A lot of people are doing recaps & best of lists. Where else are you going to find Canadian of the Year and the MAMMA MIA Award? The NXT Minus 6, that’s where!
NXT in 2018 had one of the best years of any promotion in the history of American wrestling. Takeovers were consistently outstanding. The weekly show was consistently good to great. So many wrestlers deserve recognition. It was hard to whittle it all down to the best, but I do like a challenge. Here it is: the best of NXT from 2018.
Canadian of the Year: Kyle O’Reilly
I’m not sure how many superstars qualify for this honor, but I could not do a best of the year list without including everybody’s favorite member of the UE. Dude is a workrate monster & future Intercontinental Champion.
The MAMMA MIA!!!: Ricochet’s flip
This award goes to the one move I watched over & over & lost my mind every time. It was completely unexpected. He absolutely nailed the landing, an Olympic 10. The cherry on the top was Velveteen Dream’s reaction; his face said what we were all thinking.
Burn of the year: Velveteen Dream at Ricochet, Takeover Chicago
“You belong in a bingo hall.”
The Cool Runnings Award: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, Takeover Chicago
The crowd was blazing hot for Undisputed Era. Nobody gave Lorcan & Burch a chance, so they proceeded to turn the curtain jerker into main event quality. Team 1&2 gave everything they had but came up short. They still received a standing ovation from the crowd, proving that wrestling fans are human after all.
Breakout star for 2019: Matt Riddle
Ask me next week, it could be Keith Lee. Or Bianca Belair. Or Dijakovic. It’s safe to say that no matter who it is, we’re all winners.
PPV of the year: Takeover War Games
This was the hardest award to choose. There were 4 matches in 2 ½ hours & not once did it feel long or flat, which gave it a slight edge over New Orleans and Chicago. It started with what I believe to be the best NXT women’s match of 2018. It followed with a 6 star match and a 5 star match. It ended with one of the most glorious car crash spotfests you will ever see. Less is more. In a year of phenomenal PPVs, War Games was the most.
Feud of the year: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Feud of the year. Feud of the Decade. Feud for the ages. It started with one of the best heel turns ever. It gave us 3 MOTY candidates. It jump started another epic heel turn. It sets the stage for evil DIY reunion. You know Gargano is eventually going to come back for his title shot & pound of flesh. This is the feud that keeps on giving.
The Most NXT match of the year: North American Title match at Takeover New Orleans
This is not the best match of the year. It is the match that best showcases what NXT is all about. This could have main evented any PPV on the entire E calendar. Instead, it was the opener. Are you kidding me? Six guys went out there, busted their asses in one of the best ladder matches ever and sent a message to everyone in the back: There’s your bar, now top that. THAT is how you kick off a show.
Female wrestler of the year: Nikki Cross
More than anybody else in the entire E universe, Nikki feels totally unscripted. I truly believe not even she knows what she’s going to do when she hits the ring. Her role in the Black saga was a tasty scoop of nutty. Her character work is so good, it’s easy to forget she had top notch matches with Baszler, Belair and the triple threat with Lerae & Sane. Wrestling needs more Nikki Cross.
Wrestler of the year: Johnny Gargano
He’s too small. Wrong. He’s just a tag team guy. Wrong. He’s a pure babyface. Wrong. Gargano spent all year proving us wrong. He had 5 star matches as a face and a heel. His slow descent into madness has been a masterclass of long term storytelling. Johnny Freaking Wrestling, Johnny Bad Ass, Johnny Takeover, is on the short list for best wrestler in the world. I have no idea what he can do in 2019 to top what he did in 2018, but I’ll be watching to find out.
That’s right. I said it.
The Good, Bad and Ugly: NXT (01/16/2019)
Bobby breaks down the most recent episode of NXT. Does it play out like we all expect?
NXT was back to its usual self last week. A whole lot of action, tremendous storylines, and excellence. This week, we hope the Good times will continue. They cram a lot of Professional Wrestling’s finest into a small hour long segment proving less is more. With another week of new content will NXT ever be anything but Good?
Bianca Belair Promo
This match with Shayna Baszler will be incredible. Both are so dominant and contrast each other’s styles so well. Glam vs. Gloom. Belair had a more than impressive win over Nikki Cross last week and it certainly got some people’s attention. Her mic skills are sincere, and smooth. She has a lot of “it” factor. Of course when you put Baszler’s name in your mouth, she isn’t going to be far behind. Baszler interrupted Belair, in tow with her Horsewomen. Baszler is fantastic and demands attention, but Belair held her ground and the two had a Good exchange. Belair finally had enough and literally slapped the spit out of Baszler. She poked the bear and for the time being got away with it.
Johnny Gargano vs. Humberto Carillo
Carillo nearly won the 205 Live Championship this week, and has some skills. Gargano can work anyone so this was a decent match. A lot of flying around, huge moves and smooth entertaining action. Carillo hit a sick “missile dropkick” followed by a “standing moonsault.” He is impressive, but Johnny Wrestling wasn’t going to be outdone and crushed Carillo’s momentum and face with his “slingshot DDT” for the victory.
Kassius Ohno vs. “Limitless” Keith Lee
Two huge, physical beast going head to head. This is going to hurt. Ohno is one stiff bastard but Lee won’t be one to get beat around. Lee was dominant early on, overpowering and out finessing Ohno. Lee is so impressive, you never know what he is going to do. He has the power and agility rarely seen on any platform of sports. Ohno didn’t lie down though, he got in his shots and got the big guy down with brutal kicks. Ohno had control until he got a back full of knees on a senton attempt. Lee wouldn’t turn back from there. He just overpowered Ohno, tossing him around and hitting a slingshot cross body for a near fall. The ref got in the mix and knocked down just long enough for Ohno to get in a “low blow” for a cheap but much needed win for Kassius Ohno. Matt Riddle made the run in due to the cheap victory but only Good for a staredown.
Street Profits vs. The Metro Brothers (Chris and JC)
The current EVOLVE Tag Team Champions have been appropriately hyped. A lot of fans have no idea who they are, but they can certainly work. The Metro Brothers have a Good look as well. This had match had decent potential heading into it, as both teams had a Good energy heading in. Unfortunately this was a quick match, and didn’t showcase anything special. Street Profits win decisively. The celebration was short lived though as the “Forgotten Son’s” who truly were forgotten by most. These bad ass bikers beat the hell out of Street Profits and the crowd was not amused. Not NXT’s greatest stuff, and a surprisingly disappointing opening match.
Adrian Jaoude vs. Dominic Dijakovic
Jaoude a black belt and badass looks like a serious dude, and we already know how intense the New England Native Dijak is. He destroys his opponents. Unfortunately we saw a lot of awkward “mat” wrestling. The problem is if you do mat wrestling, it cannot look half assed and both competitors have to be able to go with it. We didn’t see that here. This was boring, and didn’t do anything for the audience. Dijakovic Wins and it couldn’t have ended fast enough.
OVERALL- Good, but not as Good as usual. Some of the action was more than disappointing but honestly nothing is perfect. NXT is more often than not, a fantastic example of Professional Wrestling’s potential.
The NXT product is just unreal. The promos have substance and are straight to the point. The talent on the roster even with the “call ups” seem to replenish and feed the well-oiled machine without a hiccup. The word is that an extended time slot may be in the works for more action. As said earlier less is more, but if they don’t fill the extra time with crap and just more expected Gold of a typical NXT, more is just better. However this week it wasn’t up to par. It seems that as usual the Good outweighed the Bad, but this really wasn’t their best. Onto the next week, which are the “take home” shows for an action packed weekend. See you then!
All In For a New Era Of Pro Wrestling
Corey Taylor makes his debut for The Chairshot Ushering in a new era with All Elite Wrestling!
Unlike people who know don’t follow pro wrestling or that watch it as a casual fan, I am different. Watching wrestling has been my passion since I was young. Then throw in the fact I’m a writer it gives me a very interesting outlook on the industry. I watch not just because I love it but because I study it on a creative level. I fell in love with WWF right from the start. People ask me ‘how?’ or ‘why?’
It started in 1991. I was just two years old. Young, right? Yeah, I told you. My dad was channel surfing when he flipped to WWF, and that was it. From that night forward I was hooked. At thirty years old, still passionate to the point I study the wrestling industry as much as possible. Do I know everything? No, but I do know a lot and throw in my writing background which makes the passion run deeper. The late 80s early 90s was such a magical time. The era of Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan was lighting up the federation in the early ‘90s. This continued until the WWF ushered in a “NEW GENERATION.” Wrestlers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels who were tag team specialists set off on single careers and became leaders of the new era.
Media mogul Ted Turner, the CEO of World Championship Wrestling, had a chat with Eric Bischoff, one of his B-team announcers. “How do we compete against WWF?”
Eric Bischoff said the first thing he could think of, “Go head to head with the WWF every Monday night.” Turner concurred and gave him the prime time Monday night slot. They shook WWF to its core for 83 weeks.
MONDAY NIGHT WARS
WWF was still going the kid-friendly over the top character’s route, and fans started to flee from the product, and the company was financially struggling. WCW, however, was flouring with its more reality-based storylines and was bringing in bigger numbers. Most of the stars of the 80s and early 90s from WWF jumped to WCW. During this period, WWF wrestler Lex Luger appeared on the first episode of Monday Nitro a day after his contract expired. A year or more earlier Hogan and Savage had left WWF since their presence became irrelevant due to WWF’s youth movement but even the young talent they were making stars started to leave, like Kevin Nash (also known as Diesel in WWF) and Scott Hall (known as Razor Ramon) shocked the wrestling world by jumping to WCW.
WCW competed with WWF/E “head to head” and won every week for 83 solid weeks! Wow, you would agree with me that this was a rating beatdown. This challenge outright brought WWF ratings crashing down but, the WCW’s ego started their downfall. How?
WWF pre-taped their Monday night Raw on various weeks and when they did WCW would give away the results. Then on the 83rd week, they made a mistake that’d cost them. Live on air they announced that there would be a new champion on the other show (WWF Raw.) That night, Mick Foley won the WWF Championship, and WCW knew it was happening because it was pre-taped. Tony Schiavone said with disgust “That’ll put butts in the seats.” However, the fans switched over to Raw and WCW’s ratings never recovered. This development further fueled the WCW’s doom. Based on the responses from various sources, a lot of things led to her downfall in 2001, but on a fateful day in 2001 Vince McMahon “bought
WHY THE HISTORY LESSON?
I know what you are wondering. Why bring you on this trip eighteen years back in time down memory lane? Here we are in 2019. WWF; now known as WWE is still standing though on bent legs. They’re still going strong but are struggling with consistently keeping momentum and ratings are down. Even with its long-lasting virtue, it is struggling to keep the fans entertained.
Don’t get it all wrong WWE is still a juggernaut but for how long? Some people blame it on Monday Night Raw being three hours while others say it is because of Vince inconsistency with his fans and all other sorts of assumptions. There seems to be a new dawn for WWE in 2019. They will either flourish or fail. WWE is about to witness the competition it hasn’t seen in 18 years.
It all started four months ago, on the first of September 2018. After months of intense preparation and planning, Cody Rhodes, the son of a legendary pro wrestler, and a pro wrestling mastermind, the late Dusty Rhodes, along with Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks put on a well-planned event that sold out the Sears Center and put on a stacked successful show. It was AMAZING! An exciting combination of amazing in-ring competition, blasts from the past and an entertaining yet bizarre moment.
Jay Lethal restored his Black Machismo gimmick with Randy Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo by his side, there was this very emotional NWA championship match between Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes and to cap it all, everyone also enjoyed the challenge between Kenny Omega and Pentagon Jr, with a shocking appearance by Chris Jericho. It was the wrestling event wrestling fans have been waiting years to see. At one point I had to rub my eyes and wonder if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. With Adam Page in the ring after a match, Joey Ryan’s crotch appeared on the screen and began to…well…stiffen, Followed by inflatable phallic druids heading down to the ring and the world saw the “Res-erection” of Joey Ryan. I was standing there both traumatized and entertained. It was unique, to say the least.
ALL IN was such a success, on January 1st they announced on BEING THE ELITE the YouTube channel they were going DOUBLE OR NOTHING. This was followed by a second announcement, the birth of All Elite Wrestling. The Bucks, Adam Page, and Cody Rhodes were starting their own wrestling promotion. As days went on, they announced that top female independent talent, Brit Baker was joining the company and the official disclosure of the financial backers being the Khan family, owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Reports say they are investing about one-hundred million dollars into the startup of the company.
Wow! That’s a massive amount of cash.
Announcements on more names attached to the promotion came on the 8th of January, at a press conference hosted by All Elite Wrestling. The first names were called to the stage to start things off.: (So Cal Uncensored); Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, and Scorpio Sky and signed by All Elite Wrestling. Then the former WWE Cruiserweight champion PAC and Chris Jericho, one of the biggest free agents in the industry appeared at the rally.
According to The Bucks and Rhodes, they testified that they had a goal of putting ten thousand people in a building a few months ago, and they succeeded. In their words, they revealed that they never let their friendship affect them in their profession, and their comradery will be one of the driving forces of what makes AEW successful. I ran through the lists of announced names, Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Adam Page, Brit Baker, So Cal Uncensored, PAC, Chris Jericho and am predicting a ton of success of ALL IN but the similarities and the differences between AEW and WCW were clear.
REPEATING CORRECTING ITSELF
An obvious similarity is that billionaires funded both WCW and AEW. WCW, however, focused on already established big names from WWE while AEW is concentrating on guys who have made their names for themselves or have yet to make a name for themselves. Even former WWE wrestlers like Pac and Jericho left WWE and have done a great deal to brand themselves separate from their WWE careers. WCW had pizza guys and network execs running the company before and after Eric Bischoff was in power, but AEW has The Bucks and Cody Rhodes leading the charge and looks to be in control of things on a creative level, and that will be a significant catalyst on why AEW can outrun WCW.
Unlike WCW, in AEW, there are no egos, no politicians, no random individual who does not know the trends in the wrestling industry. AEW, however, is anchored by people who are in the wrestling business and financially backed by someone who loves the wrestling business. The trending news does not stop here. There had been rumors that big networks are looking to have AEW on their network and another aspect reminiscent of WCW is the fact that one of the big networks looking to get AEW is none other than the former home of WCW Nitro the TNT network. Could we see a rebirth of the Monday Night Wars? Dare we dream?
The wrestling business is changing, and this could be a wake-up call to WWE to focus and make an impact and keep the momentum going while also giving fans an alternative in AEW. It will be an exciting few years and will be crucial for WWE, AEW and the pro wrestling industry as a whole. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the product now even more than ever. However, if WWE or AEW needs a writer on their staff that has been following the industry for 27 years and had ten years of writing experience, I am available, reach me.
To get the latest news on All Elite Wrestling, tune in to your favorite pro wrestling news sites. Tune into Twitter and Being the Elite YouTube channel to get the news.
To contact me: Coreyt0304@gmail.com