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[Wrestling] 2016 should have been two hours long

PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
2016 was a dire year. At least one of your favorite celebrities died. Given the awful choice between the crushing status quo and the most destructive options imaginable the western world kept basically voting to light its pubic hair on fire. The police are criminals, water is poison and it's getting harder to tell what news is fake. Not even the gorillas were safe from gun violence. 2016 was a rotten bastard of a year.

It's a small wonder then that the often disappointing world of professional wrestling managed to have a blow away record setting glorious year. It was 12 months of unprecedented wish fulfillment. So much happened that you totally forgot that one time WrestleMania main event player and human shower drain clog Alex Riley was released, Adam Rose's life imploded amidst a domestic dispute and a drug binge, Jimmy Snuka beat the criminal justice system once again, Jamie Noble's stabbing and Damien Sandow being banished from relevancy. 2016 was a year where PWG felt it needed to name a Janurary show Lëmmy in tribute, the their next show was named Bowie and three months later a show was named Prince.

...did I mention that it was a good year for the in-ring product?

January
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New Japan's annual January 4th Tokyodome show, WrestleKingdom 10, drew a crowd of 25,000 people and broadcast audiences from around the world making the company the world's largest mass distributor of stiff kicks to the chest. It was like New Japan was trying to get as many match of the year contenders out of the way as early as possible. The show featured it's traditional gimmick battle royal, the Junior Heavyweight Tag Young Buck Clusterfuck, and Toro Yano and two unfrozen cavemen being named the first ever NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champions. A year of Kenny Omega dominating the Junior Heavyweight scene ended with The Cleaner losing his title to KUSHIDA with the help of corner man Doc Brown. The upper half of the card was wall to wall strong showings but none made as strong of a impact as Shinsuke Nakamura taking on AJ Styles for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Even the main event which saw Kazuchika Okada finally Rainmaker Clothesline the J-Rock power mullet Sampson that is Hiroshi Tanahashi out of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the top spot in the company didn't draw as much attention. Maybe that's for the best if you're a fan of what New Japan offers...

The next morning puro fans would wake up to a cold and bleary world and the news that some of New Japan's most talented stars and Luke Gallows had signed with WWE. It was a totally unexpected shake-up for both companies and it didn't take long for the changes to take shape.

The IWGP Intercontinental Championship that Nakamura had made prominent enough to main event was vacated. At the Royal Rumble that same month AJ Styles debuted before an elated crowd and a puzzled Roman Reigns. Not only would Styles have a strong showing in the Royal Rumble but he would go on to have one of the best years in the industry's history, but more on that later. The real story of the Royal Rumble was the big title change. Yes Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio for the United States Cham-nah I'm just kidding. Triple H won the second ever World Heavyweight Championship Royal Rumble by eliminating Dean Ambrose. In past years fans might have been outraged at Hunter using his influence to put himself in the top position in the company but this was more or less a transparent attempt to get Roman Reigns into the main event of WrestleMania while disguising the fans booing the booking decision as heel heat.

In interviews about his decision to work for WWE Shinsuke Nakamura would claim he signed largely based on the massive potential for a match with somebody he trained with in his early days. Yeah, about that...

February
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Unfortunately the doldrums of Winter brought some bad news, the first of which was the final formal retirement of Daniel Bryan. Concussions and various other bodily injuries forced him into sitting things out at the peak of his career and it seemed like a sad inevitability. From a selfish fan's perspective the worst part is that we'll never get to see all of the interesting work he could have pulled off with all of the hard working indie guys he helped pave the way for. Yes just as the current crop of indie standouts D-Bry had convinced the world could be a draw started to make it to the main roster we were robbed of the king of the indies. It was the bittersweet end to a year long emotional roller coaster. Bryan's emotional farewell was quickly undercut however by Titus O'neil viciously tugging the arm of Vince McMahon thus ensuring he's be the most concrete burial since that time Vince walled Marc Mero off in the catacombs of his mansion.

Appropriately enough the match to determine the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion was held at a New Japan show titled “The New Beginning.” With Nakamura having left the company Kenny Omega started using the Bomaye Knee, renaming it the V-Trigger because of course he did. If he could throw Shoryukens he would. The Capcom references didn't stop there as copying the powers of other wrestlers became sort of a running theme for Omega in 2016 like an evil MegaMan. The show was headlined by Kazuchika Okada defeating Hirooki Goto who set a record for failing to win the IWGP Heavyweight title in eight consecutive attempts. Okada actually disagreed with those who criticized Goto for not stepping up and actually offered him a spot in CHAOS during a post-match interview. Goto declined confirming that none of the writing painted on his body going into the match included the phrase “if you can't beat them, join them.”

Over in WWE the other other KO was capturing IC gold. Kevin Owens won WWE's Intercontinental Championship off Dean Ambrose via pinning Tyler Breeze in a five-way match on a random episode of RAW. Yeah, not as much thought went into that one but fuck it. Champ Owens Champ.

On February 21st WWE Fastlane happened to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Ohio. Don't tell me it didn't happen, I saw it happen. There was almost nothing of note outside of Reigns becoming #1 contender in a triple threat with Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar. That's not true actually, I mean who didn't commemorate the team of Big Show, Ryback and Kane defeating The Wyatt Family with a commemorative tattoo? Truly they're a trio that will be remembered by history. The Big Show, Ryback and Kane, friends forever.

The next night on RAW Stephanie McMahon was named the first annual recipient of the Vincent J. McMahon Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence. Before she could receive her nepotism trophy which was in no way identical to the one 2K gives out for winning the annual tournament for their shit game she was interrupted by the shocking return of Shane McMahon. The prodigal son would announce that the reason he returned was to pop ratings by taking control of RAW in what was basically grim foreshadowing of things to come. Then Vince came out and the word lockbox was said and before we knew it Shane and Undertaker had a Hell in a Cell booked for WrestleMania that neither man's geriatrician could possibly be ok with.

March
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March started off on a real bummer of a note with the passing of an underrated legend in Eiji Ezaki AKA Hayabusa. He was key in the early days of blending Lucha Libre with Japanese light heavyweight wrestling and creating a fast paced aggressive style that inspired pretty much the entire independent wrestling scene in decades to come. Not only did he popularize moves like the Falcon Arrow and the 450 splash but he also invented moves like the Phoenix Splash. Tragically the career shortening injury which would leave him wheelchair bound for most of his final years lead to a fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage at the all too young age of 47. His influence was seen as everyone from Kalisto to Seth Rollins, Neville, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Kenny Omega, Sami Zayn and both New Japan and WWE as a whole paid their respects.

The 12th annual New Japan Cup filled the first half of the month with amazing matches and concluded with a March 12th show headlined by Hirooki Goto taking on shit-hot shit-heel Tetsuya Naito. Just as the curse bound to Goto by ghosts from the realm of wind and darkness dictates New Japan's samurai once again came up with a loss. Post-match Los Ingobernables offered Goto a spot as a smudge on the bottom of their boots before Okada made the save and this time Goto accepted his handshake. Ultimately though the night belonged to the rising star of Tetsuya Naito who as per usual made it clear he didn't give a shit.

Speaking of not giving a shit: did you know WWE had two Network specials called Roadblock in 2016? You might be mistaken for not remembering it because it almost seems like WWE was unsure of whether or not to save the PPV for December right up to when they were putting the show on. The whole thing seemed non-committal as The New Day retained over Sheamus and Peasant Barrett, The Revival retained over Enzo and Big Cass and Charlotte managed to go without losing a tile and gaining it back on RAW because she was facing Natalya. The show also saw Brock Lesnar beat up the Wyatt Family because apparently it needed to be established that Brock Lesnar is scary and the Wyatts aren't. Still it was a unique use of the Network and we did get to see a good long match between Triple H and Dean Ambrose in which the man of many Hs retained the WWE World heavyweight Championship accomplishing absolutely nothing.

April
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Invasion Attack saw Roppongi Vice win the IWGP Tag Team Titles off Matt Sydal and Ricochet and KUSHIDA defend his Jr Heavyweight title against Will Ospreay in what had to be the best debut of the year. In 15 minutes Ospreay went from somebody the audience knew nothing about to one of their favorite wrestlers. Watching him is like watching a better choreographed Spider-Man film with less believable animation. The main event saw Naito use his New Japan Cup win to challenge Okada. Naito finally capture the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship he's been chasing for years from the company's top ace before promptly tossing is away like a piece of garbage. He might be the most despicable, disrespectful, deplorable moody little piece of shit in wrestling right now. Basically he's the best.

April's also the time of the year wrestling fans look forward to most, the big spectacle, the show everything leads up to...

I'm talking, of course, about the NXT show before WrestleMania. NXT TakeOver: Dallas packed 9,000 people into the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The card featured only five matches but all five were fantastic in their own way. The show had a blazing hot opener with American Alpha finally capturing the NXT Tag Titles from eternal top heel champions The Revival. It's not often such raw emotion comes from a tag match but NXT proved in 2016 that it could do so time and time again. Perhaps the least great match was shoot dick Austin Aries taking on work dick Baron Corbin in a bout that debuted Aries and established Corbin as newly confident and comfortable in the ring. Arguably the most hyped match though was the heart and soul of NXT Sami Zayn returning after seven months of injury to take on the debuting King of Strong Style Shinsuke Nakamura. With all that hype it still seems unreal that they exceeded expectations. Fans chanted for the match to never end. James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch rated it 10 out of 5. As a single standalone wrestling match it might be one of the greatest in history, an absolutely transcendent work of art. It's almost a shame that a match between two talents as good as Asuka and Bayley had to follow it. The crowd was already exhausted but watching the perfect babyface take on an undefeated powerhouse certainly got them back into the show. Bayley is basically what WWE wants their top stars to be, and unbreakable heroic figure that legitimately inspires people. Asuka is a dangerous unstoppable force of nature and the inevitable conclusion of seeing the empress of tomorrow choke out Bayley still managed to stun the crowd. In the main event NXT Champion Finn Balor came dressed as Leatherface but it was Samoa Joe who proved to be the terrifying monster. After being busted open early a screaming violent Joe terrorized the screen with piercing glares straight out of a horror film. Balor just barely escaped the dreaded Coquina Clutch with a Bret Hart-esque kick off the turnbuckle into a Shiranui pin for a narrow victory that left Balor trying to catch his breath.

Then Samoa Joe became NXT Champion on a random house show.

WrestleMania 32 also happened in April in front of a disputed 101,763 people in the AT&T Stadium. It was in just about every way the opposite of NXT with a massively inflated budget, loads of filler and a run time of roughly seven semesters. The show opened with Kalisto taking on Ryback in front f a crowd still taking the ski lift to the top of an arena so large it looks like it curves back inward in the background of in-ring shots. Team Total Divas beat all the women heels in a 10 minute 10 Diva tag match when Brie Bella locked on the her husband's finisher for the last win of her career even if she does come back. In a feel good moment Zack Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match against four of WWE's best midcard wrestlers and Sin Cara. He would lose it the next night to The Miz but still, it was fun for 24 hours to pretend Vince McMahon was going to give Ryder's fans something satisfying. Chris Jericho and AJ Styles had a good match, part of a series of good matches. The League of Nations beat The New Day in what was somehow not a Tag Title match at the biggest show of the year. That would of course be invalidated by The New Day beating them the next night on a free TV title defense. Brock Lesnar sleepwalked through Dean Ambrose trying to drag a good match out of him. A lunatic taking on “The Beast Incarnate” shouldn't be that boring. After a set of WrestleMania main event worthy entrances Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks to become the first WWE Women's Champion. The shift from the term Divas marked the final nail in the coffin for the days when anyone without a Y chromosome would be automatically relegated to a five minute match filled with hair pulling and cat fight slaps. Now that just happens to the undercard. Equality! The build for The Undertaker and Shane McMahon culminated in Simba leaping off the Hell in a Cell through a conveniently placed announce table themed air mattress. Taker dragged the limp body of the boss' son to a pin but once again the result was negated the next night on RAW when Vince McMahon's heart grew three sizes and he decided to let Shane run the show anyway. That might have actually been a cardiovascular problem due to anabolic steroid abuse though. The second annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal saw Baron Corbin debut and win by eliminating Kane to claim his throne as the new tall guy who shows up to ruin things. WrestleMania 32 was also the show where Erick Rowan faced The Rock in a match that went on after all of that. It was only six seconds long but still The Rock looked sweaty and blown up after a single move. It's weird how this show of all shows has me alleging that some of these wrestlers might not have completely natural physiques. Luckily the main event was between the completely natural Roman Reigns and Triple H. After years of false starts and a Stephanie McMahon wetmare the record breaking crowd was properly primed to fucking hate Roman Reigns' big title win. It was the unsatisfying conclusion to a show that was long enough to give me an existential crisis.

The rest of the month was filled with big debuts. Baron Corbin made his proper main roster debut going to a double countout with Dolph Ziggler. Apollo Crews, Enzo Amore and Big Cass all showed up on the RAW after WrestleMania. The next week Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson debuted by attacking The Usos in a dominant display of nothing to come for the bald Bullet Club baddies.

April was also the month Chyna passed away. Her life since leaving WWE in 2001 was filled with substance abuse, bitter shoot videos and pornography turned bitter shoot videos. It was clear to everybody she was in a bad way. The Ninth Wonder of the World was found dead on the 20th at her California home of an accidental overdose of alcohol, diazepam, nordazepam, oxycodone, oxymorphone and temazepam. It's hard to tell if the physical damages or the mental ones more lead to her dependency issues. Her funeral was attended by hundreds of fans and friends and her brain was donated to study the effects of CTE. Hopefully the wrestling world can learn from her death to better take care of its performers both before and after they've left the spotlight.


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never diehailtothekaleReynoldsAJRLnrt87Matev
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Posts

  • ReynoldsReynolds Last Good Brother Mobile, ALRegistered User regular
    edited January 30
    Dex Dynamo wrote: »
    as it stands now

    the main event of wrestlemania

    is randy orton vs. john cena for the wwe championship.

    This is straight up the same shit as when they had that last big mess, with the two belts before they unified them. No idea what to do with these, give them to Randy, then Cena, then have Randy vs Cena #127.

    Reynolds on
  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    May
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    Despite all of our pleas 2016 kept rolling on with May and in early May WWE held Payback a show that was primarily memorable for featuring a terrifying injury of Enzo Amore wherein the certified G necked himself on the bottom rope whiplashing his head into the canvas and dropping his limp and unconscious body onto the floor with no means of protecting himself. It was a freak accident very reminiscent of the one that ended Hayabusa's career or the one that ended Perro Aguayo Jr's life. Not even Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn having a perfect grudge match could quite shake the feelings of dread that we had just witnessed Enzo's career end. Luckily for all of us Enzo would make a speedy recovery.

    Five days later WWE would make a number of roster cuts. Ryback requested that he be taken off TV and was sent home. According to the now legally named Ryback he was in dispute with WWE over whether or not performers should be paid equally regardless of their position on the card which is a conveniently timed stance to take now that he was opening the show instead of being given an opportunity at the main event over guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. WWE more formally released Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter and El Torito. They released Cameron even though she has such a passion for the business that she doesn't know how pinfalls work. She was even wearing her WrestleMania 29 throwback jersey a month ago. Santino Marella's in ring career was done due to neck injury in 2014 so his release was inevitable. The winds of change blew Wade Barrett right out of the wrestling business. Perhaps the biggest shocker was the release of Damien Sandow who was one of the most over acts on the roster despite WWE booking him like it's a secret that he worked there. Throughout 2015 and 2016 Sandow entertained WWE audiences on the undercard and really that's the fireable offense that got him shitcanned. He got over when he wasn't supposed to. I mean what are they going to do? Push him? Market him and make money?

    May wasn't done there either. Near the end of the month Cody Rhodes announced via twitter that he had requested his release from WWE, which was quickly granted. Cody cited frustration with WWE's writing and booking staff, his position with the company and the fact that they wouldn't let him end his Stardust gimmick even after the reception changing passing of Dusty Rhodes in 2015. Rhodes left for the independent scene and would spend the summer months tearing it up in rings around the world for promotions like EVOLVE and PWG. He's even been crowned GFW NEX*GEN Champion which is a bit like having a lot of cryptocurrency nobody uses. Yes spellcheck, cryptocurrency IS SO a real word.

    The show goes on though and two days after Rhodes' departure from the company WWE put on Extreme Rules, the one night of the year where the rules get a little extreme. Rusev beat Kalisto for the US Title by submission in a match where pinfalls, countouts and disqualifications were also viable ways of winning the bout. EXTREME! Then The New Day defeated Simon Gotch and Aiden English to retain their tag titles in a standard tag match. HARDCORE! The Miz also retained in a Fatal 4-Way against Cesaro, Owens and Zayn. ALL UP IN YOUR ASS! Jokes aside there were a couple of actual hardcore matches, the first of which being Dean Ambrose VS Chris Jericho VS the audience's waning attention as it was made clear that they were going to use every single weapon hung around the cage before going to the finish. Props to Jericho for taking a backbump into 69 thumb tacks. Heh, the weed number. Also widely unpopular babyface champion Roman Reigns had arguably the best match of his entire career against AJ Styles in the main event. It was 22 minutes of Styles bringing out the absolute best in Reigns that ended with a victory for Roman that felt well earned for once. It was so good, so endearing for Roman that I've got to imagine Vince McMahon was against it and actively fought it the entire time people were pitching it to him.

    June
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    The Best of the Super Jrs tournament bridged the gap between May and June as the round robin tournament set the pace for a summer filled with amazing cruiserweight action. Legends like Gedo and Jushin Thunder Liger took on some of the best the world has to offer in match after match of high flying intense action. Will Ospreay vs Ricochet was actually so unbelievable that it sparked weeks of debate among fans, wrestlers and writers. In the end it came down to Ryusuke Taguchi and Will Ospreay in a match that showed just how great Taguchi could be if he weren't saddled with a largely stale comedy gimmick. It makes sense to give such a prestigious win to Ospreay. New Japan was in dire need of fresh talent in 2016 and Ospreay is more talented at pulling off death defying aerial stunts than eight acrobats glued together.

    Elsewhere in the land of the rising talent pool Michael Elgin became IWGP Intercontinental Champion at Dominion 6/19 in Osaka-jo Hall which took place on 6/19 in Osaka-jo Hall. So in conclusion, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, 1 the lowest, and 5 average, I give it a 9. That wasn't the only title change of the night though as Shibata continued his journey to end Japan's age gap by killing all the old people when he beat Nagata for the NEVER Openweight Championship. In the main event Kazuchika Okada regained the IWGP Heavyweight title. It wasn't like Naito simply took the loss though as he proved he could hang with New Japan's top aces, even kicking out of the Rainmaker, something only previously accomplished by Tanahashi. It actually took three consecutive Rainmakers to finally get the leader of Los Ingobernables De Japon to stay down. I wonder if that means Okada donates to pediatric cancer research in triplicate...

    NXT TakeOver: The End AKA NXT TakeOver: The End...of the Beginning AKA NXT: Everybody Freak Out About NXT Ending took place on June 8th from the Full Sail Arena. The show saw the debut of former Los Ingobernables leader Andrade “Cien” Almas take on the newly massively over Tye Dillinger in the first of several victories for Cien that would get a somewhat begrudging crowd pop. The Revival regained their NXT Tag Team titles from American Alpha. As if the night weren't bad enough for Gable and Jordan two of those massive fuckers you have to dodge by rolling and stun before attacking lumbered down to the ring and fucked them up while Paul Ellering barked orders and waved around physical proof that print media still exists. Upset by his debut being overshadowed Austin Aries decided to lose to Shinsuke Nakamura. It was actually the longest match of the night going 17 minutes or “a fucking eternity” in being kicked in the head by Shinsuke Nakamura time. Asuka remained undefeated in her title defense against Nia Jax. She actually kicked her so hard Nia got a promotion to the main roster. Speaking of moving up to RAW the main event saw Samoa Joe defeat Finn Balor in NXT's first steel cage match. It might not have been NXT's best show of the year but as usual it stole a lot of the hype surrounding the main roster show it was attached to.

    Yeah, Money In The Bank was kind of bland but it did have three very good matches. Cena and Styles proved that they don't need titles to steal the show. The traditional ladder match saw the unpredictable Dean Ambrose secure the Money in the Bank briefcase which he would cash in on Seth Rollins after Rollins had just defeated Roman Reigns in the main event. It was the conclusion to a years long story of Seth Rollins betraying his former Shield partners and finally getting his comeuppance in an ironic echo of his WrestleMania cash-in. Masterful storyteling well crafted and executed.

    July
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    Matt Hardy's a special brand of weird. As the less popular Hardy's career hit the rocks he tried a lot of things to re-invent himself. He flipped between heel and sympathetic face retiring due to injuries then heel again by not retiring. He turned on Jeff several more times. He even restarted the Hardys' old backyard fed OMEGA. Actually all of that sort of happened again all at once in 2016 when one of the many feuds between Matt and Jeff finally broke Hardy. Broken Matt Hardy began talking with an inexplicable British-ish accent, walk around with a bit of his hair dyed blonde and act obsessed with “deleting” his brother. What it lead to was a bizarre cross between DDT's campsite outdoors matches and D-Movie fare like Birdemic dubbed The Final Deletion. It's a strangely captivating low budget home movie aired on television. Impact featuring something that's awful on purpose, that's self aware of how bad it is, was a welcome change from being awful on accident. It doesn't do shit to solve any of that company's financial problems but we all had a laugh before they drove the gimmick into the ground.

    Fans often suggest reviving old ideas to make WWE great again. A lot of people ask for a return to the Attitude Era or incorporating WCW ideas like WarGames. It was a bit of shock though that of all the nostalgia WWE could have pulled from in 2016 they decided to commit to the years long booking decision that is the brand split. Fans who suffered through the last brand extension might remember how it started with a fantastic more than a year long run where Smackdown was lead by Paul Heyman. Heyman and his team saved the show from cancellation, showed how exciting cruiserweights could be, created stars like John Cena and Brock Lesnar and solidified the careers of the Smackdown Six all while carving out a unique identity from RAW. Upset that the B-Show was constantly outdoing the McMahon heavy RAW WWE took the first excuse possible to sack Heyman and the brand extension lumbered on for another seven years. It was seven of the dullest years in WWE history as the rosters were stretched thin and each brand basically revolved around feeding a series of opponents to the shovel God. Luckily this brand split is totally different. Sure RAW's a bit of the same old dull McMahon heavy show but Smackdown's being booked by a creative visionary who has experience running a smaller more cutting edge brand. It's great and it's going to last forever.

    One of the best things about the brand split was that it forced WWE to debut a bunch of NXT stars. Finn Balor was one of the top draft picks for RAW and on July 24th at Battleground Bayley debuted kinda. WWE was sure to let the audience know this wasn't a permanent thing so don't get too attached to the likable young woman who literally goes around attaching herself to people. Speaking of things that are never coming back, the fight cloud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens rolled to an 18 minute conclusion with Sami Zayn standing the victor. In jobber news Zack Ryder failed to capture Rusev's US title and Darren Young failed to win the Intercontinental title in a double disqualification so confusing Bob Backlund forgot how shirts work. Just because no titles changed hands doesn't mean the show was uneventful though. 2016 felt like a series finale for reality and all the stops were being pulled out. That means we finally got that Shield triple threat we've wanted for years. Ambrose and Rollins powerbombed Reigns through a broadcast table. Rollins hit a Pedigree and a turnbuckle powerbomb on Reigns. Roman still shrugged it all off and hit a Superman Punch and a Spear on Rollins before being hit with a Dirty Deeds by Ambrose in a finish that was spoiled six sentences ago by me.

    Smackdown draft Dean Ambrose retaining his WWE Championship left a belt designed specifically for The Rock shaped hole in RAW. Thus RAW commissioner Stephanie McMahon and GM Mick Foley created the WWE Everything That Exists Has Existed or Ever Will Exist According To Our Current Understanding of Spacetime Championship, later shortened to WWE Universal Championship.

    That RAW following BattleGround was actually pretty important looking back. Even the squash matches. In previous weeks enhancement talent had been brought out to be quickly murdered by Braun Strowman but none gained the cult following of James Ellsworth, a meek but enthusiastic bird looking man who declare that “any man with two hands has a fighting chance.” He did not have a fighting chance. Still the beating he took and the way he took it garnered such sympathy that he was soon traveling around with WWE before eventually being signed to SmackDown. Sasha Banks won her first WWE Women's Championship in a moment that probably should have happened on the previous night's Pay Per View instead of free TV. The biggest shock however had to be newly moved up Finn Balor defeating Roman Reigns to advance to qualify for the WWE Universal Championship Match at Summerslam. Following multiple blown opportunities, the most recent of which was a failed wellness violation, Roman Reigns was starting to look less strong, which is to say not invulnerable. It looked to be that WWE would be retooling Reigns for a more upper-midcard role that would hopefully rejuvenate his career and giving a big win to a new guy like Balor was a smart move. Well, glad to see that whole Roman Reigns being overpushed thing is behind us forever...

    August
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    Up until August 2016 was merely a good year for wrestling, but that was about to change with a series of memorable tournaments.

    Japan's Super J-Cup is perhaps the origin of a lot of what we celebrate as modern day professional wrestling. The tournament originally conceived by Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger was a showcase for junior heavyweights from around the world such as Eddie Guerrero, Taka Michinoku, Gedo, Dean Malenko, Hayabusa, and The Great Sasuke. It was one of the best wrestling tournaments ever. After seven years of hiatus New Japan decided to bring it back and while it had nowhere near the star power it did feature fantastic matches between Will Osperay and #1 weed boy Matt Sydal and a fantastic finale which saw KUSHIDA defeat Yoshinobu Kanemaru. It shouldn't be that big of a surprise that the tournament underwhelmed compared to previous years as the whole thing was a bit of a slapdash response. The thing it was responding to...well that's another story.

    The Cruiserweight Classic is WWE's answer to the Best of the Super Juniors. Competitors from around the world weighing under 205 kayfabe pounds took part in qualifying matches in various promotions from around the world. Revolution Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling and Evolve fielded the majority of the 32 men entered into a single elimination bracket. It was night after night of fresh talent putting on matches in front of a ravenous crowd with Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo doing commentary. Everyone got over, even Ho Ho Lun, and he learned to wrestle from low framerate gifs. The only real disappointment was that some of the biggest stars didn't sign a WWE contract, most notably Kota Ibushi who is contractually obliged to be as weird as possible by Kota Ibushi. The finals came down to underused CMLL and New Japan workhorse Gran Metalik and relatable fellow child T.J. Perkins. While Perkins would win the tournament and become the first ever Cruiserweight Champion that wasn't even the end of the good news as the majority of the competitors received WWE contracts.

    The Grand One Climax returns! Drawing standing room only crowds, record gates and attention from mainstream Japanese sports publications in Tokyo, the G1 round robin tournament took place from July 18th through August 14th. Going into 2016's tournament after having several top talents leave nobody expected it to live up to the expectations of recent years. There were confusing decisions such as Bad Luck Fale going on a wining streak including a win over IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada and Yuji Nagata defeating white hot shitheel Tetsuya Naito. The thing about the G1's booking though is that it's a puzzle built upside down and when you flip it over it's a picture of Gedo laughing at you. Everything clicked together in the end with Kenny Omega defeating Naito in a fantastic semi-final match and wrapped the night up with what can basically be described as the heel version of the speech from the end of Rocky 4. The big shocker however was when he beat A block winner and forever runner up Hirooki Goto in the finals with a MegaMan-esque medley of special moves learned from past opponents. Kenny Omega went from being under the weight limit to even be in the tournament to the first ever gaijin winner of the G1. It was such a surprise that Omega didn't even know about it until the night before. Unlike the Super J Cup, which was wrapping up at the same time, this was a much more deliberate strike at the west by New Japan. Buzz surrounding the tournament was at an all time high in North America.

    At this point August was getting a building a ridiculous backlog. Dedicated fans who wanted to watch everything good had to squeeze 30 hours of programming into a day. As if three tournaments wasn't enough WWE decided to cram two fantastic Pay-Per-Views into a single weekend.

    NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II returned to the Barclays Center and drew a crowd of 15,671 people. Austin Aries made No Way Jose switch from rumba to tapping. Ember Moon made short work of Billie Kay. Bobby Roode beat the face push out of Andrade Almas. The Revival apparently watched the Cruiserweight Classic as they targeted the knee of Johnny Gargano to retrain their Tag Titles against #DIY. I bet they share an account the dirty heels. Asuka defeated Bayley in a 14 minute farewell to NXT's huggable heart and soul. Images of the crowd giving her a heartwarming standing ovation lead perfectly into the angry visage of Samoa Joe probably screaming William Regal's name like a dozen Samoan ghosts stuffed into a fat suit. His challenger, Shinsuke Nakamura, entered to live violin music and walked out with the NXT Championship after a total war ending with a third Kinshasha. It was a bombastic celebratory coronation of a new king. It's hard to look at Nakamura and not understand how we used to just let the most charismatic people make all our laws until they died.

    The following night Summerslam was determined to not repeat the mistakes of every main roster show following an NXT Pay-Per-View. It was such a spectacle that there were three matches on the pre-show alone, the last of which was the first of a best of seven series between Sheamus and Cesaro, an official part of their previous unrecognized best of 83 series. On the main show Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks, starting a chain of hot potato title changes between the two. Summerslam's always been a WrestleMania where the heels win. The Miz beat Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Championship thanks to intervention from Maryse. AJ Styles defeated John Cena soundly. The Club beat The New Day by disqualification. At least Dean Ambrose beat shitheel Dolph Ziggler for the WWE World Championship. That would be the main event normally but WWE had to crown a new Universal Champion. The biggest heel in that match was actually the belt which originally looked like somebody had pulled a bus out of lake and dyed the seat leather red. Since Seth Rollins had a catastrophic moment bucklebombing Sting the previous year he decided to try it safely into the rounded bit of the metal barricade on the outside of the ring. Balor, not wanting to be concussed, braced his fall with his arm which buckled and brand split itself out of his shoulder socket. In a gutsy show of heart Balor completed the match becoming the first ever WWE Universal Champion.

    The injuries weren't done there for the night though. The main event which surprisingly lasted nearly 12 minutes will mostly be remembered for the final moments which saw Brock Lesnar elbow a crater into Randy Orton's forehead for a technical knockout. It was a bit surprising really as the normal policy is to avoid blading at all costs so subverting that by risking concussing one of WWE's biggest names to bust him open the hard way seems stupid. Fan opinion on Lesnar wasn't great going into Summerslam bit this finish legitimately angered people uncomfortable with watching one man consent to having his face ripped off by a pinkish albino Hulk monster.

    On a much happier note the following night's RAW featured the main roster debut of Bayley and so far WWE hasn't even horribly screwed up by treating her how they usually treat women. And while Finn Balor having to relinquish his newly won WWE Universal Heavyweight Championship was unfortunate it lead to Kevin Owens stepping up to become the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion by the time Smackdown was done airing.

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  • WeedLordVegetaWeedLordVegeta Registered User regular
    Overall that rumble was the best one in several years, great ppv around it too

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  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    September
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    WWE and New Japan weren't the only companies having five star matches and blow away tournaments in 2016. PWG's Battle of Los Angeles marked the company's first Dave Meltzer five star rated match. The tournament which featued basically ever top North American indie wrestler that would be part of ROH if ROH had their shit together and several Lucha Underground stars put on three nights of fantastic action culminating in a bout between UK imports Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay and Carolina domestic Trevor Lee. The five star match wasn't even part of the tournament as night two featured the dream team of Ricochet, Matt Sydal and Will Ospreay taking on the team of Adam Cole and The Young Bucks. Now that it's 2017 you can even buy the DVD and watch it for yourself.

    Over in Japan the Bullet Club Hunter Yoshi atsu found the one guy lower on the totem pole than he was and picked on him like you did in 6th grade. Captain New Japan was the tag partner and target of Tatsu's twitter poll asking if the perennial loser should be kicked out of their two person stable. This combined with the frustration of years of losing lead to Captain New Japan turning on Tatusu and joining the Bullet Club. The man now known as Bone Soldier has a finisher called Bone Soldier and we only know that because he's in a feud with the only guy on the roster capable of losing to him. God help us.

    New Japan aired a trio of shows under the unfortunately named Destruction series name in late September. Destruction in Tokyo was headlined by KUSHIDA making his sixth defense of the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship against BUSHI and not only the rest of Los Ingobernables de Japon but also a new one all of whom helped end KUSHIDA's title reign. The next night saw Kenny Omega defend his Heavyweight Championship opportunity against Yoshi-Hashi before telling a challenging Hirooki Goto to Goto hell. In the main event of Destruction in Kobe Tetsuya Naito defeated Michael Elgin to capture the IWGP Intercontinental Championship after interference and counter-interference from both sides of the LIJ/NJPW war. The Intercontinental title might seem like a step down for Naito but it provided him a refreshing opportunity to fuck with Tanahashi.

    Speaking of not caring: Alberto Del Rio. Yeah there's not much mention of Del Rio in the pages and pages I've written so far because he spent most of the year stuck in one lame angle after another. It was becoming obvious that the entire reason for hiring him back was to extinguish the passionate anti-WWE anti-racism folk hero he'd become since returning to Mexico. By the time he was having his second lackluster match with Kalisto it was obvious it worked. If you can't get Del Rio excited to beat up a much smaller masked wrestler you've truly broken him. WWE splitting him up from his new girlfriend Page with the draft was seemingly the last straw. By the end of September he was asking for his release from the company, and since he's seemingly one of two or three people who realize how imaginary Vince McMahon's contracts are he got it. Bert's life was soon spiraling out of control as he was seemingly only being booked in police reports of public shouting matches and he started no-showing events. It doesn't help concerns that he seemingly dragged Page along with him, proposing to her in front of a small gymnasium full of people who must have been confused as shit if they hadn't been watching WWE for the past month.

    Crushing a man's spirit is just a typical Tuesday for WWE and so the show carried on with Backlash on September 11th. The show kicked off by crowning Becky Lynch the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion. The Miz retained his Intercontinental Championship over Dolph Ziggler in an escapist wish fulfillment in which shit-heel sexist right wingers lose in 2016. The team of Rhyno and somehow I'm not kidding, Heath Slater defeated the Usos to become the first ever SmackDown Tag Team Champions. The unlikely pair winning the titles culminated a weeks long storyline where Slater was literally fighting to be signed to either brand, a story the gave new life to the eternal jobber and made the prospect of him getting a pinfall something fans could believe in. In the main event Dean Ambrose looked to defend his title against the phenomenal AJ Styles. Despite two Calf Crushers and a well executed 450 splash the Kingpin of the WWE not only stayed in the match but fought back. Ambrose threw Styles into the crowd and dove off the announce table after him, officially starting the trend of adding too many people to commentary. He was about the put the match away with a Dirty Deeds but Styles countered by backing him into a ref bump so he could freely kick Ambrose in his lunatic meat bridge. One Styles clash later and Styles' ascent to the top of the card was made official adding the WWE Championship to a long list of world championships the former IWA, NWA, PWG, and IWGP Heavyweight Champion has held.

    Part of the problem with the brand split is that we were now facing a world of twice as many Pay-Per-View events for WWE. Thus Spetember 25th saw Clash of Champions emanate from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Indiana. RAW stuck with their plan of offering nothing of change on their paid shows. The New Day defeated Gallows and Anderson again. TJ Perkins beat Brian Kendrick to retain his Cruiserweight Championship. Charlotte retained her title over Sasha Banks and the newly debuted Bayley. Even the final match of the Cesaro/Sheamus rivalry went to a draw. The only title change actually happened in the United States Championship match when universally beloved underdog hero and best member of The Shield Roman Reigns defeated Rusev, whose first name is unknown. The highlight of the match came when Lana pulled the referee out of the ring to prevent a count like she was Arn Anderson. Thanks to interference from Chris Jericho Kevin Owens held onto the Universal Championship.

    October
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    In order to get out of the way of the second Presidential debate WWE opted to put the triple threat match for the WWE Championship on first at No Mercy. AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena, Dean Ambrose and the waning interest of an audience of millions WWE was worried might tune out to watch the much less artful slugfest of the second Presidential debate. October was also the start of the Nikki Bella/Carmella feud as the Staten Island Princess revealed that she'd been evil all along you just didn't know about it. Lack of motivation aside Carmella's been a great heel pest for Nikki. Heath Slater and Rhyno, but mostly Rhyno, defended their tag titles against The Usos. In what should have been the main event Dolph Ziggler, who had put his career on the line, managed to defeat The Miz and the ghosts of gimmicks past as to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was a blowaway nearly 20 minute match that stole the show and in typical WWE fashion it was followed with a crowd killing match in which #1 contender Alexa Bliss lost to Naomi in five minutes with no build. From there the show confusedly stumbled to an end as the long and unintentionally funny feud between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt seemingly culminated in the return of Luke Harper returning via teleportation.

    Spooky scary October also featured Hell in a Cell, a show almost not headlined by Sasha Banks and Charlotte. Mick Foley walked back previous claims on social media, stating that there are a lot of ways to determine a main event trying to convince fans that it's not necessarily the match that goes on last. The only match that couldn't by any measure be considered a main event was the pre-show match which saw Cedric Alexander, Lince dorado and Sin Cara defeat Tony Nese, Drew Gulk and Ariya Daivari in a grim portent of crowd reactions to come. I bet Vince McMahon could make an argument that Roman Reigns defeating Rusev for the United States Championship in a Hell in a Cell could have been the main event. It was the longest match on the show. My main event was Kevin Owens defeating Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell because I like it when the WWE Universal Championship goes on in the middle of the show for no good reason. That was of course followed by the main event of Brian Kendrick failing to win the Cruiserweight title off TJ Perkins even though he asked Perkins to lose real nicely. What a hair gelled 8-bit prick. In yet another main event Sheamus and Cesaro ended the now historic 483 day Raw Tag Team Championship reign conveniently right after that record was set. Speaking of history the real main event featured Sahsa Banks and Charlotte in the first women's Hell in a Cell despite old man Foley's grim warnings that the demoic structure is full of ghosts. The danger was real as before the match Charlotte leveled banks with a Powerbomb off the side of the cell through the broadcast table. Refusing to be stretchered out Sasha soldiered on only to get monkey flipped into the cell wall, sidewalk slammed onto a chair and put in the Figure Eight. Banks countered this hold with chair shots. In the end Banks' powerbomb through a table was blocked and it was Charlotte who almost threw Sasha through a table. The first main event women's Japanese table spot. Truly historyic. One Natural Selection later and Charlotte's undefeated on Pay-Per-View streak continued as she recaptured the Women's Championship.

    October also saw Smashing Pumpkins frontman and hairless albino garbage bag Billy Corgan lose his lawsuit to take legal ownership of a company that has never been profitable. Corgan had actually given the company three large loans with the understanding that he would gain control of the company should it be insolvent. Unfortunately for him the judged ruled that Corgan failed to meet the burden of proof. All things being told it really seems like he dodged a bullet with that one.

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  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Here comes a new challenger! Winky face ;)Registered User regular
    I cannot imagine a more boring match for Mania than Orton vs. Cena

    Wait yes I can

    Orton vs. literally anyone

    This blows

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  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    November
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    It's seemingly impossible to recap 2016 and not mention the WWE Hall of Famer and orange racist who ran for President. No, the other one. Unlike most politicians Donald Trump self financed a political campaign which he claimed would mean he isn't beholden to the interests of major corporate donors. Late in his campaign he began talking about “draining the swamp” to signal to his voters that he would fight systemic corruption. Like most politicians he was lying. In fact the vast majority of his campaign was financed by a parade of swamp monsters who Trump promptly appointed to positions of power that regulate their own business interests at the expense of pretty much everything else. The third largest backer of Trump's campaign was actually WWE co-founder and haunted marble statue Linda McMahon. As a result the new leader of the Small Business Administration is somebody who built an empire on crushing small business and exploiting employees deemed “independent contractors.” Normally this sort of crony capitalism leads to the person appointed acting in favor of their own business interests so it'll be uniquely infuriating to see how a carny handles it.

    Let's talk instead about a country that has absolutely no political problems as far as I have the energy to make myself aware of this year: Japan.

    Over in Japan the Super Junior Tag Tournament was taking place. The eight team tournament had built to a showdown beteeen ACH and Pro Wrestling NOAH's Taiji Ishimori taking on Roppongi Vice. The finals took place at November 5th's Power Struggle in Osaka. In a booking decision that shouldn't surprise anybody it was the team of outsiders taking the loss as ACH was hit wit ha Strong Zero for the pin. Following the match Rocky Romero challenged The Young Bucks for their Jr Heavyweight Tag titles at WrestleKingdom. Speaking of building toward 2017 the show also saw KUSHIDA Hoverboard Lock Los Ingobernables member and Suda 51 hallucination Bushi to regain the IWGP Jun Heavyweight Championship. Following the match the “time bomb” counter which had been appearing at random on New Japan shows in 2016 began its final count. Since fans had suspected it had to do with Minoru Suzuki I'm sure KUSHIDA was running through his strategies for fighting off being eaten by an ogre when it was revealed to be a returning Hiromu Takahashi wearing the world's greatest denim jacket. Los Ingobernables continued to gain in influence as EVIL defeated Katsuyori Shibata to grab the NEVER Openweight Championship for about 10 days before losing it back. Ok, not everything built toward January 4th. That said the show was headlined by Tetsuya Niato defeating Jay Lethal to retain the IC title.

    Back in the states NXT held its first big show in Canada. Once again the show was kept to a tight five match schedule but each match was built up as being important. Bobby Roode hit a glorious Lifting DDT on Tye Dillinger to end their grudge match over Roode leaving Dillinger to be attacked by the debuting Sanity during the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The finals of that tournament actually went on next with The Authors of Pain defeating TM-61 despite the fact that Paul Ellering was suspended in a steel cage above the ring. This is opposed to the usual set of circumstances that has Paul Ellering suspended in a rift in time to the 1980s. The longest and easily the best match of the night saw #DIY finally, after months of build, defeat the Revival in a two-out-of-three falls tag match. It all came to a picture perfect close as the Gargano Escape was applied to Dash and an armbar was applied to Dawson leading the top guys to be simultanious tap guys. WWE would actually go on to name it as match of the year, though it was on their own website so there's a bit of a bias. Fucking fake news. Following that Asuka had an a fantastic title defense against the returning Mickie James. Really looking back on that Mickie's return was underrated for how somebody should handle coming back to the ring after years away, but more on that later. The main event now saw Shinsuke Nakamura enter to not one violinist but a whole group of them. It was befitting to have a string section for scoring such an epic war. During the match Joe attempted a muscle buster and was countered with a pair of skull fracturing Kinshasas. Like the Frankenstein monster he is Joe sprung up from death with a Coquina clutch. Nakamura escaped but this lead to a German Suplex, a Dragon Suplex and an X-plex in combination. Joe calls it the Chimera Plex but that's like calling the smoke grenade attacks on Standing Rock protesters that were going on a fireworks show. One last attempted Kinshasha was countered with the much less technical dick punch which lead to a side slam on the unforgiving steel steps forged in the vacuum of a black hole. Nakamura was all but done for as those sorts of attacks are actually protected in NXT. This gave Joe the opportunity to finally hit the Muscle Buster he'd attempted at the start of the match free of any knees to the skull and at the end of the show it was Samoa Joe becoming NXT Champion for an unprecedented second time.

    NXT has now had 13 shows and all of them have been great and all of them precede a main roster show. Actually these days it's more like the main roster show has to follow NXT.

    Fantasy warfare got real at Survivor Series in front of 17,143 people in the Air Canada Center. Team RAW's women defeated team SmackDown's women after Nikki Bella was found unconscious backstage covered in cat hairs and Jim Neidhardt merchandise. That's of course a joke. There is no Jim Neidhardt merchendise. It was a total mystery who could have done it. Probably Carmella. In the lead up to this brand split showdown Mick Foley convinced everybody to give Sami Zayn an Intercontinental Championship match against the Miz in exchange for RAW putting the WWE Cruiserweight Championship up against Smackdown's Kalisto with not only the purple strap on the line but also the entire cruiserweight division. It is a bit concerning now that I think of it that an entire division of wrestlers was treated like a softball trophy. Most people expected this to be a trade-off with RAW getting the once historically significant Intercontinental Championship and Smackdown getting a set of wrestlers they can make better use of, who fit in with a lot of their existing roster. Well, joke's on you asshole because both titles were defended successfully and nothing of consequence happened. In order to sell the four and a half month old eternal rivalry between RAW and Smackdown each brand fielded a team for a traditional 5 on 5 Survivor Series match. Actually the blood pact Vince McMahon signed with Satan to kill Starcade legally requires at least one 5 on 5 men's match as a sacrifice. The show's main event grudge match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar ended in less time than it took you to read this paragraph. The match mostly consisted of Brock Lesnar bouncing around Goldberg, a guy who wasn't the best wrestler at his peak and was now called out of years of retirement on short notice. Now, some might argue that the person to end Lesnar's years long reign as the secret unlockable boss of WWE should have been a full time guy. Unfortunately at least one of them said that right after winning an evil genie's deadly fighting tournament because the following night on RAW Goldberg announced he would be staying around to compete in the Royal Rumble.

    December
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    By December everybody was fucking sick of 2016's bullshit.

    The prodding between WWE and New Japan became a bit more blatant as NXT held a live event in Osaka taped for the network. The main event of the show featured Shinsuke Nakamura regaining the NXT Championship from Samoa Joe. It wasn't their best match but it was good enough that they showed it twice in December.

    Smackdown's next brand exclusive Pay-Per-View TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs drew 15,359 people into the American Airlines Center. The show kicked off with Bray Wyatt and the still somehow not turning on him Randy Orton defeating Heath Slater and Rhyno thanks to Luke Harper diving in front of a Gore. Actually I think it might have just been Harper taking the opportunity to shove Randy Orton over that a lot of people who have had to put up with the primadonna hope for. The show also saw Nikki Bella helpfully extinguish the Carmella's heat before performing the Rack Attack 2.0 to win their No Disqualification match. After the match a disheveled Carmella would reveal that it was Natalya who attacked Nikki to the surprise of nobody. After that The Miz faced Dolph Ziggler in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Constant working over of the leg including a Figure Four with Ziggler's leg trapped in the ladder couldn't keep Adolph Ziggler from hobbling up the ladder. Miz tired powerbombing him onto a ladder wedged in the corner but even that didn't work. That's when Miz unleashed his cunning plan...punch him in the balls...twice. Being the fourth match on the card, and a chairs match at that, Kalisto VS Baron Corbin should have been a plodding disaster but it was honestly the best Corbin's ever looked. There were so many creative setups for powerbombing people through chairs, catching Kalisto with the End of Days and hitting another one into a pile of chairs for the win that Corbin probably had to fight back the urge to yell “go back to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla” at himself. Becky Lynch had an interesting problem defending her SmackDown Women's Championship against Alexa Bliss as it was a tables match and Bliss weighs less than a table. It was more likely she'd break Alexa in half by throwing the table through her. Thanks to Bliss's gynmanastics background though she was able to perform a floor routine that saw some improvised toumbling from Becky Lynch ending up as a powerbomb through a table.

    The main event of the show was AJ Styles defending the WWE World Championship against Dean Ambrose in a what was advertised as a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Instead fans were witness to an absolute war. Styles attempted to suplex Ambrose through a set of chairs but had it reversed on him. The bump was so rough it ripped AJ a new asshole. Dean dropped an elbow through an announcer's table from a ladder set up on top of another announcer's table. Styles hit a Springboard 450 Splash to the outside through a table. It was like they were daring twitter accounts to get banned for posting gifs. Then, as was the theme of the year, James Ellsworth injected himself into the proceedings. Ellsworth provided a distracting soft torso for Styles to punch allowing Amrborse to perform Dirty Deeds on the ring steps. As Ambrose was moments away from retrieving the belt before in a confounding swerve Ellsworth pushed the ladder over causing Ambrose to fall to the outside of the ring through a set of tables. As AJ Styles pulled down the belt the camera cut over to Dean Ambrose looking shocked, or glazed over or comfortably napping with his eyes open. It's hard to tell really. After years of being in CZW falling off a ladder through a splintered mess of tables must be napping on an old couch for him.

    Cody Rhodes was enjoying his new freedom appearing on episodes of Impact and GFW but he also showed wrestled in places where people would see. Vignettes aired on New Japan World of a dapper looking Rhodes sitting in a smokey darkened room in a fancy leather chair. The American Nightmare, and really how had WWE never thought of that nickname, was revealed to be yet another member of the Bullet Club and it was announced he'd be making his NJPW debut at WrestleKingdom.

    At this point we were rapidly nearing the finish line of 2016 but before we could escape there was one last Roadblock. WWE Roadblock: End of the Line took place in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on December 18th. For some reason Enzo and Cass were being wasted in an Vince McMahon's Vince McMandatory self insert hits on Lana angle that plagued Ziggler in previous years. This meant that Rusev was stuck on the pre-show as well in a match that ended in a count out victory for the Bulgarian Brute. The show itself kicked off with The New Day taking on Sheamus and Cesaro to continue their record setting reign at 483 days. Fans suspected that with that record broken The New Day's historic title reign would come to an end soon but WWE wasted no time as thanks to a tricky fake tag Sheamus was able to sneak in a rollup pin on Kofi. Sami Zayn faced Braun Strowman for a 10 minute babysitting job as the underdog from the underground was tasked with putting on a display of every method of selling he can think of to keep things interesting. About four minutes in Mick Foley appeared at ringside with a towel, presumably to either forfeit the match for Sami or to use to mop him up off the mats at ringside. Zayn tossed the towel into the crowd losing the company hundreds of dollars in WWE.com auction money. In the closing moments of the match Zayn fired up and gained his heat back with a Helluva Kick before time expired. Seth Rollins faced Chris Jericho in a match that ended with Kevin Owens coming out of the distraction leading to a near fall and an argument with Jericho and a real fall following a Pedigree by Rollins. Rich Swann defended his recently won Cruiserweight Championship against TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick. The match was an amazing display of athleticism and storytelling the crowd didn't give a single shit about. After Kendrick was removed from the match by a double Superkick Swann smacked the hair gel out of Perkins wit ha Spin Kick loud enough to wake the crowd up for the finish. The big moment of the match was Neville returning to attack Swann and Perkins all while looking like the world's most pissed off elf. Sasha Banks defended the Raw Women's Championship against Charlotte in a 30 minute Iron Man match at a Pay-Per-View, which meant she lost. The match actually went ot sudden death and after four minutes Charlotte was able to make Sasha tap to the Figure eight Leglock to win 3-2. This was her fourth title reign in the less than a year the title's existed. I know WWE wants to give her a record of title reigns similar to her father but that also means a record of title loses and some of those Russo era WCW reigns were about a week long. Main event time came around and at this point it was looking like Kevin Owens wouldn't have the support of Chris Jericho. This was bad news for Kevin as Roman survived a quadrillogy of Frog Splashes, two off the barricade and one through the announce table. He even managed to get a foot on the rope after being wiped out with the Pop-up Powerbomb. About 20 minutes into the match Chris Jericho came out and hit Kevin Owens with a Codebreaker, which was actually a sign of friendship as Owens retained via disqualification. Post-match Seth Rollins ran for an impromptu Shield reunion minus Dean Ambrose who was unable to contribute due to being on a bran that respects continuity and character motivations. Still though Roman was able to put his long intense rivalry with Rollins behind him to hit Spears and Pedigrees and Double Powerbombs through the announce tables so...so that was cool.

    December was the month that Dixie Carter was finally brought to justice for her crimes against wrestling. Anthem Sports and Entertainment purchased an 85% majority stake of Toxic Non-Profitable Assets bringing an end to her 14 year reign of terror and instead replacing it with their own unique brand of awful.

    And that's pretty much everything that happened in 2016, a terrifyingly huge horrifying year that confusingly brought us a lot of good stuff. A lot of people lamented that it felt like reality had become a pro wrestling show in 2016 but that's not inherently a bad thing just as much as it's not inherently a good thing. 2016 in wrestling showed us that it's possible to rebuild. It taught us that legends may leave us but that they live on in all the people they've inspired. 2016 rewarded, time and time again, the people that nobody suspected would ever be on top because 2016 proved that power lies not with the people in authority but the people in the crowd.

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  • David_TDavid_T Occasionally wears a hat Copenhagen, DenmarkRegistered User regular
    So it looks like the rumoured WM card was right.
    Bray wins the title at Elimination Chamber, Randy v. Bray at WM
    Reigns v. Undertaker.

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  • Sweeney TomSweeney Tom Registered User regular
    Reigns will fight Undertaker in his last match and win

    WeedLordVegetaBloodsheed
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Here comes a new challenger! Winky face ;)Registered User regular
    Reigns will fight Undertaker in his last match and win

    Good

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  • hailtothekalehailtothekale Registered User regular
    Pwnan, thank you so much for this year in review, I can't wait to read it all.

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  • WeedLordVegetaWeedLordVegeta Registered User regular
    edited January 30
    Randy Orton (Heel Variant) was the best part of Daniel Bryan's WM30 run and is in the conversation for Most Underrated of all time next to guys like Cena and Miz

    WeedLordVegeta on
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  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    I can't believe that write-up was that long despite the fact that once again nothing happened in March.

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  • SproutSprout Registered User regular
    Reigns will fight Undertaker in his last match and win

    I mean, if they do Reigns/Taker then Roman should ABSOLUTELY go over.

    never dieLnrt87Andy Joe
  • BlankzillaBlankzilla KOOKABUNGA LIVES Registered User regular
    I am also super goddamn disappointed that the only real surprise in the Rumble was Tye

    Everyone else was already part of Raw and Smackdown

    Steaaaaaaam All Along The Watchtower: A DCAU Podcast. NEW EPISODE - BONUS EPISODE 4 - Wonder Woman (2009) - June 2nd
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  • David_TDavid_T Occasionally wears a hat Copenhagen, DenmarkRegistered User regular
    David_T wrote: »
    So it looks like the rumoured WM card was right.
    Bray wins the title at Elimination Chamber, Randy v. Bray at WM
    Reigns v. Undertaker.

    The semi-complete Observer-rumoured card was:
    Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
    Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
    Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
    Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
    Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
    Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal
    Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

    With plans still up in the air for guys like Cena, Styles and Strowman, plus the Smackdown ladies.

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  • Masamune42Masamune42 Registered User regular
    Reigns will fight Undertaker in his last match and win

    Good

    On the other hand, in 30 years of watching wrestling I literally cannot think of anything I would like to see less.

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  • hailtothekalehailtothekale Registered User regular
    I can't believe that write-up was that long despite the fact that once again nothing happened in March.

    I mean, that's when Kota Ibushi came back from injury to piledrive Michael Nakazawa into a toilet. But sure, we'll say that not much happened.

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  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien Registered User regular
    I can't believe that write-up was that long despite the fact that once again nothing happened in March.

    I mean, that's when Kota Ibushi came back from injury to piledrive Michael Nakazawa into a toilet. But sure, we'll say that not much happened.

    Look, I wrote a paragraph about Bone Soldier feuding with Yoshi Tatsu. There's only so much I can talk about toilets in a single thread.

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  • Dyvim TvarDyvim Tvar I will see ALL of you in hell but not you, I'll see you in Connecticut! Registered User regular
    Progress Chapter 43: Tropic Thunderbastard was today:
    Mark Andrews won the Thunderbastard, becoming Progress #1 contender. However Jimmy Havoc won by DQ in his match against Pete "At least he's not as grimy as Paul Robinson" Dunne, so I'm predicting another triple threat for the belt at some point.
    Unless the DQ was on account of Swords of Essex interference, in which case I can see Jimmy transitioning away from the feud with British Strong Style to focus on Will and Paul, while Mandrews wins the belt. This gives Jimmy time to be turned back to the dark side and become part of a new Regression with Will and Paul, they can then torture Mandrews for a little while until it's time for Paul Robinson to get his first Progress title win.... >.>

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  • crwthcrwth THAT'S IT Registered User regular
    oh right i forgot about samoseph joseph

    maybe he'll just make a regular debut

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Let it be known that @wirehead26 went the entire last wrestling thread honoring our agreement not to talk about Vince. A couple of times he skirted the rules a bit and was given reminders and warnings, but generally he played fair.

    I have sent him $5 by PayPal as was our original agreement. He has subsequently engaged in other agreements with other individuals for other amounts, from what I'm given to understand are now based on charity donations and he's bound for I think the rest of the year? But that's for others to follow up on.

    I made a wager with him, and he honored it, and I paid out, fair and square.

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  • WeedLordVegetaWeedLordVegeta Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    Let it be known that @wirehead26 went the entire last wrestling thread honoring our agreement not to talk about Vince. A couple of times he skirted the rules a bit and was given reminders and warnings, but generally he played fair.

    I have sent him $5 by PayPal as was our original agreement. He has subsequently engaged in other agreements with other individuals for other amounts, from what I'm given to understand are now based on charity donations and he's bound for I think the rest of the year? But that's for others to follow up on.

    I made a wager with him, and he honored it, and I paid out, fair and square.

    I'm absolutely willing to renegotiate my terms, fwiw
    if wirehead isn't having fun or feels like it crosses a line at any point I'm happy to work something out

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  • XehalusXehalus lofi Registered User regular
    so Randy winning is them also accepting that Smackdown is THE show

    if this ends up with Bray winning the title at Mania

    I am all for it

    JayrichoWhippyLBD_Nytetrayn
  • ReynoldsReynolds Last Good Brother Mobile, ALRegistered User regular
    No surprises besides Tye, everything to do with Brock and Goldberg happened exactly how everyone said it would, nobody was put over except Roman yet again...sigh...

  • David_TDavid_T Occasionally wears a hat Copenhagen, DenmarkRegistered User regular
    Thank goodness I made a deal to be late to work today, otherwise I'd have to be in at 8 AM and it's currently 5 AM. G'night, wrestle-thread, thanks for the Rumbleries.

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  • crwthcrwth THAT'S IT Registered User regular
    i'm actually kind of excited to see a veteran orton vs a veteran cena

    the match was done to death years ago but it's been a long time since they've gone at it

    that is if cena holds past the chamber

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  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    "Oh hey it's been a little while since I've watched wrestling and I wanna catch up, and I'm gonna be in SA for PAX, I'll buy cheap tickets to the Royal Rumble! Everyone is saying it's gonna be great!"

    My soul has been zapped out of my body and ground into a fine paste by Vinnie Mac.

    ReynoldsSchide
  • Johnny ChopsockyJohnny Chopsocky Scootaloo! We have to cook! Grillin' HaysenburgersRegistered User regular
    edited January 30
    Gotta say, that was a genius way to get the crowd to accept Orton winning the Rumble.

    Which means that somebody back there is very very aware of the crowd's reaction to Roman.

    Which begs the question: why's Roman still a face? Let the man heel. He'd be good at it.

    Addendum: pacing-wise, that was probably one of the better Rumbles I've ever watched. There weren't many dead spots like most ones.

    Johnny Chopsocky on
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  • BlankzillaBlankzilla KOOKABUNGA LIVES Registered User regular
    crwth wrote: »
    i'm actually kind of excited to see a veteran orton vs a veteran cena

    the match was done to death years ago but it's been a long time since they've gone at it

    that is if cena holds past the chamber
    I mean you're not wrong that it has been a while but I don't see how Orton and Cena are more veteran than they were 2 or 3 years ago

    I think the match would be perfectly fine to great from a match standpoint but storywise it is boring as all hell to me

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  • BlankzillaBlankzilla KOOKABUNGA LIVES Registered User regular
    edited January 30
    The PPV was super great as a whole, for sure, but man what a bummer that I still haven't gotten to watch a live Rumble that I am excited about coming out of it and really loved without any qualifiers

    Just give me someone actually goddamn exciting or unexpected winning for once

    Blankzilla on
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  • hailtothekalehailtothekale Registered User regular
    I don't know about Orton, but Cena seems pretty revitalized compared to 2013 or so. He's got much more of the "been there, done that, not dealing with your shit" grumpy veteran personality now.

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited January 30
    I was so fucking angry when Roman came out. Like I was yelling to my wife who doesn't watch wrestling who was sitting across the room playing Mass Effect and she was like "yes honey Roman Reigns sucks and is bad you've told me many times" and I'm like hun you don't understand

    Pony on
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  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Here comes a new challenger! Winky face ;)Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    I was so fucking angry when Roman came out. Like I was yelling to my wife who doesn't watch wrestling who was sitting across the room playing Mass Effect and she was like "yes honey Roman Reigns sucks and is bad you've told me many times" and I'm like hun you dont understand

    Your wife sounds like a sensible lady

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  • BlankzillaBlankzilla KOOKABUNGA LIVES Registered User regular
    I don't know about Orton, but Cena seems pretty revitalized compared to 2013 or so. He's got much more of the "been there, done that, not dealing with your shit" grumpy veteran personality now.
    The last time they wrestled was when I had started watching so it was 2014 at the earliest, and while I agree in-ring wise he has gotten completely rivitalized, character wise he seems pretty much identical right down to being a huge dick all the time

    Steaaaaaaam All Along The Watchtower: A DCAU Podcast. NEW EPISODE - BONUS EPISODE 4 - Wonder Woman (2009) - June 2nd
  • wirehead26wirehead26 Registered User regular
    Randy vs Cena at Mania ain't happening people.

    I'M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU!!!
  • WeedLordVegetaWeedLordVegeta Registered User regular
    cena's moveset is so much better now

    i love all the weird dumb bullshit he's added since the feud with punk

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    I was so fucking angry when Roman came out. Like I was yelling to my wife who doesn't watch wrestling who was sitting across the room playing Mass Effect and she was like "yes honey Roman Reigns sucks and is bad you've told me many times" and I'm like hun you dont understand

    Your wife sounds like a sensible lady

    Like many wives of wrestling fans who are not themselves wrestling fans

    She puts up with a lot

    never dieAndy JoeKamiShadowenLBD_Nytetrayn
  • Dyvim TvarDyvim Tvar I will see ALL of you in hell but not you, I'll see you in Connecticut! Registered User regular
    One of my cats was super into the Rumble from the point Undertaker turned up to the point he was eliminated, then it was just like "Fuck this shit, I'm going playing with this piece of plastic" and never came back.
    Based on this alone I think that Taker should've won the rumble because he's obviously capable of getting none wrestling fans invested in the product.

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  • crwthcrwth THAT'S IT Registered User regular


    damn maybe i should get a mug with a list of bad shit that happened to me but leave the "won" box unchecked

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