Reaction Zone - 2017 Achievement Awards, part 3

Now, it's time to look back at WWE 2017. Two sets of awards, one for each brand, unless otherwise indicated. I don't have the network, so I don't get to see NXT or the special tournaments.

Monday Night Raw:

MVP: Picking the Raw MVP was hard. Who was most deserving of the award? Well, it came down to someone who's not always there, but should be.

That would be Paul Heyman.

The manager/advocate/advisor of Universal champ Brock Lesnar doesn't talk down to Lesnar's opponents. Instead, cognizant of the talent brought before the Beast Incarnate (i.e. Braun Strowman, Bill Goldberg, Samoa Joe), Heyman tries to put them over more so than they already have, and Roman Reigns' critics would have to admit Heyman could work wonders with the Big Dog.

I say, dump the soap opera rejects on the creative team, have Heyman and the agent-producers (i.e. D-Von Dudley) take over the creative process. Raw would improve in a heartbeat.

Wrestler of the Year: Another tough pick. Reigns, Joe, Jeff Hardy, and now Dean Ambrose have all been on the DL, just joined by Brian Kendrick and, presumably, Paige (more on her later). We'll give the honor instead to the 3-time tag team champs, The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro). Individually, they've more than proven their versatility. Together, but for a surprise loss on Christmas night, they've been the benchmark of the tag team division. More on that later, too. I'm reading that Sheamus may have to retire due to injury, and that's a shame.

Babyface of the Year: Bayley. Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, and Uncreative don't get the appeal of the Hugger, which is why she's been all but buried up until the Absolution angle put her back near the main event on the women's side. 2018 should be a better year.

Heel of the Year: Michael "The Miz" Mizanin in a landslide. He ran away from Shinsuke Nakamura on Smackdown, and weaseled his way back to the Intercontinental title, then began recruiting help to protect him and the title. Have you ever seen a lazier, more cowardly heel? Ever? If he thinks he's channeling Ric Flair, he's way wrong. The next time we see him, he should try being a babyface again, since he's the hero of the "Marine" movies.

Tag team of the Year: The Bar. When they beat Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose for the titles right before Survivor Series, Sheamus & Cesaro set up a match that would decide the overall tag team of the year in the company with the Usos. Unfortunately, that was one of the two matches Raw lost at Survivor Series. For a team that was reluctant to partner up a year ago, they've certainly jelled, though we wouldn't mind Cesaro going back to being a Swiss James Bond. Or should that be the more roguish Simon Templar?

Woman of the Year: Alexa Bliss is a distaff Miz, using the same bratty gimmick. Everyone expected Sasha Banks to turn heel, but now we know why she didn't. While Alexa has held the Raw women's title hostage, she's gone stale. Both women, however, have been victims, like Bayley, of Uncreative incompetence. We like the prospects of an Alexa face turn, fully realized, in 2018. However, the award goes to Asuka, and this includes her body of work in NXT, that rare exception to what I said earlier. Be very afraid, Alexa. Your title reign is on borrowed time.

Most improved wrestler of the Year: Jason Jordan gets the nod here. He crossed over from Smackdown after it was revealed he was the storyline offspring of GM Kurt Angle, and finishes the year with tag team gold again, this time with Seth Rollins. Jordan, though, is on the way to a heel turn that should be kept short in 2018, although ex-partner Chad Gable may be headed in the same direction over on Smackdown.

Most unimproved wrestler of the year: Miz. See above.

These people need help in 2018: Elias, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel (the sooner they get away from Miz, the better), Jordan.

Smackdown Live!:

MVP: AJ Styles. Enough said.

Wrestler of the Year: Styles wins this, too.

Babyface of the Year: Naomi. She won the Smackdown women's title in front of the homies in Orlando at Wrestlemania, virtually writing Alexa Bliss' ticket to Raw. She & Bliss are the only 2-time Smackdown women's champs, and Naomi also has the freshest, funkiest entrance among the women.

Heel of the Year: Jinder Mahal held the WWE title hostage for nearly 6 months, and his title defenses had a constant stench to them because regardless of opponent, the script stayed the same, as Mahal was over-dependent on the Singh Brothers to interfere in every match, destroying his credibility. But, and this is important, Mahal is not the winner of this award. No, this goes instead to Brian James (aka Road Dogg Jesse James) and the Smackdown Uncreative team for ignoring instinct and riding the lead goose too long, all because Vince McMahon thought he could grow business in India (even though Mahal & the Singhs are from Canada).

Tag team of the Year: The Usos. Enough said.

Woman of the Year: Charlotte Flair. Nature Girl turned face shortly upon arriving on Smackdown in April, and hasn't looked back. Of course, she has to look over her shoulder for Money in the Bank winner Carmella, but the Princess of Staten Island is still a little green, which may be why she was given an albatross in James Ellsworth (since released).

Most improved wrestler of the Year: Dolph Ziggler. If Ziggy is planning on leaving, vacating the US title two days after winning it at Clash of Champions wasn't the smartest of moves, but freshening his gimmick was. He's gone old school with the lack of entrance music, considering he had the same theme for several years.

Most unimproved wrestler: Carmella. She has a headscissor submission finisher, but her overall presentation has been lacking, and that was including the time Ellsworth was her stooge. My guess is that she'll cash in her briefcase before or at Wrestlemania, fail, and be packed off to Raw.

Feud of the Year (covers both brands): Usos vs. New Day.

Things we'd like to see in 2018: Rusev & Aiden English as a babyface team. English singing the National Anthem or America the Beautiful at Wrestlemania, so they don't have to spend money to hire someone. A reunited American Alpha, managed by either Shelton Benjamin or Kurt Angle, take your pick. Sami Zayn turning back babyface (because that's inevitable). Daniel Bryan finally being cleared to wrestle.

And on the Raw side: Stephanie McMahon turning babyface for good, to put an end to the evil boss gimmick after over 20 years. I can see something where she has to take a stand vs. Absolution, and find herself over her head. Angle resigning as GM, to be replaced by William Regal, called up from NXT, so that Kurt can get back in the ring. Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy in a padded cell match. Just because.

And, just for kicks: The Hall of Fame Class of '18, as I see it: Dudleys, Heyman, Goldberg, Undertaker.

Hey, ya never know.

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