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Best Of The Year 2014


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This year has been so great so far! Let's talk about matches! The good ones!

1 WYATTS VS. SHIELD, ELIMINATION CHAMBER: I wrote about this here. The actual "workrate" part of the match itself was fantastic -- perfect execution, pacing, etc. But beyond that was character work at its perfect. There were so many stories-within-stories and callbacks to past matches and the like. Also, The Shield has maybe a year-and-a-half on the big roster. The Wyatts have less than a year. These six guys came up through the WWE's new developmental system, which has places such an emphasis on each performer having a character and playing to that role. Not everyone coming up will be able to have matches like these six had. But the days of "good wrestlers without much of a character" aren't for long. This isn't the end. This is the beginning. One of truly great matches in WWE history, and I mean that.

 

2. CESARO VS. SAMI ZAYN, NXT ARRIVAL -- So great. Fiery Sami Zayn looks for respect against a guy about ready to join the true elite of the WWE, if he hasn't already, in an absolute war of a rematch.

3. CESARO VS. CENA, RAW -- Cesaro holds his own against the ace of the promotion, who wins by having to find a new way to hit his death finisher.

 

4. CESARO VS. ORTON, Smackdown -- Cesaro breaks out in a big way against the petulant brat champ, wins the respect of the WWE audience as a true and total force.

 

5. CESARO VS REGAL, NXT -- Not sure if this is 2014 or 2013 but whatever. Cesaro and Regal work a match without running the ropes once, and it looks as brutal and nasty as any hardcore match ever. Amazing change of styles.

This is just to get started. I didn't put Bray/Bryan yet because, er, I didn't see it yet. I also have to go through the stuff that's happened on Raw and Smackdown.

But LET'S DO THIS!

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My top five which reveals results:

 

1. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE Elimination Chamber, 23rd February. This match had a super build, had big expectations and exceeded them. Awesome match with everyone contributing to it. I particularly liked the closing ten minutes with Wyatt ordering Harper/Rowan to put Rollins through a table, you think the end is nigh with the Wyatt Family up against one Roman Reigns but Reigns makes a great comeback. Harper takes a Spear for the team which allows Wyatt to nail Reigns with a running back elbow and follwing it up with the match winning Sister Abigail. A Match of the Decade candidate.

 

2. Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan. WWE Royal Rumble, 26th January. This was my Match of the Year till the above came along. The match felt hate filled from the strikes such as Bryan's Curb Stomp to Wyatt, Wyatt's running senton on the outside and Wyatt's mounted forearm smashes. Great finish as Wyatt counters Bryan's tope into a Sister Abigail into the barricade. This allows Wyatt to do the same move in the ring for the three. 

 

3. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 17th February. Cesaro follows a win over the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton on the last Smackdown by taking on the big fish in the WWE. Two powerful wrestlers throwing bombs particularly Cesaro with the superplex in from the ring apron, the giant swing after numerous teases, Cena drilling Cesaro with a lariat and the forward roll Attitude Adjustment.

 

4. Cesaro vs. Randy Orton. WWE Smackdown, 14th February. The debut under the Cesaro name and what a debut. I love the decisive as hell final stretch with the counter of Orton's superplex into a powerbomb, the Roaring Uppercut and the Neutralizer.

 

5. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton. WWE RAW, 3rd February. Second best match of this long feud. Duling limbwork by both, on the leg by Bryan and the arm by Orton. You think Kane's interference will cost Bryan but he takes out him followed by Orton for the clean win by the running knee strike which has put everyone down.

 

Thankful WWE's carried the great 2013 into 2014 so far.

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5. CESARO VS REGAL, NXT -- Not sure if this is 2014 or 2013 but whatever. Cesaro and Regal work a match without running the ropes once, and it looks as brutal and nasty as any hardcore match ever. Amazing change of styles.

Just for the record, that was the 25th December episode of NXT according to the internet.

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1. Shield vs. Wyatt Family (Elimination Chamber)

2. Zayn vs. Cesaro (Arrival)

3. Bryan vs. Bray (Royal Rumble)

4. Bryan vs. Orton (Raw 2/3)

5. Bryan vs. HHH (Wrestlemania)

6. Zayn vs. Neville (R-evolution)

7. Ambrose vs. Rollins (Raw 8/18)

8. Shield vs. Wyatt Family (Raw 3/3)

9. Rollins/Ambrose vs. Real Americans (Raw 3/24)

10. Cena vs. Lesnar (Summer Slam)

 

11. Cesaro vs. Orton (SD 2/14)

12. Christian vs. Sheamus (SD 2/21)

13. Cesaro vs. Cena (Raw 2/17)

14. Shield vs. Evolution (Extreme Rules)

15. Cesaro vs. Ziggler vs. Kidd (SD 11/14)

16. Cesaro vs. Cena (Raw 7/28)

17. Charlotte vs. Sasha (R-evolution)

18. Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Night of Champions)

19. Elimination Chamber match (Elimination Chamber)

20. Rollins vs. RVD (Raw 6/30)

 

21. Shield vs. Wyatt Family (Raw 5/5)

22. Shield vs. Wyatt Family (Main Event 4/8)

23. Orton vs. Ziggler (Raw 10/13)

24. Owens vs. Parker (R-evolution)

25. Cesaro vs. Ziggler (Hell in a Cell)

26. Ambrose vs. Henry (Main Event 3/11)

27. Cesaro vs. Kofi (SD 5/30)

28. Rollins vs. Jericho (Raw 7/28)

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The Wyatts vs. The Shield, THE REMATCH -- This was my favorite free TV match of the year. I thought at first this was going to be an edited version of their first match for time constraints -- they got into the Rollins sprint section off the top rope German suplex really quickly. But that became the story of the match. Rollins was attempting to make a hot tag but Dean was off fighting with Bray and a distracted Roman went after him instead of tagging in his buddy. (And in the segment, there was a great shot of Reigns smiling in pure joy watching Rollins work his magic.) And that, right there, might have ended one of the greatest runs of a stable we'll ever see. I can't wait to watch this again.

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New Fave Five:

  1. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE Elimination Chamber, 23rd February.
  2. Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan. WWE Royal Rumble, 26th January.
  3. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE RAW, 3rd March.
  4. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 17th February.
  5. Cesaro vs. Randy Orton. WWE Smackdown, 14th February.

Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE RAW, 3rd March. Another great match between The Wyatt Family and The Shield. One of the best matches this year. So chaotic with Seth Rollins taking out Luke Harper/Erick Rowan with dives at the start, Dean Ambrose's Thez Press jumps into windmill arm swings, Harper nailing Ambrose with a big boot, Reigns Spearing Rowan over the annouce table which was followed by Harper's tope sending Reigns over the table. Wyatt Family win again with Bray Wyatt's Sister Abigail to Ambrose. I'd be happy seeing them go at it again in a gimmick match brawl.

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Added: Shield vs. Wyatts (Raw 3/3)

 

I wrote at length about it in the Raw thread, but suffice to say it was a great progression on their previous match and the Shield breakup story. I admire them for not resting on their EC match and going for something totally different here.

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Shield vs Wyatts from Raw is my match of the year at this point. So ridiculous. Awesome storytelling. Pure hatred in the ring. It was everything missing from 95% of WWE matches.

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I finally saw Daniel Bryan vs. Bray. Uhm, oh dear lord. That match is insane. There are so many great things in this. Bray ordering his troops to the back. "I DON'T NEED YOU IN THIS WAR!" Bryan's great curbstomp variation of the surfboard. Bray's fatboy floor senton. Bray biting Daniel's thumb to get out of the Yes Lock, countering that into him clubbing the crap out of D-Bry with forearm smashes. (Seriously, one of the greatest transitions ever.) Bryan rolling Bray up out of a Sister Abigail.

The end sequence of this is superb. Bryan -- the king of the comeback -- makes another one that includes spots like a tornado DDT off the apron and a superfly splash, total variations and things we've never seen from him before. I love how he's about to set up the knee but Bray cunningly rolls out of the way. The Sister Abigail to the railing is maybe the Spot of the Year right now. (My other favorites -- Rollins doing his somersault plancha and landing on his feet, Cesaro countering Zayn's corner tornado with an insane uppercut, Cesaro sending Cena to the floor with a leaping uppercut.) Just a terrific, out-of-nowhere spot.

 

The end is haunting, as the monster wins the feud and conquers our hero. His kingdom will come.

I don't know what to say to anyone who still doubts Bray can work. I know D-Bry can good a great match out of anyone but he can't get a match like this out of just anyone. Bray was involved in the best feud of the year (vs. The Shield), probably the second best feud of the year (vs. Bryan), a potential Match of the Decade (EC), maybe the best free TV match of the year (The Rematch) and maybe the second best overall Match of the Year (Royal Rumble.)

 

And, oh yeah, he's also the best mic worker in the company and has an incredibly compelling character.

 

I think the phrase "Super Worker" is starting to apply to him.

Cena working as an injured ace stemming off the cult leader who has broken everyone so far in his path is a sleeper pick for best match at WrestleMania.
 

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Glad you made the time for Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble and you raving over it. I agree with all you say. The Sister Abigail to the barricade coming out of Bryan's tope is still my Spot of the Year.

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FCW/NXT >>>>>>>>>>>>> OVW

 

I blame Johnny Ace

 

It's pretty amazing that everyone used to whine about developmental being terrible and all these generic muscle dudes like Batista were gonna show up, yet the most generic muscular dude on the roster is Cesaro and he's awesome.

 

Mason Ryan is still lingering at NXT,

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5. CESARO VS REGAL, NXT -- Not sure if this is 2014 or 2013 but whatever. Cesaro and Regal work a match without running the ropes once, and it looks as brutal and nasty as any hardcore match ever. Amazing change of styles.

Finally watched it this morning, Regal in NXT is the equivalent to finlay's last run on the Indies & Overseas. I love that Straight jacket Surfboard on Cesaro very Brutal match all around I also loved Regal Blocking the charging uppercut with a boot. Great storytelling. If Regal is allowed to work a Match on NXT Once or Twice every months I'll be fine because its bound to be a high MotyC
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I'll go with:

 

Elimination Chamber

Cesaro vs Zayne-NXT Arrival

Wyatt Family vs The Shield-RAW

Wyatt Family vs The Shield-Elimination Chamber

John Cena vs Randy Orton-Royal Rumble.  Even though the crowd crapped all over it I thought it was a very good match.

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Phil and I have been doing a running ranked 2014 MOTY list at Segunda Caida. We just hit 15 worthy matches on the year, and 12 of them are from WWE. The list kind of looks like we've only watched CMLL and WWE, but we've been watching everything we can get our eyeballs on. WWE programming has just been that damn good. 

 

http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/2014/01/2014-moty-master-list.html

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Phil and I have been doing a running ranked 2014 MOTY list at Segunda Caida. We just hit 15 worthy matches on the year, and 12 of them are from WWE. The list kind of looks like we've only watched CMLL and WWE, but we've been watching everything we can get our eyeballs on. WWE programming has just been that damn good.

http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/2014/01/2014-moty-master-list.html

Is there a reason why Cesaro/Zayn was left off? Does NXT not count?

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Added: Dean Ambrose vs. Mark Henry (Main Event 3-11)

 

At the pace WWE is churning out great matches, this will probably out of the top 20 by June, but I'm putting it in now anyway. Really fun match with Ambrose getting to stooge a little and still show a lot of nice offense, like the double knee drop to the floor and those leg clips off the second rope with the roll through. Henry did a great job selling the leg work during the body of the match and during the comeback. Loved the desperation press slam off the top, favoring the knee during the powerslam, and holding the ropes when he went for the big boot. Rollins and Reigns were great on the outside as usual. Great showing from everyone here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any other year, The Rhodes Boys v Real Americans from last week's TME would be in the early conversation at least. The fact that it's not is a testment to how good the best stuff in WWE has been right now.

There is something very 1997 about what's going on right now, where you can see all the pieces are in place, but it just needs that one thing to act as a catalyst.

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As WWE’s carried on their great 2013 into 2014, two years running I’ve extended my usual top five into a top ten. Here it is.

 

1. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE Elimination Chamber, 23rd February.

2. Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan. WWE Royal Rumble, 26th January.

3. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE RAW, 3rd March.

4. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 17th February.

5. John Cena vs. Luke Harper. WWE RAW, 24th March.

6. Cesaro vs. Randy Orton. WWE Smackdown, 14th February.

7. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton. WWE RAW, 3rd February.

8. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro/Jack Swagger. WWE RAW, 24th March.

9. Christian vs. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio. WWE RAW, 24th March.

10. Sheamus/Christian vs. Antonio Cesaro/Jack Swagger. WWE RAW, 10th February.

 

Eight of my top ten are TV matches, only two are from PPV which is something.

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