AS I SEE IT 12/26: 2005 Ninth Annual Year-end Awards
AS I SEE IT
As 2005 winds to a close, it's time for the eighth annual AS I SEE IT Year-End Review.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
As usual, I should note that my selections are based on what I've actually seen this year, either live, TV, or via tape; which primarily means North American wrestling.
2005 PROMOTION OF THE YEAR:
Ring of Honor
It would be hard to find a promotion anywhere that has had such a consistent level of product quality than Ring of Honor in 2005.
In a year where we see proctology skits, exploitation of real life deaths, and continual featuring of wrestlers within ownership spread all over our TV and arenas and marketed as wrestling; ROH has consistently brought its fans high workrate, storylines that keep fans guessing, and a lineup found nowhere else in North America.
ROH's roster included Samoa Joe, "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, CM Punk, Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness, Ricky Reyes and Rocky Romero, Homicide, James Gibson, Kevin Steen, Chris Sabin, Claudio Castagnoli, Low Ki, Jay Lethal, Spanky, Matt Hardy, and Doug Williams.
ROH also helped make puroresu fans dreams come true with the appearances of Kenta Kobashi, KENTA, and Naomichi Marufuji; resulting in two of the year's top matches with Samoa Joe-Kenta Kobashi, Ring of Honor, October 1, New York, NY and Samoa Joe/Low Ki-Kenta Kobashi/Homicide, Ring of Honor, October 2, Philadelphia, PA. The promotion also featured legends such as Bobby Heenan, Jim Cornette (in on a semi-regular basis as "Commissioner"), and Percy Pringle.
As I said last year, Ring of Honor gave fans who were starved for wrestling that didn't insult their intelligence... a product that got them excited and one they could truly follow with enthusiasm. That's why I again gave them promotion of the year.
2004 winner: Ring of Honor
2003 winner: Ring of Honor
2002 winner: Ring of Honor
2001 winner: WWF
2000 winner: WWF
1999 winner: WWF
1998 winner: WWF
1997 winner: WCW
2005 WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor/TNA/independent
Why? Here are a few of the many reasons...from the last four months alone.
* Samoa Joe-Necrobutcher, IWA Mid-South Wrestling, June 11, 2005, Philadelphia, PA
* Samoa Joe-AJ Styles, TNA, August 14, 2005, Orlando, FL
* Samoa Joe-AJ Styles-Christopher Daniels, TNA, September 11, 2005, Orlando, FL
* Samoa Joe-Kenta Kobashi, Ring of Honor, October 1, 2005, New York, NY
* Samoa Joe/Low Ki-Kenta Kobashi/Homicide, Ring of Honor, October 2, 2005, Philadelphia, PA
* Samoa Joe-AJ Styles, TNA, TNA Turning Point PPV, December 11, 2005, Orlando, FL
These matches epitomize why many fans are thrilled to see a performer who WRESTLES, rather than entertains; who is dedicated and respectful to his craft...who doesn't need to look like a Chernobyl steroid mutant from hell or do eight minute catch-phrase filled promos.
Being a wrestler...and one of the best... is more than enough.
2004 winner: Chris Benoit, WWE
2003 winner: AJ Styles, NWA-TNA/ROH/Zero-One/independent
2002 winner: Kurt Angle, WWE
2001 winner: Chris Jericho, WWF
2000 winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, WWF
1999 winner: Chris Benoit, WWF
1998 winner: Steve Austin, WWF
1997 winner: Eddie Guerrero, WCW
2005 WORST WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
With Vince McMahon's return to using gimmick characters, fans have had the "Boogeyman" inflicted upon them in 2005. If you don't watch WWE, think of someone who makes the Bushwhackers look like Karl Gotch....whose best offensive move is stuffing worms in someone's face.
Thank God for remotes, because after seeing someone come on my screen whose best move is his "I'm comin' to get ya" promo, then hitting himself over the head with a gimmicked clock...I look for a hockey game, an infomercial, or nearly anything else for the 3-4 minutes of his segment.
2004 "winner": Heidenreich, WWE
2003 "winner": Nathan Jones, WWE
2002 "winner" Shane Douglas, Major League Wrestling/XPW
2001 "winner": Buff Bagwell, WCW/WWF/independent
2000 "winner": Kevin Nash, WCW
1999 "winner": Hulk Hogan, WCW
1998 "winner": Giant Silva, WWF
1997 "winner": Hulk Hogan, WCW
2005 TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR:
America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
Their new cocky heel personnas are the perfect addition to the number one tag team that's worked consistently together in the United States this year. In a TNA rarity, Jeff Jarrett helped someone ELSE get over in the AMW heel turn when they helped Jeff Jarrett beat Raven to become NWA World Champion at a Border City Wrestling show in Windsor, Ontario. As heels they then showed attitude in regaining the NWA Tag Titles from the Naturals.
2004 winner: America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
2003 winner: America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), NWA-TNA
2002 winner: Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, WWE
2001 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
2000 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
1999 winner: Matt and Jeff Hardy, WWF
1998 winner: Sabu/Rob Van Dam, ECW
1997 winner: Sabu/Rob Van Dam, ECW
2005 ANGLE/FEUD OF THE YEAR WINNER:
Batista vs. HHH, WWE
One of the really GOOD examples of a feud in WWE for 2005, Batista vs. HHH was a storyline with a beginning, a middle and an end that was allowed to develop the way a feud should.
It was a feud with a reason (heel HHH using "Big Dave" as the muscle of Evolution, but not thinking he'd want his turn on top, then laughing at the "big guy"), with the two performers brought it off in and out of the ring like something you wanted to see play out.
With the buildup, they also brought off good matches at Wrestlemania 21, Vengeance, and Backlash that drew money on a large scale, particularly at Wrestlemania 21.
2004 winner: Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels
2003 winner: Danny Maff/Maffia "retirement angle", Jersey All Pro Wrestling, September 27, 2003, Rahway, NJ
2002 winner: AJ Styles-Jerry Lynn, NWA-TNA/Ring of Honor
2001 winner: ECW turns on WWF, July 9, 2001, Phillips Arena, Atlanta
2000 winner: The Stephanie McMahon-Vince McMahon-Shane McMahon-HHH-Kurt Angle soap opera
1999 winner: Test (Andrew Martin)-Stephanie McMahon Wedding angle
1998 winner: Vince McMahon as heel promoter versus Steve Austin
1997 winner: nWo-WCW angle
2005 WORST/MOST TASTELESS ANGLES OF THE YEAR:
Jim Ross proctology skit, October 24, 2005, WWE
Tim White "suicide" sketches, December 18, 2005, WWE
First, forget Mae Young "birthing" a hand. WWE may well have topped both of them for sheer stupidity and tastelessness when WWE proceeded to show its viewers "Jim Ross's recent colon surgery" on a skit during Monday Night RAW.
McMahon came out to the live Fresno, CA crowd, and said that it was traditional when someone has surgery, as has happened during numerous knee or neck surgeries of WWE talent in the past, that WWE sends cameras to tape the event. McMahon "warned the crowd" about the footage saying it was graphic because it would show a blockage of Ross's bowel and colon. McMahon then ran "the video of Ross's surgery".
The tape featured Vince McMahon dressed as "Dr. Hiney", talking to his patient JR. "Dr. Hiney" kept listening to Ross’ intestines, and heard "Boomer Sooner", followed by the flushing of a toilet and other potty humor level sounds. Then, a overly endowed nurse named "Slobberknockers" put lubrication on "Dr. Hiney's" arm. He then removed from "Ross's colon", using everything from toilet plungers, jackhammers and the jaws of life, a bottle of Jim Ross’s famous BBQ sauce, a football, a Steve Austin action figure, the other hand of Mae Young (now WHY did McMahon want people to remember this?), an plastic owl, and a bag of goldfish; all accompanied by the taped voice of Jim Ross periodically screaming “Bah Gawd!” and other Jim Ross standards.
"Dr. Hiney" then pulled out a mannequin head with a cowboy hat, and said that he had solved the problem of having Jim Ross's head being up his ass."Dr. Hiney" concluded by saying that he needed after the operation to "release some tension" and rubbed his face in the nurse’s chest.
If seeing it once wasn't bad enough, WWE then decided to feature the skit on WWE.com for anyone who may have missed this nonsense that wouldn't have even rated as 2:00 am entertainment at your local college fraternity house.
If that wasn't bad enough, how about the recent sketch on the Armageddon PPV, depicting a "despondent" Tim White at his Friendly Tap bar outside of Providence, RI, downing shots and beers as a result of his legitimate injuries suffered at a previous Hell In The Cell match, then taking a rifle and off screen, firing the gun, with an implied suicide?
Note to WWE: what the hell are you thinking?
Depicting guns and alcohol are bad enough. But then WWE shows an off-camera implied suicide, which is then just blown off (pun not intended)...as Michael Cole and Tazz go into a Cruiserweight Title match.
Do you think people just blew it off? Hell, no. The live crowd booed like crazy, then they proceeded to crap all over a really good cruiserweight title match.
If that wasn't bad enough, according to the webmaster of the website for White's bar, this skit blew up to the extent that:
1) Local Cumberland, RI police got an estimated 1,000 phone calls about the suicide
2) The door of White's Friendly Tap bar was pried off the hinges by local police and fire, causing $3,000 in damages
3) White himself has to give a deposition regarding the incident to local police
4) The e-mail address of the bar received 4,000 e-mails of condolence and comment
2004 "winner": Lita/Kane/Matt Hardy pregnancy/miscarriage angle
2003 "winner": Vince-Stephanie McMahon angle for "control of Smackdown" and father-daughter No Mercy match
2002 "winner": Katie Vick angle, WWF/E
2001 "winner": Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass" angle, Monday Night RAW, November 19, 26, and 28
2000 "winner": Stacey Keibler-David Flair and Mark Henry-Mae Young "pregnancy angles", WWF
1999 "winner": The Paul Wight/Big Bossman "cancer angle", WWF
1998 "winner": Ric Flair "heart attack" angle and the Hawk/Scott Hall drug angles, WCW/WWF
1997 "winner": DeGenerationX/Nation of Domination "racial angle", WWF
2005 MATCHES OF THE YEAR:
WWE: Kurt Angle-Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania XXI Los Angeles, CA, April 3, 2005
These two gave their expected clutch performance in this excellent back and forth match, takes up a level by how well it was put together by WWE writers, finally ending with Michaels submitting to an Ankle Lock after struggling to get out of a first ankle lock. In a WWE rarity, the assembled fans gave both Michaels and Angle a standing ovation after the match was over.
Independent: Samoa Joe- Kenta Kobashi, New York, NY, October 1, 2005
Few matches in indy history were more anticipated than this match was. Yes, it was a first for most Americans to see Kobashi, even a Kobashi who is physically damaged. What may have surprised some was how well Samoa Joe more kept up with Kobashi as well. The crowd reaction as the two were introduced was incredible.
Highlights included Kobashi repeating the spot from his Pro Wrestling NOAH match with Misawa, where he hit Joe with a Kobashi/Misawa-like succession of as many as 60 chops with sweat flying off of Samoa Joe's chest; Samoa Joe doing a tope and later a muscle buster on Kobashi, and a stiff Ole kick; and Kobashi responding with a half nelson suplex, sleeper suplex, finishing with a series of strikes and the Burning Lariat to pin Samoa Joe.
If there's such a thing as wrestling perfection, the ***** match in North America, this was it.
2004 winners: WWE: Triple H-Chris Benoit-Shawn Michaels, WWE, Wrestlemania XX, March 14, 2004, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY; Independent: CM Punk-Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor, June 12, 2004, Dayton, Ohio and CM Punk-Samoa Joe, Ring of Honor, October 16, 2004, Chicago Ridge, IL (tie)
2003 winners: WWE: Chris Benoit-Kurt Angle, WWE Royal Rumble 2003, Boston, MA January 19, 2003; Independent: Steve Corino-Homicide, Ring of Honor, "Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies" Fairfield, CT, August 16th, 2003, NWA-TNA: America's Most Wanted-XXX (Christopher Daniels/Elix Skipper) steel cage match, Nashville, TN, June 25, 2003
2002 winners: WWE: Edge/Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit, No Mercy, Little Rock, AK, October 20, 2002; Independent: Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams - 60 minute Iron Man Match, Ring of Honor, Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2002
2001 winners: WWF: Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz - Tables, Ladders and Chairs II - WrestleMania X-Seven, AstroDome, Houston, TX, April 1, 2001; Independent: Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Scoot Andrews vs. American Dragon, East Coast Wrestling Association, Wilmington, DE, September 22, 2001
2000 winners: WCW: Booker T vs. Jeff Jarrett, "Bash At The Beach", Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL, June 9, 2000; WWF: "Tables, Ladders and Chairs" Match - Matt/Jeff Hardy vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Edge/Christian, SummerSlam, Raleigh, NC, August 27, 2000. ECW: Psicosis-Yoshihiro Tajiri, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, August 19, 2000
1999 winners: WCW: Chris Benoit-Bret Hart, Monday Nitro, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO, October, 1999; WWF: Matt/Jeff Hardy-Edge/Christian, Tag Team Ladder Match, "No Mercy", Cleveland, OH, October 17, 1999; ECW: Rob Van Dam/Jerry Lynn, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, August 28, 1999.
1998 winners: WCW: Chris Jericho/Eddie Guerrero-Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko, November 29th, Knoxville Civic Coliseum; WWF: Mankind (Mick Foley)-Undertaker Hell in a Cell Match "King of the Ring" PPV, June 28, 1998; ECW: Jerry Lynn-Rob Van Dam, August 8, 1998, ECW Arena
1997 winners: WCW: Rey Mysterio, Jr.- Eddie Guerrero, WCW "Halloween Havoc" PPV, 10/27/97, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV; WWF: Shawn Michaels-Undertaker, "In Your House: Badd Blood" PPV, 10/5/97, Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO; ECW: Great Sasuke/Gran Hamada/Masato Yakushiji-TAKA Michinoku/Dick Togo/Terry Boy, "Barely Legal" PPV, 4/13/97, ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA
2005 CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
WWE: Wrestlemania XXI Los Angeles, CA, April 3, 2005
As Wrestlemania "went Hollywood", this card of the year featured a WWE Match of the Year such as Kurt Angle-Shawn Michaels, as well as Batista-Triple H for the RAW "World" Heavyweight Championship, opening with Rey Misterio-Eddie Guerrero, and the "Money in the bank" Ladder Match with Christian-Edge-Chris Benoit-Shelton Benjamin-Kane-Chris Jericho.
Independent: Ring of Honor, "Joe vs. Kobashi", New York, NY, October 1, 2005
As stated above, few shows in indy history were more anticipated than this was with Kobashi's appearance with people flying in from all over the United States. This show has been a windfall for ROH, with DVD of this show a collector's item for the holiday season (and undoubtedly the largest selling in company history) featuring the Samoa Joe-Kenta Kobashi match.
Almost forgotten by many were the other matches of the show including James Gibson-Jimmy Yang, Nigel McGuinness-Jay Lethal, the Tony Mamaluke/Sal Rinauro-BJ Whitmer/Jimmy Jacobs Tag Title chance, and Roderick Strong-Jimmy Rave.
Mixed with all this excellent wrestling, was a little merry anarchy, as Homicide decided to play up being a New Yorker and have what we'll call "fun" with the hat of a visiting Boston Red Sox fan; which must have been interesting to explain to the visiting Japanese.
2004 winners: WWE: Wrestlemania XX, March 14, 2004, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY; Independent: At Our Best, Ring of Honor, March 13, 2004, Rex Plex, Elizabeth, NJ
2003 winners: WWE: WWE Wrestlemania XIX, Safeco Field, Seattle, WA, March 30, 2003; Independent: All Japan/Ring of Honor Final Battle 2003, Philadelphia, PA December 27, 2003; NWA-TNA: NWA-TNA Super X Cup, Nashville Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN, September 3, 2003 (taped August 20 and 27, 1993)
2002 winners: WWE: WWE Summer Slam 2002, Fleet Center, Boston, MA, August 25, 2002, Independent: Ring of Honor "Road To The Title" Philadelphia, PA, June 22, 2002
2001 winners: WWF: WrestleMania X-Seven, AstroDome, Houston, TX, April 1, 2001, Independent: 2001 Super Eight tournament, ECWA, St. Matthew's Parish Hall, Wilmington, DE February 24, 2001
2000 winner: WWF "Fully Loaded", Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX, July 23, 2000
1999 winner: "Anarchy Rulz", ECW Odeum Sports and Exposition Center, Villa Park, IL, September 19, 1999
1998 winner: "Survivor Series", St. Louis, MO, Keil Center, November 15, 1998
1997 winner: "Barely Legal", ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA, April 13, 1997
2005 WORST CARD/PPV OF THE YEAR:
WWE Armageddon PPV, Providence, RI, December 18, 2005, WWE
Take a PPV that you've charged fans $35 for. Along with one or two good matches, throw together the rest at the last moment, including one match and one sketch scheduled for no other apparent reason than to punish a wrestler (JBL-Matt Hardy and Boogeyman sketch with Big Vito respectively). Then add a sketch in which you depict a long time employee committing suicide live on air (see Most Tasteless Angle for what resulted in real life from it).
Finish by putting over Undertaker yet one more time over Randy Orton in Hell in a Cell.
You have the worst PPV of the year.
2004 "winner:" WWE "Great American Bash", Norfolk, VA, The Scope, June 27, 2004.
2003 "winner:" WWE No Mercy, Baltimore, MD, October 19, 2003
2002 "winner": World Wrestling All-Stars Eruption, Melbourne, Australia, April 13, 2002
2001 "winner": WCW "Sin", January 14, 2001, Indianapolis, IN.
2000 "winner": WCW Slamboree, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO, May 7, 2000
1999 "winner": WCW Fall Brawl 1999
1998 "winner": WCW Fall Brawl 1998
1997 "winner": ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2005 BEST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
Again in 2005, the one TV show with logical and coherent old school storylines has been OVW's TV. This, even with the fundamental change in the promotion in July after WWE removed Jim Cornette from the promotion; and placed Paul Heyman in charge. Heyman took the TV program, made it his own...with the split of the Thrillseekers, then having partners Matt Cappotelli and Johnny Jeter work a white-hot program that resulted in some of the best TV of the year.
2004 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2003 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2002 winner: Ohio Valley Wrestling, WBKI 34, Louisville, KY (airing in southern Indiana and central Kentucky)
2001 winner: Monday Night RAW, TNN
2000 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network and TNN
1999 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
1998 winner: Monday Night RAW, USA Network
1997 winner: Monday Nitro, Turner Network Television
2005 WORST TV SHOW OF THE YEAR:
WWE Smackdown, WWE/UPN
Very seldom if ever will I miss a RAW....even if I'm sometimes using a remote to bounce back and forth between Monday Night Football and a Philadelphia Flyers game...and a RAW. But with the rare exceptions of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Misterio's appearances over the last year, I'm getting to the point that I'm missing more and more of Smackdown each and every week.
Why? How about these less than classic moments? John Cena and Kenzo Suzuki with Hiroko in a "Battle Rap"...JBL, Amy Weber, a the tranquilizer gun, and in front of the fans in Saitama, Japan... A "Celebration of Excellence" featuring tuxedo wearing men, a five string quartet, an opera singer (which I was forced to watch live, as the show was in Philadelphia)...the 1,245th re-enactment of an arrest skit with John Cena...John Heidenreich's poetry...implied rape of Sharmell by Kurt Angle...Muhammad Hassan and the "terrorists"...Eddie Guerrero and a certain doctor with an interest in his backside...and of course, the Boogeyman...just to name a few.
Thank God for CMLL on Saturday afternoons and TNA on Saturday nights to make me forget all of that.
2004 "winner": WWE Smackdown, WWE/UPN
2003 "winner": The Wrestling Federation (yep, that was actually their name) aired in Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, southern New Jersey on WGTW Channel 48
2002 "winner": WXW Rage TV - aired in Philadelphia, northeastern Pennsylvania, north central New Jersey, and syndicated in parts of American Samoa, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.
2001 "winner": Monday Nitro, WCW, TNT
2000 "winner": Monday Nitro, TNT
1999 "winner": Monday Nitro, TNT
1998 "winner": Music City Wrestling TV
1997 "winner": USWA Television, USWA
2005 TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Mike Tenay, TNA Impact
Tenay continued his streak of the best announcer not named Jim Ross (or the team of Dan Wilson and Steven Prazak with the closing of NWA Wildside). His obvious knowledge of wrestling history, melded with his getting over storylines. This, even with the burden of having to get over Jeff Jarrett as the "King of the Mountain, etc. etc." for the 98,654th time; and with the burden of only having one hour of TV per week.
2004 winner: Dan Wilson/Steven Prazak, NWA Wildside
2003 winner: Mike Tenay, NWA-TNA PPV/TNA Explosion
2002 winner: Mike Tenay, NWA-TNA PPV/TNA Explosion
2001 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
2000 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1999 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1998 winner: Jim Ross, WWF
1997 winner: Mike Tenay, World Championship Wrestling
2005 WORST TV ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR:
Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat/WWE Monday Night RAW, WWE
Seems Coachman has become the Tony Schiavone of the new millennium. WWE clearly insists in putting Coachman, who is in real life a decent enough guy by all reports, in a position that he isn't qualified for. If WWE put Coachman in as a heel manager at ringside, he could get heat (which he IS good at) and would serve a purpose. Instead he got in the way of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, and now Joey Styles and Jerry Lawler with the role of an ass-kisser delivering mindless attempts at heel babble.
2004 "winner": Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat and WWE Monday RAW, WWE
2003 "winner": Jonathan Coachman, WWE Sunday Night Heat, WWE Monday RAW
2002 "winner": Jessica Dally, WXW Rage TV
2001 "winner": Tony Schiavone, WCW, TNT and TBS
2000 "winner": Tony Schiavone, WCW
1999 "winner": Tony Schiavone, WCW
1998 "winner": Bert Prentice, MCW
1997 "winner": Tony Schiavone, WCW
2005 NEWS STORIES OF THE YEAR:
Deaths of Eddie Guerrero, Shinya Hashimoto, and Chris Candido, WWE drug testing policy, WWE return to USA, Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita real life and storyline triangle, Jim Ross replaced as lead announcer on RAW, TNA move to Spike TV, WWE and Bret Hart make peace
2004 stories: Brock Lesnar leaves WWE to try out for the NFL, RF Video/Ring of Honor's Rob Feinstein implication in a pedophile sting, Pat Patterson retirement/resignation, TNA Fox Sports Net slot
2003 stories: The epidemic of deaths within wrestling (many of which involved past or current drug and alcohol use), NWA-TNA survives for another year, continued problems with WWE house show/TV taping business, controversial and active Philadelphia independent scene
2002 stories: The WWF "brand extension", dropping WWE house show business, PTC forced to surrender, NWA-TNA, Philadelphia independent wars
2001 stories: WWF purchase of WCW, ECW closes its doors, WCW "Invasion angle" goes nowhere, WWF ratings and live attendance drop
2000 stories: Mainstreaming of wrestling continues, WWF-ECW-TNN-USA TV network roulette, WWF goes public, PTC censorship attempts continue... but with organized efforts fighting them, WCW set to lose as much as $80 million
1999 stories: Deaths of Owen Hart and Brian Hildebrand, Foley's "Have A Nice Day" goes to #1 on New York Times Best-Seller List, WWF CD DEBUTS at number 4 on Billboard Chart, ECW TV on TNN, Parents Television Council censorship attempts
1998 stories: Changes in WWF product (making it more adult in nature), ECW's 1998 problems, Mainstream attention given the wrestling business, Jesse Ventura's election to Governorship of Minnesota
1997 stories: Brian Pillman death, Bret Hart leaving WWF/Title Change Doublecross
That's the AS I SEE IT year in review.
Until next time...
If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT
column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)