Most wrestling sites are going crazy with awards and top 10 lists as the year comes to a close, but I've done my awards and the top 10 list will go into 2018 so everything is set in stone. However, the one thing I haven't done is something I always do and that is saying thank you. I wanted to thank each and every person who had even a small part in the continued growth of this website as you are extremely appreciated. The amount of times I was stunned by the amount of people that viewed the site this year is so many I lost count which is incredible in itself. You all have given me the greatest gift of all and that is the ability to write about something I love & people read it. At this point I will be entering the third year of Wrestling Express & my eighth year of writing online about wrestling which is crazy to think about. Thank you! It is crazy humbling & still very surreal knowing how many people care about what I have to say.
As a little gift I thought going over my top 2017 moments from the year would be a great way to end things this year. So over the last 12 months I have been able to narrow it down to just two moments from the year that stick out for me:
- The first moment happened way back at Wrestlemania during the ladder match as when the Hardy's returned to the WWE it was a sight at one point I never thought I'd see again. But seeing Matt & Jeff back home after all these years is a top moment of the year for me. Especially considering the fact that I was a big fan of the Hardy's during their first run with the WWE.
The other moment that sticks out from 2017 for me happened on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 11. For years I have heard how Wrestle Kingdom kicks off the year with a Match of the Year candidate almost every year. From Okada vs Tanahashi to Styles vs Nakamura to now Omega vs Okada it never seems to end. But when I can is for the first time this year I saw the Wrestle Kingdom Main Event and I agree that it did start 2017 off with MOTY candidate and I would be shocked if Okada vs Omega from Wrestle Kingdom doesn't win the Match of the Year. Thank you again for another great year & from me to you Have a very Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year. Let's get ready to embrace 2018!!
In recent weeks I have spent the time going through the voting process of the Year End Awards of the website which is something I started at the end of the first year of the site back in 2015. Even though this might only be two years it is pretty incredible thinking that I have been doing this for this long and it seems to grow every year which is all thanks to you. As always I take a second at the end of every year and also reflect on the interaction I've had with you all over the course of the year; and the idea that I have said "That's a lot of views." No matter what happens I will always say thank you as you are the reason that I am so humble and that is by far the greatest gift of all. Thank you for another great year and I hope we can go on the road to more expansion next year.
Below are the award winners for this years Wrestling Express Awards:
Wrestler of the Year: Roman Reigns
Tag Team of the Year: War Machine
Feud of the Year: Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman
Match of the Year: Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada
Underrated of the Year: The Miz
With the build now out of the way the next award needs to be decided. Thus far I have gone through the Wrestler, Tag Team, Match, and Underrated wrestler of the Year. Now we move onto the last award of the year and in some cases the most important award as good feuds are such a major part of wrestling as they are the only thing that is remembered. Though as I mentioned with the last award my favorite award is the underrated wrestler, but the feud of the year is definitely a very close second. At this point its time to check out who I'm giving the opportunity to win this award:
Feud of the Year
Fans should be listened to and their opinions taking into account, that is what just being a fan is. You give out your opinion and the writers can do what they want with your opinion. The series is slowly wrapping up after being delayed for months. But once the annual series finally got going it really picked up and really proved why I have brought back the series every year. As always though I would like to thank those who had a part in this post and took the time to make it happen. Check out this parts question:
Question: Should fans have a say in what they watch on TV or just be a fan?
KM Podcast: I feel like fans should have some say in what they see on television but to a degree, at the end of the day we can't please everyone because everyone is different and everyone has a different opinion, and that's no exaggeration. Think of it like say the phrase "A camel is a horse designed by committee."
Through the Ropes PW: "Letting fans book the shows is like letting the inmates run the asylum, Nothing good ever comes from it. It's why wrestling is in such a mess as it is, Look at Daniel Bryan, He never would have defeated Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in the same night and won the World Heavyweight Title at WWE's biggest ever show on the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania had the fans not hijacked the shows and forced their opinions upon the company, Not a chance in Hell! A lot of people don't like Daniel Bryan, so they are having to suffer because of some fans who are not getting it their way."
Tom: I think fans should definitely have some input on what they watch because it is their attention that is the currency. I also thing networks and league executives need to be able to listen but not cater to every bit of feedback they receive.
Gabrielle: We should have a say on what we watch. We are consumers, we spend money. Having said that, I think it’s important to express our opinions respectfully and to be realistic. I could go on and on about what I want to see on RAW and SmackDown, which wrestlers I’d like to see more often on TV (*cough* Tye Dillinger *cough*) but at the end of the day, what can we do? It is what it is, but nothing stops us from voicing what we want to see.
Bryan: Fans should be listened to and their opinions taking into account, that is what just being a fan is. You give out your opinion and the writers can do what they want with your opinion
One thing that has increased with the advent of the internet and rise in popularity of social media we have seen a lot of fans express their opinions on certain talents. Over the years Dave Meltzer has really helped in giving fans the ability to express their opinions on talent. In all honesty every year when I check out the awards from the Wrestling Observer one of my favorite awards to check out just to see if the WWE keeps up their streak. For those who don't know a WWE talent has won the award with Cesaro winning the award four years in a row.
Check below who I think should be up for the award this year:
Underrated Wrestler of the Year
Nowadays the stars from across the Pacific have established a steady fan base in the states due to the expansion of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. However, back in the day the talent from across the pacific were completely unknown in the states outside of a few names that made it big in the major companies. One of the few names that made it big in the states before the expansion of NJPW was The Great Muta who became a main event star in the WCW in the mid 1990's. But looking back at two names that became legends in Japan but never had a chance in the states.
The first name to pick is Jinsei Shinzaki who is a next level legend in Japan with his legacy set in stone after how many years he has been in the ring. Jinsei made his debut back 25 years ago and to this day is still active in the ring with Michinoku Pro. I do stand corrected however as Jinsei was one of the few legends to make a name for himself away from NJPW and as a member of the other Japanese Promotions. Also for those who may remember Jinsei did make the jump to the states working for WWF under the name of Hakushi for around two years in the period prior to the era of Attitude. Shinzaki has made sparing visits to the states over the years typically staying in his home base, but to prove his legendary status is around 2011 when he broke into the political scene in Japan.
Also I would like to send birthday wishes to another Japanese Wrestling legend in the Super Strong Machine. The man known as Junji Hirata has reigned in a variety of promotions making the biggest impact in NJPW. Even though his active in ring career is technically not over just yet his focus has moved to being a trainer in the NJPW dojo. Overall these two legends have gone down different roads but will leave two different legacy's on the wrestling business.
With two awards down we move to the next one and the award that I think I am most excited to see the results of as this wont go as long as the first two posts. Now over the course of the year it is very hard for a match to stick out from the crowd especially if the match doesn't show up on television or in the mainstream media. You could go back in time to the year 1982 when Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid won match of the year and that is when very few people in the States watched Japanese Wrestling. If you don't want to go back that far you could always just go look at last year when John Cena & AJ Styles won the award.
The one thing about wrestling is you never know what match could become a match of the year candidate. With that being said check out the matches that I chose as nominees.
Match of the Year
Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega (WrestleKingdom 12)
Young Bucks vs Hardy Boys in a Ladder Match (Supercard of Honor XI)
John Cena vs AJ Styles (Royal Rumble 2017)
Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (Draw)
After taking a week off we are back again with part number 3 out of 5 for the series and that means another question to be answered. Once again I just want to thank all those who took the time to answer the questions and apologize for taking so long to post it.
Question: Do you think fans actions on social media can sway non fans from giving something a chance?
KM Podcast: I think it can have an influence in causing the majority to follow the crowd on social media, but in all fairness WWE is so heavily scripted that we probably do have potential huge stars on the roster right now that could very well cause a boom in WWE, but can't due to the fact that their not given freedom to just go out there and perform to the best of their ability.
Bryan: Anything is possible. Someone who isn't a fan may see someone say something sucks and think well I guess it sucks but also may wait till they can see it themselves. Also, fans actions may have the opposite effect, as the fans might get so into it that nonfans get annoyed and choose not to watch.
Through the Ropes PW: "Yes. If I were to have an urge to watch a new TV show and before hand I saw how many people bashed the show like people do to TNA [now Impact], I'd be crazy to watch it. But thankfully I didn't see any of those hate comments before I started watching TNA, so I gave the show a chance, and it actually saved my strong passion for wrestling that I was losing in 2011 due to losing love for WWE. How can someone who has no clue of a show buy into something that has so many complaints? Its like buying a new TV or Radio, You won't buy one if you hear bad reviews on them, same thing applies here."
Gabrielle: Depends on the “actions”. Some people will read other people’s feedback on something (Movie, TV show, wrestling PPVs, music album etc.) to see if it’s worth their time and money, especially if you’re a non fan of something and you’re thinking about giving it a chance.
Tom: I don’t think fans have the power to sway non-fans in to trying or not trying to watch their certain sport. Ultimately, it comes down to the product that the league and Network is airing that will persuade a new viewer in to watching. If the product is good, then fans will watch.
As you all have seen recently I have been running various polls to help determine the Express Wrestler of the Year. Now with that poll out of the way we can move onto the next award to decide and this one will slide over to the tag team division. At one point I really didn't get the appeal of tag team wrestling, but over the years my opinion on the division has changed drastically in some cases to the point where I believe it to be necessary for a wrestling company. The reason for this belief is it allows talent that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle to stick out and in some cases thrive.
Even though tag team wrestling on a large scale has been really never given the time of day since the golden era of tag wrestling back in the 1980's and early 90's, but we still have a lot of great teams. Unlike the "Wrestler of the year" award we will not have such a wide variety of talent to chose from.
Tag Team of the Year
Honestly, this year has been quite a year for the National Wrestling Alliance in terms positive press and attention on the brand. I think they go more positive press printed about them then Corgan's former employers. For those who may not be aware earlier this year front man of the Smashing Pumpkins actually purchased the oldest wrestling governing body in the National Wrestling Alliance. If you are among those fans shocked that Corgan would have the money to purchase the NWA then you probably didn't follow his attempts to purchase Impact Wrestling late last year. Though Billy hadn't taken control until recently the changes have been coming in droves to give the NWA a new look.
For one the NWA has had an improved social media presence especially ahead of the first meeting between Tim Storm & Nick Aldis. The series known as "Ten Pounds of Gold" gave not just a historical story of the NWA brand, but also it provided a back story to how much both wanting the title and being champion meant to Tim & Nick.
One thing that I have grown accustomed to saying in recent years is the more places the boys have to work the better. Seeing the NWA sort of prosper in recent months and years is something that I have almost secretly wanted to see for a very long time. Recently, companies like CZW and House of Hardcore have become somewhat honorary members of the NWA hosting the champion and title matches which has been something very new. I for one am very excited to see what the future holds for the National Wrestling Alliance under the direction of Billy Corgan.