24 December 2014

Who Has Been Naughty and Who Has Been Nice? The 2014 Edition

Disclaimer: A few years ago I started writing for another website and six months into my writing tenure there, the holidays were upon us and so I needed to come up with a holiday themed blog. I thought long and hard (okay not really but it sounds nice to say) and I came up with the idea of naming the wrestlers who would find their way on Santa's naughty list for having a bad year and who would find their way on Santa's Nice list for having a good year. So with that explanation of how I came up with the concept, lets get to it. Basically I will name the wrestlers I would put on Santa's Nice list and who I would put on the Naughty list and give my explanation of why I classified them as such. Usually I name five for each list but that might not be the case this year because so many different TNA talents had great years in 2014.

Who Has Been Naughty This Year?

Quick Note: I usually do the nice list first but this year I got to do the naughty list first because I need to see if I can even come up with five names to put on this list.

Magnus: You might find it odd that the first guy I put on this list is a guy who spent four months of 2014 as the TNA World Champion but alas here we are. I am one of the few that didn't feel that Magnus' title reign was awful as I quite liked how TNA booked Magnus as the pompous, entitled prick who wanted the prestige of being World champion without doing the work that a World champion should put in. Rather Magnus finds his way on the naughty list because the final 7 months of 2014 for Magnus has been so terrible. He went from World Champion to an after-thought as Bram's buddy and sidekick. It's a pity that Magnus' rise to the top in 2012 and 2013 was rendered pointless by a mostly terrible 2014 to the point Magnus needs to be rebuilt again. May 2015 bring you better fortunes Sir Magnus.

MVP: The first controversial name I put on this list as while MVP has been featured on the show all year, had strong matches when he has performed and has cut some of the best promos TNA has seen all year long but he is on the naughty list because MVP didn't reach his ultimate goal, he never became World Champion. His spot was taken by Lashley (more on him later) after MVP suffered an untimely injury and Lashley was so good in that role, that if MVP wants to get to the top he would need to take a spot from someone else because Lashley will be in the spot he is in for a long time. It's a pity that an injury set off a course of events that led to MVP being on my naughty list for 2014. May 2015 bring you better fortunes MVP and names to go with the three letters that make up your name.

Samuel Shaw: He is another guy like Magnus that came into 2014 and started off strong but just started sliding down the card progressively as the year went on. Not to mention his character started strong, got weaker and then closed the year strong again which shows that Shaw needs to get some consistency with this character as well. Considering that Shaw is under contract with TNA for a few more years, he has time to grow and maybe find his way onto my Nice list in 2015 despite being such a creepy bastard (My lists don't judge people's character). It is always a pity when a creepy bastard and possibly a serial killer can not find his way onto my nice list in 2014. May 2015 bring you better fortunes Samuel Shaw (And no I will not tell you my location)

Gunner: This will be the last name I mention here because of all the key talent on the roster, he was the last one I can think of that went backwards really over the course of the year. If you notice the trend on these lists, its guys that started out strong that faded as the year went on. Even though Magnus was the World Champion, you can argue that the hottest young act in the company was really Gunner. He was having great matches, getting good reactions in the UK and even the Impact Zone and just really living up to the potential I knew he had back when he was the blue chip prospect of Immortal. He had arguably the best singles match of 2014 IMO with Storm at Sacrifice 2014. After that though he just fell off the cliff and just couldn't really right himself for the rest of 2014. He was hurt the most by TNA's lack of foresight to do a King of the Mountain match at Slammivarsary 2014 for the title as that would've been a great match to continue the rise of Gunner (And no it isn't hindsight saying so as I was screaming for a King of the Mountain match for Slammivarsary 2014 immediately after Sacrifice ended and before MVP turned heel). Its a pity that such a hot start in 2014 for Gunner cooled down so quickly that Gunner needs to start over again in 2015. May 2015 bring you better fortunes Gunner.

Who Has Been Nice This Year?

Ethan Carter the Third: Was there any doubt I wasn't going to put the best character in the company on this list? Of course not as simply put Ethan Carter is the best character in wrestling today. He knows how to work a crowd and work crowd chants into his promos. He has been consistently entertaining all year long no matter what he has been asked to do by TNA. The only thing that EC3 needs to show more of is his wrestling ability in a straight singles match that goes more then 10 minutes and he will have plenty of opportunities to do just that in 2015 (perhaps in a BFG Series). Kudos to you Ethan Carter the Third for being Nice this year even though you are kind of a douchebag.

Rockstar Spud: The guy who could make reading the telephone book entertaining makes my list for being "Nice" this year because god fucking damn, Spud steals every damn segment he is in. Whether its dropping a Magnus PI reference when he is interrogating The Wolves, whether its delivering the eulogy for Madam Dixie Carter, whether its rocking blackface to help his best friend (Now former best friend because TNA decided to ruin the best bromance they have ever had in company's history for no good reason in my opinion) hunt down Willow to passing out at the sight of the entire locker room emptying to see Dixie Carter go through a table and the list of awesome things Spud has done could go on and on and on and on (Without even going into the greatness of "I'm with Spud Wednesdays). When a guy can get over as a huge babyface in NYC despite being a heel who hasn't shown the NYC crowd that he can wrestle real good is a testament to the greatness of Spud. Kudos to you Rockstar Spud for being Nice this year in everything you were apart of.

Eric Young: No Explanation Needed ................................................. (If you get the reference, good for you and now I can explain why he is on the list) Okay now the reason why Mr. Discovery found his way on my list is no other guy on the TNA roster has improved their standing in the company as much as Eric Young has. He went from a low card comedy figure who was doing vignettes with Chris Park from the law offices of Park, Park and Park to being the World Champion having kickass match after kickass match to kickass match to a guy settled in as one of the top babyfaces in the company and a guy whose spot is solidified in the upper mid card position. Not a bad year for a guy huh???. Kudos to you Eric Young for being Nice this year both on Santa's list and being probably one of the legit nicest and down to Earth guys on the roster.

The Wolves: They were brought in as a huge signing and a huge deal and they have lived up to everything we thought they would be and then some. Having kickass matches all year long, doing surprisingly decent mic work throughout the year and taking some of the most insane bumps I have ever seen along the way. If this was a down year for the TNA product, these two would be a shoo-in for co-MVPs of the promotion. However since this was such a strong year for the product with The Wolves at the forefront the entire year, these two are in the conversation for being the Co-MVP's of TNA 2014. Kudos to The Wolves for being Nice this year by busting your asses and giving us so many awesome tag team matches in 2014.

Your TNA World Champion Bobby Roode: The model of consistency for TNA for so many years did it again in 2014. Though Roode didn't start off the year strong as really he did not do a whole lot for the first few months of the year, he certainly finished the year strong as he is the fucking TNA World Heavyweight Champion leading TNA into its newest endeavor on Destination America. Once Lashley vs. Roode III is over, it could go down as the best trilogy of matches we have seen in TNA since Joe vs. Angle in 2006/2007. Kudos to you Bobby Roode for being Nice for yet another year.

Honorable Mentions go to: James Storm, Low Ki, The Hardys

Bobby Lashley: Now the only controversy about this selection is that I named him last because I felt it would be appropriate to save the BEST for last. This man being brought back to TNA was a stroke of genius from the start IMHO and by the end of the year, everyone has seen how bringing Lashley back was a brilliant move. The guy has a billion dollar look, the aura of an unstoppable monster and wrestling ability. The only thing he lacked was mic skills which TNA (unlike the WWE) managed to hide brilliantly with MVP taking the reins as Lashley's mouthpiece. When TNA got Lashley's formula correct all they had to do was sit back and watch the magic happen. Lashley has had awesome straight singles matches with Aries, Jeff Hardy, Eric Young and Bobby Roode for the World Title. Proving that TNA isn't WWE Lite, TNA didn't just sit back and try and squeeze every ounce out of the Lashley formula to the point people lost interest in him. After losing the World Title and seeing MVP take a world title shot away from him, Lashley went into business for himself which means no one is safe. On the night MVP faced Roode for the title you got to see just how far Lashley has come in the wrestling business as he no doubt improvised a spot that was my favorite spot of 2014 as he: got in the ring, casually tossed aside his baseball cap, set himself up to spear the bejesus out of Roode, speared the bejesus out of Roode, ignored the fallen MVP, picked up his baseball cap, put it back on his head and left the arena. It was such a little nuance that a veteran who gets what he is doing would do and my god was it brilliant. Lashley is set up for a big 2015 as he is now a solidified main event player for TNA and he has a lot of fresh talent to work with. Kudos to you Bobby Lashley for being Nice this year despite being the meanest badass on the entire TNA roster.

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