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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Non-WWE Stories of 2021

Steve Cook looks at 2021 to see what the biggest stories, outside of WWE, will be for the next 12 months!

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Kenny Omega AEW

Steve Cook looks at 2021 to see what the biggest stories, outside of WWE, will be for the next 12 months!

The tradition unlike any other continues today. Last time, we took a look at what will be the Top 5 WWE Stories of 2021. Today, we look outside WWE. AEW, New Japan, Impact & the entire independent scene. What’s going to happen with them in 2021?

I’m gonna tell you!

5. Can Impact Capitalize off of AEW Involvement?

Impact Wrestling is in a better position than they’ve been in a long time. They’ve made some good decisions and produced some solid stuff, but the best move they made in 2019 was getting All Elite Wrestling to do some business with them. Most of us know the story: Impact executive Don Callis showed up at Full Gear to do some commentary on his buddy Kenny Omega’s match, which led to his being invited back for Omega’s AEW Championship match against Jon Moxley. Callis’ evil plan went into action there, as he assisted Omega’s victory & got the new AEW Champion to make his first statement on the next week’s Impact Wrestling.

Since then, Kenny’s reunited with his old friends from Japan & current Impact Tag Team Champions, Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson. They & the Young Bucks stood tall at the end of last week’s AEW Dynamite. Tony Khan’s response to all this has been to purchase advertising time on Impact Wrestling to hype Dynamite & mock Kenny, Don & Impact. It’s made for some interesting times, and things look to pick up even further in 2021. Will Impact be able to use this exposure to their advantage?

4. New Japan TV?

New Japan hasn’t been on American television since their deal with AXS TV ended in 2019. Losing that deal didn’t exactly help their plan to expand their presence in America, nor did the pandemic. They’re not giving up on it though, NJPW in America is still a thing with an online show & apparently they’re close to a deal with an unnamed network.

Viceland could be that unnamed network, as it’s been reported that they’ve been in talks with New Japan. Considering that Dark Side of the Ring is their most popular show, I see why Viceland would be interesting. It’s not the most visible network out there, but it’s definitely better than nothing. As somebody that likes having wrestling on TV, I hope something develops on this front sooner rather than later.

3. How many belts will Kenny Omega hold?

Kenny Omega has recently talked about wanting to collect championship belts. He’s not going to buy them online like many of you do, he plans on defeating the champions. He currently holds the AEW World Championship & the AAA Mega Championship, and seems to have his eyes on the Impact World Championship. He’d certainly be the favorite if Don Callis wanted to book him against Rich Swann.

Maybe it was just a throwaway line on an Impact promo, but could there be more to this story? Will Kenny find other titles to add to his collection? It feels important to note that Kota Ibushi currently holds the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships, but those might be off limits to Kenny unless somebody can figure out how to open the Forbidden Door. I mean, he could ask Jon Moxley how to get over there, but those two aren’t on the best of terms these days.

2. Can AEW expand their viewership?

AEW Dynamite Nitro Logo

I know, we’re all sick of ratings talk. We also have to throw out the last couple weeks of ratings for AEW, the Brodie Lee tribute was always going to do a big number, and there was a pretty big news event going on this past Wednesday that put wrestling on the backburner for the non-diehards.

AEW’s doing well. When there isn’t news events going on, they’re almost always in the top ten in the demo. There is one concern I have, and maybe it’s not as big a deal as I might think, but one can’t help but notice that there’s a bit of a ceiling on AEW’s viewership. Can AEW get Dynamite up over 1,000,000 viewers on a regular basis? Or will they remain in their current range?

1. What does independent wrestling look like post-pandemic?

Support Independent Wrestling

I’m still operating under the assumption that the pandemic will cool down at some point in 2021 due to vaccinations, and people will be able to attend live events again. Hopefully I’m not being too optimistic, but for the purposes of these articles that’s what I’m assuming. When we do start attending live events again, it’s going to be interesting to see what independent wrestling looks like.

For one thing, what will attendance be like? Will everybody be excited to run back out and support their local indy fed? Or will they be more likely to stay at home? It’s been hard enough for indy feds to keep relevance during a long period of inactivity, if they can’t draw at the same levels they did pre-pandemic, it’d be a pretty big problem for a lot of promoters.

I’m going to be optimistic and say that wrestling fans will be excited to attend shows again. As long as they have the disposable income for it, they’ll be out at the arenas & gyms. Those feds that do bang-up jobs of planning their returns will do well.


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Opinion

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?

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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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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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