Dot Net Awards: 2013 Biggest News Story

Posted in: 2013 Awards, MUST-READ LISTING
Feb 5, 2014 - 12:14 PM

Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2013 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Biggest News Stories. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting. You can check out the past winners in our Awards section.

(1) Daniel Bryan's rise to WWE pay-per-view main event status: 23 percent
(2) WWE Network unofficially revealed as an over the top product: 12 percent
(3) Darren Young becomes the first openly gay act member of the WWE roster: 12 percent
(4) Bruno Sammartino enters the WWE Hall of Fame: 10 percent
(5) Jim Ross "retires" from WWE: 7 percent
Others: 36 percent

Jason Powell's Thoughts: This was the year of Daniel Bryan in so many ways. So while the WWE Network will be a bigger long term story for the future of WWE and the pro wrestling industry, I'm cool with readers going with Bryan. Plus, I suspect that the WWE Network launch will be the biggest story of 2014, but I guess you never know what's going to pop up. Kudos to WWE for the way the Young announcement was handled. Okay, so the staged for TMZ announcement was a little quirky, but I applaud Young for the courage it took, and I applaud WWE for not exploiting it on their television shows. I have mixed emotions about Bruno returning. It was cool to see him accept the honor, yet I also suspect that it had a lot to do with the paycheck. Ross's forced retirement was just another case of Vince McMahon's bizarre treatment of one of his most valuable employees.

Chris Shore's Thoughts: It's been an interesting year for wrestling. From the return of Bruno Sammartino to the fold in WWE to the loss of AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett in TNA, there has been plenty to keep us watching behind the scenes. Most of the things on this list are worthy as big news stories, but I have to say that the WWE Network news was the biggest of the year, however sparse it may have been. The Network was announced in late 2012, and we didn’t get full details until the start of this year, but it has been the one story we have focused more on than anything else, and rightfully so. The advent of the Network will be the biggest news story next year as well because it does change the landscape of wrestling, and will do so in ways we have not yet even considered.

Will Pruett's Thoughts: While there were many positive news stories this year, I have to go a little negative with this one. Nothing will affect the wrestling industry for years to come as much as the TNA roster and budget cuts of 2013 will. They went from a second place wrestling company with recognizable stars and a touring schedule to the second place (by default) company with a tyrannical owner and almost no one else you've heard of. TNA is shrinking and will continue to shrink. They managed to reach a money wasting breaking point.

Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: I don’t think there was a bigger story than the launch of the WWE Network. While there are a great many major news items that altered the plans of wrestling promotions, this news item is a paradigm shift in how people perceive the value of pro wrestling. It’s a huge gamble for Vince McMahon and the WWE, but with great risk can come great reward. How the network plays out post launch and throughout the rest of 2014 may signal a sea change in how the entire business of pro wrestling approaches the future.

Zack Zimmerman's thoughts: This is a peculiar one because no news story from 2013 jumps out as particularly significant. The official WWE Network presentation at the CES is the biggest news in recent memory and would be my sure-fire winner, but the CES was in January of 2014 and I'm not sure where the "deadline" falls. Daniel Bryan's progression has been fun (albeit frustrating at times) to watch, but it's more of a big-picture news story as it pertains to Daniel Bryan's career. It doesn't qualify to me as a specific news story that took place this year. Aside from those, Paul Bearer's death, Jim Ross' retirement, the Performance Center opening, Darren Young coming out, and the TNA budget cuts were all newsworthy in their own way, but none spectacularly so.

Darren Gutteridge's Thoughts: WWE Network unofficially revealed as an over the top product : Can I just start by saying I'm glad Darren Young coming out didn't become a bigger news story than it did? It's refreshing that the story was positive all round, as Lord knows it was rife with potential for bringing out unpopular opinions and moronic people stuck in the dark ages. But instead, everyone was happy for Young, accepted him for who he was, and got on with business. Go team! For me, nothing is bigger than the Network right now. It could be argued that the Performance Center is just as important, and while it may prove to be just as vital to the future of the WWE, it simply doesn't carry with it the paradigm shifting impact the Network does. Things are about to change, and I couldn't be more excited.

Jeff Lutz's Thoughts: Since the WWE Network launch news occurred earlier this year, my pick for top news story of 2013 is one that directly relates to the company's new direction. The opening of the WWE Performance Center signaled a change in philosophy for virtually every way the company goes about its business -- at least the wrestling side of it. If WWE didn't own a monopoly on the industry before, the performance center firmly established one. WWE explicitly said that its future stars would not rise through the ranks of independent organizations but be signed out of other sports and be nurtured within the WWE developmental system. The lasting effect on the indies hasn't yet been fully realized, but the performance center makes it difficult for lifelong wrestlers to find an opportunity in WWE. 

Ryan Kester's Thoughts: While the readers voted for Daniel Bryan's ascension, I have to say that the world title unification is the biggest news story of the year. That is easily the story that will impact WWE the most from both a roster and storytelling perspective for years to come, and it could be just what WWE needs to finally force themselves to pay more attention to the lower regions of the card.

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