Well folks, it's that time of year again. The most wonderful time of the year as some might say. I am of course referring to Christmas. While some of you might celebrate it for religious reasons, many of you probably also see it as a time to ask for and exchange gifts. I personally observe it for the latter set of reasons, but to each their own I say.
As members of the IWC, we are all guilty of the same thing. We all spend a good portion of each year wishing for things we would like to see in the world of wrestling. It could be who you wish was getting pushed, who you wish would get fired, or even something as simple as wishing for a nip-slip from your favourite Diva or Knockout.
Today I'm going to make a list of things I would like to see happen in the world of wrestling when the new year is upon us. Some of them are bound to be more realistic than others, but they're my wishes so feasibility really doesn't enter into it here. That being said, what does yours truly want Santa Claus to bring him this year? In the spirit of "The 12 Days of Christmas", I now bring to you TheCrow's 12 Christmas Wishes.
1) For the Mindless TNA Haters to Grow Up
To set the record straight, I'm not talking about people who just don't like TNA here. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I do understand how the TNA product isn't for everybody. I'm talking about the idiots that show up every time a TNA thread is posted on a wrestling site (whether it be on the main page or in the forums) that take a massive dump on a product they fully admit to not even watching, and usually with some of the most mind-numbingly retarded and grammatically incorrect sentences I've ever seen. Firstly, that logic has never made sense to me. How can you have an opinion on a show you don't even watch? I don't personally watch CHIKARA or RoH, therefore I don't have an opinion on them. Hating on TNA just seems to be the "cool" thing to do, much like hating on John Cena is the "cool" thing to do. If you watch the product and find you don't enjoy it, that's absolutely fine and I encourage you to discuss it with people who may have a differing opinion from your own in a respectful and understandable way. I'll be the first one to admit that TNA is far from perfect, and Lord knows they make their share of fumbles along the way, but some of these haters just make me want to start stabbing people in the face. TNA is not presently competition to WWE and that's something that won't ever change if they refuse to grow as a separate company first and to establish their own image and fan base, but that does not mean that everything they do is a steaming pile of dog shit. I watch TNA because regardless of all the BS that may occur on-screen (or behind the scenes in some cases), I find it to be a solid product with loads of potential. Like I said, it isn't for everybody, but the same thing can be said about any wrestling promotion in the world. I'm starting to ramble here, so to sum it all up, I want the MINDLESS TNA haters to grow up and learn to conduct themselves properly. Maybe even tune into an episode of iMPACT with an open mind. Then again, I don't know if their simple minds could process the idea of having an individual thought, so maybe mass genocide is a better option.
2) For the "Ryder Revolution" to Keep Going Strong
I would never claim to be a bigger fan of the Long Island Iced Z than my fellow Main Pager SuperChrisss, but I have made it no secret that I've been a big fan of Mr. Ryder for some time now. A "pre-bandwagon broski" if you will. This past year has seen Ryder rise from a nobody who was lucky if he even made an appearance in a dark match or at a live event to one of the more over stars on the WWE roster, proving that in the insanely quick pace of this industry you can't just sit back and wait for your push. He was unhappy about his spot on the card, and he did something about it, and what did that result in? Nothing major, just him becoming a top merchandise seller in the company as well as being the current United States Champion. Right now it seems as though WWE is executing Ryder's push perfectly, and while I would have liked to see him dethrone Ziggler a little earlier, the win at TLC works just as well. WWE didn't blow their wad prematurely with Ryder, and if they continue at this rate both they and Ryder himself stand to benefit greatly. As for my wish, I just hope this wave of momentum keeps going. Ryder isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I'm not calling for 10 WWE Championship reigns or anything, but the kid has worked his ass off to get where he is and that deserves some recognition. 2012 is Ryder's year to really make an impact in the WWE, and I hope he gets the chance to do so.
3) For the January 2 "surprise return" to be someone not obvious and pointless
There's been a lot of speculation about who these "It Begins" videos are referring to, but there's one thing I know for certain. I want it to be someone good. The last time we had one of these return packages it ended up being Undertaker, and there's no need for him to have these packages anymore. If anything, an ACTUAL surprise return from Undertaker would have more impact than these cryptic video packages. So what if it's Chris Jericho? Well the video packages don't quite make sense if they're supposed to be for him. While I can buy that he'll "come back and take what is his", I don't quite buy that he's going to be the end of the world as we know it. That's just not Jericho. So what about Skip Sheffield? Well, as much as some people liked him in Nexus, he's realistically still a nobody that is not deserving of this kind of return hype. Batista? That I could buy, but I don't know how much I want to see Batista back in WWE at this point. What about Brodus Clay? Similar logic to Sheffield on this one, but he's also been hyped for a return for what seems like forever now so a surprise return would be illogical. Recently we've seen the little girl in the videos become the focal point of things which has led many (including myself) to speculate that we may be seeing the return of the McMahon children to TV. Between the two of them, I would argue that Stephanie has always been the stronger personality, so it makes sense that the girl in the video is taking charge. With McMahon seemingly on his way off of TV permanently, a choice I am 100% behind by the way, what better way to give him a last hurrah than a feud with his children? And it couldn't come at a better time as Wrestlemania is just around the corner and something big could go down there. That being said I'm still not 100% sold on the idea, and I mean that in regards to both the possibility of the videos even being about the McMahon kids and the bit of fantasy booking I laid out there. Regardless of who it ends up being, I just want it to be good. Only time will tell I suppose.
4) For Tag Team Wrestling to Return to Prominence
I have always been a huge fan of tag team wrestling, so the fact that the entire division is pretty much gone (in WWE and TNA anyways) saddens me greatly. TNA has certainly been better about preserving the division than WWE has in recent years, but both companies are guilty of the same crime right now. Luckily it does appear to be on a rise back to glory in both companies right now as WWE seems to be putting more time and thought into their teams and matches, and TNA is currently running a big tag team tournament where the prize is a shot at the titles. One of the main problems I see with the division right now is that the titles aren't seen as being important, and this leads to the division as a whole looking non-crucial. I can remember back when I was a new wrestling fan that the tag team belts were as important as any other belts in the company (with the World Championship possibly being the exception) and that perception changed how I regarded the guys holding the straps. Even if the team was a couple of nobodies, the fact that they held championship gold meant they were to be respected. In today's day and age, this is not the case. I still maintain that TNA is doing a better job with their tag division than WWE is, but both sides need a change. TNA is on the right track in giving the belts to a couple of their top stars (Matt Morgan and Crimson) and having other teams compete just for a shot at the champions as this sort of thing makes the belts seem important again. WWE is also doing a solid job of at least putting tag teams on TV, but they have a long way to go. They would be wise to take a page out of TNA's handbook and put the belts on a couple of stars who are already fairly well established (more so than Kofi and Bourne). So wish #4 goes to tag team wrestling making a return to glory.
5) For Jeff Jarrett to Return to TV in Some Capacity
A lot of you are probably scratching your heads at this one, so allow me to explain. Double-J was easily the MVP of TNA for the 2011 year as he consistently delivered both in the ring and on the mic and was regularly one of my favourite parts of the TNA product. His feud with Kurt Angle was top notch, and I give a lot of that credit to Jarrett over Angle (which is a big thing, given that Angle is one of my favourite wrestlers). In case you missed it, both Jeff and his wife Karen were "fired" by Sting on iMPACT and now (in real life) Jeff is heading up TNA's product in India titled Ring Ka King. Unlike a lot of people I'm behind the RKK idea, and putting Jarrett at the helm could help things along, at least from an in-ring product perspective. That being said I really hope we haven't seen the last of him on iMPACT. TNA is notorious for keeping older wrestlers around longer than they should, but every company needs a trusted veteran, and why not a guy like Jarrett that is still capable of delivering great matches and promos? I would even be behind another (and final) TNA World Championship run for Jarrett as he could work wonders with an up and coming superstar and put them over in a big way. I might catch some shit for this wish, but to hell with it. I'm a fan of Jarrett, and I want to see him back on TV sooner than later.
6) For Triple H to Get Injured Before Wrestlemania
Much like my last wish, I'm sure a lot of you are confused (or maybe even angered) by this one, so again I will explain. I have absolutely no desire to see Triple H and Undertaker face off at Wrestlemania for a third time. The only reason last year's match was even somewhat watchable was because the atmosphere surrounding the match was insane. In reality the match itself was probably one of the weakest on the card and is being heavily romanticized by the WWE flock. They tried (and failed) to capture the drama and quality that Undertaker and Shawn Michaels managed to pull off in their previous matches at Wrestlemania. Why on earth would anyone want to sit through this again? Even if Michaels somehow involves himself in the match, it just doesn't make sense to me. If this is truly Undertaker's last Wrestlemania, his opponent needs to either be some young superstar who would benefit from the feud (e.g., Sheamus), or someone that he has had a storied past with that may also be on his way out of active competition and could provide an insane amount of drama (e.g., Kane). I don't wish anything career-threatening on Trips, just something that would keep him out of the ring until at least the day after Wrestlemania 28. I really don't want to see him on the Wrestlemania card this year, especially if it's in a match against Undertaker.
7) For Bobby Roode to Be Booked Well as Champion
TNA missed the boat big time by screwing Bobby Roode out of his moment at Bound For Glory (which is essentially to TNA what Wrestlemania is to WWE), but they've done a pretty good job of booking him as the heel World Champion since then. I love his new character and I think being a heel actually boosts his in-ring work as he seems to be bringing a different kind of intensity to his style. I really hope TNA keeps this booking up and allow Roode to have a great first reign as champion, both because I'm a huge fan of the guy (both on TV and in real life) and also because I think TNA is in a great position right now to bring back some major credibility to their top prize. I noted in a past column that TNA hasn't historically played hot potato with their World Championship (there's only been 19 reigns in the title's 4.5+ year history, and 8 of those came in 2011) so by keeping the belt on an established name like Bobby Roode for the next little while they accomplish 2 goals: the title is made to look important again, and Roode is cemented in the TNA main event scene. TNA needs to start seriously pushing their homegrown guys as the top names in the company, and Roode is in the best position of any of them to really take that ball and run with it. He still needs a couple of big wins under his belt, but so far I've enjoyed Roode's run as champion. Here's to hoping it continues well into 2012.
8) For The British Invasion to Make a Comeback
Among other things that my loyal readers should know about me, you should know that I'm a big fan of the tag team of Douglas Williams and Magnus, otherwise known as The British Invasion. They are easily one of the better tag teams in the industry today, but for whatever reason they are very rarely seen on TNA programming. TNA clearly sees something in Magnus as they have tried pushing him in the past, including most recently where he defeated Matt Morgan for the RKK Championship. Williams has also received his fair share of pushes in the past, including a run as X-Division Champion. But when it comes to pushing them as a team, TNA seems hesitant for some reason. I personally think they should align themselves with Rob Terry again so they have a bit of muscle on the team and just run wild over the TNA tag division as a heel faction, especially now since the division is going to be light on heels. Hernandez is reportedly on his way out, and Anarquia is headed down to OVW, so there goes the top heel tag team in the company. Magnus and Williams should be leading the division to a new age of glory, it's as simple as that. Hopefully someone in TNA management sees this.
9) For Wrestlemania to Return to Toronto
(Disclaimer: All stats regarding numbers in this wish come courtesy to you from Wikipedia. Any errors are therefore on them, so don't blame me) I heavily considered making this wish for Wrestlemania to come to Vancouver (where I currently live), but it ended up being no contest. The Rogers Arena in Vancouver would hold roughly 20,000 fans for a wrestling event (compared to MSG's roughly 22,000), which does seem like a solid enough amount of space, and the arena itself is actually quite nice, but I just don't think it would do as well in Vancouver as it would in a city like Toronto. The SkyDome (or Rogers Centre now) has a capacity of 67,000-69,000 for pro wrestling events and has been home to two Wrestlemania events in the past, Wrestlemanias 6 and 18, the latter of which drew a live crowd of over 68,000 fans, in turn making it the Wrestlemania with the second highest live attendance behind only Wrestlemania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit. The arena is great and dome ceiling (which can open, if you didn't know) allows for the event to take place under the open sky (which isn't a huge deal, but certainly a nice perk if the weather allows for it). Toronto is also usually a great city for wrestling and any show I've been to in the area is usually filled with great fans. Given that Toronto has shown in the past that it can be a very profitable location for WWE to host its biggest show of the year, I don't think this wish is that unrealistic. It may not happen for a couple of years, but I'm hoping for it soon.
10) For Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to Die
Okay, maybe wishing death is a little extreme. But I want them out of TNA ASAP, and they can take Eric's kid with them. When it was first announced that they were heading to TNA in some sort of authority role, I was cautiously optimistic that they might be able to turn the product around and lead it down the right path. As we've seen, my optimism was in vain and until recently all they brought us was self-promotion and crappy on-air segments. Whatever value Hogan and/or Bischoff may have once had in the world of wrestling is now gone and they're doing more harm than they are good. They've shown multiple times that they're always going to put their own interests above what is best for the company, and that is dangerous beyond belief. TNA needs to smarten up and cut them before any lasting damage is done. Bischoff is just entirely useless right now and isn't even a convincing on-air authority figure anymore. On top of that, he pushed his non-wrestler son over guys who have been working to even get on iMPACT. It's time for Bischoff and Hogan to ride off into the sunset. The experiment failed, move on TNA.
11) One Final Run for William Regal
Despite his age, Regal is easily still one of the top performers in WWE and can hang with anybody else on the roster. Back when he won the KotR tournament in 2008 it seemed like he was poised to finally grab the World Championship that had long eluded him. Unfortunately he had to go and fail a drug test and faced a 60 day suspension as a result, effectively ending his main event run. Since then he hasn't done a whole hell of a lot worth noting aside from providing some stellar commentary work on NXT. I truthfully believe that Regal deserves one final run on top of the mountain before his career comes to a close. That being said, I don't necessarily think that he needs to actually win the World Championship to accomplish this goal, and I don't think he should. WWE is seeming increasingly more serious about actually pushing some new talent and I wouldn't want to stop that by giving the belt to Regal. What I WOULD like to see however is one of two things: Regal having a strong run with one of the mid card belts, or Regal as a World Championship contender. Even if Regal were to come up short in his chase of the top prize in the company, the rub he could give a young champion would be insanely valuable, say for instance Daniel Bryan? Could you imagine the technical workshop that would be? My God, that should be my wish here. I think this Wrestlemania would be perfect for this feud to occur as well given how stacked the rest of the card is likely going to be. Put this match in the middle of the card so the title still gets the respect it deserves, but leave enough room for matches afterwards that they can recover the crowd if that match (for whatever reason) kills them. Bryan should go over of course, but he would be the perfect opponent for Regal to end his career against.
12) For TNA to Give Me a Job on Creative
This one is more of a joke than it is serious, but what the hell I'll talk about it anyways. I love TNA, and even when they let me down (which isn't exactly rare), I prefer to look at how things could be better as opposed to just shitting on the product and being negative (you could learn a thing or two from that philosophy, haters). I've been told before that some of my ideas are solid and that TNA should probably give me a ring, and while I'm sure the comments were left half-seriously at most, I still think it would be kind of cool. Have an actual wrestling fan who is in touch with what today's wrestling fan wants in charge of some of the writing that goes on and see how it would work out. Vince Russo may be a wrestling fan, but he is nowhere near in touch with reality when it comes to knowing what the fans want. By having a fresher perspective on the team, TNA could start to produce a show that more fans will view as quality because it will resonate more with them than the current product does. I'm convinced that at least one person at TNA reads my columns, so if that's true I have a message for them. Go to your boss and hook me up. Just sayin. I'll do it for a smaller salary than whoever does it now too.
So there you have it. TheCrow's 12 Wrestling Christmas Wishes. As always I appreciate your comments on my work, but unlike some people I actually do pay attention to my Facebook feed here. So feel free to drop me a line there or through any of the ways I'll list shortly. But until next time, thanks for stopping by folks. And I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.
Soundtrack From the Nest
In a bit of an old school music mode lately, but I completely forgot this song existed until I visited my friend and his fiancé and she happened to blare it while we were trying to play Battlefield 3. Forgot how much I used to like this cheesy pop-rock stuff, and more embarrassingly I still remembered all the words to it. Oh well, c'est la vie I suppose.