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News From Cook’s Corner 1.10.22: More Forbidden Doors

Some interesting happenings in wrestling this week, most of which involve…wait…IMPACT? Are we sure? *checks notes* – Well damn…

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We spent the last couple of weeks reviewing 2021 & previewing 2022, now we dive into whatever the heck is going on in the world of pro wrestling news discourse. From what I’ve observed over the past few days, it’s the usual suspects screaming about the usual nonsense. Taking down one calendar and putting up another doesn’t mean everything will be different.

One thing’s been different so far here in 2022. Ya boy decided to try out this whole “Dry January” thing. To be honest, there’s been a bit too much alcohol consumption going on for the past…let’s go with “few years”. It really kicked up to another level during the pandemic, as various stress factors that bother me more than they should combined with time on my hands led to hitting the hard stuff fairly often.

I don’t have much in common with my fellow Kentuckians, but a taste for bourbon is one thing I do have.

So we’re going to cut it out for a month and see how it goes. I’m surprised there haven’t been too many withdrawal symptoms. Mostly my pesky brain trying to tell me I’m thirsty, but I usually ignore that thing anyway. In any event, this column is being done 100% sober for the first time in quite awhile. For non-sober Steve Cook writing, you can check out the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards, which are being posted daily at 411mania.com.

Anywho, it’s time to sift through the wrestling news and see what actually matters, while taking out all the BS and inserting my own. You know, the BS that actually matters.

As the (Nick) Khan Turns

Samoa Joe WWE Babyface

I’ll be honest with you guys. Here in 2022, the behind the scenes goings on at WWE are more interesting than the best stuff WWE puts on television. People are making moves to stake their power. Others are moving down the food chain. Reports about this stuff read like a Succession episode recap. It’s all very compelling.

So what happened this week? More releases! This round was a bit different from the previous ones. In-ring talent was largely left alone while backstage names we’d associated with the NXT operation for many years got the axe. Some interesting names were let go, most of them with a connection to Paul Levesque.

William Regal probably got the most attention out of the crop, as his release was the most surprising. Regal’s been with WWE for the duration of the 21st century. After his in-ring career wound down, Regal became one of WWE’s top talent scouts & backstage advisors. Pretty much anybody WWE’s had in a ring this past decade learned something from Regal. He was one of NXT’s top people ever since the Performance Center became a thing. Regal was popular with pretty much everybody, and was expected to remain employed as long as he wished to.

Brian & Scott James had also been with WWE for a very long time. Brian, known as the Road Dogg, had been serving as part of creative while Scott was training the NXT referees. Ryan Katz had been part of WWE creative for nearly ten years and was part of NXT creative when the brand received its most critical acclaim. Dave Kapoor had been part of WWE creative since 2007, while Gabe Sapolsky had been a consultant & talent scout for the past few years. George Carroll had recently been working close with Shawn Michaels as a writer/producer. Chris Guy had been a coach for the past few years.

Samoa Joe had already been released once, then was immediately brought back to work at the PC. Joe was meant to be a talent scout and an on-air enforce for NXT General Manager Regal. He won the NXT Championship from Karrion Kross, then immediately vacated it due to injury. Joe nor Regal were seen on NXT television recently.

The common denominator between most of these people seems to be a tight relationship with Paul Levesque. It seems that most of the people that were going to be put in key spots if Levesque took over Raw & SmackDown some day have been let go. Considering all the changes that produced NXT 2.0, it was only a matter of time before more of the old guard was purged. There were so many people under contract to this company that even with all these cuts there’s still plenty of people working at the PC. We worry about who will take care of this or that, but somebody there will. And if they don’t, WWE will hire somebody else that will. Just without that Triple H stink on them.

Most of the backstage folks were there for a long time, so I have a tough time feeling too sorry for them. They spent many years there & cashed many checks in the process. One I do feel sorry for is Cathy Corino, better known to indy wrestling fans as Allison Danger. She started working for WWE as a coach three months ago after moving across the country to Orlando. Her kid’s first day at school coincided with her getting fired. Last one on the ship, first one off. It’s a shame.

The on-air talent released were Hideki Suzuki, Timothy Thatcher & Danny Burch, none of who had been heavily featured on television recently. Suzuki was part of Diamond Mine but hadn’t wrestled. Burch & Thatcher last appeared on television in August 2021. They’ve fired people that were appearing on TV regularly, but it still seems like people that haven’t been on TV for awhile should be watching their back.

More releases will be coming. You know what else will be coming? People we’ve seen in WWE before!

Mickie James to Royal Rumble

WWE went ahead and revealed some of the Women’s Royal Rumble surprises, which means they’re not surprises but whatever. The Bella Twins, Lita, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool & Summer Rae are making their first in-ring appearances in quite some time. Kelly’s was in the 2020 Rumble, Michelle’s was in the 2018 Rumble, Nikki’s was at Evolution, Summer’s was back in August 2016 on a house show. So yeah, the Summer Rae return is kinda random but I’m here for it.

One other return is one you might not have been expecting if you followed the news surrounding her dismissal from WWE: Mickie James! You also might have not expected it if you followed recent events in her career, as Mickie is currently the Impact Knockouts World Champion. WWE was sure to mention this on television and on social media, which I assume is exactly what Impact Wrestling wanted out of all this.

Some say that Impact should be worried about their champion being jobbed out or some such thing. It might have mattered fifteen years ago, but here in 2022 it really doesn’t. It’s about getting your name out there, which Impact did the night before their big Hard to Kill PPV. We don’t know whether it generated any extra buys for that event, which featured Mickie defending the title against Deonna Purrazzo, but it was certainly worth a shot. That’s what I like about this era of Impact Wrestling. They’re willing to try stuff. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter too much.

There’s also the issue of TrashbagGate, which involved Mickie’s personal effects being sent back to her in a trash bag after her release. Mickie seems to have accepted the apologies from WWE, at least enough to take the paycheck. Hey, we all know money talks, and most of you reading this would take whatever dollar amount Mickie’s getting from WWE. Unless most of you are billionaires, in which case my PayPal account is scook411@hotmail.com and y’all need to be paying me for this shit.

Impact is Hard To Kill. So is Ring of Honor?

The previously alluded to event Mickie defended her championship at was Impact’s annual Hard to Kill PPV. It’s a fitting name for an event from a company that we’ve all written off many times yet keeps hanging around. Now, Ring of Honor wrestlers are entering through that Forbidden Door to do some business while their previous place of employment decides whether or not they’ll exist in the future.

Jonathan Gresham successfully defended the ROH Championship against Chris Sabin, who had earned a title match at some point but never got one until now. Gotta love long term booking! Gresham is defending his championship everywhere he can, and his wife works for Impact, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him pop up here more often. I don’t know if Ian Riccaboni & Bobby Cruise will be around all the time, but it’d be fine with me.

A look at upcoming Impact events reveals that the ROH Championship won’t be the only ROH title defended there. There’s also the matter of this ROH invading faction that seems set on disrupting things. Maria Kanellis-Bennett, Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, Vincent & PCO appeared at Hard to Kill to beat some people up, and will be on future Impact episodes to do similar things. As far as invading forces that could represent ROH go, it’s a pretty solid one. Vincent being with the OGK folks after their feud is a little odd, but that can be explained away pretty easily as respect being earned.

As somebody that’s still recapping whatever ROH will be airing until told otherwise, I’m pretty interested in all of this. Impact with some ROH involvement makes for a pretty interesting time on Thursday nights.

Hey, speaking of Thursday nights on AXS TV…

New Japan Pro Wrestling is returning to the network as part of the big wrestling night. With the way everything turned out, one has to wonder why they left in the first place. Guess they just needed some time to figure out what was out there, and to work with Impact some & figure out they weren’t the same TNA that wasted a year of Okada back in the day.

Good move for New Japan though, and good move for AXS. Now we’ll get to see which fed gets better ratings on the same network, which will be more ratings things we can talk about in 2022. We need more of that, right?

Bob Saget

Most people of my age first remember seeing Bob Saget on the family-friendly sitcom Full House. I remember the show being on for an hour every night at 6:00 on Star 64 right after an hour of Saved By The Bell and right before an hour of The Golden Girls. We all have fond memories of the syndicated shows we watched in the late afternoons of our childhood, right? I sure do.

Saget was famous as the Tanner family’s dad, Danny, who was a cleanliness-obsessed widower tasked with handling his three daughters & one dog. He had some help, of course, from Jesse & Joey. Later Jesse would get married and have two kids while remaining under the Tanner family roof. The neighbor was always around. You wondered how all of these people co-existed in a pretty small looking house in San Francisco with one bathroom.

Saget also hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos, which featured the kind of humor that every kid loves. Funny voices, people getting hit in the groin, people falling off of things, just quality television all around. Saget was an important part of it as the host, as we found out when they replaced him with Daisy Fuentes and some dude. Don’t get me wrong, Daisy was a favorite for certain reasons, but she & the guy didn’t fit the show.

Bob did plenty of other things, but these were my two main memories of him. Years later, I finally found out about his stand-up comedy career, which was basically the complete opposite of the humor he used on television. Mostly stuff you can’t say in polite company, or any company. Saget could entertain any kind of audience, including wrestling audiences.

Throughout its early years, CHIKARA listed on their website that their commissioner was none other than Bob Saget. Everybody assumed it was a joke, but then Saget made an appearance via video to book a match.

Saget would later be replaced in the role by Dave Coulier, who sadly made zero CHIKARA appearances before they went out of business. This wouldn’t be the end of Saget’s daliance with indy wrestling, as he actually appeared on a Dragon Gate USA show as part of a show he was doing with A&E. He even met Jon Moxley, who would go on to be Dean Ambrose before becoming Jon Moxley again.

No, Bob Saget never worked a WrestleMania, but he still made an impact on the world of pro wrestling. 2022 already seems to be on the same path to childhood destruction as 2021 was.

Thanks for reading! Join me later this week when I pick all the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend games, hopefully making it over .500 during the playoffs. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.


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Greg DeMarco’s Ratings Analysis for WWE Monday Night Raw (5/23/2022): All About The Top 5 On Cable

Greg DeMarco has your May 23 WWE Monday Night Raw ratings–and more importantly analysis. What does it really mean? Read and see!

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Greg DeMarco has your May 23 WWE Monday Night Raw ratings–and more importantly analysis. What does it really mean? Read and see!

We now have your ratings for the May 23 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, and it’s a good look for WWE. Net’s start with the specifics:

  • Hour #1 – 1.846 million viewers, .42 in the all important 18-49 demographic, ranked #4 among all shows for the night on cable
  • Hour #2 – 1.821 million viewers, .43 demo, ranked #2 for cable
  • Hour #3 – 1.530 million viewers, .38 demo, ranked #5 for cable

(Available via ShowbuzzDaily)

WWE Monday Night Raw Numbers for Nerds (like me)…

Here are your averages for Raw:

  • 1.732 million viewers per hour
  • .41 demo rating
  • 3.6 ranking average (occupying 3 of the Top 5 spots for the night)

Let’s take a look at the change over last week, shall we?

  • -71k average viewers over last week’s average of1.803 million (-3.93%)
  • -.20 in the demo rating over last week’s .61 average (-.2)
  • average ranking of #2 among all cable shows for the night last Monday (#1, #2, and #3)

What does it all mean, Greg?

It has to be terrible, right? a perceived 33% drop in the demo? That’s TERRIBLE.

Nope. Not at all. Factors to consider:

  • Last Monday Raw was not opposed by NBA basketball or NHL hockey–and it finished #1 through #3
  • This Monday saw the NBA playoffs on ABC (while on network, would still grab viewers and share from Raw), and the NHL playoffs on Turner (the NHL is doing amazing playoff numbers since moving to Turner).
  • The only programming to beat WWE Monday Night Raw was live sports. They beat everything else.

While I always preach that we cannot compare network numbers to cable numbers (we can’t), it’s important to remember that live sports will still pull eyeballs from Raw

One thing to consider for next week: Memorial Day Weekend, where people are headed out of town. We might get a Shark Tank rerun, and I can expect a dip in viewership. But given the loyalty of wrestling fans, the holiday weekend might actually cause WWE Smackdown On FOX to finish #1 for the night on the network.

Another thing to consider is that when I was looking at r

Why is the ranking the most important stat to consider?

For WWE Monday Night Raw, advertisers are going to primarily look at one thing (this applies to all TV show ratings, outside of live sports): how did you finish against your competition on the same night, on the same medium. For Raw, this means all other network shows on Friday night. What you can’t do is compare to last year, or decades ago during the Monday Night Wars. No one with any actual decision making powers cares about that, so why should we?


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Greg DeMarco’s Ratings Analysis for WWE Smackdown On FOX (5/20/2022): #2 Among Network Shows

Greg DeMarco chimes in with your May 20 WWE Smackdown ratings. What does it really tell us? Greg tells you!

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WWE Smackdown On Fox

Greg DeMarco chimes in with your May 20 WWE Smackdown ratings. What does it really tell us? Greg tells you!

We now have your April 30 edition of WWE Smackdown ratings, and it’s not the best news. Let’s start with the breakdown:

  • 2.031 million viewers
  • .45 rating in the all important 18-49 demographic
  • ranked #2 among all network shows for the night (behind ABC’s Shark Tank)

(Available via ShowbuzzDaily)

WWE Smackdown On FOX Numbers for Nerds (like me)…

Let’s take a look at the change over last week, shall we?

  • +138k viewers over last week’s 1.893 million (+7.29%)
  • +.5 in the demo rating over last week’s .40
  • ranked #2 among all network shows for the night last Friday (behind ABC’s Shark Tank)

What does it all mean, Greg?

What does it mean? It means it was a good week! Positive change in the viewership and demo rating, but most importantly finishing #2 in the demo for the week.

Any other factors to consider:

  • ESPN had two NBA Conference Semifinal games on Friday night, one of which overlapped WWE Smackdown On FOX
  • Turner had three NHL Conference Quarterfinal games on Friday night, two of which overlapped WWE Smackdown On FOX
  • All of the above listed games finished in the top ten, but for cable

While it’s not the same medium (cable instead of network), it’s going to pull viewers from Smackdown due to the nature of the populations that watch. They are not directly competition, but something to be considered when looking at the results. Keep in mind that Smackdown improved those metrics week over week, against that competition.

One thing to consider for next week: Memorial Day Weekend, where people are headed out of town. We might get a Shark Tank rerun, and I can expect a dip in viewership. But given the loyalty of wrestling fans, the holiday weekend might actually cause WWE Smackdown On FOX to finish #1 for the night on the network.

Why is the ranking the most important stat to consider?

For WWE Smackdown On FOX, advertisers are going to primarily look at one thing (this applies to all TV show ratings, outside of live sports*): how did you finish against your competition on the same night, on the same medium. For Smackdown, this means all other network shows on Friday night. What you can’t do is compare to last year, or decades ago during the Monday Night Wars. No one with any actual decision making powers cares about that, so why should we?

*Yes, WWE Smackdown On Fox (and Monday Night Raw) is live, but it’s not a sport. At least not for the networks, who are provided with 52 weeks of episodic programming that consistently delivers. Live sporting leagues don’t run 52 weeks/year, and more of a special event than RAW or Smackdown.


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