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News From Cook’s Corner 6.6.22: Everyone Is Injured

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, back at you because there’s a ton of stuff going on in the wrestling world. Also because I forgot there was a Premium Live Event this weekend and didn’t break down the gambling picks. These things happen when the WWE programming I’ve been watching lately has been Madison Square Garden shows from 1985. I’d be far more prepared to talk Hulk Hogan vs. Don Muraco than anything on WWE television in 2022.

We’ll try to do that a little bit later in the column, but first we’ll run through some AEW drama & a new addition to WWE’s front office that’s a bit old hat.

Weekend of MJF

Double or Nothing weekend ended up being all about Maxwell Jacob Friedman. MJF no-showed a meet & greet that was part of AEW’s fan festival, which led to all sorts of speculation. Fightful told us he bought a plane ticket to Newark, which led to even more speculation. AEW pulled their social media plugs of the MJF vs. Wardlow match at Double or Nothing, only to put it back up several hours before the show. AEW never announced anything regarding MJF’s status, and Tony Khan refused to comment at what could politely be described as a “media scrum” after Double or Nothing. Most of the things I would call that particular fiasco can’t be printed here, as this is a family-friendly column.

Needless to say, MJF indeed showed up for Double or Nothing and lost to Wardlow in a glorified squash match. He went out on a stretcher after taking ten powerbombs, which many thought would lead to MJF taking some time off and returning at a later date. That later date ended up being Wednesday night’s Dynamite episode. MJF returned there and acknowledged his pain (no neck brace or anything, but it’s 2022), then launched into a diatribe against AEW, Tony Khan, the fans, the “ex-WWE guys” & almost anybody else with a pulse. His microphone was finally cut once he called Khan the worst thing you could call a wrestling fan, and CM Punk wandered out there during the commercial while MJF ran away. Punk was not able to chase him for reasons we’ll get into later.

Here’s what I wrote about MJF three weeks ago when all this hullabaloo about him wanting a new contract without an extension was starting to catch fire:

MJF is always working.

That’s the thing old heads like me love about him. This kid is always working that gimmick. He’s always the biggest asshole on the planet, except on Long Island, where he’s still an asshole but accepted by his peers. I like that about him, but at the same time I realize that nothing he puts out there is legitimate. People wonder why wrestling news sources always get things wrong, and the reason is much simpler than they think: Wrestlers lie. Especially wrestlers as good at their job as MJF.

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news to my fellow IWC folks that think they have super insider knowledge, but the man is always working an angle. As long as they’re ok with being used by him, it’ll be ok.

As of press time, I see no reason to change my stance on this story. There’s nothing that’s happened that makes me believe that this whole situation is anything other than a work. And just so I’m clear: the fact that I’m 100% convinced it’s a work doesn’t mean I didn’t find MJF’s rant to be compelling television. Even if some of the material was eyeroll-inducing, I must admit it was in character. Most wrestlers shouldn’t go out there touting that they’re the second-biggest minute-by-minute draw in the company (Imagine Miro doing that instead of talking about how he’s going to find God & murder him), but that’s exactly the sort of thing MJF’s character would brag about.

I don’t doubt the idea that MJF wants more money. I don’t doubt the idea that he’s frustrated with Tony Khan or other members of AEW management, if we’re to believe that there are other members of AEW management. Heck, maybe the guy even bought a plane ticket to further the work. What I do doubt is the idea of MJF being stupid enough to walk out on AEW and kill his bargaining power for his upcoming free agency period.

One can question just who MJF is working here. The fans? The news reporters? Tony Khan? I wouldn’t be shocked if it was all of the above. Maybe Tony’s in on it, but is he all the way in on it? Something to ponder.

Yes, there was a report from Wade Keller that WWE would still be very interested in MJF regardless of how he leaves AEW. No doubt about that. But let’s be honest: MJF’s going to make more money from WWE if he’s got multiple bidders. Something tells me that Impact & MLW wouldn’t strike the same fear in Vince as that AEW checkbook would. If you’re going to make the most money you can, you’re going to keep all of your options open.

MJF will certainly be a big part of AEW’s summer programming in some form or fashion. Unfortunately, one of his top rivals won’t be.

Summer of Pu-whoops

The main event of AEW’s Double or Nothing event saw CM Punk win the AEW Championship from Adam Page. Immediately, talk of a third Summer of Punk began. Some disputed the usage of the term since the first two involved Punk winning a title and threatening to leave with it, while he showed no indication of leaving with this one.

As it turned out, he kinda did. Punk broke his foot on Wednesday night’s Dynamite episode, where he competed in a six-man tag team match and seemed a bit off throughout. Fans are speculating the injury happened when he dove into the crowd during his entrance. I mean, people have been waiting for CM Punk to turn heel on the fans again, right? He’d clearly be justified in this instance. Those darn fans broke his foot!

Feet are tricky, but a brief Google search tells me that it typically takes two months to recover from a broken foot. Should this hold true, Punk could very well be back in time for All Out on Labor Day Weekend. The date and site haven’t been announced yet, but one assumes that somewhere in the Chicagoland area will be the site. AEW has most of their other big events there.

I, for one, have no problem with AEW having an Interim World Champion. UFC’s been doing it for years now, and it solves the problem of having to vacate the championship every few weeks. The only problem is the way AEW presented the situation on Friday night’s Rampage episode. Punk said that he had wanted to vacate the championship, but Tony Khan said that he believed in him. Which would lead one to believe that Punk was still the champion, except that Chris Jericho kept saying that Punk had relinquished the championship. Excalibur then tried to explain things during the main event of the show, while announcing matches for the next episode of Dynamite and calling the match. People were more confused when Rampage ended than they were when Punk teased his promo on social media before the show.

I also think the idea of an interim championship would go over a lot better if AEW hadn’t debuted the concept with the TNT Championship when Cody Rhodes couldn’t wrestle for two weeks. That title scene has been a clusterjerk ever since.

Here’s the tweet explaining the AEW Interim World Championship Eliminator Series:

For those of you that have been complaining about AEW not doing as much pure sports build as some of their people promised back in 2019, the Jon Moxley ranking situation is about as “pure sports” as it gets. Moxley was ranked fourth earlier this week, but wound up at #1 after Friday’s Rampage episode. Those of you that watch college football see this happen every year with the CFP rankings. Somehow certain schools with name value always end up a spot or two higher at the end. Those of you that watch college basketball are familiar with the NCAA Tournament and some of the ridiculous seeding decisions there.

Yes, it’s dumb, but so are sports. PURE SPORTS BUILD!

Anyway, we wish CM Punk a speedy recovery and hope the fate of the TNT Championship doesn’t be-fall the AEW Championship as well. Fortunately, AEW has plenty of title belts to focus on if things go awry. Speaking of champions they could be focusing on if they wished…

Thunder Rosa Unhappy?

Thunder Rosa New

WhatCulture reported that AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa is unhappy with her current lot in AEW. A lack of TV time seems to be the main culprit, along with the company’s lack of attention to her auctioning off her Double or Nothing ring gear to benefit familes affected by the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which is close to Rosa’s home. PWInsider let us know that Rosa was pulled from Dynamite this week due to being sick, while Fightful said she was only booked for a backstage segment anyway.

As somebody that watches the show, it would be tough to blame Thunder Rosa for being frustrated or confused. Maybe she shouldn’t be surprised. Remember when Rosa defeated Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. in that street fight last year, then Dr. Baker got all the TV time and attention afterward? Now for the second time, Thunder gets the win and gets ignored afterward. In AEW’s defense, there have reportedly been some health issues keeping Rosa from wrestling as often as one might like. It’s tough to argue that Thunder Rosa hasn’t been treated as a third wheel at best behind Baker & Jade Cargill.

The main thing to take away here: Reports that people were unhappy in AEW used to be a rarity. Remember how crazy people went when Brian Cage expressed discontent? Now these things seem to be popping up more often. This was always going to happen as time passed by for a litany of reasons. A larger roster gives people fewer opportunities. Addition of talent from other places takes time away from talent that established themselves in AEW. While this point doesn’t especially apply to Thunder’s situation, am I the only one that’s noticed that AEW television seems to feature almost as many folks from Wednesday Night War-era NXT as people that were regularly on Dynamite then? Who won the war?

People are bound to get frustrated. A locker room that once was able to keep Brodie Lee’s health situation a secret from everybody on the outside is now singing like canaries to wrestling news reporters. We’re not to the point where people are sending show formats to websites, but it’s getting there.

Other AEW Injury News?

Fightful reported on Sunday that Bryan Danielson was unable to make a meet & greet in New Bedford, Massachusetts this weekend. Fans were told that Danielson was injured and unable to fly to the event. There has been no word on what exactly the injury is yet, so I can’t delve into this topic further. Danielson was conspicuous by his absence on AEW television this week after Double or Nothing, where he took part in an Anarchy in the Arena match that was either tremendously entertaining or the worst thing one’s ever seen depending on who you ask. If Danielson hurt himself during the thing, I’m leaning towards the latter. Apparently Bryan will miss one to two weeks, so hopefully he’ll be good to go for whatever he’s doing at the Forbidden Door show.

TNT Champion Scorpio Sky strained a muscle in his leg during his match with Dante Martin on Friday’s Rampage episode. Adam Cole & Jeff Hardy both missed Wednesday’s Dynamite episode due to injury. If you’re an AEW wrestler, odds are pretty good you have some sort of injury right now. You might be injured and not even know it!

Cats Have Nine Lives. Jeff Jarrett > Cats

Jeff Jarrett has always had a lot of different things going on in his life. Perhaps no more so than recently, as the brother’s got a podcast, he’s running a minor league baseball team, and now he’s back with WWE as the Senior Vice President of Live Events.

Larry Csonka used to tell us that Jarrett was the smartest man in pro wrestling. I thought Kevin Nash was in the running, but the more time passes, the more Larry’s statement seems to be accurate. Jarrett comes off as an intelligent person on his podcast and has tons of experience promoting various events. WWE could definitely use some help promoting its live events. I didn’t know about the last two events they held in Cincinnati until the day of the show, which isn’t ideal for planning purposes.

Jarrett also knows how to make the right friends, as he’s become the latest to use the ol’ Conrad Thompson podcast push to get a job with a major company. Hey Conrad, if you need a washed-up IWC personality to break down a very specific subset of the 2000s scene, I’m your huckleberry.

Hell in a Cell Breakdown

Just because I forgot there was a WWE Premium Live Event doesn’t mean I won’t give a brief recap for you folks! There was one big story that broke just before this show that became a thing, and we’ll definitely get to that.

Bianca Belair retained the Raw Women’s Championship over Becky Lynch & Asuka

Tough for these three to have a bad match with each other. Belair continues to improve her game every time I see her, and she had two experienced hands to work with here. It was your standard high-end triple threat match with the usual spots, so if that isn’t your kind of thing this won’t be your kind of thing. Clever finish though, with Lynch hitting the Manhandle Slam on Asuka, Bianca tossing her out of the ring so she could pin Asuka. Sets up Belair vs. Lynch again…I could see that feud wrapping up at SummerSlam, which would make sense as they first met at 2021’s SummerSlam.

Bobby Lashley defeated Omos & MVP by making MVP submit

We saw Lashley make a belt motion after this match, and then he held up a replica WWE Championship that somone in the audience gave him. I guess time will tell on that one. Match was decent enough, Omos kinda looks like he could be something someday. He did Braun Strowman’s running choo-choo move on the outside to drive Lashley through the barricade, but it wasn’t quite the same without the train noises.

Kevin Owens beat Ezekiel

Owens still seems convinced that Ezekiel is Elias. I’m not sure how he arrived at this conclusion, but he beat whoever he wrestled. Pretty basic stuff here, nothing special but nothing awful either.

The Judgment Day defeated Finn Balor, Liv Morgan & AJ Styles

I didn’t see the betting odds for this show, but I would assume the trio of Edge, Damian Priest & Rhea Ripley were among the bigger favorites. Still early in the life of this heel faction, need them to keep winning. AJ got busted open towards the end of the match and didn’t play a role in the outcome. A younger me would comment positively on Rhea switching her ring attire from pants to trunks, the older me knows he probably shouldn’t go too far down that road. Bianca also wore trunks tonight, so maybe it’s just really humid in Chicago.

Madcap Moss beat Happy Corbin in a street fight

I must say that Madcap stood out a lot more when he was wearing suspenders. Now he’s just wearing generic black trunks and looks like a Create-A-Wrestler before you make any changes to it. Madcap won by doing the Pillmanize the guy’s neck with the ring steps gimmick, which probably would have been a nearfall in other street fights I’ve seen lately. That’s not a knock against this one, quite the opposite!

Theory defended the United States Championship against Mustafa Ali

There were probably some out there that thought that Ali would get the big moment in his hometown after his journey through the muck that’s been his past couple of years. Most of us knew better. Theory is somebody WWE actually sees something in. It’s tough to blame them, kid’s got a good look, solid skills in the ring and a reasonable amount of charisma so far. Feels like he’s still growing into his character, once he does that he should be golden. Ali? Well, when it comes to him and his lot in WWE, it’s like the man once said: It is what it is. I could have worked up some discontent over Ali’s treatment since his return if I didn’t see it coming. He’s a smart guy, I’m sure he saw it coming too. The house always wins.

Cody Rodes defeated Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell

So the big news story heading into this one involved Cody tearing his pec a couple of days before the show. That type of injury usually puts somebody out for an elongated period of time, but Cody was still going to go through with the match for the love of the business or some such thing. I’m not going to post a picture of Cody’s injury here, as I’d like for people to be able to read this column and keep their lunch in their stomach at the same time. There’s a thin line between toughness & stupidity, and this veered well past stupidity. They did a lot of stuff, I’m sure some people liked it, and I’m also sure Cody added more time to his layoff. But hey, he got to do a Pedigree and hit a guy with a sledgehammer, so he pretty much lived his dream here.

Rollins wearing polka dots for this one was appreciated. Unfortunately, since he lost to a guy with one pec, I can no longer use the word “Freakin'” as part of his name. Bucky “Freakin'” Dent and other athletes with that word (or a version of it) in their name earned it by winning something. Sorry, Seth, dem’s the rules.

My final verdict? Women’s opener was very good. Main event wasn’t my cup of tea but might be yours if you’re into weird stuff like it. Rest was a show and it was there.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon enough with something or other. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.


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News

Chairshot News Report: TNA Impact Results, AEW Speculation For Ricochet & Shane McMahon, Vince McMahon, More!

Your Wrestling News for July 5, 2024, including TNA Impact, Ricochet, Shane McMahon, his daddy Vince, and more!

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WWE Ricochet AEW

Your Wrestling News for July 5, 2024, including TNA Impact, Ricochet, Shane McMahon, his daddy Vince, and more!

Welcome to your daily dose of pro wrestling news–and analysis you can trust! We take all wrestling news with a grain of salt here at The Chairshot, and we hope to steer you in the right direction.

Results: TNA Impact (July 4, 2024)

Here are your results from Thursday night’s edition of TNA Impact (originally taped on June 28 at the 2300 Arena in Philly):

  • Trey Miguel vs. Leon Slater ends in a no-contest after WWE NXT star Charlie Dempsey attacks everyone.
  • Dani Luna battled Jody Threat to a time limit draw in the 10-Minute Challenge. They were granted the customary “5 more minutes” but were attacked by Alisha Edwards & Masha Slamovich. During the match it was revealed that Nic Nemeth had been attacked backstage.
  • Frankie Kazarian defeated Mike Santana by countout to advance to the TNA World Championship Match at Slammiversary.
  • Matt Hardy & Reby Hardy beat Eddie Edwards & Alisha Edwards.
  • Joe Hendry pinned Jake Something to advance to the TNA World Championship Match at Slammiversary.

No surprise that Joe Hendry advanced to the world title match, but Santana-Kazarian could have gone either way. A promo video to end the show implied that Kazarian was the one who took out Nic Nemeth backstage, seemingly creating a story for them within the Slammiversary title match. No shocker that The Hardys won the tag team match, but a great surprise with Charlie Dempsey getting involved in the opener. That TNA/NXT collaboration continues to be a lot of fun.

You can catch Andrew’s Review of the event here.

Ricochet Expected To Sign With AEW

Many outlets are reporting that Ricochet’s expected landing spot remains AEW, with additional reports surfacing that his agent has been working out the details on his behalf.

Personally, I’d rather see him back in WWE. Even after an initial push in AEW, he will be a novelty act much like PAC, so I don’t see the difference. But if he’s going to AEW, here’s hoping that agent does a great job and secures quite the bag for ol’ Ric.

Vince Russo Suggests Shane McMahon As A Front Man For Vince McMahon to Purchase AEW

”We saw this with WCW, it happened before. It (purchasing AEW) could be under the guise of Shane, that’s what I’m saying. Shane is as clean as whistle. Vince could be behind it without anybody knowing it, bro.”

Those are the words of Vince Russo, who on the surface seems to be spouting nonsense. Time will tell if there is something to it all, but I wouldn’t place any wagers on this one. Shane McMahon to AEW would be an entertaining shocker, but that–like many things in AEW–would quickly wear off.

Shawn Michaels Discusses NXT Releases, Referencing Drew Gulak

During the NXT Heatwave media call, Shawn Michaels was asked about the release of Gable Steveson, but also lumped Drew Gulak in his response about main roster viability:

“From my understanding, nothing on anyone’s part other than contracts being up. Certainly, in the place of Drew Gulak. From a company standpoint, there not being anything from a main roster standpoint that they were going to be using him in. In NXT, over the last year and a half to two years, we’ve been trying to get into the process of keeping it fluid. It’s all about getting to the main roster when everything is said and done. In two or three years, if that doesn’t happen, we bring other people in or see if we’re ready to move on.”

If anything, it’s a stark reminder that NXT still exists to, above all else, populate the main roster. It’s quite the delicate balance between booking your own television show and preparing for the future, one that HBK has arguably done better than Triple H himself.

Other Odds & Ends:

  • According to reports, the mini-stroke referenced by Britt Baker (DMD) on AEW Dynamite is legitimate. If so, both she and Adam Cole have been through a ton over the past 24 months.
  • Mason Madden (Mace) and Mansoor, now known as the MxM Collection, showed up in ROH when featured in a vignette on this week’s broadcast. They might not have made it in WWE, but it’s good to see them getting work, and a second chance to make this gimmick their own. YEAH!
  • Cody Rhodes continues to be the ultimate good dude, this time helping a fan who won tickets to Money In The Bank actually attend the event. The fan who won the tickets is in a wheelchair, and there were no more accessible seats left. That was, of course, until Cody got involved. Now the fan can be there and enjoy the show as intended when he won the contest. Cody wins again!

 


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Continental Classic Update! (11/27/23)

What a start to the tournament!

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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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