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Opinion

Cook’s WrestleMania 38 Gambling Picks

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Wrestling’s biggest weekend HAS ARRIVED! That’s right, it’s WrestleMania Weekend, and it promises to be the most stupendous weekend of all our lives. We’ve got two nights of WWE WrestleMania action with plenty of opportunities to make your pocketbook stupendous, so let’s hook it up!

Odds subject to change and provided by BetOnline.

Drew McIntyre (-1000) vs. Happy Corbin (+500)

Is it just me? Am I the only one that remembers the the last time Corbin was a decided underdog at WrestleMania? (To be honest, maybe it wasn’t the most recent time, these recent WMs all tend to flow together for me.) I remember when Corbin was booked against Kurt Angle in the Olympic Hero’s retirement match. Everybody thought Angle would win on the way out, mostly because they didn’t think Corbin deserved the rub of winning Angle’s final match. These people probably also don’t think that Corbin deserves to beat Drew McIntyre. Which is probably true. One of these men could be a world title challenger after WrestleMania and it ain’t Happy Corbin.

I’m not saying to put your money on ol’ Happy…I am saying that the odds could be a bit closer. Corbin could easily shock the world again, especially with Madcap Moss running around at ringside. Drew McIntyre should win, but Corbin’s chances of victory are more than you might think.

Mystery Opponent (-450) vs. Seth Rollins (+275)

So everybody believes that Cody Rhodes will be the mystery opponent. Some might argue they should have gone ahead and debuted Cody already, but I disagree. To me, the idea of Cody Rhodes is worth more than actually having Cody Rhodes. Ever since Cody left AEW, it seems like everybody remembered how much they liked him! It’s quite odd how much interest he generates now versus how much people thought of his AEW work & reality show. Not that I’m blaming anybody. Heck, I haven’t been this interested in Cody Rhodes since the first Full Gear show. I get where people are coming from here.

Should Cody be the mystery opponent, one assumes he would win on his first night. It’s tempting to think that Vince McMahon would want to blame Cody for leaving and find some polka dots for him to wear while losing to everybody under the sun. It’s more likely that WWE brass realizes that AEW talent with loyalty to Cody will be watching what he does there. Should Cody fare well, there will be people in AEW that see WWE as a potential greener pasture, in more ways than just the color of money.

There is the fun speculation about the mystery opponent actually being Shane McMahon, or a scenario where Shane is the first mystery and someone else (Cody) is the second. In the first scenario, Rollins would be a smart pick. In the second, I’m not sure how the oddsmakers would handle it. Would it be based off what the first opponent does? Tough to say. The more I think about it I’m leaning towards this darn thing being a push and nobody winning. Which is just as well, as I generally wouldn’t recommend betting on matches with mystery opponents anyway.

Logan Paul & The Miz (-120) vs. Dominik & Rey Mysterio (-120)

WrestleMania is not for people like me. I’m an old man that has never had any interest in the Pauls and their YouTube antics, and there’s really nothing they can do to change that. It isn’t a personal dislike or anything like that, I’m just not into that culture. They’re not trying to get people like me to buy in anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. All that matters for the purposes of this exercise is if Logan Paul can draw a good number of his fans to watch WrestleMania, and maybe get them to stick around for other shows. Will it work? Beats the heck out of me!

If nothing else, Logan Paul is in good hands here, as Rey will do his best to make him look good. The Miz will do his thing and get heat, and Dominik will try to stay out of the way. This should be some good ol’ fashioned sports entertainment where the Mysterios get the duke. Unless Paul & Miz are going to form a regular tag team, there’s no reason for them to win here.

Sheamus & Ridge Holland (-200) vs. The New Day (+150)

Apparently this was going to be a six-man tag also involving Big E & BUTCH, but E’s injury changed those plans. I’m a bit surprised that Sheamus & Holland are favored, but they are much bigger than Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods. They’re also from across the pond, so I can see the BetOnline crowd throwing a ton of money on their hometown boys.

Me, I’d go with Xavier & Kofi avenging their fallen comrade. Why not give New Day fans a feel-good moment here?

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (-220) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs (+155)

I’m surprised this is as close as it is, but then again, our challengers are a long-time Japanese favorite and an Internet meme come to life. So I can kind of see it. What I can’t see is the Usos losing the tag titles here, as the Bloodline has had a dominant year and look like they’ll keep it going.

Did I just spoil my main event pick? Whoops.

WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (+300) vs. Bianca Belair (-500)

If Becky’s new do is any indication, Bianca has truly missed her calling as a hairdresser. I’m sure being Raw Women’s Champion would pay better, but the lives she could have changed with some scissors…I mean, Brutus Beefcake couldn’t do something half that good!

In all seriousness, this would seem to be the part of our story where Bianca Belair gets revenge for the whole 30 second loss at SummerSlam thing. One could argue that Becky Lynch has a good chance at victory due to Bianca getting the last laugh on the go-home show…but look at her hair! Obviously Big Time Becks got the upper hand on that issue.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (+425) vs. Ronda Rousey (-800)

This sort of feud is where basic wrestling storytelling has its drawbacks. Both Charlotte Flair & Ronda Rousey are great athletes. A wrestling match featuring them should be a good piece of business and get a good number of stars. There’s one big issue that becomes apparent when you try to have them do a feud on wrestling television: Neither Charlotte nor Ronda are particularly likeable, at least not to the majority of WWE’s fanbase.

See, in real sports this doesn’t really matter. You put the two best athletes out there, have them go at it and people tune in. Real sports doesn’t fill months of television with them trying to have a feud and have one of them be the protagonist & one of them be the antagonist. Take UFC, where Ronda came from. Both Jorge Masvidal & Colby Covington were clearly heels, but nobody cared. People still wanted to see them beat the crap out of each other.

Maybe people still feel the same way about Charlotte or Ronda. Alls I know for sure is that Ronda Rousey is winning this thing.

What Will Happen First:
Stone Cold Stunners Kevin Owens (-800) vs. Kevin Owens Stunners Stone Cold (+450)

I mean, you gotta be able to bet on something for this segment, I suppose. Seems like the easiest pick of the night…until you consider the fact that the Stunner is one of the safer moves in KO’s moveset for Austin to take. Could there be a chance for Owens to get some temporary satisfaction?

Nah. I see Owens hitting the kick to the gut, but Austin blocks that Stunner stuff.

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
RK-Bro (-150) vs. Street Profits (+150) vs. Alpha Academy (+400)

Randy Orton is having a lot of fun teaming with Riddle, and I’m happy for him. It doesn’t seem like anybody is looking to turn anytime soon, and the RK-Bro act is pretty popular with the WWE Universe. I’d keep riding it until it’s a little less popular.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Zelina Vega & Carmella (+500) vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks (-200) vs. Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley (+185) vs. Shayna Baszler & Natalya (+750)

There’s a lot going on here. We’ve got tag team champions in Zelina & Carmella that get pretty decent heat, at least from the Internet. Naomi/Sasha & Liv/Rhea seem equally beloved, while Shayna & Natalya are there to hold things together. Which won’t be easy to do in a fatal four-way tag team match. Naomi & Sasha are the favorites, and giving them this kind of win on a big show seems like a nice thing to do. Only problem: Have you seen Sasha’s WrestleMania record? She’s 0-6. One more loss will tie her with Goldust for the worst WrestleMania record of all time.

That seems like reason enough to give Sasha (and Naomi) the win, but if you’re looking elsewhere? I’d stick with the champions retaining and losing at another date. Not often you’ll get defending champions at this price, so Zelina & Carmella would be a good pick if you’re looking to make some money.

Singles Match
Johnny Knoxville (-300) vs. Sami Zayn (+200)

WrestleMania is not for people like me. I’m an old man that has never had any interest in Johnny Knoxville and his Jackass antics, and there’s really nothing he can do to change that. It isn’t a personal dislike or anything like that, I’m just not into that culture. They’re not trying to get people like me to buy in anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. All that matters for the purposes of this exercise is if Johnny Knoxville can draw a good number of his fans to watch WrestleMania, and maybe get them to stick around for other shows. Will it work? Beats the heck out of me!

I get the idea of having the Jackass guy win, and it’s not like Sami’s heat is going to get hurt by such a loss. We’re past the point where things like that actually matter. However, it’s not like Johnny Knoxville needs a win, and Sami Zayn gloating about beating him would make for some good entertainment. I might throw a buck or two on Sami.

Singles Match
Pat McAfee (-180) vs. Austin Theory (+140)

WrestleMania is not for people like me. I’m an old man that has never had much interest in McAfee and his podcast antics, and there’s really nothing he can do to change that. It isn’t a personal dislike or anything like that, I’m just not into that culture. They’re not trying to get people like me to buy in anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. All that matters for the purposes of this exercise is if Pat McAfee can draw a good number of his fans to watch WrestleMania, and maybe get them to stick around for other shows. Will it work? Beats the heck out of me!

Yes, I’ve basically used the same paragraph for three matches now. That’s WrestleMania. WWE’s best way to appeal to a more mainstream audience in 2022 is to get celebrities that are more mainstream. We as a species can’t agree on much these days, but most of us share an unhealthy level of interest in celebrities and their exploits. You saw how crazy people went over the Will Smith/Chris Rock thing at the Oscars. Of course, the difference is that the Oscars can make people believe it’s real, while pro wrestling lost that ability a long time ago.

In fairness to McAfee, he isn’t the typical celebrity wrestler. He has shown some athletic ability, and there’s no doubt that he cares about the wrestling business. It’s not just a paycheck for him. He’s not my cup of tea as an announcer or as a podcast host, but that’s ok. I have more faith in McAfee putting on an acceptable wrestling match, and not being carried to one like the others will be. The others got put in good hands, Austin Theory might be a good hand too but he’s never been in this kind of a situation.

That being said, Austin Theory has a lot of people with big names backing him up. Odds are good that he’ll be a pretty big deal in WWE. I’d give him the win here without a second thought.

Singles Match
AJ Styles (-200) vs. Edge (+150)

Us old heads can remember a time where these guys were on top of (somewhat) competing companies. Edge was a multiple time world champion in WWE during the 2000s while AJ Styles was the top wrestler in TNA/Impact for most of the decade. So while I never remember thinking to myself about how amazing an AJ Styles vs. Edge match would be, I’m sure plenty of people out there did, and are having the time of their lives heading into Sunday.

Still not sure what this new Edge character is supposed to be, but it seems like he’s having fun. Good for him. The match seems like a coin flip to me, and I tend to lean towards wrestlers that have been with WWE for longer periods of time. In this case, that’s Edge.

Singles Match
Omos (-170) vs. Bobby Lashley (+130)

I must be missing something here. This seems like the perfect opportunity to end that Omos winning streak, doesn’t it? Lashley is something of a monster himself, so a loss for Omos isn’t going to drastically change anybody’s opinion of the big guy. After losing, Omos gets mad and beats Lashley up, then you have something going forward.

Bobby Lashley‘s the pick from where I sit. I assume I’m missing something.

Champion vs. Champion
Roman Reigns (-350) vs. Brock Lesnar (+225)

I pause at the idea of Reigns vs. Lesnar III being the biggest WrestleMania match of all time. I will say that this is the biggest WrestleMania match they could do right now. There aren’t any bigger stars on WWE’s roster right now, and there aren’t any more believable stars either. There’s also quite a bit of intrigue too, as Roman is the clear favorite but it’s not like one can ever truly count out Brock Lesnar.

I see a similarity between the Reigns/Lesnar series & the Austin/Rock series. Rock lost to Austin at WrestleMania twice, but still kept moving up the ladder of stardom. Eventually, the one thing Rock hadn’t done was beat Austin at WrestleMania, and he finally did it on the third attempt. Reigns’ third attempt at beating Lesnar at WrestleMania happens on Sunday, and this feels like the time for it to happen.

I don’t know if it really counts as “passing the torch” anymore, but Roman Reigns will be winning a WrestleMania event for the 15th time this Sunday. I might be off on that number by a few, but you know what I mean.

 

Enjoy WrestleMania, and good luck if you decide to put some money on it! Just make sure to give me my cut.


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Opinion

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!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

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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DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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