Bang bang! Foley’s Backstage!
The Hardcore Legend stops by the show, and with things heating up between all three brands, the NXT Champion goes Backstage to speak with Booker T and Renee Young!
Renee Young runs down the schedule!
The man of many faces, Mick Foley, talks The Fiend. The panel will try to figure out the love triangle that would make even “your soap opera loving mother blush.” And of course, the NXT Champion, ADAM COLE BAYBAY will be in the building! And with that, WWE Backstage begins!
The panel is missing Captain Charisma!
Booker T, Renee and Paige are here, but in place of Christian is… SAMOA JOE! The Samoan Submission Machine is the sharp dressed man right now as he steps into the “ring” to join the panel. Renee welcomes Joe but wants an update on that hand. It’s day-by-day but going well, so maybe a few more weeks and he’ll be back. The main roster has missed him. Booker feels Joe should’ve milked his estimation, say something like “six months” before he returns. Joe thought about it, but calls are still coming.
To run down the week, battle lines have been drawn! A highlight reel shows how not just NXT but NXT UK invaded! The New Day are lucky seven-time W, W, E Tag Team Champions while The Fiend targets Daniel Bryan! And Raw withstood the takeover thanks to Kevin Owens and the Street Profits backing up the Architect. Lana swerved Rusev into thinking they were having a baby, and lastly, The OC fell to the combination of The Viper, the Real-Life Superhero and Ultimo Ninja.
But what stood out over these last seven days?
Booker says it was the obvious thing: NXT taking over! Invading SmackDown and Raw again, using Imperium to do it! Walter’s reputation preceded him for Booker, and that alone told Booker a lot. The match against Rollins showed him even more, it’s like a bigger, stronger William Regal. He has that killer instinct. Paige also likes the potential of Imperium, but it was also them coming in to give us a look at new talent! This is great! Booker also points out Keith Lee from the week before. Samoa Joe knows big guys like them, “blue chip big men” are hard to come by, and those two guys are the future. But on top of all that, Randy Orton stood out. The mind games are on point. His RKO teases were also great, this is what you should see. And then the rub Orton gives by siding with Ricochet and Carrillo in that match, that was also big.
Does anyone have better timing than Orton? The answer is no. He doesn’t even have to say anything, just the look on his face does it. Orton is that man.
The Ravishing Russian Love Triangle is polarizing, to say the least.
The UK let the baby mama know how they felt about all of this when she gave her excuses to why she hates Rusev. And she didn’t even let Lashley in on the swerve! But Renee can’t help but love “smut” stories. Paige is not. She loves Lana, but she has to bring up a certain tweet. Lana whined about being left at home to cook and clean while Rusev cheated on her (still unfounded accusations). But Paige wants Lana to be real, she doesn’t do any of that. Given how polarizing this is just on the panel, does a story like this damage the Women’s (R)Evolution that’s going on at the same time? Does that not undo some of the work?
Booker says that while the Attitude Era was great, “if you don’t change with the times, the times will pass you by.” It may not even be that this story is bad, just that it is out of place that the WWE Universe does not want in 2019. This is about putting on a show, giving the crowd what they want, and this ain’t it. Joe agrees, nostalgia is powerful, but Joe is wondering who comes out this looking good. He can’t see any of them looking good. Booker brings up a tweet that basically said, “If you stop this right now, we’ll forget it ever happened.” Very true! But at the same time, fans want edgy Attitude Era stuff, but this was that, too!
Renee goes back to Mick Foley’s promise that the third hour would be edgier, better, but that lasted what? A week? Where can we get the right bits of what we want? Booker again references the times. If he still had his mustache and flat top, who knows where we’d be. But whether you love or hate this love triangle, it seems far from over. The same goes for Backstage, as we go to break!
Mick Foley goes Backstage!
Foley was feeling great coming in here, until he saw his profile photo. It was his red-and-black plaid sports coat with the grey turtleneck underneath. If he knew that was going to be his photo, he would’ve had the tie-dye like he has now. But fashion aside, Foley has been all around the world on his Nice Day Tour, for his book, “Have a Nice Day!” The tour continues, so get ready Ohio!
But to business, Foley is a man of many personas, and so he has some perspective on Bray Wyatt transforming into The Fiend. To be successful long term, a wrestler has to tweak his image just before fans start thinking it needs to be tweaked. Bray did that, and has made this unforgettable and unique new self. Foley locks in on The Fiend when he’s on screen. Booker is also impressed by this transformation. How hard is that for Foley to have been all those characters? As long as he had time to prepare a mindset, he could do it. But Bray is able to do it in the blink of an eye through Firefly Fun House. So what is it like to try that new persona out live? There will be moments when you get in the zone, you have no doubt you’re going to leave an impression. Then there are moments when you’re not at all confident. Foley knows both of those, and he knew fans knew, too.
Renee wants to talk how Foley and Booker met. Booker remembers it being an overseas tour to Germany, and Foley was taking on Vader. Booker watched from behind the curtain as Foley does his move, stuck in the ropes, and his ear popped off! But like a professional, Foley finished and got to the back. Booker, still a young man back then, he could not believe Foley was unfazed by his ear bleeding so badly. Someone had Foley’s ear in his hand and brought it over, too! Foley looks back at the man and just said, “Bang bang!” Booker was flabbergasted, and it will be something he remembers forever. Foley wants Renee to remember this: he had the presence of mind and commitment of character to get a catchphrase in, in front of the boys.
So what happened to the ear…? Foley was able to say in German, “Please don’t forget to bring my ear in the plastic bag.” Losing an ear is a crazy level of pain, but Foley saw the glass half full. Losing a body part like that, not really a bad thing.
But up next, not only is there Adam Cole, baybay, but the new student for Promo School is FLUFFY, Gabriel Iglesias!
This Date in History!
Let’s all say happy birthday to The Man! That is to say, November 12th is the day Becky Lynch went from Straight Lasskicker to the face of a movement! SmackDown invaded Raw on the road to Survivor Series 2018, and Becky lit up the wrestling world!
Renee talks with Gabriel Iglesias!
A long time fan of the WWE and pro-wrestling in general, the man called Fluffy is excited to be here. He went with the WWE to Tribute to the Troops, but it is almost time for Promo School! Renee gives Fluffy a pop quiz on his WWE fan power.
What made Fluffy a fan? He was a fan since 1987, WrestleMania III. That’s legit. Favorite match? Undertaker VS HBK, WrestleMania 25, he was there! Then favorite superstar? Stone Cold Steve Austin, “and that’s the bottom line.” Okay then, favorite finisher? Rock Bottom.
Renee runs down the rules for Fluffy. There are judges, all very strong critics, and he will receive a grade, aka anywhere from an F to an A. Is he ready? He hopes so! Fluffy fires up, it’s time to go to class!
Promo School is now in session!
Booker T, Mick Foley, Paige and Adam Cole are the panel of judges, but it’s time for them to see what Fluffy’s got. What is his wrestling name? Gabe. Well then, Gabe, here’s some quick do’s and don’ts. Mick loves that Gabe took what is seen as a weakness and made it into a strength. But when it comes to the promo, play up those strengths and let us know why Fluffy is a force. Cole wants to believe the promo, that Gabriel believes his promo and means it. Paige says there need to be a target. Not the judges, no. Here comes Samoa Joe! And without further ado, Gabe starts off!
“There are 365 days in a year. 52 weeks in a year. And then there’s the day you met me.” Samoa Joe claims to be one of the best. Yet, second only to Sting, Joe took the longest to come to the WWE, and for good reason. Joe is a waste of time. Joe is only the most terrifying man in the world to IHOP. Gabe sees butter. A face only a mother could love. But today, Gabe’s Joe’s daddy. Tonight is the night Joe faces the man. Not Fluffy, but Gabe. Joe better be ready. Booker and Paige love it! Shucky ducky quack quack! Joe even felt that. Booker says B+ for bringing the smoke! Foley says that while Fluffy may not stand a chance, Gabe does. He gives an A-! Cole feels the same way. Considering this stare down, that intensity and belief, B+ at least. Paige says a big fat B. The ending was not quite there, but Foley says Gabe’s body language is the continuation!
But here comes Joe’s rebuttal! Make him bow down! Joe quickly says that was something. It makes Joe think of a Samoan limerick of sorts. “There once was a Fluffly Boi named Gabe. Who showed up to WWE Backstage, and had jokes to say. But one great tactical error was made. For the Fluffly Boi drew far too near. With my arm around your shoulder, and that sweat coming down your brow, tell me, Fluffy Boi. Tell me one of your jokes now.” Gabe says Joe smells like spam. Well Joe thinks Gabe is like John Cena to his core. Because with that wack promo, we don’t want to see you no more. That was fire! Fluffy wipes the sweat and has to give respect back. Foley wants to see Joe VS Gabe! But there’s still so much more to come, stay tuned.
It’s an NXT Champions Summit!
With the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion, the first-ever two-time NXT Champion, and THE NXT Champion all in the studio, Renee couldn’t help but sit with them and their belts. She feels “like a dork” being without gold. Do they have trophy cases at home to keep those in? Not yet. Joe has his sons parade the belt around for him. Cole has had a wild week, and it starts with that sudden call to get from Orlando to Buffalo. In fact, it was a text message, 2:15 PM local time, and then it was just a scramble. Paige and Joe know that just from being on Raw and SmackDown for a bit. But then, Cole didn’t even have an address. That came later, and he had only an hour to get somewhere an hour away. Still more rushing, him and a dozen or so, HBK too, they changed on the plane! Paige wants to know that story.
It was just chaos for a debut on SmackDown, everyone had to prepare different. The ladies were getting their make-up on in the back, which Paige and Renee can attest to being difficult as it is. Cole is in a cubbyhole to put on his boots, and that is also hard. And then of course, he ends up in a match with Daniel Bryan, for the first time, for the NXT Championship, in the main event. It wasn’t even just about his first SmackDown, it was about a dream match with Daniel Bryan. He only had an hour to prepare, and yet it was a “damn near perfect match” to Renee. The chemistry was great, and Cole wouldn’t change a thing about that night. That’s what made it special, being last minute and chaotic. Paige also gives it up for how great that match was, because Cole is talented in his own right, and Cole agrees.
Joe notes that when it comes to Bryan, when a match comes up, “Please let me go an hour with Adam Cole.” That is a very Bryan thing. He wants to use up the spotlight and time to do everything he wants, that’s his pitch. Renee stirs the pot by asking which match felt better to Cole: him and Bryan or him and Rollins? OOF! They’re both special for different reasons. But all things considered, the madness of the day gives the edge to Bryan, “that one’s crazy extra special” for Cole. Fair enough. Renee wasn’t up for commentary and yet she loved that match.
But thinking about it, it has been wild these last couple of weeks, but only because the plane home from Saudi Arabia and Crown Jewel didn’t leave on time. It is tough to say whether or not the takeover happens the same way, but Cole’s inclined to say no. All things considered, this was probably not the plan, certainly not then. And yet the excitement helped. Paige was also surprised being called in. She was “fired” and got green mist in her face. What more could be done?
But there’s a big question that must be asked.
Of the three, who has made the biggest impact in NXT? Renee throws it to Mick and Book! Mick says Girl Interrupted was a good movie, that is Paige’s reign. She had to let her title go just because she was called up and won a different title. While Adam Cole still has a ways to go, Foley feels Paige did the most for the Women’s Division. Of course, Samoa Joe was great, too. Very impressive, had the title twice. They all want him to choose already, so he goes with Joe. Booker agrees Joe is great, but working back in 2008, Booker always felt Joe was better than that place. But to Paige, youngest champion ever yet she already had a lifetime of experience. Adam Cole was at the indies, hadn’t gotten the call, but Book knew it was coming. So in the end, Booker says Cole! Paige feels snubbed! She’s going to hunt them boys down! But they didn’t say anything mean!
The Nature Boy talks Lawrence Taylor.
Ric Flair is a good friend of LT’s, and knows how great of a football player he was. The New York Giants’ “crazed dog” was fierce but had fun. “He made every football team redesign their entire offensive scheme.” A once-in-a-lifetime talent that gets to relax in retirement. Flair and Taylor are certainly among the greats, make sure to check out who the 100 greatest football players are on the NFL’s official website.
The Satin Sheet is back!
Ryan Stain returns to WWE Backstage with some injury updates. Johnny Gargano has been out since Finn Balor attacked, and we thought we were getting that match. But Gargano cannot make Survivor Series weekend with a neck injury. That’s a shame for a WarGames grudge match over the heart and soul of NXT, but don’t count that match out just yet.
Meanwhile, it is contract season as the WWE confirms two superstars re-upped! The Miz is staying with an undisclosed multi-year extension, no surprise given he is highly featured and has the Miz & Mrs reality show. Then the other signing took some digging, so don’t attack him for this. Paige is upset, that explains all the people in her office! Yes, Paige has renewed her contract, which means she’s sticking around Backstage, too. Paige wanted to announce it herself, but yes, she’s still here. Backstage is stuck with her, and that’s how Renee likes it.
Time for a Hot Tag!
Renee is ready for Survivor Series going Triple Threat now! But as with all Pay-Per-Views, we need to know…
Which is the show stealer?
Samoa Joe says the Women’s Champions, of course. Becky Lynch, Bayley and Shayna Baszler, all three in their prime but the star being born is the Queen of Spades. The WWE Universe will learn exactly who she is.
But who will Fade to Black?
Aleister sent an ultimatum to a certain someone, who does Paige think should pick, a fight, with Aleister? She loves how dark and creepy and badass Aleister is, so he needs someone equally dark and badass, so why not Samoa Joe? One of the best, and also creepy enough to get up in the other person’s face and go after their families, it’d be awesome if Joe went to the Neverlands. Wait, Netherlands. Neverland is Peter Pan. Paige is really riled up, she has had a chaotic day of her own.
But who is doing best Heel Work?
Booker T says it is a no brainer. Going old school like him, Heels know what their jobs are: to get heat! And that’s KING Baron Corbin! Corbin doesn’t care, he lets the fans boo him because he and his opponents will give us what we want in the ring! Well we still need to see who is Heel on Backstage. Look out, Book, Renee might turn on you.
With the Survivor Series 5v5v5 match coming, SmackDown has named their team! The Big Dog AND King Corbin are on the same team, alongside Mustafa Ali, “Shorty G” Chad Gable, and BRAUN! But can Roman and Corbin put their differences aside? What does the panel think?
Booker says the vote is still out on Shorty G. Until Gable does something big, Book is on the fence. Paige doesn’t care, she’s just 100% SmackDown, still! Joe says there is no cohesion, it’s all thrown together. They’re all great talents, but working together remains to be seen.
And in Twitter news…
Nia Jax tweets out a photoshop of herself as “Cactus Jax.” Is there a long lost Foley out there somewhere, Dude Love? Foley has no words.
And that’s a wrap!
But being part of the WWE family, and WWE being all about history, there needs to be some history made here tonight. The panel agrees with Renee, but what is the history being made? CULT OF PERSONALITY PLAYS!! And HE is here! C! M! PUNK!! “It’s as simple as this: just when they think they’ve got the answers, I change the culture.” The Best in the World returns to the WWE via Backstage!
This was probably one of the best things all week, and certainly the best episode of Backstage so far. We got so many more guests than I expected, and I loved seeing Fluffy Gabriel Iglesias. I’m a big fan of his, and it’s great he’s a big fan of wrestling, and he did a great Promo School with Samoa Joe. The show as a whole is still zigzagging over the line between real and kayfabe but I suppose that’s the whole point of Backstage. It actually worked fine given they had to discuss the Lana-Lashley-Rusev story. Instead of choosing a side between Lana and Rusev, they chose whether or not they liked this story. And I totally get Booker T’s argument that it isn’t even whether or not this is a good story (which it still isn’t) but just not what the audience wants. Booker subtly hinted that Vince needs to get with the times, which he is two decades behind on. As I said for Raw, we need that blow-off to happen and get this over with so we can eventually forget it.
Loved hearing Foley talk about his own career, as well as giving some props to The Fiend. That ear story is crazy. We also got good sports stuff with Flair talking Lawrence Taylor, the Hot Tags were good but again an example of turning kayfabe on then off. I figured the WWE would use NXT and SmackDown to help make announcements, why didn’t I see Backstage doing it? This is literally what this show should be for! And it was good to hear it from here that we, sadly, won’t get Gargano VS Balor just yet. The SmackDown team for the 5v5v5 seemed both natural yet not. Much like Ricochet and Orton, Corbin and Roman will have to work together for the greater good, but you just wait for Corbin to turn on Roman. Strowman is in another of these Survivor Series Elimination Tag Matches, he’s probably going to take one of those laps to bulldoze no less than half a dozen superstars between Raw and NXT.
And last but not at all the least, CM PUNK ON BACKSTAGE! WOO! It was said he auditioned, but now he’s here! Christian was probably out for that same reason, I definitely feel like he’s being replaced by Punk. Booker’s too good, Renee is the host, and Paige just signed back up and there are fans that still love her. So Book, Renee, Punk and Paige are more than likely the true panel for Backstage and that sounds pretty great to me.
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (1/18/21)
Raw Talk is PHENOMENAL!
It’s an Awesome, Phenomenal, GIGANTIC Raw Talk!
After issuing another Money in the Bank ultimatum, The Miz and John Morrison will join Raw Talk to explain how they managed to get GILLBERG to return!
Is it #CharTruth or #TheTruthSarahm hosting?
It’s Charly Caruso and R-Truth back together! Charly welcomes us back to the show and tells Truth he was right, she was busy with “Thanksgiving” with her mom. But after enduring things in 2020, we should really give thanks whenever we can in 2021. Truth agrees and asks if she had potato salad. She had potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, and a turkey pot pie from catering. So good! But enough about food, as much as they could go on and on about it, Charly says we should talk about what happened at the end of Raw. Would we expect anything less from Alexa Bliss, though? Something is going on in that mind and body because of The Fiend, but it’s hard to put a finger on it.
We got more questions than answers tonight, but that look in Alexa’s eyes said a lot. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, she beat Asuka! Truth says she’s hollow inside, like she has no soul! And then the whole thing with the lights and Alexa changing back, then the possession! The Fiend spoke through her! But didn’t he get burned up? So did we all. Truth doesn’t want to answer what’s going on with Alexa but Charly is thinking it could be his spirit. Truth says this is some paranormal activity here. So moving on, let’s get to our first guests, the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century, or as Charly calls them, two men who are AAAAWESOME!
The Miz and Morrison join Raw Talk!
Truth fist bumps Morrison ‘n’ Miz, Awesome Truth rides again. Miz wants to get to the question. Truth asks what it was like being with The Doors. No, he’s not Jim Morrison. But that’s old question. Charly wants to ask about The Dirt Sheet. Miz says it was a train wreck but Morrison argues it was great. Morrison wrote it so of course he defends it. Charly is more interested in the guests. How did they book that? Morrison asks if they understand the concept of “misdirection.” That’s what pro-wrestling is all about. You expect one thing, then BAM! It’s something else! That’s why the moonwalk is so great. You think he’s going forward but he goes back.
Miz just wanted to make sure McIntyre and Goldberg understood that he could cash in at any time. Miz is even in the Rumble match! He could win the match, and then have a shot at the title at Mania anyway! Charly replays the footage of Gillberg coming out to the Goldberg entrance, and Miz says Morrison has an actor friend who could be McIntyre. Miz said the guy looks nothing like McIntyre, and Morrison said that’s the point! But then the fake asked for another take because he somehow forgot they were on live television! Well he doesn’t do live events, he didn’t know.
Charly asks if they at least thought the parts were played well. We all saw it, what does she think? Charly is not entering her own opinion, she’s just the host. Well the impersonator thought it was great, and he was high-fiving everyone backstage. Miz just wants to remind everyone he is Mr. MITB and could cash-in. It was Morrison who wanted Gillberg to come back! The wig kept falling off! Hey, the message was sent! Case closed! Miz asks if Charly has anything else. Charly says The Dirt Sheet was definitely bigger than ever with that McIntyre. Morrison says that’s the Jersey version of McIntyre.
Miz says they should’ve gone to Cleveland and gotten Drew Carey. But apparently the budget means nothing to Morrison. These sunglasses ain’t cheap. Nice pocket square. Truth makes a “sharp” joke and Miz doesn’t get what’s going on here. They’re bonding! They used to be a tag team. Yes, Miz and Truth used to be a tag team. Call it a remix. Then who would Truth choose? Miz or Morrison? Truth doesn’t do drama or peer pressure. Morrison says they’d be Black Magic & The White Shadow. Miz makes this “Breaking news.” Truth asks if Gillberg is available. He’s not an option. Truth would choose both. How diplomatic. Morrison would take Morrison over Truth, too. He just likes himself that much.
Charly just wants to point out that the message was sent to those we were expecting to see tonight, i.e. McIntyre and Goldberg. Morrison is confident they were watching and the message was received. Then there could be a new champion at the Royal Rumble because of Mr. MITB. What are the odds? Can they tell us anything? Miz has had the opportunity to get the contract back. When he lost it because of a certain someone, Morrison, but… No no no, Morrison cashed it in for him but Miz lost it. But it’s a good thing Morrison did cash it in because now Miz has it back. Miz says he has the only real opportunity for the world title. He doesn’t get a lot of those anymore, but here it is.
“At Royal Rumble, I know Goldberg and Drew McIntyre are going to tear each other apart. These are two big, muscular, brawling type of men and they are going to go at each other.” And Miz will be there to jump on it. Truth says he’ll be like a vulture! CACAW~! No, that’s a hawk. Close enough. Charly asks how Morrison will book the next episode, it might not sit well with Miz. Looking for a scoop? No scoop for you! Well, as always, this was an awesome time, Miz ‘n’ Morrison head out for the Queen of Spades to step in!
Shayna Baszler joins Raw Talk!
Charly feels Truth always has the better questions for Shayna so she’ll let him ask Shayna something first. Truth asks the Queen of Spades, “Are you better at Uno, Tonk, or Go Fish?” Can we not? Shayna has a long drive. Well Uno’s a long game, especially if the Draw 4 shows up. Shayna asks who in the back keeps scheduling her for this. Charly apologizes, she hoped he was going to come up with a slightly more intelligent question than that. As in, something along the line of sauces at least. Did she try the salmon today?
Charly brings up her interview on Raw, in regards to her match with Mandy Rose and the tension with Nia Jax. Has anything changed since earlier tonight? They made it clear they want the tag titles back but where are we with that? Shayna says she proved that it doesn’t matter what’s going on with her and Nia, she can take care of things on her own. No idea why people have forgotten that. The alliance with Nia was of convenience. They didn’t get along but they were dominant champions. It was never a thing that they need to get along, they get it done in the ring.
Charly surmises it as, it’s about coexistence for the common goal, but no commonality anywhere else? When was that an issue? We all saw that they haven’t gotten along, but Shayna still won. Say what you want about that, but do Charlotte and Asuka get along? They’re both too busy with the creepy Alexa stuff and the creepy Ric Flair stuff. Emotional stuff. Say what you want about Nia and Shayna, but at least they were always focused. Charlotte and Asuka have lost focus. That’s true, but amidst all of the tension, the challenge was issued. Have they heard anything back? Nothing yet, but the distractions are obvious. “When the prey is looking somewhere else, the predator can sneak up behind them.” That’s why Nia and Shayna are able to work together where they need to.
So then, there’s two ways to look at it. As partners against the tag champions, they will be united enough, as they have been. But then, the Women’s Rumble, hopefully we see Shayna and Nia in there together. Are they allies or foes? That’s a completely different issue. Nia is experienced enough to know how a Rumble works. Shayna was a finalist. Shayna tied a record for eliminations, she knows how Rumbles work. It won’t be a surprise. So what, “Oh let’s do the thing people do where they team up and eliminate people and high-five and then oh no~!”
Well it is a valid strategy. But it always happens! Someone turns on someone else. Shayna and Nia are separating Rumble and their tag team match. Charly has a lot of hypothetical scenarios, but no time for that tonight. Shayna says things go one way: they walk out of the PPV as tag team champions, and Shayna is winning the Women’s Rumble match. The relationship will remain unchanged. Then thank you for your time, and Shayna hopes it is a long time before she’s back here again. But she’s one of their best guests… Well, the last guest is PHENOMENAL!
AJ Styles and Omos join Raw Talk!
Styles really likes his music. Isn’t it the best theme in the WWE today? Truth says it’s alright. Styles asks what Omos thinks of his theme song, and Omos says it’s great. Truth wants to ask Omos about having Styles as his assistant. It’s phenomenal. Nice! Styles realizes Truth has it backwards. This is him trying to put a wedge between them. Don’t listen to him. Styles says this needs to stop. Charly, any questions? She just wants a grasp on his mindset after his match with Ricochet, where Ricochet was hoping to prove himself worthy of the Royal Rumble match. He did not win, Styles is obviously in, so what’s his mindset now?
Well Styles’ mindset is on the Rumble and to win it. Wouldn’t it be great? From his debut in 2016, his documentary just came out, Omos says it’s the best one ever, go watch it on the WWE Network. It’s phenomenal, even! Was Omos there? No! Sigh… Truth, you’re just wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you not see what he did to Ricochet with that great Styles Clash? Yeah but Omos looks awesome, too! Styles asks Omos if it irritates him when people get the name wrong. Of course! It’s “Aw-moss.” Like awmos done? Don’t play around, Truth. Truth is keeping the peace! Charly will get things back on track. Truth excuses himself to Omos.
Charly brings up that it will be five years in the WWE. What are Styles’ expectations, outside of winning, for the Rumble? Any number in mind? Well everyone wants to go 30th, because there will be all the others. Truth says the Phenomenal One should go first to prove it. And then Omos goes out! Well maybe Omos goes out there, too. Will he be in the Rumble match? We’ll see. Now that’s an unstoppable combo. But either way, there’s a plan. It’s a secret because it’s their plan. Can’t it be our plan? Nope. Charly wants Truth to get in the Rumble. Truth says he has other engagements, such as making sure “baby” WWE 24/7 Championship is safe. Charly thanks Styles and Omos for their time, and will see us again next Raw Talk!
A very good Raw Talk, with really good energy. But of course, Miz ‘n’ Morrison are great talkers, Shayna knows her character and Styles is also great on the mic. I like that Miz and Morrison continue to argue about how The Dirt Sheet went, but I wish they’d given a name to the man who played fake McIntyre. Well we’ll probably never see him again but even so, it’d prove he was the “actor friend” to Morrison. Morrison should know the name of the guy who is supposedly a friend that he could ask to be fake McIntyre. Shayna being so done with Raw Talk is always a great part of her character, and she helped give some good details on how she and Nia are handling this.
Styles and Omos have good chemistry for how this story is going, and them daring Truth to join the Rumble was fitting. Omos really should get in a match at some point, but maybe start with a 24/7 Championship moment with Truth in the ring and build from there.
News From Cook’s Corner 1.18.21: Living The Dream
Steve Cook rocking some news off of his high from having an article of his highlighted on the Cornette’s Drive-Thru. How does the news this week look?
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend full of NFL football and whatever else you like to enjoy. I’d also like to wish you all a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and pay homage to the man. He had a dream, and maybe someday we’ll live up to it.
It was a pretty big week for your humble correspondent. When you’re a writer of any type, you’re prone to thinking that nobody cares about what you’re writing. I guarantee that even the most prolific authors have gone through that feeling. Maybe not James Patterson or Stephen King, everybody reads their stuff. Dave Meltzer probably hasn’t had that feeling in at least thirty years. Most of us have to fight it off. Especially those of us writing about pro wrestling, a form of entertainment where most of the people involved are constantly trying to deny the truth.
Whenever we find any kind of acceptance, we have to lean into it. Even if there’s some qualifiers. For instance, when Traci Brooks first e-mailed me about an Impact recap I did for 411, she called me “Scott”. When Steve Austin read my 411 Wrestling Hall of Fame article on him and put it over as a good recap of his career, he thought Larry Csonka had written it, since Larry tweeted him about it. If you listen to Jim Cornette talk about an article I did on 411 listing the worst tag teams of all time, you won’t hear my name. The site was mentioned, which I appreciate since 411 still employs me.
Still, though, it’s pretty cool that I gave Corny & Brian Last almost seventeen minutes of material for a podcast. It’s even cooler to me as a nerd that looks at these things that it got more YouTube views than their breaking down the SI Top 10 Wrestlers of 2020 list that got some run from WWE since they listed Sasha Banks at #1, or anything else they posted from that particular podcast. And they weren’t all from me! I waited a little while to listen to it because of my somewhat thin skin, but Cornette actually didn’t complain about most of the list. He thought the Ding Dongs should have been #1, but then he justified my pick of the Johnsons/Shane Twins while talking about their stint in OVW. Which took place after their run in TNA that made the list. I’m still amazed they got a WWE run.
I haven’t always agreed with Cornette’s viewpoints on things over the years, but I grew up watching the guy and he’s the second greatest manager of all time. Also a fellow Kentucky liberal, which I’m pretty sure I’m the last of that dying breed.
While we’re talking about things I’m proud of creating I’ve mentioned here before that I’m not exactly happy about reliving 2020. I would prefer to move on to 2022, since 2021 already looks like a dumpster fire. However, I am very proud of 411mania’s Larry Csonka Award. (I wasn’t going to say I came up with it unless it became public knowledge, and Jeremy Thomas elected to give me the credit.) It took some thinking, but I figured that since Larry was the hardest working writer that I knew, an award honoring him should award the hardest working pro wrestler. Then I had to figure out what that meant, and once I did, one of Larry’s favorites was the perfect honoree.
Tomohiro Ishii won the award, & I can guarantee you that Larry would have been tweeting about BIG TOM ISHII throughout the year, even if I was begging him to talk about Ding & Dong. I used to hate when people would talk about what dead wrestlers would have approved of, but here I am telling you that Larry Csonka would have wanted Tomohiro Ishii getting an award named in his honor. As much as year-end awards annoy me from time to time, I hope this one lasts forever.
It’s probably the most fulfilling week of my “writing career” except I didn’t make any money off of it. Well. Actually, I got paid for some of my work from last year, so that was also nice. If it wasn’t for everything else currently going on in my life besides this online writing & podcasting stuff, I would be a pretty happy dude!
Anyway, let’s get to the news.
WrestleMania Update: Not being held In Your House.
WWE announced some future WrestleMania dates and locations!
37: April 10 & 11, 2021 Tampa NFL stadium
38: April 3, 2022, Dallas NFL stadium
39: April 2, 2023, Los Angeles NFL stadium
Nothing especially surprising here. Tampa got jobbed last year, and you can’t have fans in California right now anyway. You also have to mix Dallas in there to keep Jerry Jones happy, and eventually you can try to break whatever the current WM record is listed at.
*looks it up*
101,763? Ok. Am I the only one that has a problem remembering these things now? The old WM III attendance record of 93,173 was always an easy one to ramble off the top of your head. Too many numbers these days.
I know some folks aren’t happy that WM has fallen into a rotation of cities in a certain part of the world, leaving everybody else out of the mix. That doesn’t bother me so much, mostly because I have no plans on attending one of these things. I wasn’t a fan of big crowds pre-covid. Now? Forget about it.
HOF going virtual
The Observer reports this year’s WWE Hall of Fame event is scheduled to be held virtually, without a live audience. No word yet on if there will be more inductees to join the folks that were scheduled to be inducted last year.
I know we all miss having fans at wrestling events, but I think most of us can agree that the Hall of Fame would be better without fans on a permanent basis. That 2004 event at the hotel was so cool with Bobby Heenan and company giving speeches without having to be interrupted by stupid chants & assorted nonsense. I haven’t watched a full HOF event in years, as much as I like seeing the old folks, the ceremony became a joke thanks to fans acting like idiots. This should be a step in the right direction.
Hey, I’m not anti-fan, not by any means. Can’t wait to see a crowd at WrestleMania. Wrestling is better with fans, hall of fame ceremonies aren’t. Pretty simple.
AEW Covid Issues
WWE’s issues with the coronavirus and various outbreaks have been discussed time & again. Up until this point, AEW had managed to keep their issues under the radar. There were a couple instances where matches were changed due to people being unavailable, but the impression was given that AEW was doing a better job of keeping its roster safe.
That assumption has to be called into question after two of AEW’s top talents revealed their issues with the virus. Chris Jericho mentioned on his Talk With Jericho podcast that he had the virus back in September. He was asymptomatic & apparently quarantined himself during ten days where he was home & AEW wasn’t taping shows. It should be noted that Jericho appeared on every episode of Dynamite in September. Nick Jackson revealed that he had the virus during September as well, which a lot of folks suspected when he was conspicuous by his absence on two episodes of Dynamite.
You just hope everybody’s staying safe. Dave Meltzer mentioned that both companies have been concerned that their talent has been too cavalier about the virus. Wrestlers from both WWE & AEW socialize all the time, especially now that so many of them are based in Florida. Many of them think that the virus is going away, when a look at the news on any given day tells you that it isn’t. Wrestlers aren’t the only people making that inaccurate assumption, of course.
Ethan Page: Not as Hard To Kill as Impact Wrestling
Those of you who caught Impact’s PPV on Saturday night were witness to a murder, the first one in Impact Wrestling in 2021. One assumes there will be more. At the conclusion of a match pitting Ethan Page against Karate Man, Man pulled Page’s heart right out of his body. This was believed to be Page’s final appearance with Impact heading into the evening, and one would assume that was accurate.
Page was none too happy with how things ended with Impact. He posted a message on the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast expressing his discontent with how his match was edited & forced to be a joke, how he didn’t want to use the Karate Man character on TV, and how Impact hurt & disrespected him. This came as a surprise to me, because I thought it was obvious the angle was supposed to be a joke from the beginning. I wasn’t sold on it being the best way to write Page out of the promotion, but I did find the match entertaining. I also had a little bit to drink before watching it, so maybe that played a role. Not sure.
I’m also not sure where Ethan Page goes from here. Talented creative guy, so we’ll probably see him somewhere sooner rather than later. Let’s just hope his heart’s healed up by then.
Luchadors Running For Office!
We know that lucha libre has run into some big problems since the pandemic. Most promotions aren’t able to run shows, giving wrestlers fewer opportunities to work & make money. Some have found other things to do, whether it be running food trucks, training people, or running for political office.
Running for what now? Yep, that’s right, political office. Blue Demon Jr., Caristico & Tinieblas Jr. have filed to run for office as part of the Progressive Social Networks party, which was founded just last year. Each man is looking to attain a mayorship in a different municipality of Mexico City. Now, one question you might have is this: Would the men have to unmask and reveal their identity? They would, but only in front of the authorities in charge of the election. They would be able to maintain their secret identity in public, though this isn’t as big an issue for Caristico because WWE already made his government name a matter of public record.
I haven’t seen any polling on any of these races, but it’s tough to count these men out. Wrestlers have a pretty good track record of success in political races in America & Japan. Why not Mexico?
Well, that’s all we have time for this week! Stay tuned here to the Chairshot for all the sports, entertainment & sports entertainment you can shake a stick at! Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.
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