AS I SEE IT 1/2: Year-end awards
Jan 2, 2012 - by Bob Magee
AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Happy New Year to all of you.
As 2011 ends and 2012 begins, it’s time for the 15th 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.
2011 PROMOTION OF THE YEAR:
WWE- pretty much by default, owing to their business success. While WWE isn’t the wrestling that many of us wish we were seeing, the reality is that they put asses in seats, are geniuses at marketing, and make money. Wrestlemania is still the destoination PPV for wrestling fans, regardless of how smart they think they are, and whatever they say about the McMahons. Ring of Honor can’t say that yet, and with the sale to Sinclair Broadcasting…it’s hard to say how their longterm business will progress.
It remains to be seen if the potential shift of many monthly PPVs to the new WWE Network will allow them to keep making money as they have before; but for now, there’s pretty much one name to give this award to.
2010 winner: Ring of Honor
2009 winner: WWE
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: WCW
2011 WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
CM Punk, WWE – What mainstream wrestler has actually gotten fans like most of us who follow the business online more than CM Punk? He’s been one of the rare instances of a wrestler actually getting a character over…somehow without too much interference from WWE’s powers that be. He actually got over the same character he portrayed in Ring of Honor, with threats to “win the WWE title, and take it outside the company”. He won the WWE Heavyweight Title for a second time in Chicago on July 18 in front of one of the wildest crowds I’ve ever seen, and walked out with the belt through the crowd to close the PPV.
He actually brought off the angle for awhile, going to independent shows; before WWE rushed him back FAR too fast on TV and “re-signed him to a contract”. His latest bit of doing “pipe bombs” on air, seems to be an acknowledgement by WWE that not everyone’s buying in to John Cena as superman; and that something else is needed.
2010 winner: Bryan Danielson (aka “Daniel Bryan”), Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE/independent/WWE
2009 winner: Chris Jericho, WWE
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
2002 winner: Kurt Angle, WWE
2001 winner: Chris Jericho, WWF
2000 winner: HHH, WWF
1999 winner: Chris Benoit, WWF
1998 winner: Steve Austin, WWF
1997 winner: Eddie Guerrero, WCW
2011 WORST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
The Great Khali – Since Lacey Von Erich retired, we can go back again this year to The Great Khali one last time as the “winner” of this award. Other than being big, he seems to have very little in the way of talent, and doesn’t even look intimidating. Sadly, he’s Vince McMahon’s idea of what he sees as no more than a circus freak to be exhibited. Khali’s contract expired this year. Have to wonder if Jeff Jarrett’s project in India will attempt to use him for the same reasons.
2010 “winner”: Lacey Von Erich, TNA
2009 “winner”: The Great Khali, WWE
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
2001 “winner”: Buff Bagwell, WCW/WWF/independent
2000 “winner”: Kevin Nash, WCW
1999 “winner”: Hulk Hogan, WCW
1998 “winner”: Giant Silva, WWF
1997 “winner”: Hulk Hogan, WCW
2011 TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR:
The Briscoe Brothers – with Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards working each other, Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli in different companies, and Beer Money broken up; The Briscoes win this one. They’ve looked strong in ROH this year, and worked as Tag Team Champions earlier in 2011 for Combat Zone Wrestling.
2010 winner: Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli), Pro Wrestling NOAH/Ring of Honor/Pro Wrestling Guerrilla/CHIKARA –
2009 winner: American Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards), Ring of Honor
2008 winner: Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin (Motor City Machine Guns), TNA/Ring of Honor
2007 winner: Mark and Jay Briscoe, Ring of Honor
2006 winner: Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, Ring of Honor
2005 winner: America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
2004 winner: America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
2003 winner: America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
2002 winner: Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, WWE
2001 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
2000 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
1999 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
1998 winner: Sabu/Rob Van Dam, ECW
1997 winner: Sabu/Rob Van Dam, ECW
2011 ANGLE/FEUD OF THE YEAR WINNER
CM Punk vs. WWE – A year long storyline, with a lead off that could have been so much better had WWE given it time. Punk ahas been one of the few consistently entertaining things on WWE television this year, looking forward to what he might say or do next. As 2011 ends he now has stiff shirt John Laurinitis as a foil representing WWE. What might be the single funniest moment of the year took place when Punk voiced over a “tribute” to Laurinitis wit lotrs of Dynamic Dudes comedy footage.
2010 winner: Kevin Steen vs. El Generico, Ring of Honor
2009 winner: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy, WWE
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
2000 winner: The Stephanie McMahon-Vince McMahon-Shane McMahon-HHH-Kurt Angle soap opera, 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 angle
2011 WORST/MOST TASTELESS ANGLE OF THE YEAR
Michael Cole using real-life death of Jerry Lawler’s mother as storyline fodder – In a wrestling dictionary definition of cheap heat, the February 21 RAW saw Michael Cole telling Jerry Lawler how his mother (who had just died after a battle with Alzheimers) would be “disappointed in him” after his loss to The Miz. Lawler is as old-school as they come, and gets using anything to get heat on a heel. But to use the death of someone’s mother…especially given her battle with Alheimer’s, barely knowing who Lawler was at the end, seems like the worst kind of cheap heat. Michael Cole has “go-away” heat as it is, not heel heat. heel heat draws money, while “go-away” heat means people switch channels and not order PPVs if they have to listen to it for 2 or 3 hours. Hit people with something as senistive as that…makes things even worse.
2010 “winner” “Stand Up For WWE”
2009 “winner”: John Bradshaw Layfield “hires” Shawn Michaels because Michaels has “lost his money in bad investments”, WWE.
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
2004 “winner”: Lita/Kane/Matt Hardy pregnancy/miscarriage angle
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
2011 MATCHES OF THE YEAR:
WWE: CM Punk vs. John Cena, WWE Money In The Bank, Chicago, IL, July 17, 2011- In a time of monthly PPVs (or even two weeks apart), it’s hard for anything at all to stand out. But this match did. These two pulled out everything you thought possible from them (so the next time someone tells you Cena can’t wrestle, pull out this DVD and make them watch it). Couple that with one of the wildest crowd atmospheres I’ve ever seen (and I got to see the best days of ECW at the ECW Arena), and you get a Match of The Year
Independent: Mike Quackenbush- Eddie Kingston, CHIKARA Pro Wrestling, ECW Arena, November 20, 2011 – It seems oddly appropriate that in what will likely turn out to be CHIKARA’s last regular show at the ECW Arena (the show in December was a Joshi show with a handful of CHIKARA workers in matches); they may have pulled off one of their best singles matches I’ve ever seen. CHIKARA had not had a Heavyweight Champion for its entire history, and only now crowned a Champion with this match. Quackenbush and Kingston worked a great match, told a incredible story (including Kingston online promos to set up the reason behind the match, and sent the fans home happy with the “right” results.
2010 winners: WWE: Undertaker- Shawn Michaels, WWE WrestleMania 26, March 28, 2010; Independent: Bryan Danielson vs. SHINGO, Dragon Gate USA, July 24, 2010.
2009 winners: (WWE)- Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE WrestleMania 25, April 5, 2009, Houston, TX; (Independent) Naruki Doi/Masato Yoshino vs. SHINGO/Dragon Kid, Dragon Gate USA Open The Freedom Gate, November 28, 2009, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA
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, PA
2011 CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
WWE: WWE Money in the Bank 2011 – Allstate Arena; Chicago, IL July 17, 2011If this PPV had no more than the CM Punk title wiin in front of one of the craziest crowds ever, this PPV might have won the award on that alone. But add in the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match tha w Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson finally get elevated in his win over Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Wade Barrett; Del Rio go over
Alberto Del Rio beat Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio, and The Miz in the RAW Money in the Bank match,
Christian winning the World Heavyweight Championship over Randy Orton by DQ, and finally Punk winning the WWE Championship in Chicago; that does it for me.
Independent: CHIKARA King of Trios 2011/Night One, April 15, 2011, ECW Arena – Each year, this event is a indy show of the year candidate, and this year didn’t disappoint either. Highlights included: Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw, and Manami Toyota defeated The Amazing Red and the Maximos after a ’68 Comeback Special by Quackenbush, followed by a top rope elbow by Jigsaw on Will Maximo at 10 minutes (my first time seeing the legendary Manami Toyota in person); Team Dragon Gate (Super Shisa/Akira Tozawa/Kagetora) defeated The Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked/Frightmare/UltraMantis Black) after Super Shisa hit the Yoshitonic on Frightmare at 15 minutes; Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Ultimate Spider, Jr.) defeated the trio of the Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield/Sugar Dunkerton) and Matt Classic after Ultimo Spider Jr. cradled Matt Classic at 17 minutes with a La Magistral. But the absolute highlight of the night had to be Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki) defeating Team Minnesota (1-2-3 Kid/Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin) after a Dick Togo senton on Darin Corbin after 23 minutes. Watching the “original” Michinoku Pro team that worked ECW Barely Legal; and watching Sean Waltman bring out his working boots to an incredible post-match crowd reaction, which he was apparently really touched by.
2010 winners WWE: Wrestlemania 26, March 28, 2010, Glendale, AZ; Independent: Dragon Gate USA, Enter The Dragon, July 24, 2010 (aired on PPV on September 10)
2009 winner: WWE WrestleMania 25, April 5, 2009, Houston, TX, Independent- Dragon Gate USA “Open The Historic Gate”, July 25, 2009, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA (aired on PPV as “Enter the Dragon” on September 4)
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, 1997
2011 WORST CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
TNA Victory Road 2011, March 13, Orlando, FL- If a disaster of a main event Sting (working injured) versus Jeff Hardy working impaired in the ring for a two minute main event wasn’t enough of an embarassment for TNA, how about a non decision in the semi-main event right before it to decide a #1 contender, and continued segments throughout the PPV of the “honeymoon” of Jeff and Karen Jarrett (former wide of Kurt Angle)…and asking people to PAY for it? TNA itself thought it was so bad, it gave 6 months of free TNA-On-Demand to make up for it?
2010 “winner”: TNA Turning Point 2010, November 7, Orlando, FL
2009 “winner”: TNA Victory Road 2009, July 19, 2009, Orlando, FL
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
2011 BEST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
ROH on HDNet, HDNet/Ring of Honor on Sinclair – For purposes of convenience, we’ll call this one entry. Ring of Honor’s television is the one (more or less) nationally televised show that gives wrestling the spotlight; not clowns, jugglers, guys pretending their hand is a snake, and 15 minute promos…and then there’s TNA Impact.
2010 winner: ROH on HDNet, HDNet
2009 winner: WWE Smackdown, WWE
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 Television
2011 WORST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
TNA Impact, TNA – In a upset as shocking as Michael Cole “winning” the worst announcer award, here is the worst show of the year. Never has so much talent been wasted so much by inept and inexplicable booking as has happened over the last 2 years by TNA; not even the worst years of WCW Monday Nitro. .
2010 “winner” TNA Impact, TNA
2009 “winner”: TNA Impact, TNA
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
2011 TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Jim Ross, WWE. You were expecting the “voice of the WWE”, maybe? Despite being stuck in the embarassing Michael Cole vs. JR styoryline on and off all year… when Jim Ross got to actually call a match, you know why fans have been BEGGING Vince McMahon to let him just announce; making the reason RAW ratings are down really clear….that Vince McMahon isn’t. I don’t care if Vince McmHaon has to build him his own studio in Oklahoma so he doesn’t have to travel with his health being what it is….Jim Ross needs to call WWE.
2010 winner: CM Punk, WWE –
2009 winner: Jim Ross, Smackdown, WWE
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 Wrestling
2011 WORST TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Michael Cole, WWE Monday Night RAW: In a shocking upset, Michael Cole repeats for the third straight year as the worst heel announcer of all time. The very name of the definition of go-away heat has now changed from “X-Pac Heat” to “Michael Cole heat”.
2010 “winner”: Michael Cole, WWE Monday Night RAW, WWE
2009 “winner”: Michael Cole, WWE Monday Night RAW, WWE
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
2011 WRESTLING NEWS STORIES OF THE YEAR
This year, six stories, three positive and three negative:
CM Punk vs. WWE – Wrestling fans who hungered for something or someone different were thrilled with the CM Punk vs. WWE angle, with Punk winning the WWE title in his hometown of Chicago, as his contract expired…then took the WWE title around to independent promotions
Sinclair Broadcasting purchase of Ring of Honor – the politically conservative Midwest and Southern based Sinclair Broadcasting group purchased ROH from Cary Silkin this past summer; and is rolling out ther product on its family of stations; the first regularly scheduled weekly airing of wrestling on broadcast TV in some time
Zack Ryder uses social media to get over – In proof that the only way to get over is not to be 6′ 5″, 230 pounds and say “yes, boss”, Zack Ryder actually (obviously with WWE approval) social media to get his character over. Ryder’s fan reactions started first with a cult audience, then built a following, increasing until even the McMahons couldn’t ignore them any more.
Randy Savage’s death – In one of the more notable passings of wrestlers, Randy Savage’s death from heart failiure was widely reported, to an almost shocking extent. Many mainstream news and sports figures counted Savage as one of those they watches in wrestling 1980s “glory days”.
Self destructive saga of the Hardy Brothers – There are few examples where two talented chariasmtic wrestlers have gone so high and fallen so low…all of it by their own doing. Both Matt and Jeff Hardy have gone from being talented, money-drawing fan favorites to punch lines for jokes. Between the constant ridiculous delays for Jeff Hardy’s own drug trials, then the spectacle of Matt Hardy’s online suicide note (that he later claimed wasn’t), his multiple traffic accidents, and finally his arrest for multiple drug related charges; these two have continued to be in the headlines…all for the wrong reasons.
End of ECW Arena as it exists – As reported all over wrestling media, the ECW Arena will be closed as of February 2, 2012 for “extensive renovations”. Pang has stated that she is not opposed to pro wrestling in the venue, but intends to close it for an unstated period of time to perform extensive renovations. The backstage area as it exists now to be removed for a new permanent stage and backstage dressing rooms area. The Eagle’s Nest side of the building (next to Forman Mills), will be knocked down and the venue size expanded. In short, the structure of the venue as it stands now will no longer exist after February 2, 2012. This will change Philadelphia wrestling in a big way for the foreesable future at best.
2010 stories: Linda McMahon’s failed United States Senate campaign, the consequent attacks on wrestling by politicians and mainstream media for past storyrlines during the Attitude Era, as well as steroid and other drug deaths were featured all over msintream media during 2010…increased awareness by WWE and TNA of the long-term effect of concussions (including the possible effect they may have had in the Benoit family tragedy)….with the retirement of Shawn Michaels and Undertaker and HHH off of TV; WWE finally started a long-overdue youth movement with major pushes for The Miz, CM Punk, Sheamus, Bryan Danielson, and John Morrison. TNA failed miserably at another attempt at Monday Night Wars, getting clobbered in the ratings, before going back quickly to their usual Thursday night taped program.
2009 stories: Congressional steroids report, Shane McMahon resigns from WWE, “The Wrestler” , Death of Mitsuharu Misawa, Linda McMahon Senate Campaign
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 Doublecross
Until next time…