Best For The Business is WrestleZone’s annual celebration of the people in the wrestling business that changed the wrestling business in a positive way this year.
The wrestling world continued to return to “normal” in 2022, and the year was full of fun memories and new opportunities. WrestleZone is highlighting some of the names doing positive things in their respective roles by creating new opportunities and special moments in pro wrestling.
The Wrestling Club
Victor Perry is a teacher at KIPP AMP Middle School in Brooklyn, New York and he is the founder of The Wrestling Club. Perry shows students that join the club wrestling matches each week, making it an educational and entertaining endeavor.
Going beyond that, Perry has taken students to live wrestling events in New York and ultimately raised enough money to take a club trip to this year’s WrestleMania. Full Faith Wrestling will also host a live wrestling event in May to benefit The Wrestling Club.
The Wrestling Club has gained a tremendous amount of attention from the pro wrestling community. Some of the wrestlers that they watch, like Mercedes Moné and Mark Henry, have come to visit the classroom too. WWE has taken notice, as The Wrestling Club has been mentioned on The Bump.
TWC has its own podcast and merchandise, including a football jersey from Blacksmith apparel. The Wrestling Club has inspired others to create their own wrestling clubs around the country, highlighting the positive side of pro wrestling fandom and celebrating the one true sport with others.
Maria Kanellis-Bennett and Bobby Cruise put in a great amount of work in building Ring Of Honor’s women’s division prior to the company’s self-imposed hiatus in 2021. Soon after the company released its roster, and Kanellis and Cruise went to work to figure out their next step.
Kanellis explained that she wanted to create another quality place for women that just wanted to wrestle. In addition to giving deserving talent more opportunities, Kanellis aimed to give the wrestlers perks such as residual income for each appearance.
Women’s Wrestling Army was announced in April 2022, hosting its first event, The Journey Begins, on May 1, 2022. WWA began airing on BrandArmy and soon after signed a deal to air on ProWrestling TV. In addition to the wrestling matches, WWA also produces an ongoing documentary series that showcases behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with its roster, giving them another chance to tell their story their way.
Not only did Kanellis help start a new promotion, but she also maintained a regular spot on IMPACT Wrestling television as part of the Honor No More stable. Her second run in the company only lasted eight months, but the stable was in a prominent spot on TV each week. Kanellis, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven would stick together, as they ended up signing with All Elite Wrestling, appearing on AEW programming and Tony Khan’s Ring Of Honor revival on HonorClub.
Sasha Banks / Mercedes Moné
Sasha Banks makes this year’s list despite being absent from television for most of 2022.
Banks (along with Naomi/Trinity Fatu) won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 38. The pair were involved in a highly publicized walk-out in May of 2022, leaving a RAW taping over an alleged creative dispute.
Banks has not wrestled for WWE since then and she largely remained quiet in a wrestling setting. She still kept a strong presence in the media, including walking the red carpet at the She-Hulk and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres, among other high-profile events. Banks landed her first movie role in The Collective and filmed an episode of Paramount+’s Bar Rescue
Banks’ lack of a presence didn’t affect her popularity, as she created more buzz for herself the longer fans had to wait for her next move in wrestling. Now going by Mercedes Moné, the seven-time Women’s Champion made her debut for New Japan Pro-Wrestling at Wrestle Kingdom 17. Reports of her arrival surfaced in the weeks prior, and it clearly paid off as the company was said to have seen a 30 percent boost in viewership in the United States as a result.
Mercedes says she wants to travel the world and go to whatever promotion gives her the bag, so it’s a safe bet that she will keep fans guessing at her next move in the months to come.
Triple H coined “best for the business” on WWE TV as part of a storyline but it’s hard to argue that many of his recent decisions have benefitted the company in a positive way.
Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque took over as head of WWE creative in the wake of Vince McMahon’s retirement due to allegations of sexual misconduct in July 2022. Despite the controversy surrounding the promotion, the move was seen as a positive one by many fans and wrestlers.
Plenty of wrestlers praised Levesque’s passion for the business, with others noting that it was a big morale booster for the locker room too.
“I think this is the best thing for the company. It really is,” Bautista told ComicBook.com. “It’s a personal thing with me because I know Triple H. I know how well he knows this business. I know how much he loves this business. As far as this business goes, he’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met in my life. He made me who I was. He was responsible for my career. I’ve never been ashamed to say that.”
Triple H brought back fan-favorite wrestlers and changed unfavorable gimmicks, and continues to make changes to enhance the on-air WWE product. McMahon ended his retirement in January and returned to WWE to help facilitate a sale of the company. Some have speculated that he’d also return to a creative role, but Triple H is still running creative as he approaches his first WrestleMania at the helm.
Not every move has been a home run, but there’s no denying the fact that the overall opinion of the WWE product changed with Levesque taking over. There is more optimism than there has been in years with Levesque at the helm and that will hopefully continue in the future.
Dave LaGreca launched Busted Open on SiriusXM (then Sirius Satellite Radio) in April 2009. Since then, the show has continued to grow each year. Busted Open now airs 6 days a week, with names like Mickie James, Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray and Mark Henry sharing hosting duties with LaGreca.
The show grew organically over the years and its popularity was due to its analysis and exclusive interviews with stars from the top pro wrestling companies in the world. LaGreca has also helped shine a spotlight on various independent promotions like Mission Pro Wrestling and ISPW, as he’s worked as a manager (and even wrestled his first official match in 2022).
“It’s been incredibly fun working with him. He is always up for anything. He’s a really good guy, and he loves professional wrestling. You can tell this guy is an absolute fan of the products that he works for. It’s interesting because, yes, he is involved in the wrestling business, he is also very much a fan,” independent wrestler Rick Recon told WrestleZone about working with LaGreca. “He is all in, and I wish there were more people like that.”
Busted Open Radio has become part of the culture in pro wrestling. LaGreca ‘fatheads’ can always be seen in the crowd at wrestling events, and now there’s even going to be a “Busted Open Match” between Dreamer and Bully at IMPACT Wrestling’s Sacrifice event.
LaGreca signed a multi-year extension with Sirius XM in October 2022, ensuring fans will be able to hear more of Dave’s ”LaGreca rants” for years to come.