January 10, 2007
The Best of 2006: The Superstars
For me to consider a “WWE Superstar” to be one of the best, they have to be basically what the WWE describes as a “WWE Superstar”. Otherwise, they’d be wrestling some place else. But seriously, this person has to garner up some huge accomplishments, has to be involved within WWE for at least six months in the year, and maintain their own relativity to the business. Since the beginning of the year, I had been collecting results from every televised WWE card and kept every Superstar’s individual results on file for 2006. I started this when I wasn’t working but maybe 20 hours a week and wasn’t going to school just to have an awesome end of the year column such as this one; don’t judge me! I gave out points to each wrestler as well: 5 points for every “Big Four” PPV win, 4 points for every other PPV win, an extra 3 points for every title win, 2 points for a Raw/SD/ECW weekly show win, 2 points for every “Big Four” PPV loss, 1 point for every Velocity/Heat win, 1 point for every other PPV loss, and zero points for every free-TV show loss. I’ll be adding a very condensed version of the top 20+honorable mentions of each Superstar’s stats for 2006, so I hope that’ll be some interest to you. Also I think it should be mentioned that I will probably be more optimistic in this column than in any PPV review that I have wrote about the actual year itself. Alright, let’s tackle this thing.
Here are a few honorable mentions!
- Mickie James – (2-Time WWE Women’s Champion, 16-15 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 51 points)
- Finlay – (WWE United States Champion, 20-35 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 51 points)
- Gregory Helms – (WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Longest-reigning champion of the year, 18-16 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 49 points)
- Paul London & Brian Kendrick – (WWE Tag Team Champions, 18-18 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 49 points)
- The Undertaker – (WWE’s Match of the Year w/Kurt Angle at No Way Out, 17-5 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 46 points)
Now to the cream of the crop, my friends.
#20. Kurt Angle
Biggest Accomplishments: World Championship, Smackdown main event at WrestleMania, WWE’s Match of the Year w/The Undertaker at No Way Out, 18-12 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, the only Superstar to be involved on a weekly basis on all three brands, 52 points.
Main Feuds: Mark Henry, The Undertaker, Randy Orton
You can call him a turn-coat if you want, WWE. But this man has an incurable disease called OCD; Obsessive Competition Disorder. This machine of a wrestler doesn’t know how or when to quit, which is partly why he’s an elitist of the elite when you consider the best wrestlers in the world. All the same, we love him.
Biggest Accomplishments: 22-25 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 53 points
Main Feuds: Kane, Chris Masters, Shelton Benjamin, Johnny Nitro, Randy Orton
Hey, this guy is just cool. Carlito was turned face thanks to the crowd after WrestleMania and hasn’t turned back since. He’s remained a solid wrestler throughout the year and was even followed around by Trish for a while there. It’s not been a bad year to be Carlito.
#18. King Booker
Biggest Accomplishments: World Championship, 2006 King of the Ring winner, 14-26 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record
Main Feuds: Chris Benoit, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Batista
It was May 21, 2006 at Judgment Day where Booker T’s WWE career took a turn for the better. After being mixed in the shuffle of wrestlers in WWE as nothing more than average, Booker reclaimed his throne as the funniest man in wrestling with his “King Booker” gimmick by becoming the first King of the Ring since Brock Lesnar in 2002. He didn’t get a lot of wins this year, but when he did win he made it count big for him. He won his first-ever World Championship by defeating Rey Mysterio at the Great American Bash that many would agree had been due to him for over three years now.
#17. Ric Flair
Biggest Accomplishments: WWE Intercontinental Champion, World Tag Team Champions (w/Roddy Piper), 17-12 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 54 points
Main Feuds: Edge, Mick Foley, The Spirit Squad
Ric Flair started the year off with an amazing TLC match with Edge, competed in a great Money-in-the-Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, and fought Mick Foley hard in an awesome “I Quit” match at SummerSlam. Despite personal troubles he’s had to face throughout this year, Flair is doing things in the ring people his age shouldn’t even attempt, and EXCELLING at it above 80% of wrestlers. It’s hard to argue that Ric Flair is still the man.
#16. Johnny Nitro
Biggest Accomplishments: 2-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE Tag Team Champions (w/Joey Mercury), 18-34 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 54 points
Main Feuds: Paul London & Brian Kendrick, Carlito, Jeff Hardy, John Cena
Since having great tag team success with Joey Mercury on Smackdown throughout 2005, MNM started off 2006 at the top of the tag-scene. Once London and Kendrick came along and took their belts away, MNM was defeated and broken up. Nitro left Smackdown with his woman Melina and ran off to Raw and traded the IC title belt with Jeff Hardy in some great matches. He’s also been involved with Kevin Federline’s involvement with WWE, which might or might not have given him some mainstream exposure. Nitro’s got himself one HOT woman and he’s an upper-card star so I’d say he’s doing pretty well. In my opinion, he’s one of the more improved wrestlers in 2006.
Biggest Accomplishments: World Championship, 20-7 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 55 points
Main Feuds: Mark Henry, Mr. Kennedy, King Booker, Finlay
Poor Batista. He faced injury early in the year that caused him to give up the big Gold belt that he had won at WrestleMania 21. He still hasn’t been able to find “the monster inside himself” that made him worthy of the belt to begin with, but thanks to Finlay he’s improving. He had some great matches with Kennedy and he won his belt back at Survivor Series from King Booker, so hopefully now he’ll stay injury-free and happy for a while.
#14. Shelton Benjamin
Biggest Accomplishments: 2-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, 23-26 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 55 points
Main Feuds: Rob Van Dam, Carlito
Shelton Benjamin has been one of the biggest rising stars in WWE for several years now. Towards the end of 2005, it didn’t look too good for Shelton. He was losing all the time, but then his mom came to help and brought him back to the Intercontinental title. For the second year in a row, he has helped to make the “Money-in-the-Bank” ladder match very memorable. He had some great matches with Rob Van Dam and Carlito, but then the bottom fell out when he lost the IC title to Johnny Nitro at Vengeance and Benjamin went back to the main event on Heat. In December, he re-aligned himself with his old partner from The World’s Greatest Tag Team and saved himself from being punted off this countdown. Seriously, that might’ve really affected his career!
#13. The Big Show
Biggest Accomplishments: ECW World Champion, World Tag Team Champions (w/Kane), 20-26 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, the first wrestler ever to hold the WWE, WCW and ECW World titles, 57 points
Main Feuds: Triple H, Chris Masters, Kane, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, John Cena, Bobby Lashley
If you’re a fan of the new ECW, you would know that it would not be possible without this man. He solidified the new ECW as a tough brand because no one could beat him for the ECW belt until Bobby Lashley came along. He also helped eased the WWE fans into the brand, making them feel more at home. Does that make sense? This is about as optimistic as I can be about Big Show, okay? He dominated the ECW in 2006 and gave it “the rub” that your average WWE fans just might’ve needed to want to watch this brand as well as the other shows.
#12. Matt Hardy
Biggest Accomplishments: 24-24 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 58 points
Main Feuds: Road Warrior Animal, Gregory Helms, MNM
Another perfect example where a career was going nowhere and one thing changed it all. Matt was doing well until WrestleMania with some non-title wins over MNM with Tatanka, but he started to wonder around aimlessly until he got into a nice little rivalry with Gregory Helms during the summer. Things were going great, and then Jeff Hardy resigned with WWE in August and made the Hardy Boyz reunion only a matter of time. Matt’s year was saved. The two were reunited by November in a feud against MNM, but then the feud was cut short once Joey Mercury was injured in the four-way ladder match at Armageddon. It was a good year for Matt, but hopefully 2007 will be even brighter for him.
#11. Rey Mysterio
Biggest Accomplishments: World Championship, Main Event at WrestleMania, 2006 Royal Rumble winner, 19-25 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 59 points
Main Feuds: Mark Henry, Randy Orton, JBL, King Booker, Chavo Guerrero
There has never been a better year for any wrestler under 200 pounds in the history of WWE. The guy pulled off a remarkable Royal Rumble win AND won the World Championship at WrestleMania in the main event. People say, “It could all be because of Eddie though.” Who really cares? He’s definitely been one of the most over wrestlers on Smackdown since he came to WWE in 2002, so that alone makes him worthy. Regardless of a lackluster title run and another soap opera-like angle with Chavo, he continued to shine throughout the fall before his knee injury.
Biggest Accomplishments: Never pinned or made to submit, 26-5 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 60 points
Main Feuds: Kane, John Cena
Now we all know the winner is pre-determined, but it’s still pretty cool to have an undefeated record like that. While being as dominant as he was with the style of wrestling he’s doing, Umaga looked pretty good to be such a “savage beast”. Plus, half of his credibility is thanks to Armando. That guy is GOLD.
#9. Randy Orton
Biggest Accomplishments: World Tag Team Champions (w/Edge), Main Event at WrestleMania, 20-18 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 61 points
Main Feuds: Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan, Carlito, DX
Orton talked trash to Rey Mysterio, competed with Kurt Angle, messed around with Hulk Hogan’s daughter, gave Carlito an RKO off a springboard, and beat up DX with steel chairs. It’s been a good year for the cockiest wrestler on the planet. Plus, teaming up with Edge just might be the best thing to happen to WWE in quite some time.
Biggest Accomplishments: World Tag Team Champions (w/Big Show), 25-22 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 63 points
Main Feuds: Carlito, Big Show, Himself, Umaga, MVP
Kane was doing just fine beating up everybody he faced until he released a movie and started feuding with himself. That was some weird stuff, I tell you. Still, he spent the fall putting Umaga and MVP over in some pretty fun matches. He even met back with The Undertaker and reformed the Brothers of Destruction to put the pounding on Kennedy and MVP. Altogether not his most memorable year, but he didn’t do too badly for the most part in ‘06.
#7. Shawn Michaels
Biggest Accomplishments: 22-18 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 65 points
Main Feuds: The McMahons, The Spirit Squad, Rated RKO
Shawn Michaels started the year feuding with Vince McMahon, which went from bad to the worse once Vince crossed an invisible line in wrestling that should never EVER be crossed when he began blaspheming God to get under Shawn’s skin. I’d still like to know what Shawn really thought of being a part of that. However, Shawn did his best to get through it and started the DX reunion. He and Triple H beat up the Spirit Squad (sometimes single-handedly) and had a **** “Hell in a Cell” match with the McMahons and Big Show at Unforgiven. Once Edge & Orton came knocking at their door, DX got a run for their money in a nice little back-and-forth feud. He might’ve been involved in some crappy angles, but he’s still one of the best in the business.
#6. Chris Benoit
Biggest Accomplishments: 2-Time WWE U.S. Champion, 26-8 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 71 points
Main Feuds: Booker T, JBL, Finlay, Chavo Guerrero
One of the most consummate stars in my generation, Chris Benoit has another great year despite missing over four months of action. He put on some great matches in all of his main feuds listed above, including an underappreciated match with Randy Orton in January. It’ll be interesting to see what he’ll do in 2007.
#5. Rob Van Dam
Biggest Accomplishments: WWE Champion, ECW Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, Money-in-the-Bank ladder match winner, first wrestler ever to hold both the WWE and ECW World titles simultaneously, 27-19 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 73 points
Main Feuds: Shelton Benjamin, Edge, John Cena, Hardcore Holly, Big Show, Test
Rob Van Dam made his anticipated return to WWE after missing a year due to injuries at the Royal Rumble, won the Money-in-the-Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania, won the WWE Intercontinental title from Shelton Benjamin at Backlash, won the WWE Title in NYC at ECW’s One Night Stand from John Cena, was hand-given the ECW World Title by Paul Heyman on the first ECW show. No doubt an extremely decorated year for Rob Van Dam, but then he throws it ALL away after he gets caught with drugs in a car with Sabu. Wow. He drops both belts within a two-day period and we don’t see him again until mid-August when he takes on Sabu in a ladder match for a shot at the ECW title at SummerSlam. He loses the match, but then gets into a nice feud with Hardcore Holly and Test in the next several weeks. They put on some great matches, but it’s doubtful that Rob Van Dam will ever be given back the blessings he received during the first half of 2006.
Biggest Accomplishments: 2-Time WWE Champion, World Tag Team Champions (w/Randy Orton), Runner-Up for Match of the Year w/John Cena at Unforgiven, 24-26 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 78 points
Main Feuds: Ric Flair, John Cena, Mick Foley, Rob Van Dam, DX
He is the most hated man in North American wrestling. He’s getting the kind of heat every wrestling company wants their #1 heel to have. The kind where it’s not, “I want this prick off my TV now!” kind of reactions, it’s the “I want to see this guy get the crap beat out of him, and I’m willing to pay to see it!” kind of heat. He’s had a great year full of great matches that makes you want to watch just to see him get the beating he deserves. Edge has finally arrived, folks.
#3. Triple H
Biggest Accomplishments: Main Event at WrestleMania, 29-17 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 80 points
Main Feuds: The Big Show, John Cena, The Spirit Squad, The McMahons, Rated RKO
Much like his buddy Shawn Michaels, this guy is just going to be good because that’s just who he is. Triple H has turned into the star who puts people over at WrestleMania to turn them into flag-barers for the company, which is a really smart idea. There were moments where he made me a little frustrated when DX was treating the Spirit Squad like they were crash test dummies (literal lifeless crash test dummies, not the band), but other than that Triple H has given us another entertaining year. Hey, look, no World titles this year either!
#2. Bobby Lashley
Biggest Accomplishments: ECW World Champion, WWE U.S. Champion, 41-18 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 97 points
Main Feuds: JBL, Finlay, King Booker, The Big Show
Bobby Lashley ran through everybody on Smackdown this year. In his first full rookie year in WWE, the guy really stepped up his game and it’ll be interesting to see what he can do in the ECW “Extreme Rules” type environment. I think what can be most said about Lashley after this year is that people know who he is now because of the huge impact he made on Smackdown, and possibly an even bigger one on ECW by dethroning Big Show of the ECW World title.
#1. John Cena
Biggest Accomplishments: 2-Time WWE Champion, Main Event at WrestleMania, Runner-Up for Match of the Year w/Edge at Unforgiven, 44-16 PPV/TV Win-Loss Record, 121 points
Main Feuds: Edge, Triple H, Rob Van Dam, The Big Show, K-Fed & Johnny Nitro, Umaga
Who else would it be, seriously? Despite all the boos from us guys and all the cheers from the little kids and ladies out there, John Cena has stayed professional and always on top of things. His WrestleMania match will go down as one of his most memorable matches ever for this very reason, even if it wasn’t as great a match as some of his others. The same goes for his match at One Night Stand II. When people said he couldn’t wrestle, he added the STFU to his move-set (which is a brilliant name for the naysayers) and gave it amazing credibility by being able to apply it virtually anytime he felt it was needed. I may have been hard on him some throughout the year, but there’s no doubt he’s leading this company for the next generation of WWE wrestlers and fans alike.
Well, there ya go. This is probably the last you’ll see of me saying anything about 2006. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my columns here! Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great 2007!