Historically Speaking: The Year That Was

“History makes some people feel good and other people feel bad.” – Joyce King

The Opening Chapter
It’s so cliché. Every entertainment medium, whether be magazine, television, Internet, music, movies, whatever, they’re all in year in review mode. Top ten lists. Best and worst lists. Every possible and conceivable way to wrap up the previous year. And you know what, I’m a sucker for all them. I love all of these “best of” lists for music and movies and entertainment. Every pro wrestling site worth their salt (and some not worth it) are filled with columnists typing out their take on the year 2007. And yours truly is going to add to the collection.

I mean it is my gimmick after all. Whereas all these other guys write about current events all year round, I’m constantly looking back and remembering what came before. Why should this week be any different?

I pondered whether I would do a top 10 matches thing, but that wouldn’t work because I haven’t seen enough indy and puro to make educated guesses. I pondered whether I would do a complete month-by-month year in review, but that was a lot of work and probably end up drier than my normal stuff. I pondered doing whether I should just do a piece on the top 10 stories of the year, but really after “you know who” is there any other story in comparison? So instead I’ll just ponder…on things I learned throughout the year.

In the Year 2007…
Shawn Michaels and Undertaker reminded all the kids that they’ve still got it and showed everyone how to put on a Royal Rumble…

I learned that two 40 year olds like Undertaker and Batista can have absolutely fantastic chemistry and put on way better matches than they have any right to…

WrestleMania continued to be THE perennial pay per view or supercard of the year…

The SmackDown! World Heavyweight Title curse was still in effect…

The National Wrestling Alliance once again became obsolete…

The Ring of Honor “gang wars” were much more successful than the WWF “gang wars” of a decade ago…

Chris Benoit gave the wrestling world more mainstream exposure than it’s had in many years, unfortunately for way too many of the wrong reasons…

WWE finally showed what they really thought of the Cruiserweight Championship…

One of the most over performers on the WWE roster was a 4-foot, 120 lb. little person…

Mr. Kennedy continually screwed up opportunity after opportunity he was given…

MVP and Matt Hardy showed that there can still be entertaining long-term feuds…

WWE showed that their show can still go on with even with a quarter of their roster out with either injury or “wellness”…

Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness showed that there is life on the American pro wrestling scene besides what goes in Connecticut or Orlando…

Vince Ruso showed newer wrestling fans what the WWF would’ve looked like in 1998 if he didn’t have Vince McMahon as a filter…

Kurt Angle became the best thing, and worst thing, about TNA…

Triple H learned how to play well with others…

John Cena became the MVP and cornerstone of WWE…

The “Save_Us” viral campaign provided more on-line speculation than any angle in years…

The TNA women’s division became hands down the best-booked part of the entire organization…

Ric Flair showed he can still out-promo anyone in the game, even if his wrestling skills haven’t remained…

Shawn Michaels continued to amaze with stellar performances, years after he was supposedly to be retired forever with a broken back…

RAW XV showed that the WWE can still put on an entertaining wall-to-wall free show if they need to…

Frankie Kazarian and The Motor City Machineguns became some of the few bright spots of TNA…

Scott Hall continued to show his reliability… *cough*

I continued to give WWE money for their stellar DVD sets…

The Perspective
The wrestling world saw a lot of changes in 2007. WWE and the wrestling world in general took a huge blow in June thanks to the Benoit tragedy and everything that happened in the second half of the year was shaped by the fall-out of the tragedy. Men like MVP, Matt & Jeff Hardy and Kaz and women like Awesome Kong got big breaks on national television. Ring of Honor continued to grow and impress in 2007 while still maintaining their integrity and credibility. Other independent groups like CHIKARA and PWG grew their fanbases and notoriety. And Japanese talent played a bigger contribution on the American landscape.

When we look back on 2007 it will be obvious how the year will be remembered, but let’s not forget all the good that the year brought to our favorite entertainment medium. I mean we did see Marty Jannetty make is triumphant return and main event an edition of RAW.

For this week the vault is closed…

Linked to the Pulse
Glazer talks about Ring of Honor’s twelve best of the year. He really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to ROH so please check him out.

Kirschner gets a plug for Chikarticles just for the hilarious scenario he proposed for the American Dragon’s debut in CHIKARA.

David B. goes in a different direction this week with Greating Gimmicks and talks about some old-school USWA.

Recent History
This is the section where I can ramble through my thoughts on this past week in wrestling, whether it be the television shows, pay per views, or any news that came out. Kinda like Vh1’s “Best Week Ever,” but this should be less annoying…hopefully.

Dammit, my VCR didn’t tape Impact this week (what? Not all of us have Tivo…) so I guess I missed out on the “greatness” of AJ Styles dressed as a reindeer. I guess there’s always next week.

So Harry Smith made his grand return on Heat? It’s like they purposely want him to fail. And why is he on RAW anyways. There are at least five or six guys ahead of him on the face totem pole and Cody Rhodes has already got the plucky next generation rookie thing locked up. He’d be much better off on SmackDown! as a stop gap challenger for MVP or as the number two guy on ECW behind CM Punk. Oh well…

I’ve always liked The Major Brothers so I’m glad they are finally getting some semblance of a push on SmackDown!…

The Tribute to the Troops was nice…and the in-ring action was actually pretty decent as well.

This Day in History
I figured if we are talking history around here we should pay homage to what has happened on this very day in the years gone by. It will either make you long for the old days or be happy for what we have now.

1987 – Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels defeated Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose for the AWA Tag Team title
1993 – WCW Starrcade was held at the Independence Arena, Charlotte, NC
1993 – Ric Flair defeated Big Van Vader for the WCW Heavyweight title
1993 – Steve Austin defeated Dustin Rhodes for the WCW U.S. Heavyweight title
1994 – WCW Starrcade was held at the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN
1994 – Big Van Vader defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan for the WCW U.S. Heavyweight title
1995 – WCW Starrcade was held at the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN
1995 – Ric Flair defeated Randy Savage for the WCW Heavyweight title
1995 – One Man Gang defeated Kensuke Sasaki for the WCW U.S. Heavyweight title
1998 – Kevin Nash defeated Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight title

1966 – Bill Goldberg was born
1966 – Promoter Morris Segal died at age 69
1971 – Chyna was born
1991 – Wilbur Snyder died of heart failure at 62

The Assignment
It’s important to know your history to know where you have come from and where you are going. Back when Nova was in charge of the WWE developmental system he implemented mandatory history assignments for the students of the developmental territories so they would know pro wrestling’s history and they would learn just how many moves Nova created and apparently the best ways to get on-line prescriptions. I feel Nova had a great idea there and every week I will assign a book or DVD for you to check out and learn from. They are not only educational but very entertaining.

I got Bobby Heenan’s Chair Shots book over Christmas and am about half way into now. It’s been a quick read so far. A mini-review will be up next week.

Everybody Likes to See Their Name in Print
Michael Roach dropped me a couple of notes about the history of Starrcade. He’s an old-school fan who got to see of the old NWA action up-close from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Apparently there have been big time Thanksgiving night supercards in the Greensboro Coliseum and in Norfolk, VA, dating back to the ‘60s with Lou Thesz in the main events. I always appreciate hearing about bits of wrestling history I wasn’t aware of.

And I’m surprised none of my colleagues pointed this to me, but in my open letter column I erroneously pointed out that it is Misawa that returned from cancer, rather than Kobashi. Thanks to Chuck for pointing out my mistake. Shows my knowledge of puro.

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