Monday, December 22, 2014

The 2014 Year-End Pro Wrestling Awards

Welcome to the Year-End Awards for pro wrestling!  I'll talk a little about the major events of the past year and then get to the Awards section, which includes my picks for every year I've been watching this wacky stuff.

Well, we've come to the end of 2014.  It was quite a roller coaster year for wrestling fans, as WWE presented the good, the bad, the awful, and seemingly everything in between.

The biggest story of 2014 is probably the advent of the WWE Network, which while drawing very disappointing numbers thus far, is nonetheless a game-changer.  Offering every PPV of the year for only $9.99 a month seems like a no-win prospect given how expensive traditional PPV is, but WWE took the gamble that the low price tag and the vast content library would draw enough subscribers to make up the difference in volume.  As of now they're about 300,000 subscribers shy of breaking even.  Hopefully in 2015 they'll grow the library and be able to attract more fans.  Of course presenting consistently entertaining programming week-to-week would help.  They sadly don't seem to grasp that concept. 

WWE was on both sides of the fence as far as being in touch with its audience.  At times they clearly listened to the fans, albeit begrudgingly (case in point the Daniel Bryan saga), and at times they were totally oblivious (Batista anyone?).  NXT has emerged as a viable third brand that presents simple, cutting-edge wrestling featuring exciting young stars eager to make a splash.  The third brand has consistently outshone its main roster counterparts, as it's booked by former wrestlers such as Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat, and overseen by Triple H who truly seems to "get it" as long as he's not an on-air character.  What's sad is I almost fear the top NXT stars being called up because the main roster creative is in such a shambles.  I trust the NXT team much more than their RAW/SD counterparts to utilize talents properly.  That's not a good thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

WWE TLC Predictions!!!

Welcome to another edition of WWE PPV Predictions!  This month is WWE's annual gimmick PPV Tables, Ladders & Chairs (and apparently Stairs as well).  My associate Dan Moore and I will attempt to prognosticate the outcome.

Once again the week-to-week writing has been horribly tedious and devoid of any urgency, as WWE goes through the motions until WrestleMania season starts up.  Survivor Series ended up being pretty good and featured a very fun elimination match as the main event.  Some of the booking was fairly nonsensical (Big Show panicking and switching sides when it was 3-on-3, Sting saving Team Cena at the end and never explaining why), but the match itself felt special and for one night at least, Dolph Ziggler looked like a superstar (as opposed to the rest of the time when he's booked like a Superstar TM - ya know, a second-tier guy who loses all the time). 

Despite Series being a fun show, the followup has been predictably dreadful.  Ziggler is back to feuding over the worthless I-C Title (If you need convincing of how devalued that belt is, ask yourself how many matches Luke Harper has won since becoming champ), every RAW main event is some combination of Cena, Rollins and supporting characters, and ends in a DQ, The Authority has been replaced by a revolving door of guest GMs, which didn't work in 2009 and still doesn't.