American Alpha def. The Revival to win the NXT Tag Team Championships
Adam: AA – 3.75/5 | John: AA – 3.5/5 | Katelyn: AA – 3.75/5
- Crowd clearly into this at the beginning
- Nice little exchange early on between Gable and Dawson
- Each team has a great section of offense, fans are super into this match
- Really bad botch though from Dash and Dawson, Botchamania bay-bay!!!
- Great tag breakups from Dash and Dawson
- And after an exchange of pinfall attempts, Gable finally gets the pin with their double team finisher
Austin Aries def. Baron Corbin
Adam: Aries – 3.25/5 | John: Corbin – 2.75/5 | Katelyn: Corbin – 3.25/5
- God damn it, Austin you’re distracting Katelyn with the sparkly shorts!
- Surprised the fans seem to be right down the middle between the two of them, I didn’t think there was much of a fanbase for Baron Corbin
- Aries really selling Corbin’s offense, flopping around like a fish in the ring
- Aries with the sudden win after a rollup from countering the End of Days
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Sami Zayn
Adam: Nakamura – 4.75/5 | John: Nakamura – 5/5 | Katelyn: Nakamura – 4.75/5
- Here we go, I’ve been waiting forever for this moment
- The theme: FUCKING AMAZING!
- The entrance: BADASS AS FUCK!!!
- The look: Nothing’s changed, perfect!
- Holy shit indeed
- The style is the exact same, I’m shaking watching this match
- Zayn turns heel by countering the foot shake in the corner
- Even Corey Graves is calling him Swagsuke
- They really are letting Shinsuke do all his offense, even those really violent knees on the ground
- Massive exchanges of blows, looks like Shinsuke may have gotten his nose busted
- Great near-fall with the Blue Thunder Bomb after missed Helluva Kick and Boma Ye attempts
- Finally, Shinsuke with the Boma Ye to win an incredible match
Asuka def. Bayley to win the NXT Women’s Championship
Adam: Bayley – 4/5 | John: Asuka – 4.25/5 | Katelyn: Bayley – 4.25/5
- The first five minutes are evenly matched, Bayley’s not getting dominated like against Nia Jax, Asuka’s looking a little more human
- Little things with Bayley’s foot being hurt, she loosens the boot a bit
- It’s so refreshing to see Bayley getting submission crazy too, focusing on Asuka’s knees
- Out of nowhere after fighting the Asuka Lock, Bayley passes out and doesn’t top out, we have a new champion!
Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe to retain the NXT Championship
Adam: Joe – No to Balor Club – 4/5 | John: Joe – Yes to Balor Club – 4.25/5 | Katelyn: Joe – Yes to Balor Club – 4.25/5
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre entrance for the demon and some new colours, a little blue in there this time around
- Almost immediately Joe with a massive cut over his eye
- Joe is fighting even harder now, it’s like they’re trying to kill each other
- Match is kind of stopped to fix the cut, Graves picks up on it well and the crowd with a “PG Sucks!” chant, doesn’t matter, he’s still bleeding like a stuck pig
- Match stopped again, fans are super pissed about this, now turning to “Fuck PG!” chants
- Muscle Buster for a near-fall, Coup de Grace doesn’t amount to anything but another rollup by Finn suddenly gets the win
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Just a heads up, the blog will be 100% wrestling from Friday-Sunday, so any weekly content is taking a backseat this weekend for the madness that will be WrestleMania weekend.
I don’t know if I’ll be posting my “live reviews” of each event I watch, I will at least do NXT Takeover: Dallas and of course WrestleMania, but I’ll also be watching the two EVOLVE shows and likely Shimmer’s show with John and Katelyn (who were on the only posted episode of the Radical Wrestling Podcast if you saw it).
So yeah, this week’s Anime Spotlight (which is going to be Erased) will be getting pushed to next week as I’m pretty much going to have zero time tomorrow to write it up given my job, followed by EVOLVE and NXT tomorrow night.
If you’re a wrestling fan, you’ll enjoy the next three days. If not, uh…SORRY!
Anyone who gets in the habit of keeping up with all the behind-the-scenes action of professional wrestling has by now heard of the crazy news of four major stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling coming to WWE: Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows.
The last three names all have something in common, they were all a part of the New Japan stable, the Bullet Club. Who was the founder of that stable? None other than the current NXT Champion, Finn Balor, formerly Prince Devitt in NJPW. So it’s not out of the question, hell it’s almost a guarantee that we will be seeing WWE’s version of Bullet Club, aptly named ‘Balor Club’ after Finn Balor. But the real question is what does the debut of Balor Club entail?
For starters, AJ Styles should not under any circumstance be in the Balor Club, at least not until Balor and the rest make the jump to the main roster. I fully expect AJ Styles to be a main roster debut, I do not want to see him debut in NXT. Maybe if the NXT Brand was in the Smackdown slot, but it’s not and he is a main eventer, not a developmental talent. Maybe when AJ is possibly in the world title hunt and you need a shocking way to have him defeat Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (because let’s be honest, that’s who the champion would be at that time), so then you would debut the Balor club to help him win the match and you have a strong main event stable.
But for now, let’s get to how the group should debut.
If we need to debut this stable as soon as possible then let’s get this ball rolling! The next possible title match should be BEFORE the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania, this is super important! The match is Apollo Crews challenging Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. No bullshit interference from Baron Corbin and no Samoa Joe heel turn, it’s a uninterrupted match. And Crews wins, convincingly so, like Balor has a bit of a run in the match, but Crews dominates the second half of the match and wins the title.
The following show, Balor should be coming out, calling out Crews and shaking his hand, congratulating him on besting him. But he wants his rematch and he wants it right now. They set it as the main event and once again Crews dominates him and wins. Make it look like a big deal that Balor lost again, almost as if he’s going to the main roster. Play on the idea of the Balor Club stable beginning, make people believe “Holy shit! He’s going to Raw (or Smackdown)! And they’re gonna debut Balor Club then!”.
He disappears, not a word from him. A month or so should pass and we get to the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania. The main event is Baron Corbin challenging Apollo Crews for the NXT Championship. I know people are still a bit unenthusiastic about Corbin, but it makes sense, he beat Crews at Takeover: London so he should have the first shot at Crews’ title post-Balor. And in the end, while it’s a hard fought battle, Crews manages to pull out the win and retain the title. Celebrating his victory, Crews is in the ring when suddenly the lights go out. And on the screen you see this:
“We are dominant, we are strong. We are one, we are…for life.”
New music hits, something as slow and heavy as Balor’s music, but less of the orchestral backing, just slow, methodical hard rock. If you can make it close to Bullet Club’s music without being a carbon copy, then do it. Balor walks out, holding up the ‘Too Sweet’ gestures, wearing his Balor Club t-shirt when two men walk out from behind him, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. And they surround Crews and put a giant beatdown on him, leaving him dead as can be in the ring. Balor walks over, grabs a mic and simply says. “We’re here.” and leaves.
Crews does not appear the next week. Have William Regal come out and announce at the beginning of NXT that Apollo Crews will be out injured the next two weeks, but wants to let Finn Balor know, that when he returns, he’ll be getting his revenge. Balor interrupts Regal’s speech and officially introduces Anderson and Gallows. And says to the NXT crowd and all those watching on the WWE Network (cause you know that’s how they’d script it) that fun and games are over for everyone else except Balor Club. They run NXT now and will take out anyone who disagrees.
If Sami Zayn is still in NXT after Wrestlemania, then he should be the Balor Club’s first target. You need to go after the favourites to get them over as heels (as if Balor Club needs any help getting over in NXT). But if Zayn is not in NXT anymore, then move to the next best thing, Enzo & Cass. If they’re all not in NXT then uh…Bull Dempsey? Because if I’m booking this, I’m not having Gable & Jordan get destroyed, they’re too precious a commodity, gotta keep them on fire. And we don’t know at this time if Hideo Itami will be back yet. Regardless, whoever it may be, depending on the pecking order, the story will remain the same.
Later in the same show Balor Club interrupts Regal, the main event is Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin (or Cass & Enzo vs Joe & Corbin). The match doesn’t even get anywhere, the bell rings and as they’re about to lock up, lights go out again and the Balor Club entrance begins, the three of them walking out to the ring. They slaughter the babyface(s) in the ring, while the heel(s) retreat, wanting zero part of it. After decimating those in question, Balor takes the mic again and says the following:
“Apollo Crews! We haven’t settled our little rivalry just yet. I want my NXT Championship back! So when you come back from the beatdown I put on you…I’ll be waiting.”
And I can’t stress enough how important it is that every promo Balor does, he talks like he’s the only one doing the damage, not acknowledging Anderson/Gallows’ interference. Why would they not turn on Balor then? A very good reason. Balor got into WWE, he got friendly with the boss and got his buddies a fat contract. So regardless of Balor’s words, the boys love him, they’re still best buddies, they’re in the big time, making big money!
If they can stew this all the way until the next Takeover special, do it. Otherwise, the next NXT Championship match will be Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews. Balor will win a Battle Royal to win the #1 contendership when the entire trio are the final three in the battle royal and they all ‘Too Sweet’ and Anderson/Gallows eliminate themselves. So the main event is set, Balor vs Crews.
The match is what you’d expect. Crews is still dominating Balor, but Anderson and Gallows constantly distract Crews, giving Balor plenty of chances to put him away, but can’t. Then the ref gets knocked out and Anderson/Gallows come into the ring to take out Crews. It’s then that Zayn, Enzo & Cass, anyone to even the odds comes out and helps Crews deal with Balor Club. As Crews looks to finish off Balor, from the crowd, comes Baron Corbin. End of Days, Balor hits the Coup de Grace, 1…2…3. And you have your fourth member of Balor Club, Baron Corbin. You’re probably asking why I’m all about Corbin here. Simple, he needs the rub and I do think with the right people with him, you can turn him into a mega-star. He also fits the bill for what WWE likes, so if we can take this guy who they already like and make him into someone who’s over with the fans too, bonus!
The Balor Club should run rampant in NXT all the way until SummerSlam, Balor eventually losing the NXT title to a returning Hideo Itami. By this point, AJ Styles not only has debuted in WWE, but should be constantly pushing for a WWE title match. He finally gets it at SummerSlam against Roman Reigns. When Reigns looks to finally win the match, after another ref bump, the Balor Club suddenly emerges from the crowd, completely flooding the ring and destroying Roman Reigns. Thus, AJ Styles hits whatever his finisher will be (since you know WWE’s not letting him do the Styles Clash) and wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The following night on RAW, you introduce Balor, Anderson, Gallows and Corbin, announcing Balor Club is here in WWE (because NXT doesn’t count as WWE, you know that’s how they’d say it). Over the next 3-4 weeks, Balor Club runs rampant. At the end of SummerSlam, you should have a face run of title holders, minus Styles with the WHC and perhaps the
Women’s Divas Championship, since that title doesn’t matter in this storyline. Their targets are all the champions. So that at the next pay-per-view, Vengeance: Night of Champions, what a perfect night for Balor Club to snatch every possible title. Baron Corbin dominates Neville to win the United States championship (if it’s still around), Anderson and Gallows defeat The Usos to win the Tag Team Championships and Finn Balor through all the possible bullshit, beats Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. AJ Styles obviously retains over Roman Reigns and you have Balor Club holding every male-associated title in the company.
And we end with a return the following night on RAW to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This man:
There you have it. I could go further, but I figure the best way to stop is with Balor Club fully established a major threat in the WWE. You have a bunch of fresh matchups now, especially for the titles. There’s just a few questions left I’ll quickly go through:
What about Shinsuke Nakamura? Where does he fit into all this? – Shinsuke Nakamura (or whatever WWE decides to call him, hopefully the worst is just Nakamura) would’ve by now already had a singles feud with AJ Styles, which in the end has the goal of giving both men credibility but in the end cementing AJ Styles as the next challenger for Reigns’ title. In fact, that should be the #1 contender’s match to set up that SummerSlam match between Styles and Reigns. After that, have Nakamura challenge Balor for the IC title, would it not be amazing to see him prop up a second company’s Intercontinental Championship?
When would you break up Balor Club? – Not until at least 2 Wrestlemania-s after their debut. They should have a good two years together. So when Balor does finally turn babyface, it’s a big deal. And I mean BIG!
Would Finn Balor ever wear his demon paint with the Balor Club? – Absolutely, but at no point is it ever his red and black. Because it’s Balor Club, it should be only black and white. Have an awesome Venom tribute bodypaint getup, that would be fantastic!
Do you bring anyone else into Balor Club? – Unless it’s an original Bullet Club member (Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, etc.) that aren’t the Young Bucks, because let’s face it, they’re probably never coming to WWE, they’re smart enough to know that unless they’re offered the biggest deal in the history of professional wrestling, they can make more money outside of WWE, then no. Unless there’s a massive injury to someone, I would not add a single new member to Balor Club that isn’t already attached to the Bullet Club.
And there you have it, that’s how I’d book the debut of Balor Club. Let me know what you think in the comments below, as well as things you’d do to get the Balor Club gimmick over.
UPDATE: Dave Meltzer has commented further saying “WWE did not pay to have Styles and Nakamura in NXT”. It sounds like WWE paid a hefty price for both stars.
UPDATE #2: Tama Tonga’s name has also been floating around as part of the Bullet Club coming over. If this is the case, I also welcome him coming over to WWE, I think he’s untapped potential, he has a very unique look and ties to the business through his dad, Haku. Honestly, other than Yujiro Takahashi, I’d welcome the entire Bullet Club over. But there’s no way you’ll see the Young Bucks in WWE anytime soon, if ever.
UPDATE #3: Bad Luck Fale and Rocky Romero were also apparently negotiating with WWE, however there’s speculation they’re hoping more for a better deal with New Japan. Romero specifically has talked about being a guest trainer at NXT, he is friends with Matt Bloom from when he was Giant Bernard in NJPW. They were listed along with Tama Tonga in a separate post, it seems maybe Tonga falls into the better NJPW deal as well.
UPDATE #4: Shinsuke Nakamura has confirmed to Tokyo Sports that he is indeed going to WWE and will be leaving NJPW at the end of this month. That is huge! So this means for sure he’s dropping the belt to Kenny Omega at the next possible major event. This also makes AJ Styles and Anderson/Gallows far more likely if the most surprising name of the four is now confirmed in Nakamura.
The rumours were circulating last night that a number of New Japan stars gave their notice in preparation to make a WWE roster debut. Some of the names rumoured have included AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and member of the Bullet Club Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. AJ Styles is apparently set to debut at the Royal Rumble, whether he’s a surprise entrant or a just in a match (better off in the Rumble of course). Shinsuke Nakamura will soon finish his run with the IC title and then head off the NXT or the WWE main roster. And Anderson/Gallows are said to have given their notice as well but it’s unclear whether they’re NXT bound or TNA bound if this is all true.
To make the rumours even more viable though, well-respected and well-trusted names on the “dirt sheets” have followed through with this, including Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and Court Bauer of MLW Radio.
Simply put, this could be an absolutely huge gain for WWE at a time where they’re desperate for top stars in the company with all the injuries. This should be an awesome grab of talent if the WWE has indeed recruited these four names. Except there’s one problem:
IT’S WWE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE!!!
One of the first articles I ever posted here was about the rumours a couple months ago specifically about an AJ Styles WWE run (you can check it out here). And I still stand by what I said. I have zero trust in WWE making AJ Styles anything but another member of the illustrious WWE Midcard Club. He’s a Southerner, in his late 30s and is one of the best wrestlers on the planet right now. WWE is an expert at screwing up people like this.
Shinsuke Nakamura is the biggest one I have zero trust in WWE on. Unless he’s only in NXT (which he shouldn’t be unless NXT becomes it’s own brand that replaces SmackDown, which also will never happen), WWE will fuck with him immensely. If you are WWE and you get Shinsuke Nakamura, you change nothing. You don’t change his entrance, his attire, his moveset, his demeanor, his character, hell if you can get the rights to his current theme music, do it! But you won’t WWE, you know why? Because you can’t leave well enough alone, you have to “make” guys with your version of them, you can’t accept the fact that some wrestlers get over on their own and not in WWE. If Shinsuke Nakamura doesn’t have that same haircut and the same swagger, WWE’s gone and fucked with him, because nothing should change about him. The current Shinsuke Nakamura is a worldwide star in the wrestling business.
Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are the toughest ones to factor in. I really have a hard time seeing Gallows coming back to WWE specifically because he’s affiliated with CM Punk and we all know just how petty WWE is. But if they are WWE bound, NXT seems like a bad fit for them. When I watch how Anderson/Gallows wrestle their tag matches, they don’t look like a team that would be losing to the likes of Cass/Enzo, Blake/Murphy and yes, even Gable/Jordan. So if they’re coming, I’d prefer them already challenging the Usos and such.
However this all could lead to one big faction in WWE: The Bullet Club, or specifically the Balor Club. Finn Balor (aka Prince Devitt) was the original leader of the Bullet Club, can you imagine a WWE version of the faction? Him, Anderson/Gallows, maybe even AJ Styles? And you could add within WWE’s system to it. The WWE needs a major faction, not this League of Nations bullshit, we need a faction that we can conceivably believe are a threat. If you book the Balor Club solid from the start, then you’ve got one.
My heart wants to believe that this will not only happen but won’t be fucked with, but my brain tells me otherwise. I don’t trust WWE to handle guys like Styles, Anderson and Gallows, especially with a Balor Club faction. But most of all, I do not trust them with Shinsuke Nakamura. I’m willing to see what they do only because they haven’t fucked with Hideo Itami yet (he’s also been gone almost a year now though). But if he’s anything different than his current character, I will not be happy.
This has been probably my biggest year for wrestling. I’ve for the first time ever, watched and paid attention to a promotion beyond WWE. So to have an awards article for this year in professional wrestling, it makes sense.
Now for promotions like all the UK/Europe ones (ICW, Progress, etc.), I haven’t gotten a chance to really watch your stuff, so I apologize for not including you, hopefully next year will be different.
Anyways, we’ve got the good and the bad, so let’s get all the shit out of the way first! You’re going to notice a lot of this section is WWE, for obvious reasons.
Most Declining Talent
- Bray Wyatt
- Dolph Ziggler
- The Miz
- Rusev – WINNER
- Wade Barrett
I really wanted to put down Bray Wyatt, but since dealing with Team ECW this month, the Wyatt Family are at least starting to improve again. Rusev however since losing to Mr. LOL Cena Wins at WrestleMania, he’s been getting worse and worse…and worse. The Rusev/Ziggler feud only killed him dead, the only thing making that entertaining was Rusev throwing a fucking fish at Lana. Otherwise, everything he’s done this year has been nothing short of disappointing and infuriating. He was supposed to be a monster, now he’s been reduced to a big bitch. Congrats, WWE.
Worst Debut of the Year
- Daivari (Lucha Underground)
- The League of Nations (WWE)
- Team B.A.D. (WWE) – WINNERS
Submission SororityTeam P.C.B. (WWE)
- Tyler Breeze (WWE)
Taking the hottest woman in wrestling and sticking her with two Divas who to me have little to offer in Naomi and Tamina because why? They’re all black? Well done, WWE, you just killed Sasha Banks dead. Somehow though, she’s barely still alive, fans are still cheering her. But having her twerk with the New Day is not helping. The whole Divas Revolution has been nothing short of a disaster, but out of all of them, Team B.A.D. has been the dumbest of them all.
Worst Return of the Year
- Alberto Del Rio – WINNER
- Chris Jericho
- Erick Rowan
- Eva Marie
Tried to think of a fifth, couldn’t come up with one. After having a hell of a run in AAA and Lucha Underground, one would’ve thought Alberto Del Rio would continue his success on the indies, maybe even trying out New Japan? Nope! He already returned back to the place that pretty much drove him insane after many racist remarks about Mexicans. So a star like him comes back, they must do something fantastic with him, right? Nope! They pair him with Zeb Colter and call themselves the Mex-Americas. Oh! And they’re already separated and he had a match with Jack Swagger at TLC. Uh…yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…?
Worst Handled Talent of the Year
- Roman Reigns
- Sasha Banks – WINNER
- Tyler Breeze
As I said earlier about Team B.A.D., WWE has royally fucked up the Divas Revolution, none bigger than the most popular of the Four Horsewomen, Sasha Banks. She was a fucking star in NXT and she was a heel! She was getting cheered more than all the faces and she was a bitch! So WWE would surely keep that going, right? Nope! Seriously, you keep falling for it. No, Sasha’s barely wrestled singles matches since being called up and other than her wrestling attire and how she walks to the ring, the NXT Sasha Banks is gone. Maybe in 2016 that gets fixed, but all things considered, I’m not holding my breath. After all, she’s not someone’s daughter and she’s not white.
“Where the fuck is he?!” Talent of the Year
- Damien Sandow – WINNER
- Leo Kruger (because fuck Adam Rose)
- Heath Slater
- Zack Ryder
He got over. From doing a shitty comedy gimmick. With the Miz. The Miz. THE FUCKING MIZ!!! He got Daniel fucking Bryan levels of over with that gimmick. And they’ve done nothing with him. Nothing! He turned on Miz at WrestleMania and immediately got eliminated by Big Show after. What the fucking fuck?! Then the weird copycat gimmick continued and then he faded into obscurity with the Mega-Powers gimmick with Curtis Axel. And we haven’t seen him since. What the fucking fuckedy fuck fuck fuck?!!!
“Where the fuck is she?!” Talent of the year
- Renee Young – WINNER
- “The Boss” Sasha Banks
Why isn’t Renee on commentary, WWE?! She’s hundreds of times better than the idiots you have there right now in Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and especially JB-fucking-L. Here’s an idea, put her with Mauro Ranallo on Smackdown, there’s already pre-existing chemistry there (at least I think so, they both worked for theScore at one point). Just please make one announce team on the main roster not suck!
WTF Moment of the Year
- Bray Wyatt losing every feud
- Divas Revolution (all of it) – WINNER
- Jon Stewart costing John Cena the WHC
- Royal Rumble Match
- “Tator tots, son”
Women in sports are skyrocketing right now, especially in fight sports. You already had Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, you made it look like you cared about women in wrestling. NXT has made leaps and bounds in this and Stephanie McMahon claims she wants to show what women can truly do. So what did they do for the “#DivasRevolution” and “#GiveDivasAChance”? Just putting a hashtag on them so they’d trend on social media. That’s all. In terms of wrestling, the quality is better, but is it really that much better when there’s still no good storylines and all the girls are still being stripped (not literally, thank god) of the character they had in NXT that made them good. That spells FAIL!!!
Worst Rivalry of the Year
- Bray Wyatt vs Anyone
- Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev – WINNERS
- Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze
- John Cena vs Kevin Owens (result-wise)
- Roman Reigns vs Sheamus
The fish. Do I need to say more?
Worst Show of the Year
- WWE Battleground
- WWE Hell in a Cell
- WWE Night of Champions
- WWE Royal Rumble
- WWE Survivor Series – WINNER
It was a terrible all-around PPV that ended with the most predictable ending, not to mention the one that EVERYONE EXCEPT WWE apparently knew would not work and just make things even worse ratings-wise. It also came with the lamest and most awkward celebration ever. WWE: “Yeah! Roman Reigns finally did it, everyone! Isn’t this awesome?! Woooooooooooooooo!”. It went off like a fart in church. Hoo…ray!
Worst Match of the Year
- Any Eva Marie Match
- Bella Twins vs Natalya/Paige (WWE Royal Rumble)
- Big Show vs Ryback (WWE Money in the Bank)
- Naomi/Tamina vs Bella Twins (WWE Payback)
- Villanos vs Clowns (AAA Triplemania XXIII) – WINNERS
Do I even have to explain this one? Just watch the match and try not to facepalm. It’s so bad!
Worst Announce Team
- WWE – WINNERS
There really is only one nominee for this award. I can’t think of any other wrestling promotion I’ve watched this year where I’ve been taken out of the match and that even includes New Japan and I don’t speak Japanese! JBL and Cole specifically have cemented their legacy to me as the worst announce duo I may ever hear. I’d rather listen to Art Donovan say “how much does this guy weigh?” to every single guy of every single match or every single show for the rest of my life than have to bear with the absolute garbage these two spew from their mouths. Either call the damn match or shut the fuck up. You’re not funny, you never were funny. Shut the fuck up!
Worst Non-Wrestling Talent of the Year
- Booker T
- Byron Saxton
- JBL – WINNER
- Michael Cole
- Ric Flair
What did I just say, JBL?! Shut. The fuck. Up!
Worst Tag Team of the Year
- The Ascension – WINNERS
- The Bella Twins
- Blake & Murphy
- Los Matadores
- Wade Barrett & Sheamus
Cool music, cool look (while slightly LoD copied), absolutely garbage team. Shouldn’t have ever been called up to the main roster. I know they’d done everything they could in NXT, but man…they still look so green. I’m not saying fire ’em (yet), but they need to rejuvenate their careers and learn some more.
Worst Female Wrestler of the Year
- Brie Bella
- Eva Marie – WINNER
When you beat out a girl who tried to pin her opponent who was lying on her stomach, you have to be really bad. And Eva Marie is just that. She’s never going to be an even remotely decent wrestler, she does not have it. WWE wants her in the spotlight and you know what? That’s fine, but don’t have her as a wrestler. You clearly view her as the prettiest girl you have, SO MAKE HER A VALET!!! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST YOU MADE SO MANY WOMEN DOING THIS, WHY HAVEN’T YOU TRIED THE SAME THING WITH HER?!!!
Worst Male Wrestler of the Year
- Big Show
- Erick Rowan – WINNER
- John Cena, LOL!
- Yujiro Takahashi
He’s just not that great and insignificant in a group of guys that while they’re losing too, they at least pull off decent matches. Strowman has an excuse, he’s green as grass, but Rowan’s been around a while now. And he’s still really nothing special. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s gone next year, but then again WWE seems to not want to fire anyone unless they call the fans ‘pricks’. Which you know that’s what they think of the smart mark crowd.
And now for the stuff that actually matters, the good stuff!
Most Improved Talent
- John Cena
- Johnny Mundo
- The New Day
- Roman Reigns
- Tetsuya Naito – WINNER
I didn’t give a flying fuck about Naito when I first started watching New Japan, I just didn’t like his gimmick as a babyface. This heel Los Ingobernables Naito however, is fucking fantastic. The ego he carries and the way he moves so slowly to piss off the crowd is just awesome to watch, he plays the crowds up so well. Not to mention the matches he’s had this year have been really great to watch as well.
Best Debut of the Year
- Apollo Crews (NXT)
- Asuka (NXT) – WINNER
- Micheal Elgin (NJPW)
- Prince Puma (Lucha Underground)
- Samoa Joe (NXT)
Anyone who can have a good match with Dana Brooke already has gained a few points. That’s not really a shot at Dana, she’s still green. But Asuka has shown what a dominant female athlete looks like in professional wrestling. The mix of submission holds and strikes are badass and let’s be honest, no one has better facial reactions and movement during matches than Asuka right now, not even close. I want her to destroy the main roster, but then again they’d probably kill her dead like they’ve done to everyone else. So keep her in NXT. Pretty please.
Best Return of the Year
- Alberto el Patron (Lucha Underground/AAA)
- The Dudley Boys (WWE)
- Kane ~Demon~ (WWE)
- Rey Mysterio (AAA) – WINNER
- Vince McMahon (WWE)
After seemingly going into retirement as WWE wouldn’t let him go, Rey’s finally getting back into the thick of things in AAA. It’s so nice to see him wrestling again and he looks like he hasn’t lost a thing. I cannot wait to see him debut in Season 2 of Lucha Underground in January!
LOL! Moment of the Year
- Dean Ambrose Psychological Test “Hoooooooooo!” (WWE)
- Joey Ryan’s penis overpowers opponent (DDT) – WINNER
- The Rock’s “Fallopian Tubes” promo on Steph at WrestleMania (WWE)
- R-Truth thinking he’s in a match that he’s not in (WWE)
- The Young Bucks vs Roppongi Vice (NJPW Invasion Attack)
I really, REALLY wanted to put the Young Bucks/RPG Vice match as the winners of this award. But I just can’t say no to this:
HOLY SHIT! Moment of the Year
- Angelico cross body from balcony (Lucha Underground)
- Angelico dropkick from balcony (Lucha Underground) – WINNER
- Kallisto’s Salida del Sol from top of the ladder (WWE)
- Pentagon Jr. vs Vampiro (Lucha Underground)
- Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania (WWE)
It was going to be either Angelico moment from Lucha Underground, that much was for sure, it was just a matter of which one. So I went with the one that looked like he could’ve easily broken his neck taking that bump. Goddamn how is this guy still alive let alone walking doing this shit?! Side note, good on him and Jack Evans for rejecting a WWE contract, I don’t want to see them doing 25% of what they’re capable off on RAW, I want the full 100%!
- Bayley vs Sasha Banks (NXT) – WINNERS
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)
- John Cena vs Kevin Owens (WWE)
- Prince Puma vs Johnny Mundo (Lucha Underground)
- Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens (NXT)
When you have arguably the two best matches on NXT, it’s a pretty easy choice for this award. I mean Cena/Owens was a good feud, but it ended terribly (aka Cena wins, LOL), while the Sasha Banks/Bayley feud had a wonderful story and an even better ending at Brooklyn, along with the follow-up 30-minute Ironwoman Match. Some of the best wrestling I’ve seen and it came from two women. Who knew that was possible, WWE.
Best Wrestling Promotion
- Lucha Underground – WINNER
I had zero expectations for when I started Episode 1 of Lucha Underground. By Episode 3 I was hooked and refused to say any other show was better. And it continued all the way to the very end, I began to like more and more talent on that show and added more matches to the must-watch list for people who like professional wrestling. If Season 2 is anywhere near as good as Season 1 was, they’ll likely be repeating next year.
Show of the Year
- Wrestle Kingdom 9 (NJPW)
- NXT Takeover: Brooklyn (NXT) – WINNER
- NXT Takeover: Respect (NXT)
- Ultimate Lucha (Lucha Underground)
- WrestleMania 31 (WWE)
Banks vs Bayley, Balor vs Owens, Vaudevillains with Blue Pants, the debut of Apollo Crews. This card was stacked and when it’s in a massive building like the Barclays Center and is sold out with one of the most vibrant crowds of the year, you have a recipe for the show of the year, without question.
Match of the Year
- Bayley vs Sasha Banks (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn) – WINNERS
- Brock Lesnar vs John Cena & Seth Rollins (WWE Royal Rumble)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW G1 CLIMAX Final)
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoaki Honma (NJPW New Beginning in Sendai)
Like I’ve said the past couple awards, one of the best matches I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The drama was all there, you saw grown men cry when Bayley won the title. The action was all there as well and even the entrances got special attention. This is a must watch for wrestling fans, I don’t give a flying fuck if you think women’s wrestling is a joke, this match is far from one.
Best Announce Team
- Lucha Underground
- NJPW on AXS – WINNERS
You have one of the best announcers (who isn’t Jim Ross) today calling some of the best matches of last year, it’s hard not to vote for Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett. Here’s hoping when he starts on SmackDown! in January, which I plan to watch, believe it or not (I have to see how Mauro handles it), he makes a stale product look vibrant again.
Best Non-Wrestling Talent of the Year
- Corey Graves (NXT)
- Dario Cueto (Lucha Underground)
- Lana (WWE)
- Paul Heyman (WWE)
- Renee Young (WWE) – WINNER
This woman needs to be on commentary, she’s so much better than what they give her. She’s stuck on the pre-shows with Shucky Ducky and a bunch of interchangeable talent, she’s above this. Everyone’s positive she’ll leave WWE for ESPN when her contract’s done, which I honestly wouldn’t blame her. But she loves wrestling so damn much, you know it’ll be a tough decision for her.
Tag Team of the Year
- Angelico, Son of Havoc & Ivelisse (Lucha Underground)
- Cass & Enzo (NXT)
- The New Day (WWE)
- REDRAGON (ROH, NJPW, etc.)
- The Young Bucks (ROH, NJPW, etc.) – WINNERS
To all those who either don’t get the Young Bucks or straight up hate them, you just don’t like things that are fun, do you? Who cares if they’re a couple of high spot monkeys, they do it better than anyone else in this business and they are fucking entertaining when they do it. SUCK IIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!
Female Wrestler of the Year
- Candice LeRae
- Io Shirai
- Sasha Banks – WINNER
No doubt about this one. As much as I love Asuka, there’s no woman in the wrestling business this year that has done more for the sport of professional wrestling as Sasha Banks. She, along with the rest of the Four Horsewomen have made women’s wrestling matter again. But out of the four of them, she’s leaps and bounds the best right now. It’s a crying fucking shame WWE is ruining her right now on RAW.
Male Wrestler of the Year
- AJ Styles – WINNER
- Finn Balor
- Kevin Owens
- Ricochet/Prince Puma
- Shinsuke Nakamura
For a guy I never gave a fuck about while he was in TNA, holy shit have I become a giant AJ Styles mark. After freeing himself from TNA he’s shown the entire wrestling world that it wasn’t him, it was fucking TNA. He’s had some of the best matches all year, pretty much any match he’s been in has been 4 stars or more. And not only is he lighting it up in New Japan, he’s lighting it up in Ring of Honor and other indie promotions. This guys is just killing it right now. Hell no he shouldn’t be going to WWE, not with the tear he’s on right now.
So that’s the Radical Wrestling Awards for 2015. What did you guys think? Did I pick the wrong ones? Did I miss someone? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey! A show I actually watched! Let’s get right to it then!
Asuka def. Emma – 3.75/5
This match was a great starter to the show. Finally a match for Asuka to really sink her teeth into. But at the same time it was also nice to have a match where Asuka’s vulnerable for the first time. I loved how the more punishment Asuka took, the more she’d shriek and the louder it’d get, as if she wasn’t in pain, just getting more pissed off. They also hook the crowd and the viewers into believing she was going to take her first loss, plenty of interference, including the “she tapped out to her submission hold but the ref never saw it” spot that usually results in the opposing talent winning the match due to bullshit. But instead, Asuka gave Emma a swift kick to the face and victory to my new favourite female wrestler.
Dash & Dawson def. Cass & Enzo to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships – 3.25/5
I think I speak for everyone in saying man do I feel salty about that match. I’m pretty sure we were all in agreement that this is the time to finally give Cass & Enzo the belts, they can’t keep having them lose big matches like this and expect them to still be as popular as they are. The match itself wasn’t all that great, but then again Cass & Enzo aren’t known for their in-ring work as much as their personalities. In the end the flapjack into a codebreaker from the top rope was really badass looking and really it puts a ton of heat on the champs now for beating Cass & Enzo like that. But man, that was really deflating.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews – 2.75/5
I was one of few who called Corbin winning this match actually. At least the poll I did through r/SquaredCircle confirmed that, I was in the 15-20% who had Corbin winning this at the time I voted. The match itself wasn’t that great to me, I have it as the lowest rated match on this card. But in the end, the End of Days strikes, one of the most protected finishers in NXT and Corbin picks up the win. Honestly, I’d say more, but I skipped a bit of this match, I really don’t get too excited about Apollo Crews matches. He’s a tremendous athlete, but his matches so far for me have been really dull.
Bayley def. Nia Jax to retain the NXT Women’s Championship – 3/5
This was a tough one, I had no idea how Bayley would come up with the win in this one. For pretty much the entire match, it was all Nia Jax. I know they’re trying to make Bayley look tough and resilient, but the sheer amount of offense Nia Jax got in should’ve done her in. Bayley was looking Cena-like out there kicking out after a ton of leg drops, samoan drops, etc. to the point I actually got a little annoyed. Not to mention Bayley never went for the Bayley-to-Belly, which can go either way. Most of all though, the finish was terrible to me. Guillotine chokes over and over again, that ending was way too slow and really didn’t do anything for me. I know the crowd popped cause she one, but I doubt the finish itself had much to do with it.
Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe to retain the NXT Championship – 4/5
The Jack the Ripper demon entrance is exactly what we’ve been looking for from Finn as of late. The same entrance style with the demon crawl was getting silly. Now if he could just switch up the color schemes, maybe even a little change of the design every major feud would be nice. The match itself was solid, a few hiccups here and there, but two guys of that level of talent can really make you forget. Joe looked his best since arriving in NXT here, he really came off like the Samoa Joe of old in Ring of Honor here. He was quick, strong and fought like a goddamn monster out there. I was sure Joe was winning this match at the end there, but Balor pulled out all the stops, hit the Coup de Grace and retained the title. Now it sounds like Corbin’s up next and I can actually see him winning. He could really use the belt to propel him up. A side note as well, when Finn’s in his demon form, I don’t want to hear him speak when wrestling. Hearing his not so threatening “No!”s while in submission holds really takes you out of it. I want to hear nothing but grunts, cries, screams, growls and shrieks the entire match, really sell us that a demon has possessed Finn’s body for this match.
In the end, the show was pretty good, though the crowd really helped as well. Hearing “Hey Jude” for Big Cass and “Hey Baby (If You’ll Be My Girl)” for Bayley was fantastic, I loved this crowd. In terms of the matches, it was a solid show, especially when you compare it to the garbage we usually see from the main roster.
The only thing kind of pissing me off is them holding back Sami Zayn till the NXT taping they did either before or after Takeover. You’ve been hyping his return for a month and he’s not worth at least coming out and talking on the big Takeover show? Also, I’m surprised no one either made a surprise appearance, return or debut at the show, even if it wasn’t a big name. Would’ve really meant a lot to that UK crowd.
Regardless, it was a good show, as usual I can’t wait for the next one.
Overall score – 3.5/5