Let’s try something a little different, and expand a little bit beyond wrestling matches!
2019 was a big year for numerous mediums of entertainment, and we all do more than just watch wrestling…right? Okay some of us?
Since we all have other interests, I figured I’d apply my opinion to some other non-wrestling forms of entertainment.
Let’s get this started.
Top 10 Movies of 2019:
- Jojo Rabbit – Known mostly as “That comedy with the bafoonish Hitler”, this transcended a major hurdle to come to light as a masterwork in cinematography. Acknowledging Germany as more than a bleak land of hatred, the vibrant colors, use of humor to balance the dramatic or emotional moments gives this movie numerous layers to get the viewer invested. Utilizing child’s perspective on WWII and prejudice, to get across the damage of blind hatred, allows the message of this movie to move well beyond that of Nazis and Jews.
- Parasite – A metaphorical title, but a brilliant movie on class differences out of South Korea. The comedic aspects helps to move a rather dark path the movie follows, with the twist remaining firmly rooted in repercussions and tragic positivity. Every scene plays out intelligently while being aesthetically enjoyable. Unless you have issues with subtitles, this movie is a must watch.
- Joker – The most not comic book comic book movie in the history of comic book movies. It’s a gritty psychoanalytical apotheosis of the Joker’s creation. Yes it was very similar to Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, but trying to slight a movie for following a mold misses the bigger point. Psychosis is an entertaining roller coaster ride. At points you find yourself sympathizing with a psychopath, and that’s something special right there.
- Ford v Ferrari – A title where you may think you need to be a gear head to enjoy, but this is much more than that. A story of determination, friendship and stubbornnes coming together to achieve greatness. The last 15 minutes felt a little rushed/out of place, but that’s nit picking. Christian Bale’s British accent alone, is enough reason to sit and watch this.
- Knives Out – An old fashion who dunnit, with great acting, fun twists and character work that makes it easy to allow the movie to take you on the ride without trying to jump ahead. Beautiful looking film, clever dialogue and helps to rinse out any lingering bad tastes in mouths regarding Rian Johnson’s directing.
- Shazam! – DC’s first foray at a movie with heart and layers, in the cinematic scope. Takes a hero that isn’t the most household name, and takes you on a trip where you care about Billy and understand his growth. Capping things off with the Shazamily of heroes should lend to easy and fun sequels.
- Avengers: Endgame – The culmination of 10 years of Marvel. Nice way to tie up all the storylines even through plot conveniences and the comic crutch of time travel. Seeing how the established Avengers go their own ways, while continuing to establish the new wave is a nice transition with a seemingly fulfilling ending.
- Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – A convincing trip back to the 60s that showed great character work and acting from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Margot Robbie felt like nothing more than window dressing, but she’s always an enjoyable addition. Fun and clever for the most part, even through the loose story threads.
- Marriage Story – A look at a marriage, almost in reverse. Great acting, great emotional weight in the performances and extremely humanizing. Easy to correlate personal feelings to connect to the characters and the situations. Ending wraps up a little abruptly for my taste, but still fairly well told.
- Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker – Coming off of a generally panned Episode 8 and the lackluster mess of Solo, this movie intended to please. Though not everyone agrees, the movie hit enough notes for the general audience to appreciate the effort. Answering enough questions, while being fun and feeling firmly rooted in the Star Wars universe, this tied up the Skywalker Saga well enough so we can now explore new avenues.
Top 5 TV Series of 2019:
- The Orville (S. 2) – What many expected to be fart jokes and Star Trek parody, turned into a deep cast of characters and a story that pays homage to sci fi classics, while remaining solidly in it’s own world. Seth MacFarlane has detractors and assumed characteristics, but this series shows that he has real range and depth while knowing how to pepper in appropriate amounts of situational humor.
- The Passage – Though the series didn’t get renewed, it was a very clever take on a vampire/post apocalyptic outbreak that was all caused by government meddling story. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Saniyya Sidney worked wonderfully together and were a convincing adult/child actor dynamic without feeling forced. Smart and cryptic, watching the dominoes slowly fall into place would’ve lead to a great second season.
- Barry (S. 2) – Call it dark humor, call it that off color brand of independent humor, this is an enjoyable show. The tonal shifts between characters and watching as Barry tries to adjust to situations makes this great. Plus the cast definitely helps move the story along and get the viewer invested in the next episode.
- Euphoria – Still not quite sure how to classify this show, but it was definitely an intriguing look into drugs, secrets, addiction and having it all compounded with high school drama. Zendaya being in a different role than we’re used to is great for her. Personally I also appreciated the way it portrayed LGBTQ situations in a way that didn’t make the characters stick out more than others. Normalizing their struggles isn’t quite the right way to say it, but the fact that it was more an aspect of the characters that drove their decision making, and not the only thing that makes them look like a fill out the box, caricature of the people they represent, was refreshing to watch.
- The Detour (S. 4) – A series focusing on a dysfunctional at best family of shit-shows, has been a smart glance at a smattering of current topics filtered through off kilter dark IFC comedy stylings. If you enjoy the humor, you will probably find this to be a good way to spend some time. Highlight episode of Season 4 was the Japanese Game Show, brilliant stuff.
Top 5 Wrestlers of 2019:
- Kazuchika Okada – The most consistent wrestler of the last 7 years. Though it wasn’t a blow away year for him, he makes it all seem easy. After coming off of a nearly 2 year title reign, he still made history by being the first man to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship outside of Japan.
- Becky Lynch – She took the momentum she began towards the end of 2018, and held it pretty consistently. Even when saddled with IWC hate, when Seth Rollins was attached to her hip, she still persevered. Being the winner of the first match that women main evented at WrestleMania, as well as main eventing TLC, Becky has been the figurehead of the WWE Women’s Division. Where many others experienced lulls, Becky stayed hot and on top basically all year.
- Kento Miyahara – The Ace of All Japan, who is putting the company almost completely on his back to help it return to relevance. Though All Japan’s overall attendance numbers dipped a little, it feels like his name was brought up more on the internet. His matches are always at top quality and he oozes charisma that breaks language barriers. As long as he stays healthy, the future is bright with Kento.
- Will Ospreay – So now we get to most of the IWC’s ringwork favorite. Ospreay has gotten better since he decided to bulk up and take a few less stupid risks. As negative as I was on him a few years ago, I can admit his match quality was great and it felt like he was everywhere this year. Since I personally weigh other things aside from purely ringwork (plus I’m not as big of a fan of some of his stuff as others), he wasn’t passing the other 3 on this list, but Ospreay is one of the best of 2019. No doubt about that.
- Adam Cole – Somewhere Greg DeMarco is screaming since I only put Cole at 5. Being the top guy of NXT and the leader of one of the best factions all year, he was definitely important to the narrative of 2019 wrestling. To me personally NXT wasn’t exactly great during his feud with Gargano, but I would have to be blind to ignore the last few months during the Survivor Series build. He’s also been integral in the success that NXT has had on USA. So yes, I’m not his number 1 fan (that’s Greg), but I am aware of everything he did to be in the conversation for Top wrestler.
Okay and I suppose since everyone has a Top Match list, I might as well since I decided to do all this other stuff.
We’re a wrestling website right? Okay, so here’s my Top 30 favorite matches. Might not be the highest rated ones, but these are ones I enjoyed the most and stuck with me through the year.
Top 30 Matches of 2019:
- Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes – AEW Double or Nothing
- Kento Miyahara vs Jake Lee – AJPW Raising an Army
- Momo Watanabe vs Jungle Kyona – Stardom 3.3 Nagoya
- Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay – NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals
- Naoya Nomura & Jake Lee vs Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi – AJPW Real World Tag League
- David Starr vs Jordan Devlin – OTT 5th Anniversary
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kenny Omega – Wrestle Kingdom 13
- Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan – WrestleMania 35
- Arisa Nakajima vs Nanae Takahashi – SEAdLINNNG Dynamic Show Case
- The Revival vs Undisputed Era – NXT TV 11/20
- Strong BJ vs Violence Giant – AJPW Dream Power Series
- WALTER vs Tyler Bate – NXT UK: Cardiff
- Takashi Sugiura vs Kaito Kiyomiya – NOAH Misawa Memorial 6.9.2019
- YAMATO & KAI vs Eita & Big R Shimizu vs Kaito Ishidia & Naruki Doi – Dragon Gate Kobe World
- Halftime Heat – WWE NXT
- Minoru Suzuki vs Josh Barnett – GCW Bloodsport
- Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – NJPW Sengoku Lord
- KENTA vs Kazuchika Okada – NJPW G1 Climax 29
- The Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros – AEW Double or Nothing
- Kazuchka Okada vs Minoru Suzuki – NJPW Royal Quest
- Momo Watanabe vs Mayu Iwatani – Stardom 5 Star GP
- RATEL’S (Harada & Tadasuke) vs Stinger (Suzuki & Kotoge) – NOAH Starting Over Day 5
- Rina Yamashita vs Tsukushi – Ice Ribbon New Ice Ribbon 986
- Kaito Kiyomiya vs Naomichi Marufuji – NOAH Great Voyage Yokohama
- Blue Demon Jr vs Dr Wagner Jr – AAA Triplemania 27
- Will Ospreay vs Jay White – NJPW 47th Anniversary
- Gail Kim vs Tessa Blanchard – Impact Wrestling Slammiversary
- Men’s Elimination Chamber – WWW Elimination Chamber
- Kzy vs PAC – Dragon Gate Open the Truth Gate
- R-Truth vs Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio vs Andrade – WWE Fastlane