Either we have rabid patriots as SLAM! Wrestling readers or they’re just big fans of the indy scene.

That’s the only thought that comes across my mind as we wrap up the votes for 2012’s Story of the Year.

We opened up voting on our Facebook page on the past year’s top story and, while most mainstream fans may have gone with a WWE story or TNA offering, the SLAM! Wrestling faithful instead chose one from our own backyard – Bobby Sharp being named Canadian champion.

SLAM! Wrestling Producer Greg Oliver summed up Sharp’s win as follows: Canada is one big country and attempting to create a true Canadian championship in the fractious world of indy wrestling is even more wrought with peril. The folks behind the Red Deer, Alberta-based CNWA deserve kudos for trying, and in Bobby Sharp they have selected a young up and comer who has the desire and ability to travel and show off the belt, primarily in the west, from British Columbia into Manitoba. Hopefully the reach of the belt can expand in 2013.

Here are the other top stories from 2012, along with thoughts from one of the SLAM! Wrestling writers:

Kevin Steen becomes the first Canadian to win the ROH World title
Pat Laprade: On May 12, 2012, Montreal’s Kevin Steen became the first Canadian wrestler to win the Ring of Honor World championship defeating Davey Richards in Mississauga, Ontario. It also marked the first time this title changed hands outside of the United States. By the time the year ends, he will be the 6th longest champion in ROH’s history. He was able to achieve what other Canadians like Kenny Omega, his arch-nemesis El Generico and his friend Steve Corino were not able to do. 2012 was without the shadow of a doubt Kevin Steen’s year in ROH and 2013 looks to be as good, if not better.

Michael Elgin’s ascension
Pat Laprade: Not too long ago, Michael Elgin was working his butt off on the Ontario indy scene trying to make a name for himself. Well hard work does payoff as the Oshawa native had a breakout year in 2012. On the Ring of Honor roster since 2010, Elgin’s match against Davey Richards in Florida during Wrestlemania week-end opened the eyes of everyone who hadn’t yet and is a legit match of the year candidate. His championship match against Steen in Toronto was another great match, Elgin’s favorite actually. He ended the year by officially getting out of the House of Truth even on the losing end against Roderick Strong. Michael Elgin’s ascension only started in 2012 as 2013 could very well be his year in ROH.

Jerry Lawler suffers a heart attack and Bret Hart returns to Montreal
Pat Laprade: Bret Hart’s WWE return to Montreal for the first time since 1997 was supposed to be the biggest news as Raw was back in town after a six-year hiatus. The 3-minute standing ovation he received from the fans shows just that. Unfortunately, Jerry Lawler had other plans. After he had wrestled on the show and was back in the commentators’ booth, the 62-year old suffered a massive heart attack. In fact, if it wasn’t for the medical staff on hand, we’d be talking about a whole other story here. Live, it was one of the most bizarre moments as people didn’t know how to react. WWE even cut short on what was locally built as Pat Patterson’s appreciation night. After having an angioplasty and spending the week in a Montreal hospital, Lawler was back in Memphis. Two months later, he made a healthy and triumphal return on Raw to the delight of everyone watching the show.

Triple H cuts his hair
Greg Oliver: I have been watching the WWE’s Best of 2012 Pay-Per-Views DVD and it’s funny to see Undertaker with no hair at WrestleMania against Triple H, still with his long, greasy-looking hair. What surprises me more about Triple H’s corporate haircut is that he didn’t work it into an angle at all to maybe spike a buyrate or a rating.

Rogers Communications buys The Score
Matthew Byer: For Canadian wrestling fans this was probably the top news story in many ways. While the changes so far have been pretty minor with one of The Score hosts being hired by the WWE and some of the airing times of RAW changing in some markets, it will undoubtedly reverberate for years to come.

CM Punk’s WWE Championship run
Matthew Byer: A truly significant achievement in today’s WWE and one that many fans were not sure we would ever see. However, just as CM Punk has reached this milestone word has come down of CM Punk being injured and needing surgery. Thankfully, Punk has recovered and is ready to keep going in 2013.

Brock Lesnar returns to WWE
Matthew Byer: In many ways for the mainstream media this was the most significant wrestling story, but Lesnar’s impact has been blunted by a loss to John Cena in his first match back and being placed in a program with Triple H that had almost no buildup. The rumor has been that the WWE brought Lesner back to have him face The Undertaker at next year’s Wrestlemania, but both have barely been seen on TV and so Lesner’s purpose remains up in the air.

Hogan’s sex tape scandal
Jon Waldman: Oh, BROTHER! Whether this was extortionmania running wild or if Hogan’s… ok I’m not going to make a joke here about one of Hulkster’s other famed catchphrases… the story brought Hogan back to “relevancy” in the mainstream again, something he hadn’t seen since the messy divorce from Linda. And no, it’s not done yet – he’s still planning to sue Gawker.

Linda McMahon loses… again
Jon Waldman: Had so much money not gone into Linda McMahon’s campaign, this may have been a non-story; but a lot of money went into Linda McMahon’s campaign. Let me repeat that. A LOT. Thankfully WWE still stands on solid ground, but you have to believe there will be financial ramifications of the money spent and fallen to the wayside.

Raw hits 1,000 episodes
Jon Waldman: No matter what way you try to slice it, hitting 1,000 episodes is an insane milestone. WWE had every right to brag about the achievement and they did up the episode in style, highlighted by an unexpected heel turn by CM Punk. Whether Raw will make it to 2,000 episodes remains to be seen, but this was one night truly worthy of celebration.

Check out all the stories from 2012 by the SLAM! Wrestling Staff

Bobby Sharp – Canadian champ, SLAM!’s top story of 2012. Photo by David Chapman, courtesy CNWA