Monday, September 26, 2011

Tossing Salt - Worldwide News: January 10, 2009 (The Saltys - Part 2)

Tossing Salt - Worldwide News
2008 Achievement Awards - The Saltys (Part 2)
January 10, 2009
Doug Maynard

No need, I suppose for a long winded introduction. It's time to finish what I started yesterday and that's my presentations of the Tossing Salt - Worldwide News 2008 Achievement Awards. Let's recap quickly the first twelve "Salty Award" winners...

WWE Superstar Of The Year: Edge
TNA Superstar Of The Year: AJ Styles
TNA Tag Team Of The Year: Robert Roode & James Storm - Beer Money, Inc.
WWE Tag Team Of The Year: The Miz & John Morrison
Comeback Of The Year: Jeff Hardy
WWE Diva Of The Year: "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix
TNA Knockout Of The Year: Awesome Kong
Couple Of The Year: Edge & Vickie Guerrero
Comedy Act Of The Year: Santino Marella
Manager Of The Year: Tony Atlas
Wrestler Of The Year: Jeff Hardy
Indy Star Of The Year: Jerry Lynn

I'm going to change the format a bit now. Instead of listing the "nominees" and all that, I'm going straight to just listing the winner and why. I'm short on time today and it's just a bit easier. So there you go. Now, are you ready?

I said... "ARE YOU READY!"...

For the dozens and dozens of loyal Saltines reading this, let's get ready to "SALT IT!"...

Nah, it just doesn't work as well in a written format. I think I need a live audience to pull that off. And maybe DX as well. *sighs*. Moving on...

And now, adjust your tie and get comfortable as we get busy and present the rest of the story. It's Part 2 of the...

Tossing Salt - Worldwide News 2008 Achievement Awards - aka "The Saltys"...
And let's start off with...

Moment Of The Year...

Winner: CM Punk Cashing In "Money In The Bank" To Win The World Championship From Edge

As always in wrestling, there are matches and plenty of moments all throughout the year that really make you stop and go "what the..??". But most are fairly predictable and forgotten about the next day as the next big angle or moment comes along.

But one moment really stands out in my mind as unexpected at the time and it really shattered the WWE "glass ceiling" for a time... when CM Punk cashed in the "Money In The Bank" contract and defeated Edge to become the World Heavyweight Champion.

Punk is a good wrestler and he's acquired quite a following, but he's always seemed to me as a weird mix with the WWE. He's got the talents and skills, but he's not really big or flashy or "over the top" as WWE usually likes their champs to be. But that Monday night, as he gave Edge the "GTS" in an impromptu match, to capture the title, he took that next step and showed everyone why he is where he is. His reign was short, but he never actually lost the title. That's something to think about. And he took that big step to being the future of the WWE.

And that's why CM Punk cashing in the "Money In The Bank" contract to defeat Edge and become the WWE World Champion is the "TSWWN" Moment Of The Year.

ECW Top Dog Of The Year:

And the winner is...

Matt Hardy

2008 was the year that Matt Hardy really elevated his game and moved to the next level. He's held all of the secondary titles in the WWE and has been a multi-time tag team champion as well. But now, finally, he can add the status of "World Champion" to his resume.

And each and every week, he proves his worth time and time again by having consistently good matches with the likes of Mark Henry, Finlay, Evan Bourne, The Miz and Jack Swagger, etc. If someone can take Mark Henry each and every week and get consistently good matches from him, they deserve to be commended.

And Hardy does it each and every time they wrestle. ECW has really turned into the "Land Of Hardy" and Matt is really proving to be the perfect centerpiece that the brand revolves around. He's the ECW Champ and he's the best, pound for pound wrestler in ECW. No one can match his heart or passion and that's what has made him the "Top Dog" of ECW. And that's why he's getting this award.

RAW Top Dog Of The Year:

And the winner is...

Chris Jericho

I was going to give this award to Santino just because he's the most consistently entertaining part of RAW each and every week and has been for quite a while, but then I realized that someone else has been just as consistent in his promos, his ring work, and just in everything he's been a part of.

And that man is Chris Jericho. He came back in late 2007 as the man who was going to "save us" and from there, he went on to become arguably the best "all around" performer in wrestling today or at least in the WWE. He does this by being sincere and honest in his promos. True, he's a "heel" but he rationalizes each and every thing he says and does and that makes you despise him even more.

He's a true "old school heel" in you realize, much like Edge, he's capable of anything and doesn't care what it takes to accomplish his goals. If Santino is the best comedy on RAW (and without any shadow of doubt, he truly is), then Jericho is the best "wrestler" - he doesn't care about making us laugh anymore.. but he definitely makes us think. And I think that's awesome. That's why he's the "Top Dog" on RAW.

SmackDown Top Dog Of The Year:

And the winner is...


Yeah, you can make your arguments for your Triple H or your Undertaker, but SmackDown has really turned, over the past year, into the "Edge Show" with Hunter, Taker and the others just seeming to be supporting players at the best.

The team of Edge and Vickie Guerrero seem to have their hands in every storyline and are playing that game of human chess to manipulate and control the SmackDown playing field. It fits his character so well and Adam Copeland has really taken the ball and ran with it as one of the best "wrestling characters" of the best twenty years. He's ruthless, sneaky, and a bit demented. And he's also, in so many ways, the definitive "Top Dog" of SmackDown.

Guilty Pleasure Of The Year:

And the winner is...

Jillian Hall

Yeah, her character is annoying and her singing downright sucks, but I can't help but look forward to each and every time she comes to the ring, mic in hand, to rip apart and totally decimate whatever song it is she's supposed to be singing. But she's so over the top with her energy and enthusiasm, you can't help but smile.

What started off as a total joke and (alleged) rip on Brooke Hogan has become a gold mine for Jillian. And then when you add to the mix that she's actually a pretty good wrestler, it just makes it even better. She's the RAW version of Victoria in that she rarely wins matches, but she looks great in losing. She's unique and fun and full of energy. And she's my favorite WWE "Guilty Pleasure" to be sure.

Future Stars:

And the winners are...

BD Productions (Brad Branson & Derk Douglas)

I've been fortunate enough to see several really good wrestlers here on the local Indy scene in NC that are really, really good performers. They know the moves, know the psychology, know how to work a crowd and get them into a match and know how to tell a story in the ring. But most of the guys, despite their skills and abilities, are not going to make it to the big show. They have lives, families, other interests as well and while they have the skills and talent necessary, the heart just isn't what it needs to be to make the sacrifice necessary to really take it to the next level. This is not a slam on anyone, but it's just saying it as I see it.

But I see these two guys, Branson and Douglas, and I can feel the energy, the passion that they have for wrestling. The ring work is a little shaky at times, but like any machine, it takes a little experience and fine-tuning to really get things just right and these guys are busting their asses each and every week to improve and get better. And it shows more and more each and every time they step into that ring.

And they have the heart. It's not a hobby or part-time job for them. Yes, they have lives and other interests, but they don't take the business for granted. They give it 100% each and every time they go out and they show us why wrestling is what it is. You can't fake heart and passion and you can't fake that "it" factor.

These guys have the love, the passion, the devotion it takes to make it to the next level. They have that "It". And whether they end up in the WWE or TNA.. or even if they never wrestle anything more than the local Armory, I know, in my heart, that they're going to be true superstars one day. And they are two men who truly deserve that honor.

Announce Team Of The Year:

And the winners are...

Matt Striker & Todd Grisham

The new kids on the blog and the most consistently good announce team on TV these days. Jim Ross is great and Taz has moments, but they just haven't really clicked in my opinion. Jerry Lawler just seems, most of the time, to be going through the motions on RAW and Michael Cole is just plain awful. And don't even get me started on Don West and Mike Tenay.

But Grisham and Striker work hard and seem to have a good chemisty that makes the product just that much more entertaining without taking away from the matches in the ring. They're good and they're only going to get better over time. And they are the best two commentators out there right now.

Most Memorable Moment Of The Year:

And the winner is...

The Ric Flair Retirement Match At WrestleMania 24

It was the end of the thirty-five year career of arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. It had drama, excitement, emotion and everything you'd expect from the end of an era. I cried. And I think most fans did as well because Ric Flair, the "Nature Boy", was finally ending his active wrestling career.

The whole weekend, with the Hall of Fame Induction, the Wrestlemania match with Shawn Michaels, and the farewell ceremony on RAW was just a perfect example of everything done right. The WWE gets a lot of criticism at times, but they way they put this weekend together for Ric was truly awesome. Diamonds are forever - and so is Ric Flair.

And though he may not ever wrestle again, he went out the right way. And it is truly the most memorable moment of 2008... and probably of a wrestling lifetime as well.

Top Authority Figure:

And the winner is...

Vickie Guerrero

I was going to put Vince here, but he hasn't been on TV since June and really hasn't been missed. Jim Cornette has done a great job as the "Director Of Authority" in TNA, but since the arrival of Mick Foley, he seems to have vanished.

But look at Vickie. She has done such a remarkable job since becoming the General Manager of SmackDown. It took her a while to find her niche, but when she comes out now, the heat she gets is amazing. She is so good in her role, it's scary. At the first sound of her voice saying "Excuse me", the crowd goes crazy. Add Edge to the mix as her "husband" and it just gets better and better. It takes talent to make a great heel and as Vickie proves every week, she definitely has what it takes. That's for sure.

Top Baby Face:

And the winner is...

Matt Hardy

There are a ton of WWE and TNA stars who the fans love, but does anyone really have a fan base as strong as Jeff and Matt Hardy. If it weren't for those loyal fans and their strong support (and the tons of merchandise they buy), both Matt and Jeff would have been history long ago with the WWE.

And as much as the fans love Jeff, I think the loyalty and support to Matt is just a little bit larger. Matt is a wrestler, pure and simple. He lives, breathes and craps pro wrestling. You can see it in every move, every word, every action.. and the fans know it and respect Matt for this. Matt was fired by the WWE after making the Edge - Lita affair public, but the fans rallied behind him and convinced Vince to change his mind and bring Matt back.

Matt is one of those wrestlers who will never be able to turn heel - he's a modern day Rick Steamboat in that the fans would never accept it and would cheer him anyhow. He's still very young and is the future of the WWE and professional wrestling. He loves his fans and the fans love him. And that's why he's getting this award.

Top Heel:

And the winner is...


The best characters are those based on reality and although Edge is, by all accounts, a cool guy, he did (in reality) screw around with his best friends girlfriend. And that's old news these days, but Edge and the WWE were able to take that one sleazy little detail and take Edge to the next level as the ultimate, unrepetentant, low-life, skuzzy heel He's won the World or WWE Championship numerous times, but not even one has it been in a fair, one on one match with the "better man" winning. It's about using schemes, dirty tricks, and being the "ultimate opportunist" that has made Edge so successful.

And to top things off, he goes on national TV and makes out with (and ends up marrying) the widow of one of the most beloved names in wrestling history in Vickie Guerrero. There is absolutely nothing that Edge won't do. He's really taken the ball and ran with it in a way that hasn't been seen in years. Jericho comes close as being a sleaze, but Jericho appears to at least have a conscience. I don't think Edge (the character) has one left. No one in wrestling right now is currently better at being bad than Edge.. and he's truly the "Top Heel" of the WWE.

Hip Hop Spellcaster:

And the winner is...

Soce the elemental wizard

Yeah, it's a special award for a very special dude. Soce is the ultimate wrestling fan. He's also a Jewish, white, gay rapper, so it's one extreme after another. Soce has mentioned wrestling and wrestlers time and time again in many of his songs, including references to Diamond Dallas Page, Funaki, and a slew of others. He also will be having a new CD coming out later this year and recently broke 10,000 views for his video, "I Am (So Gay)" on YouTube. Not too shabby, don't ya think.

He's an awesome dude with an amazing amount of talent... a great musician, a talented singer, a very fly rapper, and highly intelligent and cute as well. He's the ultimate hip-hop spellcaster and a name to keep an eye on because, mark my words, this guy has a strong following on the Indy music scene and is going to be huge one day. Just watch. You'll see. He's a great entertainer and a guy I'm proud to also call my friend. So this special "Salty" goes out just to him.

For more info on Soce, go to his page at MySpace at or go to Check him out. You'll be surprised, amazed and just bowled over by this guy. He is truly one of a kind.

And that's it. That's the end of the "Tossing Salt - Worldwide News 2008 Achievement Awards". That's the end of the "Saltys" for now. So what do you think? Good or bad? Am I making sense or am I totally off base and a nutcase?

Comments and questions can be sent to me at Pictures of all of the "Salty" winners will be up in the photo section of my MySpace at Go check them out and see the winners and their "trophies". Add me as a friend while you're there. You know you want to.

And have you answered the "Who Am I?" yet? The question was...

Although I'm very well known and popular in WWE today, my first piece of major exposure to the spotlight came when a hot-headed, former manager and then-promoter made headlines for slapping me repeatedly in the face at a television taping for a developmental territory when I made the bone-headed mistake of laughing, on camera, when I was supposed to be acting frightened or scared. But I didn't know and it pissed the old-school guy off and he decided to slap some sense in me, which ended up causing reprocussions that are still felt in the WWE today.

Not many details, I know.. but this incident made major headlines several years ago and I think everyone should know who this wrestler is. And extra bonus points if you can name the "hot-headed manager / promoter" as well.
So there you go. Who Am I?

And on that, I'm outta here. A new "Six Minutes" will be up tomorrow, so look for it. I'm Doug and just like numerous WWE employees after the past several days of budget cutting in the WWE, I'm history. Catch you on the flip side.

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