The Faction Year In Review: The Faction Awards (pt 3)

chris-jericho-the-listCATCHPHRASE OF THE YEAR
“You Just Made The List” (CHRIS JERICHO)

There are many arguments that can be made for Chris Jericho making the Comeback of the Year. Watching both his in ring work and his mic skills, one forgets that Jericho is a 26 year veteran of the squared circle. He holds the record for the most Intercontinental Title reigns with 9 championships to his credit.

However, it’s his partnership and work with WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens that fueled a resurgence in his career, birthing the Catchphrase of the Year!! “You Just Made The List” is in reference to Jericho’s fictitious list of those who have offended him in some way, dubbed The List of Jericho. Similarly to the comedic relief of his List of 1,003 Holds that he debuted during his time in WCW, this list was designed to create an adversarial relationship with the audience. Instead, it caught on and caused the audience to cheer the fact that ANYONE made the dreaded “list”.

Add this to a plethora of Jericho catchphrases including “You Stupid Idiot”, “It”, and “The Gift of Jericho….drink it in” all from this year. Though he didn’t wear championship gold this year, these catchphrases may have cemented his place as a first-ballot entry into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Honorable Mention:
“Glorious” | Bobby Roode (31%)
“DELETE” | Broken Matt Hardy  (25%)
“New Day Rocks” | The New Day (25%)

 

WORST STORYLINE
JAMES ELLSWORTH

For all of the great moments in the sport this year, there are a number we would love to forget. Fans of The Faction voted that at the top of the list of storylines we’d like to forget involved all things James Ellsworth. The first taste we had of Ellsworth was as enhancement talent against Brawn Strowman. Then he shows up on Smackdown Live as a tag team partner of WWE Champion AJ Styles, in an attempt to put Styles at a disadvantage. He would be squashed before the match by The Miz.

So the joke should be over, right?! Wrong.

james-ellsworthIn another attempt to humiliate AJ Styles, Ellsworth ends up in a one-on-one match against Styles with Dean Ambrose as special guest referee. Following two Dirty Deeds from Ambrose, Ellsworth pins AJ Styles. In what alternate universe does THIS make sense?!

Okay, so one win by this enhancement talent doesn’t make him a main eventer right? He’s no Sean Waltman. He’s not even Barry Horowitz. Yet, he’s now an active part of this Dean Ambrose/AJ Styles story. Before it’s all said and done, Ellsworth holds three victories over AJ Styles including a Ladder Match to win a WWE World Title Match.

Pause: So, Dean Ambrose and John Cena combined do not have three victories over AJ Styles but an enhancement talent with no chin has THREE wins over the WWE Champion?

Ellsworth has been gifted a WWE contract after his T-shirt became a best seller at WWE Shop. Still merchandise sales don’t equate to wrestling skills and in NO universe should James Ellsworth have a victory over AJ Styles, let alone three. Perhaps the only shred of justice is that Styles demolished Ellsworth in less than two minutes in their title match.

May we never see Ellsworth or anything like him again in the WWE or anywhere else.

Honorable Mention:
Make Darren Young Great Again (38%)
The League Of Nations (38%)
The Build Up to The Golden Truth (38%)

 

goldberg-vs-lesnar-survivor-series-promoBIGGEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR
GOLDBERG SQUASHES BROCK LESNAR

2016 was FILLED with unpredictable moments in what can, at times, be a rather predictable sport. Wrestling fans these days can be very difficult to surprise but the year was chock full of surprises and BIG moments. While the year brought us the return of Shane McMahon, the WWE Brand extension, Broken Matt Hardy and The Final Deletion, it was Goldberg vs. Lesnar that proved to be the Biggest Moment of The Year for fans of The Faction.

A rematch that was 12 years in the making had garnered the most fanfare of the year. The idea of a returning Goldberg that had not entered the squared circle since Wrestlemania 20 was intriguing to many. Would he look like the Goldberg that dominated WCW or follow the pattern of many returning wrestlers whose best days in the ring were behind them?

The promos leading up to the match still left many unsure. During Goldberg’s first taste of physical action in a spat with Rusev, Goldberg lost his footing and his first spears onto Rusev and Paul Heyman lacked the fervor of spears gone by. Yet, Goldberg’s promos exuded a passion and authenticity that were missing during his previous WCW and WWE tenures. It seemed as though Goldberg came back with a mission and purpose. So even the skeptics began to believe in Goldberg.

However, Brock Lesnar has been the WWE’s indestructible monster. The man who broke The Undertaker’s 20 year Wrestlemania winning streak and bullied everyone in his path could not POSSIBLY succumb to an athlete who has been gone for 12 years. Add to that, Lesnar had EVERYTHING to gain from this match as Goldberg was the lone blemish on Lesnar’s record that he had yet to avenge.

Goldberg’s “one-time only” return was set for the 30th annual Survivor Series in November, a pay-per-view event that featured brand war between Raw and Smackdown Live. Goldberg and Lesnar were the main event that literally ended faster than it started. Less than 90 seconds after the bell rang to start the match, it was over. In classic Goldberg form, it took two spears and a jackhammer to vanquish The Beast and send the wrestling world into an absolute frenzy!!

While many debate if it made sense or if it was the right move, one thing is for certain: EVERYONE was talking, making it the Biggest Moment of 2016.

Honorable Mention:
Triple H returns to Raw to help Kevin Owens win the WWE Universal Championship (50%)
AJ Styles wins the WWE World Title (31%)
Shane McMahon Leaps Off of Hell In A Cell (25%)
Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks in the first women’s Hell In A Cell (25%)

 

mauro-ranalloANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR
MAURO RANALLO

The role of color commentary in pro wrestling has been vital to helping connect the audience to a performer. Over the years, legendary announcers such as Gordon Solie, Jim Ross, and Gorilla Monsoon have been masterful parts of TV’s wrestling package. Each era seems to be defined by a voice or an announcing team that fills in the blanks for new and existing fans.

This year, the Announcer of The Year category was hotly contested, with the winner being literally separated by one vote. The WWE took some chances this year with the introduction of the famed Mauro Ranallo to announcing booth. Ranallo brought in a significant history of work in both boxing and MMA. However, it was his recent work for New Japan Pro Wrestling that brought great excitement to wrestling fans who looked forward to his passion, precision, and wit to be added to the Smackdown Live brand.

As the new voice of Smackdown, Ranallo helped to add an exuberance to the brand that was facing its share of stale moments. The addition of Ranallo, along with Smackdown going to a live format following the brand extension helped to change the face and sound of the Blue Brand.

Ranallo’s influence didn’t stop there as he teamed with Daniel Bryan to become the voices of the Cruiserweight Classic this summer. This may have been the best fit for the Canadian-bred announcer, whose vast knowledge of independent and international superstars helped to connect the dots for WWE fans, many of whom were being introduced to the Cruiserweight stars for the first time. Following the CWC, Ranallo would then be joined by Corey Graves and Austin Aries to provide the stories for WWE’s newest brand, 205 Live. The transition made perfect sense as 205 Live is the weekly extension of the Cruiserweight Classic.

Hopefully this year is the start of a long lasting relationship between Ranallo and WWE.

Honorable Mention:
Corey Graves | NXT, Raw, 205 Live (38%)
John “Bradshaw” Layfield | Smackdown Live (31%)
Jim Ross | New Japan Pro Wrestling (25%)

ADDITIONAL AWARDS:
Best Champion: AJ Styles
Please Retire (or Resign): Byron Saxton
Most Underutilized Wrestler: Cody Rhodes, Apollo Crews, Bray Wyatt (tie)
Most Disappointing Wrester: The Ascension

What a year 2016 has been for the world of Pro Wrestling!! It will definitely go down in history as a game changing and wildly unpredictable year. What will 2017 hold? Entertainment guru and pro wrestling enthusiast Jawn Murray has a wishlist of the new year. Check out his New Year’s Wrestle-Solutions!

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