Happy New Year - v2

I just wanted to take a moment to say Happy New Year to everyone that has visited, commented on, shared, or stumbled upon my little blog.  May 2013 bring all of you memories of happiness, moments of zen, and quality time with friends and family.  I look forward to an even more creative and productive year!  Here’s to 2013!  Best of luck to you all…


The 2012 Bobby-james Awards: Music + Top 50 Songs

Best of 2012 - Music

There have been some major hits and misses in music this year – and then again, there were some major hits that were just terrible misses, despite being hits (see “Call Me Maybe,” “Gangnam Style,” Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, etc.).  This marks the sixth year I’ve done year-end “Best Of” with music and the first year I’ve created a Top 50 – so after you’re done reading this – go, get your listen on.

Breakthrough Artist of the Year:  Gotye

With his mega hit “Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)”, Gotye burst onto the music scene in 2012.  Unfortunately, Gotye the rest of his album wasn’t as spectacular.  Let’s hope this game-changer continues to evolve and doesn’t fade into obscurity, or be recognized as a one-hit wonder.  Gotye bested Emeli Sande, Phillip Phillips, Elizaveta, and Frank Ocean. (2011’s Winner:  Tinie Tempah)

Mainstream Group of the Year: Train

Train kept the hits coming this year from “Drive By” to “50 Ways To Say Goodbye.”  They ultimately beat out Maroon 5 for this spot – not to say that Adam and Co. weren’t worthy contenders, but when the dust settled, Train was standing tall over a field that also included Muse and The Killers.  (2011’s Winner:  GLEE Cast)

Dance Artist of the Year:  Rihanna

With Mother Monster’s (Lady GaGa) absence from the airwaves (as well as Guetta’s) for a good part of the year, the category was open to just about anyone – most notably Rihanna, who had many of her 2012 hits remixed and re-released on EP’s.  If there’s one thing we can take away from the club it’s that we can “shine bright like a diamond” before answering questions about where we’ve been.  (2011’s Winner:  David Guetta)

Pure Vocalist of the Year: Christina Aguilera

One of the greatest voices of our time (Aguilera) was rivaled for this spot by twelve-year-old prodigy Jackie Evancho, but in the end, Aguilera’s voice soared to the top with experience and age.  Despite not being the most popular coach on NBC’s The Voice, Aguilera released Lotus, her seventh studio album.  Although Lotus received mixed reviews from critics, there’s no denying Christina Aguilera a spot in the ranks of previous winners like Adele and Josh Groban.  Aguilera makes pop music with a real voice. (2011’s Winner:  Adele)

Collaboration of the Year:  “Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye and Kimbra

These two harmonized perfectly with “Somebody That I Used To Know.”  It seems like the pairing was a match made in heaven, that delivered a little slice of that heaven to our ears. For the spot, Gotye and Kimbra contended with Pink and FUN front-man Nathan Ruess’ “Just Give Me A Reason” and Lifehouse and Natasha Bedingfield’s “Between The Raindrops.” (2011’s Winner:  “On The Floor” – Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull)

Alternative Rock Group of the Year:  10 Years

There seemed to be a lack of great music coming from the Alternative Rock genre this year, or maybe I just wasn’t listening right, but 10 Years certainly caught my attention again with the single “Battle Lust.”  Beating out The Killers, Muse, Three Days Grace, and Taproot, 10 Years keeps making music I keep loving to listen to.  Well done.  (2011’s Winner:  Nickelback)

Male Country Artist of the Year:  Jason Aldean

Every year, I find the men of country music have to work extra-hard to compete in a world dominated by Brad Paisley (who, ironically enough, hasn’t been it since 2008 and 2009).  But my ears would not be denied “Night Train,” or “Black Tears,” two amazing songs offered up by Aldean.  (2011’s Winner:  Luke Bryan)

Female Country Artist of the Year:  Carrie Underwood

The American Idol, Carrie Underwood, has done it again (the fourth time in fact 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007) with her soaring vocals.  Her lead single “Blown Away” is pure delight and her album of the same title displays her versatility and growth.  Underwood is clearly reigning queen of country music and barring any tragedies, should remain so for the forseeable future.  (2011’s Winner:  Dolly Parton)

Mainstream Male Artist of the Year:  Jason Mraz

Mr. A-Z released the album “Love Is a Four Letter Word” this year, which boasted singles including “Living In The Moment,” “I Won’t Give Up,” and “93 Million Miles.”  Mraz, despite being one of my favorite artists, made this year his first to win this spot – and did so beating out the likes of Ne-Yo, Bruno Mars, and Phillip Phillips.  (2011’s Winner:  Bruno Mars)

Mainstream Female Artist of the Year:  P!NK

It’s hard to argue the success P!NK found this year on the radio, especially with her hit single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).”  Not to mention how solid her album “The Truth About Love” was.  She displayed versatility and even mixed it up a bit – going as far as to collaborate with Eminem on “Here Comes The Weekend,” and Nate Ruess on “Just Give Me a Reason.”  P!NK finds herself on top of a group consisting of Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Madonna.  (2011’s Winner:  Adele)

Music Video of the Year:  “Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye f. Kimbra

How awesome was that paint job?  And I know, I know, before you all burn me for not picking that horrid thing called “Gangnam Style,” please consider that this video accompanied actual music and talent, and wasn’t some horse and pony show that reminded me of a rodeo as I would imagine it in The Hangover franchise.  Gotye has officially ended the reign of GaGa in this category, who won with videos for “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro,” and “Born This Way” the last three years. (2011’s Winner:  “Born This Way” – Lady GaGa)

Album of the Year:  “The Truth About Love” – P!NK

It’s versatile – it’s groovy – it’s upbeat – it’s empowering – it’s daring.  “The Truth About Love” proves that P!NK can put out a number one album that should spawn several popular singles.  Time will tell, but I’ll enjoy listening while time is waiting to figure it out.  Pink defeats Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away,” Christina Aguilera’s “Lotus,” Phillip Phillips’ “The World From the Side of the Moon,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Roman Reloaded.” (2011’s Winner:  “21” – Adele)

TOP 50 Songs of 2012

50. Free – Graffiti6

49. Let’s Go – Calvin Harris f. Ne-Yo

48. Where Would I Be Without You? – Jamar Rogers

47. Parler a Mon Pere – Celine Dion

46. Looking Hot – No Doubt

45. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train

44. Take Care – Drake f. Rihanna

43. Lemonade – Alexandra Stan

42. Ritual – Ellie Goulding

41. Young Girls – Bruno Mars

40. Dream Love – Megan Joy

39. Chasing The Sun – The Wanted

38. Your Body – Christina Aguilera

37. Losing You – Solange

36. Just A Fool – Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton

35. Payphone – Maroon 5 f. Wiz Khalifa

34. Living In The Moment – Jason Mraz

33. Black Sheep – Gin Wigmore

32. Invincible – MGK f. Ester Dean

31. Gone, Gone, Gone – Phillip Phillips

30. Part of Me – Katy Perry

29. If I Didn’t Know Better – Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen (Nashville)

28. Dance Again – Jennifer Lopez f. Pitbull

27. Where Have You Been – Rihanna

26. Girl Gone Wild – Madonna

25. Night Train – Jason Aldean

24. Supremacy – Muse

23. Army of Me – Christina Aguilera

22. Mermaid – Train

21. Brave – Josh Groban

20. Daddy – Emeli Sandé f. Naughty Boy

19. Between The Raindrops – Lifehouse f. Natasha Bedingfield

18. Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars

17. Battle Lust – 10 Years

16. Drive By – Train

15. Beautiful Sinner – Nicki Minaj

14. Skyfall – Adele

13. Battle Scars – Lupe Fiasco and Guy Sebastian

12. Outlaws of Love – Adam Lambert

11. Wild Ones – Flo Rida f. Sia

10. Hearts – Psychobuildings

9. Home – Phillip Phillips

8. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink

7. One More Night – Maroon 5

6. I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

5. Let There Be Love – Christina Aguilera

4. Just Give Me A Reason – P!NK f. Nate Ruess

3. Blown Away – Carrie Underwood

2. Cough Syrup – Darren Criss (Glee Cast)

Song of the Year: Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye f. Kimbra

(2011’s Song of the Year”  Rolling In The Deep – Adele)

Your thoughts are encouraged and welcomed, and stay tuned for the BEST OF TELEVISION – coming later this week.  All of this builds up to BEST OF MOVIES (my favorite, but hardest, to do!), which is coming at the end of January, in conjuction with The Golden Globes!


The 2012 Bobby-james Awards: Impact Wrestling

Best of 2012 - Impact

Welcome back to The Bobby-james Awards.  The last installment which marked what I thought was the best of the WWE caused a bit of a stir – so let’s see if what I’ve got for Impact Wrestling does the same.

Commentator/Announcer of the Year:  Christy Hemme

Christy Hemme

Unlike the WWE, the “voice” of this company doesn’t sit at a desk and do commentary.  Christy Hemme has developed into one of the best ring announcers in professional wrestling.  She has a rich, sultry voice – she finally stopped adding “aaaa” to the end of everyone’s names – and did I mention she has legs that go on forever?  When it comes to commentary or announcing, Christy Hemme is the voice to beat.

Tag Team of the Year:  Aces and Eights

Aces and Eights

Technically, as a tag team, they’re unaccomplished, but this tandem of masked men has wreaked havoc on the Impact Zone this year.  It was revealed that Devon was one of the orchestrators of this dominant faction, which gained its second unmasked member in Luke Gallows.  Together they’ve taken on greats like Sting and Hulk Hogan, and virtually any other member of the TNA roster.  One can only wonder when they’ll take the Tag Team Championship gold.  It’s likely going to happen, but when? Or will there ever be a female member of the group?  Maybe they could dominate the entire championship scene – who knows.  But in the meantime, I don’t think there’s any disputing this choice – TNA hasn’t really been home to an amazing tag team division recently and the ones that have come through this year are highly forgettable (Samoa Joe/Magnus or Crimson/Matt Morgan – anyone remember?)

X-Division Wrestler of the Year:  Zema Ion

Zema Ion

The hairspray wonder had the X-Division on lockdown this year after Austin Aries left for the World Championship/main event scene and my last year’s “rookie of the year,” Jesse Sorensen, was injured with a severe neck injury.  Ironically, Sorensen was battling Ion when it happened.  But that’s neither here nor there, Zema Ion has been one of the most entertaining and consistent in-ring X-Division stars this year, and had a lengthy Championship reign to prove it.

Rookie of the Year:  Joey Ryan

Joey Ryan

Did any other wrestler not named Joey Ryan, from the “Gut Check” series, make such an impact this year?  No.  Joey Ryan is not only impressive on the mic, but he has a nice repertoire of in-ring skills, and is by far the best character in professional wrestling.  He has it – and it is a 70’s-esque porn star who oozes sleaze from every pore in his body.  He’s the kind of heel wrestling fans love to hate, and in the often watered-down world of professional wrestling today, his vulgarity is a breath of fresh air – unless he smells like cheap cologne…

Wrestler of the Year:  Austin Aries

Austin Aries

It’d be hard to argue that anyone had a bigger year in TNA than Austin Aries.  He transitioned from the X-Division scene to the Main Event with ease, is one of the best in-ring workers and talkers, and went from face to heel.  In terms of the last twelve months, Aries is Impact Wrestling gold.

Knockout of the Year:  Gail Kim

Gail Kim

This year, Gail Kim (the inaugural Knockout’s Champion back in the day) broke the record for longest Knockout’s Title reign and held a Knockout’s Tag Team Championship, making her the it girl in Impact Wrestling.  Sure, Brooke Tessmacher had a break-out year, and Tara reclaimed her throne and shattered a glass ceiling for age-limits and women’s wrestlers, but Kim was a prominent figurehead for the Knockout’s Division, which has seen better days.  It wasn’t until the year began winding down that Kim started taking a back seat to women like Tara, Tessmacher, and Mickie James.  But take one look back at the Knockout’s Division this year, and Gail Kim will likely be at the front of your mind.

There you have it, the BEST OF IMPACT WRESTLING.  Comments and thoughts are always welcome and check back next week for the Top 50 Songs of 2012 and The 2012 Bobby-james Awards: Music.

Until then,


The 2012 Bobby-james Awards – WWE: Diva Domination

Best of 2012 - WWE

Ladies and Gentlemen!  May I present to you the first portion of The 2012 Bobby-james Awards.  This year marks the eleventh year I’m presenting Bobby-james Awards for Best of the WWE.  I’ve added some categories and consolidated Superstar of the Year since the brand extension officially ended in 2012.  These are the awards the people in WWE should be hoping to win – who needs a Slammy anyway? … Now, may I have the envelopes please….

Commentator/Announcer of the YearJohn “Bradshaw” Layfield

After Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered a heart-attack on a live episode of RAW, JBL came back to WWE as a “fill-in” for The King.  Soon after he inked a new deal with WWE, earning a spot at the announce table.  Since his return, JBL has left fans with plenty one-liners (or zingers) while he takes Michael Cole to task.  (2011 Winner:  Michael Cole)

Show of the Year RAW 1,000 – July 23, 2012 – St. Louis, Missouri

RAW 1000 The real “Show of Shows” this year came straight from my home – St. Louis.  WWE Monday Night RAW celebrated its 1,000th episode with a star-studded line-up of past and present WWE Superstars, Divas, and Legends – including The Rock, Lita, DX, Trish Stratus, Brock Lesnar, and many more.  RAW 1,000 was also the night WWE Champion CM Punk made a surprising heel turn against “The Great One,” which ultimately set up their rumored Royal Rumble match at the next WWE PPV.  (2011 Winner: n/a)

Valet of the Year Vickie Guerrero

Vickie Guerrero “Excuse me” – need I say more?  It’s hard to deny Vickie a spot at the top when she was the most consistent and efficient valet (to Dolph Ziggler) throughout 2012.  She lied, cheated, and basically stole – in turn, her client ended up having a very impressive year.  What’s more?  Vickie Guerrero commands (and has commanded) considerable air-time on WWE television over the past year, and she’s a “heat” magnet – I mean, this woman opens her mouth to inhale and fans boo her out of the building … job well done.  (2011 Winner: n/a)

Tag Team of the YearTeam Hell No

Team Hell No

WWE has recently put a significant amount of work into re-establishing their Tag Team Division.  That said, among all the tag teams to emerge or be used, none were more entertaining, or as dominating as the duo of Daniel Bryan and Kane, collectively known ast Team Hell No.  Together, Bryan and Kane have engaged in “couple’s theraphy” and held the WWE Tag Team Championships for a significant part of 2012.  (2011 Winner: Air Boom – Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston)

Rookie of the YearDamien Sandow

Damien Sandow

It’d be hard to argue that anyone had as much of a breakout year as our “Intellectual Savior” Damien Sandow.  Sure, his gold has been non-existent, but he’s challenged for championships and formed one of the fastest rising Tag Teams with Cody Rhodes, The Rhodes Scholars.  Sandow has not only commanded screen time on WWE programming, but he’s received consistent reactions from the crowds and is a very solid in-ring technician.  His arrogant and flamboyant personality will carry him well into 2013.  (2011 Winner:  Kharma)

Return of the Year: Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman

I’m pretty sure every fan of wrestling had their mouth hanging down to the floor when the one and only Paul Heyman returned to WWE television.  It’s a sight many of us thought wouldn’t come to pass again – seems the old saying stands, “never say never, especially in the WWE.” It wasn’t long after his return that Heyman went from feuding with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, while managing Brock Lesnar, to being aligned with the “voice of the voiceless” CM Punk. (2011 Winner:  The Rock)

Moment of the Year: Kharma as the #21 Entrant into the Royal Rumble

Kharma Royal Rumble

It’s always a special moment when something unexpected happens in the oft-predictable world of WWE.  Perhaps the biggest shocker, and best-kept secret of the year was Kharma’s surprise return as an entrant into the 2012 Royal Rumble – making her only the third woman to ever compete in the event.  As a participant, Kharma eliminated two people and landed an Implant Buster on Dolph Ziggler before being eliminated herself.  Unfortunately, last year’s Rookie of the Year was released from her WWE contract soon after – but that doesn’t make the moment any less exciting or memorable. (2011 Winner: CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb”)

Most Improved Wrestler of the YearWade Barrett

Wade Barrett

Barrett spent a good part of the year on the injured list – but when he returned, he did so better than ever with a new catchphrase (“Barrett Barrage”) and finisher.  Barrett launched a (so far unsuccessful) feud with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and debuted a more aggressive-brawler style.  If he can stay healthy, Barrett may find himself on the up-and-up over the next year.  (2011 Winner:  Justin Gabriel)

Feud of the YearVickie Guerrero vs. AJ Lee

AJ vs. Vickie

The feud of the year spanned a great part of the year and included everything from Guerrero calling Lee a psychotic little girl, to exposing “the AJ Scandal,” which cost the wee Diva her position as RAW General Manager.  In the process, Guerrero returned to power in the WWE as RAW’s Managing Supervisor.  Everything came to a head on RAW when Vickie defeated AJ in a match officiated in controversial Brad Maddox-fashion.  Fresh off a loss to Vickie, AJ decided a little retribution was in order – the next week she laid an intense lip-lock on Dolph Ziggler.   (2011 Winner:  CM Punk vs. John Cena)

Match of the YearDaniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler – RAW – October 22, 2012

Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan 10-22-12 - RAW

Suicide dives, “holy shit” moments, sweat, near-falls, submissions, crowd interaction, etc., etc.  You name it, this match had it.  Two of WWE’s best in-ring competitors locked up and left it all in the ring in this edge-of-the-seat nail-biter.  Now, can we get this to become a full-fledged feud for the WWE or World Championship?  These two in one program would be …. epic. (2011 Winner:  CM Punk vs. John Cena – WWE Championship Match – Money in the Bank – July 17)

Diva of the YearEve Torres

Eve Torres 3

Two women dominated the Diva’s scene in 2012 – AJ Lee and Eve Torres.  While some could argue that AJ had the bigger year, few can argue with Eve’s accomplishments.  Eve has been equally as visible on RAW and Smackdown, crossed-over to a reality competition (Stars Earn Stripes) on NBC, and captured her third Diva’s Championship.  She’s drastically improved in the ring and has one of the most definable characters in the WWE – did I forget to mention the massive heat she received earlier this year while involved with John Cena and Zack Ryder (“Hoeski” chants ring any bells?). (2011 Winner:  Trish Stratus)

Superstar of the YearAJ Lee

AJ Lee

I’m not going to lie, this was a tough category to decide – we have CM Punk whose reigned over the entire year as WWE Champion, we have Dolph Ziggler who’s wrestled impressive matches and captured a Money in the Bank briefcase, Daniel Bryan who’s been wildly entertaining and visible, and then we have AJ Lee, a woman whose profile in WWE has skyrocketed.  She was visible as Daniel Bryan’s girlfriend before moving into her “crazy chick” persona, put CM Punk through a table, courted Kane, was the General Manager of RAW, defeated greats like Beth Phoenix, opened RAW, and was featured on WWE programming as much as, if not more, than John Cena.  AJ has been the most visible superstar over the last year and the fans love to love her crazy ass.  The only thing that would have made her year sweeter would be a championship, then again, she rode high above the struggling Diva’s Division all year.  WWE invested in her more than any Diva since Trish Stratus or Lita and that’s why AJ Lee is the second woman (Stratus was the first in 2006) to be named Superstar of the Year.  (2011 Winner:  CM Punk – RAW / Cody Rhodes – Smackdown)

There you have it, the first installation of the 2012 Bobby-james Awards.  Agree or disagree with the selections?  Let me hear you. And don’t forget to check back Thursday for the Best of IMPACT Wrestling!


PREMIERE: “Elephants: Blood Ivory”

This week I debuted my new documentary short titled Elephants: Blood Ivory. This a follow-up to a 2010 short I did titled The Ivory Role.  Inspired by the October 2012 National Geographic article, I wanted to highlight the very real issue of poaching and do my part to help end it.  I created African tribal-inspired art to increase the dramatic effect in the video.  Here we go:

Visit www.asseenby.com for my “Highlighting Filmmakers” editorial (available Friday, December 14).


Will Kharma (Kia Stevens) return to the WWE?

In early 2011, promo videos for Kharma (Kia Stevens) began airing on WWE Television.  Stevens, who’d gained prominence as Awesome Kong on TNA Impact, had an impending debut with the WWE.  Following the Extreme Rules match between Layla El and Michelle McCool, Kharma debuted and put an exclaimation point on the end of Michelle McCool’s WWE career when she delivered her signature Implant Buster.

KharmaOver the next several weeks, Kharma appeared on RAW and Smackdown!, attacking WWE’s resident “Barbie Dolls,” including former Diva’s champions Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, and Maryse, former Women’s Champion Layla, and an angle with Kelly Kelly was teased.  An untimely pregnancy, however, meant that the whirlwind month of Kharma would come to an end, and that fans would be absent the sensation of Kharma for at least a year.

Time passed and the pregnancy resulted in personal disaster, leaving Kharma’s future in WWE unknown.  After Kharma made a surprise entry into the Royal Rumble in January 2012, fans began questioning when the “savior of the Diva’s Division” would return, and if/when the match with Beth Phoenix would happen.  Many speculated Kharma would return after WrestleMania 28 and build a program with the Glamazon heading into Summerslam.  But time wasn’t on anybody’s side, especially Kharma’s, when she was granted/given her WWE release.

Kharma’s departure from the division coincides with many, many others – including those of Beth Phoenix, The Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly, and developmental diva Maxine.  Some could argue that the division is in shambles, but on the contrary, the women’s divsion in WWE is looking up as Eve Torres leads the way.  Current plans call for a championship feud between Eve and AJ Lee heading into WrestleMania 29, but this all begs the question, if, or rather, when will Kharma return to WWE?

In a recent  interview with Diva-Dirt (www.diva-dirt.com) Kharma left the story of her WWE career open-ended and said she hopes to make it back someday soon.  Throughout the interview, she was highly concious about what she said about WWE, and how she said it (noting that anything controversial would be saved for later publication in her “chronicles”).  So let’s run with the speculation –

In the two years since Kia Stevens signed with WWE, the Diva’s Division has begun to ascend, WWE has hired Sara Del Ray, is packaging Tamina Snuka, has Natalya Neidhart on the back-burner, and Beth Phoenix is away from the ring (though has stated that we haven’t seen the last of the Glamazon).  Some could say any combination of those women is unlikely, but some could argue the contrary.

It’s been stated that Del Ray has been brought in to develop women in WWE’s developmental territory FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling), that Natalya isn’t being pushed because she can’t connect with the crowd, that Beth Phoenix is finished, and that Tamina could go either way.  But what if there are other motives – long-term plans in place?  What if WWE is keeping these women out of active competition until Kharma returns to the main-roster, so they may avoid over-exposure or injury?  It makes sense that if/when Kharma returns to have credible competition waiting for her – not to mention, Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, or Del Ray would be sure-money matches fans have been waiting to see.

Kharma2I think the ultimate question is when, not if Kharma will return.  With the rumored, but probable, plans for Eve vs. AJ to secure WrestleMania – it would be safe to think that Kharma will be back on WWE television by early-mid summer 2013.  If that’s the case, I’d expect stock in Tamina and Natalya to start rising, for Del Ray to debut at some point, and for the return of the Glamazon – all over a period of the next 12-18 months.

Perhaps this is all just like fantasy football – we’ll call it a dream division, but WWE seems to have access to all the parts on the board – I’d think it unwise for them not to capitalize on what has the potential to be the most compelling Women’s Division ever (and we haven’t even discussed the potential of Ric Flair’s daughter, Ashley a.k.a. Charlotte).  But, if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Kharma being back in WWE sometime in 2013 and for some healthy competition to greet her.  WWE didn’t hype her debut or put her in the Royal Rumble to let her career end at a month + 1.