JC’s Top Rope Report: The WWE Mid-Year Awards

We’re half way through the calendar year. That’s a shock to me on its own. I mean, its really July already? At least it means we are getting closer to football season.

But that means the WWE is also half way through their calendar year. And it is time to hand out some awards. I’ve done this the last couple years. I do a mid-year awards column and then a year end awards one. It’s interesting to see how certain things change from the middle of the year to the end of the year.

I would definitely say that it has been an interesting year, especially behind the scenes in the WWE. At Wrestlemania we all thought Daniel Bryan would be the face of WWE TV going into the summer. Now we don’t even if Daniel Bryan will return to TV by the end of the year, or ever. The WWE landscape has changed drastically this year, and looks like it will going forward to the end of the year.

So with that out of the way, lets hand out some mid-year awards!

Newcomers Of The Mid-Year: Rusev and Lana

-I had a tough time with this one. I didn’t know whether to give it to Rusev and Lana or Bo Dallas. In the end, I went with Rusev for one major reason: the gimmick is working so far. And I’m not saying Bo Dallas isn’t doing well. But Rusev gets way more heat with his gimmick right now than Dallas does. Rusev and Lana get booed every time they are out there. They just made Jack Swagger a face with one segment. It even got a “Lets Go Swagger” chant from the audience. That doesn’t happen unless the gimmick is over. For someone who has zero wrestling experience Lana is doing a good job with her promos. They get a lot of heat and are a good lead in to Rusev’s matches. And I know Rusev has his detractors, but I have seen nothing so far that makes me think he is a terrible worker. He moves well for his size and his match with Big E at Money in the Bank was a decent big man match. My guess is Rusev feuds with Swagger for a bit before moving a bit higher up on the card.

Disappointment of the Mid-Year: Paul Heyman With Cesaro

-Cesaro had a lot of momentum going into Wrestlemania. He was getting face reactions from the crowd and most assumed a split from the Real Americans was imminent. Things looked to be picking up for Cesaro at Wrestlemania when he won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. It seemed like Cesaro was going to be in line for a big face push. But then he was paired with Heyman. It was an odd pairing, but most assumed it would work because anything Heyman usually touches turns into gold. But that hasn’t happened with Cesaro. You could even argue that Cesaro is in a worse spot now than he was at the beginning of the year. Looking back, maybe pairing Cesaro with Heyman was a bad idea. If they wanted to keep Cesaro heel, then they needed to do more than what they did with him. Maybe let the Cesaro/Swagger break-up happen, then bring Heyman in later. Hopefully Cesaro is still in line for big things down the line, but his pairing with Heyman has been quite disappointing so far.

Surprise of the Mid-Year: The Undertaker Loses At Wrestlemania

-This one has to seem like its unanimous. I’m going for more on screen with this one than behind the scenes. Seth Rollins turning was a shocker as well, but deep down we all knew The Shield was going to break-up at some point. I don’t know if ANYONE saw Brock Lesnar beating The Undertaker.  If Taker was going to lose at Wrestlemania, most assumed it would be to a young guy who could use the rub. Someone like Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, or anyone from The Shield. But Lesnar ended The Streak, and it sent shock waves through the wrestling world. We will find out what the WWE has planned next for Lesnar heading into SummerSlam. Could they really convince him to win work more dates as WWE Champion? I think making Lesnar Champ next is the right move. And if he holds it to Wrestlemania whoever beats him is going to be a star. But I don’t think any wrestling fan saw Undertaker losing at Wrestlemania coming.

Match of the Mid-Year: Bray Wyatt vs Daniel Bryan- Royal Rumble

-Another tough one for me. But it isn’t because there were a couple of great matches to chose from. It’s because there were a handful of very good matches to choose from. It came down to three matches for me: Bray Wyatt vs Daniel Bryan, The Shield vs The Wyatts from Elimination Chamber, and The Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match. Honestly, I would have no problem with either of those matches at the top. It is obviously a matter of personal preference. I thought the Bray Wyatt/Daniel Bryan match was a big step forward for Bray Wyatt. He hadn’t wrestled a good one-on-one singles match yet. People weren’t sure how he would do in a longer match because of his physique. Well, he did just fine against Bryan. This match showed Bray was capable of bringing it in big time matches. Plus, it was fun for me being there live to watch it. So this match gets the nod. But if I was a betting man, I would say something passes it by the end of the year.

News Story of the Mid-Year: CM Punk Walks Out

-One day CM Punk is there. The next day he is gone. What made it worse for me is that I woke up to this news on my birthday. What a terrible start to a birthday. This was something that had been done before by the likes of Steve Austin. But this came as a complete shock to everyone. Punk has always been known to speak his mind and stand by his beliefs. And he did that here. It was widely believed Punk didn’t want to wrestle into his 40s, and a lot of people thought Punk would be done once his contract expired in July. But Punk left right at the start of Wrestlemania season, throwing a big wrench into the WWE’s plans. Will CM Punk ever be back? No one knows for sure. I still think if Punk isn’t back for Wrestlemania 31 he may never come back, outside of a Hall of Fame induction. It’s pretty obvious that TV has been lacking without CM Punk. With Daniel Bryan injured, one has to wonder if CM Punk would be in the top spot now.

Superstar of the Mid-Year: Daniel Bryan

-Once again, here is another one that I would expect to change by the end of the year. At this point, I’m not expecting Daniel Bryan back before the end of the year. The more news that comes out about Daniel Bryan the worse it sounds. But you can’t deny the success Daniel Bryan has had this year. No matter how hard the WWE tried to keep Bryan down, Bryan and the fans wouldn’t let it happen. Bryan was finally given the spotlight and he rode it all the way to Wrestlemania. The site of 60,000+ people chanting yes in unison as Bryan came to the ring then won the WWE Title will be an image that lives on forever. It’ll be in Wrestlemania video packages for years to come. It’s a shame Bryan didn’t get a proper Title run. But no WWE star has had the success Bryan has had so far this year. At least not yet.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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