Steve Cook kicks off the week with some advice on not being a creeper, plus WWE TV ratings change, wrestling loses another one of its own, and more in the News From Cook’s Corner.
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We’ve got some things to discuss this week, as we usually do, but the things we’re talking about are a wee bit serious. I’ve got some advice on how to deal with the ladies of the rasslin. Sounds good, right? Stick around, and let’s hook em up!
Is The PG Era Over?
Last week’s episode of WWE SmackDown was pretty notable right from the start, where we saw some familiar letters & numbers in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
AYOOOOO SMACKDOWN IS TV-14
TV-14 IS BACK
— IBeast (@x_Beast17_x) August 15, 2020
TV 14! I know many WWE fans have been waiting years for that moment. They’ve been telling me that the main problem with WWE these days is that the show has to be PG. They tell me that if they could only bump up to TV 14 again, things would be so different. WWE would get that spark back, and things would be like the Attitude Era again.
I’ve never bought it. It’s not that easy. For one thing, there’s the downside of TV 14 that everybody fails to recognize. TV 14 also gave us Hot Lesbian Action. It gave us Kane as a necrophiliac. It gave us all kinds of stupid shit in the early 2000s that made me happy when they went PG.
What was non-PG about this week’s SmackDown? Braun Strowman beating up Alexa Bliss. AJ Styles making a reference to urine. Maybe y’all think this will turn the business around. I don’t see it. Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think WWE making more urine jokes and having their champions beat women will work out in the long run.
Maybe it’s just me.
AEW Goings. No Comings.
AEW made their first releases in quite some time last week. None of which come as too much of a surprise. Sadie Gibbs & Bea Priestly pretty much fall into the same category: can’t get into the country now, and even when they were here AEW didn’t have much for them to do. Maybe they get another chance down the road when people can travel and AEW has more ideas for the distaff side of the roster.
Jimmy Havoc was also released, which comes as even less of a surprise. Havoc was one of the people mentioned during the Speaking Out movement, and had some issues with alcohol & being in public during his time with AEW. He hadn’t done a whole lot during his time in America until forming a tag team with Kip Sabian in the last couple of months of his tenure. It seemed like they were finding a niche for themselves until Havoc got named and reportedly went to rehab. No word on whether the rehab took or not.
I’d feel bad for Kip since he hasn’t done much since Havoc’s departure….but yeah he’s with Penelope Ford. Ain’t nobody feeling sorry for that guy.
Creepiest news of the week.
Scary moment for Sonya Deville over the weekend, real name Daria Berenato. Phillip A. Thomas, a 24 year old from South Carolina, was arrested inside Sonya’s home after attempting to kidnap her. He hid in her patio area for several hours, tried to exit into the house and an alarm went off. Sinya and a friend fled the house and called the police, who found Thomas inside the home with a knife, duct tape, zip ties, mace and other items he intended to use for a kidnapping.
Thomas had been obsessed with Sonya Deville for a number of years, as showcased on his Twitter account.
I don’t like using wrestlers’ real names in my writing because it usually looks like somebody trying to prove they’re “smart”, but the reason I led with Sonya’s real name on this story is simple. Daria Berenato was being stalked by somebody that was obsessed with her WWE character. Daria & Sonya are not one and the same, though with pro wrestling being the way it’s been forever, it’s easy to lose the distinction between the real person & the on-screen character. Wrestling fans need to keep in mind that they don’t know the real people behind what they see on television, or even what they see on social media. And there’s no reason for them to know the real people.
We need to have a discussion here.
I see way too many grown ass men that should know better making fools of themselves on the social media or in the real life. Now, I’d like to think that the people reading this column don’t need this lecture, as you’re obviously people with very good taste in pro wrestling pundits. But then I remember that I built up a large part of my following at 411mania back in the early 2010s by playing to the types of folks that creep female wrestlers out. Maybe some of them are still around, who knows?
I will never blame female wrestlers for being creeped out by the majority of wrestling fans.
I tend to avoid Twitter comments on wrestler tweets the same way I avoid comment sections of most websites. Nothing good can come of reading most of it. For every hilarious GIF, there’s at least twenty horrible tweets that the people sending them wouldn’t dare say to the person’s face because they’d get smacked. And deservedly so. When it comes to the lady wrestler tweets, you can add twenty horrible attempts at flirting & twenty nasty comments about their figure for every productive tweet.
Certainly, the hatred is a problem that needs to be addressed too. The topic at hand today involves those of you who have nothing but love in your heart for your favorite lady wrestler. It’s only natural to want to share your love in some form or fashion. That’s how humans are wired, I’m told. Here’s the thing you need to realize…what you love is a fictional character. It’s either how the performer behind the character chooses to present themselves, or how the writers of the show decide the character needs to be presented.
Now, it’s more than ok to be a fan of the performer. We can appreciate the art. Whether it’s the in-ring skill, the charisma presented via microphone or even the physical appearance, it’s ok to appreciate. As long as you can do so without being a creepy sumbitch.
I can’t claim perfection. You don’t see a halo over my head. I consider myself a recovering creepy guy that tries to be 1% less worse each day. After all, I did have the temerity and the unmitigated gall to rank women by “hotness” for several years. I own it, and I take full responsibility. However, I also feel the need to defend myself by saying I never took it as far as most other people. I can explain why pretty easily, and I think if most of the Internet men followed these steps, things would be better.
There are plenty of fish in the sea.
I’ve never understood people that get obsessed over one person. Unless it’s their spouse, in which case I say “God bless ya!”. I’m all about monogamy when you’ve chosen to be married, or in an exclusive relationship. When you’re just obsessing over one person you’ve never even met…I mean, come on man. What are you doing? Open your eyes, there are plenty of other people out there, maybe even somebody that knows you exist!
Those of you that have known me for awhile know I’ve never been focused on one person at a time. I’ve always had that wandering eye when it comes to the lady wrestlers. (And maybe in real life too, but let’s keep that part of me out of this.) I’ve never been too obsessed with one because there have always been others. I think that’s healthy. If nothing else, it keeps you out of somebody else’s house because you can’t choose which one to go to.
I can’t imagine taking the time to figure out somebody’s address, packing a bunch of stuff for kidnapping fantasies, hiding out for hours, then waiting for the right moment. That takes a lot of work, and I’m not about that. And if I was about work, I might apply it to something that’s actually productive. Like actually being a good writer.
Kidnapping is never a good idea.
I will tread lightly here. The last time I mentioned that a sexual fetish was kinda weird, I got a bunch of foot lovers in my comments telling me how wrong I was. Listen, I don’t want to know what your sexual fetishes are. You don’t want to know mine, and if you ask me I won’t tell you. Unless we’re dating, though in that case I still might want to keep that quiet for a bit.
I know there are people out there that are into the kidnapping fantasy. The bound & gagged bit, all of that. I’m not hating on it. I’m just saying that the people being bound and gagged need to be into it, and with somebody they’re into. We don’t need random strangers sneaking into somebody’s house and tying them up for no reason. I don’t know why this actually needs to be said except that somebody actually tried to do it. Seems like common knowledge to me, apparently it isn’t!
Something I’ve learned the last four years: Common knowledge to me is not common knowledge to most.
I feel like if y’all follow those three keys to righteousness, we’ll be in a better place. Hopefully. If you’ve read all of this and still feel like you want to kidnap your favorite lady wrestler and do horrible things to her even though she doesn’t know you exist, I would suggest clicking off of this column and clicking onto an actual therapist. You need more help than I can give you.
John Bedoya, known during his time in pro wrestling as Xavier, passed away on Sunday at the age of 42. Xavier was most known within wrestling for his time in the early days of Ring of Honor. He became the second ROH Champion, defeating Low Ki for the championship and holding it for 182 days & four successful defenses.
What made Xavier the perfect ROH Champion at that time? Nobody wanted to see him with the championship. Low Ki had just been crowned the first champion two shows before he lost it to Xavier, who had a ton of help from Christopher Daniels in winning the strap. Ki was popular at the time, and Daniels always had a lot of respect from the smart fans, so Xavier winning it came as a surprise. Xavier defending it against smark darlings Jay Briscoe, AJ Styles & Paul London (twice) also came as a surprise.
The guy wasn’t even a bad wrestler. Considering he was 25 & wrestled 5 years or so, he was decent enough. Put him a couple of decades later and he gets a look from Triple H. He just wasn’t a phenom like some of the other names on the ROH roster at the time. He wasn’t Bryan Danielson, or AJ Styles, or Paul London. He also wasn’t Christopher Daniels, who most people thought would be ROH’s first top heel champion. The reason Daniels wasn’t makes sense. ROH wanted somebody with the belt that fans would boo, and Daniels would probably gotten respect from a good percentage of the fans attending shows. Xavier didn’t. He was Daniels’ puppet as champion. He got no respect from the workrate marks. The reign didn’t outlast its welcome either, it was at just the right time that Samoa Joe beat Xavier and started his 645 day reign that established the title as a big deal.
Unfortunately for Xavier, that was his high point in ROH. He did have a badass match with John Walters at Final Battle 2003 and joined The Embassy in 2004, but once he got injured and put out for a period of time he was gone from ROH. He got a title shot against Bryan Danielson in 2006, and a random match in 2007, but that was it. He was scheduled to make a comeback to ROH this year for a Past vs. Present show where he would have wrestled Jay Lethal, but that was snuffed out by the coronavirus. Lethal’s a guy you can easily have a good match with, so it’s a shame Xavier didn’t get that chance.
It’s been a rough year for indy wrestling legends. Especially Northeastern US ones from the early 2000s. CZW has seen a fair number of their early stars pass away, this is the first ROH Champion to pass. Hopefully the last for a little while.
Thanks for reading, until next time, keep your stick on the ice.