The new year marks a time of renewal and fresh starts. It's a time when people make promises to better themselves, to improve on the year that just passed, to create new memories to remember 364 days from now.
Can the same things be said about WWE programming?
It seems that shows like Superstars and Saturday Morning Slam are constantly tinkering with the presentation of their content and the sorts of segments they feature to fill the time.
Shows like Main Event and NXT continue to evolve their purpose as they fit into WWE's ever-changing long-term plans.
Just as important as the format of the shows or the purpose for which it exists, the real product being developed on these programs are the superstars themselves. The stars we see regularly performing on these shows are the stars that WWE continues to mold until they find a permanent spot on the WWE roster.
As we analyze these shows and try to decide which superstars came out looking the best and who came out looking the worst, we can't overlook what is being recapped, especially since this week's review is full of shows that were merely annual recaps (other than Main Event).
Remember, WWE isn't necessarily going to show us what was genuinely the "best of the year." They're going to show us what they want us to remember from 2012. This will be an indication as to who WWE is pushing, who they're losing interest in and who is being underused and undervalued.
To that extent, every week I take a look at WWE's four "other" shows: NXT, Main Event, Superstars and Saturday Morning Slam. After we review everything that happened on these shows, we'll decide who benefited the most last week and who needs to be sending feelers to TNA and ROH.
My "highlights" version of all four shows is below.
If it piques your interest enough to read on, the slideshow breaks down the shows individually, segment by segment, complete with my questions, predictions and/or honorable mentions. If you disagree with my selections for who benefited/suffered the most, there's a comment section below.
On NXT, as part of this year-in-review episode, we watched Seth Rollins defeat Jinder Mahal in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament that crowned the first NXT Champion. We also witnessed a very quick match in which Bray Wyatt defeated Aiden English.
Big E. Langston defeated Camacho in a match related to their angle with Vickie Guerrero, and we witnessed several promos and New Year's Resolutions from the NXT stars, including Langston himself.
In the main event, Kane defeated Cody Rhodes in a match that had previously been un-aired.
On Main Event, The Great Khali won a 20-man battle royal to earn a United States Championship match against Antonio Cesaro for the first Main Event of 2013.
The night continued with tag action featuring Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd defeating 3MB members Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre in a really solid match.
This week's Superstars was the second half of a two-week year-in-review, showcasing the best of Monday Night Raw from 2012. This week's episode includes promos and vignettes about The Big Show's heel turn, the "End of an Era" Match, Kane and Daniel Bryan's anger management, Raw 1000 and CM Punk's championship reign.
Matches that were shown included Show vs. Sheamus in a Lumber Jack Frost match, Team Hell No vs. The Primetime Players, and CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship.
On Saturday Morning Slam, we got a another "best of" episode. The two replayed matches included Daniel Bryan defeating Tyson Kidd and John Cena defeating Heath Slater.
Cena also got a brief Superstar Spotlight segment.
Now, if you care to read more about any of these happenings, please enjoy the slideshow.