If it was good I will say it’s good, if it sucks Michael Elgin was probably involved.
We gave Brad Ward the platform to deliver his 2014 Bradserver Awards and things got wild. Enjoy!
Every year we watch a ton of pro wrestling and some of us Mixed Martial Arts and it really can be very had to pick out what was truly great and what truly was a dud. A ton of tape was watched to come to the conclusion where I will list combat sports that wowed me and the combat sports that made say wow that sucked. As some of you know I am also a big video gamer as well, which in some ways made me such a fan of wrestling and MMA. So at the end I will post about my favourite video games at the end. Lets get to the ceremonies!
Lou Thesz/Ric Flair Male Award: Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura in my eyes was part of a an elite group that when you saw him make his entrance he came off like a legit star.
Most Outstanding Wrestler Male: Seth Rollins
When you saw Seth Rollins was wrestling, even surrounded by The Authority, he was incapable of having a bad match.
Lou Thesz/Ric Flair Female: Charlotte
A true case of genetically superior DNA. She is a freak athlete in the sense her wrestling DNA is that of a wrestler that has wrestled for years, she has a bright future in the WWE.
Most Outstanding Wrestler Female: Natalya
In ring she had great matches with the likes of Nikki, Paige and Charlotte and much like Seth Rollins was incapable of having a bad match. Also one of the sweetest you will meet in the business.
Best Box Office Draw: John Cena
John Cena is the horse as the Hulkster has said and John Cena is the man few have stepped up to his spot and most have failed. 2015 perhaps may be challenging for Cena with Bryan and Reigns looking to take a piece of that pie.
Most Charismatic: Tyler Breeze
It takes a very charismatic individual to pull of what Breeze is pulling off in NXT, also has shown he is more then an entrance.
Best Technical Wrestler: Zack Sabre Jr.
Zack Sabre Jr. is a very different breed of pro wrestler then most are use to and comes off as being very unique. Not a single motion is wasted in his maneuvers and he makes it look easy as he is so good. He would be a great addition to any mainstream roster, while his style may not be quite as exciting, he does a great job of slowly building a match up and finishes off with fireworks.
Bruiser Brody Memorial Award (Best Brawler): Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii ability to make the viewer believe like he is injured yet still in a fight made him the best brawler.
Best Flying Wrestler: ACH
Some of the feats that ACH is able to pull off with fluidity and ease made him well a easy choice for me.
Most Overrated: Michael Elgin
He was built up since before 2013 as being the next guy or top star for Ring of Honor. He ended up having the same old matches and interviews, very disappointing.
Most Underrated: Tyson Kidd
It took Tyson Kidd having to have a Teddy Hart gimmick to finally get noticed, but his ability to adapt to any size or style of wrestler, plus having solid interview delivery and a sponge for pro wrestling has made him my most underrated.
Rookie of the Year: Charlotte
Charlotte in quick order was able to learn the WWE Style, present herself like a star and win the NXT Womens Championship and delivered solid interviews as well. As I said earlier the future is very bright for her in the WWE.
Best Tag Team: The Usos
I like to think of them as the Young Bucks of the WWE with a Samoan twist. Wielding an arsenal of super kicks, The Usos were able to capture the WWE Tag Team titles twice and every time they were in a match you knew you were in for a show.
Best on the Mic : Stephanie McMahon
Whether it was were interaction with Daniel Bryan or her solid work with Brie Bella, Stephanie McMahon as a character and being unlikable but not likeable is what made her my best on mic. Her one big angle she did with Brie and pump faking her and slapping her off the apron was fantastic.
Best Announcer: Shinpei Nogami
I like to think of Nogami as the background music to New Japan, listening to him not knowing any Japanese I knew all the moves and his ability to raise his voice up in the right times added a big match feel to moments and matches in New Japan.
Worst Announcer: Matt Striker
Made most everything seem like a cartoon whether it was House of Hardcore or Lucha Underground. Needs to be kept on a very tight leash. His work on New Japan was an improvement but then telling people to watch NXT, Ring of Honor, PWG , Lucha Underground on a New Japan show was in a word surreal.
Worst Major Wrestling Show: WWE Royal Rumble 2014
Top to bottom this was a really bad card. New Age Outlaws taking on the Rising Los Bros Rhodes was not where you wanted to see the Rhodes brothers go and they are not in a good place now. Early in the night you had Bryan lose clean to Bray Wyatt, especially when the Yes movement was completely taking off. Brock vs Big Show wasn’t even a match, after you built it to be this big thing and it had Big Show in it which held it back and just felt like a bit that you would have had on Raw.
Cena vs Orton they tried hard but they didn’t click at all and the match was foregone conclusion because everyone knew they weren’t going to do Batista and Cena at Wrestlemania. Then the Royal Rumble match you had Reigns work with a mini , no Daniel Bryan , Rey Mysterio put in a bad spot and Batista wins after returning out of nowhere and was not ready to be the guy going into Wrestlemania. Then you had the crowd, the way the pacing of the show was positioned you had the crowd just completely tear it apart. All of these things making Royal Rumble 2014 the worst show of 2014. Which sucked for me because that is suppose to be a really fun show. Royal Rumble 2015, the WWE find themselves in the same position again.
Best Wrestling Maneuver: Zayn dashing outside DDT
Sami Zayn’s dashing outside DDT through the ropes on the outside is one maneuver that gets everyone standing on their feet whether it happens in first 30 seconds or 30 minutes later.
Best Non Wrestler Performer: Dario Cueto
Dario is the textbook example of sometimes it is good to go outside of the bubble to make your show better. That is exactly what he does, being a non wrestler his delivery and charisma as a villain is fantastic.
Most Improved: Nikki Bella
Nikki like 5 years ago was just a clone of her sister and now she was able to display that she was different. She was able to put on some muscle, embraced her sports background and changed to a more high impact style. While she may have not had great matches on WWE PPV’s, she has shown drastic improvement on Raw, SD, Main Event and live events.
Best Comeback: Sting
There were very few legit huge OMG moments left in the world of pro wrestling, I mean there was talk it would happen but never thought it actually would. Sting debuted first on the WWE Network in a Warrior documentary, followed by the video game and then in person at Survivor Series.
Best Gimmick: Rusev and Lana
Lana being not completely Russian has made the fact that she is so great even better. Both of them has been able to knock everything out of the park and bringing in the Putin factor made the act even better. Look forward to what he does at Wrestlemania.
Match of the Year: Triple H vs Daniel Bryan(Wrestlemania)
This match was the match I was most intrigued with just because we just didn’t know if Bryan was able to beat Triple H. The match we got was one of the most technically sound matches all year in the WWE. The fact that Triple H was the full Cerebral Assassin made it even better.
Feud of the Year: Bayley vs Charlotte
Few feuds in 2014 really made you feel emotionally attached to someone winning something that you wish for everything they could. While their feud was some what short lived, we find it continuing on some what in 2015.
Best Angle: #OccupyRaw
Few pro wrestling angles or stories are able to have a moment you remember every time you think about the angle. What I really liked about this is that it was the turning point of when the fans somewhat won, while it was a moment full of WWE employees in the ring, a shred of reality was used with Bryan overcoming politics and even had known WWE fans.
Best PPV Wrestling: Wrestlemania 30
The pacing of this show was one of the best I can remember we started with a awesome multi man tag on the preshow, technical wrestling match between Bryan and Triple H. The pace was then picked up with a hollywood action display between The Shield and NAO and Kane, followed by a Wrestlemania classic battle royale.
Cena and Wyatt then slowed it down a bit, but had a very good match followed by Lesnar and Taker having a 80’s style match, that solid but was brought down by Undertakers concussion. The match was able to produce a moment that was everyone that watched it was a moment that no one will forget till the day they die. The Divas came out had a fast paced multi Diva match, which brought the crowd up just enough to get become alive for the Triple Threat main event, which was full of huge moments, finishers and capped off with Bryan holding up both titles to close out Wrestlemania.
Best PPV MMA: UFC Dublin: McGregor vs Brandao
This night in MMA was the night that Ireland was officially put on the map with all Irish fighters winning and Connor McGregor became a MMA superstar beating Brandao in the first round.
Best Promotion: NXT
Some may not call it another promotion, but I think the fact it has a different look, different commentators, different style of wrestling and different style of fans makes it, its own promotion. Their ability to put on simple stories, give everyone time to present their character and every show delivering at least one solid match, made them my promotion of the year.
Best TV Show: NXT
My favourite thing of NXT is just watching these wrestlers or superstars try out new things or just them throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Whether its commentary or a video or even a putting video screens on the apron. The match quality and them giving superstars ability to be comfortable before hitting the main roster is a great tool for the superstars. The only problem with NXT is the disconnect between Orlando and New York.
Best DVD: Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman
The amount of insight and knowledge you gain from this dvd is unprecedented for WWE DVDs, while some of it may not be new to you if you listened to Heyman on podcasts. The amount of information and insider details you find out about I thought was pretty incredible.
Best MMA Fighter: Connor McGregor
It is pretty hard to get over in the world of MMA, it takes a good who is really looking to press forward through a world of 500 plus fighters. McGregor was able to do that with confidence and charisma, being on a 13 fight win streak and the gift of the gab McGregor was able to propel himself to the top of the division. Since coming to the UFC he was able to put away Brimage, Holloway, Brandao, Poirier and most recently Siver.
Best MMA Fight: Mark Hunt vs Roy Nelson (UFC Japan)
In a fight that was the personification of Godzilla and King Kong, these two warriors would clash in Japan. Both guys throwing bombs, but in the end it would be Hunt knocking out the bearded brawler Roy Nelson in a great fight.
Biggest Story of 2014: Over the top streaming services
It all started in January with the UFC allowing you to watch select fight cards for $9.99(depending upon where you live) , their entire fight library and much more. Followed by WWE Network in February they offered every WWE PPV for $9.99 a month, their archived library and many more events. NJPW in December would launch their very own service very much like the WWE network with their big ppvs and even small shows available on the service. It may became the year in which the business would drastically change by companies undercutting, to get more users but bring in less money per person. I feel like most services may change over time, but the concept is something that will forever change the business.
Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic: Dixie Carter tweeting about storm in Japan
After Japan having a history of earthquakes and tsunamis, Dixie Carter would tweet as a joke about a Storm coming to Japan, when it was actually James Storm was not very funny or professional.
Worst TV Show: Bellator MMA
A show that was in complete disarray from the leadership, to talents speaking out to their weird deal with TNA with the wrestlers. Bellator would do a big show in November with a completely different look and feel. With Scott Coker now in charge Bellator by the end of 2014 would be going in a new direction, but not enough to save it.
Worst Match of the Year: Sakuraba & Nagata vs The Gracies
This match felt like no one knew what they were doing and no one knew if it was a MMA match or a wrestling match. It completely took away from the flow of the shows and the fans had no clue what to do when they were in the ring.
Worst Feud: Samuel Shaw vs Ken Anderson
From Anderson going to Shaw’s house with Shaw’s mother to Shaw doing a semi suicide angle to the absolutely horrendous segments with Christy Hemme, there never was anything good or positive about this feud.
Worst Promotion: TNA
I don’t really have words how to describe what has happened to TNA in 2014. We started with AJ Styles being unceremoniously kicked out of the company. We have Magnus with the title and every match is overbooked worse than the Jarrett era. We put the title on Eric Young to counter react to Daniel Bryan winning, out of nowhere Lashley would win the title. TNA would then go to take losses doing shows in New York multiple times in the year, which then would lead to them stripping down production to nothing. They would then leave Spike, go on Destination America and is now full a very stale and dull product.
Best Booker: Gedo & Jado
2014 was an all around fantastic year for these two. I think their ability to book the matches first and put in limited amount of small details is their strength. They were able to get the IC title over to the point that it was equal to the prestige that the IWGP World title was being thought was. They would go on to book a incredible G1 Climax tournament produces a match such as Styles and Suzuki. Months out they would lock their biggest show of the following year. Also they have been able to get multiple guys over as alternates in the main event.
Promoter of the Year: Takaaki Kidani (NJPW)
I think what is most brilliant from Kidani is he was able to take the formula that WWE has used as far as business goes and in many ways production and make it his own. His foresight that Ustream wasn’t something to be relied on and switching gears. Then launching their own streaming service on level with the WWE Network is the lighting rod that NJPW needs to compete in the North American market. As I said with Gedo & Jado, NJPW ability to at all times have top stars ready to go makes Kidani an excellent promoter.
Worst Gimmick: Michael Elgin goes AWOL
Blurring the lines of what is real, is fine if it is the only gimmick going. However when you have multiple wrestlers being anti establishment or a shoot angle. It really makes the company look bad. The fact as well that still do this day it was not really explained if the quitting on Twitter was real, why he was coming out with tobacco spit and why certain decisions were made by ROH officials. The entire gimmick is a disaster and has not done anything to clammer up interest in ROH.
Best WWE Game: WWE 2K15 on Next Gen
While the game was missing some things like story designer and some creation options. WWE 2K15 was the best WWE game with things like MyCareer, incredible amount of customization and relatively fun Universe mode.
Game of the Year: Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
Having a pretty rad soundtrack, classic DK gameplay, artistically beautiful and an difficulty that is firm but fair made this my favourite game of the year.
Worst Game of the Year: Destiny
The game is fun to the point of shooting aliens and creating your character. The fun ends abruptly when you are tasked with choosing armors and leveling. The no respawn system, the random events and poorly designed system in which you find people to play with. Sad thing is I paid for the $110.00 pack and it just sits there on my console. Add me to XboxLive – BradWardFight so I can beat this thing.
Best Wrestling Earth Video Gamer Personality: Tom “Bad Big Dog News” Blackett
His absolutely dynamic interest in video games and bomb boys makes him absolutely interesting to read his tweets. His sporadic question and answers sessions in which he shows Kamiya like tendencies can only be explained as science. Jonas “Splashwater” should also be noted as a runner up with his unique interests in games such as Yogi Bear and Fuzion Frenzy.
Thank you for reading the first ever Bradbserver Awards!
Make sure you follow Brad on Twitter: @BradFGN