Well that was 2012, we saw a couple of shocking debuts and a few needless let downs, TNA got just that little bit better and started to develop their own talent independent of WWE castoffs, and the WWE’s own tag team division got a revamp and is now still going pretty strong. But that’s enough retrospect for now, we’ll save the real look back on the chart for post-Wrestlemania, still it is a big deal that we all didn’t die and that the chart keeps rolling on, so in celebration let’s get on with it shall we…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: The Big Show (10/10)
The World Champion pulled ahead this week after being the main focus on Smackdown and having not one but three opponents thrown at him, sure two were joke opponents, sure the eventual title match ended in a DQ and sure Show might have taken two Brogue Kicks on Raw and Smackdown respectively, but hell when all is said and done he is still the world heavyweight champion, and I never expected to see the year end with that being the case. Big Show has managed to remain relevant and in the spotlight on Smackdown and that should be acknowledged. That and the fact that he started singing Rudolph while beating down Sheamus in their match on Monday night, which was awesome. The Big Show treads that fine line between cool and hated heel and he does so well, you feel comfortable rooting for a face against him because he never really feels like the underdog and yet occasionally he is just cool enough for you to want to root for, if just to see him smash a bunch of babyfaces-faces in.
2nd Place: Dolph Ziggler (9/10)
The Show Off claims the second spot on the chart after spending most of the three hour Raw in the arms of AJ Lee, and then having her major backup against the Miz on Smackdown. Ziggler’s pairing with AJ already looks to be paying off big time and honestly no matter how much of a shambles it was coming together or how loose the premise is for their relationship, already it works better than 90% of the male-female pairings that we usually see in wrestling. For some reason the two just click in how they interact and with Big E. at their side it makes them a definite threat. The best part so far has been all the subtle nods and looks that let you think that a lot more is going on than meets the eye, even if in reality it is not.
3rd Place: Austin Aries (8/10)
Ah the straw that stirs the drink, Aries did his usual stellar job this week and put on a great heelistic match with Roode in the main event of Impact. Seeing two of the industry’s top heels trying to outdo each other in a competitive match up does my heart proud and it was a great way to round off the year. Honestly if this column had a ‘match of the week’ section then this would definitely have won it hands down. What’s more to me it looks like we’ll be heading for a triple threat match at next month’s Genesis for the title which could be really great for all involved.
4th Place: Robert Roode (7/10)
Last week I was almost convinced that Roode was turning face, now I highly doubt it. His antics in the match with Aries were one thing, but honestly what convinced me was the Hardy attack after the match, last week Roode interfered in the title match between Hardy and Aries and didn’t attack Jeff, which is what made me believe that he was turning face, but now that Hardy has made a move against him I have to believe that both men are supposed to be considered heel compared to Hardy. The match itself between Aries and Roode was great, with Roode as a seasoned heel in his own right knowing all the counters to Aries’ cagy heel antics, he didn’t fall for the fake being hurt for a second, and even the pulling of the tights couldn’t stop him. The best part though had to be when both men got fed up of being held back and took out Earl simultaneously, sure it might not have been the smartest thing to do, but I bet it felt real good at the time.
5th Place: AJ (6/10)
I continue to debate whether or not I should pair AJ and Dolph off like I have done with the tag teams and Tara & Jesse. Part of me thinks I should as they seem like they will always be appearing together from now on, yet I never paired Ziggler and Vickie together and being coupled with another person can often drag a heel’s score down, just look at Cody Rhodes since pairing with Sandow, sure they might come high often on the chart, but they get half the points each week, so is it really paying off? For now I’m going to be keeping the two apart and so AJ earns her own points this week by being as crazy as ever, but this time having a focus and backup to impose her will.
6th Place: C.M. Punk (5/10)
The injured WWE champion is forced to earn points with his mouth this week, no not in that way! Punk might be taking the generic route of mocking hometown sports teams now but at least he is still walking and talking as he makes his way into the Royal Rumble. I honestly can’t wait to see how things shape up before the event with such guys in play like Punk and the Shield and the newly re-vitalised Dolph Ziggler, it should be one hell of a show, all topped off with what should be a great Punk vs. Rock match for the WWE title.
7th Place: Daniels & Kazarian (4/10)
This heel team have really started to focus more on comedy than anything else as the year draws to a close, Santa last week and mocking AJ Styles this time, Kazarian actually does a brilliant Styles impression by the way. Unfortunately their talent for comedy cannot seem to be replicated in their ability to win matches as once again they lost to the team of Chavo and Hernandez and in a week where there was a lot of heel competition they ended up near the bottom of the heap.
8th Place: The Shield (3/10)
A much lower ranking for the Shield this week as they choose mostly to communicate via video message for the holiday season. Still I am glad that the WWE are keeping their presence up and realistically they can’t run around jumping guys and taking people out every week. Otherwise there would be no one left on the roster, either that or anyone that was there would be gunning for them, and there is only so much life you can get out of an angle like this once that starts to happen. So far the Shield are still going strong and hopefully the new year will bode well for the group of renegades.
9th Place: Team Rhodes Scholars (2/10)
I am slightly disappointed with this team at the moment, after failing to win the tag team titles last week on Main Event they then went on to lose two singles matches on Raw and be eliminated from a battle royal on this week’s Main Event. Cody Rhodes was also shown on NXT, once again losing a match to Kane, so overall the Scholars are doing pretty bad right now, and I highly doubt they will be the next in line for a tag title shot and we might even see the crumbling of the team as the two will most likely turn on each other in the Royal Rumble, despite their supposedly high IQs.
10th Place: Brad Maddox (1/10)
That’s right I said Brad Maddox, above all others that did not appear on the chart no one came across as more of a douche bag and maximised their minutes more than this guy did. He wrestled a former world champion this week, how many former referees can say that? I don’t know how long the WWE plans to string along this whole ‘hire Brad Maddox’ storyline but I’m sure they don’t care that it is already inconsistent with the guy being given several last chances already, hell he will probably make an appearance in the Royal Rumble match for Christ’s sake, where he will most likely be promptly eliminated, but still maybe he will sing on his way down to the ring, the ladies seem to like it.
2012-2013 Season Top Ten:
1st Place: The Big Show (185)
2nd Place: Alberto Del Rio (179)
3rd Place: Daniel Bryan (174)
4th Place: C.M. Punk (151)
5th Place: Dolph Ziggler (148)
6th Place: Damien Sandow (132)
7th Place: Robert Roode (122)
8th Place: Bully Ray (103)
9th Place: Cody Rhodes (91)
10th Place: Austin Aries (79)
(Heel Hall of Fame)
**Heel Report 2010-2011 Winner: The Miz**
**Heel Report 2011-2012 Winner: Cody Rhodes**
The Face-Off: Tom Bowler Title Shot
Despite all this carry on giving the Big Show a major spotlight on Smackdown it was still a little ridiculous to believe that all of a sudden someone would be handed a title shot without having to do anything to earn it other than be damned lucky. Now the cynical side of me thinks that this is down to rushed writing, a staff that wanted to go on holiday and patched this week’s episode together at the last minute and with little effort, especially seeing as how we were given two red herrings to stretch things out before finally being given the Del Rio vs. Big Show match that ended in a DQ win for the Big Show, which strangely Del Rio wasn’t upset by despite the match being for the title and the DQ coming from his most hated former rival; Sheamus. Then again there is the side of my brain that overthinks things and would like to believe that what this was here was an exercise in pointing out the ludicrousness of such an idea as a tom-bowler for a title match. After all just look who they picked; Santino, a guy who clearly wasn’t ready for a shot, who would pull a muscle simply preparing for such a match, literally, and then Ricardo, who is basically seen as a non-wrestler, giving us the impression that when deciding who gets a title shot is left up to chance you might as well just give the opportunity to the worst choice possible as that is what you are opening yourself up to. And instead the message we are supposed to take away from this whole affair is that we need matches like the Royal Rumble to decide who will compete for the title since it is the only way the best man can earn the right to compete in the match. But if this were the case we would have to ignore all the other times that a title shot has been given out on a whim, and also the fact that the placements in the Royal Rumble, a key part to the decision of the match itself, are also decided by tom-bowler, so really that doesn’t make any sense and it is much more likely that this whole endeavour was a practice in pointlessness to pad out the episode of Smackdown between Christmas and New Years.
Face the Facts: Main Event Battle Royal
What probably was a ploy to promote the Rumble early however was this multi-man Battle Royal on Main Event to decide who would compete next week for the US title. It gave the casual viewers who might catch this WWE programming on Ion a small taste of what the Rumble would be like and perhaps would serve to whet their appetite for the PPV itself and maybe even order the damn thing. Sure it is a long shot but things like this can work, and what’s more Main Event really does seem like the show that the WWE uses to put across its product to those who don’t watch it all that often, and overall it has been the most consistent show this year along with NXT so I think it is working, although it is not like the ratings have actually improved or anything, instead they have fallen, at least for the flagship show, but maybe that is just the trend of things what with more and more of the WWE’s key demographic turning to illegal downloads or online streaming to get their wrestling fix, it is no wonder that they keep on trying to appeal to little kids and women instead. Then again films like the Avengers and Dark Knight Rises show that people are willing to pay for quality, even if they could get it for free, the WWE just needs to bring that quality to their programming again.
On the Rise: Big E. Catch
Wow, just wow. That catch by Big E. was sold so well as the guy honestly didn’t even budge when Ziggler went flying into him, that could pay major dividends in the Rumble match if Ziggler is involved. However I will also say that how Big E. caught him was probably much more dangerous than if he had given Ziggler some slack as flying into a Big E.-shaped brick wall probably didn’t do the Show-Off much good. Honestly I can’t tell if Ziggler’s look of shock after being caught was due to the feat itself, or the fear that he could have broken his neck on the pectorals of his gargantuan protector.
Flat-Footed: Mr. Anderson Turns Again
******* hell TNA! I like Mr. Anderson but honestly if TNA really can’t figure out what to do with the guy then why keep him around to cash a paycheque. This must make it half a dozen turns now since his debut a few years ago, if not more, and each one hasn’t really resulted in all that much, unless you count his brief runs with the TNA title, which really don’t mean all that much as he never really defended it all that often without getting beat. Now maybe this turn could be different, after all Aces & 8s definitely do need more recognisable names to bolster their ranks and Anderson wouldn’t look too out of place competing for the TV or even world title, but it’s all a question of how they use him, and if he ends up turning on the group in a couple of weeks and becoming a face once again, in and attempt to rival the Big Show and Kane in their number of heel-face turns throughout their careers.
That’s all for this week, hope you all have a happy New Year celebration, I am off to Cheltenham for a fireworks and BBQ night, so let’s hope it doesn’t piss down! I’ll see you all in 2013, for now though this is James Wright signing off…Oh and as a belated Christmas present I’ll let you know who is at the top of the Overall rankings that I have been keeping since I started the report over three years ago; it’s The Miz! But C.M. Punk is getting closer and closer to regaining his place as the number one heel in professional wrestling!