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News From Cook’s Corner 10.5.20: COME ON YOU JOES

Steve’s sports teams seemed to do good by him; but how much snark does he bring to newsworthy topics this week?

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We all know that 2020 is all about taking small victories when you can, and I am super hyped about football results from this past Sunday. My Tottenham Hotspur club gave Manchester United the biggest asswhooping they’d had at home since…well…ever. You gotta love that.

Then, my Cincinnati Bengals got their first win in Week 4 of the NFL season over Tony Khan’s Jaguars. If only I was smart enough to bet Tony on that stuff. I could have gotten a job, and he could probably use me. At least, I like to think so. Until he figures that out, here’s the news!

WWE Management Taking Over Cameo & Twitch

We heard the beginnings of this a few weeks back, and sure enough, WWE management is moving further down this road. The independent contractors were informed that they needed to sever unauthorized relationships with third-party platforms, and that WWE will be taking over their Twitch accounts over the four weeks. WrestlingInc’s report on the matter states that WWE will own the accounts, while the independent contractors will receive a percentage of the revenue, which will count against their downside guarantee.

Not only that, but as Andrew Yang pointed out on Twitter WWE will be turning Twitch sessions into part of their job. Should talents choose not to stream on Twitch, they will “forego earnings, be suspended or face penalties”, according to Yang. So, basically WWE is trying to take something that many of their workers use for fun and turn it into work. Oh, and they’re also trying to take whatever money is made off of the Twitch account.

WrestlingInc also had some news on the Cameo front. Independent contractors are being asked to sign agreements that state that WWE is their authorized representative on Cameo, and Cameo should make all payments on any videos to WWE. I’m sure the talents involved will get a fair & proper compensation for their services of being somebody fans want to hear from.

Word is that many of the independent contractors are angry about this. The question, as always, is will any of them try to do anything about it? Let’s be honest, WWE is going to milk as much money out of their performers as they can. If nobody’s going to stand up to them, why wouldn’t they? I’m typically a pro-labor guy except when the workers are trying to get sick, so I’d be behind them 100% if they chose to take a stance on this issue. If they’re content to sign papers and let WWE take all the money, there’s not much else I can say about it here. What would be the point?

NXT Trying To Get Its Groove Back

Last week I mentioned that I felt silly for forgetting to do a betting odds column for Clash of Champions, and would be sure to do the next big show. Nobody felt the need to mention to me that there was an NXT TakeOver last night. I’m not sure if that means that people assume I know these things (I really don’t, there’s a lot going on these days), or that nobody really cared about NXT TakeOver heading into it. Little of Column A, little of Column B?

WWE is well aware that NXT hasn’t had a ton of buzz recently. The WEDNESDAY NIGHT WAR has turned into a pretty one-sided affair, with NXT only winning with the old people while AEW sweeps every single other demographic one could imagine. 18-49 isn’t even close to being a contest. I think Dynamite is even winning among “people with the last name McMahon”.

There was a time when NXT was the “cool brand”. The Internet was so hyped up about it that they sent Triple H a fruit basket. Those days have come and gone. What happened? Well, there were some talent changes, but I think it mostly has to do with NXT becoming WWE’s weapon against All Elite Wrestling. This led to some varying issues, even putting all of the “NXT representing the evil corporation” stuff aside, which in itself plays a factor.

The biggest issue, in my eyes, has been the overbooking. NXT used to thrive as an hour-long WWE Network show that let things play out. People weren’t on TV every week. Issues were allowed to play out until an epic TakeOver card. It was a good formula, unlike regular WWE shows where things were fast-forwarded beyond the point where anything could be sold. Once NXT got that taste of main roster booking, things were bound to go downhill. Then came the hot-shotting to try to keep up with AEW booking, which only served to make everything on the show mean less. AEW’s roster is nowhere near WWE’s roster in depth, but it’s a wee bit bigger than the cast of characters NXT uses.

They’ve also done a better job of making their characters matter than NXT has, which makes their hot-shotting have more of an impact than NXT’s. I could have used more than a two-week buildup for a Cody vs. Brodie Lee dog collar match, but I have no doubt that thing will deliver. You know those guys will be motivated.

So how does NXT answer?

They deliver on a TakeOver, like they used to back in the day. First of all, they give people pictures of this newly renovated Capitol Wrestling Center, which is a great name for the 50 & over demographic NXT has been courting lately. Jim Cornette probably bust a nut when he heard that. It was a combo of live fans, 100 or so, some friends & family, and some virtual fans like in the ThunderDome.

I’m in a minority on this, and I could get off on a rant on this for a column, but I really don’t get the people that go crazy for pics of the Capitol Wrestling Center, or ThunderDome, or other arena setups in general back in the day back when fans attended things. See, I’m an old man, and I remember the days where arenas actually looked different. I remember WWF events in Louisville standing out because Freedom Hall had that obnoxious set-up where the balcony had FREEDOM HALL on one side & LOUISVILLE KY on the other. I also remember seeing events from Madison Square Garden, and countless other arenas that looked different from the rest. That was a good thing to me, but apparently not to Kevin Dunn & arena designers of the 2000s and beyond. Now, everything looks the same. I’m not a fan of that.

However, NXT got the Capitol Wrestling makeover, and at least for one TakeOver night, people liked it. There were also some notable happenings. For one, there will be an NXT Halloween Havoc. I’m kind of surprised but I’m kind of not, because once AEW did a Bash at the Beach, obviously WWE would use every other Dusty Rhodes event idea to make sure AEW didn’t do it.

Then we got some surprise returns. Toni Storm congratulated Io Shirai on her successful defense, and noted that she would be back in NXT, and it will always be Toni Time. Then we got the return of Ember Moon right after that. Seemed like a lot of returns at the same time, but it certainly doesn’t suck having those two back. Hopefully this gives NXT’s women’s division a boost.

Finn vs. Kyle

People keep telling me about Kyle O’Reilly these days. Most notably because I left him & Bobby Fish out of the 2010s tag team rankings. I’ve…always been bored by Kyle. Sorry. Not really my style, especially since he was Davey Richards’ young boy when DR’s Team Ambition pulled their bullshit on the indies. Not good people. Has Kyle grown out of that nonsense? A lot of people seem to think so, but I question the logic of most of those people. So let’s watch that match and see.

These boys don’t even get weights announced. NXT ring announcer had that old school microphone Howard Finkel style, but couldn’t announce anything important. Finn dominated early, so here’s Kyle’s time to shine. It’s like these guys are working an indy style ROH pure match, which is tough to consider, but it’s what’s happening. I am really trying to give these guys a chance, but its tough when I’m not totally bought into either guy. Which is kind of weird since I can buy into ROH Pure matches with guys I’m not totally bought into. Nah, instead we’ve got Kyle working weak anklelocks and getting worked into a sharpshooter. I mean, people have been trying to tell me that Kyle is the best wrestler in the world, and I would say that most of the ROH Pure Wrestling tournament grapplers would outwork him easily. I just don’t see it, sorry to you Kyle truthers.

Watched the match, apparently ***** to everybody on Chairshot other than me. Sorry.

So, NXT fought back this weekend. We’ll see how it goes. I still think the best way to fix NXT would be to move their show to Tuesday or Thursday night, but nobody asks me these things.

Michael Elgin in rehab

The former ROH Champion & New Japan gaijin favorite announced that he was heading to rehab to deal with an addiction to painkillers. Elgin has been inactive in pro wrestling since getting into a physical altercation with Sami Callihan backstage at an Impact Wrestling taping. Also, several allegations were made his way during the Speaking Out movement. So, while we wish Elgin the best in handling his painkiller addiction, we also hope he gets cured of being an asshole.

Was that too harsh? Not harsh enough? Its so hard to tell these days.

That’s all I have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Continental Classic Update! (11/27/23)

What a start to the tournament!

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Did your picks win points?

The AEW Continental Classic is underway, with almost everyone competing. Check in here if you haven’t seen the winners and losers of week 1!

Here are your Gold League standings!

  • Jon Moxley: 1-0, 3 points
  • Swerve Strickland: 1-0, 3 points
  • Jay White: 1-0, 3 points
  • Rush: 0-1, 0 points
  • Mark Briscoe: 0-1, 0 points.
  • Jay Lethal: 0-1, 0 points

 

Here are your Blue League standings!

  • Brody King: 1-0, 3 points
  • Claudio Castagnoli: 1-0, 3 points
  • Daniel Garcia: 0-1, 0 points
  • Eddie Kingston: 0-1, 0 points
  • Bryan Danielson: Yet to Compete
  • Andrade El Idolo: Yet to Compete

 

My Thoughts:

Nothing too crazy, nothing too wild, this tournament only just got started. The only disappointing point is that they could not get Bryan “cleared to compete” Saturday night. Not sure how much of that is shoot given the bad eye, but this was kinda the problem of wanting him in the tournament over tons of other choices. Bryan wants to face Okada for WrestleKingdom 18, how is Bryan supposed to do that at his best if he’s also gonna be in a round robin, doing five top level matches in about as many weeks? And it takes away from Andrade being able to do something. Also a little surprised we didn’t even hear from Andrade on Saturday.

Now as we heard on Saturday, round two’s matches are set. Gold League will see Mark Briscoe VS Rush, White VS Swerve, and of course, Moxley VS Lethal. Nice variety there, a couple 0-1 guys facing off, as well as two 1-0 guys, and then 1-0 VS 0-1. No offense to Lethal, but he feels like an 0-2 going up against Moxley. Hard to call the other ones but that’s the fun of it. Meanwhile, Blue League sees Brody VS Claudio in a showdown to be 2-0, then Bryan and Andrade finally jump in, Bryan against Eddie and Andrade against Garcia. Sadly, feels like Eddie and Garcia are going 0-2, no way Tony Khan is booking Bryan and Andrade to lose their first shots.

In fact, that could be half the reason they did wait on those two, that’s almost too good for just a first round opener. But I still would’ve done it, same as NJPW does stuff like that for round robins, which this is all modeled after anyway.


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AEW Coverage

AEW announces Continental Classic entrants

The C2 is set!

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Tony Khan Reveals the Blue and Gold “Leagues!”

Originally livestreamed, Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone officially announced the twelve total entrants and divided them into the two round robin blocks known as the “Blue League” and “Gold League.” If you don’t feel like sifting through the almost 30 minute video, the groups are:

Blue League

  • Bryan Danielson
  • Andrade El Idolo
  • Brody King
  • Claudio Castagnoli
  • Daniel Garcia
  • Eddie Kingston

Gold League

  • Jon Moxley
  • Swerve Strickland
  • Rush
  • Mark Briscoe
  • Jay Lethal
  • Jay White

 

Tony Khan also explains the rules for the Continental Classic:

  • Every match has a 20 minute time limit
  • The winner of each match earns 3 points, losers earn 0, 1 point for a draw
  • EVERYONE ELSE is banned from ringside for true 1v1 action

 

Eddie Kingston also joined the selection special as his “life’s work” is on the line in this tournament, both the ROH World Championship and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship on the line as part of the modern day North American Triple Crown Eddie, Tony Khan, AEW, ROH and NJPW are looking to create together. Gold League competes tonight on Dynamite while Blue League will have their start this Saturday on Collision. Look for more articles like this one to keep up with the Continental Classic standings over the next six weeks of tournament action!


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