10 Wrestlers That Have Had An Amazing 2016

While opinion is divided on the quality of 2016’s WWE programming, what we can say is that its been a great year for wrestling as a whole. TNA was saved by Anthem, WCPW revolutionised the internet-based indie scene,  Lucha Underground gave us a female world champion, and World Of Sport is making a comeback in the UK.
Not only have promotions fared excellently, but so have a lot of the industries hottest talents, and with this in mind here are ten who’ve done the best, in no particular order:

Who?: Aj Styles

Where?: WWE SmackDown Live, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

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Aj Styles has been undoubtedly the worlds greatest wrestler this year. He has had match of the year candidates with Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleKingdom 10, Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules & Payback,  Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, and John Cena at SummerSlam. He has shown and proven his worth across two promotions in two continents and he won’t just go down as the best of his generation, but maybe one of the best of all time. Styles has long since been deserving of a spot in the main event scene of wrestling’s biggest promotion, and since his debut at the Royal Rumble, Styles has proven that he is here to stay. Sorry, Dixie, this loss is on you.

Who?: Charlotte

Where?: WWE RAW

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Strength, style, talent. Three words that describe this woman perfectly. Charlotte is the best women’s wrestler alive today, nobody can touch her, she is the total package. She oozes charisma, shes as athletic as they come, and her family pedigree really shows when shes in the ring, she is her fathers daughter, and every time she snaps on the figure-eight leg-lock, that family magic seeps through. She is a heel in every sense of the word, and she is so convincing that she could literally become a professional actress with a seamless transition, but we don’t want that, because we want to see the talent of this magnificent lady on display for many years to come. With several consecutive title reigns under her belt, as well as becoming the first ever Raw Women’s Champion back at Wrestlemania, and creating history with Sasha Banks inside Hell In A Cell, this woman is a trail blazer, and a role model for all young women to aspire to emulate.

Who?: #Broken Matt Hardy

Where?: TNA Impact!

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Any NJPW fan-boy smarky internet wrestling snob will tell you that Matt Hardy’s “Broken” Gimmick is ridiculous. Those people are wrong. This gimmick could be the one that breathes new life into wrestling as we know it. Matt Hardy had a good 2016 anyway before this gimmick, winning 2 World Titles with TNA, but when he lost his second, his magnum opus was born. He put on a match of the year candidate with his brother Jeff in The Final Deletion, which you can watch here, he won the TNA Tag Titles, saved TNA from bankruptcy on more than on occasion, and for the first time in his career he became the more popular of the Hardy brothers. I salute your #Broken brilliance, Mr Hardy, you’re so over you may as well become a pole vaulter.

Who?: The Miz

Where?: WWE SmackDown Live

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Many would’ve laughed at the start of the year if you told them The Miz would be the most consistently entertaining champion of the last 12 months. “Really?” they would’ve asked, “Really?” They’re not laughing now. The Miz has made the Intercontinental Title mean something again, with the help of his wife Maryse, he has reached devilish new levels of heelishness in 2016. Since the brand split, Miz has shone, mainly with his insanely realistic work-shoot promos with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live after-show, Talking Smack. Miz is also excellent in the ring, he manages to be technical and tremendously entertaining while also remaining a completely safe worker. With all the work done in the upper mid-card, you just know that The Miz is going to be one of the first in line for a World Title opportunity in 2017. In the words of the man himself, he is The Miz, and he is awesome!

Who?: Kenny Omega

Where?: New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

kenny-omega

Fun fact, Jim Cornette once said he’d like to slit this mans throat. Now all that unpleasantness is out of the way, lets talk about why Kenny Omega made this list. Well for starters, Kenny is one of the few wrestlers in the world that does ever need to work for WWE. Why? Well he’s one of the biggest stars in Japanese  wrestling. Winning annual tournament the G1 Climax, becoming the only gaijin, or non-Japanese wrestler, to ever do so. Omega is set to headline WrestleKingdom 11, the second biggest wrestling pay-per-view show in the world, against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Fans of the Japanese scene have become very accustomed to Omega on the programming over the years, and his success has been welcomed with open arms, lets hope we see some more success in the very near future.

Who?: Cody Rhodes

Where?: TNA Impact!, Ring Of Honor (ROH), WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW), Global Force Wrestling (GFW), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

cody-rhodes

The grandson of a plumber certainly has been a busy boy this year, he left WWE in a blaze of glory and he has achieved nothing but success since then. Rhodes, despite not actually being able to use the name Rhodes, as competed in TNA, ROH, GFW, WCPW, WWE, and joined the Bullet Club on NJPW all in one year. His success is huge throughout the world, as he prepares to compete at Wrestlekingdom 11, he takes with him the GFW Next-Gen Championship and the WCPW Internet Championship. During his time in WCPW, Rhodes wrestled Kurt Angle, a dream match for fans worldwide, and Rhodes proved he could go just as good as the Olympic Hero. With Cody slowly becoming the king of the indie scene, you can only expect more great things to come his way in 2017, and his dad would be proud to hear it.

Who?: Johnny Mundo

Where?: Lucha Underground

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Johnny Mundo has long since been the poster boy of Lucha Underground, and its not hard to see why, he’s shredded, he’s athletically gifted, he’s great on the microphone and he has charisma by the bucket load. But despite all this, Johnny has never really found that much success when it comes to championships, despite a run as ECW World Champion in WWE, the mainstream World Title success that others have had has somehow evaded jumping Johnny. This all changed this year when Johnny cashed in his Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship on Sexy Star to become the Lucha Underground Champion. Mundo has since lost the title but it was great to see him finally climb the ladder to the top of the company he has fronted since its inception. This also marked his first World Championship on a televised wrestling show since the aforementioned ECW Title reign back in 2007. Here’s hoping we’ll see another, longer Mundo reign some time soon.

Who?: Chris Jericho

Where?: WWE RAW

chris-jericho

Behind #Broken Matt Hardy, Chris Jericho is the second most over wrestler of 2016, he has had a number of catchphrases get over, including “Stupid idiot” which is, in my opinion, the best put down since WWE went PG, and it would not have worked if it had been said by anyone other than Jericho. Not only that, but Jericho is great at getting inanimate objects over too, he’s got a scarf over, a list, a potted plant, a jacket, and even none existent things, like the elusive gift of Jericho, drink it in….man. Jericho is the best he’s ever been right now, and he may be too good for the benefit of the others around him, as somehow, he managed to make a list have more value than the WWE Universal Title. Regardless, Jericho remains the man, and it saddens me to think that his current WWE run is coming to an end, but its been one hell of a time, and we’ll miss him until the day he’s back.

Who?: Martin Kirby

Where?: WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW)

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Martin Kirby is great, and I don’t just say that as a WhatCulture fanboy, I say it as a committed wrestling fan. Kirby is a man that we can all get behind, his outrageous, and funny personality makes him the ultimate British wrestling character and he is the heart and soul of this British based promotion. With the help of a certain gentleman in a crown, Martin Kirby is the most over man in WCPW, with WhatCulture Wrestling Issue 3 even giving him a limited edition cover. The WCPW booking team are obviously doing a slow build to Kirby becoming the WCPW Champion and the face of the promotion, and when that day comes, many a pink glow-stick will be raised in the air. You can check WCPW out here.

 Who?: Shinsuke Nakamura

Where?: WWE NXT, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

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We end with the king of strong style, and if he wasn’t on this list, it would be a crime, frankly. For the most part of 2016, Nakamura was billed as unstoppable, steamrolling through competition, one stiff knee at a time, the most protected and monstrous star since Brock Lesnar, it seems the two are on a collision course to meet. He put on two match of the year candidates this year, one with Aj Styles and Wrestlekingdom 10 and one with Sami Zayn at TakeOver: Dallas, and has one IWGP Intercontinental Championship and two NXT Championships to show for it. Shinsuke defines the word charisma, and he’s destined for great things in his future with WWE, so stay tuned in 2017 for more stiff knees and broken ribs, delivered by this man.

Well that’s it for this list and for 2016, did I miss any out? Was your favourite wrestler of the year not on the list? Have a list idea or a review request? Tell me in the comments or go through the contact page.

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5 Festive Sitcom Specials Guaranteed To Bring Christmas Cheer

Television and Christmas go hand in hand, it seems that there are an endless amount of specials from the sitcoms we all know and love. It seems a real shame to go though the Christmas season without watching at least one of these festive treats, and here are five of the best.

The Simpsons: Season 23 Episode 9 = “Holidays of Future Passed”

holidays-of-future-passed

I’ll be honest, it’s very rare that a later season of The Simpsons delivers an episode worth remembering, but in the case of this festive special, they have succeeded in leaps and bounds. Focusing on the families future, in which Lisa has a degenerative daughter, Bart is a divorced deadbeat Dad, Maggie is a pregnant international singing star, and Homer quits drinking. While there are a lot of laughs, there are a lot of fundamental heart warming moments that reminds us all why The Simpsons was so popular to begin with, and why it has lasted as long as it has. A true modern classic.

Frasier: Season 3 Episode 9 – “Frasier Grinch”

frasier-grinch

In this episode, everyone’s favourite radio psychiatrist is excited to have his son fly in to spend Christmas with him, but all looks to be in peril when Frasier receives the wrong package on Christmas Eve. The episode is packed with some great moments, including Niles being cut off by Maris, Martin going a little too far when decorating the apartment, and Bulldog arranging a little “surprise” for Frasier on his last broadcast of the year. The episode is a laugh a minute in the best way and that is exactly what earned it its  place on this list.

Family Guy: Season 9 Episode 7 – “Road to the North Pole”

road-to-the-north-pole

Family Guy are no stranger to seasonal specials, but this one is the granddaddy of them all. The 45 minute episode sees Stewie in a desperate attempt to hunt down and kill Santa. Brian accompanies him all the way to the North Pole but when they get there they see the shock truth, Santa is sick, overworked an suicidal, the reindeer are feral creatures with a blood lust for elf flesh, and the elves are inbred to the point of disability. It’s very dark but its very funny, and it has a nice message about greed at Christmas time that I think we can all learn from.

Two and a Half Men: Season 4 Episode 11 – “Walnuts and Demerol”

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It’s Christmas Eve with the Harper family and Charlie has a very special evening planned with his new lady friend. But true to the shows fashion, it all goes down hill very quickly, Alan, Jake, and Berta fail to leave, Kandi arrives not wanting to spend Christmas alone, Judith and Herb show up with marital troubles, Rose is not long behind and before he knows it, Charlie has an unwanted Christmas party on his hands. Evelyn then arrives with some truly shocking news which leads to an odd Christmas miracle occurring. This is not only the shows best festive special, but its also one of the best episodes in the shows history.

Extras: Series 2 Episode 7 – “The Extra Special Series Finale”

extras-christmas

Finally, we have the ending to the BBC sitcom Extras. This one less like a Christmas special and more like a TV movie, as life goes downhill for Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) after he quits his sitcom to go onto bigger and better things, he fails. His friend Maggy finds herself miserable in a cleaning job, and his agent Darren finds himself working in Carphone Warehouse with Barry from Eastenders and Dean Gaffney. With guest stars like David Tennant, Gordan Ramsey, George Michael, and Clive Owen, there’s no shortage of reasons to check out this hilarious special over the holiday season.

Did I miss any out? Was your favourite festive sitcom special left off the list? Have a list idea or review request? Drop it in the comments or go through the blog’s contact page.

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6 Films That Are Perfect For Christmas Eve Viewing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the songs says. Don’t get me wrong, it’s true, but not just for all that noise about “love & togetherness”, this is the one time of year when you can put on some of your cinematic festive favourites without care of judgement, and what better time to watch one than Christmas Eve?
Well with that in mind, here are six films that are guaranteed to put you in the festive spirit on the night before Christmas.

The Santa Clause (1994)

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If you were born in the 90’s, chances are you’ve seen this movie. I remember many a Christmas in primary school, the teachers would cram us all into a crowded classroom, sit us on the hard, uncomfortable floor and show us this film on a TV smaller than most phone screens today. Tim Allen plays the protagonist, Scott Calvin, who becomes Santa Claus after accidentally murdering the old one, which is the cornerstone of most family entertainment I suppose. Calvin spends the film struggling with the weight gain that goes hand in hand with the job, the facial hair that he just can’t get rid of, and the authorities who want to take him away from his son because they think he’s crazy. It’s packed to the brim with Christmas cheer and will certainly get you in the spirit of the season.

 Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007)

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While not strictly a Christmas film, Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a holiday favourite of mine. Dustin Hoffman takes the helm as Mr Magorium himself, the ancient owner of a magical toy store. The film is heart warming, magical, and sweetly funny, and without spoiling it for you, you will cry, simple as that. But anyway, tears aside, this is a true classic in my opinion, and I urge anyone who has not yet seen it, to see it immediately, and with Christmas Eve just around the corner, you find yourselves with the perfect opportunity to enjoy this hidden gem.

Krampus (2015)

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One for the adults now, as Krampus and his twisted minions slither their way down your chimney. This holiday horror comes from the same mind that brought you Trick’R’Treat, and by all estimations it was supposed to fail. Initially set for a straight to DVD release, the film managed to earn a wide release and did wonderfully at the box office. Despite getting mixed reviews from critics, Krampus is a modern classic, following a disfunctional family, who are brought together when the Christmas demon is summoned to their house. There are laughs, scares, and a true family message all packed into this, and if you don’t mind getting a few chills on Christmas Eve, then this is the film for you.

The Polar Express (2004)

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Although it attained mixed reviews, The Polar Express is somewhat of a masterpiece. Coming to the big screen in 2004, the films stars Tom Hanks in a plethora of roles, and it centres around a group of kids on a magical train ride to the North Pole. Even though this film came out in 2004, the animation still looks incredible today. Not only that, but the film mixes intensity, subtle humour, and Christmas cheer in a way that’s so vitally seamless that anyone of any age can see this instant classic and enjoy it. The magic this film projects is the perfect thing to get the kids off to a sound sleep on Christmas Eve, and enough to rise that special warm feeling in the bellies of adults, a must watch for fans of animation and Christmas alike.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)

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Again, this is not strictly a Christmas film, but it is a staple of Christmas Eve in the UK. This may just be British bias talking, but a Christmas without the first instalment in this series just doesn’t feel like Christmas. While the film is far from perfect, it certainly is the most magical of the lot, with a snowy Christmas sequence that would put most actual holiday movies to shame. Any time is a good time to watch an epic fantasy series like Harry Potter, but the first film, in the eyes of some many British people, will have a special place on Christmas Eve.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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We end this list with a true festive favourite of generations upon generations. No matter how old you are, you have to appreciate the quality of Brian Henson’s 1992 Muppet masterpiece. Probably my favourite adaption of the Dickens novel, the film follows Charles Dickens himself, played by Gonzo, as he tells his iconic story. Scrooge is played to perfection by Michael Caine, and the whole Muppet cast never fails to bring a smile to my face. With catchy songs, great set design, and wonderful puppeteer work, its not hard to see why I’ve included this film on the list. So gather round, put this on your TV, and I guarantee the whole family will be off to bed on Christmas Eve with smiles on their faces, and songs stuck in their heads.

Did I miss any out? Was your favourite Christmas Eve film left at the bottom of the sack? Have a list idea or a review request? Drop them in the comments section or go throught the blog’s contact page.

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