Dot Net Awards: 2013 Best Female Act
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2013 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Best Female Act. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) A.J. Lee: 55 percent
(2) Paige: 7 percent
(3) Renee Young: 4 percent
(4) Stephanie McMahon: 4 percent
(5) Gail Kim: 3 percent
Others: 27 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: A.J. Lee had a good year. Quite frankly, I enjoyed her 2012 more, but that's based mostly on the fact that she was featured prominently that year. She improved in the ring and is certainly the standout of the WWE Divas division regardless of all the women featured on the Total Divas show. I am surprised that Natalya did not crack the top five given that she is viewed as the gold standard for in-ring work in WWE. Renee Young is awesome at her job and I'm happy to see she finished high on the list. Keep an eye on Paige because she could give Lee a run for her money if she gets called up or if NXT gets more exposure on the WWE Network. Mickie James really found her groove once she turned heel. She did her best TNA work on her way out the door.
Chris Shore's Thoughts: Once again this year the Best Female Act is a one person race and AJ Lee is that one person. I don’t feel like her 2013 was nearly as impressive as her 2012 was, but she was the only woman who consistently stood out all year. That's more of a statement of the lack of meaningful female acts than it is anything else. Paige deserves an honorable mention here for having a great year, but her lack of exposure on NXT leaves me choosing AJ. Hopefully WWE rectifies that in 2014.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: The readers, in a landslide, picked A.J. Lee and while I cannot blame them, I also cannot agree with them. Lee, after having a breakout 2012, had a relatively mild 2013. Her character didn't develop at all. She didn't change at all. Lee was stagnant in 2013. For a solid women's wrestling, I ended up looking to TNA for the first eight months of the year. At first, I thought of the tremendous performance from Taryn Terrell at Slammiversary. Sadly, one match does not a great year make. Gail Kim was under consideration but her lackluster end of the year depressed me too much. Instead, I have decided to go with a woman who solidly reinvented herself and did the best character work of her career. Mickie James was the best female performer this year.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: The obvious choice this year is AJ Lee. While I haven’t always been a fan of the way she’s been used during her WWE tenure, I have always been impressed with her ring work and her ability to disappear into her character. The Divas division has been a wasteland, mostly focused on the Total Divas reality show and the people who appear on it, but AJ has managed not to get lost in all of this, and has put strong efforts forth to build feuds when given game opponents.
Zack Zimmerman's Thoughts: AJ is the clear winner in this category because of her popularity and relevance throughout 2013. She was a major focal point of the show during the early part of the year, but has developed a bit of a reputation backstage and wasn't featured as prominently in the second-half of 2013. Based on what I see at live events, she remains a fan-favorite regardless of how she being portrayed. Aside from AJ, I believe that had Taryn Tarrell not been pulled from TV and slipped our minds, she would've been the top candidate for this award. She showed tremendous improvement in the ring and as a character. Over the summer of 2013, she put on some of the most highly-touted ladies' matches in history with Gail Kim (namely their Last Woman Standing match at Slammiversary). Just a few others worthy of a mention: Paige, Candice LeRae, Summer Rae (NXT), and Emma have all had impressive years and will likely be big-time players in the near-future.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Another year where AJ Lee kind of wins by default, just for daring to have a character and engaging in the very occasional storyline. AJ feels like a star from the halcyon days of Trish/Lita/Chyna, transplanted to a time where she is basically a big fish in a small pond, surrounded by Divas that would have been treated like “also rans” 10 years ago. There are seeds of something interesting growing from NXT, with Paige, Summer Rae, Bayley, Emma and the returning Raquel Diaz lending hope that the tired division can be reinvigorated with better booking, so with any luck this won't be a one horse race this time next year.
Ryan Kester's Thoughts: AJ Lee, without a doubt, was the best female act of 2013. She had a standout year as a champion, and she consistently delivered quality matches with whatever opponent she was given. The issue, naturally, is the rest of the division is lacking in one department or another, be it wrestling skill or ability on the mic; leaving AJ to look like a wrestling goddess comparatively. One can only hope that she retains the title long enough for some of the talented women in NXT to be called up to work with her.
Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: In what appears to be the most shrewd career move in recent memory, A.J. Lee declined an offer to join the cast of Total Divas, a decision which surpassed her superior in-ring and promo work. Lee maintained her likability with that decision, as I think less of most of the Divas on the E! Network show, even though I find it mostly entertaining. As a character and a performer, Lee has no equal within her division, a fact that has removed some luster from her record-long title reign. She has virtually no competition, as evidenced by half a year spent in multi-person tag matches that had no relevance to the championship picture. I'm holding that against WWE booking and the company's fellow divas, though -- Lee has risen above but would be just as valuable among a more impressive crop of females.
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