The best way 2005 can be described for the WWE is a rather mixed year. There has been no real one feud or superstar that has dominated the shows for the vast part of the year in my view. The main feud at the start of the year was HHH v Batista and now at the end of the year it seems to be Angle v Cena. Vince has tended to place his trust in different superstars with mixed results. Once again the strongest part of 2005 for the WWE was right at the beginning of the year. The Royal Rumble was excellent (despite the slightly botched and embarrassing finish when Vince slid in the ring tearing a ligament in his knee) and it is a PPV I have watched on tape over and over again until it mysteriously disappeared from my collection. Wrestlemania was once again promoted well but tended not to deliver. The one thing us fans did get out of it was the tremendous Kurt Angle v Shawn Michael’s series. This could have been the long feud WWE needed this year if they had played their cards right. As far as the other big events go Summerslam was a huge success with HBK v Hogan a nice blast from the past but Survivor Series suffered through no fault of the WWE’s own with the best match probably being Ric Flair v HHH. The rest of the small brand PPV’s continue to be poorly booked and delivered especially on the Smackdown side (which no matter what anyone says continues to be treated as the second class show), which has suffered greatly. At the time of writing this column for example I cannot even remember what the main event was at the No Mercy PPV in October where as I could tell you the Royal Rumble one instantly (Angle v JBL v Big Show). At the moment I feel though that single brand PPV’s are no bigger than the weekly shows. The do not fill me with excitement anymore. I am more than happy now just to look up the results on the Internet the next morning. This is something the WWE must think about in 2006. The main New Years Resolution for the company for 2006 though must be to get rid of the stupid stuff like terrorism (Hassan), making fun of the dead (Mercury making fun of Hawk), suicide (Tim White) and the stupid segments such as the JR surgery thing and get back to serious and properly wrestling feuds.
Before we start can I just say I intended asking you the readers to vote on these categories for me and have it posted by the end of 2005 but certain things got the better of me and I never got the time.
Shock of the year – I thought I would start with this as Shock of the year is fairly simple to be honest. It has to be the passing without a doubt of Eddie Guerrero. Storyline wise the entire Mohammed Hassan angle springs to mind but nothing can beat the shock the entire wrestling world suffered when Guerrero passed away. The fact that I was on my way to watch a wrestling show on the day of his death made me think about it even more. In my view it is a bit sad that his last major feud with Rey Mysterio (one of his best friends in real life) involved telling some dirty secret that he was Dominick’s father just simply because he couldn’t beat Mysterio. It sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. What added to the shock is that WWE revealed that on the Smackdown after Eddie’s death they were planning on Eddie winning the title in a 3-way match with Randy Orton and Batista. This would have given Batista time to get his injury problems sorted and Eddie a second title reign he had worked so hard for. Sadly it was not to be and there is now a gaping hole in the wrestling world without Eddie. I doubt any shock in 2006 will come close to this.
Wrestler of the Year – Again this one is very difficult as no one superstar really stood out from the crowd last year as in previous years. Anyway lets have a look at the other contenders before announcing the winner.
Cena – Started the year off well in a strong position but ever since Unforgiven has been poor and is desperately needing a heel turn. Still has questionable in ring ability.
HHH – Still continues to put his body on the line at every turn for the WWE although perhaps not as much this year as in recent years. His summer spell on the sidelines probably rules him out.
Batista – Probably the wrestler that the WWE have done the most with in 2005. He has wrestled in main events at most PPV’s but still looks as though he is being carried through them. Age and injury have also not been on his side. Has been forced into a longer Title reign due to Eddie’s passing when he really needed time off.
The guys mentioned above have came close with their performances in 2005 but the one man who I feel deserves all the credit and the wrestler of the year accolade is Kurt Angle. He still continues to wrestle main events and brutal matches week after week with what could be a serious neck problem. Feud with HBK perhaps the highlight of the year wrestling wise and he has come out looking far the better in his feud with Cena. He puts his body on the line at every turn for WWE and has every right to complain about not being top brass in the company.
Face of The Year – Despite his brief heel turn during the summer this award can go to none other than Shawn Michaels. He continues to be the biggest crowd puller in the WWE and his segments are always the highest rated. The segment with Vince McMahon on the final Raw of 2005 was pure gold. His match with Masters at Unforgiven in particular showed that he is still willing to give younger talent a chance and still deserves his position as a top face in the company. I did consider other names for the biggest crowd pleaser of the year. Cena for the first half of the year but not the second. Batista still continues only to get minimal pops at best and Undertaker does not appear often enough to be considered. None of them have the crowd pulling charisma of HBK and I can see him continuing at the top for a couple of years yet.
Heel of the Year – It is a close run thing this in my view between Randy Orton and Eddie Guerrero. Both started the year off face and both became super heels, especially Guerrero until his untimely passing. After thinking about it I am going to give to Eddie Guerrero for his classic heel turn on Rey Mysterio. The way Eddie was suddenly able to switch from being a face to a heel was utterly superb. You would think he had been a heel for years the way he portrayed his character. I know he turned face before his death but he was just so good in that short space of time against Mysterio that he deserves this award.
Tag Team of the Year – Finally we move onto the best tag team of 2005. The Tag Team Division continues to decline especially on Raw. Most of you who have read my work before will know that I have done several columns on the state of this division. The one team that stands out however has to be MNM. They hadn’t even debued at the start of 2005 but proved themselves ready for the big league when winning the tag straps on their first Smackdown match. Perhaps the only genuine tag team in the WWE just now (if you don’t count The Heartthrobs) although with teams like The Dicks and The Shane Twins coming through there is hope for the future. Here is hoping for a better year for the tag division in 2006.
Random Thoughts and Comments for 2006
New Years Revolution
How many meaningful matches are actually announced for New Years Revolution.
I am glad the elimination chamber is back but it all seems a bit pointless to me as it is obvious who is going to win.
HHH v The Big Show makes a nice change from the usual overdone feuds. I can remember these two taking on each other on Raw but as far as I know they have never had a big PPV match. Well-done WWE on this one.
What happened to Trevor Murdoch v Ric Flair, Edge v Flair is pointless.
Quite interested to see what happens in the Women’s championship match. Hopefully this is the start of some proper Women’s feuds and matches in 2006.
Is the card only going to have six matches, as at least three of them could be very short. I wouldn’t be surprised if another match is announced before the show.
2006 In General
I am really looking forward to this whole HBK/McMahon thing over the Montreal screw job. Could we be looking at HBK v McMahon at Wrestlemania.
I would love to see Kurt Angle v Shawn Michaels again. Anytime. Anyplace.
Cena desperately needs a heel turn, when your top face receives the most heat on Raw you have a problem.
How long are Batista and Cena going to hold the main belts.
Please lets not have another homosexual character with Trevor Murdoch. WWE have gone way over the top with this type of thing before.
Look for Shelton Benjamin, Trevor Murdoch and Gregory Helms to get big pushes on Raw this year.
Look for The Boogeyman, Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley to get big pushes on Smackdown this year.
I am really looking forward to the return of three minute warning. Sad I know but the WWE needs decent tag teams at the moment.
I see another WWE clearout on the way; several guys on both rosters serve no purpose anymore. Steven Richards being the most obvious.
And by the end of the year both the rosters will be back together again and PPV’s will be better promoted. Aye right.
Just before I end this column I would like to put in a good word for the next show of my local promotion the Scottish Wrestling Alliance. It takes place on Saturday 14th Jan and is not to be missed by any British fan. Already announced for the show is an NWA Scottish Heavyweight Championship match, a four way Tag Team Title match and more on the continuing war between the SWA and rival promotion BCW.
Show details can be found below.
Saturday 14th of January.
Tickets £6 for adults in advance if purchased from The Scotsman Models shop in Trongate Glasgow, the venue itself or SWA officials, £7 on the door. £5 for kids.
NWA Scottish Heavyweight Championship Match
SWA TAG TITLE MATCH
Do or Die tag match
Teacher v Student Match
Majik v White Tiger
SWA fan favourite and BCW champion to make statement
With all but one of the sinners destroyed conscience has his sights clearly set on former best friend and new leader of the battered sinners, MAJIK, but with an entire promotion hunting the last true phenom conscience will take the opportunity to send a very clear message at Retribution II.
For more information go to www.swa.t2u.com.
Well That is about it for this edition of Off The Record. I hope you have enjoyed the brief look back at 2005. Enjoy your wrestling in 2006 and remember please do whatever you can to support your local promotion.