** Warning: These columns (and the other three that I will be typing in the upcoming hours) are not going to have any Honor Rolls, Detentions, Gold Stars, or anything else. The next few columns will be dedicated to my end of the year awards. If disappointed, my apologies. Mr. V, the Wrestleview teacher will be back for column #107. Until then, please be entertained by Mr. V, the host of the Second Annual Golden Yardstick Awards! **
Well my Wrestleview Students, 2010 has finally ended. And since I do not do Year-End awards in December, it is finally time to hand out awards of what I deemed were the best (and worst) of professional wrestling in this Three or Four-Part Series.
Ok, I may have started last year’s on the last week of December, but I learned my lesson. I think doing them after the year’s end was more appropriate this time.
With that I say WELCOME TO THE 2ND ANNUAL GOLDEN YARDSTICK AWARDS (Part 1)!
It’s a big deal now, class. Wrestleview Member Grash even made me a logo to celebrate the awards ceremony that might be going on throughout the month of January! If the logo is up, I thank Grash for the logo. It is much appreciated.
Just look at the Goldies! They look remarkable! At least the look much better than the first year’s awards.
Well, in case some of you are new to this year-end column here is how I pick my winners and losers:
– First off, all biasness goes out the window. So even though I am always a Pittsburgh-area mark, don’t expect to see Kurt Angle, Shane Douglas, or Sterling James Keenan winning any Yardsticks this year.
– I am only picking out wrestlers from World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and Ring of Honor Wrestling, as they are the only shows I watch every week.
– There will be 21 Golden Yardstick Awards featuring various categories (including the prestigious Wrestler of the Year).
– The Golden Yardstick for Best Guest Host and Best Newcomer has been retired.
– There will be 9 Rotten Apples to hand out as well.
– I added two NEW Rotties. One goes to the Most Disappointing Wrestler. The other will be Worst Wrestler of the Year (but the Most Overrated will still be handed out).
This week, I will hand out EIGHT of my 30 awards. The following Yardsticks handed out will be for the following (2009 Winner in parentheses):
Best Gimmick (2009 winner: Chris Jericho)
Best Finisher (2009 winner: More Bang for your Buck by The Young Bucks)
Best Weekly TV Show (2009 winner: Friday Night Smackdown)
Best Television Commentator (2009 winner: Matt Striker)
Most Hated Wrestler (2009 winner: Chris Jericho)
Most Popular Wrestler (2009 winner: Jeff Hardy)
2010 Match of the Year (2009 winner: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 25)
Most Underrated (2009 winner: Daniels)
By the way, if you want to give me feedback on this ceremony or if you have your take on who should have won e-mail me at email@example.com. If one does not like my selections, I will not apologize. Sometimes, I can’t wait for the critics to come out because their favorite was not selected. Oh well, get your own column (haha, I will still appreciate the thoughts).
Let’s get to the first column, shall we?
Last year, I looked up “Gimmick” in Webster’s Dictionary (yes, I still have the hardback cover edition because, well, I am smart like that). The definition of gimmick is “designed to attract attention or increase appeal”.
Last year, I thought the wrestler that attracted the most attention to him was WWE’s Chris Jericho. Jericho kept calling the viewers and the live audiences “hypocrites” and calling himself “the best in the world at what he does”. Jericho had the ability to use his monotone/conspiracy victim persona and he ran with it. He attracted the attention from the WWE audience and his appeal was solid.
So, here is my top three for “Best Gimmick” in no particular order.
Alberto Del Rio – Even though he did not debut until the summer of 2010, he made an immediate impact on Friday Night Smackdown with his “Latin-American Aristocrat” gimmick. He always drove in the finest vehicles (Rolls Royce, Bentleys, and other fancy cars), got his own personal ring announcer, and talked the part. All those intangibles made him an immediate star that never lost his steam.
CM Punk – He started 2010 very well as a preacher to Straight-Edge. He even had his Straight Edge Society with Luke Gallows and that carried on for months. Punk’s character was dark, but his words spoke the truth. His gimmick was to be a leader, and honest I though he fit perfectly. After the 2010 year, he now leads another group…The Nexus.
Sheamus – I am a fan of something really old-school and a gimmick that oozes Old School is a Celtic Warrior. Sheamus got a very impressive look and I thought the WWE did a fine job just giving him the best gimmick to fit that look. Once a viewer looks at Sheamus, the most-obvious answer is “Flashback”. Near the end of 2010, he became the new “King of the Ring”. That is another gimmick that fits so well for Sheamus, as he looks to be in a feud with Triple H in 2011.
So, we have a wealthy man, a natural-born leader, and a warrior. They were all heels and all in World Wrestling Entertainment. When it comes to gimmicks, I thought these three really stood out. However, I can only choose one to give the Goldie. It was very close between two of them, but the winner of the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Best Gimmick goes to…CM Punk!
I chose CM Punk because he was able to run with his gimmick pretty much year round. It was a shame that they could not carry on with the gimmick as the Straight Edge Leader because of odd circumstances (Serena’s release and Mercury’s injury). I thought the gimmick was a perfect rival to anyone in the WWE and it was a shame it ended abruptly. Del Rio’s gimmick, though done before with JBL, is still pretty refreshing because Del Rio took it to a whole new level. However, I want to see if Del Rio keeps that momentum and if he can; Del Rio will win in 2011. Sheamus was pretty much a distant third, but his gimmick is basic yet he carried it off well because of his appearance and his talent in the ring.
All three were worthy to have the best gimmick, but in the end I gave the slight edge to CM Punk.
2010 Winner for Best Gimmick: CM Punk as Straight Edge Leader (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Alberto Del Rio as Latin American Aristocrat (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Sheamus as the Old-School Warrior (WWE)
The following were under consideration: Orton’s Viper-like style ; Austin Aries as “The Greatest Man that ever Lived”; Cody Rhodes’ “Dashing” persona; and Grizzly Redwood as “The Littlest Lumberjack.
In order to be successful in the wrestling business one must establish his or her own “finisher”. The finisher could be original or could be copied but effective to keep you in the business for a very long time.
Last year, the finisher that I was very impressed by was The Young Bucks’ (now Generation Me in TNA) “More Bang for your Buck”. Every time I saw it in 2009 it was a thing of beauty. However, since their move to TNA they have rarely used that move.
This category could be easily disputed one may like one move in the other another but in no particular order here are my three top choices for best finisher of 2010.
Douglas Williams (Chaos Theory) – Ok, before I get the students in the back screaming “BULL”, allow me to explain. In TNA, we all can agree that it was a product that went a bit down since the end of 2009. But one thing that I really enjoy watching is a Douglas Williams match that ends with his finisher. Williams starts his finisher by running an opponent to the turnbuckle, then rolls backwards, and ends it with a Bridging German Suplex. Sometimes called “The Rolling Chaos Theory”, I still find it to be a very solid finish. This move helped Douglas Williams win the X Division and Television Championships in TNA in 2009.
Justin Gabriel (450 Splash) – Usually not used in the WWE, Gabriel brought back the 450 Splash (He flips 450 degrees and then splashes down on an opponent) to near perfection since debuting it on NXT. I think the only time he missed was in a match against The Big Show. Still, guys like John Cena and even Vince McMahon faced the wrath of Gabriel’s 450. Usually the move is best saved for last after the Nexus beats down an opponent. Gabriel’s finisher was good enough for a 3rd Place finish on NXT Season One, a WWE Tag Team Championship reign (with Heath Slater), and a spot on one of the most surprising factions in The Nexus.
Randy Orton (RKO) – Sometimes, the best finisher can very well be very simple. Sometimes expected and sometimes unexpected, Orton always finds a way to finish off his opponents with an RKO. The RKO helped him defeat former Legacy members Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania, ended what was arguably the best spot in 2010 when he hit the RKO on Evan Bourne (while Bourne was about to hit the Air Bourne on him), and gave him a small run as the WWE World Champion. The RKO has helped Orton become a top contender to the World Championship.
All three finishers usually do the job, and that is finish. This was actually an easier decision for me than one may think. As much as I liked the other two, my choice for the Best Finisher goes to…Randy Orton!
I liked Orton’s finisher the best because it was simple to execute and can happen anywhere inside the ring. It also usually ends a main event or a segment once he hits the RKO. Gabriel’s 450 Splash is beautiful to watch, but he usually connected on that finish after a beat down has taken place. Also, he has not used it a lot during a match. Most of you may be shocked that I placed Williams in my top three, but I think his move is very hard to execute and almost every time he does it well and the move helped him get a push in TNA…something he did not really get in 2009.
2010 Winner for Best Finisher – The RKO by Randy Orton (WWE)
First Runner-Up – The 450 degree Splash by Justin Gabriel (WWE)
Second Runner-Up – The Chaos Theory by Douglas Williams (TNA)
The following were under consideration, but missed the cut: The Miz’s Skull Crushing Finale; Samoa Joe’s Muscle Buster; Christopher Daniels’ Best Moonsault Ever; Evan Bourne’s Air Bourne; Sheamus’ Brogue Kick; and Colt Cabana’s Billy Goat’s Curse.
Best Weekly Television Show
In order to win the Best Weekly Television Show, a pro wrestling show much have some quality storylines to go along with some quality wrestling. This year, we had one show get cancelled (ECW) and one show introduced (NXT). However, out of the six weekly shows that I keep watching every week I thought that these three shows were miles away better. So here are my choices for Best Weekly TV Show.
Friday Night Smackdown (WWE) – This show was my pick for the 2009 Weekly TV Show of the Year and once again it did not disappoint. The stories this past year have been basic, but the wrestling has been pretty good. Smackdown had a lot of highlights, which included Alberto Del Rio’s debut, the return of Paul Bearer, The Feud between CM Punk and Rey Mysterio, and many other quality memories that made Smackdown a must-watch show of 2010 for any professional wrestling fan.
Monday Night Raw (WWE) – Once again, the WWE’s Flagship show made the top three. This year I felt was a better year for the Raw brand, mainly because of a very deep roster. Raw has featured many moments, including The Miz’s first World Title, The debut of The Nexus, Jerry Lawler’s quality moments, and John Cena. The show kept the guest hosts limited this year, which included Pee Wee Herman and Florence Henderson. This show also had some classic episodes, including the WWE Old School show and the return of King of the Ring, won by 2010 Golden Yardstick Nominee Sheamus.
ROH Wrestling on HDNet (ROH) – This is the first time that this show is a nominee for a Golden Yardstick. Last Year, ROH on HDNet had some great wrestling but lacked some quality stories to go along with the show. However, for a one-hour broadcast I think that ROH did a fantastic job combining the best wrestling on television today with a few quality storylines. The production of the show improved as well, as the picture is clearer and now ROH has built a decent lineup with some good divisions. I think ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette has helped immensely with HDNet on this show.
We had some good television for most of 2010 when one of these shows was on my computer or big screen. While a show or two struggled a bit these three really showcased their division to the highest potential. In the end, the show that I felt gave me the most enjoyable experience as a wrestling fan was Monday Night Raw!
I thought Raw last year was a hit or miss, but thanks to a revamped roster that included CM Punk, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and John Morrison really gave Raw a leg up over Smackdown from April to December. Also, Raw was able to keep their main guys over for the most part (Cena, Orton, Miz, and Sheamus to name a few). Smackdown was my early pick in 2010, but the roster appeared to be very thin later on in the year and some things just hung around too long (i.e. Kane vs. Edge). Also, Smackdown lost some strong characters that made the show highly entertaining the first half of 2010. The move to SyFy was to generate better ratings, but with a lack of depth it was tough for Smackdown to still be the best show of 2010. ROH on HDNet was a quality wrestling show and for anyone that likes to watch pro wrestling at its purist I highly recommend ROH (that is if HDNet is in your area). But when it comes to production, roster depth, and entertainment Monday Night Raw just slightly took the title over ROH on HDNet and Smackdown.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Best Weekly Television Show: Monday Night Raw (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Ring of Honor Wrestling on HDNet (ROH)
Second Runner-Up: Friday Night Smackdown (WWE)
Best Television Commentator
I think that a good pro wrestling broadcaster is equally important as the action that is inside the square circle. TNA kept their announce team of Mike Tenay and Taz and ROH kept theirs with Mike Hogewood and Dave Prazak. The WWE did switch up their commentary teams a lot with nine commentators. WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling had some good commentators as well, namely Byron Saxton and Wade Barrett (who is now on Raw).
What I can say in 2010 is that even though I did not have my commentator report card, I would still type that Wrestling Commentary really took a step down from 2009. Jim Ross only appeared once on WWE Television to call a match, but that is not enough to win the Golden Yardstick. CM Punk was very impressive as a commentator during his time on the injured list, and it helped Punk tell a story and started his feud with John Cena, which looks to be a good feud heading into 2011. Still, Punk only appeared for a month and, though good, should not be in consideration.
Let me provide my top three wrestling commentators for 2010.
Dave Prazak – He was not over-the-top when doing color commentary for ROH on HDNet, but the guy knew his stuff when it was important. In the studio he gave every wrestler respect, even though he was more in favor of the heel tactics. The heel work was limited and not annoying. It was a good complimentary to Hogewood, who still needs a lot of work but showed improvement.
Josh Mathews – If anyone improved on WWE programming this year it was Mathews. He started off 2010 as just a backstage interviewer on Raw and did play-by-play commentary on ECW. As the year went on, we saw Mathews grow. He appeared on Superstars, NXT, Raw, and Smackdown. He was the perfect complimentary figure to Michael Cole when they bantered on NXT.
Matt Striker – The 2009 Winner had what I thought a disappointing year. However, he still was as good as anyone else when it came to providing some quick wit to his announce team. Though he did not work well with Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole, he was pretty good on Smackdown when teamed up with Mathews or Todd Grisham. He seems like he has fun when doing commentary and has a good voice for the product.
It was not a good year for pro wrestling commentary, but these three commentators provided the best knowledge and insight in 2010. Some may be surprised at my selection, but it was the easiest choice. The winner for Best Television Commentator is Josh Mathews!
Once again, in a lackluster year overall Mathews really took a fumbled ball and ran it to the end zone or goal. Mathews seemed to improve over the course of the year and could give Michael Cole a run as “The Voice of the WWE” in the near future. Mathews does joke around a bit, but usually finds a way to call the match very well and thus is good enough to win the Golden Yardstick. Though Striker I thought worked very well with Grisham, he could not transition that commentary to his other broadcast partners (though the new guy on Superstars, Jack Korpela, might be a good play-by-play for Striker). Prazak was a solid color commentator for ROH this past year, but at times he just seemed to be pretty basic and lacked just that bit of emotion of what was going on in the ring. So, I know my co-host on “The Teacher’s Lounge” is happy, but in my view Josh Mathews was the best at what he did in 2010.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Best Television Commentator: Josh Mathews (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Matt Striker (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Dave Prazak (ROH)
Most Hated Wrestler
When I think of the titled “Most Hated”, I think of a wrestler that the majority of the fans just completely despise. One that makes the fans wants to punch them in the jaw at the very least. A wrestler that is so hated by the wrestling fans that he can just generate enough heat that can warm the entire city of Aliquippa, PA.
Well, luckily I found three wrestlers that can very well get attacked in a dark alley.
Last Year, Chris Jericho won the award because he remarkably filled the part. He said he was the best and the fans did not appreciate it. Remember that incident in Canada where some fans tried to attack Jericho? Well, this year Jericho
Austin Aries – I know his time in Ring of Honor has ended, but his time in ROH was not forgotten. He was cunning, methodical, and always found a way to rile up the ROH audience. He also had a way to get in his opponents heads no matter if it was Delirious or Tyler Black. Some of his traits may have rubbed on Kenny King and Rhett Titus, which hopefully ROH will have a couple wrestlers that hope to get the same reaction as Aries did.
CM Punk – The wrestler was downright hated when he interrupted Rey Mysterio’s promo wishing her daughter a Happy Birthday. CM Punk always found a way to say he was better than everyone else because he does not abuse his body with drugs and alcohol. No matter if he has a following that does cheer him on; he still puts down any fan that he is to entertain.
The Miz – The Miz feeds off of the negative reactions the fans give him. The Miz fed off the naysayers and the wrestling fans (me included at one time). When the Miz says that he is “Awesome”, the audience does not want to believe him. Many a fan goes out of their way when they see Miz and call him names not suitable for my column. His title win even made little boys and girls (Angry Miz Girl) hate the man even more.
All three wrestlers on this list are hated by many fans around the world, but deep down I am sure over 99% respect each one because of their ability to have thousands of people jeer them. My decision was a close one…until December when one truly stood out. The winner of the Golden Yardstick for Most Hated Wrestler goes to The Miz!
Let’s face it, no one in the WWE gets hated on more than Miz. No matter how many heckle him, no matter how many people type hateful comments towards him, The Miz does one thing that many of us dream of. The Miz wins a lot. My choice was set when the crowd chanted “What” to Miz and he called them all a bunch of ducks (very original because I did not hear someone yell that in a middle of a promo). CM Punk was an early favorite to win this award, but during his run as a commentator the fans actually cheered for him and in order to be the most hated there has to be a strong negative reaction. CM Punk had that for most of the year, but the Miz had it all year. Aries has been challenged by some fans who take the business serious (Aries did shut them up by the way) and when in the ring they chant “Austin @$$hole” to Aries, but it all came down to how many fans want to punch out a wrestler. In my opinion, more of the fans who take wrestling way too serious would rather see The Miz knocked out.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Most Hated Wrestler: The Miz (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Austin Aries (ROH for most of the year)
Second Runner-Up: CM Punk (WWE)
Others that were under consideration: Kevin Steen; Jeff Jarrett; Alberto Del Rio; Wade Barrett.
Most Popular Wrestler
According to Webster’s Dictionary (Mr. V’s Official Book of The Golden Yardstick Awards), Popularity means the favor of the general public or of a particular group of people
Last Year, Jeff Hardy was the winner of the Most Popular Wrestler and who could argue in 2009? He was the World Champion on Smackdown and loved by millions of fans. Even though 2010 is a different story with Jeff, no one could question his popularity during his last run in the WWE (even though his run now in TNA is very disturbing).
Throughout 2010 professional wrestling had some wrestlers that you wanted to destroy with your telepathic powers (the most hated), but then there are some wrestlers that you just can’t help but cheer (the most popular). These three men are the latter parts. Maybe they were hard-working or just had the look of a superstar, these men did whatever they could to make the fans cheer them on. Here are the nominees for Most Popular Wrestler.
John Cena – Though there are some “haters” in the CENAtion, most of the wrestling fans around the world can’t question that fact that Cena is as popular as ever. The moment he enters an arena, everyone stands up to voice their opinion to Cena.
Rey Mysterio – The most popular wrestler in WWE History under 200lbs. once again showed the audience how popular he is to the fans. Last year on Smackdown, it was fans all in Jeff Hardy gear. Since then, I think I am seeing more Mysterio masks than ever!
The Undertaker – “The Deadman” may be more popular than he has been in recent years. His introduction is long, but the fans react to it like a closer in baseball. It even seemed like more people were cheering for his “streak” at WrestleMania rather than Shawn Michael’s career. I don’t think many can question his popularity even though he is getting their in age and injuries.
Once again, three World Wrestling Entertainment superstars conquer the top three spots because of the fan reaction in every arena. ROH and TNA wrestlers just could not get that environment like the WWE did, but here’s hoping for a better 2011 for the other companies. However, one wrestler truly gets the most out of his fans. The winner of the Golden Yardstick for Most Popular Wrestler is Rey Mysterio!
I don’t know what it is, but when Mysterio enters the ring the crowd is blazing! If one thinks that I am incorrect, look at the signs, shirts, and masks of Mysterio being shown off when he enters the arena. Almost everyone around the world knows who he is and he is a face for more than just the light heavyweights in professional wrestling. The popularity and talents of Mysterio also helped him earn a World Championship during 2010 for the WWE Smackdown brand. Cena was a close second, but while many do believe that he is the most popular the ones that are not true fans of his do voice their pleasure on Raw. The Undertaker is a figure that the fans admire, but Undertaker’s popularity has reached its plateau. It is not there as much as it was in years past. However, Mysterio’s legacy has not stopped, it has only expanded.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Most Popular Wrestler: Rey Mysterio (WWE)
First Runner-Up: John Cena (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: The Undertaker (WWE)
The 2010 Match of the Year
This year, I can be the first to let everybody know that I’ve watched every single match on television. Whether it be from World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, or Ring of Honor I got the chance to catch every single show and every single match of 2010. Though I only saw a few pay-per-views during this year I feel that my nominations for this category are pretty accurate. We’ve seen so much featuring the best talents in the world of professional wrestling. Out of the hundreds of matches that I’ve witnessed in 2010 from the privacy of my own home I’ve come up with the top nominations for 2010 Match of the Year.
Now, for the record these are matches that I have seen and won’t make a pick for matches that I did not see. I did not watch much Pay-Per-View matches in 2010, but I did catch every WWE, TNA, and ROH match in 2010 from television. So here are my choices.
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen, Final Battle 2010, December 18, 2010 – This was the end of a year-long rivalry between these two former tag team partners. The match was a “Fight without Honor” match, which is ROH’s version of a No Holds Barred contest. Both provided one heck of a story inside the ring and both literally wanted to rip each other’s head off their bodies. In the end of the match, El Generico held a chair and was about to plant Steen until Steen begged him not to do it and offered Generico back his mask (the mask he took from Generico at Glory by Honor IX). Generico took it, clubbed Steen the way Steen did to him a year ago, and won by pinfall. In that stipulation, Steen had to leave Ring of Honor Wrestling while Generico was able to keep his mask.
Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black, ROH on HDNet, October 18, 2010 – The match started after Black cut a solid promo about leaving to go to the WWE (which in fact Tyler Black did, now known as “Seth Rollins” in FCW). Richards came out and pretty much called out Black and Black said he would wrestle one more match for free! Jim Cornette, the ROH Executive Producer, made it happen and for the rest of the show, the viewers of that show watched what I thought was a classic encounter between Richards and Black. Sure, there were many pinfalls but there was a good story in this 26-minute battle between the two of them. After each of them hit their finishing moves, Richards rolled Black over into The Cloverleaf and Black had no choice but to tap out. After the match, Richards told Black that “if those boys in Conneticut want real wrestling they can come to Philadelphia to Ring of Honor”. It was a great way to end Tyler Black’s run in ROH and it helped Richards be a top contender for the ROH World Title.
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 26, March 28, 2010 – It may have been the most hyped match of the year. It was The Undertaker’s 17-0 streak vs. Shawn Michael’s legendary WWE career. There were few that thought Undertaker’s streak would finally be over (though no one on Wrestleview predicted it would happen). I had very high expectations in this match because of the bar they set for other wrestlers last year, and man did they exceed them all. The Undertaker took several bumps and brawled around a good bit throughout the match. Shawn Michaels wrestled like a man that was half his age and was so determined to breaking the streak. After a Tombstone Piledriver by Undertaker, he pinned Michaels, but he kicked out at two! Michaels slowly got up and Undertaker told him to “stay down”. Michaels just mocked Undertaker’s pose and after another Tombstone Piledriver, the match ended with The Streak now at 18-0. Since then, Michaels has been enjoying retirement from professional wrestling, while The Undertaker had a feud with Kane and maintained his main event level status on the Smackdown brand.
Well, this decision was very tough for me this year, as there were other matches that did in fact get the coveted “A” in my gradebook. However, only one match deserves to be the Match of the Year. So, the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Match of the Year goes to Taker vs. Michaels!
It was difficult to choose between Taker vs. Michaels or Steen vs. Generico, but I felt that Taker vs. Michaels had more of a big night feel to the match. Both Undertaker and Michaels wrestled as if their lives depended on it and showed the younger superstars out there how a main event match should be done. Steen vs. Generico and Black vs. Richards were two phenomenal matches as well, but when literally millions are watching one must step up to the highest degree. In 2010, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels did something that I thought would never be done. They both outperformed their previous match from WrestleMania 25, and that one of the few reasons why this should be the Match of the Year for any publication.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Match of the Year: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WM XXVI (WWE)
First Runner-Up: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen, Final Battle 2010 (ROH)
Second Runner-Up: Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black, ROH on HDNet 10/18 (ROH)
The other matches considered were: CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio from Over the Limit; Delirious vs. Austin Aries from ROH on HDNet; John Cena and Evan Bourne vs. Sheamus and Edge from Monday Night Raw; and Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan from WWE NXT.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, “Underrated” means to rate or evaluate low; to understate. There are so many wrestlers in WWE, TNA, and ROH that have been underrated from the booking teams of each company respectively. To be “underrated” means that one has done a great job yet they were not rewarded properly for their efforts.
Last year, Daniels was the Winner for Most Underrated. TNA Wrestling then rewarded Daniels with a loss to Sean “Val Venis” Morley on a Pay-Per-View and that pretty much doomed Daniels’ career in TNA. However, since then Daniels enjoyed success in a company that he worked for years ago, Ring of Honor. After many successful matches with the likes of Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Eddie Edwards, Daniels became the 2nd ever Ring of Honor Television Champion in late-2010.
These three on my list may be extremely talented in their company, but have not broken through or may not have had the chance to break through. My list was long and it was very challenging to find just three wrestlers to nominate. So I did my best and here they are.
Chris Masters – Here is a guy that never had a chance to be elevated this year in the WWE. Sure, he has had TV Time, which is fine. However, Masters is more than just power now. Masters now can strike with his punches, was a bit more technical in his style, and when on defense can sell an injury. In his first run as a WWE Superstar, he was just a bulky balloon. Now he has kept himself in great shape, improved from his previous style, and yet he has nothing to show. I hope 2011 will be a good year for Masters.
Desmond Wolfe – Here is an example of TNA playing with the new toys, only to put them in the toybox after a couple months. Wolfe had an amazing program with Kurt Angle in 2009 and their work was among the best in TNA a year ago. While Kurt Angle kept playing key parts in the program, Wolfe was pretty much on the backburner after some former WWE employees entered the Orlando ring. Last time I saw Wolfe in 2010 was in a team called “London Brawling” (with Magnus), then he had an undisclosed injury. For a guy who was at the top in Ring of Honor for the past two or three years, it is a shame to see Wolfe lost in the shuffle in TNA.
Yoshi Tatsu – Remember when the WWE commentators hyped up how he can break out since his Battle Royal dark match victory at WrestleMania XXVI? I still remember the brilliant work he had in 2009 when he was battling Christian for the ECW Championship. He could fill a demographic for the company, but right now he is just hanging by a thread in the mid-card division. Now I don’t expect Tatsu to battle CM Punk or The Miz, but at least some moderate time on Raw or Smackdown should be deserving for his talents. Among wrestlers who are active on WWE Superstars (Ryder, Reks, and Barreta come to mind), Tatsu is one that I have always been impressed with. It is confusing to not see him on one of the other shows regularly.
So, this year we have a Masterpiece, a Japanese Cardiac Kid, and a Wolfe battling on who is the most underrated professional wrestler in 2010. Though they did not win any gold in 2010, one can be proud to win a Golden Yardstick, as their efforts have not been forgotten by this wrestling fan. The Golden Yardstick for Most Underrated Wrestler goes to Yoshi Tatsu!
The moment he debuted in ECW and beat Shelton Benjamin I thought Tatsu really had “it”. In his matches against some of the bigger names, he held his own. Yet, we see guys like Eric Escobar, Vance Archer, Tyler Reks, and David Otunga get consistent television time. If Tatsu was injured all year, I would understand. But it just felt that the WWE just did not know what to do with him. For that, I say to get Tatsu consistently on the mid-card and have him get a match (does not have to win) for the United States Title. Wolfe had a strong 2009 with ROH and TNA, but in 2010 it just seemed like TNA completely forgot about a guy who was superb on the mic and has a great sense of technical wrestling. It was very frustrating not to see Wolfe get the proper push that he deserved. Masters, though had more losses than wins, may be the one to break out between these three. However, he took the more jobs than he should have in 2010 for his improved talents inside the ring. Any one of them could have won the award, and I hope that these three wrestlers have better luck in 2011.
2010 Golden Yardstick for Most Underrated: Yoshi Tatsu (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Desmond Wolfe (TNA)
Second Runner-Up: Chris Masters (WWE)
Other wrestlers that I considered as “underrated” are the following: Christian; D’Angelo Dinero; Eric Young; Tyson Kidd; MVP; Hernandez; Shelton Benjamin; Amazing Red; Kenny King; Rhett Titus; Colt Cabana; Primo; and Kaval.
This concludes Part One of the 2010 Golden Yardsticks/Rotten Apple Awards. I will accept (and take) any feedback from all my students. Just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer all e-mails.
Next Time, I will hand out Golden Yardsticks for:
Best High Flyer (2009 Winner: AJ Styles)
Best Brawler (2009 Winner: The Big Show)
Best Technical Wrestler (2009 Winner: Chris Jericho)
Most Charismatic (2009 Winner: John Cena)
Best on the Mic (2009 Winner: Chris Jericho)
Most Improved (2009 Winner: Dolph Ziggler)
Comeback of the Year (2009 Winner: Mick Foley)
Feud of the Year (2009 Winner: Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio)
Well, that does it for me this week. I thank you all for reading this column and I hope you enjoyed this column as much as I typed it out. If you want to get a hold of me during the week, please e-mail me at email@example.com or at lounge@Wrestleview.com, or by leaving me a message on Facebook. I do get a lot of e-mails and may not reply in a timely fashion, but I will do my best to give you a quicker reply.
Now, students you are allowed to leave the classroom. Please push in your chairs, line up straight, and exit to the closest door around you. Until next week, you are all……DISMISSED!
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