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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Talk Report! (7/12/21)

An ALMOST Super Raw Talk!



WWE Raw Talk

One last stop before hitting the road!

For one last night in the ThunderDome, Raw Talk has Matt Riddle, Drew McIntyre and Almost a Super Hero, Nikki “Ash!”


Kevin Patrick welcomes us back to the show!

An emotional night as this is the last night inside the ThunderDome, “get in here” with K-Peezy and R-Truth. But where is Akira Tozawa? Why wasn’t he here this week? Kevin says it’ll be even sweeter if Truth gets Tozawa in front of the live WWE fans! Imagine it: 20, 30 thousand some odd fans, watching Truth take out Tozawa. Tozawa is down as Truth stands over him with the 24/7 trophy yet again! Er, title. Right, erase that and put “title” over it. Truth likes that. But is Kevin serious? Yes, of course! But an emotional day today. Lots of fun, but there are some big things as WWE heads to Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas!

Tonight, though, it was an exciting evening. Xavier Woods beats Bobby Lashley with a small package! Lashley put a beating on Woods, but he got caught. Lashley got mad, threw things around the VIP Lounge, but is Lashley soft? No, but maybe he’s not all mighty. All softy. Well good thing Lashley isn’t a guest tonight. Truth is just saying, he doesn’t really mean it. Don’t tell Bobby! No promises. But Rhea wasn’t happy last week, and she isn’t happy tonight after Charlotte Flair attacked her after her match. Got her from behind, then got her in a Figure Four. That’s how the Dirtiest Players in the Game get. And this close to Money in the Banks, that’s rough.

Who does Truth think wins? Rhea. Wow, no hesitation. He’s going against his fellow North Carolina friend? No, Kevin didn’t give Truth a chance to finish. Truth was going to say Rhea stands a chance of winning. More fence sitting from Truth. Get off the fence and pick a side. Kevin doesn’t hesitate so Truth shouldn’t. Well then who is Kevin choosing? Charlotte. Well that was quick. Truth will go tell Rhea AND Charlotte. But then, Omos wins his first-ever singles match, handled business against Erik. Don’t mess with that mountain of a man. But Ivar beat AJ Styles, so things are set up lovely for MITB’s Raw Tag Team Championship match.

Truth says Viking Raiders, Kevin goes Styles & Omos all day, every day. Why? Because Styles is phenomenal. Typical. Give us more. No, they’re going to break real quick. But the Bro, the Scottish Warrior and the Almost a Super Hero are on their way!


Nikki “Ash” joins Raw Talk!

Almost a superhero but definitely an entrant in the Women’s MITB match. She “flies” in but clutches her funny bone from bumping it. This is why she’s only almost a superhero. A superhero wouldn’t have hit her funny bone. Well, if she were a superhero, what power would she want? Oh…! She’d be able to fly! Then she could just fly and grab the MITB briefcase! Good idea, good idea. Nikki uses her cape in her “Thank you” hand pats. But momentum is on her side after tonight’s Fatal 4 Way with her, Asuka, Naomi and Alexa Bliss. Nikki Ash stands tall, and will soar like a butterfly and sting like a Nikki. So close.

But Nikki says she’s riding this wave of momentum and is so happy and excited. Tonight could not have gone better. She pinned Asuka, last year’s MITB winner, and her endless accolades. Naomi and Alexa are also very accomplished, but Nikki came out the winner, and she knows that there are others out there that ride then fall then have to get back up. But then sometimes, you get up, and you go up and you soar, and you soar, and you grab that briefcase! Truth says Nikki was ready for Asuka, she’s gotta have some kinda superpower. Well just between them, Nikki says everyone has something super about them. Truth does, K-Peezy does, and the fans do!

Wow, really? What’s Truth’s thing? Nikki asks Kevin if he knows. No idea. Hmm… Positivity is there, and is being a 50 THOUSAND time 24/7 Champion! Oh sorry, sore spot. Nikki apologizes and says it’s still raw. Get it? See what she did? Truth says Kevin’s power is insensitivity. Kevin apologizes. Nikki says Kevin needs to work on being Super Kev. She hugs Truth and Kevin asks who Truth has for the Women’s MITB. Is it Nikki? Who does he choose? Uh, yes, he chooses Nikki! He goes for all of them! Wait, he said all? So he chooses Zelina Vega, too? No! He’s just saying. But he did say Nikki Ash. No, he said “all y’all.” Truth doesn’t like Kevin making fun of his accent. He doesn’t make fun of Kevin having shrimp on da barbie.

Nikki says this is a Celtic connection! Kev and Nikki! Nikki and Kev! Yeah, that’s good. But they won’t force Truth to really answer the questions. Kevin thanks Nikki for her time, and hopes we’re all set for MITB this Sunday! Nikki’s fired up, and off she goes!


Matt Riddle joins Raw Talk!

The Bro is here and Truth vibes with him. They bring it in and Truth asks about the foot. He helps Riddle elevate it, just as the doctor says. This foot has been taking a pounding. Kicking steel steps, falling off a ladder, Miz ran it over with his wheelchair, this foot has been having some bad luck. But overall, Riddle feels he’s had a streak of good luck. Truth agrees with that but Kevin asks why Riddle got involved with Ricochet, Miz and Morrison. Well, he and Ricochet were talking, talking shop, bros being bros, and Miz ‘n’ Morrison, Morrison with the drip drip drip, Miz being all “AH’M AWESOME~!” Miz said he was a huckleberry, what did he even mean?

Huckleberry? Like Huckleberry Finn? No, like a blueberry or something. Well they squirted Riddle with Drip Stick water, ran over his foot, childish. But Riddle mentions how he snuck out and tipped Miz back so he was like a turtle. Everyone laughed, had a good time. That’s a dance move in Ireland, they call it the Wet Baby. Riddle thinks it’s more like a Happy Baby but yeah. But hey, Riddle’s been missing Randy. It’s been a couple weeks, where even is Orton? Riddle’s been calling but only gets the voicemail. The inbox is full now, he can’t even get a text in because he’s left on “unread.” Has Riddle check Orton’s Instagram to see if he’s online? Riddle doesn’t stalk that hard, bro.

But at the same time, Riddle is concerned. Riddle asked the police to file a missing person’s report for his bro, Randy Orton. They ask his name and he says, “Riddle, the Original Bro.” They go, “You’re last name’s Riddle?” Riddle says, “Yes.” They say, “Well you have different last names, how are you his brother?” Riddle goes, “No, we’re bros. Not blood.” But Riddle still wasn’t allowed to file it so now we’re in limbo just waiting, dreaming. All Riddle wants is Randy back in his life! But there is MITB. The wheels keep rolling, Riddle has dedicated his performance to his best friend, the Apex Predator, the Legend Killer, the Viper, Randy Orton!

Kevin isn’t sure Riddle is ready with that bad foot. Looks can be deceiving, bro! Riddle says he’s fought in cages all around the world, beat up and stuff, still go out there all *duckface* and they’d be like, “Oh, look at that guy! He can’t handle this!” The other guy’s all big and covered in tattoos and shouting, “Nobody loves me!” Riddle was all bow bow bow, choke out, win! When the bell rings, Riddle is a stallion! Truth applauds as Riddle says he can do it in, out, with a smile, with a frown, and upside-down! WHAAAAT! Then if Riddle wins- If? Truth is offended! Well it’s a big if! Riddle admits that it is an “if,” because assuming you’re gonna win is arrogance.

But if Riddle wins MITB, and he’s thought long and hard about this, just like Randy, Riddle cares about their friendship. So if Riddle wins, he’s gonna shock the world and cash-in on the Raw Tag Team Championships! It’s never been done, so if he does it, that’s a first! Never, ever! Everyone wants the world title, but sometimes that isn’t the most important thing. You gotta break the cycle. Riddle has been US Champion, now he’s after the tag titles. Soon the world title, he’s just working his way up the ladder. Truth is fired up for his dawg and they fist bump and shake hands. That is the ultimate sign of loyalty to Orton, wanting to do this for him.

Riddle says that Orton is down and out, banged up, hurt both physically and emotionally, so if Riddle could just talk to him and brighten his day by handing him tag titles, there’s nothing more stallion he could do. Orton’s the Apex Predator, the Legend Killer, the Viper, but Riddle is the Stallion, the Original Bro, the Lil’ Viper. Check that shirt! They’re selling like hot cakes! Riddle goes outside, someone tries to take this shirt he has! Those mugs, Riddle can’t even find one now. Riddle ain’t mad, though, he can get one. Truth says Riddle is on fire, and Riddle says he’s always on fire! AAAH! AAAAH! AAAAAAAH! Even Kevin gets fired up AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Okay, best of luck, Riddle! See you Sunday! One last fist bump and away Riddle goes!


Drew McIntyre joins Raw Talk!

The Scottish Warrior, another entry in the Men’s MITB, is here again and Kevin says it’s always a pleasure. McIntyre says he’s here every other week like clockwork. He’s winning them over. But McIntyre got one over on Mahal. Jinder Mahal thought he had McIntyre’s family heirloom, the treasured claymore sword, and broke the one they had. But McIntyre knows that this is pro-wrestling, this is the WWE. If you’ve ever watched WWE for long enough, you know stuff goes down! If someone brings cherished personal property to work, a car or a sword or a motorcycle, somehow, someway, someone else will break it.

That sword means the world to McIntyre, so of course he wasn’t going to bring the real one out every week. He just didn’t think Mahal would be the one to finally go after it. Mahal was trying to anger McIntyre, but McIntyre knew there was a chance so it was just a replica. But in turn, it was necessary for McIntyre to do the same back, hence the attack on Mahal’s motorcycle. Did Truth learn something from this? Kevin suggests that the next time Truth wins the 24/7 Championship, bring around a replica. Good idea, right? McIntyre figures Truth’s been around long enough, he should’ve thought of that.

Yeah but Truth knows the replica won’t be as shiny. The original piece that makes everyone like the title is what matters. He doesn’t want any phony bologna. But he does get it! McIntyre’s sword has been in the family for a long time, and is made from the tooth of the Loch Ness Monster. For Mahal to take it, someone he’s known a long, long time, over 10 years, through the best of times and the worst of times. Mahal got back to WWE first, and McIntyre saw Mahal say he was going to make the most of this. Mahal worked hard harder, improved every area of his game, became world champion, and seeing that inspired McIntyre to get back.

McIntyre and Mahal spent time off screen, and as Mahal said, McIntyre was there when Mahal bought that bike for himself. But the funny thing is, when McIntyre got the title, Mahal changed. He became distant, and yes he had his injury, but he just didn’t want to talk with McIntyre. Whenever they were both back on Raw, Mahal acted like he was busy, talking with Shanky and/or Veer about something. And now Mahal is upset that he didn’t get the MITB opportunity? Oh, yeah, that win-loss record has been setting the world on fire, oh~! But at least Mahal stepped up and fought McIntyre. He tried to pull a fast one, but what happened, mate? Mahal’s bike’s in pieces!

Kevin points out that Mahal says McIntyre is the one who changed. McIntyre became champ, got all big-time. Right, the text messages and stuff. McIntyre sent one last week after their match, it read, “Hahaha, I beat you. LOL BTW I’m gonna kick your ass when I get my hands on you again.” So who is Kevin picking for MITB? McIntyre. Speaking of that, what would it mean for McIntyre to win the MITB contract? McIntyre remembers saying this last time, he has nothing more to say that, other than, “I absolutely have to win the MITB contract.” He’s going in with some of the top superstars in WWE today, and there will be live fans again, it will be an incredible night.

Everyone is going to put their bodies on the line, he’s been in this match before, he knows what it takes and will literally give everything. He’s willing to die, and that is how he feels in and out of the ring. This is a situation he absolutely has to win. Truth and Kevin like that. Kevin asks McIntyre that during this ThunderDome Era, McIntyre experienced the most, both highs and lows. We’re not leaving this place to go back on the road with live fans. It must be a special time. Yes, it is. And like he said before, what got him through the more difficult times was wanting to be WWE World Champion back in front of fans.

McIntyre won the title when no one was there in the Performance Center, he won it again in the ThunderDome. Both moments meant everything to him because it meant he got to lead the charge for the WWE, but he really wants to win and be champion again in front of fans. So unless he wins MITB, that might not be possible for a long time, and he doesn’t know what that would mean for his future. Truth says he believes in McIntyre. Kevin does, too. McIntyre appreciates that.

And McIntyre knows this was a bit different from usual. Riddle was just here with all that energy. McIntyre usually shows up to Raw, doesn’t quite have a story ready, and then he spends some time with Riddle, smells some incense or something, and he leaves hungry and has ideas for stories. Weird, right? But that said, Truth has been asking about kilts, maybe McIntyre can show Truth where to get one. Oh, it’s Kilts ‘R’ Us, he’ll take him some time! Deal. McIntyre heads out, Kevin says they’re legends and he loves them all. One more fist bump in the ThunderDome, and that’s all for this week!

My Thoughts:

A very good Raw Talk, lots of good energy from everyone for this being more than likely recorded last week just like tonight’s Raw. Nikki and Riddle are both a lot of fun, and I like that Nikki chose to hop in and just stand at the corner of the table to be between Kevin and Truth. I’m surprised she didn’t give credit to Riddle for that idea about flying up to take the briefcase. Riddle also recycled a bit of his idea that he’s going to go after the tag titles with the briefcase, but he did add a lot about Orton being completely silent, not responding in any way. I kinda wish they would let Riddle & Orton cash in for the tag titles, it could be the easiest way to give us RKBRO VS Omos & Styles.

McIntyre was also good, though again he recycled a bit from last week and tonight. I did like how he referenced the past, with Mahal coming back, getting ripped and getting the title and then putting that into perspective in his own career. But again, McIntyre emphasizing how MITB is a must-win for him, I just think Mahal and his guys attack to keep McIntyre from winning and then we see McIntyre have to deal with the uncertainty of his future. Maybe McIntyre shifts to the US Championship at some point so he can complete his Grand Slam.

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More From Japan


N-1 Victory winner Katsuhiko Nakajima had his Heavyweight Championship match against Marufuji. Who won? What other challengers stepped up to the champions? Hisame has all the answers!




N-1 Victory winner Katsuhiko Nakajima had his Heavyweight Championship match against Marufuji. Who won? What other challengers stepped up to the champions? Hisame has all the answers!


“I am NOAH!” Katsuhiko Nakajima is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion

The mid generation in NOAH are starting to make waves over their seniors in a manner that before they had never made any progress in; Go Shiozaki finally overcame Naomichi Marufuji in a singles match, and next it was Katsuhiko Nakajima’s turn. Nakajima beat Naomichi Marufuji for the GHC Heavyweight title on the 10th October in Osaka. Nakajima, who had won the N-1 and won the championship, barely had time to pause as his next challenger appeared, Masato Tanaka. Nakajima had been speaking of his appetite, “devouring, devouring and devouring” but still being hungry.

Tanaka told him that Nakajima had not “devoured me” yet and challenged him for the belt. The title match has been set for the 30th October in Fukuoka, which is Nakajima’s hometown. After Tanaka had gone, Nakajima told the crowd, “The era is moving. I have finally taken the GHC Heavyweight! I AM NOAH”*

The first pre-match between Tanaka and Nakajima was a tag which saw Masaaki Mochizuki team with Nakajima against Tanaka and Takashi Sugiura on the 17th October in Kawasaki. Mochizuki of course had challenged Takashi Sugiura for the GHC National. Tanaka scored the first round in the pre title battles by pinning Nakajima with the Sliding D. Tanaka closed out the show, addressing Nakajima with “I am going to devour you deliciously, and tear the belt from your waist!””

*This phrase is more attributed to Go Shiozaki, but it was Katsuhiko Nakajima who said it first. Nakajima used it against Minoru Suzuki during the Suzuki Army invasion.

 Eita & NOSAWA Rongai become the new GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions

The GHC Junior Tag Belts (which are just as chaotic as the division that holds them), changed hands in a short match on the 10th October in Osaka when Perros De Mal Del Japon’s Eita & NOSAWA Rongai defeated Hajime Ohara and Atsushi Kotoge in only four minutes and four seconds. Kotoge and Ohara were completely overwhelmed by the underhand tricks of their opponents, which included double teaming, face stamping and NOSAWA using apron interference. Afterwards, Eita spoke on the microphone;

“We are the new champions! You are below trash, we don’t need your applause! Kotoge, Ohara, they were boring today”

Backstage, NOSAWA said they weren’t interested in defending the belts against any of NOAH, and told Eita to bring someone from Dragon Gate.

HAYATA retains against Daisuke Harada, NOSAWA Rongai challenges and builds a house of cards

HAYATA retained the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship against Daisuke Harada in Osaka on the 10th October. He did the unthinkable and made Harada do something that HAYATA would never have done in the past, and that Harada has probably never done since he was a rookie, and that was to tap out. After the match, HAYATA was surrounded by Perros Del Mal De Japon like they were a pack of jackals, who made him choose a challenger. NOSAWA was at the forefront, and is probably the person that STINGER hate the most, and so HAYATA nominated him and breaking his record of not speaking for about ten months to say, “Next…NOSAWA Rongai”. NOSAWA’s face fell as everyone in the juniors knew that HAYATA was rapidly being seen as the ultimate champion, and no one was going to let him back out of it. The title match was arranged for the 30th October in Fukuoka.

NOSAWA said he would accept HAYATA’S nomination on one condition; he chose the pre-match, he chose where it was going to be and he chose the people. So what did he choose on the 17th October? A match between himself, Yoshinari Ogawa & Naomichi Marufuji at Club Citta who would take on HAYATA, YO-HEY and Kaito Kiyomiya. It must have seemed a good way to wind Ogawa and HAYATA up, but in reality it turned around to bite NOSAWA hard and fell around him like a house of cards when Ogawa defected practically to STINGER, YO-HEY tried to somehow stay true to the team he was in (although he and HAYATA were ignoring each other practically) and NOSAWA used him to take HAYATA’S springing elbow, and Kaito Kiyomiya joined the fray as he is allied with HAYATA and Ogawa in their hatred of NOSAWA. After HAYATA got the win by kicking NOSAWA in the crotch, the three of them beat up on NOSAWA, Kiyomiya smiling as sadistically as his teammates. You can be sure that unconscious and with his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he was, NOSAWA is going to be out for revenge against all three of them.

Masaaki Mochizuki challenges for the GHC National

While Kendo Kashin attempted to throw Masakatsu Funaki off of the balcony in Osaka on the 10th October, Masaaki Mochizuki who had defeated Takashi Sugiura with the True & Strong High Kick, challenged him for the GHC National title. Mochizuki had always wanted to have a singles match with Sugiura, took the chance as under NOAH rules if you beat the champion then you can challenge the champion. Sugiura accepted the challenge, and it has been set for the 28th October in Kumamoto. Their first pre match took place on the 17th October at Club Citta, Kawasaki. Unfortunately neither Sugiura nor Mochizuki won the match, and neither got the pin over the other, as it was won by Masato Tanaka over Katsuhiko Nakajima.

Kenoh & Haoh go to Dragon Gate

Kenoh and Haoh invaded Dragon Gate who were holding a show in Kyoto to challenge the tag champions (Susumu Yokosuka and KING Shimizu). Haoh said “It seems that the next challenger is not decided, that is why we came all the way to Kyoto. What are you going to do? Do it or not?” Haoh took off his t-shirt and charged, he was taken out and he and Kenoh were told that the champions were not going to run from them and to come dressed to fight in Osaka on the 3rd November.


“Grand Square in Osaka” – 10th October 2021

Event recap Post match interviews

“Go to the Demolition Stage” – 15th October 2021

Event recap Post match interviews

“NOAH Sanctuary” – 17th October 2021

Event recap


– Kinya Okada debuted new ring wear in Osaka on the 10th October. True to Okada’s Showa era style, his ringwear reflected this in a simple pattern of black and grey.

– Keiji Mutoh said to Kazushi Sakuraba that they should do “Double Impact” during their tag match against Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya on the 10th October. Sakuraba thought he meant the Van Dam film, but no Mutoh was referring to the “Doomsday Device” (which is known in Japan as “Double Impact”). During the match, Sakuraba did the lifting while Mutoh went to jump off of the top turnbuckle. Kenoh fortunately saved Mutoh a scolding from his doctor by knocking him down.

– Tadasuke has sworn that the Kongoh Juniors will make a comeback. This was said after wading into a mass brawl between STINGER and Perros De Mal Del Japon on the 15th October.

– Manabu Soya is showing a growing frustration with his lack of wins and apparently Kongoh. Snatching his arm away from the ref recently, and walking off when his team got the win.

– Unsurprisingly, after wrestling the equivalent of four matches in one day in a short space of time, YO-HEY ended up with a black eye.

– Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya found that they had a lot in common after their tag together in Osaka on the 10th. Teaming together against Keiji Mutoh and Kazushi Sakuraba, Kenoh said “Kiyomiya and I defeated those guys…” and then after a moment of silence, glared at Kiyomiya and walked off.

– YO-HEY made a cryptic comment following a brief moment of almost doing a tandem move with HAYATA and then doing one with NOSAWA, which NOSAWA ruined by shoving YO-HEY in the way of HAYATA’S handspring elbow, “I wanted to work together.” Was he referring to NOSAWA or to HAYATA?

– Junta Miyawaki scored a huge win in the elimination match of the 15th October when he pinned Ikuto Hidaka. Miyawaki’s second win came on 17th October when he pinned Kinya Okada.


  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Katsuhiko Nakajima
    Challenger: Masato Tanaka, (“LEC Cleanup! presents DEMOLITION STAGE 2021 in FUKUOKA”, Fukuoka International Centre, October 30th.)
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: NOSAWA Rongai, (“LEC Cleanup! presents DEMOLITION STAGE 2021 in FUKUOKA”, Fukuoka International Centre, October 30th.)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Masa Kitamiya & Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Perros De Mal Del Japon (NOSAWA Rongai & Eita)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC National Champion: Takashi Sugiura
    Challenger: Masaaki Mochizuki, (“Go on to the DEMOLITION STAGE 2021”, Kumamoto Castle Hall Civic Hall, Thursday October 28th)


(Full October schedule)

Monday, October 18th: Atsushi Kotoge (36)

Monday, October 18th: Shuhei Taniguchi (45)

Friday, October 22nd: Haoh debut anniversary (16 years)

Sunday, October 24th: Go on to the DEMOLITION STAGE 2021

Aore Nagaoka

Start time: 17:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse


“Come at me you bastards!” Kenoh’s Weekly Pro Column

“I want to hide a secret word that only Wrestling fans can understand” – Funky Kato creates a theme song for NOAH’s “New Year at The Budokan”

GIFs taken from WrestleUniverse.

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News From Cook’s Corner 10.11.21: Are You IInspired?

Cook has some IInspired thoughts about the news of this week! Check it out!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and it’s good to be back in the mud, the blood & the beer. It was nice to take a breather from all this wrestling drama, but now we’re here to sift out the stuff that we actually found interesting.

No, I don’t know who “we” is there, but hopefully you’re part of the “we” that finds this stuff interesting. Otherwise the next few minutes will be a pretty big waste of your time. Almost as big a waste of time as watching my college & pro football teams this past weekend, but let’s not get into that! Let’s get into that news.

SmackDown & Rampage Going Head To Head

As much as I hate to go on about television ratings in an age where more & more people are finding other ways to consume media, I know that there are few things that online wrestling fans love talking about more. They’re going to have a pretty big chance to talk about them this week, given what WWE’s doing this coming Friday night. We knew that SmackDown would be getting bounced to FS1 due to FOX airing baseball’s American League Championship Series. What we found out is that SmackDown would be SUPERSIZED, airing for an extra thirty minutes.

Once people did the math and figured out that the last thirty minutes would be going head to head with AEW’s Rampage show, the trash talk started. Even Tony Khan got in on the fun, since he’s Tony Khan and that’s what he does. Not gonna knock him for it. WWE vs. AEW is what the people are into these days, and many of my writing colleagues have found gold mines on social media milking the banter for all it’s worth. I have a hard time doing that because the result seems so obvious to me. If SmackDown doesn’t get more viewers than Rampage for thirty random minutes on a Friday night, it’s a pretty huge failure on the part of WWE. I don’t care what channel SmackDown is on, it’s WWE’s A-show vs. AEW’s B-show, which has been leaking viewers at a pretty good rate since the one episode where CM Punk debuted. Hate to admit I’m part of the problem, but people keep booking me to do things on Friday nights.

(Related tangent: Am I the only one who finds it strange how quickly most AEW fans have dismissed Rampage to B-show status? They’ve just tuned the darn thing out. Can’t we wait a few months before doing such a thing, or have we just been watching this stuff for too long and feel it’s safe to assume that Rampage will meet the same fate as Thunder, Wrestling Challenge, Saturday Night & other shows like them? Alternate question: Why can’t any wrestling promotion present two different weekly shows that are seen on the same level? Why is there always an A show & a B show?)

So next week we’ll be seeing all the WWE fans crowing about SmackDown beating Rampage in TV ratings whose importance vary depending on who does better in them. Just letting y’all know right now so you can prepare for whichever side you want to take up for.

WOW Returns! We got good news & bad news…

Women Of Wrestling has been an on-again off-again wrestling company since the year 2000. David McLane, founder of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling TV show, was looking to capitalize off the pro wrestling boom taking place during the time period, and was able to build a syndication network covering most of the United States. Jeanie Buss became involved during this time and eventually became the owner. The audience grew pretty well during its 24-episode run, but the advertising market wasn’t really there for the product and the WWF buying their competitors pretty much killed the overall wrestling boom. The promotion made a brief return in 2013, then another in 2016. 2019 saw WOW air new episodes on AXS TV, an arrangement which ended when Impact Wrestling’s parent company purchased the network.

WOW was back in the news last week with some major announcements. WOW will be returning to syndication, airing on CBS owned & operated stations along with those of Sinclair Broadcasting Group. That combination will cover 70% of the United States television viewing audience. They also announced that AJ Mendez, known as AJ Lee during her wrestling career, would be joining the operation as an executive producer and a commentator.

This all sounds good to me, as someone that’s enjoyed WOW’s presentation in the past. McLane’s various TV productions are typically entertaining, if not always featuring the highest workrate of all time. The characters usually stand out, and should even more with AJ’s involvement. Plus, it’s always nice to have more pro wrestling on television. I think most of you will at least agree with me on that.

There was one part of all the announcements that left some wrestling fans a little perturbed: the involvement of Tessa Blanchard. Blanchard had been one of WOW’s featured wrestlers during the promotion’s time on AXS TV, and will be for their new era. She’ll also be working as the Casting Director, helping find the women that will be featured on future WOW episodes.

Now, if you only know Tessa from her work on television, where she’s a perfectly competent pro wrestler with years of experience, or if you know her as Tully Blanchard’s daughter & Magnum TA’s step-daughter, you probably don’t see an issue with any of it. Unfortunately, there have been a number of incidents involving Tessa that have many of her peers & many wrestling fans unhappy with the idea of her involvement in any wrestling promotion. Allegations of racism & bullying came to the surface in January 2020, with a number of female wrestlers speaking out on social media against Blanchard.  Tessa has denied any & all allegations, but that hasn’t stopped people from making them, and it hasn’t stopped many wrestling fans from believing the accusers.

Blanchard’s career was initially unaffected, as Impact Wrestling still put their heavyweight championship on her shortly after the controversy became public. To be honest, Impact has often been a home for wrestlers with less than stellar reputations outside the ring. They could have punished her, but then they would have had a tough time finding somebody on their roster at the time with a pristine reputation to take her spot. Of course, they would end up firing her & stripping her of their championship in June, after she refused to appear at Impact TV tapings due to the global pandemic. It was a confusing situation, as her contract was set to expire, and Impact wanted her to lose the championship on a date after her contract would have allegedly expired. To me, I could understand Impact being upset, yet I could also understand Tessa not wanting to travel during the pandemic, considering she lived in Mexico with her husband. My conclusion was that Impact shouldn’t have put the title on her in the first place, and could have avoided a bunch of issues & negative press that way.

Now WOW stands to face some negative press given that they’re doing business with Blanchard. Naturally, they must hope that AJ Mendez’s involvement takes some of the attention away. They also have to hope that the percentage of people that know about Blanchard’s previous issues is a small portion of their potential audience. Also, they have to hope that Blanchard has enough fans that either don’t believe the allegations or don’t think allegations of racism are a big deal even if they are true. A brief look at social media shows there are fans of Tessa’s that fall into both of those categories.

At the end of the day, I’m not opposed to Tessa Blanchard being given a second chance by a company that’s done business with her and is confident in what she brings to the table. However, I would assume that Jeanie Buss, David McLane and other people overseeing Tessa’s work will be keeping a close eye on things & making sure that new issues don’t arise. Hopefully Tessa’s alleged previous behavior doesn’t re-surface in her role as a casting director, or as a senior voice in the locker room.

The whole thing isn’t a disqualifier to me giving WOW a chance when it returns to television, but I’m more drawn to women’s wrestling shows than most of my fellow fans & writers. I get more excited when asked to review Knockouts Knockdown than if somebody asks me to review a WWE PPV. Most writers want the WWE show for more hits & more attention, I want the show I’m going to enjoy watching & writing about more. For most of them that’s probably the WWE show too. I’m different like that.

If people feel differently and think that Tessa’s involvement is a non-starter for them, I’m not going to blame them. WOW does seem to be leaning into it in ways that don’t seem intelligent, like selling t-shirts with bombs on them in an attempt to capitalize off of Tessa’s “nuclear” status. They’ll hope people don’t notice. At the end of the day, the audience size is what will determine if WOW’s gamble works or not.

Impact Getting Some IInspiration

Speaking of that Knockouts Knockdown, it did provide us with some big news concerning the newest additions to the Impact roster. Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay, now known as The IInspiration, will be making their debut at Bound For Glory on October 23. It’ll be their first wrestling appearance since WWE released them back in April. They had to deal with some work visa issues, but now things are good to go.

Everybody knew at the time that breaking up the IIconics was a mistake, especially the two women that made up the team. They were going to be a package deal wherever they went afterward, and Impact Wrestling is the best place for them right now that I can think of. Impact has always had a knack for using most of their female talent better than they can be used anywhere else. Tenille Dashwood is already there, currently as part of The Influence tag team with Madison Rayne. That could either result in a tag team feud or a four-woman supergroup. Either would be entertaining.

All I know for sure is I’ve missed having these two on my TV. Glad to have them back.

Big Weekend For Big E

Don’t look now, but our WWE Champion is getting some big opportunities in venues other than pro wrestling. It started on Fox’s college football pregame show this past Saturday morning, where Big E got to represent for his alma mater, the University of Iowa.

Later that evening, Big E was on an even bigger stage, the boxing heavyweight championship showdown between Tyson Fury & Deyontay Wilder. Had I seen it prior, I might have bought the fight!

He was also hobnobbing with the celebrities at ringside. A pretty big weekend for Big E, one that showed him off as somebody that WWE should be proud to have represent them on the biggest stages. Almost makes you wonder if Big E could become too popular, doesn’t it?

Stephanie McMahon = Hall of Famer

I was looking for stuff to write about on Sunday afternoon and happened upon this breaking news:

Stephanie McMahon in a hall of fame. Well, you know she’ll be in the WWE one eventually. Not sure she makes Dave’s. Maybe’s if Voodoo Penguin pushes hard enough for her. Doesn’t matter, she has been enshrined in the International Sports Hall of Fame. Sounds very prestigious, right?

Well, I’d never heard of the International Sports Hall of Fame, and I consider myself quite the sports expert. (Nobody else does, but I do, and I’m the one writing the column so neener neener, haters) So I looked it up on Wikipedia and here’s what I found out.

“The International Sports Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is a section 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization established in 2012 by Dr. Robert M. Goldman to honor the world’s greatest athlete legends in all categories of sports.

The ISHOF’s mission is to inspire future generations of athletes by honoring the sports heroes of today.”

Sounds good. There are several wrestling-related inductees, including the likes of Mark Henry, Bruno Sammartino, Dan Gable, Triple H & Kurt Angle. In fact, Henry sits on the Global Advisory Board, who I assume have a say over who gets inducted. Other names on the list include Arnold Schwarzenegger & Dr. Joseph Maroon, who happens to be WWE’s medical director. And now we know why Stephanie is a Hall of Famer. You gotta know somebody!

To be fair, it’s not like Stephanie is the only Hall of Famer that got in because she knew somebody. I mean, what other explanation do we have for half the WWE Hall of Fame inductees?

Welp, that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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