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The Third Ever Year End Mitchell Medal Mania!

Let’s say good-bye to 2022!



Mitchell Medal Mania Special

Thank you, 2022, for being just so wild!

There were some obvious things that stuck out these last twelve months, and those will be discussed. But as I have said for the last couple years, these medals aren’t outright for “The Best [category]” winner or even “The Worst [category]” winner. These will be for the people, moments and more that I felt were worth honoring, and I hope you agree with some.


Mitchell Medal for Awesome First Impression:
SummerSlam under Triple H

The Game leveled up the WWE in August with how he booked this year’s SummerSlam live in Nashville. He gave us truly exciting matches, and compelling stories to go with them. He brought back Dakota Kai & Io Shirai as Bayley’s crew, Damage CTRL, he started us on the road to the great stuff we’re getting right now like with Judgment Day and The Bloodline, he gave us a really good match out of Liv VS Ronda with the surprise “controversial” win for Liv, and Brock Lesnar got to use a tractor’s front loader to TIP THE RING!

And we all know from the last five months of weekly TV that HHH’s booking can be more entertaining than the latter days of Vince’s booking. I hope HHH gets to continue on just like this (though he probably needs to help HBK just a bit with NXT’s weekly programming), so that WWE really can be the top of pro-wrestling again.


Mitchell Medal for A Brand Gone Too Soon:

NXT UK will always have a special place in my heart. January of 2017, I covered that inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament where Tyler Bate became the youngest champion of any kind in WWE history. I kept with it all the way until the end just back in September, right before Worlds Collide 2022. In a great bit of full-circle storytelling, Tyler Bate got to be the final NXT UK Champion before ultimately losing to Bron Breakker at Worlds Collide in the title unification match. Wouldn’t have been my choice but it’s not my choice.

NXT UK had great characters, great stories, great matches, great concepts like the British Rounds Heritage Cup Championship (Where is Noam Dar, anyway?), but I feel like it got hurt the most by the pandemic and its shutdowns. Some NXT UK stars have been slowly showing up on NXT Prime, from Gallus and Kay Lee Ray (now Alba Fyre) to Aoife Valkyrie (now Lyra Valkyria) and Isla Dawn (still Isla Dawn). Pretty Deadly has proven themselves a great act, even under their new names of Kit Wilson & Elton Prince, and they had an amazing match with The New Day at NXT Deadline.

I hope we get more stars to show up, and that those stars get booked as strongly as they should (where is Blair Davenport, anyway?), but I’m sure once NXT Europe starts in 2023, we’ll get a lot of those names and many more back on our screens.


Mitchell Medal for Courageous But Maybe Crazy Performance:
Cody Rhodes

The American Nightmare, a founding member of All Elite Wrestling, now back in the WWE, made a big return at WrestleMania as Seth Rollins’ surprise opponent. They had a great match, they had a great feud, but it was the Hell in a Cell match that really earned Cody, Cody, Cody Effin’ Rhodes his medal. He tore his pectoral muscle from the bone during training for the HIAC match with Rollins. Cody, and I believe the doctor that cleared him, figured that the damage was done and the show must go on. The picture was Cody at the start of that match and it looks nasty, and it only got nastier as they made the match’s story all about the torn pec!

And yet, Cody got to win again! Cody won, putting what we thought was the punctuation on the story, only for Rollins to beat him down on the Raw after HIAC, giving Cody his kayfabe reason to be out of action. So whether you think it was brave or you think it was crazy, I still commend Cody for trying.


Mitchell Medal for Surprisingly Entertaining Story:
Elias & Ezekiel

Pro-wrestling history has been full of brothers, both kayfabe and bloodline, but never before was there quite the comical mystery as Elias and his younger brother, Ezekiel. At first, it seemed like commentary on WWE renaming people and rebranding them for their purposes. And perhaps on some level, it was. But then it morphed into mind games on Kevin Owens and that was hilarious stuff. And Zeke was a great wrestler, too, with speed and strength and some “shared” moves with Elias.

Kevin did write Zeke off with a brutal beatdown as he went through a Heel phase, but he’s even kept continuity alive as a Face by telling Elias he will NOT help him because of the Zeke saga. We never did get to see Papa Ernie go after Kevin, but for now, Elias is back to a solo act, maybe he’ll finally break through and go gold in 2023.


Mitchell Medal for Amazing Crossover:
AEW & NJPW Forbidden Door

Pro-wrestling crossovers are always fun, and after a few months of using the term “forbidden door” to represent NJPW stars showing up in AEW and AEW stars showing up in NJPW, we got the event known as Forbidden Door back in June. AEW and NJPW made the smart decision to NOT do it in a company VS company series because then one side would have to win. Instead, it was about Faces VS Heels, mixing and matching big names, and then after that just going with what would make sense.

There were some changes but adjustments were made smoothly, but unfortunately there was an injury in the IWGP World Championship Fatal 4. Adam Cole was concussed, and since then, we haven’t seen Adam Cole around. That is a shame for Cole and his fans, but the event was otherwise a great success, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the two companies go for Forbidden Door 2 next year.


Mitchell Medal for Top Guys:

Okay, as you can see, I put this one together when Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood were in fact Top Guys on top of the tag team world. They had three different tag titles, all from three different companies. But as the end of the year approached, so did the end of FTR having all the gold. They didn’t get to add the AEW tag titles to the collection, which from a business standpoint is for the best these days. They lost the ROH tag titles, but it was in an epic and bloody battle with The Briscoes to top off that year-defining feud. And as of writing this, they’ve ended up in a feud with Austin & Colten Gunn, who have already cheated one win off them.

NJPW WrestleKingdom 17 is just days away, and FTR will be facing Bishamon, aka Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi. Goto & Hashi have had the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships before, having won World Tag League both last year and this year. There’s a very good chance NJPW’s titles come home with the NJPW team, leaving FTR with just the AAA World Tag Team Championships. FTR are still Top Guys, but where 2022 was a banner year, 2023 might be them having to scratch and claw to get back up.


Mitchell Medal for Historic Individual Performance:
Hiromu Takahashi in the Best of the Super Juniors

Again, as you can see in the picture, the Ticking Timebomb once again won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Hiromu made history this year by appearing in four consecutive tournament finals, and winning the last three. Now, cashing in that title opportunity from BOSJ didn’t go Hiromu’s way, which was a surprise. But Hiromu has always been relevant in the Junior Heavyweight Division, and again, WrestleKingdom 17 is just days away. Hiromu is in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4 Way, where he, El Desperado and Master Wato are all going after Taiji Ishimori. A Fatal 4 means it could go any which way, but it’d be awesome for Hiromu to get that title for a whopping FIFTH time.


Mitchell Medal for Incredible Improvement:
Liv Morgan

As you can see in the picture, Liv Morgan was SmackDown Women’s Champion. She had been working so hard for so long that finally in this year, she won the Women’s Money in the Bank and then cashed-in on the same night to take the title from Ronda Rousey. And as mentioned earlier in talking about SummerSlam, she got to retain against Ronda, but then lost at Extreme Rules. But even in that loss, we got a great character development out of Liv as she decided to #LivExtreme. She’s still fairly popular, she’s only going to keep getting better, there will surely be big things for her in 2023.


Mitchell Medal for Holy Crap, Man:
Wheeler Yuta

Much like FTR, The Decoder had a hot summer for 2022 that has cooled off with the winter. Blackpool Combat Club was founded and named Yuta among the young and hungry wrestlers on the AEW roster. Lo and behold, Yuta was the one of those three names, the others being Daniel Garcia and Lee Moriarty, to join BCC. But as pictured, it wasn’t without brutal and bloody battles against the “teachers,” Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley. Yuta left Best Friends behind to get serious, and as a member of BCC, Yuta became a two-time ROH Pure Champion in a great feud with Daniel Garcia within the larger and crazier feud of BCC VS Jericho Appreciation Society.

The BCC itself has cooled off with the departure of William Regal, but Yuta has now been accepted as a core member while it feels like Bryan is on the outside looking in. Yuta and Claudio are ROH Pure and ROH World Champion, respectively, right as ROH is reviving Honor Club, which will be the closest thing ROH has to a weekly TV spot right now. Yuta will help lead this new chapter of ROH, but it’s hard to say how that will go.


Mitchell Medal for Uciest Uce Who Ever Did Uce:
Sami Zayn

Saving the best for last! Sami’s entire 2022 has tied together so well to bring him to where he is now. He lost the Intercontinental Championship. He lost the celebrity feud with Johnny Knoxville in their honestly hilarious and incredible WrestleMania No Disqualification match. He lost the kayfabe respect of the SmackDown roster. But in trying to find that respect again, he kissed up to The Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman…! Reigns…!

Sami called himself the Honorary Uce, he did everything and anything to help The Bloodline, and slowly but surely, they all accepted Sami, even naysayer Jey after the great WarGames 5v5 they had at Survivor Series. And throughout Sami’s story with The Bloodline, Kevin Owens has tried but failed to snap Sami out of it. Kevin going after The Bloodline pushed things to the New Year’s Eve SmackDown tag match of Kevin and the returning John Cena VS Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn. We saw that match go against The Bloodline, and it would seem that things could be falling apart for Sami, but we’ll have to wait and see with the first SmackDown of 2023.

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King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Stone Cold VS. Scott Hall (WrestleMania X8)

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!



Steve Austin Scott Hall WrestleMania X8

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!

Chris King is back this week with another edition of WrestleMania Rewind, where he is rewatching all the past Mania matches and feuds. This week you’re in for a treat as we look back at ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall at WrestleMania X8.

In late 2001, Vince McMahon bought out his competition WCW and acquired the rights to a plethora of talent including Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and the iconic trio known as NWO. Hulk Hogan; Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were hell raisers, and what better way to make a name for yourself than take out the two top superstars in the WWE The Rock, and Stone Cold?

The NWO cost Austin his chance at becoming the Undisputed Champion at No Way Out during his match with Chris Jericho. Adding insult to injury, the NWO spray-painted ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ with their brand logo just like they did in WCW. As you can imagine, Austin was pissed and out for revenge against the group and primarily Scott Hall.

Hall would challenge Stone Cold to a match at WrestleMania 18. Both superstars beat the living hell out of each other leading up to this highly-anticipated match for who runs the WWE.

The glass broke and Stone Cold made his iconic entrance, and black and white NWO covered Halls’ entrance alongside Kevin Nash. With the odds stacked against ‘The Toughest S.O.B’ could Austin or NWO prove their dominance? Sadly the NWO  broke up that very night when Hulk Hogan came to the aid of his adversary The Rock after their ‘iconic’ dream match. Stone Cold would ensure the victory with the Stunner. Hall would perform an Oscar-worthy sell over the finisher.

What a time to be a wrestling fan in the 2000s when nothing was impossible for WWE. Who would’ve thought WCW would go out of business and Hogan would make his long-awaited return to WWE?

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King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens (WWE WrestleMania 36)

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 36!



WWE WrestleMania 36 Kevin Owens Seth Rollins

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens in the WWE Performance Center at WrestleMania 36!

Chris King is starting a new series heading into WrestleMania season dubbed WrestleMania Rewind. Each week he’ll be going back and sharing his insight over underrated matches at the Show of Shows. First up, is Kevin Owens vs. “The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 36.

At the 2019 edition of Survivor Series, Rollins sacrificed himself during the men’s traditional match allowing SmackDown to ultimately gain the victory. The following night the self-proclaimed Messiah, berated the whole roster but KO was not having any part of it. Owens quickly became a huge barrier in Rollins’ cause for the greater good. The Authors of Pain attacked Owens with Rollins’ character in question.

Owens finally had enough of his rival’s mind games and torment and challenged Rollins to a match on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Rollins mockingly accepted his challenge and the match was made official for night one of WrestleMania. Owens came out of the gate beating the holy hell out of the Monday Night Messiah trying to achieve his long-awaited moment at Mania but, Rollins tried to steal a disqualification victory by using the ring bell.

Owens hellbent on revenge provoked Rollins into turning their encounter into a no-disqualification contest where the fight could be taken all over the empty arena. The highlight of the match, was when KO used the WrestleMania sign to deliver a thunderous senton bomb through the announce table. Owens would secure the victory with a Stunner in an incredible match. Despite having no crowd during the pandemic era, both KO and Rollins put on an intense performance under the brightest lights.

In my personal opinion, this was a great feud that helped both superstars in their transformation as compelling characters for years to come.

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