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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

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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