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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Non-WWE Stories of 2020

Cook brings us the Top 5 stories that got his attention for 2020!

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One of the great things about The Chairshot is the fact we recognize that there is wrestling outside of WWE. As fun as it is to talk about the world’s biggest wrestling company, there’s plenty of other stuff that deserves our attention too.

Here are the top 5 non-WWE things we’ll be talking about in 2020.

5. Will ROH Make It Through 2020?

ROH The Bouncers Beer City Bruiser Brawler Milonas

Listen, I have nothing to base this feeling on. Maybe ROH’s ratings on Sinclair-owned stations are good enough to justify keeping the promotion running. I’m sure the ROH office is doing all they can to keep the execs happy. But man. There is just no buzz behind this fed right now. Like nothing. It’s like the past few years of Impact, where you wondered why they were even bothering.

The only time you even hear about ROH anymore is when somebody’s complaining about managment or concussion policies. They’ve lost their spot as the smark darling. They aren’t the #2 or #3 fed by default. They’re not even New Japan’s little sister fed. It’s a random fed with random stuff going on airing in syndication in random time slots on random stations.

Can ROH get their buzz back? Things aren’t looking good from where I sit.

4. NJPW of America: Will it stick?

NJPW

So there’s been all this talk of the new company New Japan has formed in America. It’s been a slow process that culminated with an announcement in October. There have been phases, which I will quote here:

Phase one: discovering new wrestlers in markets outside Japan and developing talent through the LA Dojo.
Phase two: run events in the US, including at Madison Square Garden and Dallas this year, both independently, and with the assistance of other promotions.
Phase three: establish a company within the US, and be ingrained in the everyday fabric when it comes to fans’ wrestling consciousness.

There’s going to be a more active touring schedule. Cool. But how are these shows going to look & compare with a standard NJPW show? And how are they going to be ingrained in the everyday fabric of fans’ wrestling consciousness when their TV deal with AXS TV looks to be done & their streaming website isn’t easily accessible for North American-based viewers? I think something announced this past week, where Chris Jericho agreed to give Hiroshi Tanahashi an AEW title shot if Tanahashi could beat him at Wrestle Kingdom, might be something to keep an eye on. Is the AEW/NJPW relationship better than we’ve been led to believe, or is Jericho/someone else trying to work an angle to help get the companies on the same page? I, for one, am intrigued.

3. The Powerrr of the NWA

NWA

Probably the biggest surprise of 2019 was the return to the forefront of the National Wrestling Alliance. Billy Corgan’s fed had gotten the ball rolling with the 10 Pounds of Gold webseries, but things got kicked up a notch with the debut of NWA Powerrr. A studio wrestling show that looked like 1983 Georgia Championship Wrestling with a similar format & some modern performers was able to find a sizeable audience on YouTube. There was a slight bump in the road with one of the announcers, but that issue has been addressed & the commentary has been upgraded with the addition of Stu “Good News” Bennett.

So what happens in 2020? They seem to be testing a monthly PPV model with Powerrr on YouTube every week. Should that work out, we may see a move to bigger venues. What I know for sure is that Corgan had a 20 year plan when he bought the promotion, so he’s not in any rush. And he’s in a good spot to not be in that rush right now. It might behoove him to stay in that spot.

2. Will Impact’s improved TV lead to a resurgence?

2019 was a good year for Impact Wrestling. The Don Callis/Scott D’Amore regime produced a show that got good critical reviews & managed to keep at a certain level in spite of a talent roster constantly in flux. Their parent company bought AXS TV and gave the show a better night, time slot & network. For the first time I can remember, there’s something of a positive buzz around the company.

Impact will have a constant television presence at the same time all year, unless they decide to change it themselves. They have fresh talent like Sami Callihan, Tessa Blanchard, Brian Cage & others. There’s also some established talent like Rob Van Dam. Can they get the right mixture going & produce a show that appeals to an even wider audience? It could come down to Callis, D’Amore and other Impact staff being able to scout talent. They won’t be able to keep people that WWE want, and it’s likely that AEW could take people they want. If Impact keeps a deep bench & plans ahead, they should be able to keep making waves in 2020.

Honorable Mention: MLW?

I dunno if Greg has taken the permanent plunge back into social media or not, but I did see him looking for suggestions on smaller feds to cover. The result, quite honestly, surprised me.

I’ve seen a very little bit of MLW. Several months ago. I don’t get the channel it’s on, and honestly the show didn’t grab me enough to make me watch it regularly on YouTube. But apparently it’s a thing with Chairshot readers, or at least Greg’s Chairshot readers. I assume most of you reading this read him as well. Therefore, I feel a need to mention MLW in this column, even though I’m not really sure what to mention. Alicia Atout?

Sure, why not. I’m glad Alicia caught on somewhere. AEW has like 55 interviewers under contract so she didn’t get much of a chance there.

1. The progress & patience of All Elite Wrestling

AEW Dynamite Nitro Logo

AEW was the biggest non-WWE story of 2019, and I can guarantee it will be the biggest non-WWE story of 2020 in some form or fashion. There are two key points to keep an eye on:

The progress: People will be looking at TV ratings for Dynamite because that’s what they’ve been obsessed with since the late 90s. As important as those are, we also need to keep an eye on YouTube views for Dark, Being the Elite, clips from Dynamite and all their other programming. Attendance is also an important metric for AEW. Dynamite has been up & down, but the big events are still selling out in short amounts of time. Should that stop happening, we’ll know there’s really a reason to worry.

The patience: Will AEW management panic over things like falling ratings? So far, they’ve been content to play the long game with their story telling. They’re trying to build stars, and haven’t given up on people who haven’t started out well. (Dark Order) If the ratings keep falling, and other metrics take a turn for the worse, will they push the panic button? If they do, what will it look like?

I hope I’m wrong because I want everybody to be successful, but I get the feeling we’ll find out in 2020.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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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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