Most Outstanding Wrestler Of The Year
Duan: CM Punk
Punk’s turn back heel and the pairing with Heyman, have refreshed him as a character. He’s had a hand in most of the compelling TV WWE produced in 2012, and the decision to have him carry the belt through the entire year has been the right one from an artistic perspective.
Alan: Kazuchika Okada
RAINMAKER BABY!!! 2012 was the year of Kazuchika Okada. I’ve never in my life seen a wrestler do what he did this year. He just came out of nowhere and became THE guy in Japanese wrestling. I write this hours before the biggest match of his career where he will no doubt rock the Tokyo Dome and become IWGP heavyweight champ again (Ed. Note: whoops). The sheer amount of epic matches this guy had in 2012 is ridiculous. Twice against Karl Anderson, twice against Naito, twice against Tanahashi and also one with Hirooki Goto. All bonafide MOTYC’s for me. Tack all that on to the buckets of charisma, the awesome look, the poise, and of course Gedo, and you have the total package.
Big D: Daniel Bryan
Defended the World Championship at Wrestlemania and lost it in 18 seconds and became the most popular guy of the weekend in a match that was meant to bury him, then went on to work a number of title matches throughout the summer followed by transitioning into a sports entertainer alongside Kane in one of my favorite acts of the year. Has had consistent great matches all year. Can’t go wrong with this man.
GG: CM Punk
In a day and age in US wrestling where whomever is at the top of the card really doesn’t swing the box office one way or another, you have to give this to CM Punk just based on the idea that he’s still WWE’s most consistently entertaining wrestler all while having good matches all year long. And the guy held the title all year long.
Pro Wrestling Show Of The Year
Duan: WWE TLC
This was easily the most I enjoyed a wrestling show this year, and that’s saying something given my general distaste for gimmick themed PPVs. There were good matches up and down the card, but it was the TLC match itself that elevated above everything else. Arguably, the greatest debut match in WWE history.
Alan: NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling – 10/8 Sumo Hall
Top to bottom, it’s the best show I’ve ever seen from Japan.
Big D: TNA Destination X
A shocking Aries title win backed by a fantastic undercard featuring fresh and young talent, many of which appearing for the first time in TNA, makes this the best of the year, edging out Wrestlemania 28 in pure quality.
GG: TNA Destination X
For two months, I was all in on TNA. And then, Aces & Eights showed up. But in those two months, I was thoroughly entertained and one of my favorite moments all year long was watching Austin Aries win the championship from Bobby Roode after being the X Division champ and tossing that belt aside for one shot at the belt. It was a great storyline and the culmination at a great PPV that also featured Samoa Jones vs. Kurt Angle and AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels in a Last Man Standing match.
Match Of The Year
Duan: Triple H Vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 28
I suffer WWE’s rubbish for the rest of the year because I know when Mania comes around they will deliver a match like this. Wonderful storytelling from three of the true masters.
Alan: Kazuchika Okada Vs. Tetsuya Naito at NJPW 40th Anniversary Show
It was the first match that made us all wake up and realise what we had with Okada. I just rewatched it three days ago and it totally holds up as THE match to see this year.
Big D: Brock Lesnar Vs. John Cena at Extreme Rules
Completely reinvented what a wrestling match should be in the modern era and NOTHING could come close to topping it – despite me HATING the finish ever so much…
GG: Brock Lesnar Vs. John Cena at Extreme Rules
Agree with D as this edges Triple H vs. The Undertaker for me. I think the main reason is that I had no idea what was going to happen in this match, where I was pretty sure I knew where the other match was going. What a hard fought match this was. Lesnar was absolutely killing Cena. Brock’s huge bump over the top rope made me gasp, not just because it looked dangerous, but because the entire match just felt dangerous.
WWE Extreme Rules 2012 – John Cena vs Brock Lesnar by kingwrestling
Big Things In ’13
Duan: Bray Wyatt
Wyatt is one of the most original characters to come into the WWE fold in a while. And creative currently has more faith in new faces than anytime previous. We are finally starting to see guys with different looks and personas get their chance, so now is the time for him to make his move.
Alan: Dean Ambrose and Yuji Okabayashi
Big D: ROH folds
Goodbye Silkin‘s rose… may you ever.. growwww in our hearts…
GG: Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett
In a sense, they’re already in roles where some may say that they had really good 2012s. But I think both men take it to the next level. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see either guy win the World or WWE title in 2013. I really wish they’d push Cesaro or Barrett to work with Sheamus at WrestleMania to win on the biggest level possible, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. They are two of my favorite guys going today.
Later this week, we’ll roll out the Boxing and MMA awards.