Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! As wrestling fans, we spend a lot of our time complaining. We complain about who didn't get the push they deserved, about who should have turned heel and about how a match should have ended. But today is Thanksgiving, the one day of the year that we can put our complaints aside and be thankful for all of the wonderful things that the WWE has given us this year.
In a year that has seen the brand split, the influx of new stars from TNA, New Japan, NXT, and a year that has given us the creation of an entirely new division, we have so much to be thankful for. But when thinking of how to show this gratitude, it occurred to me that the only natural way would be to make a LIST.
So, here are the 5 things in the WWE that we are most thankful for.
The Brand Split
On July 19, 2016, the WWE solved it's problem of having no competition in the wrestling world by becoming it's own competition. The brand split also meant the move of Smackdown from Fridays to live on Tuesday nights. No more reading spoilers and ignoring the show. With Daniel Bryan and Shane O Mac running the show, Smackdown LIVE has been even better than it's Monday counterpart.
The brand split has also brought us an influx of talent from NXT. From Finn Balor to American Alpha, the future superstars are getting a chance to shine in the present. Also, we've created new championships. Red ones. Purple ones. Blue ones. Collectors can have a field day accessorizing their attire with their favorite championship belt.
Not only has the in ring product been improved by the split, but it's given the commentary team a new life. Which brings us to our next one.prevnext
Not since good ol JR has a wrestling announcer felt so destined to be calling the action inside the ring. Mauro's background of calling MMA gives the WWE something it's sorely been missing, the illusion that what we are watching is, indeed, a sport. Ranallo also manages to slide in a plethora of hip hop and pop culture references to his matches with the greatest of ease.prevnext
Chris Jericho's Revival
Chris Jericho has been wrestling for over 20 years. He was a staple on both sides of the Monday Night War and yet, here he is in 2016 doing the best work of his career. From "stupid idiot" to "the list" to "it," is there anything Y2J couldn't get over?
The beauty of Jericho's current performance is that he makes such slow, subtle differences to his character that the audience doesn't even realize he's changing. One day a goatee shows up. The next day it's a scarf. Before you know it he's carrying around a menacing list, a new BFF and we're falling over ourselves to be the first to over praise him on social media.
I'm thankful to be able to watch one of the true masters of his craft continue to reinvent himself and be the best in the world at what he does (one of his many successful catchphrases).prevnext
The Women's Revolution
It was only a short time ago that Nikki Bella was carrying around a Divas championship that looked like it was stolen from a Bratz doll. Thankfully, that all came to an end when the #GiveDivasAChance movement turned into a full fledged women's revolution. With the influx of NXT stars, Charlottte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, it was clear women were no longer going to be used as filler matches on the main card. These women could flat out go! Having a name like Charlotte Flair to build around made 2017 the perfect time to drop the divas moniker and appreciate these women for what they are, wrestling superstars.
The women have dominated these past 6 months, from putting on a show stealing triple threat match at Wrestlemania to main eventing the November Hell In A Cell pay per view. With Bayley now on RAW and Asuka waiting to come up from NXT, it's clear the women's revolution has only just begun.prevnext
Whether you want to call him the face that runs the place or the champ that runs the camp, AJ Styles has been the unquestioned MVP of 2016. Not since Shawn Michaels' prime has their been such a clear cut, best in-ring performer. From the moment his theme song hit at the Royal Rumble, the longtime former TNA and New Japan star has been on a complete and utter tear through the WWE. His matches are legendary. His promos, something many thought he'd struggle with in the WWE, have all been the perfect mix of smarminess and redneck bravado. It may have taken way too long to get AJ in the WWE, but I am more than thankful that Vince and company have not dropped the ball with him once he arrived.prev