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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 4/11/2021

WrestleMania week is back in the usual form with a whole lot of wrestling, and not a lot of sleep. The article was delayed a little to allow for me to try and watch as much as I could given other coverages and plans I had. See what you think about the Top 5!

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WrestleMania week is back in the usual form with a whole lot of wrestling, and not a lot of sleep. The article was delayed a little to allow for me to try and watch as much as I could given other coverages and plans I had. See what you think about the Top 5!

Firstly, we have to assess which match won March, and what our current Match of the Year Pool looks like!

MOTY Pool:

  • January: NJPW New Beginning Nagoya: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February: NXT Vengeance Day: North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Kushida
  • March: NJC 3.21.21: NJC Finals: Will Ospreay vs Shingo Takagi

Shingo managed to stack the deck a little bit, and he pulled off having one of his matches win March! So we’re starting off with 2021 Year of the Dragon, and with another Ospreay match on the horizon, well – let’s hope that this week’s Top 5 blows some doors off!

The winning match from last week was AEW’s retirement tussle, AEW Dynamite: Christian Cage vs Frankie Kazarian, which might get lost in the wash this month, but we’ll see!

Now we get to the Top 5!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa
    Rating: **** 3/4
  2. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 2: Unsanctioned Match: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly
    Rating: **** 1/2
  3. WrestleMania 37: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
    Rating: **** 1/4
  4. WrestleMania 37: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks (c)
    Rating: **** 1/4
  5. AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Jake Lee vs Suwama
    Rating: ****
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 2: NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs Karrion Kross
    Rating: ****
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs Daniel Bryan vs Edge
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Mystery Partner Triple Threat Tag Match: Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs TJP & Fallah Bahh vs Josh Alexander & Petey Williams
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK vs Grizzled Young Vets vs Legado del Fantasma
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Zeus vs Suwama
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs Drew McIntyre
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • IMPACT!: Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack & Rich Swann vs Good Brothers & Kenny Omega w/Don Callis
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Shinjiro Otani vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • Bloodsport 6: Josh Barnett vs Jon Moxley
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Shuj Ishikawa vs Zeus
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Hardcore Wars: Team Dreamer (Tommy Dreamer, Eddie Edwards, Rich Swann & Willie Mack) vs Team VBD (Eric Young, Rhino, Joe Doering & Deaner)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE United States Championship: Sheamus vs Riddle (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Title vs Career: Knockouts Championship: Jazz vs Deonna Purrazzo (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WrestleMania 37: Bad Bunny & Damien Priest vs Miz & John Morrison
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WrestleMania 37: Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs Raquel Gonzalez
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: Pete Dunne vs KUSHIDA
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Matt Cardona vs Jake Something
    Rating: ***
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Doc Gallows w/Karl Anderson vs Black Taurus w/Rosemary & Crazzy Steve
    Rating: ***
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs Rhea Ripley
    Rating: ***
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Suwama vs Kohei Sato
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Number 1 Contender: Knockouts Hardcore Gauntlet: Rosemary vs Tenille Dashwood vs Jordynne Grace vs Alisha Edwards vs Havok vs Su-Yung
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 2: NXT Crusierweight Championship Unification: Santos Escobar vs Jordan Devlin
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Crate American Bash: Johnny Swinger vs Matt Cardona
    Rating: ***
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos vs New Day (c)
    Rating: ***

3t. AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara

From My Coverage:

Zeus and Kento have had great wars. There was a point a few years ago where Kento was Zeus’ hurdle, but after beating him for the Tag titles, he then gathered momentum. Zeus has beaten Kento for the Triple Crown before, has beaten him in the Carnival, and this has been one of the best rivalries of the last few years in current AJPW. Kento is of course the current generation Ace, and everyone knows that; but given Zeus’ track record and Kento’s stagnation the last year since losing the Triple Crown to Suwama, we could get something interesting.

The match starts with their usual sarcastic respect to one another during breaks and outside the ring moments. Given that they’ve had 2 5 Snowflake classics in the last 3 years, this had a lot to live up to. But at no point did it feel like retreading, since they are both in different positions comparatively, this felt like a whole new book, not an additional chapter. Zeus landed a lot of power spots while Kento combated everything with his Knees.

Kento’s usual attack of Blackouts from different angles rocked Zeus pretty hard. Zeus ate a few, grabbed a Chokeslam and they both landed for a rest spot. Zeus drives Kento into a corner, goes for an Outside-In Brainbuster and starts trying to end things. Kento goes for the Shutdown Suplex, Zeus fires out, a few big Lariats and a Jackhammer from Zeus…AND ZEUS WINS!

Winner: Zeus via Jackhammer

 

3t. WrestleMania 37: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks (c)

From AJ’s Review:

Bianca catches some of Sasha’s high speed offense and does powerbomb pinfalls as Sasha kicks out of the first two, reversing the third with an X-Factor and taking control back with a Tornado DDt for another near fall. Banks now goes to the top for a Frog Splash. Sasha gets her anger and ruthlessness to wrap Bianca’s hair around her opponent into a Bank Statement and somehow, Bianca powers through and gets to the ropes before Sasha starts stopping on Bianca’s face after the break. Banks keeps going with the trash talking but Bianca shoves her into the corner post with some Shoulder Tackles and sets her up for a Superplex. Sasha fights her off and attempts a cartwheel kick before Sasha grabs the feet into a Tree of Woe position to land a Meteora. Sasha misses the first one, goes to a knee strike from the Tree as Bianca sits up so Sasha lands knees first into the turnbuckle and eats a 450 Splash for a near fall. Sasha tries to get control again after but gets whipped in the midsection with Bianca’s hair and after a fight to swing around, Bianca grabs Sasha up and lands the Kiss Of Death to win her first Women’s Championship in WWE.

Winner: Belair via KOD

 

3t. WrestleMania 37: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins

From Greg’s Consciousness:

  • This truly is the biggest match in Cesaro’s career–but it’s also one that would further cement Rollins as a Hall Of Famer.
  • I’ve been picking Cesaro here as I can imagine Rollins wants to make him in this one match.
  • Also, surprised that we haven’t seen everyone wearing white tonight, as we typically see a lot of at WrestleMania. It’s a welcomed change, I did all the black gear.
  • Nice to see that the Big Swing is a part of the match’s storytelling.
  • Corkscrew Splash! Seemed less effective that way–but more impressive.
  • Fans REALLY want to see Cesaro get the win, and I am with them.
  • Stomp into European Uppercut + 23 Rotation Big Swing + Neutralizer = CESARO WINS

Winner: Cesaro via Gotch Neutralizer

 

2. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 2: Unsanctioned Match: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Kyle grits his teeth, gets a chair, turns it upside-down, and gathers up the chain. What is Kyle creating in his mind? Kyle brings the chain to the corner, piles it on, and then gets the chair. Kyle puts that chair around Cole’s leg, and then heads for the corner. Kyle flounders his way up the corner, but Cole gets up and uses that chair to SMACK Kyle off the top! Kyle falls to the mat, Cole gets sits the chair upside-down, and drags Kyle up. Cole puts Kyle in the ropes in the corner, gets around the corner and climbs up. Cole says he is always going to be better than Kyle! But Kyle LOW BLOWS Cole!! Payback for a moment ago, and Kyle gathers the chains again!

Kyle wraps his leg up in the steel, locks it in, and aims at Cole! Cole is on the chair, STEEL GUILLOTINE KNEE!!! Cover, KYLE WINS!!

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly via Steel Guillotine Knee

 

1. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa

From AJ’s Review:

Ciampa not letting this momentum going to waste as he attempts a Fairy Tale Ending but gets coutner into a pin from Walter. Ciampa kicks out and actually lands the Fairy Tale Ending for another two count. Ciampa keeps going with the rapid offense but gets caught into a Sleeper Hold. Tommaso breaks it by manipulating Walter’s weakened hand and breaks out of the hold only to get a German Suplex and a heavy Lariat that Stan Hanson would love for a two. Walter tries to get strength back into his hand and goes for a powerbomb but Ciampa now counters it, biting Walter’s hand and putting him into a Fujiwara Armbar, pulling the fingers back of the champion until Walter goes to the ropes to break it. Walter LOOKS WEAK as Tommaso tries to go for Widow’s Bell but Walter backs up to break the attempt from the apron. More fighting continues on the apron as they get to the top rope. Ciampa finally gets an advantage as he uses and Air Raid Crash from the top rope for another near fall.

Both men begin to get up and start a chopping contest until Walter decides to use his weight advantage to get an upperhand, pinning Ciampa down in a knuckle lock but his hand gives out, breaking it. Walter going to any length to win and stomps on Ciampa head, going for back to back powerbombs to take Ciampa down only for another two count and frustration rising. Walter grabs Tommaso for another Sleeper but make sit a Sleeper Suplex and to make sure the match is sealed, he hits one last Chop to retain his United Kingdom Championship.

Winner: Walter via Chop

 

Thoughts:

Well damn, we had a lot of damn good to great matches this week. Some stuff I missed since I had some fill in coverage I needed to do, but it was nice to see Mania week back in old form. Do I agree with my rankings on the fact that Walter vs Ciampa should win the weeek? Yes I do. But arguments can be made for nearly any of the Top matches.

So this should be an interesting fight to see what ends up winning the week.


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The New Labor Market

Rob goes over some points about the new labor landscape in wrestling. How things could change and where things could be headed!

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Waves of WWE releases, AEW contract expirations coming, ROH releasing everyone, three big developments that have shaken up the entire wrestling business in 2021 and 2022.  What’s going to be left is a brave new world where comings and goings in every corner of the world are going to have an entirely different structure.  Which has us asking a big question:

How’s it all gonna work?

THE MAJORS

With WWE, it looks like the strategy is:

  1. Keep the veterans they want
  2. Let go of the ones they don’t
  3. Sign cheap recruits/indie wrestlers

While there were some head scratchers (Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Hit Row) for the most part the wrestlers that WWE released were people who had not been on TV in a while for various reasons and weren’t really needed much.  That sounds cold but remember that just two years ago they had 0ver 300 wrestlers under contract which was a number they never needed.  Meanwhile Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn have all re-signed recently and they continue to bring people in for NXT tryouts, most notably former ROH women’s champion Rok C.  There’s enough evidence and practice here to see what they’re doing here.  Things may change of course, but that’s how it looks right now.

AEW on the other hand is another story.  It’s been reported that over the next 30 to 60 days that a lot of the original signees are not going to be re-signed when their contracts expire, and more recent signee Lio Rush is also not coming back when his deal is up.  Tony Khan has mentioned a ‘dream signing to come’, and over the last year has brought in veterans like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, and Jay Lethal.  The big question is how are they going to handle the crop of WWE releases that are about to be available?  I’m talking about Keith Lee, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, Ember Moon, Killer Kross, Scarlett Bordeaux, and in a few months Toni Storm.

All of those names would be good additions, and the ladies would do wonders for the much maligned women’s division, but is there enough space to fit them all in?  They still only have three hours of TV time, and are already deploying Cole, Lethal and most of the women’s division to work their YouTube shows and are having trouble finding consistent TV time for everyone on the roster as it is.  With virtually two women’s matches on TV per week and faced with the choice of signing and putting all those ladies on TV or sticking with the ones they’ve been using there’s a real question of quality vs loyalty, and the answer is going to leave somebody mad.

That is THE big question for AEW going forward.  Over the past year they’ve added several people who are flat out better than lots of their original roster members, and have bumped the latter down to the YouTube shows and their likely non renewals this year.  Bringing in more in 2022 is going to compound that situation and put a further squeeze on the limited time they have.  Which means that you should not be surprised if they don’t sign as many people as there are available.  The TV time is not there even with a purge of current roster members when their contracts expire.  In a nutshell roster management may be the number one issue of 2022 for AEW.

THE REST

Ring of Honor has announced Supercard of Honor for WrestleMania weekend as it’s official return date.  Now there’s the question of how the roster will be filled when that happens.  I imagine that everyone who was there for Final Battle will not be back; some will have moved on already and others are going to want better terms than the restarted ROH will be offering. Which begs the question of how to replace those people and what kind of contracts will be offered.  If they’re going to a more pay per performance structure as rumored then that will allow for more players but with less frequency.

Impact doesn’t look to be changing anything.  They sign a few castoffs, some for longer deals than others, and keep it moving.  Not a whole lot to speculate there.

Then there’s the indies.  The WWE releases from 2021 already flooded the market.  Now there’s another wave coming from the people ROH released and whoever will not be re-signed from AEW.  Unlike the companies they don’t have to worry about doling out TV time so having a bigger talent pool to work with is actually a good thing. The bad thing is that for the wrestlers there will be a lot more competition to get booked everywhere.

There is one conclusion to reach from all of this pending activity, and it is a major bummer.

This new situation is going to be decidedly pro management and anti-labor.  The WWE veterans who stay on for the duration of their careers will be fine, as will the AEW veterans who are signed full time.  But new WWE signees will mostly be of the young and cheap variety.  Meanwhile it’s hard to imagine AEW spending on all those released WWE wrestlers like they did last year, especially with some ROH castoffs on the market for less.  And the indie market is going to be even more saturated than it is now.  This all eventually adds up to lower pay for anyone who can’t land or keep a good deal from WWE or AEW.  And some people are going to be shut out of the business entirely from the domino effect.

WWE, by going on a multiyear signing binge from 2014 through 2019 and not releasing many people from 2016 until 2020, created a labor friendly environment, a demand bubble of sorts by taking so many high level talents off the board, throughout the business but that’s over now.   For the foreseeable future that ship has sailed and their new stance is going to fundamentally alter the way the rest of the industry works now.  Don’t be the least bit surprised AEW and ROH started planning whatever their new roster management strategy is going to be once those releases started coming last year, and if they both don’t sign everyone we think they will.  The game has changed now.


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News From Cook’s Corner 1.24.22: Gunther Changer Wrestling

A few renames, faces moving to new places and a GCW event in New York! Cook brings the News!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and somehow this Cincinnati Bengals season is still ongoing. You’ll have to bear with me, as I’m not used to needing to care about who wins these football games this late in the season. Makes paying attention to the pro wrestling a little more difficult than usual, know what I mean?

Fortunately, there are a couple of intriguing stories for me to dive into this week. We’re not going to be like certain NFL quarterbacks and completely ignore the business at hand so we can shoot off at the mouth about whatever dumb thought enters our head. Nope, we can multi-task here at the Corner. All the rasslin news you need to read about right now.

A wrestler changes their name in WWE? Stop the presses!

We all knew it was coming eventually. I admit that I’m not as attached to the wrestler previously known as Big Van Walter, then Big Daddy Walter, then WALTER as many of you are. I wasn’t the most regular viewer of wXw or PROGRESS or even NXT UK. Saw the guy here and there, thought he was good. Not surprised WWE signed him up.

Also not surprised that WWE would eventually change his name. Honestly, he was lucky to keep his old indy name as long as he did. I guess as long as WALTER was in the UK, with an occasional appearance stateside, it didn’t particularly matter what his name was. Once he moved over here, things had to change. Nothing personal, it’s just the way WWE operates. They like owning the names of their talent, just makes things more convenient. It also works out fine for wrestlers like WALTER that established something of a name prior to signing.

In and of itself, WALTER undergoing a name change doesn’t mean much to me.

What bugs me about the whole thing? The ham-fisted way WWE went about it. Warning: I’m a longtime wrestling fan that’s been accused of being stuck in the past on certain aspects of the genre. Many of the things that bug me about the way WWE presents things don’t matter to their target audience, or the people online that tell me everything WWE does is awesome because they make tons of money. And maybe they’re right and this won’t matter in the long run.

No, I’m not even talking about the part where they tried to give him the same name as a Nazi U-boat commander. Yes, it’s dumb that they either didn’t use Google or didn’t think that other people would use Google. Yes, there’s a good chance that the wrestler in question came up with the name himself, and he certainly approved it, and we’ll probably see an interview soon where he says that WWE is awesome and he came up with everything himself. Because that’s the way things go there.

The part that bothers me is the sloppiness. The laziness of the process of giving this guy a new name. See, if I was entrusted with re-branding a wrestler, I’d try to do it before debuting them as a regular character on worldwide television. Regardless of how many people are watching NXT 2.0 these days, it’s nice to keep things coherent. They had plenty of time to do this. After WALTER lost the NXT UK Championship to Ilya Dragunov, he was off of television for over four months. It would have made perfect sense for WALTER to eventually come back with a new outlook, a new attitude, even a new name for a new setting. Why not shake things up a little bit?

It would have been fine…except they brought him over for the big New Years’ Evil show and had him work as WALTER. No changes, just the WALTER we’d seen here & there before. Then a promo video, which had some irony to it since it was making fun of sloppy male physiques when that was one of the knocks on WALTER for much of his career. Amazing how the second a former fatty gets fit, they turn their backs on the tribe. Just shameful.

Anywho, the most recent edition of NXT 2.0 built up this main event between WALTER & Roderick Strong. WALTER came down, announced as WALTER, had his match and won. Then, after the match, WALTER decides to take the mike and cut off the ring announcer and tell us that his name was Gunther. Then the rest of Imperium ran down, and then the rest of Diamond Mine ran down, and before we could really think anything about anything the show was over.

I can’t help but think the whole thing could have been more effective if ol’ Gunther made his big re-debut to NXT 2.0 as Gunther in the first place. I suppose that would have involved having somebody decide Gunther needed a name change sometime during the four months he wasn’t on WWE programming, which is apparently too much to ask these days. And hey, maybe if more time had been taken to develop this, they could have found a name not easily associated with Nazis via Google? Just a thought.

See, we can get wrapped up in the optics of Nazi names, or we can just point out how poorly executed the whole thing was. Or we can stick our heads in the sand and praise Vince & Bruce to the high heavens. I’m a pro-choice kind of guy.

WWE Non-Release News

I told you guys there were going to be a lot of WWE releases this year. There’s one thing that slipped my mind at that point in time…there will be people wanting their release that won’t get it. It’s tough to keep track of who wants a job & who doesn’t, so it’s tough to blame WWE for getting confused on these matters.

In fairness, it would be somewhat surprising to some that Mustafa Ali no longer wants a job. It was around this time last year that Ali’s contract was reportedly set to expire according to the rasslin websites. Now that his contract is reportedly good for several more years according to reports coming out these days, I can only assume that he signed something after February 2021.

People have accused me of being skeptical towards WWE, especially when it comes to the likelihood of WWE pushing certain people after a certain period of time. Sometimes they prove me wrong, like when they pushed Jinder Mahal to the WWE Championship years after I dismissed him as just a job guy for them. I gave up on Mustafa Ali having any role of great significance with WWE not long after Ali & the Retribution guys were cast off into obscurity. Ali obviously felt differently, and to WWE’s credit, they do a great job during these contract negotiations of convincing their Superstars that things will be better for them in the future.

Apparently Ali wants out now, largely due to creative differences. We know that Ali has been outspoken about being a positive role model for people like him. This doesn’t rule out the idea of being a heel, just the idea of being the typical terrorist foreigner heel that wrestling likes to have people that look like Ali portray. Ali came up with an idea for himself, with some similarity to the Muhammad Hassan character/storyline from the mid-2000s.

Ali is a well-spoken man, and I have no doubt he would have done well with this character. I also have no doubt that WWE would have bungled the thing the first chance they got. Muhammad Hassan was an interesting, complicated character for a minute, then WWE had him and a bunch of goons act like they were assassinating the Undertaker like one of those videos you’d see from Al Qaeda. UPN rightly said that was over the top and the gimmick was dead. This would have gone the same way. Ali would have been compelling for a few weeks, then WWE would have done something silly and/or controversial and killed the thing off.

What we don’t know here: Did WWE have an idea for Ali afterward? Is Ali wanting a release because of an idea WWE had for him that he didn’t like, or because WWE ghosted him? I’d like to have more information before deciding whether to jump on the #FreeAli bandwagon or not.

AEW Leaving News

Ali might be stuck in WWE, but Lio Rush won’t be stuck in AEW. Rush announced on social media that his AEW contract would expire on February 14 and he’ll become a free agent.

Lio had quite the up & down stint with AEW. He debuted back at the Double or Nothing event, suffered an injury soon afterward and retired from wrestling for a few months. He came back as some crypto money guy, did a storyline with Dante Martin & Team Taz that was an odd piece of business, then got mad on New Year’s Eve when Tony Khan went in on Big Swole’s wrestling ability on Twitter. Shortly afterward Lio posted a statement where he’d talked to Tony & company about it and was looking forward to effecting positive change and then we never saw him again on AEW television.

Regardless of where you came down on that whole situation, you can’t be too surprised that AEW didn’t exactly fall over themselves to keep Lio Rush around afterwards. Even without the drama, there’s way too many other people ahead of Rush on the list of people that can’t get on AEW television regularly and should. They seem to be trying to decide whether they want Jay Lethal or Lee Moriarty in the slot Lio left open in the previously mentioned angle, and either would seem like a good choice. If they were to choose one.

Apparently Lio still has a deal with New Japan and wants to float around different promotions anyway, so he’ll still be plenty busy. In fact, he was on a show this weekend that we’re about to talk about…right now!

The Cook on GCW

I decided to take the plunge this weekend. My bosses at the number website have given me permission to review pretty much anything I want, a privilege which I plan on utilizing when events warrant. This weekend’s GCW event at Hammerstein Ballroom seemed like the perfect time for me to find out what the buzz surrounding that promotion is all about. The card was full of names I recognized, the build seemed interesting, and it was a notable building with a big crowd. A big chance for GCW to step up to the next level and draw in new fans looking for something a little bit different from everything else. GCW has had shows in the past where they did just that. Unfortunately for the larger audience this show got, I can’t say they did.

A lot of people have a lot of negative things to say about GCW. Some call it Garbage Championship Wrestling. It’s the type of fed people equate with outlaw mud shows. They do some stuff that you won’t see anywhere else. On Sunday night, the only thing they did that you won’t see anywhere else was have their wrestlers & announcers use the word “fuck” more than once or twice.

I don’t know if it was something to do with where the show was presented, a nod to being on traditional PPV or a concerted effort on the promotion’s part to present something a little more “normal” than they’re known for. But my main criticism of their event on Sunday night was that it wasn’t enough like the GCW that I’d heard about. For a show that had the opportunity to present something different from the norm, it featured a lot of stuff that wouldn’t have been out of place on your regularly televised wrestling events.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Perhaps moving closer to the norm is the way for GCW to get more fans than just their base of fans that love the blood & guts. I just think a fed needs to be unique in order to get attention and stand out from the pack. GCW had a chance to turn things on their head Sunday night in front of a larger audience than usual, and from where I sit, they didn’t get it done.

Not saying it was a terrible show or anything like that. It just wasn’t the show they needed to step up to the next level and really establish themselves as the #3 promotion in the United States. The good news is that there’s still plenty of wrestling fans that GCW hasn’t made a first impression on, and they can easily go back to the drawing board and come up with another mode of attack.

Hey, I’m rooting for them. I root for anybody trying to make a go of it in this crazy business. As I’ve said before, the whole wrestling business is an outlaw mud show. The wider variety of combatants we have in the mud, the blood & the beer, the better. Here’s hoping GCW hits me a little better next time.

Thanks for reading! Join me later in the week when we break down the NFL conference championship games, featuring the CINCINNATI BENGALS and three other teams. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.


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