Welcome to the final edition of the dgnr8 in 2006. This time I’m taking a look at what I thought was the best and worst of 2006 from the Raw, Smackdown and ECW brands. Before I start I’ll note that I missed some of the early pay-per-view shows like Royal Rumble and Judgment Day. Although I have since read the results and reports. Anyway let’s get started.
Best wrestler of the year:
I had a few choices in this category as I drew up a list of worthy contenders. Not looking at the main eventers I believe Gregory Helms has had a remarkable year having held the cruiserweight championship since January. I enjoy every match he competes in. I especially like to see him wrestling Matt Hardy. Of the WWE main eventers this year Rey Mysterio, Edge and Umaga stand out for me. Rey picked up his first world heavyweight championship at Wrestlemania and Umaga has not been pinned since he debuted after Wrestlemania. But my pick has to be Edge. He has held the WWE championship twice this year and has really developed into one of the top heels on the Raw roster.
Worst wrestler of the year:
I believe I’ve had this category done and dusted for a couple of months. The Great Khali and Tatanka are honourable mentions but my pick has to be none other than The Miz. On the positive side he hasn’t wrestled too badly but I just can’t bear his character. That Hoo-rah chant makes me want to cut my ears off.
Loser: THE MIZ
Best PPV of the year:
2006 hasn’t been the best of years for WWE PPV events but a couple have been standout shows. The latest offering, Armageddon was a very impressive show as was No Mercy to my surprise. But just like most years Wrestlemania was my show of the year. Money in the bank, Edge/Foley hardcore match and the triple threat for the world heavyweight championship were all classic matches that deserved to be on any Wrestlemania card.
Winner: WRESTLEMANIA 22
Worst PPV of the year:
Two shows are on my list for this category, one from November and one from December. Can you guess? Cyber Sunday and the ill-fated December to Dismember. Even though December to Dismember was poor I’ve got to go with Cyber Sunday. It just felt like a blatant rip-off and a completely worthless show. The champion of champions match could have been one of the biggest matches of all time but was instead a total waste of time.
Loser: CYBER SUNDAY
Best match of the year:
My main contenders for match of the year all have one thing in common. Ladders. The money in the bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 22 was one for the ages. The recent four-way ladder match for the WWE tag team titles at Armageddon was outstanding and the Jeff Hardy v Johnny Nitro ladder match for the Intercontinental championship on the 20th November edition of Raw was probably the best TV match I have ever seen. Of those three matches the money in the bank was probably the best. It’s hard to pick but I’ve got to go with MITB. Shelton Benjamin’s bump when he ran up the ladder and hit a senton up and over the top rope was sensational much like the previous MITB at Wrestlemania 21.
Winner: MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH – WRESTLEMANIA 22
Worst match of the year:
Even though I haven’t seen Judgment Day from what I’ve read Undertaker v The Great Khali was appalling. I’ve seen some poor matches this year but I don’t think anything can compare to what I’ve heard of Khali’s performance at Judgment Day. If I had to pick another match it would be anything with The Boogeyman in it but I wont.
Loser: UNDERTAKER V THE GREAT KHALI – JUDGMENT DAY
Best booking of the year:
This is a fairly simple decision for me to make. Money in the bank. Since its debut at Wrestlemania 21 the two winners have had their shot at the WWE championship and both have won the title. The way Edge cashed in at New Years Revolution was brilliant. Also to have Rob Van Dam win the WWE championship at ECW One Night Stand was absolutely incredible. These are two of the biggest moments in the WWE this year.
Winner: CASHING IN MONEY IN THE BANK
Worst booking of the year:
This is also an easy decision for me as I feel strongly about the way it’s been dealt with. ECW. In my last blog I wrote about the current state of ECW and although it’s not all bad I just feel it could be in such a better state. At the end of the day the E in ECW stands for extreme. It’s as simple as that. If the WWE runs a third brand in this way then it should not be graced with the ECW name.
Loser: MANAGEMENT OF THE NEW ECW
Underrated wrestler of the year:
I believe this superstar is the most athletic superstar I have ever seen compete in World Wrestling Entertainment. His name is Shelton Benjamin. Even though he has been Intercontinental champion and is now reuniting with Charlie Haas to reform The Worlds Greatest Tag Team I feel Shelton is better than that. I know that high-flyers don’t often compete at the very top of the WWE but look at Rey Mysterio. I also believe that Shelton can be a great technician in the ring as well as his strong highflying skills. He oozes talent by the truckload.
Winner: SHELTON BENJAMIN
Overrated wrestler of the year:
I have narrowed it down to two who I think are the most overrated superstars on the WWE roster and would you believe it but they are both champions. The WWE champion John Cena continues on his charismatic road to being top dog on Monday nights and Batista continues to look a shadow of his former self. Pre-injury Batista was worthy of being called ‘The Animal’ but now I don’t think he’s worthy of being world heavyweight champion. Not by a long shot. I’ll go with Cena because Batista has proved himself but Cena just defines the difference between a superstar and a wrestler.
Loser: JOHN CENA
Moment of the year:
With the resurrection of ECW and the reformation of DX you’d think they would be the biggest moments of the year. But it was TNA who shook the professional wrestling world. When TNA announced live on PPV at No Surrender that they had signed Kurt Angle I was gob smacked. For one of the greatest wrestlers of all time to sign for TNA was groundbreaking for the future of TNA. It opens many different doors and helped pave the way to primetime television. What a coup. I know my picks were for WWE and ECW but the way Kurt jumped from WWE to TNA is why I have chosen this as moment of the year.
Winner: KURT ANGLE JOINS TNA
Finally I’d like to say a heartfelt goodbye to two superstars who defined the WWE women’s division. I’m not the biggest fan of women’s wrestling but the way Lita and Trish Stratus revolutionised how women wrestle today is a testament to what they’ve done in their careers. The way Lita ended her career at Survivor Series was terrible. I just hope that leaves the door open for a return because if that was the end of her career then that was hideous.
All in all 2006 has been a year for average WWE PPV events and a massive jump for TNA.
Have a great new year and I’ll see you in 2007.