wrestling / Columns

News From Cook’s Corner 01.03.12

January 3, 2012 | Posted by Steve Cook

Hi, hello and welcome to the first News From Cook’s Corner of 2012! I’m Steve Cook, and I hope that you folks are having a fantastic year so far. I noticed on my way to work this morning that many people aren’t, as I saw a ridiculous number of cars turned around with their backs into the wall. Here’s a free tip for everybody reading this column: When it’s cold and snowing, don’t drive so freaking fast! That’s what happens, you spin out and sometimes you end up hitting something. This is why I need to move out of this area of the country, I’m really tired of this whole “snow” & “cold” thing. I wonder what property values are like in Jamaica. Do they have good Internet service? Hopefully my Jamaican readers will let me know.

For those of you wanting Brock Lesnar coverage, we’ll be talking about Brock’s wrestling options in the Other Wrestling News section. If you want my take on the big reveal for the 1.2.12 guy, check out the Raw Thoughts. Randy Orton’s status will be leading the WWE News section. We’ve got a couple of really big stories this week, and I want to make sure you all know where to find them in the column. For now, let’s have some fun with commenters!

WWE should not be looking for the next Trish. She was essentially the female Brock Lesnar. They hyped her up way too much and gave her too much, too soon. That’s why she “retired” after barely 5 years in the biz. She had already done everything and was bored. Instead, why not find women that dedicate their whole lives to the profession? Trish and all the models that came after her simply don’t have the passion required for long careers.Guest#5253

I love that idea, but I’m not convinced WWE will be adopting it anytime soon. Triple H did sign Awesome Kong, and that gave us some hope that WWE wouldn’t just sign hot models in the future, but since then they’ve gone back to the old strategy. Trish does have passion for wrestling, she wouldn’t have come back for Tough Enough if she didn’t, but that travel schedule wears on people and eventually they want to live their own life. Maybe have a family. The shelf-life for a woman in wrestling isn’t as long as it is for a man, and they have to get what they can while they can. They all know this.

1. The crowd was chanting Sexual Chocolate at Mark Henry on Raw.

2. WWE never had interest in Sting. Get real Cook…just the usual IWC BS that you (and others) usually buy into.

3. Still plugging and associating yourself with Kirk is just stupid. Keep it up Cook; just do not wonder why your hits/comments are way down.Points

1. I liked it better when NYC did it. Considering Chicago’s one of the best wrestling markets in the country you’d think they could do better than aping the Garden fans.

2. WWE has always had a level of interest in bringing Sting in. I wasn’t one of the people that thought Sting would be the 2.21.11 guy, but anybody who suggests that WWE wouldn’t sign him tomorrow, put him in some type of a feud and sell a bunch of DVDs of his career doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

3. My hits & comments are doing quite well, actually. Thanks for the concern, though!

Guest#3658 wants to talk Bengals, and I will gladly oblige. Did you know the Bengals are in the playoffs this year? It’s kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of curious how the Bengals fan base sees things.

Do they feel great that they got extra picks from the Carson trade, or do they feel apprehensive that they might be complete flops given Brown’s history and lack of a modern scouting department?

I was happy that they got anything for Carson Palmer. Believe it or not, Mike Brown actually did the right thing by being so insistent that he wouldn’t trade Palmer. Most of us assumed that nobody would give Brown an offer that he would take, but once Raiders coach Hue Jackson lost his starting QB for the year, he decided he had to have his boy back and was willing to pay whatever it took. Not a particularly smart move on his part, especially when you consider that Palmer threw sixteen interceptions in the ten games he played. He had been going downhill his last couple of years in Cincinnati, and frankly I was fine with Andy Dalton as our starter this season from the beginning.

The Bengals draft history isn’t great, no doubt about it. But they did get AJ Green and Andy Dalton in last year’s draft, and that worked out as well as anybody could have possibly hoped. We don’t know if they’ll have staying power, but they sure look like stars of the future. There’s no guarantee that the picks they get from the Raiders will work out, but at least they’re getting the opportunity.

Do they just enjoy this season, or see it as an aberration given the last 20 years?

Most Bengals fans are pessimistic by nature. They like living in the moment and most of them are happy about what’s going on this year, but they don’t expect it to last.

I know much of the Packer’s fan base was tensely waiting for the first loss instead of enjoying the ride up until the KC game. I imagine the Steelers fans just ride through the regular season every year, confident they will get in and just wanting a reasonably healthy team in the post season.

Every fan base stresses out about stuff, even Steelers fans. You would think they‘d have more confidence considering how many championships they‘ve won, but Steeler fans are just as up and down about their team as we are. Their standards are much higher than ours are, as they should be.

TNA awards? Jesus Fucking Christ, you’ll be doing awards for OVW nextBig Dee

If I’d seen enough OVW this year I’d consider it. We’re having somebody from the promotion on the 411 on Wrestling this week and it should be a good time. Good people at OVW. I’m not going to give the whole “There’s wrestling outside WWE” speech, but you guys should probably know by now that there‘s going to be stuff in this column that has nothing to do with WWE, because WWE‘s not the only wrestling that interests me. If I kept it WWE-only, this would be a really quick read. Kind of like a Stephen Randle column.

That’s the probably with wrestling today. Cody Rhodes is 26 years old. Winning the big title should permanently cement you into main event status. Cody argurably has about 15-20 years ahead of him in his career! He’s not in his prime, do we want to see him in the main event for the next 10 years?

Same with John Cena and Randy Orton, they’ve been around since their mid 20’s and they’ve done everything possible, wrestled everyone possible, and still have YEARS to go in their careers.

I’m not for advocating for holding people down, but wrestlers like Daniel Bryan, Dolph, Swagger, Rhodes, Wade Barrett, should spend most of their time in the midcard and upper midcard elevating the IC and US titles, rather than someone like Cody winning the title when he’s 26, people not buying him and champion, spending 2 years to building him up as legitimate main event, then finally reaching his prime after he’s been champion 2-3 times already. (i.e. Sheamus, CM Punk)leno

If it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, I would agree with you. And it’s not like your point is totally insane, it makes perfect sense to use guys like Cody, Bryan, Dolph & Wade in the upper-midcard level to feud over the Intercontinental & United States championships. I like how Cody’s character has taken pride in restoring honor & dignity to the IC strap. But it seems like in this era that you need at least two or three reigns with the big belt to make people take you seriously. Heck, Wade Barrett’s career took a bit of a tumble when he couldn’t win the WWE title, even if he was still a new guy. When he didn’t get the job done, people stopped buying into him.

The best way to solve this problem would be to make title changes less frequent. The WWE title in particular was treated like a hot potato in 2011. Give Punk or whoever you want a long title reign this year, and not only will that make winning the title seem more special, it’ll build up the challengers and hopefully make people want to see them win the title somewhere down the line instead of being all like “Damn, he got the belt too soon.” They try to build people by giving them the WWE or the World Title when they should be building people to win the title someday.

That being said, I hope that both Cody Rhodes & Dolph Ziggler win the WWE or World Title this year. They both deserve it, and I’d especially be happy if Cody won it because I was on his bandwagon before most people were. I was a little late to the Ziggler party, I admit. As Cody’s biggest fan here on the 411 I’m totally fine with him being in the main event for the next ten years. Can’t think of any reason why not.

Cena & Orton both have plenty of time left in their careers. They each have a good five to ten years left at the top of their game if they aren‘t brought down by injury, but I don’t think we’ll see them stick around as long as the old generation did. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Terry Funk and other older guys that still wrestle on occasion in their sixties will be the exception, not the rule. Can you imagine John Cena at sixty years old running around in jean shorts telling people that they can’t see him? I think you’ll see more guys like Shawn Michaels & John “Bradshaw” Layfield that have good careers and get out while they’re still relatively young. JBL’s not going to be stumbling around the ring in his sixties, he’ll be stumbling around golf courses in Bermuda. These guys find other ways to keep themselves busy, and this generation would be well-served to follow from their example.

Maybe I’m just being optimistic and all of these guys will still be in the ring in their sixties because they need the money. Hope not.

Check out the guy with the red baseball cap in the “Other Wrestling News” pic with Maria. Is that a pocket, or his waistline?

It looks like the picture was snapped moments after Maria saw what he was up to and turned away, simultaneously amused, embarrassed and alarmedJive Soul Bro

Yeah, you might be right about that. He does seem to have his hand pretty far down his pocket there. There’s laws against that sort of thing, right?

I’m a Ryder fan but there’s one thing wrong with the Plugs! photo. Instead of Ryder it should have been Kaval.IndyInvasion

Maybe it would have been if Kaval had stuck around. I understood why he was frustrated with his lot in the company, but if he’d just had a little patience they would have come up with something…especially now in this phase where they’re pushing people that the hardcore fans seem to like. Kaval probably would be in Zack Ryder’s spot standing next to Punk & Bryan if he’d waited for his opportunity. Instead, he’s…

Well, I have no idea where he is. Somebody want to give us a Low Ki/Senshi/Kaval update? The last time I saw him he was in TNA for the Destination X show, then they couldn’t come to terms on a contract and he left. Ki’s career would have gone so much better if he was more willing to do business. So much talent there, but was his way or the highway, and promotions eventually decided they didn’t need the headache.

I’m not worried about a feud between Big Show and Bryan. Sure others haven’t come out of a Show feud so good, but Bryan has been jobbing to everybody who needs credibility. No way this feud buries him worse. Besides, some thought Bryan wasn’t going to make it to Wrestlemania, losing the briefcase somehow. Others worried he would be the first case holder to lose. Any way you slice it, winning the title is better than a lot of people expected.Guest#8903

I’m pleasantly surprised with how the Bryan/Show feud is developing so far. It seemed obvious that Show would go all monster heel and tear Bryan apart, but in the last couple weeks Bryan’s been a bit of a dick and constantly taking credit for saving Big Show from Mark Henry while mocking Show’s short title reign. One of them is going to turn heel but it isn’t obvious whether it will be Big Show being a monster or Daniel Bryan being a chickenshit heel. I think we’ll find out this week on SmackDown and I’m interested in seeing what will happen.

If Velvet Sky is being held back because she’s getting heat backstage, then I wonder what the story is with Angelina Love. Since the conclusion of Winter’s feud with Sky, Angelina is barely a supporting member of her tag team. Even Madison Rayne had a bigger role in TBP stable.Guest#9922

Angelina has been very quiet lately, and I think there’s a logical reason for that. You can’t push everybody at the same time, and right now she & Winter are beneath Gail Kim & Madison Rayne on the heel Knockout pecking order. Madison was doing nothing for the last several months and she’s a very talented lady, so I have no problem with her getting a chance at the top of the division. Gail just came back from WWE and she’s always been popular with TNA management, so it’s not surprising they’d push her to the top.

Winter & Angelina had their chance on top of the division for a good bit of 2011. They held the Knockout tag titles, and Winter held the Knockouts Title with Angelina by her side. They’re on the backburner right now, but you have to figure they’ll be back in the mix sooner or later as long as they’re under contract and doing their thing.

Velvet’s case is a bit harder to explain because she’s popular with the crowd and they spent the better part of the year building up her chase for the Knockout Title. She won it, then lost it a PPV later and now she’s on the backburner. Maybe she comes back to the top after they finish the Mickie James challenge, but you would have thought she would have gotten a little more time on top after they spent so much time building her up.

“TNA Finisher of the Year Award
Winner: None”

C’mon Cook, you’re dropping the ball here. We all know that the most devastating finishing move in all of professional wrestling takes place weekly in The Impact Zone. A finisher that is without competition when it comes to having a near 100% success rate and resulting in countless title changes and upset wins. A move that Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and Goldberg on their best days couldn’t break out of. I could only be talking about…

THE ROLL UP!!!!!Brad B

Can’t argue that. And now, the fake news!

Last Tuesday reports began to surface that Randy Orton had injured his back in a match with Wade Barrett at the Smackdown taping. Apparently it happened when Wade tossed him down the steps, though this was later corrected to say that it happened earlier. When I first read about it, I figured that Orton was going to get a little time off until the Royal Rumble, where he would come back strong in front of his hometown crowd. Meanwhile, Wade Barrett would take credit for putting Orton out of action and crow incessantly about it for the next few weeks until Orton came back. Makes sense, right?

Of course, the insider websites totally bought what WWE was selling and everybody decided to go crazy over this development. They got even more apoplectic when it was reported that Tony Chimel said that Orton would be out for six months at a house show. It turns out that Wade Barrett said that and whoever was sending in results from the house show decided to give Chimel credit for it. Meanwhile, Orton tweeted that he’s doing therapy every morning & night, but is pain-free at the moment and finds the rumors hilarious. He also indicated that he would be back before the Rumble, as he responded to a fan despondent that he wouldn’t be at the Raw taping on January 16 in Anaheim that he would in fact be there.

So Randy Orton’s getting a nice little vacation. Good for him. He certainly deserves it after the work he put in during 2011, where in my opinion he was the best in-ring wrestler from start to finish. He doesn’t seem too concerned about his back, so hopefully that’s a non-issue and he’ll be ready to go in a few weeks and get some revenge against the Barrett Barrage. It should be good stuff.

Drew McInytre has been moved back to the Smackdown brand. He was sent to Raw in April 2011 and did pretty much nothing there. Drew made a lot of Superstars appearances, but he was largely quiet in 2011. They seem to be building something between him & Teddy Long, which is a callback to Drew’s original push where he made Long’s life a living hell for a few months. McIntyre has a lot of talent and I’m hopeful that 2012 will be a much more successful year for him.

Dennis “Mr. Belding” Haskins wants to be Raw General Manager, and has the support of such luminaries as John Cena & Zack Ryder. I’m for it as well, assuming they can get the rights to the Mr. Belding character. There’s not much money in Dennis Haskins, but there’s a hell of a lot of money in Mr. Belding, and bringing back the rest of the Saved by the Bell cast for the major PPVs. They can finally have that big blowoff to the Zack vs. Belding feud.

Come on, you wouldn’t mark out for Belding interrupting a back and forth promo with “HEY HEY HEY HEY WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?” It’d be tremendous.

Vickie Guerrero is asking her fans on Twitter if she should have Tamina become part of her stable of talent. It seems like a decent enough idea to me, then Vickie would have somebody in the Diva division to support, and that somebody would be tough enough to have her back. I thought she might have turned face when she attacked Natalya after their tag match, but maybe she just attacked Natalya because the girl wasn’t a good tag team partner. She did lose the match, after all.

Lilian Garcia celebrated the New Year alongside rival ring announcer Christy Hemme. I bet their parties are a lot better than the parties Howard Finkel & Gary Michael Capetta used to go to.

Santino Marella says that he wants to lose twenty pounds in 2012. This should be easy for him, he already lost over three hundred pounds last year when WWE released Vladimir Kozlov.

Michael McGillicutty won WWE Magazine’s Fantasy Football League while The Miz won the SiriusXM Fantasy Football Championship. OK, there’s McGillicutty’s new gimmick. He can cut promos about fantasy football while Michael Cole derides him for being a nerd…until Miz reminds him that fantasy football is cool. Well, it’s more interesting than anything McGillicutty’s done this year.

-I’ve been wondering what the lovely Shandi Finnessey has been up to since she left Lingo and the show went to crap. I found her on Twitter, and while I’m still not entirely sure what she’s doing now, she’s still looking quite exquisite. Good times.

-It’s been fun to see the websites jumping all over themselves to get the scoop on the mystery person tonight. I heard some of them posted an old Undertaker/Michelle McCool picture, insisting it was from Memphis today. We didn’t do that, did we? That sure would be embarrassing.

-And we start with John Cena. It’s a shame I already have most of this column done, now I’ve got nothing to do.

-The hilarious WWE Creative Twitter account chimes in with “Makes sense that John Cena is booed in Memphis. They can’t stand the same baby face at the top year after year.”

-I’m finding out that I am not a scotch person. Good God this stuff is nasty. I don’t know how Phil O’Dowd drinks a bottle of it every night.

-Cena’s such an emo kid. “Oh, you guys can react however you want. I don’t care. Conformists.”

-Kane promises that Cena will embrace the hate.

-Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes is a damn fine way to start 2012.

-Cody steals a move out of the Goldust playbook!

-Mr. Small Package lives again!

-Bryan is very, very excited as he leaves. Hope he has a plan for that Big Show match, I’m not sure he can get Show in the small package.

-Miz talks to Johnny Ace, leaves, then R-Truth quacks at the camera. I’m sure this made sense to people paying attention.

-Yay old school Rumble clips! I am insanely excited to be seeing one of these things in person.

-It’s time for the Barrett Barrage! Wade has a big smile on his face as he watches the footage of Randy Orton’s injury.

-Santino picked a bad time to make his appearance.

-Wade Borat?

-Indeed, the Barrage continues. Good times.

-Did Brie Bella ever use her mistletoe on anybody? Am I the only one that remembers that match stipulation? Probably.

-How did R-Truth not tell us to be vewy, vewy quiet?

-Holy hell, Miz’s spray on tan looks ridiculous next to the pale Sheamus. He’s like the friggin’ Orange Goblin.

-R-Truth is taking advice from Little Jimmy. Now I’ve seen everything.

-WATER BOTTLE TO THE FACE! Miz done got got.

-Awww, Johnny Ace is hurt because nobody on Twitter noticed his new tie that he got for Christmas. In our defense, he hasn’t been around long enough for us to know his entire tie collection. Probably.

-Dolph Ziggler makes a good point about Tennessee.

-Johnny Ace makes a 6-man tag match that’s totally unpredictable. That guy always keeps me on my toes, I tell you what.

-Scorpion King 3 features Batista & Kimbo Slice. That franchise sure went off the rails after Rock left.

-People complaining about the WWE title match being in the middle of the show shouldn’t tune out when the champ’s in the main event.

-When’s the last time a backbreaker got a replay?

-5 baseball slide leg drops from Punk. Remember when one leg drop would win a title match? Ah, memories.

-Johnny Ace comes down to put the pad back on the turnbuckle. Makes sense. Of course Ziggler taps to the Anaconda Vice while the ref is distracted.

-The ensuing chaos leads to Punk getting counted out after Ace pulls down the rope & Punk goes flying over the top of it.

-Somebody better tell Dolph the title doesn’t change hands on a count out.

-Huh, I thought for sure the It Begins guy would show-oh, here’s a video. Kinda.

-I keep waiting for the Bellas to botch their entrance one of these days. At least Kelly’s is simple enough for her.

-Diva Question: Why hasn’t Beth Phoenix been on TV the last two weeks? Does she still have that big goiter on her face from where Alicia leg dropped her?

-Hey, it’s Twin Magic! Haven’t seen them do that in awhile. Then again, they hadn’t won a match in awhile.

-Punk vs. Ziggler at the Rumble, with Johnny Ace as the ref! Punk’s usage of the word “bitch” gets quite the pop. One of the good things about PG…now the curses get a reaction. On Impact people call each other bitches all the time and nobody cares.

-The shaking camera as we return is a nice touch. It can’t be Earthquake.

-No, it’s Chris Jericho! Wearing a sparkly jacket and in full Y2J mode!

-He’s glad-handing the plebeians! Insanity!

-I dunno, I’m waiting for him to turn on these troglodytes.

-Or to do something.

-Maybe next week! Jericho’s return consisting of him running around like a doofus, pandering to the fans and not actually do anything of value is pretty damn hilarious. I just wonder how long he can keep it up and have it be interesting.

-Unfortunately that’s often a problem with these WWE storylines. It is Jericho, though. So there’s hope.

-I’m holding out for Brodus Clay’s return. Now that’s going to be one hell of a return if it ever actually happens.

-Did Zack Ryder not get the memo that face main eventers are supposed to wear camouflage now?

-Cool, Kane is not participating in the match! I am convinced that Brodus Clay will come down to even the odds for the bad guys.

-Cena & Ryder win. I’m not sure if the Cena connection is actually helping the Woo Woo Woo Kid.

-Kane comes up through the ring! Haven’t seen that one in a good minute.

-Kane smothers Cena. Ryder should keep playing dead, it’s his best possible defense.

-Cena saves Ryder from being pulled into hell, which is under the ring. It’s Memphis, I believe it.

-Interesting episode. We’re getting Punk vs. Ziggler at the Rumble, Johnny Ace was good at being a goof, R-Truth being a crazy good guy is working so far & Jericho’s return will get people talking and hopefully come back next week to see what his agenda is. Bryan vs. Rhodes could have used a little more time, the Divas tag was pretty blah, and nothing about the main event interested me. I guess I would say it was a thumbs in the middle show if I believed in using my thumb for anything other than hitchhiking.

-Johnny Ace promised on Twitter that Brodus Clay would debut next week. HUZZAH!

We don’t have a whole lot of TNA news worth talking about this week. I guess I could write about TNA wrestlers saying silly stuff on Twitter, but everybody says silly stuff on Twitter. Even me! Anyway, I thought we could spend some time on TNA this week by responding to a comment from last week’s column.

Steve Cook, I have a challenge for you. In the last column you said Road Dogg Jesse James had a brutal run in TNA. You always seem to say that about every wrestler who has passed by TNA.

Here is my challenge. I will give you the names of 5 wrestlers who have competed in TNA and I would like for you to give me a “brutal TNA run” or A “good TNA run” after each name plus I would like a reason for each as I respect your opinion.

I have a funny feeling you’re going to say brutal TNA run because you watched 1 bad match from a guy and went with that as the whole TNA career. I still disagree about Booker T’s uninsoired TNA run that you claim but I will leave taht for another column. That my question / challenge for you, Steve Cook.Dan Chupong

We’ll talk about Road Dogg first. The Voodoo Kin Mafia was terrible, 3 Live Kru & the James Gang weren’t a heck of a lot better, and his singles run when he first came in was nothing to write home about. That’s a pretty bad run in my book. There’s no defending VKM, and there just isn’t much I can think of from him in TNA that was good.

Rhino – Started off really strong. He feuded with Raven over the NWA title, then beat Jeff Jarrett for it at Bound For Glory 2005 before losing it at the next set of Impact tapings. I remember his feud with AJ Styles being good, and he & Christian did some good stuff. There was some bad stuff too. I didn’t care for the whole EV 2.0 thing. There was that really bad promo he did where he threw the “ECW title” in the garbage and set it on fire. He was part of the Front Line long enough to give it a bad name. You could go either way on Rhino, parts of his TNA career were fun and parts were bad.

Tomko – It looked like he was going to be a breakout star for a few minutes there in TNA. He was a good part of Christian’s Coalition & Angle’s Alliance, and held the TNA tag team titles for a bit with AJ Styles. Things were going all right, but then he left reportedly due to problems with management. He tried to go back to WWE, that didn’t work, then he tried to go back to TNA and that didn’t work either. Then he popped up in a Chili’s bathroom. Not good. Tomko’s a guy that probably should have done a lot more in wrestling, he had a good monster look and wasn’t terrible in the ring. He did some good stuff in TNA, but he could have done more.

Christian – Had a great TNA run, no question about it. He got a chance to be a main event player and he showed that he had what it took. Good stuff.

Kevin Nash – This one is debatable, but I think Nash’s run in TNA overall was bad. Sure, there was some funny stuff, like the Paparazzi Productions vignettes and when he, Jeff Jarrett & Scott Hall came out in Elvis outfits. But there were multiple times that Nash had to be replaced on PPVs at the last minute because of health problems. Lockdown & Bound For Glory in 2005, both shows where he was booked in the main event, and then Hard Justice 2006 where he was scheduled to take on Chris Sabin. The Main Event Mafia was ok for the most part. The stuff with him and The Band was pretty bad, and he was even part of something where we were supposed to take Eric Young seriously.

Ron “The Truth” Killings – Great run early on, no doubt. The Truth character was a pretty big deal in early TNA. Later on he lost some steam and was mired in the mid-card doing nothing, but overall TNA was a good thing for Killings’ career. There was a big difference between K-Kwik & R-Truth.

In other TNA news, Kurt Angle recently did an interview with The Albany Times Union to hype a TNA event taking place in the city, and the topic of his Olympic attempt and how it will affect his TNA appearances came up. Kurt had the following to say about it:

“If I don’t hit a certain number of (appearances), I’ll make it up the next year. And if I don’t hit enough that year, I’ll work the fourth year for free. They’ve been very good to me and I’m very loyal to them. They want me to go for it. They’re not giving me this time off to sit on my ass.”

Work for free? Damn, Kurt really is off his rocker. I mean, who does that?

D’Angelo Dinero will be appearing in the The Dark Knight Rises, the next installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga. He’ll be one of Bane’s henchmen, not a huge part or anything, but wouldn’t you like to be in a Batman movie? I bet Tony Acero would give his left arm to be in a Batman movie, and probably his right arm too.

AAA is very happy with the talent that has been coming in from TNA. Jeff & Karen Jarrett have been getting good heat, Magnus is very popular with the Mexican ladies, and Rob Terry has a look that nobody in Mexico (or anywhere else) has. They all have good attitudes as well. The relationship between TNA & AAA seems to be working out pretty well for both parties, which is quite the rarity in wrestling. When do promotions actually get along? Almost never.

In case you’ve missed me hyping it the last couple of weeks here and on the podcasts I’ll do it one more time here: OVW Women’s Champion Taeler Hendrix will be appearing this Friday night on the 411 on Wrestling! We’ll talk about her career up to this point and what led her to make her way from the Northeast to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Did you know she was trained by “Brutal” Bob Evans? I didn’t know ol’ Bob actually trained people, so I’m definitely going to ask her about that, and what she’s learning in OVW from the people there. I’m sure she has some good Kenny Bolin stories. The show starts at 10 PM EST & Taeler will be on around 10:30. It’ll be good times! And of course if you miss it it’ll be available later on the BlogTalk website & I think we’re on iTunes too. Maybe.

I must say it’s nice to be able to hype one of these interviews for once. Usually we’re finding out we’re interviewing people at the last minute, which is fine, but stressful for Larry. Not so much for me, I kinda have a knack for going with the flow and living in the moment. Larry pulls his hair out. Different approaches.

Brock Lesnar retired from mixed martial arts after losing to Allistair Overeem at UFC 141 on Friday night, and about five seconds after Brock stopped talking the rumors began. Everybody and their kid brother is speculating on Lesnar’s future, especially when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. Just last week in an interview with the LA Times where he was asked about wrestling, Lesnar said that wrestling would always be an option, and if WWE was willing to do business he’d be open to making more money. So now that Brock has said he’s done in the octagon, everybody assumes he’ll be back in wrestling sooner rather than later.

Contrary to what some people around here would have you believe, Brock Lesnar is a big deal. Just ask UFC, whose most purchased PPV events of all time featured Brock at or near the top of the card. There was a reason Brock rose to the top of WWE quicker than anybody before him. He took to pro wrestling like a fish to water. Brock was one of the top guys in WWE almost immediately upon debuting, as he could deliver classic matches while having the monster look that WWE is all about. He had the legitimacy of being a former NCAA Champion while being able to work the pro style. Yes, his career was brief. Yes, he left WWE to do other things. But there were very few that were better than Brock Lesnar during his time in wrestling. As for his MMA career, that’s probably a topic better left for the MMA Zone, but I would say that it was successful in that it drew lots of money for UFC and everybody associated with it. His career was brief, it was interrupted in the middle while he dealt with diverticulitis and he’ll retire with a 5-3 record. Not exactly GOAT numbers. However, there was nobody in the sport that drew more attention for UFC & mixed martial arts than Brock Lesnar did.

I get people not liking Brock because he turned his back on wrestling, and there’s always going a segment of the crowd that doesn’t like their wrestlers trying to make something of themselves and moving on to other endeavors. I was like that when I was younger, but I grew out of it. Instead of hating people like Rock, Brock and other folks that have tried to parlay their wrestling fame into something else, I wish them great success. Why hate somebody that did some wrestling, produced good stuff, then moved on to something else? If Vince McMahon’s gotten over it (he’s the guy that was going to build his company around Brock and then needed to find somebody else), why can’t wrestling fans? I think if they think about it for a few minutes they would.

So let’s consider Brock’s options here. He can go back to WWE and work some big time matches. I don’t see him working a full-time schedule, as the schedule was the reason he left in the first place. He doesn’t like being on the road all the time, and with the money he’s got put away he doesn’t need to be. He seems open to working with WWE, as he was part of their WWE ’12 video game. It’s the most likely option, though I wouldn’t expect to see him wrestling at this year’s WrestleMania. They’ve already got Rock vs. Cena as the main event, and you’re not bringing Brock back to put him in the mid-card.

I’ve seen some second or third-hand reports that Brock signed some type of WWE Legends contract when he agreed to be in the video game. I’m not 100% sure though, and I think it’d at least be fun to talk about other pro wrestling options. Plus, I need another angle to cover this story from to make it different from the fifty other takes you’ll be reading about Brock this week.

I wonder if Impact Wrestling will mount an effort to get Lesnar under contract. Spike TV would probably love to have Brock on their network even though UFC will be gone, and I bet they’d be willing to cover his contract like they do for TNA’s other big-name talents.
They’d probably be willing to have him not working house shows so he’d just go down to Florida for a couple of TV appearances and a PPV show each month. Kurt Angle and Brock seem to have a good relationship. WWE is a far more likely option than TNA, it seems like Brock has repaired his relationship with Vince & the people there, but if I was running Impact Wrestling I’d at least take a look at Brock’s status and see if I can talk Spike TV into paying for him.

Ring of Honor has Jim Cornette, who was the head of OVW when Brock was there. Shelton Benjamin, Brock’s old college buddy, is there too. I’m sure Cornette would love to have him add some credence to that American Strong Style stuff they’re doing with Davey Richards, but I seriously doubt Sinclair Broadcasting’s going to throw that kind of money ROH’s way. A pipe dream, even though Brock chucking Richards into the fifth row when he tried to work some MMA stuff would be tremendous.

Japan…not an option. His last stint over there didn’t end so good, with him leaving New Japan as champion, people filing lawsuits, stuff like that. Plus, it’s across the Pacific Ocean and Brock likely wouldn’t want to spend that much time on an airplane. Mexico isn’t an option either, even though it’d be so much fun to watch Brock toss around luchadores and do his mariachi dance.

Oh, and there’s also a chance that Brock could go home and we’ll never hear from him again. Frankly, that might be more likely than any of these options, including the WWE one. He’s not an old fella, but would it be that surprising if he went back to his farm and led a quiet, simple life? Absolutely not. So it’s possible we’re making a big deal out of something that will never happen.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

Ring of Honor & Pro Wrestling NOAH are continuing the relationship they had under ROH’s old management. Several of ROH’s younger performers will be heading to the NOAH dojo to live & train while NOAH will be sending some of their regulars over for ROH’s big events. The Bravado Brothers are scheduled to wrestle several NOAH shows next year as part of this arrangement, and that will give them something to do while they’re “fired” from ROH. Hopefully this goes better than the time Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne was sent off to NOAH never to appear in ROH again. I think KENTA literally kicked his head off, which happens from time to time.

Nick Jackson posted a message on Twitter expressing disapproval with the “dirt sheets”.

(OK, we’re off to a bad start already, but bear with me here.)

ROH has been getting some criticism for allowing their wrestlers to smash each other over the head with steel chairs, like Kevin Steen, Steve Corino, the Briscoe Brothers & Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team did in their matches at Final Battle. Apparently many ROH wrestlers have come out to defend the usage of chair shots since Final Battle, saying that they’re safe because they know what they’re doing. Jackson added another twist on the argument, saying that unprotected chair shots are no less dangerous than back bumps, where he says he’s gotten most of his concussions from.

Falling on your back isn’t a whole lot of fun. I’ve never done it in a wrestling ring, but my clumsy ass has slipped on ice several dozens of times, and I’m sure everybody else here knows how it feels to fall on your back. Not good. But given the choice between that or having somebody wrap a chair around my head…well, it seems pretty obvious to me. I dunno, I’m just some mark dirt sheet writer.

Jackson went on to say that if people were really concerned about wrestlers’ health that wrestling would be banned. Hey, don’t give people any ideas. Lord knows The Man’s trying to ban anything else that people enjoy. I do kind of get Nick’s logic, and that’s why I try not to get up too far on my high horse and scream about how wrestlers shouldn’t do this or that or whatever. There are plenty of other people that can handle that while I write ridiculous nonsense. But I still think that chair shots to the head aren’t a great idea, and I don’t know why it took so long for people to figure that out.

We here at 411 would like to send our best wishes to Jackie Fargo, who is currently in ICU with a case of pneumonia. Fargo was a legend in Memphis, Tennessee, in fact he was the top star in that territory before Jerry Lawler became “The King”. He was known for innovating the Fargo Strut and introducing the world to the Fabulous Ones.

Torrie Wilson is reportedly dating New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. The two were photographed recently with Stacy Keibler & George Clooney. You know that Stacy & Torrie’s peers from their era have to be jealous…most of them are stuck dating wrestlers and those two get to be with movie & sporting icons. Well, I think A-Rod counts as a sporting icon. Yankee fans may disagree.

The 411 on Wrestling had its Year-End Spectacular on Friday night, with Larry Csonka and I giving out our Year-End Awards! We also talked some SmackDown, I had something nice to say about Impact, and Nick from DC taught us about the muffler!

Tune in to The Greg DeMarco Show Tuesday night to catch me talking about the top wrestling news stories of the week!

Wes Kirk & I reunited for the year-end edition of the Wrestling Sandwich! It was fun to come back for a one-shot deal and chat about the year that was in the world of wrestling and in the world of the Sandwich, which I’m told is the number one regular weekend column on 411.

Ari Berenstein presents the 2011 Final Column! Here’s Part One & Part Two from the lord of ROH Internet coverage.

Weyer looks ahead to 2012.

Sarnecky looks at the Champions of Honor.

The Triple Threat takes a look at Hunico. Somebody needs to explain why he’s riding a dude on a bicycle.

Reid tells us who will excel and who will fail in 2012.

The Rs featured the return of the man that created them, Larry Csonka! It’s about time.

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

Watch out for this guy in 2012…he roams the landscape like a Tyrannosaurus Rex!


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Steve Cook

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