The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards 1.03.14: Part One – The Biggest Disappointments of 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 01.03.2014
From the up and downs of Daniel Bryan and the disappearance of CHIKARA to the rise and fall of Dolph Ziggler, the continued issues of TNA and more, the 411 staff begins their year-end awards by breaking down the top 5 Biggest Disappointments of 2013!
Welcome back to the Wrestling Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic, and all the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people's list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…
1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1
It's similar to how we do the WOTW voting. At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It's highly non-official and final, like WWE's old power rankings. From some of the best and worst, the 411 staff is ready to break down the awards! Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.
5. Cody Rhodes once again refuses my offer to be my donor in pioneering face transplant
4. U.S. Indy wrestling contributes almost nothing of note in 2013
3. TNA regresses creatively after a promising 2012
2. Daniel Bryan's star burns brightly but far, far too briefly
1. Chikara stops being the best thing in the world - If you'd told me this time last year that I'd write anything even vaguely anti Chikara I'd laugh in your face, in my head, I'm too cowardly to actually do that to someone because they might hit me. But, yeah, Chikara was genuinely my favorite form of entertainment. It was everything I love about pro wrestling and indeed life in one amazing promotion- a boundless imagination, a punk rock, D.I.Y spirit, wild characters, great wrestling, innovation and invention on almost every show. And then this year they... I don't know, I guess ran out of funds or something, and decided that, in order to take a break, they'd run a storyline where the mysterious Condor Security forcibly closed them down during an iPPV broadcast. Initially, I was in favor of this; it was typical Chikara to try and turn a negative into a positive, to try and do something daring and unique, and even non-Chikara fans seemed genuinely interested as to what was going on. I thought within a few days we'd have a sizeable storyline update, I thought their sister 'Wrestling is...' promotions would fill the void they left, I thought there'd be twists and turns and an eventual emotional comeback show by the end of the year. I was wrong.
What instead has happened is pretty much nothing for six months, Chikara has sat dormant and all the interest in the storyline has fizzled out and the only things that convince me the company is still alive is that they'll occasionally release an insubstantial Youtube video which vaguely insinuates that they'll be returning at some point in the near future. Oh, also they held a mini rally in a park that probably sounded great on paper but was in reality a bit depressing, and there was a scavenger hunt for a kidnapped fan that to be fair sounded tons of fun despite having a rather ludicrous premise. Apart from that though, nothing, so essentially my favorite company has died and won't tell me when it's going to come back, and it's all so bizarre and annoying that it's actively putting me off going through my old DVD collection, and I'm really not so excited for the return any more. I think apart from girl I like's continuing refusal to realize that I am a hilarious and smart person who she should definitely have a romantic interest in, this might be the most disappointing thing that's happened to me this year, so it's a fairly easy number one pick. PLEASE COME BACK CHIKARA PLEAAASSSEEE I WILL FORGIVE!
5. AAA, ROH, and virtually every company outside of New Japan fails to establish viable iPPV.
4. Jack Swagger is convicted of a very stupid DUI, and WWE lets him off with virtually no consequences.
3. The Austin Aries/Christy Hemme Situation
2. Jay Briscoe threatens to shoot anybody who supports gay rights, fails to offer a meaningful apology, and ROH lets him off with virtually no consequences.
1. CHIKARA - For those of you who don't know the story behind CHIKARA in 2013, I'll try to give you the Cliffs Notes version: The promotion, which had a small but loyal fan base and was critically acclaimed for several years, had its latest internet pay per view event in June, and the final match concluded in a bizarre angle with the promotion's storyline commissioner and storyline security force shutting down the event in midstream, stopping the main event and literally dismantling the ring and the set before the eyes of the live crowd and the iPPV audience. That has been, for all intents and purposes, the end of the promotion. Yes, there was one "guerrilla" show several months later and there have been a serious of odd YouTube videos that try to keep some of the promotion's storylines going, but, by and large CHIKARA has been dormant aside from playing a really weird alternate reality game with the hardest of its hardcore fans which requires them to do things like attend "rallies" supporting the promotion, search for hidden DVDs with coded messages at the events of other promotions, and hunt for Easter eggs at a complicated network of websites, some of which seem to have been set up years ago. On paper, some of this might seem intriguing but, as somebody who has kept tabs on it, let me dispel that notion right now and let you know that it's come off as pathetic and rinky dink. When I follow a professional wrestling promotion, it's because I want to see - believe it or not - professional wrestling, and CHIKARA almost went out of its way not to provide that. It's particularly frustrating because I, like many of their fans, don't live on the east coast and therefore have no way of participating in the majority of their "angle," even if I wanted to.
In addition to failing to provide professional wrestling, what CHIKARA has also failed to provide is some sort of non-kayfabe explanation as to why they've started to take this approach or when, if at all, they're coming back. Is it 100% storyline with nothing more behind it? Possibly. Is it, as some have suggested, a cover for financial troubles in the promotion that prevent them from running shows for the time being? We really don't know. Granted, the company doesn't owe us an explanation, but, frankly, I think coming out and being honest with fans about whatever is causing all of this would preserve substantially more goodwill than stringing viewers along with a bizarre zero-wrestling angle that you have to exert quite a bit of effort to follow. If you truly are having financial difficulties (which seems to be the leading theory), just come out and say that you're having financial difficulties and that you need some time to regroup. If that happened, I could see myself understanding, cutting the company some slack, and getting hyped for their eventual return. Instead, I've found the storyline that their hiatus has been built around to be exceedingly lame, and it's to the point that I'm probably not going to come back to them when and if they start running wrestling shows again.
5. No WWE return for Matt Morgan...yet
4. John Cena and Sheamus being injured
3. Dolph Ziggler
2. Big Show main events Survivor Series
1. Everything about TNA - Honestly, how can this be considered a 'disappointment' when you expect nothing less? Thus, the definition is not really fair. We just assume Impact Wrestling will be the butt of the joke. Either way, I think one of the biggest stories all year has been the absolutely dreadful 2013 for TNA. Top to bottom, you could argue this was their worst year ever. Yes, ever. From behind the scenes to the on air product to the story lines to the road tapings to the Impact Zone return to their rumored money issues to their "big announcements" falling flat, it all added up.
5. CHIKARA disappears mid-PPV
4. Everything the Miz did
3. Post-AJ Dolph Ziggler
2. Alberto Del Rio's slow motion extermination of the World Heavyweight Championship
1. TNA - I could make an entire top five from TNA. Ah, who's kidding who, I could make an entire top 10, but why pile on? The problem wasn't that TNA did some things wrong. The problem was TNA as a whole suffered a nuclear meltdown. I've always been TNA neutral. It's been a mixed bag for me. I thought when Christian first arrived that it steered them a good direction and that Sting pulled them off the rails a bit. I liked it when Foley declared it was all about the wrestling, but I still pine for the return of the six-sided ring. Through all of that there was one overriding rule TNA had to obey: do not become WCW. It tiptoed that line plenty of times during the Russo/Hogan/Bischoff years, but managed not to cross it. Unfortunately, in 2013 TNA went full-bore, dumbass, death-throes WCW. Perhaps the writing was always on the wall given that Russo, Hogan and Bischoff were given control at various points in the company's history, but the innovation and high energy wrestling that defined TNA at its best finally lost out to an almost non-stop cavalcade of dopey ideas and terrible execution.
I suppose I'm going to have to list a few of TNA's lowlights. Ace & Eights will go down in history as one of the worst factions in the history of the business. Boring in the ring and most of them couldn't cut a promo to save themselves. They should have brought in Sean Waltman because X-Pac heat would have been a step up for A&8. Also, where were the Harris brothers? It's not a biker gang without Harris brothers. And then you get their opposition, the Main Event Mafia, which always looked like a bunch of guys wondering why they were standing in the same place at the same time. More than that, they gave off the distinct sense that each of them was thinking, "What's wrong with me? I used to matter." Toss in some MMA fighters who had no earthly business in a wrestling ring and it's no wonder TNA's dominant storyline in 2013 got abandoned. It was like a community theater version of the nWo. AJ Styles was supposed to save TNA fans from all of that. Yet he's now disappeared. At the time when I'm writing this, I'm assuming AJ's leaving is a work. Maybe it isn't, but the only thing worse than AJ winning the title and actually leaving the company would be TNA convincing the shrinking number of people who care that it did happen and letting the whole thing stretch out so long that it becomes the next storyline, which needs a good abandoning. Then there's the ongoing talent drain. No longer does TNA have the marquee tag, women's and cruiserweight divisions in the industry. Basically TNA has turned into a weekly key party with a very small group of people. It's got an "Oh, you again?" vibe. The main thing with TNA is: this isn't fun anymore.
5. ROH's response to Jay Briscoe's anti gay rights remarks
4. Jack Swagger still gets World Heavyweight Title shot after a DUI
3. iPPV problems still not fixed
2. WWE's pattern of not pushing obvious fan favorites. Ziggler, Cesaro, Bryan, Sandow
1. The mysterious death of Chikara - Anyone who personally knows me has heard on several occasions that I love Chikara. It was the promotion that really made me into the wrestling fan I am today. So this one hits me really close to the heart. It feels likes a huge punch to the privates on how Chikara went out. In the middle of an iPPV, the show is just stopped and the fans are given nothing more than a 'get out' shove through the door. Some said it was an angle, but it is now six months later and there is still no word (with the exception of one guerrilla style show.) The only thing I ask for is a reason. My best guess is that it comes down to money.
If that is the case, would it had been too much to ask for them to tell us that? Instead of leaving the fans guessing, why not announce a final show and go out on a positive note? Maybe the promotion thought they would come back soon, but as of right now, it seems the once great giant of US independent pro wrestling is down for the count. Chikara has left a lot of great memories for wrestling fans, but their sudden end is one heck of a sour note.
5. Aces and 8s
4. US Indies screwing the pooch with iPPV
3. Jay Briscoe threatens to shoot anybody who supports gay rights, fails to offer a meaningful apology, and ROH lets him off with virtually no consequences
2. Sin Cara
1. Down Goes CHIKARA - For me, the biggest disappointment of the year was the fall of CHIKARA and the wackiness that followed. I have a good idea what happened behind the scenes, but due to the fact that nothing has been confirmed I will not get too deep into it. But shit happened, they had to shutdown, and they came up with (as only CHIKARA can do) and shut down. They then ran the various "Wrestling Is" groups, which have methodically been shut down as CHIKARA plans to return, supposedly at National Pro Wrestling Day. But the thing is, CHIKARA shutting down was horrible for me as a wrestling fan. I enjoy CHIKARA for what they present, it is a promotion I can watch with my daughter, and we have loved attending the live events. But the "shut down" has taken away something I enjoyed with no explanation, and now has killed off my daughter's interest in wrestling. Maybe she will get it back if they return, but when CHIKARA went down into their wacky storyline closing, they lost my daughter as a fan, and for months have simply pissed people off because they have never given a REAL explanation.
Robert S. Leighty Jr
5. Rock/Cena II
4. Ambrose's US Title Reign
3. Dolph's World Title Run
2. TNA's Struggles
1. Lack of true WWE Title run for Bryan - I totally understood the story the WWE was telling with Orton cashing in on Bryan at SummerSlam. I was all on board with the Authority backing Orton and doing what they could to screw with Bryan. Orton is 10000 times better as a heel, and really HHH back as a heel is for the better as well. What angered me and left me disappointed is that they didn't get the proper pay-off: Bryan overcoming all the odds at some point to win the WWE Title back. Instead Orton transferred to a feud with Big Show and Bryan is moved to getting the Wyatts to the next level.
5. Independent wrestling, in general, not being all that good
4. Delirious proving to be a mediocre booker
3. ROH and DGUSA killing iPPV (at least for themselves if not everyone else)
2. The Wrestling Is promotions being boring, uninspired, and a flop
1. Chikara - Oh, is it ever Chikara. As I have written in other locations (including this website), my disappointment in Chikara actually goes back to 2012. High Noon 2011 was almost like the perfect series finale for Chikara. They had the beautiful 12 Large Summit that simultaneously crowned their first singles champion and honored their fallen friend (Larry Sweeney). The event was also their first iPPV, and it reportedly did fantastically at the live gate and in terms of iPPV buys. All of the stories being told for a season or seasons perfectly came together on that show (Green Ant conquered Tursas, Sara Del Rey finished her systematic destruction of the BDK, Ultra Mantis recovered the Eye of Tyr from Ares)*. The show also had some great in-ring action (El Generico/Jigsaw, The Young Bucks/The Colony, and of course, Quackenbush/Kingston). Whether anyone in 2002 knew it or not, Chikara had been building to that show from the very beginning. It was nearly perfect. Then, the next 24 months happened.
*Okay, the Icarus/Gregory Iron feud was not great, and their match certainly was nothing special.
2012 saw the debut of the GEKIDO. The stable was quickly seen as a creative flop, and the stable broke off in several different directions that didn't resemble the original goals of the characters at all. After being set up as the de facto number one contender for the Grand Championship by the end of 2011, Sara Del Rey was completely wasted in an awful feud with The Batiri.** Tim Donst, a character once considered an important part of Chikara's future, started his fall as a character. His actions became completely inconsistent, and his matches often underachieved.*** For me at least, the most disappointing aspect of this time period for me was the booking of the Grand Championship. Eddie Kingston's challengers were often seemingly determined at random, with past wins and losses apparently playing no part in the decision-making.**** The reign was by no means "bad," but there's no doubt that the Grand Championship booking felt lazy and uninspired.
**I actually like The Batiri, but this feud sucked. Del Rey would eventually get a title shot, but her momentum as a challenger was dead. She officially signed with the WWE shortly thereafter.
***Tim Donst went from hating Hallwicked, to thinking Hallowicked was a god, to loving his Young Lions Cup, to seeing the cup as a curse, to hating Eddie Kingston, to imitating Eddie Kingston, to starting a Flock-like stable that only worked if you saw it as a parody (Which I chose to do, because it was far funnier that way!). Needless to say, Donst's stock fell dramatically during the last eighteen months of Chikara shows. His character requires a great deal of rehab in 2014.
****The Brodie Lee and Vin Gerard challenges at least made some sense. Kevin Steen got a shot because he asked for one. Jigsaw then got a shot after seemingly losing almost every match he was in with a Chikara regular in the previous ten months. Dasher Hatfield and Sara Del Rey achieved very little kayfabe success in the run up to their title matches. Tadasuke hadn't appeared in the company for a year before his shot. Tim Donst got a title shot because...he really hated Eddie Kingston that week or something. 2013 saw some improvement of this (Green Ant getting a title shot for being Eddie Kingston clean in a singles match was so shockingly logical that I almost wonder if it was done by accident). Anyway, when Chikara returns in 2014 (or whenever), the booking of the Grand Championship needs to be re-examined.
Finally, in the story line that became synonymous with the creative decline of Chikara, Wink Vavasseur became a more active authority figure by instilling Chikarabermetrics (a mysterious mathematical formula that caused Wink to break up beloved Chikara teams and to make up new teams of his own). The story line was that Wink was such an incompetent authority figure that he basically started to book the promotion badly. Yes, a large chunk of Chikara's 2012 and 2013 was openly booked badly...on purpose. It was as enthralling as it reads on paper.
So, at this point, obviously, all but two of you gave up on reading this Chikara rant. For you two people, you must be wondering why I just spent a large chunk of this rant discussing Chikara from before 2013. Chikara is a promotion that has story lines that go on for years. Even after the clear blow offs to some of the feuds, the story lines will continue to linger and never be forgotten. Chikara in 2012 is very much a part of the story of Chikara in 2013.
The major story lines that took place when Chikara was still running shows this year were mostly flops in terms of drumming of major interest and satisfying the high creative standard Chikara had set for itself. The peak of poor storytelling came with the stories that have been told since Chikara's "demise" after the Anniversario iPPV in June. I don't have the patience to explain the all the "game changing" interactive activities that Chikara has done since that time. I also have no interest in chronicling the Chikara "Ashes" video series. Watch and learn about them yourselves and make your own judgments. In the end, my own feelings on Chikara do not truly matter. I'm just one of many fans that they have (had?), and as I've written before, I'm sure the promotion will do well when they return.
However, I'm not the only one who is making these claims. A lot of their fans are not satisfied (and of course, some of their fans have been responding well to the story lines). For a promotion that had always thrived on being the most creatively interesting promotion in wrestling, they truly dropped the ball in 2013. Wrestling needs Chikara to resume its old form whenever they return.
5. Jack Swagger returns to monster push, quickly ruins it
4. Dolph Ziggler's rise and fall
3. Aces and Eights/MEM "feud"
2. Hulk Hogan wastes everyone's time in TNA
1. No King of the Ring - Look, this is wrestling, and a lot of stupid things happen throughout the year. For me, however, WWE continuing to keep the King of the Ring award/title/whatever locked up somewhere instead of using it to maybe give the midcard a little something to occupy itself with continues to be the biggest disappointment for me. Matches not living up to the hype, wrestlers being depushed out of nowhere, injuries... these things happen, and maybe I've been desensitized to it all. But the King of the Ring is RIGHT THERE! Imagine if Damien Sandow was King of the Ring instead of a lame duck Money in the Bank guy who never had a chance of winning the belt at this point in time? A slower ascension may be a good thing for many of the not quite main event guys in WWE, and King of the Ring would be, in my opinion, the best way to do it. Definite disappointment.
5. Lack of enforcement on wrestling talent for increasingly dumb acts, arrests, interviews and tweets
4. TOTAL DIVA'S
3. The Daniel Bryan Booking Abomination Marathon
2. Chikara's disappearing act. Poof!
1. TNA's slow decline into "I Do not even seem to care" mode and booking - Many people have already touched upon a lot of what issues TNA has had this year when it comes to its 2013 campaign. I will just list them and then write ...SIGH...
1. The succubus that was Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan
2. The never ending story that was the Ace's and 8's
3. Lack of original feuds, programs or focus, especially the X division title
4. Disappearing talent of many, many months only to re-appear constantly (Rob Terry, Gunner, Kenny King, Sonjay Dutt, Jai Bradley,)
5. Financial issue's (limiting PPV's, House Shows, Live Shows, Contract expirations, STING, returning to Orlando)
6. Bad Influence not winning the tag titles (personal choice)
7. Talents leaving with no one to take their place or the great TNA Bloodletting of 2013(DVON, AJ Styles, DOC, Taeler Hendrix, Tara, Alex Silva, Christian York, Crimson, Doug Williams, Kid Kash, Joey Ryan, Matt Morgan, Jesse Sorensen, D-Lo Brown, Bruce Pritchard, Brooke Hogan, Todd Kennely, Eric Bischoff, Chavo Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, SoCal Val, RVD, Mickie James and briefly Madison Rayne, Ken Anderson and Sam Shaw till recently)
8. MMA involvement we had to take seriously. I am looking at you King Mo and Tito Ortiz
9. What Knockout Division? What Tag Division?
10. Gutcheck becoming a huge failure
May I wish for a Happy TNA New Year, please.
5. The concussion and subsequent demotion of Dolph Ziggler
4. The legal problems and de-push of Jack Swagger
3. The disappearance of Chikara
2. AJ Styles as AWOL champion
1. Daniel Bryan not getting a real run with the WWE championship. - While I sympathize with my co-authors who malign the absence of Chikara and both the booking and budgetary woes of TNA, in my mind there was no let-down on a grander scale, for a larger audience, than watching Daniel Bryan arrive as a true superstar only to be de-pushed out of the main event by winter.
Seeing Bryan work his butt off until his talent simply could not be denied this summer was downright inspiring stuff, culminating in a sensational title win at SummerSlam. As much as I didn't like watching Randy Orton steal the belt that same night, I understand that the greatest WWE heroes need great villains to overcome and that Authority-backed Orton made perfect sense in that role. Furthermore, I understand that Bryan couldn't and shouldn't have achieved redemption right away. But booking him in a series of non-finishes and swerves bored and irritated the audience, and never giving him a substantial title reign all but killed the man's momentum. Worse yet, it deprived the fans of what should have been the feel-good moment of the year. That, my friends, is a truly epic disappointment.
Steve "Never Disappointing" Cook
5. ROH vs. SCUM
4. Indy Internet PPV Issues
3. Sin Cara
2. Dolph Ziggler falls off the face of the Earth
1. CHIKARA closes, or whatever it did - Over the past few years CHIKARA became one of the more popular indy promotions in the United States. I could go into an overly complicated explanation about the differences between CHIKARA & mainstream wrestling, but the main thing that separated CHIKARA from WWE, TNA & ROH was this: Fun. CHIKARA shows were fun to watch. It wasn't a perfect promotion, but you rarely watched a show and walked away hating that you spent a couple of hours watching it. The King of Trios was an annual attraction featuring tons of fun wrestlers doing interesting things. The absence of CHIKARA for most of 2013 made the year less fun and gave me as a wrestling fan less to care about.
Dolph Ziggler's year after cashing in the MITB briefcase couldn't have been more disappointing. The original Sin Cara couldn't have had a more disappointing run with WWE. The iPPV issues have done a lot to kill interest in the indy wrestling scene. The SCUM angle created no further interest in Ring of Honor and the best thing about it was it ending & the people involved going away. At least for now.
5. TNA Losing Steam
4. Jack Swagger Spoils his own Push
3. Chris Hero Let Go: No Kings of Wrestling Reunion in the WWE
2. AJ Styles Storyline Fulfilled, Becomes Cheap Summer of Punk 2 Knock-Off
1. Dolph Ziggler Gets the Worst Timed Concussion in The World/Jack Swagger Spoils Someone Else's Push - For a few years now Dolph Ziggler has been seemingly poised for a shot at the main event. He has had multiple shots at both the World and WWE titles, having great matches all the while with guys like Edge and C.M. Punk. Most every match he has been in has been a quality affair and he has gone out of his way to make other guys look good. Dolph Ziggler has earned himself a lengthy title run, hell even Cena put him over by having Ziggler retain his MitB briefcase against him, and then a concussion robbed him of anything memorable besides his actual cashing in of that case.
Of all the things that occurred on the Raw after WrestleMania the thing that seemed to get the biggest reaction was Ziggler successfully cashing in and becoming the new World Champion. Ziggler seemed set to finally get his time to shine in the main event, at least on Smackdown. Sure Ziggler's return match after his concussion caused a double-turn where Ziggler became a face, but that hasn't exactly led him to great things so it can't really be seen as that much of a silver lining.
Maybe this is my personal bias for Ziggler and against Del Rio (as champion anyway) but to me this missed opportunity was the biggest disappointment, bigger than the booking of Daniel Bryan, as after all while Bryan seemingly got screwed he seems to be more over than ever and we still don't know where the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania will lead. (We all thought the 18 seconds was bad but then in the end it became the trigger that took Bryan's career to the next level) Whereas in the case of Ziggler, he has fallen further and further since his title loss, to the point now where he is being passed over for Fandango of a shot at the Intercontinental title, not even the world title for Christ's sake!
There is still time for Ziggler to rise to the top, but now the titles are unified it seems even less likely than before, and it sucks because we never know what might have taken place if Ziggler had managed to build off his momentum rather than being stopped dead, and that is disappointing.
5. Sin Cara
4. ROH vs. SCUM
3. Jack Swagger's DUI and the utter lack of consequences
2. Jay Briscoe threatens to shoot anybody who supports gay rights, fails to offer a meaningful apology, and ROH lets him off with virtually no consequences
1. CHIKARA? What's a CHIKARA? - I was very intrigued at reading reports of CHIKARA's final show and the possible fallout. Almost every wrestling promotion has done stories where the company is seemingly threatened in some way, but no one ever followed through (except for cases where the company simply shut down due to real world issues). It was very exciting to see that happen. I don't know where the line is between keeping a story going long enough that it doesn't seem meaningless and where it stops being something worth caring about, but CHIKARA passed it a few months back at least. Maybe it's the glacial pace of the teases, the fact that their 'best of' DVD comprises less than half of the year, or the simple fact that I don't have the time/effort/patience/memory required to follow along.
I do look forward to the company returning as it seems almost certain to, but you know what I would have liked more? CHIKARA in all of 2013. It was a company that had done a lot to win me and my wife over and, now, all of that momentum and interest is almost gone completely. The mention of the company used to make my wife smile and get excited at the prospect of exciting wrestling. Now, it causes a look of momentary confusion before she remembers that it used to be something. Bravo, sirs. Job well done.
5. Jack Swagger's big return comes in the form of a terrible gimmick.
4. iPPV... yep.
3. The Aces & Eights angle is beautifully revived and then falls apart before ending in a member v. President match that nobody was asking for.
2. Daniel Bryan, main event superstar for a minute.
1. CM Punk v. Paul Heyman Fizzles and Sputters To A Stop - It may seem to be an unusual choice to be the biggest disappointment of the year, but this is MY section of the LIST and I'll be disappointed by whatever I want. This angle had so much potential to escalate to an epic level but it ended up becoming a platform for Heyman and Punk to ham it up while intermittently hating each other. Throw in faltering new Heyman guy Curtis Axel who was exposed as a complete bum on his very first night as a repackaged character and Ryback, who was Ryback. Maybe I just built it up too much in my head, but after a great moment in Heyman's turn on Punk at Money in the Bank I expected FIRE from Punk and BRIMSTONE lobbed back by Heyman. It ended up being kinda cute and pretty fun, but that was it. It wasn't bad, but it just was.
5. Chikara goes into meltdown.
4. Chris Hero gets his marching orders.
3. Jay Briscoe's rather unsavory episode where he acted like a complete and utter fool.
2. Related to 5, TNA might be heading the same way!
1. Dolph Ziggler's regression back down the card. - I'll preface this by saying I don't lay the blame squarely at creative, and I'm also fully appreciative of Dolph's concussion which obviously scuppered things somewhat. So there's no real blame being attached directly, but it's still a shame.
When Ziggler cashed in Money in the Bank on the post-Mania Raw, the entire arena erupted with joy. After months of waiting patiently for him to make the next big step up the card, it seemed as though he might've finally cemented himself in that position. After losing the title, he had a couple of rematches before starting a rivalry with his old running buddy in Big E. Langston and ex-girlfriend AJ Lee. This, to me, is where the problems essentially started, as it turned into a midcard rivalry and there didn't seem to be much of a exit strategy for it.
Then, he was booked to go up against Dean Ambrose for the U.S title. Nothing wrong with Ambrose or the U.S title per say, but for someone who had won the World title a few months prior it seemed like a step down. To cap it off, he appears to be in the doghouse and has been booked in losing efforts for most of the winter. It's even got to the point where he's been losing #1 contender matches for the right to challenge his old lackey in Big E, who has leaped ahead of him in the pecking order totally.
Again, there's no particular blame I think you can lay, although some argue Dolph didn't carry himself as a Champion and it was another case of trying to "make the belt carry the man" rather than the other way round. They actually pulled off quite a good double-turn with Del Rio when he came back, so losing the gold itself wasn't the problem.
But it's the follow-up to that double-turn where he started to suffer. Splitting with AJ and Big E should've been a quick thing and not dragged out so long. It got to the point where it killed his momentum altogether. Who knows what the future holds for Dolph now. Personally I don't think he'll ever manage to top that night after WrestleMania, and at least he has that moment to fall back on. But with the World title picture more condensed now the belts are unified and plenty of other worthy candidates higher up than him in the pecking order, he's going to have to slum it in the midcard again for a good while yet.
If I were his doctor, I'd prescribe him a heel turn in 2014 so he can rediscover his Show Off antics with the freedom that such a character alignment brings. Also, that opens up more matches against the likes of Cena, Bryan and Punk for instance.
AND 411's TOP 5 DISAPPOINTMENTS of 2013 ARE…
5. Jay Briscoe threatens to shoot anybody who supports gay rights, fails to offer a meaningful apology, and ROH lets him off with virtually no consequences – 17 pts.
4. Daniel Bryan Wins The Big One, Gets It Taken Away, Wins The Big One Again, Gets It Taken Away…– 25pts.
3. TNA Struggles – 27pts.
2. The Rise and Fall of Dolph Ziggler – 29pts.
1. CHIKARA's Disappearing Act – 44pts.
THE 2013 411 WRESTLING AWARDS
The Biggest Disappointments of The Year: CHIKARA's Disappearing Act – 44pts
The Best Promo of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 6th)
The Best Tag Team of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 7th)
The Worst PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 8th)
The Best Female of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 9th)
The Best PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 10th)
The Best Feud of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 13th)
The Best Match of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 14th)
The Best Wrestler of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 15th)