Dot Net Awards: 2013 Pro Wrestling MVP
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2013 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Pro Wrestling MVP. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) Daniel Bryan: 53 percent
(2) C.M. Punk: 20 percent
(3) John Cena: 7 percent
(4) A.J. Styles: 3 percent
(5) Undertaker: 3 percent
Others: 14 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: John Cena is the face of WWE, but he should have been passed at least temporarily by Daniel Bryan this fall. Sadly, WWE dropped the ball and didn't go all the way with Bryan, which is obviously an even bigger story as I write this in January 2014. I'm still going with Cena. He's the guy WWE banked on to headline WrestleMania with The Rock for the second straight year and he continues to be a huge merchandise seller and a great representative of the company. Bryan is nipping at his heels and it will be very interesting to see where that goes in the new year. Punk was extremely valuable in the first half of the year and things went downhill after SummerSlam. Bully Ray fell a vote shy of Undertaker. I would give him an award for TNA MVP in 2013 because he had a great year, but it's overall MVP of the pro wrestling business. It's not like anyone in TNA carried the company to good ratings, pay-per-view buys, or house show attendance. I would vote for part-timers like Rock, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar ahead of Ray, A.J. Styles, or any TNA talent simply because they helped sell more pay-per-views in one day than TNA sold in multiple combined years. It's not a shot at TNA, it's just the honest truth.
Chris Shore's Thoughts: Most valuable person? This might have been the easiest one to write. There can be no question that the one man who meant the most to his promotion in 2013 is Bully Ray. No one else generated as much talk at the top of the card that Ray did for TNA. He surpassed expectations of his single run by leaps and bounds. He managed to make Aces and Eights seem like a legit entity when the rest of the club was a joke. He really did it all for TNA in 2013. He may not have made as much money as John Cena or the other WWE names, but WWE could have plugged most anybody into that spot. TNA would have been a totally different promotion in 2013 without Bully Ray.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: This is a tough award for me to figure out. Do I make a spreadsheet to see who drew the most money and hand the award to them? How do I ascribe value to a wrestler? Who had the most valuable year? I am going to cheat a little bit here and pick three wrestlers. The Shield, as a unit, was the most valuable player in WWE this year. From pre-shows to main events, they were credible. They appeared on almost every Raw and Smackdown episode. They helped to get Daniel Bryan over. They added about 30 minutes of entertainment to multiple months of Raw. The Shield was WWE's booking utility knife. They could fill time, create compelling angles, bring a sense of danger, and fly around for the babyfaces.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: This is an excruciating category. All things considered, a lot of guys had great years and contributed in a major way towards the success of their companies. CM Punk practically ran away with this award in 2012. This year the water is pretty murky. A good case could be made for John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, or Bully Ray in my estimation. They all were major components in the success of their respective promotions. There is also so much bad booking involving all of them that I cringe looking back at certain parts of the year. In the end, I have to choose Daniel Bryan. Despite all the bad booking, Bryan stayed injury free and delivered solid performances every time he was out in the ring, never looking discouraged or disinterested, and all while maintaining a very large grassroots fan following.
Zack Zimmerman's thoughts: Despite Daniel Bryan's surge in popularity, despite Triple H's constant storyline involvement, and despite C.M. Punk's appeal, no one man is more important to WWE than John Cena. The charity time he dedicates, the public image he maintains, and the passable quality of work he puts forward (yes, really) is the key component of the WWE corporate machine at this point. Admittedly, I get the sense that we're nearing the tail-end of his position as such, as newer, fresher acts take the stage and receive opportunities. However in 2013, John Cena was the most important player in WWE and is hands-down their MVP.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Daniel Bryan does the quadruple in my year end awards – best babyface, best worker, best match, and MVP. I admit, a big part of my enjoyment of all things American Dragon in 2013 has been the smug satisfaction it brought me after years of telling people DB was the man. And this year of all years, I don't think many will accuse me of being too “fanboy-ish”. To deny Bryan was the most exciting thing in wrestling this year is insane. He went from being “that internet guy” to being on the verge of usurping Cena as the face of the company (I doubt that will every truly happen though). And if his current fever pitch support rolls through 2014, I won't be slightly surprised if he sweeps the 2014 awards too.
Ryan Kester's Thoughts: Daniel Bryan is easily the MVP of 2013. No other wrestler provided so many quality matches and such a fervor for wrestling as Bryan did in 2013. When WWE needed someone to take over the top slot while John Cena had surgery, Bryan was their go-to guy, and that alone speaks for his contributions to the company. Bryan had an unprecedented year of growth both in his star power and in the quality of his performances, and he carried the WWE product for the better part of the year.
Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: As much as I'd like to pick Daniel Bryan for MVP, it just wouldn't fit in with the definition. He may be Player of the Year, but until further notice the most valuable player or person or performer in the professional wrestling/sports entertainment industry is John Cena. I've been outspoken about the damage his presence has done to the idea of creating new stars, but WWE's hesitation in those efforts comes from the place of knowing Cena can carry the company. He's the only true main-eventer on WWE's roster, and he solidifies his spot with charity work, media appearances and ambassador work that would have exhausted the common man years ago. Without Cena, WWE may not have opened the performance center or been confident enough to go over the top with the WWE Network. He's the 10-time reigning, defending MVP of the business.
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