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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (10/15/19)

What is this blockbuster trade going to be?

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WWE Backstage coverage

WWE Backstage premieres on Fox Sports 1!

WWE Backstage premieres on Fox Sports 1! And with major news! Triple H is here to give us all the word on the “blockbuster” trade in the WWE Draft!

 

Renee Young and Booker T are ready!

Big Papimania is coming for King Bookah, but that’s just good ol’ fashioned playing around. The WWE Draft wrapped up but there is MAJOR news to discuss! Paige and Christian will be on set to discuss the apparent trade coming. And Renee sits down with Cain Velasquez to discuss his official WWE contract!

 

Renee and Booker sit with Captain Charisma and the Glampire!

Christian loves the introduction he gets, but he is jelly of Booker’s two Hall of Fame rings. And Paige is love that Renee plugs Fight With My Family, go get that for yourselves. This is live and already feeling GOODT. To jump into things, we get a quick rundown of the week in WWE.

Bayley gets a new hairdo, a new attitude, and a new reign on SmackDown as the Women’s Champion! The Viking Raiders are Raw’s Tag Team Champions after defeating Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler. Seth Rollins burned down the Fun House, Velasquez vowed to scar Brock Lesnar again, and all the picks of the Draft are in! The Man and the Big Dog took the first overall picks, while it was natural for the Universal and World Champions to stay on Raw and SmackDown, respectively. How does the panel feel? Paige’s favorite pick is the Kabuki Warriors, her girls! Christian loves the balance on both brands in all phases, and is sure all the champions are ready for new challenges and challengers. Booker T is a big fan of SmackDown’s choices, from Bray to Strowman to Roman. But USA and Raw got The Man, the Viper, the Architect, and a lot of young, strong talent like the Raiders and Ricochet.

But what were the true value pick?

Paige sticks with Asuka and Kairi Sane, because now they have the WWE Women’s Tag titles and a big new attitude. Christian says the steal was Samoa Joe to Raw, and The Fiend Bray Wyatt to SmackDown. The Fiend could be a generational talent now that he has this new, darker gear. Bray is fearless but instills fear, he captivates the audience. Booker is reminded of his ability and hunger in Ricochet. Ricochet has all that, his reputation preceded him, and now he could take this company on his back. A major endorsement from the Hall of Famer!

What does it feel like to go somewhere new in the Draft?

Well you’re the new kid in school, having to start over with a new group of people. There is uncertainty, but also some excitement. Christian studied hard, and knows there are horizons waiting for a lot of the superstars. Booker T knows all about starting over, overcoming challenges, and proving yourself.

Moving on from the Draft…

The Women’s Champions stay where they are, but one in particular has a new attitude to fit her new look! Yes, we’re talking Bayley going bad, bad, bad! Heel Bayley made children cry, so she must be doing something right by being so mean. Paige loves this! No more ponytail, no more wacky waving inflatable tube men, it’s best for Bayley. Christian likes how she’s throwing off caring about fans, this will help her go to new levels. Booker likes the no frills, no glitter gritty side.

BREAKING NEWS: Bruce Prichard is now in charge of SmackDown!

A man with fingerprints all over wrestling and a great eye for talent, he will be a great spark for SmackDown on all levels.

 

WWE Backstage welcomes Triple H via video call!

The first show has the man behind it on as the first guest! HHH is happy for Renee and Booker to be a part of this, it’s all very exciting. An unstoppable tag team, if you will. Talking Draft and “blockbuster” trades, Booker didn’t think we’d also get a big management change like Bruce Prichard come about? HHH isn’t sure himself, but he is excited. Prichard has been a key figure in the industry for 40 years, and being in charge of SmackDown, he’ll bring it into the realm it needs to be in order to be worthy of Fox. Prichard will do great things, is already making big moves, HHH likes it.

As alluded to, what is this trade? HHH has the scoop. Prichard’s first big move is… Bliss-Cross are back on SmackDown! The former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are back on the blue brand, and there will be some considerations for Raw’s future picks. The SmackDown Women’s Division gets the Goddess and the Loony Lass back, what will be their impact?

With Velasquez VS Lesnar and Tyson Fury VS Braun Strowman, Booker wants to know if HHH sees a trend coming with more combat sport crossover. HHH says that trend is already happening. Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, even Muhammad Ali back in the day. Ronda Rousey made a huge transition from UFC to the WWE, her career only getting bigger now, it shows all other combat athletes can make the shift if they want. Matt Riddle and Shayna Baszler are prime examples within NXT, and now we’ve got Fury and Velasquez, things could only get bigger. Renee and Booker thank HHH for his time, HHH appreciates being part of this and is ready for NXT tomorrow night.

 

Living legends give us a throwback!

Shawn Michaels and Sting talk Randy Savage VS Ricky Steamboat from WrestleMania III! It is a prime coaching example of ring action that tells a story. Solid action, story, psychology and pacing, it was truly iconic, even ahead of its time.

Paige and Christian return to also talk Savage VS Steamboat.

That match truly stands the test of time. It was the match that made Booker T want to enter pro-wrestling. Steamboat and Savage gave us an immortal moment for all time.

 

Austin wants One More Match?!

Stone Cold wouldn’t mind one last match, but who would it be against? #BookIT says Austin needs someone that will get up time and again to push Austin and make him look great again. That man for Booker is Dolph Ziggler! The Show-Off is a legitimately underrated talent, he can do the job. Paige wants in, and says aside from herself to have a chance to wrestle her hero, it’d be Kevin Owens. Owens has adopted the Stunner and now he could test it against the man who mastered it. But Christian says it should be AJ Styles! The Phenomenal One never has a bad match, even in losing, and the encounter between him and Austin is what sparked this conversation, after all. Will the Texas Rattlesnake dust off his boots to face one of those three? Or someone we don’t even see coming.

 

That’s gotta be Cain!

The Butcher is here to beat on The Beast again, on behalf of La Familia. Renee Young sat down with both Velasquez and Rey Mysterio to learn more about this grudge match nine years coming.

Velasquez is living a childhood dream being in the WWE. He and Mysterio started this bond because of wrestling, and they each followed each other’s careers. There was a fated connection there all along. Velasquez’s reaction to this transition is that he actually gets to interact with the fans. Mysterio says Velasquez is a natural in feeding off that energy already.

Lesnar’s face told the story when Velasquez appeared on SmackDown. The “little kid knows he got in trouble.” Lesnar has treated professionals roughly, but he crossed a line going after Mysterio’s son, Dominick. Now Velasquez will teach Lesnar a lesson. Crown Jewel will be different because Velasquez is learning how to blend his style with professional wrestling. They know how Lesnar fights, they just need to find all the counters. This feels like their fight in 2010, and Velasquez is just as laser focused now as he was then. Velasquez will be on SmackDown this Friday, will Lesnar be there to confront him?

 

The Architect really did Burn It Down!

Seth Rollins was Raw’s top pick for night two, but he wasn’t done with that. He went to new extremes when he suddenly invaded the Firefly Fun House and set the set ablaze! Not sure how he even found Bray Wyatt’s strange little hideout, but the real concern is Rollins’ stability. WWE made sure Rollins took a psychological evaluation with FS1 host and apparent therapist, Rachel Bonnetta.

Rollins enters Ms. Bonnetta’s office for their session. She starts this session with a selfie with him. She has been thinking about him ever since meeting last session. That’s nice…? She is apparently more than just a fan… Rachel is a little reluctant to ask about Rollins’ relationship with Becky Lynch, but she assumes it’s going fine. Yeah, it’s going great, actually. Moving on, would he say he’s misunderstood? Probably. He might not even be sure who he is. He seems in a good place to her, but maybe keep coming back. She feels something here. He should see her as much as he can. Okay… Don’t get up, he can see himself out. She lets Rollins go, and cuddles up to where he sat on the therapy couch.

Back to the studio!

Renee warns Rachel not to mess with The Man’s Man. But Seth Rollins tweets he’d like to see that.

But back to business, we start a segment called the Hot Tag! It is the lightning round to discuss the events of the week. And first up is of course when Rollins literally burned it down in the Fun House! This new dark side is great for Paige. She feels the catchphrase is cheesy but it fits. Keep up the good work, buddy! Paige has time to spare. Christian makes Firefly Fun House into a tongue twister before moving on to the Street Profits and their scrap with the OC. Booker T takes this one. Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, two guys with talent and skill. They’re in the big time, they’re looking for a third man, tag Booker in! And he fits that just with extra time. Christian takes the third subject, Paul Heyman arranging Raw so that the love triangle of Rusev-Lana-Lashley plays out on TV.

Christian got deja vu watching some of these segments *cough* Edge-Lita-Matt-Hardy. But not to throw anyone under the bus, he’s intrigued. There was a lot of downtime for all three superstars, was something exposed? Is Rusev all show and no go? Booker and Paige are also intrigued, but we move on to talk legit sports. Game 4 of the ALCS is Wednesday on FS1, get ready!

 

Time to go to Promo School!

You need to be just as good on the mic as you do in the ring! And in this segment, the panel will test if pro-athletes from other sports can keep up with the great ones. Tonight, Adam Jones of baseball fame steps up to the plate. He and his friends cosplayed wrestling icons, and Jones chose Virgil! It was an easy enough outfit to do, and it was a lot of fun just being part of that audience that night. Christian suggests he could’ve gone Million Dollar Man. His other advice is confidence. That mic is part of you, believe what you’re saying, right down to the “cockles.” Paige would like to see some cockles. But don’t over bury your opponent. If you actually give some respect to your opponent, it makes you look all the better.

Time to begin! Booker T gives Jones his prompt as he makes a classic Booker T entrance onto the stage. Booker stares Jones down and Jones couldn’t help but step back. Give it to him, Jones! “One of the most decorated superstars this sport has ever seen.” From singles titles to tag titles to the Hall of Fame. But Jones isn’t here for gold. He’s here for blood! Booker can give us One More Match, Hell in a Cell, for all the titles! Jones thinks they can, he feels Booker wants it, but can Booker’s body do it? Booker’s response? Jones did pretty good.

The panel gets their pens out to give a score… Renee puts 6. It was believable. The energy could be more, but he gave it back to Booker just as hard. Christian gives a 17! This is out of 10 but there’s an exchange rate. The real score is 7, but he did as Christian said: believed! No need to yell or scream, just make your point. Paige went with 5. Psych! This was for Booker. The real score is an 8 on just the confidence! Booker might want to pop off. Booker finally gives a real response: cutting a promo is about intent. Booker came out ready, the world champion, feeling all of his “romping stomp, grave-digging destruction!” Player to player, Pac-Man Jones! No, Adam Jones. The musician? No, the baseball player. He doesn’t have one ring, let alone two. Does he suck? YES! Booker will send Jones crawling back to the Diamondbacks. Now can you dig that, SUCKA? OOF! Even Jones has to respect that lesson.

 

Superstars talk their favorite finishers.

The Rock Bottom is of course up there. Mustafa Ali has to admit, the RKO is a classic. And he would know, he’s taken some good ones recently. Big E goes with the People’s Elbow, because out of context, it’s “so ridiculous.” Randy Orton has to go with the Pedigree, a move he has taken many times, too. But Xavier Woods goes with the Tombstone Piledriver, and Carmella loves the Stone Cold Stunner, “of course.” Renee agrees with Ali, the RKO is jsut too good. BOoker T prefers his Book End to the Rock Bottom. Christian votes for his own Unprettier.

 

Time for some Social Media SmackDown!

In other words, some random mean tweets. BOBCAT19448198 says Paige blocks people for seemingly no reason, “Overrated for doing nothing!” Paige tells Bobcat that this is going to be short and sweet: guys like him are why she blocks people at all! People talk crap but would be kissing up in person. Baby boy, this is ALWAYS her house! Booker T serves up one for Renee! BlackMacGyver says “You know you suck at your job when you can ruin a Stone Cold Stunner!” Ouch! Renee wants a close up. When has she called such a move? NEVER! She barely called KO matches! She got “let go” from that job, but has this job now! She’ll be making it rain Fox money, babyyyy~! Paige helps Renee to a Spinarooni! And with that, get ready in November when WWE Backstage is going non-stop, week to week! Good night, everybody!

 


 

My Thoughts:

Well, this was an interesting experience. First, the major news wasn’t that major. Bliss-Cross going back to SmackDown without a Raw superstar or free agent lined up to match just tells us all that they realized too late that SmackDown had barely any women on it who could contend for a singles title. And even then, I’m not sure if Alexa and Nikki continue as the one SmackDown team to face the Kabuki Warriors or not. What happened to the IIconics? Then the rest of the show tried to blur the line of kayfabe and reality, which really only ended up being them hopping back and forth from one side of that line to the other. They used terms like “Heel” and “Face” and all of that, it was really confusing what this show is about. Is it about talking about the business the same way, well, sites like ours does? Or is it supposed to be to kayfabe what Sportscenter and Fox Sports programs are to regular sports? I hope they decide when this show actually gets going. I probably won’t be watching, though, this was just to see about that “blockbuster trade.”


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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Talk Report! (7/26/21)

Raw Talk will Live Forever!

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WWE Raw Talk

Raw Talk has the Nightmare, the Archer of Infamy, and the tag team champions!

What will Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, AJ Styles & Omos have to say after a raucous Monday night?

 

Kayla Braxton and Matt Camp welcome us to the show!

A recap of the last few moments of Raw play, and Kayla can’t believe we’re less than a month away from SummerSlam! And what we saw is setting the stage for a huge match. Charlotte Flair defeats Nikki A.S.H. in a non-title match then adds on. Matt says what Nikki did last week is something we’ll remember forever. But trying to do that to Charlotte again, Charlotte was ready. Charlotte sent a message going into next week’s rematch, and while Charlotte isn’t the champion, she has to be the favorite. Hopefully Nikki can get momentum back before the big Triple Threat.

Another challenge standing tall over a champion was Damian Priest. He defeated Sheamus in a WWE United States Championship Contender’s Match and will now have a chance at the title. Sheamus has something to worry about. Matt says Priest was coming for this title for some time, and he got a win here tonight. Sheamus might have trouble with that nose yet again, and we’ll get Priest’s thoughts later on. The Raw Tag Team Championships were on the line, and again between Styles & Omos and the Viking Raiders. Omos & Styles retained, but they seem to be looking ahead to new targets. Styles & Omos were impressive in their win, and Matt can tell those two are after Riddle.

A replay shows Omos use his two hand slam to set Erik up for Styles’ Phenomenal Forearm. A big win over a tag team that has won all over the world, hat’s off to the Raw Tag Team Champions. And Matt likes the initiative the champs took going after Riddle and breaking the scooter! Kayla wants to maybe help Riddle pay for a new one. Riddle is alone without Randy Orton, but the champions are here to talk!

Kevin Patrick is with Styles & Omos and congratulates them on retaining the titles tonight. But why did they go after Riddle? None, really. Styles just doesn’t like Riddle, no one does. Riddle has no friends. But he also has a sweet tooth, which is really annoying. Riddle’s always carrying around Gummy Bears in his bag, it’s weird, because there are other gummy candies out there. Styles is partial to Sour Patch Kids himself. Omos likes Swedish Fish. Oh that’s really classy. But did they have to break his scooter? Styles didn’t, but Omos did, and it was awesome. But why? They know what that means to Riddle. Omos did it because he wanted to. Boom, simple as that. Interview over.

One more question, about the defense against the Viking Raiders. It went pretty smoothly. Yes, they’re the best. This is their house. Styles is the best, Omos is the second best. Phenomenal Styles and Great Omos. Kevin sends it back to the studio.

Kayla says maybe if they all have a sweet tooth, Riddle should get Styles & Omos their favorite gummies and they can smooth this over. Matt gets it, but he can’t believe there was no reason as to why they did what they did to him. They just don’t like him, and now that it’s 2v1 with Orton around, the champions can change things from being the hunted to the hunters. Matt wants to see more out of this, just not destroying a scooter. Maybe Riddle’s happy-go-lucky aura isn’t their thing? Well, still more to come, after the break!

 

Raw Talk returns to talk Drew McIntyre.

McIntyre was given a choice: apologize or face legal action. He and the fans agreed, “Screw the lawyer and beat Veer within an inch of his life.” McIntyre got fans to join in on “Drew is Gonna Kill~ You!” but Mahal made sure Veer survived his Raw in-ring debut. Chanting aside, as we’ve said, McIntyre has nothing else now that he’s barred from the world title so all his anger is going after Mahal and his minions. The lawyer takes the hit, Mahal is still in trouble. Mahal should just stay far, far away. But this McIntyre is fun to watch! Kayla wants more chants, too. Mahal better watch himself, because McIntyre has nothing to lose now. It isn’t wins or losses, just about getting revenge.

Matt says Mahal should stop riling McIntyre up, the friendship is gone, the past is the past. This McIntyre is fun for the fans, but not for Mahal. However, Priest still has his opportunity for a title, won tonight as Sheamus lost his protective mask and Priest Hit the Lights. Priest wants the US Championship as his first Raw title, but Sheamus says his nose is not in good shape anymore. Sheamus has had a great career, Priest is still very new, is this the time for Priest to get the gold? Matt says yes, because as much as Sheamus has been battling against some great hitters, but he’s in bad shape now. Sheamus might still respect Priest for stepping up, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Kayla sends it back to Kevin and Kevin is with Priest to congratulate him. Priest won his match tonight, has a title opportunity in the future, it puts him in a great spot! Yes, it does, and it feels great, K-Peezy! Priest feels good. Ever since coming to Raw, he has had one goal: do what he has to do to make sure his name will #LiveForever. WrestleMania was an awesome first step, but now he has to establish it by getting something he can hold. A title is that very thing. Priest says these are good times. Kevin asks how it felt to be back competing in front of fans. Was this the biggest night for him since Mania?

Oh hands down. That crowd was so good tonight, and it felt so good to have a match on Monday in front of them. Priest loves the energy, vibes off it, he is on cloud nine. Kevin brings up how Priest hates bullies, and Sheamus is being that. From Carrillo to Garza to Ricochet, Priest ain’t having that. Priest didn’t grow up with much in the Bronx. The family had to scratch and claw to get what they could and there was always someone else doing that by attacking from behind. Priest doesn’t let that fly. He isn’t a hero, but if he can teach someone a lesson while getting something for himself, then so be it. Sheamus ain’t getting away with it while Priest is around.

Well, Priest is from the Bronx, but Kevin brings up Sheamus being from the northside of Dublin. Priest hasn’t been there, but he’s met badder people from Ireland, like Becky Lynch. BOOM! The Man is definitely a badass. But Priest is riding high, no wonder he’s all smiles. Everyone who knows Priest knows he works hard so he can play harder so he can #LiveForever. Come the right time when he faces Sheamus for the US Championship, we’ll see a NEW US Champion. Kevin loves the confidence and sends it back to the studio.

Kayla says Priest is a man of the people, he’d make a great US Champion. Kayla feels he has a great shot, and Matt says there is a lot of confidence in Priest. Priest has had a great year, from the Royal Rumble to WrestleMania 37, and as he just said, bullies come up from behind but Priest is gonna get right in Sheamus’ face. That shows Sheamus that Priest has no fear, Priest is ready for Sheamus, and that’s not very common. Kayla watches for when someone makes their intentions known with a calm demeanor. Priest is locked in, Sheamus is rattled, and Raw Talk takes another break before talking with The Nightmare.

 

Raw Talk returns to talk Bobby Lashley.

When the All Mighty WWE World Champion said “no” to Goldberg, his former associates in Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander came out to get theirs. MVP said they sounded ridiculous with their arguing, but Lashley took them seriously enough to face them in an Handicap Match! Lashley dominated them with Dominators, and then stacked ’em and pinned ’em. Kayla says the definition of “almighty” should probably be changed to what Lashley just did. But Lashley wasn’t going to dignify Goldberg with a response, and Matt says this is where MVP comes into play.

Lashley just destroyed his former teammates, could take on anyone for the title, but with social media showing us the training regimen, maybe he’s still preparing for a hall of famer like Goldberg? MVP and Lashley are making Goldberg wait because Goldberg wants to go 100 MPH, full steam ahead. Credit to MVP having Lashley play the game. Lashley will make his call when the time is right. Lashley has everything going for himself right now, so why wouldn’t he?

Now, to go back to the conclusion of Raw, Nikki and Charlotte fighting it out. Nikki came back strong but this was the mirror image of last week, turned around at the end. That is why Charlotte is 11-time champion (13 if you include NXT) and the best in the division today. She makes moves like that, learning from before and turning it around. Of course she then adds insult to injury by beating down the champion before their rematch next week. Kudos to the Queen! But there is a third element to SummerSlam, and that is Rhea Ripley! They send it back to Kansas City.

Sarah is with Rhea and she asks Rhea’s reaction to what was made official tonight. There will be a SummerSlam Triple Threat for the Raw Women’s Championship, Nikki VS Charlotte VS Rhea. Rhea’s reaction? She’s excited. She gets her shot at the title, and to be honest, she is excited for Nikki. Nikki finally believes in herself and is doing really well because of it. But at the same time, Rhea wants the title back and this will be her one opportunity to get it back. And speaking of opportunities, let’s look t Charlotte’s track record in Triple Threats: not too shiny. It’s really dull, actually. So this is a great opportunity for Rhea and Nikki, but especially Rhea. Rhea will walk out champion because she’s the Nightmare who loves to shatter their dreams.

Yes, Sarah notes how Rhea joined the interview earlier to encourage Nikki against Charlotte. But how is she going to go in against Nikki A.S.H? Nikki said it herself, she’s gone through a “metamorphosis” into this new form, and she’s still a new competitor for Rhea to face. Yeah, Nikki believes in herself right now, and kudos. She’s a great talent who has worked hard to be the champion. But unfortunately, Nikki’s stepping into the ring with both Rhea and Charlotte, and Rhea doesn’t care how peppy you are or how confident you are, Rhea is going in as Rhea, and what Rhea does best is brutalize opponents. Rhea doesn’t want to beat Nikki down, she likes Nikki. But this is her time.

More to SummerSlam, there will be 60 THOUSAND plus fans there, what is she feeling about that already? Plus, how is she feeling about the crowd tonight? Rhea says the energy was amazing, it really brings out the best in the superstars. Rhea feeds off that and builds that adrenaline and power to go on and compete in the way she does, taking her opponents to their limits, and then still coming out on top. That’s what she’ll do again at SummerSlam. So what’s her game plan? Oh, Sarah, Rhea never gives away her plans. Not to anyone! That’d be stupid, so her lips are sealed. In that case, back to the studio.

Another calm demeanor. But Kayla wants to know how Matt feels about Nikki being overlooked by both challengers. Yes, there’s something to that. Rhea automatically talked about Charlotte, who she’s been battling for months now. She did mention the Triple Threat, and going back to #WrestleManiaBacklash, another Triple Threat there, and Rhea came out of it the winner. However, MITB, Charlotte won 1v1. But Kayla brings up that we know a Triple Threat makes it so a champion doesn’t have to be pinned for someone to win. We’ll have to see if they try and keep Nikki out of it at all.

Matt says it probably doesn’t matter, because if Rhea and Charlotte want to focus on each other, that is where Nikki can sneak in and take advantage. It is all up for grabs in a Triple Threat, so don’t overlook Nikki. Kayla agrees, Nikki can use distraction just like she did at MITB to win the briefcase. But that’s all for this week, Kayla thanks us for watching, and hopes we tune in for this Wednesday’s edition of The Bump, where we will hear even more from Styles & Omos. Good night, everybody!


My Thoughts:

Another good episode, but as I said for Talking Smack just last Saturday, I’m starting to feel like this format isn’t going to be nearly as fun as the original. The way this is being done, we aren’t getting that great energy from interactions between R-Truth, Kevin Patrick and whoever is on the show. I do appreciate Damian Priest referenced “K-Peezy,” and he had a good segment himself giving the interview promo, but it was more fun when he was sitting down having almost a conversation with Truth and Kevin. Truth was almost too good, really, and Kevin makes a good “straight man” to Truth’s antics. Kayla and Matt know what they’re talking about but they’re both the serious sports analyst.

Styles & Omos had a good segment, and I like Styles going on about Riddle liking candies. I actually hope Riddle tries a peace offering of something and then it fails. Then Rhea kinda recycled material from Raw, but even within the same segment because sadly, Raw hasn’t given her much to go on other than “tough heavy metal badass.” Combined with the things I point out in my Raw article, this is just another thing that shows how WWE has shot Raw in the foot. Rhea may not have been the most compelling character in NXT but she didn’t nearly struggle with promos as much as she does here. She got to be herself, not an exaggeration of herself.


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News From Cook’s Corner 7.26.21: Returns Out The Yin Yang

Cook’s News has returned thanks to wrestling being interesting lately! Has the current direction of wrestling helped to peak your attention as well?

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and I’m here because there are things worth writing about. See, that’s one of the things about me. Maybe it’s held me back over the years, tough to say. All I know is I’m not one of those guys that has to have an opinion on every single thing going on in the wrestling business. Come to think of it, that probably has held me back, since wrestling websites want me to have opinions.

It’s nothing new.

Why do you think I burn out on wrestling writing every few years and transition to writing about other things that interest me? Why do you think the most common phrase I utter on podcasts other than “Good times” is “It is what it is”? I probably shouldn’t be admitting this live & in public, but I go to “It is what it is” when I have nothing further to say about a topic that is either relevant or true. My man Larry, he had a take on every single thing going on in the wrestling business, and after he was done talking he’d throw it to me and I’d reply with “Uh, well, it is what it is, man. Am I right?”. The poor bastard. If only he had a proper podcast partner.

It’s a weakness of mine.

Though, I feel like it might be preferable to the weakness many of you have, where y’all feel compelled to comment on every single thing for the most ridiculous of reasons. I was looking on the Twitter just after work ended on Sunday, and I noticed that Eddie Guerrero was a trending topic. Twitter usually kills people, so Twitter bringing somebody back to life would have been a welcome change of pace. No, unfortunately, it was just some jackhole Twitter account calling Eddie a B+ player. See, the “B+ player” thing is a trigger for a lot of folks. Including some folks in the business!

All because one thirsty guy trying to get attention from a female Internet wrestling personality in her replies said something. I remember when Colin Cowherd slandered wrestling fans for caring about Eddie’s death. That was actually worth responding to because the guy had an ESPN Radio show. The guy everybody’s complaining about barely has more Twitter followers than I do. Why waste your time? You’re giving the guy clout, which is what he wants so he can get attention from the female Internet wrestling personality.

This whole thing tells me that y’all are too thirsty. People need to keep themselves lubricated. That’s the lesson to be learned here. On to the news!

Summer of Cena!

WWE is back on the road, which means they have to fill some of those seats for television purposes. While just the idea of seeing rasslin live is enough for some, others need a little bit more. WWE knows the number one thing that appeals to those fringe fans…previous stars!

That’s why we’ve got the Summer of Cena coming to a town near you. John Cena is back in the mix and appearing on WWE live events up to SummerSlam, and people are pretty darn excited about it. It’s nice to see Cena getting this type of appreciation now after years of wrestling fans whining & moaning about Super Cena and his lack of work rate. I wonder if this is because the fans have done a 180, or if the fans that whined & complained about Cena back in the day have moved on to other things. Maybe it’s just the natural course of things. Jeff Gordon went from getting boos to getting cheers at NASCAR races.

Either way, Cena’s return seems to have sparked some interest, and a feud with Roman Reigns should spark some more. Seems pretty obvious after one week that Reigns is playing the role of 2011 John Cena, while Cena is playing 2011 The Rock. Some take artists will jump on the Reigns bandwagon since he’s pointing out that Cena’s playing the hits, while folks like me will point out that Cena’s doing what the fans want him to do. Play the hits.

You just have to make sure you don’t play the same songs too long. Then you end up like Bill Goldberg, making yet another comeback to challenge Bobby Lashley. It’s the same song we’ve heard a few times at this point, and I’m not really sure who it’s appealing to. Is there a large number of fans out there that want to see Goldberg vs. Lashley? Was there a large number for Goldberg vs. McIntyre, or Goldberg vs. Reigns/Strowman? Goldberg vs. Lesnar worked for what it was, but it’s been diminishing returns ever since.

Nothing against Goldberg, who seems like a good dude. But the 2021 nostalgia kick would be just fine without another Goldberg championship match. I feel like if he shows up in a few years at age 60 still all jacked, maybe you get some morbid curiosity buys out of it. Otherwise I’m not seeing a use for Goldberg.

Plenty of use for Cena though. Word is that WWE isn’t done, and that this is “just the beginning” with even bigger names to come! I get the feeling that some of these names are being oversold. As much as we love Becky Lynch, she isn’t bigger than John Cena. The only pro wrestling name out there bigger than John Cena is The Rock, who we might be seeing at Survivor Series if the rumors are true. Anybody else, well, they’re nice but they’re not bigger than John Cena.

AEW also going to that nostalgia well!

Say what you will about WWE digging up the likes of Cena & Goldberg to wrestle, but at least they’ve been in the ring fairly recently. AEW is reportedly going to bring in somebody that hasn’t wrestled since the 2014 Royal Rumble. Talk about ring rust!

CM Punk is the fella in question. They say he’ll be back for the All Out PPV in September, which I’m told is in Chicago. You might say it’s an easy commute for him, but saying that would tell me you’ve never been to Chicago. Indianapolis would be an easier commute.

Some question the idea of bringing Punk in at this point, largely because they don’t like him. That’s the main argument against CM Punk, some people don’t like him because he quit wrestling back in 2014. They got their feelings hurt and he didn’t properly apologize to them. It’s a strong energy these people have.

Not saying Punk doesn’t come without controversy. The first meeting with him & Colt Cabana should be interesting. The other big name reportedly coming to AEW is much less controversial.

Return of the Danielson

Bryan Danielson is a name we haven’t heard regularly except from super smart fans refusing to use his WWE name for over a decade now. Seems like we’ll be hearing it more often now, as Bryan is reportedly on his way to AEW. The scuttlebutt says that Danielson will be debuting at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show.

It was long believed that Danielson would sign wherever he could get the most freedom to do other things, with New Japan as a particular destination. To WWE’s credit, Nicholas Khan tried to get a deal done to make that happen. However, Anthony Khan was able to swing the deal, as we’ve seen with the IWGP US Championship regularly featured on Dynamite. Y’all thought that online promo he did was unhinged, but he knew what was going on. That forbidden door has been opened, and Bryan looks to be one of the folks jumping through. It’s a pretty cool wrestling universe right now with AEW, NJPW, AAA, Impact Wrestling and even ROH having some links to it. (Could we see a Bryan Danielson appearance in ROH? Since I recap their weekly show I’m certainly hoping so. Their spot in the grand scheme of things isn’t great, but maybe he has a soft spot for them.)

From a wrestling fan perspective, AEW is a good landing spot for Bryan. All kinds of new matches for him, and some that are ready to be re-visited. Yes, he wrestled Kenny Omega before, but that was before Kenny became Kenny BY GOD Omega. That’s an easy main event for some show.

Punk & Danielson are the two biggest names AEW can bring in right now. We all know that bringing in names is one thing. TNA was great at that. The important part is the follow-up. What Punk & Danielson do in AEW will decide whether they generate interest or not. Just showing up isn’t enough to change much of anything.

It is exciting, though. I root for exciting & interesting, and we’re getting plenty of that these days.

GCW > NXT

Here’s a truth: I’ve never watched a full GCW show. I have seen plenty of NXT shows. However, I can say that Game Changer Wrestling obviously has smarter booking than NXT. They know to take their championship off of a wrestler before he jobs on national television. They also know how to make a top heel, as indicated by the reaction of their fans to…Matt Cardona? OK, so that wasn’t the guy I expected to see covered in blood getting a reaction like he was the NWO in 1996.

I did expect to see Nick Gage on AEW television at some point. Given Tony Khan’s fandom of all things 2000s Combat Zone Wrestling, it was bound to happen. We just needed the right time for it, and MJF needing outside help to take care of Chris Jericho was as good a time as any. You gotta love 2021 giving us weird matches like Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage, right?

Not if you’re a stick in the mud, apparently. Some folks are outraged that AEW would book somebody like Gage. One complaint is the fact that he robbed a bank, which, granted, wasn’t the brightest thing to do. That said, Gage did his time in prison, paid his debt to society, and has been a better person since. I’m told that America is a forgiving place and people deserve a second chance, so I don’t see the issue here. If Gage robs another bank before Wednesday, sure, throw the book at him.

Then there’s the argument against deathmatch wrestling. It can be argued that AEW goes to that well a little too often, as we’re getting this match a week after Lance Archer beat Jon Moxley by choke slamming him on a barbed wire board. Some would argue that any deathmatch wrestling is too much, and folks like Gage don’t belong in a wrestling ring. Me, I’m ok with it as long as the people involved are ok with it. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t like it, but the people that get on their high horse and claim that *fill in the blank* isn’t wrestling irritate me. Wrestling is a large number of different things.

You might not like people getting stabbed with a fork. Maybe you don’t like Alexa Bliss hypnotizing people. It’s still wrestling.

And that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!


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