The Promos By Hyphen: 2013 WWE Year End Awards Part 2
By: Kelen Conley
Welcome to Part 2 of the First Annual Promos By Hyphen WWE Year End Awards. Make sure to read all the creamy goodness of Part 1.
Best Tag Team: Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
In the perfect segue way, the best thing to come out of the tag team division in years is Team Hell No. While it doesn’t stray from WWE’s formula of shoving popular singles wrestlers into teams, no one could have imagined how great they would become so quickly. From the anger management segments to the in-ring action, it doesn’t get much better than this. And what better way to continue to push Bryan without making him a true babyface too quickly? And surely, this cements Kane as a first ballot Hall of Famer. He took a character that had become a bit stagnant in recent years, brought back the mask, bounced back nicely from an early 2012 heel run, and then turned into one of the company’s top faces.
Honorable Mention: Team Rhodes Scholars. Another surprisingly pleasant pairing. WWE took burgeoning rookie Damien Sandow and linked him up with former IC Champion Cody and got gold (as well as a great porn ‘stache from Mr. Rhodes). While they’ve failed to capture the Tag Titles as of yet, you’d have to imagine it happening in the near future. In fact, I look forward to a summer of tag matches between the Scholars, Hell No, and The Shield. Which means WWE will probably do the opposite of what I’d like to see.
Worst Tag Team: 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal)
If Tons of Funk had been together a little bit longer, they would’ve ran away with this one.
I actually enjoyed seeing Heath Slater get beat every week on Raw leading up to Raw 1000. Despite the jobbing for legends, he was playing an annoying heel quite well. I was hoping this would extend to a push for a few United States Title matches and eventual placement into a heel tag team…but instead, we got the 3 Man Band. I’ve never liked Jinder and I feel like Wade Barrett is filling the only role McIntyre would be great at: arrogant heel from Europe.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t jobbing all the time. But that would lead me to complain about the state of WWE’s tag division and I’m saving that for Thomas to talk about on the next Slobberknocker Chronicles podcast. And even if they just lost Mahal and renamed themselves Two Man Rock Trip, I would enjoy their work more. But as 3MB? No, not good enough.
Dishonorable Mention: Tons Of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai). Remember you’re not WWE’s target audience. Remember you’re not WWE’s target audience. Remember you’re not WWE’s target audience.
Best Feud: The Shield versus the WWE
There’s no question The Shield has been a slight rehash of The Nexus storyline from a few years back. The only difference is this angle has been done completely right (and one of the best wrestlers of the angle didn’t get fired for choking on television). No matter who has been placed in the ring with them, magic always ensues. And it says something that Undertaker is already working with them as well.
I personally hope no one is ever revealed as the leader of the group and this lasts forever…but I’ll settle for a Tag Team Title run or three before the inevitable break up. The good news is that with Punk taking time off, we’ll probably still have The Shield around by fall, but don’t be surprised if our boy Cena is on the team that hands them their first tag team defeat.
Honorable Mention: Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez v. Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter. Despite the unlikely Chamber win for Swagger (I called that, in case you forgot), WWE creative actually uncovered gold by pairing Zeb Colter with him. They tortured ADR and Ricardo for weeks leading up to ‘Mania, even garnering a bit of regular press attention with Swagger and Colter’s “We The People” promos. And while their match at NY/NJ was cut a bit short, there’s still plenty of time for this feud to make its case for the 2014 Awards.
Best Match: CM Punk v. Ryback, Raw, January 7
Out of all the matches Punk had this season, there was no way he wasn’t going to be involved in this category. The surprising part is the fact that Ryback was his opponent. When the then-WWE Champion finally clashed with Ryback on the first Raw of January (in a make-up of their missed match from December’s TLC PPV), there was a lot at stake. Punk was returning from knee surgery, Ryback was getting his third Title shot, The Rock was at Raw…pretty much, anything could happen. With Cole and King hyping the match all night, anticipation was high by the time Punk and Ryback stepped into the ring.
It was a close match throughout as neither competitor really gained an upper hand. Tables, ladders, and chairs were smashed, crashed, and dented as the battle continued. But then, Ryback downed Punk on the outside and was soon scaling a ladder towards the WWE Title. As his hands gripped it, the lights went out, and when they came back on, the monster was being assaulted by The Shield yet again. After another triple powerbomb, Punk was smiling as he ascended the ladder back to his Belt. And I was highly entertained.
Honorable Mention: Tie: CM Punk v. John Cena, Raw, #1 Contender’s Match and Big Show v. Alberto Del Rio, SmackDown, World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing Match. Any match that sees our boy Cena use a Hurricanrana and Punk deliver a (illegal) piledriver has to be a classic, right? Well, it does help that the wrestling leading up to those moves was damn near perfect. Our boy Cena retained his #1 Contender spot he won at the Rumble and went on to win his 11th WWE Title. Punk went on to torture The Undertaker for weeks before falling victim to The Streak at NY/NJ and now he’s taking a much-needed rest. These two have been delivering top-notch work together since 2011 and I’m looking forward to more in the future.
Why Big Show and ADR you ask? Because no one expected Alberto to pull it out. He had only recently turned face and Big Show had retained successfully against Sheamus (see: T-Shirt rant above for the reason) at recent PPVs. And the idea of Big Show losing a Last Man Standing match to ADR on SmackDown was just silly (unless it’s WrestleMania).
But with a little help from Show smacking his head on the ring post and an overturned announcer’s table, Alberto Del Rio was our new World Champion.1 And while it wasn’t a five-star match by any means, it was just a fun watch, even a few days after it actually aired on Syfy.
1. Which he was supposed to be after his Royal Rumble win in 2011 but Edge’s sudden retirement and the WWE Draft got in the way.↩
Proceed to Part 3!