WWE Slammy Awards: Power Ranking the Best WWE Had to Offer in 2012
The WWE will host a special three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw tonight for the 2011 Slammy Awards.
We'll see the company pass out those glorious golden trophies for a number of awards, such as "Superstar of the Year" and "Match of the Year," but often times, these awards are given out based more on story lines than actuality.
Therefore, I'm here today to pass out my own version of the Slammy Awards that we can call the "Ozzy Awards," which I think will more accurately reflect the top performances in the WWE in 2011.
Some of the categories will be the same as the WWE's, but I've scrapped a number of them in favor of ones I came up with myself.
So, let's take a look at the best the WWE had to offer this year by power ranking the top three finishers in each of my XX "Ozzy Award" categories.
As always, be sure to debate my rankings in the comments section below.
Tag Team of the Year: Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne)
Runner-Up: The Miz and R-Truth
Third Place: Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
As I'm sure you know, there weren't really many choices in this category because tag team wrestling hasn't been a priority in the WWE for years.
That being said, I had to give the nod to Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne) because they're the only legitimate tag team in the WWE that appears on TV on a consistent basis, and they've lasted as a duo longer than both Miz and Truth and Swagger and Ziggler did.
Kingston and Bourne have already held onto the WWE Tag Team Championship since Aug. 22, and unless company officials decide to punish Bourne for his Wellness-related suspension by having them drop the titles, they should hold onto them until well into 2012.
With no real contenders other than Hunico, Epico and Primo currently on the main roster, there's no reason to split up Air Boom or have them lose the titles anytime soon.
They should be at the top of the WWE's tag team division until another legitimate team comes along that's worthy of unseating them.
Diva of the Year: Beth Phoenix
Runner-Up: Kelly Kelly
Third Place: Eve Torres
Kelly Kelly may be considered by WWE officials to be the face of the Divas division, and she did indeed hold the Divas Championship for more than 100 days in 2011.
But it's pretty clear that Beth Phoenix is the best the Divas division has to offer.
Beth feuded with Kelly Kelly for months before beating her for the Divas title at Hell in a Cell in early October, and she's held onto it ever since then.
With the second best female wrestler in the WWE, Natalya, currently working in a duo with Beth, I wouldn't expect her Divas Championship reign to end until the two split and eventually feud.
Until then, Beth will continue being the top worker in the Divas division and its champion.
Most Improved: Dolph Ziggler
Runner-Up: Cody Rhodes
Third Place: Zack Ryder
Dolph Ziggler entered 2011 as one of the top in-ring workers in the WWE, but he's now established himself as arguably one of its top two or three all-around talents.
His new "Showoff" gimmick fits him perfectly, he slowly but surely is improving on the mic and his recent matches with CM Punk and Randy Orton have proved that—outside of maybe Punk and Daniel Bryan—there may be no better wrestler in the WWE than Ziggler.
Ziggler is getting enough heat on his own that he no longer needs Vickie Guerrero on his side, and WWE officials have shown some incredible confidence in him by putting him against three of the WWE's top four stars—Punk, Orton and Sheamusin Raw matches for three consecutive weeks.
"The Showoff" has gone from a very solid mid-card to a bona fide main eventer in the making in the span of less than a year.
Most Disappointing: Alberto Del Rio
Runner-Up: Sin Cara
Third Place: Alex Riley
Sin Cara's early WWE career has been marred by botches, a Wellness suspension and a major knee injury, but no one has been given a high-profile role and flopped in it as badly as Alberto Del Rio.
He won the Royal Rumble and then failed to win the World Heavyweight Championship against Edge or Christian before moving to Monday Night Raw.
Then, Del Rio won Raw's Money in the Bank match, cashed in, won the WWE Championship and followed that up with exactly zero successful pay-per-view title defenses during his first reign, which lasted only a month. Creative then put the WWE title back on ADR, only to see him look incredibly weak in both of his successful title defenses and then drop the title to CM Punk shortly thereafter.
During that span, Del Rio's character also went from pretty interesting to incredibly boring and monotonous, and he's lost basically all the momentum he had when he first debuted.
In many ways, 2011 was a fairytale year for Del Rio. But in perhaps even more ways, it was one huge failure.
Most Wasted Wrestler: Jack Swagger
Runner-Up: Drew McIntyre
Third Place: Tyson Kidd
Jack Swagger has a very rare combination of size and wrestling ability, but he's basically booked like a glorified jobber.
He could certainly be in a worse position than he is, but the fact that he's been hanging around with Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler has done nothing for him, and he's also jobbed to Sheamus and even guys like Santino Marella in recent months.
I don't know what Swagger did to piss someone off, but it seems pretty clear that he did.
The guy isn't the greatest mic worker out there, but the only two big men in the WWE I'd take over him are The Undertaker and Sheamus.
The WWE has to find a way to make Swagger at least somewhat relevant, and it can start by either tweaking his gimmick or turning him face.
Best Turn: R-Truth
Third Place: Sheamus
It was a great year for the WWE in terms of turning its superstars, but no turn was better than R-Truth's.
While Sheamus is in a better long-term spot than Truth, Truth's turn itself made him go from a boring mid-card baby face to one of the most entertaining main event heels in all of the WWE (even if his run as a heel is finished).
Comedic heels rarely work in the main event scene, but Truth managed to do that thanks to his crazed persona and anything that involved "Little Jimmy."
I'm honestly of the belief that R-Truth would have been released by now had he not turned heel because he was as about as plain as they come during his baby face run.
The WWE, however, made a great move by turning Truth heel, and I really wish he would have gotten a little bit longer of a run at the top.
Spot of the Year: Randy Orton RKOs Christian onto the Steel Steps at SummerSlam
Runner-Up: John Morrison's Spider-Man antics at the Royal Rumble
Third Place: Mark Henry superplexes The Big Show and causes the ring to collapse at Vengeance
The spot between Show and Henry was great, but I didn't find it to be as impressive as the one between Show and Brock Lesnar back in the day.
That being said, I absolutely loved the finish of the match between Randy Orton and Christian at SummerSlam.
The RKO is the most over finisher in the WWE at the moment, and the crowd popped massively for it when Orton nailed Christian with it in what turned out to be the final pay-per-view match of their stellar rivalry.
There's no better way to remember a match than by having it feature a great ending, and that is exactly what happened here.
Rivalry of the Year: Randy Orton vs. Christian
Runner-Up: CM Punk vs. John Cena
Third Place: Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
Really tough call here.
Punk vs. Cena was great because it produced two phenomenal matches and turned Punk into a star, but Orton vs. Christian had the advantage of longevity.
Because Punk was "leaving" the WWE, the company sort of rushed this angle when it could have lasted just as long as the feud between Orton and Christian.
The Viper and Captain Charisma absolutely tore the house down in every PPV match they had, and even a couple of times on TV, and Christian reached the highest point of his WWE career because of this rivalry, which extended from early May until after SummerSlam in August.
The WWE could use more feuds like Cena/Punk and Christian/Orton, but if we're going to use one of these two rivalries as a model, I'd take Christian vs. Punk by an ever-so-slight margin.
Shocker of the Year: CM Punk's Worked Shoot Promo
Runner-Up: Daniel Bryan wins Smackdown's Money in the Bank match
Third Place: CM Punk beats John Cena at Money in the Bank and leaves with the WWE Championship
Nothing else really comes even close.
During the summer, the WWE was stuck in a rut, and nothing really all that exciting was going on...until CM Punk shocked the world with his epic worked shoot promo.
It had been such a long time since we had seen a worked shoot like this, and it did exactly what it was meant to do: Blur the lines between fiction and reality.
People were debating whether or not Punk had went off script, and though it was obviously a work, it was incredibly well done and became the catalyst for a great Cena/Punk feud and Punk's rise to superstardom.
Who honestly knows what the WWE would be like right now had this promo never happened.
Moment of the Year: The Rock Wrestles His First Match Since 2004
Runner-Up: Christian captures his first World title in WWE at Extreme Rules
Third Place: Edge's retirement speech
It was really sad to see Edge retire, and it was great to see Christian win his first World title in the WWE.
But nothing compares to The Rock's appearance at Survivor Series.
"The People's Champ" had come back to the WWE to wrestle his first match in seven years, and the Madison Square Garden crowd ate up anything and everything that pertained to The Rock.
His promo. His entrance. His moves. Everything.
There were plenty of wrestling fans who never thought they'd see The Rock back in the WWE, much less actually wrestling.
Yet, everyone got a treat when The Rock got back in the ring in New York City and looked as if he had never left.
Match of the Year: John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE Title at Money in the Bank
Runner-Up: Triple H vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27
Third Place: Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam
This was a great year for the WWE in terms of match quality, and there were a number of bouts that hit that four-star level.
Triple H vs. Taker was nothing short of phenomenal, and Christian and Orton put on four or five stellar bouts as well.
But CM Punk was on fire heading into the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, and many thought that he'd be wrestling his last match in the WWE.
Punk's hometown Chicago crowd was absolutely electric, and both he and John Cena were at the top of their game. They clicked like they've never clicked before and delivered the one and only five-star match of the year.
Punk's Raw emotion and the wrestling ability of both Cena and Punk led to a match that will go down as one of the most memorable ever and a MITB PPV that many are calling one of the best in WWE history.
Wrestler of the Year: Randy Orton
Runner-Up: CM Punk
Third Place: The Miz
I'm certainly not taking away from everything that Punk accomplished in what was a fantastic year for him, but I just couldn't put him ahead of Randy Orton.
Orton had the best rivalry of the year with Christian—one that produced an absolutely incredible series of both pay-per-view matchesand he was also the most selfless wrestler in all of the WWE.
The Viper helped Christian, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry and Wade Barrett all reach the heights of their WWE career and completely wiped away any stigma of him "never putting people over."
If that wasn't enough, Orton stepped his game week in and week out by putting on great TV matches with guys like Dolph Ziggler and even showing a little improvement on the mic.
Punk may have had the best year of his WWE career in 2011, but Orton has been at his best since Jan. 1, 2011.