2014 Armbar Express Awards

It’s time for the Armbar Express….. AWARDS!

Yep. THESE are the big ones. More prestigious than the Slammys. More professional than the Slammys. The glittering Armbar Express awards here… on the internet.

We celebrate everything great and everything not so great in the year of 2014 in the world of wrestling. We’re going to start with….

Turn Of The Year

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This celebrates the greatest face or heel turn in the WWE all year long. The nominations are….

  • Randy Orton’s Face Turn – Randy Orton’s face turn came after defying The Authority to get himself a piece of Seth Rollins. Randy had been having issues with playing “protector” to Seth Rollins, who was picking fights with the likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Tensions began to boil, with Seth Rollins eventually curb-stomping Orton on the RAW before Hell in a Cell. Orton responded by dropping Seth with the RKO in the following week. Triple H decided to settle things with a match on RAW, which Seth won. Randy would not accept defeat and attacked Rollins again. Eventually, Triple H gave the order to put the Viper down for good. This cemented Orton’s turn to the good side, having been kicked out of the heel stable in shades of the end of his run with Evolution… also led by Triple H.
  • Seth Rollins Heel Turn – Just when you think you’ve had all the turns you need, Triple H comes and changes the game. Seth originally had defied Authority along with the rest of the Shield. The group were able to score TWO big wins over Evolution at Extreme Rules and Payback. However, a Plan B was initiated by Triple H that would finally put an end to the Shield for good. That Plan B… was Seth Rollins. Seth laid waste to his Shield brothers Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to break up The Shield in a dramatic fashion on RAW. Indeed, Triple H always found a way to win.
  • Batista Heel Turn – Batista really should have started out his return to WWE as a heel anyway, but we’re glad that he eventually made the move over to the dark side. Batista’s return as a good guy was met with negative fan reactions, especially when the Animal won the Royal Rumble. After a pretty dismal feud with Alberto Del Rio, Batista eventually lashed out at the WWE Universe on SmackDown! He expressed his disgust at what WWE had become since he’d been gone and vowed to take out each of their heroes. Sadly, he was unable to capture the WWE World title and the rebirth of Evolution was met with consecutive losses with the Shield. However, the turn saw Batista at his finest cutting great heel promo after heel promo.
  • The Shield Face Turn – The Hounds of Justice had been apart of the Authority since it began on August 2013. They helped silence disobedience coming from WWE superstars and had the group had taken out a number of big guns in the world of wrestling. However, Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose would begin to mess with the Director of Operations Kane and Triple H’s friends the New Age Outlaws. This led to a six man tag team match at Wrestlemania and was followed the next night by The Shield eventually turning on the Authority to the delight of many. It breathed new life into the stable just prior to it’s break-up and they were over with the fans big time.

The winner of this award… is Seth Rollins.

The break up of the Shield was always going to be hard to write. I mean you have to handle it well and Seth Rollins’ heel turn was executed tremendously. The long term implications for Seth is that he’s now the top heel in the company with Brock Lesnar’s absence. I suspect things are only going to get better for Mr Money In The Bank.

Newcomer Of The Year

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When we’re talking about newcomer of the year, we’re taking about those that were in NXT and debuted on the main roster THIS YEAR. The nominations are…

  • Paige – Paige debuted on the main roster in emphatic way. On the night after Wrestlemania 30, she ended the record-breaking Divas Championship reign of AJ Lee to a huge reaction. She would continue to defend her title until AJ regained her championship from Paige in June. Paige responded by winning her title at Summerslam. While she lost the title again only a month later, Paige has shot up the Divas division and sparked life into this division that was seemingly dominated by one woman.
  • Rusev – Speaking of domination, Rusev debuted the night after Wrestlemania 30 much like Paige. Rusev has torn through the majority of the roster, having taken down the likes of Big E, Jack Swagger, Big Show and Mark Henry on his path of destruction. His dominance led to some gold too, as he won the WWE United States Championship on the WWE Network. Rusev is still unbeaten (as of December 2014) and surely he’ll only go from strength to strength.
  • Bo Dallas – The former NXT Champion Bo Dallas debuted on the main roster this year, hoping to inspire others to BO-LIEVE. Bo began his own undefeated streak, celebrating every win with a victory lap around the ring. His streak was conquered by R-Truth which was followed by a beat down by the “inspirational” Bo Dallas. While he’s not really been able to recover after his streak was broken, 2015 could provide a great year for Bo Dallas.
  • Emma – Emma debuted on WWE television in January, as a part of the audience beginning the “Emmalution”. Her appearances annoyed Summer Rae, eventually leading to a feud between the pair over who was the best dancer. Emma seemingly won the feud and also began hanging out with Santino Marrella. She’s not really made THAT much of an impact yet, but hopefully she’ll get her opportunity soon.

The winner of this award… is Paige

Rusev probably should have won this award but Paige has made much of an impact on WWE television than Rusev has. All Rusev’s done is just beat people up while Paige has really shaken up the Divas division. She’s had some great matches all year and she can only get better from here.

Rivalry Of The Year

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Many rivalries have come and gone this year, but only a select few have been really good.

  • The Shield vs The Wyatts – The roots of this feud were actually planted back in 2013, when the two groups brawled in London on RAW. The groups eventually crossed paths again in 2014, this time during The Shield’s six man tag team Elimination Chamber qualifying match. The Wyatt Family attacked John Cena, inadvertently costing the Shield the match. The Shield eventually called out the Wyatts to a match at the Chamber which Bray Wyatt accepted. The Wyatts would be victorious and would win a rematch on an episode of RAW in March. The groups battled again two more times. Firstly, The Shield won a match on Main Event but the Wyatts  would win again on RAW thanks to Evolution.
  • The Shield vs Evolution – Speaking of Evolution, their feud with The Shield began the night after Wrestlemania 30. The Shield interrupted the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Triple H to spear the COO of the WWE. This led to Triple H asking Batista and Randy Orton for their help in combating this new threat to the Authority. This led to the re-emergence of the Evolution group which was focused on destroying The Shield. However, The Shield would best Evolution twice at Extreme Rules and Payback with the feud ending the next night when Batista quit WWE and Seth Rollins turned on The Shield
  • Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose – Speaking of Seth Rollins, he turned his back on the Shield the night after Payback and “sold-out” to join the Authority. The next night, Dean Ambrose cut an amazing promo vowing to “beat the hell” out of Seth Rollins. Indeed, Seth and Dean had some amazing scraps over the course of 2014. The two would battle for the Money In The Bank contract and in a crazy Lumberjack match at Summerslam until Seth Rollins took out Dean with a Curb Stomp into cinder blocks on RAW. Dean would return to attack Rollins once again with the feud culminating at Hell in a Cell. However, Dean’s revenge on Seth was ruined by the interference of the “Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt.
  • Daniel Bryan vs The Authority – Most of this feud really developed in 2013, but Daniel Bryan’s popularity restarted his program with the Authority and Triple H. Daniel Bryan was cost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber which led to Bryan “hijacking” RAW to get the Authority to listen to a few demands. He requested a match with Triple H at Wrestlemania, adding that he would get added to the WWE World title match if he won. Bryan beat Triple H in what was a brilliant match and then overcame the odds to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania.

The winner of this award… is The Shield’s feud with Evolution.

The Shield’s feud with Evolution made for great television. Seth and Dean’s feud really was good. However, The Shield and Evolution delivered some of the matches of the year and it did wonders for The Shield just before their break-up.

Female Of The Year

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Last year, the divas division was seemingly dominated by one woman… the Divas Champion AJ Lee. However, a few divas have risen up to challenge AJ’s dominance. AJ was also my winner of last year’s Female of the Year award which I did to coincide with the NoDQ.com award. So AJ is defending her position on top of the divas division. The nominations are…

  • Paige – As mentioned earlier, Paige has given the division some new life. She’s been able to make her way to the top of the division fairly quickly and she’ll only get better from here.
  • AJ Lee – The defending Female of the Year had another great year in WWE. Despite not being on WWE television as much as she was the year before, AJ’s been a treat to watch. She’s also had a great deal of success in the ring, having held the Divas Championship three times and having a great feud with Paige. It’ll be interesting to see where she goes from here.
  • Nikki Bella – Nikki’s big moment came at Summerslam 2014, where she turned on her sister Brie to help Stephanie McMahon. Nikki’s in-ring skills have certainly improved which will be important in 2015, as he walks into 2015 as Divas Champion.
  • Brie Bella – Brie’s probably been the most pushed diva on the roster this year. Her involvement in her husband Daniel Bryan’s storyline’s led to her “quitting” the WWE at Payback. Brie was later re-instated to wrestle Stephanie McMahon at Summerslam. Of course, as mentioned earlier, Brie lost due to the betrayal of her sister Nikki. Her feud with her sister was hard to bare, but all of that momentum Brie had built was truly squandered with her own heel turn at Survivor Series. However, Brie still continues to be a prominent part of the division.

The winner of this award… is Paige

Paige’s in-ring skills trumps the other candidates, leaving AJ, Nikki and Brie in the dust. Sadly, AJ couldn’t quite keep up the momentum she built in 2013 to win this award. It’s true that Paige’s own momentum was hurt after her feud with AJ ended. But Paige was still there to put on a show and be a prominent diva.

Theme Song Of The Year

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This is an important award, as every great superstar must have a great theme song to come out to. The nominations are…

  • Brock Lesnar’s theme song
  • Sting’s theme song
  • Sami Zayn’s theme song
  • Bray Wyatt’s theme song

The winner of the award… is Bray Wyatt and his theme song “Broken Out Of Love”

Bray Wyatt’s theme suits his character probably more than anyone else on the roster. It’s what makes him unique and stand out as a character. So Bray Wyatt gets this award this year, after failing to win the award last year.

Break-Up Of The Year

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Break Ups are hard to pull off. It’s hard to break up a team and keep both of them strong coming off of it. Most of the time, you’ll have a situation where one becomes the “Shawn Michaels” and the other becomes the “Marty Jarnetty”. We’ve picked these four break ups which didn’t actually do a bad job.

  • The Shield – The Shield crumbling was always going to be hard to pull off. However, all three members are still prominently featured on WWE programming. Nobody is really being left in the dust and I’m confident no one will in 2015 either.
  • The Bella Twins – At least with this break up, the Bella Twins where able to break off on their own. Even though it only lasted three months, at least Brie and Nikki were both able to create identities that separated each other.
  • The Real Americans – Cesaro needed to break off from Jack Swagger at Wrestlemania. However, Jack wasn’t exactly thrown into obscurity either. Jack turned face and feuded with Rusev while Cesaro became a Paul Heyman guy.
  • The Wyatt Family – We still don’t know how long this split will last, but it’s interesting to see Luke Harper and Erick Rowan on their own in the WWE wilderness. Do they need Bray to remain relevant?

The winner of this award by a landslide… is The Shield

All good things must come to an end… so even greater things can occur for the Hounds of Justice. Seth Rollins became Mr Money In The Bank, Dean Ambrose headlined two WWE PPVs and Roman Reigns looks prime to take the WWE by force. I think it’s safe to say the break up of The Shield wasn’t a bad idea. It was pulled off brilliantly on RAW too.

Twitter User Of The Year

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  • Ryback (@Ryback22) – Ryback was a Twitter machine that really tore apart the WWE Twiterverse with some incredible tweets this year… which were later deleted.
  • And…

There’s no point. Ryback is the winner! Nobody could touch the Big Guy! Although I will give honorable mentions to Vince Russo, Sid Vicious and Stevie Ray for some great tweets this year too!

Tag Team Of The Year

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  • The Usos – The brothers finally won the WWE Tag Team Championship this year and put on some amazing matches with the likes of the Wyatt Family, showcasing the quality of the tag team division that’s been first-class for the last few years in WWE.
  • Gold and Stardust – The brothers started the year as WWE Tag Team Champions, but lost it at the Royal Rumble to the New Age Outlaws. The two had great chemistry as a tag team and it continued onto their promos when Cody Rhodes became Stardust. They won the tag titles again and have continued the great work they did last year.
  • Erick Rowan and Luke Harper – Rowan and Harper’s most notable moments in 2014 was a great feud with the Usos. Despite not winning the titles, the Wyatts were able to put together some incredible matches both on television and on PPV. Just a shame that this team never won the tag titles.
  • Rybaxel – In my opinion, the most underrated tag team of the year. The Big Guy and the Axe Man were very funny in promos and weren’t actually bad together as a tag team. I kinda wished these two got a tag run too.

The winners of this award… is the Usos.

The Usos chemistry trumps the rest and have been putting in quality matches… ALL YEAR. Indeed, the Usos are great representatives of the tag team division.

Promo Of The Year

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I love a good promo, and these four promos really stood out from the rest. The nominations are…

  • Paul Heyman On The RAW After Wrestlemania (April 7th, 2014) – Despite the greatest streak of in wrestling ending at the hands of his client Brock Lesnar, Heyman was able to work the crowd incredibly well with this promo. I think this was the promo that made you realize Brock’s mystique and importance in the company. Heyman even got cheers throughout his promo, even after his client Brock had upset so many wrestling fans the night before.
  • Paul Heyman In Chicago (March 3rd, 2014) – Paul Heyman’s cut great promos all year, but this one as well was incredible. WWE decided to handle CM Punk’s depature from WWE head on, with Paul Heyman addressing Punk’s home town crowd of Chicago. After coming out to Punk’s theme song, Heyman did tremendous work on the mic. He touched on a “shoot” incident while in kayfabe mode which was pretty incredible.
  • Dean Ambrose On Seth Rollins (June 9th, 2014) – Dean Ambrose showed off his magic as a promo cutter shortly after Seth Rollins betrayed The Shield. You could feel the intensity in his promo and it will probably be the best promo Dean Ambrose will ever cut.
  • Bray Wyatt On The Shield (January 31st, 2014) – Bray cut a lot of great promos on The Shield, but this one on SmackDown! really did stand out. He talked about his love of war and brought the intensity that made this feud between The Shield and the Wyatt Family so great.

The winner of this award… is Paul Heyman and his promo about Brock Lesnar breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.

Paul’s at his best when he’s bragging. But here, he’s bragging about probably the greatest win his client will ever had. With all due respect to the other promos, this one made Brock Lesnar seem like a god and the fans were really into it.

PPV Of The Year

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  • Wrestlemania XXX – Probably one of the most memorable PPVs of all time. Daniel Bryan got his big moment, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin opened the show in incredible fashion and we saw the end of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.
  • Extreme Rules – This PPV was a good PPV, mainly due to the incredible six man tag team match between The Shield and Evolution
  • Payback – We saw the rematch between Evolution and The Shield as well as an incredible Last Man Standing match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena
  • Summerslam – This was a good PPV all around, most notable for Brock Lesnar destroying John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

The winner of this award…. was Wrestlemania XXX

Wrestlemania was just a great PPV from top to bottom, and probably one of the most memorable PPVs in wrestling history.

Shocking Moment Of The Year

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  • The Shield Implodes – It’s been covered a number of times already in these awards, but it was quite the shocker which few saw coming.
  • Brock Lesnar Conquers The Streak – Deep down in our hearts, we all believed that the Undertaker’s streak would never end. However, Wrestlemania XXX proved us wrong.
  • Sting’s Debut – After all these years of refusing to join the WWE, Sting eventually stepped into a WWE ring at Survivor Series. He helped Team Cena slay the Authority in the most shocking of circumstances.
  • Paige Wins The Divas Championship – I was not expecting this NXT Women’s Championship strolling into RAW on the day after Wrestlemania to win the Divas Championship. Definitely, one of the great moments in WWE women’s wrestling.

The winner of this award… Brock Lesnar Conquers The Streak

Let’s face it… nothing was going to even come close. Not that the other candidates weren’t good… nothing was going to top the ending of the streak.

Wrestler Of The Year

This is the big one. There were a lot of candidates to consider but there was only going to be one winner….

Seth Rollins!

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Seth’s had quality matches all year long, with the Shield and without. He’s been transformed into the top heel in the company and has had great rivalries with the likes of Dean Ambrose. Seth Rollins is your Wrestler of the Year.

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