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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: WWE Stories of 2020

Steve Cook is here to set the table for WWE in 2020. What will be the biggest company’s biggest stories?

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Edge WWE Return

Steve Cook is here to set the table for WWE in 2010. What will be the biggest company’s biggest stories?

Last week, we took a look back at what I thought the top stories of 2019 would be. We all had fun comparing what I thought would matter to what actually ended up happening. Since we did all that, it only makes sense for me to do the same for 2020. These will be the Top 5 WWE Stories of 2020.

5. The Network Tier System

Ever since WWE Network debuted in 2014, there’s been speculation of when it would be more expensive than $9.99 per month. It’s a day that I’ve been dreading, because who wants to pay more money for something? It seems to be coming in 2020, kind of. There will be three tiers: one free with the live stream on it, the $9.99 tier, and a $14.99 tier that will feature more of…something. Apparently some EVOLVE, PROGRESS & some other indy stuff, and maybe they’ll move some other shows there. It’s all speculative right now.

The problem: Network subscriptions have been going down lately anyway. The current product is turning people off, there was a good number of people that tapped out over the Saudi stuff, and technical issues have been more prevalent since they changed hosts or whatever technical thing they did. Will a relaunch with tiers help business?

4. NXT on the Move

NXT is reportedly contractually obligated to hold their Wednesday night shows at Full Sail University until the end of March. Beyond that, the debate starts. Should NXT take their TV show out on the road like everybody else does these days? On one hand, people are annoyed with the regular Full Sail crowd and some of the things they do. On the other hand, it’s easy to produce television there. It’s a generic looking venue, but it’s not a bad looking one. There’s also the fact that they don’t have a problem filling it. Will NXT weekly TV sell tickets the same way their TakeOver events do? And if they don’t, how many pictures of empty seats will we be subjected to?

I can see both sides of this argument, and I’m really interested to see which way it goes.

3. Who Will Come Back?

WWE SummerSlam 2019 Edge Elias

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past several years, it’s that it pays to leave WWE. Brock Lesnar has reaped the biggest windfall from this policy, but are plenty of other part-time talents from back in the day making some serious bank working shows in foreign markets. Some of them come back full-time…Rey Mysterio went straight to main event angles after spending years outside the company. The time away made him fresh again. Heck, CM Punk came back in 2019 to be a panelist for an FS1 show. WWE wants to keep these people away from potential competitors that might have more liberal standards for clearing people to wrestle.

So who will be back in 2020? John Morrison, at some point. Edge keeps telling us he isn’t coming back, but nobody believes him. I keep waiting for Steve Austin to come back because he starts drooling whenever he hears about those Saudi show payoffs. Goldberg will probably squash somebody around WrestleMania time. And of course Undertaker will make his yearly appearance. The usage of old talent by WWE isn’t going away anytime soon. Will they be able to exploit it to its full potential?

2. The Re-Birth of the Roman Empire

Roman Reigns WWE Leukemia

Last week in the 2019 Revisited column we talked about how Roman Reigns didn’t quite have the in-ring year we’ve come to expect. He spent a lot of time tooling around in the mid-card with the likes of Shane McMahon & King Corbin. Some Shield stuff. Reigns was easing his way back into things after returning from leukemia, which is understandable. You wanna make sure everything’s going well and not quite go full-speed into the fire.

2020 feels like a different story. Reigns will be featured on FOX on New Year’s Eve. He’s the betting favorite to win the Royal Rumble. It seems like the time for the Big Dog to return to the top of the card. Will the WWE Universe approve of it this time around? Personally, I’d like to think so, but one never knows for sure.

1. Outside Distractions

I’ve always believed that a major part of the reason that the WCW/ECW Invasion failed and the Attitude Era began to tail off was the fact that Vince McMahon was consumed with too many things. At the same time all this stuff was going on, he was trying to start a football league. The XFL was a disaster that also had the effect of taking Vince’s attention off of what should have been a license to print money. While Vince could have been thinking of ideas to utilize WCW talent, he was trying to figure out how to keep the XFL up & running.

The XFL returns in 2020. Allegedly, Vince has more help this time, with Oliver Luck as the CEO & Commissioner. He’s a former NFL quarterback, his son is named Andrew, he has experience in the sports executive field. Whether he needs Vince’s help or not, he’s going to get it. Do we really think a control freak like Vince isn’t going to be right in the middle of every single XFL decision? While still being right in the middle of every WWE decision? That’s a lot for a man of Vince’s age to handle.

Put it this way: I don’t expect the XFL to have a positive impact on WWE business-wise or creatively. Unless Vince completely goes away from the wrestling side and the young folks get some time to build things…but that sounds highly unlikely.


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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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