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   April 23, 2014



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SLAM! Speaks: Moments of 2013 in wrestling
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff


Was Undertaker not a fan of Fandangoing? Bob's view of Raw after WrestleMania. Photo by Bob Kapur

The year 2013 is almost all in the books now, and a lot happened. We asked our SLAM! Wrestling staff to consider what their top moment of the past year was, whether it was an interview they did, a show they went to, or something else completely. Enjoy the memories, and set aside some time to revisit the stories that are referred to.

Bob Kapur
Often when I expect a wrestling show, I think more about documenting the results of the match for SLAM! Wrestling, or about how I can come up with an interesting "hook" for the article. Often, this makes me forget about simply enjoying the show and having fun. That was not the case on Monday, April 8, the day after WrestleMania. I was lucky enough to be in the crowd that night when the fans rebelled and took over the show. The chants, the cheers, the invention of Fandango-ing. I got to be from an experience of that night. And, boy, it WAS fun.

Marty Goldstein
I don't know if I can call it a moment per se, but the death of Dutch Savage really affected me. Dutch had taken me under his wing for the last decade and as far out as some of his views about politics and religion were, he was at his core a decent and loving man who always encouraged my work in and outside of the business and wanted me to achieve.

"Granpa Dutch" as he'd sign his emails to me set up my interview in 2009 with Gene Kiniski for Corus (CJOB) on Canada Day and by far it was my proudest achievement in radio. He had strong opinions even about friends of mine in wrestling that made me uncomfortable. But nothing got in the way of our friendship and his wise counsel and the time he spent talking with me about the old days -- Dutch was in the semi-main event of the first live card I ever attended against Tiny Mills, in what may have been Tiny's last match -- are cherished memories for me.

Greg Oliver
Truthfully, I got away from wrestling a little bit this year, with a new concentration on hockey and my first hockey book, Don't Call Me Goon, written with Richard Kamchen. Even at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas, I felt a little bored and restless, and was sort of disappointed about it all, but then the last day, I managed to corral Ata Maivia for an hour, where we talked about all kinds of things that I always wanted to know about growing up in a wrestling family -- and raising The Rock, of course. We even made a funny video with Rock Riddle to send to Duane. The initial gist of the interview was to talk about Ciclon Negro, who had passed away in February, and later, Ata hooked me up with Ciclon's widow for what was my favourite story of 2013 too: Singing a song of Ciclon Negro.


The fan sign to the right speaks to the Daniel Bryan story in 2013, which got a real a punch to the gut with Triple H presenting the WWE title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Nolan Howell
WWE SummerSlam was equal parts exciting and disappointing. It encompassed everything I love and hate about the world of professional wrestling. WWE finally gave Daniel Bryan the ball to run with and he did just that, putting on a classic with then-WWE Champion John Cena. At the end of the match, Bryan came away with the win. However, we all knew that something fishy was brewing when Triple H appointed himself as special referee.

Sure enough, it did.

"Mr. Money in the Bank" Randy Orton capitalized off a Pedigree from the WWE COO to become the new WWE Champion and the Authority's new face of WWE. While well done, it presented an allegory representative the world of professional wrestling: the archetypes stand atop the glass ceiling while the antithesis have to break through to a world usually unknown to them, often falling back down in the process. While the reign was even smaller than minuscule, Daniel Bryan's reign was a perfect representation of pro wrestling at its worst and its best.

Matthew Byer
There's been quite a bit that went on in the wrestling world in 2013, but for me probably what made me still a fan was interviewing the various wrestlers and personalities in the industry. Their love and enthusiasm for professional wrestling is positively infectious and I would recommend to anyone who is perhaps doubting whether or not to continue to be a fan that they should check out an independent show in their region. There's really nothing like seeing it live and in-person and the price to take the whole family to an independent wrestling show is typically affordable.

However, if you're looking for a specific wrestling moment that caught my attention it would be the rise of Daniel Bryan and the fans continuing to support him despite the fact that WWE management seems to want to go in another direction with their main event title picture. In terms of favourite stories I had published this year the two highlights would be the interviews I had with WWE's Roman Reigns and NWA Champion Rob Conway. However, the story I got the most feedback on was the editorial I wrote on whether the NHL Playoffs are a work like professional wrestling which I still sadly feel is true.

Jon Waldman
Years ago when I first started writing about pro wrestling I had no idea what would result from it -- dream jobs, interviewing heroes, books... and an almost unbelievable friendship. Yet, there I was sitting on Twitter, watching as reports came in of a friend of mine being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame: Trish Stratus.


Trish Stratus rolls out her list of people to thank at the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Over the years (and a dozen or so interviews) I've gotten to know Trish quite well, to the point where we'd start to book interview times not with just a half hour for bidness, but extra time knowing we'd always have much to catch up on.

When the big announcement came on Raw in early 2013, the plotting began -- an opportunity for she and I to work together to make the induction special for her Stratuspherians and our SLAM!mers. Thus was born the Trish Stratus Q&A, a simulcast interaction on the two websites (ours and hers).

To pull off this run amidst a media storm was remarkable in and of itself, but an hour and a half phone call got the result we wanted for fans who admired her for so long. This happened mere days before she flew to New York with little Max still a secret -- an even more remarkable feat. Sitting on the phone with her, sharing laughs and exchanging stories, was a moment of pure relaxation in a topsy-turvy year, and a great moment for two friends.