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Cook’s Wrestlers To Be Thankful For 2019 (10-6)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Steve Cook has amassed a list of 10 wrestlers to be thankful for. Here are #6-10!

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Shazza McKenzie

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Steve Cook has amassed a list of 10 wrestlers to be thankful for. Here are #6-10!

There’s no doubt that wrestling fans have a lot to be thankful for in 2019.

WWE has ruled the roost for so long and it’s tough to deny it. 2019 seems to be the year that opposite forces have made a stand. I don’t want to offend the WWE fanboys, so I will point out that WWE still has so many more viewers through USA, Fox & the WWE Network. Your company is still doing well, and we appreciate them for that. There are also other companies doing well, which is also good for the business no matter how much Phil O’Dowd wants to tell you otherwise.

There is a lot to be thankful for this year for wrestling fans. That’s why I’ve increased it to two columns. I’ve found so many wrestlers to be thankful for that we need two parts. Honestly, I could probably spread it to three or four, but I need to get all this done before the holiday. Here are some of the wrestlers I’ve been thankful for here in 2019.

10. The Rock N’ Roll Express

If you’re seriously going to talk about the greatest tag team of all time and you don’t have the RnRs in the conversation, you’re out of your mind. Go back to the 1980s when they were at their peak, and Ricky Morton was the absolute best at getting a crowd worked up while he was getting beat up, and ready for that tag to Robert Gibson. They kept it going in the 1990s in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. They made some appearances here and there and I kind of figured that would be it. But all of a sudden in 2019, here come Ricky & Robert again! They out here doing things in the NWA & AEW, which is perfect because NWA Powerrr gets a lot of their viewers on YouTube from people also watching AEW Dark.

It’s called cross-promotion. Some people get it and some people don’t. If you’re the folks behind the NWA and seeing how AEW fans are helping your views, you’re practically orgasmic and are all about Ricky & Robert going to AEW shows and doing some spots and getting over. You might not be happy about Jim Cornette burying all the people that might actually like AEW on his podcasts. You might be looking for an excuse to let him go, and you might let yourself get exhausted instead of editing his racist rants out of a show. I don’t know, I just write on the Internet. All I know for sure is that Ricky & Robert have been feuding with that Cornette guy for ages and they won’t get affected by his nonsense. And I’m thankful for that.

9. Darby Allin

I first saw Darby on Vice’s series “The Wrestlers” and he seemed like a really interesting guy. He was shown discussing a match with Ethan Page, and Page was all like “The people have been hyped up so much at this point that we can do less” and Allin wasn’t having any of it. He was going completely insane and Page was probably tearing his hair out as a result. But I appreciate a man that’s willing to lay it all out on the line in every match.

Allin isn’t a big guy, but the people don’t care about that. AEW fans have already figured out that the guy is willing to go further than most, and they appreciate him for it. Wrestlers often tease spots that seem completely insane with no intention of doing them. If Darby Allin’s involved, it just might happen. He might not have a long career, but let’s be thankful for it while it lasts.

8. Shazza McKenzie

Twitter has been imploring All Elite Wrestling to #SignShazza for the past couple of weeks now, and I certainly concur with that sentiment. Any friend of Massive Q’s is a friend of 411mania.com-affiliated people like myself. Her desire for the Hot 100 to come back made me feel really good, as sometimes I’m not sure whether or not people remember anything that I’ve written over the past fifteen years. It’s good to know that somebody’s noticed.

Especially when they look like Shazza. Come on now, you know what I’m saying? Gotta be thankful for that.

7. Nick Aldis

One of the highlights of NWA Powerrr has been their champion acting like a classic NWA Champion. Aldis has been perfect in the role. He puts over all of his competition without argument, he puts the brand over without argument. He wears different suits on every show even though it was like 15 shows in two days. The man pays attention to detail.

I’ve been impressed. I wasn’t impressed with Aldis during his TNA run, and wasn’t sold on him when the NWA started building around him. As it turns out, that was the right decision. They’ve made some other bad decisions that took awhile to correct, but their main decision being to build around Nick Aldis wasn’t bad.

6. The Blanchard Family

What can one say about Tessa Blanchard at this point that hasn’t already been said? She’s been the backbone of Impact Wrestling & Women Of Wrestling during this year, doing completely different things in each promotion and still managing to be the highlight of each show. Talk about a performer having range, that’s Tessa Blanchard. WWE completely missed the boat on her, and that’s to the benefit of us that watch other wrestling shows too.

Then there’s Tully, who for way too long was one of the forgotten Horsemen. Chris Hyatte wrote an incredible column about remembering Tully Blanchard that was lost to the Internet. Tully was the perfect heel in the 1980s, then disappeared. He’s back now in AEW, and quite honestly he needs more people to manage along with Shawn Spears. The man needs to build a stable. Maybe at some point his daughter can be part of it. Tully has always been perfect at being hated, and that’s his best quality.

Numbers 5-1 coming soon!


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Opinion

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn: Get Your Popcorn

Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

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Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are simply incredible performers and storytellers in the ring. Every time they are on the opposite side of each other they create magic. I did a little history lesson on their almost twenty-year rivalry, going back to their days in Ring of Honor and PWG where it all began. Heel Owens to me is a stone-cold killer, he’s out for one purpose to be the best. Zayn has found out the hard way what happens when you get in his way.

Poor Zayn didn’t learn his lesson and dropped his guard in NXT when KO made his in-ring debut at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution. Owens utterly destroyed his so-called best friend and hit a vicious Pop-up Powerbomb onto the apron. KO then went on to defeat Zayn two months to the day of his debut at NXT TakeOver: Rival to capture the NXT Championship. Owens beat the living shit out of Zayn that night, to the point where the officials have to physically stop the match.

Zayn once again came rushing back for another chance to best his bitter rival but was demolished yet again. Dammit Sami just stay down and live to fight another day. This time Samoa Joe had to stop KO from causing more carnage to Zayn. We would not see the former NXT champ until months later at the 2016 Royal Rumble, where he would cost Owens the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The two bitter rivals would fight again during the ladder match at WrestleMania 32 for the Intercontinental Championship, where Zayn would cost Owens the title. At the 2016 Payback pay-per-view, they would do battle again, Zayn would lose yet again. Zayn and Owens would square off one final time at Battleground in another hellacious battle, except this time Zayn finally got his comeuppance after two Helluva Kicks.

Over the past few years, Zayn and Owens have been on the same page, and shockingly enough the same team. The two best friends would come full circle again after Zayn returned to Friday Night SmackDown because of the pandemic. Zayn has been spurting all of this nonsense about this huge conspiracy going on around him for months now. Owens has been unsuccessfully challenging for the Universal Championship but ran into his friend backstage.

A few weeks ago, Zayn attacked his rival, for being paranoid I guess was his excuse. Owens however didn’t care and goaded him into a match at this year’s Mania. Owens and Zayn are about to create history and fulfill a lifelong dream of having a match on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I can only imagine how incredible this. the moment will be for those two, and the WWE Universe is honored and privileged to be able to experience it.

I’m very thankful that WrestleMania is two nights now because these two wouldn’t be given the appropriate amount of time if they were crammed into a seven-hour event. Please just give Owens and Zayn fifteen to twenty minutes, and let them create magic in the ring.


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Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night Two Gambling Picks

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

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WrestleMania 27 Stage

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

Welcome back to the gambling picks!

If you missed Night 1, go ahead and click here!

I’m not going to lie to you guys, I’m already a bit peeved at WWE.

Why? Because they rendered part of my Night 1 pick column useless when they made Sasha vs. Bianca the main event after saying Drew vs. Bobby was! Like, what the hell man? At least I’m pretty confident they won’t change the main event of Night 2, so let’s make some picks for entertainment purposes only!

Kevin Owens (-350) vs. Sami Zayn (+225)

Independent wrestling fans would have never seen all this coming a decade or so ago. Kevin Owens as a babyface? Sami Zayn as a heel, without a mask? A YouTube personality as part of the build while Steve Corino agents away & Colt Cabana chills with the Super Smash Brothers? I’d have a hard time explaining all this to 10 Years Ago Me.

Not that this would be at the top of the list of things to warn 10 Years Ago Me about. Just saying…this is all wild stuff.

Kevin Owens is the likely winner as Sami gets punked out by his “buddy” Logan Paul. Slight chance Sami pulls the upset, but I doubt it’s worth throwing fake money on.

Randy Orton (+500) vs. The Fiend (-950)

I haven’t had a lot to say about this feud since it started, and that trend continues here. Not for me, and since I won’t be watching live I’ll surely be skipping ahead of this one. Hopefully those who are into this type of thing have fun.

Fiend likely wins, but if you really wanna throw a few bucks on Randy Orton at +500, maybe it’ll pay off.

United States Championship Match
Riddle (-160) vs. Sheamus (+120)

We can certainly question the methods WWE is using to feature Riddle, but it’s clear that they see something in him and want him to be a big deal. Sheamus has had a strong 2021 so far, and will give Riddle a good match and a big win for his first WrestleMania appearance.

I don’t have much else to add here. Should be hard-hitting.

Intercontinental Championship Nigerian Drum Fight
Big E (+120) vs. Apollo Crews (-140)

As we all know, the  “Nigerian Drum Fight” goes back to the early days of the legendary Nigerian pro wrestler Power Uti. If you’re not familiar with Uti, many consider him to be to the Nigerian Wrestling Federation what Undertaker has been to WWE over the years. They have a ton in common, including holding victories in major specialty matches over Mick Foley.

In the original incarnation of the Nigerian Drum Fight, the object of the match was to bash your opponent’s head into a drum in each corner of the ring. The first to hit all four corners in succession won the match. It looks like WWE is shifting the rules somewhat, and are just doing the typical No DQ thing they like to do. I assume that drums will still be legal, but am unsure of the spear.

If the spear is legal, go with Crews. I get the feeling that Big E is in line for the win here, and thus is my pick, especially since he’s the underdog.

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Asuka (+250) vs. Rhea Ripley (-400)

Once upon a time, Asuka was the new star fresh out of NXT looking to make an impact at WrestleMania. She won the Royal Rumble, but ended up losing at WM to Charlotte Flair. It happens. Just ask Rhea, who lost to Charlotte at last year’s WM. The best news for either of these two is that WWE avoided the urge to insert Charlotte in this match, as we know who the betting favorite would be then.

(Well, we think they’ve avoided the urge. Won’t be sure until the bell rings.)

I’m a big Rhea fan and am definitely supporting the Nightmare here. We all know that Asuka’s days as champion are numbered, as she’s seemed like an afterthought for most of her reign. However, there are reasons to believe that Asuka could get it done here. Mostly, the fact that her feud with Charlotte isn’t over yet.

Nah, I gotta stick with Rhea Ripley here. I’m not sure how Vince & the main roster creative folks feel about Rhea, but they probably haven’t had enough time to turn against her yet.

Universal Championship Triple Threat Match
Roman Reigns (+150) vs. Edge (+115) vs. Daniel Bryan (+200)

This is the first WrestleMania main event in a long time where the favorite doesn’t seem super obvious on paper. For one thing, there’s no reason for Roman Reigns to lose the Universal Championship. He’s superb in the role right now and should sit at the head of the table as long as possible.

Then there’s Edge, who against most other champions would be the obvious favorite. He’s making his big comeback complete by main eventing WrestleMania. Having him win only makes sense, and there are plenty of ways to go with it after, whichever side of the fence you want to put him on.

Daniel Bryan is the longest shot in this match, but we all know that’s when he’s at his most dangerous. One last run on top for Bryan wouldn’t be met with many arguments, and you can set whoever you want with him after & it’ll work.

Any of these picks are a winner in my book. I’m going to go with Roman Reigns because it isn’t often you’ll get those kind of odds on him. Usually he’s the heavy favorite, and for good reason. I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome here, and that’s what makes this match a true main event.


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