Dot Net Awards: 2013 Match of the Year
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2013 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Match of the Year. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) C.M. Punk vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania 29): 23 percent
(2) C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (SummerSlam): 18 percent
(3) John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (SummerSlam): 18 percent
(4) Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro (best of three falls): 10 percent
(5) Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro (July 22 Raw): 5 percent
Others: 26 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: I intentionally went with Jim Ross as a nominee in the Best Broadcaster category to avoid counting a bunch of write-in votes, but I did not intend to leave C.M. Punk vs. John Cena from Raw off the list. Shame on me. I don't believe it would have won the award, but it certainly deserved the recognition. I'm torn between the top two. I guess I lean toward the WrestleMania match simply because they accomplished the difficult task of making a stadium filled with fans and a million-plus viewers around the world hang on every near fall even though 99 percent of those fans assumed Taker would get the win and extend The Streak.
Chris Shore's Thoughts: I want to start out by throwing in Jay Lethal vs. Cedric Alexander at the PWX "It's All About Me" show in June as one I suggest you see. It was one of the best matches I've ever seen live, and the best match I called all last year. That said, Match of the Year isn't just about best wrestled match. It is also about the match that meant the most and/or had the biggest impact on a promotion. For me, that's Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam. The match was well wrestled, happened on a big stage, and hands down was the moment when everyone (except some of WWE's upper management) agreed Daniel Bryan had arrived to the top of the card and was worthy of headlining PPVs as the company's champion. Sadly, WWE screwed it up and left Bryan floundering around in purgatory for a while, but when the history of Daniel Bryan is written later, that will be the match that is marked as the defining moment of his career.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: I'm tempted to pick Bryan vs. Cena from SummerSlam, which was the only match this year to make me jump out of my chair. I'm also always tempted to pick Undertaker's WrestleMania effort with C.M. Punk, which was the voters' choice. I have to jump to another SummerSlam match though. Brock Lesnar vs. C.M. Punk was the most dramatic and spectacular match this year and it told the best story. It was a delightful ride. It had a babyface you could believe in and a heel you could hate. It was that simple and that good.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: This is an impossible category to judge with any kind of objectivity, because there are just so many criteria that are specific to each wrestling fan. My personal favorite match of this year was Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro from the July 22 Raw. It’s not because it was the most technically sound affair, or because it had any kind of storyline attached to it, but because it made me optimistic for the future. Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro are not guys you would have expected to make major impacts upon the WWE just a few years ago, but they managed to put on a brutally entertaining match during the main event segment of Raw. If those two guys are a big part of WWE’s future, then the future is in good hands.
Zack Zimmerman's thoughts: Personally, I have to break this award into two categories: U.S. and international. No single American match stands out as the definitive MOTY, but the year was full of quality in-ring action. WWE's tag division and six-man tags have set a high standard, week after week, and therefore it is difficult to pick one out. The one that resonated with me the most was the Rhodes Brothers beating The Shield at the Battleground PPV because of the storyline surrounding it and the unexpected show-stealing work. As far as singles matches, all of the top vote-getters were top-notch matches, but not even the best compared to many matches promoted by New Japan this year. Every Okada vs. Tanahashi match, Tanahashi vs. Ishii, Shibata vs, Ishii, and Nakamura vs. Ibushi, are viable candidates for this award. Reflecting back, the best match I watched this year was Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Title from NJPW Invasion Attack.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at Summerslam: Of all of my Bryan picks, this is the closest run choice. We have been spoilt for choice this year once again, and while storytelling and other upper-management issues are constantly up and down, I'd be willing to state that wrestling quality has never been this consistently high. Brock Lesnar had two great spectacles in the past 12 months, coming against HHH at Wrestlemania 29 and Punk at Summerslam. Punk also managed to push past a terrible build to have a fantastic match with Taker. The Shield vs. The Rhodes Brothers at Battleground should be preserved as the perfect example of storytelling. Even NXT warranted it's place on the ballot thanks to a gem from Sami Zayn (a future star without doubt) and Cesaro. But for me, nothing created the manic, nervous energy that Bryan/Cena did. A match has to have that certain electric vibe around it to be considered an all-time classic, and this one had it in spades. Just ignore everything that happened after the match, OK?
Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: I'm hardly one to keep star ratings or remember much about matches that occurred a year or six months ago, but as soon as Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam contest with C.M. Punk was finished, it seemed like the clear match of the year. That thought occurred to me far before the match ended, actually, and no match over the final four months swayed me. It was the perfect blend of styles, because Punk and Lesnar had just enough in common to make for a memorable match, which was of course highlighted by their vast differences. Punk had no hesitation over selling like crazy for The Beast, and Brock was spotlighted as the one-of-a-kind performer he has proven to be. This was better than the Lesnar-Cena match from the year before because the right man won.
Ryan Kester's Thoughts: Anytime I approach this category, I look for my pick based on the match that drew me in the most and one I will remember years after watching it. This often isn't the most technically sound performance available, but I will remember a match that made an impact far longer than I will one that me the qualifications of some quality metric. For me, John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship was my match of the year. The near falls of that match were superb, and despite the way the evening ended, the feeling of seeing Bryan overcome Cena and gain his first WWE Championship was amazing.
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