So here we are, the first day (well at least it was when I started writing this, I was away for New Years so this series had to be postponed a little) of 2014. The year that was 2013 is now behind us and it is time to reflect back on what we have seen. It also means it is time for me to name the 2013 WWE Superstar of the Year.
For all of you who missed this series last year the concept is pretty easy to follow. I have gone through all the cards of every WWE TV show this year from NXT to Main Event and Superstars to Raw and Smackdown to all 12 PPV's and everything in between. I then gave points to each wrestler involved in a match depending on level of show, result of match and if it was a main event or title match.
Over the next 30 days I will countdown the 30 people who topped the scores starting with number 30 and finishing with the eventual top scorer and therefore the person who will be named the 2013 WWE Superstar of the Year.
Since this is a stat based column and emotion does not play any part in the scoring it can make for an interesting order. Last year the countdown was won by Sheamus due to his workhorse like behaviour and appearing on nearly every Raw, Smackdown and PPV even though everyone thought the sentimental favourites like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and John Cena were the more likely.
So the question is who will join Sheamus this year as WWE Superstar of the year? Will it be The Slammy Award winner Daniel Bryan or current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton? Could it be Alberto Del Rio's destiny to win or maybe a member of the Shield can right the injustice of somebody else winning? Maybe someone else could win maybe Ziggler, Kingston, Miz or Cesaro could cause an upset. Well you will just have to wait the 30 days to find out, today however you can find out who came in at number 30.
30. Titus O'Neil
Minor Shows: 7-22-0 Raw: 5-14-0 Smackdown: 5-9-0 PPV: 0-2-0 Title Matches: 1 Raw/SD Main Events: 3 PPV Main Events: 0 2012: 20th (145pts)
Year in Review
Just cracking into the top 30 WWE Superstars of 2013 is one half of the Prime Time Players Titus O'Neil who has fallen 10 spots from his top 20 position last year. In 2012 PTP had made a name for themselves in the tag division regularly being the number 1 contenders for the titles however that would not continue into 2013. With the resurgence we have seen in the division in the last 12 months PTP have become what seems to be a forgotten team, only getting a title shot when the team was on everybody's lips due to Darren's coming out.
An extremely noticeable fact coming out of Titus's stats, other than only having the one title match, is the fact that he has only managed 2 PPV matches this year. The first match is of course the Royal Rumble and the second is their title shot which was against The Shield at Night of Champions. This is further proof just how much the team has fallen in the last year.
Tag team action is not the only wrestling Titus has done this year with him venturing into singles action as well. In 2013 he holds singles victories over Tensai and Jack Swagger. These wins are valuable for him moving forward as it shows that if him and Darren were to split that he can get it done on his own. However he has a long way to go as while he has 2 singles wins in 2013 he also has 8 losses, this is of course not the greatest record in the world.
While the year hasn't been great for Titus concerning his pushes or his stats one thing that has greatly improved has been his in ring work. Titus has noticeably improved over the last year and if he continues on this rapid improvement it won't be long to he is making headways into mid card pack.
Last year in this section I said that in 2013 the Prime Time Players should not win the titles but should be perennial contenders. Well I had the not win the titles part right but only having one title shot was not what I had in mind for them. This year I see things different either they need to win the titles and gain some prestige to their team or they need to disband and go their separate ways in the singles division. At 36 years of age Titus is quickly running out of years to make an impact in WWE so 2014 would be the perfect time for it to begin.
30 Day Challenge
Day 1: The Colony
As is tradition when I go daily I continue the old Lords of Pain tradition of doing a 30 Day Challenge and this month will be no different. Now as anybody who has been reading my work this year will know that I took the leap this year and ventured out of my wrestling comfort zone of WWE and TNA and took the plunge into Indy wrestling. For the 30 day challenge this month I have decided to present to you 30 men, women & tag teams who have impressed me this year in my foray into the Indies. Some names you may know about, others you may not but while there is no order to the 30 names the one thing they all have in common is my belief they would be a valuable addition to either the WWE or TNA rosters.
To start off the 30 day challenge we have neither a single wrestler or a tag team but in fact a stable of guys, well guys isn't really correct, they are actually bugs. The Colony are a stable of wrestlers from the now defunct(?) promotion CHIKARA who all play the role of a group of ants. The main wrestler I follow from this group is known as Fire Ant but I have seen, and have been impressed by, other members including Soldier Ant, Green Ant and AssailANT just to name a few. While the gimmick they portray is a little silly they make up for it in their ability to fly around the ring with the best guys in the business and entertain the crowd from bell to bell.
The match I have for you here is Fire Ant and Soldier Ant facing The Young Bucks from the CHIKARA show Hign Noon that took place on November 11, 2011.
29. Darren Young
Minor Shows: 6-24-0 Raw: 4-14-0 Smackdown: 6-10-0 PPV: 0-2-0 Title Matches: 1 Raw/SD Main Events: 3 PPV Main Events: 0 2012: 19th (146pts)
Year in Review
For the second year in a row Darren Young has beaten his partner by one position, however O'Neil did gain a point to only have a 1 point deficit. Like I said with Titus the PTP had a more disappointing year in 2013 then they did in 2012, falling backwards down the card. This is really a shame as they were showing some good form before being forgotten about.
While having only 1 singles win (against Cesaro) compared to 10 losses puts him behind Titus slightly in that respect it is the calibre of those losses that sees Darren retake the lead. Throughout the year DY has shown he can hang with the big boys and had good showings against the big names of John Cena, CM Punk and Rob Van Dam, begging the question what is in store for him in the future.
The biggest part of Darren's year though came not in the ring or even his character but in his personal life when he came out of the closet and declared he was gay thus becoming the first active WWE wrestler to do so. While this didn't effect his wrestling or push in any real way you know that for himself personally it was a big step forward with his life.
Like I said with Titus I want to see PTP either win the titles or break up this year to get them moving in the right direction again. Otherwise I do have another thought for you all to think about, what if Darren, in the coming years, was to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and thus becoming both the first full African American to win WWEs major title (Rock is part Samoan and Booker and Henry won the a World Title, therefore the secondary title) and the first openly gay wrestler to win it as well. Don't laugh, it could happen.
30 Day Challenge
Day 2: Ricochet
Today's Indy wrestler I follow who I will introduce to you is a young guy buy the name of Ricochet who wrestles for DGUSA and EVOLVE. At 25 Ricochet has already held the DGUSA tag titles twice and had won 4 titles in its Japanese sister promotion. Also this year he won the King of Gate tournament held by the Japanese Dragon Gate promotion.
The match I have got for you to watch here is from NJPW and yes regretfully the commentary is in Japanese. The match took place on the 5th of June 2013 and sees him facing ex-TNA wrestler Alex Shelley.
Minor Shows: 11-3-0 Raw: 9-6-2 Smackdown: 5-6-0 PPV: 2-3-0 Title Matches: 7 Raw/SD Main Events: 2 PPV Main Events: 0 2012: 42nd (92pts)
Year in Review
Well here is something we didn't see last year, a diva crack the top 30 (Eve Torres was the best in 2012 at 33rd). This is a slight indication on the inroads that have been made this year to better improve the division and bring back some of its old prestige.
This is not about the Divas division as a whole though but instead just one part of it. At the end of 2012 Kaitlyn was just starting to come into her own and hit 2013 running when she beat Eve Torres for the Divas Championship on the January 14th edition of Raw. She would hold the title for 5 months having successful defences against Tamina Snuka, Natalya & AJ Lee before losing to AJ at Payback.
Over the next month she had 2 unsuccessful rematches and that is where her fairy tale run came to a screeching halt. Most of her matches since the beginning of August have been multi-Diva affairs, well except for the near 2 months she had no TV matches between mid August to mid October. In December things were looking a little brighter, well if you call a return to the singles division by beating Aksana twice and losing to Summer Rae and AJ Lee as looking brighter anyway.
To be perfectly honest even though I knew why Kaitlyn was given the title (storyline purposes to give a reason to get the title on AJ) I am still not happy about it. I am not a Kaitlyn fan, it goes all the way back to when she stunk up NXT yet won all the same. While she gained some slight respect back from me in her series of matches with AJ she has got a long way to go to make me a fan. Nothing short of her being let go will make me happy. However what I see for her is joining Aksana and Alicia Fox down in the depths of no mans land.
30 Day Challenge
Day 3: Leva Bates
Well since we are talking about a Diva today how about I use today to highlight one of the ladies I watch from SHINE. And since today was my most hated diva I thought I would counteract with my favourite female Indy wrestler and someone I would love to see take Kaitlyns spot on the WWE roster.
While she may not be the best fit in the WWE or deserve the spot more than some others I will show you I see no reason why a place couldn't be made for her. While she is accomplished in the ring and is quite entertaining it is more her character work that makes Leva Bates great. Her promos are better than most of the current WWE rosters and you never know what the next one will be like. Why you ask, well that is because she constantly changes characters. Each match she changes who she portrays. I have seen her perform as characters from Batman, Pirates of The Caribbean, Spider-Man, Cat in the Hat and Silent Hill.
Because of SHINE not putting their matches up on YouTube so I can't show you any if them however I can get matches from elsewhere. The match here is from the D1W show Extreme Destinatins which took place on March 2 2013 and is against Crazy Mary Dobson.
Minor Shows: 6-8-0 Raw: 9-17-1 Smackdown: 8-5-1 PPV: 2-3-0 Title Matches: 1 Raw/SD Main Events: 2 PPV Main Events: 0 2012: 59th (36pts)
Year in Review
On the 28th of November 2012 an episode of NXT was broadcast which saw Johnny Curtis team with Michael McGillicutty in a losing effort against Team Hell No in a Tag Title match. This was the last time we would ever see the Johnny Curtis gimmick for not long after the new year rolled around Curtis Hussey would have a new character to play. Vignettes started to appear on WWE for a debuting superstar, a guy who liked to dance, and with that Johnny Curtis became Fandango.
The career of Fandango started off magnificently when at the Grandest Stage of Them All he beat Chris Jericho followed by the next night his theme music getting one of the biggest reactions in a very ruckus crowd. Over the next 3 months he would go on to have victories against Kofi Kingston, Santino Marella, William Regal, Justin Gabriel (x2), Zack Ryder (x2) and Wade Barrett (x2) while only losing to Jericho by pinfall and R-Truth and Sheamus by count out in that time. However his fairy tale run was about to come to an end.
Fandango would lose the Money in the Bank match for the World Heavyweight Title shot and would go on to have a 7 match losing streak, going as far to only win 3 of his next 17 matches, thus neutering the hard work he had already put in his first few months. While since October he has got 14 wins from 25 matches the damage was already done by his losing streak.
Another thing that was missing from Fandangos resume was a title opportunity. He was scheduled to get a shot at the Intercontinental Title at Payback but due to a concussion he was replaced by his former tag team partner McGillicutty, now known as Curtis Axel, who went on to win the title begging the question was that title win meant for Fandango. If Fandango had not been concussed he could have won the title and went from strength to strength however he missed the match and the title was won by another heel thus making it hard for him to get a shot. Actually it would not be till the last Raw of the year that finally Fandango would get another chance to challenge for the title, a match he was not able to leave victorious from.
So where do I see Fandango in the future? Well that is an interesting question, as I am having a hard time pinpointing where he would be. He has a lot of followers so I wouldn't be surprised if he continues on challenging for titles now that he has had that first shot, maybe if he is lucky even winning one. Other than that I couldn't see him doing much more than being a semi regular who appears for a while then disappears only to reappear in a couple of weeks.
30 Day Challenge
Day 4: Trent Barreta
OK so this might seem like a cop out to you as he was only released from WWE just over a year ago but this is my column and I make the rules. While in the WWE Trent never got a chance to showcase what he can do but since his release he has been making up for lost ground. Trent has been consistently one of the most entertaining performers on the card no matter which promotion I watched this year showing how far he has come in such a short time. Trent being rehired by WWE (or hired by TNA) soon wouldn't surprise me and he would put a lot of the current to shame. Damn I can't believe I'm saying that as I was happy when the WWE fired him.
The match I have for you all here today is from the 1st of June and is once again from NJPW with Alex Shelley as the opponent.
Minor Shows: 15-8-0 Raw: 10-5-1 Smackdown: 7-5-0 PPV: 2-3-0 Title Matches: 4 Raw/SD Main Events: 3 PPV Main Events: 0 2012: 46th (71pts)
Year in Review
Today we take a look at the second Diva to make the top 30 Natalya. After years of being overlooked for her model counterparts the WWE has finally remembered that they have an accomplished wrestler on their Diva roster, and it took a show with a group of models to do it.
While Total Divas might be looked upon by the majority of fans (especially members of the IWC) as a total waste of time fans of Natalya are thanking their lucky stars for the show as it has made Natalya relevant. While others like the Bella's and Eva Marie might be the face of the show it is Natalya who has gone out and defended its honour more than anyone else in the ring beating all the other ladies from the show in this countdown (Brie came 37th, Naomi 43rd, Nikki 51st, Cameron 53rd, Eva Marie 81st & JoJo 95th).
But no matter how much wrestling she has done and how good her win/loss record is Natalya has been unable to get it done when it matters. It has been a common occurrence all year to see Natalya pin or submit the Divas Champion yet when the time comes with the belt on the line she has just not been able to get the job done.
The future looks bright for Natalya. With Total Divas already signed for another season the extra spotlight that it shines will shine brightly towards Natalya. Because of this I don't see the current push she is getting to subside and she will continue to see plenty of TV time throughout the next year. Also I wouldn't be surprised if Natalya gets the belt around her waste at some stage this year, a piece of jewellery she really deserves.
30 Day Challenge
Day 5: Mia Yim
Keeping with the theme of Divas I have for you today another lady who I could see easily be a Diva of the future. Mia Yim is one of the more entertaining high-flying women I have ever seen. Her finisher, what she calls the Sky Yim, is a Sky Twister Press that has to be up there with one of the more spectacular finishers of all time. However it is not just the spectacular moves that makes Mia Yim worth the watch as she is accomplished in more moves than just the high-flying style.
The match I have for you here is from the 16th April 2013 from NWA/FU and sees Mia Yim face La Rosa Negra to crown their first Women's Champ
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