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Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 OUR so-called SPORT Year End Awards

2006 Year End Awards
 
2006 won't go down as a particularly good year for sports entertainment. The return and subsequent dismemberment of ECW is what stings the most. When you factor in the creative blasé on both RAW and Smackdown, the void left by the departures of several of our favorites from WWE, plus the unwanted return of Vince Russo to ruin TNA's booking, it's been a frustrating year for the longtime wrestling fan.  The kind of year which made us continually question why we're even watching anymore.

The answer? Because we still love it. We still love it thanks to the people and events that made 2006 memorable. OUR so-called SPORT decided those who provided us with our favorite moments this year need their props.  Thus, the coveted OUR so-called SPORT Year End Awards are back to spotlight the truly deserving men, women, and events of 2006.
Those we honor truly have our deepest gratitude. Were it not for them, we'd have found something better to occupy our Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, and several Sundays a month.  You're all Champions who deserve spinner belts in our book.

THE AWARDS
Wrestler of the Year
Tag Team of the Year
Militant Thugs 24/7 of the Year
Manager of the Year
Match of the Year
Feud of the Year
Monarch of the Year
Woman of the Year
Hero of the Year
Comeback of the Year
Promo of the Year
Best Promotion
Best Alternative, Renegade Promotion
Best Booking of a World Heavyweight Champion
Best Angle
Best Live Sex
Best Erection

Best Farewell to the Greatest Women's Champion Ever
Best Inability to Say "Exhibitionist"
Best Friend
Best Family Member at Ringside
Best Mickie James
Best Love for Another Man
Best Royal Screw Up That Ruined An Entire Promotion in One Fell Swoop
Best Physique
Best Inability to Wrestle a Giant
Best Glass Jaw
Best X-Division Legend
Best Injury
Best Christian Values
Best Prop
Best Love For John Cena
Best Comment

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

 
Wrestler of the Year: The Undertaker
Much of 2006 unfortunately seemed like 1992 all over again for the Dead Man.  The Undertaker had to once again toil as a giant killer, spending the bulk of the year dealing with 400 lb wastes of space like Mark Henry and the Great Khali. But those lowlights are forgettable when compared to all he achieved this year: In February the Undertaker battled Kurt Angle in one of the finest matches of his career.  In July the Dead Man invaded ECW for the first time.  He defeated the Big Show in the first-ever Punjabi Prison match and Ken Kennedy in his signature Last Ride match.  And perhaps most amazingly, he hasn't tried to kill Kane yet upon his brother's switch to Smackdown.  The Undertaker is 15-0 at WrestleMania and remains undefeated as OUR so-called SPORT Wrestler of the Year.  Well past the midway point of his second Decade of Destruction, the Undertaker still fucking rules.
 
Tag Team of the Year: Lita's Rack
It seems tag teams are making a comeback.  In 2006 the Hardy Boyz, MNM and even the Blue Bloods reunited.  That's nice and all, but the best team of the year left WWE along with the rest of Lita at Survivor Series.  Triple H once called them the Booby Prize, but we're think Lita deserves this bigger reward for unleashing her dynamic duo all year long. Constantly threatening to burst free from the flimsy confines of whatever top she was wearing, Lita's R-rated team extreme never failed to hold an entire arena and the viewing audience at home in thrall.  God, we miss them. We'd give anything if they'd come back. 
 
Militant Thugs 24/7 of the Year: LAX
and
Manager of the Year: Konnan
The best tag team not attached to Lita's torso were far and away the current NWA Tag Team hefes Homicide and Hernandez. LAX spent the first half of the year in the Mexican border of the Impact Zone and little did the rest of TNA know how safe they were. When LAX crossed the border they killed every gringo and Korean girl they got their hands on, be it the X-Division megapowers of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels or America 's Most Wanted and Gail Kim.  LAX even made history by being the first “foreign” team to ever defeat Americans in a flag match.  And between the Gringo Killer and the Border Toss, their moves have the coolest names around.  But none of LAX's glory would have been possible without their manager Konnan, who always spoke the truth, usually from the ring apron he rarely climbed down from.  LAX put the mirror up to our racist selves while Konnan very slowly sneaked up from behind and waffled us with a slap jack.  Muy bueno.  Arriba la raza!
 
Match of the Year: Kevin Nash vs. A Sabin-Like X-Division Star
Truly special moments in sports entertainment are few and far between, but nothing was more historic this year than when Kevin Nash returned to the X-Division he pioneered.  To prepare for his match with Chris Sabin, Big Sexy risked everything for pride and honor as he faced A Sabin-Like X-Division Star of Alex Shelley's choosing.  Though he was at a severe speed disadvantage to his diminutive opponent, Nash brought his A game and gave us a wrestling clinic that should be mandatory viewing at wrestling schools around the world.  From the big boot he innovatively delivered while sitting on a chair to his death-defying bottom rope frog splash, Big Sexy showed us all why he truly deserves to be ranked as not only the greatest X-Division star of all-time but as one of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived. On this night, Kevin Nash delivered only an unforgettable Match of the Year but the single greatest match of his life. 
 
Feud of the Year: John Cena vs. The Male Wrestling Audience
The most entertaining aspect of John Cena's matches in 2006 was how the male fans reacted to him.  No one since smiling, happy Rocky Maivia has ever incurred the ire of male wrestling fans all across the country like John Cena did this year.  For a while, anyone Cena wrestled became an instant babyface. Cena's opponents' every move was cheered like Hogan had just bodyslammed Andre at WrestleMania III while anything Cena did was met with the equivalent of the hatred of a thousand X-Pacs.  The Cena-bashing by the male wrestling audience crossed all boundaries, from RAW to Smackdown to ECW, even to Cena's hometown of Boston , where the men lustily cheered when Cena failed to beat Edge at Summerslam.  The insistence of the women and kids in the audience in cheering for Cena only galvanized the men, who dueled the women and kids' “Let's go Cena!” chants with “Cena sucks!”  While Cena seems to have gained the upper hand in the feud, the prospect of another year of him as WWE Champion will no doubt rally his ticket-buying male antagonists in 2007.
 
Monarch of the Year:  King Booker
We've changed the Man of the Year Award to better suit the stature of its royal recipient. Truly no greater King has ever deigned to grace the Smackdown rings. To think that King Booker was once a mere peasant named Booker T until he won the King of the Ring tournament.  Becoming King of the Ring was Booker's equivalent of pulling the sword from the stone.  Perhaps he merely went insane, but we believe he truly at that moment became royalty.  Booker embraced the ridiculous gimmick and became the most entertaining character in WWE.  It was all of it magnificent: naming Finlay and William Regal his royal knights, his British accent he can barely maintain, his royal pinkie, his humble graciousness, his joyous celebrations, and his opulent entrances heralded by a continuous refrain of "All Hail King Booker!"  His Majesty cemented his glory not only by becoming World Heavyweight Champion and the King of the World but by defeating WWE Champion John Cena and ECW Champion The Big Show to become the Champion of Champions.  Were it not for that rogue Batista, we would all continue to bask in the splendor of King Booker's reign. 

Woman of the Year: Kelly Kelly
Although she still can't enter a casino or order a drink at a bar, Kelly Kelly won all of our hearts this past year and became a role model for young girls everywhere. In her Exposes, she schooled us on how to sexily dance and deftly remove a bra. Her example showed us not only how to love and be with a real man like Mike Knox but also that's important to keep your options open, as she did with her cunning seduction of CM Punk. Against Ariel, she taught us all a strong woman can stand up for herself and fight for what she believes in. When she was caned by Sandman, she proved she was as hardcore as they come. And all the while Kelly Kelly taught us it was important to always tell the world who and what you are, as when she reminded us she was “only 19” and that “I am an exhibitionist” every time she opened her mouth. She is Kelly Kelly, fans, hear her roar.
 
Hero of the Year: John Cena
When Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada decided to brutalize helpless Maria on RAW, millions waited for a hero to storm the ring and save her.  The most likely candidate was John Cena, Maria's occasional tag team partner and kissing friend.  Umaga hoisted a terrified Maria on his shoulders and waited before crunching her with a Samoan Drop.  No one came to save her.  Unconscious Maria was planted in the order while Umaga set up to charge at her head. No one came. Umaga smashed Maria's pretty little head in. Then and only then did John Cena finally charge in for the too-little, too-late rescue.  After sending Umaga packing, our hero spent a few seconds checking out Maria before grabbing the mic and cutting an unfunny comedy promo complete with poopy jokes.  As a coup de grace, Cena gave announcer Todd Grisham the FU.  Let there be no doubt the very definition of a courageous hero is John Cena.  Why do people cheer for this guy again? 
 
Comeback of the Year:
The ECW Originals
(Francine, Danny Doring, The FBI, CW Anderson,
Justin Credible, Stevie Richards, Al Snow, Roadkill, Jazz)
Reunited and it felt so good, didn't it?  We all thought the glory days were back.  Just think, ECW had returned, in all its grungy extreme glory.  Smaller venues, hot crowds, ultra violence, and the return of many ECW favorites given the opporunity to earn a WWE paycheck while taking us on a whole new ride to the extreme.  Little did anyone expect that the "Originals" who helped forge the reputation of ECW would be second class citizens forced to job in five minutes or less to every WWE Superstar sent to ECW.  And that's the only time we saw many of our old favorites as they were mostly held off TV before being released one by one from their contracts.  But it was great while it lasted, wasn't it?  We're sure they're all grateful to Vince McMahon for the opportunity and for ECW being able to live on.
 
Promo of the Year: The Great Khali
Runner Up:  Melina
When the Great Khali burst onto the scene, every pair of eyeballs watching popped out of their sockets in disbelief of how huge he is.  When he wrestled, the world was silenced in reverential awe of his talent.  But when Khali spoke, that's when the real magic happened.  Millions were at the edge of the seats as the words (we think they were words) came grumbling from Khali's lips. It was some kind of dialect that has never been heard on Earth before. Closed caption machines sparked and exploded.  To this day, no one has any idea what Khali said, but no doubt his words were more insightful and profound than we could ever deserve.  Honorable mention goes to runner up Melina, who was given ten minutes on RAW to explain why she turned on Mick Foley.  It was the endless rambling promo that launched a thousand channel changes but Melina's dronings simply cannot size up to the verbal gymnastics of the Great Khali. 
Last Year's Winner: Kurt Angle for "Booker T, I wanna have sex with your wife.  Not just any kind of sex.  That hot, nasty, bestiality kind of sex..."
 
Best Promotion: WWW
Are we serious?! Yes indeed, Hale Collins, we are. The hell with WWE and TNA and their 99% male rosters. We know the best kept secret in Massachusetts independent wrestling: World Women's Wrestling. One Sunday afternoon a month we get a front row seat for $20, from which we can watch (and yes, ogle) up and coming young stars like Tanya Lee, Tina Marina, Lexus, Kayla Sparks and Portia Perez display their technical skills, enjoy the macabre stylings of Della Morte and Mistress Belmont, or run towards (and away from) Nikki Roxx and Ariel (not the vampire, who's also great) as they tear Good Times Emporium apart in one of the best matches of the year.
 
Best Alternative, Renegade Promotion: ECW
Just in December alone, Smackdown held a pay per view where MVP was set on fire, Undertaker was thrown 15 feet off a stage, and an ultra-violent tag team ladder match saw Joey Mercury gruesomely disfigured. On RAW, Edge and Randy Orton violently beat DX and Ric Flair half to bloody death with chairs. And in TNA, Sting and Abyss regularly fall into thumbtacks while Team 3D break tables and AJ Styles and Rhino fight all around the arena. Thank goodness for a respite from all that violence! Thank goodness for ECW, where Extreme Rules matches are banned, Hardcore Holly can be disqualified for punching CM Punk too much, and the World Champion is a musclehead who beats people with simple bodyslams. As ECW's old motto used to proudly proclaim: Experience the Difference!

Best Booking of a World Heavyweight Champion: Rey Mysterio
Booking Rey Mysterio to be guided by the ghost of Eddie Guerrero was respectful and inspired.  Booking Rey to put the WrestleMania title shot he earned at the Royal Rumble on the line and then lose to Randy Orton made him seem intelligent. Booking Rey to be reinserted into the WrestleMania title match as a form of charity made him seem like a true winner. But the best booking of all came after Rey became the World Heavyweight Champion. We were all treated to week after week of Rey losing almost every match he wrestled on television, usually in decisive squash fashion.  They all lined up to beat the Champ: Kurt Angle, Mark Henry, The Great Khali, even Sabu got to DDT Rey through a table and nearly cripple him. It was a textbook example of how to book your World Champion so that he and the promotion he carries the banner for look strong in the public eye. Aspiring bookers take copious notes!
 
Best Angle: Imposter Kane
One day, another Kane showed up on RAW, dressed in Kane's old mask and the red pajamas he stopped wearing in 2003. For a few weeks Kane II stalked the original Kane and we were lead to believe there was something in Kane's sordid past that bonded the two. As tends to happen in wrestling, the Kanes had themselves a match and boy, howdy did it stink up the joint. The next time we saw Kane II, the real Kane unmasked him and kicked him out the door. Kane II was never seen or heard from again, nor did we ever learn what any of it was all about. It was awesome. All wrestling bookers present and future could learn a thing or two from the best angle of 2006.
 
Best Live Sex: Edge and Lita
and
Best Erection: Edge
We'll let the pictures tell this story.


 
Best Farewell for the Greatest Women's Champion Ever: Trish Stratus
Runner Up: Cryme Time holds a Ho Sale for Lita
Both Lita and Trish Stratus held claim to being the best Women's Champion ever as they retired from WWE this year. Perhaps the way their exits were booked might shed some light on who was actually better. Trish got to defeat Lita in one of their best matches ever in front of her hometown crowd in Toronto, making Lita submit to the Sharpshooter to claim her record-setting 7th Women's Title and go out in a blaze of glory.  Lita got to wrestle an eyesore against Mickie James and then have two black guys who have never had anything to do with her before sell her dirty underwear and vibrators to the crowd.  We'd have to say Trish's storybook ending was slightly better, but Lita's exit was also great.  Really really really great.
 
Best Inability To Say “Exhibitionist”: Tazz
For weeks and weeks, he just couldn't do it. Try as he might, Tazz couldn't for the life of him say the word “exhibitionist.” He gave it the old Red Hook try, but it always came out “expositionist” and sometimes, “expeditionist.” (Neither of which are real words.) Eventually Tazz was able to say “exhibitionist” and overcame his speech impediment, but we're sure it took an expensive combination of a speech coach, hypnosis, and good old fashioned concentration and determination, aided in no small part by Joey Styles making fun of him.
 
Best Friend:  Melina to Mick Foley
Mick Foley tried his hand at blogging for wwe.com this past year and curiously went out of his way to mention how much he liked Melina in every entry.  Melina was flattered by Foley's kind words and generously befriended the Hardcore Legend upon his return to RAW.  Though she could do nothing to change Foley's tragic fashion sense, Melina fully supported her new BFF as Foley repeatedly dodged Ric Flair's attempts to get him into a match.  But when Foley lost a bloody I Quit match to Flair at Summerslam, Melina, as best friends sometimes do, had to show Foley tough love. Foley claims he only quit to save Melina from a crazed Flair, but Melina saw it for what it actually was: a weakness in Foley that has long prevented him from achieving true greatness.  She was especially repulsed when Foley agreed to kiss Mr. McMahon's ass instead of Melina getting fired. Melina can't be associated with such losers and did the only thing a true friend would do: kick Foley in the balls and fire him with Mr. McMahon's blessing.  One day, Mick Foley will thank her for being a friend.
 
Best Family Member at Ringside: Ric Flair's Daughter during TLC
When Ric Flair challenged Edge in January to a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for a WWE Title, he probably shouldn't have invited his daughter Ashley to watch from front row ringside. Furthermore, Ashley shouldn't have brought her friends along for a fun chance to cheer her dad on. The tears and horror on their faces as hey had to endure seeing Ric get beaten within a bloody inch of his life by Edge were as unforgettable as the match itself.  Ric turned in an incredible performance and nearly won the match but that was of little consolation for poor Ashley, who had to watch her father all but die in the ring. That was a night she'd likely rather forget. Not us, though.
 
Best Mickie James: Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus put up with a lot from her smothering biggest fan Mickie James.  After getting her crotch clawed and losing her Women's Title to Mickie, Trish decided it was time to give her a taste of her own medicine. Blonde Mickie looked Stratusfactory dressed in Trish's clothes, but brunette Trish looked totally smokin' in Mickie's bohemian garage sale gypsy wardrobe. The months spent with Mickie allowed Trish to master all of her mannerisms, from her bouncy ring entrance to her faux Valley speak. But most important were Mickie's bikini bottoms that crawl up the ass; Trish had those too. She didn't miss a beat.
 
Best Love for Another Man:  Alex Shelley for Kevin Nash
When Alex Shelley was invited to bring his paparazzi camera into Kevin Nash's hotel room for an interview last year, he never dreamed Nash would become the most important person in his life.  More than a mentor, more than friend, but a partner who would stand by him and be there for him through thick and thin.  Nash and Shelley were peas in a pod for much of 2006 until the Kevin Nash Invitational X-Division Battle Royal which was won not by Shelley but by Austin Starr. Starr so impressed Nash with his prowess that he was invited into the circle, much to Shelley's chagrin.  Shelley and Starr now constantly bicker for Nash's approval. Although Nash broke Shelley's heart, we're hoping that Big Sexy looks beyond this flamboyant new interloper Starr and sees that Alex Shelley is the one who's really too sweet.
 
Best Royal Screw Up That Ruined an Entire Promotion in One Fell Swoop:
RVD and Sabu get arrested for drug possession
Runner Up:  Vince McMahon bans Extreme Rules matches
In the month of June Rob Van Dam was on top of the world.  He was the WWE and ECW World Champion.  He was main eventing pay per views.  And the new ECW was actually extreme. It was all going so well. So well that RVD just had to light up a blunt and then get pulled over for speeding and arrested for possession.  Almost overnight, RVD lost both his titles and was suspended. Extreme rules matches were relegated to one match a show and then disappeared entirely. Vince McMahon lost confidence in RVD, Sabu, and the ECW project as a whole.  And now we've got an ECW that's anything but extreme with Paul Heyman banished from the brand.  Also, we found out Sabu's real name is Terry Brunk.  We didn't need to know that.
 
Best Physique: Roddy Piper

That's Piper in the middle. No, really.
You don't get a body like that waiting for the bus. Actually, you could, if you also ate crap, drank a lot, and generally stopped giving a shit for years before a bus actually came. Sorry about the cancer though, Hot Rod.
Runner Up: “The Leaner, Meaner” Chris Masters
 
Best Inability to Wrestle a Giant: Sabu
Sabu is best when he's facing an opponent of comparable size and there are no rules so he's free to innovatively utilize weapons and fling his body around without care of consequence.  Remove those factors and we get Sabu when he faced the Big Show in ECW all summer.  We found perverse enjoyment  in the Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal Maniac's utter inability to figure out how wrestle a 7 foot, 500 lb giant.  Unable to lift his opponent or resort to weapons because Extreme Rules were barred, Sabu's offense against the Show consisted primarily of vaulting off the ropes and then coming to a dead stop inches before connecting with whatever he thought he'd try.  Eventually he'd just run right into a goozle and take a chokeslam to lose the match. 
 
Best Glass Jaw: John Cena's Dad
When Edge and Lita invaded the Cena family home in West Newbury, Massachusetts , an outraged Papa Cena confronted the Rated R Superstar and his Sinful Sexpot. Dismayed at the lack of hospitality they were being shown as guests, Edge slapped the elder Cena across the face, which knocked him completely unconscious. A major aspect of John Cena his detractors can't stand is his Wolverine-like ability to take a beating in the ring and then mount a comeback as if nothing had ever hurt him.  John's healing factor and ability to absorb punishment apparently were not inherited from his father. 
 
Best X-Division Legend:  Kevin Nash
No one has ever done more for TNA's X-Division than Big Sexy.  Though he admits his best high-flying days are long behind him, Kevin Nash saw the X-Division spinning its wheels and took it upon himself to jack the tires.  Focusing solely on Alex Shelley at first and forming a special bond with him that remains to this day, soon Nash took it upon himself to elevate the entire X-Division single handedly.  Nash not only designed innovative strategies like the PCS to boost the careers of foundering young stars-to-be like Senshi and Jay Lethal, but he took the time to really get to know them.  He showed that he cares about their health and quality of life as well as their in-ring prowess.  Unfortunately, Sonjay Dutt still refuses to admit to his addiction to anabolic steroids, despite all the damning proof Nash acquired.  Still, we can take comfort in knowing that as long as the X-Division stars follow Kevin Nash's example, they will all have the kind of careers selling out arenas and main eventing pay per views for many years that Nash enjoyed.
 
Best Injury: Hardcore Holly
Having already written about this Holy Shit! moment at length, the only thing left to add in hindsight is: They did a great job pushing Hardcore Holly after he made his comeback, didn't they?  In any other year, the foot of a ladder ripping apart Joey Mercury's face would have made him a lock for this award.  They are both tougher men than we'll ever be.
Runner Up: Joey Mercury
 
Best Christian Values: TNA
Thank God TNA is here each week to show us in whose footsteps to walk in.  When Sting won the NWA World Title he openly declared he would use it as a way to glorify God.  Even after months of animosity, Sting turned the other cheek to former titlist Jeff Jarrett, who disappeared to find the light he has lost in his life. Another man caught in the foul grip of the Devil's darkness is Abyss. Sting has made it his mission to redeem the monster's soul and show him the path of righteousness. Meanwhile, AJ Styles has fallen into a pit of anger and despair and good samaritan Rhino has taken notice of his pain. Styles lamented his frustration that "everywhere he turns, [Rhino]'s there" and the two have engaged in violent clashes but soon even the bitter AJ will hear the call and accept the salvation Rhino offers.
Runner up: Sylvester Stallone for Rocky Balboa
 
Best Prop: Victoria's List
Though she was practically forgotten for most of the year, the departure of Trish Stratus and Lita gave Victoria the opportunity to do something we've been hoping to see for a long time:  kick the crap out of the useless RAW Divas taking up space in the locker room.  To remind her and us exactly who she planned on mauling and in which order, Victoria made herself a handy-dandy checklist of her victims, making sure of cross off each one as she sends them to the hospital.  It's the best piece of paper on a clipboard in wrestling since Marc Mero's “Contract – Marc Mero, Sable”.

Best Love for John Cena: Joey Styles and Tazz
It was tempting to give this award to all of ECW for the way they parted like the Red Sea when John Cena visited their locker room, but it was Joey Styles and Tazz who continually went above and beyond the call of duty in professing love for Cena. For weeks, ECW's crackerjack announce team trumpeted “The Marine” as the cinematic masterpiece it turned out to be, enthusiastically reminding all of the ECW faithful how much they owe it to themselves to see John Cena on the big screen.  Despite very few people actually venturing to their local movie theatres, Styles and Tazz remained undeterred in their bombastic praise for “The Marine.”  We're sure they're already in line, or at least checking Fandango constantly, for tickets to Cena's next major motion picture extravaganza.
Last Year's Winner: Lance Jr.

Best Comment:  Tazz: “Two thirds of this is phenomenal!”
When Mick Foley surprised Kelly Kelly and invited Melina to join them in a Three Way Dance, everybody won.  Tazz was especially delighted by the impromptu revelrie but maybe there was something smudging his glasses when he made the call "Two thirds of this is phenomenal!"  We wonder which two thirds he's referring to?  To us, it's all good.


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