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Opinion

Steve Cook’s Fave Five: August 2021

The Fave Five missed a month, but Cook is back with some stuff he’s really enjoying!

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After a month off, it’s time to reflect on who we’ve enjoyed in the world of pro wrestling recently! Booker T made it famous, and we’re continuing it here because it’s a good time.

That’s right, it’s time for the Fave Five!

5. Baron Corbin

I know, we don’t give ol’ Baron much praise around these parts. His recent storyline has been one of the more entertaining things on WWE television recently, and I think we need to explain things a little big since I see a take out there that’s completely wrong. See, some people want to tell you that this story is WWE’s way of making fun of poor people. I’m not going to tell you that Vince McMahon doesn’t hate poor people and doesn’t get a kick out of making fun of anybody he can, but there’s a key point here that people choose to ignore to make their complaint…

Baron Corbin has been an asshole for the past few years now. He annoys everybody he comes into contact with. He’s done horrible things to people that he doesn’t like. And as we’ve found out, the guy has no idea of the concept of money. He spends more than he makes without any thought of what could happen when the money stops coming in. So when the money stops coming in and he ends up out on the street, it’s ok for us to laugh at him for being an idiot. He deserves it for the way he’s conducted himself on WWE television over the years. Plus, we’ve all heard about how millionaire athletes eventually fall on hard times because of poor spending habits and lending money to the wrong people.

I don’t see the problem here. It’s an actual interesting story involving Baron Corbin!

4. Jay & Mark Briscoe

If you haven’t seen Jay & Mark’s Fight on the Farm, I highly recommend it. What says “pro wrestling” more than two brothers fighting on a farm? Papa Briscoe was there officiating and keeping things in line. Jay & Mark were as crazy as they usually are, and at the end of the day ROH got one of their more memorable segments in recent memory.

It’s a bit strange that these two never went to larger promotions, but apparently their family business does really well. Not having to rely on pro wrestling for funding isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s a good thing for ROH too, as the Briscoes are one of the main things connecting today’s ROH to the company of the 2000s that the Internet fans crowned as the best workrate fed ever.

3. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.

The Good Doctor returned home to Pittsburgh this week and was accepted as a conquering hero. Folks online talked about how it was nice how AEW didn’t try to make Britt turn heel on her hometown. I wondered why people thought she was a heel. OK, so people interfere in her matches? What AEW matches don’t have people interfering? What AEW babyfaces don’t have people at ringside getting involved in some form or fashion?

From where I sit, Britt Baker is a good person that deserves your respect. Maybe that makes one a heel in certain circles, but not in mine. From what I see, Britt is the type of character that can be cheered in some situations and booed in others. Some see that as a problem, I see it as a sign of versatility. I just watched SummerSlam 1995 and was reminded of one of the weaknesses of the Diesel WWF Championship run. Since they wanted him to be the smiling good guy, he mainly wrestled the likes of Sid & Mabel. Pretty much anybody of value in 1995 was a good guy. Had Kevin Nash been in his natural state of badass tweener, he could have worked with good talent that would have made him look better more often.

We’ve talked about how AEW’s women’s roster isn’t as strong as other promotions. We’ve also noted how AEW hasn’t been the best at building up their women’s roster. There aren’t a ton of established faces for Dr. Baker to go against. Heck, a lot of the women aren’t really established faces or heels. The best way to find out what they’d work being? Have them wrestle the champ and see what the crowd thinks. So Britt’s like the anti-Kevin Nash, but I think the analogy still makes sense.

2. Hangman Adam Page

People told me that AEW had missed the boat on the Hangman. The fans had given up on Hangman while he spent the last year or so being a sad drunk that hung out with the Dark Order. Turns out the fans hadn’t given up on Hangman, as when AEW went on the road again, live audiences went crazy for the guy. Seemed like they were building Hangman vs. Kenny Omega at All Out, and the people were really into it. Turns out, Hangman lost the shot at the title, and the scuttlebutt is he won’t be available for All Out anyway. Talk about bad timing. My hope is that we’re not sitting here in a few months talking about how AEW missed the opportunity with the Hangman, and it’d actually be true.

Until then, we’ll sit here and hope that Hangman doesn’t get overshadowed by all the incoming talent. Adam Page shouldn’t get overshadowed, he’s built a natural connection with the fanbase. But you never know how long those things last.

1. Nick F’n Gage

I’m a big fan of the whole story of Nick Gage. Comes up in the early days of CZW, becomes their first heavyweight champion and one of the promotion’s featured wrestlers for the entirety of the 2000s. Falls on hard times & robs a bank. Spends years in jail, during which he reflects on his mistakes, gets clean and leaves prison better than he came in. Returns to independent wrestling and becomes a bigger star than he was before.

Even before the events of the last couple of months, it was a pretty amazing story. Things kicked up a notch once Gage started working with television stars. Who would have thought ten years ago that Zack Ryder & Chris Jericho would work deathmatches with Nick Gage? Certainly not I, but that’s exactly what happened. Matt Cardona beat Gage for the GCW Championship in a moment that drew more interest than anything else that company’s ever done. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a long list of crazy stuff that happened in GCW that drew some interest, but nothing on the level of Matt Cardona winning their championship and getting pelted with garbage by the audience.

Then, Nick F’n Gage main events an episode of AEW Dynamite against Chris Jericho. It’s one of those things you have to see in order to believe. It drew a good rating and got over well with the audience. We don’t know if Gage will be back in AEW or not, but his first appearance there accomplished the goal it set out for.

I enjoy a good comeback story. I also enjoy when that comeback story makes the haters mad. Lots of people out there mad at Nick Gage. Poor souls, they just don’t understand the idea of giving people a second chance. Gage has thrived with his, much to the dismay of some. A pity for them.


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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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