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WRESTLING COLUMNS

OWW Editorial: Some Zest From The Quest
December 21, 2005 by Kirsty Quested


Here it is grasshoppers, the last Zest for 2005. I don't know about anyone else, but this year has zoomed by at the speed of light, and faster than years before too. I can't believe I'm going to be 32 next year, it JUST doesn't seem fair.

It's been a huge year for wrestling, whether it's WWE, TNA, or NYWC. (I slipped that NYWC thing in there just for my buddy Mason Raige, who keeps asking when I'm going to mention him. Suffice it to say that by this time next year I'm willing to bet that many more people will know the name Mason Raige). It's also been a hectic year for OWW. The Columns section continues to grow, so much so that I sweet-talked the OWW PuppetMaster, Brad Dykens, into letting me take on a Co-Editor. And before I go any further, serious thanks must be given.

Thank you to Brad, who really didn't need any sweet-talking, agreeing immediately to the position of Co-Editor, recognising my frazzled nerves and gently reminding me that perhaps I'd taken on too much. He then went one step further and actually found me a sidekick himself; James "JT" Thomlison of 411mania fame.

I'm not sure that many are aware of just how much of Brad's blood, sweat and tears go into this website. He works tirelessly and with incredible tenacity to keep OWW as up-to-date as possible. He works for very little reward, and is not often acknowledged for what he does. Yet OWW boasts the most comprehensive profiles section in the world. It is this that sets OWW apart from all others, and it is testament to Brad's amazing determination that the profiles are continually updated.

Nowhere on the internet will you find a website that offers as wide a range as OWW does, and it really is down to one man. I'm so proud to call this man one of my close friends. I'm not the easiest person to work with - I have fairly limited patience and I tend to lash out when I'm tired or stressed - but Brad takes it all in his stride, offering support and advice and putting up with me when the bitch surfaces. I can tell you in all honesty that I love him dearly, and am so grateful for all he's given me, and continues to give me. Brad, thank you. For more than you know.

My Co-Editor, JT - I'm not sure I can accurately convey how lucky I feel to be working alongside you. You've not only lessened the load, but you've given OWW your own unique stamp, and you've become a great friend. You've always given me wonderful support, and you make me laugh when I'm getting altogether too serious. You have this amazing outlook on life, and such a great sense of humour. You're one of the most talented writers I've ever known, and I can't wait for your Editorials to join mine throughout 2006. I can honestly say that I'm sorry when I get to the end of something you've written, and often go back and read it again. You've taken a huge load off my shoulders, I can't express my gratitude enough. I don't know what I would do without you - don't ever leave me!

Brad and JT - my two marvellous men - it has been my honour and privilege to work with you, and I am very much looking forward to continuing this very rewarding relationship into 2006 and beyond.

This love-in, my friends, does not end here.

OWW's Official Columnists - I'm not sure my vocabulary can do you justice. But I'm going to try.

Dave Hanson, what can I say? Your very first column for OWW - "Undertaker Should Lose At WrestleMania" - was prompted by me, and you undertook the task and weathered all the backlash like a seasoned professional. Since then you've contributed some of the elite of OWW's columns. Your new job has meant you've had less time to write, but I fervently hope that you manage a few for us throughout 2006. You've become a close friend, and if I haven't yet told you how much your friendship means to me, I do so here. Your unique sense of humour and astounding wit have brightened my life, as have our marathon phone sessions. I look forward to more of them in 2006!

Joe L. - my friend, it has been an experience getting to know you. You are truly one of a kind. Your columns, always controversial, are nevertheless some of the absolute best on OWW. I stop what I'm doing when one arrives in my mailbox, because I get such a kick out of reading them. I'm very selfish with them too, I never send them on to JT for editing - not that much editing is ever needed. I'm looking forward to many more in 2006!

Phil T - another who needs little or no editing, and who makes my job so easy, because you've done all the hard work. Your columns are among my favourites on the site, and I'm also very appreciative and grateful of all your emails of support and friendship. You always take the time to ask how I'm doing - even remembering that I'd been injured in a horse riding accident this year, and checking on the healing process! Keep those columns and emails coming over 2006 Phil!

Matthew Geddes, my fellow Antipodean - there's something about both being from Down Under isn't there? We seem to have a different kind of humour. Yours has always made me laugh. Your latest column on Non Believers was one of the best statements I've ever heard regarding the "pffft - you know it's all fake, right?" snigger that so many of us are used to hearing. Cheers, mate.

Colm Kearns - your tireless efforts to chronicle the histories of the WWE Championship and the Intercontinental Championship have been an amazing odyssey. Thank you so much for having the tenacity to continue with them.

Jason "XtremeFalls" Simmons - it's been so great seeing how much you've improved this year Jason. You always take my advice on board, and your columns continue to get better and better. You have great determination and motivation - well done.

Antonio Figueroa - I've never met anyone like you for sticking to your guns and not backing down when you believe you have a valid opinion. Your columns are always a dream to edit, and highly entertaining to read. Long may they continue!

Langdon Beck - Never afraid to tackle the tough issues, and has one of the most comprehensive column histories on the site. You're a true asset to the Columns team Langdon.

Johnny LaRue, David Jacobs, Ray Clancy, Matthew Jones, Jacob Kuhn, Bruce Chen, Jack Malone, Ben Myatt, Brian Bertrand, Jasper Sha, Avi Krebs, Rohit Ramnath, and Joseph Huber - you have all raised the bar. You set the benchmark and provide great examples of what we value in our Official Columnists. OWW is very fortunate to have your wonderful contributions on our website, and we thank you.

I must also mention those who are no longer with us - Rhey Higgins and Serafin Santiago. Throughout 2005 all three gave us their unique contributions. They will be missed, but we wish you all the very best for the future.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome a new Official Columnist. Adam "The Adaman" Heap has easily attained the pre-requisite of high quality articles, as well as producing an impressive output. It's my very great pleasure to welcome Adam to OWW as an Official Columnist, and we look forward to your contributions throughout 2006.

It is not, however, only the Official Columnists who make up the Columns section. OWW receives columns from many people throughout the world, and believe me when I say that the many different opinions and interpretations and slants on the industry are well represented here. Among them are standouts such as Matt Kopp, Peter Le, Keelan Balderson, David Temrick, Adam Veltri, Tiarnán McMeekin, Godfrey Gauci, Jesse Lee... to name but a very few of the people who've honoured us by allowing us to post their articles on OWW. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over 2005, you have all brought such colour and versatility and diversity to OWW, and ensured that it has remained one of the most popular wrestling websites in the world.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my friends "in the biz", most especially New York wrestler and new OVW recruit, Mason Raige. Mason bounded into my life in July, submitting the very humorous "Hogan Knows Best" column. Since then Mason and I have worked together on a number of projects - he was kind enough to allow me to interview him for NZPWI, thus popping my interview cherry. He was very kind and gentle to this rookie journalist, and let me tell you, a gal never forgets her first time. Since then I've been privileged to interview some of the biggest names in the business, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for Mason. He allowed me access to his photo archives and to his thoughts, so that I was able to use him as a point of reference and illustration for one of my most successful columns on NZPWI, "Reality Bites." Mason hails from the New York Wrestling Connection, where he has been a tag team champion and all-round fan favourite, despite being a monster heel. He possesses unbelievable strength and ability, which has caught the eye of Kentucky-based promotion and WWE training ground, Ohio Valley Wrestling.

In January Mason will farewell his career as a - I kid you not - high school English teacher in order to fulfil his ambition of becoming a WWE superstar, heading to Kentucky to train with the best in the industry. My Co-Editor, JT, will be spotlighting Mason in the very near future for 411mania, so make sure you watch for that article when it goes up. And if you haven't already, I highly recommend you visit Mason at his website, www.masonraige.com.

It goes without saying that I have the utmost confidence that Mason will succeed and will rise to the pinnacle of this industry - I expect to see him on the WrestleMania 23 card, and I mean that in all seriousness. On a personal note, I want to thank him for his friendship and his support, which has never wavered. I want to thank him for answering my endless questions, for his advice and understanding, and for bringing something very special to my life. Mason, I know you know what that is.

Over this year I've been lucky enough to interview some amazing people for NZPWI. If you haven't already, you can check them out in the Interviews section of www.nzpwi.co.nz. Lipstick & Dynamite director Ruth Leitman, Brother Devon of Team 3-D, Christian Cage, Sharmell and Chris Benoit have all been kind enough to speak with me this year, and I'm truly grateful; it was a real honour.

I'm not going to go into a great deal of detail in summarising events in the wrestling world, since I do it every month. Suffice it to say that 2005 has been a tumultuous year for the professional wrestling industry. TNA have their TV deal, which has catapulted them onto the international stage and brought to the masses the phenomenon that is the X-Division. Christian, tired of being buried in the mid-card on SmackDown, shocked the IWC by being the first WWE wrestler to actually make the jump, rather than wait to be picked up by TNA.

TNA is still finding its feet, but for a fledgling promotion it's doing damn well. It's a healthy alternative for anyone who prefers to see the story told inside the ring as opposed to out of it; that said, they're not short a decent storyline. Samoa Joe's heel turn and subsequent victory over AJ Styles for the X-Title has "feud" written all over it, as does Christian's quest to take the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Jeff Jarrett.

Sting has signed a one year deal with TNA, which for all WCW die-hards should be reason enough to start tuning into iMPACT! It's a slap in the face for WWE, who tried and failed to get the Stinger on board when they swallowed WCW. Personally, I don't care what company he's with - I just want to see him back in action. Bring it on!

It's been a rough year for WWE, in particular SmackDown. Christian's departure, the death of Eddie Guerrero, and injury-plagued champions and up-and-comers (Batista and Kennedy) have meant the roster has been sadly depleted. This is not good news for New Zealand fans, who will for the first time experience a WWE live event when SmackDown makes its way out here in March, as part of the Road To WrestleMania Tour. We're very much hoping that no-one else is removed from the card, as it includes greats such as Batista, Chris Benoit and Randy Orton. I can't help but think that the 2006 Draft can't come too soon for SmackDown.

The Boogeyman does not count.

It hasn't all been bad though. Although we had to suffer through the offensive "I'm Your Papi!" angle, we were nevertheless treated to some great matches between Eddie and Rey Mysterio. I can say that I'm truly grateful for one thing in regards to Eddie's tragic death; that he did not go out under that distasteful cloud. We are left with the best memories of Eddie - the lovable, shimmying, rogue we all adored.

RIP Eddie. You will not be forgotten.

Chris Benoit and Booker T have been treating us to some of their best performances to date. I for one hope that the series goes the full seven, just because I never get tired of seeing these guys wrestle. And of course, I'd love to see the US Championship back around the far-from-unattractive waist of Chris Benoit.

The Randy/Undertaker storyline has its fans and its detractors, and I'll tell you straight up, I loved it. I hope that the full stop has been punctuated on the feud with the Hell In A Cell at Armageddon, but I did thoroughly enjoy watching these guys work together. They had wonderful chemistry inside the ring, and both of them a definite flair for the dramatic outside of it.

Meanwhile, over on RAW, there's been more than enough to keep us all busy. Some of it good - the Triple H/Batista storyline for a start. That has to be my Feud Of The Year. Three amazing matches, two fantastic performers - absolute gold.

Some of it bad - JR's firing was NOT how I'd have chosen to see this beloved veteran announcer go out. The Nurse Slobberknockers segment the following week was downright insulting, and left an extremely sour taste in my mouth. Still, every cloud has a silver lining, as ECW mainstay Joey Styles arrived to fill JR's seat as play-by-play commentator. Now if only they'd get rid of Coach, I'd be a happy clam.

RAW also made its way back to its old home, the USA Network. The Homecoming show was one of the best of the year, bringing out greats such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley, as well as legendary veterans such as Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dusty Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Arn Anderson, Kerry von Erich and more.

Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels dazzled us at WrestleMania 21 and at Vengeance with two of the best technical matches to date. Angle now has his sights firmly fixed on Cena's WWE Championship. I realise that Cena has an ever-growing set of detractors but I'm not one of them. However, I'm one of the biggest Angle marks out, and I'd love to see the WWE Championship back round his waist. I'm sure it would do Cena's career absolutely no harm by having him battle to regain it.

Smarks and marks alike were surprised by the return of Matt Hardy and all the drama surrounding it. How much of it was a work I don't know - and I don't care, because I was kayfabed, and I loved it. I wish it would happen more often.

As I said before, I'm not going to go into too much detail in wrapping up 2005 in the wrestling world, I'd just be repeating myself (and JT) and you all know the stories anyway. Never let it be said I bored an audience on purpose.

Speaking of JT, however, as Co-Editor he'll be taking over half of these Editorials for 2006 - and beyond, I hope. So you'll be seeing him in this spot in January. JT debuted last month with his "J To The T" which, if you haven't read yet, you really should. Just make sure you have food and water for the journey.

With that, I shall bid you all adieu. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Thank you to everyone who's helped to make OWW the success it is today, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all back in 2006!

Catch you on the flip side, grasshoppers.

by Kirsty Quested


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