Friday, December 20, 2013

Year End Sorting Bins, 2013: Heck Yeah, I'll Buy Your T-Shirt

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Missin' u, Tozawa
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Once again, this is going to be a big one. Twenty-five will get writeups, and the rest will be listed after the jump. I like being positive. SO WHAT? Here are the creme de la creme of wrestlers, the guys who are awesome, more than worthy of praise. These are my favorite wrestlers.

Akira Tozawa - Absence makes the heart grow fonder, y'know. I haven't seen Tozawa at all this year, and unless Gabe Sapolsky either takes the ridiculous rental limit off his VODs or actually starts releasing DVDs, I probably won't get to see him. None of those reasons diminish how awesome Tozawa-san is, though.

Kevin Steen - Steen is the old reliable of the indies for me. No matter the card's providence is, if Steen is booked for a match, that show is going to have one redeeming quality. He's also, by far, the best interaction on Twitter among indie wrestlers.

Tommy Dreamer - I've always had a soft spot for Tommy Dreamer, going all the way back to 1996. I don't know if he's gotten better with age, but he seems to bring the right mixture of nostalgia and bona fides to back his nostalgia up. I guess he gets points for being the one guy who hangs onto his ECW legacy but isn't doing it embarrasingly.

Brock Lesnar - I am serious. I will start a Tumblr page dedicated to shipping Lesnar and Jimmy John's sandwiches. Also, "SAY SOMETHIN' STUPID, PAUL."

Frightmare - Of all the wrestlers I watch, Frightmare most resembles a pinball. While his reckless style of bumping makes me fear for his well-being, I admit that it's very fun to watch.

Prime Time Players - They're the ultimate '80s tag team. One guy can wrestle his ass off (Young), and the other guy has +10 in charisma (O'Neil). Plus, PANCAKE PATTERSON.

Willie Mack - I'm so psyched that he got to wrestle Samoa Joe this year (I'll watch it eventually, I swear!). He fell off the map inexplicably in PWG. He should be one of those dudes wrestling all the big names from back east. I guess he'll have to do that in CZW, hopefully.

All Angel Blue Everything
Photo Credit: Texas Anarchy
Angel Blue - She's naturally such a great heel that it's entertaining to watch her needle both her opponents and the crowd. She's an artist if the medium was "inciting negative feelings in a mass of people for show."

AJ Lee - What does WWE do the one legitimately gifted female performer who gets over because she's good at nearly everything she does? They shit on her at every turn. She's too good for WWE. I kinda hope she shoot-quits in the middle of the ring and flips everyone off on her way out the arena.

Eric Young - Young is legitimately one of the funniest dudes in wrestling.

Brian Cage - I've seen a lot of feats of HOSS in my life, but the ring-in superplex he does standing on the second rope is Goddamn amazing. I wanna see it live one day.

Dusty Rhodes - I do the "Dusty voice" on Twitter whenever WWE decides to grace us with his presence. The action might come off as mocking to some, and I guess I get that. However, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I pay tribute to Big Dust through humor. Believe me, if I wanted to make fun of Dusty Rhodes, for one, I would be dead because God would strike me down with a lightning bolt, and two, I wouldn't show it through rapt transcription of things he says or things I would imagine him saying through tweet form.

Rich Swann - I've seen him do the standing 450 more than a few times, and each time, it gets more and more impressive. Then I see him break dancing or needling his teammate or leading the Reseda crowd in an a capella rendition of Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long," and I forget about how impressive the standing 450 is.

Santino Marella - I thought he lost his groove, but this year, he came back pretty strong. I guess comedy just needs a chance to recharge the batteries.

Mask or no mask, the best
Photo Credit:
Sami Zayn - Like many other fans, I bemoaned the independent scene's loss of El Generico, because that character was special and made entire shows worth going to just by his presence. I never thought he'd flounder in WWE, because his brand of likeable magnetism seemed to be able to translate past all kinds of gimmicks. The mask didn't define Remi Sebei, the person, so why wouldn't he be able to succeed regardless of what the WWE NXT Chop Shop would do to him? Not only has he become the face of NXT, but he might be the most transcendent wrestler ever to come through developmental. I could not be happier.

The Canadian Ninjas - The funniest thing about the Ninjas is that both of them can be not only believable good guys, but super-effective ones as well. Portia Perez showed it in ACW last year, and watching Nicole Matthews work in ECCW has been a revelation.

Summer Rae - Yes, she's an attractive, leggy blond, and I can recognize that all day long. However, I can't imagine the Fandango character being as great as he is without her as a manager. Her scowl game is on point.

Marion Fontaine - The Extravaganza of Wrestling Exhibitions was at least tied for the most unique and innovative concept of the year with Chuck Taylor's 24/7 Championship run on Instagram video. You don't understand how happy dudes like Fontaine make me who aren't just happy to do the same old shit that every promoter has ever done since the dawn of the business.

Bob Backlund - Once, just one more time, let me see Backlund lock someone in the crossface chicken wing. I will die happy.

Bobby Fish - The best part about his character is that in most social circles, he'd be considered stylish and cool. But to the sweaty dudes who sit in the front row at ROH shows and wear knockoff Affliction shirts and wing quarters at the Hoopla Hotties? He doesn't even have to open his mouth to get heat.

Fred Yehi - God, I really want him to work in places where you people (YOU PEOPLE?) will actually see him wrestle. He has to be seen. Has to.

Aww yeah, Bobby B
Photo Credit:
Jakob Hammermeier - In hindsight, Aniversario: Never Compromise should have ended after the Donst/Loudspeaker match, if only because ending the show with the birth of "Stone Cold" Jakob Hammermeier would have been equally as epic as shutting the whole place down.

The Young Bucks - The Bucks have pretty much defined themselves not only by doing the most blatant old school heel shtick, but by completely and absolutely throwing themselves into it. I defy anyone to name a more entertaining move than Matt Jackson's handspring backflip corner back rake.

Gavin Loudspeaker - Only two ring announcers are worth noting, ever - Howard Finkel and Gavin Loudspeaker. Everyone else might as well be the trumpet-voiced teachers from Peanuts. (Notable exception is Brandon Stroud, whom I haven't had the pleasure of listening work yet.)

Chris Jericho - I will always love Chris Jericho, but his Cool Dad stuff from this past year gave me major pause about including him in his normal, top-favorite-guys-ever bin. Still, any wrestling show is richer for having him perform on them.

The Osirian Portal
Matthew Palmer
Dasher Hatfield
Jock Samson
Chuck Taylor
Damien Sandow
Evan Bourne
RD Evans
Tyler Breeze
The Wyatt Family
The Submission Squad
Mat Fitchett
Uhaa Nation
Solomon Crowe
Jessicka Havok
Paul London
Sylvester LeFort
The RockNES Monsters
Jervis Cottonbelly
Leva Bates
William Regal
Allysin Kay
Veronica Ticklefeather
Antonio Cesaro
Bo Dallas
Los Ice Creams
The Hooligans
Jojo Bravo
Veda Scott
C&C Wrestle Factory
Glaad Badd
Tim Donst
Tony Nese
Bad Influence
Big E Langston
Ricardo Rodriguez
Dan Barry
Scott Stanford
AR Fox
Amazing Kong
Always love Jericho
Photo Credit:
UltraMantis Black
Rick Knox
Oleg the Usurper
Food Fighters
Tara and Jesse Godderz
Renee Young
Lloyd Cthulhuwitz
Bravado Bros.
Drew Gulak
Jack Jameson
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
El Torito
Crazy Mary Dobson
Kimber Lee
Forever Hooligans
Kyle Matthews
Madison Eagles
Estonian Thunder Frog
Mike Cruz
Green Ant
Alexander Rusev
The Swamp Monster
Zeb Colter
El Hijo del Bamboo
Terry Funk
Adam Cole
The Shield
Kellie Skater