Monday, January 9, 2017

The 2016 Honorable Mentions List, Part Two

Tomorrow, we will return with the first of the top three, but today we take a look back at everyone else that made an impact in 2016. These figures all received multiple votes in our awards, but didn't quite earn enough to make it into the Top 10.
Image credit: WWE.
  • Alexa Bliss: I would make a strong argument that Alexa earns a "Most Improved" award for the year. She showed tons of character on Smackdown Live and pretty much made that women's division competitive. Her feud with Becky Lynch has been nothing short of epic, and I look forward to her continuing her dominance in 2017. 
  • Rosemary: TNA's resident mistress of decay has combined epic character work with her already capable in ring style, honed by years on the Canadian indies and in SHIMMER (where she played a very different character.) Joe Crowe sums her up wonderfully, saying, "She spews different colors of mist. And she, unlike almost all other big-league female wrestlers, has a character that goes beyond 'Lady who wrestles.'"
  • Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson: It's no surprise there's crossover between the people that voted for The Revival and those who voted for Charlotte. Both of them have a lot of old school nostalgia at their base, but I personally think The Revival currently have a stronger game than the Raw Women's Champion.
  • Seth Rollins: I can think of only a few big returns as bungled as WWE bringing back Seth Rollins. From his return as a heel to his turn against Triple H that hasn't shown any story progression (because that feud can't start until Wrestlemania season) to a series of so-so matches with Kevin Owens, he just could not get off the ground with Raw's weak booking. 
  • Bobby Roode: Roode had a good first few months of the year in TNA as one half of Beer Money, but I doubt anyone voted for him for that. His Glorious arrival in NXT has revitalized his career. His song has inspired a great new character for him and he looks to have a strong 2017 in a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura. Of the names on this list, he's the one I suspect will rise the most on next year's list.
  • Dean Ambrose: Dean seems like he'll never quite make this list. He's a solid in ring worker, but his gimmick and his go to spots have become stale as a babyface. Only Roman Reigns more desperately needs a heel turn in WWE. 
  • Becky Lynch: Becky finally received a title in WWE, but her run as inaugural Smackdown Women's Champion was dwarfed by the rise of Alexa Bliss. As a babyface, she makes a far better underdog than she does a top dog which hopefully will mean a feud with La Luchadora in the coming weeks will give her some good in ring time without immediate rematch after rematch against Alexa.
  • Sasha Banks: Last year's number one had some more great matches in 2016, but her year just couldn't compare to the previous. After a great Wrestlemania match, several of her matches with Charlotte were good but none seemed to be the game changing bouts she had with Bayley in the previous year. Still, Sasha could have a huge run in WWE still ahead of her, especially if she could make a move to the blue brand. 
  • Tetsuya Naito: The leader of Los Ingobernables De Japon had one of the best years of any wrestler in New Japan. He won both the World Title and the Intercontinental Title, which he continues to hold as of this writing. While the return of Suzukigun might make Los Ingobernables play second fiddle for a bit, he's still cemented himself as a top star in the promotion and arguably a suitable replacement for Nakamura at the main event. Additionally, he has put up some of the best matches of any NJPW star in ROH where he's wrestled a great feud with Jay Lethal. 
Naito does evil like no one else. Image credit: NJPW.
That's the complete list of everyone that fell below the Top 10 line. With it, you may be able to determine your guesses for the top three wrestlers of the year. Any ideas? Share them in the comments below!

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