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The John Report Presents: The 2013 WWE Johnny Awards (Part 1)

Posted By: John Canton on Dec 19, 2013

 The John Report Presents: The 2013 WWE Johnny Awards (Part 1)

Follow me on Twitter @johnreport

Welcome to the 2013 WWE Johnny Awards. These are the awards where we honor the hard working employees of World Wrestling Entertainment based on their work over the last twelve months. I come to you today to present the very “prestigious” awards that I call the 5th annual WWE Johnny Awards! They're like the Slammy Awards except with better writing! Sorry Vince. It’s worth pointing out that this is World Wrestling Entertainment stuff ONLY. It says it in the title, but I want you to remember that when you ask why there's no TNA or ROH in here. It's WWE only!

These awards are based on my own personal choice. There were no polls or write-in votes. My name is on the awards, so I get to pick the winners. I don't expect anybody reading this to agree with every single thing I write below, but I will do my best to justify all of my choices. The awards are based on performance. It doesn't necessarily matter if a person wins all their matches on television. It's about the performance more than anything. (This intro was basically the same as last year. You're welcome.)

Regarding NXT, I watch it most weeks. Sometimes I missed it. For the most part I'm not going to include it in these awards because it is its own entity in a lot of ways. Aside from the best NXT match that I'll mention below, I'm going to focus more on PPVs, Raw and Smackdown. I need to write something NXT related soon and I will in the new year.


There will be 20 major awards. In past years there were 25, but I decided to cut five out because it was too much. Each one will have a description of what the award is, the previous winners of the award (if the award existed in the last four years), the winner of the award, the runners-up for the award, and then my extended thoughts on the award. Some write-ups are longer than others. There are some "worst" awards too because some bad things deserve to be remembered too. I'll also include photos, videos and links to relevant content so be on the lookout for that throughout the column. Let's get to it.


To be given to the person that best combines workrate, character, microphone work and everything else into one. This is similar to WWE's Superstar of the Year award. Past winners - 2012: CM Punk, 2011: CM Punk, 2010: Randy Orton, 2009: Chris Jericho

Winner: Daniel Bryan (Runners-Up: CM Punk, John Cena, Randy Orton)

This was really close. It was the most difficult year for me to do this in the five years since I started this awards column. In 2009 it was definitely Jericho although CM Punk was close that year thanks to that money feud with Jeff Hardy. I just thought Jericho was more consistently great. I remember a year like 2010 where there really wasn't anybody that stood out and I don't even like my choice from that year. Those really weren't good years for WWE. In 2011 it was obviously CM Punk's year because he broke through. Last year was pretty close with Punk and Daniel Bryan, but ultimately I went with Punk. This year was even closer than last year.

My choice for Best Wrestler is Daniel Bryan because I think he encompassed everything that it takes to earn the most important award that there is. He's performed at a high level all year long without taking any breaks. Even though he was mostly a tag wrestler in the first half of the year, he made it work. The three guys in The Shield benefitted from working with him. I also feel like he had the most great matches considering all the matches he had seemingly every week on Raw, Smackdown and of course PPVs as well. He also didn't miss any time, which shows how durable he is. As a talker he continued his improvement from a year earlier. I loved his heel run in 2012, but I think he had more of a comfort level on the microphone this year as a babyface. Bryan could have been booked better. There's no doubt about that. That's out of his control, though. As a performer he was the best in 2013 to me.

CM Punk has won this award two years in a row and his performance didn't drop off this year at all. If you look at his best matches he has more top matches than anybody in the company. He's a big game wrestler so to speak. Obviously in terms of his promos he's as good as there is too. There were some feuds he had during the year that I didn't really care for (Curtis Axel and Ryback to name a few), but I think the great matches with different performers like Cena, Jericho, Undertaker and a high profile feud with Rock showed just how versatile he is. Maybe if he stayed heel all year he'd have won this because he's so great in that role, but for 2013 he falls to second place for me.

I put Cena and Orton in there as runners up because I think both had very good years as top guys in the promotion. Each performed well in most of the big matches they had. Not everything worked in part because of the booking, but they each had really strong years all things considered.

WWE Wrestler of the Year 2013


To be given to the best rivalry between two or more performers. Past winners - 2012: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, 2011: Randy Orton vs. Christian, 2010: The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, 2009: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy

Winner: CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar (Runners-Up: Daniel Bryan/Kane vs. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Authority)

I think the Punk vs. Heyman rivalry was the best one in WWE this year. It started around Payback when Punk came back after a couple of months off and basically told Heyman he didn't need him at ringside anymore. That upset Heyman, so when Punk was in the WWE Money in the Bank ladder match Heyman was there to cost him the victory. Then Brock Lesnar showed up to take out Punk and the rivalry was set. That led to an epic showdown at SummerSlam with Lesnar beating Punk in a No DQ match. It's a shame that Lesnar has a limited schedule because if he was around more we could have had two or three matches with him and Punk that would have been incredible. The Punk/Heyman rivalry continued through to TLC where Punk ultimately one by beating Ryback & Heyman at Hell in a Cell and then destroying Heyman on top of the cell. It wasn't a traditional wrestler vs. wrestler feud, but it was the best of the year. 

My second favorite rivalry of the year was Daniel Bryan teaming up with Kane against The Shield. Remember, they dominated the tag team scene in the first half of the year. There were so many tag matches with them whether it was regular 2 on 2 format or six man tags. The feuded gave Kane some new life as a babyface teaming with a popular guy like Bryan and The Shield benefitted from working with top guys. In doing so, they became top guys themselves. That's a very successful feud in my opinion.

The Cody Rhodes/Goldust feud with The Authority that also involved Randy Orton and The Shield worked very well. Cody turned babyface after feuding with Damien Sandow and didn't really have any momentum. He was about to get married, so they put him in a match with Randy Orton with his job on the line. He lost, so they brought Goldust back to get him his job back and he lost to Orton too. They were given a try as a team against The Shield. Not only did they get their job back, but they won the tag titles as well. They also became one of the best tag teams as well.

It would have been nice if I could put the Bryan vs. Orton feud in here, but I don't think there were enough good things about it to warrant a mention. If it was booked better it could have been a contender that's for sure.


To be given to the best match. Past winners - 2012: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (Shawn Michaels as ref) @ WrestleMania 28, 2011: CM Punk vs. John Cena @ Money in the Bank, 2010 winner: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 26, 2009 winner: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 25

Winner: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk @ Summerslam Aug 18 (Runners-Up: John Cena vs. CM Punk @ Raw Feb 25, Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena @ Summerslam Aug 18, Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn @ NXT Aug 21, Undertaker vs. CM Punk @ WM29 Apr 7)

This is the hardest award for me to pick this year. I've listed five matches up above, but it's been such a strong year that I could add another ten and the quality would still be very high. One of the best things about WWE in 2013 is the number of great matches they had all year long on PPV, Raw, Smackdown, Main Event and NXT. It shows just how great their roster is. If you're reading this and thinking "what about this match" all I can say is I tried to narrow it down to five. These are the ones I liked the most.

My final decision came down to the top two: Lesnar/Punk and Cena/Punk. The Lesnar/Punk match was a violent No DQ battle that also involved Paul Heyman interfering to prevent Punk from winning. I'm sure some people don't like that, but it's part of the story. I don't mind it. Lesnar is incredible when he works with a smaller wrestler likes Punk because he comes off like such a bully and Punk showed so much heart as a babyface who wouldn't quit.

Most of the year I would have said Cena/Punk was the choice because it was a match contested under regular rules and they went 26 minutes in the main event of Raw to deliver one of the best televised matches in WWE history. Remember that Punk piledriver? Or Cena's hurricanrana? They tried everything as a way to tell the story that it was a must win match.

I re-watched both matches in the last week and I thought Lesnar/Punk was better. They're different types of matches, so it's up to what you prefer really. Obviously there are other matches to consider too. I'm just trying to share my thought process.

The other three matches I mentioned up above were all special in their own way too. Daniel Bryan beating Cena clean for the WWE Title at SummerSlam was one of my favorite moments of the year while I admire Cena for working so hard even with a torn triceps. Cesaro vs. Zayn on NXT was a special 2/3 falls match where they did some amazing things together and the crowd absolutely loved it. The finish to that match was especially great. Undertaker vs. Punk was another classic Taker match at WrestleMania where we knew who was going to win, but the action was so good that's all that really matters. Seeing Undertaker against a true heel was a welcome sight after the babyface battles with Michaels and Triple H in previous years.

I could mention others like Punk/Jericho at Payback for example, but there's more to this awards column than just matches. Like I said, it was a strong year for in-ring performances in WWE and that's why it was so hard to pick just one winner for this award.

WWE Match of the Year 2013


To be given to the best pay-per-view. Past winners - 2012:Extreme Rules, 2011: Money in the Bank, 2010 winner: WrestleMania 26, 2009 winner: Summerslam

Winner: SummerSlam (Runners-Up: Money in the Bank, Payback, Elimination Chamber)

This is easy for me to figure out because I rank them when I review them and SummerSlam got my highest score of the year with a 9 out of 10. It was one of the best WWE PPVs ever with two match of the year contender (Lesnar/Punk and Bryan/Cena), plus a solid Del Rio/Christian WHC match and the memorable heel turn of Randy Orton and Triple H to end the night. I had high expectations going into SummerSlam. It lived up to the hype. (Review)

The other PPVs I have listed there were all solid shows from top to bottom that I gave 8 out of 10. Money in the Bank is usually great because of two ladder matches that tend to get a lot of time. (Review)

Payback took place in Chicago with CM Punk making his big return against Chris Jericho, which was an awesome match. (Review)

I enjoyed Elimination Chamber with the EC match (won by Jack Swagger of all people), a solid Show/Del Rio match, a six man tag with The Shield winning against Cena/Sheamus/Ryback and Rock/Punk was solid too. (Review)

I always feel like WrestleMania should be mentioned in this category, but this year it just wasn't a special show. I hope that WrestleMania 30 brings it back to prominence.


To be given to the best female performer. Past winners - 2012: Eve, 2011: Beth Phoenix, 2010 winner: Natalya, 2009 winner: Mickie James

Winner: AJ Lee (Runners-Up: Kaitlyn, Natalya, Brie Bella)

I think it's an easy choice this year. I almost gave it to AJ Lee last year, but didn't feel like I could because she was kept out of the ring for most of 2012. Eve deserved it more. This year, AJ Lee became more of an in-ring performer and it seems like she's the only women's wrestler that is allowed to cut promos too. That shows the confidence that management has in her. There are certain things she has to improve on like her offensive maneuvers, but part of the gimmick is that she's smaller than everybody so her offense isn't going to be that strong. Adding Tamina as her bodyguard helped as well. She can hide behind her. AJ's the most popular diva in WWE right now and it's really not that close.

I put Kaitlyn as the first runner up because she has really improved in the last year. I thought the feud with AJ was pretty good for the most part. Some of the booking was stupid with her crying all the time because WWE tends to book babyface women to cry since they have an inability to know what women are really like. It's just a shame that she basically disappeared in the second half of the year because she wasn't on Total Divas. Natalya was solid all year as usual while Brie has also improved in the ring.

What else did Kaitlyn and Brie have in common in 2013? Both got engaged. They also had exposed nipples on Raw. Congratulations!


To be given to the best person at delivering promos. Past winners - 2012: CM Punk, 2011: CM Punk, 2010 winner: CM Punk, 2009 winner: Chris Jericho

Winner: Paul Heyman (Runner-Up: CM Punk)

I'm only listing two people because I believe they're head and shoulders above everybody else. I hate picking ties, so I had to pick one person. They're not just the best two guys in WWE right, but I think both belong in the discussion for best talkers in wrestling history. They've both put in enough work to be a part of that discussion. Maybe that's another column for another time.

Picking a winner was hard. I think Heyman's awesome in terms of getting over the right type of emotion in his promos. He can be vengeful, funny, brutally honest, cruel and of course we know he can lie. I think he's at his best when he's trying to back his way out of something he said by lying to get out of it. He started the year by CM Punk's side, but he spent the summer and fall against his best friend cutting some of the best promos in the wrestling business. He's the rightful winner of this award.

As you can see, Punk has won this award three years in a row and it's not like he has dropped off at all. I thought his promos when he was feuding with The Rock and Undertaker were especially great. Maybe I just really like his heel promos more than the face ones. It's not like his promos as a face are bad. I just think he's an all-time great as a heel.

There are others worth mentioning here like John Cena, who can be fantastic when he does his serious promos in trying to build up to a big match. He's a great promoter in that sense. I think Daniel Bryan has grown as a talker to the point that he's one of the best there is too. If you look lower down the card, people like Damien Sandow and Dean Ambrose appear to be guys that can really stand out if they are given the opportunity to do so.


To be given to the worst rivalry between two or more performers. Formerly known as the Katie Vick award. RIP Katie. Past winners - 2012: Kane vs. Zack Ryder/John Cena, 2011: Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross, 2010 winner: Kane vs. Edge, 2009 winner: Triple H vs. Randy Orton

Winner: Big Show vs. Triple H/Randy Orton(Runners-Up: Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger, Los Matadores vs. 3MB)

The winner of the worst feud is obviously fresh in my mind. I try to factor in the importance of the feud when picking the winner. That whole Big Show vs. HHH/Orton story was brutal in terms of logic with Big Show being fired, then he got his job back and was given a WWE Title shot even though he barely wrestled leading up to the match. He also dropped a lawsuit that apparently could have given him "control of the company" because one WWE Title match is better than owning a company. All I remember about the Orton/Show match is that the crowd didn't care about what they are doing. That's not a good sign for a PPV main event.

Looking back on WrestleMania now, I don't know what WWE was thinking in doing a face Del Rio vs. Swagger feud. It didn't work. They should have had Ziggler against Del Rio there. Los Matadores vs. 3MB makes it on here because I'm just so sick of seeing them work together.


To be given to the worst PPV. They wanted us to pay money for this? Past winners - 2012: Hell in a Cell, 2011: Over The Limit

Winner: Battleground (Runners-Up: Night of Champions, Survivor Series)

I don't remember too much from Battleground in October because it was a forgettable show. The most memorable match was when Cody & Goldust beat The Shield to get their jobs back with WWE. The booking of the Orton/Bryan main event was brutal with Big Show interfering, which led to no winner being announced. It was one of the worst PPV endings in years. (Review)

I was at Night of Champions in Detroit. It was a very average show with a fast count ending that was completely unnecessary and led to some awful booking in major title matches at three PPVs in a row. (Review)

Survivor Series was a very forgettable show with a poorly built card and a main event in Randy Orton vs. Big Show that the fans absolutely didn't care about. I miss when Survivor Series was a big deal. It isn't even close anymore. (Review)


To be given to the worst match. Past winners - 2012: John Cena vs. Michael Cole @ Raw June 4, 2011: Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler @ WrestleMania 27, 2010 winner: Kaitlyn vs. Maxine from NXT3, 2009 winner: Divas battle royal @ WrestleMania 25

Winner: Santino vs. Heath Slater @ Smackdown September 27, 2013 "Snake Charmer" (Runners-Up: Divas tag match @ Survivor Series, Vickie Guerrero vs. AJ Lee @ Raw Nov 18)

I realize that the Santino/Slater match on Smackdown was done as a comedy bit. Santino brought out his cobra, then Jinder Mahal jumped on the apron trying to charm the cobra with an instrument and Khali did too while this fake music started to play over the taped broadcast. I know that some 8 year old at home probably thought it was the greatest thing ever, but I thought it was painfully bad. I'm sure that members of the creative thought it was hilarious because if they didn't why would it make it on TV? I just thought it was a waste of time. (Video)

The 7 on 7 Divas Elimination tag at Survivor Series was pretty bad. It showed that WWE had maybe eight women that should be wrestling regularly, but 14? That's too many. This is from my analysis of the match: "That was one of the most rushed elimination matches you're ever going to see. There were 12 eliminations in 12 minutes." The shocking thing is they actually did the match again the next night. It wasn't as bad the second time, but I really hope they re-think the idea of doing a match like that next year. 

The Vickie/AJ "match" on Raw in November was done as a mockery of AJ fainting while WWE was on tour in England. They had Vickie pretend to faint during the match. Once again it was another attempt at comedy that failed. The end of the match saw AJ put Vickie in her deadly Black Widow submission that Vickie no sold immediately after tapping out. Stop putting Vickie in matches. (Video)

I'm sure there were other matches that I missed, but those are the three that I thought of the most. On the positive side, at least we didn't have to see Michael Cole in a match! See that? I'm always looking at the positives.


To be given to the two men that function best as a tag team. Past winners - 2012: Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan), 2011: Air Boom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston), 2010 winner: The Hart Dynasty, 2009 winner: Chris Jericho and The Big Show

Winners: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (Runners-Up: Cody Rhodes & Goldust, Kane & Daniel Bryan, Jimmy & Jey Uso, The Real Americans)

One of the best things about WWE in 2013 is that the tag team division is back to being a strength in the company. It also made this a difficult award to pick because there were two teams really worthy of this title. Since I don't like picking ties, I went with Rollins & Reigns over Goldust & Cody due to the fact that they teamed longer so there were more matches to think about with them. Both teams are excellent. Their match at Battleground when Goldust & Cody won the tag titles from them is one of the best tag matches of the year. I just think Rollins & Reigns are more worthy due to their longevity as a team.

The Kane/Daniel Bryan team almost lasted a full year since they started teaming up at the end of summer 2012 and tagged through the middle of 2013. I think the team benefitted both guys, but it was obviously time for Bryan to move on to singles. The Usos really grew a lot this year. I think they're a team to watch going forward. I'd be very surprised if they don't win the tag titles in 2014. The fans love them and they deserve a run with the gold. I'm really taking a liking to the Real Americans. There are rumors of an Antonio Cesaro face turn, but I hope he stays where he is for at least another six months. If he goes face he'll get lost in the shuffle. He has more value right now in a heel tag team.

I love tag team wrestling and I'm so happy that it's back to prominence in WWE.

Go check out part 2 RIGHT HERE!

Tags: #wwe #thejohnreport #johnnyawards

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