2009 Year End Awards: Wrestling
Earlier, I counted down my top 10 wrestlers of the year. Now, with New Years Eve on the horizon, it's time to run down the best promotion, match, biggest surprise, biggest disappointment, and more. Have fun and please leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Biggest Surprise of the Year:
The Tragic in Ring Death of Mitsuharu Misawa
This sent shock waves through the wrestling world. Seeing someone pass away in the ring during a match is something no one can prepare themselves for. With so many wrestlers dying due to drug related events, we've grown somewhat accustomed to hearing the sad news of wrestlers passing away. The death of Misawa shook his home of Pro Wrestling NOAH, as well as Japan as a whole, to it's core.
Honorable Mention: Hulk Hogan Joins TNA Wrestling
Breakout Star of the Year:
Kofi Kingston (World Wrestling Entertainment)
In my top 10 wrestlers of the year article, I already mentioned that Kofi was my choice for breakout star. A lot of people may pick Davey Richards, as he sky rocketed in ROH this year but really he broke out in 2006.
Kofi was sent from ECW to RAW and took the ball and ran with it. He elevated himself to a level that surprised many of us. He started cutting serious promos but still had the fun style inside the ring that made him popular to begin with. Kofi should continue to rise in 2010, hopefully all the way to the top.
Honorable Mention: Sheamus (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Rookie of the Year:
This was hard to pick, as neither of the big promotions had anyone truly new to wrestling come in and make a big splash. CHIKARA though, introduced Frightmare as a tag team partner to Hallowicked and the man entertained every time I saw him wrestle this year. He's a small guy but can move like lightning and does some pretty cool stuff in the ring. If he continues to grow next year, then I could certainly see him making waves in CHIKARA or even branching out to other promotions.
Honorable Mention: Dasher Hatfield (CHIKARA)
Diva/Knockout of the Year:
Maryse (World Wrestling Entertainment)
I'll admit to having a soft spot for Maryse and it's not because she's drop dead gorgeous. It's because she's the only diva since the days of Trish, Ivory, and Lita to have any sort of effective personality. She's a great heel, and at times is better at being one than some of the men on the WWE roster. Maryse seems to be in wrestling because she likes it and it seems to be paying off for her as she has gotten some legit heel heat on RAW.
Honorable Mention: Tara (TNA)
Independent Women's Wrestler of the Year:
MsChif (SHIMMER Women Athletes)
MsChif continued to have a huge year in SHIMMER retaining her SHIMMER Championship when the decked was stacked against her. She became the first woman to pin Amazing Kong in a SHIMMER ring. Not only did she defeat the Amazing Kong, but MsChif continues a lengthy reign as NWA World Women's Champion. MsChif will most likely drop one or both of those belts in 2010, but she'll continue to be one of the best women in the game today.
Honorable Mention: Portia Perez (SHIMMER/Squared Circle Wrestling)
Workhorse of the Year:
Chris Jericho (World Wrestling Entertainment)
This goes to the guy who might not have had a super hot angle or big title run, but the guy who consistently puts on quality match after quality match. Jericho always has had a great work ethic in the ring and on the mic. There's a reason why he gets so much airtime; simply put, he's one of the best in the business. The wrestling world needs more people like Chris Jericho in it.
Honorable Mention: Shinsuke Nakamura (New Japan Pro Wrestling)
International Star of the Year:
Shinsuke Nakamura (New Japan Pro Wrestling)
This is for the very best wrestler not in the United States. Nakamura has been, without a doubt, the best New Japan has had this year. He transitioned right into a masterful "super heel" type gimmick and has established him as New Japan's top baddie.
Nakamura also captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship once again and heads into 2010 as the champion. In November, he battled Hiroshi Tanahashi in one of the top matches of the year. Nakamura seems to just keep getting better and better. Here's hoping we get to see much more of his deadly wrestling style next year.
Honorable Mention: Go Shiozaki (Pro Wrestling NOAH)
Promo of the Year:
Chris Hero (Ring of Honor)
This isn't for one specific promo, but for who cut the best promos throughout the year. Hero was the star of Ring of Honor's videowire much of the year and certainly turned around his "Young Knockout Kid" gimmick and made it work. He's always been a great promo man, but this year he shined a little brighter than anyone else. Not to mention his entertaining, yet serious, approach these days even got over in Japan, which is a tough feat to accomplish when you're an American talent.
Honorable Mention: Eddie Kingston (CHIKARA/Ring of Honor)
Biggest Disappointment of the Year:
Ring of Honor
This is a sad one for me. Heading into this year, I was as big of a ROH fan as one would find. However, 2009 was one of the worst years the company has seen. I went from following the promotion religiously to not even caring about it. They put on horrible cards and never really seemed to get any momentum under them. Even when they had a chance to redeem themselves with their big, year end card, Final Battle 2009, they dropped the ball. I hope they right the ship in 2010 because the potential is there.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Hardy's Career
Announcer of the Year:
Bryce Remsburg (CHIKARA)
Who would have figured that the best announcer this year would be a referee? Remsburg has upped his game on the mic for CHIKARA, as he calls matches that he's not officiating. He's entertaining, knowledgeable, and most of all, he gets into the match instead of having a steady, monotonous, emotionless dialogue. Remsburg is 2009's version of Matt Striker in 2008.
Honorable Mention: Matt Striker (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Match of the Year:
The Undertaker-Shawn Michaels (World Wrestling Entertainment-4/5/2009)
This is probably the easy and expected choice, but this was the hardest award for me to decide on. This past week, I watched four matches that I had picked to be my "finalists"—Shinsuke Nakamura-Hiroshi Tanahashi from New Japan in November, Davey Richards-KENTA from ROH in April, and Daniels-AJ Styles from TNA in December.
All four could have won and I even initially picked Davey-KENTA. But it just didn't feel right. Maybe it was the botched ending, maybe it was because the winner took place at Wrestlemania, I'm not sure. However, Undertaker-Shawn Michaels is a fitting choice as it was a great match and one many of us will remember for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Davey Richards-KENTA (GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match -Ring of Honor 4/3/09)
Promotion of the Year:
CHIKARA gets the nod here because they had easily the most entertaining story lines and matches consistently during 2009. It was a tough choice between CHIKARA and the WWE, but in my opinion, CHIKARA just had the better product.
If you look at their "big" shows like King of Trios, Young Lions Cup, and the others, they were flat out fantastic wrestling shows. King of Trios 2009 might be one of the best independent shows of the decade. CHIKARA has one of, if not the hottest angle they've ever had going on right now leading directly into the start of 2010. They'll be the company to watch for some time thanks to a tremendous 2009.
Honorable Mention: World Wrestling Entertainment
So there we go. 2009 is in the books and it certainly was a crazy year. We saw new stars emerge, as well as old ones show us why they're stars to begin with. New promotions popped up and made a splash, while old ones became stale and tired. 2010 looks promising with so many possibilities. See you next year!
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