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July 18, 2014

The Promos By Hyphen 2014 WWE Year End Awards

by Kelen Conley for the Hyphen Podcast Group

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Last year, I introduced the concept of the WWE season, running from the Raw after WrestleMania until the curtain closes on the next year’s WrestleMania. These awards reflect upon the events that took place during the 2013-14 WWE season.

This season was filled with highs (the eventual crowning of Daniel Bryan), lows (the Royal Rumble, CM Punk walking out), and everything in between. Considering that this column should have been done in April, I’m not going to waste anymore time and get right into the Awards.

Best Championship: Tag Team Championships

A shocker to begin things? You’re damn right. Being the Best Championship isn’t about being the most prestigious in the company, it’s about what Belt had the best matches and stories associated with it. The Tag Team Titles started out slow with the tail end of Team Hell No’s reign (I’m not a fan of comedy tag teams holding the Belts forever. They went 245 days!) but business quickly picked up once Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins of The Shield became champs.

Reigns and Rollins brought out the best in everyone it seemed as the whole division was on a mission to end their reign. With Goldust’s return to the company, he and his brother Cody Rhodes finally won the Belts in October. The highlight of their run was terrific six man tag match with The Shield and The Usos at Hell In A Cell.

Since then, GoldCody dropped the Belts to the New Age Outlaws at the Rumble, who then passed them onto the current Champions The Usos. While signs are being dropped that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will hold the Titles soon, only time will tell.

Honorable Mention: WWE Championship. Not the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The WWE Title only landed this honor because of the spectacular 4 PPV feud between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Just a prime example of what happens when Creative lets two Superstars feud for more than three weeks at a time.

Worst Championship: World Heavyweight Championship

Once Dolph Ziggler went down with a concussion, this Belt went down with him. He and Alberto Del Rio pulled off a double heel turn at Payback and I’ve never enjoyed Del Rio’s heel work. He was a placeholder Champion (sound familiar?) until John Cena returned from injury and then Cena held the Belt until he dropped it to Orton at TLC. What a sad way for an iconic Belt to be retired.

Honorable Mention: United States Championship. Kofi won the Title a week after Mania NY/NJ, then turned it over to Deam Ambrose who held it for 351 days and barely had to defend it. Ambrose could have had tons of quality defenses if Creative had made time for them.

Best T-Shirt: Tie: Daniel Bryan – Respect The Beard, Yes Movement

After being stuck in burgundy for the longest time, Bryan finally got some new merch, and  it was awesome. His grey Respect The Beard tee said everything you needed to know about Daniel Bryan: he’s a great wrestler and has an even greater beard. In the lead up to Mania XXX, Daniel got another grey number, this time with his face outlined in a manner similar to the famous Che Guevara logo. While Bryan probably wouldn’t put himself on that level, there was no hotter Superstar at the time.

And I loved his The Beard Is Here shirt mocking Cena’s The Champ Is Here tee.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Ultimate Warrior – Parts Unknown, Brock Lesnar – Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat/Break The Streak. While I wasn’t a fan of the pale yellow versions of Warrior’s tee I first saw at the Rumble, I have to give major props once they introduced the black one. Classy is the best word for it, especially in the wake of his untimely passing.

And Brock redeemed himself! After getting stuck with boring shirt after boring shirt, his black one with Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat finally spoke to me. His Undertaker feud themed one of Eat, Sleep, Break The Streak was even better until, you know, he actually broke The Streak.

Worst T-Shirt: John Cena – Neon

Since his Mania XXVIII Celtics homage, Cena’s shirts have been getting worse, mostly because they describe the latest thing to happen to him. He wore his Even Stronger comeback shirt until earlier this year when he debuted what WWE Shop calls, Neon. It’s a digital picture of Cena…in front of what looks like a Pac-Man board. It came out in black first and then a neon green version followed. What an eyesore. This is the only area Cena isn’t being pushed well, probably because his merch sells no matter how ugly it is.

Honorable Mention: Batista – The Animal Hunts Alone. “Okay, Batista, glad you’re back with the WWE! So we know you’re booked to win the Rumble, so here’s the merchandise we’ll have for sale that night! It’s a army green t-shirt that simply says “Batista – The Animal Hunts Alone”. Simple, I know, but the fans have missed you so much that they’ll snatch these up by the hundreds! It’s a cant miss.”

Dave should have speared that guy.

Best Promo: Mark Henry’s “retirement” speech – Raw 6/17/2013

You would’ve thought Mark Henry tweeting about father time being an opponent that can’t be defeated would’ve ruined it. You would’ve thought his salmon pink suit would’ve given it away. Or the fact that then-WWE Champion John Cena was nearby with no opponent for Money In The Bank. But no. Mark Henry walked into the ring on Raw and had every person who remembers his Nation days or his relationship with the late Mae Young or even his more recent run with the WHC near tears.

Henry was set to retire and spend more time with his kids and family…until Cena made the mistake of getting too close and getting a World’s Strongest Slam for his efforts.

Even though Henry lost his Title match at Money In The Bank, there was no promo that was better last season.

Honorable Mention: Michael Cole interviews Triple H – Raw 3/24/14. Two weeks after accepting a match with Bryan at Mania and granting the winner entry into Batista and Orton’s Title match, and one week after he viciously attacked Bryan after he had him handcuffed, Triple H had some words for Bryan and the WWE Universe. Trips cut a promo with an anger unseen since he was feuding with Orton a few years ago. It set the table perfectly for what was to come at the Show Of Shows.

Best Moment: Ziggler cashes in; wins WHC, Raw 4/8/2013

Dolph Ziggler won his Money In The Bank briefcase on July 15, 2012. There were NINE months of teases of when the Showoff was going to cash in. He defended the briefcase TWICE in those nine months. But the night after Mania NY/NJ was when the time finally came. ADR was down in the ring after his WrestleMania opponent Jack Swagger attacked him. When Ziggler’s music hit, the Barclays Center crowd lost its mind. It didn’t matter that Dolph was a heel and Del Rio had been working well as a face. All that mattered was Ziggler was getting his well deserved shot. No single moment was as great as this one for me.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Bryan wins the WWE Title at SummerSlam, Triple H attacks Bryan Raw 3/17/14. The other big moments involved Daniel Bryan. I could see his WrestleMania Moment coming from a mile away but when Bryan initially won the WWE Championship from Cena at SummerSlam, it was huge. Mr. Kick Out After 2 had done the job for the hottest guy in the company and until Orton and Trips showed up, it felt GOOD. And speaking of Trips, I have to give him props for his attack on Bryan that I mentioned before. As a long time Triple H fan, there’s nothing better than when he gets to be a ruthless heel. Daniel Bryan was the perfect foe to bring out what he does best.

Best Tag Team: The Shield

Luke and Rowan’s body of work was too small by the end of the season to justify a run at this. The Usos, while great in-ring, are pretty boring otherwise. GoldCody were great but the way they fizzled out towards season’s end really bugged me. But if the current direction of WWE is any sign, Reigns and Rollins have a great future ahead of them.

The scary thing about this duo was how well they worked together without outshining the other. Having Ambrose as an ex-factor never hurts, but any tag team that got into the ring with The Shield were going to war and like I mentioned earlier, other tag teams responded. It made perfect sense for GoldCody to get the Belts when they were hot in late 2013 but until the bitter end, there was no team better than Reigns and Rollins. And once they really let them have their own personalities towards the end of their run? Fuggedaboutit. Outstanding.

Honorable Mention: GoldCody. How this didn’t culminate into a individual Title run for Cody or a feud towards WrestleMania is beyond me. The Rhodes Family vs. The Authority was one of the best storylines of last season. To see these two drop the Belts to the Outlaws (even though I was there and pumped) just seemed disrespectful. And I’m no Stardust fan, that’s for sure. But for what we did get, definitely worthy of this spot.

Worst Tag Team: Los Matadores

If you thought Primo and Epico were boring before, wait until you see them as matadors with a short person partner who gets more cheers than they have their whole WWE careers!

Ugh.

Honorable Mention: 3MB. I think the worst part is that they’re not even given a chance to job on a consistent basis. I’m glad McIntyre got his release though. He’s a good wrestler who could still make some money with the right situation. Never cared for Jinder. I just hope Slater gets some kind of push or becomes the next JTG (never working, getting paid).

How sad is it that the team that didn’t win gets more words written about them than the actual winners of this award?

Ugh.

Best Feud: Bryan v. The Authority

Despite the fact that Creative was ready to shuttle Bryan into a feud with Sheamus before CM Punk walked out, there was no better rivalry than Bryan’s with The Authority. Even though it had a slow start with repeated weeks of The Authority telling Daniel he was just a B+ Player during his feud with Randy, things really got going once Bryan Occupied Raw and forced Triple H to give him a match at WrestleMania XXX.

The following weeks were awesome, as The Game dedicated his every move to making Daniel miserable. And despite it all, Bryan still managed to arrive at Mania, beat Trips, survive a brutal attack following the match, and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (and take a nasty table bump from a dual RKO/Batista Bomb).

And honestly, I don’t know if CM Punk v. The Authority would have been as good.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Rhodes v. Sandow, the Rhodes Family v. The Authority. Cody has quietly become one of my favorite wrestlers, so I get pumped whenever he gets to do anything meaningful. Rhodes v. Sandow was one of the better midcard storylines of last summer, with Cody even throwing Sandow’s MITB briefcase into the Gulf Of Mexico. Cody won the feud but never got a shot at winning the briefcase that Sandow had screwed him out of in July.

Cody later got fired for losing to then-WWE Champion Orton in the fall (it was really because he spoke out against Triple H). When brother Goldust and even his father Dusty couldn’t get his job back, he and Goldust made The Authority’s lives hell, attacking them every chance they got. This feud continued only until the Rhodes brothers won their jobs back at Battleground. I would’ve liked to seen this more done with this, rather than an almost immediate Tag Team Champions run instead.

Worst Feud: Punk v. Heyman Guys

On episode 444 of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Punk is telling Marc about what he has done since dropping his infamous pipebomb. At one point, Punk says something to the effect of, “I’m a face. I’m just…here.” And this feud is exactly what he’s talking about.

After his epic bout with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, there was nothing for Punk to do. Bryan/Orton had their program. The IC Title or the US Title wasn’t an option he wanted. So Creative had him continue his feud with his former friend/manager Paul Heyman. Except Heyman doesn’t wrestle. So they put Punk in a three month feud with the latest Heyman Guys, Ryback and Curtis Axel.

Three months.

In the end, Heyman got his just due with a kendo stick after Punk won his match at Hell In A Cell. And that was it. I’m pretty sure this was the beginning of the end for him. All of these wrestlers (and Heyman) were completely wasted and so was the WWE Universe’s time.

Honorable Mention: Bryan v. The Wyatt Family, Cena v. Orton. In a situation similar to Punk’s, Creative didn’t have anything for Bryan after his feud with Orton ended. So he entered a three month program against the Wyatt Family, even going so far to join them in an effort to infiltrate them (I think there was a swerve somewhere. Bryan was the most popular guy in the company and Creative wanted to take him down a few notches by making him a heel. When the fans didn’t respond, they had him turn on Bray). Other than their wonderful match at the Rumble, another waste of everyone’s time.

And I’ll say this right now: John Cena and Randy Orton have no real in-ring chemistry. I don’t even think they like each other. If you look at their “storied” history, you’ll see multiple gimmick matches and constant interference from one party or another. These two refuse to carry each other when they face off and it leads to boring results like TLC and the Royal Rumble.

Best Match: Bryan v. Triple H, WrestleMania XXX

No two men wanted to fight each other more last season.

Bryan wanted to prove to Triple H that he was no B+ Player and earn his way into Orton and Batista’s Title match later in the night. Trips wanted to put an end to the Yes Movement once and for all, and then earn his own shot at the WWE WHC. The best part about this for me was how technical the match was throughout the entire contest. HHH took his game to Bryan’s level, using multiple submission holds and even nailing his trademark Spinebuster/Pedigree combo, but Bryan persevered and won after his own Running Knee finisher.

A livid Triple H attacked Bryan after Stephanie distracted him, but there was no doubt Daniel would be in the main event. What no one knew was that the show had been stolen with the very first contest of the night.

Honorable Mention: Lesnar v. Punk (SummerSlam), Bryan v. Wyatt (Royal Rumble), GoldCody v. The Shield v. The Usos (Hell In A Cell). So Lesnar was my choice for Worst Wrestler last year, and in matches with Triple H at Extreme Rules, Big Show at the Rumble, and Taker at Mania XXX, he still looked pretty awful. Leave it to Punk to get not only a watchable match out of him, but his best since his return. With both men leaving it all in the ring, one can only wonder what the outcome would’ve been without Heyman’s constant interference.

For a match that ended a feud I didn’t like, Bryan v. Bray was awesome. Bryan brought his usual arsenal to the table but this is the first time I really got to see Bray’s in-ring skills on display. The biggest surprise was when Bray actually won the match, which is probably why everyone in Pittsburgh expected Bryan to return to win the Rumble.

And I mentioned the six man tag match at this column’s opening but it deserves to be mentioned again. This would be one of my go-to matches for anyone who asks why I continue to watch professional wrestling.

Worst Match: Orton v. Cena, Royal Rumble

The best part of this match was how Randy was eating up how angry the crowd was getting watching things unfold. Chants for different wrestlers, boos for Cena like he was the heel; the crowd was doing everything in its power to annoy these two performers (myself included). And one thing I will give them: it seemed like they were trying. I rewatched this match a few weeks ago and while it was still boring, the trading of finishers towards the end actually picked up the pace a bit.

But then: Wyatts. I never read that this was a last minute change or if Cena/Bray was always the plan, but it was an ending the fans actually wanted.

Honorable Mention: Wyatt v. Kane (SummerSlam), Cena v. Orton (TLC). You have to love that Bray was in contention for Best Match and Worst Match. I blame my distaste for his Ring Of Fire match with Kane on the gimmick more than the actual match. As proven at the Rumble and plenty of times since, Bray can go with the best of them. This match was really a non-starter for him and was just a way to give Kane time off.

And Orton/Cena at TLC…I don’t remember the match, other than the McMahons and Trips celebrating Randy’s victory at the end. Cena spent more time fighting handcuffs than The Viper.

Best PPV: WrestleMania XXX

After winning Worst Match last year, The Grandest Stage Of Them All came back in a big way. From Hogan, Stone Cold, and The Rock to start things to Daniel Bryan’s emotional celebration at the end, the two things this PPV was lacking was CM Punk and 22-0 for The Undertaker.

I don’t agree with everything. Cena probably should have lost to Bray instead of at Extreme Rules. Did The Shield really need to squash the New Age Outlaws and Kane? Did every Diva really deserve a WrestleMania Moment instead of AJ having a more entertaining match with one Diva? DID THE STREAK REALLY NEED BROKEN?!

But put up against any other PPV of the season, Mania XXX was the best. Nowhere near close to the best Mania ever though.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Hell In A Cell, SummerSlam. With a stacked card from top to bottom, Hell In A Cell almost won this award. If it wasn’t for Los Matadores debuting, the mixed tag match, and Ambrose/Big E ending in count out, it might have pulled off the upset. Bryan/Orton with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee was really great.

SummerSlam was hurt by a boring start and a mixed tag match in between the two best matches. I would have rather seen Rhodes/Sandow and ADR/Christian get more time than they did.

Worst PPV: Royal Rumble

It was all good until Lesnar/Big Show.

What could WWE have to lose by letting two behemoths beat on each other for 15 minutes or so? Apparently everything, as it was more beneficial for Lesnar to hit Show with repeated chair shots before and and after the match, which was 2 minutes and 1 second total. So that’s when things started to go bad.

They followed with Cena/Orton II, which was basically booed out of the building. In the Rumble match itself, Bryan’s exclusion, Punk’s elimination, and Batista’s win made the crowd even angrier. It didn’t help that the fans were delayed for almost an hour before they were let into Consol Energy Center before the event ever began, with the cold Pittsburgh winter riling up the paying customers even more.

Nothing went right for the WWE on this night. But without it, we probably don’t get such a satisfying WrestleMania.

Honorable Mention: Tie: Battleground, Survivor Series. At Battleground, a hardcore match for the World Title was the second longest bout of the night featuring Rob Van Dam and ADR in a match that RVD probably should have won, but with Cena’s return from surgery ahead of schedule, ADR retained.

And the WWE Title was held up again after Big Show knocked out both Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. More on Big Show in a bit.

Survivor Series saw Big Show get a Title shot that everyone knew he would lose and John Cena’s return to action that saw him win the World Title. I think reading these past few sentences has been more exciting than watching both PPVs.

Comeback Wrestler Of The Year: Randy Orton

From worst to first. Almost.

Once WWE instituted their redemption program, Randy was back in business. With one of his two strikes removed, Orton won the coveted Raw MITB briefcase. Despite teasing a cash-in as a face, he joined up with The Authority at SummerSlam and never looked back. Other than his match with Big Show at Survivor Series and his feud with Cena, Randy put in solid work this season, including becoming the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Could he have punted a few more people in the head? Sure? Could he have relied less on The Authority? Absolutely. But once he was fully engaged again, love him or not, The Viper left his mark on 2013-14.

Honorable Mention: Cesaro. Despite a promising start in 2012, (Antonio) Cesaro found himself left off the Mania NY/NJ card and dropping the US Title a few weeks later to Kofi Kingston. Destined to become a member of the Kofi Box, he trudged along and became a member of the Real Americans with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. He and Swagger excelled as tag partners but neither man was going anywhere fast.

Until the Cesaro Swing.

Once Cesaro was able to show off his physical strengths in a fun way, he quickly became a fan favorite in a heel tag team. He broke away from Swagger at Mania and won the inaugural Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Then became a Paul Heyman Guy the next night on Raw.

I need to move on before I give this award to Cesaro.

Disappointing Wrestler Of The Year: Big Show

Does anyone remember when a picture surfaced of Big Show last year and he was in great shape? And rumor had it that he was gearing up for one last, big run?

Too bad Show doesn’t write his own storylines. Show came back as a face after a long heel run but promptly became a pawn of The Authority. He and Stephanie McMahon rehashed the “broke wrestler has no choice but to do what rich wrestler asks since they need money” angle (an angle that HBK and JBL did much better a few years back). In order to keep his job, Show had to deliver WMDs to anyone The Authority asked. And he did. But mostly what he did was cry.

He finally had enough at Battleground when he punched out Orton in addition to Bryan, making the Title match end in a no-contest. The details get even fuzzier as he got fired, Triple H bought his house, Show filed a lawsuit, etc. This angle was thankfully brought to an end with his loss to Orton at Survivor Series.

A potential redemption storyline ended with Show getting the snot beat out of him with chairs by Lesnar at the Rumble. The best thing he did this season was take that picture and help put over Cesaro in the Andre Battle Royal.

Dammit Big Show. I hope you get to go out in a big way.

Honorable Mention: CM Punk. For reasons still undisclosed, CM Punk walked out on the WWE on January 27. He hasn’t been back. His contract seems to have expired now. But solely because he left, even with valid reasoning, he’s runner up in this category.

Rookie Of The Year: Bray Wyatt

It looked shaky for a minute for the leader of the Wyatt Family. After some disturbing promo videos, he and the Wyatt Family spent last summer feuding with Kane and various jobbers. Bray spent most of his time sitting in a rocking chair and he wasn’t given enough time on the mic to showcase any skills.

Once he set his sights on Daniel Bryan though, all of that changed quickly. With Bryan’s mic skills limited to being the one who responds, Bray got to unleash some epic promos as he tried his best to get Daniel to join the Wyatt Family. Now while I wasn’t a fan of the feud’s direction, this is where Bray really got to cut his teeth. He later erased any doubts about his in-ring ability at the aforementioned Rumble.

He joined Luke and Erick in a match versus The Shield at Elimination Chamber that was simply a masterpiece. While Reigns got the best spots, his contributions were not to be overlooked.

His feud with John Cena was in the early stages when the season closed, he was able to get over with the crowd even more once he started singing “The Whole World In His Hands”. Bray was practically the face at WrestleMania, but the anti-Cena crowd had to watch him lose despite Luke and Rowan’s interference.

My only worry is that his feud with Cena ends up hurting him in a similar way that feuding with Cena last season hurt Damien Sandow. With rumors swirling of an eventual face turn, we’ll have to see what happens the rest of this season.

Honorable Mention: Big E (Langston). If Bray hadn’t gotten such a big push late in the season, this award was Big E’s. Anyone who can elevate Del Rio in one match is doing well but he and Big E squared off in a fun best-of-five series while Dolph recovered from his concussion. Once he and AJ were separated, he worked his way to a IC Title match, taking the Belt from then-Paul Heyman Guy Curtis Axel.

Creative slowed his progress though as he was fed random midcarders to defend against and not given the opportunity to get on the mic. One look at his Instagram feed and you can see how much personality this guy has. And he’s crazy athletic too; he may fit Vince’s “big guy” mold that he loves s0 much, but he brings a lot to the table.

So here’s hoping Big E avoids the Kofi Box. If not, at least there’s a steady check in there.

Worst Wrestler Of The Year: Batista

The original plan really couldn’t have been for Batista to be celebrating at WrestleMania XXX’s end could it? I mean, it’s a big deal Batista came back, he was a popular Superstar. But how long did it take Creative to figure out that a Batista WWE WHC win was a bad idea?

What’s even worse is that Batista was only around for 3+ months last season and still won this award. My main issue wasn’t that he was out of shape, he just had horrible ring rust. Do you know the difference between The Rock’s successful 2012 run and his meh 2013 run? He wrestled one match against Cena, a wrestler who wrestles to the level of his opponents in 2012. Cena is great at hiding another wrestler’s weaknesses if need be. In 2013, Rock wrestled CM Punk twice and Cena at Mania. Punk leaves it all in the ring, so he left Dwayne looking bad, twice. I won’t give The Rock too much crap for his second Cena match, considering how gruesome his injury was and the fact that he finished the match. But Punk really did him no favors in making him look good in the ring.

With that said, Batista did not need to win the Royal Rumble. If clashing with Orton was the goal, there had to be some way to do it without making him go this route. Even with all the downtime wrestlers have in between big spots, Batista looked like a dinosaur in there. His moves weren’t crisp, he looked tired from the start, and he was only in the match 13 minutes!

By having him win the Rumble, Creative doomed Batista. Fans booed him relentlessly and wanted no parts of any feud with Orton. Realizing his rust, he feuded with Del Rio briefly, but Del Rio’s lack of heat didn’t help his cause. He turned heel, which made him more interesting, but his run was a lost cause by then.

I will give him credit for his work the last few weeks leading up to Mania. With most of the rust gone, Batista became fun to watch again.

So really, this award is Batista’s and whoever else came up with his ridiculous booking upon his return. With a long term contract, he could redeem himself when he gets back from promoting Guardians Of The Galaxy, and as a fan, I really hope so.

Honorable Mention: Fandango. Since his debut, there has not been one moment that Fandango has impressed me even a little bit. All he did was help get Summer Rae over. I blame this award on his horrible gimmick though, as Creative seems content to not allow him to progress at all.

On the other hand, making out with hot women could be enough for some wrestlers.

Wrestler Of The Year: Daniel Bryan

I’m just going to make a list:

  • Became the first man to make a member of The Shield lose due to pin or submission (Rollins, SmackDown June 14)
  • Beat Orton 2 out of 3 times before Money in The Bank.
  • Fought multiple matches in the same night several times throughout the season, winning most of them.
  • Defeated John Cena clean at SummerSlam to win the WWE Championship.
  • Had an underrated feud with Orton through Hell In A Cell.
  • Got revenge on Shawn Michaels for costing him the WWE Championship.
  • Joined the Wyatt Family in order to bait Bray into a match.
  • Feuded with The Authority and successfully defeated Triple H at WrestleMania XXX.
  • Defeated Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE WHC.
  • Married Brie Bella in real life.

And that’s not including the multiple amazing matches he was involved in where he wasn’t the victor. 2013-2014 was the year of Daniel Bryan. It’s just unfortunate that his body is paying the price so far this season.

Honorable Mention: Roman Reigns. A huge chunk of this award is based on consistency, and outside of Bryan, there wasn’t a lot to be found. Orton had a good year but not a Wrestler Of The Year caliber one. Cena missed a huge chunk of the season. Punk quit in January. Bray didn’t wrestle enough. Triple H had two matches. Brock had three. Dolph got a concussion early so he was never trusted the rest of the season. Ambrose barely had to defend his Title. Rollins was the model team player, doing enough to help the team win, but not doing anything to be noticed until after this season. Ryback was wasted. Henry, Sheamus, and Show were hurt. Kane had bad storylines. Miz was shooting movies more than he was in the ring. Jericho left again. And everyone else is either new, in the Kofi Box, or just collecting a check.

And that leaves Reigns. Don’t let the long list of reasons why fool you, Reigns got the third biggest push in the company beginning with Survivor Series and he ran with it. With the addition of the Superman Punch and a Spear to his arsenal, Reigns transformed himself into a dominant beast. He began his face turn much earlier than the other members of The Shield and really went over in Pittsburgh when he was the last person between Batista and his Royal Rumble victory.

After a year of paying dues with The Shield, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reigns winning this award outright next year.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Promos By Hyphen 2014 WWE Year End Award winners! May the rest of your 2014-15 season be fun to watch, full of awesome spots, and most importantly, surprising! I’ll meet you back here next year.

Until then, there will be plenty of Promos columns to catch up on.

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