Apparently, much like the end of March and start of April when it is mandated by some sort of law that every IWC member mentions Wrestlemania at least three times in every column, come December and it is apparently compulsory to write some sort of ‘best of the year’, ‘year in review’, ‘what I rooolly liked about the year’ sort of column.
Well, this is going to be sort of that type of column. Because I learned something this year – I am getting bored with wrestling. Considering I only watch PPVs, live local shows and the occasional TV show (e.g. Raw1000), as well as WWE’s 1-hour highlight show, some DVDs, and various YouTube clips, I have still managed to clock in over 150 hours of watching first run professional wrestling in 2012. Add to that a few old PPVs (introducing the 7 year old to older Wrestlemanias, watching old RCW DVDs with him, watching old Nitros) and I think I’ve seen close to 500 hours of wrestling this year. Now, that may not seem like much to some people, but it averages out to almost 8 hours a week. That’s a full working day watching wrestling each and every week.
Why in the hell do I do it?
I haven’t missed a TNA or WWE PPV this year. But I feel like I must have. I don’t understand the love and hatred for certain matches this year. I don’t understand the love for certain angles this year. I don’t understand the love or hatred for certain wrestlers this year. I feel like I’ve been watching a completely different product to everyone else. And the joy of the Internet is that if you have a differing opinion – when it is ONLY an opinion, we are not debating facts set up by reputable scientific or research authorities – then you are wrong and an arsehole. Well, this year, that’s been me more often than not. I personally don’t care if you have a different opinion. I won’t say you’re wrong (well, not very often), but I will say I don’t understand why you feel that way. But maybe I’m different in that regard as well. Because apparently people who leave comments that completely eschew grammar, punctuation, spelling or syntax have opinions that are much more valid than those of some one like me who, I hope, manages to write with a degree of competency. Yes, opinions are like arseholes, we all have one. And in wrestling, when it comes to anything, there are ONLY opinions. It’s not rocket science; hell, it’s not even science.
I have tried in 2012 to give an eclectic variation of columns. I’ve done lists, book reviews, show reviews and fiction pieces. I’ve written columns discussing where wrestling does things right, and where the suspension of disbelief may be too much to bear. I’ve done 10 thoughts of shows and I’ve done previews of shows. I’ve tried to do a bit of everything. Why? Because I want to entertain and want people to be pleasantly surprised.
As opposed to what I am watching on television, because that wrestling is boring me.
Now, I am going on holiday for the month of January. It’s our summer here in Australia and the family is going to go and visit relatives. On top of that, I have a novel to edit for a very nice publisher who may want to let the general public read it at her expense, and I have three short stories to write for anthologies that I have been commissioned to do and have been putting off. It’s also the summer vacation, so I have 6 weeks at home with the kids to also deal with until school goes back. That means there won’t be a new ‘View From Down Here’ until February at this stage.
But if I can’t find anything fun to write about, if wrestling gets too boring, the format of the column may change next year. I was thinking of doing an entire year in review, so I may pick a year that was pivotal and which I can get access to a lot (certainly not all) of the wrestling from that time and do a week by week or month by month (considering I write this once a fortnight) look back. I already have the year in mind.
In contrast, 2012 has not been a great year for wrestling as I like it. You see, I like wrestling. I like to immerse myself in the suspension of disbelief of watching two men pretend to hurt one another. I don’t need soap operas or convoluted angles or backstage shenanigans. I need good in-ring product. And judging by the comments and column inches from not only here on the Pulse but all over the Internet, I am seriously in the minority on that one.
Still, I have maintained my watching habits. It hasn’t driven me away… yet. But I am not as enthusiastic as I once was. And while I know I have only a small number of readers each fortnight, I would like to continue to do this, for a while at least.
Anyway, that’s 2012. I was going to completely avoid my “best of” list. This is mainly because I think 90% of pundits will have an opinion in at least one category I cannot understand even a little bit. I mean, I can see why some opinions may be there, but there is one match (and I’m not going to mention it) that I look at as Twilight – sure, heaps of people love it and think it’s the best evahh, but I cannot for the life of me understand why they feel that way.
Anyway, here is my list:
Wrestler of the Year: Austin Aries (TNA)
I like his promos, I like his in-ring work, and I like the fact that he is believable in any role TNA have put him in this year. Plus his matches have been outstanding.
Match of the Year: TNA World Heavyweight Title – Austin Aries v Bobby Roode (TNA Destination X: Jul 8)
I know Roode was criticised as being boring in his role as champion, but I enjoyed his run, and I think he has great in-ring work, and none better than this match against ‘Double-A’ which saw him lose the title to my wrestler of the year.
Women’s Match of the Year: Eliza Sway v Miami (RCW Ascension: Oct 5)
A brawl with a shock ending that saw Miami gone from the sport. Sway would go on the next month to defeat the champion Savannah Summers in another brilliant match, and the match before this one which went all through the crowd and ended in a double-DQ was also brilliant. So many good women’s matches… all of them at Riot City Wrestling.
‘Skit’ of the Year: Anger management class, Kane details his life story (WWE Raw: Aug 27)
I normally cringe at these back-stage skits. 99.9% are poorly written, poorly acted, poorly executed… just poor. But this was perfect. And Bryan’s reactions added to it all. The looks on the faces of the other people in the class were priceless. Well done all round.
PPV of the Year: TNA Destination X: July 8
Mason Andrews v Rubix v Dakota Darsow v Lars Only – short sharp and shiny spotfest; Andrews wins and immediately goes to:
Mason Andrews v Kid Kash: harmless enough and a bit of fun, with Andrews winning again to go to another match later on tonight.
Kenny King v Douglas Williams: good match, and I can see why they’ve kept King around.
Sonjay Dutt v Rashad Cameron: Dutt completely outclassed Cameron in getting the win. But, seriously, Dutt’s moonsault to double stomp… how the hell did he do that without killing Cameron?
Zema Ion v Flip Cassanova: worst match of the night, and Ion won.
Samoa Joe v Kurt Angle: Bound for Glory series match, and it shows that when these two are really motivated and clearly having fun out there, they can still deliver in gobs. Brilliant match.
AJ Styles v Christopher Daniels: last man standing match, and can these guys actually have a bad match together? Best finishing move of the year here – Styles clash off the ramp through a table to give AJ the win. Another brilliant match.
Mason Andrews v Zema Ion v Sonjay Dutt v Kenny King: X-Division title match, Ultimate-X. Spot-fest that was really impressive, but I think the wrong man – Ion – won.
Bobby Roode v Austin Aries: TNA world heavyweight title. My match of the year. What more is there to say? 20 minutes that felt like 5. It was yet another brilliant match.
3 brilliant matches, 1 not very good match, the others good or better… loved it.
Best Break-Out Star: Damien Sandow (WWE)
I like his promos, what I’ve seen in the ring is clean, and he got one hell of a rub from D-X at Raw1000, so clearly I’m not the only one who thinks he has ‘something’.
Yes, I know I could have gone Austin Aries here as well, but I think he was always going to be a star, one way or another.
Favourite Pleasant Surprise: Marvel defeating Chris ‘Mimic’ Basso for the RCW Title (RCW Dark Days: July 21)
I did not think they would pull the trigger on a Marvel title win, but not only did they do it, but it was one of my top 2 matches of the year from RCW (the other was the women’s match, see above). I really did not think it would happen – Marvel is one of the best wrestlers technically I have seen, but seemed to be on the outside of the title scene, brought in just to have brilliant matches with everyone – and so when it did, despite Marvel being a heel, I popped like a mark.
Favourite Sports Entertainment Moment: Team WWF v Team Extreme (Chikara King Of Trios: Sept 14)
King of Trios is always fun, and it often shows how to fo a family-friendly show without losing the whole ‘wrestling’ thing. But this match, while it was a fun throwback to days of yore, was quite simply damn entertaining. Sometimes the old guys with all that experience know what they’re doing out there. From Tommy Dreamer telling Aldo Montoya “that move was justin credible” to the whole remote control spot (done absolutely perfectly, by the way)… I loved this match. Mind you, I really enjoyed all three nights of this show. So sue me.
(7 categories, 2 went to RCW, 1 to Chikara, 2 to WWE, and 3 to TNA… a fair mix all round, I’d say…) (And, no, I won’t do ‘worst of’ lists any more… last time it resulted in trolling and comments I’m really not in the mood to put up with this year…)
So there you have it. 2012. For better or worse.
And that’s this view… See you in February!
Tags: AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Chikara, Christopher Daniels, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Destination X, Eliza Sway, kane, king of trios, Kurt Angle, Miami, Mimic, PPV, Raw, RCW, Samoa Joe, TNA, tommy dreamer, view from down here, wrestlemania, WWE