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This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

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2013 – The Best and Worst of the First Half

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So, I know we’re actually a couple of weeks over the first half of the year, but last night we wrapped up the WWE’s 6th Pay Per View of the year out of 12, so this seems a more fitting place to give out awards for the Best of the First Half of 2013.

Best Pay Per View Match – Undertaker vs. CM Punk @ Wrestlemania 29.  When this match was first announced, I thought there was a decent chance that Punk could be the one hand-picked to end the Streak, but as the program advanced week to week with Punk getting the better of Undertaker at each and every turn and seeing none of Undertaker’s legendary mind games, it became painfully obvious that Punk was going to be just another victim because there was no chance that Undertaker would get punked week in and week out and then have the streak end all at once.  I think it’s pretty clear that if the Streak ends, it’ll be the last match that Undertaker ever wrestles.  It’s poetic and would follow the trend set by Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels of glorious Wrestlemania exits.  That being the case, with the program set up as it was, there was no way that was the last run we’d see from Undertaker and thus he pretty much was guaranteed the win in my mind.  However, that didn’t take away from the quality of their match at Wrestlemania one bit.  Punk was at his best psychologically, flashing humorous expressions and hitting the high spots at just the right time to make up for Undertaker’s declining mobility.  The image of Undertaker sitting up while locked in the Anaconda Vice and turning the Big Evil glare onto Punk and Punk’s reaction is one of my favorite takeaways from this year’s Wrestlemania.  That and Zeb Coulter’s hilarious reaction when Swagger tapped out to Del Rio in the World Heavyweight Championship match.

Best Free-TV Match – John Cena vs. CM Punk – Raw (February 25) – Just an all around great performance, right up there with their match at Money in the Bank two years ago.  It’s probably one of the top five matches of Cena’s career.  It’s the only time I can remember Cena ever attempting a Frankensteiner and sure, he didn’t do it very well, but the guy went for it.  That’s one of the most exciting attempts at a move done by a big guy since Big Show, as The Giant in WCW, last attempted a Moonsault or Brock Lesnar going for the Shooting Star Press at Wrestlemania 19.  I used to think Edge was the only one who could bring out the very best in Cena, but Punk does it even better.  The two of them have had at least two and perhaps three of the top 10 matches of the last two years (at Money in the Bank in 2011 and this match for sure, plus maybe Night of Champions last year despite the non-finish).

Best Rivalry – Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (and anything else in his way) –  Daniel Bryan has kicked things up to another notch this year during his “weakest link” storyline, putting on the most entertaining matches and some of the most entertaining segments night in and night out over the past 2 months since Team Hell No lost the WWE Tag Team Titles to The Shield at Extreme Rules.  And if the rumors are true, he’s managed to parlay the great showing he’s had this year into a SummerSlam WWE Championship Main Event match against John Cena.  Goat mode has been activated and there is no stopping it.

Best Performer – Daniel Bryan – (See Best Rivalry)  Honorable Mention to CM Punk for easily the 3 best matches of the year so far (vs. Cena on Raw, vs. Undertaker @ Wrestlemania and vs. Jericho @ Payback)

Most Underrated – Antonio Cesaro – In a very short time he went from a dominant United States Champion to a yodeling afterthought.  He was consistently posting great matches against The Miz, which I’ve come to expect as a very hard thing to do over the course of Miz’s career, so Cesaro deserves all the respect in the world for that.  I don’t know why they decided to stick him with Zeb Coulter now because Cessaro is also pretty darn good on the mic and doesn’t really need a mouthpiece and for that storyline they should have used another actual American to team with Swagger, even though Cesaro does have the Very European, Uber-American thing going for him.  Damien Sandow was easily my favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match last night and I’m very glad he did.  His mic skills over the past year or so have surpassed even those of the CM Punk and his overhyped “pipe bombs”, of which there have been few and far between since his infamous Vegas promo.  However, if Sandow wasn’t going to be the one to win, Cesaro was easily my second choice of who I would have liked to have seen win the briefcase and become a guaranteed future World Champion.

Best Pay Per View – Payback – This event was one I had pretty much written off, but it really had a lot going for it.  The 3 Stages of Hell WWE Championship title match between Cena and Ryback exceeded my expectations and was actually probably the best Pay Per View WWE Championship Match of the year so far, but that’s not saying a whole lot unless you give a lot of credit to the Twice in a Lifetime Cena vs. Rock rematch at Wrestlemania, which just didn’t do a whole lot for me after already seeing it the previous year and knowing that for certain Cena was going to win and get his all important “redemption” when they should have just had him beat Rock last year and ended it there instead of continuing to drag it out for what is probably going to be a Wrestlemania Main Event trilogy.  On top of that, you can debate which of Punk’s matches (vs. Cena, vs. Undertaker or this one) was the best, but undoubtedly Punk vs. Jericho on that night was one of the best 3 matches of the year at the very least.  On top of that, Del Rio shockingly (to me anyway) won the World Heavyweight Championship back from Dolph Ziggler in a match that just like Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 flip-flopped the two, simultaneously turning the heel into the face and the face into the heel by showcasing the guts of the injured heel who was already getting huge reactions from the crowd long before that point.  Poor Ziggler now has 2 World Heavyweight Championship reigns, one of which went for 69 days, and he still has never successfully defended the title.  However, he put on a good show despite carrying a title for 10 weeks without defending it or even being on Television for half of his brief title run.  On top of all of that, Daniel Bryan continued to put on a great show in the WWE Tag Team Title match and for the first time in a long time WWE put a watchable women’s match on the Pay Per View, between Kaitlynn and AJ, even though the program leading up to it was like a very watered down version of Trish and Mickie.  There wasn’t really a stinker match on the card, though Dean Ambrose vs. Kane did let me down a little bit, but that’s mostly because I don’t believe disqualifications and non-finishes have any place on a Pay Per View.  If you want to put that kind of finish on Raw, go right ahead because we aren’t shelling out $50-$60 to watch it, but if you are going to charge that much for people to watch a Pay Per View, you have an obligation to deliver better than that cheap ass crap to help you promote the next Pay Per View that you’re also going to charge $50 or more for.  It’s no wonder WWE has such a problem with internet piracy.  I know that they have a lot of deserving workers who need Pay Per View revenue to help cover their salaries, but when you’re ripping off fans at $50 a pop every month, you deserve to be ripped off yourself.  It’s called karma.  Especially when I believe that you could cut Pay Per View prices down to $10-$15 and sell the show to 4-5 times as many people and make the same amount of profit.  Pay Per View buy rates and profits are down purely because, in the words of Jimmy McMillan (the guy from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party), the prices are too damn high.

Worst Match – The Rock vs. CM Punk @ Royal Rumble –  Those two just didn’t feel like they had any chemistry to me at all.  Moves seemed disjointed and poor Bret Hart was in attendance in the back after participating in the Fan Access panels that weekend and giving Del Rio a rub on his way to the ring, and Bret had to watch The Rock absolutely butcher the Sharpshooter.  At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Great Khali could apply a better Sharpshooter than The Rock.  He certainly couldn’t do any worse than The Rock.  And to top it all off, they did one of those crappy interference finishes followed by restarting the match only to have the real finish occur less than 15 seconds after restarting the match.  It was a nice moment in the career of The Rock and a niece piece of nostalgia for the fans, but it was a god awful stinker of a match.

Best Fan Reaction – Finally stopping the Goldberg chants – Next on the list of stupid crap to quit chanting is the What chant.

Worst Fan Reaction – Fandangoing – Just stop it.  The dude has a smaller move set than John Cena, of whose “5 moves of doom” you all love to bitch about so much.  Stop it now.  Shame on you New York fans for starting that junk.

Most Overrated – Fandango – (See Worst Fan Reaction) Shame on Chris Jericho for being willing to job to absolutely anybody at any given time and thus giving this bozo credibility (I’ve taken to referring to Fandango as Wiener Breath most of the time due to his level of suckitude).  Have some standards, please, for the love of all that is holy.

Worst Choice – Fandango going over on Jericho @ Wrestlemania – It’s usually a good thing for a veteran to put over the young talent and I applaud Jericho’s selflessness in being so cool about jobbing to anybody and everybody, but I reiterate for the love of all that is holy, please have some standards Chris.

Best Choice – Zack Ryder – For accidentally kicking Fandango in the head wrong and giving him a concussion, thus allowing Curtis Axel to replace him at Payback, thus saving the world from the disaster that is Fandango winning anything of importance, such as the Intercontinental Championship.

Worst Announcer – Still Michael Cole – Forever and always Michael Cole.  You know why.  Enough said.

Best Announcer – JBL – He might not have actually been a wrestling God, but he is definitely a commentary God.  Bobby Heenan is still my all time favorite commentator, but JBL is easily the runner-up.

 

Written by I Am a Real American

July 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

Posted in AJ Lee, Antonio Cessaro, Big Show, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Bret Hart, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Diva's Championship, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Edge, Extreme Rules, Fandango, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kaitlynn, Kane, Mickie James, Money in the Bank, Ric Flair, Royal Rumble, Sharpshooter, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Miz, The Rock, The Shield, Trish Stratus, Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 29, Wrestlemania XIII, Wrestlemania XIX, Wrestlemania XXIX, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Zack Ryder, Zeb Coulter

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Real American Top 10 – WWE vs. TNA Dream Rivalries

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10) Sheamus vs. James Storm – James Storm’s affinity for a cold beer is well known and drinking and fighting are the two traits most associated with the Irish.  These two men could go beer-f0r-beer and have it be just as entertaining as a wrestling match between the two.  Both characters love a good fight and are among the best brawlers still in the business.  You wouldn’t see a whole lot of mat wrestling or submission attempts in a match between these two brutes, but sometimes a good old-fashioned brawl can be more entertaining than a wrestling match.  If only Stone Cold could be involved somehow.

9) Chris Jericho vs. Christopher Daniels – Jericho and Daniels are both masters of the Moonsault.  Jericho has been using his Lionsault to put away some of the all time greats for many years while Daniels professes himself to be the master of the Moonsault, labeling his finishing maneuver the Best Moonsault Ever.  These two also possess great technical wrestling skills and any match between these two men would include some of the best mat wrestling you’ve ever seen combined with some tremendous aerial maneuvers.

8) Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode – The Show Off vs. The It Factor and what would be a match-up of two of the best young performers WWE and TNA possess.  Roode’s time in the spotlight has been a long-time coming and it’s only a matter of time before Dolph Ziggler becomes the go-to-guy for great performances in the WWE.  Both of these men appear to have long and successful careers ahead of them and putting them in the ring together would have the potential to measure up against some of the greatest matches of all time.

7) Jack Swagger vs. Kurt Angle – These are two great amateur wrestlers who have an affinity for the Ankle Lock.  While Swagger certainly doesn’t have the credentials that Kurt Angle does (2-Olympic Gold Medals, Double Digit World Title Reigns, King of the Ring Winner), Swagger would have a better chance of keeping up with Angle’s amateur wrestling than anybody currently on the WWE or TNA roster, with the possible exception of Brock Lesnar, who has “quit” the WWE.  And you know Angle wouldn’t take kindly to Swagger trying to use his own Ankle Lock against him.

6) John Cena vs. Samoa Joe – Perhaps John Cena’s greatest set of matches against a big man were against “The Samoan Bulldozer” Umaga, which included one of the greatest Last Man Standing matches of all-time at the 2007 Royal Rumble.  So, why not put Cena in the ring with another Samoan Wrecking Machine like Samoa Joe?  A match with Samoa Joe could go a long way to showing us all what progress Cena has made or could make in his mat wrestling.

5) Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles – Nobody makes flying through the air at rapid speeds look easier than Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles.  The torque that these two have been able to put on some of their aerial maneuvers is rarely seen anywhere else in the business.  Rey has slowed over the years due to a series of injuries, but he can still run circles around some of the much younger competition in the WWE.  Styles does possess a big advantage in mat wrestling over Mysterio, but in a match between these two men, nobody would want to see the match go to the mat.  High spots galore should these two men ever square off one-on-one.

4) Kane vs. Abyss – These two behemoths are some of the most underrated performers in their company despite their size.  I think a lot of people look at these guys and think that they’re just another big body, but Kane has been wowing crowds for years and he plays the psychology of his character perfectly.  Abyss is one guy similar to Mick Foley in that he’s willing to put his body through anything.  Throughout the years, these two have been probably the most mysterious and intimidating characters that WWE and TNA have put in a ring and they certainly have what it takes to tear the house down in what likely would not be just your typical battle of two big men.

3) Daniel Bryan vs. Austin Aries – These are two of the best wrestlers to come out of Ring of Honor.  They are both great mat wrestlers who also have the ability to fly and strike.  Both of these guys are the total package when it comes to ring work, but up until this year, they hadn’t been given a lot of big opportunities, which probably has to do with their small stature.  Aries is still competing in the X-Division, but he’s starting to step out and get more involved with TNA headliners like Bully Ray, whom he beat this past Sunday at Sacrifice and was also involved in Lethal Lockdown.  Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan held the World Heavyweight Championship for nearly 4 months and remains in contention for either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship at any time.  Both men are more than capable of hanging with guys two or even three times their size, but just imagine what these two men could do if we were able to put them in the same ring at the same time.

2) CM Punk vs. Rob Van Dam – These guys were on ECW at the same time in 2006-2007, but RVD was reaching the end of his rope with WWE and Punk had just arrived on the scene.  Since then, Punk has skyrocketed while RVD has fizzled a little bit in TNA.  However, these guys both throw some of the best kicks the wrestling industry has ever seen.  Plus, you have the added clash of lifestyles with RVD being well known for his laid back lifestyle and use of marijuana while Punk remains “Straight-Edge”, meaning he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t use drugs and doesn’t consume alcohol.  This could be very similar to Punk’s rivalry with Jeff Hardy in 2009, but with the potential for even better matches.

1) Undertaker vs. Sting – Rumors were flying last year about Sting signing a deal with WWE to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27, but it obviously never materialized and Sting returned to TNA.  Both men are clearly in the twilight of their careers, but these guys have helped carry the torch for opposing companies for a large part of the last two decades with Undertaker becoming perhaps the most respected star in WWE history and Sting being the top face of WCW and then providing a huge verteran presence in TNA.  There were plenty of other headliners along the way, but Undertaker and Sting outlasted them all and this is one match that it’s a shame we never got to see and almost certainly never will.  We can still hold out hope though that maybe Undertaker has 1-2 more Wrestlemanias left in him and pray for Sting to sign a deal with WWE, even if it’s just for one match with Taker.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Christopher Daniels, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, James Storm, John Cena, Kane, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Pro Wrestling, Real American Top Ten, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, TNA, Undertaker, WCW, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, WWE, WWE Championship

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Is Attitude Making a Comeback?

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To answer my own question, it certainly appears so for the time being.  Internet wrestling community, keep your fingers crossed.

For the past two weeks, the biggest perceived offender to the wrestling fans who can trace their viewing lineage back to the Attitude Era – John Cena, has had his lip busted open, been low blowed and suffered the F-5 twice.

And low blows have been few and far between since the end of the era of Ruthless Aggression.

And that’s just part of the trends that make attitude appear to be on the rise.

CM Punk and Chris Jericho are getting about as edgy and intense as a storyline rivalry can go with curse words flying, alcoholic beverages making their first appearance in a long time.  Until Jericho started dousing Punk with whiskey and giving him beer baths in the middle of the ring, even Stone Cold Steveweisers hadn’t been flying around with any regularity (maybe 1-2 times a year, if that).

On top of that, referees suddenly find themselves in the line of fire again after Sheamus kicked Chad Patton’s head off on Smackdown two weeks ago.  And that’s a face Brogue Kicking the referee into oblivion.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a face attack a referee on purpose.  Maybe it was Undertaker on Scott Armstrong after the Breaking Point screw job, but I think his anger was more focused on Teddy Long, if I’m remembering correctly.  And even so, Undertaker never really changed for the PG-era anyway, even though pretty much everybody else did.  And Sheamus went through his big apology on Smackdown this past week to continue to set a good example for the child fans, but I for one kind of get the feeling that it hasn’t happened for the last time.

And while it stands out to me, this last bit might not be apparent to everybody, but back in the attitude era, almost everybody was wearing black or darker colors, but then the PG-era has been filled with bright greens, reds, oranges and blues to correspond with whatever shirts John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, or any of the other wrestlers that fans 12 and under cheer for.  But then last week on Raw, everything felt more serious because lots of wrestlers were wearing black.  For instance, I had gotten very used to seeing Yoshi Tatsu with his bright red and white face paint and his neon green, blue, red or yellow tights, but when he fought Tensai on Raw last week, he was wearing almost all black tights and the bright face paint was gone.  Even Cena’s last two shirts have been black and dark green.

The table was more or less set last summer for attitude to make a comeback when CM Punk’s rants about bucking the system landed him the hottest storyline of the summer, the WWE Championship and what has to be the hottest selling WWE t-shirt in a long time.  I have yet to see a show since his white “Best in the World” t-shirt went on sale that the arena wasn’t filled with them.  That had to send a message to the powers that be that fans were aching for a change and the return of attitude.  I know the fans that frequent internet wrestling chat rooms and fan sites have been perennially pissed off since the attitude era ended and have been very vocal about it, but I think for the first time we saw just how much the mainstream fans were ready for a new direction.

Only time will tell, but to this wrestling fan 2012 is looking ripe for a resurgence in attitude.