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May 11, 2013

8

The Promos By Hyphen: 2013 WWE Year End Awards Part 1

by Kelen Conley

By: Kelen Conley

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I’ve wanted to do some type of awards article for the longest time now. Then that turned into doing an awards podcast, but Thomas and I never brought that to fruition (my fault, I was too busy making music). Then the idea got away from me until I realized what just passed: WrestleMania NY/NJ (XXIX!).

In the world of WWE, WrestleMania is the championship game. So, assuming that the season starts with the Raw after WrestleMania last year (when Brock Lesnar F-5-ed Cena) and continued up to the final scene of NY/NJ this year (Cena celebrating while giving The Rock his unjust due. I hated that match. Hated it.), there are a slew of things that happened in between.

So without further ado, I give you the Promos By Hyphen 2013 WWE Year End Awards.

Best Championship: WWE Championship

This one was a no-brainer. Not only did my favorite wrestler in the company hold it most of the season (CM Punk) but there really wasn’t much competition. Sheamus held the World Title (for too long) until October when he dropped it to Big Show. That belt’s seen some great matches since then but the window is too small of a sample size to really give it Best Belt precedence.

Punk defended his Belt successfully against Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Daniel Bryan (3x), Kane, John Cena (4x), Big Show, and Ryback (3x) before dropping the Title to The Rock at the Royal Rumble. And that’s not including most of the defenses on Raw, SmackDown, and house shows throughout that period.

Punk put the WWE Title around his waist and ran with it, partly as a face (until he turned on The Rock at Raw 1000) and partly as a heel. And despite his lack of main event PPV defenses, there was no question who was the Best In The World when it came to the company’s biggest belt.

Honorable Mention: Intercontinental Title. Despite a weird 1 day reign for The Miz after NY/NJ, it actually changed hands 6 times and Cody Rhodes and Big Show were the only people to hold the Title for 30 days or less. It’s still the most prestigious minor belt in the company; I’d just like to see more of its holders move to the main event picture.

Best T-Shirt: Tie: CM Punk – In Punk We Trust, Paul Heyman – I’m A Paul Heyman Guy, Dolph Ziggler – It’s Not Showing Off

One of the coolest things about being a wrestling fan for me is wearing the same merchandise that the wrestlers wear to the ring. Since I’ve jumped on the Punk bandwagon, I’ve purchased every t-shirt and I’m getting ready to purchase his newest one. I’ve even considered the GTS hoodie he sported leading up to NY/NJ.

As far as the Best Shirt of the season goes, I couldn’t decide. If this was last year’s awards, Punk’s Best In The World tee would have been a runaway winner. But there’s no way I can not give props to Ziggy’s pink “Showing Off” shirt or Heyman’s pitch of being The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless. And while Punk’s GTS and Knees2Faces shirts were good, they didn’t match his In Punk We Trust shirt that he wore for a large chunk of the season.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Sheamus – Brogue Kick Hooligans and The Rock – Soldier. Went with another tie since I’m basing this on shirts I’d actually wear. I actually considered getting Sheamus’ ode to the Brogue Kick shirt…until he got the one that followed it. And I can’t leave out The Rock’s Soldier shirt he had for Raw 1000. It’s a shame he didn’t give that design more burn when he returned in January.

Worst T-Shirt: Tie: Sheamus – Brogue Kick and any of Brock Lesnar’s shirts

I don’t know how much input wrestlers have about what goes on their shirts but Sheamus should have stopped this one. How do you go from a classy looking black shirt to a dingy looking gray one with a foot on it? In fact, I hold this shirt personally responsible for Sheamus’ fall from World Title contention to Randy Orton’s tag partner.

But don’t even try to justify any of Brock’s shirts. It’s bad enough that he’s a monster heel who can’t talk who only wrestled 3 times the entire season (and went 1-2 at that). But those shirts are hideous. His back tattoo and a weather vane? No thank you, Mr. Lesnar.

Dishonorable Mention: Triple H’s current shirt. While I defended him in my previous article, there’s never been a Triple H shirt that I’ve liked, just DX ones.

Best Promo: CM Punk, January 7, Raw

While he failed to continue his 434 day reign as WWE Champion, there was no promo cut this season that came close to this one by Punk. After defeating Ryback in a TLC match to retain his Title (with help from The Shield) earlier in the night, he and Heyman returned to the ring and talked shit. USA had to cut to commercial mid-rant but when we returned, Punk and Heyman were still in the ring goading. The arrival of the People’s Champion didn’t slow things down as he and Rock launched into a war of words for the ages. The results? The Rock called Punk Cookie Puss. Punk told Rock that his arms were too short to box with God. Advantage: Punk.

Honorable Mention: The Rock, Raw. Despite my efforts to find a date, let’s just say on one of the Raws that The Rock actually did appear on after Elimination Chamber, he and Cena met face-to-face for the first time since WrestleMania XXVIII. Cena was all business and delivered a good promo about how he needed to beat The Rock to right the downward spiral he had been in since last year’s ‘Mania. Rock, in one of the best promos he cut during this run, was all business as well but ended things with a definitive “I know I can beat you.” It gave Rock/Cena II a little jolt that was sadly not built upon leading up to NY/NJ.

Best Moment: CM Punk lays The Rock out with the GTS, Raw 1000

I was really close to giving this moment to the reformation of D-Generation X on this same show. But two things happened when CM Punk laid out The Rock that night: 1. Punk returned to true heel form for the first time since Money In The Bank 2011 and 2. I lost my shit.

Raw 1000 was a top notch Raw but with Rock’s announcement that he would get a Title shot at the Rumble and all the surprises of the night, our boy John Cena’s match with Punk for the WWE Title seemed overshadowed. I also was living with the fear that Cena’s win at Money In The Bank would lead to his 11th WWE Title reign.

All the pieces were there. Punk, while competitive, didn’t look like he was going to come out on top in this match. Then Big Show interfered and Cena won by DQ but Punk retained. Punk let Big Show pummel Cena after the match, looking too exhausted or uncaring to help. Seeing this,1 Rocky came out to the large pop to hit the Spinebuster on Show and the inevitable People’s Elbow…

…and then Punk laid him out with the clothesline. And I was jumping up and down.2 And then Punk hit the GTS and Raw 1000 was over. But the second phase of Punk’s WWE Title reign had begun.

Honorable Mention: Tie: DX reunion at Raw 1000 and the birth of Team Hell No. As great as it was too see the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac in a WWE ring again, you can’t leave out the great work of Daniel Bryan and Kane this year in going from a regular feud to Tag Team Champions. Even their recent backstage segment before The Shield attacked them on Raw a few weeks back reeks of chemistry. The Tag Team division might be worse than the Divas at times but at least they got something right with these two.

This way for Part 2!

  1. Why in the world does Rock have to make the save? While he beat Cena at ‘Mania XXVIII, their feud still wasn’t over to the point where he had to make the save. Reality: WWE wanted to utilize The Rock as much as possible while they had him and they needed him to cement Punk’s heel turn and his own face turn (He was the heel earlier in the year, believe it or not.). But Rock should have taken his ass home after that first segment.
  2. I want to give WWE a lot of credit for their camera work here. While the crowd could easily see Punk getting back in the ring, myself and the viewers at home didn’t see The Second City Saint until he had already launched himself at The Great One.
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