(Written on January 3, 2005)
Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) remained the top professional wrestling organization in 2004. This column is going to be the “Best and Worst of 2004” of the WWE.
This was a year of up and downs for Vince McMahon and company. Wrestlemania XX saw the crowning of Chris Benoit as World Champion and Eddie Guerrero retained his title, but we also saw Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg wrestle their last matches in the WWE. The year was marred with the premature pushes of John Bradshaw Layfield, Randy Orton, and Carlito “Carribean” Cool. However, I will give them credit for the gradual and rather impressive push of Batista these last few months. The visit to Iraq was a wonderful thing, yet they ruin it with Muhammad Hassan and the 9/11 remarks. Sometimes it seems as though Vince has absolutely no clue what he is doing. Well, let’s get to the awards.
Worst Female Wrestler – Lita
Lita racked in what had to be the worst year of all the female wrestlers. In my opinion, she’s lucky she was not released along with Gail Kim. After going through neck surgery that sidelined her for some time, her in-ring work greatly diminished. One of the major angles of the year was the pregnancy angle between Lita and Kane. The angle was absolutely HORRIBLY written and Lita’s ATROCIOUS acting did not help it either. The angle did bring out two bright spots for me though: Trish Stratus’s unbelievably good heel-side was brought out in her dealings with Lita, and Gene Snitsky’s terrifically bad, yet funny, acting. I thoroughly enjoy watching Gene Snitsky and hope he continues to grow in the ring.
Best Female Wrestler – Trish Stratus
For the last few years Trish Stratus had been the loveable, blonde damsel. In this past year, she took a major step forward in her career when she turned on Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XX. Throughout the year, her mic and in-ring skills vastly improved. She is, without a doubt, the backbone of the women’s division in the WWE. With Trish’s skills improving, I expect her to have another big year in 2005.
Worst Tag Team – The Dudley Boys
The Dudley Boys ended 2004 as the worst tag team. Arguably one of the best tag teams of all time, the Dudleys, fell off the face of the earth in 2004. They had a brief stint as Spike’s “enforcers,” yet that didn’t last very long. The Dudley’s just aren’t the entertaining tag team that they used to be. I don’t know what is in store for this team in the year 2005.
Best Tag Team – William Regal and Eugene
I thoroughly enjoy watching Eugene in the ring, however, the “special kid” angle has been pushed way, way too hard. The thing I enjoy the most about Eugene’s matches is when he unleashes the Rock Bottom or the Stone Cold Stunner on someone. William Regal is finally being used to his ability as a gifted technical wrestler, and he and Eugene have gelled well together. The fans have fully backed them as a team, and I see La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier and Rob Conway) as the only team able to unseat them.
Worst Single Wrestler – Christian
“Captain Charisma?” You have got to be kidding me. Watching Christian wrestle is like listening to someone scratch their nails on a chalkboard. Christian is a tag team wrestler. He needs to stick to tag matches. In his short-lived feud with Sheldon Williams, Christian was really exposed for his bad technique and LACK of charisma. You do know the reason he calls himself “Captain Charisma” right? That’s because no one in their right mind would call him that. I enjoyed Edge and Christian as a tag team, but when they split to follow single careers it was obvious that Edge was the talent on that team. Hopefully the WWE will ease my pain and take Christian off of Raw.
Best Single Wrestler – Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit had a great year on Raw. At Wrestlemania XX, Benoit realized his dream of winning the World Title. At the Granddaddy of them All, Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a great Triple Threat Match for the title. He carried Randy Orton through their World Title Match at Summerslam. Throughout the year (and his entire career if you want to be honest), Benoit has continued to produce great match after great match. Barring a serious injury, I expect him to have another stellar year in 2005.
Most Overrated Wrestler – Randy Orton
Randy Orton takes the cake in the Most Overrated Wrestler department. The guy definitely has mid-card skills, no doubt about it. However, he’s not up to main event level, and I believe the WWE realized it after awarding him the title over Benoit at Summerslam. A mere one month after defeating Chris Benoit, Randy Orton dropped the title to Triple H at Unforgiven. The WWE made the mistake of skyrocketing Randy Orton to the top before he was prepared. Finger of shame at the WWE for not developing Orton like they’ve done with Batista lately.
Most Underrated Wrestler – Chris Jericho
Y2J continues to be the most underrated and underappreciated wrestler in the entire WWE. He’s held every major title in the WWE (minus Cruiserweight), and he was the first-ever Undisputed Champion, beating Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, arguably two of the greatest champions of all time, in the same night. He has carried Christian through a feud that has dragged on for too long. Jericho continues to put on amazing matches time after time, yet he never gets any love for it.
Worst Match of the Year – Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar : Wrestlemania XX
A majority of the fans in the arena knew that this was going to be both of these superstars last match in the WWE. With Goldberg not signing back with the WWE and Lesnar leaving for the NFL, the WWE was put in a horrible predicament. Who do you have win? They decided on letting Goldberg win the match, however; they allowed Stone Cold to deliver the Stunner to both men at the end of the match. During the match the fans showed both how they felt about them with loud booing and chants of “Boring” and “You Sold Out”, the latter directed mainly at Lesnar.
Best Match of the Year – Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero : No Way Out
The WWE finally realized the tremendous fan support behind Eddie Guerrero placed him in the World Title match against Lesnar. The match was absolutely amazing from opening bell to pinfall. The interference by Goldberg added a great future feud between Goldberg and Lesnar as the Smackdown fans popped like crazy for Goldberg. Eddie capitalized on the interference and pinned Lesnar to win the match.
Well that’s all from me about the WWE in the year of 2004. Hopefully 2005 will be another good year. I also want to see how JBL continues to grow on the Smackdown side of things. He’s got some of the best mic skills on the Smackdown roster, and he seems to be developing into a true heel, as long as they keep him from getting too political. Hopefully NWA:TNA will continue to grow and actually put up a decent challenge to the WWE in the upcoming year so we can have some better all around wrestling action.