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411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Is Roman Reigns Your 2021 Wrestler of the Year?

December 24, 2021 | Posted by Jake Chambers
Roman Reigns WWE Smackdown, Jeff Hardy

Welcome back to the 411mania Wrestling Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Merry X-Mas everyone! This week I’ve decided to give myself a gift as I’ve invited two of my favourite comment section regulars to tackle some yuletide year-end FoF statements.

Let’s welcome the dynamic debater Ryan and the combative conversationalist D2Kvirus to the big stage!

Every week, without fail, they provide their responses to the FoF statements and it’s always a great read for me. As the crafter of the statements, I love to read the variety of responses they can generate from great writers and I appreciate the flavour these two add each time.

Ho ho ho, let’s go!

Statement #1: Roman Reigns is your 2021 Wrestler of the Year.

D2Kvirus: FICTION – As superb as some of Reigns’ character work has been throughout his Tribal Chief run, there is one major issue I have been having with Reigns’ run: the ‘Nam flashbacks to Triple H’s reign of terror.  For example, as good as Reigns’ matches have been at times this year, I find myself taken out of them because I know that there’s going to be Uso interference and Reigns will stand victorious yet again, just like how Triple H matches in 2002-5 were equally hard to get invested in because you knew there’s be Orton or Batista or Flair interfering so Trips would stand victorious, and for that reason I can’t really say Reigns is my Wrestler of the Year because his matches are starting to reach the point where the only thing that matters is the last five minutes prior to the Uso interference and Reigns’ hand being raised.  So, with this in mind, who would I say has been my Wrestler of the Year?  Three months ago, I probably would’ve said WALTER because, even though his schedule’s been incredibly light this year, he’s less been the final boss of NXT UK and more the boss of a Soulsborne game that happens to be taking place in NXT UK where his work has been awe inspiring at times and paid off beautifully when Ilja Dragunov slayed the dragon, but in the last three months Bryan Danielson has rolled back the years and is wrestling like it’s 2006 all over again so putting on technical clinics one minute and dishing out the brutality the next which is more remarkable considering nobody would have thought he was capable of performing with that intensity after his near-retirement, so with that in mind I’d have to go for AmDrag.

Ryan: FICTION – The idea of “Wrestler of the Year”, for any given year, is objective and one that takes many scopes.

First of all, you need to look within many companies, and I’m not just talking about the “Big Two”, those being WWE and AEW. Did Impact have one worthy of WOTY status? How about MLW or ROH? New Japan, NOAH, or All Japan? How about a hidden gem in PROGESS or wXw?

Second of all, when it comes to Roman Reigns, yes, he’s gotten leaps and bounds better when it comes to his character skill set, promo work, and overall confidence as a heel. But one has to ask themselves, “Has he improved himself well enough in the ring to truly be considered the Wrestler of the Year for 2021?”

Keep in mind this; when Reigns was a babyface (albeit forced, or given the “Cena push”), he had the same basic moves then that he does now. Sure, he may have one or two additional moves now (like the choke out finisher he applies), but the move set/skill set are practically the same. The biggest change to Reigns has not only been the heel re-alignment, but also “The Bloodline” (WE THE ONE!), not so much his in-ring ability.

So, sorry (not sorry), I can’t get behind that.


Statement #2: Watching Bryan Danielson wrestle for one hour is more important to you than the outcome of the match.

D2Kvirus: FACT – If the sixty minutes tells a compelling story which also sets the stage for a future rematch that will be able to have callbacks to the first match because of that story, then the wrestling for an hour becomes the outcome of the match because that sixty-minute draw creates intrigue for the rematch.  That being said, however, it is a much finer line to walk than it first appears, because while there are sixty-minute draws which do build intrigue for rematches and create callbacks for the fanbase to bite on such as the two Samoa Joe vs CM Punk draws, on the other hand there is the temptation to think that the length of a match has a direct correlation with how epic the match is and as a result you end up with a slog which is as enjoyable as being sat next to James Corden on a long haul flight, as anyone who remembers the sixty-minute Broadway between Austin Aries and Tyler Black at Final Battle 2009 will remember.  And if you didn’t remember, sorry for the reminder.

Ryan: FACT – I was tempted to go FICTION here, but the end game, at least at “Winter is Coming”, wasn’t nearly as important I don’t think. Also, don’t forget that at “Grand Slam”, Danielson did a time limit draw with then AEW Champion Kenny Omega; granted, it was only half of the time as this match, but it was a draw none the less.

Clearly the end game was to have another match between the two erstwhile keeping the belt on Page and maintaining Danielson as the number one contender in non-defeat. I don’t know when that will be, but yes, sign me up for more of it, please and thank you!

There is ONE question I do have in regards to the time-frame for the rematch…there are still three Dark Order members (Ten, Alex Reynolds, and Stu Grayson) that Danielson didn’t kick in their heads. Does that mean that between now and the rematch that Danielson will kick their heads in, too?

Statement #3: Hangman Page should stay AEW World Champion for most of 2022.

D2Kvirus: FACT – As AEW head into Year Three there is one item that needs to be top of their booking agenda, preferably underlined four or five times for emphasis: crowning MJF as AEW Champion.  With that in mind, looking at the AEW events on the slate for 2022 the question is whether MJF gets his due at Double or Nothing which will be in May/June, or whether they hold off a little longer and pull the trigger at All Out whenever that takes place, presumably September/October – which means that technically Page would hold the title for most of 2022 if he’s still holding onto the title when All Out comes around, but the reality is that it’s a matter of time before Page is put into a program with MJF and, when he is, there’s going to be a new champion and it’ll be the guy who’s better than you – and you know it.

Ryan: FACT – Page worked hard from the very first AEW World title match in the company’s history, losing to Chris Jericho in the inaugural crowning for first champion to earn this. In fact, if you want to go back even further, Page has grown so much in leaps and bounds, from being the “water boy” for The Decade in Ring of Honor, and being a part of the Bullet Club/The Elite in New Japan/ROH, to being a building block for AEW.

Now, after two years in to AEW, Hangman Page defeated Kenny Omega to win the AEW World Heavyweight Championship…

(A banged up Omega, but none the less)

Despite the 60-minute draw with American Dragon at “Winter is Coming”, it would be a dirty rotten shame if Page did not have a lengthy title reign, as Jericho, Moxley, and Omega did before him as the title holders. Though some thought Danielson WOULD win the title at WIC, it should, sooner rather than later, set up for Page to defeat Danielson, and have a good run with the big belt.

¡SWITCH!

Statement #4: Mick Foley’s Christmas obsession over the years has made you lose respect for the hardcore legend.

Ryan: FICTION – Should we lose respect for Mick because he’s a “Hardcore Legend” and obsesses over Christmas? Should we lose respect for everyone else who obsesses over Christmas as well, or just Mick?

Just so we’re clear, we loved Mick when he was putting himself through thumbtacks, tables, barbwire, and through the Hell in a Cell roof, but we “lose respect” for him because he loves Christmas to an extreme?

The Christmas room that Foley has is rather awesome, and if that is obsession, then I think some people need to re-evaluate what an “obsession” is.

(Spoiler alert: It’s not to confused with the 80’s synth song of same name).

– not just any ’80s synth song…

D2Kvirus: FICTION – If anything, Mick’s annual headlong dive into the festive spirit makes it much easier to respect him because it shows he’s happy with his lot by being a big kid at Christmas even thought that big kid happens to be 56 years old, missing their front teeth, and I happen to have seen him coming out on the losing side of arguments with C4, thumbtacks and at least one flaming table and yet never once has he robbed a bank without thinking it might be a smart idea to cover his face.  On the other hand, I would certainly lose respect for a hardcore legend if they made some supremely dickheaded comments on an episode of Dark Side of the Ring, as happened with Mrs Dreamer’s baby boy earlier this year.

Statement #5: You are interested when pro-wrestlers date, marry, cheat or divorce in real life.

Ryan: FICTION – Whether people like it or not, wrestlers are looked at as celebrities, and their real life situations (especially in the era of social media) are going to magnified, objectified, and vilified.

However, does that mean that you or I should be interested at all if Wrestler A and Wrestler B are dating? What about if Wrestler C or Wrestler D divorced because C and Wrestler E hooked up? This all melds into the celebrity ideology that I offered in my above paragraph, and if they want to ruin their lives (possibly), then let them do it.

At the end of the day, it’s their lives, and I’m not interested in the personal, I’m interested in the professional lives, what they do for us in the ring, and for the SPORT of professional wrestling.

D2Kvirus: FICTION – While I won’t deny that I got into the whole Matt Hardy/Lita/Edge situation at the time, not least because there was always somebody loudly proclaiming the whole thing was a work even when Matt was appearing on ROH shows due to it clearly not being a work, that was less to do with the cheating and split and more to do with WWE’s handling of the situation where they released Matt and tried to pretend crowds weren’t letting Edge and Lita know what they felt about that one minute, and the next they were leaning heavily into it for crowd heat because carnies gotta carny.  But by and large, unless it’s something like Paige and Alberto Del Scumbag where the situation was genuinely concerning and did need to be talked about at the time, who wrestlers are dating/married to/cheating on/getting divorced from matters as much to me as any other celebrity does and the only way that will change is if Anna Jay decides that she doesn’t want to be with Jungle Boy and realises her life will only be complete if she spent the rest of her life with someone who looks like the end result of shoving Jason Mewes and Christian Cage into a teleporter and she finds Saaahf Lahndun accents to be incredibly sexy.  And that’s never going to happen, is it?  I mean, seriously, South London accents are as sexy as a rusty cheese grater to the happy sacks…

Amazing stuff. Believe it or not, these two opinionated blokes when 5/5 in agreement – it’s a Christmas miracle! But they did it with their own unique flair, so thanks again to Ryan and D2Kvirus for contributing this week.

I never want to rob them of a chance to comment it up, so here’s a couple of Christmas Bonus Statements for one and all!

Bonus Statement #1: You miss the Thunderdome / empty arena era of wrestling from 2020/21.

Bonus Statement #2: In your lifetime you have received wrestling-related Christmas gifts.

I’ll be back next week to preview WWE DAY 1 and FINALLY announce the finalists for the upcoming Larry Csonka Memorial FoF Tournament – don’t miss it!

article topics :

Roman Reigns, WWE, Jake Chambers