In the debut of his regular column, TGP Executive Editor Michael Melchor counts 10 things he’s thankful for in pro wrestling.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
The views and opinions herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those if the rest of the human race.
Yeah, I know. Hell of a day to debut a column, right? But I do want to thank you for joining me in-between bouts of turkey, pumpkin pie and tryptophan-induced food comas.
Aside from binging on food like it was a Netflix series, today is about being thankful. For friends, family, that raise at your job, finally dumping that loser and going you own way like Fleetwood Mac – whatever it may be. With that in mind, I decided that, since this particular column was going to debut today, what better way than…a listicle [*GROAN*] of things I’m thankful for in wrestling that have happened this year?
Let’s get ye olde disclaimer out of the way, then. This is a personal list based on personal experiences this year. I’m almost positive some stuff was left off because it was, overall, a pretty damn good year for pro wrestling. The first 10 things that popped in my head are what made it on the list and that was the cutoff. This is not a ranked list, so the items before are in no particular favorite-to-least-favorite order or anything. Really, the only item that has any order to it is the first – these folks are listed (mostly) chronologically:
1. Josh Briggs, Elena Pogosyan, Sugar D, Chico Adams, Charlene Mcanally, Davienne, Eric Bischoff, Barrington Hughes, Alex Greenfield, Mega Ran, Desean Pratt, Mike Quackenbush, Hallowicked, Green Ant, Razerhawk, Jeff Jarrett, and Bryce Remsburg. I’ve had a lot of fun telling the stories of a lot of pro wrestling’s storytellers this year. Each one of them were very gracious and a joy to talk to. Looking forward to more of that in 2019.
2. NXT UK. The global development plan of WWE (think I’m kidding, just keep watching) began in earnest this year as the first satellite operation opened in the United Kingdom. Whether it’s under the WWE umbrella or not, I’m all for a new crop of performers being given a bigger platform to make their loving and names on. Bonus points for being in the country that gave us…
3. Pete Dunne. This kid is a pugnacious, rugged, persistent, violent little bastard that’s had some of the best matches and best facial expressions all year. And I love him for it.
4. The Elite. The wrestling world lost all of its mind leading up to and all through Labor Day weekend thanks to All In. Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks put the exclamation point on an era where wrestling outside the corporate giant took precedence. With word going around the campfire that Rhodes, the Jacksons and possibly Adam Page are signing with no one come early next year with possible plan to do their own thing, 2019 should be a rather interesting time for pro wrestling.
5. The return of MLW. I’ve espoused the virtues of the original MLW to anyone who will listen as I was a big fan of the “Hybrid Wrestling” promotion. Fourteen years after the first round, MLW Fusion is a refreshing weekly respite from the endless, repetitive hours of WWE television. Future stars like Kotto Brazil, Tom Lawlor and the aforementioned Barrington Hughes shine right alongside veterans like Sami Callihan and Low Ki. While it’s been over a year since the company got back in the ring proper, 2018 had continued to show it was the right call.
6. Powerbomb.tv. An OTT service dedicated to independent wrestling? Beyond Wrestling, CHIKARA, Women’s Wrestling Revolution, AIW and several other companies on demand? The chance to discover new promotions like Black Label Pro and scads of others? Yes, yes and yes, please!
7. Al Snow acquiring Ohio Valley Wrestling. Over of the longest-running independent promotions in the country got a shot in the arm when Al Snow took over. The 1000th episode saw a plethora of stars and, more importantly, a renewed focus on reminding everyone during the “independent era” who’s done it the longest and, oftentimes, the best. Long live the Ohio Valley.
8. The continued resurgence of women’s wrestling. Ladies from all over stepped up to show the sport how much better storytelling can be when stereotypes are kicked in the nuts. What may turn out to be the best shows WWE put on this year had not one guy in sight while five days later, the worst show of 2018 had no women on it. Outside the corporation, Shimmer continued strong, WWR picked up steam, Jordynne Grace and Tessa Blanchard revitalized the Impact Knockouts division and the Women of Honor crowned their first check-in and landed Tenille Dashwood to boot. A great year for the women looks to continue in 2019.
9. The return of the NWA. Anyone who’s listened to me on “Going Home” knows I’m an NWA guy. It’s what I grew up with – the grittier, more realistic style made me a fan, not the cartoonish “Hulkamania” era. People couldn’t help but make fun of Billy Corgan when it was announced that he was buying the National Wrestling Alliance. Now the same people that ridiculed him are some of the biggest fans of the brand. That realistic approach to storytelling that defined earlier iterations (with the main character of the story being the #TenPoundsOfGold) is back. The three letters that meant so much to pro wrestling is well on the way to re-establishing its preeminence.
10. You. Yeah, you heard me. When Ryan and I started this thing 19 months ago, we had no idea if there’d be an audience for what we wanted to do. We could care less who’s backstage at Raw or who’s supposed to be the champion come WrestleMania. As fans of pro wrestling, we wanted to tell the stories of those involved rather than chase rumorz or scoopz. Apparently quite a few of you wanted to read, watch and hear those stories also. All of you supporting us have my undying thanks as well.
Michael Melchor is the Executive Editor of TheGorillaPosition.com. He has been a writer and editor for various publications and websites for more than 20 years including BackStage Pass magazine, 411Mania.com, PanelsOnPages.com, 1Wrestling.com and the Miami Herald covering music, comics and – of course – wrestling, all from a different perspective.