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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (5/26/20)

Double J goes Backstage!



WWE Backstage 2020

I can’t wait to be alone with my baby tonight~!

WWE Backstage welcomes yet another Hall of Famer to the show! It’s Double J, Jeff Jarrett! He and Booker T will talk Bash at the Beach 2000!

Renee Young welcomes us Backstage!

After watching the FCW special, you’ll love tonight! “Choke on this, Slap Nuts!” Double J, Jeff Jarrett, makes a Backstage debut! He and Booker T will go back in time to Bash at the Beach 2000 for their title match up. But first, Renee and Booker are joined by the Monday Night Messiah, Seth Rollins! A pioneer within FCW joins us Backstage and admits, this is an odd set-up. But his own set-up looks nice, it’s almost a disco or something. Renee congratulates Rollins on becoming a dad, and Rollins says it’s great to have people being supportive. Well there are a few weirdos but other than them, the WWE Universe is so excited for him and Becky Lynch so he thanks us for that.

Renee asks what it’s like for Rollins to realize he’ll be a dad in about eight months. Just the idea of being responsible for another human being is big. Pro-wrestling is basically about putting yourself first, and he’s been that way for all of his adult life. Now becoming a dad, and how at every turn there is someone else that’s #1 on the list, that’ll be an adjustment. Booker asks how Rollins is changing his style. Booker admits he was wild and crazy but then changed as a dad. Rollins says that once that son or daughter is born, he will definitely have a new perspective. Coming out of his match with Drew McIntyre, he was sore as always, but now he’s thinking, “I don’t know if this is going to work out.” If he wants to spend time with his kid, he’ll have to be more careful. That was the first time he thought about it but it is something he is going to have on his mind for the next few years.

Booker adds on by saying Rollins has settled into his role on Raw. Booker becoming King Bookah, there was an energy he had to tap into, but it was this big realization that he knows why he’s here. What does this new role mean for Rollins? Rollins absolutely agrees. Booker got it to a T. Rollins isn’t sure when it happened, if it was one moment or the entire quarantine changing things, but Rollins has been so in-tune with the Monday Night Messiah. Once you feel it, you’re there and everything comes to you so simply. Every match, promo, character work, it’s weird but it’s like a runner’s high. You feel like you can do it forever.

Renee adds the said situation of the lockdown, those promos without fans were different but still great. How did it feel to have people back in the crowds last night? Rollins got into a groove doing promos without anyone around. From an audience’s perspective, the words were allowed to sink in because there was no one to interrupt or hijack things. When the fans are listening, they’ll take it where they want to, they don’t always listen. The wrestler doesn’t get to tell the story they want. So going out to another crowd, getting the boos again, that part actually felt nice. Who knows what happens when real fans come out and Rollins will really be talking in front of them, but this much normalcy was nice.

Booker talks about those promos. That promo was so real, it wasn’t even a promo anymore. That energy was palpable through the screens. As far as Austin Theory and Buddy Murphy goes, we’ve seen Rollins in a faction, perhaps one of the greatest factions ever in The Shield. Is that this again but with new talent? What will they call themselves? The Legion? The family? Renee says it’s Rollins and his Disciples, duh! Rollins has to agree with that, but there is no formal name yet. Sounds more like a band name, really. But he’s been fortunate enough to be in great groups like The Shield or the Authority. But to be a clear leader is definitely different.

The Shield were three men on equal footing, and The Authority had him as the centerpiece learning under HHH and Kane and Randy Orton. Now, Rollins takes all that and bestows it upon Theory and Murphy. Who knows where it goes or how it ends, but it feels great to be in this role. Rollins has been here for almost a decade and it’s a wild ride. Who else would Rollins want as a disciple? Who will Rollins look to add to the group? Rollins always has his eyes on someone, but he won’t divulge too much here. But it is someone very close that will make a great addition. Renee will also be keeping an eye on things.

Renee brings up FCW and asks what some standout moments are for Rollins. That promotion was very influential for how Rollins is today, both in the ring and backstage. It was his first experience with a hierarchy. Indies are free-for-all’s. You respected elders but it was just different in FCW. What you see in the Performance Center and in NXT today is not how FCW was. When Rollins showed up, it was a warehouse in Tampa. Rollins thought he went backwards for a moment. But what he learned was how to play things behind the scenes. Rollins had his stuff together in the ring, having worked with the best in the world in ROH. It was the game backstage that Rollins needed to learn to get to the next level.

Renee asks about gender reveal plans. There was a lot of talk last week, such as Asuka’s mist and Elias’ guitar smash. What would Rollins like? Rollins likes the clip for Elias, when it was a smash on Rollins. But of the ideas from the panel, Rollins and Becky are both fans of the Steveweisers. They’ve both had a drink with Steve Austin, so it just fits. Renee thanks Rollins for stopping by and wants to send love to Becky. Let’s all be together again soon!


CM Punk returns to Backstage next week!

Will it be Clobberin’ Time again with NXT TakeOver: In Your House and WWE Backlash on the horizon?


The panel assembles!

Renee and Booker are once again joined by the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry! And now, J E Double F, J A Double R E Double T is here! Ain’t he great? But with so much to talk about, let’s stick to…

Just the Highlights!

On SmackDown: The Blue Brand is Phenomenal as AJ Styles returns! He wins big in the WWE Intercontinental Championship tournament, but is he going to make it all the way to the title? Meanwhile, Braun Strowman puts away The Miz, only for John Morrison to challenge him to a handicap match for the Universal Championship! Challenge accepted, but is it reckless for the Monster Among Men to take on the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century all alone? More WWE Intercontinental Championship action saw Sheamus get ahead of himself and lose to Jeff Hardy! Is this the comeback we’ve been waiting for? And lastly, Bayley outsmarted Charlotte Flair and proved she’s ready for the next level of being a champion!

On Raw: Gronk warned R-Truth about coming for the 24/7 Championship, because he has eyes on the back of his head. McIntyre and Bobby Lashley brawled all over and had to be held back by the superstars in attendance! Will nothing stop these two from bringing down the house at Backlash? And speaking of Backlash, Nia Jax is headed for the Raw Women’s Championship! The Irresistible Force managed to win against both Queen of Flair and Queen of Harts, but is she really ready for the Empress of Tomorrow? But perhaps biggest of all was the victory of Apollo Crews to become the NEW WWE United States Champion! Crews never gave up and now he’s on top!

The panel discusses.

Every once in a while, WWE gives you a moment that hits right in the feels! That’s surely how we all felt watching Crews finally win a title. Mark Henry was the one to bring Crews to the WWE, and he is so proud. Crews can finally celebrate, but now he has to be the champion. And Henry lets Crews know, it’s harder to keep the title than to get it. Booker agrees, because Crews checks off the boxes. Crews is not small by any means, and he has the ability to defy gravity. Not too many guys can moonsault then shooting star like that. Crews does still need an edge, which he can do with the title now. We need to see more of the “real” Apollo Crews. Renee says Booker wants that nasty side, and Booker agrees. Crews needs to be like Apollo in Rocky.

Jeff Jarrett says Crews doesn’t need to be nasty. Renee says there was a moment, and Crews can string together moments to get momentum. More big wins will help Crews. Crews has the skills and the charisma and the look. Jarrett likes Crews and wants him to win. Booker adds that he teaches his students in Reality of Wrestling that it’s easy for guys to get women to like them. The trick is getting guys to like you, too. To getting guys to like you, you need to be tough and rugged. Y’know, like a Mark Henry. We’ll wait and see where Crews goes with it, but it’ll be all good.

Now to the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The talk is once again making this the wrestler’s title, the workhorse title. The semifinals have quite the four wrestlers in AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Elias. Styles VS Elias, Hardy VS Bryan, all this Friday on SmackDown! Which of these four should be champion? Jarrett says that all four are hungry for it. Hardy has had reigns, has had his rolls, but has also had his trials and tribulations. Hardy already has a HOF level career, but he still needs this title. Jarrett knows Hardy is at a great place in his life, but his career needs this for momentum. Renee is sure the fans will love that. Henry says he’ll play the dark side and wants to see all the plans be ruined. Make Elias VS Hardy happen for the championship, just because everyone expects Bryan VS Styles. Renee likes the curve ball.

Henry answers for Booker now and Booker laughs. Booker doesn’t mind since Booker always steps on Henry. But Booker does say that while Jarrett was thinking of Hardy, we didn’t even know Hardy was going to be here. Of course everyone wants to redeem themselves, so it’s not that Hardy can’t do that. But the one who has all the consistency has been AJ Styles. Styles performs at a high level, no matter what. Styles flew overseas to get back to a show just to do a match. That is the kind of guy that should be champion. So no one votes Bryan? No offense, but no. Henry does think Bryan is the guy who will do it, with his promo about this title being for wrestlers. But Jarrett brings up that very few times does the actual best wrestler win. This is the WWE and anything can happen, but for that same reason, it isn’t a shoe-in for Bryan, certainly not with Styles in this. One thing that is certain is that nothing is certain!


Backstage talks WCW Bash at the Beach 2000!

Out of the ashes of Hulk Hogan’s departure came the rise of Booker T! Booker and Jarrett join Renee in looking back at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match. This is surprisingly the first time either man has looked back at this match. Jarrett notes how surreal it was to be on a Zoom call discussing this. Neither man knew this match was coming, so how did this all feel? Vince Russo, Hogan and Jarrett, Booker was watching it all play out just like the fans. Everything that night was instantaneous and surreal. Booker remembers getting in the ring with so much energy, after working earlier that night, and he jumped so high when he got the nod. Where did all those Slap Nuts shirts go? Jarrett still has a few at the house.

A crazy night, so how did it feel for them all to reset like that? Looking back, just seeing those clips about Hogan saying “crap like that” is why WCW was falling apart, it was prophetic. Here we are, 20 years later, we’re still talking about it. It was a microcosm of the culture. Before going out for the Hogan segment, Jarrett just felt how bad and how unfortunate this all was for the fans who were about to watch it. But then, the opportunity and excitement that came after, talking with everyone, that was “total chaos.” In the match, the belt is raised and the bell rings. Booker and Jarrett circle and the fans fire up with Booker. Booker marvels at seeing himself jump that high. He was so hyped up as he tied up with Jarrett. Real life was playing out on air, this was a moment that you didn’t want to miss.

In the match, Jarrett and Booker tie up and go around, Jarrett headlocks to a takeover but Booker headscissors. Jarrett pops out but Booker was ready. They tie up again, Jarrett again headlocks and hits the takeover, but Booker again headscissors. Booker didn’t say it then but he’ll say it now: If it wasn’t for a guy like Jarrett, a true professional who knew how to deal with the turmoil, Booker wouldn’t have had this moment. Booker and Jarrett just knew to work the match. The match replay fast-forwards to Booker dropping ax handles from the apron. He then whips Jarrett into railing and goes after him among the crowd! Booker followed Jarrett’s lead in this match and that is true pro-wrestling! Just look at the fans getting fired up! Jarrett remembers the “bad taste” left in the arena, the air being sucked out. It was a big PPV and yet they got what they got. But then the fighting, the rush of the fans getting back into this, that helped him and Booker immensely.

Who let them know this match was even happening? Booker remembers seeing it all happen in real-time. He wasn’t sure the WHC meant that much to him before this, but he almost thought he should go home. He was told to stay and wrestle for THE title. In the match, Booker and Jarrett go to the announce table, and Jarrett brings Booker up for a PILEDRIVER! This is history in the making. What was the vibe backstage with the boys like? Jarrett barely remembers a thing about anyone else. He remembers the catering, all the small meetings, and just the confusion going on. There was a lot of, “Really? This is what we’re doing?” But again, the culture of the company, what was supposedly best for WCW, those decisions. But in the WWE, you know where the buck stops and who made those decisions. In WCW, it was a committee and a culture, contract conflict after contract conflict. But at the end of the night, the fans won and history was made.

Booker remembers that he had been in WCW since the beginning, and started at the bottom. Then 8 years later, he was at the top! He worked with all the guys in WCW, they all saw his development over the years. Booker broke the glass ceiling and the boys were so pumped for him. He heard about all those meetings, “Who should be the guy?” There was a vote, and Vince Russo raised his hand first. If it wasn’t for Russo, Booker doesn’t think he would’ve ever been champion.

In the match, Booker hits the SCISSOR KICK! And a SPINE BUSTER! Cover, TWO!?!Booker whips again, Jarrett baits him in, and Booker gets crotched! Fast-forward to when the ref is down, and Jarrett grabs the title! But Booker kicks Jarrett first, and he uses #BigGold to SMASH Jarrett! Cover but the ref has to hurry over. TWO!! Booker drags Jarrett up, but the ref is still recovering, so Jarrett LOW BLOWS Booker! Jarrett puts a chair in the corner then goes after Booker. Booker denies Jarrett the chair smash to smash Jarrett into the chair instead! Roll up, TWO! Booker slowly rises, brings Jarrett up and whips. Jarrett uppercuts back! Jarrett gives the ref a FACEBUSTER!? Then he LOW BLOWS Booker again! Jarrett gets his guitar and climbs up top! Jarrett leaps, but into a BOOK END! Cover, Booker wins!

Renee speaks to what Booker said about not knowing how fans would react. In an age of NO social media, no instant feedback, this was the “good ol’ boy” system, where you had to wonder if fans would care. No one knew! Jarrett says he knew. But the system existed, and Booker could tell from the fan reactions at that moment, the question was answered. That was a real moment for Booker, and for many of those fans. A lot of kids have grown up and become adults, telling Booker that they cried that night for him. It was a moment, with the raising the roof, it was all a dream come true. This was just pure feeling. Jarrett was still selling, too. The people were immersed in the moment, and Jarrett remembers them washing away that bad taste. Thank God it was Booker, and thank God it was Jarrett. That wouldn’t have happened without the contrast. Booker winning was just one part of it. Jarrett taught Booker so much about being a Ring General! Even the finish was masterful because of how it was all on the fly.


The panel assembles to discuss Bash at the Beach 2000.

That really makes you miss the fans, don’t it? But after watching the highlights of that WCW World Heavyweight Championship match, we bring back Henry to talk the parallel. What was it like for WWE wrestlers to watch WCW? Henry always cheered Booker, and was happy for Booker to have that opportunity. But again, Monday Night War, things were tense. There would be multiple scenarios thrown at you, and so depending on what happened on WCW that night, it’d be this plan or that plan being put on. It was tricky going through that. The WWE won the war, but they lost plenty of battles, especially with WCW having unbelievable talent. And the craziest thing is that there was no issue, no beef, between the boys across the promotions. Everyone just wanted to see great matches. Henry would see what WCW did and go, “D’Lo! We gotta change something!”

Jarrett says how quickly we forget. Who gave Henry the European Championship? Jarrett! Henry didn’t forget that. But was it like that in WCW back? Meeting after meeting to change things must’ve made for tense TV. Yes, the culture was a mess. Going to the monthly PPV system to compete with the WWF/WWE, who was leading the war. For WCW, it wasn’t going to be good no matter how you sliced it, knowing things could go any which way at any time, and it did. It wasn’t good for WCW, for the business, and Jarrett is just glad he had a chance to do the right thing. It was a blessing to have someone that was so talented and that fans knew was talented in Booker T. It was definitely a special moment.


Backstage shares a touching Tweet from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“On my bike ride today, I stopped to pay respects to Shad Gaspard. He was such a positive force in the gym and the world. He was a hero in bodybuilding, a hero in wrestling, and the moment he told lifeguards to save his son first, the ultimate hero. My thoughts are with his family.” So very true.

Dave Batista also pays tribute to Shad.

Via his Instagram, Batista says that Shad went after everything he was passionate about in his life, from wrestling to film, with everything he had. Shad was so happy on the red carpet, he never wanted to leave. We should all be inspired by his journey and his final sacrifice. Batista’s thoughts and prayers are with his family, and knows that all of his friends and Shad’s friends are hurting over this loss.

Backstage also pays tribute.

Shad tragically lost his life at the age of 39 while swimming with his son on Venice Beach, CA. His final moments were spent saving his son’s life. The WWE send their prayers to the Gaspard family. Just earlier today, Renee talked with Kofi Kingston, one of Shad’s long time friends. Kofi signed in 2006, and he came to the WWE as an extra. There is a point when even extras get in the ring. Shad came up to Kofi and talked it over. Kofi thought he’d just get beat up, but Shad wasn’t like that at all. It was flabbergasting to think someone would go out of their way to put over some random guy. That was the kind of person Shad was.

Shad left an impact on everyone. Kofi and the others went to the Venice Beach memorial, and it was just amazing to see all the people from different walks of life. Shad was a gentle giant who loved being around others, and that memorial proved it. It was definitely unfortunate, but keeping the glass half full mentality, it shows how important it is to live with enthusiasm, passion and kindness. That way, when the day comes, you’ve left an impact on those who you leave behind.


On This Day in WWE History!

It was SmackDown on 5/26/2006 when the “FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! WCW Champion, Booker T, is your new KIIIIING!” Jarrett wants King Bookah to bring back the accent. And Henry wants the pinkie. Renee wants the white suit. Booker isn’t sure about that last one. Pinkies out for Booker! But that’s a wrap on Backstage. Adios, amigos! And kiss the ring!

My Thoughts:

A real fun episode, though clearly NASCAR or something live bumped the FCW special back to bump Backstage back. It might have caused a rearranging of segments there, because we just kinda jumped into having Rollins on the show. Hearing even just a little about FCW from Rollins was good, and Booker has a good point about Rollins needing to tone down the high-flying, risk-taking part of his moveset. Having Jeff Jarrett outta nowhere was great, and so was reliving Bash at the Beach 2000 and hearing about the real circumstances of that moment and the Monday Night Wars as a whole. It’s kinda wild hearing Jarrett say WCW was just a mess. People can say what they want about the WWE programming, but the awful ideas have admittedly been far and few between these days. Though I am a bit worried where Raw is going with Natty and about the SmackDown’s hacker payoff…

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Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (3/1/21)

Who wants to Talk With Elias?!



WWE Raw Talk

Ladies and gentlemen: Raw Talk.

After a wild Monday Night Raw, things are only speeding up towards Fastlane! What will Drew McIntyre have to say about his triumphant return?


Charly- Wait, Kayla Braxton welcomes us back!

Charly Caruso has taken time off this week but Talking Smack’s usual hostess is here! And she’ll leave it up to the WWE Universe to figure out a good nickname for her and R-Truth. Truth tries to figure out some for himself, though. Kay-Truth? R-Braxton? Maybe their names just don’t go together. But either way, Kayla is happy to be here with Truth and wants to talk the highlight of Monday Night Raw: The NEW WWE World Champion a long time coming, it is Bobby Lashley! Truth was a lumberjack and he was lost in the moment. There has been tension between Truth and Lashley but Truth was definitely proud of Lashley in that moment.

Truth confirms, because Lashley has clawed and scratched and finally got his due. Of course Truth got lost in the moment. Lashley did what he had to do and got it done! Miz kept us wondering all night, faking this and that, not that anyone bought it. But Miz tried to okie-doke, only to get got. Then Kayla wants to talk about that moment with Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss’ strange message. Orton choked and had more black gunk coming out of his mouth! Alexa is being creepy. Truth is creeped out, yes. Truth knows Alexa is weirder than him, that is some left field, over the fence, in the street stuff. Just look at it! What was it Orton spitting up!? And how often is Orton “shook” like that? Truth’s also known Orton a long time, and Orton doesn’t get shook, but he was here.

But moving on, their first guests are a duo that had mixed luck tonight on their way to a title defense, it’s the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions!

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler join Raw Talk!

Truth is happy but the champs aren’t. And Shayna doesn’t even know who Kayla is! Nia asks if Kayla even goes here. Truth says they should be nice. They’ve been on The Bump, they know who she is! They’ll even be on The Bump again. Not by choice. Kayla says Nia should be in a good mood, she won tonight! Truth says that’s a compliment! But Kayla admits Shayna lost. But that all aside, they have their title defense on NXT against Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai! The momentum must make Nia confident but Shayna might have doubt. Shayna asks if Kayla remembers the TWO YEAR reign Shayna had! Or what she did to Dakota! But a different day, a different Dakota. Not really!

Kayla admits Shayna’s one of the best in NXT, her name is synonymous with the brand. Does that make this match even more important? Is there any concerns? Nia says this isn’t comedy hour. Kayla is more the guest than they are! Nia doesn’t even really know her. But are they excited to dominate and wreck shop? Yes! They’re going to stomp respect into two girls who don’t have any! Nia and Shayna are the top of this division! Not just as tag champions, but they’re the TOP champions! They’ve spent enough time showing everyone, even on SmackDown, so they’ll do it again to the “NXT Universe.” Being dominant in NXT is like being Freshman JV. They’re VARSITY!

Kayla hopes so because they’re going to be embarrassed if things get turned around on them. Nia asks if they can get a replacement for the replacement host. Shayna feels like this must be Kayla’s “tryout.” And she’s failing! Truth is saying they need to show respect! Kayla is just pointing out that they went 50-50 on Raw tonight. Nia says the ones that should be respected are THEM, because THEY are the champions! Where is Truth’s title, huh!? Mr. Bugs Bunny has it! Shayna says there are 40 days left before they are the longest reigning Women’s Tag Champions ever! Did Kayla do the research to get her job here?

Kayla says that yes, they are the best champions of this division, but they might not be come WrestleMania. There is another title they’re both after and that is Asuka’s Raw Women’s Championship. Oh the same Asuka Shayna kicked to the curb? These two and Charlotte want a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship. So between these two, who deserves that opportunity more? Don’t try to drive a wedge in! Truth says Kayla’s not doing anything. Nia tells Truth to shut up! If anyone is getting the shot, it’s Nia. Shayna gets upset but Nia says Nia is on a streak. Shayna says she’s been doing so much more for the team! She’s why they have the titles! Nia is letting Kayla win here!

Truth says these two are making good points as pointiologists. That’s not a real word! Kayla says it is, Truth says it’s just obscure. Fist bump! Seriously? Shayna asks why they keep being forced to do this. Kayla wishes Nia and Shayna luck for NXT. Shayna and Nia don’t like Truth no more. They leave, but Truth says it was time for them to go anyway! So disrespectful. Truth will cheer Dakota & Raquel on now. But now, it’s time to #DriftAway!

Elias & Jaxson Ryker join Raw Talk!

Elias is happy that his chair isn’t sinking on him this time. Ryker is happy to have a chair at all this time. Truth wants an autograph because he follows Elias. Truth bought the album, too! From a friend, though. But Universal Truth is legit, because it’s about Truth! Well, sure it is. Hidden lyrics, maybe. Kayla wants to bring up the “outlandish” proposal from Elias to Bad Bunny for a musical collaboration. What’s so outlandish about it? Universal Truth was at the top of the charts on iTunes! But Bad Bunny is multi-platinum. So is she saying Bunny is above Elias? No, the numbers are! Universal Truth is up there, but Bunny is way, WAY up there! And the fact Truth is willing to say that even though Bunny still has the 24/7 Championship, that’s some truth. Wait, does that ruin Kayla’s argument?

Elias says he’ll get Truth his autograph real quick. Truth asks which is Elias’ favorite song on the album. Elias’ favorite song of his own album? Yes. Well it has to be Amen, which is now his entrance song. Ryker’s favorite is Changes, because that’s what Elias is about. Elias tried to offer something to Bugs- No, wait, Bad Bunny. Sorry. But Elias says a real music star in the WWE, and then Bad Bunny comes in and shoves Elias aside! Elisa is a generous man, but Bunny goes and rejects “the offer of a lifetime.” Wouldn’t Truth take that offer? Elias says he would. But Priest is speaking for Bunny, there’s the match, it’s all aggravating for Elias.

Kayla says Elias and Ryker were trying to cheat. Ryker wasn’t cheating, he was just keeping Priest from using the ropebreak for too long. Anything else is coincidence. But while Ryker admires and is inspired by Elias, why is he inspired? Elias gives Ryker a different way of seeing life! It just speaks to something. it electrifies Ryker and shows that there are better things in this world. IS there a better way to say that? The Universal Truth touches souls. Truth says he wanted a carrot after for some reason. Carrots are good, though. And Kayla admits Elias is a good musician.

But what is the ultimate goal? Change more lives with more music! Elias has Ryker now, they are unstoppable with their track record. They run track? Sometimes. But Bad Bunny saw Elias beat up Priest, was probably impressed, and if he still wants to take Elias up on the offer, Elias is fine with that. Bunny has Truth’s title, but Elias will take that, too, if he has to. Kayla keeps Truth calm from hearing that. And on that note, no pun intended, nice to see them. Elias and Ryker head out, and now the final guest of the night is here! It’s the Scottish Warrior!

Drew McIntyre joins Raw Talk!

Truth is pumped to see McIntyre but was hoping to see the sword. Kayla says she’s interviewed McIntyre many times, and it pains her to say that for the first time in awhile, he’s not champion. Is it weird to not hear that title in front of his name? Yes, and while it might be odd for him, a man who wears only a kilt and no shirt most of the time, he feels naked without the world title. Note to cameramen, don’t shoot below the waist. There’s some skin showing. But being without the title is weird. McIntyre spent a year as champion. He was hoping to return to WrestleMania as champion, Miz and Lashley messed that up, but McIntyre vows to make is his way back.

Kayla brings up tonight’s match with Sheamus, but also the fact Lashley is the NEW world champion. McIntyre says he would’ve bet on Lashley, of course. Lashley has worked hard, is an animal in the gym and in the ring. They’ve faced off, so McIntyre knows Lashley has earned this moment. And now, the match of Lashley VS McIntyre is going to be big for Raw, especially if it’s at WrestleMania. It is a lot of pressure to be a champion. Miz must’ve felt it every night this week. You surround yourself with friends, those friends might get jealous and want what you want. Sheamus did it to McIntyre, the Hurt Business might do it to Lashley. Consider that free advice.

Kayla wants Truth to see if he has any advice for McIntyre. Truth had a title that is very near and dear and he doesn’t hold it right now. McIntyre had the WWE World Championship in the same regard. What can McIntyre do to get through these times without it? “It’s your baby, man. You gotta remember the good times, but you also got to get your baby back.” McIntyre knows that. Having the baby by your heart is what you want. But Truth getting the title from Bugsy means getting past Priest. McIntyre needs to get past Lashley. But McIntyre is a fighter! Look what he and Shamus did tonight!

McIntyre admits, they beat the hell out of each other. He has a bruise, it looks like the Scottish flag! McIntyre knows he went to war with Sheamus, but that is what this is about! You go to war, put it all on the line, and the best man wins. McIntyre was the better tonight, but he knows this is how Lashley fights. Maybe Sheamus will let his grudge go. They hadn’t faced each other in a significant singles match since FCW. It didn’t have to go this way but it did. Sheamus turned on McIntyre but the match was awesome and hopefully the fans loved it. Now it’s on to Lashley. Maybe we’ll again call McIntyre the WWE Champion.

Kayla wishes him all the luck. McIntyre says things just got real interesting on the Road to WrestleMania! McIntyre heads out, Kayla thanks Truth for letting her cohost, and it’s onward to Fastlane! See you again next week!

My Thoughts:

A pretty good episode here, with the surprise substitute of Kayla adding just a little different touch to the show. Shayna and Nia being hard on her for being the substitute was a good touch, and Kayla trying to bring up their 50-50 math was good stuff. The Raw Women’s Championship story will definitely bring back that dysfunction from when Nia and Shayna first started teaming together, and though it surely won’t cost them the titles on NXT, it could be what costs them against Naomi and Lana. Elias and Ryker had a good segment, though only so much was really said. McIntyre had a good segment, and it does seem he’s moving on from Sheamus to go right at Lashley, but I’m thinking someone steps up to get the title shot instead.

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News From Cook’s Corner 3.1.21: No Big Show

Steve Cook brings the birthday shout outs and a nice variety of different wrestling topics! Check it out!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! My name is Steve Cook, and I’m somewhat decent at remembering birthdays of people close to me thanks to social media notifications, but ages are another matter. A day ago, I would have wished Larry Csonka a happy 67th birthday. Not that he would have been 67 years old, it’s just a gimmick I do with people that are older than me. Assign them an age much older than they actually are. Greg DeMarco has been on the receiving end of this before.

It’s good times, loved by all. (Actually, Larry hated it and I’m pretty sure Greg does too.)

With the way things have been in the world over the past year, there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’ve lost somebody you cared about over the past year. Wrestling has seen a nearly non-stop parade of death, including the loss of the man who played Jocephus & The Question Mark last week. His passing touched a number of his brothers & sisters in the wrestling business, who posted about how great he was as a person.

All we can do is hang together and help each other through our periods of grief. We all go through it, and it’s definitely been way too much of a thing over the past year.

You can still donate to help out Larry’s family!

It’s tempting to wonder what Larry would think about the things going on now. I won’t pretend to know how he’d react to most of 2021, but I can safely assume that he would be excited as I am about Tully Blanchard having a match on television this week, and also wondering why a bigger deal isn’t being made of it. He probably would have written the best column about Tully Blanchard since 1999.

The best way I can think of to celebrate Larry’s birthday? Ramble through some wrestling news a day after it! Makes sense, right?

AEW Signs Paul Wight

This one came as quite the surprise when it broke on Wednesday. Paul Wight, the wrestler formerly known as The Big Show (or The Giant if you’re more of a WCW fan), has decided to take his wrestling and announcing talents to All Elite Wrestling. Wight had worked for WWE for most of the past twenty-two years, with the exception of February 2007-08. He hadn’t done much with the company over the past several years, appearing for brief periods of time in the ring. WWE did help produce The Big Show Show, a sitcom that lasted one season on Netflix.

It seems like this comes down to Wight wanting to do more, and WWE not really having anything for him to do. Since his sitcom was ended, he only made a handful of appearances on WWE television, with his last appearance consisting of Randy Orton berating him for not being able to wrestle anymore. Wight will apparently be doing some wrestling in AEW, which will be interesting on a number of levels since there isn’t a bevy of talent there that’s anywhere near his size. I mean, there is Shaq, and that’s been a dream match for some for years, but there’s no telling whether or not Shaq will be back after his tag match this week. He’ll also be announcing alongside Tony Schiavone on AEW’s new YouTube show titled AEW Dark: Elevation.

AEW has made it a priority to keep increasing their online presence, as we saw on Sunday night when they aired some of their Women’s Championship Eliminator matches on Bleacher Report’s website. Including Riho vs. Thunder Rosa, which made some pretty angry when it was announced as they would have preferred to see the match on Dynamite. While I get that they need matches like that to draw eyeballs to new platforms, it will raise some eyebrows from those that see things like this as demotions. They aren’t meant as demotions, as having Wight on this new show further indicates.

I don’t see this changing the momentum of the wrestling wars, but I think its nice for older talent to have viable options other than a WWE Legends contract.

WWE: Still Big In India

Jinder Mahal WWE Bold Prediction

People like to make a big deal of how many viewers these wrestling shows have. One thing we often forget: Americans aren’t the only people that watch television! Sure, on average we probably watch more programming via various devices than anybody else. However, there’s a great big world out there of people watching wrestling that we often don’t keep track of!

Fortunately, we have people like Lucha Libre Online to keep track of places like India for us. Here’s what they told us!

4 million people watch Raw every week, while 3 million watch SmackDown and 1 million watch NXT. Which makes me wonder if Raw viewers are forced to choose between SmackDown & NXT. Are they in the same time slot?

People are making a big deal about how this means more people in India are watching WWE than in the US. I mean…India has a few more people, right? I’m guessing their share of the overall audience is lower than it is here.

All I know for sure is that all this proves that India doesn’t need Jinder Mahal pushed on top to remain interested in WWE.

NWA Pulls Videos From YouTube

NWA Power

I have to admit that I was concerned when WrestlingInc & other websites drew my attention to the fact that the NWA had pulled their videos from YouTube. Not really the best timing on that either, as I’m sure there were fans of Jocephus & Question Mark looking for something to watch after his tragic death last week. It’s easy to see why people thought the worst.

As we know, the NWA has virtually ceased production since the pandemic started. A good amount of their wrestling talent has moved on to other opportunities. If David Lagana has been replaced behind the scenes, we haven’t heard who it is. Heck, the women’s division has pretty much become part of AEW. We’ve been waiting to hear some kind of NWA news for awhile now, either good or bad.

We’ve finally got something new coming from the NWA. Dave Meltzer reported that they’ll be holding TV tapings from March 21-24. No word on where the tapings will be taking place, if fans will be allowed, or who will be involved. As we’ve noticed, a good number of NWA wrestlers have moved on to other places. Hopefully the NWA will be able to fill those slots with new, compelling characters that can give fans the same level of enjoyment they got out of Powerrr.

I’m always in favor of more wrestling produced for the people.

Marty Scrull Returns to New Japan

Marty Scurll

Our friends at Fightful got the inside scoop from the NJPW Strong tapings back in January and found out that Marty Scrull appeared on the show. He did an angle with Rocky Romero that will presumably air at some point. Scrull has not been seen or heard from in any major way since parting ways with Ring of Honor.

I remember reading before that New Japan might be the most likely landing spot for Scrull, since apparently sleeping or doing other things with underage females is less frowned upon over there. And there is a bit of a difference between having someone work for you as a wrestler or in a management position. Scrull was management in ROH, and keeping him around would have been unneeded publicity.

That’s what all of these Speaking Out defendants are going to be dealing with in their attempts to return to pro wrestling. The ones that haven’t yet will try eventually, it’s just a matter of timing and business. Companies will bring in these people if they find them valuable. New Japan finds value in Marty Scrull, who has enough friends there to help him out.

The question, as I’ve stated before, is if fans feel strongly enough about Scrull and his failings to hold it against the people that employ him. If they do, and they don’t watch NJPW Strong, Scrull won’t be around for too long. If fans don’t care, then promotions don’t need to, and Scrull will be twirling his umbrella back into the wrestling world.

As for my opinion? I’m really the wrong person to ask, as Marty Scrull wasn’t a draw for me before all his business came out. I’m not inclined to watch his stuff, but I already wasn’t. What matters is how the people that did fawn over Scrull in the past take to him now.

Klein vs. ROH

Kelly Klein

Its been a minute or two since we’ve talked much about the former Women of Honor Champion. It wasn’t too long before the pandemic when all of this drama went public with Kelly’s allegations about her treatment in Ring of Honor, Kelly getting divorced after her former husband (BJ Whitmer) accused her of being unfaithful with the man assisting her in making allegations (Joey Mercury), and ROH eventually stripping her of their championship and not renewing her contract.

Things died down on this front over the past year, largely due to the global pandemic thing. Klein isn’t going away though, as she filed a lawsuit against Ring of Honor & Sinclair Broadcasting, naming Greg Gilliland, Delirious & Jay Lethal as defendants. Klein’s issues with ROH came to a head when she suffered a concussion during a match and there was no protocol or staff on hand to address her problem. There were other issues, including pay, which apparently ROH’s female roster members get considerably less of than the males.

ROH has never really had much interest in pushing women’s wrestling. That’s just a fact. The Women of Honor re-boot in 2018 seemed to be a step in that direction, but the company quickly lost interest in featuring the competitors. Since the debut of the ROH bubble, the only woman regularly appearing on television has been the studio host, Quinn McKay. McKay has an angle going with Mandy Leon & Angelina Love, but that hasn’t been touched on at all on television and has been confined to an Internet show where they did one confrontation and that was it. Leon & Love appear in the opening video, but that’s the only place they’ve appeared on television in months. Vita Von Starr appears with The Righteous on occasion & Maria Kanellis-Bennett recently made her on-screen return to commentate on a match.

So, no, it doesn’t surprise me that ROH had/has no interest in paying women equally to men.

There’s a lot going on within the lawsuit, including harassment claims directed towards Lethal. The main thing to keep an eye on here for wrestling purposes? Klein is claiming that she was an employee, not an independent contractor, and the State of Maryland has a strong policy to ensure that workers are not misclassified. So we’re saying there’s a chance this issue might actually be addressed in a court of law after how many years. Stay tuned.

That’s all we have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.

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