Gooker 2021: Vote or be fired!

Welp. 2021. It sure was...another year.

Let us get the obvious bad out of the way, besides the still present pandemic.

In March, our beloved WCR Co-Host Blade Braxton, at the age of 46, was one of several, including Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, who are no longer with us. Many smaller and indie promotions found themselves reducing or closing operations. And WWE continued to coast on the waves of mediocrity, firing people left and right in the midst of average content, live audience or otherwise, and even reducing access to their Network in the US through its sale to NBC Universal's Peacock.

However there was still some good to be found. AEW continued to gain strength as a long awaited for viable contender, including some of the best matches of the year. TNA somehow managed to improve a fair bit. And RD successfully pivoted into doing a video progrem with Vince Russo.

Even if it was about the old Batman '66 TV series.

In any event, here are your nominees for the worst of the year.

1. "The Fiendess" Alexa Bliss: The news that came out was that Bliss wanted to work with Bray Wyatt, the original Fiend and regular Gooker nominee. That should have been a clue to how bad things would get. In the beginning Bliss became the Robin to Bray Wyatt's Batman *Insert Hidden Plug Here*. There was one little, WEEE, problem though. Bray Wyatt was written off WWE programming and eventually fired. Since "The Fiend" is Bray Wyatt's property, but more importantly WWE's property, they decided to just let Bliss continue on as her version of "The Fiend". It...was not what everybody wanted! If you hated Bray Wyatt's Fiend, then you'll probably cringe over Bliss' version. It was baffling, confusing, and just god awful. It literally was the definition of WWE's "Sports Entertainment" in all the wrong reasons. I'm not even sure what the hell this is! [Bad makeup from a billion dollar - after mass firings - corporation?]
2. Becky Lynch squashes Bianca Belair at Summerslam: Personal Note here. I, Raging_Demons, the Librarian writing this, HATE Becky Lynch. She is the pro wrestling version of a "joke thief", a comedian who steals jokes from other comedians as their own. And man is she awful in the ring. That being said when Becky came back from maternity leave the WWE faithful (besides myself) was expecting her return to be huge! HYOOOGE I say! [Whatever you say, McMahon.] She returned at Summerslam and it was, in fact, huge. However, it was huge for all the wrong reasons. Just like her fellow Irishman, Sheamus. she squashed Bianca Belair, in what seemed like 18 seconds. Unlike Sheamus's squash on Daniel Bryan (now Brian Danielson), Becky's squash made her the Smackdown's Women's champion AND gave her an unexpected heel turn. So in one event, Lynch stole two gimmicks. AND she then later on stole her hubby, Seth Rollins', gimmick of being a "Drip God" by making herself a "Drip Goddess". [Not sure I understand that particular reference there Brad. Are you implying the couple has a leakage problem? Pffft.]

 
Ethan Page was in IMPACT before he went to where he's at right now in AEW. The North, his one HELL of a tag team with Josh Alexander, had just lost the Titles. Apparently he didn't take the loss well. So Page kind of had a "psychotic break". He slowly turned into a personality he called "Karate Man", giving him the excuse to show off his martial arts skills and SPIFFY headband. Page, sorry, "Karate Man", started to randomly attack others then started to attack his partner Josh Alexander.  
 
 
Yes. Ethan Page was going to have a mirror match with himself! 
 

4. WWE promotes Netflix movies with hilarious results for all the wrong reasons: WWE took this on themselves on behalf of former WWE wrestlers superstars Dave Bautista for Army Of The Dead and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for Red Notice. How did they do?
 
For the former, how do you promote a zombie movie? If you say..."introduce a whole bunch of zombies into a PPV event" then you would be right. [Also why are you reading this McMahon?] WWE randomly packed tons of zombies throughout their PPV Backlash, in such a way as if they asked Homer Simpson for promotional advice. [And then promptly fired him.] 
 
 

How WWE handled things was somewhat, but unexpectedly, mixed. Some acted like wallkers from The Walking Dead, expected to run up and surprise targets and literally take them down. Some acted like theyy were the traditional B-movie zombie, walking slowly and loudly demanding BRAINSSS. Or they could act like Cesaro and completely no-sell them and go "Ooh! Zombies! Gotta get a selfie with them for my Instagram page!" They even interfered in a match between Damien Priest vs The Miz with ended up with Miz being *eaten* by zombies. Bautista was bombarded on his Twitter account for the horrifically bad promotion that WWE did. His response was basically "Don't blame me! I had no participation in this!" Of course, to the hardcore WWE fan who is still watching, aka the mentally challenged, they would call it "great entertainment". 

If WWE didn't learn anything from promoting Army Of The Dead, which they didn't, they got paid literally a dump truck filled with money to promote Red Notice. WWE basically played up the idiocy by Vince McMahon bringing in one of the movie's "golden eggs" to set up a whodunit when the egg got "stolen". Social media didn't believe that horrible bad acting that was going on and they mocked it like hell. One of the commentators actually said "nothing happens at Survivor Series when an egg is involved" The egg got "stolen" then "found" at next day's Raw when Austin Theory returned it.
 
He got rewarded for his theft by being booked to lose the show's main match.

WWE just went by their recent formula for success: It doesn't matter if you make good quality "entertainment". As long as you get a huge pile of money, its all good!

(Also before WWE's "attempts" of promotion, Ryan Reynolds promoted for the movie one week before they did.) 
 
[Also also because two films with massive budgets, two of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and on one of the largest streaming services...OBVIOUSLY needs as much advertising and marketing as possible on barely connected and barely watched wrestling shows. Totally makes sense. 
 
Still it could have been worse. You could have had further promotion for Bautista in Dune by having McMahon go on a drugged bender in the desert. I mean, besides what he does already when overseeing the shows anyway.]

5. The Queen's Crown Tournament: Unless you make a lot of money with WWE (Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte), or are protected like Roman Reigns (Becky Lynch), WWE claims that they try to have a women's revolution. Years later we know that they don't do that. They try, but they fail at doing so. [Or forget that they have tried doing so ala McMahon losing his memory at old age. Assuming they haven't already fired the people responsible.] Hence their latest attempt, "The Queen's Crown Tournament", the women's version of the classic King Of The Ring Tournament. 

The whole tournament really was just...crapped out. All the competing women had insanely short matches with the final match was no longer than 5 minutes. The winner turned out to be...Zelina Vega?! The same Zelina Vega who didn't want to give up her successful Twitch account and got fired?! The same Zelina Vega given a Push from Hell as part of an apology for being brought back? Yeah... 

6. Toni Storm's WWE tenure: A very late Gooker nominee since this occured on the last week of the year. Once upon a time, WWE hired one Toni Storm when she participated in The Mae Young Classic on NXT due to her obvious talent. 

So what did WWE due next? If you said push her to the moon, you would be dead wrong. [Again, why are you still reading this McMahon? Don't you have more people to fire?] Instead, Storm got rarely pushed, she rarely appeared on NXT, and was promoted to Smackdown...where she rarely appeared. Oh wait, I'm sorry. She was promoted to Smackdown...to get into a pie fight with Charlotte Flair. 
 
That was all she could take before she did her best Eric Cartman impersonation and said: 
 
 

She quit WWE after that. She completed her last match, which was a house show, grabbed her things, paid for her own flight, and went home. 
 
Storm took to heart the trend of "Knowing Your Worth" that's been making the rounds of social media of late. She recognized she was in a situation that was Wrestlecrap and quit. Now, unfortunately, she may get a possible Gooker for her tenure. 

7. NXT 2.0h No: NXT was a failed reality competition show. Then Triple H changed it into its own farm system to train people in the WWE way before their official debut to make sure things don't go horribly wrong for themselves (see Sin Cara Negro). It was also a stopgap measure because at the time the average indy wrestler was getting more popularity than an average WWE wrestler thanks to social media. Take Danhausen for example. Danhausen took his indy career, social media, and his Youtube channel into a guest appearance on Conan O'Brien's podcast, occasional appearances as a guest host on Renee Paquette's podcast, appearances on other vlogs like Ethan Page's, and a brief career in ROH. (It wasn't his fault, it was Ring Of Honor having a temporary shutdown and release of all their contracts. They're not dead. Yet!) AEW & Danhausen fans are constantly wanting AEW to sign the guy. 

NXT became quite popular thanks to the quality of talent from behind and in front of the ring, such was perceived that it was the superior product instead of RAW or Smackdown! WWE had faith in NXT that they secured a national Wednesday time slot, and also a way to stop some up-and-coming wrestling promotion from being a threat. That promotion was called AEW. Thus what fans would call a new version of the Monday Night Wars became the Wednesday Night Wars. First show Dynamite versus third-ranked NXT. WWE was thinking that NXT would destroy Dynamite easily. 
 
Only...it didn't. Dynamite slowly crushed NXT to a point that WWE moved NXT to not be in direct competition. 

WWE now thinks that NXT is damaged goods. So what does WWE want to do to "fix" it? Why, firing all the old people and replacing them with hip, younger people! Imagine Vince McMahon and all the older staff people trying to look hip and cool!
All the talent were either fired, replaced, or had their contracts run out. NXT, along with the rest of the company, will now hire only young talent (to easily train them in THEIR ways). The backstage talent was also released. Gone were established talents creating a great product. Now its just "talent" who don't know how to wrestle a good match. Gone were the dark colors of NXT. Now its colors from a Ben & Jerry's carton.
Even to this day, WWE continues to fire a lot of backstage talent [I'm noticing a trend here] which just recently included on-screen talent William Regal who was just about to become a trainer. [And Samoa Joe. Again.] It looks like Vince and his lackeys are literally taking apart the hard work Triple H made to make NXT something and turning it into a memory.

[I am like many others believing that Bron Breakker Rich Steiner has far too much talent to remain stuck there. He should find a way to get to bigger fields before HE gets cut too. It's simple math.]

8. WWE's continuous future endeavours: Throughout 2021 WWE fired about 60+ employees. This adds to the 90+ released during 2020. 20% of those wrestling were hired evenly between AEW or IMPACT.

So, for all those that say, "Oh Tony Khan has hired everyone that left WWE!" Just shut up! Tony Khan has not hired everyone! That is a lie set up by WWE idiots and fans and idiot fans!
 
He's only hired half of everyone. That's all!
 
Here's the thing though. WWE keeps firing people and yet they are not losing any money at all. In fact they made a ton of money last year! This is my choice for Gooker. WWE: Abandon all hope ye who enter here!
 
[Also what good is McMahon's exultation for his workers to reach for those brass rings when he keeps firing them before they can do so?]

9. Cody Rhodes' will-he-or-won't-he heel turn: Now to AEW with, of all people, Cody Rhodes. 
 
Cody was slowly gaining heat for that horrible reality show of his Rhodes to the Top, which is so bad it makes that one by the Bella Twins look good. At this point, he was becoming like John Cena: liked by others, hated by a few. 
 
However he started getting full blown heel during a match versus Malakai Black, Cody accidentally knocked down his "trainer" Arn Anderson. Anderson fell like he was seriously injured while Cody just continued on like nothing happened. The fans noticed and started hating it IMMEDIATELY!

Now usually when WWE comes up a situation like this, they just ignore the fans and let people remain where they are role and story wise, such as John Cena staying face even though he was slowly getting booed throughout the years, or Roman Reigns getting booed for YEARS as a face. 
 
Cody on the other hand... he basically said "Fuck You! I'm a good guy, deal with it!" He even went on-the-record by saying "I would rather retire from Pro Wrestling than go Heel!

Cody has tried to return to be a face but it's just not working. He even tried to toss his weight belt to the crowd.  Usually the crowd would keep anything tossed in by the wrestlers. Here they tossed it back! He's enjoying his time teasing the heel turn that he just got back the TNT Title for a third time, off Sammy Guevara who fans wanted to see with it. Guevara went just TWO weeks with the title and they gave him a custom title FOR NOTHING!

Right now, Cody is ENJOYING the fact that he's teasing his turn. As the AEW faithful are waiting for it, and they can since they just spent over 2+ years waiting for "Hangman" Adam Page becoming World Champion, then that heel turn will come even if it means tolerating the return of Brandi Rhodes. 

[Admittedly I wouldn't mind this indecisiveness if it avoids him getting another laughably bad neck tattoo. UNLESS ITS ALL PART OF THE PLAN TOO.]

And finally,

10. Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley in an "Exploding" "Barbed" "Wire" "Death" "Match": If you don't know what an "Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch" is, it's pretty simple. The ring ropes are replaced with barbed wire and actual explosives, not dangerous if possible, will detonate every few minutes. Mick Foley and Terry Funk had wrestled a few of these matches and in fact it was one of these matches that infamously made Foley slice his ear off. It's quite possible one of the most brutal matches ever! And it was definitely the most hyped match of the year.

It started like this: Kenny Omega just won the World Title off Jon Moxley by shenanigans. Moxley wanted the title back. Omega said he'll give him a rematch, but only if it was an "Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch".

The AEW fans were literally drooling over the place. Omega has had great matches and is nicknamed "The Best Bout Machine". Moxley had past expertise in deathmatches. This was a wrestling nerd's wet dream! Everyone was expecting a good match. 
 
It ended with Eddie Kingston trying to protect Moxley from...well...(minus the laughter of course): 
 
 

We were expecting explosions and violence, not...sparklers! 
 
AEW tried to correct the overselling for the crap they had heavily promoted by letting Omega be Aizen from Bleach [he was replaced by Kyle Hebert? I love his voice acting!]: he had "planned" for this and the sparklers was a way "to humiliate Moxley". Then he mocked Kingston by trying to impersonate him "protecting Moxley". 
 
Though unlike Kingston AEW couldn't cover that they heavily hyped up a match that literally their asses wouldn't cash. 

10 choices. One possible winner for the 2021 Gooker. Admittedly these nominees are very hard choices to select for this year. It's as if you have to go "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe". 
 
 

[Or you could just be me and vote for all of them using the sneaky of hack of "multiple private browser windows. Or if you're as lazy as I am, just voting for the mass firings. Although NXT 2.0 is also a close contender on matters of mishandling talented people. But please don't let me try to interfere. This isn't a 2020 US election!]
 
You have until Jan 14th to pick who will get the 2021 Gooker, with the "winner" being posted on Jan 20th. Vote now!

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