Top V: List of Wrestling Thanks for 2016

So here in the United States, we are rapidly approaching Thanksgiving. It's normally a time to give thanks for the people, events, and things in our lives.

And I do have a lot to be thankful about. I have my health, family, books, friends, and Rick --- who's promised me a sofa to sleep on in case things get even worse politically here in the US.

A little later, I'm going to do a list of grievances for 2016 (I think it should be a Top V, but it might have to be a Top X because 2016 has been the worst). But for now, let's pause and give thanks to the following great things about 2016 and wrestling.

1) The New Day's Wrestlemania Entrance

Listen, we can have a debate over whether or not The New Day has worn out their welcome (for the record, I believe that they are given poor material by the writing staff and that their characters should be given some adversity), but I think we can all agree that their "Cereal Box Entrance" was one of the highlights of a relatively dull Wrestlemania.

As a metaphor, I think we all want to have our "come out of a giant  box of cereal moment" and then have people cheer us doing so. Think about it. You know it's true.

2) Mondo Lucha in Milwaukee

I've gushed over Mondo Lucha before - such as in this blog post here Mondo Lucha - but I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed the experience of seeing a legitimately hot crowd and seeing a performance that, even for one night, reinvigorated my love of professional wrestling. I think as fans, what a lot of us are missing from the entertainment is either the element of surprise or the ability to "let ourselves go" and get wrapped up in the moment.

Again, and this is a preview of my grievance list, I've grown really tired of the need of fans to try and hijack shows - even at some independent wrestling events. But there wasn't that at Mondo Lucha. It was fans understanding their roles and embracing the moment.

3) Lesnar vs Goldberg

Speaking of the unexpected....

There have been a few moments this year where fans have been partially surprised: Sasha Banks's loss at SummerSlam -- uh......hmm...I thought there were others. Anyway, because so many of us are "dialed-in" to the seemingly endless array of news sites, rumor sites, and dirt sheets, wrestling fans seem to "know" what's going to happen before it happens.

While I cannot stand the McMahon family, nor their ideology or politics, I can emphasize with their struggles to surprise people when seemingly "everyone" knows what's going to happen next. And I think this knowledge makes being a wrestling fan that more tiresome.

As such, the squash match from last Sunday's Survivor Series was great. No one seemed to see it coming; sure, some people forecast a Goldberg win, but I cannot think of anyone who anticipated such a quick win. And sure, I was pissed at first --- but soon after, I started to appreciate the brilliance of this moment. It not only gives these characters something new and added depth, but it was also shocking. It was a moment where you sat there and thought "did I just see that?"

4) New Japan Pro Wrestling / Dramatic Dream Team Pro-Wrestling

As you can probably figure out, I've started to move away from the WWE as a source of my pro wrestling fandom and started to seek out alternatives. I've gone to more Indy shows, watched older regional territories, and fallen in love with Japanese wrestling. I even bought the t-shirt pictured above (and I rarely buy wrestling t-shirts).

I can't quite explain why I've fallen so hard for Japanese wrestling. Perhaps it's the fact that it's not the WWE; perhaps it's the fact the fans are not completely obsessed with hijacking every show they attend; perhaps it's the fact I adore many elements of Japanese culture. In any event, I've taken to watching older episodes of NJPW on Axis Tv (if you have Sling, you can watch!) as well as many clips online as I can (I haven't committed to buying their version of the WWE network ----- yet). Also, I'm buying a Tetsuya Naito t-shirt soon.

And what can I say about the ludicrousness and absurdity of DDT wrestling. I think at times wrestling fans can take the entertainment too seriously, and the legendary matches of this promotion throw water on that seriousness. If you haven't seen the KAT-TOO vs Honda / Dino match, here's a quick overview: SB Nation Japanese Comedy

5) Nakamura vs Zayn

If you know someone who isn't a wrestling fan, show them this match.

If you know someone who's a lapse wrestling fan, show them this match.

If you know someone who's a fan of theatre, but hates wrestling, show them this match.

Show everyone this match.

This, honestly, was the best match of the best show of the year. Watch this again. Eat cranberry sauce (homemade, not from a can dingus). Watch this again. Drink wine. Drink bourbon. Eat some pie. Give thanks for the good in wrestling.

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