Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! It’s actually been a pretty eventful week over here, even more than I was intending considering that pro & college football are back in full effect. OK, so maybe college football isn’t quite back in full effect, but do we really miss the Big 10 & Pac 12 that much? Personally, as long as the ACC & SEC keep playing I’m good. Big 12 can keep jobbing to the mighty Sun Belt Conference, the American can try to come up with an undefeated team to get into the playoff…as long as the covid doesn’t totally wreck things it should be a fine college football season.
The covid will wreck things. No doubt. But until then…FOOTBALL IS BACK BAY BAY! To be honest, I enjoyed the weekend much more than I thought I would. Everything has been so weird this year, and even football games are different. We got fake crowd noise on these NFL games, small crowds or no people at all, and you can tell some of these teams could have used an actual preseason.
It was nice, though. Things seemed almost normal. Louisville got bumped into the top 20 in the polls, the Bengals found a new way to lose a game, it was like a regular weekend for me. Some good news for the Bengals though…Joe Burrow looked like the real deal. Not a dominant performance, and that offensive line needs to step it up or Burrow won’t make it through the season. That game closing drive, though. Looked like he’d been in the league for years. Cool as could be, no panic like you see with some of these quarterbacks. He’s gonna be good, as long as the Bengals can find anybody to block for him.
Oh, and as long as the virus doesn’t wipe everything out. Let’s hope it doesn’t, because football is really fun.
You know what else is fun? Pro wrestling! Let’s talk about it! This week seems to remind me of topics from long ago.
Remember when WWE furloughed a bunch of people a few months ago?
Now some of those folks are officially being released. Gerald Brisco, Mike Rotunda & Sarah Stock were let go last week, and Wrestling Inc reported that 12-15 staff members in the Live Events division were let go too. With WWE not running a whole lot of live events these days, those folks probably weren’t too surprised.
Brisco getting released comes as a surprise, only because he had been with WWE almost as long as I’ve been alive. He came on board with his brother Jack when they sold their shares in Georgia Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon, giving the WWF control of that Saturday night timeslot on TBS. He was one of the top road agents/producers for years, more recently he had been focused on recruiting talent for the company. At 73 he’s probably not doing too much traveling these days, but it’s still a bit of a surprise that he’s getting released and not retiring with a gold watch or something.
Brisco has stated that he will have an announcement regarding his future plans on Wednesday. Which of course leads us all to believe that AEW’s going to sign Gerald Brisco and put a championship on him.
Remember when Mandy Rose was on SmackDown?
She isn’t anymore! Late Friday night it was announced that she was traded to Raw. Reaction to this story was interesting, as it revealed who among us aren’t really paying attention to SmackDown. Rose’s move is largely intended as a development in a storyline, as The Miz is getting credit for setting the move up in order to aggravate Otis. Those of us not watching the show or largely using it as background noise were a little confused.
— Mandy (@WWE_MandyRose) September 12, 2020
As for what Mandy Rose does on Raw…I mean, I don’t book these shows, don’t ask me. Feud with Peyton Royce? Rose vs. Royce? Maybe! On the bright side, Raw & SmackDown wrestlers don’t have different travel schedules these days, so one would think that Mandy & Otis should be able to continue their relationship. Unless that darn Raw vs. SmackDown rivalry is too much for them to overcome.
Remember the AOP?
Sure you do. The Authors of Pain were big stars in NXT with Paul Ellering by their side. Looked like they had some potential when they made the move to Raw. Things never really clicked for them there, and they were released last week. Rezar had been out since March with a bicep tear, while Akam was taken off TV because WWE policy has been to not have one member of a team wrestle by themselves while the other is on the shelf. Jey Uso would probably still be sitting at home if it wasn’t for his Tribal Chief. I would speculate on AOP’s future, but I already used the “AEW will put a title on an ex-WWE person” joke once and don’t want to wear it out.
Remember the NAWA?
You probably don’t. It was a Northeast US based indy that had a show on Sportschannel America for a few months in 1992. Featured all the indy staples of the time like the Lightning Kid, Tommy Dreamer, the Tasmaniac, SD Jones, the immortal Metal Maniac and many others. Joey Styles got his start announcing. I don’t remember ever seeing it, though I do remember IWCCW popping up around the same time with a similar talent roster. The NAWA made a comeback in the late 90s & early 2000s, and ran a show in 2012.
The good news for NAWA fans: the promotion is making its long-awaited return. Jingle Brawl 2020 will come sometime this year (around Christmas would be my guess), and the Back With A Vengeance Tour is set for 2021. It seems to be heading to every city in New York, along with the usuals like Chicago, Las Vegas & Indianapolis. The roster is a list of names I’m not familiar with, but there’s one reason I have high expectations for the NAWA relaunch…
Their COO is Paul Roma.
WWE tried so hard to bury Roma on the 4 Horsemen DVD, but his talking head appearance kept that from happening. Made himself look like a million bucks. The kind of guy I want involved in the management of my wrestling company, no doubt about it. They also have Sal E. Graziano involved in talent relations, which is great to hear because he was 600 pounds back in 2000. It’s good that he’s still around.
We’ll see if this goes anywhere or not, but it’ll be interesting to see how promotions fare once things start kind of getting back to normal. I’m still pretty sure things will get back to normal at some point.
Remember the concussion lawsuit?
You probably do. Lawyer Konstantine Kyros represented a large number of former WWE wrestlers, referees & managers in a lawsuit accusing WWE of not informing their independent contractors of the dangers & risks of concussions & head injuries. The NFL & NHL both had to settle out of court with players that filed similar lawsuits, so it seemed likely that WWE might face a similar fate. They did not. WWE won the case, Kyros took it to the Court of Appeals, which dismissed the lawsuit. Kyros will be forced to pay WWE’s legal fees on the matter, which I’m sure were pretty steep.
I always thought this would be a tougher argument than the football players had for one main reason: In football, you were taught to hit people with your head. In wrestling, you’re taught to protect your head. Also, if you didn’t think taking repeated chairshots to the head could create problems in the future, I’m not really sure what to tell you. Definitely feel bad for the wrestlers suffering pain in later years, and there’s more WWE could do to help them. I don’t think the answer will be in a courtroom though.
Remember when ROH had regular shows?
They do again! This past weekend saw the first edition of ROH television featuring new matches we’ve seen in several months. They’ve been taping a Pure Wrestling tournament in a building with no fans, and have taken all kinds of precautions including virus testing. Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham both moved on to the next round this week in pretty good matches. Nice to see ROH up and running again, and we’ve already found out the schedule for the next three weeks:
Weekend of Sept. 19
Block A: David Finlay vs. Rocky Romero
Block B: Delirious vs. Matt Sydal
Weekend of Sept. 26
Block A: Silas Young vs. Fred Yehi
Block B: Josh Woods vs. Kenny King
Weekend of Oct. 3
Block A: Tracy Williams vs. Rust Taylor
Block B: PJ Black vs. Tony Deppen
Nice to see one of my Tweeps, Fred Yehi, making an appearance. Delirious vs. Sydal intrigues me as well, as they broke in right around the same time and faced each other multiple times in ROH, IWA Mid-South and any other place they could get bookings. They were the next version of CM Punk & Colt Cabana in that way. It’ll be fun to see what it looks like in 2020. I’ll be reviewing these shows for the 411, so you’ll definitely want to check that out. Along with all my other work here, of course. They haven’t fired me yet!
That’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.
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!
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:
- NXT UK: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs A-Kid
- Hard to Kill: Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs Moose, Rich Swann & Chris Sabin
- Hard to Kill: Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards
Rating: *** 3/4
- NXT: MSK vs Isaiah Scott & Jake Atlas
Rating: *** 1/2
- Hard to Kill: X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey
Rating: *** 1/2
- IMPACT!: Rich Swann vs Karl Anderson
Rating: *** 1/2
- 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
- Hard to Kill: Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok
- AEW New Year’s Smash Night 2: NWA Women’s World Championship: Serena Deeb (c) vs Tay Conti
- WWE SmackDown: Jey Uso vs Shinsuke Nakamura
- IMPACT!: Tenille Dashwood w/Kaleb vs Rosemary
4t. IMPACT!: Rich Swann vs Karl Anderson
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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?
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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