The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Sad! (2020- Wrestling Year in Review)

The Good

WWE– We were introduced to the Thunderdome by WWE, a virtual fan experience that allowed fans around the world watch Monday Night Raw, Smackdown and many PPVS as if we were there in person. I spent a lot of time in The Thunderdome talking crap as if I was right there and getting my little bit of wrestling that 2020 taken away. WWE have been able to create some good stuff in light of what 2020 has done to wrestling. They gave me Drew McIntyre as the WWE Champion making it the year of Drew when he won at this year’s WrestleMania. We got heel Roman Reigns which has been his best work to date arguably and got to see teams such as The New Day, The Hurt Business and The Street Profits shine, something that I love to see especially when it’s Black men doing their thing. We got to see Bayley do some of her best work in WWE during this and even get a couple of laughs from Lana’s storyline with Nia Jax. WWE allowed NXT talents such as Rhea Ripley. Shotzi Blackheart and Io Sharai shine and allowed the universe to be graced with how dominating and fabulous Bianca Belair could be.

AEW while I tend to be slightly annoyed with their diehard fan base and the lack of women being showcased on their brand, they have given some many indy wrestlers a place to shine. Some of my faves such as Danny Limelight, Abadon, Big Game Leroy and Red Velvet have been showcased on AEW Dark. I’m glad to see some of those I have seen at LIVE indy shows shine on another platform. Their recent relationship with Impact Wrestling bought some buzz into the community. I’m interested to see how this relationship will continue to thrive in 2021. Lastly, their tribute to Jon Huber aka Brodie Lee/Luke Harper was both beautiful and heartwarming.

NJPW gave me one of the best matches of the year at Wrestle Kingdom between Kota Ibushi and Okada, even though it left me slightly heartbroken. It also gave Naito the title after his long history with Okada. They also gave me some shocking storylines such as EVIL turning on his friends in Los Ingobernables de Japon. It also gave the New Japan Cup that even though COVID forced it to be moved from March to June-July of 2020, some of the best matches happened during that cup.

Pro Wrestling Noah– I’ve personally never seen Pro Wrestling NOAH before 2020, I was introduced to it, by watching the current GHC Heavyweight Champion, Go Shiozaki go against the former champion, 50 year old Takashi Sugiura, in the main event for the Final Chronicle 2020.This match had history, was emotional and phenomenal throughout the night. For me arguably one of the best matches of 2020.  This match gave NOAH its first 5 star rating in 16 years.

Impact and MLW also gave us some solid matches.

The Bad and The Ugly

COVID came upon the world in a frenzy, causing illness, uncertainty and death in many all over the world. As it has affected me other aspects of forms of entertainment, wrestling was one of the things that COVID had taken and changed most likely at least for the next few years to come. The many shows people attended in person from both known and unknown promotions, WWE, AEW and indie wrestling shows changed to be streamed online, virtual audiences and shows stopping all together. While some promotions such as WWE’s NXT, NJPW and many indie shows such as VXS and Titan Championship wrestling was able to have some audience in attendance, there was still a very sharp difference in how we were able to enjoy one of the things that entertained us from the previous year.

Unfortunately, we had some very bad things that happened on the wrestling community. The Speaking Out movement happened earlier in the year, and many wrestlers and those who work in the wrestling community have not only broken the trust of those they had hurt and harmed, but made many of us see an ugly picture of what we have suspected for a long time. Many wrestlers that I and many others admired showed up as doing things that were harmful and hurtful to others that trusted them.

With that, it seemed many both other wrestlers and fans alike, started to blame the victims and showed others how negative a small community can become.

We also saw that with different wrestling promotions have their fans, some of them resorted to harassing and bullying others online in a space that should be able to bring us all together. Now, while I’m very aware of the downside of the internet and social media, I also know that social media allows fans to be brought together and it was sad to see how many used their platforms to be hateful instead of coming together.

We also seen many lose their jobs and the importance of what having a union can help those who wrestle and work in the wrestling community.

The Sad

As 2020 has been a difficult and trying year for many of us across the world, 2020 had unfortunately brought along a plethora of deaths by some beloved members of the wrestling community. The names of all that passed away are below.

  • Bob Armstrong
  •  Rocky Johnson
  • Kamala
  • Howard Finkel
  •  Danny Hodge
  • Pat Patterson
  • Tommy “Zeus” Lister
  • Road Warrior Animal
  • La Parka II
  • Kevin Greene
  •  Ric Drasin
  • Tracy Smothers
  • Dr. Hannibal
  • Rip Oliver
  • Winona Littleheart
  • Dick Steinborn
  • Johnny Walker
  • Danny Havoc
  • Herodes
  • Ares el Guerrero
  • Adam Bueller
  • Justice Pain
  • Mike Somani
  •  Bobby Lee
  •  Big Slam,
  • Karsten Beck
  • Kat LeRoux
  • Mark “Rollerball’ Rocco
  • Mitch Ryder
  • Puppet
  • Steve Gillespie
  • Sy Sperling
  • Kazuo Sakurada
  • The Brusier
  • Steve Casey
  • Tony Russo
  • Wayne Bridges
  • Johnny ‘Xavier’ Bedoya
  • Principe Aereo
  • Z-Barr
  • Tracy Smothers
  • Supreme
  • Sylvabo Sousa
  • Shad Gaspard
  • Hana Kimura
  •  Brodie Lee

May they all rest well and my thoughts continue to be with their families!!!

My Hopes

As COVID, has changed so much in our way of life, I am interested to see what 2021 has in store for wrestling as a whole. 2020 has proven that things will never be quite the way we had them before, but as anxious as that makes me, I can admit I am excited for all the routes that can be taken.

Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!!!

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