THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER'S TOP 10 - Crashing Stars of 2012: Who topped A.J. Styles as the #1 falling star of the past year?
Jan 6, 2013 - 5:01:04 PM
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By Benjamin Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
In Part Two of my Top 10's of 2012, I'm going to look at the WWE and TNA wrestlers whose stocks crashed in the past year. Whether it's their doing or the effects of an over-worked Creative team, these guys had a 2012 that ended up turning out a lot worse for them than their prior year.
Honorable Mention: Alex Riley. Most of Alex Riley's momentum was lost in 2011, but he crashed hard in the first half of 2012, eventually falling off television after his first win on Raw of the year. Relegated to "jobber to jobbers" status this year makes no sense for Riley, considering he's been able to show time and time again that he can make a name for himself, whether he's a face or heel. He's recently started working dark matches for WWE again after some apparent time off, but it still doesn't seem like WWE wants to invest in the Varsity Villain. Maybe in 2013...
(10) A.J. Styles. Well, at least there's hope for Styles, considering how his bad year is now one of the focal points of TNA television. That being said, 2012 was still a pretty poor year for A.J. The man who many would consider to be one of the faces of TNA was shifted to upper mid-card storylines for a large portion of 2012, spending several months in a never-ending feud with Christopher Daniels that resulted in him being drugged and (potentially) raped by one Claire Lynch, who then claimed to be pregnant. The Claire Lynch drama stands as one of the lowest points of TNA programming in 2012, and it did nothing but continue to damage A.J.'s momentum. His only title win was a few week stint with the Tag Titles, and his lack of Creative attention seemed odd. It appears that 2013 will be brighter for Styles. I hope so, because this year tarnished his good track record.
(9) Randy Orton. Orton seems so uninspired as a face, and his multiple minor injuries this year, along with a two-month Wellness Policy suspension, have taken him out of the top spot on the Smackdown roster, replacing him with Sheamus. His feud with Wade Barrett at the start of the year was fine, but before long he was caught in never-ending feuds with the likes of Kane and Alberto Del Rio. It's a shame, because Orton still has a lot to offer, but his apparent lack of desire to work as a face has seemingly negatively affected his work. The man that was World Champion not too long ago is still in the upper card, but 2012 definitely hurt Orton's stature on the roster.
(8) Jack Swagger. I swear, this guy actually was World Champion once. Really! Sadly, Jack Swagger's career sank even further in 2012, going from jobber to the stars to flat-out jobber. Eventually, it became so bad that he was pulled from TV. I'm hopeful that he'll be repackaged in a meaningful way along with Alex Riley, but ever since returning to the house show tour, Swagger has only lost matches even faster. Swagger can deliver, and it's a shame that he hasn't been given the chance to show that in such a long time.
(7) R-Truth. Little Jimmy destroyed R-Truth. Actually, the WWE Wellness Policy did. After a high-profile loss against The Rock and John Cena at Survivor Series last year, Truth was sent home for 30 days after a failed drug test, ending a great year as one of WWE's bigger heels on a sour note. He returned as a face, but his gimmick never truly evolved. 12 months later, Truth's gimmick is a simplified and watered-down version of his once great heel persona. He's used much more sparingly recently, and none of his matches have been particularly entertaining. 2012 was one giant holding pattern for R-Truth, returning him to the mid-card roots he was used to before his break-out heel turn in 2011.
(6) Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio, once one of the WWE's most popular wrestlers, is now a novelty act. Yes, he still gets a good crowd reaction, but since his return from injury in July, Mysterio has not been positioned as one of the key players in WWE. Nagging injuries and two Wellness Policy violations means that WWE can't do much with the company's resident high-flyer. Right now he is being used in a team with Sin Cara so that he can continue to help Cara conform to the WWE style while also taking a smaller work load. As it stands, it appears that Rey's time as a main-eventer is over. He may still be in high-profile matches, but it's likely he will never regularly challenge for a World Title again. 2012 is the year that solidified this fact.
(5) Lord Tensai. Or, Tensai, whichever you prefer. Either way, this man came back to WWE after a successful run in Japan, only to fail to get over with the WWE audience and be relegated to jobber status and comedy with Santino by the end of the year. He was positioned as a powerhouse when he re-debuted after WrestleMania 28, gaining high-profile wins over C.M. Punk and John Cena, but was always greeted with silence by the crowd. His lame gimmick didn't help matters, and he was largely out of the main event scene within two months. This was perhaps Albert's last attempt to get over in WWE, and it failed. Again.
(4) Crimson. Wait, who? Oh, you mean that undefeated guy! Where is he, again? Apparently nobody knows. But, perhaps Joseph Park bumped into him down in OVW. While Crimson was rarely one of the featured acts on the TNA roster, he did have a few relatively high-profile matches on Impact towards the end of 2011. A heel turn this year, along with a loss to James Storm that ended his lame "undefeated" streak, was pretty much last thing that was seen of the red-haired big-man, which is a shame considering he was finally starting to gain traction with the TNA crowd. He was sent to OVW for more training, but it still seems like a waste of all of the work already done with him to keep him away for so long.
(3) Mr. Anderson. Speaking of people who have hardly been on TNA programming lately, let's take a look at Mr. Anderson. Rumors floated around that TNA Creative had nothing for Anderson to do, but that was in January. Eleven months and one brief return later, Mr. Anderson has practically dropped off the face of the earth. Recently, he returned in brief segments with the Aces & Eights, but it's odd that the man who was the TNA World Champion just a year ago has been on television so little. That being said, his appearances on TV also hurt his standing, with a gimmick that has become one-dimensional and stale. Not to mention that he was really out-of-shape for a while. At this point, just about any attention from Creative for Anderson is better than nothing.
(2) The Miz. The Miz's 2012 was rife with disappointment and the opportunity to do better. 2012 was filled with losses for Miz, a stale gimmick, and one terrible face turn to cap it all off. At the moment it seems that he has rebounded a bit, but he was never the same after being (allegedly) blamed for the poor buyrate for Survivor Series 2011. He has failed to get over with the audience as a good guy, giving them no reason to cheer him with his snarky, arrogant character. He hasn't resorted to using his old "Hoorah!" cheer, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it make a comeback in 2013. This is a shame considering the lack of support he received as a heel. No matter how good you can cut a promo, it doesn't matter if your character does not develop. After a very successful 2011, Miz has effectively become a shadow of his former wrestling self.
(1) Zack Ryder. Zack Ryder actually managed to get himself over in 2011 with his YouTube show, "Z! True Long Island Story." Sadly, the start of the year was the highlight for Zack, who is now once again on Superstars regularly. He almost immediately lost his U.S. Title, was never afforded the opportunity to further develop his persona, was entrenched in a terrible feud with Kane and John Cena, and was the fall guy in his first WrestleMania match. Since then, he's become a jobber yet again, with the only differences between now and two years ago being that he's a face and his YouTube show is a lot less entertaining. A lot. With a stale gimmick and no attention from Creative, Zack Ryder's 15 seconds of fame are apparently up. At least that gives him something to complain about on his Twitter account, I guess. It's a shame that a guy with so much was only allowed to do so little.
Any questions or comments? Feel free to message me on Twitter at BTuckertorch .
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