It was yet another year in pro wrestling where the business was either linear or down. In the US, WWE continued to plod through with mind-boggling booking, but WrestleMania saved buyrates from being alarmingly down over the year. In TNA, they continued their usual business strategy of booking for TV ratings and not really giving a damn about their PPV numbers. ROH left HDNet and went into syndication, but the jury is still out on how they are doing.
Our pro wrestling awards will be WWE heavy because it’s the number one promotion in the US. But Alan keeps us honest with his independent and international choices. Alan, Duan, myself, Big D from Superfriends Universe, Ryan Pike from Tough Talk MMA give us their picks for the awards.
Most Outstanding Wrestler Of The Year
Alan – Daisuke Sekimoto and Akira Tozawa
I’m sitting on the fence and splitting this between two men who’ve had years that were utterly incredible. Daisuke Sekimoto basically played the NWA touring world champion role in the first half of the year as wXw champ defending the belt in three different continents. Invaded All Japan with Yuji Okabayashi and won the All Asia titles in one of several classics with Soya & Sanada. Had a MOTYC in his home promotion of Big Japan when Soya and Hama came to try to take back the belts. Won the Fire Festival in Zero 1 in a great final with the usually average Kohei Sato. Has had countless other ****+ singles and tag matches.
Akira Tozawa shares the spoils by having two amazing half years. The 1st half was all in the US where he became a hero in PWG with an absurd amount of MOTYCs, and was the best guy on the DGUSA shows too. Then in the second half of the year he made his return to Japan and instantly was in the main event picture. His title match with Mochi was incredible.
Duan – Dolph Ziggler
A huge breakout year for Ziggler – always gave it absolutely everything inside the ring regardless of his place on the card. There’s not a more consistent performer on the roster.
Ryan – CM Punk
Consistently delivered great promos and delivered great performances in the ring at the right times.
Big D – Daniel Bryan and CM Punk
Despite the storyline going from fascinating to lame WWE garbage, CM Punk managed to completely reinvigorate his career and for the first time became a super-over top babyface. Bryan had good matches up and down the card with guys of all shapes and sizes from Sin Cara to Mark Henry. He won Money in the Bank. He does tons of jobs and doesn’t even complain about it, then ends the year as World Champ. The cream rises to the top.
GG – Dolph Ziggler
He was my choice last year for who I expected big things from in 2011. And even throughout horrendous booking, I think he was the brightest star. For one, I looked forward most to his matches on every PPV and TV taping. Secondly, his selling has become Mr. Perfect-like, taking athletic bumps, and really selling the hell out of the beating he’s taking. Thirdly, I’m not sure there’s a better athlete in the company and if they don’t turn him loose in 2012, it will boggle my mind.
Pro Wrestling Show Of The Year