Steve Cook is here with your Monday look at the news: as WWE cracks down on third party involvement, AEW goes a little too All Out, and NXT on the move?
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I hope you all are having an enjoyable Labor Day weekend doing whatever the fruits of your labor provide you the ability to do. Maybe it’s drinking mint juleps and watching the Kentucky Derby. Maybe it’s watching wrestling PPV events. Or maybe it’s even doing some Twitch streaming & recording some Cameos before your boss shuts it down. Whatever it is, hopefully you’re partaking.
Indeed, it’s ironic that one of the top stories just before Labor Day involved WWE’s treatment of its…independent contractors. I always fight the urge to call WWE “Superstars” employees. Wonder why that is?
WWE Putting Its Foot Down!
WWE informed their Superstars last week that they would be banned from engaging with third party platforms like Cameo or Twitch while utilizing their character names. Many WWE Superstars have become Twitch gamers on the side, streaming their video game fun while chatting with their fans about what’s going on in their lives. One can see how this could be problematic for a company like WWE, like if, for example, somebody mentioned on a stream that they tested positive for the coronavirus WWE likes to pretend doesn’t exist a little while back. Could present a problem.
To be honest, I’m ill-equipped to report on a lot of what’s going on here. I’m not on Twitch because I’m nothing more than a casual gamer who’s working on a season of Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. on Nintendo 64. I mean, if there’s an audience for that let me know, but I kinda doubt it. I can’t even imagine buying a message on Cameo because it’s just not my thing. I know people do it, and more power to ya, but it’s not me. I’m not paying $300 for Alexa Bliss to turn me down.
Dave Meltzer reported that one of the causes of the ban was Lana advertising an energy drink on her Instagram account. Lana vehemently denied this, as would anybody being outed as the cause of something causing great consternation to their co-workers. Maybe it wasn’t the singular cause, but you know darn well WWE wants a cut of whatever Lana is getting out of that company she is advertising for as Lana from WWE.
After some confusion over the new policy, WWE released a statement to various wrestling websites. Some humdingers in this one, let’s take a look…
“Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry.”
After all these years it’s nice that they admit to “exploitation of these characters”, right?
“Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.”
It’s amazing how all of these companies embrace socialism when it meets their needs. They would love all of these Superstars to make the same amount of money while they get a ton of money on top. Corporations love socialism for themselves, and rugged individualism for the poor bastards they employ. You know the endgame here is for WWE to offer a halfassed version of Twitch & Cameo where they get a cut of whatever their “independent contractors” get. They’ll get some business, but not as much as some of these people were getting on their own. And they can spread it over the roster because socialism is awesome when it doesn’t take money off the corporate teat.
That’s how WWE operates. You know they’re all about the brand, not so much about the individuals unless they can get some money out of them. That’s why Vince McMahon can be presented as pro-Black employee, some of them made money for him and he liked that. He really doesn’t care about whatever his employees present publicly as long as WWE can make some money off of it.
WWE Superstars have already taken steps to make sure their future endeavors can’t be completely owned by WWE. Many of them have their own YouTube channels utilizing their real name. i know folks like Jim Cornette hate the idea of wrestlers putting their real names out there, but situations like this are exactly why this generation of wrestlers are doing that. That way, if WWE lets them go for whatever reason, they still have some value in their actual name & personality. Unlike poor Billy of the Gunn Club, whose TNA names didn’t even stick. Xavier Woods lets us know he’s Austin Creed. Cassie & J. McKay are Iiconics with YouTube channels. Even Colby & Rebecca have a YouTube channel, which is kind of shocking considering how much of a corporate stooge Seth Rollins tries to be.
Irony appears to be the theme of the week. At the same time we’re criticizing WWE for being too controlling of its work force, we have to send some flack AEW’s way for not doing enough to protect theirs.
AEW’s All Out event on Saturday night saw Matt Hardy take a fall off a forklift and land on one of two tables with his legs. His head bounced off the floor and he seemed completely out of it. Referee Aubrey Edwards attempted to stop the match, but Hardy insisted on continuing and the doctor was ok with it.
Hardy & Sammy Guevara went right to their finish, another dangerous spot from a high place, this time a lighting rig they climbed up. Sammy took that bump & Matt avoided further physical abuse, but it was still a very questionable decision to have a human being that had just been knocked out climb up a lighting rig.
AEW has to do better.
I can give them a pass in some areas, but not when it comes to talent safety. Its not surprising that Matt wanted to continue the match, one of those unwritten rules of wrestling is that you must finish the match regardless of any injuries you suffer. Somebody had to step in and make the decision for him. Edwards tried and was overruled by the doctor. Doctors aren’t going to always be right, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Tony Khan reported that Matt was released from the hospital on Sunday, and it turned out he didn’t have a concussion. Sounds like a good development.
Jim Ross also got a healthy amount of criticism for a remark he made about Anna Jay during the show. Honestly, JR is what he is at this point. He can still call a good match, but a lot of the time he’s either disinterested or he’s reprising Jerry Lawler’s old commentary material. If you’re going to have him on your show, you know what you’re getting.
I mean, is it creepy for a 68 year old to be lusting after a 22 year old co-worker? Obviously! I just don’t want to call for his head over it, as I’ll probably be here writing cringe-worthy things about Stephanie McMahon’s granddaughter when I’m 68. I hope not, but it seems likely. As a future lonely old pervert I feel its in my best interest to let others lead the way on this one.
NXT to Tuesday?
There’s tons of speculation going on about the future of WWE NXT on USA. No, it’s not getting cancelled. However, USA seems interested in moving it to another night, where it could get higher viewership and demo numbers due to lack of wrestling competition on another major cable channel.
Of course, that idea goes against everything Vince McMahon has ever stood for. The last thing he wants to do is move a show to another night because of competition. Heck, that competition is the main reason NXT is on Wednesday night anyway. A move might end up happening, but it won’t be at WWE’s request.
As a fan, I’d like NXT to run on Thursday night. Mostly because there’s no other wrestling on Thursday. As a pundit, I’d like it to stay on Wednesdays so WWE & AEW fans continue arguing and boost hit counts of websites everywhere. Tuesday…eh, I can watch Impact then. It would be understandable though, as Impact would put a lower dent in NXT viewership than Dynamite does.
I expect NXT to change nights at some point. Then again, every show does except for Raw.
That’s all the trouble I can make this week. Good night now!
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
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?
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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