Writer's Note: It's that time of the year again! The Slammys have come and gone (thankfully) which means it's time to pull out the year-end countdowns. From now until December 31st, I'll be counting down the year's top superstars, moments, divas, Pay-Per-Views, and more! Unfortunately, I can only cram seven of each category into every column, so you can expect quality over quantity. Let's get things started with what I thought were the seven best WWE matches of 2011.
7. Mark Henry vs. The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship (Vengeance)
In 2010, if you had told me both Mark Henry and Big Show would wrestle one of the year's best matches, I would have laughed at you. Had you taken things a step further and suggested they would wrestle an amazing match against each other, I would have seriously questioned your sanity. But no one on the planet could have predicted that Henry would turn his entire career around and establish himself as a main-event monster. Yet that's just what he did. Following a string of impressive matches against Sheamus and Randy Orton, Henry met Big Show at Vengeance in a return match from Money in the Bank, when Henry took Show out of action for months. Anyways, at Vengeance Henry and Show went on to have one of the best big-man matches you'll ever get a chance to see, and they stole the show before the ring even imploded. Easily the highlight of a surprisingly solid Pay-Per-View (don't let the horrible buyrate fool you).
6. The Miz vs. John Morrison in a Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WWE Championship (RAW)
This is not to be confused with Morrison's final WWE match on RAW a few weeks ago. The sixth-best match of the year just happens to be the very first match of 2011. When Morrison beat Sheamus to become the number one contender at TLC 2010, many people expected Morrison to challenge The Miz at this year's Royal Rumble. Instead, WWE decided to make their title match the opening match of the first episode of RAW in 2011. In retrospect, this was probably a wise decision, as Morrison had a great showing in the 40-Man Royal Rumble match, and his WWE Championship against The Miz was a lot of fun. Everyone from the live audience to the IWC to yours truly was torn over who would win the title match, which made every near-fall that much more exciting. Of course, Miz ended up winning, but it was without the aid of Alex Riley, which boosted Miz's credibility almost overnight. One of the best TV matches of 2011 right here.
5. Smackdown! Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Kane vs. The Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio (Elimination Chamber)
It seems like every year an Elimination Chamber match ends up being one of the year's top matches - I really have to start watching the PPV live. Anyways, this was a surprisingly fun and fluid match considering some of the participants involved (Show, Kane, McIntyre). In fact, many people agree that McIntyre had a star-making moment in this match, as he showed a level of aggression we had never seen before. It's a shame WWE officials didn't see the same thing, as McIntyre disappeared from television not long afterwards. A pity, really. On the bright side, Edge managed to do what very few people in WWE history have accomplished: walk into Elimination Chamber as the champion, be one of the match's first two participants, and win the match. A great way for The Rated R Superstar to once again leave his mark on wrestling history.
4. CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (RAW)
WHAT?! Two RAW matches making the countdown? Damn right. Both Punk and Ziggler had a spectacular year, with each winning titles, engaging in numerous feuds, and wrestling one exciting match after another. But this match-up was not for a championship or part of a rivalry - it was just two of RAW's best superstars going out there and leaving everything they had in the ring. Some people were shocked WWE gave away such a great match for free, but I'm sure even WWE officials underestimated the in-ring Punk and Ziggler would have. It's rare you get a match with very few restholds and non-stop action, but this was an exception, as both guys went out and stole the show. After watching these two go at it, WWE would be crazy not to have these two feud sometime over the next few years.
3. Christian vs. Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Championship (SummerSlam)
In all honesty, any of Christian and Orton's battles could have made it on the list, but I settled on the one that had the most drama and took place on the bigger stage. This was also the end of their four-month long feud, which is an eternity in today's wrestling landscape (although some would argue that their cage match from a live edition of Smackdown! was the feud's real conclusion). Anytime these two locked up, you were guaranteed a good match at the very least, so it shouldn't surprise anyone to see this contest ranked as highly as number three. One thing I liked about their match from SummerSlam was how they incorporated their best moments/sequences from earlier contests and had the crowd on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. The RKO to Christian on the steel steps was a fitting conclusion, as it showed Orton was willing to do anything to put away Captain Charisma once and for all. Great match, even better than the main-event, if you ask me.
2. Triple H vs. The Undertaker in a No Holds Barred Match (Wrestlemania 27)
Two No Holds Barred Matches on one countdown - that's got to be considering cheating, right? Meh, who cares; my column, my rules. Although HHH/Taker was not as good as either one of Taker's matches against Shawn Michaels were, it exceeded most people's expectations (including mine). I for one was glad they didn't go out there and try to out-wrestle each other, because they would have failed miserably. Instead, both guys went out there and stole the show by hitting one powerful move after another, and even though you weren't expecting HHH to actually end the streak, the nearfalls were breath-taking. I know a lot of people rag on this match because of the numerous restholds, but **** it, I was entertained. Both guys put their bodies through hell and it showed.
1. CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship (Money in the Bank)
Anyone who saw or attended Money in the Bank agree it was an amazing PPV, possibly the best they've seen in years. Both MitB ladder matches were exciting, the divas were quick and painless, Henry vs. Show was better than it had any right to be, and Christian vs. Orton was awesome, despite a controversial ending. Therefore, by the time Punk and Cena came out, they already had large shoes to fill. But they quickly silenced any critics by wrestling the year's best match. There was nothing to complain about from start to finish - the action was intense, the nearfalls were close, and most of all, an amazing story was told. The Chicago crowd provided an electric atmosphere and CM Punk escaping through the crowd with the title belt was the perfect ending to a great match. Matches like this one don't come along very often, and if you haven't already seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?
2. Day 405
7. John Cena vs. The Miz
At the bottom of the best is a feud that began several years ago, back when Miz was flying solo for the first time in years, but it wasn't until 2011 that Miz could reignite this feud and even the score with Cena. Unfortunately, despite being one of the longest-reigning WWE Champions in years, and successfully defending his title in the main-event of Wrestlemania, Miz was booked horribly in this feud. In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, Miz was seen by most people to be the third wheel to the Cena/Rock, which is stupid, considering Miz was the WWE Champion. As I mentioned, Miz did beat Cena at Wrestlemania, but that was because The Rock delivered a Rock Bottom to Cena and cost him the match. That would be Miz's final successful defence, as he dropped the WWE Championship to Cena at Extreme Rules, and was easily defeated in their "I Quit" rematch at Over The Limit. WWE took a feud that could have extended until SummerSlam and ruined it by poorly booking Miz's final months as champion. What a waste.
6. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
This is another feud that I felt could have been much better than it turned out to be, mainly because Orton gained the upperhand before, at, and after their match at Wrestlemania 27. Let me explain. Before Punk became the "voice of the voiceless", he kicked Wade Barrett out of Nexus and became the new leader. Punk immediately set his sights on Orton as payback for Orton costing Punk his first-ever world title at Unforgiven 2008. In the weeks leading into Wrestlemania, Orton took out each member of The Nexus one by one, and Punk retaliated by going after Orton’s “wife” and “injuring” Orton’s leg with a steel pipe. Going into Wrestlemania, the feud still had some legs to it, but only if Punk stole a victory - he didn’t. Orton won cleanly, and went on to defeat Punk again at Extreme Rules before heading off to Smackdown!. A premature end to an uneven feud.
5. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett
Making their first and only appearance on today’s countdown is a feud from TNA. Before Angle turned heel and aligned himself with Hulk Hogan, he was the babyface fighting just to remain in the company. Angle’s issues were with none other than TNA founder himself, Jeff Jarrett. Before they wrestled their first Pay-Per-View match, most people had low expectations for this rivalry. Angle is one of the best wrestlers alive, and Jarrett is no slouch himself, but could two guys in their 40s wrestle a decent match? Apparently, they could not only wrestle a decent match, but a great match, and more than one. For several months, no matter how poorly TNA booked their PPV cards, fans could at least count on Angle and Jarrett putting on an entertaining match. Throw in the JJ-MMA Challenge, an appearance by Chyna, and some great mic work, and you have yourselves a hell of a feud.
4. Mark Henry vs. The Big Show
Yesterday, some people complained that I ranked their match at Vengeance too highly (because number seven is right underneath number one, obviously). I have no doubt people will complain that I’m listing their feud as the fourth-best of the year. I’m just calling it as I see it, folks. This is a rivalry that dates back to the Money in the Bank PPV, when Show and Henry competed in a match that was designed to put Henry over as a monster heel, and it worked, a bit too well. When Big Show inevitably returned to television in October, he had his sights set on one man - The World’s Strongest Champion. For the past few months, Henry and Show have been beating the hell out of each other and giving one great promo after another. Although I predict their feud is set to conclude at this Sunday’s TLC PPV, you have to admit, it’s been a hell of a ride. They’ve given us an imploding ring, a top rope elbow drop, and I’m sure something crazy will go down during their chairs match this Sunday. Kudos to both men.
3. Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
I have nothing to complain about this feud. It started off strong and logically (Mysterio injuring Cody with the 619, which forced Rhodes to get surgery, thus “disfiguring” his perfect face). It had great build-up going into Wrestlemania, as Cody was fresh off a return to television and had just debuted his new, darker character. Dusty Rhodes got involved, in a segment that really took their rivalry to the next level. At Wrestlemania, Cody and Mysterio had a fun but exciting match, and Mysterio even put Cody over. At Extreme Rules, Mysterio got his revenge, but a new star had already been made in Cody Rhodes. As much as I enjoyed Cody’s feud with Orton, it was Cody’s feud with Mysterio that put the current Intercontinental Champion on the map.
2. The Rock vs. John Cena
I know, I know. How can I give the number two spot to a rivalry that hasn’t even resulted in a singles match between both men? Simple - they’ve been feuding since prior to Wrestlemania 27, and Cena and Rock will continue to feud until at least Wrestlemania 28. Do the math - it’s a rivalry over a year long. Sure, they may not be cutting promos on each other week after week, or wrestling in tag-team matches to promote their Wrestlemania match, but they are still technically feuding. It’s been a long, long time since two superstars have feuded for over a year, and although it sucks Rock is almost never there, it’s nice to have a timeline rather than a rushed storyline. People have spent so much time talking about Rock and Cena, and their match hasn’t even happened yet. Imagine the reception when their Wrestlemania match does take place?
1. Randy Orton vs. Christian
You weren’t expecting something else, were you? I hope not. For over four months, these two men engaged in one of the best old-school wrestling rivalries in years. It wasn’t about hitting on the other man’s wife, disrespecting a veteran, or defending their home country. This feud was about one thing only - wanting to be the world heavyweight champion. It’s rare nowadays that two wrestlers put everything on the line just for a world title, but that’s what we got here. Two guys fighting over and over to either win or defend a championship that they want more than anything else in the world. Christian reluctantly turned heel because he was fed up of being screwed out of the title and took matters into his own hands in order to get one...more...match. Let us not forget either the quality of their matches - their Smackdown!, Over The Limit, and SummerSlam battles were all epic matches, with the other ones from Capitol Punishment and Money in the Bank being far from bad as well. An all-around great feud that saw Christian be firmly put over as a main-event superstar and a world title regain some of it’s lost credibility.
Honourable Mentions: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes; CM Punk vs. John Cena; Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
3. Day 406
I'm sure many people were expecting the "saviour" of WWE's women division to rank a lot higher than number seven, but keep in mind Kharma is yet to wrestle a match on WWE television. I'll give kudos to WWE - they built her up strongly before and after her debut, like a real badass. She just came out, didn't say a word, and annihilated any diva in her path. Faces, heels, models - every diva was prey for Kharma. Unfortunately, before she could go after the divas championship or even wrestle her first match, she broke down and cried, later revealing she was pregnant and would be gone for at least a year. Sucks for her, but sucks even more for the fans who had to put up with a Kelly Kelly title reign (shudders).
6. Kelly Kelly
**** you Kelly Kelly. I'm only giving you this spot on the list because you were a champion for several months. But that doesn't change the fact I hate you, you're not a pretty as you think with your squinty little eyes, and you embarrass the company everytime you show up for work. Go away.
5. Velvet Sky
I've been a fan of Velvet Sky for many years now, dating back to the days of The Beautiful People stable with Angelina Love and for a short time, Madison Rayne. But it's hard to deny that 2011 was Velvet's breakout year as a solo Knockout. She engaged in a heated rivalry with Winter and former friend Angelina Love, and chased the Knockouts title for months before finally winning the elusive title at last October's Bound For Glory Pay-Per-View. She may not be the best wrestler on the planet, but she's one of the hottest, and is always trying to improve in the ring. Love her or hate her, it was nice to see Velvet get a chance to win the Knockouts Championship a least once in her TNA career.
Natalya didn't have a FANTASTIC year, as she's probably lost a lot more matches than she's won, but she proved herself to be one of WWE's best workers in a very thin divas roster. Her heel turn and alliance with Beth Phoenix over the summer to form "The Divas of Doom" was unexpected, but gladly welcomed. I'm expecting Natalya to turn against Beth sometime in early 2012 so the two can have a match at Wrestlemania 28, which would give both women a Wrestlemania moment. If done right, 2012 could be a very good year for the daughter of "The Anvil".
Although her presence has cooled off considerably since losing the Knockouts title to Velvet Sky at Bound For Glory, Winter had a very good year as a member of the TNA roster, way better than her time spent in WWE. She was engaged in a compelling storyline with Angelina Love and Velvet the majority of the year, and it resulted in her winning the Knockouts title, which she held onto for several months. Sadly, I don't see Winter being as successful in the new year due to Madison Rayne and Gail Kim's current pushes, but in TNA, anything can happen.
2. Madison Rayne
For the second year in a row, Madison Rayne is in my top three divas of the year, and for good reason. Folks, I know a lot of you can not get through an episode of Impact Wrestling without getting bored, a headache, or feeling nauseous, but I highly recommend you at least tune into the Knockout segments and matches. Rayne is one of the reasons why. Not only is she a decent wrestler, but the woman does a great job at being a bitch. her voice is almost as irritating as Vickie Guerrero, but unlike Vickie, Madison can back up her words in the ring, which makes her even more despised. She had several good feuds with Tara and Mickie James, held the Knockouts title and the Knockouts tag team titles as well. She'll be kicking off 2012 as a champion, and I would not be surprised to see Rayne end the new year as champion as well.
1. Beth Phoenix
Arguably the best women's wrestler currently in the WWE, The Glamazon earns the number one spot for saving us from the likes of Kelly, Eve, and The Bella Twins. It took quite some time for the company to start building her back up, but once they did, Beth became the dominant force of the divas division. Not only that, but she's proven her value in the ring, carrying Eve and Kelly to matches many people thought they were incapable of wrestling. It will take a lot of work to salvage the divas division, but having Beth as champion makes the situation a little less dire.
Honourable Mentions: Gail Kim, Aj Lee, The Bella Twins
4. Day 407
Writer's Note: I'm taking a break from the year-end countdowns and Pro & Cons columns to introduce a new, monthly feature of "My Two Centsss". Prior to a WWE Pay-Per-View, I shall collaborate with a member of the Columns Forum to discuss the upcoming event. With me today to talk about TLC is none other than former Main Page columnist himself, Skittlez.
Skitz: Wait, so lemme get this straight... I'VE been invited by YOU to partake in some pay per view predictions? What's wrong with that picture?
Chrisss: Sorry, bro. That's what happens when you miss your 21-day posting rule. Is there anything you want to say to the Fruity Readers who can no longer taste your rainbow?
Skitz: Is that a joke? In my estimation, these cretins were privileged to my columns for far too long. I feel liberated if anything and have been loving life down in the Columns Forum. Now if only I could just get the bastards to notice my distinct awesomeness... It's simply a matter of time I'm sure.
Chrisss: Good luck with that. I heard 'Plan lives in the Columns Forum (shudders). Anyways, stop beating around the bush. Do you know why I asked you to help me write this column?
Skitz: Obviously. I mentioned it earlier, bitch. The real question is why you'd bother letting me tag along when my history of competitive greatness speaks for itself?
Chrisss: Because I missed your dirty mouth, duh (no homo). And since I'm a gentleman, I'll let you introduce our first match.
Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c.) vs. Booker T
Skitz: Well you've gotta love when a commentator steps out from behind the table and handles his business (except in the case of Michael Cole of course). And lets face it... the wrestler Booker T and broadcast journalist Booker T are worlds apart. Meanwhile, Cody's proved his worth on Smackdown! all year long; especially over the last 5-6 months. Watching young guys on the rise work with semi-retired veterans who can still go has its' perks. I'm expecting a fairly decent contest between the two. What about you, Chrissstopher?
Chrisss: I for one still don't get all the Booker T the commentator hate. Sure, he's no Jim Ross but he's not as annoying as Cole and actually knows what's going on, unlike Lawler. Anyways, if given 10-12 minutes to work with, this should be a lot of fun. Rhodes seems incapable of wrestling a bad match, while Booker was never a slouch in the ring. But will Booker have any ring rust? Will the crowd care about this match?
Skitz: I'd say so. The IC Champ is mega over with WWE's adult demographic and Booker still has enough charisma to get the crowd stirred up when he's on the offensive. It would be foolish to believe the 2006 KOTR won't struggle to keep pace with Cody at times during the match. However I'm sure whichever company official is in charge of the match will book it properly.
Chrisss: Can't argue with that. While it probably won't be the night's best match, it should be good at the very least. Although I'm not ruling out Booker returning to the ring full-time, I think it's safe to assume Cody is retaining at TLC. Who you got, Candyman?
Skitz: The second-generation superstar retains with a strong performance. Rhodes' interaction with Booker this fall has been decent but I'm more excited about which direction Cody will be heading in as we welcome 2012. (*cough*Foley*cough*)
Chrisss: You think so? First Foley puts over Orton in 2004 and now Rhodes? Sure, I can live with that. Speaking of the man once known as the "Legend Killer"...
Skitz' pick: Cody retains the title
Chrisss's pick: Cody retains the title
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a Tables Match
Chrisss: I've been enjoying this feud, despite there being no championship involved. I have to give WWE credit - they took Barrett, who was doing nothing, put him in a feud with Orton, and made him look like a worthy opponent, almost overnight. Barrett has even defeated Orton in the past - can he do it again on Sunday, or will The Viper slither to victory?
Skitz: Given the fact Wade's beaten his foe in singles competition as you mentioned and in a team effort at Survivor Series last month, all signs point to Orton. Now I envision their program extending past TLC and becoming more brutal along the way but Randall evens the score this Sunday. As for the match at hand, I could definitely go for Orton RKO'ing Barrett through a table. Not a fan of him using the powerbomb instead... seems like a cop out.
Chrisss: See, I'm thinking the opposite. They're fighting in a tables match. As Cena proved two years ago, it's always possible to "slip" and put yourself through a table. What if they play up the mind games between Orton and Barrett which causes Orton to go crazy and superplex himself through a table just to harm Barrett? It would continue the feud and give Barrett another huge win. So yeah, I'm going with the Englishman for the win.
Skitz: Mmmmm it all depends on how much management wants to build the former Nexus leader up. No doubt another victory of this magnitude would give the Brit some serious credibility (even if he does win via fluke). They're both destined for next month's Royal Rumble match so the end result at Tables, Ladders & Chairs is tough to call. With all of the probable face victories at the PPV, you could be right. I'm sticking with The Viper though, homie.
Chrisss: Who or what is a Nexus? Didn't it feature a black guy who looked like John Cena, a dude who chocked Justin Roberts with his own tie, and that useless bastard Heath Slater? Ugh, let's not go back there. What's next?
United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c.) vs. Zack Ryder
Skitz: Oooooooooh I know you're foaming at the lips over this possible show stealer. From a logistical standpoint, I was absolutely positive we'd witness the Long Island Iced Z finally claim his first singles title in MSG (even after Morrison filled said spot) but WWE hit the pause button. Not sure why but whatever. I guess the greedy ****s just wanted to squeeze an extra month out of the rivalry. Nonetheless, I can't imagine any other result than your favorite Broski seizing Dolph's precious hardware.
Chrisss: Woo Woo Woo, you know it. I was pissed when JoMo got the title shot at Survivor Series instead of Ryder, but if Ryder DID face Ziggler, the crowd probably wouldn't have chanted for him all-night long. Anyways, I agree that Ryder is finally getting the title on Sunday night, but I'm a bit surprised WWE are pulling the trigger at TLC and not the Royal Rumble. Unless of course Ziggler ends up winning the Rumble next month (hint hint). Either way, I'm getting ready to mark the **** out on Sunday, bro.
Skitz: Yay on winning the United States Title... Not so much as it relates to winning the Rumble. Truthfully, Ziggler/Ryder deserves 15 minutes and nothing less but I wouldn't count on it. 11-12 will suffice. And since the Blonde Perm isn't pulling double duty again, this bad boy should generate solid reviews.
Chrisss: Honestly, if their match is anything below decent I'll be really disappointed. But it should be a good match. I just feel Ziggler's dropping the title and moving onto bigger and better things after TLC. The Ryder Revolution is upon us!
Skitz's pick: Ryder wins the title
Chrisss's pick: Ryder wins the title
Triple H vs. Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer on a Pole Ladder Match
Chrisss: One word: ewwww. Ewww @ the participants, ewww @ their feud, and ewww @ the stipulation (I didn't know Russo and WWE were working together again). Is there ANYTHING good to expect from this match on Sunday?
Skitz: Indeed. This WCW styled creation should spell the demise of Diesel's latest on-screen tenure in WWE. And with Christmas right around the corner, removing Nash from our TV sets indefinitely is something we should all be extremely grateful for this holiday season. Isn't it ironic that wrestling fans have actually found something involving Trips to complain about besides Hunter himself? The world works in mysterious ways my friend. To say I'd be shocked if The Game didn't tee off on Nash with his prized weapon would be more than an understatement. In fact, I'm terrified by the mere mental image of Diesel attempting to sell vicious sledgehammer shots on a live show.
Chrisss:I'm not a Nash-hater, and I would have been perfectly fine with them facing off in a Street Fight or something, but a ladder match? Really? Both men will be lucky to not tear a quad climbing those steel rungs. Just think: we could have got Ziggler vs. Ryder in a ladder match, but instead we're watching these two "race" a sledgehammer. I just don't get it. Anyways, rumours are hot about Triple H facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania 28 (you can't see it but I'm rolling my eyes) so of course HHH get the victory on Sunday. Let's just hope the festivities are quick and painless.
Skitz: That would be the best case scenario. Knowing our luck, The "Cerebral Assassin" will prolong the segment with a 10-minute post match beatdown complete with a dramatic scene including frantic EMTs and a stretcher. Gee whiz I can't wait (cue heavy sarcasm). The depressing part is how many valuable minutes this lame shit will eat up. Trips just couldn't keep his ugly mug off camera until March. Ugh. We could always use more of Steph and her lovely assets though.
Chrisss: Good God have mercy on our soul if that happens. But I would be willing to put up with all that if Steph makes a cameo, I swear I would. But let's keep it PG, bro.
Skitz's pick: HHH wins
Chrisss's pick: HHH wins
World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry (c.) vs. The Big Show in a Chairs Match
Chrisss: While I seriously doubt they'll top their show-stealing performance at Vengeance, this match should be fun, especially with chairs involved. Henry's come a long way since flattening Big Show's foot at the Money in the Bank PPV. There's no way Henry is losing this feud or the world title. Thoughts?
Skitz: Couldn't agree more. Poor Big Show... I'm starting to wonder if the dude will ever win a World Title again before retirement comes knocking. Interesting that TBS didn't mention his ECW reign last week on Smackdown! while talking about going 10 years without carrying a major championship. Almost two years later and the brand still can't get any respect! The giant's brought his A game against Henry every week which deserves some massive kudos. SkidMark's injury angle might appear to tip the scale in Big Show's favor but I expect some timely interference during their Chairs bout. And I'm not referring to Daniel Bryan either. Call me crazy but The Candyman says that Brodus Clay reappears and costs TBS the belt; igniting a feud between the two monsters.
Chrisss: What did we do wrong to lose ECW and get stuck with the abortion known as NXT? Sigh...I don't think Big Show will ever win another world title, but I felt the same way about Kane a few years ago, and look what happened. As for Brodus Clay, give up on him dude, he's obviously been kidnapped, Samoa Joe-style. Although I would chuckle to see Brodus do a run-in at TLC. It would be a cool transition from one big-man feud to another. So we agree Henry's keeping the belt?
Skitz: Yes, sir. Big Show will seemingly have the strap won again when circumstances outside of his control lead to his inevitable downfall. Fortunately, the giant doesn't need the World Heavyweight Championship to prove anything but damn... how many shots to your ego can one man take!? I know this may come off as far fetched but don't be surprised if SkidMark makes it all the way to Elimination Chamber with his title reign intact. Maybe even further.
Chrisss: Ditto. Henry is facing either Daniel Bryan or Sheamus at Wrestlemania - mark my words. Now that's settled, we can get to the main-event of the evening.
Skitz's pick: Henry retains the title
Chrisss's pick: Henry retains the title
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c.) vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match
Chrisss: This has the potential to be really, really good. Punk and Del Rio had a great match at last month's Survivor Series, so including The Miz and the TLC gimmick should make this a must-see match. It's way too early to take the title off Punk...or is it?
Skitz: Uhhhhhhh considering how the belt's been passed back and forth like a skilled prostitute since Money in the Bank, yes. Stripping Cookie Monster of the WWE Title this early would make zero sense and basically copy what happened to him at SummerSlam. Nah I believe management's calmed the hell down and have grown content with sticking by The Straightedge Superstar until at least April. Leaving Cena out of the main event has puzzled everyone since it guarantees a dip in pay per view buys but I approve. Besides, smarks know that WWE's Poster Boy will make an appearance at the event one way or another. There won't be any 1-on-1 match with Kane however. For God's sake, fans were just introduced to Cenation's next challenger at the end of last Monday's RAW! Don't cream yourselves prematurely.
Chrisss: Wasn't that awesome? It's hard to believe we've gone almost ten years without seeing Masked Kane. Those were the days...As for Punk, I agree. WWE are taking a huge gamble by not booking Cena in the TLC match (or on the card at all), so you can imagine there's a lot of pressure on Punk's shoulders to draw a decent buyrate come Sunday. Besides, a feud with Kane will keep Cena out of the WWE title picture until at least Elimination Chamber, and then he can do his thing with The Rock at Wrestlemania and chase the title all over again. At least Punk is being given a chance to run as the top face on RAW. But if Punk does win, who will he face at Royal Rumble? And of course, Mania?
Skitz: In my opinion, The Miz will be fed to Mr. Sobriety next which should keep Cookie Monster occupied until late January. They brushed paths during October but The Game & R-Truth were involved then so therefore the program remains fresh in the viewer's eyes. Sir Awesome chasing the belt following TLC seems academic to me since he's been hell bent with getting the gold off The Straightedge Superstar. In a more intense manner than even Del Rio and he's the dickwad who just lost the title to Punk. As far as WM28 is concerned, management can go 1 of 2 ways: Jericho or Ziggler. Take your pick.
Chrisss: Bingo. Miz vs. Punk at the Rumble and Punk vs. Ziggler or Jericho at Wrestlemania is the correct way to go. I can't hate on any of those match-ups.
Skitz's pick: Punk retains the title
Chrisss's pick: Punk retains the title
Chrisss: Well, it looks like we're almost done here. In typical Skittlez fashion, you've copied 95% of my picks for Sunday. Ill be sure to rub it in your face when Barrett beats Orton and I go 6-0. Any final words, Candyman? Besides begging me for your Main Page spot back.
Skitz: Ha! Never. Just thinking about the freedom at my fingertips gives me an instant boner. But back to TLC for a second, I think we're likely to see an additional segment/match on the pay per view. Air Boom defending the Tag Team straps against Primo & Epico wouldn't be too much of a stretch. If not, I fear we might be subjected to some Christmas cluster**** including the Divas. Personally, I'd prefer the Big Red Machine owning Cena again in a heartbeat.
Chrisss: Air Boom haven't been on TV for weeks (not counting Superstars and Tribute To The Troops), and Epico/Primo just got together. I think its too early for a PPV bout just yet. I hope the extra time goes to Cena/Kane and NOT a diva crapfest. The women's division has been just awful lately.
Skitz: And it continues to spiral downward. Yeesh... perhaps bringing back Chyna isn't the worst option. Let her burn the T&A division to the ground and then release the sloppy porn star before shit gets any uglier.
Chrisss: Uglier than Chyna? Transvestites are pretty narly, man. They should just fire half the divas and use the saved expenses to bribe Trish and/or Lita into making an official return. But I'm not holding my breath.
Skitz: Yo, I'm ready to bounce, Chrissstopher. It's been real and all but this gig doesn't pay, remember? Later haters!
5. Day 408
This is it.
His one chance, his one opportunity at greatness. You don't see matches like this one every day of the week; that's why it's taking place on Pay-Per-View. Thousands of people WANT to see him emerge victorious tonight. They want to see him succeed, and those same people are ready for an uprising.
But he's not stupid. He's incredibly fortunate to be in this position, and he knows it. As recently as last spring, his future as a WWE superstar was in severe jeopardy. He went from being a part of one of the most talked-about stables in years to jobbing to guys like Ezekiel Jackson (no offence, Zeke). All the momentum he had built up over time? Vanished, right out the window. Fans were no longer labelling him as a future WWE Champion, but a regular on WWE Superstars. How did he sink so low?
Just when it seemed like things couldn't get any worse, something happened over the summer. Something that he once had but the creative team tried to hide - he got noticed. Company officials had a change of heart about his character's direction and began featuring him on television almost overnight. He went from wrestling in the main-event of WWE Superstars to wrestling on RAW and Smackdown!. Hell, he even got to wrestle on a PPV for the first time in what felt like forever. It was safe to say his luck had took a turn for the better.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone was supportive of his push. There were still many people who would criticise his wrestling skills and question whether he was ready for the big push. Those people thought he'd been brought up to the main roster too early, that he had no business tangling with John Cena and Randy Orton in the main-event. Those people are simply known as "haters", but tonight is his chance to make them eat their words.
He thought Survivor Series was a great night, as the crowd was solidly behind him - some even say he stole the show at Madison Square Garden. But if everything goes his way tonight, Survivor Series will not be his highlight of 2011. Tonight he's not only in the ring with one of WWE's all-around best performers, but he has been feuding with his nemesis for so long, it would be disappointing if the two don't find a way to steal the show. Neither one of them are terrible in the ring, and both are over with the crowd. He knows deep down that it's make it or break it time at TLC.
The thing is, he doesn't just need a win tonight, but a convincing one. He needs to show the world that he is no joke, that this newly-renewed push is worth WWE's time. And to do that, he needs to have a great match. He needs to get the world talking about him (or trending worldwide, whatever). TLC isn't about CM Punk, The Miz, Randy Orton, or even John Cena, who's M.I.A. TLC must be about HIM.
Well, tonight is his chance to do so. He can either put on a terrible performance and take the chance of suffering repercussions in 2012, or he can shock the world by proving his worth. If he wants to be in the main-event scene come TLC 2012, then tonight he has to bring his A-game. He has to make himself the star of the show, because no one, NO ONE, is going to do it for him.
After all, United States title shots don't grow on trees.
Woo, Woo, Woo. You know it. And after tonight, so will the rest of the world.
6. Day 409
If you thought Money in the Bank was a good night for the IWC, and Survivor Series was even better, then you missed a hell of a show in Tables, Ladders, and Chairs last night. While it wasn't the best show of the year as far as wrestling quality goes (with nine matches taking place, WWE opted with quantity over quality last night), it was an amazing night for indy fans, the Internet Wrestling Community, and smarks in general.
Why? Well, if you haven't already heard, CM Punk is still the WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan cashed-in Money in the Bank to become the NEW World Heavywight Champion, and Zack Ryder won his first-ever singles title in the WWE by defeating Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship.
As many of you have already guessed, I'm on seventh heaven right now. Punk, Bryan, and Ryder are three of my favorite current wrestlers, and you know who rounds out my "Fav Five"? Cody Rhodes, who just happens to be the Intercontinental Champion, retaining his title last night as well in a competitive match against Booker T. I can't believe I'm saying this, but every major singles title in the WWE is being held by one of my favorite wrestlers. It's simply... unbelievable
By the way, to anyone who thought Zack Ryder would never amount to anything in the WWE, that he'd be released by 2012, you know what I have to say: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Joke's on you, fool! I have been a Broski since before the term "Broski" was ever created, and I am one of the oldest Ryder fans on the planet (not counting Zack's dad, of course). Therefore, to witness a guy who I handpicked to be WWE's next big thing over two years ago, and defend him for over two years, FINALLY win a major singles title...it's amazing. I can't remember being so proud to be a wrestling fan. To those of you who hate Ryder and pick on his wrestling ability, ability to draw, move merchandise, etc., SCREW YOU! Last night proved how wrong you are. You can hate all you want, but at the end of the day, Ryder is still the United States Champion. Woo Woo Woo, now you know it.
But Ryder's victory wasn't the only mark-out moment I experienced at last night's TLC PPV. I was so pissed that Mark Henry lost the world title to The Big Show, that I was ecstatic when Bryan came out and cashed-in his MitB briefcase to pin a fallen Big Show and win the world title (for real this time). I know some people are unhappy about Bryan's timing (hi Ro), but **** it, it has thrown a wrench in weeks' worth of storylines. No one knows what will happen next with the world title. Will Bryan turn heel and start a feud with Big Show? Will Big Show turn heel? Maybe Bryan's title reign will last as long as Christian's because Teddy Long will order Bryan to defend his newly-won championship against Randy Orton on this week's episode of Smackdown!. As far as Daniel Bryan's title reign goes, anything can happen.
No matter how you feel about these new champions, there's something that cannot afford to be overlooked:
CM Punk is the WWE Champion
Daniel Bryan is the World Heavyweight Champion
Zack Ryder is the United States Champion
Cody Rhodes is the Intercontinental Champion
^That right there is something that I never thought would become a reality. It's a dream come true. As a member of the IWC, I have nothing to complain about, and neither should you.
Ladies and gentlemen, a new generation is upon us. One where guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, and Triple H are not champions, and are not involved in the title hunt. The future of WWE have arrived.
And Batista can't believe it. Sorry, bro.
7. Day 410
PRO: The Revolution begins
I must be some kind of psychic, because in yesterday's column I boldly predicted that a new era of wrestling was upon us now that CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Zack Ryder were all champions. Lo and behold, WWE happened to begin an angle last night on RAW involving all three men teaming up as the new "faces" of the company. I was not expecting RAW to kick off with the "IWC darlings" standing united in the ring, putting each other over, but it made for some good television. It was a hell of a lot better than the opening segment from last week's Slammy Awards.
PRO: Barrett vs. Orton
I can name at least ten people who think this feud should have ended at TLC last Sunday, but I'm not one of them. As Hustle pointed out in his Running Diary, having both of them wrestle four times against each other in two weeks is a bit overkill, it's not like they're having bad matches. Their tables match at TLC was much better than I expected it to be, and having Barrett deliver Wasteland through a table to Orton on RAW was a good way of keeping "The Barrett Barrage" looking strong. Although I wouldn't want them to continue feuding past the Royal Rumble, I'm fine with their program going on a bit longer. After all, it's not like wrestling one of the company's biggest stars is going to hurt Barrett in the long run.
CON: Alicia Fox
I'm sorry, but Miss Fox needs to either turn heel or go away. She is nothing but another Kelly Kelly and Eve: terrible in the ring, sloppy (as evidenced by her busting Beth Phoenix's face open in less than a minute) and the crowd could care less about her. When Alicia's music hit, the camera cut to the live audience who did not react even a little to her entrance. Not a good way to show how "over" Phoenix's next challenger is. Speaking of the divas champion, she looked like a joke getting defeated by Fox so easily last night. Yesterday was another indication that WWE is just killing time until Kharma finally returns.
There was a lot to like about this segment. Not only did it make Kane look like the monster he once was, but when I was watching Henry, he didn't look anything like the old "Sexual Chocolate". I saw a former world champion, and a new main-eventer. Although I wish Henry's title reign lasted until Wrestlemania, I think he had a great three-month run at the top of Smackdown!. Not only was he booked as an "unstoppable force", but Henry wrestled some of the best matches of his career and enjoyed some great feuds against Randy Orton, The Big Show, and even Daniel Bryan. WWE booked Henry's title reign almost perfectly.
Getting back to Cena and Kane, I really enjoyed their showdown. Despite the Philly crowd being pro-Kane and anti-Cena, Kane choking out Cena got him some good heat and reminded the fans that Kane is a monster. I for one am looking forward to their upcoming match. I don't think it'll happen at the Royal Rumble, but when they do face each other in singles competition, they'll turn many heads in the process. I am 100% in support of a Kane vs. Cena program, partly because it keeps Cena away from the title scene, but mainly because it's never been done before.
PRO: The Usos vs. The Colons
I don't know if Epico's family name is Colon or not, but since Jerry Lawler referred to him as "Carlito" on commentary last night, I'll just go with the flow. Despite a dead crowd, I enjoyed this match. It wasn't as exciting as The Colons versus Air Boom from TLC, but it made the tag team division appear relevant again. I for one liked the fact Air Boom weren't involved in the match, because it breaks the formula of the tag team champions always competing against the same team (see: Air Boom vs. Otunga/McGillicutty). All WWE has to do now is start using Hawkins and Reks more often, create another tag team, and the division might start getting noticed again.
CON: Sheamus vs. Mahal
While the match didn't last very long, Jinder Mahal got in way too much offense against The Great White. It's been hard to ignore Sheamus's rise to "Super Sheamus" in recent months, but I would have been perfectly fine with Sheamus squashing Mahal in less than a minute. Mahal is a waste of space on the roster, and is a homeless man's version of Muhammed Hassan. Difference is, Hassan was actually talented inside and outside the ring. When even Jim Ross admits Mahal was "called up too soon" and "needs a bit more seasoning", that's when you know something's wrong.Send this guy back to FCW or fire him, that's all.
PRO: Punk/Ryder/Bryan vs. Miz/Del Rio/Ziggler
This may not have been a five-star match, but for a six-man tag match, it was a lot of fun. In fact, it accomplished several things at once. For one, it showed chemistry between Ryder, Bryan, and Punk who have never teamed as a trio together. Second, it made Bryan look strong, as he made Del Rio - a former two-time WWE Champion - submit to his finisher. Finally, considering it was the last RAW before Christmas, it gave the viewers a good feeling seeing the three champions overcome their rivals. Furthermore, Bryan and Ryder did not look out of place competing in the main-event, as the heels did a great job of putting them over. Just a cool way to conclude RAW.
CON: The IWC
This has nothing to do with last night's episode of RAW, but is rather a beef I have with some members of the Internet Wrestling Community. As I mentioned in yesterday's column, WWE embraced the "smarkier" fans at TLC by putting titles around the waists of Zack Ryder and Daniel Bryan, while Cody Rhodes and CM Punk successfully defended their titles. For many internet wrestling fans, it was a dream come true. I figured with these four men all champions, it would be impossible for the IWC to complain.
But surprise, surprise, I was wrong. We're not even 48 hours removed from TLC, and I've already seen Facebook comments, threads, and even COLUMNS denouncing these guys. That's right, people are actually complaining about the way Bryan won the world title, and others are complaining TLC wasn't the right time for Ryder to win the U.S. title.
You people (and you know who you are) cannot be serious. WHO CARES how Bryan won the world title? WHO CARES when Ryder won the U.S. title? If you didn't watch TLC and missed out on history being made, that's your problem. All that matters is Punk, Ryder, and Bryan all hold major singles titles in the WWE. They could go all lose their respective titles by the time the Royal Rumble arrives, but you know what? Each of these men will go down in the record books as a former champion. So rather than complain about the booking at TLC or worry about each guy's long-term booking, can't we just live in the moment and enjoy their title reigns while they last?
Come on, people. WWE catered to the IWC as much as they could at both TLC and RAW. If you're still not happy, then maybe there's something wrong with you.
#ThankYouWWE: Punk, Ryder, and Bryan joining forces...Barrett vs. Orton...A future Kane vs. Cena match...Henry looking like a former champ, not a former "chump"...The tag team division possibly heating up...A crowd-pleasing six-man tag match...Bryan getting a big victory
#****YouIWC: Alicia Fox's push...WWE's booking of Beth Phoenix...Jinder Mahal continuing to receive TV time
Song Of The Day:
Another week down, which means Super Chrisss goes daily for only another week-and-a-half. Thank you to everyone who find the time to fit me into your daily routine. I would love to keep the streak going in the new year, but I know I'll have no time to write on January 1st, and I'll have a full workload of school to worry about. So, I'll be back to posting every other day in 2012. Sorry, folks.
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