Category Archives: Professional Wrestling

My Picks: RSPW Best In Wrestling Legacy Awards 2013

Author’s Note:  The RSPW Awards were the Internet’s Oldest Awards running for 20 years  commemorating the Best and Worse in Professional Wrestling each year.  Sadly the awards were retired after the 2009 competition year.  Each year I would post my picks as submitted on the official RSPW Awards Ballot on my blogs.  You can check out my picks for 2008 here , 2009 here and 2010 here and 2011 here.  For postings from earlier years you’ll need to dig through my old MySpace or Blogger blogs (too lazy to hunt and link it).  Not one to let traditions die (and because I just NEED to share my opinion) here are my picks for the Best and Worse of Wrestling in 2013 as based on the old RSPW ballot.
—-
Best Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the athlete who was the best overall wrestler of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability,  interviews, charisma, value to his/her promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  AJ Styles
3rd:  John Cena

2013 was hands down the Year of the Beard, Daniel Bryan.  WWE rode his wave and featured him in the main event slot taking on the Shield, Cena, Orton and the Wyatts with D.B. having 5 star matches all around.  WWE whiffed on REALLY putting the title on him and making him the “Face of the WWE” but he easily best on the best performances all year.

AJ Styles had the best year in TNA (with Magnus a close second).  Again — epic matches up and down the card.  Promotion changing promos and a solid program catapulted the Phenomenal One back to the top of the card.
John Cena rounds out third.  The franchise of the WWE needs no explanation rounding out great matches and programs with all comers throughout the year

Best Tag Team

Award Description:
To be given to the tag team who were the best overall team of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability, interviews, charisma, hot team moves, value to their promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  The Usos
2nd:  The Shield
3rd:   The Wyatts

The Usos were the best pure tag team in 2013 hands down.  The had solid matches up and down the card with everyone.  The WWE basically pushed them to be the counterpoint to the Shield but the twins brought it to the next level.

By right, the Shield should be #1 but I’m biased so sue me.  Hands down the Shield dominated the promotion leaving EVERYONE in a crumpled mess in their wake.

The Wyatts debuted to big fanfare and got a huge consistent push steamrolling everyone.

Best Heel

Award Description:
To be given to the person who was the best villain this past year. This person should bring out the fans’ wrath. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in the past year.

1st:  Bully Ray
2nd:  Randy Orton
3rd:  Bobby Roode

Bully Ray ran roughshod over TNA as it’s featured heel for the past two years.  Killer promos and awesome matches plus the perfect combination of uber villain and cowardly heel leader of Aces and Eights brings him to #1.

Orton finally got out of the dog house and retook his spot as the top heel in the WWE and the “Face of the WWE.”  No one does it better as a heel than the Viper.

Bobby Roode rounds out #3.  He spent half the year buried but with the BFG series reclaimed his spot as a featured heel through his leadership of the Gentlemen’s Club and his feud with Kurt Angle.

Best Babyface

Award Description:
To be given to the person who best portrayed the hero this past year. This person should get lots of fan support. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was inthe past year.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  John Cena
3rd:  CM Punk

Daniel Bryan wins hands down.  He was the epitome of the underdog with heart who fought and beat both the system and all the naysayers out there.

Cena and Punk (even though he worked heel half the year) round out 2 and 3 for me.

Best Worker

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler with, on average, the best workrate. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall.  In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st: Daniel Bryan
2nd: CM Punk
3rd:  AJ Styles

D.B., Punk and Styles.  No contest here.  Hence why they all stood at the top of their respective promotions.

Best Flyer

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who did the most and the best high-flying maneuvers throughout the year. In 1994, this award was split into two:  North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st: AJ Styles
2nd: The Usos
3rd: Kofi Kingston

Styles was the most high profile flyer all year tearing up the cards.  Usos take second also due to prominent high profile spots all over the card each week.  Kofi, though out for a while, takes the 3rd spot.

Best Technical Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who has the most technical ability. The number of holds and moves you see this person do and the crispness with which the moves are executed makes his/her matches a pleasure to watch. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  AJ Styles
3rd:  CM Punk

D.B. takes the top spot again as he was basically the star of the promotion for 2013 for the WWE.

Styles takes similar honors for TNA with the added bonus of having actually changed up his game incorporating the ground-based submission work with the leg vine submission.

Punk rounds it out.

Best Brawler

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who brawled his/her way through the year most convincingly. This award would go to Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish if he were still around. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st:  Ryback
2nd:  Big E Langston
3rd:  Big Show

Ryback epitomized the brawler with his near yearlong Bully gimmick following Wrestlemania.

Big E. Langston came on strong this year also rocking the card.  Big Show rounds things out.

Most Favourite Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler you like the most, regardless of the reason.

1st:  AJ Styles
2nd:  Daniel Bryan
3rd:  CM Punk

Styles was my favorite for 2013.  I loved the transformation of his character from Phenomenal to “No One” and back to the hybrid form.

D.B. and Punk are my “Best in the World!” wrestlers.

Most Improved Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who most improved himself/herself in all facets of the sport in the past year.

1st:  AJ Styles

There’s only one name that comes to mind and that’s AJ Styles.  AJ’s been criticized for years for not having much of a personality but the guy was able to transform into a solid lone wolf character and cut promos far beyond what he showed himself capable of in the past.  He also changed up his in-ring style incorporating a more ground-based game to complement his famous high-flying phenomenal style.

Most Overrated Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who really has little talent, but has a large place in the spotlight nonetheless. This is a measure of how undeserved a wrestler’s push is.

1st:  N/A

Best Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who had the best character gimmick in the past year.

1st:  “No One” AJ Styles
2nd:  Daniel Bryan, Bearded Bad Ass
3rd:  Bad Influence, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian

For me the “No One” character of AJ Styles truly resonated.  Screwed over by everyone AJ followed his own path on his own, kicked ass and took names and won belts.  What better story than that?

Daniel Bryan’s 2013 gimmick was that of the underdog who fought back against everyone who told him he couldn’t and told them to fuck off.  What better story than that?

Bad Influence was the highlight of Impact almost each and every week with comedy gold almost each and every time out.

Best Wrestling Move

Award Description:
To be given to the move that is just the damn best thing you’ve seen this past year. This should probably be a “finishing” move or something really spectacular.

1st: AJ Styles’ “Rolling Leg Lock”

AJ tapped almost everyone in TNA out with the rolling leg lock submission.  Way to kick ass and take names.

Best Feud

Award Description:
To be given to the feud that gave us the most heated and best wrestling match(es) of the year. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1996, due to lack of participation on the non-NA side, it was recombined.

1st:  AJ Styles vs. Dixie Carter and the World
2nd:  Daniel Bryan vs. The Regime
3rd:  The Shield vs. The WWE

AJ’s year long feud with Dixie and the world was my personal highlight of TNA.  It was the perfect culmination of all his frustrations with his TNA career.

Ditto Daniel Bryan in his feud with Triple H and Orton.

The Shield had the storybook rookie year finding strength in numbers and taking out the entire WWE roster.

Worst Tag Team

Award Description:
To be given to the name tag team who were the worst overall wrestlers in the past year. Minimal technical ability, lousy interviews, non-existent workrate, the charisma of a rock, and lousy team moves should describe this pair.

1st:   N/A/

Worst Heel

Award Description:
To be given to the person whose casting as a bad guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no heel heat drawn or maybe the fans actually cheered this person, but for whatever reason the heel image just didn’t get over.

1st: N/A

Worst Babyface

Award Description:
To be given to the person whose casting as a good guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no face heat drawn or maybe the fans actually booed this person, but for whatever reason the face image just didn’t get over.

1st:  N/A

Most Deteriorated Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the person whose skill has deteriorated the most over the past year. This person should be a shadow of his/her former self.

1st: N/A

Most Underrated Wrestler

Award Description:
To be given to the person whose ability merits a far greater push than the person receives. There may be many such people, but the winner of this award should have the most ability with least push.

1st:  Dolph Ziggler
2nd:  Zach Ryder

You’d never think Dolph was a former world champion.  The guy wins the title after Mania and seems to be on the verge of greatness.  He gets injured, returns and gets buried the rest of the year — despite arguably being the most talented guy on the roster.  Smdh

I honestly have no idea what more can be done.  This guy HAD a huge following and SEEMED to be on the cusp of a solid push but zzzzzzt.

Worst Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestler who had the worst character gimmick in the past year.

1st: N/A

Worst Wrestling Move

Award Description:
To be given to the move that is the worst thing you’ve seen this year. This shouldn’t be given to a move that was flubbed by a wrestler – the move was performed correctly, but was just too stupid for words. This move should probably be a “finishing” move or something that was meant to be spectacular.

1st: N/A

Worst Match

Award Description:
To be given to the worst wrestling match you’ve seen this year, either live, on TV, PPV, or in an arena, or on tape. If it took place in the past year, it is eligible.

1st:  N/A

Most Disappointing News item

Award Description:
To be given to the wrestling news item that most disappointed you when heard of it. When you first learned of this news story, you couldn’t believe that it was true, and when you learned that it was, you were bummed out for a while.

1st:   N/A

Most Obnoxious Personality

Award Description:
To be given to the person who just rubs you the wrong way. This could be anybody involved in the wrestling biz.

1st:   N/A

Best Second

Award Description:
To be given to the manager who outperformed their peers at ringside and behind the microphone in interviews.  This award was discontinued after the 2001 awards and reinstated in 2006.

1st:   Paul Heyman

Heyman reminds me of just how great old school wrestling managers were.  Whether it was Punk, Lesnar or Axel, Paul E. made his guys always look and sound good.

Best Announcer

Award Description:
To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the most insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   N/A

Best Colour Commentator

Award Description:
To be given to the colour commentator who provides the most insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   JBL

So glad this guy came back…

Worst Announcer

Award Description:
To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the least insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   N/A

Worst Colour Commentator

Award Description:
To be given to the colour commentator who provides the least insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   N/A

Best Interviewee

Award Description:
To be given to the person who gives the best interview in the biz. This could be a wrestler or a manager.

1st:   CM Punk
2nd:   Jericho
3rd:  Miz

Punk, Jericho and Miz always brought it on the mic

Best Angle

Award Description:
To be given to the best angle you’ve seen in the sport this year.

1st:   AJ goes all in for himself, kicks ass, takes names and wins title
2nd:   Daniel Bryan shows all the haters he’s the best
3rd:  Magnus realizes his full potential and captures the TNA World Heavyweight Title

AJ’s story of telling the world to fuck off and going on a winning streak, kicking ass, taking names and winning titles — on his own, really resonates.  Tired of being held back and screwed over he takes his destiny in his own hands and achieves it.  What’s not too like?

Bryan’s story of showing all the haters he has what it takes to be the best also resonates.  He took on and beat all comers and won the belt several times — even if the powers that be screwed him he still showed them the strength of his heart.

Magnus’ story of continuing to work at his dream and come back from defeat until he finally realized it was the storybook storyline of the year — only slightly eclipsed by the stories of AJ and D.B.

Best Organization

Award Description:
To be given to the organization/promotion that has the best product. This is the organization whose TV and house shows you just can’t miss.

1st:  WWE
2nd:  TNA
3rd:  AZW

Best TV Show

Award Description:
To be given to what is on average the best wrestling TV show. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:  WWE Raw
2nd: TNA Impact!
3rd:  WWE Smackdown

Honestly…I liked Impact better than Smackdown.

Best Major Show

Award Description:

1st:   N/A

Best Promotional Move

Award Description:
To be given to the best move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   TNA pushes homegrown talent and phases old timers out
2nd:  WWE fleshes out TV formula and gets more talent TV time
3rd:   WWE inducts Bruno Sammartino into the Hall of Fame

I think TNA hit the hammer on the head toward the later part of the year with their decision to push AJ Styles, Magnus, Bobby Roode and Bad Influence.

In the case of the WWE, I have noticed they’ve made great strides to get more TV time for everyone and are now making more use of the mid card and undercard with more purposeful roles for the talent.

Bruno being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame was a HUGE move.  It legitimized everything.

Worst Angle

Award Description:
To be given to the worst angle you’ve seen in the sport this year. It may be the worst because of taste or because of execution.

1st:   N/A

Worst Promotional Move

Award Description:
To be given to the worst move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   N/A

Other Awards:

BEST THEME MUSIC

1.  “Off the Chain” (remix) — Bobby Roode:  Just epic sounding

BEST ENTRANCE

1.  Usos — Sivatau.  EPIC way for them to make their entrance with the Sivatau war chant/dance.


2.  EC3 — Ethan Carter, III’s entrance is pretty epic with the overblown video and music and choreography of his entrance.

BEST PROMO

1.  AJ Styles, “I’m doing my own thing.”

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Wrestling Awards 2K11 (a la RSPW)

Author’s Note:  The RSPW Awards were the Internet’s Oldest Awards running for 20 years  commemorating the Best and Worse in Professional Wrestling each year.  Sadly the awards were retired after the 2009 competition year.  Each year I would post my picks as submitted on the official RSPW Awards Ballot on my blogs.  You can check out my picks for 2008 here , 2009 here and 2010 here.  For postings from earlier years you’ll need to dig through my old MySpace or Blogger blogs (to lazy to hunt and link it).  Not one to let traditions die (and because I just NEED to share my opinion) here are my picks for the Best and Worse of Wrestling in 2011 as based on the old RSPW ballot.

—-

Best Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the athlete who was the best overall wrestler of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability,  interviews, charisma, value to his/her promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Randy Orton
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  John Cena

Throughout 2K11 no one consistently performed, in my opinion, at a higher level than Randy Orton.  He had a white hot feud with Christian mid-year that produced an excellent series of matches.  Aside from that, he continued to face all-comers in great bouts and as the face of Smackdown helped that brand relaunch in the post-Edge era.

Coming in 2nd was CM Punk.  This was definitely Punk’s year with the Summer of Punk and the AWESOME shoot gimmick and the multiple title reign.  Had his push to the moon started earlier in the year he’d have taken 1st place easily but I guess he’ll just need to settle for an ice cream bar.  🙂

John Cena rounds out third.  The franchise of the WWE needs no explanation rounding out great matches and programs with all comers throughout the year

Best Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the tag team who were the best overall team of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability, interviews, charisma, hot team moves, value to their promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Beer Money — James Storm and Robert Roode
2nd:  Air Boom — Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston
3rd:   Awesome Truth — Miz and R. Truth

Sure they broke up by year’s end but the fact remains Beer Money dominated TNA for the first half of the year and in many ways was arguably the top act in the promotion.  I think their new singles careers and the company’s focus on them as top singles stars speak to their talent individually and collectively.  In a ho-hum year of tag wrestling Beer Money was still the standard bearer.

Air Boom comes in 2nd place.  A rather randomly thrown together team with a so-so win-loss record, these two guys, both individually exciting and great, do make a great team.  I actually think the pairing works.  It’s not like creative had anything going for either guy individually…

Awesome Truth takes 3rd place for me.  Sure they didn’t really wrestle that much, lost almost as much as they won and spent more time doing promos (hilarious ones at that!) than anything else but that’s good enough for me.  It sure beats the random teams of The Corre (Gabriel and Slater) and Nexus (Otunga and McGullicutty) who actually did hold the belts (but weren’t really over) or the Usos who, despite the awesome new entrance, never really win matches.

Best Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person who was the best villain this past year. This person should bring out the fans’ wrath. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in the past year.

1st:  Mark Henry
3. 2nd:  R. Truth
3. 3rd:  The Miz/Christian (tie)

This was Mark Henry’s year.  After 15 years in the business he was booked as a MONSTER heel and ran roughshod over the promotion.  He took out other giants and monsters.  He wrestled and had GOOD matches against everyone from Big Show to Daniel Bryan.  He cut EXCELLENT promos.  That’s how you book a monster heel!

R. Truth takes 2nd place in my book.  The heel turn and feud with Cena and subsequent conspiracy/Little Jimmy gimmick was gold as was the team with Miz.  Truth main evented a PPV with the franchise and more often than, on the strength of his promo work, was a highlight of Raw each week.  That easily puts him as a top heel of 2K11.

Miz rounds out the top 3 for me.  He started the year as champ and RETAINED as the heel champ at Wrestlemania.  He kinda floundered mid-year feuding with Alex Riley but rebounded nicely with the Awesome Truth team with R. Truth.  He wasn’t necessarily the focus of the promotion but via the strength of his mic work remained a highlight of the show whenever on and stayed in the top tier of the WWE’s heel pantheon.

Christian’s transition from babyface to cowardly heel was brilliantly executed.  His months long feud with Orton resulted in excellent TV and even better matches.  Christian’s exemplary heel work takes a 3rd place tie with Miz for me.

Best Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person who best portrayed the hero this past year. This person should get lots of fan support. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in
the past year.

1st:  John Cena
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  Bobby Roode

John Cena remains the top face in the industry.  Sure half the crowd boos him but when it comes to portraying the hero no one does it better than the Franchise of the WWE.

CM Punk started the year as a heel and remained a heel through the summer.  On the strength of his work during the summer he slowly transitioned to Tweener status as the cool anti-establishment heel/Tweener till coming full circle to face status.  The guy is magic beating all odds and all comers since his turn.

Bobby Roode started the year in Beer Money and was out with injury in the summer and came out of nowhere from behind to win the Bound for Glory series and wrestle Kurt Angle for the big gold, choked in the match and goes to win the belt via heel turn on his best friend.  Perhaps reflective of TNA’s directionless booking, but for the brief several month span leading up to Bound for Glory Roode was booked as a perfect babyface and he played the role well.  Since his heel turn he’s also played the role EQUALLY beautifully and is on target to take top heel for 2K12 if things continue down this path.  Roode met, took on and overcame all challenges in his quest for the title as the top face for TNA.  On the strength of that work I give him the nod for 3rd place for 2K11.

Best Worker

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler with, on average, the best workrate. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall.  In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st: Kurt Angle
2nd: CM Punk
3rd:  Christian

Kurt Angle’s an Olympic Gold Medalist and is touted as (and remains) the best worker in the business.  Bar none.  From his programs with Jarrett to Roode and Storm he ALWAYS brought the goods to the ring.

Punk’s excellent in-ring work saw him take on everyone from Orton to Cena to Del Rio to excellent matches all year as he transitioned to the main event.

Christian takes 3rd.  The cagey vet wrestled excellent programs with Del Rio and Orton before injury took him down.

Best Flyer

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who did the most and the best high-flying maneuvers throughout the year. In 1994, this award was split into two:  North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st: Evan Bourne
2nd: John Morrison
3rd: Sin Cara

They don’t call him “Air” Bourne for nothing!

The Prince of Parkour had a great start to the year with strong showings against Miz in the first main event of the year to the Royal Rumble.  He got buried and lost in the shuffle post-Mania but the fact remains he always put on a great show between the ropes despite being booked as a loser.

Sin Cara fizzled out, botched as much as he hit, got suspended and then got injured but the fact remains he’s a beauty to watch in the ring and when he’s “on” he is ON.  Hopefully he heals up nicely and gets back on track and finds his groove.

Best Technical Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who has the most technical ability. The number of holds and moves you see this person do and the crispness with which the moves are executed makes his/her matches a pleasure to watch. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  Christopher Daniels

Daniel Bryan spent a majority of the year jobbing.  A MiTB win didn’t exactly help his win-loss record that much but the late year title victory over Big Show and mini-program with Mark Henry did allow him to showcase his EXCELLENT in-ring abilities whether it was winning matches via LeBell Lock, Guillotine Choke, etc.  Matches with Del Rio, Kidd and others on the roster allowed him to show his stuff even in losing efforts.  Hopefully 2K12 lets the new champ showcase his goods at the top of the card in a positive light.

I give CM Punk 2nd place.  The guy fought his way to the top of card this year and his great in-ring work was a big part of it aside from his top tier promo ability.

I give Christopher Daniels 3rd place.  This guy, in my opinion, has never truly gotten his due in the business with a run on top.  It’s very sad as his in-ring work and promo abilities are top notch.  You wouldn’t be able to tell on TNA though as he’s booked as a loser more often than not but good matches with AJ and RVD do allow him to showcase some of his great work.

Best Brawler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who brawled his/her way through the year most convincingly. This award would go to Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish if he were still around. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st:  Sheamus
2nd:  Mark Henry
3rd:  Abyss

Sheamus is our top brawler, again, in 2K11.  He loves to fight and is promoted as thus and fight he did throughout 2K11 whooping anyone who got in his way.

Mark Henry takes 2nd.  You could argue he should take #1 on the strength of his DESTROYING everyone (including Sheamus) but I just think Sheamus, being booked as a brawler, by right should take the win.  In any event, I know **I** would turn and RUN the other way if I saw Henry lumbering my way…

I give Abyss the third spot.  He spent the majority of the year destroying cruiserweights.  How can you NOT give him a brawler award for all those beat downs?

Most Favourite Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler you like the most, regardless of the reason.

1st:  CM Punk
2nd:  John Cena
3rd:  Mark Henry

Punk’s the best in the world.  He has the shirt to prove it.  In all seriousness though, this was Punk’s year.  He earned it. I bought the shirt.

Cena’s still the franchise and I respect his work and bought all the fruity pebble shirts to prove it.

I really enjoyed Henry’s work this year and bought that epic HALL OF PAIN shirt to vote my support for the guy.

Most Improved Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who most improved himself/herself in all facets of the sport in the past year.

1st:  Mark Henry
2nd:  Bobby Roode
3rd:  R. Truth

How can you not give it to Henry?  The guy really STEPPED UP.  He improved his workrate and promo ability wrestling great matches all year and cutting excellent promos as the undisputed king of Smackdown inducting all comers into the Hall of Pain.

Bobby Roode takes the 2nd spot for me.  He was given the ball and he took it and ran with it wrestling the best matches and cutting the best promos of his career whether face OR heel.  As the year went on he’s only improved and he’s established himself as a top heel in the business (not just TNA).  Here’s to more growth from Roode in 2K12.

Truth is another guy who stepped up his game.  Given the heel reigns he led Raw as its top heel for a brief period hating on all the Little Jimmy’s cutting some of the BEST promo work all year.  He stepped up to the plate as well.

Most Overrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who really has little talent, but has a large place in the spotlight nonetheless. This is a measure of how undeserved a wrestler’s push is.

1st:  N/A

N/A

Best Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the best character gimmick in the past year.

1st:  CM Punk, best in the world
2nd:  R. Truth, Little Jimmy/”Joker” Sting (tie)
3rd:  Bobby Roode, selfish generation/Christian, “One more match.” (tie)

Punk’s “Best in the World” gimmick pretty much summed up everything.  He was the best and was held down and called EVERYONE including the Owner on it.  How awesome was that?

I actually LOVED the Joker Sting gimmick.  I thought it was entertaining and hilarious and found it a breath of fresh air to the very stale “Icon” character Sting had been portraying for years.  I’d been calling for Sting to take a backseat to the roster for a bit but had the Joker entertaining enough to where I’d have loved to see it regularly on TV.

Truth’s “Little Jimmy” conspiracy was gold for months and was Christian’s “One More Match” bit.  Sure I hated them making Christian into a joke but it’s better than him fading into obscurity.

For Bobby Roode, at first I was VERY disturbed with the bizarre initial booking of the job at Bound for Glory and subsequent heel turn but I think they’re on the right track and am enjoying the “selfish generation” bit.

Best Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is just the damn best thing you’ve seen this past year. This should probably be a “finishing” move or something really spectacular.

1st: Mark Henry’s “Hall of Pain”
2nd:  Natalya’s “Tear Time”

While not a traditional wrestling move, Henry’s “Hall of Pain” Vader Bomb off the ropes onto an opponent’s leg trapped in a chair looks EXCRUCIATING.

I personally LOVED Natalya’s “Tear Time” submission/torture that the Divas of Doom used on the Barbie Doll Divas.  Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox’s sell job of the move (which DOES look excruciating) was PERFECT.

Best Feud

Award Description:

To be given to the feud that gave us the most heated and best wrestling match(es) of the year. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1996, due to lack of participation on the non-NA side, it was recombined.

1st:  CM Punk vs. John Laurinaitis
2nd:  Mark Henry vs. Big Show
3rd:  Randy Orton vs. Christian

Punk’s feud with John Laurinaitis (and proxy McMahon and Cena) led to the best storyline and promos of the year.  THAT was your feud of 2K11.

I personally loved the feud between Henry and Show. It dominated the Smackdown storylines in the later part of the year and takes the 2nd place nod for me.

Orton vs. Christian tore up the circuit mid-year with great matches and promo work between both guys.  It was a top contender in my book in the early stretch of the year.

Worst Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the name tag team who were the worst overall wrestlers in the past year. Minimal technical ability, lousy interviews, non-existent workrate, the charisma of a rock, and lousy team moves should describe this pair.

1st:   David Otunga and Michael McGullicutty

Sadly, these guys were the tag champs for a spell.  A makeshift team put together during the days of the New Nexus they went on and didn’t overly impress but somehow got the tag titles to give them some “heat.”  Sadly they didn’t do much of anything.  An actual tag team such as the Usos probably could have used the belts more and given it a tad bit more credibility but we are in an “anti-tag team” era.

Worst Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a bad guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no heel heat drawn or maybe the fans actually cheered this person, but for whatever reason the heel image just didn’t get over.

1st: N/A

Worst Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a good guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no face heat drawn or maybe the fans actually booed this person, but for whatever reason the face image just didn’t get over.

1st:  N/A

Most Deteriorated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose skill has deteriorated the most over the past year. This person should be a shadow of his/her former self.

1st: N/A

Most Underrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose ability merits a far greater push than the person receives. There may be many such people, but the winner of this award should have the most ability with least push.

1st:  Pope D’Angelo Dinero
2nd:  Samoa Joe/Christopher Daniels
3rd:  Daniel Bryan

Pope’s a guy who has ALL the tools.  He has the look.  He has the promo ability (in SPADES).  He has the workrate.  But he’s spent the majority of the year losing to Joe and in a bottom of the card program with Devon.  Oh well, I guess it could be worse.

TNA fans will lament the lack of push for guys like Daniels and Joe.  Joe spent the vast majority of the year in a LOSING streak and briefly came back as a bad @$$.  Daniels had a “I lost my mojo” gimmick for a spell during the year in his rivalry with AJ before being booked as a coward against both AJ and RVD while LOSING.  No one questions their talent but sadly after this many years the ship has likely more than sailed or these guys.

Bryan spent most of the year jobbing but thankfully things slooooowly turned around with a MiTB win and then a world title win in the last week of the year.  Hopefully 2K12 signals the start of something very special for our favorite vegan submission specialist.

Worst Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the worst character gimmick in the past year.

1st: N/A 

Worst Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is the worst thing you’ve seen this year. This shouldn’t be given to a move that was flubbed by a wrestler – the move was performed correctly, but was just too stupid for words. This move should probably be a “finishing” move or something that was meant to be spectacular.

1st: Santino Marella’s Cobra

Sure it pops the crowd and is fun to watch (I mark out!) but much like Scotty Too Hotty’s worm, John Cena’s Five Knuckle Shuffle and the People’s Elbow, this move is just too silly for words to ever work in real life.

Worst Match

Award Description:

To be given to the worst wrestling match you’ve seen this year, either live, on TV, PPV, or in an arena, or on tape. If it took place in the past year, it is eligible.

1st:  Melina vs. Alicia Fox 🙂

Tough Enough joke.

Most Disappointing News item

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestling news item that most disappointed you when heard of it. When you first learned of this news story, you couldn’t believe that it was true, and when you learned that it was, you were bummed out for a while.

1st:   Death of “Macho Man” Randy Savage
2nd:  Edge forced to retire
3rd:

The premature death of wrestling legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage during the late Spring was just shocking and sad having been a HUGE Savage mark as a kid.  Luckily he saved us from the Rapture 🙂

Edge being forced to retire after Wrestlemania was as equally shocking and sad but at least the guy got to go out on top knowing he “won it all” and “done it all.”

Most Obnoxious Personality

Award Description:

To be given to the person who just rubs you the wrong way. This could be anybody involved in the wrestling biz.

1st:   Michael Cole

Easily the worst part of each and every show…week after week…

Best Second

Award Description:

To be given to the manager who outperformed their peers at ringside and behind the microphone in interviews.  This award was discontinued after the 2001 awards and reinstated in 2006.

1st:   N/A

Best Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the most insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Jim Ross
2nd:  Josh Matthews

More J.R., less Cole.  Heck, more Josh less Cole.

Best Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the most insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   Taz
2nd:   Booker/Lawler

I actually really miss Matt Striker at the announcer’s table.  Taz, Booker and Lawler take it by default.

Worst Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the least insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Michael Cole

Dude is booked to be irritating and succeeds at it.  Don’t know if he deserves an Award for being great at being a douche but I’m over this guy.

Worst Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the least insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   N/A

Best Interviewee

Award Description:

To be given to the person who gives the best interview in the biz. This could be a wrestler or a manager.

1st:   CM Punk
2nd:   R. Truth and Miz (tie)
3rd:   Rock and Cena (tie)

Punk got to the top based on his promo work.  Truth and Miz lit up my screen each week whenever they walked out because I knew I was about to be entertained.

Rock and Cena’s dueling promos in the beginning of the year were GOLD.

Best Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the best angle you’ve seen in the sport this year.

1st:   CM Punk shoots on the WWE
2nd:   Mark Henry goes on a rampage inducting everyone into the “Hall of Pain”
3rd:  Bobby Roode turns of James Storm and wins the TNA Title

For a brief month in the Summer of 2011 the wrestling world was ABLAZE with CM Punk following his epic shoot promo on the WWE.  His surprise win of John Cena at the MiTB PPV in Chicago sent shockwaves through the industry and had the potential to revolutionize the business again.

Mark Henry’s ascension to the top of the promotion was textbook perfect booking.  Go out and let a guy KILL people.  Boom.  He took out Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov and the Great Khali while successfully dispatching folks like Sheamus, Christian and Daniel Bryan.  Textbook perfection.

What seemed as a bit of a false start with Bobby Roode CHOKING in winning the title off of Kurt Angle and his partner beating Angle for the belt to his turning on his partner to steal the partner has worked out nicely.  I’m a fan of Roode’s new “selfish generation” gimmick and think TNA’s finally on the right track with their booking.  Roode’s evolved into a great heel and I’m enjoying TNA’s booking for the first time in a long time.

Best Organization

Award Description:

To be given to the organization/promotion that has the best product. This is the organization whose TV and house shows you just can’t miss.

1st:  WWE
2nd:  TNA
3rd:  ROH

Best TV Show

Award Description:

To be given to what is on average the best wrestling TV show. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:  WWE Smackdown
2nd:  WWE Raw
3rd:  TNA Impact!

Best Major Show

Award Description:

To be given to the best major event. This could be a pay-per-view, a TV special, or any big arena event. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:   MiTB PPV

Punk beat John Cena in his hometown with a WHITE HOT CROWD.  Magic moment.

Best Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the best move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   TNA pushes homegrown talent and phases old timers out
2nd:  WWE pushes IWC favorites Punk, Bryan and Ryder, depushes Cena and Orton
3rd:   WWE launches Network

I think both TNA and WWE hit the hammer on the head toward the later part of the year with their decisions to push Roode and Storm and Punk, Bryan and Ryder respectively.

In the case of TNA rallying on old timers like Sting and former WWE talent like Anderson, RVD and Hardy just wasn’t working and would NOT work in the long-term.  In their case pushing homegrown talent like Roode and Storm sent two messages:  1 – they’re building toward the future, 2 – they’re investing back in their own.  They have a long way to go but for the first time in a long-time it “feels” like they’re heading in the right direction.

In the case of the WWE, I think pushing guys like Punk, Bryan and Ryder is a step in the right direction.  They seem to be listening to their most passionate fans in this instance but I think, more importantly, what works out best is they are diversifying their main event talent pool.  Cena and Orton are still the faces of the promotion and the cash cows but they won’t be around forever and adding fresh faces like Orton, Bryan, Henry, Barrett and Ryder in the upper card will only help to freshen up the stagnant “John and Randy” show.

As for the Network, I for one am excited and think it’s a GREAT use of all the valuable assets WWE’s built over the years.  I hope it takes off for them.

Worst Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the worst angle you’ve seen in the sport this year. It may be the worst because of taste or because of execution.

1st:   Bobby Roode loses at Bound for Glory

You build a guy up for months as “the guy” and job him out at the biggest show of the year?  That just irked me to no end.  At least they redeemed themselves a few weeks later with the heel turn…

Worst Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the worst move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   TNA’s haphazard Title booking
2nd:  WWE pushes feuds between announcers

For a while in early and mid-year TNA’s title picture was ATROCIOUS with Sting and Anderson trading the belt.  Anderson for a bit was pushed as the face of the company.  Not a bad a choice.  He’s a decent worker and promo but it felt they never fully got behind the guy.  And when they didn’t get behind the guy they went back to an over the hill Sting.  Oi *face palm* …At least they got it semi-right eventually with Kurt Angle as a transitional champ before hot potato-ing it to Storm and then Roode.

For the life of me I cannot fathom WWE’s obsession with feuding announcers or putting them in the ring.  Cole vs. J.R., Cole vs. Lawler, Booker T. vs. Cody Rhodes.  Announcers are meant to stay behind the booth.  I didn’t mind the novel occasional match featuring J.R. in the ring during swings through Okalohma but to build an ENTIRE program that made Wrestlemania between Cole vs. Lawler/J.R. which would CONTINUE off and on the rest of the year????  Keep the wrestling to the wrestlers!  WWE has TONS of underutilized talent and the top heel in the promotion is arguably the lead play-by-play guy who spends a nice amount of time putting HIMSELF over the actual talent on the roster?  *face palm*

Other Awards:

BEST THEME MUSIC
1.  “Flight of the Valkyries” (remix) — Daniel Bryan:  LOVE the guitar work 🙂
2.  Longnecks and Rednecks — James Storm:  Fits perfect to the character.  Love it!

BEST ENTRANCE
1.  Usos — Sivatau.  EPIC way for them to make their entrance with the Sivatau war chant/dance.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem to do anything for their win-loss record though.
2.  Sin Cara — trampoline diving roll.  I thought is EPIC the first time I saw it with the lights all blue.  Still do.

BEST PROMOS

1.  CM Punk’s shoot promo on WWE, McMahon, John Laurinaitis and Cena
2. Cena and Rock dueling weekly diss promos leading to Mania
3.  R. Truth, Miz and Christian “Jimmy, Riley, Randy” promo

Impact Wrestling Taping (VIP Edition): June 13, 2011

Impact Zone

We wrapped up Day 6 in Orlando by going back for our 2nd night of Impact Wrestling action as part of our VIP Package from Slammiversary weekend. We were JUST in time to head over to the Impact Zone for action once we made our way from the Islands of Adventure.

Impact Zone Line

Getting in early by virtue of our VIP passes (though toward the back of the VIP pack) our pick of seats weren’t quite as choice as they were for the Slammiversary PPV but I opted for seats near the entrance way in hopes of getting nice shots as the wrestlers made their way down the entrance way. It worked out so so for me.

One general comment, this is the first time I’ve ever been to a TV taping for a wrestling show so it was just FASCINATING to see all the production guys running around to set things up or break things down in-between matches.

In addition to the Impact taping our VIP pass also got us a meet and greet with Mexican America at the end of the show. They were also selling an in-ring meet and greet and photo op with RVD which we also pounced upon!

With that said, we’re off to our first segment for our time in the Impact Zone as everything was set-up in the ring before we walked in.

Segment 1: Mr. Anderson’s championship celebration promo

Mr. Anderson Celebratory Promo

Mr. Anderson Celebratory Promo

Continuing his push to the moon Gunner interrupts Anderson wanting a “thanks” for softening up Sting and a title shot.

Gunner

Gunner spoils Anderson's Party

Heated words are exchanged and things don’t end well for Anderson.

Gunner spoils Anderson's Party

Break time in the tapings as the production crew break down the set (just interesting to watch!)

Production Crew

Prior to each match Jeremy Borash would always get up and rile us up mentioning we’re coming back from commercial or whatever and to make some noise as the cameras are about to start rolling again. Christy Hemme would do her thing and the wrestlers would make their entrance for the next match.

Match 1: Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

Match 1:  Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

Match 1:  Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

Match 1:  Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

Match 1:  Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

Match itself was as good as a 3 minute match that ends in a DQ run-in cluster**** can be.

Match 1:  Hernandez (w/ Mexican America) vs. Devon

The main story of course was the continuation of a storyline behind the Pope (who came down to ringside) and Devon. Pope saves Devon from the Mexican gangbang at the insistence of Devon’s kids.

After ringside is cleared, Jeremy Borash comes back out and riles us up for a Kurt Angle appearance.

Segment 2: Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett Promo

Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett Promo

Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett Promo

Kurt comes out and talks about his being ready to move on after his Jarrett feud and his desire to train for the U.S. Olympic team (go for it dude!)

Of course, Jarrett comes down to challenge Kurt for ONE FINAL MATCH DESPITE LAST NIGHT BEING THEIR FINAL MATCH EVER. Angle calls him on it and they exchange a great promo. They decide to have a parking lot brawl at the end of the show with the stipulation that if Jeff loses he moves to Mexico. Sadly we don’t get to see the parking lot brawl at end of the night as we had to tune in like everyone else to see it.

Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett Promo

Match 2: X-Division Destination X Spot 3-Way Match — Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Austin Aries

Match 2:  Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave

Match 2:  Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave

Match 2:  Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave

Match 2:  Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave

I was pleasantly surprised when this match came out as I knew something was up with Impact when Kid Kash came out making his return! Surprises continued as both Jimmy Rave and Austin Aries came out next and the SMARKS in the crowd came alive with a ton of “welcome back” and “Austin Aries” chants!

Loving the X-Division style of match I personally LOVED this match and the guys definitely pulled out the stops so I was happy!

Match 2:  Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jimmy Rave

Aries picked up the win but Kash and Rave definitely impressed as well ans Kash looked more than happy to be back home in the Impact Zone.

Match 3: Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

Next up was another great segment featuring the Knockout tag champs Sarita and Rosita against Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher.

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

The match itself was good as the women actually had time to showcase their stuff (unlike poor Devon and Hernandez). The fact that these four are the hottest (imho) of the Knockouts doesn’t hurt either…

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

The match ended with interference from ODB to continue her storyline with Velvet but more important was the surprise return of Jacqueline to TNA (another pleasant surprise which added to the “bigger” atmosphere of this show coupled with the X-Division returns.

Match 3:  Sarita and Rosita vs. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher

Poor Velvet continues to get the beatdown from the Knockouts heel roster (to my dismay) as her streak of bad luck in that department continues.

Match 4: Bound for Glory Series — Samoa Joe vs. Rob Vam Dam

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

For my money, the match of the night and at another time and place this could/would have been a big money feud/match-up.

Match itself was great as the contrast in styles was great to see.

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

Match 4:  Samoa Joe vs. RVD

RVD picks up the win with the Five Star Frog Splash as Joe’s job streak continues.

Main Event — Match 5: Mr. Anderson (c) vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Gunner’s super push continues as he picks up the surprise win over the champ after an okay match.

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Match 5:  Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

Not exactly a big Gunner fan (yet) but it’s nice to see new people elevated and pushed. Guy’s on a hot streak for sure with high profile wins.

After this it was the Xplosion taping as the Xplosion graphics went up and Desmond Wolfe, Xplosion Comissioner, came out to the broadcast booth. Ironically enough, Wolfe would be released from his contract only days later (go figure).

Xplosion Taping

Xplosion Taping

Xplosion Match: Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Honestly, I never heard of Okada (has he been on Impact before????) but this was a nice enough match. Shelley gets the win with Sliced Bread.

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

Xplosion:  Alex Shelley vs. Okada

After the show we lined up for our in-ring meet and greet with RVD which was just SUPER cool. Having VIP passes we got to cut to the front of the line. Stepping into the ring (a lifelong dream) was COOL. It’s pretty bouncy in the TNA ring and the ropes really are springy. RVD does come very much across as a stoner having talked to him briefly. Every photo op before us was him saying, “R-V-D” with the thumb point to himself (kinda reminded me of Denny Crane from Boston Legal, lol). Our conversation and photo op with RVD?

RVD: “Hey! Come on in. Nice shirt!” (I’m wearing an RVD shirt).
Me: “Of course!”
Pose for picture.
RVD: *points to self* “R-V-D.”
Me: Star struck.
RVD: *shaking my hand* “Yeah, that’s good stuff!”
Shell: “Can I get a hug?” *jumps on him*
RVD: *chuckles* “Yeah.”

RVD Meet and Greet

Totally cool!

Then it was off to the VIP line for our meet and greet with Mexican America. The girls had already changed back to street clothes, Hernandez had put a shirt on and Anarchia pretty much looked the same. All of them seemed really cool in person, Hernandez in particular who was up and about and took a little more time to talk to folks (the other three were behind a table).

Mexican America Meet and Greet

Mexican America Meet and Greet

And that concluded our adventures at the Impact Zone. Having other plans for the following night we didn’t make it back for the 2nd set of Impact tapings our VIP Pass allowed us to (not mention missing our chance to meet AJ Styles). All in all though, it was an AWESOME two days of action and meeting the stars of TNA in person was just a SUPER COOL experience.

Impact Zone

Full set of photos can be found here.

Day 5: TNA Slammiversary — VIP Edition!

TNA Slammiversary: Us

The original plan for Day 5 was to finish up Universal Islands of Adventure in the morning and take in the TNA Slammiversary PPV in the late afternoon through the evening. Being fatigued we decided to skip the park in the morning, rest up and just show up for the TNA Slammiversary event in the afternoon.

For long-time readers or personal friends you know just how much of a pro-wrestling fan I am. When I learned TNA would be holding their PPV and TV tapings the weekend we were here I was just elated and HAD TO purchase the VIP package for the weekend.

What did the VIP package get us?

      A private meet and greet with the legendary Hulk Hogan and tailgate BBQ.
      Guaranteed first dib access to the PPV and TV tapings on Monday and Tuesday
      Access to the exclusive PPV After-Party
    Post TV meet and greets on Monday and Tuesday with AJ Styles and Mexican America.
    TNA swag.

The thing about TNA tapings, if you don’t know, is that they are free but are done on a first-come, first-serve basis so for myself ensuring guaranteed access and the extra perks like the meet and greets and complimentary meals for the PPV it was a no-brainer and cash well spent to go VIP and experience everything in style.

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

Sadly, even going VIP did not make us immune to lines as a ton of folks know a good deal when they see one. The line to get in to meet Hulk Hogan at the VIP Meet and Greet alone was about 2 hours in the hot sun.

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

The upside to it all though? Meeting and making friends other hardcore wrestling fans such as these two guys from Scotland who were in line next to me. They actually found us as we walked into the park. I was an easy pick out with my TNA shirt. Being from Scotland in kilts made them semi-celebrities with park goers who wanted a photo op with real lives Scots. Of course, I got my photo op too. Our other new friend in the photo was also in line next to us. She was the world’s biggest Robbie E. and Cookie fan. Coolest thing about her? She grew up in Philly and was literally raised on ECW! That’s hardcore!

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

So after about two hours on our feet we finally got our chance to get into Hard Rock Cafe for the private meet and greet with Hulk Hogan and snarf down some BBQ. For my troubles I got:

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

a photo op with a “Nice to meet you, brother!”,

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

and a signed poster from the Hulkster.

And of course, a “free” lunch. Heat and line sucked, but meeting cool peeps and getting 1 of 3 squares was well worth it!

From there it was enjoying the AC for an hour more before being thrust back out into the sun to get in the VIP line for entrance into the Impact Zone. Yes, more suckage!

TNA Slammiversary:  Hulk Hogan VIP Meet and Greet

The initial stages of the line can best be described as organized chaos for an hour or so until TNA staff arrived to formally line everyone up to go in and march us down from the Blue Man Group to the Impact Zone.

TNA Slammiversary:  Line to the Impact Zone

Even then once we got to the Impact Zone doors it would be another half hour or so till we actually got to go in.

TNA Slammiversary:  Line to the Impact Zone

Once we got in though I must say it was just totally cool being in the fabled Impact Zone I see every week on TV. Like when I visited the National Mall in D.C. for the first time I had an overwhelming, “I’m here” moment!

TNA Slammiversary: The Impact Zone

And then as I looked around I was like, “Wow, this place is SMALL!” Oh the magic of good camera angles! Honestly, the Impact Zone’s probably about as big as a high school gym or Guard Armory which is where most Indy Feds hold events. The difference between the Impact Zone and those venues would be the millions of dollars in lighting, audio and video equipment that the Soundstage affords them access too. Can’t believe how small the place was!

Once we (the VIPS) got seated then the general audience started to file in. Universal staff pretty much packed us sardine tight on the bleachers. Good crowd tonight with lots of energy! After we all got settled SoCal Val, Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme were out to kick things off by introducing the announce team(s), running down the card and warming up the crowd!

TNA Slammiversary: The Announce Team

With all of that done it was time to get the show on the road with the first match!

Match 1: Beer Guns (c) (James Storm and Alex Shelley for Robert Roode) vs. the British Invasion (Douglas Williams and Magnus) for the Tag Titles

TNA Slammiversary:  Beer Guns vs. British Invasion

TNA Slammiversary:  Beer Guns vs. British Invasion

Good choice for an opener as the crowd was hot for Beer Guns with lots of “BEER!!! CITY!!!” chants going off and on. Hot match with a bunch of false finishes to get the crowd going. Beer Guns retain. Which brings us to…

Match 2: Scott Steiner vs. Matt Morgan

TNA Slammiversary: Scott Steiner vs. Matt Morgan

TNA Slammiversary: Scott Steiner vs. Matt Morgan

These two behemoths have had a nice feud over the past several weeks which has led to this match. Slower, methodical pace to this one but Morgan picks up the one with the Carbon Footprint. That takes us to…

Match 3: Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Abyss (c) for the X-Division Title

TNA Slammiversary: Abyss vs. Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick

TNA Slammiversary: Abyss vs. Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick

TNA Slammiversary: Abyss vs. Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick

Another interesting storyline here as Abyss has been on a mission from Bischoff to destroy the X-Division. Fun match here watching Kendrick and Kazarian bounce off of Abyss. Dissension between Kaz and Kendrick allow Abyss to steal a win.

Match 4: Samoa Joe vs. Crimson

Another feud comes to a head as Joe takes on the undefeated streak of the rookie Crimson.

TNA Slammiversary: Samoa Joe vs. Crimson

TNA Slammiversary: Samoa Joe vs. Crimson

Pretty physical contest between these two. Typical Joe match with lots of hard hitting and power moves. Despite his poor booking over the past few years, Joe is still IMMENSELY OVER with the crowd which is a sad statement on just how much TNA’s botched him. Lots of “Let’s Go Joe” and “Joe’s Gonna Kill You” chants with the occasional “Sloppy Joe” chants. Crimson? Not really over, yet.

Crimson’s rocket ride up the card continues with the upset and Joe’s stay in mid-card purgatory continues with the job…

Match 5: Mickie James (c) vs. Angelina Love (w/ Winter) for the Knockouts Title

TNA Slammiversary: Mickie James vs. Angelina Love w/ Winter

TNA Slammiversary: Mickie James vs. Angelina Love w/ Winter

That WWE storyline the other year between Mickie and LayCool about her “weight issues?” Utter nonsense. Mickie’s smoking hot in person! Fun match between these two. Lots of interference from Winter but Mickie squeaks by with the win and endures the post-match beatdown from the heels.

Match 6: AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray (Last Man Standing)

TNA Slammiversary: Aj Styles vs. Bully Ray

TNA Slammiversary: Aj Styles vs. Bully Ray

For my money, this was THE MATCH of the night. AJ is MASSIVE OVER with the crowd as befits the person who was the foundation of the company for most of its beginning years. Ray is someone who can most definitely go and these two just BROUGHT IT tonight. Lots of hard hitting action. AJ took to the air quite a bit. Once things got to the outside business totally picked up. AJ’s insane dive from the set onto Ray below the stage had everyone chanting “Holy shit!” as did Ray’s surprise counter to pick up the victory from the jaws of defeat at the last minute. Match was AWESOME!

TNA Slammiversary: Aj Styles vs. Bully Ray

TNA Slammiversary: Aj Styles vs. Bully Ray

TNA Slammiversary: Aj Styles vs. Bully Ray

Match 7: Sting (c) vs. Mr. Anderson for the Heavyweight Title

TNA Slammiversary: Sting vs. Mr. Anderson

This was such a fun match! Most folks who know my wrestling tastes will know that Sting was my absolute favorite wrestler as a kid and seeing him perform in person is an absolute dream come true for me. That said, I’ve long maintained the past several years that, as much as I love the guy, Sting should not be champion in the year 2011. Does he still have a place in the business? Sure, of course! As champion? No. Sting lost the title to Anderson (a good pick for champ, he’s been pretty healthy in his TNA run!) in screwjob fashion tonight but I think, long-term, the right guy won the match tonight.

The match itself? Loads of fun. Sting jumped Anderson from behind on the entrance ramp thus depriving me of marking out over HIS entrance but the brawl into the crowd (near us) was an absolute mark out moment!

TNA Slammiversary: Sting vs. Mr. Anderson

TNA Slammiversary: Sting vs. Mr. Anderson

as was getting to hear a classic Stinger howl!!!

TNA Slammiversary: Sting vs. Mr. Anderson

Match 8: Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle for Kurt’s Olympic Gold Medals

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

This has been such a great feud. Sure, there were absolute DUMB and LAME moments along the way. But the story, based in real life, has been great. And hopefully, this really will be the cap to the feud.

If Sting is my favorite wrestler of childhood, Kurt Angle is definitely one of my top favorites of the modern/current era. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see him wrestle live and I’m glad I got to tonight. He’d already left WWE by the time they started coming down regularly to Hawaii again so I’d missed out on seeing him live before. Kurt Angle = good match and this did not disappoint. I got to see the…

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

Angle Slam

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

Pop-Up Top Rope Belly to Belly

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

Second-Rope Stroke

TNA Slammiversary:  Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett

Ankle Lock

Overall, a great match!

Afterwards, we had a chance to attend the Slammiversary VIP party over at the Nascar Grille and be treated to dinner and meet and greets with the TNA Stars (well, those who wanted to show up anyway). We only stayed for half the party (it was a long day). We got treated to a pasta, chicken fingers and fries dinner.

TNA Slammiversary: After Party!

Some B-day cake..

TNA Slammiversary: After Party!

and I had a chance to meet the X-Division Champ, the Monster Abyss

TNA Slammiversary: After Party!

and one half of the tag champs, Cowboy James Storm.

TNA Slammiversary: After Party!

Also in attendance was the newly crowned Heavyweight Champ Mr. Anderson but I didn’t get a photo op (line was just too long). As we left halfway I’m not too sure if any of the other stars showed but it was cool getting to see and meet the ones we did. Complimentary dinner was nice too!

And that was our Slammiversary VIP experience.

TNA Slammiversary: Us

Full photos can be viewed here.

Nitpicking Wrestlemania 27

My thoughts on Wrestlemania 27

Rock opening promo:

Not quite as epic as I’m sure they wanted it to come across.  A bit too long in my opinion and didn’t really say much of anything.  Bleh.

Cutting the Sheamus (c) vs. Daniel Bryan match for the U.S. Title from the televised show:

So they cut an advertised match to allocate more time for some other important things burying too of the bigger breakout stars of the past 2 years?  Oy…

Snoop Dogg bit:

Hilarious and it did give some camera time for guys not booked on the show.  While entertaining the time would have been better served having an actual match (ie — the Sheamus vs. Bryan match).

PeeWee Herman bit:

Completely POINTLESS and LAME segment that did NOTHING for the show.  Would’ve been better served having an actual match (ie — Sheamus vs. Bryan).

Match 1:  Edge (c) over Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

I can’t believe they used a World Title match to curtain jerk the PPV broadcast.  Seriously????  Yeah it was a great match but are we supposed to take the title, the Smackdown brand, Edge or Del Rio seriously with them curtain jerking?  Geez.  Match itself was awesome.  Christian, Clay and Rodriguez running interference was great.  Personally I think they should’ve pulled the trigger on the Christian turn (it looked like it when he had the lead pipe).  Edge beating Del Rio clean pretty much kills Del Rio who’s been pushed to the moon thus far.  Not too sure what they’re gonna do with him, Edge or Christian next.  Story would be much more compelling had either Del Rio gone over or Christian turning.

Match rating:  3.5/5
Story progression potential:  dead in the water

Match 2:  Cody Rhodes over Rey Mysterio

Great match between these two!  Love Rhodes’ character.  Rey coming out as Captain America (to complement Flash and Silver Surfer in prior years) was awesome!  Loved the storytelling with each guy working the knee brace and face mask.  Rey had great spots as usual.  Cody doing the stalling superplex was awesome.  Personally I thought Rey should’ve won to finish the storyline but Cody going over may just keep the feud going which is fine by me.

Match rating:  3.5/5
Story progression potential:  good

Match 3:  Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston over The Corre

Match was a DUD plain and simple.  The Corre is officially dead in the water after jobbing under two minutes.  Sure the match should have been short but not two minutes on a four hour show!  I chalk it up to Pee Wee Hermand and Snoop Dogg striking again.  Seriously, if they needed to save time for those lame extra segments THIS IS THE MATCH TO HAVE CUT not the Sheamus or Brian match.  Months of storytelling down the drain for that?  Sure these guys still hold all the belts on Smackdown but can we take them seriously after that humiliating loss?   These guys will need to run roughshod over the roster to restore their heat over the next few weeks.  Not sure what’s next for all these guys.  I assume Kofi goes after Barrett for his belt and either Kane and Show or Santino and Kozlov go after Gabriel and Slater?

Match rating:  DUD
Story progression potential:  ????

Match 4:  Randy Orton over CM Punk

Easily one of the top matches of the night.  Definitely best match from a technical standpoint.  Great storytelling with Punk working Orton’s leg.  Lot of solid spots in this match.  Orton gets the clean win with the RKO out of nowhere but the ending is ambiguous enough to where they can continue the feud with Punk claiming to lose via fluke or they can end the feud and move on to other things.

Match rating:  4/5
Story progression material:  good

Match 5:  Michael Cole over Jerry “The King” Lawler via lame screwjob decision reversal

Match was fun in parts but was honestly way too long with poor Lawler actually needing to sell Cole’s lame offense.  Screwjob decision reversal ruins this and leaves a really sour taste in the mouth.  Sure it was great to see King make his “comeback,” nail the fist drop and make Cole scream and tap like a **** and to see Austin stun Swagger but the post match B.S. just RUINED things.  Why overturn the decision and award Cole the victory?  Like he needs heel heat or something?  Are they planning on keeping this feud going?  Booker T and Josh Matthews eat a Stunner but Cole doesn’t???  Cole’s been booked as the biggest heel for close to a year now.  Folks paid HUGE money to see him get destroyed!  Here’s how it SHOULD have been booked:

Cole **** slaps King.

King takes him down for the merciless ground and pound.  Mudhole stomping in the corner.

Swagger tries to interfere, eats a Stunner by Austin.

Strap down.

Fist drop.

Jumping Piledriver.

Pin.

Celebration beer bash with Austin and King!

Cole groggily gets to his feet, Stunner by Austin.  Austin, King and J.R. gave Cole the beer bath to send the crowd home happy.

Instead we get an overly long match.  A screwjob finish and Stunners going out to folks who no one really wanted to see stunned.

Ideally this match should have gone on AFTER Taker vs. Triple H to be the short, fun, palette cleanser leading up to Miz vs. Cena but this crap was just way overbooked.

#FAIL

Match rating:  2.5/5
Story progression potential:  God, help us.

Match 6:  Undertaker over Triple H

Epic storytelling in this one.  While no where near Shawn vs. Taker I or II it was a very well told story.  Taker shows his resilience but a clear message is sent that Triple H OWNED Taker with the merciless beatdown where Triple H could have choose to pin and cover for the win several times but didn’t.  Taker squeaks by to win via Hell’s Gate submission outta nowhere to go 19 – 0 and does a major sell job at the end to set the stage for a potential rematch next year.

Match rating:  4/5
Story progression potential:  good

Match 7:  John Morrsion, Trish Stratus and Snooki over Dolph Zigglar and LayCool

So this match gets the palette cleanser spot leading to the main event.  Celebrities getting in the ring is always a bit controversial but this match served its purpose.  Snooki getting the win for the team was the right move as the goal is to get headlines.  The fact Snooki actually pulled of a jumping handspring corner elbow (???) and a cartwheel splash to pin (???) was unexpected but very awesome!  Give the girl props where it’s due!  Trish did a great job of taking care of LayCool single-handedly.  Sure it sucks for Morrison and Zigglar (two of 2K10 – 2K11’s huge breakout starts) to take a backseat and be an after thought to a reality show b-list celebrity and retired wrestler/temporary trainer but that’s how it goes sometimes

Match rating:  3/5
Story progression potential:  N/A (hopefully Snooki goes peacefully her way)

Match 8:  Miz over John Cena

The best part of this match was the promo videos bringing Miz and Cena out.  The Miz video package was, to quote a term, #awesome!!! as was the Cena package with the choir build up and “prayer” track going over it.  Truly get pieces of art from the production team.

That said, WWE continues the weird tradition of giving Cena an overproduced, out-of-nowhere entrance at Mania.  The car smashing through the glass?  Awesome!  The 100 Cena’s doing the “You Can’t See Me”?  Awesome!  The Chicago Mafia?  Eh…  This year’s choir, last year’s military drill team honor guard, and the marching band before that?  Lame.

Match itself was ho-hum standard Miz vs. Cena fare we see every week on Raw (sadly).

Screwjob double-count out at the end?  Oy.

Rock coming out to restart and then causing Cena the match?  Predictable but execution sucked.

I actually would’ve had out their at ringside throughout to add the “unpredictability” factor so you didn’t need that screwy double count out to cause a restart.  Rock could’ve been ringside and interfered at any point.  While a bit more predictable it’s waaaaaay better than a heat killing double count out screwy finish.

Rock’s beatdown of Miz at the end?  Predictable but fun.

Rock standing tall over two of WWE’s biggest stars to close the show?  Sends the crowd home happy for sure, but unless he’s coming back for an extended run WWE just killed the momentum of two of their biggest stars.  Not good business in my view…

Overall thoughts:

Show gets a C+ from me.  Matches on a whole were good but booking for Cole vs. Lawler, Cena vs. Miz, Edge vs. Del Rio and Corre vs. Smackdown Faces (basically half the card) leave me scratching my head.

Cole vs. Lawler booking was especially disappointing and lead to me to think WWE, at least on that count, is very out of touch with the fanbase.  Rock leaving WWE’s biggest face and heel laying at the biggest show of the year just does not do anything positive for the promotion unless the Great One were planning to come back on a regular basis (which is unlikely).  The Corre match was a travesty.  Edge vs. Del Rio seems to leave all three major players (Edge, Del Rio and Christian) in limbo with nothing to do Post-Mania.  The celebrity skits with Snoop Dogg and Pee Wee Herman did nothing to really add to the show and in the case of Herman SERIOUSLY detracted from the show leading.  Seriously, WWE cut Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for that lame crap and the extended King vs. Cole match.

Word is WWE is changing is name from World Wrestling Entertainment to just WWE so they’re no longer viewed as a “wrestling” company as they wish to be known purely as an “Entertainment” company.  With more focus on lame celebrity spots and less wrestling matches they’re well on their way there.  Sadly, they’re not quite as “entertaining” as they’d like to be.

Overall, decent to great matches but the booking sucked.

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions

The Miz (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship:  Miz retains via interference from the Rock.

 

Edge (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio:  Christian interferes to cause Edge the title.  Reason?  Christian has beaten Del Rio several times over the past few weeks and wants a shot at the title.  Christian turns tweener.

 

Undertaker vs. Triple H with “The Streak” on the line:  Shawn Michaels interferes to help Triple H but neither of them can put the Dead Man down.  Undertaker goes on to 19 – 0 and will RETIRE undefeated at 20 – 0.

 

Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Michael Cole (w/ Jack Swagger):  King KILLS Cole.  J.R. smacks Cole and Austin stuns and beer bathes his sorry ***.

 

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk:  Punk cheats to win

 

John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki vs. Dolph Zigglar and LayCool:  Snooki pins Layla to win for her team to earn her obscenely bloated pay check.

 

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes:  Rey wins here to get his revenge.

 

Sheamus (c) vs. Daniel Bryan for the U.S. Title:  Bryan regains the title here.

 

The Corre vs. Big Show, Kane, Santino and Kozlov:  Show, Kane, Santino and Kozlov put the Corre down.

 

2010 Wrestling Awards (a la RSPW)

Author’s Note:  The RSPW Awards were the Internet’s Oldest Awards running for 20 years  commemorating the Best and Worse in Professional Wrestling each year.  Sadly the awards were retired after the 2009 competition year.  Each year I would post my picks as submitted on the official RSPW Awards Ballot on my blogs.  You can check out my picks for 2008 here and for 2009 here.  For postings from earlier years you’ll need to dig through my old MySpace or Blogger blogs (to lazy to hunt and link it).  Not one to let traditions die (and because I just NEED to share my opinion) here are my picks for the Best and Worse of Wrestling in 2010 as based on the old RSPW ballot.

—-

Best Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the athlete who was the best overall wrestler of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability,  interviews, charisma, value to his/her promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Randy Orton
2nd:  John Cena
3rd:  The Miz and Chris Jericho (tie)

For my money 2010 was Orton’s year.  While John Cena may be the franchise of the WWE, Orton’s mega-face turn made him into a bona fide mega star (his pops rival that of Cena’s).  With hot feuds all year against all comers, a face title reign and thunderous chants of “RKO” in arenas across the country to boot 2010 was the Year of the Viper.

John Cena takes a close second.  When you’re the franchise of the promotion it’s difficult not to make the list.  Haters aside you cannot deny how indispensable Cena is to the E and with a white hot feud against Batista and Nexus topping the card throughout 2010 and Cena delivering the goods everything you can’t deny the man his due.

Miz and Jericho round out the Top 3 stars of the year.  Gold on the mic and impressive in the ring in all they did they definitely earn their place at the top of the wrestling world in 2K10.

Best Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the tag team who were the best overall team of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability, interviews, charisma, hot team moves, value to their promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin)
2nd:  Beer Money — James Storm and Robert Roode
3rd:   The Hart Dynasty — David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd

Hands down the Guns take this award.  Over the course of 2010 they had epics matches against Beer Money (one of the top feuds of the year for my money) and Generation Me.  The Best of Seven series between the Guns and Beer Money was one of the best things in wrestling all year going to show just what an asset tag wrestling CAN be to the business if only the promoters would invest in it.  When it came to tag wrestling in 2010 NO ONE did it better than the Guns and Beer Money.  I for one am very glad the Guns got their long overdue run at the top of the promotion.

On the E’s side the Harts take it by default.  With a thinner tag roster (Usos and Dude Busters anyone?) the Hart’s easily dominated the division for most of the year till the Nexus storyline picked up.  Sadly the team would dissolve at the end of the year but Smith and Kidd’s efforts easily put them up on the top of the E’s tag ranks for 2010.

Best Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person who was the best villain this past year. This person should bring out the fans’ wrath. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in the past year.

1st:  Wade Barrett
3. 2nd:  The Miz
3. 3rd:  Batista and Chris Jericho (tie)

For a man who started the year as a virtual unknown it’s a testament to both his ability and the booking that just about everyone in the business knows the name Wade Barrett at the close of 2010.  From easily winning NXT season one to leading the Nexus roughshod over the WWE roster for half of 2010, Wade Barrett was the name to know in 2010.  The man cuts excellent promos and more than hanged on his own in the ring against the franchise of the promotion.  Wade Barrett is your Best Heel of 2010.

The Miz takes the #2 spot for me.  Easily a highlight of just about any show he was on in 2010 the Miz put his prodigious mic work on display arousing the ire of any crowd.  Winning the MiTB match, espousing how AWESOME he was and teasing a cash in at any time Miz easily takes #2 in Best Heel for 2010.

Batista and Jericho round out the top 3 for me.  Batista, after a lackluster past few years as a “choking” face made a heel turn and seemed to be on a career renaissance turning in his best work in YEARS terrorizing Rey Mysterio and John Cena.  Had he stayed following his Mania stint he may have well dominated the card as the Top Heel.  Jericho, indispensable as ever, also turned in a solid performance all year long near the top of the Heel pecking order.

Best Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person who best portrayed the hero this past year. This person should get lots of fan support. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in
the past year.

1st:  John Cena
2nd:  Tommy Dreamer
3rd:  Jay Lethal

When it comes to babyfaces in the business there is none bigger than John Cena.  Love him or hate him he plays the role to a T delivering the goods at all times on the mic, in the ring and in public.  John Cena IS the WWE.

Tommy Dreamer takes my nod for the #2 spot for having played the babyface role effectively in TWO organizations this year.  First was his classy exit from ECW on his way out of the E as the Heart and Soul of ECW took his final bow on the stage he built.  Second was his debut with EV2.0 in TNA where he headed the band of extreme pioneers against the Fourtune roster.  Throughout both runs he showed the heart and dedication that won him so much respect from the fans over the years.

Finishing up in 3rd is Jay Lethal.  In a year at TNA that saw many Russoriffic turns and non-sensical bookings and aborted pushes Jay Lethal stands out as the SOLE nearly consistent push on the face side of things that didn’t descend into the realm of the idiotic.  From his epic feud with Flair to his run with the X Title Lethal could be contacted on, despite his lower placement on the card, to deliver week in and week out whenever he was on.  Consistency, what a concept!

Best Worker

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler with, on average, the best workrate. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall.  In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st: Kurt Angle
2nd: AJ Styles
3rd:  Chris Jericho

Kurt Angle’s quest to “earn” his way back to the top of TNA allowed him to showcase his awesome skills against the majority of the TNA roster as he ran the gauntlet of the Top 10.  No one defined the term work rate better than the Olympic Gold Medalist in 2010.

Despite the awkwardness of having gone from champ to chump in 2010 AJ Styles could ALWAYS be counted on to deliver in the ring from his epic New Year’s opening match against Angle to battles against RVD to winning the TV title, AJ still is the Phenomenal one.  Hopefully 2011 sees him back on top of TNA where he BELONGS.

Jericho rounds out the Top 3 showings the rest of the workers in the E how it’s supposed to be done.

Best Flyer

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who did the most and the best high-flying maneuvers throughout the year. In 1994, this award was split into two:  North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st: Evan Bourne
2nd: John Morrison
3rd: Motor City Machine Guns and Generation Me (tie)

They don’t call him “Air” Bourne for nothing!

From the first time we saw John Hennigan on Tough Enough Season 3 we knew he had the goods.  With his showcase feud against Sheamus and the parkour segment on Raw we definitely are seeing the potential making of a new break out star.  I definitely want to see more bad @$$ parkour inspired offense from the Shaman of Sexy in 2011!

On the TNA side of the house, I would gladly watch the Guns or the Bucks work each and every day of the week.

Best Technical Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who has the most technical ability. The number of holds and moves you see this person do and the crispness with which the moves are executed makes his/her matches a pleasure to watch. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  Douglas Williams
3rd:  Tyson Kidd

Daniel Bryan’s debut into the E in 2010 brought back some outstanding wrestling in its purest form to the ring which was such a refreshing change.  Here’s to more tapping in 2011.

In a land of has beens and damaged goods (in TNA Originals) Doug Williams and his run with the X Title was a breath of fresh air.  There’s no need for fancy aerial or flippy floppy moves when you can WRESTLE and nobody did that better than Williams.  Here’s to more Rolling Chaos in 2011.

Back in the E Tyson Kidd, for my money, is probably pound for pound the best worker the E has right alongside Daniel Bryan.  I’m glad he’s having a chance to showcase what he’s got in a solo heel run now.  Here’s hoping he’ll break out as a “Shawn Michaels” in 2011 on virtue of his ring work alone.

Best Brawler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who brawled his/her way through the year most convincingly. This award would go to Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish if he were still around. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st:  Sheamus
2nd:  Kane
3rd:  Abyss

Nobody kicked more @$$ and took more names in 2010 than did Sheamus.  From putting Triple H on the shelf to steam rolling the E’s roster en route to being crowned the “High King” of the WWE Sheamus pulverized everyone in 2010.

Kane got a much overdue and deserved push to the top of the Smackdown roster in 2010 DOMINATING the blue team.

Over in TNA the roster ran in fear of the maniacal Monster whose prophecies of “They” kept everyone frozen in fear of the Monster and his girl Janice — just ask RVD.

Most Favourite Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler you like the most, regardless of the reason.

1st:  Matt Hardy
2nd:  Chris Jericho
3rd:  The Miz

A large portion of Net laugh at the guy as a laughingstock of sorts, but I will always be an MFer 4 Life. I was very sad to hear Jericho decided to take another extended leave from the business.  On the plus side, there’s the Miz running on top the promotion now always delivering the AWESOME on the stick.

Most Improved Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who most improved himself/herself in all facets of the sport in the past year.

1st:  Miz
2nd:  John Morrison
3rd:  Santino Marella

It’s quite amazing how far the Miz has come over the years to where he is now.  It’s a true testament to the amount of hard work he’s put in.  When he first debuted a few years back folks (myself included, just read my ballots) derided him as a long mouth irritating punk.  Over the years he honed his mic skills, then his ring skills and now he’s put it all together into a solid package and is literally a highlight of any show he’s on.  I’ve given Miz this award for the past few years and I’m glad to see he’s achieved something most workers in the business never do — a run with the title.

John Morrison, whom many had pegged as the “Michaels” of Miz and Morrison, also made great strides this year mostly off the power of his ring work.  Hopefully the “Monday Night Delight” will have the chance to refine his mic skills and take his place alongside his former tag partner on top the promotion.

Santino rounds out the Top 3.  He’s long been the highlight of any show based on the strength of his comedic work.  I’m glad he’s also had a chance to showcase his in-ring skills with the reward of a tag title run in an “odd couple” pairing with Vladimir Kozlov.

Most Overrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who really has little talent, but has a large place in the spotlight nonetheless. This is a measure of how undeserved a wrestler’s push is.

1st:  N/A

N/A

Best Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the best character gimmick in the past year.

1st:  The Miz is AWESOME!!!
2nd:  Kurt Angle, greatest wrestler on the planet
3rd:  Alberto Del Rio, Mexican aristocrat

Miz telling people how awesome he is and backing it up?  That’s awesome!  Kurt Angle, wrestling machine?  Double awesome.  The best “characters” in wrestling really are just extensions of the real person.  As the late Chris Candido would say, “No gimmicks needed!!!”

Best Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is just the damn best thing you’ve seen this past year. This should probably be a “finishing” move or something really spectacular.

1st: Doug William’s Rolling Chaos Theory

That move is a BEAUTY to behold and sure looks like it would hurt like heck and put you down for the count.

Best Feud

Award Description:

To be given to the feud that gave us the most heated and best wrestling match(es) of the year. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1996, due to lack of participation on the non-NA side, it was recombined.

1st:  John Cena vs. Nexus
2nd:  Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money
3rd:  Alberto del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio

Cena vs. the Nexus dominated the E for over half the year with the Nexus storyline itself literally changing and flipping the world on its back for the E.  This is an easy pick for top feud of the year.  Over in TNA the Guns vs. Beer Money easily takes the top pick for feud of the year as it was one of the FEW consistently booked feuds in a promotion that seems to have ADD when it comes to pushing wrestlers and writing coherent storylines.  Two tag teams battle it out in a series of matches to see who is the best in the world.  That’s all you really need, no secret conspiracies or invasions or takeovers.  This is professional wrestling — two folks battling it out to see who’s the best is all you really need.

Worst Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the name tag team who were the worst overall wrestlers in the past year. Minimal technical ability, lousy interviews, non-existent workrate, the charisma of a rock, and lousy team moves should describe this pair.

1st:   N/A

Worst Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a bad guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no heel heat drawn or maybe the fans actually cheered this person, but for whatever reason the heel image just didn’t get over.

1st: Ted Dibiase

Initially starting the year off on the verge of a near face turn amidst the abuse of Randy Orton this guy plummeted to the bottom of the ocean being mired in the midcard the rest of the year.  Neither Dad’s belt, Virgil nor the services of the ultra hot Maryse could seem to rehab his heat.  Poor guy ends up jobbing to the ultra stale Golddust for a good portion of the year.  That’s too bad as Dibiase’s a decent worker with a good luck.  Hope they figure out something for him soon as it’d be sad to see this 3rd gen star (remember when the term was used as a badge of honor?) with the million dollar pedigree fail to make his mark.

Worst Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a good guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no face heat drawn or maybe the fans actually booed this person, but for whatever reason the face image just didn’t get over.

1st:  N/A

Most Deteriorated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose skill has deteriorated the most over the past year. This person should be a shadow of his/her former self.

1st: The Nasty Boys

Man, when they walked out on my TV on the first show of the year with Knobbs about 80 lbs heavier than we last saw him in 2001 and TNA actually started pushing them and having them win I was like, OMFG!  Thankfully they were canned shortly thereafter.  Thanks for the memories guys!

Most Underrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose ability merits a far greater push than the person receives. There may be many such people, but the winner of this award should have the most ability with least push.

1st:  Christopher Daniels
2nd:  Christian
3rd:  Matt Hardy

TNA’s burial of Christopher Daniels to me was just about inexcusable.  A TNA Original HOT off a championship feud with AJ Styles JOBS to a debuting Val Venis.  Val up and leaves the promotion shortly after.  Daniels gets lost in the shuffle of the over-bloated post-Hogan/Bischoff roster.  Thankfully it seems Daniels is having a career resurrection of sorts in ROH.  So sad the guy never got a run on top in the promotion he helped to build.

“Captain Charisma” unfortunately seems to be perennially lost in the shuffle especially now in a post-ECW WWE and it’s unlikely that’ll change as vets like him unlikely become used to “put over” the young bucks of the promotion.  (I forsee Christian jobbing to Drew McIntyre or Alberto Del Rio in the near future).

Hardy, my favorite, mercifully got put to pasture after years of neglect.

Worst Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the worst character gimmick in the past year.

1st: AJ Styes as Ric Flair 2K10
2nd:  LayCool (Michelle McCool and Layla El)

You have AJ Styles one of THE BEST wrestlers on the planet, beloved by just about everyone who has been the foundation of your company since almost Day 1 and the current World Champion.  What do you do?  You turn him into a Ric Flair wannabe to help him get “more over.”  The result?  The guy drops the World Title and becomes BURIED in the mid-card for the rest of the year.

LayCool?  I can’t tell you how much I just despise seeing them on my TV…

Worst Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is the worst thing you’ve seen this year. This shouldn’t be given to a move that was flubbed by a wrestler – the move was performed correctly, but was just too stupid for words. This move should probably be a “finishing” move or something that was meant to be spectacular.

1st: Santino Marella’s Cobra

Sure it pops the crowd and is fun to watch (I mark out!) but much like Scotty Too Hotty’s worm, John Cena’s Five Knuckle Shuffle and the People’s Elbow, this move is just too silly for words to ever work in real life.

Worst Match

Award Description:

To be given to the worst wrestling match you’ve seen this year, either live, on TV, PPV, or in an arena, or on tape. If it took place in the past year, it is eligible.

1st:  Nasty Boys wrestling on Impact

I loved watching these guys 20 years ago but to see them plod around on Impact was just pathetic…

Most Disappointing News item

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestling news item that most disappointed you when heard of it. When you first learned of this news story, you couldn’t believe that it was true, and when you learned that it was, you were bummed out for a while.

1st:   Shawn Michaels retires
2nd:  Daniel Bryan gets “future endeavored.”
3rd:   Chris Jericho decides to take a leave from wrestling again

Shawn Michaels retiring was decently sad news for this fan.  The guy may have been a total jerk in his younger days but he was a phenomenal guy to watch in the ring and I for one miss seeing him on my TV each week.

Daniel Bryan, after a stellar performance on NXT, being “future endeavored” after the Nexus faux paux incident definitely ranks high on the list of “bummer” news items for 2010.  All would be right again in the world when he was the guest partner for Team Cena.

Jericho deciding to head out on sabbatical again = less awesome on my TV each week

Most Obnoxious Personality

Award Description:

To be given to the person who just rubs you the wrong way. This could be anybody involved in the wrestling biz.

1st:   LayCool

Ugh…

Best Second

Award Description:

To be given to the manager who outperformed their peers at ringside and behind the microphone in interviews.  This award was discontinued after the 2001 awards and reinstated in 2006.

1st:   Ric Flair

Flair transitioning into the JJ Dillon and Bobby Heenan role = awesome

Best Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the most insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Jim Ross
2nd:  Matt Stryker

Sure, he only performed for one night only on the Old School Raw but those 8 minutes of J.R. was waaaaaaaay better than a full year of Michael Cole.

Best Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the most insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   Matt Striker
2nd:   Taz

Matt Striker’s totally awesome on commentary.  Much like Tazz or JBL, no one does it better than a guy who’s actually been in the ring.  He brings tons of credibility to the broadcast table.

Worst Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the least insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Michael Cole

The new “Voice of the WWE” kinda grates on you.  Sadly he’s on EACH AND EVERY SHOW and short of muting the TV there’s really nothing you can do.  Sure he’s only repeating the lines that he’s fed like a good soldier but there’s nothing overly entertaining or insightful about what he’s forced to say.  God I miss Good Ol’ J.R.

Worst Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the least insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   N/A

Best Interviewee

Award Description:

To be given to the person who gives the best interview in the biz. This could be a wrestler or a manager.

1st:   John Cena
2nd:   The Miz
3rd:   CM Punk and Chris Jericho (tie)

Cena, Miz, Punk and Jerico always bring the awesome on the mic.

Best Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the best angle you’ve seen in the sport this year.

1st:   Wade Barrett takes the NXT rookies, forms Nexus and run rough shod over the WWE
2nd:   Abyss wreaks havoc over TNA proclaiming “They” are coming
3rd:  Anonymous Raw GM makes matches and Michael Cole his “voice”
4th:  Tommy Dreamer and the ECW vets bring EV2.0 to TNA

2010 was the year of Nexus.  Nothing got the business buzzing more than when Wade Barrett and the NXT rookies banded together and DESTROYED the Raw set and John Cena.  They’d go on for the next several months running roughshod over the E.

The Raw Anonymous GM concept has been interesting.  At times it can be completely stupid but it’s developed Cole into an interesting character and the Anonymous concept solves the problem of “flaky talents” who’ve been given the authority role only to bail shortly after (ie – Bret Hart).  It gives the show the sense of continuity its been lacking in the authority figure role.
An equal phenomena occurred in TNA with Abyss running the TNA roster scared ranting and raving about how “They” were coming.  When Dreamer and the ECW Originals arrived many thought EV2.0 were “They.”  Ultimate FAIL as “They” turned out to be a swerving Hogan, Bischoff and Hardy.  Good set-up, poor execution.

Best Organization

Award Description:

To be given to the organization/promotion that has the best product. This is the organization whose TV and house shows you just can’t miss.

1st:  WWE
2nd:  TNA
3rd:  ROH

Best TV Show

Award Description:

To be given to what is on average the best wrestling TV show. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:  WWE Raw
2nd:  WWE Smackdown
3rd:  TNA Impact!

Best Major Show

Award Description:

To be given to the best major event. This could be a pay-per-view, a TV special, or any big arena event. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:   January 4, 2010 — Raw and Impact goes head to head

For one night it’s almost as if the past come back to life as America’s two biggest wrestling promotions went head-to-head live with star studded shows.  Impact brought out all the big guns with the announced returns of Hogan and Bischoff and surprise appearances by the debuting Jeff Hardy (+10 points), Shannon Moore, Val Venis (?), Orlando Jordan (??) and the Nasty Boys (-50 points).  Raw had the highly promoted return of Bret “Hitman” Hart to the WWE after 13 years.  It was a great night to be a wrestling fan.

Best Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the best move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   WWE bands together the NXT rookies into the monster heel stable Nexus
2nd:  TNA bands its top homegrown talent into a Horseman like stable Fourtune under Ric Flair
3rd:   WWE puts the title on The Miz

Nothing shook up the wrestling world more than when Wade Barrett and the Nexus destroyed the Raw set thus setting off the hottest angle of 2010 and jump starting what was becoming quickly a VERY stale product.  Simultaneously creating new stars, creating fresh match ups and jumpstarting business this was without a doubt the best move of 2010.

With its bloated roster and many stars quickly becoming lost in the shuffle, TNA’s formation of the Fourtune stable under Ric Flair quickly created a top heel faction and gave a tremendous rub to its homegrown stars now under the tutelage of the wrestling legend.

WWE’s end of year decision to put the title on the Miz, ultimately, was a great decision.  It may have been a few months earlier than this armchair booker probably would have done it but it was the right call.  Miz, as a top heel, is just what the show needed.  Wrestling is always much more interesting when a heel is on top as you WANT to see a face, any over face, knock him off his perch.  Miz has a ton of main stream media credibility and is a good choice as a “face” for the company.  With a clean image he’s not bound to be someone who would embarrass your company on top (like some OTHER promotion’s champion that we know of) and as a prior TV star before getting into wrestling he’s someone who can easily make the promotional rounds (as can be seen).  Finally, as a “cowardly heel” champion he is someone people will PAY GOOD MONEY TO SEE BEAT which as a wrestling promoter is the name of the game.  As a non-monster champion you can believe just about anyone on the roster can pin the Miz and folks will come out to see someone, anyone, shut his mouth.  It worked wonders for workers like Ric Flair in the old NWA and the Honky Tonk Man as IC Champ in the old WWF.  Miz as champ is a GOOD thing.

Worst Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the worst angle you’ve seen in the sport this year. It may be the worst because of taste or because of execution.

1st:   Burial of EV2.0

Many criticized the push EV2.0 got at the expense of the TNA Roster leading up to Hardcore Justice.  I’m on the fence on that.  I would agree that it probably is a better long-term investment to push YOUR OWN STARS and not a group of has beens but TNA in there infinite wisdom decided to do so.  That’s fine.

Still, if you do something do it all the way.

TNA runs Hardcore Justice, pulls off, by all reports, a great show and has a ton of good will for the former ECW stars.  You could capitalize off this goodwill and get a few more miles out of these guys for additional angles and PPVs but instead TNA decides to slowly humiliate and job out each and every one of these guys.  Why even bother going through with the angle to begin with if you don’t intend to milk it for everything it’s worth???  TNA could have easily used some of these guys for several months worth of stories and feuds.

Worst Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the worst move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   Jeff Hardy, TNA Champion
2nd:  EV2.0

For all the reasons making Miz the WWE Champ is a great idea the converse are all the reasons to NOT make Jeff Hardy your TNA champion.   Jeff Hardy was HIRED by TNA right off the heels of an arrest and drug charges.  He was damaged goods coming in and had a history of being a complete flake.  Does he pop the crowd?  Definitely.  Can he put on great matches?  When motivated, absolutely.  Is he someone you want as the FACE OF YOUR COMPANY????  Absolutely not!  Jeff is crowned champion in what turns out to be the company’s (convoluted, moronic) top angle of the year and lo and behold, Jeff’s legal woes lead to him pleading guilty as the champion and face of the company.  TNA Wrestling — we are stupid!

As for the EV2.0 debacle, I covered that enough in the previous section.


Other Awards:

BEST THEME MUSIC
1.  “Also Sprauch Zarathustra (TNA remix)” — Ric Flair — guitar intro for the opening strings?  EPIC!

BEST PROMOS

1.  Roddy Piper’s “do the right thing” promo to John Cena on “Old School” Raw
2.  John Cena’s “retirement speech” on Raw
3.  Jay Lethal and Ric Flair, “dueling Flairs” promo on Impact