Dot Net Awards: 2014 Best Babyface
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2014 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Pro Wrestling Best Babyface. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) Daniel Bryan: 32 percent
(2) Sami Zayn: 20 percent
(3) Dean Ambrose: 13 percent
(4) Dolph Ziggler: 12 percent
(5) John Cena: 8 percent
Others: 15 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: Bryan's popularity caused Vince McMahon to cave. Stop and think about that for a moment. The ultra stubborn Vince McMahon abandoned his WrestleMania plan to include the 2014 people's champion. The injury that sidelined Bryan comes into play for me with some of the other awards, but not in this case. He was the key to WrestleMania. Next up is Sami Zayn. Like Bryan, he has a likability factor that draws in newcomers almost instantly. There's a big drop to No. 3. Cena had better years as a babyface, but he's still in my top five. Bully Ray didn't make the top five, but I give him honorable mention. He was the most hated wrestler in TNA, and he turned and quickly become the most popular. Detractors will argue that he was given more opportunities than others in the company because of the power he possessed. It doesn't matter to me because he never felt out of place as the star of the company. I realize that putting a woman through a table isn't exactly babyface material, but there's no denying that fans who attended TNA events connected with him.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: This award gets increasingly harder to pick as WWE continues to use their babyfaces to demonstrate misogyny, drug others, and not help their friends. One babyface managed to avoid these trappings and come off like an actual nice human being. This person is Sami Zayn. He never had to resort to cheating. Even when given the opportunity, he refused and won the NXT Championship his way. Zayn was likable, honorable, and everything a babyface in wrestling should be. Is there a better pure babyface in the world? No. No there is not.
Jake Barnett's Thoughts: Because of the incredible journey he went on in 2014, the best babyface in Pro Wrestling in 2014 was Sami Zayn. There wasn't another babyface that showed more growth, resisted more temptation, or made a stronger connection to the audience. It's a credit to Sami and the writers on NXT that they were willing to be patient enough with his story that Sami was able to develop great fire and the ultimate payoff was one of the best moments of 2014 period.
Zack Zimmerman's Thoughts: Tell me of a wrestler who took viewers on a more thorough, emotionally captivating, and successful story than Sami Zayn. Can't? Me neither. He oozes an innate likability and a charisma that is truly remarkable. He works from underneath as well as any babyface in wrestling, and because of him being him, fans are with him through it all. The year-plus of coming up short culminating in the big year-end title win was perhaps the most fulfilling thing I've ever witnessed as a wrestling fan. Sami Zayn is something special; please WWE, don't ruin that.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: All day long, this is Sami Zayn. He enjoyed a 12 months anybody would be jealous of - performing in-front of adoring crowds, working on a hot show with great hands, and given a story of redemption & perseverance one year in the making. Yes, it wasn't to everyone's taste in an era of instant gratification, but boy was it worth the wait when he finally won the NXT Title in December. Booked right, he can be just as over as Bryan in a few years.
Haydn Gleed's Thoughts: Although I've said previously that you couldn't give Daniel Bryan the award for best wrestler or best in-ring worker because of the injury interruption, there is no way you can give the award to anyone else for best babyface. The man is just so gosh darn likable it's impossible not to want to see him do well, and that translated in 2014 to people getting behind him and essentially changing the course of WWE. No one else has come close to the popularity of this man despite huge admiration amongst wrestling fans for Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose to name but two wrestlers. Has Daniel been a great babyface? I would like to see more fire from him when his back is against the wall, but his persona is a happy go lucky type character appeals to people.
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