First things first, Rest In Peace to Jon Huber. My sincerest condolences out to his family, friends, and co-workers. I couldn’t get my column started without making mention of this bit of shocking news we all received on Saturday night. Now, let’s get back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Raise your hand if you’ve been reading my work since my original run on this site?
That’s a lot of you.
If you’ve been a reader of mine for that long, you will probably remember when I did the #BlackTwitter Hussy Awards. It was an audio show with my Lords Of Podcast Roundtable brothers, and John Laurinaitis, of all people, made a special appearance to give out one of the awards. We had a lot of fun recording that one.
Now, I know what a lot of you newer readers of mine are thinking. What the hell are the #BlackTwitter Hussy Awards?!?
Well, a lot of people hand out year-end awards. It’s easy to just say this person is the Wrestler Of The Year, this was the Match Of The Year, and this person cut the Promo Of The Year. The problem, for me, is that everyone did that, and therefore, nothing really stood out. I wanted to be different. When I came up with the idea, Twitter was really starting to blow up in popularity. A very large part of that popularity was due to the #BlackTwitter subset of the service. Black Twitter featured its own unique style of tweeting, its own conversations that saw thousands of people participating, its own hashtags, and everything else required to become popular and “trend” on Twitter. They were, by and large, ahead of the curve when it came to using Twitter as a worldwide chat room, so to speak, and for the allure of “audience participation” to draw people in. After thinking about it, I figured that the easiest way for me to pay homage to Black Twitter was to use some of the hashtags they made famous as the names of the awards I gave out.
Just for poops and laughs, I figured I would do it all over again to hand out some awards for the year that was. I have seven awards to hand out, so let me introduce them and break down what they mean…
- #TheStruggle: Given to the wrestler who saw the biggest decline from their situation/position the year before
- #Swag: The opposite of the last award, given to the wrestler who saw the biggest improvement on their situation/position from the year before
- #TheThirst: Given to the wrestler or personality that craved attention so much that it seemed like they were thirsty for it
- #NobodyCaresB: Pretty easy to figure out, this is given to the storyline that was so bad that people just wanted it to go away, even if it meant there wouldn’t be a proper conclusion
- #Cryin: Given to the best promo, moment, or segment of the year
- #Craftmaster: Given to the wrestler of the year
- #!!!: Given to the match of the year
Are we all in understanding of how this works? Then let’s not waste any more time. We’ve got some awards to hand out!
The first award that will be given out is #TheStruggle. The nominees for this one are ready for 2020 to come to an end more so than the average person is. They had varying levels of success in 2019, and looked to continue that momentum into the new year, but it didn’t happen. The lack of success might be their fault, and it might not be their fault, but it’s a lack of success nonetheless. Let’s take a look at the nominees, in no particular order:
- The Miz: The start of 2019 saw Miz flying high, working as a face for the first time in six years and winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles with Shane McMahon. No, their title reign didn’t last long, but things still looked great for Miz. He looked motivated, and his work as a face was as fresh as can be. After Shane McMahon turned heel on him, Miz looked like he would become an even bigger star as a face. The rest of 2019 didn’t see the wins racking up like many thought, but he was always in a title picture, or at least in a prominent spot. Turning him heel on the first show of 2020 was the beginning of the end for him. Yes, he and John Morrison would win the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, but Miz was back to his uninspired self, and the reign didn’t last long. The rest of 2020 has been spent making people actively wish for a meteor to hit the planet, just so that they can avoid seeing any more of Miz and Morrison’s obnoxiously juvenile act.
- Ricochet: He started 2019 as a member of the NXT roster, first dropping the North American Title, and then having success in a tag team with Aleister Black. He would go on to make his main roster debut, coming across as a “can’t miss” prospect that was going to do incredible things for audiences around the world. Like The Miz, he wasn’t winning matches at the clip everybody thought, but it seemed like he and Black were earning Tag Title shots on a semi-weekly basis for a while before being split up in the Superstar Shake-Up. A United States Title victory seemed like it would get him back on track, but that reign lasted a mere 21 days. He was still involved in big-time roles for the rest of 2019, which gave everyone hope for 2020… and then he earned a WWE Title shot against Brock Lesnar at Super ShowDown. A few German Suplexes and an F-5 later, and Lesnar retained the title in about 90 seconds. Ricochet has seemingly spent the rest of 2020 losing matches to The Hurt Business and now Retribution, teasing that he might be forced to join the latter group, which might as well be like taking a bullet between the eyes.
- Matt Cardona: It’s not like he was setting the world on fire during the tail end of his WWE run, but hey, he and Curt Hawkins won the Raw Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania 35. There’s only a select list of wrestlers who can say they won any sort of titles on the largest stage in the business. After being released from his WWE contract, due in part to COVID-related budget cuts, he would make his AEW debut on July 29th. His biggest supporters were thrilled. This was where he would finally get to show what he could do without Vince McMahon and piss poor WWE writing handcuffing him. Even those who weren’t fans of Zack Ryder felt it was a good move for him. He arrived in AEW looking like a million bucks. He had a grand total of two matches for the company, with neither of them being a singles match, and then he was gone.
- Rhea Ripley: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration whatsoever to say Rhea Ripley was the hottest act in wrestling to wrap up 2019. She started by rising rapidly through the ranks in NXT, followed by representing the brand well on the main roster. In one weekend, she would start by defeating Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat on Smackdown, followed by scoring the pin to earn the victory for her team at NXT Takeover War Games, followed up by being one of the surviving members of Team NXT in their victory over Team Raw and Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. Oh, and she would end Shayna Baszler’s 416-day reign as NXT Women’s Champion only three weeks later. Insanity. She was absolutely, positively on fire. She started 2020 off strong until she ran into a buzzsaw named Charlotte. In what should’ve been a true star-making moment, Rhea dropped the title and literally didn’t win another match for three months. Yikes.
- Andrade: Being in the Final Four of the 2019 Royal Rumble is a pretty good way to start a year. Similarly to Miz and Ricochet, Andrade wasn’t winning as many matches as people felt he should win, but he continued to find himself in high profile situations and being involved in title hunts. He ended 2019 by winning the United States Title, and it seemed like he was on track to becoming a main event player in 2020 and beyond. How did 2020 start for him? A Wellness Policy violation put him on the shelf for a month, followed by a poorly received grouping with Angel Garza and Austin Theory, then an injury forcing him out of a Raw Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania, followed by losing the United States Title, followed by teaming with Angel Garza to lose to The Street Profits for 127 consecutive weeks. It has now been two-and-a-half months since he’s even competed on WWE programming. He hasn’t won a televised non-tag match since June 8th. All that momentum… gone.
The winner of our first award is… Rhea Ripley! No offense to the other nominees here, but they weren’t on track to become the game-changing star that Rhea Ripley was. Pinning Charlotte, especially on a stage like that, is something that could’ve turned Rhea into the “next big thing” in women’s wrestling. Instead, WWE went in the same direction that they always do with their women, and that’s put Charlotte over again. It was lazy. It was boring. It also brought Ripley’s 2020 to a screeching halt.
Let’s take things in a more positive direction now, shall we? Our last award looked at who basically fell off in 2020, but now, let’s take a look at who has taken a steamy dump all over their 2019 with success in the new year. It’s time to give out the #Swag award. Here are the nominees, in no particular order:
- Shelton Benjamin: I get that 2020 has been the longest year in the history of ever, but damn, 2019 seems like decades ago when it comes to Shelton Benjamin. In 2019, Shelton competed in a total of four different Battle Royals. That’s the same number of televised singles matches he had during the year, and of course, all of them were in a losing effort. Shelton’s 24/7 Title win over R-Truth on the July 20th episode of Raw this year was his first televised singles win in nearly 20 months. Then… he aligned himself with MVP, Bobby Lashley, and eventually, Cedric Alexander. Now, Shelton is one-half of the Raw Tag Team Champions, his first taste of a title in WWE since he dropped the United States Title (ironically, to MVP) in March of 2009. I’ve said it before, but The Hurt Business look like SUPERSTARS these days. Shelton, always one of the more underrated performers around, is finally being taken seriously again, and it’s beautiful to see.
- Karrion Kross: Known as Killer Kross during his time with Impact Wrestling, the man had an interesting run that didn’t last very long. He teamed up with Austin Aries, who was the Impact World Champion at the time, only to lose his first big match since the pairing, and to see Aries lose the title later that same night. Kross seemed to have a little momentum going into 2019, but nothing ever came of it. He was unsuccessful in two attempts at taking the Impact World Title from Johnny Impact (aka John Morrison), and then faded into the darkness. We would then find out he was having serious contract issues with the promotion. He requested his release, but it wasn’t granted. He then refused to do a blade job in a First Blood Match against Eddie Edwards, leading to Impact being forced to use fake blood in the match. After that, he sat on the shelf for five whole months until they finally released him. It was a major screw-up. Fast forward to 2020, and the newly named Karrion Kross had created an incredible buzz in NXT with one of the better ring entrances in recent history, and with his dominant in-ring persona. So much buzz, in fact, that he would win the NXT Title in only his seventh match with the brand, even though that title reign would be cut short after only four days due to a shoulder injury. It’s still pretty impressive that he went from forgotten man in Impact to the top of the NXT world in only a few months.
- Raquel Gonzalez: Do you know what she was doing in 2019? She was working the “Florida loops” and wrestling on NXT house shows. In the entire 2019 calendar year, she had one match on NXT that actually aired, a loss to Candice LeRae, back when NXT was still airing on the WWE Network every week. Do you know what she’s doing in 2020? Getting better and better every month, improving to the point that she appears to be the “new Rhea Ripley” for NXT. By that, I mean that she is now the new dominant badass of the brand. She’s doing it at six-feet-tall and weighing 175 pounds, making her the largest woman on the brand by a country mile, and it shows. She’s in the unique situation of being a nominee for this award in 2020, but that her current trajectory will probably have her as a nominee for this award in 2021, as she hasn’t even been moved into title contention yet. We all know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of when.
- Eddie Kingston: Eddie Kingston is not a new name in the wrestling business. He’s been doing his thing for 18 years now, wrestling for just about every independent promotion you can think of. I first saw him in 2006, when he was a part of Team CZW as they feuded with Ring Of Honor in a “hostile takeover” type of storyline. In the years since, I was always impressed at how “real” his promos were. He comes across as not all there, mentally, and someone who probably could, and would, enjoy ripping your tongue out through your throat… because, well, he really might not be all there, mentally, and he really might be someone who probably could, and would, enjoy ripping your tongue out through your throat. While he has had some exposure during his time with Ring Of Honor and Impact, it wasn’t until he got to AEW that a larger audience got to see him and appreciate his work. I’m not a fan of the fact that he has lost all three title matches he’s had in AEW, but hey, when you’ve only wrestled for a company ten times, and three of them were title matches, someone there sees something in you.
- Jey Uso: Here’s a fun fact for you… between The Usos making their debut on Raw in May of 2010 and this current storyline with Roman Reigns, Jey Uso has wrestled in televised singles matches a total of 25 times, winning only six of them, one of which was by disqualification of Saturday Morning Slam. To say that he was a “tag team guy” would be an understatement. Now, to be fair, that tag team can make a claim of being one of the best that has ever stepped foot in a WWE ring, but my point remains. From early September 2020 to early November 2020, though, Jey would wrestle on his own and hold victories over the likes of Sheamus, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Kevin Owens. He has been a part of one of the best stories WWE has given us in YEARS. He has participated in two matches against Roman Reigns that are making the long list of 2020’s Match Of The Year candidates. The last couple years proved that both Jey and his brother, Jimmy, were very good on the mic, but this stretch has seen Jey prove that he is capable of having a promo battle against anyone and standing tall. He has done so well that WWE is almost in the unenviable position of “demoting” him by inevitably having him team up with his brother again once Jimmy returns from his knee injury. Okay, so Jey hasn’t won a match in almost two months now. That’s just WWE’s incompetence more than anything else. Don’t blame him for that.
The winner here is… Jey Uso! He came from out of nowhere to become one of WWE’s brightest stars of 2020, building himself up to be a top singles star after a full decade of being in a tag team with his twin brother. I have no idea what his future holds as a singles performer, as Jimmy’s initial in-ring return date was set to be in January, but what I do know is that he has had a special year and has been rewarded for his hard work.
Let’s keep it moving with the next award. It is now time to award #TheThirst. As I mentioned, the nominees for this award are usually people who say and/or do dumb shit, usually repeatedly, while not playing a “character” or anything along those lines. They’re just dying to get/stay relevant, and will go to weird lengths to get the attention they crave so badly. This year’s nominees are:
- Joey Ryan: The pro wrestling world was rocked by a seemingly endless list of wrestlers and personalities being accused of just about every disgusting sexual tactic under the sun, from rape to adultery to pedophilia and damn near everything in between. Some of those accusations were unfounded, while others ended up being true. One of the most noteworthy names accused of anything was Joey Ryan, best known as the guy who wants everyone to touch his dick. Something close to 20 women have come out with allegations against him, ranging from harassment to sexual assault. Fellow wrestlers stood by his accusers, bringing up things they say they witnessed firsthand through the years. It didn’t look good for the guy. He posted a YouTube video that seemed to last several hours, painstakingly going through every single accusation, and denying just about everything. He threatened to file lawsuits, and would eventually end up doing just that, both against some of his accusers and against Impact Wrestling for breach of contract after they released him in the wake of the rumors. Somewhere along the way, he became an overly religious individual, regularly quoting the Bible in his social media posts and videos. People saw it and looked at him as if he were completely full of shit. On one hand, if you’re accused of something heinous that you didn’t do, you’re supposed to fight it the way he’s been doing. On the other hand… where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there was more smoke surrounding him than a Snoop Dogg appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Do you know how difficult it is to have an entire wrestling gimmick based on your magical dick, and to have it be the “good old days” when things involving you were fun and innocent? He’s a nominee because he continued to put himself in situations that made people question his judgment and decision making, all while seeming sleazier than anything his gimmick could ever achieve.
- These AEW vs NXT Dorks: If you’re a huge fan of NXT, do you know what you should do? Enjoy NXT. If you’re a big fan of AEW, do you know what you should do? Enjoy AEW. If you’re one of those twats that spends your time doing nothing but send off “AEW SUX” and “NXT IZ LAME” hot takes, do you know what you should do? Lick my taint. I will never understand why there are so many people who focus on what the other “team” is doing, instead of focusing on what their “team” is doing. If AEW wins the viewership battle, you’re going to hear all kinds of weird excuses from NXT fanboys. If NXT wins the viewership battle, you’re going to hear all kinds of weird excuses from AEW fanboys. It’s insufferable. I would say that this is what the Monday Night War was like, but I was a 13-year-old kid when WCW first started airing Nitro. Not only was I super excited to watch BOTH shows, but I could not have given any less of a fuck about ratings, viewership, who “won” anything, or all that jazz. I just wanted to be entertained. If it took just one show to entertain me, so be it. If it took both shows, so be it. You know what might be even worse? These doofuses who feel their show is perfect. EVERYTHING NXT DOES IS INCREDIBLE. EVERYTHING AEW DOES IS CHANGING WRESTLING FOREVER. Please shut up. The Wednesday Night War has really shown the worst in a lot of wrestling fans. I hate it.
- Bruce Mitchell: By now, many of you have already read, or at least heard about, Bruce Mitchell’s column on another site in the wake of Jon Huber’s passing. It hadn’t even been 24 hours since news of Huber’s passing nearly broke Twitter, but that human cum stain decided it would be a good idea to post nothing but lame ass speculation about the death. More specifically, HOW Jon Huber died. Look, folks, not a single one of us are owed any sort of explanation from the man’s widow, or from the company that employed him, about his death. Going even deeper, to even begin to insinuate that the man’s widow, family, and place of employment are in on this grand scheme to cover up a possible bout with COVID is the sign of a true piece of garbage. His column was littered with spelling and grammatical errors, and his rambling nonsense made it seem like he was drunk when he wrote it. Social media exploded upon reading his horseshit, and it caused his site to basically distance themselves from his opinion and they pulled the piece from the site, followed by wishing him well in his future endeavors. I get wanting to get your name out there. That’s cool beans and all, but to do it in this fashion is lame. I want things to go back to normal in 2021 just so one of Brodie Lee’s pals can see Bruce Mitchell at a show or convention and slap the fire out of his mouth.
- Austin Aries: Sigh. Look… it is entirely your prerogative (duh-nuh-nuh) if you feel that you’re smarter than scientists and medical professionals all over the world. You do you, sunshine. Aries loves to treat his 321,000 Twitter followers to lovely propaganda and conspiracy theories about everything from COVID to mask wearing to the effects of being an angry little man who has spent the last 20 years getting dropped on his head, which only served to make him even shorter. That isn’t even touching on the fact that he’s a vegan, and we all know how THOSE people like to operate. Again, it’s your prerogative (you can do what you wanna do) if you want to take every opportunity you can to tell your Twitter followers how they should live their lives. What makes it even better is that he has those 321,000 Twitter followers, and yet, when he posts the shit he does, go ahead and look at the replies. It leans HEAVILY on people making fun of him, calling him every name in the book, correctly pointing out that he has a brain that has lost a ton of wrinkles after being dropped on his head so many times, and talking shit to him. Where the hell are his supporters? Even if you have 10 followers on Twitter, you’re going to find support when you trip all over yourself to say COVID IS A SCAM AND MASKS ARE STUPID AND DON’T LISTEN TO WHAT THE LAMESTREAM MEDIA TELLS YOU ABOUT VIRUSES.
- Jim Cornette: What more can be said about Jim Cornette that hasn’t already been said about gonorrhea? Like gonorrhea, reading and listening to Jim Cornette in late-2020 can cause you to have a burning sensation when urinating, a colored discharge from the penis, and painful and swollen testicles. Even if you’re a woman. Although, if you’re a woman, why in the hell would you listen to anything Cornette says? He hates you. There isn’t anything specific that Cornette did to make it as a nominee here. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s always out there, ready to strike, when something happens in wrestling. If it didn’t happen in the 1980’s or earlier, he probably hates it with the type of passion you usually reserve for the man who murdered your family with a chainsaw, instead of just some guy who did a couple of flips in a wrestling match.
The winner here is an easy one… Bruce Mitchell. Not only did he spout off random conspiracy theories about a man’s death not even 24 hours after the death was announced… not only did he do it in a column full of spelling and grammatical errors, which is really sad, since he’s like 70 years old… not only did he apparently post the column on his own without running it through the usual channels of being seen by editors and his boss… not only did he double down on his opinions once it was pulled, essentially folding his arms and pulling the typical “I didn’t do anything wrong” tantrum… not only does he drink whole milk straight from the carton… but he isn’t even a good writer to begin with, and he deserves all the criticism coming his way. Fuck Bruce Mitchell.
Next on our list of awards to hand out is #NobodyCaresB. There is always a lengthy list of things in wrestling that aren’t well received and that people are quick to dump on, but these are the things that people just continued dumping on, even after trying to give them a chance. Here are the nominees:
- Lars Sullivan: Do you think his WWE run has been cursed by some sort of Voodoo Priestess? He gets lined up for a push, only to have it sidetracked because of his apparent issues with anxiety. His history of sexist, homophobic, and racist posts on a bodybuilding forum then came to light, causing WWE to fine him and send him to sensitivity training. Then he suffered a major knee injury that derailed another attempt at pushing him. Then it was revealed that he had been starring in gay porn scenes in the past, perhaps at the same time as he was making those homophobic posts on Salma Hayek’s internet. Then his six-to-nine month recovery time from his knee injury turned into 16 months. Then he returns and gets lined up for yet another push, only for him to disappear after a month, with the reported reasoning being that WWE didn’t want this monster heel to appear on the same brand as Roman Reigns, who is a different type of monster heel. One, that doesn’t make any sense. Two, if it’s true, whose fucking fault is it that he was placed on the same show as Roman Reigns? Reigns began his heel run a full month-and-a-half before Sullivan made his return to the company. Anyway, we’re over two years removed from Lars Sullivan debut vignettes airing on WWE programming, and here we are now, with nobody even wanting to see him get back on track.
- Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford: Be honest, AEW fans… how many of you care at all about their wedding storyline? Now, if you have your hand raised, put it down if your current interest is because Miro is involved. Exactly. Sabian and Ford aren’t exactly masterful in-ring performers, so character work is all they have to offer. When that character work is lacking… well… what do you do? What makes the whole thing worse is how long this story is dragging out. Instead of the typical wedding storyline where it’s announced one week and the wedding takes place a week or two later, this particular wedding was announced nearly four months ago, and we still haven’t reached the wedding itself yet. There’s no reason for this. Just get it over with, you know?
- Jaxson Ryker: Once again, you can have any sort of opinions that you so desire. However, when those opinions are alienating yourself from a large… VERY large… portion of your co-workers, maybe you should choose better times and places to make those opinions known. After having a whopping zero matches as a member of the WWE main roster, Ryker’s tweets pulled him and his Forgotten Sons groupmates from television, while they were seemingly in the middle of getting a bit of a push. Well, at least the non-Ryker parts of the group were in line for that push. Even if Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler share Ryker’s thoughts and opinions of Donald Trump and everything else going on in America in 2020, they were still punished for something they had no part in, and that wasn’t fair. Ryker could’ve/should’ve been pulled from the group if there were that many people on the roster having issues. He gets yanked from television, and the other two continue down the path they were going to be on, anyway. Problem solved. Now that Ryker is back, the person who suffers the most is going to be Elias, who now has to deal with having this black hole of heat at his side. Oh well. It’s not like WWE really gives a shit about Elias anymore. Remember when it looked like he was going to be a big star? Ha.
- Retribution: Lord knows I’ve said a ton about what we’ve seen with Retribution over the last five months. Man… in the middle of typing that sentence, I paused so that I could look the group up on Wikipedia to see how long they’ve been a thing. Five months?!? Five whole months of this shit?!? Starting from speculating on who was in the group, to figuring out who was in the group, to seeing who was leaving the group, to seeing who was joining the group, to seeing who is (for now, at least) not joining the group… it has been five months for one of the most poorly thought out, poorly presented, and poorly received stables in the long, storied history of professional wrestling. Putting Mustafa Ali in the group has done nothing to help their issues, even though Ali may be one of the better overall performers on the WWE roster. Adding Ricochet to the group isn’t going to solve their issues. If we’re being honest with each other, they should’ve been scrapped almost immediately. Within the first two weeks, they were being almost universally panned, by “professional” and “amateur” critics alike. This is WWE we’re talking about, though. They do not give one Kentucky Fried Fuck about what their viewers want or don’t want, and they’ve proven that time and time and time and time and time again. Because of that, we’re still here, talking about Retribution. Sigh.
- Goldberg: I actually went back and forth on including him here. Look at the name of this award. NOBODY cares, B. You can’t really say that about Goldberg. For one reason or another, Goldberg continues to be very popular. If this week’s Smackdown was held in front of an arena full of people and Goldberg’s music hit, he would get a huge pop. In the end, though, I remembered that this is my column, and therefore, my rules, so here he is. Let me take you back to February 2020. The Fiend was the Universal Champion, and he was one of the hottest and best produced acts in all of wrestling. He defeated Seth Rollins to win the title four months earlier, and had defeated Daniel Bryan on multiple occasions to retain the title. Then, Super Showdown happened. The Fiend went alllll the way to Saudi Arabia to lose a match to Goldberg in less than three minutes. Just like that, we had a 53-year-old Universal Champion that had only wrestled five non-Royal Rumble matches in the previous four years, and he lost two of those five matches. Just like that, The Fiend’s momentum died a horrible death. Did it provide us with an epic Goldberg title reign where he got to destroy opponents left and right in front of a rabid fan base? No. COVID hit, so there weren’t any more fans getting to see the product in person, and Goldberg lost the title to Braun Strowman in his first defense a month later. What, why, and free of charge, I’ll even throw in… how? Was there even a point there? Other than, of course, that Saudi Arabia paid WWE a ludicrous amount of money to have the rights to bend them over a table and raw dog their anuses. If the Saudis wanted a wrestler to appear at a show there, other than when they fucking requested to have long-deceased wrestlers show up, WWE would write stupid high checks to get those names on a plane. WWE had no business being there in the first place, but hey, money is money, amirite, Vince McMahon?
I think the winner here should be another easy one to figure out. The winner is… Retribution. We’re talking all-time levels of bad with this group. These poor bastards worked their way up to the main roster, only to be saddled with this horseshit that they haven’t been able to escape from. Mustafa Ali was brought in, presumably to find SOMETHING for him to do, and to give the group some sort of main roster star power. Try as he might, he hasn’t been able to make things better, either. Dead. On. Arrival.
I want to take things back in a positive direction for our next award. It’s time to hand out the #Cryin award. The nominees here found a way to entertain the hell out of me in 2020. Remember, the only criteria here is that the nominees couldn’t be something during a match. Otherwise, Edge’s return at the Royal Rumble would be the runaway winner here. These nominees could be a promo, a backstage segment, or merely a moment that took place on wrestling programming. Let’s go ahead and look at the nominees:
- Sting’s AEW Debut: It was quite the moment. Regardless of where it goes, and whether or not Sting wrestles for AEW, it was a moment that got the company a ton of attention. It’s the kind of major surprise that got everyone talking, and also the type of moment that AEW can (and probably will) use in video packages for years to come. In a time and era where there aren’t a ton of real deal surprises anymore, that one got us. Nobody had any reason to think Sting would ever step foot in a non-WWE ring again. The man still knows how to make an entrance.
- Jey Uso’s “Which One Are You?” Promo: In the early stages of the Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso storyline, we got this short-but-sweet masterpiece of a promo. It was the go-home episode of Smackdown before Clash Of Champions, and there were still some people on the fence about whether or not Jey could hold his own in a main event singles spot. When he delivered this one, he DELIVERED this one. Using plenty of real emotion, he described the life that he’s been dealing with since he was a kid. Roman was like a brother to Jimmy and Jey. From an early age, Roman seemed destined for greatness, while Jey lived his life as a twin that couldn’t stand out. When Jey dropped the “Which one are you?” line, you could hear the emotion in his voice. You could feel the emotion in his voice. As the camera cut to Reigns, who was standing on the entrance ramp, you could see the emotion on his face, too. They knew they had something special, and now we, the wrestling fans, also knew it.
- R-Truth Challenges… Paul Heyman?: The Irresistible Force meets The Immovable Object. In Brock Lesnar, you have one of the most terrifying human beings to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. In R-Truth, you have one of the funniest human beings to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. What happens when the two of them share a ring together? They’ve never faced each other in a match, outside of both being in the 2016 Royal Rumble, and they weren’t even in that match at the same time. In the lead to this year’s Rumble, Lesnar and Paul Heyman were cutting a promo in the ring when they were interrupted by Truth, of all people. Truth would then announce he was entering the Rumble, and would follow that up by cutting a promo about how he was going to throw that “big, biiig, biiiiig man” over the top rope. Unfortunately, he was confused again, and was talking about Heyman, not Lesnar. This revelation caused Lesnar to crack up laughing on live television. After laughing for several seconds, Brock had finally seemed to get it together, only for Truth to say he was “undeclaring” for the Rumble after finding out he wasn’t going to be facing Paul Heyman, which only made Brock crack up again. It’s a side you just don’t get to see from Brock Lesnar. Truth would later go on to say it was one of the highlights of his career.
- Matt Riddle Makes MVP Nearly Break Character Twice In A Backstage Segment: Like the previous nominee, this one was about trying to make someone laugh on camera. Unlike the previous nominee, nobody really saw this one coming. On the November 23rd episode of Raw, Riddle and MVP were in a backstage segment that saw Riddle deliver business pitches for things like pizza-flavored yogurt. MVP’s response was to point out that he wasn’t Riddle’s bro, which caused Riddle to let out the saddest-sounding, softest “awww” you’ll ever hear. It sounded like his heart was just broken. MVP tried to continue his promo, but got tripped up almost immediately. He regained his composure right away and, once again, tried to carry on, but he clearly forgot what he was supposed to say, so he smirked and was finally able to keep it moving. Sometimes, it’s the littlest things that we remember. For me, this will be one of those times. It was a random segment on a random episode of Raw. Nothing more. Still makes me laugh, though, over a month later.
- Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston’s Face-To-Face In-Ring Promo: Longtime fans of these two know exactly what they’re capable of doing with their promos. You throw in the AEW Championship, one of the biggest matches of Kingston’s career, and Moxley continuing to work with a chip on his shoulder… and we got to see magic. There was so much emotion in the air while these two cut their promos on each other. They had to be creative to get their anger across, as the stipulation was that they couldn’t get physical with each other before the pay-per-view or else the match would be called off. As soon as both men were in the ring, they were literally nose-to-nose, and things got started with Kingston saying he would take the title and give it to his mother to show her that he didn’t have a wife or kids because he was too busy working hard to achieve things like becoming a World Champion. That’s the type of realism that you never, ever hear in overly scripted wrestling promos. Even at face value, there are some of you reading this right now that can relate. You’ve buried yourself into your work, and have accomplished a lot in your field, but you haven’t had the time or the ability to have a family because of that work. Moxley begins his rebuttal by bringing up Eddie’s mother, which drives Eddie almost insane as he desperately wants to hit the man for talking about his family. Mox talks about promising Eddie’s mother that he would always look after her son. They continued to be in each other’s faces, mere moments from exploding and trying to kill each other. The entire time of them being in the ring together for this was in the vicinity of four minutes, but it was four of the most intense minutes you’ll see in a wrestling promo.
And the winner of the #Cryin award for 2020 is… Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston’s promo! Absolutely fantastic work by both men. Kingston was ready to murder Moxley, and Mox was ready for him to try. Even the little touches like Kingston leaving the ring because he didn’t trust that he’d be able to keep his composure anymore, and Moxley almost looking apologetic when the promo was over, were well done. Mox almost came across as upset that things had to escalate to that point. Both men accomplished something great here, and it was the bare bones point of a wrestling promo… they “talked you into the building” with their words. When this was done, you knew you had to watch their “I Quit” Match, because you felt you were going to witness something you’ve never seen before. Kudos to both men.
Our next award is #Craftmaster. It’s pretty simple. It goes to the true master of their craft as the best wrestler of the year. This is something that is skewed a bit towards kayfabe, so a great technical wrestler who loses all the time isn’t going to make the cut here. It’s a special category, so there will be more nominees than you’ve seen with the other awards, but everything is still in no particular order. Here’s who is up for this one:
- Roman Reigns: The one knock against Reigns for an award like this is that he was only around for half of it. Pre-pandemic, Reigns was stuck in a never-ending feud with King Corbin. Sure, he was overwhelmingly successful in that feud, but nobody really cared. Then he went away for six months due to concerns over COVID. In the four months since he’s returned, though… I don’t think you can truly say that any wrestler on the planet has been on a bigger roll. You want a good win/loss record? He’s 9-1 since returning, with his only loss coming by disqualification in a tag match. You want titles? He won the Universal Title in his first match back, and has held the title ever since. He has helped to turn Jey Uso into a singles star, and has helped to elevate Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens even higher than they already were. His current “Mafia Boss” character is as intriguing a wrestling character as the sport has seen in a while.
- Sasha Banks: She and Bayley had a three-month reign as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, defending the titles on Raw and Smackdown, as well as on NXT. She was the Raw Women’s Champion for a month, and has now been the Smackdown Women’s Champion for two months and counting. On title success alone, you’re not going to get much better than that in today’s WWE scene. Her win/loss record hasn’t been stellar at 19-16-2, but she makes up for that with the most consistent in-ring performances of any woman in North American wrestling today. When you’re watching a Sasha Banks match, you know it’s going to be high quality.
- Suwama: On January 2nd, in his first match of 2020, he and Shuji Ishikawa would win the All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Titles. By the way, they still have those titles. On March 23rd, he ended Kento Miyahara’s 519-day reign as AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion. By the way, he still has that title. He has been successful at just about every turn this year. Although he may not have had better overall matches than, say, Miyahara did this year, he has been very impressive. It’s the domination as a champion that lands him on this list, though.
- Shingo Takagi: If the award is given out to who had the best in-ring performances of the year, I would say Shingo wins it, easily. In the 2020 calendar year, Shingo has seen 14 matches rank at 4 stars or higher on Dave Meltzer’s ratings scale. There are very, very good wrestlers who would need almost a decade to rack up 14 matches rated at 4 stars or higher. He started the year off by teaming with EVIL and BUSHI to win the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles, and they would hold them for nearly seven months until being stripped after EVIL turned heel and left the group. He also had a seven-month reign as the NEVER Openweight Champion before dropping the title at the end of August… only to win it back two-and-a-half months later, and his reign continues today. I’m still waiting for him to become more of a main event player in New Japan, but he has had about as great a year as someone can have without becoming a World Champion for their promotion.
- Drew McIntyre: When you start the year by winning the Royal Rumble, eliminating a red-hot Brock Lesnar along the way, you know something special is on its way. Taking that momentum and using it to defeat Lesnar at WrestleMania to become the WWE Champion only proved it. 2020 was the year Drew McIntyre finally “arrived” as a main event act. Every prophecy had been fulfilled. Simply becoming the WWE Champion is great, but you’ll see people win a World Title and almost get lost in the shuffle. Drew stood out from the pack. Not only was he the WWE Champion, he carried himself as, and was presented as, THEE guy. A seven-month reign as champion made him look great, and he even benefitted from an odd booking decision to make him the champ again a mere three weeks after losing the title. For years to come, when people think about wrestling in 2020, Drew McIntyre is going to be one of the first things they think about.
- Jon Moxley: Mox got off to a very hot start in 2020, winning the IWGP United States Title on the first night of New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 14 event on January 4th, followed by winning the AEW World Title on February 29th. COVID-related travel restrictions have made his title reign for New Japan hollow, however. He has held the title for all of 2020, but he hasn’t defended it since February 9th. That AEW reign, though, was special, and it’s why he will continue to get praised in spots like this. He held the title for nine months, successfully defending it against the likes of Lance Archer, Brodie Lee, Brian Cage, Darby Allin, and more. All of those names came into their title shots red-hot and were unable to end Moxley’s reign. He suffered three losses all year long… one in a New Japan tag match, one in an AEW tag match where he wasn’t involved in the pin, and one when he was finally toppled by Kenny Omega and dropped the AEW Title. He helped to make the AEW Title what it is today.
- Go Shiozaki: A bit of a mixed bag to start Go’s year. He became the GHC Heavyweight Champion in Pro Wrestling NOAH on January 4th, but he and Katsuhiko Nakajima dropped the GHC Tag Team Titles the very next day. They were unable to win the titles back when they challenged for them in August, but I think he’ll sleep well knowing that he is still the GHC Heavyweight Champion. Only a few years ago, things for NOAH looked bleak, as they had lost many of their biggest stars to retirement or to other promotions, and their live attendance plummeted. They have since bounced back in a major way, and Shiozaki is a big part of that. His current reign has been filled with great matches against the likes of his tag partner, Nakajima, as well as Takashi Sugiura and Naomichi Marufuji. He has really stepped into the “Ace” role for NOAH quite nicely.
- Kazuchika Okada: While we’re speaking about people who are the “Ace” of a Japanese wrestling promotion, you have to talk about Okada. Year in and year out, he’s up for awards like this. He has been the most consistent worker on the planet, as far as match quality goes, for the last decade. I’m still not sure if he’s even capable of having a bad match. That match quality helps him out when he’s having a “down” year like he had in 2020. He came into the year as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but dropped the title to Tetsuya Naito on January 5th after a successful title defense against Kota Ibushi the day before. Teaming with SHO and Toru Yano, they were unsuccessful in winning the vacated NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles in August. Later that month, he was unsuccessful in his bid to become the first King Of Pro Wrestling Champion for the company. He followed that up with another unsuccessful attempt at becoming the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Champions with SHO and Yano a couple weeks later. He has been struggling as any sort of tag performer recently, not being on the winning end of a tag match in almost four months now. He remains as strong as ever as a singles performer, though. He should be able to bounce back tremendously in 2021.
- WALTER: When you’ve held a title for 635 days, and counting, you’re going to be nominated for some Wrestler Of The Year awards. After winning the NXT United Kingdom Title on April 5th of last year, WALTER’s reign continues to this day. He is the living embodiment of a movie monster like Jason Voorhees that just keeps coming after you, and no matter how hard of a fight you put up, he’s one step ahead of you. For 2020, he won’t get as much recognition as he would in other years, but it’s due to COVID shutdowns taking away a big chunk of his year, not anything he did. There was a six-and-a-half month gap between matches for him this year. When he has been able to wrestle, he has obviously looked strong, and he closed his year out with a Match Of The Year candidate against Ilja Dragunov.
- Cody: He built up a ton of momentum earlier in the year, and he used it to become the very first TNT Champion in AEW. What followed was an entertaining three-month reign where he successfully defended the title eight times in that span. He made the title must-see-TV, as he was having good matches with the younger talent on the AEW roster, as well as defending it against “indy darlings” coming in for a shot. After losing the title to Brodie Lee in a memorable squash match, he would return to AEW two months later and win the belt back in a fantastic old-school Dog Collar Match. He would surprisingly lose the title to Darby Allin only a month later, but is continuing to rack up wins since. AEW has stayed true to their word after Cody lost at last year’s Full Gear event where the match stipulation was that he would never compete for the AEW World Title again if he didn’t win. That makes Cody’s future interesting, but for the time being, he has been one of the best, and most consistent, parts of AEW’s success in 2020.
The winner of this year’s #Craftmaster award is… Jon Moxley! Winning and defending titles is one thing. MAKING a title is another thing. As I said, the AEW World Title is what it is today largely because of the hard work that Mox put in this year. He was the right choice for champion at the right time for a promotion that needed something like that to build on. Great promos, great matches, and great storytelling have made 2020 an epic year for the former Dean Ambrose.
We have reached our main event. It is time to give out the final award. The #!!! award is given out to the Match Of The Year. Sometimes, when you witness something amazing, words don’t immediately come to you, and all you’re left with is a “!!!” reaction. That’s what this is about. Like the previous award, this one has more nominees than the rest, simply because it needs to. I would’ve felt terrible leaving some of these off the list if I only had five nominees. Now, without any further delay, here are the nominees:
- Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega (AEW – December 2nd): They certainly had to deliver, as this was one of the most heavily hyped matches in AEW’s young history, and deliver they did. I know that the ending didn’t work for some people. Those people feel the Omega “turn” should’ve been something more sinister than a shot with a microphone, especially after Moxley had been able to overcome so much during his title reign, but that’s the surprise aspect coming into play. Sometimes, you need to give the fans what they want and what they expect. Other times, you have to give them something they aren’t expecting. It keeps things fresh. This was just good storytelling, not just with how Omega won and him running off into the night so that he could get to Impact Wrestling, but with Omega also breaking the “gentleman’s agreement” he and Moxley set up to have a straightforward wrestling match.
- WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov (NXT UK – October 29th): Violence. Sheer, unadulterated violence. That’s what this match gave to the world. It was a different type of violence, though. It wasn’t a match that saw both men busted wide open, using barbed wire, slamming each other through ladders, etc. Instead, both men simply decided to beat the holy hell out of each other for nearly 30 minutes. Earlier, I compared WALTER to Jason Voorhees, and this is the match to watch if you want to see what I mean. Dragunov hit WALTER with everything he had. His offense was brutal and would’ve won him a match against just about anybody… but WALTER isn’t just about anybody. The big man kept moving forward and attacking. It was almost uncomfortable at times watching Dragunov scream in pain, beyond just good selling. This was a war that the average wrestling fan doesn’t get to witness often.
- Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi (NJPW – October 10th): A “dream match” for fans of Japanese Puroresu, this was the first meeting between these two. The added drama here was that Shingo faced being eliminated from the G1 Climax round-robin tournament with a loss. For those who don’t watch New Japan, the G1 Climax tournament is basically their version of the Royal Rumble, as the winner is guaranteed a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom, which is the company’s biggest show of the year. With a lot on the line, both men showed how badly they wanted that title shot. For Shingo, it would mean that he would be received as a top heavyweight in the company. For Okada, it would mean that he was able to bounce back from a down year for someone with lofty standards set for himself. It’s amazing what putting a little stakes on the line will do for wrestling matches.
- Kenny Omega & Adam Page vs The Young Bucks (AEW – February 29th): I think the entire storyline involving The Elite and whether or not Adam Page could be counted on was very well done. Smack in the middle of that was this tag instant classic. I dig matches where wrestlers don’t necessarily “turn” in the middle of them, but that have wrestlers show “turn” qualities for varying reasons. The Bucks provided that for me in this one, as their increasing desperation to become AEW Tag Team Champions for the first time saw them lean into more heelish tactics as the match went on. Omega was wrestling “injured” here, coming off of a 30-minute Ironman Match against PAC three days earlier, meaning that he was the target for much of the Bucks’ assaults. A molten-hot crowd really helped things out here, as well. The fans in Chicago loved every minute of this one, reacting accordingly to the near falls and the overall story. Adam Page might be the overall MVP of this match. By the way the crowd reacted to everything he did, you’d think he was going to be the AEW World Champion sooner than later. Just a very well laid out tag match, with good pacing, and not needing to rely on going 800 miles per hour from bell-to-bell.
- Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre (WWE – November 22nd): WrestleMania. SummerSlam. Generally, those are the only two times a year where you’re guaranteed to see some sort of big money “dream match” on a WWE card. WWE decided to buck that trend this year, giving us this epic encounter at Survivor Series. Reigns was untouchable on Smackdown, while McIntyre was a megastar on Raw. Both men were in different places than they were when they faced off at WrestleMania 35 in what can only be described as an average match with Reigns still finding his ring shape after returning from his bout with leukemia. This one just FELT like a big-time match, you know? It was every bit of a WrestleMania main event, even though it was at Survivor Series with a very short build. That’s how good both men have been this year. You can argue all you want about whether or not the “right” man won, but I don’t think it matters. The heel won, but with interference. It made sense for the story being told, and it kept McIntyre looking strong. If you like WWE’s style of main event matches, this one is certainly for you.
- Mike Bailey vs Bandido (wXw – March 7th): Another thing I love to see in a wrestling match is a clash of in-ring styles. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is often magical. This was one of those magical times. Bandido wanted to use more of a Lucha Libre style here, while “Speedball” Mike Bailey wanted to strike his opponent to death. What we got was both men being able to showcase what they wanted to do, and boy, did it work. I’m a fan of both men, but this match was more than I ever expected it to be. So much was packed into a little under 18 minutes of action, but it never felt too rushed or anything like that. The final few minutes, as you would expect if you know anything about these types of matches, saw both men turn it up to ten with some crazy reversals and near falls. It’s worth going out of your way to see if you haven’t already done so.
- Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay (NJPW – September 27th): After having one of 2019’s best matches at New Japan’s Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – Day 15 event, there was a lot of hype heading into this one. People wanted to know if they could follow up on the 2019 classic, and they did. I like that both men have been working with chips on their shoulder, in an attempt to prove that they could “hang” as heavyweights after spending time working strictly as junior heavyweights in their time with New Japan. It helped to add that something extra to this one, as we got a harder-hitting affair than the average juniors match. It felt like they were trying to one-up each other the entire time, and we saw some incredible counter wrestling from both men. It didn’t feature the same pace as their BOSJ match, but it worked for what they were trying to accomplish here. They’ve built a wild amount of in-ring chemistry in a short period of time, and I would love to see their feud continue in 2021, but this time, with the IWGP Heavyweight Title being on the line.
- The Young Bucks vs FTR (AEW – November 7th): If I had to describe this match in one sentence to someone who has never seen it, I would say it was a beautiful homage to the art of tag team wrestling throughout the years. The list of tag teams and tag matches that they “borrowed” from here is lengthy, but it made sense. It even worked if you didn’t get all the references and call backs, and that’s a tribute on its own to the four men involved here. The way everything was laid out was great. No, I wasn’t a fan of this one using the “we’ll never compete for the titles again if we lose” hook for the Bucks, as it seemed to choreograph who was going to win, but the journey getting to that victory was top notch.
- Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW – January 4th): It can be argued that Wrestle Kingdom tends to bring the best out of a wrestler more than any other event in all of wrestling, even more so than WrestleMania. On New Japan’s biggest stage, the good become great and the great can become almost mythical beings. Okada and Ibushi have both been at that mythical stage, albeit in different divisions, for years. Ibushi was riding the momentum of winning the 2019 G1 Climax tournament to earn this shot, and Okada was… well… Okada. The Rainmaker has faced “bigger” challenges before, both in size as well as placement on the card, but I love how this match was put together, with Okada seeming to understand just how much it was going to take to defeat this challenger. Ibushi dug deep to give the champion everything he had, which meant the champion had to dig even deeper. Okada was busting out a more physical offense, using moves he rarely uses anymore, in an attempt to get the win. It was another non-stop match that didn’t drag into “too much” territory. People that don’t really watch New Japan tend to criticize the matches as having no story or psychology, but you’d be amazed at how incorrect you can be on the internet. Great storytelling by both men here, constantly trying to top each other for the richest prize in all of Puroresu.
- Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne vs Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (NXT – February 16th): When you watch an NXT Takeover event, you know you’re going to get some very high quality matches. This was no different, as the NXT Takeover Portland show saw a couple matches that were fantastic. This one gets my nod simply because of how physical it was. That’s no surprise with the four men involved. You know Riddle is going to use his hybrid wrestling and MMA style. You know Dunne is going to try and break every one of your fingers. You know O’Reilly and Fish are going to use their otherworldly chemistry to break you down and tear you limb from limb. The story here was that The Broserweights were too much of an “odd couple” to stay together long, so you were just waiting for them to implode and fail to win the NXT Tag Team Titles. Their personalities may be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but physicality in wrestling can be a universal language, and they’re both fluent in it. Throw in a super hot crowd… you almost forget what it’s like for wrestling shows to have that now… and you have a great piece of work from everyone involved.
The winner for my 2020 Match Of The Year is… WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov! Watching the match for the first time really felt like I was watching a movie battle. Even if you’re a fan of WALTER, you would almost find yourself rooting for Dragunov by the end, due to everything he had fought through and kept trying to go on the offensive. An insane level of violence that should only be reserved for someone beating the shit out of Bruce Mitchell’s bitch ass in a dark alley somewhere. Both men’s bodies were battered and bruised by the end. Just a wonderful piece of drama that I could watch over and over again, even with how uncomfortable it felt at times.
My God, what a lengthy journey. We’ve finally reached the end of this year’s Hussy Awards. Using my categories and criteria, who were your award winners for 2020, ReaderLand? Hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind.
Weekly Power Rankings
- Big E: It might not be the Universal Title, but E is getting a singles push, and it’s what we’ve all been asking for. It was a Christmas episode of Smackdown, so we got the “feel good” title change, and we got it without the usual over-the-top corniness that WWE likes to give out during their holiday shows. I’d say that’s a nice bonus. Now, to see how Big E takes this Intercontinental Title victory and uses it to propel him to the top of the card on Friday nights at some point.
- Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens: It was the televised match of the week, without a doubt. Those two have such a crazy amount of in-ring chemistry together, and this entire thing has been helping to build Owens back up after a pretty long stretch where he was kind of just… there.
- A Very Gargano Christmas: The segments just made me laugh. Johnny Gargano has continued to excel as the douchey heel, and now, Austin Theory has been entertaining in his goofy lackey role. The puns here were pretty funny, if you’re into that kind of humor.
- Daniel Bryan vs Jey Uso: It seems like WWE wants to put Bryan in a marquee spot once again, and I’m here for it. He seems to be a favorite to feud with Roman Reigns next, and I am damn sure here for that. I think Bryan could bring an even fiercer side out of Reigns, but he could also push him to the limits. Bryan has all the credibility in the world, and he wouldn’t look out of place if he ended Roman’s reign of terror. Time will tell, of course. As it is, this was another good match from both men, as expected.
- The Young Bucks: I’m not sure many people expected a different outcome, but the Bucks successfully defended their Tag Team Titles against The Acclaimed in what was a better match than many, including myself, expected. In a position where more young teams need to be built up in the division (more on that later), the Bucks did a lot to make Anthony Bowens and Max Caster look great. The Acclaimed might eventually have their time to shine, but for now, it’s Matt and Nick Jackson’s world, and the other tag teams in AEW are merely paying rent to live in it.
- Keith Lee: I might be ranking him too low here, considering he just earned himself a WWE Title shot against Drew McIntyre, but at least he’s here. Lee’s booking has been so strange on the main roster that I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he loses to McIntyre, but I also wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he became the new WWE Champion. All I can hope for is a good match, given a lengthy bit of time to work with. I think we’ll get both of those things, so I’m excited to see what both Lee and McIntyre have in store for us.
- Mercedes Martinez: The reports said she saw the writing on the wall when it came to Retribution and requested her own “demotion” to NXT. She deserves a spot on the Power Rankings for that alone. Kudos to her for seeing what could happen to her time with WWE and deciding that she would rather have entertaining matches for NXT than be made fun of on Raw.
- Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan: A successful NXT Tag Team Title defense is great news. Pat McAfee being pulled from NXT programming because company officials apparently don’t want him to be an every week thing is bad news. Bad news for me, as I’ve loved his work in his time there, but also bad news for Burch and Lorcan, who were able to have McAfee do the talking for them to help them get over. Now that they’re back to being McAfee-less, they have to step their game up as far as their personality is concerned. Putting on good matches simply isn’t going to be enough.
- Top Flight: You wouldn’t know it by their 0-4 record on Dynamite, and 1-5 record overall in AEW, but I think Dante and Darius Martin are going to be really special in AEW one day. I think AEW sees it, too, as Top Flight has had plenty of time to shine in their matches, even in losing efforts. They aren’t just out there getting mollywhopped. It’s only a matter of time before they start racking up the wins, and we could be seeing Tag Team Titles in their not-too-distant future.
- Arsonists & Pyrophiliacs: I don’t know what WWE’s new obsession with people being set on fire is all about, but man, there’s probably a bunch of people out there getting turned on when they watch WWE programming these days.
This Week’s Playlist: “Take It Easy” by Mad Lion… “Tease Me” by Chaka Demus & Pliers… “Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus & Pliers… “Send My Love” by Born Jamericans… “World A Music” by Ini Kamoze… “Here Comes The Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze… “Roller Skates” by Steel Pulse… “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs… “Private Beach Party” by Gregory Isaacs… “1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade)” by Third World… “Don’t Turn Around” by Aswad… “Rock Away” by Beres Hammond… “Flex” by Mad Cobra… “Backshot” by Spragga Benz & Lady Saw… “Everyone Falls In Love” by Tanto Metro & Devonte… “Footprints” by T.O.K… “Heads High” by Mr. Vegas… “Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt” by Yellowman… “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” by Yellowman… “Wa-Do-Dem” by Eek-A-Mouse… “Ganja Smuggling” by Eek-A-Mouse… “Black Roses” by Inner Circle… “Mellow Mood” by Bunny Wailer… “Sinsemilla” by Black Uhuru… “Revolution” by Dennis Brown… “No Letting Go” by Wayne Wonder… “Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks & Chevelle Franklin… “Ghetto Story” by Cham… “Oh Carolina” by Shaggy… “In The Summertime” by Shaggy & Rayvon… “Boombastic” by Shaggy… “Boombastic (Sting Remix)” by Shaggy… “Angel” by Shaggy & Rayvon… “The March” by Ky-Mani Marley… “Warriors” by Ky-Mani Marley