Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Presenting: The Shammies! (Erik's Edition)

In lieu of a regular episode this week, your favorite Friends have decided to treat you with a version of their very-own year-end awards, the SHAMMIES! Wrestling With Friends recently got together to create some awards that truly represented the product (mainly WWE), rather than the sham that is the WWE's Slammy Awards; though they still opted to shine a light on some of the more positive events later on. But that wasn't enough fun.

The following awards are the first to be presented, this round coming from Erik. Be prepared to hear the Friends duke it out on the show as to who is the truly deserving winner (or loser) of the Shammy Awards!

Most Screwed Over Wrestler (DDP in WCW Award)

Loser: Dolph Ziggler

At this time last year, all signs pointed to 2013 being the year of the Zig-Zag. He played the percentages and walked away the night after Wrestlemania with the World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, he'd relinquish the belt on his first defense after an ill-timed concussion put him out of action for over a month. Ziggler wins the award over Daniel Bryan simply due to the fact that Bryan's story is still being told, whereas Ziggler was basically punished for getting hurt and shows no signs of returning to the top tier. He was also another in a long line of victims of the short-sighted WWE Creative team, turning him face inorganically and destroying much of his allure.

Dammit, We're Going to Make This Work!!! (Vince McMahon Award)

Loser: 'Paul Heyman Guy'

2013 was not a banner year for WWE Creative. Rumors swirled that each big moment actually only had about 5 minutes of thought put into it, and in some cases it was even on the fly. While this leads to lots of OMG/WTF/Any Other Outdated Acronym moments, it doesn't leave room for the all-important follow-up. Arguably, their biggest mistake was the monster push of Ryback in 2012 and into 2013. Not learning from the Goldberg fiasco in WCW, Ryback was skyrocketed to the big time, only to fall flat upon his first major loss. There was still time to save it, but their rushed placement of the hungry turtle with Paul Heyman sank the Ryback battleship. Heyman is infamous for leading poor talkers to the main event, but he's only one man. The mystique was gone. And in the case of Michael McGillic—er, Curtis Axel, it was never there in the first place.

Get the F off My TV!!! (Buff Bagwell Award)

Loser: Big Show

When people think of over-exposed superstars, names like Hogan and Cena often enter their minds. One name that's often forgotten, however, is a one Paul Wight, the Big Show. Show has been on wrestling television in some capacity for nearly 20 years, which is more than Cena AND the Hulkster, when taking into account the fact that Hogan rarely appeared on television in his heyday. Love them or hate them, Cena and Hogan deserve their exposure due to their innate ability to make Vince McMahon money as well as their excitement to moveset ratio. Would anyone dare say that about Big Show? Even in a diaper, this man couldn't draw a fly to baby poop.

Worst Moment of the Year (Vince Russo in WCW Award)

Loser: Good Santa vs. Bad Santa

It's hard to pick a 'Worst' moment, as the term is inherently subjective. Additionally, each era is in and of itself plagued with head-scratchers (show any non-wrestling fan 'Attitude Era' highlights and see if they call you for any more pick-up games at the gym), allowing some of WWE's 'PG' moments in 2013 to be excused for the sake of the children. One thing I cannot abide by, however, is a match-up to save Christmas featuring Mark Henry and Damien Sandow. These guys should be at the top of any card on any given night, yet here their dignities are challenged by this god-awful display of foolishness (highlights include candy canes for weapons and Sandow, an intellectual, unable to operate a fire extinguisher). Had this match featured Santino and Heath Slater, it'd get a passing grade from me. But to put two men who trained for countless hours and left their families for the road to participate in this pitiful match is an embarrassment.

...and now, the Good...


Favorite Angle

Winner: Goldust and Cody get their jobs back

The Authority destroyed the hopes and dreams of many WWE fans, but not in the way the writers drew it up. One thing they did get right, however, was the dramatic Rhodes family fight for employment. It hit all the right notes: a tinge of realism (i.e. the real-life Rhodes-McMahon rivalry), mixed with a dose of high-stakes drama, with a large helping of nostalgia in *hissssssssssCHOMP!* Goldust. Had this been the Goldust of the late aughts, or even the late 90s, the angle would have been swept under the rug much like the Shockmaster or, worse, the lWo. Instead, the Bizarre One caught fire while Cody Rhodes finally found his place on the card, and together they became the working man's heroes that fans had longed for since the days of a foul-mouthed, Steveweiser-gulping sumbitch.

Favorite Match

Winner: Punk vs. Cena on RAW

For all the bitching to be had about WWE's creative direction in 2013, their superstars put on some of the best matches of any year. While Daniel Bryan was perhaps most of the reason behind this, something should be said for the electric match between CM Punk and John Cena on the February 25th edition of Raw for a shot at the Rock at Wrestlemania. Some of the best matches are the ones where the final result is all-but-determined, yet you're still on the edge of your seat regardless. For our generation, I'd argue that it may have been this match, one that would have left a far better taste in WWE fans' mouths as the main event of Wrestlemania XXIX. Just go watch it.

Favorite Moment

Winner: Ziggler cashes in Money in the Bank

If I could pick a favorite night to watch wrestling as my moment, it'd be the post-Wrestlemania Raw in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Since I can't, I'll pick my favorite moment from that entire night as being when Alberto Del Rio was writhing in pain after his handicap match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter and hearing Dolph Ziggler's music hit, before seeing the man who should have battled Del Rio at Wrestlemania XXIX fired up by the awesome crowd. The ensuing match was equally as dramatic, including impeccable timing and moments of hope and dread intermingling before Ziggler walked away with a legitimate World Championhip victory.

Wrestler of the Year

Winner: Goldust

This may be a controversial pick amidst the heavyweights that appeared in the main event scene, but I'm sticking with it. Daniel Bryan was the American Dragon we know him to be, while CM Punk and even John Cena continued to put on roof-tearing matches, but Goldust gets the rub for not only telling a true story of a man's redemption in a world of actors but for showing an athletic ability not often seen in a man on the wrong side of forty. It didn't seem like Goldust was long for the WWE upon his return, but his story-telling ability matched with a rediscovery of his talent have made for a unique character that the WWE's been missing. The fact that they've stuck with him for this long is one of the few bright spots in the company's mistake-laden year.

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