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News From Cook’s Corner 5.17.21: Zombies Ate The Miz

Cook has some commentary on recent behind the scenes stories, Backlash opinions and the sudden passing of an ECW Legend. Check out the News!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! Steve Cook here with you for another week of wrestling news, views and opinions that you won’t get anywhere else! There’s a ton going on and many things to say about it, but before we get to that we gotta get to this…

Tomorrow (Tuesday) marks one calendar year since the passing of my guru, spiritual advisor & executive consultant, Larry Csonka. We’re not going to do some long, drawn out thing here since I already did one last year, but you will want to check out tomorrow for a very special tribute. It’ll be a good time.

For now, we’re going to take a look at some rasslin news!

Backlash From WrestleMania

Did adding “WrestleMania” to the name get people more interested in Backlash? I dunno, the hype heading into this one wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Looked like a pretty good show on paper, and a good chunk of it lived up to it. I missed the Kickoff Show and most of the first match due to baseball & dinner, but watched the rest for you fine people…

Kickoff Show: Sheamus defeated Ricochet

Don’t worry, Ricochet fans. Your boy didn’t get completely buried here. After all, he stole Sheamus’s hat & coat after the match, just like every good WWE babyface would. So he’ll get at least one Raw appearance, maybe more!

Rhea Ripley defended the Raw Women’s Championship against Asuka & Charlotte Flair

I thought Charlotte might get the duke here, but obviously they’re saving that one for later. Didn’t get to see most of this one, but the last few minutes were pretty good. The sound on my television not working probably helped, to be honest. I was debating not fixing it, but decided it was for the best to do so.

The Mysterios won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship from the Dirty Dawgs

Probably about time for Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode to lose the straps. Had them for four months and hardly anybody noticed. Rey worked most of it by himself since Dominik got attacked on the Kickoff Show, but the young boy came down to make the save, the family won and everybody lived happily ever after. Except for me, who spent the entire match trying to make a joke about how some other team was the first father/son pairing to win the WWE Tag Team Championship, but I couldn’t come up with anything good. I mean, Ric Flair’s old enough to be Batista’s dad, so maybe them?

Match was ok. Some people really liked it, others thought it was trash, I’ll go in the middle.

Damian Priest beat the Miz in a Zombie Lumberjack Match

Yeah, this was complete garbage. If somebody tells you it was good, they are either lying to you & drinking the Vince Kool-Aid, or they’re lying to you and are under contract with WWE. This was as bad as the Alexa Bliss stuff, and didn’t have Alexa Bliss dressing in ways that turn some people on to redeem it. (Not judging, we all have our kinks.) This belongs in that conversation with Robocop.

The only possible thing that could redeem this would be Miz working the next several months as a zombie on Raw and on Miz & Mrs.. The dude got eaten by zombies, so it would make sense in weird WWE Universe Land and I would give them a little bit of credit for continuity. Even if it’s totally stupid continuity, I would applaud the effort. Also, it would be interesting to see if Miz could pull off the role.

Bianca Belair defeated Bayley

This was pretty good up until the part where Bayley started playing with Bianca’s hair, and the finish where Bayley was allegedly rolled up with Bianca’s hair. I’m hoping this doesn’t result in a hair match considering what happened the last time they tried to build one. They should wait to cut Bianca’s hair until there’s actually an audience, as that might actually incite a riot and would be entertaining television.

Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman

This was fun stuff with big people throwing around other big people. It didn’t re-invent the wheel or anything like that, but it was the best you’d expect from these guys. Looks like we’ll get a Lashley/McIntyre Hell in a Cell match, or at least I assume we would because I can’t think of anything else on the Raw side of things that would merit one.

Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro

A very good wrestling match, as we all expected. We all knew Cesaro would deliver in the main event spot, right? I doubt you folks fall in the category of people that would be surprised by such a thing. Speaking of HIAC matches, Cesaro & Seth Rollins are probably due for one since Seth came down to murder Cesaro’s arm after Cesaro had already been murdered by Roman & Jey Uso. Though I could see them doing Roman vs. Jimmy Uso in the cell since Roman already made Jey his bitch in a previous cell match.

So, pretty good show except for the zombie bullshit. Sorry guys, I know it’s a Netflix movie tie-in and WWE gets some money out of the deal (as if they need more) so we’re supposed to be supportive for the sake of business, but, as the kids say, that was just so cringe. Embarrassing nonsense that fits in well on Raw where it’s easier to ignore it.

WWE PPV Schedule Shakeup

There’s been a slight change in the WWE PPV schedule, which I feel like is being overblown the same way the NFL schedule is being overblown, but then I’ve always been a guy that doesn’t look too far down the road when it comes to things like that. Which makes me a perfect fit for a wrestling company’s booking team, come to think of it. As alluded to previously, Hell in a Cell is WWE’s next PPV event, taking place on June 20. Money in the Bank was previously scheduled for that date, but is being moved to July 18 so it can be one of the first WWE shows on the touring schedule.

See, WWE is going back on tour July 16. AEW’s going back on tour July 7. It’s full steam ahead for these companies, as the pandemic is now officially over in America and we don’t have to wear masks anymore if we’ve had both of our shots. Or if we act like we’ve had both our shots, which a whole mess of people will be doing. But let’s not dive into that, as I’m already avoiding talking about the Sami Zayn issue because I don’t want people yelling at me about Israel & Palestine.

The bottom line is that a couple of PPVs changed dates, and in spite of my complaining about the dumb MITB briefcase booking every single year, it’s coming back for another year. Here’s hoping for a repeat victory for Ot-oh, who am I kidding, that’s not happening again.

AEW Backstage Hubbub!

If you know me, you know there’s few things I love more than juicy gossip. When I first started reading the works of the Internet Wrestling Community, it wasn’t for the star ratings or match recommendations. It was for that hot backstage newzzzzzzzz. Back in my day, that’s what most of the writers were about too.

Today’s wrestling writers? They’re all about the star ratings & the performance. They don’t particularly care about the backstage stuff or the business news, they’re all about which pro wrestler is doing the most flips or the best matwork. The ones that do report the news? They’re more concerned with making friends & not being controversial. They actually want to be considered journalists, which is commendable to a degree, except they don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire when it’s asked for.

Me? I’ve never pretended to be anything more than a longtime wrestling fan with opinions & a healthy amount of curiosity. If you don’t have anything nice to say about somebody, come sit next to me and let’s talk about it!

AEW Dynamite Nitro Logo

Apparently, some folks in AEW’s upper management don’t have anything nice to say about each other. This comes to us from Wade Keller & Jason Powell, two names that I remember from back in the day, but don’t really hear from much now. Let’s see what they had to say on a podcast last week about the Executive Vice Presidents. Transcription via 411 via whoever they got it from.

Keller: “There’s gonna a book written someday by some of these EVP’s or someone else closely observing and we’re gonna learn about a lot of dysfunction. We’re gonna learn what a very short honeymoon period there was between certain key people in the company, who aren’t even talking to each other anymore. I think we’re gonna find that out. I know there are people in other wrestling companies saying The Bucks and Cody and Kenny it’s not gonna be long at all before they want to have nothing to do with each other. The honeymoon period is going to be short. It seems like it is. It seems like there’s some disengagement and people going off into their own that is showing up in certain ways.”

Powell: “If that is not happening, they need to clear up that misconception. I do think it’s happening, but if it’s not? I’ll just say; there’s a would-be difference maker who could go there that has that opinion that there’s all this in-fighting and this person, for that reason, is hesitant to go there.”

OK, so there’s a bit to unpack here. First of all, the following absolutely has to be said before we go any further into this: Every business venture is going to have some disagreement between members of management. It’s unavoidable, unless everybody happens to agree on every single thing ever. We haven’t gotten there yet, even though certain news outlets are doing their darndest to make it so. As much as hardcore AEW fans might not like to think so, the odds are really good that Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Nick & Matt Jackson don’t agree on every single thing.

Heck, you can tell that from watching the show. Unlike WWE, where there is one singular vision dictating everything and setting a particular tone for each show, AEW has conflicting styles and directions. Not saying that’s a bad thing, as a viewer that likes different styles & presentations I like how AEW tries to do different things. I’m just saying the tone of a segment Cody’s involved in is different from something with Omega & the Bucks.

Cody’s got his stuff going on and has his trainees he wants to feature. Kenny’s got his stuff going on and wants more time for the women’s division he’s booking. The Bucks wanna do their stuff & get all their longtime indy wrestling friends on TV. Tony Khan gets to decide who gets to do what, and not everybody’s going to be happy all the time. This isn’t some revelatory stuff here, it’s common sense.

Are they “not speaking to each other”? I assume they communicate through text & group chats like the rest of us these days. Who has time for actually talking to people? I refuse to do such a thing unless I’m getting paid.

I will say that I disagree with Powell’s assertion that these people need to clear up this misconception that didn’t really take hold until he started talking about it. The fact of the matter is that it behooves these guys to not air their dirty laundry in public, and to let people think whatever they want to think. From a wrestling perspective, the idea that these guys don’t get along can always come in handy somewhere down the road if they’re short on ideas.

It’s all baseless gossip and the truth is somewhere between “they all hate each other” and “they’ve never had a cross word”. One thing I can guarantee? There will be a joke on this week’s BTE about it.

Speaking of Executive Vice Presidents…

Fightful Select & the Talking Nonsense About Impact Wrestling YouTube channel noticed something last week. Don Callis is no longer listed on Anthem Sports & Entertainment’s website as an Executive Vice President of Impact Wrestling. Scott D’Amore is listed in that role, and has been doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes for some time now, so it’s not like there’s been a tremendous change in how the company’s running.

As a casual observer, it’s seemed like a matter of time before Callis was going to be spending the lion’s share of his time in AEW anyway. They could use the help since their EVPs aren’t talking to each other, the format sheet each week is a flaming mess & Tony Khan is too busy helping Tim Tebow learn how to play tight end.

Am I doing it right?

New Jack

The Original Gangsta wasn’t exactly what one would call a “good person”. He wasn’t known for his charity work or his kindness to others. His off-work activities weren’t what we would consider morally upstanding. Some might even tell you he was difficult to work with on a professional level. Worked a little snug, if you catch my drift. A bit unpredictable at times. No wrestler ever called a New Jack match a “night off”.

We knew a bit about Jerome Young through his various shoot interviews, his appearance in Beyond The Mat & his Dark Side of the Ring episode. There didn’t seem to be much of a difference between the real person & the character, which is why he had no problem connecting with the audiences he wrestled for. Either in a really good way with ECW’s blood mark fans or in a really bad way with SMW’s rebel flag waving fans.

New Jack had a wrestling style that entertained people. Not so much with the five star matches as with the hitting people with plunder and jumping off of high places. He could also entertain on the microphone. We don’t know if he could have done either of these things in a way that could have gotten him on WWE television, although his team with Shark Boy in TNA was a glimpse of what they could have gotten out of him. It’s a moot point anyway, as you can imagine what would have happened when any of WWE’s sponsors or business partners learned anything about New Jack.

There were several incidents in New Jack’s career that have been well-covered on various platforms. Mass Transit. Vic Grimes. Gypsy Joe. The dude in Florida he stabbed a bunch of times. New Jack wasn’t shy about taking liberties with his opponents. He caused some very disturbing incidents, and he wasn’t sorry for a single one of them.

With all that being said, I never really got mad at New Jack. Sometimes we get mad at these wrestlers for these problems they cause for others, but I was always fine with the guy. It probably helped that I never had to meet him, but what can I say? The guy was one of the focal points of ECW, and really only could have made it as big as he did in that environment. Anywhere else, wasn’t going to happen.

Frankly, I’m shocked that he passed away at 58, because guys like New Jack either die super young or in their nineties.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, 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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