Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. With 2012 firmly in the rear view mirror, we often look back on the memories that have occurred over the past year…some good, and some bad. I reflected on the past year in WWE, and what they accomplished and what they left us to scratch our heads at. For the past couple of years, I’ve done a ranking system similar to “cheers” and “jeers”, but titled FTW (For The Win) and WTF (What The F**k) moments for the wrestling group I’m a part of, and I figured since I have a means of distributing my diatribes to an audience outside of Facebook, and the year just ended, why not do one of each for WWE in the past year. Today, I present you with my personal list of FTW Moments in the WWE for 2012!
Honorable Mentions – Daniel Bryan is over with the fans with YES! YES! YES!/NO! NO! NO!, Antonio Cesaro becomes United States Champion, The Miz’s face turn and Big Show getting a World Heavyweight Championship run longer than 45 seconds.
10. RAW gets a new theme song. I’m not a fan of Nickelback…at all. Everytime RAW would come on the air, one of the things I dreaded hearing (aside from John Cena vociferating complete nonsense) was that absolutely dreadful “Burn It To The Ground”. When RAW 1000 introduced the remix of “Tonight Is The Night” (or as it’s officially known as “The Night”), I was ecstatic. No longer did I have to hear that oaf Chad Kroeger grumble out that auditory diarrhea.
9. More focus on the tag team division. For a while, the tag team division floundered in favor of pushing talent as solo stars. Whatever tag teams they had primarily served as cannon fodder for making a person look completely dominant, while the team concept fell by the wayside. I personally feel that tag teams are an essential part of any sports organization. Does any sports team get by on one single player alone? Team dynamics teaches people (and WWE’s obvious demographic of young children) to work together to achieve their goals, and by showing a greater emphasis on the tag team division, they’re showing that sometimes, not only can a person alone achieve something, but a team can as well.
8. Dolph Ziggler wins Money In The Bank. I enjoy Dolph Ziggler’s work. Both in-ring and on the mic. For the past couple of years, he seems to have stayed in the midcard, only to receive a push (usually a very short one) to the main event to help the world champions look good (Zig’s one HELL of a seller). He had one World Heavyweight Championship run (if you want to count the ONE DAY he was champion), and then it was back to chasing the midcard championships (Intercontinental and United States). At Money In The Bank in July, he won the namesake ladder match for a chance to win the World Heavyweight Championship. With rumor circulating that he’s being groomed for a WHC run, let’s see if they make it work for him.
7. CM Punk feuds with Chris Jericho..then Daniel Bryan. Best In The World vs. Best In The World. I actually enjoyed this feud since WWE had Jericho incorporate elements of Punk’s troubled family past and contrasted it with his straightedge lifestyle and whether or not Punk would be prone to go down the same path. Though their match at WrestleMania 28 could have given us more, the feud itself was one of the most interesting things going into that event. With Daniel Bryan, it’s well known that both of these guys had their starts in the independent scene, and watching two former indy stars feud over the premier World Championship seemed like an absolute dream. Punk and Bryan showed the fans that wrestling can be entertainment, and not just spouting out nonsense at obscenely high volumes (I’m looking at you, John Cena). I thoroughly enjoyed Punk’s feuds with Jericho (Best In The World from two different times) and D-Bry (two guys who worked their asses off for years to get to where they are feuding over the WWE Championship).
6. Santino Marella shines at Elimination Chamber. Santino Marella…over the top Italian stereotype. At the Elimination Chamber PPV back in February, Santino participated in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber. For those of you unfamiliar, the Elimination Chamber (EC) is a six-person elimination cage match where two start and in incremental periods of time, a superstar is released from a storage pod inside the cage, and you’re eliminated by pinfall or submission (and all participants are fighting at the same time). I was astonished that Santino had outlasted Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, and The Great Khali (why was he in there?!) to try to eliminate the then World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. You know WWE wasn’t that insane enough to put the WHC on a comedy act like Santino, but the story it told was absolutely amazing of him getting so close, only to fall short in the end. His performance in this made me see him in a completely different light.
5. New faces appear on WWE television. In 2012, we saw a lot of new faces pop up on our television screens. Brodus Clay re-emerged with a more lighthearted gimmick than his previous one (which was almost one similar to Rhino/Rhyno). Indy guys like Antonio Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli), Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) and Seth Rollins (Tyler Black) also arrived on the scene to make a name for themselves. With Cesaro showing his dominance as US Champ, and Ambrose and Rollins teaming with Roman Reigns (The Rock’s cousin, who also made his debut in 2012) wreaking havoc in a group called The Shield (not led by Samuel L. Jackson…unfortunately), it’s interesting to see what 2013 has in store for these bright, young stars.
4. John Cena/Rock feud ended. I’m not talking about their match at WrestleMania (their match was okay at best). I’m glad that their year long proverbial dick war was over at WM. For the start of 2012 (as well as the better majority of 2011), The Rock and Cena engaged in war of words back and forth not only on television, but also on Twitter. Their remarks towards one another can almost be considered almost on the level of petulant adolescents throwing homosexual remarks at one another in a vain attempt to seem cool and edgy. I won’t say I completely disliked this feud, I got a few chuckles out of it. But after WM 28, the childish bickering between Cena and Rock concluded, and we got to go back to seeing emphasis on storylines that didn’t involve two guys pretty much arguing over who can offend GLAAD the fastest.
3. Brock Lesnar returns. Night after WrestleMania 28. John Cena is spouting out some diatribe on his loss to The Rock towards the end of RAW, when all of a sudden, a familiar guitar riff hits and what sounds like a the anthem you could set to any horror movie villain can enter a room to (seriously, listen to Lesnar’s theme and imagine Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers or even Jaws chasing you down to it) and A WILD BROCK LESNAR APPEARS and wrecks Cena’s day by pummeling the ever-loving piss out of him, hitting him with the F-5 and kicking Cena’s bright green hat (which looks like he stole from a Starbucks employee) around. I liked this moment because he pretty much just straight up wrecked Cena’s vain attempt at a pity party, shutting him up in the process.
2. Triple H vs. The Undertaker – Hell In A Cell – WrestleMania 28. I can sum this match up in two words. HOLY SHIT. These two pummeled the ever-loving piss out of each other at WrestleMania 27 to the point where Undertaker had to be carted to the back. That was a major premise for this match, that Undy was upset that although he won, he didn’t leave under his own volition. This match was billed as the “end of an era”, which by all means is correct considering these two have been big names since the late 90s and represent a different era in the sport of professional wrestling (or entertainment for you WWE marks out there). There was only one way to settle this score, inside the ruthless Hell In A Cell. I found myself at the edge of my seat, glued to the television for this one. I was supposed to pick up my girlfriend, but I held off because I didn’t want to miss the end to this match. For me, it was two guys I grew up watching, and can recall their debuts in the WWE, and to watch these two once again beat the crap out of each other with Undy’s undefeated WrestleMania streak in jeopardy, this match was an absolute delight. Plus Undertaker’s new Zangief-esque look makes him look like a total bad ass (not the American Bad Ass).
1. CM Punk becomes longest reigning WWE Champion in 25 years on an individual run. The WWE Championship seems to have lost its luster being bounced back and forth (see Randy Orton/John Cena, Triple H/Orton, or Edge/Cena). I understand that a former champion has a rematch clause, but to constantly bounce the championship back and forth not only makes the belt look worthless (look-wise, it’s been crap since the spinner design). But all that changed in 2012. CM Punk started AND ended the year without having lost the WWE title, and not only is he the first person to start and close a year with the championship since Hulk Hogan in 1987, he also became longest reigning WWE Champion of the past 25 years and the fifth longest reigning WWE Champion of all time. This adds a lot of prestige back to the WWE title that it didn’t spend the past year going back and forth in reigns that lasted a couple of weeks. I have this at the top of my list not only because I’m a CM Punk fan, I’m also a wrestling fan. I want to see a champion reign for a lengthy period of time, taking on (and conquering) all challengers, and being the titular champion of the company for lengthy period of time not only makes the title actually worth something, but it also makes the champion look like a force to be reckoned with.
Thus concludes my favorite moments in WWE for 2012, but with good, there’s always bad (and sometimes VERY bad). So check back soon where I turn heel and bring you my list of WTF moments!