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Opinion

Cook: Jobbers Are The Stars Of The Show

Jobbers To The Stars are back in a big way–and according to Steve Cook, it’s making them stars in their own right.

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Anna Jay AEW

Jobbers To The Stars are back in a big way–and according to Steve Cook, it’s making them stars in their own right.

It’s tempting to say that everything has gone downhill since the beginning of the Pandemic Era. I always try to look at the bright side during difficult times, and there are a number of things that I can say are improvements from the way things were before the coronavirus took hold here in America.

  • Traffic is so much better it’s ridiculous. I never have to worry about sitting in a long line unless I’ve got a craving for some chicken.
  • People are staying six feet away from me. As somebody that’s always been a bit anti-social, this is a welcome development.
  • I’m working the afternoon shift now, which means I can go to bed obscenely late instead of waking up obscenely early.
  • The Reds are undefeated, and I’ve convinced myself that the Louisville Cardinals won either the men’s or women’s basketball national championship. Heck, why not both?
  • Have you seen gas prices lately? If they could stay under two bucks a gallon the rest of my life, I would be a happy camper. I’d probably buy a camper and live in it.

Now I know what you’re wondering. Since this is a wrestling column on a wrestling website, you’re wondering “What has gotten better about wrestling?”. Well, that’s easy, sunshine! I’ve been watching pro wrestling for thirty glorious years. The first wrestling I watched was WWF Superstars & WWF Wrestling Challenge. Those of you who were around back then know that those shows didn’t exactly feature a ton of competitive matches. There were stars that would come down to the ring with their opponent already there, and they would proceed to destroy that opponent. They would hit their big moves, they would look impressive, and the opponent would die. Until a week or two later, when they came back to get killed by somebody else.

They became as recognizable as the stars.

The Brooklyn Brawler. Barry Horowitz. Duane Gill. PJ Walker. They and countless others would show up week after week, knowing they had little chance of victory, to take their best shot at the top stars of the World Wrestling Federation. If they got lucky and got a pinfall, they could advance to the next level. They could become WWF Superstars themselves. It rarely happened, but 1-2-3 Kid did get that win over Razor Ramon on Raw, so you never know! You get one win, you can become a star.

This booking strategy died off during the Monday Night War. WCW & the WWF both decided that they couldn’t afford to have one-sided matches during a ratings war, so they constantly booked stars against stars. The days of the hopelessly outmatched wrestler ended. We ended up in the era of 50/50 booking because nobody could afford to look bad. Everybody had to look strong, so nobody could really get over in the same fashion that stars back in the day did. You could build somebody up with videos, but the second they appeared on TV, they had to go 50/50 with somebody that hadn’t won a televised match in years, or had won one of two that everybody forgot about.

Nobody stood out.

Which was the idea. WWE realized that they were better off not making stars, because they might realize their worth at some point. WCW…well, who knows what the hell they were thinking. They usually didn’t know. All I can tell you is that pro wrestling shows were populated with 50/50 matches for many years, and nobody got over as a result of them even though they got many starsfrom the experts. Good wrestling matches are always fun for people like us to watch, but they don’t always get people over.

Killing people does. That’s why I love the fact that the Pandemic Era has brought us more one-sided matches.

This week’s episode of Raw had 11 matches. ELEVEN MATCHES. Even for three hours, that’s a lot. I saw some people on that show that had no chance of beating anybody. I also saw Santana Garrett, which was pretty awesome until the Street Profits did commentary on her match with Bianca BelAir. That…was rough.

Talk about somebody getting buried right out of the gate. As much as I appreciate the awesome husband/wife energy between Bianca & Montez Ford, as I know no other people with that type of energy, I wish WWE wouldn’t have put a microphone on Montez. We would have heard him fine without one! It made me yearn for the days of Corey Graves & Renee Young arguing over every match for no reason.

I was fine with Santana being cannon fodder though. She’s got the talent to do that. She’s got the look to stand out and be notable even if she loses all the time. Every promotion needs people that can do that. WWE has been feeding NXT talent to the main roster the past few weeks, which makes some people upset. I understand the fury when that talent is expected to be taken seriously on NXT. Akira Tozawa is expected to be taken seriously in this interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament where Drake Maverick is undermining other fired talent that shouldn’t be expected to come in for random bookings. Yet,Tozawa is the first one to be fed to whichever of Zelina Vega’s wrestlers needs to win a match this week. It doesn’t seem like the best choice, but at least the matches are good, right?

All Elite Wrestling has been feeding us a healthy diet of squash lately. It’s pretty good timing for some guys, as the likes of Brodie Lee, Lance Archer & Wardlow could use some easy wins. There’s no better way to put over monster heels than feeding them some jabronis. Or, you can feed some popular wrestlers some easy opponents and have some fun with it. Nothing wrong with that, especially when you’re a young company like AEW that can still use some talent.

They’ve already signed some of them!

We all know about the Dark Order expanding their ranks with guys like Alex Reynolds, John Silver & Preston Vance. It’s nice for them to have guys under masks that can take punishment, and the mask helps the guys retain some dignity for when they try to do good things later on.

And then there’s the story of Anna Jay. We’re talking about a young girl that’s had a very low number of matches since starting out. Very early on in her career. A product of QT Marshall & Ray Lloyd’s Nightmare Factory, which is a good way to get on AEW’s radar but doesn’t ensure a job. You might be able to get booked on an episode of AEW’s Dynamite or Dark, but you need to stand out to stay there. Anna stood out in her first match on television against Hikaru Shida, and impressed the brass enough that she got signed to a contract.

She might be a jobber for now, but she won’t be a jobber for long.

This is the way young wrestlers learn. Take a look at the career of Kenta Kobashi. Kobashi did nothing but lose for the first year of his career in All Japan Pro Wrestling. He learned. Once he figured things out, he became one of the company’s top stars. Fans had grown invested in him as he worked his way up the card.

Not that I’m comparing Anna Jay to Kobas-oh what the hell, let’s make that comparison. Anna Jay just might become to AEW’s women’s division what Kobashi became to AJPW’s men’s division. We can’t rule it out! Everybody’s been talking about the lack of depth in that division due to the fact that WWE has almost every female wrestler in captivity signed to a contract. They got a former WOW Champion hanging out to do jobs. It’s quite the situation. AEW has to look under the radar and find the future of the business because WWE has the past & present locked up.

Could Anna Jay be that future? It’s impossible to say, though based off her look & her ring presence this early in her career I would say 100% yes. Maybe it doesn’t pan out, but she’s definitely worth a look. I would buy all the Anna Jay stock right now and count on her being the Star of the Show for years to come.

That’s what can happen when you show up to be a jobber.

Anna Jay was on nobody’s radar before she popped up on Dynamite. Now she has a contract with one of the top two promotions in North America. There’s no reason that other people booked on her level can’t reach up and grab that brass ring. If you stand out now, you’ll stand out even more when people can actually go to shows. You can’t tell me that Anna Jay wouldn’t get a tremendous reaction from a typical AEW crowd right now. She’d probably be one of the most over people on the show because the folks that go to AEW shows love those types of stories. They’d have to turn her face.

Every jobber has their day. Barry Horowitz beat Bodydonna Skip. The Brooklyn Brawler got a title match against Shawn Michaels. Anna Jay hasn’t won a match yet, but she impressed enough people while battling Shida & Penelope Ford to get some attention. She’ll be heading to the pay window soon enough.

If there’s one good impact the coronavirus had on the wrestling business, it’s that we’ve been introduced to Anna Jay. And other folks that have come in to lose matches. But mostly Anna Jay. I like to look on the bright side, and to look at any side of Anna Jay I can look at.

Did that sound right? Probably not, but what the hell? Y’all know what I’m saying. Jobber matches are awesome. They remind me of the good old days. I’m not usually one of those guys that yearns for those good old days, but this is one instance where I’m on board. Make America Jobbers Again! OK, that’s probably not right either, but what the hell?


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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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