So here we are, 16 months and 100 posts later. I’d like to think I’ve grown as both a writer and as a viewer of wrestling. And even though 100 is still an arbitrary number to get excited about (less arbitrary than 900, though, but I’m getting off topic), I’d like to think that it means something. There are very few projects that I’ve stuck with for as long as this one, and that, to me, is a great sign. And I think it’s about time I start shopping this little blog around for potential websites to pick up, because, well, let’s face it: my audience is rather small. I thank every one of you who read this. I think it’s about time I move up in the writing business. I don’t care if I get money for this or not, I just want to get my little opinion heard. So I’m going to work my butt off to try to get this more exposure.
Now, with that being said, get ready for a very long post this time. It is my 100th, after all.
A few weeks ago, a question was posed by fellow wrestling writer and Facebook friend, Anthony Valvo aka Mr. V. It had been revealed that TNA was going to spend roughly $4 million on (if memory serves) six wrestling personalities: Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair, and Mr. Anderson. I may be entirely wrong with that, but the point still stands: that’s a damn lot of money for TNA to be spending on six people. And Mr. Valvo posed this question: if you were the head of TNA and had $4 million to spend on bringing in new talent, who would you bring in? I thought about this question a lot, but it led to an even more entertaining question to ponder: if I were the owner of a wrestling promotion, who would I bring together to make my roster? Money is no object, and this is the roster I would want, not necessarily what any other promotion would want as their roster. So there may be (to some people) odd choices I either chose to have on the roster or chose not to have on the roster. I’ll be discussing the entire roster, and also I’ll have a card for the first-ever show in which we crown three champions. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the 100th edition of Rantables!
I’d like to begin by saying that I really wanted to have a strong roster, but not a bloated roster like TNA’s. Unfortunately, after several tries at cutting names from the list, I could not bring the total number of on-air personalities under 60. I was hoping to get it to 50, but I’ll just have to live with what I’ve got. I’ll be taking people from four major promotions: WWE, TNA, ROH, and CHIKARA. Probably some of you wonder why I left out other major promotions, such as Dragon Gate USA, EVOLVE, and NWA. Well, I’ll be totally honest: I don’t know much about any of those promotions, since I’ve seen very little of them. I’m going with names I’ve seen and names I’ve been entertained by over the last four and a half years. Let’s start with some WWE names.
Chris Jericho – I just cannot start a wrestling promotion without this guy. Sure, he’s nearly 40, but he’s been one of the most consistently good performer for nearly twenty years. And while he may not have too much longer left in the ring, he’s still one of the best, and he would help out the younger guys immensely. And once his in-ring career is over, he can move to an authority role or the commentation station.
The Hart Dynasty – Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith, and Nattie Neidhart are the best tag team in the WWE right now, and the best since The Miz and John Morrison. And they’re getting better with every passing week. Just imagine what they would do if they weren’t restricted by WWE’s conservative match-style. And, if you wanted to make a Trio out of them, either have Nattie work as an equal or bring in Teddy Hart (if he can control himself). In a promotion with a very strong tag team division (which my promotion would, in fact, have), the Dynasty would provide a lot of great entertainment.
Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal – Before Bryan Danielson made his triumphant return to WWE programming, I proclaimed Bourne the next United States Champion. Now that that pipe dream is over, it’s time to focus on the positives. Bourne is one of the best in-ring performers WWE has. He’s the best high-flyer they’ve got, and he’s a magnificent seller. But on a roster of mostly smaller guys (relatively speaking, of course), Bourne could truly flourish. Which I would allow him to do, as I would everyone on this roster.
The Usos – I really think WWE Creative is screwing up by not continuing the Usos/Harts feud. It’s the best tag team feud they’ve had in a very long time, and just a couple of weeks after the Usos lost in a Tag Team Title match, they’re jobbing to Santino and Vlad Kozlov? How quickly Creative can drop someone always surprises and disgusts me. With Tamina at their side, they can form a formidable Trio. I would definitely let the Usos and the Harts feud for a year or more.
John Morrison – We saw flashes of utter brilliance after his character’s initial transformation from Johnny Nitro to John Morrison. As a heel, Morrison was one of the best things the now-defunct ECW had to offer. As a face, Morrison is struggling, stagnant, and boring. We know he’s got crazy athleticism. What we need now is for him to not be bound by the idiocy that WWE Creative heaps upon some of their best talent. Morrison unchained could be one of the greatest performers in wrestling history. And I’d fully intend to allow him the freedom to do what he does best.
Yoshi Tatsu – Tatsu’s situation mirrors Morrison’s. With more freedom during matches, Tatsu could really become entertaining as hell. He can get crazy over with the fans by doing very little, which I cannot say for other people. With a little coaxing, Tatsu could really prove to be one of the most fun guys to watch in the ring.
Christian – He is in the same boat as Jericho. He’s probably nearing the end of his career, but he’s still got plenty of time left to keep the fans truly entertained. Christian is one of those guys who has gotten all of the recognition he’s deserved, only it’s all been on the internet. Well, I intend to let the world know that he is deserving of all that praise. Like Jericho, he could be a major help with the younger guys on the roster, as well as an inspiration for anyone who was told they weren’t good enough but never stopped working until they achieved their goals.
CM Punk – What kind of a promotion would this be without the Straight Edge Superstar? A crappy one, that’s what. Punk is one of those rare guys who can work just as well as a face or heel, and he always gets heat no matter what. He’s an excellent talker, and can bring it in the ring. Plain and simple, no major promotion should pass on CM Punk.
Kofi Kingston – Kofi has grown leaps and bounds (pun oh so deliciously intended) since his debut on WWE programming a few years back. We all know he’s got an incredible amount of athleticism and energy, and he’s one of the premier high-flyers in the business today. But with his re-found emotion and anger, he can really become a major player. Put him in a match with someone who’s wronged him and watch the sparks fly. Kofi is an integral part of the WWE roster, and he’ll be even more important on my roster.
Trent Barreta – Some of you may be scratching your heads with this pick, but I see the potential in Barreta to be truly great. He’s brash, arrogant, and a total douchenozzle. Plus, he’s got a fun style in the ring. With some matches against vets, he could gain the experience he needs to become a mainstay in the upper mid-card or even the main event.
Low Ki/Kaval – In my first draft of the roster, I forgot Kaval. Boy, did I feel like an idiot after going through the roster and realizing his name wasn’t on it. You cannot deny the sheer entertianment factor he brings to the ring. As Senshi in TNA, he was probably my favorite wrestler for that company, simply because he was so dedicated to his character that I actually was a little scared of him. I’d love to see him return to that state instead of his watered down WWE persona. Bring the real Low Ki back, and we’ve got one hell of a performer.
Husky Harris/Windham Rotunda – If this guy were in the indies, he could be a Young Lion’s Cup champion. He’s got the talent already, and the speaking chops to back it up. Yet he’s still got approximately infinity potential left. I thought it was a tragedy that he was voted off NXT before Alex Riley, and I’m betting he’ll get moved up to the WWE main roster soon. But he’ll definitely be on my roster.
Bryan Danielson – Danielson was another guy who was left off my first draft, though that was more because I didn’t know if he was going to return to WWE or if he was going to stay in the indies. Danielson is still arguably the best in the world at what he does (no offense, Jericho), and will likely be my promotion’s first World Champion. He deserves every bit of praise that the internet gives him, and having him on the roster is a no-brainer.
William Regal – I think Regal’s best wrestling days are behind him, but he can still be a fantastic authority figure, like a GM or Director of Fun. Plus, he’d probably be a sure bet as a trainer for any up-and-comers wanting to get in on this awesome promotion I’m building.
Gail Kim – Though I’m not creating a separate women’s division, I am going to have women on the roster who I feel could perform with the men on an equal basis. I’ve already listed Nattie Neidhart and Tamina, and I think Gail can easily join them as an equal member of the roster. She’s been hampered by WWE booking, so I think that she’ll get a lot more satisfaction out of her career if she were given more freedom during matches, which I would give her (and everyone else).
Serena – If you haven’t heard, Serena was future endeavored last week because, according to reports, she was not “living her gimmick” outside the arena. For anyone who doesn’t already abide by the straight edge rules, trying to follow them is likely very difficult. I guess WWE wasn’t happy with her. I think it’s silly that they let her go, but whatever. Anyway, in her first match, she was more entertaining than probably 90% of the rest of the women on the WWE roster. It’s a shame she’ll be gone from WWE programming starting next week, but she has a place on my roster for sure.
So that’s my hand-picked roster from WWE. Now, let’s move to TNA.
AJ Styles – Like Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, and CM Punk, you cannot have an ultimate roster of awesomeness and NOT have AJ Styles. If you put Styles in a ring, he will deliver an awesome match. Styles is one of the few bright spots on a TNA roster plagued with old, washed up, over-spray-tanned geezers who should have left the business a decade ago. Styles has to be on the roster, plain and simple.
The Motor City Machineguns – Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley have formed one of the best teams I’ve seen. They are so in sync with each other that sometimes it boggles my mind how well they work together. They’d provide a definite spark to the tag division I’m building, and will provide endless entertainment during their matches.
Nigel McGuinness – Admittedly, I’m putting him on the roster more because of hearsay than having actually watched him. I’ve seen only a couple of matches of his from his ROH days, but he’s gotten praise from the IWC for his work as ROH Champion, and, really, just about any former ROH Champion is welcome on my roster.
The Young Bucks – Having seen them once in Dragon Gate USA and a couple of times in CHIKARA, I can confirm that these guys are insane. The good kind of insane. They light up the tag division, and they definitely have a lot of time to grow better and better.
Jay Lethal – I always thought Lethal was criminally under-appreciated in TNA. His Black Machismo gimmick was cute for a while, and I did catch the first time he copied the Nature Boy gimmick, and that was priceless. But Lethal is an extremely talented wrestler, and definitely should get more exposure than he’s gotten in TNA over the years.
Samoa Joe – If you want intensity, you go to Joe. Though I haven’t really kept up with his work in the last year or two, he was definitely a force to be reckoned with back in 2005-2006. If he can bring the intensity back to what it was in those days, Joe could be one of the greatest talents on this roster.
Mick Foley – His in-ring career is over, but Foley was a great commentator while he was part of the Smackdown broadcast table. I think Foley would be an excellent color commentator.
Now, the roster additions from ROH:
Tyler Black – I really should put him under the WWE banner, seeing as how he signed a contract with them a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only seen a couple of Black’s matches, and that was a year or two ago, but he really impressed me back then. And being a soon-to-be former ROH Champion means something, I believe. So Black has a spot on my roster for sure.
Austin Aries – Like Lethal, Aries was given a stupid gimmick and forced to work with it for far too long. Aries is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, and it would be foolish of me not to put him on this roster. He can work well with just about anyone.
The Briscoe Brothers – Again, I’ve only seen a couple of their matches, but they’ve proven themselves with their grit, determination, and inability to see how ridiculous their matches really are. Watching the Briscoes vs. the Machineguns or the Harts would be a treat.
Kevin Steen – This guy proves to me that it doesn’t matter what you look like, because it’s the talent that matters. If I had to make a list of wrestling idols, Steen would be on that list. I’ve enjoyed what few matches of his I’ve seen, and while he and my next pick may have ended their partnership, Steen still stands as a strong singles competitor.
El Generico – I would be a colossal moron not to take The Generic Luchador. Generico is one of the most entertaining guys in wrestling today, and could likely bring his feud with Steen over to this promotion. Plus, the fact that he’s always crazy over with the crowds is always a bonus.
Necro Butcher – He’s mostly on here because he scares the crap out of me and I fear that if I didn’t put him on the roster, he’d punch a hole in my head. That’s how awesome he is.
Colt Cabana/Matt Classic – Finally, the Second City Saints reunite! Cabana is the funniest guy in wrestling, and Matt Classic is my favorite wrestling character of all time. And that’s saying something. Cabana is also insanely over with the fans, and he always puts on a fun match. So it’s a no-brainer to put him on the roster. Maybe have a few matches with CM Punk?
Claudio Castagnoli – The current Tag Team Champion in both ROH and CHIKARA is also an easy pick for the roster. Claudio is, I think, the uncrowned ROH Champion, and were he not Tag Team Champions in two promotions, I think he could be ROH Champion once Tyler Black leaves for WWE. But this is my fantasy, so I’ll stick with that. Claudio is one of the best at riling up fans, and he’s got a pile of talent to boot. Whether he stays in a team with Chris Hero or stays with the BDK I have yet to figure out. But rest assured, Claudio Castagnoli is a lock for a roster spot.
Chris Hero – Hero is on the roster simply because of hearsay and because he and Claudio are ROH Tag Champs. I’ve never seen Hero in a match, so I’m putting him on the roster because the internet praises him. Which is a terrible way to pick a roster, but I don’t think they give the ROH Tag Team Titles to just anybody.
Delirious – The new head booker for ROH is also one of the most strangely entertaining guys out there. Just imagine what ROH would be like if Delirious, the character, booked the company…man, I’d love to watch that. Anyway, Delirious is ridiculous, and I love that about him. He’s another one of those guys who has such a strong character that I sometimes wonder how much of it is an act and how much is just the man himself. Bottom line, Delirious is fun to watch, and that gets a spot on my roster.
And now, the (admittedly large) roster choices from CHIKARA:
“Lightning” Mike Quackenbush – The Master of a Thousand Holds actually deserves that moniker. Every match I’ve seen Quack in has been off the charts awesome. But if you truly want a showcase of his in-ring talent, watch his Trios match from Night one of the 2009 King of Trios with he, Johnny Saint, and Jorge Rivera taking on Incoherence (Delirious, Hallowicked, and Frightmare). It’s one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Quackenbush brings all the tools to the ring, and would also be a great head trainer.
The Colony – Perhaps the best Trio in wrestling today, no team is as in sync as The Colony. Soldier Ant, Fire Ant, and Green Ant have pretty well turned me from an ignorant ignoramus to a CHIKARA fan. They work so well together, and would be an excellent addition to the Tag Team division.
Hallowicked – For a big bruiser, Hallowicked is one hell of a great in-ring performer. I first saw him on a Dragon Gate USA show, and had to admit that he was damn good. And even though he hasn’t been in CHIKARA too much in 2010, he’s still damn fun. Especially when you team him with my next roster pick.
Frightmare – There’s a reason this guy was the Wrestling Observer’s 2010 Rookie of the Year. Frightmare is about as big of a bundle of energy as you will ever see. He reminds me of Rey Mysterio, only with no inhibitions inside the ring. Frightmare has a long and epic career ahead of him, and I’d love it if he spent some of his career with my imaginary promotion.
Eddie Kingston – Like Steen, Samoa Joe, and Rotunda before him, Eddie Kingston proves to me that you do not need to have a ridiculously musclebound, overly tanned body to be a great wrestler. In my opinion, Kingston is the best wrestler of 2010 so far. I’ve seen just five matches of his, all of them CHIKARA matches, but each one has shown me how good of a storyteller Kingston is in the ring. The first of his matches I saw was at Night 3 of the King of Trios 2010, when he took on Christopher Daniels in an awesome encounter. Then, he faced Tommy Dreamer at Anniversario Elf, which was probably one of the best matches I’ve seen all year, based on pure emotion alone. He then faced Bryan Danielson in an epic encounter at We Must Eat Michigan’s Brain and a fun match with Delirious at Faded Scars and Lines. The last match of his I’ve seen was a truly awesome tag match with he and Tommy Dreamer taking on the CHIKARA Tag Team Champions, Claudio Castagnoli and Ares of the sinister BDK. It was high tension all throughout the match, and it cemented Kingston’s talent for me. So Eddie Kingston is a surefire lock on my roster.
Jigsaw – This guy is nuts. And he’s crazy fun in the ring. And he and Mike Quackenbush form a truly formidable tag team. I wouldn’t consider my roster complete without Jigsaw.
The Future is Now – Helios and Equinox are also completely nuts. Helios has got some crazy moves, and Equinox is another of those guys who proves that looks don’t matter, talent does. Plus, Equinox has, in my humble opinion, the greatest Right Hand in the entire business, not just CHIKARA. It’s epic. You have to see it to believe it.
The Osirian Portal – Amasis and Ophidian have proved to me that they are a very strong team. Amasis is a fun character, and Ophidian is the 2010 Rey de Voladores champion (that’s King of the Rockets or King of the High-Flyers), so yeah, they definitely get a spot on the roster.
F.I.S.T. – With the unceremonious booting-out of the awesome Gran Akuma, Friends In Similar Tights seems to be going in a new direction. With Icarus, Chuck Taylor (he of the high-pitched screams) and Johnny Gargano (he of the scrunchies), F.I.S.T. looks to be about as good as ever. And being one of the longest-running teams in wrestling history, they should definitely be on the roster.
The UnStable – Yes, Colin Delaney is back! Along with Vin Gerard and STIGMA, these three have a very strong Trio. Even though STIGMA isn’t the greatest worker compared to some of the rest of this epic roster, it would be silly to break up a great team like The UnStable.
UltraMantis Black – This guy is one of the coolest characters ever. He’s the main villain of the upcoming CHIKARA video game, which I will definitely be purchasing whenever it is released. Mantis has got oodles of charisma, and his transformation over the last few months from leader of the most vile stable in CHIKARA to a desperate man willing to go to any length to destroy the stable that took everything away from him has been nothing short of amazing. The fact that the fans are so strongly behind him when mere months ago he was the most hated man in CHIKARA is purely awesome. Not having Mantis, both in the ring and at the commentation station, would be a travesty of justice.
Bruderschaft des Kreuzes – Currently the best stable in wrestling, in my estimation, the BDK has been wreaking havoc in CHIKARA for nine months now. Ares, Claudio (yep, he’s evil in CHIKARA), Tursas, Pinky Sanchez, Lince Dorado, Tim Donst (Jack Swagger’s miniature if ever there was one), Delirious, Daizee Haze, and Sara Del Ray have formed a truly…formidable stable. And since they have the Director of Fun and a referee in their back pocket, the BDK would provide a fantastic force to be reckoned with for the beginning months of this promotion.
So there is my roster. You may have noticed that there are some very prominent names missing from the list. I have my reasons for leaving them off of this roster. Unfortunately, this has gone on far, far longer than I had expected, so it looks like I will have to break this post into two parts. So stay tuned, because in the 101st post, I explain why certain names were left off the roster, and I create the first ever show for this ultimate epic roster of awesomeness. So until next time, stay cool, everyone!