AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets PWBTS.com
As 2009 moves into 2010, it’s time for the 13th annual AS I SEE IT Year-End Review. As usual, I should note that my selections are based on what I’ve actually seen this year, either live, online, on TV, or via tape/DVD; which primarily means North American wrestling.
2009 PROMOTION OF THE YEAR:
WWE, by default.
WWE wins by default in being the only real national touring wrestling company that turns out a reasonably succesful and consistent product….even with its many faults. Dragon Gate USA hasn’t run enough shows to call them a promotion as of yet. Previous long term winner Ring of Honor has yet to recover from firing Gabe Sapolsky. Crowds in Philadelphia are down to the point where tickets are given away to get people to come to the TV tapings at the ECW Arena…a market where fans were willing to pay premium prices to come to the Northeast Armory to see house shows. God willing in 2010 that Jim Cornette‘s presence has a measurable positive effect in returning Ring of Honor to a level approaching where it used to be.
2008 winner: Ring of Honor
2007 winner: Ring of Honor
2006 winner: Ring of Honor
2005 winner: Ring of Honor
2004 winner: Ring of Honor
2003 winner: Ring of Honor
2002 winner: Ring of Honor
2001 winner: WWF
2000 winner: WWF
1999 winner: WWF
1998 winner: WWF
1997 winner: WCWAwards for the decade: WWF/E 3, Ring of Honor 7
How many wrestlers are there who you actually look forward to seeing each and every time they appear on your screen…or live in an arena? Chris Jericho epitomizes a great heel in the classic sense. He insults fans, wrestlers, and then backs it up, both in storyline and in the ring for smart fans that know they get their money’s worth. Between his matches with Ricky Steamboat (a personal mark-out moment to watch Steamboat one more time), his program with Rey Mysterio, his Jerishow tag team with the Big Show he carried the year for me.
2008 winner: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, Ring of Honor
2007 winner: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, Ring of Honor
2006 winner: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, Ring of Honor/Pro Wrestling NOAH/Full Impact Pro
2005 winner: Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor/TNA/independent
2004 winner: Chris Benoit, WWE
2003 winner: AJ Styles, NWA-TNA/ROH/Zero-One/independent
1997 winner: Eddie Guerrero, WCWAwards for the decade: WWF/E 5, Ring of Honor 5
2009 WORST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
The Great Khali, WWE
Need I say much more? Khali is great for fulfilling Vince McMahon’s big man fetish, and very little else. I’ve seen men or women in wrestling school who can do more in the ring. I’ve seen Mae Young do better comedy (OK, she gets a chuckle, anyway…). Hell, I’ve seen Santino Marella do better comedy. Some would argue that certain episodes of TNA do better comedy without trying.
2008 “winner”: The Great Khali , WWE
2007 “winner”: Adam “Pacman” Jones, TNA
2006 “winner”: Boogeyman, WWE
2005 “winner”: Boogeyman, WWE
2004 “winner”: Heidenreich, WWE
2003 “winner”: Nathan Jones, WWE
2002 “winner” Shane Douglas, Major League Wrestling/XPW
Since what role of Davey Richards will play in 2010 is somewhat questionable (co promoter on EVOLVE? singles wrestler in EVOLVE, tag team wrestler in ROH? all of the above?), I wanted to give the American Wolves one mention at their peak as a tag team.
In the diminished atmosphere of Ring of Honor 2009, this tag team has been one of the highlights of the promotion and has delivered consistently in the ring, with their programs against Kevin Steen/El Generico and The Briscoe Brothers; as well as their MOTY candidate against Bryan Danielson/Tyler Black. Richards also had added great singles matches over the year in Ring of Honor with KENTA and Bryan Danielson, YAMATO and Shingo with Dragon Gate USA. The American Wolves come off like a old-school heel tag team that can back it up in the ring
2008 winner: Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin (Motor City Machine Guns), TNA/Ring of Honor
1997 winner: Sabu/Rob Van Dam, ECWAwards for the decade: WWE 3, TNA 4, ROH 3
2009 ANGLE/FEUD OF THE YEAR WINNER
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy, WWE
This was the hottest feud of the year, and helped transition Punk into his “I’m better than you/straight edge heel” personna. A year’s worth of CM Punk wanting to rescue us from Jeff Hardy was great in the ring and on the mike. Nopw that we’ve enjoyed it for a minute, think about it. In the new squeaky clean, approved by Linda McMahon’s campaign, can’t even have haredway blood in a Hell In The Cell WWE of 2009…that the “straight edge” Punk is the heel… but the Jeff Hardy with drug suspensions (and an drug-related arrest after he left WWE) is the babyface. Even with his contract issues with WWE, Hardy more than held up his share of the program in the ring, and made it a memorable..if all too short feud.
It seems that this feud is being set up to resume, if Hardy becomes free from his legal issues, as there’s been more than a few Punk promos directed at Jeff Hardy, even after Hardy;s departure.
2008 winner: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE
2007 winner: Mark and Jay Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico, Ring of Honor
2006 winner: CZW-Ring of Honor, CZW and ROH
2005 winner: Batista vs. HHH, WWE
2004 winner: Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE
2003 winner: Danny Maff “retirement angle”, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, September 27, 2003, Rahway, NJ
2002 winner: AJ Styles-Jerry Lynn, NWA-TNA/Ring of Honor
2001 winner: ECW turns on WWF, July 9, 2001, Phillips Arena, Atlanta, WWE
1999 winner: Test (Andrew Martin)-Stephanie McMahon wedding angle, WWF
1998 winner: Vince McMahon as heel promoter versus Steve Austin, WWF
1997 winner: nWo-WCW angleAwards for the decade: WWE 6, CZW/ROH 1, TNA/ROH 1, JAPW 1
2009 WORST/MOST TASTELESS ANGLE OF THE YEAR
John Bradshaw Layfield “hires” Shawn Michaels because Michaels has “lost his money in bad investments”, WWE.
OK, let me get this straight. As 2009 begins, the unemployment rate is skyrocketing (all the way to 10% official rate by the end of 2009), business after business is closing with people losing jobs by the thousands as a result. Banks are closing (well over 100 by the end of the year).
So what does WWE give fans to take them away from their problems? Exciting matches? New stars?
Oh, I dunno. How about reminding wrestling fans OF their problems each week on Monday Night RAW and on PPV to boot with a storyline that talks about a wrestler who “lost his money in bad investments”?
Along with tasteless, how about just plain stupid? Most fans realize that Shawn Michaels is being paid by Vince McMahon to appear on his wrestling show, so they realize he isn’t exactly destitute. Otherwise, how in the hell was he getting from show to show each week…let alone to PPVs and house shows? Even worse was that the angle reminded adult fans of the fact that they could lose their job at any time…if they haven’t already done so.
Honorable mention goes to the “fake Sarah Palin” on TNA for being ten levels beyond stupid. Way to get over your lead heels by having them believe that another wrestler is the Republican spokesmodel…er, nominee for Vice President.
2008 “winner”: Jeff Hardy’s implied pre-show drug overdose…er…”mugging”, Survivor Series, WWE
2007 “winner”: The “death” of “Mister McMahon”, WWE
2006 “winner” The “Eddie Guerrero storyline”…in all its forms, WWE
2005 “winner”: Jim Ross proctology skit and Tim White “suicide” sketches, WWE
2003 “winner”: Vince-Stephanie McMahon angle for “control of Smackdown” and father-daughter No Mercy match WWE
2002 “winner”: Katie Vick angle, WWF/E
2001 “winner”: Vince McMahon “Kiss My Ass” angle, Monday Night RAW, November 19, 26, and 28, WWF
2000 “winner”: Stacey Keibler-David Flair and Mark Henry-Mae Young “pregnancy angles”, WWF
1999 “winner”: The Paul Wight/Big Bossman “cancer angle”, WWF
1998 “winner”: Ric Flair “heart attack” angle and the Hawk/Scott Hall drug angles, WCW/WWF
1997 “winner”: DeGenerationX/Nation of Domination “racial angle”, WWF”Awards” for the decade: WWE 10
2009 MATCHES OF THE YEAR:
WWE- Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE WrestleMania 25, April 5, 2009, Houston, TX
As much as Undertaker is clearly suffering the physical effects of years in the ring, he can pull out a classic story to tell for a major show. The same goes for Shawn Michaels. The match featured old-school storytelling with a slow build, which made the match and the finish all that much more to anticipate and enjoy.
Independent – Naruki Doi/Masato Yoshino vs. SHINGO/Dragon Kid, Dragon Gate USA Open The Freedom Gate, November 28, 2009, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA
These four cranked things up to a speed and execution level that was amazing weith false finishes and with multiple double team spots. This blow-away match topped YAMATO-Davey Richards from earlier in the evening which might well have been my Match of The Year otherwise. The ECW Arena crowd was white-hot for this match. This match was definitely worth buying the PPV for this match alone.
2008 winners: (WWE) Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 24, Orlando, FL, March 30, 2008; (Independent) Naruki Doi/Masato Yoshino/Genki Horiguchi-CIMA/Dragon Kid/Ryo Saito Supercard of Honor III, Orlando, FL, March 29, 2008
2007 winners: WWE: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE Monday Night RAW, London, England, April 23, 2008; Independent: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Ring of Honor, June 9, 2008, Philadelphia, PA
2006 winners: WWE: Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs. Steven Regal/ David Taylor vs. Hardys vs. MNM, Ladder match for the world tag team titles, WWE Armageddon; Independent: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA, Glory By Honor V, New York, NY, September 16, 2006 and CZW/ROH Cage of Death War Games/The Match Beyond match; with Necro Butcher, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Nate Webb, Eddie Kingston vs. Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, Adam Pearce, Ace Steele, and Homicide.
2005 winners: WWE: Kurt Angle-Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania XXI Los Angeles, CA, April 3, 2005, Independent: Samoa Joe- Kenta Kobashi, New York, NY, October 1, 2005
2004 winners: WWE: Triple H-Chris Benoit-Shawn Michaels, WWE, Wrestlemania XX, March 14, 2004, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY; Independent: CM Punk-Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor, June 12, 2004, Dayton, Ohio and CM Punk-Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor, October 16, 2004, Chicago Ridge, IL (tie)
2003 winners: WWE: Chris Benoit-Kurt Angle, WWE Royal Rumble 2003, Boston, MA January 19, 2003; Independent: Steve Corino-Homicide, Ring of Honor, “Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies” Fairfield, CT, August 16th, 2003, NWA-TNA: America’s Most Wanted-XXX (Christopher Daniels/Elix Skipper) steel cage match, Nashville, TN, June 25, 2003
2002 winners: WWE: Edge/Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit, No Mercy, Little Rock, AK, October 20, 2002; Independent: Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams – 60 minute Iron Man Match, Ring of Honor, Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2002
2001 winners: WWF: Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – Tables, Ladders and Chairs II – WrestleMania X-Seven, AstroDome, Houston, TX, April 1, 2001; Independent: Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Scoot Andrews vs. American Dragon, East Coast Wrestling Association, Wilmington, DE, September 22, 2001
2000 winners: WCW: Booker T vs. Jeff Jarrett, “Bash At The Beach”, Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL, June 9, 2000; WWF: “Tables, Ladders and Chairs” Match – Matt/Jeff Hardy vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Edge/Christian, SummerSlam, Raleigh, NC, August 27, 2000. ECW: Psicosis-Yoshihiro Tajiri, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, August 19, 2000
1999 winners: WCW: Chris Benoit-Bret Hart, Monday Nitro, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO, October, 1999; WWF: Matt/Jeff Hardy-Edge/Christian, Tag Team Ladder Match, “No Mercy”, Cleveland, OH, October 17, 1999; ECW: Rob Van Dam/Jerry Lynn, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, August 28, 1999.
1998 winners: WCW: Chris Jericho/Eddie Guerrero-Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko, November 29th, Knoxville Civic Coliseum; WWF: Mankind (Mick Foley)-Undertaker Hell in a Cell Match “King of the Ring” PPV, June 28, 1998; ECW: Jerry Lynn-Rob Van Dam, August 8, 1998, ECW Arena
1997 winners: WCW: Rey Mysterio, Jr.- Eddie Guerrero, WCW “Halloween Havoc” PPV, 10/27/97, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV; WWF: Shawn Michaels-Undertaker, “In Your House: Badd Blood” PPV, 10/5/97, Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO; ECW: Great Sasuke/Gran Hamada/Masato Yakushiji-TAKA Michinoku/Dick Togo/Terry Boy, “Barely Legal” PPV, 4/13/97, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA2009 CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
WWE- WWE WrestleMania 25, April 5, 2009, Houston, TX
Some have argued that this was a one-match PPV with Shawn Michaels-Undertaker. Give me a match that leaves me satisfied like that and I’ll take a one-match PPV anytime. Given the segment that aired on RAW recently, we may get a repeat again this year at Wrestlemania 26.
Independent- Dragon Gate USA “Open The Historic Gate”, July 25, 2009, ECW Areana, Philadelphia, PA (aired on PPV as “Enter the Dragon” on September 4)
There have been few shows I actually got excited to view in 2009. Dragon Gate USA “Open The Historic Gate” was one of them PA. The show which packed the ECW Arena despite premium-proced tickets in the middle of the 2009 recession featured YAMATO-BxB Hulk; the eight man CHIKARA showcase featuring The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant), Jigsaw and Mike Quackenbush vs. F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Gran Akuma), Amasis and Hallowicked; Dragon Kid-Masato Yoshino; The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) vs. Cima/Susumu Yokosuka and Naruki Doi vs. Shingo blew away what many have suggested is the most jaded, hard to please crowd in the world, the Philadelphia independent wrestling fan.
2008 winner: WWE WrestleMania XXIV
2007 winner: WWE WrestleMania XXIII
2006 winners: WWE: WWE WrestleMania XXII, April 2, 2008, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois; Independent: Glory by Honor V Night 2, Manhattan Center, New York, NY, September 16, 2008
2005 winners: WWE: Wrestlemania XXI Los Angeles, CA, April 3, 2005, Ring of Honor, “Joe vs. Kobashi”, New York, NY, October 1, 2005
2004 winners: WWE: Wrestlemania XX, March 14, 2004, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY; Independent: At Our Best, Ring of Honor, March 13, 2004, Rex Plex, Elizabeth, NJ
2003 winners: WWE: WWE Wrestlemania XIX, Safeco Field, Seattle, WA, March 30, 2003; Independent: All Japan/Ring of Honor Final Battle 2003, Philadelphia, PA December 27, 2003; NWA-TNA: NWA-TNA Super X Cup, Nashville Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN, September 3, 2003 (taped August 20 and 27, 1993)
2002 winners: WWE: WWE Summer Slam 2002, Fleet Center, Boston, MA, August 25, 2002, Independent: Ring of Honor “Road To The Title” Philadelphia, PA, June 22, 2002
2001 winners: WWF: WrestleMania X-Seven, AstroDome, Houston, TX, April 1, 2001, Independent: 2001 Super Eight tournament, ECWA, St. Matthew’s Parish Hall, Wilmington, DE February 24, 2001
2000 winner: WWF “Fully Loaded”, Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX, July 23, 2000
1999 winner: ECW “Anarchy Rulz”, ECW Odeum Sports and Exposition Center, Villa Park, IL, September 19, 1999
1998 winner: WWF “Survivor Series”, St. Louis, MO, Keil Center, November 15, 1998
1997 winner: ECW “Barely Legal”, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, April 13, 19972009 WORST CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
TNA Victory Road 2009, July 19, 2009, Orlando, FL
How about a night that saw “Dr.” Stevie Richards win over Abyss by using a “tazer” for the win (didn’t work any better in WCW, either), The Dudleys…er, Team 3D having to try to carry the British Invasion, Elsewhere, Kevin Nash went over AJ Styles clean (way to get over your young talent, TNA). Sting (by all accounts) wouldn’t go up for Samoa Joe’s muscle buster in their match, forcing Samoa Joe to improvise for the finish. Topping them all was likely the worst match of the year, if not one of the worst of all time on a major show, Jenna Morasca (whose wrestling credentials include being the Survivor 6 winner) vs. Sharmell. This one ranked up there with the infamous Jackie Gayda/Christopher Nowinski-Trish Stratus/ Bradshaw July 8, 2002 RAW from Philadelphia that I was unfortunate enough to witness.
2008 “winner”: WWE Cyber Sunday, October 26, 2008, Phoenix, AZ
2007 “winner”: TNA Turning Point 2007, December 2, 2007
2006 “winner”: WWECW December to Dismember, Augusta, GA, December 4, 2006, WWE
2005 “winner”: WWE Armageddon PPV, Providence, RI, December 18, 2005, WWE
2004 “winner”: WWE “Great American Bash”, Norfolk, VA, The Scope, June 27, 2004.
2003 “winner:” WWE No Mercy, Baltimore, MD, October 19, 2003
2002 “winner”: World Wrestling All-Stars Eruption, Melbourne, Australia, April 13, 2002
2001 “winner”: WCW “Sin”, January 14, 2001, Indianapolis, IN.
2000 “winner”: WCW Slamboree, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO, May 7, 2000
1999 “winner”: WCW Fall Brawl 1999
1998 “winner”: WCW Fall Brawl 1998
1997 “winner”: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997, Ft. Lauderdale, FL”Awards” for the decade: WCW 2, TNA 2, WWE 5, World Wrestling All-Stars 1
2009 BEST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
WWE Smackdown by default, pretty much because of CM Punk, John Morrison, and Chris Jericho (and Jim Ross until his recent illness). Yet we also get such not-so-classic moments as “PIggie James” segments, and the unending Teddy Long on probation segments with Vince McMahon. Maybe Vince will have something better to do with Bret Hart shortly.
If Comcast let the Philadelphia market get ROH on HDNet, at least we’d have some degree of wrestling (even if not what it used to be) and I could give them an award.
2008 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
2007 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
2006 winner: TNA Impact, TNA, Spike TV
2005 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2004 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2003 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2002 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2001 winner: Monday Night RAW, TNN
2000 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network and TNN
1999 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
1998 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
1997 winner: Monday Nitro, Turner Network TelevisionAwards for the decade: OVW 4, WWE 5, TNA 1
2009 WORST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
TNA Impact, TNA
How about a wrestling show that featured 95% of the X-division and younger stars being jobbed out so a stable made up of 50-year-olds could have one more run, including a whole episode featuring the Main Event Mafia with “their own announcers” (sound like the infamous NWO Nitro anyone?)… or Booker T cutting promos with a different accent each week… or Abyss-Foley, first friends, then enemies (over a torn up, autographed picture!?), then friends, now Lord only knows what…Super Eric.. or Kurt Angle being turned into a comedy figure, then someone who cried because TNA turned his “private dressing room” into a closet.
All too many of the good wrestling matches that were taped for Impact were chopped to pieces for commercials, while we had to see comedy segments (unedited, of course) that made Monday Night RAW look like classic Saturday Night Live.
2008 “winner”: TNA Impact
2007 “winner”: TNA Impact
2006 “winner”: WWECW, Sci-Fi Network
2005 “winner”: WWE Smackdown, WWE/UPN
2004 “winner”: WWE Smackdown, WWE/UPN
2003 “winner”: The Wrestling Federation (yep, that was actually their name) aired in Philadelphia, southeastern
Pennsylvania, Delaware, southern New Jersey on WGTW Channel 48
2002 “winner”: WXW Rage TV – aired in Philadelphia, northeastern Pennsylvania, north central New Jersey, and syndicated in parts of American Samoa, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.
2001 “winner”: Monday Nitro, WCW, TNT
2000 “winner”: Monday Nitro, TNT
1999 “winner”: Monday Nitro, TNT
1998 “winner”: Music City Wrestling TV
1997 “winner”: USWA Television, USWA”Awards” for the decade: WCW 2, WXW 1, The Wrestling Federation 1, 3 WWE, 3 TNA
2009 TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Jim Ross, Smackdown, WWE
There’s simply no one who can get over the history of wrestling and get over the emotion of a storyline than Ross. Here’s hoping we get to see Jim Ross for one more run on Smackdown (or prefereably on RAW where he belongs with Jerry Lawler) so he can get over the presumed Bret Hart-Vince McMahon storyline in 2010. Maybe if McMahon’s involved IN the storyline he won’t be able to scream in Ross’s earpiece and get in the way. Honorable mention to the TNA version of Taz(z). See how much better he does when Vince McMahon isn’t trying to force-feed him sports entertainment garbage in his earpiece?
2008 winner: Jim Ross, Monday Night RAW/Smackdown , WWE
2007 winner: Jim Ross, Monday Night RAW, WWE
2006 winner: Mike Tenay, TNA Impact
2005 winner: Mike Tenay, TNA Impact
2004 winner: Dan Wilson/Steven Prazak, NWA Wildside
2003 winner: Mike Tenay, NWA-TNA PPV/TNA Explosion
2002 winner: Mike Tenay, NWA-TNA PPV/TNA Explosion
2001 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
2000 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1999 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1998 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1997 winner: Mike Tenay, World Championship WrestlingAwards for the decade: WWF 5, TNA 4, NWA Wildside 1
2009 WORST TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Michael Cole, WWE Monday Night RAW
There’s probably no truth to the rumor that a Michael Cole drinking game has been started to get viewers through a night of watching RAW, especially since it’s the only way to get through Monday Night RAW in the brand-new Linda McMahon-Senate-campaign-approved wrestling-suitable-for-10-year-olds-world of WWE. Rumor has it that every time you hear phrases like “controlled frenzy”, “WWE Universe”, or “longest running episodic television program” you have to take a drink. It’s usually a good idea to have had a really good meal before watching RAW as a result. Otherwise, you won’t make it past the 10:00 pm break before passing out.
Then, you need an emetic after listening to the latest Michael Cole cheap shot at Jim Ross. News bulletin, dipshit…I’d rather watch Jim Ross even suffering with his health issues for three hours than you for five minutes.
2008 “winner”: (Tie) Don West, TNA IMPACT! and Mike Adamle, WWE
2007 “winner”: Don West, TNA IMPACT!
2006 “winner”: Josh Matthews, WWE
2005 “winner”: Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat/WWE Monday Night RAW, WWE
2004 “winner”: Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat and WWE Monday RAW, WWE
2003 “winner”: Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat, WWE Monday RAW
2002 “winner”: Jessica Dally, WXW Rage TV
2001 “winner”: Tony Schiavone, WCW, TNT and TBS
2000 “winner”: Tony Schiavone, WCW
1999 “winner”: Tony Schiavone, WCW
1998 “winner”: Bert Prentice, MCW
1997 “winner”: Tony Schiavone, WCW”Awards” for the decade: WCW 2, WXW 1, WWE 5, TNA 2
2009 WRESTLING NEWS STORIES OF THE YEAR
Congressional steroids report – The story that many thought woudl have had the longest-term effect turned out to have limited effect. WWE continued on with a Wellness Program that didn’t save the life of Eddie Fatu, but has saved the life of others like MVP. TNA’s drug testing has apparently been limited with no suspensions and no changes in the physical appearance of talent. But no changes were made in the promotions, allowing for more time off for in-ring talent to naturally heal.
Shane McMahon resigns from WWE – The single story that may have the biggest long-term effect on wrestling is Shane McMahon leaving the family business. No one knows as the year ends what his future holds, whether MMA or some other enterprise.
“The Wrestler”- The high profile of “The Wrestler” showed wrestling as a performance art, and the hold it has on some long-term wrestlers after they leave the bigtime…and the effect it can have on them as a result.
Death of Mitsuharu Misawa – The stunning in-ring death of Japanese legend Mitsuhara Misawa saddened many and signified to many the end of the classic era of Japanese wrestling.
Linda McMahon Senate Campaign – This may be Vince McMahon last and biggest attempt at legitimizing WWE’s image to the general public, however directly or indirectly you think WWE has an effect on her campaign…and that her campaign has had an effect on WWE’s in-ring product, including turning RAW into a comedy show and the removal of even hardway blood from PPVs
2008 stories: Retirement of Ric Flair; Filming and high profile of “The Wrestler”; Jeff Hardy finally gets WWE title
2007 story: Benoit family tragedy
2006 stories: The return and failure of “ECW”, TNA gaining prime-time slot on Spike TV, WWE getting new competition…from UFC
2005 stories: Deaths of Eddie Guerrero, Shinya Hashimoto, and Chris Candido, WWE drug testing policy, WWE return to USA, Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita real life and storyline triangle, Jim Ross replaced as lead announcer on RAW, TNA move to Spike TV, WWE and Bret Hart make peace
2004 stories: Brock Lesnar leaves WWE to try out for the NFL, RF Video/Ring of Honor’s Rob Feinstein implication in a pedophile sting, Pat Patterson retirement/resignation, TNA Fox Sports Net slot
2003 stories: The epidemic of deaths within wrestling (many of which involved past or current drug and alcohol use), NWA-TNA survives for another year, continued problems with WWE house show/TV taping business, controversial and active Philadelphia independent scene
2002 stories: The WWF “brand extension”, dropping WWE house
show business, PTC forced to surrender, NWA-TNA, Philadelphia independent wars
2001 stories: WWF purchase of WCW, ECW closes its doors, WCW “Invasion angle” goes nowhere, WWF ratings and live attendance drop
2000 stories: Mainstreaming of wrestling continues, WWF-ECW-TNN-USA TV network roulette, WWF goes public, PTC censorship attempts continue… but with organized efforts fighting them, WCW set to lose as much as $80 million
1999 stories: Deaths of Owen Hart and Brian Hildebrand, Foley’s “Have A Nice Day” goes to #1 on New York Times Best-Seller List, WWF CD DEBUTS at number 4 on Billboard Chart, ECW TV on TNN, Parents Television Council censorship attempts
1998 stories: Changes in WWF product (making it more adult in nature), ECW’s 1998 problems, Mainstream attention given the wrestling business, Jesse Ventura’s election to Governorship of Minnesota
1997 stories: Brian Pillman death, Bret Hart leaving WWF/Title Change DoublecrossThat’s the AS I SEE IT year in review.
Until next time…
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