2014 Awards: Match of the Year

Here’s another major award with some last minute entrants.

We’ll start with the frontrunner for most of the year, mainly due to its build up: the Wyatt Family vs. the Shield at Elimination Chamber. These two teams had looked dominant for months coming up to the match and they finally stared each other down. It’s one of those moments where you just knew it was going to be great and then they blew the doors off the place at Elimination Chamber.

Daniel Bryan vs. HHH from Wrestlemania is way up there and the ending was perfect with HHH getting to chuckle at all the fans (myself partially included) who thought he would put himself into the title match. This isn’t something that’s going to hold up though, as it’s good but the show’s booking hurts it a bit. At the end of the day, there was no way Bryan wasn’t winning here, which brings things down. It’s still great, but I can’t say it’s the best match of the year.

We even get a TNA entry with the ladder match in the Tag Team Title series. I know Full Metal Mayhem gets the attention because it was the final match, but the ladder match was just a hair better. This was back to the TLC formula of take six guys and let them break a lot of stuff, including their bodies. It’s a total stunt show and that makes for some very entertaining matches.

I know this one wasn’t universally popular, but I have to mention WeeLC from Extreme Rules. When WWE does comedy well, it can be some of the funniest stuff you get. They NAILED this one and made what could have been the worst idea in history into something hilarious that was a highlight of the night. This isn’t really a serious contender but man alive it was funny.

Back to the first major show of the year with Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt. Here we have two guys just beating the tar out of each other for over twenty minutes in an outstanding opener. Wyatt beat Bryan, but it’s a match where the winner really doesn’t matter. Bray has so much potential, and the fact that he can back it up in the ring is a very important point.

I can’t go with Team Authority vs. Team Cena as a nominee but I’ll throw it in as an honorable mention. The last ten minutes actually had my heart beating fast and not being sure of what should have been a sure thing. Throw in Cena going out halfway through the match and it gets even better. Great match, including STING, but I’m not sure if it’s one of the best of the year.

What I am sure of though is how amazing Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro from NXT: Arrival was. These guys just know how to make things work with Sami as the ultimate underdog and Cesaro being able to do insane power moves that just blow your mind. It’s a hair beneath the 2/3 falls classic, but they got in most of the same spots and Cesaro going into Beast Mode at the end. He doesn’t go there often, but when he goes to that place, I see the superhero that people say is inside him.

It’s been too long since we’ve had a Shield match and HHH might bury me if I don’t mention him, so I’ll throw in Shield vs. Evolution in the elimination tag at Payback. They let the match go for a long time until we finally got to an elimination so the pin was a surprise. This was the old standard of let six guys beat the tar out of each other for half an hour with the young guys hitting one high spot after another and making the big comeback because the fans actually want to see them do it. In other words, they built up the drama and paid it off at the end. Wrestling 101 still works if you can believe that.

Now we’ll go to the other end of the spectrum with Bully Ray/Rockstar Spud vs. Austin Aries/Bobby Roode from One Night Only: Jokers Wild II. In short, this is the funniest match I’ve ever seen and you should watch it yourself. The key here: you can tell the guys in the match came up with the comedy themselves. Instead of inserting them into “funny” situations, the comedy flows naturally because it’s stuff that these people would logically do that is still funny. Over in WWE you see people doing things that are only being done because a script tells them to do it.

That brings us to the winner, which was the only match all year that I had to see. The build was perfect, the go home promo was perfect, the match was perfect, the execution was perfect, the aftermath was perfect, yet for some reason I only gave it an A. The match is of course Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Title at Takeover: R-Evolution. It’s a strong contender for Show of the Year and it was capped off by the Match of the Year.

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