Monday, February 17, 2020

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for February 17, 2020

MDK MOTHERFUCKERS
Photo Credit: Burning Hammer Photography

Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Nick Gage (Last Week: Not Ranked) - So he didn't regain the Game Changer World Championship this past weekend. To be fair, Rickey Shane Page had to use everything but a Donald Trump executive order to abscond with the title. Then again, the way Trump treated the host city of Atlantic City, I'm not sure that would've been useful. Anyway, Gage can now turn his attention to more pressing matters, like how he can prevent Daniel Makabe from twisting him into a pretzel at WrestleVania Mania weekend. Knowing The King, he'll probably just put a few staples in his forehead and call it a day. That's what I'd do if I were the most ultraviolent wrestler in the country.

2. Maki Itoh (Last Week: 2) - I don't wanna die, so yes.

3. Orange Cassidy (Last Week: 4) - Well, sure.

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: Number Two

Photo Credit: WWE.com
2. Daniel Bryan
Points: 2430
Ballots: 26
Highest Vote: 1st Place (David Kincannon, Bryan Heaton, Joe Punk)
Last Year's Ranking: 2nd Place

TH: Daniel Bryan, Bryan Danielson, American Dragon, Lloyd Boner. Whatever you call him, he's the best ever. I don't have a lot of absolute opinions, but that one is pretty set in stone. It sucks that he's in a company I stopped watching after half-a-year last year, but what I was able to catch, especially the match against Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania, was outstanding. I'm not sure anyone will ever have the command of the ring like he has ever again.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: Number Three

Photo Credit: WWE.com
3. Kofi Kingston
Points: 1931
Ballots: 25
Highest Vote: 1st Place (Brandon Kay)
Last Year's Rank: 62nd Place

TH: Kingston has always garnered a reputation as being loose in the ring, and at times, they were warranted. I'm not sure one could blame him given he was primed to get where he was this year in 2009/2010 if not for a Randy Orton temper tantrum. Whatever that reputation might have been vanished in the aether, as few people were as focused and passionate in the ring as Kingston.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: Number Four

Photo Credit: Grenwail
4. Orange Cassidy
Points: 1910
Ballots: 23
Highest Vote: 1st Place (Blu Ray Mysterio, Nicholas Reed, Bobby Godfrey)
Last Year's Ranking: 42nd Place

TH: I don't know when professional wrestling went from shoot to work. One could gather that it's always been a work, given its origin in the carnivals of the post-Civil War landscape. When were the fans in on the gag? The question is at the center of wrestling debate, one that I honestly don't give a shit what the right answer is. Did people think that Georg Hackenschmidt and Frank Gotch were really fighting? I don't know, but I do know that everyone in attendance for Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole or Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito know it's a work. Fans today don't want to be tricked into thinking guys are really fighting; they want to be entertained. Much in the same vein that you can believe the MCU is real for the two hours you're in the theater watching Spider-Man: Far From Home and come back to reality after the final post-credits scene, people want to be drawn in and think it's "real" from the start of the show through the finish of the main event and go back to normal after.

The Black and Gold Standard Preview for Takeover: Portland (Episode 20-22 Apologia)

This Sunday, the boom goes off
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Febutchary hit some of us (my liver) harder than others, but the crown jewel in the chosen month is happening this Sunday from the PDX. It seems like every time a new Takeover rolls around, everyone wonders if this is going to the best one ever, the most loaded one ever, the one that eradicates constellations because us fanboys need to yank them out of the sky in order to rave about TEH BEST MATCHES EVA!~~~~!1!1111

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: Number Five

Photo Credit: Bob Mulrenin
5. Rey Feníx
Points: 1888
Ballots: 23
Highest Vote: 1st Place (Jeffrey Paternostro)
Last Year's Ranking: 32nd Place

TH: Feníx is one of those wrestlers you take for granted, especially now that he's not a focal point of a show and is mainly a tag wrestler. Anytime he's on Dynamite though, he's always the guy who's going to stand out the most, and people will remark about how fluid he is doing the highest risk shit, or how hard he's bumping for just regular television. The Lucha Brothers and (insert partner here) vs. The Elite has been one of the most entertaining feuds of the year, but not because it's got depth of story. Every single one of the matches rips, and Feníx is a huge part of it.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for February 10, 2020

A visionary in making statues kiss
Photo Credit: Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Bong Joon-Ho (Last Week: Not Ranked) - The Korean filmmaker burst on the scene with Snowpiercer, a post-apocalyptic thriller that established him as a major player in Hollywood. He followed it up with the critically acclaimed Parasite, a movie whose anti-wealth themes resonated with the same people he skewered in it like Barack Obama. For his efforts, he took home four Academy Awards last night, including Best Picture and Best Director. His greatest achievement, however, was making the Oscar trophies kiss.

2. Maki Itoh (Last Week: 3) - Yeah, I don't think this is a good sign for any of her opponents or Chris Brookes or well you get it.

3. PJ Hawx (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Ever since Lex Luger appeared live on the first Monday Nitro at the Mall of America, wrestling fans have been craving, just LUSTING AFTER another iconic spot happening at an enclosed shopping center. Enter Luke Hawx's son PJ, who was wrestling for Wildkat Wrestling at the Esplanade Mall in Kenner, LA. He climbed to the second level, went over the rail, and then became a goddamn legend. It didn't happen in front of as big an audience as the first Nitro, but in this age of information and sharing, it might be seen by as many people and more.

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: 20-6

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Today, the TWB gets to the doorstep of the top five. I hope you have chills, and not because you're cold either!

20. Shayna Baszler
Points: 1466 (ranked higher because of higher high vote than Matt Riddle)
Ballots: 20
Highest Vote: 2nd Place (Joey O., Nicholas Reed)
Last Year's Ranking: 7th Place

Joshua Browns: Another person I voted for on the basis of not only what they did for themselves, but for what they did for others. Shayna delivered over and over again in 2019, and got a bunch of people over in the process. In an era where the idea of “believability” gets flogged to death by a tiny subset of bad-faith actors, I think it’s important to remember that it still is fairly important that a wrestler look like they’re really trying to beat up their opponent. The women of the current era bring a lot of different things to the table, but nobody looks like they’re trying to hurt somebody as much as Shayna Baszler does. If I were a woman trying to get over as a babyface, Shayna Baszler is the person I’d want to be in the ring with.

Friday, February 7, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: 40-21

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Is the suspense killing you yet? Here's the penultimate bulk listing.

40. Rey Mysterio
Points: 1016
Ballots: 18
Highest Vote: 7th Place (Norko Kipte)
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: 60-41

Photo Credit: WWE.com
The TWB 100 has arrived and blasted through the midpoint!

60. Velveteen Dream
Points: 782
Ballots: 15
Highest Vote: 10th Place (Cosmis)
Last Year's Ranking: 14th Place

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: 80-61

Photo Credit: NJPW1972.com
Welcome to the second installment of the TWB 100! Today, we will give you the next 20 wrestlers on the list, including the #nicest wrestler of 2019.

80. Jonathan Gresham
Points: 648 (ranked above Dominik Dijakovic because of higher high vote received)
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote: 1st Place (John Pingel)
Last Year's Ranking: 40th Place

John Pingel: It’s really hard for me to put into words how amazing of a professional wrestler Jonathan Gresham is, but I’m going to try my best. The start of 2019 saw Gresham make his debut in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, which was a longtime coming in my opinion. His debut match against Robbie Eagles was fantastic, but it was his follow up match with David Starr that really got the PWG faithful behind him. Gresham entered the Battle of Los Angeles, and made his way to the finals. He was ultimately defeated by Bandido, but it was a hell of a ride to get there. Every match he had ended in ref stoppage (Octopus Hold with hammer strikes. Like a fucking bad-ass).

Every match he has had with David Starr this year is a must watch. Gresham, like many others on this list, competed in a New Japan tournament. While Gresham’s Best of the Super Junior’s record doesn’t look great, his matches were all stellar. Gresham has the ability to work against wrestlers much bigger than him, and make it look believable. I go into every Gresham match believing he can win. His limb work is incredible, his high-flying is great. Everything about Jonathan Gresham is great.

He appears to be around for the long run in PWG, and in Ring of Honor as well. He, along with Jay Lethal, captured the ROH World Tag Team Championships to close out 2019. I know that Gresham has been wrestling for almost fifteen years now, but it feels like his time is now. Do yourself a favor and check him out, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for February 3, 2020

Ultra Team RainEye ENGAGE
Photo Credit: NJPW1972.com
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Jon Moxley (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Not only is Mox committed to selling his All Elite Wrestling "injury" everywhere else he works, he looks badass wearing his eyepatch. Him standing next to Kazuchika Okada before they stormed the ring against Minoru Suzuki and Taichi was, in a word, incredible.

2. Damien Williams (Last Week: Not Ranked) - The Kansas City Chiefs have ended a 50-year Super Bowl drought. Williams was a huge part of that, taking the direct snap for a first down before the first touchdown and scoring to put the team up 11 in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs may not be a running team, but Williams was essential to their success all year and in the title game.

3. Maki Itoh (Last Week: 3) - She's a cat now, so she'll be 100 percent sassier in coming weeks.

The 2019 TWB 100 Slow Release: 100-81

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Welcome to the first revelation of the 2019 TWB 100. Today, I will list the first 20 entrants in the list, starting backwards from 100. Without further ado, the time has come to start listin' rasslers:

100. Scott Dawson
Points: 464
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote: 8th Place (Jarred Giles)
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The 2019 TWB 100: The TWB 500

Bray Wyatt, or THE FIEND, was the last wrestler off
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Once again, the TWB 100 balloting process churned over enough wrestlers to produce a TWB 500 list. Unlike the virgin PWI 500, which is tabulated through clandestine decision processes in smoky, closed off rooms, the chad TWB 500 is voted by highly intelligent and transparent individuals who watch wrestling and know what to look for. Now, this year's TWB 500 is actually a TWB 503, because there was a five-way tie for 499th place. More wrestlers for your information gleaning pleasure. Also, there were an unprecedented four wrestlers who received first place votes and did not appear in the 100 rankings. To me, that's insane, but it also goes to show how diverse the ballots were that four guys, including AC Mack, who got TWO first place votes, did not place. Anyway, here are wrestlers 101-499 (t) on this year's TWB 500:

101. Bray Wyatt/THE FIEND - 451
102. Kento Miyahara – 448 (1 1st Place Vote – Dan Pierce)
103. Dash Wilder - 439
104. Yuji Okobayashi - 437
105. Scorpio Sky - 433
106. Rowe/Erik - 419
107. Blue Demon, Jr. – 413 (1 1st Place Vote – Chris Gibbons)
108. Jeff Cobb - 412
109 (t) Jordan Devlin - 409
109 (t) Still Life With Apricots and Pears - 409

the Black and Gold Standard: Episode 19 (1/22/20)

BASKING SEASON HAS BEGUN
(Photo Credit: WWE.com)
It's so weird to be doing something for months on end and have no real complaints of substance. "I like almost all of these people and they should all win and never get called up" is a fine idea, but it's not a complaint. "They never should have made that super racist Jordan Myles shirt so he'd get rightfully pissed and quit the company" is, but WWE memory holed that so quick and let ACH be independent again (in addition to the fact he didn't have anything pressing happening on NXTV at the time of the release) that while it's certainly a predictably depressing thing, it doesn't really rise to the level of full-on complaint. "And I should win things by watching!" is a fine Simpsons joke that I will use semi-regularly until the day I die, but again: not really a genuine complaint.