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2008 MOTYCs


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Well, it's March, my current wrestling watching is probably the lowest it's been since I got the internet, and to top it all off, my Segunda Caida overlord Phil hasn't started up his annual MOTYC list yet. So, I turn to you, the gentle reader (tm Dean Rasmussen), and start up this topic to discuss the best matches of 2008. Go on, you know you want to.

 

I'll go ahead and mention the blowaway greatness of the last two Batista/MVP matches to get the ball rolling. I'm probably the only guy who liked the first one better, as the finish to the second kinda bugged me, whereas the finish to the first struck me as perfect considering their characters and position on the card. The last Noble/Palumbo singles match from a few weeks ago was pretty great as well.

 

This year's Rumble was pretty awesome, but Rumbles are always kinda tricky when considering MOTYCs. But I thought Jericho/JBL and Orton/Hardy from the same show were both really boss matches.

 

Really liked Morrison/Miz vs. Jesse/Festus from this week's Smackdown, but "MOTYC" is probably overstating the case there.

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Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Hardy was the best match I saw this year, just from watching TNA and WWE. oh and that one ROH PPV Rising something, speaking of, Danielson vs. Morishima was pretty good from that.. so there's my top 2.

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I'm not sure about Flair/Michaels. It was flawed, and Flair looked amazingly fragile, but in some ways, it was appropriate since it was his sendoff. The finish was one of the best finishes I've ever seen in any wrestling match, and I thought the send-off was well done. I disagree with those who think Flair doing a promo should have happened there, just because I think the moment may have lost something that way by coming off as too forced. I would have liked to see a longer pre-match promo there, though.

 

Flair was attempting all sorts of spots he just couldn't follow through with, so I guess he thought the adrenaline would carry him in the big moment.

 

Also, I wish WWE would start doing pre-match and post-match promos on PPVs like they did years ago, to build matches throughout the night. Edge did one, which was excellent, maybe his best ever, but I would have liked to have heard even more. I miss the Manias of old with almost everyone doing a quick interview before their matches. I also liked WM 11 with Jim Ross catching people on their way back after the matches, and think that would be a good idea to try again as well. You're usually going to see a good promo with someone fired up going into or coming out of a match.

 

I really love WWE's new idea of having the announcers shut up when something important is going on instead of having them scream about it.

 

That said, maybe it was Flair's choice in this case not to do a long interview pre-match because he knew he'd lose it. He started visibly crying before the finish last night.

 

Looking back, the moment is really going to exist in a vacuum, but I think there are maybe other things they could have done to really build something for the future. Keep HHH/Orton as the top match, and if they wanted to turn Cena heel, having him beat Flair to a pulp and retire him probably would have been huge and meant big business post-Mania because they could have revisited Cena's feuds with Michaels and HHH, with them having a new edge coming back to avenge Flair's forced retirement. Or maybe not, as the time probably isn't right to turn Cena anyway. But it definitely would have worked well.

 

WWE often goes for the sentimental Hallmark moments these days instead of the jugular, which isn't always bad, but matches aren't always as heated as they could be as a result.

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I actually thought Flair was the better worker in the match with Michaels. Yeah Michaels provided the two most athletic spots, but he also looked visibly uncomfortable throughout the match and his strikes aside from the superkicks were particularly awful even by the standards one associates with HBK. The one botched spot of the match was the bridge up spot which frankly neither guy looked like they were ready for.

 

The finish is probably the single best finish I have ever seen. I have talked here and elsewhere about how much I love the Savage/Warrior match from VII. The mechanics of the match weren't out of this world, but there were no glaring flaws and the finish was perfectly executed. Everything from Savage kicking out of Warrior's finish was pure emotion and character based storytelling that is rarely done well in pro wrestling. It was a unique match and my favorite match in WrestleMania history...until last night.

 

Not saying Flair v. Michaels was better than Savage v. Warrior. But to a long time Flair fan (lower case f stressed) it was a good capstone to a great career, and the finish made it. I liked a lot of the work itself. The throwback mat exchanges. The cheap crossbody spot, with HBK eating the corner bodypress. I thought the big spots, while nasty looking in form, were well done from an "effect" perspective. Flair ate one last nasty bump, with the over the top rope bump. His chops were awesome, and the Michaels comeback superkick number 1 was really a very well played spot both mechanical and from a drama perspective. Loved the butterfly suplex. I also loved Flair breaking out the cheating spots, and Michaels yelling at Flair to "get up" only to get lowblowed was a dirtiest player in the game version of the only really interesting spot from Angle/Michaels WM match a few years back.

 

But the finish is what made it epic. It was really a combination of Andre/Hogan and Warrior/Savage in that there was an explicitly visual aspect and an explicit aspect based on backstory and psychology. Much will be written about this, and I can't do it justice, but it made the show, and really nothing afterward could follow it.

 

I agree that Edge v. Taker was technically better, but Taker is always good in these situations and really the whole thing just seemed emotionless after the height of Flair v. Michaels. It really should have been the last match.

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