Dot Net Awards: 2013 Best Pro Wrestler
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 Pro Wrestler. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) Daniel Bryan: 49 percent
(2) C.M. Punk: 16 percent
(3) John Cena: 7 percent
(4) A.J. Styles: 5 percent
(5) Undertaker: 5 percent
Others: 18 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: I agree with the top two and I like to see John Cena get some love again after getting the ridiculous "you can't wrestle" chants. Styles had better in-ring years and while the same can be said for Taker, you have to love the way he leaves it all out there once a year. The guy in my top five is also a part-timer. Calm down, Hunter. It's actually Brock Lesnar. He may not have a pretty in-ring style, but he has a damn believable style.
Chris Shore's Thoughts: This award goes to Daniel Bryan and I honestly don't think it’s close. CM Punk has had some solid matches this year, so I understand that pick if that's how you went, but for me, no one has elevated their opponents like Daniel Bryan has this year. From his tag teams matches with Kane, to his SummerSlam match with John Cena, Bryan has consistently had great matches. He fell on some hard times late summer and most of the fall because of the dreadful book he had with Randy Orton, but it's not enough to drop him from the top spot.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: This may surprise you, but 2013 was quite a pleasant year for in-ring work. The Shield tore it down with six man tags. Daniel Bryan broke out his working boots. C.M. Punk delighted in his major efforts. I have to give this award to a wrestler who (I don't think) could possibly have a bad match. Bryan was excellent this year and was the best wrestler in the world. Look at SummerSlam and his outstanding match with John Cena. Look at his series with Randy Orton going into Money in the Bank. Look at every six man he had with The Shield. Bryan was excellent.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: Without a doubt, this is Daniel Bryan’s year. He started a phenomenon with his yes chants, he has delivered every time he’s been given an opportunity in the ring, and fans are now starting to turn on WWE’s booking because they are demanding justice for their overlooked hero. A lot of WWE’s booking sins are unforgivable in regards to how they approached Daniel Bryan post Summerslam, but it appears that despite all of that, the fans will not let him be ignored any longer. Nothing is a better testament to what kind of year Bryan has had, how good his performances have been, and how much those performances have connected with legions of WWE fans.
Zack Zimmerman's thoughts: The top two being Bryan and Punk is expected and appropriate. I'll be honest that I'm surprised to see John Cena finish third considering this is an internet fan vote and it's the best wrestler category, but it's fair. For a "bad wrestler," John Cena has more good matches than anyone and deserves to be near the top. Elsewhere, wrestlers such as Sami Zayn, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kazuchika Okada have had standout years in the ring.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Daniel Bryan coasted to top three spots in the past two years of the Dot Net awards on reputation more than anything else, but this time around he has earned this award with an exemplary year between the ropes. The high point was his classic match with Cena at Summerslam, but that was merely the summit of a mountain built from good matches across the board. From antastic tag matches, in both the traditional and 6 man formats, to great singles matches on TV, not to mention stand out performances in big gimmick events like the MITB and Chamber matches, everything Bryan touched turned to gold. Shame some in the company seem determined to not notice that...
Ryan Kester's Thoughts: I always try and reserve this category for the wrestler that most consistently delivers a quality match no matter the opponent, and this year that honor has to go with Daniel Bryan. Bryan really came into his own in many aspects of his career, and perfecting his WWE style was certainly a part of Bryan's 2013. He went from a more technical wrestler to one that fits within the mold of WWE's modern formula, and he managed to debut his current finisher in his first WWE title win over John Cena. From there, he's delivered memorable performance after memorable performance, and easily takes the Best Wrestler of 2013.
Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: Another write-in vote that speaks more to my appreciation of one performer, and my desire to not choose one person for multiple awards, rather than an indictment of any listed candidate. At the beginning of the year, I was squarely in the camp of those who believed Antonio Cesaro was less than exciting in the ring and lacked a marketable personality. The personality has been slow to be developed by WWE writers -- I think it's there but hasn't been utilized -- but Cesaro's matches have become enthralling for two reasons. The first is the confidence with which he wrestled in various NXT guest spots, where he was more unleashed than he has shown in a WWE environment. The other reason is his giant swing, easily the most compelling WWE maneuver in recent memory. It's not necessarily a wrestling move, but it has added to Cesaro's identity and ability, and now I find myself looking forward to seeing him perform. What a difference a year makes.
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