Updated: Feb 18
Award Key for every category
The first two nominees are Rob's picks.
The second two are Reverse Hipster's picks.
The winner of each category is based on our consensus and denoted with a star.
The only exceptions are PPV and Show of the Year which come straight from the Power Rankings and Wrap Ups.
Tag Team of the Year Nominees
1. The Usos *
The Usos have been SmackDown Tag Team Champions since last year, and they unified the tag team championships by beating RKBro in May. In addition to being pillars of the Bloodline, they have had excellent feuds with RKBro, the Street Profits, and the New Day. The Uso elevated the whole tag team division.
2. The Acclaimed
The Acclaimed are one of those teams that feels like they weren’t supposed to be here, but they got so white hot that they became undeniable. The freestyle entrance and scissoring gesture set them apart in AEW. What gets them on this list is their work in-ring with the Gunn Club, Swerve in Our Glory, and FTR.
FTR had a phenomenal year. They call themselves top guys, and they were nothing if not that. They held the ROH, AAA, and IWGP Tag Team Titles at the same time. Triple Crown champions! FTR had a run in 2022 that will be remembered for years to come.
4. Pretty Deadly
Pretty Deadly had an excellent year. They were NXT UK Tag Team Champions at one point. They were one of the first acts to be sent over to NXT in the NXT, NXT UK merger, and it's easy to see why. Pretty Deadly fit right in on NXT as entertaining heels. Pretty Deadly can also back up their antics in the ring. They were revealed as the Creed's mystery attackers in their debut on NXT, and they won the NXT Tag Team Championships in their NXT debut match. After losing the Titles, Pretty Deadly came back and won the NXT and NXT UK Titles at Worlds Collide, becoming the Undisputed NXT Tag Champions. They also topped the Power Rankings for five months until losing the titles to legendary tag team the New Day.
Mid-Card Champion of the Year Nominees
1. Carmelo Hayes*
Carmelo Hayes is such a good midcard champion that he didn’t even hold the belt for much of 2022. And yet, when I think of the North American Championship, he’s the first guy I think about. Hayes exemplifies what it means to be a mid-card champion: he carried himself like a champion even when he wasn’t main eventing, and he had great matches and feuds on TV that elevated everyone around him.
2. Mike Bailey
Like Carmelo Hayes, Mike Bailey is the guy that I think about when I think about Impact’s X Division. He brought the best matches out of the rest of the talent in the division. His match on Impact with Josh Alexander went approximately an hour, and it was one of those generational prove-it moments where a guy in the midcard proves he could be a main event talent tomorrow.
3. Orange Cassidy
Orange Cassidy won the All- Atlantic Championship and is currently having the best All-Alantic Title reign ever. It hasn’t mattered who Orange Cassidy has been with in the ring, he has always come out with an amazing match that elevates the All- Atlantic Title.
4. Sammy Guevara
Sammy Guevara had a legendary run with TNT Championship this year. Early in the year, it was the premier midcard title in Wrestling. The only thing that stopped his run from being the best run of the year was longevity. However, Sammy Guevara’s run with the TNT title was the hottest run you could hope for in that amount of time.
Women’s Tag Team of the Year
1. Sasha Banks and Naomi
When thinking about the Women’s Tag Teams this year, I still think there is no better team in-ring and presentation-wise than Sasha Banks and Naomi. Their departure also sent shock waves in WWE’s Women’s Division and made WWE reconsider how they were booking the entire division, which I believe led to Damage CTRL as champions today.
2.Katana Chance and Kayden Carter
In my opinion, NXT has had the best/most consistent women’s tag team division this year, and Katana Chance and Kayden Carter ended on top of that division. Throughout the entire year, they put on good matches, even when they weren’t given a favorable spot on the card or story to lean on. By the end of the year, they earned the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships, and now, I’m just waiting on NXT to invest a worthy story into building opponents for the champs.
3. Toxic Attraction *
You could argue that Toxic Attraction’s Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin are the reason this award exists. We didn’t have a Female Tag Team of the Year Award last year. Toxic Attraction forced us to take notice. In January, we didn’t have Power Rankings yet but we praised Toxic Attraction for demonstrating what Women’s Tag Team wrestling could be. In February, we had our first Power Ranking, and Toxic was the number one Women’s Tag Team in February. In March, Toxic fell to their lowest position of the year in the women’s tag category...#2. By April, Toxic Attraction was number one again. In May, we consolidated the Tag Team category to only include the top 5 tag teams for any company, male or female. Toxic Attraction was top four. In June, we consolidated the Power Rankings even more to only include the top ten champions from any company male or female. Toxic Attraction was top two outclassing, even the NXT woman’s champion. July was the first month without Toxic Attraction on the Power Rankings because they lost their titles. However, Cora and Roxanne were so hot from beating Toxic that they were top 5. Even after losing the titles, Toxic was synonymous with the NXT tag division, and they helped build up the next two champions and even went to the main roster to compete in the WWE Tag Title Tournament. By the end of the year, Jacy and Dolin were competing for the NXT Title as a tag team. How could this award go to anyone else but the girls you love to hate?
4. Death Dollz
Full disclosure The IIconics, AKA the Inspiration were the reason we started covering Impact Wrestling in the first place. However, The Inspiration that inspired us to cover Impact parted ways with the company and many good teams have held the tag titles since that point but non were as captivating as the Death Dollz. The journey between Taya Valkyrie, Rosemary, and Jessicka/Havoc elevated the Impact Women’s Tag Team Titles as well as Impact. This team was highly credible in the ring, but it was Jessicka’s journey outside of the ring that made this team such a draw.
Female Wrestler of the Year Nominees
It’s hard to deny that Bianca Belair is currently the biggest star in WWE’s Women’s Division. In a long-term feud with Becky Lynch, Belair proved that she is the B-EST of the division. At the end of every story, Belair has come out on top, defeating Sasha Banks, Lynch, and Bayley. Belair carries the WWE Women’s Division banner with pride, and she can be a great representative for the company in years to come.
2. Mandy Rose*
Mandy Rose is the only woman in wrestling who was champion for almost the entire year and was an Undisputed Champion. NXT’s Women’s Division is stacked and threw a new challenge at Rose every month. Rose managed to make her reign entertaining the entire time, finding a heelish way to come out on top and start the next week with creative promos with Toxic Attraction to build the next match. It’s a shame that Rose’s year ended the way it did, as she should never have been fired. Mandy’s character deserved a better send off.
3. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch had a hell of a year. People don’t really realize just how good it was because she got injured. She started out the year as Raw Woman’s champion finishing up her feud that elevated Liv. Then she beat Doudrop and Lita before losing her title in a fantastic match at Wrestlemania. From that point on, Becky kept herself relevant even without the title by feuding with Asuka, which then led back to a title in a triple threat Hell in the Cell match for the Raw Women’s title. Then she put over Bianca again at SummerSlam in one of the biggest matches of the night before being taken out by Damage Control. Big Match Becks then returned in a big match at Survivor Series, where she helped her team win War Games. Becky ended the year feuding with Bayley. This list of great women wouldn’t be complete without making note of Becky’s year.
4. Ronda Rousey
Ronda also had one of the hottest and most underrated years in woman’s wrestling. She returned and won the Royal Rumble. Then she saved the women’s division that was being held hostage by Charlotte Flair. Ronda made the Smackdown Women’s Division interesting before she even won the title. Also, Ronda has gotten the best out of Charlotte in the last year. Ronda had two back-to-back elite matches with Charlotte at WrestleMania and Backlash. Ronda won the title at Backlash and was on fire from that point on. She made Raquel look great in her debut on SmackDown and had one of the best matches of Natties career at Money In The Bank, complete with a fiery feud to remember on SmackDown. Ronda was also the one Liv cashed in on to finally get over the hump. Even when Vince botched the rubber match at SummerSlam, Ronda was still one of the hottest things in wrestling. People were chanting for Ronda as an anti-hero who got screwed at SummerSlam. Under Triple H, Ronda helped Liv to be taken more seriously as a Champion. Ronda pushed Liv to be more dangerous at Extreme Rules, and even though Ronda got her title back at Extreme Rules, Liv got the respect of the fans back thanks to her performance against Ronda. Unfortunately for Ronda, it was all downhill from there for her. However, When you look at the body of work Ronda put in from January to October, there’s no woman who can take her spot on this list.
Best Storyline Nominees
1.Sami Zayn and the Bloodline
Sami Zayn has a major problem: everything he touches turns to gold, and it makes it hard for any other story to live up to. Coming off the heels of his conspiracy theory angle and build to WrestleMania with Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville, Zayn had a new idea to try to firmly establish himself as the locker room leader by associating with the Bloodline. What started as Zayn coming out in a Bloodline shirt slowly turned into Zayn helping the Bloodline, the Bloodline allowing Zayn to enter with them, and Roman Reigns giving Zayn an honorary Uce shirt. The biggest moment in this story saw Zayn prove himself in War Games by defending the Bloodline against longtime friend Kevin Owens. Zayn finally won over his biggest detractor Jey Uso, and it seemed like he was firmly entrenched in the Bloodline. Now, in early 2023, we know where the storyline is beginning to head, and it’s a testament to this story that it managed to slowly boil throughout most of 2022.
2.MJF/ CM Punk
MJF has made the best stories on AEW for four consecutive AEW PPVs. In my opinion, his best story of the year came opposite of CM Punk, prior to Punk’s championship reign, injury, second championship reign, and abrupt PR nightmare. MJF was running a pretty standard campaign against CM Punk before the entire feud took an abrupt turn by MJF admitting that he looked up to Punk and felt let down by Punk leaving wrestling. The two worked together to plant seeds for the final match, including throwbacks to Punk’s ROH days, Wardlow ultimately betraying MJF, and Punk getting set up for the AEW Championship.
3. Bianca/ Becky *
Bianca & Becky may seem like surprising winners of this award but lets review. This story started back in 2021 when Becky abruptly ended Bianca’s Title reign in a controversial squash match at Summerslam in Becky’s first match back. From that point on, Becky got the first true heel run of her career. Bianca and Becky became the top story after SummerSlam, and it looked like Bianca was going to reclaim her title at Extreme Rules until plot twist Sasha returned and stopped Bianca.
Then Sasha and Bianca chased after Becky’s title, and they had a phenomenal triple-threat match at Crown Jewel where Becky used cheap tactics to retain her title. However, she pinned Sasha, not Bianca. So three matches in, and fans are still hungry for a one- on- one with Becky and Bianca. After that, Bianca finally got her one on one with Becky on Raw and of course Lynch cheated to win and kicked Bianca to the back of the line. Big Time Becks went on a big time heel run after that. Becky defeated Liv in a lengthy feud that elevated both of them. Becky also stole Bianca’s opportunity to beat Charlotte and then beat Charlotte herself at Survivor Series in a champion vs. champion match. Both Bianca and Becky beat Duodrop in big matches. While Becky was thriving on top with the title she stole from Bianca, Bianca was grinding back to the top and becoming better than before. Bianca was the sole survivor of Survivor Series and an Elimination Chamber winner.
In the end, Bianca gave Becky no choice but to face Bianca again. Becky tried to cut Bianca down literally and figuratively. Becky tried to make Bianca’s hair a liability in a six-woman tag by focusing all her offense on using Bianca’s long hair against her, but that only ended in Becky getting a gashing hair whip across her stomach. Then Becky tried to cut Bianca’s hair ahead of WrestleMania, and that resulted in Bianca countering and cutting Becky’s hair. At Wrestlemania , Becky and Bianca had one of the best matches of the year that really should have main evented night one. Bianca won back the title, and then the story was flipped. Becky chased Bianca for the title until SummerSlam, where Bianca avenged her lost a year prior and defeated Becky for good. Becky tried her hardest to keep down the woman who she felt stole her spot and made the WWE Universe turn on her, but in the end, the cream rises to the top.
One thing I left out of the previous entry was the Lita and Becky part of the story. Lita and Becky deserve their own nomination for the story they told. Lita came back and challenged Becky for the title, and through facing her childhood hero, Becky slowly started to realize how much she had changed from the person she used to be. She went from idolizing Lita to facing Lita in a title match. Lita pushed Becky’s buttons perfectly. Every Raw segment was a treat, and at Elimination Chamber, they had a satisfying blowoff where Becky defeated her childhood hero in a spectacular match ahead of her Wrestlemania match. Psychologically it was a big match for Becky, but in the ring, it was a great Swan Song for Lita. The goodbye she deserved.
Show of the Year
1. Dynamite 42 wins *
Dynamite dominated the Wrap Up, getting double the amount of Next best show’s Weekly wins from Rob and me. AEW puts a lot of focus on their tv product, and I think you can see that reflected in their Awards and Nominations. It makes sense that as a newer company, AEW would try to make their biggest viewership impact on TV. They need to be putting on a great tv product to feed everything else in AEW. If you watch AEW, you will notice they have tons of PPV-quality matches and feuds on television which is why they are the leader in wrestling tv.
2.SmackDown 21 Wins
SmackDown is the next best show. SmackDown had the Universal Champion and the Undisputed Tag Champions plus Ronda, Liv, Bray Wyatt, Riddle etc. SmackDown seemed to dominate on a weekly basis in star power and meaningful action.
3. Impact 18 wins
Impact wasn’t far behind SmackDown. Impact always presented great stories and had the talent captilize on those stories in some big moments over the course of the year. One of the biggest things that got Impact nominated was how well they highlighted their women’s division. This is our first year reviewing Impact but it has quickly risen to the top three.
4. NXT 16 wins
NXT was right behind Impact. NXT was a delight to watch all year. NXT created its own universe of colorful characters that gave us moment after moment. You can tell how great a universe NXT created by how many nominations they got in the year-end awards.
PPV of The Year
1. Wrestlemania 38 *
Wrestlemania 38 was Rob and I’s most acclaimed PPV of the year, and it’s not really close. Stone Cold returned, Cody Rhodes vs. Seth, and Bianca vs. Becky etc there were so manny matches that could have been match of the night. This ppv has be on the top end of the last 8 Wrestlemania’s maybe even the best of them. WrestleMania set a standard nobody else could compete with this year.
2. Money In the Bank
Money in the Bank was the second highest-rated PPV. Liv Morgan cashed in and Austin Theory shockingly won the Money In the Bank. Bobby and Natalya had excellent matches. The PPV was just crafted to near perfection.
Holloween Havoc a NXT PPV was actually one of the most enjoyable ppvs of the year. The fun vibe of Halloween made the show seem like an an event you want to go to in person. Other than that, there was nothing that inherently made the ppv special like Wargames or Deadline but the wrestling was just superb. Nearly every match delivered, and even the one that didn’t was serviceable. This PPV showed what NXT 2.0’s zany characters could do with NXT Black and Gold’s match standards.
4. Wrestlemania Backlash
WrestleMania Backlash was a PPV that seemed like it wouldn’t be very good. However, a lot of the matches were surprisingly amazing. Ronda and Charlotte had a rematch that far surpassed their original match. The Bloodline vs. Drew and RKBro was so much better than it had any right to be. Cody and Seth went out and had a completely different match from their WrestleMania one and it was more captivating then expected. In addition to having high highs the ppv also had zero bad matches. Its clearly stood the test of time from being the first ppv of the new season of wrestling to being top four of the entire year.
Promo of the Year
1.Adam Page/CM Punk
This now infamous promo is worth a watch back because both guys do great work. While not a traditional promo, the two explain their problems with each other and set stakes that make their championship match must watch. It was going to be equal parts devastating no matter who won/lost. CM Punk wanted to cement his legacy, prove he has more in the tank, and prove he can still be the champion of a major wrestling brand. Adam Page wanted to cement himself as the best guy in AEW, his story led to this moment and he didn’t want it to end prematurely, and he wanted to defend AEW from Punk (look at what happened during Punk’s ROH and WWE Championship Reigns). The funniest part about this promo is that everything Page worried about came true.
2.MJF’s Babyface Return Promo
It was hard to pick which MJF promos to nominate for this, but this was MJF’s most memorable promo for me, and it proved he is not just a one-trick heel promo. After returning at All Out, the crowd clearly wanted to love MJF, and MJF gave it to them for about fifteen minutes. He gave a babyface promo about his return while mixing in jabs at the crowd, saying he couldn’t resist. He could only keep the charade up for so long before antagonizing the crowd, but for those few glorious moments, MJF showed that he could also be the biggest babyface promo in wrestling if he wanted to.
3. MJF’s Jew Boy Promo*
MJF cut the promo of the year in February. In February I put this promo on the highlight list as the promo of the year and 10 months later, it still is. MJF the most hateful heel in pro wrestling got on the mic and talked about being discriminated against and bullied and made us feel bad for him. However, it wasn’t just that, that would have been a great promo. What makes it phenomenal is how he weaved CM Punk into the tale. CM Punk, was MJF’s hero, his driving force until Punk quit and abandoned fans like MJF. Then MJF revealed that CM Punk drove him with hate. His hate for CM Punk fueled him. Cm Punk cut a promo a week earlier about MJF being a fan of CM Punk when he was a kid and it was actually a good promo, but MJF eviscerated it and every other promo with this promo. This was just one of those moments where you watch and listen and know that you are seeing wrestling history.
4. Moxley Rallies AEW
Cm Punk’s post-match media scrum was a disaster. He gets most of the heat for letting tensions between him and the Elite boil over in such a public moment because he was carrying the biggest prize in AEW. The entire company was in flux after that. The Champion of AEW was now suspended, and the new Trios Champions/EVPs and Adam Page were as well. Triple H was in charge of WWE and turning the tide of public opinion and industry favor back towards WWE. Guys and gals already wanted to run back to Triple H. Plus, AEW just publicly lost their aura as being this great friendly backstage wrestling utopia where nobody politics and everyone gets along.
Who comes out to save the day? Not the AEW Champion or Trios Champions who helped set the company ablaze. Nope, it was Jon Moxley the former champion, who just put CM Punk over. Jon Moxley was supposed to be on vacation. He made the case of why AEW is still the place to work and not only why it’s a good wrestling company but why it’s a great one that he would be proud to continue to carry the banner for. He made the perfect counterargument to MJF’s
pro -WWE promo of the year candidate. In that Promo, Jon Moxley stabliized the company by being the flag bearer and leading by example, boosting morale. Jon gave AEW the halftime speech they needed to go back out in the second half of the year and give their competition hell.
Best Character Nominees
Sami Zayn wins best character of the year for the second year in a row. Coming from the indies, most fans were expecting Sami Zayn to deliver outstanding wrestling to the WWE product. In addition to that, Zayn has become such a good character for WWE that he is the go-to for celebrity promos like Johnny Knoxville at this year’s WrestleMania. After Mania, Zayn took his character in an entirely different direction by self-inserting himself in the Bloodline. What would have been a dead end gimmick for most guy’s careers, Zayn turned into some of the best character work of the year, elevating all the characters of the Bloodline.
MJF built AEW’s best feuds for each of their PPVs: MJF/CM Punk at Revolution, MJF/Wardlow at Double or Nothing, MJF’s return at All Out, and MJF’s championship win against Jon Moxley at Full Gear. MJF’s promos are a highlight every week, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what about his character resonates with the audience so much. MJF has a talent for pinching the nerves of the audience, which earns him a nomination on this list.
Her character isn’t complicated or cutting edge. You understand what she is as soon as you see her. Masha is a traditional monster heel character, and she plays the role so well. Monster characters are a cornerstone in wrestling, and they are harder to pull off than people think. Everything about the way Masha carries herself tells you she is not to be messed with. She doesn’t mince words. When she speaks it’s decisive and in control. That’s if she even speaks at all. She might just hand you a death warrant.
She has a great look as well and she backs up her persona in the ring. When you watch her wrestle, its vicious it really looks like she’s taking people out in the ring. Masha had the best undefeated streak of the year. She started small, dumping any wrestler who dared to step in her path on their head, then she Snow Plowed through the likes of Alisha Edwards, Tennille Dashwood, and Deonna Purrazzo. Masha made it all the way to a title match with Jordynne Grace without taking a single loss. Masha is undoubtedly one of the best characters of 2022.
Becky Lynch performed the best character work of her career with her character Big Time Becks. Her Crazy fashion and willingness to do anything to stay at the top made her a superstar all over again. In 2022 She wrestled her hero and upcoming stars as well as having a world-class Wrestlemania match with Bianca.After Summerslam Becky finished the year by going back to most people’s favorite Becky Lynch character, The Man.
Faction of the Year
1.The Bloodline *
The biggest company in wrestling was dominated by one faction this year. Roman Reigns and the Usos were champions for the entire year, unifying both championships in the process. They added the character of the year in Sami Zayn and a heater from NXT in Solo Sikoa. They are the highlight of the week for many WWE shows, opening SmackDown and delivering in-ring every time they are booked for a match.
2.Blackpool Combat Club
From a purely in-ring perspective, it’s possible that the Blackpool Combat Club are the most talented faction of all time. Led by William Regal and built out of a mutual respect between Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, they added Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta to the group too. Under Mox and Danielson, the group could go on to mentor the future of pro wrestlers. On their own, the BCC had a tremendous year: Mox was AEW champion for a lot of the year, Danielson was still possibly the best wrestler in-ring for AEW, Castagnoli was ROH Champion, Yuta was ROH Pure Champion, and the group had some of my favorite matches and promos in AEW with the Jericho Appreciation Society.
3. Toxic Attraction
Toxic Attraction ran NXT. There was a member of Toxic Attraction holding a championship every month of 2022, and a lot of the time, it was all three. Jacy and Gigi won the Womens Tag Titles twice this year, and Mandy maintained the NXT title until December of 2022 and Unified the NXT Womens Title with the NXT UK title. Sometimes NXT superstars can be big on NXT but unknown otherwise. Toxic Attraction transcended the brand and was one of the most recognizable factions in the company.
4.Jericho Appreciation Society
Jericho started one of the hottest and most consistent factions in AEW. The Jericho Appreciation Society were the foils to the Combat Club. Their two central beliefs are that Jericho is the goat and that they are sports entertainers which makes them superior to wrestlers. The Group consist of Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Anna Jay, Tay Conti, Matt Menard, Jake Hager, Angelo Parker, and Daniel Garcia. They had classic battles with Combat Club and Eddie Kingston. However, when Jericho became ROH Champion the group went on their hottest run. Jericho was beating former ROH champions every week. Daniel Garcia had to choose whether he was leaving the group and joining the Combat Club or staying. This list wouldn’t be complete without the Jericho Appreciation Society.
Rising Star of the Year Nominees
Ricky Starks took the FTW Championship, a title that means absolutely nothing on its own, and made it mean something. He had some of the best promos of the year in his FTW feuds and break up with Powerhouse Hobbs. At the end of the year, we got a glimpse of what could be a main event star in his feud and match with MJF. Every time he gets the chance, Starks absolutely shines, and he could be a future face of the company.
Riddle has already accomplished a lot in his short career in WWE. Every year, it seems like he gets a nomination like this, and it’s frankly because he still hasn’t reached the mountain top. Everything he touches, Riddle turns into gold, whether it’s his partnership with Randy Orton, his feud with Roman Reigns and the Bloodline, or a throwaway segment to build a multi-man match on Raw. Riddle makes them all must-watch TV, and he would be a white hot choice to put as champion of a WWE brand.
Orange Cassidy has had a great year. He started out the year beating Adam Cole at Beach Break. However, that match was unsanctioned so it wouldn’t count against Adam Cole’s record because Orange Cassidy wasn’t seen as a big enough star to beat Cole in an official match. Fast forward to Forbidden Door where Orange is the one chosen to face Will Osprey at Forbidden Door for the IWGP United States Championship, and they have the match of the night. Then later in the year Orange Cassidy goes on to beat Pac for the All-Alantic Title and he became the best mid card champion on AEW TV. It doesn’t matter who he faced he never had a bad match. I only expect Orange Cassidy’s star to rise even higher next year.
4. Grayson Waller*
Grayson Waller started the year as the superstar chosen to face AJ styles on the main roster. Grayson actually ushered in NXT’s main roster NXT match ups this year. He continued to get involved with main roster stars throughout the year. He faced Apollo Crews as well later in the year. Grayson was the Mvp of the Stand and Deliver North American Ladder Match. He kept raising his profile and by the end of the year he won the first ever Deadline match and earned a shot to challenge for the NXT Title. Grayson Waller is the definition of a Rising Star.
Wrestler of the Year Nominees
Throughout this entire list, I wanted to nominate MJF, and often times, had to choose which MJF segment/match that I wanted to nominate. He was the story in AEW this year, building the most meaningful matches on the PPVs, driving ratings with his return when AEW desperately needed help, and becoming the champion at the end of the year. He does everything a pro wrestler is supposed to do. He carries himself, talks, and wrestles like he is the wrestler of the year.
Roman Reigns is doing something on a different level that we haven’t seen since the Hulk Hogan days. Even when Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, and John Cena ruled the WWE, there was no championship reign that went as long as Reigns and didn’t even feel stale. Reigns gets the loudest ovation at every show, whether you are cheering or booing him, you have to tune in to hear what he’s going to say. When he wrestles a big match, that match always feels like it deserved to be the main event, whether it was Riddle on a weekly show, Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, or Logan Paul at Crown Jewel, Reigns put on a show in his matches. Whoever defeats Reigns will create a generational moment, and Reigns can go down in history on the Mount Rushmore of WWE Champions, even if it isn’t the longest reign ever.
Moxley had a hell of a year. He came back after rehab with an impassioned promo and a warm welcome from the crowd. He formed the Combat Club with Bryan Danielson after finally beating Bryan for the first time ever. Moxley went to war with Jericho Appreciation Society in many great matches like Blood and Guts. Moxley became the first ever two time AEW Champion and put the company on his back after CM Punk got hurt. Moxley squashed CM Punk in a title match on Dynamite before putting CM Punk over for the Title. Then When CM Punk had to drop the title again and the company was in chaos. Moxley came and steadied the ship and became the first ever three time champion. Then he went on arguably his best run as champion late in the year before putting over MJF. Moxley was AEW this year and he was undoubtedly one of the four best wrestlers of 2022.
4. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes started out, the year hot as TNT champion, having great matches that carried some of the AEW tv shows. He even put Sammy over for the title in one of the best matches of the year. Even better than the match was the fact that he did that without even being under contract with AEW. Then he went to WWE beat Seth Rollins in a trio of fantastic matches that ended in Cody Rhodes beating Rollins in Hell in the Cell with a torn pec. Cody was already hot on AEW but then he went to WWE and became the hottest star not named Roman in WWE.
Tv Match of the Year
1.Adam Page vs. Lance Archer
I have a soft spot for this match because Adam Page was in the phase of his championship reign where no one knew what to expect. They built a championship match with the criminally underutilized Lance Archer, and the result was a Texas Death Match that was worthy of being the main event on one of AEW Dynamite’s stacked cards. What I loved about this match was that the top ropes removed added a completely different layer to the match. It took away Page’s Buckshot Lariat and made even an irish whip feel like a potentially career ending move. In the end, Page hit his Lariat over the second rope and put Archer through a table in a memorable match for in Page’s short reign.
2. Josh Alexander vs. Mike Bailey
Mike Bailey’s challenge to Josh Alexander came out of nowhere and slowly created a generational moment for the challenger. For those that don’t watch Impact, Alexander is basically the Roman Reigns of the brand right now, the champion and undisputedly the guy on their programming. Bailey going toe to toe with him for an hour felt like one of those moments like Kofi Kingston going over an hour in a gauntlet match or Jeff Hardy challenging the Undertaker on Raw. The match was good enough that it got non-Impact fans to tune in and see, which is a testament to what Impact is doing right now.
3. CM Punk and Moxley vs. FTR
This match was incredible. Two of the top stars in AEW Jon Moxley and Cm Punk teaming up against one of the best tag teams in the world. Its not an accident that all of these men are nominated for other awards.This match was star studded and it delivered. These two teams delivered a ppv quality match that has stood as one of the top four best tv matches since February of 2022.
4.TNT Unification Ladder Match Cody vs. Sammy*
Some Matches are just so incredible that you know instantly that they are special. Cody vs. Sammy is one of those matches. We were only one month into the year, and immediately it was called out as a match of the year candidate. Not only has it remained that throughout the year it has become the TV match of the year.
In this match, Cody and Sammy showed the real reason wrestlers are like super heroes. They take incredible risk and put there bodies on the line in ways that don’t seem possible and that's exactly what Sami and Cody did. It was hard hitting and exciting, and meaningful. Cody performed this match just to help AEW. He wasn’t even under contract. Sammy was crowned this night and went on to have the run that led him to be nominated for mid-card champion of the year.
Match of Year Nominees
1.Anarchy in the Arena (AEW Double or Nothing)
“Ladies and gentlemen, shit’s about to hit the fan.” That was the call by Justin Roberts that kicked off this legendary brawl at the start of the feud between Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society. Moxley’s “Wild Thing” played for about three loops while the teams brawled, and it felt like a bar fight. The character work leading up to everything made the match what it was as Eddie Kingston tried to murder Chris Jericho, and the tension between Kingston and Bryan Danielson cost the Blackpool Combat Club the match.
2.Finn Balor vs. Edge (I Quit, WWE Extreme Rules) *
This feud was tired going into WWE Extreme Rules, but Finn Balor and Edge proved they were masters of storytelling in the ring. They replayed a months-long feud in 45 minutes, starting with slow chain wrestling and building to storytelling spots with Rey and Dominick Mysterio, Beth Phoenix and Rhea Ripley, and Edge fighting off the whole judgment day while handcuffed. The Judgment Day proved they were ruthless, as Edge failed to fight off his own creation, ironically achieving what he set out to do by creating the next generation of WWE Superstars in his defeat.
3. Ronda vs. Charlotte IQuit Match
Ronda and Charlotte produced a perfect ten at Wrestlemania Backlash. Charlotte, the defending champion, went to war with Ronda Rousey, the 2022 Royal Rumble Winner. Love them or hate them, these are two of the biggest draws and most talented wrestlers in WWE. It was very interesting to see whose push was stronger. Also, from a kayfabe standpoint, this is the unstoppable force meets the immovable object. I loved that WWE chose an Iquit match because that meant there could be no cheap victories. One of these women had to lose outright to the other. However, before that happened Charlotte and Ronda delivered a perfectly brutal match that delivered on the stipulation and showed two competitors trying to beat the will out of the other. In the end, it took Ronda breaking Charlotte's arm to get her to quit. This IQuit match is one of the best IQuit Matches in the last twenty years.
4. Riddle vs. Seth Clash At The Castle
Seth Rollins and Riddle had a classic outta nowhere. At Clash At The Castle Seth Rollins and Riddle wrestled a perfect match. The match had amazing fluid sequences and meaningful steaks, and an exclamation point finish that did justice to action throughout the course of the match. The style in which this match was wrestled honestly reminded me of Wrestlemania 25 Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels.