Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 11/14

#1 The Big Show [--] (36-14-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

It was on Smackdown that Big Show picked up a tidy victory over current World Heavyweight Champion, Kane! He extends his lead to a clean win over nearest Countdown rival, Kofi Kingston, giving me the task of desperately trying to think of something interesting to write about a guy who has been in the top spot since I started doing these weekly updates, back in September.

If you operate on the assumption of wrestlers not appearing on multiple shows, then there are approximately nine more ranking opportunities left in 2010, which makes Big Show's run to the end all but assured. The question that remains -- will a World Championship shot be the feather in his 2010 cap? A win over the current champ isn't a bad argument!

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (34-21-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (28-12-3) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (28-17-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#5 [--] AJ Styles (27-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre (27-27-3) (WWE)
#7 [--] Cody Rhodes (25-16-2) (WWE)
#8 [--] R-Truth (25-20-4) (WWE)
#9 [--] The Miz (25-29-4) (WWE) [Money in the Bank]
#10 [--] Kane (24-15-4) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-17-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (15-15-2) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (12-8-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (11-12-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-4-0) (WWE)
#6 [+2] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#7 [-1] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (7-2-0) (WWE)
#8 [-1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#9 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (7-6-0) (TNA)
#10 [new] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (6-1-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]

Superstar Spotlight:
#64 Samoa Joe
(10-10-2) (TNA)

He's a former TNA Heavyweight Champion, a four-time TNA X-Division Champion, a former ROH World Champion, and former ROH Pure Champion. The question of Samoa Joe's status and legacy is a forgone conclusion -- he finished 2006 and 2008 at #4 in the PWI 500, and is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers to come out of the post WCW buyout and monopoly of WWE over professional wrestling's upper ranks.
Of late, Joe has been in a very different position to the highs of those previous years, however. The influence of the Hogan/Bischoff regime has not been kind to a wrestler like Samoa Joe, who certainly has been recognised as a legitimate contender through TNA's short-lived rankings system, but has failed to reflect that in his position on the card and permeation through the company.

Joe is currently fighting the good fight against Jeff Jarrett (#90) and members of Immortal -- a team that boasts significant talent, but questionable relevance to the betterment of Samoa Joe. It is a situation that encapsulates some of the downsides of TNA's invitation to Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and the retro influences they inspire. The shift has gradually veered increasingly toward the "Entertainment" monopolized by WWE, leaving behind the "Sport" that TNA had done a good job to represent during Samoa Joe's reign as top champion. I hope TNA can find a way to get back in touch with that tone, and elevate Samoa Joe with it. Despite loitering in the mid-card, the potential for Joe to rise at the end of the year seems evident, given that Immortal's most active talent is current Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy (#26), with whom I'm sure Samoa Joe would have some great main event bouts! He's a fine wrestler, unique in so many ways, and worthy of acknowledgment as our spotlight superstar.

Special Note: I wanted to acknowledge the fact that, as we reach the end of the year, the rankings are much more stable than they were before I began these weekly updates. That's a natural symptom of things levelling out. I am undecided if I will continue the Countdown into 2011. It would be nice to share those more active observations, though.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

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