Hello! How the devil is 2011 treating you so far? Excellent? Awful? Meh? Here at Wrestlegasm.com we’re refusing to answer that question. We’re just not quite ready to embrace a new year yet. So we’re easing ourselves in by looking back at 2010 and giving our much-coveted awards to our favourite wrestle people. OK so it’s the first year we’ve handed them out so they’re not that sought after, but they’re important to us.
We pondered holding a glittering awards ceremony full of fake grins, dazzling ladies dressed in vintage couture, gentlemen in black-tie attire, champers on tap and the kind of canapés that look like they should be behind glass at Tate Modern, but that’s just not our style. To be truthful, we’d have been more than happy to lie around in our Christmas pyjamas and chink our mugs of tea together when we decided who was best at wrestling in 2010. But that’s no fun for anyone but us, so we’ve settled on a happy, homely medium.
The Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards will take the form of a very British country show. There’ll be livestock parades, we’ll be judging the produce of regional vegetable growers, there will be family events in the crafts tent and an opportunity to sample locally made cheeses, cakes and ales.
Between me and you, I've got my eye on that purple cauliflower. Phwoar!
Oh yeah, and we’ll be handing out rosettes to our favourite wrestlers too. Yep, rosettes. No two-pound statue made of solid gold for us. So jump in your wellies, pull up a haystack and I’ll grab my megaphone. Incidentally, there’s only one award we disagreed on, so even though I’ll announce these first four awards, you can be sure that we discussed each category thoroughly and agreed on each winner unanimously. Let us begin……
The first foals to pass through our paddock are the newcomers; the young whippersnappers who just want you to remember their name. There was a fine crop of youngsters on the scene this year. We swayed back and forth over the thorny issue of what ‘Newcomer’ truly means, but we eventually settled on Wade Barrett.
Yes, he’s British and yes we’re very proud of him, but we genuinely couldn’t think of anyone who’d come so far or had made such a massive impact in such a short space of time in 2010. This time last year he was puttering about in FCW with nobody but the diehards able to pick him out of a police line-up.
That's him, officer. The one with freckled chest, ravishing curls and a curved nose.
But that all changed when Wade got called up to NXT and was mentored by Chris Jericho. Admittedly, his first sartorial attempts dampened our spirits, but it soon became apparent that with superb mic skills and solid wrestling ability, he was a sure-thing to win series one of NXT, which he did. Fast forward just a few months and he’s headlined Pay Per Views with John Cena, he’s lead a brood of reprobates to world (WWE) domination and has everyone watching knowing exactly what his name is. You’ve come a long way, kiddo. Enjoy that rosette. Wear it with pride.
VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION also go to Kaitlyn and Alberto Del Rio. OK, yeah, we know that Kaitlyn isn’t the most fabulous wrestler in the Divas locker room. She needs a lot of ring time before she’ll even get close to being great. But we recognise ace comedy timing when we see it and that’s enough to get us through for the time being. And the thighs. Oh the thighs.
We really wanted to give Alberto Del Rio a rosette. He’s one of the best things to happen to Smackdown in ages, especially since CM Punk departed for pastures red. But he’s not technically a newcomer. He’s something of a legend south of the US border, so he might be a newbie in the WWE, but he’s certainly not just learning his craft . We needed to mention him though, just to say how much we love him and how much we enjoy pretending to honk our horns on our plastic steering wheel every time he drives to the ring.
Our second rosette goes to……..
This award didn’t really need much debate. CM Punk’s ability to hide the fact that he has a heart, berate his friends in public, run a dictatorship in several guises and stand in the centre of a packed arena without flinching while a 16,000-strong angry mob boo and jeer all makes him top-dog in the villain stakes.
We particularly enjoy when he breaks the hearts of the innocent and unassuming, like when he gate-crashed Miss Mysterio’s birthday party several months ago and delivered a menacing rendition of a happy birthday to the poor child. It was the stuff nightmares are made of.
But all is well. No need to hide behind your sofas and be afraid, kiddies. Dastardly as Punk is, we know that as soon as he steps out of character he’s a thoroughly lovely guy.
PROOF! By the way, that Make-a-Wish video makes me weep every time. Damn you, wrestling. Stop being nice. It makes me love you more.
And that’s what makes a great wrestling villain. You want them to be horrible people on your TV, then glorious human beings in real life. We salute you, CM Punk. Enjoy your hand-made rosette and treasure it the way Miz treasures his Blue Peter badge. I made it with own fair hands with floristry ribbon, PVA glue and glitter.
VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Wade Barrett and Claudio Castagnoli. Both displayed a significant amount of menace this year, but they didn’t quite get us to believe they would genuinely kick us in the head and smirk while they left us bleeding the way Punk would. Maybe next year fellas.
Our third award goes to…….
We spent quite some time reminiscing over this year in wrestling, considering which storylines stood out in our memories and trying to decide whether we should choose a WWE story or something from an indie promotion. Then we had one of those Oprah lightbulb moments. There was one story which started in the WWE, seeped out into the indies, then found its way back to WWE again – the Nexus invasion story.
The first series of NXT had drawn to a close. Interspersed with half-decent matches and a handful of boys who looked like they could be real stars, they’d had to take part in silly beer-barrel carrying contests and obstacle courses which involved a pop-drinking section. They were made fools of, but hey, they were rookies. What did they expect? Then on Raw everything changed. The downtrodden newcomers invaded Raw and attacked everyone in sight. It was authentic enough to be truly shocking. How often does WWE genuinely surprise you to that jaw-dropping level?
The real story came when Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson was fired for choking Justin Roberts with his own tie. Nobody knew whether it was genuine or a work and it was the first time in a long time that everyone seemed to have an opinion. Andrew and I are never normally ones to jump on the rumours and lies bandwagon, but even we felt like it was big enough that we needed to comment on it.
Bryan Danielson returned to the indies a conquering hero, where he was revered for being the boy who broke the WWE. He made countless appearances in smaller promotions, including a CHIKARA show where he was showered in neck ties. We Must Eat Michigan’s Brain was actually one of the most enjoyable shows of the year for me.
Anyway, he resisted the urge to sign with TNA and as if by magic, Bryan Danielson morphed into Daniel Bryan again and made an even more triumphant return to the big-time at SummerSlam to damage the now dominant Nexus faction. Was the whole thing one very clever story? There are various opinions and one day we’ll get all the details, but either way it was certainly the most defining story of the year. If you manage to mix script and reality to the point where nobody’s sure where one ends and the other begins, that’s dynamite.
I’m going to ask Bryan to accept the rosette on behalf of everyone involved. Round of applause everyone.
The final rosette to be awarded during the first installment of this three-post event is……
I tried hard to think of someone else to take his place this year. I tried not to make it predictable and obvious. But it’s still CM Punk. We’ve had a tough ole year, me and Punk. His ever-changing appearance, particularly during those dark ‘long-beard and lucha mask’ days, really shook my faith. The whole Straight Edge Society, megalomania, shaving the heads of his followers stuff was a challenge. And when he disappeared to Raw and got injured I did a big, sad face, the likes of which I hadn’t done since the end of MasterChef.
But we got through it. He lost the hobo-beard. He got himself a lovely little haircut. (I am of the opinion that there isn’t a man alive who can’t be improved by a short-back-n-sides. Take note HHH.) Even though he was injured he did some brilliant commentary on Raw and actually made Raw cool. Then just as he started slipping into face territory, he took over the Nexus. Genius child. Never change again.
GIRL CRUSH OF THE YEAR: Layla. I do truly love Beth Phoenix and if she told me to switch teams with her, I’d be too afraid to say no. But I also love a girl who knows how to make people laugh. Layla was tasked with making Michelle McCool likeable and she succeeded. She’s the girl I’d most like to swap bodies with, she’s improved significantly in the ring and she has that kind of comic timing you just can’t learn. You either got it or you ain’t. One of my favourite things of 2010 is still when she planted a big snog on Kaval and “Took one for the teeeeeam.” Big kisses to you, dear heart.
Now, my section of this awards event is over. That’s a good thing because speaking through this megaphone for some 1500 words has been quite tiring. The next four awards will be presented by Andrew within the next week and the final ceremony will be a joint effort after that. Before I go though, don’t think that because our awards ceremony is quaint and small-fry that we don’t have celebrity guests to provide a musical interlude like all the fancy award ceremonies. I’ve invited an old friend to sing a song I’m dedicating CM Punk. Sing along if you know the words. It’s a classic! Don’t forget to stick around after she’s done for the junior gymkhana and the pig parade. Jars of my home-pickled ginger are also available for purchase in the food tent.
(Click above for awesome tunes)