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Cook’s Top 5 Revisited: Non-WWE Stories Of 2019

Steve Cook takes a look back at his Top 5 (Non-WWE) Stories of 2019 from the beginning of the year–how did it pan out?

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All Elite Wrestling Avengers

Steve Cook takes a look back at his Top 5 (Non-WWE) Stories of 2019 from the beginning of the year–how did it pan out?

We’re travelling back in time this week. First, we looked at the Top 5 WWE Stories of 2019, as I predicted them back at the beginning of the year. This time, we’re looking back at the Top 5 Non-WWE Stories of 2019 as originally posted on January 11, 2019.

It’s been an interesting year. Did it pan out the way I thought? Let’s take a look…

5. First a penis. Then a tampon. What’s next?

Joey Ryan

“Joey Ryan has been around for a pretty long time. He’s one of the founders of PWG. He’s been featured in Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Wrestling Society X & Lucha Underground. Ryan’s been around the world and back.

He’ll forever be known as “the penis guy.”

Priscilla Kelly hasn’t been around nearly as long as Joey, but she’s made some strides early in her career. She was in the second Mae Young Classic and often appears for EVOLVE, which is an NXT feeder fed.

She might end up being known as “the tampon girl.”

Ryan flipping other wrestlers around with his penis isn’t my thing. Kelly shoving her tampon in another wrestler’s face doesn’t do it for me either. I don’t knock either one though, because this sort of thing has an audience.

Joey’s had a lucrative run in wrestling while maintaining his status as an independent wrestler thanks to his penis. Priscilla will probably see an increase in bookings now that she’s achieved more notoriety. Those promoters will want her to bring her tampons.

What I want to know is this: which enterprising Indy wrestlers will take note of this & come up with something ridiculous of their own in an attempt to get noticed? How far will it go before somebody gets a show shut down with their insanity? You know it’s coming. Just wait for the backlash when somebody takes out a vibrator & goes to town on their opponent. It won’t be good.”

What Happened: Things kind of cooled down on this front as far as I could tell. Unless I missed something, nobody came up with something grosser than a tampon to use in a wrestling match. Thank goodness for that. I feel like indy folks are policing themselves because they have more places to get signed now. Priscilla’s doing fine on the indies but it doesn’t seem like the major promotions are too interested at the moment. Joey did an independent retirement tour then immediately returned to the indies, so there’s that.

4. ROH’s Next Era

Pro Wrestling ROH G1 Supercard Madison Square Garden

“We talked about how WWE needs to make top stars that aren’t named “Roman Reigns”. Ring of Honor has had a similar problem making stars of its own over the past few years.

Ever since the partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling started, ROH has based its booking around NJPW’s whims & desires. Bullet Club was a staple of ROH television through the AJ Styles, Kenny Omega & Cody eras…when they were available. ROH’s biggest shows have featured New Japan talent. The other shows aren’t exactly setting the world on fire.

With the Elite gang gone, ROH should be looking for new names to feature. Instead, the Elite were putting over the likes of Jay Lethal & the Briscoes on their way out. I mean, the Briscoes were on the first ROH show & Lethal was around a year or two after that. They don’t need a rub from anybody at this level.

ROH has been signing a lot of new talent, which is a good sign. The bad sign is Booker Lizard Man’s track record when it comes to building new talent. Its not great. It needs to be in 2019 if ROH wants to be able to stand on its own. That NJPW partnership might not exist forever.”

What Happened: Most of 2019 was the Matt Taven Show for Ring of Honor. Then we saw some Rush, and we ended the year with PCO as champion. ROH definitely tried to build & feature some different talent. You can’t really say it worked though, as the promotion has less buzz now than it’s ever had. ROH is still looking for their next Era. We’ll talk about that NJPW thing later.

3. Impact’s TV Situation

“People tell me that television doesn’t matter anymore. Nobody watches it. You can catch any type of wrestling you want on YouTube or an array of streaming services. They say it doesn’t matter what kind of a TV deal a wrestling company gets.

These people are wrong. WWE’s recent deals worth over a billion dollars blow that theory out of the water. The right TV deals being revenue, availability & prestige. Airing on Fox is a big deal. Heck, ROH’s local slots have helped grow their promotion. Airing on the Pursuit Channel late on a Friday night does nothing for you.

As good as Impact Wrestling’s roster & product are right now, their limited availability & bad time slot on a hunting channel makes them look bush league. Impact will need an upgrade sometime in 2019 if they want to be on par with the other promotions listed in this column.”

What Happened: Anthem bought a better channel. They got themselves a stake in AXS TV & now Impact airs every Tuesday night. It’s definitely a better situation, and things look better for them from a live audience perspective as well. They’ve still got a ways to go, but 2019 wasn’t a bad year for Impact Wrestling.

2. New Japan’s Big United States Shows

NJPW New Japan Logo

“NJPW’s American expansion has been confined to the West Coast so far. A dojo in Los Angeles. Some shows in Long Beach & San Francisco in smaller arenas. Kinda cool, but nothing too substantial yet.

They’re kicking things up a notch in 2019. Of course, there’s the WrestleMania weekend show co-promoted with ROH at Madison Square Garden. WWE clearly prefers running in Barclays Center these days, but MSG will always be associated with the McMahon family as far as wrestling goes.

New Japan & ROH running in MSG feels like the Big 10 running their men’s basketball tournament there. We’re used to seeing WWE & the Big East there. It’s tough to get used to new people coming in.

NJPW has also announced a show to take place in Dallas’s American Airlines Center on July 6. It’s called “G1 Climax 29 – Opener”, which is big. The US has seen G1 Specials before, and the MSG show will be a G1 Supercard, but the G1 Climax Tournament has never had matches take place in America. That seems to be going down in Dallas, unless the Opener is New Japan’s equivalent to the Kickoff Show.

New York should do well, and I would expect a lot of people to fly into Dallas for authentic G1 matches. Will that be all for 2019? Probably not. I’d expect some random West Coast shows to be announced at some point, and maybe since there’s 2 blocks in the G1 we’ll see another tournament show here. Some of New Japan’s biggest North American stars won’t be there. That won’t stop New Japan from taking the next step.”

What Happened: Kind of a mixed bag for New Japan’s US experiment in 2019. They sold out Madison Square Garden, but Ring of Honor’s portion of the event was so ghastly that it left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. The G1 in Dallas was a solid event, and the crowd probably would have looked good if the show hadn’t been in an NBA arena. They did a small tour in the Northeast & a couple of events in California in the late part of the year that drew sell outs for the venues, and already have another American tour scheduled for late January. They’re hitting the South this time around, and one would expect them to be back in the Northeast & California at some point. One big problem: AXS TV has new ownership that doesn’t seem interested in continuing the current arrangement. They aren’t even airing that Wrestle Kingdom thing. Oh, and ROH seems to be a less viable partner these days.

New Japan is running out of friends here, it’s a shame they don’t know anybody Elite that could help.

1. Will All Elite Wrestling Be Elite?

AEW Chris Jericho Wine

“If the first week of 2019 is any indication, AEW will take up a lot of our attention this year. We all like shiny new toys. We know the general feel of WWE, ROH, Impact & everybody else. They’re old hat.

AEW is new and exciting. We don’t know what to expect from Cody, the Young Bucks, the Khan family and whoever else might be involved. Its a fun mystery that we’ll find out bits and pieces of each week.

Will Kenny Omega come on board? What about Chris Jericho? Goldberg? What kind of TV deal can they get? When will they start running shows? Will they be good shows?

We don’t know any of these things right now, but we’ll find out as 2019 rolls on. Its a great time for people like me that need things to write about. AEW will be the biggest non-WWE story of 2019, whether it succeeds or not.”

What Happened: A lot! Omega & Jericho came on board. No Goldberg, but some familiar faces to WCW viewers have appeared on TNT since AEW Dynamite’s first episode. AEW was without a doubt the biggest non-WWE story of 2019. They’ve had some successes & some failures along the way, and there will be more ups & downs to come in 2020. AEW might not be Elite every week & every segment, but they’re going to work hard to try & get there.

You know what’s coming next week, right? The top 5 stories of 2019! WWE, non-WWE, whatever we can think of! Join us then.


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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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