** Columnist’s Note: These columns (and the other three that I will be typing in the upcoming days) 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.
With that I say WELCOME TO THE 2ND ANNUAL GOLDEN YARDSTICK AWARDS (Part 2)!
Again, I thank Grash for the fantastic logo for this year’s ceremony!
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).
Before I begin with this second installment, let’s review the first recipients of the 2010 Goldies (short for “Golden Yardsticks”):
Best Gimmick – CM Punk (WWE)
Best Finisher – Randy Orton’s RKO (WWE)
Best Weekly TV Show – Monday Night Raw (WWE)
Best Television Commentator – Josh Mathews (WWE)
Most Hated – The Miz (WWE)
Most Popular – Rey Mysterio (WWE)
Match of the Year – WM XXVI’s The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE)
Most Underrated – Yoshi Tatsu (WWE)
Wow, so far the WWE is 8 for 8 when it comes to the Goldies! Will this trend continue? This edition, I will choose eight winners from the following categories:
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)
So what are we waiting for? Allow me to present the first Goldie for 2010!
Best High Flyer
Throughout 2010 there were wrestlers who were simply awe-inspiring. They were able to capture the attention to the fans worldwide with their strikes not only in the squared circle, but their abilities to do all this outside the ring as well via the aerial attack. There were many superstars that were able to defeat their opponents by way of defying gravity, but I can only nominate three wrestlers who consistently battled their opponents throughout 2010.
Last Year, the award went to AJ Styles from TNA Wrestling. Styles used so many disciplines inside the ring, but what made him stand out in 2009 was the ability to go to the air and connect on many attacks. In 2010, it appeared that Styles was a little less high-flying and settled with more in-ring strikes. I did consider him a nominee for this award, but this year he appeared more ground based. It may have been the new environment, but 2010 was not a great year for Styles, the wrestler. The character is a different story.
Here are my nominees for Best High Flyer.
Alex Shelley – I could have easily gone the easy route and had both he and tag team partner Chris Sabin as nominees, but I found Shelley to have more high-flying tactics than Sabin. Many times, whether it be in Japan, ROH, or (about 95% of the time) TNA; Shelley defied the odds with his moves from the air. He is the one to hit the Top-Rope Crossbody when The Motor City Machineguns hit their “Skull and Bones” Finisher (Sabin combines the crossbody with a Neckbreaker). Thanks in parts to his risk-taking abilities (such as the high thrust kick and the Sliced Bread #2), Shelley was able (with the help of Sabin) to finally earn their first TNA World Tag Team Championship (which they held for almost half of the year).
Kofi Kingston – I know one thing is certain with Kingston, and that is he is all about looking gravity in the face and telling it off on multiple occasions. Kingston is arguably one of the best at his trade; he finds a way to position himself to hitting any kind of aerial move. When the opponent is on the ground, he can easily go for the Boom Drop. When the opponent is outside of the ring, Kingston can go for a Suicide Dive or a Slingshot Crossbody. Even when the opponent is standing up, Kingston will at times go top rope and hit a Frog Splash Crossbody. When the opponent is not aware, Kingston can connect with his Finisher, a spin kick simply known as “Trouble in Paradise”. His tactics have helped him chase anyone in the Intercontinental title picture. He also won the Intercontinental Championship in 2010 against Drew McIntyre.
Rey Mysterio – He may not be as risky, but he has been entertaining the crowds around WWE events with some of the best high-flying tactics to date. Mysterio’s Seated Senton can be executed anywhere in the ring and outside the ring. Other moves that he uses while in the air is the Head Scissors takedown, The West Coast Pop, and a various array of Moonsaults. One of the best high-flying moves on his part may be what he does after connecting with the 619. Does he end the match with a Crossbody, a Springboard Splash, or the Top Rope Frog Splash? When in position to win, one never knows how he will end his matches. Thanks to his high-flying tactics, he was able to win the World Heavyweight Championship, defeat men at times double his size, and managed to shave CM Punk’s head after an impressive feud.
So, we have three of, in my opinion, the best high flying wrestlers that professional wrestling has to offer. However, one slightly stood out from the pack. I thought all three were worthy of this award, but this year I am giving the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Best High Flyer to…Kofi Kingston!
I thought about this for at least a week and almost went with Mysterio, but this award is for the best “high flyer” (aka who represents a highlight reel) in professional wrestling among WWE, TNA, or ROH. I chose Kingston, a 2009 Runner-Up for this award, because he offered more through the air than anyone without taking time off and working a much heavier schedule than anyone else in the business today. How Kingston has never had the injury bug shows how careful he is and how tremendous his tactics are when executed properly.
If there was a Mt. Rushmore of High Flyers in professional wrestling history, (for those who are asking “What is Mt. Rushmore” click here and learn something) Mysterio will definitely be on the mountain. However, with high flying means “high risks”. And Mysterio is not as young as he used to and at times took breaks from wrestling. Though he was better than many at his trade, he was not able to appear on TV and suffered a couple injuries an setbacks. As for Shelley, I thought he was TNA’s best high flyer this year. However, I did not see much of his work as a singles wrestler (which he is pretty good as well) and if any of my students know me, I like matches that are one-on-one contests and I did not see much of that in Alex Shelley.
2010 Winner for Best High Flyer: Kofi Kingston (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Rey Mysterio (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Alex Shelley (TNA)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: AJ Styles, John Morrison, Evan Bourne, Amazing Red, Chris Sabin, El Generico, Kenny Omega, and Trent Barreta.
The definition of Brawling means “fighting”, pure and simple. The nominees take battles inside the ring and out, and also one must keep their opponent grounded. These next few wrestlers may not be the best when it comes to being high-flying or technical, but these three are men that you don’t want to start a fight with and more than likely will be great allies when in a bar fight.
Last Year, the winner was The Big Show. While he continued his brawling ways in the WWE it was at times just not the brawling that these nominees provided over the course of the year. While I did consider The Big Show on this list, a few more really stepped up and learned the trade that “if the body is down, control the pace”.
Here are the nominees for Best Brawler.
The Necro Butcher – In Brawling, the wrestler usually just wears down an opponent with headlocks, clotheslines, and clubbing blows. The Necro Butcher does all of this, but also uses a wide variety of weapons to end the match as well. While many expect him to use weapons, he does have a dangerous punch that should not be taken lightly. Watch out if you see an opponent at the corner, as Necro does a ton of damage with multiple strikes. When it comes to weapons, no one does it better in mainstream wrestling front than Necro Butcher. Throughout the year, he was so violent that Jim Cornette made any Ring of Honor match of Necro’s “Butcher’s Rules”.
Randy Orton – For years, Orton has improved as a brawler of sorts. Ever since he started turning into a “snake-like creature”, he has taken his brawling to a whole new level. Speaking of new levels, since he broke up with Legacy early in this year he showcased his brawling as a main event superstar on the Raw brand. He wears down his opponents with multiple stomps when one is laid out in the ring, uppercuts when one is standing, and can even escapes damage with a headlock backbreaker. At times, outside of hitting his Award-Winner RKO, he will end a match with a simple punt to the skull. Even though his brawling tactics are designed for “heels”, he is one of the most popular wrestlers today. Thanks to this brawling-style, he was able to win the WWE World Championship in 2010.
Sheamus – Here is a wrestler that was deemed “a fluke” by many wrestling sites after winning the WWE Championship in late-2009. However, I think Sheamus did nothing but improve and prove those naysayers incorrect. He wears down opponents, big and small, with clubbing blows to the back and numerous clotheslines. What also makes him a great brawler is his ability to wear down the opposition with some of the most brutal finishers. The Irish Curse Backbreaker and The Brogue Kick usually ended a quality contest. When Sheamus is in the ring, the fans watching around the world should expect a good brouhaha (I just had to use that word). Thanks to his improving brawling style, he won the WWE World Championship and is the current WWE King of the Ring.
When it came down to it, these three wrestlers were the toughest in the ring this past year. So when 2010 closed, it came down to a Butcher, a Viper, and a Celtic Warrior. Trust me, this was again a very close call because I thought all three did a fantastic job on showcasing quality fighting. Obviously, I can only give one Golden Yardstick out for the 2010 Best Brawler, so in a very close call (and I changed my mind on three occasions this week alone) I award the Goldie to…Sheamus!
When it came down to it, all three were superb at their trade. However, Sheamus took it to a whole new level without using the likes of chairs, barbed wire, and chains. Sheamus destroyed numerous foes in 2010 inside the ring and around the ring area. Sheamus made his hands and feet do the talking, which is why he ended up with the Golden Yardstick this year.
Necro Butcher is once again a runner-up for this category. While many consider weapons as a brawling art, I think when used too much it could hurt the quality of the match. When Necro Butcher kept it at a minimum, they were pretty good. However, in his later matches it just looked scripted. In my opinion, I want the match to look “real”, even though I know it is “scripted”. Orton is more of the all-around competitor compared to the other two, but his brawling has improved and it looks like that will be his style for many years. Orton could very well win the award in 2011 if he can improve a bit on this discipline. Again, any of these three could have won this award, but Sheamus was a bit better than all of them in 2010.
2010 Winner for Best Brawler: Sheamus (WWE)
First Runner-Up: The Necro Butcher (ROH for most of the year)
Second Runner-Up: Randy Orton (WWE)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: The Undertaker, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Ezekiel Jackson, The Big Show, Abyss, Kevin Steen, Wade Barrett, and Homicide.
Best Technical Wrestler
What does technical wrestling means to me? Well, to be technical means that you must be exceptional in all aspects of professional wrestling. To me a technical wrestler is somebody that knows what they are doing, how they do it, and how they execute a hold or a maneuver. Out of all the categories in this awards ceremony this is clearly one of the most difficult. I considered nominating wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Jack Swagger, and Davey Richards. However when it all came down to it, I came up with the three nominations that I thought were the best technical wrestlers year-round.
As mentioned before, Chris Jericho was the 2009 Winner of this award. And while he was “The Best in the World at what he did”, a few others have stepped up their technical wrestling skills while Jericho left the WWE ring. The three nominees have battled year round, and I think should be considered for the 2010 Golden Yardstick for the best in technical wrestling.
Daniel Bryan – The former “Bryan Danielson” had a very interesting 2010 in the WWE. Considered before entering the WWE as “The Best Wrestler no one talks about”; he made plenty of noise. Bryan started out as a technical wizard, but always came on the losing end in the first season of WWE NXT. He can go at any part of the body and do that with a different style. To take big guys down, he uses a Missile Dropkick. To an opponent in the corner, he uses a Dropkick. Every strike that he does is used to perfection. He ends his matches with a Crossface known as “The LaBell Lock”. Also, he uses many other submissions. Overall, Daniel Bryan used this and much more to become a United States Champion in the WWE.
Dolph Ziggler – In professional wrestling, having an amateur background is a plus. Also, one wrestler must be patient and hone his or her craft. Ziggler overcame being a caddy (for Kerwin White) and a cheerleader (Spirit Squad) to be where he is at right now in the WWE. His talent improved throughout the past couple years and he has enhanced his technical wrestling style. Ziggler usually goes to the chest, abdominal, and head when he attacks. He used to only have one finisher, The Zig Zag, but now has a Sleeper Hold that he uses very well. When he grounds his opponent, he adds a little more torque with his chinlock. That simple squatting makes the hold look painful on television. This technical style has helped Dolph Ziggler win the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2010.
Douglas Williams – If there was anyone to watch in TNA Wrestling this past year it was Williams. When he was the X Division Champion, Williams made (and probably even taught) his opponents how to wrestle without flying in the air. Wrestling is more than just flying, and while Williams does this he is never overboard. He is a well-rounded technical wrestler, but usually goes at the head and back areas when on offense. Williams uses a variety of suplex maneuvers to wear down the back of his lighter opponents. He also has a mean European Uppercut to take down some bigger than him. While at times he used the Guillotine Choke, Williams most likely ended his matches with The Chaos Theory, which was a nominee for a Golden Yardstick last week. Williams may not be a main event star in TNA, but his tactics helped him earn the Television Championship, the X Division Championship, and (while most of the tenure was in 2009) held the TNA Tag Championship for the first few weeks in January 2010.
It is funny how the three nominees are not “household” names in their respective companies. I know titles don’t mean much anymore, but how many World Championships are between these three? Zero! It is a shame, because all three are main event level talents. Out of all the awards, this is legitimately the toughest one to select. However, the winner of the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Best Technical Wrestler goes to…Daniel Bryan!
Please, don’t question this selection. Watch any match of Daniel Bryan’s this past year and it just looks like no matter who he wrestled in regards to size he was perfect. Bryan was patient in the WWE, and even though he was “released” for his attack to Justin Roberts, Daniel Bryan still was able to find some work and come back to the WWE with a run to the United States championship. Who did he beat for the United States Title? That wrestler was none other than The Miz (who is in the running with eight others for Wrestler of the Year)! No matter if the wrestler was Chris Jericho, William Regal, Ted DiBiase, Jr., or even The Great Khali, Daniel Bryan made his opposition look better. Also, his wrestling style can be used against almost everyone on the roster. Bryan is as talented as he was dangerous this year, and that was why he earned the Goldie in this category.
Williams if rightfully up there with AJ Styles as one of the best TNA wrestlers in 2010, but sometimes one could see Williams limited in his matches against someone larger. Ziggler worked well against wrestlers of all genres, but there were some opponents that he really did struggle with in order to wrestle technically. My selection could have went to any of them, and to be honest if the column was due a day later I would have changed my mind again. But I will stick with Daniel Bryan today, he was the best technical wrestler and storyteller out of the bunch.
2010 Winner for Best Technical Wrestler: Daniel Bryan (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Douglas Williams (TNA)
Second Runner-Up: Dolph Ziggler (WWE)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Jack Swagger, Davey Richards, Kevin Steen, and Alberto Del Rio.
We, as pro wrestling fanatics, like to watch good wrestling from the greatest wrestlers on the stage today. However there are times where we like to see personalities. These types of personalities make the fans either cheer the wrestler on, completely be against the wrestler, or a specific wrestler that can generate both reactions good or bad. Those are signs of having good charisma, or appeal, in professional wrestling.
Last year, the winner of this award was John Cena. His genuine attitude in the ring, as well as when he did in the ring, always got a reaction from the kids to the adults. In order to be charismatic, one has to have that “it” factor. Last Year, Cena earned that and it was not even close. I won’t lie; Cena was nominated for the 2010 Goldie as well. However, the competition is much better than where it was in 2009.
Here are the rest of the nominees for the Most Charismatic Wrestler of 2010.
CM Punk – At the start of his time way back in ECW, he got a huge reaction in one area of the country but fell flat as a “face” Straightedge Superstar”. After a lengthy feud and a heel turn against Jeff Hardy, Punk got the reaction from the fans that was well-deserved. Although 2010 was not a “championship” year for Punk, he developed a lot of charisma and the audience is giving him a huge reaction no matter what he does. He was booed a ton with his feud with Rey Mysterio, yet cheered when he was a commentator on Monday Night Raw. He can also draw a mixed crowd reaction, when he joined The Nexus. From his start, CM Punk is getting more and more charismatic by the day.
John Cena – No matter where, how, or even why when John Cena enters a building we hear it in the arenas and on television. The 2009 Golden Yardstick winner for this category continues to display the charisma that keeps the fans following him. His promo work always gets a reaction whether it is the kids cheering or men booing him. The best example is when he had fans chanting “Let’s Go Cena” and fans chanting “Cena Sucks” the night after “his firing”. All around the world, the fans pay to see Cena either speak or perform. Cena does add life to a party every Monday nights.
The Miz – Speaking of parties, The Miz would be pretty happy if he threw a party for himself and no one was invited. The Miz already won one Golden Yardstick for the Most Hated, and the already-found charisma in his body is now reaching new levels. The fans in the crowd may respect him, but The Miz’s charisma is fed through the millions of negative reactions from this “WWE Universe”. What makes The Miz so great with the charisma and that he lets the fans get involved and he does egg on the audience to keep “hating” on him.
When it came to picking the three most charismatic professional wrestlers, it was very easy. However, awarding just one Golden Yardstick is more complex. In the end, I go with the loudest crowd reactions when a particular wrestler appears. When it comes to the big stage, the decision was easy. The FIRST Individual Two-Time Winner of a category goes to none other than…John Cena!
Originally I thought picking which one would be a hard decision. But when I look back at 2010 I noticed no matter what reaction Cena got, at least the fans voiced their opinion every time Cena spoke. Cena had many more bright moments than dull moments. Cena kept the crowd alive, and the times he was not on Raw he was sorely missed. No matter how many people openly hate John Cena, he continues to draw and get one’s attention. That to me is what charisma is all about.
Both The Miz and CM Punk are now on Raw and they are respectively the stars also on Mondays. Both have a big role for Raw to be successful. Punk is the leader of Nexus while The Miz is The Champ. Even though the reactions to both are legitimate, Cena’s is really authentic. Still, I am sure everyone else in pro wrestling would love to have the presence that these three have right now in wrestling.
2010 Winner for Most Charismatic: John Cena (WWE) – Two-Time Winner of this individual award.
First Runner-Up: The Miz (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: CM Punk (WWE)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: Chris Jericho, Christian, D’Angelo Dinero, Alberto Del Rio, Colt Cabana, and Jay Lethal.
Best on the Microphone
In professional wrestling today the talents need to know how to use the microphone. Sure, the ability to execute maneuvers and holds are good ways to keep your job. However in order to be a superstar, one must know how to use the mic effectively and efficiently. There are many professional wrestlers that could fit into this mold. But who are the ones that the fans react to? Who are the ones that the fans actually care about? Well there are three people that I decided to nominate who are very good at cutting promos (a.k.a. do exceptional work on the microphone).
Last year, Chris Jericho won this award because no matter how distracted he was he ended up cutting the best promos in 2009. Remember, this about the ability to talk on the mic and not entirely on crowd reaction. This year, I felt that regardless of company I thought that these three really made a name for themselves on the microphone.
Here are the nominees for Best on the Microphone.
Austin Aries – Though he spent his time with Ring of Honor, he was able to speak very fluently and drew the fans attention. He always had a quick reaction after being asked a question and I think the way he talked made the fans (and yours truly) believe that he was “The Greatest Man that Ever Lived”. I am sure if he ever had the opportunity to talk in front of a larger audience, I think he would do very well. He even did his best to hype up his associates (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) as an up and coming tag team until he left Ring of Honor.
John Cena – The most charismatic wrestler of 2010 might very well be the best on the microphone as well. At times, he is given a script and he goes by it. However, the way he talks in front of a camera and in front of the live audiences around the world makes him larger than life. I said it before; when Cena has a microphone he is at a whole new level. He may have lines on paper, but the way he acts make it really believable. You can tell when he was enlightened or frustrated. He was believable on the mic, and I think for that he should be nominated. Whether one likes him or not, he does a great job speaking to a crowd.
The Miz – From his start in the WWE until now, The Miz improved when he was pushed to the moon. When he was teamed up with John Morrison, many thought it was Morrison who would branch out. However, thanks to the ability of speech The Miz was the one who got the airtime and the WWE World Championship. In order to be the face of the WWE, the wrestler has to talk up a great game. The Miz has always talked a great game with the crowd, and now his talents in the ring back up with mic work. In a world where most reality television stars have their 15 Minutes of Fame, The Miz was able to turn minutes into years. Let’s just hope that he has more than 15 years of fame.
So, when cutting promos these three are the best at their trade. I actually had it down to two, and both already won a Golden Yardstick for a category. When I picked a winner, I decided to pick one that had the most distractions yet stayed in character to rile up the crowd more. It was a toss-up between Cena and Miz, but the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Best on the Microphone belongs to…The Miz!
When given that opportunity, The Miz ran with it. The Miz was one when he talked he never messed up once. I honestly can’t detect when he messed up a line. He knew when to talk and when a reaction was slowly fading away. Actors in a theatre have impressive timing when they perform a play (I am talking live stuff, not the movies). The Miz acted before, and he took that gimmick and those talents into mainstream levels! The one thing that got The Miz over anything else was “his ability to talk”. Now that he has that time and place, he earned it this year.
John Cena was a close second, don’t get me wrong. Actually, he is superb on the microphone as well. However, 2010 was the Year of The Miz and Cena just came a bit short in winning. I can’t explain why or how Cena finished as the runner-up. The only reason that I can come up with is that Miz had the slightest of better years. As for Austin Aries, I had him gridlocked with CM Punk. However, the one thing that I thought Aries had been timing when it was his turn to say something. CM Punk is just slightly off when it came down to some criteria. I guess what I can say is that Aries was more consistent in 2010. Punk will have his chance in 2011.
2010 Winner for Best on the Microphone: The Miz (WWE)
First Runner-Up: John Cena (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Austin Aries (ROH)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: CM Punk, Chris Jericho, D’Angelo Dinero, Alberto Del Rio, Ric Flair, and Jay Lethal.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, to improve means to bring into a more desirable condition. In my eyes, it is easy to pick guys who were main eventers. But I opted not to go on that route. Instead, I decided to go with a wrestler who was not there in the ring yet and almost was released from the company. But rather settling with not being a good superstar, these three men worked very hard to get where they are at, and thus have a solid year as a mid-card talent (and at times beyond).
Last year, my choice was Dolph Ziggler. Personally, I thought it was a good choice. Just look where Ziggler is at right now. He had an Intercontinental Championship reign, a strong ally in Vickie Guerrero, and is one of the biggest heel characters on the Smackdown brand who could very well be in the World Title picture. My other two choices were at least #1 Contenders for World Titles in Matt Morgan and Zack Ryder (though Ryder’s was about three seconds or something like that).
Here are my nominees for Most Improved.
Chris Masters – At the start of the year, he would get a fair share of wins to go along with the ridiculous pectoral dance that he did to match the beat of a song. Also, he was pretty one-dimensional in power. Currently he is on the Friday Night Smackdown brand, and is vastly improving. I don’t know how, but now he added a Flying Shoulder Tackle and some basic holds to go along with his Samoan Drop and Masterlock. After seeing some work of his on WWE Superstars, I was impressed with how much he has improved over the course of the year. At once he was near the chopping block, but his overall development helped him be a mid-card superstar, and possibly more.
Drew McIntyre – This was a wrestler who probably got a push way too soon in 2009. He was “The Chosen One” by none other than Vince McMahon, and McIntyre showed some signs that he was not ready. As late as WrestleMania XXVI it seemed like he was lost in the shuffle after being very limited in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Outside the ring, he had some dispute with his wife, released WWE Diva Tiffany, which led to McIntyre briefly struggling with a proper storyline and his character took a hit. After all that went on, he rebounded well in the latter half of 2010. He teamed up with Cody Rhodes to hold the WWE Tag Team Championships. After they lost the title, McIntyre has just the right push and the right amount of talent. He was always a rising wrestler in the WWE, but now he looks like he can breakout and complete legitimately for gold. He has improved on his brawling as well as his technical work, and his Future Shock DDT has cleaned up a lot since this time last year.
Rhett Titus – Last Year, Rhett Titus was all about “thrusting” in front of the audience. He had hotel keys for ladies and a bowtie around his neck when he wrestled. He was very inconsistent for ROH, but his gimmick really helped him out. I saw some signs of improvement during the early part of 2010 with the ROH Television Championship Tournament. I think his opponent was Kevin Steen and he did lose that first round match. But what I saw was a vastly improved and more serious Rhett Titus. Though he kept being “Addicted to Love” as part of the All Night Express (w/Kenny King), he does not need that gimmick completely to get over. Over the course of the year, he wrestled very well. His signature and finisher is much cleaner, particularly his sit-out face buster known as the Sex-Factor. Only 23 year old, he has a very high ceiling and could be a champion in ROH sometime in 2011.
Well, here were three wrestlers that had slumped just a bit in 2009, but really built themselves up with their improved wrestling skills and stronger character. I expect better things for them in the coming year, but only one can earn the Most Improved Golden Yardstick. After a few minutes, I have decided that the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Most Improved goes to…Drew McIntyre!
One of the reasons why I chose McIntyre as the Most Improved was this. In the 2010 Mid-Year Awards, I had many to choose from with the Most Overrated pick. I won’t lie, but Drew McIntyre was very close to earning that title six months ago. I am glad that McIntyre has improved. He has this look that he is “good-looking, but will kill you”. After some mid-card feuds, a minor title run, and some quick victories over the likes of Matt Hardy, Kaval, and Trent Barreta make Drew McIntyre a much more improved superstar. In my opinion, McIntyre is the one to watch in 2011 and his improvement should lead him to a World Heavyweight Championship match.
Masters has improved a lot since his return in 2009 to the WWE, but it may not have enough progress to get to where he would like to be. I see Masters, as long as he improves, earning more victories than defeats. However, if he improves a bit with his character, I think it can take him far. I think the wrestling is there, but his character is not. Besides, it is tough for a guy of Masters size to be pushed with a roster full of them. Titus, thanks to his improvement in the ring to go along with his character, is one to look out for in ROH in 2011. He may have a while to go, but when everything meshes well with his tag team partner, they could be a darkhorse candidate for the ROH Tag Team Championships.
2010 Winner for Most Improved: Drew McIntyre (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Chris Masters (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Rhett Titus (ROH)
The following were under consideration, but did not make the cut: Sheamus, Tyler Black/Seth Rollins, D’Angelo Dinero, Cody Rhodes, Roderick Strong, Kenny King, El Generico, Trent Barreta, Consequences Creed/Xavier Woods, and Jesse Neal.
Comeback of the Year
This may have been the toughest yet. I had a hard time picking three superstars who overcome injury or inactivity to win the 2010 Goldie for Best Comeback. This is the hardest category to collect three professional wrestlers because I have a different criteria when I consider comebacks. What did they come back from? I needed to answer that before I nominated anyone. Since I only selected five professional wrestlers, but only three make the cut.
Last year, I have the Golden Yardstick to Mick Foley. Foley came back from behind the announcer table in the WWE to make his presence felt in TNA Wrestling. TNA also, in 2009, made Mick Foley the Executive Shareholder and also the TNA World Championship. So, which wrestler earns the title?
Kazarian – I know he has been a part of TNA for years, but I decided that he deserves a nomination for one reason…Suicide! In 2009, he spent most of the year (if not all of it) wrestling under a bodysuit and mask. Everyone knew it was Kaz, but in storyline he “retired”. However, he came back as Kazarian was became a bright light in TNA Wrestling. He started off very strong, winning the X Division Championship (though never holding onto the hardware) months after his return. When he became a heel, he was even stronger. Kazarian now is a part of TNA’s Fortune faction. When many argue about nothing good happened in TNA during the 2010 year, I think a guy like Kazarian would disagree. He went from video game character to one of the bigger names in TNA this past year.
Jerry Lawler – I know he actively wrestles outside of the WWE, but he did have a couple remarkable matches against the Miz in December 2010. It is nice to see a guy who is over 60 (only nine months younger than Ric Flair) hand in there with a guy half his age. Always known for his commentary on Monday Night Raw and his feud with Andy Kaufman a LONG LONG time ago, it was refreshing to see a guy like Lawler give 100% to the company when some other names give 70% of the effort.
Rob Van Dam – RVD left the WWE a few years ago to spend more time with his wife. Still, Van Dam trained hard and wrestled a few independent matches to stay fit. He even was that “surprise” entrant in the 2009 Royal Rumble. After sporadic appearances inside the wrestling ring, TNA signed him up and he debuted to battle Sting on Impact January 4, 2010. After that, Van Dam was on a roll in TNA and even defeated AJ Styles for the TNA World Championship. Van Dam managed to still show the same skills he had back in his ECW days in the 90s, and was one of those “Hardcore Legends” to stay in decent shape and, in a way, carry a wrestling company like TNA.
The other two that I would place in Honorable Mention would be Goldust and Christopher Daniels. Goldust worked his way back in shape to have a surprisingly good run vs. Ted DiBiase, Jr. Goldust even was a highlight in the All-Divas Season on NXT. Daniels left TNA after the management change and ended up going to Ring Of Honor during The Big Bang iPPV in April of 2010. Since his return to ROH, Daniels is the ROH Television Champion, defeating Eddie Edwards.
So, the Goldie will go to a guy in his prime that spent over a year under a mask, a King that is truly royalty in professional wrestling, and a showstopper that after years of inactivity ended up being a World Champion. The decision was pretty simple. I decided to give the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Comeback of the Year to…Rob Van Dam!
TNA earns their first Golden Yardstick! Honestly, if I was not biased I would have chose Lawler. However, Van Dam came back to wrestle actively and did a decent job with what he had in TNA. It was a shame that he was in some of the worst moments of 2010 (The Abyss “Janice” attack comes to mind), but when he was the TNA World Champion I thought it added credibility to the title. Not saying AJ Styles was not doing a good job (actually, Styles did a GREAT job as TNA World Champion), but Van Dam was a name that many wrestling fans remember and thanks in part to being a top-notch character in TNA makes RVD the choice for the Comeback of the Year.
Kazarian was really off the radar as “Kazarian”. Sure, as Suicide he was still wrestling at a high level. But again he was nothing more than a lousy gimmick and to see him really grow into one of the top heels of TNA is a great comeback from where he was only a year ago. Lawler only had a couple matches late in the year and may have had a short match or two earlier in the year (sorry, I just can’t remember), but his series of matches (and being a thorn) against The Miz persuaded me to giving Lawler a nominee nod for this award.
2010 Winner for Comeback of the Year: Rob Van Dam (TNA)
First Runner-Up: Kazarian (TNA)
Second Runner-Up: Jerry Lawler (TNA)
Feud of the Year
In order to tell a good story inside the ring, I actually believe that a good story outside the ring is mandatory. Though we experienced feuds that made us want to scream at our own television sets, there were some feuds in professional wrestling that caught one’s attention. For me personally, I really thought that there were dozens of good storylines. There were dozens of good feuds. However, there are three feuds I thought were the upper echelon of 2010.
Last year, my selection went to the feud of Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio. For a few months, Jericho and Mysterio were feuding over Mysterio’s mask and the Intercontinental Championship. Both WWE wrestlers made the story believable and the action inside the ring was near perfect every time they wrestled.
I honestly considered these three feuds much better than last year’s Golden Yardstick winner. Here are my selections for the 2010 Feud of the Year.
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen – The feud began at Final Battle 2009, in which Steen cut a promo announcing his retirement. However, after Steen and Generico hugged Steen uttered the words that echoed throughout the year: “I hate your f**king guts!” He then clubbed El Generico in the head with the chair and thus a year-long feud began. Weeks later, the feud added two impressive veterans in Steve Corino (who aided Steen) and Colt Cabana (who aided Generico). So along with the main story of Generico and Steen, we also had a minor story of Corino and Cabana. In my couple years since I started WrestleView, this was the most intense and longest feud. At times, no one thought this feud could go all year. But after many words, blood, and hardcore match after another, it ended at Final Battle 2010. The stakes? Generico’s mask vs. Steen’s ROH career. In the Streak vs. Career match, after 30 lengthy minutes of desperation and a year in the making, the sides switched. It was Generico with the chair and Steen pleading for this to stop. Generico ended what Steen started, and after Generico won wrestling fans celebrated as well. Two guys literally wrestled their butts off, and it was an impressive feud to watch.
John Cena vs. Nexus – The feud began right after the main event on a Monday Night Raw that featured the “Viewer’s Choice” Awards. Forgotten may have been the Santino vs. Kozlov dance-off, but one of the most shocking moment in the WWE began in June 2010. Cena and CM Punk were battling when all of the sudden, Wade Barrett and the other members from NXT Season One destroyed the ring, barricades, and even Justin Roberts’ poor little tie. They started off by just dismantling everything in sight, then had their eyes on the biggest name in the WWE today, John Cena. After a failed attempt by CM Punk, Nexus just picked apart Cena and had him carried off on a stretcher. Later on, we saw Cena on this everlasting quest to stop The Nexus. Cena took out some members, but later on during the feud Wade Barrett defeated Cena and Cena had to join Nexus. A few days after Cena’s induction to Nexus, he had to help Barrett win the WWE World Championship or face termination. At Survivor Series, Cena was given a choice as the special guest referee. If the champ won, who was Randy Orton, Cena was terminated. If Barrett won, Barrett would be the champion and Cena would be free of Nexus. Well, when the contest ended Orton retained the championship and Cena was “fired”. Cena still appeared in crowds after the firing, and took out each member of Nexus one by one until he got Barrett one on one. The feud almost concluded after the TLC PPV in which Cena took out Barrett in a Chairs Match. However a couple weeks later, Cena had a new Nexus nemesis, a top WWE star in CM Punk. With CM Punk leading Nexus vs. Cena, the feud still has legs after seven months.
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk – This feud may not have lasted as long as the other, but when it came to good one-on-one wrestling this was one of the better feuds of 2010. The feud started around the Elimination Chamber PPV when Mysterio defeated Punk. When Mysterio cost CM Punk an opportunity to wrestle in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, Punk interrupted a family segment by singing (in a very creepy tone) “Happy Birthday” to Mysterio’s daughter. Then they had a series of PPV matches with started at WrestleMania. Mysterio won the first match in the series (had he lost, Mysterio would have been in the Straight Edge Society). The following PPV, Extreme Rules, if CM Punk lost to Mysterio Punk would had shaved his head. Well, with no stipulation for Mysterio it was booked that Punk won the match over Mysterio. Finally, the feud ended at the Over the Limit Pay-Per-View. If CM Punk won that match, Mysterio would have to join the SES. If Mysterio won, Punk would be shaved bald. After some near falls and some teasing, Mysterio won the final match and CM Punk was handcuffed near the ropes and shaved by Mysterio. Since the feud ended, CM Punk no longer leads the SES (after the quickly disbanded due to a feud with The Big Show) but now he leads another dominant faction in The Nexus, while Rey Mysterio feuded a bit with the likes of Kane and Alberto Del Rio.
Again, if one of these three feuds occur in 2009 that feud would have won the Goldie for the Feud of the Year. This year, one truly dominated over the others. I don’t need to explain anymore that the 2010 Golden Yardstick for Feud of the Year goes to…El Generico vs. Kevin Steen!
It was not even close. The start and build-up to the feud was superb and it even had a very solid supporting cast to go along with the focal point to this feud. This feud went through a transition in bookers (from Adam Pearce to Delirious), and it still did not skip a beat. There was so much that went on during this feud, but the one thing I was really interested in was the transformation of Kevin Steen. Before the feud, Steen seemed like a very quiet down-to-earth man. During the feud and at the end, the man turned into an evil villain who wanted everything from Generico, including his identity. Generico’s character was amazing during the first few months, where he kept feeling sorry for himself until Cabana helped him out. Generico finally got the courage to attack Steen four months after Final Battle 2009, and I think it took both wrestlers to pull off that feud. I have been a wrestling fan for over twenty years, and this is one of the best feuds I have ever watched in my memory.
I find it interesting that the WWE gets ripped on for their “kid-friendly” approach, but I think that is the beauty of it. There is a thin line between what is oriented to families rather than older, more blood-hungry crowds and I think the WWE did a great job building storylines in 2010. Nexus vs. Cena, I give a ton of credit to Cena for his work in putting over all these talents (even though some were not ready). Punk vs. Mysterio for the five months that they had pulled off a solid feud as well. In the WWE, it is sometimes rare to have long feuds without the product going stale, and I thought that they did an impressive job developing some quality feuds with the character they had.
2010 Winner for Feud of the Year: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen (ROH)
First Runner-Up: John Cena vs. The Nexus (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk (WWE)
The following were under consideration, but failed to make the cut: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, Austin Aries vs. Delirious, Beer Money vs. The Motor City Machineguns, The Briscoes vs. The Kings of Wrestling, Kane vs. Undertaker, Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio, and Jay Lethal vs. Ric Flair.
This concludes Part Two 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 the nine Rotten Apples for:
Worst Gimmick (2009 “Winner”: Cody Deaner)
Worst Feud of the Year (2009 “Winner”: ODB vs. Cody Deaner)
Most Appalling Storyline (2009 “Winner”: LayCool bulling Mickie James)
Worst Television Announcer (2009 “Winner”: Michael Cole)
Worst Woman’s Wrestler (2009 “Winner”: Lacey Von Erich)
Worst Match of 2010 (2009 “Winner”: 25-Diva Battle Royal at WrestleMania)
Most Overrated (2009 “Winner” Booker T)
Worst Wrestler (New Category)
Most Disappointing (New Category)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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