It was Ben Elton who said that “artists don’t create society, they reflect it”. Seeing as society in 2018 resembles this;
Considering wrestling is the maddest art form committed to canvas, it makes sense that this year was a mess. With that in mind, allow the Promo Connoisseur and Sub-Saharan Shitposter to take you through a review in this year month by month… in quotes.
January – “Get These Hands”
Between a stellar Wrestle Kingdom and Asuka and Nakamura winning the Royal Rumble, this month belonged to Japan. However, this isn’t necessarily a list celebrating in-ring work, so an ad-lib on the first day of the year will have to do.
This line elevated Braun Strowman to the next level. He loomed over the rest of this year, ever-present; never quite ascending to super-stardom. He would adopt this utterance as his manifesto throughout, much like the man who uttered next month’s choice…
February – “Bullet Club is fine”
The build to Wrestlemania was in full swing, and no one cared because the American Nightmare was back on his bullshit. Cody’s quest for leadership of the stable, everyone having to pick sides, Kenny Omega struggling to keep things together and Jay White quietly waiting…
What’s more impressive is that they built most of this intrigue on a Youtube comedy vlog. And this angle was the beginning of so much for this Elite group…
March – “If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you!”
Daniel Bryan was back, and the world didn’t seems so bad for a while.
The key quote from his return speech (attributed to Brie Bella, not the only thing she added to 2018 with a real kick to it) had all of us tearing up. He was cleared! He was going to Mania! Babyface 4 l-
April – “Titus Worldslide”
Mania came. Mania went. Nakamura became a foreign heel obsessed with hitting people in the dick, a child won the Tag Titles, and John Cena downed a beer before getting squashed by The Undertaker.
The return to New Orleans was quickly revealed to be a roadblock on the way to Saudi Arabia. However, The matches put on during The Greatest Royal Rumble all paled in comparison to Titus Worldslide.
Say this with the right inflection to any wrestling fan and they’ll at least crack a smile. It spawned a poorly thought out angle, a New Japan imitation, and was a visual representation of WWE’s relationship with the Middle Eastern country. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
May – “Consensual Penis”
In January, Enzo Amore was sacked from WWE for failing to notify them about an ongoing sexual assault case.
In May, all charges were dropped for insufficient evidence.
A week later, he dropped a song with the quoted phrase. Read my initial thoughts here, I ain’t doing this again.
June – “I’m clumsy. I can’t do anything smoothly. I’m good for nothing. I know it too well.”
Later in the year, a certain crossover combat athlete would run their mouth about the Millennial Man.
Clearly, they’ve never watched a Hiromu Takahashi promo.
To be this aware of your shortcomings while wrestling with a seeming disregard for your own safety demanding “More, More, MORE!” is probably one of the most “Millennial” things I’ve ever seen.
Heck, this quote was before he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Summer was all his, until what happened happened.
July – “If you try to climb up to the balcony and jump on me… then I’m gonna move!”
He isn't wrong. pic.twitter.com/3nhTvbLHfD— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) March 15, 2018
July was hazy. Football was coming home, a lot of rum was drank and there was a heatwave so bad that half the population voluntarily watched Love Island (guilty). In the midst of all this, Zack Sabre Jr, the guy who jobbed to a member of the Lucha House Party in the Cruiserweight Classic, turned into Deadpool in the middle of the G1 Classic.
“Now I know pro wrestlers are renowned for being morons,” he continued, referring to fellow CWC competitor Kota Ibushi. “But for god sake, if someone climbs on to a balcony and tries to moonsault on to you, just move!”
We don’t deserve him.
August – “Against this Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns doesn’t stand a chance. Unless…”
One of The Fed’s top three PPVs was at the end of the month, and they wheeled out one of the industry’s greatest ever orators to drum up interest in a main event everyone felt they had seen a million times before. In moments, he drummed up possibilities. Possibilities they squandered, but possibilities nonetheless.
But two things changed everything late in this month. Aleister Black sustained an injury keeping out of NXT Brooklyn. And Becky Lynch turned on Charlotte.
September – “September is the worst time of the year to promote — it’s terrible!”
I’m cheating here.
This was a quote from the previous month, reportedly said by Vince in an off-record conversation with Chris Jericho.
However, considering that two of the biggest independent events were a roaring success this month (The Elite’s All In, and Progress’ Hello Wembley), it just felt right, y’know?
October – “My real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years.”
Becky Lynch is a tweener champion, calling out any and every one in her promos and on social media. NXT have put together a whodunit as compelling as any police procedural. Jay White and Gedo join the Bullet Club and The Elite become their own entity. Ronda Rousey slut shamed someone on live television for a consensual relationship in the build up to WWE’s first all-female pay-per-view.
Nothing compares to the Universal Championship being vacated. Especially for a reason as sobering as battling cancer.
Except, perhaps, a man walking into an embassy and never walking out again. But it’s not as if WWE would get embroiled in a major international incident like that. No, that would be ridiculous.
November – “I absolve you of all your sins”
The moral ramifications of Crown Jewel have been spoken about enough. Let’s talk about badass one liners.
Media in general leans on melodrama, and the right line delivered at the right time enhances our enjoyment. Aleister Black’s chilling inditement to Johnny Gargano only highlighted that we need this more in wrestling.
The best thing about this? The story isn’t over yet.
December – “Keep my name out of your mouth!”
Had to mention her once, didn’t I?
Her social media alone could’ve generated a quote a month since August. Brooklyn exploded when she decked her best friend in the face. She won the title, and became The Man.
And a single botch deprived us of a dream match and generated enough heel heat to allow another competitor to coast though a build for a title match on a different brand.
Becky Lynch yelling this at Nia Jax once she had punched her back drew a line under that, and secured her status as the biggest star in this mad thing we love.
Roll on 2019.