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Cook’s Top 5: 2006 Wrestling Memories

The journey continues! Steve Cook stops his time travel in 2006, when he graduates college and Kurt Angle…..graduates to TNA?

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Kurt Angle TNA Impact Wrestling Chairshot Edit

The journey continues! Steve Cook stops his time travel in 2006, when he graduates college and Kurt Angle…..graduates to TNA?

2006 was a busy year.

I graduated from college & entered the “real world”. However, I still had a lot of attention on what some would call the “fake world” of pro wrestling. There was a lot going on locally, and I was in the thick of a lot of it. Let’s look at my 5 most vivid memories of 2006 as we continue my celebration of 30 glorious years as a wrestling fan.

5. OVW & HWA in Cincinnati?

To be honest, Cincinnati has never really been a tip-top wrestling market. The Sheik ran shows there for awhile, Ole Anderson & Jim Crockett tried after that, and national promotions have stopped by a couple of times a year or so, but Cincinnati isn’t mentioned as a top wrestling city like a lot of Midwestern towns are. Regional promotions had a tough time breaking into the area for years. I’d read about companies like the USWA & SMW that operated right on the border, but never quite got that far north. They got their shows on a low-powered station, but never toured ECW ran a total of one show in Cincinnati. Heck, ROH got as close as Dayton, but didn’t crack that Cincinnati barrier until the Sinclair era.

So it was interesting in 2006 when Ohio Valley Wrestling finally got a TV deal in Cincinnati. Good timing for me since I’d just moved back to the area from Louisville. However, it wasn’t exactly the best timing for OVW. Jim Cornette had been forced out of the company. Paul Heyman took over creative for awhile, but by this time he was working for WWE’s ECW brand. So the booking wasn’t exactly what it was in OVW’s glory days, the talent wasn’t exactly what it was then, and overall it just wasn’t quite up to what I had seen in Louisville. There was some talent that would become something later. Some kid named Cody Runnels was teaming with Shawn Spears. Colt Cabana & Matt Sydal made their way in. Katie Lea & Beth Phoenix were doing good things in the women’s division. There were bits & pieces, but it just wasn’t like the old days when the Disnmores, Conways, Damajas & Machines were carrying the territory with Bolin Services & the Disciples of Synn at their apex of heeldom.

Another interesting part of OVW getting a TV deal: the HWA got a spot on right after them. There was some talent there too! A very young Jon Moxley, Cannonball Callihan & the Crist Brothers were starting out. However, they weren’t what they would become, and the production of the show was beyond godawful. It was a really cool idea to have pro wrestling on local television in 2006, but it was a bit ahead of its time.

4. Kurt Angle moves to TNA

One of the big backstage stories of 2006 involved the physical & mental health of Kurt Angle. Things weren’t going well for him on WWE’s full-time schedule, so he asked for his release. Shortly after, he popped up in TNA and a lot of people were worried. I remember 411 posting a column from a new writer that was convinced that Angle would die in a TNA ring. That didn’t happen.

Angle did have some ups & downs during his TNA stint, but it didn’t go nearly as poorly as people feared. The lighter schedule helped Angle stay active in wrestling well into the 2010s and produce some great matches on TNA events. All in all, I’d say things worked out for the best.

3. Backlash 2006

It was time for final exams in college. So what was I doing? Traveling to Lexington for a wrestling show, of course! Backlash 2006 was the show, and I got some results via History of WWE, who also present some other results that will appear later.

Heat – featured Joey Styles & Jerry Lawler on commentary: Goldust pinned Rob Conway with a powerslam at 3:38

My friend was hoping for a CM Punk vs. Rob Conway match, so when Conway came out we were wondering if he got it right for a second. Also, Conway’s theme at this point was tremendous:

Doesn’t age well though, with a lyric like “Unlike you, I’ve had my way with many, many girls”. Sounds a bit problematic.

Carlito Caribbean Cool pinned Chris Masters with the Back Cracker and putting both feet on the middle rope for leverage at 9:58 after Masters hit the top turnbuckle face-first; after the bout, Maria showed several comments from fans earlier in the night of who they thought would win the night’s main event triple threat match; she introduced the backstage segment by saying Masters won the opening match and ended by segment by interviewing Lita about Edge’s participation in the main event
Umaga (w/ Armando Allejandro Estrada) pinned Ric Flair with a thumb strike to the throat at 3:29 following a headbutt off the middle turnbuckle
Trish Stratus defeated WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James via disqualification at 4:05 when the champion refused to stop choking Trish; mid-way through the bout, Trish fell to the floor, dislocating her shoulder

Kind of disappointing to see a Ric Flair match (even in 2006) be a squash, though it was the right result for Umaga. Definitely disappointing for Trish vs. Mickie to get cut short due to an injury, I was looking forward to that one.

Rob Van Dam pinned WWE IC Champion Shelton Benjamin to win the title with the Five Star Frog Splash at 18:41 after using the Van Daminator to send the Money in the Bank briefcase into the champion’s face; had Benjamin won the match he would have earned RVD’s Money in the Bank world title shot (History of the Intercontinental Championship)
The Big Show fought Kane to a no contest at around the 8-minute mark when, after Kane knocked Show to the floor, red lights shone over the ring and Kane’s own voice could be heard saying “It’s happening again … May 19th … Do you remember what happened on that day?;” for several minutes, Kane appeared in pain until Show hit him over the head with a steel chair, causing the lights to come back on and the voice to disappear

RVD vs. Shelton was good. I think Big Show vs. Kane might still rank as the worst match I’ve ever seen live, which is saying something. The booking was brutal, and the action wasn’t exactly stellar. May 19th was another one of those amazing storylines for Kane, leading to the man later known as Luke Gallows appearing in a 1990s Kane outfit way before he was ready to go on TV. Bad times.

Vince & Shane McMahon defeated Shawn Michaels in a no holds barred handicap match at 19:59 when Vince scored the pin after WWE Raw Tag Team Champions the Spirit Squad interfered, with all five Squad members throwing Michaels through a table set up in the ring; the match was officially billed as a tag team match with “God” as Michaels’ partner; prior to the bout, Vince added the no holds barred stipulation after introducing “God” to the ring; Jim Ross referred to the finish on air as “bullshit;” after the match, the McMahons were hoisted on the Squad’s shoulders at the entrance stage

I’m not the most religious person, but I thought this entire storyline with Shawn teaming with “God” & Vince’s sacrilegious promos was complete garbage. Shawn tried in the match, but it was a lost cause going in. Follow this up with an in-ring promo with Eugene & Matt Striker, and it was a rough lead-in to the main event.

WWE World Champion John Cena defeated Triple H and Edge (w/ Lita) in a No DQ match at 17:34 by pinning Triple H after revering an attempt at the Pedigree into a roll over; after the bout, Triple H hit the referee, Edge, and Cena in the face with his sledgehammer before giving several crotch chops and leaving the ring as the show came to an end (Triple H: The King of Kings)

Perfectly fine PPV main event. I wouldn’t say it was enough to save the show, and some of the in-ring shenanigans led to some discontent from the Kentucky Boxing & Wrestling Authority. Kentucky wasn’t big on blood, thanks to some of Ian Rotten’s IWA Mid-South bloodfests from back in the day receiving complaints from the locals. WWE asked for permission, the state said no, and WWE did it anyway because that’s how they roll. Several fines were issued, and in related news, WWE hasn’t held a PPV in Kentucky since Backlash 2006.

2. ROH vs. CZW

I attended four Ring of Honor shows at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in 2006. Looking back now, I consider 2006 to be the peak of ROH for a number of reasons.

-Bryan Danielson was tremendous as champion for almost the entire calendar year.
-Jimmy Jacobs was in love with Lacey.
-Ring of Honor was in a bitter feud with Combat Zone Wrestling.

ROH & CZW both looked to fill the void left in the scene by their fellow Philly wrestling staple, Extreme Championship Wrestling. CZW’s idea was to make things ultraviolent. Sure, it was also the home of some fantastic non-hardcore wrestlers, many of whom would eventually work for ROH & other feds, but most of CZW’s popularity back in the day was built off of the ultraviolence. That’s what drew fans to the bingo hall & kept CZW running all those years. You can argue over how much violence a wrestling show needs, but I’ll always believe that every wrestling promotion needs to present at least a little danger to keep things interesting.

As much as ROH has always claimed to be all about “pure wrestling”, they’ve presented their fair share of violence over the years. The same fans that claim to prefer ROH due to having the best bell to bell in-ring grappling action lose their minds during brawls, or when foreign objects get introduced to matches. It’s only human.

ROH’s presentation of its feud with CZW was one of the few times that a promotion vs. promotion feud actually worked. CZW got plenty of times to shine, like at Tag Wars 2006 at Dayton in January where those hooligans Chris Hero & Necro Butcher tried to ruin the show by tearing the entrance down. Or during Weekend of Champions Night 1 in April, where Team CZW got the win in a wild brawl that led to B.J. Whitmer being stretchered out on a table. Of course, ROH got plenty of victories as well, and did win the big blowoff match at Death Before Dishonor IV in the Cage of Death. Fun times were had by all, and ROH fans were introduced to a number of wrestlers that would appear in the future.

One of which was the Necro Butcher, who had already become a favorite of mine due to watching some of his more hardcore matches and that Samoa Joe match. The ROH vs. CZW feud ended in Philadelphia, but two weeks later, Necro & Whitmer settled their personal issue in a barbed wire match in Dayton. B.J. got the win, but one got the feeling that the Butcher would be back in ROH rings soon enough.

CZW’s presentation of their feud with ROH didn’t go nearly as well. Owner John Zandig didn’t really want anything to do with it, other higher-ups in the company weren’t really interested either and it pretty much flamed out. Kind of a trend in CZW over the years, but at least Zandig got his proper respect on the most recent AEW Dynamite.

1. WWE vs. ECW Head To Head

I told you earlier about a WWE pay per view event I attended that was…well, a pay per view event that I attended. In June, I would head up to Dayton for something that ended up being a lot more fun. The stars of WWE & ECW were facing off in the Nutter Center for a USA Network special to hype the upcoming One Night Stand & the debut of ECW as a WWE brand.

WWE @ Dayton, OH – Nutter Center – June 7, 2006 (4,700)
WWE IC Champion Shelton Benjamin defeated Carlito Caribbean Cool
Matt Hardy defeated Jon Bolen
Jimmy Yang defeated Tatanka

Shelton & Carlito worked a time limit gimmick, as I recall, it was either fifteen or twenty minutes, with Shelton getting the win at the last second. I want to say this was the first appearance of Jimmy under his eventual cowboy gimmick, as he got the win over a Native American. The dark match period also saw Dusty Rhodes come out to cut a promo hyping his DVD, which was a welcome bonus.

WWE vs. ECW – shown live on the USA Network – opened with Mick Foley and Paul Heyman giving inspiration to the WWE and ECW locker rooms, respectively; featured Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler on commentary representing the WWE and Joey Styles & Tazz representing ECW, with Ross and Styles having to keep Lawler and Tazz apart prior to the matches; included a commercial advertising the debut of ECW on the Sci-Fi Channel the following Tuesday night; featured an in-ring promo by Kurt Angle regarding the attack he sustained by Randy Orton on Raw and their upcoming match at ECW One Night Stand; moments later, Orton interrupted, saying the new ECW Kurt Angle would be facing the new Monday Night Raw Randy Orton, that he would make Angle pay for breaking his ankle, and that he would kill the legend of ECW in one match; included a vignette focusing on Sabu; featured an in-ring promo by Paul Heyman in which he announced the return of ECW to network TV the following Tuesday, ran down the scheduled card for ECW One Night Stand, and then showed highlights of last year’s event; featured a look at Kane’s appearance in “See No Evil”:

Rob Van Dam pinned World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. in a No DQ non-title match at 10:43 with the Five Star Frog Splash after Mysterio missed a springboard legdrop and fell onto a steel chair; Mysterio had the chair placed across him as RVD went up top but Mysterio threw it off him as Van Dam was in mid-air; after the bout, RVD helped Mysterio to his feet (ECW: Extreme Rules)
WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James pinned Jazz in a non-title match at 2:01 with a jumping DDT

Tough to go wrong with Rey & RVD. Mickie & Jazz only going 2 minutes was the WWE women’s division of the time period, and the AEW women’s division of the now. Yeah, I had to say it.

The Big Show won a 20-man WWE / ECW battle royal by last eliminating Randy Orton at 14:20 after hitting the chokeslam; the match originally ended at 13:32 when Orton eliminated Kurt Angle, seemingly giving the WWE team the victory as both Orton and Show were left in the ring; moments later, Show ripped off his Raw shirt to reveal an ECW shirt underneath; order of elimination: Mark Henry by Angle & Little Guido at the 14-second mark; Matt Hardy by Terry Funk & Justin Credible at the 47-second mark; Guido by Show via a punch off the apron at 1:19; Tatanka by Dreamer at 1:32; Carlito Caribbean Cool by Sandman via a dropkick off the apron at 1:44; Tony Mamaluke by Edge via a hiptoss over the top at 1:56; Dreamer by Orton & Edge at 2:07; Funk by Edge & Finlay at 6:03; Credible by Finlay at 6:19; Al Snow by WWE IC Champion Shelton Benjamin via a kick to the head after Benjamin avoided being hit with Head at 6:49; Stevie Richards by WWE US Champion Bobby Lashley at 7:01; Balls Mahoney by Lashley at 7:16; Lashley by Angle at 7:21; Sandman by Orton at 11:26; Benjamin by Angle at 11:39; Finlay by Angle via a catapult at 13:11; Edge by Angle via a belly to belly suplex over the top at 13:26 as Edge attempted the spear; Angle by Orton at 13:32; Edge spent the majority of the match outside the ring, interfering only long enough to eliminate someone near the ropes (ECW One Night Stand 2)

This might have been the first “everybody wrestles in a brand t-shirt” match, but I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Big Show turning on somebody was certainly a shocking development.

Edge (w/ Lita & Mick Foley) pinned Tommy Dreamer (w/ Terry Funk) in a No DQ match at 6:45 with the spear as Dreamer attempted to powerbomb an interfering Lita, while Foley and Funk battled outside the ring; after the commercial break, Foley sat alone in the ring and cut a lengthy promo on how he planned to end the heroes of ECW at One Night Stand

I got to see Terry Funk punch Mick Foley right in front of me. That would have been on my bucket list if I had one at the time. Foley later wrote in his Hardcore Diaries that he didn’t think the promo got over well with the Ohio crowd. I thought it did, but I also thought that HHH/HBK Cell match got over with the crowd. So what did I know?

WWE World Champion John Cena defeated Sabu via disqualification at 8:04 when the Big Show interfered and attacked the champion as Sabu was caught in the STFU; prior to the bout, Lawler and Tazz brawled around ringside until they were broken apart by officials and returned to their commentary duties; after the match, both rosters engaged in an in-ring brawl to close the broadcast

John Cena vs. Sabu is a main event that I watched in person. Can anybody top that with a more random main event they watched in person? Hit me up on the Twitter & let me know. 2006 was one of those years. This show gave me some hope for the new ECW, which lasted up until the debut of the Zombie. All downhill from there.

Next time…2007? Uh oh.


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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/17/2021

Now since this week isn’t full of big events, the list should be a little more interesting. Let’s see what made the Top 5 and if it’s close to last week’s quality!

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Last week kicked things off hot and heavy, and as expected; we cooled down a little this week. Still some fun matches, but nothing should really be competition for last week’s list.

Speaking of that list, all 6 matches had some support, and that’s really nice to see. However, there has to be a winner, and by only a couple of votes; Wrestle Kingdom Night 1: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada, won the popular vote!

So let’s see what matches we get to possibly add to the January pool!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NXT UK: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs A-Kid
    Rating: ****
  2. Hard to Kill: Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs Moose, Rich Swann & Chris Sabin
    Rating: ****
  3. Hard to Kill: Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards
    Rating: *** 3/4
  4. NXT: MSK vs Isaiah Scott & Jake Atlas
    Rating: *** 1/2
  5. Hard to Kill: X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey
    Rating: *** 1/2
  6. IMPACT!: Rich Swann vs Karl Anderson
    Rating: *** 1/2

Honorable Mentions:

  • AEW New Year’s Smash Night 2: TNT Championship: Darby Allin (c) vs Brian Cage
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • Hard to Kill: Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/Kimber Lee & Susan vs Taya Valkyrie w/ Decay
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • IMPACT!: Rohit Raju & Chris Bey vs Manik & Suicide
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown: Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NXT: Undisputed Era vs Breezango
    Rating: ***
  • Hard to Kill: Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok
    Rating: ***
  • AEW New Year’s Smash Night 2: NWA Women’s World Championship: Serena Deeb (c) vs Tay Conti
    Rating: ***
  • WWE SmackDown: Jey Uso vs Shinsuke Nakamura
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Tenille Dashwood w/Kaleb vs Rosemary
    Rating: ***

4t. IMPACT!: Rich Swann vs Karl Anderson

From My Results:

The entire time Kenny’s been in the picture, they’ve put a lot of spotlight on some of Karl’s singles accolades in Japan. So it should come as no surprise that Karl actually came in with a plan and dominated for a good portion. Karl focused on the shoulder and it worked really well for him.

Rich was selling and getting caught by Shotgun kicks and a bunch of other moves, but at least proving to be resilient. Rich manages to catch Karl as Karl starts looking to finish things. A few nice strikes, the over the shoulder back kick and finally Swann’s got something. Karl does stabilize and look for the Gun Stun, but Rich ducks the Gun Stun with a School Boy Rollup and that’s the match!

Winner: Swann via School Boy Rollup

 

4t. Hard to Kill: X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey

From My Results:

Rohit went after Manik to try and prove his point that it’s TJP. Bey seemed dead set on finding a way to win, and as we expected in an X Division match; there were a lot of spots, but they all made sense. Rohit does manage to take off the mask, but TJP painted his face under the mask, so it still throws off Rohit. TJP strings together a few moves, goes for the Mamba Splash, but gets caught by Bey with a Cutter. Bey then hits a Double Art of Finesse, but his brief moment of not knowing who to pin, caused the pinfall breakup.

Rohit almost won the title back after his call back to hitting his Tiger Knee after a Mamba Splash but Bey kicked out. Haymakers get thrown, Rohit hits the Dragon Stomp on Bey, and looks to finish things, but TJP slides in for the style of Cradle he’s used a bit lately, and retains his title after a fun, hard fought match.

Winner: Manik via Ole Cradle

 

4t. NXT: MSK vs Isaiah Scott & Jake Atlas

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Swerve drags Wes up, full nelson for Atlas to HEEL KICK Wes, then a spin to a fireman’s carry, toss and SPINNING POWERSLAM! Swerve is up top, 450 SPLASH! Atlas covers, but Carter breaks it just in time! Fans fire up as Swerve grows frustrated! Swerve throws Carter back out, Atlas drags Wes back over and tags Swerve in. Atlas drags Wes to a corner, rams his shoulder in, and Swerve helps hoist Wes to the top rope. Swerve and Atlas both climb up to bring Wes up but Carter drags Atlas down in a heap! Wes shoves Swerve away and both men fall to the mat! Fans fire up as everyone is down, and Wes gets to ropes. Wes kicks Swerve away to go to his corner but no one is home.

Swerve runs in, blocks a boot, but Carter tags in! Carter ROCKS Swerve, Wes pops Swerve up to the ropes, Carter ROCKS Swerve into Wes’ NO HANDS POISON-RANA!! Carter drags Swerve up, Wes runs in, BLOCKBUSTER HART ATTACK! Cover, MSK WINS!!

Winner: MSK via Blockbuster Hart Attack

 

3. Hard to Kill: Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards

From My Results:

Interesting pacing to get across the familiarity, twisted respect and love for punishment between these two. We saw Barbed Wire Tables, Chairs, Baseball Bats, Kendo Sticks and even an…N64 Controller!

Sami took a ton of punishment, but the story was basically playing with Eddie’s emotions to bait him into bad dives, and openings for Sami to move out of the way, or sneak in a barbed wire shot. Eddie hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on a barbed wire chair, Sami hit an Avalanche Piledriver through a barbed wire table, but none of this was enough. If anything, the Piledriver just pissed Eddie off.

Going for the callback that started it all, Sami tries to hit a Barbed Wire Chair into Eddie’s face with a Barbed Wire Bat, but Eddie hits a low blow to get a moment. Sami tries to bring himself up with a chair, Eddie hits the Boston Knee Party, then the Diehard Flowsion for the win!

Winner: Eddie via Diehard Flowsion

 

1t. Hard to Kill: Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs Moose, Rich Swann & Chris Sabin

From My Results:

We get a lot of Japanese tag stylings, from the triple team that Team Impact pulls off, to the way the Club breaks up any type of momentum with their own train attacks into the corner. Moose looked amazing in this match. He went toe to toe with everyone, pulled off great moves like a Standing Moonsault, leaped to the top rope for a Spanish Fly and was a really good teammate, regardless of his issues with Rich Swann. Hell Swann and Moose even hit a Doomsday Device variant together. Small aside, I did like seeing Chris Sabin pull off Cradle Shock, which just doesn’t happen often enough anymore.

Omega almost has the match one on Rich, but the only one able to break it up was Moose, and he did so. Omega went into V-Trigger spamming mode to wipe out Moose, rock Rich and then a One Winged Angel won the match for the Bullet Club former members.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel

 

1t. NXT UK: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs A-Kid

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

AK survives two powerful impacts and BT Sports Studio is thunderous! Walter stirs and crawls over to AK. Walter facelocks AK, drags him up and eggs him on. Walter CHOPS AK back down and AK flops to ropes! AK sits up and Walter kicks at him again. Walter CLUBS AK but AK gets up with a clenched jaw. AK SLAPS Walter, then catches the chop to a takedown! AK locks up one arm, wants the other, but Walter resists! AK shifts to an ARMBAR! Walter clasps hands, moves around, but AK keeps his shoulders up in the triangle hold! Walter moves around, rolls them both to the ropes then out of the ring! Walter APRON BOMBS AK down!!

AK crumples to the floor but Walter drags him back up to put him in. Walter stalks AK but AK fires off palm strikes! Walter grabs AK for a sleeper but AK pries it off to PELE! Walter staggers, AK runs, into a LARIAT!! Walter CHOPS AK on the back! And POINT-BLANK LARIATS!! Cover, Walter wins!!

Winner: Walter via Burning Lariat

 

Thoughts:

Well it’s hard to argue that Walter vs A-Kid was the best match, it only lacked a little punch since I don’t follow NXT UK super closely; so I didn’t see A-Kid as a credible threat. He did prove himself fairly well with the MMA style strikes and grappling attacks, but he’s still to fresh of a face to me, for me to have bought in as much as say Ilja or Tyler Bate, when they had their big versus little man matches.

Impact did bring some higher quality, but that’s to be expected since they had a PPV and a Go Home. The Rascalz debuting as MSK was nice, so I’m glad they got a small moment to shine.

Either way, Walter vs A-Kid, is my vote for match of the week. Which one gets your vote?


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News From Cook’s Corner 1.18.21: Living The Dream

Steve Cook rocking some news off of his high from having an article of his highlighted on the Cornette’s Drive-Thru. How does the news this week look?

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend full of NFL football and whatever else you like to enjoy. I’d also like to wish you all a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and pay homage to the man. He had a dream, and maybe someday we’ll live up to it.

It was a pretty big week for your humble correspondent. When you’re a writer of any type, you’re prone to thinking that nobody cares about what you’re writing. I guarantee that even the most prolific authors have gone through that feeling. Maybe not James Patterson or Stephen King, everybody reads their stuff. Dave Meltzer probably hasn’t had that feeling in at least thirty years. Most of us have to fight it off. Especially those of us writing about pro wrestling, a form of entertainment where most of the people involved are constantly trying to deny the truth.

Whenever we find any kind of acceptance, we have to lean into it. Even if there’s some qualifiers. For instance, when Traci Brooks first e-mailed me about an Impact recap I did for 411, she called me “Scott”. When Steve Austin read my 411 Wrestling Hall of Fame article on him and put it over as a good recap of his career, he thought Larry Csonka had written it, since Larry tweeted him about it. If you listen to Jim Cornette talk about an article I did on 411 listing the worst tag teams of all time, you won’t hear my name. The site was mentioned, which I appreciate since 411 still employs me.

Still, though, it’s pretty cool that I gave Corny & Brian Last almost seventeen minutes of material for a podcast. It’s even cooler to me as a nerd that looks at these things that it got more YouTube views than their breaking down the SI Top 10 Wrestlers of 2020 list that got some run from WWE since they listed Sasha Banks at #1, or anything else they posted from that particular podcast. And they weren’t all from me! I waited a little while to listen to it because of my somewhat thin skin, but Cornette actually didn’t complain about most of the list. He thought the Ding Dongs should have been #1, but then he justified my pick of the Johnsons/Shane Twins while talking about their stint in OVW. Which took place after their run in TNA that made the list. I’m still amazed they got a WWE run.

I haven’t always agreed with Cornette’s viewpoints on things over the years, but I grew up watching the guy and he’s the second greatest manager of all time. Also a fellow Kentucky liberal, which I’m pretty sure I’m the last of that dying breed.

While we’re talking about things I’m proud of creating I’ve mentioned here before that I’m not exactly happy about reliving 2020. I would prefer to move on to 2022, since 2021 already looks like a dumpster fire. However, I am very proud of 411mania’s Larry Csonka Award. (I wasn’t going to say I came up with it unless it became public knowledge, and Jeremy Thomas elected to give me the credit.) It took some thinking, but I figured that since Larry was the hardest working writer that I knew, an award honoring him should award the hardest working pro wrestler. Then I had to figure out what that meant, and once I did, one of Larry’s favorites was the perfect honoree.

Tomohiro Ishii won the award, & I can guarantee you that Larry would have been tweeting about BIG TOM ISHII throughout the year, even if I was begging him to talk about Ding & Dong. I used to hate when people would talk about what dead wrestlers would have approved of, but here I am telling you that Larry Csonka would have wanted Tomohiro Ishii getting an award named in his honor. As much as year-end awards annoy me from time to time, I hope this one lasts forever.

It’s probably the most fulfilling week of my “writing career” except I didn’t make any money off of it. Well. Actually, I got paid for some of my work from last year, so that was also nice. If it wasn’t for everything else currently going on in my life besides this online writing & podcasting stuff, I would be a pretty happy dude!

Anyway, let’s get to the news.

WrestleMania Update: Not being held In Your House.

WWE announced some future WrestleMania dates and locations!

37: April 10 & 11, 2021 Tampa NFL stadium
38: April 3, 2022, Dallas NFL stadium
39: April 2, 2023, Los Angeles NFL stadium

Nothing especially surprising here. Tampa got jobbed last year, and you can’t have fans in California right now anyway. You also have to mix Dallas in there to keep Jerry Jones happy, and eventually you can try to break whatever the current WM record is listed at.

*looks it up*

101,763? Ok. Am I the only one that has a problem remembering these things now? The old WM III attendance record of 93,173 was always an easy one to ramble off the top of your head. Too many numbers these days.

I know some folks aren’t happy that WM has fallen into a rotation of cities in a certain part of the world, leaving everybody else out of the mix. That doesn’t bother me so much, mostly because I have no plans on attending one of these things. I wasn’t a fan of big crowds pre-covid. Now? Forget about it.

HOF going virtual

The Observer reports this year’s WWE Hall of Fame event is scheduled to be held virtually, without a live audience. No word yet on if there will be more inductees to join the folks that were scheduled to be inducted last year.

I know we all miss having fans at wrestling events, but I think most of us can agree that the Hall of Fame would be better without fans on a permanent basis. That 2004 event at the hotel was so cool with Bobby Heenan and company giving speeches without having to be interrupted by stupid chants & assorted nonsense. I haven’t watched a full HOF event in years, as much as I like seeing the old folks, the ceremony became a joke thanks to fans acting like idiots. This should be a step in the right direction.

Hey, I’m not anti-fan, not by any means. Can’t wait to see a crowd at WrestleMania. Wrestling is better with fans, hall of fame ceremonies aren’t. Pretty simple.

AEW Covid Issues

WWE’s issues with the coronavirus and various outbreaks have been discussed time & again. Up until this point, AEW had managed to keep their issues under the radar. There were a couple instances where matches were changed due to people being unavailable, but the impression was given that AEW was doing a better job of keeping its roster safe.

That assumption has to be called into question after two of AEW’s top talents revealed their issues with the virus. Chris Jericho mentioned on his Talk With Jericho podcast that he had the virus back in September. He was asymptomatic & apparently quarantined himself during ten days where he was home & AEW wasn’t taping shows. It should be noted that Jericho appeared on every episode of Dynamite in September. Nick Jackson revealed that he had the virus during September as well, which a lot of folks suspected when he was conspicuous by his absence on two episodes of Dynamite.

You just hope everybody’s staying safe. Dave Meltzer mentioned that both companies have been concerned that their talent has been too cavalier about the virus. Wrestlers from both WWE & AEW socialize all the time, especially now that so many of them are based in Florida. Many of them think that the virus is going away, when a look at the news on any given day tells you that it isn’t. Wrestlers aren’t the only people making that inaccurate assumption, of course.

Ethan Page: Not as Hard To Kill as Impact Wrestling

Those of you who caught Impact’s PPV on Saturday night were witness to a murder, the first one in Impact Wrestling in 2021. One assumes there will be more. At the conclusion of a match pitting Ethan Page against Karate Man, Man pulled Page’s heart right out of his body. This was believed to be Page’s final appearance with Impact heading into the evening, and one would assume that was accurate.

Page was none too happy with how things ended with Impact. He posted a message on the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast expressing his discontent with how his match was edited & forced to be a joke, how he didn’t want to use the Karate Man character on TV, and how Impact hurt & disrespected him. This came as a surprise to me, because I thought it was obvious the angle was supposed to be a joke from the beginning. I wasn’t sold on it being the best way to write Page out of the promotion, but I did find the match entertaining. I also had a little bit to drink before watching it, so maybe that played a role. Not sure.

I’m also not sure where Ethan Page goes from here. Talented creative guy, so we’ll probably see him somewhere sooner rather than later. Let’s just hope his heart’s healed up by then.

Luchadors Running For Office!

We know that lucha libre has run into some big problems since the pandemic. Most promotions aren’t able to run shows, giving wrestlers fewer opportunities to work & make money. Some have found other things to do, whether it be running food trucks, training people, or running for political office.

Running for what now? Yep, that’s right, political office. Blue Demon Jr., Caristico & Tinieblas Jr. have filed to run for office as part of the Progressive Social Networks party, which was founded just last year. Each man is looking to attain a mayorship in a different municipality of Mexico City. Now, one question you might have is this: Would the men have to unmask and reveal their identity? They would, but only in front of the authorities in charge of the election. They would be able to maintain their secret identity in public, though this isn’t as big an issue for Caristico because WWE already made his government name a matter of public record.

I haven’t seen any polling on any of these races, but it’s tough to count these men out. Wrestlers have a pretty good track record of success in political races in America & Japan. Why not Mexico?

Well, that’s all we have time for this week! Stay tuned here to the Chairshot for all the sports, entertainment & sports entertainment you can shake a stick at! Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

 


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