Third Annual Christopher J. Garcia Awards
For Outstanding Achievement in the Field of
For the Tribute to Eddie
Guerrero, go here.
not a strong year for wrestling at the box office. Mexico
and at times Puerto Rico were exceptions, but very few groups
turned strong profits. Ratings dropped, some companies folded,
others slowed down and let folks go. It happens. Wrestling
seems to have run out of new and original ideas. Interest
keeps dropping and bad ideas keep floating to the top.
I say so, that's why.
And yet I still
had a good time.
was a lot of great wrestling this year from guys like Eddie
Guerrero and Chris Benoit. TNA stepped it up and put
on one of the greatest PPV matches I’ve ever seen.
Ring of Honor had a World Champion who acted like a World
Champion. Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama worked well above
the level their broken bodies should allow. It was a year
of solid wrestling, though there was a lot of crap to wade
more than any other year, the WWE presented awful angles
and ideas. Much of the Diva Search was terrible. A lot of
the ideas used in the Tough Enough contest were terrible
and the fact that they missed the ball in pushing Daniel
Puder into a feud with Kurt Angle is still hotly debated.
The Lita and Kane angle killed viewership dead at points.
Maybe the lack of quality today is what drove the upswing
in Tribute shows bringing back the legends of the 1970s
one upside has to be the fewer deaths compared to earlier
years. Big Bossman passed away, which was sudden and sad.
James Dudley, a WWE office guy for nearly 50 years, died
at 93. A young Mexican wrestler, Espirito de la Muerte,
died on impact when trying to do an out of ring dive, catching
his knee on the ropes, falling head first to the floor while
his brother, who was supposed to catch him, and his father,
the ref, watched. Hercules Hernandez passed away, another
victim of heavy roid use. Still, compare to last year, when
we lost The Wall, Miss Elizabeth, Crash Holly, Curt Hennig,
Freddie Blassie (tap-tap-kiss-point), Road Warrior Hawk,
and Stu Hart.
like those suffered by Mean Gene Okerlund, Steve Dr. Death
Williams, and Sabu also put a downbeat on the year. Tribute
shows have become more and more common and have raised good
money. There have been a few miracles, like the recovery
of Ernie Ladd and Bobby Heenan. Wrestling is still subject
to intrusions from real life.
wrestling has certainly dropped from the lofty heights of
just a few years ago, The Rock is still on the verge of
being the top action star, HHH has made his first step into
film and both Austin and Goldberg got into the acting game
again. WWE Films is producing two movies, one for Kane,
one with John Cena. HHH is now being looked at for roles
like Prince Adam in Masters of the Universe and
All in all, it
was a year that many would like to forget, but not as bad
as some of the harshest years.
served with garnish.
(Last Year’s Winner- Ric Flair)
John Bradshaw Layfield.
Yeah, he’s over-pushed. Yeah, he can’t work. Yeah,
his gimmick is way over the top and doesn’t draw, but
the guy can deliver a great promo. I will say that he built
to it with strong promo after strong promo and that it was
the bad taste left in people’s mouths from the way he
got his reign that really stopped a lot of people from seeing
how good a talker he is. Second is Chris Jericho, followed
by Eddie Guerrero.
of the Year
(Last Year’s Winner- Trish Stratus)
Threepeat for the Toronto-born and bred Diva. This year
saw a certain downgrade of women’s wrestling, but
Trish still managed to main event an edition of Raw and
have some strong matches. She played her role with Christian.
She wrestled good matches with just about everyone. She
had a strong feud with Lita. She did some good promos. Trish
repeats and I’m betting she’ll have a couple
of more of these before she’s done. Second is Lita,
followed by Jenny Taylor in indies.
Team of the Year
(Last Year- Los Guererros) KENTA and Marafuji
from Pro Wrestling NOAH
OK, if you haven’t started searching the web to get
tapes of these guys, you are a fool! The pair is the best
Tag Team since the Rock ‘n Roll Express and Midnight
Express. KENTA is so solid, and if he were a little bigger,
I’d say he was the next big thing in Japan. Still,
the two blow everyone else away. Team Canada and Elix Skipper
and Chris Daniels are on the list too.
Thesz Award for Good Wrestling
(Last Year’s Winner- Tie: Brock Lesnar and Chris
Benoit) AJ Styles
TNA wins one and with good reason: AJ is awesome. He works
a style that isn’t hard to love. I’ve seen non-wrestling
fans really get into his matches, something that you can
hardly ever expect. His matches have always been great,
and he’s the one guy that the WWE could really do
something with. Second goes to Chris Benoit, followed by
Eddie Guerrero, with honorable mentions going to KENTA of
Pro Wrestling NOAH and Samoa Joe of Ring of Honor.
(Last Year- Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa from
the Tokyo Dome)
Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania.
This was the hardest category. Jun Akiyama vs. Kenta Kobashi
and last month’s cage match on the TNA Pay-Per-View
both come so close, but the atmosphere of WrestleMania coupled
with the impact the match had on the career of Chris Benoit
put it on top. It reminded me a lot of my favorite match
of 1997, where Bret Hart, Vader, Steve Austin and Sycho
Sid met in a four way match for the belt. Benoit certainly
stepped beyond his old self here and just looked great,
but I’d say that Shawn Michaels was the general in
this one and made the match move up to that next level.
Special mention to the 60-minute Draws between CM Punk and
Samoa Joe in Ring of Honor and Eddie Guerrero beating Brock
Lesnar in the Cow Palace.
of the Year (Last Year- Kurt Angle vs. Brock
Lesnar) HHH vs. Chris Benoit
There were a couple right up there, CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe
and Eddie vs. JBL, but I’d say the one that had the
most impact was Benoit/HHH. Both in the ring and out, Benoit
and HHH made the middle portion of the year for the WWE.
HHH was back in his 2000 form, and Benoit was as good as
he ever was.
of the Year (Last Year- Shawn Michaels)
we made it through 2004 without any jokes about
Chris Benoit has probably wrestled more great matches in the
last ten years than anyone else. He’s a star, a Hall
of Famer, and he finally got his run on top. If not for HHH’s
ego, he could have made a much bigger splash. Benoit deserves
the push and he’s been floundering a bit ever since
they pulled it off of him, but he’s also the best wrestler
in the WWE right now. Still, the first 8 months of the year
were all Benoit’s. Second goes to Eddie Guerrero, with
Kenta Kobashi, Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett all trailing.
Planet Reader Awards.
We got 75 votes.
Not a lot, but enough. They came from Tribe.net postings,
my personal e-mail list and from my readers. So, without
hesitation, here are the winners.
Babyface (Last Year’s Winner- Goldberg)
Here’s how this one broke down: 40 votes Guerrero.
20 votes for Chris Jericho. Ten for RVD, which is a lot
for a guy without a push. One each for Booker T, John Cena,
Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Mick Foley. Such a resounding
win for Latino Heat. He did well last year, though I didn’t
expect him to do as well this year. Randy Orton and John
Cena only getting one vote each could be a bad sign for
the two guys the WWE figures to be building around next
year. Jericho’s second place finish, and the more
stunning third place for RVD, shows that perhaps the WWE
doesn’t know what it’s looking at by pushing
Cena and Orton when they have those two under contract.
Heel (Last Year- HHH) Kane
OK, here’s a bit of the break down. With a week to
go, Kane had 12 votes, HHH had 13, JBL had 10. Four days
before it looked like JBL was gonna win by a total of 22
to HHH’s 17 and Kane would pull third with 14. Final
two days I received a ton of votes, and ten for Kane, all
with different comments and half of them from folks I know
personally, so it wasn’t a stuffing the ballot thing.
Final total: Kane 24, JBL 22, HHH 17. The only other people
getting more than one vote were Edge with three, while Snitsky,
Maven (What?), and Flair each had two. The only non-WWE
vote in the entire reader’s poll went to Jeff Jarrett,
while Kurt Angle and Spike Dudley also got votes.
Planet’s Favorite Wrestler (Last Year-
Brock Lesnar) Eddie Guerrero.
Tight race again with four guys getting good numbers of
votes. Eddie won with 20 votes to HHH’s 17. Benoit
got 14, while Rey Mysterio took home 9. Flair got 5, which
is a shocker, and then the dregs were Trish with two (HUGE
shock to me), Shelton Benjamin with two, Booker T and John
Cena with two, and then votes going to Randy Orton and RVD.