Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Year-End Awards: Part 1

Welcome to the fifth annual TNAsylum Year-End Awards. We are doing things differently this year. To make things easier to read, I have compiled the awards into a two part series. The results of the first five categories will be announced today while the other five winners will be announced in a week.

We had great voting turnout so we thank you for that. It has been quite a newsworthy year for TNA so let's get into the nitty-gritty and see who you voted for.

Best Storyline

Runners-Up: Rise of the Revolution (17%), EC3 and Spud: Best Friends and Bitter Enemies (17%)

Winner: Bully Ray's vengeance against Dixie Carter (35%)

I will be honest in saying that I fully disagree with the results of this category. With that said, Bully Ray vs Dixie Carter was one of the main storylines of the year.

Bully was supposed to help Dixie Carter take control of TNA after the President paid him off. He however turned his back on her and cost her team at Lockdown, leading to MVP becoming Director of Wrestling Operations. Dixie would get some revenge by putting Bully through a table at Sacrifice.

From that point on, Bully spent the better part of 2014 trying to put Dixie Carter through a table only to fail. Bully had many obstacles such as EC3, Rockstar Spud, Rhino, Rycklon Stephens and Gene Snitsky. Only when the ECW guys got involved did this storyline really kick into high gear. It led to one of the biggest moments in TNA history but that is a different story.

A good argument could be made for the Rise of the Revolution as being Best Storyline. James Storm completely reinvented his character. He also reinvented Sanada and Manik as well. So far, we don't know what Storm's main objective is but he seems to be gaining power each and every week. They are one but there is always room for one more.

Best Non-Wrestling Segment

Runners-Up: MVP revealed as mystery investor (23%), Mr. Anderson goes to Shaw household (17%)

Winner: The Hunt for Willow (40%)

What happens between the ropes are one of the most important elements to any wrestling show, however its the characters and storylines that keep me coming back. In the first half of 2014, TNA had a lot of on-site segments that didn't happen in the ring. These included segments with AJ Styles, Rockstar Spud, Bully Ray, Dixie Carter and others. The one that I found most entertaining (and was voted Best Non-Wrestling Segment) was The Hunt for Willow.

During their feud with the alter-ego of Jeff Hardy, Rockstar Spud and EC3 went looking for the mysterious Willow. Dressed in full camouflage, Rockstar Spud crawled his way through the forest with his buddy Ethan Carter. Eventually, Willow became the hunter and captured Rockstar Spud. The brief segments were the main highlights of their respective episode of IMPACT.

Show of the Year

Runners-Up: IMPACT Wrestling: It Happened (24%), Destination X (19%)

Winner: Slammiversary (39%)

Let's be realistic; since cutting back on PPVs, there are fewer opportunities for TNA to deliver big shows. This year had even fewer opportunities as Bound For Glory had little attention. The only show that felt big time was Slammiversary in Dallas, Texas.

The plans for the show changed weeks ahead of time as MVP was sidelined with an injury. The originally planned MVP vs EY match would turn into two qualifying matches throughout the night leading to a Steel Cage World Title Match.

Most of the matches on the show delivered. The Ladder Match, Kenny King vs Austin Aries, Joe vs Lashley and the Steel Cage Main Event were displays of strong wrestling. The Von Erichs, James Storm vs Mr. Anderson and Team 3D entering the Hall of Fame were all great moments of the show. The wrestlers dressed for the occasion and the show made an argument that it should be TNA's Wrestlemania.

Tag Team of 2014

Runners-Up: EC3 and Rockstar Spud (7%), Beautiful People (3%)

Winner: The Wolves (82%)

Traditionally, the tag team category has always been a landslide as one team stands far beyond their competitors. In 2010, the Motor City Machine Guns scored 84% of the vote. In 2011, Beer Money scored 76% of the vote, in 2012 and 2013 Bad Influence had 81% and 68% of the vote. It makes sense that The Wolves could hit that point as well.

Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards debuted in TNA following the departures of Sting and AJ Styles as the first major signings of new TNA investor, MVP. They won the tag team titles from the Bromans on two occasions. After both men challenged for the X Division Title, they continued to run through all of TNA's tag team division.

In the Summer in the City, The Wolves hit their biggest accomplishment yet by defeating two of the greatest tag teams in pro wrestling history (Team 3D and The Hardys) in the Tag Team Series, besting them in a Ladder Match and eventually Full Metal Mayhem.

While a brief setback of losing the tag team titles to The Revolution at the end of the year would temporarily derail them, 2015 looks to be another big year for Edwards and Richards.

Best of the X

Runners-Up: Austin Aries (28%), The Great Sanada (24%)

Winner: Low Ki (33%)

The X Division has been a cornerstone for TNA most of its tenure. When TNA debuted in New York City, the X Division got a new-found fire lit underneath it. Both Austin Aries and The Great Sanada contributed to that early in the year. Austin Aries has been a consistent performer but never really stepped towards that next level. Great Sanada was a great new addition to TNA and represented Wrestle-1 well and eventually TNA well. It was Low Ki however who really captured the imagination of long-time X Division fans.

Since coming back, Low Ki has kicked and chopped his way through the competition. He narrowly lost against Samoa Joe at Hardcore Justice and again in a 3-Way against Joe and Kaz Hayashi at Bound For Glory. Fortunately for him, Joe unfortunate injury lead to him relinquishing the X Title belt. Low Ki would capture the vacant title by winning a 4-Way Match.

Low Ki has been a veteran of the X Division for many years and it looks like he will be a centerpiece of the division in the new year.

Knockout of the Year

Runners-Up: Havok (25%), Taryn Terrell (17%)

Winner: Gail Kim (47%)

The Knockouts Division saw a lot of returning faces this year. Madison Rayne, Angelina Love and Taryn Terrell all returned to the division this year. Havok debuted and has been a whirlwind so far, dominating anyone in her path. There has been one consistent player though and that is Gail Kim.

It wasn't until this year that I really appreciated the true work-rate of Gail Kim. She mixed it up with Angelina Love, Taryn Terrell and Havok this year and had very good matches with all of them. Her matches with Havok were some of the best women's matches this year. She once again held the Knockouts gold again as well. As long as Gail Kim is with TNA, I am confident the Knockouts Division will have a heart beat.

Tune in next week as we reveal the remaining winners including Most Memorable Moment, Match of the Year and MVP of TNA.