2015 Awards: Most Improved

This is another with a limited number of options but could have some interesting results.

We’ll start down in NXT with Baron Corbin. What started off appearing to be spent squashing more jobbers, Corbin turned into quite the heel character as he accentuated his athletic background started treating everyone as if they were beneath him. The year was capped off by pinning Apollo Crews in London, which should set him up as #1 contender.

Over on the main roster, we have someone who seems like he’s always on this list in Ryback. He comes off as someone who actually wants to try to improve by either expanding his moveset or trying to become a better talker. The Intercontinental Title run was starting to get somewhere when WWE pulled the plug (as they always do on Ryback), which is much more on the company than on Ryback himself. He was trying, which at least warrants a mention.

Now we get to one of the best options with Roman Reigns. Think back to the beginning of the year when Reigns was being pushed as the top guy no matter what the fans thought. To say this wasn’t exactly popular would be the understatement of the year but they never actually pulled the trigger.

Now flash forward to the end of the year with Reigns winning the title and being accepted as a top guy. Reigns showed that he could be more than just a catchphrase spewing corporate shill and actually had something interesting underneath. He’s not exactly the second coming of the Rock, but he’s leaps and bounds ahead of the man that won the Royal Rumble and was booed out of the building.

Finally we have the name that is likely to get some rather odd looks: Nikki Bella. I know she’s hit or miss to put it mildly, but there are moments where she comes off as one of the most hateable characters on the roster. Now unfortunately WWE keeps flipping her from heel to face at the drop of a hat because they have no idea how to book a Divas division. Nikki has more hatred from the fans than any woman not named Stephanie in years and really has started to figure out how to make people want to see her get what’s coming to her. That’s impressive.

Overall though, as good as Nikki was, I have to go with Reigns. He went from absolutely hated to being pretty well received, which trumps Nikki’s rise from hatred to hit and miss. Both are good but to have the fans go along with the original plan that they hated shows that Reigns really is getting better.

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  1. beckett929 says:

    A thought about Reigns as the Rumble approaches: I remember the 2013 Rumble, and when Reigns was last man in with Batista thinking “holy shit, they’re running with this dude”… and I think the extra year really gave Vince too much time to fuck up a good thing and gave people too much time to shit on him once the Shield split and Dean – the indy darling – wasn’t Vince’s choice. Roman was mega-over in that Rumble, and its a case where it was almost too-little, too-late. We saw it in ’00 with Jericho and then he was damaged by the time he was made Undisputed champ in ’01, and with REALLY missing the boat with RVD – who should have been the biggest face coming out of the invasion angle – and they really never got him on track.

    For my most improved, is it reasonable to suggest Seth Rollins or John Cena? Who says the best can’t get that much better?

    Rollins went from being an outstanding worker to world champ at WM, to well-developed star at the time of his injury. And Cena elevated his game so much this past year its hard to ignore that he’s absolutely better than he was 2 years ago.

    Wim Reply:

    Cena. Definitely Cena. I don’t agree with Rollins personally. Even though he’s a good wrestler, I haven’t seen a great singles match from him. And even though he’s improved on the mic, he was never good enough to be the main event. Now, you could certainly argue that this is all the fault of booking and you’d be right. But Cena is my pick here regardless.

  2. Jimmyglasso says:

    New day?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I thought about them but they’re entirely the booking instead of the talent itself. They’ve always been good but they had to be unleashed rather than chained.

  3. Marky-Marc says:

    I disagree on Reigns. He’s exactly the same that he was at this time last year. And that’s not a knock, because I’m a fan of his, but his matches and promos are the same. He’s just more over now than he was a year ago which is due to better booking and the fans coming around on him. But u wouldn’t say he’s the most improved.

  4. Wim says:

    I agree. Reigns is a bad pick here. The whole article is weird. It seems to focus solely on the wrestler being over or not, which has nothing to do with improving.
    To be fair, I haven’t watched enough wrestling in 2015 to make my own judgement.