Looking back at the year that was, it’s pretty obvious that the years was a bit of a mess. Usually, there’s one or two dominant stars who few could argue were key to the year. But in 2014? It was Daniel Bryan, and then he was injured. It’s not all that different as you check out the various thoughts from out writers in the various categories — very few stood tall for the entire year.

We don’t claim that there’s anything scientific going on here; it’s just our writers chiming in with their choices. If you disagree, why not pen a guest column for us?

2014 Honours: Overall Awards

Best Male Wrestler of the Year

Ricochet had a great year, including his time as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground.
    • Pat Laprade; Hiroshi Tanahashi: No one in the U.S. has come close to what Hiroshi Tanahashi has done for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Stellar matches followed by more stellar matches. He’s the MVP and the best wrestler of 2014.


    • John Powell; Seth Rollins: In 2014, Rollins was not only asked to step up by the WWE but move up to a main event, headlining role which he has filled perfectly. As the Authority’s biggest cheerleader he has excelled in and outside the ring.


    • Matthew Byer; Seth Rollins: This one is very tough because of several major stars being injured such as Daniel Bryan and no one really standing head and shoulders above everyone else, but if I had to pick it would probably be Seth Rollins.


    • Bob Kapur; Bully Ray: There was only one wrestler that had me waiting for his segments week over week, whether in action or on the mic. TNA’s Bully Ray stole the show weekly, and ultimately created one of 2014’s best TV moments, putting Dixie Carter through a table.


    • Greg Oliver; Ricochet/Prince Puma: Talk about a breakout year. He won everything. More to come from him for sure.


    • Jon Waldman; Kazuchika Okada


    • Matthew Asher; Antonio Cesaro: It’s a disappointment for sure, but I’d give this to Antonio Cesaro. The first ever Andre the Giant Battle Royale Winner of course with that awesome elimination of the Big Show at ‘Mania 30 was incredible.


Best Female Wrestler of the Year

Natalya always delivers. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
    • Pat Laprade; Charlotte: As much as I like Paige, her booking didn’t help her this year. Charlotte then becomes the obvious choice. Her match with Sasha Banks proved that she can have good matches with women other than Natalya. Hopefully she can have a second chance to make a first good impression on Raw.


    • John Powell; Paige: Ever since her NXT debut only two years ago, Paige has risen to become one of the top in-ring talents not only in the Divas division but the entire WWE.


    • Matthew Byer; Nicole Matthews: She won both the Shimmer Championship and the ECCW (men’s) title and has had a truly extraordinary 2014.


    • Bob Kapur; Charlotte: I liked what Paige and AJ did this year, but the standout female for me was NXT’s Charlotte. Her only problem? If she’s called up to the main roster, will she be able to still put on outstanding matches with the slim talent pool of RAW?


    • Greg Oliver; Natalya: She is the glue that keeps the Divas division in WWE together — and credible.


    • Jon Waldman; Charlotte


Best Canadian Wrestler of the Year (Male)

Sami Zayn captures the NXT title. Photo by Bill Otten, B&B Productions.
    • Pat Laprade; Sami Zayn: With WWE’s match of the year, Sami Zayn is on top of the Rocky Mountains. He had very good matches, is the NXT’s MVP and winning the belt in December was his coronation. Now 2015 should be another banner year for him with his feud against his arch-nemesis, Kevin Owens (a fellow Canadian, of course!).


    • John Powell; Sami Zayn: His NXT World Heavyweight Title win capped off a fantastic year for the Quebec native.


    • Matthew Byer; Davey Boy Smith Jr.


    • Bob Kapur; Bobby Roode: Sami Zayn had some amazing matches this year and his title win was the culmination of a great journey. The other standout for me was Bobby Roode, who’s perennially one of TNA’s top performers.


    • Greg Oliver; Sami Zayn: Despite a couple of Canadians reaching World championship status in Eric Young and Michael Elgin, I’m going to say Zayn. He had the world abuzz in NXT. Don’t screw him up on the main roster.


    • Jon Waldman; Sami Zayn


    • Matthew Asher; Sami Zayn.


Best Canadian Wrestler of the Year (female)

SHIMMER champion Nicole Matthews. Photo by Ricky Havlik, RickyHavlik.com
    • Pat Laprade; LuFisto: She has gone to Mexico, main-evented SHIMMER, won the WSU title, worked CZW and other U.S. indies, and was a staple for Smash and NCW Femmes Fatales in Canada. Like a good wine, she’s getting better with age, like it was even possible.


    • John Powell; Natalya: Throughout 2014 she has been the most dependable, dedicated worker in the Divas division. Her matches against Paige were some of the very best WWE bouts of 2014.
    • Matthew Byer; Nicole Matthews


    • Bob Kapur; A lack of compelling storylines means nobody stood out for me in the big leagues. On the indy scene, there are plenty of women who’ve had a great year who you should watch for in 2015 too — Cherry Bomb, Jewells Malone, Courtney Rush, Cheerleader Melissa, Jasmine, Seleziya, Xandra Bale, the list goes on and on.


    • Greg Oliver; Nicole Matthews: Since I picked Natalya earlier, how about Nicole Matthews, the SHIMMER champion. Great talent. Wish she had more ambition to travel.


    • Jon Waldman; Natalya


The Usos reign. Photo by George Tahinos

Best Tag Team of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; The Young Bucks: The Young Bucks are head and shoulders above any other U.S. tag teams this year and that includes the Wolves, reDRagon or the Usos. They are big in Japan (pun intended), big on the indys and if you ask me, it’s a shame they’re not working for Vinny and Pauly yet.


    • John Powell; The Usos: The Usos really came into their own in 2014, combining to make one of the best, cohesive tag teams to hit the WWE in years.


    • Matthew Byer; Stardust and Goldust


    • Bob Kapur; The teams I liked watching the most were the Shield and the Wyatt Family, before their breakups. But both TNA’s Wolves and ROH’s reDRagon had breakout years — and remained as a team — so I’ll call it a tie.


    • Greg Oliver; The Usos: The Usos were a surprise in many ways, getting into the main event picture, feuding with The Shield and the Wyatts.


    • Jon Waldman; Gold & Stardust


Best Announcer of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; Steve Corino: Why? He’s not being told what to say constantly, nor that he needs it. And he didn’t say $9.99 once in 12 months. That should be more than enough!


    • John Powell; Mike Tenay: The Professor remains at the top of his game.


    • Matthew Byer; Michael Cole: When he’s allowed to focus on the match in the ring Michael Cole has actually become a decent play-by-play announcer.


    • Bob Kapur; Mike Tenay


    • Greg Oliver; I find them all torture these days, at least the mainstream ones. No vote.


    • Jon Waldman; Tom Phillips


Best Faction – Stable of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; New Japan’s Bullet Club: New Japan’s Bullet Club is the new nWo…at least as much as wearing a cool t-shirt goes.


    • John Powell; The Wyatts: Even though I wasn’t a fan of the reincarnations of The Godwinns and Waylon Mercy, they were the most dominant force until they went their separate ways.


    • Matthew Byer; The Shield


    • Bob Kapur; New Japan’s Bullet Club: New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club makes it cool to wear wrestling T-shirts again.


    • Greg Oliver; The Shield: The Shield are all main eventers now. How could you vote for any other group?


    • Jon Waldman; The Wyatts


    • Matthew Asher; The Shield: The Shield. Despite breaking up early in 2014, Ambrose and Rollins have continued their path to the WWE World Heavyweight title not including Roman being shoved down our throats as “strong” every time despite him seeming greener after his injury.


Best Non-Wrestler of the Year

The always smiling Paul Heyman. Photo by Bill Otten, B&B Productions.
    • Pat Laprade; Paul Heyman: Paul Heyman is still the best guy on the mic by leaps and bounds in the business. Hopefully, he will stay after Brock’s departure for UFC. Oh yeah, I’ve said it!


    • John Powell; Paul Heyman: Heyman put Foley and Flair to shame in 2014 cutting some brilliant promos. In an industry that has for the most part turned its back on managers, it is great to see Heyman pick up the torch. Hopefully, we will see a resurgence soon.


    • Matthew Byer; Stephanie McMahon: While she did wrestle one match this year against Brie Bella, the rest of the time she has been a non-wrestler and probably the person fans love to hate the most.


    • Bob Kapur; The Authority: People may be tired of the Authority, but their storyline elevated Seth Rollins to superstar status, and even made the Bellas watchable for a while. Plus, J&J Security — what’s not to like?


    • Greg Oliver; Paul Heyman: He captivates like few others.


    • Jon Waldman; Paul Heyman


    • Matthew Asher; Paul Heyman: His post ‘Mania speech alone gives him the top mark.


Best Major Promotion of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; NJPW: For a mere $10 per month, you can watch the best pro wrestling company on Earth. New Japan Pro Wrestling that is. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.


    • John Powell; WWE: Although 2014 was one of the worst years creatively for the WWE in recent memory, when they were on their game, they were unbeatable.


    • Matthew Byer; WWE: This was not a good year for the major promotions and I would have to give my begrudging vote to the WWE simply because while they weren’t great they weren’t as bad as the others.


    • Bob Kapur; WWE


    • Greg Oliver; WWE: WWE wins by default. There is no other “major” promotion.


    • Jon Waldman; NJPW


    • Matthew Asher; NXT: Without a doubt R Evolution was the best show I say all year. Don’t care if it wasn’t technically a PPV, I’ve watched this one a half dozen times and still love seeing the entire show.


Best Indie Promotion of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; Ring of Honor: ROH is still the best in this category. They have guys like Adam Cole, reDRagon, Young Bucks, Elgin, the Briscoes, and so much more.


    • John Powell; Ring of Honor: They continue to produce a solid alternative which is producing some future stars.


    • Matthew Byer; ECCW: Having had Vancouver declare an official ECCW Day, having Nicole Matthews as the ECCW Champion, and putting on quality shows throughout the lower B.C. Mainland, the company has had a great 2014.


    • Bob Kapur; CZW


    • Greg Oliver; Ring of Honor: Lucha Underground will probably win this in 2015, but for now it’s Ring of Honor.


    • Jon Waldman; Ring of Honor


Daniel Bryan reigned at WrestleMania XXX. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Best Wrestling Event – PPV of the year

    • Pat Laprade; WrestleMania: Yeah, Taker lost. Get over it. Daniel Bryan won as well and that pop was something. And who can forget the intro with The Rock, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. It felt like the Silverdome all over again!!!


    • John Powell; WrestleMania XXX, NXT Takeover: R Evolution (Tie): While WrestleMania was a must-see, Evolution set a high standard for NXT based on the awesome workrate and creativity. It concluded a stellar year for NXT in which it rose to rival and surpass the WWE’s flagship product.


    • Matthew Byer; Wrestlemania


    • Bob Kapur; SummerSlam


    • Greg Oliver; WrestleMania: WrestleMania remains the gold standard.


    • Jon Waldman; NJPW G1 Climax


    • Matthew Asher; NTX Takeover R Evolution: NTX Takeover R Evolution was simply amazing!


Best Weekly TV Show of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; NXT: WWE NXT. An action-packed hour of wrestling, in a time when everybody is more busy than ever, is just enough for me. One hour, one booker, sometimes it’s more than enough!


    • John Powell; NXT: While I routinely skipped Raw and Smackdown episodes in 2014, NXT was the one show I never missed.


    • Matthew Byer; Raw: RAW, but only with a lukewarm kind of recommendation.


    • Bob Kapur; Raw, NXT: WWE Raw for the major storylines, WWE NXT for the in-ring product


    • Greg Oliver; NXT: NXT gets the vote, and again, Lucha Underground will probably win next year. It is so much easier to just fill an hour of TV time.


    • Jon Waldman; NXT


    • Matthew Asher; NXT.


“Yes! I got some votes,” yells Rusev. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Most Improved Wrestler of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; Rusev: He has made the rivalry between U.S. and Russia cool again.


    • John Powell; Rusev: Hard work and consistent effort paid off for Miroslav.


    • Matthew Byer; Dean Ambrose: His work in terms of his persona and screen presence have really improved in 2014 and when aligned with his strong work in the ring point to several possibilities in 2015.


    • Bob Kapur; Ethan Carter III: The transformation of Ethan Carter III from WWE nobody to TNA main-eventer has been real fun to watch. He was pushed to the moon and delivered every time out. His interactions with Rockstar Spud are a TV sitcom waiting to be produced.


    • Greg Oliver; Luke Harper: Luke Harper was pretty great all year and faces a great 2015.


    • Jon Waldman; Charlotte


    • Matthew Asher; Nikki Bella.


Sami Zayn versus Adrian Neville. Photo by Bill Otten, B&B Productions.

Match of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; Sami Zayn vs Adrien Neville (NXT R Evolution): There are too many New Japan matches to name only one. So I’ll go south, to Orlando more precisely. Sami Zayn vs Adrien Neville at NXT R Evolution was a textbook of a match, and the best thing on WWE television all year.


    • John Powell; Team Cena Vs Team Authority (Survivor Series), Adrian Neville Vs Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover: R Evolution) (Tie): Thanks in large part to the incredible effort of Dolph Ziggler, the Survivor Series main event really delivered on every level while Zayn and Neville showed why they are key components in the future of the WWE.


    • Matthew Byer; Daniel Bryan vs Triple H (WrestleMania)


    • Bob Kapur; Brock Lesnar Vs John Cena (SummerSlam): Brock Lesnar’s decimation of John Cena at SummerSlam was unlike anything you’re bound to see again for some time. The story was told perfectly from bell to bell.


    • Greg Oliver; Brock Lesnar Vs The Undertaker (WrestleMania): There is only one match we will continue to reference for years to come from 2014 — Brock Lesnar upsetting Undertaker at Mania.


    • Jon Waldman; Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville (NXT Takeover: R-Evolution)


    • Matthew Asher; Wyatts Vs The Shield (Elimination Chamber): Tough call but I’d have to give the Wyatts/Shield the nod. A rare treat to see two heel factions battle each other. I covered the PPV and it was simply amazing to see what these 6 men did to prove who was the best faction in the WWE.


Feud of the Year

    • Pat Laprade; Daniel Bryan vs The Authority: Daniel Bryan vs The Authority only lasted half a year, but it worked and allowed WWE to get its biggest reaction of the year at Mania. Too bad the champion got injured.


    • John Powell; Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose: It had its highs and its definite lows but the feud carried the WWE through some rough times in 2014.


    • Matthew Byer; Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins: The only one that stands out and it’s due to the quality of the matches themselves is Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins.
    • Bob Kapur; The Shield vs Evolution: The feud between The Shield and Evolution elevated Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns like nothing else could have, and even temporarily made Randy Orton less boring. The matches lived up to the hype, which was abundant.


    • Greg Oliver; CM Punk vs WWE.


    • Jon Waldman; Bullet Club vs NJPW


Rookie of the Year

Charlotte as the NXT Divas champion. Photo by Bill Otten, B&B Productions.
    • Pat Laprade; Charlotte: Now let’s hope no one drops the ball with her.


    • John Powell; Charlotte: Such impact in such a short period of time.


    • Matthew Byer; Charlotte


    • Bob Kapur; Rusev: If by rookie, we mean those who joined a main roster in 2014, then Rusev.


    • Greg Oliver; Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka: Given that WWE takes veterans with 10 years experience and makes them rookies again, I’ll vote for Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka who is pretty awesome to see in person.


2014 Dishonours

Worst Match of the Year

The Stairs match had people heading for the stairs at TLC in Cleveland. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
    • Jon Waldman; Kazushi Sakuraba & Yuji Nagata vs. The Gracies


    • John Powell; The Big Show Vs Erick Rowan (Stairs Match – TLC 2014): A whole lot of painful bumbling, stumbling and mumbling. Awful idea. Awful execution.


    • Matthew Byer; Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (WrestleMania): Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, but only because for a match that ended The Streak it should have been more than just a straight mugging in the ring.


    • Bob Kapur; The Shield vs Evolution: The feud between The Shield and Evolution elevated Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns like nothing else could have, and even temporarily made Randy Orton less boring. The matches lived up to the hype, which was abundant


The Bellas began feuding with this slap of shame at SummerSlam. Photo by R.P. Strickland, strickspix@gmail.com

Worst Feud of the Year

    • John Powell; The Bella Twins: No matter how the WWE producers tried to shove this down our throats, this just didn’t work. You were better off watching their antics on Total Divas instead.


    • Matthew Byer; Brie Bella vs Nikki Bella: Brie Bella vs Nikki Bella in large part because most of the feud still doesn’t make sense including their reconciliation.


    • Bob Kapur; Rusev: If by rookie we mean someone who joined a main roster in 2014, then I Rusev.


    • Greg Oliver; Bella versus Bella: Bad acting versus bad acting.


    • Jon Waldman; ECW Vets vs. Dixie Carter


    • Matthew Asher; Ambrose vs. Wyatt: On paper this seems awesome, but in reality it falls flat.


Worst Announcer of the Year

    • John Powell; JBL, Renee Young. (Tie): While he does toss out a good quip here and there, some of JBL’s comments are just utter nonsense and his middle of the road stance is just confusing. Heel. Face. Pick a role. Renee Young? She is just all-around awkward.


    • Greg Oliver; Jerry Lawler phones it in.


    • Jon Waldman; Taz


    • Matthew Asher; Michael Cole: Not sure why WWE keeps this guy around. If he’s supposed to be the “face” commentator, he’s failing big time in this one.


Worst Wrestling Event – PPV of the year

    • John Powell; WWE TLC: From start to finish, a collection of overbooked gimmick matches that got worse and worse as the show progressed.


    • Jon Waldman; WWE Battleground


    • Matthew Asher; WWE TLC (and Stairs): Hated the fact they had a “Stairs Match” because it was pointless. Nothing really changed in the WWE during this PPV.


“Oh God,” says the Bunny. “Why doesn’t anyone like me?” Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Worst Male Wrestler of the Year

    • Jon Waldman; The Great Khali: At least he went out a winner of something?


    • John Powell; The Bunny: Seriously, not only is this one of the worst gimmicks of all time but the fact that someone at the WWE thinks this is good for a few laughs shows you how desperate they truly are to have anything stick, even a grown man in a fuzzy bunny suit. Pathetic.


    • Greg Oliver; The Bunny — but is he male?


    • Matthew Asher; David Otunga: Granted this is a cop-out, but I haven’t seen Otunga in ages. I know he’s married to Jennifer Hudson, but I can’t remember the last time I saw this former NXT “member”


Worst Female Wrestler of the Year

    • Jon Waldman; Cameron


    • John Powell; Cameron: Sloppy, chaotic and no presence at all.


    • Greg Oliver; Flip a coin between Naomi or Cameron


    • Matthew Asher; Whichever of the Funakadatctyls says “Gurl Bye”. Hate that. Hate the wrestler.


Worst Tag Team of the Year

    • Jon Waldman; The Menagerie?


    • John Powell; Adam Rose and The Bunny: Dumb and dumber. Get them off my TV.


2014 Honours: League Awards

Greg Oliver

  • Best WWE Wrestler: Seth Rollins
  • Worst WWE wrestler: The Bunny
  • Best TNA wrestler: Bobby Roode
  • Worst TNA wrestler: N/A
  • Best NXT wrestler: Sami Zayn
  • Worst NXT wrestler: N/A
  • Best RoH Wrestler: Adam Cole
  • Worst RoH wrestler: N/A

Pat Laprade

  • Best WWE Wrestler: Seth Rollins
  • Worst WWE wrestler: N/A
  • Best TNA wrestler: Bobby Roode
  • Worst TNA wrestler: N/A
  • Best NXT wrestler: Sami Zayn
  • Worst NXT wrestler: N/A
  • Best RoH Wrestler: Adam Cole
  • Worst RoH Wrestler: N/A

Matthew Byer

  • Best WWE Wrestler: Seth Rollins
  • Worst WWE wrestler: N/A
  • Best TNA wrestler: Bobby Roode
  • Worst TNA wrestler: N/A
  • Best NXT wrestler: Charlotte
  • Worst NXT wrestler: N/A
  • Best RoH Wrestler: N/A
  • Worst RoH Wrestler: N/A

Jon Waldman

  • Best WWE Wrestler: Daniel Bryan
  • Worst WWE wrestler: Cameron
  • Best TNA wrestler: Bobby Roode
  • Worst TNA wrestler: Rebel
  • Best NXT wrestler: Sami Zayn
  • Worst NXT wrestler: Mojo Rawley
  • Best RoH Wrestler: Adam Cole
  • Worst RoH Wrestler: Matt Taven

John Powell

  • Best WWE Wrestler: Seth Rollins
  • Worst WWE wrestler: The Bunny
  • Best TNA wrestler: AJ Styles
  • Worst TNA wrestler: Rockstar Spud
  • Best NXT wrestler: Sami Zayn
  • Worst NXT wrestler: Mojo Rawley
  • Best RoH Wrestler: N/A
  • Worst RoH Wrestler: N/A


Seth Rollins got two of the seven votes from our writers for Male Wrestler of the Year. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea