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Wrestling Observer Awards Special (Voices of Wrestling)


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It was the subject of our first-ever podcast and its the subject of today's brand new podcast - the Wrestling Observer Awards! We give our picks, who we voted for and why, discuss who the WO readers voted for and answer a few listener questions. Discussions include Okada's improvement in the ring, whether Goldust deserves as much praise as he gets, why lucha is unrepresented in these awards and why CHIKARA was our Worst Promotion of the Year.



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Rich giving Cesaro no love? What's the argument for Punk over him last year?


Loved the Box Office talk. Joe's protest is the opposite of mine - I take Dave's argument to its logical conclusion and I picked Mayweather. I found the Kobashi argument reasonable and persuasive. I didn't vote for him myself, but I can see it, just as I can see Atlantis. I actually think there is some ambiguity with this award because the issue of drawing can be looked at a multitude of ways (who drew the biggest single numbers, who was most consistent over the long haul, who was a clear spike when on t.v., should the week-to-week nature of full time guys be taken into account when comparing them with protected full time guys, et.), but I am also not a big fan of the award being voted on at all because I think those big picture questions don't lend themselves to a "1,2,3" format with not detailed discussion or analysis.


Strongly disagree with Joe on The Shield. I think Reigns is the most interesting guy in The Shield. I did love Joe heeling on Reigns offense though, especially the part where he stopped to note that he hates bitching about moves, and then bitched more about moves. :) Pretty much everything Joe said about Reigns spear and superman punch I would apply to Tanahashi's strikes and that shit bag hooking clothesline he does, so while he obviously doesn't agree with me in the particulars, at least I have proof that he knows how I feel.


Also on tag teams, I want to be pointed to the good KES matches. I did like there match v. Nakamura and Ishii, but other than that I can't think of a match of their's from last year that really stands out. In fact, I enjoy them much more on paper than I do once the bell rings. I agree that both guys have gotten better (though I prefer Smith working catch holds, to the style he works in NJPW), but I actually think Haste and Nichols smoke them as a gajin team. Honestly Haste and Nichols v. Iizuka/Yano was a very good series of matches, with one tremendous match, and while I enjoy Iizuka and Yano way more than most (and I don[t love either to be clear), I think it speaks well for Haste an Nichols that they had matches of any real quality with those guys.


Rich talking about Goldust being overrated because of his age is something you have to be really, really careful about when you are also arguing that the "people only vote for these guys because they are Japanese!" talking point is bullshit at the same time. I'm not saying they are exactly the same thing, but when I look at the big Goldust boosters they have been pretty explicit in what they have enjoyed about him, and while many have acknowledged that its amazing he's so good at his age, I don't think that is the crux of the argument at all, just like I don't think "well people only vote for them because they were in Meltzer's flavor of the week Japan promotion" is a serious explanation for the widespread support of Tanahashi or Okada in this years results, even if I know for a fact that there is some of that going on with the voting.


I don't really disagree with Joe on Cody. I am glad people are excited about him, and I prefer him now to that god awful man in the mask bit (literally my least favorite character ever), but it really is jarring how much better his brother is and I think it makes him look worse. There have been isolated matches and moments when Cody has looked really good, and I think he has a very strong "hot tag" sequence of spots, but I am not sold on him as anything close to a great worker at this point.


Rush should have won Most Improved last year over Okada, IMO as Rush went from being horrid, to tremendous. Rich's argument for Okada is basically my argument for voting Cesaro third in Most Improved, which is funny since that position was shit on as crazed seconds later. Cesaro may have been good before, but there was nothing in him that made me think he would be someone I would consider the best in the world, and yet he is right there as my likely number one pick for best in the word in 2013, and that's despite some severe handicaps that no other top contender for that spot had.


Actually this was kind of a hilarious show to listen to because every time Joe or Rich called something mental or irrational or insane it was basically my position/vote on something. But even disagreeing with a huge chunk of what you guys said, it was a good show, well worth listening to.

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I have not listened to the show yet but I will soon. However, any discussion about Goldust usually has his age as a "By the way, he is old as shit and working at a high level". It's an afterthought, not the initial thought when watching the guy... especially when you have seen him work in the indies the last couple of years.

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Cesero/Okada - I don't agree with either guy as being top three most improved this year because both were already among the best in the world in my opinion. I've felt this way about Cesaro going back to probably 2009 or so. To me, this year was the rest of the world figuring it out. I've seen Cesaro have years as good as 2013 in the past, although i'd have to think about his 2012 compared to 2013 since I applied that same criteria to Goldust as I had him at #3. It's 3:24 am as I type this and I don't really remember what his 2012 was like at the moment, so i'll have to think about it tomorrow and come back to this, although i'm 99.9% certain I didn't think of him as the non entity Goldust was that year.


If there was a Comeback award along with most improved, I would have put Goldust there. But there isn't. I really think Most Improved should be for people who jump a level or two, not for guys who come back. But since that doesn't exist, I figured why not throw Goldust a bone a recognize him for his shocking year.

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Oh, and one more thing as i'm dozing off here. Reigns offense. I hate hate hate the spear as a rule. That's not his fault. I've seen the Superman punch twice, and once it missed by a mile, and the second time it looked like it landed but it wasn't sold very well.


I think the spear works much better as a transition spot, so hopefully he slowly converts over to the punch as his finish.


And I always feel like a complete dork picking on moves, so my skin is crawling typing this shit.

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KES matches I reviewed that I thought were very good (over *** only):


1/4 Tokyo vs Goto & Anderson, ***1/2

2/10 Hiroshima vs TenKoji, ****

4/20 Houston vs Scot Summers & Ryan Genesis, **** (IWGP & NWA double title match)

10/18 Houston vs Tenan & Liger ***3/4

11/24 Kyoto vs Nakamura & Ishii ***1/4


4/5 Korakuen vs Nakamura & Ishii I didn't review but remember being good.


Also 10/19 San Antonio four way NWA title match vs Wayne/Erickson, Claxton/Reigns, & Lou Marconi/Ray Rowe was well over *** but I didn't officially review that, either.

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I was at the San Antonio match live. It wasn't very good.

I thought it was a lot of fun, hard hitting early with DBS still managing to work in his mat work, and it featured a ton of guys I really like. Damian Wayne took some big bumps late. Added points for everybody ribbing/sandbagging Erickson, minus points for Erickson being in the match to begin with. Going off of memory i'd say ***1/4 or so.

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Live, I think it was hurt by being able to tell up close when the teams were on different pages and a lot of spots were awkward as a result. I remember one of the early eliminations having a hot ending but there were other matches on the card we we enjoyed more. I am also aware that seeing a match live can change the way you view a match... see my reaction to TLC and everyone else's.

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