Posts Tagged ‘Criticism’

Booker T believes Claudio Castagnoli “could have been made” had WWE just given him “a huge push”.

Catagnoli’s time as Cesaro did lead to several banner moments (WrestleMania 37’s win over Seth Rollins and his subsequent Universal Title shot vs. Roman Reigns being latter examples from his final year alone), but he was never viewed as anything more than a utility player behind the scenes.

Or, at least, that’s what Book thinks. The legend is probably spot on.

Former World Champ Booker told fans tuning into his ‘Hall Of Fame‘ podcast that “it really wouldn’t have mattered how we used him [after that] as long as we kept him at a certain tier”. He’s also slightly shocked that Castagnoli was able to show so much patience despite being consistently-overlooked for a solid decade.

Book isn’t certain he could’ve been so patient. Frustration would’ve taken over, and he might’ve left the promotion long before Claudio did. However, the legend is happy to see Castagnoli land in AEW and make a splash at both Forbidden Door and on Wednesday’s Blood & Guts episode of Dynamite.

On Cesaro’s WWE departure, Booker said: “He’s one that I wouldn’t have wanted to lose”.

Very few men have held the TNT title in such high regard as former champ Miro did.

The TNT Championship is a secondary title in AEW that was first won by Cody Rhodes, who  defeated Lance Archer in the finals of the eight-man tournament at Double or Nothing 2020. In an interview with WhatCulture Wrestling, former three-time WWE United States Champion and former TNT Champion Miro revealed who he believes is to blame for the TNT title not being as prestigious as it once was.

“It’s the man that creates the title, not the title that creates the man,” Miro said. “Everything I did with the title was the fruits of my labor, the title didn’t come with all this heavenness. I mean, it came from Darby [Allin], which is a great competitor, but, you know, we’re such different people, such a different style … Unfortunately, the Sammy Guevara thing came in, he landed on my balls, let’s not forget about that.”

“I take a fault of maybe being too good of a champion, because ever since I lost the title, that title has gone to shits, and it’s nothing but to blame Sammy Guevara for that,” Miro said. “So he’s got to bear the cross for that.”

Miro held the TNT Championship for 140 days, which currently sits as the second-longest reign with the title, right behind Allin, who spent 186 days with it. Miro defended the TNT Championship successfully eight times against opponents like Eddie Kingston, Lance Archer, and Dante Martin, before ultimately dropping the title to Sammy Guevara.

Since Guevara won the title, there has not been a reign longer than 84 days, which was the length of Guevara’s initial reign with the title. Guevara lost the belt to Cody Rhodes, who then lost it back to Guevara in a ladder match on the January 26th, 2022 edition of “AEW Dynamite.” That reign for Guevara lasted 42 days and did not go as originally planned, as fans began to take a disliking to the Spanish God once he started an on-screen partnership with his real-life girlfriend (now fiancee following their engagement in June) Tay Conti, making out with her on-screen.

Guevara and Scorpio Sky then engaged in a game of hot potato with the TNT Title, with Guevara losing it to Sky, winning it back, and then losing it again to Sky who has now held the TNT title for 63 days since winning it back in April. Unfortunately, Sky is currently dealing with an injury and has not wrestled nor defended the title since the June 3trd edition of “AEW Rampage.”

FTR are damn proud of their wrestling roots. From homages to the Midnight Express, to recently being managed by their own hero Bret “Hitman” Hart, “wrestler” is a term that Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler wear with pride. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the ROH World Tag Team Champions talked about how WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon turned that term into a slight against them.

Harwood mentioned a night, after wrestling for WWE, where the former-WWE Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Champions found Vince McMahon in his usual spot backstage. “He had his hands in his pockets, and he said to us, ‘Everyone says you’re the next great tag team. But you know what I see? The problem with you guys is you’re just professional wrestlers.’”

McMahon has been famously uncomfortable with the terms like “professional wrestling” or “professional wrestler,” opting instead to call what WWE presents as “Sports Entertainment” that is presented by “Superstars.” Clearly designed to get under the skin of the tag team, and in some ways, he was successful, as Harwood says he was thinking of that moment as he stood in the ring alongside Wheeler and Bret Hart.

“That night in the ring,” Harwood continued talking about having Bret Hart in FTR’s corner recently at Big Time Wrestling. “I thought to myself, ‘Damn right, I’m a professional wrestler. I’m a great professional wrestler, and look at where my life is right now.’”

Harwood and Wheeler wrestled as Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder in WWE respectively. Their tenure in both “WWE NXT” as well as WWE’s main roster was met with critical acclaim from fans and from many inside wrestling. Fed up with their treatment in WWE, the duo requested their release in 2019 but were not granted the release until April of 2020.

The duo debuted in All Elite Wrestling in May of 2020, and have since gone on to win the AEW World Tag Team Championships, and are currently the World Tag Team Champions of both ROH and AAA.

Booker T has been critical of AEW in other areas so it should come as no surprise that he is critical of one of their stars.

AEW star Adam Cole has reportedly been dealing with multiple injuries for quite some time now, dating back to his AEW Title program with ‘Hangman’ Adam Page back in February. Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Booker T spoke on the “Reality of Wrestling Podcast” about Cole’s injuries and criticized his build.

“If Adam Cole has to have surgery and he’s down for six, nine months and he, you know, lose any more muscle, it’s going to be hard on this brother,” Booker T stated. ” You know what I’m saying? Right now, he’s about a buck 60.

“… We gotta get more weight on Adam Cole, you know what I mean? That’s his problem, he’s light, bottom light. We gotta get some muscle on this kid. That’s probably one of the reasons why he’s going out there, getting hurt because it can’t be the schedule at AEW.”

Booker T is billed at six foot three and about 250 pounds whereas Adam Cole is billed at five foot 11 and about 200 pounds. Despite his lack of size, since arriving at AEW, Cole has made quite the name for himself. In March of 2022, less than a year after his debut with the company, Cole faced off against ‘Hangman’ Adam Page in the main event of “Revolution”, AEW’s first Pay-Per-View in the calendar year.

Cole went on at the subsequent AEW Pay-Per-View, “Double or Nothing”, to win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament on the men’s side by defeating Samoa Joe. Cole received a championship and is name engraved on the Owen Cup, as did his girlfriend, Britt Baker, who won on the women’s side. The tournament was created to honor the legacy of Owen Hart, who passed in 1999.

Prior to his AEW run, Cole, along with the rest of his faction known as The Undisputed Era, went head to head with AEW in the ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ as a part of “NXT.” NXT and “AEW: Dynamite” would both premiere on Wednesday nights at 8:00 P.M. E.T., with “NXT” on USA Network and “Dynamite” on TNT. Cole was NXT Champion for a record-setting 396 days.

Before joining the black and gold brand, Cole found success in Ring of Honor, winning their World Championship on three different occasions. Cole’s last, and shortest, reign as ROH World Champion came while the Panama City Playboy was part of the Bullet Club.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Thursday that he was “surprised a little” when former teammate Tyreek Hill aired his frustrations about his time in Kansas City.

Hill said the Chiefs failed to utilize him enough and weren’t willing to negotiate near the $25 million-$26 million annual figure that he was looking for in an extension. The Miami Dolphins wide receiver made the comments on the first episode of his new podcast, “It Needed To Be Said,” which was released last Friday.

“We loved Tyreek here, we’ve always loved him, we still love him,” said Mahomes.

He added: “I’m sure it had something to do with trying to get his podcast some stuff and get it rolling. But definitely, I still love Tyreek, he’s a one-of-a-kind player. But as you know in coach (Andy) Reid’s offense, it takes the whole team. … It’s an offense that’s more than one player, and that includes myself.”

Mahomes said he hasn’t spoken to Hill since the podcast came out, but noted that they ran into each other at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in May.

Hill had a career-high 111 receptions for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021.

However, his workload declined as the season went on. After seeing 11.1 targets per game across the first 11 games, his average dropped to 7.2 targets per game for the final nine matchups (including playoffs).

Hill also asserted that Tua Tagovailoa, his new quarterback with the Dolphins, had better accuracy than Mahomes. The former MVP said he didn’t care about the perception of him as a gunslinger.

“It doesn’t get to me at all,” said Mahomes. “As long as we’re winning football games and we’re putting up points, I think I’m doing my job the right way.”

AEW’s Jake Roberts admitted via his ‘DDP Snake Pit’ podcast that he’s “frustrated” to see on-screen buddy Lance Archer “in the spot that he’s in”.

Former TNT Title challenger Archer hasn’t wrestled a singles match on flagship show Dynamite since losing to Wardlow in just five minutes on the 27 April edition. His last win on the ‘A’ show came way back on 19 January (over Frankie Kazarian).

Roberts called Lance a “phenomenal athlete” who has “an unbelievable look”. That’s why it’s confusing the ex-WWE legend that his client isn’t smashing it on TV weekly. Jake did also relent that “the only thing Lance doesn’t do really well is talk”, but said that’s why Tony Khan brought him into the company.

Things haven’t been going well lately though.

It’s interesting to hear Roberts openly criticise All Elite’s booking this way on his pod. He’s clearly annoyed that Archer hasn’t been featured more prominently on TV, or been picking up many wins. The ‘Murderhawk Monster’ last worked a meaningful one-on-one vs. Hangman Page on the 9 February Dynamite.

He’s been picking up some independent bookings since, and also appearing mainly on Dark.

Toni Storm hasn’t been shy of sharing her thoughts on her WWE exit since leaving the promotion in late 2021 and signing for AEW in March of this year, though this new interview on The Sessions with Renee Paquette might be her most headline-worthy yet.

Storm, who was called up from NXT to SmackDown in July 2021, told Paquette that wrestling on Raw or SmackDown had always been her goal. It didn’t take her long to realise that this wasn’t going to work out, however, with main roster life making her miserable (h/t Cageside Seats):

“My main goal in wrestling was to be on RAW or SmackDown, main roster WWE TV. Then I got there and figured it out pretty soon, I realized this is just not going to work out. Also, I’m 26. — I want to have a really good time at this job. I want to have a really good career and I want to enjoy part of it. I just wasn’t enjoying it for so long and I abruptly quit. I woke up that morning having no idea that I was going to quit by that night. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. A lot of people don’t enjoy it at all. For some people it just works out and for others — it just makes them miserable. I guess I just fell into that category. I guess it just wasn’t for me at that point.”

Continuing, Toni spoke on WWE’s swooping rounds of roster cuts, which have become a habit since the COVID-19 pandemic’s March 2020 inception.

“Let’s face it. They just fire people left, right, and center out of the blue. I could be fired next week and then it’s like, ‘What’s the point?’ It just got very pointless to be honest. It’s been hard to convey that, especially to fans, especially to people that just aren’t in this business, and will never understand. I must sound ridiculous to those people, but it’s the reality of what it’s actually like.”

The AEW newcomer then stressed that she wasn’t upset with how she was booked in WWE, nor was she angry with the company in general:

“I’m not mad about the booking. I certainly don’t want to bury it. I don’t want to say bad things about the place. I think I had a great time there for the most part… I’m not mad. I’m not angry at WWE. I don’t have anything against them. I’m sure they got bigger fish to fry than me. You know what I mean? Like, why do they care? People get let go from that place constantly. People move around constantly. It doesn’t matter if I’m there, but what matters is I’m not having a very good time, and why shouldn’t I be having a good time?”

But after what she called a long, complicated ordeal, Storm no longer wanted to work for a promotion that “didn’t give a shit.” She realised, in the end, that even though WWE’s main roster used to be her goal, she loves wrestling itself more than any specific company:

“It was a complicated ordeal. I had built up frustrations with the place for a very long time, like a lot of people do. They don’t give a shit, so why should I? This isn’t going to work. I know what’s going to happen here. I’m just going to be sent back to catering again. I’m not going to succeed here, I can just see it. I know they see me as I’m such a kid and I’m such a newbie and this that and the other, but I like to think that I’ve been around wrestling long enough to know — I just know what’s right and what’s wrong for me and what I like and what I don’t like and I just didn’t like it in the end. I didn’t feel that appreciated. And I just felt like they, at times, didn’t have very much respect for me. I feel like over time they just crushed my love for wrestling, it just wasn’t even wrestling anymore. You’re not even allowed to say wrestling. I thought my whole purpose in life was to go to WWE but then over time I realized it’s just pro wrestling that I love, it’s not a company that I love.”

Storm was granted her WWE release soon after requesting it in December 2021. “Burnout” was reported as the reason behind the move, which Toni has now elaborated on.

The war of words between Tony Khan and Eric Bischoff may never stop.

AEW boss Khan responded to Bisch’s comments about CM Punk being “the biggest financial flop in the history of wrestling” during the post-Double Or Nothing 2022 media scrum. Rather predictably, Tony had a fiery response of his own.

Khan called Eric’s words “the most bullshit opinion I’ve ever heard”. He then quickly followed that up by adding, “That’s fucking bullshit”.

Explaining, Tony said that Bischoff’s assessment was wrong because “no one wrestler has ever come in and made a bigger plus delta financial difference in the history of [his] company” than Punk. The AEW chief then pointed to big ratings for Punk’s debut on Rampage and the metrics for every pay-per-view he has appeared on to date.

According to Khan, Punk has broken All Elite pay-per-view number records consecutively since his first showing at All Out last September.

Bischoff has been critical of Punk since the ex-WWE man debuted in AEW – Eric has questioned just how valuable Punk is to All Elite’s bottom line. Tony Khan says he’s very valuable, and didn’t hold back when replying to Bisch’s comments.

Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem believes Draymond Green crossed a line recently when he predicted the Golden State Warriors would face the Boston Celtics in the Finals.

“Draymond broke the code,” Haslem told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes following the Heat’s 111-103 Game 6 victory Friday. “You ain’t supposed to say some shit like that. That’s disrespectful. He knows better than that.”

Green’s remarks came during Thursday’s “Inside the NBA” broadcast. The former Defensive Player of the Year didn’t initially provide a team when asked who he’d like to square off against in the championship series. However, Green budged when co-host Shaquille O’Neal pressed him for a concrete answer.

“He let Shaq peer-pressure him into saying some shit he ain’t got no business saying,” Haslem said. “I didn’t sleep much after he said that. That was some bullshit.”

The Heat prevailed on the road in the thrilling Game 6 showdown behind Jimmy Butler‘s massive 47-point effort. Before leaving the court, Haslem told the ESPN broadcast crew to tell Green “thank you for the inspiration.”

Miami can set up a Finals date against Golden State with a victory at home Sunday. Boston has won the past two meetings in South Beach.

New Japan Pro Wrestling star Will Ospreay believes that what WWE performers do for a living is more akin to acting than professional wrestling.

The outspoken former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion made these comments during a recent appearance on Wresthings, stressing that while he wasn’t trying to take shots at WWE talent, there’s a big difference between their jobs and his own (h/t SEScoops):

“You guys aren’t wrestlers, you’re actors and you just do wrestling and I don’t think that’s a dig. You guys make way more money than me like, good on you, but I just feel like when I say proudly, ‘That’s a wrestler. I am a wrestler, I am not an actor.'”

Continuing, Ospreay stated that he knows WWE’s stars are capable of getting it done between the ropes – it’s the company that prevents them from showing this:

“But I know you guys can wrestle, you’re just not really allowed to show it, I guess. But other than you want to make a lot of money and retire, that’s what WWE is kind of for these days.”

Ospreay, 29, is currently signed to NJPW, his home of six years. The past couple of those have seen him rise to prominence as one of the company’s top heels, peaking with the formation of his United Empire stable and his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship triumph last year.