Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote each of the 2016 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Female Wrestler along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
(1) Charlotte (47 percent)
(2) Sasha Banks (15 percent)
(3) Asuka (12 percent)
(4) Becky Lynch (8 percent)
(5) Alexa Bliss (5 percent)
Others: 13 percent
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: I heard from a few readers who questioned the lack of TNA women included in the list of candidates. Each year, I mistakenly exclude a deserving nominee from a category. This year it was Jade, who certainly deserved that recognition. However, while I enjoyed many of the TNA women from a personality standpoint, I didn’t find it to be a great year for the TNA women in the ring. Rosemary received some email votes and she was a terrific personality, but she was in a lot of forgettable mixed tag matches, and really didn’t start her singles run until late in the year. Having explained that, I give the nod to Charlotte for her impressive run of matches with Sasha Banks. Becky Lynch is probably the best of the Four Horsewomen of NXT, but she lacked the strong rival. That said, she also carried the green Alexa Bliss to some good matches and a case can certainly be made for getting the top spot. As much as I enjoy Bliss’s mic work, I don’t think she belongs in the top five for best women’s wrestler at this point in her career, but she clearly benefitted from being on a higher profile show compared to some of the more deserving women.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: WWE has done a lot for Women’s Wrestling over the last year, so my answer will focus on them. Charlotte has an impressive resume of big matches, particularly most of her matches with Sasha Banks. I’m going to look beyond Charlotte and say the best women’s wrestler has been Becky Lynch. Lynch has been the anchor of Smackdown’s Women’s Division. She also provided the first true babyface foe for Charlotte and helped Charlotte find herself.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: Well, what we feared would happen is on the way to happening in terms of Bayley being wasted on the main roster, but in all fairness she was in NXT far longer in 2016 than perhaps she needed to be. If she had the breakout year she should have had, there’s no doubt she would be in contention again this year for a Dottie. However, Charlotte has been consistently good to excellent in the ring all year therefore I can’t look past Ric Flair’s daughter as the female wrestler of the year.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: Asuka had a phenomenal year from start to finish. She had ran through the NXT Women’s division like a buzzsaw, and has consistently impressed with her unmatched in ring skills, swagger, and bold character work that has made her one of the most recognizable entities of the NXT Brand. It would be easy to pick one of the Four Horsewomen to go here, because they were all deserving, but I don’t think any of them delivered as consistently or as convincingly in all the facets of their game.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: I think I have to give it to Becky Lynch out of sheer consistency. Her highs weren’t quite as high as Charlotte and Sasha’s, but her lows were certainly not as low. Becky is a fiery promo who they generally don’t let overstay her welcome, she gets strong reactions everywhere, and she delivers in the ring. The same can’t be said for everyone in this conversation, which is why Becky is the winner in my book.
Darren Gutteridge’s Thoughts: I may be in the minority, but I don’t agree that this has been an amazing year for women’s wrestling. A groundbreaking year, certainly, with a lot of long overdue and necessary progress throughout. But I think 2016 will be remembered for the barriers it broke down, and not its quality storylines or in-ring work. Sasha Banks gets my vote for delivering the best moments, but I hope 2016 is seen as a great wind up, before 2017 sees Sasha and the rest of the talented division smash it out of the park (legitimately this time!).
John Moore’s Thoughts: I’m going with Becky here, but almost by default. Sasha Banks and Charlotte had some good matches, but it was a bit overkill with all of the gimmick matches they were placed in. Sasha Banks can also be a little cringeworthy with all of the risks she takes in her matches. Asuka would be a good pick, but she suffers from the same problem that Gail Kim usually has in TNA, it’s Asuka and nobody else on her roster.