Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 2nd Trimester Review

This post is a brief overview of the world of professional wrestling in the United States for the second four months of the year (May through August). I examine, as I see them, the highlights and lowlights of 6 promotions: WWE, Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Evolve Wrestling, and Chikara Pro. I also give out the following awards: Singles MVP, Tag Team MVP, Best Promotion, Best Singles Match, Best Multi-Man Match, and Best Show.

Here is the 1st Trimester Report

Singles MVP: CM Punk of WWE
Punk single-handedly revitalized casual interest in the WWE product with his many dynamic promos and two excellent PPV main events with John Cena. Their match at Money in the Bank was the first Dave Meltzer 5-star match from the WWE since 1997 (WWE actually had two 5-star matches that year). Punk has provided a spark to a company that has desperately needed a brand new top guy for years. If the WWE does not capitalize on Punk, they will have no one to blame but themselves for not getting out of the rut they have been in since 2008
Runner Up: Kevin Steen of PWG, ROH, and Evolve

Most Valuable Tag Team: The Young Bucks of PWG
The last 4 months have not really seen any tag team stand out from the pack as far as I am concerned. I picked the Bucks they have had 3 big PWG tag title defenses and another high profile PWG tag match. I decided to go with quality over quantity. The Bucks have also started working for Chikara and ROH again. Hopefully, the last four months of 2011 sees more tag teams featured prominently in professional wrestling.
Runner Up: The Briscoe Brothers of ROH

Best Promotion: WWE
4 weeks of great television programming and two really good PPVs was enough to give this award to the WWE. CM Punk looks like he may be changing the face of the WWE week by week, with his incredible promos and his great main event matches. Randy Orton and Christian have had a series of great PPV matches, and there have been signs that WWE is getting behind other potential new stars like Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan.
Runner Up: Pro Wrestling Guerrilla

Best Singles Match: CM Punk vs. John Cena© (WWE Title), Money in the Bank
Two larger than life personalities, in front of a rabid Chicago crowd, competing their hardest to win a match with large stakes = formula for excellence. This battle was an instant classic match and moment that the WWE will be promoting for years as one of the best matches in company history. This match is certainly worth going out of your way to see.
Runner Up: Eddie Edwards© vs. Davey Richards (ROH Title), Best in the World

Best Multi-Man Match: Akira Tozawa & Kevin Steen vs. Ricochet & El Generico, PWG All-Star Weekend Night 1
In PWG, sometimes magic just happens and you get a near perfect match like we got here. These 4 tremendous wrestlers and athletes left it all in the ring for the fans in this impromptu match, which saw Tozawa to have a great first night in his weekend goodbye to PWG. This is definitely a match worth going out of your way to see, and it should pop up in my top ten matches of year list.
Runner Up: Johnny Saint & Mike Quackenbush vs. Colt Cabana & Johnny Kidd, Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel

Best Show: WWE Money in the Bank
Besides having the best match of the year, this PPV had a real good undercard with two Money in the Bank ladder stunt matches, and another strong world title match between Christian and Randy Orton. People have called this the best WWE PPV in years, and the main event is for the reason for that. Not too many WWE shows have great main events anymore, and main events are often the difference between good cards and great cards.
Runner Up: PWG All-Star Weekend Night 2

Highlights and Lowlights from Each Company


- Letting CM Punk off the leash; a genuine breath of fresh air in a company that has stifled too many performers for too long
- Finally putting the belt on Del Rio
- Superstars: “wrestling, yay!”
- Money in the Bank
o CM Punk vs. John Cena© (WWE Title): ****1/2
- Summerslam
o CM Punk© vs. John Cena© (Undisputed WWE Title): ****1/4
o Christian© vs. Randy Orton (No DQ, World Title): ****1/2

- Positioning John Cena as an anti-authority, anti-establishment character; Cena is the definition of the establishment
- Not getting rid of the sparkling, spinner belt
- Turning Ron Killings into a cartoon character; they had a chance for a money heel, but they opted for the easy and lazy route
- Turning Christian heel too early; fans don’t really hate him…they just know to boo him when he beats up good guys
- Making Rey Mysterio perform with a freshly torn ACl, which allowed him to blow out his knee and cost him to miss 6-8 months (and possibly Wrestlemania)
- Releasing Chris Masters
- Kharma missing 9 months
- The Divas: a complete waste of time on every show that they are on

Ring of Honor

- Cary Silken selling the company to a broadcast company that can provide a national TV outlet
- Making Davey Richards their world champion…it was long overdue
- Deciding to make their TV show available online; best way to fight piracy is to offer a digital version of their product
- Signing Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Kenny King, Rhett Titus, Kyle O’Reilly, & Adam Cole to contracts
- Letting Homicide go…his contributions were minimal since his comeback to the company
- R.D. Evans
- Supercard of Honor
o All Night Express vs. Briscoes (Street Fight): ****
- Best in the World
o Eddie Edwards© vs. Davey Richards (ROH Title): ****1/2

- Technical issues with the first set of TV tapings that led to a near 5 hour taping
- Not having Davey Richards booked for the next iPPV
o Davey is their biggest draw
o I hate gimmicks and I really hate pointless gimmicks; Eddie Edwards has already beat Roddy twice clean this year…as far as their feud goes, Eddie is already the MASTER OF THE RING
- Losing Christopher Daniels to TNA
- Potentially losing the Kings of Wrestling and Colt Cabana to the WWE
- Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team underperforming
o They haven’t been bad, it is just that I feel they haven’t been having the great matches that they should be capable of
- Not putting a rocket up the asses of Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, and Michael Elgin
- Mike Bennett
- Bob Evans
- Mike Bennett & Bob Evans

Dragon Gate USA

- Announcing a full-time switch to iPPVs…LIVE is much better for professional wrestling
- Johnny Gargano stepping up as a main event level performer
- Bringing back Masaaki Mochizuki
- Getting AR Fox and Ronin bookings in Dragon Gate; perfect way for those guys to get more seasoned
- Fearless
o Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Aries: ****

- Losing Jimmy Jacobs to ROH
- Losing Austin Aries and Tony Nese to TNA
- Only running 3 shows (one weekend) in 4 months
- Not getting Shingo back yet
- The homeland promotion making stable switches that screw with DGUSA storyline logic (Tozawa should not be a heel right now)

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla

- Giving Akira Tozawa a wonderful send-off from the company
- Brining in Finlay for the Battle of Los Angeles
- Bringing back Scorpio Sky and having him team with Joey Ryan
- Bringing in PAC and CIMA for the 8th anniversary show
- Booking Alex Shelley and TJP again
- Making Kevin Steen the promotion’s champion…the man is a hot commodity at the moment
- All-Star Weekend 8
o Kevin Steen & Akira Tozawa vs. El Generico & Ricochet: ****1/2
o Akira Tozawa vs. Chris Hero: ****
o Eddie Edwards vs. El Generico: ****

- Losing Akira Tozawa
- Low Ki no longer working for the promotion
- The Cutler Brothers retiring (this isn’t making me cry but they were a solid team to fill out a card)
- Making BOLA only 1 night
- The horrible turnaround time on DVDs

Evolve Wrestling

- Everything having to do with Kevin Steen at Evolve 9
- Gargano vs. Taylor
o Finlay vs. Sami Callihan: ****1/4
- The Style Battle
o Austin Aries vs. Bobby Fish: ****
- Bringing in Finlay, Pinkie Sanchez, Sugar Dunkerton, Lince Dorado
- The new tag team of Scott Reed & Caleb Konley

- Losing Jimmy Jacobs to ROH
- Losing Austin Aries and Tony Nese to TNA
- None of the 2011 shows are available on DVD yet
- Technical difficulties during Evolve 9

Chikara Pro Wrestling

- Getting the Chikarasauras Rex shows on DVD the next day
- Announcing the company’s first iPPV, which will hold the finals of the 12 Large Summit
- The Twelve Large Summit providing unique and dynamic matchups
- Bringing in Johnny Saint and Johnny Kidd; a very special treat for American fans
- Using El Generico and Colt Cabana more often
- Bringing in the Young Bucks and the Osaka Pro guys for the Young Lion’s Cup
- Using Claudio to put people over on his way to the WWE
- Chikarasauras Rex Night 2
o Johnny Saint & Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Kidd & Colt Cabana: ****

- Rey Bucannero and Atlantis being complete duds
- Losing Daizee Haze to an undisclosed manner
- Losing a day of the Young Lion’s Cup due to Hurricane Irene
- The Joshi stars underperforming at Chikarasauras Rex