It’s almost over. I don’t think it’s any secret that 2020 has not been the best of times for a lot of people. You can pick your reason for what has gone wrong or been the worst part of the year, but that does not mean the year has been a complete disaster. There are several parts of the wrestling year that have been better than others, even if they might have flown a bit underneath the radar.
That’s what we’re going to look at today: some of the good things that have taken place in 2020. Some of these might have a bit more significance than others, but at the same time they are going to be the kind of things that might make you smile just a little bit. Hopefully we get more of these for next year, but for now it is time to look back and see what kind of good things happened this year.
These are in no particular order and is not meant to be exhaustive.
AEW/Impact Wrestling Crossover
Ok so yes Impact Wrestling has been the joke of the wrestling world for well over ten years now and no it isn’t a company that means much of anything these days, but how cool is it to see AEW showing up? They already have a main event set up with Kenny Omega showing up at January’s Hard To Kill. This isn’t the kind of thing you expect to see in the wrestling world and that is what makes it so special.
I’m still not sure where any of this stuff is going and that’s a cool feeling to have. I get that there is a strong chance Omega winds up taking the Impact Wrestling World Title, but that’s still a pretty cool thing to see. It’s one of those things you aren’t going to get to see from WWE, which would just completely crush any other promotion they worked with. This feels unique, and I’m curious to see how things wind up.
Le Dinner Debonair
I don’t often get to say this but this is the kind of thing that made me say “I’m sorry what now?” This is one of those things that seems like it came to someone in a dream and they just put it on Dynamite. It’s one of the cooler parts about AEW and Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Chris Jericho sold the living heck out of it, as you kind of knew going in that they would. I’m not sure how good anyone knew it could be, but it was more well received than anyone could have bet on.
Then the segment won an award from the New York Times as one of the Performances Of The Year. When else is something from wrestling going to get this kind of recognition? I know that the segment wasn’t for everyone (you know who I mean and he carries a tennis racket) but it’s great to see wrestling get noticed like this for a change. Now granted it has nothing to do with wrestling, but this kind of attention seems to be quite the good thing.
Edge Is Back
If there is one thing that I have learned over the years in wrestling, it is to never say never. Every now and then you see things that you never would have thought possible and that is one of the coolest feelings. That’s how I felt when Edge came out at the Royal Rumble, even if it was something that had been teased for the previous few days and weeks. How in the world can you believe that Edge is going to get back in the ring after nearly nine years away?
And yet there he was, not only coming into the Rumble but eliminating big names with AJ Styles and Randy Orton. That set up a rather good feud with Orton, including a pair of rather quality pay per view matches (yes I liked their WrestleMania match). It makes you wonder what is going to happen when Edge gets in the ring with someone else….and then he got hurt because that’s what Edge does, but at least the tease and Orton stuff was awesome.
The Rise Of Drew McIntyre
I have made no secret of the fact that I’ve been a big McIntyre fan for a long time now. He can work in the ring, talk, has a great look, and was a rather nice guy when I got to meet him in Orlando. What else could you ask for? Well in his case that would be a main event push, and that’s what he got this year. Not only did he get to eliminate Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble, but he beat Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 36. Not too shabby of a first half of a year, but there is one minor issue.
This might be the most frustrating thing I’ve seen WWE do in a long time. Yes McIntyre was elevated to the top of the company and is a rather fine champion who was going nowhere just a year ago. SO WHY DO THEY NOT DO THAT MORE OFTEN??? WWE has had a problem with making new stars for a long time now but they can do it so quickly with McIntyre. Why have they not done something like this sooner, if not a lot more often? No you don’t find someone like McIntyre every day, but sweet goodness, just do what works more often and see how much better things get.
Halloween Havoc Is Back
And it only took twenty years! For the life of me I don’t get why WWE is so uptight about using the WCW names. No they didn’t invent them, but they own them now and can make some rather nice money as a result. You would think that would be as simple of a concept as you could have, but this is WWE and therefore you don’t get to see the logical paths taken very often.
But yes, Halloween Havoc was back as an NXT special, complete with the big pumpkin, Ghostface (ok then), SPIN THE WHEEL MAKE THE DEAL, and the perfect choice of Shotzi Blackheart as host. It may not have been the WCW version, but much like WarGames, it wasn’t supposed to be. I loved having it back and hopefully WWE realizes what a bronze mine they’re sitting on with these names.
Ring Of Honor’s Return Was Great
I know you might not watch Ring of Honor all that much but they made their return from hiatus a few months back and had one of the better weekly TV shows around. This is the kind of thing I was hoping for when AEW was talking about running a sports based wrestling show. The first several weeks focused on the Pure Title Tournament and you had the rules broken down, stats that told you something about the wrestlers (such as “this wrestler is 5-1 in his last six matches in Baltimore” or “this wrestler wins 75% of his matches with a submission”), and actual analysis from commentary.
In other words, it felt like a sport rather than sports entertainment. This isn’t something that is going to work long term, but as an element of a show, it worked out rather well and was a VERY fun breath of air. The tournament had some good wrestling too and the Pure Rules matches are still featured on the shows almost every week. This was a great boost for Ring of Honor and made it seem like they spent their months off putting in the effort to get better. Well done, and check out some of their recent shows.
Becky Lynch And Brandi Rhodes’ Pregnancy Announcements
This is stuff from outside the ring but both of these were great. Lynch had become quite possibly the most successful women’s wrestler of all time and she was running out of challengers. Asuka had just won Money in the Bank and seemed to be the next person up….but Lynch had to go be a mom, so Asuka can be champion instead. This was GREAT and one of the cooler things I had seen from WWE in a long time, mainly because it was a real moment for a change.
Then you have Rhodes’ announcement, which was an amazing moment, even if it was quite a bit more produced than the other. The video showed the Rhodes family decorating a Christmas tree and then having an ornament delivered. The ornament revealed that the two were expecting a baby (as opposed to a toaster) and Pharaoh’s collar even said “Baby Security In Training”. These weren’t the kind of things that are going to be game changers, but man alive they were sweet moments.
And what else could I finish with but this?
30 Years Of The Undertaker
In something you might have forgotten, we got a rather forced 25 Years Of Triple H back in the spring. I remember saying to my wife that if this is what he gets for 25, Undertaker better get a heck of a tribute for 30…..and that’s exactly what happened. Most of the summer and almost all of November was a grand celebration of all things Undertaker and it absolutely should have been. Who in the world makes it THIRTY YEARS in the wrestling business these days, let alone in the same company?
Undertaker got this treatment because he deserved it and that isn’t something you can say about almost anyone else. The other day I had on Summerslam 1990, which featured Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude and Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake. That sounds like forever ago, but Undertaker was three months away. I can’t get my head around being around that long and Undertaker managed to do it. Throw in the Streak, seven World Titles, and being the Undertaker for all those years and yeah, he deserved this.
I know 2020 has been very rough and everyone focuses on the bad because…..well there has been more of it than a lot of people can remember. At the same time though, it can help to focus on some of the good things and hopefully smile a bit. Hopefully this made you think about those a little bit, because you should have something to smile about at some of the best times of the year, even if it was this one.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!