Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote each of the 2016 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Mic Work along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
(1) Chris Jericho (26 percent)
(2) The Miz (26 percent)
(3) Matt Hardy (13 perent)
(4) Enzo Amore (9 percent)
(5) Tie: Paul Heyman and Kevin Owens (8 percent)
Others: 18 percent
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: Your vote matters! Jericho beat Miz by a single vote. The Miz has been a gifted talker for years. What’s the difference? He was given an edge. He abandoned the A-Lister and “money maker” mid-card heel type gimmicks and played it straight. His Talking Smack argument with Daniel Bryan was among the best exchanges of the year, and it’s just a shame it can’t lead to a match. Jericho was as creative and witty as ever this year. And while I wish the main event heels went for more heat than he and Owens did at times, he was absolutely one of the most entertaining acts of the year. TNA excelled in this area. Broken Matt Hardy shined, Maria Kanellis-Bennett deserved a top five finish, Lashley is the most improved talker in the business, Mike Bennett was very good, and Eli Drake started to put things together. Creative team member Dave Lagana was said to be the guy who wrote most of the dialogue. Will some of those wrestlers take a step back without him or will they step up their game now that they have more freedom to put things into their own words?
Darren Gutteridge’s Thoughts: When most heels couldn’t decided if they wanted to be mean or funny, and when most babyfaces thought insulting people is the fastest way into fans hearts, Samoa Joe showed the virtues of having a clear focus in mind and driving it home. Joe dedicated himself to being evil, sadistic, and inevitable during a golden year for promo work on NXT. Even as the “face” of NXT transitioned from Finn Bálor to Shinsuke Nakamura, Joe was the constant, and the sole heel on top of the mountain. You can only maintain that position though being a compelling character, and Joe delivered in spades.
John Moore’s Thoughts: I looked at this year’s list of mic workers and noticed that it was a bit of an off year for mic work. Your usual names of Paul Heyman or Kevin Owens were good, but didn’t have a chance to showcase the best of what they could do. Names like AJ Styles or Maria got to show sides of them that we never knew they had, especially Maria who became one of the strongest heels in pro wrestling. There was someone who rose higher. I used to call this guy the walking mannequin on promos because he got lost and was stuck with one facial expression. Now he’s one of the scariest heels out there and he can carry long promo segments by himself. Ultimately, when he speaks, you listen. I’m talking about Bobby Lashley who has become one of the most believable and enjoyable promos to watch in pro wrestling. It’s not in a Chris Jericho (who also had a good year) way, but he plays the bad guy really well. He also backs up what he says in the ring.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: Who’s been better on the mic this year than The Miz? Watch his iconic Talking Smack promo, then watch every other promo he delivered in 2016. The Miz brought himself back from the brink of irrelevance and has been a highlight of wrestling. Try telling me I’d say this a year ago and I would have laughed at you.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: The best mic work in 2016 belonged to The Miz. His Intercontinental Championship run and move to Smackdown revitalized him, because they needed him to be more than a pest heel to carry major segments on Tuesdays, and he has delivered with some of the most consistently good mic work in Wrestling this year. His work on Talking Smack has had people buzzing, and his dressing down of Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler at points in the latter half of 2016 was something to behold.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: It’s not been a great year for promo work truth be told. There have been a lot of wrestlers living up to the standards you would expect and a lot of ho-hum promo performances. However, The Miz, particularly on Talking Smack, was just outstanding and turned his character from a whiny heel into someone that you hated.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: “Broken” Matt Hardy takes this one for me. His mic work wasn’t flawless nor will it go down as historically top-level work, but there’s no denying that Broken Matt created more transcendent buzz, intrigue, and memorable moments on the mic than anyone else in the wrestling world (or Broken Universe) this year.