7. Superstar Of The Year
First, let’s talk about the five nominees who won’t win, shouldn’t win and are just happy to be included here. After nearly two years without a strap, Randy Orton became a two-time WWE Champion in 2013 thanks to timely assists by individual members of D-X. Triple H laid out Daniel Bryan at the end of SummerSlam which assured The Viper’s instant return to villainy as he quickly took advantage of the fallen bearded one by cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase to regain the strap. Shawn Michaels superkicked Bryan to help his former foe reclaim the then-vacant championship in the Hell In A Cell.
While it was long overdue for Orton to become a heel again, although he’s had his moments, he was far more devious during his Legacy days. Furthermore, I am very tired of him having these meaningless, short-term world title reigns. Add the fact that Stephanie McMahon generates far more heat with her promos and you have someone who isn’t worthy of winning this Slammy.
Say what you will about John Cena but he did a wonderful thing putting over Bryan at SummerSlam despite having that scary ball of fluid at the end of his elbow. To purposefully postpone his surgery just to do this solid for the Yes! man was a generous thing to do. Not only does he deserve a great deal of praise for being a trooper, he did great work in that match, as well.
Cena’s win at the Royal Rumble (another good match worth seeing) assured him a rematch with The Rock at WrestleMania 29 for the WWE Championship (a big disappointment) and as expected, he was given yet another title push. Not long after returning from surgery and rehab, he won the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio at Hell In A Cell. Next up: a date with Orton for a TLC match at TLC to unify the world titles.
Absurdly, Cena won this Slammy over the more deserving CM Punk in 2012. That travesty won’t and shouldn’t be repeated this year.
I’m not sure why The Big Show is here. He lost the WHC to Del Rio back in January and hasn’t been a champion of any kind since. Sure, the Last Man Standing match he had with the Mexican at the Royal Rumble was very good and the way he decimated Sheamus and Orton during a Raw broadcast was effective. Most of his interactions with The Shield have been entertaining, as well. But his ‘face turn and resurrected feud with Triple H has required extreme suspension of disbelief, a talent I don’t possess.
There’s no doubt that Brock Lesnar had two of the best matches of the year: the No DQ battle with Triple H at WM 29 and the epic, super stiff, No DQ grudge match with CM Punk at SummerSlam. But he’s a part-timer now, so he doesn’t belong here either.
Honestly, can anyone not make the case for Daniel Bryan’s victory in this category? He ended his surprisingly good tag title run with Kane about midway through the year, had that tremendous match with Cena at SummerSlam to snag his first WWE title, won it back at Night Of Champions from Orton in another acclaimed match and can now more than hold his own on the microphone, a skill he needed some time to develop to its current high level. His insistence on being called a wrestler who is not an entertainer like Cena is just one of the many heartfelt comments he made this year that have greatly endeared him to fans around the world. Unlike CM Punk, he’s a natural babyface who doesn’t have to worry about winning over the audience. They easily cheer for him because he’s earned their respect and is a relatable, likeable underdog, silly beard and all.
Despite being legitimately screwed out of two lengthy title runs, was there a more successful performer in the WWE in 2013?
My Pick: Daniel Bryan
8. Extreme Moment Of The Year
I didn’t see Ryback’s first match with John Cena at Extreme Rules but Raw did show the climactic moment where he speared the then-WWE Champion through the light board on the giant set which left both men unable to continue. A good choice here but not a worthy winner.
The Wyatt Family’s attack on Kane at SummerSlam wasn’t anything I would call extreme. I haven’t watched Hell In A Cell so I don’t know if CM Punk’s assault on Paul Heyman on top of the cage fits that description.
Regardless, my vote goes to The Shield and their attack on The Undertaker on Smackdown. It was unusual to see the Dead Man on TV in action after WrestleMania and it was even more unusual to see him taken out so easily by a hot young trio. Taker gave Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins a huge boost of credibility by allowing himself to be thoroughly destroyed so soon after keeping his WM streak alive. Not that long afterward, all three would get title pushes and remain significant players heading into the new year. I don’t know if I would even call this moment extreme but it greatly enhanced the reputations of the former NXT upstarts.
My Pick: The Shield triple powerbombs The Undertaker on Smackdown
9. Fan Participation Of The Year
Here’s a fun little category involving popular arena chants and gestures. R-Truth’s “What’s up?” schtick was not missed at all during his highly enjoyable heel run in 2011. But gradually over time as he was foolishly turned ‘face again, it has been resurrected like a bad cancer. Stop encouraging it to continue with this undeserved nomination.
Also not really belonging here is the very old “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” duel chant which, quite frankly, should be retired, as well. If Cena was a better babyface, half the audience wouldn’t be booing him in the first place.
That leaves another old chant, the Yes! chant, and the one nominee that’s actually unique to 2013, Fandangoing. Either one is deserving of the Slammy but remember this: one of the key reasons for Daniel Bryan’s red hot success this year has been his strong connection to the fans. The now 2-year-old Yes! chant is emblematic of that. Besides, Fandangoing has peaked.
My Pick: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 7, 2013