Every faction needs to shake things up from time to time. New members are the best way to do that. Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle has had the same membership for over a year now, so why not add some new members? MJF won his way into the group be defeating Jericho at Full Gear, and Wardlow gets a spot too because why not?
It remains to be seen what MJF or Wardlow will add to or take away from the Inner Circle. Some additions go well. Some don’t. These are the top five additions to wrestling factions over the years…
5. AJ Styles joins Bullet Club
Bullet Club has managed to remain relevant through the years by bringing in new members at the right moment. No faction has gone through the number of leaders Bullet Club has while continuing to dominate. Each leader has left their mark on the group, but AJ Styles was the first Bullet Club leader to take the group to the absolute top of New Japan. He was the first to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Styles attaining that honor so soon after joining New Japan proved that the Bullet Club was the force to be reckoned with.
4. The New Age Outlaws join D-Generation X
A lot of people will tell you that the first version of DX was the best. Shawn Michaels, Triple H & Chyna (along with Rick Rude for a mintue there) were all that were needed to form one of wrestling’s greatest factions. They definitely had some great moments. That being said, business really picked up and DX became one of wrestling’s greatest factions once HBK went on hiatus.
X-Pac was a natural fit, of course, but the addition of the New Age Outlaws gave DX a team that could dominate the tag team ranks. The Road Dogg Jesse James & Badd Ass Billy Gunn also had enough attitude to take that aspect of DX to the next level too.
3. Eric Bischoff joins the New World Order
This marriage couldn’t have worked out better for the individual and the group. Up until joining the NWO, Bischoff was known as the voice of WCW Monday Nitro. Fans wondered why he even had that job, since he wasn’t great at it and Tony Schiavone was the senior member of WCW’s announce team. Of course, people in the know were aware that Bischoff was an Executive Vice President and was making all the decisions in WCW. That bit of knowledge became more public once Scott Hall & Kevin Nash showed up and everybody started breaking kayfabe. Things eventually got to the point where the NWO was so dominant over WCW that somebody on the inside had to be behind the group.
Ted DiBiase was serving as the NWO’s spokesperson & financial backer, and did a fine job of it. However, Eric really took things to the next level once he assumed the position of being the NWO’s mouthpiece. WCW’s figurehead being an asshole and having the NWO run roughshod over Ted Turner’s company was just more interesting than an evil group financed by the Million Dollar Man. I’m a big fan of DiBiase’s work back in the day, but it’s a true story.
2. Rocky Maivia joins the Nation of Domination
The Nation of Domination went through a lot of changes during the Gang Warz. Savio Vega left to form Los Boricuas. Crush went off with the Disciples of Apocalypse. Ahmed Johnson’s tenure with the group was cut short by injury. They needed something big to remain on top of the heap, and they got it when Rocky Maivia joined the group. Rocky’s early face run hadn’t gotten over well with the audience, but the company still saw a ton of potential in him. Creative decided the best thing for Rocky to do was turn heel and embrace the hate of the audience.
Rocky kicked things up a notch right away when he talked about how the fans disrespected him by chanting “Die, Rocky Die”. That charisma we know the Rock for today started to come out during his time in the Nation. This is when he became the Peoples’ Champion. The Nation helped make the Rock what he would become, only the most electrifying man in sports & entertainment.
1. Barry Windham joins the Four Horsemen
It was always going to be hard to top the original Four Horsemen. Even if Ole Anderson was nearing the end of his in-ring career, he was still a tremendous promo that formed a dangerous tag team with his storyline nephew Arn. The combination with Ole, Arn, Tully Blanchard & Ric Flair, with James J. Dillon by their side, was unlike anything most wrestling fans had seen before. Replacing any of the members was going to be a tough responsibility.
Lex Luger tried to replace Ole. Despite Luger’s presence and potential, it didn’t quite work. He ended up leaving the group and forming a tag team with Barry Windham. They would win the tag team championship from Arn & Tully at the first Clash of the Champions. Unfortunately, trouble was on the horizon for Lex. See, the Horsemen had been scouting Barry Windham for a long time. They were impressed with his ability and thought he would be the perfect fourth member. Dillon would convince Windham the Horsemen were the best thing for his future, and he ended up being right.
The Windham version of the Horsemen is widely regarded as the best version of the group. It was the most successful in-ring, holding the World, US & Tag Team Championship simultaneously during 1988. The Four Horsemen somehow managed to improve on perfection by adding Barry Windham to the group.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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