2015 Awards: Surprise of the Year

I’ll be doing 18 this year with one going up per day (allegedly) as we look back at the best of 2015.

This is one of those awards that rarely has a lot of options but the big ones are the ones you remember for a very long time.

We’ll start down in NXT with one of the weaker options: the debut of Samoa Joe at Takeover: Rival. Sami Zayn was beaten down and badly injured so everyone knew he was going to be out for awhile. That left an opening for a challenger to the title, allowing Samoa Joe to debut and become the next challenger. For some reason this didn’t go anywhere, but at least it was a good debut.

Now we’ll look at a stronger candidate: the Dudley Boyz returning the night after Summerslam. This was a real surprise with no build to the fireworks going off and the return of one of the best teams of all time. It helps that they have one of the most exciting entrances in wrestling and that the division was dying for some fresh blood. This is a big candidate for the potential winner as I was genuinely surprised here.

Another real surprise was the reveal of Vampiro as Pentagon Jr.’s master in Lucha Underground. For months, Pentagon Jr. had talked about serving a master who was teaching him to be evil. His final test was to destroy Vampiro, but the big reveal at the end was that Vampiro had sent Pentagon to destroy Vampiro himself to see how evil he really was. The match was an underrated gem but the moment where Pentagon bowed to Vampiro after nearly destroying him was awesome.

One more return would be Alberto Del Rio, who returned to answer John Cena’s US Open Challenge after being gone for over a year. It was obvious that whoever answered the challenge was going to be the new champion, but who in the world thought Del Rio was going to make a big return like that? The Zeb Colter appearance beforehand hurt things a bit but it was still quite the surprise.

However, most big upsets come in the form of matches themselves with Kalisto pinning Ryback in the World Title tournament being near the top of the list. Ryback had been built up for a long time over the summer and it seemed that Kalisto was going to be a roadblock on the way to the next round. Then Kalisto kept hanging around and finally hit a middle rope Salida Del Sol for one of the biggest upsets in recent years.

We’ll get back to the in ring upsets in a bit but first we need to look at one of the biggest surprises in years: New Day becomes awesome. Yeah people forget this but New Day used to be horrible. They were this nothing team with three guys who had no potential to go anywhere and people were booing them out of the building every week. Then they were finally allowed to turn heel and be themselves, making them one of the hottest acts in years. It amazes me that went from one end of the spectrum to the other like they did and it’s really remarkable to see.

Finally though, there’s one more from earlier in the year that made me lose my mind. Back in May, NXT Champion Kevin Owens debuted on Monday Night Raw and cut one of the best promos of the year, going back and forth with US Champion John Cena. This led to a non-title match at Elimination Chamber where Owens pinned Cena 100% clean in the middle of the ring with a pop up powerbomb.

The pin came at the end of a long back and forth match with both guys hitting huge move after huge move. I know Cena loses a lot and puts over a ton of people, but it’s rare to see it happen clean like that. Owens launched off like a rocket with this win and really hasn’t looked back since. It made a new star overnight and gave me a reaction like I haven’t had in a very long time. For once it felt like they were doing something right and that’s more than you’ll almost ever hear out of WWE.

Edit: somehow I forgot Rollins cashing in.  That’s kind of the biggest one of the year.

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  1. BSE says:

    What about Rollins’ cash in?

    klunderbunker Reply:


    Jerichoholic94 Reply:

    That genuinely shocked the hell out of me watching it live. Me and my girlfriend were marking out

    #MrScissorsKick Reply:

    That was awesome. That was better than anything that anyone did in 2015.

  2. M.R. says:

    Don’t worry though, Cena got his retribution of course.