13. “What A Maneuver!” Award
Vince McMahon’s famous play-by-play catchphrase inspires this Slammy for the best wrestling hold. Roman Reigns is getting a lot of praise for his use of the spear and justifiably so. It perfectly suits his strongman character. But he’s not the only one using it in the WWE right now. Christian, The Big Show and Kaitlyn also perform the move in their matches. So, he’s not getting my vote.
I love AJ Lee’s unique Black Widow submission but it’s no Anaconda Vice. Daniel Bryan’s running knee out of the corner helped him win two WWE titles. It’s a very fine finisher but his Yes! Lock is far more effective.
That leaves the seriously underrated Antonio Cesaro and his always impressive giant swing. The Swiss superstar has yet to find a character that truly resonates with the audience but there’s no mistaking his abilities between the ropes. Right now, his strength is his biggest asset. The sight of him swinging giants like Mark Henry and The Great Khali by their thick, long legs for several rotations without missing a beat or getting dizzy is, quite simply, the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen him do.
My Pick: Antonio Cesaro’s Cesaro swing
14. Faction Of The Year
Why is 3MB here? This isn’t Jobbers Of The Year. And The Real Americans aren’t exactly a faction. They’re a tag team with an outspoken manager.
Basically, this is a coin flip between The Wyatt Family and The Shield. Since Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins made far more of an impact (look at all the superstars they laid out with their triple powerbomb alone), they deserve the Slammy.
My Pick: The Shield
15. Couple Of The Year
When four of the nominated couples are real-life pairings seen weekly on the Total Divas reality show (which I’m happy to skip), it’s obvious why this particular category exists. And that’s why none of them get my support. Fandango and Summer Rae do nothing for me either. So, by default, this one should go to The Authority. They’ll probably outlast all the other couples, anyway.
My Pick: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
16. Tag Team Of The Year
Forget about The Usos, The Prime Time Players, The Real Americans and the current tag team champions, The Rhodes Brothers. This one goes to Dean Ambrose and company.
My Pick: The Shield
17. Feat Of Strength Of The Year
A tough one. You’ve got Mark Henry being shellshocked by Ryback which was a cool spot and you have the World’s Strongest Man pulling two trucks with ropes which looks shady. Any time The Shield triple powerbomb somebody either in the ring or on an announce table, it works. It’s especially dramatic when done to a big man like The Big Show.
But for me, none of this compares to Antonio Cesaro swinging The Great Khali around by his legs. Give this Slammy to him.
My Pick: Antonio Cesaro swings The Great Khali
18. Favourite Web Show Of The Year
The WWE has its own YouTube channel hence this category. Since I don’t watch any of the nominated shows, I have no preference. Damn you, dial-up.
My Pick: None
19. Best Crowd Of The Year
Now what’s the point of this one, exactly? You can’t give thousands of Slammys to audience members, can you? Regardless, let’s select the most worthy crowd. I didn’t see Payback so I have no idea how good the Chicago audience reacted that night back in mid-June. The fans in the Staple Center during SummerSlam were most vocal during the big matches like Punk/Lesnar and Cena/Bryan, less so during the throwaways like anything involving Divas. And in my view, the New Jersey Raw audience the night after WrestleMania set the bar for raucous crowds like the one that attended Raw in London, England a few weeks later. So, that settles that.
My Pick: Raw after WrestleMania 29 (East Rutherford, New Jersey)
20. Catchphrase Of The Year
You’ve got Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!”, Mark Henry’s “That’s what I do!”, “Believe in The Shield”, The Wyatt Family’s “Follow the buzzards”, and The Real Americans’ “We the people”. All good choices. But it’s the sixth nominee, “Faaahhhnnn….daahhhnnn…goo!”, that deserves the gong.
My Pick: “FAAAAAHHNNNN…DAAAAHHHHNNN…GO” – Fandango
21. Best Dance Moves Of The Year
Good lord this is a dumb category. Then again, I am the son of a retired dance teacher, so I need to pick one. Let’s go with The Funkadactyls over Fandango, Summer Rae, R-Truth, The Great Khali and The Miz (aka Miz-co Inferno). Naomi and Cameron can actually move out there.
My Pick: The Funkadactyls (Naomi & Cameron)
22. “Say What” Quote Of The Year
It literally came out of nowhere but when Brock Lesnar told his advisor Paul Heyman to “Say somethin’ stupid,” during a backstage interview on an August edition of Raw, it brought the house down. The other nominated quotes – Damien Sandow’s “Rise above THIS!” (?), Dusty Rhodes telling The Shield, “One stipulation: I’m in my boys’ corner and I’ll be your huckleberry all night long.” (whatever the hell that means) and Heyman’s weird “Paulcano eruption” promo – pale in comparison.
My Pick: “Paul, say somethin’ stupid.” – Brock Lesnar
23. “You Still Got It!” (Best Superstar Return)
Basically, this is the Comeback Of The Year Slammy. The Bella Twins suddenly reappeared on an episode of Raw back in March after nearly a year’s absence and continue to be on the show every week, unfortunately. They don’t belong on this list. While it’s great that Bruno Sammartino has finally made up with Vince McMahon after more than 20 years of public criticism, it was only to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. He doesn’t really belong here either.
It’s been seven years since Rob Van Dam wrestled for the WWE and while he continues to look sharp in the ring, he hasn’t really had a great program with anybody this year. Currently on a break, if and when he returns, why not pair him with CM Punk? That’s a match I’d like to see.
After struggling for years with substance abuse, Dustin Rhodes has enjoyed an unlikely resurgence teaming with his younger brother to square off against The Shield among other teams. The fact that Goldust and Cody have been made the tag team champions is a good sign that the company has renewed faith in the eldest son of The American Dream. I was particularly taken with Dustin’s heartfelt backstage promo during a Raw broadcast where he noted his rough history and vowed to be a better man. Moments like that don’t make it difficult for you to root for him.
But as welcome as his comeback has been, there was one that was even stronger.
Chris Jericho was able to surprise many when he returned to The Royal Rumble back in January. He then went on to help build up Fandango who he wrestled at two straight pay-per-views. (The former Johnny Curtis won at WrestleMania 29 while Jericho was put over at Extreme Rules). Then, he put over CM Punk at Payback in an acclaimed match that began the Straight Edge Superstar’s recent face run. After being attacked by Ryback back in the summer, he’s been off pretending to be a rock star again and working on his next wrestling memoir.
True, he was only gone for a few months following his program with Dolph Ziggler in the summer of 2012, but of all the names that made this list, none did more for himself and the WWE than Y2J.
My Pick: Chris Jericho
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 8, 2013