Having named Alex Hammerstone, and Jon Gresham, WrestlingDoneRight.com’s co-wrestlers of the year in 2020 and 2021, the thought crossed my mind to name them for a third consecutive year. Both of these wrestlers are my kind of wrestlers! Gresham for his in ring technical skills and complete devotion to pure wrestling, and Hammerstone for his charisma, physique, and power. However, I decided to go with Chris Jericho as my wrestler of the year, for 2022 for a few different/unique reasons. Let’s take a look at those reasons.
-First off, Chris Jericho has been extremely important to the success of AEW. Yes, he’s done a few things that I wouldn’t consider “Wrestling Done Right” over those years, but in 2022 he really got on track and proceeded to get/put a lot of guys over. What many wrestling fans don’t understand is that putting someone over doesn’t mean that you have to lose to them in a match, or a feud. Getting into a program with a wrestler like Chris Jericho means you’ve arrived, and many fans need to understand that.
-Secondly reshaping his body deserves more credit than is given. At 52, Chris Jericho is 13 months and 4 days younger than me. I can attest to how difficult it is to get into any kind of shape in your 50’s. As such, this belongs on this list of reasons that Y2J is WDR’s wrestler of the year.
-Thirdly, the formation of the Jericho Appreciation Society has been money. Most fans, such as myself, despising the term “sports entertainment” and that has been the reason many have attempted to use it in their gimmick over the years, in numerous wrestling promotions. No one has done this as well as Chris Jericho and his “Society” have in 2022.
Fourthly, the JAS’s feud with the Blackpoll Combat club has been a focal point of AEW for nearly all of 2022. While some fans complain about long lasting feuds, they are an absolute must for any wrestling organization on National TV, and this one has been the backbone of AEW all year long! The build of Sammy Guevara, Matt Menard and Angelo Parker (who would both likely be after thoughts in AEW if not for Jericho,) and Daniel Garcia are absolutely reasons WDR awards Chris Jericho with our Wrestler of the year honors. Yes, I even believe that Jake Hager and his purple hat are more over than Hager would have ever been without Jericho. Tay Melo simply fits perfectly with Sammy, and Anna Jay A.S. is much better off than when she was with Dark Order!
Fifth, Jericho shied away from gimmick matches in 2022 (forgetting the “barbed wire everywhere” match, which everyone should do) Jericho wrestled numerous matches against top notch opponents, having amazing matches with each one of them. Jericho even brought back his “Lionheart” persona!
Sixth, Jericho was an amazing Ring of Honor World Champion! Having banger matches against Bandido, Bryan Danielson, Dalton Castle, and even NJPW’s Tomahiro Ishii, a former ROH TV champion, Jericho even forced Ian Riccaboni to admit that Jericho may very well have been the best ROH World champion of all time! All of that said however, he still put Claudio Castagnoli over for the title, tapping out to his giant swing, something I am not sure has ever happened, thus making the move seem, look, and feel, even more devastating, a legitimate “finisher” rather than a mid-match spot done for laughs.
Finally, it’s clear to me that this is one of the best years of Chris Jericho’s career, and as such, he won me back as a fan, something I didn’t think would even be possible. Congratulation Chris Jericho…the Wrestling Done Right wrestler of the year for 2022!
I asked anyone that currently dislike AEW to list as many reasons as to why, that they could, being as detailed as possible, but not requiring “paragraphs.” A social media friend was kind enough to engage me on this. In this article I will respond at length to these “issues.” My aim here is not to make my friend look bad, but to try and make a point that when it comes to professional wrestling, many need to learn the hard lesson that I learned. Wrestling and wrestling fandom is best served when we as fans, find what we like, and dedicate our time to that. When we simply ignore, and walk away from any and everything we dislike. If you dislike everything, then wrestling just isn’t for you anymore. I couldn’t accept that for myself, so I found the company I like best, the company I could accept the most, and that’s AEW. WWE, and other companies are not for me, at all, but I will not spend my time online criticizing them, or celebrating their failures, botches, ratings, etc. I will be too busy promoting, and talking positively about what I love, and the IWC will be a better place because of it. I ask you all to join me in this venture! Now, here are my friends “issues” with AEW, and my response to each of them.
Long term booking:
MJF’s rise to the world title has been a long term story, and it’s the best story going right now in AEW. MJF is the best heel in all of wrestling, even using William Regal to get the top, then turning on him, holding a grudge since his WWE tryouts, years ago!
Darby Allin’s rise, with Sting by his side, is long term story telling. Sting even said he returned to wrestling because of Darby!
Samoa Joe’s arrival and tear through the company has been happening since he arrived. Yes, the turn on Wardlow was sudden, but he’s a mean MF’er who snaps easily.
Orange Cassidy has gone from a goofy “mascot” to a legit contender, and champion, in a very slow build.
Jungle Boy Jack Perry’s rise as an under sized baby face has been long term storytelling, his best friend turning on him, twice, is something he had to overcome, inside a cage match, where the long term story ended!
Jamie Hayter arrives in AEW, has been a lifelong friend to Toni Storm, but she joins Britt Baker because she wants the World title, and chooses that over friendship!
Wardlow was sidetracked, I will admit that. But his story isn’t over. Honestly, I think he got so big, so fast, Tony and company didn’t know what to do, because they weren’t ready to put the world title on him yet. I think you have to pivot in wrestling at times, based on people’s reaction, and AEW does have to learn to do that more, for sure! However; this is not as bad as Vince McMahon purposefully killing people’s pushes and spots, just because he wanted to, or he didn’t like them. Tony makes mistakes, he doesn’t look to crush wrestlers who have worked hard.
Powerhouse Hobbs story is still being told. He’s going places, and he will arrive as his story is told. Could it be better? I suppose it could, but it’s there and I predict it’s going to be good in the end!
Storylines that make sense
I don’t understand this complaint at all. There are a ton of “stories” in wrestling that don’t make sense to me, but people seem to like. Sami Zayn with the Uso’s.” I don’t find that interesting, or funny. I find it dumb. But that’s me. To others it makes sense and is good, and funny. What in AEW doesn’t make sense specifically? I think this is just the person not liking some stuff in AEW and as such, saying it “doesn’t make sense.”
Stop the rinse and repeat elite crap they have the same match every time.
To be fair, I don’t care for The Elite at all either. I agree their matches are almost all exactly the same, but again, this is a preference issue, not a “legitimate” issue with the company. I can’t stand hardcore matches, but some love them. I can’t stand comedy stuff (worse case example is Micro Man in MLW) but for some reason, some people love it. Since 1977 (when I started watching) wrestling has always had wrestlers, stories, angles, gimmicks, that I personally hated with a passion. Again, this is a preference issue, and not a legit “problem” with the company.
Improve the horrible women's division
This has to be a complaint from someone that hasn’t been watching. The women’s division was hideous with Nyla Rose, Riho, and Emi Sakura dominating it. Recently we’ve had Toni Storm, Jade Cargill (Green, but passionate and learning), Jamie Hayter, Willow Nightingale, Athena, and other top talents on top. It’s clearly improved, and still improving.
Stop mentioning WWE every single week
Rival companies have been doing this since WWE took over the industry. The NWA did it a lot, Jim Crockett promotion promo’s frequently contained veiled shots at Vince, or WWE. Impact wrestling has done it, and my God, Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon to a damn fight! Like it or not, this has been happening and likely will keep happening, as long as the WWE is in control of the industry.
Push deserving talent stop signing wrestler's as your roster is over crowded
Who determines who is “deserving?” Is MJF not deserving of the World title? Jamie Hayter? Is Samoa Joe not deserving of holding both the AEW and ROH TV titles? How about The Acclaimed? Not deserving of the tag titles? I suppose enough people hate Orange Cassidy to say he isn’t deserving, but again, based on your dislike isn’t enough to really warrant saying he’s not deserving. The roster is not over crowded, it is however not fully used. Tony Kahn simply spreads himself too thin. I don’t care how rich, powerful and intelligent Kahn is, you can’t book as much wrestling as he does, and not miss guys, opportunities, etc. Tony needs to delegate some of his booking to others he trusts. Then we will see their amazing roster used better, and more fully.
Look, I could name a dozen things that I think suck about WWE and many other wrestling promotion’s. But the idea of “fans” going on social media, spouting their opinions as facts, and saying these supposed “facts” prove that AEW sucks is embarrassingly stupid. If you enjoy WWE, go watch that, and ignore AEW. I ignore WWE, MLW, Impact, and several other companies. I absolutely loathe “DDT” wrestling out of Japan, so I don’t watch it, nor do I pay it any mind. I suppose all the crying and complaining is based on the idea that those doing it WANT to like and enjoy AEW, but can’t, because it’s not what they want it to be. I’m sorry for you, I really am, because I once lived in that head space too. Maybe after reading this, instead of getting angrier, you’ll do what I did. You’ll make up your mind to try and just watch what you enjoy, and talk pleasantly about that! What a better place the wrestling community would be if that were to happen!