El, Top Ten list in no particular order.

A lot of folk around the Bar profess a love of professional wrestling often adopting a pastiche of suitable attire and somewhat dubious accents and title belts.  But most of them talk about wrestling like it was something that happened 40 years ago.  Like their record collections really.

But wrestling is currently in a golden age with many of the highlights arising from the women's division (which has really dragged its way out of the two minute gimmick match that used to stink the joint out).

Here's my Top Ten of favourite wrestling related moments and people.  I know some of you folks will be yelling “But Bob!  It’s all fake.”  To which I say thank fuck for that.  If people really did stuff like that, you’d have to arrest them.

And besides, both the Stooges and the Dictators happily acknowledged their love of professional wrestling.  Who am I to disagree?

Rhea Ripley

1 Rhea Ripley
Firstly, she took out the Women’s Royal rumble match going start to finish.  That was probably the big moment that showed us WWE was putting her up as the main spot of the women’s division.  Wrestling may have predetermined decisions and pre planned spots but we expect it to look convincing.  And Mami looked convincing and I don’t think anyone had any doubts she was going to take WWE women's championship at Wrestlemania.

Wrestlemania can be a bloated affair especially now it is held over two nights.  The highlight was clearly the brutal clash between Rhea Bloody Ripley and Charlotte Flair.  Wrestling isn't a competition, it's about a dance.  But there was nothing soft about the bumps taken in this one.  When Adelaide-born Rhea suplexed Charlotte on the face... ouch.  You felt that one clear through the satellite feed.

2 CM Punk returns at Survivor's Series
They kept teasing it and denying it but that last minute arrival was masterful.  CM Punk is probably the last guy who still makes you maintain the illusion that wrestling might have something real about it.  In which lies the art.

It’s been 10 years since he appeared in a WWE ring but the thing about wrestling is no bridge is ever totally burned if you can still draw money.

3 Zelina Vega's unsuccessful title shot at Backlash in Puerto Rico
Zelina Vega has always been a worker, generally relegated to being a heel to be squashed.  But put her in a match with a home crowd and an unwinnable match and suddenly you have a star.  She's an absolute born face superstar as proven by her arrival in the LWO, her wielding of the chankla and her prank phone calls.  Even I felt like cheering her over Ripley.

4 The rise of Iyo Sky
Iyo Sky pretty much ruled the NXT Women’s division Io Shirai.  But, in what become a common problem in the dying days of the McMahon Era, appeared to be totally ignored upon arrival to the main brands.  But there are many wrestling fans who have long memories.

Bianca Belair is probably the face who most needs to turn heel.  All her shtick is heel.  She would be premium heel with all that EST crap and the hair as a weapon.  But WWE insists on booking her as a face.  In Backlash at Puerto Rico, the crowd rebelled against WWE and cheers for heel Sky drowned out any support for the face.  Which is one of those things long time WWE viewers love.  The knowledge that the crowd has gone rogue and is in control and no amount of piped in dubbed applause matters. The result didn't matter.  The crowd had spoken leading to Iyo Sky's money in the bank victory and cash in at Summerslam.

Since coming up to the main roster Sky has been playing heel.  She's still playing heel.  But the crowd just can't get enough of her aerial assault.  You'll believe a woman can fly.

5 Timeless Toni Storm's third World Title victory
Look, I know this list is pretty WWE centric but WWE blew it absolutely big time with New Zealand born and Australian raised Toni Storm.  In the AEW, Toni has become one of the greatest living promos of all time.  Pausing mid match to turn to camera and telling us it’s time for an important word from our sponsors.  Killing it on commentary.  But, I'm telling you.  Watch out for the shoe.

6 Indi Hartwell wins NXT Women's title at Stand and Deliver
Indi is another Australian and, whilst she's often had to do the job for many others, she's always been a solid worker and that's why fans love her.  So being the other Aussie to take a title on Wrestlemania weekend was kind of special.

7  Kairi Sane and Asuka join Damage Control
Fuck it.  I'm just a mark for the Kabuki Warriors.  I’ve also quite enjoyed the whole Damage Control thing.  It’s a team of great workers.  Some people remain confused about wrestling, thinking it’s all about the wins.  But everyone who wins only does so because their opponent lets them.  Close-eyed viewers may have noticed the (apparently) evil Dakota Kai saving (face) Lita at Wrestlemania and making it look like the botch was a valid attack by the veteran.

8 Gunther
Gunther (nee Walter) who has also been keeping it real.  He has a genuine Killer Kowalski vibe to him. Despite him being a heel, no one seriously wants to see him lose the intercontinental championship.  Because that would just make it all look fake.

9 Becky Lynch NXT Championship run.
Obviously, putting the development belt on a main roster superstar was a ratings bid.  But it also made the women in NXT look like legitimate stars.

10 Triple H
The man who took over WWE bookings and made it watchable once again.