• Wrestling On Earth’s 2014 Year End Awards Extravaganza

    If a year ends and your wrestling site doesn’t deliver year-end awards, did the year really happen?

    2014 was a weird year for pro wrestling. Here we give out our hypothetical awards breaking down what was an eventful year to say the least. “Wrestler of the Year” is not included as we will have a big post for that coming before the end of the year.

    As always, @JoeySplashwater, @TimWelcomed, and @TomBlargh will hand out their awards.

    Best Promotion

    Joey:

    NJPW

    NJPW

    WWE was great for about 25% of the year before falling off track. TNA had another bad year. ROH had some highs and a really great first half to the year but were inconsistent after. PWG fell off a pedestal. Chikara = LOL.

    NJPW wins this one kind of by default and by becoming a relevant promotion in America. I didn’t watch all New Japan shows nor am I most connected but they gave me memorable matches, great moments and excitement. The G1 was some of the most fun I’ve had watching wrestling as I think back to watching random puro matches on train rides in the Summer.

    Also my main man who I like to pretend isn’t a Republican AJ Styles keeps saying NJPW is the only wrestling company to make money in 2014. I guess he isn’t aware of CHIKARA but I’m sure Allen Jones is talking about both promoters and wrestlers making money. New Japan wins.

    Tim:

    NXT

    Watching NXT grow throughout this year has been a blast. It’s had the most consistent and enjoyable special events of any promotion I’ve watched this year. The roster is one of the best around and only got better as 2014 progressed. The weekly TV show, while not perfect, usually delivered at least one or two fun or memorable moments per episode.

    2014 has been a bland year for wrestling. PWG lost it’s steam. ROH couldn’t keep me intrigued. TNA was a bore. The post-Wrestlemania main roster WWE product was excruciating to watch. Absolutely heartbreaking. Out of all of this two bright spots were always there: NJPW and NXT.

    NJPW has brought me some great shows and matches all year but there seemed to be something missing for me. A certain energy or atmosphere that I can’t really put a finger on. NXT kept me excited and optimistic about wrestling in a year where I actually questioned why I watch. NXT is full of talent that makes the most of it’s simple (but often satisfying) booking.

    Is it over-hyped by fans? Probably but I can’t let that annoyance move me away from thinking it’s the best part of pro wrestling in 2014. People just want to be excited about something.

    Tom:

    NXT

    Obviously, as the site’s number one puro fan, you’d expect me to choose New Japan but GUESS WHAT, I refuse to sully their name by mixing them in with all this gaijin American trash wrestling. So, instead, I’ve gone for the next best thing – NXT.

    Yes, it’s still part of WWE. No, I very rarely watched the weekly show. However, the few specials they’ve had have all been incredible and felt unlike almost anything else The Fed’s put out this year. Also, there hasn’t been much competition. TNA’s a non-entity, WWE’s been dreadful for most of the year, PWG’s been in a weird state and ROH has just been a bit lacking.

    Best Show

    Joey:

    Wrestlemania 30

    Recency bias will have many think NXT Takeover rEvolution was the best show of the year by a mile but I’m still standing by Wrestlemania 30. This show had it all and will go down as one of the most memorable in wrestling history.

    You got a segment with Steve Austin, The Rock and Hulk Hogan in the same ring together. The surreal moment of The Streak ending was once in a lifetime and maybe the last time we’ll ever be swerved to that extent. And of course, my favorite wrestler of all time Daniel Bryan winning two matches, wrestling for almost an hour and celebrating to end the show makes it perfect.

    Tim:

    Wrestlemania 30

    wrestlemania-301

    I spent a good fifteen minutes staring at the computer screen trying to figure out which way to go on this one. Wrestlemania 30 or NXT Takeover: [R]Evolution? Both magical shows featuring some purely surreal moments. You could make the argument that in the end Wrestlemania 30 meant nothing while the most recent NXT Takeover laid out some pretty optimistic groundwork for the hopefully not-to-distant future of WWE. Maybe, in a weird twist, that’s why I cherish Wrestlemania 30 just slightly more?

    It was like a dream. What happened there never really impacted anything but during that show the world melted away. The moments like the entrances of Bray Wyatt and Triple H. Can’t forget the Hogan/Austin/Rock promo either. Cesaro seemed to be getting a push to the stars with his win in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The crowd went insane for this man. Two months in the future and he wouldn’t be in that position at all.

    The most shocking event was The Undertaker’s streak ending at the hands of Brock Lesnar. I’ve never experienced anything like that. Looking back now it seems like a waste to end something that could propel almost any up-and-comer on a guy that was already established as a monster and wouldn’t be around that long. It wasn’t even a good match.

    In April of 2012 I set out to my first ever Wrestlemania. Why? Because I wanted to see my favorite wrestler’s first main card Wrestlemania match. I had never been able to see Daniel Bryan wrestle live. Needless to say, his match with Sheamus kind of ruined the rest of the night for me but that match was arguably the catalyst that pushed the crowd to chant for him like crazy for years to come. The next year I went Wrestlemania 29. It was just him and Kane vs Ziggler and Big E but at least it wasn’t 18 seconds of nothing. I still wanted to see him go bigger at Wrestlemania though.

    Wrestlemania 30 rolls around. The crowd and a few other odd factors pretty much force WWE to put him in the main event. It was just what had to happen. It was naturally his time. Not only did I get to see an incredible wrestler who I used to always read “would never make it in WWE” wrestle twice at Wrestlemania 30 but I got to see him win the title in the main event against two other people after opening the show in a Match of The Year candidate against Triple H. That happened. Sadly, a month later Bryan was injured and his reign as champion was cut short.

    That’s why Wrestlemania 30 is my show of the year. It was a brief period where almost all was finally right with WWE and we may never get that back. It was amazing.

    Tom:

    NXT Takeover: R Evolution

    I’m still not sure how you’re meant to type the title of this show, but fuck it, it was properly magical. I really enjoyed Wrestlemania 30 and Bryan winning the title was amazing, but the follow-up has tarnished it all a little. Also, aside from his matches, there really isn’t much about the show that I remember.

    The ROH / New Japan NYC show was great live (and a worthy send-off to Hammerstein from ROH), though it had its dips and felt a little disposable in the grand scheme of things. R Evolution felt like a really momentous occasion – it remains to be seen if it’ll be followed up on properly but it certainly got me invested in NXT for a while.

    Best Tag Team

    Joey:

    Young Bucks

    I almost went with reDRagon but seeing the Young Bucks steal the show in like 6 different promotions made it an easy call. We need to rename this the Young Bucks award.

    Tim:

    Young Bucks

    I tried to think of other candidates that could match them but not even reDRagon could be a threat to these two. Consistent and entertaining. The Young Bucks can’t be touched.

    Tom:

    Young Bucks

    bucks-1-600x350

    They can’t be beat, brothers.

    Best Feud

    Joey:

    Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

    These two did some amazing work following The Shield break-up. With Roman Reigns away from the two, they had a personal feud with excellent segments and great matches. I mean, they made a Lumberjack Match work! Aside from the silliness of how it ended and Ambrose never getting a win of redemption, they told an amazing story.

    Tim:

    Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville

    1465307_591545507561684_1153523587_n

    Not many wrestlers get put in the spot to work with a simple yet solid storyline. These two did. With their phenomenal chemistry and talent they brought emotion to the table. Incredible matches, good promos, and some of the best facial expressions I’ve ever seen during bouts. Not many feuds kept my attention until the end this year but this one never deviated from the path.

    Tom:

    Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville

    It didn’t last too long but it was really well put together, it never wore out its welcome and I think both guys played their parts perfectly. It also helped that it resulted in some fantastic matches.

    Best Gimmick

    Joey:

    Damien Mizdow

    damien-sandow

    Obviously. I can’t imagine anything topping Mizdow. It carried WWE in the latter half of the year and saved the Autumn shows from being unwatchable at times.

    Tim:

    Bayley

    Not many over-the-top gimmicks in wrestling can properly convey realistic emotions. Bayley does this to near-perfection and she’s still growing. She can make you smile and then instantly make you sad when someone treats her wrong.She is impressive in the ring and manages to wrestle exactly how you would imagine her character to.

    I have my doubts about this character making it on the main roster but that’s not necessarily a problem with the gimmick. If WWE can introduce her right she can be something special for the Diva’s division.

    Tom:

    Rusev and Lana

    I bloody love Rusev. As a fellow immigrant in the USA, it’s great to see him proudly representing the downtrodden masses and putting those sick trolls like Swagger in their place.

    Best Commentator

    Joey:

    Whoever does commentary for NJPW

    God bless his passion.

    Tim:

    Merle Hampton

     You may have not heard about Merle Hampton but I assure you he is real. His work for Southern Class Heritage Championship Wrestling has been top-notch and is a throwback to commentary works of old. He often lets the heels throw his toupée out into the crowd for heat and he has a love for plaid suits.

    Tom:

    Chuck Taylor

    In a weird year for PWG, Sexy Chuckie T has stood out as a worthy successor to Kevin Steen on commentary.

    Worst Commentator

    Joey:

    JBL

    Please stop chanting “JBL” at wrestlers way more talented than he ever was.

    Tim:

    Taz

    impact365-taz-weighs-tonights-full-metal-mayhem-match-jeff-hardy-chris-sabin

    This was a toss up between Taz, JBL, and Matt Striker. These three men can ruin any match they’re talking over by being pompous and purely idiotic. I’m giving this one to Taz because he’s the one I changed the channels on the most over the course of the year. That might not be a fair metric but fuck him, ya’ know?

    Tom:

    Matt Striker

    The trio of idiots on Raw are DREADFUL but Striker still takes the cake. Him screaming “Spike Dudley looks like he’s been cooking meth! That’s a Breaking Bad reference!” stands out as an all-time cringeworthy moment.

    Best Finisher

    Joey:

    The Styles Clash

    Suck it.

    Tim:

    Blackout/Peace of Mind/Curb Stomp

    Whatever they’re calling Rollins’ finisher now. I like it. I like seeing how he sets it up and it’s fun but also devastating. It’s had a great year as a move.

    Tom:

    Meltzer Driver

    SkinnyTalkativeBaldeagle

    Finally, Uncle Dave gets paid the proper #respect.

    Best Merch

    Joey:

    Weezer Reseda

    bluereseda

    I love Weezer. I love Adam Cole. I love Kyle O’Reilly. This shirt is too perfect to my interests that it had to have the flaw of putting Joey Ryan in the Brian Bell spot when Adam Cole is clearly the Bell of the bunch.

    Tim:

    Adrian Neville’s Shirt

    image

    I don’t usually like WWE merch but this one catches my eye every time I see it. It’s not a black shirt and uses the color yellow really well, which is something not many shirts get right. The design works great for the wrestler while still being somewhat simplistic. Damn it if “The Man That Gravity Forgot” isn’t still a really awesome phrase.

    Tom:

    ‘Would You Wrestle New Jack?’ shirt

    What a category. There’s SO many out there now thanks to PWTees that it’s hard to pick anything. As a result, I’m going for the one that ONLY I own and will NEVER be reprinted. Problem with that, trolls? Tell it to the judge.

    Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 16.05.41

    (I also think the ones featuring designs from Box Brown’s Andre the Giant graphic novel on PWTees are pretty good, mostly because they feature actual art from an actual artist rather than just ‘parody’ designs ripped-off from WWE shirts.)

    andre_full_body_1

    Best Podcast

    Joey:

    The Steve Austin Podcast

    20130317-211122

    All things even, Steve Austin is the best at asking the tough questions, having top notch guests and just presenting a great podcast. Colt Cabana’s guest list has become shaky, CM Punk aside. Chris Jericho has great interviews but his intros are just god awful. Jim Ross’ podcast just leaves you to cringe. Austin wins.

    Disclaimer: Last year, I picked The Cheap Heat podcast for this. I sincerely apologize to anyone who gave it a chance because of me. I could not have predicted it would turn into the “Angling For a WWE Job” podcast.

    Tim:

    The Steve Austin Podcast

    I hardly listen to any wrestling podcasts anymore but when I do it’s Austin’s. He’s a surprisingly good interviewer and is very entertaining. No other wrestling podcast really compares.

    Tom:

    The Attitude Era Podcast

    I’ve stopped listening to almost all of the wrestling podcasts I subscribe to but, even though I’m a few episodes behind on the Attitude Era Podcast right now, it’s still one that I do plan on catching up on.

    I regret not picking them last year because they’re good boys who put out a consistently enjoyable show that breaks down wrestling’s most successful era and reveals it as the mad old shite that it really was.

    Most Improved

    Joey:

    Dolph Ziggler

    Ziggler has always been great in the ring but he seems to be on a roll right now and has cut out a lot of silly antics. Losing the ass cape and twerking entrance along with more realistic promos instead of his weird one liners has made him look way more credible. It’s no coincidence WWE is getting behind him more than ever since these improvements were met.

    Tim:

    Seth Rollins

    seth-rollins1

    Seth Rollins has always been good but once he broke away from The Shield he’s become more calculated in the ring and his promos have gotten so much better. I never thought I would see him as a heel in the capacity in which he is currently performing. He’s great.

    Tom:

    Adrian Neville

    Even though I wasn’t sure about his run as NXT champ initially, I think he’s been excellent the past few months, especially in his feud with Sami Zayn – his promos are still a bit shaky but his matches have been the tops and he’s feeling much more like a well-rounded wrestler who could have a big spot on the main roster.

    Note: I picked Adrian literally hours before the news of him potentially being repackaged with a “Mighty Mouse gimmick” came out and… man, I don’t even know what that means, but I still think he’ll make it! DREAM TO BELIEVE!

    Most Overrated

    Joey:

    Eddie Kingston

    ashkingston

    Every time someone says he’s one of the best wrestlers on the indies, let alone in the world, I just shake my head and wonder what I’m missing. I’ve always said Chikara and CZW fans aren’t the largest in total fans but they talk the loudest so maybe they’ve convinced the wrestling world of this.

    Tim:

    Eddie Kingston

    I was about to drop a bomb so controversial that our site would collapse under the pressure of people complaining but then I started thinking about Joey’s answer and he is so absolutely correct that I couldn’t say no. Eddie Kingston is the most overrated and has been for awhile. He’s unlikable and very rarely has matches I can get into. I don’t ever see what people say they see in him. Not even his “intense” mic work.

    Tom:

    Bray Wyatt

    Great gimmick, meandering promos and a lack of consistently good matches but the Internet still loves him. Must be the fedora.

    Most Underrated

    Joey:

    Kofi Kingston

    Great talent. A lot of credible wrestlers say Kofi has a connection with fans at live shows when given more freedom to be himself and he’s obviously very good in the ring. He never seems to get opportunities or the ability to truly show his skill. I think the better Kingston has what it takes to be where Ziggler currently is in that 2nd tier of babyfaces.

    Tim:

    AJ Lee

    A lot of people like AJ Lee. A lot of people think very highly of AJ Lee. Even with all of that being considered I don’t think she’s thought of highly enough. I truly believe her mic work can out-shine most of the roster when given the chance. She has all of the ability in the world to work great matches if given time and decent opponents. WWE drops the ball on her and the Divas division so much that we will probably never see her given the platform needed to truly show 100% of what she is capable of and that is a damn shame.

    Tom:

    Fandango

    He’s yet to have too many good matches, but look, that one time on commentary where he did a Fonzie impression? That was amazing.

    Most Likeable

    Joey:

    Sami Zayn

    Fun fact – I originally had this as Adam Cole due to how his personality shines during media appearances becoming the best spokesperson in wrestling. Then, I watched NXT TakeOver (r)Evolution again. Sami Zayn just connects with my heartstrings and makes me love the guy. The best part of the post Wrestlemania year in wrestling was liking Sami Zayn. I mean, even his Twitter name is @ILIKESAMIZAYN!

    I decided to make sure I wouldn’t pick Kevin Owens (at least one of my WOE brothers will tell you why we love him) and Daniel Bryan (being out of action means less interviews where we can see how loveable he is) so Zayn is my guy.

    Tim:

    Kevin Owens

    I was trying to think of someone else but damn it, this man deserves it like no one else. There’s very few wrestlers that seem in tune with the fans and life in general like Kevin Owens.

    Tom:

    Kevin Owens

    tumblr_mgkp8vi9uj1r4o0xno1_500

    Looks like both cohorts went with Big Kev! Smart and funny and still willing to have a laugh on Twitter even since getting signed, there’s a reason why there are so many who are so invested in him doing well.

    Worst BShop Window T-Shirt

    Joey:

    bshophead

    Tim:

    rise_above_memphis

    Show me one that’s even decent.

    Tom:

    FUCK MAN, SO MANY TO PICK. I’ll go for the one that’s most patronising / poorly designed.

    girls_can_wrestle

    The Joey Image  Memorial Award (Worst Wrestling Tweeter)

    Joey:

    Dolph Ziggler

    For as much talent as he has in the ring, Dolph Ziggler is equally bad on the Twitter scene. I cringe every time someone RTs him on my timeline.

    Tim:

    TJ Perkins/Manik  

    Tom:

    Tazz

    Just the worst. An incredibly passive-aggressive guy who can never form a decent argument but still picks fights, in between shilling his shitey podcast and shitier t-shirts. Fuck away off, Tazz mate. Here he is sparring with good brother Joey.

    Best Brad Ward Tweet

    Joey:

    Tim:

    Tom:

    Match of the Year

    Joey:

    The Young Bucks vs. reDRagon @ ROH War of the Worlds

    070514rohtv

    This was such a fun time live and the only match that fully stands out when thinking about the best matches of 2014. The two best tag teams in the world stole the show and gave me a new wrestling memory. 2nd place would be The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber and 3rd being another reDRagon vs. Young Bucks match at All Star Extravaganza.

    Tim:

    Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville @ NXT Takeover: rEvolution

    It took a lot to best Triple H vs Daniel Bryan from Wrestlemania 30 for me but Zayn and Neville pulled that off. The match wrapped up their story so well. I can’t even keep up with how many times I have watched it. It had a little bit of everything. The shenanigans never really hindered the match. It was all to push the story and they absolutely nailed it. Something that stands out is that, for the first time in a really long time, a WWE match seemed to put over being a good person (and not WWE’s usual version of a “good person”). It was the perfect ending to this feud and was a feel-good moment.

    Tom:

    Kevin Steen vs. Shinsuke Nakamura @ ROH War of the Worlds

    This is more of a personal one – despite being the Internet’s only true fan of strong style, I went into War of the Worlds without really knowing who ol’ Shinsuke was. As a result, seeing him for the first time a) live, b) against one of my favourite wrestlers and c) in one of my favourite buildings to watch wrestling was just a really cool way to be introduced to a guy as incredible as Nakamura. Also, having it be Steen’s fairwell to the Hammerstein Ballroom added another level to things and just made it something special.

    Bucks / reDRagon was definitely the more spectacular match and there were other matches throughout the year that were great fun to watch, but as far as live experiences go, Steen vs. Nakamura is the one that’s stuck with me most.