Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #63 – Year End Special: All the RAW Ratings from 2012, Top 100 Matches of the Year, Year in Review, WON Awards (in depth) + So Much More 69 Pages!

For your enjoyment of the newsletter and readability it is highly recommended that you download the full colour PDF here. There are tables and lists in the newsletter together with pictures that are far more easy to see in the PDF. Thank you!


Cubed Circle Newsletter


It is finally here, the last newsletter of 2012 – the end of the year special! I have been working for a while on this issue and I hope that it was worth the wait. It is chock full of content from the year, including the top 100 matches of the year, the Wrestling Observer Year End Awards in depth, every single RAW rating available for the year, a piece on Okada and how great his year was, Ben Carass gives his year in review, I give my thoughts and there is also a lot of the usual content – hopefully a very fun issue.


I also want to take time out to wish all of the readers of this newsletter a very Happy New Year considering that this issue is late. Since subscriptions were implemented earlier in the year we have gained a lot of new readers through that service and I would just like to say thank you to everyone for sticking with it.


– Editor of the Cubed Circle Newsletter, Ryan Clingman


Heart Attacks, Ratings Crashes and Five Star Matches – 2012 Year in Review


As a whole I feel that 2012 was a better year for professional wrestling than 2011. There were great matches coming from everywhere and a constant stream of good shows, especially from New Japan who were on fire in terms of quality this year. Although there was so much good to come out of 2012 there have obviously been some big blunders to go with it.


There were many major stories of the year, many of which will have a large impact on the year ahead and the industry going forward. The biggest news story in terms of long term significance was the RAW move to three hours, which will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences moving into the future. From the very beginning it was a naïve and negative move, with the RAW ratings dropping throughout the year as a part of a general trend as it is.


Months prior to the move to three hours the WWE made history by putting on WrestleMania 28 headlined by John Cena versus the Rock, which was quite literally a year in the making. It came during the Mania season so naturally they went through a really good period creatively, ratings were down almost always from the same time last year, but then again that didn’t change the pay-per-view numbers.


WrestleMania as a whole was a really good show, there was the WWE championship match between Chris Jericho and CM Punk, which was a really good match, the Cena/Rock match, which wasn’t the best match on the card, but was in fact a spectacle and then of course there was the Undertaker/Triple H Hell in a Cell match, which was a match of the year candidate. Daniel Bryan also lost very disappointedly in 18 seconds to Sheamus in the opener, but the results of the loss were quite unexpected.


There was clear disapproval from fans following the 18 second lost, and the voices of the fans heard throughout the next night on RAW did have at least have some impact on the way that Bryan was seen in the eyes of management. There was a cacophony of “yes” chants throughout the building the next night on RAW, which I think really helped to show Bryan’s ability and assisted him during the rest of the year. Bryan landed up having an interesting year, teaming with Kane and becoming one of the most charismatic people in the promotion.


On the same edition of RAW from Florida we saw the return of Brock Lesnar, which was at least expected by some people on the weekend. He made a big impact coming out with Heyman on the post Mania show and laying out Cena with the F5. A match was eventually made for Extreme Rules and although it was match of the year candidate level, Lesnar lost the match, which made sense in terms of the story that they were telling on that night in the match, but absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things; especially when it came to Lesnar’s drawing potential.


Lesnar continued on through the year having a match with Triple H, where he supposedly put Triple H out of action, but it didn’t have nearly the same effect as it could have; the bloom was off the rose at that point.


What also came during WrestleMania weekend was the usual set of ROH shows, and while neither of the cards looked all that interesting on paper, with the mainevent on day two being Michael Elgin/Davey Richards, what we got was far from expected. Like is often the case with great matches, Davey Richards and Michael Elgin put on what is considered as a five-star level match completely out of the blue with no notice, and if it wasn’t for New Japan and their Suzuki/Tanahashi match it would have been the year’s best match


After Mania the WWE did showcase its usual decline, even though the high quality Mania hype was extended by the addition of Lesnar at Extreme Rules. Following Lesnar’s defeat they showed their drop in quality to the same level that they would maintain for the rest of the year. There was no single great angle like the Nexus and Summer of Punk, but the later still had a great year.


CM Punk held the WWE championship for the entirety of 2012 and defended it in some great matches against the likes of John Cena, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan. He didn’t actually mainevent a pay-per-view for the entire year up until past the midway point at Night of Champions, where he went to a double pin finish with John Cena. A lot of his mainevent matches for the rest of the year did go to dusty finishes as well. Still, he has had the longest reign with the title in the last twenty plus years, and it has made him and the title seem more important as a result.


There was the move to a three hour format in July, which was the year’s biggest story and for the most part the results of the move were as expected if not worse. There has been a drop off in viewership since the move due to burnout, and just as the WWE are finally getting new stars into mainevent spots they are diluted by the new format, which is a real shame and one of the biggest problems facing the product right now.


In the other biggest story of the year Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack on air and was carted off to the nearest hospital. He was snoring into his headset during a tag team match and when he collapsed at ringside something very serious obviously had taken place. WWE actually handled it in a very classy manner until it was time for Lawler to return, and then they aired clips of him in cardiac arrest backstage and had Punk interrupt his return, it could have been one of the best moments of 2012 had it been left alone.


WWE as a whole in 2012 was far up from 2011. They had some great matches, Punk was on top, at least in name and there is a lot of potential for the company going into 2013 with a lot of new talent in the mix. However, things like sloppy creative and the three hour format have brought the product down and will probably be a hindrance in 2013. Three hour RAWs are currently their biggest determent and it is something that realistically needs to be addressed in 2013.


TNA looked to be having a better 2012 than they had 2011, and in some ways that’s true, but in many ways what we were given in 2012 was much of the same. They crawled through the first portion of the year putting on some bad shows and disappointing fans. They then went on to get rid of Vince Russo and moved to a live format, which helped creative out a lot and the show improved. However, as the months wore on the Impact of old truly did rear its ugly head.


One of the main things that I will take out of 2012 regarding TNA is the absolute mishandling of James Storm from beginning to end. It was clear that at the beginning of the year TNA wanted to make Storm a home grown star that would be able to become the face of the promotion. However, they have dropped the ball on giving him the championship so many times that I don’t know if he can recover at this point.


Originally it looked like he was going to win the championship at Lockdown, but that failed. He disappeared for a couple of months and returned at Slammiversary, won a battle royal giving him a 20 point head start in the Bound for Glory series and they really tried to push him hard. However, after months of waiting and building Storm up with delay after delay they dropped the ball on him once again by having him lose the Bound for Glory series. He won another shot at the title later on in the year, but still managed to lose the shot to Bobby Roode, which really made him out to be one of the company’s biggest failures of the year.


Other major problems that come to mind for TNA were the Aces & Eights and Clair Lynch, who together completely ruined the idea of a new, reinvigorated Impact. With the one being a biker gang that goes around kidnapping and indiscriminately maiming random members of the Impact roster, and a crazed pregnant imposter as the main angles running in the promotion, the writing was on the wall; there was something not quite right with creative.


TNA had a decent year in-ring too, but they had no match that I can recall besides the Austin Aries/Bobby Roode match from Destination X and maybe the second Roode/Aries match together with Hardy/Aries that I could really say grabbed my attention in the grand scheme of things.


However, one positive aspect of the product during 2012 was the elevation of Austin Aries into a mainevent star after vacating his X division title to gain a shot and win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He had the best matches in TNA of the entire year and was one of the top five people when it came to mic work. He did lose the championship pretty early on to Jeff Hardy, but that was what was right for business.


Ring of Honor had a decent year, although nothing stellar by any stretch of the imagination. One of their main issues during the year were technical difficulties on internet-pay-per-view, with streams either not being visible at all, or barley watchable. They have fixed the issue in recent months, but it is going to take a long time to rebuild their audience, especially when the product isn’t that hot.


There were a few changes made to creative in the later portion of the year with Hunter Johnston (Delirious) replacing Jim Cornette (who was later placed on sabbatical later on) in the role of head booker. The company is obviously going through a rebuilding stage at this point, with no fresh young stars to really carry the company going forward, and a lot of talent that doesn’t necessarily fit with the old ROH image, but also a lot of old talent that wouldn’t fit with a newer image either. Especially in 2012 it felt like they didn’t quite know what they wanted to be, which is understandable considering the Sinclair purchase only happened last year, but it is something that needs to be addressed going forward.


Kevin Steen was the man to carry the company in 2012, replacing Davey Richards from last year, who was by far the leading face of the company. From what I have seen in the way that they have booked Steen there is obviously strife within the promotion and amongst management on the exact role Steen should be placed in. He had some good matches throughout the year, although many of them were way too over the top with hardcore paraphernalia, which wasn’t necessary, because Steen can perform well in just a plain old regular match, which we saw when he defended the title against Michael Elgin.


It will be interesting to see going forward how ROH handles their audiences and decides where they want to go from here. It looks like they want to go with a Steen/Lethal program going into 2013, which they have been building for months now. I also think the tag team division will get a boost somewhere down the line in the New Year. Nothing is really for certain, but it should be a big year one way or another for the company in 2013.


NOAH had a very depressing year in 2012, with the promotion atrophying further with ties to the Yakuza being revealed and a near mass exodus of many of the key players in the promotion towards the end of the year. Business has been down, and although the have put on some good matches they are clearly in major trouble. At one point it felt like the company could be brought back up to a decent level, but it doesn’t feel like that will be at all possible going forward. KENTA finally looks like he is going to win the GHC Heavyweight title in the New Year, so I just hope that for his sake and everyone in the company that it lives on and is able to at least recover and possibly grow on some level.


New Japan Pro Wrestling had their best year in a very long time, with improved business markers, being purchased by Bushiroad, adopting internet-pay-per-view, putting on great matches show after show and setting up some very strong new stars for the future – 2013 is looking like a very good year for New Japan.


The one thing that really sticks out above everything else in 2012 for New Japan was the rise of Okada, which has already been extensively covered in the end of the year issue. Okada went from somebody that was less than adequate for the mainevent role to one of the best wrestlers in the world in the span of a few months, which was truly memorable. Tetsuya Naito, another future star, also had a memorable first half of the year. However, he did suffer a knee injury that he continued to work through limiting his ability and he is now only scheduled to return to in-ring action in the New Year.


New Japan put on its first set of internet-pay-per-views this year, with the first not being available outside of Japan and the ones that followed being available world wide via U-stream. They kicked off the international shows with the best show of the year – King of Pro Wrestling.


The show had multiple ****+ matches including Low Ki’s victory over Kota Ibushi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship, Shinsuke Nakamura defending the IWGP Intercontinental championship against Hirooki Goto and Kazuchika Okada defending his Tokyo Dome contract against Karl Anderson; and then there was the mainevent, which was, at least for me, the best match of 2012.


Hiroshi Tanahashi and Minoru Suzuki put on a classic match in the mainevent of the show, with great work from Suzuki on the arm of Tanahashi and great work from Tanahashi on the leg of Suzuki. Believe it or not they went through the entire match with no nearfalls, which was a far cry from almost every other great match this year. It was the kind of match that the more you thought about the better it became, and it won’t only be one of my favourite New Japan memories of the year, or even one of the best memories of 2012, but one of my favourite memories of the last few years of wrestling.


Besides the outstanding work of all of the big performers in the company the other thing that really stood out was the great booking from New Japan bookers Gedo and Jado, who both did a great job at rationally constructing a very tight logical year with even the smallest intricacy leading to something and nothing feeling at all out of place, which really made everything count and that is the way that wrestling show be.


Looking ahead into 2013 New Japan could have an even better year by building upon all of the strong ideas that were laid out in 2012. Okada is probably set to win the IWGP Heavyweight championship, there is going to be some interesting stuff going on with guys like Shibata and of course there will be Tanahashi, Naito, Nakamura and others around to help carry everything. New Japan can’t single handily turn Japanese business around, because there are far more factors going into that than it seems, but they can certainly make a huge impact in 2013.


As a whole 2012 was an interesting year for pro wrestling, with many interesting talking points and moments good and bad that will be remembered in years to come.


The Year of the Rainmaker – 2012


I can think of few times in the last decade and a half or so that I have seen so much improvement over the span of a few months as I have in 2012 with Kazuchika Okada, evolving from a Young Lion to a TNA wrestler that was barley on TV, to IWGP Champion, G1 winner and Tokyo Sports MVP. It has been without a doubt his year to shine – the year of the rainmaker.


To really understand Okada’s plight you need to look back at his career from day one starting out as a young lion trained in the New Japan dojo. Upon making his debut he had some good matches in the standard generic black boots and black kneepads of the young lions. He even had an early encounter with Tanahashi, which was a good match, but really nothing special and he didn’t really show any signs at that point of having the ability of a mainevent star. Still, New Japan saw something in a young Okada and sent him over to TNA to be repackaged.


Okada’s run in TNA was less than stellar, in fact looking back with what New Japan were able to mould Okada into in mind, it was abysmal. Okato, believe it or not was the name given to him by TNA and apart from appearing on Xplosion, and one pay-per-view after turning babyface he really had no role in the company. Still, Alex Shelley helped mentor Okada in many ways, and he is often times credited with some of the success that Okada has experienced, which is one of the reasons that he is so well liked by New Japan management. Just like with Tanahashi and others, TNA had talent right in their hands that they didn’t utilize, but the tour helped Okada grow as a performer, which is ultimately what New Japan was aiming for.


Following and preceding the Bushi Road purchase management was clearly high on Okada, but seemingly with good reason the internet and a lot of fans weren’t so keen following the 2012 Tokyo Dome show, which suffice to say, didn’t go off without a hitch.


At the 2012 Tokyo Dome show on January 4th Okada faced YOSHI-HASHI in what was supposed to be his triumphant return to his home promotion, the results of which were not well received. For all the hype that was behind him Okada seemed to fail both in the ring in his match with HASHI and when it came time to challenge Tanahashi after the mainevent. In fact when he did come out for the mainevent there was a near disaster on the show with Okada stammering on the mic, clearly not comfortable at all.


The Tanahashi match was set for February 12th at the New Beginning show, and while it was a big match both for the promotion and Okada no one honestly expected Okada to end the 400+ day long reign of Tanahashi. No one expected Okada to win the title out of the blue; after all he was a returning mid-card star that was going up against one of the longest reigning champions in company history; however Okada did the unthinkable.


News reached fans pretty quickly in the rest of the world, and while I am not too clear on what the general consensus was among fans in Japan, I know that the reception that I encountered among everyone that I spoke to outside of the country was not positive. After all, how could someone who failed so badly, a seemingly random person like Okada, end such a monstrous reign?


The one major difference between the fans in Japan and the ones in the rest of the world was that the foreign fans did not get to see the match until months later, and once people started to see the footage of the match feelings changed and the reception towards Okada became much warmer. New Japan had done everything in their power to make Okada a success, with one of the main things being his partnership with mouthpiece and New Japan booker, Gedo, which immediately relieved some of the fears in relation to Okada’s mic work. They also stuck with their long term plan without any signs of doubt or hesitation, which is more than can be said for most promotions.


One of the many things that they have done for Okada apart from the paring with Gedo was the edition of a seemingly simple move, the rainmaker, which is essentially a short arm lariat; with the only difference being that it is sold as a decapitation more than anything else. They have had him win every match using it with few exceptions, and it is now one of the most over things in the company, which is due to not one person in the promotion kicking out of the move.


Okada proceeded to have two ****+ star title defences with the Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto, which was astounding given the fact that he had the worst match on the show at the Tokyo Dome. Granted, Naito and Goto are both great workers in their own right, but Okada’s rate of improvement was something that astounded me from the onset. He only held the championship for a few months, but he succeeded in the big shoes left behind by his predecessor, Tanahashi. He ultimately dropped the championship back to Tanahashi on June 16th, but his tale in 2012 was far from over.


The funniest part of Okada losing the championship was that the same people who were terribly upset about Okada winning the title in the first place were now almost mourning his loss of the championship, which shows the improvement that Okada exhibited in a few short months.


New Japan decided to have Okada win the G1 Climax a couple of months later, which was certainly for the best, especially considering the unexpected turn of events in regard to the layout of Okada’s title shot. Instead of simply having Okada garner a championship match at the next major show, which would have been a rushed rematch, New Japan decided to wait it out and have Okada proclaim that he would be cashing in his opportunity at New Japan’s biggest show of the year, the Tokyo Dome 2013. This angle was complete with Okada’s very own Money in the Bank briefcase, however in this case, because of the logical nature of New Japan’s booking, if Okada was to lose a match in the interim he would have to forfeit the contract to the winner of the match.


It was an excellent idea from New Japan for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious being that Okada would have something meaningful to do before the Tokyo Dome show and his feud with Tanahashi would have time to cool off in order to mainevent the biggest show of the year. It also helped Okada come into his role even further and show that he was ready for a longer run with the IWGP championship.


Looking at the way things are now and the rate in which Okada is improving, I have a bold if not naïve prediction that together with Naito and a few other people Okada will be the one to carry the company into the future. Considering the fact that Okada is only 25 years old at this point, there is no telling how great he will become in the next ten years when he reaches his prime as a performer. It is naïve to think that Okada will continue to improve at the same rate, but even if he improves at half the speed that he does now he will be amongst the best workers of the last 20 to 25 years easily. It is far from a given, but if he continues to work at it he will be the best worker in the world in the coming years.


Defeating all challengers for his contract we now look to the Tokyo Dome show of 2013. Okada is ready for another reign on top, and this time for a longer period where he can work with more people and get a larger amount of experience. A victory at the 2013 Dome show will take him full circle from failing dismally at this year’s show to triumphantly winning the company’s top prize a year later. 2012 was certainly the year of the rainmaker, but to see what unfolds in 2013 and hopefully the years after that is where the true heart of the rainmaker’s story lies.


WWE Monday Night RAW December 24th 2012

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Overall Thoughts:


I think that it is pretty evident from the notes that this was a show that nobody watched (the lowest rated show since 1997) and since only the hardcore audience was watching the writing team decided to just go completely over the top. From the opening segment with Alberto Del Rio (who is a babyface) running over Santa Claus, to Cena being booked in a street fight with said babyface, the whole thing was a joke.


I don’t necessarily have a huge problem with the idea, although I am definitely not a fan of ludicrous segments like Santa Claus during the opening. It was obviously a complete parody of an injury angle and return, but the build to the Mick Foley reveal was way too subtle and actually landed up being unmemorable, which was the story of the show. I personally feel that it is a bit of an insult to the business, but then again I feel that way about a lot of stuff that they do, and although it was a bit much, it was completely harmless.


Giving Sheamus/Big Show away on this show made absolutely no sense to me, because if they really wanted to do a big match like that it would have made sense to build it up and have it on a show that people would actually watch and not an unsalvageable show like this. It was a fine match, but we have seen the match so many times that it was pointless to waste it again here. Also beating the World Heavyweight champion clean really shouldn’t have been done on free television and was an unbelievably dumb idea.


The Punk interview was once again the best thing on the show, but I am not quite sure about having the Ryback match in the New Year being a TLC match, especially since they have already beaten Ryback three times either directly or indirectly, and beating Punk on this show would be beyond lunacy. There was no Shield or any big angle on the show, which was fine, because far less people would have been exposed to them and the Shield wouldn’t have fitted in on this show anyway.


I wasn’t as insulted by this show as a lot of people, it was fine as a Christmas show, although it did make the company look rather goofy.


Segment by Segment:


The show opened with the obscenely wacky WWE Christmas song that surfaced on YouTube a few weeks ago.


Santa was brought out, but he was run over by Del Rio – a heinous act! The Christmas tree fell on his head and it was sold as an accident and a serious shoot injury if you can possibly believe that. Santa was then stretchered off, but he gave the thumbs up.


After the break the car and tree were taped off with police tape, because it was in fact a crime scene. There were a bunch of midcard acts backstage together with Cena. Booker came out of his office saying that “the show must go on”. Del Rio came by and said that it wasn’t his fault, because everyone knows where he parks his car. Booker said that Santa made a Miracle on 34th street fight match with Cena vs. Del Rio. They all yelled “Santa” in a segment that was levels above over the top.


1. Cody Rhodes vs. Kane


Cole said that Kane was upset because he has a special relationship with Santa. There were “Cody’s moustache” chants. Cole and Lawler discussed the complex moral dilemma involving the near death of Santa. Rhodes worked on the arm of Kane. Kane made his comeback, but Rhodes cut him off again and caught him with the disaster kick. Rhodes was shoved in an exposed turnbuckle and Kane landed a chokeslam for the win.


2. Santa’s Helpers Battle Royal

Eve, Tamina Snuka, Aksana & Rosa Mendez vs. Layla, Kaitlyn, Natalya & Alicia Fox


This was built as a battle royal, but for some reason it landed up being an eight-man tag complete with pins and submissions. With Mendez, Fox and Aksana out in full force, this couldn’t have been a good match and it was not. Even though it is a PG show most of the women in this match were more focused on crawling across the ring in a seductive manner more than anything else. Everyone hit their finishers on each other with Kaitlyn landing the gutbuster on Eve for the win.


Ziggler and AJ were cuddling in-front of an open fire watching clips of AJ pushing Cena off of the ladder. Ziggler recommended some “TLC” for both of them. Meanwhile in the building Lawler and Cole were recapping the Santa accident. Striker was backstage out side of the trainer’s room.


3. Lumber-Jack Frost Match

Big Show vs. Sheamus


I know that nobody was watching this show, but the feud already has to continue after last week’s angle, doing it again on free TV is going beyond overkill. There was some noticeable crowd sweetening at the start of the match. Sheamus went for the brogue kick, Show rolled to the floor, but he rolled to the heel side and they didn’t give him any hassle. Big Show started singing, but Sheamus went after the nose of Big Show. Like in all WWE lumberjack matches a brawl broke out on the floor. In a big spot that we have seen before Sheamus landed the electric chair on Big Show. Both men traded shots on their knees, but Show landed a chokeslam for two. Show locked in a bearhug; Sheamus made it out, but was cut off with a clothesline. Sheamus landed White Noise off a missed splash. Sheamus was thrown back out to the floor and another brawl broke out. Sheamus landed the brogue kick for the win after Big Show missed a KO punch. This of course led to a full on brawl with the faces cleaning house.


The fact that they beat the World Heavyweight champion clean in the middle of the ring, in a match that was not built to at all and on a show that nobody watched baffled me. I am sure that it will lead to a title match at the Rumble, but the show didn’t feel like anywhere close to as big of a deal as it should have.

There was a Tribute to the Troops MizTV recap with the Muppets. Cermit knocked Damien Sandow out, which should really tell you something about this company.


David Otunga came out to comment on the Santa situation. Otunga attempted to make Del Rio out as the victim, but was interrupted by Ryder.


4. David Otunga vs. Zach Ryder


After not being used heavily on TV and pay-per-view and looking as a whole very depressed when he has made appearances, Ryder beat David Otunga with the Rough Ryder for the win on this Christmas RAW for what it’s worth.


Brad Maddox approached Booker T and Teddy backstage. In the spirit of Christmas Booker gave him a match and as per usual made the match a surprise and promised great TV.


5. Antonio Cesaro & Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston & The Miz


Once again there was noticeable crowd sweetening in this match. Barrett and Cesaro got the heat on Kingston, the hot tag was made to Miz, he ran wild, Cesaro ran into cut him off, but Kingston landed the trouble in paradise on Barrett and Miz the skull crushing finale for the win.


There was another segment with AJ and Ziggler, this time with AJ giving Ziggler the Money in the Bank briefcase for Christmas. AJ acted like she was flashing Ziggler, but she was simply revealing a Ziggler t-shirt.


Striker gave another update on Santa from backstage.


6. Brad Maddox vs. Great Khali


Maddox came out singing. Khali and Hornswoggle came out wearing elf outfits. Maddox slapped Khali, which led to Khali landing a big chop on Maddox. Hornswoggle landed a cheapshot on the floor and Maddox went after the leg of Khali. Maddox went to the top, but was chopped down and tree slammed for the win. Khali and Hornswoggle wished Santa well and Khali started to sing “Merry Christmas, I Miss You”, which is WWE’s idea of comedy.


Punk and Heyman were shown walking to the ring before the break.


Punk and Heyman walked out after the break. Punk got some heat with sports talk. Punk talked about how he was still injured. He said that Ryback had ruined Christmas and Chanukah. He said that Ryback should have been punished, but he was rewarded with a title shot. He had nothing to do with Maddox or the Shield. He was in a bad mood and he talked about how the citizens of Pittsburgh were drunks. Heyman said that Punk had been champion for 400 days. He talked about how Ryback had failed against Punk. Punk said that he would be better than Ryback with one arm, one eye and one leg. Ryback stormed down. Heyman reminded Ryback that Punk was not medically cleared, and if he laid a finger on Punk he would be sued. Ryback got on the mic and said that he wanted their match to be a TLC match and he chanted “TLC” along with the crowd.


7. Daniel Bryan vs. Damien Sandow


Bryan and Sandow exchanged “No!” and pleas of quite. They had a decent match with Sandow working on Bryan after shoving him head first into the post. Bryan made a comeback, missed a head butt, but grabbed a no lock seconds later for the win.


8. Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Santino Marella & Brodus Clay vs. Tensai, Drew McIntyre, Titus ‘O Neal, Darren Young & Jinder Mahal


This was a decent WWE 12-man tag, basically what you would have expected they got the heat on Uso, the tag was made and this led to everyone landing their finishers on one another until everyone landed dives on Slater and Uso landed a splash for the win.


Daniel Bryan and Kane were backstage Bryan talked about how he loved Christmas; Kane said he hated Christmas, but because Bryan loves Christmas he got him a present. He gave him a plain cardboard box and there was a Slammy inside. Bryan got Kane a dog and Kane said that he was starving. This led to Bryan storming off – a funny segment.


AJ and Ziggler were reading from a Christmas book talking about how they hated everyone else. AJ proclaimed her love for Ziggler and they embraced. There was another Santa skit, Striker was there standing by for an update when Santa’s EKG started playing jingle bells.


9. Miracle on 34th Street fight

John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio


Ricardo was crying over Santa; he couldn’t announce. Cena shouted at Del Rio for murdering Santa, Del Rio apologized, but Cena would not accept such a crime and started to wale on Del Rio who is still to my knowledge a babyface. Del Rio however shoved Cena into the steps. Del Rio was given a mic, he said that he wasn’t trying to hurt Santa and beat Cena over the head with a microphone. Cena screamed “Santa!” into the mic, landed a shot on Del Rio and opened a package with a steel chair at ring side. Cena landed a couple of shots, but the referee was pulled out by Ricardo. Del Rio opened his box, it had Christmas pudding in it, and Ricardo was hit with it. Cena went to the stage and grabbed a TV monitor; he struck Del Rio with it. Ricardo gave Del Rio another box, Ricardo claimed that it was a bazooka, but it was a teddy bear that Del Rio threw at Cena. Ricardo was destroyed with props. Del Rio was thrown into the barricade and hit with a Christmas tree. Cena grabbed a bowling ball and threw the ball into Del Rio’s groin. Cena sprayed Del Rio with the extinguisher. Ricardo jumped on Cena’s back, but Santa ran in, Ricardo looked for an embrace, but was struck with the bag. Del Rio was then caught with the mandible claw, so he was Mick Foley all along, and Cena landed the AA for the win.


RAW Ratings for December 24th


Due to the Segment-by-Segment ratings not being available before press time ratings for this week’s show and next week’s show will be in the January 6th issue.


There are in fact ratings for this week, only delayed slightly due to Christmas. It was in fact the lowest RAW rating in the last fifteen years of RAW, which does tell you something about the show, three hours and product in general. The hours for the show were 2.940 million viewers (18-49 1.132 million and a 0.89 rating) and 3.271 (18-49 1.328 million and a 1.04 rating) and 3.219 (18-49 1.319 million and a 1.04 rating) for the second and third hours respectively.



December 26th 2012 – Full Sail University, Florida.

Ben Carass.



This week’s NXT report will be nice and short, due to the show being a review of the first eight months of the new developmental format.


Tony Dawson was in the WWE studio; he put over new talent like Big.E, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns then mentioned the main roster talent that had appeared on the show: CM Punk, Big Show and Team HellNo. Dawson introduced the first match; it was the final of the Gold Rush tournament, in which Seth Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal to become the first NXT Champion. You can find my report of this match in issue #46.


Tony talked about The Shield and footage of the trio taking out Randy Orton aired, which is strange since they have not shown up on NXT yet. Some Bray Wyatt vignettes aired then Dawson set up Bray’s debut match against Aiden English; Ryan covered this in issue #39.


A Kassius Ohno video package aired then we got a promo from the man himself; Ohno said 2013 would be an unlucky year for his opponents.


A promo from CM Punk rolled; he took credit for inspiring Seth Rollins and The Shield the last time he was on the show then said the future WWE Superstars were in NXT. Punk’s New Year’s resolution was to defeat The Rock at the Royal Rumble and to go on to main event WrestleMania.


Dawson did Big E. Langston’s five count gimmick to set up a hype package; Big E. vs. Camacho followed. This was covered in issue #58. Big E.’s debut on Raw aired then we got a promo from AJ and Ziggler’s muscle; Big E said he attacked Cena to help his “friend” AJ then told The Shield to be concerned with him becoming the new NXT Champion.


Footage of Corey Graves attacking Seth Rollins from last week aired then Dawson hyped the title match between the two for next week.


Footage of Cody Rhodes taking the backdrop from Kane on Main Event aired; Dawson referred to the move as, “a back flip”. This set up an “exclusive” match between Cody and Kane.


Kane vs. Cody Rhodes (Taped on July 12, 2012)


After some stalling from Cody, Kane took over with some shots in the corner then hit a basement dropkick; Cody went back to the floor, however Kane pursued his foe up the ramp and landed a right hand.

Back in the ring, Kane went for the chokeslam, but Cody countered and went to work on the leg.


We got a promo from John Cena after a commercial break; Cena referenced the great Troy McClure then put over NXT’s young talent.


Kane delivered a sidewalk slam for a two count, before coming off the top rope with a big clothesline; Cody came back and landed the disaster kick for another two. Kane tried for a belly-to-back suplex, but Cody landed on his feet; this did not matter, as Kane hit the chokeslam for the victory.


Kane defeated Cody Rhodes via pinfall.


This was a nothing match; I wish they would have shown us Rollins & Punk vs. Cesaro & Ohno from August.


Dawson hyped Graves vs. Rollins and Bo Dallas vs. Epico for next week then a video from The Shield interrupted Tony; Rollins said he was the only NXT Champion in WWE history, but waiting around to be “called up” had gotten him nowhere. Ambrose claimed the WWE had been poisoned by lies and corruption then Rollins stated Corey Graves would be carried out of the building on a stretcher next week. Ambrose announced they would bring justice to NXT and Reigns said NXT was, “The Shield’s house”; Rollins finished by stating The Shield’s New Year’s resolution was to bring justice to the WWE and there was no better place to start then next week on NXT.


Dawson was in the studio, still putting over next week’s show, completely oblivious to what just happened. Tony closed out the show by wishing us a happy New Year.


I’m not a big fan of recap shows and this one was no exception; the video from The Shield was good and at least they attempted to have them and Big E. explain their sudden appearance on the main roster. The only thing that could have made this show enjoyable was Rollins & Punk vs. The Kings of Wrestling; regrettably we got an “exclusive” match that was not worth watching.


WWE SmackDown – December 28th 2012.

Blue Cross Arena: Rochester, NY.

Ben Carass.




Another week and another video recap to kick off the show; the voiceover man said Sheamus and The Big Show were causing chaos wherever they went then he gave a brief run through of the Ziggler/AJ/Cena angle. The package ended with Big E. Langston laying out The Miz.


Sheamus entered the arena and headed to the ring for a promo; JBL and Josh were at ringside. Sheamus talked about his Christmas and said the greatest present he got was the victory over Big Show on Raw then declared his New Year’s resolution was to be the next World Heavyweight Champion. Sheamus added that the New Year was too far away, so he challenged Big Show to put his belt on the line tonight.

Show meandered down to the ring and stated he defeated Sheamus at Hell in a Cell and TLC then said he was in “Christmas vacation mode” during the Lumberjack match on Raw; Show claimed that the victory didn’t count because the title wasn’t on the line.

After some back and forth trash talk, Sheamus got all fired up and stated he came to fight for the World Heavyweight Championship then declared if he couldn’t get the title he would, “sure as hell get a fight”. Booker T quickly appeared on the stage and said Big Show was right; Show was pleased then told Sheamus to get to the back of the line. However, Book said Sheamus beat Show on Monday; the World Champ became enraged and told the GM he was “done with Sheamus” and the Great White was not worthy of another title shot then buried the entire locker room for also not being worthy of a title shot. Book informed the giant he would be in action later and said every Superstar’s name would be placed in a tumbler, including Sheamus; Booker explained whoever’s name was chosen would get a World title shot later on. Teddy and Eve brought out all the SmackDown talent to the stage; Show claimed he would knockout anyone who was unfortunate enough to be draw against him.

Book asked Teddy and Eve to assist with the drawing of the name, but the two began to fight over which one would make the draw; the tumbler fell to the floor and Teddy retrieved the gimmick. Book pulled out a name then made the announcement; Santino Marella, yes Santino’s name was picked; Show laughed with joy at the thought of facing the resident comedy geek then made his way up the ramp, towards the other Superstars. Santino was visibly intimidated by the big man and Show walked away, laughing at his pathetic challenger.


So Booker acknowledged Sheamus’ non-title victory over Show, but still refused to give him a title shot…what kind of babyface GM is that? This segment was not great; Sheamus was very good when he fired up and said he came to fight for the belt; I wish he would show that side of his character more often, as it is so much more believable than the happy-go-lucky Irishman. The second Santino’s name was drawn it became obvious that this show was going to be meaningless.


Commercial Break.


Primo and Epico were in the ring with Rosa, who was gyrating; Josh said Primo would be in one-on-one action then Brodus Clay made his entrance.


Brodus Clay w/ The Funkadactyls vs. Primo w/ Epico & Rosa Mendes


Epico distracted Brodus from the outside and Primo went on the attack; Brodus countered a crossbody into a powerslam then hit Primo with his wacky headbutt. Clay followed up with his splash for the victory.


Brodus Clay defeated Primo via pinfall, at 1:14.


Rosa was not pleased and got in Clay’s face; Cameron and Naomi took her over with a double suplex then dropped a pair of legdrops on poor Rosa. Some kids got in the ring to dance.


Everything about this was horrible; Primo deserves better than losing in one minute to the dancing fat man. I’m fine with The Funkadactyls taking out Rosa since that’s what babyfaces do to heels, however it would have been more entertaining to see them engage in some kind of dance off; especially Rosa. Is anyone else irritated by the sight of dancing children in a wrestling ring?


A graphic hyped Team HellNo & Kofi Kingston vs. The Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett; Josh said the match would be up next.


Commercial Break.


Sheamus was giving Santino some advice in the locker room; he told ‘Tino’ the Brogue kick was the only thing that would work on the Big Show. Santino tried the kick a couple of times, but Sheamus was not impressed; Santino tried again then fell to the floor screaming and clutching his hamstring.


This was skit was death.


The Rhodes Scholars and Barrett were in the ring; Kofi and Team HellNo came out to face the heel team.


Team HellNo (Tag Champions) & Kofi Kingston (IC Champion) vs. The Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett


Kane took Sandow down with a sidewalk slam then brought in Kofi, who came off the top with an axe-handle; Sandow landed a forearm and tagged in Cody. Rhodes threw a right hand then tagged Barrett; Kofi scored with a dropkick after a double leapfrog transition and tried for the trouble in paradise. Barrett avoided the kick and the two teams engaged in a standoff inside the ring.


Commercial Break.


The heels were in control after the break; Sandow hit Bryan with the Cubito Aequet then Barrett came in with some strikes. Bryan fought up from a reverse chinlock, but Wade cut him off and brought in Cody, who kept the heat on; Bryan fought back with some shots then dumped Cody face first into the top turnbuckle. Kofi came in off the tag with a springboard chop and fired up on Wade with some ground and pound; Kingston missed a Stingersplash, but recovered to land a crossbody off the top. Rhodes and Sandow interrupted the pin then were taken out by Kane; the Rhodes Scholars outnumbered Kane and sent him into the barricade, however Bryan hit Sandow with a flying knee off the apron. Cody retaliated and caught Bryan with the disaster kick; in the ring Barrett went for the bullhammer, but Kofi countered with an O’Connor roll. Cody came in to try break up the fall, only to eat the trouble in paradise; this allowed Wade to connect with the bullhammer for the three count.


The Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett defeated Team HellNo & Kofi Kingston via pinfall, at 10:05.


This was fine and I enjoyed the finish. Obviously each respective feud is continuing; I have no idea why, since HellNo beat the Scholars on Main Event and Kofi went over Wade at TLC. WWE seems determined to get the IC title on Barrett; again I have no clue why. If they want him to get over as a main eventer next year he needs to be in programmes that actually mean something.


Josh and JBL were at ringside; they said Santino was unable to compete in the World title match later.


So what was the point of the opening segment?


Show was in Booker T’s office; he was happy about not defending his belt and stated he had the night off. Book said “it ain’t goin’ down like that” and told Show the tumbler would be spun again; Show protested, but Booker made the draw. Big Show demanded to know who he would be facing, however the Booker man told him, “not to worry” and he would find out soon enough.


Commercial Break.


Show and Booker were still in the office arguing; Teddy brought in Ricardo Rodriguez and Show laughed hysterically. Book told Show to take this seriously, but the giant placed the belt over Ricardo’s shoulder and told him to announce himself as the new World Champion; Ricardo began to speak, however Show drilled him with the K.O punch then told Booker not to play with his title. Book was incensed and informed Show he was in a lot of trouble.


I’m sure it was apparent to most of you where they were going after this segment; I don’t see why the Santino stuff was needed. We could have had Ricardo preparing for the match with Del Rio giving him tips on how to apply the armbreaker.


Zack Ryder came out for a match; his opponent was Antonio Cesaro. Josh and JBL put over Cesaro vs. Khali on Main Event.


Non-Title Match: Antonio Cesaro (US Champion) vs. Zack Ryder


Cesaro took control immediately with shots then hit a suplex; Zack took the dead lift gutwrench and absorbed some more blows. Cesaro delivered a double stomp for a two count then locked in a waistlock; Zack fought up to score with a dropkick off the second then went for the Broski boot. Cesaro moved and planted Zack with the neutraliser for the victory.


Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder via pinfall, at 3:28.


Exactly what you would expect; short, Zack looked weak and Cesaro took care of him with ease. Let’s hope he does the same to Khali on Wednesday.


Footage of Big E. Langston taking out The Miz last week aired then a graphic hyped Miz vs. Ziggler.


Commercial Break.


Miz showed up then more footage of Miz TV aired; Dolph Ziggler came out with AJ and Big E.


The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ AJ & Big E. Langston


Miz worked like a babyface, controlling with headlock takeovers and armdrags; Ziggler got in a little offence, but Miz sent him flying over the top rope, into the arms of Big E.

Ziggler scored with a neckbreaker then went for some heat; the crowd did not respond. Miz fought up from an armbar and created a little distance, before coming off the top, but Ziggler caught him with a dropkick in mid-air.


Commercial Break.


Miz fought up from a chinlock and delivered a belly-to-back suplex then went into a comeback; Miz hit his reverse DDT backbreaker/neckbreaker combo for a two count. Ziggler came back briefly with a sleeper, but Miz countered into a DDT for another two; Ziggler missed the Rocker dropper and Miz connected with his flying clothesline in the corner.

Miz blew a kiss to AJ, this caused Big E. to ascend the ring steps; the distraction led Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag for the three count.


Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz via pinfall, at 10:48.


Miz got on the mic and told AJ, no matter who she ended up with on New Year’s Eve, the night would defiantly end with a bang. AJ sent Ziggler back down to finish off The Miz, however Miz hit Dolph with the microphone and got the best of the brawl. AJ then instructed Big E. to hit the ring; Big E. took out Miz with a body check then hit his inverted front powerslam. AJ skipped around Miz’s corpse then made out with Dolph.


Babyface Miz left a lot to be desired with his ring work; he tried, but he is going to have to sell on a level that surpasses Shawn Michaels if I am to take him seriously as a face. Plus, what did he do after the match? Did he show fire? Did he cut an impassioned promo, claiming Ziggler couldn’t keep him down? Nope… he went right back to his philistine jokes that nobody could possibly find amusing.


Booker T was in the Trainer’s room; the GM wanted to know if Ricardo was able to compete. Of course he could not; Brad Maddox showed up and asked Book for one more chance. Book told him to get lost, but Maddox insisted and stole the “now can you dig that” line. Booker agreed and told Maddox it would be his last opportunity.


Alberto Del Rio ran in to check on his friend then informed Booker he would open Show up like a giant piñata and the GM booked Alberto in the World title match later in the show.


This show is a compete mess; Del Rio was the most hated man in the company after killing Santa on Monday, but now he is back to his babyface role and sticking up for Ricardo? As I mentioned earlier, they could have at least put some effort into getting Alberto over by having him coach Ricardo, or even protest at the unfairness of booking a ring announcer against The Big Show. Instead we got some pointless nonsense with Santino.


Brad Maddox entered the arena; he said his resolution was to become a WWE Superstar then told the people their resolution should be to never forget his name. Sheamus appeared as Maddox’s opponent.


Sheamus vs. Brad Maddox


Sheamus used his power to gain the advantage, but became angered when Maddox shoved him and a chase around ringside ensued. Back in the ring, Maddox got some shots in, however Sheamus took over again. Maddox took the clubbing forearms spot then the white noise; Sheamus followed up with the Brogue kick for the three count.


Sheamus defeated Brad Maddox via pinfall, at 3:50.


I wish they would pull the trigger on Maddox getting a contract already; he has had more last chances than Jeff Hardy and been in the ring with more high profile talent than half the roster, despite not being under contract. There was no Shield beatdown this week, so I’m stumped as to what they have planned forMaddox.


Commercial Break.


The Raw Rebound aired.


How is anyone supposed to get behind Del Rio after seeing him take out Santa again?


The Usos and The Prime Time Players were in the ring, ready to square off.


The Usos vs. The Prime Time Players


The Usos dropped a pair of elbows on Young then Jey scored with a headbutt; Titus made the blind tag and landed a big boot. Young came back in after some stomps from Titus, however Jey countered an Irishwhip and sent Titus into his own partner’s boot. Young avoided a superkick then caught Jey with a double knee gutbuster; Jimmy interrupted the pin, but Titus drilled him with shots in the corner. As the referee attempted to remove Titus from the ring, Jimmy pulled the old heel switch-a-roo and got the three count off an inside cradle.


The Usos defeated The Prime Time Players via pinfall, at 2:09.


Another nothing match on this show; I don’t think The Usos are turning heel, so I am baffled as to why one of the agents okayed the switch-a-roo finish.


A graphic hyped the World title match between Del Rio and The Big Show.


Commercial Break.


A video from The Shield aired; Rollins said this year will go down in history due to the scar they had left. Ambrose said they warned everybody and shined a light on the injustice in WWE; footage of the trio taking out Ryback, HellNo, Orton and Miz rolled then Ambrose stated their mission will stay the same. Rollins announced 2013 will be the year The Shield cleansed the injustice in the WWE. Reigns added, “in 2013, justice lives; believe in The Shield; Ambrose closed by yelling, “believe in The Shield!”


Quiet possibly the best thing on the show.


Big Show was with Matt Striker; Show claimed he would knock out Del Rio just like he did to Ricardo.


Commercial Break.


Show hit the ring to defend his title; Del Rio came out and threw his scarf to the ground, indicating his desire to get retribution for his buddy. Even Lilian’s in-ring introductions couldn’t make this match seem important.


World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show (Champion)


Del Rio displayed his aggression and was all over Show with a flurry of strikes; Show landed a big over hand chop, but Del Rio fought back with more shots. Show took Del Rio over with a side headlock, however Alberto countered into a head scissors. Show powered out then scored with another big chop; Del Rio showed some fight, but was sent through the ropes by a headbutt. Alberto took a bump into the steps then Show took the fight back inside.

Del Rio fought out of an armbar, only to be shutdown with a tackle; Show delivered a bodyslam then went for an elbow drop. Alberto moved and came back with multiple boots to the face; Del Rio tried for the cross arm breaker, but the giant was too strong and sent Alberto through the ropes again. Show decided he couldn’t be bothered defending his title any longer and headed up the aisle; Sheamus jumped him from behind causing the DQ.


Big Show defeated Alberto Del Rio via disqualification, at 5:22.


Show took care of Sheamus momentarily then tried to leave again; this time the SmackDown locker room emptied and all the guys Show referred to as inferior came out. Kane drilled Show with a right hand then the rest of the wrestlers joined in; Show was rolled back in the ring by the gang of Superstars and Del Rio hit him with his step up enziguri. Sheamus followed up with the Brogue kick to the World Champ.


This show was terrible; the only thing that resembled a decent wrestling match was the six man and the video from The Shield was excellent. The rest of the show was a complete and utter waste of everybody’s time; the booking team, the wrestlers and most of all us viewers, for having to endure segment after segment of total garbage.

Del Rio has got to be the recipient of the worst babyface turn in a long time; you could argue The Miz is also just as horrible, but at least they didn’t book Miz to flip-flop in the space of five days. I’m actually a huge fan of Del Rio and want to see the guy do well, but the way he is being booked is egregiously short-sighted. I guess we’re getting a three way at the Rumble, so hopefully a bit of common sense is applied during the booking meetings on the way there. I wish I had ten thumbs, so I could turn them all down at this poor excuse for a wrestling programme.


RAW Ratings for 2012 – January 2nd to December 17th


It is highly recommended that you download the PDF to get the most out of these statistics.


Red =HolidayRAW

Green = Mania Season

Blue = Three Hour RAW

Purple = Heavy Competition


January – March



Show Date


Largest Gain

Largest Lost


January 2nd

3.11/4.43 million Viewers

Ryder/Kane/Cena segment gained 383,000 viewers

Collection of backstage segments lost 431,000 viewers

Highest rated segmented was the opening with Cena and Kane, which did a 3.36

January 9th

2.86/4 million Viewers

Cena vs. Ziggler with post match in the overrun gained 640,000 viewers

Ryder changing a tyre, saving Eve lost 544,000 viewers

Went up against one of the highest rated TV shows in cable history

January 16th

3.02 rating/4.29 million viewers

Punk/Bryan /Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry/ Ziggler/David Otunga + Post match with Foley overrun gained 817,000 viewers

Primo & Epico vs. Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne lost 522,000 viewers

First week with no football competition of the year

January 23rd

3.17 rating/4.61 million viewers

Punk vs. Laurinaitis tease in the overrun gained 761,000

Punk/Cena vs. Jack Swagger/ Dolph Ziggler lost 528,000 viewers

Highest male skew in months due to no major sports competition.

January 30th

3.55 rating/5.21 million viewers

HHH/Laurinaitis performance review in the overrun went 17 minutes over gained 753,000 viewers

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler lost 580,000 viewers

Post Rumble show highest rated since May 23rd 2011

February 6th

3.25 rating/4.61 million viewers

Jerichovs. Punk vs. R-Truth vs. Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston gained 443,000 viewers in the overrun.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show lost 508,000 viewers

Down 13% from previous year.

February 13th

3.01 rating/4.14 million viewers

Return of Michaels with Triple H gained 822,000 viewers at 22:00.

Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth lost 621,000 viewers

Low gain, especially considering that Michaels was advertised

February 20th

3.24 rating/4.63 million viewers

Undertaker/HHH in-ring segment gained 1,122,000 viewers at 22:00.

Daniel Bryan vs. Santino Marella lost 932,000 viewers following the huge gain.

Show after Elimination Chamber

February 27th

3.14 rating/4.64 million viewers

Rock promo before Cena gained 643,000 viewers

Kelly Kelly vs. Nikki Bella lost 816,000 viewers

Featured the return of the Rock. Cena lost viewers when he came out following the Rock promo.

March 5th

3.23 rating/4.61 million viewers

Rock/Cena confrontation gained

763,000 viewers

Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella 443,000 viewers

1 million less than last year

March 12th

3.29 rating/4.84 million viewers

Undertaker/HHH in-ring lost 869,000 viewers

CM Punk vs. Miz following the gain lost 888,000 viewers

Up in all demos.

March 19th

3.10 rating/ 4.38 million viewers


Michaels in ring gained 597,000 viewers overrun

Daniel Bryan vs. Zack Ryder  lost 418,000 viewers

Number one for the night on cable/Below average overrun.

March 26th

3.05 rating/4.44 million viewers

Rock/Cena overrun gained 626,000 viewers

Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly lost 246,000 viewers

Down 21% from last year’s Mania go-home show/number one on cable


April – June


Show Date


Largest Gain

Largest Lost


April 2nd

3.42 rating/5.02 million viewers

Brock Lesnar return and F5 on Cena gained 1,036,000 viewers

Sheamus/Del Rio angle lost

297,000 viewers

Went up against the NCAA finals/down 11% from post-mania show last year

April 9th

3.10 rating/4.29 million viewers

Brock Lesnar interview gained 423,000 viewers

Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu lost 415,000 viewers

Down 21% from last year.

April 16th

3.08 rating/4.39 million viewers

John Cena/


In-ring gained 400,000 viewers

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston lost 603,000 viewers

Taped RAW with a 71.2% male skew

April 23rd

3.06 rating/4.42 million viewers



Cena in-ring gained 873,000

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry and Primo &

Epico vs. Zack Ryder & Santino Marella lost 439,000 viewers

Three hour RAW that was fourth for the night on cable and did a 3.83 over-run

April 30th

3.33 rating/4.87 million viewers

Tensai beatdown on John Cena gained 578,000 viewers in the overrun

Layla vs. Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella lost 479,000 viewers

Opening with Lesnar and Triple H did a 3.53 quarter and the 2nd quarter only lost 9,000 viewers

May 7th

3.01 rating/4.30 million viewers

Sheamus/Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho/Del Riogained 191,000 viewers

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler lost 465,000 viewers

The overrun segment lost 105,000 viewers with CM. Punk vs. Lord Tensai & Daniel Bryan

May 14th

2.95 rating/4.22 million viewers

John Laurinaitis firing Big Show at 22:00 gained 1,033,000 viewers /Cena/Laurinaitis closing segment gained 990,000 viewers

Brodus Clay /R-Truth/Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger/Miz lost 996,000 viewers

The Show/Laurinaitis segment did one of the best 22:00 gains of the year, but the show only delivered in the top 3 segments.

May 21st

3.03 rating/4.16 million viewers

John Cena/ Sheamus vs. Tensai/Jack Swagger/Dolph Ziggler gained 878,000 viewers

Santino Marella/Ricardo angle lost 521,000 viewers

Overrun showed great gain among boys 12-17 and men 18-49, but no gain amongst women

May 28th (Memorial Day, which historically does not affect the rating)

2.72 rating/3.91 million viewers

Big Show destroyingKingston, Truth and Clay in the closing segment gained 436,000 viewers

Del Riovs. Santino Marella lost  733,000 viewers

One of the lowest rated non-holiday editions of RAW in the last fifteen years/went up against heavy competition in the Hatfields & McCoys and Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

June 4th

2.92 rating/4.28 million viewers

John Cena vs. Tensai gained 514,000 viewers

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler lost 753,000 viewers

Show started off strong, but viewership dropped off after the opening segment and never really returned.

June 11th

3.23 rating/4.65 million viewers

Daniel Bryan doing an interview with Kane, AJ and CM Punk gained 978,000 viewers

Sin Cara vs. Curt Hawkins lost 450,000 viewers

The show kept its audience in the third hour and did some of the best quarters since Mania season

June 18th

3.40 rating/4.97 million viewers

John Cena vs. David Otunga & John Laurinaitis gained 573,000 viewers in the overrun

Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino Marella lost 711,000 viewers

Best rating since the day after Mania

June 25th

3.29 rating/4.72 million viewers

John Cena interview and return of Chris Jericho gained 803,000 viewers

Sycho Sid’s return with Heath Slater lost 607,000 viewers

Up from same time last year/third for the night on cable




Show Date


Largest Gain

Largest Lost


July 2nd

3.18 rating/4.71 million viewers

John Cena/CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho/

Daniel Bryan gained 684,000 viewers in the mainevent segment

Rhodes/Otunga /O’Neil /Young vs. Santino/


Truth lost 467,000 viewers

Number of homes were down

July 9th

3.17 rating/4.42 million viewers

AJ/Punk/Bryan overrun segment gained 711,000 viewers

Lawler vs. Cole angle lost 416,000 viewers

Almost the same rating as the previous week, but TV viewership was done

July 16th

3.44 rating/4.90 million viewers

CM Punk vs. Big Show and the Cena teasing a MITB cash in gained 719,000 viewers

Brodus Clay vs. JTG lost 491,000 viewers

Last few moments of the show with Cena teasing cashing in the MITB briefcase did a 3.99 rating/The rating was the same as the day after Mania, but viewership was lower.

July 23rd

3.86 rating/6.04 million viewers

AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding gained 616,000 viewers

Christian vs. The Miz lost 895,000 viewers

RAW 1000 and it did the highest rating for a three hour RAW ever/ Final two hours averaged 6.31 million viewers and did a 4.03 rating.

July 30th

3.09 rating/4.50 million viewers. Hours: 3.79, 3.21 and 3.25

John Cena vs. Big Show for the Summer Slam title shot and CM Punk interfering in the finish gained 1,181,000 viewers in the mainevent

Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino Marella lost 261,000 viewers

First regular three hour RAW/went up against the Olympics

August 6th

3.09 rating/4.37 million viewers Hours: 2.80, 3.26 and 3.19

Randy Orton vs. Big Show at 21:00 gained 480,000 viewers

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley lost 390,000 viewers

John Cena/Daniel Bryan overrun only gained 345,000 viewers

August 13th

2.85 rating/4.14 million viewers. Hours: 2.68, 2.89 and 2.98

Brock Lesnar “breaking” Shawn Michaels’ arm gained 817,000 viewers

Brock Lesnar parking lot attack with no video feed lost 394,000 viewers

Went up against ‘The Closer’, pre-season football and major crimes

August 20th

3.14 rating/4.47 million viewers.

Final segment with Punk, Cena and Lawler gained 466,000 viewers

The Diva’s battle royal lost 369,000

The audience faded after the Brock Lesnar post-Summer Slam open, which did a 2.97

August 27th

3.13 rating/4.48 million viewers basically the same as 08/20 Hours:

John Cena vs. The Miz gained 525,000 viewers going through 21:00


Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler/ Alberto Del Rio lost 576,000 viewers

Had weaker competition with no pre-season game/was 70% male/followed the usual three hour pattern of starting weak, building to hour 2 and then having the audience come back for the overrun.

September 3rd

2.83 rating/4.19 million viewers

Alberto Del Rio/John Cena falls count anywhere in the mainevent gained 442,000

Heath Slater vs. Zack Ryder lost 591,000 viewers

Unusual Labour Day pattern starting off strong and then dropping off, which is indicative of burnout rather than the holiday.

September 10th

2.89 rating/4.15 million viewers. Hours: 3.78 million viewers, 4.36 million viewers and 4.27 million viewers

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton gained 555,000 viewers

Kofi Kingston /R-Truth vs. The Miz/ Antonio Cesaro lost 426,000 viewers

Lawler had his heart attack on air during this show/Went up against a below average football season opener

September 17th

2.86 rating/4.05 million viewers. Hours: 2.97, 2.90 and 2.73

John Cena/ Sheamus vs. C.M. Punk/ Alberto Del Rio gained 823,000 viewers in the overrun

Jared Fogle Subway skit lost 478,000 viewers

Came the day after a PPV, but went up against a decent football game.

September 24th

2.72 rating/3.78 million viewers

Mick Foley/CM Punk segment at 21:00 gained 877,000 viewers

Miz vs. Ryback and the Bryan/Kane diner skit lost 533,000 viewers

Went up against a tough football game that did 11.95 rating and 16.17 million viewers/2nd lowest non-holiday RAW since 1997




Show Date


Largest Gain

Largest Lost


October 8th  (Went up against a big football game in the Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys)

2.54 rating/3.50 million viewers

Daniel Bryan /Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler /CM Punk in the final segment gained 532,000 viewers

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston lost 824,000 viewers to a 2.29 quarter the lost rated quarter in 15 years

Did the worst rating for a non-holiday edition of RAW in the last fifteen years up until this point.

October 13th  (Went up against a strong football game in the Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers and FOX baseball game)

2.81 rating and 3.98 million viewers

McMahon, Punk, John Cena and Ryback  contract signing

gained 766,000 viewers

Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow vs. Primo & Epico lost 443,000 viewers

Audience was 69.1% male and they were up against strong competition

October 20th (Went up against huge competition in the presidential debate and football game)

2.48 rating/3.55 million viewers.

CM Punk vs. Sheamus in the champion vs. champion lumberjack match gained 1,058,000 viewers, which helped save the night

Eve Torres and Layla brawl lost 613,000 viewers

The show went up against extreme competition in the presidential debate and strong football game it also did the lowest non-holiday RAW rating in the last 15 years.

October 27th

2.95 rating/4.09 million viewers

The Punk/Foley team announcement gained 708,000 viewers to a 3.26 overrun.

Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro +A.J. Lee and Vickie Guerrero backstage lost 451,000 viewers

Show went up against weaker competition with the football game being weaker and no World Series game/More people were watching TV due to hurricaneSandy.

November 5th

2.78 rating/4.07 million viewers Hours: 2.81, 2.83 and 2.70

Cena/Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler/CM Punk gained 1,084,000 viewers

Sheamus vs. The Miz lost 355,000 viewers


Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints game football game did a 9.54 rating and 12.86 million viewers

November 12th

2.86 rating/4.19 million viewers

Ryback vs. Brad Maddox gained 755,000 viewers

The end of the Lawler angle with Punk coming out lost 876,000 viewers

was the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs football game that did a 9.51 rating and 12.82 million viewers

November 19th

2.73 rating/3.83 million viewers

CM Punk 1 year in-ring celebration gained 419,000 viewers to a 2.87 overrun

Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett lost 298,000 viewers

Fifth lowest rated RAW and fourth lowest viewership for a non-holiday RAW in the last 15 years at the time, came the day after a pay-per-view and faced average competition

November 26th

2.73 rating/3.91 million viewers

CM Punk vs. Kane main event gained 592,000 viewers

Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder lost 421,000 viewers

Tied 11/19 for the fifth lowest rated non-holiday RAW in the last 15 years/up against below average football game

December 3rd

2.55 rating/3.43 million viewers

The Miz lie detector segment and Shield beatdown gained 509,000 viewers to a 2.86 overrun

Santino Marella comedy and Sandow match lost 226,000 viewers

Went up against the first strong football game in two weeks.

December 10th

2.67 rating/3.76 million viewers

The Shield brawl gained 627,000 viewers to a 2.96 overrun


Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro lost 546,000 viewers to a show low 2.39 quarter

The 4th lowest rated edition of RAW in the last 15 years going up against a weaker football game

December 17th

2.87 rating/4.22 million viewers

Ric Flair angle with John Cena, C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman gained 605,000 viewers

Brodus Clay vs. JTG lost 588,000 viewers

Did identical rating to last year’s Slammys considered a success



2012 Wrestling Observer Year End Awards Special






-Hiroshi Tanahashi

-CM Punk

-John Cena


The Lou Thesz/Ric Flair award is in my view the most prestigious award among the Wrestling Observer year end awards, it is the award that factors in drawing power, workrate and overall performance of a wrestler and for that reason is held in the highest regard by me. I feel that the person who wins the award each year is essentially the best in their craft for that year and in theory there was no one better as an overall performer and overall wrestler in that given year.


This year we have three men on the list, all of whom performed very well in the year of 2012, but one man on the list once again seemed to be head and shoulders above everyone else. It is actually a pretty stranger situation given the fact that I did not have CM Punk as my number one pick, even though he held the WWE championship for the entire year, but there is far more to the story than that.


John Cena places third on the list, mainly due to his overall steady and stable performance throughout the year at the top of the card or near to it. Despite what many people say, he is really good in the ring and has put on some very good and sometimes even great matches. Despite the fact that CM Punk was champion for most of the year, Cena was clearly the man for the first half of 2012. He was in the mainevent of one of the biggest wrestling pay-per-views of all time with The Rock, further ahead on the card than Punk, he mainevented Extreme Rules with Lesnar and Over the Limit with Laurinaitis – it is clear that Cena was still firmly seated as the face of the company for at least the first half of the year.


CM Punk is a difficult case this year, at most other times in the past if a person held the WWE championship for the entire year and had great matches throughout, that person would probably be a lock for this award, but due to the devaluation of the title and Punk not being in one mainevent of a pay-per-view for the first half of the year he isn’t number one on the list. This has nothing to do with Punk as performer, but more with the state of the championship and the way that Punk was booked at the early part of the year; plus there was very strong competition in the form of Hiroshi Tanahashi.


If Punk had been able to mainevent more shows and the title didn’t feel like an after thought for 50% of the year than I would have placed Punk in the top spot, but because those conditions were not met he will have to remain in second place. I can see Punk winning this award next year, if they continue with him in the same role that he has been for the past six months or so.


Hiroshi Tanahashi has ticked every single box for this award in 2012. He has been phenomenal in the ring, the ace for the promotion, New Japan business has been up, he has the charisma and is the best wrestler in the world, not only in terms of work, but also in terms of charisma and drawing ability. He has had phenomenal match after phenomenal match and has made everyone that has lost to him look good in the process. He also held the IWGP championship for more than half the year, losing it to Okada and then winning it back in the middle of the year and holding it until December.


Punk was really good in 2012, but Tanahashi was on another level and it is for that reason that he is the 2012 MVP – the Lou Thesz/Ric Flair award winner.




-Anderson Silva

-Jon Jones

-George Saint Pierre


The reasoning behind my choices for this award are pretty straight forward, as they have been mainly people’s top picks for a few years running now. Anderson Silva had two fights this year and both were successes to varying degrees, then there is the small fact that he is quite possibly the greatest fighter in the world. Jon Jones has some of the same box office appeal and is a natural athlete that has been extremely dominant in his division and GSP only returned in the later portion of the year, but is still in fact GSP.




-Hiroshi Tanahashi

-Kazuchika Okada

-CM Punk


The most outstanding wrestler of the year award goes to the person that has been able to put on the best matches, while exhibiting great working ability. There have been some great matches in 2012 from all of the major promotions and there have obviously been great workers as well, the three men on this list were the most outstanding wrestlers of 2012.


CM Punk, holding the WWE championship throughout the entire year, was in essence the closest that you will get in today’s WWE to a travelling champion of old. He has had great matches all year round with the likes of Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Chris Jericho, and while he didn’t have the great match that he wanted with Ryback, he did put on a decent performance and have some of the best matches of 2012.


If you had told me at the beginning of the year after the Tokyo Dome show that Kazuchika Okada would be the second person on my list of the most outstanding wrestlers of 2012 I wouldn’t have believed you. However, it is in fact true – Kazuchika Okada has shown phenomenal improvement in 2012 and has put on some really great matches. From his matches with Naito, one being a match of the year candidate, to his matches with Tanahashi, also with one of them being a match of the year candidate, Goto, Anderson and six-man tags, Okada has exhibited in-ring excellence in 2012 and disserves the second place spot in the most outstanding wrestlers of 2012.


Hiroshi Tanahashi was last year and is this year the best wrestler in the world, and if not the best certainly in the top two. He has been the backbone of New Japan for a few years now and his ability to have a great mainevent match with anyone he is put in the ring with was showcased this year. Whether it was Okada, Naito, Goto, Suzuki or even Makabe, Tanahashi has had a ****+ star match with them all in big mainevents, which already puts him at the top of the list as the highest contributor of great matches in 2012. When you factor in the six-man tags and tag team matches that he has been in, like the matches at the Best of the Super Juniors it is abundantly clear why he is at the top of the list.


People can say all they want that the greatness of the Suzuki/Tanahashi match was due to Minoru Suzuki alone, but when you look at the big picture and how many great matches Tanahashi has had, not only in 2012, but throughout his career you can see that Tanahashi is on an elite level and that was certainly on show during 2012.




-Anderson Silva

-Jon Jones

-Ronda Rousey


This isn’t an MMA newsletter, but I thought that I could still give a quick run down of my thoughts on the winners.


I have Rousey as number three simply because she has had two fights this year both of which she won in a very dominant fashion. Her opponents know that the armbar is coming, but are completely unable to stop it and she has finished both fights, including one championship fight, in the first round. She also one the Strikeforce Bantamweight title also with an armbar, and there are very few ways that she could have been more dominant so I can’t see how you couldn’t at least include her on the list.


Jones has won three fights in the Observer time period, he finished two and his fight with Rashad Evans went to a unanimous decision. He was in a lot of trouble in the Belfort fight when he was caught in an armbar, but still managed to finish. He had another good year in terms of performances and it will be interesting to see how he does on the Ultimate Fighter and against Chael Sonnen,


Then of course the number one pick on the list had to be Anderson Silva, how could it not be? He is almost certainly one of if not the greatest fighter of all time and he competed twice this year, once in the big match with Chael Sonnen and the other in a light-heavyweight fight against Steffen Bonnar and in both fights he looked incredible..




– The Rock

– John Cena

-Anderson Silva


In the year where the biggest drawing wrestling pay-per-view of all time was held the wrestling winners for best box office draw are obvious. John Cena and the Rock maineventing WrestleMania 28 did the biggest WrestleMania buyrate of all time and grossed the most money out of any wrestling show in history, which means that the Rock and Cena are definitely at the top of the list.


The reason that I placed Rock ahead of Cena, even though Cena has been on more shows and technically has drawn more money, is that Rock was the drawing component of the match. However, Cena was still there the whole year, and regardless of what you would want to say about the character, Cena is very often responsible for some of the best rated segments on RAW and some really good pay-per-view buy-rates. There wasn’t any real valid wrestling number three, and since the buyrate isn’t in for the GSP fight I decided to go with Silva.




-Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

-Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk

-Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode


2012 has been a comparatively weak year when it comes to feuds. Sure, you had the great year long rivalry between Tanahashi and Okada, and there was the great Bryan/Punk series of matches, but in terms of actual feuds driven by great storylines 2012 hasn’t been the most fruitful year. Don’t get me wrong the year has produced its fair share of great matches as a resulted of these feuds, but other than my number one pick there wasn’t all that great of a selection.


Austin Aries and Bobby Roode had what was TNA’s best feud of 2012 after Aries decided to relinquish his X Division championship in order to challenge Bobby Roode for the TNA title. It came at a time when James Storm was almost guaranteed to win the Bound for Glory series, which would have made logical sense, so when Aries one the championship a few months prior to Bound for Glory itself it came as a surprise. In the end Storm didn’t win the Bound for Glory series, which was a mistake and Hardy landed up becoming TNA champion at Bound for Glory.


The build to Austin Aries’ match at Destination X this year was certainly stellar and the match that he had with Bobby Roode and the moment that followed were also great. They proceeded to have another match at Hardcore Justice, which wasn’t as good as their first match, but was still very good. If the feud had continued and wasn’t sidetracked by other things it would have probably been higher up on the list. They also would have needed the feud to have felt more like a main part of the story than a side plot, which was something that TNA failed to do in this instance.


Daniel Bryan and CM Punk battling over the WWE championship seems in theory a completely obvious pick for the feud of the year, after all they are arguably the two best members of the roster and they have had great matches in ROH before. However, instead of having a straight up feud, which should have been the case, instead the WWE championship felt at times secondary to AJ Lee who was a key part of the programme and even a special guest referee at one point.


Still CM Punk building up the match and the actual work, which resulted in two ****+ matches was enough to secure them second place in the best feuds of 2012. Hopefully at some point in 2013 or even 2014 they can have a bigger stage without the distractions, purely for the championship, because that would certainly be something.


Finally my number one feud of this past year was the feud that really began on January 4th of 2012 when Kazuchika Okada challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi to an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match following Tanahashi’s successful title defence against Minoru Suzuki in the mainevent. Okada had just returned from his tenure in TNA and had defeated YOSHI-HASHI and cut a promo, which was a near disaster. Lucky, New Japan stuck with Okada and he was able to grow into one of the best wrestlers that the promotion has at its disposal in 2012.


Okada actually ended Tanahashi’s record long reign and went on to have a pretty good reign before dropping the title back to Tanahashi in June. The feud has continued in bits and pieces throughout the year, building to the 2013 Tokyo Dome show where Okada is set to challenge Tanahashi following his winning of the G1 Climax. Not only did they have two excellent matches, with one of them being a match of the year level mainevent, but they also had some great six man tags and the like, like the six-mans that I constantly rave about at the Best of the Super Juniors this year.


Out of all the feuds of 2012 none has been more logically booked, well executed and exciting than Okada/Tanahashi and it will be interesting to see where it leads in 2013. Okada has grown so much as a performer during his time in the ring with Tanahashi and their match of the year candidate in June is a testament to that and the quality of New Japan’s booking throughout 2012.




-Get Wild!

-Sakuraba & Shibata

-Christopher Daniels & Kazarian


Despite the fact that the WWE tried half heartedly to breath some new life into the their tag team division none of the tag teams from the division are on this list. Instead the best tag teams of the year came from TNA, New Japan and All Japan, and all of them succeeded in their own unique ways.


Christopher Daniels and Kazarian have consistently been the most entertaining part of Impact, whether they were the tag team champions, challengers or somewhere in between they were always on top form. While they were mostly a comedy team they had some great matches when they were placed with serviceable tag teams. They lost the titles for a short period of time to Kurt Angle and AJ Styles, but they got the titles back a few weeks later only to lose the titles once again to Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero.


Daniels and Kazarian served as far better champions than Guerrero and Hernandez and although TNA wanted to get the championships on a new team, they probably should have left the titles on Kazarian and Daniels. One great thing about the team is that Kazarian has been able to grow so much since he was teamed with Daniels, it is actually quite astounding. He went from a guy that had seemingly very little charisma and was good in ring, to someone who is simply oozing charisma and is great in the ring. They are a team that I would like to see together for a very long time and if they were in a different promotion and had greater opportunities throughout the year they would probably be ranked higher.


In one of my favourite angles from New Japan this year, New Japan brought two former MMA stars in Sakuraba and Shibata over and made them an invading outsider shooter style team. They have been blazing through everyone that they have faced and are set for some big single’s matches at the Tokyo Dome. While Sakuraba is rather beaten up, Shibata is able to carry the team physically and Sakuraba brings the name, charisma and some surprisingly good work that isn’t that physical.


Due to the fact that New Japan has been using them rather sparingly, which has worked in terms of making them look like a big attraction, particularly early on in their run, I can’t place them at number one on the list, even though they were my favourite team of the year. Shibata has a major opportunity to be a star going forward for New Japan and Sakuraba has over performed drastically in the role. New Japan’s booking has also helped in keeping them strong. I don’t know if the team will last that long into 2013, but for the time being they are the second best tag team of 2012.


Finally, All Japan’s team of Manabu Soya and Takao Omori, Get Wild, carried the tag team division in All Japan for the entire year. They had great matches throughout the year and were truly the ones to beat when it came to tag team wrestling in 2012. Although, Sakuraba and Shibata were great, they didn’t have enough matches to place them on the same level as Get Wild for 2012. While, All Japan isn’t the healthiest promotion, nor the biggest, Soya and Omori were able to showcase great tag team wrestling (and their awesome theme song) throughout 2012 and it is for that reason that they are number one on my list and the best tag team of 2012.




-Kazuchika Okada

-Tetsuya Naito

-Bully Ray


In the same vein as Mark Henry last year, Bully Ray was another veteran level wrestler who showed fast signs of improvement this year in ring. While he didn’t have classic matches or anything, it feels like he has improved in all facets of his performance, which is really something considering that he is 41 years old. He has lost a ton of weight and is in the best shape of his career.


While Rey’s improvement was impressive it really was nothing compared to the vast improvement showcased by Naito and Okada this year. It is certainly the rise of the next generation of mainevent stars of the New Japan promotion. Naito was one of my favourite wrestlers at one point in the year and although he is on the same or a higher level as Okada in terms of work, Okada showed far more improvement in 2012 simply because he started out at nowhere even close to the level that he is at now.


It is astounding to think that the same person that is going to mainevent the Tokyo Dome in 2013 was fumbling through a near disastrous performance at this year’s Dome show, and what is even more astounding is that New Japan saw all of this in Okada before he was even close to that level.


It will be really interesting to look back at the Okada/Naito match from earlier this year in a couple of years time, because chances are that going into the next decade and beyond Okada and Naito are going to be generational rivals that are going to carry the company. There is no doubt in my mind that if everything goes according to plan Naito and Okada will be having classic after classic in the years to come, after all we have seen it so many times in the history of puroresu. Whether you look at Kawada and Misawa, Tenryu and Tsuruta or Fujinami and Choshu they all started in a similar way with generational rivalries being established early.




-CM Punk

-Austin Aries

-Kevin Steen


Many of the same people that really shined last year when it came to interviews also did so this year and so my choices for the best interview of the year reflect that.


Kevin Steen, arguably ROH’s number one star and the current ROH champion was great both in 2011 and 2012 on the mic. Some would argue that 2011 was a better year for him, and that may be true due to the fact that he was placed in hotter angles as an outsider, but he did manage to continue on into 2012 delivering really good promos. The most interesting thing about Steen as a promo is that English isn’t even his first language with him being from Montreal and all, so for him to be able to cut such great promos is really something.


The one thing that brought some of his promos down for me last year was the excessive use of expletives and bad language, which has improved somewhat this year. It isn’t that I have a problem with guys using expletives in the right situation for promos, but when your promo is just filled with swear words from beginning to end the content of the promo is drowned out and does start to lose some of its value. With Sinclair in their now the use of swearing does seem to be controlled more even on the internet-pay-per-views, which is good.


Austin Aries would have been on the same or close to the same level as CM Punk this year if he was simply given more time and better material. Aries was TNA World Champion in the later half of the year, but because it was for such a short period and only in the second half he didn’t get enough time to really show what he could do. Also the TNA writing team is a mixed bag and so when Aries got great material he was in fact great, and when he didn’t get good material he could make it work, but he didn’t squeeze coal into diamonds.


CM Punk was the best promo guy of 2012 being able to cut great promo after great promo as WWE champion throughout the year. He didn’t really have that one memorable promo like last year, but what he did have was consistent performance at a very high level. CM Punk was able to deliver on point on every single occasion that he came out and whether it was Mick Foley or Bret Hart he was able to put on something special – 2013 is going to be a very interesting year with Punk and Rock going at it.




-CM Punk

-Austin Aries

-Hiroshi Tanahashi


These three were chosen largely for the same reason as best promo, however with one difference. I cannot understand Japanese you see, so I couldn’t have possibly picked Tanahashi as best promo, nor would I want to given the different role that promos play in Japan. But, you don’t need to speak the language to know that Tanahashi is the most charismatic person in New Japan right now alongside guys like Nakamura. It would then make sense that he be number three on the list.


Austin Aries obviosully oozes natural charisma and he has had the opportunity to showcase that in 2012 making him once again my second pick. Finally Punk being the best talker in the business right now and being so comfortable and into his role makes him an obvious choice for most charismatic person of 2012.




-Daniel Bryan

-Prince Devitt

-Davey Richards


In terms of technical wrestling in 2012 my ballot is actually the same as it was last year, expect in a different order. I felt that Bryan was once again the best technical wrestler in the world. Devitt certainly wasn’t far behind him, which is often the case. However, Devitt wasn’t as highly active as he was last year, especially in Japan, which is where I had the most exposure to him. Richards had a good year in terms of matches, but due to a hiatus and also a decreasing number of high quality technical matches on pay-per-view he was lower on the list than the other two.


Bryan seems to show no sign of slowing down and unless there is another high level technical wrestler that crops up next year, or Devitt has a phenomenal year, I see him winning again, because although he didn’t have the ability to perform in enough great matches to win most outstanding, his technical ability always shines through.




-Kevin Steen

-Bully Ray

-Togi Makabe


For the third year in a row my number one pick for the best brawler of 2012 is Kevin Steen. While Ray and Makabe are both great brawlers they don’t get as many opportunities as Kevin Steen who seems to utilize brawling in just about every one of his matches. His style a lot of the times might not be my favourite, but as a brawler he is the best in the business right now and has been for quite a few years.


Having multiple ROH World Championship matches under No DQ rules certainly helps considering that Steen has been able to perform at a high level in those matches. I feel that Steen’s ability to brawl is a double edged sword for him in some ways, while on the one hand he can put on a great performance with brawling tactics and everyone knows it, his other abilities are often overlooked due to his great ability to brawl.




-Kota Ibushi


-El Generico


Despite not being active for some parts of 2012 Kota Ibushi was once again the best flying wrestler of 2012. Ibushi once again showed improvement, not in flying ability or athletics, but in the ability to work and structure a match, which can be seen in his match with KUSHIDA from earlier this year. Flying in wrestling isn’t simply about doing as many dives as humanly possible, but rather about using flying moves to put together a coherent story and that was what Ibushi was able to do in 2012.




– John Laurinaitis

– Hulk Hogan

– AJ


In terms of actual wrestlers in 2012 no one wrestler really comes to mind that was grossly overrated, however 2012 was the year of the overpowering heel authority figure. John Laurinaitis, Hulk Hogan and even AJ were all placed in roles far exceeding their bounds and were a huge determent to their respective programs.


AJ was placed third simply because I don’t think that she was as damaging to the product creatively as the other two. Hogan in particular needs to let go in this role, if he wants to be a manager then he should ask to be a manager, but a disservice has been done to everyone this year when Hogan has become the centrepiece of numerous angles making much of the actual talent look like fools, which is never good.


While Hogan has been greatly overcast as the general manager of Impact, John Laurinaitis was an insufferable pain in the early part of this year, not only performing in segments, but also in matches. To make matters worse he was an abhorrent talker botching lines left and right, which became his gimmick after a while. I have seen worse over the years in terms of overbooked talent, but overbooking authority figures from all sides was very annoying this year.




– Tyson Kidd

– Jack Swagger

– Dolf Ziggler


Every year the most underrated group of wrestlers seems to always be the same collection of people. Sure, Daniel Bryan isn’t on the list anymore, although you could make a case for him in the later stages of year, the three men on this list were far more underutilized than he was.


Ziggler is at number three on the list, because he did have a better year in 2012. After all, he won the Money in the Bank ladder match and they do have high hopes for him. However, the main problem with Ziggler is because they have hopes for him and he has the briefcase they have beaten him like a drum for the entire year, which is going to damage him at some point. Like Bryan, Ziggler is very talented so the problem comes when WWE creative thinks that it is okay to constantly beat him, because he can bounce back from it.


I don’t think Ziggler will be on the list in 2013, because at some point in the coming year they are going to have to pull the trigger on him, they might beat him in 18 seconds at WrestleMania too, but right now we can only assume that they have something meaningful in mind of Ziggler.


For the majority of 2012 Jack Swagger has been underutilized to a shocking degree, dropped to one of the lowest spots on the entire roster due to being placed with comedy acts and in many ways becoming a comedy act himself. He isn’t the most talented of the three men on the list, but he is still above average when it comes to work, plus he has the look and definite potential to be something. The fact that he has been off of TV for so long and they did do an angle with him going off of the of the RAW set makes me think that they do have plans for him, will he come back at the Rumble for a big victory? Possibly, but he will almost certain have a better 2013 than 2012 regardless.


Tyson Kidd, who is one of the most talented members of the WWE roster, has been nothing more than a prelim guy for the entirety of 2012, which is a terrible shame, because if he was placed in a midcard position (if that still exists), he would succeed. If they threw him into a program with Bryan, or did something with him other than have Tensai squash him and have him squash Tensai, they would have something with Kidd. However, he has been damaged so much over the years that, like Swagger, he will need to be repackaged to succeed at some point.




-New Japan Pro Wrestling


This was probably one of the easiest and most definite picks out of any awards on the list. In terms of wrestling in North America I really wouldn’t consider TNA or WWE even close to an appropriate level for the award. ROH had a decent year, but they really did nothing special, and obviously haven’t been knocking it dead when it comes to the business side of things and I wouldn’t pick an indie promotion for the award unless it was under extraordinary circumstances.


I don’t follow lucha very much at all, but even from what I understand neither AAA nor CMLL are doing phenomenal business or are doing phenomenally well creatively. That only leaves Japan, and NOAH and All Japan were good at times, but certainly not outstanding and definitely not on the business end; especially when it comes to Pro Wrestling NOAH as they are completely out of the question. Therefore there really is only one logical answer.


New Japan Pro Wrestling had one of their best years in a while, both business wise and creatively. Following the Bushi Road purchase they were able to continue the trend of putting on great matches and booking the most logical cards in the business. Gedo & Jado were particularly great this year, booking cards with practically no logical inconsistencies and enhancing what is undoubtedly the most unique roster in all of pro wrestling.


Of course the promotion would be nothing without the actual talent and the talent on almost every relevant level was exceptional. From Tanahashi at the top to Okada, Nagata, Ishii, Suzuki and even guys like Iizuka and Yano everyone had a different role to play and played it well. While guys like Yano and Iizuka have become stale and pretty much perform the same act night after night they are surrounded by such great talent and the rest of the card is usually so diverse that they can carry those acts.


If you look at the top 100 matches of 2012 in this issue so many of the top 25 or so matches were from New Japan that there is no argument as to the fact that they are an extremely functional workrate promotion. As a whole there is no way that anyone that even lightly follows the promotion couldn’t give them the award, one because of the weak competition and two because of the excellence that the promotion has shown in all fields throughout the year.




-ROH on Sinclair

-Dragon Gate Infinity


This for me at least this was probably one of the most difficult awards to pick on the list, not due to a wealth of competition or even because of opposing thoughts between one or two nominees, no, I have a problem with this award because there simply are no credible candidates. It isn’t like you could nominate Impact due to their brief run of quality shows, because they were so bad throughout the rest of the year that they were probably the worst show of 2012. RAW was less than stellar and dragged a heck of a lot and as for SmackDown…well that show was just plain mediocre.


It is for this reason that my picks for this year are shows that I didn’t even watch on a consistent weekly basis, sure I saw a show here and there, but from my standpoint I barely feel like I have seen enough of either show to chose a valuable candidate – to put it simply it feels like there is no acceptable available answer. There have been some great moments and matches in 2012, but a year of good TV it was not.


I chose ROH on Sinclair and Dragon Gate Infinity mainly due to what I have seen being decent to good, but I can’t speak for if they were extremely good on a regular basis.




-Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki Tokyo, Japan 2012/10/09

-Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin Fort Lauderdale, Florida 2012/03/31

-Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi Osaka, Japan 2012/06/16


Although we weren’t drowning in ground breaking feuds and angles this year, what we did have in true abundance were great matches. That doesn’t just go for New Japan, but for WWE, TNA, ROH and more. And while there have been other years with more great matches, this has probably been the best year in terms of workrate in a very long time.


I don’t know how accurate this statement is and I do realize that it is a generalization, but there seems to be an upwards swing in terms of match quality, an evolution, and devolution of many of the creative aspects of the business, a downswing. This isn’t the case with all promotions and there are many exceptions, but for now that seems to be the general rule.


While WWE put on some awesome matches in 2012, my ballot this year goes out mainly to New Japan Pro Wrestling who had a great year both creatively and in ring, as well as Ring of Honor, which was far from stellar creatively, but performed well match wise on most of their key shows. In most years my number one and number two peaks would have been head and shoulders above the rest with my number two almost surely coming out on top, but because of how the year turned out number one picks became number two picks, number three picks number four and so on.


My third favourite match of 2012 was the second Hiroshi Tanahashi/Okada match from June, which is followed closely by the Tetsuya Naito/Okada match from March, which was also in the top five matches of the year. The nearfalls in the Tanahashi/Okada match were phenomenal and the psychology, although not on the level of my number one pick, was still at such a high level that Okada was probably still elevated in losing the championship, which is really saying something.


The second match on the list was a match that I actually gave *****, something that I normally don’t do very often, making it even more astounding that it wasn’t number one on my list. At the time that Michael Elgin/Davey Richards took place, which was Mania weekend in Florida, it was almost unfathomable that any match this year would be able to beat it, in fact I even made some remarks saying that it was rather unexciting that the match of the year was already decided at that point.


The match itself was exactly what you would want from an ROH match, and while there were many nearfalls, all of them made sense and I didn’t feel that they were used in excess at any level. If you would have told me that Elgin kicking out of a top rope dragon suplex with another half of the match to go wasn’t a stupid spot I would have probably looked at you like you were stupid, but the spot just worked when telling the narrative of the match. Elgin came off looking like a star after that spot alone, but what came next was even greater.


There were numerous nearfalls and kicks to the head towards the end of the match, with Elgin looking like an absolute warrior near the end, it wasn’t like he didn’t sell anything, but more that he was just able to withstand a lot of punishment, in the same vein as Undertaker and Shawn Michaels from their Mania matches. The match could have really been used to elevate Elgin into a mainevent star for the promotion, but unfortunately Ring of Honor was way to late on pulling the trigger on the House of Truth break up and Elgin has lost at least some of his lustre from this match. Still, this match remains as the second best match of 2012.


Without question, at least in my mind, the best match of 2012 was the Minoru Suzuki/Hiroshi Tanahashi match from the first New Japan iPPV. Going in, like many of the classic matches over the years, I was expecting a good match in the same vein as their Tokyo Dome match from earlier in the year, but really nothing more. However, what we got was something quite extraordinary.


I wasn’t able to watch the first internet-pay-per-view live mainly due to internet issues, but I did hear high praise for the match and show in general a couple of days before I was able to see the show. By the time that I saw the match my expectations were high and I knew the outcome, something that has grown to bother me less and less over the years. The first time I watched the match I recognized that it was a fantastic match, but didn’t feel a direct connection with it probably due to the hype and the delay. However, as I sat there thinking about the match and the way that it was put together and then going back and rewatching it, I fell in love with it.


The fact that they could wrestle a 25 plus minute match with no nearfalls is a true testament to how great the match actually was. The story that it told with Tanahashi working over the leg of Suzuki and Suzuki going after the arm of Tanahashi with Tanahashi playing the air guitar across the chest of Suzuki to really start the match off, worked so well that to say that it was one of the best matches of the last 20 years and one of the best in New Japan history, wouldn’t be an overstatement.


The small things that were done in the match also made it. Like the aforementioned air guitar spot or when Tanahashi had Suzuki in a figure four and Suzuki yelling something to the affect of “why don’t you just break my legs?” or even the much more toned down entrance from Minoru Suzuki.


The funniest part about this category is that I can see Suzuki/Tanahashi losing simply because of lack of exposure, which is ironic since the New Japan match is actually up on YouTube for the world to see, where as to my knowledge the ROH match is not. I could be wrong, but I can see it being a repeat of the 1994 Observer awards with the Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon ladder match winning over arguably one of the greatest matches ever in Kawada/Misawa from June 3rd.




-GSP vs. Carlos Condit, Montreal, Quebec Canada, November 17th 2012

-Zombie/Poirier Fairfax, Virginia, May 15th 2012

-Henderson/Edgar, Denver, Colorado, August 11th 2012


We had some great wrestling matches and great MMA fights in 2012 and these were my favourite of the latter, all for very different reasons. Henderson and Edgar offered a very exciting close contest that ended in a decision, Poirier and Zombie had an amazingly fast paced fight full of action, in fact, if you are looking just for action this was the fight of the year for me. And finally GSP and Condit brought a huge level of drama to their five round fight in Montreal, with a lot of tension, excitement and amazing moments.




– Saturyne


Out of all the rookies that people are talking about as possible candidates for the award, the only one that I have really seen is Saturyne. She does show some promise and from what I have seen from her I have liked. I originally saw Saturyne on what I believe was one of the Joshimania shows from December, following that I have seen her a couple of times throughout the year, but not in a huge volume. Still, she is the best candidate that I have been able to see in an award category that I always struggle with.





-Paul Heyman


It probably installs great faith in you, the reader, that I am not one-hundred percent sure of my main picks validity as a candidate, but it is the honest truth – I do not know if Gedo is eligible for this award. In terms of making an act Gedo was personally my favourite non-performer of 2012, the only problem being that he is in fact a performer at the lowercard level. I can’t see this disqualifying him completely since guys like Ricardo Rodriguez have wrestled this year, although nowhere close to as a regular basis as Gedo.


Gedo was appointed as the manager of Kazuchika Okada following his near disaster of a return match on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome against YOSHI-HASHI. He came out after Tanahashi successfully defended the IWGP heavyweight title against Minoru Suzuki in the mainevent, but the results were less than stellar and it was obvious by that point that Okada was either not ready or some serious changes needed to be done, these changes were in fact made.


Weeks later Okada was appointed Gedo as his manager and his star hasn’t stopped rising since, Gedo has been able to bring something out of Okada that nobody really knew existed before Okada came along and with Gedo. I have tried to learn Japanese in the past, and I really can’t understand promos apart from the occasional “baka” or what have you, but even without understanding what he is saying Gedo’s body language and intonation are as such that I don’t really even need to understand what he is saying to understand the message that is being attempted to be brought across, and that is truly something impressive. He has done more for Okada than anyone else ever could and he has helped craft Okada into a star, which was not an easy feat and for that he disserves to win non-wrestler of the year.


Another great non-wrestler that I am sure is eligible this time around is Paul Heyman, who has greatly enhanced the value of an already great act in CM Punk. For me the best part of the Heyman character as of right now is not necessarily his great mic work, but more the little things that he does. Whether it is holding the championship up whenever Punk talks, or acting aghast during an interruption, he serves as a valuable extension of the CM Punk character without detracting from Punk’s initial appeal and for that I believe that he disserves second place for the year (well, first if Gedo is not eligible).




-Nigel McGuiness

-William Regal

-Jim Ross


In a time where there really is a distinct lack of good television announcers it is always a relief to find a broadcast team that can truly deliver at a high level and consistent basis, in 2012 that team was no other than Nigel McGuiness and Kevin Kelly.


At the start of 2012 and pretty much since the Sinclair debut I preferred Kelly as the front man for the team and voice of the promotion. While I never thought that Nigel was bad, in fact I thought that he was abnormally good for his experience level, I never really viewed him as anything above pretty good. However, in 2012 that all changed with Nigel probably becoming my favourite active announcer with JR being the obvious exception.


The gusto and passion that Nigel displays when he is announcing is absolutely unparalleled, which really is a showcase of Nigel’s love for pro wrestling. A perfect example of why McGuiness was the best commentator of 2012 can be seen in the Elgin/Steen and Elgin/Richards match from earlier this year. Nigel screaming over the headset going crazy after the nearfalls honestly adds a half star to both matches, which is no easy feat.


The funny thing about Nigel on commentary is that he was actually removed from the position earlier in the year and placed in a managerial role in Cornette’s absence. Apparently Nigel wasn’t all that popular among members of management because, and this is no joke, he has a British accent. The absurdity of the criticism is obviously apparent, and although Nigel is great in his role and will probably win best non-performer next year, it was a mistake to take him out of the role considering how good he is.


As for Regal he could have possibly landed up in the number one spot if it wasn’t for the fact that he only has the ability to commentate on NXT in a semi-limited role. McGuiness has been commentating for ROH for a large portion of 2012, and while Regal has done the same at least in some capacity, McGuiness had a greater opportunity to shine and that is why he is at the top of the list. However, when it comes to getting people over, both men are equally as good as colour guys.




-Michael Cole

-Josh Matthews


After the Jerry Lawler situation, on an emotional level it actually saddens me to pick Michael Cole as the worst announcer of the year, but the fact of the matter is for the majority of 2012 Michael Cole has been a very poor announcer. Let’s face it, heel Michael Cole as the predominant commentator on RAW for the majority of the year up until the Lawler heart attack was a detriment to the show and if it wasn’t for the tragic incident, we would probably still be stuck with him.


At this point Cole is a perfectly adequate announcer, but we aren’t looking at the last three months or so of the year, we are looking at 2012 as a whole, and looking at it through that lens it would be very hard not to choose Cole. As for Josh Matthews, I don’t want to necessarily compare him to the Miz, but he is like him and a lot of other people in the promotion in many ways; he is basically a puppet. He sat there for most of his tenure as a commentator and delivered very clean cut, direct from management lines like a robot and he was fine at doing that. However, playing a corporate stooge 24/7 really becomes annoying after a while and that was the case this year.




-New Japan, King of Pro Wrestling, Tokyo, Japan, October 29th

-WWE, Extreme Rules, Chicago Illinois, April 29th

-All Japan Pro Wrestling Love in Ryogoku, Osaka, Japan March 20th


There have been some great shows in 2012. New Japan has been consistently great throughout the year and has been able to deliver big on ever major show that they have put on. WWE has also put on some really good shows, both with stipulations and without. While TNA had a good second half of the year there was no real show that stood out for me apart from Destination X, which was a good show, but had a pretty lacklustre undercard.


My number three pick this year goes to a show that I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for going in, the March 20th All Japan show from Osaka, which turned out to be one of the best shows of the year with five great matches on the show and an excellent mainevent match between Jun Akiyama and Keiji Mutoh, which would have made the show great with just a simple undercard of decent matches, but for the majority of the show it was just great match after great match. It wasn’t the only great show that All Japan put on this year, but certainly the best.


While the All Japan show had really good matches in a greater volume the April 29th WWE Extreme Rules show from Chicago had three matches all pretty much on the same level as the Akiyama/Mutoh match, which made for a greater show. The CM Punk/Chris Jericho street fight, Daniel Bryan/Sheamus two out of three falls and Brock Lesnar/John Cena extreme rules match were all at the **** ¼ level. The finish to the Cena/Lesnar match was undoubtedly stupid in terms of business and in the long term, but the match itself with Cena actually getting busted open hardway from elbows was close to match of the year levels and was really something that you don’t see often.


The Daniel Bryan/Sheamus match was a two out of three falls match that actually worked really well and obviously with Bryan in there you were guaranteed a really good match. It got a good amount of time as well going 22 minutes. There was also the Punk/Jericho match on the card, which was also different from all of the other matches on the show in that it was a street fight. While the build to the match was rather lacklustre considering the calibre of talkers you had to work with, Punk and Jericho, the match itself really delivered in one of the best street fight type matches of the year.


In most other years the Extreme Rules or All Japan shows would have won, or at least been favourites, but the one difference between this year and most others is the fact that we had New Japan’s King of Pro Wrestling show this year, which was truly one of the best all around shows of the past 5-10 years. It was New Japan’s first internet-pay-per-view available outside of Japan and it certainly delivered in every way possible providing not only a handful of great matches, but the best match of the year and one of the better matches of the last two decades.


Okada defended his briefcase against Karl Anderson in a phenomenal match, Goto lost in an Intercontinental Championship match, there was a great Juniors match between Low Ki and Kota Ibushi on the show and then to cap it all of we had a five star classic to really seal the deal. Last year WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view from Chicago was viewed as the hands down best show of the year, and while the New Japan show didn’t have out of the ring moments like Punk going off with the belt, nor did it have a hot crowd like in Chicago (few shows do), it had some of the best in-ring moments of the year, particularly in the mainevent match and because of that I would actually call it a better all around show than Money in the Bank – making it by far the best show of 2012.






-TNA Genesis January 8th, Orlando, Florida


Much like the worst match of the year award, worst show is always difficult for me to choose, because while I have seen some bad shows over the year, it is far more difficult to discern which of those shows was the worst than which of the good shows was the best.


Like last year the worst show of the year in my opinion was a TNA show, in this case the Genesis show from January 8th, which was a prime example of why TNA has been so bad over the last few years. It was a card with absolutely nothing good on the show and with a lot of bad. The worst part of the show probably came when TNA creative decided to follow a trend that had been playing out for the past few months at the time. In the mainevent, which was Jeff Hardy versus Bobby Roode, they decided to go to a no contest with Roode attacking the official and then have the rematch on TV, which also happened to go to a no contest, but it was a bad decision none the less.


It was a show that threw a huge insult at paying customers, honestly the most hardened of the TNA viewing audience, by not only not giving them what they paid for and then airing it for free on TV, but by also delivering nothing else that could redeem them on the show either.


The show also failed to lay the ground work for one of their biggest shows of the year, Lockdown, because James Storm was beaten on the show by Kurt Angle in a dusty finish that simply didn’t work with Angle delivering a low blow to Storm behind the back of the referee and then delivering a weak looking superkick for the win, which was one of the many counterproductive things that they have done with Storm over the course of the year.




-Kazuchika Okada’s Rainmaker-


I find my pick for this year far more interesting than in the past, because unlike moves that win solely on their difficulty to perform or aesthetic appearance, my vote for this year is a move that has garnered a very high level of value based almost completely on great booking – and that move is Kazuchika Okada’s rainmaker.


Without a shadow of a doubt Okada’s rainmaker was the best move of 2012. Although it may seem as though it is just a simple short arm clothesline, in execution it is far more. Not only is it an important part of the new Kazuchika Okada’s gimmick, but it is basically sold as a decapitation; once you have been hit with the move you cannot kick out, and this is the concept that the move has been sold on throughout the year.


At this point Okada has won and defended the IWGP Heavyweight title with the rainmaker, and he lost the title due to not being able to hit the move. The same is true for his victory in the G1; although everybody including Okada was subject to parody booking no one kicked out of the rainmaker and that is probably the way that it will stay for a very long time.


I believe that on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome show Okada will capture his second IWGP heavyweight championship with the same move, and if Tanahashi does manage to kick out once, which I don’t think is going to happen, it will be sold as a colossal event.


I can picture Okada not only recapturing the IWGP title with the move, but also elevating someone with it. Once somebody does kick out of it, it will be a monumental moment for that person’s career and he will be able to get over solely on the fact that he kicked out of the rainmaker. While there have been more spectacular moves throughout 2012, none were booked as impressively as the rainmaker.




-WWE Air Video of Lawler Heart Attack and Then Sour Celebration


Every year there are always two guaranteed occurrences for this award, one being that an indie promoter does something utterly tasteless and the other is that WWE will do something to upset people, it is a given. I normally have a pretty hard time choosing the winner, or in this case loser for the award, but this year the answer was pretty clear and it fell on the side of the WWE once again.


After suffering a heart attack live on air Jerry Lawler was set to make his triumphant return to RAW, in what should have been one of the greatest moments in the history of Monday Night RAW, the results were in fact quite different. Instead of having the segment kick off with a simple entrance from Lawler they showed a video package of him being carted off, which would have been fine on its own, but what followed was far worse.


The WWE blatantly and without shame exhibited a complete lack of taste and proper judgement when airing a video package of Lawler going into cardiac arrest and the medics trying to revive him backstage for the entire world to see. They did all of this while amplifying the sound of Lawler snoring into the mic, as he started to essentially die right there on national TV in front of the Montreal crowd.


Airing the package on a DVD after the fact would have been one thing, but to exhibit the fact that they filmed a man dying for the sake of popping a rating was deplorable in my book. While the segment that followed with CM Punk souring the celebration wasn’t exactly my favourite thing in the world, I was far more insulted by the aforementioned video package, but together as a segment it stood head and shoulders above everything else as the worst promotional tactic of the year.




-TNA Impact-


I honestly wanted to like Impact this year, I really did. I followed the great spike in quality after the departure of Vince Russo and the move to a live format, at least during that period the show was one of the better shows of the entire year. However, factoring in the decline in quality and questionable booking decisions post-Russo and the obvious lack in quality pre-change I couldn’t really vote for any other show.


The quality of Impact throughout the year mainly comes down to very strange booking patterns and completely illogical segments. RAW on the other hand was not very enjoyable through the second half of the year due to time issues and the move to three hours. The first half was due to stupid angles and once again bad booking. However, RAW this year was booked on a completely different level to Impact for the most part and it is for that reason that Impact was probably the worst television show of the year.




-John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis, May 20th, Raleigh, North Carolina


I always find the idea of a worst match of the year award rather odd, because although there needs to be some way of keeping track of the bad along with the good for the year, the fact is that there are so many bad indie and Divas matches in the year that although you can pick a bad major match, chances are there was something worse on a major show. So unless there is a Diva’s match on the level of the Sharmall match from a couple of years ago, I normally just discount the Knockouts and Divas matches and tend to focus more on the larger matches that didn’t perform well.


It is because of the above reasons that I think that John Cena versus John Laurinaitis from Over the Limit was the worst match of 2012. It was on the same level as those awful barbeque sauce drenched Cole/Lawler matches from last year. Cena emptied a garbage can on Laurinaitis and had an awful match up until the point that Big Show ran in after Laurinaitis had fired him, which in a vacuum was really stupid to begin with. However, the match landed up doing better than expected on pay-per-view, which I was surprised about. Never the less when you put an authority figure into a match like that nine times out of ten it is going to be a bad match and in this case it was.




-Aces & Eights vs. TNA


The Aces & Eights started off as a good idea when TNA was having its upswing following the loss of Vince Russo, but it quickly degraded into what was most probably the worst feud of 2012 together with Cena vs. Laurinaitis and Company. The Aces & Eights were essentially supposed to be a rip off of the Sons of Anarchy TV show, which should tell you something already considering that they were doing this on a wrestling show.


Originally the angle started out with the Aces & Eights attacking random members of the TNA roster, which was fine for that stage of the angle. However, unlike the WWE, which steamrolls through a lot of their angles far too quickly, TNA did the opposite. They tried to build the Aces & Eights (who were masked mind you), over weeks with attacks and that didn’t help to get anyone over.


What didn’t help matters was the absurd idea of Hulk Hogan simply locking the doors of the Impact Zone to keep the Aces & Eights out, which made no sense. Police were involved and the entire thing just became way to hockey. Devon was revealed as a member of the group, but nothing past that felt like it had any impact.


To make matters worse they have no one in line for the eventual reveal who could possibly make an ounce of difference, so they just continue on week after week with the same masked guys in ‘the Club House’ drinking beer and beating people up with no rhyme, reason or goal in site.


Another glaring plothole was that they actual won access to the Impact Zone, so the fact that they are still fighting baffles me. It proves again that the two major companies have absolutely no clue how to do an invasion angle. It isn’t like the Aces & Eights have even come off strong over the past few months, because they have been either losing in matches or have run in for the DQ without the Aces & Eights looking all too good. Plus, it isn’t like they have really gone past the TV title when looking for championships.


For a group that takes so much time out of the show and often times permeate every facet of the show, they really have been an incoherent hindrance more than anything else.






While TNA did go through at least somewhat of a renaissance in the second half of 2012 following the move to a live format and getting rid of Vince Russo, the first portion of the year together with a cooling down of sorts really don’t help TNA’s case, and while they were putting on good TV and good pay-per-views for a portion of 2012 that didn’t last and ultimately they were the worst promotion of 2012.


It saddens me to choose TNA as the year’s worst promotion, because a really did want them to succeed, but due to a number of problems that have been plaguing TNA for many years they simply weren’t able to succeed on a creative level. Some of those issues were corrected over the course of the year, namely Vince Russo who was removed as head booker and subsequently let go earlier in the year, but other issues still remain a big problem.


One of the biggest problems that TNA has – and this isn’t simply a problem isolated to this promotion either – is the fact that they aren’t really quite sure what they want to be. They have all of these angles going that are clearly ripped off from either common TV plot points or show ideas that simply don’t work in a pro wrestling setting, which is sad given the fact that they do have a talented roster and guys like Austin Aries and Bully Ray could have a great program if TNA just stuck to pro wrestling.


A common problem in today’s wrestling world with the two major promotions is the fact that both promotions will be around regardless of how good or bad the angles are, and without staunch competition there really isn’t as strong of an incentive to put on a great product. In the past you had to put on good matches and angles otherwise attendance would drop and there would be more room for the competition, but now things are different and that isn’t the way things work. TNA’s ratings stay at a 1.0 and don’t really fluctuate much, which is the same situation that the company itself is in – Panda Energy and the Carter family will keep the promotion going regardless, at least until they feel that they don’t want for it to continue any longer.


Hopefully TNA improves over 2013, but if the past five years or so are anything to go by they will probably still be drowning in a sea of mediocrity next year.




-Gedo & Jado


There was another award in Group B that seemed like a complete no brainer to me, and that award would be the Booker of the Year award. While Joe Silva of the UFC is a great booker, number one this is a pro-wrestling newsletter, and number two is even if it wasn’t the UFC has made a few questionable booking decisions this year.


Then we look to other professional wrestling promotions and the two big North American promotions, WWE and TNA, can quickly be ruled out, because God knows that they haven’t had the most stellar year booking wise. I know that some people will be voting for Quakenbush, which is fine with me, but for me at least Chikara Pro doesn’t warrant that award – not this year.


You then move onto ROH and while they didn’t do nearly as many stupid things as WWE or TNA, in fact they booked quite logically, they were bland for a large portion of the year and weren’t creatively hot enough to warrant the award either. Moving on to Japan the answer is obvious, Gedo and Jado stood head and shoulders above the rest.


New Japan went through somewhat of a renaissance this year, in the sense that within their niche they have been very successful and have been able to grow throughout 2012 following the company’s sale to Bushi Road. Much of this success can be attributed to the booking prowess of both Gedo and Jado.


No promotion in 2012 booked a more perfect, clean cut, logical year than New Japan, and probably, at least from my standpoint, no company had as much creative success as the company either. To put it simply wins and loses matter in 2012, and no two bookers recognized this fact more.


Probably one of the biggest success stories for me coming out of 2012 was that of Kazuchika Okada. A man that went from being less than a TNA prelim guy to becoming one of the hottest wrestlers in Japan, the eye for talent that New Japan management exhibited this year was to put it simply, unreal.


Kazuchika Okada had his return match for New Japan at the Tokyo Dome, a terrible match with YOSHI-HASHI, and went on to win the IWGP Championship from Tanahashi a few months later. At the time this seemed like a terrible idea, but fast forward a few months and Okada has blossomed into one of the most impressive young prospects in all of wrestling.


A lot of his success has to do with Gedo and Jado’s booking, unlike in other promotions, when it was made clear that Okada couldn’t talk for the time being, he was paired with Gedo and nobody looked back; without a great booking team the pairing would never have happened and Okada probably wouldn’t be where he is today.


The same can be said for so much in the company, whether it is the diverse gimmicks and the ability to let each star truly shine, to the booking of the Sakuraba/Shibata invasion, Gedo and Jado should win the award for a second year in a row, because not only do they disserve it, but I would actually go as far as call them a no brainer for this award.




-Bushiroad inc. (Takaaki Kidani)


New Japan has made huge strides in 2012 following the purchase of the company by Bushi Road, a Japanese based card games company that has an owner with a highly vested interest in New Japan and wrestling as a whole. They definitely showed that they have a stance based on expansion into new territory, whether it be internet-pay-per-view, international viewership or new talent, all of it is good and all of it will help the company grow.


When the New Japan purchase first went public at the beginning of the year I was definitely sceptical and a little hesitant on what level of success the company could achieve under the new ownership and whether or not they could even succeed, especially when Kazuchika Okada became the IWGP heavyweight champion, but they have shown that they are more than capable of running a pro wrestling promotion and in the next few years it will be interesting to see just how much New Japan can grow.




-CM Punk/Heyman Day Counting Gimmick


There were a great handful of gimmicks in 2012 that really grabbed me, many of them were from New Japan, some were from the WWE, but there were enough worthy contenders to make this decision hard and have me wishing that this was an A Category award.


The two gimmicks that I was thinking about voting for from New Japan were Okada’s rainmaker gimmick and Shinsuke Nakamura’s gimmick, after all Okada as the rain maker really worked this year. However, when you think about what these gimmicks actually are they are rather indistinct especially compared to my main choice for this award. If you think about it could you really describe what Nakamura is in a sentence? Is he a Michael Jackson impersonator? An escapee from a mental institution? What is he? I think that a lot of the confusion can be chalked up to the language barrier, but even if there wasn’t a barrier I don’t think that Nakamura and Okada’s gimmicks were as important as the winner.


CM Punk holding the championship for over a year has certainly brought prestige back to the championship in at least a small amount. It hasn’t changed the fact that the title was subject to years of devaluation and the very real notion that the title has been cheapened, but what they have done with Punk is a small step in the right direction and in the long run has been an important move. The way that they got the length of Punk’s reign over was also very important with Heyman and Punk coming out just about every week to announce to the world exactly how long Punk had been champion for at the time.


It was a good way to get heat and notify the viewing audience of the scale of Punk’s reign. It wasn’t simply the counting that made the gimmick worth while, but the act as a whole and because of what it did for the Punk character I believe that it was the best gimmick of 2012.




-Clair Lynch – Manipulative crazed pregnant drug addict imposter


The Clair Lynch character was the strangest thing that TNA creative managed to conjure up this year, a truly astonishing feat considering how many strange things they have done this year. I would have been perfectly fine voting for the Aces & Eights for this award too, but Clair Lynch was just too strange to pass up.


The angle itself was truly bizarre, starting off at least with some promise for that kind of angle, but quickly degrading into an infamously bad, blotchy story where AJ Styles had somehow impregnated Clair Lynch without knowing it. Eventually the actor playing Clair Lynch didn’t show up and they ended it prematurely, which was probably a godsend considering how much more bad TV could have been produced had the angle worn on longer.


Not only was the gimmick not performed well, which is an absolute given when watching the actor playing Clair Lynch, but she was also a character that really shouldn’t have been a part of a wrestling show to begin with. The Clair Lynch character in a few years time will probably be the source of the short clips that you show (or hide) from people to provide a quick laugh, but that is more of a testament to how bad the idea was for the segment in the first place more than anything else.




– Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling by Jonathan Snowden


There is nothing much to say about Shooters that hasn’t already been said in this newsletter, in short I loved the book and thought that it was one of the best pro wrestling books of the best few years. In terms of personal favourites I may even go as far as to say that it was one of my favourite pro wrestling books ever. Now, there were some books that I would have liked to have read, but didn’t get a chance to read like the Heroes and Icons books, which was a shame, but I am confident in my choice.


For more on Shooters check out the 59th newsletter up on the site for a full review.






Unfortunately from the documentaries that I have seen like the NWA title documentary and ‘The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’, they either weren’t available on DVD or in the case of the NWA documentary I didn’t think that they were good enough to win the award. I wanted to see the CM Punk DVD, but due to shipping restrictions and time issues I haven’t seen it yet. It is for that reason that this portion of my ballot is being left blank. I expect the CM Punk DVD to win, but can’t vote on it in good conscience without seeing it.


Thoughts on 2012.

Ben Carass.



Deaths, horrendous angles, poor buy-rates, worse ratings, five star matches, great cards, worthless cards, comebacks, retirements, injuries, lawsuits, hirings, firings, election campaigns and Vince McMahon working the main event spot on Raw; Yep, 2012 has been a typical year in the world of professional wrestling.


With Vince Russo finally ousted from his role as head booker of TNA, many fans (including myself) foolishly believed the era of nonsensical booking and repellent angles was behind us. Well, the complete and utter burial of James Strom and the abominable Claire Lynch fiasco certainly killed that theory faster than Bruce Pritchard killed the X division. The promotion’s decision to go live on Thursday and the affiliation with Bellator has not helped expose the company to a wider audience; even the people they pump into the Impact Zone every week seem to be more indifferent than ever to the product.


Similarly, WWE’s expansion to three hours on Monday night appears to have caused a negative effect on its viewership; every week the numbers come in and every week WWE is confronted with evidence that most people just cannot sit through three hours of Raw. Apparently, the fact that WCW expanded Nitro to three hours in 1998 and lost viewers by the boatload has been completely ignored by the decision makers in Titan Tower.


Ring of Honor has also tried it’s best to alienate their fan base with their disastrous record of iPPV mishaps and the Steen/ Cornette feud failed to capture the imagination of most ROH fans. The company may still be the number three promotion in the US thanks to limited TV exposure, however ROH has been in a transition period for a while now and if Hunter Johnston can’t establish a new identity or reprise the reputation ROH once had, the company may not be number three for much longer.


Across the Pacific, Pro Wrestling NOAH has run into some serious issues, mostly of their own making. The company has been in decline for some time, however announcing the termination of arguably the greatest pro wrestler to ever live was not smart. Fortunately an agreement was reached and Kobashi announced his retirement next year, preventing the exodus of Akiyama, Kanemaru and Shiozaki, among others, while also saving NOAH from certain doom.


New Japan has unquestionably been the stand out company in 2012; from Okada’s ascension to IWGP Heavyweight Champion to his match with Tanahashi at Domination, to the tremendously booked Shibata/Sakuraba return and stellar performances from Gaijin wrestlers such as, Karl Anderson, Alex Shelley, Low-Ki, Prince Devitt, Killer Elite Squad and Forever Hooligans; New Japan has been the hottest promotion on the planet for me this year. Not to mention Tanahashi’s run of outstanding matches, which was topped off with one of the finest battles of the past decade against Minoru Suzuki from arguably the best card of the entire year: King of Pro Wrestling.


Before I get into the ubiquitous list of the best/worst of 2012, I would like to mention the names of some of the people who passed away; we lost some great ones this year, including: Red Bastien, Chief Jay Strongbow, Bobby Jaggers, Brad Armstrong, Buddy Roberts, Mike Graham and Marvin “Brain Damage” Lambert. As I think back to that night in September, I am thankful that Jerry Lawler’s name is not included alongside the others.


So here we go; my list of what stood out the most in 2012. Remember this is completely subjective and my opinion does not necessarily represent the views of CubedCircleWrestling or its editor.


Best Wrestler of the Year.

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi

2. CM Punk

3. Daniel Bryan


Worst Wrestler of the Year:

1. Crimson

2. DJ Hyde

3. Kaitlyn


Feud of the Year:

1. CM Punk vs. John Cena

2. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada

3. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan


Tag Team of the Year:

1. Bad Influence

2. The Briscoes

3. Team HellNo


Worst Tag Team of the Year:

1. Tara & Brooke Tessmacher

2. Mexican America

3. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder


Most Improved:

1. Michael Elgin

2. Adam Cole

3. Bo Dallas


Least Improved:

1. The Miz

2. Matt Morgan

3. Masada


Best Promo:

1. CM Punk

2. Austin Aries

3. Damien Sandow


Match of the Year:

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki (King of Pro Wrestling)

2. Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin (Showdown in the Sun – Day 2)

3. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (New Beginning)


Best Show of the Year:

1. NJPW – King of Pro Wrestling

2. WWE – Extreme Rules

3. ROH – Final Battle


Worst Show of the Year:

1. CZW – Tournament of Death 11

2. TNA – Victory Road

3. TNA – Against All Odds


Best Promotion:

1. New Japan Pro Wrestling

2. WWE

3. NXT


Worst Promotion:

1. CZW

2. Big Japan Pro Wrestling

3. NWA


Final Top 100 Matches of 2012


1. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki NJPW 2012/10/09 *****

2. Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin ROH 2012/03/31 *****

3. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJPW 2012/06/16 **** ½

4. Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito NJPW 2012/03/04 **** ½

5. Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell WWE WrestleMania 28 2012/04/01 **** ½

6. Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries Destination X 2012/07/08 **** ½

7. Kota Ibushi vs. KUSHIDA NJPW 2012/09/07 **** ½

8. Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin ROH Glory by Honor XI **** ½

9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW 2012/04/08 **** ½

10. Suwama vs. Taiyo Kea AJPW 2012/05/07 **** ¼

11. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Over the Limit 2012/05/20 **** ¼

12. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW 2012/05/03 **** ¼

13. SUWAMA vs. Daisuke Sekimoto AJPW 2012/01/02 **** ¼

14. Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode TNA Hardcore Justice 2012/08/12 **** ¼

15. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena WWE Extreme Rules 2012/04/29 **** ¼

16. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yujiro Takahashi NJPW 2012/11/11 **** ¼

17. Jun Akiyama vs. Keiji Muto AJPW 2012/03/20 **** ¼

18. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito 2012/04/05 **** ¼

19. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels Last Man Standing Destination X 2012/07/08 **** ¼

20. Adam Cole vs. Kyle ‘O Reilly Hybrid Rules ROH Best in the World 2012/06/24 **** ¼

21. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan NO DQ WWE Money in the Bank 2012/07/15 **** ¼

22. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan 2/3 Falls WWE Extreme Rules 2012/04/29 **** ¼

23. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada vs. Ray & Leon Shimmer 47 **** ¼

24. Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori AJPW 2012/02/03 **** ¼

25. Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga & Tetsuya Naito NJPW 2012/06/06 **** ¼

26. Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries Ladder Match TNA Turning Point **** ¼

27. Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki NJPW 2012/05/03 **** ¼

28. Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson NJPW 2012/10/09 **** ¼

29. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Shingo Takagi Diamond Ring 2012/02/11 **** ¼

30. Kenny Omega vs. Kaz Hayashi AJPW 2012/02/03 **** ¼

31. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho Chicago Street Fight WWE Extreme Rules 2012/04/29 **** ¼

32. Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal ROH Glory by Honor XI **** ¼

33. CM Punk vs. John Cena WWE Night of Champions **** ¼

34. KENTA vs. Takashi Suigura 2012/11/23 **** ¼

35. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards ROH Final Battle 2011/12/23 **** ¼

36. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho WWE WrestleMania 28 2012/04/01 ****

37. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada NJPW 2012/02/12 ****

38. Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Kazuchika Okada NJPW 2012/09/07 ****

39. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe We Are Pro Wrestling Love 2012/07/01 ****

40. Jun Akiyama vs. Taiyo Kea We Are Pro Wrestling Love 2012/07/01 ****

41. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW 2012/11/11 ****

42. Yuji Nagata vs. KENTA NOAH 2012/11/17 ****

43. Masaaki Mochizuki vs. CIMA 2011/12/25 ****

44. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW 2012/10/09 ****

45. Kota Ibushi vs. Low Ki NJPW 2012/10/09 ****

46. Low Ki vs. Prince Devitt NJPW 2012/11/11 ****

47. Go Shiozaki, Seiya Sanada & Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Suwama & Takeshi Morishima AJPW/NJPW/NOAH All Together 2 2012/02/19 ****

48. SUWAMA vs. Taiyo Kea AJPW 2012/05/07 ****

49. Eddie Edwards vs. Adam Cole ROH Glory by Honor XI ****

50. La Sombra vs. Valador Jr. NJPW Fantastica Mania 2012/01/22 ****

51. Manami Toyota, Hanako Nakamori & Sawako Shimono vs. Aja Kong, Mio Shirai & Tsubasa Kuragaki Chikara JoshiMania Night 3 2011/12/04 ****

52. Ayako Hamada vs. Sara Del Rey Chikara JoshiMania Night 3 2011/12/04 ****

53. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Mitsuhiro Kitanomiya Diamond Ring 2012/02/11 ****

54. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Kurt Angle & AJ Styles TNA Slammiversary 2012/06/11 ****

55. Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Low Ki NJPW BOSJ Finals 2012/06/10 ****

56. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Kurt Angle & AJ Styles vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez TNA Bound for Glory ****

57. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. AJ Styles & Kurt Angle TNA No Surrender ****

58. Prince Devitt vs. PAC NJPW 2012/06/06 ****

59. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi NJPW 2012/05/03 ****

60. Kenny Omega vs. Shuji Kondo AJPW 2012/03/30 ****

61. Akira Tozawa vs. Masaaki Mochizuki DGUSA 2012/03/30 ****

62. Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 2012/04/05 ****

63. Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson 2012/08/12 ****

64. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi NJPW 2012/07/29 ****

65. Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen ROH Border Wars 2012/05/12 ****

66. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz TLC Match WWE TLC 2011/12/18 ****

67. Masato Tanaka vs. Tomoaki Honma NJPW 2011/12/23 ****

68. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico Last Man Standing ROH 2012/03/30 ****

69. Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards ROH Best in the World 2012/06/24 ****

70. El Generico vs. Kota Ibushi DDT 2012/05/04 ****

71. Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy TNA Bound for Glory ****

72. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe Destination X 2012/07/08 *** ¾

73. Akiyama & Takao Omori vs. Keiji Muto & Kenta Kobashi AJPW/NJPW/NOAH All Together 2 2012/02/19 *** ¾

74. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karl Anderson NJPW 2012/11/11 *** ¾

75. Yuji Nagata, Jun Akiyama & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & Yujiro Takahashi NJPW 2012/09/09 *** ¾

76. Low Ki vs. Ryusuke Taguchi NJPW 2012/06/12 *** ¾

77. Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito & Tama Tonga NJPW 2012/05/27 *** ¾

78. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson NJPW 2012/04/08 *** ¾

79. Bobby Roode vs. James Storm Street Fight TNA Bound for Glory *** ¾

80. RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match WWE Money in the Bank 2012 *** ¾

81. Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino No DQ Match ROH Final Battle 2011/12/23 *** ¾

82. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki NJPW 2011/01/04 *** ¾

83. Yuji Nagata vs. Masayuki Kono Cage Match AJPW 2012/03/20 *** ¾

84. Yuji Nagata vs. Go Shiozaki NOAH 2012/11/03 *** ¾

85. Suwama, Keiji Mutoh & Shuji Kondo vs. Yuji Nagata, Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue AJPW/NJPW in Taiwan 2012/10/27 *** ¾

86. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Karl Anderson & Togi Makabe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Yujiro Takahashi & Tomohiro Ishii NJPW 2012/11/04 *** ¾

87. Randy Orton vs. Dolf Ziggler WWE Night of Champions *** ¾

88. Hikaru Shida vs. Yuzuki Aikawa Bull Nakano Produce Empress 2012/01/08 *** ¾

89. Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Sara Del Rey Chikara Joshimania Night 2 2011/12/03 *** ¾

90. Mercedes Martinez vs. Kana Shimmer 46

91. Samoa Joe vs. Magnus TNA Turning Point *** ¾

92. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels Hardcore Justice 2012/08/12 *** ¾

93. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Suwama & Takumi Soya AJPW 2012/03/30 *** ¾

94. Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio WWE Over the Limit 2012/05/20 *** ¾

95. Tetsuya Naito vs. Satoshi Kojima 2012/04/01 *** ¾

96. Masato Yoshino & Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor DGUSA 2012/03/30 *** ¾

97. Low Ki, Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk vs. Pac, Ricochet & Masaaki Mochizuki DGUSA 2012/03/31 *** ¾

98. Dark Cuervo & Dark Ozz vs. Takao Omori & Manabu Soya AJPW 2012/03/20 *** ¾

99. The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 28 *** ½

100. Future Shock vs. Super Smash Brothe rs vs. The Young Bucks 2012/07/21 *** ½


Next Week’s Issue


Next week’s issue is the first issue of 2013 and hopefully we will kick of 2013 with a good issue because next week we will be covering a lot of the Puro that we missed out on this week, the RAW ratings from New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve guaranteed to not be pretty, 2013 preview, two weeks of Impact and so much more!


Thanks Go To…


There were a few people throughout 2012 that either helped a lot with the newsletter, published content from the newsletter elsewhere or helped with other content that really disserve thanks for the help that they have provided the newsletter with this year.


First and foremost I would like to thank fellow writer for the newsletter, Ben Carass, for writing the SmackDown and NXT reports every week and making my reports look unprofessional in the process. I would like to thank Dave Meltzer for posting my Puro reports up at; it is always a huge encouragement to see them up there. I also want to thank Woofels for helping me with the site in March, without his help it would have been far more difficult than it actually was. Finally I want to thank all of the people that have subscribed to the newsletter throughout the year, and I hope that we can make 2013 even better than 2012.




Are you interested in writing ROH reports for the site? If so contact


Twitter: @RyanClingman


Any Site Questions:




Ben Carass’s Twitter Account: @BenDosCarass



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.