2012 Pro Wrestling Awards Picks: Top Moments of 2012
The Best Pro Wrestling Moments of 2012
Poetry in motion used to be the name of a move used by Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy during their time in The E. I like to use that term nowadays to describe something beautiful or awe-inspiring in pro wrestling. The business is global with promotions around the world, so it's not just The E.
A great wrestling moment has to have many characteristics, and a larger combination of the following creates a greater moment in my mind: it has to wow, it has to be important to the promotion it takes place in or to the business as a whole, it has to have an impact on either the promotion it takes place in or the business as a whole, it has to create emotion in the viewer's mind, and it has to be powerful.
As I took the time to mention when I used to do this every year: I follow the Wrestling Observer awards voting method meaning the eligibility period for these awards is Dec. 1, 2011 to Nov. 30, 2012 and, as always, IT IS BASED ON WHAT I’VE SEEN AT THE TIME THIS IS POSTED. THAT ALSO GOES FOR ALL WINNERS FROM 2009, 2010, & 2011 IN THIS SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE.
The following is my list of the 10 best moments in pro wrestling during the year.
2005: Elix Skipper's Tightrope Walk Along the Top of a Steel Cage (TNA Turning Point 2004)
2006: Yoshihiro Takayama Returns to Pro Wrestling
2007: Homicide Wins ROH Title (ROH Final Battle 2006)
2008: “I'm sorry, and I love you.”
2009: Manabu Nakanishi Wins First IWGP Title
2010: “I hate your f**king guts.” (ROH Final Battle 2009)
2011: C.M. Punk's Shoot on RAW
#10: Celebrating The Rock's Wrestlemania Win Over John Cena
A personal choice by me, but I really couldn't help it. Over the years my brother and friend have gotten the bulk of their wrestling info and knowledge from yours truly; not stroking my ego, they would both admit this. Anyway, both are fans of The Rock (my friend a BIG fan) and not that big a fan of Cena. When The Rock countered Cena's attempt at a people's elbow with a rock bottom for the win, they both instantly jumped up, slapped hands three times and continued with a quick celebration. Even though I still believe it was the wrong booking decision, I couldn't help but smile at this. It is an image that sticks with me to this day because I know that the two of them won't be that in sync about the finish to any wrestling match for years, if ever again.
#9: Adam Cole's Mouth Sliced Open at ROH Best in the World
Most noteworthy moments are created by accident. In this case, it literally was an accident that created this moment. During his match against Kyle O'Reilly, a superkick connected with Cole a bit too good. The result was two teeth knocked out and a noticeable hole in Cole's lip that left him squirting blood when he exhaled. The match continued with the bloodied Cole eventually picking up the victory.
#8: Brock Lesnar/John Cena Pull-Apart Brawl
This whole segment was gold in terms of setting up the eventual match at Extreme Rules. It had everything: Cena making a reference to the F-5 he took the week before from Lesnar, Cena slapping Lesnar and then a good old-fashioned pull-apart with almost the entire roster out there. It even had Lesnar giving Cena a bloody lip for real with a potato (legit punch).
#7: Hiroshi Tanahashi Plays Minoru Suzuki Like a Guitar
This ended up getting on the list for three reasons: it was the beginning of one of the best matches of the year, it had two wrestlers that I really enjoy watching and it tickled me just right. Part of Tanahashi's character is an almost rock star persona complete with air guitar solo after and sometimes during his matches. In this case, Tanahashi had Suzuki in an abdominal stretch early in their IWGP title match on Oct. 8 at Sumo Hall, and then did his guitar solo basically playing Suzuki like a guitar. The look on Suzuki's face and the palm slaps that followed from him were priceless.
#6: Austin Aries Wins TNA World Title
Aries had a tremendous year in the ring in TNA in 2012. Thankfully, TNA saw this early enough to push him appropriately. This push began to take off at TNA's Destination X pay-per-view when Aries won the TNA title from Bobby Roode. The match was great, but the moment that Aries got the win was extra special because I, cynical guy that I can be, didn't think TNA was smart enough to actually follow through on the push and give him the belt. But they did. And it created a title win with confetti that actually meant something to me while not seeming over-the-top in any way.
#5: Hiroshi Tanahashi Sets IWGP Title Defense Record
This is a moment that got on my list for historical reasons mainly. The match was good and everything, but didn't have any single moment that would have been on the list (unlike their rematch in October), but the finish itself was a big moment because Tanahashi won. The win gave New Japan's ace the record for title defenses in one IWGP title reign.
To make this clearer to those unfamiliar with Japanese pro wrestling, singles matches (let alone title matches) aren't nearly as commonplace as they are in American pro wrestling. So for one guy to get 11 successful title defenses in one title reign is a really big deal.
#4: Brock Lesnar Returns to The E With F-5 to John Cena
Even though part of the surprise of Lesnar's return had been ruined by the knowledge during Wrestlemania weekend that Lesnar had re-signed with The E, this made up for it. The crowd pop was as big as you would expect, and that did help make the moment even better. But it was the F-5 to Cena that helped get this moment up as high as it is on my list.
My feelings on Lesnar have been mixed ever since he left The E the first time, but this was a successful return and thus, a great pro wrestling moment. A big part of the whole thing being a great moment was that it was at the end of RAW instead of the beginning of the show.
#3: Kevin Steen's Promo Against ROH Fans at Best in the World
One of the sad truths about most Ring of Honor fans is that once someone they had been cheering for wins the promotion's world title, they almost immediately turn them heel through booing them. This happened to Davey Richards in 2011, and that was one in a long line of guys who ROH fans basically turned their back on once they reached the top of the promotion.
This was the bulk of Steen almost too accurate promo on the fans in attendance at the Manhattan Center after his successful title defense against Richards. It is a weird phenomenon in ROH because it's happened time and time again, and I loved the fact that Steen, who was supposed to be a heel despite getting big face pops, pointed this out because he did it very well and seemed like the guy currently in ROH to make this point.
#2: C.M. Punk Gives The Rock GTS to Begin Heel Turn
I didn't cheer the heel turn, but I sure cheered for this moment. Part of it was the knowledge that the plan was Punk/Rock at the Royal Rumble (which happened), and that this was the only GTS I would see Punk hit on The Rock between then and the eventual match because everyone except complete morons knew who was going over when that match finally took place.
I didn't like the fact that The E believed Punk had to turn heel because there was no logic to it other than that he had to be the heel for the match with The Rock. This is due to The E's gutless mentality when it comes to face versus face programs. But this was a mark-out moment for me to be sure.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR 2012: HHH, HBK, and The Undertaker Walking to the Locker Room
Part of what makes a moment so great is what happened right before it. I personally loved the HHH/Undertaker Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania XXVIII. Loved it. I was surprised at how good it was because I thought the two had topped out with their match at Wrestlemania the year before, but they proved me wrong. Part of that was Michaels' participation in the match as guest referee. It all added up to some tremendous storytelling, and in true storybook fashion, all three of them walked off into the proverbial sunset after such a great match. It all came together perfectly with that walk to the locker room being the cherry on top to the whole thing.