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

  1. #41
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    I don't have much time to comment today but I wanted to at least say something to show my continued appreciation for this column series. For me the greatest striker is Ishii. The only thing that separates him from Shibata for me is that he looks the part more in my opinion. Coming from a guy that looks like him the strikes seem a little more painful. This is probably not a good way to judge but that is the only thing that is different between the two for me. Shibata is a wonder and I love watching him.

  2. #42
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    Ollie! I knew youíd be glad to see Shibata there. The dude is amazing. He strikes like his joints are firing his limbs out of a shotgun. You should ABSOLUTELY watch that Hallowicked match, heís had an honestly amazing year and thatís one of his best. The more I think, the more I think I may have even rated it too low. I would mark the fuck out if Ospreay chained the Essex Destroyer into a Dragon Sleeper. Love the feed, my friend!

    Ray, glad I could do it justice. Might be worth checking out, eh? Ziggler is a guy Iím still high on, even after so many have seemingly turned on him. I do think he is a little too much at times but when heís fun, heís a ton of fun. Puma/Ricochet is a phenomenal shout out by the way, dude is amazing. THANK YOU for missing Heenan! The series will return soon!

    Al, thank you again for even a very simple piece of feedback. Ospreay really is a marvel isnít he?

    Spinny, I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment even a bit. I very, very nearly went with Ishii, and funny enough the main reason I didnít is just what you mentioned. Ishii LOOKS like he could chop down a brick wall and he strikes like it too, but Shibata is this wiry guy and he still kicks like heís auditioning for a job turning human bones into powder, so to me it seems even more impressive. It could really go either way. A lot of people loved their matches early in the year but I was a little let down, Iím not a big fan of the whole ďIíll sit here and let you kick meĒ style, but either way both guys are still amazing. Thanks for taking the time to feed!


    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 24th favorite one.

    Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy Ė Full Metal Mayhem
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Slammiversary, June 12th



    Jeff Hardy, trying to break himself as well as Matt.

    The Setup: The Final Deletion kicked off a new wave of appreciation for the Hardys, at least for most, but itís easy to forget that among the more absurd features of this often-strange experiment in wrestling there lies the bones of a truly classic wrestling feud. I have no doubt I could write thousands of words on the hidden layers of this lengthy storyline, but Iíll try to limit myself to a reasonable length. But truly, for over a year everything that happened seemed to set up this feud perfectly, even when they could not have possibly known where it would end up.

    It all started in early 2015, when Jeff Hardy broke his leg shortly after the Hardys had won the tag team titles for the first time. Matt was forced to vacate the titles, but immediately regrouped to pursue his dream of finally becoming a world champion. The machinations of then-heel champion EC3 made this goal very difficult, but after a long road he did indeed win the title in a triple threat match at Bound For Glory í15Ö only to forced once again to give up the title immediately after, when EC3 used his legal connections to force the title to be held up. After a lengthy tournament EC3 regained the title, defeating Matt Hardy cleanly in the final match despite Matt bringing all the heart and fire he could. Matt convinced EC3 to grant him one last chance at the belt, which EC3 did with two stipulations, first that the match would be Last Man Standing, and second that Matt Hardyís career would also be on the line. A still-healing Jeff was determined to support his brother, but after a match against EC3ís associate Tyrus had to be cut short due to injury, Jeff was forced to leave the arena to seek medical attention, which Matt encouraged him to do. The reason would soon become clear, as the main event featured a fairly spectacularly booked double turn which saw Matt recruit not only EC3ís own men against him but also Mattís own family.

    Jeff returned to confront his brother with a deep sense of unease. On the one hand, EC3 had taken many villainous actions against the Hardys, and yet Mattís method of victory had been extremely underhanded and vicious, and a new attitude seemed to be growing in him by the minute. Calling himself ďBig Money MattĒ and spurning the fans, his friends, and even Jeff himself, he lorded his industry success over everyone he could find. Eventually the issue between the brothers cost Matt the title, as he lost it to Drew Galloway after being weakened by his battles with Jeff, and the tension reached a boiling point. They battled each other in an I Quit match. This match would have no clear victor however, as Jeff would end the issue by climbing far up into the heights of the Impact Zone and leap down onto his brother. Both men were carted out on stretchers as Mattís wife and child wailed.

    A shadowy, sunken Matt Hardy appeared backstage some time later and condemned his brother for trying to end his career and take food from his childís plate. He declared himself broken and hinted that he would not be able to return to the ring. This turned out to be a ruseÖ of sorts. Matt did return, yes, but broken just the same. Using Jeff Hardyís own alter ego, ďWillowĒ, in a mind game against him, he attacked the psyche of Jeff from the shadows until revealing himself in his new persona. Unkempt with a large shock of white hair, speaking in a bizarre unknown dialect, expressing strange and foreign concepts previously outside the Matt Hardy character, he returned in force and bent his strange new energies against Jeff. He even masterminded a convoluted scheme to wrap around the contract signing for their Slammiversary encounter, a kind of precursor to the Final Deletion. The Hardys had fought before, but they had never battled each other quite like this.

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


    This is the match that convinced me Jeff Hardy is probably going to retire soon, and wants to try to get all the crazy out of his body before he does. Some of the stuff Jeff does in this is nuts even by Jeff Hardy standards. All the old standards are there, tables, ladder, chairs, but many of them are used in new and unexpected ways. They also make some new friends, such as an electronic piano which surprisingly was probably the most brutal spot of all as Matt powerbomb Jeff directly into it on the outside. I remember having no idea what this would look like going in, but I was not only pleasantly surprised but in fact blown away by the brutality of it. Thatís not even to mention some very strong characterization from both Hardys, especially Matt. In the end Jeff took to the air and, in a spot visually reminiscent of the one that originally ďbrokeĒ Matt, dove down and smashed him flat on the outside to get the victory.

    The Winner: Jeff Hardy in 16:57

    The Verdict: I love it when a match surprises me, but this was much more than that. The creativity, the fact that the Hardys looked revitalized, even the storytelling woven in between the spots, everything seemed to be so on point in this moment. I love Mattís sense of frustration as he just canít quite seem to make his brother stay down, even though he knows in his own mind that he is the better of the two. It also speaks volumes that I am truly no fan of Jeff Hardy most of the time, but he was actually the more impressive one in this particular match. The stuff he did to his body is really over the top, but in service of the match and the story is worked perfectly. This is a hell of a good bout that I never would have expected a year ago to be writing about here.

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    By way of contrast, this is my 21st least favorite match of 2016:

    NRG (Race Jaxon & Hype Rockwell) vs. Los Ice Creams (Ice Cream Jr & El Hijo del Ice Cream) Ė CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas
    Franklin Horner Community Center, Toronto, Canada
    CHIKARA Back in the Habit, July 23rd

    The Verdict: For way too much of this year, the CHIKARA tag titles (AKA Campeonatos de Parejas) were in the hands of a team called NRG. This is a big problem for me, because I donít like NRG. Hype Rockwell is ok, a stocky powerhouse type who may have some potential, but Race Jaxon has got to be one of my least favorite guys working today. I donít really like to talk bad about wrestlers so I wonít dwell on it, suffice to say I just donít find anything about him enjoyable.

    Los Ice Creams are a long running comedy-ish tag team for CHIKARA. They experienced some character development last year and were part of the team which won the year long tournament which granted them a ďgolden opportunityĒ, specifically the chance to challenge for any title they wanted to. A sort of MITB for any title, when you get down to it.

    Anyway, after comedically teasing a cash in several times and losing their nerve, finally Los Ice Creams took advantage of their opportunity after NRG lost a non-title match to a different team. Five seconds later and, guess what, Los Ice Creams win! Sort of. CHIKARA has always ruled that tag title matches must be 2 out of 3 falls, but since this was the first ever ďcash inĒ for the CDP belts, the ref allowed the match to end after only one fall. This decision was later reversed and the titles were held up, soÖ? I guess what Iím saying is Iím glad the title finally got taken off NRG, but this gotten be one of the weirdest and most awkward ways to do it. It was kind of exciting in the moment, cash ins usually are, but looking back thereís not much more to recommend besides the surprise factor. A rare booking miss for CHIKARA.

    The Winners and New Campeones de Parejas: Los Ice Creams in 0:05

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Best Big Man:
    Bobby Lashley


    Recommended:
    vs. Eddie Edwards, Steel Cage, TNA & X Division Championships 7/21/16 TNA Impact
    vs. DJ Zema, Ladder, X Division Championship 7/28/16 TNA Impact
    vs. Moose 10/20/16 TNA Impact


    Aaaall the titles

    I wasnít originally sure if I should include this award, but having Vader in my thoughts recently convinced me I gotta show love to the big guys, and of the burly and large I think nobody has looked better in 2016 than Bobby Lashley. A couple years ago, Lashley returned to TNA with a shockingly raised game. What had once been a musclebound lunk of questionable value had transformed seemingly out of nowhere into the kind of complete package in ring wrestler any company would be thrilled to have. And in 2016, he went one step further and actually started showing off some surprisingly effective mic skills and personality. Instead of a wide eyed glare, Lashely blossomed into a sneering heel with a mocking, dismissive demeanor, relying on his superior athletic ability and multi-sport credentials to carry his sense of self-worth sky high. As soon as he turned heel in the early months of the year, things seemed to click with him like never before, and heís had great matches with most of the roster since that day. If you havenít looked at Lashley recently, look again.

    Honorable Mention To: Brian Cage, Bill Carr, Blaster McMassive

    Question: Who is YOUR favorite big man 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!

  3. #43
    Queen of Extreme Irishsara's Avatar
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    Match of the Year? Mainstream match of the year either AJ Vs Cena at Summerslam #BeatUpJohnCena or Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens from Battleground Because Fight Forever is really a thing.

    Tag Match of the year was probably DIY vs The Revival from Brooklyn (probably the match i enjoyed the most honestly)

    Japanese match of the year AJ Styles vs Nakamura Wrestle Kingdom 10

    Great Japanese match you didnt see Jun Akiyama vs. Kento Miyahara for The Triple Crown https://rutube.ru/video/e361a3b748f7...fed9cfbfae7c8/


    My favorite big man is probably Luke Gallows (as a person) but the last few weeks ive become kind of obsessed with Masa Kitamiya

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SoFt8PF9s0
    Last edited by Irishsara; 01-10-2017 at 02:16 PM.

  4. #44
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    Yeah I watched the whole three days of the King of Trios. I enjoyed it as usual but I was really annoyed with the final. When I saw the two Joshi teams I thought, oh I would love to see those two teams face off in the second round or something. As it came towards the end though it got really telegraphed for me that was where we were heading and the match didn't have the oomph! I think it would have got in say the second round. Just a minor gripe on a good show though.

    I feel you can have a wrestling feud without an actual match. Most Authority figure feuds are as such since the authority figure isn't supposed to wrestle. Another feud I can think off that was a great one but with no actual match per se you should be very familiar with, Heenan vs Hogan.

    I'm not a very good spin man in trying to sell any particular wrestler so I won't try to sway you with my words. What I will do however is point you to EVOLVE when Galloway was champion fresh off his WWE run. If anything will change your mind some of the matches he had there should do it.

    Favourite Striker: Hmm, never thought about it really, Ibushi's kicks were phenomenal as always and Tajiri was on fire for his advancing age too. Nakamura should get a nod too but I have no real answer here.

    I watched the FMM Hardy match myself but honestly I can't really remember much about it. I guess it comes down to it being a match I have seen before even though I always enjoy them on watching.

    Big Man: Does Nese count because he is a big man compared to the other cruiserweights, lol. Anyway would have to go with Kevin Owens but Roman Reigns gets a nod for his consistency.

  5. #45
    There's seriously so much about that Hardy's match that is important, which you expounded on perfectly. It was the beginning of the reinvention of both Matt and Jeff Hardy, two guys that I honestly was starting to not care if I ever saw again. Quite frankly, I never wanted to see Matt Hardy again, but with his new transformation, it became so ridiculous it was almost can't miss. Now Jeff hasn't been AS good, especially with that stupid Itchweed character, but overall the FMM match set us down the road to DELETION. Great choice!

    Hey, I'm going to comment on CHIKARA! I remember we talked before about your dislike for NRG and them basically being a blatant rip-off of Owen and Koko, but I didn't even realize they were still around, let alone holding the Tag-Team title. The fact that Ice Cream Cones are characters is amazing, almost as fun as my new favorite character I've seen recently- Space Monkey! I dig that even though you're a huge CHIKARA fan you're very up front that they DO miss sometimes, which I'll do with Lucha Underground as well. You have to watch it all objectively, and even though we criticize, doesn't mean we don't still love it.

    Favorite Big Man of last year for me has to be the under-appreciated Rusev. I love that dude. He's so much better than he's been given the opportunity to be. Close second would be the Man of 1000 Deaths, Mil Muertes, who has the stiffest right hand in the business IMO. Look out in the next couple of years though for Big Cass; big upside to him.

  6. #46
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    The Hardyz match was my favorite match that I can remember them having against each other. They went all out and on this night it worked. It really did seem like they were giving it all they had just in case this was the last time that they had a chance to fight each other or, as you said, it may have been the beginning of Jeff's retirement. Overall, this match proved to me that neither of them needs to retire as I am sure they still have some years left in them if they can keep up this level of excitement and character development.

    As for best big man I'm going to go with Mil Muertes here. I'm not even sure that he realizes how big he is. He is able to fly around and keep up with much smaller wrestlers in Lucha Underground. I love watching him and his character is so interesting. In the same match he can show off strength, speed, stamina and character development. In comparison to other big men who just throw people around I think he stands out. Honorable mentions to Lashley, Harper and The Mack.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Are Lashley and Eddie still fighting somewhere on the Hardy compound? I had visions of them filming a Hardy Christmas special only for Eddie Edwards to Boston Knee Lashley onto the turkey.

    It's astonishing how not just Matt but Jeff have revitalised themselves this year. I'm back to feeling like that 11/12 year old kid that watched them at the turn of the century and loved everything they did. It's WONDEFUL.

    Spin - Rusev is my other favourite. I heart him.

  8. #48
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    Damn dude, 792 matches is a shitload of matches that you watched. From your work I know you are more inclined to watch the independent matches; so I was just wondering how many WWE matches do you think you watched in 2016?

    So I've just gotten up to date with this and I don't wanna comment on everything from the beginning so I'll just give a few thoughts of what I've read so far:

    - I'm with you on the "Grand" Championship. That title doesn't make a lick of sense. I agree that they are trying make it look like a MMA match by trying to make it look more legitimate but this just isn't working. I don't think anybody would be to bothered if they just let it serve as another belt defended under conventional rules.

    - I totally agree with your tag team of the year and I don't think many would argue with you.

    - I definitely want to check out Rey again with his work that he is doing in LU. Many people forget how good his matches were as he had an entertaining match with almost anyone. Overall, I think I just want to see what I can do to get hold of Lucha Underground.

    - I've seen Grado a few time on TNA and besides being a comedy act I don't see any redeeming value in the guy so it does come across as a shock that he drew big against Drew.

    - I was missing Paige the most in 2016. She is an underrated and underused talent in WWE and one that would have made the womens division on RAW seem less stale. I know she was injured but that was not the only factor as to why she barely made TV in 2016.

    - My favourite feud of the year probably has to be Cena vs Styles. Cena put AJ over big time here and nobody can dispute that. HM go to Miz/Ziggler and Zayn/Owens.

    - My favorite seller of the year Sami Zayn. I think he gets a bit overlooked in that department.

    - I'm going with DJ Zema . Everytime I see the guy in TNA I'm instantly glued to the screen because of his high-flying ability. He has definitely been one of the standout of the X-Division in 2016.

    - My favourite striker of the guys I have seen in 2016 goes to Nakamura. His offense is practically based around his strikes and in most cases he makes it look good.

    - Matt vs Jeff in Full Metal Mayem was the first match I actually watched from your countdown. I don't think Jeff's body will allow him to go much longer as, like you said, there were some spots in this match that were just nuts. Shit, I'm surprised Jeff can still walk with all the crazy shit he has done over the years.

    - I would go with Roman as best big man. He showed even more improvement this year and he is coming along quite nicely, despite his detractors.

    I read everything since the beginning and it took me two hours and I never waivered. That goes to show that I really enjoyed this thus far. I know nothing about the independent scene so I always love reading about them, especially the backstories to these matches. I don't expect you to comment on everything as it is a lot, but I will be keeping up to date with these from here on out. Great, great work here!

  9. #49
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    Isn't Full Metal Mayhem just TLC but can't be called TLC due to WWE copyright or something like that (I swear I remember reading that somewhere).

    Lashley in that picture reminds me of a picture of Triple H I saw with every title photoshopped onto him.

    Best big man: I don't know, Roman was pretty good this year in a wrestling standpoint but his promos sucked dick and his forced push took a lot of the fun out of him. Rusev was quite good despite being used poorly much of the year (LON meat shield, US Champ with no good competition till Reigns) Big Cass has been pretty entertaining and there is a lot of potential in him so I'll say he is.

  10. #50
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    Wooo! Check out all the feedback today!

    Sara, nice to hear from you. Iím not as high on the AJ/Cena stuff as some are, but Owens/Sami is great stuff. Stay tuned for a bit more on that one. Surprised you have AJ/Nakamura over Naito/Omega, I thought that won just about everybodyís heart for 2016. I actually did see the Akiyama/Miyahara match and thought it was great, but for under the radar Japanese stuff I would go with Akira Tozawa vs. CIMA from Dragon Gate, or Seiya Sanada vs. Daisuke Sekimoto from Big Japan. Gallows is a nice shoutout, I feel like he hasnít stood out as much in WWE though. Kitamiya is someone I definitely gotta check out.

    Wayne, I hear you on KoT. I would have dug the Sendai Girls winning against a home grown team but piling both Joshi teams in the finals seemed like overkill. Like you say though, itís more of a minor thing as itís a great weekend overall. Iím afraid I have to disagree with you still about wrestling feuds without matches, Hogan and Heenan actually met in the ring many times in handicap or tag team matches, and more importantly Heenan had many capable surrogates for the big matches. If Bryan can find someone to fight on his behalf then weíre talking, but I think theyíve only touched on that very lightly with the Miz. I think something is coming though, so we shall see. Galloway in EVOLVE, eh? Iíll see if I can give him a look. Any mention of Tajiri is always good with me! Surprised you didnít remember the FMM match better, I thought it easily lapped any previous Hardy vs. Hardy encounter. Owens is a bit strange as a big man because heís not all that big at the end of the day, but I can dig him as being kinda-sorta in that vein. Nice feed man, keep it coming!

    Rob! Love seeing your comments in here. I think a lot of people finally came back to Matt in his most recent iteration, and itís well deserved on his part. Definitely agree Jeff has overall not been as good, but isnít that pretty much always the case? Ugh, NRG just wonít go away. They seem to be doing a slow burn split right now, and I can only hope it will free up Hype Rockwell to do some good stuff and I wonít have to watch Race Jaxon anymore. Dude I LOOOVE Space Monkey! I think CHIKARA is trying to book him more in 2017 so I hope to have a lot more to say about him in next yearís countdown. Yeah man, I gotta be honest when CHIKARA misses, itís not too often just like Lucha Underground but it does happen. Nobodyís perfect! I also love your shoutout to Mil Muertes, that dude is such a phenomenal big match performer. Great stuff!

    Spinny, amen to the FMM Hardy match hitting new heights at that time. I actually kind of hope Jeff retires before too long, Iím worried the guy is going to really hurt himself, but in the meantime heís doing better work now than he has in years. Matt can keep up for years to come yet, especially with freedom of character. Like I said to Rob, a shout out ot Muertes is freaking awesome, and I love you mentioning Harper and the Mack as well. Great feed as ever man.

    Ollie, I dearly hope Lashley and Eddie are indeed still going at it. Even if they arenít, I choose to believe in some broken timeline they are locked in eternal combat. Itís especially touching to me that Matt has redeemed himself in the eyes of the fans, granted he had some legitimate issues but I never felt he deserved to be so despised. Heís really turned people around. I love how much you love Rusev, by the way. I gotta catch me some more of that guy.

    Don!!! Awesome to hear from you, and with some fantastic feedback too! Let me pick and choose some of these comments to respond toÖ

    I actually watched 90 WWE matches this year, so far less than some but a whole lot more than I did in 2015. I feel like they are slowly drawing me back in, I doubt I will ever go back to watching full time as I have discovered so much great stuff outside the WWE bubble, but there is definitely some world class stuff there.

    Lucha Underground is actually the #1 wrestling product I would recommend to people right now. Itís not hard to catch up on and itís cutting edge both in the ring and in storytelling. Hit me up if you need help finding it online, I know a few good places to hunt it down.

    Yeah man, the stats on that Grado/Galloway thing were nuts. I think it was the biggest drawing non WWE wrestling event in the UK in something like 25 years or something. God knows why!

    Iím SO glad you watched the match! Thatís half the reason I do this series, just hoping people will check some stuff out. I am also amazed at Jeffís relatively good health sometimes. Unfortunately itís easy to see why he has had issues with painkiller addition, he seems to be clean these days and I dearly hope he stays that way. Hope to hear lots more from you Don, this is awesome stuff!

    Zakington, FMM is similar to TLC and yeah thereís probably a copyright issue involved here, WWE would copyright the word ďwrestlingĒ if they could get away with it, haha. I definitely see the resemblance to that Triple H picture, but go figure, Lashley won those belts without marrying Dixie Carter! I agree Cass has potential but I donít think heís there yetÖ weíll see in 2017!


    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 23rd favorite one.

    KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay Ė IWGP Jr Championship
    Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
    NJPW Invasion Attack, April 10th



    Well now heís just making fun of humans in general.

    The Setup: Itís New Japan, soÖ KUSHIDAís the champ, Ospreayís the hot new act. Title match go!

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

    Iíve already spoken on the human cheat code that is Will Ospreay, but individually this might actually be his best performance of the year. KUSHIDA, who is a brilliant competitor in his own right, did a masterful job of working over Ospreayís arm to the point where it was barely functional. For a guy who doesnít always take time to see, Ospreay showed that when he wants to he can do it as well as just about anyone in the world. This match had amazing mat work, superb striking, and wonderful high flying, but the thing that really put it over the top is the way Ospreay modified his offense to account for his severely damaged arm. Every handspring or slingshot was affected and it seemed KUSHIDAís strategy was going to work perfectly, until Ospreay started pulling out stuff like the gif above, doing the same crazy offense heís known for but without using his hands, which is the best way for a professional wrestler to spit in the face of Sir Isaac Newton. When youíre doing a no-hands handspring, youíre no longer wrestling, youíre laughing at god.

    The ending was a seamless conclusion of the story these two guys were telling. When Ospreay got frustrated that his innovative offense was not quite enough to put KUSHIDA away, he tried for one of his old favorites, the springboard cutter. Unfortunately this requires the use of your arms, and even Ospreay couldnít get around that one, so when he came flying in reaching for KUSHIDAís head, it put his arm directly into KUSHIDAís trap. He immediately clamped onto it and twisted it into his Kimura Lock variation, dubbed the Hoverboard Lock. Damaged and grounded, Ospreay was finally forced to tap out.

    The Winner: KUSHIDA in 15:07

    The Verdict: This match ticked a lot of boxed for me. Strong in terms of action, yet, the flying, the striking, the mat work were all excellent, and I want to make it clear that in many ways KUSHIDA drove the meat of this match. He is one of my favorite guys working in New Japan in fact, and thatís a pretty deep roster currently. But truly, this was set apart by the wonderfully creative performance of Ospreay, who not only took everything KUSHIDA gave him but worked with it to create something even more special. This is another one which I feel if anything I may have underrated, just a fantastic match.

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ

    By way of contrast, this is my 20th least favorite match of 2016:

    Eli Drake vs. Aron Rex Ė Grand Championship Rules
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Impact, September 22nd

    The Verdict: It took TNA a little while to figure out what to do with Aron Rex, the former Damien Sandow. I can understand, the man behind the gimmick wanted to break out from, well, behind the gimmick, so he came into the company guns blazing about how seriously he would be taken. However, hereís the thingÖ under any name, Aaron Stevens has always been most successful as a gimmick worker. Whether itís the pompous intellectual, the bizarrely committed Hollywood stuntman, even as a Randy Savage impersonator, you give the guy a gimmick and heíll go to town with it. Strip the gimmick away, and something just doesnít click. Heís still capable, but heís definitely an entertainer first, and thereís nothing wrong with that. After a while TNA started to get the idea, but early in his run Aron Rex was a rather painful vanilla babyface. Eli Drake, to his credit, has shown himself to be an immensely charismatic guy over the course of 2016, but in the ring he still needs the right opponent to really get things going. Add in the stupid, awkward Grand Championship rules, and basically youíve got a mess. This was two guys with something to offer working against their strengths, and it showed badly.

    The Winner: Aron Rex in 6:35

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Best Promos:
    Eli Drake



    When you get ďDummy, Yeah!Ē over as a catchphrase, youíre doing something right.

    I was tempted to give this to the Miz, but I realized I pretty much only heard that one promo he cut on Daniel Bryan and didnít feel right giving the whole year to him based on one promo. I know heís been out there killing it though, so good on him.

    When the year started, I didnít really care about Eli Drake. A muscled up dude who said his name in a weird rhythmic way. Eeeee-Liiii Drake. Boy, what a difference a year makes. A man who once seemed like nothing more than a poor manís Rock imitator has upped his game tremendously this year, to the point where he is one of the most consistently over people in the Impact Zone. Not only does he deliver his wide litany of catchphrases and go-to statements with great charisma, but heís also excellent with any looser give-and-take conversation that comes his way. Whether heís in the middle of a heated feud or simply dropping in on something unrelated, he is always on and itís damn impressive. This man has completely rehabbed his image by mic work alone and now stands as one of the most promising members of the roster. For that alone, for the phenomenal progress heís made, I would praise him, but heís risen to such a high level that Iím giving him the whole kit-and-caboodle. Heís just ahead of the pack right now, and that is not an insult, that is just a fact of life.

    Honorable Mention To: The Miz, EC3

    Question: Whoís been cutting YOUR favorite promos in 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!

  11. #51
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    I watched the Aron Rex Eli Drake match and it was as bad as you said, the rules of the Grand Championship match not helping in the slightest. However, last night I watched an episode of impact (the first one of the new year) and Moose and Bennett were in a match for the Grand Championship and against my better judgement, I must admit, I actually fully enjoyed that match. I get how you win the round (the person with the most moves or whose most in control wins) and it wasn't all that bad. The judges thing is still stupid as hell and it is a flawed concept, but I really enjoyed the match. Maybe I was just pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Moose in that match, I duno.

    As for Eli Drake, that dude can go on the mic. On that same episode he had a segment with his "dummy,yeah" buzzer and he was going toe to toe with Broken Matt. Very entertaining segment so I get why you would choose him as your favourite talker of 2016, even though I disagree.

    Even though Ambrose has not been as good as usual this year, he is still my favourite talker of 2016. He can do passion, goofy, serious, mocking all very well.

    Another solid entry!

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    I want directions to the lab where Ospreay was created. That man spends his entire in ring career defying the laws of physics and pushing the limits of what a human body should be able to accomplish. He is a joy to watch and I hope that he does not end up injuring himself as it would be a shame if his career was cut short.

    For best promo I have to go with The Miz. That man is on the top of his game in 2016. I have never been this impressed with the Miz and I hope that this does not prove to be a flash in the pan. My hope is that this leads to a main event run that people will actually get behind. Honorable mentions to Cena, EC3 and I gotta give some credit to Dario on LU.

    EDIT: If you have time to find some links to great free CHIKARA matches I would love if you could send me the links. Something to give me an idea of how good they really are.
    Last edited by Spinmaster; 01-11-2017 at 09:15 AM.

  13. #53
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    Holy shit that gif is amazing, Ospreay is impressive, he needs to get somewhere I can see him better and with more frequency.

    Really hope that Sandow/Rex can find something good in TNA, he was so good in WWE I want him to succeed in TNA

    Best talker: Miz has been pretty great this year, I would argue that some of his mid year stuff is underrated. Ambrose was great all year. Jericho has been on fire most of the year, I would say he is the talker of the year.

  14. #54
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    Don, nice to hear from you again. There are rare cases when GC style matches arenít so bad, I think it helps when you have two really high level talents like Moose and Bennett in there. Still though, these guys had excellent matches together last year and GC definitely didnít do anything to improve on their previous work. Ambrose is a solid shout out for talker, personally I feel like he is great mostly but sometimes puts out duds, most likely when he is given lousy material. Glad you dug Eli!

    Spinny, Iím right there with you on Ospreay, both in terms of enjoying him and just hoping he doesnít end up hurting himself. Honestly he could probably stand to turn it down a notch, or at least save it for the biggest matches. Any love for the Miz is good in my book! I think if I had watched him a bit more he would have walked away with it easily. Iím not sure what Dario does counts as a promo exactly, but I definitely love that man! Stay tuned, I will dig up some CHIKARA matches for you and send you some links within the next week or two.

    Zakington, I know right?? Absolutely amazing stuff! I have good knews on Rex, a heel turn has already done him a world of good so I think heíll be just fine. Jericho is a very interesting shout out. Iím not a fan of his wrestling these days but he continues to be a really great character, so heís probably more in contention than I originally thought. Very good stuff, thanks for the feed!


    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 22nd favorite one.

    Brian Cage vs. The Mack Ė Falls Count Anywhere
    The Temple, Boyle Heights, California
    Lucha Underground, July 6th



    What the hell is he going to do from up thAAAAARGH!!!

    The Setup: One thing I love about Lucha Underground is sometimes they have incredibly layered stories with character development and lengthy arcs and all that good stuff, and sometimes random cool shit just happens out of nowhere. This is the former. Technically this is the first match in a tournament, but trust me when I say that has nothing to do with anything. The first Ultima Lucha, AKA season finale, was kicked off by this match, and the great Dario Cueto, owner and promoter of LU, declared it would go down again just the same way as a Last Man Standing match, and thus awesomeness was born once more.

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


    If youíve never seen these guys before, do yourself a favor and check this match out. Cage is an enormous hulk of muscles, and the Mack is a tub of fat, but Iím pretty sure an evil scientist must have designed them that way for camouflage, because the way they move around the ring is frankly in direct violation of the laws of nature. Both guys are capable of incredible athletic feats, and as an added bonus they have phenomenal chemistry with each other. This match has lionsaults, picture frames, beers and stunners, stop signs, blood, chains, guitars, flips, tables, exploding chairs, pinatas, and goddam candy. This match IS like candy, goddam it. At one point they fight right into Darioís office, which is almost never seen outside of vignettes, and itís just perfect.

    In the end Mack hits that absolutely ridiculous splash out of the stands through a table, but because Cage is an unkillable monster machine it only gets two. Cage retrieves a cinderblock to try to regain the advantage, which is a major callback to their first match, but in a particularly clever moment Cage slips on the beer spilled by the Mack earlier and Mack is able to twist him up into a pinfall at ringside. Mack couldnít overpower the Machine but was smart enough to take advantage of his surroundings and get the win. Itís simple storytelling but very effective, a perfect capper to a brilliantly fun match.

    The Winner: The Mack in 11:15

    The Verdict: These two appeared in this series last year, and Iím more than happy to put them here again. I wasnít kidding when I said this match is like candy. Itís crazy and over the top and creative, and simply FUN on a level that most matches canít match, but at the same time itís actually just a little bit smart and both guys put in just as much work to their own character as they do to popping the crowd. Itís the best of both worlds, and stands above the pack in an awesome way.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 19th least favorite match of 2016:

    Triple H vs. Roman Reigns Ė WWE Championship
    AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
    WWE Wrestlemania 32, April 3rd

    The Verdict: There are a couple of high profile WWE matches on this list, and a few of them will be controversial and deeply rooted in my own taste. Iím not sure if this is one of them or not. I will say if you liked the match, more power to you. Wrestlingís a matter of taste, at the end of the day.

    For those of you who disliked the match, Iím pretty sure itís not hard to understand why it might end up on a list like this. I think both Triple H and Roman Reigns are over-hated or unfairly condemned at times, but this seemed like a misfire for pretty much all involved. An over-long bout that the crowd did not seem to be invested in, except perhaps to boo Roman Reigns, and for all its gargantuan length itís fairly thin on content. Perhaps a fast paced slugfest between 15 and 20 minutes would have won people over, but they never seemed to be in danger of that. The whole presentation of it seemd off to me, a kind of bizarre rejection of how the fans were reacting organically. For any major match I think this would have been somewhat disappointing, but as a ĎMania main event? Itís a real bomb in my book.

    I will give one moment of credit, I couldnít help but pop when Reigns speared Stephanie. Sheís generally a character who is far too unlikable with far too little comeuppance for my taste, but she took the move like a champ and itís one of the few things the crowd popped for.

    The Winner and New WWE Champion: Roman Reigns in 27:10

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Most Charismatic:
    Tetsuya Naito


    Recommended:
    vs. Michael Elgin 7/24/16 NJPW G1 Climax Day 4
    vs. Katsuyori Shibata 7/30/16 NJPW G1 Climax Day 8
    vs. Kenny Omega 8/13/16 NJPW G1 Climax Day 18


    Who needs a title when you have CHARISMA?

    Naito is another guy I have never really cared for in the past, so for him to receive a major award on this countdown is really a testament to how much he has blown off this year. Having spent much of his career as a capable babyface who just never seemed to be able to make it to the very top level, he finally broke bad, and after finding his feet he seemed to be completely reinvented. Now heading the Japanese version of a heel group originating in Mexico, ďLos IngobernablesĒ, his almost nihilistic approach to his matches has completely changed the way fans view him. This is man who, upon winning the world title, threw it away, seemingly without any interest. Even across a language barrier, the man now screams big time. Itís honestly difficult to put his weird magnetism into words, but if you check this man out I believe it will quickly become apparent. I see big things coming for Naito, who has finally clicked into his full potential.

    Honorable Mention To: Pentagon Jr, EC3

    Question: Who did YOU find to be most charismatic in 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. #55
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    Just wanted to drop by mate and say how much I love this series. Last year, this was THE series that got me into the column forum on a daily basis and even made me attempt at a column myself last January. Thank you for your continuous commitment to this series year on year and providing me with hours of entertainment.

  16. #56
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    When I was giving my opinion on best big man I completely overlooked Cage and that is a shame. He is an underrated worker and much more athletic than other men with his size and strength. I think that with a bit more training Cage could easily be the "face that runs the place" in LU. As for the Mack my love for that man is endless. Any person who looks like him should not be able to fly around like he's a competitor in the X-division. I expect big things for him and would be shocked if he didn't hold a title sometime in the coming year.

    Reigns and Triple H was not a good main event and it was made worse by being at the end of an overly long card. I don't mind really long wrestling shows but the last 2+ matches need to be so good that they make you forget how long you have been watching. This was not a match like that. I almost fell asleep during the actual match which is not what you should want from a match. Roman is not as bad in the ring as some people claim and Triple H can still go with the best of them when he wants to but on this night nothing seemed to add up and it created a boring and uneventful match.

    For most charismatic I have to agree with you on Naito. As a babyface he was still great in the ring but his character was bland and uninspired causing me to completely ignore him at some points. Once he turned heel and morphed into this new character I was instantly hooked and he hasn't lost a step since. Honorable mentions go to Enzo, The Miz and Pentagon Jr.

    Thank you for the upcoming CHIKARA matches. I look forward to getting to watch some of their best and see how I enjoy it (which I expect to be quite well).
    Last edited by Spinmaster; 01-12-2017 at 10:03 AM.

  17. #57
    Cage and The Mack together are like salt and vinegar potato chips. At first reaction, you wince a little because it shouldn't make sense, but at the end of the day they're just so damn good! I've loved their encounters to the point I could probably watch them do this a third time and enjoy it just as much, especially now that Cage has God-Power and The Mack is on a monster roll. Perhaps The Mack beats Mundo when LU returns and God-Cage challenges him for the belt? That's all kind of creamy goodness right there.

    I hated Reigns/HHH and I 100% agree with everything you said on that match. Just a snoozefest.

    Most charismatic is an interesting one to choose from, because there are so many out there. I'm going with an odd choice, because it's a weird can't take your eyes off him charisma, and that's Broken Matt Hardy.

  18. #58
    Queen of Extreme Irishsara's Avatar
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    The best talked is Paul Heyman : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx64b7o6WWc

    The most Charismatic wrestler? That is a good one, well I guess I'll say it, It is The Young Bucks. Love them, hate them, bury them in public, in private you just know they have that undeniable charisma. It is a weird mix of that Midnight Express/RnR Express feeling. I disagree with a lot of their choices but I have officially bought in this year. Young Bucks are charismatic in every facet of wrestling.


    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    Wooo! Check out all the feedback today!

    Sara, nice to hear from you. I’m not as high on the AJ/Cena stuff as some are, but Owens/Sami is great stuff. Stay tuned for a bit more on that one. Surprised you have AJ/Nakamura over Naito/Omega, I thought that won just about everybody’s heart for 2016. I actually did see the Akiyama/Miyahara match and thought it was great, but for under the radar Japanese stuff I would go with Akira Tozawa vs. CIMA from Dragon Gate, or Seiya Sanada vs. Daisuke Sekimoto from Big Japan. Gallows is a nice shoutout, I feel like he hasn’t stood out as much in WWE though. Kitamiya is someone I definitely gotta check out.
    After Big Dave gave six stars, i went back and I watched a lot of his top rated matches to try and see what made that match warrant it. I think because I knew who was going to win, i underrated it. That week before Wrestle Kingdom last year was SUCH a shit show that the circus took away from the match I think. The fact that both of them are now in the WWE is shocking (can show you what difference a year can make in both their careers). But watching that match again, i was riveted. It was truly amazing.

    Masa kitamiya's mentor is the legendary Japanese wrestler Masa Saito. (his real first name isnt Masa, he took it in honor of Mr. Saito this year). Masa Kitamiya has basicly started cosplaying Saito. He is adapting his moves and his mannerisms. He is even starting to look like him. It is a lot like when Togi Makabe started doing all the Crazy Brody stuff and got over. I love it. I seriously cannot get enough of it. It's like how Dolph Ziggler is doing HBK or Flair stole Buddy Rodgers gimmick. Its something you gotta see to really get a feel for but I am absolutely obsessed with it. So he isnt really a big man (like Makabe isnt a big man) but he is wrestling that wide footed big man style. It is great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4Uz4D76usA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=codl1cY02wo

  19. #59
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    Man, LU sounds awesome. I read TripleR's reviews every week and it just sounds like fun.

    With regards to Roman/HHH I do agree that the match was overly long and that made the match seem tedious and average as fuck. This was not a suitable Wrestlemania match at all. If this was an explosive, fast paced match of roughly 15 minutes (like you said) I believe that it wouldn't be as hated as it is now. Add onto the extra undeserved hate Roman gets and you have a massive bomb right there.

    Answer: To me it felt like Shinsuke was the most charismatic. As soon as I saw the guy for the first time I was magnetized and I instantly became a fan.

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by D.O.N View Post
    Man, LU sounds awesome. I read TripleR's reviews every week and it just sounds like fun.
    Much thanks D.O.N. LU is on a break until Summer. Dario was pissed Mysterio tried to kill his brother.

  21. #61
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    Finally got a chance to catch up on all of this. This is amazing. I love the format, the favorite/least favorite lists, and the fact that this very non-WWE-centric to give a good look at other promotions.

    By the way- don't get me started on the DCC...

    I'm really going to have to find time to check out some Chikara.

    Loving this stuff, man. Keep it going!

    Public Access TV

  22. #62
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    Stu!!!! I’ve missed you, great to see you back! Appreciate that you’re following along, and if you ever want to try your hand at the writing thing again you’ll definitely have at least one loyal reader!

    Spinny, my man. Brian Cage is NOT a man to overlook! His booking looks to be pushing him higher than ever, and rightfully so. Regarding Reigns/HHH I think you’re spot on, both guys are capable of something good but this was a perfect storm of bad shit together. Yes indeed, stay tuned for those CHIKARA matches!!

    Rob, I kind of hope Cage and Mack open Ultima Lucha every year for as long as possible, they are just TOO good together, it’s unreal. If it ends up in the main event, so much the better, they’re already stealing the show! Isn’t it weird to talk about Matt as the charismatic one? Crazy that in 2016 it was Jeff riding the coattails of Matt, especially towards the end of the year. How times have changed, eh? Love the feed, great to hear from you!

    Sara, I love Heyman as a talker. My impression these days is he is too often asked to spin gold out of thin air, Lesnar’s feuds are unfortunately so insubstantial, but Heyman does a wonderful job with them. I can definitely see him taking that award for some people. I am personally up and down on the Bucks but I really can’t deny what they’ve got, and that’s charisma. It’s really nuts how they’ve blown up in the past few years. Sounds like I may need to check out AJ/Nakamura again, and I DEFINITELY want to see anybody who is doing a Saito homage gimmick. I freaking love that guy in AWA and WCW, obviously not to mention his large body of NJPW work.

    Don, like I said if you are going to pick up one promotion outside WWE, I recommend it be Lucha Underground. Nakamura is a very good shout out for most charismatic, I kind of feel like he phoned it in a bit this year but just in terms of raw charisma it’s still off the charts.

    Mr Thirteen, glad you got a chance to catch up! Drawing attention to some non-WWE-centric is the name of my game, at least at the moment. Not happy with how DCC is panning out, eh? I can’t say I blame you, I currently have mixed feelings but it definitely feels like it could have been a lot bigger than it is. YES, you should definitely check out CHIKARA! If you want me to send you some links like I’m going to do for Spinny, just let me know. Love to hear for you man!

    And now, back to the show!


    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 21st favorite one.

    El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Volador Jr – 2 Out Of 3 Falls, NWA Historic Welterweight Championship
    Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
    CMLL Super Viernes, October 7th



    The “Now I’ve Got You, Oh Shit” Moonsault

    The Setup: Cult Icon could probably tell you a lot more than me when it comes to CMLL, but I know enough to know what’s up in this match at least! This is a rematch from a bout earlier in the year, the finals of a tournament in fact, which Barbaro won by nefarious means when he essentially tricked the referee into awarding him the victory by disqualification, though not in an Eddie Guerrero-esque way (more on that later). So Volador’s been cheated, and he’s looking for some revenge! And his title got put on the line too (let me tell you, CMLL has title for DAYS), to raise the stakes even further. My instinct says these two had beef even before this all happened, but that’s as much as I know firsthand! And it’s more than enough, so let’s do it!

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


    So much stuff in this match worked, some because it built off their previous match, some because it was just awesome, a healthy mix of story and character mixed with crazy shit like Cavernario diving off the stage and flatly splashing Volador far below. As expected in lucha there’s a fair bit of flying, but that’s really only one part of the appeal of the style. The fluidity in execution, the quick paced momentum shifts, the clearly defined and well executed divide between hero and villain… I only watched this match very late in the year but I’m so glad I did. I am definitely going to be watching more “true” lucha in the coming year. In the end Volador is able to defeat his nemesis and avenge his tournament loss to send the fans home happy.

    The Winner: Volador Jr in 22:46

    The Verdict: “True” lucha often gets ignored in the swath of WWE, independent, and Japanese recommendations, but I’m so glad I took the time to check this match out. Lucha style can be difficult to get into for some but I truly love it. This gets my recommendation all the way. Just incredible action and super strong face/heel work to boot.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 18th least favorite match of 2016:

    Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
    Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom
    TNA Impact, March 1st

    The Verdict: Well, here we are. Welcome to the first stop on the Kurt Angle “Worst Match In The World” tour! Let me just say, I’m a fan of Kurt Angle historically. The man was an athletic marvel in his day and has had many, many classic matches.

    But holy god, if there was ever a wrestler that needed to retire.

    Here’s what you will see in a 2016 Kurt Angle match: so many German suplexes that even Brock Lesnar would be embarrassed, and a man turning a terrifying shade of purple as he pushes a body that is clearly no longer cooperating. To see him still going when by all evidence he should have hung up the boots for good in early 2014 at the absolute latest is not exciting or miraculous, but sad and more than a little scary. But, come hell or high water, Angle didn’t want to leave TNA without one (more) last run, and did a tour of retirement matches, and they are some of the worst matches I have had the misfortune of watching. The fact that Bobby Roode, who I am typically very high on, could get almost nothing out of him at this point, speaks volumes. What’s worse, Angle hardly put anyone over on his way out, and those he did put over didn’t exactly look great struggling to overcome a man who looked like he was in the middle of asphyxiating and having a heart attack at the same time.

    I hate to be grim but I watched these matches with a real fear that I would open up LOP to terrible news about this man. Somehow he continues to dodge the bullet and has reduced his wrestling to a very small handful of matches after finally departing TNA, but believe me when I say this is not the last retirement tour match we will see on this list.

    The Winner: Kurt Angle in 8:40

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Woman of the Year:
    Heidi Lovelace & Princess Kimberlee (Co-Winners)


    Recommended:
    Heidi Lovelace vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado 1/30/16 CHIKARA Five Senses
    Heidi Lovelace vs. Lucas Calhoun 5/29/16 CHIKARA Aniversario: The Two Towers
    Heidi Lovelace, Ophidian, & Oleg the Usurper vs. The Batiri (Obariyon, Kodama, & Kobald) 9/17/16 CHIKARA The Black Goodbye

    Princess Kimberlee & Eddie Kingston vs. Icarus & Hallowicked 5/27/16 CHIKARA Aniversario: Catching Fire
    Princess Kimberlee vs. Hallowicked, CHIKARA Grand Championship 5/30/16 CHIKARA Aniversario: The Lost World
    Princess Kimberlee vs. Max Smashmaster 11/5/16 CHIKARA Like Phantoms Forever


    Shoot for the moon, and you’ll land on your co-winner…

    Let me first just say I tip my hats to the ladies of WWE, who by all accounts have continued to push forward in a company that just a very short time ago had seemingly no respect for them whatsoever. Charlotte in particular has looked very impressive ever time I’ve seen her, though my viewing was too limited to end up putting her on the list.

    2016 featured no shortage of prominent female performers. In fact in every promotion I watch regularly, I was very impressed by what I saw. Nobody comes close, however, to the house-tearing down tendencies of Heidi Lovelace and Princess Kimberlee. Facing both men and women with equal aplomb, they never took a back step, never shied away from a challenge, and never once looked like they did not belong not only in the main event but right in the Grand Championship picture. Indeed, for the first half of the year Kimberlee dominated that title, defending it against all comers and never failing to impress against a wide variety of opponents. Meanwhile, Heidi was able to impress even without a title to hold, and had some truly all time classic performances. Both are easily within my top 10 performers of the year, regardless of gender, and that’s without even having had the chance to consider their work outside CHIKARA. In the end I couldn’t choose between them, both are so tremendously deserving of recognition, so for one time only we have co-winners of an award in this series. Reports say that both have been picked up by WWE which is too bad for CHIKARA, but I have no doubt their keen eye for talent will unearth the next batch of indominatable trailblazers, and in the meantime NXT is about to get one hell of a shot in the arm.

    Honorable Mention To: Gail Kim, Ivelisse, Taya, Jade

    Question: Who is YOUR #1 female performer of 2016?

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

  23. #63
    So I'll have to go back and watch that Lucha match but I wanted to comment on the last two parts.

    Angle scares the living hell out of me every time he gets in the ring now. The "turning purple" part of your write-up is truly the telling point in how bad he is at this point in his life. When you work yourself past the point of your ability that your body turns a completely different color, then you're truly in trouble. That's normally a sign that his blood pressure is elevated, and quite honestly at any given time the dude could stroke out. It's some scary shit. People keep talking about wanting to see him go out in the WWE with one last run. I just want him to stop.

    As for female performer, one of your honorable mentions is my pick, Wera Loca herself, the incomparable Taya. I knew nothing about her when she hit LU, but I was nothing but impressed every time she got in the ring. She quickly became my favorite female competitor in the promotion, and I've got some mad love for Ivelisse. It's a shame she injured herself a while back, or else she'd be continually tearing it up right now.

    I can't NOT mention Charlotte though. It's hard not to applaud just how damn good she is, especially considering she came into this business relatively late. She's literally been wrestling a short 3 years. Her ability in the ring and her control of her character speaks to many more years experience than what she has under her belt. It's crazy actually.

    Keep it rolling mizzie! I might not be here everyday with feed, but I'm reading along.

  24. #64
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    Rob, my one and only commenter for today! YES, scary is the perfect word for Angle. I am so 100% with you regarding this ďone last runĒ talk. NO more runs, it really feels like this is a guy who needs to stop before something really bad happen. Awesome shout out for Taya, she really did come in and impress basically right off the bat. THANK GOD that Melina proved to be (predictably) impossible to work with and they brought her in instead. Very glad to hear from you my man!

    Well, thatís all the comments for today, so letís get to it!


    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 20th favorite one.

    Fenix vs. Mil Muertes Ė Lucha Underground Championship
    The Temple, Boyle Heights, California
    Lucha Underground, March 16th



    Just a little mid-match brain surgery, no big deal.

    The Setup: After many bloody and draining battles in 2015, it seemed inevitable that the man of 1000 lives and the man of 1000 deaths would cross paths again in 2016. Mil Muertes had become Lucha Underground Champion, while Fenix had become Gift of the Gods Champion, a title which gave him a right to challenge for the title whenever he pleased (with at least 1 weekís notice, no cashing in!). Muertesí manager and temporary proprietor of the company Catrina tried everything she could to prevent the meeting, but in the end Fenix took the shot that was rightfully his. Fenix had often come out the victor in their previous encounters, but not without great risk and cost to himself, and the last time they met Fenix was carried out of the building and unable to return for months. What fate lay in store for these two this time?

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


    All the best matches between these two have a few things in common. The first thing is Fenix flies around like nobody told his muscles the things that normal humans are supposed to be able to do, and the second thing is Mil not have any time for that noise and crashing into him like a runaway freight train to punish him for doing so many flips. That might sound repetitive on paper, but in actuality it is one of the single greatest sights that a human being can witness in wrestling. I think my favorite bit in that regard was Fenix trying to tightrope walk along the railing before doing a jump onto Mil, and Mil just giving him an almighty shove directly into a crowd of fans. Phenomenal. The very best matches between these two include a bonus 17 buckets full of blood, and also featuring people ripping each otherís masks like a mask killed their parents and theyíve trained their whole life to get revenge. Iím not sure I can convey in just one paragraph how cool it is to watch, week to week, masks stay in place and look pretty and are respected, and then one day BOOM shit goes to far and the aggrieved party because an industrial grade mask shredder. More bonus points awarded because in the past itís always been Mil doing the mask ripping, but here Fenix finally gives it back to him as good as he gets. These two do a wonderful job of escalation, both within their individual matches and inside the larger arc of their entire feud. Itís weird when I think about it, but I definitely pop ten times harder for a good mask rip than I do for good old fashioned blood these days. I mean, thatís just skin splitting apart, right? But this match has plenty of both, so weíre covered on all bases.

    So not only does this match have good callbacks and extreme brutality, including a sickening powebomb onto a very non-breakable announce table, but it also features great storytelling. The dynamic between Mil and Fenix is so good that itís almost archetypal. Mil reigns down death on Fenix, and Fenix keeps springing back to life and doing insane shit. Itís completely perfect for the characters they play, and they execute it to perfection. Fenix sells like heís literally about to die from the biggest hits, yet he still comes back with great offense, AND he does it in such a way that he rarely drops his selling. Thatís a very valuable gift and Fenix always brings it to bear best against Mil. They really get over the basic story, that Fenix is trying to redeem his last loss to Mil and finally reach the top of the mountain, and Mil is ready to do just about any goddam thing to stop him.

    In the end Fenix, minus about half of his blood, goes up top to try to finally finish off this monster, but one last time Mil cuts him off and punches him right in the fuck. Mil is ready to hit the Flatliner and end it for good, but Fenix has one life left in the tank! With the last of his energy he spins Muertes into a tight pinning combination, and lo and behold, not by a million flips but by one last drop of perseverance, Fenix finally gets the win and is the NEW champion!

    The Winner and New LU Champion: Fenix in 13:41

    The Verdict: These two had a highly acclaimed Grave Consequences match last year that very narrowly missed my list, and while that match still gets more attention I think they did something even better here. This is their tightest, most focused battle ever, with the best storytelling and the best selling, and arguably the best violence and fantastic visuals as well. It was art in real time and the crowd ate it up like you wouldnít believe. A feel good, climb to the top of the mountain story done right. Just next level excellence right here.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 17th least favorite match of 2016:

    Aron Rex vs. Moose Ė TNA Grand Championship
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Impact, December 8th

    The Verdict: This stupid title. This was basically Rex getting Honky Tonk Man-ed by Moose, playing the role of the Ultimate Warrior, and as far as that goes it wasnít too bad in concept. Rex, who had mercifully turned heel by this time and was doing so, so, so much better for it, shot his mouth out and laid out an open challenge, and who should answer it but one of TNAís best pick ups of 2016, Moose. Rex was pretty funny reacting to this, but when you get down to the match itself itís another title change happening in a very short match, which is a well I think should be very rarely gone to. Rex had only just turned heel and hadnít had much time to build up his character so the reaction was not nearly as strong as it could have been, plus now you have Moose, one of the most promising new guys on the roster, bogged down by this stupid title with itís stupid rules which feel like they go completely against his wrestling style. I mean I guess they could run an angle where he beats everyone he fights in the first ďroundĒ, but the roster isnít deep enough to do that very long and then what do you do after? Eventually you have to wrestle real matches with these dumb rules and then weíre right back where we started. This was fine in concept but had way, way too many drawbacks for my taste.

    The Winner and New TNA Grand Champion: Moose in 1:45

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Best Non-Wrestler:
    Dario Cueto



    Nice award, now get out of his office.

    Lucha Underground has discovered or raised the profile of many fantastic talents in the world of wrestling, but perhaps none more surprising (or more effective) than the onscreen owner and operator of Lucha Underground. An actor without any real previous association with wrestling, he not only took to it like a duck to water but in my mind redefined what an onscreen character can be in wrestling. Why for so long have we watched the real life owners and executives of wrestling promotions feed their own egos by appearing on the program ad nauseum? If youíre lucky they are natural performers, but still without something to keep them in check they most often run wild and indulge themselves to the point where the fans are sick of them. But if you hire an actual professional performer, and a damn good one at that, not only do they not have the option to over-indulge but they are also trained to give performances that remain compelling show after show, season after season. Dario Cueto has been a revelation to wrestling, both in concept and in execution. I cannot praise the week-to-week work of Luis Fernandez-Gil enough. He is constantly playing to, playing with, or subverting the tropes of the ďheel authority figureĒ, and keeps things remarkably fresh as he interacts with dozens of story threads over the course of a season. Heís also a fascinating and layered character in his own right, with his own mysteries and goals that help drive the action in the Temple. Truly, Dario Cueto is a treasure in the wrestling world and I hope we continue to see him for years to come.

    Honorable Mention To: Ultramantis Black, Catrina , Sidney Bakabella

    Question: Who is YOUR favorite non-wrestling performer 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!

  25. #65
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    Miz, don't let the sporadic comments from me tell you I'm not reading, as I don't always get a chance to login like I want, but I'm still enjoying the heck out of this.

    On Angle: That Destination America run for TNA didn't do much favors, as I think it was the network's choice to have him as champion. I'm not as down on the matches as you are, but I could not understand why he was having what Doc may classify as the 'epic' style matches (which basically amounts to a bunch of finisher kick outs). I get that they wanted to give Angle a nice send-off, and deservedly so, but I agree that most of those victories were unnecessary. One of the parts that bothered me was the fact that he refused to wrestle the Miracle, stating that he "doesn't wrestle guys who he doesn't respect." Huh? Even though they hyped Bennett's debut, I'm not sure how much they realize how hot this guy can be, and a victory over Angle would have done wonders for his character.

    My #1 lady for 2016 is Becky Lynch.

    Mil and Fenix could fight forever for all I care. One of the greatest rivalries in Lucha, and Fenix is such an amazing talent. So is Mil.

    Moose/Rex: I too think the title change happened way too soon, as Rex was just scratching the surface of his heel run. Imagine if he was still champion under the Liberace gimmick. Plus Moose is still a work in progress, and I think they should have held off on giving him any title until this year, almost the same way I feel about American Alpha's win. Tell us a story about him first, then give him a feel-good win.

    Favorite non-wrestling character: Stephanie McMahon.


    Said no one ever.


    Dario is my homeboy! That crazy, bloodthirsty, crackhead!

    Public Access TV

  26. #66
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    I think Kurt is so obsessed with wrestling that he might actually want to dies in that ring and damn it there is a possibility that it might actually happen. I hope WWE doesn't take him back because if he dies in their ring then pg will be taken to a whole new level.

    I have to go with Charlotte as number one female wrestler on the planet. She is an amazing wrestler and the strides she took as a character was tremendous.

    It would appear that you absolutely hate that damn Grand Championship. Most of the matches you hate comes from bouts contested for that title. Maybe over time you will learn to enjoy it? I wouldn't hold my breath though.

    I've never watched LU but just from reading the reviews and seeing what this guy does I'm going with Dario Cueto

  27. #67
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    The “Now I’ve Got You, Oh Shit” Moonsault picture/GIF won't load, where in the match is it, I want to see it.

    Favourite Woman: Becky Lynch was consistently great this year so I would say her.

    Favourite Non-Wrestler: Daniel Bryan fit into the GM role pretty well, and he didn't wrestle at any point this year so I gotta go with him.

  28. #68
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    JSR, I love my lurkers just as much as my feeders! Although it is always nice to hear from you, my man. Yeah, at least some of the blame for that Angle title run has to fall on DAís bizarre requests, but then even when they went to POP they couldnít stop booking him over just about everybody. A win for Bennett would have been just fine in my book. I like your breakdown of Moose and Rex. Thatís something that could have benefitted a lot from a bit of a longer story arc, ah well. HAHA on the Stephanie bit! I love that everything you said about Dario is completely spot on, awesome. Great feed man!

    Don, I actually have the same fear with Angle. That dude seriously scares me now. I promise, I wouldnít hate the TNA Grand Championship so much if it didnít suck so damn much! I like the idea that Dario is so good that even those who havenít seen him have to acknowledge how great he is. He is JUST THAT GOOD!

    Zakington, Iím afraid I donít have the exact time but seriously, if you watch that whole match you really wonít regret it, thereís some phenomenal stuff in there. Nice shout out for Bryan, especially when working with the Miz heís had a lot to offer this year. Good to hear from you man.

    And now, here goÖ


    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 19th favorite one.

    The Colony (Silver Ant, Fire Ant, & Worker Ant) vs. The Snake Pit (Ophidian, Shynron, & Argus)
    The Wrestle Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    CHIKARA Five Senses, January 30th



    Shynron, making you question the reality you thought you knew since he was programmed into being, erm, I mean ďbornĒ.

    The Setup: No big plot this time, basically a bunch of tecnicos doing their thing and having a trios match. The Colony is a bunch of heroic ants, Ophidian is a snake, Argus is ďGekko-RomanĒ wrestler, and Shynron is a holy crap how did he do that.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can do so by subscribing to CHIKARAís complete streaming library, chikaratopia. In the meantime, you can enjoy some pre-match comments here!


    One of the things I love about big team matches is the way they can be organically extended far more easily and effectively than a singles match. In a 1 v 1 scenario, if someone hits a big move then itís either kick out or go home, but in match like this! You can include so much unbelievable offense that looks like it would kill the other guy dead, but if you have a team member left standing to break it up then we get to keep going without losing disbelief. That theory is used to absolute perfection here, this match is filled with awesome stuff and itís able to just keep going and going, and it feels natural. I also love all the nuanced interplay between these guys, some are stronger in one field but not the other, some are rookies with something to prove, some are veterans looking to re-establish themselves, and on and on, a million tiny things that made this match even better on top of the great action. I could try to go through the match and describe every great sequence, all the incredible stuff they pulled out of their hat, but for the sake of expediency Iíll just say for having such limited space in the Wrestle Factory, holy smokes did these guys go all out with the big moves and dives. In the end the superior team work of the veteran Colony team prevailed, and put away Shynron with the Ant Hill for the win.

    The Winner: The Colony in 19:34

    The Verdict: I expected this to be good, but they really went all out to make sure this blew the fans away, way above and beyond the call of duty. Basically this match is everything you could want out of a face vs. face exhibition style match and then some. What puts it ahead of the pack for me is how everyone played to their strengths. Guys like Fire and Shynron do some insane high flying, Ophidian and Silver blend in some world class grappling and striking, Argus plays the technical game, and Worker does his thing as a power base. Best of all worlds, really, just a phenomenal match out of nowhere.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 16th least favorite match of 2016:

    Baron Dax vs. Aron Rex Ė TNA Grand Championship
    The Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
    TNA Impact, November 6th

    The Verdict: Stupid division, stupid opponent. Baron Dax is one of the French guys from NXT that TNA picked up on a temporary basis. Not one of the better hiring decisions, in my opinion. So youíve got Rex, who was still drifting as a vanilla face at this point, against a guy who doesnít have a chance in hell of defeating him. Itís completely nondescript and made infinitely worse that we still have to go through the entire rigmarole of the ďGrandĒ division, complete with judges and points and round breaks. The most obvious conclusion in the world, negligible action, and a big drag to get to the finish. Boooooo.

    The Winner: Aron Rex in 3:42

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Most Improved:
    Tetsuya Naito


    Recommended:
    vs. Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Championship 4/10/16 NJPW Invasion Attack
    vs. Katsuyori Shibata 7/30/16 NJPW G1 Climax Day 8
    vs. Kenny Omega 8/13/16 NJPW G1 Climax Day 18


    He sees you (apparently).

    This award is always a little weird to me. How do you gauge ďimprovementĒ, especially in the subjective sense? What I ended up going with was measuring my interest in 2015 against my interest in 2016, and whoever raised their stock the highest got the nod, and that is absolutely Tetsuya Naito. A year ago I would have probably been happy never seeing another Naito match again. Itís not that he was ever a bad wrestler, but I just found him really bland and uninspiring in recent times. Even after his initial heel turn last year I was still not really interested in the slightest. He has completely transformed in 2016 though and become one of my number one guys to watch. Instead of simply performing moves proficiently, he now injects tremendous personality into every match he takes part in. From his punchable smirk to his insolent taunts, his gives off the air that he doesnít really care about what heís doing but heís still going to beat you, just because he can and has nothing better to do. Itís a brilliant character and he gives off the vibe perfectly. I think Naito has finally hit his peak and is going to have a hell of a 2017, and I canít wait to see it.

    Honorable Mention To: Jeff Hardy, Brian Kendrick, Eli Drake

    Question: Who is YOUR most improved wrestler 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!

  29. #69
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    I think I just possibly might be beginning to be on the verge of having an inkling that would lead to me guessing that there is a trend with your least favorite matches . I'm okay with signing ex-WWE guys in TNA, and I don't even mind that they weren't even big names (the Tribunal). Sometimes someone who is wasted in one place could shine in another. But if you're going to sign them and make them even more of a joke than they were in their previous company, than what was the point?


    Most Improved: I want to go with Killshot, not because he was ever bad, but adding that military edge to him made his performances pop more and really made himself stand out. Tye Dillinger comes to mind. Same thing with him- it's not that he was bad, but he has managed to get himself more over than before, with "10" chants heard all over the world, when at the beginning of the year, despite having a following, was pretty much only viewed as enhancement. Of course Miz hit a stride in the middle of the year, but that's probably not so much an improvement as it is just a key opportunity to show what he could really do.

    Public Access TV

  30. #70
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    Was on a trip coaching the boys basketball team this weeked and didn't get a chance to check in and comment so I'll leave a few words on the last couple days.

    Woman of the Year- I have to give this to Ivelisse for me. She's exciting to watch and I fully believe when she is wrestling the men that she can hang with them in any situation. I would like to be able to comment on Heidi and Kimber Lee but I have not seen enough of them to form an opinion. Honorable mentions to Becky Lynch and Bayley.

    Non-Wrestler of the Year- Daniel Bryan has been a great addition to Smackdown in the recent months. He has built up storylines by just inserting himself opposite of a major heel such as the Miz or Baron Corbin. He has been able to add so much to a match without having to be a part of it. Honorable mentions to Dario and Paul Heyman.

    Most Improved- The Miz has been on a role this year. Before this year he was someone that I was ok with but never someone that I was excited to watch. This year he has improved on the mic and in the ring. He has proven to be a bona fide main eventer and I expect he will be holding the World title by the end of the year. Honorable mentions to Brian Kendrick and Sexy Star.

  31. #71
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    JSR, once again welcome! I think usually TNA actually does a good job utilizing ex WWE talent these days, butÖ yeah, the Tribunal werenít exactly waiting to be breakout stars, you know? Sometimes these pick ups are just weird. Donít start me again on them bringing in Hornswoggle!! Iím all about recognizing guys who were once good but now are knocking on the door of great. Killshot is a real nice shout out, dude has been excellent this year. And Miz love is always up my alley! Great to hear from you again my man.

    Spinny, glad to see you back my man. Man, I freaking LOVE Ivelisse! If LU had featured her in a bigger role I think she could have taken it for me against some stiff competition. Daniel Bryan love is a-ok in my book, and once again YES to the Miz love! Not sure I agree about Sexy Star though, if anything I liked her a bit less in 2016 as I felt she was getting pushed beyond her actual ability. Maybe thatís just me though. Good feed as always, nice to have you back on board!


    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 18th favorite one.

    Barbaro Cavernario vs. Volador Jr Ė 2 Out Of 3 Falls, Reyes del Aire Tournament Final
    Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
    CMLL Super Viernes, September 30th



    You didnít need that spine for anything, did you?

    The Setup: This is the original match between Cavernario and Volador that lead up to their match that appeared earlier in the countdown. Yes, these two were good enough to appear twice in the top 30. They are made impressive. I feel like they likely had beef before this, but again, no hablo Espanol, so you and I will have to discover this one together.

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


    This match starts out hot and heavy, as the competitors meet on the ramp way and immediately start attacking one another, which supports my theory that they were already in opposition to each other before this match even started. Now I love ramp brawling, and these guys did some awesome stuff with it, the highlight being a huge dive off the stage right at the start of the match! This got things really cooking, as you might imagine, and it only escalated from there. These guys looked like they were trying to take each other out for good at times. Perhaps the most amazing moment was Volador diving off the top rope into the front row, where Cavernario had ended up. Thereís nothing quite like seeing the fans scatter as he comes flying in, amazing spot. These guys had a ton of other good stuff to throw at each other, including a godlike Canadian Destroyer time move, and really communicated how heated this was all through the match. The ending was very interesting, not traditional at all. Cavernario got the referee involved and essentially manipulated the situation so that Volador would foul him with a low blow, so that even though Volador forced Cavernario to tap out immediately afterwards, Cavernario still ended up the winner of the final and deciding fall by disqualification.

    The Winner: Barbaro Cavernario in 20:20

    The Verdict: Normally a DQ finish might bring a match down, but it was done so cleverly and the action was so good that it still fully deserves an extremely high place on this list. I came into this match cold, without knowing either guy very well, and the way they just immediately blew me out of the water was unbelievable. Iíve rarely seen two guys go at it like this, combining such raw emotion with such spectacular moves and sequences. They went all out in a whole new way, at least to me. This is the match that convinced I need to watch a LOT more CMLL in 2017. Amazingly good stuff.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    By way of contrast, this is my 15th least favorite match of 2016:

    Elias Sampson vs. Steve Cutler
    Full Sail University, Orlando, Florida
    WWE NXT, March 2nd

    The Verdict: Iíll be honest, I barely remember this random squash match, but what I remember clearly is I thought Sampson was really dreadful at the time. Hardly seemed like he enough offense to even put down a jobber. I appreciate the usefulness of jobber encounters but man, when the squasher is a guy like this guy, it outright screams skippable. Maybe heís gotten better, maybe not, but this is a match that convinced me watching NXT week to week is probably not the best idea for my fandom.

    The Winner: Elias Sampson in 3:02

    Enjoyment Rating: Ĺ*

    2016 Award For Best Commentary:
    Oliver Bennett & Andy Boy Simmonz (RPW)


    Recommended:
    1/16/16 RPW High Stakes
    6/12/16 RPW Angle vs. Sabre
    7/10/16 RPW Summer Sizzler


    Oliver does not appear to exist on the internet, so please enjoy this nice picture of Andy Boy

    Itís very difficult to be a commentator in 2016. Youíve got to be smart, but not too smart. Youíve got to appeal to casual fans, but not dumb anything down. Youíve got to call the action and advance the plot and expand on characterization. Thereís more demands on the position than ever before, which is why when I hear a pair of guys who just GET IT, I have to just stand in aw. Of all the things Rev Pro does well (and itís a lot of things), commentary may be the best of them. Oliver and Andy share a textbook face/heel dichotomy, and they balance it to perfection. Bennett is a true believer in competition and sportsmanship, whereas Andy likes to pick his favorites and does verbal gymnastics to justify anything they do, no matter how villainous. This may sound very standard, but the way they pull it off is so old school and effortless that itís legitimately a pleasure just to listen to. Believe me that I do not say this lightly, but at times they are even Gorilla/Heenan-esque in their impossibly good chemistry and frequent but affable friction. It helps tremendously that Bennett comes off not only sincere but also knowledgeable, so he deftly avoids the face commentator pitfalls of sounding either like a blind idiot or a robot. And Andy, oh my boy Andy, that man is WITTY, heís always got something up his sleeve, especially when talking about his favorite heels. But, and this is really important, he is also capable of deftly putting over the faces at the same time, which is so important. He will willingly (if begrudgingly) praise any face who legitimately impresses him, or discuss the actual strategy of the match to show where he things someone is making an error in judgment, drawing on knowledge he gained through his own 15 year career. If you havenít checked out Rev Pro let me again recommend it here, they are so unbelievably on point with so many pieces of their presentation, and commentary is no exception. It pains me to see the likes of Jim Ross or Nigel McGuiness tapped for special UK events, nothing against them but the two best guys in the world are already over there, just waiting for work.

    Honorable Mention To: Vampiro & Matt Striker (LU), Daniel Bryan & Mauro Ranallo (WWE), Chuck Taylor & Excalibur (PWG), Mike Quackenbush & Leonard F Chikarason (CHIKARA)

    Question: Who was YOUR favorite commentary team 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!

  32. #72
    What else is on? JSR-13's Avatar
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    I'll touch on Ivelisse and Sexy Star real quick... okay- that was a poor choice of words. But I too love Ivelisse, if only she could get her legs to cooperate. It's funny how Striker has been over-selling Sexy, but says the right things about Ive (she is at the disadvantage in size and strength, but she is a fighter who keeps coming back). Yeah, Sexy lost me this year too. A rare instance where an LU character is a turn off- not because the writing for her sucked, but because she was probably the worst choice for talent. I saw one of her matches in Mexico, and she spent half of the match gyrating and doing the Brooke Adams booty-wiggle. I'm like, "they chose HER to have this great backstory?"

    Anyways... Commentary teams: What, no love for Joey Styles and Joanna? Mauro and Bryan were the best duo, and I WISH they could call Smackdown together. Someone needs to launch Otunga out of a canon aimed at JBL. Philips and Graves have really good chemistry together, as Tom doesn't wimp out to Corey like Saxton. But of course I'm partial to Vamp and Matt-even when Matt overdoes it sometimes.

    Worst team: Pope, Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne. And it's all because of Mathews (I can tolerate Pope if he had a better play-by-play guy, and Mathews is NOT the guy to groom his wife for commentary if that's what she's aiming for).

    And I think the Drifter is slowly improving. Definitely a heat magnet, but not like Eva.

    Public Access TV

  33. #73
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    I will try to give that match a watch later. I've been looking for some lucha and I love me a good 2/3 falls match. But I do want to chime here to endorse how great I thought those commentators were. I still need to sign up for their service, but those guys and the fact that The Wrestler is their champion are huge selling points.

  34. #74
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    I cannot get behind the drifter. I find myself taken completely out of NXT the moment that he comes on the screen now. I think his character could be good but he has no charisma to pull it off. In the ring he is, at best, bland as can be. Nothing he does is memorable and I think if he left tomorrow I would forget he existed within the year.

    Commentary of the year has to be Mauro and Daniel during the CWC. The knowledge of Mauro mixed with the passion of Daniel pushed that team over the edge for me. I am now convinced that Daniel would be great at any aspect of wrestling that he decided to do. Honorable mention to Striker and Vampiro.

  35. #75
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    It always makes me happy to see a good powerbomb of any variety.

    I have yet to hear anything positive about Samson, and considering the general hype of the NXT audience that is incredible.

    Best Commentary: I don't think there is a good commentary team in the WWE, at the moment they are more tolerable than they have been for a long while. The CWC was good from what I hear but I have yet to watch.

  36. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Shibata is my favourite. No qualifiers on the end of that - I think he might genuinely be my favourite currently active wrestler (not character) going.
    .
    I'm absolutely with you on this one, Ollie, and his match against Ishii at Wrestle Kingdom is in my top 5 of the year. His NEVER defense against Kyle O'Reilly is not far behind.

  37. #77
    A few days behind so I'll touch on just a couple of things here.

    Fenix and Mil Muertes should and probably will battle until the end of time. I mean realistically that's what they should do right? Mil is the Man of 1000 Deaths and Fenix is someone who always rises from the dead. That's got "eternity" written all over it. Those two have great chemistry, so let's keep it going shall we. In fact, Mil seems to have great chemistry with a great many Luchadors. That's a great testament right there.

    I saw Elias Sampson live at NXT Live in Baltimore. Hated the dude. Really have no desire to see him again, nor do I think he'll be around very long.

    I'm still here, let's keep rolling!

  38. #78
    LPW pYromania Head Writer
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    Enjoyed catching up. Naito's great but Omega improved more. Stokely Hathaway best non-wrestler. Thanks again.

  39. #79
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    171
    Mizfan -

    This is an amazing series that you have going here. As someone with wrestling knowledge that is a mile deep but only an inch wide, I can really appreciate the wealth of knowledge about non-main stream federations that you have. I have never watched Chikara, but your write-ups and glowing reviews have piqued my interest. I will most certainly be checking a lot of these matches out in their entirety. I'm equally enjoying your write-ups on least favorite matches. I get a kick out of the fact that TNA shows up all over this portion of the list.

    I look forward to reading more of this.

  40. #80
    Queen of Extreme Irishsara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.pYro View Post
    Enjoyed catching up. Naito's great but Omega improved more. Stokely Hathaway best non-wrestler. Thanks again.
    If it was just the end of the year, i might agree with you. But there was a lot Omega garbage in that first six months. Guys like Naito, Matthew Riddle and David Finlay have had such a bigger change. Hell, over the last like 2.5 years Matt Riddle went from being clover green to becoming one of the best big match guys on the indies. He can work with literally anyone. David Finlay went from a Japanese young boy to stealing the shows on events. Kenny Omega had a hell of a six months.

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