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News From Cook’s Corner 10.19.20: John Cena

Cook discusses lineup changes, relationship changes and cool things when the year changes! Cue the Bowie and read Steve Cook’s musings!



Hi, hello and welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! The twelve of you who are regular readers of this column may have been wondering where it was last Monday. I alluded to some eye problems on the Twitter machine, and now that I’m at 99% per my doctor, I can now tell you that I had a cold sore on my right eyelid.

Yes, that’s a thing that happens.

I’d previously felt some pain in my eye back in April, which led to an infection. This was especially worrying since it was back when people were afraid of getting the coronavirus and one of the symptoms reportedly was pinkeye. The pain eventually went away, and even though I still couldn’t keep a contact lens in there without some pain, I moved on with my life. The pain started coming back, so I arranged an appointment with my eye doctor, who gave me some eye drops to hopefully cure my eye. The eye drops have the side effect of causing an allergic reaction if you happen to have a cold sore, so October 9 & 10 saw me dealing with that instead of doing my usual stuff.

One of many things I’ve learned this year is to put my health far ahead of my writing. To be honest, my mental & physical health have taken quite the downturn during 2020. I know I’m not alone here, but I also know I have to do what I can to make things better. If it means certain aspects of my schedule have to change, I’ll have to do that. I also have to pay attention to what’s going on with me. Unfortunately, some of my friends failed to do that with themselves, and didn’t get a chance to learn from their mistakes. I still have a chance to learn from mine.

Fortunately, I’m ok right here & now, so here’s some news for ya!

Raw Underground Goes Under

The last couple of weeks have seen various reports concerning the future of Raw Underground. First it was cancelled. Then it wasn’t. Right this second, it is done for now. Plans might change, we’ll see.

The death knell was when all the NXT/trainees being used as extras for Raw Underground started testing positive for the covid. This all happened right when reports were getting out about how some of the folks working at the Performance Center were being pretty lax with the guidelines and certain trainees felt uncomfortable there.

Listen. I’m not saying that NXT’s head honcho and grand poobah of the Performance Center had anything to do with any of this. I don’t know if he’s a covid-denier or not. I do know that some of his friends working there are, but I’m not saying that anybody was encouraged to be an idiot and get the trainees sick. It would be reckless and irresponsible of me to suggest such a thing.

Why, I’m sure that Triple H is just as disappointed as everybody else is that Shane McMahon’s crazy Raw Underground idea didn’t revolutionize the business. It’s a shame that everybody will go back to ignoring Shane’s creative ideas. Tough break, kid.

And just so we’re clear, I never said that all of these people getting sick was an attempt to kill off the Raw Underground idea. I just noted it was one of the side effects, that’s all. Do not put words in my mouth that I may or may not have hypothetically floated out there.

Big Push for Big E?

As we all know, the New Day were split by the recent WWE Draft. Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston will head to Raw while Big E remains on SmackDown. This reportedly was done to facilitate a Big E main event push, as WWE hopes to make E more “serious”, or at least as serious as a man can be in a business where he makes his living rolling on the mat with another man whilst wearing tights.
How many times have we heard about a rumored Big E main event push since 2013? This definitely falls under the “I’ll believe it when I see it” umbrella. Love Big E, it’ll be great if he gets that push, but I’m not holding my breath.

I am pleased that they managed to keep New Day friends at the end of all this. Turning them against each other would have been one of the saddest moments of 2020, and there’s a ton of competition in that category.

I’m not sure this is news…

Rumor has it that John Cena & Undertaker will be contacted about participating at WrestleMania 37 in Tampa or wherever the virus lets WWE hold the event. I would be more surprised if this didn’t happen, and question whether it’s worth reporting or not.

But hey, it’s a reason to put John Cena & Undertaker in a headline, and people click on those names. I get it. Same reason somebody mentions The Rock maybe someday wrestling Roman Reigns at WrestleMania one of these years. We have nothing new to say about any of these people, but here’s their names! Click, damn you!

Actually. This gives me a new idea for titles of these things. Just random names of big stars every week, whether they appear in the column or not! That’ll get some clicks and put me back in the good graces of the brass. Good idea, Steve!

And we can start with John Cena since he also got married last week. Some people were surprised by this since it took forever for Nikki Bella to get him to propose, and they never walked down the aisle.

I wasn’t.

Reminds me of an old business associate of my father’s. Did the ol’ married/divorce thing like Cena did. Dated a woman for freaking ever, never any intention of getting married, at least on his end. Broke up with her and married another woman soon after. I was surprised at the time, and even more surprised when the marriage actually lasted more than a few months. Still going, to the best of my knowledge.

The lesson here: just because a man doesn’t want to get married while he’s dating the same woman for years doesn’t mean he won’t meet somebody else that will change his mind. Also, if you’ve been dating the same person for years, they don’t want to get married and you finally wear them down into doing it, it probably won’t end well.

I don’t know why this column is turning into random ponderings on relationships. This is what happens when I swear off mixing politics into my wrestling writing.

Lars Sullivan Returns

Two Fridays ago saw the long-awaited return of Lars Sullivan to Friday Night SmackDown. In case you had forgotten (I had in fact forgotten), Lars suffered a severe knee injury on an episode of Raw in June 2019. He was originally expected to be out for six to nine months, but around the same time we found out that Lars Sullivan had been a racist & bigot on the Internet. Sexist, mysogonist, pretty much any kind of “ist” you can think of.

So if Bianca Belair is the “EST” of WWE, can we call Lars Sullivan the “IST” of WWE?


Anyway, Lars (who I keep trying to call “Lard” here for unknown reasons), paid a fine and went to sensitivity training. We forgot about him for a little while until somebody uncovered the information that he had done some pornographic material of the same-sex quality. Which in itself wouldn’t be a huge deal, but when you consider how angry Mr. Sullivan was was towards homosexuals in his previous Internet posts, you have to get out the Stamp of Hypocrisy.

Lars has finally returned, he’s getting that big push now, and we all saw this coming. Vince McMahon is high on Lars Sullivan, and people complaining about Lars will only make Vince push him harder. That’s always been his MO, and it isn’t changing now.

Wrestle Kingdom 15 on for 2021

Can we skip ahead to 2021? Just forget this whole 2020 thing and move on? New Japan has announced that Wrestle Kingdom will take place in the Tokyo Dome on its traditional date of January 4, along with their new tradition of a second date on January 5. One would expect G1 Climax winner Kota Ibushi to be involved in the main event challenging for the IWGP Championship on one of those nights.

Japan’s coronavirus experience seems to be going much better than America’s, so I’m not sure if they will be allowing any American-based wrestlers to make the trip.

Ben Carter to WWE

A few weeks back, AEW had a special Late Night edition of Dynamite after an NBA playoff game. One of the featured matches pitted Scorpio Sky against Ben Carter, a young man who had made some appearances on Dark. The match got over pretty well and social media was imploring AEW to sign Carter.

A couple of things happened. For one, Carter tested positive for the coronavirus. Then, other companies got interested, and word is that Carter will be signing with WWE to be part of their NXT: UK promotion. If Ben Carter would prefer to live in his home country, it seems like a good idea to me. As for AEW, these things are going to happen when you feature unsigned talent on your programming. Sure, it’s a nice surprise for the fans, but it’s also a great scouting opportunity for your competition.

Thanks for reading, everybody! I conclude this week’s edition of News From Cook’s Corner with one request: Can we get the Stunt Family out of pro wrestling? Nothing against Mama & Papa Stunt, but Logan sexually harassing people & Marko taking part in a match with a sex toy involved pretty much killed any potential goodwill towards independent wrestling coming out of The Collective event. Small request, especially considering the two of them combined don’t weigh as much as I do.

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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…


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!

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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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