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News From Cook’s Corner 3.1.22: Stand With Ukraine

Cook provides a small distraction from world events with Pro Wrestling News. But don’t lose the plot, stand with Ukraine.



Cook provides a small distraction from world events with Pro Wrestling News. But don’t lose the plot, stand with Ukraine.

Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! My name is Steve Cook, and this March doesn’t look like it’s going to be a typical March for me. We know that my sports fan schedule was already thrown off-kilter by the Cincinnati Bengals playing longer than usual. Unfortunately, not all of my teams are planning on doing the same thing.

The Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team’s season will be over in approximately a week, when they drop out of the ACC Tournament after one game. The good news on the college front is that the Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball team looks as good as ever, and should be playing deep into March. Only problem is that it’s tougher to get people to fill out women’s brackets, and the TV coverage isn’t as great. I’ll probably have to find the early round games on the darn computer.

I’m sure I’ll get used to not caring about men’s basketball as the Cards continue to circle the drain in the coming years, but it sure is a change of pace after thirty years of obsessing over March Madness.

Then we have baseball, and as I type this on Monday night we still have no idea whether that’s going to be a thing or not. Maybe? Hopefully? Apparently progress is being made in the talks between players & owners, but if anybody can mess things up at a moment’s notice it’s Rob Manfred & some of those owners.

It’s going to be tough in Cincinnati if Opening Day isn’t a thing. Again. Going two years without the proper Opening Day experience hasn’t helped the sport connect with the city’s citizens. Frankly, the ownership slashing payroll during the off-season before the lockout started didn’t help either. As somebody whose main professional existence is currently wrapped up in this team & this sport, it’s been a stressful time.

I suppose it’s been a stressful time in the world of pro wrestling too? Sorry, my segue game isn’t what it used to be when I regularly did podcasts. There’s some stuff going on though, and now we’ll talk about a couple of things that caught my attention.

Here’s the news!

Exit Cesaro?

The wrestler known in WWE for the past eleven years as Cesaro has become a free agent, as he was unable to come to terms with the company on a new contract. It seems that the two sides were far apart on financial compensation, which tracks since it’s never really seemed like WWE valued Cesaro as much as his fans did.

Cesaro was the prototypical “good hand” for WWE. You could count on him to have what the kids call “bangers” with anybody on the roster. He became something of a tag team specialist, forming successful tag teams with various competitors. While Cesaro had his moments in WWE, that’s exactly what they were. Moments. He never had that extended run where he was allowed to achieve his true potential. Yes, there were moments where it seemed like that run was coming, but something always got in the way.

Mind you, it wasn’t just the Internet experts that complained about Cesaro’s positioning within WWE. Pretty much anybody that worked for WWE agreed that Cesaro deserved better when asked about it. Steve Austin even asked Vince McMahon about Cesaro on his podcast many moons ago. Vince’s answer referenced brass rings that Cesaro and people like him needed to grab.

Cesaro’s problem in WWE, at least in this observer’s eyes, is that he excelled in things that WWE mildly cares about. Sure, they like having “bangers” on their television shows. What else did Cesaro bring to the table? He didn’t have an extensive bloodline. He wasn’t a former UFC Champion. Heck, he wasn’t even American, or from one of the world’s most populated countries! Switzerland? Who’d they ever beat?

On one hand, I can understand why WWE never used Cesaro on a higher level than they did, though I’m amazed he never got a run with the Intercontinental Championship. Dude was tailor-made for that strap. On the other hand, I can’t wait to see Claudio Castagnoli re-emerge in other places and remind people just who the hell he is. I’m trying not to get too excited about the prospect, because I remember when Drew Gulak’s WWE contract expired. People got really excited for a second, then Drew re-signed with WWE a little bit later & immediately went into the Witness Protection program.

So let’s see where this goes. There’s a scenario where Cesaro re-signs with WWE and goes back to putting on bangers that his bosses forget about a few minutes later. Or, he could go to New Japan and enter the G1, or he could go to AEW and join Bryan Danielson in his quest to shape the future of the business. Hell, he could go to Impact Wrestling & join Honor No More, or he could go to Ring of Honor if they have a show! All things are possible.

Vince vs. Pat?

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will be appearing on SmackDown announcer Pat McAfee’s radio show on Thursday. This usually wouldn’t warrant mention here, as just the idea of listening to Pat McAfee interviewing Vince McMahon makes my ears bleed, but Post Wrestling is reporting that this could actually be relevant to WrestleMania interests. They say that this will start a program that will lead to a match at WrestleMania.

I already see people jumping to conclusions. As funny as it might be to think of the idea of 76 year old Vince McMahon getting in the ring to wrestle anybody, that’s not going to happen. I know the Pollocks & the Meltzers of the world are trying to tell us that he is…but come on man. Dude’s 76 years old. Stop. The more likely idea is that McAfee ends up wrestling McMahon’s backstage protege Austin Theory, which will at least get a rave review from Jim Cornette since he loves both those guys. One wonders if Shane McMahon could have ended up in this match, and maybe he still will since some people still want to tell me that Shane is obviously still in the company’s good graces and nothing happened at the Royal Rumble.

I will say that McAfee showed a lot of athleticism in his previous in-ring appearances. However, I think that people overestimate his drawing ability to WWE. They think that just because people listen to his podcast, they’ll flock to his wrestling appearances. As somebody that’s spent way too much time listening to sports talk radio over the years, here’s the thing: Sure, we’ll listen to our favorite shows every day. That doesn’t mean that most of us are going to automatically support whatever else the host does. Listening to “The Herd” doesn’t automatically mean you’ll watch Fox NFL Kickoff just because Colin Cowherd’s on it, or you’ll listen to Joy Taylor’s weekend afternoon radio show. Most of McAfee’s fans aren’t there for the wrestling conversation, there’s a much bigger percentage that want to hear Aaron Rodgers’ covid disinformation.

He can be used to put somebody over though. So put Austin Theory or somebody like that against him. I’m not even going to entertain the idea that it’s Vince, but get ready to keep hearing that for awhile because people don’t think that Vince McMahon has limitations.

Tammy back in the news

At this point, you know if you see Tammy Sytch’s name in a headline it’s not going to be for anything good. Sytch was arrested last week in New Jersey and charged with the following:

Operating under influence of liquor or drugs
Driving after driver’s license/registration suspended/revoked
Careless driving: Likely to endanger person or property
Reckless driving
Failure to wear seat equipment — responsibility of driver
Driving without a license
Failure to possess driver’s license
Failure to possess driver’s registration
Failure to possess driver’s insurance card
Failure to install interlock/drive car without interlock
Operate motor vehicle during license suspension — second violation

Not great. She’s currently scheduled to appear in Dallas during WrestleMania, and one hopes that if she does appear, somebody else will be driving her there. In all seriousness though, I do hope that Tammy has somebody in her life that can get her back in the right direction. It’s always sad to watch these wrestling names go further & further into the abyss in their later years. Sometimes it works out though, and hopefully it’ll work out for Sytch.

Welp, that’s all we have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and join me later in the week when we break down AEW Revolution odds. If I remember. Until then, let’s stand with Ukraine, shall we?

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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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Let us know what you think on social media @ChairshotMedia and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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