The last year was a wild one to say the least. Amidst the chaos we launched a new feature on Fridays and after damn near walking away from PIF for a bit we decided instead to produce more content than ever before! We're creeping up to 200 matches shared and that means the competition for our highly coveted Head Droppies is even more fierce yet. So let's see who walked away with an imaginary trophy this time around??
...the Punk Monkey Award (Favorite Match Played Forward To You)
Going with the obvious choice here with the 5 star match. But what can I say, maybe Dave Meltzer knows a thing or two about pro wrestling? Or at least John Zornek does finally getting me to sit down and watch this modern classic.
Love these two in the ring together. I was like a kid in the candy store watching this. I've watched it twice outside of the original viewing because I enjoyed it so much.
...the Intergender Lightweight-Who's-A-Heavyweight DeathMatch Award (Most Hidden Gem Played Forward)
I don't think we've ever shared a match that got such a genuinely surprised reaction from our readers. Maybe the footage from this one only became available recently, or maybe John is just an excellent pro wrestling researcher. Either way this one really turned some heads.
...the Eerie Dragon Award (Most Difficult Quest Playing A Match Forward)
CJD: Arik Cannon (Forever Forward Champion)
This is an interesting one for me. I've watched way more matches trying to play something forward to you before. But with Arik Cannon what made my FFF quest so difficult for him was that I got really invested in one particular feud. Cannon and a young wrestler named Jah-C who was new to me had a good 3 match series that built and built. The promotion was also new to me and I really liked everything going on, except that each match had something that held me back from playing it. When I finished the rubber match and realized I was going to have to go in a different direction it was a pretty big disappointment. I still recommend the matches though, and hope to find another way to guide us to Frontman Jah.
JJZ: Will Hobbs
I just remember being so frustrated that I considered breaking the rules and playing another Cobb match. Endless scrolling.
...the Animal Rat Award (Most Surprising Champion)
JJZ: The Islanders
Totally forgot this was a team. Never ever would I have guessed you'd play these guys forward to me.
[editor's note - Technically the Islanders challenged Tito Santana for the MDTSOCWWKD Championship but were only featured that one week VS Strike Force, thus were not successful in capturing our coveted imaginary title. However, this is Play It Forward where everything's made up and the points don't matter, so we'll allow it]
CJD: Sam Adonis
John's difficult quest to find a Hobbs match brought us to a real pleasant surprise for me. I had no idea Corey Graves had a brother who wrestled under a MAGA gimmick in Mexico. Adonis' MDTSOCWWKD Championship reign had two of my low key favorite matches we featured in the past year too in that Hobbs match and VS Blue Panther.
...the Hammer Phoenix Award (Greatest Champion March 2020-March 2021)
He broke every record for drawing power in PIF history and had a pair of great matches to boot. Marvin/Nakajima is the most read post in PIF history, VS KENTA is top 10, and we got a shootout from Ricky on Instagram!
I'm a total mark for Ali so I had high expectations of him. And he still over delivered. I loved seeing him play heel in one match and face in the other. I was also really impressed with how polished he was in his early days. It would've been easy in both matches to deliver a spotfest with those opponents in ACH and Lio Rush but he brought great psychology and story telling instead.
Ricky Marvin (JJZ)