2023 WWE Awards: Best & Worst of WWE This Year (Smark Out Moment Awards) | Smark Out Moment

2023 WWE Awards: Best & Worst of WWE This Year (Smark Out Moment Awards)

Posted by Anthony Mango Saturday, December 23, 2023

WWE has the Slammy Awards. But here at Smark Out Moment, we like to take an even closer look at what happened throughout the year. Not only do we award the best of many more categories, we also point out the worst that we've seen in the past 12 months of what World Wrestling Entertainment had to offer.

Welcome to the WWE half of the 14th annual Smark Out Moment Awards, aka The Smarkies!

Make sure you let us know in the comments what your choices are for the best and the worst of each award in all of these divisions (Technical Skill Awards, Writing Awards and Performer Awards)!

Smark Out Moment wrestling Smarky Awards 2023 Smarkies

[TECHNICAL SKILLS AWARDS]

ENTRANCE

Explanation: This award should take into account everything including pyro, lighting, music, what the superstars do during their entrances, and so on. Your choices can be a singular entrance in particular (such as their upgraded WrestleMania one) or someone's standard entrance that happens every time he/she comes to the ring.

[BEST]: Dominik Mysterio (WrestleMania)

  • Logan Paul at WrestleMania
  • Edge (WrestleMania)
  • Bad Bunny (Backlash)
  • Shinsuke Nakamura (Payback)

[WORST]: Katana Chance and Kayden Carter

  • Sami Zayn's wrong music is played
  • people without anything like Riddick Moss and such

CLOTHING / ATTIRE

Explanation: Who has the best and worst outfits, whether it's just what they wear during their entrance or if it's their normal ring gear?

[BEST]: Zelina Vega (Backlash)

  • Zelina Vega (Royal Rumble)
  • Carmella (Hall of Fame)
  • Johnny Gargano (NXT Stand & Deliver)
  • Trish Stratus (WrestleMania)
  • Dominik Mysterio (WrestleMania)
  • Charlotte Flair (WrestleMania)
  • Kelani Jordan (NXT Halloween Havoc; Ghost-Spider-Gwen Stacy ring gear)
  • Shotzi (Edward Scissorhands look from NXT Halloween Havoc)
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Bianca Belair
  • Jade Cargill

[WORST]: Seth Rollins (regularly)

  • Quincy Elliott
  • SCRYPTS

SIGNATURE MANEUVER

Explanation: What is your favorite and least favorite regularly seen wrestling move was that had been featured multiple times as something on a superstar's repertoire. Typically, these are finishers (such as the Attitude Adjustment) but it could also be a signature setup (such as the Five Knuckle Shuffle) or something along those lines.

[BEST]: Bronson Reed's Tsunami

  • Damian Priest's South of Heaven
  • Cross Rhodes
  • Bron Breakker's spear
  • Gunther's chop

[WORST]: When Brutus Creed misses his cannonball

  • Most people have awful finishers. Too many regular options to pick from.

SPOT / BOTCH

Explanation: What was the most entertaining spot and what was the biggest disaster of a botch that happened this year?

[BEST/COOLEST SPOT]: Logan Paul and Ricochet collide mid-air at Royal Rumble

  • Sami Zayn hits Roman Reigns with a steel chair at Royal Rumble
  • RKO to JD McDonagh from WarGames

[WORST/BIGGEST BOTCH]: Shane McMahon tears quad at WrestleMania

  • Kofi Kingston botches saving himself at Royal Rumble for the second year in a row
  • Uncle Howdy misses LA Knight at Royal Rumble
  • Nia Jax's music hits before countdown timer clock at Royal Rumble
  • Brutus Creed whiffs his cannonball
  • The pacing for night 2 of WrestleMania
  • Cody should've won at WrestleMania

RECOGNITION

Explanation: Perception is everything, so which superstar deserved more credit this year than they received and which superstar was unworthy of all the praise he or she received?

[MOST UNDERRATED]: Josh Briggs

  • Baron Corbin
  • DIY
  • Duke Hudson
  • The Miz
  • Santos Escobar

[MOST OVERRATED]: Lita

  • Finn Balor
  • Joe Gacy
  • Lyra Valkyria
  • Solo Sikoa
  • Trish Stratus
  • Tyler Bate
  • Anyone who gets "stanned" by crazy people online

IMPROVEMENT IN A SUPERSTAR

Explanation: Which superstar improved their work and saw the biggest upgrade and who saw the biggest downgrade in terms of a regression of their performance, spot on the roster, quality of value and so forth?

[BIGGEST UPGRADE]: LA Knight

  • Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo
  • Iyo Sky
  • Jey Uso
  • Maxxine Dupri
  • Trick Williams
  • Zelina Vega

[BIGGEST DOWNGRADE]: Matt Riddle

  • AJ Styles
  • Cameron Grimes
  • Jimmy Uso
  • Ronda Rousey

RING WORK

Explanation: Which two superstars were the best and the worst when performing in the ring?

[BEST]: Gunther

  • Bianca Belair
  • Carmelo Hayes
  • Chad Gable
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Wes Lee

[WORST]: Ava Raine

  • Nia Jax
  • Top Dolla

MIC WORK

Explanation: Who had the best and worst promo skills, charisma, and performing as an entertaining character with all of the verbal aspects of WWE.

[BEST]: Cody Rhodes

  • LA Knight
  • Kevin Owens
  • The Miz
  • Roman Reigns
  • Sami Zayn

[WORST]: Joe Gacy

  • Ava Raine
  • Katana Chance and Kayden Carter
  • Lyra Valkyria
  • Ronda Rousey
  • SCRYPTS
  • Valhalla
  • Xia Li

MATCH OF THE YEAR

Explanation: Matches can be from any show, including Raw, SmackDown, NXT, Main Event, NXT Level Up, pay-per-views and special events. List of my personal match of the year candidates here.

[BEST]:

  • Men's Royal Rumble?
  • Women's Royal Rumble?
  • United States Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Austin Theory (c) vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Montez Ford vs. Seth Rollins — Elimination Chamber
  • Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn — Elimination Chamber
  • SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley — WrestleMania 39 (Night 1)
  • WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn — WrestleMania 39 (Night 1)
  • Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match: Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus — WrestleMania 39 (Night 2)
  • San Juan Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest — Backlash

[WORST]:

  • Charlotte Flair vs. Shotzi — SmackDown (March 10, 2023)
  • Women's WrestleMania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match: Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville vs. Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya and Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler — WrestleMania 39 (Night 2)
  • The Miz vs. Shane McMahon / Snoop Dogg — WrestleMania 39 (Night 2)
  • Trick or Street Fight: Chelsea Green vs. Natalya — Monday Night Raw (October 30, 2023)

[WRITING AWARDS]

CATCH PHRASE or SLOGAN

Explanation: This includes any kind of regularly mentioned slogan, taunt, catch phrase, signature sign-off or any verbal sayings of those sorts.

[BEST]: "Yeah!"

  • "Let me talk to ya!" + "With everybody sayin' LA Knight!!"
  • singing Seth Rollins' theme
  • Booker T'sms (No bread, no water, just meat.)
  • "The Ring General" from Ludwig Kaiser
  • "So ____, what do you wanna talk about?" from Cody Rhodes
  • "I am him" from Carmelo Hayes
  • Shoosh / athank youuuu
  • Whoop that trick
  • "Yeet"

[WORST]: The Judgment Day run Monday Night Raw

  • "I am a visionary. I am a revolutionary. I am Seth 'Freakin' Rollins." / Seth's laugh

GIMMICK

Explanation: Which superstars portrayed the best and the worst characters this year?

[BEST]: Ex-con Dom and Mami Rhea Ripley

  • Thea Hail in Chase University

[WORST]: SCRYPTS

  • Eddy Thorpe
  • Gigi Dolin family girl who fights against her upbringing troubles for her brother's sake 
  • Nathan Frazer Hard Hitting Home Truths
  • Quincy Elliott
  • Raquel has a back
  • Schism
  • Uncle Howdy

HEEL or FACE TURN

Explanation: The Best/Worst Heel or Face Turn award asks which character turn (whether it was from heel to face or face to heel doesn't matter) was the most effective and interesting and which one was stupid and a mistake.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: all heel and face turns are on this list

[BEST]: Sami Zayn turns babyface on Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble

  • Jey Uso turns babyface
  • Drew McIntyre turns heel
  • Santos Escobar turns heel

[WORST]: SCRYPTS turning face to align with Axiom and then heel right after

  • Alexa Bliss turns heel on Jan 2
  • Hit Row turns heel on Jan 6
  • The random Mustafa Ali tweener gimmick stuff all year
  • Gigi Dolin slowly turns face after Jacy Jayne splits from her
  • Tatum Paxley turns heel on Ivy Nile and her career goes nowhere after that
  • What's going on with Bobby Lashley?
  • Myles Borne's hot potato situation
  • Jimmy Uso turning on Jey Uso

TITLE REIGN

Explanation: Who had the most meaningful time with a championship to their name, where the matches were good, the feuds were interesting, and you were enjoying their reign, as well as who failed to meet those expectations and perhaps had a boring, uneventful, bad run with a belt.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: all of the title reigns on this list

[BEST]: Gunther (Intercontinental Championship)

  • Are there really any other contenders this year?

[WORST]: (TIE) Absentee Roman Reigns, Women's tag team division

  • Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Women's Championship)
  • Austin Theory (United States Championship)
  • Indi Hartwell (NXT Women's Championship)
  • Gallus (NXT Tag Team Championship)
  • Everyone in the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship list
  • Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler (Women's Tag Team Championship) and most of the others, too
  • Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso (tag titles)
  • Nathan Frazer (NXT Heritage Cup)
  • Chase University (NXT tag titles)

TELEVISION SHOW or DIGITAL PROGRAM

Explanation: Out of WWE's programming all across the board on networks, streaming services, and digital platforms, which shows are your favorite and least favorite?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: In-ring shows (Main Event, NXT, NXT Level Up, Raw, SmackDown) and other shows (Afterburn, After the Bell, Bottom Line, The Bump, Playback, Pop Question, Raw Talk, SmackDown Lowdown, This is Awesome, This Week in WWE, The Ultimate Show, UpUpDownDown, WWE Now, etc) and one-off programs as well.

[BEST]: Superfan: The Story of Vladimir

  • Monday Night Raw

[WORST]: All the studio shows

  • Main Event

PAY-PER-VIEW or SPECIAL EVENT

Explanation: What were your favorite and least favorite pay-per-views or special events from the year?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All pay-per-views and special events are indicated on this list

[BEST]: WrestleMania Night 1

  • Royal Rumble

[WORST]: WrestleMania Night 2

  • Crown Jewel

MOST SHOCKING MOMENT

Explanation: What was the absolute biggest surprise you had this entire year that you didn't see coming?

[MOST]: (TIE) Bray Wyatt's passing (real life), Cody Rhodes loses at WrestleMania (kayfabe)

  • CM Punk returns at Survivor Series
  • Jade Cargill signs with WWE
  • TKO merger

SMARK OUT MOMENTS

Explanation: What did you consider to be the overall best and worst things to have happened this year? What was the coolest thing to make you happy as a fan and which moment was so horrible that it made you the most disappointed with WWE?

[BEST]: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn win at WrestleMania

  • Carlito and Savio Vega at Backlash
  • Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso at the press conference
  • Men's Royal Rumble

[WORST]: (TIE) Bray Wyatt's passing (real life), Cody Rhodes loses at WrestleMania (kayfabe)

  • TKO firing so many people (like McKenzie Mitchell)
  • Vince McMahon back in charge in general

STORYLINE

Explanation: What were the most interesting, well-executed storylines of the year and which feuds were the least interesting, terrible ones to watch?

[BEST]: Sami Zayn's portion of The Bloodline story leading up to WrestleMania

  • Ex Con Dom and Rhea Ripley

[WORST]: Roxanne Perez anxiety

  • A lot of the stuff with The Bloodline
  • Brooks Jensen and Kiana James relationship
  • Dana Brooke is a bad coach to Kelani Jordan and is frustrated she keeps failing at her career
  • Schism's dissolution
  • Tony D set up by Gallus
  • Von Wagner's cranium

[PERFORMER AWARDS]

MANAGER or VALET

Explanation: This includes anybody who regularly accompanies someone down to the ring in some capacity, but is not their tag team partner in the ring.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All managers and valets on the roster are indicated on this list

[BEST]: Paul Heyman

  • Maxxine Dupri
  • Mr. Stone
  • I don't think Rhea Ripley counts, but if she did, she'd beat out Paul Heyman

[WORST]: B-Fab

  • Scarlett Bordeaux

BROADCAST CORRESPONDENT

Explanation: This includes all ring announcers, backstage interviewers, panelists and correspondents.

RING ANNOUNCERS: Alicia Taylor, Mike Rome, Samantha Irvin

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEWERS: Cathy Kelley, Kayla Braxton, Kelly Kincaid, Kevin Patrick, McKenzie Mitchell, Megan Morant, Sarah Schreiber

PANEL ANALYSTS / OTHER ANCHORS: Alicia Taylor, Andrea Bazarte, Booker T, Byron Saxton, Jackie Redmond, Jerry Lawler, Kayla Braxton, Matt Camp, Peter Rosenberg, Ryan Pappolla, Sam Roberts, Scott Stanford

- John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Maria Menounos (HOF)

- Gaelyn Mendonca (WWE Now India), Jimena Sánchez (WWE Saturday Night), Moein Al Bastaki (WWE Wal3ooha), Nathalie Mamo (WWE Wal3ooha), Nina Wu (WWE Now China)

[BEST]: Samantha Irvin (ring announcer), Matt Camp (analyst), McKenzie Mitchell (interviews)

  • Shout out to Cathy Kelley, Kayla Braxton, Mike Rome, Peter Rosenberg and some other very good ones, too. Byron Saxton gets overlooked for all his contributions, too.

[WORST]: The Foreign Analysts (by default?)

  • Kevin Patrick
  • Megan Morant

COMMENTATOR

Explanation: This includes all members of the commentary teams on all brands, including the foreign commentators.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: Blake Howard, Booker T, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Kevin Patrick, Michael Cole, Pat McAfee, Sudu Shah, Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett

[BEST]: Michael Cole

  • Corey Graves
  • Pat McAfee
  • Vic Joseph

[WORST]: Kevin Patrick

  • Sudu Shah?

ROSTER NEWCOMER

Explanation: The Best/Worst Newcomer award applies to anybody who either made their debut somewhere on the main roster or NXT, or were repackaged into a completely different gimmick with a different name.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All newcomers to the roster are indicated amongst the superstars on this list

[BEST]: Dragon Lee

  • Jade Cargill
  • Kelani Jordan
  • Lexis King
  • Lola Vice

[WORST]: Alexis Lete

  • Does Gable Steveson count for finally wrestling a match and it being a disaster?

MAIN ROSTER CALL-UP

Explanation: Which of the superstars who moved up from NXT or developmental to the main roster have done the best and the worst with their promotion?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All call-ups to the main roster are indicated amongst the superstars on this list

[BEST]: Grayson Waller

  • Bronson Reed
  • The Creed Brothers
  • Dragon Lee
  • JD McDonagh
  • Zoey Stark

[WORST]: Cameron Grimes

  • Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn
  • Odyssey Jones
  • Sanga and Veer Mahaan
  • Xyon Quinn

TAG TEAM or STABLE

Explanation: Which tag team or stable did you like and hate the most?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All tag teams can be found on this list

[BEST]: The Judgment Day

  • Chase University
  • The Creed Brothers
  • Damage CTRL
  • Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
  • Latino World Order
  • Imperium

[WORST]: (TIE) Hit Row, Schism

  • Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn
  • Axiom and Scrypts
  • Gallus
  • Indus Sher
  • Raquel Rodriguez with "insert partner" temporarily

HEEL

Explanation: Who was the most hated villain and which superstar failed the most to get the crowd to boo them?

[BEST]: Dominik Mysterio

  • Grayson Waller
  • Gunther
  • Logan Paul
  • Roman Reigns
  • Tiffany Stratton

[WORST]: Schism (Ava Raine and Joe Gacy)

  • Dabba-Kato
  • Brooklyn Barlow
  • Emma
  • Jimmy Uso
  • Lacey Evans
  • SCRYPTS
  • Valhalla

BABYFACE

Explanation: Who was the best fan-favorite hero and which superstar wasn't able to pull off being a babyface?

[BEST]: Cody Rhodes

  • Bianca Belair
  • Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams
  • Chad Gable
  • Jey Uso
  • Kevin Owens
  • LA Knight
  • Sami Zayn
  • Thea Hail
  • Wes Lee

[WORST]: SCRYPTS

  • Apollo Crews
  • Dana Brooke
  • Dante Chen
  • Natalya
  • Gable Steveson
  • Gigi Dolin
  • Guru Raaj
  • Nathan Frazer
  • Quincy Elliott
  • Shanky
  • Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon

FEMALE SUPERSTAR

Explanation: Which female wrestlers were the cream of the crop and the bottom of the barrel?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All superstars who were in WWE this year can be found on this list

[BEST]: Rhea Ripley

  • Becky Lynch
  • Iyo Sky
  • Tiffany Stratton
  • Zoey Stark

[WORST]: Ava Raine

  • B-Fab
  • Lacey Evans
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Valhalla

MALE SUPERSTAR

Explanation: Which male wrestlers were the cream of the crop and the bottom of the barrel?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All superstars who were in WWE this year can be found on this list

[BEST]: Cody Rhodes

  • Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams
  • Chad Gable
  • Dominik Mysterio
  • Gunther
  • Jey Uso
  • Kevin Owens
  • Sami Zayn
  • Seth Rollins

[WORST]: Top Dolla

  • Dabba-Kato
  • Elias
  • Gable Steveson
  • Joe Gacy
  • Quincy Elliott
  • Rick Boogs
  • Riddick Moss
  • SCRYPTS
  • Shanky

SUPERSTAR OF THE YEAR

Explanation: Judging as a co-ed award out of both the men and women wrestlers who were in the company at some point, who was the absolute best and worst in the company this year?

POSSIBLE OPTIONS: All superstars who were in WWE this year can be found on this list

[BEST]: Cody Rhodes

  • Chad Gable
  • Dominik Mysterio
  • Gunther
  • Jey Uso
  • Kevin Owens
  • Rhea Ripley
  • Sami Zayn
  • Seth Rollins

[WORST]: Ava Raine, Top Dolla

  • Ava Raine
  • Dabba-Kato
  • Dana Brooke
  • Elias
  • Joe Gacy
  • Lacey Evans 
  • Quincy Elliott
  • Ronda Rousey
  • SCRYPTS
  • Shanky
  • Top Dolla

LET US KNOW YOUR PICKS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

2023 Smark Out Moment Awards
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AUTHOR OF THIS POST: ANTHONY MANGO

The founder, editor-in-chief, head writer, podcast host, and more for Smark Out Moment and all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. Tony Mango is not just a pundit/analyst, but also a creative director/consultant, media manager and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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