Power Ranking the Top 10 Best Moments in WWE Slammy Awards History
This Monday, Dec. 9, WWE will present the Slammy Awards live on Raw for the sixth consecutive year. Only six days before the highly anticipated WWE TLC pay-per-view, it will interesting to see what WWE has in store for the event.
The Slammy Awards were first introduced in 1986 before becoming an annual fixture on Raw in 2008. While the event is often known for its "prestigious" awards, it has also played host to some of the more memorable moments in WWE history, including the initial airing of Vince McMahon's "Stand Back" music video in 1987.
Not only are the year's most beloved matches and Superstars finally recognized, but the Slammy Awards have also been the place to see stars from the past and present clash. With Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Christian and Eve already announced to appear this coming Monday night, there is no doubt in my mind that the strong streak of exciting returns will continue with this year's installment.
Here, I will rank the top 10 best moments in the modern history of the Slammy Awards dating back to 2008 (WWE already constructed a countdown for 1986 through 1997). Ranking criteria will include the moment's lasting impact, shock value and overall enjoyability.
10. CM Punk Threatens John Cena (2010)
In October 2010, CM Punk was sidelined from active competition with a hip injury, but he resurfaced on Raw the following month in the form of a commentator. On the November 22 edition of Raw, he ridiculed John Cena, who had been "fired" from the WWE the night prior at Survivor Series, for interfering in the main event match despite no longer being under contract with the company.
This trend continued to occur in subsequent weeks, with Cena randomly showing up on Raw and Punk exclaiming that he had no right to be there. Many would argue that the true start of the storied Cena-Punk feud began when Cena spilled Punk's diet soda by accident.
At the 2010 Slammy Awards, Punk won the Despicable Me award for singing "Happy Birthday" to Rey Mysterio's daughter earlier in the year. During his subsequent speech, Punk made mention of someone who wronged him, and that there would come a day that he would get even.
One week later on Raw, Punk shockingly ambushed Cena with a steel chair, revealing him as the person who he was referring to in his tirade. The two went on to have one of the greatest feuds in modern history.
9. The Boogeyman Returns (2012)
You can't talk about the scariest Superstars in the history of the WWE without mentioning The Boogeyman. The worm-eating individual roamed the WWE for four years before being unceremoniously released in March 2009.
The Boogeyman hadn't been seen in WWE since. That was, however, until the 2012 Slammy Awards.
Before Booker T could announce the winner of the "Tell Me" I Did Not Just See That award, he was interrupted by the music of The Boogeyman, who walked down the ramp with his signature clock in hand. The character's rich history with Booker T from 2006 made the moment all the more fitting.
8. Road Dogg Returns (2011)
A member of one of the original incarnations of D-Generation X, Road Dogg made waves in the WWE during his tenure in the Attitude Era. He and Billy Gunn, collectively known as The New Age Outlaws, are widely considered one of the greatest tag teams in company history.
He departed WWE in 2001 and went on to have a lengthy run in TNA shortly thereafter. Upon leaving the Nashville-based organization, Road Dogg made his first appearance on WWE television in nearly a decade at the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame, inducting his father "Bullet" Bob Armstrong into the prestigious hall.
Later that year, he re-signed with WWE as an agent and made his return to Raw at the 2011 Slammy Awards as the presenter of the Pipebomb of the Year award. The live crowd exploded upon hearing his music hit and the former multi-time tag team champion went on to deliver some of his old catchphrases.
The reaction he evoked from the audience that night was the catalyst in earning him entry into the 2012 Royal Rumble match that January. Road Dogg appeared at the Slammy Awards the following year alongside Billy Gunn (and will be appearing again this coming Monday night), but his return to the flagship show in 2011 will not soon be forgotten.
7. Batista Interrupts Maria's Acceptance Speech (2009)
The award for Diva of the Year at the 2009 Slammy Awards was to be determined via an online fan vote. Despite doing nothing of note at the time, Maria still won the poll and was named the 2009 Diva of the Year.
Maria's acceptance speech didn't last long, though, as it was cut short at the hands of Batista. Batista, who had lost to The Undertaker the night prior at WWE TLC, aired his grievances and claimed to be screwed out of the World Heavyweight Championship.
After ranting for a minute or so, Batista was escorted out of the arena by security. Obviously, this segment was designed to spoof Kayne West's interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Awards, although I personally believe putting Batista in the role of West made it more entertaining.
6. Lita Returns (2011)
A four-time Women's Champion, Lita is considered one of the greatest women's wrestlers in WWE history. However, some would say that her departure from the company at 2006's Survivor Series was poorly handled and in bad taste.
Aside from a one-off appearance at Raw's 15th Anniversary show, Lita had largely disappeared from WWE programming. That being said, her return to Raw at the 2011 Slammy Awards felt that much more monumental when she presented the award for Diva of the Year.
I'm not sure if her handing the Slammy to Kelly Kelly was WWE's idea of Lita passing the torch, as the blonde bombshell was gone from the company less than a year later.
5. Tommy Dreamer Returns (2012)
At 2012's WWE TLC pay-per-view, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz were challenged to an impromptu six-man tag team match by 3MB. Del Rio and Miz enlisted hometown hero The Brooklyn Brawler to be their tag team partner, ultimately defeating the rock star trio.
A rematch was made for the next night's Slammy Awards edition of Raw in Philadelphia, but the unlikely alliance of Del Rio and Miz were in need of a new partner. Stepping up to the plate was none other than Tommy Dreamer, who hadn't wrestled in a WWE ring since December 2009.
In the end, Dreamer led his team to victory after planting Heath Slater with a devastating DDT. It was nice to see the Hardcore Legend return to the town that is known as the home of the original ECW.
4. Shawn Michaels Challenges Undertaker to a Match at WrestleMania 26 (2009)
At the 2009 Slammy Awards, Shawn Michaels' epic confrontation with Undertaker from WrestleMania 25 was nominated for Match of the Year. Unsurprisingly, the match won the award and Michaels accepted the Slammy on Undertaker's behalf.
During his acceptance speech, Michaels made mention of the fact that he still hadn't given up on his goal of defeating 'Taker at WrestleMania and putting an end to his undefeated streak. It was at that moment that HBK threw down the gauntlet and challenged The Deadman to one more match on the grandest stage of them all.
This jump-started what would be a beautiful build-up to one of the greatest and most anticipated rematches in the history of WrestleMania.
3. Big E Langston Makes His Debut (2012)
At the conclusion of 2012's WWE TLC pay-per-view, AJ Lee turned on John Cena and cost him his Ladder match against Dolph Ziggler. This led to a mixed tag team match on the next night's Slammy Awards edition of Raw, pitting AJ and Ziggler against Cena and Vickie Guerrero.
In the final few minutes of the match, AJ randomly left the ring and made her way to the back, leaving Ziggler to fend for himself against both Cena and Vickie. However, she returned to ringside shortly thereafter with a monster of a man in tow: Big E Langston.
Langston approached the squared circle and laid out Cena with his finishing manuever. The show strangely closed with Langston standing over the motionless body of the Cenation leader as AJ skipped in circles around them.
Prior to making his Raw debut, Langston was a standout in NXT who had been undefeated in singles competition. He, AJ and Ziggler went on to form a faction that would last a whopping seven months before Langston broke out on his own and eventually won the Intercontinental Championship.
2. Masked Kane Returns and Targets John Cena (2011)
On the July 22, 2011 edition of SmackDown, Mark Henry inducted Kane into his Hall of Pain by injuring his leg, similar to what he had done to Big Show the week prior. WWE announced shortly thereafter that Kane would be out of action for an undisclosed amount of time.
That November, vignettes began airing hyping the "resurrection" of Kane, foreshadowing that The Big Red Monster might return to sporting a mask for the first time in nearly a decade. However, it was still unclear as to when exactly he would be back and who he would be setting his sights on.
The main event match at the 2011 Slammy Awards saw John Cena battle then-World Heavyweight champion Mark Henry. In the midst of the match, the lights went out, and once they came back on, a masked Kane was seen standing at the top of the ramp.
Initially, it appeared that Kane would be targeting Henry, which would have only made sense given that Henry was the one who took him out in the first place. Instead, Kane delivered a chokeslam to Cena and revealed his frightening new mask to close the show.
After eight long years, Kane had finally returned to being the monster that we all knew and loved...and were afraid of. Kane would don the mask for another two years, engaging in feuds with the likes of Randy Orton, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
1. Ric Flair Returns (2012)
After being punted in the head by Randy Orton on the June 1, 2009 edition of Raw, Ric Flair disappeared from WWE programming and later jumped ship to TNA in January 2010. Following his quiet departure from the Nashville-based organization in May 2012, fans longed to see Flair back in a WWE ring, especially after his one-off appearance at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony earlier that year.
Reports indicated that Flair was bound to be back in WWE at some point, but no one was ever really sure of when it would be. Thus, his shocking return at the 2012 Slammy Awards made for one of the most memorable and mounmental moments in recent history.
Flair was the presenter for the Superstar of the Year award, and although John Cena was the victor, he gave up his Slammy award to Flair because he believed he was the rightful winner (despite the fact Flair hadn't appeared on WWE TV in over three years).
This brought out an enraged CM Punk, who made a strong case for being the Superstar of the Year after reigning as WWE champion for all of 2012. The two engaged in a heated verbal exchange that saw Flair challenge Punk to a fight right in the middle of the ring.
Although Punk and Paul Heyman had Flair outnumbered, The Nature Boy still got the better of the duo and locked in the Figure Four on Heyman. Moments later, the music of The Shield hit the arena, and the rogue group circled the ring.
Before The Shield could inflict any major damage on Flair, the unlikely trio of Ryback, Sheamus and Randy Orton made the save and fended off The Hounds of Justice. The segment closed with Flair raising the hands of Ryback, Sheamus and Orton.
It was a long time coming, but the WWE Hall of Famer was finally back on Raw. He made another two appearances in January and March, respectively, but he hasn't appeared on the flagship show since.
What other major stars might return at this year's Slammy Awards? Don't agree with what was featured on this list?
Be sure to sound off in the comments section below and include any additional moments I might have accidentally omitted. As always, your criticism and overall feedback of my latest piece is welcomed and greatly appreciated.
Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.