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News From Cook’s Corner 10.26.20: Randy Orton

Some of the bigger shows of the week, gave Cook some ammo to discuss! Check out his news corner!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I thought I was getting over the whole “cold sore in an eye lid” thing, so I put some contact lenses in on Saturday. Sunday morning was when I realized I wasn’t over that thing. 2020 is a year when we realize we aren’t over the things we thought we were over, unless you drink enough alcohol or smoke enough weed to convince yourself you’re over these things.

Somehow, I haven’t reached that point yet. I tried! Lord, God, how I tried! I wish I was so dumb to think that 2020 hasn’t completely derailed my existence on this planet. If I get enough alcohol I’ll get there eventually.

There was Hell in a Cell

I did not watch it. I got home after it started, and there was baseball & football going on, so it was a low priority for me. However, some things did happen, and I can comment on them even if I didn’t see them.

Roman Reigns established himself as the Tribal Chief

We all knew this would happen. One of the Usos beating Roman Reigns in a Universal Championship Match seemed hard to belive. You also have to realize that Afa, Sika & most of the Samoans were heels throughout their career. The elders accepting Roman as the chief makes him an evil man. Nothing about this was surprising, other than Afa & Sika actually appearing on camera. As much as people want to tell me EVERYTHING WOULD BE BETTER WITH A LIVE CROWD, nobody in a live crowd would have recognized Afa or Sika, so this played out the same way it would have pre-pandemic.

Miz got that MITB briefcase

We also got a Tucker heel turn on Otis, which is definitely something. It became pretty obvious that Otis had no intention of cashing in that MITB briefcase on any champion that was the least bit imposing. You didn’t see him stepping up to Braun Strowman or The Fiend, and the odds of him beating the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns weren’t great. Might as well give that to the Miz on Raw, as he’s a bit more ambitious and he’s beat the current WWE Champion on a cash-in attempt once before.

I like Otis! But they lost interest in him the second he got that briefcase.

Sasha Banks beat Bayley

I wasn’t expecting that one, even if the betting public was. This feud isn’t over though. It won’t be over until they run through every gimmick match. Do I have a problem with that? Not yet. Probably at some point. Every pairing except Flair/Steamboat runs their course at some point.

Fiend vs. T-Bar got replaced by Lashley vs. Slapjack

Guess they wanted to save T-Bar’s sacrifice for later. Man, I’m trying to make chicken salad out of the chicken shit they served Mustafa Ali, and he’ll do his best too, but…man.

Randy Orton won that WWE Championship

We all knew it was coming. OK, maybe not everybody since Orton was the betting underdog heading into this match. But if you give Randy Orton enough shots at a title, he’ll win it eventually. I don’t make the rules. These things just happen. He might lose it pretty soon, or carry it to WrestleMania for that match with Edge people keep telling me about. We shall see.

I’m sure it was one of the best WWE Network events in history.

Kylie was not Bound For Glory this time around

The biggest news surrounding Impact Wrestling’s Bound For Glory event this past Saturday concerns who ended up not making the event. One of the most anticipated matches of the evening ended up not happening, as Deonna Purrazzo ended up losing the Knockouts Championship to Su Yung instead of wrestling her previously scheduled opponent, Kylie Rae. This marked the return of Su’s Undead Bride character re-emerging after Deonna injured Su’s alter-ego, happy go lucky cheerleader Susie. It was a good match & told a good story, but it wasn’t what people were talking about after. As for the question of where Kylie was: we’re not sure, but she wasn’t at the show. She tweeted & re-tweeted some Bound For Glory hype last Thursday, which tells me that she was planning on being there as of last Thursday.

Bryan Alvarez reported that Kylie missed the show due to an injury that isn’t considered serious. This didn’t exactly calm speculation. Dave Meltzer said she was at the hotel in Nashville on Friday, but was nowhere to be seen on Saturday. Kylie’s last wrestling appearance was at The Collective in Indianapolis, where she wrestled on Saturday night before being pulled from a show on Sunday due to “unforeseen circumstances”. I’ve been told she didn’t look to be injured in the match, but did make a hasty retreat to the locker room right after it ended.

Impact is getting some criticism for continuing to advertise the match up until Deonna hit the ring, and it’s fair criticism. To be fair, it was a lose-lose situation for them, as PWInsider reports they didn’t find out she wouldn’t be there until very late in the process. When they knew she wasn’t going to be there, they could have announced it on social media & their AXS TV pre-show. Deonna ended up issuing an open challenge, they could have announced that she would do that and try to hype up the idea of a surprise challenger. Fans would have been disappointed and it might have hurt FITE TV sales for the evening, but that would have beat the strategy they went with, which just ended up making fans angry at the promotion. I mean, it’s not like fans are going to be mad at Kylie Rae, nor should they be. We all have issues we deal with, some are easier to deal with than others. The hope is that this trend doesn’t end up derailing Kylie’s career, as she’s shown a great deal of potential and has a solid fan following.

PWInsider also reports that Impact management isn’t mad at Kylie and will welcome her back whenever she’s able to reappear. That’s all they can do…hope that Kylie is back on their show & in a place where she can contribute soon enough. Kylie’s absence can always be played into the TV storyline too, as her best friend re-assuming her demented alter ego could easily have resulted in Su Yung taking Kylie out before the show, or banishing her to the Undead Realm, or whatever. Impact went out of their way to take all of the heat on this issue, and I commend them for that. I don’t know how many other wrestling feds would have been willing to. It could have been done better for us, but if it helps Kylie I can’t get too mad about it.

One match changed, and another match saw a finish changed. Heath got injured prior to the ending of the Call Your Shot Gauntlet, which was kind of awkward since he was supposed to win. Fortunately, Rhino was still alive in the match, and due to the pre-match stipulation of Heath getting a job if he or Rhino won, it was easy to make that change.

I reviewed the show for 411, and I think I was a bit higher on it than most. Maybe others had higher expectations due to Slammiversary, and I wouldn’t say BFG got to that level. The Kylie Rae stuff definitely had a negative effect, along with Alex Shelley being taken out of the tag match. Not sure what the deal with Shelley was, and Impact could have done better explaining Kylie’s absence.

I also noticed some backlash to Rich Swann winning, as many don’t really see him as world champion material even if Impact puts him over as the best person ever. I feel like these people need to realize Impact Wrestling’s role in the grand scheme of things. I was fine with Eric Young doing nothing in WWE forever and getting bumped right up to the main event in Impact Wrestling. Rich Swann feels like an Impact level World Champion to me. Maybe he goes further than that eventually, maybe he doesn’t. His win at BFG was the happy ending they like to have on that show. If you’re a big time Eric Young fan, I think he gets the belt back pretty soonish. So don’t worry about all that.

I feel like some folks had some way higher expectations for the show than I did, and higher expectations for the talent involved. See, I operate a different way than a lot of people. A lot of people give more slack to WWE, and hold other companies to a higher standard. I hold WWE to a higher standard, since they have more money & more talent than anybody else. They should have the best shows in this genre by a pretty far margin based off their talent and production. Even their third brand should be able to shut down anybody else. That hasn’t happened. I give the smaller shows more credit, while many folks give the bigger shows more credit. Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten more of a following.

I just wish that Ken Shamrock’s HOF induction was getting more talk. Dude got Bret Hart, Mick Foley & The Rock to put him over on Impact Wrestling programming. Kenny had good taste in friends, as none of those guys would worry about WWE getting mad at them doing anything.

The Injury Bug Bites AEW

All Elite Wrestling talent had a pretty tough couple of days at the office. Rey Fenix’s tremendous match with Penta El Zero M was marred by Fenix landing on his head on a headscissors and injuring his neck. Though Fenix wanted to keep going on in the tournament, AEW’s doctor pulled Fenix out. Penta will be taking Fenix’s spot, where he’ll be expected to lose to Kenny Omega.

Alex Reynolds was knocked out during a four-way tag team match on Dynamite, and seemingly nobody involved in the match noticed. You’ve likely seen the video online by now, it’s a pretty baffling piece of business. AEW was already getting criticism for how they handled whatever happened to Matt Hardy at All Out, and this situation just added more fuel to that fire. Reynolds was reportedly fine afterwards, and issued a statement where he thanked the fans for their concern and emphasized his trust in AEW’s doctor & referee.

There was also reportedly an injury to Abadon, which is somewhat surprising to me since I wasn’t sure she was actually a person. That’s how good she is at playing…whatever she’s supposed to be. Scary is all I can say about it. I’ve read reports saying that either her throat or knee got injured, which seems like a pretty big margin of error to me as my throat is pretty far away from my knee pretty much all of the time.

Wrestling news has a bigger margin of error than election polls. That sounds like a good time for me to tap out, since I am trying not to be too political in these columns. Good night now!


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Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (4/12/21)

Raw Talk faces the Nightmare!

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WWE Raw Talk

It’s Raw Talk, Fella!

After a massive Monday Night After Mania, the NEW Raw Women’s Champion and NEW WWE US Champion are here for some Raw Talk!

 

Kevin Patrick welcomes us back to the show!

A Monday full of surprises capped off WrestleMania’s two nights in Tampa! Kevin welcomes us into the NEW ThunderDome, and is honored to have us here watching. What a great weekend! But Kevin is without his wonderful cohost, Xavier Woods, who had a bad weekend but a good Raw, so let’s recap everything real quick. Drew McIntyre came back strong in a Triple Threat with Randy Orton and Braun Strowman! Orton hit his RKO but McIntyre hit his Claymore, BOOM! McIntyre, the Scottish Warrior, wins and is headed to #WrestleManiaBacklash, May 16th, for a chance at Bobby Lashley! But then Mace and T-Bar had their say with their double slam! This leaves so many questions for us as Raw has a shocking end!

Then, of course, the return of Bray Wyatt. But what’s going on? It’s all very creepy. Then Charlotte Flair returned a bit like a “petulant child,” complaining about missing WrestleMania, and then when the Raw Women’s Championship was on the line in a Mania rematch, Charlotte goes and spoils it all. Charlotte throws Asuka around, beats her down, then boots Rhea down! The Raw Women’s Champion hits the deck as Charlotte has a big impact. Rhea will be here to talk all about that, as well as the returning Viking Raiders, but first, the NEW WWE United States Champion!

Sheamus joins Raw Talk!

The Celtic Warrior is doing good, and he’s here “saving the day.” Hopefully Kevin understands that this is eating into Sheamus’ celebratory drinking time. Gotta make the most of it. Kevin congratulates Sheamus, and he’s US Champion again. The belt is a bit stubborn but they got it on camera. Kevin touches it, and the Irishmen are very proud for Sheamus. A hat-trick for Sheamy, he got this title back a third time. Kevin met Riddle in the elevator, and Riddle showed the busted lip. Both men were battered and bruised but the Bro complimented Sheamus. Sheamus takes us back to that Brogue Heard ‘Round the World, or even ‘Round the Universe!

Sheamus says Riddle should just stop talking all that nonsense. That was executed with perfection. McIntyre is #1 contender to the WWE World Champion with his knock-off, that Claymore, but there’s nothing like the original Brogue! Kevin says Sheamus is in such a great mood. And Sheamus wonders how Kevin Patrick ended up a man with two first names. Is that his real name? Yeah, it’s real. Wow, two first names. Kevin asks if Sheamus was starting to doubt himself, given it’s been five years without a title. Well there are times when you ask yourself, “Where’s this going?”

Sheamus hasn’t gotten an opportunity in awhile, at least not the world title, and he wondered when the next win would come. But you watch the Premier, y’know, football/soccer, NBC Sports, all that. When’s the next win? When’s the next meal? And then when that happens, it’s just plain sailing. Sky’s the limit for Sheamus, he’ll keep going and going. Nice Peacock plug, huh? But what was it like, to be honest, walking out to Raymond James Stadium, with fans finally in attendance? One year, one month and one day since the WWE Universe had been there for the shows.

Sheamus says it just goes to show that we missed them, they’re such a huge part of it. The fans are just a pivotal part and always have been. The superstars feed off the energy and excitement, the chants and all that. Sometimes they dictate how the match goes, but honestly, 25 thousand felt like 80 thousand. They were just as excited as everyone else was, and now after getting a test, maybe we get more as the world gets back to normal. Raw, SmackDown, etc. And they can watch the NEW United States Champion tear it up, knock people’s heads off, slapping them around the gaff.

Where’s Kevin from, again? Sheamus is from the hardest part of Dublin, better than the Southside where McGregor’s from. Kevin’s from the Northside. Maybe talk this over a pint. Sheamus would be if he didn’t have to do this. But who does he want next? Anyone! He’s been having banger after banger match, so anyone else who wants to have one, bring it on! Sheamus doesn’t care about pecking orders, just someone step up! He’ll make ya a bleeding legend! If you can last more than five minutes, you’re on his way. Is that an open challenge? Even the cameraman can try if he wants! Sheamus won’t pay the medical bills, though. The cameraman shakes the camera to signal, “No, thanks.” Sheamus says they don’t make them like they used to. But he and Kevin fist bump and Sheamus says they can catch up again later over a Guinness.

 

Xavier Woods joins Raw Talk!

The cohost is here! He had to shower off from the match he had! His back got beat up with backbreakers, but he and Kofi still won and so Woods had to rest up and get ready for Raw Talk! Kevin appreciates Woods, and Woods shows off his hair. But he wasn’t sure if he was cohosting because no one told him! But that happens sometimes, because anything can happen in the WWE! Kevin wants to say something first. It didn’t go New Day’s way against Styles & Omos, but can’t they talk about being at Mania with fans? The Power of Positivity! Woods has been wrestling for 17 years now, and has been part of the WWE and part of many WrestleManias. Being able to be at the event where fans were back for the first time in a year felt incredible!

When they all went out on stage for the National Anthem, just seeing people, hearing them, there is nothing like it. Woods is trying to learn bass guitar to get that back, but that energy is unmatched, and Woods cannot wait until things are back to jam-packed stadiums! Hugs, high-fives, and talking to friends! Speaking of, two friends of Woods’ are here. It’s THE VIKING RAIDERS!

Erik & Ivar join Raw Talk!

Woods says we needed their theme back so badly. How are they feeling? How’s the body? Ivar’s neck is good, if that’s what you mean. But he is feeling really good. They had a great return match, so how does it feel to be back after months apart? Seven months is a long time, and an eternity when you’re hurt. Erik says it was really crazy. They spent seven YEARS as a team. Some might not know, 2014, Erik’s motorcycle accident should’ve killed him but somehow he survived. His arm was repaired, he had pins and screws, but he came back after six months and they took over the world and now WWE. Then they run hard, Ivar got hurt, out for another seven months.

They’ve done this before, they know how to do this, but it just feels so good to be back! And given it’s Raw After Mania, it is a reset and they can step up. What can we expect from the Vikings now? Well, they showed and reminded some people. Woods, Ivar is pretty sure the tag division was reminded. Woods is excited for them. Seven months was a long time, so now the Vikings have something to prove. Woods says being in the tag division, we have a division that can be splintered, but the Vikings are a real team. The New Day talks about it a lot. They weren’t just thrown together to get some nice wins. They are a real team, brothers in arms! They love and care about each other, just like the Vikings.

That feeling of being out there with your partner, winning and having momentum, what do they want now that they’re back? Before going there, Erik wants to take a step back. Erik tells his wife, Sarah Logan, that they joke about Ivar being his work-wife because he’s the one he sees more than anyone else second to her. Ivar is also very handsome. But without Ivar, and New Day knows what it was like when they were separated, they expect to see that person, and then they remember they’re not here. It’s like you’re in a familiar setting but without the familiar people. It’s the deep end of the pool and not knowing how to swim out. But now that they’re reunited, they have a huge chip on their shoulder.

They were watching what was happening. This is the second WrestleMania they were just watching. Erik doesn’t want to be on the sidelines. He wants to have the ball and score with it! He wants to be in the action! Winning, losing, doesn’t matter, he’s never lost the fight. That’s a T-shirt right there. Erik would rather be out there fighting and losing than sitting in catering, watching others in front of 40 thousand. They were on stage for America the Beautiful, not the National Anthem, but they didn’t want to correct Woods. But they were all out there. New Day ran past them full of energy, and the Vikings felt that. Goosebumps just thinking about it. But they didn’t get to do what they do.

So what threat are Styles & Omos in for? Well they’re like any other team. The Vikings don’t do anything special. They have the winning formula by being who they are, and they will run right through everyone! No offense to New Day, but it’s what they do. They don’t change. Ivar wants to throw back to Woods bringing up them being a team. There are great similarities between New Day and Vikings, same story but told a little different. The New Day came together as a unit and fought to get what they got. The Vikings did it, too, just outside of WWE. In Mexico, in Japan, in Europe, and make a name for themselves to be noticed, then go through NXT to get to Raw.

It is exciting to be a team. They’re not here without each other, same as the New Day. It is exciting to be here with another true team, and to know that New Day’s team and the Vikings’ team might meet. Woods can’t wait. Gentlemanly handshake, and Kevin says it’s great to have them back. A round of applause as the Vikings head out!

 

Rhea Ripley joins Raw Talk!

The NEW Raw Women’s Champion has made history already, and Woods rocks out to her theme song. A big congratulations for her WrestleMania win against Asuka! Woods says he was losing his mind from excitement. They had her on Raw Talk before, she was very focused and intense. Seeing her on that stage, against Asuka, winning against 25 thousand, any insight into how that felt? It was incredible. Being on stage, on night one to hear the performances, it brought a tear to her eye. It was a special moment. And then fighting on night two, being with the band that sings her theme song, that’s a dream come true. It was electrifying to say the least.

Rhea’s still buzzing. She hasn’t been able to talk to her family yet but she hopes to get their thoughts and feelings because it’ll pump her back up. Woods can only imagine they’re just as fired up. The entrance, that was awesome. Rhea battled her way through NXT to get to Raw, and now only does she have a shot at the title, she has the band that does her music! Does it feel different? Definitely! The song sounded different but New Year’s Day is a band she’s listened to for years. They were so humble and being there with them is a highlight of her life. Super rad, super cool, and winning the title was amazing.

Rhea took her opportunity, challenged Asuka and Asuka accepted. They went to Mania, Rhea took the fight to Asuka and now the title is hers. It won’t go anywhere any time soon, either. Kevin asks Woods what the most impressive thing was. It was how Rhea kept focus and kept cool. There wasn’t a time where Rhea was shook, and everyone’s first Mania, the nerves can get to you. She was cool as ice. Rhea says she was lucky, she got her emotions out on night one and was ready for night two. She could compose herself and keep it together. Now, let’s talk Raw tonight. Charlotte was a bit of a brat, but we’ll talk her going after Rhea after the break.

Raw Talk returns and Kevin reintroduces Rhea. There was a WrestleMania rematch with Asuka, but Charlotte had to return and attack her. Was that disrespectful? Of course it was. Charlotte wants to come out and run her mouth? Really? And then act like Rhea won’t do anything about it? Then you go and ruin the rematch? Really, Charlotte? Charlotte’s so mad that Rhea took her opportunity, planned her strategy, and did just what Charlotte would’ve done! Charlotte wants to put Rhea down in all these different ways. But the thing is, she’s just jealous. She’s jealous of Rhea Ripley because Rhea Ripley is the up-and-comer, which Charlotte doesn’t like. Charlotte doesn’t want to be second to someone, and is scared that she’s getting old and will be replaced. That’s why she went and ruined the match.

Rhea is sick and tired of Charlotte. Charlotte can run her mouth, attack from behind, but in the end, Rhea is the Raw Women’s Champion and is here to stay! She might be new, she might not be as experienced, but she loves this business! She has trained for this moment her entire life! Charlotte doesn’t get to put Rhea down. Not anymore! Rhea is sick and tired of Charlotte, and is done with Raw Talk now. She’s sick and tired of talking about Charlotte, and storms off set. Well, thank you for your time, Rhea…

Rhea does have a point about Charlotte, though, calling Rhea the snake but attacking out of nowhere. Woods breaks it down: we’ve seen Charlotte jump into situations to make people respect her. Charlotte must feel disrespected, because she loves the spotlight and believes it should be all on her. Seeing how Charlotte has been since NXT, this all makes sense to Charlotte. But then we have Rhea, who has been doing so much to get where she is, that makes her a target for Charlotte. Rhea is the one that Charlotte sees a lot of herself in and that might be terrifying. That leads to one thing: Charlotte going after Rhea. This is the smart game, really. And saying Charlotte’s too old? Whoa.

But truly a big week for the Women’s (R)Evolution! New champions from Raquel Gonzalez in NXT to Bianca Belair SmackDown to Rhea on Raw, all great stuff! And on behalf of the legend that is Woods, Kevin signs off for Raw Talk!


My Thoughts:

A very fun Raw Talk After Mania, and I like that it was recorded live enough that Woods wasn’t even there for the first segment because he wasn’t done refreshing after his match. Sheamus and Kevin had a good segment together as one Irishman to another, and I do hope that Sheamus brings back the Open Challenge like John Cena. That would get ratings up as they are desperately in need of, and can be a great way to perhaps get Keith Lee back on TV. The Viking Raiders had a really good segment, relating their story to the fans who may not have known it. War Machine to War Raiders to Viking Experience to Viking Raiders, this team being back is great for Raw and its tag division, and I would love to see these guys face New Day and Styles-Omos.

Rhea Ripley was a great double segment, technically speaking. The first part relating the joy of WrestleMania and how awesome that moment was for her, and then the sudden shift when they brought up Charlotte, it was a bit sudden, but Rhea shows she can have range. She can be someone we relate to because she’s still a normal person, but then she can have the fire and the anger to match a veteran like Charlotte. There’s a reason Rhea was inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion, then got to dethrone Shayna Baszler to be prime NXT Women’s Champion, and has dethroned Asuka now to also get into a feud with her and Charlotte.


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News From Cook’s Corner 4.12.21: The E-S-T of the I-W-C

Cook taking the long week/weekend and assessing some fun aspects that came to the forefront! Check out the news!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! It’s been a bit of a weird week for me. While the rest of you are celebrating WrestleMania or the cornucopia of WM Weekend shows, I’m stuck working very long shifts at a job I’ve given notice at. So I’m a lame duck while wrestlers in Tampa are swimming in the rain like ducks. Kind of ironic, I suppose.

What that means for this column: Haven’t finished the show. Watched Night One through parts of Sunday, watched the Broken Skull Sessions with Chris Jericho since I didn’t get home in time to watch Night Two from the beginning. Kind of awkward since this is a news column getting posted the day after WrestleMania, but hell, I’ve written about stuff I haven’t been watching for decades now. Gotten really good at faking it, though my exes would disagree with that notion.

(What can I say? When you’re single for most of your life and getting older, sometimes you try to act like things are working in a relationship when they really aren’t. Fortunately I’m over all this now and am quite happy with life as a spiritual eunuch. I’m not really sure how any of this is relevant to the column, just riffing here to fill space and give you a little update on how things are going. Those who were around back in the day remember I was quite emo about the lack of female attention. Now I’ve kinda had my fill and am good with it, though my friends try to make me think I’m not. I think we’ve riffed enough now and can start with some wrestling news.)

Anywho, here’s the news!

New Announcers For Raw?

WWE likes to shake things up on multiple levels after WrestleMania most years. Sometimes that involves a change in the announce booth, and that seems to be on tap this year. WrestlingInc reported that former ESPN host Adnan Virk will be joining Raw’s announce team starting this Monday, replacing Tom Phillips on play by play. Andrew Zarian added that Corey Graves will also be moving over to Raw, replacing Samoa Joe. No word yet on if this means Graves will be working both shows, or if Joe will be moving to SmackDown, or if Joe will be moving back into the ring, or if Phillips will be moving to NXT UK, NXT India & whatever other NXT pops up in the next couple of years.

Many folks I know like to make a big deal of these things, as they feel announcers are crucial to the overall enjoyment of a show. I used to as well, but the more I watch these things the less I think that they’re that critically important to the sports or sports entertainment presentation. Sure, it’s nice to have a legend of the business, or a dynamic presence in their prime, on the microphone talking about the action. It can get the die-hards through some rough seasons, or some less than compelling in-ring action. Does it really affect viewership? I don’t think so. It’s not like Los Angeles Dodgers fans stopped following their team after Vin Scully retired. On the flip side, it’s not like the 50+ wrestling fan demographic has flocked to AEW Dynamite to listen to Jim Ross or Tony Schiavone.

It’s what the people are talking about that matters, not the people talking about it. Which a lot of us in the talking & the writing business could stand to remember from time to time.

Why did the Hurt Business break up?

It’s the question that was on everybody’s minds right after Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander were sent packing by Bobby Lashley & MVP. Why split them up? It was a stable that was working pretty well together, seemingly getting over with the public in the right way, and added a lot of options to Bobby Lashley’s act as WWE Champion.

The answer seems to be the same answer behind every other decision WWE makes. Cause Vince McMahon said so. He decided that Alexander & Benjamin didn’t deserve a push, which is pretty consistent with how their runs with WWE have gone, and that was that. Really not that surprising when you think about it. Somebody talked Vince into giving them a chance, Vince didn’t see it working the way he wanted it to, and then you had King Corbin backing up Lashley for an episode of Raw.

It’s a shame for Alexander & Benjamin, but it’s not in the least bit surprising. We’ll see if somebody else can talk Vince into giving them a chance down the road. Until then, the checks will clear.

Damian Priest Barely Made It To WrestleMania

I remember finding it kind of odd when Miz vs. Bad Bunny was announced for WrestleMania. It’d been reported for months that Miz & Bad Bunny would compete in a tag team match at the show, with John Morrison & Damian Priest as their respective tag team partners. It eventually got made into that, but what was with the pause?

Turns out that Priest had a back injury and wasn’t cleared until the days leading into WrestleMania. Which is really lucky for him, as one of the points of this whole thing was to get him over. At least I think it was. Now we got everybody talking about how Bad Bunny was the best debut wrestler since Pat McAfee, which really wasn’t that long ago but now feels like it happened multiple years ago.

Don’t know what the odds are on Bunny & McAfee main eventing a future WrestleMania, but I rule nothing out these days.

Becky Lynch & Ronda Rousey Back Soon?

That’s the word according to WWE President Nick Khan, who told Colin Cowherd as such on his radio show last week. Quite the scoop for Cowherd, who was once detested by fans for making fun of Eddie Guerrero after he died & calling wrestling fans “booger-eaters”. Now, he’s got WWE executives appearing on his show. Makes me feel better about getting WWE executives on my non-existent show one of these days.

Becky teased a WrestleMania Night One return on her Twitter account, but as usual with her social media teases, nothing came of it. Dave Meltzer mentioned in the Observer that at one point there were plans to have her show up in a truck during a Bayley talk show segment, but obviously the plans for a big truck were shifted to Bad Bunny. Gotta say that it feels like a misfire not having Becky return at WrestleMania in front of the live crowd if she’s coming back anytime soon. If she’s not, no big deal, but if she’s a Night After WrestleMania surprise in the ThunderDome, it’s not the same as bringing her out in front of 25,000 people.

As for Ronda, she was rumored to be coming back for this year’s WrestleMania when it was taking place in Los Angeles. Dunno if that means she’ll be back for WrestleMania two years from now or not.

Dabba-Kato Returns

Surely you remember Dabba-Kato from his time on Raw Underground. The big fella hadn’t been seen after the end of those segments until Sunday night, where he re-debuted as Commander Azeez & helped Apollo Crews win the Intercontinental Championship. I would say this pretty much guarantees that he’ll be in line for a big push at the expense of Crews, but it’s not like the rest of Retribution has done anything since they dropped Mustafa Ali like a bad habit.

Here’s my question: The guy’s first name is Babatunde. Why don’t they just go with that? It just rolls off the tongue. No need to give him stuff like Dabba-Kato & Azeez when “Babatunde” is right there.

Mox vs. Gage?

The biggest news to develop from GCW’s Collective weekend involved Jon Moxley making a surprise appearance to confront Nick Gage after Gage re-gained GCW’s championship. Moxley had wrestled against Josh Barnett on another GCW show during the weekend, but this was the first time Moxley & Gage had crossed paths since their glory days in CZW. I don’t know if they consider their CZW days “glory days”, but it seemed like a good phrase to use there.

One expects that it’ll lead to a match between Mox & Gage for GCW, which would be a pretty big deal for them given Mox’s drawing power and the fact that Gage will be the subject of a Dark Side of the Ring episode this season, which starts next month. I also wouldn’t rule out a Nick Gage appearance in AEW, as Tony Khan is a huge fan of people from that era of CZW & AEW has seen nearly everybody else in the business not contracted by WWE make an appearance at some point this year.

That’s all I’ve got for you right now. Later this week we’ll do a Fave Five for April, maybe pick up the Top 5 Quarterbacks by Franchise gimmick where we left off, and whatever else I can think of for wherever else I can think of. Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.


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