Thoughts on the 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards

Don’t these usually come out earlier? These are Meltzer and Company’s awards (yes I’m aware his readers vote on them and if you believe that he doesn’t influence voting, you’re really missing the obvious) and I’ve jotted down a few thoughts on each. These aren’t meant to be any kind of in depth analysis and are really more along the lines of if I agree or not.

Category A Awards

Wrestler of the Year – AJ Styles

Yep. There really wasn’t another option here, save for maybe Omega or Naito.

MMA Most Valuable – Conor McGregor

If there’s a bigger layup this year, I have no idea what it could be.

Most Outstanding Wrestler – AJ Styles

For the life of me I still don’t get the difference between this and Wrestler of the Year. I’ve had it explained to me more than once and I still have no idea why both of them need to exist. No one else in WWE was even in the top ten.

Most Outstanding Fighter – Conor McGregor

Enough MMA in the wrestling awards.

Best Box Office Draw – Conor McGregor

I didn’t even scroll down before I wrote who won. Again: it’s not fair to compare WWE and MMA but that’s never stopped Meltzer.

Feud of the Year – Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz.

Erg here we go again. The top wrestling feud was AJ Styles vs. John Cena, which was nearly quadrupled in points.

Tag Team of the Year – Young Bucks

Nope, and I’m sure their finishing move being the MELTZER DRIVER had nothing to do with this.

Most Improved – Matt Riddle

I’ve heard nothing but great things about him so I don’t have any issue here. I would have gone with Miz and the scoring was Riddle – 1026 and Miz – 1020.

Best on Interviews – Conor McGregor

Again, didn’t even have to scroll down. Miz was the top wrestler and got blown out again.

Most Charismatic – Conor McGregor

Nakamura was second.

Bryan Danielson Award (Best Technical Wrestler) – Zack Sabre Jr

Hard to argue that one, especially with some of the stuff he did in the Cruiserweight Classic.

Bruiser Brody Memorial Award (Best Brawler) – Tomohiro Ishii

I’m not a fan of the guy but this makes sense.

Best Flying Wrestler – Will Ospreay

As I’ve said many times so far: hard to argue. Ospreay does some insanely cool looking flips.

Most Overrated – Roman Reigns

I can’t go with this as Reigns is certainly good, if not very good, in the ring. He’s just presented horribly and far too strong. I’d actually go with the #5 option: Cody Rhodes. Name one great match he’s had and tell me why he’s one of the hottest free agents in wrestling. Rhodes is good but highly overrated. Reigns is good but horribly mismanaged.

Most Underrated – Cesaro

He’s won it three years running now and I tend to disagree more every year. At what point is it on him and not WWE?

Promotion of the Year – New Japan

Yeah pretty much. TNA didn’t even crack the top ten and didn’t make the Honorable Mentions.

Best Weekly TV Show – New Japan

It’s not clear if that’s the Japanese show (if one exists) or the AXS show. NXT was all the way in sixth here after winning four years straight and Raw was after Impact. It’s not THAT bad.

Match of the Year – Tanahashi vs. Okada (January 4)

It’s a runaway and Nakamura vs. Zayn was fifth. I disagree but the January 4 match was very good.

MMA Match of the Year – Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit – January 2

If this can have it’s own exclusive award, why can’t the rest of them? That doesn’t make sense.

Rookie of the Year – Matt Riddle

Again, fine. I think I voted for him on the WrestleZone Awards. The only WWE name on the list: Daria Berenato. That makes sense given how WWE doesn’t really hire rookies. Speaking of rookies, he’s a rookie and most improved? That’s kind of odd.

Best Non-Wrestler – Dario Cueto

Even in a down year for Lucha Underground, this is no surprise and shouldn’t be.

Best TV Announcer – Mauro Ranallo

Was this ever in doubt? Corey Graves was a close second.

Worst TV Announcer – David Otunga

Why does he have a job? Aside from being married to Jennifer Hudson that is.

Best Major Wrestling Show – Wrestle Kingdom

You knew this was going to be #1 and it’s no surprise. It’s a very good show but too long for my taste.

Category B Awards

Worst Major Wrestling Show – Wrestlemania XXXII

I was there and I got bored.

Best Wrestling Maneuver – Kenny Omega’s One Winged Angel

It certainly looks good. You know what doesn’t look good? The #2 choice: the Rainmaker. I’ve said it for years now but IT’S STILL JUST A FREAKING CLOTHESLINE!

Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic – Bellator Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 500 Fight

That was indeed embarrassing. The #1 wrestling pick was Lesnar cutting Orton open at Summerslam. This one is very opinion based and I can’t think of anything that jumps ahead of everything else.

Worst TV Show – Raw

Am I really the only person who still watches Impact?

Worst Match of the Year – Shelley Martinez vs. Rebel – TNA One Night Only

I actually watched this due to the horror stories and it really is this bad. I’d go with HHH vs. Reigns due to where it took place but this is fine.

Worst Feud of the Year – Titus O’Neil vs. Darren Young

Makes sense. It also makes my head hurt.

Worst Promotion of the Year – TNA

Can we get the award named after them? That’s TEN YEARS in a row.

Best Booker – Gedo

Of course. He scored 851 points, or nearly ten times second place.

Promoter of the Year – Dana White

Real promotion/sport. Fake promotion/sport. Totally the same thing.

Best Gimmick – Broken Matt Hardy

If this was ANYTHING else, they were kidding themselves.

Worst Gimmick – Bone Soldier

I only saw him in a battle royal so I’ll take the word for it. The Cabinet was #2 and probably who I would have gone with.

Best Pro Wrestling Book – Ali vs. Inoki

I haven’t read it but Pat Patterson’s Accepted (#2) was good.

Best Pro Wrestling DVD – Seth Rollins: Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim

People still watch DVDs in the Network Era?

Overall, I don’t have many complaints about the wrestling stuff. As usual, I do have a problem with comparing MMA and wrestling for reasons that should be obvious. These are mostly fine but PLEASE stop mixing MMA and wrestling. It’s just not a fair comparison and comes off as more of a way to put MMA over WWE for whatever reason. On a less annoyed note, Meltzer and company love them some New Japan and while I rarely agree on that front, it’s hardly a bunch of ridiculous choices. These aren’t as fun without something to get mad over and that’s really not here this time around.


  1. Prophet says:

    If Meltzer and co didn’t cover MMA regularly I’d agree with not including them in the awards. Meltzer is pretty locked into the MMA community though and has been for a long time.

    I tend to not see these as wrestling awards. They’re the Observer awards. Mixing both wrestling and MMA. In some cases it isn’t fair but for things like feud or interviews, wrestling has NO REASON to lose to a MMA fighter. They can script results, they should win those categories easy.

    Bloodbuzz Bunk Reply:

    It’s understandable when you lose to McGregor because his whole gimmick is essentially being a cruder, copy of Ric Flair. He isn’t charismatic or clever enough to be Flair or Ali or the Rock but he can be asshole better than anyone in the business of talking to promote competition. The whole thing is though is that no one has done this in mma outside of Chael Sonnen and McGregor has been infinitely more successful so this has stuck with a generation of fans who experienced the real great trash talkers first hand.

    Prophet Reply:

    Saying McGregor isn’t charismatic is beyond dumb.

    Bloodbuzz Bunk Reply:

    I don’t find him to be all that charismatic. He comes off like a middle school bully who just yells obscenities louder than anyone and doesn’t stop talking long enough for anyone to get a word in edge wise. He is popular because he talks smack and he is good enough to produce knockouts( he smartly fights at weight classes in which he is always the longest guy with a huge reach so he can really utilize some awesome knockout power) but his whole persona is a sophomoric Flair impersonation with zero cleverness.

  2. BestSportsEntertainer says:

    From what I can tell:

    Most Oustanding Wrestler – best in the ring

    Wrestler of the Year – best overall

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I get that. Still don’t see why it needs to be both.

    BestSportsEntertainer Reply:

    Well it is Dave Meltzer.

    Don’t you know we’re never supposed to question him?

  3. Prophet says:

    “he smartly fights at weight classes in which he is always the longest guy with a huge reach so he can really utilize some awesome knockout power”

    Except ya know, two of his biggest fights and most successful PPVs of all time in McGregor/Diaz 1 and 2. Diaz is taller, longer reach and is bigger. So this is flat out wrong.

    Dorian Reply:

    Lol – I was going to respond to that guys post with the same info. It’s quite obvious who here watches MMA; and who reads the Wikipedia entries.

    Bloodbuzz Bunk Reply:

    And the first one he lost. Watch the fights with Alvarez and Aldo and it’s obvious that his insane reach advantage is greatest asset aside from his stellar knock out power with his right hand. All of which has nothing to do with my point that he is only beloved because a lot of MMA fans haven’t really seen a trash talker be so successful.

    Prophet Reply:

    Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Nick Diaz…

    Four of them are icons in MMA. So I’d say they’ve been pretty successful and Chael was at one point one of the biggest draws in MMA, holding several PPV records.

  4. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    @ Prophet

    Cmon man Chael never won a title much less two. Chael is mostly famous for choking away a the middleweight title against Spider while Silvia was in his prime. Also when it comes to trash talk, hyping up a fight and achevieing actual icon status in mma/UFC those guys are not the 4 I think of off the top of my head( maybe Ortiz)