Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Winners And Losers Of 2022

Holy Sigma Virus, Batman! It's a New Year! Hopefully, we'll be off to a better start than 2022.

So with another year in the can, it's time to go back to that annual tradition where I list all the Winners And Losers of 2022; a list that is highly subjective and is not going to cover every ground that was ever covered in the world because I don't have the time. As per usual, compiling the list was a bit of a process, but unlike years past, this was actually pretty easy to put together, which is quite nice.

Anyway, enough waffle. Let's dive into this thing.

The winners list is notably hefty compared to recent years.

Jon Moxley
When CM Punk went out with an injury, Jon Moxley was there to pick up the ball and he held up his end of the bargain trying to make AEW worthwhile during the summer... and he had succeeded for the most part with compelling matches and promos. When the whole All Out media fiasco went down and everyone in the company was in the dumps, Jon Moxley cut one of his best promos ever that lit a fire under everyone and also gave fans hope that things were going to be okay. I've always enjoyed Mox as a talent, but this was the year where he truly shined and I can think of no other person who deserves the top Winner's spot on this list more than he does.

Sami Zayn
The Bloodline, whether you like it or not, is currently the best thing going on in WWE and a large part of that has to do with the involvement of one Sami Zayn. ... Yes, you can parade all the history-making numbers and milestones you want and I won't bat an eye, but you introduce an element to the mix that makes it compelling without actually fucking it up and that's worthy of mention. That's why Sami gets the nod here; everyone else is just along for the ride.

The Batman
This one took me by surprise; partly because we got a decent Batman portrayal from the former Edward Cullen who decided NOT to have his Batman voice be all growly and shit, but it was nice to see a Batman movie that played more to his deductive reasoning rather than the gadgets and the freaks. People might have been bummed that they didn't get the Bat-Affleck movie they wanted, but what they got was the film that Batman deserved.

Cody Rhodes
Cody is a fellow who left WWE long ago and helped to create a new national wrestling product in AEW. Then the unthinkable happened; Cody left the company he helped create to return to WWE and gain a hero's welcome. His return run was cut short with a torn pec that he ended up wrestling with in a star-making match against Seth Rollins at the Hell In A Cell PPV event. What nails him onto the Winners' List is the fact that when WWE signed Cody Rhodes, they got the whole American Nightmare package. Same presentation, same theme music, same everything... yes, even the god-awful tattoo. Whatever happens in 2023, Cody's return to WWE can be considered off to a good start and all but guarantees him an eventual World title under his belt.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
The unthinkable occured when the modern regime of Star Trek produced a show that I actually liked from the get so and all it took was bringing it back to a familiar setting during an unfamiliar time. The praise gained for Anson Mount's Pike and crew on Discovery resulted in their getting their own show and the first season has been pretty good. Some great episodes, some good side characters, a nice updating of the setting while sticking with the old-school episodic feel. I'm actually looking forward to Season 2 of SNW, so kudos, Trek crew. You get a Winners spot on this list.

Star Trek: Lower Decks
I will admit that at first, I was not a fan. Lower Decks' humor was pretty lowbrow Rick And Morty type stuff that I didn't care for. Season 2 turned things around somewhat slightly, but Season 3 was where the show found that nice balance between good characters. good stories, and good humor. Hell, I've even softened on some of the first season stuff, even if the humor there was still somewhat juvenile. So there you go, another Star Trek show that I actually liked.

Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries
So here's a thing; let's do a new Star Wars thing with Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan and tease him fighting Darth Vader proper, with Hayden Christiansen in the suit. This was going to be a movie before they blew it up to six episodes and sometimes, you feel this would've been better off as a movie, but Kenobi proved to be a delightful surprise and probably one of the few new Star Wars things that I genuinely enjoyed.

Top Gun Maverick
Sometimes, people will make movies that are sequels or spin-offs to movies from ages ago and the end result is often a disappointment, but sometimes, you have that rare instance where such a revival is not only NOT a dumpster fire, but is actually a damn fine film that respects what came before without diving into the banality of sickening fanwankery. Maverick hits that balance nicely and is one of the best movies I've seen this year.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
A loving tribute to the old Turtles arcade game and 80s cartoon, given the modern sheen with some more contemporary beat-em-up mechanics and animation. I'll admit that I have not dipped my toes into this one just yet, but from the small sampling that I've tried, it's very promising. Still, the fact that this exists and has garnered such a positive response is good enough to make the list. And speaking of things existing and garnering a positive response...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
What was once a pipe dream ended up actually happening when Konami and Nick got together and brought longtime Turtle fans a totally tubular (people still say that?) collection featuring most of Konami's classic TMNT titles, along with some not so classics. The games' inclusions are mighty impressive, but the collection also includes a treasure trove of museum pieces; boxes, manuals, design documentation and sketches, and even some mild enhancements such as removal of slowdown and easy cheats.

Sega Genesis Mini 2
Sega's second Genesis Mini console has a rather convoluted means for North American players to purchase - you apparently need to buy the game through Amazon US or Amazon Japan if you're Canadian. Figure that one out. That doesn't detract from the overall quality of this machine, which comes with a few dozen games including some Sega CD standouts, as well as a six-button controller. The game selection is quite as quality-rich as the first version, but that's hardly a surprise and even so, there are still some solid bangers.

Brazilian Man Who Sued Apple For Not Including A Charger And Won
This gets an honorable mention by sheer virtue of the fact that a Brazilian man who bought an Apple phone and not only sued the company for not including a charger, but also WON said case is almost worth applauding. Kudos to you, sir, and enjoy your new phone. Link included here.

The Noka Ramen Restaurant in Oakland, CA
The restaurant hosts a Power Rangers-themed day with servers and barpeople in costumes and when a woman runs in to elude a man chasing her. When the man comes in to attack the woman, the Rangers assemble to boot him out of the diner and hold him off until police arrive. This is an actual story that actually happened and it gets an honorary nod on this list, for whatever that's worth. Keep up the good work and hope your eatery is successful.

For the first time in a long while, the losers list is on the smaller side compared to those of the winners. Honestly, I'm sure this was ever really the case, but it's been such that if there is more dreck in 2022 than I've witnessed, then I was probably lucky enough to skip out on. Regardless, we've got some stinkers gracing this list, starting with the most painful.

CM Punk
2021 was the year that saw the impossible happen; former WWE Champion CM Punk, having famously walked out on the company in 2014 and vowing never to return to wrestling, made his return to wrestling by joining AEW and his run had been somewhat successful, resulting in a couple AEW World titles under his belt. Both reigns would meet questionable ends; the first reign saw him sidelined with a foot injury and months later, had him drop the title to then-interim champion Jon Moxley. Punk would win the title back at All Out, but instead of celebrating his win, he would go on to the media scrum that took place afterwards and launch into a venom laced tirade against Colt Cobana, the Young Bucks, and Hangman Page, the result of which saw Punk and the Bucks come to blows afterwards. Punk would be sidelined with a tricep injury for months, which forced AEW to strip him of the title. Regardless, it is difficult to believe that a year after everyone celebrated his return to wrestling and hoped that he'd get his happy ending in the business would see that same man tarnish his own legacy. Regardless of what happens with the ensuing investigation, this is something that would tainted his story for a very long time.

Wrestling Entertainment Series
You may read the above entry and think that this is a series of compilation VHS tapes that you'd find at the ol' Blockbuster Video, but no, this was the name of an actual promotion run by the former Authors of Pain, who booked a big UK arena, announced a bunch of WWE rejects onto the show, including one of the co-main events being the former LANA vs. the former NIA JAX. Then they postpone the show because they weren't selling enough tickets, they make a new poster featuring former WWE rejects who made it known that they would not be attending and they still didn't get paid... and then the promotion cancels the event and blames the talent for not wanting to come, when the talent is still waiting to get paid. Goes to show that not everyone can launch a wrestling company overnight and in this case, some probably shouldn't even have tried.

Ric Flair's Last Match
So we had a PPV event in which Ric Flair, at 7x years old, wrestled his last match; a tag-match that he and his son Andrade defeat the team of Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. To say the match wasn't very good is an understatement. Even Flair said that he wasn't happy with the match. Not only that, but apparently, Ric Flair's "Last Match" may not be his last match, after all. Let's hope that's not the case, but any way you slice, this whole thing was a misfire. And for the record, I have not seen the show, but the idea of it alone is enough to slap it on here.

AEW Rampage
What was once a hot show has become an hour long wrestling show placed in the Friday night death slot that nobody seems to care about. And when people stop caring about your show because it's on a bad time slot or it keeps getting moved around because of pre-emptions for sportsball games, you run the risk of booking the show like a product that nobody cares about. Yes, the show does feature some great wrestling at times, but people need more than great wrestling to tune in and right now, Rampage is the modern day equivalent of WCW Worldwide. Kudos to anyone who remembers THAT show.

Intellivision Amico
This is a sad tale of noted video game musician Tommy Tallarico who took over the reigns of Intellivision and announced a new video game console aimed at families and encouraging more local social play. A lot of promises and hype was made that got people excited, but not everyone shared in that enthusiasm. As time went on, a lot of promises made were eventually broken, goal posts were moved, and Tommy Tallarico's war with gaming communities that didn't share his vision contributed to the negative vibe of the company. And now it turns out that Intellivision is losing money and those who pre-ordered the thing might not get their money back. Regardless of whether this comes out or not - and I doubt it will - the story of the Amico is going to be one you should study on how NOT to launch a product and is deserving of a spot on the Losers' List.

Ataribox (a.k.a. Atari VCS)
Well, the best thing you could say about this glorified PC with an outer Atari shell is that unlike the Amico, this eventually saw release. But it was an afterthought that was forgotten by all but those who invested in one. The fact that Atari kept this going before deciding to abandon it should be applauded, but whatever aspirations they had of this being an ongoing thing seems to have been dashed with their pulling support from the console. Oh well... at least, Atari 50 is pretty good.

Once upon a time, there was a gaming channel called G4. It went away. Then they tried to bring it back and it failed miserably. I have no nostalgia for G4; every time I try to watch an old G4 clip, I usually cringe because of how awful they looked. So trying to recreate that as well as employ Twits in an age where gaming content is anywhere and everywhere at a level beyond what G4 was doing, no shit this was going to fail.

Star Trek: Picard - Season 2
All I will say is that the less said about the second season of Star Trek: Picard, the better. I'm including it here for the sake of posterity.

The Poor Bastards Who Bought Hundreds Of Dollars Worth Of MJFCoin
Earlier this year, AEW World Champion MJF launched his own coin. I invested $20. I lost said twenty dollars. That's okay. That's a wash. I'm glad I'm not one of the poor bastards who forked hundreds of dollars into this crap, only for it to be pissed all the fuck away.

Hey, Bryan. Hope you're doing well.

There are actually a couple middle grounders worth mentioning here

Triple H Taking Over WWE Creative
The unthinkable happened this summer when Vince McMahon stepped down from his roles in WWE due to ongoing allegations and was promptly replaced. The man who would take over WWE Creative turned out to be Triple H, who had been praised for his booking of the NXT show before he went on hiatus due to health concerns. His impact was felt with some minor changes that looked promising and the return of previously released talent into the fold, as well as introducing WARGAMES to main roster WWE. Ultimately, it's too early to tell whether the long term is going to see a significant uptick and the changeover isn't enough to overcome a lot of the persistent issues with WWE programming, but it's worth mentioning on this here list in the middle grounders. We'll see if 2023 bares more fruit for McSon-In-Law. I wish him all the best.

Sonic Origins
On the one hand, you're getting the remastered versions of Sonic 1, 2, CD, and 3 & Knuckles on platforms that aren't just your mobile devices, which is great in and of itself. On the other hand, the release of this collection means the removal of other digital versions of these games, including the excellent 2011 Sonic CD remaster from which the Origins version is based on (and is a lesser product compared to the earlier remaster). It's a nice collection to have for Sonic fans, but not enough to be a Winner.

Star Trek: Prodigy
A Trek cartoon aimed at younger audiences. I've heard good things about it, but I've not seen it myself so I can't give it a proper thought. We'll keep it listed here for the sake of it and I'll see about giving it a watch for next year.

That's it for 2022. Have yourselves a Happy New Year... or at least a safe one.


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