** Warning: 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. I hope to maybe do a special “Mr. V” column during the weekend. Until then, please be entertained by Mr. V, the host of the Third Annual Golden Yardstick Awards! **
Well my Wrestleview Students, 2011 has finally ended. And since I wait to do the Year-End Awards exactly after December 31st, it is now the appropriate time to hand out awards of what we deemed were the best (and worst) of professional wrestling in this Four-Part series.
With that I say WELCOME TO THE 3RD ANNUAL GOLDEN YARDSTICK AWARDS (Part 1)!
Of course, thanks to Wrestleview Staff member Gregory “Grash” Walek for the logo to celebrate the festivities! Thanks, Grash.
Just look at the Goldies! They look remarkable, as always.
Well, in case some of you are new to this year-end column, here is how “we” pick out the winners (and losers when we present the Rotten Apples).
– This year is going to be a bit different. After doing this alone for two years and with a new teaching position I knew this could not be done individually. Hence why there were not any “Mr. V” columns over the past few months. So I decided to bring in some much needed help with a very intelligent staff member. So these picks were chosen and debated (twice) by myself and ROH on Sinclair, WWE Superstars, FCW Recapper and Wrestleview International Roundtable’s Jason Namako! I thank Mr. Namako for his service in helping complete the 2011 ceremonies.
Now, the rest of the rules have been pure for the past two years.
– First off, all biasness goes out the window. So even though I am all about professional wrestling in the Pittsburgh scene, don’t expect to see Kurt Angle, Shane Douglas, or Corey Graves winning any Yardsticks because they are based from “Pittsburgh, PA”.
– Only World Wrestling Entertainment, Impact (TNA) Wrestling, and Ring of Honor Wrestling will be represented. We may have a random nominee from the independents, but the three mentioned promotions are the ones I watch every week.
– There will be 21 Golden Yardsticks featuring various categories (including Wrestler of the Year)
– Mr. Namako and I may create a new category. However, it was agreed that Best Newcomer and Best Guest Host stay retired.
– There will be the same amount of Rotten Apples as last year. There will be nine passed out during part 3 of the awards ceremony.
This week, I will hand out SEVEN out of 30 Awards. By the way, if you want to give me educated and honest feedback on this feature send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If one does not like my selections, don’t expect an apology from any of us. The Internet is a global podium.
Let’s get to the ceremonies, shall we?
A couple years ago, I looked up “Gimmick” in Webster’s Dictionary. The definition is as follows:
Gimmick – designed to attract attention or increase appeal.
In 2010, I thought the wrestler that attracted the most attention was WWE’s CM Punk. At first, he had no personality until the middle of 2009 when he turned heel and became a World Champion. His run as the leader of “The Straight Edge Society” was memorable and successful for most of 2010. Shockingly, we found three gimmicks just slightly better than Punk’s run this year in the WWE.
The Briscoes – This year, they went from “manning up” for many years playing the babyfaces during the majority of the HDNet run for Ring of Honor and turned into a more grounded, heel tag team simply known as “#DemBoys” from Sandy Fork, DE. They found success with this new gimmick, as it ties into their lives as chicken farming, beer swigging brawlers. Throughout the year, the proved that “DemBoys” were the dominant tag team in Ring of Honor and ended it with the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
The Jarretts – Yes, we are talking about Jeff AND Karen. There was not much in terms of quality gimmicks in TNA Wrestling, but these two were constantly good with their characters as TNA’s “Power Couple”. It started with Jeff’s run as an MMA expert with Karen at Jeff’s side. This couple lasted most of the year. They started their reign of terror by attacking and humiliating Kurt Angle (which included comedy bits with their “North Carolina wedding” and honeymoon to Universal Studios) in every possible way in multiple matches on Impact and on Pay-Per-View. While it ended for a bit in June after Angle sent Jeff to “Mexico”, the power couple triumphantly returned in July when Jeff won the AAA World Heavyweight Championship. Karen made her presence felt as “Vice President of the TNA Knockouts” and ruled with an Iron Fist in a very controversial matter. After feuding with Jeff Hardy near the end of the feud, The Jarretts were both “fired” in December after Jeff lost to Jeff Hardy in a Steel Cage match.
Zack Ryder – We all watched him flounder on WWE Superstars at the early part of 2011, but his spirit to be a WWE Superstar was in his blood. He took a huge risk with his new gimmick and started posting “Z: True Long Island Story” as a way to get his gimmick over with the casual WWE fan. He even declared himself “The Internet Champion” after never “getting a shot” for a title in the WWE. After nearly fifty episodes, he went from being an afterthought to a WWE United States Champion (and even a few main events on Monday Night Raw) thanks in part to his ever-growing fan base and his enthusiasm.
Last year, the gimmicks were on a serious note. This year, it was all about representing themselves. Which superstar “increased their appeal” to the wrestling audience, as the true definition to “the gimmick? Well, after a small debate we (remember Mr. Namako helped in the process) agreed that the 2011 Golden Yardstick Winner for Best Gimmick goes to…Zack Ryder!
When you look for someone that had nothing and made himself into a superstar, one had to go with Ryder’s gimmick as one of the best in years. Ryder was going nowhere in the WWE and on the way out until he marketed himself via social media (which now the WWE has taken a bigger push to this dimension of WWE fans). The Briscoes deserved a runner-up post because they became more intense in their refreshed gimmick and the performance in the ring. The Jarretts were talked about for the majority of the year, whether it was good or bad they were a big part of Impact Wrestling this year.
2011 Golden Yardstick Winner for Best Gimmick: Zack Ryder as “YouTube Host and The Internet Champion” (WWE)
First Runner-Up: The Briscoes as “#DemBoys” (ROH)
Second Runner-Up: The Jarretts as “The TNA Power Couple” (TNA)
Previous Winners were Chris Jericho (2009) and CM Punk (2010)
Others considered were Sheamus as “The Great White”; Alberto Del Rio as the “Mexican Aristocrat”; Mark Henry’s “Hall of Pain”; Bully Ray as “The Bully”; The Miz for being “Awesome”; Austin Aries as “The Greatest X Division Champion that ever lived”‘; and Mike Bennett’s “Prodigy” gimmick.
In order to be successful in the wrestling business one must establish his or her own “finisher”. The finisher could be original or coule be copied but effective to keep you in the business for a very long time.
In 2010, the finisher that I went with was Randy Orton’s RKO. Usually this ends the match and it could be done anywhere (remember the RKO on Evan Bourne last year for reference).
This category could be easily disputed. One may like a flying finisher or one may enjoy a power finisher. However, in no particular order here are the nominees for Best Finish in 2011.
Tommaso Ciampa – He is a member of ROH’s “Embassy” stable with Prince Nana and he has made an immediate splash in Ring of Honor. While not facing top-notch competition at the moment, the one thing that stood out was his finisher. The “Project Ciampa” needs seeing to believe. It is a Powerbomb dropped into a double knee backbreaker and when done effectively (which I haven’t seen him miss the spot). Though his biggest win so far in 2011 was against Homicide, he is destined for a bigger 2012.
Randy Orton – He is in the running once again for this award because the RKO was done on pretty much every WWE wrestler superbly. There really is not much to state that we don’t know. Orton can hit it anywhere in a wrestling venue against any WWE talent (from Christian to Mark Henry).
Sheamus – Like Orton, his finisher can be done anywhere and it can pack a wallop. If you want to see how powerful it is. Watch Sheamus “Brouge Kick” a fake Conan O’Brien. Just YouTube it and be amazed. In the wresting ring, it usually ends a match. With his new-found charisma and a larger fan base, Expect to see for of this version of a bicycle kick for years to come.
All three finishers usually do the job, and the deed is done. This was one of the easies decisions that Mr. Namako and I had to decide on throughout the process. As much as we enjoyed the other two, the 2011 Golden Yardstick for Best Finisher goes to…Randy Orton!
It is Orton’s second year in a row that he won this award, but after consistently hitting the move to perfection in almost every scenario it was the obvious choice to be “Finish of the Year” again. What might be scary is that he hit it better in 2011 than he did in 2010 (outside the Bourne RKO). Ciampa’s finisher is a fantastic one, but Mr. Namako and I asked if he could continue using that finisher against heavier opponents, and we are not sure. Sheamus has an strong finish as well to his matches, but he also uses another intense finish as well to his matches in the High Cross (yes, we see Orton do the “Punt”, but not nearly as much anymore). So congratulations, Mr. Orton for the second time.
2011 Golden Yardstick Winner for Best Finisher – The RKO by Randy Orton (WWE)
First Runner-Up – Project Ciampa by Tommaso Ciampa (ROH)
Second Runner-Up – The Brouge Kick by Sheamus (WWE)
Previous Winners were: The Young Bucks (2009) and Randy Orton (2010).
Others considered were: CM Punk’s GTS; Evan Bourne’s Air Bourne; Mark Henry’s World’s Strongest Slam; Justin Gabriel’s 450 Splash; Roderick Strong’s Death by Roderick; El Generico’s Brainbuster, and Claudio Castagnoli’s Ricola Bomb.
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, ROH said goodbye to HDNet. However, ROH was not done and went on to Sinclair Brodcasting and now has more viewership. However, out of the six weekly shows that we keep watching every week I thought that these shows were better than the other lots.
In 2010, I gave a slight edge to Monday Night Raw due to some great storylines involving The Nexus and a revamped roster. In 2009, the edge went to Friday Night Smackdown. Both heavyweights are in the top three again, but will there be an upset?
Friday Night Smackdown – As usual, when the WWE Draft happens this brand loses their star power. The year started with Edge, Kane, Rey Mysterio, and Dolph Ziggler in the title mix. Well now all but Edge are on Raw now. Edge had to make a decision that not many want to be placed in, but he did what was right for his health. This opened up a wide array of WWE Superstars getting in the limelight. It was focused on guys like Randy Orton (who had a few rivalries), Christian (who finally earned a World Title in the WWE), Mark Henry, The Big Show, and now Daniel Bryan. Let us not forget that it was Smackdown that helped improve talents like Sheamus, Bryan, Cody Rhodes, and Wade Barrett. From a show that appears to be “second rate” over Raw, the creative team on Smackdown produced a good show with the limited star power.
Monday Night Raw (Supershow) – This is the WWE’s Flagship show. Every wrestler’s dream is to be on this weekly television show and it has a star-studded roster. It also had some very intense feuds, especially with the “Summer of Punk” in which he ranted on the direction of the WWE and was planning to leave when his contract ran up. It was on Raw when the hype for John Cena vs. The Rock started. Because of this, we will see one of the most anticipated matches in WWE History in April. Raw also welcomed The Muppets among a list of celebrities that went to the ring (also Hugh Jackman and Snooki). Let’s not forget R-Truth’s run to the WWE Championship and his comedic programs leading to Capital Punishment. As for wrestling, it was a strong show as well. We saw Del Rio rise to the title and Kane resurrected late in the year.
WWE Superstars – After being on the radar for a couple year, they finally crack the top three because if one wants to see the best quality in a wrestling match inside a WWE ring, look no further than this guilty pleasure. The commentary teams are entertaining and laid back (especially the team of Scott Stanford and Josh Matthews). And while the show does not feature guys like Cena, Punk, Orton, or Barrett they will always give fans something to remember (including a well-received match earlier in the year between Drew McIntyre and Chris Masters). A few mid-card storylines take off to another show, but remember this was where Zack Ryder started his rise to Raw.
2011 was a great year for professional wrestling television. While NXT was not on the list, they had an intriguing story in the Love Triangle of Maxine, Johnny Curtis, and Derrick Bateman. NXT also had a much-improved Titus O’Neil, a revamped Yoshi Tatsu and Tyson Kidd, and the entertaining commentary of William Regal (a shame he is no longer doing those duties). Impact Wrestling had a much better latter part of 2011 with an improved main event scene. Impact also had many title changes, including James Storm’s victory over Kurt Angle soon after Bound for Glory. It had some inconsistent moments, but the show has improved. ROH on HDNet was a solid program, but only lasted four months. While Sinclair gives them more viewers, the quality on television was off compared to other weekly shows.
Now, let’s get back to the top three. All three really deserve to be the “best in show”, but we decided to go with the show that had consistently good shows and storylines. Though CM Punk ran Raw for a few months, the 2011 Golden Yardstick for Best Weekly Television Show goes to…Friday Night Smackdown!
While I thought it was very close, Mr. Namako thought Smackdown was clearly the better show. Smackdown did the best with the very little star power they got once Mysterio, Del Rio, Ziggler, and others went over to Raw. They built the show around Orton and Christian for a bit then gave the ball to veterans that are back on the main event radar in The Big Show and Mark Henry later in the year. Smackdown also produced some fast-rising stars in Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. All around, Smackdown was the better show overall in 2011. Raw had great moments, don’t get us wrong. Raw brought us CM Punk’s run towards the championship, a great faction with Dolph Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero, and Jack Swagger. However, there was a lot left out for it to be the flagship show in 2011. WWE Superstars did get some consideration for their booking. They do a good job getting a feel for some of the wrestlers to see if they are worth keeping. Sometimes they strike gold and sometimes we never see the wrestlers again.
2011 Golden Yardstick for Best Weekly Television Show: Friday Night Smackdown (WWE)
First Runner-Up: Monday Night Raw (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: WWE Superstars (WWE)
Previous Winners were: Friday Night Smackdown (2009) and Monday Night Raw (2010)
The only other show considered in the top three was WWE NXT.
BEST TELEVISION COMMENTATOR
I always believe that a good pro wrestling commentator is equally important as the action that is inside the squared circle. TNA kept Taz and Mike Tenay around for another year, and again it was miserable. Ring of Honor switched commentators after HDNet, now they have Kevin Kelly (a former WWE commentator) and Former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuiness. The WWE changed up teams numerously. Some commentators competed and some of them just stayed behind the table. Overall, I think we heard at least (if not more) ten voices in the WWE call matches throughout 2011.
Overall, it was a very disappointing 2011 for commentary. It was unbearable at times to hear them (and yes it was more than just Michael Cole) and it just felt that some were just hyping themselves up more than the wrestlers in the ring. However, Mr. Namako and I thought there were three that really stood out of this very shallow pool.
In 2010, Josh Mathews was the surprise pick as the Best Commentator. He was nominated again this year, but did he do enough to win a second Golden Yardstick? Here are the nominees.
Kevin Kelly – The play-by-play man for Ring of Honor made an impact the very first event that he called in 2010 for the company. Since then, he was consistent in calling a maneuver, a hold, or anything that has happened outside the wresting ring. Despite limited technology (especially in the iPPV event), Kelly made the best and adapted well to the ROH-style.
Josh Mathews – The hardest working commentator in the WWE, as he was stationed on every show. While Mathews was not a “move-caller”, he tried his best in the limited time to tell a story in the ring. Honestly, it has to be difficult to call a match with Cole and Booker T. Mathews best work happens when he is on NXT with Matt Striker and Superstars with Scott Stanford. He was arguably the only hybrid WWE commentator in 2011.
William Regal – He was a commentator just enough to qualify for our strict standards. He did all of his commentary on WWE NXT and we felt he was telling a story of why a wrestling hold was done better than anyone else in the commentary business in 2011. While he admits to “stuttering” on his lines, he was very open about it and admitted his mistakes. The way he presented himself as an expert gave him points in our decision making.
Again, 2011 saw wrestling as a whole move on the rise. However, the commentary lacked behind for the most part of the year. Some might be surprised at our selection, but it was a very easy call. The 2011 Golden Yardstick Winner for Best Television Commentator goes to…Kevin Kelly!
Despite only appearing weekly for mere months, Kelly was able to do what other professional wrestling commentators could not do in a year-long span. Kelly had emotion and passion for what was INSIDE the ring, and that was something missing all year. That was the key ingredient to why we chose him as the best. While Matthews and Regal were both solid, they just were not in Kelly’s class in 2011.
2011 Golden Yardstick for Best Television Commentator: Kevin Kelly (ROH)
First Runner-Up: Josh Mathews (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: William Regal (WWE)
Previous Winners were: Matt Striker (2009) and Josh Mathews (2010)
The only other commentator under consideration was Portia Perez in SHIMMER.
MOST HATED WRESTLER
When I think of the title “Most Hated”, I think of a wrestler that the majority of the fans just completely despise. One that makes the fans want to punch them in the jaw at the very least. A wrestler that is so hated by the fans that he can just generate enough heat year round.
Last Year, The Miz was that guy. He fed off every WWE fan that booed him out of a building and it led him to a very healthy WWE Championship reign. Once again, he is nominated for this list as the most consistently hated wrestler in the WWE. However, one trend that I noticed that sometimes though wrestlers are heels they get cheered for their ways. Those types of wrestlers can’t be qualified if they are getting a babyface reaction.
So, let me introduce the nominees for Most Hated Wrestler.
Mike Bennett – If one is a ROH fan, they noticed that every time Bennett talked or wrestled he was the most hated man on the card. While The Briscoes were welcomed back by the fans after their heel run, Bennett still finds a way to antagonize by any means. A couple examples would be walking out of an overtime period in a Television Championship match against Jay Lethal and when he introduced former WWE Diva Maria as his valet. There is legit hate for Bennett in ROH’s hotspots, and I feel that this heat will lead him to better things in 2012.
The Miz – Many WWE heels fall victim to being cheered because they are the “bad guy”. However, The Miz bucked off that trend by humiliating sports towns and his opponents by any means necessary. While 2011 saw the highs and lows for The Miz, his reaction still stays the same. And while guys like Dolph Ziggler gets a good heel reaction, he needs a bit of help. The Miz did it all by himself.
Bully Ray – I will admit, I was totally wrong about this Bully Ray gimmick. It appears that he is genuinely hated even in a sometimes-dead Impact Zone in Florida. While his wrestling gets a reaction, it is what he did outside of the ring that got fans riled up (aka hating) on Bully Ray. He would cut great promos, coax the bait to the line and then hit them with a low blow or a chain shot. Despite getting older, his new run gave him a year-long position as a high-level heel in TNA. And of course, he got the loudest boos in the house.
All three wrestlers on this list are hated by many fans around the world, but deep down I am a good bit have to respect what they can do to rile a crowd up. The decision was very close, but we decided to give the 2011 Golden Yardstick for Most Hated to…Bully Ray!
We have to give credit where credit is due. Bully Ray was great at talking a big game, but in the end always found a way to either weasel out of a match or delivers a behind-the-back attack. When he would run down what he did, you can hear a lot of heat from the crowd, especially when Impact was out of Orlando for tapings. It takes a lot to be hated by the fans, and Bully Ray did that consistently all year for Impact Wrestling. Bennett’s time will arrive. If Bennett has a year like he did in 2011, I think he may be the favorite to win this award next year. The Miz still generates heat from a WWE audience, but it just seemed like there was more fire in 2010. And while it was strong in 2011, Miz could not maintain it after his feud with John Cena came to an end.
2011 Golden Yardstick for Most Hated Wrestler – Bully Ray (TNA)
First Runner-Up – Mike Bennett (ROH)
Second Runner-Up – The Miz (WWE)
Previous Winners were: Chris Jericho (2009) and The Miz (2010)
Others considered were: Jeff Jarrett, Vickie Guerrero, Mark Henry, Wade Barrett, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, and R-Truth.
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 a particular group of people.
Last year, Rey Mysterio was the clear choice because he earned a reaction large enough to shake an arena. Mysterio had a great 2011 because of the reaction that he got from the Smackdown crowd, and he held the WWE Championship for an hour or so. But he can say that he was a World Champ in 2011. It was unfortunate for his injury in the middle part of the year.
Throughout 2011 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 wrestlers 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 happy and cheerful. Here are the nominees.
John Cena – From a marketing standpoint, Cena sells more merchandise than any other wrestler today. However, this will be only a taste of why we think his the “Most Popular”. Despite being jeered more for his beliefs of “Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect”, Cena kept true with this motto and is one of the most idolized professional wrestlers of this generation. While this year was not his best year, it is obvious who gets the largest reaction (love or hate) in a general fan’s mind. Also, he grants more wishes for Make-A-Wish than any athlete. That amounts to something special.
Randy Orton – His popularity was slowly rising in 2010 and it took off in 2011 when he became the flag bearer for Friday Night Smackdown after the sudden retirement of Edge. On television, people can say what they want but they come for “The Viper”. On paper, 2011 may have been his best year in terms of popularity. When it comes down to it, WWE fans pay to see a Smackdown show for Orton.
Sheamus – Sheamus really picked up steam as a babyface in such a short time. While it is easy to be a heel in professional wrestling, Sheamus did something that is a rare feat in today’s WWE. He is a better babyface in months than he was as a heel for over a year. The moment his music hits, the pop is reached. And in this writer’s eyes, I think the cheers started when he said “I’ll fight him” to Mark Henry after Henry inducted people to his “Hall of Pain”. He has also been featured on Late Night programming during 2011.
Once again, three WWE superstars conquered the top three spots because of the fan reactions in every large arena. ROH and TNA wrestlers would dream of getting to have that reaction in that kind of environment. Cena, Orton, and Sheamus did that for the WWE in 2011, and here is hoping for more popularity in TNA and ROH in 2012.
Also, keep in mind that CM Punk was not in our top three (but was considered). Before we get backlash, we felt that Punk was a fan for the loyal wrestling fan, but not the casual wrestling fan. Punk has a shot next year for this, but he was a heel longer than Sheamus was in 2011.
Without further adieu, let us award the 2011 Golden Yardstick for Most Popular Wrestler to…Randy Orton!
It was close, but we went with Orton because he was heavily featured on Smackdown and did not disappoint. Orton was the most consistent worker on that brand after he was drafted from Raw, and the fans popped for Orton more than any other wrestler. While Cena may be the most popular to the casual, the loyal fans are sadly fickle on Cena. Sheamus is a favorite to win this award in 2012. He has the charisma, a unique look, and a moveset that will win him over many fans on Smackdown. However, when it came to popularity this year I just heard more pop for Orton than any other.
2011 Golden Yardstick for Most Popular Wrestler: Randy Orton (WWE)
First Runner-Up: John Cena (WWE)
Second Runner-Up: Sheamus (WWE)
Previous Winners were: Jeff Hardy (2009) and Rey Mysterio (2010)
Others considered were: CM Punk; Rey Mysterio; Sin Cara; James Storm; Davey Richards; El Generico; AJ Styles; and Zack Ryder.
THE 2011 MATCH OF THE YEAR
(Note: This is a Mr. V exclusive. Mr. Namako is a part of the Wrestleview Match of the Year Project and did not take part).
This year, I can honestly tell you that I caught EVERY match on television by the WWE, TNA, and ROH. Though I only saw a few pay-per-views during this past year I feel that my nominations for this category are pretty accurate. We have seen so much featuring the best talents in the world of professional wrestling. Out of the hundreds of matches that I’ve witnessed in 2011 from the privacy of my own home, I’ve come up with the top three matches of 2011.
Last Year, I went with Undertaker vs. Michaels II at WrestleMania XXVI. It was so captivating and one that got a rare “A+” in my grade book for the 2010 year.
Remember, since I did not catch every PPV match I may have left off one of your favorite matches. Here are the nominees from the ones that I have watched.
All Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King) vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe), ROH Death Before Dishnor IX, September 17 – While it was not their final match, it continued one of the best feuds of the year with a lot of high risks, brawling, and strikes in this Ladder War III match. All four worked a tremendous match, and the All Night Express became a great tag team after winning a contract for the ROH Tag Titles and sealed it by writing their team name on the envelope in Jay Briscoe’s blood. If one likes daring spots, brutal strikes, and a bloddy finish that was done as safe as a match of this magnitude could be, give this a look on DVD.
CM Punk vs. John Cena, WWE Money in the Bank, July 17 – This was the best WWE PPV match based on raw emotion. The energy was something I have rarely seen in the ring. It was a homecoming for CM Punk, who hyped it up as his last night in the WWE (obviously we know he came back days later). Cena came out to the jeers in a match like this and could have been discouraged. However, throughout the match we saw an amazing story of perseverance and intensity. Just when fears of the WWE Championship were about to change hands, WWE CEO (in the script) Vince McMahon demanded that John Laurinaitis ring the bell via a Montreal Screwjob from years back. However, it ended with Cena being distracted by his own boss (who threatened to fire him the next day) and CM Punk ran away with the championship.
Randy Orton vs. Christian, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, May 6 – Yes, this was taped before May 6th, but it aired on this date. Christian was having the time of his life as the new World Heavyweight Champion after his match at Extreme Rules. However, after three people laid claim to be the next contender Teddy Long made it a fan vote and they chose Randy Orton. What we got was not only the best babyface vs. babyface match of 2011, but the best TV match of the year (the other two were PPV). It was the best match both had with each other and in the end we knew the result. Orton hit an RKO to a flying Christian and Orton ended Christian brief title run. It was frustrating to see someone work so hard lose his title that quickly, but in the end it made for a good summer feud between the two Smackdown stars.
All three matches I had at #1 at some point when I did this on paper. I had to really think as to what match was better and what made it a bigger splash in the long run. When I thought about those variables, the answer was clear that the 2011 Golden Yardstick for Match of the Year went to…Punk vs. Cena!
I think from the standpoint of where the story was heading, I think Punk vs. Cena meant more and created more buzz around professional wrestling than the other two matches. Still, give credit to the other wrestlers that were in this category as well. Matches like the ones that I watched made me proud to follow wrestling at this age. This will be the only time I will not have an “Other considered” because believe me there were so many great matches that I watched in Mexico and Japan that I even considered.
2011 Golden Yardstick for Match of the Year: CM Punk vs. John Cean, WWE Money in the Bank (WWE)
First Runner-Up: All Night Express vs. The Briscoes, ROH Death Before Dishonor IX (ROH)
Second Runner-Up: Randy Orton vs. Christian, WWE Friday Night Smackdown from May 6 (WWE)
Previous Winners were: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV (2009); Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI (2010).
This concludes Part One of the 2011 Golden Yardsticks/Rotten Apples Awards Ceremony. I will accept (and take) any feedback from all of my students. Just send them to email@example.com and I will try to answer all e-mails.
Next Time, Mr. Namako and I will hand out Golden Yardsticks for:
Most Underrated (2010 Winner: Yoshi Tatsu)
Best High Flyer (2010 Winner: Kofi Kingston)
Best Brawler (2010 Winner: Sheamus)
Best Technical Wrestler (2010 Winner: Daniel Bryan)
Most Charismatic (2010 Winner: John Cena)
Best on the Mic (2010 Winner: The Miz)
Most Improved (2010 Winner: Drew McIntyre)
Comeback of the Year (2010 Winner: Rob Van Dam)
Feud of 2011 (2010 Winner: Kevin Steen vs. El Generico)
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, here are the ways:
THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE IS NOW AIRING ON SATURDAYS!
The Teacher’s Lounge give the Wrestleview Radio Network audience a complete rundown of the past week’s events in professional wrestling all in a 90-minute program. Join Dave Stephens (WWE Raw Recapper and TNA Post-Show Co-Host) and I as we embark on what happened this past week and we play a few games as well.
We also have guests on the show at times. Just look up the archives at vip.wrestleview.com. I will give you a rundown in the near future.
Well, that does it for me today. You may now leave my classroom in an orderly line and please do not shove anyone with a coffee thermos in their hand. You are all…DISMISSED!!