WWE Slammy Awards 2015: Winners, Analysis and Reaction
WWE presented its annual Slammy Awards edition of Monday night Raw this week, paying tribute to the greatest matches, moments and Superstars of 2015.
As is the case with most years, some awards were foolish, others were fun, and still others have some kind of meaning.
Though we can take their prestige seriously given the way they tend to play into ongoing storylines or exist to put Superstars over, there is still something fun about seeing your year-end awards show play out in front of you on live television.
This year, WWE gave out two dozen awards, many of which did not even make the air. While you can find within this article, the full list is available at the company's official website.
The most important awards were handed out on the December 21 broadcast.
With all the winners revealed, controversy over who left with the hardware versus who should have left with the trophies is sure to abound.
Did WWE and its fans get things right with their choices this year?
Find out now with this analysis of this year's ceremony.
Tag Team of the Year
- The Usos
- The New Day
- The Prime Time Players
- The Lucha Dragons
- Tyson Kidd and Cesaro
The Usos have no business hoisting the Slammy for Best Tag Team.
Jey was sidelined for the majority of the year, so the twin brothers hardly appeared on Raw and SmackDown enough to warrant even the nomination.
This award belonged to The New Day, who survived a disastrous run as babyfaces to become the most over tag team in the company. The heels' ridiculousness sets them apart from any other act on the shows.
Two tag title reigns and hours of quality television do not lie: The New Day was screwed Monday night.
Best John Cena U.S. Open Challenge
- John Cena vs. Neville
- John Cena vs. Sami Zayn
- John Cena vs. Cesaro
- John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose
- John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: John Cena vs. Cesaro
John Cena had a lot of great opponents during his stretch of U.S. Open Challenge matches, but few measured up to Cesaro, who wrestled two outstanding bouts against the franchise star of WWE.
The award-winning bout occurred on July 6 and saw Cesaro come moments away from unseating the leader of the Cenation before Kevin Owens interfered.
For Cena, the exceptional bout was further proof of his greatness as a worker. For Cesaro, it was a springboard to the hottest stretch of his career and the strengthening of the connection between him and the fans, something WWE would be wise to capitalize on when he returns from injury.
Extreme Moment of the Year
- Roman Reigns attacks Triple H and The League of Nations at TLC
- Seth Rollins breaks John Cena's nose
- Luke Harper powerbombs Dean Ambrose through a ladder at WrestleMania
- Neville's dive off the top of a ladder
- The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar brawl
Winner: Roman Reigns attacks Triple H and The League of Nations
The Extreme Moment of 2015 was not only the most recent of the nominees selected, but it was the most important in that it finally won Roman Reigns favor with the fans.
After being booed mercilessly by fans who did not want another smiling babyface dominating television, Reigns beat the ever-loving hell out of Triple H and The League of Nations and was finally accepted by those same fans as the babyface the company has wanted him to be.
It was a watershed moment and one that led to his coronation as WWE world champion one night later.
"Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That" Moment of the Year
- Dean Ambrose calls Seth Rollins "Justin Bieber"
- Seth Rollins calls Johnny Manziel "Johnny Idiot Face"
- Seth Rollins disses Kane
- Paige spoils Charlotte's championship celebration
- Brock Lesnar coins "Suplex City"
Winner: Brock Lesnar coins Suplex City
One of the awards announced earlier in the day, the Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That award was given to the most spectacular verbal beatdown of the year.
The winner, Brock Lesnar's welcoming of Roman Reigns to Suplex City during the main event of WrestleMania XXXI, was the perfect choice.
Not only did it come in the most important match of the year, but it came out of the mouth of the most marketable and recognizable star in the promotion. Best of all, it was ad-libbed. Lesnar was not scripted to say it. Instead, it flowed out of the mouth of the angry beast and suddenly ended up on the front of T-shirts and had it's own hashtag (#SuplexCity won the Slammy for Best Hashtag as well).
Fans will remember a lot about Lesnar, and chief among them will be the moment he introduced fans to his home away from home, Suplex City.
Breakout Star of the Year
- Braun Strowman
- Kevin Owens
The opening award of the night saw Neville somehow manage to beat out Kevin Owens to earn Breakout Star of the Year honors.
Yes, the former NXT star exploded onto the scene, wrestled an outstanding match against John Cena and had a good one with Seth Rollins, but from there, he descended down the card, falling into a lower-card rivalry with Stardust.
Owens, on the other hand, was consistently near the top of the card.
Matches with Cena earned rave reviews and Match of the Year consideration. His feud with Cesaro was underrated, and to top it all off, he won the WWE Intercontinental Championship and fought in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament.
Owens was the clear winner here, and the fans, or WWE Creative, let him down.
OMG! Shocking Moment of the Year
- Kalisto's Salida del Sol at TLC
- Sheamus cashes in Money in the Bank
- Seth Rollins cashes in Money in the Bank
- Brock Lesnar F5s Michael Cole
- The Wyatt Family attacks The Undertaker
Winner: Kalisto's Salida del Sol
The moment Kalisto climbed to the top of the ladder and flipped backward, delivering Salida del Sol to one of the Usos, off one ladder and through another, the masked luchador wrapped up this award.
No matter how memorable Seth Rollins' cash in at WrestleMania XXXI may have been, or how important Sheamus' WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory at Survivor Series may have been to the current WWE product, there was no denying that an award known as the "OMG!" award was dreamed up with a spot like Kalisto's in mind.
The coolest part of the Lucha Dragon's victory was that he was finally able to talk and, in the process, reveal to the world that he speaks fluent English. It should be interesting to see if he is allowed the opportunity to connect with audiences in that manner going forward.
"This Is Awesome" Moment of the Year
- The Rock and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 31
- Randy Orton RKOs Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31
- The Shield powerbombs Randy Orton through a table at Payback
- The Divas Revolution
Winner: The Rock and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 31
How WWE can possibly justify handing this award to The Rock and Ronda Rousey is beyond this writer. The Shield's brief reunion at Payback as they powerbombed Randy Orton through a table created a surreal scene that was a testament to the impact Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have as a team during their two-year run.
Of course, this was likely a political move to get both Rock and Rousey in the company's good graces so that they would one day work with Vince McMahon again, but it was a blatant slap in the face at one of the truly awesome moments of 2015.
This award did, though, field one of the best sets of nominees of any in this year's Slammys.
Diva of the Year
- Sasha Banks
- Nikki Bella
Winner: Nikki Bella
Like her or not, Nikki Bella was the undisputed Diva of the year in WWE.
Not only did she break the record for lengthiest Divas Championship reign, but she did so by consistently improving and showcasing her in-ring ability in the face of harsh criticisms regarding her personal life. Yes, fans still argue that she does not deserve her spot in the company—that it is the result of her relationship with John Cena—yet if that were the case, she would not have worked as hard as she has to become the quality of worker that she has.
She earned the award, unlike a few years back when she and Brie stole it from AJ Lee.
Paige was understandably a close second considering her screen time this year, but the outcome in this race never should have been in doubt.
Surprise Return of the Year
- Chris Jericho joins Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. The Wyatt Family at Night of Champions
- The Dudley Boyz return on Raw
- Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter return at Hell in a Cell
- Demon Kane returns at Night of Champions
- Sting returns on Raw
Sting's return to WWE in September for a showdown with Seth Rollins was choreographed by the revelation that he was on the promotional poster for the Night of Champions pay-per-view.
Contrarily, few saw the return of Alberto Del Rio given the controversy that accompanied his departure from WWE in 2014. And the same can be said for Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley following their lengthy stints in TNA Wrestling and the fact that they are well past their primes as in-ring performers.
While WWE wanted to honor Sting for his contributions, this was not the way to go about it.
Especially with two much more obvious choices staring the fans in their faces.
The Hero in All of Us
- Roman Reigns
- Stephanie McMahon
- Titus O'Neil
- John Cena
Winner: John Cena
Is it really any surprise that John Cena won a Slammy designed to honor a Superstar who has done as much off the screen as he has on it? One of the most charitable celebrities in the world regardless of his profession, he most certainly earned the right to become the first Hero in All of Us award winner.
The man dedicates his time and effort to meeting sick children as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and is a guiding force in the association between WWE and Susan H. Koman's cancer foundation. While he is one of the most accomplished stars of all time and one of the most polarizing on-screen personas the industry will ever see, everyone agrees that he goes above and beyond what is necessary for someone of his stature.
Superstar of the Year
Winner: Seth Rollins
With every Superstar on the main roster up for the award, WWE fans got it right when they selected former world heavyweight champion Seth Rollins as the 2015 Superstar of the Year.
A competitor whose monumental year was cut short due to an ill-timed injury, Rollins deserved the award for essentially carrying World Wrestling Entertainment on his shoulders throughout this year. A rare heel that the entire show was built around, he excelled, even when WWE's crack writing staff let him down.
The loud mouth who constantly needed The Authority to save his hide, he was the man whom fans loved to hate in 2015, and after successfully retaining his title against Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Sting and John Cena over the last 12 months, he reaped his reward in the form of the Slammy.
Match of the Year
- The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell)
- John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (Royal Rumble)
- Sting vs. Triple H (WrestleMania)
- John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Elimination Chamber)
- Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio (Raw)
Winner: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell)
The main event of the October pay-per-view was an epic encounter between two rivals whose issues with each other date back some 13 years.
The conclusion of the latest chapter of their rivalry, which began at WrestleMania XXX with Lesnar's shocking defeat of The Deadman, the Hell in a Cell match was exactly the type of violent brawl that one would expect from two men with as much hatred for each other as they have.
With that said, the real winner from the nominees previously established is John Cena vs. Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins from the Royal Rumble this past January. A dramatic, hard-hitting match between three Superstars competing for the top prize in the company, it was a fantastic display of three styles meshing seamlessly to tell a story that fans could relate to and invest themselves in.