Celebrate the holidays with Renee Young and friends!
It’s Backstage Before Christmas, and all through the show, it’s the Year End Awards, HO HO HO! What will be honored as WWE’s best in 2019?
Renee Young runs down the schedule!
Special guests abound, such as Maria Menounos, as Backstage talks the best of 2019! Director, actor and WWE super fan Paul Walter Hauser is about to learn some things in Promo School! And we look back on some of the best WWE Christmas moments of all time! Santa Claus is even here live, “Can you dig that, sucka?!”
The panel assembles!
Paige is home for the holidays, but Peeps rejoice as Christian and Ember Moon are here! And without wasting much time, Booker T has Maria Menounos! Maria is a super fan and had a big win at WrestleMania 28, and she’s so excited to be back.
One of the biggest things to happen this year was, of course, SmackDown moving back to Fridays, but on Fox! It was truly the beginning of a new era in the WWE, and that Friday debut was huge for all of the WWE. But first…
Just the Highlights!
Ronda Rousey also joined the WWE, and had a truly epic rivalry with both The Man and The Queen! Their brawl backstage with police cars and subsequent WrestleMania main event will go down in history. Speaking of WrestleMania, Kofi Kingston had his crowning achievement when he finally became WWE World Heavyweight Champion! Brock Lesnar and Bayley both became Money in the Bank winners to cash in and take the titles, Sasha Banks returned blue and badder than ever, Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury felt the fury, Kurt Angle retired at WrestleMania, and perhaps biggest of all… “I’m in remission, y’all.” Roman Reigns defeated leukemia and was back!
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships came into reality, being first won by Sasha Banks and Bayley at Elimination Chamber, then taken from them by the IIconics at WrestleMania! Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss would get them next, and now Asuka and Kairi Sane hold them as very dominant Kabuki Warriors. More history was made in the Women’s Division as Lacey Evans and Natalya broke down barriers by being Saudi Arabia’s first-ever women’s match! Lesnar brutalized Mysterio and his son, Kevin Owens crushed Shane McMahon while Becky SLAPPED Stephanie, Lana left Rusev for Bobby Lashley, Bayley went bad, and for a time, the NEW Daniel Bryan held a new take on the world title.
Bayley got the title back, Ricochet had the US Championship, the Good Brothers are the Best Tag Team in the World but The Viking Raiders rule over Raw’s Tag Team Division, and NXT truly took over! The 24/7 Championship has quite literally been non-stop, all over the world, in places and scenarios you would never have pictured. Seth Rollins beat The Beast twice, but could only survive so long against The Fiend! YOWIE WOWIE!
The panel discusses 2019.
What stands out to them the most from this past year? Ember says it would be two things: for herself, being able to hit an Eclipse stunner off a ladder after begging for that chance; and overall, Becky Lynch jumping into the Women’s Royal Rumble to such incredible ovation. That was when it all clicked for The Man. Renee even notes that Nia Jax entering the Men’s Rumble was incredible. Christian says his two would be one, Roman Reigns overcoming leukemia, “that’s some real-life stuff,” and then Survivor Series and NXT coming out on top. NXT made their presence known to everyone, and proved there is no more “calling up.”
The first round of awards begin now!
First up, Moment of the Year! Your nominees are:
- Becky 2 Belts, the Women’s Triple Threat #WinnerTakesAll Mania main event!
- KofiMania, Kofi’s own huge title win at WrestleMania 35!
- Women making history at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia!
- Braun Strowman tackling Bobby Lashley THROUGH the LED wall!
And the winner is… KofiMania! Kofi holds his Backstage Year End Award Trophy, which is a golden statuette of Cleatus, and says he is so glad the fans demanded this movement. As superstars, they all want to put on a match that the fans will never forget. KofiMania was unforgettable beyond a shadow of a doubt. Kofi thanks his family for their support, and says it isn’t possible without his wife being a super mom in handling the kids while he’s away. He concludes by thanking everyone for this honor, the inaugural Backstage Moment of the Year!
Greatly deserved to say the least, because everyone welcomed and celebrated the entire build. Christian says what made KofiMania so special was that it was organic. It wasn’t force fed or even planned. Christian has always been a supporter of letting fans determine what happens, and that is what this was. Kofi delivered, he earned it, and it was great to see this happen for a guy who worked so hard and is legitimately a great person. Ember says, having seen it all live, it was just amazing to be part of. It was a sign that things are changing in the WWE for the better. Ember is also so happy for Kofi. They throw it to Booker, and he says he saw a lot of his own journey in Kofi’s. Back in the day, Booker and Triple H, it was so close to being that threshold. Kofi actually broke the barrier down, and even Booker teared up.
Maria says it was a lot like #GiveDivasAChance because the people were in support of it. KofiMania worked because Kofi is humble, hardworking and kind. He does the most appearances with charities on a weekly basis, so this couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Booker gives big ups to Kofi! But there is still a lot left, so make sure you’ve got your cookies and milk as these awards slide down the chimney and under the trees.
The WWE Women’s Tag Division celebrates a one year anniversary!
It was exactly a year ago that Raw helped bring the Women’s Tag Titles to life, and we’ve already had stand-out memories. Plus, TLC 2019 had these titles main event, marking the end of the decade as well. Therefore, this award is for the Women’s Tag Team of the Year! The nominees are obviously:
- The IIconics!
- Sasha Banks & Bayley, formerly the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection!
- Bliss-Cross, Alexa & Nikki!
- The Kabuki Warriors, Asuka & Kairi!
The winners are… The Kabuki Warriors! After all, they are the current champions and they beat Becky and Charlotte in a TLC Match to retain! Asuka and Kairi hold up their Cleatuses and say “KANPAI!” (Cheers in Japanese) Asuka and Kairi talk in Japanese that of course they’re the winners of this category! Will they continue to be the best and most dominant women’s tag team in the WWE in the New Year?
Ember knows some Japanese, but still has no clue what a lot of that ways. Something about “senpai,” but it was obvious Asuka and Kairi were happy to have won these awards. The Kabuki Warriors have been dominant since Hell in a Cell in October. Ember feels this tag title reign has only elevated Asuka and Kairi. Both are former NXT Women’s Champions, Asuka has had the SmackDown Women’s Championship, but she and Kairi are on the same page almost every single moment. Christian agrees, the undefeated streak Asuka had was amazing. She lost to Charlotte, got a little lost in the shuffle, but Kairi came in and they were the perfect combination. Paige does deserve some credit, too.
Booker and Maria cue up the next category, the Men’s Tag Team of the Year!
The nominees are:
- The Revival, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder!
- The New Day, Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods!
- The Viking Raiders, Erik & Ivar!
- The OC’s Good Brothers, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows!
The winners are… The NEW~ DAY~! Seven-time tag team champions, and while Xavier is out with that Achilles injury, Kofi is back to accept their Cleatuses with Big E. Is it edible? Technically everything is if you’re brave enough. Probably shouldn’t eat these, though. The New Day is so thankful for this award, and “hard work does pay off, BABYY~!” Big E keeps trying to take a bite out Cleatus is too hard.
Maria loved the Ladder Match between the New Day’s Kofi and Big E with The Revival, but does their 7th reign have legs to carry it through 2020? Booker says this all started with a rough idea that started to go south, so the trio regrouped and figured out the right way to do this, the way they wanted to do this, and here we are with seven reigns in all. This makes the New Day the greatest tag team in history!
A quick announcement!
For New Year’s Eve, Backstage looks back on the TOP FIVE MATCHES of 2019! Will one of your favorites make the list?
Who is the 2019 Breakthrough Superstar(s) of 2019?
The WWE roster is as deep as it’s ever been, thanks to all the new talent NXT grabbed up! That is what makes this award the toughest one to pick! But Backstage has narrowed it down, and here are the nominees.
- The One and Only, Ricochet!
- The Street Profits, Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford!
- The Viking Raiders, Erik & Ivar!
- The wild child, Nikki Cross!
And the winner is… Or rather, the winners are, The Street Profits! Dawkins and Ford have their Cleatuses, and shout outs to Book! Not to mention Mr. Philip Brooks from Chicago. But thank you for this honor and this acknowledgement. They promise there is more to come! WWE Backstage is one of their favorite shows, and they know it’s just begun, just like their WWE careers. Backstage and the Profits #WantTheSmoke!
Christian sees Ford pulling off the turtle neck and blazer combo to perfection and takes notes. Tip the red Solo cups to the Profits. What will 2020 hold? Christian is a little disappointed he didn’t get a shout out, but he does love that E&C inspired the Profits. The Profits are so entertaining in their presentation and promo skills, but much like the New Day, it’s about reminding everyone that they can go in the ring. The Profits need more matches in 2020! They can be tag champs real quick. Ember agrees, the former NXT Tag Team Champions need to do even more in the ring. The fans are already with them, so the Profits need to prove why that is. Ember saw the growth of the Profits from Full Sail to Raw, they’re a great combination, and that is why they’re the Breakthrough Superstars. Plus, Solo cup endorsement maybe?
Maria Menounos sits down with Paul Walter Hauser!
The man who plays titular character Richard Jewell in the Clint Eastwood docu-drama is here with his very own WWE United States Championship belt moments away from going to Promo School. Maria congratulates him on the movie, and both have been so giddy being top fans. PWH plays a very serious roll in the Richard Jewell story, but is usually known for improv and comedy. Promo School should be easy enough, then. What is his best WWE superstar impersonation? PWH feels nervous saying he’s good at Paul Bearer, but maybe that’s just his physique. “Oh~ Kane~! The Undertaker~!” Spot on! But his favorite is Vince McMahon in Beyond the Mat, “He’s gonna puke! He’s gonna puke!” Love it!
Maria asks what hooked him on the WWE. It was WWE and WCW when he was a kid. It opened up this world of possibilities. Being an actor is hard, but pro-wrestling helps you dream big. He wasn’t just entertained, there was an emotional component to it. Did he ever want to be a wrestler? Of course! He still secretly dreams he could get in shape like Chris Pratt and have his Mania moment. But he’s having a Backstage Moment so that’s pretty great. We’ll put PWH to the test, and Booker is there already. No Harlem Hangover please.
Backstage relives Maria’s Dusty Rhodes impression.
“You don’t know what hard times are, daddy! Hard times are when the textile workers around the country are outta work. They got 4 to 5 kids, they can’t pay their wages, can’t buy their food. Hard times are when the auto workers are outta work, and they tell ’em, ‘Go home.’ Hard times are when a man has worked a job for 30 years, 30 years, and they give him a watch, kick him in the butt and say, ‘Hey, a computer took your place, daddy.’ That’s hard times. That’s hard times.” The panel loves it! The best promo ever and done in such a great way. Maria says she was asked to do the Hall of Fame event that year and was watching old videos on YouTube. She was asked if she could recreate that, and she gave it a go. Dusty himself asked her about her Dusty, and he was flattered. Maria passed the test, but does Paul Walter Hauser?!
Time to go to Promo School!
He even superkicks onto the stage! But as usual, the panel will grade him from A to F. Christian knows PWH helped them write on the Edge & Christian Show, so his advice is to just be himself. Nothing is worse than when someone doesn’t believe what they say. Ember’s advice is not to hold back. Give us fire and energy! PWH promises to Heel turn. Maria has energy of her own as she wants PWH to go hard. But here comes his opponent, BOOKER T! Sing along with the song! PWH quickly compliments Booker on having one of the greatest entrances of all time, but realizes he should do that. “This is not Ring of Honor.”
Booker gives advice: look the man in his eyes. PWH steps up to throw shade, and some bars! “You’re not a jobber, but you’re dumb as one, cumbersome. Letting the faucet run. Your mouth is running, you’re not Titan Jack Tunney. I know you think it’s funny that you think you’re currency, but you’re not money. I thank you for the gate, but you’re not Rock and you’re not Austin. You’re not even Big Boss Man, you’re like Pete Moss, man. Egotistic, nepotistic, drafted from Shane, man, you’re lame, man. You best find a foreign object, distract the ref, no regrets, I hope gorilla’s got on their com-techs. Hold up, hold up. I do hope they’ve got on their com-techs, because they gotta listen to this, bro.
“You are a superstar, Book. You’ve moved beyond the factions. But it’s kinda hard to move beyond Total Not-stop Action. This is just distractin’, here’s the plain dealings: spare no expense, recompense enough feelings. I came here to grill you like Foreman, unload on you like you’re a long shore man. Wave good-bye to chaff while I’m laughing with the wheat on the floor, man. Let’s just stay in the present, though it’s tough to leave the past behind. Hulk Hogan, we’re coming for you- Nevermind.”
WOO! The grades are coming in, and Renee is giving a C, because it’s like Cena! Well Cena’s pretty good so… But yes, PWH was excellent. All those great jabs. PWH hopes he didn’t go too hard, but Booker says that was great. Christian gives PWH an elaborate A-. He did great! Disagree with Renee, so what if it was Cena style? This was like a slam poetry session. PWH did great to build up and cut down Booker and that zinger. “What’s not to like?” Ember says B+. It was a lot of great references that even fans will get. The only thing is, slow it down, it is so good but it needs to soak in. Maria loved that PWH was himself, so she gives him an A! Can you did that, sucka?! But speaking of, Booker’s turn!
Booker admits he didn’t know PWH by much, so he googled real quick. All his work is great, he has stroke, so Booker asked what Christian knows. Well PWH was on the Show that Reeked of Awesomeness, but he sucked so he got fired. And so Booker asked Renee what she knows. Richard Jewell movie, PWH is great, is perfect, because he’s never seen a burger he didn’t wanna blow up. But what did Maria know? She gets to sit with him, so what did she think? “It looked like the last time he saw a gym up close and personal, he was going about 55 miles per hour.” If PWH wants to step Backstage, Booker has something for him. The movie is Richard Jewell, playing right now. PWH better get paid, because that’s the only way he gets laid. And he’s out! PWH realizes now that while WWE TV is PG, Backstage is its own thing.
Booker tells everyone that wants to step to Promo School, that’s the Shucky Ducky Quack Quack for ya! “You just got roasted!” But in seriousness, go see Richard Jewell, and Booker really is one of the greatest.
Wrestling with Your Feelings, with Rachel Bonnetta.
Before going bad to the bone, the still Huggable Bayley visited Fox’s “psychiatrist” to work out some things. Bayley was told no more hugging in Rachel’s office.
To get to the point, why does Bayley want to hug everyone? Because she likes to. Does that make sense? Not really. No one enjoys hugging that much. And Rachel flips it around, that this is all an act. What is she writing? Nothing. But she is writing. No she’s not. But let’s try some Rorschach image response. First one: Butterfly. Second one: happy clowns. No, this is usually the most disturbing one. But just look at it, it’s like he’s in this stance. If she’s preparing for a hug, Rachel is not having it. Sit, Bayley. Okay. Well let’s call this a wrap. Rap? “Yo, my name is Bayley! Is your name Haley? No, it’s not! Yo, dat’s hot!” Okay, your turn, Rachel. No. This is it. Session over. Oh c’mon. Rachel never wants to see Bayley again. Aww…. Oops, Bayley “slipped” and she snatches the stuffed animal! Bye! No, that’s for Alexa!
Who is the Female Superstar of 2019?
With the Women’s Division really heating up, a lot of big names hit this category! The nominees are:
- The Man, Becky Lynch!
- The Queen, Charlotte Flair!
- The once Huggable, now bad to the bone Bayley!
- Rowdy Ronda Rousey!
And the winner is… Well duh, BECKY! The Man has a Cleatus and thanks the fans and Backstage, and mostly herself, for making herself “the best gaddamn superstar in the whole WWE.” Maybe even the whole world. Not just female superstar, but THE superstar! Nice little trophy of a muscular man for THE Man.
Becky probably had the best year possible, but Ember hesitates to say if it can continue into 2020. Only because she has an unpopular opinion. Becky has been on top from SummerSlam 2018 to Mania to beyond, but if she runs out of good opponents, she will get stale. Ember doesn’t want that to happen given all the hard work Becky put in, so it’s more about building up everyone else around her. Christian says Becky can keep going because she’s that talented. When you gain that level of confidence, you can’t go wrong. Becky is fearless and had great interviews, and she puts Asuka over as the best right now. That was a good way to keep it fresh, so here we go for another great story.
And finally, Male Superstar of the Year!
Maria and Booker take care of this one. Again, so many names to choose from, but the field was narrowed down, and the nominees are:
- The Fiend, Bray Wyatt!
- The Architect, Seth Rollins!
- The Beast, Brock Lesnar!
- KofiMania, Kofi Kingston!
And the winner of this final award is… BRAY WYATT! The WWE Universal Champion says that on behalf of The Fiend and his puppets… Oh wait, BRAY won this? Really? He’s so emotional! Well he wants to thank God, his family, Huskis, Abby, Mercy and all his Fireflies! The best moment of his life! “They love me! They really love me!”
Whether Firefly Fun House or freaky Fiend, Bray Wyatt really has outdone himself this year with character work. Booker has compared him to Mick Foley and all those personas. They just transform. Booker knew from day one that Bray was a different kind of character. It wasn’t what he brought to the ring but what he brought to the table. He’s on the level of the Undertaker already in terms of longevity and being able to be around for years to come. Maria also agrees on the Foley nod, that is a great parallel. Congratulations to all the winners tonight, and Booker is looking forward to the Fox Near Year’s Eve celebration with both Maria and Steve Harvey.
Backstage looks at Holiday Hijinks!
Trees, presents, jingle bells and more! Here comes Santa himself! No milk and cookies, but Santa’s happy to be here. He found time in his busy Christmas Eve schedule to stop by, and has a sack of goodies. They’ve all been good this year, right? Maybe not Captain Charisma. But here’s a gift for Ember! A friend says she could use this: Keys to Acting by William Shatner! Christian does have something after all. For all his struggles with a turtle neck, let’s go in the other direction: a V Neck! Not ironed? No time. Santa has something for Renee, getting that money! Golden wallet! And last but not least, Booker T. He sells that beard gloss, so here’s something that works. Santa’s brand of beard oil! Smells good. So with that, a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
A real fun episode here, and those year end awards went to the right people from my estimation. Kofi Kingston really did have the best moment, and of course the New Day was the best tag team of this year, because of the great combination Kofi, Big E and Xavier Woods still make even after already being at it for a few years. Street Profits had a great breakthrough year, namely through NXT, and their popularity carried over perfectly. But as the panel said, we need more matches from them! As entertaining as they can be backstage and on the mic, where are their in-ring opportunities? Hopefully 2020 changes that, especially on the Road to WrestleMania.
There were really only the four Women’s Tag Champions so obviously they were the four nominees, and it made a lot of sense to say the best is Asuka and Kairi. Whether used properly or not, Asuka was also consistently great, and then you add Kairi on and they’re an excellent team. Becky was the number one woman in WWE and perhaps number one overall, and Bray has been the biggest hit he’s ever been after the Firefly Fun House and Fiend made their respective debuts. Ember is right in that the problem becomes, who is left to face? Without Becky going back to NXT, there isn’t much on Raw or SmackDown. Asuka being her next opponent works well for many reasons, but there needs to be something more after as we head for Mania 36.
Having Maria on as a Fox network connection was fine, she’s very good and very professional. Her recreation of Dusty’s biggest promo was also really good. PWH does great in Promo School, I would’ve given him an A like Christian and Maria just on creativity, but I do see what Ember means about taking the time to let the things sink in so nothing gets lost. And Santa doing gag gifts was good. If only it was glasses Santa from Raw to give WWE 24/7 Championship connections.