Place to be Nation Celebrates Their 2nd Year Anniversary

Officially launching on June 1st, 2013, Place to be Nation has gave us over 3,400 podcasts and articles on topics such as sports, wrestling, comics, television, music, and movies. Over the next few weeks they will be highlighting “The Best of PTBN,” a collection of select pieces from each staff member that you can view by clicking on the link below.

http://placetobenation.com/category/the-best-of-ptbn/

WCW: 1996 Year in Review

What a ride 1996 brought us on. People who were heroes became villains, and people who became WWF Intercontinental Champions were the cornerstones of WCW Prime. There were moments of great highs, and sometimes, very low lows.
But it is important not to spend all ones focus on The Public Enemy, because there were many months in the year (12, at my count), and as many as 4 complete shows did not feature them.
So grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and head back to where it all began, which like so many years before it, started in …
JANUARY

Following a gruelling Starrcade, Ric Flair surprised everyone by walking out with the belt for the first time in nearly 18 months. Backed by Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Brian Pillman – one of the strongest Horsemen units in years – Ric Flair began a month-long quest to see how many different ways Hulk Hogan could beat him in under 30 days.
Despite dropping his first 19 matches of the year to Hogan, it was Randy Savage who would surprise everyone in capturing the WCW belt on the January 22 Nitro. Hulk Hogan demanded the first title shot 12 seconds after Savage’s win, and acted hurt when Savage took a little offense.
On that same show, Lex Luger would cheat to win the tag-team titles from Harlem Heat, with partner Sting. When the replay showed Lex having used a roll of silver dollars to score the win, an angry Sting demanded answers. Lex told Sting, with all sincerity, what he just saw never actually happened. Sting was satisfied.
Meanwhile, WCW pettiness was at its ugliest. Following the acquisition of a former WWF talent, Sting was tasked with squashing him on an early episode of WCW Prime, completely eliminating any chance he had of getting over in the long haul. These types of vindictive childish games were a large part of WCW’s eventual downfall. Dave Dalton really deserved better.
Lex Luger made short work of Cobra, an up and coming former federal CIA agent, turned wrestler, on WCW Saturday Night. Though seemingly innocuous at the time, Cobra would begin a year-long mission to seek revenge against the man of many pecs, plotting for the right moment to really make it count. To sting him, if you will.
The One Man Gang, crowned WCW US Champion at the tail end of 1995, went around the horn defending his belt against all-comers, including newcomer Super Giant Ninja. While failing to capture the belt, the Super Giant Ninja would live on all year through my obsession with hilariously tall jobbers.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The match of the month is a ***1/2 affair between Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero on the January 15th edition of Prime. The match was interrupted twice; once by Brian Pillman to save Chris Benoit from being pinned, and another time to let us know we can buy The Century of War for $4.99 + shipping and handling.
The Hulk Hogan of Mexico, Konan, would burst on to the scene, defending the prestigious Mexican Heavyweight Title, which had roots dating all the way back to the earliest parts of January.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff is forced into retirement with neck problems. Many saddened fans were left with the same question: why couldn’t it have been Kevin Sullivan?
Sista Sherri and Colonel Parker’s wedding is halted, when it’s revealed that Madusa has exceptionally large breasts.
A mini-series, dedicated to the great WCW announcer, Mongo McMichael, airs in 10-minute parts on WCW Saturday Night. Former coach Mike Ditka spends several episodes detailing Mongo’s triceps.
Bobby Heenan expands his vocabulary during a Clash of Champions special.
And speaking of special…
FEBRUARY
Diamond Dallas Page rolls the dice in the biggest gamble of his life, putting his $6.6 million on the line in order to secure a TV title shot against Johnny B Badd, after having lost his previous 6 outings. This turns out to be about as wise an investment as Andy Beale’s foray into the space program, and Page is left homeless. Johnny swears complete and total devotion to DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly. He immediately disappears from all programming except WCW Prime.
On the same show, Brian Pillman decides he’d be better off whipping out his Johnson elsewhere than continue to be booked against Kevin Sullivan.
Ric Flair re-captures the WCW belt from Randy Savage, when Savage is betrayed by his ex-wife and her friend. Randy is completely shocked that his bitter ex, who spent years terrified and controlled by his insane jealousy, would turn her back on him again several years after their divorce. His best friend Hulk Hogan shows his support by immediately challenging for the title.
Hogan is granted a series of matches against Flair’s ally Arn Anderson instead, and loses all of them. For some reason, I feel compelled to repeat this at ad nauseum for months afterwards.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Konan captures the United States title from One Man Gang. The TV title is immediately recognized as the #2 belt in the company.
Color commentator Mongo McMichael dresses up his pet ferret to look like cupid on Valentine’s Day. Former coach Mike Ditka details Mongo’s trip to Petcetera, where the costume was purchased, as part of WCW’s continuing Saturday Night miniseries.
50-year old, 500 pound European wrestler, Loch Ness makes his debut for the Dungeon of Doom. Armed with less mobility than the Great Khali, he is put over every young talent in the company.
David Finlay draws a great deal of attention when it’s discovered that his giant brown mullet was actually ripped directly off the head of Brad Armstrong. As a result, he and Steven Regal can’t stop punching each other in the nose for several months.
VK Wallstreet clarifies his 1996 goals, by naming the top wrestlers he wishes to defeat. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Shark. I am not making this up.
Ric Flair and Randy Savage wrestle one more time, and put on the match of the month at ***1/2 on February 19th. The Zodiac is taken by their awesome display of wrestling, and decides to start wearing see-through pants and calling himself “the Booty Man” seconds after its conclusion.
DDP’s ring attire and Mercedes Benz are repossessed.
Things would sink even lower in…
MARCH
The Alliance to End Hulkamania hits its apex, as 8 of the group’s members challenge the Megapowers to a handicap match inside a Doomsday Cage. The rules, never fully clear, either before or during the show, led to a lot of confusion. Adding further problems, was the renaming of Ludwrench Perkins “The Ultimate Solution”, causing more than a few insensitivity complaints.
Hulk Hogan, realizing that things were getting ugly, smooths things over by booking the match to run 25 minutes. Wrestlers are chained in and outside of the cage, with Savage and Hogan sliding in and out like survivors of Jurassic Park. Still, a sport to the end, realizing he had no business winning this match with the odds so heavily stacked for the heels, Hogan pins World Champion Ric Flair following an errant coal miner’s glove, and insists on a title shot. The match is one of the most memorable of the year, picking up an epic rating of -*****.
Meanwhile, hot newcomer, The Giant, would continue his path of destruction, sending Loch Ness back to Europe, and ending the careers of both Dave Sullivan and Ralph the Rabbit. Fans openly ask why his brother Kevin could not have followed suit.
Lex Luger and Cobra once again meet on a loaded edition of Saturday Night. Lex again dispatches of the CIA agent, with some illegal assistance from good friend Jimmy Hart. Sting tries to mend the fences, but Cobra doesn’t hear of it. He returns to the tactical unit to work on a cerebral mind-trick to split up the reigning tag-team champions. A hard deadline of 180 days is set.
The tag-team division is turned upside down with a series of memorable returns and matches. While the Road Warriors and Steiners are given heroes’ welcomes, it’s actually Men at Work and the Barrio Brothers who truly leave the division with more questions than answers.
The Faces of Fear destroy Buck Quartermaine and Mike Winner, kicking off a love-affair for one particular recapper.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steven Regal stop punching each other long enough to enter the ring separately at Uncensored, and then immediately resume punching each other. They are given **** for their effort; the match of the month.

Johnny B Badd appears at Wrestlemania. In response, WCW Prime is now sponsored by the Badd Blaster.
During one night of festivities, Ric Flair nearly comes to blows with an irate Mongo McMichael. This is replayed heavily on WCW Saturday Night, hosted by former coach Mike Ditka.
DDP has his career repossessed.
Sadly, nothing would repossess the memories of…
APRIL
Bootymania runs mild! Partnered as Hulk Hogan’s pants-free friend, Bootyman seduces Kimberly Page. Wrestling fans rejoice, understanding that with Kimberly’s lowered expectations, they might actually have a shot! Bootyman is given a World Title match, and in a rare display of comradery, Hogan demands one too.
Instead, it is The Giant who unseats Ric Flair on the final Nitro of April, hitting a chokeslam on the champion right out of the Figure Four. Giant had turned babyface to ally with Sting for a cup of coffee at the start of the month, before reverting to his heel ways. This would continue to be a trend for the next 20 years.
Women’s wrestling is pushed to the forefront, and leading the division is Madusa, who is given a number of highly competitive 2 minute losses to Colonel Robert Parker.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steve Regal continue to punch each other at a frantic pace, generating their second **** affair in as many months in the parking lot of the April 29th Nitro. Finlay wins after piledriving Regal on the roof of Heenan’s rental car.
Johnny B Badd takes over as lead commentary on WCW Prime.
Meng wrestles Hacksaw Duggan to a **1/2 match. This is not a joke.
DDP has his house repossessed.
After weeks of fighting each other to a series of draws, Scott Norton and Ice Train figure that if they collectively can’t beat each other, they must be the toughest wrestlers on earth and should form a tag-team. Thus, Fire and Ice debuts, losing every match they ever wrestle together.
And on the topic of huge debuts…
MAY
Following months of anticipation, things finally come to a head on the Memorial Day episode of WCW Nitro. No longer under WWF contract, and one of WCW’s finest all time acquisitions makes his debut to much surprise. Going head to head with RAW, WCW makes their move, and brings out the former Blake Beverly, now dubbed “The Mauler”. Realizing this could tip the ratings scales for good, the WWF panics, and sends in Razor Ramon to interfere in the match.
Meanwhile, a series of vignettes begin airing on Nitro, indicating that BLOOD RUNS COLD. Speculation begins regarding this mysterious wrestler, who is expected to debut at any time.
Lex Luger misses a series of scheduled World Title matches, using an array of excuses lifted from an 18-year old McDonalds employee. Young, enthusiastic Marcus Bagwell offers to wrestle in place of Luger, giving him a chance to show off his wide array of dropkicks.
Displaying Ali-like reactionary skills, WCW suspends Randy Savage for being “too insane”. They are also said to be investigating claims that Ric Flair drinks too much, and Hulk Hogan is losing his hair. Many frustrated fans call WCW to demand Kevin Sullivan also be suspended.
The Lethal Lottery rears its ugly head at Slamboree, and it’s DDP, armed with millions of dollars via a mysterious benefactor, who wins the Battle Royale, and prestigious ring and eventual World Title shot. The title shot is immediately repossessed.
The WCW Road Report is conducted from the house of Mongo McMichael by former coach Mike Ditka.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay mysteriously disappears. Steven Regal punches Jeeves, but it’s not the same.
Cobra begins a winning streak, while Dusty Rhodes embarks on a mission to crack the “Morris” code of Cobra’s theme music. Fans with particularly good listening are able to make out L … E … X … L … U … before the commercial break.
The match of the month is delivered on the May 6th edition of Nitro from an unlikely pair. Randy Savage and Hugh Morrus put on a hellacious **** brawl, complete with Morrus stealing Savage’s ring-attire and doing Macho Man imitations.
“Lifeguard” Steve Collins wrestles Buddy Valentine on one particularly delightful edition of WCW Prime. Head Prime referee Johnny B Badd calls it the finest match he’s ever officiated.
Hulk Hogan takes a brief hiatus, but films a segment from his latest movie shoot on the beach, where he keeps us abreast of his demands to receive a World Title shot.
The real shots would be fired in…
JUNE
After weeks of back and forth drama and escalating tension, tempers finally brewed over and Big Bubba cut off half the hair of The Shark. Now without the backing of the Dungeon of Doom, Shark delivers a heartfelt promo where he admits, despite much speculation to the contrary, that he was a man, not a fish.
Meanwhile, at the Great American Bash, Razor Ramon and Diesel continue their path of destruction by putting WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff through a table. WCW stars unite, challenging the pair to a match at the following month’s pay-per-view. Even the absent Hulk Hogan weighs in, demanding an immediate title shot.
Bobby Heenan returns to managing one more time, joining the Four Horsemen in a battle against football brethren Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene. Proving once again to be smarter than everyone else in wrestling, Heenan pays off Mongo to throw the match and join the Horsemen. Everyone is disgusted by this turn of events, including former coach Mike Ditka who dedicates the entire month of WCW Saturday Night to its continued coverage.
Blood continues to run cold, as our mysterious new wrestler appears to be named “Glacier”. He is a dual threat, having both a brown and blue eye. He promises to be arriving very soon.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Diamond Dallas Page continues his winning streak, armed with a new swagger since being gifted millions from his benefactor. His swagger is immediately repossessed.
Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan wind up brawling through the men’s room on pay-per-view. The addition of urinals, and the possibility of a career ending injury to Kevin Sullivan pushes this match to *****, easily the best of the entire year.
The newly established “Cruiserweight” division finds its first superstar in 21-year old Rey Mysterio Jr. Weighing little more than an official US minted silver dollar, Rey wows audiences with his high flying maneuvers, and appallingly awful interviews.
Johnny B Badd begins booking WCW Prime.
A new jobber named “Johnny Wild”, looking like David Spade’s “Joe Dirt”, challenges Lord Steven Regal on a star-studded Saturday Night. Regal, having spent most of the month looking for Fit Finlay, punches him in the nose repeatedly.
Sadly, we would continue to receive no mention of Finlay in the month of …
JULY
Razor Ramon and Diesel finally make their in-ring debuts, challenging any 3 members of WCW’s roster against their trio of the both of them. Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage step up to the plate, but Luger is injured early and unable to assist. Still, WCW keeps it together, until Hulk Hogan returns. Angry about a denied title shot, Hogan hits Savage with the atomic legdrop and tells the fans to stick it. This was the birth of the New World Order.
More disturbingly, Diamond Dallas Page is missing his Battlebowl Ring, and locks down the entire building, frisking everyone from the announcers, producers, and even Johnny B Badd who is on his way to a taping of WCW Prime.
Glacier is about to change, because blood runs the fury of a cold warrior. Loosely translated: He’s coming soon.
Greg Valentine arrives to a Nitro taping, and while greeting old friends backstage, finds himself accidentally placed in a match with Randy Savage. Valentine is pinned in seconds, having not been given his requisite hour to get warmed up.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Masked acrobats, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis, put on an unbelievable show during Bash at the Beach that would leave Guy Laliberte needing a change of pants. At ****1/2, this is the match of the month.
Rough and Ready lose their first of 478 consecutive matches to Harlem Heat.
The Dungeon of Doom reveal their latest device in their war against Hulkamania: A hyperactive cannibal leprechaun named “Braun”. The fans don’t take to the silly gimmick, calling for more realistic storylines, like a retirement party for Kevin Sullivan.
Joe Gomez, Alex Wright, The Renegade, and Jim Powers discover they all have nipples. They form an alliance.
But alliances would be tested in…
AUGUST
Celebrating Hulk Hogan’s 44th birthday, longtime friend and ally, Brutus “The Zodiac Butcher Barber Furface Booty Boulder” Beefcake presents a cake to his good friend. Hogan destroys the cake, screaming “I HAVE HYPOGLYCEMIA!” and orders new best friends Scott and Kevin to destroy him. With the ring covered in cake, Hogan eyeballs his old buddy, and immediately demands a title shot, despite having captured it from the Giant moments earlier.
“Lord” Steven Regal upsets Lex Luger to capture the TV title for an unprecedented 3rd time. Regal cuts an emotional interview afterwards, vowing to defend his title against anyone in the world who wants a shot … but only after he solves the mystery of the missing Fit Finlay, who his fists miss dearly. Regal isn’t seen again for months.
And speaking of Lex Luger, he and Sting spend an entire episode of Nitro chasing a limousine. Failing to capture the elusive automobile, they challenge old “Stretch” to a rooftop match at Halloween Havoc, as is tradition.
Decorated Japanese star, Jushin Liger, is brought back to WCW to bolster its incredible Cruiserweight division. He is given several high profile matches on top syndicated program, WCW Prime, by president elect Johnny B Badd.
The Dungeon of Doom are given a 5 minute segment prior to Road Wild, where they take us through the misty caves. Through a series of mysterious doors, this turns out to be the bunker in which the members live. Cannibal “Braun” The Leprechaun has the most open concept room; as he’s replaced his door with a cloud of orange smoke. Disturbingly, The Giant’s door is much smaller than his 7’0” 400 pound frame can handle, leading to a probe by the Human Rights Commission.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Mean” Gene Okerlund promises exciting news on the WCW Hotline about an interesting debut that is right around the corner. It turns out it’s just Glacier, who’s coming.
Diamond Dallas Page has his winning streak repossessed at the Clash of Champions.
Joe Gomez and the Renegade invite High Voltage to tag with them on an episode of Saturday Night. They are on the losing end of a beating from the Horsemen, largely due to the fact High Voltage wears singlets, covering their nipples.
Marcus Bagwell has an affair with Jim Powers.
The match of the month is fought at Hog Wild, where The Ultimate Dragon makes his WCW debut against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a fantastic **** affair. Rey retains the Cruiserweight title, but is unable to capture Sonny Onoo.
Controversy would rear its ugly head in…
SEPTEMBER
The Four Horsemen challenge the nWo to a showdown at Fall Brawl under the traditional War Games banner. Sting and Lex Luger beg for inclusion, resulting in the exile of Mongo McMichael. Mongo McMichael warns the pair not to drop the ball. Former coach Mike Ditka sits down with Eric Bischoff to discuss Mongo’s lack of fumbles throughout his career on a special edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Cobra finally strikes. Months of preparation lead to a dramatic moment on Monday Nitro, when the beret wearing superstar joins forces with the mysterious limousine. Lex Luger attacks the car alone, and has his mind blown when he sees Cobra wearing Sting’s facepaint inside. Devastated, Luger draws the conclusion that the paint must have come from Sting, despite his friend’s protests to the contrary. At Fall Brawl, Sting confronts Luger with a receipt from Dollarama, proving Cobra purchased the facepaint alone. Luger apologizes, but Sting retreats to the rafters to consider his next move.
The nWo expands its ranks, adding the 1-2-3 Kid, Miss Elizabeth, Ted DiBiase, The Giant, Nick Patrick, and Kyle Petty. However, it’s the curious inclusion of the Nasty Boys that gets a lot of press from Internet Wrestling Fans and sparks much debate. During their initial meet and greet party, Jerry Saggs shocks WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, when he reveals he has an asshole. Party host Hollywood Hogan shares Bischoff’s disgust, angrily admitting his mistake in inviting them, by demanding a title shot.
A one hour tribute to the fallen Fit Finlay airs on WCW Prime, featuring an update on television champion Steven Regal, who has been travelling through Europe in search of answers. It is considered one of the most touching interviews of the year, according to President of Prime, Johnny B Badd.
The long-awaited debut of Super Calo occurs this month. Calo wrestles Rey Mysterio Jr. at the Fall Brawl pay-per-view, and despite being a long-shot underdog, manages to keep his hat on throughout the entire match.
And on the topic of debuts, after a 6 month journey, Glacier finally arrives on September 16th. He is scheduled to wrestle Big Bubba, but it’s cut for time purposes following Glacier’s 84 minute entrance and martial arts show. Through his 300 year old mask, he vows to come again.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The Faces of Fear begin a four month odyssey of balls out work, carrying lacklustre wrestlers Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson to a **** match on Prime, which is the finest of the month.
Dusty Rhodes is unable to make it to WCW Saturday Night, having made a wrong turn at the Pay Windah on his way through the Mothaship. He blames that Debulush Woman for his filibusterin’ around.
The Booty Beefcake gives a candid interview on the topic of Hulk Hogan. While the betrayal has left him questioning whether or not he can ever wrestle again, he does feel he’ll return if given a big pay raise.
Diamond Dallas Page has his heel heat repossessed.
“Braun” the Leprechaun eats Prince Iaukea. Using modern technology, many fans surf on over to WCW.com, where they campaign to have Kevin Sullivan devoured next.
Unfortunately, Sullivan would remain uneaten through…
OCTOBER
Former Yeti and Ninja, Ron Studd is placed under intense scrutiny when he curiously debuts using Fit Finlay’s music. The search for Finlay proves to be fruitless, as Steven Regal returns from a 2 month investigative search of Europe. Frustrated, and without hope, the TV champion is forced to ask himself “what would Hulk Hogan do?” Later on Nitro, he demands a World title shot.
However, it’s Randy Savage, cleared of the insanity charges, who is granted the first crack at Hogan’s title belt. Realizing this might be his last chance at glory, Randy spends the month in lockdown, crying about his lost Elizabeth. This turns out to be an ineffective strategy against Hulk Hogan’s ridiculous wig.
Super Calo is put out of action following a particularly nasty leg injury. He won’t return for the rest of the year; but the luchadore remains optimistic, as he successfully gets through surgery without once losing his hat.
WCW Prime signs off for the last time, with a special 1-hour tribute to Johnny B Badd, as narrated by Johnny B Badd.
Debuting this month is a family bonded superstar who is bound to carry us through the next millennium. He is clearly the anointed choice to lead WCW against the nWo. Given a chance to showcase his arsenal against the crafty veteran Arn Anderson, brother of recently retired Ricky, Vic Steamboat puts on a DUD of a clinic on Saturday Night.
Also Jeff Jarrett debuts.
Ultimately, the big news of the month is the returning Roddy Piper, who debuts at Halloween Havoc. Refusing to let bygones be gone, Roddy tells Hulk Hogan he’s a disgrace. The announcers declare this the biggest moment in the history of WCW.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Pat Tanaka, clearly over the weight limit, gets a Cruiserweight title shot, paving the way for future superstars like Oklahoma.
Lex Luger’s hair is granted its own area code at Halloween Havoc.
Road Block, a gigantic brickhouse of a man, who carries a road block on his shoulders, takes over WCW Saturday Night, and demands a match with Randy Savage immediately. Savage, the #1 contender to the title, declines, leaving Dusty Wolfe to try and destroy this Goliath. A wild 37 seconds follows, and gets the holy grail of match ratings, a perfect *****, best of the month.
The nWo are gifted their own segment on Saturday night, which is simulcast on Skinemax, due to the overwhelming masturbation.
Sting begins writing angst-ridden poetry, with the first one titled “WCW, My One, My Only”. Larry Zbyszko speculates that Sting has joined the nWo.
Sting would have a much bigger impact in…
NOVEMBER
Frustrated by the lack of leadership in WCW, a silent Sting, clad in a homemade “I <3 WCW” t-shirt, descends from the rafters to confront a mouthy Jeff Jarrett about his loyalty. Larry Zbyszko throws his headset in disgust at Sting’s obvious jump to the nWo.
All eyes turn to World War 3, where a 3-ring 60-man battle royal will determine the #1 contender to Hulk Hogan’s World Title. Hogan responds by twerking at the end of every Nitro for some reason.
A mysterious video tape is handed to Tony Schiavone by a random guardrail jumping fan. Tony insists that whatever’s on this tape MUST be played immediately. This turns out to be a bad decision on his part, as the content features all 4 minutes of Roddy Piper’s “I’m Your Man” German music video. Embarrassed, WCW promises to make things right, and plays the video on a continuous loop for the next 2 weeks.
Completely humiliated, Roddy Piper returns to WCW to confront Eric Bischoff, and exposes him as a fraud. Bischoff admits that yes, Piper’s correct, but that everyone has known this for years and he isn’t exactly breaking new ground.
Meanwhile, WCW finally rallies the troops to end this nWo problem once and for all, by introducing a new Women’s title and holding a tournament to crown the first champion.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Braun” the Leprechaun passes away following a bout of Kuru; contracted by his cannibalism. Newcomer Jack Boot points out that Hugh Morrus is exhibiting similar symptoms, while fans suggest Kevin Sullivan might consider trying cannibalism.
At 240 pounds, Scotty Riggs receives a Cruiserweight title shot. John Tenta considers becoming a Cruiserweight.
The nWo begins showing DDP preferential treatment, helping him win matches. Page insists he doesn’t need help from anyone, except perhaps a lawyer to prevent anything else from being repossessed.
Jim Duggan threatens to beat up someone named Terry Hogan. Petrified, Terry never debuts in WCW.
Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Ultimate Dragon tear down the house once more, wrestling a ****1/2 classic at World War 3. The Dragon captures the Cruiserweight title, adding it to his massive collection of walking title belts. “Mean” Gene Okerlund announces on his Hotline that the belts don’t actually have legs, and pulls back the curtain to reveal Sonny Onoo.
Juventud Guerrera makes waves by signing the first ever contract that includes WCW title shots on every show. Juvi fails to win any of the titles he competes for, but it sets the stage for Hulk Hogan to consider renegotiating his own deal.
But the only deal being negotiated comes in…
DECEMBER
Live coverage of Roddy Piper hits fever pitch, with round the clock updates of his past segments. Highlights, such as the time he arrived at Halloween Havoc, the time he got in Bischoff’s face, and the time he made a horrible music video in Germany, are played on a continuous stream on TBS. Hulk Hogan, in his most charitable move of the year, offers to wrestle him in a non-title match if he’ll stop airing the music video.
A tournament to find a new United States Champion comes to a head at Starrcade, and Eddie Guerrero pins Diamond Dallas Page to capture the gold. Having expected a heavily favored DDP to win, the repo men take the belt anyway and award it to Syxx.
Sting also makes an appearance at WCW Starrcade, handing his baseball bat to WCW leader, Lex Luger, to defeat nWo member The Giant. Scrawled on the bat reads “Lex, please take me back, I miss you, I miss everyone in WCW, I just want you to want me.” Larry Zbyszko considers this the most damning evidence to date that Sting is the new leader of the nWo.
The Faces of Fear take back-to-back losses to close out the year, causing one particular recapper to write angry letters to Ted Turner himself. Turner would reply, informing the lunatic that WCW went out of business 14 years ago.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Sergeant Buddy Lee Parker makes his return after a 10 month leave of absence, taking the roster spot of Jack Boot. Lieutenant James Earl is unable to return, having been promoted to lead investigator in the Fit Finlay story.
After the disappointment of Vic Steamboat in October, WCW calls upon another wrestling family to try and sew the seeds of tradition back into the company’s proverbial quilt. Unfortunately, that person is David Sammartino, who is immediately asked to leave by irate WCW fans, and “to take Kevin Sullivan with you!”
Sullivan is going nowhere, however, needing to avenge the loss of his wife to young stallion Chris Benoit. Benoit taunts the much older Sullivan by sending a number of adult films featuring he and Woman in a series of poses that would re-write the Kamasutra series. Benoit declares this a “killer partnership”, and adds “this won’t be remotely awkward to look back on in several years”.
And as we close out a memorable year in wrestling, it’s important to remember that while we experienced a number of lows, which was not limited to the Nasty Boys, we also got introduced to a colorful new cast of characters that are bound to carry this company for the next 20 years. During a 10-part series that aired in December, former coach Mike Ditka predicted Mongo McMichael would one day have a more colorful legacy than Hulk Hogan.

For reasons even he could not have predicted, he would not be wrong. But that’s to be saved for another year.

Superstar Of The Year


Scott,


It's rare when there's a universal consensus amongst wrestling fans, but I think we can all agree that "The Juggernaut" Roman Reigns was the clear choice to win the Slammy Award for Superstar Of The Year based on his numerous accomplishments in this, his breakout year. Is it too early to start discussing where he ranks all time in the pantheon of WWE greats?

​Also, did you know that you can watch all his classic matches for only $9.99 a month on the WWE Network?  ​

Worst Year


In your opinion, has anyone had a worse year than Kane? I don't think any of it is on him, but he found a great niche with Bryan and has been put in garbage spots since the breakup of Hell No. Now he drains the life right out of everything.

​Goldust and Marc Mero in 98-99 would be my picks. Especially Goldust, who went from a major contender to comic relief, and then nails-on-chalkboard irritating.  Mero lost his valet and spiraled into nothing due to injuries and just ended up being a channel-changing break.​

A GOOD promo, somewhat unscripted, THIS YEAR, in WWE….?!

Yep, you read it, folks.

Check out possibly one of the only positives to come out of the WWE App, and that’s slightly looser promos, and viola – you get Dolph Ziggler having a meltdown and cutting one helluva scathing promo.

Wow.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/tom-phillips-interviews-dolph-ziggler-after-his-match-wwe-app-exclusive-jan-31-2-26179139

A+ Match of the Year

Match of the Year time. Depending on whether you count December or not, we only have 3 weeks to go, and with the exception of TLC (which could have a decent match on top, who knows) all the nominees are in. The Meltz is gonna go with Ishii vs. Shibata, Tokyo Sports went with Nakamura vs. Ibushi (which has every right to win), but I’m going with this one, the best of their 6-match series. This is the best Main Event, Battle of the Titans, Epic Title Fight style match I have ever seen. However, if one of the other two matches previously mentioned should win, I will not complain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY82DLsEw-Q

I’m with Dave.  This was pretty awesome, though, and hard to go wrong with Tanahashi.  

Match of the Year?


NJPW KIng of Pro Wrestling Part 5… by tj711 This is the 14th NJPW match this year at **** ½ or above. I know that because I’m the one who ranked them. This one clocks in for me personally at #1. THE BEST MATCH OF THE YEAR~! The 4th ***** of the year, edging out the two Shibata classics, and my previous favorite Nakamura/Ibushi. I haven’t watched this one yet but I’d be shocked if anything is gonna top the second Shibata match.  MOTY voting is gonna be tough for me this year, for sure. 

Best year for in-ring performances?

Scott,
        I was looking at the Scott Keith ****+ website and saw 1992 had an astounding 21 matches of 4 stars or higher. Looking back I don't remember 1992 being THAT good. What would you say the best year for in-ring competition was? Not necessarily best storylines.

You're the only person who has responded to my friend request on Simpsons Tapped Out thus far, so you get your question answered!  rspwfaq on Origin, people.  I need to finish the damn boardwalk already!
I'm pretty surprised that 92 would be so high, actually.  You'd think 89 would be the obvious choice with two Flair-Funk matches and the trio of Flair-Steamboats.  Plus over in Japan shit was off the HOOK.  So we'll go with that.  

List of Raw matches ***+ or higher this year

For reference reasons only, I was wondering how many "good matches" have been on Raw this year and I made a list of all matches you gave *** stars or higher. I also made a list of how many good matches each wrestler involved in these matches have had this year on Raw.

1/07: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler ***1/2
1/07: CM Punk vs. Ryback [TLC Match] ***
1/14: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler [Cage match] ***3/4
1/21: Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro ***1/2
1/21: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz ***1/4
1/21: Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus ***
1/28: Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro ***
2/04: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho ***3/4
2/11: Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho ***1/2
2/25: CM Punk vs. John Cena ****3/4
3/04: Sheamus vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. Big Show ***
3/11: Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler ***1/2
3/18: Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Chris Jericho ***1/4
4/08: The Miz vs. Wade Barrett ***
4/15: Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro ***1/4
4/22: The Shield vs. Undertaker, Kane, & Daniel Bryan ****
4/29: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston ***1/4
5/06: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio ***1/2
5/20: The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, & Kane ****
5/20: Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger ***
5/27: The Shield vs. Kane & Daniel Bryan ***1/2
6/03: The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Kane, & Daniel Bryan ***1/2
6/03: Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback ***1/4
6/10: Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins ***3/4
6/17: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan ***1/4
6/24: Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho ***1/2
6/24: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton [Streetfight] ***1/2
7/01: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio ***
7/08: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus ***3/4
7/08: Chris Jericho vs. Curtis Axel ***
7/15: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler ***
7/15: Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho ****1/4
7/22: Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro ****1/4
7/22: Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback ***1/4

Daniel Bryan: 13
Dolph Ziggler: 7
Randy Orton: 7
Chris Jericho: 6
Seth Rollins: 5
John Cena: 4
CM Punk: 4
Antonio Cesaro: 4
Roman Reigns: 4
Kane: 4
Alberto Del Rio: 4
Dean Ambrose: 3
Ryback: 3
The Miz: 3
Wade Barrett: 3
Kofi Kingston: 3
Sheamus: 3
Big Show: 1
Undertaker: 1
Jack Swagger: 1
Curtis Axel: 1
Rob Van Dam: 1

Would you agree that the in ring product of Raw is as good as it has ever been right now?

No, because there's so MUCH of it that it unfortunately averages out a lot.  With so many hours of TV to fill, a few *** matches often aren't enough to stand out against so many hours of talking and commercials and crappy 3MB matches.  That's why the 3 hour era has been such a drudge in a lot of ways.  Even the GOOD shows are burning out the crowds.  

A Year from Now…

I'm up to Punk-Undertaker now, so y'all can discuss this one while you wait.

Hi Scott, How about we all have a play with our balls.  Crystal balls that is… It seems like the two main events for WM30 could already be a lock, but where do you and your commentariat (according to my spell check I made that word up) think the other WM29 alum will be in a year’s time? Here’s what I’d like them to be doing, and what I think they will be doing CENA Will Be: Facing Taker after another year like every other year (probably trading the belt two more times with, let’s say, Orton and Big Show, or maybe a Shield member)  As annoying as elements of the booking was, he really should have won last night, otherwise he’d have ended WM30 with an 0-4 run. Should Be: I actually think a Cena title run isn’t going to hurt anyone for now and hopefully he can do something interesting like a David-and-Goliath clash against Mark Henry or a heel turned Ryback. ROCK WB: Taking on Brock after a long sabbatical, possibly the whole year after Extreme Rules. SB: Facing Brock, since they’re kind of existing in their own netherworld of the WWE where the likes of Kofi Kingston may not actually be alive.  I think this should be the last of his annual matches for a few years for fear of burn out with the public, and lack of “worthy” opponents.  The only other enticing match for me would be him squaring off against Triple H for the first time in over a decade and both of them just letting rip on the mic like Rock and Cena did in the build up to 28. LESNAR WB: Facing Rock, after a couple of matches throughout the summer with continued diminishing returns due to inept booking. SB: Facing Rock, Hopefully coming from a summer involving interaction with Punk (I’d prefer as rivals to as a team, but both would be awesome).  I think this too will be the last WWE match for Brock for a long while, or maybe even ever. HHH WB: He’ll have to wrestle at least once or twice over the year so that his stipulation with Lesnar means anything.  I actually think WM30 may be the first WM he doesn’t participate in for non-injury reasons and instead completely runs it from the back with Vince looking on with tears in his eyes.  His ego may be placated by a headline HOF induction for himself or DX, unless they’re reserving that for Taker. SB: I personally would book him, Cena, Rock, Sheamus and Orton against Lesnar, The Shield and Big Show (I’d prefer Punk if he doesn’t take his break for a month) in a wild 10-man No Holds Barred main event at Extreme Rules, and if Lesnar ain’t around then I’d put him against Rock UNDERTAKER WB: Nothing for the year until he faces Cena. SB: Nothing for the year until he faces Cena.  I think he’ll only be inducted in the HOF if they announce this as his farewell match, since Vince is obviously obsessed with keeping a mystique for Taker and this will be somewhat undermined if he starts talking about his tag team years with Danny Spivey. PUNK WB: Probably involved in the WWE Championship match since they won’t want Cena-Taker or Rock-Brock to be for the belt because the winners of those matches won’t be around to drop the belt afterwards. SB: I think if Punk-Austin were to happen it would have happened already.  I pray and hope and dream it will take place, but more likely it’ll be Punk-Sheamus or Punk-Orton, or something like that, third from the end.  I actually felt that Punk’s run as a babyface was cut short and I would rather see a babyface Punk turn on Heyman leading to clashes with Lesnar, and hopefully Dean Ambrose during the year, but Heel Punk works too. THE SHIELD WB: Split up around the summer, with Roman Reigns given a rocket up his ass to go against Cena, Orton, Sheamus, etc., whilst Rollins turns face and feuds with Ambrose – possibly, but hopefully not, over the IC title.  I think Roman Reigns may be the next generation’s top star, or at the very least be given the push to see if he works in that role. SB: I actually think that works fine, except I’d keep Ambrose away from the IC title too.  It’s pretty obvious the WWE has high opinions of all three of them, and their work has warranted that faith, so I think they’ll all be pretty safe until they have to ditch the Bossman vests and switch to the old trunks.  I dream that they manage to get their hands on the tag titles and both Money in the Bank briefcases, but I don’t think the WWE would ever book anyone that strong. ORTON WB: Turned heel, but may find himself directionless if he remains isolated on SmackDown.  I actually don’t think the WWE has any interest in starting up Cena-Orton again so they will more likely re-do Sheamus-Orton for the WHC after Orton takes it from Del Rio, but with the roles reversed from 2010. SB: Dunno really.  I wanted to see heel Orton vs. face Punk over the summer, but that obviously didn’t happen.  Orton just feels stale and played out, but he felt that way before and was able to reinvent himself, so what do I know? SHEAMUS WB: Made #1 face of SmackDown again and probably get revenge victories over Orton and Big Show, as well as a lengthy feud with Ziggler. SB: Probably fine there.  I don’t think he’ll be given a Cena push on Raw unless injuries force their hand, but the WWE will keep him safe for several years to come. BIG SHOW WB: Meandering from feud to feud, switching from frowny face to smiley face wherever is required. SB: Given a long break from being on screen and, based on his fascinating interview with Rosenburg, start to be groomed as one of the major backstage bookers/voices. DEL RIO WB: Booked like Orton was a couple of years ago, a few WHC feuds with Swagger and probably Ziggler, before he drops the belt and then has meaningless feuds in the mid-card before being dropped into the required gimmick multi-man title shots. SB: I don’t really care.  I fear that his inevitable feud with Ricardo Rodriguez will actually see Del Rio as the face. SWAGGER WB: Dropped like a stone after this feud ends and may be gone or not even mentioned on the pre-show by WM30. SB: He’s a good in-ring talent, but if he makes simple slip ups like that arrest when he’s been put in his best position for years, the guy kind of has it coming.  Maybe he should just walk away sign up with TNA, ROH or go to Japan where his occasionally deceptive size can be put to good use.  Who wouldn’t want to see Tanahashi-Swagger? ZIGGLER WB: Given the World title over Del Rio and drop it within three or four months.  The time for him to have been pushed as the Shawn Michaels for his generation may have come and gone.  May even end up being used to put over a face turned Langston. SB: Pushed as the Shawn Michaels/Ric Flair of his generation and allowed to keep hold of the WHC like he was Triple H in 02. LANGSTON WB: Given a push against Ziggler after he’s perceived as costing them the world title.  Will probably have a mini-Ryback push, but one too many big men may result in him being lost in the shuffle like an Ezekial Jackson or Mason Ryan. SB: Given a shot, but I’m not super impressed with him outside of his finisher, which is simple and effective. KANE WB: Split from Bryan, put over Bryan, given another heel monster run around MITB time, turn face again and people will continue to react.  He should really be given the special attraction treatment given his years of great service, but they’ve pushed him up and down the card that he’ll never illicit that kind of response from the crowd when he comes out.  So maybe this’ll be the last full-time year for him. SB: Split from Bryan, be put over and put over Bryan, and probably kept as a solid mid-card act until he wants to call it a career.
BRYAN WB: Split from Kane, put over Kane and stuck in the mid-card, battling for which of the US or IC belts is held by a heel.  May feud with Fandango in order to put over Fandango. SB: Split from Kane and allowed to beat Kane before battling for the US or IC belt and for it to mean something.  Maybe given a heel turn to face a babyface Seth Rollins towards the end of the year if the ‘Yes’ chants start dying down like McMahon & co. are desperate for them to do so. HENRY WB: Used to put over Ryback at Extreme Rules.  May still get the run with Cena if Ryback is kept babyface.  Will continue to divide hair pieces unless he is injured and/or calls it a career. SB: Given his run against Cena and dominate him like Lesnar did at Extreme Rules, but get the win, and THEN Cena gets the belt back. RYBACK
WB: Put over Henry at Extreme Rules.  May be placed in the WHC title picture instead of Sheamus, but I think this continued jobbing means a heel turn may be coming, or they have just lost interest and he’ll be on the pre-show if he’s lucky come WM30. SB: Given a chance at the heel run because he could be just as scary as Henry if they do it right.  But I wouldn’t cry if 2012 remains the highest he’ll ever be and, like Rikishi post-2000, he falls into the mid-card to become this generation’s Rhyno.
JERICHO WB: Gone by the summer and come back again until Vince/Triple H decide it doesn’t actually mean anything anymore. SB: Dunno.  He’s never going to be a pivotal part of the picture anymore, so I’d rather he ventured out of wrestling to keep on working at being the polymath he can be… FANDANGO WB: Pushed like Damien Sandow was last year, and be an afterthought by WM30 just as Sandow unfortunately appears to be now. SB: Haven’t seen enough to decide either way.  I like that we’re getting Rick “The Model” Martel, IRS like characters in the mid-card again, so I’ll reserve judgement and hope the writers just don’t stop caring if there seems to be momentum with this thing. MIZ WB: A solid mid-card act, with occasional pushes into the major events come MITB and TLC time. SB: Probably turned back heel and reunited with a returning John Morrison.  And forced to never use the figure-four ever again. BARRET
WB: Treading water in the mid-card, unless they’re short of a challenger or two in SmackDown WHC storylines. SB: Probably lost any chance to strike while the iron’s even lukewarm, so he should probably be there for the time being. Elsewhere I see Brodus Clay hopefully being turned heel in the summer to give it one last college try, but again one too many monsters may spoil the broth.  Cessaro will be lost in the mid-card like Barrett has been this year, but I would love for them to say ‘Ah, screw it’ and reunite him with Kassius Ohno.  The Divas division will gain no further traction, nor does it deserve to with its current roster. There'll be a cull of at least a dozen who weren't involved in WM. Adrian Neville, Leo Krueger, Richie Steamboat and Bray Wyatt will all be given a chance in the main roster.
Kofi Kingston will be Kofi Kingston.
So… that was long…

“Rumble Winner should get to be John Cena for a year”

I was reading this article at work today (http://withleather.uproxx.com/2013/01/royal-ramble-an-op-ed-on-the-royal-rumble#more-103324) and wasn't particularly interested until I got to end:


"How do you craft a reward that’s on the same level with a win like the Royal Rumble when you’re giving that same reward to John Cena on a biweekly basis? Well, maybe that’s the solution. Maybe instead of a title shot at WrestleMania, the winner of the Royal Rumble just gets to be John Cena for a year, with unlimited title shots and the ability to kick out of everybody’s finisher all the time. I’d watch it."

BRILLIANT! How could anyone complain if the part of John Cena is played by more interesting characters?  What say you?

-Ronnie Vod

C'mon now, just because Cena failed at the MITB cash in, and at Summerslam, and at Night of Champions, and at Survivor Series, and failed at winning Dolph's briefcase, doesn't mean he shouldn't get another 12 shots next year.  Be fair to Cena!  
I would love to see someone like Zack Ryder pick that as a reward sometime, though.  

Least Valuable Wrestler awards by year

Here's an interesting e-mail that I'll throw out there for discussion purposes…


So I had a long drive today, and while bored I suddenly came up with this idea: What if the Blog of Doom crowd picked their anti-MVP (or Least Valuable Wrestler) for specific promotions, by year?  I'm looking for someone who received some sort of push on TV and brought absolutely NOTHING to the table: couldn't work, couldn't do a promo, had no heat whatsoever, etc.  In short, a wrestler who was given a real chance, didn't entertain the fans, and did nothing of value for the promotion itself.  I also generally prefer someone who worked at least half of the year in question.  This can be an individual wrestler or a tag team/stable.  I'll start with the WWF, from Hogan through the 90s:


1984: I admittedly haven't seen much of this, so I'll leave this one to the blog!

1985: A veritable (Consciousness) Murderer's Row, with no less than 4 guys who would dominate most other years.  Uncle Elmer and Cousin Junior were almost Rocky Mountain Thunder-level in the ring and had no other real talent, but Elmer at least had that wedding skit people still remember so he's out.  Brutus Beefcake was also the complete package of suck, but he was less of an embarrassment in the ring than the hillbillies so he's out.  With that in mind, my pick would be David Sammartino.  As terrible as Beefcake in the ring, but unlike the others he didn't have a distinct look or a real gimmick beyond his name; he came across like a 70s jobber in every way, and he was completely overshadowed by his father in his one big angle.  Also worth noting that David worked almost the whole year, while the hillbillies didn't debut until July-August.  You can't really go wrong with any of these, though!

1986: I was going to give the hillbillies the win here, but I hadn't realized Elmer left not long after Mania and Junior was already gone by this year.  With that in mind, my clear pick would be the WWF's Mr. Pibb: Sivi "Superfly" Afi!

1987: My initial thought was Ken Patera, but I remembered this was the year of Outback Jack.  Besides…

1988: …I can just give it to Patera here!

1989:  Nobody stands out quite as much as in the previous few years…Dino Bravo, I guess.  I could also see arguments for the Powers of Pain and the Bolsheviks.  And I'm not picking Duggan for any of these since at least he was consistently over.

1990: Boris Zhukov, hands down.  All the Bolsheviks & Powers of Pain guys as singles wrestlers would've won the previous year, I think.  Maybe even Akeem as a single, too.

1991: Now this one is real interesting, as there's no slam-dunk pick and a bunch of guys with a decent case.  I think the DiBiase feud automatically takes Virgil out of the running.  Babyface Greg Valentine, as dull as he was, could still work.  I feel like Warlord is going to be the favorite here, but my own pick is a bit of a dark horse: Kerry Von Erich.  He was an absolute zombie by this point and scary to watch at times, and Warlord's matches vs. Bulldog were better than any Kerry match I've seen from this year.  No good matches, no real angles I can recall, just a whole lot of empty TV time less than a year into his run.  Oh yeah, and I would've considered Hercules as a singles wrestler if Power & Glory had broken up earlier in the year.

1992: This one would've been a lot easier if babyface Slaughter had hung around a bit longer!  As is…Nailz is tempting just on his ring "work", but I recall him being pretty over and I think he did the character stuff pretty well.  Virgil definitely has more of an argument this time, but I remember him being more carryable in the ring than the other guys here.  I'm thinking the Berserker (yes, however much of a guilty pleasure his gimmick may be) or Kerry Von Erich again (didn't realize he lasted until August!).

1993: Do I even need to say it?

1994: Nikolai Volkoff in the Corporation. Enough said.

1995: King Mabel, of course.  I do want to give a special mention to Goldust for some of the most painful matches you'll ever sit through.

1996: Another tough one, with some good candidates not being around long enough to count.  This was one of the all-time low points for the tag division, so I'll go with the Godwinns.

1997: The Godwinns would again be a worthy choice, but this time I'm picking the Truth Commission.  Hard to think of a worse overall stable in all facets of the business – even the Oddities were more over.  Actually the Gang Warz version of DOA is right up there as well, but I seem to recall them having at least some amount of heat.  Also…

1998: …Skull & 8-Ball were the definite fast-forward champions of this year.  My first thought was Tiger Ali Singh, but DOA were around the whole year and stank up a bunch of PPVs (was Ali on any?).

1999: Mideon, though I'd also be totally fine with picking Mideon & Viscera as a tag team.

Whew, didn't realize this would end up being this long!  Hopefully you guys are OK with that and this gets the ball rolling – would love to see some picks for NWA/WCW, ECW, TNA, Japanese promotions, etc.  Thank you for everything, Scott & co.!

Best year for wrestling

Obviously the overall product is way down and almost unwatchable cause of weak story lines and everything else.  However the actual in ring product is okay.  Reading your retro rants for as good as the product was in terms of character development and storylines in the 1997-1999 era, the actual in ring product outside of Shawn and some Austin brawls was weak.


So my question is what was the best year for in ring performance (wwf/wwe only) from the top down.

Sent from my iPad

Man, how do people do lengthy e-mails from their iPad, anyway? Is it just that you kids today have adjusted to a touchscreen keyboard?  Because as much as I love my tablet, I would go insane trying to do any kind of typing without the tactile feedback of real keys.  But then if I was up to me I'd use the full size ergonomic keyboard from my desktop all the time, so maybe I'm just weird.
ANYWAY…
I think 2000 was pretty much the consensus best, with Rock and HHH having great matches with everyone, and then the additions of Benoit and Jericho and Kurt Angle taking everyone to another level.  Plus just look at all the ****+ matches we were getting that year — HHH v. Foley, Rock v. HHH, Benoit v. Rock, Jericho v. HHH, Angle v. Rock, Hardyz v. E&C v. Dudleyz…it's pretty unheard of, actually.  Plus you had the great tag division and Radicalz spicing up the undercard and it's hard to find a better contender up and down.  

Worst year for WWF/E Title?

Scott,


Obviously the titles have become devalued in WWE, but what do you think was the worst year in terms of damaging the world title?

I think Russo's 1999 wins by a landslide.  At that point, the title still at least meant something, but the spastic booking of the title that year was ridiculous.  We had Rock becoming a THREE-time champ between Survivor Series 1998 and the run-up to Wrestlemania XV.  Austin wins the belt, but drops it to Undertaker who wasn't even the #3 guy in the company at that point.  Austin gets it back, but drops it in a weird three-way to Mankind…who jobs it to HHH the next night.  HHH's push hits a speedbump when he drops the belt to VINCE MCMAHON…who vacates it, only to have HHH win it back in the six-pack match.  Hunter finally beats Austin (which should have happened at SummerSlam to give it any meaning in the first place), but drops the belt on-the-fly to Big Show…who defends in December against Big Boss Man?  What a headache.  It was so bad that I still remember it off the top of my head.

If we're considering other promotions too, then 1999 surely wins because WCW wasn't much better that year.  Nash enters the year as champ after the ill-advised Goldberg job.  He lays down for Hogan.  We get sheisty booking of some Hogan-Flair matches.  Flair gets the belt, but drops it the next month in a four-way…to DDP?  They do the DDP-to-Sting-to-DDP title switches on Nitro.  Nash takes it BACK from Page at the very next PPV.  Instead of dropping the belt to Sid to set up the Vicious-Goldberg program, he drops it in a TAG match to….Randy Savage?  Savage jobs the belt the very next night to Hogan (just like in 1998).  Hogan faces Nash at Road Wild ANYWAY and retains.  Sting takes the belt in one of the worst heel turns ever, drops it to Goldberg in an on-the-fly match that had no hype or build-up.  He loses it to Bret Hart in a contrived Montreal knockoff, retires Bret for real, and the title gets vacated.  An even bigger headache that parlayed into the Sid-Chris Benoit "title win" thing and ANOTHER vacancy.

I think 1999 takes it,but then I haven't actively watched the current product since about 2003, so there may be worse years.

99 WCW, and 2000 for that matter, were both HORRIBLE, but that might be just a subset of the general horribleness of the product at the time, hard to say.  I do have to say the Russo/Bischoff Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the promotion and vacating all the titles did irreparable damage to the company in general, not to mention all the belts.  Never mind that Booker T won his first title from Jarrett, the guy who wasn't even CHAMPION at the time.  Having three vacancies (Benoit vacates, Sid vacates, Hogan vacates) and "starting a new era" deals within a couple of months of each other did way more damage to that belt than the rapid-fire Nash/Hogan/Flair/Savage switches did the year before, IMO.  

Last year was pretty bad for the WWE title, doing the Cena – Punk – vacant – Mysterio – Cena – Punk – ADR – Cena – ADR – Punk switches within FOUR MONTHS like they did.  The worst one was Mysterio winning the tournament on RAW and then switching it back to Cena ON THE SAME SHOW.  That was ridiculous.  Like, they couldn't even save that match for a week?  Or a PPV?  
But yeah, I'd say 2000 WCW was the dirt worst. 

Handicapping The Rookies Of The Year

Someone sent me a question about Erik Watts this morning, which led me to check Wikipedia to see what he was up to now (answer:  nothing in particular), and I was reminded that in fact he won the PWI Rookie of the Year award in 1992.  Now, this was interesting to me, because PWI had a few solid choices, but there’s some far more interesting misses in the list.  1990
Steve Austin
El Gigante
Brad Anderson
Chris Chavis Obviously this was an awesome pick and the case where the winner really did go on to become the giant star they forecasted.  El Gigante…eh, I guess he did about as well as he was going to.  Brad Anderson, not so much. Chris Chavis went on to become Tatanka, but obviously Austin was the big one here.  Observer award winner:  Austin.  1991
Johnny B. Badd
The Patriot
Terri Power
The Lightning Kid Lightning Kid was of course the one who went on to become the biggest star by far, although Badd certainly had the look and charisma so you would have thought that he was the can’t miss prospect.  Certainly not a silly choice or anything.  The Patriot did OK for himself, although calling him a rookie here is ridiculous since Wilkes was already in the AWA as the Trooper for years before getting the mask.  That’s kayfabe for ya.  Terri Power was Tori, but hardly a candidate for this award.  Observer award winner:  Badd as well.  1992
Erik Watts
Diamond Dallas Page
Vladimir Koloff
Chaz Hindsight says that DDP should have won, but that was far from a sure thing at the time.  Watts is still a ridiculous choice regardless.  Koloff and Chaz (who was in Pedicino’s Global promotion that was getting so much play in PWI for reasons unknown) are so non-notable that they don’t even have their own Wikipedia pages.  I don’t think there was any legitimate rookie contenders to choose from in the kayfabe sense, but even so DDP should have won.  Observer award winner:  Rey Mysterio Jr.  Wow, was he 12 or something?    1993
Vampire Warrior
Robbie Eagle
Kent and Keith Cole
The Headhunters Hmm, Gangrel and Cole Twins?  Robbie Eagle went on to become The Maestro in WCW, but this is a pretty sad year otherwise.  Observer award winner:  Some Japanese guy named Jun Akiyama.  He did pretty well for himself, I guess.  1994
911
Bob Holly
Abbudah Singh
Mikey Whipwreck Really, 911?  This is like the all-ECW crew, since Abbudah Singh went on to become Ballz Mahoney.  Bob Holly is the clear pick out of this bunch, although Whipwreck would have played into kayfabe better at the time.  Observer award winner:  Whipwreck.  1995
Alex Wright
Craig Pittman
Lawrence Taylor
Madd Maxxine Lawrence Taylor?!  He wrestled one match!  Pittman flamed out after a few years in WCW.  Wright should have been bigger and wasn’t for a variety of reasons, but I can see this pick making sense at the time.  I don’t know who Maxxine is, the Wiki page links to the wrong person.  Observer award winner:  Perro Aguayo, Jr.  Well, PWI doesn’t cover lucha 1996
The Giant
Steve McMichael
Rocky Maivia
Joe Gomez Giant was a solid choice at the time, especially since Rocky had barely debuted by the cut-off date in kayfabe, but MAN does that look silly now.  Mongo finishing AHEAD of The Rock looks even sillier.  Joe Gomez is still kicking around.  Observer award winner:  The Giant.  Way to go, Dave.  Well, Giant did have a ton of upside and he was World champion right away.  1997
Prince Iaukea
Ernest Miller
Chris Chetti
Brakkus Well this year is a writeoff.  Iaukea is a good enough choice from a kayfabe sense.  Chetti went nowhere, neither did Bracchus.  Observer award winner:  Mr. Aguila (Essa Rios).  1998
Goldberg
Sable
Droz
Mark Henry Henry debuted in 96 so this is an odd place for him to say the least.  Goldberg, duh.  Observer award winner:  Goldberg.  No-brainer here.  1999
Shane McMahon
Evan Karagias
Vince McMahon
Lash LeRoux Yeah, that Vince, what a rookie sensation.  Karagias and LeRoux both flamed out of wrestling completely, and so did Shane himself I guess.  Wonder what Vince is up to now?  Observer award winner:  Blitzkrieg.  Another one-hit wonder.  99 was a rough year for new stars.  2000
Kurt Angle
Lita
Mark Jindrak and Sean O’Haire
Chuck Palumbo Any other choice cannot be justified with any argument whatsoever.  Lita ended up a solid #2 in this group, though.  The rest, we know the story.  Observer award winner:  Sean O’Haire.  Huh.  Way to pick ‘em, Dave.  2001
Randy Orton
Brock Lesnar
K-Kwik
The Prototype Now there’s a hell of a rookie crop.  Interesting case, because Orton did not look like a star at all for a long time after his OVW debut, but obviously they were determined to wait him out and make a star out of him.  Brock you could tell was a big deal right from the start.  Truth looks like the redheaded stepchild out of this group.  The Prototype is a good wrestling name, did he ever amount to anything?  I mean, if he was a big star, he’d have been on RAW last week, right?  So he’s probably not.  Observer award winner:  El Hombre Sin Nombre.  Yeah, Dave missed the boat on that one.  Even that Protoype goof would have been a better choice, I’m pretty sure.  I wonder if that was an eligibility thing since Prototype debuted in 2000?  2002
Maven
Christopher Nowinski
Nidia
Taylor Matheny The year of Tough Enough!  Gone, gone, gone, gone!  Observer award winner:  Bob Sapp.  I never saw much of him, actually.    2003
Zach Gowen
Sylvain Grenier
Trinity
Matt Morgan Morgan ended up being the biggest star of the bunch.  Gowen was just missing a vital part, you know?  He just couldn’t get a leg up in the business.  He could only get so far, and then he got cut off at the knees by politics.  Observer award winner:  Chris Sabin. 2004
Monty Brown
Petey Williams
Johnny Nitro
Matt Cappotelli Obviously Nitro should have won this one, although at the time Cappotelli seemed like the sure thing out of the pair before the brain tumor ended his career.  Brown is now firmly in the “Whatever Happened To?” file, as is Williams.  Observer award winner:  Petey Williams.  2005
Bobby Lashley[21]
Christy Hemme
Mikey Batts
Ken Doane One wannabe MMA badass, a cheerleader, a referee, and a ring announcer.  Quite the crew of washouts.  Doane should have been way bigger, but WWE just drove him out of the business.  Observer award winner:  Shingo Takagi.  Not familiar with him.  2006
The Boogeyman
Charles Evans
Akebono
Cody Runnels Yeah, the Boogeyman beat out Cody Rhodes for Rookie of the Year.  And Akebono got third just by working on shitty match with Big Show.  What a year.  Observer award winner:  Atsushi Aoki.  Get the feeling that Dave wasn’t big on the US scene at that point?  2007
Hornswoggle
Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Pelle Primeau
Mike DiBiase I’m pretty sure Hornswoggle wasn’t a rookie in 2007.  We’re still waiting on the Dibiases to do anything in the business to live up to their potential.  Primeau was an ROH guy who went nowhere.  Observer award winner:  Erick Stevens.  He hasn’t done much either since then.  2008
Joe Hennig
Brett DiBiase
Ricky Steamboat, Jr.
Ryan McBride There’s THREE Dibiases?  Ted had million-dollar sperm too, I guess.  Why hasn’t Vince just brought them all in with Sr. as manager?  Hennig was a safe choice, but obviously hasn’t panned out yet.  Observer award winner:  KAI, from All Japan. OK then. 2009
Mike Sydal
Jesse Neal
Brittney Savage
J.T. Flash I have nothing interesting to say here because I don’t know any of these people.  2010
David Otunga
Tamina
Percy Watson
Corey Hollis Did you know that the 1977 Rookie of the Year runner-up had a daughter?  2011
Ace Hawkins
Nick Madrid
Leakee
Briley Pierce