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WNS Column: Wilds' War Cry: New Year, New Big Show

Posted By: Stephen Wilds on Dec 31, 2014

WNS Column: Wilds' War Cry: New Year, New Big Show

Okay, everyone knew it was coming, so give me a few minutes to remind my readers what kind of year it has been for wrestling, and then we will move on to what I’m looking forward to.

It seems like so long ago, January of 2014. That was back when we had the annual Royal Rumble, an event that I look forward to and remember enjoying this past time as well. After that night though CM Punk decided to call it quits in the WWE for what seems like some good reasons, but the whole thing could have possibly been handled better on both ends. His leaving felt like so long ago and yet I am still hearing his name too much. I do not care about CM Punk’s UFC career. Thanks for all the memories, but I think the wrestling world can move on now. Batista came back. That was short lived, but certainly not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Shield versus Evolution was an awesome series in my eyes, and his leaving made way for Seth Rollin’s turn.

R.I.P. Shield 2012-2014

Wrestlemania 30 was a big stand out in a lot of ways. I lost count of how many I watched it and referenced back to the events of the show. It was a show where I was not expecting much, but watched with excitement as Daniel Bryan—the fan favorite hero—had two amazing story driven matches. His long road, a path that felt futile at times, culminated in one of the best feeling moments of the past couple of years in the industry. It was the night many were left dismayed though, as the legendary streak of the Undertaker came to an end. I saw wrestling fans go through each of the seven stages of grief as the night unfolded, with emotions running the spectrum. I cannot say that anyone was too happy, but for one of the first times in wrestling in a long while, I was genuinely surprised. I personally hate that it was Brock Lesnar who ended it all, but I can see why he was a good fit for the role. After watching this man put on so many great matches, I wanted to think he could ride off into the sunset undefeated, but this was a man who always wanted to give back to what he loved. No matter who made the final call that night, I know it would not have happened without Mark Calaway’s consent, so I respect his wishes. That match cannot touch the bouts he had against Edge, Shawn Michaels, or even Triple H, but damn if it is not memorable and has a permanent place in the history books. No matter how someone feels about the streak and its ending, Wrestlemania 31 is going to feel quite different without it.

Just before the big night there was a Hall of Fame ceremony that seemed like it could have never happened. To be frank, I would have never thought that Scott Hall and Jake “The Snake” Roberts would have been alive to be inducted, or sober enough to give their own speeches. I am so glad they did though. Even more surprising than that was the Ultimate Warrior making peace with WWE and showing up. I was never a huge fan of Warrior, but I knew a lot about him, and thought he was just crazy enough to never want to be there. It was an excellent moment to be a wrestling fan. No one could have known what would happen the next night after Raw; that after making mending fences with the WWE and its fans, after a quite memorable speech, the legend would pass away. It hit many fans in their childhood, or was the end of an era, but mostly, it simply put a fine point at the end of an amazing story.  

Vince McMahon was determined to make the WWE Network a reality in one form or another, and for the longest time it appeared that the idea would flop or be watered down so much that none would care. It emerged as an over-the-top subscription network that has already tweaked a few of its rules. This was a huge gamble for the company, one which could have honestly cost them dearly, but it was also a play to cement the future of WWE. Some argue there is not enough content, a few do not like how much the ‘original’ shows repeat material, there is still problems getting it in the UK, and some people even say it costs too much—which it does not—but I for one have enjoyed the hell out of it and think that as long as WWE keeps adding to it and plays it smart, the network can only get better. I do have a few problems with it, mostly small gripes, but those are for another article.

The thing that I think caused fans to lose their collective marbles the most this year was the arrival of Sting in the WWE. Sure, everyone knew he was in talks with the company, there were discussions of a legend’s contract, there were two different versions of him in the new video game, but Steve Borden came out in the black scorpion-clad gear with his face painted and dropped Triple H on the back of his head in an arena that roared in elation. It felt real finally. He was here. Rumors of Sting going to WWE were present for so many years, and even after it happened we were all sure WWE would screw it up; that moment though washed away all of that. I cannot say what else The Icon will do with his time in WWE. I just know I want more. Creative, do not mess this up for us.

Those events were all huge and memorable, moments that will be talked about for a while. What sticks out the most about 2014 though is that it was the year everyone else finally listened to me about how awesome NXT is. I have been screaming it from the rafters for a while, and have the past articles to prove it. This year NXT arrived and took over on the WWE Network, proving to even more fans what this pool of young talent is capable of. The show is simple, exciting, and fun. It gives new talent a place to shine, focuses on wrestling talent, and takes its female competitors seriously. I get concerned for wrestlers when they get called up, and NXT is where some come ‘down’ to, in an attempt to rejuvenate their careers. This is what Raw and Smackdown should be. I understand the complications with that, but seriously, they can do better. NXT is the future, and we should all be paying attention.

I am very glad that TNA only had a brush with death and will be returning, even if the new home for Impact Wrestling may not be the best, I will be supporting it. I want to see great things. Lucha Underground began near the end of this year, and I am enjoying it. I look forward to talking much more about it in the year to come.  I want to be positive about 2015. There are a ton of wrestlers whom I cannot wait to see what they do in the coming months, and the last Raw of the year was not too bad, not to mention the surprises I cannot even fathom right now—though 2014’s surprises will be hard to top. So, needless to say, I see a lot of potential in and outside of the WWE, and hope not to be disappointed.

I am trying out this new positivity thing I keep hearing so much about.

I want to thank everyone who has been keeping up with this column for the past year, and thank WNS for giving me a place to spew my thoughts. I also want to thank all the haters for reminding me I must be doing something right, and I hope to bring everyone some excellent stuff in 2015. 

Tags: #columns #wilds #wwe
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