WWE has officially taped every show for 2011. Everything that will air on television is in the books, ending with Friday Night Smackdown in two days. With that being said, it is time to hand out a few awards.
Today, I am going to recall the best WWE Superstars of the past 12 months. Everything from in-ring skills, to promos, to impact on the business, to the stories is involved here. Let's do this!
Note: These are just my opinions, and I take into account the entire year! Here are a few honorable mentions: Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, Big Show and Zack Ryder!
Remember the "Dashing One"? Or even his grooming tips every week? How about his tag team title reign with Drew Mcintyre? Yes, some of that was in 2010, but it just shows how far he has come in the past year.
He is the current Intercontinental Champion. He is having a great feud with a future WWE Hall of Famer in Booker T, and his character has officially evolved. The mask is gone. His promos are much less "goofy" than before.
His look is perfect for WWE. He has all the tools to make an even bigger splash in this industry come 2012. I await anxiously to see what he has in store for the next 12 months.
Best Moment: Defeating Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania
There are a few things that hurt Christian's ranking in my mind. First, he missed the beginning part of the year. He just made an impact in February. Then he was not even in a match at WrestleMania.
That is the biggest show of the year, and he spent the night in the corner of Edge. Sorry!
He rebounded nicely with a great summer spent feuding with Randy Orton over the World Title. After that, he was the perfect opponent for Sheamus to beat a few times in a row.
Sadly, his year came to a screeching halt after that. He spent a few shows showing off his injuries with a neck brace and crutches, but it amounted to nothing. This was easily the best year in the WWE career of Christian, and I enjoyed it.
Best Moment: Winning his first (TNA does not count) World Title
Yes, he is getting a nice spot on my list. Remember, it is my opinion, nobody else's.
Love him or hate, but he is the game! Triple H did not have many matches in 2011, but he certainly had an eventful year. It all began on 2-21-11, and it ended at WWE TLC by beating up Kevin Nash in an entertaining brawl.
In between, he had fired Vince McMahon, ran Raw and also had a some fun interactions with CM Punk and John Cena (among others). Again, it was not a year filled with classic matches or even many great promos, but everyone was talking about him throughout the past 12 months.
Best Moment: His awesome feud/match with Undertaker
I was at the Raw episode where he called us "Green Bay," instead of "Milwaukee." Trust me! Everybody noticed it right away, but it took awhile for the chants to begin.
Outside of that, Truth had a breakout year. Some could argue this was also his best year ever. He turned heel on John Morrison. He had a main event run with John Cena and the WWE Title.
He even formed a tag team with The Miz. They were the "Awesome Truth" for awhile, but the biggest moment came at Survivor Series. He was in Madison Square Garden facing The Rock.
That overshadows the "Little Jimmy" promos. That is better than beating Cena in a Tables match. Nothing comes close to what he did at Survivor Series. Amazing year for Truth!
Best Moment: Facing The Rock in New York City at Survivor Series
Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble.
Alberto Del Rio was in the World Title match at WrestleMania.
He won the Money in the Bank briefcase.
He won the WWE Championship twice.
All in the past year!
I really do not have to say much else here. He has a great ring announcer. Del Rio put on some good matches all year, and his entire gimmick is great for WWE.
Best Moment: Winning his first WWE Title at SummerSlam
Hate Me Now!
That entire promo for WrestleMania made that night. I enjoyed the event back in April, but that three-minute promo may be one of WWE's best.
The Miz proved everybody wrong and was in the main event of WrestleMania. He did it. Debate it all you want, but the man has "it." His past is well known, but he was officially a top star in the wrestling business.
He did not stop there, either. After a great feud with Cena, he tried to help out Alex Riley to mixed results. He formed an excellent team with Truth, and he even got a few more interactions in the ring with The Rock. This man has brought the goods all year, and a face turn in the future will only hep his career!
Best Moment: Pinning John Cena to close WrestleMania
Yes, John Cena had a great year again. The fact that many fans do not appreciate his talents in 2011 is just disheartening. I have said it many times, but you don't know what you got until it's gone.
When John Cena retires, a lot of fans in the WWE Universe are going to realize how much of an asset he was to the company. Not only for money. Not only for promos. Not only for the mainstream appeal. Not only for the matches. Everything!
John is the "man" in this business and will be for another five years. Year in and year out, he does exceptional work for WWE and gets next to zero credit. I never understood, and I likely never will.
Have your favorites. Have your least favorites. Just respect every talent.
Cena is the top talent in this industry.
Best Moment: Everything he does for WWE
Many will give this man the top honor of the year, but I try to be realistic.
The man's first six months were nothing to write home about. I can't just discredit that because of the past few months. Sorry!
He lost at the following PPV event this year: Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania, Extreme Rules, Over the Limit, SummerSlam, Night of Champions and Vengeance.
He won at the following PPV events this year: Capitol Punishment, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and TLC.
I know it is pro wrestling, and wins and losses do not matter much, but you see my point. His entire face run has been great for his career. During the first half though? Not much to speak of.
Bets Moment: Facing John Cena in Chicago at Money in the Bank
His last few weeks hurt him. Seeing Mark Henry limp around the arena is just sad. Give him a rest to help heal up, please! I will say this—if he was healthy and still World Champion, he would be getting the top spot!
That being said, his first three months consisted of nothing. It was not until his heel turn in April that he really made his intentions known. He was going to be a World Champion no matter what. There was nothing stopping him from proving all of his critics wrong.
His entire summer run was excellent. He beat local talent. He beat John Morrison. He beat Sheamus. He beat Big Show, Kane, Khali and everybody else. It all brought him to a title match against Randy Orton at Night of Champions in September.
Of course, there were still doubters out there. There always will be. That is just the nature of life. Either way, cynics were quickly made into believes when he won the World Title and had a great reign.
Henry completely solidified his WWE career, and it makes me proud to have been a fan over the years. As I said earlier, the beginning and end of 2011 hurt his ranking, but the rest more than made up for the year. Get well, big man!
Best Moment: Winning his first World Title at Night of Champions
I debated back and forth between Henry and Orton, but the choice was clear the past few weeks.
Randy Orton was the top star in this business for 2011. I do wonder what his 2012 will be like, but that is not the topic here. This is about the past 12 months, and they belonged to Mr. RKO! He didn't need titles. He didn't need wins every week. He didn't need to be the center of attention every show.
From his feud with The Miz for the WWE title, to (rightfully) beating CM Punk at two PPV events in a row, to (rightfully) beating Christian for the World title twice during the summer months, to (rightfully) putting over Mark Henry clean many times, to (rightfully) helping Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett gain some footing heading into the new year.
Notice what I discussed there? Everything Orton did in 2011 was right. I can't argue with a single outcome he was involved with. You add in a move to Smackdown. You add in great matches every single month. You add in some wonderful feuds. You add in a "cool" character, and you add in one epic finisher!
You have Randy Orton, the WWE Superstar of the Year!
Best Moment: His entire 2011 for WWE
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