Dot Net Awards: 2014 Pro Wrestling MVP
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 MVP. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.
(1) Seth Rollins: 36 percent
(2) Brock Lesnar: 17 percent
(3) Paul Heyman: 11 percent
(4) Daniel Bryan: 11 percent
(5) John Cena: 6 percent
Others: 19 percent
Jason Powell's Thoughts: I can make a case for everyone who finished in the top five. So much of this is positioning, and Cena is positioned in a way to be the MVP of the company in terms of being the real face of the company and having the most merchandise available. I believe Bryan could be the MVP, but WWE didn't give him a chance to be that until their backs were against the wall with the WrestleMania main event. Lesnar is extremely valuable as a part-time player, but there's something to be said for the year-round presence. As valuable as he is, Heyman could be even more valuable if he were given more creative opportunities. For instance, he's the guy I would place in charge of producing Roman Reigns going forward. Rollins was terrific throughout the year both with The Shield and he totally came into his own as a heel as the year went on. Unlike Will, I do feel that box office and merchandise sales are key factors in this award, thus my vote went to John Cena. He's been more valuable to WWE in the past and I think there are times when the way he is utilized does more harm than good, but he's still the face and top merchandise seller of the biggest pro wrestling company in the world.
Will Pruett's Thoughts: This is a challenging category for me. I could easily say John Cena is the most valuable, but it feels like a cop out. I see value as more than just a money-making wrestler. John Cena was not creatively valuable in 2014 and so he cannot win this award. This is another one I'd like to give to Daniel Bryan, but the injury mid-year hurts his case. For creative and monetary value, I have to vote for Seth Rollins, who proved to be a great member of The Shield and an even better heel. He carried WWE for the last part of 2014 when they wrote off their unaffordable monster heel. Rollins was fantastic in 2014.
Jake Barnett's Thoughts: This choice essentially boils down to Seth Rollins or Brock Lesnar. Brock had a fantastic year. He ended the streak in what will be one of the most iconic moments in WrestleMania history and gave John Cena his first real humiliating defeat. But he's not the MVP, since he didn't really show up enough in 2014 to overcome the break out performances of Seth Rollins. His turn on the other Shield members felt a little rushed at the time, but it's hard to imagine a better outcome for Seth Rollins than what transpired the last two thirds of 2014. He's grown up on the microphone, managed to become universally reviled in an era where heels are cheered no matter what, and on top of that he's arguably the best in ring competitor in WWE today.
Zack Zimmerman's Thoughts: Admittedly, 2014 doesn't feel like a strong year of candidates for MVP. I think of MVP as the one person which a company would be significantly worse off without. I look at New Japan and I see a plethora of meaningful guys. I look to NXT and see an ever-expanding pool of talent. I look to ROH and see a roster of undercarders. I don't look to TNA. And when I look to WWE in the absence of Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dwayne Johnson, and the WWE Championship, Seth Rollins stands out as the one constant in a mediocre week-to-week storytelling progression. His promos are often overscripted and carry on too long, but that's simply a result of the current WWE model. He does his best with everything he's given and he rarely if ever fails to deliver in the ring. Honorable mentions to Sami Zayn and John Cena.
Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: I was tempted to give this to Jay Briscoe, for shouldering the burden of both the ROH World Title picture and a fair amount of the tag division too, but decided in the end that Seth Rollins deserved this award for one reason – take him out as the lead heel of WWE, and everything would have fell apart. I hope he is justly rewarded in the future for stepping up when they needed him to.
Haydn Gleed's Thoughts: Difficult category as no one wrestler has stood out or been positioned in a way to be more valuable than anyone else. Be that by design or incompetence, I'll let conspiracy theorists take that one. As a result, we have to look at non-wrestlers for this category. William Regal has been outstanding in his role in NXT, and shows how authority figures can be used effectively in 2014. Paul Heyman is an obvious candidate as everything he has done being the advocate of Brock Lesnar has been phenomenal, but he is not a presence every week on television, and it could be argued that Lesnar would be over without him. Not as over as he is, but with his look and above average promo skills, he would still be successful. My choice for this award goes to Lana. Without her, the Rusev character would have burnt up and died a long time ago. She has taken what is essentially a one trick pony gimmick, and got Rusev over to the point where he was in the discussion amongst fans as possibly being an opponent for a babyface Brock Lesnar if they had gone that route at WrestleMania. Lana is one of these acts that you look forward to her segments at live shows so you can boo her but be entertained at the same time. I worry about the longevity of her character in 2015, but in 2014 there was no one more valuable to the success of an act.
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