The Mean 12.29.02: 2002 Wrestling Awards

I know what you’re thinking. “Nice, Morse, you take your usual three month break and then have the audacity to come back with a ‘Year-In-Review’ column, the crutch of the lazy writer? Way to be slacker ”

Ok, yeah, it’s true, my last legitimate column was my William Regal one way back in September (for the sake of fairness, I won’t count my brilliant international recap of Rebellion from October). Not only that, I’ve been promising an Eddie Guererro column for a couple months now. So where’s the Guererro column? What’s up with this? Why in the name of Neptune hasn’t 411 fired your globe-trotting ass yet?! Well, as far as number three, I guess I live under a lucky star or something (or I’m just slipping under Widshish’s radar). But as far as numbers one and two, well, I can explain

Back in early November, yours truly traveled from England to Scotland to visit friends on about three hours of sleep, and made the brilliant move of forgetting to remove my laptop from the bag I checked with the inexpensive and friendly people at Easy Jet. By the time I got to Aberdeen and tried to show some digital pictures to my friends, I realized that traveling in the bottom of a tiny plane hadn’t done my computer any good, and upon returning to school at Norwich, I found that my hard drive had been banged up beyond immediate repair.

So until I get my computer fixed (which will take a combination of motivation and funds on my part on a side note, if any Brits reading this think your government is keeping you on the pound as opposed to the Euro to maintain some sort of “cultural independence,” think again lads & birds take a look at how much bloody revenue you’re getting off tourism as opposed to the rest of the E.U. due to your exchange rate and then get back to me ok, sounding waaaay too much like Eric S. now ), I’ve had to rely on other means (no pun intended) of fulfilling my computer needs. While I was in England getting my finals done, I had to use the library’s 24 hour work station (convenient, but kinda stuffy nonetheless, if you’re a young British student or a Yank looking to go abroad, the University of East Anglia is one heck of a nice place to do some time). While writing my three 4,500 word essays (another “perk” of the British college system remind me to write a column on British education sometime, ‘cause I really did enjoy it but I digress ), I also took breaks and did work on the Guererro column, saving my work to floppy disk. Now I’m back at home, and using my Dad’s laptop (a nice computer, which is ironic, ‘cause my old man, bless his heart, barely even knows how to hit the “send” button on an e-mail), also with access to the family iMac and my sister’s laptop. But here’s the rub: not an IBM floppy disk drive on any of these three computers (did I miss something ).

So the work I’ve done so far on my Guererro column is not currently accessible to me. I have to get my laptop fixed before I go back to school on January 14, so that’s when I’ll probably wrap the Guererro column and post it (and after that, I’m looking at Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan, two often-requested Means). However, with only a week or so left in the year 2002, I did want to do the requisite end of the year column, especially since the format of the Mean allows me the chance to do some cool stuff as far as retrospectives go.

I wrote all this out while I was in Rome and on plane trips, so there’s a lot of stuff here. The way the Mean for 2002 works is that everything is divided into four categories: Smart (the smart fan duh), Mark (ok, you know the drill ), Mean (ok, here’s where we get interesting basically I take the wrestler/match/etc. that I think the two camps of fans would be most likely to agree on if two were locked in a room and forced to pick a winner), and finally, Ben (heh, my picks of course).

What I’ve got for you loyal 411-ites, is a whole Christmas stocking of goodies: year-end awards, top ten wrestlers of the year, top five matches, and more. Sit back and nog some eggs dude, and let’s get our Mean on (hmm that could totally be my catchphrase we still got a 411 store? I got a t-shirt idea)

*NOTE: I was in England from September until a few days ago, meaning I did not see WWF television during that period. This doesn’t effect Smart, Mark, or Mean stuff, because I could gauge reaction through internet reports for those, but my own picks are based solely on stuff I saw (which means the majority of WWF television from January to September, plus the Royal Rumble, No Way Out, Wrestlemania, Judgment Day and Summerslam). Also, I don’t really watch NWA, so I’m not including them in the regular awards this time around; maybe I’ll do a separate NWA/WWA/etc. column at some point, but not here.

YEAR-END AWARDS

Wrestler of the Year

Smart: Kurt Angle
Internet fans respect Kurt in particular due to his ability to save the show. He’s one guy who’s able to bring out the best in even smart-reviled wrestlers like Kane and Triple H. Technical skills beyond compare and good interview abilities put Angle on a pedestal, but it is his backstage reputation that cements him as the very best in the eyes of the smarts. Though he has earned it, Angle has very little ego, works with anybody from veteran main-eventers like Hulk Hogan to debuting rookies like John Cena, and is the consummate professional company man. In the eyes of the smart fans, Angle is without a doubt wrestling’s MVP.

Mark: Rob Van Dam
RVD is quite simply what the people want. As much as the average fan enjoys a Kurt Angle match or a Chris Benoit match, they go wild for RVD no matter how many times they’ve seen him. They like his swagger, his music, his look, and his in-ring style. RVD almost winning the Undisputed title from The Undertaker back in May generated one of the biggest pops of the year. RVD narrowly edges out Edge (again, no pun intended) and Booker T as far as who the crowd gets consistently hottest for. Brock is gaining on him, as is Rey Misterio, but both need more time first, and Shawn Michaels wasn’t back for long enough. RVD remains the people’s choice.

The Mean: Kurt Angle
He may not be their favorite, but whether he’s a face or a heel, the fans will always go nuts for the former Olympic gold medallist. One of the most amazing moments of the year for me was at Rebellion when the fans did some of the loudest and most fervent “You Suck” chants I’d ever heard for Angle’s entrance, then turned around and nearly blew the roof off the Manchester Evening News Arena cheering for the guy; Angle was as shocked as I was. On the other hand, smarts don’t despise RVD, but see a lot more holes in his style than marks, and though they wouldn’t mind seeing new blood in the main event, can make a case against RVD as well.

Ben’s Choice: Kurt Angle
All the reasons I listed above and more makes Kurt Angle my pick. Simply put, be it an interview, a match, or whatever, when Kurt Angle comes on television, I know I will enjoy the next segment. His hard work shows and his willingness to do what is best for the WWF and the fans earns him my admiration. One of the best things about Angle is that you can put him in a tag team, put him with the rookies, have him try to elevate mid-carders with protracted feuds, put him on a losing streak no matter what he does, you can still throw him back in a World title match the next week and he seems like he belongs there. Kurt Angle defines the term “superstar” (and I can’t wait to see him in the 2004 Olympics!).

Tag Team of the Year

Smart: Los Guererros
Though I’ve missed the last few months of Smackdown, I would have to throw my computer out the window and avoid anybody who watched wrestling altogether not to hear about the “Smackdown 6.” When I left the country, I heard how dead tag team wrestling was (and not for the first time), and though it’s not quite 2000 again quite yet, it looks like the tag team scene on Smackdown is certainly looking up. Near as I can tell, even the jaded smart fans are on the edge of their seats every time the Smackdown tag belts are defended, and of the teams that have made that division, there was none more consistent than the current champs, Eddie & Chavo Guererro. Whereas the other two teams du jour, Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Edge & Rey Misterio, are also internet darlings, all four are singles superstars in their own right. Eddie Guererro is no slouch as a singles wrestler and Chavo could be ruling the Cruiserweight division, but they’ve put those aspirations aside for the moment to form a team that screams fluidity, from their in-ring style to their interviews to their tights. Right now, Los Guererros quite simply put the wrestling in tag team wrestling.

Mark: Booker T & Goldust
As much as smart fans wish to see quality wrestling, mark fans turn on the television looking to be entertained, and there were few people in 2002 who entertained like the odd couple of Booker T & Goldust. A completely unexpected chemistry between the two veterans led to backstage segments that were second to none on literally every show. In addition, as they became more and more comfortable with one another, Booker & Goldust extended their masterful showmanship into the ring, holding the crowd in the palm of their collective hands as they battled the rest of the Raw tag team division.

The Mean: Booker T & Goldust
Even more unexpected than the general success of Booker T & Goldust may be the way that the internet, who for years have had nothing good to say about Goldust and been more or less ambiguous as far as Booker goes, has embraced their team. More than ever, the internet community is applauding Booker T’s skills and work ethic and pushing for an eventual World title run. Even more shocking, they are praising the former Dustin Rhodes, once one of the most hated wrestlers in the smart community, for the best work of his decade-plus career. When Booker T & Goldust finally defeated Chris Jericho & Christian for the Raw Tag Team titles at Armageddon, the applause went all the way from the arena to the world wide web.

Ben’s Choice: Booker T & Goldust
I love these guys. As optimistic as I try to be, for awhile these guys were really the only reason I was enjoying Raw. I’ll never forget watching their review of The Scorpion King with my buddies and hoping against hope, “man, I hope they keep these guys together for a bit.” Seven months later, through 7-11 skits, Goldust’s many identities, and hundreds of Spinaroonies, the odd couple remain together and are riding high. Like a lot of other people, I’m hoping for a future shot at the very top for Booker T, but I hope Goldust doesn’t get left in the dust (dammit, pun not intended once again). These guys have earned both respect and success.

Match of the Year

Smart: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs Edge & Rey Misterio Jr. (No Mercy, for the then-vacant Smackdown Tag Team championship)
I’ve yet to see this match, but in reading the reports, I’ve yet to see anything bad said about it. Four incredibly talented wrestlers who represent some of the best in technical wrestling and high-flying, plus enough time, given pay per view freedom, this was the pinnacle of the Smackdown Tag division as of so far.

Mark: Hulk Hogan vs The Rock (Wrestlemania)
It was a professional wrestling/sports entertainment fan’s dream come true. A match that had been speculated about since The Rock became the superstar he is today, and that most thought would never happen. The images of these two facing off leading up to the match were classic and unforgettable, their verbal confrontations and the actual image of them facing off in the ring nearly unbelievable. Most thought the eventual match couldn’t possibly live up to his hype, but Hogan, to his credit, brought his A-Game to the table, and the two gave the fans a match worthy of both their legends.

The Mean: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Summerslam, street fight)
The Smackdown tag division was never as big with casual fans as with smarts, and it’s tough to get internet fans to praise anything involving Hulk Hogan, but this unlikely Summerslam match was another dream for marks and the performance by Shawn Michaels was enough to make even the most jaded of smart fans rethink their positions. Backstage politics aside, HBK’s performance was simply incredible, and the match was pure fun to watch, whether you were nostalgic or just plain impressed.

Ben’s Choice: Edge vs Eddie Guererro (Summerslam)
I enjoyed all of the matches I’ve already mentioned (I did see at least clips of the tag match), but for some reason, no match held my attention like the Eddie/Edge confrontation from Summerslam. I liked a lot of matches in 2002, from Summerslam in particular, but I really can’t explain why this one stood out. I like both guys, but I wouldn’t say either are among my top three. I guess it was just the way once the match started, the excitement never let up; they made every move count. I like to consider myself, obviously in between the smart and mark camps, but this match appealed to every side of my “inner fan;” the psychology was good, but then so was the flat out excitement I’d go on, but like I’ve already said I just can’t really explain it.

Feud of the Year

Smart: The Smackdown 6
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t a protracted storyline or dramatics that hooked the smarts’ attention this year; it was week in and week out of quality wrestling. The ongoing struggle for superiority that began between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit as well as between Edge and Eddie Guererro (not to mention a side bar of Rey Misterio and Angle), became an all out war between Angle & Benoit, Edge & Misterio, and Eddie with his nephew Chavo over Stephanie McMahon’s newly created Smackdown Tag Team title. The result was over three months in which Smackdown was guaranteed to have at least one showstopping match.

Mark: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels
If there’s one thing that Shawn Michaels knows how to, it’s play to the crowd; the first house show I ever saw was a tiny one at Lowell Memorial Auditorium in late 1996, and though most of the WWF’s big stars were on a European tour (leaving us with guys like Billy Gunn and Jesse Jammes, who ironically enough would be big stars within a year), HBK took on Goldust in the main event, and whether it was a great wrestling match or not, HBK put on a show. The intense feud between HBK and the internet’s “favorite,” HHH, was a crowd-pleaser on many levels. From NWO and DX nostalgia (wasted on the internet, but lapped up by the marks) to the intense “brother vs brother” promos, not to mention the WWF’s usual superlative video packages, the marks were into this feud, and got a great payoff at Summeslam.

The Mean: The Rock vs Hulk Hogan
Though they may not have loved the end result, and could nitpick things like a semi-absurd incident involving an ambulance, even smart fans must concede that the buildup to this dream feud was well-handled. Both Rock and Hogan utilized their greatest strengths, their incomparable charisma, and provided interviews that will appear on highlight reels for years to come. This match could have promoted itself by itself, but it was the mic work by both men that will give it its place in the history books.

Ben’s Choice: Kurt Angle vs Rey Misterio
Call me a sucker for rooting for the underdog, but Rey’s debut feud in the WWF with the ever-capable Mr. Angle tickled my fancy. One thing I liked was that going into Summerslam; I honestly did not know who would win this match. Another was that even though Angle is my favorite wrestler, he played the heel and Misterio the face so well that I was rooting for the masked man 100%. The biggest reason this feud worked was what makes Angle the wrestler of the year: his willingness to make others look good. He made himself look genuinely vulnerable going into Summerslam (he even lost to Billy Kidman!) and made the fans (and me) care. Though not a master on the mic, Rey can convey intensity in the ring like no other. My eyes were glued to the screen any time these two met up.

Most Improved Wrestler of the Year

Smart: Edge
A year ago, the internet was beginning to give up on Edge, saying he’d been, in the words of Jim Ross, “living off potential for too many years,” now, he’s a member of the hallowed Smackdown 6, considered just almost one notch below guys like Kurt Angle, Eddie Guererro, and even Chris Benoit. His run as Intercontinental champion didn’t cement him as a star to the smarts, though the marks took an even greater shine to the blond-haired rock star-like hero, and his Wrestlemania match against Booker T didn’t mean all that much to anybody outside of Toronto. It was back to back fantastic matches with Angle at Backlash and Judgment Day that announced Edge’s arrival as a newly-anointed smart darling. By the time Edge returned from his shoulder injury, feuds with main-eventers like Angle and Chris Jericho no longer seemed out of place to smarts, and today Edge is on the cusp of a World title reign.

Mark: Booker T
All his success in WCW may have given Booker T a solid reputation among that promotion’s fans as well as the internet, but to the average WWF mark, his debut at King of the Ring 2001 was no more impressive than Lance Storm or Hugh Morrus coming up north. His initial run as a heel in the WWF was less than a major success, thanks in large part to a lingering failure to connect to the average fan in the crowd. In 2002, punching up his character and intensity along with an eventual face turn and unusual teaming with Goldust pushed Booker through the roof he is always trying so hard to raise. His entrance pops are now deafening and fans hang on his words during interviews much the way they do for The Rock. It wasn’t exactly the most obvious route, but 2002 brought Booker T far along the path to full superstardom.

The Mean: Edge
Edge has been always been a fan-favorite amongst the marks, but the early part of the year pushed him even further into the spotlight. During the spring, as Edge cemented his spot with the smarts, marks followed suit and nudged Edge firmly into the main event circle. It is doubtful that even if the Intercontinental title still existed Edge would still be after it; he is a superstar clearly destined for the big prize, and now he’s ready.

Ben’s Choice: Matt Hardy
One of my biggest disappointments of 2001 was the painful-to-watch feud between the Hardy Boyz. I’ve always been a big fan of the team, so when they broke up, I expected at least an entertaining feud. But the result was horrible, horrible acting, even worse wrestling, and Matt Hardy, whom I had high hopes for, coming out the worse of the two. The team was quickly reformed, but went nowhere, and when Matt once again turned on his brother a few months ago, I had my doubts. But as Jeff continues a sad deterioration on Raw, Matt is shining as Smackdown’s brightest new star and potentially, one of the best heels the WWF has seen in awhile. Matt has carved out a hilarious and compelling persona with “Version One” and it was amazing how quickly it didn’t seem odd to see “Mattitude” in the ring with the likes of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Not only is he ahead of the game in terms of character, Matt has lit up the mid-card with great matches and concentrated work ethic; guys like Shannon Moore are now getting a rub from Matt Hardy that few would have thought possible. Matt getting passed over for Albert was a real shame, but the best is still yet to come for Matt Hardy.

Rookie of the Year

Across The Board: Brock Lesnar
Some would say that Brock isn’t a real rookie due to his time in OVW, but for my purposes, we’ll consider him one. Nobody could have had more doubts about whether or not Brock would be the answer to the WWF’s problems, even after he won the World title, but since the face turn, and even a bit before, I’ve changed my tune. He has the “it” factor that Goldberg had, but in addition to being a better wrestler than Goldberg, Brock was raised through the farm league of the business and instilled with respect for it by the likes of Jim Cornette. Having essentially the entire future of the WWF placed on your shoulders is a lot for anybody to bear, but for a rookie, it’s unprecedented, and Brock has handled it with a cool, calm, and professional demeanor. When you’re wrestling the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Rock in your rookie year and you’re still the guy everybody’s got your eyes on, it’s safe to say you’re the next big thing and you have arrived.

Best Face of the Year

Smart: Booker T
The internet community appreciated Booker T’s ability, along with Goldust, to raise the entertainment content of just about every segment he was a part of. Booker developed his persona as a babyface to a degree his heel character never enjoyed. The internet community appreciated Booker’s hard work and perseverance in getting over with the fans no matter how many roadblocks were placed in his way.

Mark: Rob Van Dam
No matter who he was wrestling or what was on the line, the mark fans cried out for RVD, never getting enough of their favorite superstar. In less than a year, RVD’s previously unknown entrance theme (Breaking Point’s “One of a Kind”) has become instantly recognizable to wrestling fans based solely on the tremendous pop it generates the moment it begins. The biggest testament to RVD’s popularity and fan-friendly style in an out of the ring is probably that both in ECW and now in the WWF, it was the fans, not the powers that be, that turned him, and kept him, as a top face.

The Mean: Booker T
The smarts may have been the ones with the most appreciation of Booker T’s accomplishments in 2002, but those accomplishments were made possible by the support he gained from the marks. There are few people either on the internet or in the crowds around the world who don’t love Booker T.

Ben’s Choice: Edge
He may not get as big a pop as some of his peers, but the reason Edge is my pick is that he plays one of the last true classic babyface characters and manages to succeed with it. His transition from cocky heel to his current persona is impressive. He’s heroic, looks out for his friends, and keeps the fans in mind. In the age of anti-heroes, being as popular as Edge is can be regarded as quite the accomplishment.

Best Heel of the Year

Across The Board: Chris Jericho
At a time where wrestling is years into a period where it’s “cooler” for heels to pander to the crowd, Chris Jericho succeeded in 2002 as a down and dirty out and out heel. Despite having played a face for almost three years prior to this year, Jericho never received those nostalgic pops that some longtime faces get even when performing as heels. For the smarts, Jericho used all the old-school heel tactics that get internet fans all giddy during his World title reign and beyond. For the marks, Jericho’s cocky attitude and great use of everything from his facial expressions to his body language, heck, even to his facial hair, made him a hated man. As for me, I just love having the old Jericho back. I’m not a huge fan of small heels, but even I have to applaud just how good Y2J is at getting people to hate him. As far as heat goes, I think Y2J’s World title reign topped anything that’s come since by a longshot.

Comeback of the Year

Smart: Eddie Guererro
The list of guys in the wrestling business unable to come back from drug/alcohol problems to a top position is a long one, but smart fans are certainly grateful that Eddie Guererro’s name is not on that list. Not only did Eddie bounce back astonishingly quickly and with incredible conviction and dedication from a painkiller addiction, he may have come back even better than he left. From a classic Intercontinental title series with Rob Van Dam, to a near feud with Steve Austin, to more classics with Edge, to the Smackdown 6, it wasn’t a bad year for a guy who looked like he’d be mid-carding WWA pay per views for some time to come a year ago.

Mark: Hulk Hogan
You need only pop in a tape of any WWF/WWE show from Wrestlemania to Summerslam with Hulk Hogan on the card to answer the question of whether or not Hulkamania was running wild this year. From the moment he hit the Skydome and went head to head with The Rock, Hogan rode a wave of unbelievable nostalgia and gave fans, old and new, a reason to smile. For old-school fans, it was liked reliving their childhood all over again, and for younger fans, it was a chance to experience something they’d only read about.

The Mean: Hulk Hogan
Had you asked in 1986, 1995, 2001 or any other year before this one, most wrestling fans probably would have called you crazy had you said that Hulk Hogan would have one of his biggest years in 2002. Even months into the revitalization of Hulkamania, the entire thing seemed like some sort of dream, but it really happened. And to the shock of most smart fans, Hogan handled his renewed career boost with professionalism, only briefly holding the World title and helping to establish new stars like Edge and Brock Lesnar.

Ben’s Choice: Tommy Dreamer
I was tempted to say one of the more obvious choices like Hogan or Shawn Michaels, or even the inspired comeback of Eddie Guererro, but in my mind, there was no more satisfying comeback story this year than that of Tommy Dreamer. After watching Dreamer bust his ass for years in ECW and ask nothing in return, it was sad to see him slowly burn out along with that promotion. I had a brief spark of hope when Dreamer made his WWF debut last summer, but being lost in the Alliance crowd and serving in an uncomfortable role as a heel stifled him. The bizarre “Jackass” push was interesting, but I felt a warm feeling when Tommy re-emerged as a hardcore warrior in matched with Steven Richards, Rob Van Dam, and other old ECW buddies. Tommy Dreamer is a guy who gets the fans on his side through nothing more than hard work and a genuine love for what he does, and I can think of few people who are more deserving of any success they get.

Best Female Wrestler of the Year

Across The Board: Trish Stratus
I can’t really say anything about Trish’s incredible progress as a WWF performer that hasn’t already been said many times over. The bottom line is that when it comes to looks, conditioning, entertainment value and now wrestling ability, Trish is really the total package. She has almost single-handedly revitalized a dead Women’s division, and in fact put on what were, at times, the wrestling highlights of Raw. It’s amazing to see how far Trish has come, and admirable how hard she has worked for a girl who was expected succeed in wrestling purely on T & A.

TOP 10 WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR

Smart
1. Kurt Angle
2. Eddie Guererro
3. Chris Benoit
4. Booker T
5. Chris Jericho
6. Edge
7. Rob Van Dam
8. The Rock
9. Rey Misterio
10. Brock Lesnar

Mark
1. Rob Van Dam
2. Kurt Angle
3. Booker T
4. Edge
5. Brock Lesnar
6. Eddie Guererro
7. Rey Misterio
8. Shawn Michaels
9. Chris Jericho
10. The Rock

The Mean
1. Kurt Angle
Simply the best
2. Booker T
Entertaining and good in the ring
3. Rob Van Dam
Style upsets some smarts, but they can’t deny that he’s exciting
4. Eddie Guererro
Well rounded and gets the crowd on his side
5. Edge
Getting better and better by the day
6. Chris Jericho
Hot and cold at times, but when he’s on, he’s on
7. Brock Lesnar
Proved he was more than just hype
8. Rey Misterio
Few guys are more consistently enjoyable to watch
9. The Rock
He may be a star in Hollywood, but he still did the right thing and put on a great show when he was around
10. Chris Benoit
Still a smart darling, but needs to develop more charisma if the internet ever expects the average crowd to accept him as top dog (he’s getting there though)

Ben’s Choice
1. Kurt Angle
2. Booker T
3. Chris Jericho
4. Rob Van Dam
5. Edge
6. Eddie Guererro
7. Shawn Michaels
8. The Rock
9. Rey Misterio
10. Matt Hardy
Honorable Mention: Tommy Dreamer, Maven, The Hurricane, Shannon Moore

TOP 5 MATCHES OF THE YEAR (Note: only pay per view matches are eligible here)

Smart
1. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs Edge & Rey Misterio (No Mercy)
2. Kurt Angle vs Edge (Backlash)
3. Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit (Unforgiven)
4. Rob Van Dam vs Eddie Guererro (Backlash)
5. The Rock vs Brock Lesnar (Summerslam)

Mark
1. The Rock vs Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania)
2. Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Summerslam)
3. The Rock vs Brock Lesnar (Summerslam)
4. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (No Mercy)
5. The Royal Rumble

The Mean
1. The Rock vs Brock Lesnar (Summerslam)
2. Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Summerslam)
3. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs Edge & Rey Misterio (No Mercy)
4. Rob Van Dam vs Eddie Guererro (Backlash)
5. Kurt Angle vs Edge (Backlash)

Ben’s Choice
1. Edge vs Eddie Guererro (Summerslam)
2. Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Summerslam)
3. Chris Jericho vs The Rock (Royal Rumble)
4. Kurt Angle vs Rey Misterio (Summerslam)
5. Chris Jericho vs Steve Austin (Summerslam)

And now, for some stuff a bit different

MEAN EXCLUSIVE AWARDS
Most Underrated Wrestler of the Year: The Hurricane/Jamie Noble
Best Event: Summerslam
Best Moment: Shawn Michaels returns to Raw
England’s Favorite Wrestler: Kurt Angle
England’s Least-Favorite Wrestler: Bill DeMott
Worst Move: Getting rid of the secondary titles
Best Non-Wrestling Personality: Eric Bischoff
Best Theme Music: Jeff Hardy/Shannon Moore/Rob Van Dam
Best Line: “You’re a crimefighter, why didn’t you do anything?” –Christian, to The Hurricane after the Dudley Boyz stole his and Chris Jericho’s bags
Best Interview: Rock/Coach at Wrestlemania
Best Catchphrase: “Mattitude” –Matt Hardy
Best Ring Attire: Rob Van Dam
Best Merchandise: 15 pound bootleg Rebellion hooded sweatshirt

Hope that’s enough content for y’all, gang! If you have any questions, as always, I love to get e-mails (I didn’t feel like explaining every choice in every category, as it probably would have gotten a bit repetitive). Have a happy and safe holiday season, all the best to you and your families. Look for the Eddie Guererro column as soon as I can get it online, but in the Mean time, thanks for reading.