Welcome to the latest edition of the Phat Daily Column, which is wrestling commentary written by a guy gimmicked after a member of the Jackson 5. Today, the agenda is very simple. First, we'll review the WWF's "Best of 2001", which aired Monday in place of RAW for New Year's Eve. I finally got around to watching this bad boy after work, so we'll take a look at that, namely the top 10 matches of 2001.

Secondly, we'll have a special book review, as promised in previous columns. I just finished up Dave Meltzer's "Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers", and I'll give my full review on it. This book is just the latest to my growing number of wrestling books, which impressed me when I saw the stack of them the other day.

Some of the readers have suggested that I left out some awards for the Tito Awards column, done on New Year's Eve. Fine, we'll quickly fill in those gaps! For Best Announcer, the award goes to Michael Cole for his consistant and NOT down-your-throat commentating. Sure, he may overhype a Pay Per View or an angle, but he doesn't scream like he's having kids like Jim Ross. For Best HEEL Announcer, the award goes to Paul Heyman, who in my opinion, is much better than Jerry Lawler. Heyman was a lot better with promoting the heels' wrongdoings than Lawler's screaming for "puppies". For Best Entrance the award goes to Christian, for the cool fireworks and the Opera entrance music. Wow, Christian takes home two "Tito Awards" for the year 2001. As does Steve Austin.

You can still read about those darn Tito Awards by Clicking Here. I thought I did a fairly decent job on my picks, and some of them agree with other awards columns or posts throughout the internet. However, a lot of people are dogging me for giving Rob Van Dam the "Most Improved" award. Hmmm... well, just take a closer look at his ECW matches, aside from the ones against Jerry Lynn. RVD is known to take long breaks between spots, and those spots could have been blown, too. 2001 proved to show that Rob Van Dam is a much more polished off worker now than he was then. Just my opinion, hence the name "Tito" Awards. Duh.

Oh well. We have a show and a book to review, so on to the PDC.

WWF Best of 2001

Overall, it was a good recap show of the year that was 2001. If you wanted a quick snapshot of 2001, jammed into several hours, the WWF did a good job here. The show had the top 10 matches of the year, and little goofy top fives for various things, like best put down, kiss, shocking moments, and others. They would also do mini segments of various parts of the year, like Austin's formation of the "What?" catchphrase. It was a good show for the fans, although one could argue that the show ignored a lot of the midcard, like Christian turning on Edge. (Unless I missed that while fast fowarding?)

The matches of the year.... well, I agree and I disagree with it. I thought, despite two of the hottest women on television, that the Stacy Kiebler vs. Torrie Wilson Lingerie Match at #6 was a ridiculous ranking. I mean, these ladies can't carry a match, and this one was just plain awful, getting past their great looks. They excluded Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin from Summerslam for that, in terms of match quality? I also thought that the Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit ladder match should have higher, as it was better than TLC 2 match, ranked at #2.

The top 10 matches of the year seemed to have a lot of variety. You had everything from Shane vs. Angle, the Lingerie match, 3 Wrestlemania matches, and the Jericho/Benoit vs. Austin/Triple H tag match. I somewhat disagree with the positioning of Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam, though, as it wasn't THAT good. I would have preferred the TLC 3 match between Edge/Christian, Jericho/Benoit, and the Dudleys instead, or the Chris Benoit vs. Steve Austin Smackdown match, as well. But who knows, because the matches were "voted on" by the fans, and the show was still enjoyable, although Rock vs. Austin from Wrestlemania got too much time, unlike the other matches on the show.

My Tito Award for Match of the Year matched this show's Match of the Year with Triple H vs. Steve Austin, best 2 out of 3 falls. If this voting is legit, then the WWF has a HOT Wrestlemania Main Event on their hands

LAST WORD: Although I have a few disagreements, I liked this show for the most part. It gave me a chance to relive some matches that I've only seen once, like the Pay Per View bouts (Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon, for example). If the WWF puts this show on video, shit... I'd buy it.

Mr. Tito's Phat Book Review

Bored one day, with spare cash from working way too much around Christmas time, I turned to my wrestling section of Walden's Book Store and saw "Tributes" sitting on the shelf. I quickly flipped through it, and noticed that this could be a great read. A few weeks later, it's being reviewed in the PDC.

-Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers-

At first look, "Tributes" appears to be a coffee table book, somewhat like the Wrestlemania book. However, when taking a close read into this book, you'll find that it's very imformative about a handful of pro wrestlers who have passed away throughout the years. Tributes is a 178 page book, covering the lives of 20 of the most famous wrestlers, who are no longer with us. The wrestlers or personalities include Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Rick Rude, Andre the Giant, Bruiser Brody, Fritz Von Erich, Kerry Von Erich, Yokozuna, Junkyard Dog, Giant Baba, Buddy Rogers, John Studd, Ray Stevens, Louie Spicolli, Art Barr, Eddie Gilbert, Boris Malenko, Dino Bravo, Jumbo Tsuruta, and Gordon Solie.

The list includes many wrestlers who have either had some influence into the wrestling world, or they were known internationally as big wrestling stars. You could argue that some wrestlers were left out, such as Terry Gordy, Gorilla Monsoon, or Gorgeous George, should have been in this book. However, the title does say "Remembering SOME of the World's Greatest Wrestlers", so that's covered. Plus, I'm sure the author, Dave Meltzer, has some justification for his picks.

For the wrestlers on the list, however, Meltzer is very informative on the wrestler's careers and the events leading up to their deaths. Sad thing is that a lot of the wrestlers died the same ways, either from something involving muscle enhancers, drugs, or oddly enough, cancer, and at times, the 3 connected each other for the wrestler's death. The wrestling business is a tough one to get into, as the pay is low for the damage done to one's physical health, and the long time on the road would destroy a normal human being.

I really liked reading about the International stars, like the ones I've never seen wrestle before. I only watch what I can on my Cable in my home, and I basically only know about wrestlers who have made their way through, mainly, the WWF and WCW. I really liked the section on the Giant Baba, whom I've seen pictures of in PWI for years.

There's a lot of sadness when reading about some of the wrestler's lives, especially those who basically threw their lives away. It was amazing to read about how bad the Junkyard Dog ruined his own career with drugs, and how pitiful the Von Erichs led their lives. Sure, all sports have drug users, but the ones in pro wrestling appear to go overboard.

The pictures are very nice, too, as if you never saw the wrestler, you can at least think about how the fans perceived the wrestlers by the image they had. Giant Baba looks like a walking tree, while Art Barr looked like a wrestler who gave it his all for the fans in attendance.

LAST WORD: Excellent "tribute" book on a good selection of late wrestlers or personalities. This book is highly recommended for anyone curious about the wrestling past, and pretty much recommended to anyone, as I'll give this book a grade of an

A

for a great read and venture overall. It's a great trip back to look at 20 late wrestlers, some of which we'll always remember from our own personal experiences from watching pro wrestling. Dave Meltzer does a great job in compiling information, pictures, and respect for the wrestlers, all into one book.

CLICK HERE to buy "Tributes"

@That's all for today. I hope you've enjoyed my show and book reviews. I hope to be back, tomorrow, with some possible Smackdown Hype, and whatever else comes to mind. Now can you dig that?

Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.

Mr. Tito 1998 - 2002 Exclusive to LordsofPain.net