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Mishal’s Top 5: Hell In A Cell Matches

In preparation for this weekend’s PPV, Mishal presents the Top 5 Hell In A Cell matches!



WWE Hell In A Cell Badd Blood 1997

In preparation for this weekend’s PPV, Mishal presents the Top 5 Hell In A Cell matches!

In 8 days, WWE presents what is widely referred to as its most brutal, unforgiving & punishing night of its calendar year. The one night of the year where rivalries are settled, blood is spilled (or teased, since we exist within a PG setting) & careers will be altered for the rest of time as superstars step inside ”The Devils Playground”, ”Satan’s Structure” or a variety of other nicknames to list off as they step inside Hell in a Cell.

For decades the cell has been positioned as the company’s most ominous structure, packed with violence, dread or a sense of brutality that is generally reserved for the most personal of feuds. The early days saw the likes of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H & Mick Foley define the cell itself, while in later years WWE saw it a fitting opportunity to brand the structure itself into its very own PPV event starting in 2009, to a fairly mixed response. While the cell matches of the modern-day pale in comparison to the quality of its earlier renditions, Hell in a Cell is still an event the company tries to pour some form of personal stakes into for the sake of making this feel like more than just another show based on a popular gimmick (e.g. TLC, Money in the Bank, etc.)

But, much like any other event based on a gimmick, now is the time fans generally reminisce on what the past has offered them. Sometimes what the worst of a certain scenario has been, but in today’s case, the best of what has become one of the company’s most accomplished gimmicks amongst hardcore & mainstream fans alike.

So, in this list I’ll be listing the very best Hell in a Cell matches dating back to its 1997 inception at a time when the tides of the wrestling world were shifting in ways nobody saw coming. As always, this list does hold some form of personal bias since I’m the one deciding what goes in, but any & all comments are always welcome!

Honorable Mentions

The Undertaker vs Mankind – King of the Ring 1998

For the sake of historical purposes, no list discussing the most memorable moments in the history of the Hell in a Cell concept can be discussed without mentioning the now historic collision between The Undertaker & Mankind at 1998’s King of the Ring. It wasn’t just the match that has defined the career of either man involved, but one of the most iconic contests in the history of professional wrestling of its blatant violence, unpredictability, life threatening risks & some of the greatest calls to come out of the mouth of J.R. Jim Ross in the man’s entire career to this very day.

While this may very well be the most iconic match on this list to many, the reason it isn’t featured in my personal top 5, is because it simply wasn’t that much of a traditional ‘match’ in any real sense. In spite of the ludicrous punishment inflicted on Mick Foley’s most famous alter ego & the story this ended up telling to those watching in person or at home, there are certainly other matches I could name that work better as an all-around contest. I’d imagine this may rub some people the wrong way depending on your stance, but I think other contests deserve more recognition since we are talking about the very idea of a ‘match’ here, and not the moments the structure has brought us since its inception.

5. Kurt Angle vs Steve Austin vs The Rock vs The Undertaker vs Triple H vs Rikishi – Armageddon 2000

Arguably the greatest example of the WWE’s creative team basically taking all of its top talent from the late 2000’s, shoving them into the most violent structure they’d conjured up to that point & doing the equivalent of what 8-year old me used to do in my early days of watching wrestling, simply smash my action figures into one another for a good 30 minutes on end.

There was nothing pretty about the Hell in a Cell match that headlined 2000’s Armageddon but there was never meant to be anything pretty either, it was a car crash, a beautiful one nonetheless. Featuring Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Triple H, Rikishi (in the midst of his hilarious heel turn), Undertaker & of course, The Rock, this match was insanity from bell to bell, never slowing down & always giving you something to drool over from an action standpoint. Every star had a moment to shine, every spot worked due to the chaotic energy of the live audience, the violence was as vicious as ever & this all told an incredible story of the never-say-die attitude of Kurt Angle at the time who was defending his WWE Championship. What’s most impressive is the matches ability to balance all the star power on hand, never leaving anyone, even Rikishi, to linger in the background with everything happen within the ring.

Even the storytelling from outside the cage was pitch perfect as Vince McMahon at one point attempted to do the unthinkable by quite literally pulling the cell down with the competitors within it, only to result in The Undertaker throwing Rikishi off of the cell in one of the most incredible spots the structure has ever witnessed. It was a once in a lifetime spectacle, the kind that can never be replicated again due to its timing in terms of the era it existed within, the star power on hand & just how unhinged an Attitude Era audience once regardless of what you fed them.

4. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker – No Mercy 2002

I’ll admit it, this one is a bit of a personal favourite of mine more than most people I’m aware of.

The Undertaker & Brock Lesnar have had matches I’ve always been a sucker for, from their tendency to simply maul each other onto the verge of death, beat each other’s bodies up into pulps or their incredible ability to tell a story in the ring through simply selling a body part, their matches have always been ones I tend to revisit on multiple occassions. So much of today’s wrestling is jam packed with flips, kicks, dives & endless sequences that it takes away from what wrestling is at its core, it’s a form of art that wouldn’t exist if you can’t tell an effective story to translate into your action between the ropes.

And that’s what Undertaker & Brock Lesnar did at the 2002 No Mercy event, tell an incredible story as the WWE Championship hung in the balance.

What happened in this contest wasn’t necessarily centred around the use of ”foreign objects” as so many other cell matches are, it was a good, old fashioned brawl within the confines of a steel structure between two titans. The match perfectly captured the nature of the old vs new guard, as Undertaker, a war-torn veteran was consistently one-upped by the far younger, more agile & more aggressive Brock Lesnar who targeted Undertaker’s ‘broken’ arm like a shark smelling blood in the water. Despite Hell in a Cell so frequently being referred to as a stipulation favouring violence before anything else, this was anything but that, with The Undertaker’s selling & emotion in particular being the standout element of an unforgiving contest that feels so much more brutal than most other cell matches.

It could be the selling, the story, the performance put on by Undertaker to ensure Brock Lesnar looked like the phenomenon he truly was, the simple violence relying solely on bodily punishment or the matches brutal pace, but there’s a quality this match holds that makes its brutality so much harder to watch than many of the other matches I rewatched before writing this. If you haven’t watched this overlooked gem of a contest, it’s an incredibly high recommendation from me.

3. Batista vs Triple H – Vengeance 2005

If your favourite Hell in a Cell matches are the ones focused on sheer brutality & sheer brutality alone, I’m not sure there are any out there more violent, sadistic & torturous as the war engaged between Triple H & Batista at Vengeance in 2005. This match served as the capping off of an intense feud which served to cement Batista as one of the biggest stars of his generation, culminating in his title victory at Wrestlemania 21, subsequent victory over ”The Game” a month later at Backlash and this final, decisive chapter in their months long feud within the WWE’s most brutal structure.

In terms of what Hell in a Cell represents within the context that WWE presents it, this is arguably the best example of it to the casual fan. Whether you look for blood, barbwire steel chairs, steel chains, sledgehammers, steel steps or an ungodly amount of punishment taken by Triple H to get his former protege over, this was Hell in a Cell down to a tee. Both men went into this looking strong & came out even strong, in particular Batista who lived up to his moniker of being deemed ”The Animal” perfectly, beating the life out of one of the company’s top guys at the time with everything he had.

Considering the in-ring ability of both men being more reliant on heavy blows or sudden bursts of offense, it’s no surprise that this match was the best in their series of matches by a longshot. Neither former Evolution stablemates are wrestlers who’ve put on ”mat classics”, but both went into this seeking a fight, and what we got was one of the best you can come across.

2. Triple H vs Mick Foley – No Way Out 2000

Just for the sake of context, to understand the shoes this match had to fill going into it is something that needs to be discussed. Besides carrying the infamous title of being a ”Career Threatening Match”, Triple H & Mick Foley had the insurmountable task of following up their 2000 Royal Rumble classic over the WWE Championship in Madison Square Garden just weeks prior to this bout, a match widely hailed as amongst the finest of either man’s professional careers. Their initial match was one packed with insane levels of brutality that many thought could never be topped, but nonetheless both Triple H & Mick Foley’s alter ego ‘Cactus Jack’ stepped into Hell in a Cell with a purpose in mind, steal the show.

And the two legends did just that, creating a match which was sadly undermined by the events that followed at Wrestlemania 2000 in regards to the character of Mick Foley, is still one of the finest Hell in a Cell matches to date just off the top of my head.

Not only did this serve as a jaw dropping final contest to a feud filled with insane degrees of violence, in a lot of ways this felt like the ultimate ‘swan song’ in the career of Mick Foley, at least within the confines of this very match. There were countless call-backs to Foley’s infamous dive off the cell back in 1998, use of classic weapons that helped define his career but also an attempt to up the ante by adding fire into the mix, as well as Foley making an already painful dive look all the more painful by basically plunging himself through the ring. Additionally, you had Jim Ross who continued his streak of adding to Mick Foley’s iconic moments with his ever-incredible calls on commentary & a rabid crowd that despite likely predicting the result, showed their love for the Hardcore Legend in spades.

Even though the intention & long-term impact of the matches stipulation wasn’t followed up effectively afterwards, greatly damaging its integrity in the long run, this was the kind of spectacle that makes the cell such an eventful environment for rivals to interact within, especially when it comes to capping off one of the annual blood feuds the company tends to put on. While my issues with it stem more from its follow-up as for the contest itself, it stands on its own as a fantastic match in every right.

1. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – Badd Blood 1997

Is it too generic to place this at the top of my list due to how done to death placing this match at this position is?


Good, because I couldn’t care less when a match is as beautifully booked as The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels inside Hell in a Cell takes place & doesn’t get all the recognition it so rightfully deserves.

This match is what a match placed at the top of any ”Best of” list should be, a standard-bearer, a trend setter, a game changer, a match packed with a plethora of iconic moments, cements the legacy of the stars involved & most importantly, leaves fans with more questions or curiosities going out than they had coming in. Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels accomplished everything I just listed, along with providing the iconic introduction of one of the generations most interesting characters in Kane alongside Paul Bearer at the matches’ end.

Even the action was unlike anything seen at the time, at least by the usual standards. Upping the violence generally seen by audiences up to that point from WWE, feeling like somewhat of an ushering in of the Attitude Era for some but also doubling down on the new, ‘edgier’ direction the product was seemingly going down at the start of the year with stars such as Steve Austin bringing in a new persona to the product. Simply revisiting this match today feels so much larger than you’d expect because of the historical significance this resembles, not just now but even back when it originally aired in 1997.

For being the boundary breaker that it is, for cementing itself as one of the most important matches in wrestling history & playing a significant role in ushering in the largest boom period the industry has ever seen, I can’t think of a single match more worthy of being at the top of this list than The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels.

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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: November 2021



The Inspiration The Iconics WWE Impact Wrestling

It’s Thanksgiving week, and you know what that means!

This is the time we give thanks for our favorite professional wrestlers. And other things, I’m sure. Many of you reading this have other things to be thankful for. I don’t know what those are, but I do know which wrestlers I’m thankful for here at this moment. Let’s dive into the Fave Five!

5. Eddie Kingston

As somebody that was into the independent wrestling scene back in the mid-2000s, I’ve been aware of Eddie Kingston’s existence for a long time. I’ve known that the man was a better talker than almost anybody in the wrestling business. I’ve also known that the man was his own worst enemy, much like Buddy Landell was his own worst enemy back in the 1980s & 90s. If Eddie could somehow find the right place and right time, nothing could hold him back.

This seems like Eddie Kingston’s right place & time. He got a spot with AEW, and he kept getting over. His piece with The Player’s Tribune got him even more sympathy than he already had. The feud with CM Punk heading into Full Gear was perfect. It got Punk into the state people wanted him in. The match at Full Gear was great, even if Punk ended up winning. The only issue? The feud isn’t continuing. But that’s AEW. Feuds don’t last long unless they’re on BTE. Punk & King have already moved onto other things, and we can only hope they get back to each other in a year or two.

4. Bryan Danielson

I know that Bryan’s biggest run came when he was the underdog going against The Authority, and many folks took to him as that underdog. I was one of those guys that followed Bryan during his indy career, and his best run came when he was a total dickhead heel in Ring of Honor. Yeah, he was still short or whatever mainstream fans complained about at the time, but he could out-wrestle anybody put in the ring with him, and he was supremely confident about that fact. Not over-confident, supremely confident. He’d tell the referees the rules, because he was the Best in the World.

AEW fans are now getting that side of Bryan Danielson, and fortunately he has the right opponent to do it against. Hangman Adam Page has been accepted as a folk hero by hardcore AEW fans. They won’t turn against the Hangman for anybody, even when it’s really tempting since Bryan Danielson is a pretty amazing professional wrestler. One of the best I’ve seen! He’s getting to be a total dickhead again while he runs through Page’s Dark Order friends, and it’s amazing.

He’s not lying either. He wrestled the day after he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania! Bryan Danielson has never lied. Maybe you don’t like what he says, but he’s always been honest. And the second he mentioned WrestleMania, those hardcore AEW fans were ready to jump on him. Bryan didn’t bury WWE like other folks that previously worked for them did. He had his reasons, and this was one of them.

3. The IInspiration

I was asked to be part of 411’s Fact or Fiction this week, since this week was decided to be the blowoff for a tournament from way too long ago where Len Archibald & myself made it to the finals. Bad news for me, as Len is much better with the written word than I am. 411 readers will sacrifice me at the temple of the Tribal Chief that is Len Archibald. I can’t blame them. One of the questions of this particular Fact or Fiction column asks us if underutilized people are better off getting released. Two of the most underutilized people in the history of WWE were Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay. WWE never knew what they had with them. Not the slightest idea. The only time they ever put them over was to spite Bayley & Sasha Banks for reasons. They never followed up on that because they didn’t care.

Cassie was supposed to be the breakout single star, except they never followed through with it. Jessie had the personality, and she had the look too but WWE did the best they could to take the look away from her. It was so weird. That’s why I’m so happy they found a place to let them be them. Impact Wrestling is a strange place. Certain people find their place there. The IInspiration seem to fit like a glove.

2. Dalton Castle

The Party Peacock was somebody that original Ring of Honor fans would have rejected in an instant. Some will try to tell me I’m wrong about that, but they in fact are wrong. The very first segment on “The Era of Honor Begins” featured the Christopher Street Connection getting squashed by Da Hit Squad because their sort of flamboyance wasn’t what ROH was going to be all about. It was 2002, a different time. I remember it well, as I graduated from high school. Way too many things have happened since then and I feel way too damn old.

Dalton Castle would not have been a favorite to original ROH fans in 2002. By the time he came around, he was just what the promotion needed. He had a personality the likes of which hadn’t been seen in pro wrestling for quite some time, which was great because the main knock against ROH was that their wrestlers didn’t have personality. Dalton Castle was ROH’s answer to that criticism. Unfortunately, Dalton’s body broke down at the same time he won the company’s World Championship. He fought through a broken back to have a reign worthy of the championship, but nearly killed himself in the process.

Castle wasn’t the same for a long time afterward. Only recently, we started to see shades of the old Dalton Castle. The man was revitalized by the promise of Television. He wanted to make Ring of Honor the best show on TV, even though he was a very busy man. Very busy. We’re lucky to see him when we do. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him now that Ring of Honor is letting their people go. If he’s back to being the Dalton Castle we remember from a few years ago, the sky’s the limit. Any company would be lucky to have his talent & personality.

1. Cora Jade

I realize that I am in the minority of people around here when it comes to NXT 2.0. I can’t really say it’s a good wrestling show, but I do find it interesting. You have to know a little bit about my rasslin fan background. I ended up in Louisville during the time when Ohio Valley Wrestling was WWE’s developmental territory. While I never got the chance to attend a show at Davis Arena until years afterward, I enjoyed getting to watch the future stars of WWE on television learning their craft before they made it to Raw or SmackDown. Some were really good in the ring. Some were not. But it was all interesting to me.

Here in 2021, I have more interest in seeing the people that WWE thinks is going to be their future than seeing people I saw in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago having great matches just like they did in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago and having no chance of making it any bigger than “NXT TakeOver main eventer”. Which is fine if you’re into that kind of thing. Me…not so much.

I’m looking for the next big thing. Always have been, always will be. So when I take a look at Cora Jade, the youngest person under WWE contract, I see the potential. I see her work against Mandy Rose, who WWE wants to be the next big thing. I see Cora Jade get over, and I see the future, which is Cora Jade. People will try to tell me I’m wrong. They’ll be proven wrong eventually, but since they’re a lot louder, followers will act like the fools were right all along, even though they had the wrong opinions back in the day. That’s America for ya.

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News From Cook’s Corner 11.22.21: Happy Eggsgiving

A few shows, some big news, and some more releases. This week had everything! For better or worse… – and Cook gives you the lowdown!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! This is the week where we think about all of the things we’re thankful for. So I might actually do a Fave Five this week, considering the annual Thanksgiving column was the inspiration for the gimmick anyway! Gonna be a pretty busy week though, so we’ll see how that goes.

Before you gorge yourself on turkey, here’s the latest going on in the rasslin world…

More WWE Releases!

There’s a pretty good chance that this will become a regular section of the ol’ column. Eighty wrestlers have been released by WWE during 2021, with one (Samoa Joe. Remember him?) being rehired. Let’s put this in perspective for a minute, as looking at the numbers can explain a lot of what’s going on here.

Raw currently has forty-three wrestlers. SmackDown has thirty-six. NXT has forty-one male wrestlers & twenty-one female wrestlers. NXT UK has forty-three wrestlers. Wikipedia lists four wrestlers under 205 Live, six wrestlers as free agents, then twenty-two wrestlers as Performance Center trainees. If I had to guess, Wikipedia doesn’t have a complete list of Performance Center trainees, so we really have no idea how many people are still hiding there. I seem to recall Nick Khan talking about signing a bunch of people when he was doing that media tour around SummerSlam.

The point I’m trying to make is that WWE has a ton of people under contract and really doesn’t have that many spots. Most of those people listed under Raw & SmackDown haven’t done much of anything in quite some time. The NXT & NXT UK rosters are freaking immense, and NXT is where a lot of the recent cuts have come from. There are going to be more people coming in, therefore there will be more cuts. It’s just best to accept this now instead of getting all sad & depressed every time it happens over the next few months or however long we have before Nick Khan engineers a sale. Don’t spin this as me being happy about people getting canned, I’m just saying “it is what it is”.

So who was it this time?

A few of them were connected to the previous releases. John Morrison would be the longest tenured wrestler of this batch, considering his wife (known as Franky Monet on NXT & Taya Valkyrie elsewhere) was part of the last crop of releases this wasn’t as big of a surprise as one may think. Kind of a dick move from WWE since they’d just moved from California to Florida to facilitate her training at the Performance Center. Other people will have to learn from these events. Johnny has been more entertaining during his stints outside of WWE than he has been in WWE, so I think he’ll do just fine.

Remember when B-Fab was released and everybody thought it was kind of random to get rid of one of Hit Row’s members right after they debuted on SmackDown? Now they’re all gone. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott had been a featured act in NXT and was a top star in the indies before signing with WWE. Ashante thee Adnois was fairly new but had potential, and then there’s Top Dolla. This seems to come down to Top Dolla rubbing people the wrong way, including burying colleagues on social media & complaining to management about B-Fab’s dismissal.

It’s easy to understand why Top Dolla might have gotten a big head & thought his opinions mattered. He was featured on the Most Wanted Treasures show before ever appearing on NXT, so he was obviously a favorite of Paul Levesque’s. He also became the featured member of Hit Row upon their arrival on SmackDown, as his 6’5 330 pound frame played better with main roster decision makers than Swerve Scott’s lack of size. Dude moves pretty well for his size too, so there’s some potential there. Apparently he didn’t show enough potential to make up for whatever headaches he was causing, and the other two guys didn’t have enough appeal without him.

It’s tough, because I like it when people cause trouble backstage & stand up for themselves. Gives me more to write about here. However, I can’t recommend such things in today’s WWE. They’re looking for excuses to fire anybody. Oh, and I also wouldn’t recommend talking smack about the competition’s executive vice presidents like Top Dolla did either. Maybe it’ll impress Tony Khan, who knows.

Tegan Nox’s NXT tenure had more ups & downs than anybody else’s, I’d figure. Whenever she was about to get a push, she tore her knee up. They kept her around though, and finally moved her up to the main roster in July. She was placed in a team with Shotzi and they beat the Women’s Tag Team Champions multiple times, but never got a title shot. Then they got split in the draft, and Nox never even made an appearance on Raw. I don’t have any clue what happened other than somebody wasn’t impressed with Nox for some reason. Seemed like a solid talent to me, but I’m just a dork with a column.

Drake Maverick was released back in April 2020, but was kept around to work the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament and ended up getting his job back due to popular appeal. Of course, he didn’t do a damn thing of note before getting released again, but I think we expected that. Got an extra year & a half of paychecks though, so there’s that. Seems like a nice bloke, he’ll land on his feet.

Shane Thorne disappeared from television once Retribution split up. He did a couple of dark matches recently with a Outback Jack-style Aussie gimmick, but nothing came of it. One would expect him to re-form the TMDK tag team with Mikey Nicholls at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jaxson Ryker was the final name of the list, and was another one that hadn’t done anything notable in awhile. He did outlast his fellow Forgotten Sons in the company, but did not outlast his tag team partner after that group split, Elias. Ryker got some heat back in 2020 when he tweeted political views that his boss agreed with, but it turns out that was the most attention he ever got while working for WWE. How bout that.

We’ll be back with more releases soon enough, I’m guessing. Again, we’re not celebrating these things, but we’re not going to act shocked either. As people have told me, it’s the wrestling “business”.

Did anything interesting happen at Survivor Series?

Becky Lynch beat Charlotte Flair by holding the ropes on a roll-up. In fairness, Charlotte tried to do it first. Also in fairness, it was the same referee that Charlotte took issue with and beat up back in April, so she probably should have seen it coming. Who says WWE doesn’t do long-term storytelling? Prior to the show, Fightful reported the match order, which had this as the main event and everything else in the reverse of which it happened. It’s a good thing Fightful got some egg on their face, as this sure wouldn’t have worked as the finish of the event.

Seth Rollins was the sole survivor in the Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match, because he needed the win. Of note here was Austin Theory having a pretty long run in the match, Kevin Owens walking out on his team like he was Bad News Brown, and Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley doing a double countout spot because they didn’t need to lose.

Omos won the Rock 25th Anniversary battle royal, eliminating twelve people in the process. My takeaway from the match was they were trying to make Omos a star. Then I realized the the match was for Pizza Hut pizza, like how kids read books in school so they can win the Book It contest and get a class pizza party, I guess. I’m confused. How does The Rock feel about Pizza Hut? Never mind, one of the few things worse than political conversation is pizza conversation. If we go down this road we have to talk about pineapples and various cities’ styles of pizza, and I just don’t care about all that.

RK-Bro beat the Usos, and I think I’m the only person that doesn’t go completely crazy whenever Randy Orton does an RKO. We know he’s going to do it in a weird spot. It’s been a thing for like a decade now. Maybe I’m just jealous of these people that are able to react like they saw something for the first time evry time. In any event, Randy Orton has now wrestled more WWE PPV matches than anybody in the history of the universe.

Bianca Belair was the sole survivor of the Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match. I thought the crowd was a little harsh, but it was a pretty sloppy piece of business & the booking was hella questionable. At least Bianca got to win.

Roman Reigns beat Big E to become the Universal Ultra Mega Champion of the Galaxy. Dude needs a few more nicknames so I’m trying to help him out. Big E got to do a big things, but we all knew what was going down here. Seems to hurt the drama factor to me. I may be wrong though, saw a bunch of people online calling it the best thing they ever saw. So what do I know?

The Rock didn’t show up. Apparently I was supposed to expect him to? People sure seemed mad about it.

The big tease for Monday night? Oh, this is one for the books. Vince McMahon got a Cleopatra Egg from The Rock, apparently part of his Netflix movie. Allegedly worth $100 million. Somebody stole it. All the WWE Superstars get to go to Raw tomorrow night so Adam Pearce can question them about it. If this doesn’t equal a record rating, I don’t know what will.

To answer my question of whether or not anything interesting happened at Survivor Series…I’d lean towards no, but it wasn’t an awful show or anything.

Kenny off of TripleMania Regia?

Kenny Omega might have lost his AEW & Impact Championships fairly recently, but he still has the AAA Megachampionship to his name. Omega was scheduled to defend that title against El Hijo del Vikingo at the upcoming TripleMania Regia event in Monterrey, but Dave Meltzer reports that the champion will be pulling out of the event due to upcoming surgeries.

Yep, surgeries. Kenny has a torn labrum, an abdominal hernia, a bad knee, and a septum issue as well. He’s been working through the pain for awhile now, and is expected to be out at least through February. Seriously though, if anybody deserves some time off it’s Kenny Omega. Dude has put the work in, whether you like him or not. It’ll also give him some added time to focus on the AEW video games division.

New Japan & NOAH Working Together

Last week in this column, I wondered why New Japan was holding three different Wrestle Kingdom events, including one in Yokohama on January 8 that didn’t have a fun IWGP Heavyweight Championship match announced for it yet. Turns out that the January 8 show will be a cross-promotional effort also involving Pro Wrestling NOAH. New Japan is reportedly planning on running a number of cross-promotional events in 2021 as part of celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. DDT, All Japan & Dragon Gate have apparently talked with NJPW about participating.

These reports indicate to me that NJPW isn’t exactly bullish on the idea of borders being opened up anytime soon. It’s good news for Japanese wrestling fans though, and will help New Japan fill some cards. It’ll be fun to see Keiji Mutoh back in a New Japan ring, won’t it?

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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