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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
The Rick's Best and Worst of 2006 
January 29, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

We're well past the point of being able to make snarky comments about how 2006 was a shitty year for wrestling and whine whine whine bitch bitch bitch. Certainly, things continue to be broken in the wrestling world. Certainly we all have our ideas about why this is. But realistically speaking, are any of us any more outraged or annoyed with 2006 than we were with 2005? Or even 2004?
 

It really has been that long, now, since wrestling settled into its current funk. That's when WWE had their last major internal overhaul, and many of the old guard and the old ideas were shoved out the door. Jim Ross was replaced by Johnny Ace. Stephanie got to implement her vision for giant staffs of arts-school-trained would-be Hollywood writers replacing the creative input of agents, officials, and ex-wrestlers.

 
Whatever's wrong with WWE hasn't really changed much in that time. And whatever's wrong with the wrestling industry is pretty much directly tied to what's wrong with WWE, since they ARE the industry, and in the absence of competition, they seem content to hide their heads up their own rumps, be oblivious to what's going on with the fanbase, and just keep churning out "their" product the way they feel comfortable doing, now.

If you want to try to label 2006 in some way, it might even be better to say it's the year when things MIGHT have started turning around. I mean, we've long since established that WWE is a culture of mediocrity that is terrified of and intimidated by its own past excellence. Why remember the days when a shitty edition of Sunday Night Heat drew a 4.0 rating, and when it wasn't worth getting excited about a Monday rating unless you topped 6.5, and when your ostensible top babyface wasn't consistently booed by one-third of your live fans? Doing that'll just make you SAD. Just keep plugging away and giving the networks demos that they're happy with, and you don't have to remember a time when you were delivering a product twice as good (or at least, twice as popular).

But in 2006, TNA has come closer still to becoming "competition" in WWE's eyes. A prime time TV slot, signing away a top WWE star just months after he main evented at WrestleMania, and some ratings momentum by year's end. We ain't there yet, but the day will come when Vince McMahon has to open his eyes, survey the landscape, and exclaims "Holy crap, where did THEY come from?"... and when he does, it can only mean good things for the quality of the WWE product, and by extension, for the business as a whole. And of course: for the fans.

On a personal note: even if my optimism is misplaced as far as wrestling starting an upswing goes, it had damned well better be on an upswing in all areas not related to wrestling. From where The Rick sits, I actually *could* make the accurate claim that 2006 was the Worst Year Ever.  I don't need them getting any worse.

Enough of that: wrestling is why you're here, and it's why I've thrown together this rather comprehensive and balanced list of the very best and worst we saw on our TV screens and in our arenas over the past year. Enjoy, debate, and discuss: 

THE VERY BEST OF 2006

BEST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Edge
1st Runner-Up: Booker T
2nd Runner-Up: Kurt Angle

Comments: Edge has come a long way, baby. He started out as a quasi-vampire with what sure as hell seemed like an unfortunate gimmick name that he shared with a much more recognizable stocking-cap-wearing guitar player for U2. And in 2006 -- the year he, ironically enough, started wearing a stocking cap all the time -- Edge has easily eclipsed Sting as the leader in the category of "Wrestlers Overcoming A Stigma Attached To A Name They Share With a Musical Industry Figure." More to the point: Edge was in the 2 best matches of 2006 (and probably 4 of the top 8 or so), Edge was central to top level storylines on the wrestling industry's #1 brand for essentially the entire year, Edge got his first two reigns as World Champ, and most telling of all: those reigns accounted for RAW's best TV ratings in years.

That is a man who had success according to any relevant metric you can come up with. His ringwork was exemplary, he was vital to his company's main event scene, and his positive impact at the box office (or at least, at the Nielsen Boxes) cannot be denied. As a result, 2006 also seems like the first year in a while where this award is just a run-away blow-out with nobody coming even close to matching Edge's fantastic work and measurable success on an important international stage. [Sorry, Every TNA Wrestler: but it'll be tough for you to sneak onto my list as long as your biggest claims to fame are 1.0 TV ratings and packing 1200 non-paying fans into a TV studio in Orlando 3 times per month. No matter how jaw-dropping one of those 3 matches per month may end up being.]

SmackDown! was a trainwreck for much of 2006, mostly due to Creative Incompetence (moreso than the injuries/wellness issues that also depleted the brand, in my opinion). The man who stepped up and essentially held the #2 wrestling brand in the world together and got them back on their feet on a new network and everything? It was Booker T, who had his strongest in-ring year in a while (remaining mostly-injury-free helped) and who completely blew me away with a re-invented heel character that quickly became one of the very small handful of reasons to look forward to watching wrestling on Friday nights. "All Hail King Booker," indeed.

And what can you say about Kurt Angle? Counting all his injury/wellness vacations from WWE and the incredibly light schedule that he keeps for TNA, it's possible that works out to being active less than half of the year in 2006... but Angle sure packed a hell of a lot into his limited ring time, including a final WWE Title reign, another WM main event, a brief stretch as ECW's franchise player, and a blow-away Match of the Year contender versus the Undertaker. Oh, and there was also the small matter of his decision to jump to TNA, which was only 2006's biggest news story.

BEST TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR: Degeneration X
1st Runner-Up: AJ Styles and Chris Daniels
2nd Runner-Up: Paul London and Spanky Kendrick

Comments: Tag team wrestling, for all intents and purposes, is just as dead now as it was 12 months ago. Maybe deader, because not even TNA's best tag teams were together full-time over that span, and that's something TNA's usually been good for the past few years.

So, forced to give serious consideration to teams that were together 4, 6, or 8 months of the year, what does one realize? That Degeneration X is the closest thing the tag team ranks had to a tandem that competed in relatively important matches and delivered top shelf entertainment. Deal with it, Wankers, it's true. Both Shawn Michaels' and Triple H's best matches in 2006 did come in their singles work, but once paired, they clicked really well for plenty of 10-plus minute TV main events, and even a couple of killer PPV outings (including a legit Top 10 Match of the Year candidate in the Hell in the Cell match against the McMahons). And if you wankers seriously are so concerned about looking "smart" and having "cred" with the other Observer-reading morons that you can't just admit that DX was wrestling's most bankable tag team (both at the box office and in terms of entertainment value), then just tell yourself this: because of DX's extended run, that evil backstage political dickface Triple H couldn't book himself any more World Title reigns. Just spout that drivel in front of your other wanker friends, and I'm sure you'll look really cool, and everybody will suddenly agree that "Hey, DX ain't so bad."
 
Styles/Daniels, working together as a team, had some truly outstanding OMG WORKRATE~! type matches in the one major US promotion that still gives a crap about tag team wrestling. That alone nets them some serious consideration here. But the two also have the added feature of every week that passes in which they worked together as a team, your latent anticipation of seeing them break up violently so they can go back to having killer matches AGAINST each other goes up, and somehow just adds to the enjoyment of the whole spectacle. It was a license for TNA to print... well, not money, they're still losing that hand-over-fist.... but let's just say a license for TNA to toy with our feelings for the middle portion of the year as we dealt with the storyline implications of Styles/Daniels being such a great team, but also constantly teetering on the brink of being better enemies.
 
London and Kendrick? They've got half of the Styles/Daniels dynamic down pat, as nobody's denying their OMG WORKRATE~!... but other than that, they're kind of a sizzle free tandem, mostly because of competing on the sizzle-free SmackDown!. They definitely had tremendously solid matches against every opponent they faced in 2006, though, and owned the SD! tag titles for over half the year. And if we're handing out honorable mentions based on "longevity," I think London and Kendrick were together and on TV for about 10 months out of the year, which ties them with the Spirit Squad. And if you think I'm giving the Spirit Squad any awards, you're insane.

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Trish Stratus
1st Runner-Up: Lita
2nd Runner-Up: Mickie James

Comments: For about the fourth year in a row, I feel like my comments about the winner in this category are adequately summed up with a simple "Duh."
 
That's just how much better Trish is (was?) in essentially every facet of performance than pretty much every other woman who is employed by WWE. And as much as that's damning faint praise these days (I mean this not so much as a knock on all the women of WWE, but more as a knock on WWE itself for some truly ass-hatted personnel decisions the last 2-3 years), it's also undeniably the legacy that Trish has left behind. Ringwork and great matches? Check. Personality and intelligence? Check. Intangible charm and versatility to pull off all different kinds of skits/promos? Check.  Oh, and I guess she looked great in tight jeans, too. Not that I ever would notice something so base and uncouth. That's right. No me. Never. Nuh uh.

Lita has been Trish's primary foil for the better part of 3 years, now, and even though it sucks that injuries and timing issues kept them from ever really getting to pay that off (until the rushed/half-assed match this October as both were preparing to leave the company), Lita's probably a deserving #2 on this list simply for stepping up and providing Trish's most compelling opposition of the year. And the thing is, Lita gets bonus points, too, for how integral she was to Edge's character (and sometimes, to his matches; barbed-wire Socko to Lita's face, anyone?). For Edge to be successful as an oversexed asshole, it took Lita's remarkably convincing and effortless sluttiness to really sell things. I mean this as a compliment.

With the women's roster in disarray, Mickie James is the girl best positioned to replace Trish as the Grand Old Dame of Divas in 2007 and beyond (hopefully, with an influx of promising developmental talents like Nattie Neidhart, Beth Phoenix, and Shantelle Somethingorother to help her out; a healthy Michelle McCool and a still-learning Jillian Hall would certainly be more useful than your Candice Michelles and Torrie Wilsons, too). We got a taste of that towards the end of 2006, as Mickie seemed to find her niche after a year spent being dicked over by a creative team that had no concept whatsoever how to best handle her feud with Trish Stratus and then had serious problems on a matter as simple as Mickie's heel/face alignment. Hopefully that's all behind us, now, though, and Mickie's 2007 will more closely resemble her final 3 months of 2006.

BEST FEUD OF THE YEAR: Edge vs. John Cena
1st Runner-Up: Edge vs. Mick Foley
2nd Runner-Up: Shawn Michaels/Triple H vs. the McMahons

Comments: It started the first weekend of 2006. It didn't end till October. It might be making a comeback for the main event of WM23 here in 2007. Edge vs. Cena, that means a winner is you! Throw in some really excellent matches along the way and some blockbuster TV ratings, and I can't imagine any thinking person would argue against Cena/Edge being wrestling most valuable rivalry in 2006. And even with such remarkable milestones as RAW's highest ratings in years coming as a result of Edge's first title win over Cena and the blow-away awesome TLC Match in Toronto, I think we'd be remiss if we didn't at least touch on a less tangible element of this feud: the chemistry. To say that Cena had severe popularity issues coming off his feud with Triple H would be an understatement.... but against Edge, they addressed that stuff, even turned Cena's boos into part of the storyline, and the end result was Cena and Edge clicking together IN THE DESIRED FASHION for the most part. Which is more than you can say about Cena and the rest of his opponents over the course of the past 2 years.

Proving just why he is Wrestler of the Year 2006, Edge managed to sneak in a SECOND killer feud in the middle of winning World Titles and whupping Cena's ass. He stepped up to provide Mick Foley with his WrestleMania opposition (and, at long last, with his WrestleMania Memory, in the form of the Match of the Year for 2006); that was pretty much 2 months straight of killer promos leading up to a killer match, which is more than commendable already. But then, the story had a twist left, as Foley and Edge became all Mutually Respecty for a couple months later in the year, and CONTINUED tearing down the house in a joint war against "hardcore." Edge, Foley, enemies, friends, doesn't matter. Their intertwined storyline in 2006 was easily my second favorite one of the year.

I'm going to be careful how I couch my third place vote, because I did NOT vote just for "DX vs. the McMahons." Nope, I'm voting for "Shawn Michaels/Triple H vs. the McMahons" which is a whole other beast, and includes some gOOdness that happened BEFORE the official reunion of DX, and which thus dilutes some of the more obnoxious "just end this feud already" elements that seemed to hamstring the middle stages of the sometimes juvenile DX era of the feud. But c'mon: Michaels vs. Vince? Michaels vs. Shane? The manipulation of Triple H that led to the dramatic reunion of DX? Hell in the Cell? There's a LOT of good stuff in there, if you're willing to check your smark card at the door and just enjoy it.

BEST MATCH OF THE YEAR: Edge vs. Mick Foley (No Holds Barred, WrestleMania 22 PPV)
1st Runner-Up: Edge vs. John Cena (TLC, Unforgiven PPV)
2nd Runner-Up: Kurt Angle vs. the Undertaker (WWE Title, No Way Out PPV)

Comments: It's probably no surprise that two men who I generally think of as two of the most naturally capable Storytellers in wrestling are the ones who churned out the best match of the year. Cuz it's not just about the Barbed Wire Socko and the Flaming Table.... it's about why Barbed Wire Socko and a Flaming Table were able to get you up off the couch and shouting at the TV screen because you ACTUALLY CARED... Edge and Foley set WrestleMania up beautifully with their standard "Promos that award those who actually pay attention to detail, but which also tell such a plain and relateable story that any dum dum can grasp it" promos, and then delivered an intense and creative brawl in front of a rabid crowd at the PPV. When all was said and done, I honestly couldn't remember having been more satisfied by a single wrestling match in at least 2 years. Awesome

And here's that rat bastard, Edgeward, again doubling up his OO Awardie Points with another 1-2 finish.... and against a slightly different type of opponent. I don't get the vibe from John Cena that he's much in the way of a nimble-minded storyteller (he's more of a wise-cracking, class-clown type who considers thinking-before-speaking to be a pointless endeavor). But on that one night in October, he certainly brought his Crazy Ass Bumping Shoes, and had a sweet-ass highspot-laden TLC brawl with Edge. Storytelling? We don't need no steenking storytelling when we've got Cena willing to jump off 20 foot ladders through quarduple-stacked tables! And oh sweet fancy moses, the F-U at the end of the match? It's like I said in my PPV Recap at the time: "I may hate Cena's retardo Superman act, but after F-U'ing a 240 lbs. man off the top of a ladder, if Homey wants to wear an "S" on his chest, I'll grant him a temporary Under-roos Pass." Also quite awesome.

Angle vs. Taker? Let's just put it this way.... of the handful of WWE PPVs that I skipped this year, No Way Out is the only one where I instantly went out of my way to get my hands of a copy of the show, and it was all because of the buzz surrounding Angle/Taker. Sometimes, a buzz like that can be a recipe for unfair expectations and, ultimately, for disappointment. Not in the case of Angle vs. Taker. It was everything that was advertised and then some. Nothing at all fancy or gimmicky about it like the two matches ahead of it on this list: just two guys with equal credibility in the eyes of the fans going out and busting ass in a dramatic match where you just don't know how or when it's gonna finish so at some point around the 20 minute mark, you just give up and start enjoying the hell out of the ride.

MOST FAVORITE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Mick Foley
1st Runner-Up: Kevin Nash
2nd Runner-Up: Trish Stratus

Comments: Do I have to justify my picks in a category as subjective as "Most Favorite" to you? No. But I'll at least say a few words.

I've got enough manlove for Mick that I'd probably vote for him in this category on the strength of one or two cameo appearances per year, if I thought I could get away with it. As it stood, in 2006, Mick put in enough weeks of work that I was almost considering him for the actual "Wrestler of the Year" category before restraining myself. Needless to say, you take Mick, add my manlove, and season with Foley's most prolific and productive on-screen year since his retirement, and I'm not gonna feel even a little bit guilty about giving him THIS award, at least.

Kevin Nash is the most consistently entertaining thing about TNA. And though I mean this as a compliment to all parties involved, somehow, TNA wankers will be convinced that it's further proof that I hate TNA and am trying to singlehandedly put it out of business with my negative nellying. So let me make this perfectly clear: EVERYBODY OUT THERE SHOULD WATCH IMPACT BECAUSE KEVIN NASH SAVING THE X DIVISION IS JUST THAT DAMNED FUNNY. If you do, and you happen to also enjoy watching dimwits like AJ Styles trying (and failing) to approximate personality and gravitas, then hey, bonus! But Nash is the freaking star of that show! 

I'm either too old or too jaded to give a shit about useless bimbos like Candice Michelle doing unsexy "go-daddy" dances and thinking it makes them a celebrity. I'd be worried that this somehow spoke to an overall decline in the functionality of my man parts or something, except that, if anything, I'm as easily stimulated as ever, provided certain criteria are met. Hell, it's really only one criteria: my ladies had better be good at something other than looking good. And then, after I've developed my fondness for your talent, intelligence, and many other fine attributes, I'm afraid I will also have to check to make sure you look good, as well. Trish Stratus: thank you so very much for years of being a cripplingly-appealing (and all-too-rare) poster girl for  Why I Love That I Got To Be Born With a Penis and Testicles. You will be missed.  


THE OTHER BEST OF 2006

BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER: Kurt Angle
1st Runner-Up: Finlay
2nd Runner-Up: Chris Benoit

Comments: Angle didn't work a full year. Benoit didn't work a full year. But those two are still so much better than just about anybody else having important matches on anything resembling a national or international stage in terms of crisp, realistic grappling that they still pretty much own this category. I think Angle had the stronger year than Benoit, even if only due to strength of opposition: there's just a pretty huge difference between trying to have a watchable WM match against JBL and getting to showcase your wares in a series of Wanker Dream Matches versus Samoa Joe. Finlay's my oddball choice to round out the trio, even though his style doesn't usually look like "real wrestling." Instead, it's usually a more creative moveset of "fake wrestling" moves that he just makes look damned real; Maybe there's a case to be made for that earning him a spot on the "brawler" list, but I dunno.... there seems to be enough method to Finlay's madness that he belongs here, instead.

BEST HIGH FLYER: Rey Mysterio
1st Runner-Up: AJ Styles
2nd Runner-Up: Jeff Hardy

Comments: As long as he's active, this award continues to be Rey Mysterio's to lose in any given year. And he didn't choose to lose it in 2006. He's still the one guy in the major spotlight who makes insane highflying an integral part of his moveset, and does it effortlessly, gracefully, and (most importantly) SAFELY. It's not just the moves you do, it's how you do them and making them count, and at that, Rey is still the king. AJ gets a vote from me here, and may be benefiting a bit from something of a de-emphasis on pure-high-spot driven X Division Trainwrecks in 2006. By "slowing down" the X Division a bit, TNA has taken away a few chances for pure risk takers and spot artists to be seen, and instead allowed Styles (who has spent years trying to graduate to a more well-rounded style with matches against heavyweights and everything) to once again shine as about as good a flyer as you'll see in TNA or anywhere. How about Jeff Hardy? He comes back, everybody keeps waiting and waiting and waiting for him to revert to his spot-blowing ways, and instead, he spends the second half of the year as WWE's best, most reliable high flyer once Rey went down with injuries. Huh.

BEST BRAWLER/POWER WRESTLER: Edge
1st Runner-Up: Samoa Joe
2nd Runner-Up: John Cena

Comments: There's little point denying Edge's status as pretty much a "total package" in terms of in-ring ability. But for all the technical ability and high flying arsenal that he can bust out when necessary, nobody's gonna remember much of his 2006 other than the tables, the ladders, the fire, and the buckets of blood.  Joe's probably also short-changed a bit, here, since he's technically-capable, too; it's just that his opponents this year tended to portray him more as a power wrestler (working against TNA's mostly-undersized roster will create that impression of a bigger power wrestler, and also, spending 4 months of the year feuding with the woefully immobile and inflexible Scott Steiner means you better leave the grappling at home and bring your brawling shoes to keep things moving at above a snail's pace). And the devil gets his due: for Edge to be the Wrestler of the Year and have the Feud of the Year, it took a competent dance partner. John Cena has got the "WWE Main Event Style" down to a T, which is maybe not all that impressive, but when the chips are down in major gimmick brawls, he's shown up ready to bump his ass off and give the fans their money's worth. Which is impressive and commendable as hell.

BEST INTERVIEWS: Mick Foley
1st Runner-Up: Edge
2nd Runner-Up: Kevin Nash

Comments: As mentioned above Foley is a storyteller, first and foremost. You give him 10 minutes a week for 8 weeks in a row, heading into a major PPV match, and he'll create something that even the densest fans will be able to latch onto, and do it while embellishing with enough details and continuity and "easter eggs" that the observant and intelligent viewers will be rewarded for their attention. Mick can also play everything from Downright Hilarious to Potentially Psychotic, which is a bonus. Edge introduced us to his capacity for prickishness in 2005, but really honed his craft in 2006; for a guy to do as many awesome things as Edge did this year and to still be almost-universally booed and reviled is impressive. It has to speak to his promo ability. Well, either that, or Lita's boobs and her closet full of Those Tops really just has blinded the entire audience and made us all feel insanely jealous of Edge. Even though we should all know better. I'm giving Nash the nod at #3, but it's by a slim margin over King Booker.... Booker's probably a bit more consistent and works on the bigger stage, but when Nash hit his highspots in 2006 during his Ongoing Quest To Save The X Division, there were few funnier or more entertaining moments.

BEST HEEL: King Booker
1st Runner-Up: Edge
2nd Runner-Up: John Bradshaw Layfield

Comments: Take one (1) Booker T. Mix with a King of the Ring win. Add ridiculous cape and crown. Sprinkle with an hilariously bad British Accent. Serve with one (1) Sharmell, who is just insanely perfect and natural as the Prom Queen Type. For comic relief, have Booker periodically forget his accent and revert back to ebonics during moments of Extreme Stress. And voila: you have yourself one damned entertaining heel. I think I've fellated Edge enough here, already; that thing I just said above about him still getting booed despite doing so many awesome things might bear considering again, though, since that's why he's on this list. JBL may not be much in the way of great shakes as a wrestler, and certainly found a way to stink up WM22 against Chris Benoit, but there's also no denying that during his tenure as a wrestler in 2006, he was still setting the bar for How To Get Booed Out of the Building. Wrestling could use more guys like JBL who don't necessarily care about coming off as "cool" or "tough" or whatever, and just want to make sure they come off as Massive Dickfaces. 

BEST BABYFACE: Degeneration X
1st Runner-Up: Rey Mysterio
2nd Runner-Up: Rob Van Dam

Comments: A little more DX love from me, and no doubt little more furious indignation from The Wanker Brigade, who can't believe what a stoopid mark I'm being. But hey: there were some really funny bits in there, and a dose of nostalgia from back when Wrestling Was Cool never hurts. Also, just listen to the audience, dum dums. Rip on Cena because he gets half-boos. Rip on Batista because he gets mostly apathy. But when DX is nothing but wildly popular pretty much everywhere they go, don't tell me they aren't the top fan favorites of the year. There's also the little metric I like to use in this category where I give credit to "getting the most reaction by doing the least." Well, wankers, DX t-shirts were WWE's best selling item BEFORE THE DUO EVEN GOT BACK TOGETHER.  By my math, that equals "Massive Sums Of Money Before Actually  Doing ANYTHING." DX are babyfaces of the year, and frankly, it's a slam dunk. 

It's impossible not to like Rey Mysterio and his natural underdog tendencies. But he drops to #2 nn the list this year, in part because of DX's runaway success, and probably in part because WWE just could not have booked him in any more of a retarded and counter-productive fashion. RVD is another "gets a lot by doing a little" guy. He points to self, and 10,000 people scream "ARE, VEE, DEE." Beautiful; I can't even remember the last time Van Dam was the victim or booing (or even of apathy). He's just 100% bankable babyface white meat.

BEST CHARACTER/GIMMICK: Booker T becomes "King Booker"
1st Runner-Up: Kevin Nash Saves the X Division
2nd Runner-Up: Finlay Has a Midget

Comments: Without the "King Booker" makeover, I doubt Booker T would have been one-third as entertaining in 2006, and the whole SD! brand would have suffered for it, considering how important Booker was from pretty much June onward. I give King Booker the nod as much for the integral entertainment value of the character as for its importance to its brand.  I'll repeat myself: Kevin Nash is the most consistently entertaining thing about TNA. The mere notion of Nash being the guy who "saves the X Division" sounds like a bit of goofy fun on the surface, but somehow, we're entering Month Six of the storyline, and the skits and Nash's delusional rantings are as amusing as ever. And at #3? Hey, it's like Al Snow has been saying for years: everything is better with midgets. The Little Bastard is always good for a laugh or two, and bonus points should be awarded to both Tazz and then to JBL for (over-)selling the gimmick so well over the course of the year to the point where its one of the biggest pops of the night on SD!...

MOST IMPROVED WRESTLER: Jeff Hardy
1st Runner-Up: Sabu
2nd Runner-Up: Umaga

Comments: In a way, this is more a "most rejuvenated" category this year. It's not like any of these three men are spring chickens just starting to work their way up in the business... instead, all three are pretty experienced vets who just found (or rediscovered) something over the course of the year. Hardy came back looking healthier than pretty much any point in his career, and has apparently given up the Spot Blowing along with the crystal meth. Excellent choices, Jeffrey. I don't know if it was the prospect of a revived ECW or just a return to injury-free status, but Sabu was a new man in 2006, as well, looking sharp as ever after a period of a few years where he seemed to be content to move at half-speed in sporadic TNA appearances. I'm no fan of the lazy, stereotypical 80s-style "Umaga" gimmick, but you take the conviction with which the former "Jamal" of Three Minute Warning is playing to role, you add in the massively engaging Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrada, and you ended up with a one time mid-card tag wrestler ascending up the ranks to be a top level singles heel by the end of the year. Not unimpressive.

MOST UNDERRATED WRESTLER: Carlito
1st Runner-Up: Shelton Benjamin
2nd Runner-Up: Victoria

Comments: Bottom line: Carlito can do everything. In the ring. Humorous promos. Intense promos. Backstage skits. As a heel. As a face. I've been saying for a long time that Carlito had all the tools to be "the next Chris Jericho," and in 2006, I started seeing LOTS of people ripping off that sentiment. *I* said it because I am a perceptive judge of talent, I can only assume *they* started saying it because Carlito so obviously wanted to bang Trish Stratus back around the middle of this year. In either case, I think it's now clear to fans of ALL perception levels that Carlito has the "it" factor that SHOULD have him working matches slightly more important than 4 minute throwaways against heaping mounds of Suck like Chris F. Masters. Hopefully, WWE will take notice of that same thing, one of these days. At this point, putting Shelton Benjamin on this list is something to do out of instinct, though you have to start wondering if Shelton can really be THAT criminally underrated year after year after year, or if maybe he's just OVERrated by a certain type of fan. My stance? "Underrated" is a dissonance between how you ARE used and how you SHOULD BE used, and I say that dissonance is a VERY real thing with Shelton. Maybe he doesn't quite have the intensity or personality to be the type of "WWE Style Entertainer" that'll win world titles But how fucking hard is it to slap a manager on him (NOT his Mama) and keep him in the IC Title hunt? And why did it take till fricking DECEMBER before somebody realized "Hey, if we don't trust him as a solo wrestler, we do have Charlie Haas sitting here collecting dust"? To me, it's still indisputable that when it comes to Shelton Benjamin, he is underutilized and WWE are morons. 

And poor, poor Victoria.... I just feel awful for her at this point. On one hand, she's pretty much the only credible, competent in-ring female the roster other than Mickie James, which MIGHT mean a lot more work and exposure for her. On the other, it sure as hell feels like Victoria's getting "Ivory'ed" by WWE on the grounds that they think untalented 20-year-old swimsuit models have more value than some well-trained old nag in her (GASP!) late 30s. Thus, just like Ivory's last few years in the company, I wouldn't expect any more titles or any real push, but when some other girl needs to look good, Victoria will be on the clock. 

BEST SECOND: Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrada
1st Runner-Up: Queen Sharmell
2nd Runner-Up: James Mitchell

Comments: Let's make this simple: (1) Without Estrrrrrrrrrada, Umaga would never have held onto anybody's interest past the second week. With Estrrrrrada, the guy had a chance to eventually catch on and become a #1 contender. (2) Without Queen Sharmell, King Booker probably still would have won the SD! Title and been a headliner, but it would have been out of sheer necessity. With Queen Sharmell, the flawless amusing illusion of the King and His Court was created, though, and that's a good thing. (3) Without James Mitchell, there'd be no Abyss at all. Actually, you know what: FUCK YOU JAMES MITCHELL. This is all your fault. [OK, I don't hate Abyss that much. I just no likey the title reign. Mitchell, in all seriousness, in a borderline genius promo man, and truly is the lone reason Abyss ever even got within legitimate sniffing distance of the NWA belt.]

BEST TELEVISION PERSONALITY: John Bradshaw Layfield
1st Runner-Up: Jim Ross
2nd Runner-Up: Tazz

Comments: Again: no great shakes as a wrestler is JBL. But as a TV announcers? Quite possibly the best color man since Bobby Heenan. It's probably not entirely surprising, but I didn't think the transformation would be as rapid or as complete as it turned out to be: instead, JBL IMMEDIATELY sublimated most of his self-aggrandizing traits and set out to make sure he got the PRODUCT over each and every week. Jim Ross is Jim Ross, and even if JBL draws more attention with comedic heel bluster, the honor of being the lone credible play-by-play voice in the entire industry is still 100% JR's. But he doesn't need any of us to tell him that; the mere fact of how hard Vince keeps trying (and failing) to fire and replace him tells JR everything he should need to know about how good he is. Tazz was noticeably down this  year. Could be a subpar ECW product that left him uninspired. Could be his contract situation and the fact he's not really sure if continued employment with WWE is in his future. But hell: given how quickly and expertly JBL stepped up his commentary game to win this award, could it also be that Michael Cole is the underappreciated commentary mastermind in WWE, making all around him infinitely better? Nah, that couldn't be......

"HOLY SHIT" MOMENT OF THE YEAR: John Cena F-U's Edge From the Top of a Ladder, Through Two Tables
1st Runner-Up: Joey Styles "Quits" WWE, Cuts Killer Promo on RAW
2nd Runner-Up: Edge Spears Mick Foley Through a Flaming Table

Comments: I already mentioned the F-U to the end of the TLC Match. Just simply amazing. Cena's strength and balance to pull that off were just off the charts, and made for the single most amazing physical feat I saw in wrestling all year. Let us not forget Edge brining the balls (to take the bump) and the trust (in Cena's ability to not kill the both of 'em), either. WWE has lost a great deal of its ability to wow fans with a truly surprising "water cooler" moment on the storytelling side of things... but Joey Styles temper tantrum on RAW back in May counts as one of the few exceptions to that rule in recent memory. It wasn't just a "Holy Shit" moment because of the things Joey was saying (and getting away with), it was also just inspiring and shocking in the sense that -- at least for that moment -- you felt like things might be turning around, and all this talk of the new ECW might be just what wrestling needs to get its spark back. That, of course, turned out to be the purest naivete, but on that night, I was too busy "marking out" (as the kids say) to give a damn. The finish to Edge/Foley is my #3; the nature of setting up a spot involving fire and some of the foreshadowing that the men did in promos leading up to the match meant it wasn't a total surprise.... but the "Holy Shit" is still easily derived from the simple visual of two guys flying through a flaming table, and if you can't relate to that, well, then the only thing that probably gets you off are snuff films and I don't want to be your friend.

FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Kevin Nash Wrestles Midgets on Impact, and In So Doing, Saves the X Division
1st Runner-Up: Vince McMahon Visits Church for the First Time
2nd Runner-Up: John Cena and Triple H Gay It Up (Big Time!) at WrestleMania 22 With a Pair of the Worst, Most Ridiculous Ring Entrances in History

Comments: I have, several times, called Kevin Nash the Best Thing About TNA in this document. I have also, once, relayed the Wisdom of Al Snow Regarding Midgets. So it only stands to reason that Kevin Nash PLUS Midgets would equal the Funniest Fucking Thing I Saw in 2006. Death defying leaps of the bottom rope! Sitting in a chair to deliver Big Boots to the Head! This was truly the sort of high impact action that defines the X Division. One can only rejoice in the fact that most fans still don't give a shit about the X Division, which means that Master Nash will just have to keep on trying to save it until they do.  There's no doubt the Vince/DX stuff got juvenile and obnoxious at times. But there's no denying that it had its laugh out loud moments, too. None was funnier than the skit where Vince McMahon claimed to be entering a church for the very first time. Vince's various acts of delicious blasphemy were presented front-and-center, but the REAL comedy derived from poor Shane McMahon and his dead-on embarrassed/exasperated behavior as he watched his dad act like an ass. 

And lastly: sometimes, when something isn't intended to be funny, that makes it even funnier. Thus, the ultra-lame WM22 ring entrances by HHH and Cena score big here. Although HHH's eventually netted him a pretty decent "Alternate Theme Song," the whole Hunter Hearst Hrothgar look was the stupidest a medieval motif has looked since Led Zepplin were mincing around in forests during "The Song Remains the Same." Cena's entrance? Apparently, the only thing it netted him was a very special edition Rob "Hey Little Boy, Would You Like To See What's Under My Jacket?" Feinstein trenchcoat. Oh, and also a phalanx of prancing drama queers dressed up as gangsters who'd make the extras in the St. Sebastian's Elementary School For Gay Little Boys production of "Guys and Dolls" seem butch.

BEST WRESTLING SHOW: RAW
1st Runner-Up: SmackDown!
2nd Runner-Up: TNA Impact

Comments: Granted, when RAW decides to be bad, it's REEEEALLLY bad. But week in and week out, it's also still the only wrestling show a fan needs to watch because of the unpredictability and live atmosphere. And frankly, when RAW's good, it blows away any other brand by a wide margin. SD! tends to avoid the bad weeks, but even at its best, you can hear about what happened, shrug to yourself, and say "Meh, with their roster as shitty as it is, I'm sure Finlay and Benoit will have to wrestle each other for 15 minutes another week here soon enough, so I'll try to catch it then." Just no sizzle, no spark. And Impact? Well, it's kind of like SD!, except only half as long, so even when they have a good week, it's less likely to have any rock solid 15 minute contests.

BEST MAJOR EVENT: WWE Unforgiven
1st Runner-Up: WWE WrestleMania 22
2nd Runner-Up: ECW One Night Stand

Comments: No knee-jerk "automatic bid" for WrestleMania 22 just because it's WrestleMania. You still gots to EARN IT, baby, and WM22 had ample holes, including one nearly hour-long stretch in the middle of the show (Boogeyman, Mark Henry, disappointing women's match, etc.) that was about as big of a letdown as any hour on PPV this year. Still: plenty of good, too. Just not enough to overtake Unforgiven, which had all of one 10 minute match that plodded (as opposed to nearly an hour) to go alongside two absolutely awesome matches (Cena/Edge TLC and DX/McMahons Hell in the Cell) and a strong supporting cast of matches (including Trish's Retirement Match) and an absolutely fantastic Big Show Atmosphere. And the second ECW PPV was more "WWE-ized" than the first, but was still possessing of a unique feel and flow; it had a few really good matches, and you can't forget the vibe that this was the start of something special as RVD won the WWE Title and we had visions of a New ECW dancing through our heads. Just a fun night to be a wrestling fan, even if a lot of the promise of the night wound up unfulfilled.

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Bobby Lashley
1st Runner-Up: Umaga
2nd Runner-Up: Abyss

Comments: He may not have been WWE's #1 choice to carry the ECW brand. He may not even have been #2 or #3. But by the end of 2006, Bobby Lashley was the ECW Champ, and was getting the chance to carry the brand on his shoulders after a busy year on SD! where he'd reigned as the US Champ, retired JBL, and got a few shots at the World Title. Even without the ECW Title win to cap off the year, Lashley put together a nice body of work in 2006 as he started living up to the potential that everybody saw in him the second he debuted. Umaga? Like I already said, he went from midcard tag team wrestler to WWE-Title-challenging heel; it doesn't matter if 2007 brings a descent back into forgetability, we're judging what happened to the guy in 2006. Same basic thing with Abyss as with Umaga: I don't necessarily hold out a ton of hope that the momentum will (or should) sustain in 2007, but let's face it, the guy who everybody considers to be a cheap Mankind rip-off ends up winning the TNA Title late in the year and holding it for, like, 3 months. That's gotta count for something.

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER OF NEXT YEAR: Ken Kennedy
1st Runner-Up: CM Punk
2nd Runner-Up: Mickie James

Comments: Kennedy start 2007 poised to receive his first PPV World Title Match, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he actually held the gold at some point before the year is up. As long as he stays on SD! (where the roster is wafer thin), it might be almost impossible for him to NOT break on through to the next level in 2007. I'm slightly less positive that Wanker Favorite CM Punk will have main event caliber success, but he's certainly in a position where it might almost be on him to HAVE to breakthrough if ECW's gonna hold together in the long run. Maybe backstage politics will work against him; maybe his over-ratedness will be exposed of its own accord.... but maybe, just maybe, CM Punk can get his chance to carry the ball and make sure we all know that he's everything Dave Meltzer ever said he was and then some. Like Punk and ECW, the women's division is essentially Mickie's to own here in 2007 (at least till the arrivals of -- and probably the immediate firings of -- a next batch of capable developmental divas)... that might not be of earth-shattering importance to all of you, but it is to me, since if Mickie doesn't step it up, you might as well toss the entire women's division in the crapper. Seriously: 2007 is shaping up as the year where most undeniably watchable and appealing girl in all of wrestling will be the fricking RING ANNOUNCER.... let's not let the entire notion of hot chicks doing actually cool things on a wrestling show die without raising at least SOME indignation, people!

BEST "REAL WORLD" NEWS OF THE YEAR: TNA Goes Primetime, Continues to Take Incremental Steps Towards Competing with WWE
1st Runner-Up: WWE "Wellness Policy" Goes Into Effect, and is Strictly Enforced
2nd Runner-Up: Jim Ross Brought Back to WWE as Lead Announcer

Comments: Competition is good, and at the rate things are going, one of these years, TNA will actually be able to provide WWE with some of it. [ZING~!} Honestly, though, as long as TNA has owners who are willing to invest money, the incremental steps of gaining a prime time TV slot and bolstering the talent roster with a guy like Kurt Angle can only be good things for the company, and thus, for fans of the entire wrestling business. Just as there's no quick and easy fix to make TNA a suddenly-competitive major promotion, there's also no quick and easy way to fix wrestling's culture of self-medication and various abuses... but in so far as WWE *can* police it, it now appears that they are, following the implementation of the Wellness Program, and the slew of suspensions/medical leaves that were handed out as various test results came in. This is a good thing.  Jim Ross' return is good for a few reasons. (1) He's the best in the biz, and as a fan, I want the best. (2) It forces Vince McMahon to at least CONSIDER the possibility that he might be a total fuckwit every time he has to go and bring back JR after he thinks he's gotten rid of him for good. And possibly most importantly: (3) it means JR is well and healthy after colon surgery and should be around to get fired and rehired by Vince at least another half-dozen times.


THE bOOby PRIZES

WORST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: The Great Khali
1st Runner-Up: Mark Henry
2nd Runner-Up: The Boogeyman

Comments: Khali blows. All you need to know is that the deceptively patient Undertaker basically said "Get this fucker off my brand so I don't have to wrestle his incompetent ass ever again." This, from the man who once volunteered to work an 8 month program against freaking Giant Gonzalez, even though he had to know it would probably suck. It's not nice to pick on the wounded, but the Royal Rumble World Title Match was the Worst PPV Main Event in many many years, and Mark Henry was the reason why.  And it was far from a main event, but the worst PPV match of the year was Boogeyman vs. Booker at WM22, and I think we know where to place the blame on that one, too.

WORST NON-WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Don West
1st Runner-Up: Candice Michelle
2nd Runner-Up: The Miz

Comments: I cannot stand Don West. He has the wrestling knowledge of a flyswatter. He has the credibility of a guy who shills for QVC (oh, wait, whoops). And the voice, oh the voice. Can somebody rig him up a noise gate or something. I'm not sure what the technical name would be, but it's a kind of filter that keeps sounds of certain frequencies or decibel levels from being picked up and amplified. I've got one on my bass amp, and it's handy for keeping my sound nice and tight. West desperately needs one so that the giant, unhealthy-sounding wheeze of breath he inhales before shouting incoherently about something only mildly interesting will be filtered out. It's either that, or get the guy some nicotine gum and a cardio program. 

I find Candice Michelle to be repellent to all the senses. Well, OK, so I don't know for sure about smell or taste, but I know I'm not a fan of either the look or feel of tens of thousands of dollars in plastic surgery nor of the sound of her voice. And let's not forget the utter dearth of demonstrable intelligence, talent, or ability. And the Miz is an equally repellent WWE Diva, with an equal lack of apparent value to society; the OO "Ten Dollar Challenge" is still in effect for any fan who punches Miz in the face. Why only ten bucks? Because, it's still fricking Miz we're talking about, and that's about all he's worth to me. Face-punched or not.

WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR: "Voodoo Kin Mafia" vs. WWE
1st Runner-Up: Kane vs. May 19/Fake Kane
2nd Runner-Up: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

Comments: Before a wrestling story or feud ever gets off the ground, those in charge of plotting its course should double-check one simple thing... make sure that the story in question can have some sort of ending. You don't necessarily have to know what that ending is.... but you should know it is theoretically possible to have one. TNA violated this simplest piece of common sense when they sicced Road Dogg and Billy Gunn on WWE. There was no ending possible, no pay-off that would ever happen. So you just end up with it being two used-up has-beens rambling hypocritically for weeks on end and with no direction. A one week stunt? Something meant to just be a throw-away that's amusing in and of itself? Fine. But the second you go introducing "million dollar challenges" and acting like Triple H and/or Shawn Michaels will show up on TNA TV, you have entered the realm of Purest Suck. Like all of the very worst ideas, it's the kind that you can't even believe got greenlit. But somehow, it did. 

The dumbass story of Kane, May 19, and the Fake Kane COULD have had a story, but as it turned out, it sucked so bad that WWE just kind of pulled the plug before we got one. I'd thank them for the mercy killing, but for fuck's sake, they waited 2 months to do it, and in the immortal words of Seinfeld (or was it Elaine?): "Sure, it's a really crappy movie, but once you've spent 2 hours on it, you at least want to stay and see how it ends." Thanks for nothing, WWE. Rey vs. Orton makes my list for a kind of wankery/smark reason: it was the beginning of the end of Rey Mysterio being accepted by fans as World Champ.... AND HE HADN'T EVEN WON THE TITLE YET. The inclusion of perennial putz Randy Orton in the World Title picture was bad enough (as it signaled to fans that Rey alone wasn't enough to be considered a worthy title threat); the fact that Orton used the dumbest of his dum dum logic (invoking the Ghost of Eddie Guerrero along the way) to get shoehorned into the storyline made it even worse. So very, very dumb.

MOST OVERRATED WRESTLER: Randy Orton
1st Runner-Up: Mark Henry
2nd Runner-Up: Voodoo Kin Mafia/James Gang

Comments: Again, this is all about the dissonance between push and ability. And though there are plenty on the WWE roster less talented than Orton, they aren't the ones getting title shots, PPV main events, and endless TV time in which to demonstrate their borderline-adequacy. Orton is the definition of rank mediocrity: he does nothing notably well, other than his constant laughable abuse of the English language, he doesn't really do anything totally poorly, he just does enough to get by. And yet, somehow, this raging mediocrity, combined with a track record of being an immature, unreliable, total douchebag, has resulted in probably the single biggest, sustained 3-year push of any single guy on the WWE roster. Baffling; Orton pushed like this is absolutely the equivalent of getting to September and having the Commissioner step in and say "You know what, just because I feel like it, I'm gonna put Kansas City vs. Milwaukee in the World Series. Enjoy, suckers." 

I know Mark Henry was seriously injured, mid-year, but before that, he was the single top heel on SmackDown!, and if you don't think the show suffered for it, you're crazy. Billy Gunn and Road Dogg round out my list because they haven't been a part of a single interesting thing all year, and their hypocritical rambling at the end of the year only served to make me ponder whether the two even count as "has-beens" when the only thing they'd ever "been" were the freaking LACKEYS for the two guys they were making fun of on TV. Ingenious, fellas. And yet: they're guaranteed 5 minutes a week out of TNA's incredibly valuable TV time.

"GODDAMMIT" MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Angle/Henry Headlines Royal Rumble for Sole Purpose of "Blowing Up" the Ring
1st Runner-Up: Any Appearance by WWE's Fat Naked Oily Guy
2nd Runner-Up: Mickie James Fingers Trish Stratus at WrestleMania

Comments: The Royal Rumble 2006 featured a series of "goddammits," but they all pretty much revolve around the Angle/Henry match. The first one came when I was on the phone, chatting free and easy in the knowledge that Angle/Henry would be up next and I didn't really care if I missed a few minutes of it. Then suddenly, there is a simultaneous "GODDAMMIT!" on both ends of the phone line, as we realized that they'd just announced the start of the Royal Rumble match instead. And I hadn't even picked my number yet for the Royal Rumble Game. So that was the end of that phone conversation, but it was just the start of the Goddammits, as the Rumble match was demoted to semi-main event status (again, further diluting any chances Rey Mysterio had of being taken seriously as a title challenger), leaving Kurt Angle and Mark Henry to headline the show. The "Goddammits" flowed freely during said match, which was a bona fide stinker in every measurable way. And then the final "GODFUCKINGDAMMIT!" came at the very end of the show, after Angle and Henry were done sucking, and the reason for the odd booking decision became clear: it was all because the  Undertaker decided to make a dramatic return at this point. And he brought the Gay Spooky with him, as he "blew up" the ring, leaving it busted. And you can't  "blow up" a ring before you hold a 60 minute Rumble match, so instead of just axing the entire retarded idea, let's just put Henry vs. Angle on last. Yeah. Brilliant. WWE's fat oily stripper guy was funny for about 10 seconds; he proceeded to become a recurring character, with his absolute most pitiable display coming as he had to go on national TV and stroke the Sandman's shaft until he spewed. I am not making that up.

And like the Angle/Henry thing, the whole Trish/Mickie debacle was a series of "Godammits" for me, as I could see the whole storyline going further and further south with each passing week as the Writer Monkeys screwed it up beyond all belief. What should have been a slam-dunk Trish vs. Psycho #1 Fan angle became all confused with lesbian overtones that served to invert the heel/face alignment of the two women because most of WWE's dimwitted teenage fan boys seem to have the sexual IQ of an amoeba (which is to say that the only way they know of to perform the reproductive act is All Alone And By Themselves), but they have mastered the idea that Lesbians are hotter than Non Lesbians.  Great. So of course, this once promising feud plonks its way towards WrestleMania where a goodly number of fans are cheering for Mickie the Faux Lesbian Girl Gone Wild, and where the only real pop of the entire match comes when Mickie fingers Trish, allowing her to score the pinfall win. I think that one moment got a mighty enough "GODDAMMIT" that it could stand for my feelings about the entire awful and demonstrably-counter-productive storytelling leading up to it.

WORST "REAL WORLD" NEWS OF THE YEAR: WWE Fucks Up the Re-launch of ECW Beyond All Belief
1st Runner-Up: WWE refuses to let Rey Mysterio win on TV, Hamstrings His Entire WWE Title Run
2nd Runner-Up: Kurt Angle Has, More Than Likely, Lost His Mind

Comments: #1 is a no brainer here. I'm not saying it's "easy" to launch an entire brand and weekly TV show and all that. But no way is it anywhere near as difficult as WWE made it look with ECW. Vince looks at the revenues generated by ECW PPVs and DVDs, decides "to hell with the actual content, I just need the three letters, which I'll slap on a third-string version of my own already-questionable product." His reward: hopeful fans tuned in and ECW debuted on cable with a 3.4 rating. Then they settled in for a few months of averaging a 2.2. And by the end of the year, the 10-week moving average was down to a 1.5.  Throw in the end of ECW as an independent touring entity and the firing of half its roster, and the eventual departure of  ECW Creator Paul Heyman, and there is noting about the "New ECW" that can count as anything except an abysmal failure. WWE also did the almost unthinkably-dumb when they managed to screw up Rey Mysterio's title run: it should have been a relatively simple matter. Take the industry's #1 cheer-able babyface underdog. Have him overcome all the odds. Vanquish a hated foe to take the most precious title available to him. And in an understated and tasteful touch, have him dedicate the win to his good friend Eddie. Instead, WWE hamstrung Rey before he ever won the title, continued to abuse the memory of Eddie Guerrero, and once Rey WAS the champion, was mishandled so badly that the only impression one could take away was that Rey was the least deserving champ of all time. Instead of Rey's win being a celebration of underdog joy, it's like WWE grudgingly handed the title to Rey against their will and then just stood by to watch the self-fulfilling prophecy of his failure as champ. Way to be, morons. 

And Kurt Angle? I want very badly to believe Kurt's sane and healthy and everything as he continues to pursue his career in TNA. But starting with a questionable decision to walk out on WWE's offer of six months pay if he'd just go home, stay off the road, and get healthy before even contemplating a future inside a wrestling ring so that he could immediate return to said ring working for TNA, nothing Angle's done the last half of 2006 instills me with a lot of confidence. The interviews and various missives where Angle's stories contradict themselves (and common sense) keep piling up, and at some point, lead one to the inevitable conclusion that Angle sounds like a man trying to convince himself his own tall tales are true. And given some of the things that those tall tales are being designed to mask (about Angle's recent injury status and addiction issues), one can't help but feel a big of nagging concern that this is maybe a little bit different (and more bothersome) than Hulk Hogan trying to convince himself Andre the Giant was 8 feet tall and weighed 600 pounds at WrestleMania 3 when he tells interviews that story.

And there you have it, folks: 2006, the Year in Wrestling, wrapped up in convenient Best and Worst format. Discussion and debate on the winners and losers is certainly welcomed and encouraged. You just have to accept that when all is said and done, I'm still going to declare myself to be right!

Here's to 2007 bringing us an increased level of gOOdness. In the wrestling world, and I sure as hell wouldn't mind some outside of the wrestling world, too. Later on, folks.... 


  
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RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
 
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RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
 
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RAW RECAP: Say My Name
 
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RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
 
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RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
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RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
 
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RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 

 


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