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News From Cook’s Corner 2.1.21: Edge Belair

One of WWE’s bigger events take top headlines! Cook also mentions a certain IWGP US Title that apparently still exists beyond an empty briefcase!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! The news was a bit weird last week, and not very helpful for this column. Even though there was a Royal Rumble coming up (which we’ll spend most of our time this week discussing), most of the newsbites I saw seemed to involve people talking about things I either didn’t really care about or wanted to avoid listening to. Some fell under both of those categories.

Honestly, is it news that guys like Undertaker & Goldberg think that today’s generation is “soft” because they play video games? It’s what old people have said about young people since right around whenever video games were invented. Besides, I have no room to talk about whether or not people are soft. Softer than a roll of toilet paper over here.

I am interested in talking about the Royal Rumble, so let’s get right to that!

Royal Rumble Results!

While WrestleMania is the granddaddy of them all, the showcase of immortals or whatever name you want to throw at it, the Royal Rumble has always been an event I hold on par with that most sacred of shows. Something about the Rumble match itself has always tickled my fancy, and while WrestleMania often offers a climax, the Rumble offers promising beginnings. Let’s break the show down!

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler beat Charlotte Flair & Asuka on the Kickoff Show: I was wondering how they would fill out the show with the number of matches they had booked, turns out they needed to punt one to the Kickoff Show. How bout that. Not a bad match, though I’m pretty well done with the whole storyline with Lacey Evans & the Flair family. Also, I’m the most unathletic person I know and I’m pretty sure I can get more height on a legdrop than Nia Jax. Yikes.

Drew McIntyre defeated Goldberg to retain the WWE Championship: I get the general idea here, and plenty of fans & experts on my Twitter timeline were totally buying into this whole thing. Here’s where I balk at the idea of Drew McIntyre beating Goldberg being some kind of legacy making moment…

Dude’s 54. I know, age is just a number and 50 is the new 40 and all that stuff, but you’re never going to convince me that beating Goldberg in 2021 is the same thing as beating Goldberg in 1998. Maybe it works for people that weren’t born in 1998. If it does, good for them. From where I sit…at least they didn’t have Bill win the title again. Drew won in convincing fashion, but this whole thing with Drew & Bill served the purpose of filling a few weeks of programming. Anything deeper read into it seems a bit much.

(This won’t be the last time we’re talking about age here, just so you’re aware.)

Bianca Belair won the Women’s Royal Rumble: All of us that picked Bianca were a little nervous when she came out at #3. Much like how Bobby Heenan was nervous when Ric Flair came out at #3. We had nothing to worry about, as Bianca made it all the way to the end, and now heads on the Road to WrestleMania. A match with Sasha Banks seems promising, and one could figure that Bayley will be involved in such a feud, considering her current issues with Belair & previous issues with Banks. Sounds good to me!

Other potential issues arising from this match:
-Billie Kay eliminated by the Riott Squad, which might make Billie get the hint that she’s not wanted.
-Lana eliminating Nia Jax, which might lead to a few more usages of the Raw announce table.
-Charlotte Flair making it to the end and coming up short, and no longer being Women’s Tag Team Champion. I mean, I guess there’s more to do with Lacey Evans & the Naitch, but surely that’ll be blown off in February or March.
-Rhea Ripley had a star-making performance in her own regard, garnering the most eliminations, making it to the runner-up slot and having an impressive finishing sequence with Belair. Is she going back to NXT, or going somewhere else? Rhea being the only one smart enough to do something instead of stand there like a goober while Alexa Bliss tried to do some silly spooky stuff might lead to something down the road.
-Shotzi Blackheart, Toni Storm, Santana Garrett, Dakota Kai & Ember Moon also represented NXT in the match, but none of them made any eliminations.
-We got comebacks from Jillian Hall & Victoria, along with folks like Torrie Wilson, Alicia Fox & Mickie James that have made Rumble appearances before. History tells us not to read too much into this.
-Alicia Fox won the 24/7 belt for a few minutes before R-Truth won it back. Then Peter Rosenberg won it from R-Truth. Pretty normal night for that title.

Roman Reigns beat Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the Universal Championship: I liked this match a lot more than other offtheteam.com homies did for whatever reason. Went kinda slow early, but really picked up when they went to the non-ThunderDome portion of the building. Most of the action was good and both guys did their best to kill each other. Unfortunately, the ending wasn’t the best booked thing of all time, and the execution made it even worse. Overall though, I can’t knock Reigns or Owens’ effort.

I also got annoyed by everybody using Owens getting hit by a golf cart to give us their take on WWE vs. AEW. If it wasn’t AEW fans talking about WWE “ripping AEW off”, it was WWE fans trying to remind us of WrestleMania X-Seven. Let’s be honest: part of the Key Demo either wasn’t alive in 2001 or was too young to be watching Attitude Era wrestling. Seriously though, I think golf carts are fair game for anybody to use in wrestling, largely because they’re funny modes of transportation.

Edge won the Men’s Royal Rumble: If Belair thought she was hot stuff winning from the third slot, Edge outdid her by winning at #1. Pretty impressive considering he’s 47 years old, hasn’t wrestled in nine months and didn’t wrestle for several years before that. I told you to bet on Edge and picked him in the picks column, so the result didn’t surprise me one bit…though when I heard he was in the top two I became a bit concerned.

Edge did fine in the role. It just concerns me that they don’t have other people ready to fill slots like “WWE Championship contender” or “Royal Rumble pace-setter & eventual winner” that aren’t already on the active roster. This has been something of a problem for WWE as long as I can remember, and people keep telling me eventually new stars will pop up.

Other potential issues arising from this match:
-BAD BUNNY appeared, mad that Miz decided to knock his turntables over, and hit a big cross-body off the top rope onto Miz & John Morrison. People were kinda shocked that Miz was chosen to help catch Bad Bunny.
-Seth Rollins made his big return in the 29 slot, and wound up being the next to last person eliminated. His significant other…nowhere to be seen as of yet, but she’s got a bit more to come back from.

-Surprise old-school entrants: Carlito, The Hurricane & Christian. We’ve seen Hurricane make appearances before, but Carlito hasn’t been in a WWE ring for years, and Christian at least being cleared to have a decent run in the Rumble seems like news. Perhaps Christian plays a role in the build-up for whatever Edge’s WrestleMania match is.
-Oh, and Mayor Kane was there, though he had less Rumble success than the Knoxville representative in the women’s match.
-Damian Priest was the sole NXT representative this year, making a good showing for himself with four eliminations. Seems like a matter of time before he makes the move to Raw or SmackDown.

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty enjoyable evening. No real surprises in the results, but sometimes it’s better to have the right results than surprising results.

Mox Returns To New Japan

Jon Moxley is New Japan Pro Wrestling’s United States Champion. Which is easy to forget, since he hasn’t competed in one of their rings for nearly a year. February 9, 2020 to be specific, when he defeated Minoru Suzuki to retain that championship. Things changed not too long after that, as we’re all aware. Getting from North America to Japan, or from Japan to North America, became a lot tougher. New Japan went on a bit of a break, came back, but was missing most of their key gaijin talent. Including Mox, who has had plenty of business to tend to here in America. You know, AEW, getting his wife pregnant, stuff like that.

NJPW has started running shows in North America again, specifically in Los Angeles at their dojo. NJPW Strong has been airing on their streaming service for some time now, and it was only a matter of time before the NJPW US Champion was able to appear in LA.

Apparently this was taped some time ago during Mox’s absence from AEW, so good for them keeping that under wraps. People are already speculating on what this could all lead to, as AEW has acknowledged Mox vs. KENTA on social media. Me, I would pump the brakes on getting too excited about it. Sure, it’s fun to think about this being the beginning of a beautiful relationship between AEW & NJPW.

The most likely scenario: KENTA wins the title and AEW never mentions it after it happens.

Don’t get mad at me! That’s just typically how these things go. Also better to accept the most likely scenario than dream about potential Kenny Omega matches in the Tokyo Dome.

Is that all we have time for this week? It sure is! Don’t worry, plenty more content coming your way in the next few days like there always is. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.

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Greg DeMarco’s Good, Bad, & Ugly: WWE Smackdown On FOX (November 3, 2023)

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!



WWE Smackdown John Cean Solo Sikoa

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!

WWE Smackdown On FOX sends us home for the Crown Jewel premium live event, so it has to be strong. But is it? Maybe it’s Good. Possibly it’s Bad? I sure hope it isn’t Ugly.

Let’s find out!

If you haven’t checked out Mitchell’s Results & Review for this episode of Smackdown, go and check it out now!


  • Roman Reigns & LA Knight In Ring Promo – Last week LA Knight got the better of Roman, so it made sense for Roman to get it all back this week. And he did just that. “Redneck Cosplay of my cousin” was a fantastic line from Roman Reigns, but “I ain’t here to finish something” from LA Knight got a bigger reaction from me. Roman calling himself the megastar was also a phenomenal line. Good stuff all around.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory – Kevin Patrick keeping “The 150 million hit man” schtick going for Austin Theory is so great. Milk that for all it’s worth! “What is your issue with Kevin Owens’ face?” “LOOK AT IT, MAN!” Absolutely brilliant shit. “How’s that feel, idiot?” Grayson Waller should be on commentary every week, for every match. And this match, by the way, was really good. Austin Theory has settled into his current role, showing he understands the WWE cycle. And Owens is Owens.
  • Backstage Series Of Events – We had the Bianca Belair interview where she was attacked by Damage Ctrl, followed by The Street Profits & Bobby Lashley running into Logan Paul and then B-Fab. Flowed well, no issues for me.
  • Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Charlotte Flair – No surprise that Charlotte Flair was the partner, and no surprise that Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn made an appearance. This was a perfectly fine TV match–didn’t set the world on fire, but also wasn’t Bad or Ugly. This was a step in this story, and an effective one.
  • The Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly in a Good Ol’ Fashioned Donnybrook! – Shout out to Sheamus, whose return I look forward to seeing. With Ridge really coming into his own, we’re to the point where all four of these guys range from good to great to fantastic on any given night. Putting Pretty Deadly into any “manly fight” is always guaranteed entertainment. Really, Pretty Deadly in anything is typically guaranteed entertainment. Pretty Deadly picking up the win was not a shock, although I’d have loved to see Butch and Ridge Holland pick up a win here. Given the rules (or lack thereof) of this match, Pretty Deadly basically won clean here.
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul Crown Jewel Weigh-In – A very effective way to pretape something, which saves time as part of a double taping. It was essentially a go home promo, but done in a different way. I liked it. It also smoothly transitions into the rundown of the card by the commentary team, which I always appreciate.
  • Bianca Belair vs. Bayley – If you know me, you know that Bianca can be hit or miss for me. She can’t “work with anyone,” but she can definitely work with Bayley. Bayley, of course, is money with anything she does. Both women delivered a main event quality match, and no one should complain that Bianca Belair won. She’s challenging for the Women’s Championship in less than 24 canon hours, so she needs to win. Bayley is a made woman, losing here doesn’t hurt her one bit.
  • “Just Enough Nick” Nick Aldis Usage – Triple H has done an amazing job of establishing Nick Aldis. Three weeks in and he already “belongs.” Much of that is attributed to how Aldis carries himself. But they are also using him to the right degree. It’s not too much, but it’s also not too little. Adam Pearce could miss two weeks of Raw and when he shows back up, it all makes sense. For Aldis, he needs to be very present, but not overbearing or “shoved down our throats.” They have the right balance.


  • Solo Sikoa & John Cena In Ring Promo – John Cena, lost voice and all, completely buries Solo Sikoa. He “cooks” Solo, as promised. And, as Cena does, he makes Solo look like crap. Bargain Basement Tazz Rip Off? C’mon man, you’re better than that. But here’s the real problem: what happens if Solo loses? Cena made him look like a loser, and then proves that he is? Solo has to win this match. If he doesn’t, and Cena is gone, then Solo is left out in the cold. And you don’t want to do that to Solo Sikoa at this point of his career.


  • Misstep for Theory – Referencing Halloween as if it hadn’t already happened. You can edit this episode–c’mon, man!
  • Kevin Owens’ Crotch Chop – C’mon, man! We’re better than crotch chops in 2023.

The Verdict

  • Good – 8
  • Bad – 1
  • Ugly – 2

In all honesty this was a damn good show. Milwaukee showed out considering they’d already seen 2 hours of Smackdown before this was taped. Good on them, and good on WWE for a great go home show for Crown Jewel.

Interesting of note – the pictures for this show that are posted to the WWE website are uploaded in the order the matches and segments were recorded, not the order in which they aired. Just a little tidbit that I found interesting.

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Greg DeMarco’s Wrestling Ratings Report: Monday Night Raw (10/30/2023) & WWE NXT (10/31/2023)

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?



WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 Carmelo Hayes Ilja Dragunov

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?

Settle in for a look at this week’s ratings for WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2! Both were up against some stiff competition–let’s see how they fared!

WWE Monday Night Raw (October 30, 2023)

  • Hour #1 – 1.466 million viewers, .44 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable
  • Hour #2 – 1.450 million viewers, .46 demo rating #5 for the night on cable
  • Hour #3 – 1.256 million viewers, .39 demo rating, #8 for the night on cable

WWE Monday Night Raw for October 30, 2023 faced some stiff competition on Monday night. You had Monday Night Football as normal–which aired on both ESPN and ABC–along with the usual peripheral shows (Monday Night Football Postgame, Monday Night Football Kickoff, SportsCenter, and the Monday Night Countdown, which factored into the Top 10). 6.851 million people watched Monday Night Football on ESPN, a number that more than doubles when you factor in ABC.

What does it all mean? It means that outside of Monday Night Football–on cable–WWE Monday Night Raw was the top rated show. If you take away all things NFL, Raw finishes #1, #2, and #3 for the night. Viewership did drop off for our 3, but that’s the 10 PM hour that sees kids go to bed and people checking on the Monday Night Football and World Series games.

Speaking of which, that’s another factor to consider–the World Series! 8.126 million people watched the World Series on FOX (not really that good), with another 8.356 million watching Monday Night Football on ABC (yes, more than the World Series) for a decent-at-best Lions vs Raiders match-up.

In summary, it was another successful night for WWE Monday Night Raw, which was the go-home edition of the program. You can check out my Good Bad & Ugly look at Monday’s Raw, where I gave the show an overall “Good” rating. Haven’t watched yet? Give Mitchell’s live coverage a read.

Listen to this week’s edition of Bandwagon Nerds!

WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 (October 31, 2023)

  • Entire Broadcast – 674 thousand viewers, .20 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable

WWE NXT (Halloween Havoc Night 2) for October 31, 2023, had to deal with a myriad of external factors this week. First is the most obvious–it was Halloween! Many people had plans, Trick-Or-Treat escapades and more. That right there will be a detriment to any ratings results. Add in two live NBA games, each drawing over a million viewers for TNT. Combine it all together and WWE NXT was the top rated program that wasn’t sports programming on TNT or ESPN. Hell, the entire Top 12 consisted of ESPN and TNT sports programming, plus NXT.

It’s easy to call this a failure since viewership was lost week over week. But that’s very shortsighted. The fact remains that NXT was among the most watched programming for the night, holding its own against live sports and sports-peripheral programming.  If you’re WWE and USA Network, you’re nothing but happy with these results.

NXT, of course, featured the second week of Halloween Havoc, headlined by Ilja Dragunov defending the NXT Championship against Carmelo Hayes in the third match of their trilogy. Along with that you had The Creed Brothers in a Tables, Ladders, and Scares (Chairs) match with Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo, Lola Vice vs. Kelani Jordan in the finals of the Women’s Breakout Tournament, and much more.

I’d call the Tuesday program a ratings success. My Good, Bad, & Ugly review of NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 is available here, where I called it “Good” overall. If you haven’t seen the show yet, check out Mitchell’s play-by-play.

As the weeks roll on, I will compile some historical data and look more about week-over-week (and beyond) patterns in all of my ratings reports.

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