Dot Net Awards: 2013 Best Babyface

Posted in: 2013 Awards, MUST-READ LISTING
Feb 5, 2014 - 10:15 AM

Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2013 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for 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: 54 percent
(2) C.M. Punk: 11 percent
(3) John Cena: 11 percent
(4) A.J. Styles: 5 percent
(5) Goldust: 4 percent
Others: 25 percent

Jason Powell's Thoughts: What a difference a year makes. The Rock performed well last year and dropped out of the top five. My vote goes to Bryan. Cena may be the Dudley Doo-Right of WWE, but half the fans dig him and the other half can't stand him. The formula works for him, but I have to go with the readers who went with Daniel Bryan. No one in wrestling was more over with the live crowds than Bryan was this year. Could it have been better? Yes, for the reasons Will mentions below, but I'm still going with the guy the fans refuse to give up on despite how many times the promotion has tried telling them to do so.

Chris Shore's Thoughts: For me, Best Babyface is about the guy who gets the biggest babyface reaction consistently from the crowds. That automatically eliminates John Cena as he draws at least as many boos as he does cheers.  Everyone else is fair game then, but the standard points to one guy: Daniel Bryan. It's sometimes hard to write these awards and not get colored by what is currently happening on TV, but here it doesn't matter. Bryan's reactions today are the same, if somewhat stronger, than they were all of last year, even when he was in that weird half heel/half babyface spot at the beginning of his tag run with Kane. At the rate things are going, I'm guessing he wins this award again next year too.

Will Pruett's Thoughts: This is a tough one for me. The readers picked Daniel Bryan. I am picking Daniel Bryan, but I am not without qualms. For the first half of the year, Bryan broke out as a part of an amazing series of six man tags against The Shield. Then, he took off as a singles performer, garnered an amazing amount of crowd support, put on a great match at SummerSlam against John Cena, and captured the WWE Championship. Then, everything went wrong. Even though Bryan was still over as a babyface, he didn't fight like one. He didn't have the fire a babyface should. He never got angry. Bryan was just kind of there letting things happen to him. He was the best babyface in wrestling this year, but only because if was a bad year for babyfaces.

Zack Zimmerman's Thoughts: This was a tough year for babyfaces. We've seen one belittled and called a troll, we've watched another knock out old men multiple times, and we've seen several flounder in irrelevance. The way WWE portrays the majority of characters and books a majority of stories, it's hard for babyfaces not names John Cena to succeed. However, the overwhelming and undeniable fan adulation for Daniel Bryan makes him the runaway winner of the Best Babyface award. Little-thanks to WWE's efforts, Daniel Bryan won over the crowd with everything that a traditional babyface stands for: attitude, charisma, work, and a hell of a catchy chant. I don’t expect this to be the last time he wins the award either. Honorable mention goes to NXT's Sami Zayn who has been a very natural and pleasant babyface since his debut.

Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: Bryan was a man for all seasons this year. He struck comedy gold in his team with Kane, showing sides of his game that WWE fans had never seen before. Not to rest on his laurels, he then switched gears to being the fiery underdog from the Indies for his singles run post-Extreme Rules, and he took the goodwill generated during his Tag title run and turned it into genuine love. He endeared himself to hardcore and casual fans alike by bringing them along for the ride during his almost always above average matches, giving them a fun chant to scream throughout his late match flurries. While it may all seem simple on paper, Bryan has taken these basic ideas and executed them perfectly, to the point that he is no longer an internet darling – he's the biggest good guy in the entire sport.

Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: As much as I've tried to go outside the box with some of my year-end picks, this category leaves almost no room for creative thinking. Daniel Bryan became arguably WWE's most popular star and his presence created a revolution for how fans think and behave. He was the story of the second half of 2013 and continues to ascend with each perceived snub handed to him by WWE management. Bryan's character became somewhat frustrating as he let poor treatment from authority go without an assertive response, but that scarcely damaged him in the eyes of most supporters. Bryan is the new anti-establishment in WWE, a character format that often works and leads to money. If and when the true payoff occurs, Bryan's following could become even more immense.

Ryan Kester's Thoughts: This is a tougher category to pick than the poll results would suggest. My natural inclination is to go with John Cena considering his character consistency, but Daniel Bryan was easily the man that received the most consistent and loudest pops throughout the year. The only issue is, that isn't because of Bryan's character, that's because of the stories he's been in and the investment of the WWE audience. Bryan's character is actually considerably lacking and something I hope improves considerably in 2014. Still, there's no arguing with how the man has managed to make people fall in love with him, even with the limited character development, so he takes my pick for 2013's best face.

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