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By Kevin Hunsperger & Chad Smart
@my123cents on Twitter
Each year Chad and I pick the best and worst of wrestling. To hear more details about our picks, head to the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast on Jittery Monkey. Thanks for reading and listening!
Wrestler of the Year:
Kevin: Brock Lesnar
It's hard to deny Brock Lesnar has had an amazing year. He defeated Big Show at the Royal Rumble, ended the Undertaker's unbeaten streak at Wrestlemania XXX, and destroyed John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at SummerSlam. He's a legit beast and although I'm not a huge fan of his or his infrequent appearances, I can't deny he's been the guy to beat in WWE in 2014.
Icarus went from being the most hated Chikara wrestler to being the most popular. Icarus led the troops to bring Chikara back from the “Ashes.” After winning the Grand title at Chikara’s return, he had several title defenses throughout the year and capped off Season 14 by seemingly vanquishing Deucalion. Quite a good year for someone who used to get unanimous “worst in the world” chants a year ago.
Kevin: Bella vs. Bella Storyline
This thing sucked from the start. I couldn't get in to it, but I couldn't stop watching either. I also disliked the way the WWE seemingly ignored the fact that the Bellas feuded before.
Chad: Roman Reigns
This is my snarky pick. Roman Reigns may become a better performer in a few years but right now he’s following in his cousin Rocky Miavia’s footsteps. WWE appears to want Reigns to be the next top guy and are going to push him there whether he’s ready or not. Of the three Shield members, Reigns, to me, is the least ready for a main event slot. “Mr. 3 Moves” as I prefer to call him doesn’t seem to know how to work a match beyond, apron dropkick, superman punch, and spear. If either Reigns/Lesnar or Reigns/Cena headlines Wrestlemania 31, I am really curious to hear the reaction. I’m probably in the minority but I don’t think either of those matches is ready for the biggest stage of them all.
Kevin: Chikara Pro
Chad sums it up better than I can. I have failed to stay up with any independent wrestling. I am a Chikara fan and vow to get more involved with the product in 2015.
WWE midcard/Chikara roster
I almost wanted to go with the same answer as last year and say Logic as I’m still trying to figure out Sting’s involvement at Survivor Series or how television monitors explode when you pull on their cables. But to be less snarky, I’m going with two groups that don’t seem to get the attention they deserve.
First up is the WWE mid-card. On the recent Steve Austin podcast, Vince McMahon basically said the mid-carders don’t have a passion that past superstars had and need to reach for the brass ring. Right now WWE has probably one of the, if not THE best rosters they’ve ever had. The amount of talent is amazing. Unfortunately, WWE still only cares about making sure John Cena and Roman Reigns are seen as stars.
The second group I feel are underappreciated is the entire Chikara roster. Yes, I’m a Chikara mark and make no apologizes for that. I’ve been following Chikara for the past ten years and other than the year of the BDK, which I felt was too much like the nWo, I’ve never been disappointed by their product. The talent level is just as good as all the more popular wrestling companies. The storytelling is multi-faceted and um, logical. Yes there are certain elements people may criticize if they don’t want to buy into the Chikara universe. Those things though are what help make Chikara unique. I don’t know why more Chikara wrestlers aren’t booked outside of Chikara. It could be the wrestlers themselves don’t want to wrestle elsewhere or the characters might not translate to a more traditional wrestling company. Whatever the case, the fact Chikara is seen as below TNA and PWG in the hierarchy of wrestling companies by most fans is disappointing.
Kevin: Authority figures in wrestling
It's not just Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, but Dixie Carter, Vickie Guerrero, Santino, JBL, etc. I miss the days when wrestlers wrestled and didn't have an authority figure to answer to weekly. Not only are the appearances by these managers each week, but multiple times per show. Give me the Jack Tunney days again!
Chad: Roman Reigns.
Breakout Star of the Year:
Kevin: Sami Zayn
Sami has had an excellent rise in NXT to become the champion there. I've watched him for years now and he continues to impress me. I'd give Rusev a close second as I expect him to continue to dominate in 2015.
Chad: Ashley Remington
I was going to say Sami Zayn, but figure Kevin will name him and I’m trying to not go too WWE heavy with my picks. But honestly, as good of a year as Sami Zayn had, anyone who’s been following wrestling for at least the last five years should have expected Zayn to set NXT on fire. On the other hand, Ashley Remington came out of nowhere. In his first appearance at Chikara’s “You Only Live Twice,” Mr. “Smooth Sailing” had the crowd ready to hit the high seas of Easton, PA and party on his yacht. Ashley’s positive demeanor and good sportsmanship, he breaks on one, made him and instant star to the Chikara faithful. It’ll be interesting to see if Ashley Remington competes for the Young Lions Cup next season or if he can possibly string together three points and challenge for the Grand Championship. Either way, several wrestlers will be getting complimentary fruit baskets after losing to Ashley. Just beware of the power of his finger guns.
Show of the Year:
Kevin: NXT (R)Evolution
The introduction of Kevin Owens. The tag team title match. Charlotte and Sasha Banks taking women's wrestling to the next level. They were all excellent parts of the evening. Then the cherry on top was the NXT Title match between Zayn and Adrian Neville. I'm a huge Neville mark, but I was glad to see Zayn get the title. The future is bright for the entire roster as far as I'm concerned.
Chikara “You Only Live Twice”
Going with “You Only Live Twice” simply because it was great to see Chikara return and I was there. RIP Kobald
Star on the Horizon:
Despite his new found position as a tag team player with Tyson Kidd, I still am hopeful that Cesaro will break out and become the Superstar we all know he can be. I'm hoping for a Dolph Ziggler-Cesaro reboot down the road again soon.
This was a hard one to pick, as I can’t think of a lot of new talent that I saw this year that didn’t have some sort of Impact. I think the VaudeVillians have a good gimmick and are good inside the ring. I do have a fear that if/when they get called up to the WWE main roster that they’ll spend a month chasing the tag titles and then enter into a never ending feud with Los Matadors given the way WWE has treated NXT call ups this year.
Female of the Year:
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. She's got her daddy's talent. I think she's the real deal and will go far in WWE once she's called up to the main roster. I love the work she's doing and really has been the most consistent female in the WWE in 2014.
Best Use of Social Media:
Kevin: The Iron Sheik (@)
Not family friendly at all, but hilarious none the less. I often wonder what the celebrities he tags in tweets think of his comments.
I don’t pay attention to social media so I can’t answer this one.
Biggest Fall From Grace:
Not just his loss at Wrestlemania, but seeing how he looks today, he's a shell of his former self. I wish him nothing but good things and if he decides to call it a day, he's had a helluva run.
Chad: My 1-2-3 Cents
Whether due to personal schedules, lack of interest in the current wrestling landscape or general laziness, I think myself more so than Kevin have kind of neglected the blog this year. Hopefully with Kevin getting the podcast up and going next year will see more content come from us(me).