Highs and lows and consistently inconsistent – that was pro wrestling in 2012. CM Punk held the WWE title the entire year while the World Heavyweight title was lost and won in record times by various grapplers. The simplicity of What was trumped by the duplicity of Yes and No. While the divas devolved into eye candy – 3 of the most popular divas left WWE – the Bella twins and Kelly Kelly. While John Cena was the focal point of many storylines, his character suffered many setbacks including a loss to the Rock at Wrestlemania. My favorite match of the year was the brutal match between Brock Lesnar and John Cena the following month. On the downside John Cena was one of many guys kissing the skipping AJ Lee.
Raw went to 3 hours after its 1000th episode and WWE also added a Saturday morning show and Main Event on Wednesdays. After Summer Slam I stopped making an effort to see PPVs- I lost my motivation. I am simply not invested in the characters enough to leave my home to see the matches. Of course I will be watching during the run-up to Mania since I love the Royal Rumble and like Elimination Chamber.
After being immersed in pro wrestling 2011 – I stepped back in 2012; truth is I got a day job and a night job. I left the day job in December of 2012 with the goal of focusing on wrestling in 2013- we shall see. TNA lost me after Bound for Glory- I just simply stopped watching – probably as much for the day the show ran- truthfully I stopped watching Smackdown as much because I am busier on the weekends than weekdays.
ROH had the same problem although I watched more of their product than TNA – I am surprised they buried their December PPV Final Battle at 3 pm on an NFL Sunday.
The internet increased access to international grappling and documentaries. The BBC ran a superb albeit too short documentary called when Wrestling was golden focusing on wrestling in the United Kingdom from the 60s through the 90s. PBS had an informative documentary about lucha libre entitled Tales of Masked Men.
While Raw maybe the flagship program of the WWE my favorite WWE show is the Legends of Wrestling featuring a Roundtable discussion of various topics discussed by grappling greats. My favorite YouTube program is Are You Serious hosted by The Road Dog and Josh Matthews with frequent interruptions by Puppet H. Are You Serious is a dumping ground for the deluge of Wrestlecrap in the WWE vault and is a fun 5 minutes worth checking out every Sunday.
If you are looking for inside information about the industry but are tired of the shoot interview format I suggest checking out the Timeline series from Kayfabe Commentaries. They focus on a year and have one guest go through the year and events- my faves include the ones featuring Jim Coronette and Kevin Nash.
While WWE 13 did gonzo box-office and I do own a copy of the game for the 360 I have to admit I have rarely played it –since I am still hooked on the Call of Duty series.
WWE and TNA and ROH and Evolve all provided some great moments this year- the problem is wrestling is competing with its own past being so easily accessible and so many different and convenient entertainment options. Why settle for watching wrestling when you can watch football or stream a movie or play videogames. Sure that has always been the issue or option, but now with so much available at the click of button, every form of entertainment is struggling to be seen. Conventional advertising like radio and TV aren’t as effective and now wrestling has invaded the social media with formats like Tout and other ways of trying to reach the fans.
I am still a wrestling fan and I still tune in- but as much as I watch the current product the true allure is in the past, documentaries, books and interviews. My favorite wrestling podcast is the Old School Wrestling podcast and they tend to not cover anything that is newer than 10 years ago.