WWE Year End Awards: Best and Worst of 2011
- Chris Masters
- Drew McIntyre
In spite of being jobbed out in big matches (ironically, when both have been Intercontinental and U.S. title holders), Cody Rhodes and Ziggler have stepped up their in-ring game and promos. Rhodes certainly needs work on the latter, but I'm confident he's more than capable of speaking like a normal human being, rather than a monotone, less talented Chris Jericho ripoff. Both wrestlers haven't had many, if any bad matches in 2011, outside of anything involving Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan (Remember them?). Personally, in the wise words of Les Thatcher, I wouldn't have my wrestlers wear "HEEL" on their trunks (considering it's an insider term) in the case of Ziggler. Ziggler is lucky WWE higher ups came to their senses in allowing him to dye his hair blonde again (they previously had him look like a roided Evan Bourne---creepy and generic).
Rhodes had a good character with the facial injuries, protective mask, and baggers--for a month--and then it got old. Thankfully, WWE creative also came their senses in Rhodes' case, having him ditch the mask, hide his skinny legs with knee pads, and allowing him to miraculously gain 10lbs in a month. Now they just need to keep him winning and give him his normal voice back and he'll be a main eventer in no time--or so they hope. It should be interesting to see what happens with Ziggler and Rhodes. Can win streaks and less jobs accentuate their strengths and have them rise to main events or will fans still see them for the midcard geeks their characters were portrayed as much of their careers? Only time will tell.
Before his surprising release, Masters improved by leaps and bounds compared to his previous WWE run, where he was known as just a bulky muscle head on the wrong side of the Wellness Policy too many times. In Masters' defense, he was given a lot of money and fame in his early-20s, with the root of the problem being he was brought up far too soon from developmental (minor leagues) to the main roster. Watch a match from 2010-2011 featuring Masters. This man can work a match. What a huge waste of talent by WWE.
Speaking of wastes of talent, McIntyre upped his game this year so much so that no one outside of the hardcore fans that watch Superstars on WWE.com may have noticed. Just watch the Smackdown brand's Elimination Chamber match from the February 2011 PPV and see the intensity that guy showed in the ring--only to lose minutes later. McIntyre is still paying for his ex-wife's (former WWE Diva Tiffany) attitude problems long after she's been released and long after they divorced. The guy may have been pushed too soon in 2009 and early/mid-2010, but his work has clearly improved and he's got the size WWE likes in their top talent, combined with his international appeal as a Scotsman. Hopefully for McIntyre, he'll get another meaningful shot to showcase his improvement before it's too late.
Most Disappointing Superstar: Alberto Del Rio, Sin Cara, and Kharma (tie)
- Tough Enough Winner/Finalists
- John Morrison
- Drew McIntyre
- Wade Barrett
- Mick Foley
We covered why McIntyre's WWE run has been disappointing above. As for Del Rio, well, here it goes....
WWE built Del Rio up for a year. He portrays Vince McMahon's favorite gimmick--the snobby wealthy man that can kick ass (think JBL and Million Dollar Man). He cuts solid promos. He beats everybody in sight. He even wins the Royal Rumble to the surprise of many. WWE put Del Rio in big match situations. He delivered in the ring. The company didn't hold its end of the bargain.
Del Rio was scheduled to win the World Title at Royal Rumble, only to have him win the Rumble itself, to earn a title shot at WrestleMania. That Rumble win was supposed to set up Edge vs. Del Rio, in what would be Edge's last match. The only problem is that whether WWE knew about Edge's medical condition or not going into the match, Del Rio should have walked out champion. There's a right time and place for everything, but in wrestling, you get only one chance to do something at the right time (See: Lex Luger's title win over Yokozuna that never was in 1994).
After WrestleMania, quite frankly, there wasn't a right time for Del Rio to win the title in the near future. Smackdown needed a new babyface after Edge's departure and it made sense with his sudden retirement to have his best friend Christian beat Del Rio for the vacant title (even if the aftermath was illogical). With Christian feuding with Randy Orton, it made sense for Del Rio to move to RAW, where WWE planned Cena vs. Del Rio at SummerSlam. The only problem was that CM Punk became hot after his worked shoot promo and that was put on the back burner.
Then, Del Rio won Money in The Bank, finally progressing a character's direction that was all but neutral following his move to RAW. He cashed in his title shot on Punk even though Punk had more momentum, but hey, WWE got its wish. Del Rio, a protected, strong heel and McMahon favorite was now WWE Champion. One subpar rating and a month later he lost to Cena clean in the the middle of the ring via submission. His character has never recovered since. To make matters worse, after he won the WWE Championship a second time in October, he was buried by Punk on promos, where he was called boring and a man people fast forward on their DVR. He then lost to Punk the next month via submission, clean in the middle of the ring.