2013 Match of the Year

For every rivalry that takes place, for every great promo delivered in (and out of) the ring, and for every backstage news that sends fans to Twitter in a frenzy, the most important drama takes place when fireworks disappear and the lights go down.  A collar-and-elbow position signals the oldest type of storytelling in the business.  It means that two wrestlers are going to finally settle their business, and no matter happens between the opening and closing bells, fans in attendance and at home better buckle their seat-belts. And so with that in mind, we pick the battles that won over our hearts and minds this year… [Read more...]

2013 Breakout Star of the Year

Professional Wrestling really about the star power of in-ring performers.  Today’s top guys mean big money on television, Pay-Per-View, and at the merchandise stand.  But those big draws aren’t going to be around forever, and so the business has to keep building up new talent to take their place.  This was a major focus area for WWE in 2013.  With the debut of the new training facility in Florida, and more high-profile matches for under card talent, the company seemed determine to start packing away for the next era of superstars.  But which talent really came into their own this past calendar year? [Read more...]

2013 Biggest Surprise of the Year

One of the main reasons wrestling fans tune in each week is because they love to be surprised.  And because of its scripted nature, professional wrestling can offer those big, shocking moments in a much more strategic way that most other sports programs.   Cliffhangers you can’t miss? Good guy/bad guy turns? Dramatic run-ins and historic battles?  They’re all a piece of the squared-circle fabric.  While the internet made genuine surprises much harder to pull off in 2013, than, say, decades prior, a handful of moments still kept us on the edge of our seats. [Read more...]

2013 Tag-Team of the Year

In recent years, it seems like tag-team wrestling has taken a back seat to singles competition.  Compared to the tag-team division of the late 80s and 90s, modern sports entertainment has seemed content to pair up random singles wrestlers to be partners, in a “throw it on the wall and see what sticks” mentality.  And it’s been…. fine.  Luckily, WWE decided to up its game in 2013.  We finally got to see some lower-to-mid card acts rise as the company refocused on building legitimate teams.  And, perhaps most surprisingly, WWE’s tag-team competition became more interesting than a certain other major wrestling organization.  But which team rose to the top? [Read more...]

Look Back at Best Movies, TV Shows of 2013

wwBrian and Michael are back for the Cheap Pops! podcast as they talk about their favorite movies and TV shows of 2013.   Both have seen plenty of both from Gravity to Star Trek to American Hustle at the theater to Breaking Bad, House of Cards and The Walking Dead on the tube.  They run down all of their favorites and some upcoming shows in the new year.

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2013 Feud of the Year

Every professional wrestler is only as good as the opponent they face.  There’d be no Shawn Michaels without Bret Hart, no Stone Cold Steve Austin without Vince McMahon, no Mankind without The Rock, and no John Cena without JBL.  And while modern ‘sports entertainment’ seems content to fill much of its programming time with backstage skits and dancing segments, the idea that two men sometimes  just need to beat the crap out of each other lives on. [Read more...]

2013 Pay-Per-View of the Year

This was the year that TNA decided to pretty much give up on the Pay-Per-View business – they reduced their major pay events to only four, and filled up the rest of their required dates with various specialty shows.  The gamble didn’t exactly pay off.  Similarly, WWE became more long-term focused on its own network, while at the same time witnessing buy rates rise and fall.  Still, building towards the “big show” is in the fabric of pro-wrestling.  So which one delivered most in 2013? [Read more...]

2013 Heel of the Year

For all that is good in professional wrestling, our heroes would have nothing to fight about if not for the heel characters that cause anguish at every turn.  It’s classic booking 101: the babyface chases the heel, and crowds pay good money to see him or her get their revenge. Not every bad-guy in 2013 was worth writing home about, but a few stood out above the rest. [Read more...]

2013 Superstar of the Year

The WWE main-event picture found itself flush with talent this year, as CM Punk, The Rock, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and even Ryback all shared the spotlight.  While the product found itself in a lull at times, a few superstars really made their mark in 2013. [Read more...]

2013 Biggest News Story of the Year

Half of the business of professional wrestling is the wrestling itself – the other half is the drama that exists outside the ring.  Internet “dirt sheets” report the news, including any rumors and speculations that exists, and wrestling fans everywhere clamor for any bit of new information they can find.  2013 was full of surprises – including an openly gay wrestler in WWE, one of the founding members of TNA jumping ship, and a house show debacle that had many scratching their heads.  And unfortunately, a number of people in the biz lost their jobs, but one in particular was perhaps more shocking than all the rest combined. [Read more...]

2013 Legend Comeback of the Year

goldustdepressedLegends return to the ring every year, and sometimes make a bigger impact than others.  This year was filled with high-profile returns, such as The Rock, Chris Jericho, Goldust, and even (the unexpected) Rob-Van-Dam.  Which one meant the most? [Read more...]

The Best of 2013: Professional Wrestling

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Ask any wrestling fan – 2013 was a mixed bag.  There were great matches, there were terrible matches… Some superstars escalated to new heights while others (Zach Ryder,  sorry broski) found themselves relegated to Main Event and, worse, Saturday Morning Slam. Professional Wrestling found itself in the news for both good things, and not-so-good things. Pay-Per-View buy rates fell.  TNA stopped even caring about Pay-Per-Views. TNA also stopped caring about ratings.  Or the talent roster.  Hulk Hogan became unemployed, as did Bruce Pritchard, D-Lo Brown, AJ Styles, and even Jim Ross. CM Punk ended his historic 434-day title reign against The Rock, losing a championship that would find itself unified with the World Heavyweight Championship by year’s end.  Pro Wrestling stayed in a slump, but still delivered a year chocked full of fan-pleasing matches. [Read more...]