Wrestling Awards 2012
This month I will be giving out my personal awards for Wrestler of the year, Female Wrestler of the year and Match of the Year. I will give two awards for each category, one for the WWE and one for TNA, please take note I don’t watch WWE on a regular basis and so am basing my judgment on those matches that I have seen.
Wrestler of the Year
Bobby Roode- This year TNA took a huge risk by pushing Bobby Roode and his former Beer Money team mate James Storm into the spotlight. Bobby Roode in particular has excelled during his reign with the World Heavyweight Championship and it seems TNA were right to trust him with the belt over such a long period of time. It is difficult to miss the similarities in his in ring style with Triple H. Both seem to analyse the best ways to hurt their opponent mid-match, employ psychological warfare in the ring and always seem in control. I think the time is right for Roode to adopt the moniker of the Intellectual Assassin. Although his reign last year seemed to mould into one long match, there were several standout performances. His Ironman match with AJ Styles in particular was a fantastic display of wrestling skill and character, other matches with James Storm at Lockdown and Austin Aries also demonstrates his ability as a wrestler. As a talker Roode has also excelled, delivering passion and reason to everything he says, from his times bemoaning his opponents to his current feud with Austin Aries. It is because of this that Roode manages to get a reaction out of every wrestling fan.
CM Punk- This will come as no surprise, a better all round performer than Punk has not been seen in the industry for years. From his in-ring work to his ability on the microphone, he out-shines whomever happens to get caught in his way, although he has been shunted down the pecking order and out of the main-event spotlight, because of the fact that the WWE seems to prefer choosing matches that would draw more money over those that produce the better wrestling. We can see this in feuds between John Cena, HHH, The Rock and Brock Lesnar, which took place over more critically acclaimed battles such as Punk and Jericho, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler amongst others. As WWE champion CM Punk should be main-eventing most pay-per views, though the fact that he’s not may not be an indictment of his ability but of backstage politics and John Cena’s desire to always be in the spotlight. Back to matters involving the man himself though, it is clear to see that Punk has certainly set the wrestling world on fire in the past 12 months, to gain the kind of positive reaction that he has in the months since Raw 1000 despite occupying a heel slot is difficult. Only a handful of wrestlers in history have managed to get over whilst being a bad guy, Eddie Guerrero and Steve Austin are two that come to mind and it’s not a bad company for Punk to find himself in.
Female Wrestler of the Year
Gail Kim- Despite obvious promises that were made to her when she returned to TNA (i.e. the Knockout and Knockout Tag Team titles) she has reminded the wrestling world exactly why she is so good, and why the WWE made a huge mistake in failing to book her correctly. It is difficult, especially in today’s climate to be a female wrestler and be a good technician and Gail Kim does this. It seems more and more looks are preferred to wrestling ability, Miss Tessmacher being an example, promoting modeling contests whilst contracted to TNA. But Gail Kim really is the whole package; alongside Mickie James she is one who has actual talent in the ring and good looks.
I cannot supply a female wrestler from the WWE as I’m not a regular viewer and their divas division does not receive nearly enough coverage for me to judge it even if I did watch consistently.
Match of the Year
Jeff Hardy vs Austin Aries at Turning Point- I have chose this match largely for the insane bumps that each man took. Jeff Hardy is no stranger to ladder matches; after all it is where he gained his fame as one half of the Hardy Boyz. The in-ring story telling was fantastic, Hardy fulfilled his eternal role as the tough, comeback king of professional wrestling and Aries lighted in his heel status. High points included a trademark Twist of Fate from Hardy delivered across a ladder that was balanced across the corner of the ring, Hardy missing a splash a hitting the hinges in the middle of a upturned ladder and Aries amusingly raising the height of the suspended title belt only for Hardy to get a larger ladder out from underneath the ring.
HHH vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVIII- This match was promoted as an end of an era, perhaps correctly, it was a style that has not really been seen in the WWE of late. Both men took chunks out of each other, using chairs, steel steps and the cell wall and proved that although they rarely have in ring outings they can still produce what made them great in the first place. With Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee excelling in particular, the pain and anguish etched on his face as he watched best friend HHH getting dismantled by the deadman and hit with chairs, piledrivers, schoolboys and hells gates inside the unforgiving Hell in a Cell. The ending was fitting too, with HHH not being able to leave the ring under his own power, a reverse of their Wrestlemania XXVII match up, but this time both Taker and Michaels helped HHH up and carried him up the ramp, thus showing the sense of brotherhood between the three men.