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The Cubed Circle Newsletter In 2011
2011 has treated the Cubed Circle Newsletter well, the newsletter has grown quite a lot since issue one and I expect it to grow even more in 2012. I would like to thank all the readers for showing interest in the newsletter and I am confident that you will enjoy the newsletter throughout 2012. To all the new readers I would like to welcome you into the Cubed Circle and I hope that you enjoy your stay.
2011 Year in Review
2011 was an interesting year for professional wrestling on one hand you had the amazing matches, great angles and memorable promos. On the other hand you had terrible TV, bad booking and horrific matches. 2011 gave fans an unbelievable amount of content to watch, in fact it sometimes felt like for every 24 hours that past, 32 hours of wrestling was produced. Among all of this wrestling we got some really great matches from all sides, from Punk vs. Cena to Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito we had a lot of jaw dropping matches this year.
Unfortunately with the good comes the bad and in 2011 there was pretty much as much bad as there was good. From WWE’s failure to capitalize on the CM Punk angle, to the horrendous booking of TNA iMPACT. There seemed to be two very big problems in regards to the major companies in 2011 and that was bad booking and bad TV, which seemed to bring down a lot of talent and matches. In this we review we will cover it all from the good to the bad and of course, the ugly.
The WWE started off the year strong which is often the case, they had the build to Mania which is always a plus and business wise the first quarter was definitely the most successful. The build to one of the biggest Mania mainevents was also set in effect a year in advance, but as usual after Mania the quality of the product began to slip, peaking with a mainevent program between R-Truth and John Cena. However the WWE got super hot with a specific audience, due to the CM Punk angle, which seemed to set the wrestling world on fire. Unfortunately the Money in the Bank PPV didn’t do as well as anticipated, presumably due to the audiences aversion to purchasing B-Shows. Although the show didn’t do as well as it was expected to do, the buyrate was up from the year before and the Pay-Per View was met with universal acclaim from reviewers. The show was capped off by the match of the year between CM Punk and John Cena and CM Punk’s exit from the show with the championship in hand.
Unfortunately this great string of brilliance did not last and CM Punk was brought back two weeks after he left, in a very short sited and naive move by the WWE. The WWE couldn’t recapture the magic from the angle and the quality of the programming on Raw began to drop, drastically. This resulted in one terrible show after another, this string of bad RAWs even featured arguably one of the worst RAWs in history. The quality of Raw started to recover, but it is still nowhere near were it should be, will it recover in 2012? I am sure it will. The question is can WWE sustain it for a reasonable period of time? With booking and management the way it is I don’t know.
There is a reason that TNA is not covered in this newsletter and it should be pretty obvious, it just isn’t good. TNA is infamous for it, from the booking to the wrestling it is known for just not being all that great, or even bad. Bruce Prichard was made head booker and things started to turn around towards the end of the year, but that small amount of good couldn’t possibly negate the bad from this year.
Could things turn around next year? Possibly, as specially since Prichard his now head of creative, but if some of the final iMPACTs of the year are any indication, it’s future in terms of quality of the product and business seem uncertain.
ROH had a very interesting 2011, in fact if you look at the first half and second half of the year, it’s almost like ROH had two completely different years. They had a great first half of the year in terms of quality, ROH put out DVD after DVD and almost every one of them featured at least one very good to great match.
In April ROH’s contract with HDnet expired and they were left without TV, but although they didn’t have TV ROH Best in the World still drew one of ROH’s highest buyrates. And on May 21st in Chicago Ridge at ROH’s Super Card of Honor VI show, it was announced that ROH had been sold to the Sinclair Broadcast Group and that they would in fact receive TV on Sinclair.
On September 24th ROH debuted on SBG for the first time, complete with a new logo and look. The show was mainevented by Richards vs. Strong for the ROH championship and the show had far more exposure than HDnet. The show was by far the best American weekly TV show of the year, although it wasn’t without it’s flaws. The need to tape multiple episodes at once, with the need for fans to sit for hours on end was not a good thing and definitely showed. The production also wasn’t up to the standard of HDnet, but it still offers many opportunities for ROH going into 2012.
ROH seemed to halt the production of house show DVDs, towards the second half of the year, which was somewhat of a disappointment, although some shows seem like they are going to be released in the future.
The world of Puro was really a mixed bag this year, on one hand you had the unbelievable success of Tanahashi’s title reign over in New Japan, but on the other hand you had All Japan and NOAH struggling to stay alive, as specially the former. Then we had Dragon Gate, who put on an incredible TV show, Dragon Gate Infinity.
Tanahashi exemplified what a champion should be this year, remaining a big drawing card, staying over and putting on great matches show after show. He is pretty much the biggest star wrestling has to offer in Japan right now, and to tell you the truth he is doing a good job with what is given to him. New Japan had a pretty good 2011, they drew pretty good numbers and remained popular, Tanahashi is partly responsible for this.
Unfortunately, NOAH and All Japan, weren’t as fortunate, although they still put on good matches through out 2011, both NOAH and All Japan, were troubled business wise. All Japan seemed to be in very rough shape for a lot of the year, but were able to bounce back at points. They put the Triple Crowd on Jun Akiyama which could help them to a point, but for now their future remains uncertain. Keji Muto also stepped down as president of All Japan and appointed Masayuki Uchida as his successor.
NOAH seemed to be in better shape than All Japan this year, they still drew relatively big numbers for the time. Go Shiozaki won the GHC Heavyweight Championship from Takashi Sugiura on July 10th. I expected KENTA to win the GHC championship in November, after all the build, but Shiozaki retained, which was probably for the best in hindsight, since KENTA was injured a few weeks later.
2012 is looking up to be an interesting year for wrestling, 2011 really wasn’t the best or worst, but it set lots of events up for the coming year. From WWE and it’s network to ROH’s TV deal and beyond, we re going to look into and predict the year ahead.
The thought that is probably on most people’s mind in regards to the WWE going into 2012, is the Network. First officially announced in September, the Network was met with mixed reactions. And when it was officially announced that the Network would makes it’s debut on WrestleMania weekend, talk over how WWE would be able to pull it off became even stronger.
My personal opinion of the Network is this, the WWE has to hire staff, get infrastructure in place and determine their channel of distribution all by WrestleMania weekend. So I think that one of the main questions that should be raised is, will the WWE be able to launch a fully operational and functional Network in just a few months. I personally don’t think they will be able to, even some of the reality shows advertised, like Legends House (Dull name) need to be filmed and edited by the time that this Network launches on WrestleMania weekend and I don’t think that this will happen.
What I do think will happen, is that the WWE will go ahead and launch a stripped down version of the Network on WrestleMania weekend instead of delaying it. I think that this will result in a loss of interest in the Network and therefore the Network won’t be able to gain a substantial amount of subscriptions, at least early on. We don’t even know what the WWE will use the Network for in the long term. Will they put the B-Shows on their live? Will it just be a network filled with vintage programming, with a few reality shows thrown in, essentially WWE Classics on Demand XL? We simply don’t know, I would assume that they will place something on the Network besides vintage programming and shows like Legends House, since there is only a limited audience for that sought of Network, an audience that isn’t big enough to sustain the costs of the Network.
Moving away from the Network WWE programming will likely be strong during the build to WrestleMania, with this year’s WrestleMania being poised to be the highest grossing WrestleMania of all time. With the return of Jericho, Undertaker, Triple H and The Rock there will be no shortage of star power during the first quarter. The real question is what will become of WWE programming after WrestleMania, will the programming slow back down to a crawl or will the momentum for Mania be carried through to the rest of the year? In all honesty I don’t think that the WWE programming will be at the same level after WrestleMania, if the Rock and Jericho stay after and continue to work, that’s a different story, but as of right now, it seems that unless a big angle is put into place post Mania. Programming after Mania will probably be pretty dry, at least for a couple of months following Mania.
As for what will happen after that, hopefully the WWE gets something hot, they seem to get at least one thing really hot every year i.e. Nexus and Punk. The question is will it run cold? WWE’s track record has a clear answer, but things may turn out differently this year.
As of right now there are still no plans to cover TNA in 2012, this could change if the quality of the programming picks up for a substantial amount of time, but as of right now there are no plans.
Where do I see TNA going in 2012? Well I don’t see them going anywhere. That may sound cruel, but it’s just the way it is, week after week month after month year after year. Prichard seemed to be making a difference, but if recent episodes of iMPACT are anything to go by Russo’s booking is back and in full effect.
Will the ratings move by any substantial margin? No. Will the quality of the product change for any long length of time? Possibly. But, as of right now 2012 seems like it is going to be another stagnant year for TNA.
ROH had an interesting 2011, but 2012 probably going to be one of the most important years that the company has ever had. They are now on Sinclair and they can either fall or they can reach new heights. I have a feeling that they are going to put the championship on Steen, since he is just about the hottest thing in the promotion. This will hopefully build to a CM Punk in Chicago esque match in Canada.
ROH is also looking into a permanent home base, to record their TV show at. The home base of sorts could possibly be in Baltimore, this would improve the production quality of the show dramatically. We should also get a pretty good early depiction of the impact that TV makes on the ROH iPPV buyrate, when the buyrate for Final Battle eventually gets out. I think that people will also be able to look forward to knew and returning talent, if ROH has a home base, since spending will be cut and ROH will have more money for talent. 2012 should be the year that ROH comes into it’s own on Sinclair and hopefully we, the viewer, will get lots of great angles and matches out of it in 2012.
There is only one prediction I have for Puro going into 2012, actually it isn’t much of a prediction and more of a hope. My hope for 2012 is that Puro continues to do well and recover slivers of it’s former glory and for All Japan to stay a float. Everything else is up in the air.
Top Matches Of 2011
1. John Cena vs. CM Punk WWE Money in the Bank *****
It is very rare to have a match that is able to capture such unbelievable emotion, anticipation and excitement, this match didn’t just do that, it crystallized it. No matter what you want to say about the way the angle was handled after this match, this match was a classic if there ever was one. Was the match flawless? No. But, it didn’t have to be, in fact it was more than a match, it was an immortal moment that will undoubtedly live forever.
2. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards ROH Best in the World **** ¾
In any almost any other year, this match would have been the match of the year, from the story to the build to the crowd to the match, this match was nearly flawless. This finish was amazing, the pacing fantastic, a match that could be called one of the greatest ROH matches of all time.
3. Undertaker vs. Triple H WWE WrestleMania 27 **** ½
A match that many people have as their number one and it was undoubtedly a spectacle. Triple H and Undertaker went at it and stole the show and had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands, when Triple H hit the tombstone there was no one sitting down, this match was match worked by two veterans that will without a shadow of a doubt be remembered as a classic.
4. Christian vs. Randy Orton WWE Over The Limit **** ½
Christian and Orton told a classic tale in this match, a tale of a man that was desperate to reclaim the prize he had worked so hard for but couldn’t. The match was technically sound, the story was great, both men gave it their all and it was built pretty well, why wouldn’t this match be this high on the list.
5. Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards Ring Master Challenge ROH Death Before Dishonor IX **** ½
These two men put on a clinic, it might have been higher on the list if the ending was different, but regardless this match felt like it meant something, even though it had little build and practically nothing on the line. People worried when it was announced that Richards, the ROH champion wouldn’t be on the show, but these men more than made up for it with this fantastic match.
6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito NJPW 2011/10/10 **** ½
This match will be looked upon in the future as the match that made Naito, this match was worked so well that with every near fall you could honestly believe that Naito was going to win the championship from Tanahashi. It was a coming of age in a way for Naito and one of Tanahashi’s best matches this year.
7. Jun Akiyama vs. Suwama AJPW 2011/10/23 **** ½
A grizzled veteran challenging the young champion for the championship he was never able to hold, is a classic tale. This story meant even more by the way it was worked in ring, it was worked in the classic All Japan heavyweight style. The pacing was perfect, the crowd was into it and it was worked so well, this match undoubtedly deserves it’s spot in history.
8. Kotaro Suzuki vs. Eddie Edwards NOAH 2011/01/29 **** ½
In by far one of the stiffest matches of the year, Eddie Edwards and Kotaro Suzuki, put on an incredible Junior Heavyweight bout, that will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best NOAH matches of the year. Both men went all out and left everything in the ring and it showed.
9. Jay Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong ROH 2011/01/15 **** ½
This match got almost no attention this year, but it really deserved to, maybe it was because of the amount of DVDs ROH was putting out at the time, maybe it was because of the card or the time it came out, I don’t know why it didn’t get attention, all I know is this was one hell of a match. This match told such a great story from start to finish, Briscoe was beaten down and bloodied, but fought back valiantly towards the end of the match. If you haven’t seen this match yet, I highly recommend you do so.
10. Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV **** ½
This was a coming of age of sorts for Edwards, it brought him into the spot light and pretty much made him this year. The match was great and was pretty much what you would expect from a match between Edwards and Strong in New York, it was stiff, it was fast and for the most part it was well worked.
11. Randy Orton vs. Christian No Holds Barred SummerSlam **** ¼
12. Eddie Kingston vs. Claudio Castagnoli Chikara CFTTS **** ¼
13. Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kota Ibushi NJPW BOSJ Final 2011/06/10 **** ¼
14. 1-2-3 Kid vs. El Generico Chikara King of Trios Night 3 **** ¼
15. Kotaro Suzuki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima NOAH 2011/03/05 **** ¼
16. KENTA vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 2011/01/15 **** ¼
17. The Kings of Wrestling vs. Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team ROH 2011/01/28 **** ¼
18. SD Elimination Chamber WWE Elimination Chamber **** ¼
19. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW 2011/06/18 **** ¼
20. YAMATO vs. Austin Aries DGUSA Mercury Rising II **** ¼
21. KENTA vs. Takashi Sugiura NOAH 2011/10/10 **** ¼
22. Kyle ‘O Reilly & Adam Cole vs. The American Wolves **** ¼
23. Colony vs. F.I.S.T Chikara King of Trios King of Trios Night 3 **** ¼
24. SmackDown MITB WWE Money in the Bank **** ¼
25. The Kings of Wrestling vs. WGTT vs. ANX vs. The Briscoe’s ROH Best in the World **** ¼
26. Chris Hero vs. Eddie Edwards ROH 2011/05/07 **** ¼
27. The Kings of Wrestling vs. Kevin Steen & Akira Tozawa PWG DDT4 2011/03/04 **** ¼
28. Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw vs. the Colony CHIKARA CFTTS ****
29. The Kings of Wrestling vs. The All Night Express ROH 2011/02/26****
30. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio WWE Extreme Rules 2011 ****
31. The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express Ladder War Death Before Dishonor IX ****
32. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose 30 minute Iron Man Match FCW 2011/09/18 ****
33. John Cena vs. CM Punk WWE Summer Slam ****
34. F.I.S.T. vs. Osaka Pro Chikara King of Trios Night 2 ****
35. Christopher Daniels vs. Eddie Edwards ROH 2011/02/26 ****
36. Kenny King vs. Eddie Edwards ROH 2011/02/25 ****
37. Kotaro Suzaki vs. Ricky Marvin NOAH 2011/05/08 ****
38. RAW Elimination Chamber WWE Elimination Chamber ****
39. Ronin vs. Blood Warriors DGUSA Mercury Rising II ****
40. Kings of Wrestling vs. The American Wolves ROH 2011/05/06 ****
41. Richards & WGTT vs. Roderick Strong & The Kings of Wrestling ROH 2011/02/25 ***
42. PAC vs. Akira Tozawa DGUSA Mercury Rising II ****
43. Christopher Daniels vs. El Generico ROH Best in the World ****
44. TJ Perkins vs. Davey Richards ROH 2011/01/28 ****
45. Mike Quackenbush vs. Ophidian Chikara Demon in his Pocket ****
46. The American Wolves vs. Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin ROH 2011/07/08
47. Roderick Strong vs. El Generico ROH 2011/05/06 ****
48. Roderick Strong vs. El Generico ROH 2011/01/28 ****
49. Chris Hero vs. Davey Richards ROH 2011/01/15 ****
50. El Generico & Ricochet vs. Nightmare Violence Connection PWG 2011/05/27 ASW Night 1 ****
51. Mercedes Martinez vs. Angel Orsini WSU Final Chapter ****
52. Roderick Strong vs. El Generico vs. Homicide vs. Jay Briscoe ROH Defy or Deny *** ¾
53. Champions vs. All Stars Match ROH 2011/01/14 *** ¾
54. Eddie Kingston vs. El Generico Chikara 2011/01/23 *** ¾
55. Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli ROH 2011/01/15 *** ¾
56. RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match WWE Money in the Bank *** ¾
57. Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team ROH 2011/02/26 *** ¾
58. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio WWE Capitol Punishment *** ¾
59. Go Shiozaki vs. Kotaro Suzuki NOAH 2011/11/05 *** ¾
60. Eddie Kingston vs. Akira Tozawa Chikara King of Trios Night 3 *** ¾
61. The Miz vs. John Morrison vs. John Cena WWE Extreme Rules *** ¾
62. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio WWE Survivor Series *** ¾
63. John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio Triple Threat Hell in a Cell WWE Hell in a Cell *** ¾
64. The Cutler Brothers vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong PWG ASW Night 1 2011/05/27 *** ¾
65. The Kings of Wrestling vs. Kevin Steen & Akira Tozawa PWG DDT4 2011/03/04 *** ¾
66. The Young Bucks vs. The American Wolves PWG DDT4 2011/03/04 *** ¾
67. El Generico & Richochet vs. The Young Bucks PWG CSTCIII 2011/04/09 *** ¾
68. KENTA & Kanemaru vs. Takaiwa & Namiguchi NOAH 2011/07/23 *** ¾
69. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk WWE Extreme Rules *** ¾
70. Davey Richards vs. Christopher Daniels ROH Manhattan Mayhem IV *** ¾
71. William Regal vs. Dean Ambrose FCW 2011/11/06 *** ¾
72. Davey Richards vs. Prince Devitt NJPW 2011/05/26 *** ¾
73. Randy Orton vs. Christian WWE Money in the Bank *** ¾
74. Randy Orton vs. Christian WWE Capitol Punishment *** ¾
75. Davey Richards vs. Low Ki PWG 2011/01/29 *** ¾
76. Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico PWG 2011/01/29
77. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Davey Richards ROH Defy or Deny *** ¾
78. Prince Devitt vs. Niomichi Marufuji NJPW 2011/01/30 *** ¾
79. Six-Man Elimination DGUSA Mercury Rising *** ¾
80. Willie Mack vs. Kevin Steen PWG 2011/05/27 PWG ASW Night 1 *** ¾
Final Wrestling Observer Award Ballot
1. LOU THESZ/RIC FLAIR AWARD
1. Hiroshi Tanahashi
2. CM Punk
3. John Cena
2. MMA MOST VALUABLE FIGHTER
3. MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER
1. Davey Richards
2. Eddie Edwards
3. El Generico
4. MOST OUTSTANDING FIGHTER
5. BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW
1. The Rock
2. George St-Pierre
3. John Cena
6. FEUD OF THE YEAR
1. CM Punk vs. John Cena
2. Kevin Steen vs. ROH
3. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards
7. TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
1. The Briscoe Brothers
2. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team
3. Bad Intentions (Karl Anderson & A-Train)
8. MOST IMPROVED
1. Dean Ambrose
2. Dolf Ziggler
3. Kyle ‘O Reilly
9. BEST ON INTERVIEWS
1. CM Punk
2. Kevin Steen
3. Chael Sonnen
10. MOST CHARISMATIC
1. CM Punk
2. Kevin Steen
3. Zack Ryder
11. BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER
1. Davey Richards
2. Eddie Edwards
3. Daniel Bryan
12. BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD
1. Kevin Steen
2. Jay Briscoe
3. Rhett Titus
13. BEST FLYING WRESTLER
2. El Generico
3. Kota Ibushi
14. MOST OVERRATED
1. Triple H
2. Sin Cara
3. Mason Ryan
15. MOST UNDERRATED
1. Daniel Bryan
2. Dolf Ziggler
3. Tyson Kidd
16. PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
1. Ring of Honor
2. New Japan Pro Wrestling
17. BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW
1. ROH on Sinclair
2. Dragon Gate Infinity
18. PRO WRESTLING MATCH OF THE YEAR
1. John Cena vs. CM Punk WWE Money in the Bank, Chicago Illinois July 17th 2011
2. Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards ROH Best in the World, New York New York July 26th 2011
3. Undertaker vs. Triple H WWE WrestleMania 27, Atlanta Georgia April 3rd 2011
19. MMA MATCH OF THE YEAR
20. ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
21. BEST NON-WRESTLER
1. Ricardo Rodriguez
2. Truth Martini
3. RD Evans
22. BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
1. Kevin Kelly
2. William Regal
3. Nigel Mcguinness
23. WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
1. Michael Cole
2. Booker T
3. Jerry Lawler
24. BEST MAJOR SHOW
1. WWE Money in the Bank July 17th 2011, Chicago Illinois
2. ROH Best in the World June 26th 2011, New York New York
3. ROH Final Battle December 18th 2010, New York New York
1. WORST MAJOR SHOW OF THE YEAR
TNA Victory Road March 13th 2011 Orlando Florida
2. BEST WRESTLING MANEUVER
Daniel Bryan's LeBell Lock 3
3. MOST DISGUSTING PROMOTIONAL TACTIC
WWE B.A. Star Campaign
4. WORST TELEVISION SHOW
5. WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole WrestleMania 27 April 3rd 2011 Atlanta Georgia
6. WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
7. WORST PROMOTION
8. BEST BOOKER
9. PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
10. BEST GIMMICK
Steve Corino - Changed Man
11. WORST GIMMICK
Michael Cole- Self Centered Announcer
12. BEST WRESTLING BOOK
13. BEST PRO WRESTLING DVD
2012 Preview Cubed Circle Newsletter
I have a lot of things planned for the newsletter this year, including optimization of the PDF version of the newsletter. There is also the possibility of CubedCircle Radio towards the end of the year. There will also be more coverage of Puro from all the promotions this year and I have a feeling that the top matches of 2012 list, will be several times larger than this year’s. If you are interested in all of this and more stay tuned to CubedCircle Wrestling.blogspot.com.
Any Questions or Queries: Rubyclouding@gmail.com
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