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Mitchell’s Talking Smack Report! (10/23/20)

It’s a special Backstage Talking Smack combo platter!

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WWE Talking Smack

It’s a special ONE HOUR Talking Smack on Fox Sports 1!

In a special FS1 edition, it will be ONE HOUR of Talking Smack! And WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T jumps in to talk with the guests ahead of Hell in a Cell!

 

Kayla Braxton welcomes us back!

Hell in a Cell in the ThunderDome for the first time ever is exciting enough, but tonight really set the stage. To introduce her cohosts tonight, it is the TWO-TIME WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T! And he’s ready to get deep and dirty! And then one half of the #TripleCrownProfits, who were victorious tonight on SmackDown, it’s Montez Ford! He thanks them for having him on Talking Smack.

Now, we’ll have Paul Heyman, who will surely have a lot to say about Roman Reigns’ combination Hell in a Cell and I Quit match, as well as Daniel Bryan, Ford’s lovely wife Bianca Belair, and The Boss, Sasha Banks. To acknowledge how SmackDown ended, things are more tense than ever for HIAC so let’s just take a quick look at what we just saw. It was the Usos pulling some Twin Magic on Roman only for Roman to counter with the ultimatum: if Jey says “I Quit,” he and Jimmy must fall in line behind their Tribal Chief; if they cannot, they are NO LONGER part of the Anoa’i family! It does not get any more serious than that, but here with his own insight, it is the Tribal Chief’s Special Counsel!

Paul Heyman joins Talking Smack!

Heyman shakes everyone’s hands as he sits with the panel. Kayla notes how the show ended just moments ago. Two nights left, and it looks a little like Jey got in Roman’s head. Heyman says he didn’t, this is where Roman wants Jey. Think about the bloodline and what that means. Think about the savagery that shocked people in the late 70’s, early 80’s of pro-wrestling, from Afa and Sika. Think about how any time the Wild Samoans were on TV, they defined “Parental Discretion Advised.” They’re walking into Hell in a Cell, with both WWE Universal Championship, moniker of Tribal Chief, and mantle of biggest star in the WWE on the line!

“Do you think Roman Reigns just wants to walk through his cousin? A champion is only as great as the challengers that he puts down!” Jey finally showed that Samoan ruthlessness that means he is willing to do whatever it takes, “even jump his own cousin from behind,” to be the head of the table, family and WWE. “That is the type of challenger that Roman Reigns wants to put down.”

Booker says that he’s seen Heyman do work for so many years, and Heyman’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. There have been 13 #HeymanGuys. And to just name a few, Rick Rude, Bam Bam Bigelow, RVD, Rey Mysterio even, then CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, and now… Roman Reigns. What is it that makes “the perfect Heyman guy?” Good question. Heyman says a “subservience to the bigger vision, from both the talent and a willingness to do everything and anything to serve that talent from me.” Heyman isn’t here reading a script. He’s never been good at that. If he was doing that, he would’ve sucked at it. Everything Heyman has said about the list of men Booker just gave, whether it was CM Punk, RVD, Rey Mysterio, Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns…  And for that matter, Roman isn’t even really a Paul Heyman Guy. Heyman is more a Roman Reigns Guy.

But still, looking at it, these men were subservient to a bigger vision. If you’re in politics, and in it for the right reasons, you are in it for serving the people. The talent serves the vision, and on behalf of the talent, Heyman will be a fixer, and advocate, a special counsel, and to do anything, even selling his dignity, for the vision of the talent for themselves. If they don’t think of themselves not even worthy of a wrestling Mount Rushmore, but of the entire mountain so that WWE becomes their company. Heyman thinks of Montez Ford as a man who could do that!

“When WWE bought out WCW, who was the biggest star that turned down the Turner money, and came to WWE for the mere opportunity of being a WWE superstar, let alone a top WWE superstar, mixing it up with Stone Cold and The Rock?” Heyman is obviously looking at that man, in Booker T. And why? Because Booker believed in himself. THAT is what it takes. Booker says Heyman isn’t just a manager, but a true Rosenhouse of this business! Heyman thanks him for that. Heyman points out he’s Jewish, and therefore great with numbers.

Kayla knows there’s clearly a lot of pride in that I Quit match on Sunday. Maybe even ego. Ford, someone will say “I Quit.” If he were in that situation, would it be difficult to even show yourself after saying those words? Ford agrees. But this is a different situation entirely, unlike anything before, because it is for the Universal Championship. And the championship is the pinnacle, so why would you quit in the vis-a-vis top match? This match, the repercussions, are even more detrimental. Like Heyman said, it’s about sacrifice. What do you ultimately want to do as champion? Booker wants Heyman to speak on this, too. Booker sees it differently. He’s been the little brother before. He was always taking seconds, wanting to be like another. All those photos, looking back at the family, Roman is always in the middle, standing tall. Jey is at that point where he has something to prove to no one but himself.

Heyman agrees, and as Booker can attest, the ones that got beat up as kids are the ones that end up fiercer as adults. Jey doesn’t want to be second fiddle. But this is the entire family. The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, were on top together and fed everyone in the family. When Yokozuna was on top, he fed everyone. Generations before and generations to come. When The Rock was on top in the ring, he fed the entire family. Roman is doing that now. Roman takes care of the elders, the children, and the children’s children. That includes aunts, uncles and cousins. Jey thinks he’s man enough to be chief. He has an opportunity this Sunday to prove it. Because he got beat up so many times, he is coming with everything he has, as he proved tonight. Booker says it takes a village.

Kayla brings up the consequences have been set high. If Jey loses, he must do Roman’s bidding. If Roman loses, his consequences are “a fall from grace, the likes of which we have rarely seen in the WWE.” Roman was gone since before WrestleMania, not even considered part of the show. But he returned at SummerSlam and since then has been THE most dominant performer in the WWE, that’s Raw and NXT included. If Roman loses now, to a member of his own family, the shame, embarrassment and humiliation of it all…? Saying he quits, but then giving all of that up? Heyman won’t say Roman is never coming back because that’s passé, it’s all hyperbole. But how would Roman ever show his face? And what would the look be on that face? Roman would be giving himself up!

Kayla wants the consequences listed again for viewers. Heyman gets a quick note from Roman. He doesn’t like these questions. Oh, sorry… But what does she want to know? Name what’s at stake for Roman. If Roman says “I Quit,” he will no longer be Universal Champion, “which is his identity in WWE.” If Roman says, “I Quit,” he will no longer be head of the family, “which is his identity in the Anoa’i and Fatu family, which has spanned how many generations?” If Roman Reigns says, “I Quit,” he will no longer be in the position of control of the family, he will no longer be the leader of the family as anointed by Afa and Sika and the generations to come as THE MAN of the family! Roman gives up his position as the number one earner, the single biggest star of the WWE.

“What are the consequences for Roman Reigns? I dare say they are dire. I dare say they are career threatening.” Roman’s dignity, purpose, soul and identity in both WWE and in his family, are all on the line! THOSE are what Roman agreed to in this first-ever I Quit inside the Cell! NOW you know why Roman doesn’t like this line of questioning. It isn’t just professional but personal! And Heyman apologizes for getting emotional because he cares about Roman. Kayla thanks Heyman for his time as Talking Smack goes to break.

 

Talking Smack presents: Wrestling with Your Feelings with Rachel Bonnetta.

The Street Profits have a turn. But once they knock- She can hear you guys! Oh… Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins go inside and take a seat. There are no alcoholic beverages allowed, she’ll have to take it away. Ford makes a move and Rachel says he needs to not lash out like that. She allows his drink one time, if he leaves it with her administrator, Susanne. Susanne’s a nice lady, she makes great banana bread.

Rachel wants to discuss Ford calling himself, “King Tez.” Why is he so full of himself? Is this therapy or a roast? The WWE Roast of Montez Ford. How does Dawkins deal with this? Dawkins won’t let her burn Montez. Rachel wants them to have a session a week for the next year. The next year!? Yes, and they will work on “this” every week. Ford blames Dawkins’ emotions but Dawkins blames Ford’s energy. Do not bring that cup into her office again. Unless he’s willing to share. Rachel wants a sip? Well they’ve got all year now. Laters! Susanne! Where the banana bread at, fam?

The panel briefly discusses the therapy session.

Ford says that was one-sided. Booker isn’t a fan of Rachel. Kayla loves Rachel’s style. But Ford had a great night, winning that big 8 Man Tag, and let’s welcome one of Ford’s teammates in that…

Daniel Bryan joins Talking Smack!

The Yes Movement is back again and Kayla congratulates his return to the ring. Bryan says the big story was that it was Ford who got the pin. This is why Bryan is excited to be on SmackDown. Seeing all the young talent was great. Bryan was there, people were interrupting, but the Profits interrupting was great, and Bryan just went, “Whoa! I didn’t expect this, this is fun!” Yes, a lot of fun. Bryan needs a Solo cup. Ford will get a custom one. Oh wait, Bryan isn’t a fan of cups. No, these are reusable! But the last time Bryan was in the ring was June, the Intercontinental Championship tournament that AJ Styles won. But Bryan still has passion for the title and how it should be handled. He again said it should be defended way more often and again Sami didn’t agree with him. Booker T being a former Intercontinental Champion, who does he agree with?

Booker says he agrees with Bryan. That title always made you feel like you made it because of the lineage who held it. It makes you want to work a little bit harder. Bryan says that he sees it like this. Bryan really liked Harlem Heat. But what pushed Booker to the next level was the TV title. Booker was on TV, defending the belt almost every week. Fans got to see, though they’d seen it before, how athletic and great he was. But you got to see Booker week in and week out, not just athletic, but how much heart he had. Doing that every week brings out the best in the champion and in the challengers. Winning this means you’re the champion, and it makes people work harder. Bryan wants to wrestle against all these different stars at their best.

Booker agrees. Time to talk smack on Talking Smack. Bryan was clearly buttering Booker up, but Booker asks Bryan this: He’s back, and while it felt like a minute ago, he was a kid in NXT. One of the youngest guys in the locker room, but now one of the oldest. To be fair, not that old, just acts the oldest. #DadLife. But he’s working with so many young guys, and Booker heard how Bryan felt he’d lost a step. Losing a step in this business, you know it better than anyone. Booker knows it from dancing as a teen. When he was 16, he was incredible. But in his 20’s, the 16 year olds then were taking him out. Bryan is getting to that point, so what does it feel like? In a way, it’s awesome. Obviously Bryan was watching Booker rise up, but what no one has done is realizing the young stars need a spotlight. They’ve had so much time on TV, fans get excited for them, so that’s why they’re still on TV.

but Bryan realized that what makes Bryan good is his brain, not his body. He sees people like the Profits, or Buddy Murphy even, these hyper athletes. Bryan’s viewpoint on life now, he wants to leaves everything better than he found it. That is for both the WWE and this planet. Native Americans had a concept of being a good ancestor, so that the next generation has it better than you did. Bryan isn’t humble bragging, but he just loves competing. Even when they were in the Performance Center with no live audience at all, there still wasn’t a single person who didn’t love going out and competing in the ring like he did. But then he also realized, what will get young fans and others like when Bryan was a kid, who is now a 40 year old dork of a dad, like we saw earlier, it’s just one of those things. Bryan sees the young stars can bring the young fans in.

For example, the NBA. You see these younger guys getting better and better and cooler with each generation. Bryan loves being a dad, and though he hasn’t said anything, this could be his last run as a full time superstar. You heard it here first! Booker calls it a scoop! Bryan says it isn’t that much of a scoop. You see it in how he does things now. And it’s not about proving HE is the best, just seeing what he and the younger talent can do. Kayla thanks Bryan for being here and hopes to see much more of him.

 

WWE and football have a close relationship, and clearly an influence on each other.

Football greats like Lawrence Taylor and Rob Gronkowski made their impacts in pro-wrestling, but many more football players love pro-wrestling. Big Cat, Ernie Ladd’s combined career, The Fridge VS Andre the Giant during WrestleMania II’s battle royal, and once again, LT being in WrestleMania 11’s main event with his fellow football players. Gronk got in on WM 33 to tackle Jinder Mahal and help his boy Mojo Rawley, while a select few make the full transition from gridiron to squared circle. Just look at Baron Corbin, Big E, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Spears and pounces, anyone?

The work ethic learned through college football was big for Big E. Roman says there’s a swagger and charisma found in both the gridiron and the wrestling ring. Jey says there is the energy from the fans as things get physical that prove the two mesh. That noise is definitely a powerful element that connects fans and athletes in both sports and sports entertainment. Big E gets chills thinking back to those days. Corbin would not trade that experience for anything.

 

Bianca Belair joins Talking Smack!

The EST made the biggEST impact in her debut throwing Zelina Vega around and getting the win. The panel gives her congratulations, and King Tez is so proud of his lady. Bianca knows what those “OH! OH!” all mean. But how is she feeling after her debut? It was amazing. Bianca is blazing her own trail among her family of trailblazers, her parents wanted her to be the best. Do not shrink yourself over anyone else’s insecurities, know your worth and go out there and show it. Bianca knows she is the best, she won’t be shy. She showed up, showed out and showed SmackDown we’re going to have a lot of fun.

And of course, we have KING Bookah. Any advice on how to stand out? Booker does his best to help out the younger generations. But whenever he says stuff, people take it out of context and criticize him. He tried saying something about Naomi and they blew it out of proportion. Same for something he said about Sasha Banks. It’s hard to say what she should and shouldn’t do. But he will say this: she’s on the right track, has all the tools to be the next top star! She can take over the women’s division. He knows she’s very smart, went to three different colleges, and did track & field. Booker would love to network with Bianca, but not on TV. He needs her to know exactly what she’ll be dealing with when it comes to reaching the next level, staying at that level, and then dominating. Give him a call! Tez will help with that, too.

Bianca appreciates the advice. She knows as an athlete that you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Booker is a legend, so she’s open to hearing from him. He says it’s about switching gears, changing levels, making everyone watching feel it. After all, he has a little promotion down in Texas called Reality of Wrestling. A small company but a hardworking one.

And before Bianca goes, she has personal goals her eon the blue brand. First, she wants to let everyone know she is the strongEST, the fastEST, the roughEST, the toughtEST, the greatEST! She showcases that to show who she is, and is very excited to see who comes out on top between Bayley and Sasha, because she’s coming for the title. Booker T says cream always rises to the top. Bianca is ready, she blows some quick kisses to hubby Ford, and off she goes!

 

Booker T teases David Ortiz.

He tweeted out real quick, “Like your suit game,” with a picture of Ortiz next to a plaid couch. But Big Papi responds! “Booker T, let me tell you something! I really liked you before, but now that you are doing this to me, I got this for you, buddy.” Is that a vacuum? He dares the “big water buffalo” to settle this with him! They’re both on Fox Sports! Booker can see Ortiz isn’t ready. Ortiz toned it down from last time, and Booker says this is coming. “Let me catch yo’ ass at Starbucks, with your little pumpkin spice latte!” Will we really see Big Papi VS King Bookah?

 

Sasha Banks joins Talking Smack!

It’s BOSS TIME! She made Bayley sign by any means necessary! Booker gives her props. He was going to get into it with her after their social media beef, but he’s letting that go. No, if he wants to, let’s go! No, no, no, it’s fine. It’s fine that she’s done more than him? That she is the GREATEST? Well in reference to her saying she and Bayley were the greatest tag team of all time, but then Bayley goes and stabs her in the back… Booker and Stevie Ray never had something like that happen.

But moving on, Booker wants to know where does Sasha see herself in the WWE Women’s Division of ALL TIME? Of all time? Yes, of all time! Sasha Banks, TIMES FIVE for the top five! Best superstar! She passed his test. What test? That’s just fact. Kayla asks Sasha about going up against a former friend. Bayley is the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion ever now, a Grand Slam Champion, and perhaps that makes her the greatest. Counting up all the days of all her reigns ever, she’s almost at ONE THOUSAND days! Only one other woman is above her in that. But what we’re forgetting is that Sasha has been inside the cell two different times. Do the accolades matter if Bayley’s never been in the cell?

“A former NXT Women’s Champion. A five-time, five-time, Raw Women’s Champion. Two-time and first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion. And the list can go on and on and look at Wikipedia yourself, Kayla.” Sasha won THE GREATEST match of 2015. There is a reason Sasha is Sasha Banks and her name is bigger than the title. There is! It’s because Sasha is the star, is the marquee, is the conversation, and the #LegitBoss of the WWE. Sasha has no fear. This will be her THIRD HIAC, and she is the Boss of the Cell. And Sunday, she will be SmackDown Women’s Champion to add to the list! Kayla thanks Sasha for coming, Booker is pumped for the match, but Talking Smack will still be back, after the break.

 

Talking Smack gives final predictions of the HIAC card!

WWE Universal Championship Hell in a Cell I Quit match, GO! Ford goes with Jey, Booker goes with Roman. Money in the Bank ownership, Otis VS The Miz, GO! Booker goes with Miz, Ford goes with Otis. Elias VS Jeff Hardy grudge match, GO! Ford says Hardy, Booker says Elias. WWE World Championship Hell in a Cell, Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton, GO! Ford says Drrrrrew, Booker says Orton! And with that, Talking Smack is out! See you Sunday for HIAC and next week for more Talking Smack!


My Thoughts:

This was a really fun Talking Smack with a little bit of WWE Backstage mixed in. It’s a little weird for them to throw in the Rachel Bonnetta therapy skit but that was to fill time. I like that they updated and added to the WWE x football vignette, getting some comments from the former football players this time around. Heyman and Bryan had great segments to really dig into their characters. Bryan burying the lead saying this is for the most part his last wrestling run in WWE, so I really do hope that means he gets to win that Intercontinental Championship off Sami and make it the weekly title the same way John Cena did for the US Championship for a time.

Bianca and Sasha also had good promos, and I enjoyed the natural and obvious chemistry of Ford and Bianca. But while Sasha is determined to be champion and Bianca is determined to be challenger, I have a weird feeling that the winningEST woman in WWE, Natalya, will want to face Bianca first. That actually wouldn’t be so bad for Bianca, and it’ll establish her even better on SmackDown than video packages and squash matches.


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News From Cook’s Corner 9.27.21: Held Under Extreme Rules

New gimmicks, no gimmicks, bad gimmicks…show gimmicks. Cook breaks out the gimmick bag and funnily enough, it’s all News worthy! Check it out!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and frankly I’m not sure what’s going on around here. The Bengals beating the Steelers by double digits surely qualifies as one of those signs of the apocalypse. Though, I’ve seen so many signs of the apocalypse by now that it should have already happened.

(Wouldn’t it be hilarious if it came sometime between my typing this and getting it posted? Nobody would be around to notice that I called it, but I could at least take some satisfaction in it.)

Quick Programming Note: There will be no News From Cook’s Corner next Monday, as I’ll be out of town for work this Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The Week 4 NFL Gambling Picks will drop on Thursday, then you probably won’t read me on here until the Week 5 NFL Gambling Picks. Or if something tremendously important comes up. I never rule anything out, but I am looking forward to a few days away from staring at my computer and hoping words appear eventually.

Owen Hart’s Legacy Honored By AEW

This news broke just after last week’s News column was submitted, and I want to talk about it here because it’s pretty great. AEW & the Owen Hart Foundation reached an agreement where AEW would honor Owen’s legacy a number of different ways. One will be an annual tournament known as the Owen Hart Cup. Hart will also be featured in AEW’s upcoming video game, along with action figures, apparel, posters & other items.

Last week we talked about some of the fallout of the Dark Side of the Ring episode about the Plane Ride From Hell & the negative effect its had on some folks. On the flip side of that, the episode on Owen Hart featuring his family has largely had a positive effect. Doing the show and seeing the feedback from Owen’s fans helped Dr. Martha Hart realize that her late husband still had many fans that cared deeply for him. She also discovered there was a way for those fans to honor Owen that wouldn’t allow World Wrestling Entertainment, the company that set up the events leading to Owen’s passing, to make money off of his name.

I would comment on some of the negative opinion circulating online about this, but it’s not like anybody with an ounce of credibility expressed such things. I know it’s 2021 and the in vogue thing is to pick a side and spend all day telling you how the other side is wrong, but I’d still like to think there are some things we should be able to agree on. Honoring Owen Hart is one of those things, as should be honoring the wishes of his family. We hope AEW proves as up to the task as they appear to be.

Rampage No Longer Moving

It’s official that AEW Dynamite will be moving to TBS on January 5. TNT released their NHL schedule last week, which revealed that double headers will take place the first two weeks of the season, then 10 PM games will air from October 27 until December 29 with Dynamite as the presumptive lead-in. None of those games feature the Nashville Predators, because TNT doesn’t want to make things easy for me.

AEW Rampage was originally scheduled to move to TBS at the same time, but will be staying at its current slot on TNT. Rampage’s ratings in a time slot where people allegedly go out and do things have been impressive, and there won’t be NHL or NBA games on the station except during the playoffs. Tony Khan is happy with the idea of having shows on both channels, and it’s won’t be like WWE’s Fox/USA relationship where people get mad because Roman Reigns isn’t on their show or because they don’t want to promote a streaming service they don’t own. TBS/TNT heat is mostly limited to arguments over who has to clean the office microwave.

TBS Championship?

Speaking of TBS, Andrew Zarian reported that AEW will be establishing a secondary championship for their women’s roster, & will call it the TBS Championship. See, I’d been wondering if they would change the TNT Championship’s name when Dynamite moved to TBS, but with Rampage staying there we won’t have to worry about that confusion.

One definitely wonders if AEW’s women’s roster can support two championships, but they already kind of did that for a minute when Thunder Rosa & Serena Deeb were making defenses of the NWA World Women’s Championship. That title hasn’t been mentioned on TV since Kamille won it, with the exception of a segment building up Leyla Hirsch challenging for it at NWA Empowerrr.

The best argument for a second women’s championship in AEW? Simple: Dr. Britt Baker shouldn’t be losing their Women’s Championship any time soon. Gotta give the other women something to fight for.

Shane Thorne Wants Us To Know His New Gimmick Is His Idea

So word came out this week that Shane Thorne is doing an Outback Jack/Aussie gimmick in his dark matches. I hadn’t really had time to form an opinion on a gimmick I hadn’t seen yet when Thorne took to the Interweb to let us know not to blame WWE for it:

We’ve said it before, but the whole trend of workers taking to the Interweb to let us know that WWE writers aren’t to blame for whatever they’re doing now & it’s Actually Good is rather odd. That being said, a stereotypical Aussie gimmick at least has to be better than being part of Retribution.

Joe Gacy’s New Gimmick Is Already His Old Gimmick

Thorne can only hope his Crocodile Dundee character has a longer shelf-life than that of Joe Gacy’s recent contribution to NXT 2.0. Gacy appeared on last Tuesday’s episode to wrestle Cameron Grimes and introduce his new persona, that of a man that doesn’t need male privilege talking about conflict resolution & safe spaces and hugging his opponents after their match ends. This seems to have lasted all of one match, as the clips were pulled from WWE’s YouTube page and all references to it were removed from other social media outlets.

It seems that this was one of those things that certain audiences liked a lot, as Fox News & the New York Post were all about WWE taking a shot at the woke left. The assumption is that this media attention led to WWE pulling the character, as WWE really doesn’t want politics to seep into their presentation for a litany of reasons. For what it’s worth, I don’t think any left-wing outlets even noticed whatever was happening on NXT 2.0, so Joe Gacy’s cancellation was definitely thanks to the right-wingers.

I do wonder if the character had much of a long term future. It’s tough to challenge for championships and be in favor of conflict resolution over conflict.

Let’s Get Extreme!

Extreme Rules went down Sunday night. I have to be honest with you folks. I made it through two matches of this show and tapped out. Now, some of my peeps at offtheteam.com frequently comment about how the LED lighting & camera cuts and all that stuff that have become trademarks of WWE television. It doesn’t typically bother me as much, but for whatever reason, the neon green & yellow all over the screen had quite the negative effect on my old man eyes and I had to turn the darn thing off.

That isn’t really a knock, to be honest. I know that kids love bright lights & special effects and all of these things that old people like me with declining vision can’t take. Better to market to them, as they have many more years of WWE viewing in their future than I do. Here’s what happened on the show in case you were wondering:

Liv Morgan beat Carmella on the Kickoff Show: Liv is over with the WWE Universe and has more upside than Carmella at this point. Nothing against Carmella, she seems like a friendly gal, but it seems like we’ve already seen her best while Liv still has room to improve.

The New Day defeated Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles & Omos: This match is one of those things that’s a sign of the difference between pro wrestling then & pro wrestling now. Back in my day, PPV matches were supposed to be built to for a certain period of time. Wrestling groups that threw stuff together the day of the show were mocked, because who was going to put their money down if there wasn’t anything announced? Here in 2021, nobody cares. They’ve either already subscribed to Peacock or they haven’t. So what if nobody knew this was happening before it happened?

-It was a good match, which is what the Internet crowd cares about.
-The New Day was there, which is what the live crowd cared about.
-Lashley, Styles & Omos got to do something instead of nothing, so we feel good for them.

It’s completely against anything the experts would describe as “good booking”, but that isn’t what WWE is about, and their fans aren’t bothered by it. I’ve already spent too much time on something that was fun, but was just something to fill time until Lashley challenged Big E to a title match on Raw.

The Usos defended the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against the Street Profits: I felt bad for my buddy that bet on the Street Profits based off my tip. In my defense, my idea was that this would be a hot opener that would feature a happy ending to get the crowd excited. I wasn’t aware they were going to book something with the main event acts on Raw to fill that spot. Once I saw it going on second, I knew my goose was cooked. Well, not mine since I can’t legally gamble on these things.

Match was good, but those darn lights were too distracting, and when I saw what was coming up next…well…

Charlotte Flair retained the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss: There was actually a finish to this one. The spooky nonsense would be saved for later. I still dislike Alexa’s current act, but people keep telling me it’s Actually Good for Reasons, and I don’t care enough to argue with them since the whole thing is easy enough to ignore. Shockingly, Alexa lost in her hometown. Who would have guessed?

Damian Priest defended the US Championship against Jeff Hardy & Sheamus: We went over how this was the obvious outcome, and the right outcome. Not much else to say here, other than the fans getting behind Jeff Hardy speaks well for a guy that’s been booked into a state worse than oblivion for most of the past few months. People gonna like who they like. Well, not me. I’m pretty fickle.

Bianca Belair beat Becky Lynch by disqualification when Sasha Banks interfered: I suspect these three won’t be on the same show for too long, so expect a triple threat match on this week’s SmackDown. Should be a good one.

Roman Reigns retained the Universal Championship against Demon King Finn Balor: Reigns put on a mask to brawl through the crowd. On one hand, it’s smart, but on the other hand it establishes masking up as a heel move. And here I thought WWE wanted to stay out of politics. The Demon demoned up with red lighting like he was the Fiend or something, and was on the verge of winning with a double stomp when…the top rope broke. Certainly a different choice. People will tell you that this keeps Demon Finn Balor strong, but does it really? Dude lost because of a broken ring rope. He’d be stronger if he lost because it was Roman Freaking Reigns.

So that was Extreme Rules. Raw comes to downtown Cincinnati tomorrow, which means I have to deal with WWE semi trucks along with anti-vaxx truckers trying to shut down interstates. Fun!

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and until whenever we come back with more news, keep your stick on the ice.


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(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.142 ~ 23RD SEPTEMBER 2021

With the N-1 Victory going strong, all four blocks are shaping up for their final bouts. Hisame goes over the tournament and all the other NOAH News that popped up recently!

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With the N-1 Victory going strong, all four blocks are shaping up for their final bouts. Hisame goes over the tournament and all the other NOAH News that popped up recently!

NEWS

N-1 VICTORY 

Block A

Kaito Kiyomiya – 4

Kaito Kiyomiya shed the young boy look and went for something darker, debuting a new somber look for his first match in the league. Gone was the blonde hair, gone was the green and the white; he came out with his hair brown, and his clothes dark. Fans asked if he was joining STINGER? Despite his gothic appearance he managed to overcome Manabu Soya and Takashi Sugiura, bringing him to four points and putting him at the top of the table. However, Kiyomiya’s next challenge is Keiji Mutoh, the so far insurmountable wall. With Mutoh’s calling him “low risk” and brushing him off that he will simply defeat him and go on to the playoffs, Kiyomiya has hit the dojo to train like never before.

Keiji Mutoh – 3

With a draw against Takashi Sugiura and a win against Manabu Soya (who he still says is a “big dumb tree to the brain”), Keiji Mutoh is the highest second scorer in the block. His next match will take place on the 26th September at Korakuen Hall vs Kaito Kiyomiya. Mutoh’s last two tactics have been to act the feeble old man, which has been successful so far, but will it work again against Kiyomiya? It should also be noted that Mutoh’s last two matches have not ended in pinfall – Takashi Sugiura was a draw, and Manabu Soya was a submission.

Takashi Sugiura – 1 (out)

Sadly, Takashi Sugiura (despite being a double champion) has not been successful in the league this year, and looks to have finished when losing to Kaito Kiyomiya. He and Manabu Soya will have their final league match, and a chance to pick up some points at least. Disappointment hasn’t stopped Sugi being Sugi however as he has been trolling Soya (even at 2am) about the GET WILD tag team that Soya was in with Takao Omori (who was once in NOAH), and calling him an “Octopus” (rather than the term that Marufuji once used for Sugiura, in this case Sugi means someone big and clumsy…kind of like a big old tree…). Unsurprisingly, Manabu Soya has not responded.

Manabu Soya – 0 (out)

Poor Manabu Soya has ended the league with no wins and bottom last; Keiji Mutoh worked on his knees to make him submit, and he fell to Kaito Kiyomiya in his first match. It may well be that with Takashi Sugiura goading him on Twitter, and neither of them having much to do in the N-1 (for now at least), he makes a challenge for one of those belts that Sugi has.

Block B

Masaaki Mochizuki – 4

Masaaki Mochizuki is riding high, although part of the journey up did mean that he crossed paths with Kendo Kashin. Describing the match as one he had never done before (not least because of Kashin’s antics, but more because Kashin doesn’t seem to have any technique), he overcame Kashin in exactly the same way Kashin defeated Kenoh, by sneak win. Mochizuki’s next match will be a kick war with Kenoh that will take place at Korakuen Hall on the 26th September; if Mochizuki wins he will have three wins and eight points, if Kenoh wins then he gets the four.

Kenoh – 2

Kenoh has had an interesting N-1 VICTORY to say the least. Defeated in his first match by Kendo Kashin (who has been stalking his good friend “Daisuke” over the creation of a NOAH nursing home which he thinks should be funded by Kongoh), and then defeating Daiki Inaba, who he has labeled a “lost child” but who impressed him enough for Kenoh to say was starting to look good in NOAH, he is currently second in the block table.

Kendo Kashin – 2

Kendo Kashin defeated Kenoh to pick up two points, but then was defeated by Masaaki Mochizuki to remain on two. Kashin’s final match of the league comes against poor innocent polite Daiki Inaba, but it may not be over for Kashin completely as if Masaaki Mochizuki defeats Kenoh and goes to eight, and he himself defeats Inaba, he will go to four which means Kenoh finishes on 3. With Kashin’s past antics of bringing ladders as a distraction, locking Mochi in somewhere and attempting to throw him off the balcony, and his mask trick with Kenoh, Inaba is going to need all his wits about him.

Daiki Inaba – 0 (out)

The youngest of the block gave it his all, but has come up empty handed so far with losses to Kenoh and Masaaki Mochizuki. His final match of the series and the chance to at least finish with some points (if not his dignity) comes in the form of a showdown with Kendo Kashin.

Block C

Masato Tanaka – 3

A win against Katsuhiko Nakajima gave him two points, but a draw against Kazushi Sakuraba meant that he as tying with him at three points and at the top of the block. Tanaka’s next opponent is Kotaro Suzuki at the event to wrap up the loose ends at Korakuen Hall on the 26th September. To be block champion, Tanaka now needs Kazushi Sakuraba and Katsuhiko Nakajima to either lose or draw.

Kazushi Sakuraba – 3

Winning against Kotaro Suzuki (a junior) and a draw against Masato Tanaka, has put Sakuraba in a position where he needs for his block makes (all except Kotaro) to lose or draw their matches, that way should he win against Katsuhiko Nakajima, he moves on up. Sakuraba said that he finds Nakajima a difficult opponent as he can’t read his emotion as the smirk is always present. Sakuraba will find out that the match is very easy to read as soon as the smile snaps off.

Katsuhiko Nakajima – 2

Katsuhiko Nakajima’s dream of winning the league again this year, isn’t over yet. Masato Tanaka took the much needed points, but defeating Kotaro Suzuki gave some back. Nakajima’s next opponent is Kazushi Sakuraba, whom he needs to defeat. A draw is not good enough, and loss unthinkable.

Kotaro Suzuki – 0 (out)

He might have scored no points in the heavyweight league, but with accolades such as his technique and his power is that of a heavyweight, Kotaro can return to the NOAH Juniors with Junior pride intact. He has taken on ultra hard wrestlers like Masato Tanaka and a very different Katsuhiko Nakajima to when he knew him last, and that in itself is an achievement for the only junior entering a heavyweight league. His final league match comes against Kazushi Sakuraba at Korakuen Hall.

Block D

Kazuyuki Fujita – 4

Powerhouse Kazuyuki Fujita has bulldozed his way through both Masa Kitamiya and Akitoshi Saito and looks to finish the league with eight points. However, he doesn’t have those last two points yet as he has to get past Masakatsu Funaki first, who has been having a successful league experience as him. The last time they fought it was for a title (Real Japan in 2019), and although things have moved on since then, it’s going to make someone’s league or break it.

Masakatsu Funaki – 4

Reflecting on the fact that this could be the last league that he fights, Funaki has taken a methodical approach by concentrating on who is in front of him and taking out both Akitoshi Saito and Masa Kitamiya in the process. His final block match will be against Kazuyuki Fujita, who he knows will be a challenge to overcome. Speaking in an interview recently, Fujita said that in the league he would like to face Katsuhiko Nakajima, and outside of it, Yoshonari Ogawa.

Akitoshi Saito – 0 (out)

Although he was dressed to funk, Akitoshi Saito entered the league as himself. Sadly, he has not had any wins falling to Kazuyuki Fujita and choked out to a referee stop by Masakatsu Funaki. Two losses out of a three match quota means that he may not necessarily finish the league with nothing, as there is one final match to be had against Masa Kitamiya.

Masa Kitamiya – 0 (out)

Unlike his tag partner, Masa Kitamiya’s league has been frustrating to say the least with two losses, although granted one was a referee stop. Interestingly enough, neither Funaki or Fujita have been in his style, whereas Akitoshi Saito is. This will give Kitamiya a definite chance of at least recuperating some of his losses at Korakuen Hall on the 26th September.

OTHER NEWS

WrestleUniverse

Sanshiro Takagi (assisted by Naomichi Marufuji and other high ranking members of the various CyberFight promotion) made a huge announcement as to the upcoming changes to WrestleUniverse, which will take place from early October, in summary;

  • App in the works – The app, which will be released this year, will be Chromecast compatible. There will also be a mobile version.
  • Site changes – The layout will change, but the logo will still be the same. English language option available.
  • Each wrestler will have a profile and a list of matches
  • You will be able to time shift view, watch in English or Japanese and start from the beginning of the event should you have tuned in half way through.
  • Subscriptions will be made easier, and you can tailor it to your own preference. Also now you can subscribe with password and e-mail.
  • Subscriber info – Fee will not change from 900 yen per calendar month.
  • Old subs will end on 26th September. WrestleUniverse are working on a form for old subscribers to re-subscribe. You will not be charged for October as a result, but new members will get until Jan 22 free
  • Content – The old WrestleUniverse will be replaced by the end of October. There are 8,000 videos with 2,000 being migrated at that time. Eventually everything will be updated.
  • Sanshiro Takagi said they want to add Samurai archival NOAH eventually, but NTV is difficult

Sugiura Army produce, “All Dogs Gather”, to return at the end of the year

In what now appears to have become a tradition in NOAH, The Sugiura Army will hold their traditional show at the end of the year at Korakuen Hall on Monday 27th December. It is hoped that another tradition, the costumed battle royal, will be instituted in Yokohama on the December 25th event.

NOAH The Home (Season 4)

Whilst looking through glossy magazines (fortunately not the type that you see on the NOAH bus), and modelling NOAH merchandise, Junta Miyawaki and Yasutaka Yano announced the return of the NOAH dojo shows. These will take place on the 24th and the 25th September and will be streamed via NOAH’s official YouTube channel. All donations made through Super Chat will go towards maintaining the dojo and the dormitories. In addition, NOAH have also promised a “further evolution” in terms of delivery.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

N-1 VICTORY 2021: Night 2 (18th September 2021, NOAH Special Arena) (Post match interviews)

N-1 VICTORY 2021: Night 3 (19th September 2021, NOAH Special Arena) (Post match interviews)

N-1 VICTORY 2021: Night 4 (20th September 2021, NOAH Special Arena) (Post match interviews)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Kendo Kashin turned up unexpectedly and scared Kenoh (who has never recovered from his last conflict with Kashin), whose habitual look of terror on seeing him appeared. Kashin had popped up to tell Kenoh that he had been thinking very carefully about the name given to the NOAH retirement home, and he had decided that it should contain the fact that it was sponsored by Kongoh. Kenoh (not amused), said that it was a stupid name and one paid for by NOAH would be better.

– Manabu Soya not only dyed his hair and beard red for the N-1, he also wore red contact lenses.

– Fans have called Daisuke Harada vs HAYATA, “Dokan vs Silence”. “Dokan” of course meaning the sound of an explosion. Daisuke Harada is apparently still upset about HAYATA throwing his IPW belt in the bin.

– Kendo Kashin says he will be bringing the Olympic Flame that Kazushi Sakuraba bought to Aomori to Korakuen Hall.

– Kenoh says that he was planning to leak the news about the WrestleUniverse upgrades as he bought the information, but the news was broken before he had the chance to. He’s not angry about it, it just proves that he was right.

– Now that there is prize money, Kazuyuki Fujita is feeling a lot more enthusiastic about competing in the N-1.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Naomichi Marufuji
    Challenger: Winner of the N-1 VICTORY 2021, (GRAND SQUARE 2021 in OSAKA, Edion Arena Osaka 1st Stadium, October 10th)
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Daisuke Harada, (GRAND SQUARE 2021 in OSAKA, Edion Arena Osaka 1st Stadium, October 10th)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Masa Kitamiya & Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Atsushi Kotoge & Hajime Ohara 
    Challengers: Perros De Mal Del Japon (Nosawa RONGAI & Eita), (GRAND SQUARE 2021 in OSAKA, Edion Arena Osaka 1st Stadium, October 10th)
  • GHC National Champion: Takashi Sugiura 
    Challenger: TBA

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Saturday 25th September: Masa Kitamiya debut anniversary (10 years, 2011)

Sunday 26th September: Naomichi Marufuji birthday (42)

Sunday 26th September: N-1 VICTORY 2021: Night 5 (18:00 JST, ABEMA)

* Broadcast note

Hopefully the ABEMA broadcast will be a free and worldwide one, but please note that whether it is or isn’t, if you are outside of Japan you should not subscribe to ABEMA to watch the show as unfortunately you need to be a subscriber to watch replays or to watch the event from the beginning should you be tuning in half way through. Unless you are either in Japan, or have a VPN that you know is compatible with ABEMA, subscribing and the added difficulty of finding a VPN that works is not recommended. A far better investment would be a subscription to WrestleUniverse were the show will be put eventually.

LINKS

Series of interviews with Katsuhiko Nakajima

“Masa Kitamiya is still one of the cute juniors” 

“I simply want to aim for the N-1 consecutive championship”

“Kazushi Sakuraba has a high IQ for professional wrestling”

“NOAH has NOAH’s good points, New Japan has New Japan’s. It is the fans who compare them” 

With thanks to Metal-NOAH, Abeshin and DDT/TJPW English update

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH official YouTube

Picture credit: Tokyo Sports


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