Here’s to 2021 and how it worked to turn things around!
I wanted to have a midyear one of these for 2021, but the summer ended up a rougher time for me personally. And to be fair, I would’ve only had like one Mitchell Medal to even talk about at the time.
As I said last year, these medals aren’t outright for “The Best [category]” winner or even “The Worst [category]” winner here. These will be for the people, moments and more that I felt were worth honoring. And that first medal I had for this year will be our first medal here!
Mitchell Medal for Awesome Start to the Year:
The beginning of this year feels so long ago, but WK15 was a great two night event, with night one scoring 9.4 and night two scoring 9.6 with me. It had so much, and the main events were big with the IWGP Double Championship story. Kota Ibushi winning that whole thing was big, too, building upon his G1 Climax win to end the night as THE champion.
Mitchell Medal for Gamechanger:
The NXT UK Heritage Cup
While the cup was introduced in late 2020, it really came into its own this year as it got a second British Rounds Tournament to determine a contender. NXT UK bringing back the match type of British Rounds really redefined things for the midcard, and it has been really good stuff. A-Kid was a good first champion, though I myself thought Trent Seven would’ve been a great choice. Tyler Bate had a very fun run with it, and NXT UK did a great job blending that story with the NXT UK Tag Team Championships, which eventually led to Moustache Mountain taking those titles from Pretty Deadly.
Noam Dar is a great choice for a third champion, and he’s so far had an equally fun run. I can’t wait to see where he goes with this cup, and where this cup goes for NXT UK.
Mitchell Medal for Continuing to WIN:
All Elite Wrestling
Somehow, some way, AEW just keeps growing. Maybe growing a little too much, as it’s a valid point to say they’ve got so many people and not nearly enough time, even with Dynamite, Rampage, Elevation and Dark. But considering they have so many big names now, like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole, and have more or less nailed the booking of Hangman Adam Page and quite a few others, it’s hard to not see AEW as this tour de force in pro-wrestling. They’re also willing to work with other companies and have their people go there, such as FTR in AAA and ROH for their big PPV events. They still aren’t perfect, but they’re definitely a pro-wrestler’s pro-wrestling company.
Mitchell Medal for Being an Absolute Delight:
Pat McAfee on SmackDown commentary
Pat McAfee went from a perfectly obnoxious celebrity Heel in NXT 1.0 to a highly entertaining and hilarious commentary partner for Michael Cole on Friday nights. Him getting geeked out over Rick Boogs’ rock guitar shredding for Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme song is always fun to watch, he invented a new nickname for Brock Lesnar with the “Alpha Male of Our Species” line, and is clearly having so much fun, just as any fan would be in his position. He brings a unique energy to SmackDown’s presentation by being on commentary, and he might even help define this era of WWE being that voice to hype up the viewers at home.
Mitchell Medal for Farewell, Old Friend:
NXT 1.0, aka The Black ‘n’ Gold
We could all get mad at Vince McMahon and team for taking over NXT and how they used the ratings from the Wednesday Night War as their excuse, but let’s just look back fondly on what “NXT 1.0” was, and what it did for wrestling as a whole.
I mean, the list of wrestlers is insane. Women wrestlers like Paige, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Ember Moon, The “Four Horsewomen,” Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch, as well as Asuka, Kairi Sane and Io Shirai. And of course male wrestlers like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Keith Lee, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, the Wyatt Family, and The Undisputed Era of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish and eventually Roderick Strong. And without NXT 1.0, NXT UK wouldn’t even be a thing, and that means no Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, Kay Lee Ray, Moustache Mountain, Ilja Dragunov, Walter and Imperium.
Then there was every single TakeOver event, from the first until TakeOver 36. Sadly, I missed out on making an article for TakeOver 36, but it was a badass event that definitely deserves high praise. For that matter, a little bit more on one of those later.
Now, yes, NXT was at the mercy of WWE RawDown taking those people, doing what Vince and team wanted with them, even if that meant letting them go. But without NXT, I’m sure a lot of us wouldn’t have even known who those people were to have those feelings of, “Ugh, how could WWE do this to them?!” If anything, that constant feeling of, “Why doesn’t Vince respect NXT?” added to its street cred with us “cool” fans who knew it was the real flagship brand of the company. I wish we were in a world where Vince didn’t take over the brand, but maybe there’s still hope for 2.0. Speaking of…
Mitchell Medal for Shining Glimmer of Hope:
Truly the start of a new era in that it did not have the word, “TakeOver,” in its name, I was certainly not optimistic about NXT WarGames, aka NXT 2.0’s first non-televised event. But I gave this a 9.4, and I feel the 2.0 superstars featured in that event earned their keep. Especially Cora Jade. She did the off-the-cage spot through a table, she played up an injured arm expertly, and got to be the one with the winning cover. If NXT 2.0 can still deliver at an event, maybe all of our concerns will eventually be put to rest.
Mitchell Medal for Awesome Sequel:
TakeOver 36’s NXT UK Championship match
The first match of Walter VS Dragunov for the NXT UK Championship made the Mitchell Medal Mania cut for 2020 because it was just awesome. That first match promised to “redefine violence” and delivered on it, then this one took that definition and rewrote it to make it even MORE powerful. It took everything from the first one, as well as Dragunov’s “reinvention” and his dealing with the berserk rage, and crafted a show stealer for TakeOver 36. And to top it off, we saw history as Walter’s 870 day reign ended and Dragunov’s reign began. NXT UK is now UNBESIEGBAR, Long Live NXT UK’s Czar!
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?
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!
King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy
As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI. Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.
Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.
I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”
Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match
Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!
Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect
On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.
Swanton Bomb From The Heavens
When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.
Hardy Wins The WWE Championship
In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.
Straight Edge Problems For Hardy
The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.
The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE
Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.
Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut
From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.
This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.
As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.
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Minneapolis gets Elevated!
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