So without further ado, the wonders and the blunders of 2010...
SUPERSTAR OF THE YEAR
BEST: John Cena
When choosing the most important, best overall performer of the year, the list came down to three names: John Cena, Randy Orton, and the Miz. Orton's had a great year, but a large section of that consisted of feuds with Legacy, Edge, and Sheamus which could have been better. The Miz has had an amazing year with the Money in the Bank win, two US title reigns, and his recent WWE title win, as well as his stint on NXT and consistently being reliable for a good section of the night. However, it'd be neglectful of me to not choose JOHN CENA for this award. He started the year off winning the Elimination Chamber to become champion, then dropping it for a feud with Batista that resulted in another title win at WrestleMania. Their good feud continued, culminating with Batista leaving the company. Cena then engaged in a feud with Sheamus that consisted of him looking much better than Sheamus but being screwed repetitively out of his title. The Nexus feud has been going on ever since and has been the dominant storyline in the entire WWE for months now. Hell, Cena even threw the fans a bone and learned a dropkick, upping his moveset to a healthy 6 lol. This entire year has rested on the shoulders of John Cena, whether some of us would like to admit it or not, so he deserves this. If you're going for kayfabe, it has to be either Miz or Orton, but if you're voting in terms of the superstar that carried the company, like I am here, then John Cena gets it.
WORST: Titus O'Neil
You'll read plenty of a description of why he received this further down, in multiple other "worst" categories.
BEST: Dolph Ziggler
He has just been on a roll. Others have had good matches, but not nearly the amount of good matches that Ziggler's put on. People will make the argument that Bryan should get this, but in my opinion, Bryan's best matches were with Ziggler and the rest of his were overrated, whereas Ziggler's pulled off good matches consistently.
WORST: Khali / Titus O'Neil / Eli Cottonwood [TIE]
Since I don't count divas in this, I can't choose Vickie, Kaitlyn, or the laundry list of others. Luckily, there are three big guys that lumbered around like idiots every time they got in the ring. Its no surprise to mention Khali in the worst wrestling category as he's never been anything above an abortion in the ring. Titus and Eli proved during the second season of NXT that size means nothing if you look like you haven't figured out how to walk better than a toddler.
BEST: The Miz
Do I even need to elaborate? I didn't think so.
WORST: Heath Slater / David Hart Smith / Titus O'Neil [TIE]
Sure, McIntyre barely spit out anything of relevance all year. Sure, Khali sucks. Sure, R-Truth deserves an honorable mention for his fucking music. But then there are these three, who make the others look tolerable. First off, we've got "duh I'm Heath Slater, I talk like I've got shit in my mouth and I'm slow in the head, but I'm a rock band or suuummthin". He doesn't quite sound like he's perpetually high, but instead, that he's perpetually a dumb hick that can't figure out these big city words you'd find in a 3rd grader's grammar book. For all I know, he's a great, intelligent guy, but this isn't an award for nicest guy and I don't have his SAT scores. Then we have David Hart Smith, who reminds me so much of those terrible actors you see on infomercials that are clearly reading from a script and know when they're supposed to be happy or sad, but all they can do is change the pitch of their voice and show no emotion. He's monotone even when he's trying to sound excited. Him on commentary was like...well...Todd Grisham was more entertaining. Finally, we have Titus O'Neil, who tried so hard to "make it a win" that he forgot what he wanted to say...every time he got the mic. You know those Native American traditions where you can only speak if you've been given the talking stick? Every time they'd pass Titus the mic, he'd muck everything up to the point where you're not sure if he actually said anything of value. Maybe his promos were scripted by someone hitting a random word generator, I don't know.
TAG TEAM / STABLE
BEST: The Nexus
The Straight Edge Society would have been nothing without CM Punk. Stables can't be great if they're the sum of one great performer and 3 jobbers. The Hart Dynasty was good this year, but they can't top the Nexus. The Nexus has not only obtained tag team gold (technically twice) but they've been used in THE angle of the year every single week, sometimes on both shows.
WORST: The Gate Crashers
We had our fair share of random tag ups this year, including Big Show/Miz, Morrison/Truth, Rhodes/McIntyre, Bourne/Henry, and Santino/Kozlov, but the team of Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer was just so utterly pointless. Even worse than the Dude Busters. It's pretty bad when Curt Hawkins is the highlight of your team.
BEST: Michelle McCool
Michelle may be terrible on the mic and her whole gimmick may just be a ripoff of the Beautiful People, and she may not be as good in the ring as Natalya, but overall, she was the most important. She's not the worst in any category and if you took her out of this year's worth of diva interactions, they would have nothing left.
WORST: Bella Twins
They only win matches by doing the twin switch, they basically do nothing but accompany people to the ring, and now they're trying to make it seem like Niki is a heel, but its coming off so forced and lame. Tamina is pretty useless, too, but they don't try to make her out to be more than she is like they do with the Bellas.
BEST: 450 Splash / RKO [TIE]
The RKO clearly gets the victory when it comes to functionality and number of hits, but at the same time, the 450 Splash from Justin Gabriel has made a great impact and looks so, so good.
WORST: Lie Detector
I'm not a fan of the Zig Zag, I'm not a fan of Slater's finisher, nor Tarver's, nor Young's, but by far the worst finisher in the WWE is the Lie Detector. The 619 has a retarded setup but at least in the process, he's kicking you in the face with his two legs, and the move looks interesting and hard to pull off. Truth's Lie Detector never connects and the spinning part looks ridiculous because he spins after he hits you with a "forearm smash". The worst part is that if you remove the pointless corkscrew element, it doesn't even look peculiar, so you have to include this bogus extra step or else it looks even worse. Terrible, terrible finisher, and yet he still uses this instead of that cutter variation we've seen him do several times, which actually looks like it could hurt.
BEST: John Cena
Come on, is there any other choice? Cena's the ultimate babyface in the company. Even though Orton's played the face card for a while, he's still not the uber-babyface that John Cena is.
WORST: Chris Masters
I'm supposed to cheer for this guy? Why? Because he has generic music, doesn't attack the faces, and loses? Snooze. Masters has had nothing to work with, zero character, and not a bright future if this keeps up. There are lots of people that have had pointless babyface sections of the year, like Skip Sheffield with his "yip yip yip, what it do!" phase, but those were all cut short, while Masters has had this thing going on all year.
BEST: Wade Barrett + The Miz [TIE]
I love what Batista did during his feud with Cena at the beginning of the year. Kane's been doing better lately. Sheamus, as much as I hate to admit it, is a viable heel (though still overrated and not worthy of 2 world title reigns lol). Ziggler's been great. But it all boiled down to me being unable to choose between these two. Barrett's been the forefront and linchpin holding the Nexus angle together and has not only won NXT as a heel the entire time but also stuck to it with JOHN CENA, the biggest guy in the company, and didn't come out looking like a cheap rookie. Then there's the Miz, who has gone from the midcard to the WWE champion, almost always being the highlight of the night and just continually getting better and better, never losing heat from the crowd. Both of these guys have had such amazing years, I couldn't decide between the two.
WORST: Eli Cottonwood
He's a monster heel that can't win a match and loves mustaches. Yup. Noteworthy mentions to Darren Young for, well, everything he did, Vance Archer & Curt Hawkins for being worthless, and Tyler Reks for his "I can't do anything but stare" routine.
BEST: Wade Barrett
People are probably thinking I'm nuts for not picking Del Rio or Daniel Bryan, but I think both are overrated as hell. If Alex Riley were given a more prominent position, he'd put up a great fight, as I think he has an INSANE amount of potential. However, when you boil things down, Wade Barrett is the clear winner here. He's good on the mic, good in the ring, and has went from literally being booked as a rookie to someone that everyone was willing to accept as the WWE champion within less than a year's span.
WORST: Titus O'Neil
This could have gone to Eli Cottonwood as well, but Titus was even worse overall than him. He was just God fucking awful in the ring and on the mic. He never should've made it past FCW.
UP OR DOWN THE LADDER
UPPED THEIR GAME: Dolph Ziggler
In terms of "most improved", Dolph Ziggler stands out in my mind. During his debut back in 08, his first match against Batista when he started this gimmick showed that he wasn't a complete jobber. Then, he was booked as such for a long while. Last year, he seemed prime for an IC title reign but was cheated out of it, floundering for a little while. But in 2010, Dolph Ziggler not only moved up the ladder to obtain that IC title, but he's managed to make it seem much more relevant than McIntyre or Kofi have this year. Let's put it this way...in 2009 we had 7 title changes. In 2010, we've had Drew dropping it to Kofi and then Kofi dropping it to Ziggler. While Drew has had the longer reign (so far), Ziggler's brought more character out, stepped up his in-ring game to great levels, and just keeps looking better and better as time goes on.
DOWNWARD SPIRAL: Triple H
Let's face it, he's had a terrible year. He didn't do particularly well in the Royal Rumble, and though he did do well in the Elimination Chamber and won his WrestleMania match, it was still a loss at EC and just a midcard match at WM. He then gets injured and spends the rest of the year out of action. None of his matches were particularly good at all. His Sheamus angle was cookie-cutter. No great promos. Nothing. Instead of improving, he went downward.
BIGGEST SHOCKER / WORST DUD
SHOCKER: Nexus Debut + Danielson Released
I don't think anyone really saw the Nexus attack on Raw coming, nor did any of us think that immediately after starting such a big angle, they'd fire the second most important guy in the stable. That whole scenario was a HUGE shock. There were some other shockers in the year, like Mickie James being released, Jack Swagger winning Money in the Bank, HBK's retirement, and so on, but none of them really have had as much "wow, holy shit" buzz as our first glimpse of the Nexus.
DUD: Bret Hart's Return
All that pop, all that sizzle, all that build and hype, and that's what we got out of Bret's return and subsequent feud. January 4th had everyone clamoring to see it because of its potential, not only as "the start of the second Monday Night Wars", but because the Hitman was finally coming back to the WWE. What would happen between him and HBK? What about Vince? Bret's peak came at the beginning of the show with his reconciliation with Shawn Michaels and then immediately afterward, everything died. From that point on, we saw nothing but two old men stumble around for months and then take up a bunch of time at WrestleMania. Hart's return went from having the potential to change everything to just being another washed up legend in a shitty angle.
BEST: Michael Cole
Cole's done his job as a play-by-play commentator but has also managed to create and maintain a heel character in the process. He's one of my favorite things they have going on right now in the WWE. I'm a huge fan of Mathews, and I like Striker, but Cole wins this one hands down.
WORST: Todd Grisham
I wrote a whole article about this earlier. Click here to read it.
BEST: Justin Roberts
Roberts is consistent, rarely screws up, has a voice that works well, and seems to be willing to do anything (like getting choked with his own tie), making it all look easy in the process.
WORST: Jamie Keyes
Horrible voice, even worse delivery, just terrible in all realms. Not bad to look at, but I had to mute my TV most of the time when she talked.
BEST: Alberto Del Rio, the royal pain in the ass + Ted DiBiase, the spoiled rich kid [TIE]
Is it basically just a Hispanic JBL? Sure. But what the hell, it works. Del Rio's not the best in the ring or on the mic (that's not to say that he's BAD, just not amazing), but he knows how to use both in regards to his character to pull it off. It seems like I'm a part of the minority in that I actually like the spoiled rich kid Ted DiBiase character. I liked how he hired Virgil, I like how he's got the trophy wife in Maryse, I like how he was using the Million Dollar belt. The only thing I don't like is how they aren't really giving him anything to do.
WORST: Juan Cena
I know that it hasn't been officially sanctioned yet, and is only on house shows. I know...it's supposed to be stupid. It's supposed to be obvious that it is John Cena under the mask. But still, it's just SO FUCKING STUPID in the first place. That being said, if you don't accept a house show gimmick as one that works, we have others to choose from. Rosa Mendes having her "chick that jumps rope backstage because she thinks she's fat despite looking incredible" gimmick was stupid. Chavo in the Swagger Soaring Eagle, not exactly his finest moment. We had...whatever the fuck Percy Watson was supposed to be. Eli Cottonwood was basically a living gimmick. One of my least favorite character attributes from anyone though has to go to Skip Sheffield for his "yip yip yip, what it do" catch phrase. That may be bad enough to win him the honorary replacement spot for the Juan Cena gimmick.
BEST: The Anonymous Raw General Manager / Michael Cole
Though the character itself is anonymous, this whole gimmick is too good to ignore, especially if you count Michael Cole in with him. If you don't accept an imaginary character as a choice, then I'd go with Vickie.
I just fucking hate Hornswoggle so much and he's outlived his usefulness years ago.
MATCH OF THE YEAR
BEST: Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (Bragging Rights)
Forgive me, but HBK vs Taker was better at WrestleMania XXV, not this year. Bryan vs Ziggler had basically no build and was put on the card as the curtain jerker but they tore the fucking house down. Amazing match that you have to check out if you haven't already. It was so good they let them continue it some more.
WORST: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon (WrestleMania XXVI)
I decided to exclude divas matches from this, because as we all know, 9/10 of them are absolute garbage. There have been so many horrible matches that don't even involve divas that I ended up having to go with one that was actually supposed to mean something. This match was one of the biggest attractions to the biggest ppv of the year, and my GOD was it a train wreck. It would have been atrocious at 30 seconds, let alone at however long that drawn out piece of shit of a match clocks in at. They seriously just kept going and going with it, despite it being nothing but Bret stumbling around giving Vince some weak ass "punches" and then watching OTHER people ridiculously punch him. This match was an absolute mess and its ranked even worse due to the immense build and hype behind it. Your typical NXT-3 matches sucking are expected and don't have a high pedestal to fall from, but this was put up there at the top and took a nosedive into shitsville.
BEST: The Nexus
Undertaker and Kane had a good idea going on but it was unable to fully develop. Undertaker and HBK was a bit of a downer on all sides. Orton's feuds with Legacy, Edge, and Sheamus weren't amazing. Blah blah blah. The Nexus had their start with NXT building them up, then a great debut for the stable with the whole beat down on Raw, and then despite floundering with this "we have a plan but can't tell you until Creative thinks of it" idea that they never fleshed out completely, they still ended up creating the feud of the year with John Cena. Along the way there were such elements such as the firing and return of Daniel Bryan, Bret Hart's involvement, Orton's title reign, so on and so forth, but the core belongs to Barrett vs Ex-Nexus employee John Cena which is still even going on after all these months. Noteworthy nomination goes to Cena vs Batista.
WORST: The Straight Edge Society
Don't get me wrong, there were some terrible storylines that were kept extremely short, but I've blocked them from my memory. Instead, like in the worst match category, I wanted to go with a choice that deserves the distinction where it was supposed to mean something but bombed. The Straight Edge concept worked great when Punk was feuding with Hardy. There was a point behind it. But this year, the SES had two horrible feuds with Mysterio and Big Show that consisted of nothing but a long, drawn out series of a ton of matches. Rey and Show beat Gallows and Mercury over and over again, and then tend to beat Punk most of the time as well. What the fuck was he even feuding with them over? It took until the feud was practically OVER for Mysterio to shave his head, and then you mean to tell me the whole Big Show feud was over him unmasking Punk? "I'm better than you" ends up being two angles about hair? Both of these feuds were shit and the year ends up with Mercury injured, the SES dissolving, Serena being fired after one terrible match, Gallows being fired, and Punk on commentary because he's injured. Nothing at all good came out of the Straight Edge Society in the long run. The Hardy feud is what made CM Punk what he is right now, but Jeff is wrong when he says that he personally made Punk a star, as Hardy was just the right foil in terms of creating a good story. The SES had no good foils this year, so it failed. If Jeff had the ability to turn someone into a star, he'd have done it with his overrated brother, but we all know how that ended up. Punk isn't the problem in this "worst storyline" section...the SES having nobody to legitimately and interestingly feud with was.
BEST PPV: Bragging Rights
Match of the Year to start it off, plus a tag team title change in a swerve, an important swerve and storyline in the Buried Alive match, a good 7-on-7 match, and a good WWE title match despite the ending being a little lackluster. You can read my review here. Honorable mention goes to Money in the Bank.
WORST PPV: SummerSlam
Boring matches, the feuds weren't interesting, the results weren't interesting, just total crap for what should be booked as the second biggest pay-per-view of the year. You can read my review here.