Home > Uncategorized > 2nd Annual Marshall Pro Wrestling Awards – Part 2

2nd Annual Marshall Pro Wrestling Awards – Part 2

2nd Annual Marshall Pro Wrestling Awards
PART 2


BEST GIMMICK
Given to the best gimmick of 2006
WINNER:

LAX (The Latin American eXchange – Homicide & Hotstuff Hernandez w/ Konnan)

* Though much of the attention TNA garnered from news sites came from the signings of Christian and (even moreso) Kurt Angle, the act that created the most buzz and had the greatest impact on TNA in 2006 was the tag team of LAX, Homicide and “Hotstuff” Hernandez, managed by former WCW US Champion and Mexican superstar Konnan. Playing off the immigration debate that heated up in the first half of 2006, TNA created a tag team of Latin pseudo-militants hellbent on violence and glory. While at times the line was danced on, the gimmick never became too racist or offensive and it was made clear that these were heels and not supposed to be representative of an entire race of people. Unlike a lot of other angles and gimmicks in TNA, it was executed flawlessly and was helped by the workrate of Hernandez and the spectacular (and some would say underrated) Homicide. TNA learned again in 2006 what WWE still hasn’t been able to grasp since the late 90s – not only can tag teams draw, but they can be THE draw if promoted right.
Readers’ Choice: TIE – Jimmy Jacobs goes emo (literally) over his unrequited crush on Lacey (ROH); Alex Shelley’s “Paparazzi Productions” (TNA). Backed by a ridiculously entertaining “music video” posted on ROHWrestling.com and YouTube, Jimmy Jacobs’ emo character became a highlight of ROH’s midcard in 2006, amusing at times while simultaneously developing sympathy for Jacobs’ character. Alex Shelley and Kevin Nash were perhaps the funniest act of 2006 with Shelley’s “Paparazzi Productions,” sometimes even despite the material they were given. Now if only they could do something with Shelley to have him be taken seriously as a wrestler.
Honorable Mention: Booker T wins King of the Ring and declares himself to be true royalty as “King Booker” complete with Shakesperean dialect (WWE Smackdown).

VON ERICH AWARD
Given to the best face (“hero”) in wrestling; doesn’t necessarily reflect workrate.
WINNER:

Rob Van Dam (WWE ECW)

* 2006 was definitely the year of the heel wrestler. Any top face was accentuated more by his feud with heels rather than on the basis of his own charisma or level of popularity with the crowd. Though John Cena was positioned as the face of WWE, it was Rob Van Dam who garnered the best consistent response from the crowd. How could I not award it to a guy who gets busted for a DUI, as a result gets booked out of the main event, and yet his fans STILL defend him? That’s the very definition of over, even if there are those who recognize his limitations in the ring. In the eyes of his fans, he can do no wrong (for better or worse). Any way you cut it, Rob Van Dam is the most popular guy in WWE despite all his shortcomings.
Readers’ Choice: TIE – John Cena (WWE RAW) & Batista (WWE Smackdown). Can’t really argue with either choice. As mentioned before, it was a tough year for faces when the two most heavily pushed guys were one who half or more of any given crowd booed (Cena) and another who was out for a big chunk of the year and came back slightly less motivated and having lost much of his momentum (Batista). Perhaps even more indicative of there being no big clear-cut face wrestler is the fact that until 10:00pm last night, there was a six-way tie in the voting.
Honorable Mention: Shawn Michaels (WWE RAW).

RIC FLAIR AWARD
Given to the best heel (“villain”) in wrestling; doesn’t necessarily reflect workrate.
WINNER:

Edge (WWE RAW)

* In my mind, I don’t think there can be any question as to who the best heel of 2006 was. Edge was so reminsicent of Flair in his ability to get great matches out of his opponents while simultaneously getting them over that I was surprised more people weren’t making the comparison. His feud with Cena kept Cena in the top spot and one could argue not only made him a bigger star, but also saved him from jobbing to Vince’s son-in-law at Wrestlemania. Having been villified by fans on the internet in 2005 for his real-life affair with Lita that broke off her long engagement to former friend Matt Hardy, Edge’s performance as a heel almost made people completely forget about the whole debacle or at least had them put it behind them.
Readers’ Choice: Edge by a landslide. Again, no question.
Honorable Mention: Chris Hero (ROH/CZW), Booker T/”King Booker” (WWE Smackdown).

NEXT BIG THING
To the wrestler for whom 2007 could be their year.
WINNER:

C.M. Punk (WWE ECW)

* He’s the guy that’s so popular on the internet that there’s been a backlash against him by some fans saying he was overrated despite not receiving all that big of a push in WWE. Even though he didn’t get pushed to the sky, he was very well protected from the moment he debuted in WWE’s version of ECW and has connected with the crowd quicker than any other new face in recent memory. Part of that is helped by the fact that his proclamations to be straight edge – which with wrestling fans in this day and age would normally make someone an instant heel – seemed genuine…because it was. Despite reservations from some in the back, Punk’s work even won over Vince McMahon. Though it might not seem like he’s being groomed as heavily as some other WWE newcomers, his work prior to entering WWE and instant popularity even with those unfamiliar with his ROH work speaks volumes. C.M. Punk is the guy to watch in 2007.
Readers’ Choice: TIE – C.M. Punk and Ken Kennedy (WWE Smackdown). It’s hard to argue with a vote for Kennedy, who even with little experience and arguably shaky ringwork at times knows how to work a crowd better than 90% of the current roster.
Honorable Mention: Nigel McGuinness (ROH), Daniel Rodimer (WWE – no brand assigned; expected to be RAW).

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
Given to the wrestler(s) who had the best career comeback in 2006.
WINNER:

Fit Finlay (WWE Smackdown)

* There was a collective “what?!” at the very beginning of 2006 when it was announced that Finlay, now in his late forties and not having performed full-time in over five years, was debuting on Smackdown due to a plethora of injuries to the brand’s roster. Amazingly, Finlay immediately showed that not only had he not lost a step in the ring, but he actually seemed to be better than he was when he retired. His style is reminiscent of the best brawlers from the 80s, however he’s adapted to changes in the in-ring style so well that not too many people even notice. Finlay saved Smackdown’s heavyweight division, and it’s a shame that his age will prevent him from becoming a long-term asset. In the meantime, however, fans have little to complain about in regards to Finlay.
Readers’ Choice: Fit Finlay by a landslide.
Honorable Mention: Jay & Mark Briscoe (ROH), Jeff Hardy (WWE RAW)

MOST IMPROVED
Given to the wrestler who improved the most in 2006
WINNER:

Delirious (ROH)

* 2006 was a break-out year for Delirious, who became a regular on the roster due to his increasing popularity with fans of the promotion. Before he was viewed as a solid worker who had an amusing schtick, but over the course of the past year he’s stepped up his game and has been able to wrestle up to the level of opponents such as Matt Sydal and “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Keep a close eye on him in 2006.
Readers’ Choice: Edge.
Honorable Mention: Umaga (WWE RAW). He’s fairly underrated considering how absolutely awful he was as “Jamal” of 3 Minute Warning just a few short years ago.

SID EUDY AWARD
Awarded for incredible stupidity in the face of all decency and/or common sense.
WINNER:
Rob Van Dam loses his titles, and push, after being busted with a DUI.

* Van Dam is lucky he has such a loyal fan base, and even luckier that the industry isn’t as popular as it was five years ago. Something like this could easily destroy someone’s career, and it’s amazing that there are still people to this day that will try to defend him and alleviate all blame from the situation just because he’s Rob Van Dam. Yeah, he likes to get high, and we’ve known this for awhile. But when you’re booked as the top star in a promotion, even if it’s only temporary, you should probably avoid bringing negative attention and publicity to yourself and the company you work for and wait until you get back to the hotel room to get high. Retard.
Readers’ Choice: RVD smokes up his title reign. See above.
Honorable Mention: Kurt Angle claims he “faked” his erratic behavior and drug addiction to get out of his WWE contract; WWE horribly botches the ECW relaunch; and far too many others to mention. 2006 was a banner year for stupidity in professional wrestling.

MOST UNDERUTILIZED WRESTLER
Given to a wrestler in 2006 whom the promotion either didn’t utilize as well as they should have and/or with whom they completely dropped the ball.
WINNER:

Shelton Benjamin (WWE RAW)

* Let me preface this by saying that I’m not one of those who thinks WWE should throw everything behind Benjamin and make him champion right the Hell now. He’s a charismatic guy who a good look and fantastic workrate, but personality-wise he just doesn’t have it right now to warrant that big of a push. Regardless, they had a guy who at a young age is one of the top 10 workers in the industry and saddled him with a dumb “Momma’s Boy” gimmick that took steam out of his Intercontinental Title reign, then didn’t even have him on RAW for what seemed like several months. It isn’t at the level of WCW blowing opportunity after opportunity with Steve Austin, but it’s still pretty mind-boggling.
Readers’ Choice: Shelton Benjamin.
Honorable Mention: Ron “The Truth” Killings (TNA), Alex Shelley (TNA), Brent Albright (former WWE Smackdown), Senshi a.k.a. Low Ki (TNA). Boy, there really were a lot of poor decisions made this year.

MOST UNDERRATED
Given to the wrestler most underrated by fans and others.
WINNER:

Jimmy Rave (ROH)

* Not only is Rave one of the few in Ring of Honor (and I’d argue in WWE or TNA as well) that really knows how to work as a heel in terms of in-ring work, but he’s so damn good at it that people overlook his workrate which has improved dramatically over the past couple years. As time goes on he’s becoming more and more confident in his promos, which was previously viewed as his greatest weakness, and his match with Bryan Danielson earlier in the year was fantastic. There’s a reason Rave never seems to have a bad match, which goes unnoticed because the crowd’s too busy throwing rolls of toilet paper at him. Thankfully his work hasn’t gone unnoticed by Gabe Sapolsky and others in ROH, as he’s currently being positioned as the top heel in the company.
Readers’ Choice: Gregory Helms. The dwindling hardcore fanbase of WWE is most readily apparent when the crowd can’t get into Gregory Helms’ matches. I know that sounds overly smarkish, but it’s true.
Honorable Mention: Ricky Reyes (ROH), Sean Daivari (WWE Smackdown/ECW), Trevor Murdoch (WWE RAW).

MOST OVERRATED
Given to the wrestler most overrated by fans and others.
WINNER:

Austin Aries (ROH)/Austin Starr (TNA)

* Good God, do I hate me some Austin Aries. Perhaps it’s because of the fact that he gets his name chanted during matches while his tag team partner, Roderick Strong, is a far superior worker who has MUCH better matches on a more consistent basis. Maybe it’s because he wrestles the same match over and over again, complete with stupid “hey look at me I’m a star” spots and flip-floppy bullshit like the idiotic slingshot twisting body press. It might even be the manner in which he carries himself, in that he’s already convinced he’s the biggest thing going in professional wrestling. Most likely, it’s a combination of all these factors. Regardless, he doesn’t nearly warrant the reaction that he gets from ROH fans, and Hell, even the TNA fans aren’t that much into him and they go apeshit for EVERYONE. So at least I know it isn’t just me.
Readers’ Choice: Randy Orton. He was almost my choice, but the fact that more and more people are noticing that he can’t go four minutes into a match without getting lost and throwing on that goddamn chinlock to consult on what to do next means that fans are finally starting to wise up. By the way, I really want to see this charisma and personality that people have been talking about, because as far as I’m concerned Randy Orton is as vanilla as they come.
Honorable Mention: Christopher Daniels (ROH/TNA).

F.O.A.D. AWARD
Given to the wrestler whose presence was the most unwelcome in 2006.
WINNER:

Randy Orton (WWE RAW)

* Boy, where do we start. He’s one of those guys who McMahon developed a man-crush for while he was in Developmental, meaning he’s been shoved down our throats from day one despite the fact that…well, he’s really not that good. He’s also a complete misogynist who has gotten women fired from WWE by bad-mouthing them to powers-that-be just because they turn down his sexual advances. He has a piss-poor attitude that got him legit suspended for 60 days after Wrestlemania. All in all, he’s a guy who thinks much more of himself than the fans do despite the fact that he doesn’t have much potential to draw past the level he’s drawing now, and even that’s sheer luck. Oh, did I mention the whole thing where he was in the Marines before becoming a wrestler and fucking ran away from his commitments? He’s legitimately a despicable human being whose only attributes are a cliche snarky grin and this thing he does where he holds his arms out. How can ANYONE be a fan of this guy?
Readers’ Choice: The Great Khali. I seriously thought I have seen some awful wrestlers in my short life until I saw the incredible shittiness that was The Great Khali. Thankfully WWE wised up to that fairly quickly (for them) and pulled him out of the main event before things got totally out of hand (i.e. even more unwatchable matches).
Honorable Mention: Kevin Federline (WWE RAW), Jeff Jarrett (TNA), Voodoo Kin Mafia (TNA). Federline got votes because the guy is a total hacky scumbag but he’s actually not bad at cutting heel promos, has a decent heel presence, and knows what to play up when it comes to his on-air persona. He’s still a scumbag, though. Jeff Jarrett was once again shoved down the fans’ throats in TNA despite not having any presence or credibility as a star. Voodoo Kin Mafia (BG & Kip James, formerly known in WWE as The New Age Outlaws) would be really over with their “screw DX and McMahon” gimmick if the fans didn’t rejoice when both were released from WWE.

“ENOUGH ALREADY” AWARD
Given to the angle/feud/wrestler that really overstayed its/his/her welcome.
WINNER:

DX (WWE RAW)

* I originally had nominated DX themselves and their feud with the McMahons separately, but decided to lump them together because the McMahon feud simply epitomized the entire problem with the gimmick. Yes, ten years ago it was cool and different. To be honest, I thought that reuniting the two original members of DX (Chyna was just there despite what she may think) was a big money idea. I actually defended it to cynics who said that it was going to be a tired act and they were too old to work it, but in the end it was the cynics who were right. They’re lame and kitschy. Their “rebellious” attitude is so forced and inorganic that they might as well hug and kiss McMahon on-camera after a brutal beating. The worst part is that thus far it’s done absolutely no good in terms of elevating other wrestlers, which should be the sole purpose of bringing back the act. Their feud with “Rated RKO” has shown glimpses of putting emphasis on Edge and Orton on a couple episodes of RAW, but “Team DX” completely dominating “Team RKO” is just a glimpse of how this feud’s going to end – with DX still doing their shitty, tired act while absolutely nobody else benefits from all the months of buildup. It sold merchandise at first and the live crowds ate it up, but it’s resulted embarrasingly bad television and dwindling fan interest. Ever the optimist, I want to say that it’s a good sign that DX won’t be around much longer, but the cynic in me suspects this will go on well past Wrestlemania. The one positive is that it keeps HHH from having yet another long run as a heel champion where he does nothing but use his influence in the company to bury anyone who shows even a glimpse of promise and eats up twenty to thirty minutes every Monday by saying absolutely nothing.
Readers’ Choice: DX.
Honorable Mention: Eddy Guerrero’s death STILL being used as a plot device (WWE). It was bad enough in the months following his death, but the fact that it’s still going on after over a year is deplorable. McMahon and his crack creative team should be ashamed of themselves.

Part 3 tomorrow!

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  1. December 30, 2006 at 3:37 am

    Khali was actually better in APW than he has ever been in WWE. I truly believe that Vince (and every other promoter that has employed him since the Brian Ong incident) is scared to death that he will kill someone in the ring, yet they just can’t see beyond his monstrous freak show frame and the possibility that, he might actually be worth a shit.

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