10. This Is Awesome! Moment Of The Year
I haven’t seen Daniel Bryan’s triumphant victory over Randy Orton at Night Of Champions, the moment that began his second brief WWE Championship reign. (Triple H stripped him of the title the next night on Raw thanks to a suspiciously fast referee count, a storyline that still hasn’t been properly resolved. Bryan says he didn’t make any prior arrangements with Scott Armstrong who claims otherwise. So who’s telling the truth?) That being said, does it really compare with Bryan’s triumphant victory over John Cena at SummerSlam? I can’t say for sure, of course, but surely the first title push mattered more than the second.
Kofi Kingston has had his share of memorable moments on pay-per-view over the years, particularly at the annual Royal Rumble. One year, he avoided elimination by landing on his hands and walking in that same position until he made it to the steel steps in order to safely climb back into the ring. At the 2013 event, he had another famous close call when he leaped onto the announce table from the ring apron after going over the top rope. Then, he used JBL’s ringside chair as a makeshift pogo stick in order to jump as close to the ring as possible before getting back in again. A cool moment for a perennial mid-carder but not the most awesome moment of the year.
Many will argue that Big Show’s inevitable knock-out of Triple H on Raw, which followed weeks of frustration and endless humiliation by The Authority, came a little too late to save a lacklustre storyline. Still, H sold Show’s punch so broadly it made for a great TV moment. However, it too was not the most awesome moment of 2013.
That honour belongs to Dolph Ziggler. After waiting more than half a year to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase, he chose the night after WrestleMania 29 to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, to the absolute delight of the rabid audience. On Raw, Alberto Del Rio barely survived a 2-on-1 non-title handicap encounter against his WM challenger, Jack Swagger, and his mouthpiece, Zeb Colter. Looking like he was nursing a leg injury, Ziggler’s entrance music hit and the already hot crowd exploded. (They had been chanting “We Want Ziggler” constantly up to that point.)
With AJ Lee and Big E. Langston walking him down the aisle, The Show-Off briskly and determinedly made his way to the ring, handed the referee his briefcase and participated in one of the best MITB impromptu matches since the concept was introduced eight years ago. Watching this happen live for the first time gave the encounter an absolutely electric feeling that repeat viewings can never duplicate. (The suspense was off the charts.) To see a hardworking talent like Ziggler finally get his moment to enter the main event was quite gratifying.
After five minutes of near-falls and submission attempts, AJ’s man finally got the 3-count and the celebration began. Unfortunately, as we all know, it was all downhill from there. But for that one night, everyone who watched that moment was thinking or saying the exact same thing: This. Is. Awesome.
My Pick: Dolph Ziggler cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase on Alberto Del Rio and wins the World Heavyweight Championship
11. Beard Of The Year
The nominees are: Real Americans manager Zeb Colter, Damien Sandow, The Wyatt Family and Daniel Bryan. As silly as this category is, it’s remarkably competitive, isn’t it? Let’s start with Colter. Fantastic moustache, yes, but it completely overshadows the beard. So, he’s out.
Of the three facially hirsute members of The Wyatt Family, Derek Rowan is the standout with his striking red beard. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper have decent ones, as well, but they’re a little too unkempt for my taste. As for the Yes Man, Daniel Bryan, nothing could ever make me appreciate the bird’s nest that’s been clinging to his chin for all these months (although I do appreciate how he humourously incorporates it into his super popular ‘face character). For better or worse, he’s stuck with it. But I don’t have to like it.
That leaves the underappreciated Damien Sandow, one of the best heel characters in the WWE right now. Hilariously snobby but also a capable hand between the ropes, he was screwed out of a world title run when World Heavyweight Champion John Cena thwarted his Money In The Bank cash-in on Raw a few weeks ago. After drifting for a bit, he’s now vying for the InterContinental title currently held by Big E. Langston who he faces at TLC. So much for getting a main event push.
Of all the performers on this list who would suffer greatly if they shaved, surely Sandow is at the top of the list. Without his beautifully groomed mane, he would be less of a character. After considering the look of all the nominated characters and the quality of each of their beards, it’s Sandow all the way. Look for the voters to side with Bryan, though.
My Pick: Damien Sandow
12. Trending Now (Hashtag) Of The Year
The WWE has gone all-in on the social media craze in the last few years but it still remains to be seen if this is a good longterm business strategy. Nevertheless, its ongoing popularity on Twitter has inspired this category about hashtags.
#BestForBusiness, the catchphrase of The Authority, caught on rather quickly but for me has grown stale and annoying. Based on their recent bookings, the McMahon clan has no clue what’s best for business so they should stop using it already. Look at how they screwed Daniel Bryan. #BelieveInTheShield is the oldest line on this list. It helped sell Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as an air tight unit of mass destruction but it’s not my favourite. It’s also scheduled to be retired soon, so there’s that as well.
I love the Real Americans’ #WeThePeople schtick (so do live audiences who shout along with Zeb Colter, Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger every time they say it now even though they’re villains) but it’s not exactly original.
That leaves #FollowTheBuzzards, a line Bray Wyatt is fond of saying. It’s creative, suits the southern cult leader’s character and is likely to stick around for quite some time to come. It easily gets my vote.
My Pick: The Wyatt Family’s #FollowTheBuzzards
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 8, 2013