Thursday, December 14, 2017

For your consideration: 5 under the radar talents to look at for the 2017 Top 10

Every year I write a new lists of the Top 10 wrestlers of various promotions, but when the year comes to an end, I ike to remind folks of some of the great unsung talents as they start their own voting for the year end wrestlers. So here's a few talents I think may have flew under the radar but deserve recognition in 2017.

The days of Solomon Crowe are gone.

Sami Callihan. The former Solomon Crowe was Cody Rhodes before Cody Rhodes. He left WWE under his own volition and started to blow up independent wrestling with great match after great match. He's traveled around the world in 2017 and put on great matches in Lucha Underground (as Jeremiah Crane), New Japan, CZW, AAW, AIW and a lot of other acronyms.


Same goofy grin, though. 
Juice Robinson. The former CJ Parker was Cody Rhodes before Sami Callihan was Cody Rhodes. Juice left NXT because he saw the writing on the wall. His initial indie run post-NXT was lukewarm. But Juice took an invitation from New Japan, agreed to start again in their dojo and in a matter of a few short months started wrestling the best matches of his life. His 2017 was stupendous and I suspect his 2018 will be even better. Juice could prove to be the next Kenny Omega level gaijin talent in New Japan.

The Black and The Brave Academy's first graduate deserves a ton more recognition by the wrestling world. 
Connor Braxton. I hoped Iowa's own Braxton, a trainee of Seth Rollins and Marek Brave, would break out a bit more in 2017. An SCW regular locally, he's wrestled for WWN, House of Hardcore and AAW on a semi-regular basis. With great size, a great moveset and a good look he can be a huge star if he finds the right extra bit to get him more star attention. (I don't think the hoverboard will do it.)

Impact Wrestling still gets a few things right...
Mia Yim. Jade's career ended in TNA, but Mia continued to tear it up on the independent scene. Though she didn't go as deep in the Mae Young Classic as I would have liked, she still put on an impressive showing. Out with an injury now, she should have a strong 2018 on her return where hopefully the big boy promotions all start bidding for her services.

Jeff and his evil alter ego... together?
Jeff Cobb. A hoss is a hoss, of course, of course. Cobb may not be the biggest wrestler ever, but he's one of the strongest. Guam's resident star took the indies by storm in 2017, going from PWG and California indies to wrestling pretty much everywhere in the world. Most of his exposure might come under a mask and a blood soaked jumpsuit, but as Matanza or as a 2004 Olympic wrestler turned pro, he's one of the most talented guys in the game. And the Slamfest may be one of the most impressive moves in professional wrestling.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We're back... to close out 2017 with a new Top 10, voted on by you!

I am over here dusting the Wrestling Weekday homepage off. This site will get something of a face lift over the next year as it will feature some long form works and almost certainly, a name change. But none of that matters, the relaunch starts in the last week of the year. That means it is once again time for the year end Top 10.

And I need your help to determine the ten best wrestlers of 2017.

As in previous years, the process is simple. All you have to do to vote is to send me your list of the top wrestlers from anywhere in the world. Your list can be as short as one or as long as 25, but it needs to be ranked in order of worst to best. Send your choices to wwfmegs{at}yahoo{dot}com (or leave them in the comments below) and I will tally the fan choices as well as my own top ten to give a full list of the top stars of 2017.

The only requirement for a wrestler to be eligible for the list is if they were active in the calendar year 2015 as an in ring worker. Promotions, gender and age are not limited, just as long as they wrestled a match at some point in the year 2017. Wrestlers should be rated on quality of match rather than out of match promos or shenanigans, all though those can be taken into account as an overall reason for your choice. Tag teams and units must be listed separately on this list. If you feel they had equal levels of performance in your list of twenty, please put them one after another.

Though it is not required, any commentary on the wrestlers you chose and why you chose them would be appreciated, as it will be included as thoughts on the wrestler in the final Top Ten list.

All votes must be received by December 24, 2017, at midnight Central time. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

WWE exists in an endless cycle of one step forward, two steps back

WWE's worst booking decision in a series of abominable booking decisions.
Image credit: WWE.com.
WWE has made its share of announcements in the last week, but nothing they can do will overcome the bad blood many fans feel after the debacle that was the first ever women's Money in the Bank match. James Ellsworth won the match for Carmella, basically showing exactly how much WWE management really cares for its supposed women's revolution.

Let's be honest: Tuesday's Smackdown wasn't originally booked the way it was booked. Damage control was in full effect, as even major news outlets started to notice the ill fated storyline WWE produced on Sunday night. Vince lives in a world where exposure is always a good thing, but even he can't fix that problem.

Coupled with the ongoing problematic players still in positions of powers (folks like John Bradshaw Layfield and Michael Hayes) creating hostile work places, all while WWE pushes its anti-bullying narrative, the company seems divided between a newer generation of management that wants to take the company into the 21st century and Vince's old boys club.

Mauro is back... in a role far from the auspices of JBL and
Vince McMahon. Image credit: WWE.com.
Don't get me wrong. WWE has tons of bright points in the last week. Braun Strowman, arguably the biggest new star the couple actually developed in house since John Cena, made an impactful return on Monday night. Abbey Laith, better known to indie fans as former Chikara Grand Champion Kimber Lee, will make her debut in the Mae Young Classic. And perhaps the biggest news of all: WWE has signed a deal to bring Mauro Ranallo back into the company as the new play by play commentator of NXT (opening Todd Grisham to be Smackdown's lead full-time.)

However, while the Mae Young Classic has announced several great talents in the likes of Laith, Tessa Blanchard, Sarah Logan and Jazzy "Alpha Female" Gabert, the competition also has already added two homegrown WWE talents with almost no wrestling experience. Lacey Evans has worked a series of uninspiring job matches while MMA veteran Taynara Conti has exactly one match under her belt, and a battle royal no less. It again leaves a lot of wrestling fans disappointed to see amazingly talented females left by the wayside while WWE pushes unknown stars instead. It's entirely contrary to the hopeful spirit created by the Cruiserweight Classic.

WWE's booking on both main brand shows remain a complete mess as well. Mike and Maria Kanellis debuted at Money in the Bank, but barely blipped on Smackdown. Roman Reigns continues to be pushed over all others, though at least WWE seems to be letting him embrace his heeldom at last. The Raw tag division continues to be a complete mess despite a half dozen great teams on its roster. 50/50 booking and Orton's continued challenges against Mahal (seemingly for no reason after two straight losses) threaten to neuter the drawing power of names like Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, all of which are arguably bigger draws than Randy Orton has ever been in his career.

I love to look on the bright side, but in the last two months I have felt zero urge to renew my WWE Network subscription. With the advent of the Mae Young Classic this summer, my opinion might change, but for now WWE still has a logn way to go to earn back my eight dollars a month.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Best of the Indies: AR Fox Open Invitational Scramble

Most of the time I'll use this feature to just focus on any exemplary match in the world of wrestling. Sometimes though, I'll use it to focus on a local promotion featuring some amazing talent. Pro Wrestling Revolver is easily the biggest thing to hit Iowa in years. Sami Callihan's little engine that could has put on some amazing events, but one of the first matches on their first card was this doozy of a match pitting AR Fox against multiple opponents, Dave Crist, recent Impact signee Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Curt Stallion, KLD and Iowan regulars Chainsaw King (who has an uncanny resemblance to Deucalion of Chikara's Horde) and SCW regular Connor Braxton. It is an absolutely crazed match and definitely worth a watch to see these men throw everything out into the ring.