2020 has seen a lot of cancellations this year. Concerts, film releases and most recently Christmas in many countries around the world. In the wrestling world, touring events and arenas packed with thousands of fans are not operating right now. However, televised wrestling has not stopped. It has not gone without controversies though. Whether it is due to wrestling being classed as essential in Florida or the multiple breakouts of COVID during tapings, not everyone has approved of the continuation. Fans will always look for the positives to outweigh the negatives when they are that passionate about something. No matter the opinion and some of the more unethical practices, there are some bright spots this year in the world of wrestling. Here are some of the best bits.
The 2020 Royal Rumble
Despite the majority of 2020 shows having empty arenas, there were some normal shows at the start of the year. This year’s Royal Rumble was one of the better cards in recent memory. If for nothing else, the men’s rumble match. Brock Lesnar putting on a dominating performance from number 1, and his reaction to Keith Lee. Then there was the deafening cheer when Lesnar was finally eliminated by eventual winner Drew Mcintyre. Nothing could top that reaction on the night. That was until “You think you know me…” and the opening riff to Metalingus hit over the speakers. After 9 years, Edge made his return to the ring! One of the biggest returns ever and a truly feel-good moment. While Edge is currently off injured, another return should be imminent in 2021.
As the saying goes, “at times like this, all you can do is laugh.” Everyone has needed a laugh with the events of 2020. Both AEW and WWE have provided these with their selection of cinematic matches. The Firefly Funhouse match was unlike anything seen in wrestling ever. Happily, John Cena agreed to all creative suggestions and let Bray Wyatt work his magic. The Undertaker also had a rejuvenation with The Boneyard match. While it can’t be confirmed, many have said that this style of match worked better than any in-ring encounter that would have happened. Over in AEW, The Stadium Stampede was part wrestling match, part NFL game and part wild west brawl. Golf cart chases, beating up mascots, a horse! These are the kind of matches to get a non-wrestling fan into the sport.
The Last Ride Documentary
in 2019 The Undertaker was a very different superstar. He didn’t do interviews, didn’t have a social media account and very little was known about him apart from what others have said. After thirty years in WWE, The Undertaker has decided it is time to retire. With this came the WWE documentary The Last Ride A fascinating look at the man behind the character looking back at his career and looking for that perfect sendoff. This warts and all perspective leaves no stone unturned and has received praise from both wrestling and non-wrestling critics. The honesty was very much appreciated, as most WWE produced documentaries can hide some of their negatives and try to rewrite history.
With less time on the road, superstars have had more time to work on their characters and define who they are. Roman Reigns is finally getting the reaction from fans that he should be, The Hurt business is one of the biggest threats on the RAW roster, and then there is Kenny Omega. The cleaner/belt collector Omega has had a great tail end of 2020, and could be the biggest star of 2021. Honourable mentions for other superstars with improved characters include Bayley, Sasha Banks, Drew Mcintyre, Shotzi Blackheart and Britt Baker.