Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Pro Wrestling Truth Awards Part 1 - WWE Year In Review

2014 WWE Year In Review

2014 was an odd year for WWE. It went nothing like most people expected coming out of 2013. The year started off rocky with the departure of one of their most popular stars, CM Punk which led to a protest from fans when Batista won the Royal Rumble instead of Daniel Bryan.

With this horrible start to the year, WWE changed course and gave Daniel Bryan what he rightfully deserved, his moment in the main event of WrestleMania. From the night after WrestleMania forward, it felt as if WWE had turned over a new leaf and fully recovered from the loss of CM Punk. It looked like Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Paige & Emma would be taking major roles on the roster alongside The Shield. However things would get turned upside down when Daniel Bryan suffered an unexpected career threatening neck injury and he was forced to surrender the WWE Title.

I guess the pressure of what to do after losing yet another top star due to injury caused WWE to totally lose focus on the stars they made at WrestleMania & the night after in the form of Cesaro & Paige as both wandered with little to no creative direction. Despite those two new stars beginning to flounder, The Shield stayed strong and arguably led the company through Bryan's injury as they main evented two PPV's thus being made into stars at the hands of Evolution.

Meanwhile, the guy that WWE can almost always count on, John Cena, took charge in the WWE Title picture only to be stopped by Brock Lesnar in August. Cena suffered two beatings like we've never seen him face before and soon after, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar rode off into the sunset, not to be seen again until December.

In the midst of this, each individual member of The Shield began branching out into their own. We saw Dean Ambrose become the lunatic fringe that all the fan's love while Roman Reigns earned his rep as the superman of the WWE despite suffering a groin injury that kept him out during the final few months of the year. As for Seth Rollins, 2014 was arguably his year moreso than Ambrose & Reigns as he became The Authority's protege, won the MITB briefcase, and ultimately defeated Dean Ambrose to end their feud. Rollins may have resorted to cheap and distasteful tactics, but they almost always led him to victory. Beyond that, Rollins delivered top notch performances throughout the year while Ambrose & Reigns had short periods of time off TV. Regardless of which member of The Shield succeeded most this year, the point is that they all came into their own in 2014.

All the names that I've mentioned thus far were the focal points of WWE this year although there are two men I feel compelled to recognize. These two guys delivered outstanding performances every night they stepped foot in the ring regardless of their placement on the card. They are two talents who came from very different backgrounds. One is a former amateur wrestler meanwhile the other came up through the Independent Scene. Many people have considered these two the most misused/underrated talents on the WWE roster for quite some time and while one saw more success this year than the other, they both deserved to be mentioned for the number of phenomenal matches they delivered to the WWE Universe this year.

These two men are what I like to consider the Work Horses of the Year - Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro.

Both men's roles reversed throughout the year as Cesaro was hot during the first half of the year while Ziggler became hot during the second half of the year. Regardless of where they were positioned on the card however, they always delivered unforgettable performances and the result was some of the best matches of the year. Cesaro's bouts with John Cena, Sami Zayn, & Sheamus were among the best this year while Ziggler's valiant efforts against then IC Champion Bad News Barrett and his jawdropping Ladder Match with Luke Harper won't be soon forgotten. Not to mention their individual awe inspiring performances in the form of Cesaro winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 and Ziggler outlasting everyone at Survivor Series. Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro were just as important to WWE this year as John Cena, Daniel Bryan, & The Shield whether they were intended to be or not.

So, as you can see, this year was a rollercoaster ride for WWE. It had many low points & discouraging moments however it had many high points as well. The intention of this article is to highlight all the unforgettable happenings of 2014 and to recognize the best of the best for their accomplishments.

Speaking of the best of the best, let's take a look at the Top 10 WWE Superstars of 2014!

Top 10 WWE Superstars of The Year

1) Brock Lesnar

I don't think anyone expected Brock Lesnar to have the year that he has had. It's arguably been the best year of any superstar in WWE history. His part-time schedule put somewhat of a damper on how impactful his run could have been, but despite that, no one came close to accomplishing everything he did this year. From decimating Big Show at Royal Rumble to breaking The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania to destroying John Cena on two separate occasions and becoming the WWE Champion - Brock Lesnar established himself as one of the best of all time in 2014. Lesnar's accolades prior to this year made him stand out however what he accomplished this year launched him into legendary status. It was hard for me to rank him as #1 because of his part time schedule however as I said before, no one did what he did this year despite him not being a full time performer. There's not really much left to be said besides this, can ANYONE stop Brock Lesnar in 2015?

Last year's ranking: N/R

2) John Cena

Whether you like John Cena or not, the truth is he's one of the best performers in the world and this year once again proved that. He not only had success by winning the WWE Championship in July, he also had multiple MOTY candidate bouts this year. From his PPV quality bout on Raw with Cesaro to his Last Man Standing Match with Bray Wyatt, Cena proved that he is still at the top of his game when it comes to his in-ring performance. Beyond the match quality, Cena's feud with Lesnar truly showcased how fantastic he is. He made Lesnar look like an absolute beast and delivered some of his best promos to date. Many people loved watching Cena take that beating, but what those bashers don't realize is that Cena did just as much to make that beating look/feel vicious as Lesnar did. Cena's year ended on a high note as he will be getting one more shot at Lesnar's WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. He's about to enter his monumental 10th year as the face of WWE and I expect him to continue to build his legacy in the coming year.

Last year's ranking: #2

3) Seth Rollins

Rollins really had a breakout year in 2014. His run with The Shield was epic, but this year saw him go out on his own by shocking the world and turning on his Shield brethren. This led Rollins to winning the MITB briefcase and joining up with Triple H & The Authority to run roughshod over the WWE in 2014. Rollins was involved in many standout matches this year. The six man tag w/The Shield against The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber was a classic along with their battle against Evolution at Extreme Rules. As for singles competition, Rollins had many fantastic matches with Dean Ambrose during the second half of the year. Rollins closed out the year by main eventing 2 PPV's which is a huge feat alone for the young star. As said before, Rollins broke out this year however I expect him to break new ground in 2015.

Last year's ranking: #8

4) Dolph Ziggler

If there's anyone who deserves the Superstar of the Year award, it's this guy. I was honestly tempted to go out on a limb and give him the #1 spot. Ziggler had yet another year filled with show stealing performances night after night. He was there every single week and was the highlight of many shows that didn't have much going for them otherwise. I think he's without a doubt the TV star of the year because he's had multiple MOTY candidates over the course of 2014 on Raw & Smackdown. Whether it's mid-card title matches, bouts that are randomly put together, or PPV main events - Dolph Ziggler delivers every single time. He's been my personal favorite superstar to watch this year and based off his recent resurgence to the top of the card, I hope he will finally get what he deserves in 2015 in the form of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It's a stretch, but if anyone deserves it, it's him.

Last year's ranking: #6

5) Dean Ambrose

Speaking of guys who were the highlight of otherwise dull shows, Dean Ambrose carried Raw on his back for a month or two in the late summer. So much so that when he was written off storylines for a month, there was clearly something missing and the product suffered. That perfectly explains how important Ambrose has been to the WWE this year. He provided fans with many memorable moments and classic matches, all while making himself into a star. One thing that both he & Rollins deserve credit for is getting themselves over with new gimmicks after The Shield separated. Ambrose was the loose cannon of The Shield, but after that fell through he ditched the gear, music, and everything. He was no longer the loose cannon of The Shield. He transformed into Dean Ambrose. It was certainly an amazing transformation to watch and Ambrose deserves major kudos for pulling it off. I expect Dean to only get more popular as time goes on so 2015 will without a doubt be an even bigger year for him if he continues on the track he's on.

Last year's ranking: #9

6) Randy Orton

Randy Orton came into 2014 as the WWE Champion and while his reign was overshadowed by Daniel Bryan's rise to fame, Orton has to be commended for it. He portrayed the perfect heel in that feud which in turn helped make Daniel Bryan's title victory that much sweeter. From WrestleMania onward, Orton's year could be looked at as disappointing considering he lost nearly every PPV match he was involved in however I'm looking at it from a different perspective. There comes a time in every superstar's career that they need to help build new stars for the future and I'd argue to say that Orton (along with Triple H) made more stars this year than any active wrestler on the roster. Whether it be Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, The Shield during post-Mania season, or Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, Orton put over alot of younger talent in convincing fashion and for that he deserves kudos. I'm not sure what the future holds for Orton considering he's been off TV for several months, but based off how viciously he was written off TV, I'm expecting a heated feud with Seth Rollins that will be a recipe for success heading into WrestleMania.

Last year's ranking: #4

7) Daniel Bryan

2014 was a bittersweet year for Daniel Bryan. He came into the year as the most popular star in years which led to him getting his well deserved moment at WrestleMania 30. With success came disappointment though as Bryan suffered a career threatening injury that has kept him out of action for most of the year. However, let's not dwell on the negatives because in the 5 months that Daniel Bryan was around, he created many great moments and an array of unforgettable matches. From turning on Bray Wyatt in the Steel Cage to their match at Royal Rumble to outstanding TV encounters with Cesaro & Randy Orton to his big night at WrestleMania 30, Daniel Bryan solidified his legacy in 2014 even if the year didn't turn out like he & most of the WWE Universe had hoped.

Last year's ranking: #1

8) Cesaro

Last year, I gave Cesaro the Underrated Wrestler of the Year award and the sad thing is, he could qualify for that award this year as well. On second though I take that back, this year he should win the "Underappreciated wrestler of the Year." Coming into the year, it seemed like this year would be the rise of the Swiss Superman and that trend continued when he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania however that moment would be his peak. The year only went downhill from there in terms of how Cesaro was booked. Multiple failed attempts at winning the US & IC Titles, being randomly dropped from Paul Heyman, and directionless booking made for a horrible second half of the year for him. Well, I wouldn't say horrible because Cesaro never failed to deliver outstanding matches regardless of the careless creative direction he was given. That's one of the main reason I have him placed so high on this list. Yeah, some guys that are ranked below him were positioned better, but it's easy to be positioned in a good spot on the card. It's hard to get over on your own and deliver as many quality matches as Cesaro delivered this year. Cesaro may have been unceremoniously dropped with no direction, but he still worked hard and that deserves recognition. I'm not too optimistic on what the future holds for Cesaro however I will hope for the best going into 2015 as it will be a fresh start.

Last year's ranking: #10

9) Roman Reigns

What a year it's been for Roman Reigns. His performance in the Royal Rumble was amazing, he was the powerhouse of the dominant force known as The Shield, and he got the biggest victory in his young career by defeating Randy Orton at SummerSlam. While all those things are awesome, the year wasn't all good for the self proclaimed superman. Reigns suffered an unexpected groin injury in September which left him out of action for the final 4 months of the year. This undoubtedly dampered on his ranking on this list, but it certainly didn't effect how WWE views him because it's clear he's still the guy they want to take the torch from John Cena. With that being said, I expect 2015 to be an even bigger year for Roman Reigns, I just hope that WWE doesn't pull the trigger on him too soon because if they do it will backfire.

Last year's ranking: #7

10) Bray Wyatt

It's been a weird year for Bray Wyatt. Like many young stars on this list, he began the year being extremely over with the audience however at this point in the year, he's almost an afterthought. Yeah, he main evented the TLC PPV, but he doesn't have the same mystique that he had earlier in the year. None the less, Bray was definitely one of the best parts of WWE in 2014 as he provided fans with something different from what they're used to. His promos are unorthodox yet brilliant and he portrays his character perfectly. He does it so well that I don't even like to say he portrays it, I prefer to say he OWNS his character. This epic characterization made for many epic feuds throughout the year against the likes of John Cena & The Shield. With rumors of Bray facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania next year, it looks like 2015 will be a huge year for the Eater of Worlds. Hopefully he can regain some of his intrigue by the time WrestleMania 31 rolls around.

Last year's ranking: N/R

Top 10 WWE PPV Matches of The Year

This list was compiled by taking the best matches from WWE's PPV events & NXT's special live events, comparing them, and putting together a list of the elite bouts.

WWE offered it's fans some great PPV's this year. Some personal favorites include the Elimination Chamber where Big E & Jack Swagger had an underrated IC Title match while the two main events undoubtedly stole the show. WrestleMania 30 could have been renamed YESMania as the whole event was based around Daniel Bryan which was well deserved and he proved it by having the two matches of the night. Not to forget the unbelievable feat by Brock Lesnar of breaking the Undertaker's streak. And who could forget the Hell In A Cell and TLC PPV's where Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, & Luke Harper to things to new extremes? Many top notch PPV matches took place this year which made it even harder to narrow this list down.

To make matters tougher, I decided to include NXT's Special Live events in this list as well because they were amazing and easily on the same level as WWE's PPV's when it comes to quality. Some even say that the NXT specials outshined WWE PPV's on many occassions and I can't say I blame them. The likes of Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville made NXT must see TV along with main roster stars like Cesaro who would make their presence felt in NXT as well.

So which matches made the cut? Let's find out!

1) The Shield vs The Wyatt Family - Elimination Chamber

Over the past few years, WWE has debuted alot of new talent, but none were handled as well as The Shield & The Wyatt Family. When these two groups first came to blows on an episode of Raw in late 2013, a "This is Awesome!" chant erupted in the arena. That just goes to show why WWE needs to continue focusing on younger talent because when they do, we get epic moments like that. None the less, I'm sure WWE realized at that point in time that they NEEDED to do a feud between the two. It had the big time feel from the get go and that momentum carried over into their first ever three on three encounter at the Elimination Chamber. The build to this match and the action that followed it is something that couldn't be out done by any other match in WWE this year. It was chaos, it was insanity, it was AWESOME!

2) Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Breeze - NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way

For fans like myself who do alot of research and keep up with Indy wrestling, this match being outstanding was a no brainer. Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville had been killing it on the Indies for years and Tyson Kidd was one of the most underrated talents on the roster (and still is). So the fact that those three alone were involved made me think this would be great. That leads me to the dark horse of the match, Tyler Breeze. While Zayn, Neville, & Kidd all impressed, I think Breeze made the most of an impression. Between this bout and his singles bout with Zayn, he truly made a name for himself. This match was one of the most entertaining of the year and out of all the epic matches on NXT, it just happened to be one step above the rest. Without a doubt the best fatal four way to happen in WWE in a long, long time.

3) Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn - NXT Takeover: R Evolution

As mentioned before, I've seen alot of Zayn and Neville's work together on the Indies so seeing them face off in the main event of a WWE event was special. That combined with the extremely well done build up to this match made for a bonafide classic. Zayn & Neville went back and forth in a match that ultimately led to the feel good moment everyone was hoping for as Sami Zayn became the NXT Champion. When Zayn, it was that same feeling that I got when Bryan won at WrestleMania. It was also in that moment that I realized that Zayn could very well be the next Indy guy to make it to the main event of WrestleMania because he's the perfect under dog. The amazing match and Zayn winning isn't the only thing fans will remember when they think about this match though. Afterwards, an old friend & rival made his presence felt as Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen) powerbomed Zayn on the apron thus making his debut evening an effective one. This was an all around phenomenal match. Action, story, drama - this one had it all.

4) Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H - Wrestlemania XXX

Just as I mentioned Daniel Bryan's big moment at WrestleMania, here we have the match that led to that feel good moment. This match was the opener of the event however it ended up being the best on the card and argubaly the most important. I think the build to this match was the best of any feud in 2014. Triple H was on a different level this year and this was the perfect example of that. The crowd being so emotionally invested in this match is what really pushed this one over the top as one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. Classic.

5) Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn - NXT arRIVAL

It seems we have a reoccuring trend on this list. Well, two reoccuring trends actually. The first being the fact that Sami Zayn was featured in three of the top five matches on this list and the second being Indy rivalries being reignited. The first was the Neville/Zayn saga from the latter part of the year and now we rewind to earlier in the year, February to be exact. In 2013, Cesaro and Zayn blew everyone away with their unbelievable 2/3 Falls Match which led to this epic rematch. Some say this was their best match out of all their encounters while others disagree. One thing everyone can agree on is that it was every bit as good as their previous bouts and it definitely lived up to the hype. Just like the earlier NXT match on this list between Zayn & Neville, we got another moment after this match that sent chills down my spine as Cesaro & Zayn embraced in the center of the ring. Amazing moment after the final bout in what I would consider a classic series of matches.

6) The Shield vs. Evolution - Extreme Rules

This is the second Shield match on this list which just goes to show what kind of the year they had. While this match wasn't quite on the level of hype that the Shield/Wyatt's match was, it was definitely just as entertaining. Seeing two of the greatest factions in WWE history go at it was absolutely surreal considering I never thought Evolution would reunite. The Shield had many big victories during their run, but this was arguably their biggest and best yet. They not only main evented a PPV, they did so in impressive fashion AND came out victorious.

7) Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan - Royal Rumble

The crowd at the Royal Rumble in January was arguably the hottest of any audience all year. It didn't benefit many matches on the card however it did indeed benefit this one. When Daniel Bryan turned on The Wyatt Family on Raw, the reaction was deafening and it certainly carried over into this encounter. The crowd hung on every single move Bryan made which gave this bout a big time feel and the in-ring action certainly kept the fans satisfied. Both men fed off the energy of the WWE Universe and delivered the fans an early MOTY candidate.

8) Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler (Ladder Match) - TLCS

If someone asked me to define what it meant for a wrestler to give their all in a match, I'd say to watch this bout between Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper. On second thought, I'm not sure if I would or not because these two simply set the bar too high. Ziggler is known for going out of his way to steal the show and he certainly did so on this night as he threw caution to the wind in this death defying Ladder match. Some of the things these two did absolutely blew my mind. This was without a doubt the best IC Title Match this year and one of the best of all time as well.

9) Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Hell In A Cell) - Hell In A Cell

When you think of feud of the year for 2014, you may think of Bryan vs The Authority or Cena vs Wyatt, but I think the best rivalry this year was between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. It was absolute chaos each time these men stepped in the ring together and this match was the final showdown between the two. And what a perfect final battle it was. Just like their whole feud, this match featured multiple moments that fans will never forget including both men falling off the side off the cell through the announce tables. This was the blowoff to one of the biggest feuds of the year and it definitely delivered as such.

10) The Usos vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (2/3 Falls) - Battleground

The tag team divsion hasn't been touched on much in this article thus far which is pretty surprising considering there were several great bouts throughout the year. The majority of them took place between these two teams, The Usos and Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. Prior to this match, the two duos had tore the house down on several occassions so when the 2/3 falls stipulation was added, fans expected something spectactular and that's exactly what we got. While this wasn't the classic it could've been, it was without a doubt the best tag team title match of the year. A bout that is definitely worth going out of your way to see.

Top 10 WWE TV Matches of The Year

After having a hard time creating a Top 10 TV matches of the year last year, I set out to keep up a list of the most outstanding bouts throughout the year. Considering that I like keeping tabs on things like this, it was fun and I'm pumped to release it for you all to see. This year I decided to expand it to a Top 15 list because there were more than 10 matches that took place on Raw & Smackdown that are worth going out of your way to see.

When reading through these you will notice why I chose Dolph Ziggler & Cesaro as the workhorses of the year in the first few paragraphs of this article. Both men are featured in six bouts a piece which means together they take up 3/4 of this list. It just goes to a show what kind of year they've had when it comes to match quality.

None the less, here's my list of the Top 15 Best Raw & Smackdown Matches of 2014 along with the rating I gave them:

1) Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins - Raw - August 18th, 2014 - ****1/2

This was the long awaited singles encounter between these two former members of The Shield since their first match at SummerSlam had the Lumberjack stipulation which technically wasn't a one on one bout. None the less, they got their chance to battle it out here with a Falls Count Anywhere stipulation and they certainly left fans with a match they will want to watch over & over again. From the unbelievable powerbomb off the top turnbuckle through chairs to the curb stomp into cinder blocks - this was utter insanity.

2) John Cena vs. Cesaro - Raw - February 10th, 2014 - ****1/4

John Cena has a reputation for having classics against former Independent stars and he damn near continued that trend here by delivering an AMAZING match with Cesaro. The most surprising thing about this bout was that it was their first ever meeting however things clicked from the opening bell and the result was the best TV match of the year. The most disappointing thing about Cesaro seemingly falling from the top is that we may never get to see a drawn out feud between the two. This match along with their match later in the year left me wanting to see more between the two. Highly recommend checking this one out if you haven't seen it.

3) The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family - Raw/Main Event - All Three Matches (March 3rd, April 8th, & May 5th)  - ****1/4

The match these two trios had on PPV at Elimination Chamber ranked in as the #1 PPV Match of the Year earlier in this article which probably makes it no surprise to you that their rematches in Raw were just as awesome. The two stables battled it out on three separate occasions earlier in the year. Twice on Raw and once on Main Event. While it didn't have the big time feel of the first time encounter at Elimination Chamber, the action was certainly just as good. Both teams delivered in every area each time they faced off.

4) Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd - Smackdown - November 14th - ****

On paper this was a dream match which is why when I read the spoilers for Smackdown on this particular week, I made it a point to tune in to see it for myself. I'm sure glad I did because this was a fantastic match and quite possibly the best triple threat in recent years. Ziggler & Cesaro continued their trend of having outstanding bouts while Tyson Kidd really made a name for himself here. It had been awhile since Kidd had a meaningful match on TV so he had alot to prove here. Needless to say, he showed everyone why he deserves a higher spot on the roster by putting his best effort forward and taking full advantage of this huge opportunity. This led him to eliminating Cesaro only to fall to Ziggler in the end. Speaking of Ziggler, he delivered another sensational performance in this match which only won himself over even more in the hearts of the WWE Universe. All around amazing match.

5) Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro - Smackdown -February 7th - ****

As mentioned before, Daniel Bryan may have missed a good part of the year, but he certainly left his mark during that period of time. This is one of the many forgotten TV gems that Bryan had in early 2014. Just days before the phenomenal Cesaro/Cena match would take place, Cesaro clashed with Daniel Bryan in a match that was almost as good as his bout with Cena. This wasn't quite on the level of Bryan and Cesaro's encounter during the summer of 2013 however it was certainly one worth going out of your way to see. The fantastic stuff you would expect from Bryan and Cesaro.

6) Sheamus vs. Christian - Raw - Memphis Street Fight - March 10th - ****

While many people damper on Sheamus' character, the truth is that he puts 100% in all of his matches. The intensity that Sheamus has in the ring is unparalleled and that was put on display here. Christian is a guy who is also vastly underrated and can have a good match with anybody so in reality, this was a recipe for success from the opening bell. Ironically enough, this match really caught me by surprise when it happened. Probably because we'd gotten so used to see these two face off that it didn't really stand out. Well, once it got going, it grasped my attention quite quickly. Some highlights here include a swinging DDT off the stage from Christian and Sheamus brogue kicking a drum into Christian's face.

7) Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro - Smackdown - October 24th, 2014 - ****

Here we have another match between Ziggler & Cesaro that took place on Smackdown in the fall. This was a pre-cursor to their 2/3 Falls Match and in my opinion, it outshined that bout. One thing that makes Ziggler's matches so great is that the crowd is so into him that every near fall feels like it means something. With that being said, we got many close falls here that will bring you onto the edge of your set. This was easily the best singles encounter between Ziggler & Cesaro in 2014.

8) Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro - No DQ Match - Smackdown - July 25th - ****

Cesaro is back once again with a four star bout, this time against the lunatic fringe, Dean Ambrose. To my knowledge, these two never faced off on the Indies so I was really interested how this one would play out. The No DQ stipulation added even more intrigue and once the match got going, I was engrossed in it. I shouldn't have expected anything less considering both men had been throwing out MOTY candidates like crazy throughout the year. None the less, this was another outstanding TV match from both men that saw several unique spots with a pile of chairs in the ring.

9) Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler - Raw - June 23rd - ***3/4

This list might as well be called "Dolph Ziggler & Cesaro's Greatest Hits" because as you can tell, it's hard to go one spot without one of the two being featured. This go round, Dolph Ziggler challenged Bad News Barrett for the IC Title on the June 24th edition of Raw. These two had a pretty good match several weeks before however I'm not sure anyone expected this one to be as good as it was. Ziggler was still in somewhat of a slump creatively at this point, but he never disappoints in the ring and that didn't change here. Great IC Title match in which Ziggler took one of the best bullhammer elbows I've ever seen.

10) The Usos vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan - Raw - July 7th - ***3/4

At this point in time, we had seen these two teams face off on multiple occasions. That made for their encounters becoming stale to some however once things got going, I think everyone who was uninterested in this match became interested. Both teams were hitting on all cylinders here and between the insane action & the hot crowd, this one was super fun to watch.

11) The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler - Raw - July 21st - ***3/4

This is a match that I think is underrated and forgotten by many people. Much like most Ziggler matches, the crowd was super into this one which made for alot of drama & close finishes. I remember watching this match and thinking "This is the best Miz match I've ever seen". Haha, it was that good. One thing that I can remember clearly is Miz locking Ziggler in the figure four and Dolph doing an extremely good job selling it only to get to the ropes. The audience was so on fire during his crawl toward the ropes, it felt epic. Miz & Ziggler squared off several times during the summer, but this was their first and by far, best encounter they had in my opinion.
12) Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton - Raw - No DQ Match - March 17th - ***3/4

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton is a match that got beaten to shreds in the fall of 2013 so most people weren't at all interested in this. Despite that, Bryan & Orton can't help but have a great match and that was the case here. Something I've always found funny is that Bryan & Orton's best matches together have been on TV. Whether it's their encounters in December of 2013, February of this year, or this one, they're all quality bouts that are arguably better than their PPV meetings. Great No DQ match here.

13) Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler - Smackdown - No DQ Match - May 25th - ***3/4

WWE is including a match between Ziggler & Batista on the Best of Raw & Smackdown in 2014 DVD and while I'm glad one of their encounters is included, I'm baffled as to why it wasn't this one. Batista's return was really underrated in my opinon. It was a trainwreck in terms of success however it can't be viewed as a failure. Batista put over alot of new talent and gave many people a good rub, Ziggler being one of them. Sure, Dolph was already awesome before, but wrestling a superstar the caliber of Batista is big for anyone. Another very good No DQ match from this year.

14) Sheamus & Christian vs. Jack Swagger & Cesaro - Raw - February 10th - ***3/4

In my opinion, this bout was one of the best tag team matches of 2014. The Real Americans had a number of great matches during their run and this one in particular is my favorite. The odd team of Sheamus & Christian actually gelled quite well here which made for a pretty exciting match up. This match also saw the first meeting between Sheamus & Cesaro which was awesome in itself as both men traded vicious uppercuts in the center of the ring. Really good tag match here that I definitely want to take a second look at when I get the chance.

15) Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio - Raw - March 24th - ***1/2

I think it's safe to say that this match could have been billed as the showcase of the most underrated workers in WWE. With that being said, this was another one of those matches that caught me by surprise. It was around this time in the year that I really began to appreciate the work of Sheamus & Del Rio and these definitely played a part in it. This isn't a classic fatal four way like the one at NXT Takeover later in the year, but it's a really good match that showcases four of the hardest workers in WWE at the time. Fun stuff!

WWE MVP of 2014: Triple H

I'd like to close this year in review by naming the WWE's MVP of 2014. This one will probably catch many people by surprise, but I think it's the perfect decsion. In 2014, there was no person more essential to the WWE product than Triple H. Whether it be in the ring/on screen making Daniel Bryan & The Shield into mega stars or behind the scenes making NXT the best show that WWE produces - If Triple H wasn't around, 2014 would have been vastly different and possibly even a complete trainwreck considering some of the things that happened. This year, Hunter reminded us all of why he's one of the greatest of all time.

In an age of anti-hero heels, Triple H garnered true heat and hatred for his treatment of Daniel Bryan, even from the most smarky fans. While Raw & Smackdown had many ups & down, Triple H led NXT to a year filled with consistent quality performances and many classic matches. This year was quite possibly one of the best years of his career. He was the focal point of nearly every major storyline and I'm glad he was because it wouldn't have been the same without him. For all these reasons, the Pro Wrestling Truth WWE MVP of 2014 is Triple H.

There you have it - the 2014 WWE Year in Review. Thanks for reading and be sure to send me your thoughts on Twitter @EthanPWT or @ThePWTruth! I'd also like to send out a special thanks to @Horse_Bot3000 on Twitter for helping me compile the lists included in this article, give him a follow as well!

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