Ring the Damn Bell’s Not the Slammys 2018 Pt.1

Slammy

Brian Damage, Padraic Toolan, Jamie Lithgow and Benjamin Trecroci

It’s that time of the year again, it’s time for our end of the year awards, our version of the Slammys. Similar to previous years, it’ll be divided into two parts. This week we’ll put forward our nominations for the following awards:

  • Best Newcomer
  • Worst Turn
  • Biggest Missed Opportunity
  • Best Pay Per View
  • Female superstar of the year
  • Superstar most needing a change of fortune
  • Most Likely to Succeed from NXT

So, without further ado.

Best Newcomer:

Brian: My vote has to go to ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey. Her impact on WWE’s Raw women’s division has been great. While still green in a few areas like promos and facial expressions, Rousey has really adapted rather quickly to inside the squared circle. Her name recognition alone has made her a “must see” talent that simply doesn’t happen with other newcomers.

Padraic: Ronda Rousey has taken the women’s division by storm and has taken to the business like few before. She’s got my vote.

Jamie: Jay White. I started my New Japan World subscription in January with White returning from his ROH excursion shortly before this. He is a true heel, just an absolute, unlikable dickhead. That said, he’s a hell of a wrestler too. He reminds me of a young Triple H and, for me, he has future WWE Champion written all over him if/when he ever makes the jump from NJPW.

Benjamin: Ronda Rousey. While the buzz on her has seemed to be cool off a bit, the debut of Ronda Rousey was a moment that will be remembered for a long time. Wasn’t sure how good she was going to be. But her performance at Wrestlemania really changed my opinion her. Still not a fan of her delivery on the mic at all or her personality. But it’s only been a year and the WWE is all in on her, so she isn’t going anywhere but up.

Worst Turn:

Brian: Braun Strowman’s heel turn simply did not make sense. He was organically growing as an extremely popular star and because he was pitted against WWE’s poster boy Roman Reigns…he was turned heel killing his momentum. It was no real big shock when they quickly turned him back to a babyface after Reign’s unfortunate announcement.

Padraic: It has to be Braun Strowman. Instead of continuing his upward momentum, they destroyed it with his heel turn.

Jamie: Braun Strowman. I don’t follow WWE’s main roster (especially Raw) too closely these days but I am aware that Braun Strowman has been a very popular figure for quite some time. So, imagine my surprise when I heard that he had turned heel. I still don’t really know why. Was it really just so The Shield could wrestle another group of three?

Benjamin: Braun Stroman. This made no sense. Strowman was universally over with crowds, he was the guy the crowds were telling WWE execs they wanted as The Man, so what happened? Turn him heel and throw him with Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler for a couple months. This only seemed like a move to keep Roman Reigns as the Golden Child.

Biggest Missed Opportunity:

Brian: Shinsuke Nakamura’s WWE run has been nothing short of disappointing. While I appreciate AJ Style’s long run as WWE champion, I feel that Nakamura should have been given a turn with the title. After a heel turn and several failed attempts at the championship, they threw Nakamura a bone and made him United States champion. Basically knocking him down to the mid-card.

Padraic: Not turning The Shield heel after SummerSlam. I was there live at the Raw after SummerSlam, and I thought that was a Shield heel turn. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to find out next week that it was Strowman who turned. We know now that this would have been derailed by Reigns’ leukaemia announcement, but taking that out of the equation, I think this would have been a great move.

Jamie: Shinsuke Nakamura not winning the WWE Title. If the plan was to keep the belt on AJ Styles all along, then why did WWE persist with his feud with Nakamura? Give Shinsuke his shot and get him away from that feud while there was still an appetite to revisit it down the line. Instead, Nakamura lost as a babyface and lost as a heel, multiple times. What was WWE playing at?!

Benjamin: The Shield turn heel? See above as to this move. The eruption from that SummerSlam Monday crowd when Rollins and Ambrose helped Reigns felt like something monumental had just happened but then…it wasn’t. Who knows what would’ve happened with Reigns and his health, but it definitely was a missed opportunity to see The Hounds of Justice run amok on Raw to keep the Universal Title on Their Big Dog. (Honorable Mention: Bailey & Sasha feud turned into a Hallmark Movie)

Best Pay Per View:

Brian: Wrestle Kingdom 12 has my vote as New Japan Pro Wrestling consistently knows how to use and push talent the right way. Kazuchicka Okada/ Tetsuya Naito, Kenny Omega/Chris Jericho and the Fatal Four Junior Heavyweight match made this show one of the very best of 2018.

Padraic: Evolution had everything.

Jamie: WrestleKingdom 12. There were some good NXT Takeovers, Evolution was good and New Japan put on some other very good shows. However, this years ‘Japanese Wrestlemania’ had everything. Every single match was at least good, with more than one arguably on the shortlist for match of the year.

Benjamin: Evolution. Honestly can’t believe this was as good as it was. Outside of Becky & Charlotte, there wasn’t much of a build to get excited. But from the opening bell, Evolution just felt different. From the darkened lighting, a hot crowd, excellent matches with meanings. It was very entertaining show and hopefully the beginning of an annual event.

Female Superstar of the Year:

Brian: I mean could it be anyone besides Becky Lynch? Let’s put aside her heel turn and winning the Smackdown title. Lynch has easily grown to become one of if not the most popular stars the WWE has either male or female. She truly is ‘The Man.’

Padraic: The Man.

Jamie: Becky Lynch. She is the reason I am paying more attention to Smackdown as of late. We’re slowly losing the stigma of performers being ‘good, for a woman’ because Becky Lynch is currently one of the best performers in WWE, full stop.

Benjamin: Becky Lynch. Always have been a Becky fan, she was always the bridesmaid though, twice to Carmella in the inaugural MITB matches. She was all but lost in the shuffle on SD Live until she finally became The Man. Keep the pedal to the medal with her. she’s straight fire!

Superstar Most Needing a Change of Fortune:

Brian: In this particular case, I am going to vote for two superstars…Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson aka The Revival. This happens to be one of the most talented and gifted tag teams in all of professional wrestling/Sports Entertainment. They are being grossly misused and underutilized.

Padraic: Chad Gable. He’s thrown into a tag team with one of the worst face characters in the company, Bobby Roode. God dammit, give BOTH of them something better!

Jamie: Asuka. What happened?! Obviously, she had to lose at some point, but she has also lost her aura too. Brock Lesnar loses, occasionally, but he is still presented as a killer. It’s like the powers that be on the main roster have brought Asuka in to be something different to what she was in NXT. That does happen with other superstars too, but Asuka was so good in her role that I figured she would be immune from slipping into the mid-card of the women’s division. Not so.

Benjamin: Bobby Roode. Honestly, don’t know if it’s too late for Bobby. Currently, he’s involved in a hot unrine storyline with Drave Maverick if that tells you anything. Not sure why he was brought to Raw in the first place. Holding out hope that Roode will once again become the Glorious One but probably wouldn’t put money on it.

Most Likely to Succeed from NXT:

Brian: Lars Sullivan is going to be in my estimation a can’t miss for WWE. It is not because he is the most gifted in the ring or will dazzle you with a great promo…he is big, strong and has that “look” that Vince McMahon and WWE still covets after all these years. The one thing Vince knows better than anything else and that is packaging big men to become superstars.

Padraic: Shayna Baszler. I think she arrives soon to help her fellow horsewoman Ronda Rousey sooner rather than later, and with the momentum, the women’s division has right now, it’ll be a hot angle.

Jamie: Shayna Baszler. I’m playing it safe here. I’d fancy her to succeed regardless but her association with Rhonda Rousey all but guarantees that when Baszler moves up to Raw (presumably) she’ll be in a featured spot straight away.

Benjamin: Lars Sullivan. Full disclosure I’m not a fan at all of Lars but we know someone who likely is; Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Can just see him winning the Royal Rumble or something really insane. Have a feeling that Sullivan is going to get booed out of a building as he becomes the obvious “Corporate Choice.”

Overall:

  • Best Newcomer: Ronda Rousey
  • Worst Turn: Braun Strowman
  • Biggest Missed Opportunity: Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Best Pay Per View: Tie: WrestleKingdom 12/Evolution
  • Female superstar of the year: Becky Lynch
  • Superstar most needing a change of fortune: Tie: Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson/Chad Gable/Asuka/Bobby Roode
  • Most Likely to Succeed from NXT: Tie: Shayna Baszler/Lars Sullivan

You can read previous ‘Ring the Damn Bell’s Not the Slammys’ here.

One thought on “Ring the Damn Bell’s Not the Slammys 2018 Pt.1

  1. Pingback: Ring the Damn Bell’s Not the Slammys 2018 Pt.2 | Ring the Damn Bell

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