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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

News From Cook's Corner 05.01.12
Posted by Steve Cook on 05.01.2012

Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook's Corner! I'm Steve Cook, and welcome to my favorite month of the year, May! You might wonder why I love May so much. There's no football going on. No college basketball. No super duper major wrestling events. So why am I such a huge fan of May? Well, my birthday's on May 27. Anti-climatic, I know, but I always have fun on my birthday. It usually coincides with Memorial Day weekend, and this year it's on Sunday so I can spend the whole day watching racing, drinking beer and eating cake. Does life get any better than that? I doubt it.

Speaking of fun events in May, the Kentucky Derby is this weekend. As a native Kentuckian that has spent my whole life living in the Commonwealth, I naturally know everything there is to know about horse racing. Since I'm in a good mood and I want all of you to be in a good mood too, I'm going to re-post my insider horse knowledge that I shared with readers back in May 2010. Many of you probably weren't reading this column back then, or you've simply forgotten it. Lord knows I don't remember most of the stuff I've written over the years, but this is important. If you take this advice, you'll win your Derby bet and have a great weekend.

Here's what I do: I look at the horses. Easy enough, right? They can't be too fat or too skinny, they have to be just right. My first horse came out and he was looking like he'd had several big meals on race day. Not good. My second horse came out and he looked like he hadn't eaten for a week. That's really not good. Super Saver, the horse that won the Derby, was a good looking horse. Just the right size, good color and demeanor...he looked like a winner. And he was.

When you think of it, it makes a lot of sense. Horses are kind of like people…have you ever watched a fat person run? They start out strong, but blow up pretty easily and finish towards the back of the pack every time. Fat horses are the same way. They have the strength, but don't have the stamina. A skinny horse, on the other hand, has the stamina and will often pop up towards the lead near the end. But you need strength in order to finish and beat the other horses. Skinny horses don't have that strength, and end up getting bowled over by the stronger horses. You want a horse with a good combination of speed, strength and stamina. The 3 Ss, as I like to call them.

Looking good is important too. I know that I'm a lot better at my work when I feel that I'm looking good. When I get lazy and pack on a few too many pounds I grow tired, which makes me not so good at my craft. So it's all about the 3 Ss, and looking good. That's how you know when you have a winning horse.

It's really that easy. Try it out the next time you're at the track. Trust me, it'll work.

The 3 Ss: size, speed, stamina. And looking good. It works in wrestling too, though I really wouldn't recommend betting on wrestling matches. Heck, you'd think John Cena would be an easy guy to bet on, then he loses to Lord Tensai & beats Brock Lesnar. I dunno, man. I just work here.

Another event around these parts that usually takes place around the end of May is the 411 Wrestling Hot 100. I was originally leaning towards not doing it this year, but after much contemplation I've decided to bring the feature back one more time. Mostly because Csonka & Ashish threatened to fire me if I didn't. Apparently 100 pictures of hot chicks is a draw. Who knew? I still wish I'd come up with a different name for it, but at least it hasn't become enough of a big deal for major magazines to take notice of it.

This year's edition will be posted on May 29, and if there's somebody you'd really like to see in the column let me know down in the comment section or via e-mail. Every year I end up forgetting somebody and people get outraged over it. I can't be counted on to know every single woman in the pro wrestling business. I'm a fan of women's wrestling, but it's not like I spend hours upon hours watching it. Plenty of people fall through the cracks, and that's why I need you folks to let me know what's up.

Ryder is a good example of how WWE doesn't utilize its talent for their own benefit. I won't argue that Ryder is main event material, but he was undoubtedly popular when he wasn't meant to be. Yet WWE didn't capitalize on this by using him to build the mid card or a mid card belt. Instead he was buried without benefiting anybody. Yoshi could have been splattered by Kane and Swagger is in no better position than before.

Some might say that the mid card doesn't draw, but if you think about it WWE has 2 two hour shows. If you don't have a decent mid card there is no reason to watch the majority of the show. Just watch the opening, end of hour, and main event.

Left relatively intact, Ryder would have been perfect for these new heels from FCW to go against. They would have been bigger heels for beating him. Who are they supposed to feud with, AJ? And if there isn't a mid card face to go up against, why would anybody care about the new talent?

I mean management will blame the new guys for not getting over on their own, but there is a reason why WWE hasn't strengthened their roster in the last few years. Not taking advantage of free opportunities is one.
- Guest#3282

Excellent points. Not every popular act necessarily needs to be pushed, as they can be used to get over other talent. Ryder's growing popularity was used to benefit people that didn't need it, with the exception of Eve Torres. He put Jack Swagger over for the US title, but Kane injuring him caused it & Swagger was immediately buried afterwards. Instead of trying to build up other people, they used Ryder as a prop for a John Cena/Kane feud that didn't have much purpose other than keeping Cena busy until Rock was ready to come back and build the WrestleMania match. I guess the theory was that working with Cena & Kane would get Ryder more over, but it had the opposite effect as Ryder was sold as not being on their level and was involved in some horrible television.

Judging from Internet stuff it seems that Eve is messing with the Z True Long Island Story so they're feuding again. Will it lead to anything? Maybe Eve brings in some FCW guy that's ready to feud with Ryder, or squash him on Raw.

I'd said awhile back when Foley returned that if Mick had become RAW GM like people were predicting then you could have Zack Ryder be his side kick like he was doing for Teddy, build up those two as goofy buddies and then have Zack turn on him somewhere down the line and Foley could help get him over as being more serious in a hardcore match. But alas this has about as much chance of happening as WWE releasing a best of Al Snow DVD. :D - Andre the Midget

Yeah, it'd make too much sense. Foley & Ryder both do comedic stuff really well and even have the Long Island connection going. It's too bad that Foley wasn't available when Ryder was just starting to get noticed by WWE brass, because if they had done something with Ryder & Foley before Ryder got established as what he is now it could have put him on another level. I guess it isn't too late, but they seem to have other plans for Foley at the moment. Since they involve Dean Ambrose I'm not going to complain.

Good luck to your Reds this season, I hope you are enjoying Matt Latos more than my Padres are enjoying Yonder Alanso and Volquez(which isn't much). - Guest#8287

Latos has had one good start out of five, which seems to be pretty typical for him in April based on past history. Hopefully he'll kick it up in the next few months like he usually does, but so far nobody involved in the trade has done a whole lot of good for their new team. Volquez's numbers aren't bad, but he's not getting any run support from his team. Of course that includes Alonso, who isn't doing a darn thing.

SSB are great and all, but I really wish PWG would get on-board the RockNES Monsters train already.. - Team J-Rod

You have to wonder how Johnny Yuma & Johnny Goodtime feel about another popular video game based tag team coming to their turf and taking over. I can only assume that PWG will build towards the eventual Super Smash Brothers/RockNES Monsters match. Both teams were in a triple threat with the Young Bucks at the World's Finest show, but I think that eventually the two video game based tag teams will be unable to co-exist and a feud will begin. RockNES were on the scene first and are a popular team across the West Coast, but the Brothers won that triple threat match and scored the DDT4 championship. It'll be interesting to see which team gets more support from the PWG faithful.

Awile back when TNA decided to split up Team 3D, you immediately predicted that it would fail simply because when the WWE tried to separate the Dudley Boys, it was a failure. Now, a year after Team 3D have split up and are competing on their own in TNA. Bully Ray is considered by fans as the best heel character in TNA and may even get a world title run. Devon is the TV champ and is putting up good matches and is making the TV title relevant. Steve Cook, are you going to admit you were wrong on your prediction? - Carlos Rodriguez

I think I make more ridiculous predictions every week in this column. Bully Ray's done well and I undersold his potential. As for Devon, I don't think he's done as well as some people would like you to believe. He had that horrible feud with The Pope that didn't even make TV most of the time, and now he's a TV Champion that might be a step above Robbie E but still not interesting enough to make people excited about there being TV title matches on Impact every week. All in all I do think Team 3D's split has made them more interesting, though if they wanted to feature somebody other than Devon in the TV champion role I think it'd make things more interesting.

John L. Smith? WOW! - The Great Capt. Smooth

My biggest John L. Smith memory is the time it was found out that he was leaving Louisville for Michigan State during the middle of a bowl game that he was coaching in. I don't know if it was leaked to explain why the team looked so flat in the game or what, but it was pretty ridiculous. Now he dumps his alma mater a few months after getting their head coaching job and runs off to Arkansas. Yes, he'll make more money at Arkansas and they‘re supposed to have a title contending team this year, but it's still a dick move. You can see where Bobby Petrino gets it from. Hopefully Charlie Strong won't be as embarrassing when he gets too big for the Louisville job.

Reciting the alphabet? What's left for me?! - Pompano Joe matches

Holy crap, a Pompano Joe reference.

Some asshole actor who appeared on RAW and got booed out off the building never wants to come back? Well, you already know our opinion of you.

TNA's open fight night sounds like a good idea. Just like that top 10 ranking thing they had along the time Nigel/Wolfe joined the company. We know how that turned out.
- G-Walla

Love the Small ref, miss his writting BUT still a Cookite! Whats Small and Meehan up too? - Lord Keedik

Jeff Small was in 411 Fact or Fiction back on April 5 and sometimes he pops up in the 411 on Wrestling chatroom. He said to ask him to do Fact or Fiction again in two years, so I wouldn't expect him back on this page anytime soon. John Meehan keeps himself busy teaching, running marathons & going to Disney theme parks.

Why TNA bad? Why WWE good? Hulkster is best of both worlds. Cena sells, Roode is bad man. Somewhere over the raindow indeed. - JJ

I've read this comment five times and still haven't made any sense of it.

And now, the fake news!

WWE had a pay-per-view event on Sunday night that most people figured would feature Brock Lesnar beating the holy hell out of John Cena. They got that...though Cena won the match anyway. Some are calling it the stupidest finish of all time. That's an exaggeration, as there have been plenty of stupid finishes in the history of pro wrestling. WCW alone had Starrcade 1997 Sting vs. Hogan, Starrcade 1998 Goldberg vs. Nash & the Fingerpoke of Doom, all of which I'd easily rate above Cena vs. Lesnar. WWE had the Montreal Screwjob, which in itself wasn't the worst thing ever (unless you're Bret Hart), but it led to tons of ripoff finishes, all of which were horrible & quite stupid. And of course there were all the Dusty Finishes in Jim Crockett Promotions in the mid-1980s that eventually killed that territory. People saying this was the stupidest finish ever need to study up on their wrestling history.

Some are saying it was the right decision. I can't quite wrap my head around that one. What I can do is try and discuss this whole Cena/Lesnar thing like a somewhat reasonable person and go over some reasons why WWE went this direction. I'm not saying that I agree with it, but it's worth looking at some of the reasons why they might have done it.

Making Cena likeable. WWE has dedicated most of their time over the past couple of years to trying and make people like John Cena. He's their top star, but he's always had this thing where some people like him and some don't. They want everybody to like him, and it actually seems like he's been winning some anti-Cena people over lately. People who used to hate him sided with him against the Rock and against Brock Lesnar. Not everybody, but enough to be noticeable.

Making Brock hated. They've definitely done this. Remember when he came back and the entire crowd & Internet was cheering? They're not now. People that stayed loyal to Brock because they thought he'd take Cena out didn't even get to see that.

Working the smarks. This plays a lot more into WWE decision-making than some people would want you to believe. Every TV show out there wants to keep things fresh and doesn't want to be considered predictable. If you know what's going to happen on a TV show before it happens, why would you watch it? There need to be intriguing plot twists and unexpected events to keep you coming back. That's why when WWE or TNA sees stuff pop up on wrestling sites & message boards, things on TV end up being different than what was originally planned. They don't want the dirt sheet folks thinking they know stuff.

The problem with wrestling promotions doing it is simple: The writers usually don't have an idea of how they're going to follow up the plot twist. They just do it for the sake of tricking the audience. They don't plan as far ahead as TV show writers do, and that's why the TV shows they wrote failed and they're writing wrestling shows.

Brock might flake out. We've talked about this since before Brock came back to WWE. His history indicates that this is a huge possibility, so why not put your top star over him while you can? I don't think even the most die-hard of Brock fans can really question this one.

WWE vs. UFC. Remember how all the WWF guys beat the WCW guys in the Invasion? That same logic applies to the top UFC draw. You can't put UFC's top guy over WWE's top guy in his first match. Well you could if you didn't have an obsession with putting your guys over everybody else.

At least they made the match interesting. And at the end of the day that's often all that matters. People will be talking about Cena vs. Lesnar for a long time due to the physicality that was unlike anything seen in WWE over the past few years. Brock lost, but he kicked Cena's ass and didn't show any of that pesky ring rust. He showed that he still has something to offer in WWE rings in 2012. He may have lost, but he proved a lot of people that thought he was washed up wrong.

One loss isn't necessarily the end of the world. It's the follow-up that should have us worried.

Rey Mysterio has been suspended for sixty days after flunking a Wellness test. Rey showed up to the Raw in San Diego in February to say hello to the WWE folks, and right when he walked in he was informed he had to take a test. This is why you don't show up for work when you're not supposed to be on the clock. Nothing good ever happens when you do that. Even though Rey's pretty much a physical wreck & he's on his second strike in WWE, I still don't think he's done. He's still a big draw with the kids & the Mexican audience, and as of his last run he was still having fantastic matches. Even if he ends up leaving WWE after this contract's up I still expect to hear about him wrestling somewhere, whether it be TNA, AAA or somewhere else.

Edge's contract with WWE has expired and he is taking outside bookings. Apparently he was low-balled by WWE and has decided to keep his options open. Whatever that means. He was going to be on Resistance Pro's next show signing autographs, but a conflict with Haven, the SyFy show he appears on, will keep that from happening. I think Edge would have been good for WWE to keep around in a speaking role, as he delivered a pretty solid pep talk to John Cena on last week's Raw and seems like he'd be a good commentator, but it's not something that's going to break them. Edge should be fine too as long as he doesn't spend all his money and decide that he needs to wrestle again.

The Miz will be starring in The Marine: Homefront, the third installment in The Marine saga. Now this is just mean. WWE Films has been a quagmire for years and now that they're finally admitting that the division is a huge money loser and kind of a waste of time, they're going to stick Miz on their next movie and blame him when it tanks. Whoever he pissed off backstage sure holds a grudge.

Layla returned at Extreme Rules and won the Divas Title from Nikki Bella. Her return had been expected to happen soon after WWE came back from Europe, so it's no surprise to see her back on TV. Nikki was rumored to be losing the title to somebody else, but plans were changed. That happens sometimes.

Paul Heyman is being interviewed for CM Punk's DVD and will be doing commentary on some of Punk's greatest matches with the WWE Champion. It's a shame you have to buy WWE DVDs to get good commentary on a wrestling show these days.

Speaking of Punk, his feud with Chris Jericho is expected to continue.

-Well now we find out where Brock goes from here. Oh, and that Cena guy too.

-Justin Roberts introduces us to Monday Night Raw: Starring Brock Lesnar. Does he know who won last night, or did he just assume Brock would win like the rest of us?

-I guess Big Johnny is big on moral victories.

-Brock comes out and talks for 15 seconds before Triple H comes out. Why didn't they think of that last week?

-H says the name of the show always has been and always will be Monday Night Raw. Except when it was Raw is War, or WWE Raw, or Raw Supershow.

-I've officially lost track on who in WWE has authority to do anything. Triple H is usurping all the stuff Big Johnny did last week, but Johnny's done that to Triple H before & Vince McMahon's overruled both of them before. And don't get me started on the Board of Directors.

-Before I get even more confused, Brock attacks Triple H!

-Brock Kimuras Triple H! Assorted wrestlers run down to break it up, but not before Brock snaps the man's arm. Triple H himself tells us its broken.

-MMA writers everywhere love the idea of Brock pulling guard and using a kimura as a finisher. If only he could have actually done that in the octagon…

-Eve announces a Beach The Clock competition for tonight. I know it's a little warm here in Kentucky, but it's not nearly warm enough for Beach The Clock.

-Santino vs. Miz is our first match. Damn, I was hoping it would be one of the shorter matches of the challenge.

-I hope the Funkasaurus is in this! He'd be a lock to win!

-When's the last time the first entrant in one of these things actually won? I could look it up but that sounds like work.

-Needless to say, I don't see it happening here no matter who wins.

-Miz wins in 4:18. He was shooting for 4:11, but missed by a few seconds, Just like Bryan & Sheamus's WrestleMania match.

-Layla vs. A Bella. Maybe two Bellas. Who knows. I am likely the only Internet writer that prefers the Bellas over Layla.

-I bet CM Punk is disappointed that Layla wasn't in the Beat the Clock Challenge.

-Chris Jericho might not be able to win the WWE Championship, but he still has the most awesome jacket ever.

-Jericho draws Big Show. That's a friggin' whammy.

-Big Show does a small package. Everybody is making sex jokes. I don't want to think about Big Show having sex.

-If that referee had been counting by seconds, Jericho would totally have gotten the win. The man's been robbed! Chris Jericho is a conspiracy victim!

-No Swogglesaurus tonight. Good, I can continue liking the big lug now.

-Funkasaurus takes on JTG. I don't see a clock on the screen, which is a damn shame. What the hell kind of a competition is this?

-Funkasaurus is all about the kids, just like Chance Prophet.

-Eve probably shouldn't tell people to get a grip.

-I don't think Orton will have a problem beating 4:18. I hope he brings it down to 4:11 for us, we need the advertising.

-I was a little worried when Vickie came out, but since it's Swagger this shouldn't be a problem.

-WWE's Twitter account reports that the Bella Twins have been fired. Well, that was anti-climatic. Look forward to a special feature on the Bellas in this column next week.

-Damn, Orton gets it by two seconds! Talk about living dangerously.

-At least we still have Rosa! She will likely be getting more of my attention now, especially if she & the Colons get on TV more.

-Remember when R-Truth was relevant? You can go even further back to find the last time Kofi was.

-I can't be expected to pay attention to this match when Terra Calaway is tweeting stuff like this at me:

I'd job to Layla any day #drool #lesbomoment


-So R-Truth & Kofi win the tag straps. In the old WCW tradition where all the dark-skinned people always feuded with each other, I expect this to lead to a R-Truth/Kofi vs. DY/Titus feud.

-You'd at least think Kofi could have found a tag partner not likely to fail Wellness tests.

-Abraham Washington remains interested in representing them. Smart guy, he can probably get more money out of them now.

-Kane vs. Khali? I want this to go under 4:16, but I don't want either of these guys getting a title shot. I'm conflicted.

-Well, on the bright side, at least this can't go over 4:16.

-Kane choke slams Khali after the bell anyway. Remember when he was interesting for a minute there a few months ago? As for the last time Khali was interesting, I think I'll go with the Khali Kiss Kam.


-D-Bry takes on Jerry Lawler! Hey, I like the King, but he needs to lay down here!

-Lawler's not exactly in the same shape he's been in the past twenty years. I guess it had to happen eventually.

-Bryan kicks out of the fist drop! That move's put away countless people…


-Bryan challenges Punk at Over The Limit! Awesome!

-Are they actually calling Brock a Loose Cannon? Well, it's been a good 15 years since Pillman used it, I guess it's fair game now.

-John Cena comes out with his arm in a sling like he's Bob Orton.

-Big Johnny informs Cena that he was trying to motivate him. Meanwhile I wonder why the heck this is going with no end in sight at 11:05.

-Ah, because we have to have Lord Tensai come out and beat Cena up. Wonderful.

-Even better, they set up a match between Cena & Big Johnny at Over The Limit.

-Hey, when did Michael Cole turn face?

-So Raw set up one awesome thing, that being CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan at Over The Limit. Their series of matches a few months back were inconclusive, so both guys are pretty even and it should be a damn good match. Might even get a finish. Unfortunately, they also set up John Cena vs. Big Johnny, which I'm not sure I could have less interest in seeing. Pretty typical WWE showing, they do some awesome stuff and do some stuff that leaves you scratching your head.

-And I guess we'll get Brock vs. Triple H somewhere down the road. I think I'd be more surprised if Brock won that match than I would be if Triple H won it. Yikes.

Impact Wrestling will be moving from their 9PM timeslot to 8PM starting May 31. They feel they will have more available viewers in the 8:00 hour due to less sports competition. Since the NFL is having Thursday Night Football all season, Impact wants to try and mitigate the ratings damage by starting their show before the game and praying that some people decide to stick around and watch the rest of it. Will it work?

Well, stranger things have happened. I guess. Remember back when John Meehan used to predict Raw ratings during the NFL season by looking at the various Monday Night Football matchups? Well, we're going to switch it up a little bit by looking at the Thursday Night Football matchups and speculating on how they will impact Impact ratings. Of course, Meehan did this feature a lot closer to the actual NFL season. I'm doing it months in advance with no real idea on what will happen during the season. You can usually count on some good teams getting bad and some bad teams getting good. That's all right though, doing it further in advance makes it tougher to predict and I'm a dude that's always up for a challenge. So, here are the TNF matchups and my predictions for Impact ratings each & every week!

September 13 (Week 2): Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers: Bears vs. Packers is one of the NFL's strongest rivalries and both teams have large fan bases. Cook's Call: 0.8

September 20 (Week 3): New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: Not exactly a huge rivalry here, but you do have the Super Bowl Champions visiting rising star quarterback Cam Newton, which football fans will consider an interesting matchup. Cook's Call: 0.9

September 27 (Week 4): Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: This is a pretty bitter rivalry between the fan bases, but the Browns are turrble and the Ravens are downright unbeatable at home. If Impact‘s still doing Open Fight Night it should fall on this date, and hopefully they‘ll have ironed out some of the kinks by then to make it a solid ratings draw. Cook's Call: 1.1

October 4 (Week 5): Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams: Both teams should be improved from last year, but it's still the NFC West and nobody cares. Cook's Call: 1.1

October 11 (Week 6): Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans: I'd expect the Steelers to be pretty big favorites here, but they have one of the largest fan bases in the NFL and people who don't like them will tune in to watch them lose. Cook's Call: 1.0

October 18 (Week 7): Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: Another exciting NFC West matchup. The 49ers should be good and Seattle should be Seattle, so this won't be much. Cook's Call: 1.1

October 25 (Week 8): Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: Not a sexy matchup on paper, though the Vikings do employ my Twitter friend Leigh Mayock. Since her dad will be on TV instead of her that doesn't affect anything. Another Open Fight Night here. Cook's Call: 1.2

November 1 (Week 9): Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: The AFC West was worse than the NFC West last year. Both of these teams have talent and should have been better than they were last year. I think they'll both improve, but won't really move the needle. Cook's Call: 1.1

November 8 (Week 10): Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Colts were abysmal last year and the Jags are a joke of a franchise except for Maurice Jones-Drew, but this will be a lot of peoples' first chance to see #1 draft pick Andrew Luck in action. That might draw some folks in, but not enough to dramatically affect Impact's rating. Cook's Call: 1.1

November 15 (Week 11): Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: This game was a lot better when Dan Marino & Jim Kelly were the quarterbacks. Bills should be improved from last year, and there's a chance there will be snow in Buffalo, which is always fun. Cook's Call: 1.0

November 22 (Week 12): New England Patriots at New York Jets This is a Thanksgiving night game featuring two media favorites and the game will be on NBC. Tom Brady will be playing, and Tim Tebow might be playing by this point. Can you say "ouch"? Cook's Call: 0.7

November 29 (Week 13): New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: These two teams usually have really good, close games. By this point in the season we'll know if the Saints are still the Saints despite having no coaches. Falcons should still be good. Cook's Call: 1.0

December 6 (Week 14): Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders: Peyton Manning! Cook's Call: 0.8

December 13 (Week 15): Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles: I can never figure out the Eagles. The Bengals should be good, but they have this trend of following up good seasons with bad seasons. So basically this game will either be two good teams trying to get in the playoffs or two disappointing teams winding down their seasons. Cook's Call: 1.0

I look forward to all of these predictions being wrong even though predicting Impact ratings shouldn't be all that difficult since they've basically been the same for the past few years.

The current plan is for the Bobby Roode vs. James Storm feud to culminate at Bound For Glory. That event is in October, so it goes without saying that plans in wrestling change very often and there's a good chance that might not actually happen. That being said, it could be cool if they managed to extend Roode vs. Storm until Bound For Glory. Keep the belt on Roode all that time and make him one of TNA's longest-reigning champions. Why not? If you really want these guys to be top guys you have to treat them that way, and not take the title off them once every couple of months just to make sure we're paying attention. If TNA goes through with this reported plan and Roode vs. Storm ends up being a long feud culminating at BFG, it'd be tough to complain about it.

Unless you just plain don't like Bobby Roode or James Storm. I like ‘em all right, but you may disagree. Brother.

Speaking of brothers, Hulk Hogan did an interview with the New York Post where he said that putting the title on Jeff Hardy would fix a bunch of stuff right now. Like what, that pesky problem of having a champion you can trust not to go on a bender? Hogan also talked about how they were going to give more power to the fans so they would feel more involved & more important, and if he's wrong about these new ideas of his we probably won't see him again. Dang it, I want to be fair & balanced here, but it's really tough to be when the Hulkster's promising he'll go away if he fails. I guess I can assume he's lying and he won't go away even if his ideas fail, which is probably a safe bet anyway.

Scott Fishman has been promoted to the role of Senior Vice Presdent & Executive Producer of Spike TV. Why is this important? Well, Fishman has been one of the main people TNA has dealt with dring their time on the channel, and he plays a key role in the production of their telecasts. Depending on how you want to spin it, this either increases TNA's viability with the network or it increases Spike's imprint on their product. Maybe both. I don't know much about Fishman, but the fact that he co-created GUTS makes me want to like him. An episode of Impact Wrestling culminating with the wrestlers having to climb the Aggro Crag would be pretty interesting. Hell, they're at the same soundstage. That thing's gotta be around there somewhere.

Kurt Angle is appearing in Dwayne Johnson's movie "Pain & Gain", which will come out in 2013. Angle filmed a fight scene with Johnson, which makes sense because The Rock always looked pretty good when he was kicking Kurt Angle's candyass. I'm surprised Rock hasn't recruited more wrestlers to get their butt kicked by him in his films.

Shane Douglas's Extreme Reunion show was quite the success at the box office, drawing well over 2,000 fans. It will more than likely be the biggest drawing indy show in North America for 2012, as the odds of them drawing that large of a crowd again are not good. The madness started when Sabu didn't show up for a fanfest scheduled before the show. He was found passed out in his motel room & was taken to the hospital. The story is that he had an allergic reaction to some medication he was taking. He was released from the hospital on Sunday, but obviously he didn't main event this show.

2 Cold Scorpio took Sabu's slot in the main event against Shane Douglas, but the crowd had given up on this show long before that happened. Justin Credible was removed from the show after he fell asleep backstage and people were worried about his condition. Sandman caned a crippled guy while Raven talked about how reunions are for f*gs and morons. They tried to feature some non-ECW guys like Ruckus & Jeez, but none of them got good reactions. Jerry Lynn & Devon Storm reportedly had a fantastic match, but the rest of the show stunk and people chanted things like "End this show", "Refund" & "F*ck You Shane". The show ended with Kevin Sullivan & Tod Gordon doing run-ins. Well, I doubt either man was running in. They were probably walking in. In case there weren't enough problems with this show, their iPPV release of the show was delayed due to a technical problem with the audio/video mix. Guess there were a lot of boos & refund chants to edit out.

I will say that people that were disappointed that they got lackluster wrestling matches and some no-shows must not have known what kind of show they were attending. It was an ECW reunion show! Why would there not be lackluster wrestling matches & no-shows? Complaining about that is like complaining about how you went to a Reds game and there weren't any touchdowns or slam dunks. You had to know the show would mostly be a lot of guys past their prime not wrestling so good, some of the people wouldn't show up, and there would probably be crappy booking.

Extreme Reunion will be returning to the Philadelphia National Guard Armory on June 30. It'll be interesting to see if anybody else does.

Marcus "Buff" Bagwell had a horrific car accident last Monday that reportedly was caused by a seizure suffered while he was driving. Bagwell's wife received a call from him around the time of the accident telling her that he was about to have a seizure, she called 911, and they arrived on the scene not long after Bagwell's accident. He rolled his Jeep several times & suffered numerous injuries including broken bones in his face & neck. He is still in the hospital but is said to be recovering better than expected and has heard from many of his former WCW colleagues including Sting, Rick & Scott Steiner & Diamond Dallas Page.

ROH's next iPPV is set for May 12 in Toronto, Ontario. This is fairly soon, so people are beginning to wonder the answer to a pretty obvious question…where is ROH airing this? GoFightLive.com had aired previous ROH iPPVs but ROH parted ways with them after many complaints about their Showdown in the Sun telecasts. ROH promised to announce a new iPPV provider soon…but that was a few weeks ago and they're getting really close to show time. They have announced another iPPV event for September 15 in Chicago, Illinois, but nobody knows where that one's airing either.

The 411 on Wrestling returned Friday night! Larry Csonka & your humble correspondent talked about Rey Mysterio, Larry's UFC trip, SmackDown, tag teams and all sorts of other stuff. I'm told that it was good times even though Larry had all sorts of technical difficulties. We should be back this Friday, hopefully without those difficulties!

Tonight's Greg DeMarco Show will feature "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin, one of ROH's rising stars. Dude's come a long way over the last couple of years. By the way, if you like indy wrestling drama I hope you listened to last week's show. Greg got the dumbass GLOW promoter we talked about last week on the air and threw him under the bus. Good stuff.

Speaking of fun podcasts, Jeremy Lambert's Man Cave Podcasts are always good times no matter which 411 writer or friend of Jeremy‘s is on. Last week we did an NFL Draft/Reds podcast, and while it might have been the least informative NFL Draft preview of all time it was probably one of the funnier ones. I'm coming back this week to talk about Boy Meets World, one of the great sitcoms of the 1990s. Vader playing the role of Frankie's dad will definitely come up.

Wrestling Fact or Fiction pitted Jack Bramma against my Internet BFF Trent Howell. Trent & I will be doing podcasts again soon, but right now it's tough for us to find a time where we can make it happen. He's a busy man.

MMA Fact or Fiction was notable for three things: It was Todd Bergman's final edition of the column, a new 411 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament Champion was crowned, and even though I lost it was still my best performance in the column ever. Check it out!

Ornelas ranks underrated finishers. Of course, now they're rated since they're in the column.

Rutherford returns to the Sandwich.

Steve the Goose interviewed Chyna. I don't think I've met anybody as crazy as Chyna in the wrestling business, but who knows what the future will hold.

Frame tells us who needs to be pushed!

Well, that's all we have time for this week! Nick Marsico will be in tomorrow with the Wed Wi, and I'll be back next week with more News From Cook's Corner! Until then…


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