Sunday, December 29, 2013

The People Who Impressed Me The Most This Year

As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to post a blog spotlighting those in the pro-wrestling industry who impressed me the most this year. You are welcome to contribute your own list in the comments section of this post, since I'm sure that everyone has their own individual opinions regarding this topic.

DAISUKE SEKIMOTO: Daisuke Sekimoto is best known for the work that he has been producing for over a decade in BJW. Sekimoto has been very successful there- the BJW Heavyweight Championship, BJW Tag Team Championship, and BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship all being on his resume. However, Sekimoto also did very well outside of BJW this year, winning the wXw (a German-based promotion) World Triangle League tournament. His success in Japan and appeal outside of it makes it clear that Sekimoto can take his career in any direction that he chooses- although Sekimoto can continue to focus his career in Japan (where his physical ring style would probably be most appreciated), WWE and TNA are not strangers to looking at international talent.

ERIC BISCHOFF: All creative minds have their own individual styles, and everyone has their own individual tastes. I personally enjoyed Eric Bischoff's run in TNA as a participant in the company's creative direction. TNA always had a talented in-ring roster, but for many years I felt that the company didn't make the best possible use of that talent. I enjoyed many of the storylines, angles, and match-ups during his time there, including this year. My favorite storyline was, "Aces and Eights". It was exciting and entertaining, it made the talents involved more interesting, and it gave new faces in TNA (D.O.C., Ivelisse Velez, Knux, and Wes Brisco) a platform to show what they could do. The Aces and Eights was often compared to the NWO, and I too saw the similarities. This was a positive for me, because the NWO storyline was another favorite of mine.

HULK HOGAN: During Hulk Hogan's 30+-year career in the pro-wrestling industry, he has been the top name of every major company that he has worked for, he has been an actor, a musician, and has even started his own businesses. Most people would say that Hogan has done it all. However, this is not true, because he continues to explore and involve himself in new areas of the business world. This year it was Hostamania, Hogan's own web hosting service. It's anyone's guess what new endeavor he will explore in 2014.

KANE: For the past 18 years, Glenn Jacobs has been one of the best performers in WWE. No matter what gimmick the company has given him, Jacobs worked it to the best of his ability. "Kane" has been his most entertaining gimmick, and it has been his most successful one. This year, the character has been taken in a new direction, as Kane has gone from being a monster of destruction to being an executive. On paper, it sounds like a bad idea, and I personally wouldn't have changed Kane's character. And yet, Kane is making it work. With his new corporate image, Kane's character has changed extensively, to the point that, "Mr. Jacobs" would be a more appropriate name for him than, "Kane". But it has been shown that behind the currently calm demeanor of Kane, the monster still lurks within (and hopefully it will be seen sooner than later).

MARK HENRY: Mark Henry was absent from WWE-TV three times this year: In January due to recovery from surgery, during the end of spring due to injuries, and when he took time off during most of the fall. Yet every time that Henry returned, he made a dominant impact, to the point that it was easy to forget that Henry had been inactive. And his retirement angle was in my opinion one of the biggest swerves of the year- Henry had put so much emotion into his promo that many were convinced that Henry truly was retiring, which led to their being shocked by the swerve.

NATALYA: I feel that Natalya has been underutilized for quite some time in WWE. She is the only total package who they have in their female division, yet Natalya is often pushed aside so that other female talents in the company can be in the spotlight. What surprised me often is that it never seems to bother her. While many members of the pro-wrestling industry use social media to vent career frustrations, or become sluggish in the ring due to unhappiness, Natalya always gives 100% and never appears to be unhappy with her position in the company. However, WWE's new reality series, "Total Divas" revealed that Natalya is no stranger to being frustrated while being in WWE. One example was when she was told that she wasn't booked for a WrestleMania match. With all of the obstacles that Natalya faces in WWE, she never lets her frustrations show through her conduct as a WWE talent. Instead Natalya remains professional, gives the fans what they expect, and gives the company what they want. All of this shows how valuable she is to WWE and the industry as a whole.

THE UNDERTAKER: Even though The Undertaker is at an age where most other wrestlers would have hung up the boots by now because they could no longer go in the ring, he continues to give excellent performances. After having only one match in 2012 and working one house show in March, The Undertaker wrestled CM Punk at WrestleMania without any ring rust, giving what in my opinion was the best match of 2013.

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