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Thread: The Bright Side: Match of the Year 2016 Countdown Series Spectacular!!

  1. #81
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    Juice Robinson was also more improved than Omega. Deciding to not take nights off is not equivalent to "most improved."

  2. #82
    LPW pYromania Head Writer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishsara View Post
    David Finlay went from a Japanese young boy to stealing the shows on events. Kenny Omega had a hell of a six months.
    He had a six star match.

  3. #83
    Queen of Extreme Irishsara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.pYro View Post
    He had a six star match.
    And the majority of his year was less than stellar. He spent six months of 2016 languishing in 6 man tags, failing as a leader of the Bullet Club and generally failing to live up to billing. How many 2016 Omega matches did you actually see?

    Is Kenny Omega's one match applicably better than the one he had against Finn Balor or Davey Richards (in the BOSJ and PWG respectively) in 2010?

    Is it really that much better than the one against KUSHIDA from Dominion 2015?

    Omega has the ability to steal the show most nights. He is one of the most gifted pro wrestlers breathing air right now. The problem is that he doesnt do it unless he is motivated to. *using my best Boston Accent* "He's got no heeeaaarT" No heart. He would rather goof off than steal the show unless the spotlight is firmly placed on him. This is his greatest flaw. It is no different in 2016 than it was in 2015.

    Give me Dave Finlay, Matt Riddle or Juice Robinson. Hell, give me Dash and Dawson or The Miz over Kenny Omega.

  4. #84
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    Dash and Dawson is actually an extremely good call.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishsara View Post
    How many 2016 Omega matches did you actually see?
    None. I don't watch wrestling. I just read dirt sheets.

  6. #86
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    Favorite commentary of 2016? Mauro Ranallo.

    I know you were picking commentary teams, but I have to cast a vote towards Ranallo solely, ineligible though it may be. The guy has been THE beacon of commentary WWE has been looking for since Jim Ross left. I'm a strong believer that, when it comes to commentary, it doesn't just matter what you say, it's what voice in which you say it (sorry, Josh Mathews - a would've been great WWE announcer had he not sounded like an eighth grade geek). Ranallo simply possesses that voice of gravitas, and delivers to both the casual and hardcore fans. Ranallo is, I believe, the greatest commentary addition to WWE in 20+ years.

    Love reading this stuff, Mizfan. Clearly, I'm a plant of the Vince McMahon garden, but I like reading about the various promotions. You paint a mulit-palleted painting. There's a reason I voted you reviewer of the year for 2016. Keep this up, you might damn have my vote for 2017 a twelfth of the way in.

  7. #87
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    Oh, beautiful feedback! Beautiful discussion! I love it!!

    JSR, I feel like I heard that Sexy Starís backstory is actually legitimate, but now looking around Iím not sure if thatís true or not. Either way, I would have to agree that Ivelisse is a lot better both in the ring and in terms of living up to her presentation, which Star wasnít really able to do. Haha, oh Joey StylesÖ I actually did not mind him when he worked CHIKARA for a bit, but itís probably not the worst thing if he makes room for new commentators, regardless of the reason. I agree that Mauro and Bryan are awesome but Iíve never been able to get on the JBL hate trainÖ heís not as good as he was in his first commentary run but on the rare occasions I watch WWE, I still find myself enjoying him. Then again, if I watched every week itís very possible he would come off as repetitive and annoying. I have no choice to agree on Matthews and Pope, honestly Iíd prefer to see them both replaced. The talent is out there! Thanks for the feed my man, I greatly enjoy it!

    Xan, if you watch this CMLL match and enjoy it, I definitely recommend you pick up the second on the countdown as well, listed just a few places earlier. They compliment each other VERY well. And absolutely, RevPro is where itís at!!

    Spinny, you have NAILED my feelings on the Drifter. Itís a gimmick that could work with the right person, but I just donít think Sampsonís got it in him. I DEARLY hope Bryan goes to commentary permanently at some point, even before he retired he was fantastic whenever he did a guest spot. Donít forget his BEARS routine! Great to hear from you man.

    Zakington, a good powerbomb is a beautiful thing eh? Yeah, if you canít get over in Full Sail Iím not sure you can get over anywhere. Oh man, the fact that WWE has to settle for tolerable is a sad state of affairs, but itís probably accurate. Thanks for the feed, my man.

    Xan, Shibata is the freakiní man, as you well know!

    Rob, if the last episode (god forbid) of Lucha Underground was Fenix and Mil fighting while the Temple burned down around them, that would be kind of spot on. Thanks for popping in!

    Al, Omega is an interesting shout out. My opinion of him improved a lot over the course of the year so I could possibly see a case for him. I certainly saw him differently at the end of 2015 as opposed to the end of 2016, the Elgin feud and especially the G1 Climax showed a lot of people what his true ceiling was. Again, great to hear from you sir.

    David, thanks for stopping in, glad to hear the series is appreciated! I do hope you check out some of these matches if you get the chance, always ready to hear the thoughts of someone going outside their usual zone. As for TNA, they actually did some really good stuff in 2016 but theyíve still got a few issues, it canít be denied. Thanks for popping in!

    Sara, nice shout out to David Finlay. Hopefully he gets elevated further in 2017 so that people start to take notice.

    Xan, sad to say I just canít get into Juice. Also, Juice is such a lousy nameÖ

    Al and Sara, I think yíall might be talking past each other on this one. I actually do agree that Dash and Dawson is not a bad call for most improved though.

    Oh shit Skul!!!!!! Amazing to see you man. Mauro is a guy I like a lot so Iíll accept your answer regardless. Who do you think he pairs best with? I have to agree his voice is a positive, it can be a little ďgame show-yĒ but Iíll take that over the Michael Cole/Josh Matthews squeaky geeky school of broadcasting anyday. You know who had a phenomenal voice for commentary? Scott Stanford. Iím not sure if heís still doing low level stuff in WWE or not but I never miss a chance to mention my love of that guy. Very glad I could bring a little news of the outside world your way! Love hearing from you man, donít be a stranger!

    And now! Letís get to it once more!!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 792 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2016 (only 5 of which involved The Miz). This is my 17th favorite one.

    DJ Zema vs. Bobby Lashley Ė Ladder Match, X Division Championship
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Impact, July 28th



    DJ Z, apparently on his way to the sixth or seventh row.

    The Setup: As many of you are probably aware, there was a point during 2016 where Lashley was basically winning every singles title he could lay his hands on. In an attempt to display just how absurdly dominant he could be, he picked up the X Division title as well as the world title, and would eventually take the King of the Mountain title as well. While most people were concerned about getting the world championship off of Lashley, there was one guy who wanted to stand up for the X Division, often called the heart of TNA, and that man was DJ Zema. With title shot in hand, he fearlessly confronted Lashley and demanded that they have the match. Lashley, feeling both supremely confident and a little nettled by an insinuation that he could not excel in an X Division style match, allowed Zema to pick any stipulation he wanted in order to prove he can do anything anyone else can do. Zema considered this offer, and then promptly picked a ladder match. Get the ladder to the ring and sound the bell, because it is on!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match by clicking here.

    This is a seminal power vs. speed match, with some real strong ladder psychology thrown into the mix. Throughout the match Zema attempts to gain a quick advantage and then retrieve the ladder, whereas Lashley patiently plays defense and removes it from the equation as much as possible, and waits to hit a real knockout blow to Zema. Zema proves more resourceful than Lashley expects though, both on offense and defense, and you can feel just a bit of doubt and desperation creep into Lashleyís attitude. He throws some extremely good stuff at Zema, really ragdolling him around the ring, and Zema for his part really does bump like a god in this one. Zema also really plays hard on the fact that he knows he will need to hit something big to get Lashley down, and throws caution to the wind for a lot of this match. One of my favorite spots is Lashley trying to trap Zema into a brawl outside the ring, so Zema leaps up on the rarely-used commentary table at ringside, and wildly launches himself directly into the big man. Itís a great spot, made all the better because it was really unexpected.

    The match progresses very smartly, as Lashley finally hits some crazy big moves to put Zema down on the mat, including a picture perfect Dominator facebuster, one of my favorite moves of all time. Finally Lashley gets the ladder and tries to go up it himself, but you can tell instantly that this is his weak point. Heís such a big guy the ladder seems puny underneath him, and itís very hard for him to make any quick progress. He takes just enough time for Zema to recover, and he leaps off the ropes to pick the precariously perched Lashley out of the air! Lashley is reeling and rolls to the outside, a smart move against bigger, more grounded opponents, but itís a psychological error against a flyer! Zema zips up the ladder and does a HUGE dive to the outside and takes Lashley down on the ramp!

    Major hope spot following this as Zema nearly makes it all the way to the title, but Lashley is really a tank of a human being. As Zema is all the way on the top rung, Lashley gets into the ring, gets underneath the ladder, picks the entire thing up and recklessly dumps Zema to splat down on the mat. Lashley follows it up with an awesome spinebuster, and it seems like Zema has been caught one too many timesÖ but NO, in desperation he cranks Lashley with a low blow! Normally this would probably be a little heelish, but Lashley had been so disrespectful to Zema and the X Division guys, and has played a bullying role so well in this match, that the crowd rolls right along with it.

    Zema plants a staggered Lashley with an excellent DDT and one more time heads up the ladder. Heís almost within reach but Lashley is up again, and heís dragging himself up the other side! Zema canít believe it, and before he can try again to tame him out Lashley bodily grabs him, lifts him up in the air while still perched on the ladder, and gives him the mother of all military press slams. Zema falls some 15 feet or so and just absolutely splats on the mat below. Lashley grabs the belt before Zema can get up again, and thank god because if they escalated this any further I swear somebody would have ended up flat as a pancake.

    The Winner: Bobby Lashley in 10:00 (estimated)

    The Verdict: This really came out of nowhere in some ways. Who would expect these two to fight at all, let alone in a ladder match with a title on the line? But I had an instinct it would be good since these two guys were really on top of their game this year in a major way. Basically this was the best little man against the best big man that TNA could possibly do, and it absolutely delivered. Not only did it feature all the great spots I mentioned but it also really was very intelligent. They told a layered story between the structure of the match and the character work of both men, and both these guys should be tremendously proud of what they accomplished.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    Not to be overlooked, here is my 16th favorite match of 2016, from the good olí WWE.

    Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
    Verizon Center, Washington DC, USA
    WWE Battleground, July 24th

    The Verdict: I have long loved the battles between these two, but I certainly never expected they would have a chance to work their craft in front of audiences this big. I will probably never be the kind of fan that WWE caters to again, but Iíll gladly give them credit when they give two amazingly talented guys license to put on something this spectacular.

    The Winner: Sami Zayn in 18:22

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 14th least favorite match of 2016:

    Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose Ė Asylum Match
    Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
    WWE Extreme Rules, May 22nd

    The Verdict: Dean Ambrose is usually a good character in 2016, and heís usually a strong wrestler as well, but heís not exactly what I would call a carry artist. Chris Jericho in 2016 is a wonderful, wonderful character, but by god if I never saw him wrestle another match I think I would be just fine. Put this all together in a nearly 30 minute encounter, and you have a recipe for a major dud in my book. Itís bizarre, when Chris Jericho was young and great in the ring it seemed that WWE never wanted to give him a lot of time, but now they canít seem to stop themselves from thinking of him as some sort of master of the long match. Look no further than his endless tenure in this yearís Rumble match, for further evidence. Poor Ambrose was in desperate need of something to rebuild him after the absolute dreck that occurred at Wrestlemania, but instead we see him doing half hearted brawling mixed with comedy spots in this truly bizarre match type. Dull, dull, dull is the only word I can use to describe this. I will give a small amount of credit though, when all was said and done the final spot of the match was very well done, with Jericho taking a major bare-backed bump into some thumbtacks, something he absolutely did not have to do at his age and status, so props as far as that goes. Then again, we could have accomplished something similar in half (or even a quarter) of the time and not put the crowd to sleep in the process.

    The Winner: Dean Ambrose in 26:21

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*


    2016 Award For Best Angle:
    The Battle For The Temple (Lucha Underground)


    Recommended:
    Aztec Warfare Match, LU Championship 3/23/16 Lucha Underground
    Matanza vs. Mil Muertes, Casket, LU Championship 5/11/16 Lucha Underground
    Prince Puma vs. Matanza, No DQ, LU Championship 10/5/16 Lucha Underground


    My Brother Comes!

    To me, a great angle is different than a great feud. A feud is between two wrestlers or groups who go at it over a specific issue. And angle is more of an ongoing story that can have big effects over large portions of the roster. So obviously story based companies will have an advantage here, and perhaps nobody does storytelling better than Lucha Underground. The biggest issue left hanging at the end of the first season was Dario Cueto being run out of his own Temple when power was seized by Mil Muertes and Catrina. Season 2 saw the incredibly dramatic return of Dario to his own promotion, complete with an ultimately successful bid to regain control with the help of his brother, the debuting Matanza, a character who was beautifully foreshadowed and built up prior to his much anticipated first appearance. From there itís been a constant struggle for Dario to keep his position, as he deals with legal issues, undercover cops, ancient prophecies, and the constant danger of the wrong person winning the championship and making another attempt to push him out of his position. Half a dozen different storylines intersect in a rich, layered tapestry, and man, it just kicks so much ass. Guys, I just love Lucha Underground. If youíre not watching it, I donít think you know what youíre missing.

    Honorable Mention To: The Rising Tide Of Nazmaldun (CHIKARA), Matt Hardy Breaks Bad and Then Just Breaks (TNA)

    Question: What was YOUR favorite angle of 2016?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  8. #88
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    I'm positively fascinated by where Cueto goes now - with Mundo holding the title he has (arguably) the ideal champion for his promotion as he's the most well known person there that isn't Rey. But his brother might well now be dead after being backdropped through the roof of whatever that room was. Does Cueto try and form an uneasy alliance with TWWU, or does he rehabilitate his own monster? And what happens if the belt falls into the hands of someone he clearly can't control, like Pentagon Dark (MAKE PENTAGON DARK LU CHAMPION PLEASE I BEG OF YOU)? What about Castro - we know he's back as Veneno and so obviously the police investigation is still ongoing (despite how slow burning it is). Is he going to bring LU/Cueto down? I sometimes feel like LU is trying to do a little too much in their storytelling by sowing these seeds and then not having the time to pay the off in such a way that we can recall them completely. But the Cueto angle certainly came together wonderfully.

    I'd forgotten that Asylum match - that really did suck a big one.

    Naito's a great shout for most improved, although for me his talent was always there and it was about how he applied it - that's what he took to the next level in 2016. Whoever said The Revival is a good shout - if you'd told me in the middle of 2015 that two of the most sub-Arn Anderson look-a-like motherfuckers would be the best tag team in the world by the end of 2016 I'd have slapped you.

  9. #89
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    Personally I enjoyed the Asylum match, it wasn't the best match but there was enough there to keep me entertained.

    Zayn vs Owens was pretty great. And Lashley/Zema looks good despite the fact it is Lashley vs Zema.

    Best Angle: Kurt Angle

    Personally I think the best Angle may have been Miz/Ziggler, that was phenomenal.

  10. #90
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    I'm fascinated at the idea that a Bobby Lashley match was this high up on your list. I will have to go check that one out asap. I was pleased to see Zayn v Owens ranked so well. I'm really interested in seeing what you ranked as worse matches than Ambrose/Jericho Asylum. That much was such a dumpster fire.

    As for best angle - can we count the entire CWC as an angle? If so, that gets my pick. If not, it's tough for me. Nothing stood that far above everyone else. I'd say it's a tossup between Cena/Styles and Miz/Ziggler.

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    I think I actually had that Asylum match blocked from my memory because I had forgotten that it even happened. Both competitors are capable of so much more but on that night nothing seemed to add up.

    DJZ has become one of my favorite people to watch this year and against the right competitor he can steal the show on a nightly basis. That ladder match may be the best example of that.

    I don't have a lot to say about Sami and Owens that they don't show themselves when they wrestle. One of the greatest feuds of all time and they always go their hardest when they get in the ring together.

    Angle of the year for me is an easy one. It has to be Broken Matt. I went from catching up on TNA when I had some free time to making sure I watched it night of or as soon as possible after. Matt Hardy made TNA must watch again for me and since then he has not disappointed. I actually have no honorable mentions today because I think this angle was so far ahead of anything else I watched. It was the true MVP.

  12. #92
    I'm glad to see some DJ Z love in your countdown. He's been a bit of an up and down guy for me over the years, and it took some time for him to recover after what happened to Jesse Sorenson, but since his bounceback as DJ Z he's truly been the cornerstone of the X-Division. What's surprising is how good Lashley has become as well, and on paper this match shouldn't have worked, but it did. So kudos to both men.

    Let's talk the Dario angle a minute here. I think you may be underselling the angle somewhat. I don't think it's mainly a battle for the Temple, and you did somewhat touch on that in your write-up. I think the main point of this angle is the battle for EVERYTHING. All roads should point to a war of the tribes, and the person that controls the Temple is the tribe that should have the upper hand. There appears to be more to the Temple than meets the eye, in that it's a living, breathing entity all its own. I don't know if LU will ever have the time to tell this entire story, especially with the recurring talks of money issues, but damn I want to see it come to a head.

  13. #93
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    I don't know what got into Lashley, but he killed it in 2016. I really wouldn't have minded if he closed out the year as champ. And DJ Z was no slouch either. The X-Division was really struggling last year, especially after the mass exodus, but Z was putting on some clinics whenever he could. I loved the whole angle of Lashley winning every title, and I laughed when he stroked the knockouts title (which was then held by Sienna, who then told him "don't even think about it!"). I don't know if this will make your countdown, but Lashley vs Storm for the KOTM title was a match that almost makes you forget how worthless that title was.

    What can I say about Sami/KO at Battleground that hasn't already been said? Awesome match. STUPID move on WWE's part by giving them another throwaway match on Raw months later after this event occurred.

    The Asylum match was one of Dean's misses last year. He was still my pick for MVP, but yeah, I could've done without this match/feud right here.

    Favorite angle is definitely the Hardy madness, but the fight for the temple was awesome. Just remember all the great matches and surprises that came from that (Pentagon breaks Mil's arm; Feniz wins the LU title; Cuerno vs. Fenix... the list goes on).

    Public Access TV

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    So yeah, I'm switching from posting just past midnight to just before... deal with it, if you even noticed!!!


    F2F ATTACK!

    Ollie, I love pretty much everything you said about this storyline. Itís incredible to wonder where the story goes from here. I can see your point that LU plants almost TOO many seeds, but then again itís so incredibly rewarding for those watching closely, and god knows thatís how I watch wrestling anyway so itís still basically perfect for me, I wouldnít have it any other way. Great to hear from you my mna!

    Zak, to each their own on the Asylum match! The fact that a match is Lashley vs. Zema is anything but a problem my friend, two super talented guys doing great work in 2016. Ha HA, I see what you did with that Angle joke. Well played.

    David, if youíve been sleeping on Lashleyís massive improvement in the past two or three years, youíre missing out. Hope you do get a chance to check the match out. ďDumpster FireĒ is a great way to describe that Asylum match! Miz/Ziggler is a very good shout out, especially since it incorporated the very hot Bryan stuff to some extent.

    Spinny, the trouble with making lists like this is sometimes you drag up bad memoriesÖ like that Asylum match, haha. Your kind words towards Zema are well earned, he really has shown himself to have a ton of fire this past year. I freakiní loved the whole Matt Hardy arc this year, easy pick for best angle my friend. Glad to hear from you!

    Rob, I definitely wouldnít neglect my man Zema. That Sorenson thing was nasty business but Iíve always seen it as more of a fluke than anything else. Iím very glad that Zema not only got over it but Sorensen was able to return to the ring as well. If you had told me three years ago that Iíd be talking about Lashley as one of the best big men working today I would have thought you were nuts, he really has become a truly great wrestler. Man, I LOVE your take on the Dario angle! Not only does the battle encompass the whole roster, but the fate of the WORLD may very well hang in the balance. Iíve got faith that LU will make it work and tell their story, if they donít get a chance itíll be a true crime. Always awesome to hear from you!

    Mr Thirteen, I am so with you on the idea of Lashley being champ til the end of 2016, I think Edwards is ok but heís got nothing on the streak of great matches Lashley has had lately. I actually never minded the KOTM title, for what itís worth, Eli Drake actually did some very fun stuff with it before it suddenly got scrapped. Iím not that high on James Storm, so donít hold your breath for him to show up. That was definitely a pretty ok match though. Gotta agree, the follow up booking to Sami/Owens was disappointing, but weíll always have their great matches together. Man, Broken Matt and the Temple Wars were both so great. Pretty damn hard to pick between them, really!

    And now, back to the showÖ


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 792 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2016 (only 5 of which involved The Miz). This is my 16th favorite one.

    Kamaitachi vs. Dragon Lee Ė CMLL Lightweight Championship
    Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
    NJPW Presents Fantastic Mania Day 6, January 24th



    The ďHoly BajeezusĒ-canrana

    The Setup: Sometimes, CMLL guys wrestle in New Japan. Look! Itís happening in this match!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can do so by clicking HERE.

    If you want to talk about spectacular fast paced action, I donít think you can do much better than this match. I came into this bout with limited knowledge of both guys but itís clear they know each other very well, and at times they seem to literally be going 100 mph with each other, the stuff they are able to pull off is just incredible. This is a match that really has to be watched so I wonít try to break down the entire thing, but seriously, look at that gif. That totally blew me away watching live and itís only one of many incredible spots. This largely makes the list by virtue of pure action alone but that should be a major point in itís favor. This is not one you want to miss.

    The Winner: Kamaitachi in 18:33

    The Verdict: I already talked about how the action in this match is genuinely incredible, but I do also want to put over how well these guys established their character just through ring action alone. Kamaitachi gives off a fantastic asshole-ish vibe, you can just FEEL that he thinks heís better than you, and Dragon Lee as a fairly clean cut luchador with athletic ability just dripping off his form is great at winning over the crowd despite limited exposure and a total language barrier. This is a match that works on a multitude of levels even when viewed cold without any context, in fact I might even say itís one of the best matches of that kind around. I feel like I'm underexplaining it but it's just really difficult to put the raw energy of this one into words, so I really hope people do take the time to watch it. Itís just freaking awesome.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 13th least favorite match of 2016:

    Race Jaxon vs. Proletariat Boar of Moldova
    The Wrestle Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    CHIKARA The Distant Future, May 7th

    The Verdict: I think Iíve sounded off on my strong dislike for the man called Race Jaxon before, but in case you forgot, I find him to be a super sloppy spaz of a wrestler who constantly tries to do more than he actually can, to the point where it seems dangerous for himself or others. Proletariat Boar is a decently fun wrestler, a solid power guy on a roster that is mostly flyers and technicians, but heís not magic. Give these guys a random 2 Ĺ minute match together and itís not going to be pretty, or amount to much of a damn thing. I give a tiny modicum of credit to the Boar, who tried to make this fun, but make no mistake. This was rough, and more than a little pointless. A rare miss for CHIKARA.

    The Winner: Race Jaxon in 2:31

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*


    2016 Award For Best Stable:
    The HeXed Men, CHIKARA (Hallowicked, Frightmare, Mark Angelosetti, Icarus, Jigsaw, Obariyon, Kodama, Kobald)


    Recommended:
    vs. The Colony 8/21/16 CHIKARA No Oneís First, And Youíre Next
    vs. Heidi Lovelace & Dasher Hatfield 11/5/16 CHIKARA Counting Backwards
    vs. Team CHIKARA, Cibernetico Match 12/3/16 CHIKARA Supremacy


    Evil is slightly washed out, apparently.

    Itís been a genuine pleasure to watch this stable grow and develop over the course of 2016. Starting the year with only Frightmare and the recently defeated former champion Hallowicked as members, their fortunes reversed when Jakob Hammermeier foolishly attempted to seize control of the group using the mysterious artifact known as the Eye of Tyr. Usually used to take control over weak minds, it was ultimately useless against the already possessed and powerful Hallowicked, who quickly took that potent object for his own uses. He used it on his former friend, the cult-ish Ultramantis Black, to create an incarnate form of his master, the dark god Nazmaldun. Yes, this is still a wrestling angle, and itís freaking awesome. With Mantisí dark powers added to his own, the group was able to quickly expand during the summer months, seeking out face members of the CHIKARA roster with a dark side, a dark history, or a particular vulnerability, and seemingly converted them to their cause not by persuasion but by some kind of ďhexĒ, a form of hypnosis initiated by Ultramantis (or the being inhabiting him) designed to bring out the worst qualities of each new member. The demonic Batiri trio, originally brought in as a dark army but who turned to the light when the very existence of CHIKARA was threatened? Hexed! Icarus, long time jerk-in-residence for CHIKARA, dubbed ďworst in the worldĒ by the fans but who finally put aside his immaturity and rose above himself to save the company from annihilation? Hexed! Mark Angelosetti, a one-time arrogant cheater who tried to mend his ways but was rejected by the face locker room and even his own family? You better believe he got hexed! The only member who may still be operating of his own free will is Jigsaw, who may have simply joined of his own accord as an offshoot of his bitterness for not being recognized as the greatest product of CHIKARA. But then again, he could easily have been hexed into it! This army, made up of many of CHIKARAís most veteran and most talented members, swept over the roster, helped Hallowicked regain the Grand Championship in short order, and seemingly defeated everyone in their path, leading to a climactic 8 on 8 elimination match in the Cibernetico style at the season finale. More on that to come, but believe me, when I say this stable really delivers, it REALLY delivers in the best CHIKARA fashion.

    Honorable Mention To: The Colony (CHIKARA), CHAOS (NJPW), Bullet Club (NJPW, ROH, PWG)

    Question: What is YOUR favorite stable of 2016?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  15. #95
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    Mizzie, I'm slowly working my way towards catching up on this, work and writing commitments have killed me. I'm curious about the lashley DJZ match. Was it similar to the classic RAW about with Jeff hardy and the undertaker? Did it have that type of vibe to it? Thst is one of my favorite not forgotten, but not often thought of matches of all time.
    Read my latest. That's not a request.

    THAT'S AN ORDER, MAGGOT!!!!





  16. #96
    Queen of Extreme Irishsara's Avatar
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    Favorite Stable of 2016? Bullet Club Worldwide (WWE, NJPW, ROH, PWG)

    Wait WWE? Yes, the Club referred to in the WWE is the Bullet Club. How do I know? Check Karl Anderson's tights. #BC. So, if we agree that Karl's tights say #BC, then we have to agree that the Club is the Bullet Club. Goodbrothers Worldwide.

    Here is an idea look at the titles won by this faction in 2016.

    Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came into 2016 as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champions. Guerrillas of Destiny also won that title twice this year.

    AJ Styles is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

    The Young Bucks won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, the PWG World Tag Team Championships, ROH World Tag Team Championships and the Bucks won the The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships with Kenny Omega

    Speaking of Kenny Omega, He came into the year as the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. During the year, he won IWGP Intercontinental Championship and the G1 tournament.

    Adam Cole was ROH World Champion.

    Some guys like Fale, GoD and Yujiro Takahashi also had championship runs in 2016.

    If you include Finn Balor (who teased a place in The Club and had Bullet Club related merch in 2016), then the Bullet Club also won the NXT World Title and the WWE Universal title.

    By my count, other than the WWE Tag championships, the PWG World Champion and the IWGP Championship, the Bullet Club won the major tag and singles titles in their feds. Anderson and Gallows flirted with the WWE tag titles for six months. They competed for every major championship. The Bullet Club is the most decorated faction since the NWO.

    Top guys all around.

  17. #97
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    Sarah, that is exactly what I would have argued, except perhaps less elegantly and without including Balor. Well done. I know nothing about Chikara, but I find it hard to believe any stable had the year Bullet Club did.

  18. #98
    Remember me? Degenerate's Avatar
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    Man, after missing the beginning of this series I'm pretty overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work you've put into this. Instead of going through and reading through it I'll just start from your last post and will add comments in the future if I read something from a prior post that gets my interest.

    I was in attendance at Power Struggle when the Time Bomb countdown came to a close and Kamaitachi / Hiromu Takahashi made his return to New Japan (with the pyro scaring the crap out of me, by the way). I was a bit disappointed partly because I was hoping it was the return of Minoru Suzuki to the fold, but also because I had no clue who this guy who came in licking the Junior Heavyweight title. I mentioned that elsewhere and just about everyone was basically like "No, this guy is awesome."

    I went back to read about him, and saw that he had a couple of awesome bouts against Dragon Lee in Mexico recently. The one you rated was the first one I saw, and my jaw dropped when I caught that match. Now I saw what the whole deal was. It got me excited for his bout at Wrestle Kingdom, and I'm especially hyped that I will see these two guys tear it up in person next month at New Beginning in Osaka. I'm more excited for the Junior Heavyweight bout than the scheduled main event of Naito vs. Elgin for the Intercontinental title.

    Based on everything you've said about CHIKARA, I've really been wanting to dig more into that company but there's way too much going on for me to do so. I'll have to make a note to keep an eye out for the stables you mentioned.

    You continue to amaze me by the incredible amount of quality work you put in here. Thanks for taking the time for doing this!


    2016 Columns Forum Classic Champion

    (Thanks to YourAyatollah for the belt)

  19. #99
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    Awesome stuff here. Reading your columns is like taking part in a gang bang where the guy standing next to you has a 13 inch cock. No matter how good you feel about your own writing, you can't help but feel a little bit inadequate.

    Do we count The New Day as a stable? They are technically more than a tag team, so I'd think they qualify. If so, they get my vote. An absolutely incredible run during 2016.

  20. #100
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    Time to play catchup.

    Best Promos: Has to go to The Miz hands down, he has been on fire most of the year and in that has had to hang with some very talented guys.

    HHH/Reigns match: I don't think that match is as bad as you made it out. Yeah it wasn't great, barely passable good but only half star? That seems a bit harsh.

    Most Charasmatic: Shinsuke and Ambrose are my picks.

    Woman of the Year: When looking at it in WWE terms like I have to you have to give it to Charlotte, she dominated the whole year.

    Non-wrestling personality: hmm, there was nothing really great in terms of the WWE here in this section. There was a few around but nothing really stuck out for me. I would have to go with Shane O'Mac I guess but his two matches may disqualify him.

    Damn this Grand Championship is sounding absolutely terrible.

    Most Improved: Miz for me, he has impressed me greatly this year.

    Best Commentary: Mauro Ranallo by a landslide. Oh wait it is supposed to be a team. Ok I guess him and Bryan then since I dislike the make-ups that Smackdown has gone through this year.

    That Asylum match between Jericho and Ambrose was pretty bad, again I can't feel the half star rating but yeah one of the more worst WWE PPV matches of the year.

    Favourite Angle: Miz/Bryan has me invested like no other but since it is still playing out I will go with the Jericho/Ambrose feud over talk shows scarves and potted plants despite the poor Asylum match being part of it.

    Best Stable: Well not much to go on in WWE. I guess 3 men makes a stable so New Day has to get it but I will have to give a small nod to sanity as I see big things for them if they get their stuff together in 2017.

  21. #101
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    David Fenichel, you're scaring the kids...

    I saw that match with that crazy huricanrana before! Sick move!

    I really wish that I followed more New Japan and ROH to understand the Bullet Club, but dang Sarah needs to be the stable's secretary or something.

    I don't know if they count as a stable since they are technically a tag team, but it's more than two guys so I'll go ahead and say the LU 'superfriends' of Fenix, Aerostar and Drago. Always loved those guys individually, and to see them win the trios titles was a moment that was second only to Team Son of Havoc winning them for the first time.

    Speaking of Lucha- how can you not like the Worldwide Underground? Low-blow party, anyone? Former trios champs, their lady, Taya (probably the most mature of the group) won her Ultima Lucha debut, and now their leader is the reigning champ. (air guitar!)

    Lastly, while Decay showed up big and had a very good debut year, my number one stable of 2016 has to be House of Hardy (Broken Matt, Brother Nero, Queen Rebecca, Senor Benjamin, Vangaard-1, and King Maxel). Anyone who disagrees is an obsolete mee-yule.

    Public Access TV

  22. #102
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    Ray, my man, do what you can! Always good to hear from you. Interestingly enough thinking back I can totally see a Taker/Jeff vibe coming out of that Lashley match. I donít think they were going for it specifically or trying to imitate it, but youíve got a hugely charismatic underdog flyer taking on a dominant big man in a match nobody quite believes the little guy can win, until he wins them over by sheer heart and determinationÖ yeah, itís in the same ballpark!

    Sara, certainly by the question of titles won BC stands above the pack, even if you donít count the WWE version. Iím not sure if I would include them or not, simply by virtue of the fact that it is impossible that we would ever see them all together in an official setting, but I do take your point. They had a very strong year any way you look at it, though they donít quite feel as hot as they might have done a year or two ago. What sets the HeXed Men apart for me is superior storytelling, and members and matches that are high quality all the way down to the lowest ranked guy, even Kobald doing random singles matches against guest talent still has my interest, and I canít really say that for the bottom level BC guys like Yujiro or Bone Soldier. Every single match and moment the HeXed Men had this year meant something to the larger story, and that appeals to me as a fan. I can easily see why others would go with BC though, it depends on what you value most I think. They certainly make a bigger impact on the global scale, whereas CHIKARA stuff is, as always, rather niche.

    Xan, like I mentioned to Sara I think it depends on how you look at it. BC certainly had a hell of a year if you count all the potential branches of the faction.

    Deg! Thanks for acknowledging the work, fortunately I had a lot of this done prior to posting but Iíve now hit the point where Iím almost playing catch up so the work intensifies! Glad to have you along for the ride. Love that you discovered Kamaitachi through this match, my interest in him went through the roof this year and now that heís back in New Japan proper with a ton of new opponents, I see no end in sight for his awesomeness. His match with KUSHIDA was one of the biggest highlights of WK11 for me. If you ever want to check out some samples of CHIKARA, just let me know! Iím already pulling together a few matches for Spin to check out, be happy to send them your way as well. Thanks for the kind words and the feed!

    David, itís been a while since I got cock based feedback on LOP but Iíll take it! I think New Day can definitely count as a stable. Iím still impressed with how they were able to turn what seemed to be a sure dud into one of the most popular acts in wrestling, definite credit where credit is due there!

    Wayne, feel free to play catch up at any time! Iím interested that someone is here to defend (at least a little) matches like HHH/Reigns and Jericho/Ambrose. Tastes will definitely vary and I expect I will have more controversial matches on the countdown yet, but at the end of the day I can only go by how much I enjoyed the match, how much Iíd want to rewatch it, whether Iíd recommend it to anyone else, and matches like that definitely fall towards the bottom. Loving your love for the Miz my man. Iím also very interested in Sanity, I havenít seen them much so far but I enjoyed Eric Young greatly in TNA so I think there is potential there, especially with some other good members. Thanks for the feed, my man!

    Mr Thirteen! Glad youíve seen the match, itís a doozy eh? I definitely dig the LU super-face team, I actually saw them live when they won King of Trios in 2015 and they definitely were phenomenal. WWU is an awesome shout out as well, I really do love those guys. My gut says they came along a little too late in the year but just in terms of awesome vibes and good presentation, they are top notch. Maybe 2017 will be the year they blow up even bigger! Haha, House Hardy is an awesome choice. Iím not sure I even considered them since most of those members donít actually even wrestle, but man if you include them they have a great case because they are an absolute blast. They are quite breeliant, and delightful!! Thanks for stopping in man, loving the feed as ever.


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 792 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2016 (only 5 of which involved The Miz). This is my 15th favorite one.

    Howie Dewitt (AKA Chuck Taylor) vs. Orange Cassidy
    St Lukeís Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
    CHIKARA Aniversario: The Lost World, May 30th



    The (Lazy) Peopleís Elbow

    The Setup: This is the upside of the Chuck Taylor TM storyline, right here. In case anyone forgot, the original Chuck Taylor at the end of 2015 sold off the rights to his name and gimmick with the idea of retiring, only to find himself without the means to do so. Thus was the former Chuck stuck wrestling in generic gear, trying out random new names, trying to make something stick. Here we see him matched up against his former friend and stablemate, the eternally lazy Orange Cassidy. Just to make things worse, in this match Cassidy is being managed by the new Chuck Taylor, a bizarre, sweater wearing R&B singer wannabe, and to add insult to injury, Orange Cassidy canít be bothered to realize that the new Chuck Taylor is different from the old one! In spite of the original Chuckís objections, Orange chose sides as soon as he was told which man was technically Chuck Taylor, and he never looked back. Tonight, original Chuck is trying out the new name of ďThis IsĒ Howie Dewitt. Do you think itíll stick? We shall see. Spoiler alert: this is a comedy match.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can do so by subscribing to CHIKARAís complete streaming library, chikaratopia.

    Iíll just say up front, this match is filled with clever jokes and spots that I find hilarious. Iím not sure if it will translate to others or not, but if Iím being honest about sheer enjoyment, I knew I couldnít leave this match off the list. Orange Cassidyís ďlaziest wrestler aliveĒ shtick gets me every time, and it was doubly fun and interesting to watch original Chuck try to figure out how to handle the situation, since Orange is a guy he would often humor and protect when they worked together in the Gentlemanís Club stable. But here Orange nonchalantly rejects him, just because Chuck TM can say the words ďI am ChuckĒ and legally original Chuck canít contradict him. This is really a case of not just the two men in the ring but also the third man on the outside working together to create something not only very funny but actually pretty great. Chuck TM is on the house mic for most of the match, adding his own comments, which just improves the fun. At one point, Orange Cassidy puts Chuck in a headlock, and heís trying so hard that Chuck feels sorry for him and actually lets his hand drop twice just to make Orange feel better. Aw, such great friends! Orange and Chuck TM also have a lot of fun exchanges, with Orange calling out to his ďfriendĒ the things heís going to do or seeking comfort when something bad happens, and Chuck TM plays along perfectly with some nicely improvised dialogue.

    As the match goes on original Chuck looks for ways to get ahead without actually hurting Orange, and opts for an airplane spin. Orange pleads for Chuck to stop before he throws up though, and eventually Chuck does. Thereís a great moment where Orange gets down after the spin and nearly taps out because heís so dizzy! But eventually Orange shows he has a few tricks up his sleeve as well. He gains the upper hand by using the Orange Mist, which is simply him sneaking a drink of orange juice and spitting it in the face of his opponent. Orange gets a rare burst of energy from this and actually chokeslams Chuck to the mat, then Chuck TM hands Orange his COOL SUNGLASSES and heís ready to go! He signals for the Peopleís Elbow! But! He doesnít want to do the whole move, so he turns around and drops the elbow after taking approximately one step! Cassidy dedicates the move to his great friend Chuck TM, but original Chuck retaks control rather easily. Chuck is gearing up for his old finisher, the Soul Food, but Chuck TM leaps up on the apron and informs him he legally cannot perform that move anymore. While heís distracted, Orange squirms over and attempts to roll up Chuck! Chuck teeters for balance exceptÖ no, he doesnít, he was just humoring Orange again! Chuck simply drops down on Orange and gets the win! Chuck is happy for the victory, but sad to see Orange leave with Chuck TM, who carries him out in his arms as he puts his COOL SUNGLASSES on.

    The Winner: Chuck Taylor in 5:32

    The Verdict: This is definitely where the ENJOYMENT factor comes into play. These are my FAVORITE matches of the year. Obviously this was no technical clinic, no bone rattling brawl, no jaw dropping high spot extravaganza, and while there is actually a unique psychology and storytelling element, itís not exactly an epic story. And yet, I love this match because everyone plays their parts PERFECTLY, and to pile on positives, this is a match that damn near had me in tears when I watched it the first time. Something I so appreciate in CHIKARA is they way they build and establish characters, not just investing you in their story but really letting you get to know them. There wasnít a serious moment in this whole match, yet you could still feel some genuine empathy from the crowd when Chuck couldnít get his old friend to realize whatís going on. I think few companies could pull off a comedic match as layered as this one. To some that probably doesnít mean much and I totally get that, but to me this is the kind of fun I love, and the kind of match that I would watch again and again and enjoy more and more each time. Everyone involved should be very proud of their work.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 12th least favorite match of 2016:

    Abyss vs. Bram
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Impact, July 12th

    The Verdict: Where to start? Should I even start at all? I suppose Iíve come this farÖ There have been times when I enjoy Abyss, but putting him in singles matches in 2016 is a bad joke. Bram is a guy that I know some people like but I have never been able to muster any interest in, heís shockingly un-impactful for his size and gimmick, and seems to get opportunity after opportunity despite not only never really impressing or catching on with the crowd, but even after going through personal issues that would have disqualified most people from further employment. This was part of some bizarre storyline where Rosemary, the female member of Decay, was considering trying to recruit Bram, but the only interesting thing about this is the fact that I didnít rate it even lower. I guess they must have managed a modicum of action that didnít completely suck, but it must have been pretty damn small. I will say again, TNA has done a lot of good stuff this year, but they still have their share of misses, and if it involves Bram or an Abyss singles match then itís probably going to be in that category.

    The Winner: Bram in 4:05

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*


    2016 Award For Best Tournament:
    The Cruiserweight Classic (WWE)


    Recommended:
    Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik 8/10/16 WWE Cruiserweight Classic
    Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre Jr 8/24/16 WWE Cruiserweight Classic
    Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins 9/14/16 WWE Cruiserweight Classic Finale


    Whatever came after, this tournament was pretty goddam awesome.

    I seriously doubt I need to sell anybody on just how freaking good the CWC was. I never thought Iíd see the day where WWE would hold a tournament of mostly unsigned (at the time) talent and simply let them do their thing in front of an appreciative audience. Of all the crazy stuff WWE did in 2016, this was probably the most groundbreaking. Hardly a bad match from top to bottom in the entire thing, and some of the bouts turned out to be truly fantastic. And hey, it had my man Tajiri in it! Cherry on top, but still. There were several great tournaments this year, but this one takes the cake in my book even over something as prestigious as the G1 Climax.

    Honorable Mention To: King of Trios (CHIKARA), G1 Climax (NJPW), Battle of Los Angeles (PWG)

    Question: What was YOUR favorite tournament of 2016?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  23. #103
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    LOL Howie Dewitt. Very clever.

    Yeah, I've never gotten into Bram either. The only interesting thing about him was that he could at one point say that he was Ric Flair's son-in-law. That story line with Rosemary was pretty much carried by Rosemary (he's a terrible actor), and then it dropped, and now he's in the DCC. I know you said you aren't high on James Storm, but I think he deserves better.

    Abyss has definitely seen a resurgence with Decay, but I agree that Steve should carry the load of any singles action. Not too mention, we have like nearly twenty years worth of Abyss work, and we've seen all his signature moves for a long time. It's not that his matches are bad though, but like you said- no one really knows how we're supposed to react to Bram, so it makes for a dull outing.

    I don't think I've seen much tourneys last year so the CWC wins by default. Oh wait- there was the second Dusty Class... yeah. CWC.

    Public Access TV

  24. #104
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    The CWC was the Lexington Steele of wrestling tournaments. There you go - I'm 2 for 2 on cock jokes. What do they say, two is a coincidence, three is a trend? Tune in tomorrow I guess?

    Another TNA match at the bottom of the barrel. At what point do they just burn the entire thing into the ground and sell of their remaining assets for as much nose candy as they can get their grubby little hands on?

  25. #105
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    I'm still sad that everyone is sleeping on Kendrick vs Ibushi. That match was my favourite of the CWC by quite some way.

    I always find the G1 Climax burns me out a bit. Same with all of the NJPW tournaments, in fairness - there's just a little too much in too little a timeframe. The first half I'm kind of like 'yeah, this is the best! Woooo!' and then by the time of the final I'm kind of 'oh, they're doing that again, there's that bit'. Kind of like there's not a lot of new stuff, even though the final few matches are always ridonkulous.

    I'd been working on my version of this since early December, but now have thrown it out of the window because yours is just too good!

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