"Hey ..I just met you, this might sound crazy, but here's my number.. so call me maybe."
Welcome to the Stat Man's WWE Year In Review! The last two years I have started this column by quoting my favorite lyric from the song I felt defined that year. In 2010 I chose "Just stand there and hear me cry, but that's alright because I love the way you lie" by from "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem ft. Rhianna, and last year I chose "Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead." from "Someone Like You" by Adele. Some might say those are two extremely sad songs, and I agree, but I felt when you look back at those songs, you can hear them and remember those years and where you were when you heard them. "Call Me Maybe" by Carlee Rae Jepsen is that song for me this year, and I don't even like pop. But what or who defined 2012 in the WWE? Who was underrated? Who was overrated? Who was my Superstar of the Year? Sit back, relax, and enjoy a retrospective of 2012 in the only way I know how to present it: statistically speaking!
Some Interesting WWE Facts from 2012
- 410 days. 9,840 hours. 590,400 minutes. 3,280 times longer than Rey Mysterio's WWE Title reign. These, are the lengths of time CM Punk has been WWE Champion to date. This is more important than any other statistic this year because it is unprecented in this era of wrestling. CM Punk has been WWE Champion longer than anyone since Hulk Hogan from 1984-1988. There have been one hundred different WWE Championship reigns since then, and none of them have been longer. This is a special accomplishment, and one that needs to be recognized as the most important statistic in 2012.
- CM Punk successfully defended the championship 22 times during the reign, which is 1.83 times a month (Never defending it in December 2012 due to injury*). Of the 22 defenses, he only won five matches with the Go To Sleep. He won two championship matches with the Anaconda Vice submission which is tied with the Flying Elbowsmash, also with two, as the second most common finishers.
-Dolph Ziggler is 14-27 since winning the Money in the Bank contract on July 15th, 2012. Of half the 14 wins, he's pinned three former WWE Champions (Chris Jericho (x2) and Randy Orton (x3) and Miz) and defeated John Cena in a ladder match.
- Big Show became the first WWE superstar to win the Intercontinental Title, the World/WWE Title, and main event Summerslam all in the same calendar year.
- Team Hell No (Bryan Danielson and Kane) are 10-1 as a tag team in 2012 in tag team matches, their only loss was a disqualification loss to Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) at Hell in a Cell. They've retained the WWE Tag Team Championships six times. Their longest defense was 25 minutes and 29 seconds against Rhodes Scholars on "Main Event" December 19th, 2012
- The Intercontinental Champion had a overall record of 39-36. Heel champions were 11-23. Face champions were 28-13. The championship changed hands seven times. The champion was pinned or submitted 23 times. The longest championship defense was 22 minutes and 3 seconds. The shortest championship defense was 4 minutes and 27 seconds.
- The United States Champion had an overall record of 37-24. Heel champions were 20-11. Face champions were 17-13. The championship changed hands three times. The champion was pinned or submitted 17 times. The longest championship defense was 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The shortest championship defense was 2 minutes.
- Zack Ryder should change his name to "Mr. Battle Royal" because he won four over the top rope battle royals in his career, two in 2012.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Who had the most wins in the WWE in 2012?
Sheamus 73 wins
Ryback 47 wins
Bryan Danielson 43 wins
Big Show 39 wins
Kofi Kingston 37 wins
Randy Orton 36 wins
Brodus Clay 34 wins
Alberto del Rio 33 wins
Kane 32 wins
CM Punk 30 wins
R-Truth 30 wins
"The Gambler" Award for Most Losses
In the words of Kenny Rogers "You gotta know when to fold 'em, gotta know when to walk away, and when to run." So who had the most losses in 2012?
Dolph Ziggler 54 losses
Cody Rhodes 41 losses
Miz 41 losses
Bryan Danielson 38 losses
Kofi Kingston 33 losses
Alberto del Rio 32 losses
Zack Ryder 30 losses
Who had the most televised matches?
Sheamus 92 matches
Bryan Danielson 82 matches
Dolph Ziggler 81 matches
Kofi Kingston 69 matches
Alberto del Rio 64 matches
Big Show 62 matches
Cody Rhodes 62 matches
Santino 62 matches
Note: Randy Orton, Alberto del Rio, Cody Rhodes, and Wade Barrett all suffered injuries in or missed time in 2012 after being in the top seven in total matches in 2011.
Note: Chris Jericho and CM Punk suffered injuries or missed time in 2010 after being in the top two in total matches in 2009.
Win Percentage (Note: Requires at least 20 matches)
Brodus Clay 81%
John Cena 74.4%
Rey Mysterio 69%
Antonio Cesaro 65.7%
Randy Orton 65.5%
The Great Khali 65.4%
Sin Cara 64.3%
Big Show 62.9%
Damien Sandow 62.8%
CM Punk 58.5%
Lowest Percentage (Note: Requires at least 20 matches)
Jack Swagger 19.4%
David Otunga 24.2%
Health Slater 25.6%
Tyson Kidd 25.9%
Zack Ryder 28.6%
Justin Gabriel 28.6%
So what can we gather from all this? Who was the best of the best? I think it's clear.
Superstar of the Year:
1. CM Punk (WWE)
CM Punk had one of the greatest years in wrestling history. The statistics say it all. He is the best in the world. And why not? He loves wrestling. He worked effectively as both a face and a heel this year. 20 championship defenses. Seven matches over 20 minutes. No man has ever been the very best as much as CM Punk has been in his career. When he worked IWA: Mid-South, he became the best in the company, getting him an opportunity in Ring of Honor, where he became the best and most respected man in the company, getting him an opportunity in the WWE, where he became the very best wrestler in the world. Many argued with me last year when I gave this award to Randy Orton over CM Punk, but there is no debate this year. CM Punk is the Superstar of the Year. #respect
2. Kevin Steen (ROH)
Kevin Steen has achieved something very few men have achieved. He won the Ring of Honor World Championship in 2012. In my opinion, it is the most prestigious championship in the world (A sentiment shared by CM Punk). Watching Kevin Steen is so much fun. He weighs 285 pounds and can wrestle techniqually sound, he can brawl, and he can be a high flyer all convincingly. He is a master of psychology in and outside of the ring. Most of all, no one can touch him on the microphone. There have been great talkers in wrestling history, Ric Flair, The Rock, CM Punk, Steve Austin, but there is NO ONE better than Kevin Steen. His ability to come up with things on the fly is unprecendented. After all, he wrestles with pockets! (Very few people will understand that, and that's ok) He brings the very best of everything you want out of a wrestler, and out of a champion in wrestling. His blood feud with El Generico will go down as one of the greatest rivalries of all time. But what made his 2012 so special? He changed how we watch and enjoy wrestling.
-At Boiling Point II on August 11th, during an open challenge Hardcore match with Eddie Kingston, it appeared that Eddie Kingston had legitimately injured himself during the match. Kevin Steen grabbed a microphone while the medical team checked on Kingston. Referees put Kingston on a makeshift gourney from a broken table and were carrying him backstage when Steen said "Kingston, you said you took this match for your friend Larry Sweeney, and just like Sweeney, you're taking the easy way out!". (Larry Sweeney was a manager in the independant scene who committed suicide in 2010). Eddie Kingston got up, and limped his way back to the ring, falling down twice, and continued the match for another ten minutes before losing. No one knows if it was a worked shoot or not. No one knows if Kingston was legitimately hurt. It shocked the independant scene, because Steen used a real life tragedy of a respected friend of many wrestlers to gain heat. That's not something many people will agree is ever okay, so, did management green light it or did Steen just say it to piss off Kingston? No one knows.
-AND THEN. At Killer Instict on October 6th, Kevin Steen was defending the ROH Championship against Jay Lethal in Jay Lethal's home town. Near the end of the match, Kevin Steen rolled to the outside and he spit on Jay Lethal's mother who was sitting ring side. The shocking part, was Jay Lethal who immediately jumped to the outside and potatoed Steen in the face, refusing to get back in the ring. The referee ruled the match a no contest after a half an hour. While Lethal continued to assault Steen, the locker room emptied and pulled Lethal away from Steen. In the melee, Jim Cornette was inadvertantly injured. Ring of Honor has a rule of thumb at live shows that their fans will always see a finish to a match whether it's pinfall, submission, or disqualification, with only 11 non-finishes in ROH live show (non TV, non PPV) history, and never in an ROH Championship match. Did Jay Lethal know Kevin Steen was going to spit on his mother? No one knows.
Creating unprecented events is certainly entertaining, especially when you don't know if what you're watching is real. Isn't that what wrestling is all about? You want compelling, interesting events that pull you in, and make you wonder if these people legitimately don't like each other, wondering what would possibly happen next. Hands down, Kevin Steen was my favorite wrestler this year, and I advise anyone who doesn't follow Ring of Honor to watch it and buy the DVDs and support the company. Was he better than CM Punk? Respectfully, no. But he was damn good, highly entertaining, and is the future of entertaining wrestling. Critics said he would never make it in wrestling. Critics said he would certainly never make it in Ring of Honor, "maybe better suited for the WWE's slow, short, sports-entertainment type of wrestling". Critics said Kevin Steen would never win the ROH Championship. Critics said Ring of Honor would suffer when Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black, and Austin Aries left the company. In the face of adversity, Kevin Steen has succeeded. And Ring of Honor rose from the ashes again, with Steen leading the way.
In conclusion, we've spent several years trying to put a name on this era of wrestling. Well, 2012 will be remembered when the "Era of Honor" left it's mark on wrestling history. Ring of Honor ran their first show on February 23rd, 2002 (Only a few months after the recognized end of the Attitude Era) in a gymnasium in Philadelphia and titled the show "The Era of Honor Begins". I think nothing is more fitting to call the last ten years the "Era of Honor" for how much Ring of Honor has allowed the next generation of stars to grow, develop, and become worldwide stars.
Where would we be in the last five years without CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Samoe Joe, Christopher Daniels, Austin Aries, AJ Styles, Low Ki, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Colt Cabana, Tyler Black, Alex Shelley, Homicide, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Matt Sydal, and Jay Lethal? Names who have impacted not just ROH but TNA, and the WWE, and who all got their start in, or help found, Ring of Honor.