Oakland and San Francisco house shows I attended in January and February, respectively. Enjoyed both a great deal.
Hall of Fame live, Wrestlemania live, Raw the next night live, that whole nearly three-week vacation, and everything it entailed
The character development John Cena received from Wrestlemania to Extreme Rules--some of the best WWE television of the year, culminating in that promo by Edge and subsequent atmosphere of doom and gloom from Cena
Daniel Bryan's heel turn becoming a big success; Bryan's push becoming a big success; Bryan becoming one of the most over guys in WWE; "YES!" taking a life of its own...
The intricacy of the entire AJ/Daniel Bryan storyline, and its involvement of CM Punk--smarks hate it but if only WWE applied the kind of sturdy, patient sort of character-driven writing to more... testosterone-fueled feuds, I doubt they'd complain very much.
End of an Era.
Rock vs. Cena.
CM Punk's performance as WWE Champion. He's been ignored, he's been handed lemons and had to try to make lemonade out of them and he's been somehow kept in the midcard as champion for most of the year but he's been giving it his all anyway.
I'll say it: Jericho's face turn. Made me smile. It's about that time to admit it's kind of impossible to make anyone even strongly dislike him in passing much anymore.
The Miz's apparent rebirth.
Raw 1,000... Realize it fell short for a lot of folks here but I still look back on it fondly. Stephanie showed up, so that may have boosted it for me!
Rock/Punk effectively becoming an offical angle for the future, and that being dovetailed with Punk aggressively attempting to "retake the spotlight," even if it's cliched as hell.
The signings from Triple H and WWE, bringing in a lot of indy talents.
Debut of Damien Sandow.
Eve's heel turn, even if by that point Ryder/Kane/Eve/Cena was a mess.
Tag team wrestling just barely beginning to show signs of life once again.
Rock/Cena as a storyline becoming far less interesting or engaging than it should have been. How do you fuck something like that up? Ask WWE.
It would be easy to say Cena beating Lesnar but I think the truth is what hurt me more was the complete abandonment of the character development Cena had behind him for a month leading into that match following the victory. So, the whole thing was something of a bitter pill.
Correspondingly, Cena's stagnant self becoming almost woefully tired and exhausted. BBQ sauce on Michael Cole. Feuding with The Big Show because goodness knows that is a fresh idea. Now he's back in the WWE Championship hunt. Oh joy. Please let him keep falling short, he's most bearable when he's losing, getting his ass kicked and (kayfabe) legitimately "fighting the odds." So work to his strengths, not his glaring weaknesses. Ahem.
Tout, Twitter, yadda yadda. I can move past it because I literally move past it after I've recorded WWE programming but it's slightly toilsome, nevertheless.
Essentially, the complete refusal to create a dynamic and fully functional midcard, which is still harming the product. They're gradually, very gradually correcting some elements of this, and I'll confess, the move to three hours on Raw seems to be helping thus far, but it's still very little and very, very late. Remember the days when you could intrinsically count on your hand who the top Intercontinental Championship contenders were? Who was gunning for the United States Championship? What feud would probably be right around the corner? Feels like a long time ago, because everything not main event level is ostensibly given about five minutes' worth of consideration before the show goes on the air.
The push that became an overpush that became a humbling process for Zack Ryder. What the fuck? WWE follows the Icarus methodology: transparently overpush toward the sun until the poor being's wings are burned off. Completely wasteful.
The United States Championship's eight-month-long near-death experience.
The state of announcing in WWE. Jerry Lawler sounds about as excited to go to a WWE event and announce at it as a turkey is parading about in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Michael Cole is still annoying, but has been worse. Josh Matthews has lost so much of his personality, he's almost a drone now who simply says what Vince barks at him to say from behind the scenes. Booker T becoming Smackdown GM deprives WWE commentary of the one truly passionate voice left who put people, ideas and institutions within the product over.
WWE's overreliance and new toys with which to play and overexpose (Ryder in the winter, Laurinaitis in the spring and now AJ in the summer). The general laziness of creative, which is probably largely forced upon many of them by Vince.