< PART ONE
“Alright, now we’re cooking as we reach the beloved Best/Worst Categories! Now, let’s continue with the bidness….”
2008’s Mike Tenay Award for Worst Announcer: Michael Cole
Ah, Cole. The tool of the wrestling world. I thought I disliked Todd Grishiam until Cole ruined countless matches this year with his horrible announcing. I swear to God you can set your watch to his announcing. Due to the fact that on que you get “the best pure-striker in the game”, “vintage Undertaker!”, “The ultimate-opportunist!”, “best pure striker in the game” over and over. His tag-teaming with Coach almost set a new standard for bad announcing. Almost reaching Don West & Mike Tenay like status. Thankfully, Mick Foley came along to save the day, and he was honestly my favourite announcer of the year….which gives away the winner of our next category!
2008’s Greatest Announcer: Mick Foley
I wasn’t upset when I heard Foley went to TNA. I think it’s fine, even though TNA is a crap-hole. It’s a new environment for Foley, so that means new opponents, and new match-ups. Although I was crushed by the fact he would no longer be an announcer. He brought a very fresh style and view to the announcing game, and I loved every minute of it. He struck me as a mix of Styles, and Ross. And although Ross was great this year, I always have a place in my mark-heart for Foley. So hoorah, you better do some great shit in TNA, man.
“You know, although I am choosing to keep all the awards for myself, I’m going to throw this Mike Tenay award out on the freeway on my ride home. Can anyone tell me why he wears a tux and Don West dresses like he found his entire wardrobe in the lost and found? Didn’t think so…”
Suddenly, there’s a sharp squeal that’s sent through the auditorium. Caliber places his hand over the mic and leans back…
“Dammit! Turn down the speaker volume! The mic’s picking up it’s own feed-back! I swear, Chris Harris, one more screw up and you’re off our maintenance squad…” Caliber said in his sternest voice.
Now, as you can see, Chris and I have been having a feud of sorts because of the fact he sucks, and that, because I’m a lazy writer is our segue-way into the next category, oh sniggity snaps!”
2008’s Greatest Feud: *TIE* Undertaker vs. Edge, and Shawn Michaels vs Jericho
Now, there isn’t much I really need to say about Shawn v Jericho. Pretty much any ‘best of’ column you read is going to prattle on about how great it was, because dammit, it sure as hell was. Jericho was incredible as a heel, who no matter how wrong he was, never showed sign of not-believing he was 100% right. He changed his whole image, even bringing back Terry Taylor’s Red Rooster gimmick, and just rocked shit. Shawn was great in how he was seemingly losing his mind. Their Unsanctioned Match is a sheer classic that will be mirrored for years to come. The way he was almost breaking down, afraid of what he’d become, and wondering why he was almost…enjoying it. It was unbelievably well done. Although I didn’t enjoy the ladder match as much as some, it was still incredible.
I just feel that the Undertaker vs. Edge is a bit underrated. This feud had it’s roots all the way back to May 11th, 2007. When Edge cashed in MITB, and yanked the title away from Taker after he defeated Batista in a steel cage match. Come July 20th, he tore his peck-muscle, and was out of action while Taker and Batista continued their own feud. Fast forward to Survivor Series where a returning Edge put the hurt on Taker via a television camera, and con-chair-toh, costing Taker his title in the HIAC. At this he was aligned with Vick Guerrero, who for the year 2008 would probably be the company’s biggest and best heel. People absolutely hate her. And the fact that Edge is in love with her, and performs all the classic chicken-shit heel manoeuvres and mannerisms, up to and including shafting people out of the title, makes them the greatest heel duo in a very long time. Now, besides all this, we have the matches. Taker and Edge hands down had the best matches of the year. They destroyed the place at WM24, had a rematch that was damn near on par at Backlash, same at Judgment Day, had a classic TLC at One Night Stand, and probably the greatest Hell in a Cell at SummerSlam. Unfortunately I don’t have cable, so I just had to buy the DVDs, but if I saw that Taker/Edge was on the bill, I’d buy the DVD on the spot. Everything was just beautiful. It may not have had the awesome story-telling of Shawn/Jericho, but it was right up there with everything else it brought to the table, bravo.
“Does anyone else here remember when Kai En Tai with Taka Michinoku was out to cut off Val Venis’ penis? They’d run around saying “chopy-chopy your pee-pee!”. For some reason that just popped into my head when thinking about our next one, the worst feud….Ah, the lower-points of the Attitude Era.” thoughtfully exclaims Caliber.
2008’s Worst Feud: Jay Lethal vs. Sonja Dutt
Now, obviously we could have said any feud with Black Reign, Rellik, or Judas would be the worst. But I like to think the worst in terms of the amount of talent the wrestlers have, the possibilities, the matches, and over-all believability. Which is why, they take this one. Ok, I get it. So Jay Lethal is Macho Man, I dig it, I like it. Ok, fine, he’s good buddies with Dutt, awesome. Ok, fine, he’s in love with So Cal Val, ah….dammit they’re getting married? Ah-la Macho and Liz at SummerSlam? Crap. In 2007, after seeing how close Dutt and Lethal were, and how ‘in love’ the latter was with Val, you knew what was bound to happen. Dutt breaks up the wedding, declaring his love for Val. She continues to prove to no one that she’s interesting, or any different than the 100 million attractive girls we see on TV. Although Dutt played a pretty good sleaze-ball, I disliked how Lethal would do some promos as Black Machismo, and some without. It ruined continuity. Not to mentioned, flat out, no one cared. It didn’t have any dynamic, or a what’s really going on? kinda feel to it like the Mega-Powers angle so many years ago. One would hope with two very talented performers they’d at least drag some awesome matches out of these guys……ugh….sadly, the Ball & Chain Black Tie Brawl didn’t go over. Get it? Ball & Chain, as in a wife! oh oh ha ha. They wore tuxes for this simply because Vince Russo must have a tumour the size of dump-truck in his brain. The tuxes just got wrapped up in the chains, made the wrestlers look stupid and frustrated, and did nothing but bring the match down. The only high point was the “Fire Russo!” chants that swept the arena, oh, and the “Boring!” chants. Which made me even angrier at Russo, because these guys are extremely talented and they can’t even salvage a Russo crap-fest. Thankfully, they redeemed themselves at No Surrender with a ladder match, an awesome ladder match at that. So, tell me, what was the point of the ladder match? To win the engagement ring and get to marry So Cal! Oh snaps! Surely she’ll be on the side of Lethal, and not turn on h….oh, sniggty snaps. Nobody could have seen this coming…ugh.
“Ok, I’m not a betting man, per-say. But I have $10 on the fact that when Lethal and Dutt return to TNA with this award, Russo will put them in a high-profile gimmicks-heavy feud over who was truly the worst. But then in a shoot-twist, we’ll find Russo in the back, dead, with the award sticking out of the side of his head. The angle will then go into the investigation of the murder, which will then turn out that sex-crazed porno-zombies were the culprit, and in order for Russo to stay on this earth, he must have sex with all the Knockouts, and win every title in a Wear-More-Stupid-Baseball-Jerseys-Than-The-Entire-League-Match. It’ll be a ratings bonzo-gonzo. Can’t wait….what? Where was I? Ah yes, our next award…”
2008’s Greatest Non-PPV DVD Release
The WWE did their absolute best to make sure I spent my extra money on nothing but WWE DVDs, it was as if every week a must-have was coming out. This year alone we got 3-disc superstar collections from Stone Cold, The Rock, Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Ric Flair and an a 2-disc release for Triple H, which was odd he was only to get 2 discs, when one of the worst ‘main-event’ wrestlers ever, Kane, get’s a 3 disc. Then we get other awesome collections in that of The History of The IC and Hell in a Cell. On TNA’s side of things, we got the awesome Best of 2007, and Kurt Angle: Champion. They also released Best of the Bloodiest Brawls, and I was sorely disappointed. The first volume is a perfect wrestling-DVD, every match is note worthy, with many of them going above 4 stars. This however, just lacked severely with most of the matches not really that bloody, or good. They also released Ultimate Matches, which was a collection of King of the Mountain, Full Metal Mayhem, Steel Cage, and Ultimate-X. The problems with this are that they could have released the earlier KOTM matches but opted not to, and the rest of all the other matches they’ve released on a ton of other discs. It’s probably why they didn’t put a listing on the DVD case. However, they did redeem themselves with the Crossing The Line 3-pack. In which you got Victory Road, Hard Justice, and No Surrender for only $20. The Last Man Standing match is worth that alone. Instead of a grand-slam winner, I’ll list the top 5, then take the award, set it on fire, and throw it through Mike Tenay’s windshield.
5. – Triple H: The King of Kings – One of the best of all time gets 2 discs? It doesn’t make that much sense, really. Triple H could have had a 3 disc set from the year 2000 alone. However, with what they’re given they do their best. They include classics like Triple H’s bout with Stone Cold at No Mercy 99′, his HIACs with Foley and Batista, the classic LMS with Flair, and 2 underrated and over-looked gems in the 2 out of 3 falls with Shawn at Armageddon, and the Triple Threat with Cena & Edge at Backlash 2006. Thankfully, most of the year 2003, is never mentioned. And one of the enjoyable aspects is that Triple H is the host of the DVD, basically as Paul, not as Hunter.
4. – Viva La Raza: The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero – I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t that big of an Eddie fan until a short while before he died. I’d always found the stuff he did to be clever, and entertaining, but his matches were never anything I paid much attention to. This set really proves what a fool I was for that. This would be number 3 on this list, if it weren’t for the nostalgia value of the Stone Cold DVD for me. This DVD commands respect with how many incredible matches it’s loaded with. From his 5-star classic against Malenko to the damn near 5-star classic match against Lesnar. Incredible bouts with Mysterio, Angle, and Jericho where if you even blink you miss something cool are just crawling all over this. As well as brutal and spectacular wars with Cena, Edge, and JBL. Despite the magnificent match line up, the DVD is also host to a ton of great Eddie stories and memories from friends, family, and fellow wrestlers. This DVD is a very fitting tribute.
3. – The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin – An awesome collection I’ve been waiting years for. Like the Triple H DVD, it’s hosted by Stone Cold, but not in character which is great. It has almost every match you could ask for, from the Three Stages of Hell classic with Triple H, to the Survivor Series 96′ showdown with Bret. It also has classics on there that you never even knew you wanted, such as the strap match with Savio Vega, and his encounter with Ricky Steamboat. I was very glad to find the match with Triple H from Survivor Series 2000 was on here, because if you ask me, it’s their best encounter ever, despite the stupid finish. They have incredible promos from ECW, as well as some cool extras. Worth every penny.
2. – Edge: Decade of Decadence – If it weren’t for Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits & Misses: Hardcore Edition, this would easily take the title as my favourite superstar DVD collection. Edge is one of my all-time favs, and this DVD could easily prove to anyone just why that is. The 1 disc starts off with a hefty 3 star match, and quickly climbs to MOTY contenders and never lets up. Covering everything from death-defying tag-team ladder matches, to mat classics with the likes of Angle, Undertaker, Eddie, and completely brutal encounters with HBK, Foley, as well as Dreamer & Funk. With at least 11 matches breaking the 4-star barrier, you shouldn’t even ask if one needs to buy it. My only complaint is that Edge host the DVD in character, which is understandable. The extras more than make-up for it though.
And the big winner for the year, a DVD I’d thought about, and wished dearly for because I was tired of rounding up PPV’s for just one match;
1. – Hell In A Cell – Now, I can completely understand why this DVD set wouldn’t be number one to some people, but for me, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. Hell in a Cell is my favourite match stipulation. Damn near no matter who you put in there, you’re going to get something incredible. For me, you get four 5 star classics, and 6 that break the 4 star level. Almost every match is a true, epic war. As the Hell in a Cell has become what the original steel cage in the 80’s was; the ultimate blow-off match. Where two men have done everything to each other, and need to settle shit once and for all. All the stops are pulled out, and every man brings his A-game. Funny thing is, I watched the Mick Foley v Undertaker HIAC match when it first aired back in 98′, and I haven’t seen it since. The match sucks and I don’t understand why people love it so much. It’s two big spots, and that’s it. I truly feel that although Nash hadn’t had a match in years that was worth spit, his HIAC effort was awesome. It just goes to show the power of the cell, as Nash had sucked for years, Triple H was at his fat and worst and they still pulled out an awesome, 4-star bout. But then again, that’s just me. My favourite wrestler of all time Mick Foley is the one hosting this DVD, so it made it all that much greater to me. Surely an item I’d take on a deserted island with me, and one I’d run back into a flaming house for. Provided it was the last copy on earth……
Camera cuts back to Caliber, chatting it up with girl in the front row.
“Yeah, you bet cha’ babe. I know a guy. I can get up to 2 free rentals. Non-new release….” he notices the cameras back
“aaaand we’re back! Indeed, a great year for all things DVD. Now, as our show draws to an end, let’s get into the things that make for great DVD collections, great matches. Instead of the simple award for best match, we’re going to give you the 20 best of this year. Hold onto those socks, kiddos….”
I know, it’s cruel. You can’t wait. Hell, I wrote it as fast as I could because even I couldn’t wait. Now that’s gangster. Monday you shall have the list of the Top 20 of 2008.