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It is time for Day 2 of The Viewies®. You can read the first half of the awards by clicking here:
Match of the Year: Kota Ibushi vs Shinsuke Nakamura-G1 Climax-Day 4
New Japan had a hell of a year, and in the process had several Match of the Year candidates. Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi at both Invasion Attack and King of Pro Wrestling will receive more acclaim, but for my money, Ibushi vs Nakamura was just as good as those higher profile matches. The match follows classic wrestling logic, with the cocky heel Nakamura keeping the fan-friendly face Ibushi down for most of the match. Nakamura's psychology and overall charisma are the real selling points of the match. He is the smooth and confident heel that we all wish that Curtis Axel would be. Ibushi is, as always, phenomenal as an athlete and has the moment of the match when he kicks out at one after a seemingly endless flurry of offense by Nakamura. The G1 Climax as a whole was excellent, but the match of the tournament, and the match of the year, was Ibushi vs Nakamura.
Honorable Mention: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada-King of Pro Wrestling, CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar-Summerslam, Kyle O'Reilly vs Trent Barreta-Battle of Los Angeles-Day 1, Daniel Bryan vs John Cena-Summerslam, Sami Zayn vs Antonio Cesaro-NXT
Event of the Year: Invasion Attack
A lot of strong contenders, but from top to bottom, Invasion Attack was the best. In addition to the tremendous Okada/Tanahashi bout, Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA vs Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi, Shinsuke Nakamura vs Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Masato Tanaka and Yujiro Takahashi vs Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma were all great contests. There really was not a bad match on the card, which separates it from a lot of other shows. Summerslam had two Match of the Year candidates, but the undercard was nowhere near as strong as Invasion Attack's was.
Honorable Mention: Summerslam, Battle of Los Angeles, King of Pro Wrestling, Dominion
Woman of the Year: AJ Lee
A WWE Diva is a lot different from the idea of a regular female wrestler. Most Diva's sacrifice wrestling talent for botox and cheap implants. AJ Lee, however, has been a breakthrough female talent for WWE, and this award really couldn't go to anybody else. Not only is AJ a solid wrestler, but from a character perspective, I can't think of any other female wrestler that has been as dramatic as AJ has been. The success of Total Diva's has turned the women's wrestling division in WWE to something different, but make no mistake about it, AJ is still the heart and soul of women's wrestling in WWE. She has had several storylines built around her in 2013, in addition to being probably the most marketable female wrestler in the history of the business.
Honorable Mention: Gail Kim, Cheerleader Melissa, Candice Lerae, Arisa Nakajima
Best Wrestling Maneuver: The Rainmaker-Kazuchika Okada
There is nothing fancy about The Rainmaker. It is a simple short-armed lariat, a move that many wrestlers employ in their arsenals. But the true mark of a great wrestler is to make even the most basic moves seem interesting, and that is what Okada does with The Rainmaker. Going hand-in-hand with his gimmick that goes by the same name, The Rainmaker has been dynamite for Okada and has led him to many victories, including the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Okada has shown the ability to hit the move off of many different combinations, and no move in New Japan gets quite the reaction that The Rainmaker generates.
Honorable Mention: Double Rotation Moonsault-Ricochet, Package Piledriver-Kevin Steen, Awful Waffle-Chuck Taylor
Best Gimmick: YOSHIHIKO
YOSHIKIO is clearly the most talented wrestler of all time. Despite being an inflatable sex-doll, YOSHIHIKO has never stopped dreaming, and has become a multiple time Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion in Japan's Dramatic Dream Team promotion. YOSHIHIKO has suffered many hardships and setbacks throughout his career in DDT, including getting his head busted completely open, being thrown into the crowd thanks to a giant swing by Kenny Omega, and has been literally shot, with a gun, but continues to keep coming back. In addition YOSHIKIO probably possess the most impressive vertical leap in history, and is likely the strongest wrestler in history to boot, as evidenced by his incredible finisher, The Infinity Destroyer.
Best Real Gimmick: The Wyatt Family
Led by the De Niro-like Bray Wyatt, the Wyatt family has been one of the most fantastic stories in wrestling since they debuted in mid-2013. The Wyatt family is clearly some form of cult, led by Bray, but other than that, their agenda remains a giant question mark. They have had their targets on both Daniel Bryan and Kane, and rumor has it that they are going to target John Cena next. The Wyatt family is still relatively new to WWE, and no doubt fans are interested in watching their saga continue to unfold.
Honorable Mention: The Real American-Tea Party Wrestlers, Kazuchika Okada-The Rainmaker, Zema Ion-Antagonistic DJ, Bad Influence-Obnoxious Frat Boys
Worst Gimmick: Aces & 8s
The longest running storyline in TNA history finally came to a miserable end this fall, but we will never forget the atrocious memories that we have of Aces & 8s. The idea of a rouge biker gang, that started off having close to two dozen members, and eventually shrunk down to three, invading a professional wrestling company was completely unrealistic. The explanation, that they were all there to help Bully Ray, was full of holes and didn't satisfy a lot of fans. Aces & 8s is a classic example of a storyline starting and the climax not being booked beforehand. Thanks for a wasted year guys.
Honorable Mention: Dixie Carter-Evil Businesswoman, Joseph Park-Wrestling Lawyer/Brother/Schizophrenic, John Cena-Being John Cena
There were plenty of worse technical displays, but no match was given as much time and as bright of a spotlight and sucked so much. Big Show was put into a match that everyone knew that he wouldn't win, and WWE steamed ahead with a bizarre storyline that emphasized Big Show having poor fiscal responsibility. The match at Survivor Series was full of botches by both men and came to an extremely predictable end.
Worst Wrestling Event: Survivor Series
A sad fate for what is traditionally one of the biggest events of the year, Survivor Series, coming from my hometown of Boston, was a colossal train wreck. Only the opening tag team match and the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan vs Wyatt Family matches were even passable, as everything else rated somewhere between mediocre to disastrous. The two biggest matches on the card, the aforementioned Orton/Big Show match, and John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio, were both hilariously predictable and lacked any form of drama. Coupled with a bad Intercontinental title match and a nearly unwatchable Diva's match and you can see why Survivor Series gets the nod.
Honorable Mention: Battleground, Hell in a Cell, Lockdown, Slammiversary
Best Wrestling Announcer: Excalibur
One of the principal owners of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla also doubles as its top commentator. Excalibur gets a lot more room politically to say what he wants to then just about anybody else, but he is clearly the right man for the job. Excalibur fits the mold for PWG, as he is able to both be very funny for the plentiful comedic moments, but can also be dramatic when it comes to the big moments on the shows. Excalibur is also wonderful at handling a revolving door of color commentators, which often include the likes of Kevin Steen, Chuck Taylor, Joey Ryan and Johnny Gargano.
Honorable Mention: Lenny Leonard, Bryce Remsberg, William Regal
Worst Wrestling Announcer: Jerry Lawler
I, like most wrestling fans, have a soft spot in my heart for Jerry Lawler. Back in the 1990s, nobody was a better foil for the straight man JR than the classic heel Lawler. However, turning face and WWE switching to the more conservative PG rating have really limited Lawler. He is mostly reserved to making terrible jokes and pointing out the obvious or encouraging Michael Cole to get off-topic. Also, I know it is a little thing, but I can't stand how he doesn't wear a suit in favor of some abortion of a glittery T-Shirt. If he wore a King's outfit like he used to or something I would understand it, but what the hell is he thinking?
Honorable Mention: Tazz, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly
Most Overrated: Sting
Sting, despite being in his mid -50s and currently afraid to wrestle without a T-shirt on, still has a large following. Sting hasn't wrestled a basic one-on-one match that went longer than 15 minutes in years, and yet he gets plenty of title shots, and fans believe that he should jump over to WWE and wrestle The Undertaker. Sting is in bad shape and has lost his fastball in every phase of the game, it's time to hang them up.
Most Underrated: Antonio Cesaro
Cesaro has started to turn the corner, thanks to the prevalence of his signature giant swing, but he still has a long way to climb to reach his potential. Cesaro is probably the most versatile wrestler in the world today, and can wrestle any style you want him to. He can brawl, he can overpower you, he can jump around, and he can even do comedy. Cesaro has flashed the ability in the past to be a talented face, so it is up to WWE to give him a chance to get the ball and run with it.
Worst Wrestling Promotion: All-Japan Pro Wrestling
All-Japan has been quiet in The Viewies®, and with good reason. All-Japan has all the resources that New Japan does, but they have squandered their opportunity with poor booking. They lost their most identifiable icon in The Great Muta, who took tons of talent with him to form his new Wrestle-1 organization, which is literally the second time a great star has taken a bulk of the roster to form a new, rival company in the last 15 years. All-Japan was the beneficiary of a NOAH exodus of talent, but other than that, have been in a downward spiral. With the success of New Japan, especially with younger stars like Okada and Prince Devitt, All-Japan decided it was time to give the 44 year old and nearly immobile Akebono the world title. A strange and mostly negatively received move when compared to the sleek and sharp Okada.
Honorable Mention: TNA, Extreme Rising, Combat Zone Wrestling
Best Wrestling Promotion: New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan had a phenomenal 2013, headlined by a pair of legendary matches between Okada and Tanahashi. The emergence of Prince Devitt and The Bullet Club, the great tag team wrestling between teams like The Young Bucks and Forever Hooligans, the signing of Kota Ibushi and the continued excellence of Shinsuke Nakamura have propelled New Japan to a year of shockingly strong quality. In addition, New Japan breathed new life into the NWA, by bringing in the World Champion Rob Conway, along with several other key talents, and giving them a big stage to work on. All in all, it was one hell of a year for NJPW.
Honorable Mention: Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, DragonGate USA, Dramatic Dream Team