Steve Cook is in the building with his perspective on news regarding Vince McMahon, Xavier Woods, CZW, and more in the News From Cook’s Corner!
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! Back in the day, the first part of this column would involve me talking about my sports teams as a way to humanize me. They weren’t good back then, and the Cincinnati Reds aren’t good now. The starting rotation is very good. Tremendous through three games. Unfortunately, the bullpen is the drizzling shits & the position players are too busy catching the covid instead of hitting the ball. MLB will need to expand the playoffs to at least 28 teams to include this group of players.
Don’t get me started on my fantasy teams! I’m quickly realizing that life wasn’t so bad without sports & fantasy sports. At least I have wrestling to talk about, and we’ve got some pretty shocking news this week. So let’s get after it!
Vince McMahon has reached a stunning realization
Unlce Dave is reporting that Vince has been commenting backstage on how WWE needs to create new stars soon. I know this is something that most of us realized many years ago, but it’s certainly become apparent during the Pandemic Era. Think about it…
Raw main event:
Randy Orton (40 years old, 17 years on WWE television) vs. Big Show (48 years old, 21 years off & on WWE television)
SmackDown main event:
Jeff Hardy (42 years old, 22 years off & on WWE television) vs. Sheamus (42 years old, 11 years off & on WWE television)
The second number listed for these men is more important than the first. It’s also one of the main reasons why people like me complain about the death of the territories. See, way back in the day, wrestlers could travel from area to area and keep themselves fresh. People can’t miss you if you’re always around, right? If you’re almost always on worldwide television, people will get tired of your stuff.
In fairness, Orton’s latest run has been the best he’s looked in years. I’ll excuse that one, barely. Big Show is long in the tooth and everybody knows it even if he takes extended absences to make TV shows. Jeff Hardy’s past his sell-by date, and I think Sheamus is only getting booked in main events because he’s been around so long. Fans are hoping that this will lead to good things for Naomi & Big E, who have both been on WWE television for 8 years.
It’s clearly obvious to everybody watching these shows that WWE needs to make some new stars. It’s a lot easier said than done.
At least Vince will have some help!
Word came out this week via that Observer that Edge & Daniel Bryan are now part of the writing team. We already knew that Bryan was booking his own stuff on SmackDown, so it’s no surprise that they’d let him keep sending in ideas while away from Florida. It also explains why Gran Metallik won a random 4-way match to get an Intercontinental Championship match on last week’s SmackDown. I won’t pretend to know exactly who books what in WWE, but that had Bryan’s fingerprints all over it.
I’ve said before that it really doesn’t matter who’s on WWE’s writing team as long as Vince McMahon is still in charge. He’s the main guy approving everything we see. It does give one a bit of optimism that good stuff might get through when the people pitching ideas are wrestlers that seem to have good heads on their shoulders. I think we can fairly say that about Edge & Bryan. I think we can also say that there are plenty of other wrestlers under WWE’s employment that could have some good ideas for themselves & other characters. At this point, WWE can certainly use a suggestion box.
However, if we find out later on that Edge & Daniel Bryan booked the entirety of The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, forget I said anything.
Xavier Woods on G4?
I’ve seen this pop up on social media, and have been a bit confused, as G4 disappeared several years back. Apparently, they’re teasing a comeback, and Xavier Woods wants to be on it.
I mean, sure? We’re speaking in conjectures here, so if Xavier wants to be on something that doesn’t currently exist I wish him the best of luck. I’d rather look at Sara Jean Underwood than Xavier Woods, but I mean, whatever works for you gamers out there. I’ve been playing Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball on N64 lately, so I’m obviously not the target audience.
You video gamers do what you do with your vast bank accounts. I won’t hate on it.
Matthew Hardy wants to be Matthew Hardy
Speaking of things that have confused me. Matt Hardy has apparently decided that since his Damascus character didn’t catch fire, and his other various characters he’s appeared as in AEW haven’t gripped the world, he wants to be his regular self. I mean, sure, why not?
The thing is, when you appear as fifteen different characters within a few weeks, one won’t stand out. Another thing is, Matthew might not be understanding his role at this point, which is to get other people over. I might be reading it wrong, but Matt’s praising of AEW while still being discontented with his role reads to me like he thinks he should be in the main event. Since WWE pushes everybody at his age in the main event.
So WWE wants old boys in their main event. AEW has some older folks in their main event scene too (what up Demo God), but they also know they need to build to the future, and they were hoping Matt Hardy would help with that. Y’know, by mentoring a team like Private Party. Matt doesn’t seem appeased with this idea, and is looking for every scenario where he could still be a main event player.
It’s nothing new. Terry Funk stood out from his peers by being willing to put the younger generation over. Most people aren’t built that way, so it’s not fair for us to expect Matt Hardy to be built that way. Finding any way to keep oneself over is more expected. It’s up to AEW to decide if they want to keep Matt around as he tries to build himself at the expense of everybody else or not. I would steer clear, but maybe AEW values Matt much more than I do. They wouldn’t be the first, and it worked out pretty well for her!
A New NOD?
We saw Ron Simmons appear on the last episode of Raw, giving advice to MVP, Bobby Lashley & Shelton Benjamin. The scuttlebutt is that this was originally supposed to lead to more, namely a new Nation of Domination with the aforementioned men.
This seems like a terrible idea to me. The last thing we need in this climate is WWE trying to make a faction based off of the African American experience. It wouldn’t play well. The more MVP’s Hurt Business stays away from the “race gimmick”, the better. I can’t see a scenario where that ends well, especially considering WWE’s political leanings. I assume somebody realized this was a bad idea and talked Vince out of it. Probably not Mark Henry, but somebody else.
The further WWE stays away from racial conflict, the better. In fact, I would have MVP manage a white guy as soon as possible. Austin Theory’s already been in two factions this year, why not make it a third?
A rough year for CZW alumni continues
It feels like every other week we’re talking about somebody that appeared on early Combat Zone Wrestling shows passing away. This week it’s Tom Hirshmann, better known during his wrestling career as Z-Barr, passing at the age of 38. Which means, doing some quick math, that he was in his early 20s on those CZW shows, which explains why he came off as the most annoying son of a gun of all time.
That’s the thing about those early CZW shows Z-Barr appeared on with guys like the Backseat Boys, Nick Mondo, Nick Gage, Justice Pain and other early standouts. They were all full of piss & vinegar and were ready to conquer the world. They nearly did, you could even make an argument for CZW being the second biggest wrestling promotion in the United States in 2001 after WCW & ECW disappeared. That quickly stopped happening once TNA & ROH were founded in 2002, MLW & XPW were around there too, and CZW mis-managed their way down the totem pole pretty quickly.
Z-Barr was one of the top heels back then. Not so much that he was main eventing shows or anything like that, he was just one of the most hated people by fans. That guy could get some heat! From what I’ve read, he was also pretty influential backstage. He’d bring in talent, he’d bring in coverage for the product, he’d do whatever he could do. Apparently he didn’t garner much respect, which is understandable because young kids trying to do big things never get respect at the beginning. Considering how things worked out, it’s a shame. I remember him washing out of CZW, then I saw him on a random show a few years after and he was all jacked & in an actual good match. I was amazed. The guy had potential, but it was never realized. Unfortunately, I think most people fall into that category. A damn shame.
The next person we’re going to talk about realized all of his potential.
Regis Philbin passed away on Friday at the age of 88. Most folks remember Regis as the host of a highly successful morning talk show with Kathie Lee Gifford & then Kelly Ripa for many years. He was also the first host of the American version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, David Letterman’s most frequent guest, and has had the most hours on camera of anybody in the world. Even more than the current US president, who actually did a song on Regis’s Christmas album. I wouldn’t recommend searching that one.
What we here at the Corner remember Regis for, along with his hosting stint on Crowd Goes Wild with the mesmerizing Katie Nolan, is his love for professional wrestling. It started back in Regis’s early TV days on the West Coast, where he became friends with top wrestling star “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Blassie later became deeply involved with the World Wrestling Federation, so when Regis moved east it was only natural that most of New York’s top stars would appear on his shows.
Anybody who was anybody in the WWF appeared on Regis’s morning show with Kathie Lee. I didn’t usually get to wach the show, being in school, but those summer episodes with random wrestler appearances were always a highlight. Regis also appeared at WrestleMania VII, doing backstage interviews & commentating on the main event between Hulk Hogan & Sgt. Slaughter.
Keep in mind that these were the days before WWE was in bed with NBC Universal, Fox & ESPN. Media stayed away from pro wrestling like it was the plague during the early 1990s, so Regis’s show was pretty much the only place somebody like Undertaker, Bret Hart, Diesel or Yokozuna would get booked. He was also willing to put the guys over and play into the spectacle instead of treating it like a joke. Regis knew what made for good television, and it wasn’t him acting like he was above these wrestler guys.
88 years is a pretty good run. At this point I’m not sure I’ll make it to 44!
Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.