My WWE awards continue, with this edition honoring the best newcomer and the best rivalry of the year for WWE in 2017. If you haven’t caught up, here’s the list of all my categories that I’ll be uploading in separate articles.
OMG Moment of the Year – Given to the single most shocking or surprising moment in all of WWE this year. Genuine shock factor is stressed here.
Return of the Year – Given to the best return of a superstar(s) that no one saw coming.
Tag Team of the Year – Given to the most consistent and best-performing tag team of 2017.
Promo/Segment of the Year – Given to the best promo or segment in all of WWE.
Newcomer of the Year – Given to the superstar either new to the main roster or put in a different role who’s performed the best in 2017.
Rivalry of the Year – Given to the best rivalry between two opposing entities in WWE this year. The rivalry has to span at least two matches in order to qualify.
Superstar of the Year (Men’s) – Given to the best overall performing superstar on the men’s roster.
Superstar of the Year (Women’s) – Given to the best overall performing superstar on the women’s roster.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
And the nominees are…
1. Bobby Roode
Mr. Glorious got off to sort of a rocky start upon his debut on the Smackdown roster after passing on the NXT Championship to Drew McIntyre. He then got off to a pretty uneventful feud against Dolph Ziggler and it wasn’t until his inclusion onto Team Smackdown at Survivor Series where he was involved in anything of significant worth. He is currently in the second round of the United States Championship tournament that is taking place on Smackdown, and if I have a hunch, he’ll be facing Jinder Mahal in the finals at the Royal Rumble. He hasn’t done anything of note thus far, but I feel as though his breakthrough is soon to come.
2. Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura was something special in NXT. At least in 2016 he was. To be honest, for the most part on Smackdown, the former 2-time NXT Champion has been made to look like a joke on the main roster, especially in his WWE Championship feud with Jinder Mahal. I also hate the fact that WWE added “The Artist Known As…” to his intro as if that adds anything. Despite being on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series and competing for the WWE Championship, he has had some quality matches against the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, and John Cena and is set to enter the Royal Rumble. He’s supposed to be one of the favorites to win the Rumble, and rumors have stated that he may be in line to face AJ Styles for the title at WrestleMania next year. Whether or not WWE pulls the trigger remains to be seen, but I think Nakamura is too good to remain in this holding pattern for long.
3. Samoa Joe
Joe instantly made an impact upon his main roster call-up, taking out Seth Rollins and putting his WrestleMania status in great jeopardy. He started the year primarily serving as Triple H’s enforcer, but once he started to work independently, he became a more important piece of the RAW brand for most of the year. He dismantled superstars such as Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, and the highlight of this year came when he won a Fatal Five Way at Extreme Rules to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Great Balls of Fire. While the match didn’t amount to anything special, Joe certainly looked the part and made many people think WWE should take a gamble on him as Universal Champion. The former NXT Champion now finds himself embroiled in a feud over the Intercontinental Championship against Roman Reigns, which would give him his first title on the main roster should he be successful.
4. Jason Jordan
Now yes, yes, I know. Jason Jordan technically isn’t a newcomer as he’s been in a tag team with Chad Gable for a couple of years now, but Jordan is certainly a newcomer as a singles performer. Love or hate Jordan, he’s had some quality performances on RAW against some of the top guys WWE put out at him. And putting him in a storyline that has him as Kurt Angle’s abandoned son (I personally think the role should have gone to Gable) is something I don’t think any would successfully adapt to, but I think Jordan did about as good a job as he could given the circumstances. A heel turn had been teased for him for the past couple of weeks, but that appears to be on hold, as Jordan ended the year winning the RAW Tag Team Championship with Seth Rollins. In addition to all of this, Jason Jordan became the first person to win the NXT, Smackdown and RAW Tag Team Championships.
Elias was a bit of an under-the-radar NXT call-up, as he would simply drift by people cutting promos. But it wasn’t until he started to get the spotlight in the center of the ring and start singing where he started to find his groove, and I think he’s come quite a long way. While he hasn’t accomplished anything or had any major feuds as of yet, he is certainly making a name for himself and what is nice to see is that he is getting consistent time on television week after week doing the same thing, and the gimmick doesn’t seem to be getting stale as of yet. I personally think he would be a great mid-card champion, and with more seasoning and more matches with quality guys, that should be just around the horizon. Very soon, everyone will want to walk with Elias.
AND THE WINNER IS……
No one has had the immediate impact on the main roster that Samoa Joe has upon being called up. While he has yet to win a title, best believe that will change going into 2018.
RIVALRY OF THE YEAR
And the nominees are….
1. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens