...and we called it Old Lang's Sign...
Welcome to The Annual Christopher J Garcia Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Wrestling Excellence! My name is Chris and these are your winners.
2010 was a very different year. There weren’t as many deaths of young guys as in years past, excluding Lance Cade, Trent Acid and Luna Vachon. There were high-profile suicides, Chris Kanyon and the former Ludvig Borge, and the sad deaths of Mike Shaw (aka Norman the Lunatic) and Giant Gonzalez from size-related problems. We lost a number of aged legends, guys like Edouard Carpentier and Gene Kiniski, guys who lived a long lives and were legends. There aren’t a lot of guys from the 1950s and 60s left, Nick Bockwinkel, Verne Gagne and the legendary Pat Patterson come to mind.
The overall popularity of wrestling continues to drop as it has since about 2005. No Austin, no Rock, no one who the audience sees as a massive, bigger-than-wrestling star… except for maybe John Cena, and that’s more to kids and young ladies than to the traditional audience.
It’s odd because I really think that Cena is a huge star who just hasn’t gotten the support he needs to break through. Yeah, he’s had the rap album, a few films, a few TV appearances, but what he needs is a Hogan-like push where he’s Superman and is promoted as such.
MMA was a big world again, and Brock Lesnar lost to a guy who really can’t draw nearly what Brock could. Fedor Emelianenko also lost. That’s bad news. I think that MMA is heading towards a period where it’s a lot like wrestling in the 1990s. You might not have the top draws with the belts, but they’re still the ones who are bringing in all the money for their undercard matches. I just wish that Georges St. Pierre would finally lose. He just flat-out bores me.
WWE had a great concept, NXT, which failed on SyFy, but brought about what was potentially the most exciting gimmick in ages, the Nexus invasion, and ended up with a good run, but not a great one. Still, it introduced Wade Barrett to the main event and I think he’ll be an important part of the future. Sadly, the John Cena booking was weak and it led to so many holes and problems that it really wasn’t worth going down that route. I did love the blow-off match for the Cena-Barrett feud at the TLC PPV.
Neither the WWE nor SyFy knows how to spell.
TNA? Well, TNA had the whole Monday night experiment and it blew. They gambled and lost and then went back to Thursdays and they are still at or slightly below where they were when they left. They have had some great stuff, the Tara-Mickie James feud comes to mind, and some amazing matches, but over-all… meh.
Japan is at a down period, especially with Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama out for NOAH, All Japan is having a decent time and New Japan is New Japan. They’re always able to keep going. Then again, we said the same thing about All Japana Women and they’ve been gone for almost a decade.
Mexico is Mexico, with the big news there being that the WWE has made strong in-roads, but isn’t the massive draw that they had hoped. Still, there was some good stuff in Mexico, despite the appearance of the Drug Culture that caused a couple of deaths. These are bad times for money South of the Border, so we’ll see what keeps them going.
as long as Garcia enjoys it...
And now, the Awards!
The Trish Stratus Award for Woman of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Gina Carano)
Gina Carano was gone and Chris Cyborg really didn’t light up the world, but LayCool was highly entertaining the entire year. They were front-and-center, had some good skits and their matches weren’t bad. They also played off each other very well and I really enjoyed that.
Tara is my second pick, largely because of what she managed to pull-off with Mickie James in having very good, serious matches in a division that is not known for that. Third is Natalya, who was solid, but highly under-appreciated. I’m glad she’s got the belt now and maybe we’ll see more from her.
Tag Team of the Year
(Last Year’s Winners: JeriShow)
This has not been a decade for Tag Team wrestling, but The Hart Dynasty and the Usos made it look like it was going to be. They didn’t last, didn’t draw too much heat and they’ll take second and third to the team that really did build heat: Nexus. As a unit, they were as good as the Horsemen in the late 80s, when they too were illly-booked. They did have the single greatest moment of the year, and they were thrown into the top of the card. Still, this wasn’t a great year for teams, though Ring of Honor had the Briscoe brothers and it looks like Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas are going to be teaming together more often, so there’s that.
Most Misused Wrestler
(Last Year’s Winner – Shelton Benjamin)
Winner: The Hart Dynasty
This was a tight race between four different factions: Samoa Joe, Desmond Wolfe, Daniel Bryan and the Harts. The Harts took it because Bryan got the IC belt and Joe seems to have signed and they’ll probably be using him better. The Harts had all the tools to be huge stars, and they were getting good reactions when they were broken up. I still think Tyson Kidd has a bright career.
Best on Interviews
(Last Year’s Winner: Chris Jericho)
Winner: Santino Morella
No question here. The guy’s interview segments have been a highlight of RAW. The man just knows how to talk and is amazingly entertaining. The Slim James bit from WrestleMania would have been enough to win this for him. Jericho probably would have repeated if he’d been around all year, but he also falls behind Chael Sonnen, who hyped the Oakland fight with Silva so hard that it almost made me buy the PPV! He was an amazing mic commando, and sadly he’s suspended now for doping. Go figure.
like watching the state of the art...
The Lou Thesz Award for Good Wrestling
(Last Year’s Winner – Kurt Angle)
Winner: Shawn Michaels
The man carried Undertaker to a World Class WrestleMania match. That is enough. The performance of Michaels over the course of the first few months of the year was enough to win it for him and I think that he’ll always be remembered for the Undertaker match. It was like watching the Ladder Match at WrestleMania 10, where you felt like you were watching the state-of-the-art, only it was a guy who was well-past forty setting the bar. I’m going to go with Edge next, for his awesome string of wins, and finally CIMA from Dragon’s Gate USA, who is just awesome.
Wrestling Move of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: The Shooting Star Press)
The Showtime Kick by Anthony Pettis
You’ve seen it: the guy who jumps up, plants a foot on the cage and then turns, nailing the opponent with a devastating kick. It’s easily the most awesome looking MMA move ever. I mean, it was just nuts. There’s nothing in wrestling that comes close. I’m going LeBell Lock from Daniel Bryan second, and in third, the Widow’s Peak.
MMA Show of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: UFC 100)
Fedor vs. Werdum
Seeing a mega-star dimmed isn’t enough for a show to win, but it don’t hurt. Frankly, I couldn’t think of a card from top-to-bottom that was better than watching Fedor get the loss. Smith vs. Cung Le and Josh Thomson vs. Pat Healy were both good fights too. I’d say the recent Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koschek show from UFC and the final WEC show come closest.
Pro Wrestling Show of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: WrestleMania 25)
Winner: WWE TLC
OK, WrestleMania was awesome, for the most part, but TLC was, top to bottom, a better show. A few great matches, including the blow-off of the Barrett vs. Cena feud, and a great four way ladder match that I really think should be in the mix for match of the year. The opener was good, and despite screw-job finishes, it was over-all a great show. WrestleMania comes close, as does the Final Resolution PPV.
MMA Match of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Cung Le vs. Scott Smith)
Winner: Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago
This was on the undercard of Brock vs. Velasquez, which was a good show, but this was the best match and the Thomson vs. Healy is the only thing that had the same feeling. I thought that this was be a Match of the Year contender from the second it ended, but there’s not a lot of buzz around it at the moment. It was an all-out brawl and a big win.
Pro Wrestling Match of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Undertaker vs. Michaels)
Winner: Undertaker vs. Michaels
This one was pretty obvious from the beginning, but more importantly, the runner-up was another classic battle: Kevin Steen vs. El Generico in Ring of Honor. I rewatched both matches and Michaels’ performance was just a shade above. It was a remarkable thing he pulled out there. There are times when it looks like Undertaker is just completely gone and Michaels just makes it work. The Steen vs. Generico match was built so perfectly that whoever did the writing for it deserves a massive raise! I thought that the Richards vs. Black main event at Death Before Dishonor was also worthy. I can’t forget Lawler vs. Miz either, as that was a match that just blew the roof off.
One man stands for justice.
Feud of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Randy Orton vs. John Cena)
Winner: Nexus vs. Cena
Yeah, it was sub-optimal, but it was still the focal point of the year for the WWE and came up with some great stuff. That initial attack of Cena, the one where Bryan chocked a guy out with his tie, was the best TV moment all year, without question, and the early follow-ons were great. Clearly patterned after the nWo attacks of 1996, this was a great throw-back and the heat they got for some of it was outstanding. For a second: I’ll go with E2 vs. TNA and then Tara vs. Mickie James, though they are both way-down from the Nexus vs. Cena stuff.
MMA Fighter of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Brock Lesnar)
Winner: Georges St. Pierre
I hate him, everyone knows that, but he won and won and won. True, I still think Anderson The Spider Silva is a better fighter, and that Lesnar was a much better draw, but St. Pierre was the fighter of the year. It saddens me that people consider that good MMA. I find his fights dull as hell from a technical standpoint.
Wrestler of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner: Kurt Angle)
Winner: John Cena
Can you argue that? Can you think of a guy who carried a promotion more than Cena? He’s had some good matches (he’ll never be a great worker, but he’s gotten so much better) and he’s given some good interviews. He’s never won one of the awards, which seems strange as he’s been the guy to carry the company, but there you have it. I’ve got to give credit to Edge for second and probably Jericho for third. Wade Barrett deserves mention as well.