Dot Net Awards: 2014 Best Match
Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2014 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for 2014 Best Match. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville (NXT R-Evolution): 20 percent
(2) The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family (Elimination Chamber): 17 percent
(3) Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (SummerSlam): 9 percent
(4) Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 30): 9 percent
(5) Samie Zayn vs. Cesaro (NXT Arrival): 8 percent
Others: 37 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: A great collection of matches round out the the top five this year, and next year will be even more interesting now that more North American viewers are exposed to New Japan Pro Wrestling. I attended The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family match in person and it was phenomenal. I loved the Zayn vs. Neville match. However, Lesnar vs. Cena was a game-changer at the time. WWE may have dropped the ball eight days later, but I loved the one-sided story of domination and how right it felt to have Lesnar cast as the most dominant man in wrestling, and how it left Cena in a vulnerable position that should have required a long redemption story. The match was unique and totally unexpected, and thus gets my vote. I've had people ask why Lesnar vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 wasn't on the list of candidates. There's more to a match than a shocking finish, and the body of the match left a lot to be desired.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: This was another year where the standard for in-ring action continued to rise. We saw great matches from Daniel Bryan in the first half of the year, Red Dragon in ROH, nearly everyone in NJPW, and many more. With all of this, the best match of the year came from WWE's developmental territory, NXT. Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover R-Evolution was the perfect combination of story and action combining. Zayn is an amazing sympathetic hero and his performance in this match was off the charts.
Jake Barnett's Thoughts: I'm a sucker for a good wrestling story, and the best story told in Pro Wrestling this year was Sami Zayn's quest to become NXT Champion. The final chapter of that story was told when Sami won that championship in what I consider to be the match of the year with Adrian Neville at the unfortunately named NXT Takeover: R Evolution show. The emotional range shown by Zayn throughout the match was fantastic, as was the ring work by both men, and Neville deserves a lot of credit for being a great foil through the story. This was one of those rare occasions in wrestling when the action in the ring was complimented by a very relatable and well told story that led to high stakes drama in the ring. Kudos to Zayn and Neville on an admirable effort.
Zack Zimmerman's Thoughts: Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville at R-Evolution - Great wrestling matches weren't hard to find in 2014 if you knew where to look. Yet of them all, no other match delivered as complete of a story as Sami Zayn's victory over Adrian Neville to finally capture the NXT Championship. The build was the culmination of over a year's worth of storytelling and the small character twists added in the final weeks were just what the program needed. The match itself was near perfection in terms of execution, and the drama of the match was more gripping than any match in recent memory. The emotional roller coaster in the ring and sheer adulation at the end was something that every wrestling fan deserves to experience. And the follow-up angle with Kevin Owens; the cherry on top of the MOTY sundae. Honorable mentions to The Young Bucks vs. Redragon from War of the Worlds, Okada vs. Nakamura in the G1 finals, too many NJPW matches to list.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Several candidates from WWE, NXT, ROH and NJPW this year, but I'm picking Bryan vs. Wyatt at the Rumble slightly ahead of Zayn vs. Neville at Takeover III. Quality wise they are on a par, but Bryan/Wyatt was the first match I ever watched in a bar with an engaged crowd (highly recommended), and largely set the ball rolling for the amazing Bryan turnaround that followed.
Haydn Gleed's Thoughts: The Daniel Bryan against Triple H match from WrestleMania stands up there as a terrific match, but it wasn't anything spectacular. The other big match that would be pushing for top spot would be John Cena against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam as that could have been a game changer. Alas 9 days later we realized it wasn't going to be. My favorite three matches of the year are Young Bucks against The Briscoes from September 2014 in Ring Of Honor, the three-way match on Smackdown in November between Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, but my match of the year has to be Sami Zayn against Adrian Neville. It was the perfect end to a classic but yet simple wrestling story, that played out nicely over many months. Their match at Takeover was action packed, but wasn't a spot-fest. They made every move count and had meaning, and they put the focus on the one thing that should be the most important thing to every wrestler, which is winning a title.
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