Brass Ring Awards 2015 Day 1

Day 1 of the Brass Ring Awards

Breakout Star - Chad Gable

(written by @turboman)

Chad Gable came into wrestling as an accomplished amateur wrestler who was a part of the American Olympic wrestling team in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Anytime somebody with a amateur background decides to go with Pro Wrestling, they usually have a pretty good chance of catching on early and with Gable it seems to have happened faster than normal. He was signed to start training in NXT in 2013 and within his first year of being a part of the weekly roster, he's already one of the most liked people in the company.

The reason for this is because his ringwork/chain wrestling is incredibly fluid and Gable is surprisingly very strong and is pretty easily able to lift people twice his size. It's hard not to look at him and see nothing but potential in him, and it helps that he's also very charismatic and willing to put himself out there.

Runners Up: Mike Bailey, Jason Jordan, Pentagon Jr, Dana Brooke

Spot of the Year

(written by @drdarkstryfe)

AJ Styles and Kota Ibushi met on April 5th in the main event of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Invasion Attack show for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Styles entered the show as the defending champion; defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi for his second reign as the world champion. His first title defense opponent was decided by the New Japan Cup; a tournament held that gives the winner a shot at any heavyweight title in NJPW. Kota Ibushi won that right to challenge, and the two faced off in Tokyo at the Ryougoku Sumo Hall.

The 27 minute match was a fierce back and forth that displayed the talants of the two men. After a top rope Hurricarana and powerbomb, Ibushi was on the offensive. He climbed to the top rope, poised to strike with his Pheonix Splash finisher, when Kenny Omega climbed the ring to distract Ibushi.

Omega did not directly interfere with the match, but the hesitation gave Styles enough to time to get to his feet. Ibushi did not see him, and went through with the Phoenix Splash, leading to an incredible and jawdropping feat of strength by AJ Styles. Catching the flying and twisting Ibushi, Styles was able to get him into his finisher and hit the Styles Clash, getting the pinfall victory.

Wrestling is at its best when two individuals get to display what they do best. Ibushi and Styles, two names that will appear later in these awards, pulled off a move that shows off just why these two men are some of the best in the world.

Runners Up(Seriously, check out all of these): Randy Orton reverses a Curb Stomp into an RKO, SOS off a ladder through a ladder, Cross Body off of Dario Cueto's office, Aerostar diving off of the lighting rig

The Wrestling Thread Moment of the Year™ - Shoot Dragon

(written by @turboman)

When Lucha Underground began late last year, there was a lot to like. Many people like myself who were not familiar at all with Mexican promotions were able to be introduced to many great Mexican wrestlers, the Lucha style of wrestling was a welcome alternative to what most people watched weekly, and the backstage promos abandoned what WWE and every other wrestling company has been doing for the past 25 years and are instead shot like they are scenes in a movie. There was a good amount of cheese in these backstage scenes to enjoy during the breaks in between matches... but there was a certain moment that really opened up the show to do whatever the fuck they wanted with the story.

Drago had accepted a match against Prince Puma for the World Title on the condition that if he lost he was banished from The Temple. In the end, Drago ended up losing. Dario is backstage as he is leaving, and then Drago walks outside and a giant ball of fire appears. "Wait, what's that fireball supposed to mean? Did he explode?" said everybody, "Oh, I guess he's literally a dragon and that's INSANE" said everybody five seconds after.

This opened the door for Lucha Underground to go anywhere they want to.

So while it might not be the craziest moment, Drago turning into a dragon really opened up a show from a storytelling perspective and made Lucha Underground go from a great show to an AMAZING show.

(moment is at the end of video below if it automatically doesn't take you to it)

Runners Up: Lucha Underground closing montage, Seth Rollins cashes in at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar rips off a car door and throws it into the crowd, Pentagon Jr.'s master reveals himself

News of the Year: Hulk Hogan is a racist, WWE not okay with that.

(written by @recspec)

It's hard to believe that Hulk Hogan posing in the ring with Snoop Dogg happened earlier this year, soaking in the cheers, like he would be doing this forever. Since then, tapes recorded years ago were released of Hulk Hogan saying some despicable racist things and he was fired.

One reason this was such a big deal was WWE's reacting with damnatio memorae, erasing him from history like he was one of Stalin's enemies. Not only was he fired from the company, all references and merchandise were wiped from WWE's website. WWE had only done that to one other person, and he murdered his wife and son. The company's reaction was actually a pretty big surprise, considering how much they have gone out of their way to ignore actions of some of their stars in the past. Maybe it was how big the news was and how damning it was.

What was said in the tapes was so direct, there is no way you could rationalize or excuse it. It's nearly impossible to misinterpret stuff like "I guess we're all a little racist. Fucking n*****." and that was only a small part of what was on those tapes. Maybe Terry Bollea (Hulk's real name) can change, and I hope he can, but Hulk Hogan's racism being outed and his firing by WWE was the biggest news of the year.

Runners Up: Raw Ratings hitting a new low, EVERYONE GOT INJURED, AAA having the worst week ever, WWE signs Samoa Joe/Kana/Uhaa Nation

Best Promotion - Lucha Underground

(written by @turboman)

If you've managed to go through 2015 without watching Lucha Underground, then you're simply missing out. I hate hearing the phrase "wrestling is bad today" when the person only watches WWE. That's like saying "music is terrible today" because they only listen to mainstream pop songs. Lucha Underground has brought in a completely fresh way of filming a pro wrestling show in the modern era. It features storytelling shot like stylistic movies (Think Robert Rodriguez… LU is on his television channel after all), a great mix of wrestlers from Mexico and the American independents, and surprisingly great commentary from Matt Striker and Vampiro.

A few things I love about LU:

Dario Cueto. He is the "heel authority figure" for Lucha Underground. But instead of the normal wrestling trope where the authority figure wants to screw over the faces on every show, Dario Cueto only has one goal in mind: to entertain the crowd. After all, it is a business and the crowd is the key contributor to his business. What a novel concept, right?

The Temple. The entire season is shot in one area and it was fun to watch every single nook and cranny of the place be used in some way by the end of the season. Small details like a live mariachi band playing during the commercial breaks really gave the setting some life. The place just kind of felt like a home in some weird way by the end of the season. Really can't wait to see what the new temple will look like in Season 2.

Memorable Moments. Lucha Underground has created a universe for themselves where their only limitation is their imagination, and I've talked briefly about that in the entry above with Drago. But the things that solidifies my love with this show is how masterfully crafted some moments of the show are during the matches. A part of Prince Puma's backstory is that his parents died in an earthquake, and when Mil Muertes hits his finishing move on Puma from the top rope, the camera shakes VIOLENTLY. The reaction shot to Son of Havoc dumping Ivalisse will never not be hilarious. Alberto El Patron throwing Johnny Mundo through Dario Cueto's office window while Dario's doing some office work, he's confused at first and then realizes Mundo turned heel and he becomes filled with so much joy...

I feel like I don't get these things much in wrestling anymore. Lucha Underground is so cheesy and fun that it's impossible not to love some of the characters on the show. The race wasn't even close this year, Lucha Underground is the top dog in the wrestling world right now when it comes to quality.

Runners Up: NXT, PWG, NJPW, Dragon Gate

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