My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Friday, January 12, 2007

Best & Worst of 2006

Since I haven't watched all the big Japanese shows of 2006, this will only be limited to North American pro-wrestling, WWE and TNA in particular since I don't watch a lot of the indie stuff and what I do have is also severely backlogged.

WWE Wrestler of the Year: John Cena
- Let's face it, if the crowds didn't boo him all the time, would he have to force himself on us all the time with those childish poo-poo joke promos? Why is this guy getting booed anyway? Do fans really think he has no talent, or is it because it's cool to do it like when they chant "You Suck!" at Kurt Angle when we all know he's a wrestling machine? Looks past Cena's gimmick and everything he does OUT of the ring, and concentrate on what he does IN the ring, and he's really a very competant worker in there. The only gripe I have with him is that for the love of God he really needs to learn how to apply an STF properly.

TNA Wrestler of the Year: Samoa Joe
- This was the year TNA put Joe over in a big way with high-profile matches away from the X-Division and into the main event scene, showing that he could hang and go toe-to-toe with men his size and not just X-Division cruiserweights he could out-muscle and toss around.

WWE Breakout Star of the Year: CM Punk
- He got himself over the old fashioned way: build up a fan following on the independant circuit and take them with you to the big time, and continue to work your ass off to live up to the hype. So of course once he gets the biggest pops in the ring when standing next to the likes of HHH & HBK, WWE decided to pull the rug out from under him. WWE better be careful, cause Punk is the one new face they've build all year that the fans really get behind and it would be a travesty to bury him when he could be making tons of money for them.

TNA Breakout Star of the Year: Hernandez
I don't watch a lot of TNA TV, but from what I've seen from Hernandez has really impressed me. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's almost inhuman some of the things this big man can do in there. I'm not sure how he'd fare as a singles wrestler, but there are definately some possibilities for high profile feuds with the likes of Abyss and Samoa Joe in the heavyweight division. A world title shot on IMPACT! wouldn't even be a bad idea.

WWE Match of the Year: 4-Way WWE Tag Title Ladder Match from Armageddon 2006.
- Every year there's this one match from WWE that stands up above the rest, and this year it had to come on the very last PPV of the year and it was a special bonus match at that. Imagine the numbers it could have helped draw if they had actually advertised it? Despite the horrible injury suffered by Joey Mercury half-way through the match, the remaining men in the match still had their time to shine. London & Kendrick got a major rub from winning this one, and hopefully, WWE finally takes notice of their talents and not just as two small guys that can bump their asses off for the musclehead heavyweights.

TNA Match of the Year: Six Sides of Steel NWA Tag Title Match from Bound For Glory 2006
- The Latin American Exchange and the team of AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels work really well together and every match they had against each other was very entertaining, but this was hands down the best match in the series they had against each other. All four men gave it all they had and then some (Hernandez's insane dive off the cage!). I didn't even mind the small role Konnan had in helping his team in winning this one.

Singles Match of the Year: Samoa Joe VS Scott Steiner - TNA Slammiversary 2006
I've seen a lot of good singles matches where titles were on the line and what not, but this one just really stands out for me. You can sing the praises of Joe/Angle all you want, but I thought those were boring since all they try to do is make each other tap. And a lot of the big singles matches in WWE revolved around John Cena, but those were mostly by the numbers booked matches. In this match on the other hand, you had the young rising star looking to punk out the established big name in Steiner, and the two went at it tooth and nail like Godzilla VS King Kong.

Performance of a Lifetime: The Big Show
Everyone groaned when Big Show won the ECW world title, but a new found respect was gained by the big man not long after as he defended the title against all comers for weeks and tooks the bumps and bruises necessary to truly be accepted as "hardcore". Did anyone seriously ever thought we'd see the day that Big Show and Ric Flair would be involved in a brutal title match on ECW TV that involved bumps in THUMBTACKS? Or all the other times Show bumped himself off despite all the injuries he was piling up that eventually lead to his "retirement"? I have ZERO respect for Bobby Lashley as ECW champion until he does something even remotely as extreme as what Show had done instead of being just being another jacked up body.

He Needs to Retire Already: Ric Flair
Ric Flair needs to retire already. He's 59 this year! Sure he can still go in the ring when needed, but is he really needed to? He should be kept on the sidelines and not active in ring duty so that his actual matches mean something more than just jobbing out every other week. Heck, doesn't RAW need a new GM?

One final note I'd like to add, the whole year I've heard the praises sang to TNA and how they are pro-wrestling and the alternate product to WWE. WWE might come up with some of the dumbest, most intellectually insulting storylines for their wrestlers, but that's where they usually leave it, at the storylines. TNA on the other hand seem to enjoy trying to top itself with the some of the worst booked match finishes they can think up on PPV. When they hit the ring, they need to leave the story there and let the guys work their magic. Quit with the overbooked finishes and just let it be the pro-wrestling alternative they keep claiming to be.

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