The Crow's Nest - 30 Day Challenge: Day 5: Favourite Wrestling Company
By The Crow
Jun 12, 2014 - 11:05:00 PM
1) Day 1: Favourite wrestling superstar of all time (06/08/14)
2) Day 2: Favourite match of all time (06/09/14)
3) Day 3: Most overrated superstar (06/10/14)
4) Day 4: Most underrated superstar (06/11/14)
4) Day 5: Favourite wrestling company (06/12/14)
I meant to start this at the beginning of the month, but between work getting crazy and me just buying a house, things have been a little hectic. But better late than never I say.
I'm sure you know somebody who's done one of these "30 Day Challenge" things before, whether it was 30 days of music or Instagram posts or whatever. We've even seen them a couple times right here on LordsOfPain before (including one from yours truly a couple years ago). The thing I really enjoyed about doing it last time was that because the topics were so specific, it generated some really entertaining conversation between my readers and I. Because of that, I figured it was about time that the 30 Day Challenge was brought back.
I've found a different list than the one I used last time, so there's going to be some new content here. For even more added value, I'll also be completing a 30 Day Music Challenge. So without further delay, let's jump right into Day 1.
Day 1: Favourite Wrestling Superstar of All Time
My favourite wrestler of all time should come as no surprise to anybody that's followed my columns before. Growing up I was always a bigger fan of the flashy wrestlers that could fly around the ring, like Matt and Jeff Hardy or Rob Van Dam. As I grew up and matured as a wrestling fan, I grew to appreciate wrestlers that took a more technical approach to their in-ring style. Guys that could tell a story through their wrestling and make just about anybody look good in the ring.
My favourite wrestler of all time probably wouldn't be picked by most people. I'm sure he'd be in a few "Top 5" lists, but very rarely would he appear in the #1 spot. That's not to say that he's not deserving (re: I'm not picking him just to be different) and he's certainly a pick that I can justify without much effort and people will understand.
My favourite wrestler of all time is none other than Kurt Angle.
Let's take a look at some of Angle's career accomplishments:
- 2002 Wrestling Observer "Wrestler of the Year"
- 2003 PWI "Wrestler of the Year"
- Wrestling Observer "Wrestler of the Decade (2000s)"
- 11-time World Heavyweight Champion (6 in WWE, 5 in TNA)
- 2-time Triple Crown Champion (in WWE and TNA)
- 5th Grand Slam Champion in WWE history
The list goes on, both in terms of actual championships won and other " of the Year" awards. On top of that, he's won multiple real wrestling championships, including an Olympic gold medal from the 1996 games. Angle is a hugely decorated wrestler, but that's not totally why he's my favourite of all time.
Angle is a guy that, as the old saying goes, could go out there and wrestle a 5-star match with a broomstick. At 45 years old and with a number of pretty serious injuries (including multiple broken vertebrae in his neck) he's still one of the most athletic guys out there and can still wrestle circles around a lot of the younger talent.
Physical ability aside, Angle is also able to play both sides of the character fence equally well. Whether he's playing a serious mob boss character, a patriotic American hero or a comedic goofball, Angle is capable of putting on an extremely entertaining and convincing performance.
I really hope that Angle gets to finish off his career in WWE, eventually taking a much-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame. There's more than a few matches I'd like to see between Angle and some of the newer faces in WWE. I'm pretty sure it'll happen some day, once Angle decides it's time to consider retirement, but until that day happens I'll just remain hopeful.
Music Challenge Day 1: Favourite Song With a Colour in the Title
I've never been a huge Rolling Stones fan, but it's pretty hard to hate this song. It's an easy song to rock out to and has been covered by a huge number of bands in multiple genres, including U2, The Unseen, Black Dahlia Murder, The Agony Scene, W.A.S.P., R.E.M., Rush and more.
It was tricky to pick a song for this day since my brain decided to blank on songs that I know with colours in the name. The first ones that came to mind were "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden and "Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who, but once I remembered "Paint it Black", it was no contest.
There we have it, day 1 in the bag. Let me know what wrestler and song you would have picked, and of course tune in tomorrow for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge.
Day 2: Favourite Match of All Time
Talk about a tricky decision to make.
Over the years I've been watching wrestling, I've seen more matches than I can count. Between weekly shows, PPV events, house shows and indy events, how can I possibly pick just one? There's plenty of "classic" matches featuring the legends of the industry that I could pick, but most of those matches happened before I was watching, some before I was even born.
The big criteria for me in picking my favourite match of all time include match quality (obviously), relevance to the storyline and how it made me feel as a fan from start to finish. I can almost guarantee you that after I post this column with my official "pick", I'm going to remember some other match and kick myself for not remembering it earlier.
I'm going to have to cheat a bit with today's entry as I managed to narrow it down to 2, and I really can't pick a clear winner between them.
The first pick comes to us from Wrestlemania 21 in 2005. These two wrestlers met in the ring a few months prior to the "big one" during the Royal Rumble, and that's where this rivalry began. It quickly evolved into a battle of egos, one from a legitimate athlete that believed he deserved more recognition from the fans, the other from a guy who is commonly called one of the best of all time. Between the Rumble and Wrestlemania, these guys fought relentlessly in ambushes and sneak attacks, with one of them even beating down the other wrestler's former tag team partner and valet.
My first pick is, of course, Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle from Wrestlemania 21.
From a technical wrestling standpoint, this match had it all including submissions, aerial moves and good old beatdowns. From a dramatic standpoint, I remember having the feeling that it truly was a match that either man could win. They didn't overdo the false counts like a lot of matches do (which I think is a cheap and relatively ineffective tactic to create fake drama) and really sold the fans on the fact that both wrestlers were going to do whatever it took to get the win.
If you're a newer wrestling fan and have never seen this match before, I highly recommend it. Matches like this are exactly why both Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle are viewed as legends of the industry. There's been dream matches before that have failed to deliver, but this is certainly not one of those.
My second pick is also from a Wrestlemania event. Wrestlemania XX was supposed to be the biggest event in company history, marking an insane milestone as the 20th Wrestlemania. This 12-match spectacular looked, on paper at least, like it should have been an event to remember. You had matches like Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle, The Undertaker vs. Kane, Christian vs. Chris Jericho, Goldberg vs. Lesnar, and of course, my second pick for today's challenge:
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship.
You want to talk about emotional build-up to a match? Chris Benoit was being billed as the ultimate underdog (#NoReyMysterio) that, despite being incredibly talented, could never seem to win "the big one". Benoit had fought his heart out to win the Royal Rumble that year (becoming only the second wrestler to do so from the #1 spot). Despite being a Smackdown wrestler (the brand split was still kind of a thing at this point) Benoit decided to challenge the champion over on RAW, Triple H.
Because of the ongoing feud between Triple H and Shawn Michaels (including Michaels weaselling his way into the title match at Wrestlemania) I think many of us assumed that Benoit really had no chance of winning. He was there to give us a tease of "ha, look how close he got!" but at the end of the day, this match was going to be about Michaels and Triple H.
But then, at the end of the match, Chris Benoit not only became the World Heavyweight Champion, he did so by making Triple H tap out. Triple H, the guy who's fairly infamous for allegedly "burying" people, had just put over Chris Benoit on the biggest stage of them all by tapping out to his signature move. Benoit's very real tears after the match, including his moment with close friend Eddie Guerrero, probably ranks as one of my favourite moments of all time in wrestling.
Both of the matches I picked for today combined a great sense of drama and real emotion with exciting technical displays and truly memorable moments. I did say earlier that I'm sure I'll remember other matches after I post this column, but as it stands right now I don't know that I'll think of anything better. Yes, there were classic matches from history that might be more commonly picked, but these matches involved wrestlers that I grew up on. That makes a huge difference to me because while other matches from history might be great, I lived every moment of these feuds as a fan. These were the superstars that I watched develop into legends, and that is why these matches have been chosen today.
Music Challenge Day 2: Favourite Cover Song
My god, talk about another difficult pick. I don't even know how many cover songs I have in my music library, but it's a lot. For sure this is one of those picks that would depend on when you asked me because my musical tastes range across every genre. One day I might be in the mood for a metal cover of an old pop tune, other days maybe it's a country cover of a rock song.
My big thing when it comes to cover songs is that the artist doing the cover has to be able to make the song their own. It's one thing to just play the same notes and replicate a classic tune, it's quite another to make the listeners believe that it might have been your song originally.
Remember what I just said about how important it is for a cover artist to make the song that they're covering their own? Well Johnny Cash did just that, and did it so well that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails even said that the song "isn't mine anymore". I'm pretty comfortable with this pick, but just for the sake of covering more bases...
"Black Soul Choir" by DevilDriver (Originally by 16 Horsepower)
"Come Undone" by It Dies Today (Originally by Duran Duran)
"Holy Diver" by Killswitch Engage (Originally by Dio)
"Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley (Originally by Leonard Cohen)
"Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by Nirvana (Originally by Lead Belly)
…way too many more to mention.
There we have it, day 2 in the bag. Let me know what match and song you would have picked, and of course tune in tomorrow for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge.
Day 3: Most Overrated Superstar
The last time I did a 30-day wrestling column challenge, my picks for this category certainly generated some good conversation. To refresh your memory, my picks for the most overrated wrestlers last time were Zack Ryder and Hulk Hogan.
I don't think I need to tell you all this, but is there anybody out there that really OVERRATES Ryder anymore? Sure, there's people that would like to see him on TV a bit more, but unlike a couple of years ago there's not a whole lot of people crying for a Zack Ryder title run of any kind. So no, Ryder will not be appearing in this entry beyond this very brief paragraph.
Hogan will not be my pick here either as I believe I may have been a bit quick to judge last time, letting my personal bias against him get in the way (nobody's perfect, right?) Don't get me wrong, I still think Hogan is overrated, but is he the MOST overrated? There's certainly an argument to be made that the business would be a very different one today had it not been for Hulkamania running wild. Whether or not I like Hogan personally, even I can't deny the impact he's had on the business. Sadly his ego got in the way at certain points in his career (looking at you TNA) but overall I think we should all be very thankful that Hogan decided to lace up the boots as a career option.
I'll be honest with all of you here, I really wanted to pick Kofi Kingston here. I've never quite seen the fuss with him as anything more than a really solid mid card guy. I've got no problem with him being prominently featured in battles for the US or IC title belts, maybe flirting around the main event as a somewhat legitimate opponent for REAL main event guys to beat, but under no circumstances do I think he should ever hold a World Championship in WWE. The kid's talented, obviously, but that's not enough of a reason to become "the man". There's been loads of talented wrestlers in the industry that never became World Champion and they still had great careers. A World Championship is not something that every wrestler who has a brief moment of greatness is entitled to. But Kofi Kingston is not the most overrated wrestler.
No, my pick today is going to be controversial to some, so I'm not going to bother doing a "guess who I'm talking about" intro because I want to jump right into why I've made the pick. My pick today is CM Punk.
Before you light your torches and try to run me out of town, understand this: I'm a big fan of CM Punk. I think he's solid in the ring, can certainly cut effective promos and has great taste in hockey teams. His work absolutely speaks for itself and I've made no secret of how much I've enjoyed watching him develop as a superstar over the years.
The reason I believe that Punk is overrated is because of the number of people that act like he is the second coming and that wrestling is doomed without him. Punk is good, but do you know what he's not? Irreplaceable. The difference between guys like Hogan and guys like Punk is that while they both have huge egos and definitely buy into their own hype (perhaps a bit too much) one of them was a proven commodity when he started making crazy demands, the other wasn't.
Punk was popular, sure. He might have even been on the verge of becoming "great", perhaps taking the push that has now gone to Daniel Bryan instead. Instead he decided to take his ball and go home, and you know what happened?
Life went on.
Sure, we've heard a few "CM PUNK!" chants since he left, but can anybody truthfully say that the product has become unwatchable since his departure? The way some people reacted to the news of him leaving you'd think that Punk was the keystone holding the entire entire organization together. That without Punk, WWE would collapse quicker than Prince Oberyn's skull. No, WWE is doing just fine, and now Punk is on the outside looking in.
We can all relate to feeling like we deserved better treatment from our employers, but we suck it up because it's something we have to do. Punk has the obvious benefit of having made quite a bit more money than most of us will ever see, making it quite a bit easier to walk away in a huff.
Again, I like CM Punk. I'd also love to see him back in WWE someday. But he's far from being the deity that some people hold him up as. Just because I think he's overrated does not mean I'm taking away from his abilities. Once again, CM Punk is good. My problem is with how some people refuse to believe that he's capable of doing anything wrong or less-than-stellar. He's not untouchable folks, some of you really need to realize this.
Music Challenge Day 3: Oldest Song You Love
This is a really weird topic. There's a lot of classical music that I love which would I guess be the oldest music I listen to in terms of when it was written. I'm going to go ahead and exclude classical music from this one.
I thought this challenge would be much more difficult, but for some reason there was one song that came to mind almost immediately. Originally composed for an opera in 1928, this song has been covered by a number of major artists over the years, including Bing Crosby, The Doors, Frank Sinatra, Sting, Ella Fitzgerald, Roger Daltrey and more. The version that I've chosen here was recorded in 1959 and has become arguably the most well known version of the song, reaching #1 in the US charts.
There we have it, day 3 in the bag. Let me know what wrestler and song you would have picked, and of course tune in tomorrow for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge.
Day 4: Most Underrated Superstar
Just like yesterday's entry, I'm going to be making a different pick this year than I did last time. The last time I did this challenge, I chose a pretty surprising name for this entry. Robbie E., yes THAT Robbie E., was my choice last time, and I still believe that he is very underrated. The man can wrestle, and if it weren't for the fact that he's been regularly saddled with ridiculous gimmicks I think that his talent would be a lot more obvious. It's the same kind of opinion I have on Santino. Very solid wrestler but never really gets a chance to show it because he's rocking a comedy gimmick.
I even considered picking John Cena for today because while he's obviously the #1 guy in WWE, I really don't think he gets the credit from fans (specifically members of the IWC) that he deserves for the work that he does. It seems like no matter how how great his performance is, people trash it because he's John Cena. Every generation has its golden boy that is cheered to the top but slowly has the fans turn on him, Cena just happens to be that guy for the modern age of wrestling. Just to be clear, I have no problem with people not liking Cena, I get that. But even people who dislike him should be able to recognize his value to the company.
it really all comes down to how you want to define the term "underrated". You could define it like I did with the Cena example where a guy is undervalued by fans despite clearly being a valuable asset. You could define it like I did in the Robbie E. example where I argue that the only reason he's not valued more is because of his goofy gimmick, and if he were to ditch that he would become a much bigger deal. Or you could define it like I'm about to with my pick for today where I'm essentially combining the definitions of "underrated" and "underused". My pick for today is probably the most predictable one of the challenge so far.
Tyson Kidd is, in my opinion, easily the most underrated guy on either of the major rosters in North America. He's not the next John Cena megastar, but it's really a travesty that he's not used or valued more. The kid is consistently solid in the ring and brings an intensity to his style that allows him to work with pretty much anybody. He can do the high-flying, he can do technical, he can do brawling and he can, if the situation calls for it, be the punching bag that gets tossed around by the monster.
I won't sit here and complain that he hasn't been given a fair shot. He's had a few chances now and just never seemed quite right at the time. Apparently he's been tearing it up on NXT lately, which is nice to see/hear given that he was out of action with an injury for most of 2013. I think that given the right opportunity AND the right booking, Kidd could be a fantastic addition to WWE's mid-card.
WWE should have an easy time running with the whole "last graduate of the Hart dungeon" character, especially since Kidd is talented enough to back up a push. It's all about timing though. There's a lot going on in the WWE right now and I fear that Kidd might get lost in the shuffle if he were to get brought back right now, so in the mean time maybe NXT is the best place for him. If Kidd can keep himself relevant on that show while also helping to train up-and-coming talent, I believe his time on the main roster will come. He might never be World Champion, but I don't think a run with the US or IC belt is out of the question.
I know I won't be alone with this pick, and yes it was probably a bit obvious, but that doesn't make it any less true. As it stands right now in the two major North American companies, Tyson Kidd is, in my opinion, the most underrated guy on the roster.
Music Challenge Day 4: A Modern Song You Love
The problem with being a fan of so many different genres of music is that questions like this are nearly impossible to answer. My answer to questions like this could change day-to-day based on how I'm feeling at the time. Thankfully this isn't asking me to pick my absolute favourite modern song, making this a whole lot easier.
I'm a big fan of powerful female vocalists, especially in the genre of metal. The song I've chosen for today's entry combines two amazing female singers who, while similar in some ways, are different enough to keep things interesting. I wasn't surprised that I love this song given that I like the projects that both women are involved in.
There we have it, day 4 in the bag. Let me know what wrestler and song you would have picked, and of course tune in tomorrow for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge.
Day 5: Favourite Wrestling Company
This is going to be an easy one. It's also going to be a short one since I'm running on much less time than usual tonight due to the provincial election.
If you asked me this question a few years ago, there's a good chance I'd have answered this question with a resounding "TNA!" The X-Division was exciting and the Knockouts were proving that female wrestlers could be valuable assets to a wrestling company. As much as I'd like to stay positive about TNA's current state, I just can't do it anymore.
My easy answer to today's challenge is, of course, WWE. I have been pretty open in the past about not paying too much attention to the other minor/indy companies out there. Not because I've got anything against them or anything, I've just never given them enough of a chance to consider myself a devoted fan.
WWE has given me more "bang for my buck" in terms of entertainment over the years than any other hobby or passion I can think of. Between TV shows, PPVs, house shows, live TV tapings, DVDs, video games, books, autograph signings and more, it's hard to imagine what my life would be like without WWE.
WWE has given me more emotional, "real" moments than any other wrestling company out there. Whether it was seeing Benoit winning his first World Championship or the very real emotion in the eyes of Shawn Michaels after his match with Ric Flair, no company can top the moments that WWE has given me as a fan. WWE might not always have the best show of the week and they might make some really odd booking decisions, but at the end of the day they are #1 for a reason.
Now for the sake of fleshing out the entry a bit, I want to take a moment to plug my favourite indy promotion.
When I moved to Vancouver a few years ago, I was basically starting my life over. New school, new city (across the country from home) and the knowledge that I would have to make all new friends was scary. I made a few quick friends out there and it didn't take long for us to bond over our shared love of wrestling. They mentioned that there was local promotion known as Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) that regularly put on shows in the area and suggested we go check it out.
I got to know the company pretty well and actually hung out with the owner (who also wrestles) and some of his crew a few times, including a few shows where I was videotaping a feature piece on the independent wrestling scene in Vancouver. ECCW introduced me to a crew of wrestlers that have a real passion for what they do, and it helped not only to make me feel more comfortable in my new city, but it reignited my own passion as a wrestling fan. Scotty Mac (the owner) knows how to put on one hell of a show, and after watching him interact with his roster before shows, he seems like the guy who really gets the business. His crew seem to love working for him, and he very clearly respects each and every one of them.
If you ever find yourself in Vancouver (or in other areas across British Columbia) I highly recommend you check out an ECCW show. You won't be disappointed.
Music Challenge Day 5: A Slow Song You Love
Well damn, another tricky one. As I've said before, my taste in music can really change on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. It also doesn't help that my taste in music ranges from classical to country to heavy metal, so I've really got quite the library of music to choose from.
I'm going to go with a song that I've been listening to a lot lately for some reason.
No real reason behind it beyond the fact that I'm a big fan of Toby Keith. Whether it's more radio-friendly songs like "How Do You Like Me Now" or story-driven songs like the one I posted here, he can still get it done. He's actually going to be in my area in a couple months as part of the Boots and Hearts festival, so naturally I'm doing whatever I can to find tickets.
There we have it, day 5 in the bag. Let me know what company and song you would have picked, and of course tune in tomorrow for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge.
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