Wednesday, 22 June 2011

WWE: A look back at some of the best of 2010

A while back I decided to make a video acknowledging some of the better matches from the year 2010 and I figured why not post an entry about it? When making the video I thought it was best to leave out big gimmick matches like Money In The Bank or the Elimination Chamber and anything from WrestleMania. Anything from that already gets the praise it deserves. Plus there was no way I was going to try and fit all of HBK/Taker into one short video. Don't feel left out ladies, as I decided to include five diva matches in addition to the ten superstar matches.

Evan Bourne vs Carlito - WWE Superstars February 4th:
Evan Bourne has always been a guy that WWE has never really known how to use. But he's also the type of guy who could go out every week and just wrestle, and that would be fine. Because that is what he does best. He was in a pretty sorry situation at the start of 2010, being constantly buried by the big stars on Raw. One really sad night for him was a two-minute squash against Sheamus where he kicked out of Air Bourne like it was nothing. Then came this little match. I remember watching it one Saturday afternoon while I was on my laptop. About two minutes into the match, I closed my laptop down and I was hooked. This was the match that made me an Evan Bourne fan. I had never been this emotionally invested in a match in so long. You could see even the crowd were getting behind him in this run of the mill Superstars episode. This show is really the place to go if you want to see the midcard wrestlers shine and this was the start of good things for Evan. This match  made me an Evan Bourne fan and I always give him my full attention whenever he's on.

Christian* vs Ezekiel Jackson (ECW Championship) - ECW February 15th:
Well true that WWE's version of ECW fell a long way away from what the original promotion was like and it was definitely time to put it to rest in 2010. But they gave it a good send-off by bringing back the Extreme Rules match and defending the title one last time. The little bit with Zack Ryder and Rosa Mendes was great and I seriously marked out when Tiffany came down and speared Rosa. I guess it was foreshadowing her short but sweet run on the Smackdown brand. All the spots with the weapons were really creative, and I had to lol at the bit with the shopping trolleys. The ending sequence was cool and it was a unique idea to have the title change hands in its last defence. It's a nice rub for Zeke to call himself the last ECW Champion and he has indeed gone onto bigger and better things since he now has the IC belt around his waist. True Christian technically went onto better things as well. Of course a five day run with the World title is better than not having it at all, right?

Batista vs Daniel Bryan - Raw April 3rd:
I honestly never thought I'd put a Batista match on my list since I've never been interested in any of his stuff since WrestleMania 21. But Big Dave managed to impress me one last time before he legged it last year. This was the match that introduced me to Daniel Bryan and he impressed me as well, which is unusual for a submission wrestler. Eventhough this match was pretty short, it told a great story with the up and comer doing his best to get a win over a former world champion. Sadly most of this storytelling got lost in the editing. Even though Bryan lost the match, he wasn't buried and he got a good rub from it. I mean lasting five minutes in the ring with a multi-time World Champion is a pretty impressive feat for a kayfabe rookie. I'm glad Daniel Bryan got his job back and he of course appears again on the list.

Gail Kim vs Jillian - WWE Superstars June 7th:
I said earlier about Superstars but it was definitely a haven for the divas in 2010, especially the ones on Raw. While the Smackdown divas do tend to get more time for matches, the Raw girls almost always get the shaft with four minute segments and slow-moving feuds. Here are two divas who got underused in 2010 but on Superstars they had three matches against each other and this was their last, and definitely the best. Here Jillian was able to do so much more than simply be a joke and clown around for two minutes. She was able to develop herself as a good ring general and got some pretty sweet offence in. Gail pretty much does her normal five moves of doom whenever she's on Raw but here on Superstars she can pull out all kinds of incredible moves. For me she is the female version of Evan Bourne. Hell, Diva-Dirt even nominated this match as a MOTY candidate.

Chris Jericho vs Evan Bourne - Fatal 4 Way:
Fatal 4 Way was one of the better gimmick PPVs WWE introduced last year and it's a shame they didn't bring it back in favour of the weak Capitol Punishment. This match was MOTN for me and of course my main man Evan makes the list again. It was great for him to get this push as well as a good rub for him to defeat a former World Champion, and really show off what he can do. This was his first PPV singles match I believe. And my hat goes off to Jericho who at this point in his career was still going to the top rope and pulling off a lot of the same cool moves he did back in his younger days. It's a little sad he went from main-eventing WrestleMania to becoming the jobber to the stars but I'm sure he's traditional and doesn't mind as long as the match is good. And boy was it ever. The Frankensteiner was my favourite spot of the whole match, as well as the tornado DDT.

Eve vs Alicia Fox* (Divas' Championship) - Money In The Bank:
Here were two of the girls WWE decided to throw a bone to in 2010 when Mickie, Melina and Beth were out of action. Sadly not as much was done with them that could have been, but this was definitely something to be proud of. Alicia Fox to me has always been underrated; she can wrestle pretty well, has some impressive strength and has a lot of charisma. She was basically Maryse with actual wrestling skills. I was happy for her when she became champion and it was a good run for her. Eve is also another favourite of mine. As well as being absolutely gorgeous, she has a cool moveset and always makes sure she mixes up her moves in whatever match she's in so you don't always get the same stuff from her. Other divas should take note of this (Kelly, Nattie, even you Alicia). The match told a simple story but that so rarely happens in diva matches. Eve selling the back injury was done pretty well and the ending was sick (in a good way). Alicia looked especially strong coming out of this. It's too bad they dropped the ball with her in favour of Melina.

The Hart Dynasty* vs The Usos (Unified Tag Team Championships) - Money In The Bank:
The women's division is always on and off but the tag division has always been far worse off. But for a few months last year, it looked like it would rise from the ashes. This feud was a great one that showed what can happen when the creative team actually invests time into their champions and storylines. This was the big payoff match and it didn't disappoint. I was hooked from when the first bell rang. Both teams had excellent chemistry with each other and it was a great back-and-forth match. I especially loved the hip toss into the hurricanrana as well as the "alley-oos". Watching it live I was surprised to see the Harts retain but it meant they got to have a longer title reign. Sadly this golden reign didn't last and they dropped the ball with the Harts. These days only Natalya has done anything of note since the breakup.

Rey Mysterio* vs Jack Swagger (World Heavyweight Championship) - Money In The Bank:
Yep, a third match from the MITB PPV and just in case you needed another clue as to what my favourite WWE PPV of that year was. I was interested to see Rey as champion since he is a great worker and pretty over with the fans. Even though this was a rematch clause and Rey was going to retain, WWE really invested a lot of time with this feud and made you think maybe Rey couldn't do it. I was never a fan of Swagger in the ring; his title reign didn't do much for me (they could have given him a better opponent than Big Show if you ask me). But he was great in this match and played a great menacing heel as opposed to clowning around like he usually does. The story being told was great to watch as it unfolded. Swagger and Rey do have excellent chemistry and I'd have liked to see this feud go on for longer. Sadly poor Rey got screwed five seconds after this great match.

Kaval vs Alex Riley vs Michael McGillicutty - NXT August 31st:
Well we couldn't really ignore NXT could we? Love it or hate it, this show has been pretty influential on WWE since they started it last year. I never watched season 1 but I thought season 2 was something decent and I found myself liking the rookies a lot more than the season 1 guys. The last S2 match was a really cool one to watch. It could have been a mess given how green a couple of these guys were and being a triple threat, but it was fast-paced and exciting to watch. Kaval of course was the workhorse of it, pulling out the flashy kicks and stuff like that. Michael was also good at selling all this offence and Alex played a good opportunist, getting the sneaky win like that. Although Kaval walked out of WWE, it's nice to know that 2/3 in this match are at least going somewhere.

The Miz* vs Daniel Bryan (United States Championship) - Night of Champions:
Did you really think I'd leave this one out? I'm a big fan of The Miz and I'm glad he clocked a good WWE title reign as well as the main event of WrestleMania 27. His nay-sayers can say what they will but I always wanted this guy to make it big. Anyway, what else is there to say about this match? It was the one everybody wanted to see ever since the first episode of NXT and it was definitely MOTN. The story was great and Miz looked really sharp on offence, probably the best he's ever looked in the ring. Bryan was amazing as always and pulled out all the stops in this match. My favourite spot was where he got crotched on the top rope and Miz got him with a clothesline. All the near falls just added to the excitement. A lot of people were saying that it's a shame the feud didn't go on longer but I think it was best to end it here, since Miz was set for bigger and better things and Bryan was a good US Champion.

Melina (Divas' Champion) vs Michelle McCool (Women's Champion) (Title Unification) - Night of Champions:
I was pretty mad when WWE pulled the trigger on this stupid unification idea but I'm not gonna go into a rant since the current state of the division speaks for itself. Despite the lack of effort in building the match up, it was still pretty damn good. It was a great call back to their other match with Michelle trying to blindside Melina while she was doing the splits again, but Melina being ready for her this time. I also had to lol at her randomly slapping Rosa in the face. It's also a testament to how great a worker Michelle was when she was able to pull a good match out of a loose cannon like Melina. It got an impressive time length for a women's match and the Lumberjills told a good story as well which you don't normally see. I was so relieved that Michelle won this match since she and Layla had a great feud with Natalya and there was no way Melina could have carried the division the state she was in after her injury.

Kaval vs Dolph Ziggler* (Intercontinental Championship) - Survivor Series:
This year's Survivor Series was a pretty weak PPV all around and this was probably the only match worth watching from it. I always enjoyed Kaval wrestling and I'm so mad that the creative team couldn't find anything for him to do apart from job to the big guys. This little push was a nice bit of TV and Ziggler really was one of the best IC champs we'd seen in a while. The match was a bit iffy to start off with but it was great to watch once it got going. Kaval's unique style always makes for an exciting match and his only PPV encounter can be considered a success. It's a shame they didn't develop this any longer because I would have liked to see more matches.

Naomi vs AJ - NXT November 24th:
Ah, season 3 of NXT. Yes I watched it all but it wasn't all bad. This was definitely the best match of the season and naturally featured two of the best rookies. Naomi impressed on the very first episode and remained the most consistent worker of all the rookie divas, having good matches with Alicia Fox, Aksana and even Kaitlyn. AJ bombed on the first night but gradually came to shine on her own and became a lot more comfortable in the ring. Naomi controlled most of this match but it was still very entertaining for a face vs face match. I loved AJ's tornado DDT as well as the octopus stretch and I'm so happy that she's on the main roster now. Naomi indeed was robbed in the finale but she should be getting called up any time soon. Hopefully Aksana can come too.

Sheamus vs John Morrison (#1 Contender's Match) - TLC:
Well eventhough I live in the same country as Sheamus, his work never impressed me. I found him pretty bland on the mic and nothing special in the ring. I wasn't sure he'd be able to have a good ladder match but so he did. Most ladder matches are pretty much big spotfests that wow and amaze the fans but this one told a good story with Sheamus working on Morrison's leg and all the ways he used the ladder for that were pretty creative. I mean, a knee lift with a ladder? Morrison of course was very good as well, busting out his usual flashy offence to please us all. Watching this live I was really into this match and wanted Morrison to win so badly. This was definitely on par with the great Jericho/Benoit match from the 2001 Royal Rumble and was the better of the two ladder matches that night. And of course the win from this match would prompt Morrison to have another MOTY candidate in a few weeks' time...

LayCool vs Beth Phoenix & Natalya - Smackdown December 31st:
Smackdown was definitely the place to be for women's wrestling in WWE last year. LayCool were a saving grace and helped carry the division while Mickie, Melina and Beth were gone. They had a great feud with Natalya and also a groundbreaking tables match. This was the match that everyone still wanted to see and the last episode of Smackdown ended on a positive note for the divas. The match got a great length and the divas got to show off their in-ring psychology more than they usually do. And of course lol at Layla blatantly dry humping Nattie on PG TV. Beth and Natalya made a great team and could have almost topped LayCool in terms of power couples if they'd been on the same brand.

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