Justin C and Cam here to give you are year end wrestling awards!
JC: AJ Styles vs John Cena
When I wrote my picks I did it from bottom to top. I wrote a good amount about this feud below. Styles turn was great and this was easily the feud of the summer and I don’t think it is even close.
Cam: Shinsuke Nakamura
When the WWE signed the highly prized New Japan star I was a little afraid the WWE wouldn’t know exactly what to do with him. That fear couldn’t have been any more wrong. Nakamura is a two time NXT Champion with a ‘clear path’ to Raw according to Triple H. Once Nakamura gets to Raw I’m certain matches with Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor are just on the horizon.
Debut of the Year
JC: AJ Styles
Pretty easy for me. The year of 2016 will be known as the Year of AJ Styles in the wrestling world. One of the biggest Rumble pops ever.
Cam: Cody Rhodes on the Indies
AJ Styles was/is probably written in blood on a lot of people’s lists for best debut and he should be but Cody Rhodes left the WWE and has taken every indie promotion in the world by storm. Seeing Cody wrestle at PWG’s BOLA was a sight to see as everyone in attendance gave Cody the praised he so easily deserved. When Cody left the WWE he had a list of matches he wanted and not only has he delivered in those matches he has set his sights on taking over TNA, Ring of Honor and NJPW.
JC: Pentagon Jr.
As the resident Lucha Underground reviewer for HTC, I can tell you the use of Pentagon Jr. on Lucha Underground over the last year has been criminal. I thought for sure they were building up Pentagon to take the LU Title from Matanza at Ultima Lucha Dos, but that didn’t happen. They then built him up as a bad ass at the start of Season 3, they wrote him off by having his arm broke by the Black Lotus Tribe which hasn’t been back since. Pentagon is easily the most over guy on the roster but for some reason he hasn’t touched the Title yet.
Cam: Sami Zayn
Until the past few weeks Sami Zayn was a non player on Raw. While being in a feud with the bigger, meaner, Braun Stroman isn’t the best step in the right direction but Mick Foley quote un quote putting faith in Sami is certainly a good start. Sami was one of the first top indie guys to come into the WWE. The writing has been on the wall since he debuted. It was an up hill battle for Sami to become the NXT Champion. Since his call up to the main roster he’s beat his former best friend Kevin Owens but Owens is now higher up the card. He’s failed to bring the Intercontinental Championship to Raw and isn’t good enough to beat the green Braun Stroman. Only time will tell if Sami can find a real spot for himself in the WWE.
Indy Wrestler of the Year
JC: I abstain from this because I don’t want enough Indy wrestling to make a good choice.
Cam: Marty Scurll
Marty is on a quest to prove he is the best independent wrestler on the entire planet. Not only had Scurll dominated the European promotions, he won the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles and has since debuted for Ring of Honor becoming the television champion during his first stint with the company.
Pay Per View of the Year
JC: NXT Takeover Dallas
This show had the runner up for match of the year in Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura. It had a great opening tag match with American Alpha vs The Revival. Bayley’s NXT reign came to an end, Baron Corbin brought his working boots in a match with Austin Aries, and I thought Finn Balor and Samoa Joe had their best match here. This show was light years ahead of Wrestlemania.
Cam: NXT Taker Over Toronto
I had Wrestlemania 32 here but looking at the card again that was a very long, drawn out show ( I left the room for almost the entire main event between Triple H and Roman Reigns) so I opted to out Takeover here. From the insanely great tag match between DIY and The Revival, the return of Mickie James, Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger putting on a clinic and not to mention Nakamura against Joe this stole the whole show this year.
Match of the Year
JC: AJ Styles vs John Cena, SummerSlam
2016 has been the year of AJ Styles in the WWE. I can’t think of one bad match he has had so far this year. And he got better as the year went on and he fully turned heel. The WWE built Smackdown around Styles and he continues to show it was a wise choice. The Styles/Cena program over the summer was the WWE’s feud of the year. There was never a dull moment and they found new ways to expand it and keep it going. Their match at SummerSlam was great. It gets the nod for me over Zayn/Nakamura. This one felt like a bigger deal. And Styles clean win over Cena made him.
Cam: The Young Bucks & Adam Cole v. Ricochet, Matt Sydal & Will Ospreay: Night Two of Battle of Los Angeles
The WWE and the indies had some well above quality matches. There are several WWE matches I can choose from, most of them include AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura but I’m going with a popular pick among the Twitter and IWC world mostly because I was there live to witness the magic. A five star rated match by Dave Meltzer, this instant classic is a must watch for any wrestling fan. The type of athletic ability and insanely orchestrated spots will make any non wrestling fan a junkie.
WWE Tag Team of the Year
JC: The Revival
I know New Day broke the record for longest reigning Tag Team Champions. But The Revival were a much better team this year and it isn’t even close. The Revival had much better matches than New Day with the likes of American Alpha and DIY. New Day’s matches don’t even come close to those. Dash and Dawson are great workers in the ring and bring the old school heel team mentality to their matches. They remind me of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson in the ring. I actually fear when they make their main roster debut how watered down they will be.
Cam: The Revival
It’s easy to put The New Day here, they’ve become the longest reigning champions in the history of the WWE as well as a staple on Raw programming the past year. But The Revival has put a pep in the step of the WWE tag team division. The Revival, arguably, was just as important the past year in NXT as Nakamura or Samoa Joe. They have since lost the tag titles to DIY so a main roster move is almost certain as Wrestlemania season is just around the corner.
WWE Female Wrestler of the Year
If Alexa Bliss first half of the year was like her second half, she would be winning this award. Her work on Smackdown over the last two months has been tremendous. But this is for all of 2016, so Charlotte gets the nod. I know a good amount of people who hate Charlotte. There are a lot of people I know that have X-Pac “go away hear” with her. I’m not in that boat. And I think she continued to get better as the year went on. Her promos generate heat. Fans wanted to see her get her ass kicked. And her in ring work is good. They did shove the Sasha/Charlotte “making history” story down our throats. But I think Charlotte’s year overall is the best of all females on the roster. She’s the best female heel they’ve had in quite some time.
Cam: Charlotte, by a mile.
I strongly argued that Charlotte should be in consideration for heel of the year not to mention women’s wrestler of the year. Charlotte, arguably, was in the greatest women’s wrestling match of all time with Sasha Banks on more then one occasion. She stood tall without her father, Ric Flair and continues to shine brighter than her four horsemen colleagues.
Male Wrestler of the Year
JC: AJ Styles
Not even a question for me. I don’t see how you could put anyone else in this spot. Since his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles consistently put on the best matches on TV and PPV. He alone has three Match of the Year candidates. He’s been great since winning the WWE Title. And his promo work is only getting better. Once Styles turned heel, you could tell he gained more and more confidence on the mic. I really hope Styles gets a marquee main event match at Wrestlemania 33. The man has busted his ass off over the last year. He made Roman Reigns look like a million bucks. He gave John Cena his best program in a long time. There’s no one he can’t have a bad match with. I don’t know if anyone had a better first year in the WWE in its history.
Cam: AJ Styles
I went back and forth deciding between Styles and Finn Balor but ultimately went with Styles because of Finn’s horribly timed injury at Sunmerslam. Styles jumped ship from the Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling to debut at the Royal Rumble. Styles immediately became a top guy, he skipped a tour with NXT, beat up John Cena and is the face that runs Smackdown.
Thanks for reading and following along with us throughout the year. We expect 2017 to be an even better year for us. We will have a new line-up of reviews for everyone!
Justin C (@JCWonka)
Cam Dougharty (@CamDougharty)