News From Cook's Corner 08.14.12
Posted by Steve Cook on 08.14.2012
WWE lets go two outspoken performers, TNA may let go two experienced performers, and a small return for the 8th Year of Cook!
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook's Corner! I'm Steve Cook, and today marks the eighth anniversary of when I joined 411mania.com as an "independent blogger". Yes, I read the About Us page the other day. I had no idea that was my job title! Anyway, it's been a pretty fantastic eight years and I'd like to take a minute at the beginning of this column to thank everybody that's made the 411 experience a really fun one. Basically, that's anybody that's ever read one of my posts on this website. Whether you're a fellow writer, somebody I co-host a podcast with, a wrestler that digs my outlook on the business, a wrestler that despises my outlook on the business, a reader that either drops by every week because you love me or because you hate me…y'all are the best.
As far as doing something special this week, I opted against it for a couple of reasons:
-I had tons of stuff going on at work
-I didn't think many people would want to contribute to some group feature thing
-I always feel weird tooting my own horn
However, I have allowed a former 411 writer some space in the column this week. He asked me via Twitter if I wanted him to contribute something this week in honor of my anniversary, and I couldn't turn him down. It would have been unfair to you readers if I did. So we're bringing back the Final Thought this week and it'll feature the work of one of my bestest 411 buddies that you haven't seen around here for quite some time: Jeff Small. You Smallophiles will want to make sure to check that out!
TNA generally seems to be getting their act together. In the days of Prag's business report, it was often said they were disorganized and showed the effect of having too many people with some power, but no strong overall voice. So hopefully this contract thing with Velvet Sky is just a miscommunication. They really do need to keep from low balling the talent they want to keep though, or even know who that is. - Guest#6801
The product on television is better, but that doesn't necessarily mean that things have changed behind the scenes for the better. All Vince Russo did in TNA was write and produce television. He didn't handle contract negotiations.
Hmmmm...Bully Ray and Devon's contract negotiation is not going well....
There's been scuttle-butt about Dem Boys going to WWE.....
WWE wants to revamp their tag team division.....
Although I'd hate to see Bully Ray's run as a single's star end. So I'm kinda torn on the whole thing - Andre the Midget
Dudleys vs. Briscoes would be something of a tag team dream match, certainly for fans of the Northeast indy scene. The Briscoes have been kings there for the past decade, and before they were around the Dudleys were running ECW. Should Ray & Devon leave TNA and have a little time before going to WWE, some Northeast indy promoter should book that match. It'd sell some tickets.
Sheamus is basically Batista. He was/is an ass-kicking heel who fans got into, prompting a face turn. But as the face run went/has gone on, its gotten pretty stale. He cuts one-dimensional promos with obscure references to Ireland that nobody understands. He's terrible in terms of showing a range of emotions and adapting to different situations, even as compared to Cena. Mid-Card heels use pump kick finishers, not main-event level heavyweight faces.
I get that they want to tap into all of the Irish/Boston/The Town/The Departed culture that's popular, but I don't think that having a guy talk about Dublin, where 99% of WWE fans have never been to accomplishes that goal. Don't take my word for it though. The reality is that his pops are no bigger than Kofi's or Christian's or any of the other faces who get pops because WWE tells you that they are faces.
Nobody missed Batista at the RAW 1000 show. If he did come back, he'd get the Billy Gunn-I-Remember-You pop and thats it. Sheamus hasn't even gotten to Batista's level yet. If he was gone tomorrow, no one would care.
Oh and by the way, tonight's segment was the dumbest feud builder i've seen: Did Sheamus destroy ADR's car? No. Steal it permanently? No. Steal his spot in a shampoo commercial? No. Even if we hadn't been told over the last 3 years that ADR has a different car every night, adding a few miles to the odometer and spilling some food on the seats would make a person mildly annoyed at best. Del Rio has to stop by a car wash? How slightly inconvenient! - Larry
Being compared to Batista…not really a bad thing. I think you undersell his popularity. If you remember the time period around WrestleMania 21, it was all about building Batista & John Cena into the next faces of the company. Obviously Cena became that eventually, but Batista was much hotter than Cena was at the time. He got the main event slot on WM, he got the big celebration, he got the crowd reaction. Cena had a match with JBL that fell really flat and didn't establish him as the top guy he would later become. Yeah, Batista had a lot of help from Triple H (omg, Triple H putting somebody over? Crazy!), but he was the face of WWE at that point. The guy had charisma and he could have good matches as long as he was in the ring with the right opponents.
What happened? Injuries were the main thing that hurt Batista. It seemed like he'd get hurt once every six months or so and miss a bunch of time, making him unable to get some real momentum going. Sure, he was still one of the top guys, but he wasn't able to be #1 anymore since Cena was always around. It wasn't so much that he got stale, it was more that he was never really around long enough to get a lot of good stuff going and people figured that he'd just get hurt anyway so they didn't get too invested in the guy.
If Sheamus can settle into the "Batista role" while remaining somewhat healthy, he'll have a very successful career.
Dumbest WWE feud builder: Chris Jericho spills coffee on Kane.
That Freight Train-video was actually something different. I wouldn't mind some simple-minded person entering the WWE on the premise, that he is invading them on behalf of some indy fed, that is barely a blip on the radar. Could be decent TV. - PaulOrndorff
It did make me kind of want to see him wrestle, just to get the whole Freight Train Experience.
And one last thing, you always put "The Fake News" in your column. Do you not realize that us old-school fans dislike the word "fake" associated with our wrestling. Maybe you could use "The Scripted News" from now on? - The Big Fat F*g
I'm pretty sure you're joking, but I'll explain why I use the phrase anyway. It's a line from the Norm MacDonald era of the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update. I like using it as a reference to how most of the stuff reported on the Internet ends up not being true. If I ever get sued by somebody in the wrestling business for reporting something about them that's inaccurate, I can argue that I note at the beginning of every column that the news is fake. Maybe I'm risking getting Tony Kozina mad at me for using the word "fake", but I think I'll take my chances.
And now, the fake news!
We thought that Abraham Washington's job status was safe when he appeared on Raw & SmackDown the week after he got some heat for making a joke about Kobe Bryant's sexual assault charge eight years after it happened. My opinion on it was that the joke was outdated and another reason not to pay attention to whatever AW was talking about down at ringside. I didn't think he should be fired, but would be in line for a good talking-to. Unfortunately for AW, he continued to make controversial statements on live television & social media, and showed no sign that he had learned anything from the whole Kobe thing, so he was let go.
AW responded to this by doing what most people who have been wronged do these days: go completely insane on his Twittah Machine. Before his official WWE account was terminated he went off on an extended rant about how WWE had a double standard because people like Vince McMahon, John Cena, Randy Orton & Big Show had done worse things than he had. He also railed against WWE's PG status, which got Internet fans that constantly complain about the show being PG really excited because there was finally somebody that was saying what they'd been saying all along.
Apparently the wrestler reaction to AW's dismissal was very negative, as he was popular backstage. His ranting after getting fired makes one think that he won't be back anytime soon, but Dave Meltzer seems to believe that it'll help him since Vince likes people that stand up to him. I think Dave is mad that he lost a source.
Sofia Cortez was also released by WWE last week. She had been on Tough Enough under her real name of Ivelisse Velez, and was very impressive on that show before getting injured. She was signed to a developmental contract some time after the show, and had looked very impressive in her FCW outings and on the new season of NXT. There had been nothing but positive reports about Ivelisse before Saturday, and she been considered part of the future of the Divas division by people within WWE.
So what happened? The word around the campfire is that Ivelisse had a bad attitude. She was apparently vocal about her desire to get onto the main roster instead of being in developmental & stuck in training, and had a higher opinion of herself than her trainers did. Ivelisse is denying these rumors on the Twittah Machine, but they seem to be picking up steam…mostly because we haven't come up with any better reasons for her dismissal. She did tweet that she was screwed by WWE, so she's definitely not afraid to speak her mind.
These releases are both similar in that they involve people reportedly not afraid to speak their minds. They've encouraged their fans to protest their firings via social media, and have apparently been trending on Twitter at various times. I get being pissed off over getting fired, but I'm not sure that complaining about it via social media is the way to go. It could serve as a turnoff to future employers. Of course, wrestling is different than most other businesses. It'll be interesting to see where these two go from here, and in a way it's interesting that their dismissals generated such a buzz considering their positions in the company. AW was only a few months in as a manager, and Sofia hadn't even cracked the main roster yet. From that standpoint, their departures don't mean much to WWE, but we won't get to know if they could have realized their potential.
Many people were wondering why Brock Lesnar didn't attack Shawn Michaels during Raw last week. Some within WWE felt that attacking HBK in his hometown of San Antonio would have gotten some tremendous heat and would have helped Brock immensely heading into SummerSlam. The angle was nixed because they didn't want Shawn to get beat up before the "HBK Appreciation Night" celebration that was planned after Raw. I agree with the decision, mostly because beating Shawn Michaels up is going to get good heat no matter where it's done. The average Raw viewer isn't going to care where it's happening, so you might as well let the San Antonio fans have a good moment with Shawn when he's there.
It is kind of interesting that WWE only cares about making the hometown fans happy when it involves certain people while other people get to look like a joke in their hometown all the time. Not that they're the first promotion guilty of that. Whenever WCW went to North Carolina in its later years you knew that Ric Flair was going to be doing something stupid. WWE has more respect for Shawn Michaels than for most of their performers…when you think about what Shawn's done over the years it's kind of hard to blame them for that.
Wade Barrett's Barrett Barrage is expected to lead to big things later this year. He was originally planned to come back at Money in the Bank and win one of the briefcases, but plans were changed and his return was held off. He is reportedly in line for a big push upon his return and will be in contention for one of the big titles sooner rather than later. Barrett was challenging for the WWE title not long after his debut, but lost a lot of momentum when he didn't win it and his group fell apart around him. Going after the title on his own may be just what he needs, though he is pretty great as a leader of men.
Wade was also part of a WWE Studios film during his time off. Dead Man Down is a romantic thriller featuring Colin Farrell. Not that Wade needed any advice on how to portray a douchebag, he's done well at it so far in his WWE run, but surely he learned a couple of things working with Farrell.
WWE has high hopes for the Damien Sandow vs. Brodus Clay feud. Both men are considered to have lots of potential, and their matches at WWE live events have been getting good feedback. They're hoping for big things from the Sandow vs. Funkasaurus match at SummerSlam. What I like about this feud is that both men need somebody to feud with. Clay's biggest feud up until this point was with David Otunga. He needs an issue to make people care about more than his dancing, and hopefully this thing with Sandow will be it.
AJ says that she will never be in Playboy. As far as I know, Tony Acero will still be on the Greg DeMarco Show Wednesday morning and he will still be doing his other work for 411mania.com. But you can expect him to be a lot more bitter going forward.
Mick Foley will be undergoing back surgery in September. He has put off the procedure to continue his standup comedy tour, but if you needed another reason why Foley vs. Dean Ambrose was never going to happen whether or not Foley was actually offended by Anbrose's tweets here you go.
There are apparently mixed feelings in WWE when it comes to Antonio Cesaro. Some feel that he will be a star, but others are on the fence and feel he needs a breakout moment soon. In his defense, getting booked to beat Santino isn't really a "breakout moment". You can kind of tell WWE's opinion on Cesaro compared to other new heels based on Christian's last two TV matches. Christian had an even match with Cesaro on Smack Down & won, but got attacked after the bell. Damien Sandow totally squashed Christian on Raw. Obviously they have plans for Sandow, while Cesaro is stuck in a holding pattern. I think Cesaro has the tools to eventually have that breakout moment so this is much ado about nothing, but will his fans be patient enough to wait for it?
WWE Network may still be a thing. How do we know? Justin Credible tweeted that he was contacted for work on the network on Thursday and was very excited about the opportunity. Credible has been working Northeast indies recently using the Aldo Montoya gimmick, and will be appearing under that persona for CHIKARA's King of Trios tournament in September. He'll be teaming with the 1-2-3 Kid & Tatanka in that event.
CM Punk went to Twitter to complain about UFC star Jon Jones signing an endorsement deal with Nike. Jones was involved in an incident a few months back where he smashed his Bentley into a pole while he was under the influence and had two female passengers in the car, neither of which being his fiancee. Obviously this is not something that would sit well with the Punker, though he later used the old "it's nothing personal" line of reasoning when he was questioned about it on a radio interview.
Punk's comments didn't get quite the same run that his comments on Chris Brown did, but ESPN personality Colin Cowherd did take notice & bashed Punk on his radio show. He called Punk a moralist that shouldn't have an opinion on alcoholism considering he's a pro wrestler & wrestling is full of people having drug problems. Of course, Colin Cowherd is the guy that calls wrestlers "roided freaks" & wrestling fans "booger eaters", so this doesn't come as much of a surprise. I guess since he doesn't work with Michelle Beadle anymore he feels safer with airing his beliefs about pro wrestling.
Cause Beadle would choke a bitch.
Cowherd wasn't the only person associated with ESPN talking pro wrestling this week. Grantland.com had a really interesting article on Kevin Nash that covered his career & what he's doing now. Nash had a lot of interesting things to say, but there was one passage that garnered the attention of the Internet Wrestling Community:
Here's one reason Nash will never be an Internet darling: He called Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero — small-statured, gifted technical wrestlers that lacked big in-ring personalities but were beloved by fans — "Vanilla Midgets." He now claims the comments were a double work. It drew heat from the marks that cheered for Benoit and Guerrero because they were baby faces. It drew heat from the smart marks that cheered for Benoit and Guerrero because they were great wrestlers. Even though both are gone now, he still thinks they never belonged in the main event.
"When Benoit and Guerrero hugged [at the end of WrestleMania XX], that was the end of the business," he says. "Has business been the same since that WrestleMania? Has it come close to the Austin era? Has it come close to the nWo or the Hogan era? You put two fucking guys that were great workers that were the same height as the fucking referees, and I'm sorry, man. Are you going to watch a porno movie with a guy with a three-inch dick? Even if you're not gay, you will not watch a porno movie with a guy with a three-inch dick. That's not the standard in porno films. So you put a 5-foot-7 guy as your world champion."
He has the same problem with today's Internet heroes, Phil "CM Punk" Brooks and Bryan "Daniel Bryan" Danielson.
"They are not bigger than life," he says. "I bet they could both walk through airports and not be noticed unless they have a gimmick shirt on and the belt."
You know what offended me most about all of that? The author of the article using Punk & Bryan's shoot names. That's one of my pet peeves, people writing wrestlers' real names and putting their wrestling names in quotation marks just to show off how smart they are. That offends me.
Kevin Nash's opinions don't offend me. I don't agree with them. The wrestling business went into the toilet before WrestleMania XX. WCW dying off took away a large portion of the wrestling fan base, and the WWF did nothing to keep those fans around. Nash's run on top of Raw in 2003 sure as heck didn't help ratings or live attendance, and neither did him, Scott Hall & Hulk Hogan returning as the New World Order in 2002. Hogan gave live attendance a boost later that year when he donned the red & yellow, but it didn't last.
Did Guerrero & Benoit belong in the main event? Eddie was a great draw with the Latin-American community and he helped the SmackDown brand remain viable during a time when it was being transitioned into a B show, so I would say that he definitely did. Benoit is more debatable, but business didn't fall off a cliff with him as champion and even when he was champ he usually wasn't the focus of the show. That was HHH vs. HBK, and towards the end of Benoit's run it seemed like Eugene was getting more attention from the writers.
Yes, Eugene. 2004 was a strange time.
We've talked about the size issue repeatedly in this column and I'm tired of beating that dead horse, but just because you look "bigger than life" doesn't mean people are going to pay to see you wrestle. Lots of tall guys have entered the business with million dollar physiques and without drawing a dime. There's more to it than just being tall & having a good physique. You need a little something called charisma too. I think the fact that so many people buying into the "size matters" argument is a credit to Vince McMahon and his ability to brain wash people into believing it.
Nash knows all of this. He's just looking for attention while creating conversation in the process. I'm thankful to people like him for doing that, because Lord knows I never would have made it through eight years doing this stuff if wrestlers never said anything remotely interesting. That's why I love it when guys like Nash speak out.
Even Especially when I don't agree with them.
-I like how Sheamus is the last person you see on the Raw opening video. Is it worth mentioning that he's a SmackDown talent, or have we moved past worrying about such things?
-CM Punk & Big Show start us off. Punk is working total face here, which I'm fine with. The fans seem fine with it too.
-Daniel Bryan comes down to ringside and yells at Lawler & Cole about how he deserves to be in the WWE Title match. I don't think they have power over that, but so many people book matches around here it's tough to tell.
-He opts for putting Punk in the No Lock and ending the match via DQ.
-Cena runs down to dispose of Show & Bryan. Tag team match playa?
-Tag team match playa via AJ.
-JTG still has a job? That might not last long depending on who his opponent is. Gotta be Ryback or Funkasaurus depending on what kind of mood they're in.
-Ryback. With music repeating FEED ME MORE. Huh.
-Feed that man more. JTG can't be enough for one evening.
-We get to pick who will be the guest on Piper's Pit tonight. Jericho, Miz & Dolph. They've all played the same character at some point, haven't they?
-Triple H seems to be held up by travel issues. This is bad news for our good pal Shawn Michaels.
-THE ONE MAN BAND!
-Heath takes on R-Truth. Along with Little Jimmy, of course.
-The PTPers don't need AW to beat up R-Truth or to do their dance.
-Booker T removed ADR from his SummerSlam match with Sheamus. ADR touted his displeasure. Now people can tout their reaction to these events. Smell the excitement!
-I think that's excitement I'm smelling.
-Sin Cara vs. Tensai is an offtheteam.com dream match. Not so much for most other people.
-Cara gets the win in pretty quick fashion! Short & painless. Well, not so much for Sakamoto.
-This week's Did You Know: Everybody was watching the Olympics last week.
-Piper admits that he is confused. He seems a bit unsettled this week, which is probably why they have Lawler in the ring to help him through this part.
-Piper is shocked people are cheering Jericho. In his defense, they started that two weeks ago.
-Piper knew Jericho's dad. He met him backstage at that episode of Thunder where he came out to embarrass Jericho, right?
-Ziggler & Miz come out even though they lost the poll. Makes sense.
-I was worried for a minute that Teddy Long was going to come out and book a tag team match with Jericho/Piper vs. Miz/Ziggler.
-AJ makes a triple threat match on Twitter. Mercifully Piper's not in it.
-Jericho, Miz & Ziggler laying it all out there. The bright side of three-hour Raws: matches like this get time to breathe. This might have gone five minutes in the days of the two-hour Raw.
-Ziggler gets the win! No, I'm not really sure what's going on with his hair.
-CM Punk insists to Eve that there is no new CM Punk. He's correct. Look at the way Eve looks at him.
-Barrett's going to mess somebody up soon enough. Not sure how I feel about the beard.
-Layla & Kaitlyn try to do a pose on the ramp. It's funny. I think Kaitlyn's trying to figure out what pose she should use and does some random stuff to see what works.
-Beth & Eve have established poses so it goes better for them.
-I don't remember Layla dancing this much during her matches. I don't remember her having matches for the most part.
-I dig the green zebra thing Kaitlyn has going on. It's got a nice late 80s-early 90s vibe. I think Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert used to wear tights like that.
-The fans want tables. Are women allowed to be in tables matches on PG television? I would assume so as long as there are no men in the match.
-Kaitlyn gets the win! They play Layla's music because nobody in the back knows what Kaitlyn's song is.
-How about Big Show being one of two people to wrestle twice tonight? Makes sense.
-Can't say I'm surprised that the goober from Jersey Shore is a big John Cena fan. At least they've limited him to tweeting tonight.
-No surprise that Bryan & Show aren't great tag team partners. Show running over AJ started her descent into madness & Bryan's anger management issues.
-Bryan's all like I WANNA WIN, so Show hangs out at the timekeeper's table. If it was 1999 this would be a Tag Team Title match. Now everybody involved in this match is above the Tag Team Titles.
-Punk uses all of Cena's moves. I'm guessing nobody will tell him that he can't wrestle.
-Spoiler Alert: Cena wins.
-Punk is mad that Cena didn't shake his hand. That means something where he comes from, and he promises to teach Cena & everybody else a lesson about respect at SummerSlam.
-I made a tweet questioning Damien Sandow being from the land of glitz, glamour & plastic surgery, but I've been informed that he's from the town of Stanford University. I guess we'll let that slide.
-Damien Sandow dominates Christian early, but gets distracted by the Funkasaurus.
-Damn, I was thinking Christian would get the rollup win, but Sandow kicks out and finishes him off. I like Sandow all right, but Zack Ryder put up more of a fight than Christian.
-35 minutes left and I don't think they've announced anything after this contract signing. This should be…something.
-Ah, so they're going to let Heyman talk for 20 minutes. That should kill some time.
-Heyman tells us that we will see a man get stripped and go down. I hope Linda isn't watching!
-Shawn comes out. Time passes. Triple H comes out. He signs the contract.
-There is enough time left for TOUT!
-I thought for sure we were going to see another attempted vehicular homicide. Instead we get Heyman in a car preventing Shawn's car from leaving, then Brock yanks Shawn out, the camera gets cut and Shawn gets murdered.
-Triple H is all like WHERE DID THEY GO backstage while they head to the ring.
-Heyman tells HHH not to take another step or Brock will break his arm. HHH takes many steps.
-Yeah, he does it anyway.
-Heyman is shocked and appalled! OK, maybe not.
-People on my Twitter timeline are calling this the best Raw ending ever. It included Shawn Michaels selling & Brock looking strong, so this doesn't surprise me. I'm not sure I'd go as far as them, but it did more to sell the PPV than anything else WWE's thrown out there.
The negotiations between Bully Ray, Devon & TNA have not been going well and the current feeling is that Ray & Devon will be out of TNA once their contracts expire. Ray, who has been handling most of the negotiations for him & Devon, reportedly feels that TNA has not been treating them with respect during the talks. Both men have certainly raised their value over the past couple of years, especially Ray since he's used as a top heel and also works backstage as an agent. Ray & Devon have trained several workers that TNA has used over the past couple of years, so they have value there as well. TNA has reportedly been low-balling people in contract negotiations recently, and I don't think either Ray or Devon would be interested in taking a pay cut. It would be disappointing if they leave, but TNA might not give them a choice in the matter.
No word on if WWE would be interested in Ray & Devon. They probably would be, but with that pesky TNA lawsuit still going on they aren't going to pursue people leaving TNA until that's settled. It's too bad for wrestlers that the legal system works so slowly, though sometimes it benefits them as well. (See: any court case involving the Hardys)
Tara was banned from appearing at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con this weekend due to WWE's presence at the event. Apparently WWE allowed their talent to appear on the condition that TNA people were prohibited from appearing. Well, I guess if you're forced to choose between John Cena and anybody on TNA's roster you have to choose Cena if you're a promoter that wants to make money.
Kenny King has been signed by TNA. This probably isn't news since he's been on TV for a month. It's good news for King though, who took a bit of a risk when he wrestled on a TNA show while he was still negotiating with Ring of Honor. That burned his ROH bridge, and he could very well have been SOL since there was no guarantee TNA would sign him. They haven't signed any of the other people that came in for the X Division title tournament, so Kenny's a lucky man. He's also a good wrestler, and I'm hoping that the fact that TNA just signed a Chippendales' dancer opens the door for other people with interesting pasts.
Kurt Angle got upset at CM Punk calling TNA an "indy" during a Q & A session, so he talked some junk about him on Twitter. This will get a lot of attention even though Kurt Angle talking junk on Twitter is hardly news. He'll take it all back and say that he loves Punk by Wednesday. This is how these things go.
Another Ring of Honor iPPV event has been overshadowed by something that took place outside of the ring. It wasn't technical difficulties this time, instead it was Kevin Steen punching out two fans at ringside after his match with Eddie Kingston. Steen was walking around ringside after winning the match, and got into a conversation with the fans. He kissed one of them, which is something he's been known to do over the past couple of years as a way of grossing people out, and the fan shoved him in response. Steen decked that fan, and when the other fan spat in his face he decked him too.
ROH apparently did a pretty good job of staging this, as the fans at the show were convinced that the two fans that were attacked were not professional wrestlers and just regular old fans. I remember Raven saying on a shoot interview that the "smart" fans were the easiest to work, and this sort of thing proves him right. The angle is intended to get people to actually hate Steen since his rant against the crowd at Best in the World didn't work, but I'm not sure it's the smartest of ideas for a simple reason…are people going to line up to go to house shows where wrestlers punch people for no reason? Will parents take their kids to a show where their kids could get punched or kissed by a large sweaty man? It doesn't seem very family friendly, or friendly to anybody else for that matter.
I know that ROH really wants Kevin Steen to be booed by their fans, but the way they book his character prevents that from happening. How often does an authority figure yapping about arcane rules and how terrible a representative of a company the cool champion is get cheered? Never. How often does a champion defending the title against outside competition get booed? Never. Even the people part of ROH that they book against Steen are heels. Davey Richards was a face in name only, most ROH fans had turned on him by the time his feud with Steen kicked into gear. Rhino's a heel and he's getting the next title shot. How does ROH expect people to boo Kevin Steen, and who do they actually expect people to cheer?
Hell, that just might be the main problem here. They have nobody for the people to get behind. There's not a top baby face in ROH. There's not one guy that most of their fans rally behind as the face of the company. When ROH figures out who they want that to be, and book them accordingly, then maybe you won't have ROH fans defending Steen for punching fans and cheering him when he cusses them out. Having an authority figure that many people consider behind the times whining and complaining about how he's going to embarrass ROH at the affiliates dinner isn't going to get it done. ROH needs a top baby face.
Who? That's another problem facing ROH…there isn't an obvious choice.
Red Bastien passed away on Saturday at the age of 81 due to complications of Alzheimer's. He was considered one of the top workers in pro wrestling throughout the 1950s, 60s & 70s, known for different aerial moves. He was one of the top officers of the Cauliflower Alley Club for many years and kept up with the wrestling scene after he retired. He was more open-minded about the changes in the business than most of his contemporaries were.
Most of you reading this column are like me and weren't alive during Bastien's career. There doesn't seem to be a lot of footage out there, but here's a match he had with Ray Stevens in 1973 in Chicago that was a "Mat Classic" on an AWA TV show. It's clipped down into less than six minutes, but serves as the best example of Bastien's work that I could find.
There is a new independent women's promotion that will be holding its first card on October 11 in Rahway, New Jersey. So far they've announced a few interesting names: Winter, Becky Bayless, Annie Social…even one of the DeMarcettes, Scarlett Bordeaux will be there. More names are yet to be announced, and the evening will be hosted by Ashley Massaro. It sounds like it might have some potential.
Well, until you hear that it's called "Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling".
That's right, there ladies are working for BLOW.
Now, as long as the checks don't bounce I can't really blame the girls for taking bookings for BLOW, but it doesn't sound like something to be proud of. When your career highlight is being the Queen of BLOW, or becoming the first BLOW Champion, can you even put that on your resume? Imagine going to BLOW only to do the job in the first round. Are the fans going to chant "BLOW! BLOW! BLOW!" after high spots?
There are plenty more. I'll let you guys do them.
The Ocho featured some poetry from your humble correspondent. You read that right. This week's episode will be our official Fantasy Football Preview, so you definitely won't want to miss it!
Ocho co-host Trent Howell also joined me for the latest edition of the 411 on Wrestling! We talked some SmackDown, AW getting canned, Kevin Nash's comments on Benoit & Guerrero and a whole lot more. Larry Csonka was a bit under the weather, but still joined us for the final hour of the show to preview the TNA & ROH events of the weekend. Yup, it was good times.
411 Fact or Fiction featured Gavin Napier & Jeremy Thomas competing for the hearts & minds of the 411 Universe.
Byers ranks the top eight wrestlers that took part in the Olympics. No Mark Henry? Shocking!
Jeff Small wrote for 411mania.com from 2005 to 2010. During this time period he was most known for possibly being Chris Hyatte, loving Great Khali, feuding with Scott Slimmer and following in my footsteps constantly. He took over for me on the Sunday & Thursday news reports, so it was only fitting that I would take over for him on Tuesdays when he left the site to pursue his dream. Unfortunately for Jeff, his Olympic bid in the sport of table tennis fell short. He re-joins us now…
Why come back for Cook's 8th anniversary? Well, seeing as how Cook so graciously gave up his timeslot twice for me back in the day (thank you booze), you can look at this as some sort of minor payback. Only minor because I left him with a better timeslot (Tuesdays), a Malebag, and Raw Thoughts. That's half a column right there. Fuck… you should be thanking me, Cook.
Anyway, I reached out to Cook last week over Twitter (follow me @jsmall4000) and asked whether he wanted me to write about wrestling or some random shit that I find amusing. Sadly, he went with wrestling. Your loss, Cookmongers, as I had a ton of inappropriate things to say about McKayla Maroney. So without futher ado, some shit about wrestling… in bullet points no less… cause I'm retired and lazy.
* Am I the only one scared to death about the rise of WWE buyrates? Seriously. The paying public is saying that it is okay to only promote four matches and fill the rest of the card with THE Ryback squashes, dancing Brodus Clay, and John Cena main events. What the fuck is wrong with you people?
* I am totally surprised at how over Daniel Bryan is. Last year, at Summerslam, D-Bry and W-Bar barely got the crowd to make a peep during their match. This year, Bryan will get a backstage interview, a ton of love during his entrance, and dueling Yes/No chants throughout his match and a possible celebrity interaction. What a difference a year makes. He's definitely earned it.
* AJ too. But then again, she's not hard on the eyes. Only in the pants. WHAMMY! And you all thought I had issues due to my obsession with Swayze, Mini Batista, Ninja Dog, Hungry Man Dinners, and…
* Heh, peeping Heath Slater. Still a ton better than peeing Heath Slater. Yes I will be here all night. Enjoy the veal.
* If someone asks you about Miley Cyrus's new haircut, the only response should be "her best friend Leslie says oh she's just being Miley." Nothing else cuts it.
* So far, all of the three hour Raws have been good. Seriously. There's no punchline coming.
* In case you are wondering which WWE Diva vajazzles, the answer is Justin Gabriel.
* … KHALI!!!!
* In all seriousness, we should take a few seconds out of each day to wish the Great Khali a full recovery from his recent surgery. It is not easy being a big man much less one with an insatiable appetite for chicken and women. Hopefully he will be back in time for the Royal Rumble to continue his undefeated streak (on Punjabi TV). I miss the big fella and the way that he chops, slices, and dices. Jai ho.
* Thankfully, the good people at 411 have still embraced me after all of these years. Like for instance, I won last year's 411 Staff Fantasy Football League and then was given a fake invitation to join this year's. And when I show up to troll participate in the 411 internet radio show, Csonka makes it a point to ban me immediately. You don't see Meehan putting up with this shit.
* While some might ask if I miss writing about wrestling, I don't. While I do miss the interaction with my Smallophiles, I definitely do not miss the deadlines, forced humor, and 40 or so columns I wrote a year. Now, I enjoy being able to watch it, send some tweets, and go to bed before the main event.
* But if I ever were to return, it would be only as part of "Small and Slimmer Present the Radio on the Internet." I hear Slimmer has a face made for internet radio.
It's true. Not only did I rip off his segments, now I'm using him to fill space in my column! Brilliant strategy by me. Thanks to Jeff for contributing, and feel free to beg him to come back.
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…