WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Camel Clutch Blog WWE 2009 Year In Review

Undertaker vs. Shawn MichaelsIt was certainly an interesting year for the World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE was full of interesting stories, great matches, and some of most controversial angles in years. Rather than look back myself at the WWE in 2009, I am joined by a collection of pro wrestling writers from CamelClutchBlog.com. We all don’t see it the same, although there seems to be one unanimous agreement from all of us. Sit back and relive the WWE 2009 through the words of the writers at CamelClutchBlog.com.

WWE Superstar of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Randy Orton. By no means is Randy Orton my favorite wrestler, nor do I particular enjoy watching him wrestle. However, you cannot deny the year that Randy Orton had in the WWE. Orton was the top dog on RAW for most of the year. He wrestled in the main-event at the 25th WrestleMania. He had three world championship title reigns, beating John Cena twice and winning the title in the six-man tag team match at WWE Backlash. I am actually starting to enjoy him more now that he is scaled back a bit on RAW and isn’t all over the show. He may not have had any Match of the Year candidates, but he certainly never stunk up the joint. I am not a big fan, but I have to give props to Randy Orton for the WWE 2009 Wrestler of the Year.

Todd Frizzell – The Undertaker. Without a shadow of a doubt, The Undertaker is one of the most popular WWE Superstars of this decade, and in my frank opinion, the WWE Superstar Of The Year 2009! Despite getting older and closer to retirement, Undertaker had several classic matches this year, most notably his match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25. The victor of that historical bout over 10 years in the making, was Undertaker, keeping his WrestleMania undefeated streak thriving, at least for one more year. After feuding with C.M. Punk for quite some time, Taker finally beat punk to capture his World Heavyweight Championship, at WWE’s Hell In A Cell PPV, in an official Hell In A Cell match. As I said, Undertaker still holds onto his belt, most recently defeating Batista to retain it, at WWE’s latest PPV, TLC. With all of this considered, I do not even think twice, about awarding The Undertaker as the WWE Superstar Of The Year!

Chris Behringer – CM Punk. A lot of people love him. A lot of people hate him. 2009 is the year CM Punk needed. A heel turn into his straight edge holier than thou persona & a feud with Jeff Hardy has given Punk a chance to shine as one of WWE’s top heels. It’s going to be very hard for CM Punk to have a 2010 as good as his 2009 was unless he can capture his first WWE Title. Since coming to WWE, he has added the ECW, Intercontinental, World Tag Team, & World Heavyweight championships to his resume. Capturing WWE’s top title may make Punk the best star to grace a WWE ring in the past few years. Congrats. to Punk on a big year.

Brock Koller – Chris Jericho. John Cena may have won the Slammy for Superstar of the Year, but Chris Jericho rightfully deserves the moniker of Wrestler of the Year. There are two areas in professional wrestling that a performer needs to excel in to become wrestler of the year – in ring skills and mic skills. As with most years, Jericho was one of the top athletes in WWE. He had many blockbuster matches with Rey Mysterio in 2009 and made the tag team division as interesting as it possibly could be. As for his mic skills? They were stellar. In fact, if I were still in high school, I would have watched Jericho promos to study for the SATs vocabulary section! How many times have you heard gelatinous parasitic tapeworms in an interview? Don’t lie. What are you a sycophant and a hypocrite? Chris Jericho for 2009 was, indeed, the best at what he does.

WWE Guest Host of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Jesse Ventura. This was a tougher one to call than any of the previous awards here at the Camel Clutch Blog. As much as I loved Shaquille O’Neal, Jesse edged him out as my favorite Guest Host this year. For one thing, Jesse was just awesome on his promos in the ring. He really got it and still gets it even years after his pro wrestling career has ended. He seemed like he wanted to be there and put 100% into the gig. If you think about it, it was Jesse that really got Sheamus over as a big time star. Without Jesse’s promo and introduction it is arguable that Sheamus would not have gotten over as well as he did in the pre-match with Cena. Jesse’s contribution is often overlooked. The icing on the cake was the reunion of Jesse and McMahon on commentary. They sounded great and it brought me back to my childhood. For that reason alone Jesse “the Body” Ventura is the WWE Guest Host of the Year.

Todd Frizzell – Dennis Miller! Just Kidding! Did You Actually Think I was Being Serious? Let me put it this way…I’m being about as serious as Dennis Miller’s jokes on RAW! Does that answer any and all potential questions? Anyway, The REAL Winner Is…

Bob Barker! As I’m sure we can all agree upon, the majority of WWE RAW Guest Hosts have been pretty bad, with the exception of Bob Barker and a few others. Barker was the guest host on the September 7th addition of RAW, and he really did deliver. He was funny, entertaining knew what he was doing, and at least acted like he was genuinely having a swell time. Basically, he did everything that Dennis Miller didn’t, and if you didn’t see Dennis Miller on RAW, trust me, that’s a good thing! Barker’s presence was particularly enjoyable, when he brought out “The Price Is RAW”, punked out Chris Jericho, and literally punched out Chavo Guerrero! All in all, he was a very entertaining addition of the show, and therefore deserves, more than any other guest host bar none, the WWE RAW Guest Host Of The Year Award! Congratulations Mr. Barker!

Chris Behringer – Bob Barker. The Price is Raw was easily the most entertaining episode of Raw WWE has had since this whole inception of a weekly guest host started. Barker easily made up for hosts who have gotten over like a fart in church (ZZ Top, Cedric the Entertainer, & Al Sharpton all come to mind) through his humor & quick wit and really seemed to connect with everyone who was watching. Let’s face it; who didn’t love “The Price is Right” when Barker was hosting?

Brock Koller – Bob Barker. Had to be Bob Barker. Nobody knew how to hold their own like Mr. Barker. He was relaxed, professional, witty, smart, and not cringe-inducing like so many others. Was there need for him or any of the others? Absolutely not. But if I had to choose the best, I would put all my money on Bob because the price is right.

WWE Match Of The Year

Eric Gargiulo – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25. Shawn Michaels and Undertaker had what will go down as a 31 minute WrestleMania classic. These two hadn’t missed a beat since their exciting series of matches over ten years ago. The match was just simply great and had 70,000 plus going nuts from entrance to finish. The old dogs showed the current class of wrestlers what stealing the show at WrestleMania is all about. I can’t think of another match that even touched this one as a Match of the Year. Although, I’d like to thrown an honorable mention for Degeneration-X vs. Undertaker and John Cena vs. JeriShow. I thought this was a very underrated match that could have given WrestleMania 25 a run for the money if it went a little longer.

Todd Frizzell – Shawn Michaels VS. The Undertaker From WrestleMania 25! This is by far the easiest catagory of them all, for The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania 25, is not only the best match of the year, but the best WWE match I have seen in years! To me, this could very possibly be the WWE match of the entire decade! Hell, the match of the century! This match was incredible, from an athletic standpoint, to a psychological standpoint. This match featured some of the most intense 30 plus minutes, in the entire storied history of the WWE! There were more false finished than I count, more holy you know what moments than Dennis Miller has bad joked, and the atmosphere was nothing short of electric! Early in the contest, The Undertaker went for his patented super dive over the top to the outside, by caught his legs on the top rope, plummeting head first to the floor. I seriously remember thinking that his neck was broken, but thankfully he turned out to be fine, and unbelievably, finished the match, and had a classic one at that! I commend the Undertaker for his passion and desired he portrays! Again, to reiterate, this was, in my opinion, a five star match, and defiantly the WWE Match Of The Year!

Chris Behringer – The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 25. Words simply cannot do the match justice. For 45 minutes, 2 WWE legends had those attending the event & watching at home eating out of the palms of their hands. The match had a great pace, utilized ring psychology, false finishes, & most importantly, told a good story. If you’re going to watch any match from WWE this year, this is it.

Brock Koller – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 25. No question about. It’s a match I have been craving for since January 1998 and when it finally occurred, it far exceeded my expectations. Match of the Year was Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25. The buildup to the match could have been better executed, forgoing the JBL and Vladimir Kozlov plot points, but the ends certainly justified the means. The two sure to be Hall-of-Famers and WWE veterans put on a show that should be displayed in a frame in a museum (a frame that reads Blu-rays). If you are ever put on trial to defend wrestling as entertaining – this should be the only evidence you’ll need. This was not only the match of the year, it was Match of the Decade.

WWE Angle/Storyline Of The Year

Eric Gargiulo – Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. I was torn between this and Trump and originally I gave it to Trump. Then I started writing and while you have HBK-Undertaker going into 2010, the Trump angle only lasted a week. In fairness to the Trump angle, it got the WWE more mainstream publicity than anything since the last Trump angle. However, the angle between Shawh Michaels and the Undertaker was something we could all sink our teeth into. As much credit as they get for the match, I think the angle/story really turned this one into an all-time classic. The fact that the angle is continuing today and looks to be building towards a WrestleMania rematch seals the deal for me.

Todd Frizzell – The John Cena VS. Randy Orton Saga! In one of the longest running feuds in WWE history, literally lasting over two years, the Randy Orton vs. John Cena feud was an emotional thrill ride. In my opinion, this feud has been very underestimated throughout the WWE fan base. Although I’ll readily admit that it probably lasted a bit long, there was a lot of solid stuff that came out of it. A few memorable matches these two men had in 2009, just to name a few, was their I-Quit match at Breaking Point, there Hell In A Cell matchup at Hell In A Cell, as well as their outstanding sixty minute iron man match at Bragging Rights. The thing I personally enjoy about Cena/Orton matches, is not necessarily the actual physical action taking place, but the magnificent ring psychology and drama that both men bring to the table. It is truly an art form, and often unappreciated nowadays. Anyway, as I have stated, this was a lengthy, but at times very productive feud over the WWE Championship, and deserves to be referred to as the WWE Angle Of The Year!

Chris Behringer – ECW. My award for this one actually goes to the ECW brand. As the summer rolled around, many people knew that Tommy Dreamer’s contract was going to expire. WWE decided to put Dreamer in a main event storyline on ECW & have him chase the ECW Title; the added stipulation being if Dreamer didn’t win the belt, he would retire. Dreamer went into Extreme Rules portraying the underdog & captured his second ECW Title by defeating Christian & Jack Swagger in a hardcore Triple Threat hardcore rules match at the Extreme Rules PPV. WWE definitely pulled one over on even the smartest fans. Everyone, myself included, thought that match was going to be Dreamer’s swan song. It’s nice to be proven wrong every now & then.

Brock Koller – Donald Trump buys Raw. I could not think of any angle that led to matches that I would consider angle of the year. Orton-HHH? Cena-Orton? Punk-Hardy? Meh. The most memorable angle to me was Donald Trump buying Raw. The angle only lasted two weeks, but its effects lasted throughout the rest of the year with the guest host project. Numerous news outlets were fooled by this faux exchange of ownership which was only the start of the mainstream publicity WWE would garner from this angle, i.e. every sports guest host shown on SportsCenter. While they could have prolonged this angle further, the shortness of the execution is largely overshadowed by the magnitude of the ripple effects.

WWE Story Of The Year

Eric Gargiulo – Bret Hart returning to the WWE. I am sorry but there is no bigger story in my mind than this one. The incident at Survivor Series 97 has been the catalyst for over a decade worth of business. Without that angle, we may have never had the Mr. McMahon character which led to the Austin-McMahon angle, which turned around business. The fact that Bret Hart has never appeared on WWE RAW since the incident, is absolutely huge in my mind. Personally I always thought it would happen, but I never thought it would take this long. I can’t think of a bigger story for my website alone from the wrestling world than this one. This is huge and the angle beginning next week could be the start of the 2010 WWE Angle of the Year.

Todd Frizzell – The Death Of Former WWE Superstar Eddie “Umaga” Fatu. Although very, very sad, the news of former WWE Superstar, Eddie “Umaga” Fatu’s death, was shocking enough to be considered the WWE Story Of The Year. Umaga passed away on December 4, 2009 at the young age of only 36 years old, as a result of multiple heart attacks, in his Houston, Texas home. After no reaction after efforts by medical personnel at a local intensive care unit, Umaga’s family made the decision to take him off of life support. This story, was and still is, being talked about throughout the entire professional wrestling community. Therefore, this break out story, which shoot the very foundations of the professional wrestling world, will consequently be awarded with the WWE Story Of The Year Award.

Chris Behringer – Bret Hart. This is a tough one. You’d think that the deaths of former stars or Jeff Hardy’s epic fail by being busted in a drug raid would be the winner. But as 2009 comes to a close, one story has gotten a lot of buzz. The story being that Bret Hart, after a 12 year absence from WWE, has signed a short term contract that lasts up through WrestleMania. After Survivor Series 1997, NOBODY thought they would ever see Bret Hart in a WWE ring again. But as we’ve learned time again, never say never in the wrestling business.

Brock Koller – Bret Hart. Wow. This choice would have been drastically different if I didn’t procrastinate until the final days of the year to write this. Without a shadow of a doubt, the story of the year is 12 years in the making and while it is the story of the year, it is certainly in the top 5 stories of the decade list – the return of Bret Hart. While the actual return won’t start until the new year (new decade), the announcement of said return is bigger than anything else that happened this year. My original choice for story of the year would have been Shane McMahon resigning from WWE, which also doesn’t go into effect until next year. The departure of Shane is monumental just for it bringing the future of WWE in question. But if the return of the Excellence of Execution is any indication, the future of WWE is looking a bit brighter. The impact (no pun intended) of Hart remains to be seen and will be heavily critiqued in 2010, but the announcement itself is momentous in its own right. No other return could bring the shockwaves this one did. And it came just at the right time, too, it seems. This story is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be in the year 2009.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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