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funkdoc

Has this project meant anything outside our bubble?

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I had Brock pretty high on my list IIRC, but he would definitely not be up there as high now. For every great Lesnar performance, there are just too many matches that absolutely stunk or even outright offended me. Like, what was the psychology in the McIntyre match at Mania this year? Or really any other match with Reigns aside from that first one? That match with Orton where he just bloodied him wasn't fun to watch and led nowhere either. 

He's still in my top 50, but I'm a mainstream US wrestling-centric fan so that's to be expected (hoping to eradicate that by watching some of the GME nominees, especially non-US stuff). In 2016, though, I would've scoffed at someone putting Cena above him, but now I can at least see the argument. I don't really recall Cena shitting the bed or blatantly half-assing it in many main event matches the way Lesnar clearly has. 

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I wonder how much Daniel Bryan has added to his case after his comeback. Everyone seemed to think his career was over in 2016 and he ranked #5 on his first run alone. Him, Jushin Liger and Rey Mysterio are the only guys in the Top 30 who've been active since last time, but I don't think Liger or Rey really did anything significant but have a few more good matches. Bryan's really filled a hole in his resume by having that big true heel run in 2018-19.

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All of those first matches back for Bryan were fascinating, just in the decisions of what he kept and what he got rid of, etc. I imagine there's some value in overachieving during the no-crowds era too.

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It's an interesting thought exercise to go over the results and take a guess on who would do better or worse based on what has transpired in the past years in terms of their work or in terms of the availability of more footage showing them in a different light. Oh, and how narratives and conversations regarding certain styles and eras have shifted since the voting was done.

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4 hours ago, Kadaveri said:

I wonder how much Daniel Bryan has added to his case after his comeback. Everyone seemed to think his career was over in 2016 and he ranked #5 on his first run alone. Him, Jushin Liger and Rey Mysterio are the only guys in the Top 30 who've been active since last time, but I don't think Liger or Rey really did anything significant but have a few more good matches. Bryan's really filled a hole in his resume by having that big true heel run in 2018-19.

I have gone on the record that when we do this again in 2026, Bryan is my one vote with a bullet. The diversity of his matches, of the roles he can play, and his range of opponents he got something at minimum something good with is crazy. 
 

Actually expanding, out of the guys who are active from the Top 100, I’m not sure how many of them even raised there case in the last 4 years. From 100-1

Virus- I haven’t seen enough from him recently but I would assume stock up. Matt, have you been watching enough to be able to tell if he’s still putting in great work?


LA Park- Stock the same, I would imagine. Some great stuff spread around in between him picking his spots.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura- Stock Down. He was a flawed case but the highs were so high, and the last voting period was perfect for him. I couldn’t see him making the list again if it was now, let alone 5 years from now.

 

Sami Zayn- Stock Down. He still might be the best NXT baby face ever, and he’s been fun as a heel, but he was just a background player overall.

 

Cesaro- Stock Down, maybe stock the same. Felt like he was a couple big years away from moving high on this. But the Bar always felt like it should have been better, and while he’s been fun for a while, I think adding more years without tons of high end work hurts him more then helps. His moment is going the wrong way.


Hiroshi Tanahashi- Stock up. I’m not a fan, but people on this board have argued he has had a better career then Bryan. I think they are crazy, but there are probably enough that put him super high that top 50 is reasonable expectation if I had to guess.

 

Chris Jericho: Stock up, Id think. I’m not a big Jericho guy and didn’t vote for him last go around, but I’d be more open to having him in a bottom 10 type spot now by a long shot. The opposite of Nakamura, as 2016 was probably the worst time to evaluate Jericho when he and AJ were stinking up the place.

 

Samoa Joe- Stock up, a bit. He had the stuff with Lesnar which made the WWE run worth it. You can argue he was the best guy in the company at selling a program with just mic work, which not everyone will evaluate, but some will. It’s a debate as I didn’t like his NXT work but thought he was generally always a main show highlight.


Brock Lesnar- Fuck if I know. He’s had amazing performances and he’s been an act I’m completely over, sometimes at the same time. I agree with Matt’s general take on Brock, but the Bryan, Balor, and Styles matches were super fun. He works amazing as an imposing bully against a smaller baby face, but in almost any other role he seems to just mail it in. If he got top 50 again I wouldn’t be shocked.

 

AJ Styles- Stock up, minimally. I think AJ is very good and was in the running for best worker in WWE for a couple years, but I don’t know how he can reasonably climb much higher then what he was last time at 39. Maybe in the 30-35 range, because while he has some highs, he also had stuff that didn’t click like it should have.

 

Dustin Rhodes; Stock stays the same. He’s still capable of something great, and is a rock solid TV guy, but I don’t think he’s really gained positions. Maybe he gets to top 25, perhaps, but it’s iffy.

 

John Cena- Stock stays the same. If you like super Indy Cena maybe a slight bump. For me it actually lowers him a bit. But he’s in the right area already to me.

 

Rey Mysterio and Justin Liger- Stock stays the same. They’ve had some great performances and certainly didn’t hurt themselves, but they needed more to move past the top 5 or so. I think you can maybe argue Rey passes Liger, but these are still the top 2 pure Juniors.

 

Daniel Bryan- Stock up, I think. Not much, what with already being 5th. But I would expect him to actually finish top 3 if we did this again. I think he passes Misawa, and at least one of Hansen and Flair: I am of the opinion the only person more likely to finish 1st in 2026 over Bryan is Funk.

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I don't have a great sense of Virus in the last few years. More of the same really. He's had more indy maestros matches as he's treated a bit more like an old guy. No title run, which is a shame. That means no CMLL singles matches basically.

What major footage dumps have we gotten over the last few years?

We had the last year of the Houston footage, right? The Japanese handhelds and some 77-83 or so TV we didn't have before. WWE Hidden Gems. German footage 80s-90s. French footage obviously. Some lucha.

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Back on the point of Bryan. I didn't participate in this project, but followed it closely and had a sort of unofficial list in my head. Bryan would have been top 10 for me for sure.  I think he jumped into the #1 or 2 spot for me since returning. That is no small accomplishment because I have watched SIGNIFICANTLY more wrestling since 2016 and done some pretty deep dives into styles and eras I was completely unfamiliar with, so that is with adding somewhere between 30-50 people to my list who likely wouldn't have made it before. Part of that is what he has done since the return and part of it is rewatching a good bit from him over the last 2-33 years (the entire nigel feud, the entire mori feud, most of the high profile ROH matches, the ki matches outside of ROH, the big wwe matches [cena, sheamus rivalry, HHH, reigns, wyatt 1, punk rivalry, orton rivalry, etc).  His early work holds up better than I expected. On his return, he has basically been the guy they put in when they need something to work. He keeps rolling with the punches and everything he does comes across to me as at least "good" and often "great". No one has been worse off because they worked with him. He made a hemp belt interesting and got a good non-squash match out of the fiend. On top of that he has some really quality matches and has overachieved in the empty arena era. He did it all under a banner that I am systemically disconnected from. Over at the gme forum we have informal top 25 discussion and I have him penciled in at #1 with a tier of 4 at the very top for me.

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On 8/18/2020 at 10:23 AM, CapitalTTruth said:

Back on the point of Bryan. I didn't participate in this project, but followed it closely and had a sort of unofficial list in my head. Bryan would have been top 10 for me for sure.  I think he jumped into the #1 or 2 spot for me since returning. That is no small accomplishment because I have watched SIGNIFICANTLY more wrestling since 2016 and done some pretty deep dives into styles and eras I was completely unfamiliar with, so that is with adding somewhere between 30-50 people to my list who likely wouldn't have made it before. Part of that is what he has done since the return and part of it is rewatching a good bit from him over the last 2-33 years (the entire nigel feud, the entire mori feud, most of the high profile ROH matches, the ki matches outside of ROH, the big wwe matches [cena, sheamus rivalry, HHH, reigns, wyatt 1, punk rivalry, orton rivalry, etc).  His early work holds up better than I expected. On his return, he has basically been the guy they put in when they need something to work. He keeps rolling with the punches and everything he does comes across to me as at least "good" and often "great". No one has been worse off because they worked with him. He made a hemp belt interesting and got a good non-squash match out of the fiend. On top of that he has some really quality matches and has overachieved in the empty arena era. He did it all under a banner that I am systemically disconnected from. Over at the gme forum we have informal top 25 discussion and I have him penciled in at #1 with a tier of 4 at the very top for me.

He's about to win that giant tournament being run over on Facebook, too. I think a lot of it comes down to the discussion in the main forum recently - he's clearly, undeniably, the best guy of the last 20 years. He's going to end up defining this generation from a work perspective in a way that few others can claim for their generations. It gives him an edge over a lot of the other contenders.

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I think Bryan’s run has done a couple amazing things to his case for 1st overall, but the most prominent is that any real knocks against him from the 2016 have basically been addressed. 
 

1. Was never actually able to get legit heat as a top end heel: this one felt kind of iffy to me originally, but the Planets Champion run, and finishing it with a legitimate great title change to Kofi, a wrestler that never had a match close to as good as there Mania match.

 

2. Was part of some good heel tag matches. This is a weird one, but when I was trying to come up with holes in Bryan’s game, I thought it was interesting I couldn’t think of a real good tag performance of his as a heel. But I think his team with Rowan did a good deal to convince me it was more an opportunity thing then anything.

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7 hours ago, El Dragon said:

I think Bryan’s run has done a couple amazing things to his case for 1st overall, but the most prominent is that any real knocks against him from the 2016 have basically been addressed. 
 

1. Was never actually able to get legit heat as a top end heel: this one felt kind of iffy to me originally, but the Planets Champion run, and finishing it with a legitimate great title change to Kofi, a wrestler that never had a match close to as good as there Mania match.

 

2. Was part of some good heel tag matches. This is a weird one, but when I was trying to come up with holes in Bryan’s game, I thought it was interesting I couldn’t think of a real good tag performance of his as a heel. But I think his team with Rowan did a good deal to convince me it was more an opportunity thing then anything.

I didn't even think to mention that Kofi match, even thought I absolutely loved it.  That is such a strong resume line for him. I don't want to take anything away from Kofi because I do think he performed out of his mind on that fun up to mania, but Kofi's reign itself tells you all you need to know about who was doing the leg work.

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Piper is a guy who I think footage has smiled upon, actually. We got an over the top great JCP Valentine match. A rare Piper/Brooks vs Adonis/Starr match. A really good Rude dark match. Some of his 77 AJPW run which is fun if nothing else (And occasionally great like the tag with Mullgan). A new 86 Savage match. The super cool Kuwait tag with Orton against Afi and Tonga, plus a bunch of California stuff has become easier to find.  

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