Welcome to our 2014 FGB Awards!
As far as I know, we’re one of the few websites that covers pro wrestling, boxing, and MMA. We’ll publish our awards for the respective sports over the next three days starting with pro wrestling.
Here are the categories:
Most Outstanding Wrestler
Show of the Year
Match of the Year
Big Things in 2015
Most Outstanding Wrestler
Duan: Seth Rollins
In a year where WWE fell into one of the lengthiest lethargic ruts I can ever remember them having, Rollins was a sole success story. He carried his pre-Shield break up form over into his singles push and he now stands as a credible main event figure in his own right. A title run can’t be far off.
Alan: Tomohiro Ishii
He’s neck and neck with Okada, but I give Ishii the edge for being able to elevate his opponents so much no matter who they are. He’s had great matches with everyone this year from KUSHIDA to Nagata to Goto, and dozens of others in between. In the G1, he delivered two match-of-the-year level bouts in the week following A FULL BLOWN SHOULDER SEPARATION (which still hasn’t healed fully). He’s an incredible performer, and there is nobody else in the business like him.
Big D: Seth Rollins
You can say what you want about just how absolutely terrible WWE has been at making new top guys, especially in 2014, but at the end of the day, one of the internet darlings is the top heel in WWE for 2014. Nobody in the company has benefitted from Brock Lesnar and Triple H being part-time more than Seth Rollins. After having a ridiculously hot face turn for his group in the spring, he turned on that very same group in the summer and has made himself one of the most featured solo acts of the time. But whether he was on the face or heel side, Seth delivered great work up and down the tv shows and house shows and really earned his keep. People have a lot to complain about, but Seth being placed as the top guy is certainly not one of those things.
Alex: AJ Styles
AJ is killing it for a lot of promotions right now. I think he and stable mates the Young Bucks are having a fantastic year!
GG: Adrian Neville
I would generally choose someone off the main roster, but like Duan hinted at, the product was simply too bad at times this year. Also, I think it would be dishonest of me to go with someone in New Japan considering I started following the product so late in the year. So I’m going with the guy whose matches I most looked forward to once the WWE Network was up and running. Neville is one of the most spectacular high flyers I’ve ever seen, but in 2014, I feel like his base wrestling game was nearly as solid. I’m a bit worried as to how WWE will utilize him on the main roster as his mic game is poor. But if they just let him go out and have good matches, I think he can succeed.
Show of the Year
Duan: Payback – June 1, 2014
Cena/Wyatt and Evolution/Shield were arguably the two best matches on PPV this year and they were propped up by a handful of extremely fun undercard bouts. More than anything though, it was the only card this year that made me believe that somebody or anybody in the company knew what the hell they were doing.
Alan: NJPW G1 Climax 24: Day 7 – August 1, 2014
Just one great match after another, including the much loved AJ/Suzuki match.
Big D: Wrestlemania XXX – April 6, 2014
The Dome Show is probably a better show as well as the final night of the G-1, but I guess being there makes me biased. But to me, what makes this show the “Show of the Year” is that it was WrestleMania finally going back to being WrestleMania after a few years of mediocrity. You had two phenomenal Daniel Bryan performances; The Rock, Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan sharing a ring together for the first time ever; and of course, the end of the streak, the most shocking moment of the year. It’s a shame that almost nothing from this show matters, but at the time, the show was incredible and we were all beaming when it ended
Alex: SummerSlam – August 17, 2014
Steph vs Brie, Brock vs Cena, Ambrose vs Rollins had me really excited for this show and I feel it delivered. I feel when WWE does it right, it is hard to top. The build was done correctly – from the Brie vs Steph storyline to the amazing Cena vs Brock video packages. I loved this show!
GG: SummerSlam – August 17, 2014
WWE does an excellent job marketing this show as the second most important show of the year. But they don’t always book like it. This show had the big show feel with Brock Lesnar beating the hell out of John Cena. There wasn’t a four star match on the show, but it built to the main event and felt meaningful. Now, how they booked after this show is a different story.
Match of the Year
Duan: John Cena Vs Cesaro – February 17, 2014
A match which showed just how good Cena can be when he’s on and also how criminally wasted a talent like Cesaro is within the WWE structure – this could have been the feud to freshen up a totally dead main event scene.
Alan: Masato Yoshino Vs Masaaki Mochizuki – January 16, 2014 and The Jimmys Vs The Millennials – September 23, 2014
Going to give you a singles and a tag because I can’t split them. Yoshino vs Mochizuki is a truly epic clash between two of Dragon Gate’s best ever. This has big fight feel in spades and they put together a match which exceeds the amazing atmosphere. The tag match is the Summer Adventure Tag League final and it’s one of the craziest tags I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s great in this, but Kagetora should be singled out for one of the single most amazing performances a man has ever given in a wrestling ring. He was ON FIRE in this.
Big D: Daniel Bryan Vs Triple H – April 6, 2014
I’ve tossed this in my head back and forth. There were a lot of great matches internationally this year, and I’m positive our pal Alan will tell you of each and every one, but as far as North American pro wrestling goes, this was my favorite treat. Triple H, shedding the “Hun Tor” ego and reverting back to “Paul”, his benevolent form, doing the clean job to Daniel Bryan in a hell of a match, kicking off the road to the title and blowing off a feud that began in August of 2013! Paul whipped out a Dragon Suplex. That by itself gets bonus points!
Alex: AJ Styles Vs Matt Sydal – November 10, 2014
I know no one will pick this match. I saw it on ROH tv and I loved it. I really liked ReDRagon vs Young Bucks at ROH Global Wars, but I feel that Styles vs Sydal was slightly better.
GG: Adrian Neville Vs Sami Zayn Vs Tyler Breeze Vs Tyson Kidd – September 11, 2014
There weren’t any easy picks when it came to match of the year on WWE TV this year. I thought both Evolution vs Shield matches were good. The Daniel vs Triple H match from WrestleMania XXX is a good traditional pick. But the one match that stood out slightly more was the Fatal Four Way from the second NXT Takeover show. All four men played their roles perfectly and even though he was the heel, it was hard to not pull for Tyson Kidd.
Duan: Adrian Neville
I think most of us had reservations over how well Neville would do within the confines of WWE, but it’s been so far, so good for the Newcastle man. NXT has been the only thing WWE has done right this year, and Neville as champion, has been instrumental in that. Taking the title back in February on the first live show on the WWE Network, he’s carried the brand for most of the year. Now free of the belt, perhaps it’s time for him cash in his chips for a shot on the main roster.
Alan: AJ Styles
Went from being wasted in a nothing happening company to branching out and becoming a major player in various places. Winning the IWGP Heavyweight Title was a huge deal and cannot be understated. Definitely the biggest and best year of Styles’ career.
Big D: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has always had the skills, the creativity, and the talent to be a real guy in the business. What Seth did for the heel side I believe Sami can do for the babyface side if he is protected. Like his main roster counterpart, the guy has had all of the best NXT matches of the year, capped off with a big win of the NXT Title from Adrian Neville, another serious contender for breakout star. He’s so good and has been so good for so long that I feel it’s borderline criminal that he isn’t on the main roster already. Plus, Paul and Pat Patterson are fans! Let’s convince the old man!
Alex: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is killing it right now. He’s having good matches against top guys and I look forward to whatever he’s doing.
GG: The Usos
It’s rare that I choose a tag team for this one, but the Usos proved their value this year after winning the tag straps and having stellar matches on PPV. If the WWE ever decided that tag teams can be valuable acts to their bottom line, the Usos could be huge stars. Personally, I think they could help their cousin Roman Reigns get to that next level. Get those 6-mans going!
Big Things In 2015
Alan: Big R Shimizu
Dragon Gate’s young powerhouse is clearly being groomed for big things and he’s stepping up to the plate in a major way. A really fun wrestler with great charisma and charm.
Big D: China
WWN broke this market out. The fans are hungry for pro wrestling. What’s gonna happen when WWE breaks in?
She is a can’t miss prospect. I think if she is screwed up, then that should be an event that is studied in school. She does everything well and comes across as the biggest star in developmental. UFC is currently built around a women. Maybe WWE should consider.
Rusev should be way more over than he is currently, but I think WWE has smartly kept him unbeaten. They just haven’t made a big deal about it. In 2015, he should get his main event run with John Cena or whomever they decide to put him with. I would love to see him paired up with a smaller worker like Dolph Ziggler who can go, so he can show off his athleticism. I think he’s going to have a few four star matches in the next twelve months.