So this week while we were all spending too much time on Twitter the WWE on Fox account put out one of those ‘You got $15, pick your team’ for some of the ladies in the WWE, with different dollar amounts per row. Now the real hook to these things is who costs ‘too much’ and who’s getting shafted by being listed way too low. But in the world of pro wrestling, where that decision is being made about you by the boss with no way to overcome it on the field it can have a whole different meaning. After all, if you’re in the $1 tier you can’t just go out there and beat one of the $5 tier women because it’s not a shoot fight. So being in the $1 tier can be a bit too on the nose sometimes. Which brings us to Natalya, who was listed on that tier and went off about it, followed by several of her co-workers, leading to another banner day on Wrestling Twitter.
I’ll admit that my initial reaction was “y’all are really mad about THAT?” but over time and after some conversations here and there I looked at it a different way. One of the things that I saw that made a lot of sense was that the tier meme wasn’t coming from some random guy on Twitter or some dirtsheet writer or some YouTuber, it was WWE on FOX who are in connection with her employer. And because of that it can easily be taken as a sign of what her employer thinks about her. And that would sting no matter who you are. Look, most of us are some level of expendable on our jobs but you don’t want them telling you that.
Yeah, but they did these with the men and nobody cared!
OK, you do know that the men and women get criticized on entirely different levels about everything. To boot:
- Kofi Kingston got his jaw broken during a match against Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin and nobody said a word about either man being unsafe or even tried to find when it happened. Meanwhile Nia Jax gets called unsafe when she does moves that look rough and don’t injure anyone, complete with gifs, slow motion clips and everything.
- Even aspect of how they look – hair, makeup, gear, their bodies, – gets put under a microscope every week while the men can all come out with basic black trunks and the same haircut and the same facial hair.
- The women’s love lives are fodder for all kinds of online chatter, to the point where several have gotten accused of getting a push by way of sleeping with the right guy on the roster. An accusation that is rarely lobbed at the COO of the company, who is only married to the owner’s daughter.
- The women get the worst parts of stan culture way more than the men do. All the insinuations and rumors of backstabbing, hating each other, being terrible people compared to other fans’ favorites are cranked up a lot louder when they are the subject. We laugh about Brock Lesnar shoot punching Braun Strowman but we’ll take what we think is a telling facial expression between two women in a match and craft all kinds of narratives from it.
That’s just a partial list; there’s other stuff out there. But now as far as Natalya goes, well there isn’t a day that goes by where people be it fans on the internet, podcasters, you name it saying that she serves no purpose and should just go home. People have been telling her to retire for years – not because she’s slowed down or isn’t good or they’re a fan of someone else but because they just don’t want to be bothered with her on their television. We all have people that just don’t do anything for us and we’d rather see someone else over but it at least seems like few people have it said about them totally unprovoked like she does. She doesn’t get booked for wins or championships over some of your favorites, there aren’t any whispers or rumors or made up stories about her being bad to anyone, and there aren’t any posts from her on social media that are controversial in any kind of way. And yet people constantly are saying that she is a waste of a roster spot and should just retire already.
And if you’re her, then it’s real easy to feel some kind of way about that. After all she has gone through getting stuck with a farting gimmick and the two minute match era of the Diva’s division. She has been used countless times to serve as the glue in Royal Rumbles, battle royals, and other multi-woman matches that she had zero chance of winning. She’s been used as a ‘well, we don’t have anyone else for right now’ challenger to take a loss in title matches and as a first important victory for ladies who either on their way up or returning to action. And more recently she’s been a trainer for several of the ladies during the pandemic, having them over to the ring she has set up at her house to work on their skills. A lot of the women who you’ve noticed improvement in lately have been working with her. Anyone who believes that she has no value to the company clearly has not been paying attention. And yet, the ones most likely to say something are those very people who call themselves ‘smart’ fans. Explain that.
Finally, step back and take a look at the bigger picture. These ladies are human beings. How many people do we interact with online every day who point to similar kinds of things as affecting their mental health? How do we react to them? And how do we react to stories of our favorite wrestlers having some mental health issues? We put on our capes and fly in to fight everyone when it’s one of our favorites but when it’s someone who isn’t how often do we say or think that they just need to get over it? We really do pick and choose who we think is allowed to be upset and what they’re allowed to be upset about. And if you’re going to dig your heels in that this is some penny ante stuff that should be ignored…………
Is that how you get down all the time? Don’t lie, we can see your tweets and every time you got worked up over something “small”. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve worked myself into a shoot more than once over some things that you guys may find to be trivial. So if a take on someone’s worth to their employer gets them in a mood, they’re entitled to that if we’re going to be consistent. No it doesn’t bother me directly and it didn’t bother everyone there. But given what she’s gone through there and what she’s contributed it’s not crazy that she didn’t care for that assessment.
NXT UK Chuffed and Buzzin’
Brad hits us with some NXT UK highlights!
Brad hits us with some NXT UK highlights!
6. It is time for Johnny Saint to retire and officially promote Sid Scala to General Manager. Saint is a beloved figure in British wrestling (and a technical in-ring wizard), so I understand why they brought him in. Truth be told, he’s never done much and when he is around he isn’t a strong presence. Scala is there every week and has earned the job. Give Sid the job!
5. It is only right to send Mr. Saint out with a proper farewell. This is a gem from at least 1985, the last year for the original World of Sport Wrestling. It’s easy to see his influence on British wrestling and safe to say Tyler Bate studied and stole every one of Saint’s moves. Added bonus: some youngster named Dave Finlay has a mullet that would make Eddie Guerrero jealous.
4. Isla Dawn’s character keeps getting better. For months, she hasn’t cared about winning and losing, only taking trophies from her opponents. This week, she beat Aleah James then returned the hair scrunchie she stole from her. That is a seriously cool twist & one I hope they continue until Dawn returns all her stolen goodies. It’s like she took everything she needed from her opponents in order to build herself up to challenge Meiko Satomura. I don’t know if she’s championship material, but I’d love to see her and Satomura try and top their first encounter.
3. I like the idea of Teoman’s family, but the execution is lacking. There is no reason for Rohan Raja or Charlie Dempsey to be with him. There’s nothing that ties them together. NXT UK has been running blazing hot this year, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it works. Maybe it won’t. Either way, Charlie Dempsey is a star. When the time is right, he and Tyler Bate can have the 5 star Heritage Cup match we’ve been waiting for.
2. Pretty Deadly versus Mustache Mountain feels like a MOTY in the making. Can the Dandy Highwaymen defeat the forefathers of British Strong Style again and officially claim to be the best tag team in the brand’s history? Can Mustache Mountain finally capture the titles that surprisingly have evaded them since the brand’s inception? If they keep it clean with no outside interference, there is about a 1% chance this match won’t live up to the hype.
1. Gallus’ theme music is bad ass. That is all.
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: November 2021
It’s Thanksgiving week, and you know what that means!
This is the time we give thanks for our favorite professional wrestlers. And other things, I’m sure. Many of you reading this have other things to be thankful for. I don’t know what those are, but I do know which wrestlers I’m thankful for here at this moment. Let’s dive into the Fave Five!
5. Eddie Kingston
As somebody that was into the independent wrestling scene back in the mid-2000s, I’ve been aware of Eddie Kingston’s existence for a long time. I’ve known that the man was a better talker than almost anybody in the wrestling business. I’ve also known that the man was his own worst enemy, much like Buddy Landell was his own worst enemy back in the 1980s & 90s. If Eddie could somehow find the right place and right time, nothing could hold him back.
This seems like Eddie Kingston’s right place & time. He got a spot with AEW, and he kept getting over. His piece with The Player’s Tribune got him even more sympathy than he already had. The feud with CM Punk heading into Full Gear was perfect. It got Punk into the state people wanted him in. The match at Full Gear was great, even if Punk ended up winning. The only issue? The feud isn’t continuing. But that’s AEW. Feuds don’t last long unless they’re on BTE. Punk & King have already moved onto other things, and we can only hope they get back to each other in a year or two.
4. Bryan Danielson
I know that Bryan’s biggest run came when he was the underdog going against The Authority, and many folks took to him as that underdog. I was one of those guys that followed Bryan during his indy career, and his best run came when he was a total dickhead heel in Ring of Honor. Yeah, he was still short or whatever mainstream fans complained about at the time, but he could out-wrestle anybody put in the ring with him, and he was supremely confident about that fact. Not over-confident, supremely confident. He’d tell the referees the rules, because he was the Best in the World.
AEW fans are now getting that side of Bryan Danielson, and fortunately he has the right opponent to do it against. Hangman Adam Page has been accepted as a folk hero by hardcore AEW fans. They won’t turn against the Hangman for anybody, even when it’s really tempting since Bryan Danielson is a pretty amazing professional wrestler. One of the best I’ve seen! He’s getting to be a total dickhead again while he runs through Page’s Dark Order friends, and it’s amazing.
He’s not lying either. He wrestled the day after he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania! Bryan Danielson has never lied. Maybe you don’t like what he says, but he’s always been honest. And the second he mentioned WrestleMania, those hardcore AEW fans were ready to jump on him. Bryan didn’t bury WWE like other folks that previously worked for them did. He had his reasons, and this was one of them.
3. The IInspiration
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 21, 2021
I was asked to be part of 411’s Fact or Fiction this week, since this week was decided to be the blowoff for a tournament from way too long ago where Len Archibald & myself made it to the finals. Bad news for me, as Len is much better with the written word than I am. 411 readers will sacrifice me at the temple of the Tribal Chief that is Len Archibald. I can’t blame them. One of the questions of this particular Fact or Fiction column asks us if underutilized people are better off getting released. Two of the most underutilized people in the history of WWE were Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay. WWE never knew what they had with them. Not the slightest idea. The only time they ever put them over was to spite Bayley & Sasha Banks for reasons. They never followed up on that because they didn’t care.
Cassie was supposed to be the breakout single star, except they never followed through with it. Jessie had the personality, and she had the look too but WWE did the best they could to take the look away from her. It was so weird. That’s why I’m so happy they found a place to let them be them. Impact Wrestling is a strange place. Certain people find their place there. The IInspiration seem to fit like a glove.
2. Dalton Castle
The Party Peacock was somebody that original Ring of Honor fans would have rejected in an instant. Some will try to tell me I’m wrong about that, but they in fact are wrong. The very first segment on “The Era of Honor Begins” featured the Christopher Street Connection getting squashed by Da Hit Squad because their sort of flamboyance wasn’t what ROH was going to be all about. It was 2002, a different time. I remember it well, as I graduated from high school. Way too many things have happened since then and I feel way too damn old.
Dalton Castle would not have been a favorite to original ROH fans in 2002. By the time he came around, he was just what the promotion needed. He had a personality the likes of which hadn’t been seen in pro wrestling for quite some time, which was great because the main knock against ROH was that their wrestlers didn’t have personality. Dalton Castle was ROH’s answer to that criticism. Unfortunately, Dalton’s body broke down at the same time he won the company’s World Championship. He fought through a broken back to have a reign worthy of the championship, but nearly killed himself in the process.
Castle wasn’t the same for a long time afterward. Only recently, we started to see shades of the old Dalton Castle. The man was revitalized by the promise of Television. He wanted to make Ring of Honor the best show on TV, even though he was a very busy man. Very busy. We’re lucky to see him when we do. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him now that Ring of Honor is letting their people go. If he’s back to being the Dalton Castle we remember from a few years ago, the sky’s the limit. Any company would be lucky to have his talent & personality.
1. Cora Jade
I realize that I am in the minority of people around here when it comes to NXT 2.0. I can’t really say it’s a good wrestling show, but I do find it interesting. You have to know a little bit about my rasslin fan background. I ended up in Louisville during the time when Ohio Valley Wrestling was WWE’s developmental territory. While I never got the chance to attend a show at Davis Arena until years afterward, I enjoyed getting to watch the future stars of WWE on television learning their craft before they made it to Raw or SmackDown. Some were really good in the ring. Some were not. But it was all interesting to me.
Here in 2021, I have more interest in seeing the people that WWE thinks is going to be their future than seeing people I saw in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago having great matches just like they did in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago and having no chance of making it any bigger than “NXT TakeOver main eventer”. Which is fine if you’re into that kind of thing. Me…not so much.
I’m looking for the next big thing. Always have been, always will be. So when I take a look at Cora Jade, the youngest person under WWE contract, I see the potential. I see her work against Mandy Rose, who WWE wants to be the next big thing. I see Cora Jade get over, and I see the future, which is Cora Jade. People will try to tell me I’m wrong. They’ll be proven wrong eventually, but since they’re a lot louder, followers will act like the fools were right all along, even though they had the wrong opinions back in the day. That’s America for ya.
Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 12
Cook had a better week last week, but still not great. Thanksgiving seems to be similar; but a few winning...
3 Man Weave: Dream Pie
Tune in for an hour of holiday fun!
Down The Wire: Thanksgiving Special
Tom and Dave talk about about Week 11 in the NFL, back up QBs, and discuss the new favorite in...
Chairshot Radio: Hockey Talk- Leveling Out 
On this week’s Hockey Talk, Patrick and Dave were a bit under the weather. But nothing can stop the Dynamic...
Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 11
Cook's better record looks as bad as the Jets record this year. Our main man may have just had his...
Bandwagon Nerds #107- Tide Pods, Bill Walsh…and Boba Fett?
Your friendly neighborhood Nerds return with another loaded Episode this week. Dave & PC Tunney recap Episodes 6 & 7...
Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Limp Bizkit – Still Sucks (2021)
Now now, the title isn’t a hot take in the JAR, it’s actually what they called the album. Limp Bizkit...
Talk The Kēki #17: My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Review & More!
Talk the Kēki puts some big focus on the My Hero Academia movie World Heroes' Mission.
Mitchell’s Hyrule Puro-Resu Results & Report! (11/25/21)
Only the hungriest will survive!
Bandwagon Nerds #106: Spider-Speculation
With Patrick and Dave under the weather and Rey out of action, the Bandwagon brings an episode a little shorter...
Mitchell’s NJPW WTL x BOSJ Results & Report! (11/28/21)
World Tag League, Round 5!
NXT UK Chuffed and Buzzin’
Brad hits us with some NXT UK highlights!
Lucha Central Weekly: WWE Releases, AAA TripleMania Regia, and Matanza Is Back In MLW (episode escaped from the vault!)
Miranda, Dusty, and Brendan bring you the latest in Lucha Libre as if it totally wasn't over a week old!
Mitchell’s NJPW WTL x BOSJ Results & Report! (11/27/21)
BOSJ, Round 6!
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: November 2021
It’s Thanksgiving week, and you know what that means! This is the time we give thanks for our favorite professional...
Mitchell’s AEW Rampage Results & Report! (11/26/21)
Black Friday is on a Rampage!
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (11/26/21)
The Island of Relevancy awaits.
The Outsiders Edge Classic Episode – Thanksgiving 2018
The Outsider's Edge brings you a classic episode from Thanksgiving Week 2018, as Rance and Kyle break down that year's...
Chairshot Radio: 5 Star Quiztime 
Rey, Mags, and Tolley bring you #HeadTrauma Fridays, as they embark on a special quiz about 5 Star Matches!
Mitchell’s WWE NXT UK Results & Report! (11/25/21)
Will the Thunderstorm finally taste gold?