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The John Report Presents: The 10th Annual WWE Johnny Awards – 2018 Edition!

The John Report Presents: The 10th Annual WWE Johnny Awards - 2018 Edition!

Welcome to the 2018 WWE Johnny Awards. They’re the awards the place I honor the arduous-working women and men of World Wrestling Leisure based mostly on their work during the last twelve months. These are the very “prestigious” awards that I name the TENTH ANNUAL WWE Johnny Awards! You possibly can take a look at the Johnny Awards archive right here if you wish to take a look at how previous years turned out. A number of notes earlier than it begins:

– That is World Wrestling Leisure ONLY. It says it within the title, however I would like you to keep in mind that once you ask why there’s no New Japan, Ring of Honor, Influence or anything in right here. It’s WWE solely!

– These awards are based mostly alone private selection. There have been no polls or write-in votes. My identify is on the awards, so I get to select the winners. I don’t anticipate anyone studying this to agree with every part I write under, however I’ll do my greatest to justify all my decisions. The awards are based mostly on efficiency. It doesn’t essentially matter if an individual wins all their matches on tv and titles actually aren’t that essential. It’s concerning the efficiency greater than something.

– Relating to NXT, WWE’s third model is included in each award as nicely. The NXT model is superior and I’m not going to disregard it. The similar goes for 205 Reside, the Mae Younger Basic and WWE’s UK model. Something that’s WWE is taken into account for these awards.

– One other factor to recollect is I attempt to have enjoyable once I write about wrestling. I don’t take it too critically and I don’t take myself too significantly. In the event you disagree with one thing that’s cool. Hold it civil within the feedback and don’t be shy about providing your take.

I’ve used an analogous intro for a number of years. I do this as a result of it covers every part I have to say.

I’m going to vary the format of those awards a bit. Some awards have been eliminated and I’m not going to separate them from main to minor anymore. There are 25 classes, so let’s get to it.

 

THE 2018 WWE JOHNNY AWARDS

Every one could have an outline of what the award is, the earlier winners of the award (if the award existed within the final eight years), the winner of the award, the runners-up for the award, after which my prolonged ideas on the award.

1. BEST MALE WRESTLER

To be given to the person who greatest combines workrate, character, microphone work and all the things else into one. That is like WWE’s Celebrity of the Yr award once they did the Slammy Awards. Previous winners – 2017: AJ Types, 2016: AJ Types, 2015: Seth Rollins, 2014: Seth Rollins, 2013: Daniel Bryan, 2012: CM Punk, 2011: CM Punk, 2010: Randy Orton, 2009: Chris Jericho

Winner: Johnny Gargano (Runners-Up: Seth Rollins, AJ Types, Tommaso Ciampa, Daniel Bryan)

Fan vote: AJ Types 26%, Tommaso Ciampa 18%, Johnny Gargano 18%, Seth Rollins 17%, Daniel Bryan 7%.

This was a troublesome name, however the identify that stood out probably the most to me was Johnny Gargano. The reality is that I gave three of his Takeover matches 5 stars out of 5 (that’s as excessive as the size goes), the fourth one was 1/four* in need of that after which the fifth one was over 4 stars too. Gargano additionally had some nice matches on NXT TV as nicely. When it comes to promos, he’s fairly good and perhaps not as elite a talker as his NXT rival Ciampa, however he greater than held his personal on the microphone. When he turned heel later within the yr, I used to be a bit stunned by it though I feel long run he’s going to be a face for many of his profession.

Should you’re a type of followers that doesn’t sustain with NXT frequently, you must. This was a fantastic yr for WWE’s third model and guys like Gargano are an enormous cause why.

Some ideas on the runners-up:

– Seth Rollins, who’s a two-time winner of this award, had his greatest yr since 2015. The match high quality was persistently there for him all yr lengthy. I feel what might have harm him is that a few of his rivalries fell a bit brief. He additionally wrestled the identical guys like The Miz and Dolph Ziggler means too many occasions. A push to the primary occasion degree might assist him get this award subsequent yr.

– AJ Types gained this award the earlier two years and I don’t assume he was nearly as good this yr. That’s nothing towards him personally, neither is it on account of age as a result of the 41-year-previous continues to be an elite performer. I simply really feel just like the feud with Shinsuke Nakamura was missing a bit whereas the rivalry with Samoa Joe might have lasted too lengthy. The feud with Daniel Bryan was enjoyable, although, in order that helped AJ end the yr robust.

– The present NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa was the NXT MVP this yr together with Gargano. His heel persona is lots of enjoyable the place he’s enjoying the loopy champion obsessive about the title, however he’s additionally very sensible too. The match high quality was there with him as nicely. I simply assume a couple of of the opposite guys have been extra excellent.

– If present WWE Champion Daniel Bryan was doing the heel gimmick for your complete yr as an alternative of simply two months then he is perhaps the runaway winner of this award. He’s been so entertaining when it comes to his promos whereas delivering some nice matches as nicely. I’m enthusiastic about what’s subsequent for him.

Different male wrestlers that had fairly good years have been The Miz, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black and Adam Cole to call a number of.

 

2. BEST FEMALE WRESTLER

To be given to one of the best feminine performer. Previous winners – 2017: Asuka, 2016: Charlotte, 2015: Sasha Banks, 2014: Paige, 2013: AJ Lee, 2012: Eve, 2011: Beth Phoenix, 2010: Natalya, 2009: Mickie James

Winner: Becky Lynch (Runners-Up: Charlotte Aptitude, Ronda Rousey, Asuka)

Fan vote: Becky Lynch 76%, Charlotte Aptitude eight%, Ronda Rousey 6%, Asuka three%, Alexa Bliss 2%.

I’ve been doing these awards for ten years and no one has gained this award twice, nor has there been a repeat winner. Charlotte Aptitude got here very near profitable it this yr, however I need to give the nod to “The Man” Becky Lynch.

Becky has set the world on hearth within the final 5 months because the face that folks have appreciated for years that was held again for a lot of the final yr and when she did not win the title at SummerSlam, she attacked her greatest pal Charlotte. It was purported to be a heel flip for Lynch, however the followers supported her and didn’t boo her. Lynch went on to have a few excellent matches (Evolution with Aptitude and TLC with Aptitude and Asuka) that helped get her this award. It’s been fantastic to see her evolve as a personality whereas she has improved in all features by delivering high quality promos, riling up the gang in addition to anyone and delivering in massive angles like when she helped Smackdown’s ladies invade Uncooked in one among Uncooked’s most memorable moments. Nice yr for Becky and I hope she rides the momentum even additional into 2019.

This was one of the best yr of Charlotte Aptitude’s profession although she didn’t win the award. If anyone stated she was one of the best ladies’s wrestler in WWE, I wouldn’t argue with them. The distinction between her and Lynch is she received extra alternatives your complete yr. By that I imply she had an incredible WrestleMania match with Asuka and was continually pushed apart from a break for a month after getting breast implants. Sure, I observed them. Anyway, Aptitude’s in-ring efficiency was nice. I feel if she turned heel, she would have a greater run than she did in 2016 as a heel as a result of she’s higher within the ring now. I do know some individuals criticize her for her push, however I additionally assume she deserves it and she or he’s an superior performer.

Ronda Rousey was spectacular in her rookie yr. The undeniable fact that she will persistently have good matches lower than a yr into her WWE profession is superior. A few of her promos have been strong too, particularly towards Nikki Bella. I do know that she has plans to start out a household quickly and her WWE profession is probably not that lengthy, but when she retains at it for an additional yr or two she’s going to be excellent at every part. She’s undoubtedly just like Kurt Angle in his rookie yr when it comes to how briskly he tailored to professional wrestling 20 years in the past.

Asuka began the yr nice with the Royal Rumble win, then had an superior match with Aptitude at WrestleMania and adopted that with the worst matches of her profession with Carmella, which was not Asuka’s fault. On the finish of the yr, she lastly acquired again to that great place wit the SD Ladies’s Title win at TLC. She’s the most effective ladies wrestlers in WWE.

 

three. BEST FEUD

To be given to one of the best rivalry between two or extra performers. Previous winners – 2017: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, 2016: AJ Types vs. John Cena, 2015: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, 2014: Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority, 2013: CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar, 2012: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, 2011: Randy Orton vs. Christian, 2010: The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, 2009: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano (Runners-Up: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Aptitude, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Types)

Fan vote: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano 67%, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Aptitude 21%, Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch three%, Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz three%, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Types 2%

I’m with the fan vote on this one as a result of Ciampa vs. Gargano was one of the best feud of the yr. That they had three excellent NXT Takeover matches with two of them incomes the 5-star score from me (New Orleans and Chicago) whereas the third one in Brooklyn was excellent as properly. The rivalry was so nice that when Ciampa would stroll to the ring with no entrance, the followers have been booing him all the time. These are the identical NXT followers who need to cheer everyone, so it’s spectacular how a lot they have been into it.

Becky and Charlotte had a terrific rivalry on Smackdown with a number of nice matches at Evolution, TLC (with Asuka), plus Hell in a Cell (Lynch gained the title) and Tremendous Present-Down. I feel what harm them is that each ladies have been faces for many of it, so it wasn’t as intense because it might have been. It was nonetheless probably the greatest ladies’s feuds on the primary roster in WWE historical past.

I appreciated Bryan vs. Types quite a bit due to the flip for Bryan, plus the good match that they had at TLC. It was higher than Bryan vs. Miz or Types vs. Joe when it comes to greatest male Smackdown feud this yr.

 

four. BEST MATCH

To be given to one of the best match. Previous winners – 2017: John Cena vs. AJ Types @ Royal Rumble, 2016: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn @ NXT Takeover Dallas, 2015: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena @ Royal Rumble, 2014: The Wyatt Household vs. The Defend @ Elimination Chamber, 2013: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk @ SummerSlam, 2012: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (Shawn Michaels as ref) @ WrestleMania 28, 2011: CM Punk vs. John Cena @ Cash within the Financial institution, 2010: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 26, 2009: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 25

Winner: Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa @ NXT Takeover New Orleans 04/07/18 (Runners-Up: NXT Championship: Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano @ NXT Takeover Philly 01/27/18, Smackdown Ladies’s Championship Final Lady Standing: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Aptitude @ Evolution 10/28/18, North American Championship Ladder Match: Adam Cole vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet – NXT Takeover New Orleans 04/07/18, Chicago Road Battle: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano @ NXT Takeover Chicago 06/16/18)

I feel we have been spoiled this yr when it comes to nice matches. Individuals complain about dangerous stuff in WWE on a regular basis, however there have been so many excellent matches. 4 of the 5 listed below are from NXT Takeover occasions, which exhibits how particular they have been.

My winner is the primary of three Gargano/Ciampa Takeover match as a result of it was the primary probability for Gargano to get revenge on his former #DIY tag workforce associate in a brutal match in New Orleans. It was so nice with one of many hottest crowds of the yr. I liked it. The similar goes for every little thing else on right here.

Notice: I’ll submit an inventory of my prime ten WWE matches with full evaluations on TJRWrestling on December 30th or 31st. Ensure you test it out.

 

5. BEST PAY-PER-VIEW

To be given to the most effective pay-per-view. Previous winners – 2017: Royal Rumble, 2016: Cash within the Financial institution, 2015: WrestleMania 31, 2014: WrestleMania 30, 2013: SummerSlam 2012: Excessive Guidelines, 2011: Cash within the Financial institution, 2010: WrestleMania 26, 2009: SummerSlam

Winner: Evolution (Runners-Up: Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell)

Fan vote: Evolution 49%, Royal Rumble 26%, WrestleMania 34 eight%, TLC 7%, Cash within the Financial institution three%.

Woman energy. That’s what 2018 was all about in WWE. The first ever ladies’s PPV referred to as Evolution was higher than any PPV in WWE this yr. That they had fairly good matches all night time lengthy, arguably one of the best principal roster of the match of the yr with Lynch/Aptitude and it was only a enjoyable night time of wrestling that was a very good reminder of why we love this loopy enterprise. I don’t assume it was an all-time nice PPV, nevertheless it was clearly the perfect of the yr.

The Royal Rumble was enjoyable with two Rumble matches (together with the primary ladies’s Rumble) and another good matches. Hell in a Cell was persistently good from prime to backside.

You possibly can take a look at my rating of WWE’s 15 PPVs in an unique article at The Comeback proper right here.

 

6. BEST NXT TAKEOVER SPECIAL

To be given to the perfect NXT Takeover particular. Previous winners – 2017: NXT Takeover Chicago, 2016: NXT Takeover Dallas, 2015: NXT Takeover Brooklyn

Winner: NXT Takeover New Orleans (Runner-Up: NXT Takeover WarGames, NXT Takeover Brooklyn)

Fan vote: New Orleans 58%, WarGames (LA) 20%, Brooklyn 15%, Chicago four%, Philadelphia three%

That is like choosing between your youngsters (I don’t have any) since you love all of them, nevertheless it’s exhausting to say what one you’re keen on probably the most. New Orleans is my favourite because of the excellent Gargano/Ciampa, plus the six-man ladder match and all the things else on that present. It’s solely the second present that I’ve rated 10 out of 10 with WrestleMania 17 as the opposite one. I beloved that Takeover.

Once I threw up the fan vote for this one, I had a number of readers ask why I don’t embrace Takeovers with PPVs. I feel they need to be separate as a result of there are totally different individuals on the exhibits, there’s a special really feel to them and I feel Takeover’s are so nice that they deserve their very own class. They’re my awards, so my guidelines apply.

If I did embrace Takeover’s in the identical class as essential roster PPVs, this was a yr the place all 5 Takeover exhibits earned larger scores than the 15 WWE PPVs.

 

7. BEST TALKER

To be given to one of the best individual at delivering promos. Previous winners – 2017: The Miz, 2016: Chris Jericho, 2015: Paul Heyman, 2014: Paul Heyman, 2013: Paul Heyman, 2012: CM Punk, 2011: CM Punk, 2010 winner: CM Punk, 2009 winner: Chris Jericho

Winner: The Miz (Runners-up: Becky Lynch, Samoa Joe, Tommaso Ciampa, Daniel Bryan, Paul Heyman)

Fan Vote: Becky Lynch 32%, The Miz 22%, Samoa Joe 16%, Paul Heyman 7%, Tommaso Ciampa 5%.

The Miz will get the award for the second yr in a row due to his consistency all yr lengthy as one of many prime guys on Uncooked after which on Smackdown when he was moved there publish-WrestleMania. I like Becky Lynch as a lot as the subsequent man, however I can’t consider memorable promos she did previous to SummerSlam when she did her flip. The award is for 12 months, not the final 5 months. The Miz will get to speak on TV as a lot as anyone as a result of Vince McMahon trusts him to ship high quality promos whether or not he’s being critical or comedic and The Miz manages to tug it off. I take pleasure in his promos so much.

Samoa Joe has a fantastic supply together with his promos as sort of like a silent mercenary that’s there to get within the head of his opponent. That’s the type of old skool heel I like. Ciampa is just like Joe in loads of methods when it comes to promos. Paul Heyman can be greater, however the act with Lesnar is getting repetitive and nothing he stated this yr actually stood out to me.

If Daniel Bryan can maintain this heel persona going all yr lengthy then he may win this award subsequent yr as a result of he’s been unimaginable the final two months.

 

eight. WORST FEUD

To be given to the worst rivalry between two or extra performers. Previously often known as the Katie Vick award. RIP Katie. Previous winners – 2017: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt, 2016: Darren Younger vs. Titus O’Neil, 2015: Dolph Ziggler/Lana vs. Rusev/Summer time Rae, 2014: Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella, 2013: Huge Present vs. Triple H/Randy Orton, 2012: Kane vs. Zack Ryder/John Cena, 2011: Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross, 2010 winner: Kane vs. Edge, 2009 winner: Triple H vs. Randy Orton

Winner: Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn (Runners-Up: Triple H/Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker/Kane, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley)

Fan vote: Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn 37%, Triple H/Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker/Kane 16%, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley 13%, Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor 9%, AOP vs. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable 6%, Bobby Lashley vs. Elias 6%.

It pains me to say Sami Zayn because the “worst” in something as a result of he’s one in every of my favourite guys within the firm, however holy shit that rivalry with Bobby Lashley was terrible. It began with Lashley doing that awkward interview about how he had three sisters that meant a lot to him. It was all a part of a storyline as a result of it led to Zayn deliver out Lashley’s “sisters” for a horrible Uncooked phase. Lashley turned heel quickly after it was over whereas Zayn was out with double shoulder surgical procedure.

I wasn’t impressed by Triple H vs. The Undertaker or Triple H/Michaels vs. Undertaker/Kane. They seemed like 4 guys well beyond their prime. Contemplating how a lot TV time was dedicated to them previous to Tremendous Present-Down and Crown Jewel, clearly WWE administration had excessive hopes for them. Their matches didn’t reside as much as the hype.

Sasha Banks and Bayley bickered lots initially of the yr, even received into a number of fights and there was a tease for certainly one of them to show heel, nevertheless it by no means occurred. I feel it was one other instance of poor storytelling on Uncooked with no payoff in the long run. Maybe they have been stored collectively as a result of WWE realized they wanted them as a face staff that could possibly be come the Ladies’s Tag Group Champions. I assume we’ll discover out in 2019.

 

9. WORST PAY-PER-VIEW

To be given to the worst PPV. They needed us to pay cash for this? Previous winners – 2017: Battleground, 2016: Fastlane, 2015: Royal Rumble, 2014: Tables, Ladders & Chairs (And Stairs), 2013: Battleground, 2012: Hell in a Cell, 2011: Over The Restrict

Winner: Crown Jewel (Runner-Up: Backlash)

Fan vote: Crown Jewel 83%, Backlash 9%, Tremendous Present-Down 5%.

The Crown Jewel present from November in Saudi Arabia was one of many worst PPVs ever. There was the potential for some good matches, however nothing stood out. It went on method too lengthy, plus there have been no ladies’s matches and that entire present had a darkish cloud hanging over it. It was terrible.

You possibly can take a look at my rating of WWE’s 15 PPVs in an unique article at The Comeback proper right here. Sure, Crown Jewel is in final place there.

 

10. BEST TAG TEAM

To be given to the 2 males that perform greatest as a tag staff. Previous winners – 2017: The Usos, 2016: The New Day, 2015: The New Day, 2014: The Usos, 2013: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns, 2012: Staff Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan), 2011: Air Growth (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston), 2010: The Hart Dynasty, 2009: Chris Jericho and The Massive Present

Winners: The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (Runners-Up: Undisputed Period, The New Day, The Usos)

Fan vote: Undisputed Period (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Robust) 35%, The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) 22%, The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) 16%, The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Massive E & Xavier Woods) 15%, Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) four%

That is a particularly troublesome selection with the highest 4 groups. I had a troublesome time deciding, however then I used to be going over some pay-per-views this yr the place I observed The Bar stored having a bunch of matches within the three to 4-star vary. I actually admire the best way they’ve morphed into an excellent heel staff that’s capable of work the facility type towards smaller groups they usually make every part look straightforward. The timing is all the time nice.

The Undisputed Period are a properly-oiled machine which are nearly as good as any of the primary roster groups. It’s only a matter of once they get the prospect on the primary roster…The New Day are persistently nice and all the time entertain me doing their wacky bits as nicely. I take pleasure in their humorousness…The Usos have been harm by turning into faces. I assumed they have been higher as heels, however they’re nonetheless arguably one of the best group in WWE this decade.

It’s been an incredible yr for tag staff wrestling on Smackdown and NXT with a number of excellent matches. Uncooked? One of many worst years I can keep in mind for precise tag groups. They should change that subsequent yr.

 

11. THE “NEXT BIG THING” AWARD

To be given to the wrestler that’s more than likely to be the “next big thing” within the new yr. Previous winners – 2017: Rusev, 2016: Shinsuke Nakamura, 2015: Sami Zayn, 2014: Bray Wyatt, 2013: Roman Reigns, 2012: Dolph Ziggler, 2011: Cody Rhodes, 2010: Alberto Del Rio, 2009: John Morrison

Winner: Velveteen Dream (Runners-Up: Matt Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Adam Cole, Pete Dunne, Ember Moon, Mandy Rose)

My primary “rule” for this award is to go together with someone that I’ve by no means picked earlier than and that has by no means been a WWE, World or Common Champion. For the second yr in a row, I might give it to Braun Strowman, however he’s already a constant major eventer.

I could also be a yr or two early on the Velveteen Dream selection, however it’s onerous to disclaim that the 23-year-previous is destined for greatness. Final yr he was creating as a personality and this yr he confirmed he has the instruments to be nice within the ring. The proven fact that he’s already having almost 5-star matches already tells me that there are not any limits to what he can do sooner or later. He jogs my memory of a Brock Lesnar, John Cena or Randy Orton in 2002 once they have been rookies on the primary roster that went on to do nice issues. The distinction is that with NXT in place, WWE might select to maintain him in NXT for the subsequent yr to place a title on him, see how he does as a champion after which deliver him as much as the primary roster. I feel he’s prepared for the primary roster now, however at his age, there’s nothing fallacious with ready. If he stays in NXT, he’ll in all probability be NXT Champion by the summer time if not earlier.

Matt Riddle might be an enormous distinction maker on the primary roster if he can turn into a cultured all-round performer. He must work on promos whereas in NXT, however in ring, he’s obtained all of the instruments to be a prime man…It’s bizarre itemizing Drew McIntyre as a result of he was a candidate for an award like this a decade in the past. The reality is, he hasn’t been a full-time primary eventer or a World Champion but, so he’s a strong selection as properly…Adam Cole is an incredible all-round expertise which will solely be harm by his measurement. Nevertheless, when guys like AJ Types and Daniel Bryan are pushed to the highest, that’s a great signal for him…Pete Dunne is simply 25 years previous, so he’s one other man with a brilliant future that we could also be speaking about as a prime man in a number of years. He has the expertise to be there…I feel Ember Moon and Mandy Rose can each be massive stars. It’s simply robust proper now as a result of the ladies on prime are of their prime with no indicators of slowing down, so how can others break via? I feel each have a number of potential.

 

12. BEST HEEL

To be given to the performer that’s the greatest at drawing the ire of the viewers. Previous winners 2017: The Miz, 2016: AJ Types, 2015: Seth Rollins, 2014: Seth Rollins, 2013: Paul Heyman, 2012: Daniel Bryan, 2011: Christian. Award started in 2011.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa (Runners-Up: The Miz, Samoa Joe, Sheamus/Cesaro, Undisputed Period)

Fan vote: Tommaso Ciampa 57%, The Miz 14%, Samoa Joe 13%, Drew McIntyre four%, Alexa Bliss three%. Shoutout to the artistic workforce for getting one vote and even I acquired one vote too!

Tommaso Ciampa has had a implausible yr as a maniacal heel that turned the NXT Champion over the summer time and has proven no indicators of slowing down. The key factor to I don’t know if he’s going to be on the primary roster in 2019 or if he’s anyone that might be a cornerstone of NXT for many of his profession.

The Miz has been higher than ever in the previous few years. I assumed perhaps this yr he’d get a push to the WWE Title degree, nevertheless it didn’t occur for him. I feel WWE likes him in his position as an higher midcard heel, however not essentially at that primary occasion degree…Samoa Joe is a real, old fashioned sort of heel that isn’t concerned about telling jokes. He’s there to kick ass…I feel The Bar and Undisputed Period are each nicely polished heel acts.

The solely purpose I didn’t listing Daniel Bryan as a runner up is as a result of his heel run has lasted lower than two months. If he’s a heel for many of 2019 then he’s in all probability going to win this award subsequent yr as a result of he’s superb.

 

13. BEST BABYFACE

To be given to the performer that’s the greatest at receiving the adulation of the viewers. Previous winners – 2017: AJ Types, 2016: Dean Ambrose, 2015: John Cena, 2014: Dolph Ziggler, 2013: Daniel Bryan, 2012: John Cena, 2011: Randy Orton. Award started in 2011.

Winner: Becky Lynch (Runners-Up: Johnny Gargano, AJ Types, Seth Rollins, Charlotte Aptitude, Roman Reigns)

Fan vote: Becky Lynch 30%, Seth Rollins 22%, AJ Types 18%, Johnny Gargano 14%, Finn Balor four%.

This was one of many hardest classes for me to select as a result of there are a whole lot of nice decisions. As I sat right here excited about, I needed to concentrate on who will get the loudest reactions from the followers on a constant foundation. That’s Becky Lynch, proper? I feel so. The crowds are so loud for her that they even chant her identify when she’s not even on the present. I don’t need to say she’s getting Steve Austin or The Rock degree ovations, however for this period, it’s spectacular to see how a lot the individuals like her. Plus, her work within the ring and on the microphone is nice sufficient that I can say she deserves this award.

If Johnny Gargano didn’t flip heel a number of months in the past I’ll have picked him for this as a result of he was the preferred man in NXT. I simply assume Becky has handed everyone on this class…I feel Types and Rollins are in an identical position on reverse exhibits besides Rollins isn’t in the primary title image on Uncooked. They’re each excellent at what they do with every man probably in these roles for the long run…Charlotte Aptitude is straightforward to love and backs up her performances within the ring…I’ve all the time appreciated Roman Reigns and he performed his position nicely regardless of what his critics might imagine.

 

14. BIGGEST NEWS STORY

The tales of the yr that we’ll all the time keep in mind when wanting again on the yr that was. Previous winners – 2017: Kurt Angle returning to WWE after 11 years away, 2016: WWE indicators 4 prime New Japan stars, 2015: Accidents decimate the roster, 2014: CM Punk leaving WWE, 2013: The WWE Community Nonetheless Isn’t Right here, 2012: Jerry Lawler’s coronary heart assault, 2011: The demise of Randy Savage, 2010: The departure of a number of huge names (Shawn Michaels), 2009: Shane McMahon leaves WWE

Winner: Roman Reigns saying he has leukemia (Runners-Up: WWE indicators two TV contracts value over $2 billion, Ronda Rousey indicators with WWE, Daniel Bryan returns to the ring)

When Roman Reigns stood within the ring on Uncooked on October 22 with the Common Title on his shoulder, he advised the world that he has leukemia (a type of most cancers) once more. Reigns informed the story of how he beat leukemia in his early 20s, however now it’s again and he has to go house to battle once more. I keep in mind sitting right here with a surprised look on my face as a result of I felt so unhappy for this man, who’s only a common man named Joe that has a spouse, a daughter and twin sons at house. No one is aware of if or when Roman will ever wrestle once more and that’s okay due to what he’s coping with. What we should always hope for is that he’s capable of stay an extended, regular life whether or not that’s within the wrestling ring or no matter else he might select to do. We miss you, Huge Canine. Maintain preventing.

The information of WWE signing a cope with USA Community to maintain Uncooked on there for 5 extra years and for Smackdown to maneuver to Fox for 5 years have been large. The two offers are value over $2 billion mixed, which meant an enormous improve over what WWE is presently getting. That drove the WWE inventory worth to as excessive because the $90 vary earlier this yr as nicely…Ronda Rousey becoming a member of WWE on the Royal Rumble was an enormous signing that helped to propel WWE’s ladies’s division all year long with Rousey rising as a headline act…Daniel Bryan’s return has been talked about a number of occasions on right here. It was a pleasant shock value celebrating for positive.

 

15. BEST INDIVIDUAL PROMO

To be given to the one promo that was one of the best within the final yr. It may possibly function multiple individual. Previous winners – 2017: Pageant of Friendship with Kevin Owens turning on Chris Jericho on Uncooked February 13, 2016: The Miz and Daniel Bryan on Speaking Smack, 2015: The Rock at WrestleMania 31, 2014: Daniel Bryan “Occupy Raw” nose to nose with Triple H @ Uncooked March 10, 2013: Mark Henry @ Uncooked June 17, 2012: Kane’s Speech at Anger Administration @ Uncooked August 27

Winner: Daniel Bryan’s announcement that he has been cleared to return @ Smackdown March 20 (Runner-up: Becky Lynch explains why she attacked Charlotte at SummerSlam @ Smackdown August 21)

Daniel Bryan’s “fight for your dreams” promo wasn’t only a nice professional wrestling promo, it was an superior speech for anyone that wants a decide me up for his or her life. I assumed Bryan was trustworthy, open and really entertaining when he talked about what it meant to have the ability to wrestle once more. He was grateful for the help, he thanked his spouse Brie Bella for pushing him and the entire thing was very inspirational. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that glad for a man throughout a wrestling promo, however when seeing his face and the gang react to him, it was lovely to see.

SummerSlam was when Becky Lynch began to get lots of momentum, so when she acquired within the ring on the following Smackdown to speak about why she attacked her greatest good friend Charlotte Aptitude, there was lots of strain on her to ship an ideal promo. I assumed Lynch did an superior job of explaining her actions whereas the followers have been hanging on her each phrase.

I might have picked a whole lot of issues for this as I point out yearly, however I felt like these two promos actually stood out probably the most.

 

16. BEST TURN

To be given to the most effective babyface or heel flip that benefitted the performer probably the most. Previous winners – 2017: Sami Zayn, 2016: AJ Types, 2015: The New Day, 2014: Seth Rollins, 2013: Randy Orton, 2012: Huge Present, 2011: Mark Henry, 2010: Kane, 2009: CM Punk

Winner: Daniel Bryan (Runner-Up: Dean Ambrose)

The concept behind greatest flip to honor anyone that switched roles and have become higher for it. The identify that instantly got here to thoughts was the “New” Daniel Bryan, who had only a respectable run as a babyface and has reworked himself into not simply one of the best heel, however one of the best general performer in WWE within the final two months. I actually appreciated the motivation for the flip with Bryan feeling like he needed to do it in an effort to win the WWE Title. As Bryan has stated, he did one low blow at one time to win a title, which exhibits that he’s sensible. I additionally take pleasure in his heel promos as an environmentalist that rips on the followers for not caring concerning the Earth like he does. It’s very entertaining to me.

I’m wanting ahead to extra of heel Dean Ambrose. I feel he’ll be extra snug within the position in the long run. The begin has been a bit sluggish, however as soon as he will get into some significant feuds he’ll do properly.

 

17. MOST IMPROVED PERFORMER

To be given to the performer that has proven probably the most enchancment within the final yr. Previous winners – 2017: Braun Strowman, 2016: The Miz, 2015: Bayley, 2014: Damien Mizdow, 2013: Roman Reigns, 2012: Ryback, 2011: Zack Ryder, 2010: Cody Rhodes, 2009: Kofi Kingston

Winner: Velveteen Dream (Runner-Up: Andrade “Cien” Almas)

I already praised Velveteen Dream lots earlier, so I’m not going to repeat myself an excessive amount of. I simply assume Dream improved this yr to the purpose the place he went from being a man that had potential to anyone that delivered a number of big matches at Takeover matches, which makes me consider in him as a future World Champion.

There are rumors that Almas is sad in WWE nowadays. I hope these rumors are false and that he sticks it out as a result of he’s obtained a variety of expertise. I can see him turning into the US Champion sooner or later in 2019 whereas a attainable primary occasion push might occur. He’s younger with a shiny future.

Any person may consider Becky Lynch as improved, however I don’t assume she qualifies. She was all the time nice. She has simply been given extra alternatives this yr, which she’s benefiting from.

 

18. BEST WEEKLY WWE TV SHOW

To be given to one of the best weekly WWE tv (or web) present. Previous winners – 2017: Smackdown, 2016: Smackdown, 2015: NXT, 2014: NXT, 2013: NXT.

Winner: NXT (Runner-Up: Smackdown Reside)

This has been the perfect yr in NXT historical past. I didn’t know if 2015 might be topped, however they did it because of an unimaginable roster of expertise that may be a good mixture of wrestling veterans working with youthful WWE expertise. I already touched on how superior Takeover exhibits have been with all 5 Takeover’s being higher than any fundamental roster PPV this yr. The weekly NXT present is excellent too. I don’t assessment it (shoutout to our NXT man Kurt Zamora), but when I did I feel the typical rating of NXT exhibits can be larger than Smackdown.

Smackdown has been fairly good for a lot of the yr. My weekly common rating for it’s 6.62 whereas Uncooked got here in at 5.62, so it exhibits that Smackdown is persistently higher.

Uncooked has by no means gained this award. I feel being three hours hurts it quite a bit. Good luck in 2019.

 

19. FUNNIEST MOMENT

To be given to the funniest second of the yr whether or not it was unintentional or on objective.

Winner: Titus O’Neil on the Biggest Royal Rumble

I simply created this award this yr as a result of I wanted to do one thing to honor the second when Titus O’Neil ran right down to the ring on the Biggest Royal Rumble, slipped on the mat and went immediately beneath the ring! I feel what’s most superb concerning the second is that even when he tried to recreate the spot, there’s no method it will look nearly as good as when he by chance slipped and fell. Titus was fortunate to not hit his head on the aspect of the apron and he additionally missed a tough half beneath the ring as a result of there are items of metallic down there that may actually harm if anyone went into it. Kudos to Titus for with the ability to giggle about it as properly. He’s an awesome man.

There isn’t any runner-up right here. The “Titus World-slide” spot is by far the winner.

 

20. STUPIDEST BOOKING DECISION

To be given to the stupidest selection made by WWE’s artistic staff. Previous winners – 2017: Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion

Winner: Brock Lesnar as Common Champion for method too lengthy (Runner-up: WWE Championship headlined solely one of many 15 WWE PPVs this yr, Baron Corbin as the facility-hungry GM on Uncooked)

Brock Lesnar’s first reign as WWE Common Champion lasted from April 2017 till SummerSlam 2018. The expectation was that Lesnar would drop the title to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania this yr, however Vince McMahon determined to vary his thoughts and maintain it on his absentee champion Brock. When Reigns needed to vacate the title due to leukemia, most of us figured it was lastly Braun Strowman’s time as Common Champion. Nope. It went again to Brock…once more. I’m not right here to whine about Brock the individual as a result of I respect a man that will get the perfect deal attainable even when it solely means wrestling on TV lower than ten occasions a yr. My grievance is with Vince McMahon and his artistic staff deciding to harm Uncooked by having an absentee Common Champion for 9 out of the twelve months this yr.

The solely time the WWE Championship was in the primary occasion of a PPV this yr was Fastlane in March and that was solely as a result of it was the final Smackdown-solely PPV of the yr. The WWE Title is meant to be probably the most coveted prize within the enterprise. It might be good if WWE remembered that.

I feel Baron Corbin might be remembered as one of many worst on-display GMs (or “guys in charge” if you wish to use that label) that there’s ever been as a result of the final two or three months of Uncooked have been so dangerous. As soon as once more, it’s not the fault of the performer. It’s the artistic workforce. They did a poor job.

 

21. BEST FINISHING MOVE

To be given to one of the best ending transfer in WWE. Previous winners – 2017: Eclipse by Ember Moon, 2016: Types Conflict by AJ Types, 2015: Popup Powerbomb by Kevin Owens, 2014: Purple Arrow by Neville, 2013: Neutralizer by Cesaro, 2012: Neutralizer by Cesaro

Winner: Eclipse by Ember Moon (Runners-Up: Insane Elbow by Kairi Sane, Shatter Machine by The Revival, 054 by Mustafa Ali)

This was within the “minor” awards for a number of years, so it’s time to raise it. Ember Moon is a repeat winner as a result of I feel it’s such a cool spot together with her opponent surprised within the ring in a standing place, Moon goes up and jumps off together with her distinctive model of the Stunner. A few of the ladies promote it properly, in order that helps too. It’s a transfer that’s all the time going to generate an enormous pop for Moon and I feel it makes her stand out.

 

22. BEST ANNOUNCER

To be given to the most effective announcer in WWE. It could possibly be a play by play or analyst. Previous winners – 2017: Corey Graves, 2016: Corey Graves, 2015: Corey Graves, 2014: John Bradshaw Layfield, 2013: John Bradshaw Layfield, 2012: John Bradshaw Layfield, 2011: Booker T, 2010: Matt Striker, 2009: Jim Ross.

Winner: Mauro Ranallo (Runner-Up: Corey Graves)

I’m going with Mauro Ranallo as a result of he’s the voice of NXT and I really like the real ardour he has for the enterprise. It was such an incredible yr of NXT with Ranallo serving as a key a part of it by placing over the rivalries one of the simplest ways potential. A few of the calls he made in the course of the Gargano/Ciampa rivalry have been epic. I feel Uncooked or Smackdown would profit from Ranallo because the play by play man, however I feel he hated the weekly journey, so being in NXT is the correct place for him.

As you possibly can see from the previous winners listed, I like Corey Graves quite a bit too. I feel that Corey is saying on WWE TV for 5 hours every week (plus extra in PPV weeks) exhibits how a lot religion WWE has in him to do a great job. He’s a heel announcer more often than not, however I want he was much more heelish the best way Bobby Heenan or Jerry Lawler have been of their prime.

 

23. COMEBACK OF THE YEAR

To be given to any person getting back from an damage or another situation that stored them away. This can be a new award beginning this yr.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa (Runners-Up: Drew McIntyre, Dean Ambrose)

I returned to the ring eight months in the past.

eight months. WOW!!!

Typically I even amaze myself.

Spherical of applause for The Champ. pic.twitter.com/pejs2kKKFo

— BLACKHEART (@ProjectCiampa) December eight, 2018

The present NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa was sidelined for the second half of 2017 with a torn ACL in his knee. He got here again robust to start out this yr and had the match of the yr at NXT Takeover New Orleans in April, which was his first match again because the damage. He was additionally the most effective heel this yr, which I discussed earlier. I feel it exhibits how robust this man is and the way superior of a performer he’s too.

Drew McIntyre was launched from WWE in 2014 after he was referred to as a future World Champion about 5 years earlier. The 3MB group that he was part of have been handled like a joke and McIntyre was as stale as anyone in WWE. He left for 3 years, improved as an all-round expertise, turned NXT Champion in 2017, misplaced the title, obtained harm and debuted on Uncooked after WrestleMania. Since then, McIntyre has been top-of-the-line performers in WWE and is any person that I might label as a future World Champion in 2019. There are a variety of guys on the present roster that ought to take a look at McIntyre as an inspiration as a result of a few of them are doing nothing like he was. Drew has proven us how exhausting work pays off.

Dean Ambrose missed eight months after having arm surgical procedure final December. At one level, Ambrose had a staph an infection and virtually died from it, which exhibits simply how critical it was. Ambrose got here again in the perfect form of his profession with followers instantly noticing he was extra muscular than ever. Ambrose deserves plenty of credit score for busting his ass to return wanting nearly as good as he ever has.

 

24. BEST WWE NETWORK SHOW

To be given to the most effective present on WWE Community that isn’t only a reside wrestling present. It needs to be one thing totally different. Previous winners – 2017: WWE 24, 2016: Edge & Christian Present, 2015: Breaking Floor.

Winner: WWE Chronicle (Runners-Up: One thing Else to Wrestle With, Edge & Christian Present)

There have been 4 episodes of WWE Chronicle this yr and I assumed they have been all excellent. They adopted a WWE celebrity round previous to an enormous match or second. The episodes targeted on Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose and Becky Lynch. Of the 4, I assumed the Ambrose episode was the most effective as a result of it confirmed him throughout his rehab from arm surgical procedure and he was actually candid about a variety of issues. Listening to Lynch speaking about her rise to the highest this yr was cool too. I like to recommend checking these out in case you have by no means seen them.

As a fan of the Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson podcast, it was good to see “Something Else to Wrestle With” seem on WWE Community. I feel the podcast is best than the WWE Community present, nevertheless it’s nonetheless cool to get much more content material from them speaking about numerous issues in historical past on WWE Community. I loved the Rise of The Rock and Mega Powers Explode episodes probably the most.

It was good to see the Edge & Christian Present return this yr with extra episodes coming subsequent yr. I’ve an analogous humorousness as my fellow Canadians, so I take pleasure in it. A number of the content material is silly, however I benefit from the smartass feedback and inside jokes rather a lot. They do a great job with it.

 

25. MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT

To be given to probably the most memorable second of the yr. Previous winners – 2017: Hardy Boyz return to WWE at WrestleMania, 2016: AJ Types debuts at Royal Rumble, 2015: Seth Rollins turns into WWE Champion at WrestleMania 31, 2014: The Undertaker’s undefeated streak ends at WrestleMania 30 when he loses to Brock Lesnar, 2013: Daniel Bryan wins WWE Title resulting in heel Triple H/Orton, 2012: Brock Lesnar’s Return April 2 on Uncooked, 2011: CM Punk’s Promo June 27 on Uncooked, 2010 winner: Bret & Shawn embrace within the ring, 2009 winner: The Undertaker/Michaels match

Winner: Daniel Bryan declares his return to the ring after three years away (Runners-up: Becky Lynch assaults Ronda Rousey on Uncooked)

I already coated the Daniel Bryan return promo earlier within the awards. I nonetheless keep in mind sitting round that afternoon and studying some spoiler about how there can be an announcement from Bryan. He already did the unhappy speech in February 2016, so I figured it needed to be one thing good and it was. I’m so glad Bryan is again in a WWE ring. He re-signed with WWE late this yr to work much less stay occasions, so I hope he can have a number of extra wholesome years forward of him. His return put a smile on my face greater than anything in WWE this yr.

So WWE’s primary second from RAW in 2018 was when The Man from Smackdown got here round for 10 minutes and destroyed their champion? Give me all of the titles. Particularly yours, Ronnie. pic.twitter.com/HNXVnNIAs5

— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 27, 2018

The rise of Becky Lynch was the most effective tales of 2018 as nicely. I feel when it comes to an angle, Becky and the Smackdown ladies invading Uncooked previous to Survivor Collection was an superior angle. It’s too dangerous that Lynch suffered a damaged nostril and a concussion on account of a tough punch to the face from Nia Jax, however it might work out for the perfect if WWE saves the primary Lynch vs. Rousey match for WrestleMania subsequent yr. Doing it at Survivor Collection would have been cool, however WrestleMania is best.

I do know that the leukemia announcement from Roman Reigns was memorable too, however I like to think about this as a constructive award or one thing that pertains to a wrestling angle. That’s why I don’t have it right here.  

That’s all for the awards. Two of the most important classes I eliminated have been “Worst Match” and “Best Video Package” as a result of I discovered them troublesome to decide on yearly.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON WWE IN 2018

Since I all the time wish to fee the exhibits out of 10, how a few score for the yr? Right here’s how I rated the final 9 years.

2009: 5.5

2010: 5

2011: 7

2012: 7

2013: 6.5

2014: 5.5

2015: 5.5

2016: 6.5

2017: 6

I’m going with a 6 out of 10 for 2018 identical to final yr.

The method I see it’s Smackdown had a mean rating of 6.62 whereas Uncooked had a 5.62 and I don’t assessment NXT, nevertheless it was excellent this yr particularly with Takeover exhibits. What was irritating about this yr in WWE have been the shortage of massive angles and having a scarcity of faces to actually root for. I feel the artistic group had a poor yr, particularly on the Uncooked aspect. Smackdown wasn’t dangerous creatively, however that they had a greater yr in 2016.

There are in all probability individuals studying this saying I’m too good with that 6 out of 10 rating as a result of they assume the WWE product is horrible, however actually, it’s not that dangerous. Individuals complain about issues greater than ever earlier than, in all probability as a result of we’re on the web and haven’t any cause to fret about someone kicking our ass for saying one thing is dangerous. I wish to assume I’m fairly truthful in my evaluations. I feel immediately’s wrestling fan is more durable than ever to please, but when the exhibits are nice (like a Takeover for instance), we have fun it and keep in mind why we’re followers within the first place. The actuality is we get so many good matches on a constant foundation on PPVs, Takeover exhibits and a few on TV as properly that we take them without any consideration.

With all of that stated, I might like to see WWE have a yr the place I can simply give it a 7 out of 10 or larger. I feel the artistic workforce can do quite a bit higher and I hope that their guarantees of “new” modifications going into 2019 imply a greater product. The expertise on the roster is excellent though I don’t assume there’s a standout when it comes to a draw that’s going to promote plenty of tickets or deliver again followers to observe the TV exhibits.

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I maintain this half in yearly: That is my favourite column to put in writing yearly. In case you’re a type of people who reads loads of my work with out writing that is a type of occasions the place I’m asking on your ideas as a result of I need to know what you assume. Don’t be shy. I reply to just about each e-mail. It’s also possible to contact me on Twitter or Fb – the hyperlinks to these are on the backside of the submit.

Thanks to my good pal Steve Melo for the banner on the prime of this publish. He additionally does the banners for each considered one of my columns together with the all the time enjoyable “preferred” Uncooked Deal banners, Smackdown banners, PPV banners and extra.

I want you all a protected and Completely satisfied New Yr in 2019. Subsequent yr is 20 years since I began doing this. I did take a break within the mid-2000s, nevertheless it’s been full time for the previous ten years with the Uncooked Deal beginning in 2009. I’ll hold writing and I hope you’ll maintain studying.

As I stated, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My contact information is under. Thanks a lot for studying!

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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