2014 Awards: Surprise of the Year

The main two options here should be obvious, but the honorable mentions are interesting too.

I think you know what the two finalists here are, so we’ll look at the others first.

To begin with, Lucha Underground is freaking awesome. What felt like a standard indy company with some fairly well known names has turned into one of the most enjoyable wrestling shows of the week. They’ve tried something totally different and the entire production is so different from what you get in WWE and TNA. Lucha Underground actually feels like an alternative and that’s something we haven’t gotten in wrestling for a LONG time.

CM Punk walking out wound up being the story of the year and the reaction when he first left was about as shocked as you were going to get. Immediately people started asking questions such as why, how long, why, real or fake and many others which weren’t quite as intelligent. It’s been nearly a year since Punk walked out and it’s amazing that it’s still one of the biggest stories going. Punk has mastered the art of self promotion and is making a fortune for himself as we all wonder what he’s going to do next.

Quick mention of the New Age Outlaws winning the Tag Team Titles. Seriously, who would have ever believed that two years ago?

The Shield breaking up was a great moment that I questioned at the time, but Rollins has blown this so far out of the water that I’m very happy with where things are going from here. The surprise when Rollins nailed Ambrose with that chair set up a great feud, and even though the story didn’t make a ton of sense, it was one heck of a shock. You had to know Shield was going to split one day, but I think most of us weren’t expecting it for a very long time.

Daniel Bryan not being in the Rumble was more of a REALLY??? moment than a surprise, but it deserves a quick mention.

I would say Paige debuting and winning the title the night after Wrestlemania, but I had that from a few weeks out.

Dolph Ziggler being a sole survivor was a surprise, but a bigger surprise of that match was Cena being knocked out. Coming into the match, a lot of people, myself included, were banking on Cena overcoming the odds to win the match and send the Authority away for awhile. It was a very nice surprise to see the curve thrown in with WWE giving Ziggler the rub of a lifetime instead of going with the same idea again.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get to the real surprise of the year: JTG FINALLY GOT RELEASED! That guy somehow kept a job for SIX YEARS in his second stint alone, despite not winning a televised match since early 2012. Him having a job was a running joke online and I think most fans believed WWE forgot he was still getting paid. The idea of him actually getting fired was shocking and everyone shed a tear when it finally happened.

See? I do actually think when I write these things.

The real options here were Sting FINALLY debuting in WWE and the Streak ending. I was tempted to go with a tie here, but at the end of the day, one of these is a bigger surprise for me.

The Streak is something we’ve lived with for over twenty years. I remember being on the radio once for a predictions contest and saying “Undertaker wins. It’s Wrestlemania.” That’s all I ever needed to say because that’s all that was ever going to happen. Over the years, WWE had teased us a few times with some very near falls (most of which came off of Sweet Chin Music) but it never actually happened. This became an issue in the Wrestlemania XXVII and XXIX matches, as I would sit there and roll my eyes at the near falls because it just wasn’t going to happen.

Well this year it actually did happen. Brock Lesnar laid out the Undertaker with a third F5 and the Streak actually ended. I mean….it actually ended. There was no changing the ending, there was no interference, there was no changing the decision. The Streak actually ended and people weren’t sure how to feel. Some were angry, some were sad, but almost everyone was surprised.

On the other hand, we have Sting debuting. Since the day WCW ended, people have been waiting for Sting to finally show up in WWE. He was the one that got away from WWE (which for some reason means he isn’t good enough to get into Meltzer’s Hall of Fame, but a promoter in Argentina could. That still gets on my nerves.) but he FINALLY showed up at Survivor Series earlier this year. It was quite the moment and did everything it was supposed to and more. Also, major points to HHH for taking one heck of a Death Drop.

However, there’s one thing that holds it back for me: that video game commercial.

Earlier in the year, WWE reached an agreement with Sting to appear in WWE2K15, setting up an awesome video where a full orchestra in Sting masks played his music and Sting turned around to face the camera to end the video. It worked perfectly and made me want to but the game. Granted that would be stupid as I don’t have a video game console but you get the idea.

The problem though is it made me realize that Sting debuting was a matter of time. It was no longer about would Sting debut, but when would he debut. Now, it was still a major surprise that he finally showed up, but I knew it was coming at some point or another.

I can’t say that about the Streak. I truly believed that the Streak was never going to die, but I saw it with my own eyes. The reaction to the moment was pure shock and awe, which is the point of a surprise. The Streak being broken is the Surprise of the Year, and it’s one of the biggest of all time.

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