Hi! My name is Bryan, and I like the pro wrestling and MMA. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have signed up to write articles for this website. I’ve been watching since 1999, but I’ve become such a huge nerd I’ve been watching everything and anything pro wrestling, even getting into Mid South and Memphis wrestling in the last couple of years or so. My interests vary and are pretty in depth, so I can get into whatever type of wrestling’s out there. I like a lot of stuff, in other words, and hopefully that’ll be evident in the coming weeks. Looking forward to being part of the site, and if you want to follow me on twitter you can do that at @br26.
So enough introductions (because I’m just terrible at them), let’s get to the PRO GRAPS TALK. We’re now just entering July, meaning six months have already come and gone in 2013 with six more months to go. And after these upcoming six months people are going to be putting about a bunch of awards and such for their favorite matches, wrestlers, events, and so forth. So here today I’ll list my current favorites to win these aforementioned awards, taken from the Wrestling Observer website. So without further ado…let’s get to it!
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Hiroshi Tanahashi has been tremendous this year, and I don’t see anyone else aside from Kazuchika Okada who deserves the award for these last six months. From the great Tokyo Dome match to his awesome fight with Karl Anderson to the spectacular third match with Okada at the Invasion Attack iPPV, Tanahashi has been able to deliver every time he’s in the main event and truly qualifies to be considered as one of the top workers that the business has today, bar none.
MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Hiroshi Tanahashi. See above.
BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW: I’m going to have to say The Rock. His match with John Cena was the one that brought about 80,000 people to Metlife Stadium this year. That’s easily going to be the biggest show of the year in either MMA or pro wrestling, so it’s only logical that The Rock will still be in the running for this one by December.
FEUD OF THE YEAR: Well, storyline wise nothing much is going on in WWE, and TNA is TNA, so that leaves New Japan where Tanahashi and Okada had two excellent matches, and are destined to face each other once again by the end of the year (or at least at the 2014 Tokyo Dome show). I might be coming off as a mark for gushing over these two, but if you’ve seen New Japan Pro Wrestling you can easily see why.
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR: Does The Shield count as a tag team? I don’t care because that’s who I’m going with. They’ve not only been booked strong, but also have had tremendous matches everywhere they do. From the awesome TLC match at the December PPV to their really fun series of matches with Team Hell No on WWE television, all three of these guys are awesome and one of the top acts in WWE right now.
MOST IMPROVED: I don’t know if it’s because of his push or what, but I’ve been noticing how good Tomohiro Ishii of New Japan has been recently. He used to just be a guy in the opener multi man tag team matches but now he’s really fun to watch and is as stiff as can be.
BEST ON INTERVIEWS: I think Bully Ray has this one in the bag thus far. Since embracing this new character he’s done really well, but once he became TNA champion he became really interesting and saved the Aces and Eights angle from being a total and complete flop. There’s always a case with CM Punk, and he’s always comfortable on the mic, but when I think of what Bully’s done and what Punk’s done this year I think Bully’s promos have stood out far more.
MOST CHARISMATIC: Shinsuke Nakamura of New Japan. I don’t know what is, but he is oozing charisma every time I see him enter the ring. The thing with charisma is you know it when you see it. With Nakamura, I instantly see it and I know he’s a major star. Of course, if The Rock makes his way back to the WWE later this year this can completely change. There’s no one with Rock’s charisma; he’s simply in a different class than anyone out there.
BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER: To me, being the best technical wrestler means you can go in there, with anyone, and have a great match. Daniel Bryan has done a great job doing that thus far. Every match he’s been in this year has ranged from good to great. Hell, he gave Ryback one of the best matches of his career a few weeks ago. He might not be having match of the year candidates every time he steps out there, but he can have a great match with pretty much anyone on the WWE roster.
BEST BRAWLER: Katsuyori Shibata of New Japan. He works a shoot style that’s really interesting to watch as it’s different than anything out there today. He also has had some of the stiffest matches in New Japan, especially against Hirooki Goto in the last couple of months. If you watch the last match these two had on the last New Japan iPPV, you can see why I chose this guy- he’s stiff and awesome all at the same time.
BEST FLYING: I have no idea actually. In WWE, no one stands out because Sin Cara doesn’t have a push and Rey Mysterio is injured. TNA’s X-Divison is a joke. New Japan I haven’t seen too much of singles junior matches (haven’t seen anything from Best of the Super Juniors yet). I’ll get back to you on this one.
MOST OVERRATED: The Miz. I thought when Miz eventually would do the face turn that he would get over pretty quickly because he has the kind of look and catchphrases that can get him over. But then he turned on a whim for no real reason and just proceeded to suck the life out of every segment he’s in. For me, at least, it’s change the channel heat or lose interest very quickly heat when he’s on the TV. Just a really bad babyface who should probably go back to being heel stat.
MOST UNDERRATED: Antonio Cesaro. Yes, he has the new push with Zeb Coulter, but before then he was jobbing to R-Truth. Name the last relevant R-Truth feud. From what I’ve heard, Cesaro has been labeled ‘boring’ by WWE management. These are the same people who repackaged Curtis Axel and gave him Paul Heyman. Why Cesaro has his manager and why Axel has his manager I have no idea. Well, actually I do, but it’s kind of disappointing so let’s not think about that.
PROMOTION OF THE YEAR: New Japan Pro Wrestling, easily. Each iPPV has had some tremendous matches, one on each show being match of the year quality stuff. In terms of in-ring action there’s no one that can touch the streak New Japan has right now.
BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW: Raw. Yes, three hours is a long time, but there’s always some good wrestling thanks to the likes of Daniel Bryan, The Shield and so forth.
MATCH OF THE YEAR: Tanahashi/Okada from the Invasion Attack PPV in April. This was the fourth match in their series and it was better than the last three, which is kind of amazing because the other three were awesome matches. Just great back and forth stuff, going about 30 minutes before Okada finally laid out Tanahashi and regained the IWGP heavyweight championship. A must see if you haven’t already.
BEST NON-WRESTLER: Paul Heyman. He’s incredible on promos and has done a tremendous job with Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. He has a ways to go with Curtis Axel, but if anyone can get him over, it’s going to be Heyman.
BEST ANNOUNCER: Can no one win? Nobody’s really all that good. I think JR still does announcing for NXT, so let’s go with that.
WORST ANNOUNCER: Jerry Lawler. Absolutely adds nothing to the product. I’m glad he’s healthy and I hope he lives another 40 years but he is so completely stale and uninteresting I don’t even know what compels him to still be going out there on a weekly basis.
BEST MAJOR WRESTLING SHOW: WrestleKingdom 7. This year’s Tokyo Dome show from New Japan is going to be hard to top not only this year, but for many, many years. This was easily one of the best cards I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched too much pro wrestling for my own good.
And that’s my 2013 so far. New Japan has had a tremendous 2013, and if they keep up the momentum they have right now they’ll make my end of the year awards a lot easier to pick. Not that New Japan is the only promotion with some cool stuff; WWE has had some great matches in the past few months and their roster is packed with great talent. Only problem, and it’s kind of a big one, is that none of their storylines make any sense and they make no effort to correct it. TNA isn’t bad, but there’s been nothing that great either. Same for ROH but on a lesser scale. Some good talent in ROH, but no one that compells me to actually buy a iPPV, which from what it sounds like is a good choice on my end anyway.
That will do it for me this week. Leave any comments for me below and I’ll be back next week!