2016 Brass Ring Awards Day 2 (Most Improve / Best Tag Team / Worst Match / Biggest News)

Best Tag Team of the Year – The Revival

Previous Winners: 2015 - The New Day | 2014 - Miz & Mizdow

(Written by @milkman)

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There’s currently a certain generational and cultural divide among modern wrestling fans. The usually older generation of wrestling fans longs for the days where a DDT meant something and when a finisher actually finished a match. On the other hand, there’s a more hedonistic wrestling fan who believes that if it feels good, you should do it. If you can do a springboard 630 splash to the outside of the ring, why not do it? Pleasing both sides of the fence has proven to be a near impossible task but one of the very few to pull that off in 2016 was The Revival. With their “No Flips, Just Fists” slogan, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson played the role of the curmudgeon old guard against the flip happy indie invasion of NXT. With no notable independent wrestling career to speak of for either men, the Revival started in a pretty big hole in the context of modern NXT where anyone with any indie experience is instantly more over than just about any performance center acolyte. But they slowly but surely gained the respect of the fans and kept having great matches until they were impossible to ignore and the “which one is Dash again?” jokes weren’t all that funny anymore. With old school heel tactics that would make even Jim Crockett take notice, the Revival ruled the NXT tag division in 2016 and even more impressively, did it while pleasing just about everyone. The older fans loved the old school smash mouth style while the newer fans had a true villain to root against that wanted to stomp a mudhole in all their favorite indie darlings but still could keep with anyone in the ring.

Runners Up: The Young Bucks, DIY, Johnny Mundo/Jack Evans/PJ Black/Taya, The Hardy Estate

Worst Match of the Year - Shelly Martinez vs. Rebel

Previous Winners: 2015 - WWE Royal Rumble | 2014 - Naomi vs. Carmella

(Written by @turboman)

After the last two years, there was definitely a feeling that giving out an award for “Worst Match of the Year” was silly and maybe the category should be cut. Last year’s winner was the Royal Rumble, which was a fine match but was terribly laid out. The year before we gave it to Cameron vs. Naomi, which was a terrible match (it was the one that featured Naomi trying to pin Cameron with Cameron facing the wrong way), but it was far from a “MINUS FIVE STARS” match you would want to give an award to. The problem with a “Worst Match of the Year” award is that most wrestlers on TV are at least competent at worst, or if they aren’t people know how to protect themselves and wrestle a safe boring match.

However, this year gave us Shelly Martinez vs. Rebel: A train wreck. Shelly Martinez comes out dressed in Day of the Dead makeup (in March) and an outfit that looked like a chunk of my shower curtain. The match itself started out just fine. There’s a solid arm drag, a section of the match featured some submission wrestling that looked like a standard match, no complaints. And then Rebel puts Shelly Martinez in a stretch that pulled her legs apart from each other. This causes Shelly to scream “MY VAG!”. This was the exact moment that the match took a turn. The TNA crowd of 50 people for this match was stunned silent at this moment, and you could hear one person in the crowd reply back with “Wait, what did you say?”.

The match concludes with Shelly setting up a suicide dive to the outside of the ring onto Rebel. The spot clearly is supposed to be that Rebel was supposed to hit Shelly in the middle of this dive and interrupt the move, but Rebel just… forgot I guess? This made Shelly pause her momentum of 2 miles per hour running to the outside and just stop on the ropes. Rebel then proceeds to just get this nightmare over with by rolling Shelly up in the ring and pinning her. The most amazing part of this match was that it was pre taped and nobody decided to just cut it from airing.

Runners Up: Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose (Extreme Rules), Knockout Gauntlet Match, Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania), Roman Reigns vs. Triple H (WrestleMania)

Most Improved- Matt Hardy

Previous Winners: 2015 - Tetsuya Naito | 2014 - Tyson Kidd

(Written by @recroulette)

Ask wrestling fans and a lot will tell you that wrestling has never been better. New Japan is still on top, Lucha Underground is still going strong, and of course even the WWE has a ton of great talent. However, my favorite wrestling material of the year came from the perennial laughingstock known as TNA. The saga of the House of Hardy has easily been the best stuff in wrestling for me, and it is all spearheaded by Broken Matt Hardy.

The Final Deletion, Delete or Decay, Delete or Treat, The Great War, Total Nonstop Deletion. Matt Hardy has been the mind behind some of the best stuff TNA has put out in years if not ever, and easily the best stuff of the year. His wrestling ability…still isn’t great. But his new character combined with the amazing segments he wrote did the unthinkable. They made TNA worth watching. At the beginning of the year, if you told me that not only was Matt Hardy the best part of TNA, but TNA in general actually had decent material? I would have laughed you out of the building (Don’t get me wrong, the rest of TNA is still terrible!). Matt Hardy went from completely irrelevant to one of the best performers of 2016. If you watch a wrestling show and hear DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!, this is why.

Runners Up: The Miz, SANADA, The Revival, Cedric Alexander

News of the Year - Daniel Bryan Retirement

Previous Winners: 2015 - Hulk Hogan's racist rant being leaked

(Written by @boom_goes_the_dynamite)

One year ago this February one of this thread’s favorite wrestlers was forced into retirement. Daniel Bryan, after dealing with injuries to the neck and concussion-like symptoms announced his retirement on the February 8th episode of Raw. As a huge Daniel Bryan fan I was hoping for the swerve, that this was all one big lie, imagine Bryan in the salmon-colored suit, ala Mark Henry. But alas it was not to come and Bryan was forced to step away from in-ring competition, in what was to me one of the best wrestling retirement speeches ever. I know for others their favorite is Ric Flair or Edge, but Bryan got me back into wrestling in a way I never had before.

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Daniel Bryan was my favorite wrestler and I’ll admit he wasn’t the greatest promo, but I feel like he is one of the best at making you feel something when he can speak his own words. His retirement speech is great evidence to this. Throughout the whole 15+ minutes, you can tell how much retiring hurts him and how much he truly loves to put on a great performance in the ring. The problem is that drive may have contributed to his early retirement and that just makes it all sting the more. It is knowing all this that makes you tear up when you watch his retirement speech. You know you don’t want it, he doesn’t want it, the WWE probably doesn’t want it, but you know it’s for the best. Bryan didn’t wrestle the safest style but it was crazy entertaining, and maybe that’s why he became so beloved wherever he went, putting it all out there and leaving the crowd entertained. Hell, I thought his match with Kane after his WrestleMania 30 win was great in so many different ways, even though I recognize most thought it was crap.

The retirement of Daniel Bryan receives News of the Year for reasons beyond Bryan being one of the “Greatest of All Times” (my opinion there for sure), but also for the impact he made on the business as well as what his retirement marked. If it weren’t for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk I don’t think we would see so many guys in NXT and on the main roster who came up from the Indies. Do we really think AJ Styles would be main eventing WWE PPVs if it weren’t for guys like Daniel Bryan changing minds in the WWE front office? Guys like Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, etc would probably be in TNA or the indies if it weren’t for Bryan and Punk changing opinions on the smaller wrestler.

Bryan’s retirement feels like an end of an era. Today guys like Punk and Bryan aren’t wrestling anymore and Cena is now a part-timer, although you could argue a lot of this change over happened much earlier, Bryan’s retirement really feels like the time things drastically changed. In many ways this new era is off to a better start than the last, I mean who would have known that Smackdown would be one of the best shows they put out? However, it is really bitter sweet that Daniel Bryan isn’t wrestling in it, but at least we get him being the best ever on Talking Smack, so that’s something at least.

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Oh and he's going to be a father too! Imagine Daniel Bryan being your dad.

PS: Bryan is still the most over guy in the whole main roster, that either speaks to how good he was, how bad WWE is at making new stars, or a combination of the two.

Runners Up: The Slow and Painful Death of TNA, NJPW Talent Going to WWE, Brand Split, and Paige and Del Rio Drama

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