WWE 2014 Bests and Worsts
by Scrooge McSuck
Another year has come and gone, and as usual, it’s the same old story. WWE does some great stuff, particularly around the time of WrestleMania, fell into the shitter for most of the Summer and Fall, picked up a bit of steam towards the end, and then it dropped again as Royal Rumble approaches and we all march towards the dread of the Roman Reigns push that seems to be following in the foot-steps of last year’s Batista. Remember, for the most part, this is all for fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
The Shut The F*ck Up And Enjoy The Show Award of 2014: The Fans who continue to chant for C.M. Punk, months after his departure. Taking into consideration of the circumstances, C.M. Punk left on his own due to frustration and a lack of passion. He made a personal choice to make a better situation for himself. He wasn’t wrongfully terminated. Had this been a one and done occasion, or at the worst, a few weeks, I wouldn’t care much, but fans are STILL doing it. He’s not coming back, he doesn’t want to come back, deal with it.
Worst Repackaging of 2014: “The New and Improved” Fandango and Rosa. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Fandango is nothing more than a bottom of the card act that couldn’t sustain anything further up the card than that, so naturally once that push bottomed out, he was jobbed out, stripped of his original dance partner… correction, “original” dance partner, and taken off Raw and Smackdown for a few weeks before coming back as the Don Flamenco Fandango, with new awful music and the ever popular Rosa Mendes as his dance partner. I guess “awful blonde dye-job” Rosa bombed, so now she’s back… and doing the only thing she could do when she “managed” Epico and Primo, and that’s shake her ass. Woo.
The Wile E. Coyote Award for Cartoon Finish of 2014: Dean Ambrose, from HELL IN A CELL. I almost wanted to go the route of TLC with the exploding television/short circuit spectacular, but in the confines of the situation, while stupid, it could in a very slight chance, happen. No, what happened at Hell in a Cell is something straight out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon, with Dean Ambrose on the verge of victory before a MAGIC LANTERN finds itself placed in the ring, spewing smog and displaying a horribly rendered silhouette while an old Bray Wyatt promo is played backwards to make it sound ominous and spooky.
The Gene Snitsky “It’s Not My Fault” Award: Rey Mysterio, with a close runner up in Batista. It’s the 2014 Royal Rumble Match, and a smart-heavy crowd was slowly losing patience waiting for an appearance of Daniel Bryan. Finally, #30 ticked down, and out came… Rey Mysterio, and he was promptly boo’ed out of the building for his entire performance, up until his elimination which received the biggest cheers of the night. Had it been a heel in this spot, it would’ve been just another day at the office, but Rey Mysterio, a predominant babyface and one of the more popular Superstars of the Post-Monday Night Wars Era, was treated with such disgust as a way of telling those in power their opinion in not including Daniel Bryan in the match. Batista is a close second, because he received the same treatment for months, just because of WWE’s misjudging how much the fans wanted one thing and were being force fed something entirely different.
- The Matt Hardy Award for “Wait, IM The One Getting Fired?!” Award of 2014: Alberto Del Rio, for standing up to a member of WWE’s Social Media Staff for what has been confirmed as an accurate and tasteless example of making racially insensitive comments about him, and after being laughed at instead of apologized to, responded with a slap. You could say he should’ve been fired, but how was the instigator free of any wrong doing? In an era where everything is scrutinized and lawsuits are in the back of everyone’s minds, would you rather keep someone around who threatens your stance with minorities, or keep the wrestler who acts as a goodwill ambassador for that market, and was standing up for himself?
This was a tough one because we’re in an era where even on the worst shows, there’s a handful of really good matches. Was Royal Rumble bad? Yes, but it had a 4-star opener and one of the most rebellious crowds in history. Was TLC bad? Yes, but it opened and closed with pretty good/great matches near the top of the card. I’m giving it to Battleground based on the lack of enjoyment and lack of creative direction. A 4-Way Main Event with Roman Reigns, who shouldn’t be in a World Title situation until he wins on his first try. Advertising Rollins vs. Ambrose and doing the old bait-and-switch by not delivering anything more than a 60-second brawl. A Battle Royal to determine an Intercontinental Champion. Jericho and Bray Wyatt having zero in-ring chemistry. Ditto A.J. and Paige. Cop-out ending for the first Swagger/Rusev match. With the exception of a pretty good 2 out of 3 Falls opener between the Uso’s and Wyatt Family, nothing really worth checking out.
Worst Match of The Year: Big Show vs. Erick Rowan; TLC ‘14
Having not watched every single episode of WWE television, I stuck with the PPV’s this year, and there wasn’t any “oh my God, worst match ever” options. This, however, is close enough. A senseless gimmick match, with clumsy work, a dead crowd, and a terrible finish, all for the purpose of giving the Big Show yet ANOTHER win over a much younger performer. Yeah, Rowan isn’t exactly a Daniel Bryan in the ring, but give him the rub for the future, instead of jobbing him and making him look like a doofus because his arms were clearly free and he had to sell being pinned down and incapable of moving.
Rookie Of The Year: Rusev (and Lana)
When Rusev made his unannounced debut during the 2014 Royal Rumble Match, I didn’t understand the logic of using him in such a position. Then when he made his first appearance on Raw, I still didn’t know what to think, tapping into the 80’s for a xenophobic angle. After squashing jobbers for a few months, Rusev was then put over midcarders Big E. and Jack Swagger, the latter of which produced one of the most unlikely hot matches that really built cred for Rusev as a worker in my eyes. He has a destructive offense, is willing to sell, but most importantly hasn’t suffered from WWE’s standard 50/50 booking, having remained undefeated (in terms of pinfalls and submissions, that is).
Diva of the Year: No One
Had I included NXT, it would be Charlotte (but we won’t call her Flair). Since this is strictly WWE, let’s look at the options: A.J., neutered by a face turn. The Bellas, completely void of charisma and consistant wrestling ability. Paige, apparently suffers from stage fright and featured in one of the longest, confusing, senseless programs with A.J. What’s left? The rest. Natalya, Alicia, Cameron, Naomi, Emma… all doing nothing, and in most cases, not well. It’s amazing how well the NXT Diva’s Division has been treated, and then in WWE, it’s still not only the piss-break match, but rarely features anything close to good matches.
Tag Team of the Year: The Usos
A couple of years ago, the Usos were the bottom of the barrel, and I couldn’t stand them. Someone decided to slap face paint on them and push them… and it stuck. Yeah, there’s the two Tag Team Championship reigns they’ve had this year, taking up the majority of 2014, but they’ve also developed into a pretty good team, having consistently solid matches with all comers (well, the Dust-Brothers and the former Wyatt Family, mainly, since the Tag Division is fairly shallow after the disbanding of several teams).
Superstar of the Year: Seth Rollins
When the inevitable break-up of the Shield were to take place, I can guarantee that EVERYONE assumed the following: Reigns would get the Superman Push (check), Ambrose would get a high profile push (check…ish), and Seth Rollins, the smaller looking crash-test dummy who was doing all of the jobs for the team, would be lost in the midcard… well, that sure as hell isn’t what happened. Rollins ended up turning on the team, joining forces with the Authority, and has remained a consistant top heel across the rest of the year since. No, he hasn’t won Championships (he’s Mr. MITB, if that makes a difference), but with the exception of washed-up has-beens, is clearly the top heel in the company, with the exception of “I Work Once Every Three Months” Brock Lesnar. I would’ve gone with Dean Ambrose, had he not lost every important match in the most intelligence-insulting ways possible.
There’s been a handful of strong PPV’s/Network Specials in 2014, but WrestleMania gets the nod. I honestly feel like this was the best WrestleMania, from start to finish, since WrestleMania X-Seven. With the exception of a senseless Diva’s Title Match, everything clicked, either because of the high expectations for the workers involved, or the handicap of typically being awful (Battle Royal’s). Unfortunately, the road that followed wasn’t nearly as exciting, but Daniel Bryan opening and closing the show in 4-star matches, Cena vs. Wyatt in a highly underrated psychological battle, one of the best pre-show matches ever offered, one of the better Battle Royal’s in recent history, and the historic loss of the Undertaker’s streak = one hell of a PPV.
Match of The Year: The Shield vs. Evolution, Payback ‘14
I almost didn’t want to vote for ANYTHING, because every single option was followed by inept booking decisions. I decided to go with the only match I, at the time, considered a 5-star WWE Match: the No Holds Barred, Elimination Tag Team Main Event from Payback, featuring some great wrestling, intense high spots, and one of the best pure adrenaline rushes brought on by WWE during 2014. The only downside to the match, which was fueled by some great story-telling and passion of two factions at war, is the Seth Rollins heel turn THE NEXT DAMN NIGHT. Other options included the Survivor Series Main Event, ruined by bringing the Authority back roughly a month later, the WrestleMania XXX Main Event, ruined by feeling like WWE only did it because they had to, and Brock vs. Undertaker, simply for its historic values to Undertaker’s legacy.
And that’s a wrap for 2014. There were positives, a lot of negatives, and even more meaningless nothing filler. What does 2015 have in store for us? A renewed Daniel Bryan push? John Cena giving Rusev his first defeat? A WrestleMania Main Event with nothing but full-time performers? Who knows. Let’s just sit back and try to enjoy the ride.
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