2014 is officially here so I’d like to welcome you to part two of our first Best and Worst of WWE & TNA 2013. It has been mostly a good year to be a wrestling fan and I think we should celebrate the good things whilst still looking at some of the more questionable decisions made by both WWE & TNA this year.
Side note: Whilst I watch very little of the TNA product these days, I have done some research and will try to fairly represented their contribution to wrestling this year.
Let’s continue with our celebration!
The fact that Goldust is on my list of best wrestlers in the year 2013 boggles my mind. Goldust made somewhat of a return at the Royal Rumble but was eliminated by his brother in what he termed a ‘one night only deal’. Only it wasn’t a one-night deal and he returned later in the year to team with his brother using the worst music combination known to man. He has looked nothing but impressive since his return and I now look forward to any match including the Gold One.
My first TNA pick has to be Bully Ray. I always thought that Devon was the more suited of the two to become a singles wrestler but boy was I wrong. Ray completely reinvented himself in TNA over the past three years and it finally culminated in him winning the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Lockdown. He would reveal himself to be the leaders of Aces & Eights and managed to keep the group afloat longer than it had any right to be. Bravo on a great year, Ray.
Punk started the year by ending his reign of 434 days as WWE Champion; imagine if someone would have told you that back in 2006. It’s easy to take him for granted but he is the most consistent wrestler of the past five years by quite some distance. Want a great match? Get Punk. The fact that he is only third on my list shows how good Bryan and Cena have been this year.
John Cena could simply show up and go through the motions and I don’t think anyone in WWE would say a word. That’s why it’s so impressive that after 10 years on top he still seems to have the same willingness and desire to deliver the best matches and promos possible. I’m not saying that Cena always gets it right but what I am saying is that he cares even when he doesn’t.
This will always be remembered as the year that Daniel Bryan head-butted straight through the glass ceiling and became a megastar. He started the year as part of hugely popular ‘Team Hell-No’ and ended it as the biggest singles star in the company. Whilst WWE made some questionable decisions with his character, the fans have stayed loyal and it won’t be long before WWE realise their mistake.
I have added a number six because this match deserves to be on my list for a number of reasons. This match epitomises everything good about NXT. It represented both characters skill sets and vulnerabilities. It also created a great buzz for both Zayn and Cesaro in the weeks that followed.
I remember worrying that this match had been built far too well for the pay off to be anywhere near as good as what we expected. Then Goldust and Cody turned up and absolutely tore the place down. This match was the culmination of a growing tag-team division that had been threatening to become relevant for quite some time in 2013. Plus it featured Dusty Rhodes delivering an elbow, which is never a bad thing.
It was sold as ‘The Best vs. The Beast’ and it wasn’t far off. This was the pallet cleanser that Lesnar needed after the positively dull series of matches he had with Triple H. It is also the type of matches he needs to be in more often to create interest in his limited schedule. Lesnar wrestles best when there is some intrigue to the outcome of the match and it doesn’t get much more intriguing than this match at SummerSlam.
This was a pay-per-view caliber match on RAW if ever I saw one. We’re not talking middle of the show match either, we’re talking main event of whatever PPV it wanted. Both men sold the importance of the match beautifully. They were both clawing to become the no.1 contenders for The Rock’s newly won WWE Title. Punk hit Cena with a piledriver and Cena responded with a surprisingly decent hurricanrana. This was the best RAW match in a year of brilliant TV matches.
The most impressive part of this match you ask? The fact that John Cena wrestled with an elbow the size of one of those giant comedy tennis balls you get in the kids section of your local supermarket. This match was all about Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top and even Cena’s ego understood that it was time for him to take a step back to heal whilst passing the torch for a short time in the process. Or so we thought.
This was the real main event of WrestleMania. What was so impressive about the buildup was how flippantly Punk won the right to face The Undertaker. Punk beat three other people in a winner faces Taker at Mania match…and people said Viagra on a pole was a bad idea. Another ratchet in the buildup was the untimely death of Paul Bearer. WWE obviously had to take full advantage of that and one of the highlights was Paul Heyman dressed as the recently deceased undertaker.
So the buildup wasn’t exactly perfect. The match was always destined to be something special from the moment Punk got his grubby paws on it.
Honorable mentions: AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, MITB RAW Ladder Match
Bold Predictions for 2014
This is probably even more ridiculous than CM Punk retiring. This is more to do with my selfish desire to see a feud between the teacher and the student at WrestleMania XXX. There are no indications that Shawn is willing to have one last match but by god I hope he decides to lace those assless chaps up one last time.
CM Punk has looked tired since the very first time I saw him wrestle. I think his body is slowly catching up with his eyes. Punk has once again looked incredible this year in the ring but it can only last so long. Your body can only last so long after 13 years of non-stop wrestling. I have no desire to see Punk retire in 2014 but it wouldn’t completely shock me.
This is more a gut feeling than anything to suggest it will actually happen. I don’t even have an idea of who it could actually be but I do know that TNA is slightly desperate at the minute and if they even sniff the opportunity to grab someone, they will take it with both hands.
Then I say his face, now I ‘m a Boliever. If you are a fan of NXT (if you’re not, what’s up with that?) then you will know the great work that Bo Dallas is doing on a regular basis down there. Let me explain though because I’m not saying that Bo will ever be in the main event picture in WWE, but what I am saying is that he will be a pretty good hand to have for the next 10 years. Of all my bold predictions, I stand by this one 100%.
This is slightly more doubtful after seeing the last episode of RAW for 2013. I’ll say that if it turns out that Daniel Bryan is not actually part of The Wyatt’s then he will hold the WWE Undisputed Mega Title or whatever they are calling it at the minute by the end of 2014.
Events of the Year
How could I not include Money in the Bank? It featured a stacked RAW MITB ladder match and a not too shabby SmackDown ladder match too. It also signaled the last breath of Dolph Ziggler’s push to date in WWE. Oh and The Shield faced The Uso’s in an amazing kick off match.
TNA really didn’t have to do much this year and they could have been higher than fourth on my list. Instead they delivered an average Slammiversary and still managed to get into the list. The Knockouts match was a nice change in pace compared to the Divas crap I’m used to. Kurt Angle and AJ Styles stole the show in a very good match but it wasn’t there best together. Then Bully Ray and Sting had one of the most ridiculous matches that had more kick outs than Rock Cena 2.
This came after a few months of truly awful shows from WWE so my opinion may be slightly skewed. Both 3 on 1-handicap matches were exciting and at least one of them had the correct person going over. The main event was passable if not average and that shows the level of wrestling PPV’s this year.
WrestleMania? Number 2? Well it was a bit number two at times. Fandango vs. Jericho was a slight disappointment and never got out of second gear. Mark Henry defeating Ryback was never going to be a classic and don’t get me started on The Miz submitting Wade Barrett. Then The Undertaker and CM Punk arrived on their white and black horses to save the day. It’s hard to believe that one match made this PPV worth the cost of admission, but it did.
This was the year of disappointing PPV’s in my opinion. SummerSlam is top of the list and only had 4 good matches. Punk vs. Lesnar was an incredible match and completely lived up to the hype work done by both Heyman and Punk. Then the main event of Daniel Bryan and John Cena was perfect in every way. Even the cash in by Randy Orton elevated the event to something not even WrestleMania could touch.
Promos of the Year
This one came out of nowhere and impressed her peers just as much as it did the fans. Similar to the Bully Ray promo, it actually felt like AJ was holding all this frustration in about her treatment compared to the Total Divas until she couldn’t hold it in any longer. This will go down as one of the best Divas promos of all time.
This promo shows that TNA has some of the best talent in any wrestling company in the world. I felt every last word that Bully Ray said in this promo and 100% believed in his character. He used the small amount of promo time to create something extremely special.
We knew that it was coming and we couldn’t wait. Punk returned after a well deserved vacation and had Heyman at his side as was customary for the Straight Edge superstar. Think weren’t clicking between the two and it was Heyman that shockingly decided to cut ties with his once Big Beautiful Pepsi loving man-child. Then the promos started, and it got heated very quickly between the two. It was like fire and ice, Potter and Voldemort, Messi and Ronaldo. Beautiful psychological violence.
Say what you want about the RAW after WrestleMania but this was probably the best reaction from a crowd I’ve ever seen. They didn’t want to see John Cena or Randy Orton fight it out for the title; they wanted to see Daniel Bryan do anything else. Nobody in the ring knew how to react until Orton and Cena came to the ring to try and steady the ship. Even Cena had to use Bryan as part of his promo just so the crowd would listen to him.
This was the double-cross to end all double-crosses. Henry had 95% of us convinced that he was actually retiring. He cut the best promo of his career and then told Cena that to hold the WWE Title you have to earn it. Then he hit Cena with the World’s Strongest Slam and we all lost our shit in unison.
Well that closes the book on 2013. Everyone at TWM wishes you all a Happy New Year. I want to thank everyone that visited the site this year and hopefully you will stick with us into 2014 and beyond. Give us your top 5’s in the comments below!
– Michael Owen