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Opinion

Steve Cook’s Fave Five: June 2021

The News may have been skipped, but Cook never skips leg day! Or…at least his favorites of the month Top 5! Take a look!

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Hey guys! Just wanna hit you up with a quick programming note before getting to the June Fave Five. You might have noticed a lack of News From Cook’s Corner this week, and that comes down to me getting tired of reading and writing about wrestling news, rumors & gossip. This happens a lot. Eventually, the repetitiveness, the mindless speculation & nonsense of the wrestling news scene gets to me and I need a break. I’ll get back into it eventually, but for right now the best thing for my sanity is to spend less time scouring various wrestling websites to try and piece together stories that may or may not be true. It’s fun sometimes, but it’s not scratching that itch for me right now. Don’t worry, I’ll find something that does.

You know what is fun? Writing about some of my favorite current wrestlers! Sometimes when I’m in that news grind, or when I’m diving into the issues with the presentation of modern wrestling, or when I’m sorting out which company I’m supposed to stan for this week, I lose sight of the fact that there is a lot about pro wrestling that I still like. Tons of folks out there doing their thing and doing it well.

Here are the five currently rocking it the most, at least in my eyes.

5. Serena Deeb

Serena’s return from injury has been a successful one thus far, as she’s established herself as the Woman of 1,000 Holds during matches with Red Velvet, Riho & Kamile. The Riho match was especially good, getting the crowd pumped for the Double or Nothing PPV. In the matches with Velvet & Kamille, Deeb was in her element as a player/coach, helping inexperienced competitors through matches that made them look better than they did going in. AEW’s women’s division has benefitted from her arrival, and there are plenty of wrestlers there that can learn from a match with her.

Unfortunately for the NWA, I’m not sure taking their championship off of Deeb was the best idea. I can only assume they meant to take the men’s title off of Nick Aldis and the wires got crossed somehow.

4. Elektra Lopez

I’m happy that Franky Monet has made her way to NXT and gets to work in the same company with her husband again. Good person, talented worker, deserves all the best. However, I must admit that during her World Premiere Encore on Tuesday night, my attention was more taken by her opponent. It was something to hear the entire NXT viewing audience exclaim “WHO IS THAT?” right at the same moment, but that’s exactly what happened. Who was this captivating beauty billed from Puerto Rico taking our viewing devices by storm?

Every single wrestling website immediately jumped on this story, and we found out that Electra previously went under the name of Karissa Rivera while working the Northeast indies. Electra is a second-generation wrestler, being the daughter of late 70s-early 80s WWF enhancement talent Steve King.

She had a brief ROH run in the middle of 2019 where she scored an upset win over Sumie Sakai that unfortunately didn’t lead to much of anything. Also made some previous WWE appearances, including an NXT match with Lacey Evans in 2018 before the show made the USA Network. She also appeared on SmackDown in April 2019 as one-half of the Brooklyn Belles, teaming with Kris Statlander before she became an alien and made some friends. Oh, and she was also Bobby Lashley’s ex-wife in the Lana/Lashley wedding debacle. So let’s just say that she’s been through some stuff, and it’s very fortunate that nobody remembers any of it now! WWE was impressed with her work though, and brought her in full-time back in February.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Electra on NXT television very soon so she can be a regular in this column!

3. Tony Deppen

Deppen has had a pretty impressive string of matches on ROH television lately. It started with an upset victory over Tracy Williams for the World Television Championship, giving his VLNCE UNLTD group its first ROH title. Not too many people would have pegged Deppen to be the first amongst that foursome to get a strap, considering the other members are Brody King, Homicide & Chris Dickinson. Deppen has commented that while people think he’s the least violent of the group, he’s actually the least stable. Littlest dog in the fight, biggest heart, he’s got that stuff going for him.

Deppen’s win streak continued with an 8-man tag team match win for VLNCE UNLTD over The Foundation, who consist of Williams & fellow sticks in the mud Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham & Rhett Titus. Then he had his first TV title defense against Williams & Dragon Lee…since Williams was the one pinned it’ll be Dragon Lee getting the title shot at the Best in the World PPV. Deppen will be the underdog, but we should probably quit picking against him in these matches.

2. Miro

After a few months of video game playing & Mickey Mouse shirt wearing, Miro has finally become the badass we all hoped he would be when he came to AEW. The switch has flipped, and the Best Man is running over everybody in his path. He decimated Darby Allin to take the TNT Championship, and it’s anybody’s guess who will eventually take the title from him.

It was nice to see Miro having fun early on. He was doing what he wanted to do. But some people are just meant to be asskickers. As fun as video games are, and as over as Rusev Day was, Miro is at his best when beating the living crap out of people. Fortunately, there are plenty of people in AEW that he can beat the living crap out of.

1. Eva Marie

If you’ve been keeping up with my work here at The Chairshot, you knew who would be #1 with a bullet this month. After all, Eva was a large reason why I got back into the whole Internet wrestling writing thing after a lengthy absence, and columns I wrote about her led to a couple of paying gigs at the time. Sadly, the Eva gravy train only led so far, as she left WWE not long after I got back in the game.

So what is it about Eva, you might ask? Given my reputation as a bit of a horndog, I won’t deny the looks factor. There’s a bit more to it though. I’ve always felt bad for wrestlers that get hate from Internet fans for no other reason than simply existing. Fans got mad at Eva Marie because WWE wanted to put her on television before she was ready. That was the fault of WWE decision makers, not Eva. She doesn’t write the shows or decide who warrants being featured on them. The decision makers saw something in her they thought merited inclusion on TV over other talents that had been around longer. The Internet disagreed, and took it out on Eva Marie instead of the people making the decisions. Eva’s not the first person this happened to, she won’t be the last, and folks like me will be annoyed by people that blame wrestlers for the decisions of a billionaire in his seventies & his yes-men.

No matter what Eva Marie did during her first run with the company, it was going to be seen as a failure by a certain segment of the fanbase. I’m not saying she was the best technical wrestler of all time or the greatest interview, but even if she had been…those people wouldn’t have accepted it. They pre-judged Eva Marie before she could really become Eva Marie.

Of course, the Internet reacted to Eva’s return the way you would expect. Trashed it and villified it without giving it a chance. “How dare Eva Marie come back when Mickie James, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce & others are fired”, they say.

Eva. Did. Not. Fire. Them.

But to hear these people tell it, you would have thought she handed all the released wrestlers their papers. So no, I wasn’t surprised when the mass outrage over Piper Niven being introduced as Eva Marie’s protege without a name happened. We know darn well that at least 75% of the people whining about the announcers ignoring Piper’s NXT UK lineage during that match never watched her on NXT UK. WWE wanted to tell a story of Eva bringing in this new girl to fight her battles for her, and the details could either be told later or swept under the rug depending on what worked best.

The Internet bitched & moaned, and Monday’s show seems to indicate they’re getting their way, as Eva & “Doudrop” already lost a match after Eva’s protege walked out on her. Which would have been fine if it wasn’t in their very first tag team match. I guess they’re taking a lesson from recent AEW booking, starting with the blowoff and going backwards from there. I don’t think it’s what Greg had in mind when he talked about booking backwards.

Anyway, I’m happy Eva’s back. Also happy you read this! Join me on the Twitter, let me know who you’re digging, and I’ll be back next month to do this thing again.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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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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