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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Nerds In Wrestling

With an entire newer company built off the premise of nerd culture; nerds are a big part of pro wrestling. Steve Cook gives you his Top 5!

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Like 99.546903523% of the people that will read this column, Dustin Diamond was a fan of professional wrestling. He made some appearances on shows throughout the years, including an early episode of NWA: TNA & as one of the contestants on Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling.

Of course, he will always remembered for his role in the Saved By The Bell universe as Samuel “Screech” Powers, a well-meaning nerd that was always there for his best friend Zack Morris & was always in love with Lisa Turtle. Diamond’s life post-SBTB definitely had its ups & downs. More than anyone else on the show, he struggled to get out of the large shadow his character cast. His career would never reach the heights it did in the early 1990s, which led to a good amount of bitterness & resentment. This bitterness led to Diamond alienating himself from the rest of the SBTB cast, largely due to a book ghostwritten for him that cast the others in a bad light. Diamond was conspicuous by his absence for later cast reunions. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to be present for future ones, dying of lung cancer at the age of 44.

He made mistakes. We all do. Hopefully he was able to find some peace in the time he had on Earth, and if he wasn’t, hopefully he can find some now.

I can think of no better tribute to the man that brought life to one of the most popular & memorable nerds in television history than by listing the five best nerds in pro wrestling history.

5. Barry Horowitz

We didn’t really know much about Barry’s personality the first several years he was on WWE television. Mostly because he always lost. Dude got beat up by the best of the best until he finally scored a victory over Bodydonna Skip. Once that happened, and Horowitz found a little more success, we got to learn more about him.

Including the fact that he was a gigantic nerd. Big glasses. Buttoned up shirts. He even wore pocket protectors from time to time! While this character turn didn’t exactly send Horowitz to the top of the WWF, it made him stand out from other wrestlers at the time, who weren’t as keen to learn into their dorkiness. I mean, take a look at that mid-90s WWF roster and you’ll see a lot of dweebs & geeks that didn’t know they were dweebs & geeks. Horowitz owned his.

4. Jamison

1989 saw Bobby Heenan leave his spot as co-host of Prime Time Wrestling to host his own show, the Bobby Heenan Show. While Bobby’s show was short-lived, it certainly had a number of memorable moments. Some of them involved Bobby’s sidekick, a man by the name of Jamison that really didn’t have much to bring to the table. Which is pretty much why he was there, as Bobby was surrounded by people that didn’t have much to bring to the table.

Bobby’s show only lasted four weeks, but Jamison would still appear from time to time, most notably in the corner of the Bushwhackers. I heard they reunited not too long ago, maybe they’ll bring Jamison back for a show or two!

3. Kenny Omega

Kenny is a different style of nerd than the others on this list, but he rightly belongs with the rest of the pack. Omega is a well-known video game nerd off-screen, and the gaming world is one of his biggest influences on-screen. Always has been. Back in the day he was using game-inspired moves. These days they have more of an influence on his entrance music selection & ring attire.

Even now that Kenny’s the AEW World Champion and trying to act like he’s above it all, the nerdiness still shines through. The type of clothing he wears outside the ring these days is the type of clothing that nerds would buy & wear if they had a little more self-confidence. Kenny thinks that stuff looks good.

2. Bob Backlund

It does not get much nerdier than Mr. Backlund. We’re talking about a man that even when he was young and obviously a talented wrestler, people called him “Howdy Doody” because he acted like a human version of the kids show puppet. As great as he was as an athlete, he was so awkward in his mannerisms. In later years, Backlund would rarely be seen without a bowtie & suspenders on, and he was always using big words & stressing the importance of education.

Bob Backlund was a nerd, but he wasn’t the kind of nerd you could pick on. We’ve seen that type in school too. Bullies keep messing with them & messing with them, and one day the kid just snaps and bullies the bully. Backlund snapped in 1994, and it’s tough to say he ever looked back.

1. Mankind

Think of WWF’s Attitude Era as Saved By The Bell for a minute. Of course, you have the most popular boy in school that’s always giving the principal problems, Zack Morris. For WWF purposes, Zack Morris is played by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then there’s the cool, most talented athlete in school that doesn’t take any guff from anybody, A.C. Slater. The Rock is our Slater. So who does that leave as Screech? Obviously, that would be Mankind. While we wanted to be Rock or Austin, most of us were actually Mankind. Not as attractive, often underappreciated, but with plenty of good qualities that get noticed every once in awhile.

Mankind’s Lisa Turtle? Mr. McMahon. Mankind did everything he could to get Vince to like him, even dressing up in a corporate-style shirt & tie for several months at a time. Vince just wouldn’t go for it, though sometimes he would use Mankind’s love for him to his advantage. Now, Lisa never went to the extremes that Vince went, but I do recall a time or two where she used Screech’s love to her advantage.

Remember that episode where Zack & Lisa became an item? Regardless of any chemistry they might have had off-screen, people just didn’t buy it on-screen. It felt weird given all the history with Zack & Kelly and Screech & Lisa. Zack & Lisa as a couple was like Austin & McMahon joining forces. The only difference? SBTB gave up on Zack & Lisa after one episode, the WWF drug out Austin & McMahon for months.


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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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