WWE Slammy Awards 2014: Winners, Analysis, Reaction
The early part of the 2014 WWE Slammy Awards belonged to Seth Rollins. As the night went on, it was a celebration of part-timers who weren't in the arena.
Sting, The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho all won awards. None of them took home their statuettes.
Sifting through the moments, teams, men and women who snagged Slammys, one sees that WWE is in transition. In one way, the company leaned on old, familiar names like The Rock and Jericho. On the other hand, the next wave of talent is set to crash onto the shore.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose both got some love from the voters. AJ Lee gave a shoutout to the up-and-comers in the Divas division.
Perhaps next year, it's these emerging talents who fill their arms with gold statues rather than established grapplers on a part-time schedule.
WWE.com Slammy Awards
- Anti-Gravity Moment of the Year—Seth Rollins dives off balcony at Payback
- Best Couple of the Year—Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
- Raw Guest Star of the Year—Hugh Jackman
- Fan Participation Award—"You Sold Out"
- Double-Cross of the Year—Seth Rollins turns on the Shield.
- Animal of the Year—The Bunny
- Best Actor—The Rock
- Best Twitter Handle (Social Champion)—Dolph Ziggler
- Rivalry of the Year—Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority
- Faction of the Year—The Shield
- NXT Superstar of the Year—Sami Zayn
Seth Rollins cleaned up before the Raw pre-show even began. Of the 11 Slammys that WWE handed out on its website, Rollins won four of them.
The chants of "You sold out!" didn't gather as much momentum as Daniel Bryan's "Yes!" chant did last year and in early 2014, but it's the clear victor in that category. WWE hit a nerve with The Shield's breakup, and Mr. Money in the Bank has been the big beneficiary of that emotion.
That's clear with how much he was represented here.
It would have been great had not a single person voted for the Animal of the Year category, sending a strong signal to the company that guys dressed up in animal costumes is not what wrestling fans want. Obviously, that didn't happen. Enough people voted for the hump-happy rabbit to get him a Slammy.
Anyone other than Ziggler winning the social media award would have been a robbery. He's consistently funny, engaging and genuine on Twitter, a must-follow for WWE fans.
WWE Tag Team of the Year
Winner: The Usos
Presenter: Renee Young (pre-show)
The Usos' best year, a culmination of their progress as performers, nets them recognition via a Slammy.
They have been the most consistent and reliable duo in the division before, during and after their run as tag champs. They have always been fun to watch, but Jimmy and Jey showed off more personality and became more well-rounded in the ring.
They undoubtedly deserve this award, but the fact that Los Matadores were nominated point to how thin the division is right now. The Usos need help; they need more tag teams to step up the way The Usos have in 2014.
"Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That" Insult of the Year
Winner: The Rock insults Lana
Presenter: Renee Young (pre-show)
No one talks trash like The Rock. Of course he won this. Add the electricity of his surprise appearance to his unparalleled charisma, and the other nominees didn't have a chance.
WWE needs some new insult-slingers to step up. It's not going to be often that WWE can call The Great One in.
The rest of the roster would do well to do some film study of The Rock's mic work.
Hashtag of the Year
Presenter: Renee Young (pre-show)
Seth Rollins pulled an Owen Hart and stole the award. That upped his growing tally if one counts lifted Slammys.
This category could have easily been a list of hashtags WWE tried to push onto fans. Instead, it comes out of something purely fan-created. Randy Orton's RKO was the center of a string of Vine videos that appealed to more than just the WWE fanbase.
Other folks may not have understood who Orton was or what he was doing, but seeing him RKO a skateboarder or a Russian rocket was most definitely hilarious.
Breakout Star of the Year
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Presenter: Renee Young (pre-show)
In a year Daniel Bryan mostly spent injured, Alberto Del Rio lost his job and CM Punk retired, the door was wide open for new stars. Ambrose joined fellow nominees Seth Rollins, Rusev, Roman Reigns and Paige in making strides to take advantage of that.
Ambrose proved himself to be a main event star thanks to his powerful talking and reliable in-ring performances.
He's been a source of some of the most enjoyable moments and best matches of 2014. He projects to be someone WWE can build around. Hopefully, his career looks more like the 2009 winner of this award (Sheamus) rather than the 2008 winner (Vladimir Kozlov).
That makes two of the same award for The Lunatic Fringe. He won it last year as part of The Shield.
"This Is Awesome" Moment of the Year
Winner: Sting's Debut
Presenter: Seth Green
Seth Rollins had just finished defeating Dolph Ziggler when Green announced the winner.
Sting didn't show up, but Rollins didn't hesitate to accept the award for him. He ranted about how Sting ruined his chance at the biggest win of his career.
It's smart of WWE to let this be another big moment for Rollins, continuing his Owen Hart-like award-stealing antics.
It does, however, make the awards seem less significant when so many folks aren't around to accept them. The Rock didn't show up for his win earlier in the night either.
Surprise Return of the Year
Winner: Ultimate Warrior
Presenter: John Laurinaitis
Ultimate Warrior's passing makes the award something beyond a simple Slammy. This award became one more chance for fans to honor and pay tribute to him.
The Hall of Famer's speech about living in fans' hearts grew in meaning after he passed. Listening to what he said upon his return to Raw is eerie now.
WWE wisely didn't make light of this moment by throwing in some comedy bit or wrestling angle. A video tribute played on the big screen, one final tip of the hat to a fallen warrior.
The OMG Shocking Moment of the Year
Winner: Brock Lesnar conquers the Streak
Presenter: Santino Marella
Paul Heyman accepted for his absent client. He hammered out a short speech and exited, Slammy in hand.
Lesnar's win at Wrestlemania was by far the most shocking moment of the year, as evidenced by the stunned faces in the crowd that night. This result is not surprising.
The Beast Incarnate not being around to brag about beating The Undertaker is the bigger story than Lesnar's WrestleMania victory getting the most votes. Heyman and WWE have tried to sell him as a special attraction, which has worked to an extent, but there's a void at the top of the card.
The world champ and WWE's biggest star hasn't been on TV since mid-September. It's hard to be patient for that long.
WWE Diva of the Year
Winner: AJ Lee
Presenter: Jerry Lawler
After skipping out from backstage, AJ grabbed her trophy and suffered through "CM Punk!" chants. She talked about being a tomboy and nerd before giving shoutouts to Emma as well as Sasha Banks, Bayley and Charlotte of NXT.
The former Divas champ won the same award in 2012.
Perhaps it's one of those women who she mentioned or Paige who takes home the Slammy in 2015, 2016 and beyond. With the influx of talent on its way from NXT, it's a division brimming with promise.
AJ needs more competition, though, and WWE can't waste her rivalries like it did when she feuded with Paige.
LOL Moment of the Year
Winner: Damien Mizdow
Presenter: Adam Rose
The Bunny tried to snatch the award from Rose's hands, earning him a stern look. WWE is taking its time with that inevitable implosion.
With Mizdow by his side, The Miz accepted the award. Him stealing his stunt double's spotlight earned one of the bigger reactions of the night. Fans chanted for Mizdow, and The Miz used the moment to boost himself, responding, "You want Miz now, and you got Miz now."
That duo is going to fall apart eventually as well. The company has been extremely patient with letting those cracks widen. The payoff, Mizdow turning on The Miz, is going to be outstanding when it finally happens.
Match of the Year
Winner: Team Cena vs. Team Authority
Presenter: Ricky Steamboat
A man who won his share of Match of the Year awards introduced the nominees, a grouping that strangely was missing The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield at Elimination Chamber and the Falls Count Anywhere match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam.
When he read the result, The Dragon looked stunned. It was as if Keanu Reeves had won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Dolph Ziggler, the hero of the winning match, accepted the award. The Showoff gave a strong, heartfelt promo about giving of himself for the fans.
As fun as that match was, it shouldn't have even been nominated over the two aforementioned bouts. The fans who voted for it must have a short memory.
Extreme Moment of the Year
Winner: Chris Jericho hitting a crossbody off the top of a cage
Presenter: Rob Van Dam
Looking sharp in a purple vest and bowtie, Van Dam said he was the perfect presenter of an award for extreme moments.
There is no way that Brock Lesnar's 16 German suplexes belonged on this list, though. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose falling off the Hell in a Cell and Daniel Bryan sending Kane through a flaming table both fit the wrestling definition of "extreme" far better.
Jericho's dive makes more sense to be included but looks tame compared to those spots mentioned above.
Fandango snatched up the award, boasting about his WrestleMania 29 win over Y2J. That's a real stretch of a connection.
With each win by someone who is not around, WWE is reminding us how much it relies on part-timers.
WWE Superstar of the Year
Winner: Roman Reigns
Presenter: Booker T
In an odd year, it was hard to pick a winner here.
Daniel Bryan only wrestled for the first few months of the year. Brock Lesnar was a rarely seen special attraction.
And even as great as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have been, Reigns' win is a reminder of how big he is with the casual fans. Ambrose and Rollins have him beat on the mic and in the ring, but they can't match him in pure "it" factor.
The South Carolina crowd gave him a rousing reaction. The fans voting for him gave Reigns the Slammy that Bryan won last year.
Reigns celebrated by delivering one of his looser, most natural promos. Referencing Vince McMahon's comments on the Steve Austin podcast last week, the powerhouse said while holding his new trophy, "It's not the brass ring, but it's still pretty damn good."
Looks like the chairman fired up his roster.