Hey boys and girls! Merry belated Christmas!
I’m back. Did you miss me? Well even if you didn’t (though I know you did), i’m back with something to discuss. 2010 is coming to an end, and 2011 is right around the corner. Usually around this time most websites, shows, and other forms of media make a “best of” or “worst of” for whatever it is they talk about. Me? I don’t do that. I like to try and be different from the rest. Just when you think you’ve figured me out, I pull something different out of my ass. I’m like the Roddy Piper of the “interwebs”.
So what am I gonna do? I’m gonna LEARN a thing or two. Because knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle. G.I. JOOOOOOOE!
ANYway, this is going to be a list of things that I’ve learned about wrestling in general from 2010. It could be about WWE, TNA, ROH, or any other form of wrestling I’ve looked at this year, so you’re in for a variety pack this week. Now to be fair I may not get to discuss EVERYTHING that happened, I mean there’s a lot to cover in 362 days.
Alright folks, deep breath. Let’s do this!
[BRAIN FARTS PROUDLY PRESENTS: THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM WRESTLING IN 2010!]
NECKTIES ARE LETHAL: June 11th, 2010. The necktie incident. Say that to any WWE fans and they’ll tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news. Much like The Montreal Screwjob, the wrestling world was in chaos that day. Theories and dirtsheet rumors were thrown left and right, people cried, people got angry, and the name Daniel Bryan was bigger than ever before. For those of you unaware of the necktie incident, it happened during a May 31st episode of Monday Night Raw in a storyline angle that involved the debut of The Nexus as they attacked John Cena and destroyed the WWE ring. During the diabolical dismantling, Daniel Bryan took it upon himself to take out WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts and strangle him with his own neck tie. It was brutal to see, and to be honest, pretty damn cool. But as a result, some people higher up on the programming pole believed that the image was “too violent” to be shown on a PG rated show, and as a result Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson) was released from his contract on June 11. Some believed that Daniel Bryan would never return to WWE, but he proved the naysayers wrong when he came back in August to compete at SummerSlam, and has since gone on to entertain us every Monday night. I love happy endings. They just get me all choked up.
HULKAMANIA IS LIMPING MILD: Love him, hate him, or be indifferent to him, but you have to admit that Hulk Hogan is, and probably always will be, the biggest name in wrestling. Now does that mean he should be on my television set every Thursday night? Hell no! Now look, I get who he is and what he means to a lot of people. Hulk Hogan was one of my favorite wrestlers growing up. He represented part of my childhood, and it hurts me to see him go through a lot of rough shit the past couple years, but that still doesn’t excuse him from smothering the camera and forcing himself into every storyline in TNA. Hogan made his TNA debut on January 4th, so he has pretty much spent ALL of this year being in TNA’s headlines, and even had a couple wrestling matches that were sub par at best. I know that Hogan wants to be as immortal as his nickname implies, but he is a human being, and all human beings have limits…except Ric Flair. I’m starting to think that man’s superhuman, But I digress. When there was first talk of Hogan and Bishoff joining TNA and changing things forever, I thought they would do the right thing and help the young guys, and even the veterans, become household names. I wanted them to practiced what they preached, but instead they focused on themselves and put guys who were already famous back in the spotlight. Meanwhile, the guys looking to make a name for themselves got little to no worthwhile time, and it was apparent that both Hogan and Bishoff were looking to remake WCW, and more specifically, the NWO. There were storylines that only the oldest of marks would ever understand, and heel and face turns were at an all time high. It was confusing, it was hard to watch, and even now it’s a chore to watch TNA Impact the way it is. But deep in my heart I will always love Hogan, and whenever I hear that he has back surgery I secretly wish him all the best. But I also wish he stayed the hell away from the ring.
THE HONOR CAN LIVE ON: Ring Of Honor not only continued to press on in 2010, it grew and evolved into a bigger and better show than ever before. 2009 was when HDNet starting showing ROH on television, but I think that 2010 is the year that ROH used that to their advantage and has grown as a company. You can always expect the finest wrestling at any Ring Of Honor show, but sometimes the storylines were…meh. Not that they were bad, I mean at least they didn’t involve kidnapping the father of a psychopath and holding him hostage for weeks, but they weren’t the best. This year however, Ring of Honor’s change in booking has resulted in a ton of improvement in the content of the story, and I found myself wanting to watch the next ROH episode much like I would a network TV sitcom. One of the major faults I saw in 2009 was the excessive amount of run-ins and endings to main event matches that were indecisive. This year was a lot better, and there were more clean finishes that, to me, are what make ROH so much better than other wrestling companies. In addition to all that, we got the returns of Christopher Daniels and Homicide to ROH. TNA dropped the ball when they lost these two, and ROH was there to pick them up and use them to their advantage. Now they have Daniels as Television champion (a new title for ROH which made its debut this year) and Homicide as a contender for Roderick Strong’s World title heading into the new year.I can’t wait to see more from them. And is it safe to say that this was Eddie Edward’s year? He wins the HDNet tournament to become the first TV champion, and then earns a World Title opportunity by winning Survival of the Fittest. After going through surgery for his elbow late last year and losing the tag titles to the Briscoe Brothers, I feared the worst. But boy am I glad to be wrong. I’m so happy to see Eddie step out the tag team picture long enough to show everyone just how talented he is by himself.I got nothing against Davey Richards or anything, but i’m keeping my fingers crossed for an Eddie Edwards world title run. But as I was saying, Ring of Honor is getting bigger, getting more fans, and making a real name for itself. I expect more of this in 2011.
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW (kinda): Is it just me, or did it seem like this year, more than any other, tried to bring back the days of old instead of presenting new material? Not that it’s a bad thing, but if televised wrestling is all about progression, why are we taking steps backwards? You all know how I felt about Hogan and TNA programming, but WWE is also to blame for this, and I believe the source of this need for nostalgia came from Bret Hart’s return to WWE television on January 4th. When he and Shawn Michaels stood in the ring, shook hands and hugged, time literally stood still for a second. The fans loved it, the wrestlers in the back must have loved it, and Vince, being the professional businessman that he is, saw dollar bills. That’s why, as a result of this unlikely meeting, we got to witness Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26. That’s why Bret continued to be used in storylines until one week he was written out of the picture. I know that i’m repeating myself, but I love Bret Hart. He was another one of my favorite wrestlers and he too was part of my childhood. When he wrestled it was like watching a story come to life. But after January 4th, I didn’t want to see Bret “wrestle” anymore. It wasn’t even wrestling, it was just standing in a ring and punching. I think I saw him do a body slam once, but it wasn’t the same. They even had the nerve to have him beat The Miz for the U.S. title. Every match he had involved other people for a dirty finish, or was just stopped due to interference. It didn’t make him look good, and I felt bad that he was used like that. On the other side of the spectrum, Shawn Michaels went on to have an amazing match with The Undertaker to cap off one of the best, and perhaps most controversial, careers in professional wrestling. Even though I saw it coming a mile away I still couldn’t stop myself from feeling sick to my stomach over the fact that Shawn would never wrestle again. But i’m also happy that he’s done and that he can be with his friend and family. I’m especially glad that he’s going to work with WWE in the future, and even if it’s not wrestling, there’s still a chance that I’ll get to see his goofy grin one more time, and that feels good. It’s not just the wrestlers who are getting old though. It’s the storylines as well. Taker/Kane part 172 took place, as well as the formation of The Nexus which, let’s face it, is about as NWO are we’re going to get in the PG era. Cena’s still overcoming the odds, Randy Orton’s still hearing voices in his head, and Hornswoggle is STILL beating up Chavo Guerrero aka The Swagger Soaring Eagle. Sorry if I blew your mind. It’s just another case of old being new.
NXT? NOT FOR ME: When I first watched WWE NXT, I was excited. It was soemthing new, something that would promote the development of NEW wrestlers via wrestling matches, and the idea of having them work with WWE pros like Chris Jericho and The Miz was, to quote the latter, “AWWWWWWSOME!” But then it turned out to NOT be quite so “AWWWWWWSOME!”when the wrestling portions were being replaced with advertisements for the other shows, and…obstacle courses. And trivia challenges. And promo contests. And French kissing a fat woman. And dancing in a tutu. Okay, maybe that last one never happened, but it COULD have! And nobody would have been surprised. Once again entertainment took over actual wrestling, and once the fans realized what they saw, they ran off. So many ran off, in fact, that WWE was forced to pull NXT from television and place it on the “interwebs”. Then they made an all Diva edition of NXT. Then the wrestling got bad…REALLY bad. But to be fair, NXT did some good things. We got Daniel Bryan out of it who, let’s be honest, didn’t NEED NXT, but it helped him get into the WWE, so yay for that. We also got Wade Barrett, but one look at him and you KNEW he was going to headline at some point. Uhh…we got The Nexus. But that got old quick. We got Kaval aka Low-Ki…but he was just released. We got Husky Harris and Michael Magil-magilicu-mcgilu–JOE HENNIG damn it, but they’re just more Nexus. We got Kaitlyn. Yeah, I think i’ll stop here. But I hear Conan O’Brian’s on Season 4, so I can’t wait to watch CoCo wrestle!
WRESTLERS CAN BE TWITS: We live in an age of speed. Everything has to be fast, everything needs to be connected instantly, and we have to tell everyone what we’re doing and thinking 24/7. Welcome Twitter, the best/worst thing to ever happen in human history, depending on your perspective. Everyone’s on the thing, so we’re now able to know what everyone is thinking about everyone else. Know what happens when you apply this concept to drunk and angry wrestlers looking to vent their frustrations? Chaos. Pure and utter chaos. Entertaining chaos, but chaos nonetheless. It seems like every wrestler is getting on twitter, and they all have opinions to share about other wrestlers or other promoters. I know that kayfabe is a dead idea, but I really do miss the days when everyone stayed in character and wrestling was made to sound real. What broke my heart was a tweet that Melina posted not too long ago when, after slapping Natalya Neidhart on TV, replied to fan outcry with this:
“U guys r all great. U crack me up. This will b fun. 4 the 5 people who believe what they see on the show is real, don’t trip sweeties. I’m gonna goof on Twitter to joke but know that I’m still me & I’m not my character on tv.”
-Melina Perez, 1:53 PM Dec 21st
Now I love Melina. She was part of my childhood, and when she wrestled it–oh wait, sorry. What I meant to say was that she’s one of my favorite female wrestlers on television right now. She’s got the sex appeal, she’s got the moves, and she knows how to talk on the mic. All great stuff. But this admission of being in character on Twitter is unsettling to say the least. How am I supposed to emote to a storyline when the characters openly admit that it’s not real? It’s like if Matt Damon twittered after The Departed came out,
“u guys r great. ur all so funny. 4 people who think i died at teh end, don’t trip. i’m an actor and im not my character in the movie.”
We know it’s not real. But don’t TELL us that. Let the magic last a little bit before it gets erased for good. This is why I think Twitter is no good for wrestlers. If they want to use Twitter, they should at least ATTEMPT to stay in character, or at least not admit it’s not real. Don’t worry about what all the fans think, you’re not gonna please them all. Just some food for thought.
So there you go. Those are just SOME of the many thing I’ve learned this year. How about you guys? What did you learn from wrestling this year? Tell me all the good, bad, and downright ugly moments that stand out in your mind.Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree or disagree with my picks, or if you just wanna wish me a Happy New Year. It’s nice to be nice to the nice.
And with that, I wish you all Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and here’s hoping that big things will happen in 2011!