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Opinion

News From Cook’s Corner 9.28.20: Paying More Taxes Than Billionaires

Fantasy Football aside, this seems to have been a solid week for Steve Cook! Let’s see what news struck him as interesting!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy with my online output last week. Especially considering my shoot job gave me more hours that I didn’t ask for. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I pumped out 4 Chairshot columns, all ones that I didn’t hate, did my 411 stuff including a podcast, and got my fantasy football done too.

The FF thing kinda stunk, but everything else went well. I was pretty proud of myself for making lemonade out of lemons…until I realized one thing: I totally spaced on there being a PPV with betting odds on matches! Clash of Champions was even mentioned on that 411 podcast I did, but it never even occurred to me to look up the odds. Dang.

In my defense. Writing about Road Warrior Animal was probably more important. My apologies to those of you who were hoping for my entertainment advice on the Clash, I’ll hook you up for the next big show. I have no idea what the next big show is.

We’ll wrap any notable Clash happenings into this week’s column, along with all the latest & greatest wrestling news people are talking about. So let’s get to it.

Wednesday Night Clash of Ronas

I know that “Plans changed” is a popular joke here in the early 2020s, but plans actually did change for AEW & NXT this week. You NXT viewers noticed some seemingly random changes to their card, while AEW had to change their main event due to Lance Archer’s absence. Archer let us know on his Twitter that he had been exposed to the coronavirus, as did Ben Carter, a youngster that’s been impressing AEW fans in recent weeks.

Clash of Champions also saw some last-minute changes to its card. Nikki Cross was removed from her match with Bayley, while Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax were unable to defend their Women’s Tag Team Championship. The phrase used was “not medically cleared”, which could mean any number of things. Nia Jax implied that Shayna is pregnant on Twitter, but I have a feeling that’s probably not the issue.

We have yet to hear of other confirmed cases, and considering WWE’s policy of keeping such things quiet, I wouldn’t expect to hear anything on their end. We’ll just have to assume that everybody that’s conspicuous by their absence over the next couple of weeks has the coronavirus, which we were kind of doing anyway.

As much as I would like to sit here and blame the evil corporations for putting their employees in danger, all indications are that WWE & AEW are doing all they can. That wasn’t originally the case for WWE, but seems to be now. Maybe you’d like to see a few less AEW company parties in public places without masks, but other than that they’re doing the best they can with testing.

Most of these outbreaks are coming from off-company time events. We’re not seeing everybody that worked a Raw, SmackDown, NXT or Dynamite getting sick. I realize this is going to sound somewhat anti-labor, but at some point the responsibility has to fall on the wrestlers to try and limit the potential of getting the virus. The employer, and government, can’t do it for them, or for us. Even the strictest restrictions and protocols can’t keep us from getting sick if we don’t make smart choices on an individual level.

Not every wrestler is getting sick from making poor choices. Lance Archer got sick from a family member that took their dog to the vet, and there’s nothing wrong with having a dog. And I can certainly understand why wrestlers would hop in a van & drive down to Jacksonville to appear on AEW Dark. That’s a big opportunity for a young wrestler. But if you’re carrying the virus down to the company you’re trying to get a job with, that probably won’t help your cause! Then there’s the parties going on because there’s enough inter-connection with the rosters, enough money flowing around that there are good times to be had. See, wrestlers are immortal and can never get sick, right?

I mean, you do have to wonder about any group of people that considers Glen Jacobs a genius because they saw him reading books. If that’s all it takes to be a genius, sign me up since I’ve been reading this book on the relationships between China, Korea & Japan during my work breaks for a week now.

The virus won’t change all the plans though.

WWE is planning to go back on the road after their stint in Orlando’s Amway Center ends on October 31. The scuttlebutt is that the company has told their independent contractors that plans are underway to travel after then, and has advised their independent contractors not to make any travel plans of their own accord. I think if we’ve learned anything here in 2020, it’s to wait and see. Maybe they will have places to travel. Or maybe they’ll be travelling back to the Performance Center. Considering that’s become a bit of a covid hotbed lately, I doubt most of the WWE Superstars want that.

Is there a draft in here?

You know there is! It’s been almost a year since the first WWE Draft of the SmackDown on Fox era, so it’s just about time for a new one. WWE announced on Sunday night that the 2020 WWE Draft will take place on the October 9 edition of SmackDown & the October 12 edition of Raw. Triple H mentioned last month that NXT would be involved in this year’s Draft, but the commercial states that two brands (Raw & SmackDown) will be involved. So, plans change.

Naomi doesn’t deserve fibroids

In case you were wondering, Naomi wasn’t taken off of television because WWE got sick of fans supporting her. She recently had surgery to remove a “massive fibroid”. In case you’re like me and have no idea about the human body, a fibroid is a noncancerous growth in the uterus. That does not sound like fun, but fortunately Naomi says she’s recovering well and should be back soon.

RETRIBUTION finds their niche as Twitter shitposters

Our favorite Raw-exclusive group looking to tear WWE part from within has gotten a ton of flack lately, but are starting to make this ill-conceived storyline work for them. That’s what you have to do as a wrestler, if creative gives you chickenshit you gotta make chicken salad out of it. T-Bar has taken to quoting Bane from Dark Knight Rises most of the time & excluding select former WWE Superstars from his wrath. X-Pac & Booker T have earned spots on T-Bar’s good side, mostly due to the similarity of their names. Chris Jericho tried to dunk on T-Bar’s explanation of the gimmick, to which T-Bar replied with headlines about Jericho’s ill-conceived Sturgis concert. Gotta love it.

Then there’s Mia “Reckoning” Yim, who went to the classic response of “She’s not going to sleep with you.” when a Tweeter told her that Anna Jay was better. I will never understand fans’ desire to rank wrestlers and tell a wrestler who they think is better than them. I mean, I used to rank wrestlers, but you never saw me tagging somebody on Twitter to tell them “Hey, you’re eight slots behind Maryse”. Not my deal.

Anyway, it only makes sense that RETRIBUTION would begin building their brand on social media. It worked for QAnon.

Jerry Lawler celebrates 50 years in wrestling

The King held an anniversary show in Jackson, Tennessee at a baseball park. Some notable names on the card from days gone by, even a main event with a THUNDERDOME steel cage match pitting Lawler & the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express against Doug Gilbert, Tommy Rich & Matt Riviera. Masks were required for entry but not too many folks were wearing them after they entered. Good thing Samoa Joe was back on commentary at Clash of Champions.

And that’s all we have time for this week! Join me in the next few days for all sorts of new shenanigans here at The Chairshot! Until then, keep your stick on the ice.


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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