WRESTLER OF THE YEAR – CM PUNK (47%)
Runners –Up: Sheamus (16%), Austin Aries (13%) and John Cena (8%)
CM Punk deserves this nod for a 2nd year in a row. 400-plus days as WWE champion he‘s been bringing prestige back to the concept of being a title holder.
My problem comes with the runners-up. Cena dominated the main event position in 2012 without ever holding a championship, and lost a good bulk of his matches…. No argument on Austin Aries, as it was his year to prove the critics wrong and an opportunity for TNA to build a home-grown star…. Sheamus? Did anyone really care to watch his matches? He’s getting better, but not Wrestler of The Year better….. Where was Dolph Ziggler on this list? – arguably WWE’s best in-ring performer? Where was Bobby Roode? – arguably TNA’s most valuable player in 2012. And where is at least one name from Ring of Honor? – who still focuses on giving a wrestling product to wrestling fans.
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR – KOFI KINGSTON & R-TRUTH (18%)
Runners-Up: Daniels and Kazarian (17%), Kane/Daniel Bryan (13%), and Samoa Joe/Magnus (7%)
Why? Kofi and Truth were a team for a hot minute. What makes their union worthy of the recognition. They’re not even a team anymore and haven’t been for months. Shouldn’t a REAL team stick together?
Daniels and Kazarian missed the top spot by 1%, and it is well deserved… Kane/Bryan deserve their spot because of their success and how over they are with the fans, but at the same time, their gimmick is that they shouldn’t even be paired together…. Same goes for Joe/Magnus – not a real team, just a bastard child of the “creative has nothing for you” family…. Where is Benjamin and Haas who have dominated Ring of Honor? Where are the guys like Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs, and The Briscoe Brothers?….Where is Epico and Primo? – A real team who won the tag titles, work as a team, look like a team and still is a team?
MOST POPULAR OF THE YEAR: JOHN CENA (29%)
Runners-Up: Sheamus (20%), Randy Orton (18%), and Jeff Hardy (17%)
Cena is not only the face of the WWE, he’s the face of the business…. Hardy is the face of TNA, likely because he is a former WWE superstar and it’s in TNA’s nature to whore the celebrity built up in the WWE Universe…. Orton is popular, I don’t know if I would rank him that high as MOST popular in 2012, considering that he spent a good portion of the year on the DL, or suspended for wellness violation.
Sheamus is great addition to the roster and a quality competitor, but I don’t see him as popular as some may think. Even as champion, Sheamus isn’t selling out crowds or closing out pay per view events. CM Punk is a heel, he’s more popular. Daniel Bryan has a catch phrase that blows the roof off arenas. Ryback may be new, but he’s growing into a phenomenon. And did we forget the return of The Rock? Not as popular huh?
Did anybody else notice I couldn’t even name another popular TNA wrestler who is in demand on global scale? Perhaps because one of TNA’s greatest flaws is that they don’t work hard enough to make their stars household names.
MOST HATED OF THE YEAR: CM PUNK (40%)
Runner-Ups: Bobby Roode (14%), Alberto Del Rio (10%) and Kevin Steen (7%)
Perhaps I’m taking this too literal, but shouldn’t “hated” mean…HATED? So when it comes to this award, why not nominate talents who legitimately get booed?
CM Punk is the perfect wrestling antagonist… Bobby Roode shouldn’t be on this list, simply because not enough people watch TNA to hate him…. Alberto Del Rio spent a good portion of the year on the DL, and his feuds were meaningless…. Kevin Steen is legit contender for this award, and in my opinion, the REAL winner for 2012. I don’t watch ROH regularly enough to critique his work as a heel – but his overall look and style had some fans in an uproar when he became the ROH champion. “This fucking guy??? He doesn’t even look like a wrestler!!!” Now that’s what I call HEAT!
Surprisingly, Cena didn’t make the list. I guess there weren’t as many “Cena Sucks” chants as I thought I heard…. Vickie Guerrero didn’t make the list…. WWE creative could have easily made the list because the quality of the product in 2012 was beyond abysmal…. And where is Bully Ray’s nomination?
FEUD OF THE YEAR: ACES and EIGHTS vs. TNA (24%)
Runners-Up: Cena vs. Rock (17%), Punk vs. Bryan (12%) and Adam Pearce vs. Colt Cabana (9%)
Who voted for this, when (say it with me) NOBODY WATCHES TNA! I love the TV show Sons of Anarchy as much as the next person and I think it’s cool to come up with a gimmick and storyline inspired by it – but it has to be effective. This is a perfect case of “great idea/poor execution”.
Rock/Cena was by far the most heavily publicized feud in YEARS! And you know what made it so effective? One full year of hype, and ONLY one match. It made me a fan again…but just for a flickering moment.
Punk/Bryan wasn’t really a feud in my opinion. It was more a series of indy dream matches on a grander scale. The problem is, it was wasted. Punk/Bryan would have been the perfect scenario to unify the titles as the main event of Wrestlemania. Hopefully WWE creative takes note.
I’m so happy to see Pearce/Cabana recognized here. Not only is well deserved, but it proves that the indies are alive and well, and that there is always opportunity to reinvigorate the territories. I wish I could have witnessed each and every encounter of their best of seven, “Seven Stages of Hate” series for the NWA title, because this is what REAL pro wrestling is made of. The story was told in the ring, and the reward was the glory of the gold. While I’m not a big fan of gimmick matches like street-fights, first blood, etc., I would have definitely been emotionally engaged because it was part of their story that drew upon their hate. These were the type of matches and feuds that occurred in the small territories where my only source of coverage was the “Apter Mags”, such as PWI. Matches and feuds like this were the reason I bought magazines and became so well versed in the art of the business. That’s what this feud was…art. And hopefully, its recognition will intrigue a younger generation to explore the indy circuit, ask about the days of territories, order back issues to see how it was all done before the curse of sports entertainment. I know it’s asking for a lot, but should it happen, don’t thank me – thank Adam, Pearce and Colt Cabana.
Rounding out the winners were:
Match of The Year: Triple H vs. Undertaker (End of An Era at Wrestlemania)
Woman of The Year: AJ Lee
Most Improved of The Year: Ryback
Comeback of the Year: Jeff Hardy
Inspirational Wrestler of The Year – Jerry Lawler
Rookie of The Year: Veda Scott
What are YOUR thoughts on this year’s PWI winners and runner-ups? Who do you think was snubbed? And what is your perception of where wrestling magazines have their place in 2013?
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