It's the end of the year, which means everyone is handing out awards. Well, we here at BB could not possibly pass up the opportunity to give away meaningless awards! We are tackling the Best & the Worst of wrestling in 2012. I would like to point out these awards will feature WWE & TNA only. While I'm sure ROH has some great stuff going on, I'm not watching on my computer or buying an iPPV. Get a serious national TV deal and kick some ass. Until then, best of luck in your future endeavors ROH. (I wonder how many people I just pissed off with that...)
Moment of the Year:
- The Rock defeats John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII.
- Sheamus wins the Royal Rumble match.
- CM Punk's over 1 year WWE Championship reign.
- Austin Aries wins TNA World Championship at Destination X.
- CM Punk turns heel at Raw 1000.
It's hard to imagine anyone saw this coming. The WWE Title was a hot potato in 2011 with 8 title changes. Even more improbably, the title passed between Punk, John Cena, & Alberto Del Rio each between September, October, & November. Once Punk got the Title at Survivor Series though, he ran with it and wouldn't let go. It should be noted Punk was booked in more Triple Threat and multi competitor matches in his reign than any superstar in recent history. Punk's list of Championship opponents this year includes: Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio, & The Miz. The build to the upcoming Royal Rumble Title match between Punk & The Rock may be the end of Punk's reign, but being able to call yourself the longest reigning WWE Champion of the Modern Era, over WWE poster boy John Cena, is an incredible accomplishment and proof CM Punk is what he says he is. "The Best in the World."
Breakout of the Year:
- Austin Aries
- AJ Lee
- Miss Tessmacher
Aries return to TNA last summer was looked at as signaling a return of the famed TNA X Division, the wrestling class many fans believe built TNA. His match at Destination X 2011 in which he won a TNA contract helped solidify his return, and as he got TV time on Impact Wrestling he began to steal the spotlight. His run as the longest reigning TNA X Division Champion was only a taste of what was to come for Aries in 2012. It was only fitting that he win the TNA World Championship at Destination X, completing a full circle from return to Champion. Aries attitude and in-ring skill has helped him stand toe-to-toe with the best in TNA. Here's hoping he can regain the Title in 2013.
Smash the Glass Award (Superstar poised to breakout in the coming year):
- Wade Barrett
- Dolph Ziggler
- Damien Sandow
Every time Dolph Ziggler gets close to breaking through the glass ceiling he seems to be pushed back down. Many thought his run with the mid-card titles would push him to the next level. He even held the World Heavyweight Championship for a laughable minute or two. What is holding back Dolph Ziggler? Tremendous in-ring skills, always making his opponents look good, willing to take a big risk. He is a student of the game. As the current Money in the Bank winner he really has not had his breakout win. The current fued with John Cena needs to end with Ziggler cleanly pinning Cena to give him that next push. But will it? And when will the Money in the Bank be cashed in? Lots of questions surround Dolph Ziggler heading into 2013, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The question is, what will Dolph Ziggler do to answer these questions in 2013?
Tag Team of the Year:
- Team Hell No
- Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
- Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
I have to admit, I really didn't expect to like this team. I looked at the anger management skits as another way for Vince McMahon to stick it to Daniel Bryan after taking the World Title off him at WrestleMania in 18 seconds. However, Bryan & Kane made those skits work and even made the phrase "Hug it out" a chant in WWE arenas. The hugging was at times ridiculed, but Bryan & Kane committed to the gimmick and stuck with it. Their reward was a solid Tag Team Championship run and more TV time than many of WWE's top stars including Randy Orton. At times, WWE needs a comedy gimmick and this one is working very well.
Women's Wrestler of the Year:
- Eve Torres
- AJ Lee
- Velvet Sky
- Beth Phoenix
This win is kinda like being the tallest midget. Congrats. The Divas division in WWE is laughable at this point, with many fans longing for the days of Lita, Trish Stratus and other Attitude Era divas who could at least put on a watchable match. The divas division boasts several from Diva Search winners, including Eve & Layla. Both of whom have held the Divas Championship this year. Unfortunately, neither really brings anything particularly spectacular to the ring, and really why the hell is Aksana even on the roster? Meanwhile, TNA's Knockouts division, once dominated by Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, & the Beautiful People is now populated by former WWE divas who seem to overrun the TNA faithful Knockouts like Velvet Sky, ODB, & Madison Rayne. It is becoming clear that female wrestling isn't widely in demand, unless you need to book a bathroom break. It's up to WWE & TNA to fix this.
Best Pay-Per-View of the Year:
- WrestleMania XXVIII
- TNA Slammiversary
- WWE Money in the Bank
Not much of a surprise here. WWE books this show to be the best of the year and it's hard to disappoint on a card featuring Triple H, Undertaker, & Shawn Michaels in the Hell in a Cell & Rock vs. Cena. What made this show better than the rest was the great storytelling in both of these matches. When HBK & HHH hit their Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo on Taker and he still kicked out, the reaction was tremendous. When Rock beat Cena in the main event, the reaction was incredible. Taking risks in wrestling is nothing new, but putting Rock over Cena was an unexpected and welcome surprise.
Sidekick of the Year:
- Ricardo Rodriguez
- Rosa Mendes
- AJ Lee
Once nothing more than Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo has won over fans by making the gimmick his own. His work as Del Rio's manager is nowhere near Bobby "The Brain" Heenan level, but he helps his guy win matches. But his comedy spots are where he really shines. I would like to see Ricardo & Del Rio team up and go towards the Tag Team Championship as an entertaining comedy duo. But for now, we will see Ricardo at ringside with Del Rio and hope for more laughs from Ricardo Rodriguez.
Catchphrase of the Year:
- I am the Tag Team Champions!
- Feed. Me. More!
- Yes! Yes! Yes!
This freaking catchphrase is litterally a year old, unlike the others, and still very catchy. It has become an important part of Daniel Bryan's gimmick. And let's be honest, Vince McMahon made money selling shirts that say "YES! " 3 times. Man's a freaking genius at times. But what makes this the catchphrase of the year is Bryan's crowd interaction. Because of this, John Cena has regularly acknowledged the chant during his segments. Plus, AJ Lee doing her "Yes!" chant is cute.
Well that's most of the best, saving Superstar of the Year & Match of the Year for last. Let's check out some of the Worst!
Get Off My Screen Award (Person who most needs to be off TV):
- Vickie Guerrero
- Kurt Angle
- Hulk Hogan
- David Otunga
I have never been so annoyed by wrestling as I am when Vickie is on the screen. She has no mic skills whatsoever, she is not remotely entertaining, and I'm convinced she doesn't know a wrist lock from a wrist watch. She not even a good heel. People don't boo her because of her character, they boo her because they want her gone. I could go on about this, but I can't stand her. And Vince will keep her on TV until Hell freeze over, so I have to go make a deal with the Devil.
Worst Angle of the Year:
- CM Punk & Paul Heyman mock Jerry "The King" Lawler's real-life heart attack.
- Brad Maddox
- Eric Young & ODB as TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions.
- "People Power"
- Claire Lynch
I'm not sure if I'm even spelling her name right, and I simply don't care. Why TNA subjected their homegrown star AJ Styles to this mess is beyond me. For whatever reason, TNA spent most of 2012 burying AJ Styles. It really doesn't make sense. Much like this angle. AJ is a devout Christian so the fact TNA thought anybody would buy AJ as having another woman's baby, drugged or not, is ridiculous. Not to mention this mess took up a good portion of time on TNA TV that could have been used by the X Division, Knockouts, or anybody else for that matter. I would seriously rather watch an uncoordinated dancer do the Charleston in ring than to have ever watched any of this crap.
Worst Pay-Per-View of the Year (In the interest of fairness, no TNA PPVs were considered):
- Hell in a Cell
- No Way Out
- Summer Slam
- Over The Limit
- Survivor Series
While the WWE Championship match between CM Punk & Daniel Bryan was great, the main event of John Cena vs. John Laurninaitis was an absolute joke. The fact that WWE thought anyone would buy this PPV for this main event is incredulous. Throw in the most obvious heel turn in history and you have a snoozer. Other matches on this card include: Brodus Clay vs. The Miz, Ryback vs. Camacho, & Layla vs. Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship. In that list, is there any match you would pay nearly $50 to see? Me either. WWE needs to reevaluate their PPVs and pricing structure and consider cutting down so that garbage like this doesn't see the light of day again. I will give them credit for a good PPV theme song though, "War of Change" by Thousand Foot Krutch is good, and the album "The End is Where We Begin" is one of my favorites of the year.
- Ryback botches his Shell Shocked finisher on Tensai.
- Eric Young & ODB wedding in a steel cage.
- Raw goes to 3 hours.
- John Cena wins Money in the Bank, but is the 1st to lose the "cash in" match.
- The AJ Scandal.
This was a cash grab plain and simple. There is no reason for Raw to be 3 hours, and roughly 45 minutes of the show are spent recapping. There simply is not enough depth in the roster, demand for programming, or original material written by WWE Creative to justify this. The only 3 hour Raw that needed to be 3 hours was Raw 1000, because there was a lot of stuff going on that night. Between the DX reunion, AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding, announcement of the new GM, WWE Title match, the return of The Rock, and more, it was a solid show. Unfortunately, the episodes that followed showcased why Raw doesn't need to be 3 hours. Not all of WWE's additional programming has been a bust however. The new WWE Main Event show on ion TV has a good balance of in-ring action & promo time. Good show. 3 hour Raw? Not so much.
Even though we've saved the best for last, I feel like both of this awards were a foregone conclusion.
Match of the Year:
And the winner is... End of an Era, Hell in a Cell match, Triple H vs. Undertaker, special referee- Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVIII!
Looking back at 2012 I couldn't think of another match where I truly "invested" in everything on the screen. The match told a solid story that developed throughout. Having Shawn Michaels in there as special ref added a nice wrinkle and of course the always asked question at Mania time, is "The Streak" going to end? It all came together with hard-hitting action inside the Cell and twists, turns, & false finishes that had everyone on the end of their seats until the very end. Add in the legendary commentary of WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and you have the best match of this year, which when all is said and done will have featured 4 Hall of Famers, 2 current, 2 future.
Superstar of the Year:
And the winner is... CM Punk!
This is a no-brainer. The man has held the WWE Championship for a full year. It takes something special for a wrestling company to put their top title on a superstar for that much time. And Punk is something special. One of the best on the microphone and able to back it up in the ring, Punk held his own with John Cena, The Rock, & Chris Jericho while putting on great matches with Daniel Bryan and somehow making Mark Henry look good! And while his face run was very solid, his heel turn and alignment with Paul Heyman helped him continue to evolve. This evolution put him in the main event with John Cena, Big Show, Ryback, & The Rock. CM Punk looks to be the focal point of WWE heading into 2013, and he will continue to proclaim something that is common knowledge by now. That he is "The Best in the World."
That does it for the WTH? 2012 Awards. Hope you enjoyed it. If you disagree, leave a comment or tweet.