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OO YEAR END EXTRAVAGANZA    
Hocking's Best and Worst of 2005   

January 6, 2006

by Matt Hocking    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

As a humor columnist, I really tend to believe that what I say about the state of professional wrestling, or wrestlers, or Canadian Bulldogs could interest you in the least. If it’s not funny, does it really matter what I have to say at this point? Yes, I watch all the shows, yes I watch RAW and Smackdown and iMPACT! and the occasional shitty local Indy or Internet Heat and/or Velocity when the mood strikes me. But certainly you don’t need ME to tell you what went right or wrong in the world of wrestling this year. You all (well, most of you) (Ok, I wasn’t going to say it, but SOME of you) have your own little things that get you off about the business or else you wouldn’t be here now, reading this.
 
 
But alas and alack, my logic has slapped me in the face once again. Obviously you DO care to hear me babble about the vague shittyness of 2005, else you wouldn’t have come in here and clicked on the “Matt Babbles about the Vague Shittyness of 2005” link now would you? I guess there’s no talking my way out of writing this column….

 
THE VERY BEST OF 2005

BEST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Shawn Michaels
1st Runner-Up:
Batista
2nd Runner-Up: Christian

Comments:

For a guy to win wrestler of the year, he (or she) needs to be able to do two things: Tell a story on the mic, and tell a story in the ring. I’ve always been attracted to the story element of wrestling far more than the pure athletics of it, but a guy has to have to total package to be “The Best.“ Unfortunately, I didn’t see any Lex Lugar matches this year. Thankfully, even with my limited set of criteria, this eliminates just about everybody in the business. You’ve got plenty of guys who can’t talk but can put on a good show (Benoit, Styles), you’ve got plenty of guys who can talk but can’t wrestle for shit (Hassan, Cena), and you’ve got guys who can’t really do either very well at all (Snitsky, Masters). Even so, finding three guys who I could talk about was difficult, mostly because there were a lot of guys who did well, but almost none that really stood out.

My top selection, Shawn Michaels, however, did a number of incredible things this year, not the least of which was having good to decent matches with just about the entire RAW Roster. He worked with everybody from Edge to Angle to Benjamin to Masters to Snitsky this year and had good showings with every single one of them, not to mention his absolutely heroic showing against Hogan at Summerslam. Not only that, though, Shawn came through with some of the best promo work of the year, including being the best heel of 2005, for all of a week.

Batista really picked up his A-Game at the start of the year, and brought about an amazing transition from a bad-ass enforcer type heel, to a bad-ass face that could legitimately stand on his own against just about anybody. Starting this year at the Royal Rumble, Dave morphed from a decent power wrestler/background muscle character, to the most legitimately engaging face on RAW and then, the cornerstone of Smackdown. If not for his age and injuries, he could be the guy that WWE needs to carry them into the future.

Christian had maybe one of the weirdest years in wrestling ever. He crawled his way into the main event picture at the beginning of the year, and seemingly was poised to be a WWE main eventer for the long haul, and by the end of the year, his push had been derailed, and he was off working for the competition. Be that as it may, he had some good matches this year, and it was clearly his best year of mic work, but one tends to wonder whether or not he can sustain his momentum in TNA, or whether he will get lost in the shuffle after the uniqueness of his arrival wears off as has happened to some of the other WWE guys who’ve arrived in TNA (i.e. Hardy, Team 3-D).

BEST TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR: America’s Most Wanted
1st Runner-Up: MNM
2nd Runner-Up: Big Show and Kane

Comments:

Tag teams got kind of a bum rap in 2005. It was kind of a weird year, with so many new tag teams hitting the scene, only to fizzle out almost immediately, or made it through the entire year with anything interesting to do. TNA gave it their best shot, and the only team that came out with anything interesting to do or say was AMW. They’re head and shoulders above every other U.S. tag in terms of look, skill, and team work. In the past few months of working main event angles with Jarrett, they’ve also gotten a chance to show a little personality, which really rounds out their already enjoyable routine.

MNM is the best WWE Tag Team, by far. Working with an absolute clusterfuck group of opponents including a four month span where they did nothing but job to Animal and Hnnrnnr, MNM has somehow remained surprisingly over, and has actually built on their reputation as a great tag team. While Melina carries almost all the personality of the team, Nitro and Mercury don’t do anything to detract and MNM as an entity is a lot of fun.

Big Show and Kane are probably my favorite “mixed up main eveners” tag team champions since the days of the Rock and Sock connection. They’re matches may just be short brawls followed by the double choke slam, but I enjoy the hell out of it. It’s the perfect example of finding two guys who have nothing better to do, throwing them randomly together, and actually having it work.

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Trish Stratus
1st Runner-Up: Alexis Laree/Mickey James
2nd Runner-Up: Melina

Comments:

Another year, another Trish Stratus win for my least favorite category in the awards. Trish is a lovely girl, but what keeps her at the top of the list is her refreshing work ethic and actually halfway decent acting skills. She might not have had her best year in terms of work or storylines, but she certainly didn’t do herself any wrong either.

As basically the only female worker I followed with any interest, I was kind of afraid of seeing what WWE was going to do with Alexis Laree. What I got was Mickey James, lovable, if crazy lesbian Trish Stratus fan. Eh. Could be a lot worse I guess. Mickey takes my number two spot for being a decent worker, pretty, and finding some way to work crotch shots seamlessly into matches. Here’s to you, Alexis!

Melina may never work another match again (ok, she probably will), but she gets the nod for basically being the only woman made into the center of attention on Smackdown, who didn’t blow it. Several angles this year revolved around Melina, and surprisingly most of them were actually pretty good. She may not be as pretty as the other girls, or even as valuable to the company, but her ability to project the personality of MNM essentially by herself, is commendable.

BEST FEUD OF THE YEAR: Triple H v. Batista
1st Runner-Up: Kurt Angle v. Shawn Michaels
2nd Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels v. Hulk Hogan

Comments:

It might not have been as long as any of the classic feuds, but Triple H and Batista did one of my favorite feuds going into Wrestlemania this year. Following Dave’s ascent into Randy Orton’s spot heading towards Mania, Batista suddenly showed all kinds of personality, and by the time his match with Hunter rolled around, he was white hot, and it was handled so well, it’s hard to believe the WWE was doing it. Dave was big, but not dumb, the face but one step ahead of the heels, he was having fun in the face of Triple H’s deadly seriousness, and still a big enough badass to take Hunter down on the biggest show of the year. However many little bumps and tweaks they got a little wrong, it was one of the most compelling title feuds in the past several years.

Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels had kind of a herky jerky feud on account of their being on different shows, but what they did have was one of the more fun feuds of the year. Starting with Angle attacking Michaels at the Rumble, going to Angle mocking Michael’s career with actually neat guest appearances by Marty Jannetty and Shari, and another couple good matches later in the year. Unfortunately, it never really went anywhere, but it was fun while it lasted for sure.

The entire Hogan/Michaels feud was basically The Shawn Michaels Show, and I was loving every minute of it. After Shawn begged for Hogan to come back for “one more match,” in basically his worst promo all year, and the telegraphed Superkick Heard ‘Round the World, Hogan disappeared for a great stretch of time, leaving Shawn Michaels to rock out the greatest heel performance of the year, successfully drawing money out of a guy who hardly interacted with him, and then bumping his way to Hogan’s best match in close to ten years.

BEST MATCH OF THE YEAR: Edge v. Christian v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho v. Kane v. Shelton Benjamin (Money In the Bank Ladder Match, Wrestlemania)
1st Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels v. Kurt Angle (Wrestlemania)
2nd Runner-Up: Mike Awesome v. Masato Tanaka (ECW One Night Stand)

Comments:

For my money, the best match this year was Money in the Bank. It was the best “gimmick” match this year, and probably the most fun thrown together collection of WWE guys in a long long time. What should have been just an absolute clusterfuck of a match actually ended up having some feeling of cohesion. Still, I expect I’ll catch a lot of flack for picking a spotfest at the top of my list. But it was fun!

Speaking of fun, Shawn Michaels v. Kurt Angle, also at Wrestlemania, was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. Both guys put on a heck of a show, and made a cross brand issue one of the better feuds of the year. Strong personalities along with great wrestlers means one of the best matches of this year.

In another completely crazy go nuts spot fest, Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome put together an absolutely awesome classic ECW style brawl. They put just about everything they had into just a brutal stiff fight, with lots of fun near falls and neat table spots. And then they went back to Japan.

MOST FAVORITE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Batista
1st Runner-Up: Eddie Guerrero
2nd Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels

Comments:

I don’t think anybody has come close to winning me over so fast as Batista. He does well in segments, he’s funny, he’s a good brawler, and he’s had some really fun matches this year. His feuds with Triple H and the first few weeks of his feud with Eddie Guerrero were really well done wrestling feuds, and all of this from a guy who I’d written off as just another musclehead. It didn’t hurt that he was so fun to write for in the Satire, but as far as favorites to watch on TV go, I’ve gotta say, I rarely missed a Batista segment.

Of course Eddie is a bittersweet choice. Yeah, a lot of it has to do with the fact that he passed last year, and now, looking back, I realize a lot better how much I enjoyed him, but a lot of it also has to do with the fact that he was absolutely electric every time he was on the screen. He was involved in some terrible stuff, but just a crack of a smile or an Eddie shuffle, and he’d be right back among my favorites.

Shawn Michaels is here for every reason I made him my choice for Wrestler of the year. He’s a great wrestler, a great entertainer, and he’s made some terrible stuff look great this year. Shawn Michaels often makes RAW worth watching by himself, and that’s good enough to make him one of my favorites this year.


THE OTHER BEST OF 2003

BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER: Chris Benoit
1st Runner-Up: Eddie Guerrero
2nd Runner-Up: Shelton Benjamin

Comments:

I think this award is pretty much the “Chris Benoit” memorial award for me until he retires. There’s nobody in the mainstream U.S. wrestling culture who had his knowledge of wrestling holds and how to string them together in a match, despite what I may think of him as a personality, I certainly respect his body of work. Somebody will tell me I’m missing some guy from ROH or something, but to that I say “Pshaw.”

Eddie Guerrero is kind of a safe choice at number two. He had a good solid moveset and could put everything together really well, but you rarely got to see that because he worked so many matches outside that technical range last year. Shelton Benjamin is a guy who is pretty much over based entirely on his athleticism and amateur moveset. He’s not at the level of some of the other guys, but for a guy who doesn’t have much else going for him, it’s hard not to notice his improvement.

BEST HIGH FLYER: AJ Styles
1st Runner-Up: Paul London
2nd Runner-Up: Chris Sabin

Comments:

Ah, the Flippyshit World Cup. AJ Styles wins this entirety for his impressive ability to do backflips AND winning the NWA World Title. Nobody was able to go further this year based entirely on his moveset than Styles, and his domination of the X-Division over basically anybody else for the rest of the year at least makes him my number one flippy guy for 2005.

Paul London is probably my favorite WWE cruiser, and even though he had his moveset drastically cut during this last year, he still flies better than just about anybody on the WWE Roster. Chris Sabin is a decent flier as well, and probably the most polished out of the crop of “Who?” TNA cruisers. Bentley, Daniels, Shelley and Dutt seem to all have more personality, but they’re all just a smidge sloppier or unpolished. Petey Williams is a jerk and I hate the Canadian Destroyer.

BEST BRAWLER/POWER WRESTLER: Batista
1st Runner-Up: Triple H
2nd Runner-Up: John Bradshaw Leyfield

Comments:

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY brawled better than Batista this year. Even against some crappy opponents, Dave took what is essentially a bare minimum moveset and made everything have impact and meaning. He may be a garbage wrestler, but you never really notice, because you can tell he aspires to be that much more.

Triple H had some really fun brawls this year too, especially late in the year against Ric Flair, and it’s no shock why. The guy’s been doing the “Main Event Brawl” for about seven years now, and he’s got it down to a science. JBL is probably a pretty unpopular choice, but while he can lay some real eggs, he’s good at directing a brawl, and his personality meshes with his moveset so well that it really works. So he gets the number three nod.

BEST INTERVIEWS: Shawn Michaels
1st Runner-Up: Christian
2nd Runner-Up: Edge

Comments:

Shawn Michaels had almost every memorable promo this last year. He was clever, he was amusing, and he was compelling, whether he was being a dick heel or a pious face. It’s hard to ask for more out of a guy who was asked to carry several feuds over the course of the year, some of which didn’t even really make sense, but Michaels didn’t only carry those feuds, he knocked most of them out of the park.

Christian propelled himself into the WWE main event, and then the TNA main event almost entirely on the strength of his comedic timing in promos. His riffing on John Cena and with Tomko was all really good, and he really stands out in the land of the stiffs in TNA. Edge CARRIED Matt Hardy in their feud, by actually making sense out of the nonsensical parts of their real life situation in a wrestling context. And then he turned around and made himself the most compelling heel on the RAW Roster when that feud was done. Is Edge my number 3? BANK ON IT!

BEST HEEL: Edge
1st Runner-Up: Triple H
2nd Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels

Comments:

Edge wins kind of by default. There weren’t THAT many really good, consistent heels in wrestling this year, but Edge was a heel throughout the year, and he really built up momentum for himself throughout the year, to the point now that whenever he DOES cash in his Money in the Bank contract, it’s entirely conceivable that he might actually win the title, and all this while being injured for a significant portion of the year and having personal issues clouding another several months. Not bad for a guy that seemed to be floating listlessly earlier in his career.

Triple H is number two because…well, he’s Triple H. He’s one of the most consistent heels at every facet of the game, and that didn’t change in 2005. The only reason I’d knock him down a peg is because he was out for so long, and he’s still kind of treading water. Shawn Michaels, for about a month against Hogan, was the single best heel in wrestling in the past few years. If he would have stayed a heel for any longer, I would have no qualms putting him as the number one.

BEST BABYFACE: Batista
1st Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels
2nd Runner-Up: The Undertaker

Comments:

Nobody stayed as consistently over or babyfacey as Batista last year. I mean, he’s had a good, long solid run as a face champ, and I’ve never really had the sense that the crowd is growing tired of him. His ringwork is nice and crisp and easy to pop for, and so long as he doesn’t have to go out and ramble for ten minutes, he can get the job done in a promo too.

Shawn Michaels had almost as good a year as a face as he did a heel. There will always be pockets of people who hate him (Hi, Montreal!), but he’ll always draw a nice consistent pop whenever he wrestles. There aren’t many guys who will get the biggest pop on a show just by putting in a taped appearance, but Taker is one of those guys. The guy is mega over, and his music draws a huge pop, even though he rarely even does any shows anymore.

BEST CHARACTER/GIMMICK: Mr. Money in the Bank, Edge
1st Runner-Up: Maria, The Idiot
2nd Runner-Up: Mr. Kennedy

Comments:

It’s not that I didn’t find Edge believable as a title contender before Wrestlemania, but he really never had a hook he could latch anything onto. After winning a shot at the World Title and getting himself a valet, in Lita, Edge dialed his cocksure upstart level up to 11, and had his best professional year since the breakup of Edge and Christian. Asshole Edge, Mr. BANK ON IT~! is the best new gimmick of the year.

How in the world could Maria Punk (nee Tennyson Lund) go from being some Diva Search girl, to one of the best parts of RAW every week? One simple tweak to make her the Worlds Dumbest Person, a cute smile, and wonderful reactions from her and everybody around her, and suddenly Little Miss Diva Search is fantastic. Ken Kennedy (Kennedy) introducing himself is so dickish and eyerollingly dorky that he surpassed his typical “Big WWE Guy” guy look and actually made himself an integral part of the Smackdown roster before he got hurt.

MOST IMPROVED WRESTLER: Batista
1st Runner-Up: Edge
2nd Runner-Up: Samoa Joe

Comments:

Ah! We’re to the point where I really can’t help but repeat myself over and over and over again. Dave really stepped up this year, going from a background player and fourth on the Evolution depth chart in 2004, to carrying the whole company through almost all of 2005, and if that’s not enough, he also grew a personality and a moveset in all of about three months on the Road to Wrestlemania.

Edge came up in a similar manner, moving from being just another jerk off who was right on the cusp of being a main eventer, but never quite clearing the hurdle, to finding the perfect combination of time, gimmick and matches to propel himself up the card. Samoa Joe, in 2005, went from an underappreciated Indy talent, to becoming the fastest rising star in TNA and having great matches that some people might actually see.

MOST UNDERRATED WRESTLER: Stevie Richards
1st Runner-Up: Kane

2nd Runner-Up:
Khosrow Daivari

Comments:

Alas, poor Stevie. Never actually fired, but always probably the next to go. If you didn’t know him from ECW, Stevie’s mic work during the RTS, Victoria, and Stevie Night Heat, segments would be enough to get some kind of push, you would think, but after the bWo crashed and burned, poor Stevie was left out in the cold once again.

Kane might seem like an odd choice given that he DOES indeed see a lot of high profile TV time, but I’m going to credit the guy for literally doing EVERYTHING the company sets in front of him, and doing it with the kind of relish that actually makes some of it, no matter how crappy, kind of work. And yet, WWE can barely afford him one half hearted push at a major title per year. Daivari is maybe the best reactionist in the U.S. Everything he does or says is completely and perfectly over the top, whether he’s with Hassan or Angle. Not only that, but the guy has some nifty suits and is a decent worker. Unfortunately, he’s also pretty much just a hype man for a guy who doesn’t need one.

BEST SECOND: Melina
1st Runner-Up: Khosrow Daivari
2nd Runner-Up: Christy Hemme

Comments:

Nobody did more for his or her charges than Melina. MNM works, largely because she’s such an effective character that they don’t particularly need to be, they can just stand there with their porn belts and look vapid next to her, and she’ll carry the team. Without Melina, MNM would be The Heart Throbs.

Sadly, neither Hassan nor Angle needed Daivari, but there he was. No matter what he was doing this year, he was able to draw the ire of fans without hardly lifting a finger. Christy Hemme gets a nod, barely, over Scott D’Amore, because while they both tirelessly worked on the outside to get fans into their client’s matches, Christy seemed to work a lot hardy, and also, she has boobies.

BEST TELEVISION PERSONALITY: Tazz
1st Runner-Up: Joey Styles
2nd Runner-Up: Eric Bischoff

Comments:

Tazz continues to be just about the best color man I’ve ever heard. He’s not as funny or witty as Heenan, or as knowledgeable as, say, Mike Tenay, or as weird as Stevie Ray or Juvi, but he’s a little bit of all of those things. He’s sharp, he knows his moves, and he’s not afraid to interject some actual genuine humor and lighthearted pokes at the ridiculousness of pro-wrestling into his commentary.

I loved Jim Ross as a big match announcer, but Joey Styles is a breath of fresh air in the RAW commentary booth. In the short time he’s been in the booth, he’s demonstrated a great knowledge of WWE’s storylines and how to comment on each wrestler and each match to maximize their effectiveness in those storylines. Eric Bischoff has always been great at doing the “authority figure” schtick, much better than anybody Smackdown ever had (including Heyman). He always seemed to be able to make whatever storylines he was involved in semi-cohesive at least in his promos, even when he looked like he didn’t want to be there.

"HOLY SHIT" MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Christian Declines to Re-sign with WWE
1st Runner-Up: Matt Hardy Returns to WWE Television
2nd Runner-Up: Chris Benoit Takes a Header into the Smackdown Table

Comments:

I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising, but Christian, a stalwart of WWE television and their go to guy when it came to making somebody look good in a feud and then putting them over, quitting the company and going to their lowly competition really was the thing about 2005 that made me stare at my computer screen and say, “Really? What the fuck?!” Both because Johnny Ace would let Christian walk, and because Tian would go off to the uncharted mass that was TNA instead of sticking it out in cozy WWEland.

I’d kind of expected him to come back eventually, but after months of hard feelings, and weeks of teasing, Matt Hardy popping up on RAW to attack Edge was one of the few moments that a wrestling angle has REALLY gotten ahold of my attention over the past several years. The thing that made me cringe the most, and actually get up and say “Holy Shit” was Chris Benoit’s suicide dive into the announce table during his U.S. Title match against Booker T on Smackdown. That was just plain sick.

FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Wrestlemania XXI Commericals
1st Runner-Up: Trish Stratus “Dates” Viscera
2nd Runner-Up: Mick Foley No Sells Boogeyman

Comments:

I think WWE’s Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood commercials were all really fantastically done. They were almost all clever in some way, and really during those few weeks leading up to the show, I couldn’t wait to see what stupid idea they’d come up with for the next commercial. Of course, I think they should’ve done a Lord of the Rings one, but….

I don’t know whether it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, but I really look back fondly on the Trish/Viscera dating segments. Trish’s over the top reactions and Viscera’s surprisingly good performance really helped sell a feud that never should have been in the first place. Plus, there’s just something amusing about Viscera pointing at a menu and saying, “All of this is me, dawg.” During the midst of a segment that I thought was really funny, the shining moment of the Eric Bischoff trial was Mick Foley eating a moonpie while everyone freaked out about the presence of the Boogeyman. It’s one of those reactions that was way funnier than it should have been.

BEST WRESTLING SHOW: WWE RAW
1st Runner-Up: WWE Smackdown
2nd Runner-Up: NWA-TNA iMPACT!

Comments:

There’s no wrestling show that I still get excited for more than RAW every Monday. It’s probably sad that WWE still defines my Monday nights, but they do, and rarely am I completely disappointed. When I just want to sit back and actually enjoy a weekly wrestling show, RAW is just about the only one I can fully expect to do it with.

Smackdown isn’t really a bad option either, though injuries, tragedy, and wrestlers leaving has certainly diminished any potential the show once had. It’s still fairly fun to watch, but I don’t feel like I really missed anything by coming in halfway through the show. Speaking of not missing anything coming in halfway through the show, I enjoy watching iMPACT! but I’ve never felt it was “must see” TV. The fact that I’ve fallen asleep during at least five episodes in the past year doesn’t help anything.

BEST MAJOR EVENT: WWE WrestleMania XXI
1st Runner-Up: WWE Royal Rumble
2nd Runner-Up: ECW One Night Stand

Comments:

Wrestlemania is always pretty much the pinnacle when it comes to North American wrestling. It always has a little something for everybody, in terms of storytelling, good matches, spotfests, T & A, and guest appearances, and this year was certainly no exception. Just a really fun show that I have no trouble popping into my DVD player to check out again.

Royal Rumble, however, is always my favorite PPV of any year, because I love the Rumble Match. This year’s Rumble had a fairly good undercard with fun matches between Michaels and Edge and Orton and Hunter, and the Rumble match itself was very good. One Night Stand was just a really fun bit of nostalgia, and the guys worked their tails off to make it happen. Without all the WWE stuff in there, it would have been better, but as far as reunion shows go, I liked it better than Hardcore Homecoming.

BREAK-OUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Batista
1st Runner-Up: Samoa Joe
2nd Runner-Up: Carlito

Comments:

Blah blah blah blah Batista. I’ve already noted how I think Batista broke out of his position as Triple H’s muscle, leapt over Randy Orton in terms of popularity out of the Evolution breakup and put himself into the Mania main event in the span of about three months. He might not have had as far to go as others, but it was still really impressive.

Samoa Joe came out of basically nowhere (ok, Ring of Honor) to become one of the fastest rising stars on national wrestling television. Carlito really came on strong during 2005, to put himself inexplicably in major matches all throughout the year, despite hardly ever really wrestling, and never having a finisher. The strength of his personality alone made him a semi-main eventer, which is cool…I guess.

BREAK-OUT PERFORMER OF NEXT YEAR: Edge
1st Runner-Up: Ken Kennedy
2nd Runner-Up: Samoa Joe

Comments:

I think 2006 is pretty much Edge’s year to either get himself into the main event for good, or never get there at all. He’s worked very hard this year to push himself back up the card, and now he’s right there ready to move into the title picture for good, but whether or not he does is all up to him.

When he comes back, Ken Kennedy will have an excellent opportunity to shoot up to the main event on Smackdown. He’s got enough personality and he’s a good enough worker, that, with the dearth of other attractive options, he can come back right where he left off. Now that Joe is one of the fastest rising stars in the business, 2006 might be the year he gets himself in the NWA Title hunt. Forget the X-Division, Joe might just be the guy TNA needs to improve their lackluster world title options.

BEST "REAL WORLD" NEWS OF THE YEAR: WWE Continues to Put Intellectual Property to Good Use
1st Runner-Up: Joey Styles Sings WWE Contract
2nd Runner-Up: TNA Gets SpikeTV Deal

Comments:

With an ECW resurgence and PPV, a Jake Roberts DVD, a Warrior DVD, a Bret Hart DVD and the emergence of 24/7 as an interesting way of watching some old stuff that you can’t really find anywhere else, WWE’s utilization of their massive back catalog of stuff made for another great year for fans who grew up with wrestling.

Signing Joey Styles may well be the best business move WWE’s made in a while. Some people may never accept that he’s replaced Jim Ross, but Styles has the voice, experience and credibility to be WWE’s lead announcer for many years to come. It was good to see TNA get a national TV deal on Spike, if only so there’d be more wrestling easily accessible on TV, and more spots for guys trying to make it in the business.


THE bOOby PRIZES

WORST WRESTLER(S) OF THE YEAR: Monty Brown
1st Runner-Up: The Boogeyman
2nd Runner-Up: Gene Snitsky

Comments:

Monty Brown may not even be the worst wrestler in TNA, but he is HORRIBLY overpushed for his ability. He is made out to be one of the top stars in the company, but he’s sloppy, he’s got a terrible finisher, and his promos are weak, at best. Period.

Boogeyman had only a handful of matches in 2005, the highlight of all of which included he and his opponent sharing a pocket full of worms. Aw. It’s like Lady and the Tramp. Except stupid. Can he wrestle? Probably not. Snitsky saw a lot of action this year, and was completely and utterly terrible through all of it, but at least WWE has the decency to keep him hidden for long stretches of time.

WORST NON-WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Linda McMahon
1st Runner-Up: Don West
2nd Runner-Up: Palmer Cannon

Comments:

From taking the worlds worst stunner to her SHOCKING SWERVE~! heel turn, Linda McMahon was the most befuddling character on WWE TV this year. Linda had always been effective in coming in once a year to make some big main event match, and then disappearing in a cloud of zombie dust until the next year. Her involvement, at least, in the Austin segment at Homecoming was even kind of cute. But then it druuuug on for another few weeks, and just got terrible.

Don West needs to learn how to shut the fuck up. Palmer Cannon was kind of a one note joke that started off not very funny, then got annoying, and now is blissfully pointless. Smackdown certainly didn’t need another GM, or a juniors division, and surely they didn’t need a bargain bin splicing of Cyrus and Chris Nowinski.

WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR: Edge v. Matt Hardy
1st Runner-Up: Kurt Angle v. Booker T
2nd Runner-Up: Rey Misterio v. Eddie Guerrero

Comments:

Matt Hardy and Edge should have had the year’s greatest feud. There were huge personal issues there, with two former best friends fighting it out over the infidelity of their girlfriend. It played out so brilliantly over the internet and then in the first few weeks of TV, you might think they couldn’t miss with this. Unfortunately, Matt Hardy came in woefully unprepared to cut angry promos that didn’t make him sound like a whiny bitch, then they had a series of ok brawls where Edge constantly got put over, and then they ended it. The only shining part of this feud was Edge completely salvaging everything he could with a series of really good promos that made Matt Hardy’s blathering into some sort of coherent thought.

Then you have Booker T v. Kurt Angle, a feud based on…bestiality sex? Oh well. They had some ok matches, but the promos and segments they were involved in were just terrible. I feel bad for putting it down, but Eddie v. Rey for the love of Dominic was just a terrible idea for a feud, and NOT the kind of lasting legacy you want to leave for Eddie. Not that they knew or anything, but still.

MOST OVERRATED WRESTLER: Monty Brown
1st Runner-Up: Chris Masters
2nd Runner-Up: Jeff Jarrett

Comments:

I just really cannot stand Monty Brown. Nothing about him makes me want to watch one of his matches, or his promos, or tune into TNA. But I know that if I watch a TNA PPV, or iMPACT!, I’m gonna see him. His skills don’t warrant his push, but I guess so long as the iMPACT!zone loves him, he’ll be on TV.

Chris Masters is overrated only so much as TV Time:Skill ratio is concerned. I’m convinced the guy probably has a decent future ahead of him in two years or so, but he shouldn’t be a big player in the main event at this stage in his career. As for Jarrett, I’ll give him this, is legitimately the only real heel in TNA. But at this point he’s kind of used up his usefulness as a main eventer, yet the entire promotion still revolves completely around him. Come on. Even Triple H is taking a breather from the main event.

"GODDAMMIT" MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Tim White “Dies”
1st Runner-Up: Vince McMahon “Operates” on “Jim Ross”
2nd Runner-Up: Eddie Guerrero Fights for Custody of Dominic “Mysterio”

Comments:

Nothing says “awesome” in pro wrestling like a fake suicide. Tim White pretending to shoot himself on what was otherwise a pretty good PPV, was just silly, and that the WWE writing staff apparently knew it was silly and STILL did it, is just lame. The fact that Tim is a road agent for the company and so we’ll probably still see him from time to time is hilarious though.

Once a year, WWE does something that just makes me shake my head and cry a little on the inside. Vince doing the “anal cavity search” on J.R. (a full four years after Shane Helms did the exact same thing, to greater effect, on Triple H) was just plain stupid. But at least nobody died. The whole Eddie/Rey/Dominic angle was really, really dumb, but nothing was more ghetto-style wrestling than the two of them wrestling a match for custody of a child. That’s shit even soap operas wouldn’t try to pull off.

WORST "REAL WORLD" NEWS OF THE YEAR: WWE Smackdown Loses Majority of Top Stars
1st Runner-Up: TNA Fails to Create Compelling Television
2nd Runner-Up: Johnny Ace Still in Charge of Talent Relations

Comments:

Smackdown was having a rough year to start 2005 anyway. They were going to have to move to Fridays and then probably get cancelled, ratings were down, and it didn’t seem like creative was going to do much to help. Then they lost Eddie, Christian, Cena, Kennedy, among other bit players and Taker for most of the year, and Benoit was threatening to walk by the end of the year too, they had to turn to RAW to even fill out their last PPV card, and they STILL added two impromptu lower card matches. At this rate, maybe Stevie Richards has a chance to work his way up the card! Yeah…probably not.

TNA falls in at number two for doing almost nothing of note since they got their national TV exposure. There’s a reason that they can’t climb out of the .8 range, and it isn’t because nobody’s hear of them. Whenever I watch TNA, I feel like the wheels are spinning, but nobody’s really going anywhere, even after Christian came in and jumped over everybody to the main event, he’s still spinning his wheels, and now he’s back behind Sting again. Number 3 falls in line with number one in this category, actually. Johnny Ace has been an abysmal failure as the director of Talent Relations for WWE. Not only has he shunned many of the guys who helped build WWE up in the last couple years, but his reign is most notable for the hiring and extended push of his brother of all things. Jim Ross may have been an asshole too, as Jeff Jarrett will happily point out, but at least most of the guys seemed to like him.

So…2005. A year marked by tragedy and…kind of a general malaise. It wasn’t like it was the worst year ever or anything, I mean there was some good stuff here and there, but it was certainly spotty, wasn’t it? It’s not like 2006 is really shaping up to be any better either. WWE is in need of a lot of reshuffling on the creative and personnel management ends, and somebody’s gotta try to be a star at some point or another here. Oh and TNA? Try to do something coherent. You’ve got a storyline now, let’s see something come out of it!

But it’s not all bad, I guess. Hopefully the guys who started to step up this year will continue to do so in ‘06, and the guys who were slacking or who started to slack can pick it up. Looking back on it now, with hindsight being 20/20 and all, we can see through all the elevations, demotions, firings, hirings, deaths and debuts, that 2005 certainly was a year. And one might even say that some wrestling took place during it. I certainly don’t remember any though.

Here’s Five Extra Awards for you to look at!

Best Column: Lord of the Reign Satire (1/24/05 - 5/17/05 Special)
1st Runner-Up:
A Moron's Beginner's Guide to NWA-TNA (10/6/05 ITR)
2nd Runner-Up:
MechaTriple H v. Davezilla (2/8/05 RAW Satire)

Favorite Bitches: My Darling Stacy
1st Runner-Up
: Alexis Laree/Mickie James
2nd Runner-Up:
Josh Matthews

Best Live Event That I Went To: Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show
1st Runner-Up: WWE Judgement Day

2nd Runner-Up:
RAW House Show on 1/18/05

Favorite Wrestler to Write For: “Dave” Batista “Davidson”
1st Runner-Up:
Randy Orton
2nd Runner-Up:
John Cena/Jeff Hardy (Tie)

“Randy Orton“ Memorial Trophy Winner: Randy Orton
1st Runner-Up:
Cowboy Bob Orton
2nd Runner-Up:
Abe Orton/Koko B. Ware (Tie)

This Ballot needed more Kane. Anyway, see you all next year! Or even next week if you still read my columns!

 
E-MAIL MATT
   
BROWSE THE RAW SATIRE ARCHIVES


  
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