In a year of wrestling that I said to myself over and over again that I was going to take a break from watching, I found myself every Monday night flipping to the USA network to see if there was a shining moment. There were a few highs and many lows. This year we decided that no matter how much we bad mouth John Cena, he will not change or leave or turn heel. So we left him out of the negative categories. Here are my picks for some of those moments of 2013.
Match of the Year: This is always a tough category because there are so many matches throughout the year. Two matches shot to the top in my opinion Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at Summer Slam and CM Punk vs Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Both were really strong matches. As Takers career gets closer to its end, the question always comes up if the WWE will end the streak and if so who will be the one to do what no other wrestler has done at the biggest pay per view of the year. I had a feeling that Taker would win but the bookers did a great job in this one and Punk sold to perfection. Taker may only wrestle once or twice a year but despite his aging beat up body is still able to bring it for that one night. The Summer Slam matchup between Cena and Bryan was awesome. It would have been more awesome if HHH wasn’t involved as the referee and in handing the title to Randy Orton after his cashing in on HHH’s best for business pedigree. Usually I am cool with a Money in the Bank cash in, but Bryan was ready to take the reigns but we can’t be having Vince be wrong about somebody. Remember it was just 3 years ago that Daniel was fired for “going too far” in selling his Nexus angle by choking out Michael Cole. The WWE universe got what it wanted but only a slight taste because. Nobody is bigger then what Vince and HHH think they are. So with that said I am going to go with Punk and Taker as the match of the year. Let’s hope the phenom has one more great match left to end his career.
Wrestler of the Year: This category may get a little tougher to judge in 2014 but in 2013 there was only 1 wrestler who despite all the depushing that WWE could put him through still came out every night and win, lose, or yes he even had a draw (WWE Battleground) put on a show and the fans responded. Your wrestler of the year is Daniel Bryan. He started the year off as ½ of the tag team champions along with Kane keeping the titles through May. Team Hell No disbanded as Kane leaving to shoot See No Evil 2. Bryan took over the WWE Universe. The Chants of NO! No! No! turned to YES! YES! Yes! Crowds around the world fueled Daniel and there was nothing that could hold him back… Accept bad booking which was interpreted by the “Authority” as the Pay Per Views aren’t selling because Daniel Bryan isn’t John Cena. So what does Bryan do? He follows suit. Goes into his feud with the Wyatt Family full force and never once takes a shot at the company. He just sits back continues to work and lets everybody else talk for him. (Cena off script at the Raw before TLC) Hopefully Vince and HHH wizen up and give Daniel the run he more than deserves in 2014.
Best Babyface: The most over wrestler since the beginning of the “Universe Era” of the WWE is Daniel Bryan. He just has that underdog storyline that everybody loves. He has to fight to get anywhere. The more WWE tries to bury him the harder the fans cheer for him.
Worst Wrestler of the Year: Another tough category to pick a winner/loser for. More often than not it is not the wrestlers fault for being who they are. They are written that way. You can only go on what they bring to the table in their matches. Do they sell the moves, do they work the crowd, are their mic skills on par? In taking this into consideration, I have decided that the winner/loser of Worst Wrestler of 2014 is The Great Khali. I didn’t think this man would ever wrestle again. He can barely walk to the ring let alone have a good match. By no fault of his own he just physically can’t do it. When he talks on the mic you can’t understand a word he says. If it wasn’t for Santino and Hornswoggle he would get no pop from the crowd at all. But he wins every dance contest… Maybe he can go on dancing with the stars?
Female Wrestler of the Year: The WWE has stolen back the title of having the better female wrestling action from TNA. AJ Lee has continued to grow and become the face of the Diva’s division. The Bella’s may have the “look” that WWE wants but AJ turns enough heads to be up there and her in-ring ability has soared above and beyond expectations. Natty may be the most technical diva in the ring, but AJ has it all.
Worst Female Wrestler of the Year: Eva Marie not much can be said other then “Ginger Mahal.” She has little hope to ever become more then a cover girl for Maxim. If she plans on staying in the business she may want to ask Cristy Hemme for some advice… I hear Hugh is a big wrestling fan.
Feud of the Year: Nobody really expected Punk to win the Money in the Bank match, but when Heyman had been arguing and seemingly was released of his services by his “best friend” Punk cost Punk the briefcase was the start of a feud that I personally enjoyed. Heyman choosing Brock over Punk leading to match after match of Punk vs. a “Heyman Guy” Punk vs. Brock, Punk vs. Ryback, Punk vs. Axel all eventually led to Punk getting his hands on Paul Heyman. The psychological chemistry between Punk and Heyman was really good. Heyman may not be able to actually wrestle but the man knows how to sell himself and virtually any under card wrestler to the crowd. Add that to Punks ability to drop pipebombs and put one great match after another despite his lack of competition in the ring equals a great feud.
The face you make when you realize you just booked a heel turn with a wrestler who has a family movie coming out in a week… Recant heel turn and make other wrestler in feud heel but not really they are both just frustrated. No, wait movie is out and sucked made no money we can make him a heel again just in time for the feud to be over? Or is it? Wait who’s wrestling? Oh yea the Miz and Kofi Kingston that’s right. UGH!!!
Tag Team of the Year: The tag division is growing in the WWE but still has a long way to go to reach the ranks of the classic tag teams in wrestling. In 2013 we saw the growth of the Shield. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns had a great run as the tag champions and rightfully so. I think this is what happens when good booking and talented wrestling works to perfection. You take the power of Reigns and mix it up with the agility of the unpredictable Rollins and it is a recipe for some classic tag team action. It was hard not to pick the Rhodes brothers because they had some great moments in the second half of the year as well but as far overall I am sticking with Rollins and Reigns.
Worst Tag Team of the Year: TONS OF FUNK – Take Tensai from fierce unbeatable beast to dancing fool. Take Brodus Clay who everyone thought to be returning as a beast and make him a dancing dinosaur. Put them together track pants that they rip off to reveal overly tight spandex and let them run into people sounds like good wrestling to me… The only good thing about it is they are no longer together. Wonder what they will do with the Funkadaktyls going further??? WHO CARES
Most Embarrassing Wrestler: Brodus Clay how can you take anybody serious who looks like that. He is now supposed to be a heel but hasn’t totally given up the funkasourus gimmick. There is no reason for him to do take his power and waste it like that.
Most Improved: What better way to improve than to change the man behind the mask. Since giving Hunico the mask to portray Sin Cara more has changed in the character then just that tattoos on his arm. It didn’t take much to improve the disappointment that Mistico brought to the company as Sin Cara. The botched moves are gone, and he has actually won a few matches. Now if they could just stop with the gold lights during the matches…
Rookie of the Year: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose, in their first full year in the WWE saw some ups and downs in their booking but whenever they were in a match together or apart they left it all in the ring. I am excited to see the implosion of the Shield and the future feuds with one another. Should be some really good singles matches going forward.
Most Overrated: Does it get any more over rated the Curtis Axel? The guy has No Charisma, works stiff, and doesn’t live at all up to the legacy of his father. I have no idea why this guy was pushed so hard with big story lines and holding a title for as long as he did.
Most Underrated: The shield as a group is far from underrated. They have been used in major story lines since they were first called up to the big show. However, Ambrose began as the “leader” of the group and given the chances at the singles titles and most of the talking lines in interviews. Now its all about Roman Reigns and his power. In my opinion as far as all around wrestler goes its Seth Rollins who is the most athletic of the 3 and puts on the best show. When the time comes to spilt of the shield, I really hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Best Gimmick: Often when the WWE spends so much time building up the debut of new wrestlers it hardly ever lives up to the hype. But I don’t think there has been a creepier and better pulled off Gimmick in years than that of the Wyatt family. From the rocking chair to the sheep mask to the creeping backwards crawl that Bray does; they continue to develop their characters each and every week.
Best Heel: He may have not had his huge push in singles competition yet but had some big feuds in his brief time so far in the WWE. Windham Lawrence Rotunda has come so far in the last 3 years since making his debut as the “Army Tank with the Ferrari Engine” in NXT as Husky Harris, He took an injury that kept him out of action for quite a bit of time and developed Bray Wyatt the Leader of the Wyatt Family. Here he is with his “disciples” my 2013 Best Heel.
Worst Gimmick: OLE OLE OLE … WWE built them up for what seemed like half the year. They brought them in and now they battle 3MB on a weekly basis? Los Mantadors are bull fighters from Puerto Rico who have a mascot who is a bull who helps them? None of this sounds like a good gimmick to me.
Best Return: He may not have had the most memorable return. He may not have been the Beast, or the Rock, or the Ayatollah, but Dustin Rhodes came back not only in a cameo at the Royal Rumble but in a great story line involving his brother Cody. The bizarre one came back in the best shape maybe of his career. He certainly still has it. He will make sure that generations of wrestling fans to come will never forget the name “GOLDUST”