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News From Cook’s Corner 11.30.20: No Star Ratings Required

Cook covers a few news stories from the confusing to the less than positive. Holidays are always rough, ain’t they?



Jimmy Rave

Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I hope everybody reading this had themselves a very happy Thanksgiving Weekend. Unless you live somewhere other than America, in which case it was just a weekend. For example, Canada holds their Thanksgiving earlier than we do. I’m leaving out any sort of a punchline here because they’re all still cranky about me blaming them for Hulk Hogan’s ill-fated 2002 WWE Championship reign. You may fill one in if you like, but I’m staying out of it.

That wasn’t even the most heat I got last week! 411 commenters got mad at my AEW Dynamite review because it didn’t include star ratings. I mean, I know some people live & die by those things…but here’s the thing: Mine suck! They’re awful! I never want to go too high, but I don’t want to go too low either, so they all kind of end up in the middle. There’s no insight to be gleaned about a wrestling show from whatever number of stars I give a match. It’s not like I’m Larry, or Dave, or even Scott Keith, for heaven’s sake. A lot of people have a knack for it, but after sixteen glorious years typing words about wrestling for Internet consumption, I still don’t. (Also, I might have been doing what “Hangman” Adam Page does during most episodes of AEW Dynamite, but let’s not get into that here.)

Maybe I should be somewhat flattered that people care enough to ask for my star ratings on something, but I find it hard to believe that people value my opinion that much. It’s just some weird addiction to stars or something. I dunno.

Anywho, let’s get on with the news!

SmackDown = Land of Confusion?

I’m one of those people that likes to know what’s scheduled for a show in advance. Tease me with something interesting, and I’m more likely to watch live, instead of YouTube clips or whatever. The most recent episode of SmackDown had absolutely nothing announced until minutes before the show started. Shades of some WCW pay per view events. A F4WOnline source said the show was a “mess” backstage, still being worked on hours before the show.

Here’s my problem with all of this. We all know that when it comes to WWE, the buck stops with Vince McMahon. It always has. The thing is, we’ve seen Vince on television recently, and it’s fairly obvious that he’s lost a few miles per hour off his fastball. That’s not me knocking Vince, the man is 75 years old and that happens to most people when they get to that age. If you saw him introducing the Undertaker at Survivor Series, or his appearance at the Triple H Anniversary Show, you know what I’m talking about. The guy isn’t quite that invincible fireball personality he once was.

Yet, every decision WWE makes on anything falls to him. These people can’t even book a show unless Vince is in the building holding their hands. This isn’t good! At some point, folks in WWE not named “Vince McMahon” should be able to take some leadership. Whether it’s Stephanie or Triple H, or Shane or Bruce Prichard or some other writer, somebody else needs to be ready to have the buck stop with them. Then when Vince shows up, he can blow the whole thing up and take things a different direction. That’s fine, but I do think that the lack of leadership past Vince is a pretty big problem for WWE going forward.

Vince won’t live forever. Even if he does live to 100 like his mother, those last 10 years are going to be rough. Right now, it looks like other WWE higher-ups are afraid to take any authority from him. They better be ready to do it soon.

Progress Report on Edge & Daniel Bryan’s Creative Endeavors

We all know that Edge & Daniel Bryan have become part of WWE’s creative team, Edge serving on Raw and Bryan with SmackDown. How are they doing? It’s popped up a few places, but I read on Ringside News that Bryan is receiving rave reviews, not only for his contributions creatively but for his interest in the process. He gives plenty of advice to talent backstage and has been watching Vince McMahon closely, learning how Vince produces the show. Bryan has said his full-time in-ring career is nearing its end, and as much as he loves the business I’d think that making a transition to full-time creative/producer/backstage man would make perfect sense and would make him happy.

The same might not be true for Edge. Ringside News is reporting that Edge hasn’t put the same effort into his new job that Bryan has. Apparently he also speaks to talent and gives them advice, but it doesn’t seem to be having the same effect that Bryan has with SmackDown talent. The general impression is that Edge doesn’t really want to do it. Which is fine. Some people are made for that backstage WWE life and some aren’t.

I still do find it interesting that one of these sources talking to websites obviously has some kind of axe to grind with Edge. We saw it a little while back when there were reports that Edge had been meeting with the Forgotten Sons, who aren’t exactly the most popular folks anywhere. We still haven’t seen or heard anything about them since, although Fightful boss Sean Ross Sapp has openly speculated that the two that weren’t idiots on Twitter might end up in the corner of King Corbin. Sapp does seem to have his finger on the pulse, so keep an eye on that.

Also, keep an eye on his Kentucky Wildcats getting their asses kicked by Richmond. BOOM ROASTED!

Impact Keeping Options Open

I found this interesting. Fightful Select reported that Impact Wrestling has been filming different finishes to some of their major storylines. I imagine this would involve several different people being revealed as John E. Bravo’s shooter, which means that one of the people I ranked in my column from a few weeks ago might have done it in an alternate universe. I’m taking that as a win, because we need to take our wins when we can here in 2020.

Impact has had a lot of roster turnover over the past couple of years, so filming multiple endings to things is a good way to try and keep the show current. It’s also a good way to keep talent from blabbing things to their favorite writers.

A Chris Hero Update

Or Kassius Ohno, in ca-oh who am I kidding, anybody reading this column knows the man more as Chris Hero than as Kassius Ohno. He’s been somewhat conspicuous by his absence from pro wrestling since his release from WWE, which has folks wondering. He issued a statement on Saturday:

“Oh and, before anyone asks or infers, I am far from done wrestling. If I wanted to hang it up and coach/produce I could have a job tomorrow. I’ve turned down a number of companies in the last 6 months- not because they’ve been terrible offers or anything but because I’m just not ready. I will come back when the circumstances and situations are right. Trust me, it *kills* me to not be out there doing what I love. The time will come and when it does it will be spectacular. In the meantime, I appreciate all of your patience. Take care & stay safe!”

My take: Knowing what I know about Tony Khan, which is he’s obviously a mark for 2000s independent wrestling, especially in the CZW category, why wouldn’t he want to book Chris Hero against Eddie Kingston? I assume both of those guys are tired of that match, but Hero would take it to get his foot in the AEW door, and Kingston seems more willing to play ball now than in previous years. I fully expect to see Hero vs. Kingston on an AEW PPV event in 2021, and the build will be glorious.

The Crown Jewel Lost Some Luster

Some bad news came through the pipeline this weekend from one of Ring of Honor’s biggest heels of all time. Those of us that were following ROH in the mid-2000s know how hard it was for anybody on that roster to get some proper heat. Jimmy Rave never had that problem. People were always willing to hate Jimmy Rave, as he had that demeanor about him, and he wasn’t quite on the workrate level as many of the ROH favorites of the time.

Rave has still been active in the southern U.S. wrestling scene since leaving ROH, but it seems like that’s coming to an end.

You hate to see it. Any time that anybody loses an arm is a bad piece of business. Rave’s description of what happened reaffirms something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and that’s how we (or at least I) tend to ignore physical ailments if they aren’t at least a 10 on the physical pain scale. We try to gut it out and play through the pain. It’s human nature.

However, gutting it out and playing through the pain can lead to even more pain down the road. Or in some cases, not being able to feel any pain since you’re not feeling anything at all. I’m not saying we need to be hypochondriacs and rush to the hospital any time we get a headache. We just need to be more aware of when things don’t feel right. Me, I’ve spent most of 2020 dealing with an eye ailment that could have been cured months ago if I didn’t just stop wearing contacts to deal with the issue. I couldn’t have picked a worse year to wear glasses most of the time, too. Masks & glasses aren’t fun.

At least I’m not missing part of an arm! Best wishes to Jimmy Rave, hopefully he’ll be able to find hapiness doing something other than in-ring competition.

1 Bob

Bob Ryder, a co-founder of the company currently known as Impact Wrestling, passed away last week at the age of 64. He was a vital part of the early days of the Internet Wrestling Community. He launched Prodigy’s wrestling section, which if you’re a little bit older than me you’ll remember pretty well. (I was an AOL kid.) Ryder was a founder of and became part of WCW’s Internet efforts, co-hosting WCW Live alongside Jeremy Borash before and after episodes of WCW Monday Nitro.

Once WCW got bought by Vince McMahon, Ryder was out of the picture. He was close with Jeff Jarrett, and Jeff’s father Jerry went along with them & others for a boat ride on the Gulf Coast where they came up with the idea of NWA: Total Nonstop Action. Ryder served that company through its various names, booking regimes & owners until his dying day. He was known for his ability at making travel arrangements. If he was sitting at home or on vacation he was always on call if somebody needed him. If a TNA/Impact wrestler ran into a rough spot on the road, they would call Bob and he would take care of things.

People that actually knew Bob had nothing bad to say about him. Pretty much anybody that spent any amount of time in TNA/Impact, along with Impact’s current roster, expressed their condolences. People that knew him from the Internet…well, you know. The fact that Chris Hyatte & Bob Ryder passed in the same year is definitely some kind of something. Those guys had quite the feud back in the day, much hotter than the stuff that passes for Internet feuds now. I don’t think Jim Cornette has said anything about Dave Meltzer’s mom. Correct me if I’m wrong.

All I can say for sure is that Bob did what a lot of us would like to do. He got into the business! He became a vital part of a company. That’s more than a lot of us in this genre can say.

Thanks for reading, my friends. Until next week, 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!



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!



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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