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News From Cook’s Corner 1.10.22: More Forbidden Doors

Some interesting happenings in wrestling this week, most of which involve…wait…IMPACT? Are we sure? *checks notes* – Well damn…



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We spent the last couple of weeks reviewing 2021 & previewing 2022, now we dive into whatever the heck is going on in the world of pro wrestling news discourse. From what I’ve observed over the past few days, it’s the usual suspects screaming about the usual nonsense. Taking down one calendar and putting up another doesn’t mean everything will be different.

One thing’s been different so far here in 2022. Ya boy decided to try out this whole “Dry January” thing. To be honest, there’s been a bit too much alcohol consumption going on for the past…let’s go with “few years”. It really kicked up to another level during the pandemic, as various stress factors that bother me more than they should combined with time on my hands led to hitting the hard stuff fairly often.

I don’t have much in common with my fellow Kentuckians, but a taste for bourbon is one thing I do have.

So we’re going to cut it out for a month and see how it goes. I’m surprised there haven’t been too many withdrawal symptoms. Mostly my pesky brain trying to tell me I’m thirsty, but I usually ignore that thing anyway. In any event, this column is being done 100% sober for the first time in quite awhile. For non-sober Steve Cook writing, you can check out the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards, which are being posted daily at

Anywho, it’s time to sift through the wrestling news and see what actually matters, while taking out all the BS and inserting my own. You know, the BS that actually matters.

As the (Nick) Khan Turns

Samoa Joe WWE Babyface

I’ll be honest with you guys. Here in 2022, the behind the scenes goings on at WWE are more interesting than the best stuff WWE puts on television. People are making moves to stake their power. Others are moving down the food chain. Reports about this stuff read like a Succession episode recap. It’s all very compelling.

So what happened this week? More releases! This round was a bit different from the previous ones. In-ring talent was largely left alone while backstage names we’d associated with the NXT operation for many years got the axe. Some interesting names were let go, most of them with a connection to Paul Levesque.

William Regal probably got the most attention out of the crop, as his release was the most surprising. Regal’s been with WWE for the duration of the 21st century. After his in-ring career wound down, Regal became one of WWE’s top talent scouts & backstage advisors. Pretty much anybody WWE’s had in a ring this past decade learned something from Regal. He was one of NXT’s top people ever since the Performance Center became a thing. Regal was popular with pretty much everybody, and was expected to remain employed as long as he wished to.

Brian & Scott James had also been with WWE for a very long time. Brian, known as the Road Dogg, had been serving as part of creative while Scott was training the NXT referees. Ryan Katz had been part of WWE creative for nearly ten years and was part of NXT creative when the brand received its most critical acclaim. Dave Kapoor had been part of WWE creative since 2007, while Gabe Sapolsky had been a consultant & talent scout for the past few years. George Carroll had recently been working close with Shawn Michaels as a writer/producer. Chris Guy had been a coach for the past few years.

Samoa Joe had already been released once, then was immediately brought back to work at the PC. Joe was meant to be a talent scout and an on-air enforce for NXT General Manager Regal. He won the NXT Championship from Karrion Kross, then immediately vacated it due to injury. Joe nor Regal were seen on NXT television recently.

The common denominator between most of these people seems to be a tight relationship with Paul Levesque. It seems that most of the people that were going to be put in key spots if Levesque took over Raw & SmackDown some day have been let go. Considering all the changes that produced NXT 2.0, it was only a matter of time before more of the old guard was purged. There were so many people under contract to this company that even with all these cuts there’s still plenty of people working at the PC. We worry about who will take care of this or that, but somebody there will. And if they don’t, WWE will hire somebody else that will. Just without that Triple H stink on them.

Most of the backstage folks were there for a long time, so I have a tough time feeling too sorry for them. They spent many years there & cashed many checks in the process. One I do feel sorry for is Cathy Corino, better known to indy wrestling fans as Allison Danger. She started working for WWE as a coach three months ago after moving across the country to Orlando. Her kid’s first day at school coincided with her getting fired. Last one on the ship, first one off. It’s a shame.

The on-air talent released were Hideki Suzuki, Timothy Thatcher & Danny Burch, none of who had been heavily featured on television recently. Suzuki was part of Diamond Mine but hadn’t wrestled. Burch & Thatcher last appeared on television in August 2021. They’ve fired people that were appearing on TV regularly, but it still seems like people that haven’t been on TV for awhile should be watching their back.

More releases will be coming. You know what else will be coming? People we’ve seen in WWE before!

Mickie James to Royal Rumble

WWE went ahead and revealed some of the Women’s Royal Rumble surprises, which means they’re not surprises but whatever. The Bella Twins, Lita, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool & Summer Rae are making their first in-ring appearances in quite some time. Kelly’s was in the 2020 Rumble, Michelle’s was in the 2018 Rumble, Nikki’s was at Evolution, Summer’s was back in August 2016 on a house show. So yeah, the Summer Rae return is kinda random but I’m here for it.

One other return is one you might not have been expecting if you followed the news surrounding her dismissal from WWE: Mickie James! You also might have not expected it if you followed recent events in her career, as Mickie is currently the Impact Knockouts World Champion. WWE was sure to mention this on television and on social media, which I assume is exactly what Impact Wrestling wanted out of all this.

Some say that Impact should be worried about their champion being jobbed out or some such thing. It might have mattered fifteen years ago, but here in 2022 it really doesn’t. It’s about getting your name out there, which Impact did the night before their big Hard to Kill PPV. We don’t know whether it generated any extra buys for that event, which featured Mickie defending the title against Deonna Purrazzo, but it was certainly worth a shot. That’s what I like about this era of Impact Wrestling. They’re willing to try stuff. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter too much.

There’s also the issue of TrashbagGate, which involved Mickie’s personal effects being sent back to her in a trash bag after her release. Mickie seems to have accepted the apologies from WWE, at least enough to take the paycheck. Hey, we all know money talks, and most of you reading this would take whatever dollar amount Mickie’s getting from WWE. Unless most of you are billionaires, in which case my PayPal account is [email protected] and y’all need to be paying me for this shit.

Impact is Hard To Kill. So is Ring of Honor?

The previously alluded to event Mickie defended her championship at was Impact’s annual Hard to Kill PPV. It’s a fitting name for an event from a company that we’ve all written off many times yet keeps hanging around. Now, Ring of Honor wrestlers are entering through that Forbidden Door to do some business while their previous place of employment decides whether or not they’ll exist in the future.

Jonathan Gresham successfully defended the ROH Championship against Chris Sabin, who had earned a title match at some point but never got one until now. Gotta love long term booking! Gresham is defending his championship everywhere he can, and his wife works for Impact, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him pop up here more often. I don’t know if Ian Riccaboni & Bobby Cruise will be around all the time, but it’d be fine with me.

A look at upcoming Impact events reveals that the ROH Championship won’t be the only ROH title defended there. There’s also the matter of this ROH invading faction that seems set on disrupting things. Maria Kanellis-Bennett, Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, Vincent & PCO appeared at Hard to Kill to beat some people up, and will be on future Impact episodes to do similar things. As far as invading forces that could represent ROH go, it’s a pretty solid one. Vincent being with the OGK folks after their feud is a little odd, but that can be explained away pretty easily as respect being earned.

As somebody that’s still recapping whatever ROH will be airing until told otherwise, I’m pretty interested in all of this. Impact with some ROH involvement makes for a pretty interesting time on Thursday nights.

Hey, speaking of Thursday nights on AXS TV…

New Japan Pro Wrestling is returning to the network as part of the big wrestling night. With the way everything turned out, one has to wonder why they left in the first place. Guess they just needed some time to figure out what was out there, and to work with Impact some & figure out they weren’t the same TNA that wasted a year of Okada back in the day.

Good move for New Japan though, and good move for AXS. Now we’ll get to see which fed gets better ratings on the same network, which will be more ratings things we can talk about in 2022. We need more of that, right?

Bob Saget

Most people of my age first remember seeing Bob Saget on the family-friendly sitcom Full House. I remember the show being on for an hour every night at 6:00 on Star 64 right after an hour of Saved By The Bell and right before an hour of The Golden Girls. We all have fond memories of the syndicated shows we watched in the late afternoons of our childhood, right? I sure do.

Saget was famous as the Tanner family’s dad, Danny, who was a cleanliness-obsessed widower tasked with handling his three daughters & one dog. He had some help, of course, from Jesse & Joey. Later Jesse would get married and have two kids while remaining under the Tanner family roof. The neighbor was always around. You wondered how all of these people co-existed in a pretty small looking house in San Francisco with one bathroom.

Saget also hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos, which featured the kind of humor that every kid loves. Funny voices, people getting hit in the groin, people falling off of things, just quality television all around. Saget was an important part of it as the host, as we found out when they replaced him with Daisy Fuentes and some dude. Don’t get me wrong, Daisy was a favorite for certain reasons, but she & the guy didn’t fit the show.

Bob did plenty of other things, but these were my two main memories of him. Years later, I finally found out about his stand-up comedy career, which was basically the complete opposite of the humor he used on television. Mostly stuff you can’t say in polite company, or any company. Saget could entertain any kind of audience, including wrestling audiences.

Throughout its early years, CHIKARA listed on their website that their commissioner was none other than Bob Saget. Everybody assumed it was a joke, but then Saget made an appearance via video to book a match.

Saget would later be replaced in the role by Dave Coulier, who sadly made zero CHIKARA appearances before they went out of business. This wouldn’t be the end of Saget’s daliance with indy wrestling, as he actually appeared on a Dragon Gate USA show as part of a show he was doing with A&E. He even met Jon Moxley, who would go on to be Dean Ambrose before becoming Jon Moxley again.

No, Bob Saget never worked a WrestleMania, but he still made an impact on the world of pro wrestling. 2022 already seems to be on the same path to childhood destruction as 2021 was.

Thanks for reading! Join me later this week when I pick all the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend games, hopefully making it over .500 during the playoffs. Until then, 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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