Dot Net Awards: 2011 Best Babyface
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2011 awards throughout January and early February. The following are the results of our poll for Best Babyface. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the other winners and winners from past years in the Awards section.
(1) C.M. Punk: 47 percent
(2) John Cena: 11 percent
(3) The Rock: 8 percent
(4) James Storm: 8 percent
(5) Randy Orton: 5 percent
Others: 21 percent
Jake Barnett's Thoughts: I'm going to break with our readers here and say that the best babyface performances of 2011 belong to Randy Orton. His move to Smackdown in the draft was a surprise, but it came shortly after the crow d had turned him babyface in a big way, and it allowed him to get some separation from the other major babyface talents. Once on Smackdown, Randy shined as the lead of the show. It didn't seem to matter whether he was in the ring with Christian, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes or anybody else, Orton always delivered. He also did more to put over other wrestlers in the ring than any other time I can remember in his career. For that, I think Orton deserves the title of the best babyface of 2011.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: James Storm – If there is anyone cutting better babyface promos in wrestling right now, I have not seen them. Storm has been on fire, especially in the second half of this year. He held up his end of the Fortune babyface turn (when the Main Event Mafia happened to compete in the Royal Rumble) and has been great in the build and follow up to Bound for Glory. His crowd connection and sheer creativity are absolutely amazing. As much as I have personally enjoyed C.M. Punk, as a babyface his promos still come off as a slightly smarmy heel.
Jason Powell's Thoughts: Casual fans would likely give the nod to Cena. He's a polarizing figure, but he certainly had a strong share of supporters. His popularity really took a hit as the year went on while Punk's grew. It's no surprise that Punk won the award with online fans voting, but it is a close vote considering that Punk's popularity surged in the second half of the year, whereas Cena was more popular early in the year. I'd also give it to Punk for coming on strong. Rock in third is fair placement given his limited role. I'd put Orton in fourth, and I'd give fifth to Big Show, who was a steady babyface on the blue brand. Storm is out of that top five mix even though I'm as high on his potential as anyone. He broke out later in the year and it will be interesting to see whether TNA does a good enough job to keep him in this mix in 2012. Honorable mention to Lawler, who did a great job whenever WWE featured him in a wrestling role.
Ryan Kester's Thoughts: This category is difficult to pick because so many of the top babyfaces do very heelish things to get over. In that vein, CM Punk is a solid choice if one is to go by the biggest pops alone, but my pick for the best babyface of 2011 has to go to James Storm. Storm is able to cut one of the best babyface promos in the business today, and he has, on multiple occasions, been able to whip even the most overexposed of Impact Wrestling crowds into a frenzy.
Chris Shore's Thoughts: I understand why CM Punk won this poll, but he was only working baby for the second half of the year, and he did it by turning on a babyface. That makes him more of an anti-hero than a true babyface, so my pick is Randy Orton. Orton brought new life to Smackdown when he debuted on the blue brand, and just when I thought he was starting to go stale, he started doing business like crazy, putting guys over left and right. Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, Wade Barrett, and others owe their current heel streak to Randy Orton's work in 2011.
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