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aethelred

Aethelred's monthly wrap-ups.

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January

 

Match of the month: Triple H vs Cactus Jack (WWF Royal Rumble 23/1/00)

 

Perhaps the most violent match the WWF had held in the post-WrestleMania era, this is an absolutely phenomenal performance from both men. Foley is clearly giving every little thing he has to this match, knowing that he is on the way out. Triple H comes out as a fighting champion without making himself a babyface. Wonderful stuff all round.

 

Best moment of the month: Cactus Jack is back!

 

Sorry to harp on about this feud, but honestly it is the best story the WWF has done in years that hasn’t involved Austin. Foley has talked about how important it was not to leave too big a pause between saying Mankind wasn’t ready to face HHH and revealing that the replacement was Cactus Jack – the fans almost certainly would have started chanting “Rocky!”. The timing was perfect and Triple H’s reaction was perfect. Ace.

 

Worst moment of the month: Dean Malenko slides out of the ring at Souled Out.

 

Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett were both out of the PPV with concussions, Russo was pushed out and the whole card of Souled Out was rejigged at the last minute. The card looked poor, but hey, Dean Malenko vs Kidman can’t be bad right? Well, the rules were that if someone left the ring, they would lose the match, because…um…reasons? We all know what happens next – Dean Malenko slides out of the ring on instinct a minute into the match, in one of the best visual metaphors for the demise of this shell of a company you can find.

 

Best promotion of the month: CMLL

 

WWF comes close here, but CMLL is truly on fire. Atlantis vs Villano III is pure hatred and Satanico is perhaps the best heel in wrestling at this point. With great matches each week and big matches on the horizon, it’s hard to argue against CMLL here.

 

Worst promotion of the month: WCW

 

WCW is just sad at this point. All of their top stars are injured and then the promotion commits the ultimate self-harm in just letting some of their best talent walk out the front door. Can it get worse? (spoiler: yes, and I think you know that.)

 

Worker of the month: El Satanico

 

He has been the perfect shit and his low-blow to escape Tarzan Boy's revenge on 01/21 was the other best moment of the month.

 

 

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Isn't February supposed to be the shortest month? :blink:

 

February

 

Match of the month: Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama (AJPW 2/27/00)

 

An excellent story told here, with the old guard Misawa finally being outclassed by his younger protege. Misawa bounced right back up after one exploder suplex towards the end, but collapsed upon trying to pop up from the second - he just didn't have it in him anymore. It's incredible to think that this was the same day as the brilliant HHH vs Cactus Jack Hell in a Cell match.

 

Best moment of the month: Cactus Jack promo (WWF Smackdown! 2/24/00)

 

This is a promo of the year candidate, as Cactus lays out the potential consequences of that weekend's HIAC match. Slightly undercut by the soap opera angle of Cactus getting arrested at the end for having vandalised the DX Express, but that doesn't really take away from the classic Mick Foley intensity.

 

Worst moment of the month: The Harris Brothers push

 

On consecutive shows, The Harris Brothers came out to interrupt matches and beat up the likes of unimportant jobbers such as Booker T and Billy Kidman (similar to Sid in 99). If your company is failing, I'd argue that pushing bland Neo-Nazis over people with potential is probably not the best option.

 

Best promotion of the month: WWF

 

AJPW had a great month and CMLL is continuing to build nicely, but WWF this month was fantastic. They have worked out a brilliant formula, with fun multi-man tags galore and well built programs. WWF at this time was a real high quality product: everything from storylines to matches to production values was firing on all cylinders. No Way Out was one of their better PPVs to date as well.

 

Worst promotion of the month: WCW

 

I mean ECW is out of ideas, but WCW is truly pitiful. The Jeff Jarrett - Kevin Nash squabbles over commissionership, Sid as underdog babyface world champ, the aforementioned Harris Bros push, TAFKAPI as top cruiserweight, Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan AGAIN! A whole month with nothing positive to say about this company. At least the Russo days won't boring, right? Please?

 

Worker of the month: Triple H

 

A number of good candidates here, but The Game has been truly impressive this month, working hard in TV matches against the like fo Too Cool as well as what will surely be one of the best PPV main events of the decade.

 

General thoughts:

 

At this point, while we are getting some brilliant matches and angles, we're still not seeing the true 2000s. However, we're beginning to get slight hints of the future. Things are clearly changing in AJPW and the likes of Low Ki and Christopher Daniels are already shining on the independents.

 

On a meta note, I've decided for now to refrain from commenting in the match sections and focus on these monthly write ups. I feel I don't have a lot to add to individual match reviews, but I do really enjoy taking a look at the bigger picture here. Hopefully, I can be a bit quicker to get through March!

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Finished March a week or so ago, but work is what it is.

March

Match of the month: Villano III vs Atlantis (CMLL 3/17/00)

A near perfect ending to a tremendous feud. A huge amount of drama and sense of real stakes that always elevates any match. To play a probably controversial devil's advocate: it wasn't the most dynamic match ever - the majority of the match is just pin and submission attempts. I'm not arguing that there should have been 19 triple Canadian Destroyers and frankly the match doesn't really suffer for it at all, just putting it out there. Match of the year so far anyway.

Best moment of the month: The unmasking of Villano III (CMLL 3/17/00)

Super emotional moment, involving 3 generations of Villanos and Villano III finally gives Atlantis his due. This is how you pay off a huge rivalry. Moment of the year candidate for sure.

Worst moment of the month: "That's The Wall, brother!" (WCW Nitro 3/27/00)

How...how can you see him, brother? The zoom out to reveal just how tiny The Wall looks from the ring is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. To be fair to Hogan, he wasn't the worst in-ring in this first quarter of the year, but his push at this stage is insufferable.

Best promotion of the month: NJPW

Tough call this month. The CMLL PPV was ace, but I felt there was a bit more depth in New Japan this month. The build towards the Tokyo Dome show has been really good, I've felt. The build for Wrestlemania 16 has also been good, but it was a bit muddled and not quite as hot this month.

Worst promotion of the month: WCW

To be fair to WCW, there may well be worse promotions out there at this time. I have not, for example, watched any AAA from 2000 yet. Outside of the US, I am watching matches based on how well they have been received quality-wise by other posters, whilst I've been taking a "yearbook" approach to the US stuff. However, WCW plain sucked this month. It was actually slightly better than in February, but it is just so depressing. Bring on Russo. Wait, maybe not.

Worker of the month: ​Jushin Liger

He was pushed very strongly this month and he looked very good whenever I watched him. It's a shame I've already seen how it ends up.

General thoughts:

A strong month across the board, with one of the strongest PPVs we're likely to see in this project. I'm already deep into April, and it is very eventful so far.

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