2015 Armbar Express Awards

 

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. It’s where we reflect on everything that went right or wrong in the world of professional wrestling during the year. We reward excellence and we condemn ignorance. We decide once and for all which stars are worthy as it is time for the 2015 Armbar Express… AWARDS!

So we’ve made our list, we checked it twice. It’s time to see which wrestling personalities raked in the rewards for a solid year and which wrestlers get the short end of the stick. Let’s kick things off with…

 

TV Show Of The Year

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This is a new one for us in the awards. We celebrate just which wrestling promotion put on the best TV show of the year and our nominations are…

  • Monday Night RAW (WWE) – As it much as it can drive a man insane, I’ll give credit to the writers for being able to write and dish out a three hour wrestling show every week. A lot of RAWs have been well below par but there’s been a few hidden gems that almost makes up for that.
  • NXT (WWE) – The developmental territory goes from strength to strength as NXT has really had the world talking with some incredible talent on display. We’ve had some great matches, some great storylines and great special events to make all the episodes seem worth it.
  • Lucha Underground (Lucha Underground) – Lucha Underground is an incredible alternative from WWE which has really made a name for itself. Every episode is unmissable as it delivered with its first season in 2015. Considering the success of season one, season two in 2016 can be a huge success.

The winner… is Lucha Underground.

More than any other wrestling show from any other promotion, Lucha Underground knows what type of product they are putting on every week. It is a television show which is really what a lot of promotions fail to remember. It might upset a lot of NXT fans for it to lose out to Lucha Underground, but NXT is a show you could miss and it wouldn’t hugely effect your knowledge of events. Lucha Underground has made it’s a product a show you have to see every week. Every little detail is vital as you are gearing up for a huge episode with major implications. The segments and non-wrestling parts of the show are put together very well with more time given to wrestling to really tell the story for them. It’s the perfect balance which creates a incredible product at the end. If you’re not watching Lucha Underground, you’re missing out on an unique opportunity.

 

Feud/Rivalry Of The Year

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Storytelling is a huge aspect of wrestling and more intense rivalries are, the better. Our nominations are…

  • Kevin Owens vs John Cena – This feud made for compelling television on RAW which made it a huge incentive for people to watch the flagship show. Kevin Owens debuted in an emphatic way, attacking John Cena on RAW and then cleanly beating him at Elimination Chamber. Cena levelled things up at Money In The Bank until Cena settled the score with Owens at Battleground. While the ending with Cena winning the feud still winds me up to this day, you can’t deny that there were some great moments that accompanied this feud and really make it stand out.
  • Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker – Fifteen months after the events of Wrestlemania XXX, the Dead Man finally got around to getting his revenge on the man that conquered the streak. After costing him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground, Undertaker began an incredible intense and powerful feud with Brock Lesnar which was really must-see television. Most notable during this feud was the post-Battleground brawl between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar which was arguably one of the greatest moments of RAW all year. Along with getting the Undertaker booed for the first time in a decade, this feud provided a whole new dynamic which really developed the characters of both men and it was not like this was a traditional face vs heel rivalry. These just two men that wanted to murder each other! The matches at Summerslam and Hell in a Cell also hugely surpassed my expectations too!
  • Fenix vs Mil Muetrues – This was one of the rare times where a romance angle was actually done right and it shockingly happened at a promotion that is not as heavy on “sports entertainment” than WWE. It made stars out of Fenix and Mil with great matches including their Grave Consequences match which we’ll get to later. Catrina’s role in the storyline was also well played.
  • Sasha Banks vs Bayley – There’s been a number of great NXT programs this year but Bayley and Sasha Banks gave us a rivalry which was truly phenomenal. This was story-telling at it’s simplest and finest and Sasha was the perfect foil for Bayley, as the hugger hoped to finally win the NXT Women’s Championship. Two great matches at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and Respect showed why NXT’s women were leagues ahead of WWE’s divas.

The winner… is Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker.

To me, the intensity of Brock vs Taker was what really made it stand out. I appreciate the clear face-heel dynamic of Bayley and Sasha, I liked the way the romance angle with Fenix and Mil was presented and I loved the matches between Owens and Cena. However, what separated Brock and Taker from the rest was their ability to be unique. There’s no face and no heel. There’s just two badasses just beating the crap out of each other which gave the whole thing such a great atmosphere and what really made Brock Lesnar must-see television this year!

 

Tag Team Of The Year

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There’s been a number of teams that have really impressed this year and let’s celebrate these tremendous tag teams as the nominations are…

  • The New Day – What can be said about the New Day other than they took the ball and they ran so far with it that it’s incredible to think that they were getting booed at the start of the year. Now, they are just the most entertaining tag team in wrestling today and they’ve got a lot of diversity between the three of them in terms of movesets which works tremendously in the tag team scenario.
  • Lucha Dragons – This team has been very fun to watch in the ring and have been a welcome addition to the main roster. Sin Cara’s obviously been on the main roster before but Kalisto is a newcomer that has really shined in the time that he’s given. Hopeful we can see these two with a tag title run.
  • Jason Jordan and Chad Gable – A true stand out team in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, these two just worked so well together as a tag team. The weakness of one man was filled by the other as they put on some incredible matches against the likes of Baron Corbin and Rhyno. Many NXT fans were disappointed that the duo never won the tournament but 2016 may end up being their year.
  • Cesaro and Tyson Kidd – I was originally going to leave this team out of this award considering they were only together for around six months until Tyson Kidd went down with an injury. However, the duo put together some great matches as a duo with the two styles just complimented each other beautifully. Fact.

The winner is… the New Day!

Kofi, Big E and Xaiver have done tremendous work as a trio and it might be unfair to give them award considering they’re more of a stable then a tag team. However, you can’t deny that they’ve given the tag team division a boost as a whole and they are finally getting the results that the three of them deserve.

 

PPV Of The Year

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The WWE Network might have actually been worth subscribing to this year with a number of top quality PPVs to acknowledge. The nominations are…

  • Wrestlemania 31 – In what is usually a given in terms of top PPVs of the year, Wrestlemania 31 sure didn’t disappoint. Rarely has a Wrestlemania been as well timed as this year’s event. With the exception of the Rock/Rousey/HHH/Stephanie angle (which I thought went too long) all the matches/segments were given enough time to truly stand out in it’s own right. While it was not like Wrestlemania 28 where all the time went to the three big matches and it was not like any of the matches from this card were match of the year candidates, it featured some darn great matches nevertheless. From Sting vs Triple H to Brock Lesnar taking Roman Reigns to Suplex City, there was little wrong with this year’s edition of Wrestlemania.
  • Summerslam – August 22nd, August 23rd and August 24th made for a great three days for WWE and the feature presentation was the four hour long Summerslam. The top matches including a great WWE World title match with Seth Rollins defending against John Cena as well as the long-awaited rematch between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar which really surpassed my expectations.
  • Hell in a Cell – I have to give Hell in a Cell a thumbs up for a number of reasons. Both Hell in a Cell matches delivered in their own right, (which is of course a big part of the PPV itself) and there were a number of surprises including the return of Alberto Del Rio.
  • Night of Champions – This was another good PPV for WWE in the autumn of 2015, with Seth Rollins being the focal point and main reason for it’s success! Seth Rollins put on two great matches in a row with John Cena and Sting, proving that he indeed was the man in WWE around this time. There were other great aspects of the show as well including the returning of Chris Jericho which made for a worthwhile event.

The winner is… Wrestlemania 31.

This was another solid Wrestlemania for WWE as whoever was responsible for the timing of the show was right on the money. That event will legitimately go down as one of the best Wrestlemanias the company have ever produced.

 

Worst Match Of The Year

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Not all awards are for the greater good. This award celebrates the worst matches put together in 2015. The nominations are…

  • Sheamus vs Ryback vs Dolph Ziggler vs Mark Henry vs R-Truth vs King Barrett in an Elimination Chamber match for the Intercontinental Championhship (WWE) – Maybe WWE should have given Elimination Chamber a rest this year because this chamber match really wasn’t up to par. As soon as Mark Henry’s chamber pod was broken, the match seemed to completely fall apart to such agree that it was amazing how all of these men (EACH with at least ten years experience wrestling in the “biggest” wrestling promotion in the world) couldn’t put this match back on track. When Sheamus’ chamber pod got stuck, all of these men stood around not knowing what to do as Ziggler was calling spots for everyone. It was not a great return for the Elimination Chamber.
  • 2015 Royal Rumble Match (WWE) – WWE’s streak of failing Royal Rumble matches continued with this atrocity which ended up with Roman Reigns standing tall. It’s not even the fact that Roman won it. It’s the fact that the match itself was put together in such a miserable fashion that it’s no wonder that Roman was booed out of the building. Those fans weren’t booing Roman Reigns. They were booing Roman Reigns having to conquer two twenty year veterans that had no business being on par with the current crop of young talent as WWE struggle to develop new stars.
  • Los Villanos vs Los Psycho Circus at TripleMania XXIII (AAA) – When I heard that Dave Meltzer had given this match from TripleMania minus five stars, I figured I had to go watch it. I had heard that TripleMania was bad and the bits I had watched of it weren’t all impressive. However, this match was something special. This was supposed to be Villano III’s retirement match and imagine having a retirement match that was this much of a train wreck. This was hardly Ric Flair retiring against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. This is one to watch but for the wrong reasons!
  • Paige and Emma vs The Bella Twins on RAW: February 23rd 2015 (WWE) – This was an utterly atrocious use of these women on WWE’s flagship show, to give them a grand total of 30 seconds of in-ring action. What happened was Emma and Brie started the match, Paige was shouting at Nikki when Brie took her off the apron, Emma looked outside to check on Paige and then Brie hit Emma with the X-Factor and won. This was a complete and utter disgrace considering these talented women were given 30 seconds during a 3 HOUR SHOW of RAW. The neglect to these divas by WWE was simply revolting which ended up creating the “Divas Revolution” which we’ll get onto later. It’s one thing when you try something and it fails. It’s a slap in the face when you don’t even try to make the women look credible.
  • Kurt Angle vs Eric Young in a No Disqualification match at Bound For Glory 2015 (TNA) – This match was probably the highlight of my TNA Bound For Glory PPV review as two men that are usually great workers were put in this illogical no disqualification match. The biggest highlight to this match was, despite Eric Young piledriving Kurt Angle, the referee waving off the match, KURT ANGLE even telling Eric it’s over, the match still went on for another ten minutes or so as Kurt was selling a broken neck. You really should read my Bound For Glory review (at this link) to get the full detail of my problems with this match. I’ll just say this… thumbs down.

The winner (or in this case, the loser) is…. the Elimination Chamber match.

Now keep in mind when we give out these awards for Best or Worst match of the year, it’s not strictly down to the in-ring side of things. If that was the case, then the Villanos/Psycho Circus match would probably win hands down. We’re looking at so many more aspects of the match that made it worthy of a nomination. Angle/Young was bad because of the illogical storytelling going on. The Royal Rumble match was a disaster mostly because of the crowd reactions and the finish. Emma and Paige vs the Bella Twins was on the list because of how disrespectful it was to women’s wrestling and the Villanos/Psycho Circus was in for a number of reasons. The reason for the Elimination Chamber being the winner was down to one thing. In AAA and TNA, the expectations and standards aren’t as high as WWE’s. Considering the physical well-being of both the Villanos and the Psycho Circus and considering that TNA’s booking was just vintage TNA, you can sort of expect that. For WWE, you expect top quality action. It’d be wrong to punish the divas for WWE’s decision to give them 30 seconds. For the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble, there’s no excuse. At least the first half of the Royal Rumble was actually not that bad with some cool surprise entrants and stuff, so it has at least got a few redeeming qualities to it. The Elimination Chamber was just a bad match that fell apart because of the chamber pod spots and then going on for way too long. Their improvisation made them all look like fools and it was just a retched return of the elimination chamber. Congratulations you six for being apart of the worst match of the year.

 

Turn Of The Year

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There’s been a number of effective turns which have either been executed well or has lead to even greater things just by doing it. The nominations are…

  • The New Day: Heel (WWE) – It’s amazing to think that the WWE Creative team had the New Day be good guys for five months before realising that they needed to be heels. Responding to the “New Day Sucks” chant, the men finally embraced the hate and it’s the greatest decision the WWE have made throughout the entire year. The New Day have excelled as heels and it’ll be hard to see how they can top it in 2016.
  • Undertaker: Heel? (WWE) – In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a full-on heel turn from the Dead Man. However, to explore the idea of the Lord of Darkness legitimately turning to the dark side was intriguing enough when Undertaker cost Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. Undertaker acting as a heel is very unique and I still believe that him spending the last few years of his career as a heel is what’s best for business before he rides off into the sunset.
  • Paige: Heel (WWE) – The initial turn for Paige was executed very well coming off a rather bleak program between Charlotte and Nikki Bella. Paige cut a scathing promo slating all of the divas, Charlotte and even Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair. What’s followed for Paige since then has been very flawed but the initial turn was pulled off very well.
  • Cesaro: Face (WWE) – Cesaro was already a face before this point but a true babyface moment for him this year was his program with John Cena and Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. Cesaro is a very excitable face wrestler which gives this turn a thumbs up. However, him going up against Cena in the main event of RAW was a moment which I thought was legitimately going to make him a new main event star for WWE to get behind. They showed respect to each other and the fans really did accept that Cesaro should be a main event star. Cena endorsing Cesaro among other things made this feel like a special RAW moment for Cesaro.

The winner is… the New Day!

This is the New Day’s second award and I was honestly going to give this to the Undertaker, despite that heel turn being more of a tweener turn then anything. However, the New Day’s turn was probably the most needed in the entire year and the group shined as the villains. Well done to the New Day!

 

Worst Storyline Of The Year

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This was not a great year for the writers of professional wrestling this year (with the exception of Lucha Underground). The nominations are….

  • The Rusev/Ziggler/Lana saga (WWE) – I’ll give this storyline credit in the fact that my analysis of this storyline is still one of my most viewed blog posts of the year! From the get-go, you knew this storyline couldn’t work. Trying to twist real-life relationships into a romance wrestling storyline really never works as well as it’s expected to and a lot of the time, it just came off as a really cheap soap opera rip-off. Ziggler and Lana couldn’t be accepted as a legitimate couple and Rusev ended up being the biggest loser out of everyone involved. Think about that. The man that WWE had pushed so hard in 2014 and up until Wrestlemania 31 suffered the most during this storyline. I would seriously give my article on this storyline a read at this link to get the full scoop of why this was such a failure.
  • The Divas Revolution (WWE) – I feel that the last six months in the divas roster has been nothing short of a failure with the exception of NXT. It’s very hard to believe that the same company that have put on some of the great women’s matches of all time put this storyline together in the same year. WWE’s attempts at replicating the success of the NXT women really did give women’s wrestling a bad name this year, as these women were unfortunately subjected to the terrible booking by the powers-that-be of WWE. Charlotte, Paige and the rest of the women really do need gold medals for the stuff they’ve had to put up with this year.
  • James Storm “kills” Mickie James (TNA) – Wrestlers being “killed” in storylines aren’t exactly new. Undertaker used to die every other year in WWE while Lucha Underground has ran a number of murder angles in the course of its first season. However, none where as painful to watch as Storm nudging Mickie James onto a train track. As part of a storyline where Storm tried to form a wedge between Magnus and Mickie (a real life engaged couple), the culmination of months of manipulation by Storm was TNA taking a page out of House Of Cards’ books and “killing” off Mickie James in such an anti-climactic manner (except the House of Cards scene was actually a lot more shocking than this one). It’s very hard to pull off a death storyline (unless you’re Lucha Underground) in the social media generation, but TNA’s attempt was just absurd especially when their official website referred to James Storm’s actions as “borderline criminal.” Honest to god, did not make that last part up.
  • The Battle Of The Crown (WWE) – This was hardly the “War of the five Kings” from Game of Thrones. This was WWE making a pure mockery of the value of the King of the Ring tournament. A tournament which has elevated the likes of Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar to stardom. With this storyline, Barrett’s win was treated as a joke as R-Truth also decided to be a king. As I’ve discussed in the past, Barrett has been subjected to some serious woeful booking by WWE in his career but this really takes the cake.

The winner is… The Rusev/Lana/Ziggler storyline.

There’s no doubt in my mind. As infuriating as the Divas Revolution is, as stupid as the James Storm angle was and as much of a joke as the King storyline was made, this romance angle was by far the worst storyline of the year. This takes it by a HUGE MILE. There’s never been a bigger failure of a romance angle than the Rusev, Lana and Ziggler angle. What started with Lana getting some of the best reactions in the entire company and Rusev being a top heel monster, turned into both of them being degraded to such a degree that I find it very hard to believe that either person can be elevated back to the level that they were before they were struck with this horrible storyline.

 

Match of the Year

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Here’s one of the big ones. There’s been a great deal of tremendous matches over the year and these five have been among the elite. The nominations are…

    • John Cena vs Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber 2015 – It’s very hard to separate all three of the Cena/Owens matches this year as all stand out in their own way. The Money In The Bank match and the Battleground rubber match were both well put together. However, Elimination Chamber only just takes it just for the pure shock of Owens beating Cena so convincingly.
    • Bayley vs Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Respect – It’s very hard to separate this match and one other match I’ve seen in the past over which was the greatest womens match I’ve ever seen. I feel given the background to it and the expectation, I feel this surely has to take it. These women were able to put on an incredible performance for 30 minutes, with great in-ring story-telling as Bayley had to prove that her win at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was no joke.
    • Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2015 – This was filled with pure intensity and drama from bell to bell as it even began with Brock Lesnar attacking Undertaker during his entrance. It was a brawl like no one had ever seen before as the Beast and the Dead Man slugged it out. Many complained about the finish but I really didn’t mind it as it was a necessary evil for the third match to happen.
    • Mil Muetrues vs Fenix in a Grave Consequences match on Lucha Underground – This rivalry, as mentioned earlier, was a very powerful one. This match in particular was the ultimate David vs Goliath match as the underdog was beaten to a pulp. This match is a must see for those not familiar with Lucha Underground!
    • Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins vs John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble – There’s little reason needed for why this match is a nominee. Other than being the only redeeming quality of the Royal Rumble PPV that saved it from being a complete disaster, this was the perfect mix for a triple threat match. You had John Cena (who had really improved in terms of match quality this year), Seth Rollins (who has the speed and generally all-around skill) and Brock Lesnar (who ranks high in pretty much every department you can think off!). It just made for a great triple threat which made all of them look incredible.

The winner is… Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar.

I feel kind of bad having all the match of the year candidates being related to the feud of the year candidates. However, those were the big instances where the matches made the rivalry. Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar was no exception as the two put together an incredible match at Summerslam.

 

Female of the Year

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This has been a year for ups and downs for womens wrestling in WWE, but lets give credit to these women as the nominations for female of the year are…

  • Paige – The winner of last year’s award is back into the mix as Paige has had a number of great moments, even with some of the questionable decisions by the powers-that-be. She’s been a little over-exposed and over-used in the divas title picture but the lovely Englishman has given us a lot of top performances.
  • Sasha Banks – It wouldn’t be a legitimate award without at least throwing the Boss into the fray. She had a great run as NXT Womens Champion in the start of the year and she’s been a delight to see whenever she appears on the main roster. That and having one of the best matches of the year surely makes the Boss a contender.
  • Bayley – The hugger is surprisingly the only one out of the four NXT horse-women that wasn’t called up to the main roster, which is probably for the better when you consider just how well she’s performed on NXT.
  • Nikki Bella – The #1 ranked women on the PWI Womens Top 50, Nikki is also in the running for this award as her improving in-ring skill and having to lead the womens roster as champion is something you have to give her credit for.

The winner is… Sasha Banks.

I feel all the others have valid reasons for winning but Sasha has been on top of her game for all of 2015. Congratulations to the Boss!

 

Promo of the Year

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Last year, we saw some tremendous promos cut by the likes of Dean Ambrose, Paul Heyman and Bray Wyatt. Our nominations for this year’s award are…

  • Paige’s PaigeBomb On The Night After Night Of Champions (September 21st 2015) – One of the brightest moments in the Divas Revolution was Paige cut a scathing promo on all the divas which addressed the problems present with the storyline. She buried Charlotte, Becky Lynch and all the other divas as she took credit for the whole Divas Revolution. This could have been the catalyst for a true divas revolution had WWE not squandered this opportunity.
  • Paul Heyman On The Night After Wrestlemania 31 (March 30th 2015) – Last year’s winner Paul Heyman is again featured prominently this year as his angry promo following Wrestlemania was delivered tremendously. Never has a rematch clause ever been invoked in such a manner!
  • Stephanie McMahon On John Cena Missing Out Wrestlemania 31 (March 2nd 2015) – I’m a huge fan of Stephanie McMahon and this promo was a prime example of why. Stephanie’s cut a lot of passionate promos during the year but this one involving Cena was one that really caught my attention. It’s one of those reassurances to the WWE Universe that Cena does not define WWE and is not as dominant as people realise. Stephanie is one of the few people that could have gotten this point across as she did.
  • Paul Heyman On The Future Of Brock Lesnar (March 9th 2015) – Surprisingly, two of these promos come within two weeks of each other! Not going to lie, the road to Wrestlemania can bring about some beauties. Paul Heyman discussing what Brock Lesnar’s plans are after Brock’s falling out with Vince McMahon was so intense that it almost seemed that Brock was actually legitimately holding the company up over the WWE World title. It was as intense as Paul could have made it as he discussed the potential of Brock becoming WWE World and UFC Champion and “smacking around Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao” in a heated promo which really aided the promotion of Lesnar’s match with Roman Reigns tremendously.

The winner is… Paul Heyman with his angry promo on the night after Wrestlemania!

Paul is a true master of the microphone and it was evident with this promo. A deserving two-time winner of this award and there was few that could touch him this year. I always thought this promo grabbed my attention more than the one earlier on in the month, but both were amazing nevertheless. Congratulations Paul!

 

Wrestler Of The Year

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THIS IS IT. This is the big one as we determine who was the best wrestler all year long. The nominations are….

  • Seth Rollins – Last year’s winner has gone from strength to strength, having mostly reigned as WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the locker room leader. He put on great performance after great performance and was really transformed into a true main event star which is exactly what WWE are lacking in. His injury was a huge blow but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Rollins had an incredible year under him that he should really be proud of.
  • John Cena – Big Match John really upped his game in terms of his in-ring skills. John’s had match after match with the US Championship Open Challenge to demonstrate his abilities and help a fellow challenger along the way. Cena’s had great matches with the likes of Rollins, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Dean Ambrose to make this a top year for the franchise player of WWE.
  • Kevin Owens – Despite being HUGELY under-utilised in the majority of the second half of 2015, Owens shined when given the proper mic and wrestling time. He started of the year by smashing Sami Zayn and moved onto his tremendous trilogy with John Cena. He reigned as Intercontinental Champion and in a time of need in terms of top heel stars, Kevin Owens needs to be one to push in 2016.
  • Cesaro – Cesaro gets a spot because HE FREAKING DESERVES IT. Despite not being in a lot of major programs during the year, Cesaro shined whenever he was given the ball. Even when he was under-utilised, he still did his best to make sure he had one of the best matches of the night and to prove just how great he was.
  • Brock Lesnar – Some of you may question my decision to put in a man that rarely wrestles but when he does, it’s must-see television. Brock had some of the best matches of the whole year and can captivate the audience in one way or another.

The winner is… Seth Rollins.

Congrats to Seth Rollins for winning this award for a second year in a row. While John Cena was really on top of his game this year, Seth takes this by a huge mile. He worked his ass off and his performances against some of the top names in the business shows that he belongs in the main event scene for years to come. Seth is the closest WWE’s come to creating a new legitimate star in professional wrestling.

@armbarexpress

That will wrap it up for the award. There were a few more awards that I wanted to dish out in this post and I will do a follow-up piece some time in January to reveal some of the bonus awards including the likes of “Hidden Gem of the Year.”  Thank you all so much for making this an incredible year for the Armbar Express. Thanks to the world of wrestling for giving me the motivation to write about the good and bad of wrestling this year. Cheers!

 

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EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: TNA 2010 PART 13 – AGAINST ALL ODDS

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Previously on TNA EWR…

It was not exactly the greatest of days in terms of ratings as we only got a 80% overall, with none of the matches put on able to get into the 90s. However, we’re hoping to rectify that with our 99th card booked in this particular game (including Impact and other shows) and we’ve got quite the show in store.

John Cena won the first battle in the feud between himself and Samoa Joe but things are going to get interesting as their rematch at Against All Odds will be a Last Man Standing Match!

TAKA Michinoku will defend the X-Division Championship against Christopher Daniels and Alex Shelley in a triple threat match, with Daniels intending on dominating the X-Division before challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight title.

AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy will settle their differences with interim general manager being the special guest referee, Brother Devon and Jay Lethal will settle their differences in a tables match and Chris Sabin will take on Jeff Jarrett in a hardcore match.

The rest of the card features a grudge match with Bobby Lashley and Abyss working together to take on Beer Money Inc, Rey Mysterio takes on Mr Anderson and Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black will challenge “Deadly Sin” Raven and Rhino for the TNA Tag Team Championship. Can Lynn and Black dethrone the champions that have reigned for around eight months?

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Pre-Show – El Hijo Del Santo Announced As The Newest Signing For TNA

In the TNA EWR update, I mentioned that there would be two HUGE new editions to the roster that would be announced. At Against All Odds, the first new signing was revealed as El Hijo Del Santo. Despite his age, Del Santo’s overness was still very strong. Seeing as how he was available as an active wrestler, I decided to snap him up. It got a 90% rating, which is a great start to his TNA career. I’m not really sure where I’m going to be going with Del Santo but I’d like to see him in a big role. Let’s see how this goes.

 

Match 1 – Jay Lethal def. Brother Devon in a tables match

I’m happy with the rating for this. If you’ll recall, their six man tag team match at Genesis score a 75% rating so I’m happy with the huge improve. It increased by 10% as Lethal beat Devon. After this feud has finally wrapped up, Lethal will be in the hunt for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. I will explain later on.

 

Match 2 – Chris Sabin def. Jeff Jarrett in a Hardcore Match

Very happy with the results for this one. As promised in the Genesis post, Sabin got the win at the end of the feud. He was really the one that needed it and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. I do have a short term plan for him and hopefully, that plan will pay off. This is Sabin’s chance to break out as a serious title contender. Samoa Joe interfered which caused Sabin to win.

 

Match 3 – Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black def. “Deadly Sin” Raven (c) and Rhino (c) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship

NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! After eight months of reigning as the tag team champions, the Deadly Sin finally drop the gold to Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black. Jerry’s gotten really over in the last few months and Black has really risen up as well. With Raven and Rhino’s overness dropping as of late, I figured now was the time to get the titles off Deadly Sin. Tyler is really the one that I want to elevate but Jerry I think will be a good partner for the foreseeable future. I still like the mix of master and student as champions.

 

Match 4 – Rey Mysterio def. Mr Anderson

The two don’t really click in terms of in-ring work but they’re both over enough to make up for that. I probably should have paired Mysterio up with another X-Division star but I wanted to give Anderson a big feud too. Mysterio gets the win here. I haven’t really decided who is going to win the feud as there’s arguments for both men to win. It’s very tough to call at the moment.

 

Match 5 – “Beer Money Inc.” Bobby Roode and James Storm def. Abyss and Bobby Lashley

Beer Money grab the win. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have went with Beer Money to win considering they’ve won a lot of PPV tag team matches in the past four or five months. However, I still wanted to play out the Abyss/Lashley dysfunctional spiel. On Impact, Abyss ended the partnership by attacking Lashley. Lashley’s not turning face or anything but at least Abyss can focus on being TNA Global Champion

 

Match 6 – AJ Styles def. Jeff Hardy with Kurt Angle as the special guest referee

Kurt accidentally ate the Pele from AJ which was the ref bump. As Kurt was out, Jeff gained control. He went to the top for a Swanton Bomb when the lights out. When the lights came back on, Sting appeared with a baseball. Jeff went to jump at him but was clocked with the bat in mid-air. Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop with Angle getting up. Sting goes to leave but Angle hits the Angle Slam. AJ hits the Styles Clash on Jeff and Angle reluctantly goes to count and AJ wins the match. A 92% rating. A very solid match between AJ and Jeff. Great results. I also have some news on Kurt Angle which I’ll mention later on after the PPV.

 

Match 7 – Alex Shelley def. TAKA Michinoku (c) and Christopher Daniels in a triple threat match to win the TNA X-Division Championship

An 89% rating for a triple threat match which I was very proud of. Shelley’s got an incredible amount of overness and I thought it was time to take advantage of that fact to elevate the X-Division title. Shelley wins and I’m very much looking forward to booking his reign as champion!

 

Match 8 – John Cena (c) def. Samoa Joe in a Last Man Standing match

Jarrett got retaliation for earlier as he helped Cena win the match with a Attitude Adjustment off one announce table onto the other. A solid finish to the PPV with the 94% rating. Joe vs Cena was the hottest angle in the company in the last two months. I give them both credit for that. I’d hate to have Joe lose twice in a roll but I didn’t want Cena to lose the title just yet!

 

So the news as I alluded to earlier. There’s two bits of news to discuss before we sign off…

  1. Jay Lethal, Chris Sabin and AJ Styles all won their matches at Against All Odds. Angle, who wants to reward the X-Division, put them all in an Impact Series. Over the next few weeks on Impact, Lethal, Sabin and Styles will all be put in matches with each other. Firstly, Sabin will take on Lethal. Following that will be Sabin vs Styles, with Styles vs Lethal following that. At the end of the series, a triple threat match will take place between all three men. The man who wins the most matches in this series will be the new number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Destination X.
  2. Kurt Angle suffered an neck injury which means he will be out for the next eight months. It’s not like I can use him in a non-physical role or anything. I can’t put him on the shows. It’s a blow considering the storyline I’m trying to tell so I had to write him off the show. Sting Pillmanised Angle to take him out of the picture on Impact. It’s annoying but I do have an end game which I can still stick to despite the injury.
  3. The second newest signing will be revealed on the next edition of TNA EWR!

Stay tuned for that and have a great day!

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (Wrestlemania 32)

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (2014)

Undertaker vs Roman Reigns is a How I Would Book match that we have done before. We’ve discussed how these two could have had a corker of a match at Wrestlemania 30, with Roman Reigns’ elevation to the top taking a huge step forward. Now though we are on the road to Wrestlemania 32 with no clear indication about what the Wrestlemania card is going to look like. With that in mind, then there’s no harm in throwing out a number of ideas. Roman Reigns is still in a position where he needs that extra push towards being a true star. Why not give him a top Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32?

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Before we begin, let me just get this out of the way right now. The Undertaker MUST win this match considering that Wrestlemania 32 is being held in Dallas, Texas and having Reigns beat the home town hero Undertaker could cause an even bigger backlash then when Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble. Unless you were to turn Reigns heel before or during the match, there’s little chance of you being able to pull of a Reigns victory without upsetting the masses too much.

Although it’s seemingly like a weird tradition in WWE for the home town hero to lose, you cannot possibly get away with it when it comes to the Undertaker. Wrestlemania has been held in Texas twice before. In those two matches, Undertaker defeated Triple H in a really good match at Wrestlemania X7 and Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in their Wrestlemania 25 classic. To go from Undertaker beating those men in classics to losing to Roman Reigns is quite a step down, whether Roman would be doing it as a face or a heel. This is not like if they had John Cena beat The Rock at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami where there’s a slight possibility that WWE could have gotten away with it. Many fans are wondering if Wrestlemania 32 will be the Undertaker’s last hurrah. If Taker loses to someone the fans are against before riding off into the sunset, what a huge backlash that would cause.

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If this match was to go down, who should be the face and heel? For the record, I would be hugely against both men being faces going into this match as I’d prefer to have the good vs evil dynamic. If Undertaker had not “turned face” again to go up against the Wyatt Family, I would have liked to have seen him be the heel in the situation. Think about it. Undertaker helped the Authority out (whether intentional or not) when Seth Rollins went up against the Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns is currently the Authority’s biggest enemy. So the logical solution would be to have Taker bail the Authority out again by costing Roman the title either at TLC, Royal Rumble or Fastlane. Nice and easy.

However, the fact that Taker did go face again really does change things. Having Taker use dirty tactics to go up against Lesnar, then having him turning face and then to turn him again would be a little too much considering that Taker had been a face for 12 years before Battleground. I’m sure you know what I’m hinting towards and this is something which I feel WWE should have done a long time ago. If anyone needs to be the heel, it’s got to be Roman.

I would have preferred the face Reigns vs heel Taker dynamic but to play it safe, Roman’s got to be the one that turns. Because of Taker’s program with the Wyatt Family, Reigns turning is the only turn which sort of makes sense. He’s been the subject to a great deal of heat from the WWE Universe and has been constantly screwed out of the WWE World title over and over. Let that be the catalyst for the program. Here’s how I’d get it done.

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Currently, the main event of TLC is Sheamus defending the WWE World title against Roman Reigns in a TLC match. For this scenario, that works perfectly. In a match where the League of Nations and Roman’s crew all get into a huge brawl during the match (like when the Wyatts and the Usos beat each other up during Cena’s Last Man Standing match with Bray Wyatt at Payback 2014) which ends up with Roman standing on top of the ladder. Suddenly, a bolt of lighting strikes at the top of the stage. This catches Roman off guard, giving Sheamus the opening he needed to take out Roman and retain the title.

Now the question arises over who was responsible. I personally believe that the lightning bolt itself is not going to give away anything. The Dudley Boyz has a firework like that for their intro so it could easily be anyone that has access to pyro. Roman questions both the League of Nations and the Authority but both of them deny having anything to do this. They tell Roman to focus on the Royal Rumble while a new challenger has emerged for Sheamus’ WWE World title. That man is the Undertaker.

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Undertaker vs Sheamus is a match I’ve always wanted to see and I feel the two styles could click if given the opportunity. Undertaker takes on Sheamus while Roman is scheduled to be in the Royal Rumble until the RAW before the event where he is taken out with a chair lying next to him. He’s out of the Rumble match as Taker goes up against Sheamus. Taker is about to close the deal when the ref is knocked down. The League of Nations come out when Roman comes out. He takes out Barrett, Del Rio and Rusev and then stares at Sheamus. As Taker is going up for, Roman hits the spear on the Dead Man. Roman yells “I know it was you,” before hitting two more spears. This is enough as Sheamus picks up the win when the ref gets back up.

So now Roman has already came to his own conclusion about who was responsible for the TLC incident and the attack on RAW. Undertaker is known for his usage of lightning in the past, which was the first clue. If Roman was taken out of the WWE World title picture, this would have given Undertaker a chance to get into the mix. According to Roman, Undertaker knew that Roman presented the greatest threat to him in the WWE. If Roman would have won the Rumble and if Taker would have won the title, Taker’s title reign would have ended at Wrestlemania in Roman’s mind. He believes that Taker was afraid that Roman was going to put an end to his plans to leave Wrestlemania as WWE World champion.

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These accusations eventually wind up the Undertaker, who turns it into a major brawl at Fastlane. These two come to blows with the rest of the locker room struggling to break up a ten minute brawl around the arena. The anticipation for these two to get it on at Wrestlemania has risen as the match is officially made by the Authority.

At Wrestlemania, Taker wins. Roman kicks out of everything, including a tombstone piledriver. However, a second piledriver is enough for Taker to pick up the win. As Undertaker does his kneeling celebration at the end of the match, Roman smacks Taker in the head with a sledgehammer. During a segment which is considered sacred, Roman attacks the Undertaker giving him so much heat. This also the catalyst and a foreshadowing for Roman becoming a member of the Authority, which I would have done the next night on RAW. I believe that would be what’s best for business.

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However, that wraps it up for us with this edition of the How I Would Book series. I was very hesitant to put Taker over as I’ve made a big deal over how WWE needs to make new stars rather than putting over the older ones. However, I think I’ve had him get beat in such a way that he could actually gain more from defeat then if he won. Let me know what you guys think but I think I’ve found a great solution to the Roman Reigns problem and you can believe that.

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

NOTE: If I was to keep Roman’s storyline in this scenario going, it would be revealed that the Authority was responsible for the attacks on Roman along! However, I think I’ll leave Roman Reigns joining the Authority for another time!

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: TNA 2010 PART 12 – GENESIS

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Previously on TNA EWR…

Kurt Angle is now running the ship in TNA after Hulk Hogan was taken out by a mystery attacker. Kurt Angle is the interim general manager while Hogan is away and he’s got quite a show to run now that he’s in charge. On Impact, Kurt talked about having tough shoes to fill in. Kurt admitted that he wouldn’t be wrestling as much but he would do what’s best for Impact. He decided that what’s best for Impact is to find out who attacked Hogan in the first place. The prime suspect is Sting, so Kurt has decided to call out Sting to appear on the Genesis pre-show to find out the truth.

John Cena’s new challenger for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship is Samoa Joe, who attacked him following his title defence against AJ Styles. Joe told Cena that he’s not here to smile for the crowd. Joe’s here to dominate and be the best wrestler in the world. He called Cena a fraud and Joe vowed to win the title.

AJ Styles was given another chance to compete for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship when he was put in a fatal four way match with Samoa Joe, Mr Anderson (due to his win over Christopher Daniels at Final Resolution) and Jeff Hardy for the number one contendership spot. In a big fatal four way on Impact, Mr Anderson was taken out by Daniels with Styles looking to pick up the scraps. AJ went for the cover but Jeff broke it up by hitting AJ with the Swanton. As Jeff gets up, Joe locks him in the choke for the pass out to become the number one contender.

Since then, AJ has been angry at Jeff for costing him the TNA World title. The match has been made for Genesis as the two men that have fought for the title in the past will fight again.

As mentioned earlier, Mr Anderson beat Christopher Daniels at Final Resolution. Anderson said that Daniels sucked and was not championship material. Daniels, of course, got involved in Anderson’s fatal four way match. Daniels told Anderson that he was just as good as anyone on the roster and wanted to prove it to Anderson at Genesis in a no disqualification rematch. The winner got to challenge for whatever title he wanted. Anderson agreed but wanted Daniels to agree to never compete for the TNA World title again if he lost. Daniels agreed as he was confident in shutting Anderson up.

Chris Sabin confronted Jeff Jarrett at Final Resolution and challenged the TNA Owner to a match. Jeff said no as he wanted to help run TNA with Hogan out. Sabin attacked him in response which led to Jarrett getting angry. After a few teases,  Jarrett finally agrees to give Sabin a match.

And finally, “Extreme Coalition” member Stevie Richards jumped ship from TNA to WWE. The group promised that a new member will join the group that would become the leader. In a shocking swerve, Brother Devon was revealed as the new member when he turned heel and attacked Jay Lethal. Lethal gets a team together including himself, Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black against Devon and the tag team champions Raven and Rhino.

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Pre-Show – Kurt Angle/Sting Confrontation

Kurt Angle talks about the Genesis PPV and promises to deliver one of their best events yet. He talks about rising stars like Tyler Black getting their chance to shine at Genesis and TNA originals like Jay Lethal, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley all breaking out as top stars. Although he initially was unsure about these young stars, he realises now that these men are giving professional wrestling a good name and wanted them to give it their all.

Before the future can start though, Angle said that we needed to address the past. Hulk Hogan was attacked and Angle wanted answers. Angle noted that Sting was very critical of Hogan in the last few months and named him the prime suspect. He calls him out. Sting came out and told Kurt that he had nothing to do with Hogan getting attacked. Sting talked about Kurt Angle being the right man to replace Hogan. Sting said that Hogan brought in old-timers from WWE, WCW and ECW that didn’t deserve to be in TNA while Angle is looking out for the future. He respected that and wants Angle to continue the good work.  However, he told Kurt to back off. Sting told Kurt that while he respected him, Kurt should not get in Sting’s way. Kurt told Sting that he couldn’t allow him to be the vigilante that’s taking out all of the talent. Kurt said that he and Sting have fought side-by-side and against each other several times in TNA but was not going to let Sting run rough shot. Angle said that if he finds out that Sting is lying about Hogan, he was going to break his ankle. Sting tried a cheap shot but Angle ducked and hit the Angle Slam. He went for the Ankle lock but Sting got away.

This segment was the strongest segment of the night which is not saying much. It also sucks that the best segments on the show wasn’t even on the main card!

 

Match 1 – Matt Morgan def. Hernandez

Two big guys battle it out here in the opener. Hernandez is surprisingly over despite losing his feud with Kaz so I decided to give him another big man to deal with. Matt Morgan is probably the top monster face we’ve got in the company so it makes sense. Not to thrilled about the 77% rating but then again, I was not expecting it to be in the 90s or anything. I’ll give them credit as they surprisingly didn’t get the worst rating on the show.

 

Match 2 – “Extreme Coalition” Brother Devon, Raven and Rhino def. Jay Lethal, Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn

I know six man tag team matches usually don’t get to great a rating but I felt these six got robbed a bit. To put this match as the worst match on the PPV was a bit heavy. I think maybe the contrasting styles might have had an effect somewhat but you’d expect people like Lethal, Devon, Raven and Rhino at least to pop at 80% rating with their overness.

 

Match 3 – Rey Mysterio def. Alex Shelley in a falls count anywhere match

The winner of the match of the night award at Final Resolution was also the joint top rated match for Genesis! Shelley and Mysterio just clicked together really well and this feud as helped out Shelley in the long run. Shelley was the only one that got over from the rivalry according to the road agents! Mysterio was already at 100 which was the highest he could go but the fact that Shelley caught up to him is quite impressive. I have big plans for Shelley believe it or not.

 

Match 4 – Abyss (c) def. Bobby Roode and James Storm in a triple threat match to retain the TNA Global Championship

I was very disappointed this one because whenever I throw Abyss in a singles match with either member of Beer Money on Impact, it’s usually in the upper 80s to mid 90s. Kinda surprised with it being the second worst match on the show. Abyss retains the Global title for now. We’ll see how well he does as champion because he’s pretty over at the moment.

 

Match 5 – Jeff Jarrett def. Chris Sabin

I have no idea why I thought this but I was positive that this match was going to be the worst match on the show! I thought the styles just wouldn’t click but it turns out I was wrong. It got a 82% rating and was one of only four matches to get into the 80s for this PPV sadly. However, Jarrett got the win. Sabin cheap-shotted after a handshake. Jarrett goes over here but I do plan on giving Sabin the win in their rematch because he’s getting quite a bit from this feud and I feel he should be the one that goes over in the end. For now though, Jarrett gets the first win in this feud and retribution for the attack at Final Resolution.

 

Match 6 – Christopher Daniels def. Mr Anderson in a no disqualification match. The winner would earn a championship match at whatever title he desires. If Daniels lost, he would never receive a TNA World Heavyweight Championship

The 77% rating was disappointing but I kind of get why it got the rating it did. I get frequent road agent notes that Anderson and Daniels don’t really click in the ring. Daniels won the match and I’ll reveal now that Daniels WON’T be going after the TNA World title. Daniels decided that he needs to prove to himself that he was a true champion before going after the title. He wanted to win the TNA X-Division title instead and then call out the TNA World Heavyweight Champion in the future. I have a VERY interesting X-Division program in store that will have TNA World title implications. Daniels is super over so he will be in the mix.

 

Match 7 – AJ Styles def. Jeff Hardy

AJ beat Jeff after Bobby Lashley interfered on AJ’s behalf. AJ, Lashley and Abyss had an unofficial alliance in the past and since Abyss is focusing on the Global title, Lashley decided to help AJ against Jeff here. I expected a bit more but at least it was in the 80s. Not a bad match.

 

Match 8 – John Cena (c) def. Samoa Joe via disqualification retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Despite the disappointing ratings from this PPV, I’m very thankful that the main event was at least the joint best match of the show! It got a 85% rating. Joe gets disqualified for hitting Cena with the belt. Joe does a vicious beat down after the match and holds the title up high in the end. I don’t want to put the belt on Joe at the moment but I also want him to show that he could kick Cena’s ass. I know it seems that Joe was stupid by getting himself DQ’d during a title match but trust me. There’s method to the madness. He was the last man standing in this battle and with that, you all probably know where this is going!

 

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at Against All Odds, where Kurt Angle will introduce a new signing to our show as mentioned on the TNA EWR update!