I have a confession to make: I still avidly follow pro wrestling. Moreover, as a resident of the northeast, I tend to favor the WWE. Understand that in the territorial days of wrestling, predating the 1980’s, Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWF was top dog in this region, and going through its national expansion in the mid to late 80’s under his son, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, it has remained at the foreground of wrestling in these parts. Thats not to say it is the best of the organizations these days; honestly, for the last 6 or so years it has been the drizzling shits. This year marked a bit of a turnaround, though, as some impressive young talents either debuted or started making their marks after years of mediocrity. The year also featured a large amount of returning stars such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar, The overall writing of the product is still piss poor, but some of the actual MATCHES absolutely rocked. So, without further delay, my top three matches of 2012.
3. Wrestlemania 28, Hell in a Cell, Undertaker vs HHH
This match was billed as the end of an era, the Undertaker putting his 19-0 Wrestlemania record on the line against the Career guzzler HHH. I honestly have no love for either man as they both were instrumental earlier in the millennium of destroying many young upstarts careers. But the two old men stole the show at the highest grossing Wrestlemania of all time, albeit without the requisite blood or huge bump demanded of this type of match, by using excellent psychology and storytelling skill. I may not like the men (“Taker has grown on me recently) but it cannot be debated both can turn it on in a big match environment. And with the tensional addition of Shawn Michaels as the referee, it created an unmistakeable Wrestlemania moment when the former DX partners Chin Musiced and Pedigreed the Dead man for a tantalizing near fall. Alas, it was not to be, as Taker’s Wrestlemania streak was not to be ended. A great, simple, ****3/4 affair.
2. The Shield vs. Ryback and Team Hell No, TLC match, TLC 2012
This is maybe the most impressive debut match in WWE company history. Team Hell No is Daniel Bryan, a fantastic wrestler plucked from ROH and the Indies, and Kane,a , um…well he’s a good character. Ryback is Vinnie Macs new golden boy, a (as per usual) roided out sloppy freak of nature. The Shield consists of Roman Reigns, a descendant of Samoan blood (which is big time in the wacky world of pro wrestling. Rest assured a Samoan will always get a push in WWE because of their bloodlines and the influence of the Samoan Mafia.) , Seth Rollins, who like Bryan was an indy wrestling darling and one of the most outstanding talents IN the ring I’ve seen in years, and a man named Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose is a monster, just a package I have not seen in YEARS. He cut is teeth in the shit wrestling federation CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling) as Jon Moxley, engaging in the most inane types of garbage brawls wrestling produces. He was picked up by WWE a couple of years ago, renamed, and, may I say, is THE next star of wrestling. I don’t know what “it” is, butwhatever “it” is this guy has it in boatloads. A good hand in the ring, a great talker, when the guy is on camera he just EXUDES it. Just watch this match. Good wrestling, brilliant booking, another ****3/4 affair.
1. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar Extreme Rules 2012.
Easily THE match of the year. I have it at ***** even with the shit ending. Speaking again of “it” Brock Lesnar, from the name to the look to the skills, exuded IT more than any wrestler in history, in this scribes humble opinion. He was a factor from the day he debuted in WWE in 2002. Indeed, he was Vince McMahon’s golden boy, his wet dream in the flesh: 6’4″, 300 pounds, with a legit amateur wrestling background and agility unbecoming a man his massive frame. It was all wine and roses for Lesnar in WWE…until he tired of the schedule and grind in 2004 and left for potential NFL stardom. While a failure there, he made wrestling fans everywhere proud when he went to UFC and showed that “sports entertainers” could be, and were LEGITIMATELY tough dudes, when he won the UFC heavyweight title. He was THE draw for Dana White that set his sport into the PPV stratosphere. He served his purpose there for a few years, then, on the day after Wrestlemania this year, returned to his TRUE calling.
And what to say about this match. Lesnar proved better than ever in the scripted fighting ring, introducing a style not ever seen in the pseudo-sport ever seen. He worked the Kimura. He stiffed the shit out of Cena. He kicked ass, took names, chewed bubblegum, nearly killed himself…WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE. It was unlike any match I have ever watched in WWE/F for the fact it felt COMPLETELY REAL…until the finish. Cena winning was the wrong way to go, but that should not detract. Wrestling is about making money, not wins or losses (although they fail to grasp that concept in WWE, but thats a rant for another time) and this match was $$$. It was Ted DiBiase, A-Rod…fucking MONEY. Watch it, love it. A true classic.