Best of 2013: The Year in Wrestling

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2013 is about to close, and what better way than to take a look at some of the highlights of the past year. The column is long enough, so I will not bore you with a lousy intro, just get to the list!

10) TNA rumors of being sold
Impact Wrestling, which most people still refer to as TNA is splashing around trying not to drown. There is no way around saying it, it has been a terrible year for the company who publicizes not trying to compete with WWE while trying to compete for attention. The year has been plagued by bad ideas, contract disputes, more bad ideas, and good wrestlers subjected to bad ideas. The one thing Impact Wrestling had, the Aces and Eights biker gang was not the best idea on the chalkboard, but it was the best thing to dominate 2013. The rebellious element brought at least one other dimension to TNA, but as always, they ruin it. He might be a legend, he might be the man who brought professional wrestling to mainstream, but Hulk Hogan seems to destroy everything he touches. His personal problems clearly affected his work, and rather than sort his life out he put himself in front of the spotlight and showed the entire word not only how pathetic his life is, but how little he has left in the creative tank. He finally left TNA in the hands of Dixie Carter, who also felt like she was obligated to put herself on television because if people like Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Stephanie McMahon could do it, so can she.

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The problem here is one major major difference is the aforementioned people have creative skills and the on-air personality to carry a show. Dixie doesn’t. All the while super-talented people are left by the wayside, but when a guy like Magnus finally breaks through to main event, they play it down as if he was main event all along and no one noticed. Wrong. When a guy like Magnus wins the main championship, you don’t make excuses, what you do is praise is talents, talk about his history and make it the biggest thing ever. Instead, it’s followed up with Sting, who has been trying to retire for years but TNA just will not let him. 2014 or 2015 will likely be the end of TNA, because they can only run on using WWE gimmicks for so long. Right now they wait about six months, at this rate they will copy WWE storylines by super-imposing the heads of Impact wrestlers over whomever competes on SmackDown.

9) Zero to Hero – Big E. Langston

This has been a good year for Big E. Langston. A very good year. Starting off as a mere bodyguard, the silent Langston has shown the world a big brute can also be a big talker. This was a guy who stood mostly in the background got his chance to shine when Ziggler wound up on the injured list. Langston forged ahead, and fans noticed. Backstage segments, WWE.com videos, and other small tidbits of Langston raised the curiosity of many, wondering if he can actually talk on the mic as well as he can wrestle. Sure enough, he did, and now fans perk up when Langston joins the commentary table. What was never played up, what should have been played up, was his rise in NXT and his eventual capture of the NXT Championship. While it is a minor league title, his path to claiming it was pretty interesting, in an angle which would have been a good fit on either Raw or SmackDown programming. In any case, Langston easily defeated reigning Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel for the championship at a time where the IC title became the number two belt, as the WWE and World Championships were unified.

Langston, who was billed as the next hot commodity in WWE, is the hottest commodity as 2013 comes down to a close. One has to wonder if WWE’s forced face-turn of Langston, having him rush to the aid of CM Punk was even necessary given how fans cheered for him in the same way fans cheered for Dolph Ziggler. These days, most fans are smarter, and know good talent when they see it. Mostly. Some fans still cheer for Cena. Fans appreciate good talent. This is a talent who will likely be a serious Money in the Bank contender in 2014. WWE Champion? Definite possibility.

8) Hero to Zero – Dolph Ziggler

Now for the other way around. Dolph Ziggler. Top of the world. This guy had everything WWE could ever want. People called him “the next Shawn Michaels” and they would be right. He possessed incredible in-ring skills, both offensively and defensively. Fantastic on the mic. Riles up the crowd, and a guy who did not have to care whether he was billed as face or heel because when he stepped out onto the stage, everyone took notice. When he won Money in the Bank in July of 2012, fans drooled at the thought of him becoming World Champion. WrestleMania 29 came and went, and fans couldn’t take it anymore, the waiting was killing them. Sure enough, just one day later, on Monday Night Raw, the night after WrestleMania, in New Jersey, the arena exploded as Dolph Ziggler cashed in, defeating Alberto del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

Suddenly, the hype was gone. Ziggler was defending against second-tier stars like Jack Swagger. Ironically, Swagger is a former World Champ. Suddenly, Ziggler was knocked out of action due to a concussion, and so went the hype Ziggler had for over six months. Gone done. In a swift re-match, Alberto del Rio defeated Ziggles for the title, and Ziggler went back to recovery of both his physical health and his standing in WWE. Suddenly he has as many matches as Zack Ryder. Suddenly he is on a losing streak rivaling one Tito Santana had in the mid-90s. Dolph Ziggler was on the streak of a lifetime, and just because of an injury it came to a grinding halt. No, not true. It was more. I believe it was a case of WWE doing what they always do. “Beware what you ask for, you just might get it.” Ziggler was finally World Champion, and they just swept their hands together and said to the fans “there you go, watch us do nothing” which is what happened. Ziggler could have regained the title, but instead WWE just tossed him way back down to level one. It is a damn shame, Ziggler now pre-showing pay-per-views with Fandango. Ironic, another guy who was riding the spotlight until recently.

7) Zero to Zero – Curtis Axel & Ryback
You have zeroes to heroes, then heroes to zeroes, but lastly, zeroes to zeroes. People who never went anywhere despite all attempts to push. Since we are still on the irony train, ironic the two guys I lump in this category are now a tag team, Curtis Axel and Ryback. Curtis Axel was introduced as a Paul Heyman guy following the manager’s separation with CM Punk and quickly rose to high-mid-card, becoming Intercontinental Champion. Remember how he won it? Neither did I. Had to look up how he inserted himself in the feud between Miz and Wade Barrett for the cursed championship, and won it in a triple threat match between them. Yes, cursed title, because while both Miz and Barrett held it, their loss record resembled Barry Horowitz. Not joking. Axel wisely paired with Heyman as his mic skills obviously needed serious work. They still do. Axel never amounted to much, besides a few forced-down-our-throats victories, he never amounted to much, no matter how much WWE pushed. Hell, there came a point during his feud with CM Punk, the former IC champion was losing to everyone on the roster leaving the announce team to question whether Axel was main event material. Turns out, he isn’t. He was mauled by Punk.

Same for Ryback. Look at the lackluster career this guy had. During his breakout year, he was pushed as a fan-favorite, then cried when announced he was getting a WWE Title match. Crier or not, the guy never won the title, was teased constantly, and there were moments where it felt like “now or never” to give him the belt, and WWE went with never. In hindsight, good choice. He has zero mic skills. Zero. His heel turn was welcomed since he mauled John Cena, but since he couldn’t be him for the title either, people just stopped caring. He then had a bully gimmick which went over no better than the Big Bully Busick gimmick from the late-80’s. Pairing him with Paul Heyman seemed like a good fit. Heyman is a vocal mastermind with guys who can’t speak. Look what he did for Brock Lesnar, and I refer to the first time around. Back ten years ago. Brock was a beast but a bore on the mic. A decade later and nothing changed, why else would Lesnar be paired with Heyman again? Axel and Ryback as a tandem seems to work, but since cutting promos are out of the question, only wrestling victories will speak for them. Until then, no one will be able to take them seriously.

6) New Novelty – Bad News Barrett
You all know I love this guy. I love Wade Barrett. I love Bad News Barrett even more. I read wrestling forums and the short stuff on Twitter, and I am surprised as to how much hate this new gimmick gets. The hate is good, but misplaced. Gimmicks like this start out serious, turn out goofy, and wind up propelling wrestler popularity. Also keep in mind the guy is not 100% back from injury, so this more of him being on television until he is good to go. I would rather see him at the announce table, but even the table is overcrowded these days.

Wade Barrett is a versatile guy. He really is. He can handle a gimmick like this and work it to magical standing. This is a guy who William Regal stands behind. As much as I get behind a guy like Barrett, I will man-up to admitting he’s had a bizarre career in WWE. Starting out as the leader of the Nexus, the winner of the first NXT Competition was an instant star. If you watched the original NXT program, you would have easily seen Barrett was a step above everyone else. His mic skills outclassed and his wrestling ability on par with ten-year veterans. WWE banked on him, and they did win, except WWE and Barrett backed themselves into a corner. It was another case of too fast too soon. Barrett was main eventing within months. His whole stable practically was a team of mid-carders, sans one recently released Daniel Bryan (irony again!), while Barrett headlined pay-per-views against John Cena and Randy Orton. With this, comes a price. No major championship win, no major PPV win, nothing to keep him at the top of the program. A second stint with The Corre found nothing but a void, and that stable soon disbanded as well. Barrett won the Intercontinental Title, which at the time was more of a consolation prize than a trophy. Once again Barrett has the chance to stay in our minds as something special. Do I see 2014 being his year? Too hard to tell. Very hard to tell.

5) WWE Found Something Which Works – Tag Teams & Stables
Agree or not, teams work. When you have way too many individuals and not enough air time to showcase everyone, you make tag matches. When tagging works, when teams work, you keep rolling with it and productive build. In the past there would be random pairings as tag teams. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Daniel Bryan and Kane = worked. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel = Didn’t work. Why, we don’t know. Sometimes those lightweight pairings are good, such as in the case of Paul London and Billy Kidman or Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and sometimes they don’t. Most often does not work when it’s the ol’ “put two cruiserweights together because we have nothing else for them to do” gimmick. Teams like The Shield, Wyatts, Prime Time Players, all people who would have not seen the success they have without teams. Even the Real Americans and the Rhodes Brothers. On the surface seem like random pairings, but with the right angle and the right time, can be the best of ideas. No one would have thought Swagger and Cesaro would have lasted as long as they have, but with a master on the microphone like Zeb Colter? It becomes the perfect stable. Many successful teams of the past were originally perceived as random pairings, but soon became established teams because of the gimmick or common manager. Yokozuna and Owen Hart would be a perfect example. Owen Hart and the British Bulldog would be a comparison for the success of Cody Rhodes and Goldust working together. Diesel and Shawn Michaels. Once again, a reminder we are in an era of an overflow of talented wrestlers. Shockingly between RAW and SmackDown there is not a whole lot of time to show off everyone. Best way, load the shows with tag team, six-man, or even eight-man tag bouts. This way everyone gets their time on TV, and can collect a check.

4) Blink and You’ll Miss ‘Em – Chris Jericho, Christian, and Rob Van Dam
Wha… Where’d they all go? Chances are only veteran fans ask this, because younger and a newer generation of wrestling fans probably forgot they even showed up at all this year. First off, to newer fans, these names are likely thought of as the old guys of this era. These guys have been around since the 90’s, most of today’s younger fans weren’t even born yet. Sad, isn’t it. Thankfully their youthful appearance and energetic attitude might have given them some hope, but truth it, when live crowds cheer, it’s either:

A) Longtime fans
B) Younger fans who hear the longtime fans cheering and therefore they must cheer too

I hate saying it, but if these three just hung up the tights and never came back, no one would really notice. Frankly I thought these guys were already done. I mean, Jericho having such a successful career in YouTube videos. Once you go YouTube, you’re pretty much set for life. #sarcasam. Christian can’t stay health for more than one match. Back in 2012, he got injured, was out for a year, came back for ONE MATCH and got INJURED in that ONE GODDAMNED MATCH. I am NOT making this up! He was back on the shelf for who-knows-how-long, came back for three weeks, and got INJURED AGAIN! He has one World Title reign, only as a nod of respect to Edge, with whom Christian is best friends with. Edge retired, and Christian won the vacant title. He lost it shortly afterwards. Rob Van Dam. Wow, came back for a whole summer, and yes, he lasted the WHOLE summer before deciding this just was not for him anymore. Maybe I am wrong, but I’m probably close. Who does that? He came back, lost a crapload of matches and then vanished. Why come back at all? Did he think wrestling had changed? These guys may act young, but they aren’t. Look at Kane and Mark Henry. Start with the former Big Red Monster. He is taking a quieter, non-wrestling role within the Authority stable. Probably because he just can’t move like he used to. Guy has been wrestling since the early 90’s with WWF. Yeah, he was around before the Kane gimmick. Let’s just say he had a thing for pulling teeth. Granted, Jericho can draw, and he can keep up with the talent dominating the ring today. But Christian really needs to get serious about his future. The guy just had a kid. Does he want to be able to walk with his kid in a few years or have his kid push him in a wheelchair? As for RVD? Perhaps like his favorite recreational habit, he might just want to up and fade away gracefully.

3) Too Little and Not Enough – Damien Sandow
As I type this, Damien Sandow is being beaten to a pulp by Mark Henry in a Good Santa vs. Bad Santa match. Mark Henry is on a mission to save Christmas. Because should he lose, Christmas will be canceled FOREVER and Damien Sandow will be hated by all of mankind. Honestly, that is how it should go and make him the most despised man in the known galaxy. Talk about putting WWE on the map, it would be their fault for Christmas being canceled.

Seriously, Sandow is a great choice for this fun match. While others would complain Sandow has been demoted to absurdity, I would argue being in a match with longtime veteran Mark Henry in a match meant to be fun and a moment removed from the normal serious storyline-heavy program is a sign of respect towards Sandow. It does not seem he has gotten much acknowledgement or airtime lately and frankly the time he has been given just is not enough. At one point, he was on RAW consistently every week, ticked everyone off with his know-it-all and holier-than-thou attitude. Many, myself included figured he would be main eventing or at least have a singles championship around his waist in no-time at all. Shockingly, he has yet to win a title of any type in WWE, and has just grazed the main event spotlight leading many to wonder what is going on with Damien Sandow. At one point he was everywhere, now there just is not enough of him on television. After being the second person to unsuccessfully cash in the Money in the Bank contract, Sandow has been cruising along mid-cards, however his promos have remained above-average leaving fans to want more of him. I feel WWE is taking him a step back, only to prevent the novelty of his character from wearing off. His time tagging with Cody Rhodes as The Rhodes Scholars was a very well timed strategy to keep Sandow fresh and his current singles run is at a good level for him to breakout again in 2014. I have faith Sandow will rise again.

2) The Authority and Paul Heyman
Hello modern-day Corporation! As much as this is a recycled gimmick, it works. You always need some sort of antagonist, and Triple H makes a great one. With Stephanie by his side, her snarky attitude and cutthroat demeanor make this duo a real power couple in WWE. Why would I talk about them, and Paul Heyman, a Rabbi of Wrestling in the same entry? They represent the other element of WWE programming, the non-active antagonist. Heyman is not a wrestler, and these days neither is Triple H. Both however fill their share of the program by ticking off fans, and pushing the storyline further than one could conceive. Heyman, as we all know is a verbal genius on the microphone. His time managing CM Punk should be considered a miracle which may never happen again. Heyman was given wrestlers like Brock Lesnar and Curtis Axel, two people who will forever be worlds apart, yet both found success and more importantly, attention thanks to Paul Heyman as he can fuflil the missing element which Lesnar and Axel have in common, mic skills. Have you heard Lesnar talk on his own? He’s terrible! Axel is no better. Why else was Ryback suddenly paired with Heyman? Heyman takes the verbal, the non-wrestling aspect to the show and molds it into an art form unparalleled by others.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon produce the same. They get in faces, they piss people off, they say the right thing at the right time to push the fans into a frenzy. Sometimes they say something to make us cheer, other times encourage boos. That is what they do best, and this is an element WWE has been lacking. No good managers, very few non-wrestlers who can participate as much as the ones who step into the ring. While I accept the days of good managers are long gone, I cherish the nights watching RAW and basking in the genius of Paul Heyman, probably the last good manager of this era. Of two eras. Will 2014 see the return of Paul Heyman? Do not know yet. I hope so. If not, I would love to see some managers return. Zeb Colter fits his role, but as of late his gimmick has been played down and just is not resonating like it used to.

1) CM Punk and Daniel Bryan – from ROH to WWE
We have the two hottest grapplers in WWE right now, and they both came from a promotion we know as Ring of Honor. Antonio Cesaro while not main eventing, is still pretty damn close. He came from ROH also, previously known as Claudio Castignoli. Interestingly CM Punk was able to keep his original ring name, while Bryan Danielson would adapt the shorter WWE given name of Daniel Bryan. Regardless, their stock in the wrestling industry has surged, being smaller wrestlers who can consistently draw, and can consistently put on a five-star match night after night regardless of opponent or card status on any given program. CM Punk, he came to WWE under their ECW brand in 2006, and just a year later became its champion. Just a year after that accomplishment, CM Punk won Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 24, and just months later, cashed in on Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Talk about a fast rise, and this was long before the days of his “pipe bomb” promos. A year after, he would feud and ultimately lose the title to the Undertaker, but already many wondered how high Punk could continue to climb. Doubts arose as suddenly Punk took leadership of the Nexus which was now nothing more than a second-rate stable. Punk’s main event status lost, and he began to mid-card until an injury sidelined him for a number of months. However, during which time Punk could be found on commentary, taking a more cynical, yet realistic approach when behind the announce table. Many wondered if Punk would ever be a top star again, others, such as myself recall not minding one bit having Punk behind the table as his true skills, once seen and made famous in ROH began to creep through in WWE. Suddenly, in 2011, after stagnation with the Nexus, something incredible happened, and the career of CM Punk would forever change.

The first “pipe bomb” promo. June, 2011. One fateful Monday Night RAW, CM Punk defeated Alberto del Rio in a number one contenders match to the WWE Championship, held by John Cena. After the match was over, CM Punk headed to the stage, and produced one of the greatest promos in wrestling history. The fourth wall broken, Punk would tirade about how Vince McMahon was power-hungry, how the roster was dictated by merchandise and not wrestling. Punk took shots at everyone, and went as far to reveal his WWE contract was set to expire on the night of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, and he was going to take the WWE Championship away from WWE.

The internet broke. Was it real? Was it storyline? Was it planned? No one knew. Suddenly he was suspended from WWE. His name removed and apologies from management. The wrestling world was thrown upside down, unsure if this was all a planned work, or if Punk had gone off the deep-end? Suddenly, Punk was reinstated through storyline arguments between John Cena and Vince McMahon. Cena’s promo bordered on the acknowledgement of real events but still blurred between television and reality. It was rare WWE would encourage such a sudden and unexpected transition for any superstar, but perhaps through CM Punk, WWE saw a golden opportunity to revisit elements which had originally made the Attitude Era popular, but in a new modern-era headed by CM Punk. Without blathering on too much more, the rest is history. Punk has main evented since then, becoming the longest reigning WWE Champion in recent history. Facing The Rock. Facing Brock Lesnar. Who could forget the epic encounter between CM Punk and The Undertaker in what many, no, all, considered to be the true main event of WrestleMania 29. CM Punk has achieved a status held by few, yet he still competes each and every week, never failing to deliver on his promise to entertain 100%.

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Then we get to Daniel Bryan. At this point you wonder how much longer this column could possibly be. Well, hang on to your chairs. 2013 was the year of Daniel Bryan. I truly hope 2014 is also the year of Daniel Bryan. This is a guy who also rose to popularity not from WWE, but during his tenure in Ring of Honor. I recall fondly attending a Ring of Honor show in Edison, NJ with my wife and one Brett Deutchman who promised I would not be disappointed. He was right, as we watched a 60-minute draw between Tyler Black and Nigel McGuiness. Who is Tyler Black? Well, heard of a guy named Seth Rollins? Why do I point this out? Because during the bout, wrestlers started interfering and it seemed the match would end by either disqualification or some assisted finish. Instead, Mr. Danielson took to the microphone and ranted about how this show was about WRESTLING. As Nigel attempted to leave, he then threatened him with the greatest line ever: “Get back in that wrestling ring or I will kill you where you stand!” Say what you want about a line regarding killing, but you had to have been there. I also had the opportunity many years before then, when I was working at WWE and during a taping of WWE Velocity, a young man called The American Dragon got to have a tryout match. I was there.

Daniel Bryan has certainly come a long way. Being brought up to WWE over 10 years wrestling in Ring of Honor, Japan, and various other promotions often cause one to wonder what took WWE so long? Then again, same could be said for Samoa Joe, another man who one time had a tryout match on Velocity and Heat, yet was never brought up to WWE full-time? Daniel Bryan wound up on the first season of NXT, when it was portrayed as a competition. Although he was ousted early on, many already knew of his exploits and regardless of the name change, all it took was a Google search for even the most uninformed of fans to learn all about the American Dragon. Further attention was given by then-heel commentator Michael Cole as he often ripped into Bryan for his “internet fame” and being some low-brow “indy guy” who can’t handle the big time. Sure enough, storyline or not, Daniel Bryan proved just how incredible he can be in a WWE ring. He did hit a minor speedbump, as he got suspended during the initial Nexus invasion on Monday Night RAW where he could be seen strangling ring announcer Justin Roberts a little too hard and the sensitive folk at WWE cringed. Thankfully his suspension was lifted and Bryan came back to action. While not catapulted to WWE or World Championships as quickly as CM Punk, instead Bryan enjoyed success on the mid-card level, upending longtime rival The Miz for the United States Championship. He wound up losing the belt to Sheamus. About a year later, Daniel Bryan would go on to win a Money in the Bank contract, which he attempted to cash in on then World Champion Mark Henry. For whatever reason, after a successful cashing, the title was returned to Henry and the MITB was given back to Bryan. A couple months later, after the Big Show defeated Henry for the title, Bryan cashed in and stole the title with a quick pinfall. This began Bryan’s heel turn and the start of some crazy celebration antics. Starting to sound familiar? It should. At WrestleMania 28, Daniel Bryan lost the title to the same man who beat him for the U.S. Championship a couple years earlier, Sheamus. Except this match lasted 18 seconds. Yes, it did happen. Sheamus, beat Daniel Bryan thanks to one perfectly-placed Brough Kick at WrestleMania 28, in 18 seconds. It was the remainder of the annual event and the next night on RAW which saw the birth of the hottest chanting trend to date… YES! YES! YES! Strange, a man could chant the same word annoyingly to boos, yet losing in such disasterous fashion suddenly brought a new level of popularity. The YES-chant became the new “What?” Even when Bryan attempted to heel again and change it to NO! NO! NO!, the fans still went crazy for him.

If that wasn’t enough, a random pairing with Kane and a trip to Anger Management with Dr. Shelby brought out the comedic side of Bryan. Fans loved the segments and we all got to see a humorous side to the former World Heavyweight Champion. Together with Kane, they held the WWE Tag Team Championships for 245 days, one of the longer reigns which come to mind. After the split, Daniel Bryan focused solely on singles matches, and his stock soared. The change was quite clear, as Bryan pulled out every move in the book, and made a few more up along the way was he would rack up win after win, even over one of WWE’s golden boys, Randy Orton. Promos were incredible, the wrestling outstanding, the wrestling world had not seen anything like this in years. Soon, he would finally get what he deserved, and what the wrestling world wanted, a shot at the WWE Championship, held by John Cena at the 2013 SummerSlam. What made this special, was how Daniel Bryan cut promos against the McMahons, who in storyline did not approve of Bryan being a contender as he did not have the right image, and would also cut promos bashing the “entertainment” aspect and push the focus on “wrestling.” It all came to a head and Daniel Bryan cleanly defeated John Cena to win the WWE Title. However, dreams of all were crushed as Triple H surprise attacked Bryan, allowing Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank and steal the title. The feud did not end, Bryan continued to win matches, and even win the title again, only to have it stripped, furthering Bryan as the anti-corporate champion. Although Bryan was sidetracked with feuds with The Shield and The Wyatts, both of which produced incredible matches, it seems Bryan is heading back towards the newly created WWE World Heavyweight Championship, so it seems it will just be a matter of time until he wears the gold once again.

Top 2013 Notable Mentions:

Goldust and Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes puts on the performance of a lifetime this past summer at Money in the Bank, then gets dumped by Damien Sandow, fired by The Authority, and Goldust comes back. Never in a million years would you have thought that scenario possible, and suddenly the Rhodes Brothers are WWE Tag Team Champions. During the time Cody was “fired” from WWE, various family members stepped up to have him reinstated. The sudden surge in popularity caused WWE creative to get creative with his character. First he ditched the mustache which was a surprise since the facial hair got a bigger pop from the crowd than half the babyface roster. Then, Goldust showed up and began teaming with his younger brother. As the feud developed between the Rhodes family and The Authority, then reigning tag champs The Shield were thrown into the mix. Once the brothers had secured their WWE contracts, they immediately went after the championships, and in just short time they were successful in dethroning Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the straps. While it was a good year for Goldust, having returned to WWE action full-time, clearly the chants of “you still got it” ringing true as the veteran star has not lost a step, it was almost a good year for Cody, as his popularity rose quickly but he didn’t quite make it as high as many had hoped. Still, being a tag champion alongside his gold war-painted brother was a scenario few could have predicted in 2013. Like Goldust, it is very difficult to predict exactly what type of year the duo will have in 2014.

Ted Dibiase Jr. – Smart guy. He ends his career with WWE, stating he wants to be a family man and do something different with his life. That is something damn respectable. For someone of his statue to openly say that wrestling for WWE is not for him deserves some recognition. Most people would be stubborn and we know how well families of wrestlers survive… they don’t. I applaud Ted Dibiase Jr. for standing up for what he believes and doing what he can to make a living for himself, and for his family. The guy probably made a hard decision, but ultimately it seems to be the right one for him. I am happy he realized wrestling full-time was not his thing before it would be too late. He’s a good man and I respect he decision.

Sin Cara – We had a Sin Cara but then we got two Sin Caras and now the old Sin Cara is gone but we have a new Sin Cara which was actually the old Sin Cara who was the real Sin Cara but that was before the current Sin Cara was the real Sin Cara who wasn’t the Sin Cara we thought was Sin Cara so now we had a guy named Hunico team with a Camacho who we thought got fired but now Hunico is wrestling as Sin Cara since Hunico was the real Sin Cara before the other Sin Cara who faced the Sin Cara in a match to become the real Sin Cara. I’m confused.

The WWE Divas – You have talent, and then you have crap. Then the talent you think is talent turns to crap while the talent you think is crap turns out to be halfway decent. Natalya, Tamina, Kaitlyn are all solid stars. The rest of them… meh.

Zack Ryder! He still has a job!

The Great Khali still has a job! WHY?!

Jack Swagger – He should be thankful he is where he is right now. The guy was on top of the world with Zeb Colter and his anti-immigration “I’m a Patroit” gimmick was garnering mainstream media attention until he blew it on a stupid weed smoking offense. He could have been WWE Champion. He could have been main eventing again. Thankfully, he got to keep Zeb Colter in his corner, and he is seeing a lot of success partnered with Antonio Cesaro. Granted, Swagger will likely never come close to becoming World Champion again, but perhaps surprises are in store for 2014. He better not screw it up again.

2014 is shaping up to be an incredible year. If 2013 is any indication, there is much to be excited about. Always have hope WWE will produce solid programming by making best use of its talent.

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