FATP Awards 2012



From Across the Pond

Yes, I know it’s Christmas Day and yes, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m doing writing a column this week, but I’ll let you into a secret… break kayfabe if you like. I actually wrote this a couple of days ago as a wee Christmas present to you, and jolly ol’ Saint Nick just happened to make it appear on the website today! :)

As you’ll know, almost every industry has an annual awards ceremony: whether it’s the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, The Brit Awards or WWE’s Slammy Awards. This year, I’ve decided to do an end of year awards ceremony of my own, which strangely enough is called the “FATP Awards”. Wonder how I came up with that idea huh? It’s a comprehensive awards article, encapsulating the good and bad that we’ve seen from the year in both WWE and TNA.

Now, to explain how the whole thing works. There are 12 categories in total, including the FATP Lifetime Achievement award. The Lifetime Achievement award will be given to a retired superstar from either TNA, ECW, WWF/E or WCW who I think deserves recognition for everything that they accomplished in their career.

Both WWE and TNA will be represented here. For each category, half of the nominees will come from WWE and half will come from TNA. The nominees for each award are the wrestlers/matches that I think were the best that we saw this year. It’s totally subjective so just because I think those people should be nominated doesn’t mean that you’ll think the same. I haven’t missed anyone or anything out. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into coming up with the nominees and categories, so the people mentioned in the rest of this column are my choices.

Hopefully I’ve explained the premise of this column, so without any further ado, let’s get started!

FATP Newcomer of the Year 2012

Nominees: Zema Ion (TNA), Damien Sandow (WWE), Kenny King (TNA) and Ryback (WWE)

3rd place – Zema Ion (TNA): For me, Ion’s had a great 2012. He’s had a series of good matches and he’s a versatile performer. Although he can wrestle a high-flying style, he’s got pretty good, fundamental wrestling skills and he can’t be underestimated. Yes, a couple of other wrestlers have been injured in matches with him, but that’s just bad luck. I like the way he’s turned it into part of his gimmick though. Like he says, he’s not just f’in pretty, he’s pretty f’in dangerous. Kudos to him for a great first full year on the TNA roster.

2nd place – Ryback (WWE): Now, anyone who’s read any of the stuff I’ve written in the last 6-8 months knows I’m not a huge fan of Ryberg/Goldback/Rob van Goldberg/Skipback, whatever you want to call him. In my opinion, he’s a blatant Goldberg rip-off who wears a singlet from the RVD reject collection. It’s nothing personal against Ryan Reeves, it’s a creative issue. Having said that, the dude is a beast in the ring and he’s gotten over. They’ve developed his character and tweaked the gimmick slightly. He’s no longer in squash matches against nobodies; they’re full-time members of the WWE roster, which is fine. As over as he is right now, someone else impressed me more.

And… the FATP award for Newcomer of the Year 2012 goes to…………..

damiensandow

1st place – Damien Sandow (WWE): This will please Helen! For me, Sandow has to be newcomer of the year. Although he’s been on the main roster before (he was released a few years ago before being brought back to FCW), he’s got more experience now and it shows whenever he’s in the ring. He’s got the look that Vinnie Mac loves, he’s technically sound and he can cut excellent promos. The thing that really tipped the balance in his favour was his showing in the WHC MiTB match in July. For someone so fresh on the scene to go into that kind of match and perform the way he did was just phenomenal. I like his tag-team with Cody Rhodes, although the name “Team Rhodes Scholars” is brutal. Right now, he’s part of a tag-team feud with Kane and Daniel Bryan; two men with huge experience that Sandow can learn from and take forward into what should be an amazing singles career. Sandow’s made the biggest impact on me and that’s why he’s newcomer of the year. You’re welcome!

FATP Break-Out Star of the Year 2012

Nominees: Zema Ion (TNA), Ryback (WWE), Bully Ray (TNA), Dolph Ziggler (WWE), Austin Aries (TNA) and Daniel Bryan (WWE)

This category was really hard to narrow down to three because all six men have had a fantastic 2012.

3rd place – Dolph Ziggler (WWE): One of RVD’s monikers used to be “Mr PPV”, but for me, Ziggler has earned that nickname and more. He truly does what it says on his t-shirt. He steals the show. Ziggler almost does it on every single show. He reminds me of an old-school wrestler in the way that he makes the moves of his opponents look devastating. He sells moves like a demon, he can wrestle with the best of them and, as of late, he’s finally getting to show his personality in his promos. As the current WHC MiTB briefcase holder, Ziggler is destined for bigger and better things. Hopefully, 2013 is the time where Ziggler finally gets a long, main-event run with the title. He deserves it because he’s outstanding.

2nd place – Daniel Bryan (WWE): For someone who was booked like a glorified jobber after he won last year’s MiTB briefcase, Bryan has had an exceptional year by anyone’s standards. He’s become one of the best things about WWE. We’ve always known he could wrestle and have fantastic matches with anyone, but he’s delivered on a consistent basis in main-events for pretty much the entire year. It was really the toss of a coin between Bryan and the winner.

And… the FATP award for Break-Out Star of the Year 2012 goes to…………..

austinariesworldchampion

1st place – Austin Aries (TNA): Think about the run that Aries has had since returning to TNA last summer. Out of a dozen or so title matches, whether it’s X-Division or World Heavyweight Championship matches, Aries has lost twice. He’s lost 2 title matches in the last 18 months or so. Flip that over to WWE and Alberto del Rio has won 2 title matches in the same time period. Back to Aries though. He’s had excellent matches with opponents of various shapes and sizes, whilst making the matches seem believable. That’s the key. You know that the outcomes are, for the most part, pre-determined, but you want to believe otherwise. That’s what Aries does and he had to be the break-out star of the year.

FATP WTF Moment of the Year 2012 (the most cringeworthy moment of the year)

Nominees: Brodus Clay debuts as the Funkasaurus (WWE), Brooke Hogan gets an executive position with the Knockouts (TNA), CM Punk “connects” with the WWE Universe (WWE) and the AJ Styles & Crack-Whore Claire storyline (TNA)

3rd place – CM Punk “connects” with the WWE Universe (WWE): Now, this isn’t a slight on Punk because I reckon he had every right to wail in on the fan that was attacking him. It’s just a shame that the wrong guy got a smack in the mouth that’s all. The WTF is for the security services at the arena. Where the fuck were they? It was clearly a pre-planned spot, so why weren’t they doing their job? If they were, it wouldn’t have happened. Simple as that.

2nd place – Brooke Hogan gets an executive position with the Knockouts (TNA): I was genuinely angry and laughing at the same time when the announcement was made about Brooke Hogan joining TNA as an “executive”. What experience does she have? She grew up watching her dad on TV, who was the most famous wrestler ever. So what? I did basically the same as she did. I watched him on TV. Does that give me the right to be made a TNA “executive”? No! She’s added nothing to TNA. I suppose we should just be thankful that nobody hired Nick Hogan as a driver for TNA huh?

And… the FATP award for WTF Moment of the Year 2012 goes to……..

ajstylesclairelynch

1st place – The AJ Styles/Crack-Whore Claire storyline (TNA): Poor AJ Styles. He’s quite possibly the most talented wrestler of his generation, yet he always gets saddled with these shitey “affair” storylines. It happened with Karen Angle/Jarrett and it happened again here, although this one was FAR worse. The actress TNA hired was God-awful and the storyline was just a clusterfuck from start to finish. From the AJ/Dixie phonecall and pictures at the beginning, to the end where “Claire” was just written off TV because TNA knew how shit the whole thing was. This was quite possibly the worst wrestling storyline in years and it’s the easiest choice I’ve had to make all day.

FATP Tag-Team of the Year 2012

Nominees: Jimmy Boom (WWE); AJ Styles & Kurt Angle (TNA); Kryan (WWE) and Christopher Daniels & Kazarian

For those of who you don’t read my columns on a regular basis, Jimmy Boom is the name I gave to the team of Kofi Kingston & R-Truth and similarly, Kryan is the name I gave to Team Hell No.

3rd place – Jimmy Boom (WWE): Although it was basically a vehicle to use Kofi and Truth because WWE didn’t have a clue what to do with them as singles stars, the team was quite entertaining and dominant for what it was. It was harmless fun, putting two great babyfaces together to try and kickstart the tag-team division. It worked as a short-term solution and for the most part, I enjoyed what they did.

2nd place – Kryan (WWE): Putting Kane and Daniel Bryan together as a tag-team was quite simply a genius move. On paper, you wouldn’t think that their styles and personalities would mesh well together, but it works. They’re the most consistently entertaining thing on WWE TV right now and the team dynamic is just great because they’re two very unpredictable personalities. A great team.

And… the FATP award for Tag-Team of the Year 2012 goes to……………………….

Daniels-and-Kazarian-Champs

1st place – Christopher Daniels & Kazarian (TNA): Again, easy choice. I’ve loved everything that Daniels & Kaz have done this year. They were what kept me entertained during the AJ/Crack-Whore Claire storyline and they’re an immense tag-team. Charismatic, entertaining, excellent wrestlers with great promo skills. Pretty much everything you’d want from a tag-team. I love their sarcastic promos and the fact that Daniels drinks Appletini’s. It’s just tremendous. Whenever those two are together, it’s almost guaranteed that there are shenanigans afoot, and you can’t help but wonder what they’ll do next. The perfect mix of “gimmick” and ability rolled into a team. Amazing.

FATP Most Improved Wrestler of the Year 2012

Nominees: Kane (WWE), Bully Ray (TNA), Cody Rhodes (WWE); Magnus (TNA); Dolph Ziggler (WWE) and Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

3rd place – Magnus (TNA): My fellow Brit has had an amazing year which has gone full circle. He kicked off 2012 as part of a tag-team with Samoa Joe and he’s finishing it off in a singles program against Joe for the TV Title. It’s frightening to think that he’s been in TNA for around 4 years, but he’s only 26. The kid has got ALL the tools to go right to the top and now that he’s growing in confidence, it’s only a matter of time before he’s TNA’s next major star.

2nd place – Dolph Ziggler (WWE): For those of you who don’t know, I have a full-fledged man-crush on Dolph Ziggler. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s more of a bromance than a man-crush, but let’s not split hairs. Anyway, Ziggler has moved up the ladder (no pun intended) this year from mid-card to upper mid-card and he’s flirted with the main-event too. I think more and more people are beginning to realise how good he is. He’s delivered this year in high-pressure situations and his MiTB briefcase is proof that WWE management are high on him.

And… the FATP award for Most Improved Wrestler of the Year 2012 goes to…………………

misstessmacher

1st place – Miss Tessmacher (TNA): A controversial choice? Hell yeah, but I reckon the little Texan dynamo deserves it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who watches women’s wrestling partially because of how the girls look. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to admit that. However, I also want to see sexy women who can actually wrestle and while she’s still got a long way to go, Tessmacher has come really far this year. She deserves this award more than the guys.

FATP “Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That” Moment of the Year

Nominees: Santino Marella ALMOST wins the World Title (WWE), AJ “Styles Clashes” Daniels off the stage at Destination X 2012 (TNA); Brock Lesnar returns after WM28 (WWE) and Austin Aries wins the World Title (TNA)

3rd place – Santino Marella ALMOST wins the World Title (WWE): Santino Marella is one of the most popular WWE superstars. Love him or hate him, Marella is entertaining and he’s ridiculously over with the crowd. They love him because he’s an underdog. It’s because of that that WWE like to fuck with us when it comes to Santino. They did it at the Royal Rumble in 2011 and they did it at this year’s Elimination Chamber. Listen to the crowd when Marella hits the Cobra on Daniel Bryan (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type!); they go apeshit! They believe that Marella could have won. Even though in the back of your mind you know it’ll never happen, you couldn’t help but be drawn into it. I’m a huge Santino fan and even I didn’t think he’d get that reaction. Just amazing.

2nd place – Austin Aries wins the World Title (TNA): I’ll be the first to admit that I’m drawn more to guys who can wrestle than to guys with a limited move set. I love Punk, Savage and Michaels because they’re entertaining, but they can also wrestle. Aries falls into that category. When he announced that he was relinquishing the X-Division Title for a shot at the World Title, I wanted him to win, but I never believed it would actually happen. Then Destination X rolled around and as the match went on, the more and more I believed Aries would get the belt from Bobby Roode. It’s a prime example of a wrestling company not being afraid to listen to their fans and take a chance. The fans wanted Aries as champion and they got it. Listen to the Impact Zone erupt when Aries wins the title. It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard it. I think they made a mistake taking the belt off Aries, but time will tell. Regardless, Aries comes up just short in this category.

And… the FATP award for the “Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That” Moment of the Year goes to………….

lesnarcena1

1st place – Brock Lesnar returns to wrestling the night after WM28 (WWE): The one thing you can guarantee about being a wrestling fan is that you’ll always hear rumours about former stars coming back. After being burned several times before, I’ve learned never to believe it until you see it. During WM28 weekend, I’d heard rumours that both Lesnar and Batista were returning, but I took it with a pinch of salt. It wasn’t until (and I can’t remember which one) WWE’s website or text alert service either displayed or showed a picture of Lesnar arriving in Miami the night after Mania that I began to believe it could be true. Then when he appeared on the ramp during Cena’s “woe is me” promo, I genuinely said: “Holy Shit! Lesnar’s back!!” I felt like a kid again. I never thought we’d see Brock back. When he got in the ring and F5’ed Cena, it capped off a perfect WrestleMania weekend for me. In any other year, Aries winning the belt would have won, but this year, Lesnar’s return to WWE just got the nod.

FATP PPV of the Year 2012

Nominees: WrestleMania 28 (WWE), Destination X 2012 (TNA), Extreme Rules 2012 (WWE) and Bound for Glory 2012 (TNA)

3rd place – Destination X 2012 (TNA): Although this was the PPV that saw Austin Aries finally break through to the main-event in TNA and AJ Styles and Chris Daniels had an excellent match, it wasn’t as complete of a PPV as it could’ve been. Maybe I’m being harsh judging it on that basis, because it was still a much better PPV offering than 90% of WWE PPV’s have been this year. The card for Destination X was full of exciting action, but there was something missing and there were 2 better all-round PPV’s than Destination X this year.

2nd place – Extreme Rules 2012 (WWE): Wow. Best WWE PPV of the year by a clear mile. It felt more like WrestleMania than WrestleMania did! Part of that was down to the Chicago crowd, which is probably one of the best, if not THE best in the country, and it was down to the wrestlers meshing better than they did in Miami. In particular, the 3 main-events: World Title, WWE Title and Cena/Lesnar all more than delivered. The match that stole the show for me was Sheamus/Bryan. That’s the match they should’ve had at Mania. Punk/Jericho was an amazing story well told by both men. Lastly, Cena/Lesnar was what I thought it would be. Fugly. I don’t understand the way the finish was booked though. A punch and an AA were enough to pin the former UFC Champion? Gimme a break. Other than that, it was an excellent show that proves WWE are capable of putting on a great PPV. It’s just a shame they only seem to do it once a year.

And… the FATP award for PPV of the Year 2012 goes to…………

Bound-for-Glory

1st place – Bound for Glory 2012 (TNA): Yup, TNA are sweeping up in these awards so far! For me, top to bottom, there’s not been a better PPV card than this all year. It felt like a complete, well-rounded PPV. From the curtain-jerker, right through to the main-event, it was an outstanding show and a perfect example of how to produce a PPV quality product that feels worth paying money for, instead of a glorified version of a TV show. Yes, some WWE PPV’s have had excellent individual matches, but not top to bottom like we got here. Well done TNA!

FATP Female Wrestler of the Year 2012

(Note: AJ Lee wasn’t included because for me, she’s not been a ‘wrestler’ as much as she could’ve been. She’s been used to advance stories more than she’s been used in the ring. Giggity!)

Nominees: Eve Torres (WWE), Tara (TNA), Layla (WWE), Gail Kim (TNA), Beth Phoenix (WWE) and Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

3rd place – Beth Phoenix (WWE): Her WWE run might have ended in mediocrity, but at one stage earlier in the year; Beth was on the verge of becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion ever. The much speculated feud with Kharma never happened because she (Kharma) was released, then news broke that Beth was leaving when her contract expired. Phoenix was, and still is, one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world and she’ll be an asset wherever and whatever she ends up going/doing.

2nd place – Eve Torres (WWE): Since turning heel at the beginning of the year, Eve’s turned from being a generic babyface Diva into a sultry, sexy heel. There are times I watch her and my jaw drops. I’ll be honest, it’s not often to do with her wrestling ability, it’s the way she looks. Just like a wise man once said, shucky ducky quack quack! Having said that, she’s gotten a lot better in terms of wrestling skill in the last year. She’s able to have decent matches with the right opponent and she’s heading in the right direction. A final thought on the delectable Miss Torres – I’d love her to be my Head Administrator.

And… the FATP award for Female Wrestler of the Year 2012 goes to………….

misstessmacher

1st place – Miss Tessmacher (TNA): I said it earlier when I announced she was the most improved wrestler of the year, Tessmacher has developed into not only a credible female wrestler, but a credible champion. She’s worked with veterans like Gail Kim, Mickie James and Tara, and you can see the influence they’ve had on her. She’s by no means the finished article, but she’s a great prospect with potential. If you’d told me at this time last year that I’d be saying that, I’d have called you a liar. That’s how quickly things can change, if they’re done the right way.

We’re getting towards the business end of proceedings now, so let’s do a quick recap of where we are. So far, the winners of the first annual FATP awards are:

FATP Newcomer of the Year 2012: Damien Sandow (WWE)

FATP Break-Out Star of the Year 2012: Austin Aries (TNA)

FATP WTF Moment of the Year 2012: AJ Styles/Crack-Whore Claire storyline (TNA)

FATP Tag-Team of the Year 2012: Christopher Daniels & Kazarian (TNA)

FATP Most Improved Wrestler of the Year 2012: Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

FATP “Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That” Moment of the Year 2012: Brock Lesnar returns after WM28 (WWE)

FATP PPV of the Year 2012: Bound for Glory 2012 (TNA)

FATP Female Wrestler of the Year 2012: Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

Out of 8 awards so far, TNA and its wrestlers have won 6 of them. That’s either a reflection of how good TNA has been in 2012, or how shocking WWE has been. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. My opinion is that TNA does a FAR better job of investing time and effort into developing all aspects of their roster, whereas WWE just concentrates on the guys at the top and the rest are left to flounder. That’s why TNA is a more well-rounded company at the minute. Until WWE invests the same time and effort into the midcard as TNA does, things will stay like that.

FATP Hall of Fame Inductee 2012

Before we get to the final 3 awards, this next honour is the inaugural inductee to the FATP Hall of Fame. If I’m still doing these columns year after year, then I’ll induct one wrestler from either ECW, WCW, TNA or WWF/E into my own personal Hall of Fame. The criteria will be fairly simple. They have to be a wrestler that I’ve seen enough of to make a balanced opinion on the impact that wrestler made on me as a fan.

With that being said, the first inductee into the FATP Hall of Fame is Adam “Edge” Copeland.

Edge

I’m one of the people who’s old enough to remember him back in the days when he was in “The Brood” with Gangrel and Christian. Straight away, I was drawn to the kid. I couldn’t tell why. We didn’t hear him talk for ages, but he looked like he could flat out go in the squared circle. Once he matured as a performer, he grew in confidence and his tag-team with Christian was one of the best in WWF/E history. Both men were entertaining and charismatic whether they were playing the babyface or heel role, and even when you wanted to hate them for being a couple of right pricks, you couldn’t help but be entertained and laugh at their promos.

I’d be lying if I said that I loved everything about Edge though. His first singles run between 2001 and 2005 was decent and he worked against some credible main-event level talent, most notably Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle. We all know about his neck injury and the rehab he went through, so I won’t dwell on it. When he came back and turned heel, it didn’t feel natural. It felt like he was being a prick because he felt like he had to stand out.

Then came the whole Matt Hardy saga/clusterfuck. For what it’s worth, there was a time there where I thought that Edge would never get anywhere because the fans were so hostile towards him and so loyal to Matt. Their eventual feud in the summer/autumn (that’s fall for our American readers!) of 2005 was good, but it could’ve been so much better. Edge used the heat that he’d gotten from his heel turn and the Matt Hardy situation to propel himself into a credible main-eventer.

He was still in possession of his MiTB briefcase as 2006 kicked off with a New Year’s Revolution PPV. After a gruelling Elimination Chamber match where he’d seen off five challengers for his title, John Cena came out victorious, only to hear Edge’s music playing over the PA system. The Rated R SUUUUUUPERSTAAAAAAAR (sorry, I just miss hearing Tony Chimel say it like that!) made his way to the ring and cashed in his briefcase to win his FIRST WWE Championship. He’d finally done it. He’d made it to the top of the mountain when many people didn’t think he could.

It’s sad to think that just over 5 years later, he was forced to retire. I’ve sat and thought long and hard about this next statement. I genuinely can’t remember Edge having a bad match. Whether it was a tag-team match, a hardcore match, a gimmick match or a straight-up wrestling match, Edge was someone who consistently delivered when the pressure was on. If he hadn’t have delivered on such a consistent basis, he wouldn’t be the most decorated superstar in WWE history. His record speaks for itself. Just take a quick gander at this list of accomplishments:

12-time World Tag-Team Champion

2-time WWE Tag-Team Champion

1-time WCW United States Champion

5-time WWF/E Intercontinental Champion

2001 King of the Ring

2-time Money in the Bank winner

2010 Royal Rumble winner

4-time WWE Champion

7-time World Heavyweight Champion

There are very few men in this day and age who have won more championships and claimed more prizes in wrestling than Edge. When you say “Edge” to someone, you don’t automatically think “hey, he was that tag-team wrestler, a flash in the pan”, you think “champion”. Edge personified what it was to be a champion and he’s one of the greatest wrestlers of his generation. WWE is a sadder place without his in-ring talent and he left an indelible mark on me as a wrestling fan. There’s no-one else I’d rather have had as the first inductee into the FATP Hall of Fame. Congratulations Edge.

That’s a quick 1,000 words that would bring a tear to a glass eye isn’t it? Haha! Now that we’ve all gone misty eyed looking back at Edge’s phenomenal career, it’s time to get back to business and continue with the 2012 FATP awards. The next category is chock-full of talent and it’s to crown what I thought the 2012 Match of the Year was.

FATP Match of the Year 2012

Nominees: Austin Aries vs Bobby Roode for the TNA World Title at Destination X 2012 (TNA), Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the World Title at Extreme Rules 2012 (WWE), AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels in a Last Man Standing match at Destination X 2012 (TNA), CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at Over the Limit 2012 (WWE), Bobby Roode vs James Storm in a Street Fight at Bound for Glory 2012 (TNA) and Triple H vs Undertaker (with special guest referee Shawn Michaels) in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 (WWE).

Before I count down the top 3, I just want to say that each of these matches is epic in its own right and on another occasion, any one of these matches could have won this award. It was tough to get this narrowed down to three, but here goes.

3rd place – CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at Over the Limit 2012 (WWE): This match just makes it in ahead of the Sheamus/Bryan match for a couple of reasons. The first is that I thought the overall quality of this match was just slightly better than the Sheamus/Bryan match. Punk and Bryan have outstanding chemistry together, dating back to their days in ROH. I’ll be honest and say that when Bryan signed a WWE contract, it was basically a wet dream of mine to see him wrestle CM Punk in any match. I wouldn’t have cared, but the fact that we got to see 2 of the best wrestlers in the world have a wrestling match on a WWE PPV for the richest prize in the industry was just an amazing sight to see. Both men delivered an outstanding wrestling match and despite them playing second fiddle to a clusterfuck of a main-event (Cena vs Laurinaitis), everyone came away remembering Punk vs Bryan. Is it too much to ask to have an Iron Man match between these two chaps at WrestleMania? Please Vince, make it happen!

2nd place – Bobby Roode vs James Storm in a Street Fight at Bound for Glory 2012 (TNA): Now, this was a really tough decision for me to come to. This was probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make since I started writing about wrestling. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. In any other year, regardless of what promotion these men wrestled in, this would have been Match of the Year. Without any question. Not just match of the year, feud of the year. I said it on SLTD Radio a couple of months ago that this was the perfect way to build a year-long feud. Start off with a bang, let it ripple out, have them interact but not too much, then separate them completely, before bringing it all together. It made sense that Roode had the advantage over Storm heading into Bound for Glory. The story needed Roode to have been dominant over Storm in the past year, because it builds up to a crescendo and makes the babyface winning even more important than it would’ve been normally. This match was a perfectly executed brawl between two men who I genuinely couldn’t see as being anywhere near the main-event a couple of years ago. They were a fantastic tag-team, but I couldn’t see them getting a chance to be singles stars. However, they’ve both gone on to become credible main-event stars and this match was the perfect way to end a year-long battle between the two. From every angle, this was an outstanding feud, match and story and it’s unlucky to finish runner-up.

And… the FATP award for Match of the Year 2012 goes to………………

endofanera

1st place – Triple H vs The Undertaker (with special guest referee Shawn Michaels) in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 (WWE): This match was a world-class battle between two world-class athletes inside a demonic structure with the best wrestler of his generation as the special guest referee. That’s an equation that made for the best match of 2012. In their battle the previous year, Trips beat Undertaker so badly that he couldn’t leave the ring under his own power and felt like he had nothing to prove. Taker came back with a bizarre bald head, got the date of Mania wrong in his promo and had trouble removing his hood at Mania 28. As physical as their last match was, this one was a better spectacle. Why? Because of the inclusion of Shawn Michaels. Michaels has an amazing ability to sell a match just by the look on his face. The tortured look he had after superkicking Taker before the Deadman kicked out was just astonishing. All three men had such a rich history together that it was fitting for each of them to play a part in selling this match. The one thing that stands out from it in my mind isn’t the fact that Taker won and took his Streak at Mania to 20-0. It was the image of all three men almost breaking kayfabe by walking up the ramp together, before stopping to soak in the outpouring of respect from 70,000 fans in Miami. That’s the one thing that made it stand out more than Storm/Roode. That’s what made it stand-out from every other wrestling match of 2012 and it’s deservedly match of the year.

FATP Wrestler of the Year 2012

This award is based purely on the wrestler’s in-ring performance alone, not their promo work or crowd reactions. It’s about who had the highest quality matches on a consistent basis throughout 2012.

Nominees: Bobby Roode (TNA), CM Punk (WWE), AJ Styles (TNA), Dolph Ziggler (WWE), Austin Aries (TNA) and Daniel Bryan (WWE)

3rd place – AJ Styles (TNA): Despite being in a ridiculous storyline over most of the summer/autumn (remember my American friends, that means fall!), there’s been an amazing consistency to the level of AJ Styles’ in-ring performances. Whether it was in singles matches, gimmick matches, tag-team matches or BFG series matches, Styles proved that he is what his gimmick says: phenomenal. It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one match though. Probably the perfect examples in terms of contrasts are his tag-team matches with Kurt Angle against Christopher Daniels & Kazarian, his singles match with Bully Ray and then his Last Man Standing match with Daniels at Destination X. All prime examples of how Styles is at the top of his game in TNA and why he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.

2nd place – Dolph Ziggler (WWE): I mentioned earlier that I’m a huge fan of Ziggler’s work, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the runner-up in this category is the Show-Off. Ziggler’s consistency in the ring is frightening for someone who isn’t even considered as a main-event player yet by the majority of fans. Make no mistake about it, WWE are going to have to realise that despite booking him like Superman, John Cena isn’t superhuman. Look at the mess they got themselves into before the Hell in a Cell PPV in October! They had no clue what to do. Ziggler has to be one of the men who WWE look at as being capable of sharing the load with guys like Sheamus, Cena, Orton and others. Whether he’s wrestling in the first match of the night, in the middle of the card or in the main-event, you can guarantee that Ziggler will entertain and have one of the best, if not the best, match of the night. All he needs is that 1 big feud to get him to the next level. Hopefully it’s against someone like Daniel Bryan or Randy Orton.

And… the FATP award for Wrestler of the Year 2012 goes to………………………

cmpunkwwechampion

1st place – CM Punk (WWE): How can the man who’s held the WWE Title since last November not be at the top of this list? I mentioned before that people like AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler have had consistently good matches, but Punk tops the list because of the variety of circumstances and opponents he’s been faced with. Punk has to be the only WWE Champion in history who’s had to defend his WWE Championship in almost 50% of title matches against more than one opponent. He’s also only main-evented 4 WWE PPV’s in that time. The fact that the champion of the company isn’t in the main-event more often is a disgrace! Regardless of who the champion is, he should always main-event PPV’s, especially if WWE want their title to actually mean something.

Anyway, I’ve kind of gone off-topic here. This award is for wrestler of the year and if you’re talking about consistent match quality in 2012, CM Punk’s name has to be at the top of the list. Whether it’s been against del Rio, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan, Kane, John Cena or even Ryberg, Punk’s matches have ALL been at least 3 stars, if not higher. I’d go as far as to say he’s had more 4 star (or above) matches than almost any other wrestler on the planet this year. For that reason alone, CM Punk was the clear winner in this category.

And now we come to the final award, the headline award, the main-event. I might have just committed some form of gimmick infringement there, I’m not sure! Haha… This next award is the Superstar of the Year award. It’s different to Wrestler of the Year because it covers all bases of wrestling: match quality, promos and crowd reaction. It’s the all-round, complete award for the man who has stood out more than any other in 2012, whether he wrestled in TNA or WWE. Without any further ado, let’s find out who’s won the FATP Superstar of the Year award for 2012.

FATP Superstar of the Year 2012

Nominees: John Cena (WWE), James Storm (TNA), Sheamus (WWE), Austin Aries (TNA), Daniel Bryan (WWE) and Christopher Daniels (TNA)

(This was the toughest category of all. Just to narrow it down to six was hard enough. I could easily have added another 6 names to this list and I’d still have felt like I’d missed someone out!)

Equal 3rd place: Sheamus (WWE) and James Storm (TNA)

I couldn’t make a case for one man over the other here, so I had to include both of them. Let’s deal with Sheamus first.

Sheamus: The big Irish fella had an amazing 2012. His babyface turn went from strength to strength. His mic work has improved tremendously and he’s had a series of excellent matches for a man of his size. I mentioned earlier that some people would’ve crumbled after the reactions he was getting post-WrestleMania. Although he was presented as a babyface, the crowd reacted to him as a heel because they were pissed about what happened to D-Bryan. Sheamus didn’t let it bother him though and if he was affected by it, it never showed. He’s had great matches throughout the year and you can’t deny he gets a great reaction from the crowd. Just one tiny thing though. WWE need to tone down on the Irish stereotyping. I’m all for using the word arse or fella in a promotion, but when he goes off on one during a promo and rabbits on about his Uncle Fergus or four-leaf clovers, it’s a little too much and it’ll hurt him the more it goes on.

James Storm: The Cowboy is another big man who’s had a great year. I didn’t think he’d work as a singles star, but since Beer Money broke up about 18 months ago, Storm has developed into a top-class worker. While he might not have the repertoire of someone like an AJ Styles or Kurt Angle, Storm’s smash-mouth, high-impact (no pun intended) offense is believable and that’s all it needs to be. Having a smash-mouth style didn’t hold back someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin, who coincidentally also liked a cold beverage or two! Storm never fails to get a decent reaction, even from an Impact Zone where the crowd seems like it’s literally comatose from time to time. The thing that TNA do so much better than WWE is they develop their on-screen characters. We know why we’re investing in Storm. We’ve had some background into who he is and what drives him. That’s why he’s over with the crowd. Storm’s promos are always filled with passion and intensity. They come across as natural instead of forced, and while he’s not among the greatest talkers ever, he’s well above average and better than most on the roster, including the current TNA World Champion. Storm has had a fantastic year and I just hope that TNA finally pull the trigger with “The Cowboy” in 2013.

2nd place – Christopher Daniels (TNA): For me, Daniels has been nothing short of outstanding this year. If it wasn’t for Daniels (and Kaz), then I think I’d have gone mental. Well, even more than I already am! They’ve been entertaining, funny and just a team that you love to hate. It’s no surprise that Daniels has been at the forefront of the tag-team division in recent years. He’s a fantastic worker and criminally under-rated as a wrestler.

Some of his promos have been tremendous and his in-ring work is arguably the best it’s ever been. I’ve said it countless times before, but I would pay to watch Daniels wrestle anyone for 3 hours on PPV. He does something that very few wrestlers can do these days: he draws you in to his matches. He makes you care, whether you’re booing or cheering him. That’s a rare quality.

People talk about people like Bully Ray and Bobby Roooooode as being “heel of the year”. For me, Daniels is by far and away the best heel in TNA. He’s a great prick heel. Everything he does is designed to draw heat towards him and sympathy to the babyface. I’m not quite sure how Daniels has never been TNA WHCOTW. That needs to happen. Now!

And… the FATP award for Superstar of the Year 2012 is………………….

danielbryansmirkyes

1st place – Daniel Bryan (WWE): Simply put, 2012 has been the Year of the Goat. I wrote an article about Daniel Bryan the other week and here’s just a snippet:

“As the second quarter of 2012 kicked off, despite being booked like a joke at WrestleMania 28, Bryan was one of the most over wrestlers on the entire roster. If WWE’s plan was to make Bryan into some kind of joke, then it backfired spectacularly because it had completely the opposite effect. Whether they meant it or not, they’d turned Bryan into what I personally never thought he’d get the chance to be: a superstar.

His body of work this year stands up there with anyone in the industry. His 2 out of 3 falls match with Sheamus was fantastic, and then there was the series of matches in the summer with CM Punk (albeit with the involvement of AJ and Kane), which included the five-star classic at Over the Limit.

Sales of Kleenex must have gone through the roof as wrestling geeks around the world creamed their pants at the thought of Bryan and Punk going head-to-head for the most prestigious title in the world: the WWE Championship. Although Bryan came up short (no pun intended), he proved to everyone that he belonged in the main-event.”

Just over a year ago, although he held the MiTB briefcase, he was going nowhere on SmackDown and struggling to get TV time. Hell, some weeks he was only on Superstars! Fast-forward to the present day and he’s been involved in WWE or World Title matches at 7 of WWE’s last 12 PPV’s. In the absence of an injured CM Punk at the TLC PPV this year, Bryan was elevated up to the main-event of a WWE PPV for the very first time. There’s never been any question that Bryan has had a hardcore minority of fans ever since he signed with WWE, but over the last year, that’s developed into a huge percentage of the audience.

Although I’d have preferred it to last longer, his World Title reign was entertaining. His “Q&A time with Daniel Bryan” segments were tremendous and they spawned the most popular catchphrase in the WWE since “What?” – you know what I’m talking about. Yes! Yes! Yes! Bryan’s latest work has seen him team up with Kane and it’s given us some of the most entertaining things I’ve seen on TV (and not just on a wrestling show) for the last 10 years. Some of their skits/vignettes/segments have been genuinely laugh out loud funny and they’re helping to make the tag-team division worth watching again. He’s had consistently great matches with “curtain jerkers”, mid-carders and main-eventers. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen Bryan have a bad match all year.

Why is Bryan above everyone else on the list of nominees (and countless others I could’ve included)? It’s simple. The sheer transformation in Bryan’s WWE career over the past 12 months eclipses anything that any other wrestler in WWE or TNA has managed to achieve in 2012. That’s why what Bryan has done in 2012 is so much more impressive than anyone else.

That’ll wrap things up for the first-ever FATP Awards. I’ll just run through the winners again because to be honest, I’ve forgotten who’s won what and I’m the one who’s written the fucking thing! Haha.. Here we go:

FATP Newcomer of the Year 2012: Damien Sandow (WWE)

FATP Break-Out Star of the Year 2012: Austin Aries (TNA)

FATP WTF Moment of the Year 2012: AJ Styles/Crack-Whore Claire storyline (TNA)

FATP Tag-Team of the Year 2012: Christopher Daniels & Kazarian (TNA)

FATP Most Improved Wrestler of the Year 2012: Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

FATP “Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That” Moment of the Year 2012: Brock Lesnar returns after WM28 (WWE)

FATP PPV of the Year 2012: Bound for Glory (TNA)

FATP Female Wrestler of the Year 2012: Miss Tessmacher (TNA)

FATP Hall of Fame: Adam “Edge” Copeland

FATP Match of the Year 2012: Triple H vs The Undertaker (with special guest referee Shawn Michaels) in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 (WWE)

FATP Wrestler of the Year 2012: CM Punk (WWE)

FATP Superstar of the Year 2012: Daniel Bryan (WWE)

Out of the 11 categories that actually had nominees, it was almost an even split between WWE and TNA in terms of who won what. The further down the list I got, from Newcomer to somewhere like Match of the Year, it got really difficult to decide which was best because to be honest, the standard of some of the individual performances and the PPV matches (particularly from TNA) were just outstanding. I think that the top guys in WWE were just a little bit better, but not by much. It’s amazing how close the standard is now between TNA and WWE. Whether that’s cos the WWE have been pretty poor overall this year (apart from a few individuals and PPV matches) or whether it’s cos TNA has been getting better is down to you to judge. I know what my opinion is.

Honourable Mention: Bully Ray

bullyray

It was really tough for me to decide the winners in this article, especially since one of TNA’s stand-out performers didn’t win anything. I’m talking about Bully Ray. If you’d have told me a couple of years ago that Bully Ray would be a stand-out, compelling singles star, I’d probably have called you a moron or pissed myself laughing, but the reality is that Bully Ray personifies everything that’s good about TNA right now. Taking risks, knowing their limits (for the most part) and focusing on the things they’re good at. Even though everything he’s done as a singles star in the last couple of years has been designed to get heat on him, you can’t help but find him funny. I respect the hell out of everything that Bully Ray has accomplished since he’s broken out on his own, but particularly in the last 12 months. He’s become one of the main reasons why I religiously watch TNA, and that’s a credit to him and the way he goes about his business.

I know it’s Christmas, but what do you guys think? Did I get things spot on, or did you disagree with the choices I made? Either way, you know the drill by now. Whack a comment in the space below or find me on Twitter @george_sltd. It’d be interesting if you guys use my categories and tell me who you’d have gone with as the winners. That’d be pretty sweet!

I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this and it’s not a kick in the arse off of 8,000 words, so for those of you who stuck with it right til the end, thanks! I think we might have lost some people on the way! Haha… It’s been a blast doing this, so depending on how well it goes down, I might bring it back next year and let you (the readers) decide a few of the categories, either by Twitter or polls. Just don’t send me any fucking Tout videos OK? ;)

Thanks a lot for spending some of your Christmas holidays reading this. The support that FATP has had over the past few months here on PWMania has been top drawer, but it doesn’t stop there. I’ve got some huge plans to make this even better in 2013, so stick around and join me for the ride! Have an amazing Christmas and I’ll be back in 2013 to make you laugh, cry and tear your hair out!

Peace out,

George

Twitter: @george_sltd



Recent Posts

Roddy Piper’s Reaction To Kevin Nash Feud, The Goldbergs’ Wrestling Episode, Beyond The Ring

Roddy Piper's Reaction To Kevin Nash Feud, The Goldbergs' Wrestling Episode, Beyond The Ring

- A person close to Roddy Piper notes that the Twitter beef with Kevin Nash this weekend had Piper r...

Sami Zayn Latest, Kane & Evolution, Full Sail University Students Promoting NXT Events

Sami Zayn Latest, Kane & Evolution, Full Sail University Students Promoting NXT Events

- We noted before that NXT star Sami Zayn worked this weekend's WWE live events in Saudi Arabia and ...

WWE NXT Star Busted Open, Jim Ross On Daniel Bryan Staying Hot, Chris Jericho Update

WWE NXT Star Busted Open, Jim Ross On Daniel Bryan Staying Hot, Chris Jericho Update

- A fan in attendance at Saturday's WWE NXT live event in Palatka, Florida noted that Konnor of The ...

WWE Network’s New HOF Series, Zeb Colter Comments On Paul Heyman, New WWE Logo

WWE Network's New HOF Series, Zeb Colter Comments On Paul Heyman, New WWE Logo

- There will be no new WWE Countdown at 10pm on the WWE Network this Tuesday night. Instead, the fir...

Rikishi Comments On Total Divas Storyline, WWE Hall of Famer’s Grandson Speaks, Eva Marie

Rikishi Comments On Total Divas Storyline, WWE Hall of Famer's Grandson Speaks, Eva Marie

- As seen on Total Divas Sunday night, WWE Legend Rikishi failed to show up for his son Jimmy Uso's ...