The Reality Of Wrestling: Top Stories of 2005 (Awards Pt. 2)
By Phil Clark & J.D. Speich
This past year was a very interesting one for the wrestling business. When it comes to what stories were the tops of the bunch, it wasn’t an easy process. Plenty of stories came about whose topics ranged from financial problems/successes to deaths in the business to history being made in one way or another. These are our lists for what we deemed the ten best stories of the year for pro-wrestling.
P.C.’s Top 10 Stories of 2005
10th Place: Jarrett Beats Raven For NWA Title in Canada
This one struck me as a big story because of how much backstage shit was involved here. Raven had a nice title reign through the summer and most figured that he would go into the Spike debut as the champ. Instead, at a Border City Wrestling show, Jarrett beats him for the belt with the help of AMW who turned heel during the match. This gets on my list because had they done it on the Spike debut, it could’ve done a lot more good for the company than having it happen across the border at a show that barely anybody even knew was happening.
9th Place: Bret Hart Back in WWE (sort of)
This one should be obvious. The reason it’s not higher on the list is because Bret didn’t make a T.V. appearance. Him coming back to the E in any role is reason enough for a spot on this list. In this case, he came back to make sure his DVD didn’t get the same treatment that Jim Hellwig (The Ultimate Warrior)’s would get. The picture of him and Vince on wwe.com was something I never thought I’d see again
8th Place: Kid Kash Fired By TNA
He finally went too far. After having a great year in 2004 and having a string of entertaining and/or great matches to begin 2005, it looked as if Kid Kash would continue being of the top overall workers in the company. However, KashÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âlike Teddy Hart, Juventud, and plenty others that have been on TNA programmingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âhad a big mouth, and was a very vocal critic of the company (much like RVD is of the E). It all finally came to a head when Kash blasted the company for not letting him work at the ECW One Night Stand PPV and on April 19th, first reports came out that he would be released from TNA.
7th Place: Satoshi Kojima becomes first 4 Crown champion
This may not seem like a big one to most, but for anyone who follows Japanese pro-wrestling, it is. The IWGP Title and the Triple Crown Title (consisting of three titles that were unified) are the two belts with the oldest lineage in Japan. Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan faced off in what was one of the biggest title matches in Japanese wrestling history on February 20th when they each put their belts on the line. Kojima, the Triple Crown Champion, beat Tenzan by KO at just under 60 minutes to become the first person EVER to hold both the IWGP and Triple Crown titles at the same time. He would hold onto both for two months before losing the IWGP back to Tenzan.
6th Place: James Gibson admits he was using steroids
When James Gibson left the E last year, I thought it was a great injustice to fans as Gibson had just re-found his A-game and was looking good. He was able to find prosperity in Japan doing tag matches with Bryan Danielson and on the Indy circuit where he got a brief reign as ROH Champion. However, over this summer, word came out that he voluntarily quit the E last year when he tested positive for steroid usage. While this doesn’t really put a black eye on Gibson in my opinion, it is interesting that he would be almost forced out do to steroids while so many more obvious users are allowed to stay.
5th Place: Brock Lesnar signs with Inoki Office, New-Japan Pro Wrestling
This one makes the top 5 because it’s Brock FUCKING Lesnar. After his unceremonious departure from the E last year, Lesnar tried pro football, but that didn’t work. When he appeared as a guest of Antonio Inoki at New Japan’s January 4th Tokyo Dome show, the buzz began about Lesnar’s future. He received offers from New Japan, PRIDE, and K-1 for dates, but still had Vince to worry about. While it looked as though Vince was going to win his case against Brock, Brock signed with the Inoki Office in September and would win the IWGP title over both Masahiro Chono and Kazuyuki Fujita in the main-event of their October 8th Tokyo Dome show. Lesnar continues to wrestle for New Japan (very sparingly) while his court case continues.
4th Place: TNA gets a T.V. deal w/SpikeTV
TNA became one of the big boys once this deal was made. While they’d already had T.V. coverage on Fox Sports Net, it was small potatoes compared to this deal. This deal gave TNA an hour of programming each week in a spot formerly held by WWE programming as Spike’s way of sticking it to Vince. Ratings ended up being higher than the E’s were in that time slot right from the beginning and TNA eventually ended up getting three Thursday Night specials from Spike.
3rd Place: Deaths in Wrestling
Deaths in wrestling are very normal as every year has their share of them. Their spot on a list like this depends (as grim as it may sound) on who has died over the past year. The Crusher left us late into the year, but that was from old age and he turned out to be one of the lucky ones. In July, Shinya Hashimoto died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 40 right before making his return to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Earlier in the year, Chris Candido died suddenly at 32 from a blood clot stemming back to a broken leg he suffered at TNA’s Lockdown PPV. Candido would appear on a taped episode of IMPACT! two days after his death. Dan Quirk, an Indy wrestler, died on May 30th of a brain hemorrhage after an Indy show because he was hit by a botched moonsault during the course of his match that night. And finally, the worst of them all, Eddie Guerrero died in a Minnesota hotel room on November 13th due to heart failure that more than likely stemmed back to his years of drug and alcohol abuse. We featured Guerrero’s death in an installment of “The Reality of Wrestling.” It was a year where deaths in the industry truly shook the industry all over the planet.
The Guerrero Tribute Article: https://insidepulse.com/articles/44487
2nd Place: The Muhammad Hassan Disaster
This one was too good and earned its spot in the top 3. Muhammad Hassan was your stereotypical middle-eastern character spouting the same rhetoric about discrimination and citing 9/11 more times than tasteful. Yet, after the London subway bombings, the E got a taste of poetic justice when their “pushing the envelope” method finally bit them in the ass. On an episode of SmackDown!, Muhammad Hassan enlisted the assistance of a number of men in army fatigues and masks (terrorists) to help him destroy the Undertaker and they were used to carry Daivari off, like a martyr, after Taker had destroyed him. The backlash to this classic example of bad timing was quick: UPN didn’t want the Hassan character on another second of WWE programming on their channel. Because of this, the Hassan/Batista title match at Summerslam had to be changed and the Hassan character was taken off the air completely after Taker beat him convincingly at The Great American Bash.
WINNER: The Lita/Matt Hardy/Edge Love Triangle
Honestly, how couldn’t this be #1? This was THE story that dominated a great deal of WWE programming and was on every wrestling news website for six months. Right from the beginning the “real or fake” questions began arising. I have my opinions, which I made clear, as this story was so good, we dedicated an installment of “The Reality of Wrestling” to it. It was a situation that gave new meaning to the term “soap opera angle,” it helped hype TNA, ROH, and WWE shows, it gave Edge something to do as a heel, it made Lita into the new archetypical slut character in wrestling, and was another horrifying example of the E’s ass backward booking. With all that, as I said before, how couldn’t this be #1?
J.D.’s Top 10 Stories of 2005
10th Place: Raven wins the King of the Mountain match at Slammaversary
This has to be on the list of top ten because TNA put this on the table literally moments before the pay-per-view started. When TNA told Jarrett that he wasn’t going to win the title he stepped out of the match and TNA went to a wildcard selection by choosing Raven. The rest is history, as Raven became the King of the Mountain and the new NWA Champion.
9th Place: Despite all legal matters, Brock Lesnar signs with New-Japan Pro Wrestling
This turned out to be a good story because Brock Lesnar signed with New-Japan right after rumor had it that he was in talks with the WWE.
8th Place: James Gibson uses steroids
It was reported early that Gibson had been fired by the WWE, but was then later announced that he had released himself based on the fact that he was using steroids.
7th Place: Chris Candido dies after surgery
This was more irony than anything else because Candido was going under the knife for his leg injury. Due to complications from his surgery, Candido died of a blood clot. This was disappointing because Candido was the feel good story of the year.
6th Place: WWE signs TNA prospects Psychosis, Kazarian, and Kid Kash
Even though Kazarian wasn’t used at all in the WWE, Kid Kash is slowly climbing te ranks and Psychosis is getting pushed with Super Crazy for the tag belts. This is the start of a new generation in talent swapping.
5th Place: TNA makes a bigger transaction in signing WWE prospects Rhyno and Christian
TNA has definitely gotten the better end of the deal so far with the talent swapping in the fact that Rhyno is being used well and has already won the NWA Title, while Christian has just entered TNA and is already going to be pushed into the title picture.
4th Place: The Lita/Matt Hardy/ Edge Love Triangle
WWE takes a true life story and puts it on television. After Matt Hardy caught his long time girlfriend Lita with Edge, he was fired from the WWE. But due to crowd support and Vince’s so called genius, Hardy was brought back right when Lita and Edge wet public on T.V.
3rd Place: The Muhammad Hussan Debacle
This finishes number three because there are two other stories that just recently happened that I have make the number one and two spot. The fact that WWE had impeccable timing with the whole terrorist angle right after the attacks in London made me mad. It pissed me off because I was really warming up to Hassan and, even though I didn’t quite like the character because it was overused, I liked the guy because he was pretty good wrestler and his stock was only going to rise in the industry.
2nd Place: Eddie Guerrero dies a week before he was suppose to win the WWE Title
Now, even though this was only speculation, it was said that based on the injury Batista suffered in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series, Eddie Guerrero was going to win back the WWE Title in a triple threat match against Batista and Orton on the next Smackdown. However, due to the saddest moment of the year, Eddie was found dead in his hotel room the week before the title match and the wrestling world was hit hard. This leads me to my number one story of the year.
1st Place: Eddie Guerrero dies at the young age of 38
This has to be the number one story of the year, although my colleague thinks otherwise, because Eddie’s death was the saddest in recent memory. He was a wrestler that overcame his drug and alcohol abuse and became known as the man who could turn water into wine based on the fact that he made the worst angle of the year with Rey Mysterio, good. Eddie’s death will be remembered and brought up on T.V. for years to come. Eddie Guerrero, thank you for the moments and congratulations on making another number one spot.
The Reality is…we are half way through celebrating the year that was. Next week: the moments that made 2005 great.