The Wrestling Genius: 2010 and My Love of Lists
Well 2010 is coming to a close and it has been a pretty up and down year in sports for yours truly. I couldn’t have thought of a worse year to be a Vikings fan. Last January I watched in horror as my dream of watching my favorite team make the super bowl went down faster than the Hindenburg and just as tragically. However things got better when I got to see the Lakers beat the Celtics in 7 games. I mean it doesn’t compare to the Vikings winning but hey you have to give me something don’t you? The Twins went down faster than Lindsay Lohan when she sees blow against the Yankees, but then again that wasn’t much of a surprise. No it hasn’t been a great year in sports for me.
Like everyone else this time of year I’m going to cop out and do an end of the year review for you guys. Trust me I think it’s pretty entertaining so don’t just pass on it because it is what everyone else is doing. Come on there is a lot of peer pressure to do these things; I want to be one of the cool kids. Okay without further ado my end of the year review
Top 3 best feuds of 2010
3. Sheamus vs. HHH
This was pretty good feud before the Celtic Warrior ‘ended’ HHH’s storied career; that’s when it became awesome. Nothing like two power houses slugging away at each other. HHH sold pretty well for the young man from Ireland and really put him over. Which is all you really want from a feud between an established super star and an up and comer. If HHH had opted to make Sheamus look weak and have him win in weak ways Sheamus would have lost all credibility with the fans. Now I know this seems like a simple concept but it doesn’t always happen this way. Just go see old footage of WCW to see a feud like this done poorly. Sheamus attacking HHH when he was giving his farewell address to Shawn Michaels put a lot of heat on the Celtic Warrior and he parlayed that into more heat by ‘retiring’ HHH at Extreme Rules in a pretty good beat down. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen HHH take that kind of beating or look that weak. It takes a veterans understanding to know when you are an established enough star that it’s okay to look weak for someone else. I’m confident the King of Kings will be back in 2011 and just as dominating as before.
2. Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
I don’t think you could have asked for a better in ring feud in 2010. Two of the best wrestlers in the business with contrasting styles; both could probably wrestle for two hours and you wouldn’t know it by looking at them. Kurt Angle makes everyone he wrestles look better, and ditto for AJ Styles so these two being in the ring at the same time was pure gold. They had two five star matches and a few close to five star matches. The reason this one didn’t jump any higher was the story line was kind of weak for me. For a feud to jump up my list it has to have a tinge of a personal story or vendetta behind it. This was just two amazing wrestlers trying to one up each other; which is fine but it’s only good for the number two post on the list.
1. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
As if you didn’t see this coming I’ve only named it the greatest feud/match of all time in a few of my columns, but I want to revisit it one last time. You had two aging warriors putting their very souls into a story angle. It started with Shawn Michaels’ obsession to reface the Undertaker at Wrestlemania; which was a spot on performance by Michaels. Shawn’s crazy maniacal obsession finally got to The Taker when he cost him the title in an awesome twist in the Elimination Chamber. These two cared on a feud over a three month span without actually ever facing each other in a match in that time frame. Finally when the two met it was nothing short of amazing; no amazing isn’t the word to describe that match. I’ve never been on the edge of my seat for a wrestling match like I was for that match. I knew that Michaels was going to lose, yet the match was done so well, and Michaels is so great I actually believed he might pull it out. That is what those two did to a long time cynic like me; they made me back into a kid. They made me watch with wonder in my eyes at what can only be described as the greatest wrestling match of all time. I worry that nothing will ever compare to it; it was the Mona Lisa of wrestling.
Honorable Mention: Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Guns
The 3 Worst storylines of the year
3. TNA downplaying head injuries
This one just came up recently but it has jumped up my list as the worst idea anyone has done in a long. In the age we live in, in a time we know so much more about head injuries, and in a business where guys like Dynamite Kid, Chris Benoit, and countless others had their lives altered by head injuries TNA has put it upon themselves to make a story line out of not caring about head injuries. Are you serious? I get that Mr. Anderson is over the concussion he suffered over a month ago and that now he’s ‘faking’ the injury but that isn’t the point. The point is Eric Bischoff and the creative team have decided “Hey let’s take something serious that is plaguing almost every retired wrestler and make a storyline out of it and down play its seriousness. Mick Foley came out after not being on television for months to add his real two cents into the mix. He gave another great heartfelt Foley promo and Eric Bischoff being Eric Bischoff brushed him off and completely wasted a great Mick Foley promo and essentially made it pointless for Mick to even come out. Look I’m fine with taking creative licensing, and pushing the envelope, but not about certain things. This is far too serious an issue to create into a storyline and make money off of. Not when I’ve seen what serious head injuries have done to people; I saw Dynamite Kid in a wheelchair barely able to talk. Many believe all the headshots Benoit took are the reason he did what he did.
2. TNA and They
I thought They might be something cool and original, but it was not to be so it was as I feared it might be the same crap we saw in WCW with Bischoff and Hogan. Let’s take two huge factions like Fortune and Immortal jam them together and have them run the roost ala NWO. Well this isn’t 1998, and quite frankly I don’t want to see you ever week running the show Bischoff and Hogan. I don’t care to see you control everything with only one or two people to oppose you. I really hope they come to realize this is a bad idea and split Fortune and Immortal up before history repeats itself and the whole company goes down like WCW. You can’t have a show of 20 wrestlers (only counting the ones we see every week consistently) and have over half of them in the same faction. Again they learned nothing from running WCW and it is clear Bischoff learned nothing from his time in WWE. He can say he’s not part of the creative team and that it is all Vince Russo and others but I find that hard to believe considering Bischoff’s son is the young referee who keeps finding himself in major storylines. Even splitting up Fortune and Immortal will probably just turn into Wolfpack vs. Hollywood and it would end up hurting the brand anyway. Also having Jeff Hardy be the head of your group when he’s going through a lot of legal trouble and really doesn’t seem to be giving his all is not a great idea.
1. WWE and Nexus
Again if anyone has read my columns they know my hatred, my absolute loathing of The Nexus. This storyline is like Jason Voorhees the thing just won’t die, but unlike the Friday the 13th movies there isn’t any random nudity or sweet machete kills. There is nothing about this angle I like, and the fact that now CM Punk is part of or the head of Nexus just makes me hate it more. They continue to ruin match after match and with little to no upside to their attacks. It just drags on and on and on until I just want to throw my remote through my tv. More than once my wife has looked up from her book to roll her eyes at me and mutter something about me taking it “too seriously” before going back to her book or magazine. Nexus doesn’t have a single viable star as far as I can see outside of Wade Barrett and now CM Punk. Not a one of them has shown me anything to think otherwise. They have been around for months and I haven’t seen Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, Husky Harris, or Michal Mcgillicutty improve or impress me once. They can’t possibly become viable stars in the WWE so long as all we get to see is them attacking John Cena every week and only hit their finishers. This is just a terrible idea and the WWE creative team won’t give up on it, and my guess is that’s because sometimes Vince McMahon doesn’t know when to give up on a terrible idea. Also I just want to point out that I think it is ridiculous that Heath Slater has a WWE contract and Kaval no longer does. Great work WWE creative team you can give the tag belts to two of the worst in ring performers of all time but you can’t find an idea or a spot for one of the top 20 in ring performers in the world? Are you serious?
Honorable Mention: Vladimir Kozlov and Santino Marella as the WWE Unified Tag Team Champions
Top 3 Matches of the Year that were not Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
3. Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair on Impact
Now if you were looking for technical prowess or good old fashion matt wrestling then you certainly wouldn’t have put this high on your list. If you were looking for an emotional, brutal, breathtaking match between two legends giving it there all, then this match was right up your proverbial alley. These two guys set the whole Impact Zone on fire for one night; I doubt you’ll ever see two men at their ages doing what these two did. It really looked like these two wanted to hurt each other, and why not they both dislike each other in real life. Both have said terrible things about the other and quite frankly both were a little right about the other. For one night we saw the Old Mick Foley again it was awesome to see. This type of match is what I feel is missing from the WWE’s PG era. While I feel TNA does it too often and it sort of lessons its impact but on this night a little bloodletting was exactly what this twenty year feud needed. My hats off to Spike and TNA for putting this on television for free and not making people pay for it because it certainly was a pay-per-view quality match.
2. Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne Fatal Four Way
This one may surprise some but this match was my WWE match of the year other than Streak vs. Career. This one came out of left field proved to me that Chris Jericho may be right when he says “I’m the best at what I do”. This match had several false finishes and actually had me surprised by the number of finishers both were willing the other to take and kick out of. It was a roller coaster of a match the likes we usually don’t get to see in the WWE. The WWE can at times bury great young talent, but then you get matches like this one where it was clear they were having Jericho try and ‘make’ Evan Bourne. Jericho is one of the few wrestlers in the business who seems to go out of his way to make others look great, and he went above and beyond with Evan Bourne. Bourne for his part was just as spectacular and seemed to relish the moment he was having with Chris Jericho. Again very rarely do we get to see a veteran put over a young talent like this and I relish the opportunity to see it done. Both are now not active one due to injury the other is ‘retired’ for the time being, but when they clashed it was must see television.
1. Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles Hard Justice
This would have been match of the year had Michaels and Taker not already cemented that title earlier in the year. You could easily pick any match from these two and put it in the top three matches of the year but this match stood out to me as the best. Don’t get me wrong their match at Genesis was amazing as well but I just preferred this match and I’ll go into why I think this was the best match between the two. It was as physically exhausting as a match could possibly be. There is something about Kurt Angle that when he steps between the ropes he can make anyone look great, and when you put him with a transcendent star like Styles amazing things happen. No one sells moves better than AJ Styles, and no one delivers more picture perfect moves than Kurt Angle. This particular match I will always remember for the amount of punishment the two took without having to use blood to sell how brutal the action was. Also nothing beats the reversal Styles hit on Angle to win the match; if you haven’t seen that move check it out on youtube it truly is one of the best finishes I’ve ever seen.
Honorable mention: Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan that was a great match and a possible peak into the future of the WWE.
A few quick lists of non-wrestling things I enjoyed this year:
Top 3 movies of 2010
3. The Town: Best heist movie in years and you can’t go wrong with a cast that has John Hamm and Jeremy Renner.
2. Despicable Me: Absolutely one of the funniest kid’s movies I’ve ever seen. My whole family enjoyed it and Jason Segel was awesome.
1. Inception: As groundbreaking as the first Matrix. You can’t fail pairing one of the best directors/writers in Christopher Nolan and the best actor of his generation Leonardo Dicaprio. Absolutely the most orginal, creative, entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Honorable mention: True Grit and The Fighter
Top 3 Best new television shows
3. Nick Swardson Pretend Time: I enjoy a show that is so out there and so ridiculous your either left laughing or completely appalled, and trust me I was both; usually both at the same.
2. Boardwalk Empire: Amazing scenery, powerful acting, and a thrilling story. I love almost any gangster movie, tv show, or book so this one was right in my wheelhouse. You should see it if only for Steve Buscemi’s outstanding performance.
1. The Walking Dead: The grittiest television show I’ve ever seen. This show pulls no punches and the story telling is second to none. I’d put this as my favorite show on television if it wasn’t for Sons of Anarchy. AMC can’t go wrong in my book; I mean they already gave us Mad Men and Breaking Bad two spectacular shows. I highly recommend The Walking Dead but only if you aren’t squeamish like I said very gritty and very brutal.
Well there you have it my 2010 review I hope you enjoyed it. Please stay safe this New Years Eve and have fun I know I will. You can email me any thoughts, comments, concerns, or hate you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wrestling Genius Jared Gebhardt