Hustle Is Posting Right Now - What I'm Thankful For
Nov 28, 2013 - 11:27:23 AM
You rock, Maricel.
The "holiday season" is upon us, even though that's a stupid name, since there are holidays all year long, meaning that any stretch of time on the calendar could be referred to as a "holiday season".. but that's a different story altogether.
As I sit here as a new resident of Arizona, a mere two days away from spending Thanksgiving with a bunch of white people, most of which I will be meeting for the first time, I figured this would be as good a time as any to discuss what I'm thankful for these days. I won't be going in any sort of order, so let's just go ahead and have some fun, shall we?
I'm thankful for.. Tag Team Wrestling
Take a look at the history of the WWF/WWE, ladies and gentlemen. Look at the ups and the downs. Look at the different "eras". If you're talking in-ring product, there are three particular "eras" that stand out. First, you have the very early 1990s (I'd even let you slide if you wanted to include the end of the 1980s in there). Second, you have the Attitude Era leading into the "Smackdown Six" years. Finally, you have the current product, stretching back over the last year-and-a-half or so. What do those eras have as the common denominator?
Tag team wrestling.
Tag wrestling had become a bit of a lost art in WWE (off-and-on in TNA), and it was one of the top things that seemingly every member of the IWC complained about. There was no focus on the tag division. The Tag Team Titles were "worthless". The list goes on and on. That's when Daniel Bryan and Kane entered the picture. They surprised everyone by becoming the most entertaining act in all of wrestling, and when they won the WWE Tag Team Titles on September 16th, 2012, they were arguably more consistently over than any main event player on the roster. They would then go on an eight-month reign with the belts where they would continue to elevate the title's status. They were getting crazy amounts of television time, from lengthy matches to regular promos/segments, which was really rare for a WWE tag team, even in the other time frames that I mentioned earlier. When they finally dropped the belts to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, it was Rollins and Reigns who continued to elevate the division, which is what happens when you put the titles around the waists of people who were in the middle of the single most dominating run in major pro wrestling history over the last 30 years.
Now, we have Rollins and Reigns still doing their thug thizzle. We have the current champs, Cody Rhodes and Goldust, mixing the old and the new schools perfectly. We have The Usos, who are doing the best work of their careers and being rewarded for it, both by the company and the fans. We have any combination of the Wyatt Family, who seem ready to take over where The Shield left off in the event of a Shield split. We have Daniel Bryan and CM Punk teaming up these days, although that doesn't appear to be a permanent thing whatsoever. We have Los Matadores, who can put on some very entertaining matches despite their terrible gimmick. Even down in NXT, we have The Ascension, who have been turning heads with their gimmick for a long time now, and the apparent addition of Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards only indicates an even bigger push for tag wrestling in the future.
These are good times for you tag enthusiasts out there. I hope you've taken notice.
I'm thankful for.. AJ Lee
She isn't quite on the same level that she was on a few months back, because the company is really running out of challengers for her that people give a damn about, but she's taking the proverbial chicken shit and making chicken.. anything else.. out of it.
She's stuck in the horrendous nonsense that is the Total Divas storyline garbage. She cuts her own version of a "pipe bomb" promo, gets crazy pops for it, but the company says that she's a heel for it, even though Eva Marie is on the Total Divas side of things and gets booed like crazy. In fact, AJ and Eva Marie might be the only two Divas getting reactions these days. It's pretty clear cut, WWE. AJ gets cheered. Eva Marie gets booed. OF COURSE that means AJ is the heel and Eva Marie is the face. Whatever. AJ is making do with what she has, though, and remains entertaining. She doesn't get the promo or television time that she used to get, but she maximizes her time, week in and week out.
It's hard to tell with this company sometimes, but it almost seems like they're building towards a Shawn Michaels and Diesel situation with AJ and Tamina, with Tamina playing the big badass bodyguard role that Diesel used to play. This will, of course, lead to them splitting up and Tamina becoming the top challenger for the Divas Title. It's only right, I suppose. As I said, the company is really running out of challengers at this point. AJ has beaten pretty much every Diva on the roster during her title reign, and she's beaten most of them on numerous occasions. This entire paragraph won't matter, though, when the company decides they really don't care about the title, and just has AJ drop the belt to Alicia Fox or Aksana in a match on a random episode of Smackdown. Until then, though, I salute you, AJ Lee, but my flagpole has made sure there's no half-staff action here.
I'm thankful for.. Chris Hero
We've seen it happen a thousand times.. WWE releases someone, who then goes on a media tour, bitching and whining about their time in the company and how they were treated, blaming everyone other than themselves for why they didn't become some huge megastar.
We've seen people far less skilled and far less of a "name" than Chris Hero do it before, so when he got released, it wouldn't have been surprising in the slightest if he went on a "I got to watch all of these talentless hacks get pushed while I wasted away in NXT for nearly two years" rant. Many people would have been happy if he did, because they would have agreed with every word he said.
He didn't do that, though.
In fact, he pretty much went in the opposite direction.
He's had nothing but positive things to say about WWE, his time there, the people he worked with, and so on. No shots at Triple H, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, or anyone else in a position of power within the company. No shots at John Cena, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, or anyone else that the average member of the IWC feels should be pushed less. Not only did he speak of his time with the company in a positive light, saying that the door is open for a possible return in the future, but he also encouraged people to continue watching the product, both of the main roster and the NXT variety. That's an amazing level of maturity and wisdom that we don't see often enough. Will we see him return to the company at some point? I think it's too early to tell, but for the time being, I will be more than happy to watch Hero flourish on the independent scene and maybe even in Japan again, as there are a lot of fresh matchups and feuds out there for him.
I'm thankful for.. Uhaa Nation continuing to build his brand around the world
I've mentioned Uhaa Nation in my columns before, even going so far as to call him a future WWE/World Champion. I still stand by that prediction, and as I sit back and watch him get chances to wrestle all over the planet, becoming a bigger and bigger name, I get more confident about that prediction, as well.
He was already bouncing back and forth between Japan and the United States, doing some lengthy stints with Dragon Gate, but now that he's been blowing people away in the United Kingdom, that just means more sets of eyes are focusing on him and his insane in-ring abilities. Seriously, ladies and gentlemen.. if you haven't gotten yourself caught up to the man's work, a quote from one of the great philosophers of our time just about says it all..
"YOU AIN'T GOT THE ANSWERS! YOU AIN'T BEEN DOING THE EDUCATION!"
I'm thankful for.. the "bad" pay-per-views being out of the way
Even the most dedicated of WWE fanatics would have to admit there's a bit of a pay-per-view lull once Extreme Rules ends. From late-April to mid-to-late August, you don't exactly get much to be excited about, as far as WWE pay-per-views go, and then you get another down period after SummerSlam is over, all the way through Survivor Series.
Well.. Survivor Series is over, and now, we're being given reasons to care about every pay-per-view for the next few months. At face value, anyway. We have TLC coming up, and those are always exciting for the carnage that comes with the event, even before a gigantic Title Unification Match is added to the card. Following TLC, we have the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania, and Extreme Rules.. enough said.
Congratulations, WWE fans.. we have officially made it through the worst part of the company's calendar. Now, it's time to sit back and enjoy our rewards.
I'm thankful for.. Roman Reigns
I tried to tell people he would become a star, but a lot of you were so caught up in the indy hype of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to notice that Roman Reigns is everything WWE wants in a star. He's got the "look". He's a physical presence. He's part of one of wrestling's most famous families. He carries himself well on the microphone. He has a finisher that he makes look as devastating as possible. Throw in the fact that he's only been wrestling for three years, so he's still learning things on a nightly basis, and you have all the makings of a huge star-in-the-making. Let's not forget that Reigns scored a pinfall victory over John Cena in a six-man tag match in April, and the list of people that can say they've pinned Cena in the last several years isn't exactly very long.
I might as well make another prediction, and make it official this time. After his performance at Survivor Series, and the way the company is pushing him these days, Roman Reigns will have won the WWE or World Title by the time Survivor Series 2014 comes to an end. Probably a lot sooner than that, but I figure a year is a nice period of time to use for the prediction. Mark my words. One year.
I'm thankful for.. all of you
Time to get sappy!
I really am thankful for everyone that reads my columns, interacts with me on social media, listens to my appearances on LoP Radio, etc. I know that I don't write anywhere near as often as I used to, and I haven't really been on LoP Radio much at all recently, but it really does mean a lot that so many of you continue to ride with me. You tell me you miss my work. You ask me when my next column or radio appearance is going to be. Some of you are even crazy enough to ask me if I'll go back to writing daily columns again so that you'll have something to check out every day at work or at school. When I start feeling down about wrestling, and begin to have those doubts in my head, thinking that it might be time to give up on this writing thing, it's you out there in ReaderLand that give me the motivation I need to keep going.
I can never make promises about how often I'll be around, especially now that I've moved and have a lot more going on in my life than I did pre-move, but just know that I have plenty on my plate as far as columns I've been working on and would like to work on are concerned, and appearances on LoP Radio are always being discussed in one way or another. I will say this, though.. the annual Hussy Awards will be coming up very soon, and before you know it, the next edition of Hustle Madness will be upon us. Add that to everything else I have cooking, and I'm damn sure going to try and be around a lot more moving forward. Again.. no promises, though. We shall see.
What about you, ReaderLand? What are you thankful for this holiday season? It doesn't have to be wrestling-related. Just share with me what you're thankful for. I'd love to hear from you. Have a great Thanksgiving/Thursday, depending on what you like to celebrate, and be safe out there. Until next time.. holla.
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