Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Kayfabe Countdown - 01/09

#1 Jeff Jarrett [new]
(2-0-1) (TNA)

Jeff Jarrett was on to a pretty good thing in the last few months of 2010. I was fond enough of his shonky MMA master gimmick to make it the spotlight in a previous Countdown [November 28], but nothing kills a comedy gimmick about an incompetent heel, like this, than a premature burst of success.

Jarrett's place at the top of the Kayfabe Countdown comes thanks in no small part due to timing, but is no less insulting when you consider that his recent wins include a PPV job for Samoa Joe, and this weekend, a no contest against a Kurt Angle who should've been the one to avenge Joe's loss, if not for the logic of the feud and gimmick.

Needless to say, Jeff Jarrett is not a master of holds, or an MMA convert champion in waiting. He's just a guy who probably should've had the sense to go down on his back with this amusing heel run, rather than take a win from one of the hottest young guns in professional wrestling, or one of it's most accomplished. I'm disappointed by the course [TNA]'s taken, but for the time being, and perhaps a couple of weeks beyond, Jeff Jarrett is statistically the most successful wrestler of 2011. Which is all the Kayfabe Countdown is designed to acknowledge.

#2 [new] Ken Anderson (2-0-0) (TNA) [World Heavyweight Champion]
#3 [-2] Kofi Kingston (2-0-0) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#4 [new] Madison Rayne (2-0-0) (TNA) [Knockouts Champion]
#5 [new] Alberto Del Rio (2-0-0) (WWE)
#6 [new] Robert Roode (1-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [new] James Storm (1-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [-5] Randy Orton (1-0-0) (WWE)
#9 [-2] The Miz (1-0-0) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#10 [new] Edge (1-0-0) (WWE) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (1-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [+9] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (1-0-0) (WWE)
#3 [new] Eve Torres & Brie Bella (1-0-0) (WWE)
#4 [new] Madison Rayne & Sarita (1-0-0) (TNA)
#5 [new] Natalya Neidhart & Eve Torres (1-0-0) (WWE)
#6 [new] Natalya Neidhart & Brie Bella (1-0-0) (WWE)
#7 [new] Tyson Kidd & Ted Dibiase Jr (1-0-0) (WWE)
#8 [-5] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (1-1-0) (TNA)
#9 [-5] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (0-1-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#10 [new] AJ Styles & Frankie Kazarian (0-1-0) (TNA)

Superstar Spotlight:
#19 Matt Hardy
(1-0-0) (TNA)

There are a few things that have made me sympathetic to the Matt Hardy cause over the years. For the most part, there's an argument to made about Matt's technical ability as a wrestler and the cognisance of his approach, versus brother Jeff's high flying acrobatics and natural charisma. Another sticking point is his much publicized 2005 split from Lita, which turned into an on-screen feud involving third-man, Edge, but ultimately failed to benefit Hardy in as significant a way as the cheating Edge, who arguably built his main event career atop the social faux pas.

I wouldn't say Matt Hardy has a claim to being a twelve-time champion in five years -- no one should be able to do that! I am, however, just a little sympathetic toward a guy who has otherwise done a lot of things right, and come off third, or fourth best, with his intestines exploding through the wall of his gut as a crescendo of bad juju.

After making himself look like a fool of significant size in the lead-up to, and aftermath, of his split from WWE; Matt Hardy has returned to the spotlight in TNA, defeating Rob Van Dam at Genesis. As sympathetic as I might have ever been toward Matt Hardy, I can't help but be very critical of this move. Not only is it another second-hand recruitment that does no favours for the already diminished "TNA Originals," it's a move that I don't think benefits Matt Hardy.

During Twitter tirades presumably designed to provoke a release from WWE, Hardy referenced a return to Ring of Honor, before speculating about joining his brother in TNA. For my money, if Matt was serious about getting back in shape and reinvigorating his brand, ROH was the far better choice for himself. In TNA, he immediately and deliberately steps back into the shadow of brother Jeff, joining a company already bloated with competing names. In ROH, he had the potential to focus on mat work, and create a context that shines a different light on him.

Maybe things will go well for Matt Hardy in TNA, but I've got my doubts. Conspiracy theorists might consider the possibility that the move is as much for Jeff as it is for Matt, given claims about Jeff Hardy's recent drug problems. Maybe Matt is supposed to put pressure on the excesses the now former-TNA World Heavyweight Champion may or may not have been indulging in. Or, failing that, Matt Hardy has just made another bad decision for himself. Right after hyping a silly haircut, no less. Groan.

Special Note: This is the first Kayfabe Countdown for 2011. It includes results from the TNA: Genesis Pay-Per-View event from January 9th. Win/loss statistics revert back to zero, but for the first week of results, wrestlers who earned equal ranking were arranged to reflect their order in the previous year. Champions continue to take precedent. At Genesis, Ken Anderson defeated Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight title; Abyss defeated Douglas Williams for the Television Championship; and Robert Roode and James Storm (Beer Money Inc) defeated Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin (Motor City Machine Guns) for the Tag Team titles. Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title on the January 7 airing of Smackdown. Ziggler became #1 contender for the World Heavyweight title, late in the night.

Additional: A correction has been made to the ranking after it was clarified that Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler twice, on Smackdown. First for the Intercontinental Championship, and a second time in a rematch immediately following, as ordered by acting GM, Vickie Guerrero.

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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