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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (12/10/19)

CM Punk’s back again!



WWE Backstage coverage

The Cult of Personality! The Cult of Personality!

As WWE heads for TLC, what will the Voice of the Voiceless have to say about Seth Rollins, Rusev’s divorce, and Corbin VS Roman?


Renee Young runs down the schedule!

The panel will preview the final WWE PPV of 2019 in TLC, talk directly to King Baron Corbin, and hear everything CM Punk has to say about it!


Let’s get Just the Highlights!

The Revival survived a Fatal 4 Way Elimination Tag and now head for a rematch with the New Day! Will they bring an end to lucky number 7? Bray Wyatt is playing a dangerous mind game with The Miz, but he’s also winning it so far. Will The Miz settle the score on Sunday? Lacey Evans isn’t intimidated by bratty Banks and Bayley, but she was beat down by them. The Big Dog gets treated as less than human, but is the Lone Wolf’s bark worse than his bite?

On Raw, Rusev and Lana are no more, and so is the table they signed the papers on! Will the Bulgarian Brute break more tables using Bobby Lashley? #KabukiStrongStyle also wrecks tables as Asuka and Kairi Sane take bold action against The Man and The Queen. Will Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair use ever table, ladder and chair possible to get revenge and those WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships? And The Viper slithers in, but doesn’t bite, because Rey Mysterio retaining is more than enough damage done to AJ Styles! And while Kevin Owens was right all along, it didn’t stop Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain dealing out damage of their own. What does this new alliance mean for all of the WWE?

Renee and the panel felt this coming, but that doesn’t lessen the impact, both physically and emotionally. What does everyone think of Rollins truly going bad? Booker T likes it. Rollins was riding that line, but now he’s pulled the trigger. AOP have been waiting, and now they’re in the game again. They are finally getting the opportunity and the rub they deserve. Punk feels this new trio is more a “wait and see.” It doesn’t need to be another Shield, but showing up in suits all the time, they might get stuck wearing those in a match. One kick splits the slacks! But we’ve seen Rollins have guys behind him when it was J&J Security, so hopefully it isn’t that either. Paige feels it’ll be different, but “big shocker,” she’s liking this role. Never trust someone sitting in the back of a van!

Where did this van even come from? Booker did like how it was used, though. The turn around made a great reveal moment. And then Rollins running down the fans, “What do you want from me?!” is a great move. Punk knows we all want Rollins to be entertaining, and sometimes wrestlers just aren’t good at being good guys. Rollins can be a great Heel so be the Heel. Ironically, this’ll probably get him over again. Paige had that in her notes, too, she feels this’ll just turn things back around.

Moving on: The Big Dog and the King of the Ring!

Friday brought the feud of Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin to a new level. Corbin and Dolph Ziggler smeared dog food all over Roman as the “humiliation” Corbin promised. Renee can still smell the dog food, and Punk smells a certain something else. But this scene was the most viewed video from SmackDown and on the Fox YouTube channel. Not more than CM Punk, though, right? But is this really the hottest thing? Punk isn’t so sure. Punk surprisingly didn’t hate this segment. He has a different perspective, and his thought was Carrie, the pigs blood scene and she goes crazy. This could be that for Roman! Bad guys do bad things to good guys and this over the top thing was what “wrassling” can have. Punk would complain about a huge collection of dog food under the ring, but then he realizes kendo sticks always seem to be under there for no reason.

Booker does agree the realism is a detail, but surely fans are already pointing that out. Booker remembers Bogeyman’s $5000 collection of worms. 5 grand?! Yes, and they were real, and he actually ate them! He made himself sick for the sake of his character! But Paige points out the mystery man under the ring, too. No one saw it in commentary. At the same time, it may not be commentary’s place to point it out, but Renee is happy to know fans are discussing it, too. Booker says it is all connected to King Corbin. The plan worked, Roman was caught. But they’ll be able to ask Corbin himself up next!


Hear ye, hear ye! King Corbin is here!

The 2019 King of the Ring is Backstage, and even King Bookah is giving him praise. Anyone helping with the ropes? Renee does it as the host. CM Punk doesn’t remember getting that treatment when he first showed up. Corbin takes his seat and Renee asks how fun it is being one of the top bad guys right now. It’s a lot of fun. He is the top SmackDown Heel, and in the WWE. He loves irritating people, he’s great at it, it just comes natural sometimes. People have told him so since he was a kid. Corbin loves seeing what buttons he can push and hear about it on social media now.

Booker says not since Vickie Guerrero has a Heel gotten heat like Corbin. Corbin says he was with Ziggler and Ziggler said the same thing. How does Corbin stay on that? He just revels in it. When fans boo and spew hate, it makes Corbin feel like he’s doing his job. He loves every second of it. Booker says that is what is missing in the industry. That’s because some people can’t take the backlash. A lot of people want to be “cool.” Punk already knows the answer to this, but has Corbin ever been a Face? Nope! Punk says it’s easier to be a bad guy, especially when starting. Then if you’re good enough at being bad, the fans will find something to love. Is it getting there yet? Nope, still feels like pure hatred. The King of the Ring tournament started getting him some fans, but then he worked on getting them to dislike him again.

And Corbin does agree, it is hard to stay a consistently good bad guy that fans love to hate. But that’s Corbin’s job, making those good guys look great. Paige wants to know if there’s a specific time when a fan’s hate felt so good. Corbin can really see it on the faces in the crowd. After WrestleMania, Corbin beat Kurt Angle, this little kid gave him the middle finger! But that kid was really into the show, and sometimes kids cry. Sometimes older people freak out just from him looking at them. But those fans are the ones who really are fans. Now, “triggering” happens easy, but especially wrestling fans on social media.

Speaking of the internet, does Corbin find it easier or harder to maintain that persona? Corbin feels it goes back to just exaggerating a natural part of himself. He isn’t out there to be friends with everyone, from college to sports to pro-wrestling. This is a job that puts food on the table. It’s almost too easy, these people are too into it at times. Anything anyone comments on about not liking, like his “TGI Fridays waiter” suit, that just becomes what he does more of to further that irritation.

Corbin has very thick skin by Punk’s assessment. Punk was in the same boat with the Straightedge Society angle where it bordered on cult, especially in the Bible Belt region of the US. People were legitimately angry, like little old ladies. But Punk was also proud of getting that reaction. Bad guys do bad things, and again, the dog food. Punk’s instant analysis was Vince insisted on “real dog food.” It was 1000% real. Even Corbin got a taste of some, so he knows. And (in character) Roman deserved it, for getting spoon fed so much in his career, so Corbin decided to force feed him some dog food. The Big Dog was hungry, wasn’t he? Booker again brings up the real worms from Bogeyman, so fair is fair.

Booker also remembers back to his first match with The Undertaker, and how he was a big fan of his. Corbin had that with The Rock. What was that like? It was a special moment being in there with an icon. There is just something about The Rock that helps you understand he’s a star. Even if you somehow don’t know who The Rock is, you get that feeling. Taking a Rock Bottom, the People’s Elbow and having The Rock run him down, just great stuff from one of the greatest ever. Punk chuckles a bit, but Corbin knows people feel the same about Punk. #PipeBomb, remember? Corbin hung with Rock, but owes him one. Maybe through Roman on Sunday. Corbin is going to stick around, come up with some more dastardly things to do to good guys.


Backstage goes back in time to TLC 2017.

When Bray Wyatt was too ill to finish up his story with Finn Balor, in stepped a Phenomenal substitute in AJ Styles! And it was a night that was #JustTooSweet!

AJ Styles flew up from South America to be in the ring with Finn Balor. Their career paths paralleled each other, but this was the moment for the dream match everyone wanted! The Demon and the Phenomenal One already got  “This is Awesome” chants, and that is what it was immediately. Finn knows their styles gelled together so well, and going out of the ring, avoiding that double count out and the back and forth, the electricity was in the air. “It was a pretty, pretty sweet moment. Too Sweet.” In the end, Finn wins, and got to Too Sweet with Styles in the ring. It was Styles’ idea, but it made for an iconic moment from that night. They more than delivered, and without even a build. It was just two guys at the peak of their careers, giving it everything they had.

The panel discusses Balor VS Styles.

Booker was on commentary then, and seeing the fans said it all. That standing ovation was well deserved. Styles showing up without any preparation, but he was surely ready to steal the show and have a moment. When you get a moment, that’s the chance you get. Styles and Balor gave the fans what they wanted, showed the respect of the craft and created magic. Paige and CM Punk are lucky to have moments like those in their careers. Paige remembers The Rock telling her the day before WrestleMania that she would debut the day after, and we all know now that it was against AJ Lee to win the Diva’s Championship. Paige loves AJ Lee for helping her with that moment, because AJ was just so relaxed. The promo was the only thing planned, but AJ helped Paige keep calm for the rest of it. Punk can attest AJ does that.

Punk remembers his shot for the WWE ECW Championship. There was almost no one there because of weather. It was just Ricky Steamboat, The Undertaker, MVP, Chavo Guerrero (who was champion at the time), and Punk. Ricky just figured they could go there for the 60 minutes, then Taker VS MVP as the main event. They did 2-out-of-3, 55 minutes hit and Ricky had them wrap. But those special moments makes pro-wrestling so great. Punk just wished that after the Too Sweet, it would’ve been a kiss, too. It was a missed opportunity. But will this year’s TLC match that phenomenal dream match?


Brandon Williams gets Savage.

Randy Savage, that is. The Ravens DT is a big fan of the Macho Man, and rightfully so. OOH YEAH~! Big Baby Brandon loved him some Macho Man.


Renee joins Baron Corbin and Matt Leinart to talk football.

Corbin was on the Arizona Cardinals with Leinart, and the Fox debut helped them reconnect. Leinart saw Corbin, Becky and The Rock, and then afterwards, they all met up later.  Corbin looked a lot different when he played. Fuller face and fuller head of hair. He was 335 lbs, now he’s a lean, mean 270. He doesn’t have to hold his breath to tie his shoes anymore. Leinart is proud of what Corbin’s doing now. Corbin talks about being the midseason transfer, he walks in and Leinart welcomed him and invited him to a party. Leinart kept things fun and loose but still a good training atmosphere. And this was back when Kurt Warner was the starter. Leinart got cut, “good stuff,” but the football locker room atmosphere is a great place. When you’re on the field, it’s a great bond.

Corbin says it is still competitive. You could get into real fights over wanting your spot on the line-up. But Corbin was previously on the Colts, and that was a different tone. Arizona was looser, Corbin got in a fight, worried about getting fined, but he just got an “atta boy!” Then it’s like nothing happened, everyone let it go. Renee has some dirt on Corbin now. But more to come from the Lone Wolf King as Backstage digs deeper into TLC.



TLC has a Raw Tag Team Championship OPEN CHALLENGE! The Viking Raiders are ready for anyone, but who steps up to go after the gold?


Time to Pay It Off!

The Fiend has been doing what he wants, when he wants, and things got personal with The Miz. Paige says the dads should get involved, Papa Miz and the one and only IRS. But it is going to be exciting to see that this is Firefly Fun House Bray, not The Fiend. No red lights is a bonus, obviously. An exciting switch-up really.

The Rusev-Lana-Lashley triangle brought about a divorce. Lana blamed the WWE Universe for making the marriage “FAAAAAIL~!” Yikes, yet also perfect. This Tables Match, Punk could go into it forever. Punk is glad he’s not the one behind this story, it means he’s still sane. But he says the match, the blow-off, Rusev wants away from Lana. Lana and Lashley do go on to be the on-screen couple, but then guess what? Lana grinds Lashley’s gears, too. Lashley leaves Lana for another “divorce” or whatever. Lana gets another two men, they go after Lashley and Rusev who have bonded over Lana being crazy, and we have a great WrestleMania “Lana in a Shark Cage” match. The new team is even sick of her, the losers get stuck with Lana! It can go forever, to Saudi Arabia special #5!


It’s time to Smarten Up!

The WWE’s influence spreads further than you think! Even Jeopardy got into it recently! The WWE Slammy Awards was a category! For $200: “New sensation of the ring in 1997 was this guy who now dabbles in action films, and TV, and basically, world domination.” How obvious. Who is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Slammy Awards for $800, “No winner for 1987’s Song of the Year–Sika ate the envelope–but this WWE head honcho was nominated & did perform ‘Stand Back.'” How did they not get this one? Who is Vince McMahon?

But now, Renee is taking credit that being Canadian makes you a fantastic host. That includes game shows! And so Renee is going a Triple Threat Trivia match! To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! Booker puts up some “long green duckets!” First, CM Punk! Then, Paige! And of course, Baron Corbin! The levels are $100, $300, and $600, all in the case. They will write their answers, the correct answers get the cash, but of course there is Final Smarten Up, where you can go big or go home.

First question: This WWE superstar beat Hulk Hogan for the WWE World Title at WrestleMania VI. Booker knows, but do the contestants know? The answers are in, Paige says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Punk says Sergeant Slaughter. BUZZ! Corbin says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Well keep eyes on who is writing when, just in case. Punk was always more an NWA guy, not WWF, “brother.”

Second question: This future WWE Hall of Famer made his debut as The Ring Master. Another easy one, right? Paige says STONE COLD! KACHING! So does Punk! And Corbin… Wait, wait did he do that last minute again? It looks like he put “Stone Cob” on there… Well anyway, Corbin and Paige are tied with 400, Punk’s on the board with 300.

Third question: This man was the first to win the WWE world title by winning the Royal Rumble. $600 on the line, who gets it? Corbin blanks. Paige says Ric Flair! KACHING! Paigepedia! Punk says Flair, too. Corbin puts “WOO,” that shouldn’t count. So Paige has $1000, Punk has $900, Corbin is stuck at $400. But now, the Final Smarten Up is for all the beans!

Final question: This former WWE world champion once held the title for 2138 days, then shocked the world in 1994 when he won it again at the age of 45! All or nothing! Paige says Harley Race, but NOPE. She lost it all! Punk put Flair, but NOPE. Corbin says he’s getting paid to fight, not do trivia. No one wins, it was BOB BACKLUND! Booker keeps his cash, hahaha. But speaking of future Hall of Famers, we’re already learning about some big names. Backstage will be back to talk about them and those that could be joining the 2020 class!


The WWE Hall of Fame gets Too Sweet!

That’s because the nWo is in the Class of 2020! Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac are in! But so is the Animal, Dave Batista! Social media posts vote for Christian to be in! The panel feels that’s fair. Well, except for CM Punk. The WWE Hall of Fame is illegitimate unless they put in EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the nWo at its peak! Wallstreet needs rings!

Social media has also found the fight Corbin got in on the practice field. Corbin is proud he punched that helmet off. Social media also has “Stone Cob,” a big ear of corn, hanging out with Kenan Thompson to show Corbin. But with that, WWE Backstage signs off! What happens between now and next week that will make the headlines?



My Thoughts:

A pretty good episode, though it does lean more towards shoot than kayfabe compared to previous episodes. This episode was basically what fan sites like ours talk about, but on TV. I’m actually surprised Punk didn’t hate on the dog food stuff, but I suppose there is merit to going over the top in a somewhat logical way. Hearing Corbin talk about enjoying being a legit Heel was great, we really do need more of those, and especially in the WWE. Corbin is definitely one of those guys that can make an entire career out of getting Heel heat, but sometimes what Vince writes for him to do does border “go away heat.” I’m moderately disappointed they didn’t bring up how Corbin’s match with Roman is a TLC and the implications of that decision, i.e. was this really the match for them to have? But it was still a good amount of material from Corbin. That quiz show stuff was pretty funny, too. It seems Corbin’s weakness is trivia.

Again, I do wish this episode would’ve talked more about how TLC’s build has gone, but I suppose since this is a WWE show, they weren’t going to go that hard on criticizing Vince’s decisions, as much as I’m sure CM Punk would love to. But again, that’s why sites like ours exist. I did like that they chose the Balor VS Styles match to reminisce about, and I realize that was before we were “The Chairshot,” or else I would’ve linked to it here. And one point that’s true is that if TLC (as a whole) is even half as good as that match, we’ll be alright despite the lack of announced matches.

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More From Japan


N-1 Victory winner Katsuhiko Nakajima had his Heavyweight Championship match against Marufuji. Who won? What other challengers stepped up to the champions? Hisame has all the answers!




N-1 Victory winner Katsuhiko Nakajima had his Heavyweight Championship match against Marufuji. Who won? What other challengers stepped up to the champions? Hisame has all the answers!


“I am NOAH!” Katsuhiko Nakajima is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion

The mid generation in NOAH are starting to make waves over their seniors in a manner that before they had never made any progress in; Go Shiozaki finally overcame Naomichi Marufuji in a singles match, and next it was Katsuhiko Nakajima’s turn. Nakajima beat Naomichi Marufuji for the GHC Heavyweight title on the 10th October in Osaka. Nakajima, who had won the N-1 and won the championship, barely had time to pause as his next challenger appeared, Masato Tanaka. Nakajima had been speaking of his appetite, “devouring, devouring and devouring” but still being hungry.

Tanaka told him that Nakajima had not “devoured me” yet and challenged him for the belt. The title match has been set for the 30th October in Fukuoka, which is Nakajima’s hometown. After Tanaka had gone, Nakajima told the crowd, “The era is moving. I have finally taken the GHC Heavyweight! I AM NOAH”*

The first pre-match between Tanaka and Nakajima was a tag which saw Masaaki Mochizuki team with Nakajima against Tanaka and Takashi Sugiura on the 17th October in Kawasaki. Mochizuki of course had challenged Takashi Sugiura for the GHC National. Tanaka scored the first round in the pre title battles by pinning Nakajima with the Sliding D. Tanaka closed out the show, addressing Nakajima with “I am going to devour you deliciously, and tear the belt from your waist!””

*This phrase is more attributed to Go Shiozaki, but it was Katsuhiko Nakajima who said it first. Nakajima used it against Minoru Suzuki during the Suzuki Army invasion.

 Eita & NOSAWA Rongai become the new GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions

The GHC Junior Tag Belts (which are just as chaotic as the division that holds them), changed hands in a short match on the 10th October in Osaka when Perros De Mal Del Japon’s Eita & NOSAWA Rongai defeated Hajime Ohara and Atsushi Kotoge in only four minutes and four seconds. Kotoge and Ohara were completely overwhelmed by the underhand tricks of their opponents, which included double teaming, face stamping and NOSAWA using apron interference. Afterwards, Eita spoke on the microphone;

“We are the new champions! You are below trash, we don’t need your applause! Kotoge, Ohara, they were boring today”

Backstage, NOSAWA said they weren’t interested in defending the belts against any of NOAH, and told Eita to bring someone from Dragon Gate.

HAYATA retains against Daisuke Harada, NOSAWA Rongai challenges and builds a house of cards

HAYATA retained the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship against Daisuke Harada in Osaka on the 10th October. He did the unthinkable and made Harada do something that HAYATA would never have done in the past, and that Harada has probably never done since he was a rookie, and that was to tap out. After the match, HAYATA was surrounded by Perros Del Mal De Japon like they were a pack of jackals, who made him choose a challenger. NOSAWA was at the forefront, and is probably the person that STINGER hate the most, and so HAYATA nominated him and breaking his record of not speaking for about ten months to say, “Next…NOSAWA Rongai”. NOSAWA’s face fell as everyone in the juniors knew that HAYATA was rapidly being seen as the ultimate champion, and no one was going to let him back out of it. The title match was arranged for the 30th October in Fukuoka.

NOSAWA said he would accept HAYATA’S nomination on one condition; he chose the pre-match, he chose where it was going to be and he chose the people. So what did he choose on the 17th October? A match between himself, Yoshinari Ogawa & Naomichi Marufuji at Club Citta who would take on HAYATA, YO-HEY and Kaito Kiyomiya. It must have seemed a good way to wind Ogawa and HAYATA up, but in reality it turned around to bite NOSAWA hard and fell around him like a house of cards when Ogawa defected practically to STINGER, YO-HEY tried to somehow stay true to the team he was in (although he and HAYATA were ignoring each other practically) and NOSAWA used him to take HAYATA’S springing elbow, and Kaito Kiyomiya joined the fray as he is allied with HAYATA and Ogawa in their hatred of NOSAWA. After HAYATA got the win by kicking NOSAWA in the crotch, the three of them beat up on NOSAWA, Kiyomiya smiling as sadistically as his teammates. You can be sure that unconscious and with his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he was, NOSAWA is going to be out for revenge against all three of them.

Masaaki Mochizuki challenges for the GHC National

While Kendo Kashin attempted to throw Masakatsu Funaki off of the balcony in Osaka on the 10th October, Masaaki Mochizuki who had defeated Takashi Sugiura with the True & Strong High Kick, challenged him for the GHC National title. Mochizuki had always wanted to have a singles match with Sugiura, took the chance as under NOAH rules if you beat the champion then you can challenge the champion. Sugiura accepted the challenge, and it has been set for the 28th October in Kumamoto. Their first pre match took place on the 17th October at Club Citta, Kawasaki. Unfortunately neither Sugiura nor Mochizuki won the match, and neither got the pin over the other, as it was won by Masato Tanaka over Katsuhiko Nakajima.

Kenoh & Haoh go to Dragon Gate

Kenoh and Haoh invaded Dragon Gate who were holding a show in Kyoto to challenge the tag champions (Susumu Yokosuka and KING Shimizu). Haoh said “It seems that the next challenger is not decided, that is why we came all the way to Kyoto. What are you going to do? Do it or not?” Haoh took off his t-shirt and charged, he was taken out and he and Kenoh were told that the champions were not going to run from them and to come dressed to fight in Osaka on the 3rd November.


“Grand Square in Osaka” – 10th October 2021

Event recap Post match interviews

“Go to the Demolition Stage” – 15th October 2021

Event recap Post match interviews

“NOAH Sanctuary” – 17th October 2021

Event recap


– Kinya Okada debuted new ring wear in Osaka on the 10th October. True to Okada’s Showa era style, his ringwear reflected this in a simple pattern of black and grey.

– Keiji Mutoh said to Kazushi Sakuraba that they should do “Double Impact” during their tag match against Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya on the 10th October. Sakuraba thought he meant the Van Dam film, but no Mutoh was referring to the “Doomsday Device” (which is known in Japan as “Double Impact”). During the match, Sakuraba did the lifting while Mutoh went to jump off of the top turnbuckle. Kenoh fortunately saved Mutoh a scolding from his doctor by knocking him down.

– Tadasuke has sworn that the Kongoh Juniors will make a comeback. This was said after wading into a mass brawl between STINGER and Perros De Mal Del Japon on the 15th October.

– Manabu Soya is showing a growing frustration with his lack of wins and apparently Kongoh. Snatching his arm away from the ref recently, and walking off when his team got the win.

– Unsurprisingly, after wrestling the equivalent of four matches in one day in a short space of time, YO-HEY ended up with a black eye.

– Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya found that they had a lot in common after their tag together in Osaka on the 10th. Teaming together against Keiji Mutoh and Kazushi Sakuraba, Kenoh said “Kiyomiya and I defeated those guys…” and then after a moment of silence, glared at Kiyomiya and walked off.

– YO-HEY made a cryptic comment following a brief moment of almost doing a tandem move with HAYATA and then doing one with NOSAWA, which NOSAWA ruined by shoving YO-HEY in the way of HAYATA’S handspring elbow, “I wanted to work together.” Was he referring to NOSAWA or to HAYATA?

– Junta Miyawaki scored a huge win in the elimination match of the 15th October when he pinned Ikuto Hidaka. Miyawaki’s second win came on 17th October when he pinned Kinya Okada.


  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Katsuhiko Nakajima
    Challenger: Masato Tanaka, (“LEC Cleanup! presents DEMOLITION STAGE 2021 in FUKUOKA”, Fukuoka International Centre, October 30th.)
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: NOSAWA Rongai, (“LEC Cleanup! presents DEMOLITION STAGE 2021 in FUKUOKA”, Fukuoka International Centre, October 30th.)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Masa Kitamiya & Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Perros De Mal Del Japon (NOSAWA Rongai & Eita)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC National Champion: Takashi Sugiura
    Challenger: Masaaki Mochizuki, (“Go on to the DEMOLITION STAGE 2021”, Kumamoto Castle Hall Civic Hall, Thursday October 28th)


(Full October schedule)

Monday, October 18th: Atsushi Kotoge (36)

Monday, October 18th: Shuhei Taniguchi (45)

Friday, October 22nd: Haoh debut anniversary (16 years)

Sunday, October 24th: Go on to the DEMOLITION STAGE 2021

Aore Nagaoka

Start time: 17:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse


“Come at me you bastards!” Kenoh’s Weekly Pro Column

“I want to hide a secret word that only Wrestling fans can understand” – Funky Kato creates a theme song for NOAH’s “New Year at The Budokan”

GIFs taken from WrestleUniverse.

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News From Cook’s Corner 10.11.21: Are You IInspired?

Cook has some IInspired thoughts about the news of this week! Check it out!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and it’s good to be back in the mud, the blood & the beer. It was nice to take a breather from all this wrestling drama, but now we’re here to sift out the stuff that we actually found interesting.

No, I don’t know who “we” is there, but hopefully you’re part of the “we” that finds this stuff interesting. Otherwise the next few minutes will be a pretty big waste of your time. Almost as big a waste of time as watching my college & pro football teams this past weekend, but let’s not get into that! Let’s get into that news.

SmackDown & Rampage Going Head To Head

As much as I hate to go on about television ratings in an age where more & more people are finding other ways to consume media, I know that there are few things that online wrestling fans love talking about more. They’re going to have a pretty big chance to talk about them this week, given what WWE’s doing this coming Friday night. We knew that SmackDown would be getting bounced to FS1 due to FOX airing baseball’s American League Championship Series. What we found out is that SmackDown would be SUPERSIZED, airing for an extra thirty minutes.

Once people did the math and figured out that the last thirty minutes would be going head to head with AEW’s Rampage show, the trash talk started. Even Tony Khan got in on the fun, since he’s Tony Khan and that’s what he does. Not gonna knock him for it. WWE vs. AEW is what the people are into these days, and many of my writing colleagues have found gold mines on social media milking the banter for all it’s worth. I have a hard time doing that because the result seems so obvious to me. If SmackDown doesn’t get more viewers than Rampage for thirty random minutes on a Friday night, it’s a pretty huge failure on the part of WWE. I don’t care what channel SmackDown is on, it’s WWE’s A-show vs. AEW’s B-show, which has been leaking viewers at a pretty good rate since the one episode where CM Punk debuted. Hate to admit I’m part of the problem, but people keep booking me to do things on Friday nights.

(Related tangent: Am I the only one who finds it strange how quickly most AEW fans have dismissed Rampage to B-show status? They’ve just tuned the darn thing out. Can’t we wait a few months before doing such a thing, or have we just been watching this stuff for too long and feel it’s safe to assume that Rampage will meet the same fate as Thunder, Wrestling Challenge, Saturday Night & other shows like them? Alternate question: Why can’t any wrestling promotion present two different weekly shows that are seen on the same level? Why is there always an A show & a B show?)

So next week we’ll be seeing all the WWE fans crowing about SmackDown beating Rampage in TV ratings whose importance vary depending on who does better in them. Just letting y’all know right now so you can prepare for whichever side you want to take up for.

WOW Returns! We got good news & bad news…

Women Of Wrestling has been an on-again off-again wrestling company since the year 2000. David McLane, founder of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling TV show, was looking to capitalize off the pro wrestling boom taking place during the time period, and was able to build a syndication network covering most of the United States. Jeanie Buss became involved during this time and eventually became the owner. The audience grew pretty well during its 24-episode run, but the advertising market wasn’t really there for the product and the WWF buying their competitors pretty much killed the overall wrestling boom. The promotion made a brief return in 2013, then another in 2016. 2019 saw WOW air new episodes on AXS TV, an arrangement which ended when Impact Wrestling’s parent company purchased the network.

WOW was back in the news last week with some major announcements. WOW will be returning to syndication, airing on CBS owned & operated stations along with those of Sinclair Broadcasting Group. That combination will cover 70% of the United States television viewing audience. They also announced that AJ Mendez, known as AJ Lee during her wrestling career, would be joining the operation as an executive producer and a commentator.

This all sounds good to me, as someone that’s enjoyed WOW’s presentation in the past. McLane’s various TV productions are typically entertaining, if not always featuring the highest workrate of all time. The characters usually stand out, and should even more with AJ’s involvement. Plus, it’s always nice to have more pro wrestling on television. I think most of you will at least agree with me on that.

There was one part of all the announcements that left some wrestling fans a little perturbed: the involvement of Tessa Blanchard. Blanchard had been one of WOW’s featured wrestlers during the promotion’s time on AXS TV, and will be for their new era. She’ll also be working as the Casting Director, helping find the women that will be featured on future WOW episodes.

Now, if you only know Tessa from her work on television, where she’s a perfectly competent pro wrestler with years of experience, or if you know her as Tully Blanchard’s daughter & Magnum TA’s step-daughter, you probably don’t see an issue with any of it. Unfortunately, there have been a number of incidents involving Tessa that have many of her peers & many wrestling fans unhappy with the idea of her involvement in any wrestling promotion. Allegations of racism & bullying came to the surface in January 2020, with a number of female wrestlers speaking out on social media against Blanchard.  Tessa has denied any & all allegations, but that hasn’t stopped people from making them, and it hasn’t stopped many wrestling fans from believing the accusers.

Blanchard’s career was initially unaffected, as Impact Wrestling still put their heavyweight championship on her shortly after the controversy became public. To be honest, Impact has often been a home for wrestlers with less than stellar reputations outside the ring. They could have punished her, but then they would have had a tough time finding somebody on their roster at the time with a pristine reputation to take her spot. Of course, they would end up firing her & stripping her of their championship in June, after she refused to appear at Impact TV tapings due to the global pandemic. It was a confusing situation, as her contract was set to expire, and Impact wanted her to lose the championship on a date after her contract would have allegedly expired. To me, I could understand Impact being upset, yet I could also understand Tessa not wanting to travel during the pandemic, considering she lived in Mexico with her husband. My conclusion was that Impact shouldn’t have put the title on her in the first place, and could have avoided a bunch of issues & negative press that way.

Now WOW stands to face some negative press given that they’re doing business with Blanchard. Naturally, they must hope that AJ Mendez’s involvement takes some of the attention away. They also have to hope that the percentage of people that know about Blanchard’s previous issues is a small portion of their potential audience. Also, they have to hope that Blanchard has enough fans that either don’t believe the allegations or don’t think allegations of racism are a big deal even if they are true. A brief look at social media shows there are fans of Tessa’s that fall into both of those categories.

At the end of the day, I’m not opposed to Tessa Blanchard being given a second chance by a company that’s done business with her and is confident in what she brings to the table. However, I would assume that Jeanie Buss, David McLane and other people overseeing Tessa’s work will be keeping a close eye on things & making sure that new issues don’t arise. Hopefully Tessa’s alleged previous behavior doesn’t re-surface in her role as a casting director, or as a senior voice in the locker room.

The whole thing isn’t a disqualifier to me giving WOW a chance when it returns to television, but I’m more drawn to women’s wrestling shows than most of my fellow fans & writers. I get more excited when asked to review Knockouts Knockdown than if somebody asks me to review a WWE PPV. Most writers want the WWE show for more hits & more attention, I want the show I’m going to enjoy watching & writing about more. For most of them that’s probably the WWE show too. I’m different like that.

If people feel differently and think that Tessa’s involvement is a non-starter for them, I’m not going to blame them. WOW does seem to be leaning into it in ways that don’t seem intelligent, like selling t-shirts with bombs on them in an attempt to capitalize off of Tessa’s “nuclear” status. They’ll hope people don’t notice. At the end of the day, the audience size is what will determine if WOW’s gamble works or not.

Impact Getting Some IInspiration

Speaking of that Knockouts Knockdown, it did provide us with some big news concerning the newest additions to the Impact roster. Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay, now known as The IInspiration, will be making their debut at Bound For Glory on October 23. It’ll be their first wrestling appearance since WWE released them back in April. They had to deal with some work visa issues, but now things are good to go.

Everybody knew at the time that breaking up the IIconics was a mistake, especially the two women that made up the team. They were going to be a package deal wherever they went afterward, and Impact Wrestling is the best place for them right now that I can think of. Impact has always had a knack for using most of their female talent better than they can be used anywhere else. Tenille Dashwood is already there, currently as part of The Influence tag team with Madison Rayne. That could either result in a tag team feud or a four-woman supergroup. Either would be entertaining.

All I know for sure is I’ve missed having these two on my TV. Glad to have them back.

Big Weekend For Big E

Don’t look now, but our WWE Champion is getting some big opportunities in venues other than pro wrestling. It started on Fox’s college football pregame show this past Saturday morning, where Big E got to represent for his alma mater, the University of Iowa.

Later that evening, Big E was on an even bigger stage, the boxing heavyweight championship showdown between Tyson Fury & Deyontay Wilder. Had I seen it prior, I might have bought the fight!

He was also hobnobbing with the celebrities at ringside. A pretty big weekend for Big E, one that showed him off as somebody that WWE should be proud to have represent them on the biggest stages. Almost makes you wonder if Big E could become too popular, doesn’t it?

Stephanie McMahon = Hall of Famer

I was looking for stuff to write about on Sunday afternoon and happened upon this breaking news:

Stephanie McMahon in a hall of fame. Well, you know she’ll be in the WWE one eventually. Not sure she makes Dave’s. Maybe’s if Voodoo Penguin pushes hard enough for her. Doesn’t matter, she has been enshrined in the International Sports Hall of Fame. Sounds very prestigious, right?

Well, I’d never heard of the International Sports Hall of Fame, and I consider myself quite the sports expert. (Nobody else does, but I do, and I’m the one writing the column so neener neener, haters) So I looked it up on Wikipedia and here’s what I found out.

“The International Sports Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is a section 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization established in 2012 by Dr. Robert M. Goldman to honor the world’s greatest athlete legends in all categories of sports.

The ISHOF’s mission is to inspire future generations of athletes by honoring the sports heroes of today.”

Sounds good. There are several wrestling-related inductees, including the likes of Mark Henry, Bruno Sammartino, Dan Gable, Triple H & Kurt Angle. In fact, Henry sits on the Global Advisory Board, who I assume have a say over who gets inducted. Other names on the list include Arnold Schwarzenegger & Dr. Joseph Maroon, who happens to be WWE’s medical director. And now we know why Stephanie is a Hall of Famer. You gotta know somebody!

To be fair, it’s not like Stephanie is the only Hall of Famer that got in because she knew somebody. I mean, what other explanation do we have for half the WWE Hall of Fame inductees?

Welp, that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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