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Opinion

Cook’s WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Gambling Picks

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WWE NXT Takeover Stand And Deliver

It’s WrestleMania Week, which means we got some NXT TakeOver action for ya! Just like WrestleMania, TakeOver needs two nights to get all its business done this year. One on USA, the other on Peacock/PPV.

You know I got all the lines for you via BetOnline, though I must remind you…it’s for entertainment purposes only.

Night One (“Stand”?)

Gauntlet Elimination Match
Dexter Lumis (-200) vs. LA Knight (+250) vs. Bronson Reed (+500) vs. Cameron Grimes (+1000) vs. Isaiah Scott (+4000) vs. Leon Ruff (+4000)

The winner here will face Johnny Gargano on the next night for the NXT North American Championship. Lumis has been feuding with Gargano for some time, and did score a victory over Johnny the last time they met, so he does seem like the smart choice here.

Who would I pick to make some money? Honestly, I’d stay away from Scott & Ruff, neither has much momentum at the moment. Cameron Grimes has an awesome character but I don’t think it’s time to turn him for the title shot. LA Knight’s an interesting character, but I don’t think he makes sense here. I see Bronson Reed there at +500 and that looks like a pretty good value to me. He was on quite the winning streak before losing to Grimes, and has yet to face Gargano in a singles match. I think I’d like to see that, certainly much more than creepy Dexter Lumis.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match
MSK (-175) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (+125) vs. Legado del Fantasma (+800)

MSK has been on quite the hot streak here. They have yet to lose a match since arriving in NXT, which tells me that now is the time for that to happen. Out of the other two teams, I think you have to go with Legado del Fantasma if you want to make some money. As it turns out, Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza are on a pretty good winning streak, winning four out of their last five matches. Nothing wrong with that.

Pete Dunne (-150) vs. Kushida (+110)

Gotta feel for Pete Dunne a bit. He was a King of NXT with his boys Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch & Pat McAfee. They were running things. He was going to beat Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. He lost to Balor, and he’s also lost his running buddies.

The one bright side? He gets to beat Kushida to try & re-establish himself as a contender.

NXT United Kingdom Championship Match
WALTER (-600) vs. Tommaso Ciampa (+350)

Unless Ciampa plans on moving to Europe, this one seems pretty easy to call. I guess you could switch the title here if you really wanted to, but why would you waste WALTER’s big loss here? Dude has held the title just over two years now, the loss needs to go to somebody that can be made by it. Like that Ilja Dragunov kid or somebody like him. Ciampa winning or losing here makes no difference towards his status in the NXT Universe.

Walter wins, and people get hit really hard. Easy predictions here.

NXT Women’s Championship Match
Io Shirai (+150) vs. Raquel Gonzalez (-200)

Raquel being favored is easy to understand. The last couple of big NXT shows have seen her score big victories, like the Last Woman Standing match against Rhea Ripley, or the Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic alongside Dakota Kai. Or even War Games, where she scored the winning pinfall over Io Shirai for her team. When the lights are on bright, Raquel delivers.

Io has been champion for over three hundred days now. She’s had some very good matches and is one of the best in-ring women in the company, but it feels like time for a change here. She’s run through everybody. NXT’s women’s division could use a refresh, and Raquel Gonzalez could be the right person to do that with.

Night 2 (“Deliver”?)

NXT North American Championship Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Gauntlet Eliminator Winner

Shawn Michaels is one of the chief mentors of the NXT kids. Gargano is one of the people that has patterned himself after Michaels, and considers himself to be to TakeOver what Michaels was to WrestleMania. Indeed, Johnny TakeOver has had an incredible series of matches at the event, much like HBK did at Mania. However, much like HBK at Mania, Johnny’s TakeOver win-loss record leaves something to be desired. Gargano is 6-15 at TakeOver, among the wrestlers with the most wins, but the wrestler with the most losses by a wide margin.

This is me telling you that the Gauntlet Eliminator Winner, whoever it may be, is the smart pick here.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Ladder Match
Jordan Devlin (-120) vs. Santos Escobar (-120)

It’s been a few weeks since NXT had a ladder match, so something like this was bound to happen. Devlin has been the official NXT Cruiserweight Champion since the Worlds Collide show back in January 2020. At the time, the fact that Devlin was based in NXT UK didn’t seem like such a big deal. The pandemic obviously changed that, and NXT needed an interim champion. Santos Escobar ended up winning that, so once Devlin was able to come to America, the title could be properly decided. It’ll be nice to get that taken care of.

It’s a tossup, as the line indicates. I tend to lean towards Santos Escobar. Don’t really have a reason why, other than I liked him in Lucha Underground. These men’s NXT work is basically even to me.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (-200)  vs. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (+150)

The saga of the Women’s Tag Team Championship in WWE has been one of those “Be careful what you wish for” things. Many of us wanted this thing to happen. Unfortunately, the only time the title was interesting & relevant was when Bayley & Sasha Banks held it with the Raw & SmackDown individual championships. Before & since, the division has been clogged with acts with nothing else to do.

It’s such a logjam that NXT made a Women’s Tag Team Championship of their own, which was necessitated by the fact that the one time the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions defended in NXT, WWE official Adam Pearce inserted himself in the proceedings to make sure that the champions kept their titles. William Regal didn’t like this, and made his own title. The only problem? He decided to award it to Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez, who promptly lost the championship later in the evening. Talk about a convincing way to start a championship.

Fortunately, Shotzi Blackheart is one of the champions. So that at least has me interested in this. Can’t pick against the Blackheart/Moon team.

Unsanctioned Match
Kyle O’Reilly (-150) vs. Adam Cole (+110)

O’Reilly has a built in out for losing this match, as he’s not medically cleared in storyline, and only getting a shot at Cole here because WWE & NXT have washed their hands of the matter & aren’t sanctioning it. Losing to Adam Cole here would certainly be nothing to be ashamed of. However, defeating Adam Cole would be a big deal to his career, and set him on a higher track in NXT.

I say they don’t pull the trigger. I just got a bad feeling for Kyle here, as Adam Cole tends to get things done at big moments like this one. Plus, you throw the rules out the window and that boy won’t hold back.

NXT Championship Match
Finn Balor (+110) vs. Karrion Kross (-150)

We talked about Johnny Gargano’s less than stellar TakeOver record earlier…Balor’s record is quite the opposite. 14-1 at TakeOver events. That alone is enough to tell you that he has a chance, even if he’s an underdog. Gotta tell you though, I think that 14-1 goes to 14-2 on Thursday night.

Kross has only had one defeat since arriving in NXT, and that was as Balor’s tag team partner against Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan. He never lost the NXT Championship, and now seems like the perfect time to get it back & take care of the business he didn’t get to start. A new champion for a new era of NXT. Karrion Kross is the pick here.


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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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