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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 8/22/2021

So these articles have been inconsistent, because let’s be honest, wrestling has been inconsistent. However, we had a pretty huge weekend, so it warrants some attention!

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So these articles have been inconsistent, because let’s be honest, wrestling has been inconsistent. However, we had a pretty huge weekend, so it warrants some attention!

We’ll figure out how the MOTY Pool looks after the consistency of the industry picks back up. And given how things have gotten a little shaken up this weekend, things should start getting fun again.

Let’s just get to the week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NXT TakeOver 36: NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs Ilja Dragunov
    Rating: ***** ¼
  2. SummerSlam: Seth Rollins vs Edge
    Rating: **** ¾
  3. IMPACT Emergence: X Division Championship: Jake Something vs Josh Alexander (c)
    Rating: **** ½
  4. SummerSlam: Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs John Cena
    Rating: **** ¼
  5. IMPACT Emergence: IMPACT World Championship: Christian Cage (c) vs Brian Myers
    Rating: *** ¾

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NXT TakeOver 36: 2 out of 3 Falls: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly
    Rating: *** ½
  • SummerSlam: Raw Tag Team Titles: RK-Bro vs AJ & Omos (c)
    Rating: *** ½
  • IMPACT Emergence:  #1 Contender 4 Way: Moose vs Chris Sabin vs Sami Callihan vs Ace Austin
    Rating: *** ½
  • NXT TakeOver 36: NXT Championship: Karrion Kross (c) vs Samoa Joe
    Rating: *** ½
  • AJPW Odou Tournament: T-Hawk vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: *** ½
  • IMPACT Emergence: Rohit Raju vs Matt Cardona
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NXT: Ilja Dragunov vs Roderick Strong
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NXT TakeOver 36: Million Dollar Championship: Cameron Grimes vs LA Knight (c)
    Rating: *** ¼
  • SummerSlam: United States Championship: Sheamus (c) vs Damian Priest
    Rating: *** ¼
  • IMPACT Emergence: Steve Maclin vs Petey Williams
    Rating: ***
  • SummerSlam: WWE Championship: Goldberg vs Bobby Lashley (c)
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver 36: NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs Dakota Kai
    Rating: ***
  • WWE RAW: AJ Styles vs Matt Riddle
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Doc Gallows vs Joe Doering
    Rating: ***

 

5. IMPACT Emergence: IMPACT World Championship: Christian Cage (c) vs Brian Myers

From My Results:
Sam Beale finally gets involved, but in a dorky bumbling sidekick way. Christian ripped apart his diary, caused him to run away and then he crashed himself into the steel steps and Christian just kinda shrugged and grinned before Myers finally took advantage of…the sortuv distraction.

Myers played the clever role, forced Cage to roll back in since as the fighting babyface, Myers didn’t have to run the risk of only winning by countout. Myers does his sliding trip and it looks like Christian lands funny, so there’s enough solid moments for Myers to have hope spots. As Christian comes back into the ring, Myers hits him with a Spear, which was a great wrinkle, but only a near fall.

So Christian returned the favor a little later as Myers sets up for a Roster Cut, Christian hits Myers with a Spear and then Killswitch pinfall.

Winner: Cage via Killswitch

 

4. SummerSlam: Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs John Cena

From AJ’s Review:
Roman goes back to the talking and Cena grabs him in a Fireman’s Carry for the AA but Roman gets out of it and lands the DDT for a nearfall of his own. He tells the camera that he ain’t going to be able to do anything for movies as John Cena is picked back up and we get an attempt of the old comeback before getting smacked upside the head by Roman. Cena gets up slowly, grabbing the legs of Roman for ANOTHER roll up and Roman gets out and puts Cena in a Sleeper Hold but Cena gets to a vertical base quickly. Roman wraps his legs around him to bring him back down and drops again but Cena gets up again and breaks the hold this time, hitting a Lariat to drop Roman and we are back to square one.

Both of them get up and now we finally get Cena’s comeback, the shoulder tackles, the slam, waves the You Can’t See Me before Roman puts the Guillotine. Roman releases it and hits that Superman Punch with the Gilded Fist. The spear is ready and Cena counters it, hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment but for a two! Cena now, puts the STF in but Roman grabs the rope to break it. As things look like it’s in Cena’s favor and following Roman to the outside, Roman hits a Drive By as Cena gets down and charges around to hit Spear to the outside but Cena catches him and does an Attitude Adjustment through the table and tried to roll him in quickly in the ring to win but gets another two count. John Cena now goes to the tope rope but Roman catches him into a powerbomb and a pin for another pin attempt. Roman gets back up and cocks the fist for another Superman Punch but Cena rolls him up again but Roman gets angry again, getting the Spear ready and misses Cena, hitting the post as Cena drags Roman to the top for a Super Attitude Adjustment but Roman kicks out one… more… time…

Winner: Reigns via Spear

 

3. IMPACT Emergence: X Division Championship: Jake Something vs Josh Alexander (c)

From My Results:
Jake starts throwing Josh around a little, but Josh hits a Northern Lights Suplex to try and stabilize. That then starts a strike exchange where Jake looks to rock Josh and then he lands a Stalling Vertical Suplex, for a near fall. At this point Jake starts landing big moves over and over, but Josh finds the ropes over and over and clings to them for dear life.

After saving himself multiple times on the ropes, Josh manages to catch Jake, and hits him with locomotion 5 German Suplexes, Bridges into a pin, but Jake kicks and Josh doesn’t let go. So 5 more Germans with the bridge at the end, and still only a near fall. C4 Spike attempt, but Jake fights, Ankle Lock from Josh, but Jake kicks him off. So many haymakers thrown, Blue Thunder Bomd from Josh, Sitout Powerbomb from Jake, a C4 onto the apron almost gives Josh the win by countout. Josh manages to counter the Blackhole Slam attempt, hook in the C4 Spike and finally get the retention pinfall!

Winner: Josh wins via C4 Spike

 

2. SummerSlam: Seth Rollins vs Edge

From AJ’s Review:
Since Rollins started getting cocky though, Edge comes back and takes it to his competitor but when the go to the top for a move, Seth takes advantage and splashes Edge, looking for the stomp but Edge rolls out of the way. Rollins talks trash again but Edge catches Rollins as both of them land hard on te ring with a swinging Neckbreaker from Edge. Edge now gets the advantage and deals the Edge-O-Cution to Seth to cause Seth to reel but Rollins turns things around to bait Edge in but, Edge catches a Superkick from Seth and hits the Edge-O-Matic but still to no avail. Edge goes to the top rope now as Seth jumps up and does his Superplex/Falcon Arrow combination but no avail of a victory either.

Rollins sets up the Stomp again but Edge moves out of the way of the Stomp, Seth tries to turn it into a Pedigree but Edge spins out of it for a Glam Slam. Seth baits Edge to the ropes and hits a neckbreaker through the ropes, trying for another stomp but Edge catches Seth, stuns him on the apron and lands a Suicide Spear like it’s WrestleMania 21 again against Foley but Edge keeps it up and takes it to Rollins and goes for a Spear but gets caught into a Pedigree but again to a nearfall. Rollins goes for a Phoenix Splash but Edge dodges and hits the Spear onto Rollins but another nearfall happens and Edge is shocked. Edge tries everything now to win and beat Seth, reversing one more Stomp attempt and even bringing the Edgeucator back to get a submission victory but Rollins rolls out and now gets a Crossface started. Seth tries to break out and get an advantage but Edge opens his arms, bashes Seth’s head into the mat and puts an Arm Captured Headlock and Rollins taps out.

Winner: Edge wins via Crossface

 

1. NXT TakeOver 36: NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs Ilja Dragunov

From AJ’s Review:
After a nearfall, Walter stomps and kicks Ilja, no matter how many times Dragunov gets up, Walter lands another Chop once Ilja stands and even a heavy Big Boot. Even then, Ilja gets some offense going, slapping and striking Walter and gets him down on the mat for a submission that Walter starts blocking, turning it into a strike fest with kicks, slaps, chops and finally stuns the big man down with a knee strike. Ilja takes too much time though after as he goes for a leaping move, caught by a palm down to the ground and a Western Lariat to fall back to the ground for another nearfall. As both men get up, Walter Chops Ilja’s back and that fires Dragunov down and takes Walter down and returns to sender, Chopping Walter’s back and now the Chop are having no effect anymore as Dragunov actually outpowers the Champion for yet another nearfall. Ilja now goes to the top and lands a dropkick on Walter, going to the other stide to do a Senton to Walter and tries to charge over to Walter but is caught in a Sleep Slam. Dragunov pops up quickly and lands his Torpedo Moskau twice to take Walter down for another nearfall.

Ilja now gets chops of his own going now and Walter Chops Ilja this time, still to no effect as he continues the fight to Walter, no matter how hard he gets hit, Ilja gets up and fights more. Walter though halts it with a missile dropkick and Powerbomb but Ilja continues to kcik out. Walter now two heavy chops and a knee to ready a powerbomb and even a big Splash to Ilja but yet again, another near fall, trying to the win now with the Sleeper but Ilja keeps getting up and blocking the Sleeper as he keeps taking down and even putting the Sleeper on Walter this time but Walter is too big and strong as Walter goes to the top with Dragunov on his back and falls to break it but Ilja goes back to put the Sleeper back on Walter, like a scrappy dog. Walter tries to get up again and drop Ilja to break the hold again but Ilja keeps it on, breaking it himself to beat down Walter with kicks and forearms and reapplies the Sleeper to make… Walter… tap.

Winner: Ilja via Sleeper Hold

 

Final Thoughts:

Well Ilja Dragunov vs WALTER is going to be a hard match to top all year. It build off their first match well, it build off WALTER’s title reign and Ilja’s development through 2021. It was just a wonderful culmination of all things.

Which sucks a little since Josh Alexander and Jake Something put on a hell of a match and Edge vs Seth Rollins was waaay better than I was anticipating. Solid weekend, and who knows…maybe I’ll start watching AEW more often now. I don’t want to, but I feel like I might have to.


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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: November 2021

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The Inspiration The Iconics WWE Impact Wrestling

It’s Thanksgiving week, and you know what that means!

This is the time we give thanks for our favorite professional wrestlers. And other things, I’m sure. Many of you reading this have other things to be thankful for. I don’t know what those are, but I do know which wrestlers I’m thankful for here at this moment. Let’s dive into the Fave Five!

5. Eddie Kingston

As somebody that was into the independent wrestling scene back in the mid-2000s, I’ve been aware of Eddie Kingston’s existence for a long time. I’ve known that the man was a better talker than almost anybody in the wrestling business. I’ve also known that the man was his own worst enemy, much like Buddy Landell was his own worst enemy back in the 1980s & 90s. If Eddie could somehow find the right place and right time, nothing could hold him back.

This seems like Eddie Kingston’s right place & time. He got a spot with AEW, and he kept getting over. His piece with The Player’s Tribune got him even more sympathy than he already had. The feud with CM Punk heading into Full Gear was perfect. It got Punk into the state people wanted him in. The match at Full Gear was great, even if Punk ended up winning. The only issue? The feud isn’t continuing. But that’s AEW. Feuds don’t last long unless they’re on BTE. Punk & King have already moved onto other things, and we can only hope they get back to each other in a year or two.

4. Bryan Danielson

I know that Bryan’s biggest run came when he was the underdog going against The Authority, and many folks took to him as that underdog. I was one of those guys that followed Bryan during his indy career, and his best run came when he was a total dickhead heel in Ring of Honor. Yeah, he was still short or whatever mainstream fans complained about at the time, but he could out-wrestle anybody put in the ring with him, and he was supremely confident about that fact. Not over-confident, supremely confident. He’d tell the referees the rules, because he was the Best in the World.

AEW fans are now getting that side of Bryan Danielson, and fortunately he has the right opponent to do it against. Hangman Adam Page has been accepted as a folk hero by hardcore AEW fans. They won’t turn against the Hangman for anybody, even when it’s really tempting since Bryan Danielson is a pretty amazing professional wrestler. One of the best I’ve seen! He’s getting to be a total dickhead again while he runs through Page’s Dark Order friends, and it’s amazing.

He’s not lying either. He wrestled the day after he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania! Bryan Danielson has never lied. Maybe you don’t like what he says, but he’s always been honest. And the second he mentioned WrestleMania, those hardcore AEW fans were ready to jump on him. Bryan didn’t bury WWE like other folks that previously worked for them did. He had his reasons, and this was one of them.

3. The IInspiration

I was asked to be part of 411’s Fact or Fiction this week, since this week was decided to be the blowoff for a tournament from way too long ago where Len Archibald & myself made it to the finals. Bad news for me, as Len is much better with the written word than I am. 411 readers will sacrifice me at the temple of the Tribal Chief that is Len Archibald. I can’t blame them. One of the questions of this particular Fact or Fiction column asks us if underutilized people are better off getting released. Two of the most underutilized people in the history of WWE were Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay. WWE never knew what they had with them. Not the slightest idea. The only time they ever put them over was to spite Bayley & Sasha Banks for reasons. They never followed up on that because they didn’t care.

Cassie was supposed to be the breakout single star, except they never followed through with it. Jessie had the personality, and she had the look too but WWE did the best they could to take the look away from her. It was so weird. That’s why I’m so happy they found a place to let them be them. Impact Wrestling is a strange place. Certain people find their place there. The IInspiration seem to fit like a glove.

2. Dalton Castle

The Party Peacock was somebody that original Ring of Honor fans would have rejected in an instant. Some will try to tell me I’m wrong about that, but they in fact are wrong. The very first segment on “The Era of Honor Begins” featured the Christopher Street Connection getting squashed by Da Hit Squad because their sort of flamboyance wasn’t what ROH was going to be all about. It was 2002, a different time. I remember it well, as I graduated from high school. Way too many things have happened since then and I feel way too damn old.

Dalton Castle would not have been a favorite to original ROH fans in 2002. By the time he came around, he was just what the promotion needed. He had a personality the likes of which hadn’t been seen in pro wrestling for quite some time, which was great because the main knock against ROH was that their wrestlers didn’t have personality. Dalton Castle was ROH’s answer to that criticism. Unfortunately, Dalton’s body broke down at the same time he won the company’s World Championship. He fought through a broken back to have a reign worthy of the championship, but nearly killed himself in the process.

Castle wasn’t the same for a long time afterward. Only recently, we started to see shades of the old Dalton Castle. The man was revitalized by the promise of Television. He wanted to make Ring of Honor the best show on TV, even though he was a very busy man. Very busy. We’re lucky to see him when we do. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him now that Ring of Honor is letting their people go. If he’s back to being the Dalton Castle we remember from a few years ago, the sky’s the limit. Any company would be lucky to have his talent & personality.

1. Cora Jade

I realize that I am in the minority of people around here when it comes to NXT 2.0. I can’t really say it’s a good wrestling show, but I do find it interesting. You have to know a little bit about my rasslin fan background. I ended up in Louisville during the time when Ohio Valley Wrestling was WWE’s developmental territory. While I never got the chance to attend a show at Davis Arena until years afterward, I enjoyed getting to watch the future stars of WWE on television learning their craft before they made it to Raw or SmackDown. Some were really good in the ring. Some were not. But it was all interesting to me.

Here in 2021, I have more interest in seeing the people that WWE thinks is going to be their future than seeing people I saw in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago having great matches just like they did in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago and having no chance of making it any bigger than “NXT TakeOver main eventer”. Which is fine if you’re into that kind of thing. Me…not so much.

I’m looking for the next big thing. Always have been, always will be. So when I take a look at Cora Jade, the youngest person under WWE contract, I see the potential. I see her work against Mandy Rose, who WWE wants to be the next big thing. I see Cora Jade get over, and I see the future, which is Cora Jade. People will try to tell me I’m wrong. They’ll be proven wrong eventually, but since they’re a lot louder, followers will act like the fools were right all along, even though they had the wrong opinions back in the day. That’s America for ya.


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News From Cook’s Corner 11.22.21: Happy Eggsgiving

A few shows, some big news, and some more releases. This week had everything! For better or worse… – and Cook gives you the lowdown!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! This is the week where we think about all of the things we’re thankful for. So I might actually do a Fave Five this week, considering the annual Thanksgiving column was the inspiration for the gimmick anyway! Gonna be a pretty busy week though, so we’ll see how that goes.

Before you gorge yourself on turkey, here’s the latest going on in the rasslin world…

More WWE Releases!

There’s a pretty good chance that this will become a regular section of the ol’ column. Eighty wrestlers have been released by WWE during 2021, with one (Samoa Joe. Remember him?) being rehired. Let’s put this in perspective for a minute, as looking at the numbers can explain a lot of what’s going on here.

Raw currently has forty-three wrestlers. SmackDown has thirty-six. NXT has forty-one male wrestlers & twenty-one female wrestlers. NXT UK has forty-three wrestlers. Wikipedia lists four wrestlers under 205 Live, six wrestlers as free agents, then twenty-two wrestlers as Performance Center trainees. If I had to guess, Wikipedia doesn’t have a complete list of Performance Center trainees, so we really have no idea how many people are still hiding there. I seem to recall Nick Khan talking about signing a bunch of people when he was doing that media tour around SummerSlam.

The point I’m trying to make is that WWE has a ton of people under contract and really doesn’t have that many spots. Most of those people listed under Raw & SmackDown haven’t done much of anything in quite some time. The NXT & NXT UK rosters are freaking immense, and NXT is where a lot of the recent cuts have come from. There are going to be more people coming in, therefore there will be more cuts. It’s just best to accept this now instead of getting all sad & depressed every time it happens over the next few months or however long we have before Nick Khan engineers a sale. Don’t spin this as me being happy about people getting canned, I’m just saying “it is what it is”.

So who was it this time?

A few of them were connected to the previous releases. John Morrison would be the longest tenured wrestler of this batch, considering his wife (known as Franky Monet on NXT & Taya Valkyrie elsewhere) was part of the last crop of releases this wasn’t as big of a surprise as one may think. Kind of a dick move from WWE since they’d just moved from California to Florida to facilitate her training at the Performance Center. Other people will have to learn from these events. Johnny has been more entertaining during his stints outside of WWE than he has been in WWE, so I think he’ll do just fine.

Remember when B-Fab was released and everybody thought it was kind of random to get rid of one of Hit Row’s members right after they debuted on SmackDown? Now they’re all gone. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott had been a featured act in NXT and was a top star in the indies before signing with WWE. Ashante thee Adnois was fairly new but had potential, and then there’s Top Dolla. This seems to come down to Top Dolla rubbing people the wrong way, including burying colleagues on social media & complaining to management about B-Fab’s dismissal.

It’s easy to understand why Top Dolla might have gotten a big head & thought his opinions mattered. He was featured on the Most Wanted Treasures show before ever appearing on NXT, so he was obviously a favorite of Paul Levesque’s. He also became the featured member of Hit Row upon their arrival on SmackDown, as his 6’5 330 pound frame played better with main roster decision makers than Swerve Scott’s lack of size. Dude moves pretty well for his size too, so there’s some potential there. Apparently he didn’t show enough potential to make up for whatever headaches he was causing, and the other two guys didn’t have enough appeal without him.

It’s tough, because I like it when people cause trouble backstage & stand up for themselves. Gives me more to write about here. However, I can’t recommend such things in today’s WWE. They’re looking for excuses to fire anybody. Oh, and I also wouldn’t recommend talking smack about the competition’s executive vice presidents like Top Dolla did either. Maybe it’ll impress Tony Khan, who knows.

Tegan Nox’s NXT tenure had more ups & downs than anybody else’s, I’d figure. Whenever she was about to get a push, she tore her knee up. They kept her around though, and finally moved her up to the main roster in July. She was placed in a team with Shotzi and they beat the Women’s Tag Team Champions multiple times, but never got a title shot. Then they got split in the draft, and Nox never even made an appearance on Raw. I don’t have any clue what happened other than somebody wasn’t impressed with Nox for some reason. Seemed like a solid talent to me, but I’m just a dork with a column.

Drake Maverick was released back in April 2020, but was kept around to work the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament and ended up getting his job back due to popular appeal. Of course, he didn’t do a damn thing of note before getting released again, but I think we expected that. Got an extra year & a half of paychecks though, so there’s that. Seems like a nice bloke, he’ll land on his feet.

Shane Thorne disappeared from television once Retribution split up. He did a couple of dark matches recently with a Outback Jack-style Aussie gimmick, but nothing came of it. One would expect him to re-form the TMDK tag team with Mikey Nicholls at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jaxson Ryker was the final name of the list, and was another one that hadn’t done anything notable in awhile. He did outlast his fellow Forgotten Sons in the company, but did not outlast his tag team partner after that group split, Elias. Ryker got some heat back in 2020 when he tweeted political views that his boss agreed with, but it turns out that was the most attention he ever got while working for WWE. How bout that.

We’ll be back with more releases soon enough, I’m guessing. Again, we’re not celebrating these things, but we’re not going to act shocked either. As people have told me, it’s the wrestling “business”.

Did anything interesting happen at Survivor Series?

Becky Lynch beat Charlotte Flair by holding the ropes on a roll-up. In fairness, Charlotte tried to do it first. Also in fairness, it was the same referee that Charlotte took issue with and beat up back in April, so she probably should have seen it coming. Who says WWE doesn’t do long-term storytelling? Prior to the show, Fightful reported the match order, which had this as the main event and everything else in the reverse of which it happened. It’s a good thing Fightful got some egg on their face, as this sure wouldn’t have worked as the finish of the event.

Seth Rollins was the sole survivor in the Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match, because he needed the win. Of note here was Austin Theory having a pretty long run in the match, Kevin Owens walking out on his team like he was Bad News Brown, and Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley doing a double countout spot because they didn’t need to lose.

Omos won the Rock 25th Anniversary battle royal, eliminating twelve people in the process. My takeaway from the match was they were trying to make Omos a star. Then I realized the the match was for Pizza Hut pizza, like how kids read books in school so they can win the Book It contest and get a class pizza party, I guess. I’m confused. How does The Rock feel about Pizza Hut? Never mind, one of the few things worse than political conversation is pizza conversation. If we go down this road we have to talk about pineapples and various cities’ styles of pizza, and I just don’t care about all that.

RK-Bro beat the Usos, and I think I’m the only person that doesn’t go completely crazy whenever Randy Orton does an RKO. We know he’s going to do it in a weird spot. It’s been a thing for like a decade now. Maybe I’m just jealous of these people that are able to react like they saw something for the first time evry time. In any event, Randy Orton has now wrestled more WWE PPV matches than anybody in the history of the universe.

Bianca Belair was the sole survivor of the Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match. I thought the crowd was a little harsh, but it was a pretty sloppy piece of business & the booking was hella questionable. At least Bianca got to win.

Roman Reigns beat Big E to become the Universal Ultra Mega Champion of the Galaxy. Dude needs a few more nicknames so I’m trying to help him out. Big E got to do a big things, but we all knew what was going down here. Seems to hurt the drama factor to me. I may be wrong though, saw a bunch of people online calling it the best thing they ever saw. So what do I know?

The Rock didn’t show up. Apparently I was supposed to expect him to? People sure seemed mad about it.

The big tease for Monday night? Oh, this is one for the books. Vince McMahon got a Cleopatra Egg from The Rock, apparently part of his Netflix movie. Allegedly worth $100 million. Somebody stole it. All the WWE Superstars get to go to Raw tomorrow night so Adam Pearce can question them about it. If this doesn’t equal a record rating, I don’t know what will.

To answer my question of whether or not anything interesting happened at Survivor Series…I’d lean towards no, but it wasn’t an awful show or anything.

Kenny off of TripleMania Regia?

Kenny Omega might have lost his AEW & Impact Championships fairly recently, but he still has the AAA Megachampionship to his name. Omega was scheduled to defend that title against El Hijo del Vikingo at the upcoming TripleMania Regia event in Monterrey, but Dave Meltzer reports that the champion will be pulling out of the event due to upcoming surgeries.

Yep, surgeries. Kenny has a torn labrum, an abdominal hernia, a bad knee, and a septum issue as well. He’s been working through the pain for awhile now, and is expected to be out at least through February. Seriously though, if anybody deserves some time off it’s Kenny Omega. Dude has put the work in, whether you like him or not. It’ll also give him some added time to focus on the AEW video games division.

New Japan & NOAH Working Together

Last week in this column, I wondered why New Japan was holding three different Wrestle Kingdom events, including one in Yokohama on January 8 that didn’t have a fun IWGP Heavyweight Championship match announced for it yet. Turns out that the January 8 show will be a cross-promotional effort also involving Pro Wrestling NOAH. New Japan is reportedly planning on running a number of cross-promotional events in 2021 as part of celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. DDT, All Japan & Dragon Gate have apparently talked with NJPW about participating.

These reports indicate to me that NJPW isn’t exactly bullish on the idea of borders being opened up anytime soon. It’s good news for Japanese wrestling fans though, and will help New Japan fill some cards. It’ll be fun to see Keiji Mutoh back in a New Japan ring, won’t it?

Well, 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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