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News From Cook’s Corner 04.28.10

April 28, 2010 | Posted by Steve Cook

Hi, hello and welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and I’m wishing I was a first baseman instead of a wrestling news writer. $25 million dollars a year for the services of Ryan Howard? Really? People keep telling me we’re in a recession and the economy’s in the toilet, but there’s no way we can be because if we were I seriously doubt that the American people would allow money to be wasted in such a way.

I used to think college basketball coaches got way too much money, but now I’m just not sure.

Everybody has already discussed the Draft that took place on Monday night. This leaves me the supplemental Draft that took place on Tuesday afternoon, and let me tell you something, it was quite the doozy! By “doozy” I mean it was ridiculously long and drawn out with no results that will set the world on fire. Poor Larry Csonka started drinking around 1:00, and I don’t know him to be a depressed individual. But don’t worry, I’ll break that down with the same depth and precision that was given to the regular draft on Monday! We’ve also got the latest wrestling news and my thoughts about the ROH show I went to on Friday night.

But before we begin, a public service announcement:

And your TNA Tag Team Champions are Matt Morgan. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

With the recent reports of Christy Hemme making a lot more than most TNA Knockouts because of her previous affiliation with WWE, it would seem that TNA would be interested in picking up some of the recently endeavored WWE Divas. You can’t blame them, companies are always looking for attractive female talent.

(Speaking of which, 411Mania is still hiring. Some spots are filled, but we’ve still got plenty of openings, especially for attractive female talent. Join the Revolution!)

Yeah, this was a pretty lame excuse for using a Christy picture. Let’s get on with the news!

You know, one has to wonder if we make too much out of the WWE Draft. Chris Jericho had feelings of “whatever” towards it, as when WWE.com asked him about going to Raw he said “I’ve spent most of the year on Smackdown, Raw and NXT, so what’s the difference?” The man has a valid point.

But not every wrestler has the cache of a Chris Jericho. Many of them are lucky to appear on either Raw or Smackdown, or even Superstars. So they await the results of the Draft and then the Supplemental Draft with bated breath, hoping that whatever happens will benefit their careers and give them better matches, better storylines and more money. Who had to wait until Tuesday to discover their future plans? Let’s find out…

Great Khali & Runjin Singh: Smackdown to Raw – Wasn’t Khali supposed to be heading back to India so he can rest up and rededicate himself to becoming World Champion? I guess he got back there and decided it was better in America. The climate on Raw lends itself more to Comedy Khali, with his Khali Kiss Kam and interacting with various Raw guest hosts.

While we’re on that topic, am I the only one who didn’t miss having a guest host on Monday? Probably not.

Chavo Guerrero: Raw to Smackdown – Did anybody want or need a change of scenery more than Chavo? He’s been doing some big talk on the tweeting machine over the past few months about how he’s so talented and doesn’t get the chance to show what he’s got. Well Chavo, now you’re on the brand where they wrestle. Let’s see what you’ve got, FELLA!

Cody Rhodes: Raw to Smackdown – This one was spoiled by advertising. I haven’t seen much in Young Cody thus far in his career, but maybe he’ll get the chance to break out on Smackdown. I do think he needs to start wearing some pads or his knees will be in worse shape than Jenna James-what? I can’t say that, not even if it’s in reference to her previous career! That’d just be mean.

Natalya: Smackdown to Raw – Will the daughter of the Anvil get a chance to try and prop up the Divas division? Considering Raw’s Diva face roster consists of Eve, Gail Kim & the Bellas, I don’t see why not. Then again, their heel roster consists of Maryse & Jillian Hall. So when you think about it there’s really not much going on there…but what the heck else is she going to do? Probably just stand in the Hart Dynasty’s corner.

Chris Masters: Raw to Smackdown – After an entertaining stint of pec dancing, the Masterpiece kind of disappeared recently. I’m not really sure what they have in mind for him, but the kid has some potential. He was getting over as a face until his disappearance.

Ezekiel Jackson: Smackdown to Raw – Big Zeke is currently on the shelf with a torn quadriceps and won’t be a factor for a few months. I expect a pretty decent push when he comes back, he’s got the tools to succeed so we’ll see what happens.

Goldust: Smackdown to Raw – Much like fellow brothers Edge & Christian, Goldust & Cody are destined to be on different shows. It’s just as well, much like Khali I think Goldust’s knack for comedy will be better utilized on the Raw brand. Did he ever actually appear on Smackdown or was he Superstars-exclusive? As I said in 411’s Supplemental Draft coverage, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets another shot at Sheamus…a man that the Gilded One has beaten in the past.

Hornswoggle: Raw to Smackdown – Poor Chavo Guerrero. Just when he thought he might get a break from the crazyass midget, this happens. I for one can not wait for the hot feud between Dolph Ziggler & Finlay over the poor treatment of Finlay’s son at the Draft. Woah nellie.

Rosa Mendes: Raw to Smackdown – I think they sent Rosa & Kelly Kelly over to Smackdown purely to spite Jerry Lawler. With Rosa gone, what will he talk about during Zack Ryder’s matches? Speaking of Zack, what does he do with Rosa gone? Does he find a new squeeze? And what exactly will Rosa do on Smackdown? Wrestling is not her specialty. Lots of questions here.

Tyson Kidd & DH Smith: Smackdown to Raw – This makes sense because Bret Hart isn’t allowed to leave the old folks’ home on Tuesdays. Kidd & Smith will be bouncing back and forth between shows until they lose the tag titles, but Raw seems like the better regular home for them. I know that Bret has a lot to do with this, but they seem pretty popular with the live crowds and their performances so far have been solid.

MVP: Raw to Smackdown – MVP was a lot better on Smackdown than he was on Raw. Perhaps a return home is just what he needs.

Also of note during the Supplemental Draft is that Curt Hawkins’ profile was removed from WWE.com’s Smackdown roster page. I’m guessing one of the higher-ups finally looked at that page for the first time in months and asked “What the heck is he doing on there?” Tyler Reks & Vance Archer are currently listed on the Smackdown roster page, and Byron Sexton, Tony Atlas & Abraham Washington have been removed. None of these people have done much on TV in quite awhile, and it remains to be seen if Reks & Archer reappear or if they end up like Mr. Hawkins.

The firings that took place not long after last week’s column was posted have been covered by pretty much everybody else and I don’t have much else to add to them. I do feel the need to call out my Tuesday news reporting colleague Jeffrey Small on something ridiculous he said in his column about the firings…

“Katie Lea Burchill – Don’t care.”

Hey, Keyshawn Johnson, what do you have to say about that?


I know Jeff Small has about as much taste in women as James Thomlison has in football teams, but he must have taken that 420 thing a little too seriously last week. Of course, I am somewhat biased because I saw Katie compete in OVW back in the day and am still waiting for Kenny Bolin to hook me up with her. Since Mr. Bolin always lives up to his promises I’m sure that day will come.

Csonka said in his column that Katie got some heat because she didn’t pay for a couple of dinners. Haven’t you ever forgotten your wallet and had to rely on other people to pick up the check? This happens to me all the time so I don’t see what the big deal is. Besides, what kind of backwards thinking culture lets the woman pay for food anyway?

Anywho, Katie is a great talent that never got a fair shake in WWE. A place like TNA, SHIMMER or the NWF would be a great place for Katie to showcase her talents in front of an audience that would be more appreciative of her.

I can think of a few places she’d be better appreciated…what about it?

“The Mickie James Army” is claiming responsibility for chants about the former WWE Diva on Monday’s Raw telecast. Honestly, I didn’t notice anything but some people are saying that the audio was turned down on the crowd due to the chants. OK then. I didn’t think it was especially smart of WWE to fire Ms. James right before they went to her hometown, but rumor has it that she pretty much made the decision for them by continually being late to the bus during Smackdown’s trip through Europe. That was the final straw, and there were all sorts of other fun things that may or may not be dirt sheet rumors. This combined with her wanting to pursue other endeavors made me completely unsurprised when she was let go.

She seems ok with it, so why the “Mickie James Army” is trying to raise a ruckus I’m not really sure. Apparently their original plan was to start a riot, but luckily that didn’t happen.

Somebody reported that Yoshi Tatsu blogged about the departure of Funaki and said it was due to a neck injury suffered by Smackdown’s former number one announcer. Sounds well and good, except I can’t find this alleged blog that Tatsu did. Did any of you guys actually see this? In any event, Funaki’s health status seemingly isn’t preventing him from wrestling with Zero-One, which he will be doing very soon. Sure, I guess he could be pulling a Kurt Angle and wrestling with a broken freaking neck, but somehow I doubt it.

Rumor has it that at least one of the dismissals was due to a Wellness violation. Considering that Jimmy Wang Yang tweeted “3 strike and your out i hear florida is a nice place to visit”, I think we can put two and two together on that one. It’s never the people you expect, is it?

WWE is advertising Jack Swagger vs. Big Show as a dark match main event for the Smackdown taping shows in May. I kind of figured they’d go down that route with Show being picked by Smackdown after he knocked out Miz…his hugging Teddy Long backstage made it slightly more obvious. I think this should be a good thing for Swagger, as Big Show’s always a very credible challenger and people always look better in the eyes of the fans after having beat him. If he can throw Show around a bit that’ll really impress some people.

People are saying that Smackdown got smacked around in the draft, and I will say that Edge & Jericho are big losses for the show. I expected Edge to leave but figured on Jericho staying put. I’m not really worried about this because Smackdown always gets their people taken away in the draft and their writers almost always turn things around and make it the most enjoyable wrestling show produced by WWE. I don’t expect this time to be different.

Raw needs the bigger stars because of the competition with Monday Night Football, Dancing with the Stars, 24 and other highly rated shows on Mondays. Smackdown doesn’t face nearly that kind of competition on Fridays…their main competition is with the random chick you want to hook up with. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it isn’t.

WWE Hall of Famer Bob Uecker will be undergoing heart surgery later this week. I know the Brewers aren’t quite living up to expectations yet, but you’d think he of all people would have some patience. Get well, Ueck!

Expect a stable with Ted DiBiase, Brett DiBiase & Joe Hennig to make its debut within the next couple of weeks. This just proves that no one man can replace Virgil.

WWE Films will be making a movie based on the life of Gorgeous George. It’ll be pretty interesting to see who plays the role of George…is George Steele still under contract?

Triple H will be starring in yet another WWE Films production which will begin filming in June. The Chaperone will be about an ex-con chaperoning his daughter’s field trip. Should be a winner. Batista should be out of the company by then, so maybe he can find an equally fantastic film to be in.

And in case you were wondering, I was not the man that was stalking Maryse over the weekend. I was far too busy going to wrestling shows, watching wrestling DVDs and drinking heavily to make the trip to Baltimore. Besides, we all know she’d go for me in a heartbeat. Oh yeahhhhhhh.

The news for Raw & Impact this week was not good by any stretch of the imagination. Impact’s taped show featuring Ric Flair taking on Abyss in the main event got a .5 rating. Remember when people wanted to see Ric Flair matches? Yeah, those were the days. I don’t know about you guys, but there aren’t many people I want to see in the ring less than Flair. The phrase “Leave the memories alone” comes to mind.

One also has to call into question the popularity of Abyss. Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff love the Monster and made him their pet project, but the early returns aren’t looking very good. Abyss is in the TNA Top 10 voting, and as of the time I posted this column he was dead last. I don’t think the whole “Abyss collects WWE Hall of Fame Rings” thing is really working, though Manu Bumb and myself came up with some pretty funny ideas for it on Tuesday afternoon. I’d publish them but I’d be afraid that somebody would read them and think they were good ideas.

Not good news for TNA, but this doesn’t really come as a surprise to anybody without a vendetta against WWE. On the bright side for them, they have a replay on Thursday and people like me who were paying far more attention to Raw will have it on. I don’t know how much that’ll add up to, but it might beat a .5.

Raw got a 3.1 for the three hour block and a 3.3 for their traditional 9-11 timeslot. The numbers were up from last week’s effort, but probably not as high as people were hoping for. The first hour pretty much drug the show’s ratings down, as it got a 2.6 compared to 3.27 & 3.34 for the second and third hours. Isn’t it weird that no matter how much WWE hypes that they’re doing a three hour show, a lot of people still tune in at 9:00? Habits are hard to break, I suppose.

I thought Raw had a pretty darn good show on Monday night. The triple threat main event was good, it was fun to see CM Punk vs. Evan Bourne, and I was happy to see Swagger get his win back over Morrison.

The Hart Dynasty title win was a great moment and a great way to start the show. Before anybody tries to compare that title change to the RVD title change on the previous Impact, let me point out that there’s a pretty big difference between putting tag team titles on guys you expect to be draws someday and putting your world title on a guy who’s supposed to be one of your top draws.

Honestly though, I just might junk this section of the column. When four million more people are watching one show than the other, there is no competition to speak of. TNA will probably do better next week, but they’ve got a long way to go to consider themselves competition to WWE.

So TNA hired a consulting firm to analyze their ratings data (figures that this would come first because they’re absolutely obsessed with their TV ratings) and survey fans to figure out what they think about TNA and pro wrestling in general. It turns out that one of the results that caught TNA management’s eye is that 18-34 year old males still miss the original ECW. It’s a safe bet that the TNA title was put on RVD at least partially because of this survey. They’ve reacted to this news by deciding they should form a new stable with all of the old guys we remember from ECW. Guys like TNA World Champion Rob Van Dam, Team 3D, Raven, Mick Foley, Stevie Richards, Taz and Tommy Dreamer. Who would the leader be?

Paul Heyman.

That squeal you just heard was Geoff Eubanks. He seems like the kind of guy who would squeal.

I’ve heard a lot of rumors about Heyman, Jim Ross & TNA, but I don’t feel comfortable reporting anything until it actually happens. So the best thing for you to do in this case is stay tuned. I know some people that are hoping for big things to develop here.

Whether TNA brings back some Extreme Team or something, they will be running a show in the old ECW Arena in September. Is there a wrestling promotion other than WWE that doesn’t run that arena? ROH does their TV tapings there, CHIKARA & CZW have regular shows there, and I’m sure there are fifty other local promotions running the joint. The sad thing is that the place sounds so dead on the ROH TV show.

Hey, speaking of ROH shows…

Ring of Honor returned to Dayton, Ohio last Friday night. I’ve been to every show ROH has had there since February 2005, and this one was a pretty good one. Here’s a brief (relatively speaking) overview of the show and my thoughts about it…

Jim Cornette was in a good mood and didn‘t take up too much time: I was ok with Cornette’s previous run in ROH except for one little problem…his talking took time away from the action. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to spend 15 minutes ranting and raving on ROH shows back in 2006, so his speech here setting up the night’s events and lasting under five minutes was appreciated. I was a little worried he’d go off-topic and start blabbering about Eric Bischoff & Vince Russo, but he was smart enough to stay on point, with a line thrown in at the beginning about how he’d been staying out of trouble lately. I think this crowd was more interested in seeing wrestling than seeing Cornette shoot on people, so it was all good. Besides, if they wanted to hear that they could have gone to his table before the show and at intermission.

Metal Master > Chad Collyer: Some guys really have difficulty connecting with a crowd. Often, the best thing to do with these guys is to give them a gimmick that can help make it easier for them. A mask is a great thing for somebody that has problems showing charisma. You can put that mask on and then become somebody else. Chad Collyer was a skilled wrestler, but never got over with the ROH fans during his first run with the company. He came up with the Metal Master gimmick, which kind of looks like Ultimo Dragon.

OK, it looks a lot like Ultimo Dragon. But it just might be the thing Collyer needs to connect with the fans. Kids love wrestlers with masks, and perhaps the mask makes it easier for Collyer to show some personality. He had a pretty decent opening match with Sami Callihan and looks like he’s stepped his game up since the last time I saw him. We’ll see what the future holds for the Master of Metal.

Erick Stevens gets his skull crushed: The match pitting Stevens & Shawn Daivari against Necro Butcher & Rasche Brown was a typical brawl…nothing great, but not bad either. Necro took a power bomb on two chairs that was kinda sick. The highlight from where I sat, or stood, was Stevens getting a pretty nasty welt on his head after Brown threw a chair at him while he was lying on the floor. Stevens didn’t seem to appreciate it, and gave Brown a nice receipt with a chair to the shoulder. I’m not sure how Stevens feels about being the Embassy’ monster when he’s smaller than Daivari. Shawn’s looking pretty Well these days, if you know what I mean.

Chris Hero uses 15 finishes to beat Petey Williams: Petey put in a much better performance here than I was expecting, to be honest. I’m not as high on Maple Leaf Muscle as some around here, but he and Hero ended up having really good chemistry. It’s funny to me how Chris Hero has completely changed his style since I started watching his matches. I wonder what the wrestlers he trained back in the day think of his style now.

Wolves & DCFC kill each other for our entertainment: The match pitting the American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) against the Dark City Fight Club (Jon Davis & Kory Chavis) was a match that I had pretty high expectations for. Both teams are known for beating the crap out of their opponents in impressive fashion, the DCFC with their power and the Wolves with their tenacity & dickishness. They brought everything they had with them on this evening and it was tremendous. ROH fans will want to buy this show on DVD to see this match, and to see one other match that I’ll be getting to later. If you like hard-hitting tag team wrestling with four guys kicking ass and taking names later, this is the match for you.

I was next to a rabid fan of the Wolves that was talking crap about the DCFC and said that he would walk out if the Wolves lost. I’m sure he’s a nice fella when not spouting Internet talking points, but one never minds a little extra space at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Later in the evening he was carping about Tyler Black and sounding off other talking points he read on the message boards. My friend got to sit next to some guys who had never been at a wrestling show before and were going crazy for everything. Those are the best kinds of fans. On the bright side for me, the person sitting in front of me was smaller and easier to see over.

Aries/Titus vs. House of Truth was the complete opposite of the match that preceded it: The less said about this match, the better. To paraphrase something I read on the ROH message board, it was 10 minutes of comedy with 10 minutes of a crappy match. I enjoyed the sleaziness of everybody involved (it really says something when Truth Martini’s sleaziness goes relatively unnoticed), but other than that there was nothing of value.

Strong vs. Generico = Awesomeness: There are a lot of things that Roderick Strong can’t do. He can’t be over six feet tall, he can’t cut a promo and both of these factors will likely keep him from ever getting a sniff from WWE. What he can do (and wouldn’t be allowed to do in WWE anyway), is chop the holy hell out of people and give them funky backbreakers. These two factors will make me enjoy just about any Roderick Strong match that I watch in person. The guy’s top notch in my book.

El Generico is another one of those guys that won’t be on WWE’s shortlist because of his look, but his gimmick is really fun and he’s one of my favorite baby face wrestlers currently working in North America. His selling is completely off the charts, very reminiscent of Ricky Steamboat in my eyes, and when you combine that with Strong’s offense it makes for a thing of beauty. The great thing about Generico is that no matter how much he gets beaten up, you believe it when he makes his comeback and think that he’s going to win the day. That didn’t happen here, but what we did get was a classic wrestling match that I’ll rank against any ROH match I’ve seen in Dayton, Ohio.

The Briscoes use Kevin Steen to break my chair: The Briscoe Brothers’ match with Kevin Steen & Steve Corino won’t make any best-of lists for anybody involved, but it was a fun time with people brawling through the crowd like maniacs. I used to hate these spots because I could never see what was going on, but at the last couple of shows I’ve had the action end up taking out my row…which is fun as long as you watch out and don’t get hit by something or someone. The highlight for me was Steen getting bealed by Jay & Mark onto some chairs, including mine. Jim Ross and I just don’t know how you fake that.

Black & King had no chance in hell: Kenny King is not ready to be a championship contender in a wrestling promotion that promotes in more than one region of the country. Some fans are very high on him, but honestly I don’t see it. The only thing I can remember him doing in this match is flipping around a lot and posing for the TV camera. On the bright side, he’d fit right in with TNA’s X Division. Tyler Black isn’t exactly the strongest champion that ROH has ever had…he’s decent in the ring but has no speaking ability worth speaking of and doesn’t have the presence of Samoa Joe, Low Ki, Takeshi Morishima or Bryan Danielson. (And with how Bryan’s doing on NXT, that tells you something) He kind of looks like CM Punk, but less so with every day that Punk keeps growing his hair out.

Sometimes there are main events that just shouldn’t be main events, and this was one of those. The fans were never really into it, save a few vocal fans trying to get behind Kenny King. If I had to guess, they were probably the same people that rooted for Black when he wrestled Danielson back in 2008. They were sitting in the same section of the building, anyway. I think Black has potential, but he needed a more credible opponent here. Nobody thought the title was changing hands, and they never really did anything that made it seem like it would happen. We knew Strong probably wouldn’t beat Jerry Lynn last year, but he still made us believe that it could happen. I never had that feeling with Kenny King & Tyler Black.

All of that aside, it was still a pretty darn good show and I had a great time. Sadly for some people around these parts, ROH Owner Cary Silken was nowhere to be seen for the first time that I can remember at a Dayton show. We did see plenty of good wrestlers though, so it’s all good in the hood.

Superstars really didn’t have a chance with me this week after I’d watched so much other wrestling. There were a couple good matches, but the lack of importance is really starting to task me.

Wrestler of the Week seems to task the readers. I don’t know why the selections of the staff of who they thought had the best week have so much of an impact on the lives of the readership, but I find it pretty funny. It’s not like TNA gives Rob Van Dam a bonus for being 411’s Wrestler of the Week.

Hubbard ranks the top ten managers of all time. Arnold Skaaland has no business on a list of this nature. I had to watch that guy in a match where he teamed with Jimmy Snuka against Lou Albano & Don Muraco…it easily makes the list of the worst matches I’ve ever seen. Absolutely dreadful. That, combined with his uselessness at ringside, makes him a candidate for a top 100 managers list.

My CHIKARA predictions went horribly, but my WWE predictions went pretty well. Both of these went better than my Fantasy NASCAR team‘s weekend in Talladega. All four of my drivers were in the top 15 before the overdrive nonsense began. They did not end there. This has not been a banner year.

Extreme Rules got some Instant Access. I enjoyed the contrast between Uphoff & Lansdell’s takes…maybe there’s a tandem column to be had there? It’d certainly have more disagreements than the Lansdell/Byers pairing.

Csonka thinks I should plug him even when everybody already reads his stuff. He’s the boss so I do what I’m told.

Be sure to come back on Friday when I appear in the Buy or Sell column! Kevin Ford and myself will be talking about Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, EVOLVE and anything else that comes up in the world of indy wrestling. It should be a hoot!

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. The heightist JP Prag is in tomorrow, and I’ll be back next week with more News From Cook’s Corner! Until then…


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