Now, it's time for the WWE Achievement Awards for 2016. Because the brand split 2.0 didn't take place until the 2nd half of the year, we're not going to divide the awards between Raw & Smackdown.
Eddie Guerrero Memorial MVP Award: Kevin Owens. Heel champion. Philanthropist. Master smack-talker. With apologies to Enzo Amore & Big Cass, Owens has proven to be the realest guy in the room in 2016. The whole idea of putting it out there that he'd do anything for his family speaks to the working class 9-5'ers that pay tickets to see him. A babyface run is nigh, whether uncreative realizes it or not.
Wrestler of the Year: Dolph Ziggler. In a year where John Cena began his transition from main event to "special attraction", Ziggler, who's been with the company for more than a decade (and nearly 10 years under the current persona), stepped it up. It's just unfortunate that the real reason he's not Intercontinental champ now is because the current champ is an office favorite because of his TV background (Miz) more than the work he's put in to perfect his in-ring craft. We think Ziggler will find gold again in 2017.
Babyface of the Year: Ziggler. Sure, they teased us, between Dolph and Dean Ambrose, as to who would turn heel in the feud between them. Miz is now Ambrose's headache, while Ziggler starts 2017 pursuing AJ Styles and the World title anew.
Heel of the Year: Michael Mizanin. "The Miz" was created when he was on MTV's "The Real World" before coming to WWE in 2004. Everyone knows he's not an A-lister. He's a one-trick, C-list poseur who's become too dependent on having someone, like wife Maryse, for example, save his bacon. This is why his face run in 2013 flopped. His character now has zero redeeming value. Notice how quickly his commercial for Domino's disappeared off TV screens? Folks are tired of his act. In the real world, "The Miz" wouldn't last 5 minutes on the mean streets of any city in America. Period.
Tag team of the Year: Begrudgingly, we have to give this to the New Day. Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods broke Demolition's nearly 30 year old record for tag team title longevity because Vince McMahon is old, senile, and petty, and we've covered that already. They're not the champs anymore, and should've lost the titles months ago, if not for the sick old man in charge. Singles gold is likely for one or two of these three in 2017, after the team finally splits (and you know they will).
Woman of the Year: Becky Lynch. Sorry, Charlotte, but your four titles are negated by a Mizian dependence on illegal aid that uncreative refuses to cure. Becky was a bridesmaid, never a bride in NXT, but finally got to claim gold as the first Smackdown women's champ. Here's to a better 2017.
Newcomer of the Year: AJ Styles. From his debut at Royal Rumble to winning the World title from Dean Ambrose, albeit via cheating, the Phenomenal One has been a headline act all year. It's just unfortunate that his (Bullet) Club buddies were denied the tag titles because of a certain mentally ill executive, for whatever reason. Styles still hasn't won the Ring of Honor World title, but then......!
Feud of the Year: Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks. I've talked before about how the women's title has been used as a hot potato between these two NXT grads in the 2nd half of 2016, and it shouldn't have happened that way. Talk is that Vince McMahon (who else?) is down on Sasha since she has had a string of injuries. Well, Vince, when are you going to finally get a clue and stop meddling where you don't belong. Triple H has been a father figure to the NXT girls (and NXT in general), and should be ready to send you to the nearest psych ward. Digressing. Charlotte is already 1/4 of the way to her father's 16 World titles, and it's suddenly a joke. The Flairs don't deserve such disrespect from the front office, and neither does Sasha, who gets a steady diet of Nia Jax in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, while Charlotte plays pitch and catch with the belt, probably, with Bayley. Vince should move to Washington and advise his pal, Donald Trump.....!
Rodney Dangerfield No Respect Award: Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. For all their success in Japan, the other 2/3 of the Club kept getting passed over for the tag titles, and now are stuck in a non-feud with the Golden Truth thanks to the head nutcase. They should've been the ones to end the New Day's run, everyone knows that. Gallows is on his 2nd tour of duty with WWE, Anderson his 1st. Their misuse is proof that Vince McMahon just doesn't understand what he has, and listens too much to Kevin Dunn and his excuses for his own ignorance.
What we want to see in 2017: Cutting the broadcast teams back to 2-man booths would be a start. Michael Cole & Corey Graves, for example, could take us back to the early days of Jim Ross & (Heel) Jerry Lawler on Raw as Lawler is slowly being phased out, a la Ross a few years ago. Smackdown is stuck with an overcrowded desk. Gee, I wonder why? We'd love it if WWE struck a deal with NBC-Universal-Comcast to put 205 Live and NXT on USA or Bravo (SyFy? Fuhgeddaboutit!) to not only call attention to WWE Network, but to widen the exposure of those two shows. Giving gold to Anderson/Gallows, Bayley, Nia Jax, et al will likely happen, but it would be easier if McMahon and his houseboy, Dunn, were phased out.
Other than that, let's stop with the schizophrenia with Stephanie McMahon. As Commissioner of Raw, she's supposed to be neutral, but because her father is nuts, she flips back and forth from week to week. We love you, honey, but stop haterizing just because your dad is using you vicariously. Just send pops to the nearest mental hospital and be yourself. As for Maryse Mizanin, well, is she on a wrestler's deal or not? She's a big reason why Miz's act, while refreshed, has already gotten stale. We're better served if she brings home some bacon on her own once in a while.
We'll start 2017 by dissecting Lucha Underground in the conclusion of the achievement awards.