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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Wrestling Captains

As captains seek to lead their teams to victory at Survivor Series, Steve Cook takes a look back at wrestling’s Top 5 Captains!

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Christian WWE

As captains seek to lead their teams to victory at Survivor Series, Steve Cook takes a look back at wrestling’s Top 5 Captains!

This is the time of year where every WWE Superstar is bickering over who the captain of their Survivor Series team is. I’ve never really understood this. Sure, back in the day when the teams had cool names like Roddy’s Rowdies, The Perfect Team & such, it was important to be team captain so your name would be the basis of the team name. Now? It’s just lame crap like “Team Raw” or “Team SmackDown”. And you’re just teaming for one night anyway. Odds are you’ll be wrestling against most of your teammates within a month. If you’re on a Team NXT, you’ll probably be wrestling against your teammates the night before and a few nights after.

What does it matter being “captain” for one night? It’s not even like your teammates are going to listen to you! Fans complain all the time about this “brand supremacy” stuff, but at least some people occasionally act like they care about it. Who the “team captain” is doesn’t matter unless you’re playing hockey. And even then there’s like a whole “leadership group” filled with half the team. I’ve always figured that only serves to piss off the veterans that aren’t given a letter to put on their jersey.

Listen, some of your favorite wrestlers are going to spend their week arguing about who the captain of their team is. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t mean a hill of beans. The only captains that matter in pro wrestling are in this column. They are the Top 5 Wrestling Captains.

5. Captain USA

When you were as big as John Studd was, you had a pretty good chance of being a star in pro wrestling. Early on in his career, Studd wrestled under several different personas, a couple of them coming with different masks. One of them was Captain USA, who from what I can tell appeared mainly in the Houston area during 1977. Oddly enough, there’s record of Big John Studd appearing in the Dallas area at the same time, so the guy was working multiple gimmicks in the same state. I mean, Texas is a big place and TV wasn’t what it is now, so I could see it working back then.

At the end of the day, he made the right move sticking with the John Studd character. Captain USA was asking for a lawsuit from Stan Lee at some point.

4. “Captain Redneck” Dick Murdoch

If you look up the word “redneck” in the dictionary, you’ll probably see Dick Murdoch’s picture next to it. He was a mean ol’ cuss that you didn’t want to get on the bad side of. Murdoch was legitimately a United States Marine, and we’ll all take his word for it that he was a captain. We’ll also take his word for it that the communists would have taken over if not for him.

Murdoch was an interesting case. He could have one of the best matches on any card. He could also have one of the worst, depending on what kind of mood he was in. Rednecks are like that sometimes.

3. Captain Mike Rotunda

Rotunda’s collegiate wrestling experience at Syracuse University made him a perfect fit for Kevin Sullivan’s Varsity Club. After a brief disagreement with Rick Steiner, Rotunda was eventually named Captain of the squad after Steiner lost some matches and the confidence of his teammates. The Club had a decent run of a year & half or so before splitting up, and Rotunda was left with a useless captainship.

Or was it?

Rotunda took some time off after the VC split and came back as the captain of a boat. A boat! He even had a first mate, good ol’ Norman the Lunatic. Abdullah the Butcher was also part of the crew, which makes one wonder how the ship ever survived a voyage. When you can pivot from being captain of a wrestling team to captain of a boat, you deserve to be on this list.

2. “Captain Charisma” Christian

Christian

These days, Christian seems to be more remembered as Edge’s tag team partner. It would be a shame if people forgot the run that helped put him on the map as a singles competitor. He had had problems finding himself after splitting up with Edge, but once he became Captain Charisma and started talking about his Peeps, things started clicking. The term “Captain Charisma” seemed ironic at first because we didn’t exactly think of Christian as charismatic at the time. More of a good hand. The more he started delving into that side of his character, the more people started buying in.

It got to the point where people wanted Christian as the top contender to John Cena’s WWE Championship. They got Christian in a three-way with Cena & Chris Jericho because Vince McMahon wasn’t quite 100% sold on Christian. That was when Christian knew it was time to move on…at least for a little while.

Dishonorable Mention: Captain New Japan

To say Captain New Japan’s stint in NJPW was a disaster would be…well, fairly accurate honestly. The Captain lost the lion’s share of his matches and didn’t fare well in his feud with Bullet Club, so he decided if he couldn’t beat them he might as well join them. (That didn’t go much better for anybody involved.) The highpoint of Captain New Japan’s existence was teaming with Captain All Japan & Captain NOAH at All Together 2.

Honorable Mention: “Captain Morgan” Aron Stevens

I mean, Stevens can’t walk into a wrestling studio with that getup on and not expect the fans to compare him to Captain Morgan. He’s been around long enough to know better.

1. Captain Lou Albano

There have been more talented managers. Few can claim the level of fame that Lou Albano could during the 1980s, and even fewer can say they had the impact on the wrestling business that Captain Lou had. He’d been the top heel manager in the WWWF for over a decade when he randomly met Cyndi Lauper on an airplane. The two hit it off & Albano ended up appearing in a number of Lauper’s music videos. Cyndi also made her way to the World Wrestling Federation, and you already know the rest of that story.

Albano guided a record fifteen teams to the WWF Tag Team Championship during his managerial career, and later went on to more pop culture fame as the star of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. There’s little doubt who the most successful Captain in pro wrestling history was.


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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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