A few weeks back we gave you a completely and totally in no way ever biased guide to voting in the RSPW Awards – the oldest fan-voted awards on the internet. Well, the results are in, and they’re…well, a lot of them are pretty fantastic.
First of all, on behalf of all of us here at With Spandex, let me just say WHAAAAAAAAAAAA?! Also, uh, thank you? Seriously? This is amazing, and we’re all very humbled and very thankful that you like the stuff that we do. The voting breakdown is crazy, and seriously, we love you all so much for thinking we’re cool.
Now for the big Bests!
Best Wrestler: Sami Zayn
Yeah he did! The previous few winners were John Cena, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan. The RSPW awards are evolving, and including more than just WWE as the mainstay, and ROH as the “smart vote.” This kind of diversity is exciting, and really stresses the importance of shows like Lucha Underground and NXT. It’s a different product being recognized, and as such those people who are really talented by not necessarily in a WWE main event get to shine. Shinsuke Nakamura made the top 5, and John Cena and Brock Lesnar didn’t crack it. WWE is still dominant in some categories, but the voting breakdowns are way more exciting than they were last year. Sami also took home nods for Best Babyface, Best Move, Best Match, and Best Theme Song. Okay, I may have made the last one up, but you know it’s true.
Best Tag Team: The Shield
I guess this is a weird place to put this win as it would seemingly discredit my previous statements, but look: killer matches get remembered. Also, the Freebird Rule is the greatest thing to happen in the history of our sport and I will defend it to my death. I didn’t vote for the Shield (that #1 write-in vote for Team Tremendous is super to identify as mine), but I did throw a vote at the Young Bucks because realistically that’s the correct answer. I watched them wrestle a least thirty times in person last year, and that’s not counting PPVs and indie show mp4s. Once, also, I sat next to them during someone else’s match and they smelled like fresh mountain air. The Bucks are legit.
Best Heel: Seth Rollins
Will EC3 never be appreciated in his own time? …sadly, probably not. But look; Seth Rollins narrowly edging out Stephanie McMahon (who has been a dream this past year) and Paul Heyman shows just how much he’s grown, especially since the still incredibly sad dissolution of the Shield. SIERRA ECHO TANGO HABERDASHERY!
Most Improved: Charlotte
Heck. Yes. The top 5 is bookended by Charlotte and Sasha Banks, two women who started out a little rough and stuck in what seemed to be (crummy) pre-determined paths, and turned into these incredible, multi-dimensional performers with layered personalities who can stand up to anyone else on the NXT roster, male or female.
Best Organization: New Japan Pro Wrestling
Okay, remember that very first paragraph, and the point I made? This is where it shows the most. From 2006-2013, WWE was the winner. Every. Single. Year. In fact, were in not for renaming them and 2005 when TNA was the inexplicable inner, they won every since 1995. That’s an insane stranglehold on the wrestling industry. So not only did New Japan win, but they unseated a veritable titan. New Japan made a strong push for exposure in America, and it paid off. The NJPW/ROH shows on American soil weren’t even that great, but they found a market to tap into and they drilled it harder than an oil rig into Alberta tar sands.
And look at the top 5: NJPW, WWE, Lucha Underground/AAA, Chikara, and Inspire Pro Wrestling. There are lists that are relevant to my interests, but this is just bananas. WWE simply isn’t fulfilling what wrestling fans en masse need, and they’ve finally turned elsewhere. And the most loved places are the ones who are doing their own thing, and not trying to either emulate WWE, or tear it down (or both, Impact.). Even NXT is a very clear, separate entity from the Raws and the SmackDowns and the Total Divas.
The end of the Monday Night Wars meant extinguishing the fire of competition, and with no one nipping at their heels, spurring them on to do new and better and cooler things, they settled into this period of complacency. Now it’s time for WWE to really look around at the things that are working, and take those positive things – diversity, cultural representation, not shitting on women at every turn, engaging storylines, great wrestling as a focal point – and realise that those things, bottom line, translate into viewership and dollars. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who left us wanting, and it’s time to fix it.
It’s also time for you to watch all of those other companies because man, there’s some really amazing stuff happening out there.
Click here to see all of the very best Bests. You can also read the Worst results here. I mostly don’t want to be negative, but I also don’t want to get a big stormcloud of depression over my head at their startling accuracy.
So that’s another year in the books! I look forward to next year when Bayley and Okada run away with me…uhh…I mean run away with all of the Best awards they can.
Yes. …that’s what I meant.