. Guys like Cornette & Bill Watts put this over as a good thing, and a sign of how the business has deteoriated from the good ol’ days when men were men, women were women & the sheep were scared.

What am I missing here? Maybe it’s just me, but a crowd full of angry drunken rednecks trying to fight wrestlers sounds like the exact opposite of a good crowd. It’s one thing to loudly cheer & boo, enjoy the show & have a good time. It’s another to attack wrestlers & end up spending the night in jail with a black eye or two. These dumb fools were the original “fans trying to get themselves over”.

1. WWE Hall of Fame

The 2004 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is one of my favorite DVDs. I could listen to those classic speeches from the likes of Bobby Heenan, Harley Race, Jesse Ventura and others over and over again. I have! Something changed once 2005 rolled around, and subsequent HOF events haven’t been nearly as enjoyable as 2004.

The problem is obvious to me: 2004’s event wasn’t open to the public. It was held at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, in front of WWE Superstars & family & friends & whatnot. After that event was a success, WWE figured out they could make some money out of selling tickets to it. So fans started attending, and acted dumber & dumber with each passing year. An inductee can’t make a speech without people chanting “ONE LAST MATCH” or doing other things to interrupt speeches. Heck, this year saw some idiot attack Bret Hart while he was doing a speech.

It’s not all the fans’ fault, really. You can’t want your fans to act like manaics at every other event and expect them to behave & treat people with respect one night of the year.

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AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?



As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…


I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.

#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.

That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!

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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?



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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