Tomorrow is the first RAW of the new year, and sets us up for The Road to Wrestlemania. We’ve got only three weeks until the Royal Rumble (my favorite PPV) so hopefully WWE won’t be returning to any of the nonsense they were trying to feed us this past fall. Hopefully.
While we wait for all of the excitement surrounding Wrestlemania season to begin, I thought I’d do my last reflection post and put a nice bow on all that was 2015. I feel like I tried to return to this blog with a positive attitude in October, and all of that got quickly undone by the truly disastrous storylines we were seeing every week on RAW. I even found myself wandering away from the NXT product for a while. So I wanted to try to get my head screwed back on straight for 2016 and pick my top 3 moments of 2015.
Now, I don’t speak for (or, necessarily to) anyone but myself, so this is not a list of the three greatest moments of the year. They are my favorite moments, in my extremely biased fan opinion. This list does not contain the Bayley/Sasha match from NXT Takeover: Brooklyn or the Ironwoman match from NXT Takeover: Respect, so all you smarky dorks can turn back now.
Ready? Here we go.
3. Kevin Owens beats John Cena clean at Elimination Chamber, May 31st
I have to hand it to main roster WWE here, this was genius booking. Kevin Owens was on fire in NXT, having debuted in December of 2014 and basically powering right through to become NXT champion two months later. He’s absolutely terrifying as a heel, oscillating flawlessly between a spineless jellyfish who backs out of matches that have no prize to be won and a total monster who demolishes people who get in his way. While Owens does not have quite the physical look of Brock Lesnar, he is sure to follow in Lensar’s footsteps as a heel who cannot be messed with. When Owens showed up on the main roster and insisted on a PPV match instead of giving away his gift for free on RAW, we were all hopeful what would happen next. “Wouldn’t it be great if he just beat Cena clean?” And then he did. There are moments in wrestling when you get so caught up – you can’t help but get “worked”. But this moment, this was even better than that. For once this year, we as WWE fans got exactly what we wanted: a flawless transition from NXT to the main roster, and John Cena on his back when the bell rang.
2. The Vaudevillains win the NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, August 22nd
As long as I have been The Lady J, I have been a fan of The Vaudevillains. In fact I wouldn’t even be The Lady J if it wasn’t for Simon Gotch. Someone called me out on Twitter for getting down on their gimmick and Gotch and I began an epic duel. But it wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the gimmick – it was that I figured I would be the only one who did. As a fan, you don’t actually want to be a hipster smark who is the only person cheering for your favorite wrestler. You want the entire crowd to pop for them. So when NXT Takeover: Brooklyn came around and my favorite tag team was joined by the pop queen herself, Old Blue Pants, I couldn’t help but allow myself a sliver of hope that the Vaudevillains would defeat Blake and Murphy to become the new NXT Tag Team champions. I became panicked, sitting on the edge of my bed as the match went on. Was this really happening? Would Gotch and Aidan English really triumph? And then they did. I cheered. I applauded. I was alone in a room with no one to turn to and say “DID YOU SEE THAT?! THOSE ARE MY BOYS!” But they were. And they still are.
1. Dean Ambrose momentarily wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Seth Rollins at Elimination Chamber, May 31st
There was absolutely no way this wasn’t going to be my number one, right? I mean, I have been excited during wrestling matches. When Ambrose won the Intercontinental title off of Kevin Owens at TLC, I knocked over half a glass of eggnog. When Bayley won the NXT Women’s championship in the aforementioned match with Sasha Banks, I screamed and woke up my entire household. But when the second ref ran out during the main event of Elimination Chamber, slid into the ring, and counted to three, I burst into tears. I mean hysterical, sobbing tears. In fact, I missed the first ref getting up, the ensuing argument, and the reversal of the decision entirely. I cried right through the end of the show and had to go back to figure out what happened. Despite currently being booked as something that vaguely resembles someone who might have been my Explicitly Violent Dean Ambrose in a past life – I am still a huge fan of his. And I will cheer for him, and watch all of his matches until he doesn’t wrestle for WWE anymore. And then I will follow him to whatever promotion he ends up at after he leaves. In fact I can’t hear you talking smack about his bad punches or silly recovery clothesline over how much I adore him. In this, my #1 moment of 2015, I was the happiest Lady J there ever was in all the land.