Looking back at '12
As usual, it is hard to believe another year has seemingly evaporated, but here we are at the end of December. Do we look back or ahead, or both?
When 2012 began, who could have possibly foreseen some of the things that transpired during the last 12 months? Certainly, since it is pro wrestling, many things were booked to happen and therefore could not be considered genuine surprises. However, it is always up in the air whether or not something will get over. New talent has emerged and time will tell about the ability of the fresh faces to put fannies in the seats and sell pay-per-views and merchandise.
Ryback got a big push this past year. Antonio Cesaro came up from developmental after establishing himself on the indy scene and has made a name for himself. The crew that makes up the Shield, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns have catapulted to the top of the television lineup and look to be a huge force going forward. A.J. Lee's soap opera storylines have been a regular part of the scene, helping to move Daniel Bryan and now Dolph Ziggler into prominent positions. Some kudos are certainly due to the folks at developmental for the hard work done daily to get new guys and girls ready.
C.M. Punk's year long reign as WWE champion would have to be considered something of a surprise, as was the return of Brock Lesnar and his feud with Triple H that will likely be re-kindled for 2013's WrestleMania. The Rock coming back to in-ring action between movie commitments helped last year's business and will do the same in 2013.
Nature Boy Ric Flair's return may only be a nostalgia pop or he could play a slightly bigger role going forward. Mick Foley, who also returned to the WWE fold, is actually a more versatile performer (and every December requires a Santa) in some ways and way less of a public relations risk. Even Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse James snuck onto the MSG card this last week of 2012, although they are more office than talent at this point in the grand scheme of things.
The biggest shocker of the year might have been Jerry Lawler's incredibly close brush with death after wrestling and in the middle of announcing at Raw. That was drama of the highest order and way too close for comfort. The 1,000th episode of Raw was quite a celebration and we also said goodbye to a number of wrestling personalities during the past year, some prematurely.
What will 2013 bring on the wrestling front? The youth movement in WWE is likely to continue and expand. The upcoming Royal Rumble, WWE's first ppv offering of the year, usually provides the first clues about the coming WrestleMania. Those are things we have come to expect each year. What will happen that none of us see coming? That can be an exciting and simultaneously scary question whether it concerns pro wrestling or real life, which we already know can sometimes be faker than wrestling. Hope everyone reading this has a great new year and that it is a year where all of your hopes and dreams come true.