Monday, January 11, 2016

Year-End Sorting Bins: If You Twist My Arm Hard Enough...

She's taken a couple of steps back
Photo Credit:
No, I haven't forgotten about the BLOWOUT or the Sorting Bins. I shall restart the whole thing right now with bin number two. I'll only blurb a handful of these personalities and just list the rest, because, what, do you think I have all day? The "Begrudging Toleration" bin contains all the wrestlers I don't really actively root for, but that I don't necessarily have a problem with. Or they're people who inspire strong reactions in both directions. Or they're just there with flashes of good performance. Either way, I'm not too crazy about them, even if they can be really good at times.

Charlotte - I'm not on the "Charlotte's always sucked" bandwagon that seems to have popped up, but she has regressed. Her decrease in likability isn't necessarily her fault, but Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch retained quite a bit of their charm even with the main roster transition. Charlotte, well, Charlotte just kinda burst through and became the same awkward wrestler she was before the Nattie Neidhart match at the first Takeover.

Matt Striker -  He clowned Jim Ross in terms of quality at WrestleKingdom 9, but honestly, that is such a low, low bar to clear anymore.

- I get why people root for him and such; he's an endearing underdog story. I get that he tries hard and seems like an absolute gem of a person to be around, but more often than not, he comes off to me as someone who looks like he's play wrestling rather than competing.

Stardust - He's trying to be like his big brother without any of the natural charm. He comes off entertaining at times, but maybe he should try acting? Also, the CM Punk-kind-of-a-dick-on-social-media corollary comes into play here.

Paige - She seems likable and everything, but I'm pretty sure the number of really good matches she's had since the NXT Women's Championship Match at ArRIVAL stands at one, and it was with Super Worker Nikki Bella™.

Wade Barrett - I feel bad for his injury luck; he seems to get bit more than usual, even with the general road hazards in WWE. But I'm just burnt out on him being WWE's version of trying to make fetch happen (Even if it's mostly WWE's fault). However, if WWE put him in the Smackdown color commentator's chair with Mauro Ranallo, where he'll never have to fear jobbing to R-Truth again, maybe he gets re-energized.

Eva Marie - She's got everything cosmetic that a great wrestler needs. She has a hell of a look, mannerisms for days, awesome entrance robe, boss theme music. The only problem is she can't work or talk. That's all. PS, I'm sick to death of her being a battleground. On one hand, yeah, a lot of the criticism of her is on the far side of the border of misogynistic hate-prattle. But sometimes, I feel like one cannot rightly discuss how bad she is without an interjection that maybe she's still in developmental or that she needs time or that misogynistic shitboys say she's bad because Total Divas or some shit. But then again, a lot of areas in wrestling discourse are fundamentally broken. Why should discussion of Eva Marie be any different?

Bad Luck Fale - Fale is another guy who's got the perfect look, but I'm still trying to grasp what made him get into pro wrestling instead of, perhaps, manning doors at nightclubs for a premium salary. That being said, the beginning of his G1 match with AJ Styles was probably the most amusing thing I've seen in wrestling in 2015.

Alberto del Rio - He's been phoning his WWE performances in so hard since his return that I'm shocked he's not carrying the burlap sack filled with cash that WWE pays him to the ring and pointing at it before and after matches. I'm still waiting for him to have a match that I can say "that's good" rather than one that I have to say "Well, I guess that's the best match he's had since coming back." The shame part is that he was pretty good in Lucha Underground during his time there.

Jay Lethal - Ring of Honor has so many interesting options on its roster, and in true post-Gabe style, it put the title on a relatively milquetoast option. Lethal is as inoffensive a wrestler as one can get, which when paired with someone like Styles can be a good thing. But his entire character is owed to Truth Martini at this point, and god forbid he's in there with someone who is less than elite.

Bray Wyatt - Just shut up, Bray. Please.

TJP - If only he'd keep his shitboy meninist mouth closed, I might be able to enjoy how awesome he is in the squared circle.

Sting - He's getting into the WWE Hall of Fame, which if you think about it as an induction for everything he's done in promotions for which the company has tape, makes sense. I'll never hate anyone for liking the guy, because he was a pretty big deal in the places where he has habitated over the years. But I was always into the other guys around him when I checked in on WCW more than him. He always felt like the townie who was there and always tried to prove himself against the more interesting visitors.

Super Dragon - Much like Gabe Sapolsky, Dragon is bailed out on his booking practices by his talent. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla can be the best promotion on the planet, but Dragon's booking holds it back.

Chris Jericho  - It's amazing how far he keeps falling. I mean, he can still put in a good match when he wants to like at Beast in the East. But seeing a guy who was once my favorite dude in the world for being hip, edgy, athletic, and later on, dead on in his craft become sloppy-ass Cool Dad is depressing.

Bob Holly - I'm not as critical of the nostalgia train as others, but once you start getting the idea to book a big bully like Holly, I'm not sure you're digging the right holes.

Dolph Ziggler - Ziggler's fall from grace has been nothing short of stunning. I used to get up every time he came out. Now, I consider turning the TV off. He's become a parody of himself and a wrestler. But at least he still bumps hard.

Baron Corbin - He's gotten a lot better over the course of a year, but man, he's got a long way to go.

Silas Young - Maybe I'm punishing unfairly for ROH's toxic storytelling, and who knows how much input he's got into his "last real man" character. He seems to be serviceable in the ring, but whenever he comes out, unless it's against Dalton Castle, I'm checked out.

Johnny Gargano - He might be in the next category up had he not blocked me on Twitter for reasons that are currently unknown to me. Seriously, I don't think I've ever been a dick to him online.

Tomoaki Honma - Honma was one of my favorite things about my nascent New Japan fandom, and then the allegations came out about his domestic violence issues. Sure, the charges may be true, but the fact that Honma, New Japan, and the wrestling media are basically acting as if this accuser is pulling allegations out of her ass is troubling, especially since domestic violence allegations against wrestlers are often true, since Honma has a history of violent behavior, and since society is supposedly moving past brushing these things under the rug. I'm not sure I can look at him as a "lovable underdog" anymore, even if he still is one of the better guys in the ring over there.

Roman Reigns - I want to like Reigns. I really do. The guy is becoming hot fire in the ring, a guy who can go out there in the main event of big shows and deliver in memorable ways. But I can't reconcile his promo-style, let alone the cringe-inducingly bad material the writers script for him, and his character arcs, and how he mostly comes off as way too cool for school with that ring oeuvre. I don't know. Maybe I'm being too harsh on the man they want to call the Big Dog. But he's just not there yet completely with me.

And the rest...
Adam RoseBig ShowErick RowanBrie BellaDudley Boyz
Byron SaxtonLos MatadoresCameronThe RockFandango
Heath SlaterHornswoggleKaneRandy OrtonRosa Mendes
Sin CaraTamina Snuka"Creepy" Greg HamiltonMarcus LouisMojo Rawley
Bobby CruiseJay BriscoeAll-Nite ExpressNigel McGuinnessKonnan
VampiroColt CabanaNRGNew Age OutlawsDanny Burch
Tommy DreamerCody HallCaristicoShelton Benjamin3.0
The WolvesCarsonPaige TurnerThomas ShireAnnie Social
Cliff ComptonBrian MyersDarius CarterTJ MarconiDavid Starr