Badseed's Bottomline #350
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Hey yo! This is my big 350th edition of Badseedís Bottomline. Damn! How long have I been doing this? Mr. Nemer, do you remember exactly when I started writing this column for you? We are like family now. Letís get on with it. Let the countdown to 400 begin.
So, my loyal readers are wondering where my PPV predictions are, but if you havenít noticed, I donít order WWE pay-per-views right now. TNA is all I can afford and Iíd rather be entertained by a variety of matches than bored by cookie-cutter wrestling these days. So, while I enjoyed Turning Point more than any other PPV this year, Iím not even really looking forward to Armageddon.
Today, Iím posting my very first Year-End Awards. This is where I honor the best the way I see it. Take a look. Let me know what you think. Feel free to disagree.
Comeback of the Year: ECW!!! The federation that would not die came back in a big way when the WWE satisfied our nostalgia with a great PPV marked by some of the best matches I have seen since ECW first existed. The build-up on Raw and Smackdown was better than expected and the shoot segments were just awesome. This was the start of something big if only the WWE could see past their own egos.
Rhino also deserves a mention for comeback of the year. This monster of a wrestler really turned heads in ECW after being beaten by Tazz and then never looking back, wrecking wrestler after wrestler on his path to the ECW Television title and then the World Title. But in the WWE, Rhino languished in obscurity; jobbing to wrestlers he would have destroyed in ECW. Now, TNA has given him another chance to shine. He is a former world champion and a wrestler TNA takes seriously. They have given him the ball and he continues to run with it. Welcome back.
The Biggest Letdown of the Year: WWE dropping ECW. They should have continued with the brand, but instead, they completely ignored it and went from flirting with signing Axl and Balls to losing the Dudleys, Rhino, Tajiri, Lance Storm, and Dawn Marie and burying Paul Heyman. They plan on doing another One Night Stand, but if I was TNA, I would sign Heyman and bring back Hardcore Homecoming next year under their umbrella. With Sabu, Raven, Team 3D, Rhino, Shane Douglas, Simon Diamond, PJ Polanco and wrestlers who would fit the mold of ECW, their show might be that much better.
The Smartest Move of the Year: Signing Joey Styles. No offense to JR, but Joey Styles and Mike Tenay are my Announcers of the Year, too. They just know their stuff. They come prepared to announce and are polished. It is a pleasure to hear them bring the action into my home. If one thing One Night Stand proved, it was how good Joey Styles is. He could make a snail race sound interested and on Raw, that is needed. I miss JR, but if you want to go in a younger direction and still want to maintain the play-by-play quality fans have come to expect, Joey Styles was the man for the job. From historical information, to quick wit and quicker commentary, Styles rarely screws up and brings drama to the lamest of angles. He even makes big angles that much more important by doing the small things. Just by saying he never saw a screwdriver used in a match in all his years of announcing, HHH vs. Ric Flair sounded that much more brutal. Good job.
Lamest Gimmick: Simon Dean. I saw some of his OVW stuff. He was not bad. Of course, we all know what he can do in ECW. Let him do his thing. Drop the exercise guru angle. It is killing his career. This guy can wrestle. They should be building him to be a protťgť to Kurt Angle, not Richard Simmons.
Lame Gimmick That Might Work: Boogeyman. Shane McMahon is smart. Heís doing a lot of research. I havenít seen his matches yet, but he makes me laugh. His gimmick is just so stupid, itís funny and sometimes, thatís just what we need. Heís never going to be an Undertaker, but even Doink the Clown had a little success before he fizzled out. Heís still a cult hit.
Most Improved Wrestler: Rey Mysterio. He has upped his game big time this year. This guy has proven he could work major angles and I see 2006 being a big year for him. A major singles title is definitely in the cards and a big Wrestlemania match is a definite.
Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year: Eddie Guerrero. His life and his death has inspired me, has made me push harder, has made me take a long look at my life and has given people hope. His death reminded me of that. No matter how bad life may seem, if you are strong, anything is possible. Eddie came back from insurmountable odds. He proved that you can come back and his death told children to never let demons into your life to begin with. I will miss him each and every week.
Feud of the Year: Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles. A feud built on respect can sometimes be the best feud. These guys put on some of the best matches yet and I could have seen 12 PPV battles between them. I even like how their feud was worked into the Samoa Joe angle. There is a respect there. These two are like the Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat of the X Division.
Match of the Year: I want to say Kurt Angle vs. HBK, but I was literally at the edge of my seat for Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles. The sheer brutality of the match and what was at stake for both wrestlers made this one a classic. I mean, for awhile I thought AJ was going to end the streak. Then I thought Joe was going to take the belt. Then I thought Daniels would come down and cause Joe to lose the match to set up for their feud. ThenÖI donít know what the hell was going on; the tide changed hands so much. The WWE thinks cruiserweights canít do crazy moves without telling a story. AJ and Samoa Joe told a story of heart and soul; of revenge; of honor; respect or lack there of. This was probably the most entertaining match I have seen in some time. It had a lot of the drama of Angle vs. HBK, but with high flying action that defies the odds. TNA just keeps pumping them out and it is a shame so many people are missing it.
Rookie of the Year: Well, this is for the wrestler who made the biggest splash in his first year within a big company. Of course, Samoa Joe would fit that bill. He has destroyed everyone in his path. He has been deemed worthy to carry an undefeated streak and carry the X Division title. He has had great matches with AJ Styles and so many other wrestlers in the Elimination X match. He looks like he can run through Rhino, Jarrett, Raven and the other heavyweight contenders. Joe beats out Ken Kennedy, because he has made the fans stand up and take notice. They applaud his every move, even when he is probably one of the best heels in the business. That kind of respect is earned. The only thing I would change about him is the use of two finishers. He should use the Muscle Buster and only break out the rear-naked choke when it is warranted. It would make the Muscle Buster that much more effective if he could just pin them right away after that. Joeís Gonna Kill You.
Woman Wrestler of the Year: Victoria. No, not Trish. Trish is a great wrestler, but Victoria deserves so much credit for carrying the division while Trish was out of action. She is one diva they better not cut. But watch out for Melina. Sheís going to be big one day.
Biggest Surprise of the Year: Christian goes to TNA and Matt Hardy shows up on Raw unexpectedly. Both created a swirl of Internet rumors. Both created a firestorm of news. Both changed the landscape of wrestling and made sports entertainment worth talking about again.
Best Actor: Eddie Guerrero. We could do best heel or best face, but Eddie did both and he did it with perfection. Just when you thought Eddie could never get the fans to hate him, he turned on Rey Mysterio and with a brilliant mix of brutality and great promos, made himself one of the most hated wrestlers in the WWE. Then he turned face in what was supposed to lead to another world title angle with Batista, but fans got behind Eddie in a big way and it seemed like the WWE liked the team of Eddie and Batista to keep it going on for a little while longer. A wrestler who really wants to learn how to achieve in this business, should just watch Eddieís matches and promos. Eddie is one of the greatest of all time. Thankfully, that was said before he died so he could hear how much we thought of him.
If I did a best heel award, it would probably go to Edge, but mostly because he is probably one of the biggest heels in real life. Art imitates life and vice versa.
Heel With All the Ingredients to be a Face: JBL. What he did on Raw made him a true start in my book. He has grown a lot in the WWE. He could also be a Most Improved Wrestler if he wasnít losing all of his matches as of late. His promos, his solid performances as a face for the Smackdown squad against Raw allowed fans to get a taste of what a personality change could mean if JBL started feuding with the likes of Randy Orton, Ken Kennedy and Booker T instead of Rey Mysterio, Matt Hardy and the Undertaker. It looks like he would be a better face than he ever was as a member of APA.
Best PPV: Turning Point. Top to bottom, this card had it all. Barbed Wire. X-Division craziness. X-Division classic mat action. Tables. Mainstream gimmicks. Solid wrestling action. ECW-style mayhem. A war of a main event. Heel turns. Drama. It had the match of the year on the show. This one had something for everyone. Oh and why does it seem that TNA puts out better video packages these days? Back in the day, that was one area WCW could never beat the WWE at, but TNA is getting close. They made Turning Point look like a PPV worth buying and it was.
Tag-Team of the Year: Americaís Most Wanted. They went from top face team to heel team and they actually got better because of it. They are showing their ability to garner heat, work the mic and bring some drama to the mix. Team 3D will probably win this award next year, but right now, AMW is still making things happen in TNA. The Naturals get a nod, too. Underrated, the Naturals are great tag-team wrestlers who work together very well. As for the WWE, do they even have real tag-teams?
Best Faction: 4 Live Kru. Well, that was until Konnan had to go and ruin it. But the angle was awesome and probably the best scripted storyline not involving someone with a belt. Great job.
Wrestler of the Year: I would say Chris Benoit or Shelton Benjamin, but they didnít really get much play this year. No, the title goes to AJ Styles. He puts together great high flying action in matches that tell a story. His battles with Christopher Daniels, Petey Williams and Samoa Joe always steal each and every PPV. AJ Styles is the most anticipated match on any card and he has done the impossible and made a secondary title more important than the main belt; a feat only RVD, Steve Austin, The Rock and Randy Savage have ever done in their careers. When you are that consistent with every wrestler you face, you deserve to be honored as the top dog.
And there you have it. Those are the best wrestlers, matches, shows, and moments of 2005. Next time, I will predict what will happen in 2006. Later.
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