It’s about that time of the year when we look at what we are thankful for. Yes, I know it’s cheesy, but I think it needs to be said. These are not in order of importance, just in an order of some kind.
1. CM Punk-He’s cut two of the greatest promos of the year. He cut a promo so good it made us think that wrestling had become real for a night. Plus, the night he shocked the wrestling world when the WWE champion appeared on an AAW show to put over competitor Gregory Iron (see #2). And how about the time period after Money in the Bank and before Summerslam? Has wrestling been that exciting in years? CM Punk was showing up at Wrigley Field, tweeting pictures of the title belt in the refrigerator, showing up at Comic conventions. It bled over into John Cena’s promos and Raw was exciting to watch again. Money in the Bank was still the top match the WWE has put together this year. He is the one sane person in the world of the insane. And he’s one of the few things that gives me hope for the future of the WWE.
2. Gregory Iron-The guy has cerebral palsy. Let me say that again. The guy has cerebral palsy. And he wrestles. This isn’t Eugene playing a retarded character. He is an actual handicapped wrestler. There is a documentary that will be coming out. Fox News did a feature on him. Now there is a petition to get him into the Royal Rumble! The guy has a legitimate shot at being in the WWE as a great story to be told. If you have never seen one of his matches, go to Youtube and search. You will be blown away.
3. Sheamus-I am a fan of Sheamus because he is pasty white. I’m pasty white. My body does not tan. I go out into the sun, my skin burns (“fries” is a better word), it peels off a day later and whiter than I was before. So having somebody like Sheamus in the public life makes me happy, rather than Hulk Hogan or George Hamilton. I am on Team Pasty White.
4. Air Boom-These are two of the best in-ring workers in the business. Evan Bourne has one of the happiest smiles in wrestling (and of course, after the wellness violation, we know why). Not only that, he’s one of the best at selling. And how do you not love Kofi Kingston? And as a tag team, these guys have great chemistry.
5. Mark Henry as champ-How many years did we sit through “Sexual Chocolate,” humping Mae Young, going on a date with Chyna? And now here is, a truly dominant, well-booked champ (for the WWE). I look forward to seeing him, and I had a genuinely emotional moment when he walked away the champ.
6. Ricardo Rodriguez-I’ve decided that if Ricardo Rodriguez would announce my arrival at work, I would be CEO. I haven’t decided whether it’s the perfect hair, the tuxedo or the majestic voice. But not only that, he makes a great manager/lackey.
7. MPX-This is my local wrestling promotion. At first they started out as nothing, but it has been awesome to watch them mature into a hotbed. There’s Kenny Steele, a heel who could be on the cusp of greatness. Cash & Carry, one of the top upcoming tag teams in the Texas scene. Seph Annunaki, who could be a match or two away from being a huge name in Texas. $Payday$ who is our version of Kofi Kingston. Ben Wylde, fellow member of Team Pasty White. Headbanger who is already cementing himself as a mainstay in promotions all over Texas. Great veterans like Kristopher Haiden, Carrion Arcane, Matt Palmer (!). Plus, I love the family atmosphere and saying hi to everybody.
8. Lance Hoyt-I say that name, but it stands for all the guys (and girls) who like to give back. For a company that started pretty lowly, guys (and girls) like Lance Hoyt, Mike Foxx, SHIMMER’S Athena have helped build it up. Lance Hoyt came in, loved it AND returned. Now there’s talks of him bringing other big names.
9. Ring of Honor-How do I BEGIN to describe what I love about Ring of Honor? Shelton Benjamin doesn’t have a low-rent comedienne playing his mother. Charlie Haas gets to be Charlie Haas. Homicide, Jay Lethal, Davey Richards, El Generico, Tommaso Ciampa, Grizzly Redwood. It gives me something to look forward to every few months or so. And now there’s a weekly tv show!
10. Chikara-So the WWE’s problem is that they make a TV-PG product. Right? Chikara has a G-rated product. And their product is infinitely more watchable than the WWE’s product. You have names like Eddie Kingston, Mike Quackenbush, The Colony, BDK. You have great action, long matches, a devoted crowd and a lot of passion.
11. SHIMMER-Have you ever watched a Bella Twins match and prayed that God would take you now? You know, the “I-Don’t-Want-to-Live-in-a-World-Where-The-Bellas-Are-Considered-Entertainment” feeling. About a month ago, I discovered SHIMMER. I watched SHIMMER VOL. 1 and was completely blown away by the matches I saw. I know I’m only on Vol. 2, but I’m excited to see where women’s wrestling goes from here.
12. Sara Del Rey-This is for all the women’s wrestlers. Del Rey is one of my favorite workers, male or female. And there are a lot of great women’s wrestlers out there who are not WWE Divas. These are the Del Reys and Cherry Bombs and Jessicka Havocs and Mickie Knuckleses and Athenas and Portia Perezes that give daddies of little girls somebody they can watch with their daughters.
13. AIW-I remember asking what promotion I should try on Twitter. AIW (who follows me) recommended I buy Absolution VI or Girl’s Night Out IV. I bought Absolution and was so blown away by this wrestling, whether it was the atmosphere, the devotion of the fans, the Rickey Shane Page/Vincent Nothing match, Josh Prohibition/Greg Iron match (my first time to see an Iron match), Tim F’ing Donst. I was hooked and a fan for life.
14. All the wrestlers-All the boys who go out and give everything for the fans in the crowd. You can always tell those who have the passion and those who give everything for the fans every time. I know it’s been done, but… “It’s still real to me, damnit.”
15. AJ Lee & Alicia Fox-Just for existing. I know I said something about how much I love SHIMMER because of the hard-working women who aren’t sex objects. But I gotta admit. Those two are just breath-takingly beautiful and it makes me happy whenever I get to see them.
16. Sites I get to write for. I love writing and I love wrestling. So it’s a given that one of my favorite things on Earth would be writing about wrestling. I am very proud to be part of very awesome teams no matter where I write. I also want to thank my fellow co-writers, who I feel very lucky to even consider some my friends.
17. Wings in Euless-Somehow I was discovered by http://www.bigbadsportsdaddy.com. I started doing a Saturday MMA column for them. Then after their Raw blogger was future endeavored, I was given the role. Ever since February, they have let me join them in a live broadcast. It’s now one of the favorite parts of my month. I love getting to hang out with the guys like Larry, John & Eric and getting to see all the variety of people: Drew and Chelsea, Zero, Carlos and their crew, the MPX guys. It makes me happy knowing that we will all get to experience the new PPV together.
What are yours? What are you thankful for in wrestling?